Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Utumno, Jun 14, 2014.
Russian Intercept over Mediterranean Sea
By U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs | June 4, 2019
On June 4, 2019, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes. The first and third interaction were deemed safe. The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes.
While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.
The U.S. aircraft was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.
that's a final warning shot the russians gave that plane before it left
U.S. arms sale request from Taiwan draws warning of "serious harm" from China
JUNE 6, 2019
Taipei, Taiwan — Taiwan confirmed Thursday it has asked to purchase more than 100 tanks from the U.S., along with air defense and anti-tank missile systems in a major potential arms sale that drew immediate protest from China. A Defense Ministry statement said it has submitted a letter of request for 108 cutting-edge M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 TOW anti-armor missiles, 409 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 250 Stinger man-portable air defense systems.
The request is proceeding "as normal," it said. It wasn't clear when the official request had been issued, after which the U.S. has 120 days to respond.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
"This position is consistent and clear," he said at the ministry's daily briefing. "We urge the U.S. to fully understand the high sensitivity and serious harm of the issue of arms sales to Taiwan and abide by the one-China principle."
Officials at the Pentagon referred CBS News to the State Department for comment on the Taiwanese arms request. A State Department official told CBS News the U.S. Government did not, "comment on or confirm potential or pending arms sales" as a matter of policy, until Congress has been notified of an agreed sale.
China considers self-governing Taiwan part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary. It says U.S. arms sales to the island constitute both interference in its internal affairs and a betrayal of earlier commitments made by Washington to Beijing.
The U.S. is the main supplier of weapons to Taiwan, and earlier reports have said Taiwan is also seeking 66 F-16 fighter jets in the most advanced "V'' configuration.
President Tsai Ing-wen said in March that Taiwan was seeking tanks and jet fighters, but didn't provide any details.
At a public appearance Thursday, she pledged continued support for a strengthened military and said the island's efforts were winning it more international support.
"We will keep on strengthening our self-defense capabilities (and) will also keep on being a contributor to regional peace," Tsai said.
The M1 Abrams would mark a significant upgrade from the aging tanks Taiwan's army now uses, while the TOW and Javelin systems would upgrade Taiwan's ability to repulse an attempt by China to land tanks and troops from across the 100 mile-wide Taiwan Strait.
The Stingers meanwhile could help boost Taiwan's defenses against China's more than 1,000 advanced fighter aircraft and 1,500 missiles pointing at the island.
Taiwan, which split from China amid civil war in 1949, has had no formal diplomatic ties with the U.S. since Washington recognized Beijing in 1979.
However, U.S. law requires it to take threats to the island seriously and to "make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability."
Tsai has made beefing up Taiwan's armed forces a central task of her administration amid increasing Chinese military threats and a campaign to increase Taiwan's diplomatic isolation and weaken its economy.
While China's military spending and numbers of ships, planes and missiles vastly outstrip those of Taiwan, the island is basing its defense on geographical factors and asymmetrical warfare, in which a weaker opponent can hold off a stronger one by pinpointing weaknesses and using specialized weaponry and tactics.
Tsai has also pushed to revamp the island's domestic arms industry and last month inaugurated a shipyard to build at least eight diesel-electric submarines. Taiwan currently operates just four aged submarines and pressure from China has prevented it from buying more abroad.
Thursday's Defense Ministry announcement comes as the U.S. and China are engaged in an increasingly acrimonious battle over trade and technology. The Trump administration has imposed up to 25% tariffs on $250 billion in imports from China and is preparing to increase import duties on another $300 billion.
Beijing has responded by imposing tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, which went into effect Saturday. It also retaliated against the U.S. blacklisting of Chinese technology giant Huawei by announcing Friday that it will establish its own list of "unreliable entities" consisting of foreign businesses, corporations and individuals. No details have been given.
A messy multibillion-dollar deal between the US and Turkey just got more complicated
The Pentagon will begin “unwinding’“Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program.
The U.S. will suspend F-35 training for Turkish pilots, order the departure of Turkish personnel associated with the F-35 program from the country, withdraw invitations to allow Turkey to participate in the annual CEO F-35 roundtable, and discontinue F-35 material deliveries and activities.
“You still have the option to change course on the S-400,” acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan wrote Thursday to his Turkish counterpart.
