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US reopens embassy in Somalia after 28 years

Westlake Legal Group Somalia-Embassy US reopens embassy in Somalia after 28 years Melissa Leon fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/travel/regions/africa fox news fnc/world fnc cdf00f2a-ad4d-5c71-8f96-d4092ae60d54 article

The United States Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, has reopened after being closed for 28 years, officials said Wednesday.

“The reestablishment of Embassy Mogadishu is another step forward in the resumption of regular U.S.-Somali relations, symbolizing the strengthening of U.S.-Somalia relations and advancement of stability, development and peace for Somalia and the region,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy closed on Jan. 5, 1991, after Somalia became engulfed in a civil war and the regime of Siad Barre was overthrown.

The United States reestablished a permanent diplomatic presence in Mogadishu back in December, operated out of Nairobi, Kenya.

8 KILLED, 16 HURT AS EXPLOSIONS ROCK SOMALIA’S CAPITAL

“Today we reaffirm the relations between the American people and the Somali people, and our two nations,” Ambassador Donald Yamamoto said. “It is a significant and historic day that reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years, and another step forward in regularizing U.S. diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing the federal government of Somalia in 2013.”

“U.S. Embassy Mogadishu will act to enhance cooperation, advance U.S. national strategic interests and support our overall security, political and economic development goals and objectives,” the ambassador added.

The U.S. “remains a strong partner to Somalia in its effort to build a stable, credible, and democratic country,” the embassy said.

AL-SHABAB EXTREMISTS ATTACK US MILITARY BASE IN SOMALIA, OFFICIALS SAY

The Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab extremist group has been responsible for several attacks in Somalia this year, as it attempts to topple Somalia’s weak U.N.-backed government.

On Monday, militants staged an attack on a U.S. military base that is used to launch drone strikes.

In July, al-Shabab assailants attacked a Somali hotel and killed 26 people — including two Americans — in an all-night siege.

SOMALI FORCES END EXTREMIST SIEGE OF HOTEL WHERE AMERICANS, OTHER FOREIGNERS DIED

Also in July, Mogadishu’s mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was badly injured when a suicide bomber walked into his office and detonated explosives.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Danielle Wallace and Lucia I. Suarez Sang contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Westlake Legal Group Somalia-Embassy US reopens embassy in Somalia after 28 years Melissa Leon fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/travel/regions/africa fox news fnc/world fnc cdf00f2a-ad4d-5c71-8f96-d4092ae60d54 article   Westlake Legal Group Somalia-Embassy US reopens embassy in Somalia after 28 years Melissa Leon fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/travel/regions/africa fox news fnc/world fnc cdf00f2a-ad4d-5c71-8f96-d4092ae60d54 article

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Taliban insurgents kill 11 police officers during attack on Afghan government building, officials say

A multi-pronged Taliban attack on a government building in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday has left at least 11 police officers dead, officials say.

The assault on the Shortepa district headquarters in Balkh province – which sparked a gunfight that lasted several hours — comes just days after the country held its presidential elections.

“Security situation is under control right now,” Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told the Associated Press, adding that Afghan reinforcements have driven the Taliban from the area.

Westlake Legal Group afghanistan-elections Taliban insurgents kill 11 police officers during attack on Afghan government building, officials say Greg Norman fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ba8e10-254c-5e20-aebc-ee60626c4c05

Men line up outside a polling station in western neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. Afghans headed to the polls that day to elect a new president amid high security and threats of violence from Taliban militants, who warned citizens to stay away from polling stations or risk being hurt. (AP)

AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IMPACTED BY TALIBAN ATTACKS, LOW TURNOUT

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said insurgents had overrun the compound, but Farhad denied the claim.

Taliban insurgents are reportedly thought to have suffered an unknown number of casualties during the attack, while officials say 11 police officers were killed.

In a separate Taliban attack in eastern Ghazni province on Tuesday, at least three civilians were gunned down while traveling in a vehicle, according to the Associated Press.

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Last week, there were at least 68 attacks by the Taliban across the country during election day, most of them rockets fired from distant outposts. At least five people were killed in those incidents, the AP says, including one policeman, and many more were wounded.

