February 21, 2017

Ivanka in plea for religious tolerance: First daughter says ‘we must protect our places of worship’ after eleven Jewish centers get bomb threats in a day and FBI opens hate crime probe

  • Ivanka Trump took to Twitter after a wave of bomb threats on JCCs Monday
  • On President’s Day, 11 centers received bomb threats which were later deemed hoaxes
  • She rallied to ‘protect our houses of worship & religious centers’
  • The threats come after the FBI launched a hate crime investigation after 60 threats were received at centers in January
  • Chelsea Clinton also took to Twitter and criticized the President for not yet denouncing anti-Semitic threats

She tweeted: ‘America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC.’

On Monday 11 JCCs were evacuated in Birmingham, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Paul, Tampa, Tulsa, Nashville, Milwaukee, Houston and Buffalo after receiving the threats. All appear to be hoaxes and no one has been injured.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4244062/Ivanka-pleads-tolerance-slew-JCC-bomb-threats.html#ixzz4ZKLDs8MT

Kim Jong-nam had offer to lead N. Korea’s government-in-exile

By Yi Whan-woo

North Korean defectors in Europe and the United States had offered Kim Jong-nam to serve as head of a government-in-exile, if one had been established, but he rejected the offer, according to sources, Tuesday.

“He was concerned that accepting such an offer may not help end hereditary succession of power in the repressive regime,” a source said.

The source said Kim’s paternal half-brother and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may have ordered his death with suspicions that he may join the government-in-exile aimed at eventually overthrowing the regime.

One of the defectors’ groups that made the proposals included International North Korean Association for Human Rights and Democracy in London.

The association’s secretary general, Kim Joo-il, said he “regularly contacted” Kim Jong-nam until June after they first met face-to-face in China in December 2014.

Kim Jong-nam, who had been staying outside of North Korea for years, was returning from Pyongyang after attending a ceremony to mark the third anniversary of his late father Kim Jong-il’s death.

Israel to ease regulations on arms and defense exports

As sales increase, some controls on industry to be relaxed but penalties for violations to become stiffer

Israel is set to relax its regulations on the exports of arms and defense products, amid a reform program for the industry undertaken by the Defense Export Controls Agency, a branch of the Defense Ministry.

In a session with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday, the agency’s director outlined key concessions to be offered to defense exporters and emphasized that stiffer penalties would be levied on those who violate the new regulations.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-relax-regulations-on-arms-and-defense-exports/

Russia increases involvement in Libya by signing oil deal

Libyan national oil corporation says contract with Rosneft to redevelop oilfields lays groundwork for further investment

Diplomatic editor

Russia has significantly boosted its involvement in Libya by signing a potentially major contract to help redevelop Libyan oilfields.

The head of the Libyan national oil corporation (NOC) signed a cooperation agreement with Rosneft, the Russian oil giant, which NOC said on Tuesday “lays the groundwork for investment by Rosneft in Libya’s oil sector”.

“The agreement envisages the establishment of a joint working committee of the two partners to evaluate opportunities in a variety of sectors, including exploration and production,” an NOC statement said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/21/russia-increases-involvement-libya-signing-oil-deal-rosneft

Russia dismisses ‘absurd’ Ukraine peace plan put forward by Donald Trump’s associates

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismisses proposal for Russia to ‘rent’ Crimea as new ceasefire begins

The Russian government has dismissed an “absurd” peace plan for Ukraine put forward by two of Donald Trump’s associates as a new ceasefire holds in the country.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said he had not heard of the proposal, backed by a Ukrainian opposition politician, until he saw media reports.

The plan would entail Russian forces withdrawing from eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian voters deciding in a referendum whether Crimea would be “leased” to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-ukraine-peace-plan-absurd-dismiss-donald-trump-proposal-putin-crimea-artemenko-cohen-sater-a7591091.html

Russia feared to have ‘detonated NUKE in Arctic’ as US hunter plane sweeps over Britain

RUSSIA may have detonated a nuclear weapon in a secret Arctic test as the US Air Force send a “nuclear explosion sniffer” plane to Britain.

Vladimir Putin and US nuke sniffer constant phoenixGETTYRUSSIA: Vladimir Putin might have ‘tested a nuclear weapon’ in the Arctic

Fears of a potential Russian nuclear test come as a massive radiation spike was detected across Europe.Pentagon bosses have now dispatched a specialist nuke-hunting plane the WC-135 Constant Phoenix to RAF Mildenhall.

