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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs


Tweets For Today

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 11:04 PM PST






Report: Iran's Supreme Leader Wants To Use Iranian Forces To Directly Launch A Military Strike Against U.S. Interests

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 11:08 PM PST

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, the newly appointed commander of the country's Quds Force, pray near the coffins of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Tehran, Iran January 6, 2020. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS

New York Times: Khamenei Wants to Put Iran's Stamp on Reprisal for U.S. Killing of Top General

In the tense hours following the American killing of a top Iranian military commander, the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made a rare appearance at a meeting of the government's National Security Council to lay down the parameters for any retaliation. It must be a direct and proportional attack on American interests, he said, openly carried out by Iranian forces themselves, three Iranians familiar with the meeting said Monday.

It was a startling departure for the Iranian leadership. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Tehran had almost always cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it had cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of the military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

The nation's anger over the commander's death was on vivid display Monday, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran for a funeral procession and Mr. Khamenei wept openly over the coffin.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Any use of Iranian military forces against U.S. forces or assets will result in an immediate U.S. response and an escalation that will be difficult to control. Truth be told, Iran's options are limited .... Top commander's assassination leaves Iran with very few options to retaliate (Al-Monitor).

Update: A sobering read .... Iran opting for 'total war' against US (MK Bhadrakumar, Asia times).

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 10:46 PM PST

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pray near the coffin of Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, January 6. Official President's website/via REUTERS

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Funeral for Iranian commander Soleimani (Reuters).

Is Iraq Changing Its Mind On Expeling U.S. Forces?

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 10:40 PM PST

Adel Abdul Mahdi meets the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, in Baghdad, Iraq. Photograph: Reuters

The Guardian: Iraq scales down threats to expel US forces after Trump reaction

Acting PM Adel Abdul Mahdi emphasises dangers of descent into open war

Officials in Iraq have stepped back from threats to expel US forces after Donald Trump threatened to impose sanctions over the Iraqi parliament's vote for a retaliation for the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad by a US drone strike.

The military spokesman for the acting Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, who met with the US ambassador on Monday to implement the decision, said any withdrawal would only involve combat forces and not training and logistical support for the Iraqi military, which have been core components of the US presence in Iraq in recent years.

Read more ....

Update #1: Iraq and U.S. should work together on troop withdrawal: Iraqi PM -- Reuters
Update #2: Iraqi PM spoke with Germany's Merkel about foreign troop withdrawal: statement -- Reuters

WNU Editor: The Iraqi government is in chaos right now. What can one say when the Iraqi parliament passes a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the presence of foreign troop presence in Iraq ....but is was boycotted by all the Kurdish and Sunni parliamentarians. And on top of that, the caretaker prime minister who supported this resolution isn't even legally authorized to sign the bill into law. A resolution that (by the way) has no timetable attached to it.

Why Was Iranian General Qassem Soleimani In Baghdad On The Night That He Was Killed By A Drone Strike?

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 10:24 PM PST

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi speaks during a funeral ceremony in Baghdad (AFP)

Daily Mail: Iraqi prime minister says Qassem Soleimani was in Iraq to 'discuss de-escalating tensions between Iran and Saudis' when he was killed - and claims Trump had asked for help mediating talks after embassy attack

* Iraq's caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, told his parliament in Baghdad on Sunday that US strike on Soleimani was a 'political assassination'
* Abdul Mahdi claimed that Soleimani was due to meet with him on the same day that he was killed by a US drone near the Baghdad airport early on Friday
* The outgoing Iraqi leader says that Soleimani was supposed to bring him Iran's response to a Saudi proposal for de-escalating regional tensions
* Saudi Arabia, a regional rival, blames Iran for an attack on the kingdom's oil facilities in September
* Abdul Mahdi also claims that President Trump called him and asked him to mediate talks with Iran after the US embassy in Baghdad was nearly overrun
* Supporters of the Shiite group Kataib Hezbollah scaled the walls and barreled through security at the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday
* Abdul Mahdi said he personally intervened to defuse the embassy crisis and that the American president thanked him for doing so

Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Quds Force commander who was killed in a US drone attack in Baghdad on Friday, was in Iraq to negotiate a de-escalation in tensions with Saudi Arabia, according to the Iraqi prime minister.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq's caretaker prime minister, told his parliament on Sunday that President Trump called him to ask for help in mediating with Iran after the American embassy in Baghdad was attacked.

On Tuesday, people belonging to the Shiite group Kataib Hezbollah overran security and scaled the walls of the embassy. No Americans were injured during the protests.

Trump blamed Iran for the embassy incidents and threatened retaliation.

Read more ....

Update: Soleimani Was In Baghdad On Peace Mission To De-Escalate With Saudis: Report (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: The Iraqi PM is saying that Qassem Soleimani was in Baghdad to negotiate a de-escalation in tensions with Saudi Arabia. Others are saying something else .... Why Iran's Qassem Soleimani was on a not-so-secret trip to Iraq when he was assassinated (Business Insider). I suspect that we will never know on why he was really in Baghdad that night.

