Defence

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

Malab 1a

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

Kune 1a

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

Skop 9i

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

Main 1a

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 »

More Than 100 Retired Military Leaders Raise Concerns About CIA Nominee Gina Haspel

Gena 1a

Over 100 retired military leaders have joined the list of outside groups voicing concern about President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Maya Rhodan Time In a letter to members of the U.S. Senate, 109 retired generals and admirals said they were “deeply troubled” by the prospect of Gina Haspel being named CIA director given her links to the former U.S. torture program. “We devoted our lives to the defense of our country. We know that fidelity ... Read More »

Countdown to Iran retaliation against Israel strike?

Zol 4d

‘Where and how Tehran chooses to carry out its attack is still unclear… the choice will define what to expect for the future of Iranian and Israeli confrontations’ Asia Times Following a US-led strike on Syrian targets last week — which changed little in the equation on the ground vis-à-vis the Bashar al-Assad regime, Russia and the United States — analysts continue to look through the smoke at what many say is a… The Israel-Iran conflict in Syria is heating ... Read More »

The Emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Challenging NATO in the Middle East

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, front, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a joint press conference in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran say they stand against "separatist" agendas that would undermine Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

An unusual triple alliance coming out of Syria could change the regional balance of power and unhinge NATO — if it holds together at all. Conn Hallinan MPN News An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war — one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration’s designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region’s largest ethnic ... Read More »

UN Chief Warns of ‘Full-Blown Military Escalation’ Over Syria Attacks

Pekt 4d

As US President Donald Trump is said to be considering a full scale ground assault against the Syrian administration of President Bashar al-Assad, the top UN official has decried the onset of a new global Cold War and warned against “full-blown military escalation” in the… Sputnik Following air strikes launched at Syria by a US-led coalition including France and the UK as a response to a purported chemical weapons attack on civilians by forces loyal to Assad, United Nations Secretary… UN chief Guterres also observed that the ... Read More »

Erdogan welcomes Syria strikes against Assad regime

Adem 2b

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday welcomed Western strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime as “appropriate” in retaliation for Damascus’ “inhumane” attacks. AFP “We consider this operation as appropriate,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul. In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the US-led operation “has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of ” the suspected chemical attack With the latest operation, he said, “The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in ... Read More »

China’s Worst Fear: Can America Turn Taiwan into a Submarine Power?

793 1a

Even as they tussle over trade, China and the United States are entering into a more under-the-radar dispute over Taiwan. Last week, the State Department approved a marketing license that allows U.S. defense companies to explore selling Taiwan technology it needs to build submarines. Zachary Keck The National Interest The approval was reported by Taiwanese media outlets who cited Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman. Sidney Lin, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s president, also confirmed the news. The United ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

Erdogan AP 2b LLLL

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

Upo 7g

Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

Paum 4d

With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »

Will Bolton and Trump Start the First Sino-American War?

Baul 2b

When America launches a preemptive attack on North Korea, will the US find itself at war with China? This is not an idle question. Charles Pierson CounterPunch On Monday, the fiercest advocate of a preemptive attack on North Korea, John R. Bolton, joined the Trump Administration. Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN, replaces H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Bolton is the gold standard against which all other hawks are measured. Bolton pushed for ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

Kapn 2b

After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »