Russia is the only serious rival of Turkey in the Black Sea region. Turkey has certain advantages over Russia because it controls the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, Turkish studies expert Gevorg Petrosyan told reporters while commenting on the geopolitical importance of Crimea. According to him, Ankara may use the factor of the Crimean Tatars who have pro-Turkish views. “Many thousands of Tatars living in Turkey held protests against Russia, expressing their support for the Crimean Tatars,” he said. He noted that the “Georgian scenario” is likely to be implemented out in Crimea.
Russia’s upper house parliament has approved the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin after he asked to send armed forces to Ukraine’s Crimea region. “In connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory (in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) … I submit a proposal on using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalisation of the socio-political situation in the that country,” Putin’s statement said.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Tajikistan, which shares a poorly guarded, 750-mile border with opium-rich Afghanistan, has become a major global drug-trafficking hub—in fact, more than 80 percent of Afghanistan’s heroin exports to Russia and Europe now pass through Tajik territory. Over the past decade, the United States, worried that the drug trade would soon be accompanied by all the other security problems that plague Afghanistan, has cooperated closely with Tajikistan’s government to help it stem the narcotics trade. Seems reasonable, right? Unfortunately, that government is such a dubious partner that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid have done little to stop the drug business—while helping to shore up its apparatus of repression.
Some time ago, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a piece of research entitled “A Report on Developments in the Asia Pacific Area.” This report leveled a great deal of criticism at North Korea. In the report, Chinese experts said that North Korean authorities believe that China will never abandon their country, but they argued that China could very well abandon North Korea if the country continues its brinkmanship-based policies, including nuclear weapons tests. They also said that China could accept a South Korean-led reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The contents of this report are unprecedented.
Tensions also mounted in Crimea, in the southeast of Ukraine, where pro-Russian politicians are organizing rallies and forming protest units, demanding autonomy from Kyiv. The region is now seen as a potential flashpoint because of its deep strategic significance to Moscow. Ukraine is deeply divided between its eastern regions, which are largely pro-Russian, and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych. The Crimean port of Sevastopol may be part of Ukraine, but it is the Russian tricolour that flutters proudly above the port’s barrack blocks and warships.
China said it was “extremely concerned” by a report that Japan has resisted returning to the United States more than 300kg of mostly weapons-grade plutonium, the latest dispute between the two Asian neighbours. Japan’s Kyodo news agency said that Washington had pressed Japan to give back the nuclear material which could be used to make up to 50 nuclear bombs. Japan had resisted, but finally given in to US demands, it added. China is involved in a bitter territorial dispute with Japan and has warned Japan is trying to re-arm.
United States secretary of state John Kerry has announced that China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear programme. He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearising North Korea. The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. North Korea is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to ten nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say the country has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.
Intelligence officials and issue analysts report signs that Saudi Arabia wants to develop a capacity to enrich uranium, despite proliferation concerns. Riyadh is understood to be worried that world powers will agree to allow Iran to maintain some limited uranium-enrichment capability in a potential lasting deal on its nuclear program. Saudi Arabia has an established interest in developing an atomic-energy program, but its concerns about Iran could be causing the Persian Gulf kingdom to consider a more expansive domestic nuclear capability, the Daily Beast reported on Friday.
The Central African Republic’s northern neighbor, Chad, is a military heavyweight in the region. Under the leadership of President Idriss Deby Itno, it is a driving force behind key decisions in the current crisis. For example, on the question of the president: CAR’s interim president Michel Djotodia was invited to attend a summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the Chadian capital N’Djamena in January 2014. He then resigned following pressure put on him by President Deby. This was not the first time Chad had decided on the rise and fall of a Central African president.
The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) wants the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give information over what it terms as “plans to topple the government using activists.” According to NSAC Chairman Francis Kimemia, the committee has credible information detailing how the US donor agency has consistently funded demonstrations by activists. Kimemia said that the organisation has used individuals including a defrocked pastor to slander parliamentarians.
The six agreed regions include four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadramawt. A presidential panel has agreed to transform Yemen into a six-region federation as part of its political transition, state news agency Saba announced on Monday. “The final approval” on creating a “federal state of six regions” came at a meeting of the committee, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and including representatives of Yemen’s main parties, Saba said.
Andaman & Nicobar islands could be India’s next Kargil, warned former Indian Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash. He said the Andaman & Nicobar islands numbering 537 are geographically more closer to SE Asia than India. He said the real threat comes from poachers, drug smugglers, or terrorist groups who could occupy some of the uninhabited islands and India would find itself in a Kargil-like situation, Adm. Arun Prakash said this at a two-day workshop on ‘India’s coastline and its islands’ security’ organized by the NGO Federation of Integrated National Security.
Houthi groups seized control over large swaths in the northern directorate of Huth, Amran province, on Sunday after tribesman withdrew following two days of deadly clashes, a tribal source said. “The Houthis were able to control at least five districts in Huth after tribesmen retreated following disagreements with their leader,” the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Anadolu Agency. Violence broke out in Huth on Friday and continued to rage into Saturday, leaving at least 63 Houthis and 15 tribesmen dead and 163 others injured, including 110 Houthis.
