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Germany & Italy Opposing Syrian Airstrikes

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(Via Zerohedge)


There are at least two European nations who remember that when it gets cold in the winter, there is one country they call to provide the natural gas they need for heating.


One of them is Germany, which realizing that any strike on Syria would further jeopardize its relationship with the Kremlin, said that it will not join any military strikes against Syria in response to the alleged chemical gas attack on an opposition enclave which Russia claims was a “white helmet” false flag, but all too diplomatically supports Western efforts to show the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

“Germany will not take part in possible – there have not been any decisions yet, I want to stress that – military action,” Merkel said according to Reuters after meeting Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Berlin. “But we support everything that is being done to show that the use of chemical weapons is not acceptable,” she added.

Of course, Merkel could have simply said “we are happy to do anything except whatever puts us on Putin’s black list: the rest of you can do that.”

Meanwhile in Dublin, Germany’s new Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany expects to be consulted before any Western allies conduct an attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as the allies must be united on the matter.

Earlier, Merkel spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about the suspected gas attack and expressed her concern that the international community’s ability to ban chemical weapons was eroding, her spokesman said. Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the German parliamentary foreign affairs committee and an ally of Merkel’s, said: “Shamefully, there is still no policy from the EU – or even individual EU states – for the Middle (East) countries.

“If it came to military strikes with the participation of France and Britain, that is still not a policy.”

Amusingly, instead of focusing on the nature of the schism between Germany and its allies, Europe’s most powerful nation deflect to the lack of a coherent European policy on the matter: an easy excuse in a continent in which there is virtually no cohesion on any matter:

Roettgen urged the European Union to develop a policy for the Middle East as a whole, adding: “Germany should work together with others for a Middle East peace conference. We have various diplomatic options to not let the topic rest.”

He called for a “step-by-step approach”, which could start with humanitarian access in Syria. “The situation is so burdened with multiple conflicts that one can only proceed gradually.”

Asked about such a conference, Merkel told reporters: “We know a lot of things are linked in the Middle East, no question, but now we must urgently deal with a situation where there is a lot of evidence that the Syrian regime again used chemical weapons.”

Another option floated by Germany would be to use what oil-importing leverage Europe has over Iran to pressure Syria. Roettgen said Europe could talk to Iran in connection with its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Trump has criticised as “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

Iran needed to understand that its economic prospects would be constrained if it “pursues a permanent bellicose expansion of power,” he said, adding Turkey should be told “there cannot be a warrant for warfare in Syria.”

In other words, Europe would stop importing Iranian oil (for Euros) if Tehran refused to betray its Syrian friends.

“But there is no country – neither the U.S. nor a European country – that is taking the initiative. That’s the shameful thing about Western politics,” Roettgen said.

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Military

POLL: Most Veterans Support Trump

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(Washington AP)

Nearly 6 in 10 military veterans voted for Republican candidates in the November midterm elections, and a similar majority had positive views of President Donald Trump’s leadership. But women, the fastest growing demographic group in the military, are defying that vote trend.

That’s according to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters — including more than 4,000 current and former service members — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. It found that veterans overall approved of Trump’s job performance, showing high support for the president’s handling of border security and his efforts to make the U.S. safer from terrorism.

Male veterans were much more likely to approve of Trump than those who haven’t served, 58 percent to 46 percent.

But 58 percent of female veterans disapproved of Trump, which is similar to the share of women overall (61 percent).

Some takeaways on veterans:

TRUMP APPROVAL

Overall, 56 percent of veterans — both current and former service members — said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 43 percent disapproved. Voters who have not served in the military were more likely to disapprove (58 percent) than approve (42 percent) of the president’s job performance.

The survey found that differences in support for Trump between veterans and nonveterans extended across racial and ethnic groups, including among whites (62 percent of veterans approve versus 49 percent of nonveterans), Latinos (53 percent vs. 28 percent) and African-Americans (22 percent vs. 10 percent).

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VIDEO: American Stealth Bombers Drops Largest Conventional Bombs

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Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the 509th Bomb Wing, assigned to the Eighth Air Force of the Air Force Global Strike Command, operates a fleet of Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, recently released a video showing one of its bombers dropping two 14 ton GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP) in a test flight.

According to The Aviationist, the MOP is capable of penetrating up to 200 feet into the ground or 60 feet of reinforced concrete to strike enemy targets deep underground.

“The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is the only aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory currently capable to operationally drop the massive 30,000-lb (14,000 kg) GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (even though the testing of the MOP involved a B-52 back in 2009, the weapon’s intended platform is only the B-2).

The 14-ton GBU-57 is a 20-foot long GPS-guided bomb said to be able to penetrate 200 feet of concrete before exploding: for this reason it is considered the weapon of choice in case of attack on buried targets (such as the North Korean bunkers),” The Aviationist blog said.

The short video, uploaded to YouTube by The Aviationist blog, shows the stealth bomber with the tail number 82-1066. The video first starts with the bomber in a hanger, being prepped for flight, then takes off from Whiteman Air Force Base under cover of night. About a third into the clip, the bomber is over an unidentifiable mountain range receiving fuel from an aerial refueling tanker. Moments later, the plane releases two MOPs. Land-based cameras capture the incredible moment when the bombs slam into an unidentifiable missile test range producing a massive explosion.

(Full Article Here)

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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.

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