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Old 07-20-2017, 09:57 AM
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Arrow U.s. Military must leave iran's borders and stop calling us terrorists, revolutionary

U.S. MILITARY MUST LEAVE IRAN'S BORDERS AND STOP CALLING US TERRORISTS, REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS SAY
BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 7/19/17 AT 4:57 PM
RE: http://www.newsweek.com/us-military-...9274?piano_t=1

The leader of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has slammed the U.S.'s decision to pursue further sanctions against Tehran and urged Washington to curb its military presence in the region.

IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari demanded Wednesday the U.S. withdraw all of its military bases within 1,000 kilometers (more than 621 miles) of Iran's borders, a distance that encompasses most of the U.S.'s operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The remarks came in response to the White House's decision to impose more economic sanctions against the country only a day after President Donald Trump's administration concluded Iran was in compliance with their 2015 nuclear treaty. The State Department said Tuesday that the new sanctions were due to Iran's support for groups the U.S. designates as terrorist organizations, a label the U.S. has considered applying to the IRGC itself. Jafari countered these charges during his most recent address.

"Drawing an analogy between the IRGC and terrorist groups and imposing the same sanctions (used against terrorists) on the IRGC would be a big risk to the U.S. and its bases and forces stationed in the region," Jafari told a gathering of IRGC Ground Force commanders in the city of Mashhad, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

The U.S. and Iran are both involved in the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, but the two countries accuse one another of pursuing policies intended to destabilize the region and increase their own respective influences. They routinely criticize one another for backing clashing factions in conflicts in Syria and Yemen and opposing political movements across the Middle East. A number of these nations host U.S. military bases.

While Central Command does not provide specific information as to the whereabouts of U.S. bases in active conflict zones, there are likely more than 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East and Afghanistan as part of the Pentagon's campaign to fight ISIS and other jihadist groups. Most of these soldiers are stationed in countries like Kuwait and Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, only miles away from Iran's shores. Other, more secretive locations in Iraq and Syria operate not far from local militias supported by Iran and largely opposed to the U.S. presence in their respective countries.

In Syria, where the government has deemed the U.S.'s presence illegal, the locations of a number of U.S. military bases were reportedly exposed Tuesday by fellow NATO member Turkey. Through its state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkey leaked the positions of 10 U.S. installations designed to help fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers a terrorist organization because of its links to other Kurdish nationalist groups at home, fight ISIS.

The U.S., Russia and Iran are all looking to increase their stake in the country's political future as ISIS loses ground and U.S.-backed forces have at times clashed with those supported by the latter two, which back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In southern Syrian, the U.S. has unilaterally declared a "deconfliction zone" around one of its bases and has attacked pro-government forces that it accuses of attempting to breach it.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran briefly warmed during the administration of President Barack Obama after the former Democratic leader spearheaded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a treaty that removed U.S. economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran giving up much of its nuclear development. The two countries have once again fallen out under Trump, whose administration labeled Iran the "foremost state sponsor of terrorism" in its most recent annual report released Wednesday.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has called the latest round of U.S. sanctions "contemptible and worthless" and military officials have bit back at chatter among high-ranking Trump adminstration officials suggesting the U.S. should take aim at removing Iran's government a second time.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:00 AM
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U.S., RUSSIA AND IRAN BATTLE TO BUILD BASES IN SYRIA AS ISIS FALLS
BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 7/18/17 AT 3:28 PM
RE: http://www.newsweek.com/us-russia-ir...s-syria-637998

Three of the leading international powers involved in Syria's war—the U.S., Russia and Iran—are looking to expand and fortify their military presence in the country by building and upgrading foreign bases, with some already in the works.

U.S. special operations forces have been involved in Syria for years, and the U.S. appears to be broadening the platforms from which it operates. Earlier this month, satellite imagery showed what appeared to be the construction of a new airstrip near Syria's southern border with Jordan and Iraq, according to The Daily Beast. This base, along with other "temporary" installations, reportedly could be used to both battle the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and bolster forces of the rebel Free Syrian Army in areas where fighters supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are poised to take over. Meanwhile, Assad allies Russia and Iran have announced plans to develop their own military presence in the country.

The Pentagon, however, has been hesitant to comment on its intentions to build new bases in Syria. The U.S.'s Florida-based Central Command told The Daily Beast last week it generally does not discuss such matters "for safety purposes," and its Kuwait-based, anti-ISIS operation called the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve gave Newsweek a similar response Tuesday.

"In order to ensure operational security and force protection, the Coalition will not announce or confirm information about the capabilities, force numbers, locations, or movement of forces in or out of Iraq and Syria," Central Command told Newsweek in an email.

The U.S. has utilized temporary military installations to fight ISIS on two fronts. The primary theater supports the majority-Kurd Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa in northern Syria. To support local fighters here, U.S. forces have used an air base located about 90 miles north, near the city of Kobane. Expansions took place here in April, according to Stars and Stripes. On the second U.S.-backed front in Syria, special operations forces are training and assisting insurgents opposed to both ISIS and the Syrian government in the country's southeast, where satellites reportedly caught new installations near an already established U.S. outpost situated near the Syrian border town of al-Tanf.

In a White House statement released last week, the Trump administration sought wider authorities for "temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection," suggesting there is a desire among top officials to expand the U.S. military presence in Syria. This move, which followed a series of U.S.-led coalition attacks on the Syrian military and its Iran-backed allies, could lead to a greater effort to establish a more solid U.S.-backed security infrastructure aimed at curbing both ISIS and Iranian influence, Al-Monitor reported last Friday.

The Syrian government considers the presence of U.S. forces in Syria illegal but has granted permission for bases to its foreign sponsors Russia and Iran, both of which have helped Syria's armed forces regain much of the territory lost to jihadis and insurgents since 2011. Damascus has leased two major military bases to Moscow for at least the next half a century, including an air base in Latakia and a naval base in Tartous. Both of the sites are set for major expansions and renovations, something that will likely strengthen not only Russia's foothold in western Syria but also in the eastern Mediterranean, not far from rival NATO forces.

Not far from the Russia-controlled Hmeymim airbase in Latakia, Assad may have also granted Iran its own naval military installation, according to a March report by the government-run Tass news agency. Iran announced last November it was considering establishing bases in Syria, Reuters reported.

Tehran is also believed to maintain a drone base not far from U.S. forces and their allies in al-Tanf, according to U.S. officials cited last month by NBC News. The alleged Iranian airstrip is reportedly the point of origin for unmanned aerial vehicles that the U.S. said breached its self-declared "deconfliction zone" surrounding its operations in al-Tanf, leading to airstrikes on pro-government forces.

Israel has threatened to increase its level of engagement over the establishment of Iranian bases, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly denounced Sunday during a press conference in France, according to The Jerusalem Post. Israel accuses Iran of using its allied militant groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, to broaden its operations in Syria, threatening neighboring Israel's national security. Israel has conducted airstrikes against positions held by Hezbollah and the Syrian military.

ISIS, which claimed nearly half of Iraq and Syria at its height in 2014, has rapidly lost territory in recent years and has been effectively defeated in Iraq. Most of the remaining battle against ISIS focuses on its de facto capital of Raqqa and the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, which the jihadis wrested from rebels amid lightning gains in 2014.

In Raqqa, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have stormed the city, and the Syrian military and its allies have made major gains in the western countryside. The Syrian army and pro-government militias have also begun advancing toward Deir el-Zour, with U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces stationed north of the besieged city.
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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