3rd September 2018

  • Johnson, who resigned as foreign secretary over the Chequers plan, used a column in the Telegraph to argue that May’s Brexit proposals meant she was entering negotiations with a “white flag fluttering”.  More on this found here.
  • Remember all the hoo-ha over Donald Trump’s summit in June with North Korea’s maverick dictator, Kim Jong-un? With typical immodesty, Trump proclaimed a historic diplomatic breakthrough.
  • Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims have been found guilty of breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in prison.
  • Brazil’s 200-year-old national museum:Most of the 20 million items it contained, including the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, are believed to have been destroyed.
  • The UNHCR said 1,095 people died on the central Mediterranean route, mainly from Libya to Italy, between January and July this year, amounting to one death for every 18 arrivals. This compares with 2,276 last year, or one death for every 42 arrivals.
  • The Kosovan president, Hashim Thaçi, and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, have suggested an exchange of territory could be part of a deal that would pave the way for a final settlement between Belgrade and Pristina.
  • No 10: Boris Johnson has ‘no new ideas’ and does not offer ‘serious leadership’- Politics live. More here.

  • Britain on Monday called for the immediate release of two Reuters jailed in Myanmar for their reporting of the Rohingya crisis, saying that the verdict undermined press freedom in Myanmar.
  • Palestinian President Abbas said he would agree to such an offer only if Israel is a part of the confederation.
  • Analysis: If Israel had to enter Gaza today, the Israeli army would have a big problem.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that armed groups must be “cleaned out” of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Iranian media reports.
  • BAGHDAD — On land, Syria’s government is mustering thousands of conscripts to bolster its depleted forces. At sea, a Russian naval flotilla is just offshore, ready to intervene with formidable firepower. In Idlib Province, millions of civilians are dreading what comes next.
  • Casualties Reported in Alleged Israeli Strike on Damascus Overnight; Syria, Iran Deny. Read more here.

  • Lebanon Sunday joined the global condemnation of the recent U.S. decision to cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, denouncing it as an attempt to deny Palestinians their right of return.
  • Washington Mourned John McCain. President Trump Played Golf.

  • What you need to know about the week ahead.

