President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam.
Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the US.
About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border. That would be the highest daily loss for the Iranian-backed movement in Syria, highlighting how it is increasing its efforts to bolster al-Assad.
Israel may act to stop any attempt to transfer Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles from Syria to Lebanon. Such a scenario is possible if the Assad regime in Syria feels it is losing control of the country in a future phase of its civil war.
According to reliable sources, at least one shipment of Russian-made S-300 missiles has been transferred to Syria. Israeli sources say this act is a “game-changer” – especially as Syria is the middle of a bloody civil war. Israeli sources said the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) may have to act on “developing” circumstances in Syria.
According to The Sunday Times, Syria has deployed advanced missiles carrying 500-kilogram (1100-pound) warheads with attack coordinates set for Tel Aviv. The report further suggests that spy satellites have been monitoring Syrian army movements and preparations to deploy the domestically produced Tishreen missiles. The missiles are reportedly being aimed at Tel Aviv and there are standing orders to fire them if Israel strikes Syria. Foreign media outlets claimed that Israel carried out two airstrikes in Syria earlier in the month, reportedly targeting advanced weapon shipments bound for Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Syria are gaining ground. British Middle East reporter Robert Fisk met some of them when he visited the front lines earlier this month, and told DW about he saw. What role is Iran playing in this conflict? The war is not about Syria, it’s about Iran. And the intention of the West is to effectively destroy Iran’s only Arab ally. And for the Iranians it’s about keeping their only Arab ally. We know that the Iranian government has given advice, but these are very, very small token forces, compared to the propaganda.
“CNN” quoted security sources that said the US developed several plans, including military action against the attackers on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi in September last year.
The sources, who asked not to be identified, said U.S. forces made plans aimed at the arrest of the attackers on the U.S. consulate, through a variety of actions, including the transfer of U.S. ground forces into Libya to perform the operation.
“Qatar has spent about three billion dollars in the past two years to support the opposition in Syria, which far exceeds what provided by any other government. However, the Saudi Arabia competes now in leading the bodies providing Syrian opposition with weapons,” the paper said. “The cost of the Qatari intervention in Syria, which is the latest effort of the oil-rich emirate to support an “Arab revolution,” only represents a very small part of the international investment of Qatar,” it added. “Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab countries puts it in confrontation with the other Gulf States and provokes competition with the Saudi Arabia,”
Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan has said that the armed forces have begun a large-scale upgrade of their hardware. He said that the military will receive new military hardware and types of weapons, and the existing hardware will be upgraded: “We are regularly making renewals in the army. Now we plan more-large scale efforts in this direction. These projects will also be conducted within the framework of establishing joint ventures with Russia and Poland.”
The Algerian army has deployed over 6,000 soldiers on its borders with Tunisia in order to deal with the “potential infiltration of armed Salafi groups”. The past few weeks have witnessed clashes between the Tunisian army and two groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
The Algerian air and ground forces charged with monitoring the eastern borders with Tunisia are working in coordination with the Tunisian authorities to pursue these two armed groups. The first group is holed up in the El Kef Mountains, and the second in Mount Alhaanbe in the Kasserine area bordering Tunisia.
The security services of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states will be closely monitoring the movement of mercenaries from CIS nations fighting in Syria, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) head Alexander Bortnikov said on Wednesday.
According to the FSB, some 200 mercenaries from Russia, as well as from CIS member states and Europe, are fighting in Syria’s civil war. “They [mercenaries] pose a severe danger. It is highly important to track their movements following the end of hostilities,” the FSB chief said. The future fate of mercenaries active in Syria is of concern not only to the CIS special services, but European secret services as well, Bortnikov added.
Hizbullah fighters have been advancing swiftly into southern Syria and have reached the flashpoint southern town of Daraa near the border with Jordan, media reports said on Tuesday.
The source pointed out that Hizbullah fighters are not just groups backing the army regime but comprehensive fighting units that includes a full logistic team. It said that Hizbullah’s military leadership is organizing the transfer of the units and providing them with weapons.
The United States, which is trying to bring Syrian rebels and the Syrian government to the negotiating table, is now increasingly worried that Russia plans to sell a sophisticated air defense system to Syria, American officials said Wednesday.
Russia has a long history of selling arms to the Syrians and has a naval base in the country. But the delivery of the Russian S-300 missile batteries would represent a major qualitative advancement in Syria’s air defenses. The system is regarded as highly effective and would limit the ability of the United States and other nations to operate over Syrian airspace or impose a no-fly zone.
In 2011, Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, offered a mea culpa for his support of the war in Iraq. “When the troops went in, they went with my blessing,” confessed Keller. “I could not foresee that we would mishandle the war so badly, but I could see that there was no clear plan for — and at the highest levels, a shameful smugness about — what came after the invasion.” He called his realization “the costly wisdom of Iraq,” which, according to his op-ed in the Times on Monday, doesn’t seem to apply to Syria.
A top U.S. Senate Democrat introduced a bill Monday that authorizes arming rebels in Syria, a step Washington has been weighing after President Barack Obama said the Damascus regime may have used chemical weapons.
Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013 that would give “increased authorization to provide lethal and non-lethal assistance to Syrian armed opposition.”
A leading member of a United Nations investigatory commission says there are “strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that Syrian rebels have used the nerve agent sarin.
Carla del Ponte, a former prosecutor for U.N. tribunals investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, made the comment in an interview Sunday with a Swiss television channel, the BBC reported. She said the evidence emerged from interviews conducted by investigators with victims, physicians and others in neighboring countries.
However, NDTV has learnt from sources that the stand-off was resolved partly due to the halting of construction of bunkers by Indian Army in the Chumar sector of southern Ladakh, which borders Himachal Pradesh.
The Indian Army was reportedly building seven bunkers in Chumar. The general area of Chumar is disputed and claimed by both sides. According to existing agreements, neither side is allowed to construct any permanent structure, more so if they are either offensive or defensive in nature. The assurance that has been reportedly given to China is that the constructions of the bunkers will be stopped for the time being.
Syria has deployed missile defence batteries towards Israel in response to an alleged Israeli attack that targeted a Syrian army facility in the capital Damascus. The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited security sources as saying that Syria will also provide the Lebanese Hezbollah with “new qualitative weaponry”.
A statement issued after an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday said that Israel’s attack “opens the door widely before all eventualities”, Xinhua reported. “Syria will not accept its sovereignty to be infringed upon either at home or abroad,” the statement said.
Iran is ready to help “train” the Syrian army if Damascus seeks such assistance, the commander of the Islamic republic’s army ground forces, General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, was quoted as saying on Sunday.
“As a Muslim nation, we back Syria, and if there is need for training we will provide them with the training, but won’t have any active involvement in the operations,” he said in remarks reported by the official IRNA news agency.
A new reality is emerging amid all the hype about Myanmar’s democratization process and moves to liberalize its political landscape. Myanmar’s drift away from a tight relationship with China towards closer links with the West is signaling the emergence of a new focal point of confrontation in Asia, one where the interests of Washington and Beijing are beginning to collide.
Rather than being on a path to democracy, Myanmar may find itself instead in the middle of a dangerous and potentially volatile superpower rivalry. That means the traditionally powerful military may not be in the mood to give up its dominant role in politics and society any time soon.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) may soon be planning to launch retaliatory attacks on “elite Hezbollah forces” reportedly fighting in Syria, retired Jordanian major-general Fayez al-Doueiri told Al Arabiya on Monday night. Doueiri, who is now a military analyst, said the reported continuing battles between the FSA and Hezbollah fighters could be a “positive development for the FSA as it is managing to inhibit Hezbollah’s elite forces.” This may mean the “FSA is preparing to launch reverse operations to gain back what it lost in the past few weeks,” he added.
Blue-helmeted United Nations peacekeepers deployed in African countries may soon have a new tool in their arsenal: the surveillance drone. Drones are heading to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of an intervention force to root out the rebel groups that have destabilized the region for years. Experts say unarmed drones could give often-beleaguered peacekeepers an edge in missions where they can be outfoxed by guerrillas, who often have greater numbers and more local knowledge than UN forces possess.
A rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected Israel, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel.
China has allegedly sold helicopter gunships to ethnic Wa rebels who occupy areas of Shan State in eastern Burma, intelligence monitor Jane’s Information Group reported on Monday.
The report claimed China “delivered several Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium- transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa in late February and early March, according to both Myanmar ethnic minority and Myanmar government sources.” Bertil Lintner, an expert on Burma and author of Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier, confirmed the accuracy of the Jane’s report.
Residents of a number of Sunni cities in Iraq have announced the formation of “military forces” to counter attack the Iraqi army and its crackdown against protesters calling for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki – a Shiite – to step down, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. The announcements come after Sunni tribesmen were called to arm following a government sponsored military raid on a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest at a camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk, on Tuesday. Dozens of people were killed and injured in the initial incident. It set off a wave of revenge attacks that hit five different Sunni-majority provinces, killing at least 110 people.
This may be a template for a possible plot for “The Expendables 3” but it is a truly bad real-world military operation. Creating limited protection zones for what are now millions of potential refugees would commit the United States to unstable half-measures – and the open-ended use of force to defend them – with the risks of either a continuing civil war or an unplanned process of escalation without allied commitments or support and the reality that the people in such zones would need massive amounts of emergency relief. As Libya showed, “no fly” zones are not enough to end a civil war or halt ground movements and escalation in the use of artillery, missiles, and carefully managed atrocities by competing ground forces.
A new report released in April by the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University looks at the history of Chinese threat and retaliation signaling. It offers up a future signaling scenario involving the South China Sea that should be required reading for the US Pacific Command and the US National Security Council.
The core of the scenario is based on the proposition that China perceives closer military ties among the US, Philippines, and Vietnam as a “threatening strategic trend” as it did with the 1978 Hanoi-Moscow security treaty. China perceived the treaty as collusion to establish a “regional hegemony” over Vietnam’s neighbors.
