Thursday, July 30, 2015

Some U.S. Senators Are Ready To Start An Oil War With Iran

Gas flares from an oil production platform at the Soroush oil fields with an Iranian flag in the foreground in the Persian Gulf, 1,250 km (776 miles) south of the capital Tehran. Reuters.

CNN: Some U.S. senators want to start oil war with Iran

As Secretary of State John Kerry tried to sell the Iran nuclear deal to Congress Tuesday, some U.S. senators were ready to start an oil war with Iran.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is sponsoring a bill to lift the ban on exporting American crude oil. Send U.S. oil abroad, she argues, so America can "compete against our foes in a way that doesn't involve sending our troops in and boots on the ground."

In other words, let the U.S. and Iran go head to head on the world oil market.

It's a timely debate. At a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday, she asked why the U.S. would lift sanctions on Iran so it can export its oil, yet keep a ban in place on American oil exports.

WNU Editor: At least someone in the US government is trying to do some strategic thinking when it comes to Iran.

The U.S. Navy's Newest Amphibious Assault Ships Are The Size Of Other Countries’ Aircraft Carriers

The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) approaches Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, for a scheduled port visit. America was traveling through the U.S. Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet areas of responsibility on its maiden transit, "America visits the Americas." The ship was scheduled to be ceremoniously commissioned on 11 October 2014 in San Francisco, California (USA). Wikipedia

Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: US Navy Builds Largest-Ever Amphibious Assault Ship for F-35 Fighters

The America-class will be the size of other countries’ aircraft carriers.

Over at, Kris Osborne reports that the assembly of the second America-class amphibious assault ship, USS Tripoli, is going according to plan, with a third of initial construction already complete.

The ship “is approximately 30% complete. Fabrication has started on 211 units, 97% of all units, and 84 grand blocks are erected — 47% of the total,” according to a U.S. Navy spokesperson who provided Osborne with a written statement.

Scheduled for launch in in July 2017 and with a tentative induction date set for December 18, the ship is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, along a host of other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.

WNU editor: What I find remarkable about this story is atht the U.S. Navy still has faith in the Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and what will be its role for these ships .... even with all of its problems .... Does The U.S. Navy Cares If The F-35 Cannot Win In A 'Dogfight'?

This Airport Is The Last Place That A Pilot Wants To Land

Bloomberg: This Remote Island Is the Last Place Pilots Want to Land a Plane

The Air Force calls Shemya Island "a place to land in the middle of nowhere".

Every commercial airline flight has a plan for diverting if necessary. But few pilots ever consider Shemya Island, a remote U.S. Air Force outpost 1,500 miles southwest of Anchorage, because there's so little infrastructure. The rocky island, about two miles by four miles, has a 10,000-foot landing strip—large enough for the biggest military cargo jets—and pretty much nothing else.

Today, the island’s population roughly tripled when a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya after the crew detected smoke. All 276 passengers and 18 crew on the Boeing 777-300ER were safe, the airline said. The island was last used as a diversion point in July 2010, when an American Airlines 777 en route to Tokyo landed with a suspected cargo fire. (No fire was found.) After a six-hour stop, the Cathay flight departed later Wednesday morning for a three-hour flight to Anchorage, according to, a flight-tracking site. "We understand that this action resulted in a long and arduous journey for those onboard the diverted flight and we apologise for the inconvenience caused," James Ginns, a Cathay Pacific executive, said in a statement.

WNU Editor: At least that island and airport is there when someone does need to land.

Access To Fresh Water Could Be The Reason Why China And India Go To War


Palmo Tenzin, National Interest: This Is What Could Start a War between India and China

While everyone’s anxiously watching and analyzing the events unraveling in the South China Sea, there’s another resource conflict involving China that also deserves attention. In the Himalayas, China and India are competing for valuable hydropower and water resources on the Yarlung Tsangpo–Brahmaputra River. The dispute offers some important lessons for regional cooperation (on more than just water), and highlights what’s at stake if China and India mismanage their resource conflict.

The Yarlung Tsangpo–Brahmaputra River is a 2,880km transboundary river that originates in Tibet, China as the Yarlung Tsangpo, before flowing through northeast India as the Brahmaputra River and Bangladesh as the Jamuna River.

