* Syrian rebels say U.S. troops remain in key garrison near Iraq U.S. troops have not left the strategic Tanf garrison on the Iraq-Jordan border following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria, the leader of a Pentagon-backed rebel group there said on Saturday.
* As Trump vows to leave Syria, Kurds fear a power grab by Iran and Russia President Trump’s snap decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria has set off a panic among America’s principal Kurdish allies in Syria and created a mood of impending crisis in the Kurdistan Regional Government of northern Iraq.
* Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launches drill near Strait of Hormuz Paramilitary force answerable to Supreme Leader Khamenei begins annual combat helicopter and drone exercise day after US Navy carrier enters Persian Gulf.
* Kurds Turn to Russia, Assad to Counter Potential Turkish Attack U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds, in the wake of America’s decision this week to withdraw its military forces from Syria, are faced with the prospects of making a pact with the Iranian and Russian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad to repel a prospective attack by Turkish forces.
* Does the Christian Star of Bethlehem Have Its Roots in Judaism? As Christmas approaches, stars, one of the symbols of the Christian holiday, appear.
* The US will still “maintain a presence” after troop pullout from NE Syria Following the backlash from President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from NE Syria, senior administration officials Friday night, Dec. 21 offered Mid East leaders clarifications for allaying their concerns. DEBKAfile’s sources reveal those messages’ high points.
* Is Lebanese Army Aiding and Abetting Hezbollah? Israel Thinks So Some two weeks after Israel launched “Operation Northern Shield” to eliminate Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon, Israel has said that it will present the U.N. Security Council with damning evidence proving that the Lebanese army has been helping Hezbollah in its excavation efforts in violation of the U.N.’s resolutions.
* The Kurds: Betrayed Again by Washington Time and again, powerful allies on whose support they thought they could rely abandoned them.
* Witchcraft moves to the mainstream in America as Christianity declines - and has Trump in its sights Witchcraft is thriving in the US, with an estimated 1.5 million Americans now identifying as witches - more than the total number of Presbyterians.
* Why Italy Could Join the UK in the Race Out of the EU Italy could follow the UK out of the EU or join them in leaving.