Tag Archives: Military

CNN announces the use of 21,000lb massive MOAB bomb in Afghanistan..

CNN’s Barbara Star  breaks out that the bomb was dropped  in Nangahar Providence, Afghanistan by a US Air Force Spec Ops C-130….

The main effect of the weapon is the concussive air blast….

The effect of the bomb is widespread…(Up to a mile)

It has not been used in combat previously….

The target was a remote ISIS or other base or training camp close to Pakistan…

The Trump Admin led by the General’s are moving to be more aggressive military….

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈm.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United States military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory.[1] At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.[2] The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants….

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Another Trump change in directions…He NOW Supports NATO….

You KNEW this was coming ….

I pointed out early on that Trump would cahnge his tune when he hired on the ‘General’s’ to run his Defense/National Securoty shop……..

A few  of them have served a stint with NATO ….

Trump for expanding NATO. Not leavin it

Source…..

Note….

Defense Sec mattis WAS  the head of the US Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation which was part of the US military link to NATO for 2 years….

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Def Sec Mattis wants his own team…

And that  means mostly people who served under President Obama…

Trump people ain’t happy….

Mattis isn’t political…But he’ll HAVE to learn to be….

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Defense Secretary James Mattis’ unconventional choices for top Pentagon posts and his reluctance to aggressively push for dramatic increases in the defense budget have rankled Republicans on Capitol Hill who say he’s burning through political capital he needs as he begins reshaping the Pentagon.

Mattis was widely embraced on both sides of the aisle when President Donald Trump nominated him. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed hope that the retired four-star general would be a moderating force on the volatile commander in chief.

But Republican lawmakers and senior congressional aides said in recent interviews they’re running out of patience with Mattis’ staffing decisions, which have disappointed Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee hoping to see their ideological allies elevated to senior levels in the Defense Department. Others are grumbling about Mattis’ refusal to advocate a bigger increase in the defense budget, which defense hawks believe was gutted disastrously under President Barack Obama.

“He certainly has got a tough job, but it sometimes feels like he forgets that we won the election,” said one aide to a GOP senator on the Armed Services Committee, who declined to speak on the record for fear of publicly alienating the defense secretary….

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image…Sl;ate

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Trump Admin follows Obama script in African military policy action…

This should be NO surprise since just about the all the  Trump Admin Pentagon bosses served under President Obama….

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American Special Ops ‘advisors’ are on the ground in more than seven countries and those and other countries have asked more…

The global reach of special operators is widening. During the peak of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 Special Operations forces were deployed on missions across the globe, but a large majority were assigned to those two countries. Now, more than half of the 8,600 elite troops overseas are posted outside the Middle East or South Asia, operating in 97 countries, according to the Special Operations Command.

Still, about one-third of the 6,000 American troops currently in Iraq and Syria are special operators, many of whom are advising local troops and militias on the front lines. About a quarter of the 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan are special operators.

In Africa, about one-third of the nearly 6,000 overall troops are Special Operations forces. The only permanent American installation on the continent is Camp Lemonnier, a sprawling base of 4,000 United States service members and civilians in Djibouti that serves as a hub for counterterrorism operations and training. The United States Air Force flies surveillance drones from small bases in Niger and Cameroon.

Elsewhere in Africa, the roles of special operators are varied, and their ranks are small, typically measured in the low dozens for specific missions. Between 200 and 300 Navy SEALs and other special operators work with African allies to hunt shadowy Shabab terrorists in Somalia. As many as 100 Special Forces soldiers help African troops pursue the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. And Navy SEALs are training Nigerian commandos for action in the oil-rich delta.

The United States is building a $50 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, that is likely to open sometime next year to monitor Islamic State insurgents in a vast area on the southern flank of the Sahara that stretches from Senegal to Chad.

Mr. Trump’s tough talk on terrorism has been well received here in Chad, where American Special Operations and military instructors from several Western nations finished an annual three-week counterterrorism training exercise last week.

Many African soldiers and security forces said they would welcome an even larger United States military presence to help combat myriad extremist threats. “Of course we’d like more,” said Hassan Zakari Mahamadou, a police commissioner from Niger. “U.S. forces enhance us.”

The Pentagon has allocated about $250 million over two years to help train the armies and security forces of North, Central and West African countries.

But American aid and training alone — along with occasional secret unilateral strikes — will not be enough to defeat groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State, officials say…..

