Russia primarily seeks to secure their portion of Syria, their people and their interests. Only secondarily does it support the Syrian government by more overt and covert measures. After they establish a more secure beachhead in the chaos, once safe from Western threats to bases and interests, they will then be in a better position to funnel supplies through those ports uninhibited. The warships carry with them supplies and marines and they are a lot more than a show of the flag. They are a tangible, genuine, military build-up on Syrian waters.
The Serbs living in the north of Kosovo flatly refuse to abide by the agreement reached in Brussels, which makes them deprived of the Serbia’s citizenship in favor of becoming Kosovars, or the citizens of Kosovo. Soon they will face a military force called in to guarantee the fulfillment of Brussels accords. The formations of 525th US Army Battlefield Surveillance Brigade come to take part in the three-week-long exercises in Hohenfels, Germany. The future mission includes combat planning, preventing and putting down public unrest, evacuation of wounded and interaction with civil officials.
India has launched an ambitious programme to use its array of geo-stationary satellites (G-sats) to monitor missile activities in an area of 6,000 km. With this, the country’s constellation of G-sats will become the first line of defence in its anti-missile shield. This programme is independent of the observation grid installed by defence and intelligence agencies. The advantage of using geo-stationary satellites is their fixed position at a height of 36,000 km and synchronised with the earth’s movement.
Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the US.
About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border. That would be the highest daily loss for the Iranian-backed movement in Syria, highlighting how it is increasing its efforts to bolster al-Assad.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday announced a US$1.8-billion (S$2.26b) military upgrade to help defend his country’s maritime territory against “bullies”, amid an ever-worsening dispute with China.
The announcement came on the same day that the Philippines filed a protest with China over the “illegal and provocative” presence of a Chinese warship and two other vessels at a Filipino-claimed shoal in the disputed South China Sea. In thinly veiled comments referring to China, Aquino vowed during a speech to mark the navy’s 115th anniversary that the armed forces would be given the resources necessary to protect Philippine sovereignty.
The quicksands of the Arabian Desert are notorious for swallowing up anyone trying to control the area. Historically, that’s what happened to Turkey, Britain, France, Russia and the US. Sooner or later, all discovered that instead of dominating the Middle East, they ended up being dominated by the region’s never-ending problems. And that may also be the fate of China, the latest power to be lured by the idea that it has to engage in Middle-Eastern diplomacy.
On the outskirts of Ubari, a remote outpost in Libya’s southwest near the Algerian border, armed militia from the Tebu tribe speed across the desert in Toyota trucks towards the sprawling Sharara oil fields.
They, along fighters from the town of Zintan further north, are spearheading efforts – under the auspices of Libya’s defence ministry – to secure the oil installation’s vast perimeter from sabotage.
The demise of the Roman Empire resulted from a combination of strategic overreach and excessive delegation of security responsibilities to newcomers. Without making undue comparisons, the question for the United States today is whether it can remain the world’s leading power while delegating to others or to technological tools the task of protecting its global influence. Drones and allies – non-human weapons and non-American soldiers – have become central to America’s military doctrine.
Russia is ready to develop jointly with Turkey a long-range air defense complex based on S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, state arms seller Rosoboronexport head Sergei Ladygin said on Sunday.
Turkey launched a tender for the purchase of long-range air defense systems long ago but no winner has been announced to this day. “Russia is ready to offer as part of the tender a joint Russian-Turkish product based on the Antey-2500 system [the export version of the S-300 system]. For example, to mount the air defense system on the Turkish chassis,” Ladygin said at the weapons exhibition in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
China’s all-weather fighter base in Tibet is now widening its range of options in the event of a conflict with India. Intelligence intercepts and satellite monitoring has confirmed that China may have to some extent overcome Tibet’s extreme altitude and temperatures to operationalise an all-weather airfield near the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The airfield is Gonkar, where China has deployed Su-27 fighters. Sources told CNN-IBN that the Gonkar airfield will enable Chinese fighters to widen their selection of Indian targets from Ladakh to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh
“CNN” quoted security sources that said the US developed several plans, including military action against the attackers on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi in September last year.
The sources, who asked not to be identified, said U.S. forces made plans aimed at the arrest of the attackers on the U.S. consulate, through a variety of actions, including the transfer of U.S. ground forces into Libya to perform the operation.
Russia remains concerned about the volatile situation in Afghanistan, fearing the return of the Taliban and other terrorist groups to power once the US-led coalition troops leave Afghanistan by the end of next year. Predicting instability in the violence-wracked country, Russia plans to deploy troops on the Tajik-Afghan border to prevent the spillover of violence into Russia. Moscow’s envoy to Kabul, Andrey Avetisyan, told Reuters that if Russia didn’t guard its border with Afghanistan, it might face multiple challenges, ranging from the transport of narcotics to terrorism, and therefore the only solution was to guard the border.
The U.S. has decided to modernize its tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, as well as in America. Experts are divided concerning how the move will affect the balance of strength in Europe. However, this is not the worst news for Russia.