Sectarian strife has returned to Iraq from elsewhere in the region, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, a likely reference to neighbouring war-torn Syria.
A civil war pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, has killed more than 70,000 people. Sectarian strife “came back to Iraq because it began in another place in this region,” Maliki said in televised remarks, an allusion to Sunni-Shiite violence that peaked in 2006 and 2006 and claimed tens of thousands of lives.
U.S. commanders have laid out a range of possible options for military involvement in Syria, but they have made it clear that any action will likely be either with NATO backing or with a coalition of nations similar to the NATO-led overthrow of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
On Thursday, U.S. officials said there has been no new movement of U.S. military assets to the region. The military options could include establishing a no-fly zone over or a secured area within Syria, launching airstrikes by drones and fighter jets and sending in tens of thousands of ground forces to secure the regime’s chemical weapons caches.
The first of 500 Marines have begun deploying to Spain as part of a new rapid reaction force to respond to threats against U.S. citizens, government personnel or installations in Africa. The new task force is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain, which provides quick access especially to northern Africa, where security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on a U.S. government facility in Benghazi, Libya, a Pentagon official told CNN. When fully operational, the unit will be required to be airborne within six hours of receiving orders, providing the type of rapid response that the Pentagon says was not possible during the Benghazi attack. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the assault at the U.S. mission and CIA annex.
The chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Benny Gantz, recently pushed back against the idea that it was too late for Israel to act alone against Iran’s He felt comfortable making it because he knew that in a few days he would be welcoming a friend bearing gifts. And the gifts? Well, they are gifts the Iranian regime would prefer Israel didn’t possess: advanced radar packages that extend Israel’s ability to see east (and west, north and south, but east is what matters most at the moment), KC-135 refuelling tankers and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The tankers will extend the range of Israel’s bombers, and the Ospreys are particularly useful for inserting commandos into enemy territory.
Jordan has opened two corridors of its airspace to Israeli Air Force drones seeking to monitor the ongoing conflict in Syria, French daily Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing a Western military source in the Middle East.
According to the report, Jordanian King Abdullah made the decision in March during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan, which came immediately after his first trip as president to Israel. Le Figaro quoted the military source as saying that the Israeli drones fly at night to avoid detection. The source added that “the Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures.”
In Syria, for scores of men called each month to join the army for deadly combat, there is a more attractive alternative: stay home, join a loyalist paramilitary group, and get a share of the loot in raids on President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies.
Now into the third year of the uprising against Assad, which began with peaceful protests and became an armed rebellion, Syria’s regular army has been weakened. Sectarian faultlines that are increasingly dividing the nation are now fragmenting an army whose strength was already eroded by desertions and defections to rebels.
When National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror arrives in Turkey on Sunday to discuss compensation for flotilla victims, he will also be seeking to lay the groundwork for the stationing of Israeli fighter jets in an airbase near Ankara, ahead of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Sunday Times reported.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London-based publication. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
This has certainly not been a dull week in capital markets. The intraday investor has been exposed to just about everything. As of Friday, we have a commodity market that is telling the investor that global growth is slowing. A U.S. equity market, financed by cheap money, continues to signal that the American consumer is somewhat in the driving seat when it comes to stock prices. And finally, the European sovereign market appears to be convinced that domestic Japan is about to embark on a global shopping spree.
An unnamed Jordan source said the U.S. military agreed on Friday to the country’s request to put Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria.
A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times ofIsrael reported. The source also said the Patriot missile batteries would be transferred from sites in Qatar and Kuwait, and placed in strategic border spots that could best serve – and protect – the kingdom.
A United States warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived on Thursday in Singapore for its Southeast Asian deployment, underlining President Barack Obama’s new strategic focus on Asia.
The deployment of the USS Freedom comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexes its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states. US Navy officials said the Freedom, a littoral combat ship, sailed into Changi Naval Base at around 11 a.m. in Singapore, a long-standing US ally that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in Southeast Asia.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
Tension is rising on the Israel-Syria cease-fire line on the Golan Heights and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he’s ready to launch military operation to prevent the weakening Damascus regime’s chemical and other advanced weapons falling into Islamist hands. “We see a deterioration of the general chain of command” in the Syrian-held sector of the Golan, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. But the Israelis see the main threat to them as the jihadists acquiring the regime’s well-stocked arsenals of chemical weapons and advanced systems such as Russian-made Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry chemical warheads, and surface-to-air missiles that would challenge Israel’s long-held air supremacy in the region.
The Pentagon is sending about 200 soldiers from a U.S. Army headquarters unit to Jordan to assist efforts to contain violence along the Syrian border and plan for any operations needed to ensure the safety of chemical weapons in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress Wednesday.
The decision to dispatch the 1st Armored Division troops of planners and specialists in intelligence, logistics and operations comes as several lawmakers pressed the Obama administration for even more aggressive steps to end the two-year civil war.The Pentagon leaders made clear that the situation is extremely complicated and they must be certain of the endgame before any military step to try to end the bloodshed.
