Tuesday, July 29, 2014

US And Israel Deny Reports Of A Harsh Obama-Netanyahu Conversation

White House, Israeli Prime Minister's Office Deny Reports of Tense Exchange Over Ceasefire -- Breitbart

On Tuesday, Israeli media reported the text of an alleged phone conversation on July 27th between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The text was said to have come from a “senior US official”. Obama National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said on Twitter that the excerpt of the 35-minute phone call was a “totally false” report.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s office also denied reports, saying that the Israeli media misrepresented the conversation.

The US President allegedly made several demands upon Israel, and it was reported he had spoken in a “rude and hostile” manner.

Read more ....

My Comment: There are a lot denials from both sides that this conversation happened .... but these denials are using exactly the same wording and language which tells me that there is a possibility that this conversation actually did happen. Sighhh .... I am becoming cynical in my old age.

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 29, 2014



At Least 100 Palestinians Die In One Day As Israeli Tanks Destroy Gaza's Only Power Plant And Ten Members Of One Family Are Killed -- Daily Mail

* Netanyahu said any solution to the crisis would require the demilitarisation of the Palestinian territory
* Power company said the shells hit one of three tanks in the plant compound which currently store fuel
* At least 26 Palestinians were killed early Tuesday in the airstrikes and tank shelling on four homes
* North Korea rejected claims it supplied missiles to Hamas as fiction' and a 'sinister' effort to link it to the crisis
* Israel made 60 air strikes on targets in Gaza overnight including TV stations and the house of a key Hamas leader
* Two Israeli tank shells have hit a fuel tank at the Gaza Strip's only power plant
* More than 1,100 Palestinians have been killed in fighting while Israel says 53 of its soldiers and three civilians have died

At least 100 Palestinians died today after Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far.

Since July 8, more than 1,100 Gazans, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict. On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers have been killed as well as three civilians.

Today a thick column of black smoke rose from a burning fuel tank at the power plant - even before the strike Gaza residents had electricity for only about three hours a day and today's hit is bound to reduce supplies even further.

The pounding came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a 'prolonged' campaign against Hamas.

It was not clear if this meant Israel has decided to go beyond the initial objectives of decimating Hamas' ability to fire rockets and demolishing the group's military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

Read more ....

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 29, 2014

Gaza crisis: 'Huge surge' in displaced people after night of intensified violence – live -- The Guardian
Israel-Gaza conflict - live -- The Telegraph
Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip LIVE UPDATES -- RT
Gaza Blog Live -- Al Jazeera
Live Blog on the Israel - Gaza conflict -- Times of Israel
LIVE UPDATES: Hamas military chief: No cease-fire without end of Gaza siege -- Haaretz

Israeli bombs kill 100 Gazans in single day -- Al Jazeera
At least 100 Palestinians killed since midnight in Gaza - Health Ministry -- RT
Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment -- AFP
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed -- AP
Israel strikes Gaza from air, sea and land -- Al Arabiya
Israel Broadens Targets in Gaza Barrage; Power Is Out -- NYT
Israel strikes symbols of Hamas' control in Gaza, shuts down power plant -- FOX News
Death toll soars to over 1,200 amid talk of truce -- Ma'an News Agency
Gaza’s only power plant shut down by Israeli shelling -- RT
Israel intensifies Gaza assault as Egyptian mediators revise truce plan -- Irish Times
Gaza conflict: 'fresh ceasefire attempts' after heaviest Israeli attack -- The Telegraph
Israel: Hamas still has 5,000 rockets in its arsenal -- USA Today
Israel prepared for cease-fire, but 'ball is in Hamas' court' -- CNN
Hamas rejects cease-fire proposal in Gaza -- UPI
Leader of Hamas military wing rules of quick truce -- AP
Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns -- Washington Post
PLO announcement of 24-hour Gaza ceasefire disavowed by Hamas -- The Guardian
Gaza conflict to dent, not break Israel economy -- Reuters
What You Need to Know About the Israel-Hamas Blame Game -- CNN

World News Briefs -- July 29, 2014



Israel Intensifies Gaza Assault, Egyptians Revise Truce Plan -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets on Tuesday, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist militants in the enclave. Israel's Channel Two TV said progress was being made on such a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation is expected later on Tuesday, although the station retracted an earlier report that a truce had already been provisionally agreed.

