Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The List 5153

The List 5153 TGB

To All,

I hope that your week has started well.



This Day in Naval History

Nov. 26

1776—During the American Revolution, the Continental sloop Independence, commanded by Capt. John Young, captures the British merchant ship Sam with $20,000 in coin aboard.

1847—Lt. William Lynch, in the ship-rigged sailing vessel Supply, sails from New York to Haifa for an expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea.

1863—The side-wheel steamship James Adger, commanded by Cmdr. F.H. Patterson, seizes British blockade runner Ella off Masonboro.

1864—The Sassacus class "double-ender" steam gunboat Metacomet, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. J.E. Jouett, captures Confederate blockade runner steamer Susanna in the Gulf of Mexico off Campeche Banks. Half her cargo of cotton is thrown overboard in the chase.

1941—Under the greatest secrecy, the Japanese armada, commanded by Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo, leaves Japan to attack the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. The armada includes all six of Japan’s first-line aircraft carriers.

1941—USS Bonhomme Richard (CV 31) is commissioned.

1951—During the Korean War, Rear Adm. R.E. Libby relieves Rear Adm. Arleigh Burke as the United Nations delegate to the Panmunjom Peace Talks.


FDR establishes modern Thanksgiving holiday

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Multiple outlets continued coverage on the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

• The New York Times reports that U.S. and Kurdish forces have resumed large-scale operations against ISIS in Northern Syria, while Reuters reports Qatar and Kuwait will join International Maritime Security Construct.

• USINDOPACOM commander Adm. Philip Davidson stated that the demands of protesters in Hong Kong echo the values of America’s vision of a free-and-open Indo-Pacific, reports Stars and Stripes.

Today in History

November 26


Louis XIV declares war on the Netherlands.


A congress of colonial leaders criticizes British influence in the colonies and affirms their right to “Life, liberty and property.”


George Washington proclaims this a National Thanksgiving Day in honor of the new Constitution. This date was later used to set the date for Thanksgiving.


Napoleon Bonaparte‘s army begins crossing the Berezina River over two hastily constructed bridges.


The Kappa Alpha Society, the second American college Greek-letter fraternity, is founded.


The first National Thanksgiving is celebrated.


The Hope diamond is brought to New York.


The Duma lends its support to the Czar in St. Petersburg, who claims he has renounced autocracy.


The Bolsheviks offer an armistice between Russian and the Central Powers.


Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, archeologists, open King Tut’s tomb, undisturbed for 3,000 years.


Poland renews its nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union to protect against a German invasion.


The Soviet Union charges Finland with an artillery attack on its border.


The Japanese fleet departs from the Kuril Islands en route to its attack on Pearl Harbor.


France expels 19 Soviet citizens, charging them with intervention in internal affairs.


India becomes a sovereign democratic republic.


North Korean and Chinese troops halt a UN offensive.


President Dwight Eisenhower suffers a minor stroke.


Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme is found guilty of an attempt on President Gerald Ford’s life.


Oil deposits equaling OPEC reserves are found in Venezuela.


Yasuhiro Nakasone is elected the 71st Japanese prime minister.


At London’s Heathrow Airport, almost 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million are stolen from a Brinks-MAT vault.


Tony Blair becomes the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland’s parliament.


Republican candidate George W. Bush is certified the winner of Florida’s electoral votes, giving him enough electoral votes to defeat Democrat Al Gore Jr. for the US presidency, despite losing the popular vote.


NATO forces in Afghanistan attack a Pakistani checkpost in a friendly fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.


Another superb H-Gram from Admiral Cox and his team from The Naval Historical and Heritage Command. To get a more in-depth and interesting view be sure to select the two attachments at the end of the piece.

H-Gram 038: Battle of Leyte Gulf

25 November 2019

Loading drop tanks on SB2C Helldivers aboard USS Lexington (CV-16) before a TF 38 search mission on the day after the Battle of Cape Engano, 25 October 1944 (80-G-284381).

This H-gram covers:

“CRIPDIV 1”—U.S. Carrier Attacks on Okinawa and Formosa, 10–16 October 1944

Battle of Leyte Gulf, 23–26 October 1944: U.S. and Japanese Forces

The Invasion of Leyte: Honolulu (CL-48) and HMAS Australia Damaged, 20 October 1944

The Battle of Palawan Passage: U.S. Submarines Sink Two Japanese Cruisers, 23–24 October 1944.

