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War and Conflict

SOMALIA POLITICS: US Army Conducts Two Air Strikes Against ISIL in Somalia

SOMALIA POLITICS: US Army Conducts Two Air Strikes Against ISIL in Somalia

“We are currently assessing the results of the strike,” the statement said.

Reports from Somalia suggest ISIL has been recruiting members there since it became active in the country, although the scale of its activities is far smaller than that of al-Shabab.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Declares Victory Over Islamic State in Deir al-Zor

SYRIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Declares Victory Over Islamic State in Deir al-Zor

“The armed forces, in cooperation with allied forces, liberated the city of Deir al-Zor completely from the clutches of the Daesh terrorist organisation,” the military source said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Islamic State had for years besieged a government enclave in Deir al-Zor until an army advance relieved it in early September, starting a battle for jihadist-held parts of the city.

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USA POLITICS: New Drone Rules Will Increase Civilian Deaths

USA POLITICS: New Drone Rules Will Increase Civilian Deaths

“The Trump administration’s reported widening of its rules for targeted killings opens the door for more US attacks on civilians,” Tayler said. “It also sends a message to all countries acquiring armed drones that they too can try to bend international law when taking human life in the name of countering terrorism.”

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NORTH KOREA POLITICS: How to Bring Change in North Korea: Defector Thae Yong Ho Reveals

NORTH KOREA POLITICS: How to Bring Change in North Korea: Defector Thae Yong Ho Reveals

Thae, 55, who now lives in South Korea, is making his first visit to Washington since his 2016 defection as deputy chief of mission at the North Korean Embassy in London.

He said he supported the Trump administration’s policy of exerting “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang, but said it should be coupled with “maximum engagement” of North Korea’s leadership and efforts to end the isolation of the country’s 24 million people.

“I strongly believe in the use of soft power before taking any military action,” said Thae, the most senior North Korean defector since the nation’s ambassador to Egypt fled and resettled in the United States in 1997.

North Korea has called Thae “human scum” and accused him of embezzling government money and committing other crimes.

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USA POLITICS: US Pursues Direct Diplomacy With North Korea Despite Trump Rejection

USA POLITICS: US Pursues Direct Diplomacy With North Korea Despite Trump Rejection

Word of quiet engagement with Pyongyang comes despite Trump’s comments, North Korea’s weapons advances and suggestions by some U.S. and South Korean officials that Yun’s interactions with North Koreans had been reined in.

“It has not been limited at all, both (in) frequency and substance,” said the senior State Department official.

Among the points that Yun has made to his North Korean interlocutors is to “stop testing” nuclear bombs and missiles, the official said.

North Korea this year conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and has test-fired a volley of missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that, if perfected, could in theory reach the United States mainland.

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SOUTH KOREA POLITICS: North Korea as Nuclear State Unacceptable: Moon Jae-in Says

SOUTH KOREA POLITICS: North Korea as Nuclear State Unacceptable: Moon Jae-in Says

“According to the joint denuclearization declaration made by North and South Korea, we cannot tolerate or recognize North Korea as a nuclear state. We too, will not develop nuclear (weapons) or own them,” President Moon Jae-in said.

“Our government was launched in the most serious of times in terms of security. The government is making efforts to stably manage the situation it faces as well as to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula.”

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PALESTINE POLITICS: No Future for Zionist Project on Palestinian Territory: Ismail Haniyeh Says

PALESTINE POLITICS: No Future for Zionist Project on Palestinian Territory: Ismail Haniyeh Says

Haniyeh further said the Palestinians based in the West Bank are still standing firm in pursuit of the nation’s cause and launches anti-Israel Intifadas (Uprisings) one after another, he pointed out, adding that the Gaza Strip has also turned into a symbol of resistance against the occupying regime.

The conference, title “True Promise: Palestine between Balfour Declaration and Divine Promise,” began with a message sent by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

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PALESTINE POLITICS: Balfour Declaration: Here’s British Controversial Letter that Handed Palestinian Homeland to Israel’s Control

PALESTINE POLITICS: Balfour Declaration: Here’s British Controversial Letter that Handed Palestinian Homeland to Israel’s Control

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country,” the Balfour Declaration letter stated.

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CHINA POLITICS: Beijing, South Korea Agree to Reconcile After THAAD Standoff

CHINA POLITICS: Beijing, South Korea Agree to Reconcile After THAAD Standoff

South Korea recognized China’s concerns over THAAD and made it clear the deployment was not aimed at any third country and did not harm China’s strategic security interests, China’s foreign ministry said.

China reiterated its opposition to the deployment of THAAD, but noted South Korea’s position and hoped South Korea could appropriately handle the issue, it added.

“China’s position on the THAAD issue is clear, consistent and has not changed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Russia Invites Kurds to Syrian People’s Congress: Kurdish Official

SYRIA POLITICS: Russia Invites Kurds to Syrian People’s Congress: Kurdish Official

Since 2011, the YPG and its allies have carved out cantons in the north and now hold at least a quarter of the country. They have seized much ground by fighting Islamic State militants with the help of the United States.

Moscow, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has sought to lead diplomatic efforts between various warring Syrian factions over the past year.

Russia may host a congress in mid-November to bring together all of Syria’s groups for national dialogue and work on a new constitution, the RIA news agency said on Monday.

