Wednesday, August 23, 2017

U.S. And Canadian Diplomats In Cuba Suffered Serious Brain And Nerve Damage

CBS: Some U.S. diplomats in Cuba diagnosed with serious health conditions, medical records show

According to medical records reviewed exclusively by CBS News, a U.S. doctor who evaluated American and Canadian diplomats working in Havana diagnosed them with conditions as serious as mild traumatic brain injury, and with likely damage to the central nervous system.

The diplomats complained about symptoms ranging from hearing loss and nausea to headaches and balance disorders after the State Department said "incidents" began affecting them beginning in late 2016. A source familiar with these incidents says officials are investigating whether the diplomats were targets of a type of sonic attack directed at their homes, which were provided by the Cuban government. The source says reports of more attacks affecting U.S. embassy workers on the island continue.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is incredibly serious ... and beyond stupid for the Cuban government. These actions .... if they continue .... will force both Canada and the U.S. to either close their embassies or severely limit operations, and in turn a quid-pro-quo in closing or severely limiting Cuba's diplomatic operations in both countries. So much for the hundreds of millions that Cuba makes each year on Canadians travelling to Cuba on vacation alone .... good luck on getting visas.

More News On U.S. And Canadian Diplomats In Cuba Suffering Serious Brain And Nerve Damage

Diplomats in Cuba suffered brain injuries, nerve damage: report -- Globe and Mail/Reuters
US diplomats in Cuba suffered traumatic brain injury and nerve damage in 'covert sonic attack' on their homes -- Daily Mail
US and Canadian diplomats suffering from brain damage after suspected 'sonic device' incident in Cuba -- The Telegraph
Diplomats in Cuba suffered traumatic brain injuries, records show -- The Hill

Yemen War News Updates --August 23, 2017

Al Jazeera: Air raid in Yemen kills at least 35 people

Bombs hit close to Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, leaving dozens dead and injured, local media reports.

An air attack on a hotel near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, has killed at least 35 people, according to a local medic.

Physician Ali al-Rakmi who was helping at the site of Wednesday's strike in Arhab town's Qaa al-Qaidhi district, said there were more than 100 people inside at the time of the attack, all farmers who work in growing qat - a plant widely used for a stimulant effect.

At least 35 bodies were retrieved so far, he said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here are more signs that the country is further splitting apart .... Yemen's rebel alliance unravels in Sanaa (AFP).

Yemen War News Updates --August 23, 2017

Civilian Casualty Count in Saudi-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Yemen Totals 71 -- Sputnik International
Saudi-led airstrikes hit Yemen hotel, killing at least 41 -- ABC News/AP
Deadly airstrikes near Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital -- Deutsche Welle
Dozens killed in airstrike on Yemeni hotel -- The Guardian
Air Strikes Near Houthi Checkpoint Kill at Least 35 in Yemen -- Reuters
Saudi-led airstrikes kill up to 41 people, including 30 civilians in Yemen (PHOTOS, VIDEO) -- RT
Yemen's Houthis declare 'emergency state' in Sanaa -- The National
Houthi militias accuse Yemen’s ousted president Saleh of treason -- Al Arabiya
Houthis 'declare war' on ally Ali Abdullah Saleh amid signs of divorce -- The New Arab
How the Houthi-Saleh dispute could turn Yemen's war on its head -- Middle East Eye
Yemen blames Iran for war, says it can't be part of solution -- Washington Post
US commander visits Yemen border for firsthand look at war -- ABC News/AP
UN accuses two sides in Yemen war of international law violations -- Al Jazeera
Witnessing Yemen's desperate suffering -- BBC
Seven million in Yemen face threat of famine -- Al Jazeera
Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen 'a strategic failure' -- Al Jazeera

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis Holds Talks With Turkish President Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Aug. 23, 2017.

VOA: US Defense Chief Meets Turkish President

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Wednesday following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Nurettin Canikli.

Mattis flew into Turkey for a one-day visit after making a stop in Iraq to survey progress in the fight there against the Islamic State group.

Erdogan reportedly expressed his unease to Mattis over U.S. support for the Kurdish militant group YPG.

