The Abbas declaration: Why this time may be different

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

In a dramatic statement delivered yesterday in Ramallah and broadcast on Palestine TV, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and both Israel and the United States.

Read the rest of this entry »

Abbas’s Precious Gift to Iran: Hamas

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

By halting the security crackdown on Hamas, Abbas would be paving the way for terrorists to kill him and his associates in the West Bank, as they had already begun to do in 2007 in the Gaza Strip, and possibly again in a coup in 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »

US-China Tensions Rise as Beijing Signals Tightening Controls on Hong Kong

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

China’s decision to propose new legislation tightening control over Hong Kong has sparked a wave of condemnation from American lawmakers and officials, in yet another sign of worsening relations between the economic superpowers.

Read the rest of this entry »

India Voices Unusual Criticism of China’s Conduct in South China Sea

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, India, South East Asia

India has voiced a rare note of criticism of China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea, amid a tensions between the two Asian powers on their long land border.

Read the rest of this entry »

Commerce Department to Add Two Dozen Chinese Companies with Ties to WMD and Military Activities to the Entity List

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 22, 2020

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 482-4883
publicaffairs@doc.gov

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced it will add 24 governmental and commercial organizations to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The entities, based in China, Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands, represent a significant risk of supporting procurement of items for military end-use in China.

Read the rest of this entry »

China slows defense budget growth to 6.6 % in 2020

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

China to hike defense spending by 6.6%

China set its 2020 defense budget growth target at 6.6 percent, resulting in a draft budget of 1.268 trillion yuan ($178.2 billion), lower than the 7.5 percent growth in 2019.

Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Cyber War Against America

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Beijing’s cyber offensive against the Free World is only part of what appears China’s effort to achieve global leadership in critical future technologies such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy systems, robotics, rare earth element exploitation, biotechnologies, as well as medical and agricultural advances.

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Alarming’ military build-up underway in Libya, as COVID-19 heightens insecurity

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The civil war in Libya is in danger of intensifying as foreign intervention grows and the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic adds to a deepening sense of insecurity, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Israeli cyber terrorist attack targets Iranian port: Report

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Israel carried out a cyber terrorist attack that caused disruption at an Iranian port this month, the Washington Post reports.

Read the rest of this entry »

Redeployment of US Nukes to Poland Would Be Direct Violation of Russia-NATO Agreement, Lavrov Warns

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Russian officials have already repeatedly warned in the past that its Eastern European neighbours’ decision to host US-made strategic systems, including components of America’s Aegis Ashore missile defence system, make them targets for Russia’s strategic nuclear response in the event of a war.

Read the rest of this entry »

Migrants Trapped in Balkan Camps Find Ramadan a Trial

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Balkans, Eurasia

For migrants and refugees isolated in camps in the Balkans during the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating the holy month of Ramadan is an extra ordeal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s Erdogan Plots Power Grab Over Lawyers’ Organisations

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia News

Angered by their continued independence and support for democracy and secularism, the Turkish strongman is demanding changes to the way professional organisations like bar associations elect their leaders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hungary’s Orban in Unlikely Play for Influence in Moldova

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia News

Often at odds with neighbouring Romania, Hungary looks to cosy up to Moldova.

Read the rest of this entry »

Muslim Brotherhood operative in Facebook’s censorship board

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

Most popular social media network Facebook has appointed Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Yemeni Nobel Prize winner Tawakkol Karman as one of the first 2- oversight board members.

Read the rest of this entry »

Senior counter-terror official put in charge of new UK biosecurity centre

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Tom Hurd, who was at Eton and Oxford with PM, parachuted in to launch new coronavirus unit

Read the rest of this entry »

FBI ‘mistakenly reveals Saudi official linked’ to 9/11 attackers

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, May 22, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has accidentally disclosed the name of a Saudi diplomat suspected of directing support to two al-Qaeda hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Yahoo News reported.

Read the rest of this entry »

Instability in Iraq During Leadership Transition

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Bottom Line Up Front:

Iraq’s new government will struggle to extricate the country from its role as an arena for conflict between Iran and the United States, or necessarily set Iraq on a course for long-term stability.

