Israel’s activity and presence in Azerbaijan on the northern border of Iran is aimed at exerting pressure on Iran and conducting security and intelligence activity against it and at getting prepared for the delusion of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities….Because of its strategic location, Azerbaijan offers Israel a springboard for espionage, military activity, and assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists. The paper also refers to the military contracts signed between the two states, amounting to “$1.6 billion in defensive missiles and UAVs.”
The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans. Scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person’s skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for super-personalized therapies made from people’s own DNA.
It’s unlikely that this clone could develop into a human, say the scientists, a team of biologists from the U.S. and Thailand. The team plans to publish a paper in the future detailing why not, Nature reported.
Master Of All Remotes: (ONR) has developed a remote controller for military ground, air and undersea unmanned systems
This Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)-prescribed data model is a piece of software that enabled development of the Common Control System, which is comprised of many different common control services. TheUnmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) software can be added to any unmanned system to make it able to communicate and work with any other. It will run on any type of platform or hardware, and it can overlay existing systems running on propriety software to make them work with any others.
Addressing the top commanders of the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that additional naval bases and air stations are required to extend the Navy’s reach.
“Antony said the construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach,” said a Defence Ministry statement. India is concerned about the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, said an Indian Navy official.
Russia is developing a hypersonic weapon program. It involves more than 60 companies and is scheduled for completion this summer. Launched in the former USSR, hypersonic weapon research was resumed in post-Soviet Russia in 2009 under the umbrella of the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at a speed surpassing that of sound (1,200 km/h) by ten or more times and are capable of penetrating any missile defense, says Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy head of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow.
The Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari voiced Iran’s enthusiasm for stronger naval cooperation with Sudan and announced that his forces are prepared to train Sudanese naval forces.
Sudanese naval officials wave as the Iranian Navy helicopter-carrier Kharg docks at Port Sudan in October 2012 (photo Press TV)
The Iranian military official made these statements on Thursday after a meeting with the commander of Sudanese Navy, General Dalil al-Daw Mohamed Fadal-Allah who is on a visit to Teheran.
Over the past five years, Chinese businesses have been expanding their footprint in Latin America in a number of ways, beginning with enhanced trade to ensure a steady supply of bulk commodities such as oil, copper and soybeans. At this year’s Boao Forum for Asia, for the first time a Latin American sub-forum was created that included the participation of several heads of state from the region.
As the United States is drawing up plans to reduce and revamp its military presence in Central Asia and while Russia answers increasingly desperate calls for help in the region on military matters, France announced that it is beginning to dismantle its 11 year old military air presence in Tajikistan.
The force of about 230 service members, which is assigned to operational transportation is now in the process of leaving the country, but a small force of specialists will remain in Dushanbe until some time next year when they finish upgrading the runway at the Dushanbe Airport.
German-Foreign-Policy.com reports that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense has received the results of a study it commissioned seeking advice on counterinsurgency efforts in the wake of U.S. military drawdown in the Northern Hemisphere.
Prepared by researchers at the University of Kiel, “the counterinsurgency study calls inter alia for the stricter centralization of command authority and a drastic enhancement of the espionage apparatus” (May 2; translation ours). The report reveals a startlingly Teutonic aggression in the language used.
In a strategically significant move to counter China’s presence in the region, India has announced that it will upgrade Iran’s crucial Chabahar port that gives a transit route to land-locked Afghanistan.
India’s decision was conveyed by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Tehran today during his meeting with his counterpart. An expert team from India will visit Iran to assess investment needed for the upgradation of the port on the Iran-Pakistan border facing the Arabian Sea.
Military strategists love a neat metaphor and today’s defence white paper from the Gillard government has given us a new one to bandy about.
The US had its “pivot” into the region. The white paper is asking us to envisage what it’s calling a “new Indo-Pacific strategic arc” stretching from India, through south-east Asia and north-east Asia, as our area of key strategic interest. In essence, this means more emphasis on looking west and northwest towards the Indian Ocean as well as to the north and north-east – not a revolution, but an evolution of what has been going on quietly inside defence circles for some years.
Enter the Drone Shield, created by an aerospace engineer who is seeking backing on Indigogo to bring the device to market. Essentially, the Drone Shield is built around the wildly popular Raspberry Pi, along with a signal processor, microphone and analysis software to scan for specific audio signatures. The Shield is apparently capable of comparing recorded audio signatures against sounds created by known drone aircraft. When the system identifies a specific drone, it alerts the user via e-mail or SMS.
A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today. At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense policy issues, including missile defense policy. In this capacity, it was my responsibility and privilege to negotiate the details of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) agreements with Poland, Romania, and Turkey that will enable the United States to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense.
