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Archive for the ‘War News.’ Category

NTEB EXCLUSIVE! First Video Of Russian Helicopters Violating Ukrainian Airspace.


NTEB has obtained from Ukrainian sources a dramatic first look at Russian military helicopters swarming over Crimea, launched from the Russian base in Anapa:

“Today (28 February) In the State Border Guard technical observation posts was tracked flying from Kerch direction at a height of up to 1 km more than 10 Russian military helicopters in Ukraine,” – said in a statement.

“At the airport” Kacha “was formalized 3 helicopter, which was filed on the appropriate application BSF.Remaining helicopters that crossed the state border of Ukraine violated the requirements of the relevant bilateral agreements”, – the report says. source – ZN UA

by NTEB News Desk

Obama Silent As Ukraine Prepares For War.


SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Ukraine put its military on high alert Sunday in response to Russia’s move to seize control of the Crimean Peninsula, and it threatened war against Moscow if the Kremlin made further incursions into Ukrainian territory as Western powers scrambled to find a response to the crisis.

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“This is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country,” Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, told reporters in English, a day after Russia’s parliament approved the deployment of troops to any part of Ukraine where Moscow deems Russians are in danger. He warned that Ukraine was on the “brink of disaster” and appealed to the international community to stand by Kiev. source – NY Times

by NTEB News Desk

Aid Agency Chief: Syrian Refugees Creating ‘Regional Crisis’.


Image: Aid Agency Chief: Syrian Refugees Creating 'Regional Crisis'Syrian refugees walk among tents at the Karkamis refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey.

By Wanda Carruthers

In light of upcoming international peace talks between the opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the numbers of refugees resulting from the war has created a “regional crisis” that demands attention.

“This is a regional crisis that demands a big international engagement,” Miliband, who is also president and CEO of aid agency International Rescue Committee, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday.

The conflict in Syria has resulted in a “scale of brutality … that hasn’t been seen for a very long time,” Miliband said.

As a result, millions of people are taking refuge in neighboring countries. He called for the international response to be “massively scaled up.”

Invitations were sent to 40 countries for a one-day meeting this week of foreign ministers for peace talks in Switzerland. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria, will moderate the meeting.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the three-year conflict between Syrian rebels and the government of President Bashar Assad. Miliband maintained the upcoming peace talks would not end the war, but could bring attention to how the war is waged.

“I think it’s important to say that this peace conference, so called, no one believes it’s going to bring peace tomorrow. But it can address the conduct of the war, in terms of the targeting of civilians, in terms of the starving of the people in Aleppo [Syria],” he said.

Half of the Syrian population has been displaced from their homes into neighboring countries like Lebanon, Turley and Jordan, Miliband explained. He said the majority of those affected are “relatively middle-class people whose lives have been completely shattered.”

“The people caught in the middle are civilians,” he said. “The figures are what make this a potentially toxic crisis.”

“What you’ve got is kids without education. You’ve got parents who’ve lost loved ones. Sons, husbands, who’ve been killed. Who’ve lost everything at home. Who’ve been totally traumatized,” he added.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Republicans Blame Obama for al-Qaida Resurgence in Iraq.


Image: Republicans Blame Obama for al-Qaida Resurgence in Iraq

By Drew MacKenzie

Three Republican leaders are demanding that President Barack Obama take immediate steps to help the Iraqi government quash the resurgence of al-Qaida groups that have retaken control of Fallujah and other areas in the western province of Anbar.

House Speaker John Boehner has joined with Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham in calling on the administration to “get engaged” and to stop acting, in their view, as if the situation in Iraq is no longer important to U.S. interests.

“The administration has chosen to spend much of its time and energy trying to explain why having terrorists holding key terrain in the Middle East is not the president’s problem,” Boehner said Thursday, according to The Washington Post.

“The U.S. has and will continue to have vital national interest in Iraq. It’s time that the president recognize this and get engaged.

“Precious blood was spilled . . . helping Iraqis remove a brutal dictator. That progress is now threatened. In the case of Fallujah, it’s been reversed. A status of forces agreement with Iraq should have been agreed to and this administration failed to deliver,” Boehner added.

Despite the criticism, however, the Ohio Republican said he is not in favor of sending U.S. troops back into Iraq and instead called on the administration to speed up delivery of vital military aid to the country.

