13.9.2020 President Trump’s recent remarks that top Pentagon officials continue to push for war because they want to keep defense contractors “happy” has drawn a firestorm of criticism by those who would like to conflate the remarks with the allegation that the president is anti-military. What’s actually uncomfortable for many of those commentators, however, is the degree to which the president is speaking the truth.
“The negotiations are a result of a bold diplomatic effort on the part of my administration in recent months and years,” Trump said at a news conference. “The United States will play an important role in bringing the parties together to end the decades-long war. It’s been going on for almost 20 years. Long before I got involved, I can tell you that.”
The three-day conference beginning Thursday comes after regional leaders Monday warned the junta, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, that it must designate a transitional civilian head of state by next week or face further sanctions from the 15-nation West African regional bloc.
McKenzie also offered an update on the Afghanistan drawdown, saying that the current level of 8,600 wound be down to 4,500 by late October. This figure was roughly announced in the past, but details show that they’re still on track for that.
The United States will withdraw more than 2,000 troops from Iraq this month, the top U.S. general in the region said Wednesday.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command (Centcom), announced the reduction from roughly 5,200 troops to 3,000 troops during a visit to Iraq.
The legal initiative responds to the police brutality during the social unrest in late 2019. Over 180 protesters and civilians were blinded partially or totally after law enforcement used disproportionate riot control methods.
Administrative officials see Ruger’s selection as the president’s signal of intent to reduce the U.S. military presence in the region drastically.
Query: With the ISIS caliphate dead and buried, why are 500 U.S. troops still in Syria a year after Donald Trump said we would be pulling them out? What are they doing there to justify risking a clash with Russian troops who are in Syria as the invited allies of the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad, whether we approve of his regime or not?
One big roadblock to finally leaving Iraq alone is President Trump’s de facto Secretary of War, Mike Pompeo. Although he’s supposed to be the top US diplomat, Pompeo is a bull in a china shop. He seems determined to start a war with Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, and probably a few more countries.
Even assuming that most of their jobs are pointless, it’s a lot of damn people keeping our rebellious impulses in check. Then there’s Fort Belvoir, Andrews Airforce Base, Quantico, Anacostia-Bolling. US Defense Services. Navy Intelligence. Department of Homeland Security. The National Reconnaissance Office. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The NSA, FBI, CIA. Booz Allen Hamilton. Boeing. Humana. Raytheon. BAE Systems. General Dynamics. Northrup Grumman. Lockheed Martin.
A truly high maintenance group, the ruling class.
The man who claimed to have made the video, 22-year-old Raysean White, said that he saw Blake scuffling with three officers and heard them yell, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” before the gunfire erupted. He said he didn’t see a knife in Blake’s hands.
The governor said that he has seen no information to suggest Blake had a knife or other weapon, but that the case is still being investigated by the state Justice Department.
Keita and his Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested along with other government officials earlier in the day, according to the head of the African Union.
The NDAA that was approved last night by the Committee also imposed restrictions on Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Trump’s plan called for the removal of roughly 9,500 troops from German soil, reducing the number of U.S. troops in this extremely prosperous and rich European nation from 34,500 to 25,000. But by an overwhelming vote of 49-7, the Armed Service Committee approved an amendment to the NDAA that “bans the administration from lowering troop levels below current levels until 180 days after Pentagon leaders present a plan to Congress and certify it will not harm U.S. or allied interests.”
Uruguay’s Association of Former Political Prisoners (Crysol) Tuesday asked the Senate to withdraw the parliamentary immunity of Gen. Guido Manini so that that he can be tried for crimes committed during the military dictatorship (1973-1985).
If the American people had their way, the U.S. military would have been out of Afghanistan years ago.
President Donald Trump said he expects fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops to be in Afghanistan by November and called America’s wars in the Middle East the “biggest mistake” in the country’s history during a television interview this week.
“We’re largely out of Afghanistan,” Trump said in an interview with Axios aired on HBO Monday. “It’s already planned. … We’ll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we’re gonna be down to 4,000. We’re negotiating right now, we’ve been there for 19 years — 19 years — we’ll be getting out.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Border Patrol Tactical Unit has left Seattle after being deployed there “without the consultation or consent of state and local officials.”
Macgregor is a favorite among Trump supporters who want to pull US troops from the Mideast and Afghanistan. As ambassador, he would oversee Trump’s plan to slash the substantial US troop presence in Germany.
