Saturday, October 31, 2015

This Missile is Becoming The Weapon Of Choice For China's Navy When It Confronts The U.S. Navy

Bloomberg: China's Supersonic Ship Killer Is Making U.S. Navy's Job Harder

* YJ-18 can accelerate to three times speed of sound near target
* Missile will be harder to detect and hit with on-board guns

Increased interactions between the the Chinese and U.S. navy in the contested South China Sea risk becoming more complicated by the increasingly sophisticated missiles being carried by submarines.

A new report to the U.S. Congress assessing a Chinese submarine-launched missile known as the YJ-18 highlights the danger, noting the missile accelerates to supersonic speed just before hitting its target, making it harder for a crew to defend their ship.

Defense chiefs from several countries in Southeast Asia have warned in recent months of the danger of undersea “clutter” as countries build up submarine fleets and the U.S. challenges China over its claim to a large swath of the South China Sea. This week’s U.S. patrol inside the 12-nautical mile zone that China claims around its man-made islands in the waters saw the USS Lassen shadowed by two Chinese naval vessels.

WNU Editor: This is China's way of sending a warning to the U.S. on what would be the consequences if there is a conflict in the South China Sea.

Syrian Militants Meet Russian Mi-24 Attack Helicopter (Video)

From Zero Hedge .... Caught On Tape: ISIS, Meet Russian Mi-24 Attack Helicopter

WNU Editor: These attack helicopters are quiet .... and they come in fast.

Russia Prepares For Nuclear War

A schoolchild wearing a gas mask and a protective suit participates in a civil defence competition between local schools in Russia's southern city of Stavropol, February 2, 2011. REUTERS/EDUARD KORNIYENKO

Reuters: Russian calls for Cold War civil defence training to be revived

Russia's authorities should revive the old Cold War practise of training civilians on how to respond in the event of a large-scale nuclear attack, a senior government official said on Friday.

Speaking after a meeting of Russia's Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge the defence industry, said the United States was upsetting the nuclear balance by developing new weapons systems.

Russia had no choice but to react to the aggressive capabilities of the United States, he said.

WNU Editor: This brings back old memories of civil defense training and lectures on how to survive a nuclear war.

More News On Reports That Russian Civil Defense Training Is Coming Back

Russian Official Proposes Reviving Civil-Defense Training -- RFE
Putin Orders Russia to Stockpile Protective Equipment for Nuclear Threat -- Newsweek
Russian President Vladimir Putin Orders Russia To Stockpile Protective Equipment For Nuclear Threat -- Inquisitr
U.S. can't defeat Russia without using nuclear weapons, official says -- AP
Russian deputy PM: Strategy of US Prompt Global Strike illusory -- TASS
Russian aggressions prompt 'a new Cold War' in rhetoric only -- Michael Martinez, CNN

Another Broken Promise From President Obama

Trevor Timm, The Guardian: US special forces in Syria are Obama's latest broken foreign policy promise

Obama was elected on a promise to pull back US troops from the Middle East. Instead, the presidency has been marked by mission creep

The Obama administration announced on Friday it will send US special forces into Syria, breaking its repeated vow that Barack Obama would not send ground troops into the war-torn country. This is the latest in a series of U-turns and broken promises that further cements our Forever War and sets a disturbing precedent for whoever becomes the next US president in 2016.

These forces will supposedly be “advising and assisting” rebel armies in the northern Syria who are fighting Isis, including Kurdish forces, while not engaging in direct combat. (Separately on Friday, the prime minister of Turkey, a member of the anti-Isis coalition, threatened to attack the US-backed Kurdish troops, who are believed to be the most effective fighting force against Isis, yet also sworn enemies of the Turkish government.)

While the administration says they will only be “advising and assisting” we know that the US military has already carried out combat operations inside Syria. “Advise and assist” is the same thing the White House said that our troops would be doing in Iraq, but now the Pentagon is admitting: “We’re in combat” in Iraq as well (and have been for months).

Previous Post: President Obama In 2013: ‘I Will Not Put American Boots On The Ground In Syria’

WNU Editor: I would also add that the U.S. is now engaged in so many military operations/wars/conflicts/etc. around the globe that even this blog .... which monitors these events .... has lost track. Was this the scenario that American voters believed in when they first elected President Obama .... I doubt it. And for the next U.S. President .... untangling this mess is probably going to be his (or hers) biggest task .... unless the global financial system completely collapses from now to then.

Does President Obama Hate Israel?

ABC News: Donald Trump Says He Thinks Obama 'Hates Israel'

Fresh off his third debate, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took a shot at President Obama, saying that he thinks the commander in chief "hates Israel."

Trump made the remarks before a crowd of 4,000 in Nevada –- his second trip to the state.

A person in the crowd shouted “Israel” trying to get Trump’s attention. “I heard the beautiful name of Israel,” Trump said. He vowed to protect the country, adding “Israel is safe with this one,” pointing to himself.

But he took a swipe at the president on the issue, saying that the Iran deal "is so bad for Israel, so dangerous."

WNU Editor: What's my take .... President Obama does not hate Israel .... but he is also not a "close" friend.

Is This How America Conducts Its Political Debates?

Polticio: Reince Priebus and the debate season from hell

How the Republican National Committee got stuck between angry GOP campaigns and hungry TV networks.

Halfway through Wednesday’s off-the-rails CNBC debate, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus realized he was witnessing a chain-reaction wreck. By the time it ended, he knew it was headed straight for him.

Priebus has always been keenly aware that the Republican Party has become increasingly vulnerable to outside forces, starting with the unexpected emergence this year of uncontrollable to-hell-with-the-establishment candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson. But outrage over the third GOP debate, during which the candidates and grassroots conservatives attacked the media with a lusty vengeance, posed a new threat – and Priebus has been fighting ferociously to maintain control of a process he believes is central to reviving the party’s battered brand and preserving the RNC’s relevance.

Update #1: Republican Party kicks NBC News out of sponsoring February debate -- Reuters
Update: Republicans suspend February NBC debate: Here's why (Fortune)

WNU Editor: I an not an American citizen, so I have no "skin" in next year's U.S. elections, let alone what may happen in the Republican primary. But I am an outside observer, and while I only watched the CNBC Republican primary debate two days later (see above video) .... I will admit the following .... I have seen bias in the media before, but in this debate it was on full display for everyone to see. Reince Priebus's responsibility is too make sure that this does not happen ... but it has, and it is not the first time this has happened (albeit never so blunt as this week). If I was a Republican.... I would definitely not be happy and I would be demanding changes in the leadership of the RNC, specifically  selecting someone who would be more interested in accommodating the supporters of the party and its candidates, and not the main stream media. After-all .... the Democrats have shown that it can be done, and without any damage to their party or its candidates.

