Afghanistan

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Al Qaeda Militants Capture US Black Hawk Helicopters In Iraq





Just when one thought US foreign policy couldn't sink any deeper into the hole of its embarrassment, it takes out a shovel and starts digging. Overnight, in what AP describes as a stunning assault that exposed Iraq's eroding central authority, Al Qaida-inspired militants from ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government buildings, pushing out security forces and capturing military vehicles as thousands of residents fled the second-largest city. But the worst news by far for the US is that as a result of the takeover of Mosul by ISIS forces, an unknown number, and at least one, US ultramodern Blackhawk and Kiowa helicopters parked at the Mosul airport, are now in, you guessed it, Al Qaeda hands.

 
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Two-Thirds Of Americans Do Not Back Obama's Decision On Bergdahl





In a week dominated by headlines of heroes and D-Day celebrations, we suspect President Obama was hoping for a patriotic bump in his ratings... but as The Hill reports, people in the United States say President Obama paid too high a price for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and largely disapprove of the administration’s handling of the swap, according to a pair of new polls. Only 34% of those polled (by USA Today/ Pew) backed Obama's decision as 'the right thing' but more crucially, it appears the President's ongoing push towards tyranny that is most worrisome as 72% said Obama should have informed Congress before making the deal.

 
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B-1 Stealth Bomber "Friendly Fire" Strike Kills 5 US Soldiers In Afghanistan





It seems President Obama's "pullback" is not going as planned in Afghanistan. NBC News reports 5 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan may have been the victims of a friendly-fire incident. American and Afghan troops were conducting security sweeps on polling sites ahead of this weekend's run-off for the Afghan presidential election when they came under attack from Taliban forces. The Americans called in an airstrike amid fierce fighting and, according to U.S. officials, the B-1 Stealth Bomber strike somehow went terribly awry.

 
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Frontrunning: June 5





  • Inside the White House's decision to free Bergdahl (Reuters)
  • Dimon’s Raise Haunts BNP Paribas as U.S. Weighs $10 Billion Fine (BBG)
  • Jobs Are on the Line as Banks' Revenue Slides (WSJ)
  • Wall Street Adjusts to the New Trading Normal (WSJ)
  • Nothing like objective, intense probes: GM recall probe to clear senior execs, finds no concerted coverup (Reuters)
  • ECB ready to cut rates and push banks into lending to boost euro zone economy (Reuters)
  • China Should Resist Further Stimulus, IMF Says (BBG)
  • Carney Finds Ally in Draghi as Key Rate Kept at 0.5% (BBG)
  • Assad wins Syria election with 88.7 percent of votes (Reuters)
 
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Guest Post: Afghanistan - Obama's War





Last week, when President Obama made his trip to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, he claimed that "America's war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end." This turned out to be the greatest applause line of his speech. With his assertion, Obama, in effect, declared himself the hero of the Afghan war -- the one who put an end to that nightmare. But what Obama failed to mention was that it was his war, and that nothing but unattractive scenarios lie ahead for that war-torn state.

 
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Bergdahl's Homecoming Celebration Cancelled Amid Allegations Of Desertion





Amid a rising backlash and assertions of desertion, a rally in US Army Sgt. Gowe Bergdahl's Idaho hometown - celebrating his release after 5 years of 'captivity' - has been canceled. The small mountain community's city administrator, Heather Dawson said town officials called off the June 28 rally, because the town "will be unable to safely manage the number of people expected," but residents of Hailey say they will support Bergdahl either way when he returns.

 
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Taliban Release Video Of Bergdahl Exchange





Whether or not Obama made a huge political gaffe by secretly arranging the Qatar-mediated exchange of Bowe Bergdahl, who some 16,000 Americans have petitioned should be court-martialed for walking away from his post in 2009, for 5 Taliban leaders remains to be seen. To be sure republicans have jumped on the blunder and especially the hawks within the GOP are now "tag-teaming" the issues of Benghazi and Bergdahl with the intent of painting will Obama "as an appeaser, and a negotiator-with-terrorists" as The Nation reports. In any case, if Obama was hoping to use the Bergdahl exchange as a marker of successful foreign policy, he is suddenly caught flat-footed. What won't help the president's case of promptly sweeping this latest scandal under the rug, is a clip such as this one, released earlier today by the Taliban showing the handover of the prisoner of war to US forces.

