Monday, March 18, 2019

Wickedness Increases

Dutch police arrest suspected gunman in tram shooting
UPI reports: "Dutch police arrested a suspect in a deadly shooting aboard a tram Monday that officials said bore the hallmarks of a terror attack. The shooting took place aboard a tram in the city of Utrecht, leaving three people dead and five others injured. [...] The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis of Turkey, led officials on a manhunt for hours before his arrest, Utrecht police said. [...] Utrecht police said they have not determined a motive for the attack, but it has the hallmarks of a terror plot."

Comment: Another day, another shooting. I wonder if this one was in retaliation for the  New Zealand attack?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Wickedness Increases

Police name Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand attacks, probe lengthy extremist manifesto - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The accused gunman who killed 49 people at two New Zealand mosques has been charged and will appear in court Saturday, authorities said. Police said Brenton Tarrant of Australia was behind the attacks Friday at two Christchurch mosques, which officials say was nothing short of a terrorist plot motivated by extremism."

Comment: These are perilous times my friends, stay safe out there. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jerusalem Security - Covenant With Many

Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for rockets launched at Tel Aviv - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Israeli airstrikes hit Hamas targets within Gaza Thursday night in retaliation to two rockets fired earlier at central Israel from the Palestinian-controlled area along the country's western coast. [...] IDF attacked several military facilities within Gaza, striking six buildings used by the militant Palestinian organization, Haaretz reported. [...] Two rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the IDF said. Earlier Thursday, two rockets were fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv, setting off emergency sirens in the capital for the first time since Israel conducted a large scale military operation in Gaza in 2014."

Comment: The "militant wing" of the Palestinians is again demonstrating their support for Mideast peace.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Rumors of War - King of the North

Intelligence report: Russia preparing to meddle in EU vote
UPI reports: "Russian government will try to meddle in the coming European Parliament elections and influence Western institutions like NATO, a new intelligence report said Tuesday. [...] 'Russia supports its allies through Russian-controlled media, organizes high-level meetings and visits that attract media attention, offers covert financial assistance if necessary, discredits opponents (by stealing and leaking internal information), intentionally spreads false information in social media, and so on.' [...] The report says President Vladimir Putin's government has also been preparing militarily for a possible conflict with NATO."

Comment: The resurgence of Russia is one of the most important events of the last decade, one we should continue to monitor very closely.  Russia is not a status quo power, they are a disgruntled power out to change the world system and are prepared to use all the weapons in their arsenal to do so. This is now the age of hybrid warfare and the battlefield is domestic politics, cyberwar, surveillance and social media manipulation. I think they took the old MTV ad to heart: rock the vote.  

Friday, March 08, 2019

King of the North - Gog Alliance

Turkey, Russia start joint patrol of Syrian rebel stronghold
UPI reports: "Turkey and Russia began joint patrols of Syria's Idlib province Friday, the last stronghold for Syrian rebels, in an agreement meant to protect more than 3 million civilians. [...] Russia, which supports the Syrian government, is expected to patrol the edge of the province. Turkey, which backs the Syrian rebels, will protect the negotiated demilitarized zone around the province."

Comment: The fact that the U.S. has left 200 soldiers in Syria does not take away from the fact that the big winners in Syria are Russia, Turkey and Iran.  The losers, it would seem, are the U.S., Israel and the Kurds. Its not a good situation and suggests increasing military tension along Israel's northern border.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Covenant With Many

US says closing consulate in Jerusalem no policy shift
The AP reports: "When first announced by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October, the move infuriated Palestinians, fueling their suspicions that the U.S. was recognizing Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories that Palestinians seek for a future state. [...] The downgrade is just the latest in a string of divisive decisions by the Trump administration that have backed Israel and alienated the Palestinians, who say they have lost faith in the U.S. administration’s role as a neutral arbiter in peace process. [...] The Trump administration has cited the reluctance of Palestinian leaders to enter peace negotiations with Israel as the reason for such punitive measures, although the U.S. has yet to present its much-anticipated but still mysterious “Deal of the Century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, announced last month that the U.S. would unveil the deal after Israeli elections in April. "

Comment:  The media fixates on Palestinian opposition but they fail to note that half of the Palestinians (the Hamas wing) has always been against the peace process and indeed, against the existence of Israel. The Trump approach seems to be to bypass the Palestinians (who have, after all, opposed every previous peace deal) and work with the Arab neighbors to get their support first. Will this work? Time will tell. Looking forward to the unveiling of the peace plan in April.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Rumors of War

Vladimir Putin suspends Russian compliance with 1987 INF missile treaty
UPI reports: "Russian President Vladimir Putin officially suspended Moscow's compliance with the 31-year-old Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty on Monday. The Cold War-era treaty has been in effect since 1987 but both countries have accused the other of violating it in recent years. [...] The treaty is intended to prevent both nations from positioning short- and intermediate-range, land-based nuclear missiles in Europe."

Comment: This would appear to be "the other shoe" after the U.S. backed out of the treaty last month. Now the question is, which side will place missiles in Europe first? 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Pestilence

UNICEF: 'Measles surging at alarming levels'
UPI reports: "The number of measles cases around the globe surged to alarmingly high levels in 2018 with 98 countries reporting increases in infected patients from a year earlier, according to data by UNICEF. The Philippines, Brazil and France along with seven other countries account for almost two-thirds of the total increase, which UNICEF says is eroding progress already made in the fight against this curable and highly deadly disease."

Comment: I continue to note these because most people I've talked to think it's a small problem in the U.S. and don't realize it's a global outbreak. If we can't contain disease outbreaks for which we have time-tested vaccines, it does not bode well for our ability to deal with new threats.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Rumors of War

India-Pakistan tensions escalate after shootdown of fighter jets over Kashmir
UPI reports: "Tensions between Pakistan and India escalated Wednesday when the Pakistani air force shot down two Indian fighter jets after they entered national airspace, authorities said. [...] Both countries lay claim to Kashmir, a Muslim-majority area in the northern region of the Indian continent, but control only segments of it. India's Jammu and Kashmir was the site of a deadly suicide bomb attack this month that escalated tensions."

Comment: While many people remain distracted by domestic news some very important and dangerous events are taking place in South Asia. When two nuclear powers start shooting down warplanes we should take notice. This is a situation that could easily escalate.