Thousands of US paratroops head for Iraq. Tehran braces for onset of ISIS terror attacks on cities

The United States this week began transferring to Iraq and Gulf bases elite units of the US 82nd Airborne Division. debkafile’s military sources report that the first batch of 500 officers and men will be deployed in Baghdad and the Kurdish republic’s capital of Irbil, followed by another 500 in July and 250 in December. Altogether, by the end of 2015, the US will have posted another 1,250 officers and men to augment the American force already present at a base ner Habbaniya in the western Iraqi Anbar province. This force, roughly the same size as the incoming contingents, came from the US 3rd Division’s Combat Team which set up the base six months ago to train Iraqi troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIS. Continue reading

Russian military flights sending message they are ‘great power’: NATO leader

RUSSIA’S recent military flights into European airspace are meant to demonstrate to the West that the country is a “great power,” NATO’s supreme allied commander said on Monday.

Although there has been an increase in Russian air activity over Europe during the past year, last week marked the first time Moscow had sent in larger formations of warplanes, General Philip Breedlove told reporters.

“My opinion is they’re messaging us. They’re messaging us that they are a great power,” Breedlove said.

Moscow wanted to show it can exert influence on the alliance’s calculations, he said.

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Ukraine agrees to host NATO war games

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put US troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.

“This is a good opportunity to develop our armed forces,” acting defence minister Mykhailo Koval told Verkhovna Rada lawmakers ahead of the 235-0 vote.

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Japan’s next leader wants freer rein for military

Japan’s military is kept on a very short leash under a war-renouncing constitution written by U.S. officials whose main concern was keeping Japan from rearming soon after World War II. But if Japan’s soon-to-be prime minister Shinzo Abe has his way, the status quo may be in for some change.

Abe, set to take office for a second time after leading his conservative party to victory in elections last Sunday, has vowed a fundamental review of Japan’s taboo-ridden postwar security policies and proposed ideas that range from changing the name of the military – now called the Japan Self-Defense Forces – to revising the constitution itself.

Most of all, he wants to open the door to what the Japanese call “collective defense,” which would allow Japan’s troops to fight alongside their allies – especially the U.S. troops who are obliged to defend Japan – if either comes under direct attack. The United States has about 50,000 troops in Japan, including its largest air base in Asia. Continue reading

Largest joint US-Israel missile defense drill to kick off

Patriot, Iron Dome, Arrow missile defense shields to be tested; forces to simulate Unmanned Aerial Vehicle intrusion; 1,000 US troops to arrive in Israel, 2,000 more to participate remotely from US, Europe. Continue reading

Obama to visit tense border with N. Korea: reports

Obama will tour the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) during his visit to attend the March 26-27 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited a diplomatic source as saying.

“Obama is expected to… comment on North Korea issues and may make a speech regarding the global community’s concerns on the North and the US’s determination to support the South-US alliance,” said the source.

Full article: Obama to visit tense border with N. Korea: reports (The China Post)