Putin Boxed In by Iran, Turkey On Iraqi Kurdish Referendum

Russian President Vladimir Putin had been banking on Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Over the past year, Russia has invested over $4 billion in the Kurdistan Region’s energy sector, overtaking the United States as the largest investor. By making such a commitment to northern Iraq, Putin was likely counting on both an eventual energy windfall and another card to play as a regional broker at the expense of the United States. He could count on good, or at least working, relationships with Damascus, Tehran, Ankara, to some extent Baghdad and, with the massive oil and gas venture, Erbil.

Editorial- The Vietnam Nightmare—Again

Much of America, including yours truly, has been watching the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series, ‘Vietnam.’ Instead of clarifying that confusing conflict, the series has ignited fiery controversy and a lot of long-repressed anger by soft-soaping Washington’s motives.

This march to folly in Vietnam is particularly painful for me since I enlisted in the US army at the height of the war. Gripped by youthful patriotism, I strongly supported the war. In fact, the TV series even showed a pro-war march down New York’s Fifth Avenue that I had joined. Talk about déjà vu.

At the time, 1967, the Cold War was at full force. We really believed that if the US did not make a stand in Vietnam the Soviets and Chinese would overrun all of South Asia.

Russian Court Sends Kremlin Critic Navalny to Jail For 20 Days

A Moscow court has sent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to jail for 20 days for calling for an unsanctioned protest.

Police detained Navalny on Friday, preventing him from traveling to a rally in a major Russian city that had received official permission. Charges brought against the top Kremlin foe relate to an upcoming rally in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, which has not been sanctioned.

The Russian law on public gatherings that was hastily adopted following massive anti-government rallies in 2011-2012 carries 30 days in jail for repeated violations

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman: US Troops Likely In Afghanistan For Another Decade

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expects the United States will have troops stationed in Afghanistan for another decade, potentially pushing the war there into its 26th year or beyond.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker — who announced this week he plans to retire from Congress in 2018 — said Afghan security forces today are still dependent on the United States, and appear to remain that way for years to come.

“Are we likely to have troops in Afghanistan for the next decade? Sure,” he said.

Corker entered the Senate in 2007, with the Afghanistan war already in its fifth year. U.S. end strength totals in the country peaked above 100,000 in late 2010, but steadily drew down to less than 10,000 deployed servicemembers during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Turkey Sets Up Largest Overseas Army Base In Somalia

Turkey has set up its biggest overseas military base in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, increasing Ankara's presence in the Horn of Africa country.

Officially opened on Saturday, the base, which reportedly cost $50m, will train 10,000 Somali troops and has the capacity to train at least 1,500 soldiers at a time, according to Turkish and Somali officials.

"This is the largest training base of its kind outside of Turkey," Hulusi Akar, Turkey's chief of General Staff, said at the ceremony.

"The government of Turkey and its army will provide all the needed support to our brothers in Somalia," Akar said.

The base, spread over four square kilometres, has been under construction for the past two years.

Bogus Stoned Driving Arrests Highlight Dubious Methods of ‘Drug Recognition Experts’

To the untrained eye, Katelyn Ebner seems completely sober during her 28-minute roadside encounter with Cobb County, Georgia, police officer Tracy Carroll, who has pulled the 23-year-old waitress over for failing to maintain her lane as she made a left turn. But Carroll, who was designated a "drug recognition expert" (DRE) after undergoing 160 hours of special training, perceives "numerous indicators" that Ebner is under the influence of marijuana. Ebner repeatedly assures him she does not "smoke weed" or "do any of that stuff" and volunteers to prove it by taking a drug test. "You're going to jail, ma'am," he replies. "I don't have a magical drug test that I can give you right now."

Supreme Court’s New Term: Surveillance, Hacking, Sports Betting—And Cake, Too

The Supreme Court's 2017-2018 term begins today, and there are plenty of high-interest cases for Ars readers that are already on the docket or currently pending with the justices. The issues at hand range from surveillance, freedom of religion, and the definition of hacking to what constitutes an online threat and whether a federal law that bans sports wagering in most states—online and off—infringes on states rights.