German soldiers are moonlighting illegally at private security firms while off-duty, a newspaper revealed on Monday. Working as heavily armed guards on freighters or in war-zones, some do it for the cash and others for the adrenaline kick.
As members of the German army, Bundeswehr, soldiers are not allowed to work as mercenaries for private companies – yet many are doing it, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) found out. Exact figures on how many of Germany’s soldiers, or former soldiers, work the private security circuit are unknown. According to the FAZ’s research, the field is growing and critics are warning of a “mercenary renaissance”.
Saxo Bank’s Lars Christensen: Political discontent will soon force the Eurozone’s inevitable break-up
A political rebellion is brewing, and many countries are close to breaking point. Beppe Grillo’s success in Italy was just the start – it could have been anyone standing with an anti-euro message. There’s a new anti-euro party in Germany gathering interest. And the anti-bailout True Finns in Finland are now the country’s third largest party. This will happen in every European country, and it’s all down to economic conditions. As long as you’re in the euro, you’ll be less and less competitive, and will get weaker and weaker against Germany.
Analyzing Beijing’s foreign policy is a relatively simple exercise. That’s because, unlike the United States and other Western nations, China doesn’t even pretend to operate on any other principle except naked self-interest. On one hand, China has courted Israel as a partner in developing Mediterranean gas fields — but it also has been happy to do business with Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran, and has sold weapons that ended up in Hezbollah’s arsenal. In South Asia, meanwhile, China has cynically helped Pakistan check India’s regional role, even as China’s state-controlled press has warned Pakistan that Beijing may “intervene militarily” in South Asia if Pakistani-origin jihadis continue to infiltrate Muslim areas of Western China.
The cost of ignoring Africa is immense—and may be ultimately measured in American lives lost. Left unchecked, Al Qaeda affiliates in North Africa will soon be able to strike at Americans overseas and at home. Ignoring North Africa today is like ignoring Afghanistan in 1998, as Bin Laden’s minions began to plan the September 11 attacks. North Africa is becoming the “new Afghanistan”—a string of toterring and largely ungoverned nations running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
Beijing has deployed near Taiwan a powerful missile designed to take out U.S. aircraft carriers as Beijing strengthens its ability to prevent U.S. forces from aiding Taiwan. The missile, designated the DF-21D, is one of a “growing number of conventionally armed” new weapons China is deploying to the region, adding to more than 1,200 short-range missiles opposite the island democracy, Flynn, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Dong Feng-21D is intended to give China “the capability to attack large ships, particularly aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific,” the Pentagon’s 2012 China report said.
How much of a role Canada should play in helping secure North America from missile attacks could be up for renewed debate. The Conservative government is believed to be facing a request by the United States to join an anti-ballistic missile shield. The request is coming as the Americans ramp up their own protection in response to increased tension with North Korea and Iran. In March, the Pentagon announced its intention to place 14 new ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska by 2017. That suggests the U.S. sees a threat to their northern territory as a possibility, raising the question of Canada’s exposure and also its responsibility.
US preoccupation with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs is a cause for concern. Every incident has prompted a comment from the US. If the office of a newspaper is attacked, it is an attack on the independence of the media despite the fact that any number of possibilities not connected with media freedom exists for such attacks.
The compelling reason for US preoccupation with Sri Lanka is attributed to Sri Lanka’s extended engagement with China. The need to counter or balance China’s engagement in Sri Lanka has been recognized by the US and India. While India’s concern has both national and geostrategic ramifications, to the US it is primarily geostrategic.
Military leaders from the Pentagon, Italy and Germany were in Central New York this week to witness a classified test of a missile defense system. As part of the test, a small plane and a simulated tactical ballistic missile were detected and tracked by the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, its developers said today. MEADS, developed in part by Lockheed Martin with partners in Italy and Germany, was tested using radars placed at Lockheed’s test range in Cazenovia and on its campus at Electronics Park in Salina. MEADS and Lockheed Martin officials said they could not release photos or videos of the test because of the classified nature, nor could they disclose the names of the NATO officials who witnessed the demonstration.
The most significant geopolitical events of the past half century have been unanticipated. Not that we did not expect them, but they were supposed to happen in the distant future, not now.The North Korean regime could collapse in the same unexpected way, leaving shocked politicians, diplomats, and pundits to fend with its consequences. While it is comforting to believe that predictable rational calculation and self interest determine the course of human events, the most significant changes in the world order are heavily influenced by chance, personalities, emotions, and miscalculations.
Looking forward, more gas transport options in Europe are forecasted. The next five years will see the realisation of a considerable number of ambitious interregional projects, including new supply routes: West Nabucco, Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, TAPI and Russia-South Korea, which could be possible route alternatives for Gazprom’s South Stream. The trend towards greater European integration ramps up the enforcement to overcome national boundaries and focus to a greater extent on a Europe-wide network.