Despite upgraded security, authorities said 431 polling stations stayed closed because it was impossible to guarantee their security since they were either in areas under Taliban control or in places where insurgents could threaten nearby villages. The Taliban still controls or holds sway over roughly half the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group afghanistan-elections Taliban insurgents kill 11 police officers during attack on Afghan government building, officials say Greg Norman fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ba8e10-254c-5e20-aebc-ee60626c4c05   Westlake Legal Group afghanistan-elections Taliban insurgents kill 11 police officers during attack on Afghan government building, officials say Greg Norman fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ba8e10-254c-5e20-aebc-ee60626c4c05

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Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military

Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2

The U.S. military says it killed 17 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in an airstrike on Thursday outside Murzuq, in southwest Libya.

This was the first American airstrike in Libya since Nov. 29, 2018, according to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

“This ongoing campaign against ISIS-Libya demonstrates that U.S. Africa Command persistently targets terrorist networks that seek to harm innocent Libyans,” said Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, AFRICOM director of intelligence. “We continue to pursue ISIS-Libya and other terrorists in the region, denying them safe haven to coordinate and plan operations in Libya.”

No civilians were injured or killed in the airstrike, AFRICOM said.

The U.S. conducted almost 500 airstrikes against ISIS in 2016 in the coastal city of Surt.

ISIS LEADER CALLS FOR ‘CALIPHATE SOLDIERS’ TO FREE DETAINEES FROM CAMPS, CONTINUE ATTACKS

Earlier this month, the American military bombed an “ISIS-infested” island in northern Iraq.

American jets dropped more than 80,000 pounds of laser-guided bombs there, on Qanus Island. F-15 and F-35 jets dropped GBU-31 munitions, officials told Fox News.

The campaign was meant to destroy an area being used by ISIS for operations in the region, officials had said.

MISSOURI MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ROLE IN PLOTTING ISIS ATTACK

New U.S. Air Force strike data shows jets have doubled the number of airstrikes targeting ISIS in the past month. American jets have dropped 28 percent more bombs on the Taliban and an ISIS affiliate in August than they did in the previous month.

In August, 800 bombs were dropped against targets in Afghanistan – the most since November 2018.

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Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2   Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2

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Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking

A man wanted in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed has been arrested by Greek police.

Police said Saturday the suspect, a 65-year-old Lebanese man, was arrested on the island of Mykonos two days ago. His name came up as the subject of a German arrest warrant when he disembarked from a cruise ship, police said, according to Reuters.

Police did not release the suspect’s name, but several Greek media outlets named him as Mohammed Ali Hammadi.

US TO SHARE NAME OF SAUDI SUSPECTED OF AIDING 9/11 ATTACKERS

TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked shortly after takeoff on June 14, 1985. The hijackers tortured and killed 23-year-old Robert Stethem when they found out he served in the U.S. Navy. His body was tossed from the plane onto the tarmac in Beirut.

Westlake Legal Group twa-hijack-1-Getty Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc article 7a85ea61-f01f-5db6-9ffc-9a4b75af5526

Former TWA pilot John Testrake answers journalists’ questions with a gun pointed near his head during the hijacking drama at an airport in Beirut (NABIL ISMAIL/AFP/Getty Images)

SUSPECTED HEZBOLLAH SPY SCOUTED TARGETS IN NEW YORK, OTHER MAJOR CITIES: PROSECUTORS

The hijackers released the other 146 passengers and crew members in stages, the last after a 17-day ordeal that included three stops in Beirut and two in Algiers

Hammadi was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted in Germany for the plane hijacking and Stethem’s slaying. Hammadi, an alleged Hezbollah member, received life in prison as a sentence but was paroled in 2005 and returned to Lebanon. He is also a suspect in a 1987 abduction, according to the Greek police.

Germany resisted pressure to extradite him to the United States after Hezbollah abducted two German citizens in Beirut and threatened to kill them.

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Hammadi, along with fellow hijacker Hasan Izz-Al-Din and Ali Atwa, remains on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists under the name Mohammed Ali Hamadei. The FBI offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.

The suspect was in custody Saturday on the Greek island of Syros but was set to be transferred to the Korydallos high-security prison in Athens for extradition proceedings, a police spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group twa-hijack-1-Getty Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc article 7a85ea61-f01f-5db6-9ffc-9a4b75af5526   Westlake Legal Group twa-hijack-1-Getty Greek police arrest suspect in 1985 TWA Flight 847 hijacking Robert Gearty fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc article 7a85ea61-f01f-5db6-9ffc-9a4b75af5526

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Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4

The weekend attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran Wednesday and called an “act of war,” shows that the Obama administration was delusional to think the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would curb that nation’s radical and violent policies.

