For France’s happy interventionists, each expedition has had a primary humanitarian focus. But they have also served to bolster fading French international prestige, especially in its former African colonies, and to boost Hollande’s low approval ratings. Oppressed by economic woes, the French appear to enjoy incisive military action abroad (as long at it works). As Napoleon, another pint-sized French leader knew, la gloiremakes little men feel grand. The Hollande doctrine promotes a broader agenda, about how to “do” international security.
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A proposal to dispatch an EU force to the Central African Republic to help African and French troops has failed to convince defence heavyweights Britain and France, diplomats said Thursday. Under the proposal, a unit of up to 1,500 troops known as the EU “Battle Group” — a force designed for quick intervention abroad and currently led by Britain — would have gone into the strife-torn country for up to four months to give a larger African force time to fan out and organise. The European Union proposal, which was seen by AFP, was drafted by European experts, including British and French officers.
Israeli intelligence drew up a list of these men, each one the possessor of highly lethal skills that could be threatening to Israel, even if there had not been a coordinated network embracing of all of them. The list was headed by two men: Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s supreme military commander, and Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s head of secret special projects, including the building of a nuclear reactor, and the person in charge of Syria’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah.
“Prison camps in North Korea are a part, a vital part, of this vast infrastructure of repression that the North Korean government has maintained to maintain its control over its population. As far as we know, there are four political prison camps in remote areas, they are vast. For instance our satellite images show the largest prison camp is about 560 square kilometers,” said Rajiv Narayan, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International. Kwanliso 16, the biggest camp, is 560 square meters, three times the size of Washington DC. Kwanliso 15 or Yodok camp is 370 square meters.
Looting and robbing spread to several areas of the Argentine city of Cordoba on Tuesday evening and night following a walkout from the police in the midst of a conflict over pay and other benefits. The Supermarkets association has anticipated its members will not open their stores on Wednesday unless police forces are back patrolling the streets of Argentina’s third largest city which is also an important manufacturing pole. The conflict started after negotiations for salary increases with the provincial government broke down and the police force decided to go on strike.
An effective European security and defence policy would allow the EU to ‘project influence globally’, argues Maria Eleni Koppa. European security and defence is a topic that has been attracting a lot of attention after the decision of the European council to hold a special discussion dedicated on security and defence – for the first time since 2008 – at the forthcoming December summit. In this context, on 21 November, the European parliament adopted the report on the implementation of European security and defence policy, concerning the positions of the parliament for the future of the common security and defence policy (CSDP).
Gulf oil producers expect the resurgence in Iraqi exports to cause fierce competition to sell to Asian markets, which may put pressure on prices in the coming months especially with oil production rising in the U.S. and possibly more Iranian crude on the world markets if sanctions are eased, OPEC officials said Tuesday. “Everyone is looking at Asia at the moment to secure deals because demand for our crude in the U.S. will drop sooner or later and Asian markets are our safe haven. Iraq is already trying to undercut Gulf producers there,” said a Gulf delegate at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The Chinese, investing heavily in Africa to secure its oil and other raw materials for their expanding economy, are spearheading a new era of railroad building to unlock the continent’s interior. This is an echo of the long-gone colonial empires when a century ago British and French engineers first opened up Africa to plunder its riches. The railroad frenzy is being accompanied by a massive push to build several major ports along the coast of East Africa to accelerate exports across the Indian Ocean, mostly to China, India and Japan, as well as lay down a network of oil and gas pipelines to these ports.
As the political crisis in Ukraine continues, its severely depleted central bank reserves are putting it at serious risk of a balance-of-payments crunch, its metrics looking worse than almost every big emerging economy. With demonstrators blockading government buildings in protest at President Viktor Yanukovich’s rejection of closer ties with the European Union, the creaking economy is coming under growing pressure. Based on a comparison of monthly import needs and maturing short-term debt, Ukraine’s reserves compare poorly with most of its peers, according to data released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch
The EU is supporting Libyan border security troops near Ghadames, but local members of the military complain of unclear structures and insufficient equipment. They put the blame on the government in Tripoli. The Libyan army is still growing into its tasks more than two years after the revolution against Gadhafi, and it has had only limited success in integrating former rebels. Effectively controlling the country’s borders remains beyond the army’s capabilities. “Large segments of the 1,000-kilometer long border to Algeria are nearly inaccessible.
Nasrallah rarely mentions Saudi Arabia by name, only referring to the monarchy in vague terms in order to maintain plausible deniability. But that all changed on Tuesday, when he accused Saudi agents of being behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month that claimed 23 lives. In doing so he has openly declared a war that has long been fought in the shadows, first in Lebanon where Hizballah-allied parties are at a political impasse with the Saudi-backed Future Movement of Saad Hariri, and now in Syria.
It’s a familiar scenario: a man, usually a political, security or military figure, emerges from a location he regularly frequents—home, mosque, work, supermarket—and is promptly shot down by gunmen, or turns on his car’s ignition only for it to explode. Said gunmen will then promptly escape, most likely on a motorcycle—or, in the case of a car bomb, watch, satisfied, from afar. Yemen is now at a stage where some assassinations, especially of low-ranking security or military figures, are barely news any more.