The technologies of interest are potential “game-changers”: biotechnologies (e.g., human enhancements), energy (e.g., lasers and superefficient batteries), materials (e.g., 3D printing), hardware (e.g., robots), and software (e.g., electromagnetic and cyberweapons). But this particular wargame was dedicated to their ethics, policy, and legal issues, helping to identify friction points as well as to test how they can be integrated better in national-security planning and military-technology development.
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.
The changing Burma has not been the best news for China’s strategic landscape on the global stage either. The dissolution of Burma’s international isolation and the country’s rapidly improving relations with the West have undermined Beijing’s original blueprint regarding the strategic utilities of Burma at regional forums to defend China’s unpopular positions and in the Indian Ocean to advance China’s strategic presence and national interests.
As Burma develops close ties with the West, China has seen rising competition with other powers inside the country for economic opportunities and strategic influence.
No matter what the future may contain, one thing is certain: just about everything in it, including us, will increasingly be under surveillance. Our habits, patterns, health, and preferences will be translated into data. Who will benefit from this valuable information, and how can we start developing the mindset to deal with this reality now? To get started, let’s filter a few core concepts and tough questions through our imaginations.
Privacy The concept of privacy is relative, and it may be a luxury, but it’s good when people are able to relax, think, live and create without fearing that curiosity and exploration will come back to haunt them.
In order to further strengthen the defence of Gwadar Port and to enhance the security of vital PN assets and installations along the western coasts, Pakistan Navy has achieved a significant milestone by commissioning the 3rd Pak Marines Battalion. The commissioning ceremony was held today at Gwadar. Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafiq was the chief guest on the occasion. Addressing the ceremony, the chief guest said that at present the country is faced with internal and external threats, which makes security today’s main concern.
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.
Cold War forces, armies of Algeria and Morocco have followed models and doctrines opposed. But their strategies have evolved considerably in recent years. Two countries, two doctrines, two worldviews. Algeria and Morocco belonged to two separate blocks. In each “camp” years of alignment – that of the East for the first and the West for the second – marked the ranks. Officers became officers and general officers, NCOs and officers have sometimes become officers. Some trained “Soviet” other “French” or “American.”
The researchers at the government’s “high-risk, high-payoff research” group, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) want to know how alternate reality environments such as games in particular can help it develop “high-quality behavioral and psychological research in near real-world contexts.”
President Shimon Peres met on Thursday with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The two discussed the importance of strengthening the strategic cooperation between Israel and NATO in the security and technology fields. According to a statement from Peres’s office, the President briefed the NATO Secretary General on the strategic threats is facing in the Middle East with a focus on the threat of a nuclear Iran and Hizbullah.
It just happened one day, without prior notice. On Jan. 26, Moheddin Marwan lowered the iron curtain of his grocery store at lunchtime. When he came back to work the next day, he just stood there petrified, as motionless as the new barricade that blocked the access to his shop.
Stacked up like Lego bricks, the concrete blocks literally cut Cairo’s Sheikh-Reyhan Street in two – erected by authorities to protect official buildings from protesters. As if the center of the city wasn’t disfigured enough after two years of clashes between protesters and police forces.
WITHIN two decades the United States will be forced out of the western Pacific, says a senior Chinese military officer, amid concerns that increasingly militarised great-power rivalry could lead to war.
Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, at the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defence University, told Fairfax Media this week that American strategic influence would be confined ”east of the Pacific midline” as it is displaced by Chinese power throughout east Asia, including Australia. Colonel Liu’s interpretation of one facet of what the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, calls ”a new type of great-power relationship” adds to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding China’s strategic ambitions.
In Egypt, Libya and Syria, where Qatar tried to play a role post-Arab Spring, it finds itself blamed for much that has gone wrong on a local level. Close ties to Egypt’s new leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood, have alarmed countries like the United Arab Emirates, where the group is banned and which in January said it had foiled a Brotherhood-linked coup plot. Senior officials in the UAE have long believed Qatar has long-term strategy to use the Brotherhood to redraw the region. “There is both greater apprehension and appreciation for Qatar two years after the Arab awakening in the region,”
President Assad’s remarks came after he attended several meetings with his senior commanders, and discussed the country’s security situation with them, the Algerian Al-Shorouq Oline newspaper quoted informed sources close to the Syrian government as saying on Monday.
In the meetings presided by President Assad, Syria’s top army commanders told him that “the foreign hostile states will strive to assassinate him instead of launching a military attack on Syria”.
Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family have been living on a warship, with security provided by Russia, intelligence sources told a Saudi newspaper. An Al-Watan report Monday says the family and Assad aides are residing on the ship in the Mediterranean Sea and that he travels to Syria by helicopter to attend official meetings and receptions. Otherwise, he stays on the warship, the sources told the Arabic language newspaper.
