Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Top Iran Commander: 'We’ll Bolster Our Military Israel Has Collapsed'

Brigadier General Mohsen Kazzemeini. Fars News Agency

Times Of Israel: Iran official: We’ll bolster our military until Israel is overthrown

2-day security drill said underway in Tehran, day after reports Iran raised defense alert at nuclear facilities for fear of Israeli attack

Escalating Iran’s rhetoric against Israel, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed Wednesday that the regime would boost its military capabilities relentlessly until Israel was destroyed.

“The Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine,” the IRGC’s Tehran province commander, Brigadier General Mohsen Kazzemeini, said in an address in Tehran, the semi-state Fars news agency reported.

He also vowed that Iran would maintain its aid to those who fight Israel. “We will continue defending not just our own country, but also all the oppressed people of the world, specially those countries that are standing on the forefront of confrontation with the Zionists,” Kazzemeini said.

Update: Commander: Iran Continues Military Enhancement Until Collapse of Israel -- Fars News Agency

WNU Editor: It appears that Iran is still nervous on what Israel may do .... Fearing Israeli attack, Iran boosts nuke defenses, TV report claims (Times of Israel).

OPEC May Start Negotiations To Boost Oil Prices



USA Today: OPEC ready to talk, boosting oil prices

Oil prices surged Monday, capping their biggest three-day gain in 25 years, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries suggested it may be ready to scale back output and the government cut its estimates of U.S. oil production.

OPEC said in an article that it "stands ready to talk to all other producers" to achieve "fair and reasonable prices." In its monthly OPEC Bulletin, the cartel added, "But this has to be a level playing field. OPEC will protect its own interests."

WNU Editor: One big reason for low oil prices is the slowing economy, and it looks like that is not going to change in the near future .... Oil extends losses on weak economic outlook (Reuters).

U.S. Bitterly Divided On Iran Nuclear Deal


Washington Post: New poll shows how sharply partisan the debate on Iran deal has become

American opinions on the Iran nuclear agreement have grown sharply polarized along party lines, according to a new poll ­released Tuesday as the White House closes in on support needed in the Senate to block Republican opposition to the deal.

A survey by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation finds that Americans narrowly support the deal, with 52 percent wanting Congress to approve it and 47 percent wanting the pact rejected.

Democrats and Republicans are polar opposites in their view of the accord, which would lift international sanctions against the Islamic republic in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program so it cannot build nuclear weapons for a decade or longer. Nearly 7 in 10 Democrats support the deal. An identical share of Republicans are opposed. Among independents, 6 in 10 express support.

WNU Editor: President Obama has enough votes that would protect his veto powers on any Congressional action against his Iranian nuclear deal .... Obama Nears Needed Votes on Iran Nuclear Deal (New York Times) .... but as the polls indicate (if they are accurate) .... the U.S. is a deeply divided country.

Islamic State Show-Off Their American Made M-16 Rifles

Screengrab of a video released by ISIS showing a training camp where fighters use weapons including American-made M16 rifles. Flashpoint

NBC: ISIS Shows Off Its American-Made M16 Rifles

ISIS appears to be making use of U.S.-made weapons in Iraq.

A video released by ISIS' media arm in northern Iraq purportedly shows more than a dozen of the terror group's fighters undergoing weapons training — on American M16 rifles, according to Flashpoint Intelligence.

"It is noteworthy that the use of American rifles by Islamic State fighters is rare and is only seen in Iraq," Flashpoint said in a research note, using another name for the militant group. "These rifles were likely left by U.S. forces or seized from Iraqi soldiers."

WNU Editor: I suspect that these weapons were taken from dead Iraqi troops or were part of the cache that were abandoned by them when they retreated from places like Mosul or Ramadi. In hindsight .... the U.S. should never have trusted the Iraqi Army with these weapons unless they were supervised and backed-up with a U.S. military presence.

U.S. Special Forces Have Been At War Against Iran For A Very Long Time

Sean D. Naylor, Daily Beast: Inside U.S. Commandos’ Shadow War Against Iran

The U.S. military’s cadre of elite special operations forces has spent the last 14 years taking on terrorists—and finding Iran’s hand pulling the jihadi strings.

