War & Conflict

Afghanistan Reels After Two Mosque Bombings Kill Nearly 90 People

by Ali M. Latifi – “Never in my life could I have imagined that mosques would come under attack.” For years, Ali Kadem has had a perfect view of the Imam Zaman Mosque from the window of the bread bakery where he works. As he sits cross-legged handing out 10 Afghani ($0.15) loaves of bread, the 18-year-old often looks out onto the mosque he has been to thousands of times. He has watched members of his community in the Dasht-e Barchi neighborhood of Kabul enter the green-and-white mosque for the five daily prayers, Eid holidays, Ashura commemorations, and any number of other occasions. But nothing could prepare him for what would befall dozens of worshippers on Friday evening. Kadem was preparing loaves of bread when the sound of the bomb rang out throughout the neighborhood. “We were just sitting here when we heard the sound and saw the smoke rising,” he...

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Trump and Netanyahu Walk in Lockstep on Iran

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – During his presidential campaign and throughout his nine-month presidency, Donald Trump has been fixated on ending the Iran nuclear deal, which he called “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” Under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear program and in return, it received billions of dollars of relief from punishing sanctions. Iran has allowed 24-hour inspections by officials from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “Iran has gotten rid of all of its highly enriched uranium,” Jessica T. Mathews wrote in the New York Review of Books. “It has also eliminated 99 percent of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium…. All enrichment has been shut down at the once-secret, fortified, underground facility at Fordow … Iran has disabled and poured concrete into the core of its plutonium reactor — thus shutting...

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Fallout From Trump’s Insult to Green Beret Widow, Use of Kelly Deemed Political Dynamite

by ursulafaw – John Kelly said about his late son, Robert, “He was the best man I ever knew. He was a good husband, a good son, a good brother.”  Kelly has gone out of his way to keep his son’s death private and Donald Trump managed to throw a floodlight onto a personal topic involving his chief of staff when he made the now-epic crack Tuesday about President Obama never calling Gold Star families, which was immediately proven to be unequivocally false. The purpose of the comment was to make Obama look bad once again, at any cost. Now John Kelly is caught in the cultural cross fire because Trump is tone deaf to everybody’s needs other than his own and just had to shoot off his big mouth. The word is that Kelly was taken off guard and he’s understandably dismayed.CNN: CNN asked the White House to talk to...

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Bowe Bergdahl: Traitor to American Exceptionalism and White Supremacy

by Matthew Hoh – “There is no forgiveness in this loudly and righteously proclaimed Christian nation, only the scapegoating of a young man and his family for the failures of immoral and unwinnable wars.” Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s guilty plea begins the end of this phase of an embarrassing, sad and morally absurd saga of American history. Sergeant Bergdahl, who was dismissed from the Coast Guard because of mental illness, recruited into the Army in spite of such issues, and then sent to the frontlines of Afghanistan where he walked away from his base and was captured, kept as a prisoner, and tortured by the Taliban for nearly five years, has been offered almost no compassion, sympathy or forgiveness by large swaths of the American public, political classes, veterans and the media. The shameful blood-crazed calls for vengeance against Sergeant Bergdahl, screamed across Fox News, talk radio and Twitter, by millions of Right Wing...

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Trump Repeats Obama Conspiracy Theory When Pressed on Families of Fallen Soldiers

by Zack Ford – “The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents — most of them didn’t make calls.” During a surprise press briefing Monday, President Trump claimed that President Obama did not call the families of fallen soldiers. The president was answering a question about how he was responding to the death of four elite U.S. special forces in Niger earlier this month. Trump explained that he had written the families personal letters and said that he will call them “at some point” after “a little time” has passed. “The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents — most of them didn’t make calls,” he said. “A lot of them didn’t make calls.” As former White House aides and even former Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco pointed out on Twitter after Trump made the claim, Obama and other presidents did, in fact, make calls to those families. Additionally, Obama also reversed a policy of not sending condolence...

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Baghdad: Iraqi Forces in Full Control of Kirkuk (VIDEOS)

The Iraqi army says it has taken full control of Kirkuk following a major advance on Kurdish-held territories. The federal government in Baghdad and sources inside the city told Al Jazeera on Monday that Iraqi security forces had captured the governorate building in the centre of Kirkuk city. According to security forces, troops moved into the building with no opposition from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. A dozen Humvees from Iraq’s US-trained Counterterrorism Service arrived at the building and took position in the vicinity, alongside the local city police. There was no immediate comment from Kurdish authorities. ‘Complete withdrawal’ The advance was part of a major operation to retake the oil-rich province, amid an escalating dispute in the wake of a controversial September 25 referendum on Kurdish secession that Baghdad had declared illegal. The Iraqi army said on Monday it had seized control of the city’s airport, in addition to an oil field,...

