The Spanish government approved Friday an expansion of the size and duration of the U.S. military presence at the Moron base in southern Spain. The Pentagon is authorized to increase the U.S. Marine contingent at Moron from the current level of around 850 troops to as many as 1,100, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes told reporters after Friday’s Cabinet meeting. The U.S. military also asked to expand the number of aircraft stationed at the Moron base, he said.
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NATO is launching a military exercise involving 16,000 soldiers from 16 countries in the north of Norway, to practise stopping a surprise invasion, the Norwegian army announced today. The army was quick to add that the multi-national exercise dubbed Cold Response had been planned for a long time and had nothing to do with the current tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, where Russian forces have taken effective control of Crimea.
Its location on the Han River helped give Danjiangkou the seeming good fortune to be chosen as a keystone in China’s solution to a worsening water crisis. Starting next year, about 9.5 billion cubic meters (335.5 billion cubic feet) of water from the Danjiangkou Reservoir will travel from here to over 100 cities—including Beijing—in northern China, where water is scarcer than in the south. Signs in the town proclaim it to be the “fount head” of the central route of the South-North Water Diversion Project (SNWDP).
While such incomplete transformations are a common phase in democratisation processes, the range of Egyptian interests in Libya must be protected despite the partial, unfinished democratic change. Egypt is bound to economic, political and border security interests in Libya. Economically, there are Libyan investments in Egypt that are close to $1 billion ($864 million in 2008). What’s more crucial than the Libyan investments in Egypt is the enormous Egyptian workforce in Libya.
Imagine a railroad linking the great industries of South Korea with Europe. The dream might some day come true as the South drafts elaborate plans for shipping goods through North Korea’s Rason special economic zone adjacent to the North’s 10-mile-long Tumen River border with Russia. The South Koreans have the enthusiastic support of the Russians, who have long dreamed of shipping goods by rail from South Korean factories, through North Korea and then onto the trans-Siberian railway.
“Taking the Gulf Cooperation Council to a political abyss serves nobody’s interests. The peoples and leaders of the GCC member states should have a clear awareness of just how lethal a threat the abyss politics pose to everyone,” said Dr Yousuf Al Hassan, a leading Emirati political analyst. “Qatar could face sanctions clamped by the Gulf countries, including the closing of borders with Qatar, and airspace to it if Doha doesn’t stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood,”.
Saudi Arabia wants to have Egypt included in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional grouping of Arab countries overlooking the Arab Gulf, according to an Arab diplomatic source. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that a Saudi official had notified Egyptian government officials of the Saudi tendency during an Arab League meeting in Cairo. The Saudi official said his country would make the proposal during the upcoming Arab Summit.
A squad of 100 newly-minted Somali commandos are ready to hit the streets following the end of a nine-month training course run by American trainers. Nicknamed Danab (lightning) due to their newly-acquired skills, the commandos are expected to significantly beef up the security effort in the capital Mogadishu which has in recent weeks grappled with a spate of terror attacks.
At a time when India’s “look east” policy has come of age, expanding into the wider Indo-Pacific region, the absence of seamless connectivity with its neighbourhood has become a glaring lacuna. For India, cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region has the potential to bring the northeastern region of India centrestage by strengthening connectivity, as the easier access would aid in its the development.
Mauritius and Seychelles will soon join the Indian Ocean trilateral group on maritime security. After the third meeting of the trilateral -which includes India, Sri Lanka and Maldives – NSA Shivshankar Menon said the informal grouping now has a system to monitor activities in the Indian Ocean, conduct search and rescue operations and counter piracy among other things. The grouping is an avenue to enhance India’s power in the region at a time when China is stepping up its naval activities.
The European Union Delegation and East African Community (EAC) on inked a financial agreement worth 4.45 million Euros to enhance regional integration processes. Coordination efforts between the three regional organisations – the EAC, SADC and COMESA – will also be supported, with the ultimate goal of the reaching a Tripartite Free Trade Area. The EU and the EAC want to jointly promote social and economic development.
While the SKR and FSB seem to be cooperating against the MVD, they are nevertheless competitors on other fronts. For example, talk of the creation of some investigatory super-agency—a “Russian FBI”—have resurfaced periodically. Putin, a KGB veteran who well understands the power of dividing and thus ruling the security apparatus, has always held back from such a move. Nonetheless, the Russian press has now begun reporting leaks to the effect that such an agency may be announced this spring, to be fully operational by 2016 or 2017.
