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- 07/24/17--10:34: _New analysis shows ...
- 07/24/17--11:07: _Hawaii just release...
- 07/24/17--12:40: _A government agency...
- 07/25/17--07:02: _US Navy fires warni...
- 07/25/17--07:40: _China and India are...
- 07/25/17--10:59: _China's army looks ...
- 07/25/17--13:50: _Trump blasts Obama'...
- 07/26/17--08:24: _Trump tweets reveal...
- 07/26/17--12:11: _White House press s...
- 07/26/17--12:16: _Pentagon officials ...
- 07/27/17--06:37: _Watchdog group says...
- 07/27/17--07:36: _Mattis was on vacat...
- 07/27/17--08:09: _'We will continue t...
- 07/27/17--09:19: _Trump is working to...
- 07/27/17--11:25: _China holds live-fi...
- 07/28/17--06:38: _Trump is looking fo...
- 07/28/17--07:19: _These amazing color...
- 07/28/17--07:30: _World War I started...
- 07/28/17--09:31: _US says North Korea...
- 07/24/17--07:06: _Chinese jets interc...
- 07/24/17--10:34: New analysis shows North Korea's ICBM is basically useless
- After failing to repeal Obamacare, Trump will likely target another cornerstone of Obama's legacy — the Iran deal.
- Trump could try to drum up intelligence on Iran cheating the deal, but other parties in the deal likely won't trust him.
- The attempt to form facts to fit the policy mirrors a dark chapter in US history — the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- 07/28/17--07:19: These amazing colorized photographs bring World War I to life
- 07/24/17--07:06: Chinese jets intercept US surveillance plane in East China Sea
North Korea shocked the world by launching an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4. But according to an analysis by Breaking Defense, it's basically useless.
While the missile demonstrated sufficient range to be considered an ICBM, Ralph Savelsberg and James Kiessling, the authors of the analysis, compared it with other ICBMs and found it much too small to deliver a meaningful payload at important ranges.
Compared with the vehicle North Korea has used to launch satellites, the country's ICBM — called the KN-14 or Hwasong-14 — is about half as long and significantly thinner. They concluded that the KN-14 couldn't carry as big a payload as satellite-launch vehicles, but that such vehicles couldn't withstand being carted around like the KN-14.
Additionally, the US shouldn't count on the North Koreans to accurately target cities. At full range, the authors suggest, the KN-14 could land within only about 19 miles of a target.
While North Korea has demonstrated the technology requisite to land a large warhead on the US mainland with its satellite-launcher vehicles, the KN-14 simply doesn't have what it takes.
Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency released an ominous statement on how to survive and proceed in the event of a nuclear attack.
Citizens of Hawaii are advised to look out for emergency sirens, alerts, wireless notifications, or flashes of "brilliant white light" that will indicate that a nuclear detonation is incoming or underway.
From there, the agency instructs citizens to get indoors, stay indoors, and stay tuned via radio as "cell phone, television, radio and internet services will be severely disrupted or unavailable." Instead, expect only local radio stations to survive and function.
If indoors, citizens should avoid windows. If driving, citizens should pull off the road to allow emergency vehicles access to population centers. Once inside, Hawaiians should not leave home until instructed to or for two full weeks, as dangerous nuclear fallout could sicken or kill them.
Read the full release below:
To test just how easy it is for cops to get high-tech military equipment, a government agency asked for more than $1.2 million in weapons by pretending to be a fake law enforcement agency — and got it, according to a report published last week.
The Government Accountability Office, the agency tasked with overseeing government abuse, made up a fictitious agency website and address to ask the Department of Defense for more than a million dollars in military equipment.
They received the equipment, which included night-vision goggles, M-16A2 rifles and pipe bomb equipment, from a military warehouse in less than a week.
"They never did any verification, like visit our ‘location,’ and most of it was by email,” Zina Merritt, director of the GAO’s defense capabilities and management team, told The Marshall Project. “It was like getting stuff off of eBay."
After receiving the weapons, the GAO recommended more tightly regulating transfer of military equipment and conducting a risk assesment test in order to prevent real-life fraud.
The DoD agreed to better monitor transfer of equipment by physically visiting the location of the agency and conducting a fraud assessment in 2018, according to the report.
But Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the Marshall Project that cases of possible fraud should not be used as a knock against the program.
"It suggests only that the U.S. military is one of the world’s largest bureaucracies and as such is going to have some lapses in material control," he said.
GAO's investigation into the transfer of military equipment came after public outrage over the equipment carried by Ferguson police during protests over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, according to TMP.
A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel near the northern Arabian Gulf on Tuesday after the vessel came within 150 yards (137 meters), a U.S. official told Reuters.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the USS Thunderbolt fired the warning shots after attempts to communicate by radio were ignored by the Iranian vessel.
Buried in the Himalayas in the Siliguri Corridor, also known as the Chicken's neck, Chinese and Indian military forces sit on the respective sides of their vague borders and entrench themselves for what could become a shooting war between nuclear powers.
Both Beijing and New Delhi see the conflict as a shoving match for dominance in the Himalayas, an age-old struggle between the two states that most recently went hot in 1962, before either state had perfected nuclear bombs.
But now a Chinese construction project aiming to build a road that can support 40 ton vehicle traffic threatens a critical passage in India and risks alienating New Delhi from its ally, Bhutan.
As China asserts sovereignty over the disputed border zone with the building project, Indian troops have entrenched themselves, according to a dispatch from the South China Morning Post.
“New bunkers are being built, the ground is being mined to pre-empt Chinese attack, machine-gun nests are being placed at strategic points, and soldiers are performing battle drills at least twice a day,” according to the Post.
Both India and Bhutan have protested China's ambitious one belt one road program to undertake massive infrastructure projects across Asia, and now China seems intent on testing the two nations' resolve.
“They are trying to show Bhutan who calls the shots in the Himalayas. So we have to ensure we are capable of defending Bhutan’s territorial integrity,” Maj. Gen. Gaganjit Singh, who commanded a division in India’s Northeast before retiring as the deputy chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency, told the Post. “We have to prove we can defend Bhutan and we are determined not to lose the current terrain and tactical advantage we have in Chumbi Valley.”
At 9,800 feet in elevation, the Indian troops sit and watch the Chinese below as they push forward with their road.
“It’s important for us to stop the Chinese here because if we fail, they will roll on to the Chicken’s Neck and can cut off our northeast,” said Singh.
Meanwhile, China, the numerically superior army, declared it would protect its border "at all costs," and that the Indians should have "no illusions" about their resolve.
But while China sees this step as vital for asserting dominance and achieving a major construction initiative, and India sees it as a vital threat to its national integrity, neither side wants serious fighting to start.
“A hot war between India and China could squander all the gains from their extensive economic diplomacy, and that would work against each country’s interests in a big way,” Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program, told The Cipher Brief of the conflict.
Hopefully at the upcoming summit between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, (BRICS) the two sides can work out a way to end the conflict while saving face, before we see two nuclear-armed nations with a combined population of nearly 3 billion go to war.
China's military has been increasing the strength and number of its forces along its 880-mile border with North Korea as Pyongyang's military provocations cause the US and its allies to think long and hard about military action against the rogue regime.
A report from The Wall Street Journal says that China has established a new border-defense brigade, implemented 24-hour video surveillance of the border, and constructed bunkers to protect from possible nuclear or chemical attacks.
China conducted a live-fire drill in June and July with helicopter gunships and armored infantry units, including a simulated battle with artillery, tanks, and helicopters, according to The Journal. The nature of these military exercises goes beyond securing a border, and they mimic fighting a nuclear-armed adversary.
While China and North Korea exist on paper as allies, Sim Tack, an expert on North Korea at Stratfor, a geopolitical-analysis firm, previously told Business Insider that China would not likely defend Pyongyang from a US-led attack and instead try to prevent or dissuade the US from taking such a step.
Still, a US-led attack on North Korea remains unlikely. South Korea's new liberal government has sought to pursue engagement with its neighbor, and the US would ultimately need its support for such a campaign. From a purely military point of view, North Korea's artillery and nuclear arms hold too many civilians in Seoul at risk.
In June, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis described possible conflict with North Korea as "a serious, a catastrophic war, especially for innocent people in some of our allied countries, to include Japan most likely."
