Sunday, April 19, 2015

Top U.S. Army Commander In Europe: Europe Faces A 'Real Threat' From Russia

Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges. NATO

The Telegraph: Europe faces a 'real threat' from Russia, warns US army commander

The commander of the US army in Europe, Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges, says that Nato must remain united "as insurance" against Russia

The commander of the US army in Europe has warned that Nato must remain united in the face of a "real threat" from Russia.

"It's not an assumption. There is a Russian threat," Lt-Gen Frederick "Ben" Hodges said.

"You've got the Russian ambassador threatening that Denmark will be a nuclear target if it participates in any missile defence programme. And when you look at the unsafe way Russian aircraft are flying without transponders in proximity to civilian aircraft, that's not professional conduct."

Gen Hodges spoke to the Telegraph on the sidelines of a military debriefing after an exercise to move live Patriot missiles 750 miles across Europe by road and deploy them on the outskirts of Warsaw.

Update: U.S. commander: Russia wouldn't dare take on NATO -- UPI

WNU Editor: His remarks in this Telegraph interview are not going to help in defusing tensions between Russia and the West .... if anything .... they are probably going to intensify them.

Amercia Cannot Afford The F-35


Matthew Gault, War is Boring: Congress‘ Watchdog Thinks America Can’t Afford the F-35

New report reads like a passive-aggressive letter between spouses

The F-35 is the most expensive weapon the Pentagon has ever built. Current estimates put the total cost of the jet’s maintenance and operation at more than $1 trillion.

This number is for all the jets over their entire lifespan, but it’s also just for operations and maintenance. But this amount doesn’t take into account the acquisition cost — the cash taxpayers have spent so far to design and build the damn things.

The acquisition cost is just shy of $400 billion, and the military will need more cash to finish the job, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office — Congress’ independent watchdog and reporting agency.

WNU Editor: Another critical and detailed analysis on the U.S. Air Force's F-35 program .... and the mess that it is in.

A Go-To Graphic Of The Entire The US Navy Fleet



Foxtrot Alpha: This Is Your Go-To Graphic To Understand The US Navy Fleet

If you want to know just about every ship and sub in the U.S. Navy’s fleet, this graphic is your guide. It’s massive and awesome and actually appears to be set just a few years in the future, which makes it even cooler. 

You can download the top graphic, which is a promotional piece for Raytheon’s Air and Missile Defense Radar system here, and if you want to see Sealift Command’s fleet, here’s where to get it.

WNU Editor: I am impressed. Every U.S. Navy ship is listed.

Did Then-Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen Know That Bowe Bergdahl Deserted His Post?



FOX News: Bergdahl's platoon mates: Head of Joint Chiefs knew he walked off base in 2009

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his base in Afghanistan June 30, 2009, and by December of that same year, the president's principal military adviser, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, knew those details, according to three of Bergdahl's platoon mates who spoke to Fox News.

"I asked him (Mullen) if he knew about Bergdahl and that he deserted and he (Mullen) told me that he knew of the circumstances surrounding his walking off," former Sgt. Matt Vierkant told Fox,"(and) that they were developing leads and following leads, trying to do everything they could to get him back."

WNU Editor: Did then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen keep this information to himself (which I doubt) .... or did he do his job and notify the President. This is a case that keeps on giving .... and no surprising .... now retired Admiral Mike Mullen is not talking.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Differences Between The U.S. And Iran On Their Nuclear Deal Continues To Widen



USA Today: Iran-U.S. differences over nuclear deal widen

Two weeks after world powers and Iran announced a framework agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, widening gaps between the two sides are emerging.

As negotiators prepare to start working on a final agreement in Vienna next Wednesday, the United States and Iran are at odds on key issues that form the basis of the deal unveiled April 2 in Switzerland.

They include when economic sanctions on Iran will be lifted, the number of machines Iran can keep to process uranium and length of the final agreement.

WNU Editor: These are the differences that are known .... we must not forget that much of these talks are still secret and will not be known until an agreement is signed (maybe).

Are The People Who Run U.S. Central Command Stupid?

William M. Arkin, Phase Zero/Gawker: Why Is CENTCOM So Stupid?

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in Washington today to meet President Obama. To set the stage yesterday, U.S. Central Command—the military command charged with advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East—announced that ISIS has lost control of 25 to 30 percent of its territory since August. The Pentagon briefing map, pictured below, is meticulous in its utter irrelevance.

