How China Overtook the U.S. as the World’s Major Trading Partner

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia News

How China Overtook the U.S. As the World’s Trade Partner

In 2018, trade accounted for 59% of global GDP, up nearly 1.5 times since 1980.

Over this timeframe, international trade has transformed significantly—not just in terms of volume and composition, but also in terms of the countries that the rest of the world leans on for their most important trade relationships.

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Russia To Deploy New Air-Defense Equipment To Base In Kyrgyzstan

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Kyrgyzstan says Russia plans to install new air- and missile-defense equipment and drones at its air base near the former Soviet republic’s northern city of Kant.

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Chinese military never engages in cyber espionage: Defense Spokesperson

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

“The Chinese military has never engaged in any form of cyber theft. The US accusation is groundless and totally hegemonic,” said Senior Colonel Wuqian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, in a written statement published on Thursday.

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Chinese Telecommunications Conglomerate Huawei and Subsidiaries Charged in Racketeering Conspiracy and Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Charges also Reveal Huawei’s Business in North Korea and Assistance to the Government of Iran in Performing Domestic Surveillance

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Turkey to oppose Pakistan blacklisting at anti-terrorism finance meet

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Pakistan, South East Asia, Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said he would help Pakistan stay off a terrorism financing blacklist at a meeting of a global finance watchdog, a move he suggested would counter “political pressure” from Islamabad’s critics.

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Syrian to be tried for plotting attack on U.S. embassy in Lebanon: agency

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 20, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

A Syrian man held on suspicion of plotting an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon was referred to trial on Thursday along with 20 other people, the Lebanese state news agency NNA said.

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Idlib and Its Environs – Narrowing Prospects for a Rebel Holdout

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 17, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Greater Idlib and its immediate surroundings in northwest Syria—consisting of rural northern Latakia, northwestern Hama, and western Aleppo—stand out as the last segment of the country held by independent
groups. These groups are primarily jihadist, Islamist, and Salafi in orientation. Other areas have returned to Syrian government control, are held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), or are held by
insurgent groups that are entirely constrained by their foreign backers; that is, these backers effectively make decisions for the insurgents. As for insurgents in this third category, the two zones of particular interest are (1)
the al-Tanf pocket, held by the U.S.-backed Jaish Maghaweer al-Thawra, and (2) the areas along the northern border with Turkey, from Afrin in the west to Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain in the east, controlled by “Syrian

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Damascus area purportedly hit by Israeli warplanes

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Syrian anti-air defense units fired in attempt to intercept incoming projectiles launched against the Damascus area early this morning. The Israeli Defense Forces is thought to have launched the attack.

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White House confirms death of AQAP leader

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The White House announced today that Qasim al-Rimi (or al-Raymi), the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been “successfully eliminated” in a “counterterrorism operation in Yemen.”

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Al-Qassam Brigades releases message about Israeli captives

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

On Wednesday, the spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas stated that Israelis in their captivity were injured during airstrikes conducted by Israel’s Air Force. The message about the injury of its captives may be closer to psychological warfare than truth.

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HTS utilizes suicide bombings against advancing regime forces

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

As the Assad regime and its allies advance into Idlib from two directions, Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), the largest jihadist force in the area, has increasingly utilized suicide bombings in defense of the province.

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Diminishing Returns from Iran Sanctions

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Virtually every sector of Iran’s civilian economy is now subject to U.S. secondary sanctions, rendering additional sanctions progressively less significant.

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Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias suffer heavy losses fighting in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

In 2012, Hezbollah committed itself to armed conflict in defense of its Syrian ally, Bashar al Assad, against rebels and Islamic State fighters attempting to overthrow the Assad government. With the backing of Iran and Russia, they successfully supported the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in largely putting down the armed insurgency.

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Analysis: JNIM addresses detractors, sends message of unity

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

Over the last few weeks, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) released two pamphlets that sent indirect messages to its detractors and supporters in the Sahel and beyond.

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U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Sign Logistics Interoperability Framework

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Vice Adm. Rick Williamson, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics (N4), and Rear Adm. Masatomi Dairiki, director general of the Logistics Department of the Maritime Support Office, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, signed a revised framework to improve cooperation and interoperability for maritime logistics Feb 5 at the Pentagon.

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India – Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) and Related Equipment and Support

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, India, South East Asia

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on February 7, 2020.