On a personal note .... I do not understand why the Republican Party continues to place itself in a position where the debate moderator is not neutral ... but is in fact usually an advocate for the other party. More to the point ... why show up when you cannot even debate or explain your ideas/proposals/vision, but in fact you are used to make the case for the other party. This is how you lose elections, if you continue to associate with news organizations that are always hostile to your viewpoint/agenda .... you place yourself in a position where they can define you, build you up, and when appropriate .... destroy you. But after this week's debate I sense that there is a change in the air .... and a growing realization that showing up in these media rigged debates (which are no longer debates) is usually more detrimental to your cause than supportive.

The EU Migration Crisis Is Now Impacting Small Communities Throughout Germany

Residents of Sumte attended a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the plan to move migrants from Africa and the Middle East to their village. Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

NYT: German Village of 102 Braces for 750 Asylum Seekers

SUMTE, Germany — This bucolic, one-street settlement of handsome redbrick farmhouses may for the moment have many more cows than people, but next week it will become one of the fastest growing places in Europe. Not that anyone in Sumte is very excited about it.

In early October, the district government informed Sumte’s mayor, Christian Fabel, by email that his village of 102 people just over the border in what was once Communist East Germany would take in 1,000 asylum seekers.

His wife, the mayor said, assured him it must be a hoax. “It certainly can’t be true” that such a small, isolated place would be asked to accommodate nearly 10 times as many migrants as it had residents, she told him. “She thought it was a joke,” he said.

WNU Editor: When the whole community shows up at a local hall looking shell shocked (see the above pic) .... you know that this is not going to end well. This reminds me of what happened in my own community 5 years ago (LaSalle, Quebec/Canada). The local and federal authorities wanted to convert a school into a housing complex that would house a few hundred immigrant families/refugees .... and primarily from Haiti (this was right after the Haitian earthquake). I live far away from the propose project, but a friend of mine wanted me to come with him to City Hall for a town meeting ... so off I went. I have never seen anything like it .... the place was packed with hundreds of primarily middle aged white French Quebecers who were beyond angry that the politicians would want to do this in their own community. The mayor who was an avid supporter of the plan fled the place, but the Federal MP stayed and argued with everyone on why they should accept this plan. Needless to say ... within a year both politicians were voted out overwhelmingly, and the plan was dropped. This ... I predict .... is what is going to happen to German Chancellor Merkel and her allies when they face the voters in the coming years. Politics is always local .... and the EU migration crisis is now impacting the local communities ... especially those who are now realizing that they are in no position to accommodate the desires of a politician who does not live in the community, nor cares about what they may be facing.

A New Realism In U.S. Policy Towards Syria?

Howard LaFranchi, CSM: What's behind US Special Forces in Syria? A new realism

The situation in Syria has changed, so President Obama has decided to include Iran in peace talks and send Special Forces to support Syrian Kurds.

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s foreign-policy realism is on full display this week on two fronts related to Syria.

First, the United States sat down Friday with Iran at international talks on Syria – despite years of opposing any diplomatic role for Tehran in efforts to end the Syrian civil war.

Second, the White House announced Friday that the US will send just under 50 special operations forces to northern Syria – a move that reverses the president’s pledge from more than a year ago not to put boots on the ground in the fight.

WNU Editor: I fail to see how a deployment of 50 U.S. Special Forces advisers will make a difference on the ground in the Syrian war (unless this is the first step for a massive deployment in the future), and I certainly do not see how bringing Iran to the table for peace talks will make them change their position on supporting Syrian President Assad. But what I do see is more bickering in Washington .... Obama’s Syria troop decision widens partisan gulf (Politico), and more claims that this is all too little and too late .... Critics say Obama plan for Syria is ‘too little, too late’ (Boston Herald).

Update: Here is a good review on the Syrian conflict .... Too Weak, Too Strong : Patrick Cockburn on the state of the Syrian war (London Review of Books). Hat tip to jay for this link.

The Islamic State Wants School Graduates To Be Militants, Not Doctors Or Engineers

Alaa Al-Marjani / Reuters

Daily Beast: Back to School in Mosul: The ISIS Curriculum

The so-called Islamic State continues to pretend it has the trappings of a real government. In addition to bogus ‘gold’ coins, it now offers a ridiculous syllabus.

MOSUL, Iraq — For some parents in Mosul, this northern Iraqi city controlled by the extremist group known as the Islamic State, the worst has come true. After destroying many of the textbooks their children used to use in Mosul's schools, the Islamic State, or ISIS or Daesh, as it’s widely known, has developed a whole new curriculum for school-aged children living inside the areas it controls.

A father of three in Mosul, whom we’ll call Abu Omran, was hoping until very recently that his children might be able to go back to school. They had not been to class since ISIS took control of the city in mid-June last year. But now he is increasingly pessimistic about his children's future. They already have lost two terms of schooling and now it looks likely they will lose a third.

WNU Editor: The Islamic State is copying what the Taliban have done in Pakistan .... provide an educational system that teaches children to read and write .... but also teaches and indoctrinates them in the more extremist passages of the Koran and to be future foot soldiers for their wars.

Iran Given Credit For Retaking The Iraqi City Of Beiji Even Though U.S. Air Strikes And U.S. Trained Forces Did The Fighting

Wall Street Journal: Victory Over Islamic State in Iraqi Town Has Some Cheering Iran

Shiite militias backed by Tehran claim credit for retaking Beiji, U.S. disputes it.

BEIJI, Iraq—A big victory over Islamic State here provided fresh ammunition for the many Iraqi Shiites who prefer Iran as a battlefield partner over the U.S., despite indications that Washington could soon intensify its battle against the extremist militants.

Shiite militias and politicians backed by Iran have claimed much of the credit for the Iraqi recapture a little over a week ago of the city and oil refinery of Beiji, about 130 miles north of Baghdad. Militia fighters danced and posed for pictures on tanks and armored cars near the bombed-out shell of the massive refinery there, Iraq’s largest.

