Syria: U.S. to Liberate Hajin, Middle Euphrates Valley

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that as part of the coalition’s current assault on ISIS positions, it had witnessed increasing artillery shelling from French forces in the area over the past week.




The Kurdish fighters have been returning to the SDF since Turkey seized Afrin, Pentagon officials have said.

“We are encouraged by the return of some Syrian Democratic Force partners to the Middle Euphrates River Valley,” coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters last week. “I will not go into details on how many and where there will be a raid, but there are some encouraging signs to see that more combat power is returning to the Middle Euphrates River Valley to really turn it on to the ISIS element, those two locations that finally remain.” On Tuesday, April 24 U.S. Army Colonel and Coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon told reporters that most of those are confined to two small towns—Hajin and Dashisha—which are surrounded by Kurdish forces.


[ April 25  Iraqi airstrike near Hajin   ]


deirezzor hajin


“We have put obstacles into place and have constructed, you know, things to contain ISIS in the two areas where we are currently supporting our forces to defeat the remaining locations where they hold territory.

And that is in Dashisha, along the Iraq-Syria border, and in Abu Kamal — north of Abu Kamal, on the eastern side of the Euphrates River, in a town called Hajin.”
This week, the Iraqi Air Force conducted a strike on a known ISIS headquarters in Syria that was being used to smuggle ISIS terrorists. This complex operation was planned and conducted by Iraqi security forces, with support provided by coalition. This strike demonstrated Iraq’s willingness to do what is necessary to secure its citizens, as well as their role as an important partner in the global coalition to defeat ISIS.
On April 19 The Iraqi air force conducted an airstrike near Hajin, Syria, against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists operating near the Iraq-Syria border.
The strike was approved by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces.

[ February 8  U.S. airstrikes in Khusham where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops   ]

The Wagner Group also known as PMC Wagner, ChVK Wagner, or CHVK Vagner is a Russian paramilitary organisation. Some have described it as a private military company (or a private military contracting agency), whose contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts

The Syrian Democratic Forces have managed to capture much of Syria’s oil and gas infrastructure after ejecting ISIS from those areas. US officials believe that the regime, strapped for cash after a nearly eight-year-long civil war, hopes to recapture the oil fields and simultaneously deny the Syrian Democratic Forces a source of revenue and legitimacy.
The US-led coalition said in a statement that they assessed that Wednesday’s attack by pro-regime forces was aimed at recapturing some of these oil fields.
To complicate matters, two US defense officials told CNN that the US military now assesses that Russian contractors, believed to be funded by the Russian government, participated in Wednesday’s assault.


Screenshot 2018-02-08 at 11.03.28 AM

America launched airstrikes on Syrian government-backed troops February 7 after they attacked Syrian opposition forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in Deir el-Zour Province.   The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), aided by coalition support, are battling Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants east of the Euphrates River. Syrian government forces are active on the other side of the river around the city of Deir el-Zour.

The U.S. coalition launched the strikes after as many as 500 attackers began what appeared to be a coordinated assault on an SDF headquarters, where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops.


[September 30 in operations against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor province, U.S. retains right of self-defense at all times. ]

Screenshot 2017-09-30 at 7.53.13 PM - Edited

Mayadeen, Boukamal, Bouleil, Bouomar and Mushassan

Airstrikes on villages and towns held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria have killed and wounded dozens a day after an attack by the extremists killed more than 120 pro-government fighters and briefly cut off the highway linking the capital Damascus with eastern Syria, opposition activists said September 30.

It was not immediately clear if the airstrikes on areas including Mayadeen, Boukamal, Bouleil, Bouomar and Mushassan were carried out by the Russians or the U.S.-led coalition.




Deir ez-Zur to Al-Suwar

In Deir ez-Zor province, the SDF continued deliberate movement towards the Syria-Iraq border and have reached the town of Al-Suwar, liberating more than 1,000 square kilometers along the way, said Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, Pentagon Spokesman on September 28.

The flow of displaced civilians traveling north and west fluctuates from 500 to over 2,000 per day as the fighting in the province intensifies. The SDF prioritizes IDP safe passage to camps in Ar-Rashi, Mabrouka and as far away as Ayn Issa.

