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Jason Ditz

Netanyahu Opposes US-Russia South Syria Ceasefire Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear today that he and his government oppose the ongoing ceasefire in Southern Syria, a deal negotiated between the United States and Russia, and which has continued to hold throughout the past week.

Netanyahu made the comments during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, declaring himself totally opposed to the ceasefire. Israeli officials revealed that the objections are primarily related to Iran still having forces inside Syria supporting the Assad government.
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House Approves $696 Billion Military Spending Bill


In a 344-81 vote yesterday, the House of Representatives passed their version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $696 billion spending bill which far exceeds the amount of money sought by the Pentagon and the Trump Administration.

The bill has a base $621.5 billion funding, nad $75 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, which includes at least $10 billion that are earmarked as part of the OCO but intended to be spent on domestic military spending.
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US Tells North Korea It Is Prepared to Go to War

The top US general on the Korean Peninsula, Gen. Vincent Brooks, today issued a statement announcing that the United States is totally prepared to start a war against North Korea at any moment, and that it is only “self-restraint” that has kept the US from attacking so far.

Gen. Brooks went on to insist that America’s self-restraint “is a choice,” and that America can change their choice whenever they want to, ending the armistice and restarting the 1950 Korean War. This comes amid President Trump repeatedly talking up military action against North Korea, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster insisting that all of the options prepared for Trump involve a military component.
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US Troops Kill Three Civilians After Afghan Roadside Bombing

A US military convoy in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province was hit by a roadside bomb earlier today, with Pentagon officials quick to insist that no one was wounded in the incident. Three civilians, however, two of them children, were killed in the immediate aftermath.

The US troops responded to the bomb hitting their vehicle by getting out and firing indiscriminately, according to Afghan police, who say that the US gunfire killed a brickworker named Ziyar Gul, and two of his children, both 10-year-old boys. A third son who was present at the scene survived, running to get help, though by the time he returned everyone else was dead.
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US Is Killing More Civilians in Syria Air War Than Assad Is

Exemplified by the hundred and some odd people they’ve killed in the last 48 hours,the US is struggling mightily with the narrative that they are taking extraordinary care to limit the number of civilian casualties in the air war in Syria, and are rapidly losing any pretense of a moral high ground.

Indeed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is noting that the soaring death toll from US airstrikes has now surpassed the civilian toll of the Assad government’s own airstrikes, which the US and other Western nations have condemned as indiscriminate and irresponsible.
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US Arms Makers’ Stocks at Record Highs on Saudi Deal

The weekend finalization of a US arms deal with Saudi Arabia which officials say will be worth at least $350 billion over the next decade sent the stocks of politically well-connected US arms makers soaring to all-time highs, underscoring just how much money there is to be had in keeping Saudi Arabia awash in weapons to drop on Yemen.

Lockheed Martin is the biggest “winner,” most analysts agree, with some $28 billion in weapons and equipment out of the initial $110 billion going to them, and likely to get the biggest sum out of anyone else in the subsequent parts and maintenance that will bring it to a record $350 billion overall.
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Trump Advisers Want at Least 50,000 US Troops in Afghanistan

While publicly US strategy in the Afghan War has been based around the conceit that the conflict is in a “stalemate,” despite mounting losses by the Afghan government. Advisers have offered a classified assessment on the conflict recently, however, conceding that the Ghani government’s survival is at risk, and that the war is being “slowly” lost.
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US Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange

US officials have repeatedly vilified WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the past several years, and intermittently called for his assassination, but just now appear to be nearing a decision to file charges against him, accusing him of crimes for involvement in the whistleblower organization. What the charges might be remain a matter of speculation, as Assange’s lawyer says they’ve heard nothing from the Justice Department. CIA chief Mike Pompeo, however, suggested the charges could be speech related, insisting Assange doesn’t get “First Amendment freedoms” because he isn’t American.
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Trump: NATO Is ‘No Longer Obsolete’

After fueling a lot of tensions with his comments during the 2016 campaign that NATO is an obsolete alliance, President Trump today declared that the alliance is “no longer obsolete” following meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Though Trump presented this in part as NATO having capitulated to his demands for the alliance to be reorganized around fighting against ISIS, the comments will also be seen in the context of soaring tensions between the US and Russia.
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