Shocking before-and-after photos show how Syrian government ‘wiped entire neighbourhoods off the map’
The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighbourhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition or to cause disproportionate harm to them, an international human rights group said Thursday. The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts in and around the capital, Damascus, and the central city of Hama, according to a 38-page report by Human Rights Watch.
Pakistan has been included in the list of 40 countries having risks of coup in 2014 and residing on the 14th position released by Jay Ulfelder, a famous political scientist who also blogs. A famous political scientist, Jay Ulfelder’s mathematical model which forecasted about expected ‘coups’ across the World in 2014, while the Max Fisher has posted the list in Washington Posts on January 28. Pakistan has been placed on the 14th position in the list while its neighbouring country Afghanistan is on 12th.
Syrian troops mostly withdrew from majority Kurdish areas in summer 2012, focusing their attention on rebel fighters and enabling the Kurds to develop semi-autonomy. Kurdish fighters, especially those affiliated with the PYD, have since fought fierce battles against extremist opposition groups. Two months ago, three Kurdish-majority regions declared self-rule, and one of them named a municipal council on Tuesday. The Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council has forged an alliance with representatives of the Syriacs, one of the oldest branches of Christianity.
Untenable debt burdens, snowballing youth unemployment and water crises rank as leading concerns for global experts. The World Economic Forum released its ‘Global Risks 2014’ report after surveying 700 people, including top business leaders. It assessed 31 risks, but the following risks emerge as urgent threats for many people across the world in 2014: Advanced economies remain in danger of fiscal crises, sparked by extremely high debt burdens, rising interest rates and inflationary pressures.
From strategic point of view, the Russian diplomacy concerned the Balkans and the South-East Europe as essential for the Russian state security and above all for the stability of the Russian state frontiers. It was the Russian intention to obtain favourable frontier in Bessarabia (today independent Moldova) and to have a control over the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which became very important to the Russian commercial and economic development in particular for the shipment of surplus grain (from present-day Ukraine) to the world markets. The Bosporus and the Dardanelles became a part of Russia’s “security zone” (in both economic and political terms).
The Chinese government is considering reorganizing the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAP) and placing it under the direct control of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party as part of the country’s military realignment plan, according to senior Chinese military officials.
At present, the PAP is commanded by both the commission, which controls the military, and the Public Security Ministry, which is in charge of police affairs. By placing public security units under a single command, the Chinese government hopes to respond to large-scale riots and other incidents more rapidly.
This time next year, the country known as the United Kingdom may be about to disappear. If Scotland’s separatist government gets its way in a referendum planned for September, the 300-year-old union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland — the United States’ oldest and closest ally — will be on the road to disintegration. That is a dramatic, though accurate, way of describing the possible secession of Scotland from one of the world’s most successful political, social and economic unions.
The violent arrest in Iraq of leading Sunni Member of Parliament Ahmed al-Alwani marks yet another step in that country’s rapid descent into sectarian anarchy and civil war. Alwani is chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s important Economics Committee. More significantly, he is a leading critic of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and an arch opponent of the spread of Iranian influence in Iraq. This is becoming routine for the Iraqi prime minister. Almost exactly a year ago, Iraq’s Sunni Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi had his home and offices raided by security forces.
“Saudi Arabia is playing a dangerous double game—turning a blind eye to the jihadists flocking from Riyadh to Syria while assuring the West of its commitment to fighting terror.” This is the famous “blowback” theory: Saudi Arabia itself will become a target when the Saudis fighting in Syria come home. There was serious “blowback,” we’re told, after a generation of Saudis, most famously a tall guy named Osama, went off to do jihad in Afghanistan, and it could happen again.
The recent purge of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle could herald a period of radical upheaval comparable to China’s Cultural Revolution, Japanese defence minister Itsunori Onodera said on Thursday. Pyongyang confirmed Monday that Jang Song-Thaek, once seen as the power behind the throne, had dramatically fallen from grace, with state TV airing humiliating images of him being dragged away by uniformed officers. “After seeing the footage of Mr Jang Song-Thaek being arrested, it reminded me of scenes one might have seen during the era of China’s Cultural Revolution,” Onodera said in a speech given at a private think tank in Tokyo.
President Vladimir Putin ordered the Defense Ministry to take every step necessary to protect Russia’s security and national interests in the Arctic region. “In the next year we need to complete the creation of the armed forces’ new units. Special attention must be paid to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic,” Putin said at an expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board. The president highlighted the recent restoration of an airbase on the Novosibirsk Islands off northern Siberia as “a key factor for control over the situation in the Arctic region.”
