19 Feb 2017

Trump’s defense chief visits UAE in first Middle East trip
US President Donald Trump’s defense secretary arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday for talks with one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East. Jim Mattis, on his debut trip to the region as Pentagon chief, was expected to meet Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan and US embassy representatives. US officials have not disclosed details about his agenda.

South China Sea: US carrier group begins ‘routine’ patrols
US aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson has started what it calls “routine operations” in the South China Sea, with a fleet of supporting warships. The deployment comes days after China’s foreign ministry warned Washington against challenging Beijing’s sovereignty in the region. China claims several contested shoals, islets and reefs in the area.

Mosul assault: Iraq troops make headway against IS
Iraqi government forces have seized several villages as they move towards an assault on the last area held by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul. Hundreds of military vehicles, backed by air power, rolled across the desert towards IS positions early on Sunday. The progress on Sunday in the south of the city, the second biggest in Iraq, takes them within striking distance of Mosul airport.

140 Somali refugees settled in US after court suspends ban
Fellow refugees say at least 140 Somalis have been settled in the United States after being blocked for days by President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. The refugees spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns about their safety. They remain at the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which hosts more than 200,000 Somalis.

Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump
An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers…when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings…Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama…is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

Iran in new military drills despite US warnings
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard is to conduct military drills next week, a senior commander announced Saturday, despite warnings from the United States and fresh sanctions over a ballistic missile test. “The manoeuvres called ‘Grand Prophet 11’ will start Monday and last three days,” General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the force’s ground units, told a news conference.

‘Hezbollah might have game-changing naval missiles’
Western intelligence agencies have expressed “grave concerns” that Hezbollah has been able to obtain strategic naval weapons that could change the balance of power in the Middle East. Despite great efforts attributed to Israel over the past five years to prevent Hezbollah from getting its hands on such weapons, the Lebanese terror organization is believed to have been able to smuggle into Lebanon..no more than eight—of P-800 Onyx missiles, also known in export markets as Yakhont.

Iran finds 2 billion barrels shale oil reserves in western province
Iran has found shale oil reserves of 2 billion barrels of light crude in its western Lorestan province, a senior official at the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was quoted as saying on Saturday. “Based on studies, it is estimated that the shale oil reserves in Ghali Koh in Lorestan amount to 2 billion barrels of oil in place,” Bahman Soleimani, NIOC’s deputy director for exploration, told the semi-official news agency Tasnim. “The oil is light.”

‘Blind sheikh’ convicted in 1993 World Trade bombing dies in U.S. prison
Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Muslim cleric known as “the blind sheikh” who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a broader “war of urban terrorism” in the United States, died on Saturday in a North Carolina prison, authorities said.

Trump working on new ‘streamlined’ travel ban
Homeland Security chief Kelly says updated executive order would allow entry to Green Card and visa holders, unlike first incarnation

Iraq forces launch operation to retake west Mosul: PM
Iraqi forces launched an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul’s west bank Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city.

Retired Green Beret Warns: Deep State’s Utopia Of Oligarchs Is “Enslavement And Complete Control Of All Of Mankind”
“They see themselves as the educated, sensible minority with tender sensibilities and true humanistic views… who must… must… take a stand in the globalist crusade against the barbaric Neanderthals of the proletariat and populist serfs…”

Which Nation Do Americans See As Their Greatest Enemy (Spoiler Alert: It’s Not Russia)
Back to work ‘deep state’, neocons, and Clinton apologists, because America is not buying the narrative that Russia is their greatest enemy.

CNN Reporter Compares Trump To Hitler While Her Boss Buys Obama Photos
In the weeks after Donald Trump won the election, CNN chief Jeff Zucker watched as one of his employees compared the new president to Adolf Hitler.

Pence offers ‘unwavering’ NATO pledge, but ‘not a word on EU’
French foreign minister complains about limited scope of US vice president’s assurances as allies look for signs of Trump administration’s intentions