Iran has repeatedly intervened abroad directly and through surrogates and continued its intercontinental ballistic missile program regardless of the nuclear deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

All indications from U.S. and Saudi officials are that that the sophisticated drones and missiles involved in the attack on Saudi Arabia were launched from Iran.

SAUDI OIL ATTACKS AN ‘ACT OF WAR’ BY IRAN, NOT YEMEN REBELS, POMPEO CLAIMS

An appropriate response should be directed not only at the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who have claimed responsibility for the attack, but also at Iran if its involvement in the attack is firmly established.

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Iran should not be allowed to continue to exploit an apparent immunity from accountability because it typically uses surrogate forces and territory to attack its enemies.

The 2015 nuclear deal reached with the U.S. and other nations did absolutely nothing to stop the Islamic Republic from using surrogates, and now from more direct involvement in an attack on Saudi Arabia, if Pompeo’s assessment is correct.

Asked if Iran was responsible for the attack on Saudi Arabia, President Trump said that “it’s looking that way.” The president said an investigation was underway and that he wanted to “avoid” war, but was leaving all options open.

President Trump tweeted Wednesday that he “instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” That’s a good move, but won’t end Iran’s support of terrorist groups and its own aggressive behavior.

The call for increased sanctions makes clear the president is unprepared to renew U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal. That is a sound decision, since Iran understands that deal as immunizing it from sanctions brought on by its disregard of international rules, so long as it adheres to its nuclear promises.

Accepting the nuclear deal on that premise would accept the untenable understanding that it limits Iran’s obligations to a temporary, partial suspension of its nuclear program – while implicitly accepting and funding Iran’s other dangerous activities through the release of some $125 billion in frozen Iranian assets and another $1.5 billion in U.S. cash.

No deal that allowed Iran to assume it was free to continue to violate fundamental sovereign obligations could possibly endure.

The U.S. had tried a milder version of wishful thinking in the Algiers Accords in 1981. Iran returned our diplomats held hostage and we unfroze its U.S. assets and lifted all sanctions. Then too, Iran understood the U.S. government to have accepted a new normal in which Iran could pursue its radical agenda with impunity.

Inevitably, Iranian murders abroad and Revolutionary Guard Corps missiles and mines in the Persian Gulf led the U.S. to again impose sanctions. The nuclear deal is far less defensible than the Algiers Accords in that it lacked legitimacy. It was neither a treaty, nor an executive agreement, nor a commitment approved by domestic law. It never gained majority support in Congress.

But sanctions alone will not demonstrate strength adequate to deter Iran. The U.S. must adopt other measures necessary to achieve that objective.

We failed to do so in response to Iran’s role in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia (killing 19 U.S. airmen and wounding hundreds); or in supplying armor-penetrating weapons to Iran’s Shiite allies in Iraq (enabling them to kill hundreds of Americans); or most recently when Iran shot down a U.S. drone.

Covert measures – such as the Stuxnet computer virus deployed against Iran – can have positive effects; but avowed actions convey clearer messages.

So, what more should the U.S. do now beyond the unspecified sanctions announced by President Trump?

The U.S. knows how to demonstrate proportionate but responsible strength, as it did in negotiating with the Soviets. With Iran, American presidents of both parties have since 1979 negotiated from weakness, relying on empty threats and amateurish initiatives.

Strength need not mean war. But adequate strength to deter a radical agenda is as necessary and potentially effective in dealing with Iran as it was in dealing with the Soviets.

During Operation Praying Mantis in 1988, the U.S. hit several gunboats, warships and planes belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guards have never again fired missiles at U.S. flagged vessels or laid mines in the Gulf.

Similarly, after President George H.W. Bush pushed Iraq out of Kuwait, Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani arranged to release the hostages held in Lebanon. After President George W. Bush attacked Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iran cooperated in establishing a new government. And after the U.S. drove President Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, Iran offered to negotiate with the U.S. on all issues.

As strength, including sanctions, has its impact, the U.S. will have diplomatic options which we should seriously pursue. Negotiating with Iran makes sense, just as negotiating with the Soviet Union did despite its being what President Ronald Reagan called an “Evil Empire.”

