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.
According to the ‘Great Men’ theory of history advanced by Thomas Carlyle, global events are shaped in significant part by the decisions and personalities of individual leaders. If this account has even marginal merit, then we might survey with optimism the personalities of the most powerful global leaders who preside over the current turbulent times in the Middle East. They have exhibited remarkable restraint and wisdom, in the face of compelling pressures to fuel further insoluble violent conflicts.
The Minister of Defence yesterday morning at the Elysee Palace, in a small board, the military options of French intervention in Central Africa. According to the scenarios, the reinforcements would be about 350 to about a thousand men, for the most part already prépostionnés Africa. They would be added to the 400 French soldiers currently in Bangui during Operation Boali. The timing of the intervention is conditional on passing a resolution by the Security Council of the UN, to provide a legal framework which will be under Chapter VII – that is to say in a robust manner. It is a Franco-African operation, also involving countries of Central Africa.
MADRID is in danger of sparking a military conflict with Britain over Gibraltar if it does not tone down its actions, a senior MP warned today as the Royal Navy was involved in a new stand-off with a Spanish ship. However, referring to the armed standoff on November 1, Mr Dobbin told MPs: “Reports state that guns were pointed and thankfully no shots were fired. “This diary of events highlights the serious nature the British government of Gibraltar is dealing with.”
French troops should be allowed to hunt down al Qaeda-linked militants beyond Mali’s borders, French army chief Admiral Edouard Guillaud said in a rare interview on Thursday. Nine months after they were scattered across the Sahara by a French military offensive, Islamists in Mali have named new leaders and are making a comeback as France whittles down its military presence. They have launched attacks on U.N. peacekeepers and killed two French journalists this month. France retains about 2,800 soldiers in its former colony.
As the latest militant-Kurdish military showdown eases in northeast Syria, Baghdad is keeping a close watch on a battle which threatens even greater instability in Iraq. Kurdish forces and al Qaeda-linked groups have for weeks fought over territory, with the Kurds taking over a key border point late last month. But with the likelihood of more fighting to follow, Baghdad is worried of militants securing a wider corridor between eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Asia is now more prone to conflict than at any time in recent memory, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) academic Michael Auslin wrote in an article published in the Wall Street Journal. “The East China Sea may see the world’s first war started by aerial drones,” Auslin wrote in the article, which also appeared on the institute’s Web site. The British version of the Journal also published an editorial this week titled “Alarm over the Taiwan Strait, which said it is time for Taipei and Washington to shore up Taiwan’s deteriorating defenses.
Oxford academic Paul Collier is well known for his book The Bottom Billion in which he maps the links between the world’s poorest people and the world’s most war-torn countries. In a chapter in a new book for IPPR, edited by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, Collier argues that what Africa needs is an “African NATO”. He writes that the international community oscillates between “pusillanimous passivity” and “gung-ho intervention”.
Along the lines of the intensifying regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the Lebanese arena continues to play the role of a “mailbox” for sending messages between the concerned states – an issue that was apparent in the continuing clashes in Tripoli between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen. There is talk of a Saudi-Syrian struggle in the poorer districts of Tripoli, manifested in rumors of massive amounts of money being transferred to the different groups and their fighters.
Renewed protests against president Omar Al Bashir in Sudan have led to speculation about whether the Arab Spring has belatedly reached the country’s borders. Last year, however, similar demonstrations disappeared soon after they began and it is highly likely that matters will turn out the same this time around. There are direct parallels with Syria, however, where the regime has confounded expectations by clinging to power against an uprising that is in its third year.
China is not yet a unified great power. This is a humiliation to the Chinese people, a shame to the children of the Yellow Emperor. For the sake of national unification and dignity, China has to fight six wars in the coming fifty years. Some are regional wars; the others may be total wars. No matter what is the nature, each one of them is inevitable for Chinese unification. The 1st War: Unification of Taiwan (Year 2020 to 2025) Though we are enjoying peace on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, we should not daydream a resolution of peaceful unification from Taiwan administration (no matter it is Chinese Nationalist Party or Democratic Progressive Party).
France’s foreign minister heads to the Central African Republic (CAR) on Sunday aiming to drum up international interest for a largely forgotten crisis that risks dragging Paris into a new military intervention in one of its former colonies. The nation has descended into chaos since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March, the latest coup in the country that remains one of the world’s poorest despite resources ranging from gold to uranium.
