War & Conflict

Journalist Veronique Robert Dies of Mosul Blast Wounds

France Television says Robert died from wounds suffered in a landmine blast that killed two of her colleagues in Mosul. CORRECTION: 24/06/2017: A previous version of this story stated that Veronique Robert was a French journalist. According to Reporters Without Borders and the French embassy in Baghdad, Robert was a Swiss citizen. Journalist Veronique Robert has died after being wounded in an explosion while covering the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul earlier this week, her employer France Televisions has said. The landmine blast on Monday had already killed her French colleague Stephan Villeneuve, 48, and Iraqi Kurdish reporter Bakhtiyar Addad, 41. Another freelance reporter also suffered minor wounds. The journalists were covering Iraqi special forces’ operations as they close in on the last remaining areas held by the Islamic State of the Levant and Iraq (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in Mosul. Robert, 54, underwent surgery in...

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Wunderkind Jared Kushner Busy Blowing Up Israeli/Palestinian Talks

by durrati – Jerusalem Post A Palestinian official claims Abbas is furious at American demands, accuses the US of taking sides. “US President Donald Trump is reportedly weighing whether to pull out of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations following a “tense” meeting with White House senior staff and officials in Ramallah, according to London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat on Saturday.  The al-Hayat report came just days after a meeting between the administration’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which was described as “tense” by an Abbas advisor present at the talks.  Abbas was supposedly furious with the president’s son-in-law after Kushner relayed Israeli demands to the 81-year-old Palestinian leader which included the immediate halt of payments to terrorists and their families.” Well, that’s a good start, Jared, blowing up the meeting with Abbas by presenting Israeli demands before the Maqluba can even be served. San Diego Jewish World has more details. “A meeting between Palestinian Authority President...

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The Rise and Fall of ISIL Explained

Three years after Mosul takeover, here is a breakdown of ISIL’s path from its very beginnings to its current decline. Pushed out from many of its strongholds in Syria and besieged on all sides in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) is losing its territorial base in the very region that once incubated its growth. In May, the US Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that ISIL has lost 65 percent of its land in Iraq and 45 percent in Syria since 2014. With the group’s presence in the region greatly diminished, questions arise over who will fill the vacuum left by its retreat. ISIL’s rapid expansion has irrevocably changed the political dynamics governing the region – but in order to know how, one must first understand the conditions that contributed to the group’s rise. Below, Al Jazeera charts ISIL’s path from its very beginnings to the slow rot of...

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Russia: US Warplanes West of Euphrates in Syria Now Legitimate Targets

by Jake Johnson – After the U.S. shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday, tensions escalate as Kremlin cuts off “deconfliction” channel. In what is being characterized as an act sure to further escalate already alarming tensions between the United States, Syria, and Russia, an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane over Raqqa on Sunday, prompting Moscow to cut off its deconfliction channel with the U.S. “As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the U.S. side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria and demands that the U.S. command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken,” a statement from Moscow reads. The Defense Ministry continued: The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The US’ repeated combat...

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Iran Accuses Saudis of Supporting Terrorist Groups

Iran’s Zarif says Tehran has intelligence that Riyadh supports terrorist groups operating on the eastern side of Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist groups inside Iran, days after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed attacks in Tehran. “We have intelligence that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in promoting terrorist groups operating on the eastern side of Iran in Baluchestan,” Zarif said on Tuesday at a news conference on the sidelines of an annual peace mediation in Oslo. He said the armed groups were “using the territory of one of our neighbours against its will to launch attacks against Iran which only two months ago led to the murder of nine Iranian border guards,” refering to Pakistan. “On the Western side the same type of activity is being undertaken, again by using the diplomatic...

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Russia Claims Killing ISIL Leader Baghdadi

Russia’s defence ministry says Baghdadi was present at an ISIL meeting in Syria that was struck by Russian air force. Russia has claimed killing the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group in an air strike targeting a meeting of ISIL leaders just outside the fighters’ de-facto capital in Syria. The Russian defence ministry said it was checking claims that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in May along with other senior group commanders. There had been previous reports of Baghdadi being killed but they did not turn out to be true. UPFRONT – What’s driving the ISIL attacks? The air strike was launched after the Russian forces in Syria received intelligence that an ISIL meeting was being planned, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Friday. “On May 28, after drones were used to confirm the information on...

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Iran: Mastermind Behind Tehran Attacks Killed (VIDEOS)

Intelligence minister claims security forces have killed the mastermind behind Wednesday’s deadly attacks in Tehran. Iran’s intelligence minister said on Saturday the mastermind behind Wednesday’s attacks in Tehran, which killed 17 people, had been killed by security forces. “The mastermind and main commander of terrorist attacks on the parliament and Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini was killed today by the security forces,” Mahmoud Alavi, minister of intelligence, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. Iran’s revolutionary guard promises revenge for Tehran attacks Four armed assailants attacked parliament office buildings on Wednesday morning, while the shrine of revolutionary founder Ruhollah Khomeini was struck by a suicide bomber, state media reported. One of the attackers on Iran’s parliament complex blew himself up on the fourth floor, while under siege by security forces, state broadcaster IRIB reported. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group had claimed responsibility for the...

