Monday, January 23, 2017

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 23, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Anthony Cowden, RCD: Trump’s Theory of Foreign Relations

President Donald Trump has so far confounded those looking for a theoretical underpinning to his worldview and approach to foreign policy. His statements so far have provided too little information to pigeonhole his approach in any of the existing models of grand strategy (Primacy, Liberal Internationalism, Balance of Power, or Strategic Restraint), although it is now clear from the inaugural that his overriding theory of foreign relations will be "America First." A Trump administration grand strategy can be best understood as emanating from the process of deal-making.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 23, 2017

How to work in the new administration when you don’t agree with Trump -- Peter Van Buren, Reuters

With Trump, a VERY DIFFERENT presidency. Exciting! -- Peter Apps, Reuters

The Numbers Are In: Fake News Didn't Work -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Trump and the Press Live in Interesting Times -- Albert Hunt, Bloomberg

The White House Can't Easily Repair Its Relationship With the Media -- Clare Foran, The Atlantic

The Losers of 2016 -- Walter Russel Mead, American Interest

Syria Peace Talks: Why Were Some Nations Invited and Others Not? -- Alexey Eremenko and Ziad Jaber, NBC

China’s Debt-Trap Diplomacy -- Brahma Chellaney, Project Syndicate

Gambia's ex-president finally steps down – but takes riches with him -- Jason Thomson, Christian Science Monitor

The Fall of Africa’s Loneliest Despot -- Louise Hunt and Ty McCormick, Foreign Policy Magazine

The Gambia's Jammeh may be gone but life is far from normal -- Alastair Leithead, BBC

Moscow's School of Hard Knocks: Key Pillars of Russian Strategy -- M. Kofman, War on the Rocks

Why Does the EU Get Such a Bad Rap? -- Ullrich Fichtner, Spiegel Online

Something’s Got to Give in Venezuela -- Allison Fedirka, Geopolitical Futures

Dear Allies: The Free Ride Is Over -- Harvey M. Sapolsky, National Interest

World News Briefs -- January 23, 2017 (Evening Edition)



Washington Post: President Trump signs order to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Trump began recasting America’s role in the global economy Monday, canceling an agreement for a sweeping trade deal with Asia that he once called a “potential disaster.”

Trump signed the executive order formally ending the United States’ participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Oval Office after discussing American manufacturing with business leaders in the Roosevelt Room. The order was largely symbolic — the deal was already essentially dead in Congress — but served to signal that Trump’s tough talk on trade during the campaign will carry over to his new administration.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

White House opens door to cooperation with Russian in Syria.

First day of Syria peace talks in Astana ends ‘without breakthrough’. Talks on Syria's civil war off to a rocky start.

Harsh exchanges make for a rocky start to latest Syria talks.

Iraq army 'takes' east Mosul from ISIL.

Iraqi general's tour suggests tough fight ahead in west Mosul.

Yemeni loyalists seize Red Sea port of Mokha.

Egypt extends Yemen military participation, amid reports of first Trump drone strike.

Israel approves settlement homes following Trump inauguration.

In 'very warm' phone call, Donald Trump invites Benjamin Netanyahu to US.

ASIA

White House warns China on trade, South China Sea. U.S. says will prevent China taking over territory in international waters.

Senior Chinese diplomat: China will assume world leadership if needed.

China urges Trump administration to grasp importance of 'one China'.

Taliban hint at opening with Trump as they seek departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Taliban tells new U.S. President Trump to quit Afghanistan.

Philippines tells outsiders not to use ASEAN as 'proxy' for rivalry.

South Korea ministry apologises over artists' blacklist.

China birth rate up after one-child rule change.

Japanese government panel leans to one-off law for emperor's abdication.

AFRICA

UN Security Council renews call for more troops in South Sudan.

Trump committed to Egypt military assistance.

Ivory Coast hit by fresh protests in wake of mutiny.

Gambia poised for arrival of new president Adama Barrow.

Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'looted $11 million in two weeks:' Official. The Gambia 'missing millions' after Jammeh flies into exile.

Egypt: Attackers kill five soldiers in Sinai Peninsula.

Libya, neighbors hold talks in Cairo to end country’s crisis.

Mauritius: PM Anerood Jugnauth to hand over to son.

Police commander killed in attack in Somalia's middle Shebelle region.

EUROPE

Trident: Defence Secretary refuses to give test missile details.

UK PM Theresa May puts NATO on agenda for Trump meeting amid transatlantic rift. British leader to meet with Trump to discuss trade, NATO.

Putin’s spokesman says still early to speak of 2018 presidential election in Russia.

Merkel vows compromise with U.S. on trade, military spending.

OSCE to monitor Karabakh line of contact - Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry.

France election: Hamon and Valls in run-off for Socialist candidacy.

In generation shift, Sinn Fein names O'Neill as Northern Ireland leader.

Dutch PM Rutte: 'If you don't like it here, then leave'.

Greece's Supreme Court delays ruling on Turkish fugitive soldiers.

AMERICAS

Tillerson heading for confirmation as secretary of state. Republicans move toward confirming CIA, State Dept picks.

Trump aide reassures Canada on trade talks, isolating Mexico.

Donald Trump signs three executive orders.

Trump reinstates ban on US funds promoting abortion overseas.

Trump begins first week reaching out to Congress, world leaders. Trump calls on business leaders. Trump gets down to business, prepares to sign order withdrawing US from trade deal. Trump to 'massively' cut taxes and regulation.

GOP senators pitch plan that would let some states keep Obamacare.

Mexican president calls Canada's Trudeau ahead of NAFTA talks.

Trump must conform with constitution or he will be removed, ex Bush adviser Richard Painter says.

White House vows to fight media 'tooth and nail' over Trump coverage.

US lawmakers call for action on Venezuela food corruption.

Venezuela's opposition revives anti-Maduro protests.

Mexico deports 91 Cubans after U.S. ends 'wet foot, dry foot'.

El Chapo: US prosecutors seek $14bn seizure from drug lord.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Suspected US drone strikes kill three al-Qaida suspects in Yemen, officials say.

This is how monetary policy works in The Islamic State.

Trump staff, properties face terror risk with presidency.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Trump signs executive order withdrawing US from TPP trade deal. Trump withdraws US from 12-nation Pacific rim trade deal.

Samsung blames battery design for Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

Trump says Nafta 'renegotiations' with Mexico and Canada to start.

Trans Pacific Partnership could be reworked without Donald Trump's support, expert says.

U.S. President Trump Speaks With Egyptian President Sisi

Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in New York, Sept. 19, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

The Hill: Egypt's leader, Trump speak

President Trump spoke by phone Monday morning with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, according to the White House.

The phone call is among Trump’s first to a foreign leader as president.

It comes after a weekend conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The talks come as Trump is considering whether to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Such a move would please several American Jewish groups, but it could provoke Egypt and other Arab allies of the U.S.

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More News On Today's Phone Cnversation Between U.S. President Trump Speaks And Egyptian President Sisi

Trump, Sisi discuss fighting terrorism in phone call -- Reuters
Donald Trump Speaks With Egyptian President Sisi -- WSJ
Trump committed to Egypt military assistance: White House -- AFP
US committed to its military aid to Egypt, Trump tells Sisi -- Ahram Online
Trump, Egypt’s Al-Sisi Discuss Ways to Fight Terrorism, Deepen Relationship -- Sputnik

The Cost Of The U.S.-Led Air Campaign Against The Islamic State Is Now $11 Billion

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 134th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron takes off at the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, Dec. 29, 2016. The 134th EFS is flying combat missions for Operation Inherent Resolve to support and enable Iraqi Security Forces’ efforts with capabilities provided by the fighter squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson)

DoD Buzz: Cost of Air War Against ISIS Climbs to $11 Billion: Pentagon

The cost of the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State has climbed to nearly $11 billion since its inception, the latest figures show.

