Friday, October 24, 2014

Russian President Putin Unleashed: Blames US, West For Destabilizing World

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)

Putin Lashes Out At US, West For Destabilizing World -- RT

Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the United States for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. He also accused the West of inflaming the situation in Ukraine and said Russia was not interested in building an empire.

The Russian President delivered a fierce broadside aimed at the United States at a speech for the Valdai Club in Sochi, which is an informal group of scholars. He hit out at Washington for behaving without regard to the rest of the world's interests

“The system of international relations needed some changes, but the USA, who believe they were the winners of the Cold War, have not seen the need for this.” He added that the US has been trying to create the world “for their own gains." The Russian President added that because of this, regional and global security had been weakened.

Read more ....

More News On Russian President Putin Blaming The US And The West For Destabilizing The World

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order -- Reuters
Putin: new serious conflicts involving world powers possible -- ITAR-TASS
Putin: US Dictatorship, Global Interference Lead to Escalation of Conflicts Worldwide -- RIA Novosti
Putin Accuses US of Undermining Global Stability -- AP
Putin says Washington no threat, but its policies harmful -- Reuters
Putin accuses U.S. of upsetting global order -- UPI
Putin Accuses United States Of 'Unilateral Diktat' -- Radio Free Europe
Putin: Cold War ‘Winners’ Shaping World to Accommodate Own Needs -- RIA Novosti
Putin: Russian bear won’t ask for permission -- RT

My Comment: Putin has said some harsh things in the past .... but this is different. My guess is that sanctions are hurting (and in my opinion they are hurting), and the situation in both Ukraine and in the Middle East is deteriorating rapidly enough to now seriously impact Russian foreign policy and interests in these regions. But what is worrisome to me .... is that Putin is probably correct when he alludes the real possibility that the international situation as a whole may get worse. But on a side note .... it sould be noted that he has also not been helpful in "stabilizing the world".

Iran's Former Intelligence Minister: Obama Is ‘The Weakest Of U.S. Presidents’

Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Younesi enters the Saadabad palace for an official meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari in Tehran, July 17, 2005. (photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

Top Iranian Official: Obama is ‘The Weakest of U.S. Presidents’ -- Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon

Adviser to Iranian president mocks Obama’s ‘humiliating’ presidency

The Iranian president’s senior adviser has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of U.S. presidents” and described the U.S. leader’s tenure in office as “humiliating,” according to a translation of the highly candid comments provided to the Free Beacon.

The comments by Ali Younesi, senior advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran continues to buck U.S. attempts to woo it into the international coalition currently battling the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, or ISIS).

And with the deadline quickly approaching on talks between the U.S. and Iran over its contested nuclear program, Younesi’s denigrating views of Obama could be a sign that the regime in Tehran has no intent of conceding to America’s demands.

Read more ....

My Comment: The Washington Free Beacon post does not mention it .... but the official who made these remarks (Ali Younesi) was also Iran's former Intelligence Minister. The Iranian government's contempt for the American government has been ongoing for decades .... so this is actually nothing new. What is new is why now .... why is the Iranian government goading the White House to act tough against Iran?

Tho Will Pay-Off Ukraine's Multibillion-Dollar Gas Debt?

Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukraine's Multibillion-Dollar Gas Debt: Who Pays? -- RT

Ukraine plans to buy $770 million worth of gas (2 billion cubic meters) from Russia this winter to keep the heat on, but before that, they must pay off $1.45 billion in debt. The question is: who is going to pay the bill?

All three parties, Russia, the EU, and Ukraine met in Brussels on Tuesday and confirmed Kiev will pay $385 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian supplied gas through the end of March. Before Ukraine can start purchasing gas, they need to pay off $1.45 billion in debt.

“There’s one obstacle: Ukraine failed to pay for Russian-supplied gas for seven months,” Oettinger said Tuesday. It will be difficult for Ukraine to find a benefactor, since, as Oettinger pointed out, its credit history is less than stellar. The economy is in ruin and may already need extra IMF money to stay afloat.

Read more ....