Checkpoints along main travel ways ensure roads are clear from common criminals, as well as ISIS fighters attempting to harm or infiltrate these group of evacuees.

On September 25, Russian-backed Syrian regime forces conducted artillery strike in the vicinity of SDF fighting position northeast of Deir ez-Zor. The SDF immediately reported the impacts in their area, and later announced casualties. This week, our coalition mourned the loss of one of our own, a master sergeant from the French army’s 13th Dragoons Parachute Regiment was killed during combat operations in support of our fight against ISIS.

Coalition officials immediately passed SDF and impact locations to the Russians through the de-confliction line, with the intent to inform Syrian regime forces of impacts on or near SDF positions.

The coalition and its partners remain committed to the defeat of ISIS, and we will continue to use the de-confliction line as a means to prevent accidental targeting and to ease tensions.

The coalition is committed to our SDF partners in their operations against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor province, and we retain the right of self-defense at all times.

A Marine MV-22B made a hard landing September 29 in Syria. The downing resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to two unidentified service member. It was operating from a coalition ground base and was destroyed following the hard landing.    U.S. military officials and SDF commanders told VOA on March 21 that an airbase in Kobani will be the headquarters for U.S.-led coalition operations to retake Raqqa.

Screenshot 2017-09-30 at 9.09.11 AM

Mayadin to Ashara, Syria


On September 14, two airstrikes in Syria targeted IS drone developer Abu Salman near Mayadin and destroyed his research lab in Ashara, Syria.

Salman and “a terrorist associate” were killed while traveling in a vehicle from Mayadin to Ashara.



September 21 SDF warns against Assad advances on eastern Euphrates riverbank,has twice opened fire on Russian special forces.]


Raqqah to Al Hasakah

The Russian Defence Ministry said the SDF had taken up positions on the eastern banks of the Euphrates with U.S. special forces, and had twice opened fire with mortars and artillery on Syrian troops who were working alongside Russian special forces.

“A representative of the U.S. military command in Al Udeid (the U.S. operations center in Qatar) was told in no uncertain terms that any attempts to open fire from areas where SDF fighters are located would be quickly shut down,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

[September 20]

The Syrian army, backed by Russian and Syrian war planes, has made wide advances along the Euphrates’ western riverbank.    Syrian troops also crossed to the eastern side of the river on September 18.

The SDF’s advances have been on the eastern bank of the river.

The convergence of the two rival offensives has increased tensions in Deir al-Zor. On Monday, the US-backed militia warned against any further Syrian army advances on the eastern riverbank.

On September 19, Russia’s defence ministry said the Euphrates had risen as soon as the Syrian army began crossing it. The only way that could have happened was if upstream dams held by the US-backed opposition had been opened, it said.

[September 15 U.S. to press on southbound around Deir Ezzor ]

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve has decided to press on southbound around Deir Ezzor which could end up isolating ISIS militants trapped between the western Syrian military front and the country’s eastern border with Iraq, where forces supported by both the U.S. and Iran are also battling ISIS. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said September 15 that the U.S.-led coalition had decided not to enter the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, where Syrian troops recently broke an ISIS siege against comrades trapped behind enemy lines for three years. A separate campaign by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has also pierced through ISIS territory toward Deir Ezzor, but will reportedly stop at the city’s limits “so as not to complicate” the already crowded conflict.

Bassem Aziz, a spokesman for the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said they have taken control of an industrial area on the eastern bank of the river, a few miles from the government troops.   Mr Aziz said they were about four miles away from the city’s eastern entrance.

“The convergence of military forces in this area calls for increased awareness and de-confliction,” Dillon said.    Two Russian submarines launched seven Kalibr cruise missiles September 15 targeting ISIS positions in Deir Ezzor, The submarines were the Kilo-class  diesel-electric Velikiy Novgorod and Kolpino boats.


Velikiy Novgorod


[September 14 SDF and the Syrian troops to clash? ]

RUSSIAN air strikes have killed 34 civilians on ferries fleeing violence in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, where jihadists face separate assaults by US-backed forces and Russian-backed government troops, a monitor said. The Observatory relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used

Deir Ezzor (Syria News) US-led coalition warplanes bombarded, September 10, a military convoy belonging to the Syrian army, east of Deir Ezzor.