It was July 25, 2004. Violence was escalating in Iraq, the Taliban were reasserting themselves in Afghanistan, and Joint Special Operations Command—the U.S. military’s cadre of elite special operations forces—was already deploying operators to the Horn of Africa and Yemen. But for the first day of the three-day JSOC commanders’ conference at Fort Bragg, the country under discussion was Iran.

In the days after September 11, JSOC was running at least two undercover agents into Iran. But the command wanted to know more—much more—about the would-be regional superpower it seemed to confront at every turn.

Today, the U.S. and Iranian governments are in a period of political d├ętente, with the nuclear deal signed in Vienna. Tehran and Washington’s militaries are even cooperating—if at arm’s length—in the fight against ISIS.

WNU Editor: I can not understand why the White House and the Pentagon are concerned with the upcoming publication of "Relentless Strike". If this excerpt is any indication .... there must be a lot of details that are going to be published that will question the reasons on why the U.S. still pursued a nuclear deal with Iran while knowing what they have (and are) doing.

Hillary Clinton's Private Emails Contained Spy Satellite Data On North Korean Nuclear Weapons

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011. REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

Washington Times: Clinton emails contained spy satellite data on North Korean nukes

Revelation among biggest concerns inside intel community

One of the most serious potential breaches of national security identified so far by the intelligence community inside Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private emails involves the relaying of classified information concerning the movement of North Korean nuclear assets, which was obtained from spy satellites.

Multiple intelligence sources who spoke to The Washington Times, solely on the condition of anonymity, said concerns about the movement of the North Korean information through Mrs. Clinton’s unsecured server are twofold.

WNU Editor: She is not the first politician to show poor judgement.

Former CIA Director Petraeus Wants To Support Al Qaeda To Defeat The Islamic State



Shane Harris & Nancy A. Youssef, Daily Beast: Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS

To take down the so-called Islamic State in Syria, the influential former head of the CIA wants to co-opt jihadists from America’s arch foe.
Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

WNU Editor: Josh Rogin's analysis on why such a plan would fail is spot on .... Petraeus’s Plan to Defeat Islamic State Won’t Work (Johs Rogin, Bloomberg).

More News On Former CIA Director Petraeus Proposal To Support Al Qaeda In Order To Defeat The Islamic State

EXCLUSIVE: Petraeus explains how jihadists could be peeled away to fight ISIS -- and Assad -- CNN
Ex-CIA chief David Petraeus pitches plan to use al Qaeda in battle against ISIS -- New York Daily News
Former CIA Chief: US Should Support Al Qaeda to Defeat ISIS -- Arutz Sheva
Former CIA director Petraeus wants to use Al-Qaeda to fight ISIS – report -- RT
Ex-CIA chief David Petraeus wants US to rope in al-Qaeda to take on ISIS: Report -- Economic Times
David Petraeus' bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists -- Trevor Timm, The Guardian
Can the U.S. Use al Qaeda Fighters to Defeat ISIS? David Petraeus Has a Plan -- Rob Garver, Fiscal Times

Will U.S. F-16 Fighters Soon be Facing Russian Manned MiGs Over Syria?

Defense News: Putin’s MiGs vs. US F-16s in Syria

After four years of devastating civil war with more than 240,000 dead — some from government use of chemical weapons and some from government-induced starvation — Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has admitted he has a manpower problem. In fact, he has a bigger problem than that.

Assad’s Russian and Iranian sponsors know that his grip on Syria is far from secure. The Islamic State group has expanded its territory in the north, and fighting in the suburbs of Damascus could trigger a collapse of the regime if one major breakthrough occurs. Thus the Syrian government has turned to brutal bombings of civilians and other measures to try to stave off what is looking more and more inevitable.

The situation could deteriorate further, and Assad may use even more desperate methods if he can find them.

WNU Editor: Talk about nightmare scenarios.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Israel Report: Russia Has Begun Intervening In The Syrian Civil War?

A formation of Russian Mig 31's (Photo: Reuters)

YNet News: Russian Jets In Syrian Skies

Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria, deploying an aerial contingent to a permanent Syrian base, in order to launch attacks against ISIS and Islamist rebels; US stays silent.