Turkey’s parliament on Thursday extended for one year a mandate that would allow Ankara to order military strikes against Kurdish rebels holed up in neighbouring northern Iraq.The vote coincides with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reforms to boost the rights of the country’s sizeable Kurdish community and secure an end to the nearly 30-year battle with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has been fighting for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast and east of Turkey since 1984
“[Syria] is the corridor that connects Lebanon and Iraq, and the combination of activities in both regions, with the hopes of creating instability in Jordan and crushing Israel,” he tells U.S. News. Kahlili says the Guard has been operating in Syria through small bases since the early days of Iran’s revolutionary government. It has established command and control centers and monitors Islamic extremist movements from there. It also trains and supplies organizations such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant political party that has sent an undisclosed number of fighters in support of the Syrian regime.
Saudi Arabia, exasperated with U.S. vacillation related to Syria’s chemical arsenal and now its effort to reconcile with Iran, Riyadh’s foremost adversary, is forging a new alliance of Islamist rebels in Syria under a pro-Saudi warlord to supersede the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army. Riyadh also wants to foment an Iraq-style “Sunni Awakening” to unite Syria’s majority sect to topple the minority Damascus regime of President Bashar Assad. “The Saudis have enlisted ’50 brigades’ and some thousands of fighters under a new structure headed by Zahren Alloush, head of Liwa al-Islam, the new group’s most powerful Salafist brigade.”
The indelible factors of geography in terms of ‘location,’ ‘space’ and ‘terrain’ in shaping the destiny of nations remains profound. The conflict that has been going on ‘for’ and ‘in’ the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for seven decades is a prime example; it is the State’s locational position on the face of the earth for China, India and Pakistan that is driving the triangular competition in which Pakistan’s virulence is being used both as the means to ‘contain’ India, and her territory, including what she occupies to act as a spring board for China’s regional outreach.
The CIA is expanding a clandestine effort to train opposition fighters in Syria amid concern that moderate, U.S.-backed militias are rapidly losing ground in the country’s civil war, U.S. officials said. But the CIA program is so minuscule that it is expected to produce only a few hundred trained fighters each month even after it is enlarged, a level that officials said will do little to bolster rebel forces that are being eclipsed by radical Islamists in the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Because China believes it is much weaker than the United States, they are more likely to launch a massive preemptive strike in a crisis. Here’s the other bad news: The current US concept for high-tech warfare, known as Air-Sea Battle, might escalate the conflict even further towards a “limited” nuclear war, says one of the top American experts on the Chinese military. What US analysts call an “anti-access/area denial” strategy is what China calls “counter-intervention” and “active defense,” and the Chinese appraoch is born of a deep sense of vulnerability that dates back 200 years
If any extra evidence was needed to shatter the myth of a “revolution” struggling for a future “democratic” Syria, the big news of the week cleared any remaining doubts. Eleven, 13 or 14 “rebel” brigades (depending on the source) have ditched the “moderate”, US-propped Syrian National Council (SNC) and the not-exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA). The leaders of the bunch are the demented jihadis of Jabhat al-Nusra – but it includes other nasties such as the Tawhid brigades and the Tajammu Fastaqim Kama Ummirat in Aleppo, some of them until recently part of the collapsing FSA.
Sources indicate the strike inside Somalia will include advisers from the Somali government. It will target al-Shabaab resources and requires an assault force to go in. The source added: “There are several levels to this. Any action needs to be signed off at the highest level. “We need to make sure we have a Somali government presence and we need to avoid collateral damage with cruise missiles which can kill innocent civilians. “That means this is a job for blades, men on the ground.”
This is the Operations Coordination Centre – Provincial, or OCCP, where representatives of the Afghan army, police and security service mentored by Australian soldiers coordinate security activities for the entire province. Each morning starts with a roundup of the night’s activities. It hosts regular meetings of the provincial governor, chief of police, provincial army commander, head of intelligence and the commander of Combined Team Oruzgan, Australian Colonel Wade Stothart, to coordinate plans for upcoming events.