Even short of war, China now has reason to view North Korea as a liability.
In response to North Korea's missile tests and military provocations, the US based its powerful Thaad missile-defense battery in South Korea, frightening Chinese military analysts who think the Thaad's powerful radar could one day effectively neuter China's ability to engage in a nuclear exchange with the US.
Beijing, which could play a role in handling a refugee crisis, should the North Korean regime collapse, has now assembled forces sufficient to shape the outcome of any conflict between the West and Pyongyang.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted former President Barack Obama's handling of the Syrian civil war and Syrian President Bashar Assad in a joint press conference with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
"I'm not a fan of Assad," Trump said in response to a question about how the US could help Lebanon deal with the massive influx of Syrian refugees the conflict has displaced into the country.
"We hit ... 59 out of 59 when we launched the tomahawk missiles," said Trump, referencing the April 7 US Navy strike on Assad's air force in response to a chemical weapon attack the Syrian army perpetrated on its own people.
"I'm not somebody who will stand by and let him get away with what he's tried to do, and he did it a number of times," said Trump.
"When Obama drew that red line in the sand, he should have crossed that red line because some horrible acts against humanity took place including gas, and the killing through gasses," said Trump of Obama's 2013 "red line," where the former president responded to reports that Assad had used chemical weapons by saying he would meet further chemical weapons use with force.
Later, Assad again used chemical weapons, and Obama opted to have Russia step in to remove them.
"That was a bad day for this country," Trump said. "Had President Obama gone across that line and done what he should have done, I don't believe you'd have Russia, and I don't believe you'd have Iran to anywhere near the extent, and maybe not at all in Syria today."
In late September 2015, Russia deployed its air force and military advisers to bolster Assad in Syria. Iran then stepped up its support for the regime and the tide on the battlefield turned against the rebels Obama had supported with arms transfers and training.
Today, the White House accepts Assad's sovereignty in Syria as a "political reality," despite clear issues with his leadership.
President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that the US military would not accept transgender people, saying their service would cause "tremendous medical costs and disruption."
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump said in a series of tweets.
Trump's announcement is a reversal of President Barack Obama's decision in 2016 to allow transgender people to openly serve, though the implementation of that policy had been delayed by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
A Pentagon statement to Business Insider referred all questions "about the president's statements" to the White House but did say the Pentagon would "work closely" with the White House to "address the new guidance provided by the commander-in chief on transgender individuals serving the military."
Senior officials in each branch of the military had voiced opposition to integrating transgender people leading up to Trump's announcement, the Military Times reports.
Unlike Obama, who took an active hand shaping the Pentagon's operations, Trump has been known to defer to military leaders' judgment in defense issues. The extent of Trump's involvement in developing the policy is unclear.
But a Trump administration official talking to Jonathan Swan, a politics reporter at Axios, did suggest a political motive for the move.
"This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue," Swan quoted the official as saying. The official questioned how blue-collar voters would react when senators up for reelection "are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaign."
How this will affect the transgender people already serving in the military also remains unknown. Up to 10,700 transgender people may already be serving in the US military, according to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation.
Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins told the Military Times that "just like their fellow service members," transgender people "receive all medically necessary care," which could include gender-reassignment surgery.
RAND Corp. estimated that 29 to 129 of the US military's 1.4 million troops would most likely seek reassignment surgery each year. The procedure itself can cost upward of $100,000 and accompany a lengthy hormone treatment process.
Politicians and veterans have vociferously come out in opposition of the ban. Rep. Dan Kildee, a vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, called the move a "slap in the face to the thousands of transgender Americans already serving in the military."Retired US Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, who is transgender, objected to Trump's statement on the cost of transgender people in military, saying "the money is negligible ... You're talking about .000001% of the military budget."
Trump has also reversed Obama's policy on guiding public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
The White House on Wednesday refused to provide specifics on President Donald Trump's announced plans to bar transgender people from serving in the military"in any capacity," and its top representative eventually threatened to end a press briefing after repeated questions on the subject.
Asked what would happen to deployed transgender military personnel in theaters around the world, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was "something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together on as implementation takes place." She added that the two entities would work to make the shift "lawfully."
