“Earlier today, we lost contact with two small U.S. naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain. We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.”
— Senior administration official
Two Navy boats are reportedly in Iranian custody, according to the Associated Press.
Iran has reportedly told the US that the crew will be returned “promptly.”
“Earlier today, we lost contact with two small U.S. naval craft en route from Kuwait to Bahrain,” a senior administration official said in a statement.
“We are working to resolve the situation such that any US personnel are returned to their normal deployment. We are hopeful it will be resolved.”
— White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes
“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel. We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey.” Read the rest of this entry »
TEL AVIV – An article published on CNN’s website featured a map that erased Israel and replaced it with “Palestina,” a Spanish or Portuguese translation of ”Palestine” the HonestReporting media watchdog revealed.
“Following the publication of this post and the complaints of many HonestReporting subscribers, CNN has removed the map in question and replaced it with an image of the aftermath of a Syrian airstrike in Aleppo.”
The map, taken from Getty Images, accompanied a CNN Money article titled, “Beyond ISIS: 2016’s scariest geopolitical hotspots.”After HonestReporting cited the error, CNN took the map downand replaced it.
“Following the publication of this post and the complaints of many HonestReporting subscribers, CNN has removed the map in question and replaced it with an image of the aftermath of a Syrian airstrike in Aleppo,” said HonestReporting.
HonestReporting managing editor Simon Plosker added:
”Whether it was an oversight or something more…(read more)
Why emotionalism is the problem, not the solution, when it comes to foreign policy.
Nick Gillespie writes: Call me a heartless bastard, but images of dead Syrian children washing up on beaches should have absolutely nothing to do with American foreign policy, refugee quotas, or immigration schemes. Photo-based emotionalism is no way to conduct the affairs of nations. That way madness—and all too often, even more carnage—lies.
It’s one thing when highly charged images speak to pressing domestic concerns whose solutions are clear and within a single country’s ability to effect. In late 18th-century England, for instance, Thomas Clarkson’s illustration of slaveswedged into a ship’s hold like barrels of rum helped jump-start Britain’s abolitionist movement. Footage from Bull Connor’s Birmingham and Vietnam electrified the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. In such cases, the solutions were self-evident (if difficult to achieve): Stop your own countrymen from perpetuating evil. Nothing is so simple when it comes to wars and catastrophes in which you are not even a direct participant. Read the rest of this entry »
Alessandria Masi reports: Kurdish forces in Kobani reportedly chased the Islamic State group militants from the Syrian city on Monday. This is an immediate win for the Kurds, both strategically and symbolically, but it doesn’t signal a complete ISIS defeat, nor does it signal the end of the Kurdish battle against militants — in Kobani and elsewhere.
The Islamic State militants “are still in the Kobani area, just outside of the city,” said Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum. “So the fight is hardly over if the YPG [the Kurdish People’s Protection Units] wants to regain the autonomous canton [province] it once had. The YPG is the immediate winner but things still look very bleak for Kobani. The town is destroyed.”
“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate. This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”
— Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium
Nearly four months long, the battle for Kobani (sometimes spelled Kobane) has been a huge focal point in the anti-ISIS campaign. Around 80 percent of the U.S-led coalition airstrikes since September have been in or around Kobani. Iraqi Kurdish forces and some Free Syrian Army brigades banded together to help Syrian Kurds push back militants. While this now appears to have been a successful campaign, ISIS is still present in Kurdish territory and isn’t likely to halt its efforts to consolidate territory in northern Syria.
“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate,” Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, recently told International Business Times. “This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) January 25, 2015
ISIS fighters still control 350 towns and villages surrounding the city, where they can retreat and regroup.
“Soon the YPG will start clearing the villages,” said Kurdish analyst Mutlu Civiroglu. “They are technically under ISIS control but not really.”
“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs. Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”
However, Kurds are facing another threat just miles away in Hasakah, the last city in the Kurdish area of northern Syria with a significant regime presence, and a major energy and agricultural hub. In the last month, the YPG have had to battle the Syrian regime’s National Defense Forces, made up of local Arab tribesmen and Iranian reinforcements.
“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs,” Civiroglu said. “Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”
This month, ISIS has been quietly redeploying fighters to Hasakah, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Hasakah is just hours away from Iraq’s Ninawa province, making it a strategic launching point to attack Sinjar, where ISIS killed thousands of Yazidis this summer, and engage the already thinly stretched Iraqi peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in another battle. Read the rest of this entry »
State Dept-cited expert on Syrian rebel “moderates” never was in doctorate program
That would be 26-year-old Elizabeth O’Bagy, who worked her way up from intern at the Institute for the Study of War to the house expert on Syrian rebels — providing helpful analyses to those arguing for American intervention on their behalf against Bashar al-Assad. Both John Kerry at State and John McCain in the Senate relied on “Dr.” O’Bagy’s conclusions that al-Qaeda affiliates comprised only “15-20 percent” of the Syrian “oppositionists.” After the discovery last week that O’Bagy had misrepresented her doctoral status, ISW fired her, but Josh Rogin gets O’Bagy to admit that she’d never been accepted in the doctoral program at Georgetown at all (via Mediaite):
Elizabeth O’Bagy, the Syria researcher at the center of a week-long controversy surrounding her academic credentials and her work with the Syrian opposition, admitted for the first time to The Daily Beast she was never enrolled in a Ph.D. program despite representations she made to the press and multiple organizations for whom she worked.
Aryn Baker writes: Ongoing clashes between rival groups within the armed opposition intensified in Syria’s Aleppo province this past week following protests against the heavy-handed tactics of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Infighting among rebels could spell trouble for an opposition movement seemingly on the wane, but it could also present an opportunity. If the moderate-leaning rebel groups can sever their symbiotic relationship with their al-Qaeda affiliates for good, they stand to get significantly more support from Western backers wary of inadvertently assisting old enemies. But it won’t be easy — even as the rivals battle for turf in Aleppo province, they have united to inflict a resounding defeat on government forces elsewhere in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Probably not the smartest move ever.
China doesn’t have the same record of killing foreign enemies overseas that Russia does. But it has a large enough overseas network and piles of cash that it could get the job done if it needed to.
Just ask Naw Kham what happened after the Mekong River Massacre.
The bodies of the Chinese, the crew of two cargo boats, were found badly mutilated on the Thai side of the river in early October 2011. The killings, the worst slaughter of Chinese citizens abroad in recent memory, angered the Chinese public. Chinese investigators insist that Mr. Naw Kham was the mastermind of the murders. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON – Elizabeth O’Bagy, a pro-Syrian opposition analyst whose credibility has come under fire, might have even more explaining to do – as court documents show she once vouched for a rebel group whose website displayed extremist and anti-American images. Among the pictures was one showing a burning U.S. Capitol. O’Bagy was fired earlier this week by the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly lying about her academic credentials. Her writings had been used by U.S. officials to bolster their case for military action against the Assad regime. Read the rest of this entry »
VIDEO via LIVELINK, from By Grae Stafford of The Daily Caller ….Ingenious home made weapon of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) nicknamed the “Hell Fire”–a jerry-rigged howitzer that the FSA has used to lob blue propane canisters filed with explosive several city blocks. It has also been the center of controversy as it has been the primary suspect for those who believe that the gas attack carried out on the night of Aug. 21 outside of Damascus by rebel fighters. Read the rest of this entry »