More than 350 U.S. marines and several hundred Georgian Army troops angered Moscow by holding a month-long military drill in the former Soviet republic that ended on April 5. The U.S.-Georgia war exercise, code named “Agile Spirit 2013,” prompted the Russians to stage large-scale, unscheduled drills of their own.
In a snap response to the war drills, Russia held large-scale military exercises of its own in the Black Sea, causing great alarm in Georgia. “The current drills are unscheduled, unusual and go beyond the usual location of the armed forces in the spirit of the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures,”
Several new developments in Syria have deepened the conviction that Washington and its Western allies have prepared scenarios to justify their positions if they decide to intervene in Syria, even though official rhetoric refers otherwise.
Since last year, the Untied States and several European countries have floated fears of Syria’s chemical weapons “falling into the wrong hands” if the Syrian administration falls. Israel also said it had plans to intervene to secure those arsenals in case of a “regime collapse.”
The Pentagon has thus indicate that, according to him, the troops of the economic community of West African States were “totally incapable” carry on fighting against terrorist groups from northern Mali. History of ‘impulsive actions’ in its own way create a future US intervention in the Malian territory.
More than 300 personnel of Africom should soon settle in the Sahel region, or more precisely in Niger, countries for the less strategic for the French nuclear group Areva, the latter operator an important site of uranium mining on its territory.
Clad in sombreros and baseball caps and clutching assault rifles, shotguns and machetes, the men take defensive positions on a hillside neighborhood of the ramshackle mountain town of Tierra Colorada and gather residents from their homes. You have suffered too much at the hands of kidnappers, extortionists and drug cartels, they tell them. It is time to fight back. “If you are in favor of our community police and want to join or support us, then step forward,” says Esteban Ramos, a leader of the local militia.
“We understand what kind of regime North Korea is, but we also understand that North Korea is playing games,” said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S-China Relations at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
“Most importantly, we are complaining that the United States is using military drills as an excuse to continue to do this (rebalancing), putting up B-2s and other advanced weapons systems,” he said. B-2 and B-52 bombers, radar-evading F-22s and anti-missile system vessels like the USS John S. McCain represented the initial U.S. response to North Korea
JAPAN has announced it is deploying Patriot missile interceptors around Tokyo as a precaution against North Korea’s nuclear threats. The Patriot missiles – an advanced version of the interceptor of Gulf War fame – are being moved to key locations around Japan’s capital city, including the defense ministry headquarters. Other key military bases on the Japanese mainland are also taking similar precautionary measures, reports indicate. Japan’s defense minister has also reportedly put destroyers with missile interception systems on alert in the Sea of Japan.
“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.
While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens. In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads.
The U.S. military’s much-discussed AirSea Battle will remain a priority in light of rising tensions with North Korea, ongoing military strategy assessments and continued budget constraints, Pentagon officials said.
“Air-Sea Battle is a set of agreed-upon ideas and actions to create the joint force needed for operations in contested and denied environments and what that force needs to be able to do. Having smaller budget authority does not change the validity of [Air-Sea Battle’s] ideas and actions for force development, although it may slow [Air-Sea Battle’s] implementation,” according to a statement from the Air-Sea Battle office.
At the same time, the Japanese public has more fully embraced the once-discredited Self-Defense Forces. That is in part because of anxiety over China and North Korea, but also because of the military’s prominent humanitarian presence after the 2011 tsunami.
The reality of the changing geopolitics was not lost on the Japanese officers who watched their soldiers scrambling up San Clemente’s grassy hills. They acknowledged they were learning tactics from the Marines, who developed them during their island-hopping campaign in the Pacific against Imperial Japan.
China continued moving tanks and armored vehicles and flying flights near North Korea this week as part of a military buildup in the northeastern part of the country that U.S. officials say is related to the crisis with North Korea. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troop and tank movements were reported in Daqing, located in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and in the border city of Shenyang, in Liaoning Province. According to U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, both intelligence and Internet reports from the region over the past week revealed the modest military movements in the border region that began in mid-March and are continuing.
An Israeli tank fired into Syrian territory on Tuesday night after Syrian mortar and small-arms fire hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan heights the military said. An Israeli army statement said troops “returned precise fire at the source and reported a direct hit.” In response to a query from AFP a spokeswoman said it was an Israeli tank that returned fire. She did not give further details. There were no Israeli casualties from the Syrian fire, the army said.
South Korea’s defense ministry unveiled Monday a new contingency plan of “active deterrence” that allows its military to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if the North shows signs of an imminent nuclear or missile attack on the South. The new contingency plan was outlined in an annual policy briefing by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin to President Park Geun-hye amid heightened tensions over the escalation of North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric against Seoul and Washington.
In a war game focusing on the fictitious country “North Brownland,” military experts from the Army’s forward-looking research arm, the Concept Development and Learning Directorate, assessed how many U.S. troops it would take to go into a North Korea-like place to secure the weapons after a crisis erupted, and how quickly those weapons could be secured.American troops would have to enter the country by air and sea, locate nuclear material in enormous storehouses and unknown underground bunkers, and figure out how to wrest control of nuclear materials and stop reactors. The challenges, Hix said, are significant.