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We had opportunities after Praying Mantis and the Afghanistan and Iraqi actions to negotiate, but failed to respond positively. Today direct negotiations with Iran are unlikely. But firmness and creative initiatives could enable the leaders of both nations to engage.

What possible diplomatic steps could be taken?

Once diplomacy becomes feasible, a viable approach could be a process of “conscious parallelism” by which both the U.S. and Iran would take steps towards a better relationship that the other nation would view positively and respond to with comparable steps.

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Working with other nations that were part of the Iran nuclear deal in this process could give the U.S. greater leverage, and an acceptable channel for reciprocal arrangements.

Any such effort would require climbing down from rhetorical confrontation, which may be impossible in today’s political climate. But the pressure for progress grows. And U.S. diplomacy is currently full of surprises. President Trump is wise not to rush into military action. But he cannot succeed if he continues to ignore Iran’s ever-worsening behavior.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087543073001_6087540267001-vs Abraham Sofaer: To deter Iran’s aggressive and dangerous actions, US must show strength fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article Abraham Sofaer 0a44e9c7-d667-55ff-b588-71f967d410f4

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ISIS leader calls for ‘caliphate soldiers’ to free detainees from camps, continue attacks

The leader of the Islamic State, in a new audio recording released Monday, called on members of the extremist group to free detainees and women held in jails and camps by any means necessary.

The purported audio by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 48, wassaid to be his first public statement since April.

<img src="https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2019/09/640/320/AP19259595358347.jpg?ve=1&tl=1" alt="This 2019 image purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed. 
“>

This 2019 image purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed. <br> (Al-Furqan media via AP)

In a 30-minute recording released by the group’s media wing, the shadowy leader asked: “How can a Muslim enjoy life?” when Muslim women are held in camps he called “prisons of humiliation run by Crusaders and their Shiite followers.”

With a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi is the world’s most-wanted man. He is responsible for steering his violent organization into slaughtering opponents and either directing or inspiring terror attacks across continents.

ISIS was defeated in Iraq in 2017, while in Syria, it lost its last territory in March, marking the end of the extremists’ self-declared caliphate. Despite these battlefield defeats, sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in both Iraq and Syria.

In Syria, the centers are controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which spearheaded the fight against ISIS in eastern Syria.

Despite these setbacks, al-Baghdadi accused the U.S. of being war-weary and bragged of the militants’ remaining presence in Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia.

LT. GEN. BOYKIN: DEATH OF BIN LADEN’S SON ‘PSYCHOLOGICAL SETBACK,’ NOT ‘LETHAL BLOW’ TO AL QAEDA

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Al-Baghdadi concluded the message by telling “soldiers and supporters of the Caliphate everywhere” to avoid deviation and asked Allah to grant ISIS victory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19259595358347 ISIS leader calls for ‘caliphate soldiers’ to free detainees from camps, continue attacks fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz b25c56e8-cad3-53c2-a6c5-e72e042cd26c article   Westlake Legal Group AP19259595358347 ISIS leader calls for ‘caliphate soldiers’ to free detainees from camps, continue attacks fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz b25c56e8-cad3-53c2-a6c5-e72e042cd26c article

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Rebecca Grant: After Saudi Arabia is attacked, will US military attack Iran? Here are options

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086400169001_6086400404001-vs Rebecca Grant: After Saudi Arabia is attacked, will US military attack Iran? Here are options Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0a3d3b15-5ea1-53e0-bf96-e95d506410bf

Only the Iranians, the world’s worst diplomats, would mastermind a significant attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities just days before the United Nations General Assembly opens.

Yet that’s what all signs point too. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted after the Saturday attack that “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Iran has the technology to mount such an attack. It has gotten help from Russia and China over the years. And we’ve seen Iran do things like this before.

BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU: ATTACK ON SAUDI OIL FACILITY SHOWS TRUMP WAS RIGHT TO PULL OUT OF IRAN NUKE DEAL

The attack Saturday on the Saudi oil facilities was the second recent strike against the Saudi Aramco oil company. On Aug. 17, 20 drones hit the Shaybah liquid natural gas facility in Saudi Arabia, causing a small fire.

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On Aug. 25, Israel launched a preemptive strike against an Iranian drone base in Syria.

Back in 2017, American F-15 pilots shot down Iranian drones over Syria when the drones tried to bomb U.S. forces working with allies on the ground.

