Is there truly a drug eradication effort in place in Afghanistan? The simplest answer is no? Poppy growth , opium production and global distribution is far more lucrative than all the oil, gas and natural minerals in Afghanistan’s soil.
Source: Executive Biz
DynCorp International has received a one-year extension on the company’s contract with the State Department to support the aviation office within the agency’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
DynCorp said Tuesday it will continue to provide pilots and aircraft maintenance, logistics, search-and-rescue, security and administrative services for INL Air Wing’s drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cypress, Iraq, Pakistan, Panama and Peru.
Related: White Shroud’ Guerrilla Group Claims to Kill 100 ISIS Militants
It almost seems inevitable.
With such an oppressive regime and a weakening infrastructure, the organization that touts itself as the caliphate is facing growing dissent within its civilian populace.
And it looks like this gap is widening, especially after the efforts of a secret group called the Mosul Battalions.
In Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and one of the few remaining ISIS bastions, this secret network has been causing disarray for ISIS members by carrying out assassinations and hit-and-run strikes against ISIS targets.
Source: Navy Times
The U.S. military’s top commander in the Pacific is arguing behind closed doors for a more confrontational approach to counter and reverse China’s strategic gains in the South China Sea, appeals that have met resistance from the White House at nearly every turn.
Adm. Harry Harris is proposing a muscular U.S. response to China’s island-building that may include launching aircraft and conducting military operations within 12 miles of these man-made islands, as part of an effort to stop what he has called the “Great Wall of Sand” before it extends within 140 miles from the Philippines’ capital, sources say.
Harris and his U.S. Pacific Command have been waging a persistent campaign in public and in private over the past several months to raise the profile of China’s land grab, accusing China outright in February of militarizing the South China Sea.
But the Obama administration, with just nine months left in office, is looking to work with China on a host of other issues from nuclear non-proliferation to an ambitious trade agenda, experts say, and would prefer not to rock the South China Sea boat, even going so far as to muzzle Harris and other military leaders in the run-up to a security summit.
“They want to get out of office with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of cooperation with China,” said Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and defense strategy analyst with the Center for a New American Security.
A Jordanian power company has agreed to a take-or-pay scheme tied to the imports of natural gas from the Leviathan field offshore Israel, Noble Energy said.
Noble said it executed a gas sale and purchase agreement worth an estimated $10 billion with a Jordanian power company to source about 300 million cubic feet of gas from the Leviathan field offshore Israel for the next 15 years. It’s the first such agreement for the Leviathan field.
ADEN // The Yemen central bank branch in Aden is an unremarkable government building, some of its sand-coloured walls and tall windows pockmarked with bullet holes from street battles fought nearby during the city’s liberation from northern rebel forces.
But last week, after president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi announced that the building in Al Aidarous neighbourhood will soon become the country’s central bank headquarters, it has quickly become conspicuous, as it now represents the centre of a new economic dimension to the war.
The streets around it are now blocked off and patrolled by security personnel, while people who want to enter the bank for business must pass through several layers of security. On a recent afternoon two soldiers sat on an orange water cooler in the back of a pickup truck with a .50 calibre machine gun mounted on it.
Officials in the internationally-recognised Hadi administration have said the government had no choice but to unilaterally relocate the bank from the capital Sanaa to territory they control. They say the bank is on the verge of insolvency, largely because it was being drained by the rebel alliance of Houthis and military forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to fund their war efforts against pro-government forces and the Saudi-led coalition.
They claim that less than US$700 million (Dh2.57 billion) is left in Yemen’s foreign exchange reserves, far lower than the estimate of $1.3bn in reserves the bank held in June, and down from $5.2bn in September 2014. The halting of oil exports and the inability of the state to collect taxes during the conflict contributed to the financial crisis. But the government claims that the rebels were the main cause.
“It has become obvious that the Yemeni Central Bank in Sanaa financed the putschists at government expense and therefore has totally lost its neutrality and independence,” Monasser Saleh Al Quaiti, the newly appointed governor of the bank, said last Monday in Riyadh, where he is currently based.
Bank officials in Sanaa have denied any collusion with the rebels. Its veteran governor, Mohammed bin Humam, was allowed by both sides of the conflict to steer bank policy because he was viewed as a skilled and independent technocrat — a view still widely held by officials in the Gulf and among western diplomats in the region.
How long will President Rodrigo Duterte stay in power with a Philippine foreign policy shift towards China and Russia and abandoning the U.S.? Coup? Assassination?
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he’s interested in offering trade alliances and long-term land leases to China and Russia.