By the end of 2016, the Defense Department had spent $10.72 billion on Operation Inherent Resolve since the mission began in June 2014, up from $5.5 billion for the period ending the previous year.

The Air Force shouldered about two-thirds of the costs, or more than $6 billion. The Army accounted for 17 percent; the Navy, 12 percent; and Special Operations Command, 8 percent.

Roughly 40 percent of all costs went to air support in the counterinsurgency fight, with more than 17,000 strikes launched to date. Munitions accounted for 22 percent of overall costs; logistical support was at 19 percent.

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WNU Editor: $11 billion and climbing.

Media Reports Are Circulating That Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Has Been Injured In An Airstrike

The only known video footage al-Baghdadi is from a sermon he gave in 2014

Daily Mail: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 'critically injured in air strikes in northern Iraq'

* ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said to have been critically injured in airstrike
* Comes amid reports a fanatic in charge of executing women has been killed
* Abu Abdel Rahman killed by unknown gunman in Mosul, security source claims
* Source claims he was assassinated by gunmen who killed him 'right on the spot'

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been 'critically injured' in air strikes in northern Iraq, it has been claimed.

The terror mastermind is said to have been wounded after a bombing raid in Al-Ba'aj, it has been reported locally.

However, it is not the first time claims have emerged that al-Baghdadi has been either hurt or killed and there has yet to be official confirmation.

Read more ....

Update: Is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Alive? ISIS Leader's Health, US Airstrike Subject Of Conflicting Reports (IBTimes)

WNU Editor: The Pentagon is denying these reports (link is here).

The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates January 23, 2017



Al Jazeera: Iraq army denies taking east Mosul from ISIL

Army retracts earlier announcement that its troops have retaken all of eastern Mosul from ISIL rebels.

The Iraqi defence ministry has issued a statement retracting an earlier claim in which it announced the "liberation of the eastern part of Mosul" from ISIL, calling it a "mistake".

On its website on Monday, the army said that the armed forces succeeded in liberating the left bank of the city completely, "after inflicting heavy losses in lives and equipment to the enemy".

However, in a later statement on Monday the defence ministry said that the 9th and 16th army brigades were still locked in fierce battles against ISIL in the Rashidiya district, while Iraqi troops were still clearing other neighbourhoods and clashing with pockets of ISIL fighters.

Iraqi military sources told Al Jazeera that ISIL still has a presence in the forest area on the banks of the Tigris River.

Read more ....

The Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates January 23, 2017

Iraqi forces take complete control of east Mosul -- Reuters
IS expel residents to defend river bank in Mosul -- AFP
Coalition warplanes take out Islamic State fleet in Mosul -- USA Today
Watch a US-led airstrike wipe out an ISIS escape route amid the fighting in Mosul -- Business Insider
In Mosul battle, Iraq forces face fewer IS-planted bombs -- AFP
U.S.-backed forces brace for ISIS' last stand in Iraq -- CBS
Iraq: Embedded with French special forces in Mosul -- France 24
Iraq premier orders probe into violations by troops in Mosul -- AP
Some Mosul residents face new fears after Islamic State rule -- Reuters
Eastern Mosul is liberated but a tough fight remains for the western half -- DW
PHOTOS: Iraqi Forces Battle ISIS in Mosul January 22, 2017 -- Heavy.com

Gambia's Defeated President Leaves The Country After Looting The Treasury



Washington Post: Gambia’s defeated president finally gave up power — and took luxury cars and millions of dollars with him

NAIROBI — As the plane carrying Gambia's disgraced former president prepared to depart the small West African country on Saturday, onlookers caught a last glimpse of Yahya Jammeh's face through the window. He had been forced from the country that he ruled for more than two decades. But, bizarrely, Jammeh was smiling.

