Archive for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia going after Hezbollah in Lebanon would be another misjudgment that adds to a dangerous and combustible moment in the Middle East. Trump Is At The Center Of The Chaos!

Posted in Middle-East Time Bomb with tags , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2017 by sheriffali

NYT “Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blame for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

 

In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials are causing new turmoil in a tiny country with complicated sectarian politics, failed power-sharing arrangements and a long history of foreign meddling.

 

Since the Arab uprisings in 2011, Lebanon has largely avoided the conflicts sweeping the Middle East. Even the war that is raging in Syria, Lebanon’s much larger neighbor, has generally left the country unscathed. That calm is now threatened as the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies set their sights on Hezbollah and its patron, Iran.

 

Why would Saudi leaders risk a new conflagration? They see a way to make common cause with Washington by targeting Hezbollah, one of Iran’s most effective allies. President Trump has consistently singled out Iran’s support for Hezbollah and other groups that Washington considers terrorist organizations.

 

 

But Saudi Arabia is already overstretched. Its war against Houthi rebels in Yemen drags on, and the diplomatic dispute with Qatar remains in a stalemate, too. If Saudi leaders think they can score an easy victory in Lebanon against Hezbollah, it will be another misjudgment that adds to a dangerous and combustible moment in the Middle East.

 

Hezbollah was part of Lebanon’s national unity government formed in late 2016 with Mr. Hariri as the prime minister. Iran and Saudi Arabia — which views itself as the protector of Lebanon’s Sunni community — blessed the power-sharing agreement.

 

Hezbollah agreed to the deal because it wanted to avoid conflict in Lebanon and to direct its energy toward the Syrian war, where it fights alongside the government of President Bashar al-Assad. As a leader with strong ties to both the Sunni Arab states and the West, Mr. Hariri provided Hezbollah with political cover as it continued to dominate Lebanon.

 

The militia’s important role in the fighting in Syria has made it more powerful than ever. But Mr. Hariri’s resignation exposes Hezbollah and its allies in the Lebanese government to harsher United States sanctions, a potential war with Israel or even an economic blockade led by Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies, similar to the one imposed on Qatar.

 

Hezbollah, which was founded in the 1980s during a civil war and an Israeli invasion, is now the country’s dominant political and military force. It is unrealistic of Saudi leaders and the Trump administration to expect that it can be supplanted by a popular Lebanese groundswell against it or removed by a foreign military force without causing catastrophic damage to Lebanon.

 

Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, King Salman, and his son and designated heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are pursuing a far more aggressive foreign policy than previous Saudi rulers. They have been bolstered in this by Mr. Trump’s support for the kingdom in its conflict with Iran. Now that Iran’s ally, Mr. Assad, has essentially won the civil war in Syria, Saudi Arabia is looking to contain Iranian influence elsewhere. Lebanon is a tempting target.

 

The Saudis have also been emboldened by their recent outreach to Shiite factions in Iraq, especially the nationalist cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who visited the kingdom in July and met with Prince Mohammed. The Saudis are hoping to cultivate Mr. Sadr and other Shiite leaders who can be a counterweight to Iranian influence in Iraq, especially ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

 

But the Saudis won’t be able to find a Sadr in Lebanon, a political figure who can offer a serious alternative to Hezbollah and Iranian influence in the Shiite community.

 

Since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990, Hezbollah has entrenched itself in the largely Shiite areas of southern Beirut and southern Lebanon. With Iranian support, it opened schools and hospitals, provided business loans and fielded candidates for parliamentary elections. It also extended its military capability, deploying thousands of missiles along the border with Israel.

 

In February 2005, Rafik Hariri, a billionaire construction tycoon and Lebanon’s former prime minister, was assassinated in a bombing in Beirut. His death deprived Lebanon of its most prominent Sunni leader — and Saudi Arabia lost its most important Lebanese ally. After Mr. Hariri’s death, his son Saad took over his father’s Saudi-based construction empire and the Sunni political mantle in Lebanon.

 

In the summer of 2006, Hezbollah fought a monthlong war with Israel, which ended in a draw and increased the militia’s popularity across the Muslim world. But by early 2011, Hezbollah’s standing began to wane after a United Nations tribunal indicted several of its members for Mr. Hariri’s assassination.