Russian fighter pilots are expected to begin arriving in Syria in the coming days, and will fly their Russian air force fighter jets and attack helicopters against ISIS and rebel-aligned targets within the failing state.

According to Western diplomats, a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled airbase. The base is said to be in area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base.

In the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft.

WNU Editor: Russia is denying these reports .... 'No Russian jets sent to Syria' - military source on 'expeditionary force' report (RT). What's my take .... the Syrian government is slowly losing this war, and it would not surprise me if Russia does exactly what the U.S. has done in Iraq .... send military advisers and backed with air strikes. If this scenario does come into play .... expect the Middle East to be a tinderbox ready to explode.

More News On Reports That Russia Has Decided To Intervene In The Syrian Civil War

Russian jets take to Syrian skies to combat IS -- i24 News
Russia Deploying Air Force Contingent to Syria -- Washington Free Beacon
Russia sends fighter jets to back Syria’s Assad against ISIL -- World Tribune
"Russia has begun intervention in Syria," says Israeli site -- BS9
Russia gearing up to be first world power to insert ground forces into Syria -- Debka

Islamic State Forces Are Now Pushing Deeper Into The Syrian Capital Of Damascus



BBC: Islamic State battles Syrian rebel forces in Damascus

Syrian rebel forces have come under attack from Islamic State (IS) on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

Militants from the jihadist group are reportedly battling Jaysh al-Islam fighters in the Qadam district and those of Ajnad al-Sham in nearby Asali.
The fighting has brought IS closer than ever to the heart of the capital.

Correspondents say it is unclear whether the attacks will be limited to rebel-held areas or will later shift to the government-controlled city centre.

IS militants launched the assaults on Qadam and Asali over the weekend from Hajar al-Aswad, where they have been based since July 2014.

WNU Editor: Capturing Damascus would be an incredible prize for the Islamic State .... and a disaster for the entire region. Fortunately .... the Islamic State lacks the resources to accomplish such a goal ... at least for now.

More News On Reports That Islamic State Forces Are Now Pushing Deeper Into The Syrian Capital Of Damascus

ISIS fighters push deeper into Syrian capital Damascus -- CBS/AP
Islamic State fights Syrian rebels and 'moves closer to central Damascus' -- The Telegraph
ISIS moves closer to central Damascus -- Al Arabiya/AFP
Daesh closes in on Damascus: activists -- Al Bawaba
Islamic State militants war with rival Syrian rebels in Damascus -- UPI
Islamic State moves closer than ever to centre of Damascus -- Middle East Eye

These Are The World Heritage Sites In Syria And Iraq That Are In Danger Of Being Destroyed



Washington Post: Map: There are 10 world heritage sites in Iraq and Syria. Nine are in danger

Satellite imagery released by the United Nations on Monday has confirmed that the Islamic State destroyed one of the most important ruins in the ancient city of Palmyra over the weekend.

The destruction of the 1st-century Temple of Bel appears to be part of a broader campaign by the group against not just Palmyra but a variety of ancient sites -- a campaign that appears to be motivated by both ideology and greed. Worse still, the Islamic State is only one part of a wider situation in Syria and Iraq where a number of important historical areas are considered at risk.

The situation is stark. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) lists 10 world heritage sites in Syria and Iraq. Of those 10, it says nine are currently in danger – and not just because of Islamic State vandalism.

WNU Editor: As I have said more than once in this blog .... a thousand years from now our descendent will look back at this period of time and wonder why we permitted this destruction.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 1, 2015

Soldiers from the People's Liberation Army training last week for the military parade. Credit Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Julie Makinen, L.A. Times: China is rattling nerves as it prepares to strut its military might

Amid florid pomp and extreme security measures, China on Thursday will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by staging a massive parade featuring tanks, aircraft and thousands of goose-stepping soldiers.

