Friday, October 28, 2016

The Unrest In Venezuela Is Now Entering A Dangerous Phase

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro shout slogans as they gather outside the National Assembly building during a session in Caracas, Venezuela October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Reuters: Venezuela crisis enters dangerous phase as Maduro foes go militant

CARACAS (Reuters) - In a curious convergence of events on the same day last week, four Venezuelan provincial courts issued identical rulings, state governors quickly hit Twitter to celebrate, then the election board emailed a short but bombshell statement.

Opposition hopes for a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro were dashed, on grounds of fraud in an initial signature drive. The vote was off.

For many in the opposition, that settled a years-old debate about the nature of Venezuela's socialist government, uniting them in conviction they are now fighting a dictatorship.

Their new militancy heightens the risk of unrest as the South American OPEC member of 30 million people grapples with a dangerous economic and political crisis.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This sends a chill up my spine .... Venezuelan Regime Threatens to Take Over Businesses that Join Opposition Strike (Panam Post).

More News On The Unrest In Venezuela

Venezuela opposition heaps pressure, Maduro scoffs -- Reuters
Venezuela opposition parties call general strike following violent protests -- IBTimes
Venezuela's Maduro pledges to crush looming strike -- AFP
Venezuela’s Maduro promises minimum wage rise amid protests -- France 24
Venezuela's Maduro promises 40 percent wage hike after opposition protests -- DW
A Showdown Looms in Venezuela as Maduro Tramples Democracy -- Frida Ghitis, WPR
Political Risk Analysis: Is Venezuela Now Entering A Full-Blown Political Crisis? -- Nathaniel Parish Flannery, Forbes
After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become -- Peter Wilson, Foreign Policy

Tweet For Today

WNU Editor: Is this something to brag about?

Iran Blames The U.S. For Not Being Successful In Reconnecting With Global Banks

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the head office of the Export Development Bank of Iran in Tehran, Nov. 9, 2008. (photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

The Guardian: West's failure to reconnect Iran to global banks 'risks breaching nuclear deal'

Former UK ambassador to Tehran says ongoing banking difficulties prevent Iran from capitalising on interest from western firms after deal signed a year ago

The west risks breaching the landmark nuclear agreement if it fails to give Iran proper access to the international financial system, a former British ambassador to Iran has argued.

Sir Richard Dalton, who served in Tehran between 2003 and 2006, said in a report published this week in the journal of the Royal Society of Asian Affairs in London that the US and its allies had made “some potentially significant mistakes” in respect to reconnecting Iran to global banks after the deal.

Hassan Rouhani, under pressure to show tangible benefits of the lifting of sanctions to Iranians before the next presidential vote in 2017, complained at the UN in September that the US was failing to fulfil its obligations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Iranians can blame the U.S. all that they want .... but no banker is going to do business with a country that has a policy of supporting internationally recognised terror groups. The legal and financial consequences for a bank if it is found that it was used in funding a terror op .... especially a huge one .... will be a huge financial hit.

Picture Of The Day

Stallion DepartureMarines depart a CH-53E Super Stallion aboard the USS Makin Island in the Pacific Ocean, Oct. 22, 2016. The amphibious assault ship is supporting the Navy’s maritime strategy in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. The helicopter is assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163. Navy photo by Seaman Devin M. Langer

Iran Sentences And Jails More U.S.-Iranian Citizens

FOX News: The ransom effect? Iran handing down harsh sentences for Iranian-Americans after swap

Republican lawmakers say the Obama administration's controversial “ransom” paid to Iran earlier this year is fueling a new wave of harsh sentences being handed down in the country to Iranian-Americans.

“President Obama’s cash ransom payment to Iran makes Americans more vulnerable and encourages unjustified prison sentences and blatant kidnapping like this,” Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio told on Wednesday.

“Senior Justice Department officials warned the White House that Iran would view the pallets of cash as ransom, but the president didn’t listen, and now Iran is taking more hostages and demanding more money.”

Rubio made the comment after Robin Shahini, who had been living in San Diego, was reportedly sentenced Monday to 18 years for "collaboration with a hostile government."

