Friday, August 1, 2014

Ruussia's Top General Says Moscow Will Abide By It's Nuclear Missile Treaties With The U.S.

Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov. © RIA Novosti. Сергей Пятаков

Russian Military Reaffirms Strict Adherence to INF Treaty -- RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, said on Thursday that Russia is strictly implementing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States.

Gerasimov discussed the situation around the Soviet-era agreement in a phone call with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.

“Gerasimov reaffirmed Russia’s adherence to strict implementation of the INF Treaty,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Washington has recently accused Moscow of violating its obligations under the treaty, but declined to provide any evidence.

Read more ....

Update: Russia's top general says Moscow committed to nuclear missile treaty -- Reuters

My Comment: At times like this I always recall what President Reagan always enjoyed saying when it came to U.S. - Russian nuclear agreements .... "trust but verify".

Just How Likely Is World War Three?

James Vaughan/Flickr

Just How Likely Is Another World War? -- Graham Allison, The Atlantic

Assessing the similarities and differences between 1914 and 2014

A century ago this month, Europeans stood on the brink of a war so devastating that it forced historians to create a new category: “World War.” None of the leaders at the time could imagine the wasteland they would inhabit four years later. By 1918, each had lost what he cherished most: the kaiser dismissed, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of the flower of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which European leaders had been masters of the globe came to a crashing halt.

What caused this catastrophe? President John F. Kennedy enjoyed needling colleagues with that question. He would then remind them of his favorite answer, quoting German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg: “Ah, if we only knew.” When, in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Kennedy found himself “eyeball to eyeball” with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, making decisions that he knew could mean quick death to 100 million people, he reflected on the lessons of 1914. At several decision points, he adjusted what he was inclined to do in an effort to avoid repeating those leaders’ mistakes.

Read more ....

My Comment: Graham Allison's list of similarities and differences between today and 1914 is a great read.

Is The U.S. Rushing Towards War With Russia?

The West's Reckless Rush Towards War With Russia -- Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge

For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials.

Within hours of the MH-17 plane crash, the United States pinned the blame on Russia generally, and Putin particularly. The anti-Putin propaganda (and if there were a stronger term I'd use it) has been relentless and almost comically over-the-top (see image above, and those below).

The US and the UK in particular, are leading the charge. Indeed, the UK's Daily Mail managed to crank out an article on the MH-17 affair within just a few hours on the very same day it occurred with this headline:

Read more ....

My Comment: If you have 10 minutes to spare .... and you are interested in Russian - Western relations .... this is a must read article for you. I am sometimes in disagreement with Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge .... but his comment that U.S. diplomats and White House officials of today do not compare to U.S. diplomats and White House officials of old in terms of strategic thinking, analysis and behavior is spot on. His reference to George Kennan is also poignant. Read it all.

Report: President Obama's Defense Strategy Is ‘Dangerously’ Underfunded To Counter Future Threats

The Pentagon is funding social science research to model risks of "social contagions" that could damage US strategic interests. Photograph: Jason Reed/REUTERS

Defense Panel: Obama Administration Defense Strategy ‘Dangerously’ Underfunded -- Washington Free Beacon

Chinese, Russian aggression cited by defense experts

The Obama administration’s four-year defense strategy lacks funding needed for fulfilling global military missions and the U.S. military faces “high risk” in the world unless changes are made, according to a bipartisan report by a congressionally backed panel of defense experts.

The report by the National Defense Panel, led by former Defense Secretary William Perry and retired Marine Corps Gen. John Abizaid, criticized the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review for outlining military responsibilities that cannot be met because of sharp defense funding cuts.

The report concluded that the capabilities called for in the QDR “clearly exceed the budget resources made available to the department.”

Read more ....

Update #1: National Defense Panel Releases Assessment of 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review -- National Journal
Update #2: Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports -- Washington Times

WNU Editor: The Congressionally mandated report, "Ensuring a Strong Defense for the Future", can be read here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Iraq's Shiite Militias Are Running Amok In Iraq

Iraqi security forces arrest suspected militants of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, during clashes in Jurf al-Sakhar, 40 miles from the capital city of Baghdad, Feb. 15. Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani

Iraqi Shi'ite Militias Use Hit Lists To Pick Off Foes: Police -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite militias have drawn up hit lists of suspected Sunni insurgents to be kidnapped, executed and hung in public, security and police officials said, raising the stakes in a sectarian war tearing the country apart.