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UN: ISIL Kills 163 People in Mosul in One Day

‘Bodies of murdered Iraqis lay in streets’ after ISIL shooting, an apparent bid to prevent civilians fleeing, UN says. Fighters from the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS) group have killed more than 160 people in one day last week to prevent them from fleeing western Mosul, according to the United Nations. The agency on Tuesday accused ISIL of carrying out the attack in the group’s last stronghold, where a coalition of troops is working to flush out the fighters. “The brutality of Daesh and other terrorist groups seemingly knows no bounds,” said Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s human rights chief. “Yesterday, my staff reported to me that bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women and children still lay on the streets of the al-Shira neighbourhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh to prevent them from fleeing.” INSIDE STORY: When will...

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London Bridge: Seven Killed in Car and Stabbing Attack

Attackers drive van into pedestrians on London Bridge and go on stabbing spree before being shot dead by UK police. At least seven people have been killed in the UK capital after a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge and attackers went on stabbing spree in the nearby Borough Market area before being shot dead by police. Another 48 people were also wounded in the attack late on Saturday, which occurred in a busy area with many restaurants and pubs. “It has now been confirmed sadly that seven members of the public have died. In addition, as you know, we believe, three suspects are dead,” London Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick said in a televised statement on Sunday. Two French nationals were among those injured in the London attack, the French president’s office said in a statement. Australia said two of its citizens were caught up in the...

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An Alliance in Crisis: Europe Needs to Act Quickly to Defend Itself

by Max Bergmann – President Donald Trump’s European trip has thrown the trans-Atlantic alliance into crisis. The president’s unwillingness to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the NATO treaty—that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all—not only has revealed that America has become an unreliable ally but also has cast doubt on the integrity of NATO’s Article 5 and therefore the alliance itself. This is incredibly dangerous, as Europe is facing a clear and present security threat from the Russian Federation. Weakness invites aggression, and President Trump’s disdain for the alliance, as well as his apparent desire to appease Russia by removing sanctions,1 is practically inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to test the strength of America’s Article 5 commitment. For the past 70 years, Europe has relied on America to guarantee its security, but should Putin instigate a security crisis, Europe will not be able...

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Chemical Weapons a Red Line in Syria, says Macron

Meeting Putin in Paris, Macron also said France and Russia should cooperate to ‘eradicate terrorist groups’ in Syria. The use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line for France and “would result in reprisals”, President Emmanuel Macron said after meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday. Meeting Putin for the first time, Macron told a news conference that France and Russia must cooperate to “eradicate terrorist groups” in Syria and did not directly criticise Moscow’s role there. France and Russia back different sides in the Syrian conflict, with Putin supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Macron part of a western coalition that supports rebel groups and has accused Assad of using chemical weapons in the past. Putin in France: Divisions ahead of first meeting “Our two countries will cooperate on Syria, this is essential,” Macron said. “We need strong cooperation because we have a joint priority, which is the...

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Kabul Bombing: Huge Explosion Rocks Diplomatic District

Dozens of Afghan civilians killed after massive explosion rips through the heart of the capital’s diplomatic district. A massive truck bomb blast has ripped through the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic district, killing at least 80 people and wounding hundreds, in a powerful explosion described by officials as “one of the biggest” to have hit the Afghan capital. A tanker truck believed to be carrying either water or human waste exploded on Wednesday near Zanbaq square, in Kabul’s 10th district, close to shops and restaurants, as well as government offices and foreign embassies. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the group was not involved in the attack. READ MORE: Social media users react to ‘horrific’ Kabul bombing Police and health officials confirmed to Al Jazeera that at least 80 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the attack. Aziz...

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US Declares Success in Key Test of Missile Defence

But since $40bn system was declared ready for combat in 2004, only four of nine intercept attempts have been successful. The US military scored an important success in a test of its oft-criticised missile-defence programme, destroying a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean with an interceptor that is key to protecting US territory from a North Korean attack. Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the Pentagon agency in charge of developing the missile-defence system, called the test result “an incredible accomplishment” and a critical milestone for a programme hampered by setbacks over the years. “This system is vitally important to the defence of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat,” Syring said in a statement announcing the test result. Despite the success, the $244m test didn’t confirm that under wartime conditions the US could intercept an intercontinental-range missile...