Turkey is upset with the U.S. support of Syrian Kurds who have been aiding in the fight against IS jihadists in northern Syria. Ankara views the YPG - the Kurdish People's Protection Units - as a terrorist organization linked to Turkish-Kurdish separatists inside Turkey, known as the PKK. Turkey has made clear it does not support the U.S. sending arms to the YPG.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Holding Talks With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan Conveys Turkey's Unease Over U.S. Support for Kurdish Militants -- US News and World Report/Reuters
Erdogan tells visiting US defence chief 'uneasy' over arming Kurds -- AFP
Ankara conveys concerns over YPG to Mattis -- Daily Sabah

Russian President Putin And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet In Sochi For Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sochi, Russia August 23, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

Reuters: Netanyahu to Putin: Israel may act to curb Iran's clout in Syria

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Israel was prepared to act unilaterally to prevent an expanded Iranian military presence in Syria as Moscow works to end the civil war there.

Russia intervened on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, joining a de facto alliance with Iranian forces, Lebanese Hezbollah and other Shi'ite Muslim militias helping Damascus beat back Islamic State and other Sunni Muslim insurgent groups.

Israel worries that an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat already posed from neighboring Lebanon by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Talks Between Russian President Putin And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israeli premier airs concerns to Russia about Iran expansion -- ABC News/AP
Netanyahu denounces Iran 'threat' in Putin talks -- AFP
Netanyahu to Putin: Iran's Role in Syria is a 'Threat' -- VOA
Netanyahu tells Putin growing Iranian influence 'unacceptable' -- The Times of Israel
Netanyahu to Putin: Iran want to take over Syria -- Ynetnews
Israel's Mossad Submits Report Detailing Iran's 'Growing Influence in Syria' -- Asharq Al-awsat
Netanyahu meets Putin to share secret intel on Iran threat -- The Times of Israel
Israeli PM Netanyahu Claims Iran's Actions in Syria Pose Global Threat -- Sputnik
Israel Wants Seat at Table as Powers Seek End to Syria War -- Bloomberg

President Hillary Clinton Calls President Trump A ‘Creep,’ Says Her ‘Skin Crawled’ During Debate

Washington Post: Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump a ‘creep,’ says her ‘skin crawled’ during debate

Hillary Clinton said her “skin crawled” as Donald Trump loomed behind her at a presidential debate in St. Louis, and added that she wished she could have pressed pause and asked America, “Well, what would you do?”

The words, Clinton’s most detailed public comments about what happened during one of the campaign’s more memorable moments, are included in her new book, “What Happened,” which she called an attempt to “pull back the curtain” on her losing bid for the presidency.

Some of the moments during the campaign, she said, “baffled” her. Others seemingly repulsed her: In recounting the October incident, she referred to Trump as a “creep.”

The book comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts, read by Clinton, were played Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Clinton says her ‘skin crawled’ from Trump’s looming behavior at debate (Politico)
Update #2: Clinton book reveals what she was really thinking at Trump debate: 'Back up, you creep' (FOX News)

WNU Editor: You just know that President Trump will respond. The question is when. The next minute? Hour? Tonight? Definitely by tomorrow.

World News Briefs -- August 23, 2017

Reuters: North Korea presses rocket program, but amid signs of drama easing

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered more solid-fuel rocket engines, state media reported on Wednesday, as he pursues nuclear and missile programs amid a standoff with Washington, but there were signs of tension easing.

The report carried by the KCNA news agency lacked the traditionally robust threats against the United States after weeks of unbridled acrimony, and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a possible improvement in relations.

"I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us," Trump said of Kim at a raucous campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

"And maybe - probably not, but maybe - something positive can come about," he said.

Read more ....


Iraqi forces make gains against ISIL in Tal Afar push. Iraqi troops reached the first urban areas of Tal Afar, one of ISIS' last pieces of Iraqi territory.

Iran extends reach with fight for land link to Mediterranean.

Netanyahu calls strengthening Iran’s positions in Syria 'a threat to the entire world'. Netanyahu denounces Iran 'threat' in Putin talks.

Deadly airstrikes near Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital. Air raid in Yemen kills at least 35 people.

U.S. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal.

Kushner in Middle East for peace talks.

Saudi teen arrested for dancing to ‘Macarena’ in the street.


