The streets are so much darker now, since money for streetlights is rarely available to municipal governments. The national parks began closing down years ago. Some are already being subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. Reports on bridges crumbling or even collapsing are commonplace. The air in city after city hangs brown and heavy (and rates of childhood asthma and other lung diseases have shot up), because funding that would allow the enforcement of clean air standards by the Environmental Protection Agency is a distant memory. Public education has been cut to the bone, making good schools a luxury and, according to the Department of Education, two of every five students won’t graduate from high school.
The Serbs living in the north of Kosovo flatly refuse to abide by the agreement reached in Brussels, which makes them deprived of the Serbia’s citizenship in favor of becoming Kosovars, or the citizens of Kosovo. Soon they will face a military force called in to guarantee the fulfillment of Brussels accords. The formations of 525th US Army Battlefield Surveillance Brigade come to take part in the three-week-long exercises in Hohenfels, Germany. The future mission includes combat planning, preventing and putting down public unrest, evacuation of wounded and interaction with civil officials.
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.
A top U.S. Federal Reserve official urged the European Central Bank on Tuesday to consider employing a U.S.-style quantitative easing programme to counter slowing inflation and recession in the euro zone.
The ECB has engaged in bond purchases in the past but has always withdrawn an equivalent amount of money from markets to ensure its interventions are neutral for the money supply, fearful of stoking inflationary pressures. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard recommended the ECB could consider quantitative easing (QE), or printing money for asset purchases.
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.
Gulf sultanate of Oman is set to buy a $2.1 billion missile system built by the U.S. Raytheon Co. as part of a U.S. drive to install a coordinated air-defense system linking the region’s Arab monarchies to counter Iran.
Details of the contract, including the type of system involved, have not been disclosed, but Oman has been in the market for a medium-range surface-to-air missile system for some time.U.S. officials traveling with Kerry say the deal will enhance the air-defense systems the United States has sold to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other allies in the gulf.
The quicksands of the Arabian Desert are notorious for swallowing up anyone trying to control the area. Historically, that’s what happened to Turkey, Britain, France, Russia and the US. Sooner or later, all discovered that instead of dominating the Middle East, they ended up being dominated by the region’s never-ending problems. And that may also be the fate of China, the latest power to be lured by the idea that it has to engage in Middle-Eastern diplomacy.
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.
China’s all-weather fighter base in Tibet is now widening its range of options in the event of a conflict with India. Intelligence intercepts and satellite monitoring has confirmed that China may have to some extent overcome Tibet’s extreme altitude and temperatures to operationalise an all-weather airfield near the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The airfield is Gonkar, where China has deployed Su-27 fighters. Sources told CNN-IBN that the Gonkar airfield will enable Chinese fighters to widen their selection of Indian targets from Ladakh to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh
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.”
“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.
THE GRAB on bank deposits that accompanied Cyprus’ bailout could be repeated elsewhere in the eurozone, and the bloc’s banking union may not be strong enough when it is introduced, Standard & Poor’s said yesterday.
“We believe that the events in Cyprus highlight the increased reluctance of financially stronger eurozone countries to make their taxpayers’ funds available to recapitalise banks outside their home jurisdictions,” the credit ratings agency said in a report. “For this reason, although the key features of the Cypriot banking system are not shared by other eurozone countries, we consider that the bail-in may indeed create a precedent.”
Offshore from Syria, Russia’s navy is conducting probably its largest naval deployment outside its own waters since the Soviet breakup. The Chinese navy is in another potential confrontation today with Japan in the East China Sea, and raising questions about where it is headed next.
But the BRIC nations as a whole—a force in the global economic conversation since the acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to the high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China—are becoming an increasing naval presence on the high seas.
The shale gas revolution has taken its time to arrive in Europe. But after years of watching the US plunge head-first into natural gas exploration and of reaping the rewards, Europe’s politicians are now deciding whether to join in.
The first major battleground for European natural gas exploration is likely to be in eastern Europe, where the prospect of greater energy security from Russia is a big issue. It is also possible to detect Cold War overtones to the approach taken by the US oil and gas industry and its government.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
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.
Hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Tokyo could mount a military response if foreign submarines enter its territorial waters while underwater, as Japan and China continue to squabble over islands.
