Russia Gaining Influence in Mediterranean

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Russians have a history of cooperation with many African countries, however, since the fall of the Soviet Union involvement in Africa has effectively ended. Recent years have seen the Russians engaging more with Africa, especially in northern countries around the Mediterranean Sea, where the Russians are using military operations against various rebel or terror groups as leverage against the United States. Continue reading

USS Truman airborne strike group in place opposite Syria

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DEBKAfile

 

In position off the Syrian coast is the nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier – from which the US, UK and France launched their April 14 attack on the Syrian army for launching a chemical attack. The US Navy strike group entered the eastern Mediterranean over last weekend. US task force commander Rear Adm. Eugene Black announced that its arrival “sends a powerful signal to our partners that we are committed to maintaining peace and security in the region and everywhere that there is a threat of terrorism.” Continue reading

On Point: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk

Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.

India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria. Continue reading

Mattis: Iran-Israel clash is close, but US military focus shifts out of Syria to Iraq

 

The US will relocate its military operations to Iraq and the Mediterranean, after drawing down its troops in Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis disclosed to Congress on Thursday, April 26.

His comments were enigmatic: “Right now we are not withdrawing US troops from Syria,” Mattis said. “You’ll see increased operations on the Iraqi side of the border and the French just reinforced us in Syria with special forces here in the last two weeks. This is an ongoing fight right now,” he said.But what did he mean?US sources explain that while Washington is committed to fighting Islamic State terrorists, a US troop presence in Syria is not essential and the war can be fought from outside, e.g., Iraq. Continue reading

11 Russian Warships Leave Syrian Port To Conduct Exercises

 

Update: The Russian warships leaving port has been reported as a drill, as InterFax reports:

Russian Navy ships, starting from April 11, will conduct exercises near the coast of Syria, follow from the international notification for aviation personnel (NOTAM) and navigational warning for seafarers.

The reports contain the coordinates of the closed area, as well as the conduct of training shooting there.

Continue reading

‘Get ready Russia’ – Donald Trump tells Putin and Assad to expect ‘nice and new and smart’ missiles

 

President Donald Trump has told Russia and Syria to “get ready” for a missile attack on the Assad regime, saying the bombs will be “nice and new and smart”.

Mr Trump tweeted an extraordinary response to Russia’s claim that it would shoot down any missiles fired at Syria following the chemical weapons attack on Douma.

The US President added: “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Earlier, Alexander Zasypkin, the Russian envoy to Beirut, said: “If there is an American strike, then we… will shoot down the missiles and target the positions from where they were launched.

“In the past few days, we have seen an escalation towards a significant crisis.” Continue reading

Syria MISSILE STRIKE ‘within hours’: Eastern Mediterranean on ALERT for ‘possible launch’

War drums are beating with even more intensity than the last few months, activity and mobilization are on the rise, and allied forces are putting their money where their mouth is by placing military units within striking distance.

Brace for (possible) impact.

 

Syria chemical attack

Syria chemical attack: Missiles could be fired at Syria within a matter of hours [Getty]

 

BRITISH and French forces could launch an imminent missile strike on Syria within a matter of hours, aviation monitors have revealed.

A coalition force could fire “air-to-ground or cruise missiles” in the wake of a horrifying chemical attack on innocent civilians in  last week.

Aviation experts AirLive have reported this evening a “rapid alert notification” warning aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean to be wary of a sudden missile strike. Continue reading

Netanyahu: Trump Is Very Likely To Order Attack On Syria

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes US President Trump is very likely to order an attack on Syria, a senior Israeli official tells Israel’s Channel 10 news.

Bloomberg, however, reports that Trump is said to have not made a decision yet on Syria despite the fact that he canceled a trip to South America, citing the crisis in SyriaContinue reading

Iranian Presence in Mediterranean Sea Alarms Israel

 

‘Iranian ports in the eastern Mediterranean are a real risk for Israel.’

Israeli Adm. Shaul Chorev (Ret.) has warned that Israel’s next proxy war with Iran “could see a focus on the [Mediterranean] Sea.”

