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19 Jul

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

War News

Children  Photos

We won’t be able to change what grew inside the brains and hearts  of the children of War.

Damn The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell 

A child leans against the bullet-riddled wall of his house. Three years ago, ISIL took control of the neighbourhood and Kaiwan suffered burns to his left arm while fleeing with his family. The scars of conflict are still fresh on the child's body and the city's walls. [Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC]

The McGlynn

REU: Evacuation of two pro-Assad Syrian villages complete

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The evacuation of thousands of people from two loyalist Syrian villages that were besieged by rebels in the northwest is complete, state media said on Thursday, with the government expected to release hundreds of detainees in return.

A fighter loyal to President Bashar al Assad and a child are seen in a bus as they are evacuated from the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, Syria July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

In exchange, the government was due to release hundreds of prisoners from its jails. Pro-Damascus TV stations said at least 20 buses carrying “militants” released from jail had crossed into rebel-held territory under the agreement.

Close to 7,000 people – civilians and fighters – were due to leave the loyalist Shi’ite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province. They were being ferried out in a convoy of buses through rebel-held territory to nearby government-held territory in Aleppo province, state TV footage showed.

Footage broadcast by al-Manar TV, which is run by the pro-Damascus Shi’ite group Hezbollah, showed the buses arriving at a government checkpoint in al-Eis, east of the two villages. Many had smashed windscreens – Al-Manar’s reporter said they had been pelted with rocks as they drove through rebel areas.

A separate convoy of buses was then shown crossing from al-Eis into the rebel-held territory. Al-Manar’s reporter at the scene said they were carrying detainees released under the deal.

Population transfers have been a common feature of the seven-year war, but have mostly come at the expense of Assad’s opponents. Rebels and civilians have been bussed out of their hometowns to insurgent territory in the north as government troops advanced, backed by Russian and Iranian forces.

NYT: As ISIS Fighters Fill Prisons in Syria, Their Home Nations Look Away

On a rare tour of prisons for Islamic State suspects from nearly 50 countries, a Times reporter watched their jailers try to secure them humanely — but for how long?

AINISSA, Syria — The two-story building here still looks much like the school it once was. But the classrooms are closed off by reinforced black doors, padlocked from the outside. And the campus is surrounded by men with machine guns seeking refuge from the desert heat in the shade of towering concrete perimeter walls.

The visitors’ echoing footsteps and voices were the only sounds on a recent day in a dusty pink-and-white hallway once filled with schoolchildren. But when a guard slid open a small window in a classroom door, a man’s face pressed against the opening. Behind him, about 15 others, sitting on mats in black sleeveless shirts, stared back.

The old school is one of about seven makeshift wartime prisons in northern Syria housing suspects accused of fighting for the Islamic State and captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The S.D.F. prisons for male detainees — about 1,000 men from nearly 50 countries — are generally off limits, but a New York Times reporter accompanied a congressional delegation touring two of them, the first such visit to either.

The prisoners pose a dilemma that has no easy solution and that is growing urgent. Their home countries have been reluctant to take back the men. Their governments are leery that battle-hardened members of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, might radicalize domestic prisoners. Some countries face legal hurdles to prosecuting militants if they take custody of them from a nonstate militia, as opposed to extraditing them from another government.

AP: Under Assad’s grip, uneasy co-existence with Syria ex-rebels

TALBISEH, Syria (AP) — Former Syrian rebel commander Omar Melhem has nearly come full circle.

He was a colonel in the Syrian army when the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in 2011. He defected a year later and joined the armed revolt against the Syrian leader.

Then, when Assad’s forces marched into Talbiseh, he was among the rebels who handed over their weapons and agreed to a surrender deal that would allow them to stay in their hometown instead of a life of exile in the country’s north.

The 51-year-old former rebel commander now serves as a liaison between residents and other ex-rebels with the Syrian government, helping some rejoin the military and negotiating with top security officials about services in the town.

He says war brought only death and destruction to his town, and the deal he and other rebels reached with the government aimed to end the years-long misery of its residents.

“People got tired of war, got tired of the fighting, got tired of the destruction. … They’ve reached the conclusion that they were used by other countries, that we were a game to them,” Melhem said, referring to the U.S. and other Western nations, Turkey and the Gulf states that backed the rebels, and Russia and Iran, which backed the Syrian government.

