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

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

Russia creates Arctic military district

The military build-up in the Arctic is underway.

In 2014 Russia will create a new military structure, which will be called the Northern Fleet – United Strategic Command (NF-USC). General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces informed that the mission of the new unit would be the protection of Russian national interests in the Arctic.

The active work in this direction started last year, after President Putin’s televised appeal to the Minister of Defense “to pay special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic.Continue reading

Israel prepares for short, intense war to deliver ‘knock-out blow’ to Hizbullah

TEL AVIV — Israel’s military has been preparing for a brief and decisive war against Hizbullah, a report said.

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies asserted that Israel’s military has invested heavily in new capabilities to ensure a brief war against Hizbullah in Lebanon. Continue reading

Russia’s Military Is Back

Earlier this year, in an address delivered on the day devoted to the “defenders of the Fatherland,” the Russian president proclaimed: “Ensuring Russia has a reliable military force is the priority of our state policy. Unfortunately, the present world is far from being peaceful and safe. Long obsolete conflicts are being joined by new, but no less difficult, ones. Instability is growing in vast regions of the world.”

This is not empty talk. The rhetoric has been matched by a concurrent allocation of resources; Russia is now engaged in its largest military buildup since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, with major increases in defense spending budgeted each year to 2020. Putin has pushed for this program even over the objections of some within the Kremlin who worried about costs and the possible negative impact on Russian prosperity; opposition to the expansion of military spending was one of the reasons the long-serving Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin left the cabinet two years ago.

The rest of the world is taking notice. Continue reading

Russia Preparing Patrols of Arctic Shipping Lanes

MOSCOW — Russia on Saturday announced an initiative to address climate change. But it had nothing to do with smokestacks.

Russia’s military said it planned to sail regular naval patrols along shipping lanes in its territory in the Arctic Ocean that opened to commercial vessels only in the last few years, as Arctic ice began melting at a record pace. Continue reading

Russia’s Choice: Power Balancer or China’s Canada?

The reset between the Kremlin and the White House is dead.

Now, the question in Moscow is: what will replace it? Continue reading

China’s Military Buildup Worrisome, Japan’s U.S. Ambassador Says

China’s “spectacularly active” naval posture and “massive” military buildup in Asia are part of a pattern of belligerent behavior toward Japan and other neighbors over maritime disputes, according to Japan’s ambassador to the U.S.

Speaking at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington yesterday, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae described China’s increasingly frequent forays to lodge territorial claims in the resource-rich East and South China Seas as “harassing” and “provocative.” Continue reading

Egypt considering violating peace treaty with Israel

A country that has kept stability in the Arab world for over 30 years, now radicalized after being overturned by the current White House administration, has now become openly hostile to a traditional US ally in the region, Israel.

Islamist president sending troops, tanks to border region

NEW YORK – Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi is studying the possibility of keeping tanks in the Sinai Peninsula on a permanent basis, according to a senior Egyptian military official who spoke to WND.

The military buildup would violate a key provision of peace accords signed with Israel in 1979 that calls for the total demilitarization of the peninsula.

Over the last two weeks, there have been reports of Egypt sending in light tanks, armored vehicles and attack helicopters in the Sinai purportedly to fight Islamic groups blamed for a spate of attacks and attempted attacks against both Israel and Egyptian police.

The Egyptian military leadership has long been considered a quiet ally of Israel’s own defense establishment.

However, Morsi’s most recent unilateral sacking of the Egyptian military brass has now sent alarm bells ringing across Israel. The move signals the centralization of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood coalition and his presidency’s dominance over the military, which has long been seen as an independent force.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders over the years have called for Egypt to abandon the peace treaty signed with Israel. The treaty was the basis for the opening of billions of dollars in U.S. aid that built the Egyptian military into one of the strongest forces in the Middle East today, perhaps second only to Israel.

Full article: Egypt considering violating peace treaty with Israel (WND)

Chinese communists influence U.S. policy through ex-military officials

China uses retired U.S. military leaders for intelligence operations, report says

China’s intelligence services are using a private exchange program for retired U.S. and Chinese generals to influence the U.S. government and downplay Beijing’s large-scale military buildup, according to a congressional report.

The Sanya Initiative launched in 2008 with support from retired Adm. Bill Owens, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC), a Chinese military front organization, the report said.