“They’re anarchists,” Trump said. “That’s even, that’s a level that people haven’t seen but they’re anarchists.“
On Wednesday, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler and hundreds of others were objecting to the presence of federal police sent by Trump, who previously labeled the demonstrators as “agitators & anarchists” after Wheeler was gassed.
The measure, which was passed on Wednesday, orders all members of the Portland Police Department to stop giving or receiving „operational support“ from officers representing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Marshal Service, Federal Protective Service and Customs and Border Protection, according to local news reports. Under the resolution, police are also banned from overseeing demonstrations alongside federal officers.
Some protesters, recalling the city police’s past use of tear gas, mocked him: “You better be here every night, Ted!”
The acting head of Department of Homeland Security defended the controversial deployment of federal agents to Portland, Ore., saying the Trump administration would „not retreat“ from its duty to protect federal property.
At a news conference Tuesday, Chad Wolf insisted that the department „will support and protect those who want to peacefully protest.“
A pair of Oregon state lawmakers joined with a local lawyer, church, and advocacy group on Tuesday to bring yet another lawsuit against federal government agencies over President Donald Trump’s ongoing militarized crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests in Portland.
The White House took issue with several other provisions of the legislation, including one that would constrain Trump’s ability to withdraw American troops from Germany and another that would limit Trump’s efforts to scale back the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
The president portrayed the nation’s cities as out of control. “Look at what’s going on — all run by Democrats, all run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by radical left,” Mr. Trump said. He added: “If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell.”
Democrats said the president was the one out of control.
Heavily armed federal officers without name tags have carried out nightly attacks on antiracist demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, and snatched people off the streets into unmarked vans, sparking widespread outrage. “What we’ve seen is a continuous escalation in violence against our protesters,” says Lilith Sinclair, an Afro-Indigenous local organizer in Portland. They note the federal violence follows many years of “severe police brutality” from local police. “It’s left the people of Portland not only worried about their safety, but, even more so, justified in the fight that we’re engaged in.”
The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon has called for an investigation into the conduct of federal officers deployed to protests in Portland, calling their behavior “unlawful.” Local officials are also mounting legal challenges to remove the agents from city streets. Juan Chavez, project director and attorney at the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says it’s a terrifying situation for Portland residents who face “these camouflaged goon squads” who often refuse to identify themselves or their agencies. “They just appear in the middle of the night next to people who are in and around downtown who then get corralled into these vehicles, not told where or who’s picking them up,” he says.
Democrat Congresswoman Jim Clyburn compared federal law enforcement to Nazi Germany Gestapo, when he appeared on CNN on 7/20/2020.
Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that „U.S. forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by U.S. forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners.“
Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) sent a letter to President Trump earlier this week, calling on him to not only complete the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but leave Iraq as well, saying the country can’t stay a great power and engage in endless war.
President Trump confirmed last month his administration plans to cut the U.S. troop size in Germany roughly in half. The decision drew backlash from both sides of the aisle.
The US Navy will send two aircraft carriers and several accompanying warships to the South China Sea in the coming days to participate in a military exercise.
The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Groups are conducting dual carrier operations in the Philippine Sea and South China Sea,“ said Lt. Joe Jeiley, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet.
With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House Armed Services Committee has added a Liz Cheney-spearheaded amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which throws severe roadblocks in the Trump administration’s proposed scale-down of US military presence in Afghanistan and Germany.
As The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald notes, both parties advancing the amendment cited in their arguments the completely unsubstantiated intelligence leak that was recently published by credulous mass media reporters alleging that Russia has paid bounties to Taliban fighters for killing the occupying forces in Afghanistan. Yet another western imperialist agenda once again facilitated by unforgivably egregious journalistic malpractice in the mass media.
It should come as absolutely no surprise that House Democrats are finding common cause with Liz Cheney and other GOP warmongers to block any efforts to reduce even moderately the footprint of the U.S. military in the world or its decades-long posture of endless war.
The U.S. military has ordered contractors in eastern Afghanistan to leave base as part of coronavirus prevention measures, forcing the closure of Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and other nonessential services.
Take the recent news that Washington intends to remove some 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany. The relatively minor reduction, with the open possibility that some personnel would stay in Europe but move to Poland, was nonetheless met with hysteria by a noticeable portion of the commentariat. The decision was assessed as a “colossal” and “disastrous mistake.”
