The New Cold War

If you are looking for a reason the United States urgently needs to update its nuclear posture review, which is generally done every eight years, look no further than this sentence from the last review in 2010.”While policy differences continue to arise between the two countries and Russia continues to modernize its still-formidable nuclear forces, Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries, and prospects for military confrontation have declined dramatically.”That was then; this is now.

“A resurgent Russia has turned from partner to antagonist as it seeks to re-emerge as a global power,” Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s supreme allied commander, told Congress in March.

Russia has not only morphed from “frenemy” to full-blown enemy since its 2014 covert invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea, but it has also updated its nuclear doctrine to intimidate NATO nations along its periphery, as well as former Soviet states, including Ukraine and Georgia.

It’s a strategy known as “escalate to de-escalate,” the idea that a limited nuclear strike with a tactical or “battlefield” nuke could shock the U.S. into freezing a conflict in place.

“It’s one of the most challenging military questions you have,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the commander of America’s nuclear forces, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.

Hyten said “escalate to de-escalate” is really a strategy of “escalate to win,” which views the use of nuclear weapons as a normal extension of a conventional conflict.

“It’s important that we look at them seriously, understand what those pieces are,” Hyten testified April 4. “When we say ‘escalate to win,’ what does that really mean? And in order for us to win, we have two choices. One, to prevent that escalation. Or two, to respond in such a way after that escalation that would want to stop any aggression.”

While Russia remains America’s only peer in the area of nuclear weapons capabilities, China has been embarked on an ambitious military modernization campaign that includes both “qualitative and quantitative” upgrading of its nuclear arsenal, according to the last nuclear posture review.

And then there’s North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un has a stated goal of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles with the capability of delivering a nuclear warhead to a city on the U.S. mainland.

Hyten said that while the U.S. has de-emphasized the role of nuclear weapons for the past two decades, its adversaries have done the exact opposite.

“Russia, in 2006, started a huge, aggressive program to modernize and build new nuclear capabilities. They continue that to this day. New ballistic missiles, new weapons, new cruise missiles, significant air-launch cruise missile capabilities, now the ground launch cruise missile capabilities,” Hyten warned Congress. “China has done the same thing. Hypersonic glide vehicles on both sides that bring new threats to bear.”

It is, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, a grave new world.

“As service chiefs, you know, what we do is we look at [trying to balance] capability, capacity and readiness,” Goldfein testified before the House Armed Services Committee in April. “We make strategic trades based on our assumptions of the global security environment. What’s different now? The world’s different now.”

It’s against this backdrop that President Trump directed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to begin a sweeping review of all aspects of U.S. nuclear deterrence policy, everything from how many warheads the U.S. needs, to how many delivery systems, to what threats the U.S. may need to counter in the coming decade.

National Security Presidential Memorandum 1, signed by Trump one week after his inauguration, directs Mattis to conduct the review “to ensure the U.S. nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, effective, reliable and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.”

Last month, Mattis assigned the task to the deputy secretary of defense and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and set a deadline of the end of 2017.

But even before the formal directive, the work had already begun, Hyten said. And it’s not just one review but multiple studies, including a review of the ballistic missile defenses and the appropriate response to Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with its recent deployment of a land-based cruise missile. “I suspect there will be serious consideration of recommending pulling out of INF treaty and not extending New START,” said James Carafano, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

But Hyten said it appears Moscow is adhering to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty agreement, which calls for both sides to be limited 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems by February 2018.

“From a strategic weapons perspective, I support the limits that are in the New START,” Hyten testified, adding that withdrawing from the treaty would not be part of the review.

Also off the table is consideration of eliminating any of the three legs of the nuclear triad, the Cold War strategy under which the U.S. maintains the capability to deliver nuclear weapons from submarines, bombers and land-based ICBMs.

The 30-year triad modernization plan calls for a new Columbia class of ballistic missile submarines, new B-21 Raider long-range stealth bombers, and new replacement ICBMs known as the ground-based deterrent, along with new bombs and cruise missiles. It is projected to cost $1 trillion.

But Michael O’Hanlon, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, said the review should not just be about counting warheads and systems but about the role nuclear deterrence can play in maintaining peace and stability.

“I feel the best focus now may be on counterforce and how much of it we really need to do,” O’Hanlon said. “I don’t think we need to aim for the capacity to substantially disarm the Russians in a first strike, yet much of our planning still does so, explicitly or implicitly.”