But U.S. officers say the Iran-backed proxy militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, played only a supporting role. The bulk of the fighting was by Iraqi federal police and elite counterterrorism units trained by the U.S., the American officers said.

Still powerful Iraqi politicians and militia leaders have cited the yearlong operation to retake the city as evidence that Iraqis can combat Islamic State alone—or with help only of the Iran-backed militias. Some are now lobbying Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to rely less on the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State and more on the PMF.

WNU editor: Damn if you .... and damn if you don't. The U.S. has failed repeated over the years in waging an information war in the Middle East .... and coupled with its own many failures and broken promises, it is easy to see why the U.S. is incapable (and unable) to refute the accusations and claims that all of these competing interest groups in Iraq are always voicing and exploiting.

Militant Group In Sinai Affiliated With ISIS Has Taken Credit For Destroying A Russian Passenger Jet Today

ISIS tried to claim responsibility for the plane crash which claimed the lives of some 220 mostly Russian passengers and crew suggesting their action was in response to Russia's decision to bomb Islamic fighters in Syria in a bid to prop up Basher al-Assad's regime

Zero Hedge: ISIS Releases Video Of Alleged Russian Airplane Mid-Air Exposion After It Claims Responsibility For Disaster

That didn't take long: following the worst Russian airplane disaster in history, the question everyone was asking is who is responsible. Moments ago we may have gotten the answer.

A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the group said in a statement circulated by supporters on Twitter.

Below is the full statement from a group alleging to speak on behalf of Islamic State, posted on their affiliate site, translated by the Guardian's Jahd Khalil. It offers no evidence that the group brought down the plane, apart from their word ....

 .... Breaking: Downing of Russian airplane, killing of more than 220 Russian crusaders on board.

Soldiers of the Caliphate were able to bring down a Russian plane above Sinai Province with at least 220 Russian crusaders aboard.

They were all killed, praise be to God. O Russians, you and your allies take note that you are not safe in Muslims lands or their skies.

The killing of dozens daily in Syria with bombs from your planes will bring woe to you. Just as you are killing others, you too will be killed, God willing.

WNU Editor: The video that this group posted has been deleted. Too early to say if these claims are true .... but if true .... any qualms in Russia on its war against the Islamic State in Syria have just been silenced.

Update: ISIS claims responsibility for Russian jet crash: Victims 'found over three-mile radius' after plane with 224 on board crashes in Egypt leaving no survivors - but officials blame 'technical fault' (Daily Mail).

A Freed Syrian Town From The Islamic State Is Now Facing New Difficulties

Liz Sly, Washington Post: They freed a Syrian town from ISIS. Now they have to govern it.

TAL ABYAD, Syria — When Islamic State fighters fled this northern Syrian town in June, they took with them the electricity generators, the water pumps, the hospital equipment and pretty much everything else that had helped sustain the semblance that they ran a functioning state.

They left behind their graffiti, their instruments of torture, the block of wood on which they beheaded their victims, the cage in which they punished smokers — and a community riven with suspicion and distrust.

Today, Tal Abyad is a tense and troubled place. Its new Kurdish masters are seeking to assert their control over a mixed town that, at least until recently, had an Arab majority — some of whom were not entirely unhappy to be governed by the Islamic State.

WNU Editor: And in this mix U.S. backed rebels are launching new attacks .... New U.S.-backed Syrian rebel alliance declares offensive against Islamic State (Reuters).

This Weeks Budget Agreement In Washington Funds The Pentagon's Budget And Needs For Two Years


Defense One: Budget Deal Is A Big Win for Pentagon

Even though it’s only a two-year agreement, the budget deal passed by Congress and the White House will get the Pentagon past the worst of the spending caps.

The Pentagon has weathered the worst of the defense spending caps that military leaders have called a thorn in their side since 2013.

The bipartisan budget deal struck by Congress — the Senate passed the measure early Friday morning, matching the House’s action earlier this week — gives the Defense Department big-time relief immediately, raising the 2016 spending cap by $33 billion and the 2017 cap by $23 billion. That allows the Pentagon to get a total of $607 billion in 2016 and $610 billion in 2017, according to budget experts and investment analysts.

“This is significant. This is a turnaround for defense,” said Todd Harrison, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and International studies. “This would mark the end of the drawdown.”

WNU Editor: I am still trying to digest the $600 billion budget number. But here is an easy prediction .... within a month or two they (i.e. the Pentagon) will start raising worries and concerns that they need more.

Keeping U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Will Mean Billions For The Contractors

Kate Brannen, Foreign Policy: Cashing In on the Decision to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Why Obama dropping his promise to end America's longest war is going to give contractors billions of dollars.

In August, the nation’s top military officer came to President Barack Obama and bluntly asked him to break a promise to bring the last American troops home from Afghanistan by the time the president left office.

Obama had been repeating the vow for years, but Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States needed to keep at least 5,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016 to ensure that the Islamic State didn’t take root there and to prevent al Qaeda from moving back into the country. In July, the Pentagon discovered that the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks had been running a pair of large training camps in southern Afghanistan, including one that covered nearly 30 square miles.

The president, anxious to prevent Afghanistan from turning into another Iraq, told Dempsey that he was willing to consider the troop request. First, though, he wanted the general to tell him the “no kidding” cost of keeping U.S. forces there — including what the Pentagon would pay the thousands of contractors needed to house, feed, and support U.S. military personnel. Wisened after years of overseeing two wars, Obama didn’t want to let the additional cost of contractors escape him, particularly since the military rarely includes it in its proposals. The exchange was first reported by the Washington Post. The White House declined to comment on the president’s decision-making.

WNU Editor: ovder the years the story of contractors working in Afghanistan has not changed as this 2009 WSJ post reveals .... Afghanistan Contractors Outnumber Troops (WSJ). Sighhh .... it is always about the money.

Pentagon Confirms That The Largest Al Qaeda Training Camp Ever Found Was Destroyed This Month In Afghanistan

Standing by on a hilltop, Soldiers with the 101st Division Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division watch as two Chinook helicopters fly in to take them back to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 4, 2008. Photo by Spc. Mary L. Gonzalez, CJTF-101 Public Affairs

Washington Post: ‘Probably the largest’ al-Qaeda training camp ever destroyed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A multi-day operation in southern Afghanistan this month that involved 200 Special Operations forces and scores of American airstrikes targeted what was “probably the largest” al-Qaeda training camp found in the 14-year Afghan war, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan said on Friday.

