US weighs ‘hundreds more military advisers’ for Iraq

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday night that the Obama administration was considering a Pentagon plan to send hundreds of military “advisers” to Iraq to help local forces retake the city of Ramadi. The US is also planning to establish a new military base in Anbar province. According to the NYT:

Although a final decision by the White House has yet to be announced, the plan follows months of behind-the-scenes debate about what strategy the American-led coalition should pursue in Iraq. It represents a detour from longstanding plans to recapture Mosul this year. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province in northern Iraq, which was taken by Islamic State militants last year.

But the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State last month effectively settled the administration debate, at least for the time being. American officials said Anbar is now expected to become the focus of a long campaign that will seek to regain Mosul at a later stage, probably not until 2016.

Tuesday marked one year that Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has been under ISIS control.

Foreign Policy magazine looks at one of the basic problems opponents of ISIS face, even when an air campaign appears to be successful:


* POLITICS * Jeb Bush continues his trip to Europe on Wednesday with a visit to Warsaw. In Germany on Tuesday he tried to emphasize, as The Guardian reports, his father’s role in the Cold War rather than his brother’s role in the Iraq War. The first speech of the candidate-in-waiting’s tour (he is expected to join the race on Monday) came as George W Bush’s former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was pushing back over comments in a recent interview he gave to The Times.

After reporting on Marco Rubio’s traffic tickets, the New York Times picks at the Florida Senator’s finances, but it doesn’t seem clear whether there’s any there there. At least as far as the story about his boat goes.

William Leitch at Bloomberg wonders “Did the New York Times just make Marco Rubio a lot more relatable?” While Chris Hayes just tweets:

Elsewhere, bachelor Lindsey Graham is apparently promising a “rotating First Lady” if he wins, while Rick Santorum seemed to be taking retail politics to its logical conclusion in Iowa the other day, as just one person showed up for a campaign appearance. The candidate and his guest/audience, the chair of the local county Republican party, chatted for about 10 minutes, but he couldn’t close the sale. Peggy Toft told Politico

…she is “leaning” toward supporting Santorum but has not yet made a decision about whom she would support in the caucus.

“I feel like I have to get all of the facts,” she said.

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty in Chicago on Tuesday to federal charges of attempting to conceal large cash transactions and lying to the FBI.


* WORLD * South Korea reported two more MERS deaths, and an increase in the number of new cases. President Park Geun-Hye postponed a visit to the US this coming weekend, in order to deal with the outbreak. Reuters said public alarm is growing, with more than 2,000 schools now closed and other countries in the region issuing travel advisories against visits to South Korea.

While this wedding photo quickly went viral – excuse the pun – supposedly as a visual representation of the general public mood, AFP reports that “the couple’s wedding planner said the picture was not meant to be taken seriously and added that the couple — currently on honeymoon — had been taken aback by the publicity.”

Britain’s parliament overwhelmingly backed plans for a referendum on the county’s future relationship with the European Union. The BBC reports that “Prime Minister David Cameron, who first promised a referendum in 2013, has pledged to negotiate a “better deal” for the UK in Europe in advance of the vote – to be held by the end of 2017 at the latest.”

The hunt continues for two escaped prisoners in upstate New York, with a possible sighting in a small town in the foothills of the Adirondacks. Meanwhile, maybe that whole “Shawshank” angle has run its course…


* BUSINESS * Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space X “has asked the federal government for permission to begin testing on an ambitious project to beam Internet service from space,” the Washington Post reports.

The plan calls for launching a constellation of 4,000 small and cheap satellites that will beam high-speed Internet signals to all parts of the globe, including its most remote regions. Musk has said the effort “would be like rebuilding the Internet in space.”

If successful, the attempt could transform the L.A.-based SpaceX from a pure rocket company into a massive high-speed Internet provider that would take on major companies in the developed world but also make first-time customers out of the billions of people who are currently not online.


* SPORTS * San Francisco Giants’ rookie pitcher Chris Heston threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets in a 5-0 win at Citi Field. He is the first Giants pitcher to throw a no-hitter in New York since Carl Hubbell at the Polo Grounds in 1929.

Giants’ catcher Buster Posey has now caught three no-hitters and three World Series clinching games. Not bad.


* MEDIA * James Warren at Poynter looks at some questions raised by Apple’s new news-reading app, News, and what it means for news organizations – Apple partners or not. He writes:

Ken Doctor, a media analyst in Santa Cruz, California, points to the changes in consumption represented by the Apple deal as an ongoing journey, not a cliff we’re suddenly vaulting over. It’s a “dual world where readers will continue to read on big news brands — new and old — and will read on other distribution platforms like Facebook and Apple.”

Andrew Rice at Wired tells the story of the reborn World Trade Center and the building that is set to become the new headquarters for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and NewsCorp, the first renderings of which were released to Wired on Tuesday.

And finally, Vincent “Vinnie” Musetto, responsible for what is probably American journalism’s best-known newspaper headline, passed away aged 74. The AP writes that “Musetto said in a 1987 interview with People magazine the killing and decapitation were known early in the reporting process but staffers had to confirm the topless dancing occurred at the bar.”


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