Saudi Arabia is calling on the Gulf monarchies to unite for their own self-defence. But in a speech at the Manama Dialogue security forum in Bahrain, Saudi Assistant Foreign Minister Nizar Madani said “Gulf countries should no longer depend on others to ensure their safety.” The oil-rich monarchies “must unite under one political entity in order to face internal and external challenges,” said the minister. “All countries have realised that blind dependence on a foreign power is no longer acceptable. GCC countries must decide their own futures,” said Madani.
South Korea on Sunday announced an expansion of its air defense identification zone following China’s move to establish a similar zone that has been criticized by Beijing’s neighbors.The new South Korean zone covers a submerged reef that South Korea controls but that China also claims, and it also will include parts of airspace in the zone that China has drawn. The new South Korean zone also overlaps with parts of the Japanese air identification zone.
The EU is supporting Libyan border security troops near Ghadames, but local members of the military complain of unclear structures and insufficient equipment. They put the blame on the government in Tripoli. The Libyan army is still growing into its tasks more than two years after the revolution against Gadhafi, and it has had only limited success in integrating former rebels. Effectively controlling the country’s borders remains beyond the army’s capabilities. “Large segments of the 1,000-kilometer long border to Algeria are nearly inaccessible.
Nasrallah rarely mentions Saudi Arabia by name, only referring to the monarchy in vague terms in order to maintain plausible deniability. But that all changed on Tuesday, when he accused Saudi agents of being behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month that claimed 23 lives. In doing so he has openly declared a war that has long been fought in the shadows, first in Lebanon where Hizballah-allied parties are at a political impasse with the Saudi-backed Future Movement of Saad Hariri, and now in Syria.
It’s a familiar scenario: a man, usually a political, security or military figure, emerges from a location he regularly frequents—home, mosque, work, supermarket—and is promptly shot down by gunmen, or turns on his car’s ignition only for it to explode. Said gunmen will then promptly escape, most likely on a motorcycle—or, in the case of a car bomb, watch, satisfied, from afar. Yemen is now at a stage where some assassinations, especially of low-ranking security or military figures, are barely news any more.
China’s increased belligerence in the region is part of its plan to control the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea and the larger East China Sea. Its military doctrine refers to dominance over the “first island chain,” which encompasses the East China Sea. The next step is dominance over what Beijing calls the second island chain extending from Japan to Indonesia. Some analysts have even speculated about plans for a third island chain strategy extending as far as Hawaii. China’s defense ministry warned in a statement that all aircraft that fail to comply with its new rules for transit through the zone could be shot down.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the two kamikaze attack on November 19 against the Iranian embassy in Beirut took place on the eve of the resumption of nuclear talks between the 5 +1 ( United States , Russia , China, France, Britain and Germany) and Iran in Geneva on November 20. If last summer, two attacks had hit the southern suburbs of Beirut , a stronghold of Hezbollah, the Shiite party backed by Iran, this is the first time that Iranian interests were directly affected by a terrorist act (25 dead, including the Iranian cultural advisor and four guards, and 146 injured).
The Armed Forces of the Philippines plan to build a pier and harbor at a naval base in Palawan, the island province closest to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, according to officials and a defense document. Military officials confirmed Wednesday to reporters the plan to build “pier, harbor and support facilities” in Oyster Bay — the navy’s shipyard directly facing the South China Sea. The project will cost around 313 million pesos (around $7.29 million), according to the document.
Unprecedented plans by an international oil consortium to drill in waters off the disputed Western Sahara are making waves, with activists warning the move could scupper chances of resolving the conflict. The region remains bitterly contested, nearly 40 years after its annexation by Morocco, a move never recognised by the international community. A surge of interest in its potential subsea riches, coupled with Morocco’s unaffordable energy bills, has pushed oil exploration up the agenda, threatening to enflame tensions if any discoveries are made.
MADRID is in danger of sparking a military conflict with Britain over Gibraltar if it does not tone down its actions, a senior MP warned today as the Royal Navy was involved in a new stand-off with a Spanish ship. However, referring to the armed standoff on November 1, Mr Dobbin told MPs: “Reports state that guns were pointed and thankfully no shots were fired. “This diary of events highlights the serious nature the British government of Gibraltar is dealing with.”
Espionage, especially spying on friends, has always involved a cost-benefit calculation – weighing the benefits of eavesdropping against the costs of being found out. But the expansion in sheer information gathering and storage capabilities since the 9/11 terrorist attacks has swamped any efforts to set limits and the proclivity to weigh the pros and cons, analysts say. And the downsides of that, they add, could be many and even lead to a damaging of the counterterrorism efforts that lie at the core of international intelligence cooperation.
The Navy of Russia will place a maintenance base in the Vietnamese port of Camran, in accordance with the stipulated agreements during President Vladimir Putin”s recent visit to that Asian country, reported the local press today. In addition to the approved contracts on military collaboration with Vietnamese leaders, the head of the Kremlin reached a tentative agreement to install those facilities in Camran in 2014, informed Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper. The maintenance center in this deep-water port will occupy part of the space of what used to be the naval air station built by the United States in Camran during its attack to Viet Nam.