 

If Mr. Hariri’s killing was a first salvo of the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, subsequent battles also did not go Riyadh’s way.

 

In May 2008, Hezbollah broke a post-civil-war vow not to turn its weapons against other Lebanese factions. At the time, Lebanon was mired in a political stalemate between a United States- and Saudi-backed government — which included Sunni, Christian and Druze parties — and Hezbollah and its allies.

 

Hezbollah was infuriated by a government decision that outlawed its underground fiber-optic communication network, which was critical to its success during its 2006 war with Israel. Hezbollah’s leaders sent hundreds of fighters into largely Sunni neighborhoods of West Beirut. They overpowered Sunni militiamen and seized the offices and media outlets of political rivals, including Mr. Hariri.

 

Hezbollah’s success so alarmed the Sunni Arab states that Saudi Arabia toyed with the idea of sending an Arab military force to intervene in Lebanon. Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister at the time, asked a visiting American diplomat whether the United States and NATO could provide equipment, logistics and “naval and air cover” to assist such an army, according to a classified American diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks. Prince Faisal warned Washington that Hezbollah’s actions would lead to an “Iranian takeover of all Lebanon.”

 

Years later, Saudi leaders organized a similar force to wage their war in Yemen, against Houthi rebels allied with Iran. A day after Mr. Hariri’s resignation, the front page of a Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper declared, “Hariri departs Hezbollah’s republic.” The subtext was clear: Without its most prominent Sunni leader, Lebanon is under Hezbollah’s full control — and it will be fair game in the latest battle with Iran.”

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Socrates! Donald Trump, China, Russia And Saudi Arabia Ticking Time Bomb:

Posted in Trump Ticking Time Bomb with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2017 by sheriffali

Socrates lived and died for Truth and Law; Donald Trump lives by Lying more and more! That’s why it’s not hard to guess why the Saudi crown prince has chosen to follow the Russian and Chinese road map, or why he has sought to consolidate power instead of sharing it.

 

Socrates lived his life as an endless examination of what is good and true and right, seeking neither office nor wealth; Mr. Trump is a know-it-all demagogue who treats the highest office as his right.

 

Socrates served his city as a soldier in war when called upon; Mr. Trump played the system — avoiding military service, exploiting legal loopholes and connections, amassing riches.

 

Socrates said he pursued knowledge because he knew nothing, and that people had to learn from experts, not follow the crowd. Mr. Trump proclaims himself the best at everything and gives the crowd what it wants; in order to make it his. He belittles experts, even his own country’s foreign service. “I’m the only one that matters,” he declares.

 

But Trump is also part of the story of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. By his own example — through his disdain for courts and for the media, through his scorn for ethical norms — Trump has cast doubt on the Western model.

 

Trump may even have encouraged the Saudi prince more directly. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, a living embodiment of American nepotism, visited Riyadh for long talks — officially to promote Mideast peace, but perhaps business and politics came up, too — in the days before the arrest. The image of two princelings, scheming late into the night, makes a textbook illustration of the decline of American prestige and American values, even in a country that is closely allied to the United States.

 

Only time will tell what the future holds for America and the world as most Republicans remain grounded in their support for the most Treasonous, Corrupt, Self-Centered, Conceited, Pathological Lying Con Man, presently sitting in the “People’s Oval Office. [Credits: NYT; Research; Socrates, Donald Trump, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia]

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Saudi Arabia’s 32 Year Old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unprecedented grab for power may turn out to be the most unwise act for the Kingdom in 50 plus years.

Posted in Saudi Arabia with tags , , , , , , , on November 7, 2017 by sheriffali

 

“By arresting  his rivals [Families And Other Essential People] That Have Kept Saudi Arabia Stable For 50 Plus Years; Maybe The Undoing Of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Salman, father of Crown Prince Salman, perhaps is now just a “figure-head” in the scheme of what seems most likely, “An Internal And Confidential Coup d’état.”