Six B-52s Deployed To Diego Garcia

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 09:49 PM PST

Diego Garcia, which is located about 1,000 miles off the southern tip of India, is more than 3,000 miles from Iran. The Pentagon says the base was chosen as the site where the aircraft will be deployed because it is out of range of Iranian missiles

Daily Mail: Pentagon sends six B-52 strategic bombers to military base Diego Garcia that is beyond the range of Iran's ballistic missiles to prepare to hit Tehran if given the order

* Six B-52 bombers are being deployed to the US military base on Diego Garcia
* Diego Garcia is an atoll located in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean
* Pentagon says deployment does not mean US has decided to attack Iran
* Tensions have been high since US strike killed a top Iranian general on Friday
* Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, was killed in Baghdad

The Defense Department is sending six B-52 bombers to the Diego Garcia military base in the northern Indian Ocean as preparations for possible military action against Iran move forward.

Pentagon officials told CNN on Monday that the B-52 will be available for operations against the Islamic Republic if ordered into action, though the deployment does not signal a decision has been made about any attack plans.

The United States maintains several military bases in a number of Middle Eastern countries in close proximity to Iran, but it chose to deploy its bombers to Diego Garcia because it is out of reach of Iran's longest range missiles, according to the Pentagon.

Read more ....

More News On Six B-52s Being Deployed To Diego Garcia

US deploys 6 B-52 bombers to Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean after Soleimani strike -- FOX News
Air Force Sends B-52 Bombers to Diego Garcia Amid Middle East Buildup: Report -- Military.com
Pentagon Deploys Six B-52s To Diego Garcia Beyond The Reach Of Iran's Ballistic Missiles -- Warzone/Drive
Six B-52 Bombers Ordered To Indian Ocean Base To Be "Available" Against Iran -- Zero Hedge

U.S. Briefs NATO Over Iran Strike

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 09:42 PM PST



Reuters: U.S. briefs NATO over Iran strike, avoids European criticism

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - All members of the Atlantic alliance stood behind the United States in the Middle East after it briefed NATO on its drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

Speaking after a rare NATO meeting on Iran and Iraq in which the United States briefed its allies about last Friday's drone strike, Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation of tensions, echoing the statements of some European leaders.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So what is the purpose of NATO again .... NATO Chief Silent On Whether The Alliance Would Respond To Iranian Attack On US (Zero Hedge).

More News On NATO's Meeting On The Crisis n The Middle East

NATO tells Iran to avoid 'further provocations' -- AFP
NATO meets over Iran crisis amid 'menacing escalation -- DW
Nato chief holds back from endorsing US killing of Suleimani -- The Guardian
NATO to review Iraq mission after Soleimani killing -- Al Jazeera

Libya Rebel Forces 'Seize Strategic City Of Sirte'

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 05:00 PM PST


Reuters: Libyan commander Haftar's forces say they have taken Sirte

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said on Monday they had taken control of the strategic coastal city of Sirte in a rapid advance preceded by air strikes.

Holding Sirte would be an important gain for Haftar, who since April has been waging a military offensive on the capital, Tripoli, home to Libya's internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Sirte lies in the center of Libya's Mediterranean coast, and has been controlled by GNA-aligned forces since they ejected Islamic State from the city with the help of U.S. air strikes in late 2016.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The fall of Sirte is a huge military win for the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar.

More News On Libyan Rebel Forces Seizing The Strategic City Of Sirte

Libya conflict: Rebel forces 'seize strategic city Sirte' -- BBC
Libya's east-based forces say key coastal city captured -- AP
Libya's Haftar forces seize control of Sirte as Turkey intervenes -- AFP
Libyan general Khalifa Haftar's forces seize key city of Sirte -- The Guardian
Sirte falls to Haftar's forces, thanks to a Madkhali brigade from the inside -- Libyan Observer
Haftar's Forces Claim Key Libya City in Blow to UN-Backed Leader -- Bloomberg
Libya: Haftar forces announce capture of large parts of Sirte -- Al Jazeera

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 04:20 PM PST



Niall Ferguson, Boston Globe: Civil war in Iraq? Quite possibly. World War III? Forget about it.

The United States may now face pandemonium in Iraq, but Iran will not necessarily be the beneficiary.

My response to the news that US forces had assassinated Iran's paramilitary foreign intelligence chief Major General Qassim Soleimani on Thursday was, "Good riddance. Now what?"

No tears should be shed for Soleimani. As the mastermind of Iran's multiple proxy wars beyond the Islamic Republic's borders, he had the blood of countless people on his hands, including hundreds of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Syria by the Shia militias he helped to train and finance. Second only to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in terms of his personal power, Soleimani had come to personify the ruthless, bloodthirsty spirit of the regime in Tehran.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- January 6, 2020

Soleimani is dead, but the enemy still stands -- Alireza Nader, FDD

How the Soleimani Killing Changes the Game -- Daniel Byman, Vox

The Mideast Just Turned More Dangerous -- Steven Cook, Council on Foreign Relations

Trump May Have Restored Deterrence -- David Petraeus with Lara Seligman, Foreign Policy

Iran's military threat: The US can't protect everything all the time -- Brad Lendon, CNN

Oil, gas companies must prepare for Iran's retaliation -- Federica Russo, Asia Times

Why a U.S.-Iran War Is Not Going to Happen -- James Holmes, National Interest

Trump gambles big as commander in chief -- AFP

Trump tests Congress' war powers with strike against Iran -- Lisa Mascaro and Deb Riechmann, AP

