Urgent consultations in Washington, Moscow on reported US-Russian submarines in firefight

First reports reaching DEBKAfile’s military sources say that a US submarine intercepted a Russian nuclear sub in American waters opposite Alaska. The Russian sub escorting the nuclear submarine responded with a Balkan 2000 torpedo and scuttled the US vessel. Urgent consultations in both the White House and the Kremlin were taking place on Tuesday night. US Vice President Mike Pence called off an appearance in New Hampshire after being recalled to Washington for a conference called by President Donald Trump without explanation. Continue reading

Whale with harness could be Russian weapon, say Norwegian experts

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Whale in mystery harness harasses Norwegian boats – video (at source)

 

Fisherman raised alarm after white whale sporting unusual strapping began harassing their boats

Marine experts in Norway believe they have stumbled upon a white whale that was trained by the Russian navy as part of a programme to use underwater mammals as a special ops force.

Fishermen in waters near the small Norwegian fishing village of Inga reported last week that a white beluga whale wearing a strange harness had begun to harass their fishing boats. Continue reading

Trump recognizes Golan to counter Iran’s first steps for annexing Lebanon to Syria

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US President Donald Trump’s declared recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan on Thursday, March 21, had a time-sensitive object, unconnected to the Israeli election or Binyamin Netanyahu’s run for reelection, as his rivals contended. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that it was an arrow aimed by the US president at Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hizballah, and the machinations plotted at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s meeting with Iran’s supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khameini on Feb. 25. Present at their meeting, our sources reveal, were two figures, Al Qods chief Qasem Soleimani, supreme commander of Iran’s Mid East fronts, and, for the first time, a high-ranking Hizballah military official, who is a senior strategic adviser to Hassan Nasrallah. Continue reading

Potential Shifts on US Strategy in Syria

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The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is denying a Wall Street Journal report that claimed at least 1,000 US troops would remain in Syria. Gen. Joseph Dunford released a statement calling the claims “factually inaccurate” and assured the public of the Pentagon’s commitment to a steady withdrawal: “We continue to implement the president’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.” President Trump made waves across the national security community when he announced his original plan in December of the complete withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria. Later, the administration announced that 400 troops would most likely stay in southern Syria to monitor possible Iranian arms shipments to Lebanese-based terror groups such as Hezbollah. No specific estimates have been made as to the number of troops, although Pentagon officials have confirmed that any new amount will almost certainly will be lower. Although the President initially supported shifting troops from Syria to Iraq, concerns from Iraqi politicians about the US using its regional presence to spy on Iran have negated any support for such an initiative.

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U.S. ‘’Oil Weapon’’ Could Change Geopolitics Forever

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In a dynamic that shows just how far U.S. oil production has come in recent years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that in the last two months of 2018, the U.S. Gulf Coast exported more crude oil than it imported. Continue reading

The U.S. Will Develop Newly Unbanned Weapons as a Key Missile Treaty Ends

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A JASSM missile undergoing launch tests from a F-16 fighter over the Gulf of Mexico, 2018. Image: SMgst Michael Jackson (Air Force)

 

The United States is planning to quickly develop two new missiles previously banned by a 30-year-old arms control treaty. America’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, sparked by allegations of Russian cheating, is paving the way for Washington to match Russian weapons with new missiles of its own. The U.S. will test the missiles as soon as this August, within days of the end of the treaty.

The two missile types, a ground-launched cruise missile and an intermediate-range ballistic missile, were previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The INF Treaty, signed in 1987, banned land-based missiles with ranges from 310 to 3,420 miles.

Although the treaty itself didn’t ban actual nuclear weapons, it removed key nuclear delivery systems from the inventories of both the U.S. and U.S.S.R., dramatically lowering the number of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. Continue reading

Turkey: Putin’s Ally in NATO?

Turkey has NATO’s second biggest army, and its military love affair with Russia may be in its infancy now, but it undermines NATO’s military deterrence against Russia. Pictured: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, on March 10, 2017. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

 

  • On March 7, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would never turn back from the S-400 missile deal with Russia. He even added that Ankara may subsequently look into buying the more advanced S-500 systems now under construction in Russia.
  • With the S-400 deal, Turkey is simply telling its theoretical Western allies that it views “them,” and “not Russia,” as a security threat. Given that Russia is widely considered a security threat to NATO, Turkey’s odd-one-out position inevitably calls for questioning its official NATO identity.
  • Turkey has NATO’s second biggest army, and its military love affair with Russia may be in its infancy now, but it undermines NATO’s military deterrence against Russia.