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Trump’s Speech Against Iran Deal a National Disgrace

by Trita Parsi – The most insulting of Trump’s lies was when he sought to pass himself off as a champion of the Iranian people. Trump’s speech today was a national disgrace. This isn’t an effort to stiff a contractor over a real estate project, it’s a matter of war and peace. Donald Trump is in way over his head.   Contrary to the reporting, Donald Trump is killing the deal – not in one move, but in several moves. First, Congress will attempt to kill it through deal-killing legislation from Sen. Tom Cotton. If that is blocked, Trump has vowed to kill it himself. Either way, the deal will get killed by this process triggered by Trump. Cotton’s legislation would seek to unilaterally rewrite the nuclear deal, an unequivocal violation of the agreement. A vote for that bill would be as significant as a vote for the 2002 war with...

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What is Left of ISIL in Iraq? (VIDEO)

by John Beck – Far from the force that swept across Iraq in mid-2014 and seized control of nearly a third of the country, ISIL today has been weakened significantly, relegated to just a few dozen square kilometres of ground, with manpower in the low thousands. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group was removed last week from yet another stretch of the country, the latest in a series of blows to the once-powerful armed group. The town of Hawija, which ISIL had held since 2014, lies around 240km north of Baghdad and was its last urban stronghold in Iraq. The offensive began on September 21 and was expected to be tough going. Within just two weeks, jubilant Iraqi forces and members of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) had hoisted their flags in squares and roundabouts. ISIL crumbled rapidly, with hundreds of fighters fleeing north towards...

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In Iran and North Korea, Trump Is Playing With Nuclear Fire

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which spearheaded a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The significance of this award cannot be underestimated. Donald Trump’s bombastic and frightening threats against North Korea and Iran may portend a catastrophic attack that could impact the entire world. The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing 210,000 people. During the week following the bombings, thousands of survivors experienced a unique combination of symptoms, Susan Southard wrote in the Los Angeles Times: Their hair fell out in large clumps, their wounds secreted extreme amounts of pus, and their gums swelled and bled. Purple spots appeared on their bodies, signs of hemorrhaging beneath the skin. Infections ravaged their internal organs. Within a few days of the onset of symptoms, many people lost consciousness, mumbled deliriously and died in extreme pain; others...

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VIDEO: The U.S. War in Afghanistan Is Now 16 Years Old. Trump Has No Plans to End It

by Phyllis Bennis – Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. On October 7, 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The war is now 16 years old — and that’s not even counting the decade of U.S. intervention in the country during the Cold War. Donald Trump once advocated the “speedy withdrawal” of U.S. troops from that country. As president, however, he’s gone in the opposite direction, demanding the U.S. must now “fight to win.” As Phyllis Bennis, director of the IPS New Internationalism project, explains in this short video, Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. He’s not said how many new troops he’ll send or how long they’ll be deployed. Worse still, civilian casualties in multiple U.S. wars have been on the rise since he took office — by 67 percent...

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10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

by Medea Benjamin – On Trump’s wildly false argument that the agreement is not in the country’s national interest. President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact. Here are 10 good reasons why the US should uphold the deal. 1. President Trump’s claim that Iran is not complying with the conditions of the deal is false. Iran is complying,...

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Ellsberg, In Upcoming Book, Warns of Nuclear Dangers in the Era of Trump

by Greg Mitchell – As the Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons receives Nobel Peace Prize, author Greg Mitchell reviews a new book reflecting on the history of nuclear weapons and the growing threat posed by them today. For most people, Daniel Ellsberg is known mainly for — or only for — the Pentagon Papers he leaked in 1971. And that’s plenty. It set in motion a landmark First Amendment case and led to shifts in public opinion that helped quicken the US withdrawal from Vietnam and the end to that war. Ellsberg was back in the public eye recently in relation to the epic 10-part PBS series on Vietnam, which included a lengthy segment on the Pentagon Papers — but his absence from the series as an interview subject drew criticism. Coming up: a movie drama on the Papers directed by Steven Spielberg. But, for me, the name Ellsberg does not immediately...

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Iranian President: ‘Entire World Will Condemn America’ if Trump Kills Nuclear Deal

by Jake Johnson – “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps.” Amid reports that President Donald Trump is planning to decertify the Iran nuclear accord sometime this coming week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that any attempt to undermine the deal will earn the United States condemnation from “the entire world.” “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps,” Rouhani said in an address to students at Tehran University. “If the United States violates , the entire world will condemn America, not Iran.” Right-wing hawks within and outside of the Trump administration have for months urged the president to scrap the accord, which he repeatedly slammed on the campaign trail. Critics have argued that withdrawing from the deal would represent an embrace of “war over peace.” “If one seeks war, Trump’s decision makes...