Read the rest of this entry »

Over 1,300 terrorists killed in 2020, defense minister says

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Turkish security forces have killed over 1,300 terrorists across five different operational areas since the beginning of 2020, the country’s national defense minister said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Militants attack Syrian troops on edge of rebel stronghold

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Al-Qaida-linked fighters attacked Syrian government positions Sunday on the edge of the country’s last rebel stronghold, triggering intense clashes that killed nearly three dozen combatants across both sides, opposition activists said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Counter terrorism police fear ISIS cells are being reactivated to plot attacks across Europe after second terror arrest in Spain

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Counter terrorism police are investigating whether sleepers from Islamic State have been reactivated to carry out attacks around Europe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jewish extremist convicted in arson that killed Arab toddler

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

An Israeli district court on Monday convicted a Jewish extremist of murder in a 2015 arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents, a case that had sent shock waves through Israel and helped fuel months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cardiff man jailed in Spain for terror offences

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

A web designer from Cardiff has been jailed for seven years in Spain for financing and supporting terrorism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Iraqi Army Launches Operation to Track ISIS Militants near Syria Border

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Iraqi army launched operation Desert Lions to pursue ISIS remnants across the Jazirah desert north of the Anbar, south of the Nineveh and west of the Salaheddine provinces all the way to the border with Syria.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fears missing ISIS millions are hidden in cryptocurrency ready for use as war chest

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

ISIS is using cryptocurrency platforms to conceal donations and get around financial security measures, experts have revealed after a surge in advertising for donations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tactical Change Or Withdrawal? Iran’s Syria Strategy Analyzed Amid Reports Of Force Reductions

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Some nine years after Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) deployed military advisers and fighters to Syria to prop up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Israeli and U.S. officials have said Tehran is reducing its presence in Syria.

Read the rest of this entry »

Khamenei Threatens The US With Expulsion From Iraq And Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says the United States will be “expelled from Iraq and Syria,” adding that “The U.S. government’s long-term performance has led to abhorrence by a major part of the world.”

Read the rest of this entry »

IntelBrief: One Foot In, One Foot Out: The Muddled U.S. Approach to the Middle East

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Bottom Line Up Front

The United States recently announced plans to remove two Patriot anti-missile systems from Saudi Arabia, which could be accompanied by a further drawdown of other U.S. military capabilities in the region.
The removal of the Patriot missile batteries is emblematic of the Trump administration’s schizophrenic policy on Iran and suggestive of a more fundamental inability to formulate a coherent approach to the Middle East.

Read the rest of this entry »

IntelBrief: Instability in Iraq During Leadership Transition

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Bottom Line up Front

Iraq’s new government will struggle to extricate the country from its role as an arena for conflict between Iran and the United States, or necessarily set Iraq on a course for long-term stability.

Read the rest of this entry »

China Marine Corps on Show in the South China Sea

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Amid the recent muscle-flexing in the disputed South China Sea, one maritime drill went largely unnoticed that could be an important harbinger of China’s strategic thinking, and how its forces could project power across heavily contested waters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Department of the Air Force expands potential basing locations for US Space Command Headquarters

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

With the establishment of the United States Space Force, the Department of the Air Force, in coordination with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, is announcing its revised approach for determining the permanent location of U.S. Space Command headquarters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Air Force reviews preliminary design for future ICBM

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Air Force reviewed Northrop Grumman’s preliminary design for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent in late April, advancing the program toward its next milestone and acquisition phase.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Nuclear Threats to the U.S.: Better to Deter Them or Play Dead?

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

At present, exactly zero percent of America’s nuclear platforms are modernized.

Worse, when, in 2017, General Hyten… warned of the Russian threat, a common counter-narrative in the U.S. arms control community – and shared by some members of Congress — was that simply by proposing to modernize a then-rusting nuclear deterrent, the United States was “leading an arms race.”

Read the rest of this entry »

40-Plus Suspects Detained in Venezuela in Connection With Botched Raid

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

More than 40 people have been detained as alleged participants in last week’s unsuccessful attempt to capture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as security forces continue to round up suspects.

Read the rest of this entry »

China warns France not to harm bilateral ties by selling weapons to Taiwan

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

China has warned France not to sell weapons to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, saying such a move would harm bilateral ties.

Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Naval Aviation Force Shows up at Fiery Cross Reef

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Chinese military aircraft have been sighted once again at its largest base in the disputed Spratly islands, suggesting that People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force may be starting to use it as a base of operations, according to Jane’s.

Read the rest of this entry »