France is under increasing international pressure to cancel or, at the very least, scale back its $1.6 billion sale of two Mistral warships to Russia. The sale has been under the microscope for some time, given Moscow's supplying of weapons to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its annexation of Crimea in March. But following charges that Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, pressure on France to pull out of the sale is at an all-time high.
Some 1,600 facilities that the United States built for Afghan soldiers, including barracks, medical clinics, and fire stations, were put together so hastily that they're now at increased risk of fire, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The response from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversaw this $1.6 billion program: Don't worry, the Afghan soldiers who will be inside these buildings are young and fit enough to escape if they need to.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike are worried that the Pentagon is taking a fund that's historically been used to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and using it to cover just about any unforeseen crisis that may happen next year.
This story has been corrected.
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system has kept the country safe from the hundreds of Hamas rockets flying toward its major cities from the Gaza Strip. With fighting intensifying, Congress seems poised to give Israel and one of the United States' largest defense contractors a jolt of good news: $175 million in new American aid that will help fund an expansion of the program.
Stepping into an intensifying political debate, the head of the Marine Corps said the United States doesn't have the luxury of isolationism and said Iraq's deterioration may have been prevented if Washington had maintained a larger U.S. presence there.