Abe’s comment came after Japan’s Defence Ministry said a submerged vessel was spotted in the contiguous waters — a 12 nautical mile strip outside territorial waters — near one of Japan’s Okinawa islands, from late Sunday to early Monday.“These are serious acts. If (submarines) enter our territorial waters while underwater, we would have to implement maritime security action,” Abe told parliament Tuesday.
India continues to view Pakistan as the “real threat” even though it is adjusting its military strategy to include the possibility of a limited two-front war with both Pakistan and China, the first Blue Book on India published by a Chinese think tank said.
Pakistan is India’s main “real threat” to maintain a high degree of vigilance and preparedness, the summary of the Blue Book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, (CASS) said. The report says Indian military deployment on land is mainly fixated against Pakistan but in recent times, it is also being adjusted for both China and Pakistan.
A new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
Azerbaijan has started military exercises near its mainly Armenian-populated breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Defense Ministry announced on May 14 that Defense Minister Safar Abiyev was personally leading the maneuvers.
Azerbaijan’s land and air forces are taking part in the exercises, which are expected to last until the end of the week. Last week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said publicly that his country wanted to restore its territorial integrity and resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in accordance with international law.
Defense Department spokesman George Little confirmed Monday that an element of the U.S. Marine unit in Spain moved over the weekend to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. Little said the unit is still on standby, but the move puts it closer to Libya if suddenly needed in Tripoli.
A unit of about 50 Marines has already been providing security at the embassy in Libya since January. Meanwhile, another unit, an elite response team based in Germany and assigned to AFRICOM, was put on alert last week.
The Syrian government has warned Israel that it would enter the occupied Golan Heights “whenever it wants because it’s a Syrian land,” a warning that came a week after the latest Israeli airstrike against military positions in the capital Damascus.
Israeli officials have confirmed May 4, 2013, that the country’s air force carried out a strike against Syria and say it targeted a shipment of advanced missiles. The comments were made by Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi on Sunday, May 12, 2013, during which he said that the recent Israeli airstrike against Syria had violated the pertaining international accords.
Libyans have played down reports of possible foreign intervention after news reports on Friday said the US has alerted special Marine units to be ready to respond to developments in the security situation in Libya.
Speaking to Libya Al-Hurra TV on Saturday, Mr. Mohamed Abdul Aziz the Libyan Foreign Minister denied the reports of American intervention in Libya and that he was aware that the both the US and Britain withdrew some unessential members of staff in their embassies.
Marines and other U.S. forces in Europe are on a heightened state of alert in response to a deteriorating security situation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a U.S. military official said Friday.
The alert order applies to a U.S. special operations team based in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a Marine group of air and ground forces based in Moron, Spain, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The forces are under U.S. Africa Command, which acquired the special operations team in the fall.
Addressing the Russian National Security Council meeting on May 8, President Vladimir Putin said that the forthcoming departure of U.S. and coalition forces from Afghanistan confronts Russia with a more precarious situation on its southern borders. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of the General Staff since November 2012, who was also present at the meeting, had announced last month the formation of a Special Operations Command — Russia’s version of SOCOM.
Consider the significance of the Federal Reserve announcement last week of its plan to maintain a policy of cheap debt — continuing its “stimulus” plans that camouflage a stagnant economy by purchasing $85 billion a month of a variety of forms of debt. Troubling elements of such a policy include the fact that American taxpayers own a larger and larger share of all mortgage-backed securities thanks to the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Remember, these government service organizations were declared insolvent as recently as 2008 during the subprime housing crisis.
In spite of all obstacles, a major breakthrough is required to end the current nuclear deadlock in the region, where Israel is the only atomic power, though the Iranian nuclear programme continues to draw attention – and sanctions – in Western countries. Should such a breakthrough not happen, Egypt and Arab countries may withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they were pushed to join in 1995 in exchange of U.S. promises to free the Middle East from atomic warheads, Israeli nuclear arsenal included.
SP-MAGTF CR comprises a rotational contingent of approximately 500 Marines, sailors and support elements sourced from a variety of Marine Corps units. It will report to the head of Africom, Army General David Rodriguez.
“The intent for the crisis-response force is just that. … It’s to move in and offset whatever challenges there are to our national interests,” Marine Lieutenant General Richard Tryon, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations told the Marine Corps Times last month.
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.”