Health officials said at least 84 Palestinians died in some of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since Israel's offensive began on July 8 in response to rocket salvoes fired by Hamas and its militant allies.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Israel pounds Gaza; Netanyahu warns of long campaign. Israel intensifies Gaza shelling, warns of ‘protracted campaign’. Israel intensifies Gaza attacks after Netanyahu warning. At least 100 Palestinians killed since midnight in Gaza - Health Ministry. Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed.

Gaza’s only power plant shut down by Israeli shelling. Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant.

Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances.

ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line.

Mosul residents to Islamic radicals: Stop destroying our heritage.

Turkey: 'Women shall not laugh in public' says Erdogan's Deputy.

U.S. nuclear negotiator declines setting deadline on Iran deal.

ASIA

Karzai's powerful cousin killed, worsens strains over poll deadlock. Suicide bomber kills Afghan President's cousin.

China says dozens killed in Xinjiang attack. Chinese police shoot dead dozens after attack in Xinjiang.

China announces corruption probe into senior ex-leader. Zhou Yongkang: China investigates ex-security chief.

China-Japan row 'increasingly difficult to solve by diplomacy'.

UN sanctions operator of N. Korean ship caught smuggling arms. UN blacklists North Korea arms ship operator.

Taliban in Pakistan derail world Polio eradication.

Australians fighting in Iraq to face arrest.

AFRICA

Libyan militants overrun Benghazi special forces base as chaos deepens. At least 30 killed in Libya's Benghazi in fierce fighting.

Libya says its oilfields are safe from the fighting.

Military offensives free DRC villages.

Egypt military kills 7 militants in volatile Sinai.

In South Sudan, Somalia, experts study hunger data to see if 'famine' label should be applied.

Cholera kills over 200 in northern Cameroon.

West African countries announce new measures to stop Ebola spread. US health agency expects more cases of Ebola before outbreak ends. Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor dies from virus.

Black boxes from Mali plane crash arrive in France.

Barack Obama: Africa should stop making economic excuses.

EUROPE

Russia, U.S. agree fighting should stop near crash site in Ukraine -Russia.

East Ukraine rebels threaten to ban OSCE from plane crash site.

EU widens Russia sanctions to target economy. EU set to impose tougher sanctions on Russia.

Russia sanctions threaten to blow euro zone off course.

IMF's Lagarde says Ukraine program may change if conflict lasts.

EU urges 'war crimes' trial of Kosovo ex-commanders.

Pussy Riot pair sue Russia over imprisonment.

AMERICAS

Argentina on brink of second debt default in 12 years. Argentina fights with debt holdouts; default nears.

Bill to sanction Venezuela takes step forward.

Obama-backed surveillance reform bill introduced in US Senate.

Obama: Embrace 'economic patriotism'.

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors.

Honduran Special Forces work to keep kids from fleeing country.

Iraqi Kurdish oil tanker to be seized by US authorities.

Canada National Research Council 'hacked by Chinese spies'.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Islamic State video wages psychological war on Iraqi soldiers.

UN threatens sanctions on anyone trading oil with ISIS terrorists.

Analysis: Islamic State advertises war crimes in video commemorating end of Ramadan.


ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

IMF warns of potential risks to global growth.

BP sees profits rise but warns of Russia sanctions risk.

Max Mosley sues Google over sex party photos.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 29, 2014

Gorbachev and Raegan Signing Historic INFTreaty. © White House Photographic Office

US: Russia Violated Nuclear Treaty -- Voice of America

The United States accused Russia of violating a historic nuclear test ban treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.

U.S officials said President Barack Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter Monday of the United States' determination that Russia broke the 1987 treaty.

The move was first reported Monday evening by The New York Times.

