Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 04Mar11.
 

Security
Obama keeps military option on table
Gaddafi’s forces capture Dutch marines on rescue mission
Libyan rebels reject Chávez mediation offer
Rebels deploy around strategic Libyan oil port
Special Report from Inside Libya: Assessing Libyan Rebel Forces
International criminal court to investigate Libyan violence
Yemeni opposition suggests way out of crisis for President Saleh
Gulf States Plan Aid Package for Bahrain, Oman
Egypt’s prime minister quits after calls for purge
INTERVIEW : Egypt’s new guiding lights
Shi’ites stage protests in Saudi oil province
Saudi Shiites Call For ‘Day Of Anger’ In Kingdom
Mideast Revolts Shift Politics in Iraq
Arab Summit Meeting In Baghdad Postponed
Khamenei: Iran’s 1979 revolution is ‘main model’ for current uprisings
Ahmadinejad: U.S. Administration Preventing Reporting Of Rioting In U.S.
Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Islam Commands Us To Remove Oppressing Ruler
Israel: No Palestinian peace deal possible now
PM praises Pope for clearing Jews of Jesus’ death
Gaza banks close because of Hamas robberies
Egypt, Sudan Reject Agreement To Share Nile Waters
Ivory Coast on brink of civil war as seven women killed at protest march
UN: 200,000 People Flee Ivory Coast Fighting
Tunisia president calls election
Pakistan: CIA Man Has No Immunity
Pakistan drugged out on defense and debt
India anti-graft chief forced out
Bid to boost India-Asean trade
China To Unveil Defense Budget To Nervous Region
Why the Middle East Has China Nervous
Japan scrambles jets in islands row with China
Fog lifts on Myanmar-North Korea barter
4 N. Koreans to resettle in South, 27 to return home
Russia Fears China, Not Japan
Clinton confirms plans for missile base in Poland
Fatal Shooting at Frankfurt Airport: German Investigators Suspect Islamist Motives behind Attack
Facebook Jihad: The Radical Islamist Roots of the Frankfurt Attack
Calderon: WikiLeaks caused severe damage to U.S.-Mexico relations
Food Prices Reach Record High
Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse

Military
Assessing the Strategic Readiness of US Armed Forces
Navy reveals findings of Enterprise video probe
Russia’s GLONASS Positioning System Cannot Work Properly
Russia tests 2nd prototype of fifth-generation fighter
Harvard to allow Navy ROTC chapter on campus

Maritime
China Confronts Philippine Vessel
Iranian navy ships re-enter Egypt’s Suez Canal
Russia ready to pay 1.5 bln euros for Mistral contract – Defense Ministry
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett Nabs Drug Submarine

Economy
Greenspan: Surge in Gov’t ‘Activism’ Hampering Recovery
European Central Bank warns it may raise interest rates
Why The Dollar’s Reign Is Near An End
Rising Cost of Health Care Is Global Issue

Politics
GOP Takes Upper Hand With Budget Smackdown
States Overestimate Revenue, Now Look to Fill Gap
Ohio Senate OKs public union limits
Federal Eye: Majority backs government workers in unions, poll shows

Religion
Pakistani Christians protest after assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti
Pakistan media warn of growing chaos after Christian minister slain
Pakistan: Silence has become the mother of all blasphemies
Ethiopian Muslims Burn Down Five Churches, More Attacks Feared
Christian Copts Demonstrate Against Governor in Upper Egypt
Egypt’s Christians in Al-Qaeda’s Sights
Christian human rights lawyer reported kidnapped in China
Turkey: The right to have places of worship – a trapped right
Rights group appalled by situation of Bangladesh religious, ethnic minorities
Indonesia region curbs Ahmadiyah
Antisemitism: the hatred that refuses to go away
Chicago Tribune: State probes religious foster care agencies over discrimination
NEA Rep to UN: Teach Kids Orgasms & Free Them from Religion

  Security News Today – 9/27/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 27Sep10.
 