McCain also weighed in on the situation in Fallujah, suggesting that the administration’s reaction to al-Qaida’s resurgence there suggest that U.S. troops who died there taking Fallujah during the war did so in vein. He blamed the resurgence on the president’s efforts to end the war as quickly as possible.

“What do we tell these young people and their families?” McCain said, according to the Post. “We have to tell them that their sacrifice was squandered by an administration that wanted to get out. The return of al-Qaida to Anbar is a sobering reminder to the administration that the tide of war is not receding.”

He joined with Graham on the Senate floor Thursday in blasting the administration for not working harder to negotiate a deal with the Iraqi government that would have kept some U.S. forces in Iraq. A continued U.S. presence there, they argued, would have aided Iraqi counter-insurgency operations and would have had a major influence on the direction of the country.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney hit back at the Republicans, saying the Obama administration is still fully supportive of Iraq and said that Boehner’s claims of U.S. lack of interest in the region are incorrect.

“Maybe he thinks that American men and women in uniform ought to be fighting today in Anbar province,” Carney said. “The president made a commitment to end the war in Iraq. He fulfilled that commitment.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Fall of Fallujah ‘Gut Punch’ To Marines Who Fought There.


Image: Fall of Fallujah 'Gut Punch' To Marines Who Fought ThereAn Iraqi soldier stands guard as families fleeing their homes in Fallujah wait to enter the city of Karbala on Jan. 6.

By Melanie Batley

U.S. Marines who successfully fought off Sunni insurgents in Fallujah during the Iraq war almost 10 years ago are reeling from the news that the al-Qaida-linked militants regained control of the city this month.

“I texted a couple of friends. Everyone was in disbelief,” Adam Banotai, a former Marine sergeant and squad leader involved in the 2004 invasion of Fallujah, told The New York Times.

“I don’t think anyone had the grand illusion that Fallujah or Ramadi was going to turn into Disneyland, but none of us thought it was going to fall back to a jihadist insurgency. It made me sick to my stomach to have that thrown in our face, everything we fought for so blatantly taken away,” he said.

Fallujah was host to one of the deadliest battles in the Iraq war after nearly 100 Marines were killed and hundreds were wounded. To many, the battle was a defining episode of the 12 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans of that battle are also questioning whether the mission was all for naught, according to the Times.

“This is just the beginning of the reckoning and accounting,” Kael Weston, a former State Department political adviser who worked with the Marines in the region for nearly three years, told the Times.

“The news went viral in the worst way. This has been a gut punch to the morale of the Marine Corps and painful for a lot of families who are saying, ‘I thought my son died for a reason.’,” he said.

Comparisons are also being made to the 1968 battle in Khe Sanh, Vietnam, according to the Times, when the Marine base held out against heavy attacks by the North Vietnamese only to abandon it months later.

Some are blaming Obama for not making more of an effort to keep some troops in Iraq to maintain security, while others say troops were pulled out at the wrong time and for political reasons.

“Lives were wasted, and now everyone back home sees that,” Pfc. James Cathcart, a veteran of the Fallujah battle, told the Times. “It was irresponsible to send us over there with no plan, and now to just give it all away.”

Related stories: 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

US Embassy in Kabul Attacked on Christmas; No Casualties Reported.


KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan says its compound was hit by indirect fire just before dawn on Christmas Day. It says no Americans were injured.

An embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, says the attack happened at around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday, when “two rounds of indirect fire impacted the U.S. Embassy compound.” Indirect fire can refer to either mortars or rockets.

The Taliban claimed they fired four rockets at the embassy on Wednesday and inflicted heavy casualties. But the insurgents often exaggerate their claims.

Meanwhile, a roadside bombing in eastern Kabul wounded three Afghan policemen Wednesday.

Kabul police chief, Mohammad Zahir, says one suspect was arrested over that attack. He says police later uncovered an unexploded bomb in the same area and successfully neutralized it.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Israel Tracks Western Jihadists in Syria, Worried About Their Return.


JERUSALEM — Israel is working with allies abroad to track Westerners fighting in Syria, concerned that such militants could attack Israeli or Jewish targets once back home, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday.

Of an estimated 10,000 foreign combatants among rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad, around 20 percent are from the West and that number is rising, the official said.