The US Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR) began their redeployment to Moron, Spain after completing a forward deployment in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Over the following weeks, as violence spread to areas throughout South Sudan, U.S. citizens in those areas needed to be evacuated. While the East Africa Response Force was providing security for the embassy, additional forces were required to continue the evacuation mission.
Italy and France were the major euro area countries put on the European Commission’s economic “watch-list” over fears about persistently high debt and deficit levels. The two countries were among 14 nations deemed to have “macro-economic imbalances” in their economy by the EU executive in a series of reports on 17 countries published on Wednesday. Italy “must address its very high level of public debt and weak external competitiveness,” the commission said,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies who have fallen out over the role of Islamists in a region in turmoil. The Saudi-led trio said they had acted because Qatar failed to honour a GCC agreement not to back “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals – via direct security work..
The defence forces of the 10 members states of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to undertake a joint maritime security exercise in the Malacca Straits in 2015. The initiative would be a first for the bloc, and the announcement comes at a sensitive time as a territorial dispute between China and five member states – Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – absorbed much of the ASEAN Defence Forces Informal Meeting on 5 March in Naypyidaw.
Depositors wanting to withdraw money from a rural bank in eastern China’s prosperous Jiangsu province ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday found the doors locked, their money gone and employees offering a simple explanation. “We’ve lent out all the money. There’s none left,” an employee told Reuters, repeating the explanation given to depositors weeks earlier. Word had spread that at least three rural cooperatives were running short on funds.
Two Russian warships on their way to the Black Sea have passed through Istanbul’s Bosphorus staits. Russia’s ‘Saratov’ and ‘Yamal’ ships sailed unaccompanied through the Marmara Sea before entering the Bosphorus straits at 07:30 local time (05:30 GMT). The two ships, which were usually based in the eastern Mediterranean to monitor developments in Syria, are now on their way to Crimea due to the latest situation there. At the same time a Ukrainian ship called ‘Hetman Sahaidachny’ entered the straits at Canakkale (Gallipoli) on its way to the Marmara Sea.
Russia is the only serious rival of Turkey in the Black Sea region. Turkey has certain advantages over Russia because it controls the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, Turkish studies expert Gevorg Petrosyan told reporters while commenting on the geopolitical importance of Crimea. According to him, Ankara may use the factor of the Crimean Tatars who have pro-Turkish views. “Many thousands of Tatars living in Turkey held protests against Russia, expressing their support for the Crimean Tatars,” he said. He noted that the “Georgian scenario” is likely to be implemented out in Crimea.
A Kremlin aide was quoted on Tuesday as saying that if the United States were to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, Moscow might be forced to drop the dollar as a reserve currency and refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks. Sergei Glazyev, who is often used by the authorities to stake out a hardline stance but does not make policy, was cited by RIA news agency as saying Moscow could recommend that all holders of U.S. treasuries sell them if Washington freezes the U.S.. accounts of Russian businesses and individuals.
A document detailing the UK’s position on the Ukraine crisis has been seen being taken into Downing Street. It was photographed as an official went into Downing Street for a meeting of the National Security Council as the crisis deepened. It makes clear the Government is not considering curbing trade with Russia – or closing London’s financial centre to Moscow as part of any possible package of sanctions against the country. The papers also suggest the UK will lobby to exclude any talk of a military response to the deepening crisis. “It does give away some of Britain’s position towards Russia.”
The Government of UAE will help Somali government to rebuild its army, which has endured more than 20 years of chaos and war.”My trip is aimed at strengthening the already close relationship between Somalia and the UAE. The UAE is a great friend and supporter of Somalia, taking an active part in rebuilding our government institutions and infrastructure and aiding social and youth development,” he said in a Press statement. It funded the training program of the Puntland Maritime Police force which was conducted by Saracen International and South Africa-linked private military operator Sterling Corporate Services.
Taken by surprise by the reaction of the Ukrainian people to their president’s rejection of the EU treaty in November, Europeans and Americans have, once again, been caught off-guard these last days — this time by the decision of the Russian president to intervene in Crimea. This move is however not without precedent. The question is which prior moment of history will it resemble the most: the 1968 model, when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring; or the 2008 scenario, when the same Vladimir Putin intervened in Georgia.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later, Mr Lavrov said Russian troops were necessary in Ukraine “until the normalisation of the political situation” and dismissed threats of sanctions and boycotts. He added: “We call for a responsible approach, to put aside geopolitical calculations, and above all to put the interests of the Ukrainian people first.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “China has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations. “At the same time we also take into consideration the history and the current complexities of the Ukrainian issue.”