According to exclusive information made available to To Vima, the USA has asked the Greek government for the permission to place a number of UAV drones on Crete for a period of six to twelve months. The information suggests that talks on the critical matter began in January, with the American side pressuring the Greek government to transfer the drones by early June – no agreement has been reached. The drones are part of the American strategy in tackling the rising terrorism in the Middle East and surrounding areas.
The U.S. has supplied 747,000 weapons to Afghanistan. It might have a difficult time figuring out where some ended up.
The Pentagon has supplied 747,000 weapons and auxiliary equipment, most via federal contractors, to the Afghan National Security Forces during the last decade. And according to a new report, it might have a hard time figuring out where a fair share of them ended up. The discrepancies show examples of where DOD was not in compliance with its internal operating procedures and accountability requirements, and where missing information could result in the inability to locate weapons.
More than half of China’s military airfields have flight paths that are obstructed by tall buildings, causing accidents and airport closures, Chinese state media reported. Nearly 100 accidents have occurred at military air bases due to high-rise buildings and development in the past 20 years, the website of the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily said. The problem has become so great that more than 10 military airfields have been forced to close or move.
“South Korea is sandwiched between China and the US. It has been playing a double dipping game of seeking security interests with the US, while pursuing economic interests with China… Seoul must pursue a policy of separating politics from economy. But it won’t be easy, as evidenced by the US opposition to South Korea’s efforts to cooperate with China on the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The only way to get away from the dilemma is to improve inter-Korean relations, which would reduce Seoul’s military dependence on the alliance with the US.”
Recent shifts in the political landscape of the Middle East mean that Iraq’s Kurds will gain independence “sooner rather than later”, according to Steven Cook, an analyst for the US think tank the Council on Foreign Relations. “They are not committed to a unified Iraq, which they call a fiction. They are going through the political process in Baghdad to prove to everybody that they are not to be blamed for the breakup of Iraq. When this political process comes to an end – without anybody’s satisfaction – the Kurds will ultimately make moves to go their own way.”
The new Estonian state defence law that was sent for a round approvals to different state institutions will make the prime minister the highest military head in Estonia, reports LETA reffering to Postimees. The aim of the bill is to make Estonian state defence modern and guarantee leadership of the state with clear command lines. The current state defence basics are considered very outdated and compared to the pre-WWII era. According to the current Estonian laws, the president is the highest head of Estonian state defence.
The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) will become a network of interconnected branches or bureaus called strategic analysis, counterespionage, external operations, security intelligence, electronic and technical intelligence and signals intelligence. Even the logos for these divisions have been designed, the report said. According to the story, the restructuring of MİT is part of a longer-term plan to create a system that is similar to the US intelligence community. The US system is made up of 17 separate bodies operating under two main branches.
Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Tikrit after a new push to retake the city met heavy resistance, a soldier who fought in the battle said Wednesday. Government troops and allied Shiite volunteer fighters were forced to retreat just before sunset Tuesday to a base four km south after coming under heavy mortar shelling and sniper fire, the sources said. The attempt to retake Tikrit, which fell on June 12 to Sunni insurgents led by the militant Islamic State group, began two-and-a-half weeks ago.
The decision by Poland to admit Raytheon’s Patriot to a short list of bidders for its anti-missile program, while excluding the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program, has spurred rival claims over performance between the two. On June 30, the Polish Defense Ministry announced that it was narrowing its search for a missile defense system to two candidates, the Patriot and the Aster offered by the Eurosam consortium of Thales and MBDA.
Ashraf Ghani was considered something of an outside chance at the start of Afghanistan’s marathon presidential election after failing to make an impression at the polls five years earlier. But an energetic campaign that saw him capitalise on the growth of social media allowed him to overcome his perceived weaknesses: A policy wonk without a big support base, a fiery temper and a life largely spent outside the country. He worked for the World Bank in the 1990s only returning to Kabul in 2001 as a senior United Nations official after the fall of the Taliban.
The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon’s January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisors in October. That was seen at the time as the first assignment of U.S. troops to Somalia since 1993 when two U.S. helicopters were shot down and 18 American troops killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster. Those U.S. plans include greater military engagement and new funds for training and assistance for the Somali National Army (SNA).
A powerful lobby group pushing for independence for Catalonia from the rest of Spain has revealed plans for how the defence forces of the hypothetical country might look. The new military force would include light infantry units, amphibious assault ships and surveillance aircraft, Spanish national daily El Mundo reported on Wednesday. There are also plans for voluntary military service and a reserve force to be called up in the event of foreign invasion or terrorism threats.
Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defense policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major step away from post-war pacifism and a big political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The change will significantly widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. It will also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war.
