Security

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

Kro 9i

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 »

The Killing of Former President Saleh Could Worsen Yemen’s War

Uz 2b

The dramatic collapse of the Huthi-Saleh alliance is likely to prolong Yemen’s war and the suffering of its people April Longley Alley  After killing former President Saleh, the Huthis, viewed by their enemies in Riyadh as Iranian proxies, are firmly in control of the capital. ICG Neither they, nor the Saudis, are in a mood for compromise. What exactly happened and what led up to this sudden twist in Yemen’s devastating war? On 4 December, Huthi fighters killed Yemen’s former ... Read More »

America Can’t Win the Drug War in Afghanistan

Papal 4d

Twenty-four of Afghanistan’s thirty-four provinces now are directly involved in illicit drug production. Ted Galen Carpenter  As if the United States needed more evidence that its sixteen-year mission in Afghanistan is an exercise in futility, a new United Nations report provides an additional reason for depression. The National Interest The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, released on November 15, confirms that Washington’s effort to curb illicit narcotics trafficking in the country has failed. Almost every ... Read More »

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

Papal 2b

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 »

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

Parus 1a

The survival and development of the revolutionary process in Rojava, i.e. of a new democratic perspective, has the big potential to change the mindsets of dozens of millions of people in Middle East. ERCAN AYBOĞA ANF How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava? Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s ... Read More »

Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Sabotage of Security Council Resolution Against Israel Settlements

Counter Punch logo 2b L

This morning, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. Richard Silverstein CounterPunch These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter. Earlier today, I published a new column in Middle East Eye (MEE) which outlined the case against Kushner. Here’s how the Times laid out the… ... Read More »

Would ‘Rexit’ Mean First Step Toward War With Iran?

Palo 4d

There’s no counterweight to Kushner, Neocons or other hawks in White House. Robert W. Merry The American Conservative If reports are correct that Rex Tillerson is going to be fired as U.S. Secretary of State, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton taking Pompeo’s old job, then prospects for war with Iran become significantly greater. Tillerson has been less bellicose in his attitude toward Iran than either Pompeo or Cotton, who are both fervid ... Read More »

Former Defense Secretary William Perry Sounds the Alarm Over the Present Nuclear Danger

Palo 1a

What will the consequences be if the bipartisan consensus on Russia continues to be almost completely untethered from reality? James Carden The Nation On a brisk Tuesday night in Washington, DC’s tony Cleveland Park neighborhood, hundreds of concerned citizens gathered at Washington National Cathedral to hear some unpleasant truths from former defense secretary William Perry. Perry was there as part of the cathedral’s Nancy and Paul Ignatius Program to address what he believes is the very real danger of an ... Read More »

Turkey squeezed between American hammer, Russian anvil on Syrian stage

Aki 9i

Images can be misleading. Anybody who sees the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi might think this impressive trio could actually deliver a settlement to the bloody Syrian conflict that has been ongoing for six years. Cengiz Çandar AlMonitor Astana, Kazakhstan, is another venue being used by the same trio for peacemaking in Syria. Although the Russians were always keen to present Astana as a supplementary peace effort to the United Nations’ Geneva talks, the meetings in ... Read More »

Is this Israel’s “most hated” man?

Ged 1a

Author and commentator Gideon Levy has been called both “the most hated man in Israel” and “the most heroic.” ABC LateLine While he describes himself as a “patriotic Israeli”, he’s highly critical of what he calls his country’s ‘moral blindness’ to its acts of war and occupation. Emma Alberici spoke to Gideon Levy ahead of his talk at the University of Sydney this week. Transcript Read More »

Asia Code for Sea Peace Expected to Tilt Toward China

The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Adelaide crueses alongside landing crafts with Philippine Marines and Australian troops as they conduct a joint Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise off Subic Bay in northwestern Philippines Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The HMAS Adelaide, along with another Australian Navy ship, the HMAS Darwin, a guided missile frigate, are here for a goodwill visit aimed at strengthening relations between the two navies as well as maritime security and stability in the region. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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

Provi 2b

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

Strag 1a

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 »

Is Indo-Pacific the ‘New’ Pivot?

Freg 2b

It is unclear exactly what the Indo-Pacific concept entails—especially regarding the future relations between New Delhi and Beijing Zhiqun Zhu  The National Interest Government officials and scholars around the world have quickly switched their labels for Asia from “Asia Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” after President Donald Trump popularized the latter during his first Asia trip in November 2017. “Indo-Pacific” as a geopolitical concept first appeared in European publications in the 1920s. For example, it was mentioned in retired German general Karl Ernst ... Read More »

What next for the unresolved Cyprus question?

Wats 1a

Despite high expectations, the conference on Cyprus at Crans-Montana in Switzerland from 28 June to 5 July did not lead to a breakthrough. Andreas Theophanous Friends of Europe The stakes were high, given the conference’s broader goals, which included addressing the need for multilateral cooperation, involving Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean on energy and security issues. Furthermore, a solution to the Cyprus problem in times of regional turmoil and conflict would have been considered a success for the United Nations ... Read More »

Buldan: Isolation on Öcalan is the reason behind today’s attacks

Upar 5e

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HPD) MP Pervin Buldan said that the isolation on Abdullah Öcalan and cessation of the negotiations with him is the main reason behind the massacres and attacks today. ANF Speaking about the isolation on Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan at the final event of HDP Women Assembly’s campaign, Pervin Buldan underlined his role in the building of peace in the country. “We will continue to struggle until Öcalan is free. The main reason behind today’s massacres and attacks ... Read More »