The militias became a vital line of defense for the Shi'ite-led government after the army collapsed in the face of a June advance by Sunni Islamic State militants who seized large swathes of land in the north and aim to march on Baghdad.

The militias' increasingly ruthless tactics, in towns north of the capital, near the front line with insurgents, could radicalize Sunnis who say innocent people are being swept up in the fighting.

Read more ....

My Comment: Iraq's Sunni communities that are not under the influence of ISIS are starting to fight back .... but I suspect that it will only going to be a matter of time before these communities will form some type of alliance with the Islamic State.

Will The U.S. Be Able To Face The Rise And Challenge Of The Islamic State?

The Islamic State’s Challenge To The United States -- David Ignatius, Washington Post

Warnings from U.S. officials about the terrorist Islamic State that has established a haven in Iraq and Syria sound ominously like the intelligence alerts that preceded al-Qaeda’s attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

Richard Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, said at the Aspen Security Forum last week that the “most worrisome” threat he’s tracking are the thousands of foreign fighters training with the Islamic State. Lisa Monaco, the White House counterterrorism adviser, said at the same gathering that the al-Qaeda spinoff poses a potential danger to the U.S. homeland.

The lights seem to be blinking red, but the United States is holding its fire for the moment, despite some calls from congressional hawks to bomb the Islamic State terrorists before they get any stronger. This delay reflects a debate within the Obama administration about how and when to fight the self­proclaimed jihadist caliphate.

Read more ....

My Comment: So who is to blame for the rise of The Islamic State .... if David Ignatius is to be believed .... it is everyone's fault .... but no blame on the current occupier of the White House. This is the problem with Washington today ..... the political/media class who run Washington always go to great lengths to protect themselves .... and when something goes wrong .... it is everyone's fault but not their own. This is especially the case right now .... and as the world implodes into numerous wars and conflicts, shifting and disintegrating alliances, coupled with economic fears that the bubble that we have been living through for the past four years is about to burst .... I sense a growing worry (if not panic) from those who see themselves as the guardians of U.S. power and media influence. They all know that the rise of the Islamic State is going to be one of many challenges that the U.S. is going to face in the next few years .... but what is interesting is that they all know (and fear) that there is a very good chance that the U.S. is not going to be up to the job to face them.

U.S. Congress Sees Photos That Documents Mass Torture And Murder In Assad's Syrian Prisons

Syrian Defector: Assad Poised To Torture And Murder 150,000 More -- Josh Rogin, Daily Beast

Congress was shocked Thursday when a Syrian defector recounted how he documented Assad’s killing of over 11,000 innocents. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, according to ‘Caesar.’

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is holding 150,000 civilians in custody, all of whom are at risk of being tortured or killed by the state, the Syrian defector known as “Caesar” told Congress Thursday.

According to a senior State Department official, his department initially asked to keep this hearing -- in which Caesar displayed new photos from his trove of 55,000 images showing the torture, starvation, and death of over 11,000 civilians -- closed to the public, out of concerns for the safety of the defector and his family. Caesar smuggled the pictures out of Syria when he fled last year in fear for his life. Caesar’s trip had been in the works for months.

Read more ....

More News On The U.S. Congress Seeing Photos That Document Mass Torture And Murder In Assad's Syrian Prisons

Photographer of Syria's dead dissidents and rebels tells House panel of horrors he saw -- AP
Syrian defector testifies, shows House lawmakers graphic images of Assad torture -- FOX News
Syrian Defector's Photos Could Trigger War-Crimes Charges -- Wall Street Journal
Army defector’s photos encourage greater US role in Syria -- Al Monitor
Syrian Defector Brings Torture Photos to Congress -- National Journal
Syrian Defector Who Captured Images of Assad’s Brutality Appears Before Congress -- PJ Media
Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act -- Washington Times
Turning our backs on Syrian atrocities -- Michael Gerson, Washington Post
Will the Syrian Torture Photos Compel Congress to Act? -- Jordain Carney, Defense One/National Journal

Libya Disintegrating Into A Failed State As Benghazi 'Falls To al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels'

The armed groups that took the city belong to a group called Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries [Reuters]

Benghazi 'Falls To al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels' -- Al Jazeera

Factions including Ansar al-Sharia say they have taken over Libyan city after defeating forces of renegade general.