Read more ....

Update: U.S. says troubled by reports of another U.S. citizen jailed by Iran (Reuters)

WNU Editor: Yup .... Iran Takes More Hostages: What Did the US Expect? (Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone Institute).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another U.S. Air Force Satellite Has Broken Up In Space

An artist’s illustration of a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellite in orbit. Credit: Lockheed Another U.S. Air Force Weather Satellite Just Broke Up in Orbit

WASHINGTON — A third U.S. Air Force weather satellite that launched more than 20 years ago has broken up in orbit, Air Force Space Command disclosed Monday evening.

Air Force officials confirmed the breakup of the long-retired Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 12 satellite (DMSP F-12) after the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, detected an additional object orbiting alongside the 22-year-old satellite.

DMSP F-12, which the Air Force retired from service in 2008, had the same battery assembly that was implicated in the February 2015 breakup of DMSP F-13.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These satellites are old .... but these breakdowns are increasing in frequency, and having more junk flying around in space is not to anyone's benefit.

Chinese Spying Efforts Against The U.S. Are Increasing

Washington Free Beacon: Report: Chinese Spies Stole Pentagon Secrets

Beijing's human, technical spying increasing and poses serious threat.

Chinese spies repeatedly infiltrated U.S. national security agencies, including official email accounts, and stole U.S. secrets on Pentagon war plans for a future conflict with China, according to a forthcoming congressional commission report.

“The United States faces a large and growing threat to its national security from Chinese intelligence collection operations,” states the late draft report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“Among the most serious threats are China’s efforts at cyber and human infiltration of U.S. national security entities.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The White House reaction to all of this Chinese spying and stealing of secrets has been ho-hum. The DNC server gets hacked thereby exposing Democrat details and secrets that are embarrassing everyone .... everyone goes into  frenzy of blaming Russia and demanding that something be done about it ASAP.

Is Russia Getting Ready For Nuclear War?

A Yars missile system en route to a field region at the final stage of the Strategic All-Around Competition, a field training contest in the Novosibirsk region. © Alexandr Kryazhev / Sputnik

Jack Phillips, Epoch Times: Russia Is Getting Ready for Nuclear War

Amid new fears over Russia’s Soviet-era civil defense plan and the upgrading of bomb shelters in its largest cities, a report from the Wall Street Journal said that the “Cold War is back,” in spirit, at the country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Several weeks ago, Russia held its largest civil defense drills since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, with some 40 million people taking part in rehearsals to respond to potential chemical, biological, or nuclear attacks. Videos showing workers and officials in hazmat suits practicing with civilians were displayed on Russian TV stations during four days of drills.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have reached a low point after a breakdown in talks over the war in Syria. Russia also pulled out of a nuclear-nonproliferation agreement, claiming the U.S. is engaging in “unfriendly acts” against its interests. Also, it allegedly moved missiles to its military enclave of Kaliningrad inside of Europe.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Is Russia getting ready for nuclear war .... as much as the U.S. is getting ready for nuclear war. Civil defense drills have been a stable of Russia for as long as I can remember .... this is nothing new.

U.S. Officials Say Iran Is Supplying Weapons to Yemen's Houthi Rebels

NBC: U.S. Officials: Iran Supplying Weapons to Yemen's Houthi Rebels

IRAQ—U.S. officials tell NBC News that they believe Iran has supplied weapons to the Houthis in Yemen — including coastal defense cruise missiles like the ones that were fired at US Navy ships earlier this month.

"We believe that Iran is connected to this," Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan said.

The head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, who is tasked with securing the waters off of Yemen, disclosed today that the U.S. and partner nations have intercepted five weapons shipments from Iran that were headed to the Houthis in Yemen.

Read more ....

