Iraq urges U.S. to send ground troops as ISIS jihadists close in on Baghdad


Originally posted on National Post | News:

Iraqi officials issued a desperate plea Saturday night for America to provide ground troops, as heavily armed ISIS jihadists came within striking distance of Baghdad.

[np_storybar title="Conrad Black: Fixing the Middle East, for now and forever" link="http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/10/11/conrad-black-fixing-the-middle-east-for-now-and-forever/"]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird are certainly correct to support Canada’s traditional allies in attacking the Islamic State (IS). It is such an unspeakably odious organization that it is beyond normal political discourse and as many as possible of its active adherents should be killed or otherwise eliminated as quickly as possible. Further, anything that seems to reactivate the Western Alliance, the most successful in world history, is a good thing. It has recently fallen to a somnolent condition even less fearsome than the former “coalition of the willing,” i.e. we’ll do it if we’re threatened ourselves but otherwise we’ll just be happy with a U.S guaranty of our…

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Vladimir Putin orders 17,600 Russian troops to leave posts near Ukrainian border


Originally posted on National Post | News:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border to return to their usual bases, according to his spokesman.

Dmitry Peskov told Russian news outlets late Saturday in Sochi that Putin had ordered approximately 17,600 troops to return home from Rostov, a southern region that borders east Ukraine, where pro-Russian insurgents have been battling government troops since April.

The Kremlin has said that troops stationed in Rostov were participating in drills, but Ukraine and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of fueling the insurgency with arms, expertise, and fighters, and have slapped Moscow with sanctions in response to its moves in the region.

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Previous Russian claims of troop withdrawals have been countered by NATO. In March, Russia announced a troop withdrawal of only one battalion – a unit of about 500 – while NATO insisted that tens of thousands remained near the border.

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