Armed groups claimed to have taken control of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, after defeating units loyal to a renegade general, taking over their barracks and seizing tanks, rockets and hundreds of boxes of ammunition.

The main police headquarters was on Thursday still smouldering after it was hit by shelling a day earlier, and smoke rose from the barracks of al-Saiqa soldiers loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, once the strongest security body in the city until it was overrun earlier this week.

Read more ....

More News On Libya Disintegrating Into A Failed State As Benghazi 'Falls To al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels'

Libya Islamic Militias Declare Control of Benghazi -- AP
Libya’s Islamic militants ‘seize’ Benghazi, declare it ‘emirate’ -- RT
Ansar Al-Sharia Claims Control Of Benghazi, Declares 'Islamic Emirate' In Libya -- IBTimes
Heavy shelling, clashes spread in Libya's Tripoli -- Reuters
Libya an armed free-for-all teetering towards failed state -- Irish Times
Libya's rouge general Haftar denies fleeing to Egypt -- Middle East Eye

Thousands flee to Tunisia to escape Libya fighting -- AP
Foreign diplomats, workers flee Libyan chaos by thousands -- L.A. Times
Libya Violence Forces Countries to Evacuate Workers, Nationals -- VOA
Diplomat to oversee mass Filipino evacuation from Libya -- BBC
Filipinos told to leave Libya after beheading -- Al Jazeera
Greece sends ships to Libya evacuate embassy, foreign nationals -- Reuters
Greece to help 'hundreds' of Chinese leave Libya -- AP
France pulls diplomatic staff out of Libya -- Euronews
Spain evacuates staff from embassy in Libya -- Washington Times

Fighting in Libya threatens Western efforts to help its democracy -- Karen DeYoung, Washington post
What is going on in Libya? -- Karim Mezran, Al Jazeera
Don’t Abandon Libya -- Karim Mezran, NYT
The West seems to have left Libya to its fate -- Richard Spencer, Gulf Times
Libya Is Out of control -- The Economist

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 31, 2014

Israel Tells Hamas: You Can Keep Your Rockets -- Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, Daily Beast

Israel's prime minister accuses them of being as bad as al Qaeda, but he isn’t trying to run the group out of Gaza. There’s a good reason why.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his military will not stop until it dismantles a labyrinth of tunnels often burrowed under private homes and even beneath Gaza’s mosques. But Netanyahu has not called for destroying the organization that built those tunnels: Hamas—and he won’t, multiple Israeli officials told The Daily Beast. Which raises the question: Why are Israeli forces in Gaza—at the cost of more than 1,300 lives and a rising tide of global condemnation—in the first place?

Read more ....

Commentaries, Opinions, And Editorials -- July 31, 2014

Collective Punishment in Gaza -- Rashid Khalidi, New Yorker

Did China Steal Iron Dome From Israel? -- Michael Peck, War Is Boring

As Iraq crisis deepens, veterans wonder: Was it worth it? -- Damiel B. Wood, CSM

The End of the Arab State -- Christopher Hill, Project Syndicate

Libya May Not Be A Case Study in Intervention After All -- Conor Friedersdorf, Defense One

Xi Jinping: The Putin of Asia -- Gordon G. Chang, World Affairs

Beware the Great Clash in Asia: China vs. America Is Getting Dangerous -- Robert Manning, National Interest

The Specter of North Korean ICBMs -- Clint Richards, The Diplomat

What’s going wrong with rebuilding Afghanistan? Inspector general has a list. -- Anna Mulrine, CSM

The United States Has Outspent the Marshall Plan to Rebuild Afghanistan -- Elias Groll, Foreign Policy

Ukraine’s War of Independence: Vladimir Putin has unleashed for -- Lucian Kim, Slate

The Kremlin Floats An Exit Strategy -- Brian Whitmore, Radio Free Europe

The West must prepare for a wounded Putin to become even more aggressive -- Washington Post editorial