The Pentagon spokesmen said that "coalition forces" expected to clear Tikrit of ISIS/ISIL "relatively soon" and that the front line "has been pushed either west or south, depending on location."

WNU Editor: A brutal look at how the higher-ups in the U.S. military operate. As to what is my take .... I gave up reading CENTCOM press releases a long time ago.

Editor's Note

I have 101 chores to do around the house today .... and I need to spend some R&R time with the GF. Regular blogging will return later tonight.

Has President Obama Abandoned Iraq?

The author walks through a market in Baghdad with Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno in 2007. Photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour/U.S. Army

Emma Sky, Slate: How Obama Abandoned Iraq

Why the rise of ISIS and the fall of Iraq weren’t inevitable.

As hard as I try to move beyond Iraq, the country still sucks me back. Last June, I tried to cut off completely, heading off on horse back into the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. At one of the shepherds’ lodgings, I was surprised to find access to Wi-Fi. I connected my iPad to download my email and there in my inbox was an email from a U.S. general and a number of media requests for interviews. Mosul had been overrun by ISIS.

I could not stay away. I had to go back to see for myself what was happening. I had first gone to Iraq in 2003, when I responded to the British government’s request for volunteers to help rebuild the country after the fall of the regime and found myself responsible for Kirkuk, trying to diffuse tensions between the different Iraqis scrambling to control the province. During the surge and the drawdown of U.S. forces, I had served as the political adviser to Gen. Ray Odierno. I left with him in September 2010 but had been back to the country a couple of times every year since, unable to let go, unable to stop caring.

WNU Editor: The first thing that surprised me about this commentary/analysis is that it is in Slate .... a news source that has given President Obama "a pass" on many issues. But on this one ... they definitely do not. This is a brutal commentary/analysis on President Obama's policies in the region .... and one that should give everyone pause on what is happening in the region. Regardless of your political leanings or preferences .... this is a must read. As to what is my take .... I think the White House is in shock with what is happening .... and I am seeing a lot of self-denials .... both within the White House and among their media supporters. The only thing that is going for the administration is the American public's deep reluctance to get involved in another Middle Eastern war .... especially in a war that even the White House is reluctant to expand and get more involved in. But the situation is getting worse .... and whether it is now or later .... the White House will have to soon start making some very hard decisions.

Tens Of Thousands Flee Islamic State Military Gains And Advances In The Sunni Heartland Of Iraq

Displaced Sunni people, who fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, arrive at the outskirts of Baghdad, April 17, 2015. Iraqi security forces fought Islamic State militants at the gates of the western city of Ramadi on Friday, and local authorities warned it was in danger of falling unless reinforcements arrived soon. REUTERS/Stringer

Washington Post: Thousands of Iraqis flee as Islamic State makes gains in Sunni heartland

SADR AL-YUSUFIYAH — Thousands of families fleeing Iraq’s western city of Ramadi choked checkpoints leading to Baghdad on Friday, after an Islamic State advance spread panic and left security forces clinging to control.

A column of traffic several vehicles wide snaked for miles at a checkpoint in Sadr al-Yusufiyah, on the edge of Baghdad province, as minibuses, cars and trucks picked up families who crossed by foot carrying their possessions in bags and wheelbarrows. Suhaib al-Rawi, the governor of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital, described it as a human disaster on a scale the city has never witnessed.

Update: This photo gallery from Reuters reveals the mass panic that is now gripping that city .... ISIS at the gates of Ramadi (Reuters)

WNU Editor: So much for U.S. war plans .... ISIS’ Attack on Ramadi Just Upended U.S. War Plans (Nancy Youssef, Daily Beast). This is why the battle for Ramadi is important .... The Fall of Ramadi Would Mean a Devastating Win for ISIS ( Tom Rogan, NRO) .... and why US General Dempsey's remarks on Ramadi are so wrong .... Top U.S. General: Losing Ramadi To The Islamic State Is 'Not A Big Deal'.

Update #2: The Iraqi government and its allies are getting desperate .... Hezbollah Brigades deploys fighters to Ramadi (Long War Journal). Sighh .... Shiite - Hezbollah fighters in the Sunni heartland of Iraq .... that is not going to go over well.