But with Russia thinking differently about the role of nuclear arms in the 21st century, the U.S. may have to adjust its calculus too, argued Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain at last month’s hearing on the U.S. Strategic Command.

“Whatever well-intentioned hopes we may have had after the end of the Cold War,” McCain said, “the United States can no longer seek to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy or narrow the range of contingencies under which we would have to consider their use.”

Russia Extends Her Nuclear Horn Into The Arctic


Experts reckon the area could be cover more than £23 TRILLION worth of oil and gas

VLADIMIR Putin has his eyes set on starting a new Cold War – by opening a top-secret military base in the Arctic.

The giant complex on the northern ice cap is believed to be fully-armed with missile systems and nuclear-ready fighter jets.


The vast complex is decked out in the colours of the Russian flag


The vast complex is decked out in the colours of the Russian flag

It is part of a drive to take advantage of trillions of pounds worth of natural resources Moscow believes is buried beneath the snow


It is part of a drive to take advantage of trillions of pounds worth of natural resources Moscow believes is buried beneath the snow

Russia sends world’s largest submarine – Typhoon-class Dmitry Donskoy – to the BalticAnd Russian economists reckon it could hold the key to the Kremlin unearthing almost £24 TRILLION of oil and gas buried deep beneath the snow, The Times reports.

Moscow yesterday released the first pictures of the giant Arctic Trefoil complex on the Arctic island of Alexandra Land – where temperature can drop to -50°C.

More than 150 troops will be based at the clover-shaped compound – which is decked out in the red, white and blue of the Russian flag.

Vladimir Putin had overseen plans for the massive complex on Alexandra Land

Russia Increases the Nuclear Ante (Revelation 15)

Russia developing 152 mm tank gun and small battlefield nuclear weapons

brian wang | April 12, 2017 |
Russia in considering upgrading future T-14 main battle tnks to use the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82 125 mm gun. The 2A83 gun has a high-speed APFSDS shell with a 1,980 m/s muzzle velocity, only dropping to 1,900 m/s at 2 km.

However, Russian engineers have so far kept the 125 mm-size gun, assessing that improvements in ammunition could be enough to increase effectiveness, while concluding that a larger bore weapon would offer few practical advantage.

Russia is both miniaturizing the nuclear warheads and using sub-kiloton low-yield warheads. Battlefield nuclear weapons could be pared with the larger tank gun.

The 152 mm tank gun could penetrate 1 meter of armor.

For 11 years, China has been testing a 140mm gun on one its Type 98 tanks. The 140mm gun could fire an armor piercing round with twice the penetrating power of one fired from a 120mm gun (about 22 mega joules of energy, versus 11), the amount of ammunition carried was reduced by about a third (to 20-30 rounds, depending on the tank). The 140mm shell was about fifty percent larger than the 120mm one, and could probably knock out an M-1 tank with a frontal shot.

When the Armata (T-14) tank gets the 152mm gun, it will be the most powerful cannon to be mounted on a main battle tank of any country ever.

Trump’s Comrade States The Obvious

BN-JB080_russia_P_20150623091509Russia Could Annihilate U.S. With Nuclear Weapons, Trump Nominee Warns

The man President Donald Trump was set to nominate Thursday for a key Defense Department position once wrote an editorial that slammed Russia’s aggressive nuclear posture and the U.S.’ response.

The White House announced it intended to nominate David J. Trachtenberg to serve as the principal deputy under the secretary of defense for policy. In a December 2015 opinion piece for Defense News, Trachtenberg—the president of a national security consulting firm and former Department of Defense staffer—wrote that Russia had taken on a “threatening nuclear posture” and that the current approach left “Americans hostage to nuclear annihilation by Russia” in the name of strategic stability.

“In the most critical areas of nuclear deterrence and defense, it’s time to square the circle between Russia’s actions and America’s response,” Trachtenberg concluded in his Defense News piece. “Bolstering our nuclear offensive and defensive capabilities is long overdue. Let’s get on with it.”

The Trump administration’s ties to Russia have regularly come into question. The U.S. intelligence community determined that the country worked to help Trump get elected over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton through a hack of the Democratic National Committee and an “influence campaign.”

Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn stepped down after he misrepresented a conversation with a Russian ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, recused himself this month from an ongoing investigation of ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia after it was revealed that he did not disclose his meeting with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the run-up to the election.

Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump have expressed a desire to further their nation’s nuclear capabilities.

Russia must “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems,” Putin said in December.