According to The Guardian, when the programme is completed in 2019-2020, the American nuclear arsenal in Europe will get new high-precision nuclear warheads together with advanced delivery systems, especially stealth planes.
Offshore from Syria, Russia’s navy is conducting probably its largest naval deployment outside its own waters since the Soviet breakup. The Chinese navy is in another potential confrontation today with Japan in the East China Sea, and raising questions about where it is headed next.
But the BRIC nations as a whole—a force in the global economic conversation since the acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to the high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China—are becoming an increasing naval presence on the high seas.
The shale gas revolution has taken its time to arrive in Europe. But after years of watching the US plunge head-first into natural gas exploration and of reaping the rewards, Europe’s politicians are now deciding whether to join in.
The first major battleground for European natural gas exploration is likely to be in eastern Europe, where the prospect of greater energy security from Russia is a big issue. It is also possible to detect Cold War overtones to the approach taken by the US oil and gas industry and its government.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
Russia is engaged in a major buildup of both nuclear and conventional missile defense systems at the same time Moscow is seeking legal limits on U.S. missile defenses, according to U.S. officials.
The Russian military is developing and deploying an array of new and modernized anti-missile interceptors that are part of a strategic doctrine that calls for defending against what Moscow believes to be an increasing threat posed by offensive ballistic missiles, said U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports.
Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan has said that the armed forces have begun a large-scale upgrade of their hardware. He said that the military will receive new military hardware and types of weapons, and the existing hardware will be upgraded: “We are regularly making renewals in the army. Now we plan more-large scale efforts in this direction. These projects will also be conducted within the framework of establishing joint ventures with Russia and Poland.”
Ahead of its President’s visit here from May 20, Afghanistan on Thursday said it was looking for enhanced defence cooperation with India, from where it was expecting supply of lethal and non-lethal military equipment.
The two sides will discuss a range of issues of mutual concern and interest and will discuss cooperation at a “critical time” for Afghanistan, which is witnessing the withdrawal of NATO combat troops, the envoy said.
India’s long-range maritime snooping and anti-submarine warfare capabilities will get a huge boost when the first of the eight contracted Poseidon-8I aircraft touches down at theArakkonam naval air station in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
Armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, these sensor and radar-packed aircraft will be the country’s “intelligent hawk eyes” over theIndian Ocean Region (IOR) that is increasingly getting militarized.
Bitcoin has come onto the radar of the UK government, with officials gathering in London on Monday to discuss the security threats and tax concerns posed by the digital currency.
About 50 civil servants from HM Revenue and Customs, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Home Office and GCHQ – the intelligence listening service – held a one-day conference which examined how bitcoin works and how criminals might seek to exploit the electronic cash system, which is currently unregulated by any financial authority.
Russia is developing a hypersonic weapon program. It involves more than 60 companies and is scheduled for completion this summer. Launched in the former USSR, hypersonic weapon research was resumed in post-Soviet Russia in 2009 under the umbrella of the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at a speed surpassing that of sound (1,200 km/h) by ten or more times and are capable of penetrating any missile defense, says Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy head of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow.
Libyans have played down reports of possible foreign intervention after news reports on Friday said the US has alerted special Marine units to be ready to respond to developments in the security situation in Libya.
Speaking to Libya Al-Hurra TV on Saturday, Mr. Mohamed Abdul Aziz the Libyan Foreign Minister denied the reports of American intervention in Libya and that he was aware that the both the US and Britain withdrew some unessential members of staff in their embassies.
Marines and other U.S. forces in Europe are on a heightened state of alert in response to a deteriorating security situation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a U.S. military official said Friday.
The alert order applies to a U.S. special operations team based in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a Marine group of air and ground forces based in Moron, Spain, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The forces are under U.S. Africa Command, which acquired the special operations team in the fall.
China’s top newspaper on Wednesday published a call for a “reconsideration” of Japan’s sovereignty over the island of Okinawa — home to major US bases — with the Asian powers already embroiled in a territorial row.
Major protest and outrage is likely from Japan for even a suggestion that China has any claim on Okinawa, the southernmost major island in the Japanese chain. “Unresolved problems relating to the Ryukyu Islands have reached the time for reconsideration,” wrote Zhang Haipeng and Li Guoqiang, citing post World War II declarations which require Japan to return Chinese territory.
Consider the significance of the Federal Reserve announcement last week of its plan to maintain a policy of cheap debt — continuing its “stimulus” plans that camouflage a stagnant economy by purchasing $85 billion a month of a variety of forms of debt. Troubling elements of such a policy include the fact that American taxpayers own a larger and larger share of all mortgage-backed securities thanks to the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Remember, these government service organizations were declared insolvent as recently as 2008 during the subprime housing crisis.
In spite of all obstacles, a major breakthrough is required to end the current nuclear deadlock in the region, where Israel is the only atomic power, though the Iranian nuclear programme continues to draw attention – and sanctions – in Western countries. Should such a breakthrough not happen, Egypt and Arab countries may withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they were pushed to join in 1995 in exchange of U.S. promises to free the Middle East from atomic warheads, Israeli nuclear arsenal included.