North Korea’s Feb. 12 nuclear test and continued military threats have sparked calls for Seoul to take a tougher stance against the secluded regime including enhanced nuclear deterrence. One of the most controversial issues is conservatives’ renewed proposal to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea. Unlike strategic nuclear weapons that are designed to act as deterrence to war or to damage the opponent’s war capabilities, tactical nuclear weapons are built for use on a battlefield.
The U.N. Security Council authorized a new “intervention brigade” for Congo on Thursday with an unprecedented mandate to take military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the country’s conflict-wracked east.
The resolution, which the council adopted unanimously, gives the brigade a mandate to carry out offensive operations alone or with Congolese army troops to neutralize and disarm armed groups. The brigade is unprecedented in U.N. peacekeeping because of its offensive mandate.
The long-standing Syrian dictatorship is an abomination. The ongoing Syrian civil war is a tragedy. America should stay out.
A decade ago another administration began another war with a promise of enshrining Pax Americana on the Euphrates. Unfortunately, the result was a wrecked Iraq, empowered Iran, and discredited America. With the decade-long attempt to implant liberal democracy in Afghanistan finally coming to a close, Washington should reject proposals for another unnecessary war of choice.
When a two-engine Chinese turboprop darted over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the first foreign intrusion into Japanese airspace in more than 50 years, the People’s Liberation Army was able to truthfully profess its innocence.
The tiny turboprop belonged to China Marine Surveillance, a once-obscure cog in the vast bureaucracy that has become a kind of paramilitary force in Asian waters. A host of Chinese agencies with innocuous titles — the Maritime Safety Administration, the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, the State Oceanic Administration — have become stealth warriors in Beijing’s campaign to press its territorial claims in Asian waters.
Israel is getting increasingly jumpy as Syrian rebels, particularly the increasingly effective Islamists, steadily throttle the beleaguered Damascus regime. Unusually heavy air force activity over Lebanon in recent days is raising suspicions Israel’s preparing for airstrikes to ensure the Jewish state’s security as Islamists advance into southern Syria close to the occupied zone in the Golan Heights.The marked increase in the number of aircraft involved, including unmanned spy drones, and their flight patterns over Hezbollah strongholds and suspected missile sites in recent days suggest Israel may be preparing for sizable offensive air operations against Hezbollah or Syria, or both.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has suggested the creation of a peacekeeping force in Mali that would include West African troops already operating in the country. He also said that a “parallel force” must be built to confront extremist threats.
“Given the anticipated level and nature of the residual threat, there would be a fundamental requirement for a parallel force to operate in Mali alongside the UN mission in order to conduct major combat and counter-terrorism operations,” Ban wrote in his report on Mali. “The force would operate under robust rules of engagement, with a mandate to use all necessary means to address threats to the implementation of its mandate, which would include protection of civilians,” he said.
Israel Today newspaper has prepared a special report on the Arab armies in the Middle East; its title is telling; “Long Arm in the Region” is a reference to the Israel Defence Forces. It is claimed that the IDF is planning for a confrontation with Egypt. There is a new unit within the IDF which studies the armies of the Arab states through Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman.
This agency supplies information on the power centres in the region’s armies and their plans, as well as how to exhaust their capabilities even before a direct confrontation. In the event of war with any Arab state, the new unit is ready to present a detailed plan of attack, cutting off enemy supply routes and rendering it unable to retaliate against Israeli attacks.
An Israeli general has raised the possibility of creating a buffer zone in Syria, in cooperation with local forces wary of jihadist fighters, should President Bashar al-Assad be toppled.
Major-General Yair Golan said “many hundreds” of radical Islamists were fighting in Syria’s two-year-old civil war and could “take root” in Israel’s northern neighbour should Assad fall. He said the Israeli military was working on the assumption that these fighters would ultimately launch attacks against Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
Central African Republic rebels clashed with government forces inside the capital on Saturday as they sought to topple President Francois Bozize, prompting France to send in more troops to secure the international airport.
The Seleka rebel coalition resumed hostilities this week in the mineral-rich former French colony, vowing to oust Bozize whom it accuses of breaking a January peace agreement to integrate its fighters into the army. A Reuters reporter in the northern suburbs of the riverside capital said the rebels had taken control of the neighborhood around Bozize’s private residence, known as PK12. Rebels in civilian clothes had infiltrated other areas, residents said.
Israel said it fired into Syria Sunday and destroyed a machine-gun position in the Golan Heights from where shots had been fired at Israeli soldiers in a further spillover of the Syrian civil war along a tense front.
It was not immediately clear whether Israel held Syrian troops or rebels responsible for what a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had been a deliberate attack on Israeli patrols in the occupied territory. Israeli forces “destroyed a Syrian machine gun nest that fired twice in the last 24 hours on Israeli patrols operating to safeguard the border
A Fox News military analyst who has previously justified the U.S. invasion in Iraq by asserting that Russia conspired to hide Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) now says that there is a “very high probability” that those WMDs are in Syria. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Friday spoke to retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney about recent rumors of a chemical attack near Aleppo, Syria.“ “Well, I think there is a high probability of that,” McInerney declared. “That’s conjecture, but we do know prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, there was a lot of vehicles crossing the border into Syria. And there was a great deal of conjecture. A Iraqi major general swore by it. He said he delivered it.”