Duterte said he realized he’d be “crossing the Rubicon” with the U.S., his country’s close ally and former colonial ruler.
“I am not really going to break ties” with the U.S., Duterte said, but he indicated he’d be willing to forge closer economic relationships with the other side of “the ideological barrier.”
The Associated Press reports that Duterte would be offering countries in China and Russia the ability to lease land in the Philippines for more than a century.
The interview of Jürgen Todenhöfer with the Al Nusra rebel commander Abu Al Ezz
Jürgen Todenhöfer: What is the relationship between you and the US? USA support the rebels?
Abu Al Ezz: Yes, the United States support the opposition, but not directly. They support the countries that support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support. They should support us with sophisticated weapons. We won the battles thanks to “TOW” rockets. We have achieved these missiles strike a balance with the regime. The tanks we got from Libya via Turkey. The Syrain regime surpasses us only with its combat aircraft, missiles and missile launchers.
We have captured some of their rocket launcher and get a great deal from abroad. But we have by the American “TOW” missiles, the situation in some areas under control.
To Whom did the USA give the missiles to before they were brought to you? Has the US initially given this rocket to the Free Syrian Army and were they passed on from there to you?
No, the missiles were given to us directly. They were delivered to a specific group. When the was ‘Road’ locked and we were besieged, we had officers from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and America here.
What were these officers?
Experts! Experts for the use of satellites, rockets, reconnaissance and thermal security cameras.
Were there any American experts?
Yes, experts from several countries
The economic hit men are coming
Algeria plans to allow its dominant state banks to list on the local stock exchange to help develop its financial markets and diversify sources of funding after the oil price slide, a senior financial official said.
The plan will open the door for foreign investors to acquire controlling stakes in banks, reversing a rule requiring Algerian firms to keep a majority shareholding in any partnership with foreigners, the official told Reuters.
Algeria’s six government-run banks account for most of the sector’s assets.
French companies such as Societe Generale and BNP Paribas have the strongest presence among foreign-owned banks already working in the country.
OPEC member Algeria’s economy has been largely based on a state-run and centralised system since its independence from France in 1962 and it remains reliant on an energy sector that still provides 60 percent of its budget.
But the oil price drop since 2014 has put Algeria under financial pressure, forcing the government to trim spending and search for alternative financing sources.
“The era of $100 a barrel is over. We have no choice but to change our policy,” the official said, asking not to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Source: Almasdar News
Syrian intelligence possesses an audio recording of conversation between ISIS terrorists and the US military prior to the Washington-led coalition airstrikes on government troops near Deir Ezzor on September 17, the speaker of the People’s Council of Syria said Monday.
Hadiya Khalaf Abbas, the head of the Syrian parliament, added during her visit to Iran that after the coalition’s airstrikes on the government troops US military directed terrorists’ attack on the Syrian army.
The US-led airstrikes on Thardah Mountain resulted in the death of over 80 Syrian soldiers with the mountain immediately being attacked by ISIS following the airstrikes.
Source: CBC News
Public Safety Canada has repeatedly approved CSIS and the RCMP’s use of devices to spy on Canadians’ communications, documents obtained by CBC News reveal.
Canadians have been kept largely in the dark about police and intelligence agencies’ surveillance capabilities. But recent revelations in a Montreal court case that police are using electronic tools to scoop up mobile phone signals have prompted some experts to call for greater transparency in the approval and use of technologies that potentially violate privacy.
The new documents reveal Public Safety Canada approved requests from the RCMP, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Defence Department granting more than a dozen licences to an unnamed company (or companies) for the purpose of possessing, manufacturing or selling devices “used primarily for the interception of communications.”
Source: New Strait Times
Some analysts have called it Asia’s “New Great Game”. Others note the “tectonic geo-strategic shifts” taking place in the continent. The Cold War rhetoric about the Indian Ocean being a “zone of peace” lies sunk. The new talk is about Chinese military bases — the “string of pearls” in the Indian Ocean, what with the ongoing debate on its disputes with neighbours on the South China Sea. China is sought to be countered through a United States-India alliance that has been shaping for some time now.
Viewed from India, there is nothing official about it. Its intent and capability are both being debated. Yet, its new “offensive-defence” strategy looks both East (towards China and Southeast Asia) and West (towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and West and Central Asia). Its pivot is a budding economic and military alliance with the US while engaging everyone else.