You are reading this on a smartphone, then you are probably holding in your palm the conflict minerals that have sent the biggest manufacturing trade group in the U.S. into a court battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At stake in this battle between the National Association of Manufacturers and the government is whether consumers will know the potentially blood-soaked origins of the products they use every day and who gets to craft rules for multinational corporations—Congress or the business itself.
On August 23, Paraguayans woke up to news that resembled more the days of Stroessner’s dictatorship than those of a developing democracy. Under the new changes, Cartes can now send the military “to face any form of internal and external aggression that endangers the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country.” Thus, the president can decide the use of members of the armed forces within the country any time he sees fit by a mere presidential decree.
The Turkish army started to build a new military base on the top of Kel Mountain, which is located near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Turkish Daily News reported on Sunday. Trucks carrying with military equipment from southern Hatay province were heading to the Kel Mountain, the report said, adding that soldiers have started to assemble the equipment on the top of the mountain. Meanwhile, armored vehicles and tanks have also been dispatched to the southeastern city of Sanliurfa’s Mursitpinar border post, according to the report.
The Ocean Fortune, a 380-foot-long workhorse of the global arms trade, left this Black Sea port with unknown cargo concealed in its cavernous hold. The ship steamed south, slipped through the Bosporus Strait and turned toward the eastern Mediterranean. Then it disappeared.The ship’s apparent vanishing act repeated a pattern seen by other freighters embarking from the same Black Sea port — a known point of origin for weapons shipments — over the past year.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday urged the Russian administration to distance from the threats made by the scandalous politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky against the Baltic States.
During a visit in Vilnius, the head of the Alliance dismissed as fully unacceptable the statement by the leader of Russian Liberal Democratic Party Zhirinovsky, who said the Baltic States would be occupied or destroyed, if they choose to support military strikes on Syria.
President Obama is requesting congressional authorization for military strikes in Syria, and at this point it appears likely that his case will be supported. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has created plenty of conflict in the Middle East, but the last straw and what has prompted military action has been the use of chemical weapons. Should the U.S. continue its planned limited military strikes, Bloomberg points out that the assets are already in place. Air bases on both sides of Syria and several ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea are idly waiting for orders.
Qatar’s LNG supply to the world will not be affected if the US launches an attack on Syria, a senior official has said. When asked whether there will be any consequences on the LNG supply routes going out from Qatar in the event of a US attack on Syria, Nakilat’s managing director Mohamed Ghannam said: “I see no reason (for it to get affected in any way).” According to him, Qatargas and RasGas will be able to honour their commitments for the supply of LNG and Nakilat will be able to deliver the cargoes as scheduled .
Western intelligence services have made much of Hezbollah’s military support for the embattled Damascus regime in Syria’s civil war, but there’s another, less well-known threat emerging there. That’s the growing force of Iraqi Shiite fighters who’re also fighting to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. Many of them were trained by Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to fight the Americans in Iraq, and now form a major element in Iran’s new “foreign legion,” intelligence officers and military experts say.
Russian naval vessels in the Mediterranean are capable of reacting to an escalation in the Syria conflict, a military source said, as Moscow fine tunes its maritime presence ahead of possible US military action. “Today we consider our presence in the eastern Mediterranean to be sufficient to solve the tasks. If necessary, together with submarine forces, they (the ships) are capable even today of influencing a military situation,” a general staff said. “We are ready to solve sudden task.
On Aug. 26, I read a rather frightening op-ed in the Los Angeles Times coauthored by David Gompert — until recently the second-highest-ranking U.S. intelligence official in the Obama administration. What scared me was his sober assessment of the possibility that a conflict in the maritime arena could trigger a China-U.S. Armageddon — at least for Asia.There is now little doubt that China and the West are going to clash. They are already competing in both military and civilian ways and more fundamentally in values and the pursuit of political power. The as yet unanswered questions are will the conflicts become “physical,” and if so how and why?
Russia has sent a reconnaissance vessel from its Black Sea fleet to the coast off Syria, a report said Monday, as Moscow anxiously watches Western plans for military action against the Damascus regime, a report said Monday. The SSV-201 intelligence ship Priazovye on Sunday evening started its voyage from its home port of Sevastopol in Ukraine “to the appointed region of military service in the eastern Mediterranean,” a military source told the Interfax news agency. “The crew has the mission… of collecting operative information in the region of an escalating conflict,” it added.