Call them American strategy’s Odd Couple. Working together, the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force could be the best defenders of U.S. policy in the Arctic Ocean, a theater that will expand and contract each year and where threats will — cross your fingers — remain modest in scope. Think about it. One partner is an aviation force, the other a sea service. One operates under Pentagon jurisdiction, the other under the Department of Homeland Security. One is a combat arm designed to break things and kill people, the other a constabulary agency meant primarily to execute U.S. law in offshore waters and skies and render aid and comfort following natural disasters.
In Kachin State, China is waving a carrot to the government in Naypyidaw by putting pressure on the KIA and allowing Burmese troops to detour through Chinese territory. China is waving a big stick as well. According to Jane’s Intelligence Review on Dec. 21, China has supplied Burma’s most powerful ethnic militia, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), with large quantities of military hardware. Chinese-made armored personnel carriers with machine guns have been spotted in the UWSA’s Panghsang headquarters in Burma across the Yunnan frontier.
The U.S. administration is printing dollars without security in order to finance civil wars or American military invasions. Thanks to the theft of resources of entire countries, the White House covered the deficit of the uncontrolled printing of currency, and distributed the rest in the pockets of the accomplices from the administration. This rule, in force since the end of the Second World War, changed with the coming to power of George W. Bush in 2000. His greed resulted in the fact that the covering of deficit now led to the enrichment of his family and the IMF political commissars.
In an attempt to make some sense of the mess, NATO (basically the Western powers-that-be) commissioned a report from a bunch of legal experts at the ‘NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence’ to suggest some rules for cyber-warfare. Well, the report’s in, and the suggestions are kinda surprising.
Basically, cyber attacks which cause “physical damage, injury or death” constitute a ‘use of force’, and thus can be retaliated to with real physical weapons. Equally surprising is the classification of civilian hacktivists as legitimate targets during war.
NATO was ready to engage in Syria if its members saw the need, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis said.
Addressing US Senate’s Armed Services Committee, NATO commander said the North Atlantic Alliance was making contingency plans for a NATO military presence in Syria and was prepared to engage provided that such action was demanded. “We are looking at a wide range of operations, and we are prepared, if called upon, to be engaged as we were in Libya,” Stavridis said.
The top U.S. military commander in Europe said Tuesday that NATO is conducting contingency planning for possible military involvement in Syria and American forces would be prepared if called upon by the United Nations and member countries.
The Syrian civil war marked an ignominious two-year milestone this week with no sign that President Bashar Assad is close to giving up power. Adm. James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command, told a Senate panel that the United States is “looking at a variety of operations.” “We are prepared if called upon to be engaged,” Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Rich reservoirs of oil, natural gas and industrial minerals believed to lie under the China Sea may merely be door prizes in the contests for control of East Asia’s great inland sea.
Beijing claims some 300 million square kilometers (or 80 percent) of the East and South China Sea and the Yellow Sea that separates the Korean Peninsula from China’s east coast. Conventional analyses of China’s aggressive claims focus on rivalries among the coastal states over the underwater resources the China Sea is believed to contain.
According to Easton, who studied more than 100 Chinese-language military technology journals, official government reports and news reports out of Taiwan, the Chinese see drones as a platform to wage war at the “highest level of conflict.” Chinese documents suggest that the country’s People’s Liberation Army “envision[s] attacking U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups with swarms of multi-mission UAVs.”
Chinese reports suggest that they plan to use the drones in the event of a conventional war. While American drones are rarely lost overseas, China envisions attacks “with initial waves of decoy drones” followed by swarms of strike drones that would often be shot down during their mission.
Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months, solidifying its position alongside Russia as the government’s lifeline in an increasingly sectarian civil war, Western diplomats said.
Iran’s acceleration of support for Assad suggests the Syrian war is entering a new phase in which Iran may be trying to end the battlefield stalemate by redoubling its commitment to Assad and offering Syria’s increasingly isolated government a crucial lifeline, the envoys said.
French President Francois Hollande on Thursday called on Europe’s leaders to lift an arms embargo on Syria to help insurgents fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. “We are ready to support the rebellion, so we are ready to go this far. We must take our responsibilities,” Hollande told journalists.
Noting that countries including Russia were providing arms to Assad’s regime, Hollande said France “must convince its European partners” to tip the balance by ending the embargo, although the issue was not on the agenda for the Brussels summit.
Despite repeated war threats from Pyongyang, an increasing number of North Korean soldiers have gone AWOL from their front-line combat units in recent months, sources in Seoul said Tuesday, in a possible sign of rising discontent in the rank and file suffering from grueling winter training and food shortages.