“The United States’ military presence in Germany is mutually beneficial to both nations, and bolsters the transatlantic alliance. It’s also an invaluable hub for U.S. military operations,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We’re putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“Germany’s delinquent,” Trump added. “They’ve been delinquent for years, and they owe NATO billions of dollars, and they have to pay it. So we’re protecting Germany, and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense.”
D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) sent a letter to Trump Friday requesting he withdraw all “extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence,” noting that she had ended the state of emergency in the distinct related to the demonstrations.
On Monday night, both Mr. McCarthy and the Army’s chief of staff, Gen. James C. McConville, pressed Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, to increase his forces’ presence in the city, according to a senior Defense Department official.
An Army official declined to comment, saying that the investigation was continuing.
A national pushback against police violence and law enforcement excess continued Friday, as Minneapolis voted to ban chokeholds, National Guardsmen deployed in the nation’s capital were ordered to disarm, and protests following the death of George Floyd stretched into an 11th day.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) ended nightly curfews for Minneapolis and St. Paul, the epicenter of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, which had been in place for a week. The decision follows similar moves in other places where curfews have ended, including Washington, L.A. County and pockets of Southern California, along with much of the Bay Area.
Move would cut 9,500 American service members from Germany, where 34,500 are permanently assigned, amid strains between two key NATO allies
He initially ordered them home on Wednesday after a night of more peaceful protests in the nation’s capital, but reversed course later in the day and planned to keep them in the area for another 24 hours after further analysis, the official said.
The second reversal comes as White House aides made clear their irritation with Esper for declaring his opposition to deploying active-duty troops to quash recent unrest just two days after President Donald Trump threatened to do so. Officials say the Defense secretary is on thin ice with the president.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday demanded that President Trump provide a list of the agencies involved in deploying law enforcement officers around Washington, D.C., in response to the crowds of demonstrators protesting police brutality.
Some officers policing protests in the city in recent days have been seen without any identifying labels on their uniforms, raising questions about which law enforcement agencies they represent.
They were dressed in mixed riot gear, with helmets and face masks, shields and guns loaded with crowd control agents.
As thousands across the US take to the streets for another day of protests demanding justice for George Floyd, more than 17,000 members of the National Guard are standing ready to support local law enforcement.
That represents approximately the same number of active duty troops deployed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
As of Monday, nearly half of the US has activated guard members to respond to civil unrest.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have deployed troops in Washington, D.C., officials announced Monday, as President Trump mobilized the military in the capital city to address the protests over George Floyd’s death.
CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan posted on Twitter that the law enforcement’s personnel has been sent to the National Capital Region “to assist law enforcement partners.”
Governors in nearly a dozen states plus the District of Columbia have now activated the National Guard amid protests and riots that have broken out in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody earlier this week.
States calling for Guard asistance were California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington state.
Civil liberties advocates sounded the alarm Friday after reporting indicated Customs and Border Protection has been flying an unmanned Predator drone over Minneapolis as the city continues to roil with protest over the police killing of George Floyd earlier this week
The drone flown over Minneapolis is an unarmed version of the aircraft.
The drone was first spotted on a flight tracking tool by members of the ADB-S Exchange, a community of flight watchers who use open-source flight data to monitor America’s skies. Presumably, the drone is surveilling protests there, though CBP did not respond to a request for comment about what the drone is doing there.
More than 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers arrived in Minneapolis and surrounding areas as protests erupted for a third night over the death of a black man while in police custody.
From New York City to Denver and other cities, protesters demanded justice for George Floyd after his arrest and death Monday in Minneapolis.
In den USA mehren sich die Anzeichen, dass auf Druck von Präsident Donald Trump der Zeitplan für den Abzug von Truppen aus Afghanistan bis zur US-Präsidentenwahl im November beschleunigt werden soll. Im Pentagon würden derzeit entsprechende Pläne erarbeitet, berichtet die Washington Post.
The Pentagon is expected to try to persuade a commander in chief who has made clear his desire to end America’s involvement in what he has criticized as “endless wars” — and who has regularly surprised the military with his decisions.
President Trump has apparently confirmed reports from earlier in the week that he wants to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan in time for Election Day. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump was keen on a plan to bring forces home by November because it would likely give a boost to his campaign.