While the Syrian drama is coming almost to an end, a new political drama is unfolding in Iraq. Probably, the ensuing events in Iraq will affect the Gulf societies more than the events in Syria.
The Syrians comprise a number of social sects and ethnic minorities, scattered geographically all over Syrian soil, a fact which could prevent one of them from taking charge of the country in the future as they are bound to have a coalition between these minorities to make the state functional.
What should be an Indian military doctrine for 21st Century? Further how do we create defence professionals who will fulfill the emerging needs which are increasingly complex in multiple dimensions including potential 360 degree threat spectrum that India face. Today we are facing 7-dimensional wars. Soldiers, who will fight these wars, need to be multi-dimensional. Further, given the education scenario in India the key challenges that India will face to create the 7-D Soldiers of the future, need an open discussion and focus.
Rosneft reported one of the largest rises in crude output among the Russian oil majors last year. More crude from state-owned top producer Rosneft kept Russian oil output the highest in the world last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Energy Ministry data showed on Wednesday.
Crude output edged up almost 1% to a new post-Soviet high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), but the increase could halt this year due to depleted oil fields in West Siberia. Russia’s oil output, the world’s largest, edged up almost 1% in 2012 to a new post-Soviet average yearly high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd).
This week’s Bloomberg News expose on the so-called Eight Immortals is a case in point. Building on a June article tracing the accumulated wealth of the family of Xi Jinping, China’s next president, it described the vast fortunes being amassed by the offspring of the founding fathers who were instrumental in Mao Zedong’s rise to power in 1949. What the Immortals hadn’t counted on was how their children would foul things up. By harnessing the trust of the state and top-level political connections, these princelings are reaping outsized benefits from China’s growth.
From the Iran nuclear crisis to global economic woes, the upcoming year will pose steady challenges to international bodies seized with maintaining peace and prosperity. Experts from four leading think tanks weigh the issues.
Michael Fullilove, of Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy, says China must assume “the responsibilities incumbent on a global power” but China’s vision of “stepping up” will not be the same as that of the United States.
Newly released files show a secret National Security Agency program is targeting the computerized systems that control utilities to discover security vulnerabilities, which can be used to defend the United States or disrupt the infrastructure of other nations.
The NSA’s so-called Perfect Citizen program conducts “vulnerability exploration and research” against the computerized controllers that control “large-scale” utilities including power grids and natural gas pipelines, the documents show. The program is scheduled to continue through at least September 2014.
Afghan officials are meeting with Taliban rebels and envoys from another Islamist militant group near Paris, looking beyond Afghanistan’s ongoing insurgency to a future long after international forces have returned home.
French hosts say the secretive, rare meeting among rival Afghans in Chantilly — known partly for its equine training grounds — Thursday and Friday isn’t expected to involve any horse-trading toward a possible peace and reconciliation deal.
The intelligence community is developing a single cloud computing network to allow all its analysts to access and rapidly sift through massive volumes of data. When fully complete, this effort will create a pan-agency cloud, with organizations sharing many of the same computing resources and information. More importantly, the hope is the system will break down existing boundaries between agencies and change their insular cultures.
A close adviser to the Russian president said the Kremlin was paying close attention to “events” in former republics of the Soviet Union. Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Security Council of Russia, said the Kremlin is keeping a close eye on potential “color revolutions” in former republics. “Events are in motion in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine; we’re dealing with it every day. Are these (events) a danger for us? Yes,” he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
The Indian Navy is set to partially commission a secretive new strategic base on its east coast next year that will be the home port for its warships that sail to South East Asia, the South China Sea and the Pacific.
Yesterday, navy chief Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi had said his force was also practising to deploy in waters that China claims in the South China Sea to protect India’s oil interests off the coast of Vietnam.
Canada on Friday allowed a Chinese state-run oil giant to move forward with $15 billion takeover of a domestic energy company, but the government indicated that such deals might not pass muster in the future.
The deal — the acquisition of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or Cnooc — is the latest effort by the Chinese government to find new sources of oil and natural gas reserves to help drive the country’s growth. The state-run Cnooc has been active, striking several partnerships in Canada and the United States.
China is muscling into Iraq’s oil sector as Baghdad grapples with defections by international majors like Exxon Mobil and Chevron of the United States and France’s Total. This is part of Beijing’s drive to secure oil and natural gas resources in the Middle East and Africa as U.S. influences wanes.
China’s clout in Iraq, along with other parts of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, is bound to increase as the Americans’ diminishes.
Greece is seen as the most corrupt country in the EU, Transparency International said Wednesday, adding that crisis-hit nations are being held back by an inability to deal with graft. Publishing its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based watchdog ranked Greece 94th out of 176 countries.
Perceived corruption in the country appeared to have worsened despite efforts to tackle graft. In last year’s index, the debt-ravaged country was ranked 80th on a scale of least corrupt to most corrupt.