Tang (SS-306) Sunk by Own Torpedo, 23–24 October 1944

Greatest U.S. Navy Ace: Commander David McCampbell, 24 October 1944

Princeton (CVL-23) Lost to Japanese Air Attack, 24 October 1944

Battle of the Sibuyan Sea and Loss of Musashi, 24 October 1944

Air Strikes in the Sulu Sea, 24 October 1944

Sinking of “Hell Ship” Arisan Maru—Greatest Loss of U.S. Life at Sea, 24 October 1944

The Battle of Surigao Strait: Last Battleship Versus Battleship Action, 24–25 October 1944

The Battle of Cape Engano: Four Japanese Carriers Sunk, 25 October 1944

First Kamikaze Attacks, 25 October 1944

The Battle off Samar: Taffy 3, 25 October 1944

Halsey’s Response to Taffy 3’s Plight, 25 October 1944

In H-Gram 036, I described the incredibly heroic action of “Taffy 3” during the Battle off Samar on 25 October 1944 and its relation to the theme “No Higher Honor” that former CNO Admiral Richardson chose for this year’s Navy Birthday. I had hoped to get a more complete treatment of the overarching Battle of Leyte Gulf (of which the Battle off Samar was a part) on the wire before the anniversary of the battle, but I got sidetracked by the Battle of Midway movie H-gram and way too many Flag Officer Passing Notes (and the fact I actually have a day job). H-Gram 036 may be reviewed here.

As an update to the H-gram on Samar, the private research vessel Petrel (with which Naval History and Heritage Command has a strong collaborative relationship) announced late last month that they found the wreck of USS Johnston (DD-557) off Samar. Earlier this year, when I was aboard Petrel on the search for USS Wasp (CV-7), Petrel’s mission director, Rob Kraft, asked me what ship I would want to find the most. My answer was Johnston, and the rest of Taffy 3, because in my view the actions of Commander Ernest Evans and the crew of Johnston were arguably the most heroic in the history of the U.S. Navy (although there are numerous worthy contenders).

I believe Petrel is probably correct in the identification as Johnston, but the ship essentially disintegrated on the way to the bottom (at 20,400 feet, the deepest shipwreck ever found), and distinguishing between Fletcher-class destroyers Johnston and Hoel (DD-533) is extremely difficult. By position, the wreck is a better match for Johnston, but there are some features in the debris that were known to be on Hoel and only possibly on Johnston. So, NHHC’s underwater archaeologists aren’t prepared to make a definitive identification quite yet. In a way, I find the ambiguity fitting, as the valor displayed by the crew of Hoel in this action met the definition of “above and beyond the call of duty,” too. Also, based on Petrel’s search off Samar, Gambier Bay (CVE-73), Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), and one of the two Fletchers (Johnston or Hoel) are in even deeper water, which exceeds even Petrel’s capability.

In this H-gram, I feature the work of one of NHHC’s great professional historians, Martin Waldman, who provides an excellent overview of the battle (which, given its scope and complexity, still comes in at 26 pages when printed out.) Please see Marty’s work here.

My piece will focus more on valor and command decisions, with intent to be relatively short, although I will probably fail in that, too. I also include two items generally not mentioned in histories of Leyte Gulf, but that are related. One is the loss of USS Tang (SS-306) near Formosa while attacking a Japanese Leyte-bound convoy on the night of 23–24 October 1944. Tang was by some measures the most successful U.S. submarine of the war, and her skipper, the legendary Dick O’Kane, who as commanding officer of Tang and executive officer of Wahoo (SS-238—under the legendary “Mush” Morton), had a hand in sinking more ships than any other U.S. submarine officer. Ironically and tragically, Tang was sunk by her own circular-running torpedo (the last of 24 fired in a war patrol that earned O’Kane the Medal of Honor). Only nine of her crew, including O’Kane, survived to be captured by the Japanese. Five of the survivors made the only known successful ascent from a sunken submarine using the Momsen Lung (several others from Tang made a successful ascent, but were not rescued).