A deadly assault by Shi’ite Houthi rebels on a Salafi Islamic school planted in their mountain heartland could ignite wider sectarian conflict in Yemen, where instability has already helped al Qaeda militants to take root. The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, have bombarded the sprawling Dar al-Hadith seminary in Dammaj village for two weeks, killing at least 100 people. Political rivalries may have helped to start the violence, but the struggle over a Salafi outpost deep in Houthi territory is also part of a regional contest between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party said it would establish an agency to “manage” growing social unrest, as part of a set of reforms largely focusing on the economy. The new “state security committee” will tackle social instability and unify other agencies in charge of increasing security challenges, both foreign and domestic, the party’s Central Committee said in a statement after a four-day plenary meeting in the nation’s capital ended Tuesday. The committee would “improve the system of national security and the country’s national security strategy”.
As the latest militant-Kurdish military showdown eases in northeast Syria, Baghdad is keeping a close watch on a battle which threatens even greater instability in Iraq. Kurdish forces and al Qaeda-linked groups have for weeks fought over territory, with the Kurds taking over a key border point late last month. But with the likelihood of more fighting to follow, Baghdad is worried of militants securing a wider corridor between eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight. While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic. Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.
South Korea’s spy agency said Monday that North Korea was using Russian technology to develop electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralysing military electronic equipment south of the border. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a report to parliament that the North had purchased Russian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weaponry to develop its own versions. EMP weapons are used to damage to electronic equipment. At higher energy levels, an EMP event can cause more widespread damage including to aircraft structures and other objects.
CONCERNS are growing in Iran about the health of Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, amid fears of a power vacuum at a critical moment for the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khamenei, 74, Iran’s most powerful man, has not been seen in public for three weeks. Reports suggest he has had a relapse of a chronic illness. He has no appointed heir. His death could prompt a power struggle as negotiations with the West over Iran’s nuclear program reach a crucial stage.
Japan plans to deploy a surface-to-ship missile unit on Miyako Island in the country’s southern-most Okinawa prefecture for the first time next month. Units equipped with Type 88 surface-to-ship missiles will be deployed on Miyako Island and in the southern part of Okinawa’s main island as part of an 18-day military drill starting on November 1 with about 34,000 personnel taking part, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
This would put all waters between the islands within range of the guided anti-ship missiles, reports the NHK broadcaster.
Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the US in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said. Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.”
Malaysia is to set up a marine corps and establish a naval base close to waters claimed by China, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement. According to the statement, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base will be established at Bintulu on the South China Sea (SCS) to protect the surrounding area and oil reserves. Unstated by the minister is the base’s proximity to James Shoal, which is 60 n miles away and was the location for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercises on that were the most recent example of China asserting its claims to most of the SCS.
Engaged in what they see as a life-and-death struggle for the future of the Middle East with arch-rival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious that the international body has taken no action over Syria, where they and Tehran back opposing sides. Like Washington’s other main Middle Eastern ally, Israel, the Saudis fear that President Barack Obama has in the process allowed mutual enemies to gain an upper hand. The alliance between the US, the biggest economy and most powerful democracy, and Saudi Arabia, the Islamic monarchy that dominates oil supplies, is not about to break.
India’s alleged involvement in illicit nuclear trade networks came under fire in a detailed report issued by a major security-focused think tank here, the Institute for Science and International Security. According to ISIS India was in fact among a group of “illicit nuclear trade suppliers of concern,” including China, Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey, Russia and a host of “rogue states” such as Iran, North Korea, Syria “and possibly a Khan-type network.” It also pulled no punches in emphasising that India benefitted from the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear smuggling network which was “exposed and rolled up in 2003 and 2004,”.
Libya’s south-western region of Fezzan declared itself on Thursday an autonomous federal province, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.
Nouri Mohammad al-Qouizi was named as the president of the province, according to Libyan media reports. Local tribal leaders said military chief would later be appointed to protect the region’s borders and its natural resources.The move came a month after Cyrenai, in eastern Libya, took a similar step declaring itself also an autonomous federal province.
It sounds like a doomsday scenario drawn up by strategists at the height of the Cold War. Chinese armies move south into the Korean peninsula and collide with American and South Korean forces moving north. The resulting clashes spark war between nuclear-armed superpowers. A new report says such a confrontation is still a real danger in the event of a sudden collapse of the North Korean regime. The report produced by the US research institute, the Rand Corporation, says that North Korea is a failing state that could fall apart at any moment.
India successfully test-fired for a second time a nuclear-capable missile on Sunday that can reach Beijing and much of Europe, bringing a step closer production of a weapon designed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent. India is trying to keep up with China’s growing military strength and wants to have a viable deterrent against its larger nuclear-armed neighbor. The two countries have generally warm relations, but they fought a brief Himalayan war in 1962 and a buildup of conventional defenses along their disputed border is a source of tension.