WNU Editor: On my first trip to China the first thing that I learned was it was a country beset with serious  problems when it came to freshwater and electricity interruptions. .... and that was in the 1980s. And while China has gone a lot of way in solving the problem of electricity interruptions (building coal plants while producing another problem .... pollution)  .... water is still a problem .... and doubly so in India. China's water plans are already causing concern .... China: As water demands grow sharply, supply is shrinking (CSM) .... but the big crisis will be with India, especially as that country's population continues to grow and its water needs expand .... World Population Set To Hit 9.7 Billion People By 2050.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 29, 2015

Inside Story/Al Jazeera: Is peace with the Taliban possible?

Little progress has been achieved as Pakistan and Afghanistan seek peace with the religious group.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he is still hopeful that talks with the Pakistani Taliban will be successful, despite the militant group ending its call for a ceasefire. Sharif says the group has to lay down its arms and respect the Constitution.

Meanwhile. the Pakistani Taliban has made it clear it does not accept the Pakistani Constitution and says it is committed to enforcing its brand of Sharia law across the country. Since the group began its campaign of violence in 2007, thousands of people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 29, 2015

What's next for Taliban after Mullah Omar's reported death? -- Tim Lister, CNN

Dead or alive? The story of the Taliban's missing leader Mohammed Omar -- Jason Burke, The Guardian

A Leaderless Taliban Benefits Islamic State -- Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, Bloomberg

Japan’s Strategy for Central Asia -- Samuel Ramani, The Diplomat

Tikrit In Ruins After Saddam Hometown Liberated From ISIS -- Hélène Sallon, World Crunch

Erdogan's Wars -- Bloomberg editorial

Exposed: China's Economy Won't Collapse -- Milton Ezrati, National Interest

Gazprom Putting The Squeeze On Turkmenistan -- Martin Vladimirov, Oil Price

Russia Can't Help Being a Gold Bug -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

Greece’s Relentless Exodus -- James Angelos, NYT

How the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels. -- Monte Reel, New Yorker

US-Turkey military deal: A turning point in Obama's handling of Syria crisis? -- Howard LaFranchi, CSM

Iran deal: Why don't Americans like it? -- Aaron David Miller, CNN

It’s Simple: Under This Deal, Iran Will Have Nuclear Weapons in Little Over a Decade -- Jeff Robbins, Observer

Why Is the U.S. Releasing Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard? -- Michael Weiss, Daily Beast

China Conducts Massive Military Exercises In The South China Sea

Washington Times: China fills South China Sea with over 100 ships for live-fire military drills

More than 100 Chinese ships sailed into the South China Sea for military drills on Tuesday.

“All sorts of information technology tactics,” were used during the training, which also required dozens of aircraft and China’s nuclear force, China Military Online reported.

The training exercises are likely to infuriate the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries, which dispute China’s claims on the Spratly Islands.

China Military Online reported that the training also took place in “a complex electromagnetic environment” involving many types of munitions, Reuters reported.

WNU Editor: China is laying the groundwork to do this .... Experts Worry China May Soon Establish South China Sea ADIZ (VOA).

More News On China's Military exercises In The South China Sea

China Conducts Military Drill in Disputed South China Sea Involving Live Fire, Philippines Calls for Transparency -- China Topix
China conducts air, sea drills in South China Sea -- Reuters
China’s PLA Launches Massive War Games in South China Sea -- Sputnik
China Conducts Live Firing Drill In Disputed South China Sea -- AFP
China conducts South China Sea live drill 'to improve at-sea combat ability' -- The Guardian
China's Navy Tests 'Maritime Combat Ability' in the South China Sea -- Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat
Vietnam Slams Chinese Naval Drill in South China Sea -- The Diplomat
China military exercises set to deepen concerns in region -- Financial Times

Pentagon Report: Climate Change Is A Threat To National Security

Washington Times: Climate change ‘urgent and growing threat’ to national security: Pentagon

A new Pentagon report says that climate change is an “urgent and growing threat to our national security” and blames it for “increased natural disasters” that will require more American troops designated to combat bad weather.

Some studies have questioned whether such a trend exists.

Says the Pentagon report released Wednesday, “Global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems — such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions — that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.”

Update #1: DoD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change -- DoD Buzz
Update #2: Pentagon Spent $22,000 to Write 14-Page Report on Climate Change -- Washington Free Beacon
Update #3: Defense Department to Congress: Global warming is a 'present security threat' -- Mashable

WNU Editor: A lot of generalities, a few select footnotes, the same doom and gloom predictions that I have been hearing for over a decade (and counting). The full report .... “Report on National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate” .... can be found here.

U.S. Congressional Hearings On The Iran Nuclear Deal Continue

NBC: Kerry Back on Hill Facing Tough Questions on Iran Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry is back on the Hill again today after facing critical questions from House members Tuesday on the Iran nuclear deal.

