Defence

US presents ‘undeniable’ evidence Iran arming Yemen’s rebels with missiles

Segments of projectiles launched at Saudi Arabia bear markings proving origin in Islamic Republic, UN ambassador Haley says By AGENCIES The Times of Israel US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations unveiled Thursday what she said was “undeniable” evidence proving that Iran is funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen in violation of international law. At a news conference in a hanger at a military base in Washington, Nikki Haley presented recently declassified evidence including segments of missiles launched at ... Read More »

A confident and upbeat Putin goes on Mideast ‘victory’ tour

Ρussian President Vladimir Putin declared “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit Monday to a military base there, then traveled to Egypt and Turkey, where he celebrated Moscow’s deepening ties with those key regional powers. Hamza Hendawi and Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press Chicago Tribune The tour highlighted Russia’s expanded reach in the Middle East and the global clout of its leader, who announced last week he is seeking re-election for another six-year term in March. Speaking to Russian troops on ... Read More »

Budding nuclear power Turkey casts a darkening shadow over Middle East

Turkey is rapidly developing into a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. Sol W. Sanders  The regime of President [formerly Prime Minister] Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP Justice and Development Party are increasingly authoritarian. World Tribune Their effort to obtain nuclear power with its military offshoots would make it an imposing and new threat to the whole region. Behind Erdogan’s efforts, of course, is nostalgia for Turkey’s once dominant role in that part of the world. ... Read More »

Nobel Peace Prize winner says choice is clear: ‘The end of nuclear weapons or the end of us’

‘An impulsive tantrum, a calculated military escalation, a terrorist or cyberattack or a complete accident — we will see the use of nuclear weapons,’ Beatrice Fihn said The Associated Press David Keyton National Post OSLO — As long as atomic bombs exist, a disaster is inevitable, the head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said Saturday. “We are facing a clear choice right now: The end of nuclear weapons or ... Read More »

Don’t panic: three myths about the North Korean threat

The US has talked itself into Kim Jong-un’s trap of exaggerating how much power his rocketry gives him Joseph S. Nye Asia Times North Korea recently tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4,475 kilometers) during its 53-minute flight. Using a flatter trajectory could provide Kim Jong-un’s regime with the capability of hitting the east coast of the United States. Although it has not yet demonstrated a re-entry vehicle capable of surviving atmospheric friction, North ... Read More »

Japan plans long-range missiles amid N Korea threat: Minister

Japan plans to purchase offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat, its defence minister said on Dec. 8, a move likely to stir debate over its decades-long pacifist policy. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles deployed on fighter jets. According to local media, the ministry plans to buy JASSM and LRASM long-range, air-to-ground missiles with ... Read More »

Japan eyes air-to-surface missiles that would put North Korea in range

TOKYO — Japan looks to deploy its first air-to-surface missiles in the coming years as a means of deterring North Korea from further weapons testing, bringing Pyongyang’s missile bases within Tokyo’s military reach. Nikkei Asian Review  The Ministry of Defense will request several billion yen (1 billion yen equals $8.8 million) in the nation’s fiscal 2018 budget for Joint Strike Missiles from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. These would be deployed as early as fiscal 2019 on 42 cutting-edge F-35 ... Read More »

YPG, Russia meeting ‘evaluated steps to take’ after ISIL: Russian defense ministry

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Dec. 4 that a meeting held a day earlier by a Russian military delegation and officials of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province had “evaluated the steps to be taken” after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is ousted from the region. Nerdun Hacıoğlu – MOSCOW Hurriyet It was the first statement released by Russia regarding the Dec. 3 meeting. The Defense Ministry said among the ... Read More »

Asia Code for Sea Peace Expected to Tilt Toward China

A code of conduct aimed at avoiding mishaps in the contested South China Sea is likely to sidestep concerns that are offensive to the chief claimant, Beijing, analysts forecast. Ralph Jennings VoA China and 10 Southeast Asian Nations agreed at summits in Manila this month to start negotiations on a code of conduct for the resource-rich sea, where sovereignty is contested by six governments. Beijing claims about 90 percent of the sea from its south coast to the island of ... Read More »

Trump tells Turkish president U.S. will stop arming Kurds in Syria

The Trump administration is preparing to stop supplying weapons to ethnic Kurdish fighters in Syria, the White House acknowledged Friday, a move reflecting renewed focus on furthering a political settlement to the civil war there and countering Iranian influence now that the Islamic State caliphate is largely… By Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham The Washington Post Word of the policy change long sought by neighboring Turkey came Friday, not from Washington but from Ankara.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters ... Read More »

Beijing outmanoeuvres US in the South China Sea – at least for now

Mark J. Valencia says Manila’s acceptance of Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea shows that the erosion of US influence is real, though probably overstated by hand-wringing Asia policy pundits Mark J. Valencia South China Morning Post The struggle between China and other claimants for political domination of the South China Sea is over, for now. China has won this round. This is a political setback for the US, which supported the other claimants – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

NATO set to boost Afghan mission

NATO allies are set to agree tomorrow to increase by some 3,000 personnel the troop levels for the alliance’s Afghanistan training mission, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said. Hurriyet About half the additional troops will come from the United States and the other half from non-U.S. NATO allies and partners. “We have decided to increase the number of troops … to help the Afghans break the stalemate,” Stoltenberg told a news conference on Nov. 7. Stoltenberg stressed the soldiers would ... Read More »

Why the Indian Ocean Must Not Become Like the South China Sea

The maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war, and so a code of conduct is needed. Rajni Gamage  The National Interest Rising Strategic Uncertainty in the Indian Ocean The pursuit of contesting regional orders by major powers has engendered a strategic environment of uncertainty and mistrust in the Indo-Pacific. As geopolitical developments at land and sea feed off one another, the maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war. These dynamics have been ... Read More »