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Iraq Closes Airspace Even To US Coalition Flights After Suspected Israeli Raid

Iraq Closes Airspace Even To US Coalition Flights After Suspected Israeli Raid

In what is a severely under reported but perhaps the most alarming development out of the Middle East this week, Iraq’s government has said it’s ready to down any aircraft violating its airspace amid a blanket ban on ‘unauthorized’ flights not specifically approved by the prime minister’s officeMilitary Times reported the day after Iraq closed its airspace on Thursday:

U.S. military officials in Iraq will now seek out Iraqi approval before launching any air operations, a move made a day after that nation’s prime minister announced a ban of unauthorized flights, including those involving coalition forces fighting ISIS.

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi called for an end to all “unauthorized flights” including US drones, spy planes, jets, or helicopters on Thursday. The directive demanded that all aerial vehicles comply with Iraqi law and operations must be under Iraqi government authorization.

Monday’s blast in southwest Baghdad, via the AP. 

The US Coalition on Friday issued a statement saying that it is ready to comply with the order:

The US-led Coalition says it is complying with an order by Iraq’s Prime Minister banning airspace access to international aircraft [following a recent claimed US or Israeli strike on an arms dump near Baghdad, which killed a civilian and destroyed c$100m of munitions]

View image on Twitter

“The prime minister ordered to revoke all special flight permits in Iraqi airspace for reconnaissance aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft with weapons, fighters, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles of all kinds available to the Iraqi and non-Iraqi sides”, an official Iraq government statement  said after an Iraqi National Security Council meeting this week. 

“All authorities are required to comply with this order. Any flights that violate this regulation will be considered an aggression, which our air defense will immediately respond to,” the statement added.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“We Will Be At War With China In 15 Years” Predicts Former Commander Of U.S. Army In Europe

Days after U.S. warships made a provocative passage through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, further making already strained tensions between the Washington and Beijing  — currently in the midst of a trade war — even hotter, the former top commander of the US Army in Europe has predicted the United States and China will likely be at war in 15 years.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges made the bombshell and alarming comments at a Warsaw security forum on Wednesday where he urged European allies to do more in preparing their own defenses against Russia while Americans focus more on the Pacific.

Gen. Hodges said, according to the Military Times:

I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable, but it is a very strong likelihood — that we will be at war with China. The United States does not have the capacity to do everything it has to do in Europe and in the Pacific to deal with the Chinese threat.

This statement is hugely remarkable in that it signifies the thesis has just left the domain of academic international relations theoreticians and has now become a guiding assumption of military commanders with years of experience on the ground.

General Ben Hodges (ret). commanded the US Army in Europe from 2014-2017. Image source: AP file photo

Hodges served as US Army commander in Europe during 2014-17, which makes his warning especially noteworthy, and he’s now an analyst with the Center for European Policy Analysis. He addressed an ongoing policy debate among policy and defense official circles over whether it’s a mistake for Washington to focus its defense efforts on “threats” like Russian and Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Earthquake in International Alliances

The Earthquake in International Alliances

The Earthquake in International Alliances

America’s international alliances are transforming in fundamental ways. The likelihood of World War III is increasing, and has been increasing ever since 2012 when the US first slapped Russia with the Magnitsky Act sanctions. In fact, one matter driving these changing alliances now toward unprecedented realignments is that some nations’ leaders want to do whatever they can to prevent WW III.

On October 17th, America’s Military Times bannered “Why today’s troops fear a new war is coming soon” and reported, “About 46 percent of troops who responded to the anonymous survey of currently serving Military Times readers said they believe the US will be drawn into a new war within the next year. That’s a jarring increase from only about 5 percent who said the same thing in a similar poll conducted in September 2017.” Their special fear is of war against Russia and/or China: “About 71 percent of troops said Russia was a significant threat, up 18 points from last year’s survey. And 69 percent of troops said China poses a significant threat, up 24 points from last year.” The US spends around half of the entire world’s military budget; and, after 9/11, has invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and perpetrated a bloody coup turning Ukraine into a rabidly anti-Russian government on Russia’s very doorstep and even an applicant for NATO membership though, in 2009, before Obama’s coup overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected Government, even US media reported that “barely 25 percent of Ukrainians favor joining NATO.” After 1991 when Russia’s anti-American Warsaw Pact military alliance ended, America’s anti-Russian NATO military alliance expanded right up to Russia’s very borders. Nonetheless, these troops aren’t afraid that the US is posing a threat to Russia and maybe to China, but that Russia and China are both posing threats against America; they trust their Government; it’s what they’re taught to believe. But the reality is very different. And it involves all of the “great power” relationships — not only US, Russia, and China.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Big-Ass Fight On The Horizon”: Nearly Half Of All U.S. Troops Think Major War Is Coming

A new poll conducted by Military Times and Syracuse University has found that nearly half of all active duty American troops believe the next major war is just around the corner.

The poll results show about 46% of respondents think the U.S. will be drawn into a new war at some point in the next year, which is a significant 5% leap above the same category in the Military Times poll taken last year.

Analysts who looked at the numbers believe military personnel fear global instability and the heightened rhetoric of the Trump administration especially related to world powers like Russia and China.

Image via Reuters

According to published results by Military Times:

When asked about specific countries, troops said Russia and China were among their top concerns. The poll showed a big increase in the number of troops who identify those two countries as significant or major threats: About 71 percent of troops said Russia was a significant threat, up 18 points from last year’s survey. And 69 percent of troops said China poses a significant threat, up 24 points from last year.

Some top Pentagon officials have voiced similar views. Last year, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Marines that he thought there was a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.

The Commandant reportedly told Marines stationed in Norway, “I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming.”

Results of the Military Times poll conducted between Sept. 20 and Oct. 2:

The overwhelming majority that identified Russia and China as the biggest threats to American security are perhaps the most shocking numbers – at 71 and 69 percent respectively, and are likely due to the preponderance of news stories concerning each country’s military readiness and war games over the past year.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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