My Comment: It is always about the money. Bottom line .... Ukraine is bankrupt and it does not have the means to pay-off this debt. They are hoping that the Europeans would give them the money to do so .... but the problem (from the European perspective) is that the last time they did that, the government in Kiev essentially took the money to pay off it's government employees and to pay for it's war against the eastern part of the country. I doubt that the EU is not going to make the same mistake again .... hence the impasse of today. My prediction .... the EU will pay-off this debt, and they will give the Ukraine government extra money via through loans and other subsidies.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Editor's Note

Just a  heads-up to my regular readers. I am finishing up on a project right now .... so blogging will be light for the next few days.

Update Friday October 24, 2014 9:00 EST: Stuck in meetings this morning. Blogging will return 11:00 EST.

Remembering The Fallen

Ukrainians Are Growing Weary Of The War

Ukrainian army armoured fighting vehicles and ambulances drive towards the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk May 13, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

Ukraine’s Home Front Grows War Weary -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast

As elections approach on Sunday, so do protests about the government’s neglect of soldiers on the front line.

LVIV, Ukraine—Indifference was what Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines found most painful, and indifference is what provokes their parents, struggling for their rights at home, to mount angry protests.

On a recent afternoon, a group of mothers and fathers blocked three streets around the regional administration building in Lviv, in a part of the country known for its fierce nationalism. They protested against the continuation of the ATO, or the Anti Terrorist Operation, as the war is known in Ukraine. A ceasefire was in effect, but the Ukrainian army was still fighting with pro-Russian separatist forces in the east.

Read more ....

My Comment: You can count me as one of those who is growing weary of this conflict. As to the conflict itself .... the situation in eastern Ukraine is becoming even more dire. Winter is about to start .... and I have been told from more than one source that the Ukrainian soldiers who are deployed there are not ready to confront the cold. Unlike the war weariness of many Ukrainians .... rebel morale is high and many of them want to continue with the fight .... Ukraine rebels dream of New Russia (BBC)

Update: When the Ukraine civil war started I told (and begged) my friends in Ukraine who supported the war that you do not want to get into a fight with these people. It's in their blood, and they are not going to give up until they get what they want. So guess what .... this does not surprise me .... Ukraine rebels end ceasefire before polls (Al Jazeera).

More Evidence Of Direct Russian Involvement In The Ukraine Civil War

Two destroyed T-72 tanks, which presumably came from Russia, are seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled Starobesheve in eastern Ukraine October 2, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova

Exclusive: Charred tanks in Ukraine point to Russian involvement -- Reuters

(Reuters) - The burnt-out remains of dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in fields near this small village bear witness to the ferocity of a battle that turned the tide of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Most of the tanks were used by the government forces routed in August near Horbatenko, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, a defeat so demoralizing that days later Kiev agreed a ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists.

But among the debris Reuters found the blackened carcasses of what military experts have since identified as two Russian army tanks, supporting statements by Kiev and the West that the rebels were backed by troops and equipment sent by Moscow.

Read more ....

My Comment: I guess sending in the T-90s would have been too obvious.

Leaked FBI Report Warns of Potential Homegrown ISIS Attacks Against Law Enforcement In The US

EXCLUSIVE LEAK: FBI Report Warns of Potential Homegrown ISIS Attacks Against Law Enforcement in US -- Breitbart

LUBBOCK, Texas — Federal authorities have warned US law enforcement of potential terror attacks against them from homegrown ISIS members or supporters, according to a leaked internal bulletin exclusively obtained by Breitbart Texas. The leaked document is dated October, 2014 and was provided by a trusted federal agent who did so on the condition of anonymity.

The memo was issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Joint Intelligence Bulletin and is titled, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Its Supporters Encouraging Attacks Against Law Enforcement and Government Personnel.” It is labeled, “UNCLASSIFIED/FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” and asserts that it may be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and should not be released tot he public, the media, or anyone else not authorized by the DHS.

Read more ....

Update: Exposed: New Leaked FBI Report Reveals ISIS May Be About To Target US Where It Hurts Most -- Western Journalism

My Comment: In view of what has just happened in Canada .... this should surprise no-one.