America's long tug of war over presidential military power -- AFP

Turkey looks to Libya to break its growing isolation in the region -- Murat Yesiltas, Middle East Eye

China's Challenge to America's Political and Economic Liberal Order -- Farah N. Jan and Justin Melnick, National Interest

Global Youth Protests at Risk of Spreading to China -- Bloomberg

View from bunker: Kim weighs provocations in 2020 -- Andrew Salmon, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- January 6, 2020 (Evening Edition)

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 03:53 PM PST



Daily Mail: Qassam Soleimani's funeral stretches into the night as he is flown to holy city for more mass expressions of grief in Iran - and there's another DAY to go

* Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept over the remains of Qassem Soleimani at a mass funeral march in Tehran today
* Crowds flooded the streets of Tehran as mourners continued their vigil into the evening of the second day
* Soleimani died in a drone strike in Iraq on Friday and his remains were flown back to Iran on Sunday night
* His daughter Zeinab directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces as she spoke to the mourners on Monday
* Iran has vowed 'severe revenge' and yesterday abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal
* President Donald Trump last night threatened a 'disproportionate response' if Iran strikes against US targets
* Trump is facing a backlash from Democrats and allies over his plans to target Iranian cultural heritage sites

Crowds mourning the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani continued to flood the streets of the capital as his funeral procession dragged into the night.

Earlier in the day hundreds of thousands of people swamped central Tehran to express their outpouring of grief at the death of the revered leader of the elite Quds Force, who was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday.

After following his casket through the capital, Soleimani's body was transported to the holy city of Qom where a ceremony at Masumeh shrine will be held ahead of his burial in his hometown tomorrow.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Top general says letter suggesting US would withdraw troops from Iraq was a 'mistake'.

Pentagon says will not break law of war, despite Trump threat.

Supreme leader in tears as huge crowd mourns slain commander in Tehran.

Iran abandons nuclear deal over slaying of general.

Trump: Iran will 'NEVER' have a nuclear weapon.

Top EU diplomat 'deeply regrets' Iran centrifuge announcement.

Trump says he'll sanction Iraq if US troops forced to leave.

'We are trying to prevent open war,' Iraqi PM tells US ambassador as tensions mount.

Iraqi parliament votes to expel US troops — awaits government approval.

Lebanon Hezbollah leader vows to end U.S. military presence in region.

Gulf states move to prevent escalation after Soleimani's killing

Prospect of US-Iran conflict threatens Gulf economies.

Israel approves more than 1,900 new settler homes: NGO.

Netanyahu, in apparent stumble, calls Israel 'nuclear power'.

ASIA

Asian countries brace to evacuate workers in Iraq, Iran.

China promises 'relentless efforts' to save Iran nuclear deal after US drone strike on Qassem Soleimani.

Killing of Iranian commander more serious than Bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - Pakistan Minister.

Australian bushfire cloud visible in Chile and Argentina.

Scott Morrison announces $1.4B for Australian bushfire relief agency.

Students protest across India after attack at top Delhi university.

North Korea defends 'peaceful' satellite launches, report says.

US ambassador to Afghanistan leaves post in expected departure.

Chinese public warned not to drop their guard over mystery China virus after tests rule out Sars or bird flu.

AFRICA

Thirty killed in northeast Nigeria bomb blast on crowded bridge.

Libya's Haftar forces seize control of Sirte as Turkey intervenes.

Turkey begins deploying troops to Libya, says Erdogan.

Libya: Haftar forces announce capture of large parts of Sirte.

United Nations condemns bombing of Libya military academy that killed 30.

Five killed in Angola landmine blast.

Police chief links Lesotho PM in murder of own wife.

Kenya arrests intruders in UK army camp 'break-in' attempt.

Five soldiers killed in Mali roadside attack.

Thousands protest against George Weah in Liberia.

Uganda's pop star MP Bobi Wine arrested as police break up rally.

EUROPE

Spain's lawmakers likely to back Sanchez coalition in tight vote.

UK's Labour Party to replace Jeremy Corbyn on April 4.

Europeans set to toughen Iran response over nuclear violations: diplomats.

NATO stands with US after Soleimani assassination, warns Iran.

EU officials to hold emergency meeting on saving Iran deal.

Qasem Soleimani: Let British troops stay in Iraq, UK urges.

Putin invites Merkel to Russia to discuss Middle East crisis.

Germany split on path forward in US-Iran conflict.

Greece, Israel, Cyprus sign deal for EastMed gas pipeline.

Croatia elects centre-left challenger Zoran Milanovic as president.

Russia's Government announces plan to 'use the advantages' of climate change.

AMERICAS

Pelosi announces war powers resolution as tensions with Iran escalate.

Trump says Tweet serves as 'notification' to Congress that U.S. may 'quickly & fully strike back' against Iran.

US Senator Schumer wants more information about killing of Iranian military leader.

Bolton willing to testify in Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads in New Hampshire, tied for lead with Biden, Buttigieg in Iowa, poll finds.

Chaos in Venezuela as military blocks MPs from parliament.

Venezuela crisis: Two lawmakers claim Speaker role.

