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Alexander Ly

A student currently attending UCSD with a major interest in politics.

Iranian Fleet Arrives off the Coast of Yemen

Iran Warships off the Coast of Yemen, Potential Attempt to Supply Houthi Rebels

This Wednesday, Iran had sent ships to Yemen and arrived on Yemen’s southern coast. According to Iran, the ships were sent in order to protect cargo ships and tankers against pirates. It was also reported that the fleet would be stationed there for three months.

According to Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, “There is no need for our flotilla of warships to dock in Yemen, but we are present in the Gulf of Aden powerfully and at present, our 34th fleet has been sent to the region.”

However, Saudi Arabia and the West have reason to believe that the Iranian fleet may be attempting to smuggle weaponry to the Houthis. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren noted that there were nine cargo ships among the Iranian fleet.

The United States fleet has currently nine ships off the coast of Yemen, including the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and missile cruiser USS Normandy

The Houthis are Shiite rebels fighting a civil war against President Hadi, who was forced to flee the country. The Houthis are in control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa while Hadi’s supporters are clustered around southern Yemen. Al Qaeda has a strong presence in Eastern Yemen.

Hundreds Feared Dead After Migrant Boat Sinks En Route to Italy

Vessel Sinks off the Coast of Libya

This Sunday, a boat with hundreds of migrants had capsized around 70 miles off the coast of Libya. The ship had sent out a distress signal this Saturday however the ship overturned as rescuers approached.

The Portuguese flagged container ship, King Jacob, was sent immediately to the area by the Italian Coast Guard and deployed lifeboats. The boat capsized as many migrants moved to one side of the ship.

Authorities had earlier reported that there were 700 people aboard though later a Bangladeshi survivor stated that there were about 950 migrants aboard the vessel including hundreds locked into holds within the ship and around 200 women and children.

While the survivor’s account had not been verified, the case that people were locked inside the ship is very likely as very few survivors and dead had been discovered relative to the speed the vessel sunk.

According to prosecutors, passengers on the boat were from a variety of nations, including Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Zambia, Bangladesh and Ghana.
In addition to the Italian Coast Guard, 18 ships had joined the effort to locate survivors.

Only 28 survivors and 24 bodies were discovered so far.
Already this year a reported 900 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean out of 35 thousand migrants.

Spain and Italy bore the brunt of the influx of asylum seekers or migrants, as the empowered right wing parties in Europe call to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

ISIS Advances on Capital of Anbar Province

Looming Siege on Ramadi by Islamic State Forces

On Thursday, 2,000 Iraqi civilians were forced to flee advancing Islamic State militants as they close in on the capital of Anbar Province. This comes as an additional amount to the 150,000 that were forced to flee this Wednesday.

The city lies almost 28 miles from Fallujah. ISIS captured Fallujah during their ‘blitz’ in the summer of last year. They have since held on to the city for more than a year now. Ramadi is also just 70 miles from Baghdad.

The Islamists encroach from the west through their stronghold in Fallujah. Iraqi forces are holding ISIS steady though as they approach Ramadi’s western outskirts.

Ramadi’s residents have since fled and are settled in western and southern Baghdad where most of them fled to.

Just Wednesday, ISIS forces have captured three other villages, Sjariyah, Albu-Ghanim and Soufiya, though those villages are facing US airstrikes.

According to sources in Anbar, 10 Iraqi personnel have been killed and 100 have been wounded.

The looming assault on Ramadi comes as a reversal to how ISIS had suffered a defeat in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, earlier this month after Iraqi government and militia forces forced ISIS to flee the city.

Anbar’s deputy governor, Faleh al-Issawi had this to say: “We urge the Baghdad government to supply us immediately with troops and weapons in order to help us prevent the city from falling into the hands of the IS group.”

Russia Lifts Ban for Sale of Surface-to-Air Missiles to Iran

Iran to Receive S-300s After Sales Ban Lifted by Putin

Russia lifted a ban on the sale of state of art anti-aircraft S-300 systems to Iran. Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree that allowed the self-imposed ban be lifted.

Iran had recently made progress in an agreement that would limit their nuclear development capacity.

The negotiations between Iran, Russia, China, US, France, UK, and Germany reached a conclusion very recently, and Putin hinted that further sanctions could be removed as the agreement progressed.

A full deal has yet to be reached, but it has a deadline on June 30, this year.

The move came with disapproval by the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry voiced concern over this development with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a phone call earlier Monday morning.

“Our opposition to these sales is long and public. We believe it’s unhelpful,” remarked Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren.

