India, US to discuss bilateral partnership during Modi’s visit

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017

Prime minister Narendra Modi Friday said the aim of his upcoming visit to the US was to build a “forward-looking vision” for the bilateral partnership and further consolidate the robust and wide- ranging ties.

Modi, who will be meeting president Donald Trump for the first time on June 26 in Washington, said he looked forward to the opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views. Read the rest of this entry »

Syria: US-backed forces launch siege on Raqqa

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have completed a siege on areas under the Islamic State (IS) in Syria’s northern city of Raqqa.

The siege on Raqqa has been completed, amid talks among the tribesmen in the city about reviving negotiations with IS over the next 24 hours for the withdrawal of IS from the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Mosul operations enter final stage

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017

imgThe Islamic State (IS) militants bombed historical al-Nuri mosque on Wednesday during fierce battles against the Iraqi army which has retaken most of Mosul, the country’s second largest city, after eight months of offensives.

Iraqi Prime Minister Hadier Abadi said “blowing up the al-Nuri mosque and the al-Hadba minaret is an official declaration of defeat by the Islamic State.”

Mosul has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned the city. IS militants have thus taken control of large swaths of territories in the country, with the city as their de facto capital in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraqi PM: Mosul to be liberated within days

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017

The “liberation” of the city of Mosul from Daesh will be announced in a few days, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Thursday, according to Baghdad-based Al-Sumaria TV.

“It’s a matter of a few days and we will announce the total liberation of Mosul,” Al-Abadi told reporters in Baghdad, according to Al-Sumaria. Read the rest of this entry »

NATO prepared for quick response in Eastern Europe if needed

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017

imgNATO member countries in Eastern Europe hosted four multinational battalions of the Alliance. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said during the Allied forces meeting in Latvia.

Approximately 4,000 soldiers are stationed in Poland and the Baltic States. Germany is in charge of the battalion in Lithuania, the United States manages troops in Poland, UK runs headquarters Read the rest of this entry »

Militants clash with troops in eastern DRC

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Clashes between militants and government troops on Thursday left 16 dead in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said.

The fighting erupted in the eastern suburbs of Beni, a city in the troubled North-Kivu province, with residents hearing gunshots and heavy weapons fire.

The province has been plagued by regular flare-ups of ethnic bloodshed, which over the past year has seen a cycle of attacks and reprisal raids between militias. Read the rest of this entry »

UN seeks $8bn for South Sudan refugee crisis

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgThe United Nations secretary-general is making a plea for protection of refugees around the world, saying some richer countries haven’t been as tolerant as some in Africa.

Antonio Guterres on Friday addressed a UN-backed summit in Uganda that seeks $8bn for nearly a million South Sudanese refugees and the host communities that officials say are near the breaking point. Read the rest of this entry »

US to have permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 23, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The United States ambassador to Somalia says the US once again will have a permanent diplomatic presence in the country after it opens offices in Mogadishu later this year.

The US embassy was closed in 1991 as the Horn of Africa nation slid into decades of chaos. Former Secretary of State John Kerry during a 2015 visit said the US would begin the process of re-establishing a diplomatic presence. Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan, Turkey discuss defence cooperation

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was awarded the Legion of Merit in Ankara on Tuesday in recognition of his services for promotion of Pakistan-Turkey defence ties.

Speaking on the occasion, General Bajwa dedicated the award to the martyrs of both Pakistani and Turkish armed forces. Read the rest of this entry »

UN chief says Nawaz, Modi meetings will solve Kashmir dispute

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has suggested meetings with Indian and Pakistani leaders as a means to facilitate dialogue between the two adversaries over the Kashmir dispute. Read the rest of this entry »

US shots down drone in Syria near Jordanian border

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A US warplane shot down an Iran-made drone operated by pro-regime forces in southern Syria early on Tuesday, officials said, the second such incident in less than two weeks.

The US-led anti-ISIL coalition said an F-15E Strike Eagle jet destroyed the Shaheed-129 drone around 12.30am, north-east of the Al Tanaf garrison which is close to the Jordanian border.

“It displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces,” the coalition said. Read the rest of this entry »

EU urges protection of civilians in Mosul

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday expressed deep concern about civilians trapped in the Iraqi city of Mosul as the battle enters the final stage and expressed support to humanitarian organizations to deliver lifesaving aid to them.