Earthquake hits Puerto Rico, island jolted by 5.8 magnitude quake.

Harvey Weinstein appears in New York court for sex assault trial.

American family attacked in Mexico just south of Texas; 13-year-old killed.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Congress demands answers from Trump about Soleimani killing.

Al-Shabaab kills three Americans in attack on US military base in Kenya.

Iran leader killed in strike linked to years of attacks, killing of more than 1,000 U.S. troops during Iraq War.

Iranian general Soleimani's replacement vows revenge for US killing.

New ISIS attack kills Iraqi troops while rockets fall in Green Zone.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall St. brushes off Middle East tensions as tech-related shares gain.

Crude oil prices top $70 per barrel as Middle East tensions escalate.

Saudi Aramco has lost $200 billion in value since its post-IPO peak. Iran fears aren't helping.

Boeing has uncovered another potential design flaw with the 737 Max.

Top U.S. General In Iraq Sparks Confusion About Troops Removal From Iraq With 'Draft' Letter Sent By 'Mistake'

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 03:00 PM PST


NBC: U.S. coalition forces to move some troops out of Baghdad

The Iraqi parliament and prime minister requested the removal of U.S. troops, according to a draft letter.

The commanding general of U.S. and allied troops in Iraq sent a letter to Iraq's Ministry of Defense on Monday stating that the task force will be "repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement."

The letter comes a day after the Iraqi parliament voted to ask its government to end the U.S. military presence in the country. The U.S. ambassador to Iraq met with the country's prime minister Monday to discuss the topic.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The US Secretary of Defense is saying there are no plans to leave Iraq .... US Defense Secretary Esper says no decision to leave Iraq (AP). The top General is also saying the same thing .... Top general says letter suggesting US would withdraw troops from Iraq was a 'mistake' (CNN).

Update #1: It was a draft memo that mistakenly shown to some in the media .... Pentagon mistakenly releases draft memo promising withdrawal from Iraq (The Week)

Update #2: Here is a good analysis .... Push to oust US troops from Iraq a risky undertaking (AP).

More News On Top U.S. General In Iraq Sparking Confusion About Troops Removal From Iraq With 'Draft' Letter

US military tells Iraq it is preparing to 'move out': official letter -- France 24
U.S. military tells Iraq it will withdraw; Tehran crowds mourn commander -- Reuters
US military tells Iraq it's preparing for 'onward movement' in letter -- DW
U.S. Informs Iraqi Government About Repositioning Of Coalition Forces -- NPR
US military tells Iraq it is preparing to 'move out' in letter -- France 24
US military tells Iraq it's preparing to 'move out': reports -- Al Jazeera
US coalition to leave Iraq 'in due deference to sovereignty' – general -- RT

Update: The Pentagon is denying reports that the US is leaving (see below) ....

U.S. Military Sparks Confusion About Troops Removal from Iraq with 'Draft' Letter Sent By 'Mistake' -- Newsweek
Confusion Swirls Over Leaked Notice Of American Withdrawal Of Forces From Iraq (Updated) -- Warzone/The Drive
Pentagon chief denies U.S. leaving Iraq; Tehran crowds mourn commander -- Reuters
'No decision to leave Iraq'? Pentagon chief Esper contradicts subordinates on withdrawal plans -- RT

President Trump: Iran Will 'Never' Get A Nuclear Weapon

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 02:17 PM PST



Daily Mail: Donald Trump insists Iran will 'NEVER' get a nuclear weapon after Tehran declares it's no longer bound by Obama-era pledge to slow down uranium enrichment

* President Trump vowed Monday Iran 'will never have a nuclear weapon'
* His words came a day after Tehran with drew from the 2015 nuclear pact
* Pact was designed to keep Iran from being able to power a nuclear warhead
* Trump with drew from the pact in 2015
* His administration argues Iran wasn't following it anyway

Donald Trump on Monday insisted Iran will 'never' get a nuclear weapon, a vow that came a day after Tehran said it would no longer abide by the 2015 pact designed to limit its ability to build a weapon

'IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!,' the president tweeted in all capital letters.

On Sunday, Iran announced it would no longer follow the 2015 Obama-era agreement that muzzled its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump had formally withdrawn the U.S. from the treaty last year.

An Iranian government spokesman said that Tehran would now base its uranium enrichment levels on its own technical needs rather than the agreement's limits.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not going to happen .... Trump could still renegotiate Iran nuclear deal: White House (Al Jazeera).

More News On President Trump's Remarks That Iran Will 'Never' Get A Nuclear Weapon

Trump stands by threat on Iranian cultural sites, warns of 'major retaliation' -- Reuters
Trump tweets Iran will 'never have a nuclear weapon' -- AFP
Trump steps up rhetoric against Iran, threatens Iraq sanctions -- Al Jazeera

Replacement For Slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Vows Revenge For U.S. Airstrikes

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 02:11 PM PST





Daily Mail: Replacement for slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani vows revenge for U.S. airstrikes in chilling threat issued on state TV - as his daughter swears death to American soldiers

* Iranian general Esmail Ghaani made the threat on Monday in an interview with the country's state television
* He vowed revenge for the U.S. killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani
* Soleimani's daughter, Zeinab, directly threatened an attack on the U.S. military, saying their families 'will spend their days waiting for death of their children'
* It comes as Tehran abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in response to the slaying
* Separately, Iraq's parliament has called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil
* Adding to the tensions, President Trump threatened to demand billions of dollars in compensation from Iraq or impose sanctions

An Iranian general who replaced Qassem Soleimani after he was killed by the U.S. airstrike has vowed to take revenge as the slain leader's daughter swears death to the families of American soldiers.