This time he is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey and answering questions not only on the nuclear agreement with Iran, but also what it means for military balance in the Middle East.

"Let me underscore — the alternative to the deal we've reached isn't a better deal — some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran's complete capitulation. That's a fantasy plain and simple," Kerry said on Wednesday during his opening statements. "The choice we face is between a deal that will ensure Iran's nuclear program is limited, rigorously scrutinized, and wholly peaceful or no deal at all."

WNU Editor: No one is happy, but when the voting starts it will be split along party lines.

More News On Today's U.S. Congressional Hearings On The Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama works overtime to sell Iran deal -- USA Today
The Obama Administration’s Campaign for the Iran Deal Is in Full Force -- National Journal
Dems clash with Kerry over Iran deal -- The Hill
McCain says Iran deal increases risk of Middle East conflict -- Washington post
Senior US senator slams Iran nuclear deal as 'shopping spree' -- AP
Schumer still mum, but White House gets key Iran deal backer -- CNN
Many Democrats Not Ready To Decide Which Way To Vote On Iran Deal -- Daily Caller
Three Cabinet Secretaries Crashed John McCain’s Iran Hearing -- Defense One
Treasury: No, Iran Is Not Getting $150 Billion From The Nuclear Deal -- Huffington post
Ash Carter warns ‘no target out of reach’ in Iran -- Politico
Defense Secretary Carter: Successful Iran nuclear deal preferable to military strike -- US News and World Report
Top military leader: Deal keeps Iran from atomic weapon -- AP

World Population Set To Hit 9.7 Billion People By 2050

Daily Mail: World population is set to hit 9.7billion by 2050 with India overtaking China as the world's most populous country within seven years

* UN experts believe there will be an extra 2.4 billion people within 35 years
* By 2100, the UN claims the figure could increase to more than 11.2 billion
* The population of 28 African countries is expected to double by 2050
* Within 35 years, Nigeria is expected to have a larger population that the US

The world's population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 as India becomes the largest country, the UN has reported.

In 35 years' time, there will be an extra 2.4 billion people in the world owing to high fertility rates in a handful of countries.

The UN predicts that the figure will rise to 11.2 billion by 2100.

More News On UN Predictions For World Population Growth

UN projects world population to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, driven by growth in developing countries -- UN News Centre
Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility -- The Guardian
India Will Be Most Populous Country Sooner Than Thought, U.N. Says -- NYT
World population projected to hit 11.2 billion by 2100 -- Al Jazeera
Global Population to Top 11Bln by End of Century -- Sputnik

Ukraine's Regular Army Remains Disorganized And Poorly Equipped

US and Ukrainian soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukrainian-US military exercise 'Fearless Guardian' at the Yavoriv training ground in the western region of Lviv on April 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

Reuters: Guns and underpants: Ukrainian army hobbled by bureaucratic woes

After more than a year of fighting in eastern Ukraine, the country's regular army remains disorganized and poorly equipped. "The Defense Ministry needed to test underpants for a year before approving them for use. I'm not kidding," President Petro Poroshenko told a meeting of regional chiefs this month.

Building up an army to withstand the threat from Russia and pro-Russian separatists has been a formidable task. When Moscow annexed Crimea and conflict erupted in Ukraine's east, Kiev had outdated Soviet equipment and just 180,000 troops, of whom only 5,000 were battle ready, according to a speech Poroshenko made last month. The government has since boosted military spending to an unprecedented 5 percent of gross domestic product and increased troop numbers to 250,000. Some 50,000 are actively serving in the east.

But examples of incompetence and corruption within the military regularly appear in Ukrainian media. In June, Segodnya newspaper reported that an administrative error had left eight servicemen on their way to the front stranded for days in the city of Kharkiv.

Update: Ukraine Military Seeks to Modernize Past Soviet Era -- Defense News

WNU Editor: The U.S. is still committed to training the Ukraine Army .... U.S. to Train More Ukrainian Troops (Time) .... my advice to the U.S. and other NATO countries who want to boost the Ukraine Army .... start from scratch.

Ukraine Tries To Control Its Many Militias

Tyres are set on fire during a rally held by members of the far-right radical group Right Sector, representatives of the Ukrainian volunteer corps and their supporters in central Kiev, Ukraine, in this July 3, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO/FILES

Reuters: Special Report: Ukraine struggles to control maverick battalions

From a basement billiard club in central Kiev, Dmytro Korchynsky commands a volunteer battalion helping Ukraine's government fight rebels in the east. A burly man with a long, Cossack-style moustache, Korchynsky has several hundred armed men at his disposal. The exact number, he said, is "classified."