In buying Kurdish oil via Turkey, Israel can kill two birds with one stone: It can support its long time silent partner, the Kurds, in overcoming this impasse, and at the same time it can help Turkey fulfill its project of becoming the main conduit for the export of Kurdish oil. Should this plan succeed, it would open up for Israel new vistas with Turkey. To be sure, it will also enhance the economic and political independence of the Kurds of Iraq.
Weapons made in China/Pakistan making their way to India’s next door neighbour should definitely be upsetting for New Delhi. India needs to explore ways urgently to see if it can make a better and more economically viable offer to Myanmar. Myanmar is of huge strategic significance for India. The two countries share a 1,600-km-long land boundary apart from a long maritime boundary in Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
Fighting between government forces and troops form the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) took place nearly every day last week in the Manwing area of southern Kachin state. The fighting began shortly after a military column entered into an area controlled by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the KIO’s armed wing. Clashes between the Burma army’s Light Infantry Division No. 88 and resistance forces from KIA battalion 27 took place at Gaw Ngu Yang near Nam Hka village.
President Vladimir Putin on Saturday placed forces in central Russia on “full combat alert” and ordered the 65,000 troops in the region to carry out one week of military readiness drills. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the ground and airborne drills in the Volga and Ural mountain regions would run June 21 though June 28, the Interfax news agency reported. Troops stationed near Ukraine, thousands of kilometres away from central Russia, are not involved in the drills.
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas urged NATO on to establish a permanent presence in the Baltic state in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, telling his allies to “open your eyes and stay awake”. The Western alliance has tripled the number of fighter jets based in the Baltics as part of measures to beef up its defences in eastern Europe following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. NATO’s top military commander, said that NATO would have to consider permanently stationing troops in eastern Europe.
A gunshot detection system developed by Raytheon BBN Technologies is to be deployed at utility sites in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Raytheon said an initial order has been received for 110 Boomerang systems and that it is working with utility companies elsewhere in the country for the system’s deployment. Boomerang uses passive acoustic detection technology and computer-based signal processing. It pinpoints small arms fire and reports the location of the gunfire’s location to authorities.
A rising trend of military surplus purchases is sparking a debate about the militarization of police departments, raising questions about whether weapons meant for war belong in America’s small towns. M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, and silencers are among the weapons making their way into police departments. Surprisingly, the military surplus buys don’t end there. In Johnson County, Indiana, law enforcement sparked a debate when they purchased a 55,000 pound, six-wheeled mine-proof armored vehicle.
Russian authorities have “implemented measures” to restrict the use of satellite bases in its territories that serve the US-owned GPS network. The country’s space agency said it would rule out “any military use” of the ground-based stations. The move comes amid Russian attempts to build a US base for its GPS rival, the navigation system Glonass, which have been blocked by the US government. However experts say the move will have no effect on GPS users worldwide.
NATO defence ministers will discuss temporarily reinforcing forces in Poland when they meet in Brussels this week, a spokesman for the German defence ministry said, a move that would be aimed at reassuring countries nervous about Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. The spokesman said this could include “enhanced air patrols over the Baltic states, AWACS surveillance planes over Polandand Romania, more exercises, and an enhanced naval presence by NATO allies from the Baltic to the Black Sea.”
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtae Lamamra said on Monday that his country was not ready to coordinate with renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been battling militias incorporated into Libya’s regular army. “Algeria is not ready to coordinate with” the general, Lamamra told reporters on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. “This is an internal issue. Algeria will not change its policy of non-interference in the affairs of brotherly and friendly countries,” he said.
Fort Greely, Alaska is home to one of America’s two domestic missile defense bases. Now it’s getting armored against high-altitude electromagnetic energy attacks—like the kind emitted from nuclear blasts. It’s a far-fetched scenario, but the Pentagon is spending millions on a bunker designed to protect against exactly that. According to contract documents from the Army Corps of Engineers, the military plans to spend $44 million on an “HEMP-protected” bunker housing the base’s missile launch control systems.
The German cabinet has adopted a new Africa strategy, showing willingness for a greater German involvement in Africa, German media N-TV reported on Wednesday. In the new Africa policy, Germany’s ruling coalition government expressed willingness to help prevent armed conflicts on the continent at an early stage in the future. In addition to training missions, which would help African countries solve crisis more independently, Germany said it was also ready to send more troops to Africa if necessary.
At least 6 people were injured and 27 arrested in Skopje in a second night of unrest sparked by after the murder of a teenager in a western suburb of the Macedonian capital. Local police blocked access to the Albanian-populated Saraj area in a bid to prevent serious clashes. The protests broke out Monday after the arrest of a 19-year-old suspect, reportedly a member of the country’s Albanian minority, for the murder of a 18-year-old high-school graduate in the Gjorce Petrov suburb while he was trying to prevent a thief from stealing a bicycle.
