While Trump’s just announced decision to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to unwind Obama’s landmark deal, was widely leaked previously even though few can point to what terms of the agreement Iran has violated, one aspect of Trump’s Iran statement was unclear: whether he would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or IRGC, the elite wing of Iran’s army, a terrorist organization – a move which Iran vowed would prompt “decisive , crushing” retaliation. Trump did just that, and the new, sweeping sanctions on the IRGC could affect conflicts in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington both support warring parties that oppose the Islamic State militant group. This is what the Treasury’s OFAC unit posted on its sanctions website moments ago: Treasury Designates the IRGC under Terrorism Authority and Targets IRGC and Military Supporters under Counter-Proliferation Authority WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pursuant to the global terrorism Executive Order (E. O.) 13224 and consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. OFAC designated the IRGC today for its activities in support of the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which was designated pursuant to E. O. 13224 on October 25, 2007, for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban. The IRGC has provided material support to the IRGC-QF, including by providing training, personnel, and military equipment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
Last November Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country ‘won’t allow Islamic State figures or other enemy actors, under the cover of the war in Syria, to set up next to our borders,’ but it appears this has already happened, to the point that a sizable ISIS training camp has been set up just across the Golan Heights border with Israel. Though Syrian al-Qaeda has long been a mainstay in southern Syria along Israel’s border, this constitutes the first widespread public acknowledgement and confirmation of a significant ISIS base of operations in the Golan region. Israeli media this week is reporting news of the base camp after Israel’s Channel 2 aired an extensive report with video and photographic evidence of what’s being described as a training and recruitment center which has already attracted hundreds of new terror recruits. Channel 2 is one of Israel’s most visible and established news broadcast channels and operates under “The Second Authority for Television and Radio” licensed by the Knesset and the Ministry of Communications. According to the Times of Israel: Israel’s Channel 2 said the commanders have made their way to an Islamic State-controlled enclave ‘close to the border’ with Israel. They have set up a training camp to which they have recruited 300 local youths, said the report, which showed footage apparently of the camp and training sessions. Among the commanders is one of Islamic State’s most notorious recruiters, Abu Hamam Jazrawi, the TV report said. The commanders are also now running Islamic State internet propaganda campaigns from their new base, in place of the former campaign headquarters in Raqqa, the extremists’ former de facto capital in northwest Syria where the fight to oust them has entered what appear to be its final stages.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.
Russia has once again accused the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria of facilitating the entry of Islamic State terrorists into Syria in order to hinder the advance of the Syrian Army and its allies. On Tuesday Russia’s defense ministry accused the US of merely “pretending” to fight ISIS in a way designed to put maximum pressure on Syrian and Russian front line defenses in Syria’s east. Russian military spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, ‘Everyone sees that the U. S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all inIraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason.” The accusation comes a little over two weeks after Russia released aerial images allegedly showing ISIS, the SDF (US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”), and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Deir Ezzor, Syria. While the previous charges implied some level of close coordination between US-backed forces and ISIS in the region, the new claims point to coalition air power intentionally facilitating and utilizing ISIS movements to its advantage: ‘The actions of the Pentagon and the coalition demand an explanation. Is their change of tack a desire to complicate as much as they can the Syrian army’s operation, backed by the Russian air force, to take back Syrian territory to the east of the Euphrates?’ asked Konashenkov. He continued with, ‘Or is it an artful moveto drive Islamic State terrorists out of Iraq by forcing them into Syria and into the path of the Russian air force’s pinpoint bombing?’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.
Foreign Affairs Magazine Advances Domestic Terrorism To Remove Alternative Media Is Foreign Affairs magazine advancing ‘domestic terrorism’ because it could help remove alternative media, and even jail editors and writers or worse. The recent article is entitled ‘Should We Treat Domestic Terrorists the Way We Treat ISIS? What Works – and What Doesn’t.’ It begins as follows: The mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night has again raised fears about terrorism. There’s much we don’t yet know. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed the attack, but the FBI claims that there is no international terrorism link. The attacker, Stephen Paddock, was 64 years old and white, fitting a stereotype of a right-wing terrorist more than a jihadist one. And he may just be a crazy nut. But regardless of Paddock’s particular pathology, the situation highlights how the United States treats similar forms of violence differently depending on the nature of the perpetrator. Many commentators have already demanded that we make a case for domestic terrorism including such prominent Youtubers as Philip DeFranco. He runs a website of some six million and offers mildly libertarian commentary. But perhaps he doesn’t understand that he may eventually become a victim of what he wants to invoke. There are many such well-meaning people who quite possibly misunderstand what is happening How about PropOrNot? This outfit lists around websites ‘friendly’ to Russia and in total includes many of the major alternative websites in the country. Those who run the website say they believe these sites provide propaganda for Russia.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 8, 2017.