Army Gen. John F. Campbell, the four-star officer in charge of the U.S. war effort, said the camp was used by AQIS, an acronym for al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. The group’s formation was announced last year by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and is believed to be based in Pakistan and focused on India, Pakistan and other nations in southern Asia.

Previous Post: Two Major Al Qaeda Bases In Afghanistan Were Unknown To The U.S. For Months

WNU Editor: This is a huge story that has been completely under-reported by the U>S. press. Bottom line .... Al Qaeda is definitely not dead.

Russian Passenger Jet Has Crashed In The Sinai -- News Updates

Daily Mail: No survivors on Russian jet that crashed in Egypt with 224 on board as rescuers find children's bodies strapped to their seats

* The aircraft was reported missing 23 minutes after leaving the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with 224 on board
* The doomed jet was owned by an Irish company and leased to a Russian airline carrying tourists to St Petersburg
* Egyptian air crash investigators said the pilot had warned of a 'technical problem' shortly before the disaster
* The jet was plunging at more than 6,000 feet per minute as the pilot tried to land at el-Arish airport in northern Egypt

Egyptian security forces confirmed there have been no survivors despite 'hearing voices' inside the wrecked fuselage of a Russian passenger jet which crashed into the Sinai desert in northern Egypt as the bodies of 100 victims have been recovered.

The aircraft, which had 200 adult passengers, 17 children and seven crew crashed less than 25 minutes after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The bodies of all 17 children on board have been recovered.

The Irish-owned aircraft was leased by a Russian airline. It crashed in the Hassana area, south of Arish. Security forces discovered the crash wreckage in a remote mountainous area in a region containing many ISIS-affiliated terrorists.

WNU Editor: Egypt is the number one tourist destination for Russians. It is cheap, warm, and it has the sights. Was this caused airliner crash a terrorist attack .... early indications are no, but considering what us happening in the Middle East right now, anything is possible.

Update: Apparently the black boxes have already been found .... Black boxes found at Russian plane crash site in Sinai — media (TASS)

Russian Passenger Jet Has Crashed In The Sinai -- News Updates

Russian passenger jet crashes over Sinai: LIVE UPDATES -- RT
The Latest: US Offers Condolences to Russia on Plane Crash -- AP
Updates: Russian plane crash in Sinai: Live -- BBC
No survivors as Russian airliner crashes in Sinai in Egypt with 224 people on board - latest news -- The Telegraph
Russian plane crash: Egyptian officials say no survivors - latest -- The Guardian

Russian passenger aircraft with 220 onboard crashes over Egypt -- RT
Earlier on Saturday Egyptian air traffic control said they lost contact with the Russian airliner en route from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg. -- Sputnik News
Russian passenger plane crashes in Egypt's Sinai, no survivors confirmed -- Ahram Online
Screams heard from crashed Russian plane -- Al Arabiya
Sinai plane crash: No survivors on Russian airliner KGL9268 -- BBC
'Many dead' as Russian plane carrying 224 crashes in Sinai -- AFP
Russian airliner with 224 aboard crashes in Egypt's Sinai -- Reuters
Egypt plane crash live: Pilot of flight 9268 had reported technical difficulties and requested emergency landing -- The Independent
Russian Plane Crashes in Sinai Peninsula -- NYT
Russian jet carrying 224 people crashes in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula -- Washington Post
Russian passenger plane carrying 224 crashes in Sinai -- FOX News
Officials: Russian plane with 224 aboard crashes; no survivors -- USA Today
Russian passenger plane crashes in Sinai with 224 people on board -- CNN
Wreckage of Crashed Russian Passenger Plane Found in Sinai -- Bloomberg
Putin orders to form commission on Kolavia plane crash in Egypt -- TASS
Russia opens criminal case after airliner crashes in Egypt: agencies -- Reuters
November 1 declared national day of mourning in Russia over plane crash in Egypt -- TASS
Sinai plane crash: What we know -- BBC

Friday, October 30, 2015

Editor's Note

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

WNU Editor: Going to a Halloween Party tonight. GF is dressed as "The Angel of Death". I will be dressed up as the head of Spectre (in a Mao style of suit). The GF thinks my outfit is lame .... but heh .... it is what I have. Blogging will return tomorrow morning.

James Bond Would Not Make "The Cut' To Work In Today's MI6 (Because He Lacks Feelings)

An MI6 recruitment advert SIS

Aamna Mohdin, Quartz: James Bond lacks the “emotional intelligence” to get a job as a real-life spy

Britain’s Secret Intelligent Service, the spy agency better known as MI6, has launched its latest recruitment campaign looking for people with “emotional intelligence” just as the new James Bond film, Spectre, is released. But it turns out its most famous son wouldn’t make the cut.

A MI6 source tells Buzzfeed: “They want people with a real passion for human interaction, understanding others, and dealing with the sometimes complex nature of human relationships.” Loners like Bond would “probably not be successful in joining SIS, if he were to apply.”

British agents have always insisted that the world of 007 is pure fantasy. Anna, an MI6 agent, told the BBC: “If James Bond actually worked in MI6 today, he’d spend a large amount of time behind a desk doing paperwork and making sure everything was properly cleared and authorized.”

More News On James Bond Would Not Be Hired In Today's MI6

MI6 Has Launched A Recruitment Drive For “Emotionally Intelligent” Spies -- Buzz Feed
James Bond couldn't get a job at MI6, agency says --
MI6 ‘says it would probably not hire James Bond’ -- Independent
James Bond 'wouldn't be given a job at MI6' -- The Telegraph
Spies like us: which movie secret agents fit MI6's new recruitment drive profile? -- The Guardian
MI6 recruits spies on Mumsnet: Do mothers make the best secret agents? -- CNN

Tonight's Movie Is 'Hell Boats' (1970)

From Wikipedia: Hell Boats is a 1970 British war film directed by Paul Wendkos that was filmed in Malta. It stars James Franciscus, Elizabeth Shepherd and Ronald Allen[1] in a story about British Motor Torpedo Boats in the Mediterranean in World War II. It was the last film made by Oakmont Productions, a branch of Mirisch Films. The film's technical advisor was Lieutenant Commander Ian Nagle Douglas Cox who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order whilst serving in HMS Malcolm in 1940.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2015

Martin Chulov, The Guardian: Syria peace talks pin hopes for end to war on Iran and Saudi Arabia

Syrian regime and opposition not invited to Vienna, with two regional powers yet to show any signs of wanting to compromise

The broadest peace talks since the start of the Syrian war are getting under way in Vienna, with Iran joining arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and the US to try to orchestrate an end to one of the most dangerous global conflicts in decades.