Nuclear explosion “sniffing” is the prime job of the plane, and one of the aircraft was previously deployed over North Korea.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/590260/Russia-nuclear-weapon-Radiation-Vladimir-Putin-Arctic-US-plane-Weapon-WC-135-Iodine-131

Troops warned over Russian honeytraps

Soldiers from 5th Battalion, who will lead the mission, have been warned about Cold War-style spy gamesBEN BIRCHALL/PA

Russia will target hundreds of British troops when they are deployed to Estonia in the coming weeks, the Baltic state’s spy chief has warned. The aim will be to discredit a Nato mission to reinforce the alliance’s eastern flank.

Honeytraps, staged pub brawls — designed to make British troops look like thugs — and subversive efforts to penetrate social media accounts to find information for blackmail purposes are expected to be attempted by “the opposite team”, Mikk Marran the head of the Estonian Information Board (EIB), the country’s equivalent of MI6, told The Times in a rare interview.

Estonian and British officials had been discussing the threat for months to prepare the 800 British personnel bound for Estonia to avoid Cold War-style spy games, Mr…

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/british-troops-targeted-by-russian-honeytrap-and-fake-news-ss07crhp2

Philippines Interested in Buying Russia’s Weapons Amid Tensions With US

© AFP 2016/ Noel CELIS / POOL

The Philippines is showing interest to purchasing Russian arms, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Vorobyova, Moscow and Manila are in talks on forming a legal basis needed for the practical establishment of military-technical cooperation.

“Cooperation in the defense sector is a prospective course in bilateral relations with the Philippines. It is known that our country is one of the greatest producers of military products. Therefore it is not surprising that the Philippine partners are showing interest in purchases,” Director of the ministry’s Third Asian Department Lyudmila Vorobyova said.

“We are working on this. Specific contracts [on Russian arms deliveries to the Philippines] are the matter for the future,” Vorobyova added.

ISIS GROUP EXPANDS IN SOUTHERN SYRIA NEAR ISRAEL BORDER

Islamic State-linked Syrian militant groups on Monday launched a surprise attack on moderate rebels in southwestern Syria near the Golan Heights near where the Jordanian and Israeli borders converge, seizing several villages and a large town, rebels and witnesses said.

Rebels said the militants were able to extend their area of control in territory that forms a natural barrier between Syria and Israel where the Yarmouk River flows after they overran the towns of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua.

“In a surprise attack Islamic State made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army FSA groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” said Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector.

http://www.newsweek.com/syria-isis-islamic-state-israel-golan-heights-558970

U.S. troops in Iraq move closer to the front lines in fight for Mosul

The Pentagon is deploying U.S. military advisers closer to the front lines in the campaign against the Islamic State as Iraqi security forces wrestle for control of the city of Mosul, the top U.S. commander here said Monday.Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-advisers-move-closer-to-the-front-lines-in-fight-for-mosul/2017/02/20/056fd3aa-f787-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?utm_term=.8c74137f8e57

Turkish airstrikes target Kurdish PKK in Iraq

Turkish war planes illegally operating in Iraq have targeted Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) positions.

At least 34 fighters of the PKK, in which Ankara recognizes as a terrorist group, were killed in two separate strikes on Monday.

The first strike took place shortly after midnight, with the second shortly after noon. They both targeted the Zap region of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/turkish-airstrikes-target-kurdish-pkk-iraq/

Russia Considering Iraq’s Request for New Arms Amid Anti-Daesh Fight

 Moscow is addressing the issue of new military equipment deliveries to Iraq’s armed forces.
Participants in a meeting of the Joint Operational Group of Russia, Turkey and Iran to control the ceasefire in Syria, held in Astana
© SPUTNIK/ ILYAS OMAROV

ABU DHABI (Sputnik) — Russia is considering Iraq’s requests for new military equipment deliveries to its armed services, Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Deputy Director Alexei Frolkin said Tuesday.

“Iraq’s requests in the interests of all national armed forces are under consideration,” Frolkin told reporters at the IDEX-2017 exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.

He noted that Russian-Iraqi military technical cooperation “is developing quite effectively.”

https://sputniknews.com/military/201702211050887700-russia-iraq-arms-deliveries/

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Expects Iran, Hezbollah to Leave Syria After War

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said he expected Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to leave Syria after the war.