“Think of a scenario, even one of them returning and getting instructions from someone he worked with, someone he fought beside, someone like [the al-Qaida-linked] Nusra Front, to carry out an attack,” said the official, who is privy to intelligence assessments. “This has been keeping us very, very busy lately.”

The official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Israel was coordinating monitoring efforts with Western countries, whose legal options against fighters returning home were limited.

“It’s a problem [for Western authorities] to come and arrest someone just because he was in Syria. No one knows for sure what he did there,” the official said.

Security sources said Israeli officials monitoring Syria were meeting foreign counterparts more often, and Israeli diplomatic missions were scrutinizing visitors more closely.

The Israeli estimates for the number of Western combatants in Syria largely correspond to those cited in a report last week by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, a partnership of five universities based at King’s College London.

The almost three-year-old Syrian civil war has indirectly helped Israel by diverting its Lebanese Hezbollah enemy, which has sent many guerrillas to fight for Assad’s army. Hezbollah battled Israel to a standstill in the 2006 Lebanon border war.

The official said Israel believed between 10,000 and 15,000 Hezbollah members have fought in Syria, but that it was not clear how many casualties the Iranian-backed group had suffered.

“There were many killed, wounded, but there are no numbers,” the official said. “It could be hundreds or thousands.”

“In all, their capabilities against Israel have been hurt. So their interest, for now, in opening a front against Israel is near zero,” the official said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

UN Sending Thousands of Peacekeeping Troops to South Sudan.


The United Nations Security Council voted to bolster the UN’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and help end the worsening conflict that has created at least one mass grave and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

The council unanimously approved U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s request to add up to 5,500 soldiers and 423 police officers to the force of 7,900 uniformed personnel already authorized for the U.N. mission in South Sudan.

“Political dialogue is the only solution to this crisis,” Ban told the council after the vote. “Now is the time for South Sudan’s leaders to show their people and the world that they are committed to peace.”

The world’s newest country, founded in 2011, South Sudan is at risk of breaking apart because of fighting that erupted on Dec. 15 between supporters of President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his deposed vice president, Riek Machar of the rival Nuer group.

At least 500 people have been killed, with some 100,000 internally displaced and about 45,000 civilians seeking protection at U.N. camps in the country.

Troops and police from five other U.N. peacekeeping missions — in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and the Abyei and Darfur areas of Sudan — will be transferred to South Sudan, says the council’s resolution, which also authorizes Ban to generate “complementary force and asset.”

Ban on Monday recommended sending three attack helicopters, three utility helicopters and one Lockheed Martin Corp. C-130 Hercules transport plane.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose for the fourth time in five days as the conflict in South Sudan forced a partial shutdown of its oil production facilities. South Sudan exports about 220,000 barrels a day of crude, pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp.

The Obama administration has stepped up preparations for a possible evacuation of U.S. personnel from South Sudan by positioning about 150 Marines in nearby Djibouti,  Benjamin Benson, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, said in an email Tuesday.

U.S. envoy Donald Booth met Monday with Kiir in the capital, Juba. The president expressed a willingness to begin talks with Machar “without preconditions, as soon as his counterpart was willing,” Booth said.

“The United States emphasizes the urgency of the situation and stands ready to support these efforts,” Booth said on a conference call.

Fighting broke out in South Sudan when gunmen attacked the presidential palace in Juba.

Machar, who is being hunted by government security forces, has demanded that Kiir step down for failing to unite the nation. Kiir fired Machar and the rest of his cabinet in July.

The two sides have agreed to an offer by neighboring Kenya to host peace talks, Kenyan Foreign Ministry Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said Monday in Nairobi.

Rebel forces loyal to Machar said they have captured crude-producing Unity state as the government evacuated some oil workers and plans a partial shutdown of facilities.

Fighters led by General James Kong Chol seized Bentiu, the Unity state’s capital, and other parts of the northern region on Saturday, and have aligned themselves with Machar, Chol said in a phone interview Sunday.

It was the second state to fall to anti-government forces since Kiir’s administration lost control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei province, to a group headed by Gen. Peter Gatdet Yak last Wednesday. Chol and Yak previously headed government forces in the two states.

“We’re controlling the area of Unity state,” Chol said from Bentiu. “My government planned to kill me, and I have nowhere to go. I decided to join Riek Machar.”