The new measures reportedly have the backing of the United States, according to The Times of Israel.
Israel’s envoy, Danny Danon, made the demands during a video press briefing, adding that the UN Security Council must be immediately informed if Lebanon moves to block any of the new measures.
„There is concern from a variety of places that we could leave Afghanistan,“ one senior U.S. official said, pointing to concerns voiced by U.S. allies, members of Congress and U.S. military officials.
„The international coalition forces had departed the base and the K1 base now is under full control of the Iraqi forces,“ the office said.
On the other side, a U.S.-led coalition spokesman said in a tweet that the troops departed the compound inside K1 airbase in coordination with the Iraqi government, asserting that the coalition troops will support Iraq from fewer places with fewer troops.
The two sides have been speaking in recent days over Skype, officials have said, as the coronavirus pandemic has curbed international travel.
“#USNSMercy will be getting underway #TODAY in support of the nation’s #COVID19 response efforts. As announced by @realDonaldTrump, the ship will head to Los Angeles,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday tweeted Monday.
According to new documents and interviews with military experts, the various plans – codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, „devolution“ could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.
„We’re in new territory,“ says one senior officer, the entire post-9/11 paradigm of emergency planning thrown out the window. The officer jokes, in the kind of morbid humor characteristic of this slow-moving disaster, that America had better learn who Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy is.
The United States would then be placed under the authority of Terrence O’Shaughnessy, a four-star general and former fighter pilot who is the designated “combatant commander”, according to Newsweek.
General O’ Shaughnessy, 56, leads the US Northern Command (Northcom), a military authority responsible for homeland defence, created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“The military is the best logistical organization in the nation. If there are ventilators being produced anywhere in the country, we need to get them to New York. Not weeks from now or months from now, in the next 10 days.“
“Why are they at their bases? Why are they not being allowed to serve?“ de Blasio said. “I guarantee you, they’re ready to serve. But the president has to give the order.“
Centcom commander Gen. Frank McKenzie says that the plan is to shift combat duties to US special forces.
(September 18, 2007)
“Generals lie, Soldiers die,” chanted pro-testers when general David Petraeus appeared before a Congressional committee in Washington on 10 September.
Petraeus’s mission? To provide military cover for Bush’s cynical tactic of playing for time.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday afternoon welcoming recent steps towards ending the conflict in Afghanistan. All 15 members supported the resolution, tabled by the United States, which endorses a joint US-Afghan declaration on peace and an agreement signed between Washington and the Taliban.
Hundreds of troops are heading out of the country as previously planned and will not be replaced.
Announcement of the June 29-30 donors conference came during an EU foreign ministers meeting in Zagreb that addressed two related refugee crises. The first involved the roughly 1 million Syrians hoping to cross Turkey’s now-closed borders to safety, following an uptick in fighting in Idlib.
The U.S. currently has around 6,000 military personnel in Africa. Although some experts say a repositioning of forces is overdue, many U.S. officials share French concerns about relieving pressure on militants in Africa.
EU TO HOST SYRIA DONOR CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELS ON JUNE 29-30, WILL ALSO INVITE GOVERNMENTS INVOLVED IN CONFLICT – BORRELL
#Ankara #Greece #Idlib #Erdogan #Europe
NATO member countries, particularly Europeans, must act together to provide support to Turkey to confront the difficulties arising from the Syrian conflict, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for Syria, has said at the International Idlib Conference in Istanbul.
He was responding to a question during regarding Washington’s views about concrete military support to Turkey.
BOWMAN: Right. The U.S. and Europe actually want Bashar al-Assad removed. He killed hundreds of thousands of his own people in a civil war. And they don’t want Assad to gain more strength by having access to millions of dollars from the oil. And Russia is Syria’s main ally. The U.S. ally in this ongoing ISIS fight, the Kurds, are using proceeds from the oil to continue their operations. And to make this even more politically convoluted, the Kurds are selling the oil to the Syrian government.
Sgt. Dan McKnight, Afghanistan war veteran and founder of BringOurTroopsHome.US, Saturday praised President Donald Trump’s announcement of a peace agreement with Taliban forces that could lead to total withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan some time next year. The announcement came a day after McKnight blasted Congresswoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for attempting to publicly undercut Trump’s efforts.