Trump tweeted around that time, the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”

“Let it be an arms race,” Trump said in a statement to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the day after that tweet. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Russia Soon To Be A Nuclear Ally With The US

Russia and AmericaDonald Trump seeks a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin

It is a terrible idea

GEORGE W. BUSH looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and thought he saw his soul. He was wrong. Barack Obama attempted to “reset” relations with Russia, but by the end of his term in office Russia had annexed Crimea, stirred up conflict elsewhere in Ukraine and filled the power vacuum that Mr Obama had left in Syria. Donald Trump appears to want to go much further and forge an entirely new strategic alignment with Russia. Can he succeed, or will he be the third American president in a row to be outfoxed by Mr Putin?

The details of Mr Trump’s realignment are still vague and changeable. That is partly because of disagreements in his inner circle. Even as his ambassador to the UN offered “clear and strong condemnation” of “Russia’s aggressive actions” in Ukraine, the president’s bromance with Mr Putin was still smouldering. When an interviewer on Fox News put it to Mr Trump this week that Mr Putin is “a killer”, he retorted: “There are a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

For an American president to suggest that his own country is as murderous as Russia is unprecedented, wrong and a gift to Moscow’s propagandists. And for Mr Trump to think that Mr Putin has much to offer America is a miscalculation not just of Russian power and interests, but also of the value of what America might have to give up in return.

The art of the deal meets the tsar of the steal

Going by the chatter around Mr Trump (see Briefing), the script for Russia looks something like this: America would team up with Mr Putin to destroy “radical Islamic terror”—and in particular, Islamic State (IS). At the same time Russia might agree to abandon its collaboration with Iran, an old enemy for America in the Middle East and a threat to its allies, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In Europe Russia would stop fomenting conflict in Ukraine, agree not to harass NATO members on its doorstep and, possibly, enter nuclear-arms-control talks. In the longer term, closer ties with Russia could also help curb Chinese expansion. Stephen Bannon, Mr Trump’s most alarming adviser, said last year that he had “no doubt” that “we’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years.” If so, America will need allies, and Russia is a nuclear power with a 4,200km (2,600-mile) border with China. What’s not to like?

Pretty much everything. Russian hacking may have helped Mr Trump at the polls, but that does not mean he can trust Mr Putin. The Kremlin’s interests and America’s are worlds apart.

In Syria, for example, Mr Putin makes a big noise about fighting IS terrorists, but he has made no real effort to do so. His price for working with America could be to secure a permanent Russian military presence in the Middle East by propping up Bashar al-Assad, whose regime was revealed this week to have hanged thousands of Syrians after two- or three-minute trials. None of this is good for Syria, regional stability or America. Even if Mr Putin and Mr Trump shared a common goal (they don’t) and Americans did not mind becoming complicit in Russian atrocities (they should), American and Russian forces cannot easily fight side by side. Their systems do not work together. To make them do so would require sharing military secrets that the Pentagon spends a fortune protecting. Besides, Russian aircraft do not add much to the coalition air power already attacking IS. Ground troops would, but Mr Putin is highly unlikely to deploy them

Likewise, Russia is not about to confront Iran. The country’s troops are a complement to Russian air power. Iran is a promising market for Russian exports. And, most of all, the two countries are neighbours who show every sign of working together to manage the Middle East, not of wanting to fight over it.

The notion that Russia would be a good ally against China is even less realistic. Russia is far weaker than China, with a declining economy and population and a smaller army. Mr Putin has neither the power nor the inclination to pick a quarrel with Beijing. On the contrary, he values trade with China, fears its military might and has much in common with its leaders, at least in his tendency to bully his neighbours and reject Western lecturing about democracy and human rights. Even if it were wise for America to escalate confrontation with China—which it is not—Mr Putin would be no help at all.

The gravest risk of Mr Trump miscalculating, however, is in Europe. Here Mr Putin’s wishlist falls into three classes: things he should not get until he behaves better, such as the lifting of Western sanctions; things he should not get in any circumstances, such as the recognition of his seizure of Ukrainian territory; and things that would undermine the rules-based global order, such as American connivance in weakening NATO.