Among the first Syrian towns to take up arms against the government, Talbiseh and nearby Rastan are now part of what some call a “reconciliation” process but others consider a humiliating surrender following years of indiscriminate bombardment and siege.

GUARD: Protests spread through cities in Iraq’s oil-rich Shia south

Several killed and hundreds hurt as unrest enters second week, upping pressure on PM

Widespread unrest sweeping across the oil-rich Shia heartland of southern Iraq has continued for a second week, as protesters defied riot police to vent their anger over electricity cuts, poor services and unemployment amid post-election uncertainty.

Demonstrations that began last week in Basra, the biggest city in the south and the country’s main oil hub, have spread to other cities including Amrah, Nasiriyah, Samawa, and the Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Protesters have stormed government offices, but in an unusual development, also buildings belonging to elite Shia militias. They also briefly disrupted the operation of an international airport in Najaf last week.

Several protesters have been killed in clashes with security guards since the unrest began and hundreds have been wounded.

The turmoil has increased pressure on the country’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who was already in a delicate position. He is in charge of a caretaker government due to remain in place until various parties which failed to gain an outright majority in 12 May parliamentary elections form a coalition.

REU: Bombs wound 11 people in Iraqi city of Kirkuk

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Several roadside bombs and mortar rounds wounded 11 people in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, witnesses said.

A police official said the bombs had targeted a commercial district of the city.

Security forces in Iraq have largely defeated Islamic State militants, removing them from Mosul and other cities and towns.

But the hardline Sunni militant group still carries out attacks near Kirkuk and some other parts of the country.

NYT: Afghan Officials: Gunmen Abduct 12 De-Miners in the East

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say gunmen have abducted a team of 12 mine-clearing workers in eastern Kunar province.

Walayut Khan Moshwani, head of the provincial council in Kunar, says the de-miners belong to a local de-mining organization called AREA.

He says both local government officials and tribal elders are in negotiations to get the men freed form their abductors.

Abdul Shakoor Yusoufi, the AREA director, says the 12 included 10 de-miners, a team leader and a doctor. He says they were abducted in Kunar’s Dara-e Pech district.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction but Moshwani is blaming the Islamic State group, which has been active in the province.

Both the Taliban and IS operate in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar provinces and in some parts of Kunar province.

NYT: Taliban Leaders Declare a Halt to Bombings in Civilian Areas

KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents are refraining from attacking Afghan civilians for the first time in many years, according to Afghan officials and the insurgents themselves.

A wounded boy received medical treatment in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on June 16, after an Islamic State attack that killed 36 people

The change in tactics started after a Taliban cease-fire expired on June 17, and came after a six-month period that the United Nations said had been the deadliest yet for Afghan civilians.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location that the insurgents had been ordered to stop suicide attacks in cities that might cause civilian casualties.

“Since the cease-fire, we have not had any martyrdom attacks in Kabul,” he said, using the Taliban term for suicide bombings. “On the martyrdom attacks in the cities, our superiors cautioned us against them, and we are going to obey their orders.”……………An Islamic State attack in Nangarhar Province carried out before the cease-fire ended killed 36 people on June 16, and a separate attack killed 18 a day later. Another attack, on July 1, targeted the small Sikh minority, killing 19, and on Sunday, an ISIS suicide bomber struck the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation, killing seven workers and wounding 14 others.

Russia, Tajikistan forces start drills amid growing instability in Afghanistan

The Russian and Tajikistan forces have launched joint military exercises close to the border with Afghanistan amid growing instability in the key northern provinces of Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan has confirmed that the joint exercises have been launched to prepare the armed forces to respond to possible threats from the Taliban and .

Read full story »

Taliban rejects the group has ordered a halt to suicide attacks in the cities

The Taliban group has rejected reports suggesting that the leadership of the group has ordered a halt to suicide attacks in the cities. A spokesman for the Taliban group Zabiullah Mujahid issued a statement rejecting the statement attributed to him in a report in which he was quoted as saying that the group will not.

Read full story »

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Recent Casualties:

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Staff Sgt. James T. Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Connecticut, died July 12 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident July 8 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

He was assigned to the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina, died, July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province. The incident is under investigation.