The National Command Authority (NCA) decided to further develop the country’s nuclear weapons programme for preserving “full spectrum deterrence” against any possible external aggression. The decision was taken at a meeting of the NCA— the principal policy making body on the research, development, production, use and security of the nuclear programme. This was Mr Sharif’s first session on the nuclear policy after returning to the prime minister’s office in June for a third term. The prime minister had in his second tenure rejected all international pressure and conducted nuclear tests in 1998 in response to Indian nuclear tests.
The future is bleak. “Americans today conduct a colossally militarised but morally nugatory global mission supported by apparent majorities of the political, intellectual, and academic elites of the nation. It has lacked from the very beginning an attainable goal. It cannot succeed. George W. Bush is quoted by Bob Woodward as having said that American strategy was ‘to create chaos, to create vacuum’, in his enemies’ countries. This was very unwise. The United States risks becoming such a strategy’s ultimate victim.”
The Egyptian military has begun operations to set up a 500meter wide and 10kilometre long buffer zone on its border with Gaza. Bulldozers have knocked down some of the houses in the area but residents are complaining that they have neither received eviction notices nor compensations. According to sources, the operation is aimed at reducing weapon smuggling and illegal militant crossings along the border. Tunnels are also being destroyed. Cairo is trying to assert its authority in the turbulent northern Sinai Peninsula.
NEITHER Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott will talk of armed intervention in the Syrian crisis, but Australian officers are already working with US allies on a plan if one is needed. Mr Rudd also reiterated Australia’s major alliance with the United States, where Australian military officers are working alongside the the US military in the Pentagon to help draw up war plans for an American-led intervention. Senior officers in Canberra have demanded updated intelligence briefings on the situation. That material includes top-secret human intelligence summaries from Australian and allied spies in the field and hi-tech signals intelligence collected by satellites and other interception methods, including radio and phone traffic.
A government panel on security issues will propose that Japan defend not only the United States but also other allied nations under attack by exercising its right of collective self-defense, the panel’s acting chairman said Tuesday. Shinichi Kitaoka, who also serves as president of the International University of Japan, said in an interview with Kyodo News the panel will state in its report that Japan can exercise the right when “countries with close ties (with it)” are under attack and it is deemed to do harm to Japan. Kitaoka indicated the panel will not specify which country to defend in the upcoming report as withholding such details would be helpful in maintaining deterrence.
Israel Defense Forces setting up new entities to deal with new strategic situation in the Middle East • Operational concept may include pinpoint actions, similar to recent ones in Syria and Egypt that foreign sources have attributed to Israel. Despite budget cuts and the elimination of some units, the Israel Defense Forces in recent months has been setting up entities that will be tasked with fighting what the IDF calls “the battles between the wars.” The Military Intelligence Directorate, Depth Corps and Operations Directorate are involved in the reorganization process. “The battles between the wars” is a new term coined by the IDF several months ago, and encompasses a dynamic military and political campaign.
Since Pakistan announced the first test of the 60-kilometer Nasr ballistic missile in 2011, there is an implicit assumption in Western writings that India will respond to the Pakistani move toward tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) with similar weapons of its own. However, this is precisely what India’s response should not be, and is unlikely to be, if the country and the rest of the international community correctly read the signals from Rawalpindi. The primary task of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is not to deter India’s nuclear weapons but to avoid having to engage a superior military capability. Pakistan believes that its low nuclear threshold constrains India from militarily punishing it.
Now, have the massive, multi-ethnic superpowers of the modern world really reached their breaking point? The answer’s a big, emphatic no. While there’s certainly no shortage of secessionist claims in Russia, China, and the surrounding geopolitical region they dabble in, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new (internationally recognized) countries emerge from the Caucuses or Central Asia. A major precedent — any one secessionist success story — could set off new fervor in any number of independence-minded areas that could radically undermine the neighborhood superpowers’ international standing.
Egypt and her strategic waterways are the heart of the Arab economy. Wars have been waged in the past based upon these important straits. If Egypt falls to militarism or radical Islam like its neighbors Sudan and Libya, numerous Arab and western nations will suffer massive economic loss. You can have unlimited oil and LNG on hand but you need safe shipping routes in which to transport it. With this understanding Egypt is not truly sovereign and that is why it is in a constant state of flux. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and other actors and countries are in the midst of a covert battle royal to influence Egyptian affairs.
The suspension of Tunisia’s transitional parliament could bring the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings closer to an “Egyptian scenario” in which the secular opposition topples an Islamist-led government, analysts and politicians say.
The biggest shock to the ruling Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be that the latest blow came from one of its own secular allies – a sign of rising polarisation between Islamist and secular forces.
The United States has expressed concern about Japan’s desire to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases in an overhaul of its defense policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a government source said in Tokyo. One of the American officials attending bilateral talks on foreign and defense policy cooperation late last month in Tokyo asked the Japanese side to consider the possible negative fallout on neighboring countries if Abe’s administration embarks on such a policy shift.
