VLADIMIR PUTIN bombs Islamic terrorists in Syria while Barack Hussein Obama pulls America’s last aircraft carrier out of the Persian Gulf

As Russian warships rain down cruise missiles as part of its military strike in Syria, there’s now a glaring absence in the region: For the first time since 2007, the U.S. Navy has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt — a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has had a central role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, when the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the Islamist extremists.

NBC News  Military officials said Thursday that they’ve pulled the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is home to about 5,000 service members and 65 combat planes, so that it can undergo ‘maintenance.’ (Yeah, sure) The ship officially exited the gulf around 11 p.m. ET.

The lack of a U.S. presence in the gulf comes as Russia is escalating its actions in the region and began pounding targets in Syria last week with airstrikes. Russian officials say they’re trying to obliterate ISIS, although the U.S. and its allies say they’re instead hitting rebel fighters who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Russian ally. (Yes, that too)

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Russia remains a wild card in the region — and the absence of an American aircraft carrier is being noticed, said Peter Daly, a retired Navy vice admiral and CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute. “The most important thing you need a carrier for is for what you don’t know is going to happen next,” Daly told NBC News.

That was especially important during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the Navy often had two carriers operating in the region. The combat planes can fly into war zones and generally act as a show of force to Iran and other nations during tense standoffs.

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The USS Theodore Roosevelt — a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has had a central role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, when the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the Islamist extremists.

A Navy official told Washington lawmakers in July that the lack of a carrier was imminent — and could potentially hamstring operations. “Without that carrier, there will be a detriment to our capability there,” Adm. John Richardson said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, prior to his confirmation in the Navy’s top post.

Putin’s Jets in Syria Are a Threat to the U.S. 

On Sept. 30, Russian lawmakers unanimously approved Pres. Vladimir Putin’s plan to begin combat operations in Syria — and hours later Moscow’s warplanes in the region began attacking ISIS militants.

Right before the bombs rained down, a Russian general arrived in Baghdad warned the U.S. military planners to keep America’s own warplanes out of the way. U.S. officials said they would not alter their flight plans.

This is the beginning of a dangerous new phase of the international intervention in the Syrian civil war. Not only has Russia tried to order U.S. forces to step aside, it actually has the firepower to back up its demands. Some of the 35 warplanes Russia has deployed to Syria are specifically designed for fighting foes like the United States, not ISIS.

Seemingly out of nowhere on Sept. 21, they appeared at an air base in Latakia, a regime stronghold in western Syria—28 of the Russian air force’s best warplanes, including four Su-30 fighters and a number of Su-25 attack planes and Su-24 bombers.

Soon six more Su-34 bombers and at least one Il-20 spy plane followed, part of a contingent of Russia forces reportedly including some 500 troops plus armored vehicles and SA-15 and SA-22 surface-to-air missiles.

For U.S. and allied officials observing the deployment, there has been plenty of cause for confusion…and alarm. It’s not just that, more than four years into Syria’s bloody civil war, Russia has decided to jump in and make things more complicated.

No, it’s what kinds of weapons—planes and missiles, especially—Moscow decided to send, and what those weapons say about the Kremlin’s ultimate plan in Syria. Many of them don’t seem to be well-suited to fighting ISIS. They’re built to battle adversaries like the United States.

To be clear, 35 warplanes and a few surface-to-air missiles aren’t a lot in the grand scheme of things. There’s no shortage of military aircraft flying over Syria five years into the country’s bloody civil war.

Every day some of Syria’s aging Soviet-made planes —from the 300 or so that have survived four years of combat—take off from regime airfields to bomb ISIS militants and secular rebels slowly advancing on Syria’s main population centers.

Meanwhile hundreds of jets from the American-led international coalition have been waging, since the fall of 2014, an intensive air campaign against ISIS and al Qaeda targeting just the militants.

What’s weird and alarming about the Russian contingent is that it’s not really optimal for attacking lightly armed insurgent fighters. Surface-to-air missiles are only good for destroying enemy aircraft, which Syrian rebels do not possess. And the Su-30s are best suited for tangling with other high-tech forces.