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is set to stage a 10-day long military drills in the southern province of Adana. Adana is neighbor to Hatay, a province bordering on Syria, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The Yıldırım-2013 Mobilization Exercise will begin Monday, May 6 and end on May 15, according to an announcement posted on the official website of the Turkish General Staff. The exercise will test the army’s mobilization system and the coordination between public institutions and the armed forces in case of any mobilization, the statement said.
Fresh clashes broke out Monday between troops on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where soldiers from both countries exchanged gunfire last week.
Afghan officials said the fight broke out after Pakistani troops returned to the site of a gate on land that both sides claim along the porous border. It is not clear whether there were any casualties in Monday’s fighting. Last week, crossfire on the border killed one Afghan border guard and wounded two Pakistani security personnel.
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.
After five years of relatively stable civilian rule, Pakistan seems ready to move ahead with another democratically elected government. But how will that administration behave at home and abroad?
Many longtime observers of Pakistani politics think that the new administration is most likely to be a coalition government of conservative political parties that enjoy the full support of the country’s all-powerful military establishment.
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.
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.
A new reality is emerging amid all the hype about Myanmar’s democratization process and moves to liberalize its political landscape. Myanmar’s drift away from a tight relationship with China towards closer links with the West is signaling the emergence of a new focal point of confrontation in Asia, one where the interests of Washington and Beijing are beginning to collide.
Rather than being on a path to democracy, Myanmar may find itself instead in the middle of a dangerous and potentially volatile superpower rivalry. That means the traditionally powerful military may not be in the mood to give up its dominant role in politics and society any time soon.
The future of ground forces, the study argues, lies somewhere in the “messy middle,” between long-range, high-tech air- and cyber-strikes against a hostile nation-state — the “AirSea Battle” vision of the Navy and Air Force — and low-profile, low-cost Special Operations and drone raids against scattered terrorists. The study, entitled Beyond the Last War, lays out a score of scenarios, half in the Pacific and half in the Middle East, where the problem will be too big for Special Ops alone but too deeply dug in to excise surgically from afar.
The army on Wednesday briefed the UPA government on the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, giving it a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian soldiers have been eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector since April 15, after Chinese soldiers pitched tents 19km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. Army sources have maintained that it is possible to cut off the supply lines of Chinese troops, but some in the military establishment believe it could escalate tensions along the disputed border.
BJP today cautioned that the Chinese incursions into Indian territory in Ladakh could snowball into a “Kargil-like” situation and urged the government to take the issue seriously instead of treating it as merely a local issue. “The Prime Minister has said the incursions in Ladakh are a localised issue. To say so is wrong. After all, what had happened in Kargil?” BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters. Incidentally, NDA was in power when the Kargil conflict took place in 1999. The then government was taken by surprise when the incursions from Pakistan were detected. Naqvi said India should give up its “confused and contradictory” policy towards China and take some serious measures.
Armed protests targeting Libya’s ministries and media in the capital this week have alarmed international observers who say deteriorating security conditions are becoming a matter of serious concern. Reporters without Borders said there was cause for “grave concern about recent violent attacks on Libyan journalists, whose safety conditions are deteriorating drastically” and called on the government to act. Gunmen in heavily armed vehicles remained in control of Libya’s Foreign Ministry for a fourth day on Wednesday, while the Justice Ministry was similarly surrounded on Tuesday and other institutions including the media have been targeted.
A rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected Israel, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel.
China has allegedly sold helicopter gunships to ethnic Wa rebels who occupy areas of Shan State in eastern Burma, intelligence monitor Jane’s Information Group reported on Monday.
The report claimed China “delivered several Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium- transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa in late February and early March, according to both Myanmar ethnic minority and Myanmar government sources.” Bertil Lintner, an expert on Burma and author of Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier, confirmed the accuracy of the Jane’s report.
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.
With the Sino-India standoff in Ladakh now in it’s third week, Chinese are showing no signs of withdrawing from the territory they occupied after their incursion in Ladakh two weeks ago. On Monday news reports said Chinese troops have erected an additional tent in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector raising to five the number of such structures in the area. The Chinese troops have also deployed Molosser dogs to keep a vigil, according to latest reports on Monday from the site of incursion, 70 km south of Burtse in Ladakh division. A banner hoisted outside the camp reads in English “you are in Chinese side” with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel maintaining a round-the-clock vigil, official sources said.