Amid a flurry of activities, India signed two unprecedented defence and nuclear agreements with the US, on a single day, last month. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar signed the Logistics Exchange of Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA) with his American counterpart, Ashton Carter, in Washington. US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker engaged with Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi at the second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
Not a coincidence, LEMOA had been in the works for 10 years. Per se, the two are enabling logistic agreements. Their challenge lies in how they are implemented in future. But that has set the strategic tongues wagging.
Read More :
Source: Georgia Today
On the eve of elections, foreign and defense policy topics have already become dominant and decisive issues for achieving the concrete political objective of getting seats in parliament.
And it’s a battle of two armies – between the sympathizers of the “Good Ole Soviet Union” and the proponents of the shiny new (not exactly near) future with NATO and Europe in general. This trend has been reinforced with the dynamics of “New Cold War” provisions being fought between the West (EU and NATO) and Russia.
So it didn’t come as a great surprise that when Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili and his Republican party voiced their view on the possible deployment of American military bases on Georgian terrain, in fact, it had very sound resonance.
The statement was obviously oriented for local consumption and could be treated as new PR schtick for attracting more of the Georgian electorate, namely those who support pro-Western foreign policy.
It also turned out to be a neat Falcon Punch for the Free Democrats, as this kind of thing has been exclusively their agenda domain in recent years. It was definitely more than just a sample message to probe public opinion and play the US vs Russia card.
Recently, the “red line” of confrontation between the two has rested on two important geostrategic regions – the Baltics and the Caucasus. The importance of these regions is further underlined by both the USA and Russia, as they were implicitly mentioned in the National Security strategies of both super-powers.
For example, the latest National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation, adopted on December 31, 2015 by the President of Russia, mentions the geostrategic importance not only of the Caucasus region but specifically Georgia.
In Paragraph 89 of the Strategy Chapter named ‘Strategic Stability and Equal Strategic Partnership,’ the Kremlin incumbent authority declares the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as the most vital zones of strategic influence, while in Paragraph 106 it perceives as a military threat any kind of activity or rapprochement of any type of military infrastructure of NATO toward Russia’s state borders, including those in Georgia.
The document has made it blatantly obvious that the Russian government considers the Caucasus region and Georgia in particular as a strategic chokepoint from national security perspectives.
Source: Marine Corps Times
As a sign of how much the Asia-Pacific region has changed in recent years, U.S. Marines could soon begin training alongside Vietnamese military personnel.
“Growing up as a kid, watching the Vietnam War on TV every night, it was almost unimaginable that later on in my life I would be representing the United States at meetings in Vietnam and looking for opportunities to train with Vietnamese armed forces,” Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force, told Marine Corps Times.
“Vietnam and Malaysia, they have small patrol craft,” he said. “They have a naval infantry that they would like us to come take a look at and look for opportunities to do some training.”
Training with the Vietnamese would be an “amazing opportunity” for Marines, Nicholson said, and it represents a dramatic shift in relations between the two countries since the Vietnam War.
Source: Der Spiegel
A special cyber security unit of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) conducted its first offensive cyber operation abroad when it broke into an internal network of an Afghan mobile operator while assisting in a hostage release operation, it has emerged.
Personnel from the Bundeswehr’s Computer Network Operations Unit (CNO) hacked the network of the Afghan mobile operation to pinpoint the location of kidnappers after a German development assistance expert was abducted in Kabul, Der Spiegel daily reported, citing its sources.
The German military’s cyber operation took place in autumn last year, after the expert, identified only as Kaethe B., who worked in the Kabul office of the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), was kidnapped on August 17, 2015.
German authorities started to negotiate the hostage’s release with the kidnappers. The CNO was tasked by the German crisis staff with monitoring the kidnappers’ phone conversations and pinpointing their location to ensure that they intended to comply with the negotiated deal.
The cyber unit was also tasked with providing data to the German Special Forces Commando (KSK), which would have launched a hostage extraction operation if the negotiations had failed. The CNO managed to hack into a local internet provider’s network and establish a real-time surveillance over the kidnappers.
Source: Extreme Tech
The Chinese military says it has invented quantum radar, a breakthrough which, if true, would render the hundreds of billions of dollars the United States has invested into stealth technology obsolete. Like the original invention of radar, the advent of modern artillery, or radio communications, quantum radar could fundamentally transform the scope and nature of war.
Source: Hindustan Times
A Russian mechanised infantry unit arrived in Pakistan on Friday for the first military exercise between the two Cold War rivals, with reports suggesting part of the high altitude drill would be conducted in territory claimed by India.
