(TMU) — While normal life is on hold for many people around the world, the war machine is showing no signs of slowing down. In Somalia, where most Americans don’t even realize that military operations are taking place, U.S.-led airstrikes have hit an all-time high in the country since the start of the year.
AFRICOM, the U.S. military branch in charge of operations in Africa, has formally admitted to 39 airstrikes in Somalia this year, which is the most intense streak of bombings that the region has seen since the US military began its attacks on the region over ten years ago.
Despite his campaign promises to scale back undeclared wars, airstrikes in Somalia have significantly increased under the leadership of Donald Trump. Barack Obama, who greatly expanded on the Bush “war on terror” oversaw 36 airstrikes between 2009 and 2017. Last year alone there were record 63 airstrikes in the country, and the U.S. military is set to surpass that number very quickly this year.
It is not just airstrikes in Somalia either, there are hundreds of U.S. troops stationed in the country, carrying out attacks from the five American military bases that are operational in the country. According to a report from the Intercept last week, the U.S. military plans to expand the number of bases that they have in the region.
These attacks come during a time when the United Nations has called for a global ceasefire because the ongoing pandemic and subsequent food shortages already have many societies on the brink of collapse.
In a statement earlier this month, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said, “There should be only one fight in our world today, our shared battle against COVID-19. We must mobilize every ounce of energy to defeat it.”
Also, the director of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, warned this month that global conflicts will compound the dangers of the pandemic, especially in areas like Africa and the Middle East, leading to “food shortages of biblical proportions.”
The U.S. State Department recognized the U.N. ceasefire recommendation in a recent comment to Foreign Policy magazine, but essentially said that they were going to go forward with their military conquests anyway.
“The United States supports the secretary-general’s call for a global ceasefire, but have noted that we will continue to fulfill our legitimate counter-terrorism mission,” a State Department representative told Foreign Policy.
Representatives for the U.S. military insist that they are only targeting terrorists. However, regardless of who the intended targets may be, civilians continue to die and lose their homes in these airstrikes. In fact, just this week AFRICOM admitted that civilians were killed in Somalia during airstrikes last year.
This is a rare admission on the part of the U.S. military, who makes little mention of the civilian deaths they are responsible for overseas.
It is not clear whether or not any civilians were hurt in the airstrikes this year, but whatever civilian casualty numbers are revealed to the public are likely to be an underestimation of the real numbers.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.