Huge placards proclaim “Yes to disarming,” “No to a state of militias,” on the building housing the Tripoli offices of Mellitah, a joint venture between Libya and Eni, the Italian oil and gas group. They are a reminder of two days of deadly clashes between rival armed groups from the towns of Zintan and Zuara over who should guard Mellitah’s oil and gas complex in western Libya. The firefight last month left at least one dead and several injured. It also disrupted production and caused a temporary halt in natural gas exports to Italy before the army finally came in to restore order.
The current tensions on the disputed India-China border – known delightfully for its vagueness as the ‘Line of Actual Control’ – in the western sector of the Ladakh region bordering China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region hark back to the scenario five decades ago when little skirmishes snowballed into a major outbreak of hostility. Fortunately, however, this time around there is a fundamental difference, too, which obviates the danger of a catastrophic slide to armed conflict. On a systemic plane, there are disquieting signs that the Indian establishment has not been pulling together on the country’s China policy and this disconnect, which has been suspected through the recent past, threatens to introduce its own disharmony.
Residents of a number of Sunni cities in Iraq have announced the formation of “military forces” to counter attack the Iraqi army and its crackdown against protesters calling for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki – a Shiite – to step down, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. The announcements come after Sunni tribesmen were called to arm following a government sponsored military raid on a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest at a camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk, on Tuesday. Dozens of people were killed and injured in the initial incident. It set off a wave of revenge attacks that hit five different Sunni-majority provinces, killing at least 110 people.
The Balochistan government has decided to deploy army in all districts of the province during upcoming general elections. In a media interview Sunday, Secretary Interior Balochistan Akbar Hussain Durrani said army would be deployed in all 30 districts and 92 tehsils of the province to cope up with any untoward situation. He said a total of 70 thousand security personnel would be deployed, including 6000 from Army, 17000 from FC, 20,000 from Police, 17,000 from Levies, and 10,000 from Balochistan Constabulary.
A new report released in April by the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University looks at the history of Chinese threat and retaliation signaling. It offers up a future signaling scenario involving the South China Sea that should be required reading for the US Pacific Command and the US National Security Council.
The core of the scenario is based on the proposition that China perceives closer military ties among the US, Philippines, and Vietnam as a “threatening strategic trend” as it did with the 1978 Hanoi-Moscow security treaty. China perceived the treaty as collusion to establish a “regional hegemony” over Vietnam’s neighbors.
Sectarian strife has returned to Iraq from elsewhere in the region, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, a likely reference to neighbouring war-torn Syria.
A civil war pitting mainly Sunni Muslim rebels against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, has killed more than 70,000 people. Sectarian strife “came back to Iraq because it began in another place in this region,” Maliki said in televised remarks, an allusion to Sunni-Shiite violence that peaked in 2006 and 2006 and claimed tens of thousands of lives.
U.S. commanders have laid out a range of possible options for military involvement in Syria, but they have made it clear that any action will likely be either with NATO backing or with a coalition of nations similar to the NATO-led overthrow of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
On Thursday, U.S. officials said there has been no new movement of U.S. military assets to the region. The military options could include establishing a no-fly zone over or a secured area within Syria, launching airstrikes by drones and fighter jets and sending in tens of thousands of ground forces to secure the regime’s chemical weapons caches.
The 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.
Police and protesters have clashed at an anti-government demo in the Spanish capital, Madrid, with bottles thrown and officers making baton charges. The government is set to reveal a new plan to turn the economy around. There were violent scenes close to the Spanish national parliament on Thursday, as unrest broke out at a demonstration by protesters calling for politicians to stand down. Some 1,000 activists gathered in front of a police barrier surrounding Madrid’s lower house of parliament, some attempting to pull the barricade down. A group threw bottles and firecrackers at police, who responded with baton charges.
Depositor-preference rules exist in various forms in some EU states. The principle has also been enshrined in the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s rules since 1993. The value of EU-level depositor preference would partly be political. One lesson of the Cyprus affair was that policy makers and the public view depositors as a protected class of creditors, even if deposits are in fact risk-taking investments just like bonds and shares. Arguably, the current regime, which treats depositors as pari passu with senior bank bondholders, better reflects this economic reality.
