Jennifer Lopez Shows Off Her Toned Abs in White Bikini
- WorldUSA TODAY
Chinese President Xi knew severity of coronavirus weeks before going public; 40 Americans on cruise ship infected
President Xi Jinping published a timeline of his actions as the Communist Party worked to tamp down criticism of government handling of the crisis.
- WorldThe Daily Beast
JERUSALEM–Two decades of expanding operations against what United States Special Operations Command called a “global insurgency of state and non-state actors” has led to fatigue at home and questions abroad about U.S. strategy. Trump, Afghanistan, and ‘The Tweet of Damocles’The latest Trump administration deal with the Taliban, challenges to the U.S. role in Syria and Iraq, and a potential reduction of forces in Africa point to a global trend in how the U.S. will deal with counter-insurgency in the future. What we’re looking at is a global drawdown in U.S. forces committed to counter-terrorist operations at the same time President Donald Trump is demanding other countries, including NATO allies, do more. The idea is for the U.S. to focus on using technology, such as drones, while local forces do the fighting on the ground.This long-term shift has long-term consequences that mean countries such as Iran, China and Russia, which the U.S. sees as adversaries, will have a larger footprint in places where the U.S. is reducing its role. Outsourcing counter-terrorism to these countries may not have been the plan, but it is likely one outcome.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a tour of Africa on Feb. 16 in Senegal where the Flintlock 2020 exercise is underway with neighboring Mauritania. Some 1,600 soldiers from 30 African states and western allies are participating in the annual drill from February 17-28. The U.S. says it is the year’s “premier special operations” exercise that strengthens security across a swath of countries through what’s called the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership. The concept, pushed in 2018 via an act of Congress, was to improve the capabilities of countries to fight terror.But the picture is bleaker than past U.S. statements have indicated. Funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to fight terror spread across Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria and a dozen states from Senegal to Somalia hasn’t reduced terror and has resulted in Washington’s decision to reconsider what comes next. The U.S. pulled forces out of Libya in 2019 and three Americans were killed in an attack on a base in Kenya by Somalia’s Al-Shabab in January.The Other Attack on Americans That Has U.S. Forces Unnerved: KenyaAlthough Pompeo says that “we’ll get it right” in terms of U.S. commitment to a swath of African states, reports indicate the U.S. is reducing the footprint on the ground. Washington has “downgraded” efforts against extremists, the New York Times reported in mid-February. France, which sent hundreds more troops to the Sahel region recently, has warned this is a bad idea. The overall numbers could mean cutting in half the U.S. presence of 5,000 troops in a dozen locations.Changes in Africa strategy are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger policy shift. On the one hand the U.S. National Defense Strategy wants to move away from counter-insurgency to competing against large states like Iran, China and Russia. The Pentagon believes that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Since U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) expanded from 47,000 in 2007 to 80,000 today, it might be argued that the U.S. has reached peak strength in fighting terror and now can move on successfully. The problem is that from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Niger there has not been a major success.In Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting the Taliban for almost 20 years, some sort of peace deal is in the works. President Donald Trump has sought to end such “endless wars,” and Democrats running to replace him also want to end this one. In Iraq and Syria the U.S. appears to be reducing its role as well. Trump twice announced a withdrawal from Syria only to relent and keep troops to protect “oil” while slowly walking away from America’s anti-ISIS partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces.Plans to use bases in neighboring Iraq to “watch Iran” have not panned out and the U.S. finds itself pressured to leave most of Iraq after tensions with Iran boiled over in January following U.S. decision to blow away near Baghdad airport Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.Meanwhile, rocket fire has targeted U.S. bases and forces near the US embassy almost every week since October 2019.The long-term result in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and across Africa can be seen symbolically in what is already happening in the Philippines. For two decades Washington and Manila worked closely against extremist groups. Now Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement amid increasingly friendly relations with China.For a more isolationist-inclined American public that may not matter, but it does mean China and other countries will aid the Philippines in the fight against Islamist insurgents. That has implications across Asia and the Pacific. In Africa, Russian President Vladimir Putin has set his eyes on a larger role that includes priority access to vital mineral resources. He held a summit in October with African diplomats. Russia’s Wagner group and other contractors play an increasing role in Sudan, the Central African Republic, Libya and Mozambique.In each place where the U.S. seeks a smaller footprint there will be a competition to fill the vacuum.France will try to fill it in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso, the G5 countries it works with in the Sahel. But in many cases there won’t be NATO powers that share U.S. values doing the heavy lifting. Instead it will be Russia, Iran, China, Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia or India playing a bigger role. That means counter-insurgency that looks more like Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen, Russia’s in Syria and Chechnya, China’s in Xinjiang, Turkey’s in Afrin, or India’s in Kashmir. While that may fit the bill of a Trump administration that wants to spend less American treasure abroad and wants others to do more of the work, in the long term it means a fundamental change in the international role of the United States. It also means that in an attempt to shift resources to confronting major states, the U.S. will provide a vacuum for some of those states precisely–China, Russia and Iran–to play a greater role in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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- CelebrityDr. Phil CBS
A husband and wife argue about each other’s reported behavior. And, Dr. Phil has a message for them.