Whatever Iran is up to, the Saudi Aramco strike was a significant escalation. Seventeen points of impact were precisely targeted, U.S. officials said. This surveillance and planning required for this strike were evidence of a whole new level of sophistication.

Oil storage facilities are soft targets. Hit them, spill some fuel, and the result is a really big fire.

Saudi Aramco has been in the oil business for a long time, so pre-surveying the site for target coordinates would not be hard. Still, the accuracy of the strikes suggests advanced help. Russia and China could easily have provided know-how at some point. Or Iran may have used unmanned drones to determine the coordinates.

The Saudi Aramco strike shows Iran can hit other targets throughout the region – directly or by proxy. The Dubai airport, the new nuclear plant under construction in the United Arab Emirates and other Saudi oil infrastructure are all vulnerable to Iran’s drones and cruise missiles.

Right now, the Trump administration is playing it cool. Pompeo and other senior officials are pointing at Iran as being behind the Saturday attack but are keeping American options open. Step 1, of course, is security for our military forces in the region.

U.S. military leaders will certainly review options to strike Iran. That’s their job. Commanders at Central Command must prepare options available to President Trump.

Strikes on a drone base would be one option. So would a limited attack on Iranian oil facilities, like the 1988 strikes by the U.S. Navy on Iranian offshore oil rigs and naval vessels.

Any strike options would be limited and proportional. Most of all, an attack would be carried out only in consultation with Saudi Arabia and other allies – especially Britain, Australia and Bahrain. Those nations are part of Operation Sentinel, the maritime stability force protecting Persian Gulf shipping.

Could the drones and missiles have come from Yemen? Maybe. Iran has been supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war, while a Saudi-led coalition is assisting the government of Yemen.

However, Pompeo’s statement that the attacks did not come from Yemen must be taken seriously. In this case, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other allies have plenty of “eyes in the skies” watching everything that moves over the Persian Gulf region.

U.S. military leaders will certainly review options to strike Iran. That’s their job.

For example, drones and/or cruise missiles inbound from Iran’s coast to Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil facility in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia could have been seen by military forces.

The Iranian cruise missile specter has worried military planners for quite some time. Novator, the Russian company that made the 9M729 missile that led to the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, began marketing the Club-K “cruise missile in a box” several years ago.

This devastating system could hide inside a standard shipping container, giving customers a “long-range precision strike capability to ordinary vehicles that can be moved to almost any place on earth without attracting attention,” venerable Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in 2010.

The point is that Russia, China and others have sold Iran advanced missile technology. And they have been egging Iran on as President Hassan Rouhani plays at nuclear blackmail and refuses to talk.

President Trump need not rush to action. He’s proven to be methodical and cautious with the use of military force. He prefers talks to strikes. A lot hinges on what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chooses to do.

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Here in the U.S., the Strategic Petroleum Reserve gives us ample time for Saudi Aramco to repair damage and restore output. The reserve of over 700 million barrels is stored in salt caves in Texas and Louisiana. It was tapped during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Trump on Sunday authorized the release of oil from the reserve to keep oil markets stable.

To my mind, the pressure is now on the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly, which opens in New York on Tuesday, needs to address Iran’s behavior.

The U.N., after all, is the big honcho behind the Iran nuclear deal. The U.N. also runs the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has confirmed Iran’s nuclear violations.

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The world body shouldn’t focus only on climate change and sustainable development and shirk its core mission of conflict resolution. It will lose a lot of credibility if it can’t deal more effectively with Iran.

One thing is for certain: Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086400169001_6086400404001-vs Rebecca Grant: After Saudi Arabia is attacked, will US military attack Iran? Here are options Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0a3d3b15-5ea1-53e0-bf96-e95d506410bf   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086400169001_6086400404001-vs Rebecca Grant: After Saudi Arabia is attacked, will US military attack Iran? Here are options Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 0a3d3b15-5ea1-53e0-bf96-e95d506410bf

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Behnam Ben Taleblu: Attack on Saudi oil facility shows Trump was right to pull out of Iran nuke deal

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086457485001_6086452566001-vs Behnam Ben Taleblu: Attack on Saudi oil facility shows Trump was right to pull out of Iran nuke deal fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/energy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/columns/counterpoints fox news fnc/opinion fnc c56575f8-5887-55d0-bea0-6d164f098ef6 Behnam Ben Taleblu article

The devastating attack Saturday against a major oil facility in Saudi Arabia dramatically illustrates why the Iran nuclear deal that was accepted by the Obama administration and rejected by President Trump failed to end the Iranian threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.