Authored by Zainab Calcuttawala via OilPrice.com, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey are taking a unified stance against Kurdistan’s oil sector after the region elected to seek independence from Baghdad in a referendum in September, according to a new report by Rudaw. ‘In the case of northern Iraq; Iran, Iraq and Turkey will form a tripartite mechanism and will decide on shutting down the oil,’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after a meeting with leaders from the other two nations on Thursday. A day before the vote, the Iraqi central government issued a statement calling on ‘neighboring countries and countries of the world’ to stop buying crude oil directly from Kurdistan and only deal with Baghdad. Turkey’s Ceyhan port provides an outlet for the Kurdish Kirkuk oil to meet international markets without interference from Baghdad. Erdogan, Tehran and other members of the international community had censured Erbil for proceeding with the independence referendum as Iraq recovers from a three-year war against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Turkish leader had previously threatened to cut Kirkuk off from Ceyhan, but did not provide details on how such a measure would be carried out. Russia’s oil majors side with Kurdistan in its quest for an independent fossil fuel establishment. Rosneft signed off on a $1 billion gas pipeline deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a week prior to the historic vote, signaling Moscow’s approval of a hypothetically separate Kurdistan. Both Iran and Turkey house sizeable Kurdish populations, so the referendum raises fears that Kurds from other nations may seek similar political solutions. Kurdistan produces around 600,000 bpd of crude oil, or about 15 percent of Iraq’s total output. After the votes were counted, the KRG said that the ‘Yes’ to independence option won at the polls, with 92.73 percent of voters opting to grant Erbil its own regime.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 6, 2017.
With so much information, misinformation and disinformation being released about the Las Vegas mass shooting on a near minute-by-minute basis it is difficult to make sense of what actually happened. Adding to the confusion are emerging reports that there may have been more than one shooter, a second person in Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite, the existence of a possible suicide note, the odd behavior of Paddock’s brother, possible ties to the Islamic State (though denied by the FBI) and a $100,000 transfer by shooter Stephen Paddock to the Philippines, which is a hotbed for illegal arms tried and nefarious activity. It has also emerged that on September 10th an anonymous user utilizing the pseudonym ‘John’ on the controversial 4Chan website posted a warning specifically highlighting Las Vegas as a target of a ‘high incident project.’ While we certainly can’t make claims to the legitimacy of the posts, they are indeed curious: ‘Look i feel bad for some of you on this website. so i’ll let you in on a little secret. if you live in las vegas or henderson stay inside tomorrow. don’t go anywhere where there are large groups of people. also if you see three blacks vans parked next to each other immediately leave the area. you’re welcome -john’
This post was published at shtfplan on October 4th, 2017.
The aerial photos of ISIS' territory north of #Deir_ez_Zor where #USA special operation troops are seen pic.twitter.com/gjqlQubi9o — (@mod_russia) September 24, 2017
Two week after Russia released a set of satellite photos from Syria, which allegedly showed US special ops located in immediate proximity to ISIS positions, the Russian defence ministry doubled down on Wednesday and again accused the United States of supporting Islamic State jihadists, enabling them to mount counter-offensive attacks in eastern Syria. “The main thing preventing the final defeat of ISIS in Syria is not the terrorists’ military capability but support and pandering to them by American colleagues,” Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. Quoted by AFP, he said recent attacks on Syrian regime forces were all made “from a 50-kilometre zone around At-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordan border” where the US-led coalition is operating a garrison.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.
In a bizarre development, the Islamic State’s news agency Amaq has claimed responsibility for the Las Vegas concert attack, alleging that Stephen Paddock is one of its “soldiers” and that he converted to Islam “months ago”. To be sure, there is no evidence for these claims, and the statement comes after the Las Vegas police stated earlier that there is no link to international terrorism. BREAKING: #ISIS claimed #LasVegas attack, reporting through 'Amaq that executor is one of its "soldiers" & he converted to Islam months ago pic.twitter.com/4E85vEIUzH — SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) October 2, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 2, 2017.
