Trump recognizes Golan to counter Iran’s first steps for annexing Lebanon to Syria

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US President Donald Trump’s declared recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan on Thursday, March 21, had a time-sensitive object, unconnected to the Israeli election or Binyamin Netanyahu’s run for reelection, as his rivals contended. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that it was an arrow aimed by the US president at Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hizballah, and the machinations plotted at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s meeting with Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khameini on Feb. 25. Present at their meeting, our sources reveal, were two figures, Al Qods chief Qasem Soleimani, supreme commander of Iran’s Mid East fronts, and, for the first time, a high-ranking Hizballah military official, who is a senior strategic adviser to Hassan Nasrallah. Continue reading

Potential Shifts on US Strategy in Syria

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The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is denying a Wall Street Journal report that claimed at least 1,000 US troops would remain in Syria. Gen. Joseph Dunford released a statement calling the claims “factually inaccurate” and assured the public of the Pentagon’s commitment to a steady withdrawal: “We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.” President Trump made waves across the national security community when he announced his original plan in December of the complete withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Later, the administration announced that 400 troops would most likely stay in southern Syria to monitor possible Iranian arms shipments to Lebanese-based terror groups such as Hezbollah. No specific estimates have been made as to the number of troops, although Pentagon officials have confirmed that any new amount will almost certainly will be lower. Although the President initially supported shifting troops from Syria to Iraq, concerns from Iraqi politicians about the US using its regional presence to spy on Iran have negated any support for such an initiative.

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Iran Building Two New Nuclear Plants

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran / Getty Images

 

Files complaint against U.S. for ‘crimes against humanity’

Iranian leaders announced on Monday the construction of two new nuclear plants, and it remains unclear if the Trump administration views this as crossing a red line since its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, which included provisions permitting Iran to work on heavy water nuclear reactors that could provide a plutonium-based pathway to a bomb. Continue reading

Struggle for Global Power Status

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BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The United States is preparing sanctions against European companies participating in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to senior US government officials. German government officials, on the other hand, predict that US sanctions will lead to a confrontation with the whole of the EU. “We will do everything necessary to complete the pipeline.” At the same time, the power struggle over the participation of the Chinese Huawei Corporation in setting up the 5G grid in Germany and the EU is escalating. After the German government indicated that it would not exclude, a priori, Huawei, the US ambassador in Berlin is threatening to reduce cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence services. US President Donald Trump is also considering calling on countries to pay the full cost of stationing US forces on their soil, plus 50 percent more. German government advisors are pleading for a “policy of ‘softer’ or ‘more robust’ countervailing power formation.” Europe’s “strategic autonomy” is at the core of this power struggle. Continue reading

North Korea’s Satellites Could Unleash Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

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North Korea reportedly is rebuilding its Sohae satellite launch facility, widely interpreted as threatening to resume intercontinental missile development — ignoring the greater immediate threat from North Korea’s satellites and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Dr. William Graham, EMP Commission Chairman, in “North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat,” on Oct. 12, 2017, warned Congress:

“While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large. Continue reading

US Citizens Will Need A Visa To Visit Europe Starting In 2021

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In a world in which most western liberal democracies are slamming Trump for demanding a wall be built on the US southern border to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the US, Europe is about to erect a metaphorical wall targeting legal US travelers, because starting in 2021, U.S. citizens will need a visa to visit most European countries.

“Similar to other countries and regions in the world Europe has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism,” the EU said. Continue reading

Niall Ferguson: This is what happens if China wins the new cold war

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Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping. AP

 

The winter of a new cold war is coming between the US and China, renowned Hoover Institution and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson warned The Australian Financial Review Business Summit this week.

Winning it might decide the 2020 US election. Losing it might be the end of a US dollar-dominated global financial system, if not worse. That’s very scary coming from the man who called the scale of the Soviet communist collapse in 1989 and the US mortgage implosion two years early in 2006. Continue reading

U.S. hits back against Chinese cyberattacks

The Chinese military hacker unit has conducted operations since at least 2013 in support of China’s naval modernization effort. (U.S. Navy) (Photo by: Samuel Shavers)

 

American intelligence and military cyberwarriors have begun conducting counter-cyberattacks against Chinese intelligence and military targets, according to a U.S. official.