While the nuclear deal put temporary restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program, it did absolutely nothing to stop Iran’s aggressive conventional and asymmetric military actions against its neighbors and threats against Israel. This is partly why President Trump ultimately withdrew from this deeply flawed agreement.

In fact, the nuclear deal aided Iranian military aggression and support of terrorist groups by lifting international economic sanctions against Iran and freeing up Iranian funds frozen by foreign banks. Iran has supported several terrorist groups in the region, including Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah based in Lebanon, the Palestinian group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip, and the brutal regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

TRUMP: US ‘LOCKED AND LOADED’ AGAINST ATTACKERS OF SAUDI OIL FACILITY ‘DEPENDING ON VERIFICATION’

The attack Saturday on Saudi oil facilities – which temporarily cut Saudi oil production in half – was carried out by either drones or cruise missiles (or a combination of the two), according to news reports. About 5.7 million barrels of crude oil production were interrupted by the Saturday attack, amounting to more than 5 percent of the world’s daily oil supply.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet Saturday that “Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia … Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

And President Trump tweeted Sunday night: “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

The president notably refrained from saying who the U.S. government believes is responsible for the attack on Saudi Arabia, but U.S. officials previously pointed to Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is playing a game of three-dimensional chess against the U.S. and its regional partners – a game aiming to induce weakness and irresolution in the face of the Iranian challenge.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are claiming credit for the strike against the Saudi oil facilities. However, satellite photos released by the U.S. government showed at least “17 points of impact” that officials said indicated the attack came from the direction of Iran or Iraq rather than the Houthi’s home base of Yemen.

Iranian officials denied their government was responsible for the strikes against Saudi Arabia.

In late 2014, the Houthis burst forth from their stronghold in northern Yemen, conquered the capital city of Sanaa, and plunged the Arab world’s poorest country into deep chaos. Since then, humanitarian suffering caused by the Houthi insurgency has mushroomed across the nation on a medieval scale.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a multinational military coalition to restore the U.N.-backed government in Yemen. The Saudis prosecution of the war has made their nation the primary target of international criticism – even as Saudi bases, cities, airports and oil installations come under attack from Houthi rockets, missiles and drones.

Other foreign belligerents have mostly escaped blame.

Iran’s involvement in Yemen is more nefarious. Tehran seeks to co-opt the Houthi insurgency into a tool with which to bleed and bludgeon its regional rival, Saudi Arabia. This competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a struggle for both the sacred and profane: for leadership of the Muslim world, for individual Muslim hearts and minds, for the Middle East regional balance, and for oil.

Iran has provided the Houthis with anti-tank missiles, ballistic missiles of varying ranges, cruise missiles, and suicide drones – which can function as cruise missiles. As a result, Iran has been able to grow the long-arm of Houthi military capabilities, and at a low cost to Iran.

Iranian-supplied weapons allow the Houthi insurgents to strike at the Saudi heartland from a distance and respond to battlefield developments at a time and place of their own choosing.

In additions to the tweets from Pompeo and Trump,

There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.elsewhere on Twitter, there has been increased chatter about, and even video alleging, that the strikes on Saudi Arabia originated in Iraq. If that were the case, Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq, which are part of Tehran’s broad proxy network across the Middle East, would be to blame rather than the Houthis.

Should the thesis of Iraqi involvement hold, it would be a measure of the Houthis’ deference to Iran that they claimed credit for an attack they did not carry out.

It would also be an indicator of Tehran’s tolerance for risk and retaliation in places like Yemen – which is far away, unlike Iraq, which is right next door to Iran.

Conversely, should Iran have launched cruise missiles from its own territory – which is less likely – it would mean Tehran is confident that its adversaries would not respond using military force against the origin of the strikes.

While Iran is known as a ballistic missile powerhouse in the region, copies of its cruise missiles are increasingly winding up in the hands of terrorist groups, be they anti-ship variants with Hezbollah in Lebanon or land-attack cruise missiles with the Houthis in Yemen.

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Either way, the launching of cruise missiles and/or drones at a vital artery of the international economy conveys a broader strategic point: Iran’s threats to oil shipping are not limited to the Strait of Hormuz, where over one-fifth of seaborne traded oil passes daily. This signifies that the regime is comfortable broadening the scope of its harassment from oil tankers at sea to oil installations on land. Consider this an attempt to make good on old threats.