The United States signed a deal with the Taliban on Saturday that sets the stage to end America’s longest war — the nearly two-decade-old conflict in Afghanistan that began after the Sept. 11 attacks, killed tens of thousands of people, vexed three White House administrations and left mistrust and uncertainty on all sides.
The joint Saudi–US joint exercise titled “Marine Defender” kicked off in the Persian Gulf on Sunday.
The United States wants Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to defer his second-term inauguration over concerns it could inflame an election feud with his political rival and jeopardize U.S.-led peacemaking efforts, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.
European Union foreign ministers agreed to revive a naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea to enforce the internationally backed arms embargo on Libya, a move likely to encounter stiff challenges given the recent arms buildup by regional powers in the North African country.
Mr. Stoltenberg briefed the Coalition on the decision in principle by Allied ministers to enhance NATO’s training mission in Iraq. As a first step, this will consist of NATO taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities in the country.
Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO’s work in Iraq is helping strengthen the Iraqi armed forces and institutions to ensure ISIS cannot return, and Iraq no longer requires support.
He briefed on the Allied decision to enhance #NATO’s training mission in #Iraq. #MSC2020.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2UUFLb5
„The challenge that Pompeo’s facing in Africa is explaining the contradictory messages coming from Washington,“ said Witney Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. „It’s the lack of attention that’s been paid. It’s the fact that (former national security adviser John) Bolton rolled out this Africa strategy 14 months ago, and since then, very little has been accomplished where many other nations have moved forward.“
One European diplomat said there was agreement among the bloc’s 27 members to strengthen U.N. monitoring of the embargo, but not on the issue of dispatching naval assets.
The diplomat, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Austria has objected to putting naval ships back into the Mediterranean, and issue that would likely come up at the annual Munich Security Conference over the weekend.
NATO is ready to expand its military training effort in Iraq, the alliance’s top civilian official said Wednesday, but the Iraqi government is not yet ready to approve the move.
The Canada-led operation was launched in 2018 but suspended last month after a U.S. missile strike at Baghdad Airport killed Iran’s top general and Iraq’s government and lawmakers demanded that foreign troops leave. U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has demanded that U.S. allies do more in the Mideast.
Speaking to the AFP on condition of anonymity, the senior Malian army officials said soldiers had left the northern city of Gao en route to Kidal. „There is no problem for now,“ he said.
The Iron Man Battalion will deploy 550 soldiers from Charles City, Davenport, Dubuque, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Oelwein, and Waterloo. The mission involves security and force protection in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The deployment is expected to last around a year.
Choreographed sword fights, such as those traditionally performed in Gulf Arab countries, may look like clashes between deadly enemies but in fact require close coordination between the participants.Many Arabs believe the conflict between the US and Iran in Iraq is similar.
„If the U.S. steps back from Africa too far, China and Russia will fill the void to our detriment,” he said in his written testimony to the Senate. “Violent extremist organizations will be able to grow unchecked, some will ultimately threaten the homeland, and we will lose opportunities for increased trade and investments with some of the fastest growing economies in the world.”
“The tempo is coming back,” Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie Jr., who heads U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to a constellation of tiny American outposts in eastern Syria.
American troops in Syria, like those in neighboring Iraq, shifted their focus from anti-extremist operations to force protection after a Jan. 3 strike in Baghdad killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most influential military figure.
The Iraqi President, Barham Salih, met with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, in Davos on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics, including the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.
Eight European Union member states have decided to set up a naval surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Monday after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers.
“A decrease in our investment now may result in the need for the United States to reinvest at many more times the cost down the road,” Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) wrote in letter to Esper last week.
A source close to the Iraqi government told Al-Monitor, “Abdul Mahdi has told Kurdish officials the Kurdistan region is part of the Iraqi federal state, thus they must abide by the Iraqi parliament’s decision to eject US forces from Iraqi soil once the decision is put into practice.“
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, added, “Abdul Mahdi also told the Kurds his government soon will try to reach an agreement with the US on how to implement the Iraqi parliament’s decision. Kurds should cooperate with Baghdad in this regard. No foreign forces are allowed to stay in Iraq under any pretexts.“
The United States has about 5,000 troops in Iraq leading the fight against ISIS. There are also about 800 U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Syria. Meanwhile, about 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan helping Afghan forces fight the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism operations against groups such as ISIS.
Outside of combat zones, the United States has also deployed about 14,000 more troops throughout the Middle East since the summer in an effort to deter Iran.