Mr Putin would love it if Mr Trump gave him a freer hand in Russia’s “near abroad”, for example by scrapping America’s anti-missile defences in Europe and halting NATO enlargement with the membership of Montenegro, which is due this year. Mr Trump appears not to realise what gigantic concessions these would be. He gives mixed signals about the value of NATO, calling it “obsolete” last month but vowing to support it this week. Some of his advisers seem not to care if the EU falls apart; like Mr Putin, they embrace leaders such as Marine Le Pen who would like nothing more. Mr Bannon, while admitting that Russia is a kleptocracy, sees Mr Putin as part of a global revolt by nationalists and traditionalists against the liberal elite—and therefore a natural ally for Mr Trump.

Played for a sucker by a silovik

The quest for a grand bargain with Mr Putin is delusional. No matter how great a negotiator Mr Trump is, no good deal is to be had. Indeed, an overlooked risk is that Mr Trump, double-crossed and thin-skinned, will end up presiding over a dangerous and destabilising falling-out with Mr Putin.

Better than either a bargain or a falling-out would be to work at the small things to improve America’s relations with Russia. This might include arms control and stopping Russian and American forces accidentally coming to blows. Congressional Republicans and his more sensible advisers, such as his secretaries of state and defence, should strive to convince Mr Trump of this. The alternative would be very bad indeed.

Trump Finally Speaks Some Truth About Babylon the Great

Trump says America is not ‘so innocent’ when asked about Putin’s brutality – TheBlaze

“Fox News” Bill O’Reilly interviews President Donald Trump in a segment slated to air right before the Super Bowl on Sunday, January 5, 2017. (Image source: Fox News)

Sarah Lee

President Donald Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he doesn’t think America is “so innocent” when confronted with the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a killer of those who criticize him.

In a preview of the interview, which is slated to air at 4 p.m. Sunday right before the Super Bowl, O’Reilly asks Trump if he respects Putin, and Trump gives a surprising answer:

O’Reilly: “Do you respect Putin?”

Trump: “I do respect him.

O’Reilly: “Do you? Why?”

Trump: “I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with them. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russian than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS…and Islamic terrorism all over the world…major fight. That’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O’Reilly: “He’s a killer, though…Putin’s a killer.”

Trump: “We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

Putin is known for placing a value on brutality as a leader, as this Foreign Policy piece from 2016 details in attempting to explain Russia’s sustained and unmerciful bombing of Aleppo to fight the Islamic State. The article compares Putin’s strategic approach in Aleppo with his moves in the Second Chechen War’s battle for Grozny, one of his first wars as leader of Russia. That battle left thousands dead, tens of thousands homeless, and “the city described by the United Nations as the most ruined one on the planet,” writes Foreign Policy.

He has been implicated in the 2004 dioxin poisoning during the campaign of eventual President of Ukraine Victor Yushenko, leaving him disfigured. He was most recently implicated in another poisoning, this time of Vladimir Kara-Murza, an outspoken activist for Democracy in Russia, who was recently placed on life support in Moscow.

Additionally, in a story Putin denies but one that has particular and humorous relevance to the Super Bowl Sunday interview between Trump and O’Reilly, Putin was accused in 2013 of stealing New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s 2004 Super Bowl ring during his visit to Russia in 2005.

Al-Qaeda Dares The Apprentice

A woman walks past a graffiti in Sanaa, Yemen, protesting U.S. military operations in the country.

Al-Qaeda says Trump has ignited ‘the flame of jihad’ with Yemen raid


The Washington Post
Loveday Morris
© Yahya Arhab/Eupropean Pressphoto Agency A woman walks past a graffiti in Sanaa, Yemen, protesting U.S. military operations in the country.
IRBIL, Iraq — President Trump is “foolish” and has ignited the “flame of jihad” with a raid in Yemen in which civilians were killed, al-Qaeda said Friday in its first official comments on the new U.S. administration.That the raid came only days after Trump’s vow to eradicate Islamist terrorism in his inauguration speech, makes it “clear for us that the threat was not directed to the Islamic militants only, but to all the Muslims, men, women and even children,” al-Qaeda’s al-Nafeer bulletin said, accusing the Trump administration of intentionally killing women and children.U.S. Central Command, or Centcom, has not specified how many civilians were killed in the raid Saturday, in which a Navy SEAL also died. Among those reported dead was the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric with al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen who was killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike.

Civilian casualties also provide easy fodder for extremist propaganda, and Trump’s comments indicating that he will heavily bomb Islamic State militants have caused nervousness for some in the region. In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where about 750,000 civilians still remain in areas under Islamic State control, the United States has so far used strict rules of engagement.

But Trump’s executive order on defeating the Islamic State said a plan should recommended changes to U.S. rules of engagement and other “policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law.”

