In one of the more surprising musical appearances of the year, country singer Toby Keith—famous for songs such as “Whiskey Girl,” “Drunk Americans” and “I Love This Bar”—will play at a men-only concert in Saudi Arabia while President Donald Trump is in the country.
The artist, known for his patriotic songs and lyrics about America’s drinking culture, is to play in Riyadh Saturday, despite the kingdom’s outlawing of the drinking of alcohol, mixing of sexes in public and status as the ultraconservative heart of the Islamic world.
Keith will play after Trump delivers a speech on Islam in the Saudi capital, viewed as his version of Barack Obama’s speech to the Islamic world from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in 2009.
His publicist, Elaine Schock, confirmed the performance to NBC News but would not comment on its male-only restrictions. She said Saudi Arabia’s Middle East Broadcasting Center organized the performance.
Keith has performed for American troops overseas and played Trump’s “Make America Great Again!” welcome ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial ahead of his inauguration, whichmany other artists had declined.
The concert will be only for men over the age of 21 and include a performance from popular Saudi singer and lute artist Rabeh Sager, according to Saudi entertainment website Lammt. The site says the event will be free, but attendees will have to meet a formal dress code.
It remains unclear if Keith will play some of the songs diametrically opposed to Saudi culture and if Trump will be in attendance or not. A representative from the Trump administration had not responded to a Newsweek request for comment at the time of writing.
Whether the concert was arranged to coincide with Trump’s visit also remains unknown, but it will be Keith’s first time performing in the country.
The country’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al Sheikh, opposes public concerts in the kingdom, as they have the potential to open the door to the mixing of sexes, he has said in previous comments.
Public shows are usually banned in Saudi Arabia, according to Arab news site Al Bawaba, but Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading reforms as part of his Vision 2030 blueprint for the country and has permitted some concerts to take place.
Trump is traveling to Riyadh in his first foreign trip as president on Friday afternoon. It is a coup for the Gulf kingdom’s ruling monarchy, who wish to promote the country as the most important country in the Islamic world, where it is at loggerheads with Iran, its Shiite rival and regional powerhouse.
After the visit, Trump will travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Vatican and Brussels for a NATO summit.
Iraqi forces regained control of two military airports west of the city of Mosul in the province of Nineveh from the control of terrorists, “Daash”.
“Popular forces have regained control of Washington’s military airport west of the city of Mosul,” the leader of the popular crowd, Sami al-Masoudi, was quoted as saying in a statement, pointing to his great importance in securing the military and logistic supply line.
The popular crowd said in a statement received by Alsumaria copy that his forces regained control of the Sinjar military airport south of the Kairouan district west of the city of Mosul terrorists of the “Daash”.
Yesterday, Iraqi forces retook control of six villages west of the city of Mosul from the organization “Daash” terrorist.
On the other hand, a source in the Iraqi police killed two people and wounded eight others by the explosion of two explosive devices in the areas of victory and peace in the Abu Ghraib district and the neighborhood of the message west of Baghdad.
It is noteworthy that the capital Baghdad witnessed from time to time car bombs, bombs and explosive belts in addition to sporadic attacks targeting civilians and elements of the security services in different areas, resulting in dozens of dead and wounded.
A senior ISIS leader has been killed in an air raid on al-Shifaa neighborhood in the right bank of Mosul, Military Intelligence Directorate said on Friday.
On receiving intelligence information, the Iraqi jets destroyed an ISIS position, killing a senior terrorist within the ranks of the group named Abu-Luqman al-Afri, a statement released by the directorate said.
He was the terror group’s official responsible for al-Shifaa neighborhood in the right bank of Mosul.
The iraqi forces, aided by the US-led coalition are pushing on the terror group of ISIS in the right bank of the city, which was one of the terror group’s main strongholds, since February 19th.
According to officials, the Iraqi forces managed to take control of 90 percent of the city’s territories, with few of ISIS terrorists still entrenched in some parts of the war-torn city.
By Jim GaramoneDoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2017 — The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will continue to build on the progress made to date to accelerate the campaign to annihilate the vicious group wherever it tries to form, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said during a Pentagon briefing today.
Mattis was accompanied by Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The terror group seemed to appear from nowhere two years ago and swept across Syria and Iraq, causing death and destruction wherever it touched. ISIS affiliates formed in Afghanistan and North Africa. And swarms of foreign fighters sought to reach Raqqa, Syria, the terror group’s self-styled capital.
The United States is leading the campaign to defeat the terror group, and crush the idea that ISIS is invincible.
Taking the Fight to ISIS
“Thanks to the leadership and authorities granted by President (Donald J.) Trump, thanks to the spirit of dozens of nations committed to this fight, thanks to the nations whose troops have gone toe-to-toe with this terrorist group … we have retaken over 55 percent of ISIS territory there in the core,” Mattis said. “Over four million people have been liberated. And not one inch of territory seized from ISIS has been … recaptured by them.”
Soon after taking office in January, Trump ordered a review of the effort against ISIS. Two changes came from that review: Delegation of authority to lower command levels, and the president directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds, so we can annihilate ISIS,” Mattis said.
“The intent,” he said, “is to prevent the return home of escaped foreign fighters.”
All this was done with no change to the rules of engagement or changes in protecting innocent civilians caught in the fighting.
It’s truly an international effort against the brutal group, Mattis said.