According to Gambian officials, he had one big reason to be happy. Before leaving the country he had managed to steal millions of dollars from the government's coffers. He had loaded a cargo plane full of luxury cars and sent it abroad.

At a news conference Sunday, Mai Ahmad Fatty, a special adviser to new president Adama Barrow, told journalists that in a two week period Jammeh had stolen $11.4 million.

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More News On The Political Crisis In Gambia

Yahya Jammeh: Other leaders accused of looting the coffers -- BBC
'No money in the coffers' in Gambia says new President Adama Barrow -- DW
Gambia's central bank accounts "intact", says president's spokesman -- Reuters
Nostalgia kicks in for Gambians in Jammeh's home town -- AFP
Gambia president Adama Barrow intends to be back in country within a week -- CNN
Gambia's New President, Still in Senegal, Names Female VP -- AP
Gambia: President Barrow wants West African troops to stay until security is restored -- International Business Times
New Gambian Leader Wants Truth Commission on Jammeh Years -- VOA
Gambia: A lesson for African dictators -- Solomon Ayele, Al Jazeera

Pentagon Is Denying Russian Reports That They Are Cooperating With Russia On Syrian Airstrikes

Russian bomber carries out an airstrike against Isis and Nusra Front in Aleppo, Syria in August 2016. Donald Trump’s press secretary suggested that US could work with Russia on future airstrikes. Photograph: Tass

The Guardian: US military is 'not coordinating airstrikes with Russia in Syria', Pentagon says

Defense department denied Russian government claim that US-led coalition planes aided Isis mission, but Trump administration open to future joint strikes

The Pentagon has flatly denied a Russian government claim that both nations’ warplanes conducted a joint combat mission in Syria.

On Monday, the Russian defense ministry claimed to have received coordinates of Islamic State positions via a US-Russian communications channel, and that two jets from the US-led coalition participated in a strike alongside Russian aircraft.

But the Pentagon, now helmed by Trump’s appointee James Mattis, issued a round denial of the Russian account.

“The Department of Defense is not coordinating airstrikes with the Russian military in Syria,” said spokesman Eric Pahon, who added that he was not aware of any coalition member aiding Russia in this instance.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like someone was ahead of himself in Russia's Ministry of Defense.

More News On Pentagon Reports That The U.S. Did Not Coordinate Airstrikes With Russia In Syria

Pentagon denies Russia's claims it joined U.S.-led coalition in anti-ISIS airstrikes -- AP
Pentagon Denies Russian Claims About Coordinated Strikes In Syria -- RFE
Pentagon denies cooperation with Russia in Syrian airstrikes -- Washington Times
Pentagon Spokesman Denies US' Coordination of Airstrikes in Syria With Russia -- Sputnik
Russia Claims First Combat Mission In Syria With U.S. Coalition Aircraft And That's Oddly Suspicious -- Foxtrot Alpha

Russian Heavy Bombers Hit Islamic State Targets Near Deir es-Zor, Syria



RT: Russian long-range bombers hit ISIS targets near Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Six long-range bombers have flown all the way from Russia to the Syrian governorate of Deir ez-Zor to attack Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets, the Russian Defense Ministry reported. A similar raid was conducted on Saturday.

The Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers flew through Iranian and Iraqi airspace on Monday and conducted airstrikes on the terrorist group’s command centers and weapons stockpiles, the ministry said in a statement.

The Russian military said all targets were successfully destroyed.

Read more .....