In the eyes of many Ukrainians, he and other volunteer fighters are heroes for helping the weak regular army resist pro-Russian separatists. In the view of the government, however, some of the volunteers have become a problem, even a law unto themselves.

Dressed in a colorful peasant-style shirt, Korchynsky told Reuters that he follows orders from the Interior Ministry, and that his battalion would stop fighting if commanded to do so. Yet he added: "We would proceed with our own methods of action independently from state structures."

WNU Editor: I am not optimistic that the Ukraine government is going to be able to control/disband these militias without bloodshed. Many of them are battle-hardened, they are not sympathetic to the Poroshenko government, they have many key supporters in the government, they are armed, and they do have some support in the eastern part of the country (not in the central part of the country, and definitely not in the east where the war is being fought). My prediction .... the government is still going to crack-down on the leadership, and when that happens be prepared to hear reports of shootings, arrests, and even riots.

Commentaries And Analysis On Reports That Afghan Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is Dead

Nikhil Kumar, Time: How the Death of Mullah Omar Could Disrupt Progress in Afghanistan

The one-eyed leader died two years ago, it has emerged. The news could impact hopes for peace with the Taliban

Only two weeks ago, Mullah Omar’s name surfaced on a website linked to the Afghan Taliban in a message approving of the insurgents’ peace talks with Afghan government officials. There was no video or audio, just a short statement purportedly from the one-eyed leader of the militants who ruled Afghanistan before fleeing into hiding amid U.S. airstrikes in late 2001. And there he stayed, appearing only as the shadowy signatory of occasional messages such as the one that appeared in mid-July.

WNU Editor: If he was dead .... we would have known about it within 24 hours .... not 2 years after the fact. But then again ... who really knows.

Commentaries And Analysis On Reports That Afghan Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is Dead

Rumors of Mullah Omar’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated Before -- Shane Harris & Nancy A. Youssef, Daily Beast
Mullah Omar – the evasive ghost who lead the Taliban through secrecy -- Emma Graham-Harrison and Sune Engel Rasmussen in Mazar-i-Sharif, The Guardian
Mullah Omar’s Death Makes Afghan Peace Even Harder to Reach -- Eltaf Najafizada, Bloomberg
Taliban Chief Mullah Omar Said Dead in Afghan Peace Setback -- Eltaf Najafizada, Bloomberg
Expert view: Why Mullah Omar's death would be significant for the Taliban -- The Telegraph
Taliban leader Mullah Omar declared dead, but does it even matter now? -- Karan Pradhan, First Post
If Mullah Omar Really Is Dead, What Does That Mean for the Taliban? -- Joshua Keating, Slate
Can The Taliban Survive Mullah Omar's Death? -- Frud Bezhan, Radio Free Europe
Why no one believes it when Taliban leader Mohammad Omar ‘dies’ -- Adam Taylor, Washington Post
Dead or Alive, Is Mullah Omar Still a Wanted Man? -- Ankit Panda, The Diplomat
Who was Taliban leader Mullah Omar? -- Jane Onyanga-Omara, USA TODAY
Mullah Omar: The myth and the movement -- Lyse Doucet, BBC
How Death of Taliban’s Mullah Omar Could Boost ISIS in Afghanistan -- Michael Kugelman, WSJ
Taliban leader, who Afghanistan says is dead, a pious enigma -- Reuters
Profile: Mullah Mohammed Omar -- BBC
Five things to know about Mullah Omar -- The Hill
Major Events in the Life of Taliban Leader Mullah Omar -- AP

Mullah Omar: Taliban Leader 'Died In Pakistan In 2013'

BBC: Mullah Omar: Taliban leader 'died in Pakistan in 2013'

Taliban leader Mullah Omar died two years ago in Pakistan, a spokesman for Afghanistan's security services says.

Abdul Hassib Seddiqi told the BBC's Afghan Service that Mullah Omar had died of health problems at a hospital in Pakistan.

Afghanistan's government says information on his death is "credible".

The latest reports of Mullah Omar's death are being taken more seriously than previous such reports. The Taliban is expected to issue a statement soon.

WNU Editor: The Taliban are denying these reports .... Is the one-eyed Taliban leader REALLY dead? Mystery as Afghan officials say Mullah Omar died from an illness two years ago - but terror group insists he's still alive (Daily Mail).