"When the president made the decision yesterday, the secretary of defense was informed, as well as the rest of the military advisers," Sanders said.
She said Trump found that transgender people in the military were "expensive and disruptive" and that they "erode military readiness and unit cohesion."
Sanders stressed that Trump made the decision he felt was in the best interest of the military.
"This is a military decision," Sanders said. "It's not meant to be anything more than that."
After a question about how the White House would address transgender service members who may now fear the consequences of gender-reassignment surgery, Sanders reiterated that the decision was based on military readiness "and nothing more."
As reporters began to push back, Sanders said, "If those are the only questions we have, I'm going to call it a day, but if we have questions on other topics, I'll be happy to take them."
Sanders ended the briefing shortly after, ahead of Trump's 3 p.m. remarks to the American Legion's Boys Nation and Auxiliary Girls Nation at the White House.
President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday morning to "not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military" seems to have come as a shock to defense officials contacted by Business Insider and other outlets.
Although Trump announced he had consulted with his top military personnel — apparently including Secretary of Defense James Mattis — on the decision, other Pentagon officials seemed out of the loop.
“The tweet was the first we heard about it,” a defense official told the Wall Street Journal.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr similarly reported that Pentagon officials were initially unaware of the ban.
Asked directly for a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson bounced Business Insider back to the White House on all questions about the ban.
"We refer all questions about the President's statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future," the statement read.
The ban has already generated considerable backlash and confusion. A report from Politico cites multiple congressional sources as saying Mattis opposed the ban, and may not have been party to the decision.
ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - A U.S.-trained Iraqi army division allegedly executed several dozen men in the final throes of the battle against Islamic State militants in Mosul's Old City, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
The watchdog urged the U.S. government to suspend all support for the 16th Division of the Iraqi army pending an investigation into what it called war crimes, evidence of which was seen by two international observers.
Reuters could not independently verify the claims because Iraqi authorities have restricted media access to the Old City since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Islamic State on July 10. Spokesmen for the Iraqi government and military could not be reached for comment.
Islamic State made its last stand in the Old City after nine months of urban warfare with Iraqi forces who are backed by a U.S.-led coalition.
Fighting continued there for several days after victory was declared in mid-July and videos emerged of Iraqi forces beating unarmed men and pushing one off a precipice to his death.
"Given the widespread abuses by Iraqi forces and the government’s abysmal record on accountability, the U.S. should take a hard look at its involvement with Iraqi forces," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Iraq has promised to investigate previous accusations of abuses and hold perpetrators to account.
The observers cited by HRW said they had seen a group of Iraqi soldiers who identified themselves as members of the 16th Division lead four naked men down an alleyway, after which they heard multiple gunshots.
They were told by other soldiers that the four men were Islamic State fighters.
As they were leaving the area, one of the observers saw the bodies of a number of naked men lying in a doorway, one of whom appeared to have been handcuffed and had a rope tied around his legs.
"The U.S. military should find out why a force that it trained and supported is committing ghastly war crimes," Whitson said. "US taxpayer dollars should be helping to curtail abuses,
not enable them."
(Reporting by Isabel Coles, Editing by Angus MacSwan and Richard Balmforth)
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When President Donald Trump tweeted his reversal of the Obama-era decision to allow transgender people to openly serve in the military on Wednesday, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, was on vacation and appalled by the move, according to the New York Times.
Mattis apparently only had one day's notice about the decision, which he had labored over for months while evaluating how to implement the Obama policy.
Sources close to Mattis told the Times that he was "appalled" by Trump's rollout of the policy, which shocked many in the Pentagon and left active-duty transgender service people unsure of their fate.
Trump's decision to "not accept or allow" transgender service people comes after Obama essentially invited them to come forward and openly express their gender identity. It also follows a 2016 study commissioned by the Pentagon that found that transgender inclusion would have “have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs” for the 1.4 million strong US military.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump made the move to protect "military readiness and unit cohesion," and that the White House would work with the Pentagon to implement the policy "lawfully."
But multiple congressional sources told Politico that Trump actually rushed the decision to nail down the last few remaining votes on a $790 billion spending bill that included money for a border wall, one of Trump's first campaign promises.
