Russia, China, Iran Flexing Their Muscles While US Contends With North Korea
In the war on terror, the US Department of Homeland security is currently investigating as many as 1000 cases of home grown terrorist, while the UK has just arrested 11 far right Neo-Nazi terrorists.
In Africa, the Al-Qaeda-linked Group of Support for Muslims and Islam (JNIM) claimed responsibility and released a video of last week’s attacks against UN forces in the northern Malian city of Kidal. On Sunday evening, gunmen armed with pistols shot and killed General Abdullahi Mohamed Sheikh Qururuh and a bodyguard as the two men walked home from a mosque in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Qururuh was a senior officer at Somalia’s command and control headquarters in Mogadishu and previously served as deputy commander of logistics for the Somali army. There no immediate claim of responsibility, but al-Qaeda-allied al-Shabab militants are believed to be behind most attacks on government officials. Last week, a senior intelligence officer Mohamud Moallim Hassan Qoley and aide were assassinated in southern Mogadishu and al-Shabab claimed responsibility for targeted killings.
On Tuesday, a Palestinian gunman killed three Israeli guards and wounded a fourth in an attack on a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank before he was in turn killed by police.
In the Syrian Civil War and Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry has blamed the US for the death of a Russian Lieutenant General Valery Asapov killed in eastern Syria at Deir el-Zour in shelling over the weekend. Similarly, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), released a statement claiming their forces were struck by Russian aircraft and artillery fire near the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour. Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers fired Kh-101 cruise missiles at ISIS sites in the Syrian provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Idlib. Russian government sources said that the strikes eliminated command posts, hardware and manpower concentration areas as well as ammunition depots. Russia has reportedly airlifted a PMM-2M self-propelled ferry to Syria in an effort to assist government troops to capture the eastern bank of the Euphrates Valley from ISIS. It was reported that Iran has just 1,500 of its own Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria and some 10,000 fighters from Shiite militias. There are reports that Iran is working to equip Hezbollah with more accurate missiles for a future war with Israel. The Iraqi parliament has directed that troops be sent to disputed areas in the north controlled by the Kurds since 2003 and to seize the Kirkuk Oil Fields in response to the Kurdish referendum on independence. The President of Iraq's Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, has claimed victory for the "yes" vote in the referendum on support for Kurdish independence.
In Asia, the Taliban has retaken control of the district of Kohistan in the northwestern province of Faryab, Afghanistan and now control about 45 percent of the country. Current estimates suggest that there are up to 30,000 Taliban fighters, some 100 to 300 al-Qaeda fighters, and as many as 700 to 1,000 ISIS members engaged in a guerrilla war against the West and the Afghan Government. Myanmar officials have reportedly discovered mass graves of dozens of slain Hindus in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state. The Myanmar army continues its ethnic cleaning of Rohingya Muslims in the countries Northwest. The Violence erupted in Rakhine state following attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants last October. Further attacks on August 25th provoked a renewed military offensive with many reported atrocities and rape being used as a weapon in the ethnic cleansing operations. The Rohingya militants have denied any links to ISIS or al-Qaeda.
On the international security front, US officials have cast doubt on Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch and said never took place. Iran state television aired footage of the missile launch on Friday, but that video was of a launch in January and the missile exploded in-flight shortly after launch. General Joseph Dunford, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal could complicate efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced plans to open a nuclear power plant next year, in what would be a first for the Persian Gulf region outside of Iran.
Russia has conducted a successful test launch of the RS-12M "Topol" Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with an advanced warhead. In a separate development, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces also launched large-scale maneuvers in Siberia involving the Yars ICBM launchers along with support vehicles with more than 4,000 troops involved in the exercises.
Chinese troops in Djibouti have staged their first live-fire drills in a show of combat readiness. Djibouti is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea along the route to the Suez Canal, and hosts US, Japanese and French bases. Four Chinese coastguard vessels sailed near the disputed Senkaku Islands held by Japan for second time since Thursday of last week. China reportedly imported 1.6 million tons of coal from North Korea in August, the largest monthly volume since February when a ban on coal imports was issued.
In the Korean Crisis, the White House responded to North Korea’s latest challenge by stating that the US has not declared war on North Korea. The US military warned that it will not abandon show-of-force flights or any other military options on or near the Korean Peninsula despite North Korea's assertion on Monday that it has the right to shoot down bombers outside of its borders. North Korea has reportedly boosted defenses on its east coast, and moved interceptor aircraft to the area in response to the US flights this weekend of B-1 strategic bombers and F-15 fighter planes. Today, President Trump warned North Korea that if it shoots down a US aircraft that it would be considered an act of war and that he is prepared to take "military option" to end tensions with North Korea. He added that it would be "devastating" for Pyongyang. An un-named US official has revealed that North Korea told the US government it wanted to establish a mutual assured destruction relationship with Washington during informal talks shortly after the North’s nuclear test in January 2016. In other developments, the US Treasury Department announced Tuesday it will sanction 10 North Korean banks and 26 nationals from who act as representatives for its financial institutions. South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for bi-partisan support at home to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully. Projections show that as many as 200,000 South Koreans could die every day from War with North Korea.