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- 06/06/17--06:40: _8 iconic photos fro...
- 06/06/17--07:13: _The 25-year-old acc...
- 06/06/17--10:57: _The US can survive ...
- 06/07/17--05:20: _A military plane ca...
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- 06/07/17--14:04: _Bahrain says all op...
- 06/08/17--06:41: _A Marine veteran re...
- 06/08/17--11:59: _US MISSILE DEFENSE ...
- 06/09/17--05:20: _A Marine who coache...
- 06/09/17--05:59: _China calls out US ...
- 06/09/17--06:09: _Iraq's Kurds will v...
- 06/09/17--06:19: _NSA leak suspect Re...
- 06/09/17--06:36: _European Commission...
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- 06/09/17--09:13: _After claiming an a...
- 06/09/17--12:46: _Trump unequivocally...
- 06/09/17--13:07: _F-35 fighter wing g...
- 06/09/17--14:21: _US sends all 3 nucl...
- 06/06/17--06:40: 8 iconic photos from D-Day
- 06/07/17--05:20: A military plane carrying 116 has gone missing in Myanmar
- 06/07/17--10:19: Turkish parliament approves troop deployment embattled Qatar
- 06/09/17--14:21: US sends all 3 nuclear-capable bombers to Europe for the first time
The invasion of Normandy, which was named Operation Overlord, launched on June 6, 1944, and was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history.
Tuesday, June 6, marks the 73rd anniversary of Operation Overlord, commonly referred to as D-Day. A major operation during World War II, and the largest seaborne invasion in history, it marked the turning point in the fight against Axis powers in Europe.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, gave this speech just prior to giving the order to begin the operation.
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
156,000 allied troops landed on five beaches, code named Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha. British and Canadian troops overcame light opposition at Gold, Juno and Sword, as did U.S. troops at Utah. American forces landing on Omaha beach faced the fiercest resistance, suffering 2,400 casualties. In total, the beach landings claimed the lives of 4,313 Allied troops, 2,499 Americans, and 1,914 others from Allied nations.
In conjunction with the beach landings, 13,000 paratroopers landed behind German lines and secured key towns, bridges, and crossroads in order to break German supply lines and limit reinforcements.
Today, Eisenhower’s words still ring true for the men who fought and died on the beaches, fields, and among the hedgerows of Normandy: “The eyes of the world are upon you.”
Below are eight historic photos from the days leading up to, during, and after one of the most brutal battles in contemporary history.
This article was updated from a previous version published in 2016.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks with paratroopers who jumped behind enemy lines, June 5, 1944.
US soldiers assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, apply war paint to each other’s face in England in preparation for the invasion of Normandy, France, June 5, 1944.
American assault troops in a landing craft huddle behind the protective front of the craft as it nears a beachhead on the northern coast of France, June 6, 1944.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Reality Winner, the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and federal contractor being charged with espionage on suspicion of leaking a top-secret NSA document to The Intercept, had apparently been vocal about opposing President Donald Trump and said she would "stand" with Iran in a hypothetical war with the US.
Winner publicly offered support to Iran after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted a video defending Iran's ballistic-missile program, which US officials under Trump and former President Barack Obama, as well as former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, had condemned as a violation of the spirit of the Iran deal.
Replying to Zarif's video on February 7, Winner tweeted: "There are many Americans protesting US govt aggression towards Iran. If our Tangerine in Chief declares war, we stand with you!"
She began her job as a federal contractor with top-secret clearance on or close to February 13, according to the Justice Department. The top-secret document she is accused of sending to The Intercept was created May 5.
In another tweet she described Trump as an "orange fascist." At least eight times, Winner retweeted a picture of a young girl with Trump-like hair and a long red tie with the hashtag "#largerhands."
The leaked NSA document, which The Intercept published Monday, details attempts from Russian military intelligence to hack the 2016 US presidential election.
"Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation's security and undermines public faith in government," Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said. "People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation."
Under the Espionage Act, Winner faces up to 10 years in prison.
Despite President Donald Trump's bold proclamation that a North Korean nuclear missile capable of hitting the US "won't happen," Kim Jong Un appears to be on his way — faster than many had thought— to an intercontinental ballistic missile that could flatten Washington.