Russia completes the harmonization of the technical documentation and the project funding of the multiposition reconnaissance information system (MRIS), quoting a source in the Defense Ministry. Implementation of a new system of global intelligence, able to track planes and ships at a range of several thousand kilometers, will start in 2013.
Characteristics of MRIS are classified. The Principle of operation of the system is to search for different types of light aircraft and ships, giving them precise coordinates movement and tracking.
“Africa is so far the most unexplored part of the world, and I think China has seen a lot of promise in Africa,” Prince said. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Prince said his new company, Frontier Resource Group, was seeking Asian investors. Earlier this month, Prince arrived in Hong Kong for meetings with potential Chinese investors and partners. In 2012, Beijing said it would provide $20 billion in loans to Africa by 2015.
“But the problem is if you go alone, you bear the country risk on your own,” Prince said. “You have to get support and maintenance there.”
Iraq’s Kurdish region has sent reinforcements to a disputed area where its troops are involved in a standoff with the Iraqi army, a senior Kurdish military official said, despite calls on both sides for dialogue to calm the situation.
More Kurdish troops and tanks were mobilised on Saturday and headed towards the disputed areas, the deputy minister for Kurdish military affairs said late on Saturday, adding that they would hold their positions unless Iraqi forces made a move. “If they overstep the line, we will strike them,” Anwar Haji Osman said.
THE ex-Soviet states of Central Asia are engaged in an increasingly bitter standoff over water resources, adding another element of instability to the volatile region neighbouring Afghanistan.
Plans in mountainous but energy-poor Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for two of the world’s biggest hydro-electric power stations have enraged their powerful downstream neighbour Uzbekistan which fears losing valuable water. Russia as well as the other Central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also being pulled into a dispute which dates back to the allocation of resources when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.
Nothing apparently stops Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez After the U.S. said it would ban arm sales to his country, Chávez actively began looking for a new place to buy them. He found cooperation among Russia and China.
Chávez announced this week that he would begin receiving new Chinese-made military transport planes – shrugging off U.S.’s attempt to choke off Venezuela’s weapons supply.
Five leading EU countries, but not the UK, have said the Union needs a new military “structure” to manage overseas operations. The foreign and defence ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain issued the call in a joint communique after a meeting in Paris on Thursday . The paper says: “We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations.” It adds: “We should show preparedness to hold available, train, deploy and sustain in theatre the necessary civilian and military means.”
The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region has ordered its peshmerga security forces on high alert, a statement issued on Saturday said, attributing the move to clashes with central government forces.
An Iraqi general however said that the clashes in question came during an arrest attempt and did not involve the peshmerga. Tensions between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq have been running high after the establishment of a new military command covering disputed territory, and over various other long-running disputes.
The tax-and-spend policies of France’s socialist government are threatening to wreck the euro zone’s attempts to emerge from crisis, according to a growing army of critics of Francois Hollande’s fledgling presidency. In the most damning verdict on French efforts to reduce national debt and tackle high labour costs, the German newspaper Bild ran a recent headline asking: “Is France the New Greece?”
German officials have echoed the tone of such attacks, expressing concern at Mr Hollande’s “superficial” measures to bring his country’s economy under control.
China’s natural enemies are mainly regional rivals with competing resource claims, for instance over water, territory, fishing rights and the treatment of Chinese immigrants. The good news for the West is that these problems are concentrated geographically around China. The bad news is that the West will naturally be dragged in as a counterweight to Chinese power. This, of course, is happening already: for the last 20 years or so, the West has sided with the Japanese, South Korean, and Indian militaries in disputes against China.
Some 400 SNC members voted from 29 lists of groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ranging from liberals to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as ethnic minorities and tribes.
Islamists, including at least five Muslim Brotherhood members, account for around a third of the new secretariat, with the Kurdish and Assyrian minorities also represented but no women.
Tensions run deep between the PYD – the Syrian branch of the leftist and secular Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which the rebels accuse of being lackeys of the regime – and the rebels, who often say they want an Islamic government.
Analysts say clashes in the north, where the country’s 15 percent Kurdish population is heavily concentrated, stem not just from distrust, but from a struggle for power and control with Syria’s future deeply uncertain.
The world’s markets may believe that the worst of the financial crisis in Europe is over after three turbulent years, but those people who control the purse strings of the world’s businesses are not breathing any easier. An annual survey of finance directors from global business consultancy BDO finds that the crisis over too much government debt in Europe remains one of their key concerns — so much so that Greece is considered a riskier place to invest and set up business in than war-torn Syria.
Two Iranian warships docked in Sudan on Monday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported, less than a week after Khartoum accused Israel of attacking an arms factory in the Sudanese capital. Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman said four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant and Israel was behind it. Asked by Israel’s Channel Two News about Sudan’s accusations, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said: “There is nothing I can say about this subject.”