Celiz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, died July 7, 2018, in Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan from wounds sustained during an apparent insider attack. The incident is under investigation.

Maciel was assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. Task Force 1-28 Infantry is currently deployed in support of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

Iraq A Deadly Deception – War Documentary 2018

WAR DOCUMENTARY: IRAQ A DEADLY DECEPTION ALJAZEERA DOCUMENTARIES 2018 On the evening of 9/11, George W Bush made a vow to the American public – that he would defeat terrorism.
Unknown to those listening in shock to the presidential address, the president and his advisers had already begun planning their trajectory into an invasion of Iraq. It was packaged as “holding responsible the states who support terrorism” by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser between 2001 and 2003.
“I believe it represented a recognition that we would never succeed against the terrorists if we went after them one at a time and as long as governments were facilitating the organisation, training, equipping of, financing of terrorist organisations, we were never going to get it under control,” says Perle.
After 100 days spent fighting those who had become publicly accepted as the culprits – Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan – the US set the ball rolling for war against Iraq.
On the evening of 9/11 the president is saying: well, maybe we’ll be going after Iraq now and somebody said, well, that would be against international law. The president responded: I don’t care, we’re going to kick some ass.

The War Criminals

The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell  

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

The McGlynn

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18 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Belated disciplinary proceedings – after federal inaction – against police involved in 2014 Staten Island death fuel frustration

Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner was killed by an NYPD officer, is surrounded by supporters as she speak during a news conference outside City Hall in New York on Tuesday.

Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner was killed by an NYPD officer, is surrounded by supporters as she speaks during a news conference outside City Hall in New York on Tuesday. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

Four years after Eric Garner was killed by an NYPD chokehold, New York City has announced it will be move forward with hearings to determine whether officers violated any departmental policies – drawing a lukewarm reception from activists and Garner’s family.

“We want to see this done, we want it to be done swiftly,” said Garner’s mother Gwen Carr at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “We don’t want politics to play a part, we just want justice.”

The Rev Al Sharpton, of the National Action Network (NAN), which held the press conference on Tuesday, said: “We are glad that this is happening now, but it should have been moved forward a long time ago.”

Garner died in a confrontation with NYPD officers on Staten Island in 2014 after being accused of selling loose cigarettes. Though he was unarmed, NYPD officers used a chokehold maneuver on Garner right before the 43-year-old father became unresponsive. His death was ruled a homicide and his dying words, “I can’t breathe”, became a slogan for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In December 2014, a New York grand jury declined to indict any of the officers involved.

That same year the Department of Justice, then led by Eric Holder, began an investigation into Garner’s death to determine whether it warranted civil rights charges against any of the officers involved. That investigation appears to have been abandoned by the Jeff Sessions-led DoJ, prompting city officials, who had been waiting for a determination from the DoJ, to move on their own.

“Given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision on the US DoJ’s criminal investigation, any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified,” a letter from the city to the DoJ issued on Monday read. In it, the city said it would proceed at the end of August.

A disciplinary hearing for the five officers involved with Garner’s death could lead to them being fired or otherwise reprimanded, but it could not lead to criminal charges – thus the tepid reception from Carr, who still holds out hope for criminal proceedings against the officers.

Sharpton said on Tuesday: “The federal government is still the ones that should be moving on the charges.”

Sessions’ DoJ has repeatedly signaled an unwillingness to use his department to hold police accountable for excesses and abuses, as the prior administration had done.

Minister Kirsten John Foy, an activist and commentator with NAN, also expressed her frustration at the city’s timing of the announcement. “They found out in April from DoJ they could move forward. It is now July and now they are saying we have to wait until September!”

A DoJ statement said the department had told the city in April that it could move forward with disciplinary proceedings.

In 2015 the city agreed to a $5.9m settlement with Eric Garner’s family, heading off any potential civil litigation.

In a video op-ed for the New York Times published on Sunday, Carr pleaded: “Fire those police officers. Make them stand accountable. This is your last chance for justice.”

Read Full Article>>

Satellite imagery shows hundreds of glaciers shrinking as average annual temperature rises 3.6C in 70 years

Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada

The study Canada’s high Arctic circle found glaciers shrank by more than 1,700 sq km over a 16-year period, equivalent to a 6% loss. Photograph: Luke Copland

Hundreds of glaciers in Canada’s high Arctic are shrinking and many are at risk of disappearing completely, an unprecedented inventory of glaciers in the country’s northernmost island has revealed.