In 2011, Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, offered a mea culpa for his support of the war in Iraq. “When the troops went in, they went with my blessing,” confessed Keller. “I could not foresee that we would mishandle the war so badly, but I could see that there was no clear plan for — and at the highest levels, a shameful smugness about — what came after the invasion.” He called his realization “the costly wisdom of Iraq,” which, according to his op-ed in the Times on Monday, doesn’t seem to apply to Syria.
SP-MAGTF CR comprises a rotational contingent of approximately 500 Marines, sailors and support elements sourced from a variety of Marine Corps units. It will report to the head of Africom, Army General David Rodriguez.
“The intent for the crisis-response force is just that. … It’s to move in and offset whatever challenges there are to our national interests,” Marine Lieutenant General Richard Tryon, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations told the Marine Corps Times last month.
A top U.S. Senate Democrat introduced a bill Monday that authorizes arming rebels in Syria, a step Washington has been weighing after President Barack Obama said the Damascus regime may have used chemical weapons.
Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013 that would give “increased authorization to provide lethal and non-lethal assistance to Syrian armed opposition.”
After five years of relatively stable civilian rule, Pakistan seems ready to move ahead with another democratically elected government. But how will that administration behave at home and abroad?
Many longtime observers of Pakistani politics think that the new administration is most likely to be a coalition government of conservative political parties that enjoy the full support of the country’s all-powerful military establishment.
In a strategically significant move to counter China’s presence in the region, India has announced that it will upgrade Iran’s crucial Chabahar port that gives a transit route to land-locked Afghanistan.
India’s decision was conveyed by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Tehran today during his meeting with his counterpart. An expert team from India will visit Iran to assess investment needed for the upgradation of the port on the Iran-Pakistan border facing the Arabian Sea.
A bid by Qatar to relocate the United Nations’ civil aviation agency from Montreal to the tiny emirate has angered Canada, where politicians from all sides vowed Friday to band together to fight the proposed move.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets international civil aviation standards, has been in Montreal since its founding in 1946. Qatar presented ICAO with an unsolicited offer last month to serve as the new permanent seat of the organization beginning in 2016.
Military strategists love a neat metaphor and today’s defence white paper from the Gillard government has given us a new one to bandy about.
The US had its “pivot” into the region. The white paper is asking us to envisage what it’s calling a “new Indo-Pacific strategic arc” stretching from India, through south-east Asia and north-east Asia, as our area of key strategic interest. In essence, this means more emphasis on looking west and northwest towards the Indian Ocean as well as to the north and north-east – not a revolution, but an evolution of what has been going on quietly inside defence circles for some years.
Africom has a presence in strategic points on the continent – Somalia, Djibouti, Liberia, Guinea, Uganda and Kenya – with the aim of building and sustaining democracy on the continent, the commanders assure us.
Back home, though, nobody seems to be buying what Africom is selling. If the South African government had a choice, US troops would not be camping anywhere in Africa. “We are opposed to militarisation of African politics through the establishment of military bases in Africa as part of the US’s Africom initiative,” reads an ANC paper presented by its international relations subcommittee at last December’s Mangaung congress.
A new reality is emerging amid all the hype about Myanmar’s democratization process and moves to liberalize its political landscape. Myanmar’s drift away from a tight relationship with China towards closer links with the West is signaling the emergence of a new focal point of confrontation in Asia, one where the interests of Washington and Beijing are beginning to collide.
Rather than being on a path to democracy, Myanmar may find itself instead in the middle of a dangerous and potentially volatile superpower rivalry. That means the traditionally powerful military may not be in the mood to give up its dominant role in politics and society any time soon.
A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.
The future of ground forces, the study argues, lies somewhere in the “messy middle,” between long-range, high-tech air- and cyber-strikes against a hostile nation-state — the “AirSea Battle” vision of the Navy and Air Force — and low-profile, low-cost Special Operations and drone raids against scattered terrorists. The study, entitled Beyond the Last War, lays out a score of scenarios, half in the Pacific and half in the Middle East, where the problem will be too big for Special Ops alone but too deeply dug in to excise surgically from afar.
Should Facebook, Google and similar sites be forced to adapt their infrastructure so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies can easily tap suspects’ communications in real time? That’s the impetus behind new wiretap guidelines being drawn up by a government panel, according to the Washington Post. The draft guidelines, championed by the FBI, would allow courts to impose escalating fines on any business that didn’t immediately comply with a court-ordered request for real-time communications interception, regardless of whether the Web service provider said such interception was technically feasible.
Three U.S.-made Patriot antimissile air defense batteries will be deployed in southern Taiwan, in addition to the one already in northern Taiwan, said the Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang. Responding to lawmakers’ questions in the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, Yang said the three Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile batteries will be used to boost the country’s defense capability. The PAC-3 missile batteries, part of a US$6.4 billion arms package supplied by the United States in recent years, will be deployed in southern Taiwan, he said.