Japan is to establish new military outposts on remote islands, a report said today, as Tokyo looks to bolster its defence amid a territorial dispute with China. Up to 350 troops each could be stationed on three islands in the far southwest, close to the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as its own under the name Diaoyus, the mass-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The lack of substantial military presence is a source of worry for some in Japan, who caution that it leaves Japan vulnerable to China’s increasingly assertive stance.
Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) said on Sunday that a delegation from the European Union (EU) will be observing its upcoming presidential race. Head of the PEC Anwar El-Asy met with the head of the EU delegation tasked with observing the upcoming elections in Egypt to look into the observing procedures and see what either the committee or state apparatuses can do to facilitate the EU’s task in the country.
Haglund says he is of the opinion that the crisis in Ukraine has added momentum to the NATO debate in Finland.
“It is a bit of a paradox that Russia’s actions have pushed Finland and Sweden closer to NATO membership than ever before. I doubt that was the Russian intention,” he said. In his speech, Haglund said he hopes that discussion regarding the defence policy of the country will continue until the next parliamentary election, as Finland needs to engage in a serious debate on the country’s defence and security solutions.
The Pentagon said today it has temporarily moved nearly 200 Marines to Sicily from their base in Spain as a precaution due to concerns about unrest in North Africa, bolstering the US ability to respond to any crisis. The Pentagon declined to single out any countries but two US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said American concerns were centered squarely on Libya, where armed groups and Islamists refused to disarm. That force is meant to speed US response times in north and west Africa.
Anti-China mobs torched up to 15 foreign-owned factories and trashed many more in southern Vietnam amid rising anger over China’s recent placement of an oil rig into part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam, officials and state media said on Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks established to attract foreign investors was the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly-controlled country in years.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday agreed to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, saying it was beneficial for both countries. The government “is determined to remove obstacles” in the way of the pipeline, Sharif told Rouhani on his first visit to Tehran since being elected prime minister last May. Ties between Islamabad and Tehran had become strained in February following the announcement by the Sharif government that Pakistan was suspending work on a $7.5-billion pipeline for Iranian gas exports.
The covert system relies on a technique called pulse position modulation, which is actually much more simple than you’d expect. It involves dividing a second, minute, or other unit of time into discrete bands, each of which correspond to a different letter or symbol. This code would have to be shared with the intended recipient ahead of time, which is perhaps the most notable flaw with the whole scheme. Once that’s done, through, a series of pulses could be delivered like optical Morse code to convey a message.
It doesn’t pay to be number two in North Korea. In December, the young dictator Kim Jong-un executed his uncle, Jang Song-taek, supposedly Kim’s top advisor. Now Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, who climbed atop Jang’s corpse, has been relieved of his important positions. At least Choe is still alive, apparently left about where he started, as a functionary running labor groups.Choe’s fall is particularly important, because though he was an aide to Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, he rose rapidly under the younger Kim.
The U.S. has established an operational plan to deploy 20 marine brigades to the Korean Peninsula in case of a North Korean invasion into the South, U.S. House Armed Services Chairman Howard McKeon. During a forum in Washington, McKeon said that U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos told him that most of the U.S. marines are to be dispatched to defend South Korea under the plan, according to Yonhap. Under the allies’ joint war plan, the U.S. is to send its 690,000 troops to the peninsula in case of an all-out war.
Trilateral cooperation between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey in the defense sector was discussed within the Tbilisi summit, Georgian Security Council Secretary Irina Imerlishvili told journalists on May 7. “We have the military cooperation with Turkey, as well as with Azerbaijan, which are bilateral,” she noted. “The sides discussed possible transition to the trilateral cooperation format. The ministers cooperate very closely, but this cooperation is in bilateral format so far.”
Both sides will step up cooperation in the air and naval defenses, with a focus on the Baltic Sea region, the report said. Haglund was quoted as saying that joint Navy and Air Force units are a strong indication of the mutual trust between the two Nordic countries. The Swedish minister said it is not a defense alliance, but an important cooperation, aiming to achieve effective and closer dialogues when common challenges arise.
Philippine police seized a Chinese fishing boat in the disputed South China Sea on Wednesday, an official told Reuters, the latest flare-up of tensions in the oil and gas-rich waters that are claimed wholly or in part by six Asian nations. The boat has 11 crew and police found about 500 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, he said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 40 turtles on board. Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.
The Spanish Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, Rafael Catalá, said that, “Spain aims to become the major logistics platform for southern Europe and northern Africa, serving the global east-west trade routes, as well as the emerging north-south.” To achieve this goal, which is part of the Logistics Strategy, Spain can offer “its geostrategic position and its credentials in infrastructure and transportation systems,” stressed Catalá.