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Trump’s Threat to Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal is Scarier Than You Think

by D. Parvaz – It not only escalates tensions with Iran, but further subverts U.S. diplomatic efforts for decades to come. In a White House briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that he will not recertify the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, according to The Washington Post. The story is couched in caveats, but if Trump does, indeed announce on October 12 that he will not recertify the deal because he doesn’t view it as being in U.S. national security interests, then there are two clear takeaways from that decision. First, Trump is upping the ante in his rhetoric against Iran, and second, he is committed to publicly undermining his top advisers, undoing U.S. diplomatic protocols and progress. It was only on Monday that Defense Secretary James Mattis told a Senate hearing that it was “in our best interest” to stick with the Iran deal. He added that if there’s no proof that Iran...

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Anti-nuclear Weapons Group Wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. The Geneva-based organisation ICAN was awarded “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition on such weapons”, Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairman of the Nobel Committee, announced on Friday. “We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” she said. “Some states are modernising their nuclear arsenal, and there is real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.” Reiss-Andersen said that nuclear weapons continued to pose a threat to the world, as no binding international agreement has...

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Why US Aid to Egypt is Never Under Threat

Despite concerns over recent secret arms deal with North Korea and human rights abuses, US aid to Egypt seen continuing. Egyptian businessmen ordered more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades from US rival North Korea in a secret deal last year, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The United Nations described it as the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The UN revealed that the business executives sought to buy weapons for the Egyptian military. The report prompted US criticism, while the Egyptian embassy in Washington pointed to Egypt’s willingness to cooperate with UN officials in “finding and destroying the contraband”. The Post reported that the North Korea incident was among a number of factors that led US President Donald Trump’s administration to freeze nearly $300m in military aid to Egypt in August. Egypt also remains unaccountable for human rights violations. Over the past several years, there...

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The Definition of Leadership: In Response to Racism, Air Force Lt. Gen. Gave a Speech for the Ages

by Jen Hayden – Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent of U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the speech he gave, seen below, in response to a racist incident on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Prep Academy is the absolute definition of leadership. Here is the back story from the Air Force Times: Racial slurs were written on the dormitory message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School earlier this week. Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, director of public affairs for the academy, said the slurs were discovered Monday. One cadet candidate’s mother posted a photo on her Facebook page Wednesday that shows the words “go home n*****r” written on the white board outside her son’s room. “This is why I’m so hurt!” the mother said in her post, which was at first public but then taken offline Thursday. “These young people are...

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5 Shining Examples of Trump’s Patriotism

by Luke Barnes – Taking a knee is too much for him, however. President Trump transformed himself over the weekend into a one-man litmus test on the patriotism of America’s favorite pastimes. On Friday, he said he hoped any “son of bitch” who kneels during the national anthem would get fired by the NFL owners, before tweeting on Monday that he was “o proud of NASCAR and its supporters” for not disrespecting the country. The President insisted that his comments were solely about being patriotic, and about “respect for our country and respect for our flag.” But Trump’s own history reveals a man who unabashedly ducks away from his patriotic duty when needed – and then goes on to insult those who did. Here are five notable examples: Trump developed a mysterious case of bone spurs after being drafted for Vietnam When Trump was in college from 1964 to 1968 he received...

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Trump’s Threats Seen As Declaration of War by North Korea

by Julia Conley – As Americans hope for diplomatic talks, Trump’s rhetoric leads North Korea to warn it’s prepared to defend itself. President Donald Trump’s increasingly aggressive rhetoric on Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program has been perceived as a declaration of war by North Korea’s foreign minister, who said Monday that the country is prepared to defend itself if Trump follows through with what appeared to be threats of a regime change via his Twitter account over the weekend. “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” said Ri Yong-ho on Monday. After Ri spoke at the United Nations on Saturday, Trump tweeted his latest threat regarding North Korea: Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer! 11:08 PM – Sep 23, 2017 The tweet...

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Pyongyang Threatens H-bomb Test Over Pacific Ocean (VIDEOS)

Warning termed ‘totally unacceptable’ by Japan even as North’s leader vows to make ‘mentally deranged’ Trump pay dearly. North Korea says it may test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after US President Donald Trump threatened to destroy the country, whose leader simultaneously promised to make a “mentally deranged” Trump pay dearly for his threats. Speaking in New York City on Friday, Ri Yong-ho, the North’s foreign minister, said his country could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale on the Pacific Ocean, South Korea‘s Yonhap news agency reported. Japan, the only country ever to suffer an atomic attack, described the threat from Ri as “totally unacceptable”. For its part, China responded by calling on all parties to exercise restraint. On Tuesday, Trump said in his first address to the UN that he would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the US and its allies, and called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission. In a rare statement...

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