German soldiers are moonlighting illegally at private security firms while off-duty, a newspaper revealed on Monday. Working as heavily armed guards on freighters or in war-zones, some do it for the cash and others for the adrenaline kick.
As members of the German army, Bundeswehr, soldiers are not allowed to work as mercenaries for private companies – yet many are doing it, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) found out. Exact figures on how many of Germany’s soldiers, or former soldiers, work the private security circuit are unknown. According to the FAZ’s research, the field is growing and critics are warning of a “mercenary renaissance”.
When most of us think of weapons of mass destruction, we think of nuclear bombs, or nerve gas, or biological agents. So it was surprising to see accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction after he and his brother allegedly detonated a bomb made from a pressure cooker.
Heinous as the Boston bombing is, a pressure cooker does not fit the commonly used definition of a WMD. In fact, by its own definition, the U.S. government is using WMDs every day.
With the Sino-India standoff in Ladakh now in it’s third week, Chinese are showing no signs of withdrawing from the territory they occupied after their incursion in Ladakh two weeks ago. On Monday news reports said Chinese troops have erected an additional tent in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector raising to five the number of such structures in the area. The Chinese troops have also deployed Molosser dogs to keep a vigil, according to latest reports on Monday from the site of incursion, 70 km south of Burtse in Ladakh division. A banner hoisted outside the camp reads in English “you are in Chinese side” with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel maintaining a round-the-clock vigil, official sources said.
The current tensions on the disputed India-China border – known delightfully for its vagueness as the ‘Line of Actual Control’ – in the western sector of the Ladakh region bordering China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region hark back to the scenario five decades ago when little skirmishes snowballed into a major outbreak of hostility. Fortunately, however, this time around there is a fundamental difference, too, which obviates the danger of a catastrophic slide to armed conflict. On a systemic plane, there are disquieting signs that the Indian establishment has not been pulling together on the country’s China policy and this disconnect, which has been suspected through the recent past, threatens to introduce its own disharmony.
A new report released in April by the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University looks at the history of Chinese threat and retaliation signaling. It offers up a future signaling scenario involving the South China Sea that should be required reading for the US Pacific Command and the US National Security Council.
The core of the scenario is based on the proposition that China perceives closer military ties among the US, Philippines, and Vietnam as a “threatening strategic trend” as it did with the 1978 Hanoi-Moscow security treaty. China perceived the treaty as collusion to establish a “regional hegemony” over Vietnam’s neighbors.
The intriguing ‘leak’ of a draft Status of Forces Agreement [SOFA] between the United States and the Maldivian government has led to reluctant confirmation by both countries that they are indeed involved in discussion with each other to conclude such an agreement.
The draft agreement “incorporates the principal provisions and necessary authorisations for the temporary presence and activities of United States forces in the Republic of Maldives and, in the specific situations indicated herein, the presence and activities of United States contractors in the Republic of Maldives.”
The chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Benny Gantz, recently pushed back against the idea that it was too late for Israel to act alone against Iran’s He felt comfortable making it because he knew that in a few days he would be welcoming a friend bearing gifts. And the gifts? Well, they are gifts the Iranian regime would prefer Israel didn’t possess: advanced radar packages that extend Israel’s ability to see east (and west, north and south, but east is what matters most at the moment), KC-135 refuelling tankers and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The tankers will extend the range of Israel’s bombers, and the Ospreys are particularly useful for inserting commandos into enemy territory.
“It is our hope that the Gulf Cooperation Council, the GCC, can play an important role in the future providing security for this region,” he told an audience at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies Research. Across the board, he said, Washington is urging allies to build local capacity. “That’s what we’re doing for the UAE and that’s what we’re doing with other countries. Yes, we give them the help they need, we give them assistance, but the fact is that they have to help provide for their security.” For months, many commentators from Riyadh to Doha to Manama have sensed and relayed this shift in US policy.
Every American president since Harry Truman has announced a doctrine reflecting the priorities of each White House occupant. Globally, Obama intends to put the United States at the head of two giant economic blocks – the Transatlantic and Trans-Pacific Partnerships. This should ensure Washington’s leadership in a polycentric system of international relations.
If the TTP becomes a reality, the U.S. will account for three-fourths of the partnership’s combined GDP. This will ensure American dominance within the new economic alliance. At the same time, the TTP is an alternative to the ASEAN+3 arrangement promoted by Beijing .
How much of a role Canada should play in helping secure North America from missile attacks could be up for renewed debate. The Conservative government is believed to be facing a request by the United States to join an anti-ballistic missile shield. The request is coming as the Americans ramp up their own protection in response to increased tension with North Korea and Iran. In March, the Pentagon announced its intention to place 14 new ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska by 2017. That suggests the U.S. sees a threat to their northern territory as a possibility, raising the question of Canada’s exposure and also its responsibility.
US preoccupation with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs is a cause for concern. Every incident has prompted a comment from the US. If the office of a newspaper is attacked, it is an attack on the independence of the media despite the fact that any number of possibilities not connected with media freedom exists for such attacks.
