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Posts Tagged ‘Military’

​US in tenuous sabre rattling over Ukraine

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2014

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Under the pretext of “deterring Russian aggression” in Ukraine, the US Defense Department has announced plans to add several fighter jets to US aircraft squadrons based near Russian borders, in a move to embolden the Baltic states and Poland.

Following NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announcement that alliance officials would put “the entire range of NATO-Russia cooperation under review,” Pentagon head, Chuck Hagel, outlined plans on Wednesday to broaden military cooperation with Poland and the Baltic states, without elaborating on the details.

An unnamed source told Reuters that the Pentagon plans to send six additional F-15 fighter jets, and a Boeing KC-135 refueling Stratotanker, to beef up the squadron of four F-15 currently flying air patrols over the Baltic states. NATO has been carrying out patrols in the Baltic states for the last 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria urges UN to prevent ‘US-led foreign aggression’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 2, 2013

UN Headquaters in New York (AFP Photo / Mehdi Taamallah)

UN Headquaters in New York (AFP Photo / Mehdi Taamallah)

The UN is under growing pressure from Syria to do its job and prevent an American “war of aggression,” and the Arab League demanding punishment for “war criminals” in the Syrian government.

  The two identical letters delivered to the UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN Security Council, Maria  Cristina Perceval call on the international body to maintain its  role of protector of international legitimacy and prevent US-led  aggression against Damascus, Syria’s permanent representative to  the UN Bashar al-Jaafari told Sana.

The Syrian government continues to deny any use of chemical  weapons on the civilian population, with Jaafari reminding of  Syria’s cooperation with the UN on this issue, which was often  downplayed and twisted in the western media.
“The Syrian government is the first side who asked the UN  Secretary General to form an objective investigation team to  investigate the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal in  Aleppo,” Bashar al-Jaafari said, adding that they warned,   “more than a year ago, against the serious risks of the  possibility of using chemical materials by the armed terrorist  groups in Syria.”      Despite the Syrian government’s swift permission for the UN  investigation team to probe the site of the alleged attack on  August 21, some “foreign countries” launched an anti-Assad  campaign accusing government forces of slaughtering their own  people, Jaafari said.
“Syria has informed, in official letters, the UN Secretary  General and the UNSC about the activities of these groups, which  coincided with a political, diplomatic and media campaign led by  some countries which are directly responsible for shedding the  blood in Syria and preventing the peaceful solution in order to  accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapon,” he  added.

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 24, 2013 shows bags and containers of what the Syrian government claims to be materials used to make chemical weapons discovered in Jobar on the outskirts of the capital Damascus (AFP Photo / HO / SANA)A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 24, 2013 shows bags and containers of what the Syrian government claims to be materials used to make chemical weapons discovered in Jobar on the outskirts of the capital Damascus (AFP Photo / HO / SANA) Read the rest of this entry »

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US deploying troops to 35 African countries

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 25, 2012

embassy-states-arrive.nThe United States Army will be deploying troops to nearly three-dozen African nations in the coming year.

Soldiers based out of Fort Riley, Kansas’ 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division will begin training in March 2013 in order to prepare for a project that will send troops to as many as 35 African nations, the Associated Press reports.

Citing a growing threat from extremist groups, including those with ties to al-Qaeda, the Department of Defense is hoping to install American soldiers overseas in order to prepare local troops there for any future crises as tensions escalate.

Earlier this month, DoD sources with insider knowledge told the Washington Post that US troops will soon be en route to the nation of Mali in order to thwart the emerging threat of Islamic extremists, including al-Qaeda aligned insurgents. With the latest news from the Pentagon, though, Mali will be just one of many African nations hosting US troops in the coming year.

According to the AP’s update this week, soldiers will be sent overseas in the new year to assist only with training and equipping efforts, and are not necessarily permitted to participate in military operations. Should the Pentagon ask the troops to engage in battle, however, the secretary of defense could sign off on an order that would allow as much. Read the rest of this entry »

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N. Korea develops missiles capable of reaching US – Seoul

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 24, 2012

An undated image released by South Korea's defence ministry in Seoul December 23, 2012, shows South Korean officers checking a piece of wreckage of North Korea's Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket, at the Agency of Defense Development in Daejeon, south of Seoul (Reuters / Handout)

An undated image released by South Korea’s defence ministry in Seoul December 23, 2012, shows South Korean officers checking a piece of wreckage of North Korea’s Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket, at the Agency of Defense Development in Daejeon, south of Seoul (Reuters / Handout)

Pyongyang is developing missiles capable of reaching the US, South Korean officials have claimed. The allegations came as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un called for the development of more powerful rockets after the successful launch of a satellite.