Chinese leaders say the spectacle is intended to “remember history and uphold peace,” but the weaponry display is already adding to grave concerns in the United States — as well as in Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere — about China’s military capabilities and intentions.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 1, 2015

As Economy Falters, Military Parade Offers Chance to Burnish China’s Image -- Andrew Jacobs, NYT

What Now for China’s Afghanistan Strategy? -- Andrew Small, The Diplomat

Can President Xi's September Visit Save US-China Relations? -- Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat

Gulf states pay price for intervention against Houthis in Yemen -- Caleb Weiss, Threat Matrix

Israel won't bomb Iran but US had nothing to do with it -- Geoffrey Aronson, Al Jazeera

The Iran Deal & the Missile Threat -- Russ Read, Real Clear Defense

Saudi king wants Obama to tackle Iranian 'mischief' -- Julian Pecquet, Al-Monitor

Meet the man trying to bring Iraq back from the brink -- Mohamad Bazzi, Reuters

Explosive accusations against Turkey are exposing a major problem for Obama -- Natasha Bertrand and Michael B Kelley, Business Insider

Is India really an emerging power? -- Shahid Javed Burki, Express Tribune

Why does South Sudan matter so much to the US? -- Karen Allen, BBC

Putin’s deceptive pause: What are Russia’s next steps in Ukraine? -- Marvin Kalb, Brookings

Greek election may reopen can of worms -- Hugo Dixon, Reuters

World economy 'in the hands of Fed' -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

For many refugees, journey to Europe begins on Facebook -- Reuters

World News Briefs -- September 1, 2015

Refugees and migrants disembark from the passenger ship 'Tera Jet', following their trip from the island of Lesbos to the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece September 1, 2015. REUTERS/ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS

Reuters: Greek ship ferries hundreds more migrants to mainland

A ship bringing about 1,800 migrants and refugees from an eastern Greek island to the port of Piraeus arrived on Tuesday night, the Greek coastguard said.

Greece has seen a spike in the number of refugees and migrants arriving on the islands by rubber dinghies via nearby Turkey this summer, with aid agencies estimating about 2,000 crossing over daily last month.

After a hiatus of a few days last week, Greek authorities on Saturday resumed carrying the refugees - mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - to the mainland by ship from the islands of Kos, Lesbos, Samos, Symi and Agathonissi.

Many then carry on their journeys across mainland Europe.

MIDDLE EAST

Islamic State battles Syrian rebel forces in Damascus.

Isil 'launch second chemical attack in Syrian town' say doctors.

Shots fired from IS-controlled territory in Syria kills Turkish soldier.

Isis is systematically destroying Palmyra, top antiquities official says.

Map: There are 10 world heritage sites in Iraq and Syria. Nine are in danger.

Riot police clear protesters occupying Beirut ministry.

Friendly fire from Saudi-led coalition kills seven in Yemen: tribal sources.

Iran vows to violate UN restrictions on ballistic missiles.

ASIA

U.S. drone kills six suspected militants in Pakistan.

Afghan president calls for 'holy war' against corruption.

Fresh factory data confirms slowdown in China's economy.

China's military parade draws Russian president, but few other major world leaders.

Karimov says no foreign military bases In Uzbekistan.

Nepal police kill protesters amid political unrest.

Bangkok bomb: Second foreign suspect arrested.

New Zealand's new flag: final four designs announced.

AFRICA

Somalia attack: Al-Shabab attacks African Union Janale base.

Nigeria military claims recapture of key town from Boko Haram.

Nigeria to start using drones to fight oil theft.

Libya's official government bans Yemenis, Iranians, Pakistanis from entry.

Two Malian soldiers killed at checkpoint in Timbuktu.

Congolese child soldiers to give evidence against ‘warlord’ Bosco Ntaganda at The Hague.

New Ebola death confirmed in Sierra Leone.

South Africa lawmakers reject bid to impeach Zuma over Bashir saga.

EUROPE

EU faces migrant crisis of 'biblical proportions' as Germany registers 3,500 new refugees in just one day.

Migrants stranded as Hungary bars them from rail station.

Two more Ukrainian guardsmen die from injuries after Kiev clashes.

Ukraine's Radical Party quits government in protest over decentralization bill.

Russian security chief says hotbeds of tension emerge near Russia's border — official.

Putin says dump dollar.

Greece's Syriza party lead shrinks further in election race: poll.

Pope Francis tells priests to pardon women who have abortions.

AMERICAS

Obama nearing deal with Congress over Iran. Iran nuclear deal poised to go ahead after key Democratic votes secured.

Hillary Clinton may have broken US secrecy rules with emails from Tony Blair and Downing Street.

Canada officially in recession in first half of 2015.