But a nuclear-armed North Korea wouldn't be the end of the world, according to some senior military officials.
"We can deter them," retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the former head of US Pacific Command, said of North Korea at a National Committee for US-China Relations event. "They may be developing 10 to 15 nuclear weapons. We have 2,000. They can do a lot of damage to the US, but there won't be any North Korea left in the event of a nuclear exchange. That's not a good regime survival strategy, and even Kim Jong Un would understand that.”
The US has to live with the fact that Russia, the world's second-greatest nuclear power, openly opposes the US's foreign policy in nearly every dimension, and that Pakistan, a country rife with corruption and Islamist groups gaining traction within and around its borders, has nuclear weapons.
A senior Defense Department official with expertise in nuclear strategy told Business Insider that while the US has said it cannot and will not accept a North Korea armed with a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, that amounted more to an opening position in an ongoing negotiation than an intention to use military force to stop it.
"You never undermine your official position going in," the official told Business Insider. "You're never going to voluntarily back away from that. You're going to actively work to make sure they don't get" an ICBM.
"The North Koreans having nukes is a bad thing, and we don't want it," the official said. "But if we lose that one, we survive it."
Despite bluster on both sides — whether posturing that the US may attack to cripple North Korea's nuclear program or that North Korea would use its nuclear weapons on the US or allies — the defense official and other experts Business Insider contacted said they found both cases extremely unlikely and undesirable.
"It's always in the US's favor to be somewhat ambiguous about what they will or won't do," said Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate in the East Asia Nonproliferation Program. "That's because there's no good thing to do. They have to convince South Korean allies and North Korean adversaries that they'll do anything to protect Seoul, even all-out nuclear war.
"But those experienced military leaders know. They've run the models. They've run the numbers," Hanham said. There's just no way to fight North Korea "without chaos and enormous death and damage to the world."
Because US nuclear weapons would have to fly over China or Russia and most likely would spread deadly fallout in South Korea or as far as Japan, nuclear conflict with North Korea would be likely to bring about World War III — a great power war between nuclear states that the world has developed nuclear weapons to avoid.
To an extent, the US already lives with and deters a nuclear North Korea daily. Hanham said that although it hadn't been verified, North Korea most likely had a deliverable nuclear weapon that could hit the 10 million civilians in Seoul or the 25,000 permanent US troops stationed in South Korea.
So North Korea will continue on its path toward a nuclear weapon that could hit anywhere in the US — but like Russia, China, and Pakistan, it probably wouldn't use it.
Yangon (AFP) - A Myanmar military plane carrying 116 people went missing on Wednesday between the southern city of Myeik and Yangon, according to the office of the army chief and an airport source.
"Communication was lost suddenly at about 1:35 pm (07:05 GMT) when it reached about 20 miles west of Dawei town," the commander-in-chief's office said in a statement.
Ships and planes have been scrambled to search for the plane, which was flying over the Andaman Sea when it went missing, the statement added.
An airport source said the plane was carrying 105 pasengers and 11 crew when it took off.
The passengers were believed to mainly be family members of military men based in the coastal region.
"We think it was a technical failure. Weather is fine there," the source told AFP, asking not to be named, adding there was no news of the plane so far.
Dubai (AFP) - A senior Emirati official insisted on Wednesday that Gulf Arab states were not seeking regime change in Doha, as tensions built in a bitter feud between Qatar and its neighbours.
Speaking to AFP in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar of being "the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region".
But he also said measures taken against Qatar this week by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab nations were not aimed at seeking new leadership in Doha.
"This is not about regime change -- this is about change of policy, change of approach," Gargash said.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain announced on Monday they were cutting diplomatic ties and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar, giving Qataris within their borders two weeks to leave.
The four countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar, pulled their ambassadors from Doha and ordered Qatari diplomats to leave.
Riyadh and its allies accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups and of serving the interests of regional arch-rival Iran, claims Doha has strongly rejected.
The dispute has sparked the worst diplomatic crisis in the Arab world in years and raised fears it will cause further instability in an already-volatile region.
