- Three U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers were killed on Wednesday while conducting a patrol with Nigerien forces near the border with Mali. Another two soldiers were wounded and medevaced to Landstuhl, Germany. The fallen Green Berets are the first casualties in Niger since a 3rd Special Forces Group warrant officer was killed in a noncombat-related vehicle accident in February. The border region has been home to attacks by both Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram terrorist groups.
- Russian FSB director Alexander Bortnikov states that an “almost defeated” Islamic State has “defined their global strategic objective as the creation of a new, worldwide terrorist network.” The FSB is the successor to the Soviet Union’s infamous KGB, of which Gen. Bortnikov is a former agent. Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are “on the run,” their command and control capacity is “fractured,” and that the terrorist group’s “days are certainly numbered.”
- The Defense Department announced that Iraqi security forces have concluded a 14-day operation to liberate the former Islamic State stronghold of Hawija in a “swift and decisive victory,” reportedly capturing 1,000 ISIS fighters. Coalition forces have liberated 4 million Iraqis, and have reclaimed 160,000 square miles of former ISIS-held territory. Over 2 million Iraqi refugees that had fled ISIS have returned to their homes.
- Operation INHERENT RESOLVE officials state that American and coalition forces targeted ISIS positions and vehicles in 47 separate engagements yesterday in Iraq an Syria.
- Senator Marco Rubio has called for the Secretary of the Army to revoke the commission of pro-communist 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone, currently serving with the 10th Mountain Division, and to pursue all disciplinary options for his alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
- On this day in 1918, Sgt. Michael B. Ellis single-handedly attacked a German machine gun nest near Exermount, France, killing two enemy soldiers and capturing 17. He then moved on to capture 27 more enemy troops and six machine guns. Two captured officers coughed up the locations of four additional machine gun positions, and the “Sgt. York of St. Louis” took them as well. In addition to numerous valor medals from foreign countries, Ellis was awarded the Medal of Honor.
- Following a considerable strategic review, President Donald Trump will provide the nation tonight with “an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia.” Troop commitments to America’s longest war are under consideration, with over 8,000 American service members currently serving in Afghanistan.
- The Pentagon has identified the Green Beret killed while clearing a building in Afghanistan’s Nargahar Province on Aug. 16 as 27-year-old Utah native Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler. In addition to Butler, 11 soldiers were wounded while clearing a building that unknowingly had been rigged to explode. This brings the number of fallen American troops in Afghanistan to 11 – equaling the number of fatalities in all of 2016.
- Diving operations are underway as crews search for ten missing sailors from USS John S. McCain after the guided-missile destroyer collided with a tanker near Singapore. This incident marks the fourth mishap for the Pacific Fleet since February, with USS Antietam running aground, and USS Fitzgerald and USS Lake Champlain also colliding with vessels.
- Today, 17,500 U.S. and 50,000 South Korean troops begin an annual joint training exercise. Predictably, North Korea is portraying the regularly scheduled drills as a provocation, as the state-run newspaper writes that the drills could ignite a “second Korean War.” Last week, American and Japanese warplanes conducted another joint military exercise , while China has told both it’s bellicose ally and the United States to “hit the brakes” following Kim Jong Un’s threats to attack Guam with nuclear weapons.
- Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials report detailing American and coalition strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.
Cold Civil War
- The so-called “news” organization CNN has published a map of 1,500 Confederate monuments and symbols across the United States, which rioters and protestors can use to continue their campaign to destroy and remove historical landmarks they find offensive. The data reportedly comes from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which also recently teamed with CNN to promote a list of “hate groups” which contained numerous conservative organizations.
- Meanwhile, Jeh Johnson, the former Department of Homeland Security boss during Obama administration, has said that removing Confederate statues is a matter of “public safety and homeland security.”
The Cold Civil War
- While leaving Obama-era holdovers in place, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster continues his purge of Trump Administration officials viewed as pro-Israel and loyal to the president. According to Caroline Glick, McMaster refers to Israel as an “occupying power.”
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller picks yet another Obama appointee to the investigation into Russia’s purported efforts to influence the presidential election. Mueller has packed his team with Obama appointees and contributors to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the troubled Clinton Foundation.
- U.S. Congressman Trent Franks declared that Mueller’s conflict of interest is in violation of the law and that Mueller should resign.
War on Jihad/War of Ideas
- An American ISIS supporter in Akron, Ohio has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for “disseminating ISIS’s violent rhetoric, circulating U.S. military personnel information and explicitly calling for the killing of American service members.”
- The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a NATO convoy near Kandahar, Afghanistan which has killed two U.S. troops and wounded four.
- A top Iranian general publicly boasted about the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq by his Qud’s Force. The Pentagon estimates that some 500 American servicemen died as a result of Iranian-supplied explosively formed projectiles, capable of destroying armored vehicles.
- Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reports that Google has manipulated search results on “jihad,” “sharia,” and other Islamic concepts to display positive information. Virtually every mention of jihad in the Quran refers to offensive war against non-Muslims.
- A New Jersey town which seeks to host a new “mega mosque” has banned criticism of Islam, in accordance with Sharia Law.
- The Pentagon wants to send “defensive” anti-armor missiles and other lethal weapons to Ukraine, which has been engaged with pro-Russian forces for the past three years. The United States currently provides training to Ukraine, as well as non-lethal military equipment.
- The Commandant of the Coast Guard has declared he will fight Trump’s ban on transsexuals in the military.
- The State Department has released its 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism
U.S. warships launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.
U.S. aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists and infrastrucure in Yemen. The U.S. has targeted AQAP with over 75 air strikes already this year, the most since the campaign began in 2009.
Freedom Watch has filed a complaint with the U.S. House Committee on Ethics against Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat member of the House Intelligence Committee for his alleged efforts to “cover up widespread crimes, multitudes of felonies, of warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.”
Russian state news agency TASS reports that Pres. Vladimir Putin has ordered the conscription of over 140,000 Russians into military service.
Defense Secretary James Mattis stated in a London press conference that North Korea’s behavior is increasingly reckless and must be stopped. Mattis also expressed concerns over Russian relations, such as growing Russian cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan – an association that Russian officials has both publicly admitted and denied.
The UK daily Independent reported that Saudi Arabia has recently deported over 40,000 Pakistanis over security concerns – including links to Islamist groups such as ISIS – and visa violations. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, approximately 250,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia.
Victory Institute Senior Analyst Casey Martin contributed to this report