South and East Asia have become the world’s major oil consumers, but they lack the supply. Energy security thus lies at the heart of Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. Jean-Pierre Lehmann and Suddha Chakravartti explain how China, India and their smaller neighboring economies are scrambling to find ways to secure and deliver enough oil from suppliers to consumers. The vastness and heterogeneity of Asia contrast with the relative compactness and homogeneity of Europe. Nevertheless, Asia does exist as a geopolitical, geo-economic and analytical entity.
Faced with continuing cross border incursions by smugglers and terrorists, Libya and Algeria have decided to activate the Joint Commission agreed last year. Security is a major aspect of its anticipated work, although it is supposed to cover a much wider field, including political and economic collaboration.
The decision to activate the commission was taken at a meeting in the Algerian capital yesterday between the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, and his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmalek Sellal and the Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci.
Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, its troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing the Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border which was well within India’s territory. In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics have come to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched its patrol “Tiranga” from Trade Junction area in North of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the LAC.
Taiwan has earmarked $110 million for the construction of a pier on Spratlys’ Taiping Island, which the Philippines has also laid claims, set to be completed by 2015. The new project can hold frigates, radar-evading corvettes and Taiwanese Navy’s Kuang Hua VI-class missile boats, according to reports by Taiwanese media on Monday. Taiping, largest among the Spratlys Islands in the disputed South China Sea, is the only territory that has fresh water. It has been administered by the Taiwanese government officially since the 1970s.
The American who leads the leading edge of our sword in the Pacific — the Air Force — worries that China‘s sometimes “aggressive approach” in using its fighters, bombers and ships to signal its territorial claims across the Pacific creates “the potential” for a serious incident in the region. But Air Force Gen. Herb “Hawk” Carlisle carefully calibrated his response, praising the “professionalism” of the pilots engaged in the cat and mouse game across the Pacific.
The Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila to gain faster access to waters being contested by China in the South China Sea, according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as relocation funds are available the government plans to transfer air force and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, which has become a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the U.S. Navy.
Early Warning System (EWS), and its adjunct, Early Response (ER) have had their origins since olden times when in primitive societies people were keen to know about future untoward developments that could cause harm and destruction to their peaceful way of life. However after the World War II, the concept matured and saw its application and practice in a more systematic way. Following globalisation and increased use of technology the ability to forecast incipient disasters (natural and man-made) together with social conflicts these EWS have considerably improved.
I am astonished by how little the media has covered the ongoing protests in Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia. You would think that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states would be under a microscope, because what happens there immediately affects oil prices. But large media corporations have opted not to cover events in these countries, so as not to cause market panic. And there is a lot to panic about. The Arab Spring, or something like it, in Bahrain is all about Sunni-Shia tensions. Bahraini Shia make up almost 70% of the country’s total population.
A long time corrupt, disconnected ruling party? Check. Contentious elections? Check. Allegations of voter fraud? Check. Ethnic and religious fault lines? Check. On the surface, two months after the closest election in Malaysian history, one in which the opposition coalition actually received more votes, the situation looks ripe for an uprising along the lines of Egypt or Tunisia, or even nearby Indonesia and Thailand. Instead, the country seems destined for more years of unequal, resource-driven, racially divisive policies.
Azerbaijan’s rapid arms build-up is cause for concern in the region, with some defence analysts warning that it heightens the risk of renewed conflict. President Ilham Aliyev frequently boasts of the amount of money his oil-rich state can afford to spend on weaponry. Appearing at a military parade in Baku on June 26. he took the opportunity to remind everyone that at 3.7 billion US dollars, annual defence expenditure is nearly twice the size of neighbouring Armenia’s entire government budget. A decade ago, Azerbaijan’s defence budget stood at 160 million dollars.
China’s new unified coast guard agency has gone into operation, state media reported yesterday amid maritime disputes with its neighbours, and experts said more ships will be armed as a result. The China Coast Guard integrates the functions of marine surveillance, the existing coast guard which came under the police, fisheries law enforcement and Customs’ anti-smuggling maritime police. The divisions “that were not allowed to be equipped with weapons can be armed now”, Yang Mian, professor of international relations at the Communication University of China
Dozens of people were injured in Cairo clashes Monday as the family of Mohamed Morsi said they plan to sue Egypt’s army chief for having “kidnapped” the ousted Islamist president.
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and firing birdshots, according to members of the emergency services. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.
Dozens of people were injured, medics said, in the clashes that erupted hours after hundreds of Morsi supporters held protests elsewhere in the Egyptian capital.
As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Even as the security establishment counters the pan-Indian network of Laskher-e-Taiba (LeT) and its indigenous arm Indian Mujahideen, the Pakistan-based terror outfit is busy opening another front close to the northeast region, along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Inputs with R&AW, India’s external intelligence agency, confirm that LeT and its over ground avatar, Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD), are working to extend their footprint along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by riding piggyback on the sectarian violence targeted against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Taurus KEPD 350 air-to-surface missile can be carried by South Korean F-15K fighter jets, and is equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) that allows a 480kg warhead to penetrate up to 6 metres of reinforced concrete. Joint German-Swedish venture TAURUS Systems, a collaboration between LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH and Saab Dynamics AB, produces the missiles. Theoretically, if launched from a fighter jet in airspace above the central South Korean city of Daejeon––home to ROK Military headquarters––the Taurus could “hit an underground bunker in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang,” Yonhap said.