More News On Russia Using Heavy Bombers To Hit Islamic State Targets Near Deir es-Zor

Russian Tu-22M3 Strategic Bombers Annihilate Daesh Targets in Deir ez-Zor -- Sputnik
Russian strategic bombers hammer Islamic State facilities in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor -- TASS
Russia says airstrikes hit IS targets in Syria's Deir ez-Zor province: RIA -- Reuters
Russia: Air Fighters Attack ISIL Targets in Deir Ezzor -- Al-Manar
Day After Trump Inauguration, Russia Attacks Daesh Targets in Syria With Tu-22M3 Bombers -- Defense World

Syrian Peace Talks Begin In Kazakhstan



Bloomberg: Russia’s Syria Peace Effort With Iran, Turkey Hits Obstacles

* Rebels won’t meet directly with Assad officials in Kazakhstan
* Meeting seeks to cement truce, encourage dialogue, Russia says

The joint initiative by Russia, Turkey and Iran to end the six-year war in Syria suffered a setback when opposition groups rejected face-to-face meetings with government representatives at peace talks in Kazakhstan.

“There will be no direct negotiations,” Osama Abu Zaid, a member of the opposition delegation, said after the meeting began Monday in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The rebels and the Syrian government will hold talks in separate rooms with mediation by Turkey and Russia, he said.

Read more ....

More News On Syrian Peace Talks Beginning In Kazakhstan

Harsh exchanges make for a rocky start to latest Syria talks -- AP
Expectations low as Syria's warring sides meet -- Reuters
Syria conflict: War of words as peace talks open in Astana -- BBC
Syrian government, opposition enter first day of Astana talks -- DW
At Russia-led talks, Syrian rebels and government meet for the first time -- Washington Post
Syria peace talks: shaky start as rebels refuse to negotiate face to face -- The Guardian
Rocky start to Syria peace talks in Astana -- CNN
Syria's warring sides kick off talks in Astana -- Al Jazeera
Syria Truce Talks Under Way In Astana -- RFE
Syria talks set to begin in Astana as ceasefire holds -- Al Jazeera
Syrian armed opposition & Assad govt reps gather for talks in Kazakhstan -- RT
Syria rebels vow to continue fighting if Astana talks fail: Spokesman -- AFP
Syrian opposition: We’ll continue to fight if Astana fails -- Al Arabiya
Astana talks draft communique: Russia, Turkey, Iran to fight against IS, al-Nusra together -- TASS
Russian, Iranian, Turkish Delegations Holding Trilateral Talks on Syria -- Sputnik
Syria Peace Talks: Why Were Some Nations Invited and Others Not? -- Alexey Eremenko and Ziad Jaber, NBC

World News Briefs -- January 23, 2017

Reporters walk in the media center set for Syria peace talks, in Astana, Kazakhstan, January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

Reuters: Expectations low as Syria's warring sides meet

Syria's warring sides met for talks for the first time in nine months on Monday, with frosty initial exchanges suggesting chances of a significant breakthrough were slim as the country's six-year-old conflict ground on.

They sat opposite each other at a round table in a hotel conference room before a day of negotiations - sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran in Kazakhstan's capital Astana - got under way.

Both delegations said the focus was on the country's ceasefire, a fragile precursor to a wider political solution.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Harsh exchanges make for a rocky start to latest Syria talks.

Iraq army 'takes' east Mosul from ISIL.

Iraqi general's tour suggests tough fight ahead in west Mosul.

Yemeni loyalists seize Red Sea port of Mokha.

Egypt extends Yemen military participation, amid reports of first Trump drone strike.

Israel approves settlement homes following Trump inauguration.

In 'very warm' phone call, Donald Trump invites Benjamin Netanyahu to US.

ASIA

Senior Chinese diplomat: China will assume world leadership if needed.

China urges Trump administration to grasp importance of 'one China'.

Taliban hint at opening with Trump as they seek departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Taliban tells new U.S. President Trump to quit Afghanistan.

Philippines tells outsiders not to use ASEAN as 'proxy' for rivalry.

South Korea ministry apologises over artists' blacklist.

China birth rate up after one-child rule change.

Japanese government panel leans to one-off law for emperor's abdication.

AFRICA

Gambia poised for arrival of new president Adama Barrow.

Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'looted $11 million in two weeks:' Official. The Gambia 'missing millions' after Jammeh flies into exile.

Egypt: Attackers kill five soldiers in Sinai Peninsula.

