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Article compiled by: White Nation correspondent Berlin–April 15 2017
” And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army..”- Revelation 19:19
“.And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” – Revelation 6:8
” And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”– Revelation 6:4
U.S. FORCES in Afghanistan dropped a 22,000-pound bomb on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, the Pentagon announced, using the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat.
Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the bomb was “the right munition” to use against the Islamic State because of the group’s use of roadside bombs, bunkers and tunnels. The bomb, known as the GBU-43, is one of the largest airdropped munitions in the U.S. military’s inventory and was almost used during the opening salvos of the Iraq War in 2003. By comparison, U.S. aircraft commonly drop bombs that weigh between 250 to 2,000 pounds.
The U.S. military has targeted similar complexes and dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan, raising the question of why a bomb of this size was needed Thursday. It was unclear what the GBU-43 strike accomplished, as the bomb is not designed to penetrate hardened targets such as bunkers or cave complexes.
The Pentagon said in its statement that “U.S. Forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike.” When asked about the bomb Thursday, President Trump praised the military as the “greatest” in the world. “We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they’ve been so successful lately,” he said. The bomb marked the second time in a week that the Pentagon has launched a high-profile strike. Last Thursday, the military targeted a Syrian airfield as retaliation for a chemical attack by President Bashar al-Assad that killed scores of civilians. A spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan did not respond to a query regarding the bomb’s effects on its intended target, an Islamic State tunnel complex in Nangahar province.
This particular bomb is not the biggest in the Pentagon’s non-nuclear arsenal. The larger 30,000 pound GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator, designed for destroying heavily fortified bunker complexes, has never been used outside a test environment. While the GBU-57 is heavier, the GBU-43 has a larger warhead and explosive yield.
The GBU-43 is an evolution of the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 bomb. First used in Vietnam, the C-130-launched BLU-82 was often dropped to turn patches of jungle into helicopter landing zones. This earned the BLU-82 the nickname “daisy cutter.” The BLU-82 was used multiple times in the early stages of the war in Afghanistan when U.S. forces were closing in on Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora on the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The use of the GBU-43 in eastern Afghanistan comes less than a week after a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was killed fighting in the same region. Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, was mortally wounded by small-arms fire Saturday. U.S. and Afghan forces have been fighting the Islamic State in Afghanistan since 2015. Special Operations forces from the Army’s Ranger battalions as well as the Green Berets have conducted numerous operations to push the militants out of their sanctuaries. The Taliban, the insurgent group that has fought the United States and the Afghan government since 2001, also clashes with the Islamic State, though many of its members have defected to the terrorist group.
Last week, Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that the Islamic State in Afghanistan had lost more than half its territory and had 800 fighters spread between two provinces. At the group’s height in Afghanistan, it had more than 3,000 fighters, according to the Pentagon. Salvin added that U.S. forces had carried out more than 400 airstrikes on the Islamic State since the year’s start.
During the 2016 campaign, candidates scarcely mentioned the war in Afghanistan. The Trump administration has yet to spell out its broader strategy in a conflict that U.S. military commanders have called a stalemate. On Wednesday, Trump said his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, would be visiting Afghanistan soon. Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel has hinted at requesting thousands of more U.S. troops to help buoy the fledgling Afghan military. There are 8,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, primarily split between counter terrorism operations and supporting the fledgling Afghan military. There are also about 7,000 NATO troops in the country responsible for helping train Afghan troops.
Officials at the Afghan Defense Ministry said they were first alerted to Thursday’s bomb attack through media reports. “We have nothing officially on this so far, but the goal this year is to annihilate Daesh in the east and any other part of Afghanistan,” ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, April 13, that the U.S. military dropped a bomb over Afghanistan, aimed at “a system of tunnels and caves ISIS fighters used to move around freely.” (Reuters) “We will use whatever force that is available to us, together with Resolute Support, and with the maximum amount of caution so that we don’t cause civilian casualties,” he said.
Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal, spokesman for police forces in Nangahar province, where the bomb was dropped, said that international and Afghan forces had “for days” been involved in operations against the Islamic State affiliate. He also said he was not aware of the specific incident, which U.S. forces said took place around 7:30 p.m. local time. Nangahar’s Achin district is a stronghold of the local Islamic State branch in Afghanistan, which U.S. officials say is made up of mostly Pakistani and Uzbek militants. The group, which calls itself Khorasan Province, has struggled to expand beyond Achin and a handful of other districts in the East. Achin is close to the border with Pakistan, which has long been used by militants to smuggle weapons and fighters between the two countries. The group has also targeted tribal elders and fighters it suspected of being loyal to the Taliban.
N Korea warns foreigners in S Korea
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered residents of the country’s capital Pyongyang to leave the city immediately, sparking fears he may be preparing for war. Reports in Russian newspaper Pravda Report claim more than 600,000 people – around 25 per cent of the city’s population – are being urgently evacuated, as tensions escalate between North Korea and the United States. According to South Korean media, residents in the kingdom have said goodbye to each other, sparking concerns the tyrannical leader could be about to act after months of nuclear weapon testing. Foreign reporters have been told to prepare for a “big and important event” on North Korea’s biggest national celebration, called ‘Day of the Sun’.
A tweet from Channel NewsAsia’s Beijing Correspondent Jeremy Koh said: “We’ve been told to be ready to move out at 6.20am, but no idea why. Also, no cell phones allowed.” More than 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birthday of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15. Officials in North Korea have already warned nuclear war could break out at any minute thanks to the “extremely tense” situation on the Korean Peninsula. The US sent a navy strike group towards the Western Pacific in a show of force, with North Korea retorting with warnings of a nuclear attack in retaliation to any show of aggression.
China has also moved 150,000 soldiers close to the North Korean border in preparation for war. The move comes after president Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield in response for the country’s brutal chemical attack which left 79 civilians dead. North Korean officials have given no clues as to the nature of the “surprise event” or where it would take place. However, past announcements of a similar nature have turned out to be relatively low-key. However, on the 100th Day of the Sun, held in April 2012, North Korea attempted to launch a long-range rocket. With war tensions raging, officials worldwide are wondering whether Kim Jong-un will use the special date to strike America after months of threats over nuclear weapons.
COMBINED ANGLO-AMERICAN STRIKE FORCE SAILING FOR KOREA
JAPAN is preparing to send several warships to join a US aircraft carrier strike group heading for the Korean peninsula, in a show of force designed to deter North Korea from conducting further missile and nuclear tests. Citing two well-placed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Reuters and the Kyodo news agency said several destroyers from Japan’s maritime self-defense forces would join the USS Carl Vinson and its battle group as it enters the East China Sea. The move comes as the Chinese president called for calm in the region in a phone conversation with Donald Trump. China “is committed to the goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means,” Xi Jinping said, according to CCTV, the state broadcaster.
The call came after a series of tweets in which Trump pressed China to be more active in pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. In a pair of tweets, Trump linked trade deals and the future of the US-China relationship to progress on reining in the regime’s nuclear program. The US president wrote: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
In another tweet, Trump said he had told Xi any trade deal between the two countries would be “far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem”. The US aircraft carrier was redeployed from a planned visit to Australia and is sailing north from Singapore towards the Korean peninsula, as speculation mounts that Pyongyang is planning more missile launches to coincide with national anniversaries this month. North Korea watchers believe the regime could conduct missile tests on or around the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday, or on the 85th anniversary of the ruling Korean People’s Army on 25 April.
China is the North’s only key diplomatic ally and its largest trading partner, providing a lifeline to the reclusive state. There are signs China is taking steps to squeeze North Korea and its erratic leader, Kim Jong-un. Chinese authorities have ordered trading companies to return North Korean coal shipments and banned all imports in late February. To bridge the gap, China started importing coal from the US, the first time in two years, a move that is likely to be viewed favorably in Washington. he sources said Japanese and US ships would take part in joint exercises, including helicopter landings on each other’s vessels and communications drills, as the Carl Vinson passed through waters off Japan.