FBI warns that Western journalists are now high priority targets for the Islamic State .... FBI warns news outlets that group affiliated with Islamic State is targeting journalists (Washington Post).

Update #2: FBI warns media that ISIS affiliate plans to kidnap journalists -- RT

Poll: Just A Third Of The American Public Says The U.S. War Against The Islamic State Is Going Well

Support for U.S. Campaign against ISIS; Doubts about Its Effectiveness, Objectives -- Pew Research

Just 30% Think U.S. and Allies Have ‘Clear Goal’

The public continues to support the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. But most Americans say the U.S. military effort against ISIS is not going well, and just 30% think the U.S. and its allies have a “clear goal” in taking military action.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 15-20 among 2,003 adults, finds that 57% approve of the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, while just 33% disapprove. Support is highest among Republicans (68%); majorities of Democrats (54%) and independents (55%) also approve.

Yet negative evaluations of how well the U.S. military campaign against ISIS is going also cross party lines: 64% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 52% of Democrats say the military campaign is going not too well or not at all well.

Read more ....

Update: Pew poll: Majority says US campaign against ISIS isn’t going well -- The Hill

My Comment: These are not good numbers for the administration. And with Congressional elections only two weeks away .... very worrisome for Democrat candidates who are supportive of the President's strategy against the Islamic State.

U.S. - Turkey Relations Are Showing Strains On How To Fight Against The Islamic State

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish Parliament during a debate marking the reconvene of the parliament in Ankara October 1, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Turkey's U.S. Relations Show Strain As Washington's Patience Wears Thin -- Washington Post

(Reuters) - The U.S. decision to air-drop weapons to Kurdish forces in Syria on the same day Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed them as terrorists is the latest false note in the increasingly discordant mood music coming out of Washington and Ankara.

No matter how much officials on both sides publicly insist there is harmony, differences in strategy over the fight against Islamic State and the fate of the beleaguered Syrian border town of Kobani are straining relations between the Washington and its key regional ally, leaving Turkey increasingly isolated.

Read more ....

My Comment: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan regards the Kurds as a far greater threat to Turkey than the Islamic State .... while the U.S. has an opposite view. But what is surprising about this "strained relationship" is the decision that has been made (from the U.S. and its allies) to simply ignore Turkey. This is new .... and I am sure that it is not going over well in Ankara.

Turkey To Permit 200 Kurdish Fighters To Enter The Fight For Kobani, But Criticizes U.S. Air Drops For Kurdish Fighters

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan.(Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Erdogan Says 200 Iraqi Kurd Fighters To Enter Kobani Through Turkey -- Deutsche Welle

The Turkish president says an agreement has been reached on sending 200 Kurdish fighters from Iraq to the embattled Syrian town of Kobani through Turkey. It is the first involvement of Iraqi Kurds in Syria's conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Iraqi Kurdish authorities had agreed with the main Kurdish group in the Syrian border town of Kobani to send 200 peshmerga fighters through Turkey to help defend the town, which is under siege by "Islamic State" (IS) militants.

"I have learned that they finally reached agreement on a figure of 200 (fighters)," Erdogan told reporters in the Latvian capital, Riga.

The fighters will join an estimated 2,000 Syrian Kurds fighting the jihadist IS group for control of the town close to the Turkish border.

Read more ....

More News On Turkey To Permit 200 Kurdish Fighters To Enter Kobani While Criticizing U.S. Air Drops For Kurdish Fighters

Turkey says help coming for Kurds battling ISIS -- CBS/AP
Turkey to allow 200 Iraqi Kurds to cross into embattled Kobane -- AFP
Turkey To Allow 200 Peshmerga Fighters Passage To Kobani -- Radio Free Europe
Turkey clears way for Iraqi Kurdish troops to battle Islamic State in Kobane, Syria -- Washington Post
Erdogan Says U.S. Arms for Kobani’s Kurd Defenders an Error -- Bloomberg
Turkey’s Erdogan Says U.S. Airdrops In Kobani A Big Mistake -- China Topix
Turkish president says American weapons drop for Kurdish fighters was 'wrong' after supplies end up in the hands of ISIS -- Daily Mail

