ISIS reemerging in Iraq
International | Pentagon warns of the terror group’s attempt to rebuild its physical caliphate
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/20/18, 02:32 pm
IRAQ: Over the weekend, Iraq media reported that more than 100 ISIS vehicles were seen between Kirkuk and Mosul, just after the Pentagon warned on Friday that ISIS “is well-positioned to rebuild and work on enabling its physical caliphate to reemerge.”
NORTH KOREA: About 90 families from South Korea crossed the border for brief reunifications with relatives most had not seen in 70 years—part of a longstanding program many hope now may be expanded.
TURKEY: A drive-by shooting aimed at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara Monday morning caused no injuries but signaled deepening tension over U.S. sanctions aimed at securing the release of American Pastor Andrew Brunson and others. Washington reportedly has rejected an offer from Turkey to release Brunson in exchange for lessening stiff U.S. fines against a major Turkish bank. Halkbank, whose top leaders have ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been under U.S. investigation for laundering money to help Iran evade sanctions. A senior White House official told The Wall Street Journal: “A real NATO ally wouldn’t have arrested Brunson in the first place.”
SAUDI ARABIA: More than 2 million Muslim pilgrims are facing stormy weather to begin the annual haj, the journey to Mecca that represents one of the five pillars of Islam.
ZIMBABWE: Opposition leaders are pushing for televised hearings, which would be a first, as the country’s Constitutional Court is set to hear on Wednesday a petition filed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party seeking to overturn the electoral victory for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The ZANU-PF leader succeeded longtime dictator Robert Mugabe, who resigned in 2017. MDC head Nelson Chamisa vowed “to put up a very strong case to overturn the electoral fraud.”
MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME: Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, died Saturday in Switzerland at age 80. Serving two five-year terms as UN secretary-general, Annan presided over the world body during 9/11 and subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first from its bureaucracy to lead the UN, Annan championed expansive UN programs, including controversial condom handouts: Under Annan UN peacekeepers in Sierra Leone and Congo received a condom a day, with Annan’s spokesman claiming condoms “have the same value as flak jackets.” In 2004, Annan faced down calls for his resignation after presiding over one of the world’s largest financial fraud schemes, the UN-led Oil for Food program in Iraq, whose billions in contracts benefited his son Kojo Annan.
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