Wednesday US President Donald Trump announced that America had beaten ISIS and would soon depart from Syria. The decision involves 2,200 US military personnel. The news that ISIS had been beaten came as a surprise to allies and enemies alike.
Later in the day, the following was posted by germanforeignpolicy.com:
(Own report) – “German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ brief visit to Baghdad is accompanied by reports that the IS militia (Islamic State) is regaining strength. Maas was in the Iraqi capital yesterday for talks with Iraq’s new Prime Minister to emphasize Berlin’s push for obtaining stronger influence in Iraq. He also promoted a billion-euro deal with Siemens and listened to his Baghdad counterpart’s call for Iraqi refugees to return to their homeland. According to reports, Iraqi authorities are not only responsible for the slow reconstruction of Sunni regions, but Sunnis are being also detained arbitrarily, tortured or condemned to death without proof of guilt. “This is not just revenge on the IS,” explained a senior intelligence officer, “this is revenge on Sunnis.” Observers warn that this will refill the ranks of the still existing IS in clandestinity, which has again “taken the offensive.””
“As Christmas and the New Year approach, Islamic State (ISIS) supporters have begun to produce posters threatening terror attacks against Christians and inhabitants of Western countries during the holiday season. Some of the posters threaten impending attacks, particularly by lone operatives, as retaliation for ongoing airstrikes on the organization’s strongholds in eastern Syria, by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Others warn Westerners not to leave their homes on Christmas, while some posters specifically threaten attacks in New York City and London.” (MEMRI, 12/20)
President Putin praises move to withdraw from Syria, saying that there is no need for US troops to be in the country. So, why do Russian troops need to be there?
Two headlines from Thursday’s Wall StreetJournal:
“US Pullout could boost ISIS in Syria.” “Quick exit would add to struggles of Kurdish-led force fighting militant group.”
Additionally, President Trump is to pull 7,000 troops out of Afghanistan.
TWO FOREIGN GIRLS KILLED BY ISIS IN MOROCCO: Two Scandinavian tourists, aged 24 and 28, were beheaded in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains by men claiming allegiance to ISIS.
BREAKING NEWS: (Friday AM)
ISIS threatens Drone Attack on New York City
ISIS has issued a chilling new threat to plague the US and the EU with drone attacks. It comes after a drone near London’s Gatwick Airport caused travel chaos with hundreds of flights cancelled.
The extremist group widely used drones bought over the counter when it was defending its so-called Caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Some were used for spy missions while others were adapted to drop grenades and bombs.
Gun cops deployed at Gatwick are continuing to work with elite Army troops and MI5 spooks as they hunt the drones and last night said shooting them down was a “tactical option.” The saboteur has been playing cat-and-mouse with cops after shutting down Britain’s second busiest airport by drones over the runway 50 times since Wednesday night. Sharpshooters are today continuing to try to bring down the device – while MI5 spooks were called in to track down the suspect. Experts say the skilled drone operator – feared to be a lone-wolf green protester – could be controlling the industrial scale craft from up to five miles away. (Similar claims are in UK tabloids, The Sun and Daily Mail)
FOUR-YEAR DROUGHT PLUNGES CENTRAL KAROO FARMERS INTO FINANCIAL DISTRESS
CAPE TOWN – Farmers in the central Karoo say they are in financial distress due to a four-year drought. Farmer’s organisation, Agri Central Karoo, says it’s the worst and longest drought in living memory. Producers have been unable to grow crops or feed for their livestock. Agri Central Karoo manager Dêan Gous says the region has only been receiving light rain of two to three millimetres at a time. He says downpours of at least 20 millimetres are needed. Gous says farmers are forced to buy expensive feed, while many are being turned away by banks and the co-op. “My main concern is the people’s cash flow. We’re past the stage of banks helping us, so now people must dip into their investment money and pension funds.” He welcomes the Western Cape government’s intervention and drought relief but warns that production cannot be sustained. “This is not enough . . . so the main thing is people are decreasing their numbers on the shelves.” (https://ewn.co.za/2018/12/21/four-year-drought-plunges-central-karoo-farmers-into-financial-distress)
30,000 JOBS LOST IN WESTERN CAPE AGRICULTURE SECTOR DUE TO DROUGHT — The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Department says the drought has had a massive impact on the agricultural sector
CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Department says the drought has cost about 30,000 jobs in the agriculture sector. That is 1.5% of all jobs in the Western Cape. Agri Central Karoo says the area is experiencing the worst and longest drought in living memory. Farmers say they are finding it impossible to farm due to low rainfall. The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Department says the drought has had a massive impact on the agricultural sector. MEC Beverley Schäfer says it has a large impact on jobs and economic growth in the province: “We’ve already seen a R5.9 billion drop in gross value add, which is about 25% of the value of agriculture production and a 20% decrease in production in general.” Agri Central Karoo said on Thursday that due to the drought farmers are unable to grow crops or feed their flocks. Agri Central Karoo manager Dêan Gous says more assistance is needed from the government. Schäfer says they are doing their best and adds that since November support to the farmers in the Central Karoo has increased. Schäfer says the government is supporting 563 farmers and is spending R8.1 million per month. (12/21)
Russia’s Vladimir Putin warns about growing threat of nuclear war
If the US puts intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will take countermeasures, Putin said at his end-of-year press conference. He warned the “threshold” for the use of nuclear weapons was getting lower.