Syria Intensifies It's Air Raids Against Rebel Positions

The Damascus suburb of Douma was among the areas targeted by Syrian government aircraft on Monday

Syria Conflict: '200 Air Force Strikes' In 36 Hours -- BBC

The Syrian military has stepped up air strikes on rebel areas dramatically, carrying out more than 200 in recent days, opposition activists say.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the raids took place mostly in western areas between midnight on Sunday and noon on Tuesday.

The UK-based group said there were many casualties, but did not give a figure.

The intensified strikes come as US-led forces continue to bomb Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq.

Read more ....

My Comment: Apparently the Syrian air force has been successful in destroyuing the Islamic State's "air force" .... Syria says shoots down two of three Islamic State jets (Reuters). But on the ground .... the Islamic State is still winning territory .... Islamic State wins ground from Syrian government in east - monitor (Reuters).

U.S.-Led Forces Have Killed 521 Islamist Fighters And 32 Civilians In Syria In The First Month Of Bombing

Smoke and flames rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 18, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

U.S.-Led Air Strikes Killed 521 Fighters, 32 Civilians In Syria: Monitor -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Air strikes by U.S.-led forces have killed 521 Islamist fighters and 32 civilians during a month-long campaign in Syria, a monitoring group which tracks the violence said on Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the vast majority of the deaths, 464, were militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has grabbed large areas of Syria and neighboring Iraq.

The attacks also killed 57 members of the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, the Observatory said. Six of the civilians were children and five were women, it added.

Read more ....

More News On U.S.-Led Forces Having Killed 521 Islamist Fighters And 32 Civilians In Syria In The First Month Of Bombing

US-led airstrikes in Syria kill 553 in first month: activists -- Daily Star/AFP
US-led Syria air strikes 'kill 500' -- Irish Times
US-led airstrikes in Syria have killed 553, says monitoring group -- Deutsche Welle
U.S.-led Syria Strikes Kill 464 ISIS Fighters, 32 Civilians: Report -- NBC
U.S.-led forces have killed 521 Islamist fighters and 32 civilians -- SKY News
US-led airstrikes kill more than 500 militants, 32 civilians – report -- RT
US Military Responds To New Allegations Of Civilian Deaths From Airstrikes In Syria -- Business Insider/AFP

My Comment:
They are very very exact in their numbers .... which is very strange since they do not have anyone on the ground to count the bodies (so they say).

Canada: Expect Tougher Security Laws After Yesterday's Attack

A police dog and an officer inspect flowers laid by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and others at the Canadian War Memorial in downtown Ottawa October 23, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Blair Gable

Canada's Harper Pledges Tougher Security Laws After Attack -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged more surveillance and detention powers for security forces in Canada on Thursday after a gunman killed a soldier and raced through parliament before being shot dead.

Addressing the House of Commons just meters from the spot where the gunman, a reported convert to Islam, was shot dead on Wednesday, Harper said lawmakers would expedite new powers to counter the threat of radicals.

"The objective of these attacks was to instill fear and panic in our country," Harper said. "Canadians will not be intimidated. We will be vigilant, but we will not run scared. We will be prudent but we will not panic."

Read more ....

Update: Ottawa shooting: Expect increased police presence on streets -- CBC News

My Comment: It was about 24 - 25 years ago .... when I was working at ICAO (the UN's civil aviation organization based in Montreal) .... that I did my first trip to Ottawa to see a friend who at that time was working on Parliament Hill. I was stunned on the near absence of security and armed guards. I just walked in, registered, and I got permission to go to my friend's office.

No more now. That innocence is now gone.

This is when I sometimes wonder if the terrorists are winning ... and in a certain way I cannot help but feel that they are.

World News Briefs -- October 23, 2014

Canadian Shooting: What We Know -- And Don't Know -- A Day Later -- CNN

A day after a gunman killed an army reservist in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, many questions remain.