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – The forces of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah movement forces, fighting for Damascus in Syria, will return home as soon as the Syrian civil war is over, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, presently on a visit to Israel, told The Jerusalem Post.

“I understand the fears of Israel relating to Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards in Syria, and you of course fear that they will stay in Syria after the war,” Syromolotov, who is in charge of counterterrorism, said Monday, stressing that Iran and Hezbolllah “will leave,” as the war in Syria ends.

Israel demands that Iran be excluded from the Syrian settlement process, saying that its nuclear program, hostile rhetoric, and support of anti-Israel forces in the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement, pose a threat to Israeli national security.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702211050891024-iran-hezbollah-syria-israel-russia/%5D

U.A.E. to Build Russian Warplane as Mideast Tensions Rise

  • Plans concerns successor to MiG-29 light fighter, Rostec says
  • Gulf state agrees to procure latest Sukhoi model in interim

The United Arab Emirates signed an outline agreement to buy Sukhoi Su-35 warplanes and will work with Russia to develop a next-generation fighter that could enter service in seven or eight years, according to Moscow-based industrial conglomerate Rostec Corp.

While the latest version of the Sukhoi jet, based on the Su-27 Flanker and previously exported to China, would satisfy the Gulf state’s more immediate requirements, the proposed future model would essentially be “a brand new fighter,” Rostec Chief Executive Officer Sergey Chemezov said Monday.

Though most likely based on the Mikoyan MiG-29, a light warplane known as the Fulcrum in the West, the aircraft would be “highly technological” and feature modern engines, avionics and weapons, Chemezov said at the IDEX defense expo in Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital. Work could start in 2018, he said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-20/u-a-e-to-build-russian-warplane-as-iran-stokes-mideast-tensions

UAE-Russia sign Dh2.6b anti-armour missile deal

Jasmine Al Kuttab/Abu Dhabi

The contracts today are related to armed forces, not necessarily to combating terrorism.

Day two of the International Defence Conference (IDEX) and Naval Defence Exhibition and Conference (NAVDEX) 2017 saw a whopping Dh6.9billion worth military procurement deals between the UAE and other international entities. It included a contract between the UAE and Russia for anti-armor missiles, which amounted to over Dh2.6 billion.

The contract includes 5,000 anti-armor missiles, as well as training and support with Rosoboronexport, said Brigadier General Rashid Mohammed Al Shamsi, official spokesperson for the 13th edition of Idex during a press hearing on Monday.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/general/uae-russia-sign-dh26b-anti-armour-missile-deal-1

Turkey Says it Will Attack Syrian Kurdish Forces at Manbij

February 20, 2017 2:42 PM
  • Dorian Jones

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, right, meets with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Feb. 20, 2017.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, right, meets with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Feb. 20, 2017.

ISTANBUL —

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared his nation’s forces will liberate the Syrian town of Manbij from the Kurdish YPG and hand it back to local Arabs.

Ankara accuses the YPG of being affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is fighting the Turkish state and is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and much of the international community.

Any move, however, against Manbij threatens to put Ankara and Washington on a collision course. “It would put Turkey against American-supported forces who are fighting with America against ISIS,” says political columnist Semih Idiz, of Al Monitor website. “ISIS is a major target for America at the moment and that would really be a disaster, as far as Turkish-American relations are concerned.”

http://www.voanews.com/a/turkey-says-it-will-attack-syrian-kurdish-forces-at-manbij/3732399.html

France ‘attack plot’: Three arrested

Image captionFrench security forces are on high alert after a series of deadly terror attacks

Three people have been arrested in France on suspicion of plotting a terrorism attack, police sources say.

A bomb disposal squad was called in to sweep the home of one of the suspects, in the central city of Clermont-Ferrand, French media say.

The other two arrests were reportedly in Marseille and in the Paris region.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39042196

Suicide bombers conduct deadly attack on Pakistani court

Suicide bombers attacked a court complex in northern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least five people, officials said, in the latest incident in a new surge of Islamist violence.

One bomber was briefly on the loose inside the busy court complex in Charsadda district, but was killed by police some 20 minutes after the attack began, officials said.

A second bomber was shot dead by security forces and a third died when he detonated his vest outside the main gates of the facility in Pakistan‘s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province near the Afghan border.

