Turkey Strikes U.S.-Allied Fighters

U.S military vehicles travel in the northeastern city of Qamishli
U.S. forces have begun patrolling the Turkey-Syriaborder after Turkey struck Kurdish fighters in the area who are allied with the U.S. American troops–mostly special ops forces using armored vehicles are trying to stop the outbreak of violence between counter-ISIS fighters.
Turkey’s government considers these groups terrorists, but denied targeting them.

Turkey has made it known they will use force to keep the Kurds from controlling any area near their border, and President Erdogan has said he is concerned to see the U.S. working with YPG (Kurdish) fighters.

There are three Kurdish groups in the mix:
  • Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – enemy of both the U.S. and Turkey. This is the group Turkey targeted with airstrikes
  • Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – considered by Turkey to be a Syrian branch of the PKK and a terror group. The YPG fights in the rebel anti-government defense force of Syria and is armed and supported by the U.S. Some of their fighters were lost in the airstrike
  • Peshmerga – a Kurdish group in Iraq who also lost fighters in the recent airstrike
Why this Matters: Erdogan just became a quasi sultan in a recent election. The referendum gave him total control over the government and rendered the parliament powerless. Since then, he banned certain television programs and access to Wikipedia. 
 
Tens of thousands who have opposed Erdogan have been jailed since an attempted coup last summer. On Saturday, 4,000 civil employees–said to be against Erdogan–were fired. Erdogan denies that his new powers were a move toward dictatorship.

marines-afghanistan

More Marine Forces Train in Afghanistan

Afghani forces in Helmand province are receiving help in the form of training by U.S. Marines. Three hundred more troops have arrived as part of Resolute Support, a NATO-led program.
The U.S. invested a lot of time, money and manpower there from 2009 to 2014, until the Marines left Camp Leatherneck in Helmand and handed the base over to the Afghan army. The region has now become unstable especially just one month after 135 Afghan soldiers were killed by a Taliban suicide attacker.
Much of the world’s opium supply is grown in Helmand and controlled by the Taliban. In fact, Afghani forces control less than 60 percent of the country. Corruption in the army is a continual problem, as is poor leadership.
The U.S. has about 8,400 troops based in Afghanistan right now, and the generals are asking for a few thousand more in order to get the upper hand. The administration is reviewing U.S. policy and current troop levels to determine what to do next.
Why this Matters: Many of the troop deaths in Afghanistan are from “green on blue” incidents, in which Afghani soldiers turn on the U.S. troops and our allies. Our troops must be on guard 24/7 and cannot trust any Afghani. 
 
Two Rangers were killed in Nangarhar province last week battling ISIS.
Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, left, and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas were killed during a raid in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)
How to Pray: For God’s comfort and compassion for the families of these two brave men. May all who mourn turn to Jesus for His never-failing presence.
Pray for the protection and safety of our troops in all hot spots around the world.

Also pray for God to direct and guide the President’s and generals’ decisions, and that if they do not have ears to hear, that God would bring about His will on the earth.
 
Ps. 119:114- Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
U.S. THAAD Missile Defense System

Even More Threats from North Korea

North Korea threatened to sink a U.S. nuclear sub that is currently in South Korean waters in response to President Trump saying he won’t be happy if the North conducts another missile test.
North Korea’s only major ally and largest trading partner is China. Trump recently met with President Xi of China and said he hopes the Chinese will be able to direct the North Koreans away from more missile tests.
Trump also said Kim Jong-un of North Korea is a pretty smart cookie because he got power at age 26 or 27 and has been able to hold onto it for several years.
One analyst on Fox News, Gordon Chang, said the recent missile launch that looked like a failure could actually have been a successful partial test. Chang adds that the launches have not been as provocative as full nuclear tests would have been.
The U.S. is installing the THAAD missile defense systemin South Korea, which comes with a price tag of about $1.3 billion. The President said it’s only right that South Korea should pay for the system.
About 300 protesters succeeded in blocking two U.S. Army oil trucks from entering the missile site in Seongi, South Korea, on Sunday. General McMaster went on the Sunday shows and said the U.S. would pay for THAAD, not South Korea.
Why this Matters: Some analysts have suggested that the missile failure was a result of cyber tampering. This could have been done by any one of several nations, including the U.S. When questioned about the failure, President Trump said he’d rather not discuss it, “But perhaps they’re just not very good missiles.” He also declined to indicate how the U.S. would handle North Korea going forward. 
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