Why did he shoot? Why did he target Nathan Cirillo? Is he connected to the militant group ISIS? Here's a list of what we know -- and don't know -- in the Ottawa shooting.

Read more ....


U.S., allies stage 15 air strikes on Islamic State in Iraq, Syria -U.S..

Death toll from US-led air strikes on Syria passes 550.

Islamic State recaptures hill near Kobani.

Turkey: 200 Peshmerga being sent to Kobane.

East of Kobani, Turkish town appreciates 'peace' brought by Islamic State.

Lebanon says it won't accept more Syrian refugees.

Lebanon army nabs beheading suspect in 'terror cell' raid.

Jerusalem tense after car rams into pedestrians. Israel's Netanyahu accuses Abbas over Jerusalem car attack.

Turkey's U.S. relations show strain as Washington's patience wears thin.


Attacks in southwestern Pakistan kill 12 people. Deadly attacks hit Quetta city in Pakistan.

Taliban control 3 districts in Afghan provinces of Wardak and Kunduz.

Afghan corruption a tougher job after taking on the mafia.

Obama invites new Afghan leaders to White House.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization says Afghanistan requests help in fighting terrorism.

China vows better rule of law, but no word of disgraced security chief.

To the moon and back: Lunar mission to test China's space program.


Ebola death toll rises to almost 4,900.

Ebola quarantine in Liberia threatened by lack of food.

Libyan Army troops advance into Benghazi.

Police battle fighters in Tunisian town.

Suspected Boko Haram fighters kidnap 25 girls in northeast Nigeria.

International military observers to deploy in Mozambique.

Secret talks to end Lesotho military standoff.


Ukraine rebels end ceasefire before polls.

Ukrainian PM warns Russia may try to disrupt Sunday's election.

OSCE completes first flight of drones over Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Renewed clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh region raises EU countries’ concerns.

Nato jets 'intercept Russian spy plane' over Baltic.

Spanish Parliament approves deployment of 300 soldiers to train Iraqi army to fight IS.

EU leaders struggle for 'difficult' climate deal.


'Terrorist' murdered soldier 'in cold blood,' Canada's Prime Minister says. Canada will not be intimidated by Ottawa shooting, declares prime minister.

Canada's Harper pledges tougher security laws after attack.

Hero of Canada's Parliament shooting greeted with standing ovation.

Ottawa shooting: Expect increased police presence on streets.

Ottawa gunman ‘identified’ as recent Muslim convert, high-risk traveler.

Dogs help arrest intruder who jumped White House fence.

Mexico orders mayor's arrest over students. Missing Mexico students: Iguala mayor 'ordered attack'.

Ebola: Obama 'optimistic' on virus situation in US.


The rise of the lone wolf terrorist.

Military success has bred popular support for the Islamic State.

Canada's new reality: Homegrown terrorism.


Saudi Arabia’s crude oil supply said to fall in September.

Manufacturing moving from China to US: survey.

Most of the world's billionaires made their money in these 5 industries.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- Octobwer 23, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen Harper pay their respects to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the Canada War Memorial in Ottawa October 23, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Pentagon, DHS Not Increasing Security After Ottawa Shooting -- The Hill

The departments of Defense and Homeland Security do not plan on increasing security following Wednesday’s deadly shooting around Canada’s Parliament building, according to officials.
“There’s been no increased security,” a Defense official told The Hill.

A DHS official said the agency “continues to monitor the evolving situation” in Ottawa.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 23, 2014

US increases security at Arlington after Canada Parliament shootings -- AP

Pentagon admits weapons-drop fail as anti-ISIS operation hits $424mn -- RT

Islamic State Obtaining US Weapons Due to Lack of US-Syria Cooperation: Moscow -- RIA Novosti

Relics for rifles: Syrian rebels trade antique treasures for weapons -- RT

Germany Is Sending a Military Training Mission to Northern Iraq -- NYT

Lebanese army struggles for financing -- Al-Monitor

B-52s buzz over Europe, and Swedes hunt for Russian sub -- Washington Times

Sweden faces military build-up call after submarine claims -- World Bulletin

Central African Republic to create rapid intervention unit, reform army -- Reuters