As of January 2013, the British-led Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) will take over as Nato’s Response Force, an agile, swift-strike unit with an advance party on 48 hours’ notice to deploy. Over the following year, they could be tasked to deal with anything from disaster response to peace-keeping, or (as in today’s exercise) making an initial entry ahead of a larger task force. The ARRC will be in command of all land combat troops and have the ability to call on a force of up to 25,000.
According to a new Transportation Ministry order, starting July 1, 2013 data about every passenger who enters or exits any region in Russia will be added to a new FSB/Interior Ministry database. The Transport Ministry has published the text of the new rules in the ‘Russian Gazette.’ The FSB and Interior Ministry are ordering this new database in order to track the route of any person that law enforcement on the ground deems suspicious.
A failed state on China’s borders would be serious enough; one controlled by Islamist extremists who might offer support to insurgents in Xinjiang would be even worse.
Nor is Afghanistan a place that a resource-hungry nation like China would want to ignore, even if it could. The $1 trillion value placed on Afghanistan’s makes the country a prize as yet unclaimed, for the most part
The assertion: Exxon is coming into Azerbaijan, and expect it to be big in Baku.
The ‘horse’s mouth’ was none other than Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice President of SOCAR, and far more importantly, SOCAR’s point man dealing with Southern corridor gas negotiations in Europe. The extremely able Mr. Baylarbayov made categorically clear to an international audience that Exxon was in formative discussions with SOCAR looking into pre-existing and potentially new plays in the Caspian. And doing so on the ‘largest possible fields’.
Meeting earlier this week with the co-chairmen of the ongoing Geneva talks on the security and human rights repercussions of the August 2008 war, two senior South Ossetian politicians accused Georgia of engaging in a new military buildup that they fear presages a new attack on their breakaway region.
The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) released a statementthree days later saying it “has not observed any evidence to support those claims.” At the same time, the EUMM said it had registered, and conveyed to the Russian authorities its concern about, a concentration of Russian forces along the “administrative boundary line” separating South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia.
King Abdullah II – one of Israel’s few allies in the region – claimed that Israel has intervened to prevent international support for Jordan’s nuclear programme in a wide-ranging interview with the French news agency AFP last Wednesday.
“A Jordanian delegation would approach a potential partner, and one week later an Israeli delegation would be there, asking our interlocutors not to support Jordan’s nuclear energy bid,” King Abdullah said.
“Against this backdrop, I feel that those who oppose our peaceful nuclear programme for all the wrong reasons are furthering Israeli interests more efficiently than Israel could ever do.”
The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens,along with three other embassy staff, were killed Tuesday night following an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, US President Barack Obama confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
At least five Americans and 10 members of the Libyan security forces were wounded as mobs, allegedly protesting against an anti-Islam film, stormed the US mission armed with rocket propelled-grenades.
Students from the eastern Chinese city of Huai’an that have been “forced” recently to work at a factory that makes iPhone 5s have started to return to school, the government-published Shanghai Daily reported today.
A main Apple supplier, Foxconn Technology, hired students to work in the factory as “interns” to meet a shortage of workers, the newspaper said. The same newspaper yesterday said authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but didn’t sign agreements with the students. (See earlier post here.) The plant is facing a shortage of workers ahead of the upcoming launch of Apple’s latest iPhone model, the paper said.
The US is beefing up its presence along the Syrian border with Turkey.
US officials say they are sending more intelligence agents and diplomats to advise the rebel forces in their mismatched fight against the better-armed Syrian regime, and watching for al-Qaida’s infiltration of rebel ranks.
The officials say intelligence officers are gathering information from refugees and defectors, while State Department workers are helping the rebels organize politically. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.
A nightmare was revealed recently when Defence Minister A K Antony ordered the Comptroller General of Defence Audit (CGDA) to do a secret audit of India’s equivalent of the futuristic workshop of James Bond’s ‘Q’ — the Defence Research and Development Organisation that goes by the handle DRDO.
The highlights of the report are frightening.
A meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission on the situation in the Georgian-Russian border was held at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Head of Georgian representation in NATO Nugzar Mgaloblishvili informed the commission about the situation in Dagestan section of the Georgian-Russian border, where law enforcement conducted an operation to neutralize militant group penetrated from Russia.
The sides expressed concern over the situation and called for a solution to all the problems on the basis of internationally accepted norms. NATO officials declared inadmissibility of intensity export of the North Caucasus to Georgia.
DARPA’s sister agency — the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which funds experimental projects for the U.S. intelligence community — is running a four-year, $50-million program that pays people willing to predict major world events, including wars and terrorist strikes. Unlike the earlier scheme, participants can’t profit from their predictions.