NATO Deputy Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia region James Appathurai said in Tbilisi today that he believed the Alliance would discuss whether NATO allies should deploy “defensive assets” in Georgia. Appathurai announced this in response to the Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania’s suggestion to put “air defense and anti-armour capabilities in Georgia,” which he made in Washington at the Atlantic Council’s conference “Toward a Europe Whole and Free”.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) interior ministers endorsed a recommendation to set up a Gulf police (GCCPOL).
The ministers also agreed at their meeting in Kuwait, the chair of the current GCC session, to set up a permanent GCC bureau at the United Nations in the Austrian capital Vienna led by Oman, Bahraini and Kuwaiti media reported. “Providing security and preserving the stability of nations is primarily the responsibility of security people,” Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid, the Kuwaiti interior minister, was quoted as saying at the meeting.
Swedish government took the decision at its meeting on Wednesday.This state of SvD military and civilian sources familiar with the matter. The government’s decision, which has not yet been dispatched formally, means in practice ahead for NATO three. Armed Forces instructed to allow passages every other day during the period May 8 to 31 NATO planes will then fly between Norway and Poland through Swedish airspace.
Russia’s newly acquired Zalyv Shipyard in Crimea’s Kerch port is large enough to accommodate the size of slabs needed to construct the massive vessels, which can exceed 150 000 tons. Crimea’s overall participation in modernizing the Russian Black Sea Fleet was announced Tuesday, reports portnews.ru, by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Sevastopol is, geographically, a strategically important area for Russia as well as being their only warm water naval base.
The new Russian unmanned ground mobile security robot Taifun-M, designed to provide security at strategic missile facilities, has been shown on the Russian Vesti news program.The combat robots, which have no foreign analogue, will be used to secure RS-24 Yars and SS-27 Topol-M missile sites and can be operated remotely by a secure wireless connection and in the future with an autonomous artificial intelligence system, the program reported Monday.
The U.S. military will have greater access to bases across the Philippines under a new 10-year agreement set to be signed Monday in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s visit and seen as an effort by Washington to counter Chinese aggression in the region. Medeiros declined to say which specific areas in the Philippines are being considered under the agreement, but said the long-shuttered U.S. facility at Subic Bay could be one of the locations.
“Recent media speculation has questioned the cancellation of humanitarian assistance projects in Crimea,” according to a statement released Thursday by European Command. “The school and hospital renovation projects in question were part of EUCOM’s HA program and would have been solely for the benefit of the local school children and community. Rumors that these projects were an attempt to establish a U.S. military base in the region are patently false.”
Russia has acknowledged an Egyptian request to procure a squadron of MiG-35 advanced fighter aircraft, to include up to 24 fighter jets at a cost of US$3 billion. The fulfilment of this package could be delayed though, as this specific type of aircraft hasn’t reached a production stage. The manufacturer, Russian Aircraft Corporation (UAC) through its subsidiary Russian Aircraft Corp (RAC) has failed to gain international orders for the aircraft and is currently awaiting an initial order from the Russian Air Force to kickstart production by 2016.
Putin has suggested creating a unified system of naval bases in Russia’s Arctic. Speaking at a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday Putin underscored the need for enhancing the reliability of protection of Russia’s Arctic borders. This should be done in various ways, including the reinforcement of the border guard forces’ naval group. Alongside, steps must be taken to enhance military infrastructure.
It sounds like a good idea – develop an online system of publically reporting and disseminating problems or incidents stemming from the use of unmanned aircraft in the public airspace. In practice you’d have to wonder if such a system would get used much because it seems like the system has just a few caveats. Specifically the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice is looking for proposals to develop, host, and maintain a web-based, online flight data and incident reporting system.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced on Wednesday that the Navy will establish a naval zone east of the Caspian Sea. Iranian military officials have repeatedly announced that strong naval presence in the Caspian Sea (the world’s largest lake and a resource-rich body of water) is as a way to safeguard national interests and marine resource there.The maritime and seabed boundaries of the Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated among the five countries bordering the sea.
China is planning to increase its military capabilities in space in reaction to US and other world powers developing astronomical weapons. At the time, US Air Force space analyst Brian Weeden said: “If true, this would represent a significant development in China’s anti-satellite [ASAT] capabilities. “No other country has tested a direct ascent ASAT weapon system that has the potential to reach deep space satellites in medium earth orbit, highly elliptical orbit or geostationary orbit.”
NGI builds on the FBI’s legacy fingerprint database—which already contains well over 100 million individual records—and has been designed to include multiple forms of biometric data, including palm prints and iris scans in addition to fingerprints and face recognition data. NGI combines all these forms of data in each individual’s file, linking them to personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc.