Update #3: The sheer numbers of civilians who are now fleeing the Islamic State in Iraq's Anbar province are massive .... Islamic State: Up to 150,000 civilians reportedly flee embattled city of Ramadi (ABC News Australia).

U.S. Officials Alarmed That An Iranian Naval Convoy Is Moving Towards Yemen



The Hill: Iranian ship convoy moves toward Yemen, alarming US officials

U.S. military officials are concerned that Iran's support for Houthi rebels in Yemen could spark a confrontation with Saudi Arabia and plunge the region into sectarian war.

Iran is sending an armada of seven to nine ships — some with weapons — toward Yemen in a potential attempt to resupply the Shia Houthi rebels, according to two U.S. defense officials.

Officials fear the move could lead to a showdown with the U.S. or other members of a Saudi-led coalition, which is enforcing a naval blockade of Yemen and is conducting its fourth week of airstrikes against the Houthis.

Update #1: Iran Sends Ships Toward Blockaded Yemen Port, Raising Fears Of Escalating Conflict With Saudi Arabia -- IBTimes
Update #2: Iran Sparks Fears of Full-Scale War with Saudi Arabia by Sending Ships to Yemen -- IBTimes

WNU Editor: Saudi military officials have made it very clear that they will not permit any Iranian ships to enter a Yemeni port .... Iranian ships ‘not allowed’ in Yemeni waters (Al Arabiya). The Iranian President has stated that Iran's moves are purely defensive .... Rouhani says Iran's military strategy purely defensive (Daily Mail/AFP) .... but he is also "blasting" Saudi involvement in Yemen's war .... Rouhani says Saudis will harvest hatred in Yemen (YNet News). In this mix there are seven US Navy combat ships monitoring the situation .... Navy has seven combat ships around Yemen as Saudi-led blockade continues (Washington Post). My prediction .... this naval convoy is either a bluff from the Iranians (which I doubt), or a move by Iran to confront Saudi Arabia's blockade of Yemen (which I feel is what they are doing). This has the potential to be the spark of a major Middle Eastern war with deep sectarian roots that we have not seen in our lifetimes.

Update #3: This is interesting. Apparently Algeria is the middleman for communications between Iran and Saudi Arabia .... Algeria relaying messages between Riyadh, Tehran: Source (Middle East Monitor)

Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Massive Suicide Attack In Afghanistan



Washington Post: Islamic State claims bombing in Afghanistan that kills dozens

KABUL —The Islamic State’s regional branch has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday that killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100, according to a statement that is believed to have been sent by the Syria and Iraq-based movement.

The attack marks the first time that the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, has claimed to be behind a violent assault in Afghanistan. The claim could not be independently verified, but if true, it would also represent the furthest the group has ever targeted civilians from their traditional operational area of the Middle East and North Africa.



More News On The Islamic State Claiming Responsibility For Today's Massive Suicide Attack In Afghanistan

Afghan suicide bombing claimed by Islamic State kills 33 -- AP
Afghanistan suicide blast kills 33, targets government workers -- Reuters
IS claims deadly Afghan suicide attack: President Ghani -- AFP
At least 33 killed in suicide bomb attack by Islamic State on bank in eastern Afghan city -- Daily Mail
Islamic State Militants Claim First Bombing in Afghanistan -- Bloomberg
Afghanistan suicide bomb in Jalalabad leaves many dead -- BBC
Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, Blames ISIS for Deadly Suicide Bombing at bank -- NYT
Deadly suicide bombings hit Afghanistan's Jalalabad -- Al Jazeera
33 killed, 100 injured in Afghanistan blasts, ISIS claims responsibility -- RT
Afghanistan Suicide Blast Kills 35, Wounds More Than 100 -- VOA
ISIS militant bomber on motorbike kills 33 at bank in Afghanistan -- CNN
Suicide bomber kills dozens at Afghanistan bank -- UPI

Are There Any Moderate Syrian Rebels?



Patrick Poole, PJ Media: U.S. Analyst Admits: ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working With Al-Qaeda All Along

A Brookings-Doha Institute analyst finally spills the beans.

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Washington, D.C. about U.S. involvement in the Syrian war is that the “moderate” rebels whom the Obama administration (and many Republicans) backed were closely aligned with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. They were also, at times, aligned with the Islamic State.