The North’s launch of a three-stage Unha-3 rocket on December 12 prompted numerous allegations that the event was a secret missile test, rather than the purported satellite launch. South Korea has claimed that their analysis of the rocket’s debris shows that Pyongyang may have developed technology allowing it to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

“Based on our analysis of the material of Unha-3, North Korea had secured a range of more than 10,000 km if the warhead is 500 to 600 kg,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official said on Sunday.

If the claims are true, North Korea has developed missiles capable of reaching the US.

An undated image released by South Korea′s defence ministry in Seoul December 23, 2012, shows a  piece of wreckage of North Korea′s Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket being pulled up by the South Korean navy. A minesweeper equipped with the sonar system detected three parts of the rocket in waters 151 km (94 miles) west of Gunsan city and 85 meters below the sea, according to Yonhap (Reuters / Handout)
An undated image released by South Korea’s defence ministry in Seoul December 23, 2012, shows a piece of wreckage of North Korea’s Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket being pulled up by the South Korean navy. A minesweeper equipped with the sonar system detected three parts of the rocket in waters 151 km (94 miles) west of Gunsan city and 85 meters below the sea, according to Yonhap (Reuters / Handout)

South Korea said Sunday that it had retrieved the key parts of the rocket’s first stage, except for the engine. The parts recovered included the fuel tank – which displayed the digit ‘3’ – a chemical combustion chamber and an engine connection rod, officials reported.

An analysis of the parts will provide a clearer picture of North Korean advances in rocket technology, experts said. Read the rest of this entry »

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US claims N. Korea’s satellite is ‘out of control’ security threat

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 14, 2012

NKOREA-MISSILE-SATELLITEDespite the nature of North Korea’s recently launched satellite being unknown Washington condemned it as an “out of control” threat to regional security. Pyongyang maintains it was a surveillance device, denying allegations of warmongering.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity voiced their concerns over the “out of control” satellite to US broadcaster NBC News. They said that the celestial object was a threat to regional security and could potentially collide with other satellites in orbit.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Aerospace Research Institute said that Pyongyang’s satellite was orbiting at between 494 and 588 kilometers above the earth as predicted. The typical orbiting altitude for an observation satellite is between 480 and 970 kilometers.

The controversial launch was greeted with a wave of furious condemnation by the international community, who regard North Korea’s rocket launches as thinly-veiled missile tests, paving the way for possible nuclear armament.

The UN decried the launch as a violation of international law, while Washington said that Pyongyang would face“consequences” for what it branded as a “highly provocative act.” The international community is now discussing a new set of sanctions to slam on Pyongyang following the contested launch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran to take US to international court over intercepted spy drone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 6, 2012

US-TECHNOLOGY-UNMANNED SYSTEMS DEMO-SCANEAGLEIran has threatened international legal action against Washington over its alleged interception of a US spy drone. Tehran claims it has evidence of illegal spying on Iran’s nuclear program to present to an international court.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Tuesday that Tehran now has proof of the presence of US spy drones over Iranian territory.

“We had formally protested such actions by the US and had announced that we would defend our borders by any means possible,” Salehi told national media. International law forbids the violation of national borders, which Tehran had warned the US against before, “but unfortunately they did not comply,” he said.

“We will use this drone as evidence to pursue a legal case against the US invasion at relevant international bodies,”the Iranian FM said.

In a video broadcast on Iran’s Press TV on December 4, a US ScanEagle drone recently intercepted over the Persian Gulf by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was not visibly damaged. If the drone was manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu, the lack of damage indicates it was not shot down, but was ‘hooked’ intact and brought to the ground.

IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, who made the official announcement on the drone’s capture, did not specify the exact date it had been intercepted.

One year ago, Tehran was reluctant to go to an international court when Iranian electronic warfare specialists managed to take control of the top-secret US RQ-170 ‘Sentinel’ stealth drone on a mission above the northeastern Iranian city Kashmar. The Sentinel was hacked and forced to land on an Iranian airfield, and then captured intact on December 4, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Netanyahu agreed to ceasefire after Obama promised US troops in Sinai next week?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 24, 2012

Israel and Palestine are momentarily at a ceasefire, but the potential reasoning behind the recess could have some real international implications. Israel’s Debka reports that the pause in fighting comes after the US promised to send troops to Sinai.

According to Debka, US troops will soon be en route to the Sinai peninsula, Egyptian territory in North Africa that’s framed by the Suez Canal on the West and Israel on the East. In its northeast most point, Sinai is but a stone’s throw from Palestinian-controlled Gaza, and according to Debka, Hamas fighters there have been relying on Iranian arms smugglers to supply them with weaponry by way of Egypt.

Debka reports this week that Sinai will soon be occupied by US troops, who were promised by President Barack Obama to Israel’s leaders as a condition that a ceasefire be called. Once deployed, the Americans will intervene with the rumored arms trade orchestrated by Iranians, ideally cutting off supplies for Hamas while at the same time serving as a thorn in the side of Iran.