Kuwait is leading efforts to find a mediated solution. Its Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah held talks with Saudi King Salman on Tuesday but there were no immediate signs of progress.
The Kuwaiti ruler played a pivotal role in mediating a compromise in a 2014 diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.
The United States, France and Russia have called for dialogue while Turkey has defended Qatar and said it would further "develop" ties with Doha.
US President Donald Trump waded into the dispute on Tuesday, but seemed to only muddy the waters. After first appearing to back the Saudi-led measures against Qatar on Twitter, he shifted gears and called for unity among Gulf Arab states.
Trump's Tuesday tweet -- in which he said "all reference was pointing to Qatar" as a financer of extremism -- was especially surprising given Qatar's role as host of the largest US airbase in the Middle East.
Al-Udeid, located in the Qatari desert, is home to some 10,000 US troops and is a crucial hub in the fight against Islamic State group extremists in Syria and Iraq.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accused the US president of fanning conflict in the Middle East and risking a "new spiral in arms sales" with his remarks.
"Such a 'Trumpification' of relations in a region already susceptible to crises is particularly dangerous," Gabriel said in an interview scheduled to appear on Wednesday.
Qatar has said it is open to talks to end the crisis but has also accused its neighbours of impinging on its sovereignty.
Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, chairman of Qatar's national human rights committee, late on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia and its allies of violating the rights of Qatari citizens with orders for them to leave Gulf countries.
"We have moved from severing diplomatic relations to a comprehensive blockade of international conventions and human rights conventions," Marri told a press conference on Tuesday evening.
UAE warns Qatar sympathisers
The UAE meanwhile warned that anyone showing sympathy with Qatar could face jail time or fines.
The UAE attorney general said Wednesday that "any participation in conversation or social media or any other means that demonstrates sympathy to Qatar... may face a prison sentence of three to 15 years and a fine of no less than 500,000 dirhams ($136,000)."
The measures taken against Qatar have seen dozens of flights cancelled and huge problems for Qatar Airways, which has been banned from the airspace of Saudi Arabia and other countries.
The severing of land and maritime links have also sparked fears of food shortages in Qatar, which relies heavily on imports.
The head of Qatar's business chamber sought to allay those concerns on Wednesday, saying the country had enough food and other consumer goods to last a year.
"There will be no shortage of food items and other materials," Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani said.
Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours, attracting criticism for hosting the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and supporting Islamist rebels in Syria.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened to move against Qatar by Trump's visit last month to Riyadh, which saw the president clearly align US interests with the kingdom and lash out at Iran.
Riyadh has itself faced accusations of tolerating or even supporting extremists, in particular after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Of the 19 hijackers of planes used in the attacks, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, also the birthplace of Al-Qaeda founder and attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Turkey's parliament on Wednesday approved a draft bill allowing its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar, an apparent move to support the Gulf Arab country when it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing militant groups. Qatar denies the accusations.
The bill, drafted before the rift, passed with 240 votes in favor, largely with support from the ruling AK Party and nationalist opposition MHP.
The United States on Wednesday condemned the deadly twin attacks in Iran, saying the "depravity of terrorism" has no place in the world. Yet the assaults failed to slow the U.S. Senate which voted to move ahead on imposing new sanctions on Iran, including on its elite Revolutionary Guards.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. is sending thoughts and prayers to the Iranian people following attacks against Iran's Parliament and the shrine of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that killed at least 12 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
"The depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world," said Nauert, who said the U.S. is expressing condolences to the victims and their families.
The U.S. statement of solidarity with the attack's victims is notable because of the deep distrust between the U.S. and Iran. The two countries don't maintain diplomatic relations and the Trump administration has emphasized the need to counter Iran's influence.
The distrust of Iran was evident on Wednesday when shortly after the condemnation, Republicans and Democrats in Congress acted in a procedural vote to move forward on a new set of sanctions. The strong bipartisan vote was 92-7.
The bill would impose mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure also would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.
A few senators pleaded for a delay until next week in the previously scheduled vote in light of the attacks in Iran.
"Let us tell the people of Iran that while we have serious disagreements with them on a number of issues, that today when they are mourning, when they are dealing with the shock of a terrorist attack, today is not the day to go forward with this piece of legislation," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also pushed for a delay, but Republicans and Democrats pressed ahead.
