Russia: Who Stole What For North Korea

Over the weekend Russia made a point of revealing another of their post-Cold War EW (electronic warfare) aircraft. This one is called the Il-22PP and described as an airborne electronic jammer that can block all manner of signals but particularly the digital ones (like Link 16) favored by Western warplanes. The Il-22PP was also described as being able to protect itself from anti-radiation missiles, like the American AGM-88. Since late 2015 Russia has revealed (to the public) the existence of other post-Cold War electronic warfare aircraft by using them in Syria or over Ukraine. Not so the Il-22PP, at least not yet. Continue reading

The average age of an empire? A mere 250 years

WASHINGTON >> As the Fourth of July approaches, the idea that democracy is the highest political calling of mankind once again hangs poignantly in the philosophical air.

We fret over problems here at home. We shake our heads over warring political parties, our vulgarized public culture and a billionaire class that thinks it should inherit the country all by its rich little 1 percent self.

But when we look at America’s foreign policy since World War II we should be most soberly gripped by a contradiction in thinking that could be leading us disastrously into the last hours of empire.

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Congress considering restart of F-22 program

Lockheed debuts C-130J variant for special operations forces

 

The House Armed Services Committee is currently reviewing a classified report it ordered last year on restarting production of the F-22 Raptor, according to a spokesperson for the committee.

“I can confirm that we received the report and are reviewing it,” HASC spokesman Barron Youngsmith told UPI, declining to comment further due to the classified nature of the review. Continue reading

Leading the Multipolar Revolution: How Russia and China Are Creating a New World Order

The replacement for the American global hegemony is all there. The alternative global infrastructure is built and only a switch needs to be flipped on. The only questions remaining are when and how America will be replaced as a global leader.

 

Leading the Multipolar Revolution: How Russia and China Are Creating a New World Order

 

The last thirty days have shown another kind of world that is engaging in cooperation, dialogue and diplomatic efforts to resolve important issues. The meeting of the members of the Belt and Road Initiative laid the foundations for a physical and electronic connectivity among Eurasian countries, making it the backbone of sustainable and renewable trade development based on mutual cooperation. A few weeks later, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Astana outlined the necessary conditions for the success of the Chinese project, such as securing large areas of the Eurasian block and improving dialogue and trust among member states. The following AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) meeting in ROK will layout the economical necessities to finance and sustain the BRI projects.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have many common features, and in many ways seem complementary. The SCO is an organization that focuses heavily on economic, political and security issues in the region, while the BRI is a collection of infrastructure projects that incorporates three-fifths of the globe and is driven by Beijing’s economic might. In this context, the Eurasian block continues to develop the following initiatives to support both the BRI and SCO mega-projects. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CTSO) is a Moscow-based organization focusing mainly on the fight against terrorism, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a Beijing-based investment bank that is responsible for generating important funding for Beijing’s long-term initiatives along its maritime routes (ports and canals) and overland routes (road, bridges, railways, pipelines, industries, airports). The synergies between these initiatives find yet another point of convergence in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Together, the SCO, BRI, CTSO, AIIB, and EEU provide a compelling indication of the direction in which humanity is headed, which is to say towards integration, cooperation and peaceful development through diplomacy. Continue reading

The Years of Terror (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – Following the recent terror attacks, international pressure has been mounting on a major supporter of global jihadism – Saudi Arabia, a close German ally. In London, leading politicians from the opposition are calling on the British government to finally publish an investigation of the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. Protest against the western powers’ pact with the Saudi ruling clan is being raised also beyond Europe’s borders. The youth league of the world’s largest Islamic organization, the Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama, for example, has published a declaration accusing the West of ignoring the direct correlation between the Saudi Salafist crusade “and the spread of terrorism worldwide.” For decades, Saudi Arabia has been promoting Salafi jihadi milieux throughout the world – partly in alliance with Germany, partly with Berlin’s de facto approval – significantly strengthening them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahel, North Africa, the Middle East and the European countries with Muslim populations, such as Kosovo, as well as in Southeast Asia – in Indonesia and in the Philippines. While milieux supported by Saudi Arabia have increased their terror also in Western Europe, Berlin is continuing its cooperation with Riyadh.

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Iran shrugs off Trump threats, missile tests to carry on

Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed US strategy in the Middle East, dismissing Donald Trump’s summit with Arab leaders as “just a show” and insisting that missile tests will continue.

“Our missiles are for our defence and for peace, they are not offensive. Know that while there is a technical need to conduct missile tests, we will do so and we will ask the permission of no one,” Rouhani told reporters in Tehran.

His comments followed fierce critism from the US president during visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Continue reading

Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016

 

(CNN) It was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines.

As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news agenda, Mexico’s drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 — second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war.