Esmail Ghaani's threat on Monday in an interview with Iranian state television comes as part of the fallout over the U.S. killing of the top Iranian general.

'God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken,' he said.

Read more ....

More News On Iranian General Esmail Ghaani

Iran general replacing Soleimani vows revenge for US killing -- AP
Iranian general Soleimani's replacement vows revenge for US killing -- ABC News Online
Soleimani replacement suggested Iran sent weapons and missiles to Palestinians -- Jewish News
Iran General Steps Out of Soleimani's Shadow to Lead Proxies -- USA Today/AP
Esmail Ghaani replaces Qassem Soleimani as leader of Iran's Quds Force -- CBC/AP
Iran: Hardliner General Esmail Ghaani Known For Extremist Opposition To Israel To Replace Soleimani As Quds Chief -- Swarajyamag
Iran Has Already Replaced Soleimani, Here Is Everything We Know About Esmail Ghaani -- Haaretz/AP

Qassem Soleimani's Mass Funeral Held In Tehran

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 02:52 PM PST



Daily Mail: Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei weeps over Soleimani's coffin at 'million-strong' Tehran funeral as assassinated warlord's daughter warns that families of US troops are 'waiting for the death of their children'

* Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept over the remains of Qassem Soleimani at a mass funeral march in Tehran today
* Soleimani died in a drone strike in Iraq on Friday and his remains were flown back to Iran on Sunday night
* His daughter Zeinab directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces as she spoke to the mourners on Monday
* Iran has vowed 'severe revenge' and yesterday abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal
* President Donald Trump last night threatened a 'disproportionate response' if Iran strikes against US targets
* Trump is facing a backlash from Democrats and allies over his plans to target Iranian cultural heritage sites

Iran's supreme leader today wept over the coffin of the Iranian general who was killed in a US airstrike, as the warlord's daughter swore revenge on US troops despite Donald Trump's threats of a fearsome response.

A tearful Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the remains of Qassem Soleimani as hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Tehran for the second day of the general's funeral.

Speaking to the wailing crowds which stretched as far as the eye could see, Soleimani's daughter Zeinab directly threatened an attack on U.S. forces in the region.

'The families of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East will spend their days waiting for [the] death of their children,' she said to cheers.

Read more ....

More News On the Funeral Of Qassem Soleimani

Throngs mourn, Iranian leader weeps for general slain by US -- AP
Iran's Khamenei leads sea of mourners in prayer at Soleimani's funeral -- France 24
Soleimani: Huge crowds pack Tehran for commander's funeral -- BBC
'Have you EVER seen such a sea of humanity': Iranian foreign minister challenges Donald Trump and his 'clown' advisers with photos of 'millions' at the funeral of slain general Qassem Soleimani -- Daily Mail
'Million-strong' homage for general brings Tehran to standstill -- AFP
Mourners flood Tehran as calls for revenge over Soleimani grow -- Al Jazeera
Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top general, remembered in funeral attended by 'millions' -- ABC News Online
Supreme leader emotional as Iran mourns top general -- AFP
Iranians mourn slain general -- CNN
Is Iran threatening another Lockerbie? President Rouhani makes sinister veiled reference to 1988 Pan Am bombing that killed 270 people as incredible photos show Qassem Soleimani's funeral from space -- Daily Mail
U.S. created 'global anti-US fury and a worldwide rancor' by killing Soleimani: Iran foreign minister -- Reuters
'Killing Trump is not valuable enough to compensate for Soleimani's blood': Top general in Iran calls for America's 'complete removal' from the Middle East -- Daily Mail
'Are we supposed to take out Spiderman and Spongebob?' Iranian cleric mocks US and says Tehran can't strike back at targets of Soleimani's stature because America only has fictional heroes -- Daily Mail

U.S. Secret Service Has Increased Security At Mar-a-Lago After Iran Put A $80m Hit On President Trump

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 12:31 PM PST

Secret Service has ramped up security at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as recent as his last visit where Secret Service members are seen behind the president as he boards Marine One

Daily Mail: Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago adds four checkpoints to examine vehicles for explosives and search guests for weapons after Iran put out $80m hit on the president

* Secret Service has ramped up security at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida
* Members and guests must pass through as many as four Secret Service checkpoints and have their vehicles examined for explosives under the hood
* This comes as Iran has put an $80million bounty on President Trump after he ordered the death of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani
* On Sunday Hesameddin Ashena dropped a chilling hint of an Iranian attack on Donald Trump's empire by posting a link to his properties
* The tougher measures by the Secret Service are in addition to protection by the Air Force, which enforces a no-fly zone over Mar-a-Lago when Trump is in town
* Trump showed his gratitude to the agents before the new year by inviting them to a Sunday evening buffet where steak and lobster were served

The Secret Service has substantially toughened security at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort after three potentially harmful intrusions and now as Iran has put out an $80million hit on the president.