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image…The Huffington Post

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Syria fires missiles at Israeli warplanes on bombing run IN Syria…

Wait?

America has troops IN Syria helping efforst against ISIS?

The Russian’s have troops in Syria also?

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The US is tight with Israel which sometimes quietly makes bombing runs INTO Syria to blast stockpiles for the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian group fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad….

Confusing?

The sounds of two distinct booms could be heard in Jerusalem soon after the arrival of the Syrian projectiles. The incoming missiles also set off warning sirens in the Jordan Valley, home to the ancient city of Jericho as well Palestinian farming villages and Jewish settlements.

Over the past five years, Israeli jets have from time to time struck what Israeli military analysts describe as weapons caches and convoys of arms being transferred from Syrian stockpiles to the ­Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war possibly winds down, Hezbollah could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.could receive a windfall in sophisticated arms from Assad and Iran. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006, and both sides say they are prepared for another.

Israel also occupies two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli officials say they will never return the territory to Syria.

Israel reported no injuries or damage to its pilots or aircraft. The Israeli army did not reveal the target of its overnight airstrikes. Israel’s Channel 10 said the mission was to destroy a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah.

Syria’s military and media said the Israelis hit sites in central ­Syria near Palmyra, and claimed that Syria’s antiaircraft batteries had downed an Israeli jet. “Our air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the Syrian army said in a statement reported by state news agency Sana….

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image….The American Conservative

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Is Trump slow walking America into a war with North Korea?

There IS No doubt that North Korea is the number ONE danger point on the planet….

The country HAS nukes….

The country is testing ballistic missile ‘s….

The country IS POOR….

But saber rattling against North Korea is a VERY HIGH stakes gamble….

Seoul, South Korea (20 Million people) is well within range of North Korea’s missile range….

North Korea has a large military….

American has 50,000 troops in South Korea….

And a large military campaign into North Korea would put America BACK to the latter part of World War II, in a two front war situation….

NOT a GOOD LOOK….

The Trump administration gave its clearest signal yet that it would consider taking military action against North Korea, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that “all options are on the table” to deter the threat from Pyongyang.

Tensions are running high in Northeast Asia, with North Korea making observable progress toward its goal of building a missile that could reach the U.S. mainland and China incensed over South Korea’s decision to deploy an American antimissile battery.

Tillerson’s remarks, ruling out diplomatic talks and leaving the door open to military action, will fuel fears in the region that the Trump administration is seriously considering what Washington euphemistically calls “kinetic” options.

“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Seoul with Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister. He was referring to the Obama administration policy of trying to wait North Korea out, hoping that sanctions would prove so crippling that Pyongyang would have no choice but to return to denuclearization negotiations.

“We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson said. While the United States does not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response,” he added.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said.

Hours later, Trump decried North Korea’s defiance and also took aim at China, the North’s main patron. “North Korea is behaving very badly,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”….

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The General’s want State Dept assistance for worldwide terrorist campaign…

Contrary to how the White House guys Trump Aides Bannon and Miller feel?

The General’s running the miliotary side of the government realize that they NEED diplomatic assiatnce to balance their military actions in the fight across the Middle East and Africa….

Image result for gen votel

Right Now?

The State Dept under Rex Tillerson is understaffed and just about invisible ….

‘Soft Power’ IS needed to compliment the military ‘iron fist’…..

Know your history….

If President Donald Trump wants to “start winning wars again,” he would do well to fund the State Department’s non-military work in the Middle East and Africa and plan for long-term political solutions, the two top U.S. commanders leading the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups those regions told Congress .

One week after Trump released his first budget request — which would shift $54 billion to the Pentagon’s budget next year with a commensurate slash in foreign aid and domestic non-defense spending — Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, of U.S. Africa Command, offered a robust defense of soft power engagement before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We could knock off all the ISIL and Boko Haram this afternoon; but by the end of the week, so to speak, those ranks would be filled,” said Waldhauser, in a Thursday hearing. “Many people, especially those in uniform, have said we can’t kill our way to victory here.”

“The short answer is no, we cannot [win the war without soft power],” he said.

Since releasing his budget request for fiscal year 2018, Trump has pledged to “totally obliterate” ISIS, and said “we don’t fight to win,” and “we have to start winning wars again.” But in the hearing today and in other public remarks senior U.S. generals have said the same thing previous top war commanders have said for many years about fighting terrorism — they believe that success requires more than a quick military campaign.

