Russia’s Impact on US National Interests: Preventing Nuclear War and Proliferation

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia

Executive Summary

Understanding the potentially apocalyptic consequences of nuclear war, it is clearly in the national security interest of the United States to reduce nuclear risks. This necessitates a multilayered effort to slow the spread of nuclear weapons and technologies, reduce nuclear stockpiles, secure nuclear materials and prevent the proliferation of delivery systems for nuclear weapons. None of these efforts can be truly successful without the help and cooperation of the Russian Federation. Indeed, the Russian impact on U.S. nuclear risk reduction goals cannot be overstated. Russia’s arsenal constitutes over 45 percent of the global nuclear stockpile. Those weapons are coupled with delivery systems that could reach American soil in about 30 minutes, meaning Russia presents a clear and ever-present existential nuclear threat to the United States. U.S.-Russian bilateral nuclear risk reduction efforts have produced successes in the past, but those efforts are now fading and failing. Should the United States want to continue to reduce nuclear threats in the 21st century, it has no choice but to engage in a reinvigoration of nuclear policy dialogue and cooperative activities with Russia.

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Can Russia Help Biden Get a Comprehensive Agreement with Iran?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Though Moscow’s stance on Iran’s regional activities might be ambivalent, Russian competition with Iran in Syria, as well as their military-defense cooperation, will afford Washington limited opportunities to rely on Russian leverage-plays with Tehran.

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Turkey faces mysterious jihadi enemies in Idlib

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Turkish forces continue to expand their presence around the key M4 highway in Idlib as attacks by new groups fuel uncertainties in the rebel-held region.

Obscure jihadist groups have stepped up attacks on Turkish forces in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib, adding to Turkey’s dilemmas amid the fragile status quo in the region.

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PRC Military Pressure Against Taiwan Threatens Regional Peace and Stability

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia

The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.

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China adopts coastguard law, safeguarding sovereignty in Diaoyu Islands

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

China passed its coastguard legislation on Friday, and experts said China will safeguard sovereignty regarding the dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.

The 25th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) concluded on Friday afternoon in Beijing, and adopted the coastguard law. The law came one day after senior Japanese and US officials discussed their alliance and the Japan-US security treaty’s Article 5, which assures the US defense obligations apply to the Diaoyu Islands.

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US to deploy Iron Dome missiles to bases in Persian Gulf states: Israeli officials

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Israeli security officials say the United States is expected to soon begin deploying Iron Dome missile systems to its bases in the Persian Gulf Arab countries.

Speaking to Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday, the officials refused to reveal the countries in which the Iron Dome batteries will be stationed.

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Hayat Tahrir al-Sham challenges FSA in northwestern Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

After taking hold of Idlib, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham sought to expand control over the Free Syrian Army-held areas in the Aleppo countryside by marketing its alleged security and civil administration successes and the lack of security in the FSA areas.

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Syrian FSA fighters graduate from universities after years out of school

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Factions of the Free Syrian Army are supporting their fighters to return to school and graduate, as part of efforts to promote education among their fighters.

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Islamic State kills 1, wounds 3 in Sinai

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

The Egyptian peninsula’s deadly insurgency lingers on.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack that Egyptian security forces said killed one security officer and wounded three other people in the Sinai Peninsula early Thursday.

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More bodies uncovered in mass graves of Libya’s Tarhuna

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

The UN-backed government said the bodies were found blindfolded and with their wrists bound.

Forensic experts in western Libya have discovered 10 more bodies buried in mass graves, the internationally recognized government announced on Thursday.

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Will Turkish defense minister’s Iraq visit yield concrete results?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Although Turkey’s defense minister seems to be satisfied with the outcome of his recent visit to Baghdad and Erbil, there are several impediments to Turkey’s security demands.

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Who is behind recent attacks against Turkish presence in Idlib?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Unknown parties have carried out several operations against some of the Turkish army outposts in Idlib, with some accusing Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and others pointing the finger at Islamic State or regime cells.

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Erdogan seeks better ties with US and EU, but on his terms

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

How Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to improve ties with the United States and the European Union and get Turkey out of its economic morass without making any significant concessions remains unclear.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking a new chapter with the new US administration in order to overcome Ankara’s deeply strained ties with Washington. He signaled this in the letter of congratulations he sent to newly elected President Joe Biden on Nov. 10.

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The Next U.S. President Will Face Hard Choices in Afghanistan

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia, South East Asia

After more than a month of negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government, progress toward a peace agreement remains slow. The key unknown variable is whether the United States has an appetite for staying involved in the long grind of overseeing a peace process that must reconcile two divergent views of Afghanistan’s future—which can only be answered by the winner of this week’s presidential election.

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Will Biden Go Big or Go Backward on North Korea Diplomacy?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

When President-elect Joe Biden enters the Oval Office on Jan. 20, he is unlikely to have North Korea at the front of his mind, given the many other urgent crises he will confront. But the Korean Peninsula has a way of forcing American presidents to pay attention.

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What Will the Biden Administration Mean for Southeast Asia?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Although President Donald Trump has not conceded the United States presidential election and is mounting multiple dubious legal challenges to the results, President-elect Joe Biden is moving ahead with the transition.

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Syria Strongly Condemns US and Western Blatant Interference in Federal Russia’s Internal Affairs

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Syria has condemned western countries for interring in the affairs of Russia and accused them of exploiting the Navalny issue writes SANA.

Syria has strongly condemned the blatant US and Western interference in the internal affairs of Federal Russia, pointing out that this behavior show once again the state of hypocrisy, which has become a distinctive characteristic of the Western policies, particularly when they talk about democracy and human rights.