The first of 500 Marines have begun deploying to Spain as part of a new rapid reaction force to respond to threats against U.S. citizens, government personnel or installations in Africa. The new task force is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain, which provides quick access especially to northern Africa, where security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on a U.S. government facility in Benghazi, Libya, a Pentagon official told CNN. When fully operational, the unit will be required to be airborne within six hours of receiving orders, providing the type of rapid response that the Pentagon says was not possible during the Benghazi attack. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the assault at the U.S. mission and CIA annex.
With China sticking to its stand that its troops have not violated the Line of Actual Control, Army has told the Government about various military options that can be exercised to deal with the situation arising out of the intrusion in Ladakh.
The Army has given its inputs on the incursion by Chinese troops to the National Security Advisor-headed China Study Group which includes the Secretaries of the Ministries of Defence, Home and External Affairs, government sources said here. The inputs given by the force are also about various options including using military aggressively in the situation, they said.
The chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Benny Gantz, recently pushed back against the idea that it was too late for Israel to act alone against Iran’s He felt comfortable making it because he knew that in a few days he would be welcoming a friend bearing gifts. And the gifts? Well, they are gifts the Iranian regime would prefer Israel didn’t possess: advanced radar packages that extend Israel’s ability to see east (and west, north and south, but east is what matters most at the moment), KC-135 refuelling tankers and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The tankers will extend the range of Israel’s bombers, and the Ospreys are particularly useful for inserting commandos into enemy territory.
Russia plans to deploy fighter jets in Belarus this year and eventually establish an air base in the former Soviet republic, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday. The moves would increase Russia’s military presence in Belarus, viewed by Moscow as a buffer between Russia and NATO, and could unnerve neighboring members of the Western alliance.”We have begun considering the plan to create a Russian air base with fighter jets here,” Shoigu said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the capital, Minsk.
Taiwan’s coastguards said Monday that Taipei had staged a live-fire drill within a hotly-contested island chain in the South China Sea, in a move that risks stoking regional tensions.
More than 2,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by garrison forces on Taiwan-administered Taiping, the largest of the Spratly Islands, Wang Chin-wang, chief of the Coast Guard Administration, told parliament. It was Taipei’s first live-fire drill in the Spratlys — claimed in whole or part by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei — since long-range mortars and artillery were shifted to Taiping Island in August last year.
Jordan has opened two corridors of its airspace to Israeli Air Force drones seeking to monitor the ongoing conflict in Syria, French daily Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing a Western military source in the Middle East.
According to the report, Jordanian King Abdullah made the decision in March during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan, which came immediately after his first trip as president to Israel. Le Figaro quoted the military source as saying that the Israeli drones fly at night to avoid detection. The source added that “the Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures.”
In Syria, for scores of men called each month to join the army for deadly combat, there is a more attractive alternative: stay home, join a loyalist paramilitary group, and get a share of the loot in raids on President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies.
Now into the third year of the uprising against Assad, which began with peaceful protests and became an armed rebellion, Syria’s regular army has been weakened. Sectarian faultlines that are increasingly dividing the nation are now fragmenting an army whose strength was already eroded by desertions and defections to rebels.
INTERPRETING any country’s pronouncements about its nuclear weapons can be a study in fine distinctions, but occasionally a state says — or fails to say — something in a clear break from the past. A Chinese white paper on defense, released on Tuesday, falls into this category and now demands our attention, because it omits a promise that China will never use nuclear weapons first. That explicit pledge had been the cornerstone of Beijing’s stated nuclear policy for the last half-century. The white paper, however, introduces ambiguity. It endorses the use of nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack but does not rule out other uses.
When National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror arrives in Turkey on Sunday to discuss compensation for flotilla victims, he will also be seeking to lay the groundwork for the stationing of Israeli fighter jets in an airbase near Ankara, ahead of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Sunday Times reported.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London-based publication. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
On 15 April, 2013, several dozen soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered as deep as ten kilometers inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Daulat Beg in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) and set up a camp there. The audacity of the Chinese operation is reflected from the fact that their ground troops were given cover and logistic help by two helicopters to enable them to set up a camp on the Indian territory. Why did the Chinese choose Daulat Beg? The Chinese have not forgotten that it was at this place where the Indians had set up its landing strip during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
This has certainly not been a dull week in capital markets. The intraday investor has been exposed to just about everything. As of Friday, we have a commodity market that is telling the investor that global growth is slowing. A U.S. equity market, financed by cheap money, continues to signal that the American consumer is somewhat in the driving seat when it comes to stock prices. And finally, the European sovereign market appears to be convinced that domestic Japan is about to embark on a global shopping spree.
