From Iraq to Yemen, drones raise U.S. alarm over Iranian plans

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington.

The United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say.

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Iran Says It Seized Foreign Tanker, Escalating Regional Tensions

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran has detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, Iranian news media reported on Thursday, days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf.

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Syrian rebels say Moscow deploys ground forces in Idlib campaign

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Russia has sent special forces in recent days to fight alongside Syrian army troops in northwestern Syria where they have been struggling for more than two months to seize the last opposition bastion, senior rebel commanders said.

Moscow, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, denied on Thursday that it had sent special forces to Idlib, maintaining that Russia has no ground troops in Syria.

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Turkey bombs Kurdish region in Iraq after diplomat killed

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Turkish defence minister said the attack ‘dealt a heavy blow’ to the ‘terrorist’ Kurdish armed group, PKK, in Qandil.

Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on the Kurdish region in northern Iraq in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defence minister said.

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Moscow Sends Troops to Front Lines in Syria- report

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Russian Defense Ministry releases statement categorically rejecting claim its troops are participating in Idlib offensive.

Russia has reportedly dispatched special forces to the front line of an ongoing Syrian regime offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major bastion controlled by rebels, mainly from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaida-linked group.

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IRGC releases drone footage, belying US claim of downing

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has released footage captured by an Iranian drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz and monitoring a United States Navy vessel, belying a claim by Washington that the unmanned aircraft was shot down by the American forces.

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IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

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Britain Offers To Help Release Tanker If Given Guarantees By Iran

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Britain has offered Iran a way out of the crisis over its seized oil tanker in Gibraltar, saying it will “facilitate release” of the Grace 1 if Tehran provides guarantees the vessel will not travel on to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

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Ambassador: Trump’s Withdrawal from Iran Deal Was ‘Diplomatic Vandalism’

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, India, Middle Orient

The former British ambassador to the U.S. believed President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal was an act of “diplomatic vandalism” against his predecessor Barack Obama, according to newly leaked diplomatic cables.

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Macron announces creation of French space force command

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

French President Emmanuel Macron has approved the creation of a military space force command to boost the country’s military capabilities amid a precarious state of ties with the US.

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US Cuts Turkey Out of F-35 Fighter Jet Program

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

The United States is officially removing Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter jet program after Ankara accepted the Russian delivery of its S-400 missile defense system.

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Iran Rejects Pompeo’s Suggestion It Is Willing to Negotiate Over Missile Program

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Iran appeared willing to negotiate over its missile program “for the first time,” in what he and President Trump presented as evidence that sanctions and military pressure were working, less than a month after the president halted a planned military strike against Iran.

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Pentagon: ‘Robust’ counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan must continue — even if peace deal is reached

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia

The Pentagon is warning that a “robust” counter-terrorism capability must remain in Afghanistan against groups including al-Qaida, even if a peace deal with the Taliban is secured.

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Iran Says It Aided Oil Tanker, Amid Reports of Missing U.A.E. Ship

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, July 20, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News, Iran, Middle Orient

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that security forces recently came to the aid of a foreign oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, hours after reports that Iran might have seized a tanker from the United Arab Emirates in the area.

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Turkey: Out in the Cold

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

The fight for Tripoli has killed more than 750 people – not a stunning number when compared to 9/11, but not small enough to be ignored like a bomb blowing up in Paris, Istanbul or Berlin.

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Qatar opens largest naval base amid US-Saudi military drills

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Qatar, which is home to the biggest US military base in the Middle East, has opened its own largest naval base amid ongoing tensions with Saudi Arabia, currently holding joint military drills with American forces.

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Russia rejects starting talks with Japan on return of islands: Kyodo

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Russia has rejected starting talks with Japan on the return of two disputed islands despite an agreement last year, in a move that could further delay the signing of a peace treaty, Kyodo news agency says.

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PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME: EXTERNAL SUPPORT TO CIVIL WARS & INSURGENCIES

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The United Arab Emirates has dumped weapons into conflict zones throughout the Middle East.

Given how unstable the situation in Libya remains and the more external actors involved, the more prolonged and bloody the conflict is likely to become.

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Germany – Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles Segment Enhanced

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Germany of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles Segment Enhanced (MSE) with support for an estimated cost of $401 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 12, 2019.