The U.S. said Russia tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, breaking the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that President Ronald Reagan signed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 29, 2014

U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty -- New York Times

Washington Says Moscow Violated INF Treaty -- RIA Novosti

Russia's Navy Replenishes Ship, Submarine Supply -- RIA Novosti

Russian Naval Destroyer Moving to Mediterranean -- RIA Novosti

Putin Marks Navy Day At Base For Nuclear Submarines -- Radio Free Europe

Kalashnikov ‘feels sorry’ for sanctions-struck American customers -- RT

Japanese Minister Says French Mistral Deal With Russia Can Affect Japan’s Security -- RIA Novosti

China Holds Annual Military Drills in East, South China Seas -- The Diplomat

Chinese Military Trumps Diplomacy in Achieving Aims, PLA Says -- Bloomberg

China's Xi Tells Army: Ditch the Flashy Medals -- Bloomberg Businessweek

China is using its immense commercial fishing fleet as a surrogate navy -- Quartz

N. Korea has world’s largest submarine fleet: U.S. media -- Korea Herald

Cameroon Military on High Alert at End of Ramadan -- VOA

Iran to Unveil New Missile, Radar Systems in September -- FARS News Agency

Israel Debuts Micro Robot in Anti-Tunnel Campaign -- Defense News

Israeli Firm Provides Power-by-The-Hour Intel in Gaza -- Defense News

F-15s needed in Europe to respond to Russia, Lakenheath commander says -- Stars and Stripes

UK commits to major NATO military exercise in Poland -- RT

Reapers To Join UK's Core Equipment Program -- Defense News

Afghan quick reaction force slowed by logistics failures -- Military Times

US paratroopers in Afghanistan hope to give Taliban a few final blows -- Stars and Stripes/Washington Post

US is no safer after 13 years of war, a top Pentagon official says -- AFP

A Dwindling U.S. Army Tempts New Recruits With a Charm Offensive -- NYT

Mabus: Stealth Destroyers, LCS Headed to Pacific -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

Concerns Surround Navy SEALs' Training Changes -- NBC San Diego

US Marines perfecting autonomous evacuation and supply vehicle -- RT

Northrop Drone’s Development Cost to U.S. Navy Rises 25% -- Bloomberg

2 military satellites launched on Delta IV rocket -- Click Orlando

U.S. Army Looks to 3D Print Warheads -- 3D Print

Auditor Spotlights Billions Blown in Afghanistan -- Military.com/FOX News

Military personnel costs need a hard look -- Walter Pincus, Washington Post

Report Finds More Than 80,000 Pentagon Employees Owed Back Taxes -- WSJ

The Pentagon's 26,000 Tax Deadbeats Pose a Security Risk, GAO Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek

US citizen accused of military bribes extradited from Iraq -- AP

U.S. Senate bill proposes sweeping curbs on NSA surveillance -- Reuters

NSA mass spying undermines journalists and attorneys’ ability to work -- RT

Tech Companies Reel as NSA's Spying Tarnishes Reputations -- Bloomberg

Ex-CIA officials named in US torture report won't get to read it -- Boing Boing

Erectile dysfunction in military males is triple the norm -- FOX News/Live Science

Hollywood and the Pentagon: A relationship of mutual exploitation -- Al Jazeera

Play Spacewar!, The Pentagon-Funded Video Game From 1962 -- io9

How The Army’s Next Pistol Will End Up in a Gun Shop Near You -- Matt Valentine, Defense One/The Atlantic

Editor's Note

Lost power in my neck of the woods. The joys of living in the forest. A tree fell down and cut the wires early this morning. I have just been told that power will be restored in 3 hours. Since I cannot do this blog using my cell phone as my platform .... I will wait, fidget, chew my nails, chop some wood, answer some comments, and wait till everything is restored.

Update 13:35 EST: Power has been restored. It will take me an hour or two to catch up on my reading, emails, etc..

Are These The Five Most Overrated Weapons Of War?