25th April 2018

  • The back-to-back visits come weeks before a May 12 deadline set by Mr. Trump to “fix” the Iran agreement or walk away from it.
  • Emmanuel Macron has proposed negotiations on a “new deal” aimed at curbing Iran’s military power and regional activities, to exist alongside a three year-old agreement that restricts the country’s nuclear programme.
  • They call him the Trump whisperer. France’s President Emmanuel Macron – who believes his diplomacy, persuasion and personal charm can sway the thinking of his US counterpart, Donald Trump – arrives in Washington on Monday for the deeply symbolic first state visit by a foreign leader since Trump came to power.
  • Donald Trump loves the drama and tension of an ultimatum. It appeals to the ringmaster in him. The former reality show star revels in having the whole world hold its breath in anticipation of his next announcement.
  • Guardian briefing on Macron and Trump in Iran arms wrestle found here.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has questioned the legitimacy of efforts by the US and its European allies to change a nuclear deal with his country.
  • Oil prices hit $75 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three and a half years, as fears mounted over the prospect of new US sanctions on Iran. “The US will decide by 12 May whether to abandon a nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions”
  • Australia: The 1 May deadline when US steel tariffs will apply to all countries including Australia is fast approaching and no permanent exemption has yet been put in place, according to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.
  • Video: Unfit for office? How the 25th amendment could remove Trump-video explainer.
  • President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, his nominee to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, is in serious trouble amid accusations that as the White House doctor he oversaw a hostile work environment, improperly dispensed prescription drugs and possibly drank on the job.
  • Russia plans to deliver new air defense systems to Syria in the near future, RIA news agency cited Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday.
  • Analysis: Everyone’s talking about Russia’s S-300. Why now, and why should Israel be worried?
  • Israel: Democratic congressmen and women write to PM, saying they were ‘dismayed’ that agreement to resettle 16,500 Africans in West was canceled within 24 hours of being announced due to right-wing pressure.
  • There are also ominous notes for Trump in the book, in that Comey — at least before he got dragged into the 2016 election morass — was seen as one of Washington’s straight-shooters, much like Mueller himself.
  • Japan: The country’s foreign ministry issued a “strong protest” over plans to serve a mango mousse, featuring disputed islands on a map of the Korean peninsula, at the meeting.
  • North Korea crisis in 300 words: The North Korean stand-off is a crisis that, at worst, threatens nuclear war. The sudden prospect of direct talks with the US might mean there’s a chance at peace, but it’s complicated. Let’s take a step back.
  • North and South Korea: As a peace treaty was never signed after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the neighbours do not have formal relations. The “Sunshine Policy” of re-engagement with the North from the late 1990s earned one leader a Nobel Peace prize, but broke down within a decade as South Korean politics changed course and Pyongyang pursued its illegal nuclear ambitions.
  • Egypt: An Egyptian military court has sentenced Hisham Genena, the country’s former top auditor, to five years in prison for “spreading news that harms the armed forces.”
  • Egyptian authorities have extended the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who has spent almost 500 days in jail without charge.
  • Lebanon: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Wednesday addressed the international community, calling on donor countries to exert more efforts in supporting Lebanon to cope with the impacts of the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Lebanon: The Constitutional Court is set to convene Thursday to consider an appeal brought forth Tuesday by MP Sami Gemayel against a controversial article in the 2018 state budget, the state-run National News Agency reported.
  • Jakarta: A newly drilled, unregulated oil well in western Indonesia exploded into flames early Wednesday, burning to death 15 people and injuring dozens of others.
  • Lebanon: The Higher Judicial Council Wednesday issued an official “clarification” on a number of details of the case of a Bint Jbeil parliamentary candidate who was assaulted earlier this week while hanging posters after a flurry of media reports regarding the incident.
  • Lebanon: The PSP and the LDP are rivals in the electoral battle, with both groups considered to be heavyweights among the Druze community, particularly in the Chouf-Aley district
  • Lebanon: President Michel Aoun will address Lebanese nationals at home and abroad Wednesday evening ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections.
  • Egypt: May sent a statement praising the Egyptian leader on Wednesday, in which she said the UK was looking forward to developing better relations with his government.
  • The most important surviving suspect in the 13 November 2015 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris has been given a 20-year jail term for his part in a shootout in Belgium four months later.
  • Kim Wall: What we know about about Danish submarine death.
  • UK: Borrowing fell by £3.5bn to £42.6bn in the 2017-18 financial year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
  • More than a year after President Trump issued a travel ban that set off the first legal controversy of his presidency, the Supreme Court is set to consider whether the chief executive has the power to bar most immigrants and travelers from five heavily Muslim countries.
  • Republican activists said Tuesday that they have collected at least 830,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
  • Brexit: The Brexit secretary told MPs he always “respected” the wishes of Parliament, even when they defied ministers, but he believed they would not in this case.
  • Richard Corbett says feeling that Brexit is ‘not a done deal’ is growing.
  • China: While South Korea and the United States appear to be doing much of the diplomatic leg-workbringing the summit to fruition, the region’s future would-be leader, China, has not been watching on idly.
  • The UN’s two most senior Syria experts have warned of an Aleppo-style humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib as an EU donor conference aimed to raise up to $6bn (£4bn)to help Syrians displaced both inside and outside the country.
  • Yemen is not Saudi Arabia’s only unfinished war in this decade.
  • A court in Iraq has turned a death penalty handed down to Lamia K. into a life sentence. The woman from the southern German town of Mannheim had been found guilty of terror offenses as a member of “Islamic State.”
  • Iraq is opening more of its untapped oil and gas resources to foreign developers, hoping to boost revenues after its costly war with the Islamic State group, but analysts say the rushed bidding process — now timed to precede national elections — could draw a lukewarm response.
  • The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has denied intentions to intervene within Syrian affairs, saying airstrikes against Islamic State will continue.
  • Russian state television has shown footage from the 2016 set of a Syrian film in a report pushing Moscow’s claim that a suspected gas attack in Syria was “staged.”
  • Syria: The United Nations and the European Union have appealed for quick political talks to end the seven-year conflict in Syria, saying the latest territorial gains by Damascus and its allies hadn’t brought peace any closer.
  • The chief of the global chemical-weapons watchdog says it remains unclear when a team of international experts can visit the Syrian town of Douma to investigate an alleged deadly chemical attack there.
  • As geopolitical tensions spiked between Russia and West in recent years, one staunch US ally has been something of outlier toward Moscow: Israel.
  • After the April 13 attack on Syrian chemical facilities, the leaders of the United States, France, and Britain—who jointly conducted the strike—expressed satisfaction at the outcome.
  • Britain: The Government will commit to providing £450 million for Syria and the region in 2018, with £300 earmarked for 2019, bringing the total UK aid to the region to £2.71 billion. The announcement, set for Wednesday, consists of £150 million of new money spread across the two years.
  • Turkey’s snap elections and the future of Turkish democracy. 
  • Key decision looms for Turkey’s central bank on rates.
  • Turkey on April 25 rejected United States President Donald Trump’s “inaccurate expressions and the subjective interpretation of history” regarding the 1915 events, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
  • ANKARA, Turkey — BMC, a privately owned Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer, has won a multibillion-dollar contract for the serial production of the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous, new-generation main battle tank in the making.
  • 4229.jpg