“Our deepest concern right now are the civilians still trapped inside. Protecting the lives of tens of thousands civilians is more than ever a necessity for humanity in this conflict,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq army encircles IS in Mosul’s City

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Iraq’s army said it encircled Islamic State’s stronghold in the Old City of Mosul on Tuesday after taking over an area to the north of the densely populated historic district.

The army’s 9th armored division seized al-Shifaa district, which includes the city’s main hospitals, alongside the western bank of the Tigris river, a military statement said.

The fall of Shifaa means the Old City in the eastern half of Mosul is now surrounded by US-backed government forces, deployed north, west, south and east, across the river. Read the rest of this entry »

France, Algeria call for political solution to Libyan crisis

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgThe foreign ministers of Algeria and France on Tuesday urged Libya’s rival armed factions to seek a political solution in the North African country to help stem the spread of militant groups there and potential spillover across its borders.

Algeria has joined with North African neighbor Tunisia to seek support for an inclusive dialogue in Libya, where competing governments and armed supporters have struggled for control since a 2011 civil war ousted veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to the report. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt army says 12 militants killed in North Sinai

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgypt’s military says its air force has killed 12 “extremely dangerous” militants in airstrikes in northern Sinai, a militant hotspot.

In a Tuesday statement, the armed forces said the strikes also destroyed four vehicles as it targeted a “terrorist stronghold” of the local Islamic State affiliate, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. Read the rest of this entry »

At least 40 killed in CAR day after ceasefire

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least 40 people were killed in clashes on Tuesday in the Central African Republic, aid and security sources said, the day after the signing of a ceasefire deal.

The violence in the central town of Bria was between members of Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militias and ex-Seleka fighters, the sources said.

US downs Syrian air force fighter jet

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

An American Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime SU-22 fighter jet shortly after it attacked U.S. partner forces, the anti-Daesh coalition said Sunday.

The Syrian aircraft had dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) south of Tabqah, which the group seized from Daesh in May, according to the coalition statement that said the mission closely followed a “Pro-Syrian regime forces” advance on the town of Ja’Din. Read the rest of this entry »

US Defense, Turkish counterpart to discuss Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will meet again with his Turkish counterpart in Europe next week, said Monday the US general, who described the United States’ ordinary efforts to address Turkey’s concerns at the US decision, to provide arms for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Mattis last week wrote a detailed letter to offer Turkey a “routine update” on US efforts in Syria.

Germany to relocate it’s troops from Incirlik to Jordan in July

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

imgAccording to a German official, the country’s troops will start leaving a Turkish air base where they are stationed in July.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen revealed the Bundeswehr soldiers would pull out of the Incirlik air base in Turkey after strained relations between the NATO allies.

The German troops will be relocated to a new base in Jordan, von der Leyen told German media on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

EU reiterates support to Iraq’s unity

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

The EU Foreign Affairs Council discussed during its meeting in Luxembourg on Monday the situation im Iraq, focussing on the latest developments, in particular in Mosul and Nineveh province, and on the future stabilisation of the country.

The Council issued a statement praising the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi security forces for the significant advances they have made in the military campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS) over the past months. It also reiterated EU support for Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Read the rest of this entry »

India signs agreement with Lockheed to produce F-16 fighters

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) have signed a pact affirming the intent to join hands to produce F-16 Block 70 fighter planes in India. The announcement comes days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Washington for a meeting with Donald Trump on June 26.

“This unprecedented F-16 production partnership between the world’s largest defence contractor and India’s premier industrial house provides India the opportunity to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft, the newest and most advanced version of the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter,” the two companies said. Read the rest of this entry »

India signs UN TIR convention to counter China’s OBOR

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017

India became the 71st country on Monday to join the United Nations TIR Convention, the international customs transit system, to position itself as a regional trading and transit hub.

The TIR system is the international customs transit system with the widest geographical coverage. Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish PM visits Greece

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım will make a working visit to Greece on June 19 at the invitation of Greek his counterpart Alexis Tsipras, ahead of Cyprus reunification talks in Switzerland. During his visit to Athens, Prime Minister Yıldırım will be received by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

Yıldırım’s visit is taking place ahead of a new round of talks over the reunification of Cyprus that will take place in Switzerland’s Crans-Montana on June 28; therefore, the Cyprus issue is Read the rest of this entry »

Mali urges UN to support anti-jihadist force for the Sahel

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Mali’s foreign minister on Friday pressed the UN Security Council to quickly adopt a resolution endorsing the creation of a special force to fight the jihadists increasingly plaguing north Africa’s Sahel region.

