via New York Times.
As Secretary of State John Kerry sat down here on Friday to push for a political settlement of the Syrian war, the immediate tension surrounded his dealings with the Russians and the Iranians.Here. The Iranians and Saudis are headed to a major regional war.
But the bigger challenge may well be reconciling the Saudis and the Iranians, longtime rivals who have turned Syria into the main battlefield in a broadening proxy war for dominance in the Middle East.
They have more invested in the outcome than any of the other participants in the talks to end the conflict, now in its fifth year.
Until two weeks ago, the idea that Saudi Arabiaand Iran would sit at the same table was unthinkable. The Saudis outright refused, and the two countries have been accelerating an arms race to assure they prevail not only inSyria, but also in Yemen, Iraq and, less noticeably, in the street uprisings in Bahrain.
A Syrian rebel group which is part of a new U.S.-backed alliance that also includes the Kurdish YPG militia announced on Thursday plans for an imminent offensive against Islamic State militants in Raqqa province, the jihadists' stronghold in Syria.Here. I had been calling for a focus on killing ISIS. My thinking is that they're the lesser Satan. Putin has been making the same argument and it seems that the US is "evolving" to that position. Better late than never.
U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said earlier this week the U.S.-led coalition would support local forces as they put pressure on Islamic State in Raqqa and in neighboring Iraq.
Washington has announced a shake-up of its support to the rebels battling the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, ending a program to train fighters outside Syria and instead providing weapons to groups under U.S.-vetted commanders. It has already dropped ammunition to rebels in the north, but has not specified which groups the aid was bound for.
The Raqqa Revolutionaries Front, which made the announcement in an online video statement, is one of several rebel groups that recently formed the alliance. The group said earlier this month U.S. weapons were on their way.
via LA Times.
A 24-year-old Syrian immigrant pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to the FBI about his links to the Islamic State terror group.Here. And another story here. ISIS is here. Prediction. Buy your guns, ammo and spare parts now. When they hit its gonna be a price explosion and a run on them like you've never seen.
As part of a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in San Diego, Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati agreed to a prison sentence of eight years.
Saeed admitted that he went to Turkey from San Diego in late 2012 and then to Syria, where he met Islamic State and Al Nusra fighters. He was questioned by U.S. authorities in Ankara, Turkey, and then when he returned to San Diego in March.