Nuclear Proliferation

09vowell-master768Rebekka Dunlap
  • The Danger of an Incurious President: On Aug. 10, 1945, that query was on President Harry Truman’s mind. According to a cabinet secretary’s diary, the day after the five-ton nuclear weapon nicknamed Fat Man obliterated Nagasaki, Truman “didn’t like the idea of killing, as he said, ‘all those kids.’ ”
  • The weapon dropped over Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945, weighed five tons and was known as the Fat Man.
  • Two professors who study nuclear proliferation — Nick Miller at Dartmouth and Vipin Narang at MIT — have a neat little piece in Politico Magazine about which poli-sci theories predicted North Korea’s bomb and which didn’t. Long story short: most didn’t. Etel Solingen’s Nuclear Logics (2007) holds up well. It was, of course, published four years after North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the year after its first nuclear test. Still, case studies aside, her earlier work presented the same essential set of ideas. (The link to this website is known as Arms Control Wonk: Leading voices on Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation) Popular Article on their website: Why, exactly, is there an insistence that Iran is racing up to some sharply defined point where its adversaries, Israel included, must either strike preventively or accept an uneasy relationship of mutual (nuclear) deterrence?
  • The Russian chemical weapons attack in Salisbury is, sadly, not the first assassination to take place on UK soil.
  • 14 April 2017: Yesterday the United States dropped a GBU.43 on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. The bomb is better known by its nickname MOAB, Mother Of All Bombs. But just how does the GBU.43 compare to some of the more common—and not so common—weapons in the US arsenal?
  • 7 March 2017: North Korea’s Missile Program.
  • 16 May 2017: North Korea tested yet another missile. It did land very far away as it fell just off the coast of North Korea near Russia.
  • 2007 Index of U.S. Military Strength: Assessment on Threats to the Homeland.
  • Missile Threat CSIS Missile Defense Project: Report-Distributed Defense: New Operational Concepts For Air and Missile Defense.
  • 20 December 2016: Last Friday China seized a US Navy submersible drone—like the drones the Air Force uses but for underwater purposes—in international waters off the coast of the Philippines.
  • 28 February 2017: One of the big news stories yesterday centred on the Trump administration’s budget outline that would expand US defence spending by 9%, or $54 billion. That is quite a lot of money. More worrying, however, was the draft’s directive that it be accompanied by equal spending cuts in neither security nor entitlement programmes like Social Security and Medicare. Nor, obviously, the trillions allocated for mandatory spending, e.g. debt repayment.
  • 1 November 2016: In case you missed it, two weeks ago President Duterte of the Philippines had some interesting things to say regarding the relationship between the Philippines and the United States.
  • Assessing Threats to U.S. Vital Interests: The Index focuses on three fundamental vital national interests. Assessment found here.
  • Missile Threat CSIS Missile Defense Project: List of Analysis found here.
  • 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength: U.S. Military Power Assessment found here.
  • September 3 2017: This Missile Could Reach California.But Can North Korea Use It With a Nuclear Weapon?