We must end this collusion with terror in Colombia -- Seumas Milne, The Guardian

‘The Next 9/11 Kind of Event’ Could Be a Cyberattack -- Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon

Argentina defaults - but isn't using the 'd-word' -- Irene Caselli, CSM

Call Him ‘Poprah’: Pope Francis’s 10 Commandments for a Happy Life -- Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast

World News Briefs -- July 31, 2014 (Evening Edition)

Israel, Hamas Agree On 72-Hour Humanitarian Gaza Ceasefire -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Israel and Islamist militant group Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in their conflict in the Gaza Strip starting on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

The ceasefire will begin at 8 a.m. local time (1.00 a.m. EDT) on Aug. 1, they said in a joint statement. The statement said "forces on the ground will remain in place" during the truce, implying that Israeli ground forces will not withdraw.

U.N. Middle East envoy Robert Serry has received assurances that all parties have agreed to the humanitarian ceasefire, the statement said.

Read more ....


U.S., U.N. announce deal on Gaza cease-fire.

UN urges respect of its Gaza facilities.

Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels. Israel vows to destroy tunnels before truce.

US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz.

Israeli polls show overwhelming support for Gaza campaign.

With Mideast in turmoil, Palestinians feel less backing.

Turkey fears ISIL radicalism could spill over from Syria, Iraq.

Iraqi Kurds, battling Islamist threat, press Washington for arms.

Syrian city of Homs shows signs of life amid moonscape of devastation.

Hezbollah man dies on 'jihad duty' in Iraq.

Six judges accused of leading role in Iranian crackdown on free speech.

Iranian President Rouhani: ‘This festering Zionist tumor has opened once again’.

Kurdish oil cargo unloaded at sea, destination a mystery.


China urges US not to interfere in sovereignty.

Taiwan gas blast kills 15, injures 243: local media.

India's demands block $1 trillion WTO deal on customs rules.

India, U.S. stress strategic ties but tensions remain.

Asia on alert for Ebola outbreak.

Deadly clashes leave dozens killed, injured in China’s restless Xinjiang.

Afghan vote audit resumes Saturday, but troubles remain.

Thai junta gives security forces majority in interim legislature.

U.S. imposes sanctions on North Korean companies linked to Cuban arms shipment.

India says U.S. snooping 'completely unacceptable'.


US-trained Somali commandos fight Al-Shabab.

U.S. issues travel warnings for three Ebola-hit African countries.

Ebola crisis: WHO to announce $100m emergency response.

Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729.

Sierra Leone declares a public emergency over Ebola and orders troops to quarantine infected areas as doctors say the virus is 'absolutely out of control'.

Town vs. town, faction vs. faction as Libya descends into 'hurricane'.

Libya Islamic militias declare control of Benghazi.

Heavy shelling, clashes resume in Libya's Tripoli. Heavy shelling, clashes resume in Libya's Tripoli.

Thousands flee to Tunisia to escape Libya fighting.

South Sudan talks on interim government delayed.

Kenya charges nine foreigners over 377-kg heroin haul.

African small farmers could be key to ending food insecurity.


Russia's top general says Moscow committed to nuclear missile treaty.

Dutch, Australian experts reach MH17 crash site for 1st time. Foreign investigators reach MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

Ukrainian parliament declines resignation of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. Ukraine's parliament refuses PM resignation.

Ukraine’s parliament introduces 1.5% military tax.

EU adopts toughest Russian sanctions yet, targets five Russian banks.

Marine Le Pen could knock out Socialists in French president race: poll.

Snowden's temporary asylum status expires in Russia.

Inquiry into death of ex-Russian agent Litvinenko opens in London.


Boehner warns on unilateral immigration action by Obama.

CIA admits to hacking Senate computers. CIA admits to spying on Senate staffers.

House clears way for lawsuit against Obama.

Argentina blames US, 'incompetent' judge for default. Argentina declared in default by S&P as talks fail.

Frustrated by rebels, Colombia's President calls emergency security meeting.

Venezuela seeks buyer for Citgo Petroleum refinery unit.

Deal to stop migrants from boarding La Bestia train.

China slams Canada for 'irresponsible' hacking accusations.


