News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/11/17

  • Chelsea Manning issued a statement before her release from prison next week. [Link]
  • A new report claims that 23,000 homicides occurred in Mexico in 2016. [Link]
  • On the Scott Horton Show, Conn Hallinan makes the case that the US is moving towards first strike potential. [Link]
  • The US has been secretly training two Syrian rebel groups in South Syria. The training is occurring on the battlefield and in a camp near the border with Iraq. The rebel groups have received air support, training, and weapons from the US. These rebel groups are helping to take Deir Ezzor from ISIS. [Link]
  • The UN Secretary General warns the attack that killed four UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic may constitute war crimes. [Link]
  • The UAE is using American made plans to support the Russia-backed government in Libya. The Russian-backed Libyan government is fighting against the US-backed Libyan government. [Link]
  • Turkey condemns the US arming of Kurdish YPG fighters. [Link]
  • A US airstrike killed 11 civilians in Northern Syria. [Link]
  • The YPG announced the capture of Tabqa from ISIS. The YPG also captured the Tabqa dam from ISIS. [Link]

Check out the new episode of my podcast Foreign Policy Focus. On FPF #38, I discuss the trend of US soldiers moving towards the front lines. Obama and Trump moved US soldiers towards the front lines in Iraq and Syria. Now the Pentagon is looking to move US troops closer to the front lines in Afghanistan and Somalia. I examine the past and future outcomes of this policy. I also update South Korea, Yemen, Somalia, and Turkey. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/10/17

  • Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. [Link]
  • 250 refugees fleeing North Africa for Europe are missing and feared dead. 1,300 people are believed to have died making the trip this year. [Link]
  • South Korea elected Moon Jae-in to be president. Moon said he will look to defuse tensions with North Korea. [Link]
  • This article looks at the Islamist movement in West Africa and what is being done to prevent it. [Link]
  • The US soldier who was killed in Somalia died fighting on the front lines with Somalian troops. Typically US troops in an advise and assist role operate behind the front lines. [Link]
  • Four UN Peacekeepers were killed in the Central African Republic fighting a Christian rebel group. [Link]
  • Iraqi government forces continue to make small gains in Mosul. [Link]
  • The Trump Administration announces it will arm Kurdish forces as necessary to defeat ISIS in Raqqa. The US expects that the Kurdish fighters will return the weapons after ISIS is defeated. [Link]
  • The destabilization created by the war in Yemen has to lead to an increase of piracy in the Red Sea. [Link]
News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/9/17

  • In a signing statement on the spending bill, Trump stated that he is not bound by the bill’s restrictions on transferring detainees to Gitmo. [Link]
  • The Pentagon is increasing spending on a space-based weapons program. [Link]
  • The Egyptian government destroyed 15 trucks traveling from Libya to Egypt with air strikes. The Egyptian government claims the trucks were smuggling weapons into Egypt. [Link]
  • At least 15 Malian soldiers have been killed by militants in the past week. [Link]
  • In a speech, Erdogan criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Israel responded by pointing out Erdogan’s poor treatment of his own people. [Link]
  • ISIS has infiltrated a refugee camp on the border between Syria and Jordan. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #37, I discuss the hidden costs of US military spending. The defense budget is over $500 billion. However, the US government spends an additional $250 billion on the military. By keeping the money for overseas operations, veterans, and homeland security off the Pentagon’s budget, the US can spend billions on defense without the taxpayers knowing. I also update Africa, France, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/8/17