The other item is the great tragedy of Arisan Maru, which was torpedoed and sunk by a U.S. submarine (probably Shark—SS-314), which resulted in the loss of 1,781 prisoners of war (almost all American), who were being transported in hellish conditions from POW camps in the Philippines to Formosa and then to Japan and Japanese-occupied China. Almost all the U.S. POWs survived the sinking, but none was rescued by the Japanese (who did rescue most of Arisan Maru’s crew.) Ultimately, only nine U.S. POWs survived. This was the greatest U.S. loss of life at sea (exceeding that of MT Rohna—see H-Gram 022—to which I should have caveated “due to enemy action”; I originally noted that Rohna was the greatest loss of U.S. military life at sea). Shark was sunk by the convoy’s escorts and lost with all hands shortly thereafter.

Both Vice Admiral Kurita and Admiral Halsey would come in for intense criticism over the years for their actions during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. As a former flag officer myself, I may have more sympathy than historians, knowing what it is like to make rapid decisions with incomplete (or even deceptive) information and then be second-guessed by omniscient after-the-fact knowledge. Whatever Halsey’s faults during the battle (and even then he only did what decades of doctrine and training expected: aggressive attack on the enemy fleet), he deserves a great deal of credit for the success of the battle. His recommendation to accelerate the invasion of Leyte caught the Japanese before they were ready, and his brilliantly executed attacks on Okinawa and Formosa cost the Japanese critical air assets that might have made the Leyte landings far more costly.

For his part, Kurita has gone down in history as having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, thanks to the heroic fight put up by Taffy 3. In reality, had he gotten into Leyte Gulf, he might have sunk 20 or so transports (since most of the 200 that had been there at the start of the landings were already gone). It would have been ugly, but would not have changed the outcome of the battle or the war, and his force would have been annihilated by Halsey’s aircraft before they could have escaped. Although he later blamed exhaustion for his decision, it is almost certain that Kurita knew from the outset that his mission was doomed. His decision to withdraw ultimately probably saved over 10,000 Japanese lives, for which he was never given any credit.

For a relatively short synopsis of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, please see attachment H-038-1. For a more complete discussion of the battle, please see attachment H-038-2

As always select the Director’s corner below to see all the H-Grams. If you are a student of History or are just interested then these H-Grams are superb and bring to life items that have never been discussed before. We learn about the heroics of men we never heard about and it keeps their acts alive for us to marvel at their heroics and sacrifice. Additionally, The Bear’s (Admiral Taylor) Rolling Thunder and Commando Hunt series provides day by day and week by week history of the air war in Vietnam. With our thanks to THE BEAR at www.rollingthunderremembered.com

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thanks to THE Bear

Dutch... what will the President do with the Congressional resolution applauding the people of Hong Kong for their stand for freedom? If he does the right thing and endorses the document, a trade deal becomes problematic. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. How does he escape this trap?... Bear

Begin forwarded message:

From: David



Nov. 25, 2019

Hong Kong's Finest Hour

By Claudia Rosett

HONG KONG — Since massive protests for freedom, justice and democracy erupted here almost six months ago, China's puppet chief executive for Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has been trying to impose "calm" and "order" by way of threats, force, emergency laws, tear gas, water cannon, bullets and more than 5,000 arrests. Call it the Communist China method. It hasn't worked for her.

On Sunday, Hong Kong's people succeeded quite adeptly in doing what Carrie Lam could not. They imposed calm and order on themselves, for the reason that they actually had a chance to vote, in very local elections, held once every four years. The posts directly up for grabs were relatively trivial. China has stolen from Hong Kongers the promised power to elect their own chief executive and full legislature. So, for any real voice at the ballot box, Hong Kongers have had to make do with elections to the relatively toothless district councils. These councils deal chiefly with such matters as traffic flows and trash collection. But at least these are elections in which popular will can translate directly into results at the ballot box — ergo, finally a systematic way to send a message without having to resort to protests in the streets.

And hey, presto! When voting day rolled around, the protests halted. In a pervasive display of public choice — clearly deliberate — calm and order prevailed, while almost three million people lined up peacefully at polling stations, many waiting patiently for hours, to cast their votes.

It turned into a pro-democracy landslide. In a city of some 7.5 million, a record-breaking 2.94 million people turned out to vote — amounting to more than 70% of a record-breaking 4.1 million registered voters. Hong Kong has 18 District Councils, all of which were controlled by pro-government figures prior to this election. On Sunday, that switched radically. Voters gave Hong Kong's pro-democracy contingent control over 17 of the 18 District Councils.