We'll never let violent extremism win. Canadians stand with the injured in Edmonton: — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 1, 2017
In an incident that’s being investigated as a possible “act of terrorism”, an unnamed suspect stabbed an Edmonton police constable late Saturday night before trying to ram a truck into a crowd of pedestrians while being chased by police through downtown Edmonton Saturday night, according to the Globe and Mail. Ultimately, four pedestrians and the officer were injured when the U-Haul truck being driven by the suspect struck them before speeding away down Jasper Avenue, Edmonton police chief Rod Knetch told reporters. The officer is not in critical condition. Knetch could not provide more details about the condition of the pedestrians. The suspect is in custody and appears to have acted alone, the police chief said. Knetch said an Islamic State flag was found inside the suspect’s vehicle, had been seized and was part of the investigation, which now involves the the RCMP-led counterterrorism unit the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team. Knecht said the incidents are being investigated ‘as an act of terror’ and that the attacker acted alone.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 1, 2017.
The moment the first Russian jet landed in Syria at the invitation of the Assad government in 2015, Putin placed himself in the driver’s seat concerning the international proxy war in the Levant. From a strategic standpoint the armed opposition stood no chance of ever tipping the scales against Damascus from that moment onward. And though US relations with Russia became more belligerent and tense partly as a result of that intervention, it meant that Russia would set the terms of how the war would ultimately wind down. Russia’s diplomatic and strategic victory in the Middle East was made clear this week as news broke of “secret” and unprecedented US-Russia face to face talks on Syria. The Russians reportedly issued a stern warning to the US military, saying that it will respond in force should the Syrian Army or Russian assets come under fire by US proxies. The AP reports that senior military officials from both countries met in an undisclosed location “somewhere in the Middle East” in order to discuss spheres of operation in Syria and how to avoid the potential for a direct clash of forces. Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks as the Syrian Army in tandem with Russian special forces are now set to fully liberate Deir Ezzor city, while at the same time the US-backed SDF (the Arab-Kurdish coalition, “Syrian Democratic Forces”) – advised by American special forces – is advancing on the other side of the Euphrates. As we’ve explained before, the US is not fundamentally motivated in its “race for Deir Ezzor province” by defeat of ISIS terrorism, but in truth by control of the eastern province’s oil fields. Whatever oil fields the SDF can gain control of in the wake of Islamic State’s retreat will then used as powerful bargaining leverage in negotiating a post-ISIS Syria. The Kurdish and Arab coalition just this week captured Tabiyeh and al-Isba oil and gas fields northeast of Deir Ezzor city.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.
SOHR says Syria army in Deir Ezzor has crossed Euphrates. Waterway serves as informal demarcation line between US & Syria/Iran-backed force. — Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck) September 18, 2017
A correspondent with Al-Masdar News based in Damascus has confirmed that the Syrian Amy has crossed the Euphrateswhich runs through Deir Ezzor on Monday. The river forms a natural demarcation line separating Syrian government forces and their allies from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF): DAMACUS, SYRIA (4:00 P. M.) – The Syrian Army was capable today of crossing the Euphrates River after fully recapturing Sakr Island located to the north of Deir Ezzor Airbase. Heavy Russian and Syrian airstrikes have pushed ISIS militants away from the eastern bank, paving the way for the government troops to set foot in the eastern bank for the first time in years. With crossing the river, the government forces are inching closer to re-take the remaining territories under ISIS control. However, this will also put the Syrian forces face to face with the US-backed Kurdish forces; which launched its own offensive against the Islamic State in Deir Ezzor.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 18, 2017.
An 18-year-old man was arrested by British police in the city of Dover in connection with Friday’s rush hout “terrorist” bombing of a London subway train, calling the arrest ‘significant’ but warned that the country’s threat level remained at its highest, “critical” point. ‘We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical,’ Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said. It was unclear if the man arrested was the person believed responsible for the attack, which has been classified as terrorism. Late on Friday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the improvised bomb attack via its news agency, Amaq, saying it was carried out by a ‘detachment.’ There was no independent indication of the group’s role. In another separate statement, Islamic State said it had deployed several explosives but only one detonated. That too couldn’t be independently verified. The man was arrested in the port area of the city, a major hub for ferry transport between the U. K. and France. Authorities have been urgently tracking down leads in the attack, searching through security camera footage and other information. ‘The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover this morning, Saturday, 16 September, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act,’ police said in a statement. The man remains in custody at a local police station. He will be transferred to a south London police station in due course.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 16, 2017.