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RUSSIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Will Control Its Eastern Border, ISIS Will Cease to Exist Before 2017 End: Duma Defense Chief

RUSSIA POLITICS: Syrian Government Will Control Its Eastern Border, ISIS Will Cease to Exist Before 2017 End: Duma Defense Chief

Russia began its Air Force operation against the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In mid-March of this year, President Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to begin the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, as most of the initial objectives of the operation had already been achieved by that time.

However, the president also decided to maintain Russia’s military presence at the port of Tartus and at the Khmeimim airbase in order to monitor the ceasefire arrangements in Syria.

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SYRIA POLITICS: Assad Says Ready to Step Down If…

SYRIA POLITICS: Assad Says Ready to Step Down If…

“We wanted to see whether Damascus is maintaining its commitment to the obligations it previously undertook. In particular, concerning the transition to a political settlement after the main military phase of the fight against terrorism is completed,” Russian special presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said.

“It is vital that Bashar Assad is really willing to find ways to attain national reconciliation. We spoke in detail about the launch of the process for national dialogue between various parts of Syrian society,” Lavrentiev said.

“We hope that these issues will be resolved during the seventh round of talks, at least in a particular part to promote confidence-building between the conflicting parties,” Lavrentiev said.

The envoy added that the Russian delegation hoped to encourage Syrian opposition to hold a constructive dialogue with Damascus.

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IRAQ POLITICS: US Eying ‘Long-Term’ Presence in Post-Daesh Iraq

IRAQ POLITICS: US Eying ‘Long-Term’ Presence in Post-Daesh Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that the US had begun drawing down its military presence and that US air power would no longer be needed once Daesh is entirely obliterated.

Yet, on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, the US commander of the US-led coalition, hinted that the US needed to prepare for “long-term” presence in Iraq.

“I think we need to structure ourselves to be prepared for a long-term commitment to building partner capacity in this area,” Funk told USA TODAY. “I think that is exactly the way we’re leaning but that will be a decision for the policymakers.”

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USA POLITICS: 24-Hour Alert! Trump Says Soon to Send B-52 Bombers With Nuclear Weapons to Korean Peninsula

USA POLITICS: 24-Hour Alert! Trump Says Soon to Send B-52 Bombers With Nuclear Weapons to Korean Peninsula

There are fears that a new war could break out as the hermit state tries to develop a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the US mainland. Gen David Goldfein, the US Air Force chief of staff, told Defense One that his branch was preparing to put the B-52 bombers back on 24-hour ready alert for the first time since the Cold War ended in 1991.

The move comes amid rising tensions between the US and North Korea, with President Donald Trump saying that Washington is “prepared for anything” when it comes to Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Introduced in 1955, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was built to carry nuclear weapons and serve as a deterrent during the Cold War.

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SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SYRIA POLITICS: SDF ‘Liberated’ Raqqah But Won’t Hand It to Syrian Government

SDF spokesman Talal Silo has said the group would hand over the control of the city to what he called “the Raqqah Civil Council,” likely a Kurdish body. Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar reacted by saying that Raqqah’s future could only be discussed “as part of the final political structure of the Syrian state.”

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has, meanwhile, said that the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqah have killed civilians and damaged infrastructure in the city.

“When you’re killing around 1,200 civilians — nearly half of them women and children — and destroying 80 percent of the city, that’s not liberating Raqqah,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told Arab News daily.

The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

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USA POLITICS: US Preparing for North Korea ‘Final Step’: CIA Director Pompeo Says

USA POLITICS: US Preparing for North Korea ‘Final Step’: CIA Director Pompeo Says

CIA Director Pompeo is among a number of former officials who have been signaling the increased possibility of a slide into military confrontation with North Korea over its refusal to back down from its nuclear program.

“Whether it happens on Tuesday or a month from Tuesday, we’re in a time where the President has concluded that we have a global effort to ensure that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un does not obtain that capacity,” Pompeo says.

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IRAN POLITICS: ‘Ballistic Missile Programme Will Accelerate’: IRGC Says

IRAN POLITICS: ‘Ballistic Missile Programme Will Accelerate’: IRGC Says

“Iran’s ballistic missile programme will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization (the Guards),” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said in a statement published by Tasnim.

“Imposing cruel sanctions against the Guards and hostile approach of the rogue and brute (U.S.) president shows the failure of America and the Zionist regime’s (Israel) wicked policies in the region,” the Guards statement said.

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USA POLITICS: US Threats of War With North Korea ‘Dangerous, Short-Sighted’: Hillary Clinton says

USA POLITICS: US Threats of War With North Korea ‘Dangerous, Short-Sighted’: Hillary Clinton says

Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said: “There is no need for us to be bellicose and aggressive (over North Korea). Picking fights with Kim Jong Un puts a smile on his face.”

Hillary Clinton also indirectly referred to Trump’s social media comments on North Korea, saying, “The insults on Twitter have benefited North Korea, I don’t think they’ve benefited the United States”.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday the referendum “is finished and has become a thing of the past”.

Addressing a news conference in Baghdad, he called for a dialogue with Kurdish leaders “under the constitution”.

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani said the vote for independence “won’t be in vain”. He did not call for dialogue, but added, “Kurds have always been against waging wars and have worked in pursuit of peace.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

Iraq’s Alforat news agency also said army forces were now in control of all of the city’s government buildings, state-owned North Oil and North Gas companies, the Kirkuk International Airport, and K-1 Airbase.

Cited by Reuters, an Iraqi army officer said government forces had also taken control of all oilfields operated by the North Oil Company in the province. Government troops have also reopened the highway linking the Kirkuk City and the capital Baghdad, Iraq’s al-Sumariyah television network reported.

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