Analysts have also expressed fears that such policies as Trump’s travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries could fan international extremism and stoke anti-American sentiment, causing more danger to the United States, rather than protecting it. On online forums and social media, Islamist militants have hailed the ban as proof that the United States is at war with Islam.

Aaso Ameen Shwan contributed to this report.

The Antichrist Says “Americans Get Out”

Ordering SadristsShiite cleric says Americans should have to leave Iraq: “You should get your nationals out”

Shiite cleric says Americans should have to leave Iraq: “You should get your nationals out”

Moqtada al-Sadr, an influential Iraqi cleric, has denounced President Donald Trump’s travel ban by arguing that if Americans are going to ban Iraqis, Iraq should force all American nationals out of their own country.

“It would be arrogance for you to enter freely Iraq and other countries while barring to them the entrance to your country,” al-Sadr wrote on his website on Sunday, according to Reuters. “And therefore you should get your nationals out.”

The Iraqi parliament expressed similar sentiments on Sunday. “Iraq is on the front line of the war on terrorism,” said the parliament’s foreign committee in a statement. “It is unfair that the Iraqis are treated in this way.”

This isn’t the first time that al-Sadr has attempted to galvanize his followers by opposing one of Trump’s policies. On Tuesday he announced that he would consider an American decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem as a “declaration of war on Islam” and called for the creation of a special force that could “liberate Jerusalem.”

Mogtada al-Sadr rose to prominence during the second Iraq War in 2003, when he formed the Mehdi Army in order to create an Islamic state within Iraq as opposed to the secular alternative preferred by the American government or the positions taken by the Iraqi army and many other Shias. Although the Bush administration initially wanted him killed, they eventually reversed course in 2004. As a result, al-Sadr was able to maintain and expand his power even after disbanding the Mehdi Army in 2008. Today al-Sadr’s supporters make up the second largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament.

How the Antichrist Will Undermine Trump’s Plan

President Trump’s ban targeting certain Muslim-majority countries is supposed to make the U.S. safer, but in doing so he may have guaranteed defeating ISIS will get harder.

Kimberly Dozier

01.29.17 1:38 PM ET

Team Trump’s travel ban, or pause, or whatever reverse politically correct term you want to call it, has sparked simmering fury among America’s Muslim allies. The media splash meant to show that President Donald Trump means business about keeping America safe, and keeping his campaign promises, is ironically damaging the very campaign against terrorism he wants to put into overdrive.

Key allies in the fight against the so-called Islamic State are dumbfounded, but few are making official statements, unwilling to pick a fight with the pugnacious new White House. 

But the Iraqi government, managing a fragile and fractious multi-ethnic coalition against ISIS, is treading carefully. Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told the AP that Iraqis are hoping the “measures will be temporary and for regulatory reasons and not permanent at least for Iraq.”

Other allies? Not so diplomatic.

“This is an insult to us all,” said one Afghan official reached Sunday. “To treat all as terrorists is not what inspires support and confidence among friends.”

Afghanistan is not among the seven nations listed in President Donald Trump’s executive order, but the official said the public response to the order was prompting questions in Kabul about how long the government could allow U.S. troops to remain, without suffering a backlash from its own people.

The order signed Friday suspends travel for 90 days for travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations deemed to be centers of terrorist activity – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The executive order also suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for four months. Trump insists it’s “not a Muslim ban” but he’s also spoken of giving Christian refugees priority, which has been read in the Muslim world as casting them as second-class citizens.

Anger is spreading to the Arab street, reflected in social media and newspaper articles – the kind of RAGE that fueled the Arab Spring revolt against Mideast dictators – therefore, the kind Muslim leaders take very seriously.

Like the Afghan official, others say that if this sentiment builds, it will make it harder to cooperate publicly with the U.S. on counterterrorist issues, and harder still to host U.S. troops on their soil.

The various officials who spoke to The Daily Beast say they understand the implementation had to be a surprise, so as not to spark a rush for the U.S. border ahead of an announced deadline. But the haphazard execution at U.S. border entry points, and the lack of briefings even after the order was signed have made it harder for them to defend America’s actions back home.

 “We read about it in leaks to the media, and kept waiting for State Department officials to brief us, but the calls never came,” said a senior Mideast diplomat who didn’t know what to tell his government when the news broke.

