Trump names McMaster new national security adviser
Pence says NATO defense costs must be ‘shared fairly’ by Europe – and warns that America’s patience ‘will not endure forever’
- Said European nations need to speed up plans to contribute two percent of their gross national income to NATO
- With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Pence reiterated the Trump administration’s position that NATO costs are not shared fairly
- The U.S. leader declined to make new threats to nations that don’t pay up, but he warned, ‘The patience of the American people will not endure’
- Capping the European trip aimed at allaying fears, Pence said Washington’s backing for the EU remained ‘steadfast and enduring
- Pence said the United States would remain ‘full partners’ with the EU in fighting terrorism – a Trump priority
Vice President Mike Pence says European nations need to speed up plans to contribute two percent of their gross national income to NATO and encourage other member nations to do the same.
At a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday in Brussels, Pence reiterated the Trump administration’s position ‘that for too long, for too many’ the burden of paying for NATO has ‘not been shared fairly among our NATO allies.
‘That must come to an end,’ the vice president said.
The U.S. leader declined to make new threats to nations that don’t pay up, but he warned, ‘The patience of the American people will not endure.’
Gallup poll: Greece would choose Russia as ally over NATO
According to a multi-nation Gallup poll published, Greece and three other NATO member-states would prefer Russia fighting on their side! By far the largest number of countries polled by WIN/Gallup International chose the U.S. for their go-to defense partner, suggesting that it remains the world’s only military power with truly global reach and alliances, but Greece, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Turkey, all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chose Russia as their fighting partner. Another interesting finding showed that Russia and China would pick each other as allies in the event of military conflict.
The findings revealed how the geopolitical security concerns had shifted, with Greece and Bulgaria seeing Turkey, a partner of both in NATO, as the number one threat for their security. Although Turkey is also a NATO member and so theoretically an ally, its invasion and occupation of Northern Cyprus in 1974 showed that these countries cannot rely on NATO to protect them, so they look to Russia. The Gallup poll also broadly reflects a divide between the Orthodox Christian world and Western Christianity, with Orthodox Greece and Bulgaria opting for Russia, while Ukraine and Bosnia Herzegovina — which are also religiously divided — split down the middle.
U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 nuclear sniffer aircraft to UK as spike of radioactive Iodine levels is detected in Europe
The USAF WC-135C Constant Phoenix might be investigating a spike in radioactive levels in Norway. Someone speculates the release of this radionuclide could be the effect of a Russian nuclear test.
On Feb. 17, 2017, U.S. Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion “sniffer,” serial number 62-3582, using radio callsign “Cobra 55” deployed to RAF Mildenhall, UK.
As we have already reported the WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.
The WC-135, known as the “sniffer” or “weather bird” by its crews, can carry up to 33 personnel. However, crew compliments are kept to a minimum during mission flights in order to lessen levels of radioactive exposure.
Effluent gasses are gathered by two scoops on the sides of the fuselage, which in turn trap fallout particles on filters. The mission crews have the ability to analyze the fallout residue in real-time, helping to confirm the presence of nuclear fallout and possibly determine the characteristics of the warhead involved: that’s why the aircraft is important to confirm the type of explosion of today’s test.
Russian MIG corporation plans to sell MIG-35 fighter jets to Middle East
The global transfer of major weapons systems rose over the past five years to the highest volume since the end of the cold war as the Middle East nearly doubled its imports, according to an annual report on arms sales.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that more weapons were delivered between 2012 and 2016 than any other five-year period since 1990. Saudi Arabia, which leads a military intervention in Yementhat has cost hundreds of civilian lives, was the world’s second largest importer after India, increasing its intake by 212%, mainly from the US and the UK.
Asia was the main recipient region in the world as India dwarfed regional rivals, China and Pakistan, by accounting for 13% of the global imports. While India received most of its arms from Russia, the Saudis relied heavily on US arms. US and Russia together supplied more than half of all exports. China, France and Germany were also among the top five exporters.
Two rockets, apparently fired by Islamic militants in Egypt’s northern Sinai, have landed in southern Israel. The attack came a day after an Isis affiliate claimed that several of its members had been killed by an Israeli drone.
The incident is the second within the space of a month after four missiles were fired towards the Israeli Red Sea city of Eilat, suggesting an increase in tensions on Israel’s southern border.
Israel boosts missile defenses against Hezbollah
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Israel’s midlevel anti-missile system known as David’s Sling is close to becoming operational just as tensions are building once more between the United States and Iran.
The system passed its final tests in January amid expectations that it could soon be deployed to defend sensitive sites in Israel against Hezbollah’s arsenal of missiles and rockets, estimated by Israel at about 140,000 of all types.
An Arab Israeli man was charged with planning terror attacks on behalf of the Islamic State group, including bus bombings directed against IDF soldiers, according to an indictment filed against him on Monday. He also allegedly distribute information to IS members on how to create a deadly nerve gas.
The suspect, Anas Haj Yihya, was charged in a Tel Aviv court with belonging to a terrorist organization and with multiple counts of contact with a foreign agent.
In May, one of Yihya’s Islamic State contacts, Muhammad Abdel Rawi, told him to carry out attacks against soldiers, including blowing up a bus filled with soldiers on central Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street, which he agreed to, according to the charge sheet.
Three months later, Yihya apparently attempted to create an explosive device, asking a gardener to get him fertilizer, but his request was denied, according to the indictment.
Yihya also allegedly used the Telegram messaging application to distribute information to IS members on how to create sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent, how to manufacture explosive belts and bombs with cellphone triggers, and which poisons can be added to explosives in order to make them more lethal.