“Institutions and persons affiliated with [People’s Liberation Army] military intelligence entities play a prominent role in the Sanya Initiative,” the report by Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said.

The intelligence and influence effort was outlined in a late draft of the commission’s 2011 annual report. However, the section containing details of the intelligence links was left out of the commission’s final report made public in November.

Full article: Chinese communists influence U.S. policy through ex-military officials (The Washington Free Beacon)

Americans talk about an Israeli strike on Iran, but prepare own offensive

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been outspoken about a possible Israeli offensive against Iran taking place as of April and one American TV channel theorized simplistically Friday, Feb. 3, about Israel’s tactics. At the same time, no US source is leveling on the far more extensive American, Saudi, British, French and Gulf states’ preparations going forward for an offensive against the Islamic Republic.

Tehran too is gearing up for conflict: The Iranian Guards Ground Forces chief Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour Saturday, Feb. 4 announced the start of a three-week exercise in southern Iran and the Strait of Hormuz under conditions of war. debkafile: The “exercise” is in fact an Iranian military buildup ahead of a possible American or Israel attack.

debkafile’s military sources report a steady flow of many thousands of US troops for some weeks to two strategic islands within reach of Iran, Oman’s Masirah just south of the Strait of Hormuz and Socotra, between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. (DEBKA-Net-Weekly 526 of Jan. 27 was the first world publication to reveal the massive concentration of American might on the two islands.)

Full article: Americans talk about an Israeli strike on Iran, but prepare own offensive (DEBKAfile)

Massive US Military Buildup on Two Strategic Islands: Socotra and Masirah

While quietly casting lines to draw Tehran into talks on their nuclear dispute, President Barack Obama is reported exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and Washington sources to have secretly ordered US air, naval and marine forces to build up heavy concentrations on two strategic islands – Socotra, which is part of a Yemeni archipelago in the Indian Ocean, and the Omani island of Masirah at the southern exit of the Strait of Hormuz.

Socotra is situated 80 kilometers east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers southeast of the Yemeni coastline. It lies athwart the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A military base there is in a position to oversee the shipping moving in and out of those strategic naval waterways.

Lushly verdant, Socotra is approximately 120 kilometers long by 40 kilometers wide. Its population of 55,000 has its own distinct language and culture. Since 2010, the US has been quietly building giant air force and naval bases on Socotra with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers and take-off pads for flying stealth drones, as part of a linked chain of strategic US military facilities in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

The Socotra facilities are so secret that they are never mentioned in any catalogue listing US military facilities in this part of the world, which include Jebel Ali and Al Dahfra in the United Arab Emirates; Arifjan in Kuwait; and Al Udeid in Qatar – all within short flying distances from Iran.

Additional US forces are also being poured into Camp Justice on the barren, 70-kilometer long Omani island of Masirah, just south of the Hormuz entry point to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea.

US military facilities were established there after the signing of an access agreement with Oman in 1980.

Up to 100,000 US troops present by early March

For the new buildup on Socotra, Washington had to negotiate a new deal with Yemen’s ousted ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Injured in an assassination attempt last year, Saleh demanded permission to travel to the United States for medical treatment. The Obama administration first refused, then relented when Saleh made it his condition for consenting to additional troops landing on the island.

Continue reading article: Massive US Military Buildup on Two Strategic Islands: Socotra and Masirah (DEBKAfile / War Sclerotic re-blog)

Saudis seek new security allies, sign nuclear agreement with China

Analysts and diplomats assert that the Saudi royal family has been
frustrated by the U.S. hesitation to stop Iran. They cited the refusal by
the administration of President Barack Obama to sign tough sanctions
legislation that targeted Iran’s energy sector.

“The Gulf states are definitely taking a stronger stance against Iran
and are using their considerable influence to try to convince others of
their Iranian fears,” Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Institute for Near
East and Gulf Military Analysis in the United Arab Emirates, said.

Currently, the GCC, led by the Saudis, were engaged in a massive
military buildup. Riyad has ordered about $30 billion worth of fighter-jets
and munitions from the United States while the UAE was expected to purchase
another $20 billion from Washington.

Continue reading article: Saudis seek new security allies, sign nuclear agreement with China (World Tribune)