Canada files charges against Syrian officer in CIA rendition case.

Guatemala's Congress strips President Perez' immunity amid graft scandal.

Brazil police charge former top Lula aide for four crimes.

August heat: 6 cops shot, 103 people killed by police in US.

US murder rate sees sharp increase in 2015.

US Olympic committee picks Los Angeles for 2024 bid.

Venezuela prison fire: Tocuyito blaze kills 17.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US launches secret drone war against Islamic State in Syria.

Former CIA director Petraeus wants to use Al-Qaeda to fight ISIS – report.

US open to Russian involvement in Anti-ISIL coalition.

Pentagon team to assess South Carolina site for Gitmo detainees.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall St. turbulence returns as weak China data magnifies fear.

Google reveals new logo for mobile world.

Oil retreats more than $5 on weak data, eroding 25 percent rally.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 1, 2015

China's President Xi Jinping is set to roll out a new command structure that will solidify his control of the country's armed forces. In this photo, a picture of Xi seen behind soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army marching during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War Two, at a military base in Beijing, China on Aug 22, 2015. Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Bloomberg: China's President Xi Solidifies Power with Overhaul of Military

President Xi Jinping will as soon as this month announce the most sweeping overhaul of the Chinese military in at least three decades, moving it closer to a U.S.-style joint command structure, people familiar with the matter said.

The blueprint would unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the proposal hasn’t been released. The plans call for thinning the ranks of officers and traditional ground forces, helping elevate the role of the navy and air force, to better project force in a modern conflict, they said.

It would also consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four, one of the people said.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 1, 2015

Xi Jinping To Overhaul China's Military Structure To Solidify Control: Report -- IBTimes

30 Heads of State Will Watch China’s Military Parade Next Week -- The Diplomat

Revealed: China’s Secret Censorship Instructions for Its Military Parade -- The Diplomat


China's Largest Drone, The Rainbow 5, Makes Its Maiden Flight -- IBTimes

Revealed: China for the First Time Publicly Displays 'Guam Killer' Missile -- The Diplomat

China previews new ballistic missiles in practices for 3 September parade -- IHS Jane's 360

China Is World's Third Largest Fighter Aircraft Exporter: Russian Think Tank -- Defense World

Here's why North Korea's decrepit submarine force still freaks out the South -- Jeremy bender, Business Insider

Iran is going on a massive military shopping spree in Russia -- Business insider/AEI

Russian jets spotted off Sweden's east coast -- The Local

Russia's Most Anachronistic Warship Is Getting an Overhaul -- Moscow Times

Russia’s Newest Grom Smart Bombs Unveiled at MAKS 2015 -- Sputnik

Unpeaceful ATOM: Russia Rolls Out Killer Armored Vehicle -- Sputnik

North Korea Stands No Chance of Defeating US, South – Carter -- Sputnik

Is Germany's Military Dying? -- Kyle Mizokami, National Interest

U.S. military deploys drones to Latvia on training mission -- Reuters

Ukrainian Defense Ministry requests $4 bln spending for 2016 -- ITAR-TASS

Russian security chief: Atlantic and Arctic are Russia's maritime policy priorities -- ITAR-TASS

Obama vows to close 'icebreaker gap' with Russia -- RT

Invisible Cloak for Military UAV’s, I’ll Have Some -- Armed with Science

Air Force Official Predicts Private Launches for Military Satellites -- WSJ

Obama Navy chief fires back at GOP -- Politico

Pentagon chief Carter, in folksy talks, describes US military of future on his own terms -- US News and World Report

Special ops brace for release of tell-all book -- The Hill

The first airman since the Vietnam War could soon receive the military’s highest honor -- Washington Post

New MOH? AFSOC to recommend upgrading airman's Air Force Cross -- Air Force Times

Colonel Removed Over Accusations of Kissing Spouses, Poor Leadership -- Military.com

A bigger navy and the spirit of 2007 -- Bryan McGrath, War On The Rocks

The Ultimate Weapon: Nuclear Armed Battleships? -- Kyle Mizokami, National Interest

Major African Union Base In Somalia Overrun By Al Shabaab Fighters. Reports That 50 Peacekeepers Were Killed



Reuters: Al Shabaab raids Somali African Union base, many killed

Al Shabaab militants stormed an African Union base in southern Somalia on Tuesday, where they say they killed 50 peacekeepers, in what the AU mission called a "heinous" attack.