  • The father of a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police officer Roy Oliver is suing Oliver for killing his son. Oliver has been dismissed from his job as a police officer and charged with murder. [Link]
  • Macron wins the French Presidency. [Link]
  • Israel’s leader is pushing a new bill that will make Israel a Jewish state. Critics of the bill warn that it will make Palestinians second-class citizens. [Link]
  • The Nigerian government makes a deal with Boko Haram to exchange five Boko Haram leaders for 82 women kidnapped by Boko Haram in April of 2014. [Link]
  • Fighting between Pakistani and Afghani forces leaves 50 Afghani troops dead. Nine civilians have also been killed in the fighting. [Link]
  • ISIS fighters attacked a Peshmerga base near Kirkuk. The attack was repelled with the assistance of US air support. Two Peshmerga troops were killed in the attack. [Link]
  • Iraqi government troops are fighting ISIS on a new front in Mosul. The Iraqi troops are making little progress against ISIS in the heavily populated city. [Link]
  • Syrian YPG forces have been identified with sophisticated American military equipment including night vision goggles and advanced optics. The Pentagon denies giving these weapons to the YPG fighters. [Link]
  • Russia and the US will reestablish a communications channel to help avoid potential accidents in Syria. Russia disengaged from the channel after the attack on Assad. [Link]
  • Fighting in Syria has decreased since the safe zones were put in place last week. [Link]
News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/6/17

  • The US spends about $250 billion on defense outside of the Pentagon’s budget. [Link]
  • An investigator is reporting that there is gross mismanagement on an F-16 base in Iraq. The base is operated by contractors and costs taxpayers $700 million. [Link]
  • One US service member was killed, and two other were injured in Somalia. The US troops were assisting Somali troops in their fight against the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab. [Link]
  • Helicopters attack near the area where the US troop in Somalia was killed. [Link]
  • At least five West Africa countries are forming a coalition to fight Islamists in the region. [Link]
  • At least 15 people have been left dead after a border fight broke out between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most of the dead are civilians. [Link]
  • The Taliban have seized a district near the Northern Afghanistan city Kunduz. [Link]
  • Iraq’s Prime Minister says no US combat troops will remain in Iraq after the ISIS War. A few days ago, the Pentagon announced the US was working towards a status of forces agreement with Iraq that would allow US troops to remain in Iraq. [Link]
  • At least 68 civilians have been killed by the Iraqi army bombing a school that was being used by displaced people in Mosul. At least 47 of the dead are women and children. [Link]
  • In the past week, ISIS lost ground to US-backed SDF forces and the Assad government. [Link]
  • A deal has been reached between Russia, Iran, and Turkey to establish safe zones in Syria. [Link]
  • The US says it will not respect the safe zones set up by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The US is not currently operating in any of the areas that are now safe zones. [Link]
  • This video shows Venezuelan riot control vehicles running over protesters. [Link]
  • At least 38 people have been killed during the protests in Venezuela. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #36, I discuss the current status of the war on the Korean Peninsula. Decades ago hostilities ended in an armistice. However, the war lacks an official ending. Since Trump took office, tensions between the US and North Korea have been increasing. Leaders on both sides have threatened to restart the war. I also update Iraq, Libya, and Somalia. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/5/17

  • The FOMC announced the FED is not raising interest rates. The FOMC believes the FED will raise interest rates later this year. [Link]
  • The House has passed an Obamacare reform bill. The Senate will write their own healthcare reform bill. [Link]
  • Mass spying in the US has expanded since Ed Snowden revealed the extent of the program. [Link]
  • The US is looking for a status of forces agreement with Iraq to keep US troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future. [Link]
  • The Pentagon finally admits they bombed a mosque in Syria on March 16th. [Link]
  • FOIA reveals the US military has a base in South Libya. [Link]
  • Daniel Davis details how adding more troops to Afghanistan is just feeding failure. [Link]
News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/4/17

  • Trump will sign an executive order to ease restrictions on churches and other tax-exempt organizations engaging in political activity. [Link]
  • An activist was convicted of laughing during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearings. [Link]
  • This article breaks down the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill. [Link]
  • Putin says Russian and Turkish relations are normalizing. [Link]
  • Japan’s leader calls for revisions of Japan’s pacifist constitution. [Link]
  • This article looks at some forgotten history of the Korean War. [Link]
  • Israel withholds $1 million from the UN after a UN organization votes that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is null and void. [Link]
  • A 7-year-old Yemeni girl starves to death because of the US-supported war in Yemen. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #35 I discuss the story of the US running low on bombs. I examine the morality of dropping so many bombs. I also look at the practical outcomes of US air wars. I update stories on Mosul, Syria, Russia, Yemen, and Afghanistan. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/3/17