This was a show of support for Hong Kong's democracy movement so clear, so big, so indisputable, that even China's propaganda organs were briefly flummoxed — reporting on the election, but without including the results.

Here, if I might intrude with a personal note, I will add that for 33 years I have been following this saga — going back to British colonial days when I worked in Hong Kong as editorial-page editor of what was then the print edition of The Asian Wall Street Journal (in which we argued the case over and over for Hong Kong's right to elect its own chief executive and full legislature). I have always had great respect for Hong Kong's people — for their grit, their astounding ability to get almost anything done when they set their minds to it, and their creativity and frequent dash of humor in finding ways to do so.

Never, in all that time, have I had more respect for Hong Kong's people than I did this past Sunday, as they turned out in record numbers to vote. On the surface, it was mainly a lovely autumn weekend, with a breeze off the harbor, sparse traffic, lots of election banners and many campaigners handing out pamphlets to people strolling the streets.

But underneath, there was nothing ordinary or trivial going on. This is a free society, fighting for its soul, under terrible threat from Beijing, where Xi Jinping's rising techno-totalitarian sequel to communism leaves ever less room for dissent. Under China's flag, even in officially semi-autonomous Hong Kong, any bid for freedom carries risks. We should assume that applies not only to protesting in the streets, or running for even the most modest office on a pro-democracy platform, but also to simply showing your face at a polling station (if Beijing doesn't like the results).

If anyone in authority in either Beijing or its puppet administration in Hong Kong genuinely wants to know how to resolve Hong Kong's protests peacefully, there it was, on display this past Sunday to the entire world. This needs no "dialogue platform," as Lam has styled her farcical attempts at occasional interaction with the Hong Kong public. With Sunday's vote, Hong Kong's people have sent a message so clear that even the most robotically obtuse idiots in Beijing's upper chains of command, or Hong Kong's Government House, should find it easy to decipher.

Hong Kong's people deeply desire democracy. The power to elect their own leaders is probably the only chance they have of any systematic protection from China's predations. They want the full 50 years of a "high degree of autonomy" that China promised them under terms of the handover from British rule in 1997. They want China to honor its treaty promises of respecting their accustomed rights and freedoms, and independent rule of law.

With Sunday's vote, Hong Kong's people were sending a message to each other, to Beijing, and to the world. We're watching a free society trying everything in its power to fend off the chokehold of a tyranny that increasingly threatens us all — but Hong Kong first and foremost. Hong Kongers, in their incredible campaign of defiance, have seized on what are basically local elections for posts just a cut above dog-catcher, and transformed the votes into a mighty call for freedom. In any way we can, we should answer.

Claudia Rosett is a foreign policy fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum, and author of the Encounter Books Broadside, What To Do About the UN.


Have they found Hoffa?

thanks to GM and Dutch



Thanks to Carl

The JFK Files: What Gov. Connally Told Me That Every American Should Know - LewRockwell

(Very interesting that Pat Caddell was in this group too! Before he died, I always said of all the “political professionals”, Pat would be the most interesting to talk with. He was a Dem but an honest one that loved America and told the truth! If you are not familiar with Celente, click on The Trends Research Institute link.)


The JFK files: What Gov. Connally told Celente that every American should know

By Gerald CelenteThe Trends Research Institute

November 25, 2019

Yesterday was the 56 anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Not a story about it in the major media…New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, etc.

Also forgotten was President Trump’s broken promise to release all the confidential files of John F. Kennedy’s assassination by 26 April 2018.

Here is the inside story told to me by then-Texas Gov. John Connally, who was seriously wounded when he took a bullet in the back sitting in front of Kennedy.


Daily News for 26 November

USA—1st Female Marine Passes Recon Qualification Course Marine Corps Times | 11/26/2019 For the first time, a woman has successfully completed the Marine Corps Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC) and earned the Reconnaissance Marine military occupational specialty, reports the Marine Corps Times. Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth graduated from the 12-week course on Nov. 7, a Marine Corps spokesman said. She was the first woman to apply to and complete the course, said a Marine spokeswoman cited by Military.com. The BRC has a historical pass rate of between 60 and 75 percent, noted Task & Purpose. The recon training and assessment program (RTAP), which precedes the BRC, has a lower pass rate, with approximately 50 to 60 percent of Marines failing to advance to the basic course. Barth must still complete a few more training courses. She is expected to be assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in the late spring of 2020.