The U.N. discovered a mass grave in Bentiu amid reports of at least two others in  Juba, Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

A U.N. official who visited the Bentiu site reported at least 75 bodies, Pillay’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell said in an email Tuesday, adding that the U.N. is working to verify reports of two other graves in Juba.

Pillay also expressed serious concern over reports that several hundred civilians were arrested during house-to-house searches and from various hotels in Juba. There also were reports that hundreds of members of the South Sudan National Police Service were ordered to be disarmed and arrested at police stations across Juba, according to the U.N. statement.

South Sudan’s oil-producing Upper Nile state is also facing tensions after gunmen attacked government forces in Nasir county, Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the national army, said by phone Sunday. He said he had no further information.

Kiir said yesterday he agreed to a request by the six-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development to help mediate an end to the crisis.

“We’re ready for any dialogue, but Dr. Machar must come to the table without any preconditions,” he told lawmakers in Juba. “Through dialogue I think we can resolve this misunderstanding very quickly.”

South Sudan seceded from neighboring Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil output. The landlocked country’s oil provides more than 95 percent of government revenue.

South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc data. Its low-sulfur crude is prized by Japanese buyers as a cleaner-burning fuel for power generation.

ONGC repatriated its 11 employees, and the company’s joint venture has shut down oilfields in South Sudan that were producing about 40,000 barrels per day, Finance Director S.P. Garg said in a phone interview.

Chol said there is “no interruption to oil” production in the country. “Oil is still flowing,” he said.

Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said on Sunday that the evacuation of oil workers from the country was temporary and oil output from Upper Nile was flowing normally.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer estimated the country will need $1.1 billion of humanitarian aid in 2014 because 62,000 people were displaced in the past week’s violence.

Four U.S. service members suffered gunshot wounds on Saturday while on flights to evacuate Americans from Bor. The United Nations had previously sent helicopters to evacuate staff from South Sudan, and one was hit and forced to land on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

About 380 U.S. officials and private citizens have been evacuated to Nairobi and other locations, along with about 300 others, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement Sunday.

President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress on Sunday saying he “may take further action to support the security of U.S. citizens, personnel, and property, including our embassy” in South Sudan.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

US, UN to Send Troops to South Sudan.


The U.S. and the United Nations are preparing to make more peacekeeping troops available for the growing conflict in South Sudan, as President Salva Kiir opened the door to talks with his deposed vice president.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked the Security Council for 5,500 soldiers to add to the peacekeeping mission of 7,000 already there. The U.S. is positioning troops in the Horn of Africa region to assist in any additional evacuations in South Sudan, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said yesterday.

At an emergency meeting yesterday in New York, all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council showed a “positive reaction”to Ban’s request for the troops, plus 423 police personnel, said Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to the United Nations and president of the council this month. The council may authorize the boost today, he said.

The military maneuvering underscored what Ban called the “mounting urgency”in South Sudan, where fighting that began Dec. 15 has killed at least 500 people. About 100,000 have been internally displaced and about 45,000 are seeking protection in and around at UN camps in the country, Araud said.

U.S. special envoy Donald Booth, who met yesterday with Kiir in the capital, Juba, said the president expressed a willingness to begin talks with former Vice President Riek Machar “without preconditions, as soon as his counterpart was willing.”

“The United States emphasizes the urgency of the situation and stands ready to support these efforts as necessary,” Booth told reporters on a conference call.

Rebel Leaders

Fighting broke out in South Sudan when gunmen attacked the presidential palace in Juba. The violence has been largely along ethnic lines, with Machar’s Nuer group pitted against the Dinka people of Kiir.

Machar, who is being hunted by government security forces, has demanded that Kiir step down for failing to unite the nation. Kiir fired Machar and the rest of his cabinet in July. The two sides agreed to an offer by neighboring Kenya to host peace talks, Kenyan Foreign Ministry Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho told reporters yesterday in Nairobi.

Booth said he also met with 11 members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement who are detained in Juba. He said they expressed a readiness “to play a constructive role in ending the crisis through peaceful political dialogue and national reconciliation.”

Rebel forces loyal to Machar said they captured crude-producing Unity state as the government evacuated some oil workers and plans a partial shutdown of facilities.