“A solely military response is not sufficient,…

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image of  Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command…military.com

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Air Force to extend KC-135’s in addition to KC-46 buys….

Like the B-52 US Air Force Bomber?

The KC-135, Aerial tanker which is based on the old B -707 will be carrying crews that are younger than the airplane itself…..

Money and time for the newer KC-46, Aerial tanker, which is baased on the B-767……means that the 135’s are ATILL needed for at least another 20+ years….

‘If it ain’t broke, eh?’

Boeing to miss deadline on KC-46 tanker, no delivery till 2018

Retiring KC-135s would not automatically mean more cash for KC-46s because the Defense Department cannot easily transfer money between its operations and maintenance (O&M) and procurement accounts, Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, points out.

“The fundamental conundrum of Defense Department procurement is [that] procurement and O&M accounts don’t talk to each other,” says Aboulafia, adding that Gen. Everhart “is just being realistic.”

Modernizing the KC-135 instead of buying more KC-46s also allows the Air Force to add capacity in the near term, notes Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. If the Air Force needs more tankers right now, adding KC-46s will not help because the additional aircraft will not be available until near the end of the current production schedule in the 2020s, he says.

Boeing’s next-generation KC-46 assembly line
The Air Force will begin to field Boeing’s next-generation KC-46 Pegasus by the end of 2017. Credit: Boeing

In the meantime, the Air Force wants to make sure the KC-135 workhorse can survive on a dynamic future battlefield…

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Note…..

As one of the commenters said to this Avuiakltion Week piece ?

Upgrading the KC-135 will probably cost the same as buying  new KC-46’s…

But the 135s are already physically here…

B-52’s will be around for another 20 years probably….

image….Boeing KC-46 tanker (left) flying alongside the older KC-135 © / AFP

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More American Combat Troops arrive in Syria…

The new arrivals are NOT just military advisers ….

They are US Army Rangers combat troops.and US Marine artillery  fire units…

They are there to help in the final fighting against ISIS forces in last hold out cities….

The mission of the additional troops will be to help Syrian fighters prepare for the offensive on Islamic State forces in Raqqa. They will provide artillery support, training and protection for improvised explosives, among other efforts, Colonel Dorrian said.

The decision to deploy artillery mimics the approach taken in Mosul, Iraq, where American and French artillery have been supporting the Iraqi offensive to take the western half of the city.

In the case of Raqqa, the idea is that Syrian forces will do the bulk of the fighting on the ground but that Americans will assist them by providing advisers as well as firepower.

The United States is already carrying out airstrikes in Syria and has deployed surface-to-surface rockets in the northern part of the country. Before he left office, President Barack Obama approved the use of a small number of Apache attack helicopters, and they are expected to be part of the Raqqa operation, as well. Now, Marine artillery is being added to the mix….

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J-Stars could be going smaller via a GulfStream 550….

The Israel’s and Brits have similar sized military aircraft working in the business jet configuration doing the surviance work….

Image result for Grumman JStars

Northrop Grumman has settled on a Gulfstream G550 business jet proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s J-Stars recap competition, and submitted its bid to the service March 2.

Northrop, along with its partners Gulfstream and L3 Technologies, is the first of three potential teams to publicly acknowledge that it has submitted its bid for the J-Stars recap. Proposals were due to the Air Force March 2. Lockheed Martin is working with Bombardier on a proposal based on the Canadian company’s Global 6000 business jet; meanwhile, Boeing is offering a modified version of its 737-700 commercial airliner.

Northrop had been considering basing its J-Stars bid on the G650, a slightly bigger airframe, but decided the G550 was the “right-sized” platform for the program due to its performance and maturity, Northrop J-Stars lead Alan Metzger told Aviation Week March 2.

“We believe the G550 is the best-performing aircraft with the best balance of cost schedule and risk to go with that,” Metzger said.

The launch of the $6.9 billion competition for 17 J-Stars aircraft has been a long time coming. The industry solicitation was held up due to statutory language that would have compelled the Air Force to pursue a fixed-price contract; the service finally issued the request for proposals in December after the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer waived the language. Meanwhile, the competitors have been working to mature their proposals under risk reduction contracts for several years now.

Northrop settled on a business jet rather than an airliner because a smaller airframe allows operations in more locations around the world, while at the same time affording substantially less fuel burn than other platforms and subsequently lower life cycle cost, Metzger said….

