Sunday, October 4, 2015

Turkey Condemns Russia's Military Involvement In Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow on Sept. 23. (Photo: Cihan)

AFP: Russia making 'grave mistake' in Syria: Turkey's Erdogan

Istanbul (AFP) - Russia's bombing campaign in Syria is a "grave mistake" and its support for the regime will be judged by history, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Sunday.

"The steps Russia is taking and the bombing campaign in Syria are quite unacceptable to Turkey," Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul airport before leaving for a visit to France.

"(...) Unfortunately, Russia is making a grave mistake," he said.

Given Moscow's friendly relations with Turkey, its actions in Syria are "worrying and disturbing," Erdogan said.

The strikes will "isolate Russia in the region," he predicted.

WNU Editor: It is not only Russia supporting Syrian President Assad, it also involves Russia supporting the Kurds. The Turks were able to influence Washington to not supply weapons to the Kurds to fight the Islamic State .... but Russia has made it very clear that they do not feel obligated to listen to Turkish President Erdogan .... Russia Sending Arms To The Kurds Battling The Islamic State .... and that is what is unnerving Erdogan's government. Turkey's political support over the years for various Islamic radical groups in the Caucasus has also damaged its credibility with Moscow .... and I am sure that this is going to be brought up when Erdogan meets Putin in the future.

More News On Turkey Condemning Russia's Military Involvement In Syria

Turkey's Erdogan calls Russian airstrikes in Syria 'unacceptable' -- AP
Erdogan: Russia making ‘grave mistake’ in Syria -- AFP
Erdoğan questions Russian motives in Syria, says will ask Putin to reconsider air strikes -- Sunday's Zaman
Erdogan criticizes Russia for strikes on moderate opposition in Syria -- Al Bawaba
Turkish President Erdoğan Warns Russia Over Syria -- Bas news
Russia is making a grave mistake in Syria, says Turkish President Erdoğan -- Daily Sabah
Turkey's Erdogan Wondering about Russian Action in Syria -- Novinite
Erdogan: Russia made a 'serious mistake' in Syria -- Middle East Monitor
Erdogan Intends to Discuss Russian Military Operation in Syria With Putin -- Sputnik
As Russia raises the stakes in Syria, what role can Turkey now play? -- Al Arabiya

A Look At The Weapons That Russia Has Brought To Syria

New York Times: As Russia Returns to Middle East, a Look at Some of Its Weapons

MOSCOW — In just a few days of engagement, the small military force Russia has deployed to its new base in Syria has scored outsized political and diplomatic gains. For its first combat mission in the Middle East since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russian defense ministry said it had sent about 50 aircraft and about 2,000 marines to the base, along with support and logistics gear.

Here is a look at some of the military assets Russia has on the scene.

More News On The Weapons That Russia Has Brought To Syria

5 ISIS Weapons of War Russia Should Fear in Syria -- National Interest
What weapons is Russia sending Syria? -- Times of Israel
Here are the weapons Russia is reportedly sending to Syria -- Reuters
Russia Has Its Own 'A-10' Warthog in Syria: Enter the Su-25 Frogfoot -- National Interest
This Is What Russia's Enemies in Syria Should Fear: The Su-24 Fencer -- National Interest
Syria: What can Russia's air force do? -- Jonathan Marcus, BBC

The U.S. Program To Train Foreign Military Forces Is A Complete Failure (With A Few Exceptions)

U.S. Soldiers with 4th Iraqi Army Division Stabilized Transition Team's security element teach the Iraqi Intelligence Surveillance Recon branch proper procedures when clearing a room in the ISR compound in Tikrit, Iraq, June 10, 2010. DOD

Eric Schmitt and Tim Arango, New York Times: Billions From U.S. Fail to Sustain Foreign Forces

WASHINGTON — With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.

The setbacks have been most pronounced in three countries that present the administration with some of its biggest challenges. The Pentagon-trained army and police in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the heartland of the Islamic State militant group, have barely engaged its forces, while several thousand American-backed government forces and militiamen in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province were forced to retreat last week when attacked by several hundred Taliban fighters. And in Syria, a $500 million Defense Department program to train local rebels to fight the Islamic State has produced only a handful of soldiers.

WNU Editor: A sobering report. read it all.

The Washington - Moscow Hotline Is Being Ignored

Charles Fitzgerald watches as an Airman operates the hotline teletype in the early 1960s.

Bryan Bender, Politico: The hotline to Moscow goes cold

Deep inside the Pentagon, in the National Military Command Center, is the so-called red phone that has connected the U.S. and Russian high commands since after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

First a teletype, then a fax, and now a secure email and chat link, the emergency hotline was designed to prevent nuclear Armageddon. It is still tested regularly but seldom used — and not during the Ukraine or Syria crises, according to a Pentagon official.