The compelling reason for US preoccupation with Sri Lanka is attributed to Sri Lanka’s extended engagement with China. The need to counter or balance China’s engagement in Sri Lanka has been recognized by the US and India. While India’s concern has both national and geostrategic ramifications, to the US it is primarily geostrategic.
Parallel moves by Washington and Beijing appear to have persuaded Pyongyang not to carry out its nuclear threat against South Korea, the United States and Japan. But unless the threat has been completely neutralized, President B. S. Aquino III may yet succeed in making the Philippines a potential target for North Korea or China.
While we had earlier feared that a North Korean missile could hit the Philippines purely by accident or mistake, in the future Pyongyang or even China could aim its missile directly at the Philippines, should it finally host American military bases all over again.
When National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror arrives in Turkey on Sunday to discuss compensation for flotilla victims, he will also be seeking to lay the groundwork for the stationing of Israeli fighter jets in an airbase near Ankara, ahead of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Sunday Times reported.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London-based publication. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
US academic and former statesman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has said Western democracies need to create a trans-Atlantic free trade area to remain relevant in world affairs. The 85-year-old, who was a US national security advisor at the height of the Cold War, spoke at the Globsec conference in Bratislava on Thursday (18 April) to an audience of central European VIPs. But he said Europe failed to fulfil its promise, while the US undid itself by invading Iraq. “Europe’s main problem is that today’s European Union is a Europe more of banks than of people, more of commercial convenience than an emotional commitment of the European peoples,” he said.
Greek police were hunting three foremen yesterday who were suspected of shooting and wounding more than 20 migrant workers at a strawberry farm. The supervisors were believed to have opened fire on Wednesday at a crowd of about 200 mostly Bangladeshi immigrants who were demanding wages that had not been paid, police said. The wounded were taken to hospital but none of the injuries was serious. Anti-foreigner sentiment has been rising in Greece, where one in four workers is unemployed after five years of recession.
A United States warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived on Thursday in Singapore for its Southeast Asian deployment, underlining President Barack Obama’s new strategic focus on Asia.
The deployment of the USS Freedom comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and as China publicly flexes its naval muscle in the South China Sea, where it has competing territorial claims with some Southeast Asian states. US Navy officials said the Freedom, a littoral combat ship, sailed into Changi Naval Base at around 11 a.m. in Singapore, a long-standing US ally that assists in logistics and exercises for forces in Southeast Asia.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
The United States is footing more of the bill for overseas bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea even as the military reduces the number of American troops in Europe and strategically repositions forces in Asia, a congressional report says.
The exhaustive, yearlong investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee focused on costs and burden-sharing as the United States spends more than $10 billion a year to back up the US military presence overseas, with 70 percent of the amount expended in the three nations. The figure does not include military personnel costs.
The Indian ocean once regarded as a ‘neglected ocean’ has, today, become the hub of political, strategic and economic activities because of the presence of conventional and nuclear vessels of the major powers in the area and because of its own economic and strategic significance. The ocean contains several important minerals: 80.7% of world extraction of gold, 56.6 % of Tin, 28.5 % of manganese, 25.2 % nickel and 77.3% natural rubber. Highest tonnage of the world goods, 65% of world oil, and 35% of the gas, located in the littoral states, passes through it. The region today is an arena of contemporary geopolitics.
One week ago, Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov died from heart failure while choking on a piece of food during lunch. He was badly traumatized five years ago when assailants beat him so badly that several fingers and one of his legs had to be amputated. He was confined to a wheelchair. He could not speak.
Sadly, Beketov’s plight is not unusual. In Russia, violence against journalists is not directed by the state per se, but rather is enabled by the state. In her 2004 book Putin’s Russia, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya explained in detail how this system worked: when a journalist criticizes an official or rich person too strongly, they are first threatened, then hurt a little bit, and then, eventually, killed. The killers are never brought to justice.
A day after asking Japan to stop encroaching its territory, Chinese military on Wednesday for the first time deployed its naval ships to patrol the islands disputed with Tokyo in the East China Sea. This is the first time in recent months China deployed its naval vessels for patrols in the islands waters replacing the marine surveillance vessels, even though some naval ships were seen in the waters earlier. A two-vessel fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy patrolled the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu islands this morning
History is being written in the East. As the U.S. stays distracted with stone age warriors in Central Asia and the Middle East, the last platform of the American economic foundation, the U.S. Dollar’s currency reserve status, is being underminded by their trade partners in Asia. Both Australia and Japan are set to start direct-trading in Chinese currency and they are not the only ones. There are almost 20 countries whom have currency swaps in place with China all in order to side-step the U.S. Dollar in global trade.
In recent years, the state of Washington has issued nearly 300 fictitious driver licenses to the CIA. That’s according to public records initially disclosed, but now withheld, by state officials. The state’s cooperation with the nation’s premier spy agency has been a secret for years — unknown to lawmakers and even the governor.