For regular PJ Media readers, this will come as no surprise. I’ve repeatedly documented the ties between the State Department’s “vetted moderate” rebel groups and designated terrorist groups based on snippets of reporting that challenged the administration’s official narrative.

WNU Editor: I guess this explains why the U.S. administration has been hesitant to supply these rebel groups with weapons. The above video is 7 months old, and it reveals how difficult it is to figure out who are the moderate Syrian rebels, and who are not. For what it is worth, the only rebels (in my opinion) who have been "moderate" are the Kurds.

Did NBC Cover Up The Role Of U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Rebels In The 2012 Kidnapping Of NBC Reporter Richard Engel?



Lloyd Grove, Daily Beast: Inside Richard Engel’s Abrupt Change of Mind

Finally, a PR win for NBC: the network scooped the ‘New York Times’ with the revelation of the true identity of its chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel’s kidnappers.

Score one for image-battered NBC News, which has finally gotten the better of a rival news outlet intent on exposing its shortcomings.

The Peacock Network’s chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, on Wednesday night preempted a two-month-long New York Times investigation, bylined by three Times journalists and prepared with the help of six others—the sort of ambitious team effort that ordinarily would have landed on the front page but in this case was relegated to B1.

With the active involvement of NBC News President Deborah Turness and brand-new NBC News Chairman Andy Lack, who assumed formal control of the broadcast and cable news operations in a corporate shakeup earlier this month, Engel scooped the Times on its own scoop, correcting NBC’s long-held version of a harrowing December 2012 incident in which Engel and five other employees were kidnapped, blindfolded, and subjected to physical and psychological abuse for five days in civil war-torn Syria.

WNU Editor: I rarely post "Democracy Now" videos .... but this is an important story on how the mainstream media covers wars, and in this case the Syrian conflict. Kudos to the New York Times for starting the investigation in this story, and kudos to Richard Engel for coming clean. On a personal note .... I have always liked Richard Engel's coverage of the Middle East. He has put himself in harms way many times, and his reporting is sometimes clearly at odds with what the U.S. administration is trying to paint on what is happening in places like Syria and Iraq. I hope that he continues reporting on the conflicts as he sees it .... but as the above story has revealed .... what he reports is sometimes tightly controlled.

A U.S. Military Coverup In Afghanistan?



Patrick Poole, PJ Media: BOMBSHELL: Afghan Colonel Was Paid $250,000 to Kill U.S. Air Force Personnel, Pentagon Cover-Up Ensued

A bombshell revelation has emerged about the incident responsible for the greatest U.S. Air Force loss of life during the War on Terror, the deadliest “green-on-blue” attack during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

On April 27, 2011, Afghan Air Force Colonel Ahmad Gul gunned down eight U.S. Air Force personnel and a civilian contractor inside the Afghan Air Force headquarters, including investigators who had just arrived in the country to examine rampant corruption in the Afghan military.

Multiple Air Force and CENTCOM investigations claimed to find no motive for the attack, leaving the families of those killed with no answers.

WNU Editor: This should surprise no one. The culture of corruption is rampant in Afghanistan .... and the U.S. will never be able to change that.

How Robots Are Becoming Weapons For Terrorists


Marc Goodman, Defense One: How Terrorists Are Turning Robots Into Weapons

Terrorists and college kids already have hacked into government drones. It's time to rethink security with the rise of robotics.

In late 2009, as the war raged on in the Middle East, U.S. Predator drones flew nearly constantly above the skies of Iraq.

Their missions varied from intelligence collection to “kinetic operations against high value targets” such as launching Hellfire missiles against insurgents. The drone pilots remotely carrying out these operations seven thousand miles away in the Nevada desert intently watched live video feeds of their targets as they navigated their UAVs in pursuit of their quarry. As it turns out, they weren’t the only ones watching.

Shia militants had figured out a way to hack the American flying robotic fleet and capture its live video feeds. Using a $26 piece of Russian hacker software known as SkyGrabber, commonly sold in the digital underground to steal satellite television signals, the insurgents were able to intercept the video footage emanating from the classified Predator drones. Thus as the Americans were watching the insurgents, the insurgents were watching back, providing them with a tactical advantage and vital intelligence on coalition targets. If the militants saw their house coming into close video focus, they knew it was definitely time to rapidly consider alternative housing options.

