20 February 2018 Military News
- OIF / OND / OEF / OIR / OFS Casualty Update 20 Feb 2018 [PDF]
- US-Led Coalition Airstrikes Near Deir Ez-Zor Kill at Least 16 - Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The US-led coalition is reportedly continuing airstrikes in Syria, which, however, have not been authorized by the government of President Bashar al-Assad or the United Nations.
- Three Tribal Elders, Nine Police Killed In Afghanistan RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- An explosion has killed at least three tribal elders and wounded two in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar Province, while at least nine police were killed in attacks elsewhere in the war-wracked country, officials say.
- Pentagon Report: Command Failure Led to Deadly Niger Ambush Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The New York Times has reported that the investigation of the deadly Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger in October 2017 has revealed that an unknown US military leader ordered the American troops to act outside of the usual scope of their mission - kicking off the sequence of events that would end with the deaths of four Americans and five Nigeriens.
- Daesh Troops Redeployed to Afghanistan, Pakistan – CIS Anti-Terrorism Center Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- On Drug Trafficking
Defense Policy / Programs
- Sunsetting the MQ-1 Predator: A history of innovation AFNS 20 Feb 2018 -- The MQ-1 Predator is a remotely piloted aircraft flown by aircrew assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base and units around the world. It has contributed to the U.S. warfighting efforts in unprecedented ways and is scheduled to sunset on March 9, 2018, as the Air Force transitions to an all MQ-9 Reaper force.
- Commitment to readiness includes beefed-up BCTs, says Secretary of the Army Esper Army News 20 Feb 2018 -- Three months ago when Dr. Mark T. Esper became secretary of the Army, he said he would focus on two enduring priorities during his tenure.
- Carl Vinson Strike Group Completes Manila Port Call NNS 20 Feb 2018 -- The Carl Vinson Strike Group departed Manila, Philippines, Feb. 20, completing a four-day port call.
- Pentagon Prepares New Ballistic Missile Defense Review Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- After publishing the National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review in the first eight weeks of the year, the next report on the Pentagon's agenda will detail Washington's plan for ballistic missile defense.
- US to Jettison Spy Planes, Satellites Due to Russian, Chinese Missiles – Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The US Air Force is about to abandon expensive surveillance aircrafts and satellites, opting for an information network out of concerns over Russia's and China's increased space capabilities.
- Army logisticians shift efforts to distribute more fuel, equipment across Afghanistan Army News 20 Feb 2018 -- Distributing fuel was perhaps the most challenging job for the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade as it served as the logistics headquarters in Afghanistan last year, its commander recently said.
- US 'desensitizing' Russia to Black Sea presence: Military officials Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- The United States wants Russia to get used to American military presence on its doorsteps in the Black Sea, US and NATO military officials say.
- NATO Launches Project to Boost Jordan's Defense Capacity Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- NATO has launched a three-year project to boost Jordan's capacity for defense and crisis management, the alliance said Monday in a press release.
- NATO not allowed using Iraq soil against Iran: Iraqi PM IRNA 20 Feb 2018 -- The North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) military bloc is not allowed to use Iraqi territory against Iran, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.
- US Warships in Black Sea on 'Russia's Radar' - Russian Admiral Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- As Washington increases its presence in the Black Sea, Russian Admiral and former Baltic Fleet Commander Vladimir Valuev said that the two US warships that have been stationed in the region do not pose any danger to Russia.
- Trump Orders to Determine if Russia Violated INF Treaty Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- US President Donald Trump has ordered the secretaries of State and Defense as well as the Director of National Intelligence and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff to determine whether Russia's RS-26 ballistic missile violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
- Russian Army to Get New 500kg Cluster Bomb 'Drel' in 2018 Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- A new cluster bomb called Drel (Drill) will be put into service with the Russian Armed Forces in 2018, the director general of the Techmash munition manufacturer said on Tuesday.
- Russia, Pakistan Form Anti-Terror Military Cooperation Commission VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Russia and Pakistan plan to establish a commission on military cooperation to counter the Islamic State threat in the region, accusing the United States of downplaying the terrorist group's dangerous "proliferation" in Afghanistan.
- Iran's missile program defensive: Spox IRNA 20 Feb 2018 -- Iran's missile program is defensive and the French and the British foreign ministers' concerns about the issue are groundless, said the spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- India Releases Blacklist of Foreign Defense Firms Indicted for Corruption Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The defense ministry document published on Monday evening features Finmeccanica, Denel, Israel Military Industries Ltd, Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Corporation Defence among others.
- India Successfully Test-Fires Agni-II Ballistic Missile – Source Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- India has successfully test-fired a strategic nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-II with a range of 1,242 miles, a source from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told Sputnik on Tuesday.
- India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- India says it has successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 2,000 kilometers.
