Accused American spy Ryan Fogle, following his detention in Moscow. © Photo Russian Federal Security Service ‘Unprecedented’ CIA Moscow Chief Leak Puzzles Ex-Spies — RIA Novosti WASHINGTON, May 17 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – Russia’s decision to publicly identify a purported top US spy in the country is an “unprecedented” move in relations between Moscow and Washington with no clear indication of how the United States will react, former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and security experts told RIA Novosti on Friday. “Certainly throughout the Cold War, and even after that, there was a practice of not naming the head of the [spy agencies] in the respective countries,” said Peter Earnest, who operated intelligence collection and covert operations in Europe and the Middle East during a 35-year career with the CIA. Read more …. My Comment: What is there to be puzzled about …. the Russians are sending a message to the U.S. because they know that the U.S. is not going to retaliate. In short …. they are going out of their way to humiliate the U.S., and they are making a point of advertising what they are doing to the rest of the world.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched on Saturday three short- range missiles into the Sea of Japan, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing South Korea’s defense ministry on May 18, 2013. This file photo taken on Nov. 23, 2012 shows the Sohae Space Center located in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province, DPRK. (Xinhua) DPRK launches 3 Short-Range Missiles — Xinhuanet SEOUL, May 18 (Xinhua) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday launched three short-range guided missiles into the Sea of Japan, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing South Korea’s defense ministry. It is reported that the defense ministry detected two missiles launched in the morning and the last one was in the afternoon. The defense ministry said the launching might be a training or a test launch, according to their observation, and that South Korea is keeping in a high level of readiness to any threat. Read more …. More News On North Korea Conducting Missile Tests North Korea fires short-range missiles into Sea of Japan — The Australian/AFP SKorea Says NKorea Fires 3 Short-Range Missiles — ABC News/AP North Korea fires three short-range missiles — Reuters N Korea ‘fires three short-range missiles’ — BBC North Korea fires short-range missiles — The Telegraph North Korea Fires Missiles Into Sea — Wall Street Journal S. Korea Says North Launches 3 Short-Range Missiles — New York Times North Korea Fires 3 Short-Range Missiles as South Watches — Bloomberg Businessweek North Korea launches short-range missiles — Al Jazeera North Launches 3 into East Sea — Daily NK N. Korea launches three short-range guided missiles: defense ministry — Yonhap News (South Korea) N. Korea fires three short-range missiles into East Sea — Arirang News (South Korea) S.Korea on Standby After North Launches 3 Missiles – Seoul — RIA Novosti
Obama’s ‘Red Line’ Is Crossed As He Reveals US Has Evidence Of Chemical Weapons Being Used In Syria while Russia Sends Advanced Missiles To Aid Assad — Daily Mail * US President has previously said chemical use would be crossing ‘red line’ * Obama insisted it was important to get more information about allegations * Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria * Russia’s Pacific Fleet enters Mediterranean waters for the first time in decades in a period of high tension over the Syrian conflict President Barack Obama has revealed the US has seen evidence of chemical weapons being used in Syria. His announcement comes as Russia sends in advanced missiles to Syria in a move that highlights the depth of its support for President Bashar al-Assad. Following a meeting with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Obama insisted it was important to get more specific details about alleged chemical attacks. Read more …. MIDDLE EAST Syrian rebels call off Aleppo prison siege after troops throw inmates out window . Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug in, preparing for government onslaught. Syrian refugees now number more than 1.5 million. UN chief in Russia as Syria crisis deepens . Hold Syrian peace talks soon, says U.N. chief. UN: 3 UN military observers were abducted in zone between Syria and Israel and later freed . At least 32 killed by blasts outside Sunni mosque in Iraq’s Baquba. Iran’s conservatives divided over presidential candidates . Iranian cleric says a woman can never be president. ASIA Deadly blasts hit mosques in Pakistan. China president takes charge of sweeping economic reform plans: sources. Myanmar frees political prisoners before president goes to U.S.. Relations sour between Taiwan and Philippines over fisherman’s death. S. Korea calls Japan visit to N. Korea ‘unhelpful’ . U.S. slams Japanese mayor’s sex-slave comments as ‘offensive’. Gina Rinehart: Australian politicians treating miners ‘like an ATM’ . World’s tallest dam approved by Chinese environmental officials. AFRICA Boko Haram crisis: Nigerian army begins raids in Borno . Nigerian troops fire on suspected Boko Haram camps, killing 21, says official . In South Sudan, Doctors Without Borders hospital destroyed; 100k people without medical