More News On Reports That Afghan Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died In Pakistan In 2013

Afghanistan says Taliban leader dead, urges peace talks -- Reuters
Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, Afghanistan says -- AFP
Afghan Intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar was dead. -- AP
Afghan presidency confirms 2013 death of Mullah Omar -- France 24
Mullah Mohammad Omar, Taliban leader, said to have died in 2013 -- Washington Post
Afghanistan Says Mullah Omar, Taliban Leader, Died in 2013 -- NYT
Taliban's Mullah Omar died in 2013, Afghan government says -- CNN
Reports: Taliban chief Mullah Omar is dead -- The Hill
Afghanistan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in Karachi in 2013 -- Deutsche Welle
Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is Dead, Afghan Spy Agency Says -- WSJ
Afghan Government: Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013 -- VOA
Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, says Afghan government -- The Guardian
Taliban leader Mullah Omar 'has been dead for two years', Afghan government confirms -- The Independent
Afghan intelligence officials confirm death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar -- FOX News
Afghan gov't: Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead -- CBS
Mullah Omar 'Died Two Years Ago', Officials Say -- SKY News
Taliban Chief Mullah Omar Is Dead: Reports -- IBTimes
Afghan government says Mullah Omar dead -- Al Jazeera
Afghan Officials Report Taliban Group Leader Mullah Omar Dead -- Sputnik
Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead - Afghan, Pakistani govt sources -- RT
Reports: Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead -- Politico
Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Is 'Dead' -- Vice News
White House says believes reports of Taliban leader's death are 'credible' -- Reuters
White House Says Mullah Omar Death Reports Are Credible -- NYT/AP

World News Briefs -- July 29, 2015

Reuters: Turkey launches heaviest air strikes yet on Kurdish group

Turkish jets launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq overnight since air strikes began last week, hours after President Tayyip Erdogan said a peace process had become impossible.

The strikes hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets including shelters, depots and caves in six areas, a statement from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said. A senior official told Reuters it was the biggest assault since the campaign started.

Iraq condemned the air strikes as a "dangerous escalation and an assault on Iraqi sovereignty", saying it was committed to ensuring militant attacks on Turkey were not carried out from within its territory.


Turkey steps up bombing of Kurdish targets in Iraq.

Kurd leader attacks Turkey's 'safe zone' plan for Syria.

Gulf Arab power UAE chides EU over opening to Iran.

Syrian army says Israeli planes strike pro-Syrian Palestinian militia.

Islamic State claims car bomb in Yemen capital, four dead.

Saudi-led warplanes bomb Houthi bastion in north Yemen.

Saudi policeman killed in attack in Eastern Province.


Afghanistan says Taliban leader dead, urges peace talks.

Taliban advance in north Afghanistan seizing district, villages.

Experts worry China may soon establish South China Sea ADIZ.

US lawmakers fear Iran copying ‘North Korea’s playbook’.

North Korea hints at ballistic missile launch.

Critics: China’s President using law to tighten grip on power.

India set to become world's most populous country by 2022: U.N..

23 missing in Laos military helicopter accident.


Burundi parliament opens after disputed poll, opposition takes seats.

Kenya auditor uncovers massive government misspending.

Anti-Boko Haram force 'to cross borders to fight'.

Nigeria President visits Cameroon to discuss militant threat.

Authorities in Egypt 'killing independent journalism'.

U.N. human rights office deeply disturbed' by Libya death sentences.

Zimbaweans in lion hunt in court; Kill was "unethical".


Greece PM threatens Syriza rebels with snap elections.

Greek debt restructuring is inevitable, says IMF chief.

Russia's Putin says opposes MH17 tribunal ahead of U.N. vote.

Russian official: NATO eastward expansion would be 'catastrophic'.

Guns and underpants: Ukrainian army hobbled by bureaucratic woes.

Calais migrant crisis: France sends extra police to Channel Tunnel.

Rome's hot summer: Corruption, breakdowns run city to ground.


Senior US officials seek to calm concerns over Iran nuclear deal.

U.N. urges Dominican Republic to prevent deportations of Haitians.

Peru rescues 39 'slave workers' from Shining Path farm.

Surge of Syrian refugees into US stirs security concerns.

120 deaths a day: US heroin & prescription drugs epidemic spinning out of control.

California drought could wipe cities off map if their water runs out.


Spy head: ‘Lone wolves’ bigger threat than al Qaeda.

Florida man accused of supporting ISIS, plotting 'backpack bombing'.