Moscow had withheld Iranian bought S-300s after the UN Security Council placed sanctions on Iran in 2010.

Israel has not ruled out air strikes on Iran to destroy Iranian nuclear capabilities, thus the sale, which makes air strikes riskier though possible, was condemned by Israel.

Hillary Clinton Launches Bid for Presidency

Clinton Makes Intent to Run for President Official

Hillary Clinton launched her bid to run for president on Sunday this week after much anticipation.

“Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” Hillary Clinton remarked in a two minute video that launched her bid.

You can watch that video here.

Clinton is the third major figure to announce their intent to run, after Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

The former first lady and secretary of state does not have major contenders within the Democratic Party as of right now and is definitely the left’s frontrunner.

Clinton’s position has definitely led to attacks from the right. The conservative wing is keen on rubbing in Clinton’s personal email incident to dirty her reputation among the average voter.

Marco Rubio is expected to announce his bid this Monday and Jeb Bush is considering a run as well.

Pro-West Vandals Destroy Monuments of Ukraine's Past

Statues of Lenin and other Communist Symbols Destroyed in Kharkiv

Masked thugs destroyed Soviet-era monuments during the early hours of Saturday. Three statues that honored Bolshevik heroes were smashed apart in the city of Kharkiv, which lies in northeastern Ukraine.

The beleaguered pro-Russian Opposition Bloc, which holds 40 out of 450 seats in parliament, denounced such attacks as undermining Ukraine’s past as well as accused the pro-west regime of encouraging “chaos in the streets.”

The thugs used a ladder to hook the statues with a cable tied to a van which then pulls away and dragged the statues down.

Kharkiv’s Mayor Gennady Kernes demanded authorities to explain why they allow the illegal demolition of monuments, which Kernes described as vandalism.

The video of the vandalisms can be seen here. Police can be seen approaching the scene at 2:10, and stood aside and while the thugs continue.

This incident happened just 48 hours after the pro-west Ukrainian Parliament passed a bill that outlawed Communist and Nazi symbols.

On Thursday, a bill was rushed through parliament that banned the display of Communist or Nazi symbols, although it did allow Soviet veterans to continue wearing their medals.

Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko likened the Russians to the Nazis at the start of World War II.

“What is the difference between the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria or the occupation of Sudetenland (in ex-Czechoslovakia), and the annexation of Crimea or the attempts to tear away Donbass in 2014?” said Poroshenko.

Amid a Russian backed separatist uprising, Ukraine’s government is actively attempting to break all cultural and historical ties to its Soviet and Russian past.

“Feelings towards the symbols of the Soviet Union have become sharply more negative since the beginning of the Russian aggression,” according to Kiev sociologist Andriy Bychenko.

Responding to the Ukrainian legislature’s bravado, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “It is lamentable that against the backdrop of such decisions, against the backdrop of such statements, many veterans in these weeks ahead of the anniversary will meet the holiday with tears in their eyes.”

On the practical level, the legislative bill was not specific on how the ban would be enforced.

However looking at the incident just this Saturday, it has already become clear how the ban would be enforced.

New String of Attacks in Taliban Spring Offensive

Suicide Bombings and Raids in Afghanistan

Siege of Court Compound in Mazar-i-Sharif

On Thursday, Taliban forces disguised as military personnel assaulted a court complex in northern Afghanistan. The attack took place in the usually uneventful town of Mazar-i-Sharif.

At least 10 people died as a 6 hour gunfight with Afghan security forces ensued. There were also reportedly dozens of wounded people.

One building in the court complex was set ablaze when the Taliban threw in grenades.
The battle started when four Taliban, dressed in military uniforms breached the main entrance and begun firing on individuals, according to Abdul Raziq Qaderi the acting provincial police chief of Balkh province.

He also stated that five Afghan security personnel and five civilians were killed along with 66 police, prosecutors, court staff, women and children wounded

‘Green on Blue Attack’ in Jalalabad

Just a day before the Taliban assault in Mazar-i-Sharif, there was an insider attack when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on Coalition troops leaving a compound. There were one US dead as well as other casualties including the attacker.

The incident took place in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

The Taliban had not claimed credit for this attack but it has been known that the Afghan National Army occasionally reveals infiltration by the Taliban.

Suicide Attack in Central Kabul

Last Sunday Afghani MP Gul Pacha Majidi was wounded in a suicide attack that killed three people as the MP was leaving a meeting with Afghan elders.

The Taliban had also not declared that it was involved in this incident, yet the cases of suicide attacks have mounted regardless.

