The World Continues To Unravel As The U.S. Speeds Towards The Presidential Election.
With the news media in an all-out frenzy over the election, relatively little other news is being reported. Here are some pertinent news items you may have missed over the last week.
• Terror Attack in Germany Thwarted When Syrian Migrant Arrested
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) said a Syrian suspect arrested on Monday was building a bomb and likely planned to attack one of the airports in Berlin.
Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster ARD that intelligence leads had suggested in early September that militant group Islamic State (IS) was planning an attack on Germany’s transport infrastructure.
Investigators said they found approximately 3 pounds of triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly unstable substance also used by suicide bombers during the Paris attack in November 2015 in the apartment of the suspect, Jaber Albakr, 22.
Albakr, arrived in Germany in February last year during a migrant influx into the country and was granted temporary asylum four months later. Officials said he had not previously aroused suspicion.
• Iran-Backed Rebels in Yemen Launch Missiles at U.S. Navy Destroyer
The USS Mason, stationed off the coast of Yemen, has come under attack by Houthi insurgents, who have been supported and armed by Iran.
According to Reuters, the failed missile attack “began around 7 p.m. local time, when the ship detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period in the Red Sea off Yemen’s coast.”
“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship. There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship,” said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
The Mason was patrolling the same area where the Houthis fired on a vessel from the United Arab Emirates last week.
• WikiLeaks Reveals: Clinton Says Saudia Arabia and Qatar Are Funding ISIS
The leaked email exchange appears to show the presidential candidate identified the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as “clandestine” “financial and logistic” supporters of the terrorist group, despite surface cooperation between the US and the Sunni states on combating the militants and other actions in Syria’s multi-sided civil war.
• More than 40 Afgan Troops Have Gone AWOL in U.S.
At least 44 Afghan troops who were in the United States for military training have gone missing over the last year.
Defense officials told Reuters that while other foreign troops visiting the U.S. for military training have sometimes gone missing, the pace of Afghan troops running away is “out of the ordinary.”
Afghans participating in the country’s training program are vetted before they arrive in America to confirm they have not committed human rights abuses and do not have ties to terrorist groups, Stump said. Still, the disappearances raise questions about the security procedures in place for the programs.
“The Defense Department is assessing ways to strengthen eligibility criteria for training in ways that will reduce the likelihood of an individual Afghan willingly absconding from training in the U.S. and going AWOL [absent without leave],” Stump said.
Roughly 2,200 Afghan troops have undergone military training in the U.S. since 2007. The program, intended to train and equip those troops, has cost the U.S. $60 billion since 2002.
• The Kremlin’s Latest Threat
The latest warning delivered to Washington via Dmitry Kiselyov, head of Russian state news, marks a new low for U.S. – Russia relations. Saying, “Impudent behavior” towards Russia may have “nuclear” consequences. Kiselyov went on to quote a famous Russian proverb.
“A Russian takes a long time to harness a horse, but then rides fast,” said the news anchor. By “riding fast”, Kiselyov was referring to a string of recent Russian military deployments:
- Last week, Moscow sent three warships from the Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean loaded with cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads
- Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland
- The Russians announced they would send 5,000 paratroopers to Egypt for military exercises
- Moscow also suspended three nuclear agreements with the United States
• Russia to Build Permanent Syrian Naval Base, Eyes Other Global Outposts
Russia will create a permanent naval base in Syria to expand its military footprint in its closest Middle East ally, a government official said on Monday, a week after Moscow said it was considering reopening Soviet-era bases in Vietnam and Cuba.
The move, announced by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov, is further evidence Russia is building up its capabilities in Syria despite a partial drawdown in March and another sign it is digging in for the long haul to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.
The Izvestia newspaper said Moscow was also in talks to open an air base in Egypt, while the state-owned Rossiskaya Gazeta daily noted that Russia has said it wants bases in Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles and Singapore.
• Venezuela Nominates Putin for Inaugural ‘Hugo Chavez Peace Prize’
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, protesting the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize going to neighboring head of state Juan Manuel Santos, has announced the launch of the “Hugo Chávez Award for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples.”
He has nominated Russian president Vladimir Putin to receive the inaugural award.
Speaking at the unveiling of a new statue of the late socialist dictator, Maduro suggested Putin had the qualities necessary to win, “I think that this award should go to… a leader that I think is the most accomplished leader in the world today, who struggles for peace, struggles for global balance, to construct a multipolar world, a multicentric world.”
• Iran and China Continue to Build Relations
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani met with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao in Bangkok on Sunday, and according to China’s state-run Xinhua press agency, the meeting was a big success.
Iran wants to further enhance cooperation with China in connectivity, finance, energy, education and addressing regional problems by mapping out a 25-year cooperation agreement, said Rouhani.
• Save the Children Study: One Girl Under the Age of 15 is Married Every Seven Seconds
The study says girls as young as 10 are forced to marry much older men, predominantly in Middle Eastern and African countries, including Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somalia and Syria.
Child marriage is on the rise among Syrian refugees. Without the means to provide for their families, parents are arranging matches for children as young as 10.
According to a 2015 study by Lebanese university St Joseph, 23% of female Syrian refugees were child brides.
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, estimates that the number of women married in childhood will grow from 700 million today to around 950 million by 2030.
• Mexican Human Rights Activist Confirms Cartel Massacres
Over the weekend, Mexican activist Sergio Aguayo presented his report on the massacres by Los Zetas in the Mexican towns of Allende, Coahuila, and in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.
The investigation provides harsh criticism of Mexico’s government for being complicit in the cover-up of the crimes, now known as the Massacre of Allende.
The Massacre, perpetrated by the leadership of Los Zetas sought to enact revenge on two high ranking associates who had turned themselves over to U.S. authorities in exchange for protection to become informants.
Upon discovery of the betrayal, Los Zetas leadership ordered the kidnapping, torture, murder and incineration of every person who was related to, knew or may have been an acquaintance of the informants. The death toll is estimated at 300.
In the wake of this report by Aguayo and Breitbart, the Coahuila government publicly admitted that between 100 and 150 of the murder victims had been incinerated inside the Piedras Negras prison in 55-gallon drums.