“There’s no real need to — there are so many avenues to talk with the Russians,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

WNU Editor: The U.S. - Russian hotline may be "dead" right now because there are many other avenues available for discussion between the two sides .... unfortunately .... these other avenues do not carry the same urgency or importance as a designated "hotline". Back room channels have also played a critical role in the past for defusing tensions or misunderstandings, and while I am not privy to the current state of these networks, recent news and events tell me that even these lines of communications are now "dead".

Military Drone Market Continues To Grow

A US drone aircraft lands at Afghanistan's Jalalabad Airport on October 2, 2015.

AFP: Military drone market to hit $10 billion by 2024

The market for military drones is expected to almost double by 2024 to beyond $10 billion (8.9 billion euros), according to a report published Friday by specialist defense publication IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review.

“The global defense and security market for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will expand at 5.5 percent per year over this decade, from the current figure of $6.4 billion,” according to the analysis.

“Unmanned systems are here to stay,” said Derrick Maple, principal analyst on unmanned systems for the London-based group.

WNU editor: “These systems are well established, combat proven and are an essential and expanding element of future operations across the globe.” .... yup .... that is why this industry is going to continue enjoying phenomenal growth in the years to come.

Is Israel Supporting Russia's Military Intervention In Syria?

Reuters: Netanyahu says Israel's relationship with Russia is good

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel wants to avoid an adversarial relationship with Moscow and is unsure how Russia's recent military intervention in Syria will affect the situation there.

Netanyahu, in an interview recorded for broadcast on Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS," did not join the United States and other NATO nations in criticizing Russia's taking military action in Syria.

Russia has said it is only targeting Islamic State militants, but other countries including Britain have said the focus of its attacks has been other rebel groups fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's ally.

"We don't want to go back to the days when, you know, Russia and Israel were in an adversarial position," said Netanyahu, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow late last month. "I think we've changed the relationship. And it's, on the whole, good."

WNU Editor: This is interesting .... the Russians told the Americans to get out of Syrian one hour before Russia started its air campaign in Syria .... More Details On How The U.S. Were Informed That Russia Was Beginning Air Strikes In Syria .... but the Russians told the Israelis far more earlier that airstrikes were on the way .... 'Russia gave Israel advance notice of its airstrikes in Syria' (Jerusalem Post). Did the Israelis pass on this info to the Americans?

Update: I stand corrected .... the Russians told the Israelis one hour before they launched their attacks .... Russia Gave Israel Advance Notice of Its Airstrikes in Syria (Haaretz)

More News On Russia - Israeli Ties

Netanyahu says ties with Russia good, doesn't join criticism of Syria attacks -- i24 News/AFP
Netanyahu: We Don't Want an Adversarial Relationship with Russia -- Arutz Sheva
Russia and Israel cosy up over Syria -- The Economist
As Russia Moves Into Syria, Israel’s Red Line Is Dissolving Before Our Eyes -- Amos Harel, Haaretz

Is A Major War Between Russia And The West Inevitable?

Noah Rothman, Commentary: A Prelude To War

World War I didn’t begin in Europe. It started in Africa.

By the time the shooting erupted in 1914, in fact, a retrospective analysis of the conditions that led to war had lent credence to the conclusion that a great clash was almost inevitable. Germany’s perceived “encirclement” and that resurgent nation’s belief that they had been unfairly cut off from their share of colonial possessions in Africa led Berlin to embrace bellicosity. Germany forcefully protested France’s subjugation of a Moroccan rebellion and subsequent occupation of that territory in 1911 — a territory that Germany coveted. Paris’s move prompted Italy to declare suzerainty over the state of Libya, leading to a war with the Ottomans for control of that North African nation. After the Turks had lost control of the North African coast, the race was on to divide the spoils of the Ottoman Empire’s Balkan possessions, culminating in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. By the onset of August Crisis in 1914, the world had already been at war for the better part of three years.

WNU Editor: I just do not see such a conflict happening .... especially not in a world where nuclear weapons are readily available. And while we are not revisiting the situation that existed during the Cold War,  we are definitely living in dangerous times.

Russia Sending Arms To The Kurds Battling The Islamic State

Rudaw: Lavrov: Russia sending arms to KRG via Baghdad

UNITED NATIONS - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday his country has been coordinating with the Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants in Iraq and has been sending arms to them through the central government in Baghdad.

Lavrov said a joint information center has been set up in Baghdad for cooperation between regional countries taking part in the war against ISIS, as the Islamic State is known.

“Military representatives from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia and the Kurdish government are with this information center which we established in Baghdad,” Lavrov told Rudaw at a press conference at the United Nations.