But while isolationists (or non-interventionists) are panicking over a possible course of action that doesn’t involve boots on the ground, what I find ironic is that the U.S., along with several other actors across the globe, have already had a covert presence within Syria for the last two years – supplying everything from intelligence to weapons to both sides of the conflict. I think it’s important to remind everyone exactly which external actors are involved in this civil war as well as what their stake is in the conflict.
Amid Syria Tensions, Russia Is Sending Anti-Submarine Ship, Missile Carrying Cruiser To Mediterranean Sea
“The known situation that is currently observed in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea requires us to make certain adjustments to our naval group. A large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet is expected to join it within the next few days. The Black Sea Fleet’s missile carrying cruiser Moskva, which is now wrapping up its mission in the North Atlantic and will soon head toward the Strait of Gibraltar, will join it a little later,” the source said. In autumn, the Pacific Fleet’s missile carrying cruiser Varyag is expected to replace the large anti-submarine ship Vice Admiral Panteleyev within the Russian naval group in the Mediterranean Sea, he said.
“Warplanes and military transporters” have reportedly been moved to Britain’s Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus in the latest sign of the allied forces’ preparations for a military strike on Syria amid bellicose rhetoric against the Syrian government. Two commercial pilots who regularly fly from Larnaca, Cyprus, claim to have spotted C-130 transport planes from their own aircraft and small formations of possibly European fighter jets from their radar screens, according to the Guardian.Akrotiri airbase is less than 100 miles from Syria, making it a likely hub for a bombing campaign. Residents near the airfield confirmed to the Guardian that “activity there has been much higher than normal over the past 48 hours.”
Turkey has put its armed forces on alert to guard against threats from Syria as Western allies weigh possible military action against President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday. “We are now at a more alert position … Turkey will take whatever measures necessary within the framework of its own strategic interests,” Davutoglu said. He said “all options” remained open on the possible international action. Iraq also has put its security forces on high alert ahead of an expected international strike on Syria, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday.
Marines in the Middle East, Africa and Europe are poised to reach Syria within hours should President Obama order a strike on the country as officials work to determine whether the government there was involved in a chemical weapons attack against its own people. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told BBC television Tuesday that the Defense Department has “moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take.” The Corps has units forward-deployed to the region to deal specifically with crisis response missions, said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.
British special forces were last night hunting Syrian missiles in readiness for Allied strikes which could start as early as tomorrow night.
Cruise missile attacks and RAF raids are expected in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.
The British hunt for missiles and chemical weapons – which includes the SAS, Special Boat Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and MI6 spies – is one of the most hazardous in modern times as they are up against Assad’s forces as well as some rebel elements.
Taking out Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile isn’t easy – and is fraught with perils, including creating plumes of deadly vapors that could kill civilians downwind of such attacks. That’s why Pentagon officials suggest that any U.S. and allied military strike against Syria will tilt toward military, and command and control, targets —including artillery and missile units that could be used to launch chemical weapons — instead of the bunkers believed to contain them. Secretary of State John Kerry made clear Monday that military action is all but inevitable in the coming days. “
Washington has asked Greece for permission to use its military bases in Kalamata and Souda for a possible strike on Syria over the alleged use of toxic gas in Ghouta on the eastern outskirts of Damascus. The two bases in Peloponnesus and on Crete would be used by the American air force and navy for transportation purposes. The Greek government has given the green light but stated that it will not take part in any direct military action in Syria for fear of reprisals.A buildup of warplanes and military transporters has been reported at the British airbase at Akrotiri in Cyprus, less than 100 miles from Syria.
ALLIED commanders may need to make use of the RAF base at Akrotiri for air support should any military action be taken against Syria. A Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine is said to be in the region while a number of warships recently left Britain for exercises in the Mediterranean. “The government has neither been officially advised nor has any other information about the prospect of British bases on Cyprus being used by Britain and the United States”, said Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou. In 2011, British Forces Cyprus provided support to operations over Libya, but was not used to launch offensive strikes on the country.