India, China and Pakistan are vying for supremacy in weapon technology as never seen before. The inventory attained by the three is formidable. Kashmir is embroiled in these equations because a sharp tilt in one direction will influence an outcome on politics here. China has a vested interest in Kashmir as demonstrated not only by its belligerency on LAC with India and Ladakh but by stapled visa on passports from Kashmir and provoking inclusion of Indian administered parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in their official maps as Chinese territory.
The development of new safe havens for terrorism and transnational crime in the Sahel should be considered a threat to all European national interests, says think-tank. The ongoing crises in Syria and Egypt have marginalised the conflict in Mali in the western media. But the French-led military intervention in that country is facing a complex and challenging transitional period. The United Nations Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, recently warned the international community to “not forget the Sahel, or you will have more Malis if you do”.
Asserting that there has been no change in the attitude and policy of Pakistani military towards India, a former American diplomat has said the next frontier of conflict between the two nations could be Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is going to be in mess after we leave. India’s equity are now deeply engaged in Afghanistan and danger is that the next frontier of India-Pak conflict is going to be in Afghanistan,” said Robert Blackwill, the former US Ambassador to India said.
As the military’s assault against Boko Haram and civilians in northern Nigeria continues, so too does the ongoing and underreported conflict in the villages around Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. As in other parts of the Sahel stretching from Khartoum to Dakar, rivalries between ethnic groups, settlers and indigenes, herders and farmers, and religious groups overlap to create a kaleidoscope of insider and outsider identities. Resulting conflicts, in turn, create openings for international jihadist Islam, as in other parts of the Sahel.
The French government decided to provide the Lebanese army with heavy weapons to boost its military performance, a local newspaper reported on Monday. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, a recent meeting held between French and Lebanese Defense Ministry officials discussed the matter. France decided in light of the meetings to supply the Lebanese army with anti-tank missiles and sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Informed sources told the newspaper that Paris is “confident that the Lebanese army command is controlling the institution despite what rumors said.”
On July 1, 2013 Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) received another boost by the launch of a geostationary satellite. Though the rocket has a presumable reach of 6000 km but this apparently peaceful advancement in space has military potential. For instance, it is a step towards India’s gradually building anti-ballistic missile defense shield and enhancement of its reconnaissance potential. One wonders if this potential militarization of space will ultimately lead to weaponisation and compel New Delhi’s current and future adversaries to respond in letter and in spirit.
Scores of militants linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, now locked in an explosive confrontation with the Egyptian army over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, are reported to have moved into the Sinai Peninsula to fight the military.
They’re expected to join forces with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida who have established bases in Sinai’s vast desert wastes since 2011 and are already clashing with Egyptian security forces.
How many nuclear weapons and delivery systems does a country need as an effective deterrent against the threats of attack? Finding an acceptable balance is critically important in Asia, where four of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states are located.Asia may be sliding into a nuclear arms race, aggravated by underlying tensions and mistrust. As one nuclear weapons state enlarges its arsenal, other regional atomic powers do the same. SIPRI estimated that China, India and Pakistan had each added about 10 warheads to their operational stockpiles in 2012.
An outburst of hostile rhetoric between Morocco and Algeria reflects a historic animosity rooted in irreconcilable differences over Western Sahara, with analysts saying political factors are reinforcing the deadlock despite some much-needed cooperation.
The decades-old rivalry between the Maghreb neighbours has resurfaced after Algeria’s ageing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 13 years, suffered a mini-stroke and with Morocco’s coalition government on the brink of collapse.
As Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi digs in his heels despite calls for him to step down, roughly 500 U.S. Marines deployed to Italy and Spain are poised to react if their presence is needed to calm the brewing violence in the North African country, according to Stars and Stripes. Pentagon spokesman told reporters the Marines were ready, if needed, to respond to a crisis in the region: “We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies.” CNN reports that 200 of the Marines in Italy and Spain are poised to be airborne within an hour of getting orders to deploy to Egypt
Preventing capital flight from banks in crisis-hit countries has been a priority for eurozone policy makers. But have they just shot themselves in the foot? At the height of the region’s debt problems, the amounts held by foreigners in banks in Spain, Italy and other eurozone “periphery” countries shrunk worryingly. Recent months have seen signs of improvement – thanks to a pledge by the European Central Bank to prevent a eurozone break-up, as well as government efforts to boost confidence in the banking system.
Libya is becoming an important transit hub for terrorists, constituting an “extremely dangerous” development in the region, an African Union leader said Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Algeria.
“I have many reports which say Libya has become an important transit hub for the main terrorist groups travelling from one country to another,” said Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, the AU’s special representative in charge of counter terrorism.