USA—Kuwait, Qatar To Join U.S.-Led Security Mission In Gulf Reuters | 11/26/2019 The governments of Kuwait and Qatar have informed the U.S. of their intention to join a U.S.-led naval coalition in the Persian Gulf, reports Reuters. On Monday, Col. John Conklin, chief of staff of the coalition, said that both countries are expected to provide personnel and patrol boats when they join the International Maritime Security Construct. Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K. have already joined the coalition, which is headquartered in Bahrain. On Sunday, France said that a parallel European-led mission would be stationed out of a French naval base in Abu Dhabi, reported Agence France-Presse. French officials declined to identify the countries joining the European effort.

Turkey—Russian-Built S-400 Air Defense Systems Tested Despite U.S. Opposition Agence France-Presse | 11/26/2019 Turkey has begun testing a Russian air defense system it purchased over the objections of the U.S. and NATO, reports Agence France-Presse. Testing of the S-400 (NATO: SA-21) system began on Monday at the Murted air base outside of Ankara, reported the Demiroren News Agency (Turkey). U.S.-built F-16 and F-4 fighter jets circled the base as the system's radars were evaluated, reported the War Zone website. Video showed that the 91N6E surveillance and acquisition radar and the 96L6E air search and acquisition radar were tested. The 92N6E fire-control radar was noticeably missing from images and video of the trials, the website said. Turkey's acquisition of the Russian system has been opposed by Western officials and resulted in its removal from the F-35 program and supply chain. U.S. officials and lawmakers have expressed concern that operating advanced aircraft in the vicinity of the radars could expose secrets of U.S. technology to Russia. The tests also place additional pressure on the Trump administration to implement sanctions against Ankara for its purchase of Russian equipment. On Tuesday, Russian officials said they hoped to complete a deal with Turkey for additional S-400 systems next year, reported Reuters.

Turkey—Russian-Built S-400 Air Defense Systems Tested Despite U.S. Opposition Agence France-Presse | 11/26/2019 Turkey has begun testing a Russian air defense system it purchased over the objections of the U.S. and NATO, reports Agence France-Presse. Testing of the S-400 (NATO: SA-21) system began on Monday at the Murted air base outside of Ankara, reported the Demiroren News Agency (Turkey). U.S.-built F-16 and F-4 fighter jets circled the base as the system's radars were evaluated, reported the War Zone website. Video showed that the 91N6E surveillance and acquisition radar and the 96L6E air search and acquisition radar were tested. The 92N6E fire-control radar was noticeably missing from images and video of the trials, the website said. Turkey's acquisition of the Russian system has been opposed by Western officials and resulted in its removal from the F-35 program and supply chain. U.S. officials and lawmakers have expressed concern that operating advanced aircraft in the vicinity of the radars could expose secrets of U.S. technology to Russia. The tests also place additional pressure on the Trump administration to implement sanctions against Ankara for its purchase of Russian equipment. On Tuesday, Russian officials said they hoped to complete a deal with Turkey for additional S-400 systems next year, reported Reuters.

South Korea—KAI Awards Contract For Meteor Missile Integration On KF-X Fighter Mbda Corp. | 11/26/2019 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has selected MBDA Systems to supply its Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile for the KF-X fighter jet, reports the European missile maker. Under the contract, the value of which was not disclosed, MBDA will provide integration support, transfer knowledge and manufacture test equipment to support the missile's integration and testing on the KF-X aircraft, the company said on Nov. 22. South Korea has expressed interest in integrating American missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM on the KF-X, but the U.S. has refused to grant the necessary export licenses. Artist impressions have been previously published showing the KF-X carrying Meteor and IRIS-T air-to-air missiles. This is the first reported contract to indicate that Seoul will acquire such weapons for the KF-X. For more information on the KF-X program, see Military Periscope's recent special report, "Seoul Shows Off Fighter Progress."

South Korea—Deeper Defense Ties Sought With E.U. Yonhap | 11/26/2019 South Korea and the European Union have agreed to strengthen defense cooperation, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). During the third Security and Defense Dialogue on Tuesday in Seoul, senior South Korean and E.U. defense officials discussed ways to deepen cooperation. This includes increasing the participation of the South Korean navy's Cheonghae Unit in the E.U.-led anti-piracy operation off the Horn of Africa, Operation Atalanta. The sides also agreed to boost personnel exchanges, said the South Korean Defense Ministry. The E.U. also reaffirmed its support for South Korean outreach efforts to North Korea.