WNU Editor: The Kurds have been waiting forever to receive weapons and arms from the U.S. .... but with Russia now becoming involved the old rules and policies that the U.S. has been operating under have just been thrown out the window. This also explains why the Iraqi Kurdish leader is now strongly urging Russia and the U.S. to coordinate their anti-IS fight .... Iraqi Kurdish leader urges Russia, U.S. to coordinate in anti-IS fight (Reuters) .... because of this military assistance he now sees Russia as an ally.

Trash Talk From President Obama

Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico: Obama’s trash talk

In a freewheeling news conference, the president smacks down Putin, Congress and gun control opponents

It’s not just the fourth quarter. It’s trash talk time.

President Barack Obama’s never done a good job hiding his disdain for the people he doesn’t like—a long list that includes reporters, Republicans, pretty much every member of Congress, the foreign leaders he considers petty and childish (Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyanu most of all). Everyone would see things his way, he tends to project, if only they were a little smarter and thought it through as thoroughly as he has.

WNU Editor: Over the years the foreign press has done numerous stories on how President Obama reacts "dis-respectively" to his critics .... but it is rare to see a U.S. publication calling out President Obama for his insults directed toward those he disagrees with. I can now understand why some are calling Donald Trump the Republican Obama .... sometimes he behaves the same way.

Hillary Clinton And President Obama Split On Syria

New York Times: Syria Exposes Split Between Obama and Clinton

WASHINGTON — For four years, they sat together in the Situation Room, the ultimate team of rivals confronting the world’s thorniest problems, mostly on the same page, sometimes decidedly not, but generally presenting a united front to the outside world.

Now, with the administration’s approach to Syria seemingly in tatters, the differences between President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have opened a fresh wedge between the two, with Mrs. Clinton arguing for a more robust approach and Mr. Obama dismissing her ideas as campaign politics.

The exchange over the last two days brings to the fore a split on policy that has long divided the current president and his putative heir apparent, but it also reinforces the challenge for a Democratic candidate to define her own approach without alienating the incumbent head of her party. A serious debate in the Situation Room now plays itself out on the campaign trail with all the inherent stress points.

WNU Editor: She is promising a more "robust" policy when it comes to conflicts like Syria  .... should I believe her? Should you? Hmmmm .... when it comes to all things Hillary, it is best to be very sceptical .... and that in a nutshell is the problem with her run for the Democrat nomination .... she has a very serious trust problem.

Syrian Al-Qaeda Groups Vow To Repeat History By Evoking The Soviet Defeat In Afghanistan

Smoke rises after airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force on what Russia says was a bomb factory in Maarat al-Numan, south of Idlib Photo: Reuters

The Telegraph: Al-Qaeda fighters evoke Afghan jihad as they promise to turn Syria into graveyard for Russian invaders

Rebels warn that Russian air strikes risk pushing moderates into arms of more powerful extremist groups

Russia’s decision to wade into Syria’s messy war risks pushing more militants into the arms of the country’s powerful al-Qaeda group, according to rebels.

Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian al-Qaeda group that has survived through integration with the wider movement which took up arms against leader Bashar al-Assad in 2011, is now one of the most powerful players in Syria’s messy war.

Depicting Moscow’s military support for Mr Assad as tantamount to an invasion, Nusra and other rebel groups say they want to evoke the prolonged and unsuccessful Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a battle in which the modern day al-Qaeda has its roots.

WNU Editor: It looks like the Syrian rebels are about to receive a lot more military assistance/resources/supplies to make this happen .... Gulf states plan military response as Putin raises the stakes in Syria (The Guardian).

Will The Russian Military Make A Difference In Syria?

Andrew Roth and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Washington Post: Russia’s military is unlikely to turn the tide in Syria’s war

MOSCOW — Russia has triumphantly plunged into Syria’s four-year-old civil war with an expanding campaign of airstrikes. But the official euphoria here masks a nagging question: What can a limited deployment of Russian air power actually accomplish?

In the short term, Russia’s military will provide desperately needed air support and boost the morale of Syria’s battered army. The Syrian military will likely go on the offensive against moderate and Islamist rebel groups, including the Islamic State.

But unless it is significantly strengthened, Moscow’s contribution is unlikely to be decisive in the war, analysts said. While Russia boasts its military is stronger than it has been in 25 years, its forces still grapple with aging equipment and have a weak partner in the poorly trained Syrian army. There is also tepid support among the Russian public for a lengthy conflict.

WNU Editor: By itself .... I do not see this Russian intervention having a profound impact on the war .... the present commitment is just small and there are limits to what the Russian airforce can do. But in cooperation with the Syrian Army, Iran, and Hezbollah .... I can see this air power making a difference in certain battles.

