Trump Threatens To Mobilise Military To Stop Violent U.S. Protests

A military police Humvee blocks the street in downtown as demonstrators protest during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2020. Jose Luis Magana / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump vowed to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control.

The dramatic escalation came a week after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed when a white police officer knelt on his neck, leading to the worst civil unrest in decades in New York, Los Angeles and dozens of other American cities.

After being criticized for his silence on the worsening crisis, Trump struck a martial tone in a nationwide address Monday from the White House garden, as police fired tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the fence.

“I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said.

He slammed the previous night’s unrest in Washington as a “total disgrace” and called on governors to “dominate the streets.”

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said, denouncing “acts of domestic terror.”

Despite the president’s rhetoric, Monday’s protests appeared largely peaceful in major cities, though some looting was reported in New York and Los Angeles.

During his address, however, law enforcement including military police used tear gas to clear protesters outside the White House so the president could walk across the street to the two-centuries-old St John’s church, hit with graffiti and partially damaged by fire during unrest on Sunday.

“We have a great country,” Trump declared as he stood before the church’s boarded-up windows, held up a Bible, and posed for photographs.

The backlash was swift.

“He’s using the American military against the American people,” tweeted Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

“He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo. For our children, for the very soul of our country, we must defeat him,” he said.

Washington’s Episcopalian bishop, Mariann Budde, said she was “outraged” at the church visit, which she said Trump did not have permission for.

Thousands of people have participated in the nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism since Floyd’s killing.

It was the most widespread unrest in the United States since 1968 when cities went up in flames over the slaying of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Many of the demonstrations have been peaceful and marked by moments of catharsis such as officers hugging tearful protesters and marching or kneeling alongside them.

– ‘Homicide’ –

Others have seen rage-filled clashes between protesters and police, and widespread property damage. One person was shot dead in Louisville, Kentucky.

Floyd’s agonizing death was caught on bystander cell phone video that shows policeman Derek Chauvin pinning him down with his knee for nearly nine minutes, as the 46-year-old pleaded for his life with the haunting words: “I can’t breathe!”

“The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death, and homicide as the manner of death,” Allecia Wilson, a University of Michigan expert who examined his body at the family’s request, said.

Hennepin County’s medical examiner released its official autopsy calling the death a homicide caused by “neck compression,” although it had also said he was intoxicated and pointed to heart disease.

A memorial for Floyd will take place on Thursday in Minneapolis before his funeral in Houston, where he grew up, on June 9.

But hundreds paid tribute in Minneapolis on Monday at the exact time he died one week prior, forming a large circle at the site of the killing where they chanted, knelt, and prayed.

Floyd, 46, had been accused of trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit bill.

The autopsy revived demands for the arrest of three other police officers who stood guard for Chauvin as Floyd lay dying.

Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and is due to appear in court on June 8.

– ‘We’ve had enough’ –

More than 40 cities have imposed curfews after consecutive nights of tension.

More looting was taking place in New York on Monday night, an AFP reporter saw, with stores including Best Buy and Nike damaged. Police said they had arrested “hundreds” across the city.

After widespread looting in Manhattan, New York mayor Bill de Blasio said a curfew would be imposed from 8:00 pm Tuesday, three hours earlier than Monday’s.

“We support peaceful protest in this city. But right now it’s time to go home,” de Blasio tweeted.

In Los Angeles, where the National Guard were deployed at Hollywood landmarks such as the Dolby Theatre, some looting was also reported, though protests were largely peaceful.

“Deep down inside us, we’ve had enough,” said 30-year-old Jessica Hubbert, a protester.

Trump spent most of the weekend inside the White House tweeting attacks on political rivals and the media.

In a leaked conference call Monday, he told state governors they were “going to look like a bunch of jerks” if they were too soft.

The governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, is heard saying he was “extraordinarily concerned” by the president’s “inflammatory” rhetoric.

Biden, for his part, met Monday with black leaders at a church in his home of Wilmington, Delaware, and promised to form a police oversight commission in his first 100 days as president.

US Summons Chinese Ambassador For Spreading COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 13: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference about the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic in the Rose garden at the White House March 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The United States on Friday summoned China’s ambassador after a senior official in Beijing tweeted the “ridiculous” suggestion that the US military started the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Department said.

David Stilwell, the top US diplomat for Asia, gave a “stern representation” to Ambassador Cui Tiankai a day after foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted the conspiracy theory.