Philippines—6 Abu Sayyaf Militants Killed In Sulu Ops Philippine Daily Inquirer | 11/26/2019 The Philippine military says it has killed six Abu Sayyaf militants in two clashes in the southern Sulu province, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. On Saturday, one militant was killed and four wounded during a 45-minute gunfight with the 32nd Infantry Battalion in the Patikul municipality. Five army personnel were injured in the fighting. The next day, five militants were killed during a gunfight with the 2nd Special Forces Battalion in the Indanan municipality. Two Philippine troops were injured. Among the dead was Sibih Pisih, a subgroup leader of ASG under Radullan Sahiron, who is accused of involvement in several kidnappings and was wanted for the 2014 killing of 22 civilians in Talipao, Sulu province. Security forces recovered several firearms, including an M653 rifle and a Barret sniper rifle, from the scene of the battles.

Bangladesh—Army Chief Seeks To Bolster Ties With Burma Irrawaddy | 11/26/2019 Bangladesh is looking to deepen military cooperation with neighboring Burma, reports the Irrawaddy (Burma). On Monday, the Bangladeshi Defense Ministry announced that army chief Gen. Aziz Ahmed would lead a seven-member delegation to Burma starting Dec. 8. The visit aims to strengthen cooperation between the armies, including the possibility of exchanges, said Ahmed. The Bangladeshi delegation also wants to reach agreements covering joint exercises, information-sharing and Burmese language training. Burma stopped sending defense officials to the Bangladeshi National Defense College in 2016, said an unnamed senior Bangladeshi official. Relations with Burma have been complicated by the presence of about 750,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who began crossing the border in August 2017 amid a crack down by the Burmese military.

Nepal—Military Cooperation Accord Sought With Russia Tass | 11/26/2019 The governments of Nepal and Russia are discussing a military cooperation agreement, reports the Tass news agency (Moscow). On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that talks with his Nepali counterpart, Pradeep Gyawali, in Moscow had resulted in an agreement to move forward with a pact, reported United Press International. Russia expects to export additional Mi-17 helicopters to Nepal after the type proved well-suited to the country's mountainous terrain. Further cooperation will likely focus on this sphere, said Lavrov. Increased trade, including the development of hydro-energy resources, may also be on the table, he said.

Pakistan—Supreme Court Suspends Move To Extend Army Chief's Tenure News International | 11/26/2019 The Pakistani Supreme Court has suspended the government's decision to extend the term of the chief of army general staff, reports the International News (Karachi). On Tuesday, the court ruled that the three-year extension granted to Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa by Prime Minister Imran Khan had not been executed correctly, reported the Dawn (Karachi). On Aug. 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan signed off on the extension. Khan justified his decision citing regional security amid growing tensions with India in Kashmir. Such an argument could be used to justify the re-appointment of every soldier, noted the court. The court also said that any decision extending the tenure of the army chief would need to come from the president. Khan's office says that President Arif Alvi approved the move. The court's move to assert power could put it on a collision course with the military, which has enjoyed good relations with the Khan government, reported Reuters. An unnamed Pakistani military source said that the delay was based on a technicality and that it would be resolved during a court session on Wednesday.

Afghanistan—U.N. Vehicle Targeted In Kabul Attack U.N. News Center | 11/26/2019 A grenade attack on a United Nations vehicle in Kabul has killed one and injured two, reports the U.N. News. On Sunday, the vehicle was attacked with a grenade while traveling down a road between central Kabul and the headquarters of the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan. The grenade was tossed into the vehicle, said the Afghan Interior Ministry as cited by CNN. The U.N. staffer killed was an American, reported the New York Times. Al Jazeera (Qatar) reported that five people were injured, including two Afghan nationals. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Syria—9 Dead In Car Bombing In Tal Abyad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights | 11/26/2019 At least nine people have been killed in a bombing in the Turkish-controlled border town of Tal Abyad, reports the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. On Saturday, the car bomb detonated on a main street in the city, reported Reuters. At least 10 people were killed and 25 injured in the explosion. The Turkish Ministry of Defense blamed the attack on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), while the SDF attributed it to Turkish-backed fighters. An SDF spokesman said that Turkish-backed militias were trying to drive out the remaining Kurds in Tal Abyad through "random explosions in civilian areas." Several similar explosions have hit civilian areas in Arab-majority towns on the border that are under the control of Turkish-backed forces.

