JERUSALEM–Two decades of expanding operations against what United States Special Operations Command called a “global insurgency of state and non-state actors” has led to fatigue at home and questions abroad about U.S. strategy. The latest Trump administration deal with the Taliban, challenges to the U.S. role in Syria and Iraq, and a potential reduction of forces in Africa point to a global trend in how the U.S. will deal with counter-insurgency in the future. What we're looking at is a global drawdown in U.S. forces committed to counter-terrorist operations at the same time President Donald Trump is demanding other countries, including NATO allies, do more.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial will start on March 17, two weeks after Israel holds its third national election in less than a year, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday. Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli prime minister to be charged with a crime, has denied any wrongdoing in the three corruption cases against him. In addition to his legal battle, Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, is fighting for his political life in a March 2 election, after inconclusive ballots in April and September.
A group of human rights activists delivered their final statements in their own defense on Wednesday before a court in Istanbul hands down a verdict in their closely-watched trial on charges of belonging to or aiding terror groups. The case against Amnesty International's former Turkey chairman and 10 other activists heightened concerns about Turkey's treatment of human rights defenders and helped sour Turkey's relations with European nations, notably with Germany.
The people waiting to board the van have already crossed into the USA, but have been sent back under the Trump administration's so-called Migrant Protection Protocols - known as “Remain in Mexico” – whereby would be asylum seekers must await their appointed hearing south of the border. MPP was rolled out in January last year, since when an estimated 57,000 people now wait south of the border for their asylum hearing date. Tens of thousands more are waiting just for the initial application for asylum.
Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of a trade group that lobbied the Obama administration for increased U.S. aid to Ukraine, according to a report Tuesday. From 2012 through 2018, the younger Biden served as a director for the Center for U.S. Global Leadership and was connected as well with its affiliate, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Daily Caller reported. The two groups, which include about 400 larger corporations and non-government organizations, lobbied for increased spending abroad by the State Department's International Affairs Budget, including a special focus on Ukraine.
As the Syrian military backed by the Russian air force takes another strategic town in Idlib, thereby inching closer towards the Turkish border, the endgame for Turkey in Syria has begun. The Syrian government has also taken the key highway that links Damascus to Aleppo and secured Aleppo from the incoming Turkish backed rebel artillery. Diplomatically the first acknowledged meeting between the Turkish and Syrian intelligence chiefs in Moscow just over a week ago heralded the final act in Erdogan's quest to knock over President Bashar al-Assad.
A campus protest against the “Kent State gun girl” Kaitlin Bennett was not “a riot,” according to Ohio University police. Ms Bennett, who helps run a conservative website called Liberty Hangout and who often appears on Alex Jones' InfoWars programs, was driven off the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on Monday by a student protest according to the Athens News. She said the students “started a riot” and claims the police “let it happen.
“Holidays will never be the same,” Jennifer told Dateline. Liz, as she is known by her family and friends, was four months pregnant with her third child. “She got in his truck and that's the last time I ever heard from her,” Amber said.
An ice volcano is a cone-shaped mound of ice formed over a lake by the eruption of water and slush through an ice shelf. "Ice volcanoes occur in locations in which waves hit accumulated ice on the shoreline with some force," said Cort Spholten, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Grand Rapids. "We were cold enough to form ice on the shore of Lake Michigan, and water had broken the surface of that ice," Spholten said.
Roger Stone's sentencing for lying to Congress and witness tampering will proceed as planned Thursday despite his last-ditch request for a delay. The Justice Department was also preparing to weigh in against Stone's request for a new trial, a department official said during a hearing Tuesday with the judge overseeing the case, even after President Donald Trump seemed to push for one in a series of tweets that also took aim at the trial judge personally. Trump has backed his longtime friend's claim that the jury foreman was biased against him and spoke out on his behalf again Tuesday, before leaving Washington for California.