Bigger threat - al-Qaeda or ISIS?


Windows 10 launch is a 'new era', says Microsoft boss.

Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility.

IMF's Lagarde: World economy fragile, faces downside risks.

Military And intelligence News Briefs -- July 29, 2015

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. DoD

WSJ: U.S. Seeks More Troops From U.N.

The U.S. is appealing to Europe, Australia and Canada to deploy more U.N. troops

The top U.S. military officer called on representatives of more than 100 countries to step up assistance to United Nations peacekeeping, but stopped short of saying how Washington would raise its own contribution.

Gen. Martin Dempsey is the first chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to address a U.N. gathering, a sign of the Obama administration’s heightened focus on peacekeeping and how it can further American interests.

President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a new commitment when he leads a summit on peacekeeping in September during the U.N.’s 70th annual general debate.

Military And intelligence News Briefs -- July 29, 2015

Top American Commander Warns U.N. That Too Few Carry Efforts for Peace -- NYT

Top US General Urges Countries to Bolster UN Peacekeeping -- VOA/Reuters

US Military Chief: World Risks Becoming Immune to Crises -- AP

Pentagon Doesn’t Know if it’s Allowed to Defend Syrian Fighters or Turkish 'Safe Zone' -- National Journal/Defense One

Pentagon chief says the US commitment to Israel is 'ironclad' -- The Hill

Sweden Says Sub Wreck a Czarist Russian Vessel -- AFP

Russia To Deploy S-400 Missile Defense System To Far East Region Of Kamchatka -- IBTimes

China Says Naval Cooperation Important for Relations With Russia -- Sputnik

China’s PLA Launches Massive War Games in South China Sea -- Sputnik

China Conducts Live Firing Drill In Disputed South China Sea -- AFP

Submarine killers: India's $61 billion warning to China -- Bloomberg

Turkey to Buy Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Details From China -- Sputnik

Heading to China, Erdoğan eyes improved missile defense bid -- Today's Zaman

Japan to Equip Two Warships With Laser Weapons -- Sputnik

Argentina chooses Israel over China for fighter jet purchase -- Want China Times

France Eyeing to Deliver Rafale Jets to Malaysia, UAE -- Sputnik

Canada to Buy Israeli Iron Dome Technology - National Defense Department -- Sputnik

USAF Keeping Spare AC-130Us Gunships For Laser And 'Pain Ray' Tests -- Foxtrot Alpha

Lockheed F-35’s Reliability Found Wanting in Shipboard Testing -- Bloomberg

Air Force secretary: The F-35 has a wide range of problems -- Business Insider/

Spare Parts Needed to Ready F-35 for the Pacific, General Says -- DoD Buzz

F-35B Needs Workaround to Fuse Sensor Data, General Says -- Defense Tech

F-35 Lightning II - last of the manned fighters? -- IHS Jane's 360

The Military Will Test a New Terrifyingly Loud Noise Gun -- Defense One

Navy Pursuing Upgraded Railgun, Higher-Power Laser Gun By 2020 -- USNI News

SEAL Team 6 by the Numbers -- Sean D. Naylor, Foreign Policy

5 of the most elite special forces in the world -- Business Insider

The Pentagon now says at least 192 laboratories accidentally received anthrax -- Verge

Critics warn of $11 billion Pentagon health records fiasco -- Politico

Does Guantanamo Bay have a cancer problem? Three military lawyers are dead. -- Dan Lamonthe, Washington Post

America’s First Female Four-Star on Diversity in the Military -- Defense One/Quartz

Congress Moves To Impose Market-Style Reforms On Pentagon Weapons Purchases -- Loren Thompson, Forbes

I Use To Be A Hunter

Cecil the Lion (pictured in 2012) was thought to have been lured outside the park and was initially wounded by an arrow before being stalked, shot and beheaded

Daily Mail: 'A coward and a killer': Protesters target US dentist's surgery after he admits paying $55,000 to kill Cecil - Africa's most famous lion – as supermodels lead international outrage

* Dr Walter J Palmer, a dentist from Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, killed the famed lion on July 1 in Zimbabwe
* It's believed Cecil the Lion, 13, was lured out of the national park and wounded by an arrow before he was tracked, shot dead with a gun, skinned and beheaded as a hunting trophy
* Palmer admits he was responsible but said he was unaware it was protected and said he 'regrets' the killing
* Cara Delevingne and Candice Swanepoel blasted the dentist, calling him a 'poor excuse of a human being'
* Stuffed animal memorial placed outside Palmer's office and protesters showed up at his house as 'dentist hunters'

Death threats have been sent to the American dentist who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe earlier this month amid growing anger over the protected animal's slaughter.