UAE Buys New Ship Saving Missiles
UAE Navy buys Raytheon-made RAM Block 2s
In an interview with Khaleej Times, Alan Davis, Raytheon’s Program Director for Short Range Defence Systems, Naval and Area Mission Defense, noted that versions of the RAMs systems are currently already being used by eight navies, including America’s.
French music festival is cancelled at the last minute after a ‘credible’ tip-off that a ‘bloodbath’ was about to take place
- The Lignerock Festival, in west-central France, was cancelled on Saturday night
- The show was called off just minutes before doors were opening for the show
- It came after a caller told the local police station in an anonymous call: ‘There will be a bloodbath in Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron tonight’
- Festival organisers received two similar phone calls before the start of the show
- Four bands were expected to perform at the show: Apes O’Clock, Les Bidons De L’An Fer, Les Cameleons and Eugene De Rastignac
A music festival in France was cancelled at the last minute this weekend over fears of a terror attack after organisers received a series of phone calls threatening a ‘bloodbath’.
The Lignerock Festival, which was scheduled to take place in the Vendée department of Pays-de-la-Loire region in west-central France, was cancelled just minutes before showtime on Saturday night.
It came after a caller told the local police station in an anonymous call: ‘There will be a bloodbath in Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron tonight.’
Four million people could flee to Europe if Britain pulls out of Afghanistan, warns defence minister
- Sir Michael Fallon admitted Britain and Nato cannot pull troops from Afghanistan
- Migrants could travel to the UK if the war-ravaged country is left abandoned
- If Afghanistan collapses Europe would feel the consequences directly, he said
- Troops must remain there because terror groups from 2001 still pose a threat
Sir Michael Fallon admitted the UK and Nato cannot pull troops out of Afghanistan because the terrorist groups that existed there when soldiers deployed in 2001 remain and ‘still pose a threat’.
As the Ministry of Defence considers sending more troops to the country, Sir Michael warned that if Afghanistan collapses, Europe ‘will feel the consequences, very directly’.
February 18, 2017 9:05 pm
The White House on Friday fired a senior National Security Council aide after learning that he severely criticized President Donald Trump and his top aides, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, at an event in Washington, D.C.
The aide, Craig Deare, was dismissed by the Trump administration after he castigated the administration’s senior officials at an off-the-record roundtable hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center, a think tank based in the nation’s capital, Politico reported Saturday.
Deare served as the NSC’s senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs and was previously the dean of administration at National Defense University.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said he is optimistic that Arabs and Israelis can reach a peace deal in 2017.
Speaking four days after US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a White House press conference about the possibilities of a regional peace agreement, Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that the contours of an Israeli-Palestinian accord were clear, and that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states would work to bring it to fruition.
“I believe progress can be made in the Arab-Israel conflict, if there is a will to do so,” he said. “We know what the settlement looks like, if there is just the political will to do so. And my country stands ready with other Arab countries to work to see how we can promote that.”
He said the new US administration made him optimistic that this and other regional challenges could be resolved.
The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has obtained advanced Russian-made anti-ship missiles, potentially threatening Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea and the Israeli Navy’s ability to operate in the area, according to a report published Sunday.Hezbollah’s possession of the Yakhont missiles was revealed by unnamed Western intelligence officials over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference, where world leaders and defense ministers are meeting to discuss major security issues, according to a report in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The report did not reveal in what forum the revelations were made.
Russia rejects claim of Montenegro plot
Russia has denounced as absurd and unsubstantiated allegations that “Russian state bodies” were involved in an attempted coup in the Balkan state of Montenegro.
The alleged plot dates back to a series of arrests hours before Montenegro’s elections in October 2016.
At the time, Serb paramilitaries and Russian nationalists were blamed.
But prosecutor Milivoje Katnic has now named a Russian military figure as behind the alleged mission.
He said a Serb nationalist figure had been invited to Moscow by Eduard Sismakov, a former deputy military attache to Poland, with the aim of preventing Montenegro from joining Nato.
The alleged plotters are said to have planned to assassinate Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Iran launches ‘advanced’ rockets during military exercises
An Iranian semi-official news agency is reporting that the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard has launched sophisticated rockets during military exercises.
The Monday report by Tasnim, an agency considered to be close to the Revolutionary Guard, said the launch of “smart and advanced” rockets came during an annual three-day maneuver which began on Monday in Iran’s central desert.
The report did not elaborate on the model of the rockets…
4 Russian servicemen killed in car blast in Syria – MoD
Two other Russian servicemen were injured in the blast, the Ministry added.
The vehicle had been part of a Syrian Army convoy traveling to the city of Homs from the Tiyas airfield in central Syria’s Homs Province.
Russian military advisers were in the car when it blew up, according to the ministry’s statement.
BRITISH Special Forces led a fresh offensive yesterday in a bid to liberate western Mosul, the second biggest city in Iraq.
SAS troops along with the U.S. Green Beret and Delta Force commandos are aiming to retake the area from Islamic State.
Turkey dismisses 227 more judges, prosecutors in post-coup probe: AA
Turkey dismissed 227 more judges and prosecutors on Monday as part of investigations into last July’s failed coup, the state-run Anadolu agency said, meaning close to 4,000 members of the judiciary have now been purged.
Turkish authorities have detained, sacked or dismissed more than 100,000 people from the police, military, public service, judiciary, and elsewhere since the abortive coup over suspected ties to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the putsch.