The bill is a "carefully crafted response to Iran's ongoing aggression in the Middle East," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
Last month, the Foreign Relations Committee backed the measure despite concerns from former Secretary of State John Kerry and several Democrats that it could nonetheless lead to the unraveling of the nuclear accord negotiated by the Obama administration.
Kerry cautioned lawmakers to "tread carefully" in pushing ahead with new sanctions against Iran in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani's re-election to another four-year term. Rouhani is a political moderate who scored a resounding victory over a hard-line opponent.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee's Republican chairman and one of the bill's sponsors, said he recently reviewed top-secret intelligence that detailed Tehran's support for terrorism and other destabilizing actions.
"It is astounding what Iran continues to do around the world," said Corker, urging his colleagues to confront the threat Tehran poses.
In exchange for Iran rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy. As part of the July 2015 multinational accord, Iran also regained access to frozen assets held abroad.
Israel and congressional Republicans have long assailed the agreement as a windfall to Iran. They've argued the deal only delayed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and failed to allow the kind of inspections of its atomic sites that would guarantee Tehran was not cheating. Lifting economic sanctions saved Iran's economy, GOP lawmakers added, and allowed the country to funnel more money to terrorist groups.
Yet the nuclear deal remains in place despite Trump's pledge during the presidential campaign to discard or renegotiate the pact. Instead, the State Department took a key step last week toward preserving the pact by issuing a waiver to keep the sanctions from snapping back into place. And the Trump administration notified Congress last month that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that as the Iran legislation moves forward, lawmakers will have an opportunity to offer amendments that would authorize new sanctions on Russia.
Bahrain's foreign minister said he appreciated Kuwaiti mediation to resolve an Arab row with Qatar, the Saudi newspaper Mecca reported on Wednesday, but that all options were open for his country to protect itself from Doha.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting militants and their arch-foe Iran - charges Qatar says are baseless.
Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, traveled from the UAE to Qatar on Wednesday after visiting Saudi Arabia the day before to resolve the crisis.
But in some of the strongest comments related to those efforts by a senior Gulf Arab official, Bahrain's Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa reportedly told the newspaper that it doubted whether Qatar would change its behavior.
"The emir of Kuwait is a messenger of good, but the policies of Qatar have not granted his endeavors success," Mecca reported Sheikh Khaled as saying on its official Twitter page.
"We will not hesitate to protect our interests and the road is open to any options to protect ourselves from Qatar."
Combat veteran Andrew Wittman was an infantry Marine for 6 years. He reveals a few things he learned in the Marine Corps that he still does today. Wittman is the author of "Ground Zero Leadership: CEO of You," and coaches Fortune 500 CEO's and top executives. Following is a transcript fo the video.
One of the routines that I learned in the Marines Corps that is still used today, and I'll carry it through the rest of my life, is that I always have water and always know where to get the next sip of water. You never want to find yourself in a place where you're dehydrated and no way to refuel the tank.
The drill instructors, you actually have two canteens on your duty belt you carry around at boot camp, and when you run — you're carrying the canteen of water and they'll tell you, "Stop — face upward, drink water, drink water.""Aye aye, sir." And they instill in you to always stay hydrated.
One of the things that I still do — when I was a grunt in the Marine Corps, in infantry, we would not only PT in the morning with the company, and the regiment, and the platoon early in the morning, but every day between 11 in the morning and 1300, or 1 p.m., it's a long lunch, we would go to the gym and work out. And it's funny because even now I've been out of the Marine Corps since I got off active duty in 1991, and still to this day the time I work out is during that 11 to 1 o'clock hour.
This is what elite warriors, what champions do. When they find something that works they just keep doing that over and over again because they get great results at it.
Vice Adm. James Syring, head of the US's Missile Defense Agency, told the House Armed Services committee on Wednesday that the US "must assume that North Korea can reach us with a ballistic missile."
"I would not say we are comfortably ahead of the threat," said Syring, acknowledging the surprising strides that North Korea has made in developing the range of their missile forces.