Finian Cunningham RT The breaking of the siege of Deir ez-Zor by the Syrian army and its Russian ally marks the defeat of not just foreign-backed anti-government militants. It signals victory over the regime-change plot orchestrated by the US and its partners. For three years, the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor had been besieged by militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror network. This week the Syrian army broke the stranglehold and liberated the city with crucial help from Russian air power. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly sent a letter of congratulations to Syria’s Bashar Assad, a measure of the strategic significance of the event. Deir ez-Zor on the Euphrates River had been the main terror hub in the country, serving as a supply corridor for IS between neighboring Iraq and Syria, according to Russia’s Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi. Now with the vanquishing of that hub, the terrorist remnants in Syria ‘face a crushing defeat.’ Last week, a headline in Britain’s Guardian newspaper put it succinctly, if not mendaciously. ‘Victory for Assad looks increasingly likely as world loses interest in Syria.’
After urging its supporters in the west to turn cars into weapons, guidance that inspired terror attacks in the UK, Spain and France, ISIS is now calling for sympathizers to poison the food in US supermarkets with cyanide, according to SITE. In recent days, channels associated with the terrorist army have posted calls for attacks on Europe, Russia and the United States to mark the occasion of the Islamic “Sacrifice Feast” Eid al Adha. In the third part of an English-language series on jihad, IS advised would-be attackers to inject food for sale in markets with cyanide poison. According to Spiesa, the organization has tested these methods on prisons, causing horrifically painful deaths. ‘The Islamic State group used prisoners as ‘human guinea pigs,’ carrying out chemical weapons experiments in order to plan for attacks against the West, documents found in Mosul have revealed. The papers detailing the tests, which led to the agonizing deaths of prisoners, were discovered at Mosul University in January when it was recaptured by Iraqi special forces. The documents verified by United States and British forces were detailed by The Times in a report published Saturday. Prisoners had their food and water contaminated by the sprinkling of chemicals found in easily accessible pesticides. The US and Britain now fear that the same methods could be used on a larger scale to contaminate food supplies in the West.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 5, 2017.
Authored by Soren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, More than 50,000 jihadists are now living in Europe. – Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counterterrorism Coordinator. Europol, the European police office, has identified at least 30,000 active jihadist websites, but EU legislation no longer requires internet service providers to collect and preserve metadata – including data on the location of jihadists – from their customers due to privacy concerns. De Kerchove said this was hindering the ability of police to identify and deter jihadists. German authorities are hunting for dozens of members of one of the most violent jihadist groups in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, but who, according to Der Spiegel, entered Germany disguised as refugees. The men, all former members of Liwa Owais al-Qorani, a rebel group destroyed by the Islamic State in 2014, are believed to have massacred hundreds of Syrians, both soldiers and civilians. German police have reportedly identified around 25 of the jihadists and apprehended some of them, but dozens more are believed to be hiding in cities and towns across Germany. In all, more than 400 migrants who entered Germany as asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016 are now being investigated for being members of Middle Eastern jihadists groups, according to the Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 4, 2017.
Pretty sure ISIS won't make a video about this adventure — aris roussinos (@arisroussinos) September 1, 2017
In a bizarre twist to an already unusual story, a convoy of 17 buses carrying Islamic State terrorists and their families has remained stranded since Thursday in the Syrian desert as the US, Russians, and Syrians discuss their fate: attack the convoy or allow it to pass? Regardless of what happens, emerging photos and video depicting ISIS’ retreat from Lebanon as well as their current helpless plight stuck in the middle of Syria constitutes perhaps the most significant blow to ISIS propaganda to date. Earlier this week we reported on the unusual deal which allowed a large convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families to exit their contested stronghold along the Syrian-Lebanese border under the watch of the Lebanese and Syrian armies and Hezbollah after being defeated. As first announced by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in a speech Monday night, the deal involved the transportation of 26 wounded and 308 ISIS fighters, along with 331 civilian family members via buses and ambulances to Syria’s eastern province. The controversial deal was struck in return for the bodies of 9 Lebanese soldiers, kidnapped by ISIS in 2014. That convoy was allowed to enter Syria but was attacked by the US-led anti-ISIL Coalition on Wednesday as it crossed open desert on its way to the Islamic State stronghold of Deir Ezzor. Per coalition statement, the convoy wasn’t attacked directly – just outlying ISIS vehicles which were attempting to join and bolster the transport. Part of the highway in front of the convoy, including a key bridge, was further targeted in order to stop its movement.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 1, 2017.
