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    • Russia Steps To Center Stage   Moscow- In what could be seen as a predictable outcome, Russia finds itself at the fulcrum of peace and conflict in Asia. You'll remember the crickets from America and Japan after word came down that Japan was attempting to build a naval base Senkaku Islands. Virtual silence from the Fitzgerald Administration except for a speech that angered many in Japan for it's hostile rhetoric towards what was becoming a withering partnership. Along came Russia, and amazingly, they stepped into the breach. Talks of future cooperation came to fruition and suddenly Japan and Russia had what appeared to be a deal in which ultimately Russia would help Japan build said Naval Base, which not only put a thumb in the eye of one of its global rivals, in China, but also pulled in close a new potential technological ally in the Abe Japanese Government. Well, fast forward to today, and it appears as though talks between Russia and China, as well as Russia playing intermediary between China and Japan have yielded a startling deal: First, Japan will cease construction of their Naval Base, thereby continuing to give China control over the largest sea trade lanes in the world. Second, Russia will supply Japan with cheap oil and will help Japan press forward with a mutual exploration mission between Rosneft PJSC and a consortium of Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp., in the ocean off the Russian Far East. This venture was opposed by the United States, and to this point Japan complied, but now they have decided to forgo America's wishes. Third, China and Japan now hold 92% of all known rare earth metals in the world and have decided to create what amounts to an OPEC of rare earth metals, with Japan receiving 56% of the profits from that partnership. And that cash will be used by Japan to increase the size of its defense force. The deal was struck several weeks ago as talks heated up and as Vladimir Putin played global ambassador in what sounds almost too crazy to believe. And so what to make of this in America. First, this move raises Putin's profile in the world as a man who can creatively work to solve problems that further his self-interest. The move is certainly one President Fitzgerald proved incapable of making. Second, it's a slap in the face of the United States and its Treasury Department as they stood strongly opposed to the oil deal about to take place. The fact that Japan is attempting to be little-brother no more is something that is bringing pride to Japan, but at the cost of hurting its relationship with longtime ally, the United States. Lastly, the rare earth metal development is a disaster for America. Already, America was buying almost all of it's metals from China at a fairly steep price. Japan's find would normally have been a huge boon for America as one would expect the price to drop, or even, for America to use Japan as it's main supplier. This move, however, puts America squarely in the cross hairs of what could be some serious price gouging and some hardball on a level not seen to this point. Winners: Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Japan Oil and Gas, Chinese control over shipping Losers: Former Secretary of State Spencer Blenheim, President Fitzgerald, Japanese doves
    • Fitzy and US GI's kicking the $hit out of ISIS, but it's moving a bit slower than I'd expect. Certainly not something to be too worried about....I hope #FitzyWinsISIS #RedWHiteBLuE
    • U.S. Departs-Islamic Jihad Union Fills The Void Kabul- It has been months since the Fitzgerald Administration has completed their draw down in Afghanistan, declaring that the time to head home was long past due. Having defeated remnants of the Taliban, and al Qaeda the war in Afghanistan could be seen as nothing-more than a success....granted a success long in the making. Policy that was seen positively back home has been disasterous for moderates in Afghanistan. They are called the Islamic Jihad Union. The IJU is a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and a substantial number of its members are from Central Asia. Prior to the Pakistani Army’s offensive in North Waziristan that began in June 2014, the IJU was based in Mir Ali. The IJU has been waging jihad in the Afghan-Pakistan region for more than a decade. It maintains close ties with al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. The US government listed the group as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization in May 2005. Its members who are in custody “have testified to the close ties between the [IJU] leaders and Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar,” the US State department said in its designation. Their strength has grown at an alarming rate in the past year, but they wisely laid in wait and did not devote many resources to battles that could certainly never be won. Slowly putting in a place a recruitment infrastructure they took at advantage of the disintegration Taliban forces and those loyal to that cause. In that way, ironically, the success of the Fitzgerald policy against the Taliban and Al Qaeda was the fuel that helped supercharge the IJU. Knowing that the American presence was disappearing, the IJU has sprung to life. In a relatively short period of time they have captured several strategic outposts in Kunduz and Fayzabad. In a newly released video, the Islamic Jihad Union showcased a joint raid with some surviving Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan. The video, takes place in northern Afghanistan, but no specific location is mentioned. The short video begins by showing the jihadists preparing for the military raid and driving through a remote Afghan village. A clash with Afghan forces, the majority which occurred at night, is featured. During the aftermath of the assault, a fighter is seen climbing a tower to place the Taliban’s white flag. Fighters are then seen parading and celebrating with captured equipment. This includes several captured US-made Humvees. Like other foreign terrorist groups that operate in Afghanistan, the IJU claims to run training camps in the country. Late last year, the IJU released a training camp video of its so-called special forces, which was also located in northern Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban has denied that foreign groups operate in the country or that foreign fighters are in its ranks. However, propaganda released by its own battlefield allies disproves the Taliban’s statements. Their tactics are barbaric and even more depraved than ISIS. They also appear to have learned much from ISIS in terms of online technology as a tool to recruit. Already, the IJU established the German Mujahideen and the Victorious Sect to accommodate an recent small influx of European jihadists. It is feared many more are on the way. If Islamic terror is a virus, it appears like the virus, on the brink of death, survived long enough to evolve...and to metastasize into something wholly fear provoking.  
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