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Wikipedia

The Five Most Overrated Weapons of War -- Robert Farley, National Interest

“Overrated” is a challenging concept. In sports, a player can be “great” and “overrated” at the same time. Future Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, for example, is quite clearly a “great” player, well deserving of the first ballot invitation he will likely receive. However, as virtually all statistically minded aficionados of the game have noted, he is highly overrated (especially on defense) by the baseball press. Similarly, no one doubts that Kobe Bryant is an outstanding basketball player. However, many doubt that he is quite as good as his fans (or the NBA commentariat) seem to believe.

The five weapons of war listed below are “overrated” in the sense that they occupy a larger space in the defense-security conversation than they really deserve. Some of them are fantastic, effective systems, while others are not. All of them take up more ink than they should, and (often) distract from more important issues of warfighting and defense contracting.

Read more ....

My Comment: A lot of sacred cows are pilloried in this post.

Chief Of U.S. Naval Operations: Chinese Missile Threat Is Growing

Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, right, sits down for a moderated discussion with David Ignatius, Washington Post journalist, editor and book author, at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado hosted by The Aspen Institute, July 25, 2014. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Peter D. Lawlor

Chinese Missile Forces Pose Threat to U.S. in Future Conflict -- Washington Free Beacon

CNO says China building second carrier

ASPEN, Colo.—China’s advanced cruise and ballistic missiles pose a significant threat in future conflict with the United States, the chief of naval operations (CNO) warned last week.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the CNO, also said during a security conference Friday that China is building a second aircraft carrier that could be deployed in the not too distant future.

However, China’s current single carrier force is still under development and the Chinese are incapable of conducting aircraft strike operations from the refurbished Soviet-era carrier now called the Liaoning, Greenert said following a recent visit to China, where he toured the carrier.

Read more ....

Update: Greenert: China Moving Quickly to Modernize Navy -- US Department of Defense

My Comment: From not being a threat ten years ago .... to being a threat right now. One can only assume what the next tens years may bring.

Did Venezuela Threaten Aruba And The Netherlands To Release It's Former Intelligence Chief Wanted In The US For Drug Trafficking?



U.S. Official: Venezuela Threatened Aruba, Netherlands To Force Release Of Spy Chief -- FOX News

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – U.S. officials are saying Venezuela may have used threats to obtain the freedom of a former general detained in Aruba at the request of the American government.

In a statement released Monday morning, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says there are credible reports that Venezuela threatened the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands and others to force the release of former military intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal.

Carvajal was arrested when he arrived to serve as Venezuela's consul on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. On Sunday, the Netherlands ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity.

Read more ....

More News On Aruba Releases Venezuela's Former Intellgience Chief Wanted In The US For Drug Trafficking

Aruba frees Venezuelan official Hugo Carvajal wanted by US -- BBC
Threats force Aruba to release Venezuela general -- NL Times
Venezuelan Officers Linked to Colombian Cocaine Traffickers -- NYT
Aruba Says Venezuela Raised Military Pressure on It -- WSJ
Ex-Spy Chief Gets Hero’s Welcome in Venezuela after Days in Aruba Jail -- Latin American Herald Tribune
US Unhappy Over Release Of Former Head of Venezuelan Intelligence Held On Drug Charges -- IBTimes

My Comment: For Venezuelan officials wanted in the U.S. .... I suspect that they are now going to be very careful on where they are travel.

Is Putin The Problem?


Is Putin Worse Than Stalin? -- Pat Buchanan, Buchanan.org

In 1933, the Holodomor was playing out in Ukraine.

After the “kulaks,” the independent farmers, had been liquidated in the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture, a genocidal famine was imposed on Ukraine through seizure of her food production.

Estimates of the dead range from two to nine million souls.

Walter Duranty of the New York Times, who called reports of the famine “malignant propaganda,” won a Pulitzer for his mendacity.

In November 1933, during the Holodomor, the greatest liberal of them all, FDR, invited Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov to receive official U.S. recognition of his master Stalin’s murderous regime.

On August 1, 1991, just four months before Ukraine declared its independence of Russia, George H. W. Bush warned Kiev’s legislature:

Read more ....