Tributes to the butchered lion have poured in thousands of miles away at Dr Walter Palmer's office in Bloomington, Minnesota, where protesters dressed as 'dentist hunters' also threw stuffed lions at his house.

Celebrities including models Cara Delevingne and Candice Swanepoel have also blasted the dentist, calling him a 'poor excuse of a human being'.

Palmer claims he had trusted his local guides to meet legal guidelines on his trip to Africa, during which he shot Cecil with a crossbow on July 1 before skinning and beheading him.

WNU Editor: I know that this is not a military/war/defense/political story .... but ever since I first heard about this story .... I am just getting more and more steamed ... and I use to be a hunter. I did it years ago with my northern Inuit friends in Quebec. We hunted deer, caribou, and moose .... but what we killed we always used for food. We never hunted bear or any other animal that could NOT be used for food. I still remember those days .... the flies and mosquitoes .... one of us getting a kill .... and how we prepared the carcass and its meat for a feast and what was left was always brought home and put in the freezer for a special dinner later. And the flavour of the meat was always incredible ... no chemicals, no hormones, all natural and wild .... words cannot describe it. But over the years I stopped, and with the influence of the GF I am now limited to getting pheasant on my property in the Laurentians of Quebec. There are bears on my property, and people have offered me money if they could hunt on my property .... but we have always (and will always) say no.

So when I read about this dentist and the excuses and explanations that he is giving on how this incredible lion was killed .... and knowing that he has a history of violating rules and laws in the past .... I know that he is either lying or the most irresponsible hunter in the world. He knew what he wanted .... he wanted a lion with a black mane .... he paid a lot of money for it .... his guides and handlers knew what he wanted .... and when the hunt went bad (a wounded lion injured for 40 hours .... I cannot imagine the pain that this lion must have been experiencing and how dangerous such a situation must have been) .... this hunter panicked and fled because everyone knew that the tracking device on the lion would lead the authorities to them.

How do I know all of this .... because I have met hunters like him/that .... who kill these animals fort he moment because they enjoy it, and they do not care on who will miss these incredible animals of nature when they are gone.

If there is any justice it is this .... thanks to social media and the internet .... Dr Walter J Palmer will always remembered for this .... and he is going to be haunted by this (and condemned) for the rest of his life.

China Wants Limits On The World Wide Web

People use computers at an Internet cafe in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan province on March 13, 2007. Reuters

Wall Street Journal: China Pushes to Rewrite Rules of Global Internet

Officials aim to control online discourse and reduce U.S. influence.

SHANGHAI—As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.

Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.

Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention. Its government is pushing to rewrite the rules of the global Internet, aiming to draw the world’s largest group of Internet users away from an interconnected global commons and to increasingly run parts of the Internet on China’s terms.

WNU Editor: We have seen repeatedly in the past decade how the world wide web .... specifically social media .... can be used by opposition groups to promote their policies or organize protests even when they are restricted and/or banned by authoritarian governments. For the Chinese government .... who are always worried that opposition protests could get out of hand .... this is a troubling possibility that keeps security officials and their political bosses up all night. But the problem is that unless the Chinese government wants to pull the plug on the internet .... there is no way that they can control it. My prediction .... they will push these restrictions .... and they will succeed .... but within a day or two someone will find a way to go around it.

Will Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Collect $1 Million When He Is Released From Jail?

Israelis hold placards depicting Jonathan Pollard during a protest calling for his release from a U.S. prison, outside U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's hotel in Jerusalem January 2, 2014. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Newsweek: Does Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Have $1 Million Waiting in a Swiss Bank Account?

If past reports are true, convicted spy Jonathan Pollard could have about $1 million waiting for him in a Swiss bank account when he is released from federal prison on parole in November. Pollard, whose release was announced on Tuesday, has served nearly 30 years for supplying the Israeli government with classified U.S. intelligence documents.

Pollard's new problem: how to get to the cash, and when. According to multiple past reports based on the statements of United States investigators, Israeli intelligence paid Pollard $50,000 by the time he was arrested in 1985, on top of lavish gifts, and promised to deposit $30,000 a year for him in a secret Swiss bank account. The original 10-year deal could have amounted to as much as $540,000, officials said when he went to jail. But if the Israelis continued the payments to their captured spy—a common practice of major espionage agencies the world over—then Pollard could be in line for a $1 million payday, or more.