"The advancements in the last six months have caused great concern to me and others in the advancement of and demonstration of technology of ballistic missiles from North Korea," said Syring.
Syring stressed that while US missile defenses have made great progress, the threats persist.
While the US just demonstrated that the ground-based midcourse defense system can knock down a mock-ICBM in test settings, a real attack from US would be much harder to defend against.
Though North Korea has never tested a missile that can range the US mainland, they have shown off a number of technologies that lead up to the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Syring's testimony displays a level of uncertainty around North Korea's missile program.
Though the US can achieve small victories in test scenarios, a determined foe can send multitudes of missiles, decoys, and employ countermeasures against defenses.
"Missile defense is not a surefire way to negate the threat posed by another country's nuclear-capable ballistic missiles," Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation at the Arms Control Association, previously told Business Insider.
Instead, if North Korea does have a nuclear weapon that can hit the US, it's deterrence — not missile defense — that are most likely keeping Kim Jong Un's finger off the trigger.
While North Korea may have a handful of nuclear weapons that can wreak havoc on the US, the US certainly has hundreds of percision-guided nukes that can streak across the sky and level Pyongyang in a moment's notice.
Combat veteran Andrew Wittman was an infantry Marine for 6 years. He explains why setting goals can be a complete waste of time. Wittman is the author of "Ground Zero Leadership: CEO of You," and coaches Fortune 500 CEO's and top executives. Following is a transcript fo the video.
Setting goals is the biggest waste of time on planet Earth. People are shocked when I say that. Setting goals is a complete waste of time if you don't have a target destination. So I say it like this: Have you ever gone on a vacation and you didn't know where you were going? And if that ever happened, how did you pack?
So I don't know where I'm going. Here's my goals. I'm going to set goals of getting a surfboard, getting skis, getting hunting rifles, getting fishing rods. OK, all those took time to research, I spent resources, I got them, "Yay, I accomplished my goals.""Where you going?""We're going rock climbing." Right? So, these goals did not help me.
In fact, I wasted valuable hours of my life and valuable resources I could have spent getting me to my destination on stuff that was a complete waste. So now think of it like this: If I said, "We're going to Rome in 2 weeks." All the goals self-populate.
What do we need to do? We've got to get our passport and visa. We've got to get plane tickets. We've got to get a hotel. We've got to figure out where we're going to eat — and what we're going to go see. So the goals self-populate. So stop wasting time trying to come up with goals. Just come up with a destination and a target of where you want to be and all your goals will self-populate.
China said on Friday it was monitoring U.S. military activities in the South China Sea, after two U.S. bombers conducted training flights over the disputed waters.
The U.S. Pacific Command said on its website that two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew a 10-hour training mission from Guam over the South China Sea on Thursday, in conjunction with the Navy's USS Sterett guided-missile destroyer.
The exercise comes after a U.S. warship in late May carried out a "maneuvering drill" within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.
The U.S. military conducts such "freedom of navigation" patrols to show China it is not entitled to territorial waters there, U.S. officials said at the time.
The latest exercise was part of Pacific Command's "continuous bomber presence" program, but it did not give details on where it was conducted, and did not refer to it as a freedom-of-navigation operation.
"China always maintains vigilance and effective monitoring of the relevant country's military activities in the South China Sea," the ministry said in a statement, referring to the United States.
"China's military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability," it said.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, a stance contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The United States has criticized China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and extend China's strategic reach.
U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office.
Iraq's Kurds said on Friday a referendum on independence will go ahead despite warnings internationally that a vote in favor of secession could trigger conflict with Baghdad at a time when the fight against Islamic State is not yet won.
The Kurds have played a major role in the eight-month-old U.S.-backed campaign to defeat the hardline Sunni insurgents in the Nineveh province around their de-facto capital Mosul.
Baghdad's Shi'ite-led government has rejected any move by the mostly Sunni Muslim Kurds to press unilaterally for independence, insisting that any decision about the future of the country should involve all its other parts.
But Hoshiyar Zebari, a former Iraqi foreign and finance minister and now a senior adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, said the decision to hold the vote on Sept. 25 was irreversible.