My Comment: For the past few weeks the U.S. coverage and commentary on the Ukraine crisis has been the same .... see here (The Fragile Deceptions of Vladimir Putin, Simon Shuster/Time), and here (Stuck in the middle of a war zone on a Donetsk-bound train, Scot Peterson/CSM).

In short .... doom and gloom with a decided pro-Kiev message in the coverage with little if any coverage on why the people in eastern Ukraine are rebelling in the first place. But even with all of this reporting .... no one in the U.S. has brought up an more important question .... why should the U.S. care about Ukraine .... and is Ukraine a country that we are willing to go to war for ... even if the opponent is a nuclear armed Russia?

This is why this commentary from Pat Buchanan is a must read .... and quoting David Stockman  ....  
.... In just 800 words Pat Buchanan exposes the sheer juvenile delinquency embodied in Washington’s current Ukrainian fiasco. He accomplishes this by reminding us of the sober restraint that governed the actions of American Presidents from FDR to Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush I with respect to Eastern Europe during far more perilous times. 

Read it all.

What Russian Sanctions?



U.S. Sales To Russia Have Only Risen Since Sanctions Imposed -- McClatchy News

WASHINGTON — In the months since the United States imposed sanctions on Russian businesses and close associates of President Vladimir Putin’s, an odd thing has happened: U.S. exports to Russia have risen.

U.S. Census Bureau foreign trade data show that exports rose 17 percent from March through May _ the most recent months for which the data is available _ compared with the previous three months, before sanctions were imposed. The value of exports has risen in each consecutive month this year, an unusual trend in a trade relationship that historically fluctuates on a monthly basis.

Russian markets account for less than 1 percent of U.S. exports, but what the U.S. sells to Russia is largely high-tech and expensive goods, including technology and equipment for the energy sector, which faces the threat of targeted sanctions.

Read more ....

My Comment: Do what we say .... not what we do.

US Says Russia Has Violated The 1987 Nuclear Missile Treaty By Testing Cruise Missiles

Russian cruise missiles. Source: Supplied

U.S. Says Russia Tested Cruise Missile, Violating Treaty -- New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in a letter on Monday.

It is the most serious allegation of an arms control treaty violation that the Obama administration has leveled against Russia and adds another dispute to a relationship already burdened by tensions over the Kremlin’s support for separatists in Ukraine and its decision to grant asylum to Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

At the heart of the issue is the 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles capable of flying 300 to 3,400 miles. That accord, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, helped seal the end of the Cold War and has been regarded as a cornerstone of American-Russian arms control efforts.

Read more ....

More News On The US Accusing Russia Of Violating The 1987 Nuclear Missile Treaty

U.S. says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks -- Reuters
U.S.: Russia violated 1987 treaty by testing ground-launched missiles -- Washington Post
U.S. says Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty -- CBS/AP
U.S.: Russia violated missile treaty -- CNN
Russia ‘violated arms control treaty’, by testing cruise missile; US -- The Australian/AFP
US says Russia breached nuclear treaty -- The Guardian
Russia Accused Of Violating 1987 Missile Treaty By Testing New Cruise Missile -- IBTimes
U.S. to Accuse Russia of Breaking Landmark Nuclear Treaty -- NBC
US says Russia violated nuclear treaty -- Al Jazeera
US accuses Russia of violating 1987 missile treaty -- FOX News
U.S. Says Russia Violated Nuclear Missile Treaty -- Slate
U.S. Said to Find Russia Violated Nuclear Arms Treaty -- Bloomberg
Russia in violation of 1987 missile treaty, White House says -- Washington Times
Amid Threat of New Sanctions, U.S. Says Russia is Flouting Key Arms Treaty -- Time

Update: Moscow has already issued a response to these U.S. accusations .... and it reads like a typical "Soviet press release" from a era in time that I thought was over a long time ago .... Russia-US Arms Reduction Treaty Should Not Depend on Political Situation - Diplomat -- RIA Novosti

Chinese Hackers Have Stolen The Plans For Israel's Iron Dome

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod July 9, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

Chinese Hackers Obtained Info On Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System - Report -- RT

In a raid seeking information related to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Chinese hackers infiltrated the databases of three Jewish defense contractors.