Libya, neighbors hold talks in Cairo to end country’s crisis.

Mauritius: PM Anerood Jugnauth to hand over to son.

Police commander killed in attack in Somalia's middle Shebelle region.

EUROPE

Putin’s spokesman says still early to speak of 2018 presidential election in Russia.

UK PM Theresa May puts NATO on agenda for Trump meeting amid transatlantic rift. British leader to meet with Trump to discuss trade, NATO.

Merkel vows compromise with U.S. on trade, military spending.

OSCE to monitor Karabakh line of contact - Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry.

France election: Hamon and Valls in run-off for Socialist candidacy.

In generation shift, Sinn Fein names O'Neill as Northern Ireland leader.

Dutch PM Rutte: 'If you don't like it here, then leave'.

Greece's Supreme Court delays ruling on Turkish fugitive soldiers.

AMERICAS

Trump begins first week reaching out to Congress, world leaders. Trump calls on business leaders. Trump gets down to business, prepares to sign order withdrawing US from trade deal. Trump to 'massively' cut taxes and regulation.

Mexican president calls Canada's Trudeau ahead of NAFTA talks.

Trump must conform with constitution or he will be removed, ex Bush adviser Richard Painter says.

White House vows to fight media 'tooth and nail' over Trump coverage.

US lawmakers call for action on Venezuela food corruption.

Venezuela's opposition revives anti-Maduro protests.

Mexico deports 91 Cubans after U.S. ends 'wet foot, dry foot'.

El Chapo: US prosecutors seek $14bn seizure from drug lord.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Suspected US drone strikes kill three al-Qaida suspects in Yemen, officials say.

This is how monetary policy works in The Islamic State.

Trump staff, properties face terror risk with presidency.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Samsung blames battery design for Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

Trump says Nafta 'renegotiations' with Mexico and Canada to start.

Trans Pacific Partnership could be reworked without Donald Trump's support, expert says.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 23, 2017



BBC: Theresa May was told about Trident missile test

Theresa May was told about a recent Trident test happening when she became prime minister, Downing Street has said, following reports a missile went off course.

Labour and the SNP are urging the government to explain whether a test firing from HMS Vengeance went wrong.

The incident reportedly happened a few weeks before MPs voted to renew the UK's nuclear weapons system.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 23, 2017

UK's Theresa May Was Briefed on Nuclear Missile System Test -- New York Times

Theresa May knew about Trident failure before renewal vote -- The Guardian

Theresa May WAS briefed on the Trident test that saw missile veer off course but No10 insists she STILL has total faith in the nuclear deterrent -- Daily Mail

No.10 admits Theresa May did know about nuclear test where missile 'veered towards America' -- The Independent

How did the Trident test fail and what did Theresa May know? -- The Guardian

Russian Deputy PM Rogozin calls "dangerous incident" UK botched missile launch -- TASS

Global Arms Sales for Russian state-owned Rostec Grow Threefold -- Defense News

Russian top lawmaker says no plans to set up new military bases abroad -- TASS

Russian defense contractor prepares Buk-M3 antiaircraft missile systems for exports -- TASS

Russia is developing advanced hypersonic weapons — ministry -- TASS

S-500 to Strengthen Russia's 'Air Defense System of the 21 Century' -- Sputnik

Russia to develop 5th-generation medium-range anti-aircraft missile system -- TASS

Russia’s anti-ballistic missile defense system to be upgraded by late 2017 -- TASS

Get Ready, NATO: The Secret Reason Why Russia's New T-90M Tank Could Be a Total Monster -- National Interest

China To Continue Drills In South China Sea, State-Run Media Says -- IBTimes

China's Xi to head new commission for military-civilian development -- Reuters

British military forces are 'incapable' of matching Russia's military might -- IBTimes

Moldova's leader plans to cancel agreement on establishing NATO Liaison Office in Chisinau -- TASS