When infighting between House GOP representatives threatened to derail the spending bill if it didn't prohibit spending defense funds on treatment for transgender service people, some representatives sought out Trump to take care of the problem via executive action, according to Politico.
Trump responded by not only suspending funding, but announcing a complete ban on transgender service.
"This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the [White House] set the whole table on fire,” a senior House Republican aide told Politico.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a written message on Thursday to military leaders that there has been no change yet to the military's policy on transgender personnel, despite plans for a ban announced by President Donald Trump.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance," Dunford said in the written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders, seen by Reuters.
"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the strength of the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump desperately wants to cancel, senior U.S. officials said.
The inspections are one element of what is designed to be a more aggressive approach to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. While the Trump administration seeks to police the existing deal more strictly, it is also working to fix what Trump's aides have called "serious flaws" in the landmark deal that — if not resolved quickly — will likely lead Trump to pull out.
That effort also includes discussions with European countries to negotiate a follow-up agreement to prevent Iran from resuming nuclear development after the deal's restrictions expire in about a decade, the officials said. The officials weren't authorized to discuss the efforts publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The inspections requests, which Iran would likely resist, could play heavily into Trump's much-anticipated decision about whether to stick with the deal he's long derided.
If Iran refuses inspections, the argument goes, Trump finally will have a solid basis to say Iran is breaching the deal, setting up Tehran to take most of the blame if the agreement collapses. If Iran agrees to inspections, those in Trump's administration who want to preserve the deal will be emboldened to argue it's advancing U.S. national security effectively.
The campaign gained fresh urgency this month following a dramatic clash within the administration about whether to certify Iran's compliance, as is required every 90 days.
Trump was eager to declare Tehran in violation, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency that monitors compliance says its infractions are minor. At the urging of top Cabinet members, Trump begrudgingly agreed at the last minute to avoid a showdown for another three months — but only with assurances the U.S. would increase pressure on Iran to test whether the deal is truly capable of addressing its nuclear ambitions and other troublesome activities.
Trump faces another certification deadline in three months, and it's far from clear that either new inspections or any "fixes" to address whether his concerns will be in place by then. Trump told The Wall Street Journal this week he expects to say Iran isn't complying, setting a high bar for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other aides to persuade him otherwise.
"If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago," Trump said.
To that end, the administration is seeking to force Iran to let in IAEA inspectors to military sites where the U.S. intelligence community believes the Islamic Republic may be cheating on the deal, several officials said. Access to Iran's military sites was one of the most contentious issues in the 2015 deal, in which Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Last week in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency is based, Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon floated the proposal to the European members of the Joint Commission that oversees the deal, one official said. Britain, France and Germany joined the U.S., Russia, China and the European Union two years ago in brokering the deal with Iran.
To force inspections of new sites in Iran, the U.S. would need to enlist the support of the IAEA and a majority of the countries in the deal. But the U.S. has run into early resistance over concerns it has yet to produce a "smoking gun"— compelling evidence of illicit activity at a military site that the IAEA could use to justify inspections, officials said.
Among the concerns about a rush toward inspections is that if they fail to uncover evidence of violations, it would undermine the IAEA's credibility and its ability to demand future inspections. So the U.S. is working to produce foolproof intelligence about illicit activity, officials said. The officials declined to describe the intelligence activities or the Iranian sites the U.S. believes are involved.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to the strategy during an event hosted Wednesday by The Washington Post. Corker said the U.S. was trying to "radically enforce" the deal by asking for access to "various facilities" in Iran.
"If they don't let us in, boom," Corker said. "You want the breakup of this deal to be about Iran. You don't want it to be about the U.S., because we want our allies with us."
As a candidate, Trump threatened to rip up the deal that President Barack Obama brokered. As president, Trump has yet to take that step, as his administration finishes a broader Iran policy review expected to conclude in August.
The other major step to try to address what Trump has deemed flaws in the deal involves ensuring that Iran can't revert to old behavior once the limitations on its program "sunset" over the next decade-plus. The State Department said Trump has directed his administration to "work with allies to explore options" for dealing with that and other shortcomings. Talks are underway with the European countries about a supplemental deal, though it's unclear how Iran could be persuaded to sign on.