American troops being deployed to Sinai this summer are doing so as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) peacekeeping force that has been present there since 1982, the armed forces said in an official statement Saturday. Reports had been circulating on Thursday on the Washington Times and state-run Al-Ahram websites that United States soldiers were being deployed on Egyptian soil to combat riots. Major Ahmed Shaaban told Daily News Egypt that such claims are inaccurate. “They are only training as a precautionary measure,” said Shaaban.
The battle over the Nile has already drawn neighboring countries into the dispute. Sudan and South Sudan have expressed their support for Ethiopia’s dam, while Somalia might show their allegiance to Egypt.
Earlier this month, Egyptian army officials arrived in Somalia to discuss revamping the Somalia National Army and building a possible Egyptian military base. It appears that if Egypt & Ethiopia do go to war, Egypt is relying on Somalia’s strategic location to attack Ethiopia. In order to do so, they will need to go through Somaliland first – with the help of Somalia.
Having recently found its way out of a political deadlock and having just terminated negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the European Union, Moldova is rattled by fears of a military confrontation. “Moldavia fears possible renewed military hostilities, says Moldovan daily Jurnal de Chişinău, on June 20, ahead of a parliamentary debate regarding “how to respond to the provocation of the authorities of Tiraspol,” the capital of the breakaway republic of Transnistria.
According to a draft law pertaining to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the intelligence agency will be authorized to not only keep records on people and obtain information about individuals from some public institutions, but also to conduct pre-emptive operations against possible threats inside and outside the country, Taraf daily maintained on Wednesday. The draft, which may well turn Turkey into a state controlled by an intelligence agency, would hugely do away with some democratic achievements Turkey has made in recent years.
Eastern European states had clearer goals in their 1990s transitions, writes Tony Barber. So it is in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, two-and-a-half years after the eruption of the Arab Spring, and so it was just over 20 years ago in central and eastern Europe after the fall of communism. The differences between the two regions are, for the most part, more striking than the similarities. In one fundamental respect, however, they have something in common: a period of transition in which the struggle for a settled constitutional and political order and economic progress is long and hard-fought.
This article discusses the shortcomings of violent social struggles – their relative exclusivity, vulnerability to foreign manipulation for geostrategic goals, and their likelihood (if successful) to establish similarly repressive and violent regimes to the ones they seek to overthrow. French philosopher Michel Foucault argues that the idea of ‘empowering’ somebody is misguided since power is already held within every one of us. It is the lack of recognition of this power that keeps us from making effective use of it.
China has, for the first time, attempted to spell out its strategy and plans to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean in its first “blue book” on the region, released here on Saturday. The blue book makes a case for China to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region’s (IOR) littoral states, but stresses that Beijing’s interests will be driven by commercial rather than military objectives. However, it warns that the Indian Ocean could end up “as an ocean of conflict and trouble” if countries like India, the U.S. and China failed to engage with each other more constructively as their interests begin to overlap.
So many devastating changes in the Middle East’s so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aftermath are being blamed on misguided US policies in many countries. This in-depth report reveals how Washington institutions allegedly groom destructive elements when attempting to destabilise nations. Their tentacles are now even touching Turkey’s fully-fledged democracy – one that has achieved economic transformation in only a decade, with tourism and foreign investment booming.
Damascus is the “Stalingrad” of Russian diplomacy. After years of geopolitical withdrawal, Moscow has chosen Syria as a way to revive its image of power in the world. “Not one step back” is the Kremlin’s new strategy, as it was for the Red Army along the banks of the Volga river during World War II.
The Libyan wound is still bleeding. Despite its economic interests in Libya, Moscow was not even invited to take part in the postwar negotiations. The same thing occurred in 1999, when the Kremlin did not oppose the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
The Revolutionary Guards, a military force over 100,000 strong which also controls swathes of Iran’s economy, is widely assumed to have fixed the vote last time around, silenced those who protested and to be preparing to anoint a favoured candidate this year, having already narrowed down the field.
In an interview with ISNA news agency in January, Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, created an uproar when he said that it was the duty of the Guards to “engineer reasonable and logical elections”.
Any expansion of NATO to include Sweden and Finland would upset the balance of power and force Russia to respond, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday, underlining Moscow’s nerves over moves to bring the Western alliance closer to its border.
Speculation over Sweden mounted after it warned earlier this year that its defence capabilities were alarmingly limited. It was embarrassed in April when it could not respond to Russian military jets nearing its border, according to media reports. Finland shares a long boundary with Russia.
A highly-placed Israeli source informed me that the location of the secret base was Sdot Micha (also known as Tal Shahar), which already houses Israel’s Jericho 3 nuclear missiles. It is located near Beit Shemesh, 15 miles from Jerusalem. The source also informed me that the new facility was to be hardened and underground to withstand a nuclear attack. This means that Israel expects the site to be attacked by Iranian missiles once that country has nuclear capability.