“China is seeking to deflect criticism for its role in starting a global pandemic and not telling the world,” a State Department official said.

“Spreading conspiracy theories is dangerous and ridiculous. We wanted to put the government on notice we won’t tolerate it, for the good of the Chinese people and the world,” the official said.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: G7 To Hold Extraordinary Summit Via Video Conference

Zhao, in tweets both Mandarin and English that gained wide traction on Chinese social media, a day earlier suggested that “patient zero” in the global pandemic may have come from the United States — not the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, where cases were first reported in late 2019.

“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation,” tweeted Zhao, who is known for his provocative statements on social media.

Scientists widely believe that the pandemic started in a market in Wuhan that sold exotic animals for consumption.

As of 1700 GMT on Friday, more than 5,300 people have died around the world and more than 140,000 infected.

Cui, in contrast to Zhao, is known for his diplomatic approach and has publicly called for US-Chinese cooperation against the pandemic.

AFP

Trump Celebrates American Heroes In Rousing July 4 Speech

US President Donald Trump and the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford watch as aircraft fly overhead during the “Salute to America” Fourth of July event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, July 4, 2019. PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

President Donald Trump sang the praises of the US military and American heroes of the past two and a half centuries Thursday, skirting politics in a rousing Independence Day speech in Washington.

“What a great country,” Trump exclaimed in an address saturated with patriotism and exceptionalism after critics accused him of hijacking the annual celebration.

“For Americans, nothing is impossible,” he said.

Combat aircraft, including the rarely-seen B2 stealth bomber, flew overhead as Trump scrolled through myriad events of US history, from groundbreaking inventions to battlefield victories. He drew cheers of “USA! USA!” from an enthusiastic rain-soaked audience of tens of thousands on the National Mall in Washington.

Trump promised the United States would soon again send men to the moon and go beyond to “plant the American flag on Mars.”

“We will always be the people who defeated a tyrant, crossed a continent, harnessed science, took to the skies, and soared into the heavens, because we will never forget that we are Americans, and the future belongs to us.”

‘The most exceptional nation’

Trump spoke in front of a massive statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln, the heroic 19th-century president, where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

Trump used the traditionally politics-free holiday to deliver shoutouts to each arm of the military, as well as singling out first responders and the controversial Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies that have been criticized for their treatment of migrants.

But he disappointed critics who had warned that Trump, the first president in decades to make a keynote speech on the July 4 holiday, was hijacking the celebration to bolster his own political standing and attack Democratic rivals.

Instead, in a trickling rain, he uncharacteristically avoided talking about himself and his political detractors. He repeatedly ascribed singular greatness to the country, declaring it “the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

“Today, we come together as one nation with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military!” he said.

“Our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now,” he said.

Patriotic fervor

The July 4 celebrations usually draw hundreds of thousands of people to the National Mall for picnics and twilight fireworks, and dousings from thunderstorms did not keep away either Trump’s supporters — wearing red caps — nor protesters.

“It’s going to be fabulous, I’m excited,” said Dee Ranson, a 55-year-old from Florida visiting with her family.

“I think it’s awesome, I think it shows courage and patriotic enthusiasm. He is not afraid,” she said before Trump’s speech.

But April Smith, 43, visiting from North Carolina, said she had “no interest” in hearing Trump’s speech, and thought the military “show of power and strength” was unnecessary.

Surrounded by the top officers of the Pentagon, and a panoply of invited Republican officials and VIP donors, the event allowed Trump to stake a strong claim to patriotic fervor 16 months ahead of a presidential election.

Polls show his potential Democratic rivals holding a significant edge over him.

Trump originally wanted a grand military parade for the holiday, ostensibly inspired by France’s rollout of its armed forces on its own national day.

Instead, he got a scaled-back version, with some US armored vehicles parked for display and a flyover by the president’s own Air Force One jet, the B2 bomber, attack helicopters, other warplanes, and the Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team.

Even so, it was a show of martial force that has been absent from the US capital for decades, and Trump’s foes blasted it ahead of time as a show of militarism.

“What, I wonder, will Donald Trump say this evening when he speaks to the nation at an event designed more to stroke his ego than celebrate American ideals?” leading Democratic White House contender Joe Biden said earlier Thursday.

Trump himself reveled in the strong crowd, having spent the past 30 months defending himself over the poor turnout for his January 2017 inauguration.