While all regional stakeholders appear set to take a seat at the table, neither the Syrian government nor opposition have been invited, with any hope of a solution riding mainly on their respective regional patrons: Iran for the Assad regime and Saudi Arabia for those who oppose him.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 30, 2015

Russian fears of Syria becoming a 'new Afghanistan' -- Mansur Mirovalev, Al Jazeera

Iranian influence in Syria: At what cost? -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

US intelligence is no match for Iranian deception -- Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe

Did Russian Airstrikes Force U.S. to Include Iran in Syria Talks? -- Patrick Goodenough, CNS

Iran involvement in Syria talks reflects Russia's growing influence -- Michael Pizzi, Al Jazeera

Behind US Special Forces in Syria, a new realism -- Howard LaFranchi, CSM

12 years of hard lessons on Iraq -- Chris Spatola, The Hill

Are Americans Ready to Return to Iraq? -- Kevin Sullivan, Real Clear World

If America Had Kept 10,000 Troops in Iraq = No Islamic State? -- Daniel Davis, National Interest

Ripples of the Iran Deal -- Roger Cohen, NYT

South China Sea: No Win-Win for China and US -- Bernard Fook Weng Loo and Koh Swee Lean Collin, The Diplomat

Despite agreements, risks linger of U.S.-China naval mishaps -- Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters

The U.S. Navy Has Sailed Past China’s Artificial Islands—And Must Do So Again. -- J. Randy Forbes, National Interest

Migrant crisis: Merkel's welcoming arms earn her a cold shoulder -- Nick Miller, Sydney Morning Herald

The fall of the Roman republic – and the rise of the EU -- Peter Jones, Spectator

White House: There is no new Cold War -- Nicole Duran, Washington Examiner

What Happens When A Small Town In Europe Faces 70,000 Refugees

Rigonce, Slovenia is on the border with Croatia, and has become a passthrough for migrants en route to Germany and Austria. PHOTOGRAPH BY CIRIL JAZBEC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

National Geographic: What’s It Like to Have Refugees Stream Into Your Town?

Residents of a tiny Slovenian town are welcoming but have mixed emotions as tens of thousands of migrants flood into local roads and fields.

Rigonce, Slovenia was a quiet, bucolic town on the border with Croatia where farmers tended crops and neighbors greeted each other warmly in the street. That changed last week.

Overnight, the sounds of cows mooing, hens clucking, and tractors turning over the land gave way to the roar of military tanks, the buzz of bullhorns blaring commands in Arabic, and the endless whirring of helicopter blades.

Thousands of migrants—mostly refugees fleeing war and violence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq—crossed over a bridge from Croatia into the town on their way to Germany and Austria. They had already spent months traveling by boat, train, and foot before reaching this spot. They’re weeks behind a flood of others who had passed through Serbia and Hungary. But when Hungary closed its border with Serbia, these later migrants changed their path, leading them to Rigonce, a town of 176 residents, most of them Catholic. Town officials estimate more than 70,000 migrants have passed through the village.

“This is a catastrophe,” said villager Janja Hribar, 19. “Our cows ran away.”

WNU Editor: Most (if not all) of my friends in Europe are not happy with what they are seeing. Everyone knows that this is just the start of a massive influx of refugees from around the world ....  and come spring time next year this influx will be multiple times what it is now. Everyone also knows that Europe's welfare/social/medical /education/and economic institutions are going to be strained to accommodate these millions of  refugees .... and in fact they will probably break a system that many Europeans have gotten use to. As a result .... instead of telling them I told you so .... my advice to all of them is now the same .... you elect the politicians who make all of this happen, and in this case if you are a German the one to blame is is rather easy .... German Merkel invited all of them to come .... so in the next election vote her and her allies who supported her out of office.

Jihadists Celebrate Canada Withdrawing From The War Against The Islamic State

Rachel Browne, VICE News: 'Canada Ran Away:' Jihadists Reportedly Rejoice Over Trudeau Victory

Supporters of the Islamic State (IS) took to Twitter to celebrate prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau's victory last week, and his promise to pull Canada out of the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, which jihadists hailed as a victory for their cause.

According to a report released Thursday from The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), there was a wave of reaction following last week's federal election, including from prominent IS activists.

"#Obama gets on his knees and begs Canada to continue to fight … as the #US just can't fight #ISIS on its own," tweeted Sally Jones, a British IS hacker based in Syria, and widow of prominent IS leader Junaid Hussain who was recently killed.

WNU Editor: This is a PR victory for the Islamic State that will last about 30 seconds.

Diplomats Claim Progress In Syrian Peace Talks

BBC: Syria conflict: 'Progress made' in Vienna talks

World leaders say progress has been made in talks to resolve Syria's civil war after "historic" talks in Vienna, but they continue to differ on the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Vienna talks involved Iran, Syria's ally, for the first time.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's human rights chief, said there were grounds to start a UN-led peace process.

The talks comes as activists say a Syrian government attack on a Damascus suburb left at least 57 people dead.

WNU editor: The diplomats talk of progress .... but the people who are fighting on the ground have a different point of view .... Syria opposition, rebel dismiss Iran idea for transition (Reuters).

Update: This says it all .... There’s one group missing from the talks to end the Syrian civil war: Syrians (Ben Norton (Salon).

More News On Today's Syrian "Peace Talks"

Agreement Reached to Restart Syria Peace Talks and Seek Cease-Fire -- NYT
Foreign Ministers Agree to U.N.-Led Diplomatic Process for Syria Government and Opposition -- WSJ
Nations Agree on New Syria Talks, but Say Little About Assad -- AP
Ceasefire and transition plan for Syria under discussion at Vienna talks -- DW
Vienna talks: 19 global powers to work to establish nationwide Syria ceasefire -- RT
Diplomats call for cease-fire in Syria, outline first steps toward ending war -- Washington Post
Diplomats Meet in Vienna for Syria Talks as Gap Appears to Be Narrowing Over Assad Future -- WSJ
No agreement on Assad's fate at Syria talks - Germany -- Reuters
US, Russia agree to restart Syrian peace process -- Al Jazeera
Diplomats From 17 Countries, Including Iran, Discuss Syria Crisis In Vienna -- RFE
Syria peace talks pin hopes for end to war on Iran and Saudi Arabia -- The Guardian
The Syria Talks in Vienna: The Beginning of the End? -- Lord Michael Williams of Baglan, Newsweek

The Tactics And Strategy That The Syrian Rebels Are Using To Survive The Russian - Syrian Military Onslaught

Residents run though dust in a site damaged by what activists said were airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria October 24, 2015. REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI

Reuters: Trenches, tactics help rebels survive Syria onslaught

After the initial shock of intensive Russian air strikes, Syrian rebels on the receiving end of a major offensive say better organization and new tactics have helped them to stem losses and fight back.