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Greece – MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Greece of MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters with support for an estimated cost of $600 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 12, 2019.

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Turkey Challenges US as Russian Missiles Arrive

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Russia is delivering its S-400 missile system to Turkey, a move that threatens to rupture Turkish-U.S. relations and puts Russian military technology inside a key NATO alliance member.

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Islamic State Turkey province video claims new wilayah in old turf

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey
Fighters from Islamic State Turkey Province in the affiliate’s first video released in July 2019.

ISIS released a propaganda video from ‘Wilayah Turkey,’ showing a small group of militants pledging bayah, or allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The eighth in the “And the best outcome is for the righteous” series, the video is the first from this new province, but ISIS already has a complex presence in Turkey.

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Islamic State Remains Unpredictable as it Regroups

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Islamic State terror group is adapting to the loss of its self-declared territorial caliphate by returning to its origins and becoming once again a more local, Iraq-focused insurgency, and is recruiting in remote border areas in Iraq’s western desert. But it still harbors ambitions to strike in the West, warn European officials and analysts.

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It’s time to hold Iran accountable for terrorism in Argentina

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Twenty five years ago this month, the world watched in horror as rescuers in Buenos Aires picked through the rubble of a Jewish community center, searching for survivors of a suicide bombing that leveled the building, killing 85 people, including a five-year-old boy, and wounding 300 more.

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Argentina to designate Hezbollah as terror group – Report

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

According to La Nacion, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri asked his government to find the most rapid solution to include the Iranian—backed group in the list of terror organizations.

Argentina’s government is planning on designating the Lebanese-based Hezbollah group as a terror organization for its role in the terror attacks against the Israeli embassy and the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentinian newspaper La Nacion has reported.

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European Union: Toward a European Superstate

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, nominated to be the next President of the European Commission, has called for the creation of a European superstate. “My aim is the United States of Europe…” she said in an interview with Der Spiegel. She has also called for the creation of a European Army.

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Yemeni armed forces display new domestically-built missiles, drones

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Yemeni Armed Forces have unveiled new domestically-built military hardware, including ballistic and winged missiles in addition to unmanned aerial vehicles, which Sana’a says could act as game changers in the face of the Saudi-led military aggression against the Arab country.

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MP reveals details of Iran plan to charge ships passing through Strait of Hormuz

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

A senior member of the Iranian parliament has shared more details of a plan to collect tolls from foreign ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

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Iran officially begins enriching uranium beyond 3.67% level

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran on Sunday has officially announced the beginning of the second phase of reduction of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, increasing the level of its uranium enrichment to a level beyond the 3.67% limit set by the accord.

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US has given Lebanese Armed Forces a pass with Hezbollah — conditioning aid is necessary

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

American diplomats have been quietly mediating a resolution to the Israeli-Lebanese maritime border dispute, an important step to avoiding another war between these two countries. However, even if American mediators can resolve the dispute, Hezbollah’s presence in southern Lebanon keeps alive the possibility of a devastating war.

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Israeli attacks on Iranian, Hezbollah targets in Syria show no sign of waning

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Tensions between Israel and Syria are escalating and show little sign of slowing. Suspected Israeli strikes June 30 in Syria killed 15 people, the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said.

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A terrorist’s bioweapon could kill millions — and there’s little we can do to stop it

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea have been a primary concern to world security for more than a decade. But there is another significant worldwide threat to consider — bioweapons. And with the advent of genetic editing — where the DNA or RNA of a virus or bacteria can be modified to form a deadly weapon — the terrorist arsenal of weapons could be about to change for the worse.

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US Call for Syria Troops Divides German Coalition

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, July 11, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Discord broke out in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition Sunday, after the United States urged the country to send ground troops to Syria as Washington looks to withdraw from the region.

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Afghan government unable to administer 64 districts

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, July 8, 2019
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia, South East Asia

The Afghan government is unable to administer 64 districts from the district centers, according to a recent survey. The 64 districts, which are located in 19 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, are either being administered remotely, or the district centers have been moved due to heavy fighting with the Taliban. The data track with an ongoing analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts by FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Niger military base raided by the Islamic State

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, July 8, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s complex assault on a Nigerien military base near the border with Mali. At least 18 soldiers were killed, while several more are still missing.

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