Qasioun News reported that the international coalition warplanes bombarded a military convoy belonging to the Syrian army and allied militia, near al-Tayem oil field, east of Deir Ezzor,

The United States and Russia are interested in avoiding a confrontation between the SDF and the Syrian forces and can devise a strategy that will allow both sides to share control over the vast province.

United States officials have suggested they do not seek a confrontation with Assad’s forces.

“We are in the destruction-ISIS activity, and this is what we want to do, and if the Syrian regime wants to do it … and show that they do it exactly at Abu Kamal or Deir el-Zour or elsewhere, this means we do not have to do it in these places, “said coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon in June, referring to a city on the Iraqi border and using a different acronym for IS.

The only way left for the SDF to enter the eastern province appears to be from the northeastern province of Hassakeh, where Syrian activists say the U.S.-backed fighters have been gathering and stepping up preparations for an attack.

A U.S.-trained group, the Deir el-Zour Military Council, which is part of the SDF, is expected to launch the attack against IS in Deir el-Zour under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition within days. SDF officials say the imminent attack is not related to government forces reaching the city earlier this week, and was planned months in advance.

Syrian Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil, who is in Germany but frequently visits northern Syria, said the SDF attack on Deir el-Zour could begin at any moment, adding that the battle for Raqqa now no longer needs a large number of fighters.

The US-led coalition in struggle against IS said in an email to The Associated Press that the SDF “will decide when conditions are good for an offensive.”

Asked about concerns over possible confrontation between the SDF and the Syrian troops, the coalition said: “We urge all forces to focus on our common enemy.”

[September 8 Stately Balloon: SFA to capture Lower Euphrates Valley ]


syria humvee


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appears to working with Russia to stabilize Syria.   Tillerson believes he’s making some quiet progress on  Syria.   The real danger to Russian interests is increasing Iranian power there, especially as Bashar Assad’s regime regains control of Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria. To counter the Iranians, Tillerson supports a quick move by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the Lower Euphrates Valley.

This bilateral approach creates more room for spoilers to enter the fray, especially with militias active on both sides of the conflict such as the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Iraqi Abu Fadl al-Abbas Brigades and Asaib Ahl al-Haq backing the regime and multinational groups fighting against it. Competing interests between the different parties on the ground mean that those not benefitting from local arrangements have an incentive to undermine them.

  • Syrian Democratic Forces
  • قوات سوريا الديمقراطية‎
  • Hêzên Sûriya Demokratîk
  • ܚܝ̈ܠܘܬܐ ܕܣܘܪܝܐ ܕܝܡܩܪܛܝܬܐ
  • Participant in the Syrian Civil War


[10/06/16 Putin pressing his advantage in Syria]


North Aleppo situation




Mr. Obama has repeatedly refused to involve US forces in the Mideast more robustly, and even if he’s had a change of heart, his administration is drawing to a close. Mr. Putin appears to recognize those facts and is pressing his advantage in Syria while it remains.
“At this point, the US doesn’t have it in its power to offer the Russians anything in Syria that they would find worthwhile,” Yezid Sayigh, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut. says. “There just is nothing that will get the two [powers] back on track anytime soon.”


[June 3 2015 Syria: government mood is black ]

A diplomat who tracks Syria said the tone reflected a new government willingness to admit vulnerability.
“It’s a change in their attitude,” the diplomat said. “The general mood is black.”
The deputy head of Israel’s armed forces said this week the Syrian military had “ceased to exist, de facto”, while Hezbollah was investing in thousands of its fighters in Syria. The previous assumptions that Assad could not be defeated due to his superior military strength underpinned by the air force were no longer valid, the diplomat said. The insurgents were building on their momentum and had more recruits.
“For every 100 soldiers lost by the regime, there are not 100 more coming in,” the diplomat said.

June 2 Assad regime is disintegrating: Russia has evacuated 100 of its senior officials]

Russia has evacuated 100 of its senior officials and their families from Syria via the airport in Latakia. They said that those leaving include experts who worked in the war room in Damascus, along with the Iranian experts and Hezbollah officials. According to the report, they have not been replaced. Syrian opposition sources say that Hezbollah and Iranian military experts have left Assad’s war room in Damascus, along with Russian experts.
There have been increasing signs in recent days that the Assad regime is disintegrating, four years into the civil war that has engulfed Syria. Last week, the Syrian president lost control of another province, which comes on the heels of previous reports that Islamic State already controls more than 50% of the country. here has been a noticeable change in the Russian position toward Syria that Moscow is for the first time willing to discuss with the Americans the exact details of a transition period for the country, and even raise the names of individual military and political officials to oversee it.
After four years of war, the regime controls less than 8% percent of the country’s oil and gas fields, while Islamic State controls more than 80% percent.