The study, known as Aggregative Contingent Estimation, is designed to see whether the 17 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community can aggregate the judgment of its thousands of analysts — rather than rely on the expertise of just a few — to issue more accurate warnings to policy makers before and during major global events.
By virtually any benchmark you choose – market capitalisation, profits, assets and deposits – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest bank in the world. Tian Zhiping is the chief executive of its Middle East regional division. Here, he talks about the bank’s ambitions in the region, the prospects for the Chinese economy and what his compatriots think about bankers.
How did ICBC come to set up a subsidiary in Dubai?
We’ve been here five years now. We were the first Chinese bank to set up in the region and we did a lot of research and evaluation before we took the decision. The important thing about the UAE was its stability and safety. We found that it is one of the safest places in the world and that’s one of the reasons we’re here.
Scientists have already been experimenting with bio-printing in the field of regenerative medicine. The hope is that if you need a kidney transplant in the future, doctors will simply be able to print you a new one.
Apparently, growing meat is easier than growing organs. In Modern Meadow’s grant application to the Department of Agriculture, the company points out that ”as meat is a post mortem tissue, the vascularization of the final product is less critical than in medical applications.” Mmm, I can smell that sizzling bio-printed post mortem tissue already.
China has outmaneuvered everybody else in the strategic calculations with respect to cultivating relationships with Africa. In the recently concluded, fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on China-Africa strategic partnership, the President Hu Jintao pledged $20 billion of credit line for African countries in next three years — double the amount what China promised to lend Africa at the last joint forum three years ago.
Addressing the delegates at FOCAC, the Chinese president Hu Jintao stated that “Chinese and African people have always treated each other as equals with sincerity and friendship”. Hu also condemned any kind of external interference, a direct criticism on western policies and interferences in Arica and elsewhere.
The reason I include the Central Asian region in my analysis is that because the region constitutes the heart of Asia, coupled with providing the main route to the New Silk Route, a future venture that may lead to a faceoff between Washington and Moscow. The formation of the region’s states makes it interesting to monitor for a neutral observer. Although the US national foreign policy would never keep the region at its top priority, implicit indications from the word go provided a fair picture of what the US was after. The former US National Security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski once referred to Central Asia as a hotbed of conflict and one of the most strategically important parts of the world, as the ‘Eurasian Balkans’.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the killing of a Russian general in Syria who was working as a consultant to the Syrian defense minister and head of general staff of military affairs, it said in an announcement aired by Al Arabiya.
FSA said the killing of the general, Vladmir Petrovic Kojaiv, along his private translator, Ahmed Aiq, was evidence that Russia was embroiled in the Syrian crisis. The rebel army said a number of documents and maps about the opposition and FSA were also seized.
More than 100 Turkish troops armed with thermal rockets and sophisticated weaponry on Tuesday entered the town of Cerablos in the Kurdish region of Kobani.
The contingent of Turkish soldiers reportedly left for their bases after an hour.
Meanwhile, Turkish media are reporting that about 40 Turkish troops have been detained inside Syria.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), backed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to infiltrate Turkey from Syria and that Turkey may launch military operations in Syria to stop it.
According to remarks made by Erdoğan on the Gündem Özel (Special Agenda) television program on ATV on Sunday evening, Assad is lending support to the terrorist organization in Syria, and the organization is subsequently filtering into Turkey.
Israel’s air force is expected to take delivery of advanced Arrow-2 missiles interceptors, capable of greater killing power against Iranian and Syrian ballistic missiles, over the next few weeks amid rising Middle East tensions.
The disclosure of the deployment of the upgraded Arrows, known as the Block 4 variant, to bolster the top tier of Israel’s multilayered missile defense shield, came hard on the heels of an announcement by the Islamic Republic it had tested a fourth-generation model of the solid-fueled, short-range Fateh-110 missile with a new guidance system.
In April this year India yanked open the door of the exclusive ICBM (International Ballistic Missile) club with the first test of Agni-V. Now, if DRDO is to be believed, India has quietly gate-crashed into an even more exclusive club of nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The most ironic part of this achievement on part of India is that New Delhi had been able to successfully keep it as a secret ‘black project’.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has decided to wind down its operations in Russia, according to Iosif Diskin, the member of Russia’s Public Chamber responsible for liaising with the agency. Diskin said that USAID administration officials made the announcement during a recent visit to Russia.
USAID is a U.S. government agency responsible for non-military foreign assistance. The agency’s administration is appointed by the president of the United States with Senate approval and operates in coordination with the U.S. Secretary of State.
Iran has increased its support for the Taliban by allowing the militants to open an office in the country while considering the supply of surface-to-air missiles, according to Afghan and Western officials.