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Calls for Mobilization After Fourth Division Attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Fourth Division has attacked the town of Tafas in Daraa, resulting in a call for a general mobilization by the Daraa Central Committee reports Baladi News.

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Darar: National Syrian Coalition Ignored Calls for Dialogue

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

SDC co-chair Riad Darar has called on the Syrian Democratic Forces to join the work of the Constitutional Committee and find a political solution writes Asharq Al-Awsat.

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Cabinet kept in the dark as PM directs Biden-era Iran policy

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

No security cabinet meetings since election called on December 23 • ‘In this government, the cabinet practically didn’t function’

The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet has not convened in over a month, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formulates his policies on the Iranian threat with a new US president who seeks to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

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CENTCOM general to visit Israel as Biden admin. looks to deal with Iran

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

McKenzie’s upcoming visit comes at a time of increased tension in the region due to Iran’s continued aggression.

Commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, will arrive in Israel later this week in what will be the first high-level visit by a top American official since Joe Biden was sworn in as president last week.

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Will Fatah and Hamas run together in the parliamentary election?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Other Fatah operatives said they were “surprised” to hear about the idea of joining forces with Hamas.

Senior officials of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction have expressed opposition to the idea of running in a joint list with Hamas in the parliamentary election on May 22.

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Former Islamic Movement head, Sheikh Abu Najm, shot to death in Jaffa

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Another man was also injured in the shooting, and was evacuated to Wolfson Hospital independently. He is classified as being in serious condition.

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Will the US deploy Iron Dome to protect bases in the Gulf?

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

‘The system will assist the US Army in protecting American troops from ballistic & airborne threats, as well as from developing threats in the areas where US troops are deployed on various missions.’

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Cabinet authorizes normalization with Morocco

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Middle Orient

Morocco has enjoyed bilateral benefits from Washington with US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The cabinet approved Israel’s normalization agreement with Morocco in a unanimous vote on Sunday.

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UAE cabinet approves opening embassy in Tel Aviv

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The UAE and Israel agreed to normalize relations in August, a deal forged largely over shared fears of Iran.

The United Arab Emirates cabinet on Sunday approved the establishment of an embassy in Tel Aviv, state media said.

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Recently sanctioned Iran Foundation, regime’s slush fund for terrorism

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

On January 13, the US Treasury Department in the final days of the Trump administration, sanctioned the Astan Quds Razavi Foundation and 15 other institutions, some of which are under the direct supervision of the regime’s Supreme Leader, to further its maximum pressure campaign.

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Campaign to secure Deir ez-Zor-Homs road in a week | Nearly 50 Russian-backed fighters and ISIS members killed, and 130 Russian airstrikes pound the region

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

SOHR sources say that joint forces of the National Defense militia, the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade and the pro-Russian Fifth Corps, as well as regime forces, continue to comb areas in the Syrian desert, from Kabajib and al-Shoula west of Deir ez-Zor to al-Sukhna, as part of the security campaign that began on the 16th of this months, which aims to secure the Deir ez-Zor-Homs road, after the ambushes and escalating operations of the Islamic State, which continues launching new attacks on the Syrian regime and its allies.

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Huge trench dug by Russia’s Wagner Group may derail Libya peace process: Report

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

Libya entered 2020 in midst of full-blown war between rival GNA and Haftar’s National Libyan Army (AFP/File photo)

Russia-backed Wagner Group mercenaries are digging an enormous trench in war-torn Libya, potentially threatening to derail a UN-brokered peace deal, CNN reported.

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Syrian government troops attack Kurdish forces in Qamishlo

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Members of the pro-Assad regime militia known as the National Defense Forces (NDF) attacked a checkpoint of the Kurdish-led security forces (Asayish) in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishlo. One militiaman was killed, one source said.

The checkpoint is located in Qamishlo’s Hilko neighborhood.

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Walid Jumblatt describes deep divide between Aoun, Hariri

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia

Druze leader urges Hariri to withdraw from the task of forming the government as long as the matter is in the hands of Hezbollah and its ally, the Free Patriotic Movement. He also alledges that Mrs Aoun holds the real reins of power.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said it is the wife of Lebanese President Michel Aoun who rules Lebanon through a “secret room”, and that she protects her son-in-law Gebran Bassil, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, whom he called “a permanent authority in the making”.

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Tunisia’s Islamist party triggers alarm with street vigilante suggestion

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

Saida Garrach, a former adviser to the late President Beji Caid Essebsi, reacted to Harouni’s statements by saying that “the state protects Tunisians, not the militias of parties and their offshoots.”

The head of Ennahda’s Shura Council Abdulkarim Harouni drew angry reactions from politicians this week after calling on “sons of the movement” to confront spreading youth protests in the country.

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Sarraj shields himself with Libyan warlords against Bashagha and any unsatisfactory settlement drive

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

Sources say the GNA leader is coordinating with warlords and militia leaders after the failure of his recent visit to Rome.

The head of the Libyan presidential council of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, sent a clear message Monday to Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha and the UN mission and its head Stephanie Williams that he intends to remain in office and shield himself for that purpose behind a number of warlords and militia leaders to thwart any settlement formula that does not satisfy him and his allies.

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Libyans restart talks in Morocco, process remains precarious

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

The meeting in the Moroccan coastal town of Bouznika, south of the capital Rabat, brings together 13 representatives from the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, and 13 from the Tripoli-based High Council of State, which advises the GNA.

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International Muslim Brotherhood pins revival hopes on Biden

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Posted in category Eurasia

The Islamist group sees Biden’s arrival at the White House as another opportunity to attempt to implement its project in the region.

For the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, political expediency has taken the upper hand over religious dogma, as the globally-implanted militant organisation welcomed incoming US President Joe Biden’s commitment to Christian virtues.

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