Who in region possesses these high-tech forces? The United States, for one. Israel, too. Why, the United States, of course. Russia’s warplanes and missiles in Syria could pose a threat to America’s own aircraft flying over the country—all in order to carve out and preserve a portion of Syria that the United States can’t touch.

Russia’s warplanes and missiles in Syria could pose a threat to America’s own aircraft flying over the country—all in order to carve out and preserve a portion of Syria that the United States can’t touch.

Officially, Russia has deployed its forces to Syria to reinforce embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and help defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

“There is no other way to settle the Syrian conflict other than by strengthening the existing legitimate government agencies, support them in their fight against terrorism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with American news networks ahead of his Sept. 28 meeting with President Obama at the United Nations in New York City.

“There are more than 2,000 militants in Syria from the former Soviet Union,” Putin said. “Instead of waiting for them to return home we should help President al-Assad fight them there, in Syria.”

Russian troops in Syria could end up helping Isis, report claims.

The deployment of Russian troops in Syria could end up helping Islamic State as they have been sent to areas where they are most likely to fight other groups opposed to Isis, according to a new report.

The Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) report comes ahead of a US-Russian summit meeting at the UN on Monday, when Barack Obama will question Vladimir Putin on the intention behind Russia’s deepening military involvement in Syria, according to US officials.

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani – also in New York for the UN general assembly meeting – rejected suggestions that his country was operating in concert with Russia against Isis. “I do not see a coalition between Iran and Russia on fighting terrorism in Syria,” Rouhani said.

The Rusi report, titled Inherently Unresolved, assesses the global effort to counter the spread of Isis, and warns that Iraq and Syria may not survive as unitary states. It includes a section on Russian aims, particularly those underpinning Putin’s despatch this month of warplanes and troops to Tartus and Latakia in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Igor Sutyagin, a Russian strategic analyst, said there was an air regiment at Latakia with 28 planes, a battalion of motorised infantry and military engineers as well as a marine battalion at the naval base in Tartus.

The deployment, Sutyagin said, “underlines the contradictions of the Kremlin’s policy”, because the troops were in areas where Isis is not present.

“In this way, Russian troops are backing Assad in the fight against groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, which are themselves opposed to Isis. If Russian troops do eventually join combat, therefore, they would also – technically – be assisting Isis,” Sutyagin argued.

Satellite image from last week shows Russian aircraft and ground vehicles at air base in Latakia, Syria

The report says the Russian deployment should not therefore be seen as a change of policy towards fighting Isis directly, but a largely political move designed to save Assad and consolidate Russia’s hold over its naval base at Tartus and its newly built air base in Latakia, while currying favour with the west and the Gulf Arab states who are themselves reluctant to fight Isis on the ground.

“Indeed, the Kremlin may well be hoping that the west will show its appreciation by lifting the sanctions imposed in response to the situation in Ukraine,” Sutyagin said.

The tensions hanging over the Obama-Putin meeting on Monday were highlighted by discord between Washington and Moscow in describing the summit. US officials said it had been requested by Putin. A Russian spokesman insisted it was Obama who asked to meet. The White House said the meeting would address both the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The Kremlin said Ukraine would only be raised “if there was time”.

Celeste Wallander, the White House National Security Council’s senior director for Russia, said that Obama would press Putin on his objectives in Syria. Putin meanwhile told CBS News: “There is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”

The White House argues that the Russian strategy of entrenching Assad will only serve to deepen the roots of extremism in Syria. Ben Rhodes, a White House spokesman, said that at the UN meeting “the president will have the opportunity to make clear to President Putin that we share the determination to counter Isil [Isis], that we welcome constructive contributions to counter Isil. But at the same time, we believe that one of the principal motivating factors for people who are fighting with Isil is the Assad regime.”

The Rusi report said that it would be “perfectly feasible” to defeat Isis if Turkey and Iran were also engaged in the search for a regional solution. It advised US policymakers to “not give up on the possibility of maintaining the unity of Iraq and Syria, but not be beholden or obsessed with this idea either”.