Update: 4 Iranian arms shipments to Yemen stopped: US admiral -- AFP

WNU Editor: If adopted this is certainly going to inflame the situation .... Clinton adviser wants US to intercept Iranian ships to help Saudi Arabia (RT).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 27, 2016

Iraqi special forces soldiers drive in a desert near Mosul, Iraq October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Mohamad Bazzi, Reuters: In the battle for Mosul, Syria could be the real loser

Four days after Iraqi government forces and allied Kurdish troops began advancing on the city of Mosul, Islamic State militants launched a surprising counterattack nearly 100 miles away. Dozens of fighters besieged the oil-rich city of Kirkuk before dawn on Oct. 21, setting off gun battles, suicide bombings and sniper attacks.

After two days of fighting, most of the assailants were killed, captured or had blown themselves up. Nearly 100 others were also killed, most of them members of the Kurdish security forces. As the militants went on their rampage throughout Kirkuk, they broadcast a message from the loudspeakers of a local mosque: “Islamic State has taken over.”

Read more ...

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 27, 2016

The Risk of a Humanitarian Disaster in Mosul -- Jessica Brandt, National Interest

Mosul and Aleppo: A tale of two cities -- James Denselow, Al Jazeera

The coming shift: Hillary Clinton's plans for Israel and Iran -- Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post

The Final Collapse of Obama's Syrian Policy -- Joseph V. Micallef,

Is Japan Trying to Contain China? -- Ted Galen Carpenter, National Interest

China Revels In Philippines’ About-Face, But Will It Last? -- Yun Sun, Breaking Defense

A look at southern Thailand's decades-old conflict -- Ate Hoekstra, DW

Taiwan-Japan Ties Deepen Amid Chinese Assertiveness -- Lauren Dickey, James Town

NATO, EU trying to improve Libya's legacy -- Teri Schultz, DW

Nato and Russia playing dangerous game with military build-up -- Luke Harding, The Guardian

The War by Other Means in Eastern Ukraine -- Stratfor

Venezuela crisis enters dangerous phase as Maduro foes go militant -- Andrew Cawthorne, Reuters

Venezuela: Maduro Fails Democracy Test, But Is He A Dictator? -- Ronal F. Rodríguez, World Crunch

Brazil's Generation of Discontent -- Catherine Osborn, Foreign Affairs

How Should Culture Affect Foreign Policy? -- Steven Cook, The Atlantic

World News Briefs -- October 27, 2016 (Evening Edition)

An Iraqi army vehicle is seen during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, in Qayyara. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Reuters: Iraqi army aims to reach site of Islamic State executions south of Mosul

The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq.

Eleven days into what is expected to be the biggest ground offensive in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, army and federal police units were fighting off sniper fire and suicide car bombs south of Hammam al-Alil, the site of the reported executions, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

The militants shot dead dozens of prisoners there, most of them former members of the Iraqi police and army, taken from villages the group has been forced to abandon as the troops advanced, officials in the region said on Wednesday.

Read more ....


IS trickling out of Mosul as losses mount: US general.

Iraqi army aims to reach site of Islamic State executions south of Mosul. Iraq special forces find IS bomb factory, tunnels near Mosul.

Some 60 Iraqi soldiers killed in Mosul offensive, 250 wounded - CENTCOM.

Mosul battle: IS 'loses hundreds of fighters' - US generals.

Iraq: Thousands displaced as battle for Mosul rages on.

Idlib school attack could be deadliest since Syrian war began, says UN.

Syrian army says it takes town near Hama.

Offensive on IS 'capital' Raqa more complex than Mosul.

Erdogan urges against Kurdish inclusion in Raqqa offensive.

EU hits more Syrian military, Assad officials with sanctions.

U.N. peace plan for Yemen seems to sideline exiled president.

UAE hails UN's Yemen peace roadmap.

4 Iranian arms shipments to Yemen stopped: US admiral.


India, Pakistan to expel diplomats amid Kashmir tension.

Japan, US, S.Korea Deputy FMs to discuss N.Korea nuclear issue Thursday.

US reassures Asian allies it is still seeking North Korean nuclear disarmament despite 'lost cause' claims.

Support for South Korea's Park slides to all-time low amid crisis over friend.

China says latest South China Sea drill was normal search and rescue exercise.