France on high alert as officials warn of possible terrorist attacks
When an unclaimed package was spotted in a busy Paris subway station Monday, police immediately diverted trains, ordered thousands of frustrated travelers into the street and dispatched a bomb squad to test for explosives.

Coast Guard boarding team engage in firefight
A boarding team from the medium endurance cutter Escanaba got in a shootout with suspected drug smugglers while attempting to board a vessel in international waters near the coast of Nicaragua Sept. 14, the service said in a statement.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
A fierce battle is being waged behind the scenes for control of North Korea as Kim Jong-il prepares to anoint his successor, it has emerged. Factional in-fighting has broken out between Chang Song-taek, the rogue state’s second-in-command, and a group of senior reform-minded officials, according to a source who has recently met people at the highest levels of the North Korean government. The battle between the two sides comes as Kim Jong-il, the 68-year-old “Dear Leader”, is in frail health and no concrete succession plan has yet to emerge.

Risk Of Trade War Rises As Key US Committee Backs Tariffs On China
The risk of a trade war between the US and China has increased after a key Congressional committee backed a bill to allow US companies to seek tariffs on Chinese imports. The adoption of the measure by the Ways and Means Committee on Friday means it will now be voted on by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. “China’s exchange-rate policy has a major impact on American businesses, and Americans jobs, which is what this is all about,” said Sander Levin, a Democrat from Michigan and chairman of the committee.

Power Struggle Rages In North Korean Regime
The greatest geopolitical development that has occurred largely beneath the radar of our Middle East-focused media over the past decade has been the rise of Chinese sea power. This is evinced by President Obama’s meeting Friday about the South China Sea, where China has conducted live-fire drills and made territorial claims against various Southeast Asian countries, and the dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China in the East China Sea, the site of a recent collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coast guard ships.

Pentagon Seeks To Revive Relations With China
A Pentagon official is holding talks in Beijing this week in an effort to revive U.S. military relations with China and reduce tensions in the region, a defense spokesman said Sept. 27.

The Washington Quarterly: Will China Change the Rules of Global Order?
In this article, [the authors] argue that China and the world will take a third way of continued internalization by China of select global practices and norms, alongside registering its desire and right to be at the table for rewriting some others.

Russian Foreign Policy Takes a Sensible Course on Iran and in the Arctic
Two shifts in Russian foreign policy attracted much international commentary last week: President Dmitry Medvedev’s decree on curbing military cooperation with Iran, and Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, participating in an Arctic conference in Moscow. Both issues, however, are loaded with controversies that muddle the substance of these priorities.

Two Time Bombs in New START
According to the preamble of New START, the Treaty’s measures “will enhance predictability and stability, and thus the security of both Parties.” The preamble also deems the Treaty part of an effort “to forge a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust, openness, predictability, and cooperation.” But as I’ve described it in my latest column at the Bulletin, the spirit of the U.S. Senate’s resolution of ratification — whose complete and final text is now available at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee website — seems closer to the rigorous and mistrustful enforcement of numerical parity.

British Cuts To Military Concern U.S. Officials
Plans by the British government to make significant cuts in defense spending have spurred concerns among American military experts about Britain’s ability to carry out its role as the United States’ most dependable ally. A wrenching government spending review has pitted Britain’s army against its navy, spawned a series of leaks to the British media and raised the question of whether the military that emerges from the budget cuts — expected to be 10 percent to 20 percent of current outlays — will be a strategically agile force that can join the United States on major combat operations.

U.K. Reassures Gates, Pentagon Over Defense Cuts
Britain has sought to reassure anxious U.S. officials that plans for major defense cuts will not undermine its status as Washington’s most important military ally, officials said Sept. 24.

The AKP’s Turkey: More Civilian, But More Democratic?
Islamists have joined Turkey’s elite in the economic sector and elsewhere, but the country is not becoming a better liberal democracy under their influence.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage .

  Maritime Strategy News

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 05Mar09.
 

