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

Rouhani Went To Baghdad To Strengthen His Country’s Strategic Security With Iraq

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference with Iraq’s President Bahram Salih in Tehran, Iran, November 17, 2018

 

This was the first visit since the Iranian leader assumed office in 2013 and importantly underscored just how integral relations between the Islamic Republic and Iraq are for both parties. Much can be said about the symbolism of his warm welcome and multi-day stay in the country compared to the brief photo-ops that American presidents take in military bases every once in a while during the rare occasion that they make a surprise visit there, which shows the difference between the organic multi-millennial ties that the Iranian and Iraqi people enjoy and the master-vassal relationship that the US has to Iraq. Building upon that, Rouhani was also sending the message that Iran is the country with predominant influence in Iraq and not the US despite the latter’s current low-level military deployment and the more than $2 trillion that it spent on the eight-year-long war there. Continue reading

China Is Spending Billions To Dethrone The U.S. In Race For The World’s Fastest Supercomputer

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China is currently in the midst of a multi-billion dollar investment cycle to upgrade its supercomputer infrastructure in a bid to pass the United States for fastest supercomputer in the world after the United States regained the title for fastest supercomputer in 2018, ending a five-year reign of Chinese dominance.

As SCMP notes, China had been first on the global Top 500 list of supercomputers since the launch of Tianhe-2 in 2013. In June 2018, the U.S. Summit supercomputer bumped China from the number one spot. 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

50 Iranian drones conduct massive ‘way to Jerusalem’ exercise – report

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A military vehicle carrying Iranian Zoobin smart bomb (L) and Sagheb missile under pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.. (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

 

The point of the drill is to showcase Iran’s military prowess. It comes in the wake of a large naval drill in February and frequent new tests of ballistic missiles.

Iran’s Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it had launched a massive exercise involving 50 drones that are based on a US Sentinel drone the Iranians captured in 2011. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it was the strongest exercise of its kind to date. Continue reading

China is overtaking US in artificial intelligence: researchers

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China is poised to overtake the United States in artificial intelligence with a surge in academic research on the key technology, an analysis published Wednesday showed.

The analysis by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence showed China has already surpassed the US in published papers on AI — although many of these were considered “medium-quality” or “low-quality.” Continue reading

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Google ‘Is Indirectly Benefiting The Chinese Military’

WASHINGTON (CBS SF / CNN) — America’s top general said Thursday that Mountain View-based Google’s work in China “is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military.”

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military and I’ve been very public on this issue as well,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 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

India v Pakistan & the 2019/2020 Turning Point

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The last time that Indian and Pakistan were at war was back in 1971. Our War Model turned up in 1964 and indeed it marked the beginning of the US Vietnam War. In reality, the separation or the partition of India took place in 1947 based upon religion. The British created two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. India became the Republic of India in 1950, and in 1957 the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In 1971, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh came into being. On March 25, 1971, there was also the Bangladesh War of Independence against Pakistan. Bangladesh was a Sunni Muslim state as was the case with Pakistan.  The partition involved the division of three provinces — Assam, Bengal, and Punjab — based on separating Hindus from Muslim majorities. 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