Norway calls off terror alert, no longer sees imminent Islamist attack.

What does four decades of terrorism in the U.S. look like? (Commentary)

ISIS is using an all-women brigade to enforce sharia law in Syria.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Islamic State's driving force.


S&P500 index posts worst fall since April; indexes down for July.

US banks braced for large deposit outflows.

Russia ordered to pay $2.5bn to Yukos shareholders.

Adidas scales back in Russia and issues profit warning.

CIA Director Admits That Officers Penetrated Senate Intelligence Computers

CIA Director John Brennan Apologizes For Search Of Senate Computers -- Washington Post

CIA employees improperly searched computers used by Senate investigators involved in a multi-year probe of the agency’s use of harsh interrogation measures on terrorism suspects, according to the findings of an internal agency probe that prompted CIA Director John O. Brennan to apologize to lawmakers this week.

The embarrassing admission by the agency stems from a dispute that erupted in public earlier this year when the CIA and the committee traded accusations of illicit spying and security breaches — allegations that led to an extraordinary feud between Brennan and the Senate panel that oversees his agency.

Read more ....

More News On The CIA Director Admiting That Officers Penetrated Senate Intelligence Computers

CIA Director Apologizes for Hacking Into Senate Computers -- AP
CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes -- Reuters
C.I.A. Admits Penetrating Senate Intelligence Computers -- New York Times
Investigation Finds CIA Improperly Accessed Senate Computers -- Wall Street Journal
Contradicting earlier claims, CIA admits it improperly accessed Senate computers -- McClatchy News
CIA Director Brennan Apologizes to Senate Leaders for Computer 'Hack' -- NBC
CIA Apologizes for Snooping on Senate Staff Computers -- Time
CIA Hacked Senate Computers -- Newsweek
CIA director apologizes over Senate computer searches -- USA Today
CIA Apologizes for Searching Senate Intel Committee Computers -- ABC News
CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion -- NPR
CIA admits to spying on Senate -- The Hill
CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers -- Washington Times
The CIA Just Admitted That It Spied on the US Senate -- Vice
CIA: Yes, we did spy on Senate aides’ computers, and we’re sorry -- VOX
CIA Director John Brennan Admits Spies Monitored Senate Computers, Apologizes -- IBTimes
The CIA Just Admitted It Spied On Senate Computers — Senator Calls For Director's Resignation -- Business Insider
Senator: The White House Should Launch a Criminal Probe of the CIA -- The Atlantic
Should Obama Fire His CIA Chief for Misleading the Public About the Senate Spying Scandal? -- David Corn, Mother Jones

BREAKING NEWS: Israel and Hamas Have Agreed To An Unconditional 72-Hour Ceasefire To Begin On Friday Morning

Israeli armoured personnel carriers outside the central Gaza Strip. July 31, 2014. Photo by Reuters

New Gaza Humanitarian Truce 'Agreed By Israel And Hamas' -- BBC

Israel and Hamas have agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza from 08:00 (05:00 GMT) on Friday, the US and UN say.

Since Israel began its offensive in Gaza on 8 July, 1,422 Palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers and two civilians have also died.

Israel says its operation in Gaza is designed to defend its population from attacks by Palestinian militants.

Read more ....

More News On Israel and Hamas Agreeing To An Unconditional 72-Hour Ceasefire To Begin On Friday Morning

U.S., U.N. announce deal on Gaza cease-fire -- AP
72-Hour Cease-Fire Announced in Gaza -- New York Times
Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire -- Washington post
Israel, Palestinians Agree 3-Day Truce in Gaza, U.S. Says -- Bloomberg
Israel and Hamas agree to 72-hour cease-fire -- USA Today
Gaza crisis: Israel, Hamas agree to 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire -- FOX News
Israel, Hamas agree to unconditional 72-hour ceasefire -- RT

NATO Unprepared To Face A Russian Invasion

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, April 1, 2014. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/Reuters

Nato 'Unprepared' For Possible Russia Attack -- SKY News

Nato troops should maintain a presence in "vulnerable" member states to counter possible threats from Russia, says a UK report.

Nato is badly prepared for a potential attack by Russia on a member state, a parliamentary report has warned.