"We crossed the Rubicon with that decision, there is no going back," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
However, the expected "yes" vote would simply strengthen the Kurds' hand in talks with Baghdad rather than leading automatically to a break from Iraq, nor would an independent Kurdistan annex the oil-rich region of Kirkuk and three other disputed regions in Kurdish-controlled territory, he said.
"You will hear people saying we are for Iraq’s unity, territorial integrity, we want dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil, we understand all this," he said.
"A referendum is a democratic process, no democratic country can oppose having a referendum; we are not talking about independence, we are talking about the referendum."
The KRG's announcement on Wednesday sparked concern in the United States and Germany, two of the region's most important partners in the fight against Islamic State, which still controls a small part of Iraq's northern city of Mosul as well as swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Neighboring Iran, Turkey and Syria all oppose secession, fearing separatism will spread to their own Kurdish populations.
Turkey's foreign ministry called the plan a "terrible mistake" on Friday and said that Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity was a fundamental principle for Ankara.
Iraq has been led by Shi'ites since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, by the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. The country's majority Shi'ite community mainly lives in the south while the Kurds and Sunni Arabs inhabit two corners of the north. The center around Baghdad is mixed.
The Kurds have their own armed force, the Peshmerga, which in 2014 prevented Islamic State from capturing Kirkuk after the Iraqi army fled in the face of the militants.
They are effectively running the region, also claimed by Turkmen and Arabs. Hardline Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militias have threatened to expel the Kurds by force from this region and three other disputed areas - Sinjar, Makhmour and Khanaqin.
The Sinjar region is populated by Yazidis, the followers of an ancient religion who speak a Kurdish language and the group most persecuted by Islamic State. Makhmour is south of the Kurdish capital Erbil and Khanaqin is near the border with Iran.
Zebari said the vote will only be held in these disputed territories if local elected councils want to join the process.
Washington (AFP) - A 25-year-old intelligence contractor accused of leaking a top secret report on Russian meddling in last year's US election wrote in a note that she wanted to "burn the White House down," prosecutors said.
Reality Winner appeared in federal court Thursday in Georgia and pleaded not guilty to a charge of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information," ABC News reported.
Winner's is the latest in a string of cases involving breaches at the National Security Agency, a code-breaking agency still smarting from Edward Snowden's 2013 disclosures of its global surveillance programs.
The former Air Force linguist was arrested last Saturday for allegedly giving a document to news website The Intercept that detailed attempts by hackers from Russian military intelligence to penetrate a company that sells voter registration software as well as local election officials.
Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Solari said agents searching Winner's home found handwritten notes in several languages, including one that said, "I want to burn the White House down," ABC News and The Augusta Chronicle reported.
Her social media accounts had revealed a deep dislike of President Donald Trump, with one post calling him "the orange fascist."
Other notes found at her home included details on how to access the "dark web," set up a burner email account and listed the names of Taliban leaders, news reports said.
Winner, who worked for NSA contractor Pluribus International Corporation in Augusta, Georgia, was a specialist in Pashto, Farsi and Dari, languages spoken in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, her mother has said.
Solari warned that Winner may possess more stolen secrets.
Judge Brian Epps denied bail, meaning Winner will stay behind bars until trial, after Solari said some of the evidence was "downright frightening."
Her lawyer Titus Nichols rejected that characterization, saying his client has no history of violence. He said his Winner is just a millennial comfortable with technology.
Prague (AFP) - Europe has to take care of its defence given the shift in US policy, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday, promoting a hefty defence fund announced by Brussels.
"The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced," Juncker told a defence conference in Prague.
"Over the past decade, it has become crystal clear that our American partners consider that they are shouldering too much of the burden for their wealthy European allies," he said.
On Wednesday, the EU unveiled an unprecedented plan to set up a 5.5-billion-euro ($6.15-billion) a year fund, following a Franco-German led bid to focus on security and defence to provide a new sense of purpose after last year's Brexit vote shook Europe.
"We have no other choice than to defend our own interests in the Middle East, in climate change, in our trade agreements by stepping up our efforts on defence and by doing so together," he said.
US President Donald Trump, who follows an "America First" policy, berated his European partners on military spending at a raucous NATO summit in Brussels last month.