Using satellite imagery, researchers catalogued more than 1,700 glaciers in northern Ellesmere Island and traced how they had changed between 1999 and 2015.

The results offered a glimpse into how warming temperatures may be affecting ice in the region, from glaciers that sprawl across the land to the 200-metre thick ice shelves, said Adrienne White, a glaciologist at the University of Ottawa.

“It’s an area that’s very difficult to study,” said White. “Logistically it’s very hard to get to and even with satellite imagery – for the longest time Google Earth didn’t even have complete imagery – it was kind of the forgotten place.”

White’s study, published last month in the Journal of Glaciology, found that the glaciers had shrank by more than 1,700 sq km of over a 16-year period, representing a loss of about 6%.

A previous study of glaciers in the region – which used air photos and did not include ice shelves – showed a loss of 927 sq km between 1959 and 2000, hinting that the pace of loss may be increasing.

Northern Ellesmere Island, Canada

In northern Ellesmere Island, the annual average temperature in the region increased by 3.6C between 1948 and 2016. Photograph: Adrienne White

Of the 1,773 glaciers tracked by White, 1,353 were found to have shrunk significantly. A handful had disappeared altogether: “What we found is a loss of three complete ice shelves,” she said. “In terms of glaciers that terminate on land, we’ve lost three small ice caps.”

None of the glaciers in the study showed any signs of growing.

The findings echo the changes White has observed during her years of visiting the island. “We see a lot more icebergs,” said White. “Where there was one continuous ice shelf, we now see individual icebergs broken up, we see a lot more crevasses.”

She attributed the findings to an increase in temperatures. Canada’s Arctic – one of the world’s most glaciated regions – is warming at one of the fastest rates of anywhere on Earth.

In northern Ellesmere Island, the annual average temperature in the region increased by 3.6C between 1948 and 2016.

In particular, “there seemed to be a shift in the mid-90s,” she said, describing it as a “sudden increase in warming,” that saw temperatures increase at about 0.78C per decade between 1995 and 2016.

“These increases were greatest in autumn and winter,” she said. “So what you end up with is a lot more melt.”

While the most direct impact is rising sea levels, the melting ice also risks wiping out the region’s unique ecosystems, such as the freshwater lakes that form when the water flowing off a glacier is trapped by a floating ice shelf.

“When these glaciers break away, all of a sudden there’s nothing holding back these ecosystems that have been growing and developing for thousands of years,” said White. “And they’re gone before we even have the chance to study them.”

Extrapolating from research done on glaciers from a neighbouring island, White’s study suggested that many of the glaciers on northern Ellesmere Island may not be high enough to accumulate enough snow to counter the pace at which they are melting. “Without growth, that glacier is just in a state of loss,” she said. “It will disappear if climates don’t change.”

Read Full Article>>

More on the Environment:

World Politics

United States & Great Britain

Ben Jennings on the aftermath of Donald Trump’s UK visit – cartoon

 

Theresa May  Guardian Opinion cartoon

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18 Jul

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

War News

Children  Photos

We won’t be able to change what grew inside the brains and hearts  of the children of War.

Damn The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell 

A child leans against the bullet-riddled wall of his house. Three years ago, ISIL took control of the neighbourhood and Kaiwan suffered burns to his left arm while fleeing with his family. The scars of conflict are still fresh on the child's body and the city's walls. [Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC]

The McGlynn

ALJ: Battle for Yemen’s Hodeidah: ‘Shells raining down on us’

UN warns the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is worsening as tens of thousands of families are displaced by the Saudi-UAE coalition offensive to retake the strategic port city.

The battle for the port city of Hodeidah is intensifying as the Saudi-UAE coalition forces step up their offensive to take the strategic area from Houthi rebels.

Military analysts say that the Saudi-led coalition is not making much progress, but the relentless air raids and lack of aid are making an already dire humanitarian crisis even worse for the civilians who live in the region.

The United Nations says additional tens of thousands of families have been displaced from Hodeidah as a result of the fierce fighting.

