THESE staggering images show just how much Russia’s military presence has grown in Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s heartland.
Vladimir Putin’s Government is understood to be handing out new types of air and ground weapons to soldiers in the war-torn country, amid growing concerns of Moscow’s deepening support to Damascus.
Sources say Russia has set up an air traffic control tower and transported prefabricated housing units for up to 1,000 personnel to an airfield serving the Syrian port of Latakia.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia has positioned about a half dozen tanks at an airfield at the center of a military buildup in Syria, two U.S. officials said on Monday, adding that the intentions of Moscow’s latest deployment of heavy military equipment were unclear.
Moscow has come under increased international pressure in recent days to explain its moves in Syria, where the Kremlin has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a 4-1/2-year war. Continue reading
China has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea this year, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, US officials said Friday.
The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, officials said.
“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” said a US defense official. Continue reading
After years of using Moffett Field as the home and launch pad for the private jets of Google’s founders, the company has agreed to a deal in which it will lease the airfield from NASA for the next 60 years. As part of the lease, Google will take over operations of the airfield while the U.S. government retains ownership of the land.
In a press release, NASA announced that Planetary Ventures LLC, a shell organization operated by Google for real estate deals, will contribute $1.16 billion over the course of the lease, while reducing the government agency’s maintenance and operation costs by $6.3 million annually. Continue reading
Ukrainian armed forces launched a “special operation” against militiamen in the country’s Russian speaking east, authorities said, recapturing a military airfield from pro-Moscow separatists. Continue reading
Quoting unnamed senior US diplomats and military intelligence officials, a lengthy article in Foreign Policy magazine asserts that “Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border.”
“The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official is quoted as saying, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”
Why would US officials be talking about this? Likely to slow down any rush to war in an already volatile region, some speculate.
“Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak,” Mr. Bolton said, adding, “It’s just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies.”
Full article: Attacking Iran: Did US just torpedo Israeli deal for a base in Azerbaijan? (Christian Science Monitor)
U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?
Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran’s northern border and, according to several high-level sources I’ve spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the “submerged” aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance — the security cooperation between the two countries — is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.
In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. “The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official told me in early February, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”
Full article: Israel’s Secret Staging Ground (Foreign Policy)