Taliban suicide bomber kills civilians in Helmand. Taliban retakes district in northern Afghanistan.

After Trump's Afghan policy statement, China reaffirms support to Pakistan.

North Korean leader secretly visited border area — media.

Two North Korean shipments to Syria intercepted in six months, UN told.

'Too many soldiers to feed': North Koreans fear more sanctions as drought threatens famine.

Tillerson renews offer to talk with N. Korea.

Comments on Japan’s wartime past by South Korea’s President Moon rattle Tokyo: observers.

Marawi trying to get back on its feet even as fighting goes on.

Beijing warns US ahead of Taiwan defence minister’s visit.


Ailing Nigeria president cancels cabinet meeting.

UNICEF: Boko Haram has used 83 children as 'human bombs' in 2017.

Suicide bomber kills 4 in northern Cameroon.

UN aid chief issues bleak warning on Central African Republic.

Egypt criticises US decision to withhold military aid.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos era ends as polls open in Angola.

‘We would rather die than stay there’: the refugees crossing from Morocco to Spain.


Ukraine: European and Russian leaders agree new ceasefire deal.

Merkel challenger advocates removal of US nuclear weapons.

Germany's rapid deportations of Salafist suspects ruled lawful.

Cologne secures cathedral in light of Sagrada Familia terror plot.

French President Emmanuel Macron lobbying against labor dumping.

Kim Wall: Police confirm headless torso found in Copenhagen waterway belonged to journalist.

Prominent Russian director put under house arrest in fraud case.


The Latest: Trump says US will ‘probably’ end NAFTA.

Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall funding.

Hillary Clinton says ‘my skin crawled’ during debate with Trump.

Polls shows majority of Americans think Confederate statues should remain.

Venezuelan leader asks Russia, Vatican to help fend off U.S. 'military threat'.

Venezuela’s rebel prosecutor heads to Brazil as Maduro seeks her arrest.

Charlottesville: United Nations warns US over 'alarming' racism.


Trump takes hard line on Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups.

U.S. may sanction Pakistani officials with ties to terrorists, Trump official says.

Spain terror cell was planning Sagrada Família attack, suspect tells court.

ISIS in Indonesia trying to recruit Malaysians.


Warming Arctic spurs battles for riches, shipping routes.

European Union to investigate $66B Bayer-Monsanto deal.

Google, Wal-Mart join forces in voice-shopping market.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2017

The Hill: US maintains 12,000 troops in Afghanistan: report

The Pentagon has more than 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday – about 3,500 more than the agency acknowledges publicly.

The Pentagon publicly acknowledges some 8,500 troops as being deployed in Afghanistan. But according to the Wall Street Journal, another 3,500 are there on temporary assignment or some other status.

The Pentagon has typically only disclosed those troops on longer deployments, but omits those who move in and out of the country on a temporary basis.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- August 23, 2017

Thousands More US Troops Are in Afghanistan Than Pentagon Says: Officials -- NBC

Pentagon chief: No decision on troop levels for Afghanistan -- The Hill

Mattis: DoD to account for actual number of forces in Afghanistan before asking for more -- Military Times

Here's how much the war in Afghanistan has cost -- Yuval Rosenberg, The Fiscal Times

Intelligence: Afghan Troops Get A Done Of Their Own -- Strategy Page

New North Korea photos reveal hidden details of missile program -- CNN

Pyongyang missile footage is a dagger to Xi's throat -- Nikkei Asian Review

US military chief in Pacific: Testing our forces would be 'foolhardy' -- CNN

Leveraging US Military Power in South China Sea -- The Diplomat

Drones Will Help Protect Guam From North Korean Missiles -- Defense One

Latest Russian Military Hardware on Display at Army-2017 Forum -- Sputnik

Russia’s ‘soldier of future’ combat gear proves its worth in Syria -- TASS

Russia to decide on conceptual design of future soldier’s combat gear by year-end -- TASS

Young Chinese ‘too fat and frustrated to join the army’ -- The Times

China’s NORINCO reveals new armoured vehicles, active protection system -- Jane's 360