[June 27 2013 Syria: Damascus Christian area bomb]

French mandate 1920-26 partitions

French mandate 1920-26 partitions

A suicide attacker blew himself up near one of the main churches in Damascus,the Syrian capital June 27, killing at least four people.
The blast struck in the vicinity of the Greek Orthodox Virgin Mary Church in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Bab Sharqi in central Damascus. Is partition coming.

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Ismail Ithawi, aka Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, to hang

Ismail Ithawi, who used the alias Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, was sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi court on Wednesday, September 19.   He was captured in a joint operation by Iraqi, American and Turkish intelligence agencies in February and had been providing information to Iraqi authorities, including coordinates for airstrikes on targets in Syria,   Ismail al-Ithawi was part of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s inner circle and was responsible for religious edicts, finances and designing the educational curriculum for the Islamic State’s once-vast area of control across Iraq and Syria.


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Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz released

47c4833943fb460a8956534938a68461_18The release of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam has been ordered, two months after he began a 10-year jail sentence over corruption, by Islamabad’s high court, as part of an appeals hearing.

Islamabad High Court judge Athar Minallah ruled that the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, was unable to prove a financial link between the former prime minister and the apartments in question.”The prosecution has failed to show the properties belong to Nawaz Sharif. It also failed to prove how was Maryam Nawaz sentenced under the same charge sheet which convicted Nawaz Sharif,” Justice Athar Minallah told the court.

Their convictions remain under appeal within the top court, but a date for a hearing has yet to be fixed. The anti-graft body that launched the case, the National Accountability Bureau, can still appeal to the Supreme Court against the latest ruling.

The Sharifs are expected to be released soon on bail.   The decision will come as a blow to Sharif’s bitter political rival Imran Khan, who swept a July general election following Sharif’s conviction and jailing.

Khan, now prime minister, was in Saudi Arabia on a state visit when the decision was announced.

[   Pakistan military trying to swing vote to Imran Khan?   ]



ISLAMABAD: At least 65 candidates are contesting for the National Assembly seats in Punjab alone on Jeep symbol, a symbol which has drawn interest among political observers after various PML-N defectors asked for this particular sign for the election 2018. The symbol has widely come to be seen as an umbrella grouping for those plied away from the PMLN by the military. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif asked for defeat the ones “with electoral symbols of bat, jeep and arrow” and a vote for those contesting the polls on ‘lion’ symbol. Disgruntled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that people should vote for the jeep symbol in the upcoming general elections. He strongly criticised PML-N candidates and said people should not waste their votes on them.

[ July 15 Nawaz Sharif expected court to start hearing the appeal and release him, but no ]


Imran Khan

Nawaz Sharif landed in Lahore on Friday, July 13,. Sharif and his daughter were sent straight to jail near Rawalpindi. Sharif’s legal team said they expected the court to start hearing the appeal from Tuesday, July 17. If a judge lets the challenge go ahead, the three-time prime minister could be released on bail, pending his retrial.


[July 6 “I am coming back to Pakistan,” Nawaz Sharif]

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are currently in London visiting Kulsoom Nawaz, who is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment there. On June 14, both Sharif and his daughter left for the United Kingdom after they were granted a brief exemption from the ongoing trial.

Both Sharif and his daughter were supposed supposed to return to Pakistan by June 27.
They both have denied wrongdoing and are expected to appeal.

“I am coming back to Pakistan,” he said at a news conference aired on Pakistani television. “I am not afraid of jail.”
He fell out with powerful generals after Sharif returned as premier in 2013, partly because Sharif challenged the military over control of foreign policy, which the generals have traditionally seen as their domain. The Sharif family steel business was nationalised under the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the beginning of a long political rivalry between the families.

