News Briefs – February 5, 2016

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Saudi official says kingdom ready to send troops to Syria

A Saudi military spokesman said Feb. 4 the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State group provided coalition leaders agree during an upcoming meeting in Brussels.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri told The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia has taken part in coalition airstrikes against IS since the U.S.-led campaign began in September 2014, but could now provide ground troops.
The United States is scheduled to convene a meeting of defense ministers from countries fighting IS in Brussels this month.
“We are determined to fight and defeat Daesh,” Asiri said, using the Arabic acronym for IS. He didn’t elaborate on how many troops the kingdom would send.
Saudi Arabia is deeply involved in Yemen’s civil war, where it is fighting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have long viewed Iran as a regional menace, and Riyadh and Tehran back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.
Asiri’s announcement came shortly after Russia said it suspects Turkey of planning a military invasion of Syria.
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Feb. 4 in a statement that the Russian military has registered “a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.”
The announcement came a day after U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva were suspended for three weeks. AP
 

Lawmakers introduce bill to make women register for draft

Two Republican congressmen who are military veterans have introduced a bill requiring women to register for the draft.
Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Ryan Zinke of Montana announced Feb. 4 that the legislation is aimed at provoking a fuller discussion of the Pentagon’s decision to open all combat jobs to women.
Hunter and Zinke say the decision ignores research from the Marine Corps and special operations forces. They also say the decision was made without considering whether women should be drafted and potentially serve on the front lines.
Hunter says it’s unfortunate the Draft America’s Daughters Act had to be introduced and he might even vote against his own bill.
Hunter served in the Marine Corps with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Zinke is a former Navy SEAL. AP