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North Korea fires another ballistic missile, South Korea reports

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North Korea fires another ballistic missile South Korea reports

United States government sources have confirmed North Korea has fired another ballistic missile. It flew eastward from Pyongsong. Early indications are unclear whether it flew over Japan or not, but the Japanese Prime Minister’s office confirmed it landed with Japan’s economic zone:

This is the latest in a string of missile tests the North Koreans have held in recent months. Expanding aggression between them and South Korea, Japan, and the United States have the world on edge about what they might do next. Do they have viable nuclear weapons? Can they deliver them to their enemies? How far can they reach?

After a brief two-month hiatus, this marks the continuation of their nuclear ambitions.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.

Further Reading

North Korea fires new ballistic missile, South Korea says

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42160227South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the missile flew eastward from Pyongsong in South Pyongan province.

It is not clear how far it went or whether it flew over Japan as other missiles did earlier this year.

North Korea has test fired several other missiles this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles, as tensions increase over its nuclear programme.

North Korea fires ballistic missile: report

http://thehill.com/policy/international/362151-north-korea-fires-ballistic-missileNorth Korea has not launched a missile since September, when it fired a rocket that passed over Japan’s Hokkaido Island.

Prior to that incident, it had launched missiles at a rate of two or three per month since April.

There were some signals that Pyongyang could be preparing another ballistic missile launch. A Japanese government source told Reuters on Tuesday that it had detected radio signals suggesting that such a launch could be imminent.

North Korea may be capable of launching a nuclear missile in 2018, South Korea says

http://fox59.com/2017/11/28/north-korea-may-be-capable-of-launching-a-nuclear-missile-in-2018-south-korea-says/North Korea may be able to pair a nuclear warhead with a long-range ballistic missile sometime next year, a top South Korean minister said during an unusually candid assessment of Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

Authorities in Seoul believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will push to achieve that goal in time for next September’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as North Korea is officially known, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Tuesday at a news conference.

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Foreign Affairs

Russia brokers deal for Kurdish forces, Syria to partner against Turkey

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Russia brokers deal for Kurdish forces Syria to partner against Turkey

Syria as a whole will be Bashar Al-Assad’s once again. That is, at least, what the Syrian President and the Russians are hoping for after Moscow brokered a deal between Assad’s regime and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria.

In the wake of a U.S. withdrawal from the border with Turkey and the subsequent invasion by Turkey 20 miles into Syrian territory, Assad and his long-time rivals are willing to work together against their mutual enemy. It isn’t just Turkey but also their proxies in the Free Syrian Army. The group, which was once supported by the Obama administration to fight Assad’s government, has been the tip of Turkey’s spear so far during the brief conflict with the SDF.

Russia, who has had an ongoing relationship with Assad and once supported the SDF, has renewed those ties and brought the two foes together to fight for a common cause. If it works, the Kurds will likely maintain some autonomy while adhering to a united Syria under Assad. If it fails, Turkey will take control of a stretch of land 20 miles deep and 300 miles wide along the border where they intend to relocate two million refugees.

This isn’t just about relocation, though. The Turkish government believes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which comprises the most powerful militia group within the SDF, is supplying their allies in the Kurdisran Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey and America regard as a terrorist organization.

With Russia inserting itself into the mix, their relationship with Turkey will likely strain even more. But their greater goal of a united Syria under the control of Bashar Al-Assad is worth making Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upset.

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Economy

President Trump working with Congress to sanction Turkey

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President Trump working with Congress to sanction Turkey

In less than a week, Turkey has managed to draw the ire of most of the world, including most on Capitol Hill, as they move to eradicate Kurds and Christians in eastern Syria. Their invasion, coordinated with attacks by their Syrian al Qaeda proxies, have already caused turmoil, killed hundreds, and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Now, President Trump appears ready to follow through on his threat to “cripple Turkey’s economy” through sanctions.

The President has been criticized by many in both political parties following the White House announcement that we are withdrawing troops from the border region. What followed was such a quick response in the form of an all out Turkish invasion that it’s clear they’ve been planning this for some time.

Our EIC took to Twitter to push the President towards following through with his threat against Turkey should they cross the line. As he noted, they have clearly crossed the line.

Reports of civilian deaths are mounting. It isn’t just the Kurds that Turkey and al Qaeda are targeting. Syriac Christians are in the crosshairs as well. The intense fighting seems to be focused on clearing out entire cities to make room for the millions of refugees the Turks currently hold. Instead of just taking out military targets from the Kurds, who Turkey believes to be terrorists, the invaders are wiping out the entire populations in cities and villages near the border.

Senator Lindsey Graham chimed in. Graham has been a Trump supporter, but broke from the White House over the Syrian withdrawal. Now, he’s voicing hope and alignment with the President’s sanction plans.

Turkish President Erdogan clearly lied to President Trump. It’s time to send them a clear message in response. Our troops may be coming home, but we can stop this bloodbath through sanctions. Cripple their economy, Mr. President.

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Foreign Affairs

Please sanction Turkey now, Mr. President

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Please sanction Turkey now Mr President

President Trump warned Turkey shortly after removing troops from the Syrian-Turkish border that if they “crossed the line” he would cripple their economy. The line has been crossed. It’s time to act before things get worse.