Inside Washington’s Department of Licensing is a special office called the License Integrity Unit. This is where police officers who are going undercover can come to get a fake identity. It’s a valid Washington driver license, but with a fictitious name, birthdate and address. It’s known as the confidential driver license program. It’s operated for decades, but without legislative approval.
For half a century, geopolitical theory was effectively banned. In the USSR, this branch of science was described as “bourgeois.” In the West, it was considered politically incorrect, and was largely the preserve of provincial professors with no hope of entering the establishment. The situation began to change with the advent of the new century, and now geopolitics is back in ordinary usage and quickly regaining its political correctness and legitimacy. There is no single definition of geopolitics. But in the most general terms, it can be described as the science of investigating the relationship between foreign policy, international relations, and geographical and natural surroundings.
The most significant geopolitical events of the past half century have been unanticipated. Not that we did not expect them, but they were supposed to happen in the distant future, not now.The North Korean regime could collapse in the same unexpected way, leaving shocked politicians, diplomats, and pundits to fend with its consequences. While it is comforting to believe that predictable rational calculation and self interest determine the course of human events, the most significant changes in the world order are heavily influenced by chance, personalities, emotions, and miscalculations.
Looking forward, more gas transport options in Europe are forecasted. The next five years will see the realisation of a considerable number of ambitious interregional projects, including new supply routes: West Nabucco, Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, TAPI and Russia-South Korea, which could be possible route alternatives for Gazprom’s South Stream. The trend towards greater European integration ramps up the enforcement to overcome national boundaries and focus to a greater extent on a Europe-wide network.
The Enemy Industrial Complex: How to turn a world lacking in enemies into the most threatening place in the universe
Without an enemy of commensurate size and threat, so much that was done in Washington in these years might have been unattainable. The vast national security building and spending spree — stretching from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency erected its new $1.8 billion headquarters, to Bluffdale, Utah, where the National Security Agency is still constructing a $2 billion, one-million-square-foot data center for storing the world’s intercepted communications — would have been unlikely.
The technologies of interest are potential “game-changers”: biotechnologies (e.g., human enhancements), energy (e.g., lasers and superefficient batteries), materials (e.g., 3D printing), hardware (e.g., robots), and software (e.g., electromagnetic and cyberweapons). But this particular wargame was dedicated to their ethics, policy, and legal issues, helping to identify friction points as well as to test how they can be integrated better in national-security planning and military-technology development.
In the way China made land grabs across the Himalayas in the 1950s by launching furtive encroachments, it is now waging separate stealth wars—without firing a single shot—to change the status quo in the South and East China Seas, on the line of control with India, and on international river flows. Although China has risen from a backward, poor state to a global economic powerhouse, the key elements in its statecraft and strategic doctrine have not changed. Since the Mao Zedong era, China has adhered to ancient theorist Sun Tzu’s advice, “The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy.”
Russia’s facebook like service accused of collaborating with FSB to strangle anti-Putin user activity
Russia’s leading social network, Vkontakte.ru (also known as VK.com), has cooperated with the FSB – the post-Soviet successor to the KGB – in manipulating user trust and disregarding its own privacy rules, charged opposition-minded daily Novaya Gazeta.
In a denunciation that has galvanized opinions in Russia’s digital domain for the last ten days, Novaya accused the social network of behind-the-scenes political scheming back in late 2011 and early 2012. Amid the political turmoil that followed the controversial parliamentary and presidential elections, Vkontakte is reported to have given away users’ personal data to the FSB and also blocked some users who supported the political opposition.
The Pentagon has thus indicate that, according to him, the troops of the economic community of West African States were “totally incapable” carry on fighting against terrorist groups from northern Mali. History of ‘impulsive actions’ in its own way create a future US intervention in the Malian territory.
More than 300 personnel of Africom should soon settle in the Sahel region, or more precisely in Niger, countries for the less strategic for the French nuclear group Areva, the latter operator an important site of uranium mining on its territory.
Clad in sombreros and baseball caps and clutching assault rifles, shotguns and machetes, the men take defensive positions on a hillside neighborhood of the ramshackle mountain town of Tierra Colorada and gather residents from their homes. You have suffered too much at the hands of kidnappers, extortionists and drug cartels, they tell them. It is time to fight back. “If you are in favor of our community police and want to join or support us, then step forward,” says Esteban Ramos, a leader of the local militia.
The east coast is to bear witness to one of the largest tactical military training exercises Europe has seen. More than 40 warships from the UK and its European allies, along with 30 fixed-wing aircraft and 30 helicopters, will storm the east coast in a massive training exercise starting on Friday morning.
The exercise, codenamed Joint Warrior, will kick off at 10am and will aim to put Nato’s Response Force Task Group to the test through a series of manoeuvres across the east and west coast of Scotland over the next three weeks.
The U.S. government is testing drones that are a civil rights double whammy – not only can they spy on you from above, but they can also determine whether you’re carrying a gun.