One of the cases in particular is perhaps the biggest privacy case to have reached the court in the Digital Age. Carpenter vs. United States asks a far-reaching question: do the authorities need a probable-cause court warrant to access people's mobile ph

Researcher Seeks Access to Classified US Document About Gandhi Killing

A researcher is seeking access to a potentially revealing classified telegram sent by a United States diplomat who witnessed the assassination of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. Gandhi, the leader of the Indian movement for independence, and a towering civil rights figure of the 20th century, was assassinated on January 30, 1948, as he was about to hold a prayer meeting in downtown New Delhi. His assassin, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, was a member of a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group, who blamed Gandhi for the bloody partition of India. He and a

New Montana Law Limits ALPR Use, Helps Block National License Plate Tracking Program

HELENA, Mont. (Sept. 30, 2017) – Tomorrow, a Montana law that limits the use of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs) in the state goes into effect. The new law will also place significant roadblocks in the way of a federal program using states to help track the location of millions of everyday people through pictures of their license plates.

Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings) sponsored House Bill 149 (HB149). The legislation prohibits the use of ALPRs except for specified purposes, and also places limitations on the retention and sharing of data gathered by license plate readers.

British Company Made Arms Deal With South Sudan, Amnesty Claims

Weapons exported to South Sudan in a deal allegedly brokered by a British company could be used against UK troops who have been deployed to the war-torn country as part of a UN mission, Amnesty International has warned.

The Department for International Trade is investigating whether the deal, which has been brought to light by Amnesty International, constitutes a breach of British arms export controls.

An EU arms embargo has been in force against South Sudan since its independence in 2011, while Britain has been one of the leading proponents for the establishment of a UN arms embargo.

Editorial- Middle East and Asia Geopolitics: Shift in Military Alliances?

Turkey and NATO

NATO is characterized by profound divisions, largely resulting from Ankara’s confrontation with Washington.

Turkey –which constitutes NATO’s heavyweight– is now fighting US-supported Kurdish rebels in northern Syria, –i.e the US which is member of NATO is supporting and financing Kurdish rebels who are fighting a NATO member state.

While Turkey formally remains a member of NATO –which has an integrated and coordinated air defense system–, the Erdogan government has purchased Russia’s S400 air defense system which is slated to be used against America’s Kurdish proxies in Northern Syria.

A NATO member state is now using the air defense system of an enemy of US-NATO against US-NATO supported rebels.

Iraq’s Kurdish Region Forms New Council to Run Ties With Baghdad

ERBIL, Iraq, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- A newly-formed council of Political Leadership of Kurdistan - Iraq on Sunday replaced the High Referendum Council for Kurdistan region after the latter ended its mission of holding referendum on independence of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

"The High Referendum Council, headed by regional President Masoud Barzani, held its first meeting after the Sept. 25 referendum and decided to form the Political Leadership of Kurdistan - Iraq for the post-referendum stage," said Khalil Ibrahim, a member of the council at a news conference after the meeting.

ISIS Sleeper Cell Plotting ‘High-Profile’ Attacks In Russia Foiled by FSB

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained "all members" of an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist sleeper cell in Moscow, suspected of plotting attacks on public places. Homemade explosive devices and other weapons have been seized.

"Following investigative activities conducted in the Moscow Region on September 30, 2017, the FSB has foiled illegal activity of a deeply clandestine cell of the IS international terrorist organization," the security service said in a statement Monday.

Editorial- North Korea Would Be Stupid to Trust the U.S.

To many mainstream pundits, the solution to the crisis in Korea is for U.S. officials to sit down and “talk” to North Korea in the hopes of negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. While it won’t guarantee that a deal will be worked out, they say, “talking” is the only chance there is to resolve the crisis.

They ignore an important point: Any deal that would be reached would involve trusting the U.S. government to keep its end of the bargain. And trusting the U.S. government would be the stupidest thing North Korea could ever do. That’s because as soon as U.S. officials found it advantageous, they would break the deal and pounce on North Korea, with the aim of achieving the regime change they have sought ever since the dawn of the Cold War more than 70 years ago.

Video- Trump Vs. Tillerson: War Or Diplomacy?

President Trump responded to the revelation by his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, that the US had communication channels open with North Korea by Tweeting that Tillerson should stop wasting his time. Is Trump signaling that war is imminent? Why undercut his own Secretary of State?