The al Qaeda-aligned militants said one of their fighters rammed a car bomb into the base, in Janale, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu, and then gunmen poured inside.

The African Union peacekeeping mission, known as AMISOM, did not immediately release casualty figures for the attack, which came roughly a year after al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S. air strike.

Al Shabaab often exaggerates the success of its attacks, and officials played down losses. But Somalia-focused diplomatic sources said the death toll was expected to be "very large".

WNU Editor: This was not a defeat .... this was a massacre.

More News On Today's Al Shabaab Attack On An African Union Base In Southern Somalia

Somali militants overrun base of African Union forces -- AP
Al Shabaab militants attack African Union base in Somalia -- AFP
Islamist Rebels Attack African Union Base in South Somalia -- Bloomberg
Al-Shabaab claims 'scores' killed in attack on AU troops -- News24
Shebab attack African Union base in Somalia -- New Vision
More than 20 African Union soldiers killed in al-Shabaab attack -- IBTimes
Shabaab bombs, takes second AU base -- News24

Iran: U.S. 'No.1 Enemy' Despite Nuclear Deal



New York Times: U.S. Remains the Great Satan, Hard-Liners in Iran Say

TEHRAN — Flexing their muscles, some of the toughest anti-American voices in Iran said on Tuesday that the United States remains their country’s top enemy, guilty of “uncountable” crimes. Their remarks hinted at a developing struggle over domestic influence because of the nuclear deal with world powers.

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced plans to expand the reach of Iran’s missiles and warned that despite the nuclear deal, America is still the “same Great Satan.”

General Jafari criticized advocates of improved ties, led by the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who has repeatedly said that his administration wants a better relationship with the United States.

Update: Iranian Guard chief says US 'still the Great Satan' -- AP

WNU Editor: No beating around the bushes on how they feel about the U.S..

Iran Now Wants Its Own Drone Program

An image posted Nov. 18, 2013, by Iran's state-controlled IRNA news agency shows the Islamic Republic's alleged new Fotros combat drone. IRNA

US News and World Report: Here Come Iran's Drones

The nuclear deal will likely free up money for Iran to advance its drone program.

The U.S. military recently concluded its annual two-week exercise known as Black Dart. Conducted every year since 2002, but only open to select media for the past two years, Black Dart brings together government, academic institutions and private companies to test out their latest technologies designed for a single objective: confronting and neutralizing an enemy unmanned aerial vehicle (or UAV, also known as a drone). Black Dart, at its core, is a manifestation of the military's recognition that the United States does not have a monopoly on the development or acquisition of drones – and that this technology has already made its way to the bad guys, even if ours is much more sophisticated than theirs.

American policymakers would be well-served to keep Black Dart in the back of their minds as they contemplate the Obama administration's deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

WNU Editor: It may take a certain period of time but with this nuclear deal Iran will definitely have the money .... and with the end of sanctions .... access to the technology.

US Military Is Developing 'Gremlin' Drones



Daily Mail: US military is developing 'Gremlin' drones to overwhelm enemy defenses and conduct missions too dangerous for manned aircraft

* Each drone could be reused upto 20 times
* Drones would 'swarm' together to carry out missions on the front line
* Launched in mid-air from larger aircraft and then retrieved in same way

They were the mischievous creatures blamed for causing mechanical failures and faults on aircraft during World War Two and later the destructive monsters in a hit film franchise.

So Gremlins might not seem like the first choice for a fleet of robotic aircraft being developed by the US military.

But the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing swarms of re-usable drone aircraft that can work together to perform a mission, which it has called the Gremlins program.

WNU Editor: This is an ambitious program .... but if it works it will definitely assist military operations.

More News On The U.S. Miltiary Wanting "Gremlin Drones"

Full-Scale Military Drone Operation Confirmed By US DARPA Gremlin Program -- Huffington Post
The Military Wants Gremlins As Its New Drones -- Inverse
DARPA pursues launching dozens of drones from bombers, fighters and drone carriers -- Next Big Future

CIA Launches Secret Drone Campaign To Target Islamic State Leaders In Syria

Image from The Register.