A month of Russian air strikes in support of government offensives have cost the rebels in lives and supplies: commanders have been killed, bases bombed, and weapons depleted.

Supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon's Hezbollah, this is the first multi-pronged attack of its kind in nearly five years of war that have diminished President Bashar al-Assad's control to a quarter or less of Syria.

But while it may be too early to say how this new phase of the war will play out, analysts say modest government gains so far do not appear to match the scale of its assault.

WNU Editor: More on this Syrian rebel tactics and planning can be read here .... Syria's Rebels Want Their Own Stalingrad

A Collection Of RT's 'Best Videos' On Russia's Military Campaign In Syria

A Russian Aerospace Defense Force jet bombs Islamic State facilities in Syria. © Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / RIA Novosti

RT: Best RT videos since start of Russian anti-ISIS campaign in Syria 1 month ago (VIDEO)

One month since Russia launched its ops against jihadists in Syria and online coverage of the campaign has boosted and attracted millions to RT online platforms in search of fascinating first-hand videos accounts from the region.

WNU Editor: If you have some time .... there are a lot of videos here.

Russia's Military Operations In Syria -- News Updates October 30, 2015

RT: Combat report: Over 1,600 terror targets destroyed in 1 month of Russia's Syria op

The Russian Air Force has conducted some 1,400 sorties in Syria since the start of Moscow's anti-terror operation. They have eliminated more than 1,600 terrorist targets in one month, the Ministry of Defense said.

Among the destroyed targets are 249 command posts, 51 militants' training camps, 131 ammunition and fuel depots and 786 field bases, Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov of Russia's General Staff said on Friday.

Despite Islamic State's "considerable losses and mass walkout," it's too early to talk about "complete victory" over the terrorists in Syria, Kartapolov stressed, adding the militants are continuing their stand against Syrian government troops in a number of regions. But "all their [terrorists'] efforts of counter attacks have been timely suppressed by the Syrian Army," the Russian military official said.

Russia's Military Operations In Syria -- News Updates October 30, 2015

Russia says hit 1,623 targets in Syria since start of bombing campaign -- AFP
Russian Strikes Destroy 1,600 Terrorist Targets in Syria Since Sept. 30 -- Sputnik
Over 1,600 terrorist targets hit by Russian warplanes in Syria over past month -- TASS
Russia carries out first strikes in Syria’s south -- Al Arabiya
REPORT: Russia is helping Iran deliver arms to Syria -- Business Insider
The Latest: Russia says it exchanged with Saudi list of Syria opposition groups it can talk to -- AP
Russian airstrikes in Syria kill 183 civilians - monitor -- News 24
Russia says no country can use military force in Syria without government approval -- Reuters
US air strikes in Syria decline since Russia’s bombing campaign -- Financial Times
Russian Raids Said To Deliberately Target Rebel Field Hospitals In Syria -- RFE
State Department: Evidence Shows Russia Hit Hospital In Syria With Airstrike -- IBTimes
After Russian strikes, Syria's newly displaced scramble for shelter -- Reuters
Russia is Rethinking Its Support for Assad, Says Top U.S. Diplomat -- WSJ
Month into Russia's Syria strikes, what has changed? -- AFP

U.S. Director Of National Intelligence: Vladimir Putin Has No Plan On Syria

CNN: James Clapper: Vladimir Putin in Syria is 'winging this'

Washington (CNN)Moscow's escalating militancy in Syria comes not because of careful strategic decisions but rather because Russian President Vladimir Putin is "winging this," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN Thursday in an exclusive interview.

Clapper said Putin was "very impulsive and opportunistic" as he increased Russian support for close ally President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's roiling civil war.

"I personally question whether he has some long-term strategy or whether he is being very opportunistic on a day-to-day basis," Clapper told CNN's Jim Sciutto. "And I think his intervention into Syria is another manifestation of that."

When asked if Putin had a plan for Syria, Clapper said Putin didn't.

WNU Editor: And the U.S. has a plan?

A Look At Who Has Gained Ground In Syria Since Russia Began Its Air-Strikes (Interactive Maps)

WNU Editor: The New York Times has put together a large number of maps on the conflict in Syria .... Who Has Gained Ground in Syria Since Russia Began Its Airstrikes (NYT). It is very informative and provides a lot of  detail ... and quoting from the New York Times .... The full impact of Russian airstrikes on the Syrian war has yet to be realized, but some shifts have occurred in recent weeks.

The Current Role Of The U.S. Army In Syria And Iraq

WNU Editor: A video summary on the current U.S. military role in Iraq and Syria.

President Obama In 2013: ‘I Will Not Put American Boots On The Ground In Syria’

Salon: President Obama breaks pledge: U.S. will send ground troops into Syria

For years, the president has pledged not to send U.S. forces into Syria. Now, he's reversing course.

Conceding that his more than year long strategy of fighting ISIS in Syria without ground troops is at a stalemate, President Obama is expected to announce that U.S. special forces will begin operating in Syria later today.

As Iranian officials join international talks on a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria for the first time, the U.S. will now send what the White House describes as a small contingent of about 50 ground troops to ramp up the fight against the Islamic militant group, working alongside a rebel group known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

WNU Editor: This is what "mission creep" looks like. No debate. No congressional vote. Broken promises. And here is an easy prediction .... this is just the beginning.

President Obama Orders Special Operations Troops To Syria

Reuters: U.S. to deploy small number of special forces to Syria in advisory role: sources

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deploy a small number of special operations forces to Syria to advise moderate rebels, U.S. sources said, a step he has long resisted to avoid getting dragged into another war in the Middle East.

The number of special operations troops was likely to be in the range of 20 to 30, said one U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. A second source confirmed the plan but declined to provide a number.