An unnamed Jordan source said the U.S. military agreed on Friday to the country’s request to put Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria.
A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times ofIsrael reported. The source also said the Patriot missile batteries would be transferred from sites in Qatar and Kuwait, and placed in strategic border spots that could best serve – and protect – the kingdom.
A United States warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived on Thursday in Singapore for its Southeast Asian deployment, underlining President Barack Obama’s new strategic focus on Asia.
The deployment of the USS Freedom comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexes its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states. US Navy officials said the Freedom, a littoral combat ship, sailed into Changi Naval Base at around 11 a.m. in Singapore, a long-standing US ally that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in Southeast Asia.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
The Indian ocean once regarded as a ‘neglected ocean’ has, today, become the hub of political, strategic and economic activities because of the presence of conventional and nuclear vessels of the major powers in the area and because of its own economic and strategic significance. The ocean contains several important minerals: 80.7% of world extraction of gold, 56.6 % of Tin, 28.5 % of manganese, 25.2 % nickel and 77.3% natural rubber. Highest tonnage of the world goods, 65% of world oil, and 35% of the gas, located in the littoral states, passes through it. The region today is an arena of contemporary geopolitics.
The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.
A day after asking Japan to stop encroaching its territory, Chinese military on Wednesday for the first time deployed its naval ships to patrol the islands disputed with Tokyo in the East China Sea. This is the first time in recent months China deployed its naval vessels for patrols in the islands waters replacing the marine surveillance vessels, even though some naval ships were seen in the waters earlier. A two-vessel fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy patrolled the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu islands this morning
More than 350 U.S. marines and several hundred Georgian Army troops angered Moscow by holding a month-long military drill in the former Soviet republic that ended on April 5. The U.S.-Georgia war exercise, code named “Agile Spirit 2013,” prompted the Russians to stage large-scale, unscheduled drills of their own.
In a snap response to the war drills, Russia held large-scale military exercises of its own in the Black Sea, causing great alarm in Georgia. “The current drills are unscheduled, unusual and go beyond the usual location of the armed forces in the spirit of the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures,”
Several new developments in Syria have deepened the conviction that Washington and its Western allies have prepared scenarios to justify their positions if they decide to intervene in Syria, even though official rhetoric refers otherwise.
Since last year, the Untied States and several European countries have floated fears of Syria’s chemical weapons “falling into the wrong hands” if the Syrian administration falls. Israel also said it had plans to intervene to secure those arsenals in case of a “regime collapse.”
In the way China made land grabs across the Himalayas in the 1950s by launching furtive encroachments, it is now waging separate stealth wars—without firing a single shot—to change the status quo in the South and East China Seas, on the line of control with India, and on international river flows. Although China has risen from a backward, poor state to a global economic powerhouse, the key elements in its statecraft and strategic doctrine have not changed. Since the Mao Zedong era, China has adhered to ancient theorist Sun Tzu’s advice, “The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy.”
The 2008 war with Georgia allowed Russia to greatly enhance its already considerable military presence. Russian officials say there are roughly 5,000 Russian personnel in Abkhazia: 3,500 military and 1,500 Federal Security Service (FSB) officers and “border guards”. Moscow allocated $465 million over four years to the rehabilitation and construction of military infrastructure. This included work on Bombora, the largest military airfield in the South Caucasus, in Gudauta. Though Russian media sources describe significant weapons at the base, Western military officials in late 2012 said intelligence indicated only four fighter craft there on a regular basis – two Sukhoi 27s and two MiG-29s.
There are three major means for the U.S. to conduct deep involvement in the Asia-Pacific region: first, wide alliance to win over various countries in the Asia-Pacific region; second, military forward deployment to realize strategic “re-balancing”; and third, occupy a “leading” position in the region to play “pro-active role”.
The U.S. believes that the time span from the end of the Cold War to 2015 is a period of “strategic opportunity”, during which the rise and development of such major regional countries as China and Russia will pose serious challenges to the U.S. around 2015. Among the two, China “is more likely to become the challenger”.