Read full story »

AP: Officials: 30 civilians dead in recent clashes in Yemen city

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Heavy fighting over the last two weeks along Yemen’s western coast between pro-government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and Shiite rebels has killed at least 30 civilians, including women and children, officials and witnesses said Tuesday.

Government forces have been trying to seize rebel-held areas along the western coast, including the port city of Hodeida, while the Saudi-led coalition has been targeting the rebels, known as Houthis, with airstrikes.

The fighting has been concentrated over the past two weeks in al-Tuhyta district, south of Hodeida, a vital lifeline for Yemen’s aid-dependent population. The coalition launched an offensive to retake the city in June.

Along with over 30 killed, fighting and airstrikes — as well as land mines — have wounded 57 civilians since the beginning of July, health and security officials said.

Last Tuesday, an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition killed the eight-member family of Abdallah Kassem. They were driving south of al-Tuhyta when the strike hit their car, the officials said.

Separately, a 65-year woman who made her living selling flowers was killed when she stepped on a land mine, witnesses said.

The Houthis have laid land mines south of al-Tuhyta and along a road that links it with Zabid district, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. Witnesses spoke anonymously for fear of reprisals……………Impoverished Yemen has been devastated and pushed to the brink of famine by the stalemated three-year civil war that has left around two-thirds of its population of 27 million relying on aid, and over 8 million at risk of starving.

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REU: Syrian rebels, Iran reach deal to evacuate villages: sources

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian rebels and Iranian-backed negotiators have reached a deal to evacuate thousands of people from two rebel-besieged Shi’ite villages in northwestern Syria in return for the release of hundreds of detainees in state prisons, opposition sources said.

FILE PHOTO – People that were evacuated from the two villages of Kefraya and al-Foua walk near buses, after a stall in an agreement between rebels and Syria’s army, at insurgent-held al-Rashideen, Aleppo province, Syria April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

They said the negotiators from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a rebel coalition spearheaded by Syria’s former al Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had agreed all residents would be evacuated from the mostly Shi’ite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province.

A commander in the regional alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad said 100 buses were heading to the two towns to evacuate around 6,000 alongside 300 Alawite civilians held by rebels.

“We now are working on the logistical arrangements,” said an Islamist rebel source familiar with the secret negotiations that Turkey was also involved in and which builds on a deal reached last year that was never fully implemented…………….Iran, which backs Assad against the mainly Sunni insurgents and has expanded its military role in Syria, has long taken an interest in the fate of its co-religionists in the two towns.

It has arranged dozens of air lifts of food and equipment to circumvent the rebel siege of the two towns.

Past deals have mostly affected Sunni Muslims living in former rebel-held areas surrounded by government forces and their allies after years of sieges that have in some cases led to starvation.

Read full story »

REU: Buses arrive to evacuate two besieged pro-Assad Syrian villages

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Dozens of buses reached two Syrian government loyalist villages under siege from insurgents in the northwest, as part of a deal to evacuate residents on Wednesday, state media said.

Some 6,000 people will leave, emptying out the mostly Shi’ite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, a commander in the regional alliance that backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters.

Rebels and Iran-backed forces agreed a deal to evacuate the two mostly Shi’ite villages in return for the release of hundreds of detainees in state prisons, sources said on Tuesday…………“Buses and ambulances enter the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya to bring out the besieged people,” state news agency SANA said.

In April last year, thousands of people in the two villages were shuttled out to government territory in a swap deal.

In return, hundreds of residents left two towns at the border with Lebanon which were in the hands of Sunni rebels at the time and besieged by pro-government forces. They were evacuated to insurgent territory in northern Syria.

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REU: Syrian army pounds southern city of Nawa, reports of casualties: residents

AMMAN (Reuters) – The Syrian army late on Tuesday launched intensive aerial strikes on the city of Nawa in southern Deraa province with reports of dozens of civilian casualties as the army pressed a Russian-backed offensive in the area.

A resident said dozens of missiles were also fired on the heavily populated city that lies near Quneitra province adjoining the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights where the army moved earlier this week to control the remaining parts of the country’s southwest in rebel hands.

“It’s like doomsday,” said Malek al Ghawi in a text message sent to Reuters, adding there were “many corpses in the streets and everyone is unable to pull them.”……………“We don’t know where to take the injured, the town has been burnt,” Abu Hashem, another resident said.