 
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Equity Algos Await Seasonally Adjusted Data Dump Before Today's Buying Spree





If yesterday's non-record, red-tick close can be attributed to algos applying the wrong ISM seasonal factor to the day, believing it was Wednesday instead of the permabullish Tuesday, today there is no such excuse, which is why we fully expect the unallowed redness with which futures are currently trading to promptly morph into a non-red color especially with the USDJPY doing it best to ramp to 103.000 levels overnight, stopping out all shorts, and push spoos to fresh record highs. It is an algo world after all.  It appears that already record low volatility is being pushed even lower in anticipation of numerous imminent data releases, including today's ADP and Services ISM (first, second and final release), tomorrow's ECB announcement and Friday's payrolls number. Which while good for low volume levitation means bank trading revenues continue to deteriorate forcing banks to pitch M&A deals to clients, which in turn result in even more synergies and more layoffs: because in order to preserve the bottom line, crushing real employment further is perfectly acceptable collateral damage.

 
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Does The US Negotiate With Terrorists?





It was a good weekend for the friends and family of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: after five years of being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, on Saturday morning it was reported that the 28-year-old native of Hailey, Idaho was finally freed. In exchange for his freedom, the US agreed to also set free five Taliban militants held at Guantanamo. In other words, this was a pre-negotiated settlement or, stated otherwise, a negotiation.  Adding fuel to the fire is the realization that Obama was transacting largely alone: instead of abiding by a legal requirement to give Congress advance notice when prisoners are released from the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Obama once again took unilateral action. Actually it wasn't completely unilateral: it was revealed that the deal was bartered by America's new middle east BFFs (courtesy of the false flagged Syria conflict): officials from Qatar who agreed to keep the detainees in their country for a year.

And then the media circus took over.

 
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The Unfaithful Departed: Meet The People Who Bailed On The Obama Administration





Friday's latest resignation of yet another former Obama administration faithful - that of White House press secretary Jay Carney - got us thinking: how many people have jumped off the USS Obamic? The answer is, in short, a lot. Below is a list (by no means complete) of the most prominent officials and advisors who have quietly exited the Obama administration stage left over the past 6 years.

 
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America's Job Is Done In Afghanistan





Mission Accomplished... Moments ago Obama proudly announced that America's job in Afghanistan is done. Heroin users and dealers around the world agree.

 
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Obama Tells Afghanistan "If You Like The US Troops In Your Country, You Can Keep 9800 Of Them" - Live Feed





This should be good - President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Tuesday that the United States plans to keep just under 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after this year, if the Afghan government signs a security agreement.

 
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Obama Administration Exposes Kabul CIA Chief Accidentally, Media Shrugs





Another day, another fumble by the Obama administration (intentional or not). 11 years after former CIA operative Valerie Plame was deliberately exposed by the Bush administration as the US officials tried to apply pressure on her husband, an American diplomat criticizing the US invasion to Iraq; the Obama Administration's press service unwittingly put the real name of the CIA's top spy in Afghanistan on the 'pool report' distributed to over 6,000 journalists. The Washington Post were the first to discover the FUBAR and while the CIA and White House had 'no comment', they warned that the officer and his family could be at risk if the name were published.

 
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President Obama Speaks At Arlington - Live Feed





On this day when we should never forget, we are sure President Obama, fresh from his surprise snubbing of Karzai in Afghanistan, will try his best to remember who was in charge (and ultimately accountable) when the VA scandal broke.

 
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China's Anti-Terrorism Challenge





After another, even deadlier, terrorist attack in Urumqi, Beijing must reevaluate its anti-terrorism strategy.

 
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