[ June 28  Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for NA-246 Karachi South Committee formed]


Bilawal attends wedding of Sanam Bhutto’s daughter

The Pakistan Peoples Party on Karachi June 24 formed a committee for the election campaign of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for NA-246 Karachi South comprising Lyari and the adjoining areas of the city.    [June 5] KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari obtained nomination papers to contest the upcoming elections, the first of his political career, from his party’s traditionally dominant National Assembly constituency in Lyari — NA-246.

Bilawal’s mother, Benazir Bhutto, and his father, Asif Ali Zardari, had emerged victorious in the general elections of 1988 and 1990, respectively, from Lyari.

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U.S., advise and assist capacity, in Somalia: Niger drone base rising

Niger US Drone Base

The facility, a C-17 and MQ-9 capable airfield, which is part of the expanded U.S. military footprint in Africa, is now the largest base-building effort ever undertaken by troops in the history of the U.S. Air Force, according to Richard Komurek, a spokesperson for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa,eclipsing construction at Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, a longtime clandestine outpost from which the U.S. flies drones and fighter aircraft.

Three male members of the Daar family, a revered nationalist, between the ages of 15 and 20 were arrested in the raid, the relatives said. The whereabouts of the detainees are currently unknown. The joint forces left with the three boys on a waiting helicopter, the witnesses said. Major Karl Weist, a spokesman for US Africa Command, said that American forces, in an advise and assist capacity, partnered in a Somali-led ground force operation to disrupt and degrade al-Shabaab operations in the vicinity of Wagaante, Somalia, on the night of 4 September 2018.

“The operation targeted al-Shabaab’s improvised explosive device network. US forces were in a supporting role only,” he said.
“This was an operation conducted by Somali special forces with their American advisers,” a source in the prime minister’s office.    In recent years the US has increased its support for local troops, sending special forces to train Somali troops and accompany combat operations. The US has also conducted a growing number of airstrikes, including dozens by unmanned drones.



[ November 7 2013  Barawe Somalia raid by same US navy Seal unit that killed Osama bin Laden   ]

Saturday’s stealthy assault on Barawe Somalia was by the same US navy Seal unit that killed Osama bin Laden. George Little, the US defence secretary, said Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima, was the focus of the pre-dawn amphibious assault that was beaten back after a heavy firefight. The Pentagon identified Abdulkadir as a top commander in the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.There are conflicting reports of how Ikrima survived Saturday’s stealthy assault. One source claimed Abdulkadir was inside the targeted house and sustained injuries, while his special bodyguard, a non-Somali, was killed.

But in a voice recording posted on a pro-Shabaab website, its military spokesman Abdiasis Abu Mus’ab denied that any senior commander of the group was inside the house at the time. “We confirm that only security personnel were inside the house. No such high-target person was staying in the house.”

[March 8 2012]

Khairiah Saber

Khairiah Saber

Bin Laden’s eldest wife, Khairiah Saber, was so upset that after she moved into the house in February last year that she collaborated with the CIA teams that were hunting him. “Absolutely, I’m sure about it,” said Mr Qadir. While Bin Laden lived on the third floor of the property with his youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, a Yemeni who was 19 when they married in 1999, another wife, Siham Saber, lived in another room on the same floor. That arrangement seems to work until the arrival of his eldest wife, Saudi-born Khairiah Saber, in early 2011.

- Osama bin Laden's hideout is being demolished

Osama bin Laden’s hideout is demolished

[February 26]Osama bin Laden’s hideout is being demolished, bringing an end to a symbol of American resolve and Pakistani frustration over how the operation was conducted.
Navy SEAL Team Six raided the Abbottabad compound in May 2011 and killed the al Qaeda leader. The United States did not tell Pakistan about the raid until it was over.

[May 2, 2011]

Abbotabad safehouse after

Abbotabad safehouse after raid 2011

Public Face, Dam Neck Va. Annex, NAS Oceana,  Va.