The planned rendezvous is a further sign of increased cooperation between the US, Japanese and South Korean navies. Last month, Aegis ships from the three countries held a joint drill to improve their ability to detect and track North Korean missiles. The Carl Vinson is powered by two nuclear reactors and carries almost 100 aircraft. Its strike group also includes guided-missile destroyers and cruisers. A submarine is also expected to join the group. “Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,” one of the Japanese sources was quoted as saying. Reuters said one of the unnamed officials had direct knowledge of the plan, while the other had been briefed about it. Japan’s self-defense forces have not commented on the report.
Chinese media warned that the Korean peninsula was closer to war than at any time since the North conducted the first of its five nuclear tests in 2006. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, suggested Chinese public opinion was turning against North Korea and said harsher measures could be needed, including restricting oil shipments. “Pyongyang can continue its tough stance, however, for its own security, it should at least halt provocative nuclear and missile activities,” the paper wrote in an editorial. “Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time.“ A senior Japanese diplomat said the arrival of a US naval strike group off the peninsula was designed to pressure North Korea into agreeing to a diplomatic solution to its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
“ If you consider overall things such as the fact that the US government has not put out warnings to its citizens in South Korea, I think the risk [of military action) at this point is not high,” the diplomat said. Some experts in South Korea said an imminent North Korean nuclear test was unlikely. Prof Kim Dong–yub of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University , told the Korea Times a ballistic missile launch was the most likely option, adding that the chances of a nuclear detonation were “very low”. On Tuesday, North Korea warned of “catastrophic consequences” in response to any further provocations by the US, days after the Carl Vinson began its journey towards the Korean peninsula. “We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,” North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying. “[North Korea] is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”
PUTIN WARNS TRUMP- ” WE ARE PREPARED TO GO TO WAR WITH AMERICA!”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a direct threat to President Trump, warning him that Russia and Iran are fully prepared to go to war with the U.S. following the US strike in Syria on Friday.
In a statement issued on Sunday by a joint command center of Russian and Iranian forces, the two countries say they fully support Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and will respond with “full military force” if Trump commits any “further acts of aggression.” “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well,” the statement says.
US President Donald Trump said the strike on al Shayrat airbase, near Homs, with some 60 Tomahawk missiles was “representing the world”. The base was allegedly used by Syrian forces to conduct the attack, which killed more than 70 people. On Sunday the UK’s Defense Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, demanded Russia rein in Mr Assad, claiming that Moscow is “responsible for every civilian death” in Khan Sheikhoun. Sir Michael said the attack had happened “on their watch” and that Vladimir Putin must now live up to previous promises that Mr Assad’s chemical weapons had been destroyed.
Experts have dismissed Russia’s claim that a rebel chemical weapons facility caused the deaths. Britain, the US and France accused Mr Assad’s regime of gassing civilians in the opposition-held town, but Damascus claimed it destroyed its toxic stockpiles following an international agreement struck in 2013. The Russian defense ministry put out a competing version of events claiming legitimate Syrian air strikes against “terrorists” had struck a warehouse used to produce and store shells containing toxic gas, which were allegedly being sent to Iraq.
The joint command center also said on Sunday the missile strike would not deter it from “liberating” Syria, and that the US military presence in the north of the country amounted to an illegal “occupation”. Mr Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani have called for an objective investigation into the chemical attack. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that Moscow had failed to carry out the 2013 agreement to secure and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. “The failure related to the recent strike and the recent terrible chemical weapons attack in large measure is a failure on Russia’s part to achieve its commitment to the international community,” he said on ABC’s This Week.
Mr Tillerson is expected in Moscow in the coming days for talks with Russian officials. He stopped short of accusing Russia of being directly involved in the planning or execution of the attack. But he said the US expected Russia to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with Mr Assad because “every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility.”
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