The drone will be able to “distinguish between unarmed and armed (exposed) personnel.” Citizens carrying around an assault rifle or a holster might send up a red flag, but people with concealed weapons will evade the drone’s gun-seeking camera. The Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems, a unit of the University Multispectral Laboratories under Oklahoma State University and Anchor Dynamics, has been performing research with the new drone.
THE leading independent election monitoring group in Russia yesterday became the first non-governmental organisation to be prosecuted in President Putin’s nationwide hunt for “foreign agents”.
Golos (Voice) has reported widespread irregularities in recent Russian polls and said in March last year that the presidential election, in which Mr Putin was re-elected for a third term, was not “fair, just and open according to the Russian constitution and international standards”. The Justice Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Golos “receives foreign funding and carries out political activities in Russia, thus it fulfils the functions of a foreign agent”. It will present its case in court today.
“We understand what kind of regime North Korea is, but we also understand that North Korea is playing games,” said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S-China Relations at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
“Most importantly, we are complaining that the United States is using military drills as an excuse to continue to do this (rebalancing), putting up B-2s and other advanced weapons systems,” he said. B-2 and B-52 bombers, radar-evading F-22s and anti-missile system vessels like the USS John S. McCain represented the initial U.S. response to North Korea
The changing Burma has not been the best news for China’s strategic landscape on the global stage either. The dissolution of Burma’s international isolation and the country’s rapidly improving relations with the West have undermined Beijing’s original blueprint regarding the strategic utilities of Burma at regional forums to defend China’s unpopular positions and in the Indian Ocean to advance China’s strategic presence and national interests.
As Burma develops close ties with the West, China has seen rising competition with other powers inside the country for economic opportunities and strategic influence.
European Union will deploy an Election Observation Mission constituting 11 experts, 52 long-term observers and 46 short-term observers to monitor the May 11 elections.The announcement was made by Chief Observer of the mission, a German Member of the European Parliament, Michael Gahler, in a press conference organised on Monday. The mission, established after invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will cover pre-election preparations, election day including polling, counting and tabulation of results, and post-election day activities.
JAPAN has announced it is deploying Patriot missile interceptors around Tokyo as a precaution against North Korea’s nuclear threats. The Patriot missiles – an advanced version of the interceptor of Gulf War fame – are being moved to key locations around Japan’s capital city, including the defense ministry headquarters. Other key military bases on the Japanese mainland are also taking similar precautionary measures, reports indicate. Japan’s defense minister has also reportedly put destroyers with missile interception systems on alert in the Sea of Japan.
Uganda is “at risk of violent instability” come next year (2014), a US Intelligence threat assessment report has stated. The report, that is released every four years after the US President is elected, by the National Intelligence Council, names Uganda among 14 other countries that risk becoming a failed state, given their potential for conflict and environmental evils. The US Intelligence threat assessment report also places Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo as two other countries in the region likely to suffer in the same manner.
“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.
It was a perilous time for Egypt. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was demanding subsidy cuts in exchange for a loan Egypt’s leaders desperately wanted. So they complied, cutting subsidies on the bread, cooking fuel, and gasoline average citizens relied on to live.
Within hours, workers were pouring off the docks in the Suez Canal zone and Alexandria and out of the factories in the Nile Delta, and attacking symbols of the government everywhere – furious about the sudden rise in the price of daily staples. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, angry youth tore up sidewalks to hurl stones at riot police when they ran out of Molotov cocktails
No matter what the future may contain, one thing is certain: just about everything in it, including us, will increasingly be under surveillance. Our habits, patterns, health, and preferences will be translated into data. Who will benefit from this valuable information, and how can we start developing the mindset to deal with this reality now? To get started, let’s filter a few core concepts and tough questions through our imaginations.
Privacy The concept of privacy is relative, and it may be a luxury, but it’s good when people are able to relax, think, live and create without fearing that curiosity and exploration will come back to haunt them.
South Korea’s defense ministry unveiled Monday a new contingency plan of “active deterrence” that allows its military to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if the North shows signs of an imminent nuclear or missile attack on the South. The new contingency plan was outlined in an annual policy briefing by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin to President Park Geun-hye amid heightened tensions over the escalation of North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric against Seoul and Washington.
“We will look into various options of creating repair bases on Afghan territory,” the head of the Defense Ministry’s department of international cooperation, Sergey Koshelev, told the press. He added that the maintenance of weapons and military hardware in Afghanistan remains a top priority, as any instability in the country would affect Russia’s own security, as well as the security of other European nations. Russian NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko also said that Moscow was not excluding the possibility of broader cooperation with the military bloc.
North Korea put its rocket units on standby on Friday to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation”, official KCNA news agency said. Pyongyang has also cancelled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all communications hotlines with US forces, the United Nations and South Korea.
Somebody should check and make sure that Kim Dotcom hasn’t started funding any research in genetics. Maybe those guys from the Pirate Bay, too. With a paper that must send chills of fear and vindication down the spine of every internet freedom fighter, researchers from Cornell University this week presented evidence that genetic copyright is a “direct threat to genomic liberty.” Could this be the newest, most easily altruistic frontier in copyright banditry?