An influential group of MPs says that the recent conflict in Ukraine has revealed "serious deficiencies" in Nato's preparedness to counter threats.

The report - by the Commons Defence Committee - suggests a "radical reform" is needed.

It suggests that the risk of a conventional military assault by Russia on a Nato member state remains "low".

Read more ...

More News On A British Report That NATO Is Unprepared For A Russian Invasion

NATO Unprepared For Potential Attack by Russia, Although Risk Is Low – Report -- RIA Novosti
'Complacent' NATO Unprepared for Russian Threat: British Lawmakers -- Reuters
Nato 'unprepared' for Russia threat, say MPs -- BBC
Nato 'unprepared' to repel Russian attack, MPs warn -- The Week
UK Lawmakers Urge Gov't To Lead Charge for NATO Changes -- Defense News
Nato unprepared for potential threats from Russia, say MPs -- The Guardian
NATO Needs Shake-Up Amid Russia Threat, U.K. Panel Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek
NATO Ill-Prepared To Face Threat From Russia, U.K. Lawmakers Warn -- WSJ
‘Ukraine should be a wake-up call for NATO and the UK’ – Defence Committee -- RT
British MPs ask NATO to adjust for Russian ambiguous warfare -- Business Standard/AFP
Brits Say Putin Shows NATO Is Useless -- Newsweek
Breedlove: NATO must redefine responses to unconventional threats -- Stars and Stripes
Ukraine crisis: is Nato ready for Russia? -- Charles Crawford, The Telegraph
Is NATO a busted flush? -- David Blackburn, The Spectator

My Comment: I can say this unequivocally .... the polls in Russia have always been consistent .... the biggest fear in Russia is a Third World War. To defend the motherland and fellow Russians .... no problem (there will be wide Russian support) .... to launch and initiate a global war .... a war of choice .... maybe 2% will support it (maybe). But even if Russia made the decision to invade just one member NATO state .... the risk of this becoming a global war are there .... and Russia will end up fighting NATO. There may be some headway .... the Baltics, Ukraine,  parts of Poland .... but any sustainable offensive will peter out .... and the blow-back will be intense and immense. From my perspective .... this British report is just an attempt to get more money for defense budgets and programs.

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 31, 2014

Ukraine Premier Stays On, Envoys Agree On Crash Site Route -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament rejected Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk's resignation on Thursday and finally passed legislation he said was needed to finance an army offensive against a separatist rebellion in the east and avert a national default on its debts.

The assembly's about-turn on laws it refused to back a week earlier offers relief to Kiev's Western backers, who had feared Ukraine was sliding deeper into political chaos and might renege on an international bailout as it heads into an election period.

"There are two pieces of news today. The first is that Argentina has defaulted, and the second is that Ukraine has not defaulted and never will," Yatseniuk told the chamber, making clear he would stay in office.

Read more ....

Ukraine Civil War News Updates -- July 31, 2014

Ukraine MH17: Forensic scientists reach jet crash site -- BBC
Dutch, Australian experts reach MH17 crash site for 1st time -- RT
International Experts Reach Boeing Crash Site in East Ukraine -- RIA Novosti
MH17 investigators finally reach crash site of the doomed jet after Ukraine agrees to 24-hour ceasefire -- Daily Mail
Crash experts reach site of MH17 disaster -- Al Jazeera
Foreign investigators reach MH17 crash site in Ukraine -- The Guardian
Malaysia Airlines MH17: 82% of Russians Believe Ukrainian Military is to Blame for Crash -- IBTimes

Kiev Faces Threat of Donetsk Street Fighting -- WSJ
Food supplies cut to rebel stronghold in east Ukraine -- Reuters
State of siege declared in Donetsk -- ITAR-TASS
Weapons Used by Ukraine's Rebels Point Toward Russian Origins -- Moscow Times/Reuters
Russians hold key posts with Ukraine separatists -- Deutsche Welle
Heated Russia-Ukraine Conflict Continues Despite Sanctions --
Russian ex-police chief Antyufeyev leads Donetsk rebels -- BBC
Photos: Donetsk endures shelling -- Al Jazeera