The counterattacks are part of a new Trump administration policy designed to retaliate for rampant cybertheft of American technology by the Chinese that has caused estimated losses ranging from $200 billion to $600 billion a year. Details of the U.S. cyberoperations were not disclosed, and the activities remain classified.

The hacking is likely to include theft of Chinese advanced military know-how, such as hypersonic missile technology — an area of military research where China is believed to be ahead of the United States. Another possible target would be technology related to China’s anti-ship ballistic missile technology like that deployed in the DF-21D ship-killing missile. Such technology requires maneuvering warheads and special guidance. Continue reading

Report: North Koreans Got Desperate After Trump Walked Away

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(Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House)

 

Their offer to shutter Yongbyon didn’t come until after the president ended his talks with Kim Jong-un.

We now have a much different view of what happened behind closed doors during the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un that ultimately led to its abrupt ending. Continue reading

Full-blown Socialism Likely Coming to U.S., Warns Famed Economist

 

President Trump vowed at his State of the Union address “that America will never be a socialist country.” But legendary economist Dr. Thomas Sowell sounded a more pessimistic note this week, saying that as far as avoiding a dystopian socialist future goes, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Sowell, a Hoover Institution senior fellow and author of more than 30 books, issued his warning during a Tuesday appearance on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast to Coast. After being asked by interviewer David Asman if the United States was “destined to go through a period of socialism,” the economist replied, “I do have a great fear that, in the long run, we may not make it.”

“I hate to say that. The one thing that keeps me from being despairing is that we don’t know,” Sowell continued, trying to inject some optimism. “There are so many things that we can’t possibly know. And so, we may make it, but I wouldn’t bet on it” (video below. Relevant portion begins 6:25). Continue reading

Mad at Bolton? Satellite imagery shows N. Korea rapidly rebuilding missile site

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U.S. national security adviser John Bolton

 

Satellite imagery acquired on March 2 shows that North Korea is rebuilding the long-range rocket site at Sohae (Tongchang-ri) which in the past was used to launch satellites with ICBM technology that is banned under UN Security Council resolutions.

“Activity is evident at the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad’s rail-mounted rocket transfer structure,” according to the Beyond Parallel website. “This facility had been dormant since August 2018, indicating the current activity is deliberate and purposeful.” Continue reading

5G Espionage (II)

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BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) – An opening is emerging for Berlin to be able to include Huawei in Germany’s 5G grid installation – contrary to the massive US campaign. The President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) Arne Schönbohm declared that “an anti-espionage treaty” between Germany and China could help, open the possibility of Huawei’s participation in setting up the grid. Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently seeking to conclude such an agreement. The industry is in favor of using Huawei Technology, because it promises to be the fastest and most cost-effective construction of the strategically important 5G grid. Experts warn that without Huawei, Germany could lag at least two years behind in the development. Meanwhile it has become known that for years, the NSA has been eavesdropping not only on China’s president but on Huawei as well. Allegedly, US spies cannot show any evidence of Huawei being involved in espionage operations – even after having read the emails of numerous employees and those of the company’s board chair.

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Intel: How Turkey is turning to Russia amid row with US over Syria

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu give a joint press conference after their meeting in Moscow, Aug. 24, 2018. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The timing of the Turkish foreign minister’s unexpected phone call today with his Russian counterpart in the middle of US-Turkey talks on Syria is the latest sign that Washington and Ankara remain hopelessly at odds over how to move forward in the region.

Why it matters: Mevlut Cavusoglu’s call to Sergey Lavrov was made “upon the initiative of the Turkish side,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Syria dossier topped the agenda. Continue reading

Is a Second Civil War Coming?

Civil wars are horrendous and bloody affairs. That’s why we should avoid them.  They happen when two sides cannot settle on who runs the country.  When they can’t reconcile the matter through elections, the country falls apart.  When one side does not accept the election results, we have a countdown to a civil war.

This is the thesis put forth by journalist Daniel Greenfield.  It rings true on many levels. Continue reading

Russian Weapons Circumvent New START Arms Pact

Gen. John Hyten

Gen. John Hyten / Getty Images

 

Stratcom wants nuclear torpedo, advanced missiles covered if New START extended

The general in charge of U.S. nuclear forces warned Tuesday that Russia is building three new strategic weapons that circumvent the limits of the New START arms treaty.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Omaha-based Strategic Command, told Congress he favors requiring limits on the new weapons in any extension of the 2010 strategic arms accord. Continue reading