F-35As taxi down the flightline at Volk Field, Wis. during Northern Lightning Aug. 22, 2016.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will begin “unwinding” Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program, upping the ante in a messy deal between Washington and Ankara over a Russian-made missile system.
“The United States was disappointed to learn that Turkey sent personnel to Russia for training on the S-400 system,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, told a group of reporters Friday at the Pentagon.
“As we have very clearly communicated at all levels, Turkey will not receive the F-35 if Turkey takes delivery of the S-400 system. Thus we need to begin unwinding Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program,” Lord said.
She also added that currently Turkish industries produce approximately 937 parts for the F-35 jet, most of which are related to aircraft landing gear.
Lord’s comments come on the heels of a letter acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan sent Thursday to his Turkish counterpart summarizing a list of the actions the U.S. is prepared to take by July 31.
The U.S. will suspend ongoing F-35 training for Turkish pilots, order the departure of Turkish personnel associated with the F-35 program from the country, withdraw invitations to allow Turkey to participate in the annual CEO F-35 roundtable, and discontinue F-35 material deliveries and activities.
“You still have the option to change course on the S-400,” Shanahan wrote, adding that Ankara also risks U.S. sanctions if the deal with the Kremlin is completed.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
A Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
Turkey, a member of NATO, is slated to receive the Russian-made S-400, a mobile surface-to-air missile system, as soon as next month. The S-400 is said to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as well as the F-35, America’s most expensive weapons platform.
As it stands now, Turkey must cancel a multibillion-dollar deal with Russia and instead buy Raytheon’s U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system — or face removal from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program, forfeiture of 100 promised F-35 jets, imposition of U.S. sanctions and potential blowback from NATO.
In 2017, Ankara brokered a deal reportedly worth $2.5 billion with the Kremlin for the S-400 despite warnings from the U.S. that buying the system would come with political and economic consequences.
In multiple efforts to deter Turkey from buying the S-400, the State Department offered in 2013 and 2017 to sell the country Raytheon’s Patriot missile system. Ankara passed on the Patriot both times because the U.S. declined to provide a transfer of the system’s sensitive missile technology.
All the while, Turkey has become a financial and manufacturing partner for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the world’s most advanced fighter.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were preparing to make massive adjustments to their intricate production schedules amid a contentious negotiation with Turkey.
If Turkey goes through with the Russian deal, Lockheed Martin would have to rework its supply chain on components for the F-35 fighter jet, while also making changes to its production schedule.
Yet if Turkey abandons its deal with Russia, Raytheon would reorganize the Patriot missile defense system production schedule to guarantee that Turkey could receive the missile system within a faster time frame.
Last year, Turkey was in the process of constructing a site for the S-400 system, according to a person with firsthand knowledge of an intelligence report.
The intelligence assessment included satellite imagery of a concrete launch facility as well as bunkers, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The new construction fits the pattern for Russia’s S-400 system, the person indicated.
If Turkey does receive its S-400 from the Kremlin this summer, the system is expected to be ready for use by 2020.
The US just quietly challenged China on something Beijing promised to go to war over
The US military recently called Taiwan a country, something China routinely threatens to go to war over.
China thinks of Taiwan as a renegade province with a democratic government that's an existential threat to the Communist Party.
No US president for decades has been so supportive of Taiwan, and the US and China now find themselves in uncharted territory.
President Donald Trump has engaged China in a trade war that has global markets holding their breath, but his administration recently challenged Beijing on an issue Chinese officials have promised to go to war over.
The US military's recent Indo-Pacific Strategy paper, published last Saturday, goes further than perhaps any US document ever issued in how it might provoke China's rage over what it sees as the most sensitive issue.
Buried in the paper, which charts China's efforts to build up a military fortress in the South China Sea and use its growing naval might to coerce its neighbors, is a reference to Taiwan as a "country."
"As democracies in the Indo-Pacific, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Mongolia are reliable, capable, and natural partners of the United States," the strategy said. "All four countries contribute to US missions around the world and are actively taking steps to uphold a free and open international order."
China views Taiwan as a breakaway island province that has its own democratic government. Beijing sees this as an existential threat and the factor most likely to upset the Communist Party's absolute hold on power in the mainland.
