My reports & pictures soon in @PtisiMagazine
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
ERBIL, Iraq—Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Iraq on Saturday for an unannounced visit with U.S. troops days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and he met with the leader of Kurdistan but didn’t visit Baghdad.
First, Syria doesn’t even rank among the world’s top 60 oil producers, pumping out only about 0.05 percent as much petroleum as Iraq—just half as much as Cuba, which isn’t known as an oil power.
Second, its oil fields aren’t America’s to protect. They are owned by the Syrian government, with some venture capital provided by China, Russia, and India. No American oil companies are keen to step into the fray.
The eastern oil fields in Deir al-Zour province, where most of Syria’s relatively small and low-quality reserves are located, were once the primary source of income for the militants, who sold the oil to the Syrian government, Turkey and, reportedly, even to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In a speech at the White House on Wednesday he added: “We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil.
“And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”
„We have done them a great service,“ Trump said of U.S. efforts to end fighting between Turkey, a NATO ally, and the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who have been a key partner in the U.S.-led campaign to defeat IS.
„This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else,“ he said. „Now we’re getting out. … Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.“
1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.
2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.
3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.
“America will always be grateful for our Kurdish allies and the Syria defense forces who fought shoulder to shoulder and bravely with us in this fight,” Pence told the crowd.
“Now that our military and our allies have achieved our objectives against ISIS, President Trump is keeping his word to the American people and our troops are starting to come home,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he still wants to get all U.S. troops out of Syria, but Israel and Jordan have asked him to keep some in Syria.
A small number of U.S. troops would stay „in a little different section to secure the oil,“ as well as in „a totally different section of Syria near Jordan and close to Israel,“ Trump said on Monday.
“They have invited young men and some women in so that they can act out their greatest perversion. It’s not about an ideology. It’s not about the caliphate,” McRaven said at a national security conference in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Friday.
“I believe that they bring people in because they realize they can kill, they can rape with impunity, they can torture, they can do these barbaric things in the name of Islam.”
According to Mr Esper, the SDF are „looking to cut a deal“ with the Syrian government and its Russian allies to counter the Turkish attack.
This, he said, would leave the US forces stuck between „two opposing advancing armies“.
He said he was unable to give a timeframe for the withdrawal and did not specify where the troops would be moved to next.
„I spoke with the President last night, after discussions with the rest of the national security team, and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,“ Esper said on CBS‘ „Face the Nation.“ „Which is where most of our forces are.“
The Turkish Defense Ministry said the artillery fire was not aimed at the Americans but at nearby Kurdish fighters.
„Earlier today, Turkish border outposts south of Suruç came under Dochka and mortar fire from the hills located approximately 1,000 meters southwest of a U.S. observation post. In self-defense, reciprocal fire was opened on the terrorist positions of the attack. Turkey did not open fire at the U.S. observation post in any way. All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the U.S. base,“ the ministry said.
„From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars—especially those that don’t benefit the United States,“ Trump said.
The president said Turkey had committed to protecting civilians and religious minorities, and that the country would be responsible for imprisoned ISIS fighters and ensuring the terrorist group „does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form.“
Trump suggested that Republican predecessor George W. Bush, whose military invaded Iraq based on bad intelligence, was responsible for entangling the United States in a regional quagmire that has resulted in more 50,000 American casualties since 2001.
‚We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE! Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!‘ he proclaimed.
Trump said that religious clashes in the Middle East will never be resolved by an American military presence.
Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued their exchange of views on Syrian problems, including in the context of the agreements reached in September in Ankara during the meeting of the leaders of the guarantor states in the Astana process. In light of the plans announced by Turkey to conduct a military operation in northeastern Syria, Vladimir Putin urged his Turkish partners to carefully consider the situation so as not to damage the overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Current turmoil in both Iraq and Syria led the discussion in a meeting on Wednesday between Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani and French Consul General in Erbil Olivier Decottignies.
Turkey launched a planned military operation in northeastern Syria on Wednesday aimed at flushing out a Syrian militia backed by the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far in they would go.
The decision, which was announced by the White House on Sunday night, caught senior officials in Israel’s security and diplomatic ranks by complete surprise.
Several sources also said that the American decision was also not seriously discussed, and possibly even wasn’t discussed at all, during Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, which focused on Iran and the Palestinian arena.
The president lamented that the most difficult aspect of his job is writing letters to the families of soldiers killed overseas. He described writing to families of soldiers killed by mines or snipers, calling it „devastating.“
„We’re willing to do what we have to do, but there has to be an endgame,“ he said. „And if you stay, it’s going to be the same thing. Eventually you’re going to have to leave.“
Furthermore, Turkish authorities do often question the motives of the continued military support of the U.S. to the YPG although the war against ISIL has already been won. Many in Ankara recall the establishment of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq in the 1990s and express concerns that this trend in Syria may lead to the disintegration of its southern neighbor.