“Once the missile and arms consignments depart Iranian ports or Libyan arms bazaars, Tehran has no direct control of their transit from point to point through Egypt until they reach Sinai and their Gaza destination,” Debka reports. “All the same, a US special forces operation against the Sinai segment of the Iranian smuggling route would count as the first overt American military strike against an Iranian military interest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Petraeus mistress reveals real motive behind Benghazi attack (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 13, 2012

The fallout from former CIA head David Petraeus’ resignation might be more significant than first thought: as all eyes turn to the ex-intelligence chief’s mistress, it’s apparent that she may have been privy to what really happened in Benghazi.

Two months after the storming of an US consulate in Benghazi, questions remain largely unanswered about both how and why insurgents entered the facility on September 11 and executed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The discussion became a heated issue on the campaign trail leading up to Election Day, and conflicting accounts from the White House, State Department and Congress all led to a mess of confusion that has only further spun out of control following the unexpected stepping down of Petraeus on Friday.

In the immediate aftermath of the CIA chief’s resignation, skeptics quickly suggested that there was more to the story, especially given Petraeus’ role as head of the country’s intelligence agency and the relatively unscathing extramarital affair that he rightfully admitted to in citing his departure from office. As journalists and investigators tried to dig deep for info on the alleged mistress, Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, as expected the story took a drastic turn by Sunday when it was revealed that she may have been briefed on the truth of the Benghazi scandal while the rest of the country claws for answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran may launch pre-emptive strike on Israel, conflict could grow into WWIII – senior commander

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 25, 2012

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Iranian military official has warned that military conflict between Iran and Israel could “turn into World War III.” He added that if Israel “is putting the final touches on attacking Iran,” a preemptive strike against Tel Aviv would ensue.

Israel “cannot imagine” the force of Iran’s response if Tel Aviv attacks it, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran’s Arabic-language television network. “It will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration,”he said.

Hajizadeh added that Iran does not see this happening at the moment because he does not believe that Israel will conduct an attack without its strongest ally – the United States.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Military intervention in Syria will lead to catastrophe – Lavrov

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 19, 2012

Military action in Syria will lead to catastrophe, Russia’s Foreign Minister has said. Russia opposes US demands for a no-fly zone over Syria, he said, adding that the solution to the ongoing conflict is the Geneva accord peace plan.

The international community reached an agreement in Geneva in June calling for a transitional government in Syria to bring an end to ongoing and bloody conflict in the country.

Different interpretations of the document began to emerge shortly after the accord was adopted, with Washington insisting that the document required that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave power. Moscow contested this interpretation, saying the document made no such claim.

“Statements, saying the document [Geneva accord] is as good as dead imply that someone seeks a pretext for military intervention. This is worrying as it can only lead to catastrophe in the region,” Lavrov said in an interview with Sky News Arabic.

Any proposal that stipulates the disarmament of only one party in the conflict was “unrealistic,” he said, adding that“Such proposals are aimed at regime change and not at curtailing the conflict and saving Syrian lives.”

Russia does not support the Assad regime, but rather works in the interest of the Syrian people and regards ending the ongoing violence in the country as its priority, Lavrov said. Moscow also rejects the imposition of any no-fly zone over Syria as a violation of Syrian sovereignty, he said, referencing recent statements by Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syrian rebels attack govt HQ, Assad’s whereabouts unknown

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 18, 2012 shows smoke billowing from a municipality building in the Al-Hajar al-Aswad district of the Syrian capital Damascus during clashes between Syrian forces and armed rebels. More than 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed on July 18 in violence across Syria, including 38 in Damascus where armed rebels are pressing an all-out offensive, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (AFP Photo/YouTube)

•  Assad reported to be in Latakia directing response to killings
• Delayed UN security council vote due to take place
• Obama calls Putin to discuss crisis

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 18, 2012 shows smoke billowing from a municipality building in the Al-Hajar al-Aswad district of the Syrian capital Damascus during clashes between Syrian forces and armed rebels. More than 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed on July 18 in violence across Syria, including 38 in Damascus where armed rebels are pressing an all-out offensive, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. (AFP Photo/YouTube)

Clashes between the Syrian army and rebel fighters are taking place near the government headquarters in Syria’s capital Damascus.

At least one person has reportedly been killed in the fighting in the Ikhlas neighborhood adjacent to the Council of Ministers, says Reuters.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the opposition damaged one helicopter and disabled three military vehicles. Read the rest of this entry »

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War in August? US sends fourth aircraft carrier and dozens of underwater drones towards Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 13, 2012

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The US Navy has unexpectedly dispatched a fourth aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, along with a fleet of underwater drones in what is being considered just the latest move in a series of escalations leading towards a potential war with Iran.