A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source's license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same. Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
As a mysterious new virus enveloped central China's Wuhan this year, Liu Zhiming mobilized all the resources of his hospital in the city's Wuchang district to deal with the thousands of sick people arriving daily, threatening to overwhelm the local health care system. That dedication appears to have cost him his life, with Wuhan's health bureau announcing Tuesday that he became infected and died despite “all-out" attempts to save him. Liu is at least the seventh health worker to die of the COVID-19 disease among the more than 1,700 doctors and nurses who have become sick.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed a veteran, once close adviser who until recently managed Moscow's relations with war-torn Ukraine. Putin fired Vladislav Surkov, seen as a hardliner by many in Kiev, in a terse two-line statement on the Kremlin website. The decree was issued a week after the Kremlin said a senior Ukrainian-born Russian official, Dmitry Kozak, was now in charge of managing Moscow's relations with Ukraine, effectively sidelining Surkov.
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed "very top" level Malaysian officials believed vanished Flight MH370 was deliberately downed by the captain in a mass murder-suicide. No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) Indian Ocean search zone and the Australian-led search, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January 2017. The disappearance of the plane has long been the subject of a host of theories -- ranging from the credible to outlandish -- including that veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had gone rogue.
Key point: For a country such as Israel with fewer launching platforms, a very fast and hard-to-intercept ballistic weapon — however modest its explosive power — might be just what it needs to hold at risk certain kinds of distant targets. Israel reportedly used in combat for the first time a new kind of fast, long-range missile. According to aviation journalist Babak Taghvaee, on April 13, 2019 Israeli air force warplanes fired, for the first time, at least one Rampage air-launched ballistic missile at a missile factory and weapons warehouses in Masyaf, Syria.
The New York Magazine reports former president Barack Obama's radio silence on the 2020 Democratic primary is part of a "choreographed strategy" on the part of Obama, who is "increasingly sure he will need to play a prominent role in bringing the party back together and calming its tensions later this summer."
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's push to ban the sale of assault weapons has failed after members of his own party balked at the proposal. Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun advocates. Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday's committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.
South China Morning Post/YouTube On February 11, Shanghai, China, police recorded a woman trying to sneak into the city in the trunk of a car. Authorities said the woman had just visited Hubei Province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, and was trying to avoid a mandatory quarantine. Both she and her friend who was driving the car were placed in quarantine after they were caught at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Shanghai.
The Federal Judges Association will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss concerns members have over President Trump and top Justice Department officials intervening in the case of longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone. The association has more than 1,000 members, and says it supports a "fair, impartial, and independent judiciary." The group's president, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, told USA Today that members decided they "could not wait" until the organization's spring conference to address the matter. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, and last week, Trump complained about federal prosecutors recommending Stone receive a sentence of seven to nine years.
A 12-year-old boy was tortured and beaten to death by his grandparents and a teenage uncle at their home in Montana, authorities said. In multiple instances, the suspects recorded themselves torturing the boy on their cellphones, police said. James Alex Hurley had been living with his grandparents, James Sasser Jr., 47, and Patricia Batts, 48, for about two years after the death of his father, who Batts identified as her biological son, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A Syrian passenger jet landed in Aleppo on Wednesday from Damascus, marking the resumption of domestic flights between Syria's two largest cities for the first time since 2012, while the government's onslaught continued nearby with airstrikes reported in several rebel-held towns and villages. The flight carrying Syrian officials and journalists was a symbolic message from President Bashar Assad's government, days after its forces consolidated control over the northwestern province of Aleppo and seized the last segments of the strategic M5 highway linking Aleppo to Damascus. The motorway is being repaired and is scheduled to reopen in coming days for the first time in eight years.
An Istanbul court acquitted prominent businessman Osman Kavala of charges of plotting to overthrow the government during mass protests that shook the country in 2013. Nine defendants were cleared, and arrest warrants for others living abroad have been rescinded. Others accused in the case include actor Mehmet Ali Alabora and journalist Can Dundar, who have both left the country.
Venezuela said on Monday it would suspend TAP Air Portugal flights into and out of the country for 90 days, accusing the carrier of allowing opposition leader Juan Guaido's uncle to bring explosives onto a flight to Caracas last week. Announcing the measure on Twitter, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez left open the possibility of applying fines and other measures in the future. "Venezuela must be respected," Rodriguez said.
Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia who called out alleged voter suppression during that election, said Monday that she “would be honored” to be the vice presidential candidate on the 2020 Democratic ticket.
Key point: Washington wants to sell more weapons to foreign countries. In order to win over customers, the United States is touting its superior (although more expensive) systems. The U.S. government has a message for those nations that would buy Russian and Chines weapons: buyer beware.