On Monday, witnesses in Syria saw United States forces withdrawing from two positions in northeastern Syria: observation posts in Tel Abyad and Ein Eissa.
In a surprise announcement late Sunday night, the Whitehouse Press Secretary released a statement that said, „Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation in Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in that operation, and the United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial „Caliphate,“ will no longer be in the immediate area.“
The statement does not make it clear if U.S. troops will fully withdraw from Syria or if they will just relocate. The statement also says, „Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.“
„Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‚Caliphate,‘ will no longer be in the immediate area,“ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The announcement comes hours after President Trump held a phone call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which the two reportedly discussed the conflict and agreed to a meeting in Washington in November.
Military convoys were captured in dozens of photos and videos, confirming the Turkish leader’s claim that preparations have been finalized to establish a so-called ‘safe zone’ on Syrian soil along the Turkish border and that the operation could be launched “as soon as today or tomorrow.”
Additional armored vehicles and troops were sent to the border town of Akcakale, across from Tal Abyad in Syria, state television TRT confirms.
„Any uncoordinated military operation by Turkey would be of grave concern as it would undermine our shared interest of a secure northeast Syria and the enduring defeat of ISIS [Islamic State],“ Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, told Rudaw via email on Saturday.
Addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 29th Consultation and Assessment meeting in Kızılcahaman, a retreat town of capital Ankara, Erdoğan said Turkey aims to establish peace east of the Euphrates River by purging the Syrian region from terrorists.
While Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war and escalation, Iran would be held accountable for the drone and missile strikes, Adel al-Jubeir told the BBC.
A US assessment claiming Iran was behind the attacks was backed up by the UK, France and Germany this week.
NEW YORK — The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday blamed Iran for an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and we reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,” the three countries added
“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the leaders of the three European powers said. “There is no other explanation.”
President Trump is sending a modest deployment of American troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with air and missile defense systems, in response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which the administration blames on Iran.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper called the decision, which came on Friday during a White House meeting with top national security officials, “defensive in nature.”
From drone strikes to psyops, Israel’s widening campaign to weaken Iranian ally escalates tensions
During a separate interview on NBC, Pompeo noted Camp David’s history in peace negotiations, “sometimes with some pretty bad actors.”
“The president ultimately made the decision that … if we could get commitments and then put in place a verification regime that would give us confidence that we could observe that those commitments were being honored, that … it was a useful effort to try and get all of those parties in one place so that we could have serious conversations.”
June 22, 2010
To the Members of the Subcommittee:
Today I present to you a report entitled, Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan, which has been prepared by the Majority staff of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
After a six-month investigation, the report exposes the circumstances surrounding the Department of Defense’s outsourcing of security on the supply chain in Afghanistan to questionable providers, including warlords.
The findings of this report range from sobering to shocking. In short, the Department of Defense designed a contract that put responsibility for the security of vital U.S. supplies on contractors and their unaccountable security providers. This arrangement has fueled a vast protection racket run by a shadowy network of warlords, strongmen, commanders, corrupt
Afghan officials, and perhaps others.
Not only does the system run afoul of the Department’s own rules and regulations mandated by Congress, it also appears to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goals in Afghanistan.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to abruptly cancel talks with the Taliban may have set back the Afghan peace process, but it came as a relief to the government in Kabul.
President Ashraf Ghani’s administration, which has been excluded from the negotiations, has distrusted the process from the beginning.
„Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday,“ Trump tweeted Saturday night.
Trump claimed that before traveling to the US on Saturday evening, „Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to……an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people.“
„I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,“ Trump added.
Diplomats say this led the US, which currently has no troops there, to propose that maximum number for the mission be reduced from 15,000 to 9,000.
The US mission to the UN would not confirm that number after the council voted 15-0 to extend the peacekeeping role, with no reduction to the maximum.
Right now, the official count of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is 14,000.
In a rare confirmation, Israel said it struck in Syria on Saturday to thwart a drone attack by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards‘ elite Quds Force. The Israeli army said the foiled attack entailed launching several drones at targets in northern Israel.
In anticipation of possible retaliatory rocket fire, the Israel Defense Forces deployed air defenses in northern Israel. Authorities, however, have not issued any special safety instructions for local residents.
Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was not in the mosque near Quetta when a bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was leading Friday prayers and was among four people killed, several Taliban officials have said. There was no claim of responsibility for the blast that came after both Taliban and US officials have reported progress in talks on an agreement centered on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee.
The Afghan Taliban denied any responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid saying they condemn the suicide attack on civilians.
The venue is in western Kabul, an area home to many of Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazara minority. It is also near the Darul Aman palace, where President Ashraf Ghani is expected to celebrate Afghan Independence Day on Monday.