In July, China threatened to blacklist airlines that referred to Taiwan as a country. US airlines fell in line, but the White House protested the strong-arm tactic as "Orwellian nonsense."
But now the US itself has clearly said it: Taiwan is a country, and the US will treat it as such.
'The Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs'
In another unprecedented step, a high-ranking Taiwanese minister was allowed to meet with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, in May. This move predictably enraged China.
At the Shangri La Dialogue, the top defense summit in Asia, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe made clear the stakes of China's Taiwan problem.
"Any interference in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure," Wei said, according to Channel Asia News. "If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs."
Taiwan is "the hot-button issue" in US-China relations, John Hemmings, the director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, told Business Insider.
China has always maintained that it would prefer to reunify with Taiwan peacefully but would do so by force if needed. Additionally, China's navy has increasingly patrolled the waters around the island and flown nuclear-capable bombers nearby.
But the US has also sailed warships through the narrow strait separating China and Taiwan and has gotten allies to pitch in.
The arms are already moving
The US's rhetorical escalation follows the Trump administration normalizing arms sales to Taiwan and the news that it will sell $2 billion in tanks, anti-tank weapons, and air defenses to the island.
According to Hemmings, these weapons have a clear purpose: to fight back against a Chinese invasion of the island.
Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider that the US had now entered "uncharted territory" by acknowledging Taiwan.
The US under Trump has been the most pro-Taiwan administration in decades, Hemmings said. Trump demonstrated this during his presidential transition period when he had a call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen.
For years, China has slowly stepped up pressure on the US in areas like forcing companies to transfer technology, building up military sites on artificial islands in the South China Sea, and naval challenges.
Hemmings mentioned a popular anecdote in China, in which a frog is cooked by putting it in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn't realize it's getting cooked until it's too late. China's gradual pressure campaign against the US has been compared to this practice.
With the US now quietly acknowledging Taiwan in a strategy document, it may have found its own small way to turn up the heat on Beijing.
Sanders, Warren Introduce Resolution Against Israel Annexing West Bank
June 7, 2019
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Five Democratic senators, including the party’s deputy leader in the chamber and two leading presidential candidates, introduced a resolution decrying any Israeli plan to annex West Bank territory, an apparent shot across the bow at Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent election pledge.
“Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank would jeopardize prospects for a two-state solution, harm Israel’s relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel’s security,” says the non-binding resolution introduced Thursday.
It says the “the policy of the United States should be to preserve conditions conducive to a negotiated two4 state solution.”
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Wash., joined by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the deputy minority leader, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Sanders and Warren were among the Democratic presidential candidates who decried Netanyahu’s pledge, before Israel’s April 9 elections, to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The elections were indecisive and Israelis go to the polls again in September, while Netanyahu remains prime minister.
Netanyahu and President Donald Trump have retreated from endorsing a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is set later this month to unveil the economic component of a peace plan he has been preparing for two years.
Feinstein and Sanders are Jewish and Durbin and Duckworth have longstanding relationships with the pro-Israel community.
This story "Sanders, Warren Push Against Israel Annexing West Bank" was written by Ron Kampeas.
Get fucked Atlantic Council
Syria war: Abdel Basset al-Sarout dies after Hama clashes
A Syrian footballer who became a symbol of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has died of wounds sustained in clashes in the north-west.
Abdel Basset al-Sarout, 27, died in the Hama province, his rebel faction says.
A promising goalkeeper for Syria's youth team, he sprang to prominence in his home city of Homs in 2011 as one of many who staged street protests.
He had survived a brutal government siege of Homs, although many of his family members were killed there.
The story of Abdel Basset al-Sarout in many ways traces the trajectory of the revolution in Syria - from the heady days of hope to the grim war of attrition that has kept President Bashar al-Assad in power, the BBC's Sebastian Usher says.
How did Sarout die?
His death was announced by a commander of the Jaish al-Izza rebel faction fighting in Hama.
The commander described Mr Sarout as a "martyr".
Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said he had been wounded in clashes between Thursday and Friday and died on Saturday.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, a non-government organisation which monitors the Syrian war, also said he died on 8 June.
The Syrian army has not publicly commented on the reports.
Russia has pulled off a major defeat of the US across the earth, and that's not hyperbole.