The deployment of dozens of small, unmanned submarine-like watercraft was confirmed by the Los Angeles Times this week, which cites military officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

This particular type of craft, unmanned SeaFox submersible, are reported to be sent to the Gulf so that the US military can detect and destroy any mines that may be planted in the waterway by Iranian officials if they escalate efforts to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important narrow stretch of water that exists as an immensely important conduit for any resources being moved in or out of the Middle East.

The Times says that the subs, at only 4 feet long and fewer than 100 pounds apiece, can move at speeds up to six knots at depths of 300 feet. The price-tag is reported to be $100,000 each, which includes an intricate waterproof television camera and a homing sonar system. The US rush-ordered a shipment in May in a deal with Germany under the direct of Marine Gen. James Mattis, the top US commander in the Middle East. It is reported that a fleet of SeaFox subs were deployed overseas several weeks back, but has only been confirmed now.

The United States has already sent three massive aircraft carriers to the waterways outside of Iran, including the USS Enterprise, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Abraham Lincoln, and will now add the USS John C Stennis to that fleet in August. Unlike these behemoth ships equipped with billions worth of weaponry and service personnel, America’s other new addition to the battlefront is invisible to those on land and can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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West clings to Arab influence with airstrike democracy – Putin

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the West for clinging to its influence in the Arab world under the guise of “humanitarian operations.” He dubbed western involvement in Arab affairs as the export of “rocket and bomb democracy.”

At a meeting with top Russian diplomats Putin said that certain countries will do anything to retain the influence they have become accustomed to in the Arab world.

He stressed that western nations often adopt a one-sided policy in Arab affairs that violates international law.

“We must do everything in our power to coerce the opposing forces in the Syrian conflict into coming to a peaceful solution,” underlined the Russian President.

Citing the importance of an active dialogue in Syria, he said “this is, of course, a more complicated and delicate task than just barreling in with military intervention.”

Putin added that only a diplomatic solution could lead to long-term peace and stability in the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clinton: Russia and China will ‘pay price’ for supporting Assad

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 7, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" at the MFA Conference Center July 6, 2012 in Paris, France (AFP Photo Pool/Brendan Smialowski)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens during a meeting of the “Friends of the Syrian People” at the MFA Conference Center July 6, 2012 in Paris, France (AFP Photo Pool/Brendan Smialowski)

Russia rejects in the strongest possible terms allegations that it supports President Assad in the Syrian conflict. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Moscow and Beijing must ‘pay a price’ for backing Assad.

“I do not believe that Russia and China are paying any price at all – nothing at all – for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime.  The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price,” Clinton warned.­

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov  said the west is operating within a friend-or-foe framework that he called outmoded.

“We categorically reject that such a question would even be posed regarding the current situation in Syria and Russia’s ‘backing’ of President Bashar Assad. This is not a question of supporting certain political figures or leaders. This is a question of managing a crisis situation in the country within a normal political framework,” Ryabkov said.

“Unfortunately, we’re unable to get a basic understanding from our western partners. The west is still appealing to “friend-or-foe” terms. We considered such terminology to be a thing of the past,” Ryabkov explained.

Russia and China once again opted not to attend the “Friends of Syria” meeting. Neither Moscow nor Beijing believe the meeting in the French capital will be helpful in uniting the Syrian opposition “on a constructive basis”.

We have frankly laid out the reasons why we have restrained from joining the mechanism, the very name of which has a contradiction between the word and the deed,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Annan: Russia, West agree on transition government for Syria

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2012

The Syrian crisis is to be resolved by a transition government consisting of the current authorities and opposition leaders. The proposal was announced by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan after talks in Geneva.

The unity government should be formed on the basis of “mutual consent” said Annan. The Syrian-led transition should take place within a fixed period of time and the envoy hopes this may happen by the end of the year.

Annan, announcing the official communiqué of the international meeting in Geneva, called on the Syrian regime and opposition groups to re-commit to a ceasefire and to start implementing his six-point peace plan immediately, without waiting for the other side.

The plan urges the sides in the Syrian conflict to cooperate with UN observers, allow humanitarian aid delivery, release detainees and grant journalists access to the country. The right to peaceful demonstrations must also be respected, stressed Annan.

Prior to the conference, Annan had proposed a plan for a unity government in Syria excluding political figures that would compromise the country’s stability and effectively calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow refused to back such a condition and also made sure the plan brokered in Geneva would not require Assad to step down.

Kofi Annan also said that foreign ministers who took part in the conference in Geneva would make up a regular working group on the Syrian crisis. A new round of Syria talks may take place in Moscow, suggest diplomatic sources.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, June 30, 2012 (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud) Read the rest of this entry »

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