“A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for first ever Pak- Russian joint exercise (two weeks) from September 24 to October 10,” Bajwa said. The Russian contingent was warmly welcomed by senior Pakistan Army officials before it left for the training venue.
About 200 soldiers from each side will join the two-week exercise “Druzhba 2016” (Friendship 2016), which is expected to focus on high-altitude warfare.
French naval contractor DCNS said on Wednesday it may have been the victim of “economic warfare” after secrets about its Scorpene submarines being built in India were leaked.
India opened an investigation after The Australian newspaper published documents relating to the submarine’s combat capabilities, raising concerns over another major contract with Australia.
The leak contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the details of six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.
“Competition is getting tougher and tougher, and all means can be used in this context,” she said. “There is India, Australia and other prospects, and other countries could raise legitimate questions over DCNS. It’s part of the tools in economic warfare.”
Source: American Enterprise Institute
Over the past year, I have written several times about how China might take advantage of the US drawdown from the Azores, an archipelago approximately 1,000 miles from the coast of Portugal and 2500 miles from the East Coast of the United States. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars on and around Lajes Field, Pentagon officials have decided simply to pack up and leave all but a skeleton crew.
Adding insult to injury, rather than locate a new intelligence center at Lajes Field which has the infrastructure in place and needs very few upgrades, the Pentagon decided to build a new center from scratch outside of London, at a cost of more than one billion dollars more.
Afghanistan located in within the Eurasian Balkans grants 70% control of railways, roadways and gas and oil pipelines to Iran to the West, the Arabian Sea South and China to the East. Also, control of 70% of Afghanistan is control of 70% opium production. The production increase of opium since early 2000’s in Afghanistan is a definitive correlation between land security/control, poppy production with transport out of the country from centralized points.
Source: Washington Post
Local security forces control 70 percent of Afghanistan, a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday, suggesting that the Taliban and other militants hold almost a third of that nation after 15 years of U.S. and NATO efforts to secure it.
Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Afghan security forces had taken more casualties “than we’re comfortable with” and said they remained behind in what was required in key areas including air power, special operations and intelligence.
The ongoing fight in Congress over an $18-billion hike in military spending for 2017 has stalled the budget, but it might be small potatoes.
The price tag to rehabilitate the military after about 15 years of war and relentless overseas operations would be about $1 trillion over a decade, according to the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee.
The committee is spearheading the $18-billion annual increase for more equipment, training and troops. But it is facing a tough political fight with the Senate and Democrats, who oppose busting defense spending caps and raiding the Islamic State war fund to pay for the hike.
Source: Fox News
The Pentagon is seeking to send another 500 U.S. troops to Iraq, in addition to the 400 that arrived over the Labor Day weekend, two military officials tell Fox News – a development that comes amid a new wave of attacks.
The Pentagon in July first received approval to raise the troop number in Iraq to 4,647, from a previous authorization of 3,870 in January.
If President Obama signs off on the military’s plan for more troops, the number would rise above 5,000. There are other U.S. troops inside Iraq that the Pentagon claims are on “temporary” assignments, though some of these deployments last up to one year in country. Counting these troops, the new forces going to Iraq will push the unofficial number of American forces on the ground in Iraq to over 6,000 troops.
A 2015 study from the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies estimated North Korea possessed 10 to 16 nuclear weapons, and will possess 20 to 100 such weapons by 2020. This says nothing of the highly enriched nuclear fuel the state has produced or the mobile rockets and longer-range missiles to launch the warheads.
Trying to secure all this after a chaotic collapse or overthrow of the Kim regime would be a nightmare. General Raymond Thomas, who heads U.S. Special Operations Command, called a regime collapse in North Korea a “worst case scenario,” at a conference hosted last week by the Institute for the Study of War. “In the event of the implosion of the region, we’d have the loose nuke dilemma on an industrial scale,” the general said, describing it as a “vertical track meet between the Chinese and the South Koreans in terms of securing the nukes.”
Source: WSJ Blog
The U.S. is not doing enough to guard against attacks on critical infrastructure at the hands of rogue nations, said former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey at a cybersecurity conference here Wednesday.
Combative states such as North Korea and Iran could detonate a nuclear device in orbit above the U.S., unleashing an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, capable of knocking out the electric grid, Mr. Woolsey said in an interview with CIO Journal at the Cyber Security Summit sponsored in part by Nation-E, a technology security company.
Traditional policies of deterrence are ineffective against such “malevolent threats” because for these actors, “death is desirable rather than shunned,” said Mr. Woolsey, who served as CIA director for two years during the Clinton Administration.