“A recent analysis revealed the number of deserters in front-line military units has increased by seven to eight times compared to the same period of the previous year,” a source said, asking for anonymity as he is not allowed to talk about military information. “Military and government officials are closely looking into the cause of the rise in desertions.”
North Korea seems to have taken “initial steps” to deploy mobile long-range missiles, the head of the U.S. intelligence community said Tuesday, as the unpredictable communist nation churns out military threats.
“Last April it displayed what appears to be a rogue mobile intercontinental ballistic missile,” James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said at a Senate hearing on national security challenges. “We believe North Korea has already taken initial steps towards fielding this system, although it remains untested.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has threatened to “wipe out” a South Korean island as Pyongyang came under new economic and diplomatic fire from US sanctions and UN charges of gross rights abuses.
On a visit to frontline military units on Monday, Kim briefed officers on their mission “to strike” Baengnyeong and turn the island into a “sea of fire”. “Once an order is issued, you should break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like,” Kim was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.
The recent revelation, by a member the general secretariat of Kuwait´s National Party, according to whom the USA and Qatar are planning to divide Syria into small-states, is likely to further cool down east-west relations. The agreement, so al-Hamad, contains several points, such as a division of Syria into several smaller states with so-called moderate Islamist governments, the permanent annexation of the disputed Hatay region by Turkey, a reduction of the Syrian military forces to maximum 50,000 troops and other, which coincide with recent analysis by Dr. Perencik and Major Agha H. Amin.
On Monday, South Korea and the United States began their annual war games and North Korea responded by following through on some of its latest threats. Thankfully, Seoul hasn’t been turned into a “sea of flames” and there are no nuclear weapons hurdling toward the U.S., but the country cut off its hotline with South Korea on Monday and announced in the state-run newspaper that the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War is no more. “Today, on March 11, the armistice agreement is annulled,” said the paper. “Every citizen is a soldier.”
The North Korean military said that it would also cut-off direct phone links with the South Korea at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom. The North on 6 March 2013 has announced no-fly and no-sail zones off both the coasts. Whereas the South has threatened that it would target Pyongyang leadership directly should it attack the South. On 7 March 2013 North Korea threatened to launch a preemptive strike against the US. South Korean defense ministry said that it has concrete evidence that the North is conducting a series of military drills in preparation for a nationwide war rehearsal.
Inside Iraq, the forces of Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict had been unleashed by the U.S. invasion. That, in turn, was creating the conditions for a proxy war between the U.S. and Iran, similar to the growing proxy war between Israel and Iran inside Lebanon (where another destabilizing event, the U.S.-sanctioned Israeli invasion of 2006, followed in hand). None of this has ever ended. Today, in fact, that proxy war has simply found a fresh host, Syria, with multiple powers using “humanitarian aid” to push and shove their Sunni and Shia avatars around.
At least 200 Russian-speaking Salafi Muslims are fighting against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, according to an expert at a state-run think tank. Rais Suleimanov, head of the Kazan-based Volga Center for Regional and Ethno-Religious Studies, said he got this number from Russian militants themselves, who he said have “no interest in exaggerating it.”
He said the militants come from CIS countries including Ukraine and from different regions of Russia, among them Tatarstan and the volatile North Caucasus, where Russian law enforcement is battling an intractable insurgency of separatist Islamist militants.
Attackers killed more than 50 Iraqi and Syrian soldiers in an ambush on Iraqi soil yesterday, stoking fears that the fighting in Syria could spill over the 600-kilometre border and provoke sectarian violence in Iraq.
A total of 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqis died when their convoy of 32 vehicles was attacked by gunmen using homemade bombs, mortars and heavy artillery as they drove towards a border crossing with Syria in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The Syrian soldiers, who numbered 65 in total, had fled into Iraq on March 2, according to a security official in Anbar.
Some lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party yesterday intensified their hardline stance on North Korea, calling on Seoul to establish its own nuclear deterrence capability to cope with the growing threat from Pyongyang.
“The only way to defend our survival would be to maintain a balance of terror that confronts nuclear with nuclear,” said Representative Shim Jae-cheol in a Supreme Council meeting held yesterday at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul. Shim was referring to the North’s continued provocation against the South and the international community by conducting its third nuclear test last Tuesday, following its long-range missile launch in December.
Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and quietly funneled them to antigovernment fighters in Syria in a drive to break the bloody stalemate that has allowed President Bashar al-Assad to cling to power, according to American and Western officials familiar with the purchases.
The arms transfers appeared to signal a shift among several governments to a more activist approach to assisting Syria’s armed opposition, in part as an effort to counter shipments of weapons from Iran to Mr. Assad’s forces.