By helping the Taliban, Iran aims to derail a decade-long “strategic partnership” signed between Afghanistan and America in April. Tehran would also have the option of stirring violence in Afghanistan in retaliation for any US strike on its nuclear facilities.
Satoshi Morimoto, Japan’s current defence minister, responded to media questions about the criticism by saying the nation will follow the security strategy adopted in the National Defence Programme Outline in 2010 and continue building its military alliance with the United States to counterbalance China.
Ever since Japan approved the 2010 Outline, the country has started to do away with the “Basic Defence Force” approach and placed a new security strategy based on a “multifunctional, flexible, and effective defence force”, with a highly capable “dynamic deterrence” capacity.
India will on Tuesday formally open a key naval station, aptly named INS Baaz (Hawk), in the southern part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands that will boost its ability to keep an eagle eye on the critical maritime choke-point: the Strait of Malacca.
With navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma declaring the base open, the nation’s southeastern-most fringe, which is closer to Indonesia than the Indian mainland, India will gain strategic supremacy in the area, an Indian Navy officer said in New Delhi.
For the first time since China’s re-emergence as a power to be reckoned with, Western powers are being confronted with scenarios involving the risk of clashes with Chinese military forces outside the Asian giant’s backyard.
Key to China’s expansion is a shift in recent years from Mao Zedong’s Army-centric military to one where other branches of the armed service — the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Second Artillery Corps — are given greater freedom of action.
While Iran’s military loudly trumpets every new project or purported advance in hopes of rattling the U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies, the U.S. is quietly answering with an array of proposed arms sales across the region as part of a wider effort to counter Tehran.
In the past two months, the Defense Department has notified Congress of possible deals totaling more than $11.3 billion to Gulf states such as Qatar and Kuwait, which are seen as some of America’s critical front-line partners in containing Iran and protecting oil shipping lanes.
An Iranian news agency is reporting the country has begun to stockpile a three-month supply of foodstuffs for its population.
The Friday report by semi-official Mehr quotes deputy industry minister Hasan Radmard as saying the country has been buying wheat, cooking oil, sugar and rice for the food reserve.
The Kurdish factor begins to play an important role in the events in Syria. Both the authorities and the opposition are trying to use a large Kurdish community (variously estimated at from 2 to 3 million) for its own purposes. Simultaneously, the Kurds themselves are trying to take advantage of the situation in their tactical and strategic interests.
Activation of the Kurds, who are known for weakening the central government in Damascus, captured a number of localities in the north-east of the country, alarmed Ankara.
Regions of the Northern Caucasus, especially Dagestan, are a special geopolitical position. Here interests overlap both regional and global nature. In the system of regional geopolitics Dagestan plays a central role, due to many factors. Specifically, in case of loss of Dagestan, Russia risks losing the entire North Caucasus, whence it follows immediately the value of Dagestan as a bastion of Russian geopolitics in this volatile region.
Japanese soldiers take part in a military parade at the Ground Self Defence Force’s training ground in Asaka. Japan’s defence minister has warned Tokyo could send troops to a chain of East China Sea islands at the centre of a territorial row with China if the simmering dispute escalated.
Satoshi Morimoto said Tokyo’s position had not changed, but confirmed that it would use force to defend the islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.
Japan keeps using China as an excuse to build up its military muscle as NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organisation, reported that the Tokyo’s forthcoming white paper on defence warns that China’s military movement has raised concerns worldwide.
Japan’s 2012 white paper on defence questions China’s military spending, citing data that shows it has increased 30 times in the past 24 years. The white paper says spending on defence will continue to grow as China develops aircraft carriers and other advanced weapons.
Kurdish-controlled western Syria could prompt Turkey to invade Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in an interview with Turkish mediaon Wednesday.
“If a formation that’s going to be a problem, if there is a terror operation, [if] an irritant emerges, then intervening there would be our most natural right,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey has repeatedly struck PKK operatives and bases in Iraqi Kurdistan since that region began exerting autonomy after the 1991 Gulf War.
The European Union’s response to the Arab awakening again highlighted its inability to react swiftly and decisively to extraordinary events unfolding in its neighborhood, Hrant Kostanyan and Magdalena Nasieniak write in a report for the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies. But the new European Endowment for Democracy has the potential to make the EU a committed, pro-active and effective leader of democracy assistance, free of nationally-driven decisions, European ‘turf wars’ and cumbersome bureaucracy.
A raffle will determine which civil servants in a small Argentine town will receive their pay first, due to insufficient funds, its mayor announced Monday.
“We will draw lots to decide the (order) of payment,” said the mayor of Bialet Masse, Gustavo Pueyo, in a broadcast from Buenos Aires private radio station Radio Mitre.
Pueyo said the raffle was approved by national mayoral authorities and the first draw took place Friday, with 23 of the town’s 92 employees receiving their pay. A second raffle is slated for Monday.