Reports: U.S. forces take control of Syrian air base

The facility, near the city of Rmeilan in Hasakah province, is the first U.S.-controlled air base in Syria.

A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the base was handed over to the U.S. to support Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It had been under the control of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for over two years. Continue reading

Chinese warplanes to join Russian air strikes in Syria. Russia gains Iraqi air base

The J-15 warplanes will take off from the Chinese Liaoning-CV-16 aircraft carrier, which reached Syrian shores on Sept. 26 (as debkafile exclusively reported at the time). This will be a landmark event for Beijing: its first military operation in the Middle East as well the carrier’s first taste of action in conditions of real combat.

Thursday night, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, made this comment on the Syrian crisis at a UN Security Council session in New York: “The world cannot afford to stand by and look on with folded arms, but must also not arbitrarily interfere (in the crisis).” Continue reading

The Bear Is Loose

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

One can trace a line from any global hotspot to Russia and its authoritarian ruler. Iran? Russia has assisted its nuclear program for decades. Syria? Russia is Bashar Assad’s arms dealer. Iraq? Russia is sending men and materiel to the central government. Afghanistan? Putin muscled nearby Kyrgyzstan into closing our air base there, crucial for transport, resupply, and reconnaissance in the war against the Taliban. The contretemps between the United States and Germany is the result of Edward Snowden’s breach of national security. Where is Snowden? In Russia, where he has just asked to have his visa renewed. I wonder if Vladimir Putin will say yes. Continue reading

PHL plans air, naval bases in Subic with access for US forces

The Philippine military has revived plans to build new air and naval bases at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base that American forces could use to counter China’s creeping presence in the disputed South China Sea, senior navy officials said.

The proposed bases in the Philippines, a close US ally, coincides with a resurgence of US warships, planes and personnel in the region as Washington turns its attention to a newly assertive China and shifts its foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia. Continue reading