An uncomfortable prospect for global exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will unfold in India this week — buyers from countries that import 70 percent of the world’s LNG will meet to discuss how to get a better deal. …The meetings may herald the early stages of an Asian buyers’ club for natural gas in supercooled form transported on ships. Should such a grouping gain traction, a historical precedent would be the formation of the International Energy Agency, which was set up by western economies to counter OPEC after the first oil shock in the 1970s.
Ukrainians taking to the streets to protest their government’s refusal to strike a trade deal with the European Union may be the first of several post-Soviet states facing the choice between Russia and Europe as Georgia and Moldova gear up for their place on the bargaining table.
Decades have passed since they each gained their sovereignty, but post-Soviet states west of the Eurasian divide continue to struggle between their European identities and the influence and benefits that can come from allying with Russia.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s uncle, seen as the hardline regime’s political regent, has apparently been purged and two associates executed, South Korea’s spy agency said on Tuesday nearly two years after the young supremo came to power. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) told a parliamentary committee that it believed Jang Song-Thaek had been removed from all posts, including vice chairman of the communist country’s top military body, the National Defence Commission.
Last October the Mexico City Public Security Secretariat – its police authority – began testing little cuadricopters intended to supervise street demonstrations. In June, O Globo, a Brazilian daily, used the contraptions to do some overhead “reporting” of protests in Sao Paulo. In February the Tigre municipality in Argentina outside Buenos Aires began using the devices to track and film criminal acts and natural disasters. Indeed, the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police is developing its own drone,the Metrocopter!
Ground Self-Defense Force spies have secretly gathered intelligence abroad since the Cold War era without informing the prime minister or defense minister, a practice considered deviating from civilian control, former senior defense officials said. A special unit of the Ground Staff Office has set up bases in Russia, China, South Korea and Poland, if not elsewhere, and several dozen GSDF members of the team have engaged in intelligence activities overseas without a legal basis and by assuming false identities, according to the officials.
Dubbed “Nightwatch” by the military (and unofficially called “the Doomsday Plane”), the E-4B fleet consists of four modified Boeing 747 aircraft which are designed to keep the U.S. president and Secretary of Defense safe, airborne, and in control of U.S. military forces in the event of a nuclear conflict. All four planes are shielded to be resistant to the radiation and thermal effects of atomic weapons, as well as having electronics hardened to survive electromagnetic pulses.
It has been pointed out that the real purpose of China’s recent declaration of the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is the “First Island Chain” linking Okinawa, Taiwan, and the South China Sea, which is highly important for China’s marine strategy, rather than the Diaoyudao Islands or oil fields in the East China Sea. Hong Kong-based weekly magazine Yazhou Zhoukan reported on November 30 that China’s declaration of the ADIZ in the East China Sea was made after very careful considerations on the part of the Chinese government, and is a significant strategic breakthrough.
“The maritime domain in general has got more complex, with the undersea domain a huge part of that with more sophisticated submarines and the emergence of long-endurance, unmanned or remotely operated vehicles,” he said. “You see it just in oceanographic capabilities. Frankly the way countries globally are using technology in the undersea domain is going to make it a very interesting operational space. You’re going to have to bring a lot more capability into that operating space to ensure you stay dominant — economically as well as militarily.
The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) operates Boeing E-767s, 160-foot airplanes stuffed with radar and electronics that enable them to detect aircraft from 200 miles away. They confirm that the Chinese drone is wheeling above the Senkakus, and Japan dispatches F-15Js to intercept it—and shoot it down—obviously ignoring China’s Air Defense ID Zone. Chinese long-range, back-scatter radar spots the F-15Js in the air, and China dispatches quad-prop Y-8X maritime patrol for a better-resolution look. They also alert their best fighters—Sukhoi Flankers (Su 30) and Chengdu J-10s—to prepare to take off.
A US panel raised the specter of sanctions against China, warning Congress that Beijing has not contained its rampant spying on American interests, a major national security concern. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in its annual report also flagged China’s massive increase in military spending as a worry, citing naval expansion as a threat to America’s role in Asia, AFP reports. The report accused China of “directing and executing a large-scale cyber espionage campaign,” penetrating the US government and private industry.
Egypt’s army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has reportedly said that Egypt’s state institutions have collapsed following the January 25 revolution, which ousted autocrat president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. “People keep asking about the state,” al-Sisi purportedly said in a leaked audio recording aired by the Jazeera Mubasher Misr late Friday. “The state institutions have collapsed. The presidency has been undermined, the constitution suspended, the parliament dissolved, the Interior Ministry dealt a heavy blow and the Judiciary has been questioned,” he allegedly said.
Japanese mobsters driving flash cars purchased with bank loans. Executives bowing in apology for loaning millions to those underworld figures. And high-level officials vowing to squash the crime syndicates, known as yakuza. Japan Inc. is engulfed in its worst mob scandal in years and it’s shining a rare light on the links between big business and shadowy organised crime groups usually known for low-brow ventures like extortion and loan sharking. The yakuza occupy a grey area in Japan’s usually law-abiding society.