Anti-Missile System Deployment in Pacific Threatens Regional Peace: Beijing -- RIA Novosti

China says wants closer military ties with Iran -- Reuters

China, Iran Rapprochement Needs Closer Military Ties: Chinese Defense Minister -- RIA Novosti

Afghanistan failures could have led to UK troop ‘massacre’ - army chiefs -- RT

Afghanistan War: UK Lacked 'Clear And Achievable Strategy' Claim Military Leaders -- IBTimes

Shift in control of Kandahar Airfield the latest change in Afghanistan military drawdown -- Washington Post

Parting shot: No fond farewell for 82nd paratroopers in Afghanistan -- Stars and Stripes

Army to Buy Small Boats to Expand Maritime Mission -- DoD Buzz

Lockheed Martin, Turkish Contractor to Build Missiles for F-35 -- RIA Novosti

Navy readies for first F-35 carrier landing -- Stars and Stripes

Admiral tells Kearsarge crew 8-month deployments no longer sustainable -- AP

Navy Stands Up Cyber Security Task Force -- Defense Tech

Offensive Cyber Operations in US Military Doctrine -- FAS

Any mention of ‘Navy SEALs’ barred in probe of silencers -- Washington Post

Four former Blackwater guards found guilty in shooting of Iraqis -- The Hill

Dempsey video aims to calm troops’ Ebola fears -- The Hill

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby called ‘idiot’ by Sen. John McCain -- Washington Post

The Army Gropes Toward A Cultural Revolution -- Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense

It's Time to Talk About Nukes Again -- Robert Spalding III & Adam Lowther, Real Clear Defense

How big a nuclear arsenal do we really need? -- Joe Cirincione, L.A. Times

Tensions In Canada Still Very High As Police Arrest A Man At Gunpoint Just Steps From Canadian Prime Minister Harper

Man Arrested Near Canada's Prime Minister In Sign Of Tensions -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Police arrested a man at gunpoint just steps from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday, underscoring tensions in the capital Ottawa a day after a gunmen killed a soldier and rampaged through parliament.

Harper and his wife were laying a wreath at the National War Memorial to commemorate the killing of the soldier there when police, shouting and with guns drawn, surrounded a man and ordered him to the ground.

Ottawa Police said the man was arrested for "disturbing the crime scene" at the war memorial. It was not immediately clear what was the man's intent.

"He crossed the tape. We told him not to. He didn't listen," said a police officer at the scene.

Read more ....

My Comment: Drawing guns only steps away from the Prime Minister .... for Canada this is unprecedented.

Washington Official: Syrians Will Not Be Trained To Take The Fight To The Islamic State

Free Syrian Army fighters (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)

Syrians To Be Trained To Defend Territory, Not Take Ground From Jihadists, Officials Say -- Washington Post

The Syrian opposition force to be recruited by the U.S. military and its coalition partners will be trained to defend territory, rather than to seize it back from the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. and allied officials, some of whom are concerned that the approach is flawed.

Although moderate Syrian fighters are deemed essential to defeating the Islamic State under the Obama administration’s strategy, officials do not believe the newly assembled units will be capable of capturing key towns from militants without the help of forward-deployed U.S. combat teams, which President Obama has so far ruled out. The Syrian rebel force will be tasked instead with trying to prevent the Islamic State from extending its reach beyond the large stretches of territory it already controls.

“We have a big disconnect within our strategy. We need a credible, moderate Syrian force, but we have not been willing to commit what it takes to build that force,” said a senior U.S. official involved in Syria and Iraq operations who, like others cited in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the training program.

Read more ....

My Comment: So much for the line that "offense is the best defense". This U.S. strategy is a strategy for defeat.

Poll: No Popular Support For The Islamic State In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Or Lebanon

ISIS Has Almost No Popular Support in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Lebanon -- Washington Institute

How much grassroots support does the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) enjoy in key "coalition" countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Lebanon? Until today, one could only guess at the answer. Recent news reports about the arrests of ISIS adherents in all three of these countries add urgency to the question.