Israel’s army chief of staff General Benny Gantz said an Israeli military operation in Lebanon is not only a realistic scenario but a necessary one. Gantz told Israel’s Channel 2 that threats against Israel from Lebanon and Gaza are not a mere campaign of intimidation but a reality pointing out that Israel is considering an increase in the level of its preparedness to emergency level to answer these threats. Commenting on the Syrian civil war Gantz said that Israel must prepare for all variables that could change at any time.
With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States.
Some 67,000 US military members are currently stationed on the European continent, mainly in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000) and Britain (9,500). When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total presence stood at 285,000. Chollet, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, did not specify what such a re-examination could entail at a time when the Pentagon faces budget cuts and is seeking to redeploy part of its resources to the Asia Pacific region as part of a so-called pivot strategy.
Russia has intensified its espionage efforts in Sweden to include war preparations, Swedish security service Säpo warned on Monday. Unge said Russia’s intensified interest in Sweden was evidenced by simulated flight attacks on Swedish targets as well as attempts to recruit spies, increased signals intelligence, and the purchase of a significant number of maps. The simulated flight attacks were a particular point of concern for Säpo.
Speaking to the expanded collegium of FSB in Moscow on Monday, Vladimir Putin outlined the designated priorities for the future work. FSB is in charge of guarding Russia’s external borders, including the land-border to neighboring Norway and Finland in the northwest as well as coastline borders to the Arctic Ocean. “As a priority, we must continue the development of border infrastructure in the Arctic region, as well as on the southern strategic direction,” Vladimir Putin told the audience of FSB officers.
Far from being a thing of the past, it would appear that Pakistani links to Gulf security forces remain strong. Reports last week indicated that Bahrain employs 10,000 Pakistanis in its security forces, including 20% of its air force. Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif denied Pakistan was providing troops, but the article said Pakistan provided security personnel to help quell the 2011 sectarian protests. Not officially, mind you, because they had been recruited through two of Pakistan’s military welfare organisations.
Djibouti may be one of the smallest countries in Africa. But it’s about to become significantly more important, as US forces stationed there increase their operations, on their own and working with local governments. We are building an environment that won’t allow violent extremists to survive in East Africa. The Navy Riverines, American sailors who are part of the United States’ growing joint task force in the Horn of Africa, monitor vessels leaving Djibouti’s harbour for the potentially dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden.
Saudi Arabia Clamps Down on Little Qatar (Or, How Not To Waste Billions Trying To Be Something You’re Not)
Papa Emir was in a delicate situation. He wanted to make his own mark on things, but could not go too far as to upset the Americans, who were key to him staying in power. In the 2000s, the Muslim Brotherhood was still relatively unknown outside the Arab world and, while not ideal to support, also not a redline that would trigger a U.S. response.
He also sought to turn Doha into a Middle Eastern Geneva.
The UK will expand its military presence in Bahrain with a $9.7m expansion of its maritime command in the capital, Manama, Gulf Daily News has reported. The expansion includes a new, larger headquarters and facilities to provide engineering and logistics support for the four Royal Navy mine countermeasure vessels based in the kingdom. The Middle East has the UK’s second largest Royal Navy presence, with 10 of its 32 warships and support vessels in the region.
A member of the defence team representing the 529 defendants handed a mass death penalty on Monday has said that his team will appeal the verdict, the largest of its kind in the history of Egypt’s criminal courts. Ahmed Shabib, a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer, said on Monday that defence lawyers would bring the appeal after receiving the reasoning behind the court’s ruling. Shabib added that he and his fellow lawyers would request a retrial for the defendants sentenced in absentia.
The U.S. military is always busy planning for war pretty much everywhere, but some places are tougher nuts to crack than others. That’s why the U.S. Special Operations Command is seeking “Geospatial Data on Countries of Interest for Which There is a Critical Need But Non-Existent Data.” Just who might those countries be? According to a USSCOM announcement posted Monday, the “initial dataset” consists of “Jordan, Djibouti, Burma, Honduras, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Burkina Faso, S. Sudan, N. Korea, and China (Guangdong).”
Japan will announce Monday that it will turn over to Washington more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a large quantity of highly enriched uranium, a decades-old research stockpile that is large enough to build dozens of nuclear weapons, according to U.S. and Japanese officials. The announcement is the biggest single success in President Barack Obama’s five-year-long push to secure the world’s most dangerous materials, and will come as world leaders gather here Monday for a nuclear security summit.
For days the Ukrainian commander, holed up with 500 men in a small corner of the vast Belbek air base in southern Crimea, had predicted that the Russians were coming. He was right. On a ridge line above their compound we could see Russian snipers and spotters, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and infantry gathering. A one-hour deadline to leave passed and the Ukrainian soldiers prepared themselves for an assault – not from the Russians but from the pro-Russia militia who have forced their way into camps across the peninsula for the last week.