“A great crowd of tremendous Patriots this evening, all the way back to the Washington Monument!” he tweeted, along with a photograph of the audience.

AFP

US Military Apologises For Tweet About Dropping Bombs

This file photo taken on December 30, 2018, shows a line of US military vehicles in Syria’s northern city of Manbij. Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP

 

The United States Strategic Command has apologised for a joke in “bad taste” after tweeting it was ready to drop something “much bigger” than the traditional Times Square crystal ball at New Year.

In a message posted, and later deleted, on Twitter, the military force that controls the US nuclear arsenal released a video in which B-2 bombers drop bombs, with the message: “If ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger.”

Amid the jaw-dropping and eye-raising on social media that followed, STRATCOM — whose slogan is “peace is our profession” — then tweeted an apology on Monday.

“Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values. We apologise. We are dedicated to the security of America & allies,” it said.

A STRATCOM spokesman told NBC News the images on the video showed non-nuclear bombs.

About a million people are expected Monday in New York’s Times Square, where revelers since 1907 ring in the New Year watching a giant ball slide slowly down a pole.

AFP

Russia, Turkey Agree To Coordinate On Syria After US Pullout

 

Russia and Turkey on Saturday agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria after last week’s announcement of a US military withdrawal, Moscow’s top diplomat said.

“Of course we paid special attention to new circumstances which appeared in connection with the announced US military pullout,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow.

“An understanding was reached of how military representatives of Russia and Turkey will continue to coordinate their steps on the ground under new conditions with a view to finally rooting out terrorist threats in Syria,” Lavrov said.

Cavusoglu confirmed the two countries would coordinate Syria operations, adding they also discussed plans to help refugees to return home.

“We will continue active work (and) coordination with our Russian colleagues and colleagues from Iran to speed up the arrival of a political settlement in the Syrian Republic,” he said in remarks translated into Russian.

Besides Lavrov and Cavusoglu, Russian and Turkish defence ministers Sergei Shoigu and Hulusi Akar also attended the talks.

President Donald Trump last week unexpectedly said he was pulling all 2,000 troops from Syria, declaring that the United States had achieved its objective as the Islamic State group had been “knocked” out.

The extremist movement, also known as ISIS, has lost nearly all its territory, although thousands of its jihadists are thought to remain in war-battered Syria.

On Friday, Russia said it would host a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran on the Syrian conflict early next year.

AFP

US Military Signs Trump’s Order To Pull Out Of Syria

 

The Pentagon has confirmed that the order to withdraw American troops from Syria had been signed after President Donald Trump held talks with his Turkish counterpart to negotiate a pullout that has stunned Washington’s allies.

Trump announced Wednesday that the roughly 2,000 US troops would leave civil war-wracked Syria, where they have been deployed to assist in a multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

“The execute order for Syria has been signed,” a US military spokesperson told AFP on Sunday in response to a query, without providing further details.

Turkey was a rare ally that lauded Trump’s decision on Syria, a country where it will now have a freer rein to target Kurdish fighters who were armed and trained by the US and played a major role in the war against IS but are deemed terrorists by Ankara.

– ‘We’ve won’ –
Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday and “agreed to ensure coordination between their countries’ military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Trump tweeted that he and Erdogan “discussed (IS), our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area.”

White House aides cited by The Washington Post said Trump’s advisers have persuaded him to withdraw the troops more slowly than he would like in order not to jeopardize their safety.

READ ALSO: Israeli Leaders Lauds Donald Trump’s Latest Stand On Syria

A withdrawal could have extraordinary geopolitical implications, and it runs counter to long-established US policy for the region.

Thousands of IS jihadists are thought to remain in Syria, but Trump on Wednesday declared that “we’ve won against ISIS,” using another acronym for the extremists.

Late Sunday he tweeted that Erdogan had assured him that any IS fighters remaining will be eliminated.

“President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria,” Trump said in a Tweet.

– An already devastated region –
Repeating a pattern of admiring comments towards global strongmen, Trump added that Erdogan “is a man who can do it.”

The US president concluded: “Our troops are coming home!”

US politicians — including those from his own Republican party — and international allies fear the withdrawal is premature and would further destabilize the already devastated region.

A US pullout, said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst, will open the way “for Turkey to start its operations against the Kurds, and a bloody war will begin.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said he “deeply regretted” Trump’s decision, and that “an ally must be reliable.”

Israel has been careful to point out that it respects the US decision, but analysts say that beneath those public pronouncements are concerns over whether its main enemy Iran will have a freer hand.