In addition to taking information on the Iron Dome, the attackers were also able to nab plans regarding other projects – including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets, and “detailed schematics and specifications” for the Arrow III missile interceptor.

According to independent journalist Brian Krebs, the intrusion occurred between 2011 and 2012 and was carried out by China’s infamous “Comment Crew” – a group of cyber warriors linked to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Chinese Hackers Have Successfully Stolen The Plans For Israel's Iron Dome

Hackers Plundered Israeli Defense Firms that Built ‘Iron Dome’ Missile Defense System -- Krebs on Security
Chinese Hackers Stole Plans For Israel's Iron Dome -- Business Insider
Gaza: Israel's Iron Dome Blueprints Were 'Stolen by Chinese Hackers' -- IBTimes
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech grasped by Chinese hackers -- The Register

Is Israel Losing The Information War In It's Conflict With Hamas?

A Palestinian man reacts as he lies on the remains of his destroyed house in the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an Israeli offensive, in Gaza City July 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Why Benjamin Netanyahu Should Be Very, Very Worried -- Ron Fournier, National Journal

Israel's defense is vulnerable to more than missiles as demographic and social changes threaten its global story.

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked Benjamin Netanyahu whether he was worried about "a third intifada." The Israeli prime minister replied that Hamas "wants to pile up" Gazan casualties in hope of instigating an uprising. In other words, he ducked the heart of the question.

Netanyahu should be worried. The Israeli public should be worried. All supporters of the Jewish state should be worried—not only about the prospect of current events spiraling out of control, but also about a confluence of demographic and social trends that threaten Israel's ability to manage the war of perceptions.

Read more ....

My Comment: There is a lot of truth to this story .... especially on how this war is being covered. The internet has produced a world in which the media has become democratized, where tweets and posts and pictures about Gazan casualties reach the global community instantaneously and without filter. In my own case with this blog I now have access to information and news that I could only dream about just 5 years ago .... and I do take advantage of this situation by trying my best to post from different sources on what is happening on a particular story .... and I then let you ... the reader ... decide on what is true or not. In the case of the Israel - Hamas war .... the sources are many .... every country has a reporter in the middle of this conflict right now .... and they are reporting it as it happens. And as for the role of social media .... 24/7 is it's coverage .... and the sources runs into the thousands.

Israel Says That It Is Now Expanding It's Military Operations In Gaza

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards the Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel Says It Is Escalating Gaza Campaign -- WSJ

Defies International Pressure for Immediate Cease-fire

Israel's leaders said they were escalating the military campaign in Gaza and told the country to prepare for a prolonged operation, defying international demands for an immediate cease-fire after Hamas militants broke a Muslim holiday lull.

The military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said Israel's assault on Gaza's Hamas rulers was being "intensified" after three weeks of fighting that have cost more than 1,100 lives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a televised address, gave no sign the military would go beyond its stated goals—degrading Hamas's rocket arsenal and finding and destroying a network of cross-border tunnels that fighters use to infiltrate Israel. According to officials, the military needs about another week to accomplish that.

Read more ....

My Comment: Targeting and destroying the home of the leader of Hamas is definitely a signal from Israel that this war is now entering a new phase.

Monday, July 28, 2014

U.S. Congress Limits President Obama's Options On Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California。 (File photo: Reuters)

House Tells President Obama: No Combat Troops To Iraq Without Congressional Approval -- International Business Times

President Barack Obama won’t be able to send American troops back to Iraq in a "sustained combat role" without approval from Congress, according to a resolution passed by the House on Friday. It is a nonbinding measure that will have to be debated in the Senate, but in a demonstration of strong feeling about Congress's right to authorize the use of force, the legislation was approved by a 370-40 vote.