Russia and China said on Friday they would oppose any foreign military intervention in North Korea over its recent nuclear test. The two countries’ foreign ministers condemned last week’s test but said any action against North Korea had to be agreed at the United Nations, where Russia and China have the right of veto as permanent members of the Security Council. “We are against the carrying out of a nuclear test in North Korea,” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a joint news conference after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
Chinese Army units have been undergoing intense training near the border with Myanmar in anticipation of an ethnic war there spilling into southwest China, according to official Chinese news media reports on Friday. The training has been taking place in the hills of Yunnan Province. It borders Kachin State in northern Myanmar, where a civil war between an ethnic Kachin rebel army and the Burmese Army has been unfolding. The fighting intensified in late December, and Chinese officials and news organizations reported that shells had landed in China.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is pushing ahead with sweeping changes to the constitution, despite concerns that they signal a return to Japan’s inward-looking, militaristic regime of the early years of the 1900s. “My guess is that is that their view of Japan is that it should be more like pre-war Japan of the early 1930s,” said Masako Kamiya, a professor of law at Gakushuin University. “I believe there are a number of LDP members who share the view that it was not such a bad time, that there were some good things in that era,” she added.
A number of countries might consider deploying nuclear weapons in outer space on the pretext of countering the danger of asteroids, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
“An undesirable effect of this might be that, under the guise of countering asteroids, some countries, which I prefer not to name, might use this as a pretext for deploying nuclear weapons in outer space,” Rogozin said at a ceremony marking Fatherland Defendants’ Day at Technology Museum outside Moscow on Saturday.
Lebanon seems to be moving closer to becoming a major new front in Syria’s 2-year-old civil war after a series of deadly clashes in Syrian between rebel forces and Hezbollah, which backs the embattled Damascus regime.
The Free Syrian Army, one of the leading groups within the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslimopposition, threatened Tuesday to strike at the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon after the Iranian-backed movement sought to extend its control of Syrian territory along the border. The Hezbollah offensive, which began last week, appears intended to protect vital supply routes to Syrian forces loyal to the regime from Hezbollah’s heartland in the Bekaa Valley in northeastern Lebanon.
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.
“There is a core argument in international relations theory that when there is a rising power and an established “hegemon” (meaning a country with a predominance of power in the world system), this is a particularly dangerous time in international relations.”
Professor Lind continued, “Historically, such situations (the rise of Germany before WWI, the rise of Japan in Asia, the rise of the Soviet Union, the rise of Germany again) have been associated with military crises and even great-power war.” However, fellow Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College Daryl Press commented that if push came to shove, the United States would be unwilling to “wreck its relations with China and fight a maritime war over the Islands.”
High in the Karakoram, the stubborn armies of India and Pakistan have faced off for 19 years on the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground and a flash point in the deadly dispute over Kashmir. In this exclusive report, an American writer and photographer spend two months inside the ultimate no-man’s-land, witnessing the human and environmental devastation of a conflict without end. Ten years ago, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Kashmir was emerging as the most likely place on earth for a nuclear war to break out.
One of the most complex situations in the Middle East right now is the ongoing conflict in Syria between the government and opposition forces, in which at least an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.
Brahimi calls it a “quasi-Cold War” situation, with the United States supporting the opposition and Russia supporting the regime. Complicating the issue is the influence of regional powers such as Iran, Turkey, the Gulf States and the Arab League, as well as Israel’s military power in Israel.
Calling the continuing crisis an “absolute tragedy,” Brahimi holds many parties responsible for using tools of absolute war in order to gain power.
In his first term, President Obama instructed the Pentagon to pivot its forces and reorient its strategy toward fast-growing Asia. Instead, the U.S. military finds itself drawn into a string of messy wars in another, much poorer part of the world: Africa.
Over the past two years, the Pentagon has become embroiled in conflicts in Libya, Somalia, Mali and central Africa. Meantime, the Air Force is setting up a fourth African drone base, while Navy warships are increasing their missions along the coastlines of East and West Africa. In scope and expense, the U.S. military involvement in Africa still barely registers when compared with its presence in Asia, let alone the Middle East or Afghanistan.
In the conflict zone stretching from Syria to Afghanistan lies another war waiting to re-emerge: Nagorno-Karabakh. This dispute is likely to occupy President Obama’s new foreign-policy team whether they want it or not.
Two decades ago the newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bitter war over this remote area of mountains and valleys. Armenia won the war, but nobody has achieved peace. A fragile ceasefire signed in 1994 remains the only tangible achievement of diplomacy. Since then, a mediation effort led by Washington, Moscow and Paris has sought a solution.
Although the Lebanese government has adopted a policy of disassociation with the war in neighboring Syria, it is unable to prevent the conflict from leaching across the border, stirred by rival Lebanese Shi’ite and Sunni factions that have cast their lot with the Assad regime and rebel opposition forces respectively. Given its tangled sectarian demographics and rising animosity between Sunnis and Shi’ites, Lebanon is a minefield of potential flashpoints. But few hold as much possibility for serious violence as the northern Bekaa.
A pre-dawn raid on a Thai military base ended with 16 Muslim insurgents killed on Wednesday in the deadliest violence in the country’s south in nine years, marking a dangerous escalation in one of Asia’s least-known conflicts.
Acting on a tip-off, marines lit flares and opened fire as up to 60 insurgents wearing military fatigues approached the base at about 1 a.m. in Narathiwat province on the Malaysian border, said Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Pramote Phromin. He revised the death toll to 16 from an earlier 17. None of the Thai military defenders of the base was hurt, he said.