Philippines Aims to Purchase Copters, Armored Vehicles From Russia -- Sputnik

Japan's Defense Ministry to ask for record ¥5.2 trillion budget amid North Korea concerns -- Japan Times

Hundreds of British Army training places are going unfilled with not a single course for new recruits reaching capacity in the past two years -- Daily Mail

Air Defense: Iran Clones The S-300 -- Strategy Page

Israeli Army Experiments With Ground Force Drones -- Haaretz

Mattis Reaffirms US Support for Jordan in Meeting with King Abdullah -- Al Bawaba

The Army Is Getting Deadlier Stryker Armored Vehicles to Protect Europe From Russia -- Popular Mechanics

These Vehicles Are What Make the U.S. Army a Deadly Fighting Force -- National Interest

US Army Close to Decision on Shielding Abrams Tanks with Israeli Tech -- Defense Tech

White House issues statement on USS John McCain collision -- Business Insider

At-sea disasters came during ‘the most basic of operations,’ Pacific Fleet CO says -- Navy Times

US Pacific Fleet boss set to sack three-star fleet commander after a rash of accidents -- Defense News

US Navy collisions pose growing threat to Chinese maritime activities, experts warn -- SCMP

U.S. Navy admiral: USS John S. McCain, oil tanker collision may have been intentional -- Washington Times

After Marine Training Death, Corps Debuts Safer Mine Clearance System -- DoD Buzz

Another MQ-1 Predator Drone Crashes in the Middle East -- Defense Tech

Marine Crash Inquiry Continues But No Answers Expected Soon --

Trump Could Go to War With 75 Percent of Top Pentagon Posts Empty -- Newsweek

Pentagon Struggling to Take Advantage of Artificial Intelligence -- National Defense

North Korean Leader Orders More ICBMs And 'Warhead Tips'

NK News: Kim Jong Un orders scientists to produce more ICBM engines, warhead tips

In tour of Chemical Material Institute, leader says researchers should “further expand” facilities.

Kim Jong Un ordered the production of “more” solid-fuel engines and warhead tips for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) during a recent visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.

“He instructed the institute to produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips,” KCNA said in a Korean language dispatch.

Kim ordered the scientists to “further expand” production capacities for developing rocket warhead tips and engine outlets.

The institute produces chemical materials “used in a variety of modern arms equipment, including heat protection materials and materials for warhead and engine outlets of Hwasong-line rockets,” KCNA said.

Read more ....

More News On North Korea's Leader Ordering More ICBMs And 'Warhead Tips'

North Korea Hints It Is Developing More Advanced Ballistic Missiles -- New York Times
North Korea presses rocket program, but amid signs of drama easing -- Reuters
North Korea's Kim Jong Un Orders More Warheads Rewarding Rocket Scientists with Special Bonus -- Newsweek
North Korean media reveals missile plans as Kim orders more ICBM production -- The Asian Age
North Korea reveals missile plans as Kim orders production boost -- The Rappler
North Korea's Kim Reportedly Orders More ICBM Parts Amid Tensions With US -- Sputnik International
North Korea photos reveal new solid fuel missiles -- NZHerald
New North Korea photos reveal hidden details of missile program -- CNN

Pakistan Hits Back At President Trump's Claims That They Are Not Doing Enough To Battle Islamist Militants

Reuters: Pakistan says U.S. must not make it a 'scapegoat' for Afghan failures

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan rejected on Wednesday U.S. criticism of its efforts to fight terrorism saying it should not be used as a scapegoat for the failure of the U.S. military to win the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his policy for Afghanistan on Monday, committing to an open-ended conflict there and singling out Pakistan for harboring Afghan Taliban insurgents and other militants.

U.S. officials later warned that aid to Pakistan might be cut and Washington might downgrade nuclear-armed Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally to pressure it to do more to help bring about an end to America's longest-running war.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif added his voice to a chorus of indignation in Pakistan over the U.S. criticism, reiterating Pakistan's denial that it harbors militants.

Read more ....

Previous Post: President Trump Points A Finger At Pakistan For Not Putting Pressure On Islamist Militants (August 22, 2017).