Arming every major power with anti air that can stop the US air force. Iranian backed Shia militias which number into the millions have defeated all of their enemies, Iran now encircles the Gulf states.
Any war with Iran will be a world war.
IRAN CLAIMS TO HAVE NEW AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM
Iran’s Sayyad 3 is built upon the foundations of previous surface to air missiles. According to reports it has a range up to 200km.
JUNE 9, 2019
Iranian Sayyad 3 is the missile, Talash is the TEL (transporter erector launcher), looks more like a Patriot battery
Iranian Bavar 373
Iranian S200 (these are old but can hit low flying planes and transportation planes no problem)
Iran said Sunday that it had unveiled a new domestically produced air defense system, called the Khordad 15 and inaugurated by Defense Minister Amir Hatami.
This is the latest in a series of local Iranian military endeavors, including new ships, missiles and drones that it boasts it has built. The new defense system supposedly can intercept up to six “incoming hostile targets simultaneously,” according to Iranian state media.
Hatami said the system can detect targets up to 85 km. away and hit them at distances up to 45 km. It uses a Sayyad 3 missile, Press TV reported. According to Tasnim News, it is under the command of Alireza Sabahifard, head of Iran’s air defense systems. Iran previously was using a system linked to the S-200, which is antiquated but which Iran upgraded in 2013.
Iran’s Sayyad 3 is built upon the foundations of previous surface to air missiles. According to reports it has a range up to 200km. It also has another locally designed system called Bavar 373 which is a mobile air defense system similar to the S-300.
The degree to which any of these systems is effective is unclear. They have not been tested in conflict, unlike Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is precise and advanced and has been used to strike targets in Syria and Iraq. Iran is likely behind the technological advances of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, whose missiles have been fired at Saudi Arabia. Iran has unveiled this system amid tensions with the US, clearly to send a message about any upcoming conflict.
Senators hope to force vote on arms sales to Saudi Arabia
WASHINGTON (AP) — Opposition to President Donald Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy and use of executive power is building in Congress, where senators have introduced more legislation aimed at blocking the sale of weapons to the kingdom.
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a Democrat, and Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, a Republican, said in a statement Sunday they hope to force a vote on U.S. security assistance to Saudi Arabia, including arms sales, after a review of the kingdom’s human rights record.
Anger has been mounting in Congress for months over the Trump administration’s close ties to the Saudis, fueled by high civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen — a military campaign the U.S. is assisting — and the killing of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Tensions were further inflamed when Trump used an emergency declaration in May to sell the kingdom weapons that Congress had previously placed on hold.
The bill the senators are introducing Monday draws on a provision in the Foreign Assistance Act that allows for congressional review. The act allows Congress to vote to request information about a country’s human rights practices. After receiving the information, Congress can then vote on ending or restricting security assistance.
“Congress needs to change how we do business with the Kingdom. The process we are setting in motion will allow Congress to weigh in on the totality of our security relationship with Saudi Arabia, not just one arms sale, and restore Congress’s role in foreign policy making,” Murphy said in a statement.
This move follows the introduction of 22 bipartisan resolutions on Wednesday that aim to block the $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that bypassed congressional review last month.
“Our arms sales to Saudi Arabia demand Congressional oversight. This bipartisan resolution simply asks the Secretary of State to report on some basic questions before moving forward with them,” said Young, who like Murphy has long been an opponent of U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sales were necessary to counter “the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.” Citing unspecified intelligence, U.S. officials have said the threat from Iran has increased in recent weeks.
Some of the weapons could be delivered to Saudi Arabia later this year, while other arms will not ship for another year or more. The sale includes precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition and aircraft maintenance support.
It is unclear if Murphy and Young’s resolution would pass the Republican-controlled Senate before moving on to the House.
U.S. Commander Weighs an Expanded Mideast Force to Counter Iran
Emergency deployment, seen as ‘stabilizing,’ suggests a larger U.S. role
June 9, 2019
ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN THE NORTH ARABIAN SEA—The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said he may recommend a return to a larger U.S. military presence in the area after concluding that the deployment of this aircraft carrier and other capabilities helped curtail Iranian threats.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, asked in early May that the carrier, bombers, troops and an antimissile system be sent to the region after learning of “specific” threats against U.S. and allied forces and interests in Iraq and elsewhere.
