THE GROWING INFLUENCE OF IRAN-BACKED MILITIAS IN IRAQ

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran is pursuing a strategy in Iraq similar to that which it employed in Lebanon, where it built Lebanese Hezbollah into a major military and political force. Hezbollah has become a ‘kingmaker,’ determining who occupies key leadership positions in the Lebanese government. Similarly, with Iran’s extensive assistance, several Iraqi militias and their commanders are emerging as major factors in Iraqi politics.

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U.S. ‘To End Contacts’ With Afghan Security Adviser Mohib Following Verbal Attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

A senior U.S. diplomat has told Afghanistan’s president that U.S. officials will no longer deal with his national security adviser, Reuters news agency reports, citing four knowledgeable U.S. and Afghan sources.

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Taking China’s Cues India Begins 1st-Ever Military Drill with 17 African Nations

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

China with a view to showcasing its military prowess had earlier organised a China-Africa Defence and Security Forum in 2018 that involved 50 African nations.

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Turkey, Iran carried out joint operation against Kurdish militants: minister

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient, Turkey

Turkey and Iran carried out a joint operation against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said according to state-owned media.

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Iran Hints at Using Foreign Militias in Domestic Crackdown

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

An influential Iranian cleric says Iran might bring Shiite militias to the country from other parts of the Middle East to fight threats to the government.

Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Courts, told religious students in Qom this month that his government could use foreign fighters to crack down on potential popular uprisings in Iran.

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ISIS militants vow to keep fighting as final battle in Syria drags on

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The battle for the last scrap of land held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria has taken longer than expected, with the terror group vowing to fight to the last man in Baghouz. In the shadow of moonlight alone, U.S.-backed forces took CBS News to the closest point yet overlooking the last of ISIS. Soon after, you could hear bullets whizzing overhead.

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UN Chief: Hezbollah Weapons Threaten Stability

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “grave concern” that Hezbollah’s weapons would “endanger the stability of Lebanon and the region.”

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Hamas War Crimes against Israel, Palestinians

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Hamas has again proved that it really is a terrorist group that oppresses its people and prevents them from expressing their opinions. It has also shown that when it is in trouble, it will do its utmost to divert attention from the problems it is facing at home.

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Syria lashes out at US, UK, France over statement

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Syria has strongly dismissed a joint statement by the United States, France, and Britain that declares they will not be participating in the war-torn Arab country’s reconstruction as long as it is led by President Bashar al-Assad.

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Japan Developing Missile to Strike Enemy Outside Air Defences’ Reach – Report

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The new missile is expected to be an upgraded version of the Japanese supersonic cruise missile ASM3 which was developed in 2017 and has a range of 200 kilometres.

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US Navy Wants a ‘Ghost Fleet’ of Drone Warships – Report

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The drones might serve as protection for carrier strike groups or as offensive vessels in their own right, Navy officials say.

The US Navy wants to procure a number of unmanned drone warships that will operate on the open seas without any sailors, Popular Mechanics reports.

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Britain And The EU: The Problems With Brexit

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Does anyone remember Nigel Farage? He led the UK Independence Party and the ‘leave’ EU vote — along with his last minute ally Boris Johnson who hoped to push himself up to prime minister. Farage is still around as a Member of the European Parliament representing south-east England, a job soon to be redundant when Britain leaves the EU. Boris is still in parliament … and still unlikely to be prime minister.

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A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

“Kingsmill Bond” certainly sounds like a proper name for a City of London financial analyst. He looks the part, too: gray hair expertly trimmed, well-cut suit. He’s lived in Moscow and Hong Kong and worked for Deutsche Bank, the Russian financial firm Troika Dialog, and Citibank. He’s currently “new energy strategist” for a small British think tank called Carbon Tracker, and last fall he published a short paper called “2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming.” It asks an interesting question: At what point does a new technology cause an existing industry to start losing significant value?

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Iran Inches Closer to its Goal: “Wipe Israel off the Map”

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran’s military activities and clear public threats to annihilate Israel continue to grow in frequency and intensity. These moves not only instill fear, as they are doubtless meant to do; they also threaten to disrupt the international community. With such dire promises of conflict, it would be expected that the international news media and politicians throughout the world would have something to say about this situation. Instead, Iran’s continued abusive behavior continues to be cozied up to at worst, or at best, ignored.

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S. Sudan Rebels Urge Pressure on Kiir to Fund Peace Implementation

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

South Sudan’s main rebel group is calling on President Salva Kiir to provide funds to implement last year’s peace agreement and is demanding that Sudan and Uganda apply pressure on Kiir to cough up the money.

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Former Defense Intelligence Officer Pleads Guilty to Attempted Espionage

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, a resident of Syracuse, Utah, and a former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, pleaded guilty today in the District of Utah in connection with his attempted transmission of national defense information to the People’s Republic of China. Sentencing is set for Sept. 24, 2019.

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Pakistan PM: Afghan Peace Within Reach

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Friday that peace in Afghanistan is “around the corner,” citing ongoing negotiations between the United States and Taliban insurgents.