The sources said the move, expected to be announced later on Friday, reflected a wider strategy of strengthening moderate rebels in Syria even as Washington intensifies its efforts to find a diplomatic solution to end to the four-and-a-half year Syrian civil war.

More News On President Obama Orderings Special Operations Troops To Syria

US official: Obama authorizes ‘fewer than 50’ US special forces to deploy to northern Syria -- AP
Obama to Send Troops to Syria -- ABC News
United States sending special forces to Syria -- CBS
Obama authorizes Special Ops Forces to deploy to Syria -- FOX news
Obama orders US special forces to 'assist' fight against Isis in Syria -- The Guardian
US boots on the ground in Syria: Special forces to be dispatched in fight against Isis -- The Independent
US to deploy special forces to Syria to 'advise and assist' groups fighting ISIS -- Daily Mail
US Orders Special Operations Troops to Syria -- VOA
Obama to send small Special Operations force to Syria -- Washington Post
White House to send special forces into Syria -- McClatchy News
Obama to Send Special Operations Forces to Syria to Help Fight ISIS -- NYT
Obama sending troops to Syria -- The Hill
U.S. to Send First Troops to Syria to Combat Islamic State -- Bloomberg
U.S. sending special forces troops to Syria in ISIL fight -- Politico
U.S. deploying special operations forces to Syria -- Air Force Times
Obama okays deployment of special ops force to Syria, senior official says -- Al Jazeera
A small contingent of US special forces to be deployed to Syria - reports -- RT
Amid Anti-ISIS Airstrikes, US Troops Deployed To Syria To Fight Islamic State -- IBTimes
Obama is sending US special forces to Syria. Here's what that means. -- Zack Beauchamp, VOX

World News Briefs -- October 30, 2015

Reuters: Iran backs six-month Syria 'transition' at Vienna peace talks

Iran signaled on Friday it backed a six-month transition period in Syria followed by elections to decide Bashar al-Assad's fate, a proposal floated at peace talks as a concession but which the president's foes rejected as a trick to keep him in power.

Sources who described the Iranian proposal said it amounted to Assad's closest ally dropping its insistence on him remaining in office.

But Assad's enemies say a new election would keep him in power unless other steps were taken to remove him. His government held an election as recently as last year, which he easily won. His opponents have always rejected any proposal for a transition unless he is removed.


Syria opposition, rebel dismiss Iran idea for transition.

Syria conflict: Powers backing rivals meet in Vienna.

New round of Syria talks possible in Vienna next week: U.S. official.

Government strike 'kills dozens' in Syria's Douma.

U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group says assault on Islamic State imminent.

Iraq military halts anti-Islamic State operation in western city of Ramadi due to bad weather.

Islamic State great danger to Iraq's oil industry.

Yemen's Houthis say efforts to find political solution have failed.

Battle for Yemen's Taiz takes rising civilian toll.

Rockets strike Iranian opposition camp in Baghdad. Iraq violence: Iranian exiles hit by intense rocket fire.

Iran arrests first American since nuke deal.

Turkish media denounce 'biggest crackdown on press in republic’s history'.


China calls on Japan to stop 'hampering' military flights.

China vice president to visit India in November as ties warm.

No Sino-India rivalry over influence in Africa: China.

Opposition rally attacked in Myanmar.

Taliban says it won't interfere with Afghanistan quake relief.

North Korea's Workers' Party to hold first congress for 35 years.

Maldives boat blast suspect deported from Malaysia.

China to leave implementation of two-child policy to provinces.


EU mulls Libya sanctions over stalled U.N. peace deal.

South Sudan rebels seize UN contractors.

Cannibalism, gang rapes -- the brutal toll of the South Sudan conflict.

Boko Haram has lost territory in Nigeria, US general says.

Central African Republic leader: Elections only way out. Central African president rejigs cabinet weeks before elections.

Ethiopia heading for worst drought in decades.

Africa’s middle class is dramatically smaller than we think.


Hungary: Refugees biggest crisis EU has faced.

Merkel slammed by her own Vice Chancellor as refugee crisis deepens.

Ukraine calls deadly depot blast a terrorist act.

Most Catalans reject ruling separatists' plan to split from Spain: poll.

Portugal PM, president urge talks to let minority government rule.

Edward Snowden praises EU parliament vote against US extradition.

Roman Polanski: Polish court rejects US extradition.


Obama wins U.S. debt-limit, budget truce through end of presidency.

US Senators demand answers about IRS use of secret cellphone tracking systems.

White House to deploy Obama for 2016.

Brazil's embattled ex-president Lula vows to 'survive'.

Venezuela labels ex-prosecutor Nieves a 'thug'.

Coast Guards of Arctic nations seek deeper cooperation.

Toronto police issue warrants for Pan Am athletes from Brazilian soccer team in sex assault.


U.S. strike kills former German rapper who joined Islamic State.

The ISIS fight: More than guns and bombs.

US Senate targets ISIS antiquities smuggling.

Back to school in Mosul: The ISIS curriculum.

Shaker Aamer released from Guantánamo Bay after 14-year detention. Shaker Aamer: Last UK Guantanamo Bay detainee arrives in UK.


World stocks on course for best month in four years.

London property most overvalued in world, warns UBS.

A gas discovery in Egypt threatens to upend Mideast energy diplomacy.

Military And Intelligence News briefs -- October 30, 2015

The Guardian: China warns US it could spark war with 'provocative acts' in South China Sea

Beijing’s top admiral issues the warning during teleconference talks with his US counterpart aimed at defusing tension in the region

China has warned the US that its “dangerous and provocative acts” in the South China Sea could lead to “a minor incident that sparks war”.

China’s naval commander, Admiral Wu Shengli, issued the warning to his American counterpart Admiral John Richardson during video conference talks on Thursday aimed at defusing tension in the region, according to a Chinese naval statement.