The rapid U.S. buildup for now has stabilized the threat from Iran, Gen. McKenzie said during a swing through the region this week, but he said the dangers posed by Tehran remain real and an attack could be imminent.
“We think this is having a very good stabilizing effect,” Gen. McKenzie said regarding the deployments.
But Gen. McKenzie is considering expanding military capabilities to ensure the U.S. has a long-term, credible deterrence force in the region. Such a move would amount to a significant reversal in the U.S. global military posture, which has shifted away from the Middle East under the Trump administration’s national security strategy, which emphasizes risks from competition with Russia and China.
Gen. McKenzie and others, while backing the national defense strategy issued as part of the national security strategy, said the threat posed by Iran may merit adjustments.
“We’re in the process of negotiating that,” Gen. McKenzie said, acknowledging the potential costs of a shift. “I think very carefully and long and hard before I talk about bringing additional resources into the theater. We are talking about it, but it’s going to be based on a running estimate of the situation as we go forward.”
Iranian officials didn’t respond to a request for comment. Iran has said its military moves in the region have been defensive in nature and has accused the Trump administration of seeking a pretext for war, denouncing the U.S. deployments.
Some U.S. officials also have said Iran’s moves may have been defensive.
The U.S. military presence in the region has fluctuated since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Most recently, the Pentagon has redeployed capabilities and troops away from the Middle East as it sought to pull away from the region’s ongoing conflicts.
Several Patriot missile batteries were removed from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain last year, and aircraft carriers—for two decades an enduring presence in the Persian Gulf—no longer were regularly assigned to the region’s waters. Military forces slowly began to come out as well.
The U.S. concurrently began to reimpose sanctions on Iran, then designated its elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a foreign terrorist organization, drawing threats of retaliation from Tehran. Gen. McKenzie said the reduced U.S. military footprint in the region may have enabled Iran to feel it could threaten the U.S. and its allies.
Gen. McKenzie declined to specify the military resources he might seek. Any recommendation would be made through acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan and in coordination with Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said. Gen. Dunford is responsible for advising the White House.
Gen. McKenzie arrived in the region last week, stopping in Iraq, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and spending a night on the “Abe,” as this carrier is known.
Gen. McKenzie spoke with the more than 6,000 sailors on the Abe. “I am the reason you are here tonight,” Gen. McKenzie said over a loudspeaker from the ship’s bridge. “I requested this ship because of ongoing tensions with Iran, and nothing says you’re interested in somebody than 90,000 tons of aircraft carrier and everything that comes with it.”
He added, “My intent by bringing you in here was to stabilize the situation, let Iran know that now is not the time to do something goofy.”
Since the carrier and other military capabilities arrived in early May, Tehran’s military has maintained “extremely high” levels of military preparedness, officials said, adding they continue to see activity from Iranian boats, submarines and unmanned aerial vehicles, but no attack has yet occurred.
Despite the heightened Iranian military activity, the country’s regular military forces and the IRGC have continued to operate professionally and the interactions at sea have been uneventful, said Adm. John Wade, commander of the Lincoln strike group.
“Since we’ve been operating in the region, we’ve had several interactions with Iranians,” he said. “To this point, all have been safe and professional—meaning, the Iranians have done nothing to impede our maneuverability or acted in a way which required us to take defensive measures.”
The surge of U.S. deployments over the past month have meant an unexpected turn for U.S. military personnel. The U.S. bomber squadron arrived from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., about 48 hours after it was first told to deploy, officials said.
The crew on the Lincoln before its deployment was scheduled to have a much-anticipated port call in Croatia, where many sailors had booked hotel rooms and some had planned “Game of Thrones” tours, as parts of the popular HBO show were filmed there.
Instead, the Lincoln and its crew were dispatched from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Arabian, where some of the more than 40 F-18 Super Hornets aboard the carrier are now conducting “persistent presence” missions in international airspace near Iran. Others are conducting strike missions in Afghanistan, officials said.
The Lincoln ultimately is scheduled to head to San Diego on a round-the-world deployment. But the uncertainty in the Middle East may mean it will stay in the region longer than planned.
“It’s yet to be seen what the new normal is,” one military official said.
S-300 and S-400 tests at Ashuluk testing range in Astrakhan Oblast, Russia | May 2019
Separate names with a comma.