WNU Editor:The information is all out there .... terrorists or criminals .... if they take the time learn these things (which they are) .... they will adapt and end up using the same tools against us.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Look At Lethal American Weapons Of War

The USS Carl Vinson leads the USS Bunker Hill and the USS Halsey during a passing exercise with Indian navy ships during Exercise Malabar 2012 in the Indian Ocean, April 16, 2012. The Vinson, Bunker Hill and Halsey comprise Carrier Strike Group 1 and are participating in the annual bilateral naval field training exercise with the Indian navy to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman George M. Bell

Dave Majumdar, National Interest: The 5 Most Lethal American Weapons of War Ever

America didn't become a military superpower overnight but through many years of innovations and necessity. Here are five weapons considered among the deadliest ever.

The United States is the most formidable military power the world has ever seen. Arguably, since the end of the Cold War, America has enjoyed a level of dominance unparalleled in history—neither Rome nor the British Empire enjoyed such a level of superiority over rival powers. While the American military is not the largest on Earth, it is by far the best-trained and best-equipped force on the planet—putting rivals like Russia and China to shame.

But it took generations to develop America’s military into the world-beating force it is today, and it wasn’t until the end of the Civil War that the U.S. fielded armies that could challenge European militaries on the battlefield. From then onwards, it took two world wars before the U.S. military finally established itself as the most dominant force on Earth.

Here are five of all-time deadliest innovations in America’s arsenal:

WNU Editor: Nuclear weapons will always be on the top of the list .... but advancements in drone technology and robotics appears to be the next revolution in warfare.

300 U.S. Army Trainers Have Arrived In Ukraine



New York Times: U.S. Army Trainers Arrive in Ukraine

MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Friday warned that the arrival of several hundred American military trainers in Ukraine could “destabilize the situation” in the country’s southeast, where a cease-fire between government troops and Russian-backed separatists is barely holding.

On Friday, the United States Army announced that about 300 troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy, had arrived in western Ukraine this week for Operation Fearless Guardian, a six-month training rotation for three battalions of Ukraine’s National Guard engaged in combat duty. It is the first training mission by American troops in Ukraine since the war in the southeast began.

More News On 300 U.S. Army Trainers Arriving In Ukraine

US troops arrive in Ukraine for training exercises -- AP
Ukraine crisis: 300 US paratroopers arrive in western Ukraine to train national guard, US army says -- ABC News (Australia)
U.S. military trainers in Ukraine may destabilize situation: Kremlin -- Reuters
U.S. military sends paratroopers to Ukraine to train government forces in fight against pro-Russia rebels -- New York Daily News
Russia offers warning for US paratroopers -- The Hill
US paratroopers to train Ukraine army as Russia complains -- BBC
US sends 300 troops to Ukraine to train forces fighting pro-Russian rebels -- Al Jazeera
US Paratroopers Arrive In Ukraine, Train National Guard Soldiers To Fight Pro-Russian Rebels -- IBTimes
Russia Warns US Troops in Ukraine Could Destabilize Situation -- VOA
Russia Considers US Paratroopers Arrival in Ukraine Violation of Minsk Deal -- Sputnik

Tonight's Movie Is The Longest Day (1962)



WNU Editor: I have always loved this film .... a war classic in every-way.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 17, 2015



Dan Murphy, CSM: Most senior Baathist general to evade US in Iraq reported killed. Does it matter?

Douri was the King of Clubs in the playing cards that the US distributed as its most-wanted list after invading Iraq and had linked up with the Islamic State.

Gen. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the most senior member of the Baath Party leadership to escape following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, was killed today north of Baghdad, according to the governor of Salahuddin Province.

Douri's name was one to conjure with before the US invasion - he was one of the organizers of the massacres in the Shiite south and the Kurdish north that followed Iraq's defeat in Kuwait in 1991 - and since. The former Iraqi vice president and head of Saddam Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council was a key figure in bringing former Iraqi army officers and soldiers into the burgeoning Sunni Arab insurgency in the early years of the US occupation.


Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 17, 2015

He Served Saddam. He Served ISIS. Now Al Douri May Be Dead. -- Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast

It’s had some military success, but the Islamic State is no existential threat -- Rosa Brooks, Washington Post

How ISIS Plans to Destroy Israel -- Bridget Johnson, PJ Media

‘Isis’ Removed From UN List of Hurricane Names -- Tessa Berenson, Time

Empty out Boston; starve Moscow, and you may understand some of Syria's hell -- CNN

Is Iran Overstretched in Syria? -- Randa Slim, Foreign Policy

Iran-U.S. differences over nuclear deal widen -- Oren Dorell, USA TODAY

In Israel’s army, more officers are now religious. What that means. - Christa Case Bryant, CSM

Slowing economy won’t alter Xi’s ‘China Dream’ -- John Lloyd, Reuters

Whatever happened to Obama’s pivot to Asia? -- Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post

America's China Consensus Unravels -- Hugh White, Real Clear World/Lowy Institute

Violence Monitor: Xenophobic Attacks Stem From Frustration -- Emilie Iob, VOA

Sudan's Pointless Election -- Justin Willis, Real Clear World

Russia's Economy Steps Back from the Brink -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

In a New Bipolar Energy Order, America Must Assert Itself in the Arctic -- Vicente López-Ibor Mayor, Atlantic Council

Hacker challenge helps NSA develop future cyberwarriors -- Sara Sorcher, CSM

Global Economy Loses Its (Ball) Bearings -- Mark Gilbert, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- April 17, 2015 (Evening Edition)



Voice of America: Intense Yemen Bombing, Al-Qaida Advance

Heavy airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition continued Friday in Yemen, while al-Qaida made gains in the country's east.

The Sunni Arab-led coalition carried out bombings in several cities, including the capital, Sana'a, the country's second-largest city, Taiz, and the southern port city of Aden.

The coalition is targeting Shi'ite Houthi rebels, who are believed to be backed by Iran.


MIDDLE EAST

Yemeni army tries to safeguard oil fields as Qaeda fighters advance.

Former president defiant as humanitarian toll mounts in Yemen war.

Iraqi PM warns Isis could become unstoppable as key city threatened.

In Iraq, Pentagon focused on fight for refinery in Baiji.

Hussein deputy al-Douri killed, Iraqi state TV reports. Iraqi officials say Saddam deputy believed killed.

Car bomb targets U.S. consulate in Iraq's Erbil: mayor.

Syrian president blames Turkey for loss of northwestern city.

Doctors describe suspected Syria chlorine attacks to UN Security Council members.

Palestinians clash with Israeli troops on Prisoners Day.

Iran nuclear deal: ‘different versions’ of the same agreement, says Zarif.

ASIA

China steps up runway construction in disputed islands.

North Korea warns U.S. envoy of 'bigger mishap' than a knife attack.

ISIL Pakistan commander killed in explosion by own bomb.

Violent clashes erupt in Kashmir over arrest of separatist leaders. As violent clashes erupt in India's Jammu & Kashmir, Congress attacks BJP, sees midterm poll in state.

Xi Jinping to unveil $46 billion economic corridor during Pakistan visit.

China police shoot dead two 'terrorists' on Vietnam border.

Draft Thai constitution complete, but strife seen ahead.

Cambodians mark 40 years since Khmer Rouge takeover.

Veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu sentenced to 7 years.

AFRICA

Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists claim UN suicide attack in Mali.

Obama, Italy's Renzi say military strikes not answer to Libya. Obama urges Gulf nations to help with chaos in Libya.

Shops set ablaze, looted as xenophobic attacks spread in South Africa. Anti-immigrant violence spreads in South Africa.

Boko Haram militants kill at least 10 in north Cameroon: army.

After piracy crisis, Somalia battles Al Shabab, unemployment, hunger and an ineffective government.

Violence on the rise in Mali as new armed group emerges in the central region.

Italian navy frees crew of captured fishing boat off Libyan coast.

Burundi police teargas protesters opposing presidential third term.

Billion dollar ivory and gold trade fuelling DR Congo war: UN.

World Bank boosts aid to ebola-affected nations.

EUROPE

Ukraine hardens stance as it rebuffs Templeton-led debt plan.

UN: death toll in Ukraine fighting now above 6,100.

Russia says foreign troops in Ukraine could 'destabilize' east Ukraine situation.

White House says Putin ‘desperate’ for cash in weapons sale to Iran.

Oil and gas sector became main target of Western sanctions against Russia — PM.