US troops will leave under the auspices of a new Pentagon chief set to start next month, after Jim Mattis resigned from the post citing major differences, including on Syria, with the often-impulsive Trump.

Several US politicians from both parties rejected Trump’s claim that IS had been defeated. The decision also caused alarm and dismay in the US military over the prospect of suddenly abandoning Washington’s Kurdish partners.

– Turmoil –
Trump’s sudden decision sparked turmoil within his administration, prompting the resignation of Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, as well as Mattis.

Plans for the troop pullout will now be overseen by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who Trump on Sunday said would replace Mattis starting January 1.

Mattis, 68, had said he would leave at the end of February to allow a smooth transition for the next chief of the US military — but a reportedly angry Trump accelerated his departure by two months.

“And now Trump gets rid of SecDef Mattis almost immediately. No smooth transition. No effort at reassurance to allies. Just vindictive,” Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and now co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter.

According to US media, Trump voiced resentment over news coverage of Mattis’ stinging resignation letter that laid bare his fundamental disagreements with the president.

Days later, special envoy McGurk made a similar move, saying he could not support Trump’s Syria decision that “left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered.”

Unlike Mattis, Shanahan has never served in the military and has spent most of his career in the private sector, including with aircraft giant Boeing.

Until Trump finds a permanent Pentagon chief, Shanahan will lead plans for US troops to leave Syria along with a significant drawdown in Afghanistan, both of which critics worry will leave war-torn regions at risk of continued and potentially heightened bloodshed.

Ghana Protestors Rally Against United States’ Military Deal

Protesters take part in a demonstration organised by Ghana First Patriotic Front (GFPF), in downtown Accra on March 28, 2018, against a Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement which was ratified by the Parliament last week. CRISTINA ALDEHUELA / AFP

 

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital, on Wednesday to protest against a controversial military deal with Washington which was passed by parliament last week. 

The agreement was approved by President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government on Friday but has come under heavy criticism from the opposition who say it undermines the country’s sovereignty.

Ghana and the United States are working to forge closer ties between their armed forces but both have denied rumours that Washington is planning to set up military bases in the West African nation.

“This is an insensitive government,” said protestor Yaa Yaa Abban. “We’ll resist this deal with the US because it does not favour us.”

Protestors wearing the black and red of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) carried signs reading: “Akufo-Addo must not sell Ghana,” and “Incompetent government, an incompetent agreement”.

In a tweet supporting the protest, former president John Mahama said: “I join in declaring #GhanaFirst as my compatriots and other democratic forces converge to demonstrate their opposition to the Ghana/US military agreement.”

On Tuesday a high-ranking NDC member, Koku Anyidoho, was reportedly called in for questioning by police after a radio interview on Monday in which he said there would be a “civilian coup d’etat” over the deal.

Such remarks are “treasonable”, Information Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said in a statement on Tuesday.

Last week, the US Embassy in Accra said Washington had “not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana”.

It added: “This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million (16.3 million euros) in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces.”

Joint exercises were planned for this year “which require access to Ghanaian bases by US participants and those from other nations when included,” it added.

In the past decade, the United States has expanded its military presence in Africa, ostensibly to stop the spread of Islamist extremism by groups such as Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Shabab on the continent.

Ghana, a major producer of gold and cocoa, prides itself on being a beacon of stability in a region blighted by coups, dictators and corruption.

AFP

US Military Blames Crash On ‘Human Error’

A photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows the wreckage from a small plane crash Saturday night, Dec. 16, 2017, in southeastern Indiana. Sgt. Stephen Wheeles says the crash of the single-engine Cessna plane near Oldenburg, Indiana, killed three people and one dog aboard the aircraft. A second dog survived. Wheeles says the plane was traveling from Kansas City, Missouri, to Frederick, Maryland, and had taken off from an airport outside Columbus, Indiana, before crashing. The names of the victims haven’t been released. (Indiana State Police via AP)

The US military on Monday blamed human error after a window from one of its helicopters fell onto a school sports ground in Japan, sparking anger among local residents.

The military said it had conducted a thorough investigation into last Wednesday’s accident and concluded that “the incident was caused by human error”.

“The window in question is designed to be removed in order to assist pilot egress in an emergency situation. The appropriate procedures for ensuring the window was secured were not correctly followed,” added the military in a statement.

It again apologised for what it called a “regrettable” accident.