China's Communist Party elevates President Xi Jinping to 'core' status. China's Xi anointed 'core' leader, on par with Mao, Deng.

India to expel Pakistani Mehmood Akhtar for 'espionage'.

Duterte says Philippines could join sea exercises with Japan, again vents anger at U.S..


Tunisia denies providing base for US drones over Libya.

IMF chief says Egypt in currency 'crisis'. IMF calls on Egypt to pursue reforms amid protests.

Libya's navy says 90 migrants perished after boat fell apart. Dozens missing after migrant boat sinks in Mediterranean, says Libyan navy.

Compensation for IRA victims wasn't set aside in Libya talks, says Straw.

Nigerian militants claim to have bombed Chevron export pipeline.

DR Congo arrests Rwandan FDLR rebel commander.

Madagascar: 1.5m face hunger because of drought, UN says.

In post-Ebola Sierra Leone, more than half the population face food shortages: U.N..

Man shot dead after stabbing guard at US Embassy in Kenya.


Belgian politicians drop opposition to EU-Canada trade deal. EU-Canada trade deal: Belgians break Ceta deadlock.

Putin slams claims Russia meddling in US polls as 'hysteria'.

Putin: Russia is not going to attack anyone. Putin is sure Russia and Ukraine will find way to end crisis.

Russia Syria: Battle group 'refuels off North Africa'.

NATO seeks to manage Russia's new military deployments.

Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east.

French authorities declare the Calais migrant camp empty.

Turkey calls for end to NATO's migrant mission in Aegean.

Angela Merkel: internet search engines are 'distorting perception'.

UK economy grows 0.5% in three months after Brexit vote.

Socialists to fight Rajoy's policies in new Spanish government.


Clinton, Michelle Obama make first joint campaign appearance in bid for women's support.

Bill Clinton 'for profit' income detailed in hacked email.

Dakota Access Pipeline: Authorities, protesters brace for showdown.

Colombia delays peace talks with ELN rebels until captive freed.

Venezuela anti-Maduro protests: Policeman shot dead. Venezuela protests against Maduro escalate, dozens injured.

Venezuela parliament seeks to push ahead with Maduro trial.

US abstains from UN vote against Cuba embargo.

Haiti faces cholera spike amid woeful international response to Hurricane Matthew aftermath, UN warns.

Chilean president signals fresh cabinet reshuffle in November.

Americans more scared of clowns than climate change, poll shows.


US official calls for vigilance against IS refinancing.

US military kills 5 AQAP fighters in central Yemen.

US targets top two al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan.

ISIS plotting new attacks against West from Syria, US military says.

Fall of Raqqa key to disrupting terror plots: US General.


Amazon shares drop after earnings fall short.

Mobile and video pump profit at Google parent Alphabet.

British data prompts global bond selloff; U.S. stocks flat.

Tesla turns profit, Musk says no new capital needed for Model 3.

Twitter axes Vine video service. Struggling Twitter cuts nine percent of its workforce.

U.S. CENTCOM General: 900 Islamic State Fighters Have Been Killed In The Battle For Mosul (So Far)

CNN: General: Up to 900 ISIS fighters killed in battle for Mosul

(CNN)The US and its allies have killed between 800 and 900 ISIS fighters in the operation to retake Mosul, US Army Gen. Joseph Votel said Thursday.

US military officials estimate that there are 3,000 to 5,000 ISIS fighters defending the last major stronghold of the terror group in Iraq, and an additional 1,500 to 2,000 ISIS soldiers in a zone outside the city.

Votel is the head of US Central Command and is assisting the Iraqis in the fight for Mosul. A coalition of about 100,000 forces began the operation 10 days ago, and have been slowly gaining ground toward the city, liberating villages from ISIS rule along the way.

Clashes with ISIS fighters are expected to intensify the closer in troops get, and in Mosul itself bloody street-to-street skirmishes are expected, CNN has reported. ISIS is now sending "suicide squads" to Mosul from its symbolic capital of Raqqa in Syria, which the US and coalition forces also plan to try to capture soon.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon is also claiming that Iraqi/Kurdish military casualties have been light .... Some 60 Iraqi Soldiers Killed in Mosul Offensive, 250 Wounded - CENTCOM (Sputnik).