WNU Editor: What has rattled Pakistan is this .... Trump’s Request for India’s Help in Afghanistan Rattles Pakistan (NYT). The friend of my enemy is my enemy .... this is how Pakistan is going to view this U.S. request for India's assistance in Afghanistan. Here is an easy prediction .... U.S. - Pakistan relations are going to get worse, and I will not be surprised if Pakistan's support for these militant groups is increased. But what is really going to get Pakistan riled up is if this happens .... US May Sanction Pakistani Officials Over Ties to ‘Terrorists’ (TOLO News). As to what is my point of view .... there is a lot of truth in this commentary .... U.S. Calls Pakistan on its Double-Game (Bennett Seftel, Cipher Brief).

U.S. - Egyptian Relations Deteriorating?

Reuters: Egypt cancels Kushner meeting with minister after denial of aid

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.

But President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would meet the U.S. delegation led by Kushner later in the day as scheduled, Sisi's office said.

Two U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.

"Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries over long decades and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt's stability," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Read more ....

Update: Egypt semi-snubs visiting Kushner as U.S. slashes aid (CBS/AP)

WNU Editor: The Egyptian President will still meet the U.S. delegation at the end of the day .... but this is still not a good sign, and it is clear that the Egyptian government is not happy with the U.S.. As for what is the purpose of this U.S. delegation in the Middle East .... apparently it is all about the peace process .... Kushner In Middle East To Try To Jump-start Stalled Peace Process (Bloomberg), a peace process that is already being panned by some .... Palestinian leader says White House peace efforts ‘in chaos’ (Times of Israel).

White House - Republican Congress Feud Escalates

New York Times: McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.

The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans, who face a number of urgent deadlines when they return to Washington next month. Congress must approve new spending measures and raise the statutory limit on government borrowing within weeks of reconvening, and Republicans are hoping to push through an elaborate rewrite of the federal tax code. There is scant room for legislative error on any front.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This story is actually old (it was reported a few weeks ago), but it is now being posted with more details in a number of websites at the same time .... hmmm .... sounds like a coordinated campaign from US Senate Majority Leader McConnell's office. As for McConnell's view that President Trump may not survive his Presidency .... the one who should be concerned is McConnell, his base of support has deserted him (but they are still with Trump) .... Yeesh: McConnell’s Approval In Kentucky Down To 18% (Hot Air). But he is not the only Republican politician who is in trouble .... Republicans lost faith in Congress faster than in Trump (Axios). Here is an easy prediction .... this White House - Congress feud is going to get worse, and the promises that Congressional Republicans have made over the years are not going to be fulfilled by the leadership.

Top U.S. Admiral Of Navy's 7th Fleet Fired After Second Deadly Mishap In Pacific

USNI News: U.S. 7th Fleet Head Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin to be Removed from Command Early Following McCain Collision

The head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet is traveling to Japan to remove the commander of U.S. 7th Fleet from his position just days after the second deadly crash involving a U.S. warship this year, a U.S. official told USNI News late Tuesday.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, current commander of 7th Fleet, was slated to retire within the next month, but the move from Navy leaders is intended to expedite the transition to Aucoin’s replacement, Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer. Sawyer was announced to lead U.S. 7th Fleet in May.

PACFLT commander Adm. Scott Swift is traveling to Japan from Singapore to formally relieve Aucoin from the position.

Read more ....

More News On The Firing Of The The Top Commander Of  The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet

US Navy Relieves Admiral of Command After Collisions -- Wall Street Journal
Navy relieves admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in wake of deadly disasters at sea -- Washington Post
Commander of Naval Fleet to Be Relieved of Duty Following Collisions -- New York Times
Head of Navy's 7th Fleet to be relieved of duty after second deadly mishap in Pacific -- FOX News
U.S. Navy to relieve admiral of command after collisions: WSJ -- Reuters
US Navy 7th Fleet commander dismissed, Navy says -- CNN
U.S. Navy to remove commander of 7th Fleet amid latest accidents -- CBS
Commander of 7th Fleet relieved of duty as US Navy weighs impact of two crippled destroyers in Asia -- South China Morning Post

President Trump Is In A Cemetery According To The Latest North Korean Propaganda Film

FOX News: North Korea’s latest propaganda puts Trump in cemetery

President Trump is pictured looking out over a Guam graveyard cluttered with crosses in a photoshopped image from the newest propaganda film -- and grim warning -- from North Korea.

