Holy armored combat vehicles, Batman! The U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria recently posted a video showing off a hulking mine-resistant ambush protection vehicle (or MRAP, you goons), standing by and ready to fuck, ahead of a YPG assault on ISIS positions near the eastern Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor.
This is new? Military Times reports that MRAPs were "not previously authorized for provision to U.S.-backed forces" as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, but Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway confirmed to the publication that, yes, those are U.S.-supplied MRAPs, and yes, they are "an essential component of the SDF."
— Rojava Defense Units | YPG (@DefenseUnits) May 8, 2018
Maybe not that new. In July 2017, Kurdish activists posted video to social media of U.S.-made MRAPs and other armored vehicles rolling into Syria on the back of flatbed trucks, ostensibly to support the anti-ISIS fight there; Pentagon officials told Military Times at the time that the vehicles "[were] not part of the U-S.-led coalition's aid to Kurdish allies on the ground."
But who's paying? Up-armored Humvees and Guardian personnel carriers were included as part of the Pentagon's fiscal 2018 request for funds to train and equip Syrian partner forces... but the DoD's fiscal 2019 OCO budget only calls for 820 "non-tactical" vehicles and 200 non-standard commercial vehicles. With MRAPs explicitly absent from that allocation, it's unclear where the funding and authorization for such transfers originated from.
Here's why it matters: "U.S. military assistance to Kurdish fighters has been a source of contention with Turkey, a NATO ally. Turkey claims the YPG is aligned with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terror group by both countries," notes Military Times' Kyle Rempfer. "In the end, the Pentagon may be walking a thin line in relations with Turkey by providing high-tech equipment to Syrian Arabs, rather than Syrian Kurds, when both groups exist within the same SDF coalition."
Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division depicted in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers,' was laid to rest on June 15th, the Army announced
Mampre, who died on May 31 at 97 years old, was the last living medic from Easy Company, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of soldiers assigned to his unit provided an honor guard for his funeral service.
NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine which killed 298 people, in a trial to start in the Netherlands next March, an investigation team said on Wednesday.
The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.
"These suspects are seen to have played an important role in the death of 298 innocent civilians", said Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke.
"Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close cooperation to get the (missile launcher) where it was, with the aim to shoot down an airplane."
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."