Defence

Explainer: how the Australian intelligence community works

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National security, intelligence and espionage have been in the headlines due to events abroad and significant developments at home. John Blaxland The Conversation News of diplomatic expulsions, cyber-attacks, leaked documents about sweeping new surveillance powers and the creation of a new Home Affairs Department make it hard to follow. What’s more, everyone has heard of the CIA, for instance, but Australia’s own national security organisations are comparatively unknown. So how is intelligence gathered? What are Australia’s peak national security bodies ... Read More »

Russian arms deal sours US-Turkey relations

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That Turkey, a Nato ally, is at odds with the US is something that is more than obvious. Nicos Panayiotides Asia Times The deteriorating relations between Ankara and Washington are manifested by a number of issues, ranging from disagreements about the Kurds’ role in the fight against Islamic State and violations of the domestic rule of law to strategic decisions considered by the Americans to be against their interests. Specifically, Ankara’s strategic decision to buy the S-400 missile system from ... Read More »

Pentagon Confirms Chinese Fired Lasers at U.S. Pilots

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The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that Chinese nationals fired lasers near a military base in east Africa against U.S. military aircraft in the region, injuring several pilots. JewsNews Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White said the U.S. government made diplomatic protests to the Chinese government over several recent incidents of laser firings near China’s first overseas military base at Djibouti. “These are very serious incidents. There have been two minor injuries. This activity poses a threat to our airmen,” White told reporters. ... Read More »

Mirror Images: The Standoff between Moscow and Western Capitals

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Russia and the West are mired in mutual mistrust, sinking deeper with each contretemps in the post-Soviet space and every round of sanctions punishing perceived Russian malfeasance. Magdalena Grono ICG A rapprochement appears unlikely soon, so both sides must open channels to avert confrontations where their interests collide. Relations between Russia and the West are at a perilous juncture. The two sides’ narratives on major issues of the day – for instance, the future of Crimea or the wars in ... Read More »

The Challenge of Reinstating Sanctions Against Iran

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It’s Not as Simple as Withdrawing From the JCPOA Peter Harrell FP U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be on the brink of withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with… He faces a May 12 deadline to renew waivers of key U.S. sanctions on Iran, and despite pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to do so, Trump seems set to deliver on his January ... Read More »

France aerospace research firm Onera will shutter two locations. But what happens to the wind tunnel?

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PARIS ― Onera, an aerospace research center, said it aims to shut down two sites in pursuit of its broad restructuring plan. Pierre Tran DefenseNews That reorganization is part the “structural outlook” for this year, Onera Chairman and CEO Bruno Sainjon said during a May 3 news conference on the 2017 financial results. This year will see moves to shut down research facilities at Meudon and Chatillon, just outside the capital, and the staff moved to the Palaiseau headquarters on the ... Read More »

Turkey’s fighter jet program races ahead as Russian firm reveals interest

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s program for the design, development and production of the country’s first indigenous fighter jet gained pace late in April when two local prime contractors joined forces to outline a production scheme for critical parts. By: Burak Ege Bekdil DefenseNews Meanwhile, in a surprise move, a top Russian aerospace concern expressed interest in developing an engine to power the TF-X, the Turkish fighter aircraft in the making. On April 26, two strategic local contractors of the TF-X ... Read More »

How Europe Can Save the Iran Nuclear Deal

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The U.S. is threatening to withdraw from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program if no one “fixes” it by President Donald Trump’s deadline of 12 May. ICG The danger of deeper Middle East turmoil is great. Europe should salvage the deal no matter what Trump decides. What’s new? The U.S. is threatening to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran if what it calls the deal’s “disastrous flaws” are not fixed by 12 May. Europe is scrambling to ... Read More »

China quietly installed defensive missile systems on strategic Spratly Islands in hotly contested South China Sea

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China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts in the South China Sea, sources tell CNBC. By all accounts, the new coastal defense systems are a significant addition to Beijing’s military portfolio in one of the most contested regions in the world. Amanda Macias | CNBC China has quietly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts west of the Philippines in the South China Sea, ... Read More »

Israelis targeted Iranian anti-aircraft missiles in Sunday strike: US officials

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Iran vows retaliation as sources say Israel preparing for open warfare Asia Times A late-night air strike targeting a base in the Syrian city of Hama was carried out by Israeli F-15s, US officials revealed on Tuesday amid calls for retaliation from Iran. Media outlets associated with the Syrian government and Hezbollah initially suggested Israel was behind the attack, but parties on both sides were slow to shed light on the strike. The three US officials, cited by NBC News, ... Read More »

Moscow’s Maritime threats to Ukraine and the West

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Since invading Ukraine in 2014, Moscow has become significantly bolder. Russia has expanded into Ukraine’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the body of water up to 200 miles from the country’s coast that is internationally recognized as its legal territory. Stephen Blank 112 international Russia’s recent naval activity around Ukraine and the Baltic Sea is more than simply a threat to countries in the region. In fact, it represents a challenge to the international order, one that could be replicated by ... Read More »

Malabar 2018: India deals a blow to Australia and ‘the Quad’

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The shadow of China looms large in India’s decision to exclude Australia from an upcoming multilateral naval exercise Canberra confirmed last Thursday that its navy would not be part of Malabar 2018, which will be held off Guam between June 7 and 15. Emanuele Scimia Asia Times So this year’s Malabar drills will maintain a trilateral format, involving the naval forces of India, the United States and Japan. This means the project of a Quadrilateral (Quad) alliance/dialogue among New Delhi, ... Read More »

Israel drops gauntlet on Malaysia’s help to Hamas

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Targeted assassination of researcher in Kuala Lumpur likely part of Israeli campaign to kill overseas Palestinian scientists and engineers Nile Bowie Asia Times Thousands of mourners gathered in Gaza on Friday for the funeral of Fadi al-Batsh, a respected Palestinian researcher and engineering lecturer who was assassinated by gun-wielding assailants in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on April 21 while heading to a mosque for dawn prayers. Al-Batsh studied electrical engineering in Gaza and earned a PhD on the subject ... Read More »

Speculation Swirls Turkey Might Seek Nonalignment

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ISTANBUL — The Syrian civil war has been a catalyst for Russian-Turkish rapprochement, much to the concern of Turkey’s NATO partners. Dorian Jones VoA This, coupled with Ankara’s current strained relations with its traditional Western allies, is raising the prospect of a nonaligned Turkey. Foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran and Russia are meeting Saturday in Moscow under the auspices of the so-called Astana process that’s aimed at resolving the Syrian civil war. Ahead of the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu ... Read More »

Pyongyang Is Playing Washington and Seoul

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) listens to during the official dinner at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the "threshold of a new history". (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Hollow summits between North Korea, South Korea, and the United States only serve to benefit the North. Michael J. Green FP South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s televised summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday was spectacularly effective as pageantry aimed at South Koreans fearful of a U.S. attack on North Korea — and spectacularly empty in terms of meaningful commitment by the North to denuclearization. In fact, everything Kim put on the table was designed to reaffirm ... Read More »

Turkey awards multibillion-dollar contract for indigenous Altay tank

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ANKARA, Turkey — BMC, a privately owned Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer, has won a multibillion-dollar contract for the serial production of the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous, new-generation main battle tank in the making. By: Burak Ege Bekdil DefenseNews A top procurement official confirmed the decision. “We will start contract negotiations with this group, as it emerged as the best bidder,” the official said. Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industies, or SSM, has been reviewing bids from three ... Read More »