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Chinese military planes cross median line of Taiwan Strait

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Chinese military aircraft crossed over the median line of the Taiwan Strait and into Taiwan’s airspace on Monday for the first time in nearly a year, as Beijing continued military maneuvers near Taiwan for a second straight day.

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Air Force’s proposed $169 billion budget focuses on ‘great power competition,’ readiness, establishing Space Force

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Department of the Air Force released a $169 billion budget proposal Feb. 10, which for the first time includes funding for the newly created U.S. Space Force while also focusing funds to help both services modernize, address threats from Russia and China, and sustain readiness.

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Ex-CIA official warns of Iran, ISIS drones armed with chemical weapons

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The warning takes on greater meaning following a call on January 28 by ISIS’s new leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, to direct greater attention to attacking Israel and Jews, including using chemical weapons.

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Israel sentences Islamic cleric to 28 months for inciting terror

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia News

An Israeli court Monday sentenced a firebrand Islamic cleric to 28 months in prison for incitement to terrorism in connection with deadly unrest at a Jerusalem holy site in 2017.

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Eight killed in truck blast in Syria’s Afrin: Turkish defense ministry

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

A bomb detonated on a truck containing diesel-filled barrels and killed eight civilians and wounded seven more, including children, in northwestern Syria’s Idlib region on Monday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

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Syria and Turkey inch closer to war after shelling kills 5 Turkish soldiers

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Syria and Turkey inched closer to all-out war Monday as their troops exchanged deadly fire for the second time in a matter of days in Idlib, a contested and ravaged northern province that is the last remaining major rebel redoubt in Syria’ s nearly nine-year war.

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Pentagon slashes funding for Islamic State fight

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Donald Trump administration is again set to slash funding for the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in a new budget request unveiled today, as Iraq’s leaders have publicly demanded an end to the US-led combat mission.

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Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias in Soleimani’s wake

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Shortly after Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentor’s death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings told Reuters.

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Neo-Nazi and ISIS Content Located on Instagram

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Several neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and ISIS videos were located on Facebook owned Instagram. One of the AWD videos was uploaded in September by an account that has also posted several additional pieces of neo-Nazi propaganda and prominently features a neo-Nazi flag in the user’s profile photo.

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Extremist Content Online: AQAP Claims Florida Naval Base Shooting

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 14, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence.

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Terrorist groups in Gaza on high alert, fear assassinations

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Most of the rockets fired in the past two weeks were fired by PIJ. Khalil Bathani, a leader in PIJ, is considered the main possible target, according to Ynet. He has been targeted in the past.

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The fight of Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta against extremism, Islamophobia

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Dar al-Ifta’s observatory of takfiri fatwas offers a comprehensive system to confront extremism and its endeavours to spread sectarian strife.

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Turkey deploys tanks to Syrian border amid fresh Idlib violence

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Turkey

Ankara to protect civilians and prevent Idlib exodus, governing party MP says, as Syrian government attacks intensify.

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Egyptian Officials Say Militants Blow Up Sinai Gas Pipeline

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Security officials in Egypt said suspected Islamic militants on Sunday blew up a natural gas pipeline in the restive norther part of Sinai Peninsula.

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France to boost military troops in Africa’s Sahel to counter terrorism

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

Paris has said it will deploy 600 additional troops to the border zone between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. French forces are also seeking to train local fighters who Paris says are unprepared to take on jihadi groups.

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For Lebanon’s Shiites, a Dilemma: Stay Loyal to Hezbollah or Keep Protesting?

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Lebanon’s protests have drawn protesters from all religious sects. But Hezbollah, the Islamist militia and political party, and its ally, the Amal Movement, have tried to smother demonstrations by Shiites.

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Iraq Says Anti-IS Operations With U.S. Coalition Resume

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iraq’s military said on Thursday it was resuming operations with the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State which had mostly halted after bases hosting U.S. troops came under rocket attacks and a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian commander.

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NW Syria violence displaces 500,000 in two months

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

A Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against the country’s last rebel enclave has caused one of the biggest waves of displacement in the nine-year-old war.

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UN Experts: Islamic State Steps Up Attacks in Syria and Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Islamic State extremists are mounting increasingly bold attacks in Syria and Iraq following their loss of territory in both countries and are planning for the breakout of their fighters in detention facilities, U.N. experts said in a new report.

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