Israeli defense officials are concerned after a high ranked delegation sent to Washington failed to secure a promise from the Americans that any agreement to end the war in Syria includes the evacuation of Iran and Hezbollah forces from the country. Now, Israel turns its hopes to the Kremlin.
The table has been set for the arrival of US President Donald Trump’s peace negotiating team, but both the Israelis and Palestinians remain skeptical that the latest American foray into brokering peace between the two sides will produce any tangible results. Underscoring concerns, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting contingent of Israeli opposition party members on Sunday that he has had no response from as many as 20 communications with Team Trump, each time asking that Trump envoys extol the need for a commitment to the so-called “two-state solution” directly to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Abbas reportedly told the Israeli visitors that he doesn’t understand how the Trump government is functioning relative to the search for peace because “there is chaos in the administration.”
Soccer games are a common sight on the Temple Mount, according to the report, even though they are explicitly prohibited by the law governing holy places, which has been upheld by the High Court’s ruling.
I’d like to see these kids get away with playing soccer at their holy sites in Mecca and Medina!
WARS & RUMORS THEREOF
A new and surprising player has recently entered the Syrian arena and has already contributed to establishing local cease-fires: Egypt received Saudi and Russian “permission” to conduct negotiations between the rebel militias and the regime, both in Ghouta al-Sharqiya (east of Damascus) and the northern neighborhoods in the city of Homs. In both cases, it managed to get a cease-fire deal signed – in the former on July 22, in the latter in early August.
U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces on Sunday began a multi-pronged military operation to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Iraq’s prime minister announced.
Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of ISIS-held territory in Iraq afterin July in Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. The town, about 150 kilometers — 93 miles — east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key IS supply route.
Reports say shell hits Syrian fair
Speaking to reporters before departing on an official visit to Jordan, Erdogan also said a more effective struggle against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its Iranian affiliate, PJAK, would be possible through joint action with Iran.
Sweden’s armed forces will get around 2 billion crowns (£190 million) extra in the 2018 budget and around 6 billion crowns (£575 million) during the 2018-2020 period in the deal between the Social Democrat and Green party coalition and the opposition Moderate and Centre parties, Swedish Radio reported.
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills are largely computer-simulated war games held every summer and have drawn furious responses from North Korea, which views them an invasion rehearsal. Pyongyang’s state media on Sunday called this year’s drills a “reckless” move that could trigger the “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”
N Korea Threatens “Merciless Strike” for US-South Korean Drill
US & GLOBAL ECONOMY
Shell Loads Oil in Libya for the First Time in Five Years
The cargo on Saturday is for 600,000 barrels of crude from the Zueitina port, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private. A Shell spokesperson declined to comment on the shipment, but said the company’s Shell International Trading & Shipping “has a history marketing Libyan crudes. We welcome new business opportunities with Libya’s National Oil Corp.”
Around 10 lakh employees of public sector banks may go on a nation-wide strike on Tuesday, August 22. Employee unions under UFBU or United Forum of Bank Unions, which claims membership of nearly 10 lakh across banks, have called for the one-day strike against reforms proposed by the government.
A ROBOT ARMY JUST MADE THE BIGGEST GOLD DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY
Prospectors have mined 20 million ounces of gold from the Yukon’s famous Klondike since the Gold Rush. But they haven’t been able to find the original source—the multi-billion-dollar bedrock. Until now.
U.S. Houses Are Using More Russian Lumber, Thanks to Canada Spat
To be sure, Russia accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total, while European countries such as Germany and Sweden are among the biggest suppliers to the U.S. But the shift in volumes illustrate how a political spat has quickly altered the flow of international trade.
Many Americans dream about early retirement. However, as new data suggests, Americans might not even be on target for an “on-time” retirement. As you’d expect, the amount someone has stashed in a retirement account will vary by age, wage and geographic location. However, nationwide, the decline in overall retirement contributions is alarming.
Earlier this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran may pull out from the nuclear deal if the United States continues its policy of sanctions against Iran. Experts reached by Sputnik, however, do not believe that Tehran will go that far.
White House officials and members of the Republican Party’s leadership were notably absent from Sunday news shows just one week after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last week began with President Donald Trump failing to clearly denounce white supremacists and neo-Nazis and ended with the firing of chief White House strategist Steve Bannon. In between, Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, outraging both Republicans and Democrats for morally equating white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the demonstrators who showed up to protest their racism and anti-Semitism.
ISLAM & NEW WORLD ORDER
Until Thursday, just hours before the Barcelona attack, many of the young men seemed to be living completely normal lives. One had slept late, his mother said. Another had worked as a waiter serving wine in a mountaintop restaurant days before. Several were eating kebabs, looking relaxed.
By Friday morning, seven were dead, an eighth was critically wounded, and one was on the run. Three others were detained by the police. They had grown up together, and among them were four sets of brothers. Most of them were not even 25 years old.
Following a Barcelona terror attack in which 13 innocent people were killed, the chief rabbi of the region said that Jewish life in Spain is “doomed,” JTA reported on Friday.
“Jews are not here permanently,” Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen said of the Catalonia region of Spain. “I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good. And I encourage them to buy property in Israel. This place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.”
A man was shot dead by police after knifing people apparently at random in the Siberian city of Surgut on Saturday morning. Russian authorities earlier declined to comment on whether the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack and were said to be keeping an open mind about the attacker’s motive.
MANMADE AND NATURAL DISASTERS
Yellowstone currently leaks about 60 to 70 percent of its heat into the atmosphere through stream water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks, while the rest of the heat builds up as magma and dissolves into volatile gasses. The heat and pressure will reach the threshold, meaning an explosion is inevitable. …Wilcox hypothesized that if enough heat was removed, and the temperature of the supervolcano dropped, it would never erupt. But he wants to see a 35% decrease in temperature, and how to achieve that is incredibly risky. One possibility is to simply increase the amount of water in the supervolcano. As it turns to steam, the water would release the heat into the atmosphere, making global warming alarmists tremble.