The Jerusalem Post quoted the retired naval officer on January 28 as cautioning that the strategy of Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, clearly shows that “they will target Israeli strategic assets.” To do that, he said, they could use suicide vessels or land-to-sea missiles.

Iran “is on the verge of reaching the Mediterranean, including the use of Syrian ports by the Iranian Navy,” Chorev said. “Iranian ports in the eastern Mediterranean are a real risk for Israel.”

Continue reading

China Infrastructure Push Reaches Arctic, Leaving Out U.S.

 

  • Xi adds Arctic, Latin America to Belt and Road Initiative
  • Latest expansion leaves out only Canada, Japan and U.S.

With the addition of the Arctic and Latin America last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative has become truly global. Only the U.S., its neighbor Canada and ally Japan have yet to be included in the plan, which seeks to build or upgrade a network of highways, railways, ports and pipelines. Continue reading

EU To Force Poland, Hungary And Czech Republic To Accept Refugees

One month after the EU’s executive Commission launched legal cases against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for “defaulting on their legal obligations” by refusing to comply with the EU’s refugee quotas (i.e., accept migrants), on Wednesday the three Central European nations suffered another blow after Brussels mounted a legal fightback to force them to comply with EU refugee quotas. The top European Union court’s adviser dismissed a challenge brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the obligatory relocation of refugees across the bloc, as it prepared to sign-off legal suits against the holdout countries.

The two states, backed by Poland, wanted the court to annul a 2015 EU scheme to have each member state host a number of refugees to help ease pressure on Greece and Italy, struggling with mass arrivals across the Mediterranean. Supported by Germany, Italy and Brussels, the EU’s “relocation” law has become one of the bloc’s most divisive recent policy initiatives, forced through over the objections of states from eastern and central Europe. Continue reading

U.S. lawmakers say Iran eyes military base near Syria-Israel border

Iran military leaders. Teheran wants to establish a military base in Syria near the Jordan or Israel border, U.S. lawmakers said. / Fars via AFP

 

Iran is looking to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and is eyeing a potential base near the Syrian border with Israel or Jordan, two U.S. lawmakers said.

“A permanent Iranian military base in Syria … would increase Iran’s operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region,” Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, and Rep. Ted Deutch, Florida Democrat, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The lawmakers’ warning comes as a Senate panel on May 25 approved new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s support for international terrorism and its ballistic missile program, the first move to punish Teheran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord went into effect. Continue reading

Russian paratroops move to Syrian border triangle

Military tensions on Syria’s borders with Iraq, Jordan and Syria jumped another notch Monday, May 21, on Day 2 of Donald Trump’s foreign trip, with the arrival of the first Russian ground troops in southern Syria for taking up position opposite US and coalition elite units.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that, as the US president was preparing to cap his two hectic days in the Saudi capital with a major speech on Islam, before flying to Jerusalem, a Russian contingent of paratroops and special forces arrived at Suweida. It linked up with the Syrian army, Hizballah and other pro-Iranian allies already poised to take on the US, Jordanian, British and Norwegian elite units for control of the strategic 600km long Syrian-Iraqi border and its key crossings. Continue reading

China’s Project of the Century

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin und Brussels are obstructing China’s “New Silk Road” mega project. Last Sunday, the EU refused to sign a declaration pertaining to this project at an international summit in Beijing with representatives from more than 100 countries, including 29 heads of states and governments. Beijing plans to invest trillions in this project to develop overland and maritime transport corridors from East Asia to Europe. It is considered one of today’s most important economic-strategic projects. A similar project, initiated by Berlin and Brussels in 1993 was a failure. China seeks new markets for its economy, but also seeks to consolidate unstable regions in the West of the People’s Republic. The “New Silk Road” is intended to closely connect the economies in Europe and Asia – without the United States, which had opposed it. German interests are contradictory: While business circles hope for new profits through intensified cooperation, China’s rise, propelled by this project, is challenging Germany and the EU’s geopolitical interests. Thus, Berlin and Brussels are taking an ambivalent position. Continue reading