No longer can anyone wander onto the Palm Beach property under false pretenses, as happened last March with Yujing Zhang from China.

Depending on where members and guests are headed on the property, they now may have to pass through as many as four Secret Service security checkpoints.

Their identities are checked based on their driver's licenses, and their vehicles are examined for explosives under the hood and in the trunk. They must pass through metal detectors or be wanded for weapons or explosives at several more check points.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure the other properties have had their security increased also, especially after these reports .... Mar-a-Lago in the firing line: Iranian presidential adviser posts list of Donald Trump's properties in chilling hint of an attack on his real estate empire - after Iran put an $80million bounty on his head (Daily Mail).

Democrats Move To Limit President Trump’s Actions In Iran With War Powers Resolution Vote

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 10:41 AM PST

© Aaron Schwartz - Greg Nash

The Hill: Pelosi: House to vote on resolution limiting Trump's actions against Iran

The House will vote on a resolution limiting President Trump's military actions toward Iran following his decision to launch a drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday.

Pelosi told Democratic members in a letter that the House will introduce a vote on a "War Powers Resolution" mandating that the administration's military hostilities with regard to Iran would cease within 30 days if no further congressional action is taken.

The resolution will be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA and Department of Defense analyst specializing in Shia militias.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Here is an easy prediction. It is not going to succeed. This is all for show.

More News On The Democrats Limiting President Trump's Actions In Iran With A New War Powers Resolution Vote

Pelosi moves to limit Trump's actions in Iran with War Powers Resolution vote -- FOX News
Nancy Pelosi says House will vote to limit Trump's war powers on Iran as tensions grow -- USA Today
Pelosi says House will introduce 'War Power Resolution' aimed to limit Trump's Iran military action -- CNN
Pelosi announces House vote to limit Trump's military actions against Iran -- UPI

The Pentagon Kept Many Officials Out Of The Loop On The Soleimani Strike

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 10:23 AM PST

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, right, and Army Secretary Mark Esper, left, during a news conference Oct. 8, 2018. (Stephen Barrett/Special to Defense News & Army Times)

Foreign Policy: Pentagon Chief Kept Tight Circle on Suleimani Strike

Sources say senior officials who would normally be consulted were left out of the loop.

In the hours leading up to the U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Suleimani this past week, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper kept President Donald Trump's decision to target the commander of Iran's powerful Quds Force closely held, cutting out some senior Pentagon leaders who are typically consulted on decisions of such magnitude.

Senior officials at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff would ordinarily be part of the discussion, or at least briefed ahead of time, on such a momentous decision—one that the administrations of both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama considered and rejected. But in this case, many senior leaders found out after the fact, current and former officials familiar with the discussions told Foreign Policy.

"The usual approval process, the decision-making process, did not occur," said one defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

Even among the small group of officials who were in the loop, there was dissent about whether killing Suleimani was a wise decision, said a former senior administration official with knowledge of the discussions. "The DoD was not all in agreement that killing the second most popular person in Iran at an international airport in Iraq was a good idea," the former official said.

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WNU Editor: They were afraid of leaks. Specifically to the press and/or the Democrats who are still invested in the policy of accommodating Iran.

World News Briefs -- January 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 03:32 PM PST



BBC: Soleimani: Huge crowds pack Tehran for commander's funeral

Huge crowds have packed the streets of the Iranian capital Tehran for the funeral of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday on the orders of President Donald Trump.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers and at one point was seen weeping.

Iran has vowed "severe revenge" for the death of Soleimani and on Sunday pulled back from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Soleimani, 62, headed Iran's elite Quds Force, and was tasked with protecting and boosting Iran's influence in the Middle East.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Supreme leader in tears as huge crowd mourns slain commander in Tehran.

Iran abandons nuclear deal over slaying of general.

Trump: Iran will 'NEVER' have a nuclear weapon.

Top EU diplomat 'deeply regrets' Iran centrifuge announcement.

Trump says he'll sanction Iraq if US troops forced to leave.

'We are trying to prevent open war,' Iraqi PM tells US ambassador as tensions mount.

Iraqi parliament votes to expel US troops — awaits government approval.

Lebanon Hezbollah leader vows to end U.S. military presence in region.

Gulf states move to prevent escalation after Soleimani's killing

Netanyahu, in apparent stumble, calls Israel 'nuclear power'.

ASIA

China promises 'relentless efforts' to save Iran nuclear deal after US drone strike on Qassem Soleimani.

Killing of Iranian commander more serious than Bin Laden or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - Pakistan Minister.

Scott Morrison announces $1.4B for Australian bushfire relief agency.

Students protest across India after attack at top Delhi university.

North Korea defends 'peaceful' satellite launches, report says.

US ambassador to Afghanistan leaves post in expected departure.

Chinese public warned not to drop their guard over mystery China virus after tests rule out Sars or bird flu.

AFRICA

Turkey begins deploying troops to Libya, says Erdogan.

Libya: Haftar forces announce capture of large parts of Sirte.

United Nations condemns bombing of Libya military academy that killed 30.

Kenya arrests intruders in UK army camp 'break-in' attempt.