 

“Even by the torrid pace of change Saudis have become used to under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, developments over the past two days have been as frenetic as they are momentous. The removal of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard and one of the few remaining autonomous sources of authority in the kingdom, was followed swiftly by the detention of at least 11 members of the ruling family and dozens of others, including government ministers and ex-ministers and key figures in the business community. The detentions, framed as part of a sweeping crackdown on corruption following a royal decree that mandated a Supreme Committee headed by Mohammed bin Salman to address the issue, represent the latest in a series of bold moves by a youthful crown prince who has centralized authority to a degree unprecedented in recent Saudi history, but risk weakening the checks and balances that for decades have characterized royal family rule in the kingdom.

 

The roll-call of the detained reads like a who’s who of the Saudi policymaking community. It includes two sons of the late King Abdullah (Prince Miteb and Prince Turki); Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire investor in Twitter, Apple, Citigroup, Twenty-First Century Fox, and dozens of other global brands; Saleh Kamel, another billionaire who headed one of the largest business conglomerates in the Middle East; Adel Fakieh, who as minister of economy and planning was intimately involved in the preparatory work for Saudi Arabia’s sweepingly ambitious Vision 2030 economic transformation plan; Ibrahim al-Assaf, who served 20 years as the kingdom’s minister of finance until 2016; Amr al-Dabbagh, who as governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority between 2004 and 2012 led drives to increase foreign investment into the country; Khalid al-Tuwayjri, the enormously influential ‘gatekeeper’ to King Abdullah’s Royal Court; Waleed al-Ibrahim, head of the MBC media empire and a brother-in-law of the late King Fahd; and Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the Saudi BinLadin Group and older half-brother of the slain Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

 

It is unlikely that the detentions are linked to any struggle for power within the royal family, as Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to prominence was sealed by his appointment as crown prince in place of his older and more experienced cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, in June. One of Mohammed bin Salman’s first acts as the heir apparent was to transfer all the internal security functions away from the Ministry of Interior into a newly formed Presidency of State Security that answered directly to him and his father, King Salman. This removed from the security landscape one of the two entities that together with the Ministry of Defense (which Mohammed bin Salman has headed since January 2015) wielded coercive force in Saudi Arabia; the other was the National Guard, controlled since 1962 by Prince (later King) Abdullah and since 2011 by his son, Miteb, and regarded as an elite force that would quell any internal unrest in the kingdom. Mohammed bin Salman has an opportunity to unify, for the first time, the hitherto-disparate military and security structures in Saudi Arabia, and strengthen further his grip on power.

 

It’s a typically bold move for a crown prince who has made such sweeping strokes the hallmark of his swift rise. And yet, the concentration of such authority in one individual may unravel the careful mixture of consensus and balancing among competing interests within both the royal family and Saudi society at large. Since the creation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 and especially after the rise of Crown Prince (later King) Faisal in the 1960s, the royal family has sought a pragmatic and gradualist approach to social and political change. This helped to cushion the impact of economic modernization and guide the kingdom through periods of great internal strain, such as the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque and the post-2003 terrorist campaign by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They also represented a pragmatic acknowledgment of the multiple centers of gravity within the royal family, which acted as a check on the unconstrained exercise of power by any one individual.

 

At the heart of this delicate equilibrium was the long-serving governor of Riyadh, the current King Salman,who as the keeper of internal family records and the enforcer of discipline performed duties akin to a political chief whip. Salman is also the last remaining heavy-hitter from the generation of ‘nation-builders’ who have dominated public life in Saudi Arabia since the 1950s. Salman’s role at the heart of the royal system earned him respect as well as fear among his peers in the family. Mohammed bin Salman may be seeking to appropriate these attributes for himself to ensure that he replaces his father as the undisputed manager of family matters, and avoid any void that may open once the man who ran the system for decades leaves the scene.

 

At 32, Mohammed bin Salman looks set to rule Saudi Arabia for decades, perhaps as long as the 51 years of his grandfather, Abdulaziz, who unified the kingdom between 1902 and 1932 and remained king until his death in 1953. Power since Abdulaziz’s death has passed among his many sons, which has resulted in a succession of monarchs whose age has increased steadily. Unlike his predecessors, Mohammed bin Salman will be in power when oil revenues alone can no longer maintain the patterns of wealth distribution that have underpinned political stability for decades. He therefore is very much aware that Saudi Arabia needs to diversify its economy and has outlined his Vision 2030 intended to utilize oil revenues as a catalyst for a program of far-reaching, if ill-defined, program of economic reform. The grandiose Future Investment Initiative, held in Riyadh on October 24-26, was meant to symbolize the transformation afoot in Saudi Arabia to the thousands of business and political leaders from across the world who attended to hear the plans for a new “robot city”—complete with gimmicks like offering Saudi citizenship to a robot.