The United States may be paying “ghost workers” in Afghanistan with some of the $1.2 billion in payroll funding it provided for that nation’s security forces, according a federal auditor. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko said in a letter to three U.S. commanders in Afghanistan last month that the United States may be “unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of non-existent members of the Afghan National Police (ANP).”
The head of NATO says Russia’s incursion into Ukraine may affect the prospects for nuclear arms control in Europe, which already faced political challenges. “Of course I cannot exclude that the events we have witnessed in Crimea will also have an impact on the thinking about arms control, including nuclear policies,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Wednesday remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Four former Soviet satellites in Central Europe signed a military pact Friday to coordinate defence planning and to create a joint combat unit to operate under NATO and EU auspices, in response to the Ukraine crisis. “The current situation in Europe shows that unfortunately a military conflict, previously considered unthinkable, could happen,” Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said at a meeting of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Voting has begin in Venice and the surrounding region on whether to break away from Italy. Recent opinion polls suggest that two-thirds of the four million electorate favour splitting from Rome, but the vote will not be legally binding. The poll was organised by local activists and parties, who want a future state called Republic of Veneto. This would be reminiscent of the sovereign Venetian republic that existed for more than 1,000 years.
A recent trip to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, has in fact opened my eyes to what a typical peacekeeper expects to gain from his tour of duty in Somalia. So this peacekeeper has every pretext to fear death and plan for a happy future back home. In fact, he was already building a new house, praying that he remains in Somalia until the building is finished. “I don’t want to defeat Al-Shabaab. I would rather scatter them to prolong my mission,” he told me.
Laser weapons like those developed by the United States pose little threat to the PLA – smog or no smog – because mainland researchers have pioneered coatings that can deflect beams and render them harmless, mainland scientists say. PLA Navy Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong drew widespread ridicule last month when the National Defence University researcher suggested that China’s thick smog provided the country’s best defence against military lasers.
For the children learning the alphabets of English in normal schools, “A” is for “Apple”, but for their counterparts of Naxal-run schools in Abujhmad areas of south Bastar, known in Maoist parlance as “Liberated Zone”, in Chhattisgarh, “A” is for “Arms” and “B” is for “Bomb”. When kids of normal parents are initiated into formal education by identifying apple, ball, cat, the tribal tiny tots in Maoist-hotbeds of remote south Bastar are introduced to violent world of insurgency through alphabets that acquaint them to military and insurgency jargons.
The Spanish government approved Friday an expansion of the size and duration of the U.S. military presence at the Moron base in southern Spain. The Pentagon is authorized to increase the U.S. Marine contingent at Moron from the current level of around 850 troops to as many as 1,100, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes told reporters after Friday’s Cabinet meeting. The U.S. military also asked to expand the number of aircraft stationed at the Moron base, he said.
A squad of 100 newly-minted Somali commandos are ready to hit the streets following the end of a nine-month training course run by American trainers. Nicknamed Danab (lightning) due to their newly-acquired skills, the commandos are expected to significantly beef up the security effort in the capital Mogadishu which has in recent weeks grappled with a spate of terror attacks.
The US Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR) began their redeployment to Moron, Spain after completing a forward deployment in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Over the following weeks, as violence spread to areas throughout South Sudan, U.S. citizens in those areas needed to be evacuated. While the East Africa Response Force was providing security for the embassy, additional forces were required to continue the evacuation mission.
As a developing country, while the area of Myanmar wide but the location need not much defense. So, the HQ-12 if equipped for the military of Myanmar will mostly assume the ground mission. If the Western powers to attack Myanmar, attacks can come from the East and the city of Yangon. Meanwhile, rocket HQ-12 deployed in any one location in the outskirts of downtown Yangon is able to cover the city’s airspace. The current capital of Naypyidaw is Myanmar in Mandalay, are surrounded by forested mountains, the eastern front was the high mountain ranges, if missiles HQ-12 on the mountain in the East can also protect the city.
The U.S. Navy is mapping out how to expand its presence in the Arctic beginning about 2020, given signs that the region’s once permanent ice cover is melting faster than expected, which is likely to trigger more traffic, fishing and resource mining. “The Arctic is all about operating forward and being ready. We don’t think we’re going to have to do war-fighting up there, but we have to be ready,” said Rear Admiral Jonathan White, the Navy’s top oceanographer and navigator, and director of the Navy’s climate change task force. “We don’t want to have a demand for the Navy to operate up there, and have to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t go,’” he said.