Public Face, Dam Neck Va. Annex, NAS Oceana, Va., black ops Seals base

Whitehouse Situation Room, evening May 01

Whitehouse Situation Room, evening May 01

Back row, situation room, white house, evening May 01'11

Back row, situation room, white house, evening May 01’11

Audrey Tomason

Abbotabad evidence of attack being trucked out

Osama: Abbotabad evidence of attack being trucked out



Osama compound location

Osama compound location


Usama bin Laden Compound, Abbotabad Pakistan, construction

Usama bin Laden Compound, Abbotabad Pakistan, construction

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Idlib: Syrian Army commanders to be sanctioned

Major General Za’id Saleh commander of the 5th Legion

tiger syria

Brig.Gen.Suheil Salman al-Hassan Tiger Forces

 UK Ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce named units of the Syrian armed forces and their commanders that Britain believed were stationed around Idlib, including the 4th Armored Division, the Republican Guard, Tiger Forces and 2nd and 5th Corps.“In addition to the Syrian regime, these commanders, these units, will be held accountable by the international community” if there is major offensive with mass civilian casualties.

the primary unit deployed to the Idlib area are the Fourth Armoured Division to the west side of Idlib and Mahir-al-Asad is the overall commander of that unit, but we believe that Major General Ali Mahmoud is the Deputy Commander. We understand the Republican Guard are probably deployed to the east side around Abu Duhr and their commander is Major General Talal Mahkluf. Tiger Forces are likely deployed to the southeast side and their commander is Brigadier General Suhayl ‘Tiger’ Hasan. And then we think that there are also 2nd Corps and 5th Corps units in the area and the commander we know about for that is Major General Aous Aslan.

[September 7 Hesco affiliate in Assad sanctions OFAC’s SDN List ]

Continue reading

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Emiratis: one-quarter of U.S. sales were for bombs






More than one-quarter of the FMS offers to the UAE – valued at $7.2 billion – were for bombs such as the Paveway and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and tactical missiles such as the Hellfire that have been used in the war against ISIS and in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
The UAE, like other Gulf Arab monarchies, hosts thousands of U.S. troops and relies on American military support as a counterweight to Iran. Having that relationship helps limit any possible retaliation, as does its stockpile of American-made weaponry.

Through many Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and direct commercial sales, the United States has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the UAE in the fight against terrorism and promoting regional security. In 2016, the State Department concluded the FMS sale of joint direct attack munitions and four AN/AAQ 24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures systems. The UAE continues to maintain the region’s premier air and missile defense networks, one that includes THAAD, PATRIOT, and HAWK air defense systems. In 2017, the State Department approved a sale of sixty (60) Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missiles and one hundred (100) Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T) missiles at an estimated cost of $2 billion. In 2018 the State Department approved the upgrade of the UAE’s current attack helicopter fleet as well as the addition of 10 new aircraft.   Several regional developments have emboldened the Emiratis. These include the vacuum created by the debilitation of the Arab world’s heavyweights; the formation of a crescent of instability in Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen; the ossification of the Gulf Cooperation Council; the shift in American geostrategic priorities; the UAE’s entanglement in the Yemeni conflict; and the rivalry with Iran.


[ November 11 2011  Smart bomb tail kits for Emirati Air Force   ]

Bomb with JDAM tailkit

Bomb with JDAM tailkit

JDAM tailkits (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) made by Boeing Co, may go to the UAE. Currently JDAM has 18 international customers.

Utilizes global positioning system (GPS) technology

JDAM utilizes global positioning system (GPS) technology

Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurately guided “smart” weapons. Since 1998, Boeing has produced more than 195,000 JDAM tailkits.

The JDAM kit consists of a new tail section that contains an Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System that:

* Utilizes global positioning system (GPS) technology
* Can be launched miles from a target
* Relies on the navigation system to update its trajectory all the way to impact
* Is used with MK-83/BLU-110, MK-84, BLU-109 and MK-82 warheads

The Air Force has advanced U.S. F-16 BLOCK 60 multi-role fighter aircraft. Other equipment includes French Mirage 2000-9 fighters, British Hawk trainer aircraft, 36 transport aircraft and U.S. Apache and Black Hawk helicopters.
Fighting Falcon Block 60’s range is extended with addition of fuselage mounted conformal fuel tanks and wing tanks, similar to the F-16ES and Block 50/52 Plus.

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Nissour Square Massacre: a mistrial for Nicholas Slatten

Paul Slough, Nicholas Slatten, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard

Paul Slough, Nicholas Slatten, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard


U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District declared a mistrial after a jury of seven women and five men said it was deadlocked on the 16th day of deliberations in the case of Nicholas A. Slatten.