Five soldiers killed in Mali roadside attack.

Thousands protest against George Weah in Liberia.

Uganda's pop star MP Bobi Wine arrested as police break up rally.

EUROPE

NATO stands with US after Soleimani assassination, warns Iran.

EU officials to hold emergency meeting on saving Iran deal.

Qasem Soleimani: Let British troops stay in Iraq, UK urges.

Putin invites Merkel to Russia to discuss Middle East crisis.

Germany split on path forward in US-Iran conflict.

Greece, Israel, Cyprus sign deal for EastMed gas pipeline.

Croatia elects centre-left challenger Zoran Milanovic as president.

Russia's Government announces plan to 'use the advantages' of climate change.

AMERICAS

Trump says Tweet serves as 'notification' to Congress that U.S. may 'quickly & fully strike back' against Iran.

US Senator Schumer wants more information about killing of Iranian military leader.

Bolton willing to testify in Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads in New Hampshire, tied for lead with Biden, Buttigieg in Iowa, poll finds.

Chaos in Venezuela as military blocks MPs from parliament.

Venezuela crisis: Two lawmakers claim Speaker role.

Earthquake hits Puerto Rico, island jolted by 5.8 magnitude quake.

Harvey Weinstein appears in New York court for sex assault trial.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Al-Shabaab kills three Americans in attack on US military base in Kenya.

Iran leader killed in strike linked to years of attacks, killing of more than 1,000 U.S. troops during Iraq War.

Iranian general Soleimani's replacement vows revenge for US killing.

New ISIS attack kills Iraqi troops while rockets fall in Green Zone.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Crude oil prices top $70 per barrel as Middle East tensions escalate.

Saudi Aramco has lost $200 billion in value since its post-IPO peak. Iran fears aren't helping.

Boeing has uncovered another potential design flaw with the 737 Max.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 6, 2020

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 09:57 AM PST

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, in Tehran, September 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

BBC: How strong is Iran's military?

Iran has vowed to retaliate after its most powerful military commander was killed by a US drone strike at Baghdad airport.

"Severe revenge awaits" those behind the attack on General Qasem Soleimani, said Iran's Supreme Leader.

So what do we know about Iran's military capabilities?

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Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- January 6, 2020

What is Iran's secretive Quds Force? -- NBC

Khamenei's adviser: Iran response to US will be military -- CNN

Iran says its response to killing of revered Quds Force commander will be 'against military sites' -- Military Times

Iran could attack U.S. ships in Middle East military expert warns -- MSNBC

Thousands of Marines Head to Middle East on Navy Ship as Iran Pledges Retaliation -- Military.com

NATO suspends training Iraqi soldiers over security concerns -- Military Times

US suspends training Iraqi troops to focus on base security in wake of Soleimani killing -- Military Times

UK & US Spy Planes Spotted in Middle East Amid Brewing Tensions With Iran - Reports -- Sputnik

UK Sends 50 SAS Troops to Iraq as Middle East Tensions Escalate After Soleimani's Killing -- Sputnik

UK urges Iraq to let its soldiers remain in Iraq: PA Media -- Reuters

Current Canadian military and police missions in the Middle East -- CTV News/Canadian Press

Middle East crisis could mean adjustments to Europe's largest military exercise in decades -- Stars and Stripes

Some military families caught off guard as thousands of troops are deployed to the Middle East -- CNN

U.S. troops have no plans to leave Iraq, Pompeo says -- Military Times

What Soleimani's death might mean for the National Defense Strategy and the next budget -- Defense News

U.S. Army is working to develop new expeditionary command posts -- Defence-Blog

The 2020s Will Change The World Submarine Balance -- Forbes

The Navy's MQ-25 Aircraft Has Old-School Style Stealth -- National Interest

U.S. defense chief suggests South Korea military exercises to face off North -- UPI

South Korea deployment plans under scrutiny amid U.S., Iran tensions -- UPI

Egypt holds war games in Mediterranean as Turkey declares military intervention -- The National

China's PLA begins major military exercises in Tibet -- Economic Times

China nuclear missile development steps up a gear with test of weapon capable of hitting US mainland -- SCMP

Taiwan Black Hawk crash investigation may take a year, air force says -- SCMP

How Much Is The Russian Military Helping Turkmenistan? -- RFE

Eeben Barlow: Inside the world of private military contractors -- Al Jazeera

Russia And German Leaders To Meet Later This Week To Discuss The Crisis In The Middle East

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 06:46 AM PST

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

DW: Putin invites Merkel to Russia over Iran crisis

The German Chancellor will travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin this coming Saturday. The pair plan to discuss the Iran escalation as well as the conflicts in Ukraine, Libya and Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday invited German Chancellor Angel Merkel to Russia next weekend to discuss the rising tensions in the Middle East following the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleiamani.

The Kremlin confirmed the meeting is set to take place on January 11 but did not state where it would take place. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will also attend.

As a permanent member of the UN security council, Russia is "indispensable" when it comes to solving political conflicts, said German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

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WNU Editor: These meetings are always planned months in advance. The fact that this meeting is happening this quickly tells me that both leaders are deeply worried on what is happening in the Middle East, and the usual protocols are being swept aside because of the urgency of the matter.