As anticipated, Turkey has turned to Syrian militants to conduct many of the attacks against the Kurds in Eastern Syria. These militias are made up of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups who have sworn to destroy America. Multiple news outlets and monitoring NGOs have reported they have entered peaceful Kurdish areas and began terrorizing civilians. One report even notes they murdered a female Syrian politician.

Turkish backed jihadists murder prisoners and female politician in Syria

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Turkish-backed-jihadists-murder-prisoners-and-female-politician-in-Syria-604496Turkish-backed jihadist forces in Syria murdered two Kurdish prisoners and shot down a woman politician during Turkey’s offensive in Syria on Saturday. The reports have shocked observers of Turkey, a NATO member, and the increasingly brutal campaign it is waging in Syria.

In one incident Turkish-backed extremists who are members of an Arab rebel group that is embedded with Turkey’s military operation are accused of murdering Hevrin Khalef, a female politician in eastern Syria. In a second incident the Arab fighters backed by Turkey murdered two Kurdish prisoners, one of them tied up, on a video. Many of the extremists Turkey has recruited to fight in Syria have openly shouted jihadist slogans claiming they are coming to murder the “kuffar” or “infidels.” Their behavior in the fighting has been compared to ISIS.

Turkey has used the Syrian Arab fighters as a way to avoid casualties, unleashing them across the border to attack and murder Kurds after US President Donald Trump announced the US would leave parts of Syria and open the airspace for Turkish airstrikes. Since October 9 Turkey has launched devastating airstrikes across northeast Syria, causing 100,000 to flee an area that was peaceful. US forces, sheltering in place near Kobane, even came under artillery fire. Turkey has sought to send a message that nothing will prevent it from continuing its operation and using Syrian Arab forces as cannon fodder to attack Kurdish areas and sack towns and villages.

This is the first report of such incidents confirmed by the Pentagon, but many other reports of similar executions of civilians have been coming in as well. The targets seem to be centered around cities and villages Turkey has apparently earmarked for placement of the two million Syrian refugees they have been holding since the height of the Syrian civil war. These villages are not just homes to Kurds. Thousands of Christians and non-Kurdish Muslims are also being displaced, captured, or killed.

According to a Syriac Christian group, this is a form of ethnic cleansing.

“People were so scared, they were telling me, ‘They are bombing us right now!’” Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told NPR. “We think this is a message to the Kurds and Christians there to leave, so Turkey can move refugees there. We think it’s a form of ethnic cleansing.”

At least three Christians in the area have reportedly been killed as a result of the Turkish invasion:

Christians Killed on Syria’s Front Lines

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/christians-syria-turkey-kurds-erdogan-trump.htmlThree Christians have been killed in Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria, reported In Defense of Christians (IDC), citing their sources on the ground.

In Qamishli, a Syriac Christian and his wife died, while in Ras al-Ain an additional Syriac Christian civilian was killed. Ten civilians were injured in the attacks.

The Turkish operation focused initially on a 60-mile stretch of land between the two Arab-majority cities of Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad, a sparsely populated area known as Syria’s breadbasket, reported BBC. IDC, which advocates for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, said that this area has large concentrations of Christians.

Since the announcement was made a week ago that the U.S. would stop allowing our troops to be human shields preventing the Turkish attack, events have unfolded at a lightning pace. Turkey and their al Qaeda proxies in Syria were obviously mobilized and prepared to attack well before the withdrawal. There was no time allowed for Kurds and other residents in the area to escape, which is telling. This is not about establishing a “safe zone,” as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was claimed. This is about blitzing the region as quickly as possible to eliminate as many Kurdish fighters as they possibly can. If Christians and other civilians are caught up in the destruction, so be it.

This is certainly not what President Trump wanted nor expected. He was lied to, and as a result he must follow through with his threat to cripple Turkey economically. If he cannot get a hold of this situation very soon, it will escalate beyond his ability to correct the issue.

To add insult to injury, it appears the Turks and their Syrian allies are freeing Islamic State prisoners, whether intentionally or as a result of their haphazard invasion.

Isis militants break out of prison in Syria after bombing by Turkey

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-turkey-syria-prison-bombing-kurds-sdf-a9152536.htmlFive Isis militants have broken out of a prison in northern Syria after Turkish shelling nearby, a spokesman in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said.

The detainees escaped from a prison in Qamishli city, Marvan Qamishlo said.

Meanwhile, women affiliated with Isis attacked security offices with sticks and stones during unrest at a camp in the region where Turkey has launched attacks.

Opinion

I have turned this decision around in my head over and over for the last week. While I definitely appreciate the sentiment of bringing troops home, that’s not what’s happening. They were pulled away from the border and will remain in Syria for now. More importantly, these particular troops were with our allies. They were not in harms way as our troops in Afghanistan and other areas in the Middle East are.

Friday, he signed an executive order allowing for broad and swift sanctions to be imposed on Turkey. Monday, he should use these powers to send Turkey a very clear message that we will not stand by and watch as al Qaeda takes over eastern Syria.

The President is losing this narrative thanks to the duplicity committed by Turkey and their al Qaeda allies moving into areas we just vacated. He must follow through with his threat to cripple Turkey’s economy immediately.

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