“If the US could ‘father’ two brand-new states in the Balkans during the 1990s, there is no reason why Washington should not tolerate at least the informal emergence of new states in the Middle East,” the report argued.

 

Army Rejects Appeal of Green Beret Charles Martland Who Stood Up for 12 year old Afghan boy who was Raped.

Charles Martland acted Honorably and was treated like a criminal.

This is very disturbing that our country is so afraid that it sides with the enemy? Where is America going politically? When I read the story about our men and women in the Military being ordered to turn a blind eye to Child sex abuse and Rape I dismissed the thought, I even stated in a post if it were seen by one of our troops someone would end up dead. Now I run across this video. People Speak up! Post, call the Army, let us be a voice to bring the reckoning day to all these corrupt entities that are in our Government! This is Bull Shit. -Islamacide

Report: A former physics teacher is now leading ISIS 

A former physics teacher from Mosul has been installed as a new temporary leader for the Islamic State after the terror group’s leader was reportedly injured in an airstrike in March, an Iraqi government adviser told Newsweek.

Newsweek describes Abu Alaa Afri as a “rising star” within Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), and the Iraqi government adviser, Hisham al Hashimi, said Afri had become even more important than the injured “caliph” of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“More important, and smarter, and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and strong charisma,” Hashimi told Newsweek. “All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration.”

Afri will become ISIS’ new permanent leader if Baghdadi dies, Hashimi said. He is reportedly a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri, a prominent jihadi scholar, and used to teach physics in the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

Having a caliph with a background of religious education is important to ISIS, which has shaped its self-proclaimed caliphate around a strict interpretation of sharia law. The group recruits people to come live in its territory by marketing it as an Islamic utopia.

Der Spiegel reported recently that early leaders of ISIS, many of whom are former Iraqi intelligence officers from ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, decided to make Baghdadi caliph because he, as an “educated cleric,” would “give the group a religious face.”

Afri reportedly became Baghdadi’s right-hand man after Baghdadi took a step back from decision-making for security reasons, Newsweek reports. He has served as a link between ISIS’ top leaders and its lower ranks and helps with coordination between the upper ranks and the emirs in different regional provinces.

Osama bin Laden reportedly tapped Afri to run Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’ predecessor, after the death of senior officials in 2010, according to Newsweek. Afri became a senior member of the group and was known to be “very strict,” Hashimi said.

Newsweek reports that Afri is thought to desire reconciliation with Al Qaeda and its affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as Nusra Front, a chief rival of ISIS in Syria.

ISIS used to be aligned with Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda leadership denounced ISIS after the group defied its directives and continued releasing brutal propaganda. The two terror groups have been competing for territory in Syria since then, and Western airstrikes targeting ISIS in Syria have hurt that group while allowing Nusra to rise, the Associated Press reported last month.

ISIS Control Pentagon MapUS Department of Defense

And Nusra has faced pressure from its members to reconcile with ISIS so the two groups can join together to fight a common enemy: the West.

The Pentagon reported earlier this month that ISIS had since August lost thousands of miles of territory it once controlled, though nearly all of that lost territory is in Iraq, not Syria.

Afri also reportedly wants ISIS leadership to be made up half of Arabs and half of foreign fighters, which is a departure from its current structure.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that nearly all of ISIS’ leaders were former Iraqi officers, not foreign fighters. The foreign fighters have proved valuable for ISIS’ media strategy — the group used the now-infamous “Jihadi John,” a British extremist, in some of its beheading videos to gain more attention from the West — but seem to have so far been kept out of the upper echelons of leadership.

ISIS’ leaders operate largely in the shadows. Since rising to power as the leader of ISIS, Baghdadi has rarely appeared on video, and few photos of him have been released.

The Pentagon has denied reports of Baghdadi’s injury. US defense officials told The Daily Beast that the airstrike that reportedly wounded him was not aimed at a high-value target and that they “have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi.”