There were no serious injuries from the window that landed at an elementary school near the Futenma marine airbase on Okinawa island.

But the incident infuriated local residents, who are already unhappy at the base being located so close to their homes and schools.

Residents want Futenma to be closed and a replacement built elsewhere in another part of Japan or overseas, saying they can no longer live with the noise, accidents and occasional crimes committed by US service members.

“We strive to be good members of the Okinawan community and to ensure the safety of both our personnel and our community in which we live and serve,” said the military statement.

The accident came just two months after an American military helicopter burst into flames after landing in an empty field in Okinawa.

AFP

Judge Clears Way For Transgender Recruits In US Military

This file photo taken on July 26, 2017 shows protesters shout slogans against US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in front of the US Army career center in Times Square, New York. Jewel SAMAD / AFP

A US federal judge on Monday denied a request from the Trump administration to delay allowing transgender recruits to join the military, clearing the way for them to enlist from January 1.

The move will be seen as a blow to President Donald Trump, who in July sent out three tweets saying that transgender troops could not serve “in any capacity” in the military.

Those tweets, later followed by a formal White House memorandum, set off a roar of protest — with several service members and rights groups quick to sue.

Last week, the Justice Department asked a federal court to delay the January 1 deadline while the legal battle plays out, but it denied the motion.

“The court will not stay its preliminary injunction pending defendants’ appeal,” US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Under a new policy originally announced last year by the Obama administration, the Pentagon was first supposed to start accepting transgender recruits on July 1 this year, but Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis pushed that back by six months.

AFP

US, Nigeria Partner To Tackle Security, Economy, Corruption Threats

US, Nigeria, Security, Economy, CorruptionThe United States (US) and Nigeria have agreed to establish groups, focused on strengthening security cooperation, the economy and tackling corruption, after a day-long dialogue at the State Department.

In a joint statement, the countries said the groups would come up with a paper work within a month to finalise the goals.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, is meeting the US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, Thursday on the sidelines of a two-day nuclear security summit in Washington DC, comprising of leaders from at least 50 countries.

Mr Kerry and Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, held meetings and acknowledged the security challenges posed by the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s northeast and neighboring countries, as well as tough economic times caused by the fall in oil prices.

According to the US Secretary of State, the United States is committed to helping Nigeria tackle the Boko Haram insurgency.

He warned that security forces must avoid human rights abuses, even as they step up the fight against the dreaded terrorists. He also commended the efforts to end insurgency.

“Under President Buhari, Nigeria has been involved in the fight against Boko Haram and it has reduced Boko Haram’s capacity to launch full-scale attacks,” Mr Kerry said.

The US Secretary of State added that in recent months, US military trainers have been helping Nigeria’s security forces to improve information sharing tactics, as well as train and equip two infantry battalions.

ISIS Confirms Jihadi John’s Death 

Jihadi JohnThe Islamic State has confirmed the death of Jihadi John in a drone strike in November 2015.

The group published an obituary for the British militant, whose real name was Mohammed Emwazi, in its online magazine, Dabiq.

In November, the US military said it was “reasonably certain” it had killed him in the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa.

Emwazi appeared in beheading videos of victims including UK aid worker, David Haines and taxi driver, Alan Henning.

He was a computer programming graduate who grew up in London before he was radicalised .

 

Islamic State Finance Chief ‘Killed In Air Strikes’

Islamic State Finance Chief 'Killed In Air Strikes'The US military says the finance chief of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has been killed in air strikes by the US-led coalition.

Officials said that Muwaffaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush, A.K.A Abu Salah, and two other senior leaders were killed in the strikes which took place in “recent weeks”.

A military spokesman, Warren, said that two other figures in ISIS fundraising networks were also killed in coalition air strikes in late November.

The terrorists were identified as Abu Mariam, an enforcer and senior leader in ISIS extortion networks, and Abu Waqman al-Tunis, who Warren said coordinated ISIS’s transfer of people, weapons and information.

Abu Mariam appears on the State Department terrorist list as Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal, a 32-year-old Tunisian.

The US-led coalition has been targeting ISIS leaders in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to try to pick apart its command structure.

After the attacks in Paris last month, the United States said it was deploying a special operations unit in Iraq that would be able to mount raids into Syria to capture or kill ISIS leaders.

“We want this expeditionary targeting force to make ISIL and its leaders wonder when they go to bed at night, who’s going to be coming in the window”, US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, told a Senate hearing on Friday.