The city of Nawa, in which at least 100,000 people still live, is the largest urban centre left in rebel hands in Deraa province, where a Russian-backed offensive begun last month defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel.

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NYT: Health System in Mosul Remains Broken One Year After Defeat of Islamic State

MOSUL — A year after Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from Islamic State the city’s healthcare system remains broken, its hospitals lie in ruins and even basic services are lacking, according to aid groups.

The government retook Mosul with help from a U.S.-led coalition and Kurdish forces a year ago but 380,000 people were displaced from the northern city, which had a population of 2 million prior to its capture by the militant group in June 2014.

The fighting caused 8 million tons of debris, the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement. It is one of many international organizations and governments helping with relief and rehabilitation.

Nine of the city’s 13 hospitals are damaged and that means there are 1,000 hospital beds available rather than 3,000, said Heman Nagarathm, Iraq Head of Mission for MSF, Doctors Without Borders.

“There are not enough facilities or bed capacity available,” he said, adding that the current numbers were half the internationally accepted minimum standard.

MSF said that in May it received 3,557 cases at the emergency room of its west Mosul hospital of which 95 percent were caused by unsafe living conditions, such as people falling from damaged buildings or walls or buildings collapsing.

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REU: Iraqi police disperse protesters outside Zubair oilfield as unrest grows

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi police wielded batons and rubber hoses to disperse about 250 protesters gathered at the main entrance to the Zubair oilfield near Basra on Tuesday as unrest across southern cities over poor basic services gathered pace.

Since demonstrations began nine days ago, protesters have attacked government buildings, branches of political parties and powerful Shi’ite militias and stormed the international airport in the holy city of Najaf.

Tensions focused attention on the performance of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is seeking a second term after May 12 parliamentary elections tainted by allegations of fraud that prompted a recount.

In his weekly news conference on Tuesday, Abadi promised to work with protesters to fight corruption and said the government would improve services.

AP: Afghan officials: IS bomber kills 20, Taliban kill 9 police

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Islamic State suicide bomber killed 20 people in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, including a Taliban commander, while in southern Helmand province, a government commando unit freed 54 people from a Taliban-run jail, officials said.

In southern Kandahar province, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in Arghistan district late on Monday night, killing nine policemen and wounding seven, according to Daud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

Zia Durrani, the provincial police spokesman, said 25 Taliban fighters were killed and 15 were wounded in the ensuing battle in Arghistan, a violate districts close to the Pakistani border.

Afghanistan has faced intense attacks by both the Taliban and the country’s Islamic State affiliate recently, even as Washington considers a Taliban demand for direct talks in hopes of jump-starting a negotiated end to what is now the longest military engagement by U.S. forces.

A Taliban official in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain an unofficial office, told The Associated Press the insurgents want direct talks and are ready to put troop withdrawal as well as any outstanding concerns the United States might have on the table — but that so far, no official request to open negotiations has come from Washington.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, the Taliban official said de-listing Taliban leaders from U.S and U.N. watch lists and recognizing their office in Doha, Qatar’s capital, would aid progress in talks, should they begin.

Meanwhile, in northern Afghanistan’s Sar-i-Pul province, provincial police chief Abdul Qayuom Baqizoi said Tuesday’s attack by IS took place as village elders met with Taliban officials. He said 15 of the 20 killed were local elders and five were Taliban members, including a Taliban commander.

The Taliban and the Islamic State group have been waging bitter battles in recent days in northern Afghanistan. As many as 100 insurgents from both the Taliban and IS have died in the fighting, said Baqizoi.

Read full story »

NYT: Islamic State Fighters in Afghanistan Kill at Least 15 Taliban

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Islamic State fighters attacked the house of a Taliban commander in the northern Afghan province of Sar-e Pul on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people as they were attending a prayer ceremony, the provincial governor’s office said.

The attack, in Sayyad district of Sar-e Pul, followed reports from local officials of fighting between Islamic State and Taliban militants in other northern provinces over recent days.

“Two Daesh fighters entered a Taliban commander’s house where a ceremony was under way and opened fire,” said Zabihullah Amani, spokesman for the Sar-e-Pul governor’s office said, using a term widely used for Islamic State.

He said 15 Taliban were killed and another five wounded.