Martin Chulov at The Guardian reported that the strike targeted multiple cars in the town of Baaj in northwestern Iraq and that officials didn’t know that Baghdadi was in one of the cars.

Muslim ‘media darling,’ Reza Aslan, shocked that GOP candidates’ anti-Muslim bashing is getting rewarded

Reza Aslan said on CNN tonight that Donald Trump and Ben Carson engaging in “xenophobia and anti-Muslim bashing” doesn’t matter because it will actually help them in the Republican field.

Mediaite  Aslan told Anderson Cooper that Carson just coming out and saying that Muslims shouldn’t be president, and Trump saying “we might already have one (Muslim president)” despite how offensive that may be, is actually “rewarded in the GOP field.” Things got a bit tense when Jeffrey Lord asked him whether the children of Muslim fathers are considered to be Muslim, and Aslan repeatedly––and with increasing frustration––said, “A Muslim is whoever says he’s a Muslim.”

This Is the ISIS Intel the U.S. Military Dumbed Down? Or would just like us to think this is the scenario.  

The intelligence pros said killing certain ISIS leaders might not diminish the group and that airstrikes might not be working. The bosses didn’t like those answers—not at all.
Senior intelligence officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. But reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny, The Daily Beast has learned.Senior CENTCOM intelligence officials who reviewed the critical reports sent them back to the analysts and ordered them to write new versions that included more footnotes and details to support their assessments, according to two officials familiar with a complaint levied by more than 50 analysts about intelligence manipulation by CENTCOM higher-ups.

In some cases, analysts also were urged to state that killing particular ISIS leaders and key officials would diminish the group and lead to its collapse. Many analysts, however, didn’t believe that simply taking out top ISIS leaders would have an enduring effect on overall operations.

“There was the reality on the ground but it was not as rosy as [the leadership] wanted it to be,” a defense official familiar with the complaint told The Daily Beast. “The challenge was assessing whether the glass was half empty, not half full.”

Some analysts have also complained that they felt “bullied” into reaching conclusions favored by their bosses, two separate sources familiar with analysts’ complaints said. The written and verbal pressure created a climate at CENTCOM in which analysts felt they had to self-censor some of their reports.

Some of the analysts have also accused their bosses of changing the reports in order to appeal to what they perceived as the Obama administration’s official line that the anti-ISIS campaign was making progress and would eventually end with the group’s destruction.

Lawmakers and even presidential candidates seized on the allegations of politicizing intelligence as the White House tried to distance itself from the very strategy it has been pursuing.

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin came under withering bipartisan criticism on Wednesday when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that after spending at least $43 million over a 10-month period, the U.S. had trained only nine fighters to confront ISIS in Syria.

Senators were dumbfounded that the nearly year-long effort had produced such paltry results, calling it “a joke” and “an abject failure.”

Sen. John McCain, the committee chairman, called Austin’s testimony “grossly distorted” and said the general was attempting to convince senators that the military was making more progress against ISIS than he believes it is.

Asked whether he had ever ordered changes to intelligence reports, Austin replied, “Absolutely not.”

The Obama administration is now considering modifying the Syrian train-and-equip program, while the White House attempts to portray the president as having always been skeptical of it.

“There was the reality on the ground but it was not as rosy as [the leadership] wanted it to be. The challenge was assessing whether the glass was half empty, not half full.”

Meanwhile, Pentagon investigators are examining the back-and-forth between the intelligence bosses at CENTCOM and the analysts, which created a paper trail. Favorable reports had fewer comments written on them, and requests that were more critical showed heavy questioning, the two officials said.

The altering of intelligence led to reports that overstated the damage that U.S. strikes had on specific ISIS targets. For instance, strikes on oil refineries and equipment were said to have done more damage to the group’s financing of operations through illicit oil sales than the analysts believed. Also, strikes on military equipment were said to have set back the group’s ability to wage combat operations, when the analysts believed that wasn’t always the case.

The altered reports made ISIS seem financially weakened and less capable of launching attacks, the analysts allege.