Kiev Allots $791 Mln for Military Support in East Ukraine -- RIA Novosti
Kiev Spending Almost $6 Mln Daily on Military Operation in Ukraine’s Southeast -- RIA Novosti
Ukraine president urges assembly to amend budget to fund army -- Reuters

Ukraine's Parliament Refuses PM Resignation -- Voice of America
Ukraine blocks premier's resignation, backs laws -- Reuters

Are these selfies proof that Putin IS operating in the Ukraine? Photographs posted by Russian soldier on Instagram 'were taken across the border' -- Daily Mail
Vanity Military Selfies Are Spoiling Russia's Attack in Ukraine -- Global Voices

Rebels to attend talks with Russia in Belarus - source -- Reuters
Ukraine talks in Belarus: 'Don't expect miracles' -- Deutsche Welle
G7 leaders warn of further costs to Russia over Ukraine -- Reuters

A Photo Gallery From Two Photographers On Opposite Sides Of The Israel - Hamas War

A Palestinian firefighter participates in efforts to put out a fire in a van, which witnesses said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City July 31, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Inside Gaza and Israel: Two Photographers, One War -- Time

As the death toll rises in the war between Israel and Hamas, TIME LightBox profiles two photographers who have spent weeks covering the opposing sides: Andrew Katz interviewed Oliver Weiken of European Pressphoto Agency and Olivier Laurent spoke with Getty Images’ Andrew Burton.

The main border crossing between Israel and Gaza is a long, open-air, fenced corridor that begins in a town called Erez. Since 2007, when the militant group Hamas took control of the coastal enclave half the size of New York City’s five boroughs, Israel has enforced a blockade. Its purpose: to block in Hamas, but it also seals off 1.8 million Palestinians who, in effect, have nowhere to hide when war comes.

For Oliver Weiken, a German photographer based in Tel Aviv, there was “no question” he intended to cover the battle from Gaza. It was just a matter of getting in. He was working the World Cup in Brazil when the fatal abductions of three Israeli teenagers led to an Israeli crackdown on the West Bank and Gaza, followed by an increase in rocket fire from Hamas. The revenge killing of a Palestinian youth exacerbated the situation, with the militant group escalating its attacks and Israel responding with a large-scale military offensive on July 8.

Read more ....

Anonymous Has Taken Down Mossad's Website

Anonymous 'Take Down Mossad Website' Over Gaza Conflict -- Newsweek

The hacktivist group Anonymous have claimed responsibility for disabling a series of Israeli government websites, including that of its national intelligence agency, Mossad, as a show of solidarity for the Palestinian cause in Gaza.

Global access to ceased at 00:40 GMT this morning, Russia Today reported. However, a Twitter account associated with the Anonymous hashtag called @AnonymousGlobo reported the Mossad site as “down” much earlier, at 09:50 GMT on 27 July.

The website was still offline at 11:42 GMT today.

Read more ....

Update: Anonymous 'knocks out' Mossad website over Israel’s Gaza offensive -- RT

WNU Editor: The website is here .... and it is still offline.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: Refers To Israel As A “Festering Zionist Tumor”

Iran's President Hassan Rohani speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York September 26, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Keith Bedford

Rouhani: ‘This Festering Zionist Tumor Has Opened Once Again’ -- Washington Free Beacon

Iranian president adopts violent rhetoric towards Israel

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at Israel in vitriolic terms on Wednesday, referring to Israel as a “festering Zionist tumor.”

Rouhani, who has been championed by Western media as a moderate reformer who could change Iran’s extremist ways, appears to be adopting a violent tone similar to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has advocated for the complete destruction of Israel in recent days.

“Today, this festering Zionist tumor has opened once again and has turned the land of olives into destruction and blood and littered the land with the body parts of Palestinian children,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in a statement that was translated by the Brookings Institution.

Read more ....

Iran’s Rouhani: Israel, Islamic State are ‘tumors derived from the same origin’ -- Washington Times

My Comment: And this is the person that the U.S. thinks it can do a nuclear deal with?

Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 31, 2014

Is Israel Planning To Widen Its Gaza Offensive? An Extra 16,000 Reservists Are Called Up As Aerial Bombardments Continue -- Daily Mail

* Decision to call-up extra troops comes amid stalled efforts to end the war
* Offensive in Gaza has already claimed the lives of at least 1,360 Palestinians
* Yesterday alone total of 116 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed
* Israel continued offensive this morning, hitting a mosque next to UN school
* Egyptian efforts to broker ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have stalled

Israel is to call up an additional 16,000 military reservists, allowing them to potentially widen the Gaza offensive in a war that has already claimed the lives of at least 1,360 Palestinians and 59 Israelis.

This morning Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Gaza campaign would not end until every tunnel used by Hamas militants to attack Israeli towns or military targets had been destroyed.

The call-up follows another day of intense fighting in the territory, during which tank shells struck a U.N school where civilians were sheltering, and air strikes tore through a crowded shopping area.

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Israel - Hamas War News Updates -- July 31, 2014

Gaza crisis: Israel calls up reservists as it maintains offensive - live coverage -- The Guardian
Gaza Blog Live -- Al Jazeera
Times of Israel Live Blog -- Times of Israel
LIVE UPDATES: Eight Israelis wounded by mortar fire near Gaza border; two injured by rocket in Kiryat Gat -- Haaretz
Gaza Live: Kerry says no promise of ceasefire, US remains hopeful -- First Post

Netanyahu vows to complete Gaza tunnels destruction -- Reuters
Israel 'to destroy' Hamas Gaza tunnels - Netanyahu -- BBC
Israel vows to destroy Hamas tunnels -- AP
Israel vows to destroy tunnels before truce -- Al Jazeera
Israel: Tunnels to Be Destroyed, Cease-Fire or Not -- VOA
Israel to destroy Gaza tunnels ‘with or without ceasefire’ -- Financial Times

Another 16,000 Israeli Troops Mobilized for Gaza Operation -- RIA Novosti
Gaza: Israel calls up more reservists after rejecting calls for ceasefire -- The Guardian
Israel calls up 16,000 reservists as Netanyahu vows to destroy Hamas tunnels 'with or without a cease-fire' -- FOX News

Amid the tunnels and the traps of Hamas’s militarized Gaza -- Times of Israel
Hamas firing rockets from civilian areas, claim Israel -- The Telegraph
IDF releases video of Hamas rockets -- Euronews

Gaza toll hits 1,374 on day 24 of conflict -- News International
Quarter of Gaza population displaced, says UN -- BBC
In Gaza: a warning, an airstrike and a family without a home -- Washington Post

Arab states offer little help to Hamas -- UPI
The lonely path of Israel’s military dissenters -- Al Jazeera
Seconds to Scramble: Israelis Run for Cover from Hamas Rockets -- NBC
Israeli polls show overwhelming support for Gaza campaign -- The Guardian
95 percent of Jewish Israelis support the Gaza war -- VOX

Under fire and out of cash, U.N. overwhelmed by Gaza crisis -- Reuters
Top UN Aid Official Urges Daily 'Pauses' in Gaza -- AP
'We have reached breaking point': UN official breaks down on air as the bloody horror of the Gaza conflict take an obvious emotional toll -- Daily Mail
World powers must hold Israel accountable: U.N. rights boss -- Reuters
United Nations secretary general rips Israel for attacking school that sheltered Gaza refugees, killing 20 -- New York Daily News
Palestinians mull war crime charges against Israel -- AP
Israel and Hamas are both accused of war crimes by UN human rights chief, who also condemns the US for funding the Iron Dome while ignoring Gaza -- Daily Mail
UN: Israel, Hamas May Be Guilty of War Crimes -- Voice of America

Gaza UN shelter attack 'totally unacceptable' - White House -- BBC
Pentagon calls on Israel to better protect Gaza civilians; death toll tops 1,300 -- Globe and Mail/AP/Reuters
US restocks Israeli ammo -- The Australian/AFP

Israel, Palestinians locked in vicious circle of Gaza wars -- Mark Heinrich, Reuters
Why the path to an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire is harder this time -- Max Schindler, CSM
Gaza crisis: Israel's military strategy -- BBC
This time, Gaza fighting is 'proxy war' for entire Mideast -- Josh Levs, CNN
12 Signs It’s Time to Get Out of Gaza -- William Saletan, Slate