Breaking News -- United States
U.S. general says cannot rule out larger ground role in Iraq
by Phil Stewart
(Reuters) - The most senior U.S. military officer raised the possibility on Tuesday that U.S. troops might need to take on a larger ground role as they fend off Islamic State militants in Iraq, but the White House stressed there would be no combat mission for U.S. ground forces.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was no intention of placing American military advisers on the ground for direct combat. The U.S. plan relies on other contributions, including air strikes.
Still, he told a Senate hearing: "I've mentioned, though, that if I found that circumstance evolving, that I would, of course, change my recommendation."
Dempsey offered scenarios in which a larger role might be worthwhile, including embedding U.S. forces with Iraqis during a complicated offensive, such as a battle to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State fighters.
"It could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission," he said. "But for the day-to-day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don't see it to be necessary right now."
U.S. President Barack Obama said last week he would lead an alliance to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, plunging the United States into a conflict in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.
Obama ruled out the possibility of a combat mission that could drag the United States into another ground war in Iraq.
Responding to Dempsey's comments, the White House said Obama’s military advisers had to plan for many possibilities and that overall policy had not changed - that Obama would not deploy U.S. troops in a combat role in Iraq or Syria.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Dempsey was "referring to a hypothetical scenario in which there might be a future situation where he might make a tactical recommendation to the president as it relates to ground troops."
Dempsey was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as the Obama administration makes its case to Congress for broadening operations against the Sunni militants, which would include U.S. air strikes in Syria for the first time.
NO "SHOCK AND AWE' IN SYRIA
Hagel said the military plan would be outlined to Obama on Wednesday by the U.S. Central Command. It envisions striking the militant group's safe havens to knock out infrastructure, logistics and command capabilities.
Dempsey said the strikes would degrade the group's capabilities as broader efforts get underway, including training of some 5,400 Syrian fighters in Saudi Arabia.
Congress is expected to approve this week a request from Obama for $500 million to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, one part of his program.
"This won't look like a 'shock and awe' campaign because that's simply not how (the Islamic State group) is organized. But it will be a persistent and sustainable campaign," Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
'Shock and awe' was a term popularly used to describe the initial air assault on Baghdad in the U.S. campaign to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003, and refers to use of overwhelming force to undermine an enemy's will to fight.
Still, Hagel acknowledged the number of Syrian fighters that could be trained over the course of the year would only put the opposition on the path to roll back Islamic State fighters.
"Five thousand alone is not going to be able to turn the tide. We recognize that," Hagel said.
The Senate hearing was repeatedly interrupted by anti-war protesters, shouting slogans such as, "There is no military solution." One protester was escorted out of the room while holding a sign that read: "More war = More extremism."
Senator Angus King of Maine, expressing concern that the United States would be drawn into interminable fights against extremist groups around the world from Iraq to Syria to Africa. said: "This is geopolitical Wack-a-mole."
(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan and Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott, Susan Heavey and Bernadette Baum)
ISIS, in Magazine, Warns of 'Armageddon' Against US, West
by rew MacKenzie
An Islamic State (ISIS) magazine called Dabiq has warned that the United States and other Western “crusaders” are facing Armageddon at the hands of the terror group’s fighters.
The publication is packed with disturbing pictures of bloody corpses, bombed-out buildings and knife-wielding jihadists, while one issue even has a section devoted to the beheading of American journalist James Foley, The Washington Post reports.
Filled with snazzy graphics and printed in English and other languages, the magazine is being used as a recruitment tool by the terror insurgents to enlist and radicalize foreigners around the world.
The Islamic State, which has an estimated 12,000 foreign fighters from 74 countries, also employs Dabiq to promote its violent campaign to defeat the “Romans” or “crusaders” from the West, who are symbolized by photos of President Barack Obama and Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain.
“You will invade the Arabian Peninsula, and Allah will enable you to conquer it,” says the second issue of Dabiq, called “The Flood,” which has an image of a Noah’s Arc-type boat on the front, possibly indicating the end of mankind as the world knows it.
“You will then invade Rome, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. Then you will fight the [false messiah], and Allah will enable you to conquer him,” continues the Islamic State columnist.
In another issue, the magazine threatens the West with an apocalypse, which will result in the terror organization one day ruling the world. “A day will come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master, having honor, being revered, with his head raised high and his dignity preserved.”
The publication champions the Islamic Sates as the key voice of the Muslims, while drawing a definitive line in the sand between the two “camps” in the world — one dependent on the Islamic faith and the other with the United States and Russia as its leaders, according to the Post.
It says there’s “the camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy — the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia.”
The magazine justifies its killing of Foley as retribution for “the countless accounts of American soldiers executing families and raping women under the sanctity of the U.S. military and Blackwater.”
“Muslim families were killed under the broad definition of ‘collateral damage,’ which the U.S. grants itself alone the right to apply. Therefore, if a mujahid kills a single man with a knife, it is a barbaric killing of the ‘innocent.’ However, if Americans kill thousands of Muslim families all over the world by pressing missile fire buttons, it is merely ‘collateral damage.’”
The magazine derives its name from the Syrian city of Dabiq, which has historical and religious significance for Islam, according to the Institute for the Study of War. The city was the site of the Ottoman defeat of the Mamluks in 1516, strengthening the last caliphate in the region, the Post said.
Ella Lipin, a research associate with the Council of Foreign Relations, said that the publication mobilizes followers by employing an “Islamic apocalyptic tradition,” with the West as the modern-day Romans.
“Both the organization and its new recruits understand this script, made all the more relevant and compelling by the recent debate about U.S. airstrikes in Syria,” Lipin wrote.
America Is On The Verge Of Losing Its Place In The World As No. 1
by Sam Ro
The U.S. economy is the largest economy in the world.
But it wasn't always the largest.
And it's unlikely to remain the largest economy for much longer.
"As Alexander, Rome and Britain fell from their positions of absolute global dominance, so too has the US begun to slip," Reid writes in a new note to clients. "America’s global economic dominance has been declining since 1998, well before the Global Financial Crisis. A large part of this decline has actually had little to do with the actions of the US but rather with the unraveling of a century’s long economic anomaly. China has begun to return to the position in the global economy it occupied for millennia before the industrial revolution."
One look at the chart and it's pretty clear that it may not be very long before we start saying the U.S. is No. 2.
"Based on current trends China’s economy will overtake America’s in purchasing power terms within the next few years," Reid continued. "The US is now no longer the world’s sole economic superpower and indeed its share of world output (on a PPP basis) has slipped below the 20% level which we have seen was a useful sign historically of a single dominant economic superpower. In economic terms we already live in a bi-polar world. Between them the US and China today control over a third of world output (on a PPP basis)."
Reid offered this prescient quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: "Let China sleep, for when she awakes, she will shake the world."
|(Disclaimer) What to Look For in World Events: Audio & Text Video|