General Mazloum Kobani Abdi became America’s closest ally in Syria in 2014, after a stunning blitz by ISIS sucked up a territory the size of Indiana from Syria and Iraq for its pseudo-caliphate. Mazloum was courted, on the same day, by the leader of the élite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and a senior U.S. military officer. Both countries wanted an ally to confront the Sunni jihadi movement threatening their disparate agendas in the Middle East. Mazloum led the People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G.—a militia then made up of scrappy Kurdish fighters and armed with vintage weapons—that was holding its own against ISIS. The Iranians offered more. Mazloum opted for the United States. I first met Mazloum—a nom de guerre for Ferhat Abdi Şahin—in March, as he waged the final campaign to rid Syria of the Islamic State caliphate. He is a soft-spoken man; at the time, he carried only a handgun under his fatigue shirt. He was then sharing a … [Read more...] about America’s Ally in Syria Warns of Ethnic Cleansing by Turkey
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A tie-up between Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form the government in Maharashtra seemed likely as the three parties on Thursday said a common minimum programme (CMP) was being finalised. Significantly, NCP said the next chief minister will be from Sena. “The next chief minister will be from Sena as it is our responsibility to ensure the self-respect of the party [Shiv Sena] that has left its old alliance. Whether Congress will be part of the government or will extend outside support will be decided soon,” said Nawab Malik, NCP’s Mumbai president. Activities to form the government are expected to gain momentum after Sunday when NCP chief Sharad Pawar is expected to meet Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. According to leaders who are privy to the developments, Gandhi and Pawar are likely to meet Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray soon after the scheduled meeting between first two leaders. It is … [Read more...] about Next Maharashtra CM from Shiv Sena, says NCP; new allies close to deal?
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday held talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on key bilateral issues, including Land Boundary Agreement and proposed Teesta river water sharing deal, during which the Indian side also raised the matter of illegal immigration.Swaraj, who arrived on Tuesday late night, was assisted by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and senior ministry officials during her talks with Ali at the Foreign Office.Ali welcomed Swaraj after which both the ministers talked about the weather condition, which was very humid. The two leaders talked in a restricted format before the delegation level deliberation. Though there are no pacts to be signed and no big expectations, the trip, which is termed as a ‘goodwill’ visit, is aimed at taking forward the bilateral ties which are on a “positive trajectory” for the past few years. Among other issues the meeting also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in … [Read more...] about Land Boundary Agreement, weather figure on Swaraj’s talks with Bangladeshi counterpart
Gen. Park Han-ki, left, chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, right, inspect an honor guard at a ceremony at the JCS headquarters in Seoul on Thursday to welcome the visiting U.S. military leader. [YONHAP]U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday en route to Seoul that Washington may “adjust” joint military exercises with South Korea depending on how diplomacy with the North unfolds, but it is not considering a reduction of U.S. troops on the peninsula at the moment. Esper, when asked by a reporter if there was a need for a reduction of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, replied, “I don’t think at this time. We maintain a highly capable set of forces on the peninsula, immediately off the peninsula. So we’re prepared for any contingency at any time.” However, on scaling down joint military exercises with Seoul, Esper said, according to a Pentagon transcript, “We will adjust … [Read more...] about Esper rules out troop reductions
Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8Cancel Play now Altior and Samcro lived up to their reputations on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, as both of the day's big favourites claimed victory in their respective races. Samcro, unbeaten prior to the festival, lived up to the hype and cruised past Black Op to land victory in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. Presenting Percy won the RSA Novices Chase under Davy Russell and has been installed as favourite for next year's Gold Cup already. However, Ruby Walsh fell from Al Boum Photo during that race, leading to the winning-most jockey in Festival history being stood down for the rest of the day. Bleu Berry won the Coral Cup at 20-1, before Altior soared to Champions Chase success, holding off the threat of Min as Douvan fell - having looked as though he would be in contention. With victories in the Triumoh Hurdle and National Hunt Chase under his belt in recent years, Tiger … [Read more...] about Cheltenham Festival 2018 Ladies Day results: All the winners and reaction from every race on Wednesday