With unemployement at unprecedented levels in the EU, the risk of social unrest is rising, says the UN’s International Labour Organization. The ILO is warning politicians to abandon austerity and embrace job creation.
“When unemployment is as high as it is right now – as poverty and welfare protection become worse – then the danger of social unrest grows along with it,” says Miguel Angel Malo. Malo is a professor of economics in Salamanca, Spain – a country where youth unemployment is at 56 percent.
U.S. defenses could intercept a ballistic missile launched by North Korea, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific said Tuesday, as the relationship between the West and the communist government hit its lowest ebb since the end of the Korean War.
Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Kim Jong Un, the country’s young and still relatively untested new leader, has used the past year to consolidate his power.
JAPAN has announced it is deploying Patriot missile interceptors around Tokyo as a precaution against North Korea’s nuclear threats. The Patriot missiles – an advanced version of the interceptor of Gulf War fame – are being moved to key locations around Japan’s capital city, including the defense ministry headquarters. Other key military bases on the Japanese mainland are also taking similar precautionary measures, reports indicate. Japan’s defense minister has also reportedly put destroyers with missile interception systems on alert in the Sea of Japan.
Uganda is “at risk of violent instability” come next year (2014), a US Intelligence threat assessment report has stated. The report, that is released every four years after the US President is elected, by the National Intelligence Council, names Uganda among 14 other countries that risk becoming a failed state, given their potential for conflict and environmental evils. The US Intelligence threat assessment report also places Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo as two other countries in the region likely to suffer in the same manner.
“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.
The U.S. military’s much-discussed AirSea Battle will remain a priority in light of rising tensions with North Korea, ongoing military strategy assessments and continued budget constraints, Pentagon officials said.
“Air-Sea Battle is a set of agreed-upon ideas and actions to create the joint force needed for operations in contested and denied environments and what that force needs to be able to do. Having smaller budget authority does not change the validity of [Air-Sea Battle’s] ideas and actions for force development, although it may slow [Air-Sea Battle’s] implementation,” according to a statement from the Air-Sea Battle office.
The West is becoming more and more alarmed about Zapad 2013 war games. NATO troops will carry out military exercises in Poland practising defence of Estonia, while Belarus and Russia will repel an imaginary attack from Poland: They plan to rehearse a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Warsaw, Polska Times reports. Tension between Russia and NATO has been growing since the beginning of the year. The Alliance prepares for Steadfast Jazz 2013 military exercises that will take place in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, while Belarus and Russia will carry out Zapad 2013 war games.
The Pentagon has deployed a new missile defense system to Guam following threats of an attack from North Korea, which Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel classified on Wednesday as “a real and clear danger.” A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System, which defends against ballistic missiles, will arrive in Guam in the coming weeks as a “precautionary move to strengthen our regional defense posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat,” according to a Defense Department release. The isolated island in the Pacific is home to U.S. Naval Base Guam, providing a key stopover point for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Cheap drones made in China could end up arming potential U.S. foes such as North Korea, Iran and terrorist organizations. China already makes drones that don’t quite match up to U.S. military drones, but for a fraction of the cost. The Chinese military envisions such unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) scouting out battlefield targets, guiding missile and artillery strikes, and swarming potential adversaries, such as U.S. carrier battle groups. “In whatever future conflict scenario we’re in five or 10 years from now, the proliferation of UAVs is going to complicate things for the U.S. military,” said Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute.
At the same time, the Japanese public has more fully embraced the once-discredited Self-Defense Forces. That is in part because of anxiety over China and North Korea, but also because of the military’s prominent humanitarian presence after the 2011 tsunami.
The reality of the changing geopolitics was not lost on the Japanese officers who watched their soldiers scrambling up San Clemente’s grassy hills. They acknowledged they were learning tactics from the Marines, who developed them during their island-hopping campaign in the Pacific against Imperial Japan.
China continued moving tanks and armored vehicles and flying flights near North Korea this week as part of a military buildup in the northeastern part of the country that U.S. officials say is related to the crisis with North Korea. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troop and tank movements were reported in Daqing, located in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and in the border city of Shenyang, in Liaoning Province. According to U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, both intelligence and Internet reports from the region over the past week revealed the modest military movements in the border region that began in mid-March and are continuing.