  • To be updated at a later stage.

 

 

 

Missiles of the World: Not just about BM’s anymore.

Missiles of China

Chinese-Missiles.jpg

Missile Types

19th March 2018

  • Since consolidating his power in rigged elections at the start of the decade, the Russian leader has pioneered a politics of fictional threats and invented enemies.
  • Fake news stories. Doctored photographs. Staged TV clips. Armies of paid trolls. Has Putin’s Russia developed a new kind of information warfare – fought in the ‘psychosphere’ rather than on the battlefield? Or is it all just a giant bluff.
  • It did not take long for Suleimani’s proxies to spell all this out to the Qatari government. As their messenger, they used Hezbollah, the only group with trusted links to all the parties involved: Tehran, Doha and the Shiite militia that held the hostages in Iraq.
  • The core of the criminal conspiracy began in March of 2016 when Russian hackers, backed by high-ranking officials in the Russian government, infiltrated the computers of the Democratic National Committee.
  • How a mock political campaign spread confusion and awareness ahead of Lebanon’s parliamentary elections.
  • Many Lebanese fear that Palestinian and Syrian children of non-Lebanese men will never leave the country if they are given Lebanese nationalities, many others say that such concerns are racist.

  • Skaff says parties isolating Popular Bloc.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Monday for greater access to the civilian population of Afrin, declaring that the Turkish Red Crescent lacked credibility among the Syrian Kurds after Turkey’s military operation.
  • Britain is due to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019, but its post-Brexit relationship with the EU has yet to be worked out.
  • OPCW inspectors begin work on Salisbury nerve agent attack: source.

  • Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies made a lightning advance into the city after Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia appeared to have retreated.
  • Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Monday that his ministry was 70 percent prepared for upcoming parliamentary elections, in comments made after a sit-down with President Michel Aoun.
  • While political alliances are still being hammered out in many of Lebanon’s electoral districts, Chouf-Aley stands out as having one major agreement finalized.
  • Hariri said his job as prime minister and head of the Future Movement was to snuff out “political fires” and prevent wars raging in the region from spilling over to Lebanon.
  • Egypt’s Debt Loses the Edge That Attracted $20 Billion.

  • China to Finance Majority of New Egypt Capital’s Tower District.

  • Trump committed a ‘serious felony’: Former Watergate prosecutor.

  • President Trump on Sunday abandoned a strategy of showing deference to the special counsel examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, lashing out at what he characterized as a partisan investigation and alarming Republicans who feared he might seek to shut it down.
  • “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Trump wrote. “Another Dem recently added … does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”
  • Mostafa al-Asar’s lawyer said he had barely started work on a documentary critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when police arrested him and charged him with publishing “fake news”.
  • Japan, U.S., S. Korea discuss denuclearization, summit talks.

  • “It is unreasonable to think that the purpose of the Constitution is that Japan has to sit and wait for death when it comes under attack by missiles and other weapons,” Hatoyama said.
  • Torture allegations dog Gina Haspel as she is poised to be first female CIA head.