That may be because most State Department officials were blindsided too, according to multiple persons familiar with the matter. U.S. diplomats in Baghdad complained the ban would keep a top Iraqi general in the ISIS fight from visiting family in the U.S., stop General Electric from hosting Iraqi delegates in the U.S. as part of a $2 billion energy deal, and send the wrong signal to some 62,000 applicants being considered for relocation for aiding the U.S. during the war. That was among the possible fallout of the new policy, listed in a letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal, sent Saturday from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to the State Department.

A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the letter, but said they remain “in close contact with our coalition partners on a range of issues,” in the quest to defeat ISIS.

Already, Iraqi militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr called on all American citizens to leave Iraq. Sadr’s group killed hundreds of U.S. troops during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but has held its fire during the ISIS fight, as it technically answers to the Iraqi prime minister, under the umbrella of the 140,000-strong Popular Mobilization Forces. General Stephen Townsend, who commands the coalition effort in Iraq, told The Daily Beast in December that PMF forces were behaving mostly lawfully and not attacking U.S. troops. The U.S. even intercepted some communications from some members asking their leadership for permission to attack the Americans – and being told to stand down.

But that was before the Trump White House delivered what is being taken as an insult to Muslim pride – seeming to apply suspicion to all, in the same vein as National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s tweet that “Fear of Muslims is rational.” 

So far, the mission against ISIS has been going as planned. 

“We remain focused on killing the bad guys,” with strikes, training, surveillance and intelligence support to the Iraqis and other local forces continuing, said a U.S. military official who is part of the fight. “All those missions continue with no disruption.”

But it’s unclear to U.S. military officials what sort of knock-on effect this will have on programs that bring Iraqi officers or politicians to the states for short term courses or high-level meetings – the kind of effects the U.S. embassy warned of in its letter.

 “We gotta let the rules play out and determine what the impact is,” the officials said.

Antichrist wants Americans out over Trump’s ban on Muslims

Top Iraqi cleric wants Americans out over Trump’s ban on Muslims

Press TV

Prominent Iraqi cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, has censured US President Donald Trump over his executive order to ban entry into the US of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, calling for the expulsion of American nationals from the Arab country in retaliation.

“It would be arrogance for you to enter freely Iraq and other countries while barring them the entrance to your country … and therefore you should get your nationals out,” Sadr said in a statement published on his website on Sunday.

Iraqi parl. says govt. must reciprocate US travel ban

Meanwhile, Iraqi parliament’s foreign affairs committee has decried the measure as “unfair,” and asked the Iraqi government to “reciprocate” the travel curbs imposed on Iraqis.

“We ask the Iraqi government to reciprocate … the decision taken by the US administration,” the committee said in a statement, adding, “Iraq is in the frontline of the war of terrorism … and it is unfair that the Iraqis are treated in this way.”

“We clearly demanded that the Iraqi government deal reciprocally in all issues… with the United States of America,” Hassan Shwairid, the deputy head of the committee, told AFP.

On January 27, Trump signed a sweeping executive order to make good on his promised Muslim Ban.

The new Republican president’s order imposes a 90-day ban on the entry of citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, blocks refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days.

Iraq’s popular forces want Americans out

In a related development, the pro-government Popular Mobilization Forces, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, also urged Iraqi authorities to bar the entrance of Americans into the country.

“After the decision of the American president to prohibit the entry of Iraqi citizens to the United States of America, we demand Americans be prevented from entering Iraq, and the removal of those of them who are present,” Hashd al-Sha’abi said in a statement.

The statement did not clarify whether the demand applies to the US military personnel already deployed to Iraq or not.

Thousands of American troops are currently in Iraq as part of the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters joined forces with Iraqi army soldiers and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in a major operation on October 17, 2016 to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from Daesh extremists.

The pro-government fighters also played a major role in the liberation of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers northwest of the capital, Baghdad, as well as Fallujah city in the western province of al-Anbar among many areas in Iraq.

The reactions to Trump’s Muslim ban come amid reports that the Iraqi government plans to lobby the US administration to mitigate the impact of restrictions on Iraqi travelers and preserve cooperation in the anti-Daesh campaign.

On Saturday, protests broke out at major US airports, including Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and New York, after border agents began detaining refugees and immigrants arriving in the country.

Families anxiously waited to learn the fate of their loved ones at terminals, while protesters chanted “Let them in” and “This is What America Looks Like.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also filed a lawsuit, challenging Trump’s executive order on behalf of two Iraqis who were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on Friday.

ACLU lawyers successfully argued for a temporary stay, allowing the detained travelers to stay in the country.