13 Marine Aircraft to Deploy to Australia -- Military.com/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Carrier George H.W. Bush, strike group departs Norfolk for seven-month deployment -- Navy Times

USS George H. W. Bush Deploys to Middle East After Month-Long Carrier Gap -- Sputnik

Navy Struggles to Balance Maintenance Needs, Operational Requirements -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

Trump wants a bigger Navy — but the Navy wants its fleet fixed first -- Navy Times

Trump takes over as commander in chief, promising to restore military strength -- Military Times

Trump to CIA: ‘I Am So Behind You’ -- VOA

Mattis Celebrates First Day At Pentagon By Blowing Up ISIS 31 Times -- Daily Caller

US Intel Agents on Thin Ice With Probe Into Trump Adviser's Ties With Russia -- Sputnik

CIA Knew Economic Sanctions Wouldn’t Halt North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Buildup -- Sputnik

The Military May Soon Buy the Same Drones You Do -- WIRED

What Happens If The U.S. Doesn't Step Up To Defend NATO -- Terrell Jermaine Starr, Foxtrot Alpha

Mattis Is Right. Here’s Why NATO Is Not Obsolete -- Task & Purpose

11 things you need to know about the Army's new handgun -- Army Times

The Army Handgun: A New Poster Child for Acquisition Malpractice? -- Defense News

Survey: 90% of Military Times readers disapprove of Chelsea Manning's early release -- Military Times

Are Trump Properties Around The World At Risk Of Terror Attacks?

A doorman stands as people walk past the Trump Tower in New York, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

WNU Editor: A disturbing analysis from the AP .... Trump properties face global terror risk with presidency (AP).

Yemen War News Updates -- January 23, 2017



New York Times: Renewed Fighting and Drone Strikes in Yemen Kill About 75

SANA, Yemen — Renewed fighting in the Yemen conflict killed about 75 people on Saturday and Sunday, some of them in the first drone strikes launched during the new administration of President Trump, according to Yemeni news reports.

Two drone strikes in the central Yemeni province of Bayda on Saturday killed 10 militants with Al Qaeda, three of them hit while riding on a motorcycle and the other seven killed in a vehicle in a separate drone attack in the same area, the reports said.

The United States did not take responsibility for the strikes, as is its standard policy. No other forces are known to be conducting drone strikes in the area.

While Mr. Trump has pledged to toughen American policy toward terrorist factions, his administration has not yet announced any concrete antiterrorism initiatives.

Read more ....

Yemen War News Updates -- January 23, 2017

Yemen army claims control of port city of Mokha -- Al Jazeera
Gulf-backed Yemeni forces push into Red Sea coast city: officials -- Reuters
Yemen forces 5km from Mokha as rebels suffer heavy losses -- The National
Fresh fighting in Yemen claims 66 lives -- AFP
Key port town in Yemen liberated -- Gulf News/AFP
Yemen Civil War: Around 70 killed, dozens injured in fresh violent clashes between rebels and pro-government forces -- International Business Times
75 people killed in renewed fighting and drone strikes in Yemen -- IBTimes
Saudi-led coalition air strikes 'hit Yemen school' -- The Independent
Egypt extends Yemen military participation, amid reports of first Trump drone strike -- DW
Death toll in Yemen conflict passes 10,000 -- Al Jazeera

Will The U.S. Drone War In Pakistan Resume?

An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) sits in a shelter at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, after a mission on November 10, 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Reaper can carry up to 3,750 pounds of laser-guided bombs and missiles.

Peter Bergen and David Sterman, CNN: Will President Trump restart the drone war in Pakistan?

(CNN)The American drone war in Pakistan effectively ended nearly eight months ago when the US conducted its last drone strike, killing the Taliban's leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

After using CIA drones regularly for 7 years in Pakistan -- a country where the United States is not waging a traditional war, such as in Iraq -- the Obama administration has now presided over the longest cessation of strikes since President Obama took office, according to data collected by New America.