An attempt to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons could potentially result in an all-out nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned during his traditional end-of-year press conference on Thursday. It is the first such event since the beginning of Putin’s new presidential term in May and the fourteenth for him in total.
“There is a tendency to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” he said. “In the West, there is this idea of using low-yield nuclear weapons. The use of such weapons could lead to a global disaster,” the Russian leader stressed.
Putin pointed at the US intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. He said that if the US puts intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to take countermeasures.
The Russian leader also warned against developing tactical nuclear warheads and conventional long-range ballistic missiles. According to him, both are dangerous, because they increase the threat of an incidental nuclear war.
“We are currently observing the collapse of the international system for containing weapons,” he added.
A global credit ‘heart attack’ is just months away
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
20 December 2018 — 11:36am Surging borrowing costs for companies in the US and Europe threaten a recession within months and resemble events leading up to the global credit “heart attack” in August 2007.
Risk spreads on American high-yield debt have jumped since early October. Credit experts say this is the delayed fallout from months of double-barrelled monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve.
The US central bank is raising interest rates and at the same time shrinking its balance sheet by $US50 billion a month, perhaps draining more liquidity from global financial markets than intended.
Simon Ward from Janus Henderson said his leading indicator for the health of US companies – the cash supply available to non-financial business (M1) – has turned starkly negative for the first time since the Lehman crisis.
This points to a sharp slowdown next year. “When this measure of cash contracts it means companies plan to cut back,” he said.
The deal with the EU will turn us into captives By Boris Johnson 19 Nov 2018 — 11:45 PM
Well, it seems my predictions of last week were, if anything, too optimistic. If MPs vote for this deal, we are bowing our neck to the yoke.
We are preparing to take colonial rule by foreign powers and courts. We are handing over colossal sums of money for nothing. We are giving up the hope of new free-trade deals. We are giving up the right to vary our laws. We are betraying Leavers and Remainers alike: we are poised to abandon any UK influence in Brussels, and yet we are signally failing to take back control.
In fact, we are surrendering control to the EU – and this 585-page fig-leaf does nothing to cover the embarrassment of our total defeat.
Boris Johnson argues that the Brexit deal will turn Britons into captives.
In the protocol on Northern Ireland, there is a note almost of malice, as though the EU is punishing us by the surgical severing of part of the UK. From one convoluted paragraph to the next, you can follow the plot to amputate Northern Ireland and keep it in the EU – run by the EU, but with no influence in Brussels except via Dublin.
Today, No 10 continues to brief that there can still be a future Canada-style free-trade deal and that one day we can still take back control of our laws and our tariffs. But from the Treasury you hear a very different message: that this is the end-state providing the blessed “certainty” that business has been craving.
They can’t both be right – so which is it? Is the Government serious about staying in the customs union and single market, or is it serious about democracy, free trade and Brexit? After two years of this tragedy, I think we all know the answer to that one.
YELLOW VEST RIOTS SPREAD
- Across Western Europe, ordinary citizens feel ignored and condescended to by their political, business, academic, and media elites. Against the will of most of these citizens, their leaders are gradually surrendering their nations’ sovereignty to the EU.
- Also against these citizens’ will, their nations have been flooded with Muslim immigrants who embody a major cultural challenge, have caused massive social unrest, and represent a devastating economic burden.
- Although it is increasingly obvious that taxpayer-funded Islamization is leading Western Europe down the wrong path, the EU, which stands foursquare behind this disastrous development, refuses to reverse course.
- Perhaps the question should not be why Western Europeans are rioting but why they did not start rioting a long time ago.
(By Bruce Bawer, Gatestone, 12/18)
Australia recognises West Jerusalem as Israeli capital . Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that his government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
BBC * 15 Dec 2018 However, he said Australia’s embassy would not move from Tel Aviv, until a peace settlement was achieved.
He added Australia also recognised the aspirations of the Palestinians to a state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues between Israel and the Palestinians.
US President Donald Trump drew international criticism last year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel’s capital. The US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.