It is probable to say that the respective exercise has an interregional message considering the agreement among the Black Sea riparian countries on the relationship and the preservation of the stabilization in Black Sea. On the ground that some new developments take place specifically in Middle East and Syria crisis, it is useful to draw attention to Middle East and Mediterranean rather than Black Sea. As a reminder, Moscow made a decision to permanently possess warships in Mediterranean due to the conflicts in Syria last month, and this decision sparked a debate.
An Israeli tank fired into Syrian territory on Tuesday night after Syrian mortar and small-arms fire hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan heights the military said. An Israeli army statement said troops “returned precise fire at the source and reported a direct hit.” In response to a query from AFP a spokeswoman said it was an Israeli tank that returned fire. She did not give further details. There were no Israeli casualties from the Syrian fire, the army said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has announced that Tbilisi expresses deep concern about the unplanned and sudden exercises of the Russian military which go beyond the territory defined by the Vienna Agreement.
Speaking at a briefing on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that Georgia will continue to inform the international community on Russian military exercises being held near the maritime borders of the country. The Georgian side is distressed with the fact that near its borders large-scale exercises are conducted, with the date of completion and objectives not reported.
North Korea’s latest provocative declaration has led China to place its military forces at “Level One” readiness – its highest threat level — and increased its military presence on the border with North Korea in response to the country’s declaration of a “state of war” and threats to conduct missile attacks against the U.S. and South Korea. Tensions have risen on the peninsula since North Korea conducted its third nuclear test last month, sparking a new round of UN-led sanctions.
South Korea’s defense ministry unveiled Monday a new contingency plan of “active deterrence” that allows its military to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if the North shows signs of an imminent nuclear or missile attack on the South. The new contingency plan was outlined in an annual policy briefing by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin to President Park Geun-hye amid heightened tensions over the escalation of North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric against Seoul and Washington.
In a war game focusing on the fictitious country “North Brownland,” military experts from the Army’s forward-looking research arm, the Concept Development and Learning Directorate, assessed how many U.S. troops it would take to go into a North Korea-like place to secure the weapons after a crisis erupted, and how quickly those weapons could be secured.American troops would have to enter the country by air and sea, locate nuclear material in enormous storehouses and unknown underground bunkers, and figure out how to wrest control of nuclear materials and stop reactors. The challenges, Hix said, are significant.
North Korea’s Feb. 12 nuclear test and continued military threats have sparked calls for Seoul to take a tougher stance against the secluded regime including enhanced nuclear deterrence. One of the most controversial issues is conservatives’ renewed proposal to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea. Unlike strategic nuclear weapons that are designed to act as deterrence to war or to damage the opponent’s war capabilities, tactical nuclear weapons are built for use on a battlefield.
North Korea put its rocket units on standby on Friday to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation”, official KCNA news agency said. Pyongyang has also cancelled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all communications hotlines with US forces, the United Nations and South Korea.
The long-standing Syrian dictatorship is an abomination. The ongoing Syrian civil war is a tragedy. America should stay out.
A decade ago another administration began another war with a promise of enshrining Pax Americana on the Euphrates. Unfortunately, the result was a wrecked Iraq, empowered Iran, and discredited America. With the decade-long attempt to implant liberal democracy in Afghanistan finally coming to a close, Washington should reject proposals for another unnecessary war of choice.
When a two-engine Chinese turboprop darted over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the first foreign intrusion into Japanese airspace in more than 50 years, the People’s Liberation Army was able to truthfully profess its innocence.
The tiny turboprop belonged to China Marine Surveillance, a once-obscure cog in the vast bureaucracy that has become a kind of paramilitary force in Asian waters. A host of Chinese agencies with innocuous titles — the Maritime Safety Administration, the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, the State Oceanic Administration — have become stealth warriors in Beijing’s campaign to press its territorial claims in Asian waters.
Israel is getting increasingly jumpy as Syrian rebels, particularly the increasingly effective Islamists, steadily throttle the beleaguered Damascus regime. Unusually heavy air force activity over Lebanon in recent days is raising suspicions Israel’s preparing for airstrikes to ensure the Jewish state’s security as Islamists advance into southern Syria close to the occupied zone in the Golan Heights.The marked increase in the number of aircraft involved, including unmanned spy drones, and their flight patterns over Hezbollah strongholds and suspected missile sites in recent days suggest Israel may be preparing for sizable offensive air operations against Hezbollah or Syria, or both.