Defence

The Presidential Fight over War Powers Could Strip the Constitution of Its Value

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The Trump administration is trying to render Congress irrelevant on matters of war and peace. That would be a big mistake. Daniel R. DePetris The National Interest In the late evening of April 13, 2018, President Donald Trump delivered a brief statement to the nation announcing that the U.S. military—in partnership with its French and British allies—launched a… The strike was designed to send a warning to Bashar al-Assad that any additional chemical attacks on the battlefield would elicit a ... Read More »

Kurdish militia to exit Syria’s Manbij under US-Turkey deal

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WASHINGTON — An American-backed Syrian Kurdish militia said Tuesday it will leave the strategic town of Manbij under a delicate U.S.-Turkey deal that could ease tensions between the NATO allies and force a realignment of troops along the volatile Syria-Turkey frontier. Josh Lederman and Philip Issa | AP The Washington Post Illustrating the fragility of the arrangement, the United States and Turkey offered differing descriptions of what the deal entailed, how it would be carried out and when. But ultimately, the Kurdish ... Read More »

Should Europe try to save the Iran nuclear deal?

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Donald Trump is (according to Donald Trump) the master of the deal. Yet, as the world waits to see if Trump can strike a deal at the US-North Korea summit next week (12 June), another important nuclear deal is on the verge of collapse. debating europe In May 2018, the US decided to withdraw from the Iran deal, which Trump famously called “the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody”. Europe has been scrambling to save the deal but, despite political assurances, European ... Read More »

U.S. and Turkey almost came to blows over this Syrian town. A new deal may avert that.

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The United States and Turkey have reached agreement on the withdrawal of U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, and the military forces of the two countries will begin joint patrols of the area, U.S. and Turkish officials said. by Karen DeYoung and Erin Cunningham The Washington Post The agreement is designed to defuse one of the most serious and long-running disagreements between the two NATO allies, whose troops in Syria have come perilously close to conflict ... Read More »

How Istanbul’s man-made canal project could trigger an arms race in the Black Sea – and why China is watching closely

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The Kanal Istanbul project will not be subject to the international treaty that limits the access of warships to the strategically pivotal waters in central Europe Helene Franchineau South China Morning Post In the conservative Istanbul neighbourhood of Üsküdar, couples sit near the July 15 Martyrs bridge and sip cups of tea as oil tankers and cargo ships pass. The sight is common for the city’s residents: every day about 115 vessels cross the Bosphorus Strait. Accidents can happen in ... Read More »

Israeli army kills Palestinian nurse in Gaza border protest

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Gaza City: Israeli forces killed a Palestinian nurse on Friday as she tried to help a wounded protester at the Gaza border, according to health officials and a witness, while Israel said militants had attacked its troops with gunfire and a grenade. Nidal al-Mughrabi The Sydney Morning Herald Reuters Razan Al-Najar’s death brought to 119 the number of Palestinians killed in weekly demonstrations launched on March 30 in the Gaza Strip, an enclave controlled by the Islamist group Hamas and long ... Read More »

US disregards Beijing’s nonsense, says it can take down South China Sea islands

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The US issued a stark warning to Beijing on Thursday, as Chinese militarization of the South China Sea creates a potential flashpoint in a longstanding battle for control of the Pacific. Alex Lockie Business Insider For years, Beijing has dredged the South China Sea to build artificial islands in waters it claims as its territory. Six of China’s neighbors also lay claim to conflicting patches of the South China Sea. The body of water is home to natural resources, and ... Read More »

Ex-Israeli spy chief: Netanyahu planned Iran strike in 2011

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the order in 2011 for the military to prepare to attack Iran within 15 days, a former Mossad chief said in remarks released on Thursday. Jerusalem (AP) Hurriyet Tamir Pardo, who served as head of the Israeli intelligence agency from 2011 to 2016, told Israeli Keshet TV’s investigative show Uvda that the order was not given “for the sake of a drill,” according to excerpts of the interview released ahead of the broadcast on Thursday evening. “When he ... Read More »

The U.S. to bar sale of fighter aircraft to Turkey

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During the debates on the draft National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), both chambers of the US Congress took parallel initiatives to bar the delivery of F-35 advanced fighter aircraft to Turkey. Yaşar Yakış Ahval In the Senate Armed Services Committee, Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis submitted an amendment asking the secretary of defence to prepare a plan to exclude Turkey from the F-35 programme. Tillis said the amendment was proposed as a reaction to Turkey’s detention ... Read More »

The shriveling ally

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Only yesterday, Turkey was considered a candidate for membership in the European Union, a reliable friend of the West. The Washington Times Turkey was reasonably modern, forward looking, and Western oriented. Turkey was already a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and membership in the EU would only cement its alliance with the West. Alas, over the past several years Turkey has devolved from something unique to something close to just another depressing redoubt of Middle Eastern despotism. Recep ... Read More »

Accountability is key to building trust in Australia’s intelligence community

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Intelligence doesn’t have to be, and rarely is, James Bond-esque. Indeed, 007 is the world’s worst spy: everyone knows who he is, meaning he is compromised, exposed and susceptible to blackmail before he… Daniel Baldino The Conversation But the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and the all-encompassing “war on terror” that followed, did have a major transformative impact on the handling of secrecy and surveillance activities in… One impact has been the growth of executive authority in national security. This ... Read More »

Nuclear Weapons: Pakistan’s National Security Assets

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In the 1970s, the then prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, famously declaredthat, “We will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will have our own,” while referring to the attainment of nuclear weapons. Usman Ali Khan ModernDiplomacy Forty years after that declaration, we attained this capability by ensuring the neighbors that national security would not be compromised. In late May of 1998, Pakistan revealed its nuclear capability by conducting six nuclear tests, a move necessitated by the India’s nuclear tests ... Read More »

Esperon: Gov’t to publish national security strategy for the first time

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — The government will publish a national security strategy for the first time, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Wednesday, in the wake of competing claims in the South China Sea. By CNN Philippines Staff President Rodrigo Duterte signed the document on May 16. It outlines the administration’s plans for a “secure, peaceful, modern, and prosperous Philippines,” Esperon said. Esperon announced this during a hearing of the House Special Committee on the West Philippine ... Read More »

This Is the Plan to Save America’s Military

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The House version of the 2019 NDAA marks a good step forward in the drive to rebuild the U.S. military. Frederico Bartels, Tom Spoehr The National Interest Good news for those who recognize the need to rebuild our military: the House of Representatives has passed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with broad bipartisan support, 351–66. The bill continues last year’s welcome emphasis on strengthening our armed forces. February’s passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 established a ... Read More »

Has the US conceded to Turkey in Manbij?

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If one is to go by leaks to the media as well as official statements out of Ankara, Turkey and the United States have essentially worked out a “road map” for Washington-backed Kurdish fighters to leave the northern Syrian city of Manbij near the… Semih Idiz Al-Monitor Accordingly, once the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which Turkey considers a terrorist organization and an existential threat to its security — evacuate Manbij, Turkish forces would move in and work with US forces already there to provide “stability and security” ... Read More »

US warships sail near disputed islands in South China Sea, officials say

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Two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China after Beijing landed a nuclear-capable bomber and deployed missiles there, defense officials told Fox News on Sunday. By Lucas Tomlinson, Bradford Betz | Fox News The U.S.S Higgins, a guided-missile destroyer, and the U.S.S. Antietam, a missile cruiser, conducted “freedom of navigation” operations near the Paracel Island chain, including Woody Island, where Beijing has operated an… “U.S. forces operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, ... Read More »