Washington Post: U.S. launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria

The CIA and U.S. special operations forces have launched a secret campaign to hunt terrorism suspects in Syria as part of a targeted killing program that is run separately from the broader U.S. military offensive against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

The CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command are both flying armed drones over Syria in a collaboration responsible for several recent strikes against senior Islamic State operatives, the officials said. Among those killed was a British militant believed to be an architect of the terror group’s effort to use social media to incite attacks in the United States, the officials said.

WNU Editor: The U.S. has also launched a drone campaign in Syria against Al Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra .... U.S. drone strikes batter Jabhat al-Nusra (David Ignatius, Billings Gazette).

Islamic State Militants Have Destroyed The Ancient Temple Of Bel Mira in Palmyra



WSJ: U.N. Condemns Destruction of Ancient Palmyra Temple

Satellite photographs show 2,000-year-old temple completely demolished by Islamic State fighters

BEIRUT—The United Nations on Tuesday condemned the destruction of the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, a monument it called one of most important in the Middle East.

Initial reports indicated Islamic State fighters had partially destroyed the temple on Sunday using explosives. But late Monday, the U.N. Institute for Training and Research said the temple’s inner sanctuary and nearby columns had been entirely demolished.

“We can confirm destruction of the main building of the Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity,” the institute said, citing satellite photographs.

More News On The Islamic State Destroying The Ancient Temple Of Bel Mira in Pamlyrm

Satellite Images Show ISIS Destruction of Ancient Temple -- ABC News
IS militants destroy ancient Temple of Bel -- USA Today
UNESCO Chief: IS Destruction of Syrian Temple 'Intolerable' -- AP
How ISIS' demolition of a Syrian temple impacts the world -- Holly Yan, CNN
The fate of the temple of Bel is a symbol of the tragedy engulfing Syria -- Tom Holland, The Guardian
Photos: The 2,000-year-old temple you will never get to see because ISIL apparently blew it up -- Quartz
Why ISIS blew up Syria's iconic Bel temple -- Dominique Soguel, CSM

Israel's Mitznefet Helmet Cover Sold To The Ukraine Army

Israel has supplied Ukraine with an unusual helmet covering that hides the shape of a military helmet and stops light reflecting from its surface. Pictured: Israeli soldiers are shown wearing the mitznefet helmet covering during a march at the end of combat training in Jerusalem, July 23, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

IBTimes: East Ukraine War: Ukrainian Military Mitznefet Helmet Cover Delivered By Special Israeli Defense Force

The Ukrainian military is set to receive the unusual looking mitznefet military helmet cover, also known as the "clown hat," from the Israeli defense force, according to a report Tuesday from pro-Russian news site Sputnik. The supply of Israeli equipment to the Ukrainian military comes at a diplomatically sensitive time and is thought to be in response to Russia's decision to arm Iran, Israel's mortal enemy, with the advanced S-300 missile defense system.

WNU Editor: I know the geography of Ukraine .... this helmet cover is perfect for that environment. It also serves to send a message to Russia that there will be consequences in their missile sale to Iran.

Ceasefire Still 'Holding' In Eastern Ukraine

A man wearing a camouflage uniform walks with a child as they enter a school on the start of the new school year in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday. Children in the eastern rebel-held city of Donetsk attended their first day of school on Tuesday as a Kiev military spokesman said first signs were that parties to the Minsk ceasefire deal were adhering to the call for a more effective truce to mark the start of a new school year. ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS

Reuters: Big guns in east Ukraine fall silent, two more die from wounds in Kiev protests

A fragile truce between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists appeared to be holding on Tuesday as both sides made a renewed effort to silence their guns and make the much-abused ceasefire work.

Sporadic shelling and shooting, which each side has blamed on the other, had ensured a steadily mounting death toll despite the ceasefire called as part of a peace plan worked out in Minsk, Belarus, in February.

Government and separatist representatives agreed last week to strive to end all violations from Tuesday.

WNU Editor: The guns may be silent for the moment (more or less), but the Ukraine government is preparing for war .... Ukraine Military Defense Budget Seeks $4B In 2016 To Help Fight East Ukraine War (IBTimes).