With the blaze of Saudi oil facilities in hindsight, the priority for Washington should not be to covet a high-level meeting with the Islamic Republic on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in coming days. It must be how better to contest Iran’s asymmetric military capabilities, as well as those of its proxies and partners in the region.

Since May, Washington has been hardening and growing its military footprint in the region through enhanced deployments. This process, as well as tough sanctions, should continue.

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Slowing economic pressure, recalling assets – or worse, talking to Tehran only about the nuclear issue – would replicate the mistakes that got the U.S. into the flawed 2015 nuclear deal, which in turn underwrote the expansion of Iran’s regional threat network.

The Trump administration should not make the same mistake as the Obama administration, and should instead continue to hold Iran accountable for its latest hostile actions.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086457485001_6086452566001-vs Behnam Ben Taleblu: Attack on Saudi oil facility shows Trump was right to pull out of Iran nuke deal fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/energy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/columns/counterpoints fox news fnc/opinion fnc c56575f8-5887-55d0-bea0-6d164f098ef6 Behnam Ben Taleblu article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6086457485001_6086452566001-vs Behnam Ben Taleblu: Attack on Saudi oil facility shows Trump was right to pull out of Iran nuke deal fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/energy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/columns/counterpoints fox news fnc/opinion fnc c56575f8-5887-55d0-bea0-6d164f098ef6 Behnam Ben Taleblu article

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James Carafano: US killing of Hamza bin Laden sends important message to terrorists

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-141985b19ff345ff811c21eb6918588c James Carafano: US killing of Hamza bin Laden sends important message to terrorists James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/transcript fnc article 161566db-f81e-56b9-82af-5a4cc90a1244

Usama bin Laden’s son Hamza was reportedly one of 56 children of the Al Qaeda leader and joined the family business of terrorism and murder. President Trump confirmed Saturday that Hamza followed in his father’s footsteps to the bitter end, dying in a U.S. counterterrorism raid.

Usama bin Laden, who ordered the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people, was killed in a raid in Pakistan by Navy SEALS in 2011.

Hamza bin Laden, believed to be about 30, was rather special. He had been promoted as a significant leader in Al Qaeda and was a poster child for a promising future for the transnational terrorist organization.

JIM HANSON: KILLING OF HAMZA BIN LADEN STRENGTHENS CASE FOR WITHDRAWING MOST US FORCES FROM AFGHANISTAN

But Hamza won’t have the opportunity to wage jihad any longer.

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Hamza “was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region,” President Trump said in a statement, pointedly not identifying which country.

“The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the president added. “Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.”

The killing of the younger bin Laden reminds us once again that the fight against transnational terrorism – which includes Al Qaeda, ISIS and many other groups – is not yet over. Taking out terrorist leaders and high-profile assets remains an important tactic in the ongoing battle to diminish the threat.

What many are puzzling over is why President Trump chose to talk about Hamza’s killing Saturday – since the news was first reported in July.

Hearing that Hamza suffered the same fate as his father reminds people that our government is still on the case of the terrorists who would be happy to attack us again. 

Hamza’s death was certainly newsworthy and kind of a big deal. Calling attention to his death while the memory of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is still fresh on American minds may help reassure folks that our government hasn’t forgotten who took down the Twin Towers.

And no, it wasn’t some magical self-aiming airplanes that hit the World Trade Center, as The New York Times would have us believe.

Hearing that Hamza suffered the same fate as his father reminds people that our government is still on the case of the terrorists who would be happy to attack us again.

In the wake of the recent controversy involving the Taliban terrorists who gave Al Qaeda a safe haven when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan before 9/11, perhaps Trump wanted to make the point he has not misplaced his priorities in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

The president was criticized by some for even thinking about bringing the Taliban to Camp David last weekend for peace negotiations, just days before the 9/11 anniversary.

It makes no sense to suggest that President Trump wanted to negotiate with the Taliban a week ago to dishonor the memory of the victims of 9/11. He is a native New Yorker and lived not far from the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. Al Qaeda would have been happy to murder him and his family along with all its other innocent victims.

There was logic to trying to bring both the Afghan government and the Taliban terrorists together to Camp David. Trump had still not seen the final proposed peace deal that was being put on the table and it was still an open question whether he would have signed off.