[ August 4 2017  gets new trial   ]

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the first-degree murder conviction of a former Blackwater security contractor, ordering a new trial for the man prosecutors say fired the first shots in the 2007 slayings of 14 Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad. In a split opinion, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit ruled a lower court erred by not allowing Nicholas Slatten to be tried separately from his three co-defendants in 2014. The 33-year-old contractor from Tennessee is serving a life sentence for his role in the killings, which strained international relations and drew intense scrutiny of the role of American contractors in the Iraq War.

[ April 20 2015 life for one, 30 years for three ]

Nicholas A. Slatten, 31, of Sparta, Tenn., received a life sentence after being convicted of murder in October for firing what prosecutors said were the first shots in the civilian massacre. The three others — Paul A. Slough, 35, of Keller, Tex.; Evan S. Liberty, 32, of Rochester, N.H.; and Dustin L. Heard, 33, of Maryville, Tenn. — were sentenced to 30 years plus one day after being convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter.

[October 22 2014 Nissour Square Massacre verdict guilty stunned the defense]
Four former Blackwater security guards were found guilty Wednesday in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad, and a federal judge ordered them immediately to jail.

In an overwhelming victory for prosecutors, a jury found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder. The three other guards — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun charges.

The four men had been charged with a combined 33 counts in the shootings and the jury was able to reach a verdict on all of them, with the exception of three charges against Heard. The prosecution agreed to drop those charges.

The outcome after a summerlong trial and weeks of jury deliberation stunned the defense.

Jurors in the trial of four Blackwater security guards may have reached agreement on some criminal charges while raising the possibility they may become deadlocked on others. In a note from the jury of asking the judge for instructions, asking whether they could return a partial verdict on the charges where they had reached a unanimous decision and what would happen if they were in deadlock on others.
They also asked in two consecutive notes on Monday and Tuesday detailed questions about separate weapons charges that seem to indicate they are leaning towards sticking with voluntary manslaughter charges, rather than reducing them to involuntary manslaughter as had previously been suspected. , the judge instructed them that the government was only suggesting the grenade launchers may count as destructive devices, but need only prove that any weapon was used to make the charge stick.

[October 2 jury hints involuntary manslaughter]
Jurors in the long-running murder and manslaughter case against four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards hinted to a D.C. federal judge on October 1 that they may convict at least one of the defendants of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a 2007 incident in Baghdad.

On day 17 of deliberations, jurors asked U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth whether the weapons charge against Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard must be predicated on a voluntary manslaughter conviction or if the charge also applies to involuntary manslaughter, suggesting involuntary manslaughter.

[September 19 Nisour Square massacre: jury back on Monday]

[August 29 2014 Blackwater Trial Comes to a Close]

 Paul Slough, 34; Nicholas Slatten, 29; Evan Liberty, 31; and Dustin Heard, 32. another charges dropped

Paul Slough, 34; Nicholas Slatten, 29; Evan Liberty, 31; and Dustin Heard, 32.

In closing arguments, assistant US attorney Anthony Asuncion claimed three of the four defendants were guilty of manslaughter and a fourth of murder for showing extreme disregard for human life in retaliating against what they mistakenly believed was a car bomb attack on their convoy.

But the defence summed up its case with a blistering attack on the government for ignoring evidence of alleged incoming machine gun fire at the convoy, which it also accused Iraqi police of helping to cover upJurors are expected to begin deliberating September 2.

[June 20 Nisour Square massacre: Opening arguments in trial of four former Blackwater Worldwide guards]
WASHINGTON— Opening arguments were heard on June 17 in the trial of four former private security guards charged in the 2007 killings of 14 Iraqis in Baghdad.
Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Patrick Martin said mayhem ensued when Nicholas Slatten, a Blackwater sniper riding in a convoy of armored vehicles assigned to provide security for a U.S. diplomat, shot the driver of a white Kia sedan in the head for no reason other than a hatred of Iraqis.
Six of his fellow guards would soon join in the shooting, Mr. Martin said, gunning down 13 more innocent Iraqis in and around busy Nisour Square, even though they posed no threat.
Mr. Slatten “lit the match and the other defendants fanned the flames of destruction that day,” Mr. Martin told jurors.
Mr. Slatten alone faces a murder charge for the alleged killing of the Kia driver, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y.
Three other defendants— Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard—face charges of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and illegal use of weapons for the shooting that allegedly occurred after Mr. Al Rubia’y’s death.
All four have pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal district court in Washington, D.C. The reputation of the guards’ employer, Blackwater USA was severely tarnished . The company has since been sold and is now called Academi LLC.

