Rickards: “War Is Almost Inevitable”

Trump Tweet 2

 

All three major stock indexes were deep in the red yesterday, and volatility spiked for the first time in months as the war clouds gather over the Korean Peninsula.

Here’s the latest tweet from President Trump: (See source) Continue reading

Mattis Warns North Korea to Avoid Actions That Would Lead to the ‘Destruction of Its People’

James Mattis / Getty

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday called on North Korea to stand down in its pursuit of nuclear weapons or risk taking actions that would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

“The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack,” Mattis said in a statement. “Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability.” Continue reading

Russia posts troops 8km from the Israeli Golan

 

Russia has quietly moved troops to a point in southern Syria that is 8km from Israel’s Golan border, in the face of Israeli objections, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Moscow used the uproar over the Temple Mount standoff and the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan to cover its creeping troop deployment almost up do Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.

Tuesday, July 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott visited Bashan Division headquarters on the Golan for a rundown on the Russian deployment just opposite. (see photo) Continue reading

US Ballistic Missile Defense to Enter New Domains

 

Much has been said about the US ground-based missile defense program and the sites in place or to be installed soon in Europe and Asia. But land is not the only domain where the effort it taking place. This is the time the priority is shifting to air- and space-based systems. The US officials and military leaders believe that space is now a warfighting domain on par with air, land and sea. This is one of rare issues the administration and Congress see eye to eye on.

On June 30, President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the National Space Council – an executive agency with Vice President Mike Pence at the helm that will be tasked with guiding US space policy during the administration. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, as well as NASA’s administrator, will serve on the council as well. Continue reading

At This Stage, The Trump Administration Consents To Iran’s Regional Expansion, Exchanges Messages Seeking An Understanding With Iran; Qatar Crisis, Escalation Of Conflict Between Iran And Its Axis And Saudi-Sunni Camp Are Outcome Of U.S.’s Incoherent Dual Policy

Introduction

Recently, there have been significant developments in the conflict/rivalry between, on the one hand, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni axis that it established, and on the other hand Iran and the resistance axis. These developments concern not only the forces in the region but also the U.S. and Russia. Both these camps are vying for support from the U.S., which at this stage is striving for understandings and negotiations with Iran and, according to Iranian sources, is already conducting secret contacts with it; this is happening as the U.S. is, for now, coming to terms with Iran’s expansion in the region. These developments are impacting the reshaping of the Middle East as well as the power relations among the leading elements within it. The current Qatar crisis is a new manifestation of the generational geo-political Sunni-Shi’ite Saudi-Iranian struggle, and is the outcome of the policy of a U.S. administration in which two political camps are discernible. One is that of President Trump and his close advisors, who support Saudi Arabia and the Sunni axis, and the other is that of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who are showing sympathy for Qatar and acting to preserve the pro-Iran status quo of the Obama era. 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.

Continue reading

Mattis Is Punting the Military Buildup to 2019

In accord with the president’s budget, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told committee members that the military buildup will start in fiscal year 2019. (Photo: Ken Cedeno/Zuma Press/Newscom)

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has news for Congress and for the nation: The military buildup will have to wait until next year.

Mattis delivered that message in a back-to-back series of appearances before Congress, one of them taking place in a rare prime-time hearing on Monday night. Continue reading

Mattis: ‘Shocked’ by Poor State of Military Readiness

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Monday that he was “shocked” at the poor state of the military’s readiness.

Mattis appeared before the committee to answer questions regarding the proposed budget for the military, CBS reports. He told lawmakers that one of the top problems facing the Pentagon is military readiness, which the retired general said has worsened since he left the Marine Corps in 2013. Continue reading

How an Iranian general duped US command in Syria

The Iranian-made Syrian drone downed by US F-15 fighters in southeastern Syria on June 8 was presented by American media as a “pro-regime” drone. It was in fact, as DEBKAfile’s military sources can disclose, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Shahed-129, which was fired as a part of a complicated ruse to dupe the US commanders while pro-Iranian forces surreptiously moved in on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Americans had drawn a line in the Syrian Desert sand 55 km outside the Al-Tanf border crossing embedded in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle, which is under the control of US, Western and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel group. The Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the US military command in Syria and Iraq were confident that by securing this perimeter, their forces would keep the pro-Iranian advance at bay and the border safe. Continue reading

Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely

Soldiers of the Arctic motorized rifle brigade of Russia’s Northern Fleet took a stand near APCs during military exercise in Alakyrtti, Murmansk region, Russia, April 25, 2017. Dmitry Kozlov / AP

 

ALAKURTTI BASE, RUSSIAN ARCTIC — An RPG shell whistles towards its target, exploding in a ball of fire just as a group of soldiers in white fatigues, zip past on skis, bullets flying from their white rifles.

It was all part of a training exercise by Russia’s newly formed 80th Motor Rifle Arctic Brigade, which was established two years ago as part of the Kremlin’s bid for dominance in the Arctic. The soldiers are trained to operate in some of the least hospitable climates in the world — where temperatures can drop to -40 — using tanks, military hardware and even reindeer sleds to get around in the frozen terrain. Continue reading

U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, the U.S. military said.

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea, the USS Ross and the USS Porter, fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Shayrat Airfield in Homs province in western Syria, the Defense Department said. That’s the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

The Pentagon said people were not targeted, and there was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps. Continue reading

Trump critic Patrick Cronin to head plum Pentagon think tank

Patrick Cronin, an Asian security expert with the Democrat-leaning Center for New American Security, has been named to the plum post of director of a key Pentagon think tank, the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

The appointment was announced March 10 in a notice from the center that said Mr. Cronin was approved by Defense Secretary James Mattis.

While Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Mr. Mattis “was not involved in this decision” that was made before President Trump took office in January, the selection has set off criticism among conservative China analysts who are concerned about Mr. Cronin’s views and writings on China. However, the key eyebrow-raiser for critics was Mr. Cronin’s signing of an anti- Trump protest letter last year. 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

Mattis: U.S. Could ‘Moderate’ NATO Support if Allies Don’t Pay More

James Mattis / AP

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told NATO allies on Wednesday that they need to contribute more money to the alliance’s common defense if they do not want to see the United States “moderate its commitment.” Continue reading

Mattis threatens North Korea: Deploying nukes means WAR

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has warned North Korea of an overwhelming response if it chooses to use nuclear weapons.

(SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA) U.S. President Donald Trump’s defense secretary warned North Korea on Friday of an “effective and overwhelming” response if it chose to use nuclear weapons, as he reassured South Korea of steadfast U.S. support.

“Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said at South Korea’s defense ministry, at the end of a two-day visit. Continue reading