But a peace deal made no sense unless the U.S. made clear it was a deal for a peace that was conditions-based, not a green light for the Taliban to overrun Afghanistan – which is what the Taliban want to do.

In bringing both sides to Camp David, Trump could have used the symbolism of the Camp David accords and the Israeli-Egyptian peace process, reminding both sides that the U.S. expectation was that this would be the beginning of a real peace process.

But Trump was dead right to pull the plug on the meeting and put the peace initiative on hold when the Taliban launched an attack killing an American serviceman. Message to the Taliban: Don’t call until you are ready to take the peace process seriously.

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Last week also brought another development on the foreign policy front: the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Many wondered what effect – if any – that might have on for future U.S. foreign and security policy. Trump’s reminder of Hamza bin Laden’s demise may be his way of signaling the answer is “not much.” It certainly suggests that the president has no interest in going soft on terrorism.

Trump’s foreign policy has always been Trump’s foreign policy. If it’s tough, it’s because he is tough. If we are taking out terrorists, it’s because he wants our side to be taking out terrorists. He doesn’t need a national security adviser to give him a backbone.

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Trump is also not afraid to engage in diplomacy and do a deal – if there is a good deal to be done, which means a deal that safeguards and protects America’s interests.

Hamza bin Laden is dead because he threatened America and got in Trump’s way. That’s something America’s enemies would be wise to remember.

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Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-141985b19ff345ff811c21eb6918588c James Carafano: US killing of Hamza bin Laden sends important message to terrorists James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/transcript fnc article 161566db-f81e-56b9-82af-5a4cc90a1244   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-141985b19ff345ff811c21eb6918588c James Carafano: US killing of Hamza bin Laden sends important message to terrorists James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/transcript fnc article 161566db-f81e-56b9-82af-5a4cc90a1244

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Lt. Gen. Boykin: Death of Bin Laden’s son ‘psychological setback,’ not ‘lethal blow’ to Al Qaeda

Westlake Legal Group Jerry-Boykin-Hamza-Bin-Laden-FOX Lt. Gen. Boykin: Death of Bin Laden's son 'psychological setback,' not 'lethal blow' to Al Qaeda Sam Dorman fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 62bce6de-d983-5c22-9778-87391337ecf1

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin said on Saturday that the death of Hamza Bin Laden, the son of terrorist leader Usama Bin Laden, was a “psychological” set back for Al Qaeda.

“I think that it’s more of a psychological setback than an operational setback for Al Qaeda — and it’s also a psychological victory for the United States,” he said on “Your World.

Boykin noted that Bin Laden’s son was not the leader of Al Qaeda but rather acted as a “go-between” for Al Qaeda and other terror groups. “This probably happened over a year ago so it’s not a lethal blow,” he added.

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In a statement released by the White House on Saturday morning, three days after the 18th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, President Trump confirmed Hamza, a high-ranking Al Qaeda member, “was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.”

BIN LADEN’S SON HAMZA WAS KILLED IN COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATION, PRESIDENT TRUMP CONFIRMS

“The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group,” the statement continued. “Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups.”

It was unclear when the operation took place. The White House statement gave no further details.

Reports of Hamza’s death first surfaced in July. President Trump and U.S. officials had refused to comment on the death until Saturday’s statement.

News of Hamza Bin Laden’s death comes at a time of transition for U.S. foreign policy as former National Security Adviser John Bolton left the administration on Tuesday.

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Boykin wasn’t surprised by Bolton’s departure and told Fox News host Neil Cavuto that Bolton had “some good ideas.”

“But I knew when he went into that job that he was not going to stay because he has an irascible personality and that bumped up the same personality in Donald Trump,” he said.

Fox News’ Lucia Suarez Sang and Hollie McKay contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Jerry-Boykin-Hamza-Bin-Laden-FOX Lt. Gen. Boykin: Death of Bin Laden's son 'psychological setback,' not 'lethal blow' to Al Qaeda Sam Dorman fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 62bce6de-d983-5c22-9778-87391337ecf1   Westlake Legal Group Jerry-Boykin-Hamza-Bin-Laden-FOX Lt. Gen. Boykin: Death of Bin Laden's son 'psychological setback,' not 'lethal blow' to Al Qaeda Sam Dorman fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 62bce6de-d983-5c22-9778-87391337ecf1

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