“This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths [in Mexico] are nearly all attributable to small arms,” said John Chipman, chief executive and director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual survey of armed conflict on Tuesday. Continue reading

The Soviet Union fought the Cold War in Nicaragua. Now Putin’s Russia is back.

A view from the outside of the new Russian satellite station above a volcanic crater in Managua. Built alongside Laguna de Nejapa, on a hillside facing the U.S. Embassy, the base is intended to be a tracking site for GLONASS, Russia’s version of a GPS satellite navigation system. Some suspect the site could also be used for spying activities. (Joshua Partlow/The Washington Post)

 

On the rim of a volcano with a clear view of the U.S. Embassy, landscapers are applying the final touches to a mysterious new Russian compound.

Behind the concrete walls and barbed wire, a visitor can see red-and-blue buildings, manicured lawns, antennas and globe-shaped devices. The Nicaraguan government says it’s simply a tracking site of the Russian version of a GPS satellite system. But is it also an intelligence base intended to surveil the Americans?

“I have no idea,” said a woman who works for the Nicaraguan telecom agency stationed at the site. “They are Russian, and they speak Russian, and they carry around Russian apparatuses.” Continue reading

USAREUR General: Terror threat in Europe highest in world

Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti speaks during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

(WASHINGTON, DC) The threat posed by violent extremism is higher in Europe than anywhere else in the world, apart from actual war zones and hotspots, US European Command head General Curtis Scaparrotti said, commenting on Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London.

“The number of threat streams that we have of this type within Europe – it’s probably higher in Europe than any other part of the globe, with the exception of the places we’re actually physically fighting [terrorists], like Syria […] Afghanistan and Iraq,” the senior US military leader in Europe, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Continue reading

Russia not out to improve relations

Takes combative stance against U.S. around globe

As “welcome” as a bone-chilling blast from a mid-March nor’easter, more bad news continues to blow our way out of Moscow, minimizing the possibility of a springtime thaw in U.S.-Russia relations.

And I’m not talking about any of the U.S. domestic issues that have been in the headlines lately, such as charges against Russian FSB intelligence operatives for hacking Yahoo email accounts. Continue reading

Mexico Ranked (By Verisk Maplecroft) As World’s Third Most Dangerous Country

The consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft compiled a Crime Rate Index for calendar year 2016, and Mexico was in third place, as the third most dangerous country in the world.  The list was released in December of 2016.

Verisk Maplecroft describes itself on its website as “a leading global risk analytics, research and strategic forecasting company offering an unparalleled portfolio of risk solutions.”

Here is the firm’s Top Ten Most Dangerous Countries list, with #1 as the most dangerous country in the world, #2 as the second most dangerous, and so on: Continue reading

Is Germany Ready to Fire Shots?

Caption: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18 (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

 

Bundeswehr officials expect a more active and a more lethal role for Germany in the Middle East.

German military leaders are preparing to take on a more active role in the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East. This news emerges following the February 17–19 Munich Security Conference. Spiegel Online reported on February 20 that German diplomats and military officers left the conference feeling that some major challenges ahead of them go far beyond merely increasing the nation’s military budget. The feeling was that Germany must get ready to fire shots.

German generals expect future missions to include air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and possibly an increased deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Spiegel Online quoted a German military general who attended the conference as saying, “[United States President Donald] Trump doesn’t only want more money from us but he also wants us to finally fire shots” (Trumpet translation throughout). Although former President Barack Obama had previously insisted on a more active NATO involvement, the quoted general believes that the tone is sharper now and that Germany must prepare to pull the trigger. Continue reading

Who’s Contributing How Much To Financing NATO?

You will find more statistics at Statista

 

While the U.S. outspends all NATO allies when it comes to overall defence spending in relation to her GDP, Statista’s Dyfed Loesche notes – and President Trump is very well aware of – the U.S. is also the prime direct financer of NATO.

However, direct contribution are more evenly split between the major NATO powers. Germany for example, spends only 1.19 percent of her GDP into defence (USA = 3.61 percent) but seemingly pulls its weight when it comes to direct funding of NATO. This does not include contributions to particular military operations.

As George Friedman recently notedEuropeans must face two facts… Continue reading

Saudi deports 40,000 Pakistani workers over terror fears

Pakistani laborers gather outside the overseas employment consultant office in Rawalpindi to apply for jobs with a construction company in Saudi Arabia. /AFP/Getty Images

 

Saudi Arabia over the past four months has deported some 40,000 Pakistani workers, many of whom were said to be linked to Islamic State (ISIS) and other terror groups. Continue reading

Russia, Iran Supporting Taliban to ‘Undermine’ U.S. Mission in Afghanistan

Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan / AP

 

Moscow working to ‘publicly legitimize’ Taliban

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that Russia and Iran are supporting the Taliban in part to undermine the U.S. and NATO mission to attain peace and stability in the nation.

Army Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran is providing the Taliban in western Afghanistan with military and logistical support. Continue reading