Suicide Attack during Anti-Corruption Demonstration in Khost

On Thursday morning 17 people were killed and 40 wounded, according to the interior ministry of Kabul, during a rally in the city of Khost.

Among those wounded was Humayoun Humayoun, a MP representing Khost province.

President Barack Obama last week reversed plans to withdraw around ten thousand US troops from Afghanistan.

Boston Marathon Bomber Found Guilty on all 30 Counts

Tsarnaev Guilty for Role in Boston Bombing

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev was found guilty on all 30 counts for his actions during the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. The jury took one day and a half to reach a unanimous decision along with 17 days of testimony and evidence.

Tsarnaev was emotionless as his charges were read.

Tsarnaev’s defense attorneys attempted to scrap together a defense by painting Tsarnaev as an unwilling participant who was heavily influenced by his older brother. However they were also clear that the defense would not be denying Tsarnaev’s role in the Boston bombing.

Dzhokhar coordinated the bombing along with his brother Tamerlane, who was killed shortly after the bombing in a gunfight with authorities.

“We don’t deny that Dzhokhar fully participated in the events,” Judy Clarke, Tsarnaev’s defense attorney, said. “But, if not for Tamerlan, it wouldn’t have happened.”

While the charges have been determined, the penalty have not. The same jurors would now decide whether Tsarnaev would die for his crimes or be imprisoned.
Nearly 300 people were injured and three people died that day.

The Tsarnaev brothers placed two pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 which injured many spectators. He was also found guilty of killing Sean Collier, a police officer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after the FBI found the brothers to be suspects in the bombing.

Live Dissection of US Prisoners Revealed in Japanese Exhibit

Japanese Atrocities Against American WWII Personnel Displayed

In an exhibition in a new medical history museum that opened Saturday in the city of Fukuoka, details were revealed about the dissection of live US personnel that were captured by the Japanese.

After a B-29 Superfortress was shot down during a bombing run over Japan, nine out of the twelve crewmen survived before being detained by Japanese authorities.
One was shot down while in the process of parachuting down and another two were killed by locals.

Captain Marvin Watkins was sent to Tokyo for interrogation and the rest were sent to Kyoto Imperial University’s College of Medicine, the predecessor of the current day university.

Some PoWs were injected with seawater to see if the water could substitute for saline solution.

Other captives had parts of their liver removed to see if they could survive without them while another captive got part of his brain surgically removed.

The remains of the crewmen were stored in formaldehyde until the end of the war when the evidence of the experiments were destroyed.

Of the total twenty four doctors who were involved in committing vivisection and illegal removal of body parts: one committed suicide, five were sentenced to death, four were sentenced to life in prison, and the rest got shorter sentences.

However Douglas MacArthur, who was the governor of Japan at that time, commuted the death sentences and generally gave all the perpetrators shorter sentences. By 1958, all the convicted were out of prison.

This revelation comes after nearly a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a two day visit to Japan, called for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to admit to Japanese atrocities.

In statements released by Asahi, a left leaning Japanese Newspaper, Merkel noted: “Germany was lucky to be accepted in the community of nations […] This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after the Second World War would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past.”

However just Tuesday, the Japanese Ministry of Education approved new textbooks that lightened the atrocities committed by the Japanese or did not even mention them. According to the Asahi newspaper, one textbook completely dropped passages referring to the 1937 Nanjing Rape/Massacre.

Japan is still reluctant to admit to the utilization of ‘comfort women,’ women who were forced to work in military brothels to the dismay of neighboring South Korea and China.

British Prime Minister Attempts to Mooch Votes from Far Right

David Cameron Headed for Rough Election on May 7

British Prime Minister David Cameron attempted to woo voters from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after former Conservative Party candidate Mike Whitehead decided to join up with UKIP.

Apparently Whitehead had made that decision amid a row with other conservative councilors and was “sacked” by them.

Mike Whitehead was a candidate for the Hull West and Hessle constituency.

Britain’s legislative elections is scheduled for May 7 this year. It has been predicted that the ruling Tories will face a close election against the Labour Party, and further exacerbated by defections to the emergent UKIP.

Prime Minister Cameron pledges to have a referendum on European Union membership in 2017 as long as he retains his seat as prime minister.

UKIP led by Nigel Farage pledges to withdraw Britain from the European Union and tighten “mass uncontrolled immigration” as well as implement a five year tax requirement before immigrants can apply for public housing or other benefits.

UKIP’s platform also presents conservative social values. While the NHS would remain generally unchanged, UKIP advocates for a flat tax rate and opposes gay marriage.
The party also is skeptical of man-made climate change.