It is in Pakistan where the majority of CIA drone strikes have occurred under Obama, resulting in the death of a minimum of 1,904 people and perhaps as many as 3,114, according to New America's research.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If there is a high priority target spotted in Pakistan ..... like Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri .... I will not be surprised if a drone strike (or more) will be ordered. On a side note, it looks like the first drone strikes under the Trump administration have occurred .... Yemen reports first drone strike under Trump (The Hill). More here .... Three suspected al Qaeda members killed in drone strikes in Yemen: officials (Reuters).

Ukraine Seizes An Airplane Carrying Missiles To Iran

Fagot missile launcher. Wikipedia

Al Arabiya: Ukraine seizes Iran-bound plane ‘carrying missiles’

Ukraine has announced that it has seized an airplane destined for Iran loaded with arms at Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport.

The plane was reported on Sunday carrying Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles.

The Russian agency Interfax confirmed that the weapons were discovered by Ukraine’s border police in Kiev’s airport following a search of 17 containers that were not registered in the flight’s cargo manifesto.

A spokesman said that three containers were found to be storing the missiles – which are light weight, infrared guided anti-tank missiles – while the remaining storage boxes contained airplane spare parts.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not many details on this seizure have been released .... and no one else is reporting on it .... but anti-tank guided missiles to Iran tells me the following. It is either for the Iranian military,  or a shipment that is going to be sent to Syria, Hezbollah, or to Iran's allies in Yemen.

China Signals To The Trump Administration That They Want To Cooperate

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting at the UN's European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Bloomberg: Braced for Trump Challenge, China Signals It Would Cooperate

* Xinhua offers congratulations, hopes for ‘win-win’ cooperation
* Policy changes to improve access may help fend off criticism

Confronted by the challenge of a Donald Trump-led White House, China is signaling it’s ready to work with the new administration and has already taken a handful of policy steps that may help fend off criticism over access to its markets.

The official Xinhua News Agency congratulated Trump on his inauguration and said it hoped for "win-win" cooperation between the two nations. An editorial run by state-backed newspaper China Daily took a similar tone, saying the world’s two largest economies should work together toward "an updated, more desirable version of globalization."

That follows tangible measures last week, such as a plan to relax restrictions on foreign investment in long-closed areas of the economy including banking, securities, futures, mutual funds and insurance. A senior official last week said China is prepared to enhance cooperation with other countries to protect intellectual property rights, a bug-bear of U.S. and European firms who have complained their technologies are copied and brands faked.

Read more ....

Update #1: China Uses Trump Inauguration To Criticize Democracy (IBTimes)
Update #2: Senior Chinese diplomat: China will assume world leadership if needed (Reuters)

WNU Editor: The rhetoric from China has become subdued in the past week .... but to a point .... China Says It Is Ready To Assume "World Leadership", Slams Western Democracy As "Flawed" (Zero Hedge).

The British Military Deploys Tanks Through The Channel Tunnel As A Test


NBC: British Tanks Roll on Channel Tunnel Test Run Amid Trump, Russia Fears

LONDON — Tourists know the Channel Tunnel as the undersea railroad that allows cheap and easy trips from Britain to mainland Europe.

But in the dead of night this week, Britain's military sent five tanks down the 30-mile "Chunnel" to test whether it would be an effective route for forces if deployed to places such as Eastern Europe amid tensions between Russia and NATO.

The fact that Wednesday's exercise came two days before President Trump's inauguration appears coincidental; the British army told NBC News the test had been planned for a year.

Read more ....

Update: British military tests tanks in Channel tunnel: report (The Hill)

WNU Editor
: I am willing to bet that in the event of a conventional war with Russia .... the entrances to the Channel Tunnel will be a priority target for Russia and will probably be destroyed by missile strikes within a day or two.

Update: Some are labelling this as a publicity stunt .... ‘A CHEAP STUNT!’ Russian colonel SLAMS UK's decision to send tanks through Channel Tunnel (Express).