Now, however, a trio of new polls -- the first ones of their kind -- provides the hard data on which to make this judgment. The polls were conducted in September by a leading commercial survey firm in the Middle East, using face-to-face interviews by experienced local professionals. The sample was a random, geographic probability national sample of 1,000 respondents (nationals only, excluding expatriates or refugees) in each country, yielding a statistical margin of error of approximately 3 percent.

Read more ....

My Comment: This reminds me of what my father once said about support for Communism in the West .... "son .... there are more Communists in the West than in the Soviet Union".

Remembering Corporal Nathan Cirillo, The Soldier Gunned Down As He Stood Guard At Canada's National War Memorial On Parliament Hill

Seconds before: A tourist snapped this photo, likely the last ever taken of Corporal Nathan Cirillo (left) before he was gunned down by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in an attack on Ottawa's Parliament Hill on Wednesday

Standing Guard And Seconds From Death: The Last Picture Of Canadian Reservist Father, 24, Who 'Would Give Anything To Anyone' -- Daily Mail

* A tourist snapped what is likely the last photo of Nathan Cirillo, 24, taken before the horrific act of terror outside the Parliament on Wednesday
* Corporal Cirillo, father to a six-year-old son, was gunned down as he stood guard at Canada's National War Memorial on Parliament Hill
* The Hamilton, Ontario native was rushed to the hospital but later died
* Cirillo, a fitness fanatic and animal lover, served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and worked as a personal trainer and bouncer
* His mother, who is traveling to Ottawa, is 'completely broken', relatives said
* Cirillo's killer, Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, was shot dead after opening fire while wearing a scarf at Parliament Hill on Wednesday
* Bibeau is the son of Susan Bibeau a high-ranking official on the Immigration and Refuge Board of Canada

The reservist soldier shot dead Wednesday as he stood guard at Canada's War Memorial in Ottawa was photographed by a Parliament Hill visitor mere moments before the horrific act of terror.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo is pictured in what is in all likelihood the final photo taken of the 24-year-old father before he was shot at close range and fatally wounded.

Seconds later, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cirillo, whose ceremonial weapon was not loaded. The soldier was rushed to a hospital, but soon succumbed to the wounds.

Twitter user Kamakazi19982 posted the photo with the caption: 'Ok so we were on a tour at the war monument in Ottawa a few minutes ago, a few seconds later there was a shooting.'

Read more ....

More News On Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Remembering Cpl. Nathan Cirillo -- Macleans
Nathan Frank Cirillo died standing guard over one of his own -- National Post
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo: Family, country mourn loss of Hamilton soldier -- CBC
Condolences pour in for Nathan Cirillo, Canadian guard shot dead in Ottawa -- The Guardian
Who Is Nathan Cirillo? Soldier Killed In Ottawa Shooting 2014 Identified -- IBTimes
Slain Ottawa Soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Honored as 'Wonderful' Man -- NBC
Heartbreaking Photo Shows Nathan Cirillo Moments Before Shooting -- Huffington Post
Ottawa Shooting: Friends of Dead Soldier Create Facebook Page 'Rest in Peace Cpl. Nathan Cirillo' -- IBTimes

My Comment: One of my closest friends served in the Governor General's Foot Guards .... they are the men who wear the bearskin hats on Parliament Hill. He calls that experience one of the best in his life .... and he especially loved the recognition and attention that he always received from the tourists. He told me last night that Corporal Nathan Cirillo must have been a very special reservist to be given the duty of being a guard at Canada's War Memorial. It is .... in every way .... sacred ground .... and only the best of the best are given the duty.

Our prayers are with Corporal Nathan Cirillo's family and loved ones.

Former Mountie And Sergeant At Arms For Canada's Parliament Hailed As Hero For Stopping The Attacker

House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is a 29-year veteran of the RCMP. He was credited Wednesday with helping to stop the attacker on Parliament Hill. (CBC)

Ottawa Shooting: Kevin Vickers Hailed As Hero Who Helped Stop Attacker -- CBC

'Thank God for Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers,' tweets Justice Minister Peter MacKay

House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers was lauded by members of Parliament Wednesday for his reported role in stopping an assailant who killed a Canadian Forces member in Ottawa.

