Turkey Downs `Drone’ on Syria Border Amid Russia Tensions

The nationality of the craft is unknown, according to a statement by the military. It had violated Turkish airspace before it was warned and then shot down, the military said. The Anadolu Agency posted pictures of soldiers inspecting a crashed drone and Haberturk television also reported that it was an unmanned aircraft, without saying how it got the information. It said the drone fell inside the Turkish border near the town of Kilis. The military declined to comment on the reports.

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Russia Violates Turkish Airspace Again in Direct Challenge to NATO

Russia has now violated Turkish airspace on two separate occasions, according to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Continue reading

Ex-NATO supreme commander warns of ‘Grexit security nightmare’

An American former supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has warned that a possible Greek exit from the Eurozone “could become a geopolitical nightmare” for the European Union and NATO. James Stavridis, a retired four-start US Navy admiral, who served as NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2009 to 2013, said solving the Greek crisis should not be left to the central bankers. In an article published Wednesday in Foreign Policy, Stavridis said the financial administrators that are handling the Greek crisis were not sufficiently cognizant of the massive geostrategic implications of a possible “Grexit”. Continue reading

Obama Snubs Nato Chief as Crisis Rages

President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won’t see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days.  Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.

Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. permanent representative to NATO under both President George W. Bush and Obama, said the president broke a long tradition.  “The Bush administration held a firm line that if the NATO secretary general came to town, he would be seen by the president … so as not to diminish his stature or authority,” he told me. Continue reading

The 8 Major Geopolitical Catalysts Of 2015

Uncertainty about the immediate future seems to permeate most societies around the world. Few look far beyond the immediate. But what is now being put in place with the current global upheaval will form the basis of the strategic framework for the coming decades.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. Updating this in The Art of Victory, I noted: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead to disaster.” And the hallmark of the world entering 2015 is that there are few governments which actually have defined goals of a comprehensive or “grand strategy” nature. Many governments have short- to medium-term projects and plans, but few, if any, have a contextual view of themselves and have articulated measurable national goals into the mid-term (20 years or so) and longer periods. Continue reading

The Fog of War Just Got Thicker: U.S. Warplanes Have Trouble Communicating with Each Other

Even after years of war, America’s armed services field incompatible aviation technology that hinders battlefield communication between the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps combat aircraft.

Even after over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s armed services field incompatible aviation technology that hinders battlefield communication between U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps combat aircraft. The Pentagon is making an effort to fix the problem, but whether it will succeed is an open question.

The problem is the Link-16 datalink that is supposed to be standard across the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, while standardization is the aspiration, real-world execution falls short. Continue reading

Russian Military Activity in the Arctic: A Cause for Concern

While the West has primarily been focused on Russia’s recent actions in eastern Europe, Moscow has continued with its plans to militarize the Arctic. Russia’s strategic goals in the Arctic are to secure current and potential energy resources located in the region and to maintain military superiority above the Arctic Circle. Although the threat of armed conflict among the Arctic powers remains low, the U.S. should consider the implications of Russian militarization in the region in light of Moscow’s recent aggression in Ukraine. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin’s economic hopes drowning in a puddle of cheap oil

It would perhaps be wise not to sing and dance over this story too early. Vladimir Putin likely has more tricks up his sleeve, such as continuing to undermine the US Dollar by trading oil in currencies other than the US Dollar, or continue hacking into the U.S. banking system — lest we also forget along with China threatening the nuclear option on it. If the Dollar becomes worthless, it wouldn’t matter how low the price of oil will go as America would be pushed into being a third-world nation like those in the Middle East where gasoline is still only 15 cents per gallon.

 

Oil has been the key to Putin’s grip on power since he took over from Boris Yeltsin in 2000, fueling a booming economy that grew 7 per cent on average from 2000 to 2008.Now, with economic growth slipping close to zero, Russia is reeling from sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union over its land grab in Ukraine, and from a ruble at a record low. Putin, whose popularity has been more than 80 per cent in polls since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March, may have less money to raise state pensions and wages, while companies hit by the sanctions also seek state aid to maintain spending.

“His ratings remain high but for a person conducting such a risky policy, Putin has to understand the limits of patience for the people, business and political elite,” said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist studying the country’s elite at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. “Putin is thinking hard how not to lose face while maintaining his support.”

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‘Dragonfly’ virus strikes U.S. power plants

WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.

Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.

The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment. Continue reading

China pivot fuels Eurasian century

A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership. Continue reading

Russian military exercises trigger Baltic concern

MOSCOW Baltic officials said Friday regional security had been weakened as Russia led military exercises on their doorstep involving almost 12,000 troops.

A week of land and sea manoeuvres began Friday as part of biennial exercises with Belarus, Russia’s Defence Ministry said on its website.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which regained independence in 1991 after half a century of Soviet rule, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 amid Russian opposition. Continue reading

NATO sees great potential for co-operation with Ukraine

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow has said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will support the European aspirations of Ukraine. At the same time, he noted that NATO respects Ukraine’s choice to adhere to the non-aligned status.

“The topic of Ukraine’s national security and its relations with international organizations is important, and recent developments in your country as well as in Russia, Republic of Moldova and Armenia have made it even more urgent,” he said. Continue reading

Turkey Reinforces Syria Border as Erdogan Backs U.S. Attack

Turkey deployed tanks and anti-aircraft guns to reinforce its military units on the Syrian border, as the U.S. considers strikes against Syria.

Convoys carrying tanks and rocket-launchers headed to border areas in Hatay, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa provinces today and yesterday, according to Hurriyet newspaper and Anatolia news agency. Tanks, missile launchers and anti-aircraft guns on hilltops near the border town of Kilis were aimed Syria, state-run TRT television said. F-16s, tanker and cargo planes as well as at least one drone landed at southern Incirlik Air Base, Anatolia said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has expressed a willingness to join any international coalition against Syria, yesterday vowed to respond to any attack from its southern neighbor. He spoke after Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad was cited by the Wall Street Journal as saying that Syria will strike U.S. allies Israel, Jordan and Turkey if the Obama administration attacks his country over its alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21. Continue reading

Colombia establishes closer information security links with NATO

Colombia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization signed an agreement on information security that will allow exploring future cooperation and consultation in areas of common interest. The agreement was signed on Tuesday in Brussels by NATO Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow and the Defense Minister of Colombia, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno.

“As an Alliance of democracies, we are gratified when countries sharing similar values reach out to us,” the Deputy Secretary General said during his meeting with Minister Pinzón Bueno.

Ambassador Vershbow said that Allies have agreed to pursue tailored cooperation with Colombia on a case-by-case basis, in areas of common interest and that by signing this accord NATO and Colombia stress their shared interest in consultation and cooperation. Continue reading

Obama Pick for NATO Commander Calls for Russia ‘Partnership’

They constantly prepare for war and conduct bombing drills (among other things) against the United States, yet the USA has  continued down the road of making concessions towards a nation that treats treaties as pie crusts.

WASHINGTON, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama’s nominee to become supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said Thursday that the United States should not pursue an antagonistic relationship with Moscow but rather one of partnership and reciprocity.

“I think we would be better off if we quit treating Russia, or thinking of Russia, as an enemy and try to bring them into a partnership as we deal with Europe and other places,” US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told the US Senate’s armed services committee in a confirmation hearing Thursday. Continue reading