“Since this began in 2014, the coalition has strengthened and expanded,” the secretary said.
There are now 68 members in the counter-ISIS coalition, Mattis said. Those nations and affiliated organizations are sharing intelligence, providing troops and funds for combat and for the post-combat recovery. A total of 26 nations contribute more than 4,000 non-U.S. troops on the ground and in the air.
“Our recent coalition meetings in Brussels, Copenhagen and elsewhere reflect an energized campaign among contributing nations partnering with, of course, the Iraqi security forces in Iraq and the counter-ISIS forces in Syria,” Mattis said.
This effort has “reduced ISIS-held territory, limited their freedom of movement, destroyed a great deal of their leadership, reduced the flow of foreign fighters into and from the region, diminished their financial resources and, I think, perhaps most importantly, we’ve undermined the credibility of their narrative that there is a physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” Dunford said.
Counter-ISIS Campaign in Iraq
In Iraq, U.S. and coalition forces provide equipment and intelligence to Iraqi security forces, the chairman said. Coalition pilots bomb ISIS targets and coalition advisors work with Iraqi leaders on the campaign. But it is the Iraqis paying most of the cost, the general said.
“In Mosul alone, they’ve suffered approximately 980 killed and over 6,000 wounded,” Dunford said of Iraqi losses in the fight against ISIS.
However, the Iraqi forces have gotten much better and far more competent, the chairman said.
“Just as an aside, in addition to the competence that they’ve demonstrated Mosul, and the sacrifice, the one thing I’ve seen over time, in the 15 months I’ve been back and forth visiting in Iraq, in this particular assignment, is the confidence of the Iraqi leadership,” Dunford said. “Compare the fall of 2015 to today, it’s very clear … who is in charge, and the level of confidence of the commanders in their ability to lead and in their soldiers’ ability to fight is remarkably different than it was a short time ago.”
In Syria, working with Turkey and partnered forces, the coalition has sealed the Turkish-Syrian border, stemming the flow of foreign fighters, weapons and money to ISIS, Dunford said. The general said at its peak there were about 1,500 foreign fighters crossing that border each month. That has dropped to less than 100 today, he said.
And Syrian Democratic Forces are isolating Raqqa — the center of ISIS.
“We’re also taking the fight to ISIS outside of Iraq and Syria, attacking their affiliates and any groups that claim allegiance,” Dunford said. “ISIS is a transregional threat, and we have a global approach.”
The chairman told reporters he is working to expand the already huge coalition against ISIS. “I’m working very closely with more than 60 of my counterparts to expand the coalition that we have in dealing with ISIS, and our priority clearly is to prevent attacks against the homeland,” he said. “Our strategic approach is to cut the connectivity between ISIS affiliates and associates, and that’s specifically the foreign fighter flow, their illicit resources and their message.”
The effort is more than a military effort — it is a whole of government approach, and Brett McGurk, the president’s special envoy, said this is “enabling an anaconda-like approach to suffocate ISIS of its territory, finances, propaganda and ability to move foreign fighters.”
This cooperation has enabled closer political coordination between local, regional and national governments to help return people to their homes after the battles are won through an innovative post-conflict approach based on empowering people at the local level to restore life to their communities, McGurk said. The effort is being led by Germany, Italy, France, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, the United Kingdom and other key contributors.
The initial focus on de-mining key facilities is a critical coalition focus. “Iraqis, trained by our coalition supporting demining, have now cleared 34 tons of explosive material,” he said.
In Iraq, 1.7 million Iraqis are now back in their homes, McGurk said.
“That record is historically unprecedented in a conflict of this nature, and we give tremendous credit to the government of Iraq and local leaders who have worked cooperatively to stabilize local areas and return local populations,” he said. “To date in Mosul, 116,000 displaced civilians have returned, 250,000 boys and girls are back in school and we’re working to ensure that these trend lines continue.”
McGurk said the coalition will attempt to use the same model in Raqqa with local leaders planning for “the day after ISIS.”
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
Since 19/05/2017 20:21 am (Baghdad time)
BAGHDAD – The balance of News
The spokesman for the International Alliance of Brett Macgork on Friday that the organization fled from Mosul in conjunction with the victories of the Iraqi forces there, while noting that Washington contributes to the re-displaced in Iraq.
Said Macgork at a joint news conference with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and the chief of staff of US Joseph Dunford, held in Washington, and I followed / scales News /, “our face strikes directed against Daesh and deeper we went 180 km in Mosul, Donald Trump and the president issued instructions to accelerate the elimination of a crackdown on Daesh terrorist in Iraq and Syria, we also exert great pressure on Daesh to eliminate it. ”
He added, “The directives also include not allowing Daesh to return to the liberated areas,” pointing out that “the so-called state succession, announced Daesh became two of its elements fled from Mosul to tenderness that you need a battle edit time” .anthy 29/9 P
He noted that “Daesh now used civilians as human shields in Mosul, after losing their places in Iraq, financial resources at the lowest level,” noting that “now the international coalition working to bring displaced Iraqis to their areas liberated in Mosul and other Iraqi provinces.”
The Macgork “return of some 1.7 million displaced people to their areas liberated,” explaining that “life in the liberated areas have returned to normal, by the victories of the security forces and the coalition” .anthy 21 / j
To Put Mosul on the Global Map
"We're all just walking each other home" ~ Ram Dass
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