  • The Texas legislature is looking to pass a bill that will allow for illegal immigrant children to be held in US detention centers indefinitely. The bill was written by a company that operates detention facilities. [Link]
  • The US flies B-1 bombers near North Korea. The B-1 bombers were a show of force to North Korea. [Link]
  • The US is deploying a high-altitude drone to Japan to spy on North Korea. [Link]
  • Three US soldiers in Afghanistan were wounded by an ISIS suicide attack. Eight Afghani civilians died in the attack. [Link]
  • The Pentagon claims they are only responsible for 14 civilians deaths from an attack in Mosul on March 17th that killed over 200 civilians. [Link]
  • ISIS carried out an attack on an SDF position that left 46 dead. The attack involved a few ISIS fighters who detonated suicide vests after firing all their ammo. The attack targeted civilians who were in an SDF camp after fleeing ISIS-held territory. [Link]
  • The leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen says that US-backed forces are fighting alongside al-Qaeda in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is using Yemeni Sunni tribal fighters in an attempt to win a war against the Houthi. The US is assisting Saudi Arabia in their air war and blockade against the Houthi. [Link]
News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/2/17

  • A 75-year-old disabled veteran has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for growing marijuana plants for medical use. [Link]
  • The US is using bombs faster than they can be replaced. [Link]
  • Russia claims the US will be breaking the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty if the US moves forward with its plan to put missile defense systems in Poland and Romania. [Link]
  • North Korea says it is speeding up its nuclear weapons program in response to US actions. [Link]
  • India attacks a Pakistani position near the Pakistan/India border. Seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in the attack. India says the attack is a response to Pakistan mutilating the bodies of two Indian soldiers. [Link]
  • Civilian casualties rose to 11,418 in Afghanistan last year. 2016 was the highest recorded number since the UN started tracking the number in 2009. [Link]
  • The Pentagon is considering sending between 3,000 and 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. [Link]
  • At least 1,438 civilians were killed in Iraq in April. [Link]
  • Four people have been killed by a US airstrike in Yemen. The US claims the dead were members of al-Qaeda. [Link]
  • Yemen’s health care system is failing. 14 million Yemeni lack access to health care. An outbreak of cholera is adding to the burden on the remaining health care system. [Link]

On Foreign Policy Focus #34 I discuss the clash between Turkey and Kurdish forces. I break down who the US-backed Kurdish forces are and why Turkey bombs them. In a very reckless move by Trump, he is using US troops as a buffer between the enemies. I cover several other important foreign policy stories. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 5/1/17

  • Trump signs an executive order reversing Obama’s ban on Artic drilling. [Link]
  • Trump says the US is losing money providing defense for Saudi Arabia. [Link]
  • The ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations issues a statement softening its stance on tensions with China related to the South China Sea. [Link]
  • Mali expands the country’s state of emergency for an additional six months. The Mali government continues to fight against Islamist militias. [Link]
  • A report revealed through FOIA shows the US has 36 outposts in 24 African countries. [Link]
  • The Taliban announce the start of their spring offensive. For the past several years, the Taliban have increased attacks during the spring season. [Link]
  • Erdogan threatens to attack US-backed Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. [Link]
  • Erdogan says he is “seriously saddened” to see US military vehicles operating with YPG forces near the Turkish border. Erdogan views the YPG as a terrorist organization. The US backs the YPG in the fight against ISIS in Syria. [Link]
  • Erdogan dismisses 3,900 people from their jobs. 1,200 of those were military personnel. Erdogan also canceled dating shows on Turkish TV and blocked Wikipedia. [Link]
  • A US service member has died from wounds caused by an explosive. The service member was a part of the US operation in Mosul. [Link]
  • US-backed SDF claims to have made a big gain against ISIS in Tabqa. The mission to take Tabqa is part of the operation to take Raqqa from ISIS. [Link]
  • The Pentagon releases a report that claims the US has only killed 350 civilians in its war against ISIS that started in August 2014. International watchdog groups estimate the number to be thousands more. [Link]
  • The Syrian government carried out a double tap attack against a White Helmets building. The second bomb to hit the site killed eight rescue workers. [Link]
News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 4/29/17