US military chief to offer help to Mexico in violent drug war

America’s top military officer heads to Mexico this week to offer help to a government battling powerful drug cartels, amid alarm in Washington over escalating violence across the border.

With the death toll at 5,300 last year and Mexican cartels armed with automatic weapons and billions in cash, the crisis has become a full-blown national security concern for the United States.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was due in Mexico later this week as the United States signalled it was ready to step up military and other assistance to tackle the heavily armed drug rings ravaging the country’s north.

“The cartels are retaliating,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told NBC on Sunday. “It clearly is a serious problem.”

But he said Mexico has dropped its traditional reluctance to cultivate ties with the US military.

“I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past,” Gates said. “Some of the old biases against cooperation between our militaries and so on, I think, are being satisfied.”

The United States started sharing intelligence with Mexico in November and under a new program plans to provide helicopters, maritime surveillance aircraft and other equipment, Pentagon spokesman Commander Jeffrey Gordon said.

In hard times, China eyes smaller defense boost

China announced a nearly 15 percent rise in military spending on Wednesday — a smaller boost than in previous years — as the national legislature prepared to open its annual session with a focus firmly on overcoming the country’s brewing economic crisis.

The 14.9 percent increase in defense spending is the lowest in three years, a possible reflection of shifting priorities amid plans for a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package and a 850 billion yuan ($124 billion) spending boost to expand and revamp an inadequate health care system.

“There seems to be concern with the slowing economy. … They may want to keep down spending as a percentage of the economic output,” said Christian Le Miere, senior Asia analyst at Jane’s Country Risk in London.

Allen: State of the Coast Guard is strong

In his third State of the Coast Guard speech Tuesday, Commandant Adm. Thad Allen assured fellow Guardians that the service is strong, but not without challenges.

“The good news is, there has never been a bigger demand for our services. The bad news is, there has never been a bigger demand for our services,” Allen said.

During his 30-minute speech, Allen referenced the strength of the service five times while discussing its broad responsibilities. He praised service members for accomplishing a record number of drug seizures and the deterrence of “mass migrations.” He talked about the service’s global efforts, specifically mentioning its involvement in anti-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa; the cutter Dallas’ extended deployment to the Black Sea, where it delivered humanitarian supplies to the Republic of Georgia following the South Ossetia conflict; and the cutter Boutwell’s around-the-globe deployment, during which it will work under four Navy combatant commanders and with numerous world navies and coast guards.

Read the rest of this entry »

  Naval News Today

Posted by Yankee Sailor on 12May08.
 

General Dynamics Names Retired Admiral as Next CEO

General Dynamics Corp., the U.S. Navy’s second-largest shipbuilder, will turn to retired admiral and former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Jay L. Johnson for leadership as its next chief executive officer.

Johnson, 61, will become vice chairman in September and then on July 1, 2009, will replace Nicholas Chabraja, the longest-serving leader among the five largest U.S. defense companies. Chabraja, 65, will remain chairman through May 2010, Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics said yesterday.

Report: Hizballah received 35 new Iranian speedboats shortly before current crisis

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that three weeks before Hizballah seized western Beirut, the Shiite terrorist group took delivery of 35 fast speedboats for use with explosives from Iran. The craft can threaten US Sixth Fleet and Israel Navy shipping close to Lebanese shores, reach Israel’s Haifa and Ashdod Mediterranean ports and raid its coastal oil installations.

The speedboats were tailor-made for Hizballah by Iranian Revolutionary Guards shipyards at Bandar Abbas as the only marine terror fleet operating in Mediterranean waters. Our military sources report the boats are capable of carrying chemical, biological and radiological weapons systems.

They were delivered in mid-April by an Iranian freighter at the Syrian port of Latakia and trucked to Naimah port south of Beirut. There they were hidden in the subterranean hangars belonging to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Palestinian Liberation Front-General Command. Today, the PLF-GC is financed and directed by the Revolutionary Guards. The hangars were constructed in the seventies by East Germany engineers with a protected Mediterranean anchorage and made virtually impenetrable by sea or air.