  • A North Korean official will hold unofficial talks in Finland with a delegation from the U.S. and former South Korean government officials, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.
  • Representatives of North Korea, South Korea and the United States are set to meet in Finland for talks on denuclearization, according to South Korean and Finnish officials.
  • Kim Jong-un has committed to denuclearisation, says South Korea.

  • Traders are reacting to speculation that David Davis and Michel Barnier are making progress at today’s meeting, ahead of the EU summit later this week.
  • Britain’s biggest business lobby group is seeking to prevent the loss of as much as €1bn (£882m) in annual European funding for scientific research and technological development, which has been thrown into doubt by Brexit.
  • The Kurdish militia, the YPG, withdrew from Afrin before dawn on Sunday, members blending in with an exodus of up to 150,000 civilians who had been fleeing the city since Friday.
  • Recent dismissals shows the president is gaining confidence in his foreign policy instincts, and surrounding himself with allies.
  • Taking Afrin has been the main objective of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, a ground and air offensive launched on 20 January with the aim of ousting the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia group.
  • Rebels in Syria’s eastern Ghouta discussing ceasefire with UN – statement.
  • Alex Farrell walked through 10 countries alongside a family of Syrian refugees. His groundbreaking documentary records their perilous journey.
  • South Africa’s chief prosecutor has said the former president Jacob Zuma will face prosecution on corruption charges that haunted much of his term in office.
  • Shutting down EU ivory trade is a ‘personal priority’ for Boris Johnson.
  • Japan’s embattled prime minister has hit back at critics over a favouritism and cover-up scandal that has seen his popularity plunge and loosened his grip on power.
  • US anti-war protesters will travel to Ho Chi Minh city for an exhibition that will remind people they were far from a fringe element.
  • North Korean minister’s Swedish visit fuels Trump-Kim expectations.
  • China: “The voyage of a great country cannot do without a helmsman,” the paper wrote.
  • China has called on the US to “correct its mistake” after Donald Trump approved rules allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taipei counterparts.
  • Diplomacy between India and Pakistan can involve high-stakes negotiation, subtle messaging and the ever present threat of nuclear war.
  • Malcolm Turnbull has encouraged Aung San Suu Kyi to resettle displaced Rohingya but Amnesty International has criticised Australia for adopting a “softly softly” approach on the humanitarian crisis during the Myanmar leader’s visit.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi asks Australia and Asean for help with Rohingya crisis.

  • The chair of the Senate foreign relations committee has predicted Donald Trump will pull the US out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
  • The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned.
  • Doctors and civil leaders among signatories to open letter to the UN, demanding action to stop massacre by Syrian forces.
    5608
  • Turkey claims to have encircled Afrin, besieging up to 200,000.
  • Syria: Most of deaths, including at least 13 children, were in town of Kfar Batna, with toll expected to rise.
  • Quick Guide: What are the allegations in the Trump-Russia investigation?
     What are the most serious allegations?

    The investigation into Trump and his team appears to encompass allegations of collusionobstruction of justiceabuse of power and charges specific to Trump aides and former aides.

    Any case along these lines against the president would be historic. Both of the presidents to face impeachment proceedings in the past century, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, faced obstruction of justice and abuse of power charges.

    Is there anything we don’t know?

    It’s important to note that the work of the special counsel is secret, and the public has no way of knowing for certain what charges prosecutors may be weighing against the Trump team or, in what would be an extraordinary development, against the president himself.

    What can the special counsel investigate?

    Mueller is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” and related matters. In other words, potential collusion during the 2016 election.

    But so-called “collusion” is only part of it. The special counsel has the broad authority to build a prosecution wherever the inquiry may lead. The investigation has already resulted in charges against former Trump aides such as tax fraud that do not relate directly to election activity.

    Anything else?

    In the course of the investigation, Trump’s past business practices have also come under scrutiny. With his first indictments of people in Trump’s orbit, the special counsel has demonstrated an appetite for the prosecution of alleged white-collar crimes. The president has denied all wrongdoing.

     

 

15th October 2017

11th October 2017