The minister, Abdoulaye Diop, expressed the “deep concern” of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who heads a five-nation regional grouping known as the G5 Sahel, over the “difficulties” slowing approval of the resolution. Read the rest of this entry »

5 killed in jihadi attack on Mali resort outside capital

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 19, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Islamic extremists who stormed a resort area in Mali popular with foreigners killed five people, including a Portuguese soldier who had been serving in the European Union mission to stabilize this West African country wracked by mounting extremism, authorities said on Monday.

The death toll rose after a Malian soldier who was wounded in the Sunday afternoon attack died of his injuries. Three civilians – a Chinese citizen, a Malian, and a French-Gabonese dual national – also were slain in the worst terror attack to strike Bamako since late 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Pakistan: Daesh presence in Afghanistan is concerning

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in statement said that there have been numerous meetings held by regional countries to address the rising influence of Daesh and other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan.

He added the war-like situation in Afghanistan is going on for the last 40 years, and has given space to non-state actors and various terrorist organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

China, Pakistan agree to fight terrorism together

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017

China and Pakistan on Friday agreed to improve security and anti-terrorism cooperation, to guarantee the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The agreement came out of a meeting between Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Pakistan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Mahmood Hayat. Read the rest of this entry »

Belgium to extend air operations in Syria, Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017

img2Belgian F-16 fighter jets will be operating over Iraq and Syria until the end of this year, Belgian media reported Friday quoting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Belgium will allocate 17 million euro (USD 19 million) for the operation. Read the rest of this entry »

UN: Daesh holds 100,000 civilians in Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017

Daesh terrorist group is holding more than 100,000 civilians as human shields in the old city of Mosul in Iraq, said a UN official on Friday.

“More than 100,000 civilians are still being held in the old city,” Bruno Geddo, the UN refugee agency (U.N.H.C.R.) representative in Iraq said during a press conference in Geneva. Read the rest of this entry »

Europol warns that Balkans remains key route for terrorists

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017
Posted in category Balkan News, Balkans, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgNew Europol report warns that the Balkan region remains vulnerable to Islamist terrorism – and remains a well-established route to and from the conflict zones for terrorist fighters.

The EU’s annual Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, released June 15, says terrorists are still joining the conflict in Syria from the Balkans, which remains a route to and from the conflict zones in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

Macron in Morocco to discuss Libya, Qatar crisis

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017

imgFrench President Emmanuel Macron was in Morocco on Wednesday on a 24-hour visit for talks on battling terrorism as well as the Libyan conflict and Qatar’s dispute with its Gulf neighbours.

As he stepped off the plane for his first visit to Morocco since his election in May, the French president, his wife Brigitte at his side, was welcomed on the tarmac by King Mohammed VI. Read the rest of this entry »

France says UN likely to support Sahel anti-jihadist force

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

France’s foreign minister said on Thursday he was confident “we will get there” in convincing a reluctant United States to give United Nations backing to an anti-jihadist force drawn from five African countries.

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which make up the so-called G5 Sahel, have agreed to set up a special counter-terrorism operation of 5 000 troops, but want UN logistical and financial support. Read the rest of this entry »

EU announces $160m to support northeast Nigeria

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, June 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgThe European Union has announced a support package of nearly $160m for recovery and reconstruction in Nigeria’s Borno state, which has been devastated by attacks from homegrown Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

The EU said on Thursday the northeastern state is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has called Nigeria one of four countries worldwide at risk of, or experiencing, famine. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq forces announce progress in Mosul campaign

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Iraqi forces on Tuesday reported progress in the US-backed campaign to dislodge Daesh from Mosul, announcing the capture of a district just north the city’s historic centre.

With the loss of the Zanjili neighbourhood, the enclave still held by Daesh in the northern Iraqi city has shrunk to two districts along the western banks of the Tigris river – the densely populated Old City centre and the Medical City. Read the rest of this entry »

EU maritime to continue to seize arms off Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, June 13, 2017

imgThe UN Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to allow the European Union’s (EU) maritime force to seize illegal weapons off Libya’s coast for another year, a move aimed at helping restore peace to the deeply divided north African nation.

The British-drafted resolution authorises EU ships in Operation Sophia to stop vessels on the high seas off Libya’s coast suspected of smuggling arms in violation of a UN arms embargo. Operation Sophia is also charged with seizing migrant-smuggling vessels. Read the rest of this entry »