Oil-Area Tensions

Fighters led by General James Kong Chol seized Bentiu, the state capital, and other parts of the northern region on Dec. 21 and have aligned themselves with Machar, Chol said in a phone interview Dec. 22. It was the second state to fall to anti-government forces after Kiir’s administration lost control of Bor, the capital of Jonglei province, to a group headed by General Peter Gatdet Yak on Dec. 18. Chol and Yak previously headed government forces in the two states.

“We’re controlling the area of Unity state,” Chol said from Bentiu. “My government planned to kill me and I have nowhere to go. I decided to join Riek Machar.”

South Sudan’s oil-producing Upper Nile state is also facing tensions after gunmen attacked government forces in Nasir county, Philip Aguer, a spokesman for the national army, said by phone Dec. 22. He said he had no further information.

Kiir said yesterday he agreed to a request by the six- nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development to help mediate an end to the crisis.

Japanese Bullets

“We’re ready for any dialogue, but Dr. Machar must come to the table without any preconditions,” he told lawmakers in Juba. “Through dialogue I think we can resolve this misunderstanding very quickly.”

South Sudan seceded from neighboring Sudan in July 2011 and took three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil output. The landlocked country exports all its crude, about 220,000 barrels a day, through pipelines across Sudan. The oil provides more than 95 percent of government revenue.

South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc data. Its low- sulfur crude is prized by Japanese buyers as a cleaner-burning fuel for power generation. Japan will supply 10,000 bullets for UN peacekeepers in South Sudan, marking the first exemption under the Asian nation’s self-imposed curbs on arms exports, Kyodo News reported, without citing anyone.

South Sudan’s crude is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp.

‘No Interruption’

ONGC repatriated its 11 employees and the company’s joint venture has shut down oilfields in South Sudan that were producing about 40,000 barrels per day, Finance Director S.P. Garg said in a phone interview.

Chol said there is “no interruption to oil”production in the country. “Oil is still flowing,”he said.

Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said on Dec. 22 the evacuation of oil workers from the country is temporary and oil output from Upper Nile is flowing normally.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Toby Lanzer estimated the country will need $1.1 billion of humanitarian aid in 2014 after 62,000 people were displaced in the past week’s violence.

Four U.S. service members suffered gunshot wounds on Dec. 21 while on flights to evacuate Americans from Bor. The UN had previously sent helicopters to evacuate staff from South Sudan, and one was hit and forced to land on Dec. 20, according to the Associated Press.

Evacuation Requests

The U.S. military is positioning forces to respond to any requests from the State Department to evacuate personnel, said Warren, the Pentagon spokesman. He offered no details on troop numbers or whether any U.S. troops were entering South Sudan.

Three of the four U.S. troops injured earlier were stable enough to be taken to the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, he said. The fourth will continue to receive care from U.S. forces in Nairobi, he said.

About 380 U.S. officials and private citizens have been evacuated to Nairobi and other locations, along with about 300 others, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement Dec. 22.

President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress Dec. 22 saying he “may take further action to support the security of U.S. citizens, personnel, and property, including our embassy” in South Sudan.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Boko Haram terrorists 1,200 killed in seven months.


United Nations

The United Nations (UN) yesterday said over 1,200 people have been killed as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast of Nigeria since a state of emergency was declared in the region in May.

According to the World body in a statement, the figure is related to killings of civilians and the military by Boko Haram in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

It also includes insurgents killed by security forces repelling attacks.

This is the first time independent casualty figures have been issued since emergency rule was declared.

Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install strict Islamic law in the north

The figures do not include those killed during military operations, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) told French News Agency the (AFP)

“The humanitarian situation in north-east Nigeria has been increasingly worrisome over the course of 2013,” the UN said.

There have been 48 separate “Boko Haram-related” attacks in the region since emergency rule was declared, the statement added.

“Information on the situation is scarce,” with figures of those displaced by the conflict and those who have fled to neighbouring states “hard to gauge”, Ocha said.

Since the declaration of state of emergency in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, and Adamawa and Yobe, there has been a massive military deployment in the worst-affected areas.

Attacks by Boko Haram are continuing despite the big military offensive.

The military initially switched off the mobile network across the region, apparently to block Islamists from co-ordinating attacks but that has since been relaxed.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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