In a surprise move that few analysts expected, the US led anti-ISIS coalition operating in Iraq and Syria has bombed parts of the ISIS convoy previously given safe passage out of Lebanon as part of a controversial deal brokered early this week with the Lebanese Army and its allies. Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillan had previously warned that, ‘We will take action where necessary; those would be absolutely lucrative targets.’ And it now appears the US coalition followed through by attacking the vehicles as they traveled across Syria to the Islamic State stronghold of Deir Ezzor. The initial warning was issued in reaction to the controversial deal that followed ISIS’ defeat in northeast Lebanon. Since July the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah, and the Syrian Army have attempted to root out ISIS from positions in the western Qalamun area of Syria and the Jurud Arsal border region of Lebanon. The fierce campaign has had some degree of assistance from US special forces, acting in an advisory capacity for Lebanon’s military. The territory was fully liberated Monday (August 28), but only after Lebanon struck a deal with the about 300 remaining ISIS fighters and their families which would allow them to lay down their weapons and exit through Syria in a convoy of buses (though reportedly allowed to carry light weapons such as rifles). Though ISIS was clearly defeated, the deal allowed for the turnover of the bodies of 9 deceased Lebanese soldiers previously kidnapped in 2014.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 30, 2017.
A months-long investigation which tracked and exposed a massive covert weapons shipment network to terror groups in Syria via diplomatic flights originating in the Caucuses and Eastern Europe under the watch of the CIA and other intelligence agencies has resulted in the interrogation and firing of the Bulgarian journalist who first broke the story. This comes as the original report is finally breaking into mainstream international coverage. Investigative reporter Dilyana Gaytandzhieva authored a bombshell report for Trud Newspaper, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, which found that an Azerbaijan state airline company was regularly transporting tons of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey under diplomatic cover as part of the CIA covert program to supply anti-Assad fighters in Syria. Those weapons, Gaytandzhieva found, ended up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Syria. While it’s long been understood that the US-Gulf-NATO coalition arming rebels inside Syria facilitated the rapid rise of the Islamic State as the group had steady access to a “jihadi Wal-Mart” of weapons (in the words of one former spy and British diplomat), the Trud Newspaper report is the first to provide exhaustive documentation detailing the precise logistical chain of the weapons as they flowed from their country of origin to the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. Gaytandzhieva even traveled to Aleppo where she filmed and examined labeled weapons shipping containers held in underground jihadist storehouses.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.
Does ISIS have the capability of taking out a civilian passenger jet? According to an alarming new report by Reuters the answer appears to be yes. The Islamic State has long been rumored as in possession of surface-to-air missiles, and now it appears a US ally is providing ground level confirmation of what might be a worst case nightmare scenario come true. The Lebanese Army has recently been engaged in a fierce campaign to root out ISIS terrorists from the Arsal border pocket – a northeast region of Lebanon bordering Syria which has seen fighting rage since 2014. As we previously reported, the operation is receiving some level of assistance from US special forces advisers as well as coordination from Hezbollah, while at the same time the Syrian Army is attacking from the Syrian side of the border in the Qalaman mountains. On Monday, Reuters issued the following report based on official statements of the Lebanese Army: Lebanon’s army found anti-aircraft missiles among with a cache of weapons in an area abandoned by Islamic State militants, it said on Monday. The arms cache also included mortars, medium and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, grenades, anti-tank weapons, anti-personnel mines, improvised explosive devices and ammunition. Not only did Lebanon’s army – which is working under the advisement of the Pentagon for the operation – confirm ISIS possession of anti-aircraft missiles, but last week it reported to have uncovered a similarly stocked Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) cache as well. According to the same Reuters report:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 22, 2017.
As we detailed last night, President Trump will unveil his long-awaited new strategy for Afghanistan tonight. Will he, as Ron Paul suggests, do the sensible thing and end the failed longest war in history? Or will he continue doing the same thing and expect that somehow he will “win” the war? Does America even know what “winning” looks like in Afghanistan? Here’s Ron Paul’s preview (which may be a post-mortem)… *** With the anti-neocon Steve Bannon out, and nobody left in Trump’s inner circle to halt the simmering push for war, we suspect we know the answer, and as The Hill details, here’s what to look for in his speech… How many more troops? The United States has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump gave Mattis the authority in June to send more troops there, but Mattis has held off deploying any more until Trump finalized a strategy. ‘I was not willing to make significant troop lifts until we made certain we knew what was the strategy, what was the commitment going in,’ Mattis told reporters traveling with him on Sunday. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U. S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said he needs a ‘few thousand’ more troops to break the stalemate against the Taliban. That few thousand is said to equal about 4,000 U. S. troops. Those troops would be used to embed with conventional Afghan forces closer to combat – at the battalion level – and improve the capabilities of the Afghan air force and special operations forces. Nicholson assured the Afghans on Sunday that the U. S. commitment to the country will continue. ‘I assure you we are with you in this fight. We are with you, and we will stay with you,’ Nicholson said during a ceremony at Camp Morehead, a training base for Afghan commandos southeast of Kabul.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 21, 2017.