A Kashmiri leader has revealed that China is in occupation of parts of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Aksai Chin, despite not being a party to any of these land ownership disputes. In an interview, Dr Shabir Choudhry, Head of Diplomatic Committee and senior leader of the Kashmir National Party (KNP), said: “China also occupies part of Jammu and Kashmir state, some part of the Aksai Chin area and some areas of Gilgit Baltistan.”
“Despite that occupation, China is not a party in any dispute. Pakistan and pro-Pakistani Kashmiris are trying to make Beijing a party in these disputes. This will be totally disastrous,” he warned.
Two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers flew what the US military described as “deterrence” missions over South Korea on Thursday, in a move sure to further inflame tensions with the North. The two planes, flying out of Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri, flew the 13,000 mile round-trip in a “single continuous mission,” dropping dummy ordnance on a target range in the South, the US military said in a press release. “This …. demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” the statement said.
US military soon to be outfitted with Daredevil-like radar sense that can pinpoint and identify incoming threats
One of the world’s largest military contractors, Raytheon, has developed a system that gives soldiers superhuman hearing. The system, called 3-D Audio, essentially allows soldiers to hear exactly where threats are coming from, and what kind of threat it is — a rocket, gunfire, a Molotov cocktail — just like Marvel Comics’ Daredevil’s radar sense.
The system also gives some kind of auditory clue as to the type of threat, though again we don’t have any details. It might be as simple as different threats generating different tones, or perhaps the system actually recreates the sound of the incoming projectile.
Afghanistan plans to put four or five oil and gas extraction and minerals mining projects out to tender for development this year, as the strife-ridden country reaches out to investors to help develop its vast resources. The projects involves the exploration and development of oil, natural gas, iron ore, copper and gold, the country’s minister of mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, said last week.
“We plan to put out tenders in two new basins for oil and gas exploration this year and two more next year or 2015,” he said. “Afghanistan has the potential to be more than self-sufficient in oil and gas.” While the country is currently one of the poorest in the world judged by GDP per capita, the US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that Afghanistan’s mineral resources were worth some US$1 trillion.
Only too aware of the threat of east Mediterranean supply if Europe is able to diversify away from Russian gas dependency, Moscow has been steadily feting Israel to buy into a piece of the action.Moscow has already advanced a $3.5 billion loan and attempted to gain more leverage over Cyprus’ economic and energy assets during the recent bitter negotiations in the banking crisis.
The Kremlin is playing a much bigger game. Gazprom is already eyeing a role in the development of Israel’s gigantic Leviathan gas field. With its estimated 25 tcf of gas Leviathan is due to come on-stream by 2016. And the eastern Mediterranean bonanza is potentially huge. The US Geological Survey estimates the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin contains around 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
Electroencephalography, which is widely known as a medical diagnostic test has more potential uses. An EEG device is typically a headset with a small number of electrodes placed on different parts of the skull in order to detect the electrical signals made by your brainwaves.
One company, Government Works Inc., is developing BCI headsets for lie detection and criminal investigations. By measuring a person’s responses to questions and images, the company claims to be able to determine whether that person has knowledge of certain information or events (leading to conclusions, for instance, about whether that person was at a crime scene).
An Israeli general has raised the possibility of creating a buffer zone in Syria, in cooperation with local forces wary of jihadist fighters, should President Bashar al-Assad be toppled.
Major-General Yair Golan said “many hundreds” of radical Islamists were fighting in Syria’s two-year-old civil war and could “take root” in Israel’s northern neighbour should Assad fall. He said the Israeli military was working on the assumption that these fighters would ultimately launch attacks against Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
Qatar, the small Gulf state that on Tuesday hosts an Arab summit, has become a key regional player thanks to its support for Arab uprisings and the marginalisation of traditional heavyweights.
But the “chequebook diplomacy” of this energy-rich state — a staunch US ally — and its backing for Islamists who have managed to seize power in some countries rocked by the Arab Spring have triggered criticism. The emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, is “obsessed by an ambition to leave his heirs a country that counts on the world map after it was practically unknown only 20 years ago,”
Raw materials and energy reserves in Central Asia make the region of particular interest to both China and Russia. The two countries share interests in region but are also each others biggest competitors.
The countries enjoy what experts have often called a strategic partnership, but that does not mean relations are without problems. The energy sector often crops up as a bone of contention between the nations as both look to increase their power and influence in Central Asia.
Whether it’s rescue rat-bots or bomb-sniffing beetle drones, electronics are helping us create new beasts of burden, allowing us to conscript creatures into the modern animal workforce. These animals’ brains are being taken hostage, their nervous systems forced to cooperate with our plans. As Maharbiz wrote in an account of his research, “[W]e wanted to be sure we could deliver signals directly into the insect’s own neuromuscular circuitry, so that even if the insect attempted to do something else, we could provide a countercommand. Any insect that could ignore our commands would make for a crummy robot.”