On September 17, 1950, more than 68 years ago, the first Turkish brigade left the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast, arriving, 26 days later, at Busan in Korea. Turkey was the first country, after the United States, to answer the United Nations’ call for military aid to South Korea after the North attacked that year. Turkey sent four brigades (a total of 21,212 soldiers) to a country that is 7,785 km away. By the end of the Korean War, Turkey had lost 741 soldiers killed in action. The U.N. Memorial Cemetery in Busan embraces 462 Turkish soldiers. Continue reading

Iran Building Two New Nuclear Plants

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran / Getty Images

 

Files complaint against U.S. for ‘crimes against humanity’

Iranian leaders announced on Monday the construction of two new nuclear plants, and it remains unclear if the Trump administration views this as crossing a red line since its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, which included provisions permitting Iran to work on heavy water nuclear reactors that could provide a plutonium-based pathway to a bomb. Continue reading

Pentagon establishing new agency to oversee US military space technology development

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The Department of Defence (DoD) is creating a new Space Development Agency (SDA) oversee the development of sensors and weapons to counter advances by Russia and China, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a memo published on Thursday. Continue reading

OPEC Threatens To Kill U.S. Shale

 

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will once again become a nemesis for U.S. shale if the U.S. Congress passes a bill dubbed NOPEC, or No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, Bloomberg reported this week, citing sources present at a meeting between a senior OPEC official and U.S. bankers.

The oil minister of the UAE, Suhail al-Mazrouei, reportedly told lenders at the meeting that if the bill was made into law that made OPEC members liable to U.S. anti-cartel legislation, the group, which is to all intents and purposes indeed a cartel, would break up and every member would boost production to its maximum. Continue reading

Struggle for Global Power Status

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BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The United States is preparing sanctions against European companies participating in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to senior US government officials. German government officials, on the other hand, predict that US sanctions will lead to a confrontation with the whole of the EU. “We will do everything necessary to complete the pipeline.” At the same time, the power struggle over the participation of the Chinese Huawei Corporation in setting up the 5G grid in Germany and the EU is escalating. After the German government indicated that it would not exclude, a priori, Huawei, the US ambassador in Berlin is threatening to reduce cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence services. US President Donald Trump is also considering calling on countries to pay the full cost of stationing US forces on their soil, plus 50 percent more. German government advisors are pleading for a “policy of ‘softer’ or ‘more robust’ countervailing power formation.” Europe’s “strategic autonomy” is at the core of this power struggle. Continue reading

America to Withdraw Troops From Africa

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Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, testifies February 7 at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Europe is being forced to get more involved in its former colonial territories.

Speaking in Munich on February 20, United States Africa Command (U.S. africom) Gen. Thomas Waldhauser revealed that hundreds of United States troops, including commandos, will withdraw from West Africa over the coming years.

In accordance with the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy announcement earlier this year, the United States plans to transfer 10 percent of its personnel from Africa to regions which it deems to be of higher priority, to prepare for possible future confrontation with Russia or China. The withdrawal is to be completed by 2022 at the latest, by which time approximately 600 of the 6,000 American troops currently in Africa will have left. Also to be sent elsewhere are about 100 of 1,000 civilian contractors who assist and train local African forces. They will be restationed in regions where the Russian and Chinese threat to American interests is perceived to be more direct. Continue reading

Russians use front-company to access US federal employees’ contact info, says report

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Russian spy agencies use front companies to purchase directorates that contain the contact details of United States government employees, according to a new intelligence report. The contact details are contained in multi-page directories of Congressional staff members and employees of US federal agencies. They are published every January by a specialist vendor called Leadership Connect with the cooperation of a Washington, DC-based provider of publishing services. The directories contain the names, job titles, professional addresses and telephone numbers of US government employees. Continue reading

Russian Military Chief Outlines Aggressive Anti-U.S. War Strategy

Valery Gerasimov

Valery Gerasimov / Getty Images

 

Gerasimov vows more non-military war against America

Russia’s large-scale military buildup is being augmented by greater use of non-military warfare against the United States, the chief of the Russian general staff revealed last week.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov, author of Russia’s use of “hybrid” warfare, announced the greater adoption of asymmetric warfare tools—cyber, space, and information weapons—in response to what he said are stepped up plans for information operations by the Pentagon. Continue reading

North Korea’s Satellites Could Unleash Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

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North Korea reportedly is rebuilding its Sohae satellite launch facility, widely interpreted as threatening to resume intercontinental missile development — ignoring the greater immediate threat from North Korea’s satellites and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Dr. William Graham, EMP Commission Chairman, in “North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat,” on Oct. 12, 2017, warned Congress:

“While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large. Continue reading