  • Patrick Cockburn gives his take on Trump’s first 100 days. [Link]
  • Alexander Acosta has been confirmed to head the Labor Department. [Link]
  • Trump said he expects South Korea to pay for the THAAD missiles the US is installing in South Korea. South Korea responded by saying the contracts says the US will pay for the missiles. [Link]
  • US GDP grew 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017. [Link]
  • The NSA is ending a major mass surveillance program. Ending this program will not stop all mass surveillance on Americans. It appears the FISA Court forced the program to end. [Link]
  • Nikki Haley will have to run her statements on important issues through staff at the State Department. Haley has been an outspoken member of Trump’s foreign policy team. [Link]
  • The State Department has approved $440 in weapons sales to Israel. [Link]
  • Israel plans to build 15,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem. [Link]
  • The number of women dying from conflict-related deaths in Afghanistan was up 54% in the first quarter of 2017. The number of children dying in conflict-related deaths was up 17%. [Link]
  • North Korea conducted another missile test, and the test failed again. After learning of the test, Trump took to Twitter to condemn the test. [Link]
  • Fighting between Saudi-backed Syrian rebels and jihadist Syrian rebels leaves 40 fighters dead. The fighting occurred near Damascus. [Link]
  • The US has positioned troops in North East Syria to be a buffer between Kurdish and Turkish forces. [Link]
  • Fighting continues between Syrian YPG forces and Turkey. 11 Kurdish YPG fighters have been killed. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia continues to advocate for an attack on the port city Hodeidah. The attack will likely be unsuccessful as the Houthi who hold the city are prepared for house to house fighting. The attack will also shut down the port that is delivering 80% of aid to the starving Yemeni population. Any US support for Saudi Arabia will increase support for the Houthi. [Link]
  • The Pentagon issued a statement today saying that a US drone strike killed eight al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen. [Link]

On FPF #33, I dive into Trump’s foreign policy in the first 99 days. I break down all his major foreign policy moves. Trump’s foreign policy is hawkish and a betrayal of his campaign promises. Trump’s personal and early decisions suggest his foreign policy will not put American first. LISTEN HERE!!

News Roundup 5/11/17

News Roundup 4/28/17

  • This article looks at how Trump has adopted a neoconservative foreign policy since becoming president. [Link]  
  • Justian Raimondo writes an article on how he feels betrayed by Trump. Raimondo feels Trump has violated several important campaign promises. [Link]
  • Rep Adam Schiff has introduced a bill that will give the president an Authorization of Use of Military Force against the Taliban, ISIS, and al- Qaeda. [Link]
  • The USS Michigan is now positioned off the coast of North Korea. The nuclear-powered submarine has the ability to get elite special operations teams onto land quickly. [Link]
  • Two US service members were killed fighting ISIS in the Nangarhar Province on Wednesday. [Link]
  • The US will be sending 1,500 troops to Afghanistan. [Link]
  • A US drone strike has killed seven people in Pakistan. One of the dead is claimed to be the commander of the Pakistani Taliban. [Link]
  • Russia condemned the Israeli air strikes against Assad. [Link]
  • Nikki Haley condemns Russia for supporting Syria. Haley suggested to the international community to put more pressure on Russia so Russia will put more pressure on Assad. [Link]
  • In the Idlib Province of Syria, two hospitals were bombed killing several people. Russia or Syria most likely carried out the attack. [Link]

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