US warship heads back to Mediterranean

A US warship, which was deployed off Lebanon in February amid concern over Beirut’s political crisis, crossed Egypt’s Suez Canal on Sunday on its way to the Mediterranean, an official with the canal authority told AFP.

“The USS Cole has crossed the Suez Canal and is headed to the Mediterranean,” the official said, adding he did not know its exact destination.

The United States sent the guided-missile destroyer to waters off the coast of Lebanon on February 28, in what US officials said was “a show of support for regional stability” amid concerns over Lebanon’s protracted political crisis.

India To Acquire Six More Submarines: Naval Chief

India will soon float global tenders to acquire six submarines but would like to see indigenous development of this technology in the future, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said here Friday.

These six submarines would be in addition to the Scorpene submarines, which the Indian navy is expected to acquire soon.

“In accordance with the plan to keep a certain number of submarines in the force, we will be acquiring six of one type (Scorpene) and six of another type,” Mehta was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying at a press conference, marking the end of a two-day-long naval commanders’ conference held here on Friday.

The development of Scorpene submarines had been delayed and it was now time to look for a second type of submarine, he said.

Mehta said: “We need to have indigenous capability for building these submarines and Indian Navy has been a strong proponent of indigenous development. Therefore, we would expect that our shipyards take over the technology from some of these companies and thereafter build it themselves.”

The submarines for which tenders would be floated could also have vertical missile launch capabilities, he added.

French Sends Aid Ship To Myanmar – Foreign Min

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday that a French navy ship loaded with 1,500 metric tons of humanitarian aid for cyclone victims was en route to Myanmar and should arrive by next Thursday.

Te Mana arrives in Arabian Gulf

The Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana has arrived in the Southern Arabian Gulf to begin patrolling the region’s waterways against possible terrorism attacks.

The frigate, which sailed from Devonport in Auckland via Singapore, has 173 personnel on board and will operate within a 20,000 square mile area, conducting maritime support and security operations for the Italian-led Coalition Task Force 152.

Defence spokesman Captain Zac Prendergast says the crew of Te Mana will liaise with other vessels in the area and mentor local navies about seacraft. The frigate is expected to return to New Zealand in August.

Narco subs pose new challenge for US coast guards

The first time they found one, authorities dubbed it “Big Foot.” They had heard rumors that such things existed, but nobody had actually seen one.

It was late 2006, and Big Foot was not lurking in a forest, but at sea, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Costa Rica. And it was not an ape-like creature, but a hulking, blue vessel resembling a submarine and carrying several tons of cocaine.

Nor was it a solitary beast.

Authorities say they are detecting more and more seacraft like Big Foot — known as self-propelled semi-submersibles — carrying larger and larger loads of drugs.

Chugging around the southern curve of Central America and up towards the United States, they have formed a kind of illicit fleet and become a major drug trafficking tool.

“It’s significant. We believe they can carry upwards of eight or 10 tons of cocaine,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich, director of the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida, where military and government agencies track drug shipments.

“It’s in fact a logical progression,” he added. “As we get better at interdiction, they move to try to counteract our success.”

Experts estimate 25 to 40 semi-subs left South America last year laden with cocaine, and they expect that figure to double in 2008.

Sri Lanka military says rebels sink navy ship

The Sri Lankan military says Tamil Tiger rebels have bombed and sank a navy cargo ship at the eastern port town of Trincomalee. A navy spokesman said no crew members were on board at the time. Earlier, a bomb-blast in a café in the eastern town of Ampara killed at least 11 people and injured 29 others. The government has also blamed that bombing on Tamil Tiger rebels. The two attacks came just hours ahead of local elections in Sri Lanka’s eastern province scheduled. These are the first polls to be held in the region in 20 years. The government wrested control of the country’s east from the rebels last July.


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