More News On The Upcoming Putin - Merkel Meeting To discuss The Middle East

Merkel to meet Putin in Moscow for talks on Mideast crises -- AP
Putin invites Merkel to Russia to discuss Middle East crisis -- Reuters
Angela Merkel to visit Russia -- TASS
Germany's Merkel to meet Putin in Moscow on Saturday -- Washington Post

Are Russia's Regions In Revolt?

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 06:34 AM PST


Janusz Bugajski, The Hill: Russia's regions are in revolt

While Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrates 20 years in the Kremlin and poses as a powerful world leader, his Russian Federation is showing increasing signs of fracture. Although a Ukraine-type revolution in Moscow to overthrow a corrupt authoritarian regime seems unlikely, a revolt of Russia's diverse regions against a despised central government is gathering momentum.

Winston Churchill's memorable insight about Russia at the outset of World War II – that its actions were "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" – needs updating. Putin's Russia is a declining state, camouflaged in external aggression to disguise its internal fragility.

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WNU Editor: For as long as I can remember Russia's diverse regions have always been unhappy with Moscow. They love their independence, and in places like the Far East they like to handle local issues with local solutions. But they are not in revolt, and I certainly do not see the momentum that the above commentator believes in. And as for the economy, the stagnation that the above author believes is happening is certainly not supported by the facts .... Russia's Economy Is Booming (December 27, 2019).

President Trump's Staff Did Not Forward A Call From President Putin At The Beginning Of Trump's Presidency

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 06:20 AM PST

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. © Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky

Sputnik: Trump Berated White House Staff for Holding Off on Call with President Putin, Claims New Book

The Russian President and his US counterpart had a phone conversation a few days ago; Vladimir Putin called Donald Trump to thank him for information that helped to prevent a terrorist attack in Russia, as Trump commended "a great and important coordination" with Russia.

The US President reprimanded his former national security adviser Michael Flynn and other senior staff members for not informing him about a phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin weeks after Donald Trump won the presidency, according to a new book, "Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos," that shed light on the current US administration's relationship with the Pentagon, Business Insider reports.

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WNU Editor: I know phone calls between leaders are usually arranged way in advance. But there are maybe 10 to 20 world leaders that the US President must always make sure that the phone call comes to him ASAP. Russian President Putin is one of those leaders.

Was The Kremlin Scared By President Trump's Decision To Kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani?

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 06:01 AM PST

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk before a session of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Salon: Exclusive: Anti-Putin activist says Russian government likely scared by Trump's attack on Iran

Bill Browder, a British businessman and anti-Putin activist, discusses Putin's response to Trump's attack on Iran.

Bill Browder — the British businessman and anti-Vladimir Putin activist who has successfully pushed for sanctions on Russia for its human rights violations — spoke with Salon to analyze why Russian officials and media outlets are condemning President Donald Trump's decision to have a drone strike assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

"I think that more than anything, Putin is absolutely terrified by the assassination of Soleimani," Browder told Salon by email on Saturday. "If the US can go after a high level military enemy from the air with drones and kill him, it means that the US can go after any of their political and military enemies in the same way. At some point it could be Putin's turn."

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WNU Editor: Scared is not the word that I would use. They were surprised/startled. I know I was when I first heard what happened. But in hindsight no one should have been surprised. The Middle East and the world at large is changing, and this includes how the U.S. will respond to threats and actors who are determined to bring harm to the U.S.. Bottom line. In the past almost everyone assumed the US would be passive when it came to handling someone like Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. No more now. And as for the Kremlin's response, they have a long history of doing exactly what President Trump did last week when he ordered the death of Soleimani. Zero tolerance for other countries who wage war overtly or covertly against its citizens. In the meantime President Putin will be talking to world leaders to formulate what they should do next (if anything) .... Putin and Macron Discuss Concerns Over U.S. Killing of Top Iranian General Soleimani – Kremlin (Moscow Times).

In A 2002 War Scenario The U.S. Loses Against Iran

Posted: 06 Jan 2020 05:45 AM PST

U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, charge onto an MV-22 Osprey during an aerial assault exercise on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 5, 2019. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jacob Wilson

Popular Mechanics: The U.S. Lost a (Fictional) War With Iran 18 Years Ago

Millennium Challenge 2002 was a military exercise that reminded the U.S. military that the enemy doesn't always do what you want it to do.

* In 2002, the Pentagon ran a free-form exercise code-named Millennium Challenge.
* The exercise was designed to test U.S. tactics against a modern foe based on Iran.
* The "Red Team," led by a retired Marine Corps general, repeatedly beat U.S. forces by using unorthodox tactics.

As the world reacts to the U.S. military's killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, many experts are predicting Iran will treat the incident as an act of war. In 2002 the Pentagon ran an expensive wargame designed to simulate what a war with Iran would be like—and the U.S. lost heavily.

The exercise was a reminder that opponents like Iran will eke out any possible advantage they can against larger, more heavily armed U.S. forces, and that assuming enemy forces will do what U.S. forces think they will—and not what will give them the best advantage—is a serious mistake.

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WNU Editor:  Millennium Challenge 2002 was an exercise that was done almost 18 years ago. Let's hope that the Pentagon has learned something since then.