 

Less than two weeks later, some of the most prominent figures in the Saudi business class who attended the Future Investment Initiative find themselves in detention in—ironically—the same luxury hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, where many of the plenary sessions took place. The sudden purge of many of the country’s most internationally recognizable businessmen, with worldwide partnerships, is likely to raise the political risk of doing business in Saudi Arabia and shake international investor confidence just as it is needed more than ever in the run-up to the much-anticipated partial IPO of Saudi Aramco, the state oil behemoth.

 

For President Donald Trump and his inner circle, who have cultivated close relations with Mohammed bin Salman since taking office in January, efforts are likely to redouble to persuade the Saudis to float the 5 percent of Aramco on the New York Stock Exchange. However, a more immediate outcome may be that Mohammed bin Salman uses his consolidated authority to escalate further the war in Yemen and—in his response to a missile launched by Houthi rebels that was intercepted over Riyadh—move dangerously close to outright military confrontation with Iran.” [Politico]

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FIVE Arab States Cut Diplomatic Ties With Qatar That House America’s Largest Military Base; And Donald Trump Takes Credit!

Posted in United States with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by sheriffali

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It is amazing that the Republican Congress and other Republican Politicians are still standing behind Donald Trump when in fact, everything Trump is doing is damaging to America and gives Vladimir Putin What he want. For the longest time Putin unsuccessfully tried to stop Qatar from Housing America’s Largest Military Base in the Middle East, but Putin has finally succeeded via his Puppet, Donald Trump.

 

Subsequent to Donald Trump’s Middle East Trip, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Yemen not only broke Diplomatic Ties with Qatar, but also cut off Land, Air and Sea to and from Qatar.

 

[NYT] “ EgyptSaudi Arabia and three other Arab countries severed all ties with Qatar early Monday, in a renewal of a four-year effort to isolate it and in a sign of a new boldness after a visit to the region by President Trump.

 

In an abrupt and surprising move, the five Arab states not only suspended diplomatic relations, as they have in the past, but also cut off land, air and sea travel to and from Qatar. All but Egypt, which has many thousands of people working there, ordered their citizens to leave the country.

 

Qatar, like other monarchies in the Persian Gulf, is a close ally of Washington, and it hosts a major American military base that commands the United States-led air campaign against the Islamic State.

 

As such, the feud among regional allies threatens to stress the operations of the American-led coalition and complicate efforts in the region to confront Iran — but could also be a heavy blow to Tehran’s regional ambitions, if Qatar is forced to sever ties.

 

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson offered to broker the impasse on Monday in the hope of preserving the Trump administration’s efforts to create broad coalitions against Iran and terrorist groups in the Middle East.

 

“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences,” Mr. Tillerson said.

 

The severing of all connections by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen created an immediate crisis for Qatar. Qatari diplomats were given 48 hours to leave their posts in Bahrain, while Qatari citizens were allotted two weeks to depart Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

 

Twitter @sheriffali

 

 

https://nyti.ms/2rISMWL

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Trump 105 Billion Dollars Arms Sale To Saudi Arabia Would Help To Create An Even Greater Famine Disaster In Yemen; Congress Could Stop Him; Would They?

Posted in United States with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2017 by sheriffali

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Donald Trump Is Morally Bankrupt, Absolutely Without Shame, Vulgar, A Pathological Liar, Definitive Crook And Trump Is Taking America’s Credibility Down Along With His Already Parasitic, Parasite, Satanic Life!

 

[WAPO] “Mark Pocan, a Democrat, has represented Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District in the House since 2013. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee and is first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

 

Donald Trump ran for president as the world’s greatest dealmaker. His first international destination as president, Saudi Arabia, is where he reportedly registered eight companies during his campaign. Yet by announcing one of the largest arms-sales deals in U.S. history during this visit, Trump is revealing to the world a dark side to his boasts of creating jobs: He may be helping to create a famine as well.