It seems to me that the problem in the Syrian case is part of a larger dilemma regarding the upheaval in the Middle East. The solution to that upheaval cannot be based entirely on military power nor should it be dependent almost exclusively on the Western powers. I am struck how eager Great Britain and France appear to be in favor of military action. And I am also mindful of the fact that both of these two powers are former imperialist, colonialist powers in that region.
If Western countries start a military campaign against Syria, possibly, Turkish military base Injilik will be used. According to the publication, the use of base Injirlik will be discussed in Jordan on August 30, during the meeting of senior military commanders from 11 countries. Besides, as the newspaper reported, the day before Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davudoglu held another telephone conversation with the USA Secretary of State John Kerry. During the conversation the parties came to conclusion that if Russia and China again block the decisions of UN Security Council on Syria, then the other members of UN Security Council will have to resort to other means in order to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
American, Israeli and Jordanian commandos are currently deployed on the ground in Syria, training and operating alongside the rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the French daily Le Figaro reported. The report has not been corroborated by any official American, Israeli or Jordanian source. The newspaper said that according to its sources, the joint operation, led by the CIA, began on Aug. 17, when the commandos joined some 300 Syrian rebels near the southwestern city of Deraa, just north of Syria’s border with Jordan.
Barack Obama is unlikely to have much trouble mustering a Nato coalition of the willing if Washington opts for military intervention in Syria. There is, however, no prospect of a UN mandate for international military action over Syria – with the Kremlin, enraged at what it saw as abuse of a UN mandate to topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, certain to keep wielding its veto. Turkey, which accounts for Nato’s second largest army after the US, and which is on the frontline with Syria, is already a key conduit for arms supplies to, and a safe haven for, the sundry groups of fighters at war with Damascus.
“The president has asked the Defense Department for options. Like always, the Defense Department is prepared and has been prepared to provide all options for all contingencies to the president of the United States,” he said. “And that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets, to be able to carry out different options – whatever options the president might choose.” Separately, a US official said Mr Obama’s security advisers will convene at the White House this weekend to discuss US options, including possible military action, against the Syrian government over an apparent chemical weapons attack earlier this week.
In the past eight months, tensions have flared between Colombia and Nicaragua over a maritime territorial dispute that has led to a local arms race. Both countries’ armies have announced new weapons purchases as part of an effort to modernize their militaries, and war is already viewed as an actual possibility by members of both armies. “We’re not facing an imminent confrontation with this Central American country,” a high-ranking Colombian officer told El Espectador. “But it has become a priority in what we call the ‘sand boxes’ [war training exercises based on possible conflict scenarios], which are nothing more than our troops’ preparation for the worst while hoping for the best.”
Geopolitical importance of the Caspian basin is reaching new level amid continuing contradictions in different regions throughout the world. Regional countries` showing off their military muscles in the sea, intensification of exercises cause several questions as regards the future of the region. Experts analyze these processes from different aspects, with the threat of war being in the foreground. Status, energy carriers and military ships: any interconnection? Geopolitical processes around the Caspian basin appear to be intensifying. The region has always been a focus of attention of superpowers, and the issue has now reached a new geopolitical level.
For two years, the conversation on Egypt centered on how to build a democracy. Suddenly the discussion has turned much darker, with some wondering aloud whether the largest Arab nation is hurtling toward civil war. The bloody crackdown by Egypt’s security forces has raised the specter of a protracted conflict pitting the military against the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s most powerful political force. Egypt’s escalating crisis is far too volatile for any declarative statements, analysts say. But here are three possible scenarios that could play out
French strategic culture highly values military interventions as a means to defend national interests abroad. As a result, the French military has been involved in more than a hundred military operations since the end of the Cold War. Yet, France is also grappling with the same fiscal and economic problems as many other Western states. Future interventions could become a rare luxury rather than a widely used solution aimed at resolving international crises.
The Sudanese government has been selling Chinese and local-made weapons to the Arab Gulf state of Qatar which in turn has been shipping it to rebels in Syria who have staged an uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s rule since 2011, U.S. officials and rebels told the New York Times (NYT). The shipments included newly manufactured small-arms cartridges and antiaircraft missiles which were desperately sought by rebels over the last year to neutralize Assad’s superior firepower. Western nations have been hesitant to supply sophisticated weapons such as surface-to-air missiles or shoulder-mounted missiles for fear that it might fall into the hands of hardline Islamist factions for use against western targets.