Juncker said the EU would not compete with NATO, with which it shares 22 members, adding: "NATO has been and will remain the cornerstone of European security for decades. We are different but we complement each other."
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said the alliance welcomed the proposed fund.
"A stronger European defence means a stronger NATO and a stronger NATO means a stronger European defence," she said, adding neither NATO nor the EU could tackle current challenges alone.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, presided over the launch of a new anti-ship cruise missile system on Thursday in Wonsan, on North Korea's east coast. And though the missiles performed well and struck their target, it was a pretty weak showing.
The missiles flew about 125 miles, South Korea said, and fired from tracked launchers with forest camouflage. The missiles themselves were not new, according to The Diplomat, but they showed off a new launcher that can fire from hidden, off-road locations within moments of being set up.
But those are about the only nice things you could say about these missiles.
In the photos released by North Korean media, it's clear the missiles are striking a ship that isn't moving.
In a combat situation, the ships would move and take countermeasures. For the US, South Korean, and Japanese navies, that often means firing an interceptor missile.
North Korea also lacks the ability to support these missiles with accurate guidance. The US would use planes, drones, or even undersea platforms to observe and track a target.
North Korea waited to test these missiles until two US aircraft carrier strike groups armed to the teeth with missile defense capabilities left its shores, perhaps to avoid embarrassment should the US knock them down.
Unlike its practice with ballistic-missile tests, which are banned under international law, the US did not publicly comment on this launch. North Korea is well within its rights to test a cruise missile in international waters.
But despite the rudimentary technology used in the launch, North Korea did show that it poses a real threat. Not only do the missile launchers leverage the element of surprise, but they represent yet another new missile capability.
In a few short months, North Korea has demonstrated a range of capabilities that has surprised experts and military observers. Though the missiles don't pose a threat to the US Navy, Kim showed he's serious about fighting on all fronts.
Islamic State (IS) threatened attacks in Saudi Arabia after the militant group claimed responsibility for assaults in Tehran that killed at least 17 people, Site Intelligence monitoring group reported on Friday.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum in Tehran on Wednesday. Scores of people were also wounded.
IS claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks against Iran's majority Shi'ite population, seen by the hardline Sunni militants as heretics.
In a video that appeared to have been recorded before the attack on Tehran, five masked fighters were shown threatening Shi’ites in Iran as well as the Saudi Arabian government saying their turn "will come".
"Allah permitting, this brigade will be the first of jihad in Iran, and we ask our brothers the Muslims to follow us, as the fire that was ignited will not be put out, Allah permitting," one of the masked fighters said, according to SITE.
At the end of the video, he sent a message to the Saudi government.
"Know that after Iran, your turn will come. By Allah, we will strike you in your own homes... We are the agents of nobody. We obey Allah and His Messenger, and we are fighting for the sake of this religion, not for the sake of Iran or the Arabian Peninsula."
IS, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, had carried on attacks on Saudi security forces as well as deadly bombings and shootings that target the kingdom's Shi'ites in the past.
Iranian authorities said five of the attackers were Iranian nationals recruited by IS, while Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps blamed the assault on regional rival Saudi Arabia and has threatened revenge. Sunni Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the attacks.
Tensions have been high in the Middle East since Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the accusation.
On Friday, the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia issued a security notice to U.S. citizens recommending that they "exercise caution in places frequented by foreigners due to the continuing risk of terrorist attacks... across the Kingdom."
At a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, US President Donald Trump affirmed his commitment to protecting NATO allies against possible Russian military incursions and made it clear that his problem with NATO is purely monetary.
Asked directly if Trump would answer a call from NATO on Article 5, the clause of the treaty that states that an attack on one NATO state should be responded to as an attack on all NATO states, Trump said "yes, absolutely."
"I have committed, but I am committing the US to Article 5," said Trump.
"Certainly we are there to protect, that's one of there reasons I want people to make sure we have a very very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force."
Trump's commitment to the alliance came into question after he did not explicitly endorse Article 5 at a NATO summit in Brussels last month. Standing in front of a twisted beam taken from the ruins of the World Trade Center after the September 11 attack on the US, Trump spent most of the speech imploring NATO countries to pay their fair share for the common defense.