“So far five people have been killed and 15 wounded,” Suhail Khalid, district police chief, told AFP, adding that a lawyer was among the dead.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170221-pakistan-suicide-bombers-attack-court-terrorism-taliban

China orders GPS tracking of every car in troubled region

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles affected by edict covering part of Xinjiang following outbreaks of violence – and no petrol for owners who don’t comply

Security officials in China’s violence-stricken north-west have ordered residents to install GPS tracking devices in their vehicles so authorities are able to keep permanent tabs on their movements.

The compulsory measure, which came into force this week and could eventually affect hundreds of thousands of vehicles, is being rolled out in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang, a sprawling region that borders Central Asia and sees regular eruptions of deadly violence.

The move comes amid an apparent spike in killing that authorities blame on Islamist extremists and separatists but experts say is also fuelled by ethnic friction between Han Chinese migrants and members of the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority to whom Xinjiang is home.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/21/china-orders-gps-tracking-of-every-car-in-troubled-region

EXCLUSIVE: House Dem IT Guys In Security Probe Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money

Photo of Luke Rosiak

LUKE ROSIAK
Investigative Reporter

Rogue congressional staffers took $100,000 from an Iraqi politician while they had administrator-level access to the House of Representatives’ computer network, according to court documents examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The money was a loan from Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure, and was funneled through a company with “impossible”-to-decipher financial transactions that the congressional information technology (IT) staffers controlled.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/20/exclusive-house-dem-it-guys-in-security-probe-secretly-took-100k-in-iraqi-money/#ixzz4ZKWMjSkK

U.S. global arms sales surge; China emerges as top-tier supplier

– The Washington Times – 

The sale of American-made weapons to the global community is surging ahead, with the United States controlling nearly one-third of all military-grade arms and equipment fielded by international forces, according to new analysis of the international arms market.

During a four-year period beginning in 2012, American weapons manufacturers increased their overseas sales by 21 percent, compared to sales figures during a previous four-year cycle starting in 2007, analysts at the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said Monday.

“The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world — significantly more than any other supplier state’, said Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

“Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defence systems account for a significant share of US arms exports,” Dr. Fleuant said in a statement accompanying the report.

China boosted its international sales percentages from 3.8 percent of the market from 2007 to 2011, to 6.2 percent of the world market from 2012 to 2016, the report states.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/20/us-global-arms-sales-surge-china-emerges-top-tier-/

  • The cost in American lives;
  • The nature of the Syrian civil war that encompasses the fight against ISIS, which means we may find ourselves on the battlefield with Russia, Iran, and the genocidal government of Syria;
  • Finding ourselves with the Turks against the Kurds; and
  • Finding ourselves with the Kurds against the Turks.

US Ground Troops for Syria: A Really Bad Idea

The president is being asked by the Pentagon to provide U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Syria.  If the president is wise, he will run as fast as he can the other way.

There are four potential traps here:

  • The cost in American lives;
  • The nature of the Syrian civil war that encompasses the fight against ISIS, which means we may find ourselves on the battlefield with Russia, Iran, and the genocidal government of Syria;
  • Finding ourselves with the Turks against the Kurds; and
  • Finding ourselves with the Kurds against the Turks.
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    2 thoughts on “February 21, 2017

    1. Juliana Geran Pilon says:

      Oy. ​As the Jew who was trying to emigrate from Eastern Europe in 1938 told his travel agent: “Do you happen to have another globe?’ ​

      *Juliana Geran Pilon, Ph.D. * *Senior Fellow* *The Alexander Hamilton Institute * * for the Study of Western Civilization * *Mobile: (301) 346-4504*

      My latest book is *The Art of Peace: Engaging a Complex World (*Transaction Publishers: October 2016)

      On Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 9:32 AM, Bryen’s Blog News wrote:

      > Stephen Bryen posted: ” Barcelona police shoot at driver of speeding truck > full of gas cylinders ‘driving at high speed near city centre’ James > Badcock Spanish police used gunfire to stop the driver of a truck laden > with household gas canisters who was allegedly” >

    2. Agree. The Houthi drone boat stuffed with explosives (from Iran no doubt) is a big threat in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, perhaps even the Mediterranean. It is the swarming boat problem without the need for a suicide boat driver. Dangerous development.

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