News of Pollard claiming such a reward, however, could touch off a firestorm in the already rocky relations between the U.S. and Israel.

WNU Editor: The Pollard legal team is denying these reports .... but I suspect that we will not know the real answer until he leaves the U.S. which I expect him to do when the conditions of his parole permit him to.

U.S. Public Opinion Wants Congress To Reject The Iranian Nuclear Deal

CNN: CNN/ORC poll: Majority wants Congress to reject Iran deal

Washington (CNN)A majority of Americans want Congress to reject the recently-negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, even as President Barack Obama's approval rating continues to stand in net-positive territory for the second month in a row, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

The new CNN/ORC poll finds 49% approve of the way Obama is handling his job, 47% disapprove, about the same as in a June survey, which found the President's approval rating at 50% for the first time since 2013. But on the President's biggest accomplishment since then -- the nuclear agreement reached between the U.S., its allies and Iran -- most say they would like to see Congress reject it. Overall, 52% say Congress should reject the deal, 44% say it should be approved.

WNU Editor: Republicans and independents are not comfortable with the deal .... Democrats support it. Considering how glowing (and supportive) much of the main stream press has been on the deal, this is a surprise. The same CNN/ORC poll finds 49% approve of the way Obama is handling his job, 47% disapprove.

Israeli PM: Iran-Hezballah Terror Network Operates In 30 Countries

Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu: Iran and Hezbollah have terrorist network throughout Europe

Cyprus and Europe are in danger from the terrorism that emanates from the region, Netanyahu says during one day visit to Cyprus.

Iranian and Hezbollah backed terrorism present a danger to almost every European country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday during a one day visit to Cyprus.

“Iran and Hezbollah organize a terrorist network that covers over thirty countries on five continents, including Europe, just about every country in Europe,” Netanyahu said.

He spoke as EU’s foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini visited Teheran to meet with its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to help normalize relations in the aftermath of the Iran deal to curb the country’s nuclear program.

Update: Iran a 'formidable' danger to Europe: Netanyahu -- AFP

WNU Editor: With the Iranian nuclear deal now in place .... this network will soon be $100 billion richer.

U.S. Marines Are To Switch From The M16 To The M4

U.S. Marine Corps infantrymen could soon switch to the M4 from the M16. Pictured: Marine Corps Cpl. Jordan Westra takes aim using an M4 rifle before firing a warning shot at Camp Barcha in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 12, 2009. Reuters

Washington Post: The Marines are slowly saying goodbye to the M16 rifle

The Marine Corps’ long, sometimes twisted, relationship with the M16 rifle is slowly coming to an end.

On Monday, the Marine Corps Times reported that the rifle is only a few signatures away from being phased out from front-line units and relegated to a support role. The move, which follows a similar one by the Army, comes as the Marine Corps implements its new small-arms modernization strategy.

“The proposal to replace the M16A4 with the M4 within infantry battalions is currently under consideration at Headquarters Marine Corps,” Maj. Anton Semelroth, a Marine spokesman, told the Marine Corps Times in an e-mail.

The weapon replacing the M16, the M4, is a smaller, carbine variant of the M16. Aesthetically the M4 looks only slightly different, with a collapsible stock and shorter barrel. And while the M4 also shoots the same sized bullet as the M16 — 5.56mm — the real benefits come from its reduced weight and portability.

More News On The U.S. Marines Switching From The M16 To The M4

Marine brass endorses infantry plan to ditch M16 for M4 -- Marine Times
Marine Leaders Endorse Switch From M16 To M4 Weapons For Better Modern Warfare -- IBTimes
Every Marine is a Carbineman: USMC may switch to M4 --
Marine Corps Leaders Endorse Plan To Replace M16 With M4 -- Task & Purpose

Pentagon Shuts Down Their Email Network Because Of 'Suspicious' Activity

Reuters: Part of Pentagon email network taken down over suspicious activity

An unclassified email network used by Army General Martin Dempsey and other members of the U.S. military's Joint Staff has been taken off line because of suspicious activity, a Pentagon spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Valerie Henderson said the unclassified email network for all users on the Joint Staff was taken offline by the Defense Department because of suspicious activity noted over the weekend and is "currently down."

"We continue to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks across our networks," Henderson said. "With those goals in mind, we have taken the Joint Staff network down and continue to investigate."

Update #1: Pentagon takes computer system offline -- CNN
Update #2: Pentagon shuts down Joint Chiefs' email network -- Endgadget

WNU Editor: It looks like someone got in.