Under the partnership, Djibouti has offered military facilities such as a home port to the Chinese navy, Houffaneh told Sabahi. “In exchange, we have asked for our military co-operation to be expanded to enable us to build the operational capacities of the Djiboutian armed forces in order to safeguard security in the country and help to consolidate peace and security in the sub-region,” Houffaneh said. “In this deal, we laid emphasis on building the capacities of Djibouti’s navy, which lacks patrol boats, and building the capacities of the air force, which will soon acquire Chinese aircraft.”
The Greek port of Piraeus could become one of Europe’s top five container-shipping hubs as the government spurs logistics activities in a bid to kick-start economic growth, said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. Piraeus, now the 11th-largest container-shipping port in the European Union, is expanding as China-based Cosco Pacific Ltd. (1199) operates one of two piers, builds a third and prepares to offer cargo-train shipping to multinational companies. “Piraeus could become one of the four to five biggest ports in Europe very soon,” Hatzidakis said in a Feb. 20 interview in Brussels.
However, most of Novinsky’s career is shrouded in mystery. In the early 1990s he is believed to have worked at top St. Petersburg physics research institutes – a milieu shared by some of Putin’s closest friends, such as the Kovalchuk brothers – Mikhail and Yury – and Andrei and Sergei Fursenko. Later in the decade he worked in the Russian oil sector. It was not until around the turn of the century that Novinsky materialised as a metals trader in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk. He quickly managed to privatise key companies, the core of his current fortune.
Washington is ready to help Manila in the event that Beijing invades Pag-Asa, the second largest island in the disputed Spratly Islands, a top US military official said. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, naval operations chief of the US Navy, could not say what form of assistance may be extended to the Philippines but noted that the two countries have existing defense treaties. “Of course we would help you and now I don’t know what that help would be (given) specifically,” Greenert told students of the National Defense College of the Philippines in Quezon City.
U.S. Navy to deploy ‘Star Wars’-like laser system this summer; electromagnetic rail guns not far behind
Some of the Navy’s futuristic weapons sound like something out of “Star Wars,” with lasers designed to shoot down aerial drones and electric guns that fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds. That future is now. For the Navy, it’s not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out. The Navy’s laser technology has evolved to the point that a prototype can be operated by a single sailor, he said.
Syria’s regime and rebels are likely to ratchet up military pressure on the ground after the failure of peace talks, setting the scene for a grim escalation of fighting, analysts say. Barely a day after a second round of peace talks in Geneva broke down on Saturday, the rebel Free Syrian Army fired its military chief Selim Idriss, citing “the paralysis within the military command these past months”. A source inside the Syrian opposition said that Mr Idriss — who was appointed to the role in December 2012 — had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield.
Western militaries may lose access to critical materials needed for weapons and other systems, because of the growing demand for new technologies, questionable supply lines and production in unfriendly or dangerous countries, NATO documents show. “Key strategic materials are those that are crucial in the manufacture of sophisticated military hardware or components such as airframes, gas turbines, rocket motors, munitions, armor and electronics,” according to a newly released NATO request for information. “These materials are becoming increasingly scarce.”
Western military action against Islamist fighters in southern Libya has been ruled out by France, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. The announcement essentially rebuffs an appeal for intervention from neighboring Niger, but Fabius said the Western powers were drawing up plans to help the Libyan government deal with the issue. “No, an intervention, no (that’s not being discussed),” Fabius told RTL radio. “But we are going to have an international meeting in Rome at the beginning of March to give Libya more help because it’s true that there are terrorists gathering in the south.
A so-called bad bank is also a semi-technical term that describes a special division at a financial institution that happens to be packed with toxic assets, unwanted loans or entire business units hived off from a banking group’s “core” operations. Banks euphemistically dub these units “non-core,” “non-strategic” or a host of other names, steering investors away from considering them part of a bank’s future (and generating increasingly impenetrable earning reports in the process).
The Rota naval base, in southern Spain, early this next week will welcome the first of the four NATO anti-missile destroyers to be stationed there over the next two years, said U.S. Navy Capt. Greg Pekari. “This is an historic and emotional moment for the naval base, for the United States, for Spain and also for NATO,” Pekari, the top U.S. military officer on the base, said in an interview with Efe. The deployment of the anti-missile vessels will double the number of U.S. personnel on the base.
Ever since an acrimonious split with larger neighbor Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has placed a strong emphasis on the military. The greatest fears for a small country like Singapore lie in two things – coercion by bigger powers and strategic uncertainty that arises from any conflict between great powers,” said William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow for Asia-Pacific Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Singapore’s defense spending should be seen in such a context.” Last year the government allocated about $12 billion of its budget to national defense.
