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BLOWBACK? 100,000 Person Force That Helped Defeat ISIS May Turn Against Us

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(Via The Daily Wire)

A 100,000-member force with close ties to Iran says that now that they have helped U.S.-led coalition troops fight and defeat ISIS, they may have a new target: American troops.

The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), aka Hashd al-Shaabi, fought on both sides in Iraq but now they want Americans out of the country. Saif Ali, a member of the PMF’s Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba paramilitary, told Fox News, “America should only be here for embassy, any military presence and we will target them. I fought the Americans after 2003, and the British in southern Iraq, and I am happy about that. I don’t hate the American people, only hate the U.S. military, and I have killed many of them.”

Fox News reports, “Ali is one of thousands of PMF members who also took advantage of Iran-supplied weapons and ammunition to take the lives of hundreds of U.S. troops during the insurgency that followed the invasion of Iraq.”

The PMF, a Shiite-created entity, originally was comprised of 40 different militia groups. After they fought against ISIS, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made them part of the Baghdad government’s security forces in November 2016.

In July 2017, Sayyid al-Shuhada, a member of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces, said a “large number” of troops were killed and wounded in U.S. airstrikes in Anbar province near the Iraq-Syria border. The group released a statement saying, “We will not be silent in the face of this incident.” The Baghdad-based spokesman of the U.S.-led coalition, Army Col. Ryan Dillon, dismissed the allegation.

Mohand al-Eqqaby, the PMF spokesman, said, “Our stand is clear. America was not there at the beginning of this ISIS crisis when we needed them most. We are strong now, and as long as we are fighting, Iraq does not need Americans on our land.”

In addition, the PMF may win seats in Iraq’s parliament, and there is genuine concern that their primary loyalty would be to Iran. Many of their members have joined Syria’s army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah forces which is troubling to some U.S. officials.

In November, CIA chief Mike Pompeo contacted Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassam Soleimani, warning him that troops loyal to Iran might attack American forces. Pompeo stated that the U.S. would hold Iran accountable for “any attacks on American interests.”

James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation, said, “Now that ISIS is not much of a threat, the PMF is likely to plan attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq that would be carried out as soon as Tehran gives the orders. This is a major concern, given that tensions between Iran and the U.S. are likely to grow in the future.”

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Military

WATCH: Israel Blows Up Hamas TV Station

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(Via Zerohedge)

The escalation in violence began when earlier in the day Monday thousands of mourners in the Gaza Strip buried seven militants killed during the Israeli commando raid and accompanying aircraft cover fire that resulted in strikes on the strip, which further led to sporadic rocket fire from Hamas.

One Israeli soldier was reported killed during the high risk operation which reportedly involved the commandos entering Gaza by civilian car in order to take out a gathering of Hamas military leaders.

During the Gaza funeral the crowd chanted “revenge” amidst masked gunmen in camouflage.

Apparently that “revenge” came in the form of a mortar shell fired from Gaza which scored a direct hit on a bus in southern Israel, severely wounding a 19-year-old Israeli. According to multiple regional reports this was followed by a barrage of over 100 rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel within only an hour’s time. Israeli sources have reported multiple injuries and extensive damage from the rockets, many of which may have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Read The Full Story Here

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Culture

South Africa Testing “Confiscation” Of White Land To Build Affordable Housing

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The debate about land redistribution in South Africa has been a passionate one, as many South African cities face a housing crunch that has left hundreds of thousands of people living in informal settlements. Just as this debate is starting to reach a fever pitch, one South African city, Ekurhuleni, is about to embark on what mayor Mzwandile Masina calls “a test case” for the nation: the government is going to seize hundreds of acres of land, from white citizens without paying for it, to build low-cost housing.

Last month, the city voted in favor of pushing forward with “expropriation without compensation”. According to ABC News, this was cited by the African National Congress as a legal rule that is necessary in order to distribute land equitably and correct “historic injustices” that took place in the country.

The mayor of Ekurhuleni stated the same thing, saying that landowners in South Africa should not be scared. Mayor Masina told AP: “Our policy is not to take the land by force. Our policy is to make sure the land is shared amongst those that need it.” It was unclear what those whom the land is taken from thought about this policy.

The total amount of land that’s going to be expropriated amounts to about 865 acres. The land is both private and government owned, and some of it has been vacant for decades. Masina, who heads the local ANC-led coalition, did not specify which landowners will be hit be the measure.

The internationally debated land reform was approved by South Africa’s ruling party to address the historic injustices of apartheid, and distribute land among the population more equitably. According to the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, over 77 percent of South African farms and agricultural holdings are owned by white citizens with only four percent of lands belonging to black South Africans. White citizens make up just nine percent of the country’s population, while black citizens account for 76 percent. This, to the ruling regime, is a green light to repossess land that has been owned by white citizens, in many cases for generations.

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Economy

China Pressuring Wall Street To Stop Trump On Trade War

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(Via Zerohedge)

If anyone still doubted President Trump’s determination to slap tariffs on all – or even more than all – Chinese goods flowing into the US, they probably don’t anymore. So far this week, the president has taken to twitter to trash his own Treasury Secretary’s efforts to restart talks with the Chinese, before Trump publicly declared on Friday that he intends to move ahead with plans to slap 25% tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods.

Given the president’s unflinching resolve in pursuing his trade agenda, it’s understandable why a shrewd businessmen would go to great lengths to avoid getting in the middle of what looks to be a protracted geopolitical dogfight.

But unfortunately for top Wall Street firms, many of which harbor ambitions of expanding their business in China, that may no longer be an option. Because while the Trump administration has largely left them alone, the Chinese are now trying to use whatever leverage they can (i.e. preferential access to the world’s second-largest economy) to push America’s top bankers to intervene on Beijing’s behalf.

Reuters reported Friday that top Chinese officials have hastily organized an investment conference in Beijing and requested the presence of several top Wall Street firms. The conference will be chaired by former PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and ex-Goldman Sachs President John Thornton, and feature an appearance by Chinese vice-president Wang Qishan. Dubbed “the firefighter” by the Chinese people, Quishan, in addition to being the most powerful of China’s vice presidents, is also one of the senior Communist officials involved in managing the trade dispute.

While market liberalization is certainly a priority for the Chinese, it’s difficult to imagine that these top officials are planning to attend this conference – especially with so much else going on – just to brainstorm ideas about how China can proceed with opening up its financial sector.

The subtext here is obvious: China wants to figure out who in the US financial services community can help them get through to Trump and help stop this conflict before losses in China’s currency and stock market spiral out of control. And if the carrot of access doesn’t work, China has already proven adept at leveraging the stick.

(Full Article Here)

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