care. Libya: Benghazi insecurity persists . U.S. instructors to train African troops for Mali in Niger. Angry Egyptian policemen close crossing with Gaza. Mine union threatens to bring South Africa to ‘standstill’. Madagascar’s Rajoelina not eligible to run in election: AU. EUROPE Hollande: Europe’s identity at risk from recession. Germany’s uncomfortable role as Europe’s ‘economic police’. Fearing Afghan instability, Russia mulls border troops. Bulgarian president calls parliament quickly to end impasse. Italy PM Letta seeks to smooth property tax standoff. Cannes Film Festival hit by $1 million jewellery theft . AMERICAS Feds arrest Idaho man on terror charges. Mexican general sent to quell drug violence in new strategy. In Mexico, fears for democracy as threatened journalists curtail coverage . Brazil Indians occupy cattle ranch in widening land dispute . Venezuela to ‘saturate the market’ with 50 million rolls of imported toilet paper. Powerball jackpot 3rd largest in U.S. history. Toronto mayor in ‘crack cocaine’ video scandal. TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR 2 more Guantanamo prisoners join hunger strike, military says . US designates Al-Qaeda-linked outfit’s leader fighting Assad as global terrorist. Germany fears return of European jihadists in Syria. Mueller defends FBI in Boston bombing, but acknowledges slip-up on suspect’s travel. Study: U.S. more dangerous than Japan, Switzerland — and Botswana . ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS Bill Gates retakes world’s richest title from Carlos Slim. Penitent Romanian hacker aims to protect world’s ATMs. Facebook faces same fate as MySpace, says Murdoch. Iron Man 3 proves its box-office mettle after passing $1bn mark . Rio Tinto puts largest ‘red’ diamond on market .
NATO soldiers with at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on May 16, 2013. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters) How T he Afghan Conflict Will Be Decided — Michael Hirsh, The Atlantic A horrific week for U.S. casualties reaffirms President Obama’s rush to rely on the Afghan army. But can they handle it? KABUL, Afghanistan – Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi thumbs excitedly through a brochure prepared for him by Textron, the U.S. defense contractor. “This is what I want!” the Afghan army chief of staff says, pointing to a picture of the latest technology in armored troop carriers. Outside Karimi’s window, the giant, $92 million new defense headquarters that Washington is building for him is nearly finished; Karimi moves in in September. “Pentagon No. 1. This no. 2,” Karimi’s adjutant, Col. Mohammed Shah, says proudly in broken English. What Shah means is that the vast domed structure atop a hill–which resembles nothing so much as the Temple Mount–is expected to be the second-largest defense headquarters in the world, a distinct oddity in one of the poorest countries in the world. The Pentagon is also spending about a billion dollars on Karimi’s pride and joy, a new Mobile Strike Force. That includes $58 million on brand-new armored vehicles designed especially for the Afghan army by Textron (and which are deemed so state of the art that Canada just bought some for itself). Read more …. Update: Embassy Row: After Afghanistan for NATO — Washington Times My Comment: In the end …. Afghanistan’s future will be decided by the Afghan’s themselves …. which should have been the case starting a few years ago.
Russia Makes A Fool of Kerry (Again) — Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary The report this morning on the front page of the New York Times that Russia is sending a new batch of advanced arms to Syria is very bad news for those who hoped international isolation would lead to the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime. Despite constant predictions over the past two years from President Obama and others in the West that it was only a matter of time before this evil dictator would be forced out, Assad is holding his own. The rebels have not only failed to push him out of Damascus but, if recent accounts of the fighting there are true, they have lost ground as the regime has rolled back the tide of unrest all across the country. Though the rebellion may have fractured the country, as a separate front-page story in the Times testifies, with Iran and its Hezbollah auxiliaries doubling down on their backing for Assad on the ground and emboldened by Russia’s diplomatic support as well as its efforts to resupply the regime’s military, it’s hard to see why anyone would think the dictator is going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Read more …. My Comment: As this blog predicted …. today’s announcement of more Russian weapons to the Syrian regime puts a nail to any hope that Russia will pressure the Assad regime to search for a compromise. On the contrary …. Assad and his followers are now embolden , and the war continues. So much for U.S. hopes and diplomacy that they and the Russians were on the same page on Syria contrary to what critics (like yours truly) were saying. My message to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is now simple …. fool me once …. shame on you. Fool me twice …. shame on me. The Russians have just fooled you twice. Update: Why Russia won’t cut Syria loose — Peter Fragiskatos, Special to CNN