Northern Afghanistan has become one of the main areas of Islamic State activity in Afghanistan as the movement has spread beyond its original base in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where it remains strong.

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Upcoming elections a good opportunity for the Taliban, Afghan nation: Ghani

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani once again invited the Taliban group to peace talks as he emphasized that the upcoming elections is a good opportunity for the group and the Afghan nation. Speaking during a meeting of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board in Kabul, President Ghani said the laws and regulations are modified in other .

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Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Recent Casualties:

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Staff Sgt. James T. Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Connecticut, died July 12 at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident July 8 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

He was assigned to the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32, from Summerville, South Carolina, died, July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province. The incident is under investigation.

Celiz was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, died July 7, 2018, in Tarin Kowt District, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan from wounds sustained during an apparent insider attack. The incident is under investigation.

Maciel was assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. Task Force 1-28 Infantry is currently deployed in support of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

Iraq A Deadly Deception – War Documentary 2018

WAR DOCUMENTARY: IRAQ A DEADLY DECEPTION ALJAZEERA DOCUMENTARIES 2018 On the evening of 9/11, George W Bush made a vow to the American public – that he would defeat terrorism.
Unknown to those listening in shock to the presidential address, the president and his advisers had already begun planning their trajectory into an invasion of Iraq. It was packaged as “holding responsible the states who support terrorism” by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser between 2001 and 2003.
“I believe it represented a recognition that we would never succeed against the terrorists if we went after them one at a time and as long as governments were facilitating the organisation, training, equipping of, financing of terrorist organisations, we were never going to get it under control,” says Perle.
After 100 days spent fighting those who had become publicly accepted as the culprits – Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan – the US set the ball rolling for war against Iraq.
On the evening of 9/11 the president is saying: well, maybe we’ll be going after Iraq now and somebody said, well, that would be against international law. The president responded: I don’t care, we’re going to kick some ass.

The War Criminals

The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell  

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

The McGlynn

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17 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

How Vladimir Putin outfoxed Donald Trump at Helsinki before their meeting even began

By Michelle Bentley, Royal Holloway

Well played. EPA/Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva Hando

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s summit with US counterpart Donald Trump was never going to be a balanced negotiation.

Putin had everything to gain, and Trump everything to lose. The Russian president controlled the agenda from the start, and Trump apparently didn’t even realise he needed to prepare. Putin came to the negotiations fresh from the diplomatic triumph of the World Cup (which even overshadowed the latest Novichok poisonings in the UK); Trump came fresh from a disastrous NATO summit and a terrible visit to the UK, where he was met by throngs of balloon-wielding protesters. It isn’t hard to see who’s running this show.

The week before the meeting, aboard Air Force One, Trump announced the issues he was prepared to negotiate on, including Crimea and Syria. He couldn’t have picked a better agenda for Putin, who wants concessions on all these matters and now has the opportunity to get them.

While this could have been a chance for Trump to reign in Russian power, no one ever seriously expected him to do so. Despite the president’s claim that he’s a great deal maker, he has been widely criticised as a useless diplomat who gives away US interests without a fight. Against the canny and experienced Putin, he’s political fresh meat.

Donald the unready

Trump also arrived in Helsinki direly unprepared. Whereas Russia has been strategising about this meeting since it was announced, Trump has not put together a concrete plan of action. Past diplomatic progress between the US and Russia has depended on preparation, such as Barack Obama’s 2009 summit with Russia’s then president, Dmitry Medvedev. Calling that summit a success might be pushing it, but Obama did still walk away with the beginnings of a new nuclear agreement, undeniably a major diplomatic win. Yet this achievement was only possible because of the incredible amount of planning that happened before the summit. Trump did not do this work, and so he came into the summit at a significant disadvantage.

Hardly surprising then that key experts on US foreign policy like Jon Wolfsthal are concerned that Trump is about to sell the proverbial farm. Specifically, they are worried that Trump could recognise Russia’s claims in Crimea and undermine US assurances to Ukraine.

Trump might also destabilise the fragile US-Russian relationship on nuclear weapons or allow Putin to interfere even further in Syria. He could even threaten his own recent denuclearisation agreement with North Korea if he doesn’t come down hard on Putin’s violation of sanctions against Kim Jong-un. None of these outcomes are good.

