In first under Trump, U.S. warship challenges Beijing’s claims in South China Sea

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey prepares for a replenishment-at-sea in the South China Sea May 19, 2017. Picture taken May 19, 2017. Kryzentia Weiermann/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

 

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The so-called freedom of navigation operation, which is sure to anger China, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing’s cooperation to rein in ally North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Did US work with Russia in ‘surprise’ Syria strike?

An interesting take that deserves attention.

 

Op-Ed: Did US work with Russia in ‘surprise’ Syria strike?

Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria is seen in this DigitalGlobe satellite image released by the U.S. Defense Department on April 6, 2017 after announcing U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against the Syrian Air Force airfield. DigitalGlobe/Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS

 

Could President Trump have struck a deal with Russia before the strikes in a play to nullify his opposition and peacefully split up Syria?

(VERO BEACH, FLA) On Thursday evening at approximately 20:40 ET (04:40 AM, Friday, April 7th local time) the US reportedly launched 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Their target was the Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria, and according to Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis the missiles successfully struck aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum, logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.

According to the Pentagon press release, Russian forces, as well as regional allies, were notified in advance of the strike using previously established deconfliction lines, and ‘precautions’ were taken to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.  Continue reading

US armored column at Manbij to block Russians

The Pentagon announced Tuesday, March 6, that a US armored convoy was deployed around the disputed northern Syrian town of Manbij, and in an unusual move, released a video depicting the convoy and its men.

A US military spokesman tweeted that the US deployment was a deliberate action taken to assure that forces within the US-led coalition deterred aggression and kept the focus on defeating ISIS.

Affirming that the US-led coalition was aware of the location of Russian-backed Syrian forces, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters Monday. Continue reading

U.S. warship sails near island claimed by China in South China Sea

WASHINGTON–A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of an island claimed by China and two other nations in the South China Sea on Jan 30, in an operation the Pentagon said aimed to challenge efforts to restrict freedom of navigation.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

Continue reading

Russia positioning tanks at Syria airfield: U.S. officials

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