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As Germany starts to rearm…Old feelings stir….

The signal from American Defense Sec Mattis was blunt….

NATO countries need to increase Defense spending…..

The signal from Trump and his close advisor Bannon even more more blunt…..

America would try to get cozy with the Russians at the cost of agreements with Europe….

VP Pence, Defenese Sec Mattis and Sec of State Tillerson have gone out their ways to assure the Europeans that their boss diddn’t mean it when he said bad things about NATO and Europe….

But the doubts are there…..

Germany is the workhorse economy of Europe….

The same country that has shied away from military power now finds itself turning back to re-arm….

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As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on allied nations to shoulder more of their own defense, no country is more in the crosshairs than Germany. If it meets the goals Washington is pushing for, Germany — the region’s economic powerhouse — would be on the fast track to again become Western Europe’s biggest military power.

Any renaissance of German might has long been resisted first and foremost by the Germans — a nation that largely rejected militarism in the aftermath of the Nazi horror. Yet a rethinking of German power is quickly emerging as one of the most significant twists of President Trump’s transatlantic policy.

Since the November election in the United States, the Germans — caught between Trump’s America and Vladimir Putin’s Russia — are feeling less and less secure. Coupled with Trump’s push to have allies step up, the Germans are debating a military buildup in a manner rarely witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Perhaps nowhere is the prospect of a new future playing out more than here in Lithuania — where nearly 500 German troops, including a Bavarian combat battalion, arrived in recent weeks for an open-ended deployment near the Russian frontier. The NATO deployment marks what analysts describe as Germany’s most ambitious military operation near the Russian border since the end of the Cold War. It arrived with a formidable show of German force — including 20 Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles, six Leopard battle tanks and 12 Fuchs and Boxer armored personnel carriers.

“Maybe, with respect to the United States, you need to be careful what you wish for,” said Lt. Col. Torsten Stephan, military spokesman for the German troops in Lithuania. “Mr. Trump says that NATO may be obsolete, and that we need to be more independent. Well, maybe we will.”

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US Air Force to stand down Predator Drones….

The Predor will be replaced by Reaper drones  which can carry more ‘equipment’  for different missions for a longer period of time…

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As the Air Force moves to an all MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted combat aircraft fleet, it will officially retire the MQ-1 Predator in 2018, the service announced last week.

To prepare, some units — such as the 20th Attack Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri — will halt flight operations July 1.

“Right now, the plan is to stop flying the MQ-1 in 2018, and that means we need to get transitioned this year,” the 20th Attack Squadron commander, identified only as  Lt. Col. James, said in a release. “As part of that, we are going to stop flying the MQ-1 completely by July 1, 2017. We will gradually stand up our number of combat lines on the MQ-9 so by the end of the year we are only an MQ-9 squadron.”

The Air Force has 93 Reapers and 150 Predators in its inventory. Both aircraft are made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego.

Moving from the MQ-1 — which proved itself as a strike and surveillance platform early on in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been in service for more than 20 years — to the larger MQ-9 streamlines the force, according to the 432nd Operations Group commander, identified as Col. Joseph in the release.

“Having a single aircraft buys more flexibility, simplifies training and logistics, and gives our people more [career progression] opportunities,”….

Note….

I wonder where almost 100 decommissioned Predators are gonna end up?

The US Army also has aversion of the Predator called the Grey Eagle….

image…Comparison of the smaller Predator vs Larger Reaper drones…YouTube

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Sweden has brough back a military draft…..

Sweden is NOT part of NATO…..

But US Defense Sec has warned  Europe that they need to increase their own Defense posture….

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Sweden has voted to reintroduce military conscription by 1 July after struggling to fill army ranks on a voluntary basis, citing increased Russian military activity in the Baltics as one of the reasons for the policy U-turn.

In 2010, Sweden’s centre-right government of the time abolished the draft after more than 100 years, arguing that targeted recruitment would increase the quality of a military that had shrunk by more than 90% since the end of the cold war….

….

The defence minister said the move was in response to a deteriorating security environment in Europe. “We have had trouble staffing the military units on a voluntary basis and that needs to be addressed somehow,” Peter Hultqvist, the minister, told public service radio.

A resurgent Russia and tensions over the battle in Ukraine have prompted politicians to consider bolstering military capability while addressing the shortfall of people willing to pursue a career as a professional soldier.