The newest American tanks arrived at the American military base in Bavaria on January 31. So what? According to the statements made by American military officials, 29 heavy new generation Abrams tanks would be a part of the European Activity Set (EAS). They are supposedly just to serve as equipment for the training center. The appearance of the tanks is explained by the fact that at a time when the American command has decided to continue training American tank personnel in Europe, they had nothing to train them on.
The U.S. (obviously) tops the chart with a recorded 682 billion dollars of annual military spending, or about 20% of our total federal spending. That is a sizable sum. It’s more than the entire GDP of Norway last year. To give you even more perspective, the U.S.’ share of global military spending is more than the rest of the top 10 combined. If we were to divide the defense budget by the median American salary, it would be worth the salaries of 14 million people. It has come under scrutiny with current debt crisis, and with the Iraq and Afghanistan war costing an estimated $4 trillion over the last decade.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he proposed to Secretary of State John Kerry a U.S.-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely. The proposed independent Palestine alongside Israel would have no army of its own, only a police force, Assad told the New York Times. So the NATO forces would be in charge of ending weapons smuggling and quashing terrorism, major Israeli concerns, he said. The NATO troops could stay in the West Bank “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders, but also on the western borders, everywhere,” Abbas said.
After running one of the world’s biggest and most controversial private military groups, Blackwater founder Erik Prince is starting a new venture providing logistics for oil and mining companies in remote and dangerous parts of Africa. China is increasingly looking to Africa to meet its ever growing demand for natural resources. Trade between the two reached an estimated $200 billion (121 billion pounds) this year. With 85 percent of Chinese imports from the continent being oil or minerals, Prince sees an opportunity.
The results of exams for chief police officer show participants who scored three points out of 100 in the exam scored 79 points for the higher ranking deputy inspector exam. In other words, the latter is a more difficult exam. A policeman, who chooses to remain anonymous, said high-ranking Gülenists within the law enforcement distributed exam questions and answers to Gülen–affiliated candidates a week ahead of the exams. The aspiring inspectors memorized the answers to secure high scores in the exams. Furthermore, dates for the deputy inspector exam were deliberately postponed to allow Gülenist participants more time to prepare for the exams.
Weeks of violence between two rival communities have swept Algeria’s desert city of Ghardaia, enflamed by the destruction of a historic Berber shrine, with analysts warning of sectarian conflict engulfing the fragile region. For more than a month, the city of 90,000 inhabitants has witnessed clashes between the Chaamba community of Arab origin and the majority Mozabites, indigenous Berbers belonging to the Ibadi Muslim sect. Three people were killed in the violence, which both sides accused the other of starting.
When an uprising toppled Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak, men like Ahmed Saif who helped run his vast patronage network melted away. Three years later, Saif and other former members of Mubarak’s party are back in action in the populous countryside, offering everything from refrigerators for newlyweds to welfare-like stipends to the poor in exchange for votes. This time, the slick political machine is drumming up support for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Egypt’s first freely-elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Mursi, and is expected to become president.
For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international community. However, equally dramatic stories about Burma have emerged in the past, only to prove misleading or false. This is not the first time Burma has been linked to a submarine sale. In 2003, it was claimed that the military government had held discussions with North Korea on the purchase of one or two small submarines.
President Hamid Karzai has frequently lashed out at the U.S. military for causing civilian casualties in its raids. But behind the scenes, he has been building a far broader case against the Americans, suggesting that they may have aided or conducted shadowy insurgent-style attacks to undermine his government, according to senior Afghan officials. Karzai has formalized his suspicions with a list of dozens of attacks that he believes the U.S. government may have been involved in, according to one palace official.
In the region, France will have four main bases: N’Djamena (Chad), Niamey (Niger), Gao (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). A N’Djamena: combat aircraft Rafale and Mirage 2000, supported by tankers and ground forces – and the staff who will control operations in the Sahel. In Niamey, intelligence assets, including two new Reaper drones purchased in the United States and will be operational in the coming days. These monitoring devices controlled from the ground in Niamey are collocated with those of the U.S. Air Force.
INDONESIA has beefed up its military presence in waters off its southern border as military officials claim its air force is ready and that Australia is “reachabale” if there are any more border violations. Indonesian military officials have today told the Jakarta Post its Navy warships, including frigates, fast torpedo craft and corvettes as well as maritime patrol aircraft, have been deployed to waters off its southern border. Four Air Force defence radars have also been programmed to closely monitor the area.
“The disclosure of the Dongfeng-31 at this time obviously aims to respond to the United States’ two big military moves in Japan, which make Beijing believe it is going to meddle in the territorial disputes between China and Japan,” Wong said. It was unclear when the drill took place; the captions said sometime this winter. The pictures showed a missile fired from a large launcher mounted on a 16-wheeled truck. Operators were shown inside a military camp dressed in protective suits, suggesting that the missile force was simulating the launch of an armed warhead.