Update: Russia says to step up air strikes in Syria -- Reuters

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Pictures And Videos Of The Russian Airbase In Syria

RT: Russian airbase in Syria: RT checks out everyday life at Latakia airfield

In just a couple of months a neglected airfield in Latakia, Syria, became the strategic center of Russia’s military operation against Islamic State. RT got chance to see firsthand everyday life at the Khmeimim airbase – from sauna trucks to mobile bakeries.

The airstrip is capable of accepting super-jumbo Antonov An-124 Ruslan and Tupolev Tu-76 transport aircrafts, and has bays for more than 50 military aircrafts: Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, Sukhoi Su-25 ground-support fighters, cutting-edge Sukhoi Su-34 bombers, Mil Mi-24 gunship helicopters and Mil Mi-8 support choppers.

UpdateMobile saunas, Russian 'Crocs' and battered warplanes: Inside Putin's Syrian airbase from where Russian jets are pounding ISIS and American-backed rebels -- Daily Mail

WNU Editor: Quite a contrast to U.S. - NATO bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.K. Special Forces Kill 200 Taliban Fighters In the Battle For Kunduz

Daily Mail: UK special forces kill 200 Taliban insurgents during close quarters battle in Northern Afghanistan

* Commandos from the Special Boat Squadron are operating in Kunduz
* It is the largest action by British troops in Afghanistan for twelve months
* The battle to remove the Taliban from Kunduz was still ongoing last night
* During the fighting, US aircraft are believed to have bombed a hospital

British Special Forces have been involved in a series of close-quarter battles against the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, killing up to 200 insurgents.

The Mail on Sunday has received eyewitness accounts of commandos from the Special Boat Service (SBS) directing the assault on Taliban positions in the city of Kunduz and at a nearby air base.

The fighting was continuing last night.

WNU Editor: If they are calling in air strikes .... I can then understand this number. But if this is "close quarters battle".... 200 enemy killed, no British casualties .... I am sceptical.

U.S. To Adopt A Tougher Stance Against China In The South China Sea

Foreign Policy: In South China Sea, a Tougher U.S. Stance

Rejecting China’s "Great Wall of Sand," the U.S. Navy will patrol near man-made islands constructed by Beijing.

The United States is poised to send naval ships and aircraft to the South China Sea in a challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims to its rapidly-built artificial islands, U.S. officials told Foreign Policy.

The move toward a somewhat more muscular stance follows talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington last month, which fell far short of a breakthrough over how territorial disputes should be settled in the strategic South China Sea.

A final decision has not been made. But the Obama administration is heavily leaning toward using a show of military might after Chinese opposition ended diplomatic efforts to halt land reclamation and the construction of military outposts in the waterway. The timing and details of the patrols — which would be designed to uphold principles of freedom of navigation in international waters — are still being worked out, Obama administration and Pentagon officials said.

“It’s not a question of if, but when,” said a Defense Department official.

WNU editor: This tough stance should have been employed 2 years ago . The Chinese .... expecting this response from the U.S. .... have already hinted that the US Navy should be careful .... China navy calls for United States to reduce risk of misunderstandings (Reuters).

The Last 'James Bond' Spectre Movie Trailer Is Outstanding

WNU Editor: The previous 'James Bond' Spectre movie trailer. Yes .... I am a fan.

This Chess Game Describes The Wars In The Middle East Today

Ortadoğu'da olanın özeti
Ortadoğu'da yaşananları anlatan ilginç çizgi film...
Posted by Ertem Şener on Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Look At Past And Present Military Programs That Cost Untold Billions Of Dollars

Hitler's Atlantic Wall - $200 Billion

Ranker: The Biggest Military Wastes of Money

The staggering amount of money available to the US Armed Forces has resulted in wasteful military spending on a grand scale and some of the worst military spending in history. As technology changes and improves, new designs in tanks, planes, weapons, and vehicles have to be developed - all of which cost huge amounts. But the military is plagued by bureaucratic inefficiency, redundancy, procurement issues, changing priorities, and a process that simply takes too long.

As a result, the last 30 years are littered with futuristic, pointless military projects that never saw a day of action. Lasers, stealth ships, high-tech tanks and guns, communications systems, even uniforms - all have been developed at massive costs, and done little to nothing to keep the nation or its armed forces safe. The most egregious, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, might top out at $1.5 trillion - more than the GDP of all but 11 countries on earth - and it's never fired a shot.

WNU Editor: Hmmm .... nuclear weapons are not on this list (the MX is on the list but it is a missile system, not a nuclear weapon) ... and when one looks at  the research,  development, construction, and maintenance of nuclear weapons .... it is probably the greatest expenditure of money for a "project" that the world has ever seen.