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Duterte Declares Martial Law After Mindanao Attack (VIDEOS)

Emergency declaration follows heavy clashes between security forces and fighters in Mindanao’s Marawi city. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao after about 100 Muslim fighters laid siege to a major city following a deadly gun battle with government forces. The emergency declaration took immediate effect and will last for 60 days, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, who made the announcement on Tuesday from Russia, where Duterte was on a scheduled four-day official visit. The president “has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao”, Abella said. Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte vows daily executions “This is possible on the grounds of the existence of rebellion,” he added. Duterte cut short his trip to Russia, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said. “The president feels that he is needed in Manila as soon as possible.” Duterte met Russian President Vladimir Putin on...

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We Must Be Brave Enough to Admit the War on Terror Simply Not Working

by Jeremy Corbyn – Amid sorrow of Manchester bombing, UK Labour Party leader explains why actively building peace is requisite for ending such horrific and inexcusable carnage in the future. Our whole nation has been united in shock and grief this week as a night out at a concert ended in horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people enjoying themselves. When I stood on Albert Square at the vigil in Manchester, there was a mood of unwavering defiance. The very act of thousands of people coming together sent a powerful message of solidarity and love. It was a profound human impulse to stand together, caring and strong. It was inspiring. In the past few days, we have all perhaps thought a bit more about our country, our communities and our people. The people we have lost to atrocious violence or who have suffered grievous injury, so many of them...

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War in Afghanistan Is Killing Children in Record Numbers in 2017

by Ruchi Kumar, Truthout | Report – Four-year-old Alisina was playing in the fields outside her house in the Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan, located 80 kilometers from the capital city of Kabul, on a mid-April morning. Only vaguely aware of the constant war that surrounds them, Alisina and her friends didn’t know the large metal object they found in the field that day was in fact an unexploded ordnance left behind by one of the warring parties. The little girls squabbled over who would get to play with it first, and Alisina won the rights to the deadly weapon, which minutes later exploded in her hands as she attempted to lift it. “She has shell injuries to face and both eyes, chest and hands. Her thumb and third finger required traumatic amputation,” Alisina’s doctor at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul told me in an interview. “We had...

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NATO to ‘formally join’ Anti-ISIL Coalition

Member states of military alliance are set to officially join a US-led coalition fighting ISIL, diplomatic sources say. NATO member states are expected to formally join a US-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group in Syria and Iraq, according to several diplomatic sources. The decision by the North Atlantic Council, the highest decision-making body within NATO, is expected to be officially announced at a meeting of the alliance’s leaders on Thursday. “The NATO (member state) ambassadors decided this evening an action plan on terrorism for the summit. It includes the accession of NATO to the global coalition against IS,” one diplomat told the AFP news agency on Wednesday, using a different name for ISIL. The decision is mainly political because all 28 NATO member states are already individually part of the coalition, with some only taking part in...

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Following Leak to Russia, Israel is Shifting How it Shares Intelligence With U.S.

by E.A. Crunden – European and U.K. officials have also expressed concern over leaks. Israel is altering how it shares intelligence with the United States after President Donald Trump shared classified information with Russia in the Oval Office two weeks ago. Trump, who was meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, told both men about a believed threat from ISIS involving bombs buried inside of laptops. That information, the New York Times reported, came from Israel — something that was unconfirmed officially until Trump himself seemingly let it slip while speaking in Israel on Monday, ironically while attempting to defend himself on the issue to the media. “I never mentioned the word or the name ‘Israel’. Never mentioned during that conversation,” Trump said. “They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word ‘Israel.’” But Israeli officials seem concerned less about being...

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Of Confederate Monuments, NOLA’s Mayor Asks: “Is This Really Our Story?” (MUST SEE VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The monuments that we took down were meant to rebrand the history of our city and the ideals of a defeated Confederacy.’ Last week, as New Orleans completed the controversial and long-awaited task of taking down Confederate monuments from its public spaces, Mayor Mitch Landrieu marked the occasion by delivering a speech that has since been lauded as “stunning,” “incredible,” “powerful,” and “a clear-eyed view of our past as well as our present.” Many said the speech would go down in history. Jamelle Bouie ✔@jbouie This may rank with LBJ’s Howard commencement as 1 of the most honest speeches on race given by a white Southern pol. http://pulsegulfcoast.com/2017/05/transcript-of-new-orleans-mayor-landrieus-address-on-confederate-monuments … 11:04 PM – 22 May 2017 Transcript of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments | The Pulse Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be...

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Palestinian Basic Rights ‘not on the agenda’ for Trump (VIDEOS)

by Farah Najjar – As US President Donald Trump arrives in Israel, analysts say efforts to revive peace talks are a ‘charade’. US President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel as part of his first foreign trip since taking office in January, but critics have already dismissed as lip service his vows to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. The trip will include bilateral meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Washington earlier this month to pledge his support to a renewed peace process. But experts note that the Trump administration’s “unwavering support” for the state of Israel will render any potential negotiations futile. “They will fall over themselves loving Israel to get elected, come to their senses a bit when in office, then pay lip service to peace while serving the strategic alliance between the US and Israel by blindly supporting Israel,” Sam...

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