Military And Intelligence News briefs -- October 30, 2015

Secretary Carter Heads to Asia Amid South China Sea Tensions -- Defense news

Two Russian warplanes edge close to US aircraft carrier -- NBC

Russian bombers buzz carrier Reagan amid exercise -- Defense News

White House insists Russian warplanes buzzing U.S. aircraft carrier weren’t ‘threatening’ -- Washington Times

US Failing to Uncover Secrets of ISIL’s Oil Trade - Former US Official. -- Sputnik

US Raid in Syria Produced Intelligence to Target ISIL Oil Infrastructure -- Sputnik

Russian to spend $34.8 bln on Armed Forces in 2016 — draft budget -- TASS

Russia Now Says The T-50 Is Fine -- Strategy Page

Russian Submarines Launch Ballistic Missiles From Barents, Okhotsk Seas -- Sputnik

What it's like to be a conscript in the Russian military -- Business Insider

China published rare photo of Su-30MKK mid-air refueling with Russian Il-78 -- Alert 5

Venezuela to Spend $480Mln on Russian Sukhoi Jet Upgrade -- Sputnik

Spain Completes Withdrawal From Afghanistan -- Defense News

This F-16 fighter jet in Afghanistan might be the Pentagon’s most decorated -- Washington Post

Lockheed Taps New Manager of F-35 Program -- DoD Buzz

U.S. Air Force to brief Boeing Friday on bomber contract loss - sources -- Reuters

Pentagon must get better on cyber warfare, says official -- The Hill

Police use shotguns to deflate wayward military blimp -- AP

Pentagon personnel on site to investigate loose blimp -- CNN

The Army has been trying to kill that rampaging blimp since 2010 -- Clay Dillow, Fortune

Army misfires on pistol upgrade effort, confuses gun makers with complex requirements -- Washington Times

Weapons: XM25 Lives -- Strategy Page

Most U.S. troops, vets would steer kids away from service -- Washington Examiner

US Army opens 19,700 field artillery jobs to women -- Army Times

Why We Need the B-3 -- Mackenzie Eaglen, Real Clear Defense

U.S. Forces Prepare for a ‘Day Without Space’ -- Stew Magnuson, National Defense

Intelligence: What Really Makes Armed UAVs Special -- Strategy page

Is US Military Strong Enough? As We Fight Terrorism, Military Isn’t What It Was During Cold War -- Dakota Wood, Daily Signal

11 secrets Marine drill instructors hide at boot camp -- Gina Harkins, Marine Times

The Pentagon Dodged a Bullet Thanks to the US Budget Deal -- Matt Yurus, VICE News

Syria Tells Saudi Arabia To 'Shut-Up' in Today's International Talks On Ending The Syrian Conflict

New York Times: Rancor Between Saudi Arabia and Iran Threatens Talks on Syria

VIENNA — As Secretary of State John Kerry sat down here on Friday to push for a political settlement of the Syrian war, the immediate tension surrounded his dealings with the Russians and the Iranians.

But the bigger challenge may well be reconciling the Saudis and the Iranians, longtime rivals who have turned Syria into the main battlefield in a broadening proxy war for dominance in the Middle East.

They have more invested in the outcome than any of the other participants in the talks to end the conflict, now in its fifth year.

Until two weeks ago, the idea that Saudi Arabia and Iran would sit at the same table was unthinkable. The Saudis outright refused, and the two countries have been accelerating an arms race to assure they prevail not only in Syria, but also in Yemen, Iraq and, less noticeably, in the street uprisings in Bahrain.

WNU Editor: Peace is the last thing on the minds of the people who are directly involved in the Syrian war. Having a bunch of foreign ministers in Vienna to talk about the crisis .... in an atmosphere where no one is interested in compromising .... and where there is no preparation or understanding on what is to be discussed .... I fail to see how these men can change anything.

North Korea To Hold First Its First Ruling Party Congress In 36 Years

NYT: North Korea to Hold Convention for Workers’ Party

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, which analysts say has grown more powerful under the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, will hold its first full-fledged party congress since 1980 next year, state-run news media reported on Friday.

The party’s Politburo said the meeting, to be held in May, was needed to strengthen the party’s role under Mr. Kim’s leadership, according to the report from the official Korean Central News Agency. The report provided no additional details of what would be discussed.

Since inheriting the country’s leadership from his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011, Kim Jong-un has tried to cement his control over both the Workers’ Party and the army. His government is struggling to revive a moribund economy while building an arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, despite tough penalties from the United Nations.

More News On North Korea Announcing That It Will Hold Its First Ruling Party Congress In 36 Years

North Korea's ruling party to hold highest-level convention in decades next year -- AP
North Korea to hold top-level party congress for first time in 35 years -- The Guardian
North Korea calls first ruling party congress in 36 years -- DW
North Korea announces rare, giant political gathering -- CNN
N.Korea to hold Workers’ Party congress after 36 year hiatus -- NK News
N. Korea's ruling party to hold 1st congress in 36 years in 2016 -- Yonhap News Agency

Reports: North Korea Preparing For Another Nuclear Test

Reuters: North Korea digging tunnel at nuclear test site, possibly for future test: report

North Korea is digging a new tunnel at its nuclear test site with an eye to conducting more tests of atomic devices in the future, a South Korean news report said on Friday, two days before the leaders of the South, Japan and China meet in Seoul.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also makes a separate visit on Sunday to discuss response to the North's missile and nuclear threat with South Korean defense officials.

The site is on North Korea's east coast where three previous nuclear tests were conducted, and there's an active movement of workers and vehicles working on a new tunnel, Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

More News On Reports That North Korea Is Preparing For Another Nuclear Test

N. Korea digging new tunnel at its nuke test site: official -- Yonhap News Agency
North Korea " preparing for more atomic tests", report claims -- The Telegraph
North Korea prepping nuclear site for new tests -- Arutz Sheva
N Korea digging tunnel at nuclear test site, possibly for future test: report -- Asia Times
North Korea digs new tunnel at its n-base -- Business Standard
N. Korea building new tunnel at nuke test site -- Korea Herald

Syria's Rebels Want Their Own Stalingrad

Bill Roggio and Caleb Weiss. Long War Journal: Jihadists in Syria train for urban warfare

The Islamic State and its jihadist rival Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, are training forces to conduct urban warfare at camps inside Syria.

Both jihadist groups have released propaganda on social media sites over the past several days that show their personnel drilling in urban warfare tactics. The Islamic State is training its forces inside a city under its control, while Al Nusrah is instructing fighters near the contested city of Aleppo.

The Islamic State showcased jihadists training inside the ancient city of Palmyra (or Tadmur in Arabic) in the Homs desert. The fighters can be seen infiltrating a segment of the city before they practice how to effectively navigate the streets in combat. The trainees use light-machine guns, technicals, and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) as cover fire for during these exercises.

WNU Editor: It is when I read posts like this one that I cannot help but feel that the Syrian war is going to go on for a very long time.