Greece pushed a step closer to eurozone exit after IMF snub.Exclusive: Greece scrapes bottom of barrel in hunt for cash to stay afloat. Greece's main creditors said to be unwilling to allow Euro exit.

IRA sniper Bernard McGinn found dead in Ireland.

Pope Francis may visit Cuba as add-on to U.S. trip, Vatican says.

AMERICAS

Obama: 'US cannot be in isolation'.

Obama to meet with Arab leaders May 13-14.

Overwhelming majority say Congress should have role in Iran deal.

Colombian rebels blame government for war's rising death toll.

Argentina sues 3 UK oil exploration firms amid Falklands/Malvinas tensions.

Stench of dead fish in Rio lake won't spoil Olympic Games, officials hope.

Coast Guard cutter arrives in US with 14 tons of cocaine.

Boston bombing victim's parents: we do not want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev put to death.

Canada charges 4 British Navy sailors with sex assault.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Tunisia blocks more than 12,000 would-be jihadists: minister.

Most dangerous Islamic State leaders come from Scandinavia - Syrian President Assad.

Islamic State publicizes use of child soldiers in Baiji fight.

Ohio man who trained with Jabhat al-Nusra is indicted on terrorism charges.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Greek 'day of reckoning' shakes stock markets.

Brent rises above $64 after Yemen oilfield retreat.

Deals postponed after Bloomberg terminals go down globally.

Apple's $1 trillion dream slips away.

Who Is Murdering The Ukraine Government's Opponents?



CNN: Who's killing allies of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych?

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN)The question haunting Kiev is this: Who might be murdering allies of Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovych?

The idea that this might be happening is not entirely new. But it muscled its way to the fore again this week with two high-profile shooting deaths in the Ukrainian capital -- one of a former member of parliament with ties to Yanukovych, the other of a Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russian views.

Oleg Kalashnikov, the former member of parliament, was shot and killed shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday at the entrance to his apartment block. Kalashnikov, 52, was a member of the Party of Regions, the former ruling party in Ukraine, and was close to Yanukovych. Police are investigating the death as a murder.

WNU Editor: Ukraine is becoming a very violent place .... many people are not working, the purge of the Ukraine civil service continues, Ukrainian - Russian animosities are everywhere, and the economy shows no signs that it will improve in the future. In this chaotic situation it appears that some people have made the decision to embark on committing politically motivated murders. And while former allies of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appear to have been targeted, what is raising everyone's fears are the targeted killings of journalists who have been critical of the central government. What does not help the situation is the Ukraine government's response to these killings .... they and their supporters are blaming Russia .... Double murder of pro-Kremlin figures: a Russian provocation? (Ukraine Today).

More News On The Rash Of Recent Murders Of Ukraine Government Opponents

Kiev tightens security after shootings of pro-Russians -- Financial Times
Wave of political terror rises in Ukraine — Russian diplomat -- ITAR-TASS
Third pro-Russia activist found dead in Ukraine capital this week -- L.A. Times
Russia Slams UK Over 'Disgraceful' Silence Over Murders of Kiev Opponents -- Sputnik
What's behind the high-profile deaths in Ukraine? -- David Stern, BBC

Is The Israeli Miltiary Option Against Iran Off The Table Because Of Russian S-300 Missiles?

Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems move along a central street during a rehearsal for a military parade in Moscow, May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin

Noga Tarnopolsky, Reuters: Would a new Russian missile system make Israeli airstrikes on Iran impossible?

Israeli responses to the news that Russia would lift a voluntary ban on the sale of weapons to Iran and provide state-of-the-art air defense systems to the Islamic Republic have ranged from concern to seeming panic.

Some experts fear that the S-300 missiles could take away Israel’s (or even the United States’) ability to easily strike nuclear targets in Iran, while Israeli officials expressed their concern that the missiles could make their way to Hezbollah, the militant Shi’ite faction that controls Southern Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border.

Others pondered what Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to get from the announcement.

WNU Editor: I have always been skeptical of Israeli military designs and plans to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure. There are too many targets, they are too far away, there is no support from Washington for such a plan .... and have in fact hinted in the past that they would even intercept an Israeli attack force .... Report: Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike (Arutz Sheva). Russia's S-300 missiles will just be another obstacle for Israeli military planners .... but the bigger obstacle has always been political .... both within Israel and outside.