More News On Pentagon Reports That 900 Islamic State Fighters Have Been Killed In The Battle For Mosul (So Far)

Mosul battle: IS 'loses hundreds of fighters' - US generals (BBC)
Up to 900 jihadists killed in Mosul battle, US says -- AFP
Around 800-900 Isis terrorists killed in Mosul offensive: US General -- IBTimes
Iraq: US general says 800-900 ISIL fighters killed in Mosul offensive -- Euronews
Up to 900 IS fighters killed in Mosul says US general -- Middle East Online
Up to 900 ISIS militants killed in Mosul operation so far, says US general -- RUDAW

Recent Afghan 'Peace Talks' Have Gone Nowhere

Tom Hussain, The National: Despite preliminary talks, peace in Afghanistan is as elusive as ever

As another fighting season draws to a close in Afghanistan, reports of talks in Doha between representatives of the government and the Taliban have raised the tantalising prospect of a negotiated settlement to the war.

The fact that talks took place at all is significant, because they represent the first political engagement with the Taliban since the appointment of Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as the insurgent group’s leader in May.

His predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was killed that month in a United States military drone attack in western Pakistan because he had refused to accede to the peacemaking efforts of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, which includes the governments of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States.

Parallel to the two reported meetings in Doha with the Afghan intelligence chief Masoom Stanekzai and an unidentified American representative, the Taliban’s Qatar-based envoys have also lobbied governments on either side of the Arabian Gulf to allow them to open further representative offices.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: From their perspective the Taliban believe that they are going to eventually win the war .... so why negotiate. But as I had mentioned a few days ago, this latest round of talks had to deal with something else .... Afghan Taliban Officials In Pakistan To Discuss 'Peace Talks' And the Arrest Of Key Taliban Leaders (October 22, 2016).

Why Is The Afghan Army Losing The War Against The Taliban?

Afghan security forces arrive at the Kunduz airport in Afghanistan on April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

DW: Why are Afghan forces losing ground to Taliban?

Accelerating desertions and diminishing morale among Afghan government troops add to security woes as the Taliban gain ground across the country. Observers censure the government for the poor state of affairs.

Numbering around 350,000, Afghan government forces have borne the primary responsibility for providing security across the conflict-ridden nation since the end of 2014. That was also the time when NATO's combat mission concluded, leaving its follow-up mission "Resolute Support" to merely observe, advise, and train the Afghan army.

But the foreign troops remaining in the country as part of the mission aren't mandated to assist Afghan forces on the frontlines, although NATO sometimes offers air support to local troops desperately trying to fend off advances by insurgent groups.

The millstone has put the Afghans under enormous pressure, resulting in mounting casualties, accelerating desertions and spiraling cases of government troops either surrendering to or joining the Taliban.
This has caused a jump in the attrition rate, retired general Atiqullah Amarkhail said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is ominous .... German commander warns of long war in northern Afghanistan (Stars and Stripes). This post probably gives the best explanation on why the Afghan Army is losing .... One week. Hundreds of dead and wounded. How Afghan forces are struggling with heavy casualties. (Washington Post). More here .... The Taliban Is Killing Off Afghan Forces At A Rate Of 18 Per Day (Daily Caller).

Key Remarks By Russian President Putin At Today's Valdai International Discussion Club’s 13th Meeting In Sochi

Putin takes part in Valdai club's final session (LIVE UPDATES) -- RT
Vladimir Putin Addresses 13th Annual Valdai Discussion Club (VIDEO) -- Sputnik
Putin says Russia showing restraint in Syria but patience may run out -- Reuters
Putin says Russia has no option but to clear Aleppo of militants --Reuters
Putin urges new Marshall Plan for Middle East to see recovery and growth -- TASS
Putin says Russia does not plan to get militarily involved in Iraq, Libya -- Reuters
Russia threat exaggerated by West to justify military spending - Putin -- SKY News
Putin: Russia is not going to attack anyone -- TASS
Putin is sure Russia and Ukraine will find way to end crisis -- TASS
Russia's Putin says cyber attacks are unacceptable -- Reuters
Putin urges US not to provoke Russia to actively protect national interests -- TASS
Calling Trump Moscow’s favorite is nonsense created by media – Putin -- RT
Putin says U.S. 'hysteria' over Russia is election ploy -- Reuters
Putin rejects claims of Russian interference in US election -- AP
Russia's Putin says Trump behaves extravagantly to get message across -- Reutesr
Russia's Putin says Obama administration does not stick to any deals -- Reuters