Vickers, 58, a native of Miramichi, N.B., was reportedly in the House of Commons when a gunman entered sometime after 9:52 a.m.

Two sources told The Canadian Press that Vickers shot the assailant inside the Hall of Honour, the main entrance to the Centre Block beneath the Peace Tower.

Officials have not confirmed that Vickers fired at the suspect, but multiple MPs credited Vickers on Twitter with helping to stop the attacker.

Read more ....

More News On Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers Stopping The Parliament Shooter

Pictured: Heroic sergeant-at-arms, 58, walking through Parliament gun in hand just moments after he killed gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau -- Daily Mail
Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers thrust into role of modern-day hero -- Globe and Mail
Canada Sergeant-at-Arms Lauded for Halting Ottawa Attack -- Bloomberg
Canadian parliamentarian sergeant-at-arms hailed as 'hero' -- CNN
Canada Shooting: Sergeant-At-Arms Hailed As Hero -- SKY News
Canada Shooting Hero Identified as Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers -- ABC News
Kevin Vickers: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know --
‘Thank God’ for Kevin Vickers, Canada’s new national hero -- Washington Post

My Comment: This could have easily been a massacre where a number of Canadian parliamentarians and their staff members could have been killed. The fact that the shooter was able to breach security and get inside the parliament building with a rifle is a surprise to me. I am sure that in the coming days and weeks we are going to learn more about the events that transpired yesterday.

Update: Hero of Canada's Parliament Shooting Greeted With Standing Ovation -- ABC News

Canadian Parliament Shooter Identified As A Recent Convert To Islam

Muslim Convert Who Shot Dead Canadian Soldier Is The Privately-Educated Son Of Country’s Immigration Chief And Has Links To Syrian Terrorist Claims Friend From Mosque -- Daily Mail

* Quebec-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, recently converted to Islam and had dreams of heading to the Middle East
* He had his passport seized after being designated a 'high-risk traveler' - despite his mother being on Canada's immigration board
* He had multiple drug and robbery arrests, and a 2003 weapons charge
* He had told a friend the 'devil was after him' and knew a man who is still at large after leaving Canada to join Islamist fighters in Syria
* Shooting came on the day Prime Minister Stephen Harper was due to give Nobel Peace Prize winning activist Malala Yousafzai Canadian citizenship
* Harper addressed his country later, saying this 'terrorist attack' would 'not intimidate Canada'
* Bibeau had visited the U.S four times, with officials tracing who he met there
* He was shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers after his deadly attack
* Report claims his father fought among anti-gaddafi rebels in Libya in 2011

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Muslim convert who fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo - a 24-year-old father standing guard at Ottawa's War Memorial, was a petty criminal and the son of a leading Canadian immigration official, it has been revealed.

Born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall and raised in Laval, just north of Montreal, the young man lived a quiet childhood of private schools and suburban homes, with a mother who was a high ranking federal employee.

Then, after years of run-ins with the law, he converted to Islam.

Read more ....

More News On Who Is The Canadian Parliament Shooter

Ottawa shootings: Profile of gunman Michael Joseph Zehaf-Bibeau -- CTV
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, slain Ottawa shooter, had criminal record in Quebec, B.C. -- CBC
Who is Canadian Parliament shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau? -- CNN
Canada probes Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as possible suspect in Ottawa shooting: source -- Reuters
Who Is the Canadian Parliament Shooter? -- NBC
'He said the devil is after him': What we know about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau -- Sydney Morning Herald
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: Ottawa Shooting Suspect Had Passport Revoked, May Have Tried To Join ISIS -- Inquistr
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau ID’d as Canadian Shooting Suspect in Ottawa; Also Known as Michael Joseph Hall -- Epoch Times
Canadian Parliament shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: what we know and what we don't know -- VOX