Mali—13 French Soldiers Die In Helicopter Collision Washington Post | 11/26/2019 Thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision during operations in Mali, reports the Washington Post. On Monday, an AS 532 Cougar transport and Tiger attack helicopter collided during a combat operation against jihadists in Mali, said the French president's office. The aircraft were supporting ground troops during a night operation in the Liptako region not far from the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, reported France 24. The Tiger collided with the Cougar while engaging insurgents fleeing on motorbikes and in pickup trucks. Both aircraft crashed, killing all onboard. Thirteen soldiers, including six officers and six non-commissioned officers, were killed. This was the single biggest loss of life for the French army since the 1983 Beirut barrack bombings, a defense ministry spokesman told CNN. An investigation into the incident has been launched. About 4,500 French troops are stationed in Mali and the surrounding Sahel region and West Africa as part of Operation Barkhane, the French-led operation targeting jihadists.

Democratic Republic of the Congo—2 Killed In Protests After Another Deadly ADF Attack Reuters | 11/26/2019 At least two people have been killed after protesters attacked U.N. and police facilities in the eastern Congolese city of Beni, reports Reuters. On Monday, demonstrators attacked the mayor's office and several buildings used by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO) in Beni, said an activist. At least one police officer and a civilian were killed by gunfire during the incident, said a local police commander. Locals were angry after a perceived lack of action by U.N. peacekeepers and security forces after eight people were killed and nine kidnapped in a Sunday attack, reported Deutsche Welle. The attack was blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group that has operated in the region for decades. Residents have begun demanding the withdrawal of the peacekeepers due to their perceived inaction in the face of attacks by the ADF. The Congolese military launched an operation in late October to counter the persistent ADF presence in the country. At least 70 civilians have been killed in attacks blamed on the ADF since that operation began.

South Africa—Arms Exports To Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. Halted Over Inspections Middle East Eye | 11/26/2019 South Africa is blocking weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their refusal to comply with South African export regulations, reports the Middle East Eye. Export regulations put in place following the end of apartheid require foreign countries to permit South Africa to inspect facilities to verify that South African weapons have not been transferred to a third party, reported Reuters. The regulations were put in place to prevent human-rights abuses. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have refused to permit such inspections, arguing that they violate their sovereignty. Arms sales to Oman and Algeria have also been halted over the inspection requirement. The Aerospace, Maritime and Defense Industries Association of South Africa (AMD) warned that the ban is putting billions of dollars of sales and approximately 9,000 jobs at risk. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. combined make up about one-third of the US$320 million worth of arms exports approved by South Africa in 2018.

Colombia—President Launches National Dialogue In Effort To Quell Protests Mercopress | 11/26/2019 Colombian President Ivan Duque has begun talks with business, labor, social and political leaders to try and end the protests that have rocked the capital, Bogota, reports MercoPress (Uruguay). Duque began the talks on Sunday, meeting with mayors and other officials, the president's office said. The discussions began a day after Duque announced his plan. The talks would focus on six key topics: areas most affected by armed conflict; corruption; economic inequality; education; strengthening of government institutions; and the environment, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). A national general strike began on Nov. 21 and more than 250,000 people marched in Bogota, reported the BBC. Protesters are demonstrating against corruption and possible austerity measures. At least three people have been killed and 300 injured during the demonstrations. The military has deployed 13,000 personnel to the capital and a curfew has been imposed for the first time since 1977.

Colombia—Police Station Destroyed In Deadly Attack In Cauca Department Colombia Reports | 11/26/2019 Three police officers have been killed in a mortar attack on a police station in southwestern Colombia, reports Colombia Reports. On Friday, unknown militants launched four homemade mortars at a police station in Santander de Quilichao in the northern part of Cauca department. The attack destroyed the station, damaged several nearby homes and knocked out power to part of the town. Ten police officers were wounded in the attack. A security official said that the attackers were likely "common criminals" taking advantage of ongoing anti-government protests to cause problems. Several armed groups are also active in the region, including the National Liberation Army (ELN), drug-traffickers, paramilitary groups and dissident units from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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