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Treasury Sanctions Russia over Continued Aggression in Ukraine

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, March 21, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

OFAC takes action in partnership with the EU and Canada

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated six Russian individuals and eight entities in response to Russia’s continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine. Today’s action targets individuals and entities playing a role in Russia’s unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine. These actions complement sanctions also taken today by the European Union and Canada, and underscore the strength and commitment of the transatlantic partnership to counter Russia’s continued destabilizing behavior and malign activities.

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Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria praises Taliban, Shabaab operations

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Guardians of Religion Organization (Tanzim Hurras al-Din) has praised recent operations by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shabaab in Somalia. The one-page statement is intended to signal, once again, the group’s commitment to al Qaeda’s war against the “Crusader-Zionist” alliance — a motif employed by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and their loyalists since the 1990s.

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Missiles Fired Toward Tel Aviv First Time Since 2014

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Wednesday, after air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv for the first time since summer of 2014, that it had registered launches of two rockets from the Gaza Strip.

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IBCS to provide leap-ahead capabilities for Poland’s national air and missile defense program while increasing NATO security efforts

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $713 million contract for the production of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) for the first phase of Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program.

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Israel says uncovers Hezbollah unit led by notorious commander

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Israel’s army said Wednesday it has uncovered a unit created by Hezbollah across the ceasefire line in the Syrian Golan Heights and led by a commander previously jailed over an attack on US forces.

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China Blocks U.N. Vote to Blacklist Pakistani Militant Leader

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Pakistan, South East Asia

China on Wednesday blocked a United Nations Security Council measure that would have blacklisted the Pakistani founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the militant group that nearly brought South Asia to the brink of war last month after one of its suicide bombers attacked Indian forces.

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U.S. sees Turkish offensive in Syria as unnecessary: U.S. official

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

The United States is not discussing a Turkish offensive in northeast Syria with Turkey and believes no such operation is needed to address Ankara’s security concerns, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday, dismissing media reports to the contrary.

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Russian and Syrian air strikes intensify on last rebel bastion

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia News

The Syrian army, aided by Russian warplanes, attacked rebel-held towns in northwestern Syria on Wednesday in the most extensive bombardment in months against the last remaining rebel bastion in the country, rebels, rescuers and residents said.

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Iraq to take back 20,000 who left for Isil’s caliphate in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iraq has agreed to take back up to 20,000 of its nationals who were captured leaving Isil areas in Syria, as local authorities warn they are struggling with the burden of foreign jihadists.

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After defeating Islamic State, Syrian Kurds eye political battle

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Syrian Kurdish authorities that led the fight against Islamic State are prepping for their next battle: a political struggle to win international recognition for their autonomous region and aid to help it recover from the war.

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US Official: Iranian Regime Wants Iraq to Become a Province of Iran

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, March 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, blasted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Iraq and accused his government of trying to control Iraq by fueling sectarian conflict in the country.

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Bosnia will take back and try two captured Islamic state fighters

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 16, 2019
Posted in category Balkans, Eurasia, Middle Orient

Bosnia is preparing to take back two of its nationals who are suspected of fighting for Islamic State in Syria and are now in detention in a Kurdish-run camp in the north of that country, its security minister said on Monday.

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Hezbollah’s plea for donations shows sanctions are working

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

On Friday, Hassan Nasrallah made a direct appeal to Hezbollah supporters. Speaking on the Lebanese militant group’s TV station Al Manar, he urged them to wage “jihad with money”. It appears to be no coincidence that this plea for donations comes just a few months after the latest wave of US sanctions against Iran. Clearly, both the nation and its proxies are feeling the pinch. It also coincides with increased international efforts to isolate Hezbollah. Just last month, the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid made the decision to ban all membership of Hezbollah in the UK as part of an amendment to the 2000 Terrorism Act, ending a previously established distinction between the group’s political and military wings.

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Report: Iran Preparing for Role in Syria’s Reconstruction

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranian construction companies are to build thousands of residential units in the suburbs of Syria’s capital, Damascus, an Iranian state-run news agency has reported.

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Last Islamic State Enclave in Eastern Syria Pounded in U.S.-Backed Assault

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, March 16, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Islamic State’s final enclave in eastern Syria was pounded with air strikes and artillery on Monday in a U.S.-backed assault aimed at wiping out the last shred of its territorial rule that once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.

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Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunders Will Get Deadly New Radar, Weapons Upgrades

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, March 15, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

The JF-17 Thunder, jointly developed by Pakistan and China, is getting some new upgrades that will make the tactical aircraft all the deadlier. The news comes amid claims by Islamabad that it was a JF-17 that India shot down last month, not a US-made F-16, as well as a successful smart missile test by the Pakistan Air Force using the jet.

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Italy to Pay $440 Million for US F-35 But Plans to Revise Contract – Reports

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, March 15, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

The Five Star and Lega parties, part of the current government, have opposed a F-35 deal with the US aviation giant. The defence ministry has studied the 20-year old agreement over the last few months. The assessment has been finished, and the issue is reportedly expected to be discussed at the summit level, an Italian news agency reports.

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U.S.-Taliban Peace Talks End With ‘Real Strides’ Made But No Deal

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, March 15, 2019
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia, South East Asia

The longest round of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban has ended with “real strides” being made but without an agreement on troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on March 12.

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