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morningfog's Journal
morningfog's Journal
August 8, 2014

US forces in combat in Iraq again (not related to genocide threat)

U.S. Warplanes Strike Militants in Iraq

American warplanes struck Sunni militant positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon and Kurdish officials said, confirming the first significant American military operation in the country since United States forces withdrew in 2011.

Two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil, according to a statement by Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, “near U.S. personnel,” Admiral Kirby said.

The strike followed President Obama’s announcement Thursday night that he had authorized limited airstrikes to protect American citizens in Erbil and Baghdad, and, if necessary, to break the siege of tens of thousand of refugees who are stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

* * *

Kurdish fighters, known as pesh merga, have been hard pressed in recent days by the militant fighters, who have seized several towns near Erbil from the Kurds and took the Mosul Dam, one of the most important installations in the country. The airstrike appeared intended to help stem the tide.

“The airstrikes are being led by the U.S.A., and pesh merga are attacking with Katyusha,” said Halgurd Hekmat, a spokesman for the Kurdish fighters, referring to a type of Russian-made tactical rocket.

* * *

Britain, a close ally and coalition partner of the United States in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Friday that it would not take part in military action there now but would provide humanitarian aid and technical assistance. Turkey, a NATO ally that borders northern Iraq, said on Thursday that it, too, would step up humanitarian aid to the region, news agencies reported.


Pay close attention. Obama focused his speech on the potential genocide of the Yezidis. Who could oppose that? But, it is the other grounds for a strike being used here, because the US saw a threat to its interests. This strike was to protect US "personnel and facilities" in Erbil.

August 8, 2014

Text of Obama's Statement on Air Strikes in Iraq


Obama has authorized the use of US military strikes in Iraq for two reasons: (1) US "personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq" are threatened and (2) "to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there."

This is wide open. These two grounds could cover virtually any any strike any where in the country.

And although he says "American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq," it is only true if the US relies solely on drones and strikes from ships in the Gulf. Any pilot dropping bombs or firing missiles would be a combat troop in Iraq.

August 2, 2014

EBOLA Outbreak Thread

I want to organize a thread of facts and information about the current Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.

My intention with this thread is to follow the timeline and what is known. I would greatly appreciate anyone adding links on the virus and its spread. This outbreak has had a fatality rate of approximately 60 percent. In this outbreak alone, more than 100 health workers have been infected and at least 50 of them have died, according to the WHO.

So far this strain of Ebola has spread (from one person to another) in three countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

The virus traveled by way of Patrick Sawyer to Nigeria on July 20, when he collapsed in the Lagos airport. He died 5 days later. That was almost two weeks ago a no new cases have been reported in Nigeria, yet. However, the incubation period is up to 21 days. 59 people were identified as coming into contact with Sawyer on his travel from Liberia to Nigeria. As of July 29, 20 of those 59 had been tested for Ebola and all were negative.




Two US citizens are en route, or will be shortly to the Emory campus quarantine for treatment. These two would be the only other confirmed cases outside of the four countries previously listed. Their transport is controlled and intentional, though.

Please feel free to add questions, links and discussions to this thread. I find this epidemic tragic and interesting to follow, if slightly terrifying.

August 1, 2014

Gaza conflict: British-Israeli soldier captured by Hamas

Rumours began circulating about the captured soldier this morning, and at around lunchtime the Israeli military spokesman announced that they feared a soldier had indeed been taken.

The Israeli defence forces have named the captured soldier as Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, from Kfar Saba.

Channel 4 News understands that the soldier is from a family of British Jewish immigrants. It is also understand that he is a cousin – either second or third – of Israeli's defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon.

THE IDF spokesman said that around 9.30am Israeli soldiers came under fire in an area around the border of the southern Gaza Strip and "there's a fear" that during the incident a soldier "has been kidnapped by the terrorists".

The spokesman added that the family of the soldier had been informed. The military said the situation is still evolving and that the IDF is making "big efforts, operational and intelligence, to locate the soldier".

The 72-hour ceasefire had already broken down this morning but the reported kidnapping of the Israeli soldier will raise the stakes in the conflict to a completely different level.


This makes things so much worse.

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