"This resolution makes one clear statement. If the president decides we should further involve our military in Iraq, he needs to work with Congress to authorize it,” said the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

More than 800 American troops are currently in Iraq to shore up the shaky Baghdad government, but with the growing power of the Islamic State, there has been talk about sending additional U.S. manpower.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Congress Limiting President Obama's Options On Iraq

Chamber to Obama: No troops to Iraq without our OK -- AP
House votes to block president from sending US troops to fight in Iraq -- The Guardian
House Votes For Checks On Obama's Iraq War Powers -- Huffington Post
U.S. House votes overwhelmingly for say on Obama’s Iraq decisions -- Al Arabiya/Reuters

Iraqi Air Space Is Getting Crowded With U.S. And Iranian Drones

An MQ-9 Reaper UAV taxies after landing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. US, Iranian and Iraqi unmanned vehicles share airspace over Iraqi skies. (Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson / US Air Force)

US, Iranian Drones Crowd Iraqi Air Space -- Defense News

WASHINGTON — Despite a years-long history of intermittently sniping at one another’s drones in the skies over Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf, the United States and Iran have for the most part avoided each other in the air.

But with the US now flying about 50 missions a day over Iraq and a dedicated Iranian drone and signals intelligence presence having been established in Baghdad, the two rivals find themselves overtly sharing the same airspace, even while denying any coordination or contact.

Of course, Iraq is a big place, and the prospect of two aircraft bumping into one another is remote. But given the “shoot first, ask questions later” approach the two countries have taken toward one another’s unmanned aerial assets, the possibility for another volley exists in the long-running, if rather sleepy, drone war.

Read more ....

My Comment: The U.S. and the Iranians are not only looking at what is happening on the ground in Iraq .... but they are also looking at each other. Talk about a messed up situation.

Is ISIS About To Launch A Major Attack On Baghdad?



The ISIS Caliphate’s Coming Blitz of Baghdad -- Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast

Analysts say the Islamic State is about to launch a major offensive—but one built around commando raids and suicide bombings rather than a frontal attack.

BEIRUT, Lebanon—When the minions of the self-anointed caliph in the self-declared Islamic State that now straddles Iraq and Syria blow up a mosque supposed to contain the remains of the prophet Jonah, or offer punctilious details about the kind of purdah to be imposed on women, the world takes brief notice. But the group’s military campaigns have made less news in recent weeks because they seemed to have stalled.

Now, according to Western military analysts, it’s time to start worrying again. Those studying the attacks by the group formerly known as ISIS see critical changes in the bombings and skirmishing by the caliph’s troops and their allies in and around Baghdad. Some experts warn that a blitzkrieg—a lightning attack—is imminent, and it will be one the beleaguered and squabbling politicians in the Iraqi capital are ill equipped to combat. But it is more likely to be a guerrilla and terrorist offensive than an all-out push along conventional military lines.

Read more ....

My Comment: ISIS has been spending the past month consolidating their forces, gaining new recruits, assessing the Iraqi government's weaknesses. For the past few months I have been studying their tactics ..... and their nature of operations has always predictable .... attack and expand, consolidate, assess, and then launch another attack. They are now due to launch another attack .... my prediction .... they will grab the Sunni neighborhoods south of Baghdad and/or launch an attack against Baghdad itself with the goal seizing and consolidating their power in the Sunni neighborhoods.

Update: The above video is from CNN last month. It is very revealing in that it shows how undefended Baghdad really is.

Miss Israel And Other Israeli Supermodels Do Their Part To Support The IDF


Israeli Models Do Their Part To Support The IDF -- Washington Free Beacon

As the conflict between Israel and Gaza lumbers on into its 21st day, Israelis across the world have shown solidarity with their fellow countrymen. While most Israelis have congregated in public displays of support numbering in the tens of thousands, some more internationally visible Israelis have taken to social media.

Bar Refaeli took a somber moment to remember fallen soldiers who’ve paid the ultimate price to ensure Israeli’s safety.

Read more ....

My Comment: Propaganda is part of war .... and these models are probably doing a better job in showing their support of the soldiers than the politicians.