The lack of military preparedness has been exposed in recent years, such as when Russian warplanes carrying out a mock bombing run on Sweden in 2013 caught air defences off guard.

Sweden is not a Nato member but has signed the organisation’s partnership for peace programme, which was launched in 1994 to develop military cooperation between Nato and non-member countries….

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image..International Business Times

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Defense Sec Mattis wants to cut the Pentagon’s bureaucracy…

Below the radar the Defense Sec and retired Gnereal wants to try find fat he can cut from the largest cabinet organiztion in the US Government….

The push goes back to the Obama Admin and Robert Gates….

In a pair of memos to his deputy last Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis signaled his readiness for battle against an especially entrenched foe—the department’s sprawling bureaucracy.

Both memos support requirements in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and aim to address concerns on Capitol Hill about Pentagon efficiency. In one memo, Mattis asked Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work to lead a broad review of the department’s business operations with an eye to centralizing some functions now handled separately by the military services. “We have sometimes allowed our focus on service uniqueness to extend into business operations, leading to duplication of effort and costs we can no longer afford,” Mattis wrote.

Work certainly has a decent blueprint for his starting point (something Mattis pointed out in his directive): the Defense Business Board’s 2015 study “Transforming DoD’s Core Business Processes for Revolutionary Change,” which Work supported.

It appears that virtually everything is now on the table….

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Iraqi Military effort to retake Western Mosul steps off….

Defense Sec Mattis is now the guy to oversee the American and Western efforts (Advisors and some Military air/inelligence and equipment assistance) to help the Iraqi military reclaim Western Mosul from the forces of ISIS as they push ISIS back further from terriotoral gains it had made in its past….

Obama’s military stewardship over th effort had been making staedy gains…

The overall push to free Mosul, once Iraq’s second-largest city, began in October, with local troops pushing from the east into the city’s geographically larger, but more sparsely populated, eastern half. In late January, they reached the banks of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul, and declared the city’s eastern section liberated.

The operation took longer than expected and took a high toll on civilians and the Iraqi forces, but much of the city’s infrastructure was preserved, and a sense of daily life has returned. That is in contrast to the operations to take back other cities from ISIS, including Ramadi and Sinjar, which were laid waste by airstrikes. More than a year since it was freed, not even the mayor of Sinjar has been able to return.

The fight for Mosul’s western half could be even more protracted than for its east. The west is home to neighborhoods of narrow streets, some so small that it will not be possible for Iraqi troops to enter them in their fortified Humvees. That may make the Islamic State’s signature suicide bomb attacks even more effective….

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the American-led effort against the Islamic State, in a news release from United States Central Command that announced the beginning of the long-anticipated operation. Some of the 450 American advisers on the ground in Iraq are helping Iraqi officers plan and execute the offensive in western Mosul….

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Note….

With Trump’s No Enter Muslim Ban stopped Iraqi’s who have helped the American military in the past are again coming to the safety of America after their service …

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Pakistan doubles it’s effort against militants…

Pakistan has been reluctant in the past to go after some of the Taliban militants that go back and forth over their biorders into Afghanistan….

Drone stricks by American aircraft where criticized in that couuntry even though its military rountinly allowed the drone program to go on…

Just hours after a deadly blast killed at least 70 people and wounded more than 150 others at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan Thursday, the country’s military issued a series of tweets vowing “no more restraint for anyone.”

On Friday, about 100 suspected militants were killed and dozens more arrested in raids across Pakistan, according to Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan’s military spokesman.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a porous border that militants have crossed easily for years. Two major groups have been involved in recent attacks inside Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban and its offshoots and an ISIS affiliate. The Pakistani Taliban, which takes refuge in Afghanistan, has links to, but is distinct from, the Taliban operating inside Afghanistan. The ISIS affiliate, which claimed Thursday’s attack, is present in Nangarhar, the eastern Afghan province. Pakistan reportedly launched an assault on the area Friday.

Pakistani military authorities also said Friday they handed over a list of 76 militants present in Afghanistan, demanding their extradition. The names on the list weren’t made public, but in the past Pakistan has said members of the Pakistani Taliban, including its chief, Mullah Fazlullah, are in Afghanistan. It’s unclear if the Afghan military can do anything about it. Although the Afghan government controls Kabul and many other large cities, the Taliban and its allies enjoy wide support in more rural parts of the country, and, indeed, control large parts of Afghanistan….

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