Government troops exchanged fire with Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) battalion 36 in northern Shan state last Sunday. According to Naw Bo Jar, a KIA military commander, government troops began their offensive at midnight inciting a conflict that lasted three hours and resulted in at least four KIA fatalities in Monggo area in Muse Township. At the time of press it was unknown if any government soldiers were killed.
Should a war break out in East Asia, it is likely to be waged mainly at sea. This is conditioned by the geography of the region, where the main players are separated from each other by large expanses of sea. A large-scale military action on the ground, say in Europe, the Middle East or on the Korean Peninsula, could result in a huge loss of life and a lot of material damage, forcing politicians to exercise more caution. Whereas in the ocean, where there is no human life for hundreds of miles, these risks are much lower, which may reduce the threshold for taking the decision to go to war.
Soldiers once loyal to Yemen’s ousted president Saleh, protesting against what they say is neglect by the new leadership, clashed with a rival faction of the military in Sanaa on Friday, police and witnesses said. The hundreds of soldiers protesting were former members of Yemen’s elite Republican Guard, which was run by Saleh’s powerful son and which Saleh’s successor, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, abolished last year in a bid to unify the army. Yemen’s military remains divided between allies and opponents of Saleh, who stepped down in a Gulf-brokered deal in 2012 after a year of protests against his rule, but still looms large in Yemen.
The Obama administration earlier this year expanded its secret war in Somalia, stepping up assistance for federal and regional Somali intelligence agencies that are allied against the country’s Islamist insurgency. It’s a move that’s not only violating the terms of an international arms embargo, according to U.N. investigators. The escalation also could be a signal that Washington’s signature victory against al-Qaeda’s most powerful African ally may be in danger of unraveling.
The top U.S. general has set out five options for military intervention in Syria in a non-classified letter made public Monday. Despite outlining the options, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed that the decision of whether to go to war was one for civilian leaders. In his July 19 letter, he pointed out that the use of the options would be a political decision that should not be carried out lightly and would be, “no less than an act of war.” The options range from nonlethal intelligence and weapons training to a boots-on-the-ground plan to “assault and secure” the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons.
A very senior British general said of Operation Serval in Mali that France had “set the standard” for crisis military interventions. Praise indeed and not easily given. One can always tell when a crisis is being managed to effect as the press lose interest. The challenge Paris faced when four thousand French troops arrived in Mali in February was complicated to say the least. Tuaregs had taken control of northern Mali and sought separation. They were supported by a particularly nasty bunch of Islamists who had profited (literally) from the chaos in neighboring Libya.
The Indian government this week reportedly paved the way for the creation of a new military corps of 50,000 troops near its border with China. If correct, analysts say this is a sign that New Delhi, which has been largely focused on its frontier with Pakistan, is now shifting its attention to the long, disputed Sino-Indian boundary. The creation of a strike corps would give India thousands of war-ready soldiers, trained and equipped to respond rapidly to a military threat, stationed close to the border between India and China, known as the Line of Actual Control.
Britain’s outgoing army chief has warned that attempts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would be unsuccessful without establishing ground control, in an interview published in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph. Britain is at the forefront of international efforts to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and has promised to supply rebels with equipment to protect them against chemical weapons attacks. But in his interview with the Telegraph, general David Richards said: “If you wanted to have the material impact on the Syrian regime’s calculations that some people seek, a no-fly zone per se is insufficient.
Japan may nationalise hundreds of unclaimed islands off its coast in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, reports said, in a move that could complicate already simmering relations with China over existing maritime disputes. Quoting government sources, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was planning to set up a multi-agency task force to identify around 400 islands that are not already explicitly identified as Japanese territory and confirm their ownership and the names of the islands.
As the military’s assault against Boko Haram and civilians in northern Nigeria continues, so too does the ongoing and underreported conflict in the villages around Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. As in other parts of the Sahel stretching from Khartoum to Dakar, rivalries between ethnic groups, settlers and indigenes, herders and farmers, and religious groups overlap to create a kaleidoscope of insider and outsider identities. Resulting conflicts, in turn, create openings for international jihadist Islam, as in other parts of the Sahel.
As Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi digs in his heels despite calls for him to step down, roughly 500 U.S. Marines deployed to Italy and Spain are poised to react if their presence is needed to calm the brewing violence in the North African country, according to Stars and Stripes. Pentagon spokesman told reporters the Marines were ready, if needed, to respond to a crisis in the region: “We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” CNN reports that 200 of the Marines in Italy and Spain are poised to be airborne within an hour of getting orders to deploy to Egypt
Myanmar migrant Yaza Min came to Malaysia several years ago seeking a better life but instead has hidden for more than three weeks in a temple, fearing for his safety as Muslim-Buddhist violence back home spilled over.
Secretarian bloodshed between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims erupted in Myanmar a year ago, leaving about 200 people dead, up to 140,000 homeless, and raising fears of wider instability in the region as refugees flee the country. Recent incidents in nearby Malaysia and Indonesia are feeding those concerns.
This morning, Xinjiang made it into the news again with another violent clash. In Lukqun township, outside the city of Turpan, protesters attacked a police station, government offices, and a construction site. The mob apparently carried knives in the attack and set police cars on fire, which caused the death of nine security personnel and eight civilians. Information about violent incidents in Xinjiang is always difficult to ascertain. The news is strictly controlled by the Chinese government and foreign media coverage usually consists of state media reports.
Russia has withdrawn all its military personnel from Syria and left its strategic Tartus naval centre unstaffed because of the escalating security threat in the war-torn country, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday.
The source said the decision was taken to limit the dangers posed to Russians amid a raging civil war and to reduce the threat of political damage that could result from Russians being killed by either side.
Fighting erupted in Tripoli on Wednesday when gunmen tried to free comrades seized by ex-rebels, and an army officer was assassinated in Benghazi, highlighting Libya’s continuing insecurity nearly two years after dictator Moamer Kadhafi fell.
The clashes broke out in the Abu Slim area near the centre of the capital, a security official said, and gunfire from heavy weapons could be heard in several areas of the city. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the sky above Abu Slim, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
After a substantial phase of people’s disenchantment with violence and a gradual movement away from an armed struggle toward nonviolent protests and social media campaigns, the gun seems to be returning to the center stage of Kashmir’s fight against Indian rule. New Delhi missed an opportunity to engage with a changed environment where the focus was on nonviolence and instead started terming the absence of violence as peace and silence of guns as Kashmir’s acceptance of the Indian rule.
The hard edges of Syria’s frontlines – dogmatic, revolutionary, Islamist or pure murderously sectarian – almost melt away outside the oilfields. New lines emerge pitting tribesmen against battalions, Islamists against everyone else, and creating sometimes surreal lines of engagement, where rebels help maintain government oil supplies in return for their villages being spared from bombardment and being allowed to siphon oil for themselves. “There is chaos now,” Abu Zayed said. “The Free Syrian Army is chasing loot, and they don’t care about civilians.
Egypt’s top ranking defense official warned Sunday that the military was “ready to intervene to stop the violence” ahead of scheduled mass protests to mark the one-year anniversary this week of Mohammed Morsi’s inauguration as Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el Sissi’s comments were the most forceful to date by a senior official of Egypt’s revered military in response to months of unrest and seemed to threaten the possibility of a military coup if protests lead to bloodshed or, as el Sissi described it, “uncontrollable conflict.”
As the West begins to gear up for the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Middle East is being convulsed as never before by the legacy of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Look no farther than Syria, where one part of that legacy – the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence even while the Great War still raged – is coming to a brutally violent end. Likewise, the current turmoil in Turkey is, at least in part, a consequence of “neo-Ottoman” overreach by Erdogan’s government.
As Lebanese Army officers gather the intelligence that may anticipate a Hezbollah coup attempt, ostensibly to protect “the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon,” the possibility that an army coup d’état cannot be ruled out, even if the likelihood of such a development was remote. There were two reasons for such reservations: First, because Hezbollah is now mired in Syria and unlikely to open a second front. And second, because army officers believed in and accepted the separation of powers.
From Aleppo in Syria to Quetta in Balochistan, Muslims are engaged in the slaughter of other Muslims. The numbers are enormous: over 93,000 killed in the Syrian civil war and over 48,000 dead in Pakistan. Millions have perished in similar intra-Muslim conflicts in the past four decades. Many wonder if the belief in Islam was sufficient to bind Muslims in peace with each other. As the violence amongst Muslims increases, most Muslims prefer denial or look for scapegoats.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and called for a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state firmly against President Bashar al-Assad.
Addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, the Sunni Islamist head of state said: “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime.” He also warned Assad’s allies in the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah to pull back from fighting in Syria.
After nearly a decade of conflict that has left thousands dead, Thailand is considering handing over limited powers to its Muslim-majority south in an effort to persuade rebels to lay down their arms.
Thai officials will meet with the two main insurgent groups on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur for a third round of talks that have so far failed to end near-daily violence in the region bordering Malaysia. Full autonomy for the south remains taboo as the constitution insists the Buddhist-majority kingdom must not be divided.
Diplomatic sources in Russia say that number of Syrian Army’s officers undergoes training with others from other countries on the use of air defense systems in the military academy Zhukov air defenses.
The source says, “The preparation of cadres in the Zhukov Military Academy for the Syrian armed forces, are under special academic programs compound” S – 125 “missile system” S – 200 “and how to direct rocket”
The UN Security Council yesterday voted to add more than 1,100 extra troops to the international peacekeeping force in Abyei amid new tensions between Sudan and South Sudan over the territory. The move comes after the killing of a tribal leader and an Ethiopian peacekeeper in the past month. The Security Council voted unanimously to increase the strength of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to 5,326 troops following repeated demands by UN leader Ban Ki-moon. The previous force strength was 4,200 troops. All the troops come from Ethiopia.
France urged African nations on Tuesday to make a concerted effort to tackle a growing Islamist threat in the deserts of southern Libya.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking on a visit to Niger where suicide bombers attacked a French-run uranium mine last week, said there were signs that Libya’s lawless south was becoming a safe haven for Islamist groups in the Sahara. “It seems we must make a special effort on southern Libya – which is also what Libya wants,” Fabius said after meeting Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. “We spoke about the initiatives which neighboring countries can take in liaison with Libya.”
Port Blair might not be anything more than a vacation spot for most Indians, but a new Pentagon- commissioned report seeks to turn it into something radically different: a base for American drones.
In possibly the first reference to the use of Indian territory for the US military in recent times, the paper, put together by the RAND Corporation, suggests that the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be ideally suited as a base for American drones in the event of an offensive against China.
While the diplomatic grouping known as the Friends of Syria met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday to discuss a U.S.-Russian plan for peace talks, a low-key yet perhaps equally important gathering was being quietly held in Istanbul between Saudi officials and half of the 30 members of the Free Syrian Army’s Higher Military Command, which claims to represent most of the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The informal talks, which were held at a seaside hotel, marked the first gathering of the rebel group’s Military Command and Saudi officials since, according to senior members of the Military Command, Saudi Arabia stepped up earlier this month to become the main source of arms to the rebels.
Recent incidents in the Golan Heights continue to cast a shadow on the attitudes of Israeli leaders amid reports that Israel plans to carry out new strikes in Syria. These future attacks would be in fulfillment of Israel’s declared policy of preventing strategic weapons from being transferred through Syria to Hizbullah.
The Israeli leadership is trying to predict Syria’s reaction to any upcoming strikes, though Israeli circles purport that if the state were to carry out any attack, it would certainly be met with a Syrian response. Press reports pointed out that this comes in the context of the current tensions in the occupied Golan Heights, after the Syrian army opened fire at an Israeli patrol in the area.
Russia primarily seeks to secure their portion of Syria, their people and their interests. Only secondarily does it support the Syrian government by more overt and covert measures. After they establish a more secure beachhead in the chaos, once safe from Western threats to bases and interests, they will then be in a better position to funnel supplies through those ports uninhibited. The warships carry with them supplies and marines and they are a lot more than a show of the flag. They are a tangible, genuine, military build-up on Syrian waters.
Not even a year ago, German intelligence predicted Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad’s regime would soon collapse. Now, the agency instead believes the rebels are in trouble. Government troops are set to make significant advances, it predicts.
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has fundamentally changed its view of the ongoing civil war in Syria. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that the BND now believes the Syrian military of autocrat Bashar Assad is more stable than it has been in a long time and is capable of undertaking successful operations against rebel units at will.
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.