- PoliticsThe Wrap
CNN Journalists Respond to Sean Hannity’s Twitter Attacks: ‘Quite Rich of You to Make That Accusation’
Various CNN talent and representatives have issued responses to Fox News’ Sean Hannity as he’s berated them on Twitter over the past few days, calling his accusations “rich” and suggesting the real source of his ire is a forthcoming book about Fox News from CNN’s Brian Stelter.On Saturday, one day after attorney Michael Avenatti was found guilty on all three charges related to his attempts to extort up to $25 million from Nike, Hannity lashed out at Stelter online, tweeting a link to a piece that reviewed a number of television news hosts speaking to Avenatti before he was charged. Stelter’s face is displayed prominently in the lead image.Stelter, CNN’s chief media correspondent, responded with a reminder he’s writing a book about the relationship between some at Hannity’s network and President Donald Trump.“For my forthcoming book about Fox and Trump, I sent fact-checking Q’s to some of Hannity’s lawyers and confidants today,” Stelter wrote. “A few hours later, Hannity lobbed a bunch of Twitter missiles at me. Complete coincidence!”Also Read: Michael Avenatti Found Guilty on All Three Counts in Nike Extortion TrialHannity began his attack again Sunday, after Stelter addressed his own dealings with Avenatti during a segment of his Sunday show. Hannity’s renewed attacks came with a pretty self-aware preface: “Alright, I haven’t done this in a while and I’m sure the write-ups will say ‘Hannity rages in a tweet storm against and CNN.’ But here it goes…”From there, he used insulting nicknames to describe Stelter and CNN’s senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy. He castigated Stelter for “arrogance,” then brought up cable news ratings, where Fox News has continuously outpaced both CNN and MSNBC.Darcy responded after Hannity accused the CNN team of being “stenographers” for network head Jeff Zucker, writing, “Given the level of stenography you do for the man sitting in the White House, it is quite rich for you to make that accusation against anyone else.”Similarly, Emily Kuhn, the communications director for CNN Digital as well as Stelter’s “Reliable Sources,” referenced the forthcoming book again Sunday, musing, “Must be an interesting book if someone is reacting like that.”Hannity tweeted another round of insults a few hours after that, calling the others “creepy” and “hacks.”Read original story CNN Journalists Respond to Sean Hannity’s Twitter Attacks: ‘Quite Rich of You to Make That Accusation’ At TheWrap
- LifestyleYahoo Style UK
Textile artist Daisy May Collingridge, 29, has made five characters out of fabric.
Iwo Jima was the first native Japanese soil to be invaded during the Allied advance. From Feb. 19, 1945, over 500 warships and 1,000 warplanes from the U.S. navy and army pounded Iwo Jima so heavily that the shelling and bombing changed the shape of the island's highest point, Mount Suribachi, located at its southern tip. Mount Suribachi was captured on Feb. 23.