The deal's provisions for inspections of military facilities, or "undeclared sites," involve a complex process with plenty of opportunities for Iran to stall. Tehran can propose alternatives to on-site inspections, or reject the request, which would trigger a 24-day process for the Joint Commission countries to override the rejection.
That could drag on for months. And under ambiguities built into the deal, it's unclear whether Iran must allow IAEA inspectors into military sites, or whether the Iranians can take their own environmental samples and send them to the IAEA for testing, as was allowed under a 2015 side agreement that let Iran use its own experts to inspect the Parchin military site.
Even if Trump declares Iran in violation of the deal — a move that would invigorate his conservative base — he could still leave Iran'ssanctions relief in place.
American businesses are eager for the deal to survive so they can pursue lucrative opportunities in Iran. The aviation industry recently signed billions of dollars of contracts to sell passenger plans to Iranian airlines, including a $16.6 billion deal for Boeing.
North Korea marked the "Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War" Thursday, a national holiday that celebrates the end of the Korean war in 1953, which may indicate a missile test is forthcoming as tensions between the US, Pyongyang, and China mount.
US intelligence agencies have said for some time that they expect another North Korean missile test soon, as North Korea's July 4th missile test only demonstrated a limited capability.
Since then, CIA director Mike Pompeo has spoken candidly about the possibility that the US may look to take out Kim Jong Un, and China has pressed on with an increasingly assertive military posture towards North Korea.
Meanwhile, North Korean propaganda has shot back, saying the country would hit the US with a "powerful nuclear hammer" if Kim were threatened.
In the Yellow Sea west of the Korean peninsula, China recently held live-fire drills with its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, the South China Morning Post reported.
While experts told The Post the drills were linked to the 90th anniversary of the founding of China's People's Liberation Army, Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military affairs commentator, acknowledged the drill would send “a very subtle message to North Korea.”
Additionally, China has built a massive military presence along its border with North Korea complete with helicopter gunships, aerial drone surveillance, and large ground and artillery forces.
US intelligence services recently told ABC News that North Korea could test its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday, but bad weather may prevent such a launch.
President Donald Trump campaigned on tearing up the Iran deal and repealing Obamacare, but with his efforts to reform healthcare once again defeated, he may look to sabotage the Iran deal in a way that resembles the run up to the Iraq war.
"With Healthcare dead, Trump will be even more determined to kill Obama's top foreign policy achievement - the Iran Deal," Ilan Goldenberg, the Middle East security director at the Center for New American Security tweeted after Trump's healthcare defeat.
But unlike healthcare, the Iran deal involves six countries and the US has a limited ability to act unilaterally — so Trump has been looking for dirt to increase pressure on Tehran.
Every 90 days, the US has to confirm that Iran has complied with the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspections and not violated the terms of the deal. For the first six months of Trump's presidency, he has gone through with the procedure, albeit begrudgingly, according to the Associated Press.
"If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago," Trump told the Wall Street Journal of the Iran deal. But Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk and an expert on nuclear proliferation, told Business Insider that like the IAEA, he sees no evidence of Iran violating the terms of the deal.
The AP reported that Trump wants to drum up "foolproof intelligence" of suspicious activity at Iranian military sites to increase the scope of inspections — something that Iran would almost certainly push back on.
If Iran refused the inspections, Trump would have good reason to exit the deal, bringing the other parties with him.
"Demand more inspections and when Iran doesn't comply, blame Iran & use it as an excuse to walk away from the agreement," Tweeted Goldenberg. "If US can blame Iran then it can build coalition to reimpose sanctions and get a better deal."
But the problem, according to Lewis and Goldenberg, is that none of the other nations involved in the deal believe Trump is acting in good faith. Intelligence exclusive to the US that suggests Iran is cheating on the deal will likely appear politically motivated, the experts concluded.
"If real evidence turns up, I want us to be able to hunt that down, but everything [the administration] said makes it seem like it's a transparent and cynical effort to confront the Iranians," said Lewis.
The selective search for intelligence on a Middle Eastern adversary's allegedly clandestine nuclear weapons program draws a dark historical parallel.