The US is the only NATO state to invoke Article 5 in the organization's history, which it did after the September 11 attack.
Trump's prepared remarks in Brussels had mentioned Article 5, but Trump removed the reference without his team's knowledge.
Later, White House spokesman Sean Spicer responded to criticisms of Trump's speech saying they were "silly," and that Trump's presence at the summit proved his commitment.
But Trump did depart from orthodoxy on NATO in one dimension, suggesting at the press conference on Friday that NATO states should repay deficits in their spending from years past.
"Do we ever go back and say, how about paying the money from many many years past?" said Trump. "I know no president has ever asked that question, but I do."
Trump was referring to a 2014 commitment by NATO members to spend at least 2% of their GDP on its militaries by the next decade. Currently, only five out of 34 NATO members meet that benchmark, though they have until 2024 to do so.
Russia, which illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and currently supports an armed insurgency there, has alarmed Eastern European states like Romania with their powerful military, which has now reached near parity with US and NATO forces in the region.
US Air Force officials cancelled F-35 flights on Friday at Luke Air Force Base after over a month of pilots reporting that the plane caused them to suffer from hypoxia-like symptoms from a lack of oxygen.
Pilots flying the world's most expensive weapons system apparently found themselves running short of air, though the Air Force said in all cases, the plane's backup system engaged and no lives or planes were lost.
"In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations we have cancelled local F-35A flying. The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots," said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander in the statement to Business Insider. "We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents."
This isn't the first time the F-35 has caused health risks to pilots.
Pilots of the Navy's F-35C reported that when taking off from aircraft carriers, the plane sometimes bucked them hard enough to hit their head on the canopy. In some cases, severe, persistent pain resulted.
Additionally, the F-35 has posed a risk to smaller pilots due to its ejection seat. In October 2015, Defense News reported that pilots under 136 pounds could have their neck snapped if they ejected from the F-35.
Lockheed Martin officials have told Business Insider that both the carrier-takeoff and ejection seat problems are under review, and they hope to remedy them soon.
F-35 pilots contacted by Business Insider have said that the plane represents a revolutionary leap in innovation and capability, and that ultimately, setbacks like these should be expected.
The U.S. Air Force has sent B-2 Spirit bombers to England for drills with NATO and partner allies furthering the military's continuance to deploy aircraft despite a period of bizarre political relations with Russia.
The move means the service now has its full complement of bombers in Europe -- the B-2 joins three B-52 Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and three B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota -- and marks the first time all three aircraft have been in the theater at the same time, European Command officials said in a release.
The Air Force said two B-2 nuclear-capable bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, arrived at Royal Air Force Fairford, U.K., on Friday, but said the bombers "are briefly joining the other Air Force Global Strike Command assets in support of recurring bomber assurance and deterrence operations," the release said.
"These B-2 Spirits will not support Exercises BALTOPS or Saber Strike and will only remain in theater a short time," it said.
The B-1Bs and B-52s, however, are supporting those exercises.
While the annual exercises have taken place for years, bomber deployments to Europe have been given more scrutiny since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
The Pentagon sent two B-2s and three B-52s to Europe for similar training events in June 2014 days after then-President Obama announced he would increase the U.S. military presence in the region following the annexation, and Russia's continued aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
This is the fourth year B-52s have been invited for exercises, of which the bombers practice dummy bomb drops.
Last year, airmen practiced dropping "500-pound dummy mines, set up like a real mine, with a tail kit, and employment characteristics but it's just concrete," said Lt Col. Michael Maginness, 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. The goal is to hit "splash points," evaluated by the U.S. Navy, and track how well the bomber can hit up a mine field if it were laden with explosives, Maginness told Air Force Times at the time.
BALTOPs, which began in 1972, is a maritime-focused exercise taking place in the Baltic Sea in which several NATO allies and partner nations conduct live training events. This year, many of the drills will take place from Szczecin, Poland and finish in Kiel, Germany.
Saber Strike, led by the U.S. Army in Europe and in its seventh year, is meant to improve communication skills during land exercises which span Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, such as working with joint terminal attack controllers on the ground.