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Have a safe and happy Memorial Day

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

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US Allied Forces Launch Operation to Liberate Raqqa

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have launched an operation to capture areas north of Raqqa, the Syrian de-facto capital of Islamic State, with the aim of eventually liberating the city.

The U.S. allied group made the announcement in a video statement posted online Tuesday. “We’re launching this campaign with the help of [U.S.-led] coalition forces in northern Raqqa,” said Rojda Felat, a female Kurdish commander.

A senior SDF commander told VOA his forces are advancing from three different directions. "[Kurdish] YPG tanks and other heavy weaponry have been deployed," he said.

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IS Using Civilians as Human Shields in Fallujah

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

Iraqi forces backed by an assortment of Shi'ite militias, have faced harsh resistance in their multi-sided offensive to retake Fallujah from Islamic State extremists who have controlled the city since 2014.
 
Humanitarian agencies are concerned the battle could come at a high human cost, as IS is using civilians as human shields and reportedly preventing families from fleeing the fighting.
 
Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the offensive earlier this week, vowing the Iraqi flag would soon be flying over the city.

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NASA Chief: Congress Should Revise US-China Space Cooperation Law

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

NASA says the U.S. can someday cooperate with China as it did with the Soviet Union on the Apollo-Soyuz joint project in 1975.

Responding to questions Monday at an event hosted by the Mitchell Institute on Capitol Hill, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the U.S. should pursue such a relationship with China in human space exploration.

"We were in an incredible Cold War with the Soviets at the time we flew Apollo-Soyuz; it was because leaders in both nations felt it was time," he said. "That represented a great use of soft power, if you will. Look where we are today. I think we will get there [with China]. And I think it is necessary."

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Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

Published by: American Security Council Foundation ASCF

The May 17 start of construction on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) marks the beginning of a new phase in increasing diversification of European energy supplies. However, analysts say Europe must do more than merely increase supply to truly establish greater energy independence.

The TAP pipeline is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor. Its supporters claim the pipeline will improve European energy security and lessen Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Detractors, however, say the project is largely symbolic, with little impact on overall European energy supply.

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