In 2003, during the run up to the Iraq war, the US cherry-picked intelligence and represented Iraq as a state bent on building weapons of mass destruction. Former President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice famously said at the time"we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
After Baghdad fell and the US took custody of Saddam Hussein, it found no smoking gun, and nothing capable of creating a mushroom cloud.
"It’s exactly like Iraq," Lewis said of Trump's push for dirt on Tehran. "The facts were being fitted around the policy." The major difference in this case, according to Lewis, is that the US is unlikely to invade Iran.
In some ways, Trump has been more straightforward. He does not like the Iran deal, and he seeks to discredit it so he can eventually scrap it.
After all, Iran is openly antagonistic towards the US. Iran frequently harasses US Navy ships sailing around the Arabian Gulf. In fact, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy said point blank that"one of the IRGC navy's operational goals is to destroy America's Navy."
But Lewis warned that nuclear technology is old, and if Iran wanted to, even with the return of heavy sanctions abated by the JCPOA, it could build a nuclear weapon surprisingly quickly.
One month after a Bosnian-Serb assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, on a street corner in Sarajevo, the Austro-Hungarian Empire on July 28, 1914 declared war on Serbia, effectively beginning World War I.
Ferdinand's murder sent the Great Powers into a war that would last five years and cost the lives of 10 million troops.
Thought of as the "war to end all wars," World War I marked a number of firsts in military conflict, including the use of planes, tanks, and chemical weapons.
On June 28, 1919, the victorious Allied leaders signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I and spurring German nationalism, which in turn gave Nazi leader Adolf Hitler a political platform.
Here's a few colorized photographs published by The Open University showing life during World War I.
Trench warfare was one of the hallmarks of World War I.
Soldiers could spend the majority of their deployments in the trenches. Here, a soldier receives a haircut from a barber on the Albanian front.
Here, a German Field Artillery crew poses with its gun at the start of the war in 1914.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
World War I started on July 28, 1914, just a month after Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were gunned down on the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist.
The assassination, and the subsequent political and military upheavals, led to the outbreak of war, which would eventually roil much of the globe.
Three bloody years later, the US would be drawn into the conflict on the side of the Allies, declaring war on the Central Powers on April 6, 1917.
Though the war was sparked by regional tensions, a web of entangling defensive alliances quickly pulled in almost the entire world and hastened the end of the European empires.
In May 2014, Reddit user Srirachachacha shared this map showing how the conflict spread across the world, distinguishing between Allied and Central Powers and their colonies, dominions, and territories.
By the time the war ended, the Russian, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Prussian Empires had collapsed. The war claimed over 37 million lives, and large swathes of Europe were in ruin.
A little more than two decades later — with the memories of World War I and its resolution still fresh — the world would be on the brink of World War II.
The US believes North Korea fired a missile shortly before midnight Japan time (11 a.m. ET) on Friday, a defense official confirmed to Business Insider.
"I can confirm that we detected a launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea," Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told Business Insider. "We are assessing and we will have more information soon."
The missile may have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Japan's chief cabinet secretary told Reuters that the missile flew for 45 minutes, longer than the 39-minute flight of the intercontinental ballistic missile that North Korea tested early this month.
Such a long flight time suggests a tremendous range. Japan's NHK reports that national defense ministry officials say the missile flew more than 1,800 miles above the earth's surface on a lofted trajectory.
As launching an ICBM at full range could easily be interpreted as an act of war, North Korea lofts its missiles on a sharp trajectory. Therefore a missile that flys only a few hundred miles towards Japan still demonstrates a range of many thousands of miles.
For weeks US intelligence monitoring North Korean military sites had predicted another missile test. Thursday marked the Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War, a North Korean holiday celebrating the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953.
North Korea has a pattern of launching missiles on historically significant dates, like its July 4 debut of an ICBM, but the weather Thursday was poor, possibly preventing a launch.
While North Korea demonstrated an intercontinental range, questions remain as to the potential payload of its missiles, with experts questioning whether the Hwasong-14, North Korea's demonstrated ICBM, could actually carry a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea over the weekend, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close to the U.S. EP-3 plane on Sunday, causing the American aircraft to change direction.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)