The agenda, however, is only a part of the problem. Just holding the summit is a major setback for international politics. Putin wants to disrupt the Western alliance, and he has advanced that cause simply by getting Trump to show up.

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As hunters hold immense clout in the Trump administration and most of the council’s members are advocates of the sport, critics worry the board will protect their hobby, not the animals

Donald Trump Jr on a Zimbabwe hunting trip.

Donald Trump Jr on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Photograph: Hunting Legends

Donald Trump has called big-game trophy hunting a “horror show”, despite his own sons’ participation in elephant and leopard hunts, and in 2017 he formed an advisory board to steer US policy on the issue.

But rather than conservation scientists and wildlife advocates, it is composed of advocates for the hunting of elephants, giraffes and other threatened, charismatic species. And observers say that since Trump took office, court rulings and administrative decisions have in fact made it easier for hunters to import the body parts of lions, elephants and other animals killed in Africa.

Members of Trump’s advisory board, called the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), argue that the sport, in which wealthy hunters pay tens of thousands of dollars to shoot endangered megafauna, is a laudable method of conservation abroad.

“This council will be focused on making hunting a better tool for conservation,” said John Jackson III, a member of the IWCC and founder of Conservation Force, an international hunting non-profit. Only two of the council’s 16 members are not active advocates for trophy hunting – the rest belong to groups such as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association. Instead of discussing whether the sport should be limited, the group is focusing on how to broaden its reach.

Awareness of trophy hunting has increased thanks to social media. In 2015, a Minnesota dentist ignited debate when he shot Cecil, an enormous, black-maned lion immensely popular with camera-wielding tourists and a focus of research. More recently, a Kentucky woman has been criticized for triumphantly posing next to a giraffe she killed; conservationists estimate giraffe populations have fallen 40% since 1990.

Trophy hunters hold immense clout in the Trump administration. The president’s sons, Donald Jr and Eric, frequently hunt in Africa. And the hunting advisory council operates under the auspices of the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who received $10,000 from the Safari Club during his 2016 congressional campaign. The lopsided composition of the council has critics worried its decisions will protect their chosen pastime, not the animals.

Walter Palmer, right, with one of his kills – a White Rhino. He also hunted and killed Cecil, an enormous, black-maned lion popular with tourists and a focus of research, in 2015 in Zimbabwe.

Walter Palmer, right, with one of his kills – a white rhino. He also hunted and killed Cecil, an enormous, black-maned lion popular with tourists and a focus of research, in 2015 in Zimbabwe. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

“People who consider themselves conservationists don’t consider trophy hunting conservation,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s an elite, bourgeois activity.”

The US cannot ban its residents from hunting in another nation, but it does regulate the importation of trophies – the body parts of animals killed abroad. Hunters seeking to import the remains of species protected under the Endangered Species Act must provide proof that killing an individual animal broadly enhances the species’ odds of survival.

In 2017, Trump’s interior department eased Obama-era restrictions on trophy hunting, and the president used Twitter to voice displeasure with the practice, writing it was unlikely he would “change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal”. The department then reinstated the ban, but a subsequent court ruling found that it was not based on proper rule-making procedures, and imports continue………………As evidenced by the controversy surrounding recent high-profile kills, sport hunting poses an ethical conundrum as well. Sanerib sees the activity as a “pay-to-play” system that counters the Endangered Species Act’s intent. “As long as you have enough money, and you allegedly are putting it toward the conservation of the species, you can do whatever you want,” she said.

Jackson, the IWCC member, sees it another way. Politicians and the mainstream media have “put out bad information, and people have no idea that they’re attacking a paradigm that saves more wildlife than anybody, and to which there is no alternative,” he says. “I’ll repeat that – no alternative. When the hunting community is disenfranchised, that’s the end of most of the habitat, and most of the wildlife.”

Jackson’s hunts over the years may have resulted in the death of more than a dozen bull elephants – but he believes his cash has saved hundreds of others.

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More on the Environment:

World Politics

United States

Trump ‘treasonous’ after siding with Putin on election meddling>>

John McCain, chairman of the Senate armed services committee and a former Republican presidential nominee, said: “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivety, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”

‘No collusion’: Trump and Putin deny election meddling in TV interviews>>

 

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