The regime followed the video with a statement posted through its KCNA news agency, saying Trump "spouted rubbish" and frequently tweeted about "weird articles of his ego-driven thoughts" and attacking South Korea's "puppy-like" Defense Minister Song Young-moo for "pinning hope on that mad guy."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to US Sec. of State Tillerson, this is North Korean restraint .... Rex Tillerson praises North Korea for 'restraint' while its state-run media mocks President Trump's Twitter habits (NYDaily News).

Israel Issues A Warning To Both Russia And The U.S. That They Can Wreck Any Syrian Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reuters

Bloomberg: Israel Wants Russia and U.S. to Know It Can Wreck Syria Deal

* Israel wants deal to exclude an Iranian presence in Syria
* Military strike an option if concerns ignored, Israelis say

Israel’s concern that Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah are working to entrench themselves militarily in Syria will dominate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talks Wednesday with President Vladimir Putin in Russia.

A recent truce deal the two powers brokered for southwest Syria makes no mention of ending Iran’s presence, and that’s got Israel rattled.

Netanyahu, on the eve of his visit, said he will speak to Putin about “Iran’s accelerated attempt to establish a military presence in Syria.” He added that Iranian aggression “has not lessened in the wake of the nuclear agreement” and poses a problem not only for Israel but for the entire Middle East.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Israelis are saying this because they are worried on what Iran is doing in Syria .... Netanyahu, Putin to meet over Iranian involvement in Syria (YNet News).

Tweets For Today

U.S. Wants To Know If The United Nations Atomic Watchdog Will Inspect Iranian Military Sites

Reuters: U.S. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States wants to know if the United Nations atomic watchdog plans to inspect Iranian military sites to verify Tehran's compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Tuesday.

Haley will meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna on Wednesday for what she described as a fact-finding mission, which is part of President Donald Trump's review of the deal Iran made with world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most sanctions.

"If you look ... at past Iranian behavior, what you've seen is there have been covert actions at military sites, at universities, things like that," Haley, a member of Trump's cabinet, told Reuters in an interview.

Read more ....

Update #1: UN ambassador says Trump has not decided his next move on Iran nuclear deal (Washington Post)
Update #2: Weapons Experts: IAEA Needs Full Access to Parchin to Understand Iran’s Nuclear Program (The Tower).

WNU Editor: The Iranians have already stated their position on inspections .... IRGC Commander: Iran Will Never Allow Inspections of Military Nuclear Sites (The Tower). This is why the Iranian nuclear deal is a problem. When President Reagan coined the term "trust but verified" 30 years ago when it comes to nuclear agreements, it became a model on how nuclear agreements should be done. The failure by the Obama administration to pursue this condition is something that I never understood when the Iranian deal was signed, and even less today.

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
As millions of people across the United States experienced a total eclipse as the umbra, or moon’s shadow passed over them, only six people witnessed the phenomenon from space. Viewing the eclipse from orbit were NASA’s Randy Bresnik, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos’ Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy. The space station crossed the path of the eclipse three times as it orbited above the continental United States at an altitude of 250 miles (402 kilometers). © PHOTO: NASA

WNU Editor: That is one awesome picture. For more pictures of Monday's total eclipse, go here .... The Day When the Sun Disappeared: Solar Eclipse Worldwide Furor (Sputnik).

The Pentagon Wants A Better Artillery Shell

U.S. Navy

Peter J. Brown, National Interest: The U.S. Military Will Soon Have 5,000 MPH 'Bullets' (and It's All North Korea's Fault)

One of the less known ripple effects of North Korea’s latest round of saber rattling is it provides the US military with reasons to speed up development of a next-generation artillery shell that travels extreme distances at four-times the speed of sound.

Yes, they can target missiles. The two-foot long shells, known as hypervelocity projectiles or HVPs, have been under operational tests since 2016 and as they travel in excess of 5,000 mph, hit targets with the impact of a freight train.

Because the next-generation shells are precision-guided and travel at such extreme speed, they can hit targets as far as 100 miles away in 72 seconds, markedly reducing options to evade.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The range and speed of these projectiles is truly amazing.