[May 21]
Four former Blackwater Worldwide guards go on trial together scheduled to begin on June 11 in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the injuring of at least 18 others in Baghdad.
Prosecutors, obtained a first-degree murder indictment last week against one of the guards, Nicholas Slatten.U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth dismissed a manslaughter indictment against Slatten on April 23 after an appeals court said the statute of limitations had lapsed. There is no time limit on bringing a first-degree murder charge. Slatten fired the first shots at Nisur Square. Another former Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Blackwater Worldwide is now known as Academi and is based in McLean, Virginia. At the time of the shooting, the guards were escorting a State Department convoy through the streets of the Iraqi capital.

[December 5 2013]
Four ex-Blackwater guards are pleading not guilty to multiple manslaughter charges stemming from a deadly 2007 shooting on the streets of Baghdad.
[October 17]

A new indictment was returned by a grand jury in Washington against four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards for a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that prosecutors said killed 14 unarmed civilians. The charges 33 counts, including voluntary manslaughter, attempt to commit manslaughter and using a firearm in a crime of violence.

The guards had pleaded not guilty to the nearly identical charges brought five years ago. They are Paul Slough, 34; Nicholas Slatten, 29; Evan Liberty, 31; and Dustin Heard, 32.
Blackwater is now named Academi and is based in McLean, Virginia.

[June 6 2012]


Ted Wright, CEO Academi, The company formerly known as Blackwater

Supreme court has declined to review ruling that guards would be criminally charged for role in shooting that killed 17 civilians
The so-called Nisour Square massacre was the single bloodiest incident involving American private security contractors during the Iraq conflict. It outraged Iraqis, put severe strain on relations between Baghdad and Washington, and served as a watershed moment in the debate surrounding private fighters in foreign war zones.

The shooting took place on September 16, 2007 at the congested Nisour Square intersection, after a convoy of four armoured vehicles manned by Blackwater guards had departed from Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.

In a span of 15 minutes, heavy gunfire erupted and by the time it was over, more than three dozen Iraqi civilians had been shot, at least 17 fatally. Among the dead was nine-year-old Ali Kinani, who was shot in the head as he rode in a car with his father, Mohammed Kinnani.

The guards maintain that they opened fire in self-defense after being shot at by insurgents.

The state department had ordered the guards – Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard and Donald Ball – to explain to investigators what happened under the threat of losing their jobs.The contractors’ attorney, claimed his clients’ constitutional right against self-incrimination was violated when these statements were used to charge the men.

On December 31, 2009, federal judge Ricardo Urbina agreed with the guards’ claims and threw out the cases, citing “reckless violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights”. After the ruling, Blackwater reportedly paid the some of the victims’ families about $100,000 for each death and issued a statement that it was “pleased” with the outcome.

But in April last year a US federal appeals court reinstated the charges after months of closed-door testimony.

On June 1, former Blackwater executives asked the judge in a firearms case to dismiss the charges related to the gun gift and others in the indictment.

Federal prosecutors in 2010 accused former Blackwater Worldwide president Gary Jackson and four past colleagues of various federal firearms violations. A group of charges related to five guns given to King Abdullah II of Jordan. Prosecutors said the guns were part of a bid for Blackwater to land a lucrative overseas contract, but allege that records tracking the guns were later falsified to claim the weapons were sold to individuals.

Defense attorneys filed declarations from two retired CIA officials who say they are familiar with gifts presented during the king’s 2005 visit to Blackwater’s Moyok, N.C., headquarters. John Macguire, who described himself as a CIA officer for 23 years ending in 2005, and Charles Seidel, who said he was CIA station chief in the Jordanian capital of Amman in 2005, said they would be willing to testify about their knowledge of government involvement if the spy agency allows it.

“I have information related to the transfer of firearms to the King of Jordan described in numerous counts of the indictment and how the U.S. government’s authorization for the transfer of those weapons took place,” Maguire said in a statement filed in federal court in Raleigh, where the case is pending.

A group of investors bought Blackwater in December 2010 from founder Erik Prince. It is now called Academi.

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