Russian President Putin Denies Influencing The U.S. Presidential Election

Reuters: Putin says U.S. hysteria over Russia an election ploy

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday American politicians were whipping up hysteria about a mythical Russian threat in the U.S. presidential campaign as a ploy to distract voters from their own failings.

Putin, addressing an audience of foreign policy experts gathered in southern Russia, said he found it hard to believe that anyone seriously thought Moscow was capable of influencing the Nov. 8 election.

The U.S. government has formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations, while Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has accused Republican rival Donald Trump of being a Putin "puppet".

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russian President Putin may be denying influencing the U.S. Presidential election, but he is not holding back on where are his sympathies lie .... Russia’s Not Playing Favorites but Trump Does Speak for the People, Putin Says (WSJ)

More News On Russian President Putin's Denials That He Is Trying To Influence The U.S. Presidential Election

US no banana republic for Russia to meddle in its election – Putin -- RT
Putin rejects claims of Russian interference in US election -- AP
'Hysteria' and 'absolute nonsense': Putin laughs off allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections as Clinton campaign blames Moscow for WikiLeaks hacking -- AFP
Vladimir Putin dismisses claims of meddling in US election -- The Guardian
Putin Says U.S. Isn’t Banana Republic, Must Get Over Itself -- Bloomberg
Putin Denies Russian Interference In U.S. Presidential Election -- RFE
Vladimir Putin Praises Donald Trump, Denies Meddling in U.S. Election -- NBC

U.S. Still Mulling Options On How To Retaliate Against Russian Cyber Attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia, October 27, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Mikhail Klimentyev via REUTERS

NextGov: It's On: US Mulls Tricky Options For retailiation Against Russian Hacks

The decision by top intelligence and Homeland Security officials to attribute election-related data breaches to top Russian government officials earlier this month marked a sea change in cyber relations between the two former Cold War adversaries.

Eight years after Russian hackers were first rumored to be behind an attack that spread from a suspect flash drive at a U.S. military installation in the Middle East to infect classified and unclassified networks across the Defense Department, the U.S. finally accused the Russian government of a major cyber strike against a prominent U.S. target

Read more ....

Update: In Russia's cyberscene: Kremlin desires, private hackers, and patriotism (Fred Weir, CSM).

WNU Editor: Russian President Putin responds .... Russia's Putin says cyber attacks are unacceptable (Reuters).

Germany To Deploy Tanks To The Russian Border

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
German Leopard 2 Tank

DW: Germany to send tanks to Russian border

Germany has confirmed it is sending Leopard 2 tanks to Lithuania as part of NATO plans to reinforce the Baltic states. But the presence is largely symbolic, since Russia is still militarily superior in the region.

Protecting Lithuania from Russia is to be Germany's responsibility, according to the new NATO defense plans that emerged at this week's summit in Brussels. The German Defense Ministry showed on Wednesday evening just how seriously it is taking this task, confirming to the DPA news agency that next year it will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to the Baltic country's Russian border in addition to the 650 soldiers it had already promised - though it would not clarify how many.

Read more ....

Update: NATO battalion at Russian border to get German tanks — defense ministry (TASS)

WNU Editor: I am glad that my father is not alive to be reading this. He fought for the Soviet Army in World War II, and he knew too well what the German Army did. He would be flipping enraged right now. What's my take .... I know that this is a symbolic deployment of a few hundred troops and tanks, but it sets up a precedent that will increase in time .... while bringing back bad memories for those who remember the war.