 

 

Yes, as Saudi Arabia is reportedly “pulling out all the stops” to “dazzle and impress” the president — not to mention the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Dow Chemical and Blackstone who have followed Trump to the country — the Saudi kingdom is using U.S.-made planes and bombs to enforce a blockade of food and aid on its neighbor, Yemen, the poorest country in the region.” Open WAP Link For Article:

 http://wapo.st/2qFSz3U?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.9e5a6a30ddd9

 

 

Twitter @sheriffali

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US Warship Heads To Yemeni Waters; Could block Iran weapons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2015 by sheriffali

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

 

The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining.

 

Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.

 

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.

 

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ship movement on the record.

 

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies, mainly Gulf Arab countries, have been trying to drive back the rebels, who seized the capital of Sanaa in September and have overrun many other northern provinces with the help of security forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The U.S. supports the Saudi campaign.

 

Western governments and Sunni Arab countries say the Houthis get their arms from Iran. Tehran and the rebels deny that, although the Islamic Republic has provided political and humanitarian support to the Shiite group.

The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week, and the U.S. has also begun refueling coalition aircraft involved in the conflict.

 

White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment specifically on any Navy movements in Yemeni waters, but said the U.S. has concerns about Iran’s “continued support for the Houthis.

 

“We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other armed support to the Houthis in Yemen. That support will only contribute to greater violence in that country. These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.”

 

He said, “The Iranians are acutely aware of our concerns for their continued support of the Houthis by sending them large shipments of weapons.”

 

The expanded U.S. Navy activity in the region comes at a sensitive time, as the U.S. and six world powers have reached a framework deal with Iran to control its nuclear program. Since the preliminary deal with reached on April 2, Iran and the U.S. have been disputing the details of the deal. And on Monday, a lawyer for Tehran-based Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian said Tehran had charged Rezaian with espionage and three other crimes. The Obama administration dismisses the charges as “absurd.”

 

The U.S. Navy generally conducts consensual boardings of ships when needed, including to combat piracy around Africa and the region. So far, however, U.S. naval personnel have not boarded any Iranian vessels since the Yemen conflict began.

 

Officials said it’s too soon to speculate on what the Navy ships may do as the Iranian convoy approaches, including whether Iran would consent to a boarding request, and what actions the Navy would take if its request was refused.

 

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been pushed to the brink of collapse by ground fighting and the Saudi-led airstrikes in support of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Observers say the fighting in the strategic Mideast nation is taking on the appearance of a proxy war between Iran, the Shiite powerhouse backing the Houthis, and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.

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Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington and Ahmed al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen, contributed to this report.

 

Twitter @sheriffali

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President Obama Critics Wrong Again; Middle Eastern Allies, ISIS, Syria, Iraq!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2014 by sheriffali

It takes more courage for an American President to use restraint rather than be capricious with the use of Military Force. Obama is cautious and for some too cautious, however, looking back at how former President George W Bush recklessly use the Military and the consequences that follow us to this day, Americans should be proud that the man that presently sits in the White House, are careful with America’s most precious commodity; “The Men and Women in Uniform. “

 

Critics and those with disdain for President Obama literally questioned as to whether or not the Obama Administration could assemble powerful Allies to take down the ISIS Psychopaths! However, looking at some of these same critics on Television since the inception of the Air Strikes inside of Syria, they grudgingly give the Obama Administration credit for being able to have “only” Middle Eastern Allies to attack inside of Syria. Obama’s hesitancy seems to have always been, “he didn’t want the people of the Middle East to think; there goes the West again attacking another Moslem Country.” For any meaningful resolve, military action is necessary, however, the people of the Middle East working together to resolve their own indifferences, is truly the answer to slow down the terror madness.

 

The United States with Five Middle Eastern Allies; Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and The United Arab Emirates launch massive military Air Strikes against the ISIS Psychopaths inside of Syria.

 

With the use of F -16’s F -18’s F-22’s Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Drones, The US Carrier George W H Bush and other Navy Vessels, The US Military and its Middle Eastern Allies attacked ISIS in Syria and The US also attacked Al Qaeda in Syria.

 

Twitter @sheriffali

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