Via The War Files– The Turkish army is preparing for an all-out offensive on areas currently held by the PKK and YPG in northern Syria. The Turkish military is expected to launch the operation near the Turkish border town of Kilis to take Afrin, Tell Rifaat and the Minnigh Military Airport.
Military sources said that the Turkish army, which has been building up a presence on the Syrian border for quite sometime, “is likely to kick off the operation to sweep PYD and YPG terrorists from Afrin this weekend.” Ankara has long warned the PYD against remaining along the Turkish-Syrian border, and that it wouldn’t allow the formation of a “terrorist state” along its borders in northern Syria. Last Friday, President Erdoğan stated Turkey’s case against the PYD, saying: “Despite who is on your side [referring to the US-led coalition], you shall know that Turkey, with its armed forces, will not let a state be formed in northern Syria.” The Afrin offensive is expected to be similar to Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched in August 2016, and concluded late in March.
The operation successfully liberated Jarablus, Dabiq and al-Bab from Daesh. A journalist for the Sabah newspaper, currently in Idlib, said that the new operation will start very soon. “Tensions have been escalating recently. We obtained information that high-ranking commanders will cross into Syria, which will trigger the offensive,” the journalist, Uğur Yıldırım, said.
Local journalists on the ground also reported that a Turkish operation in Afrin and Tell Rifaat was imminent. Dozens of Turkish tanks have purportedly made their way into the rebel-held countryside of Aleppo, while artillery units have already began shelling the SDF extensively.
Via The War Files – A new proposal for the 2018 military budget by the Senate committee would see US troops in Eastern Europe permanently, and supply lethal weapons to Ukraine. Adopted in the Senate Armed Services Committee (27-0), the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would see an additional $97 billion to the total military budget proposed by President Trump.
Citing the need to “deter Russian aggression,” John McCain shifted the funding for US deployments in Eastern Europe to the base Pentagon budget, and renamed it the European Deterrence Initiative “In an unparalleled attack on our core interests and values, Russia engaged in an active, purposeful campaign to undermine the integrity of American democracy and affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” the summary version of the bill read. “The committee believes America must do more to deter Russian aggression, whether across its borders or in cyberspace.”
The 2018 NDAA also extends the prohibition of any and all military cooperation with Russia. The prohibition was imposed in 2014, and prevents the US-led coalition from coordinating their operations against the Islamic State with Russia.
The NDAA also codifies a policy that the US Navy should have “at least” 355 ships of “the optimal mix” and would see 13 new ships constructed in 2018; 5 more than the White House requested. It also funds 94 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. 60 would be supplied for the USAF, 24 for the USMC and 10 for the US Navy.
That’s 24 more F-35’s than Trump’s budget requested. The Senate proposal calls for an additional 15,000 soldiers and 1,000 Marines over Trump’s budget request and authorizes a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise for members of the US military. By far the biggest increase in funding relates to cooperative missile defense programs between the US and Israel, which would see $558.5 million more than Trump requested; for a total of $705 million.
Via The War Files – In the near future, the Trump-admin plans to sell Taiwan over $1.4 billion in weapons, while China’s ambassador to the US reportedly said the deal “goes against the spirit of talks” between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.”
And all these actions – sanctions against Chinese companies and especially arms sales to Taiwan – will certainly undermine the mutual confidence between the two sides and runs counter to the spirit of the Mar-a-Lago summit,” Ambassador Cui Tiankai said. “The administration had formally notified Congress of seven proposed defense sales for Taiwan. It’s now valued about $1.42 billion,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
When the sale was first announced in March, it received criticism from Beijing, who said the weapons won’t prevent the self-ruled island’s re-unification with China.
“Separatist Taiwan independence forces and their activities are the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese DM spokesman Wu Qian said. “It is futile to use weapons to refuse unification, and is doomed to have no way out.”
Taiwan has been self-ruled since the end of China’s civil war in 1950, but Beijing has maintained its sovereignty over the island. The weapons sale also needs congressional approval.
Two years ago, President Obama announced a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan, provoking an angry reaction from China. The previous package included two Naval frigates as well as anti-tank missiles and amphibious assautlt vehicles.
Via UBC News – On Tuesday, June 27, an army officer stole a helicopter in Caracas, Venezuela and flew it above the supreme court building with grenades being dropped from the helicopter.
The man who stole the helicopter, Oscar Perez, released a statement on Instagram saying that he was doing what he did against the current government. What are your thoughts on the current situations in Venezuela?
BREAKING: Three current or former ChicagoPolice officers have been indicted on state charges in the cover-up of the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, which left him dead.
Patrol Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney & Detective David March were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice, according to a news release from the special prosecutor’s office. The three-count indictment was publicly released just today.
Via Atlas News – Federal investigators said that 21 year old Justin Sullivan will spend the rest of his life behind bars after plotting to kill as many people as he could at a concert in the name of the Islamic State. FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong told the Charolette Observer that,
“Justin Sullivan had elaborate plans to kill hundreds of innocent people to show his support for the terrorist organization, ISIL.”
Investigators said Sullivan planned to buy a rifle at a gun show and then use it to open fire on concert goers in Charolette. He was arrested the day before the gun show. Sullivan has also been linked to the murder of his 74 year old neighbor and could now face the death penalty.
Via UBC Politics – Trump Organization’s golf clubs across the United States and Europe have been caught displaying fake TIME Magazine covers showing off President Trump’s ‘accomplishments’⠀
Many issues were older, praising the success of the President’s TV show ‘The Apprentice’ and more suggesting that these fake issues of TIME have been being made and displayed for a long time.⠀
“I can confirm that this is not a real TIME cover,” Kerri Chyka, a spokesperson for the publication, wrote to The Washington Post in an email.⠀
In a press conference last year, the President also gave an inaccurate number of how many isues he had been in.⠀