- Finland - Mk 41 Vertical Launching Systems DSCA 20 Feb 2018 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Finland of Mk 41 Baseline VII Strike-Length Vertical Launching Systems for an estimated cost of $70 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Kuwait - Fast Patrol Boats DSCA 20 Feb 2018 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Kuwait of fast patrol boats for an estimated cost of $100 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Netherlands - AH-64E Remanufactured Apache Attack Helicopters DSCA 20 Feb 2018 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Netherlands of items and services to support the upgrade/remanufacture of AH-64D Block II Apache Attack Helicopters to the AH-64E configuration for an estimated cost of $1.191 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Pakistan parliament not convinced by defense minister's explanations about troop deployment to Saudi Arabia Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Pakistan's Senate has blasted the government for the secrecy surrounding Islamabad's recent decision to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia, describing explanations by the Pakistani defense minister given to Senate representatives as insufficient and a "lollipop to a child."
- Department Press Briefing - February 20, 2018 US Dept. of State 20 Feb 2018
- Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders The White House 20 Feb 2018
- 20 February 2018 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 20 Feb 2018
- Claims of delivery of Iran missiles to Yemen 'foolish scenario': Qassemi Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Iran has once again rejected the allegations about the Islamic Republic's provision of missiles to Yemeni forces, saying such claims are lies and a foolish scenario.
- Turkish army shells pro-Syrian government forces as they enter Afrin Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- The Turkish army has attacked pro-Syrian government forces that had earlier arrived in the Kurdish-held Afrin region in northwestern Syria to defend the Syrian Kurds against Turkey's offensive.
- Turkey will lay siege to Syria's Afrin in coming days: Erdogan Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is set to "lay siege" to the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin, where the Turkish military has been fighting Kurdish militants over the past month.
- Erdogan: Syrian Forces Tried to Enter Afrin, Retreated After Turkey's Shelling Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that a convoy of pro-Syrian government forces, which tried to enter the besieged Syrian city of Afrin, retreated under the Turkish warning fire in the area. The Syrian armed forces have confirmed neither entering Afrin, not the retreat.
- Erdogan: Turkish Army Will Encirle Afrin, Speed Up Operation Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Damascus against supporting the Kurds, while the country's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that if Syrian forces entered Afrin, this would lead to a catastrophe.
- Turkish Forces Shell Syrian Militias in Contested Kurdish Enclave VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Pro-Syrian government forces reportedly have crossed into the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin. The deployment is in response to an ongoing military offensive by Turkish-led forces against the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia.
- Syrian Troops Retreat After Turkish Artillery Fires Warning Strikes VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Pro-Syrian government troops enroute to Syria's Afrin region, a Kurdish area where Turkish troops have mounted a month-long offensive, retreated Tuesday after Turkish artillery fired warning shots, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.
- Turkey-Syria Team-Work is Most Welcome in Afrin Crisis - Iraq Kurdistan Official Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The ongoing crisis in Syria's Afrin, the subject of the Turkish military operation Olive Branch, cannot be resolved without an understanding between Turkey and Syria, Hemin Hawrami, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Leadership Council, told Sputnik.
- Syrian Pro-Government Forces Enter Kurdish Enclave RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- Pro-government fighters have entered the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, triggering an immediate response from Turkish forces.
- Russia Says 'Several Dozen' Wounded In Clash With U.S.-Led Forces In Syria RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- The Russian Foreign Ministry says that "several dozen" citizens of Russia and other former Soviet republics who are not members of the military were wounded in a recent battle with U.S.-led forces in Syria.
- Tens of Russian and CIS Citizens Killed in Syria Were Not Military - Moscow Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- According to preliminary information shared by the Russian Foreign Ministry last week, at least 5 Russian volunteers were killed in US-led coalition's airstrike on pro-Damascus forces in Syria.
- Syria's Multi-Sided War Taxes Russia VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Russia has played a decisive role in saving the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from ouster, but every week Moscow is finding it harder to arbitrate the winding down of a seven-year-long conflict that may have entered its most dangerous phase.
- Civilian situation in Syria's east Ghouta 'spiraling out of control,' warns UN aid official UN News 20 Feb 2018 -- The humanitarian situation of civilians in Syria's east Ghouta is spiraling out of control, a senior United Nation aid official has warned in the wake of escalating conflict which resulted in more than 40 civilian deaths on Monday alone.
- Hashd al-Sha'abi calls for withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi territory Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- A senior commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) has said now that Daesh has been defeated in the country there is no need for the presence of US troops.
- Targeted support, reconstruction needed as displaced Iraqis return and rebuild their lives, urges UN agency UN News 20 Feb 2018 -- Iraqi civilians, driven from their homes in fear by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, Da'esh), are now starting to make their way back home after the terrorist group has been uprooted from its bastions in the country, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported.
- Libya Prompts Russia for Military Defense Cooperation - Russian Contact Group Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Both the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army headed by Khalifa Haftar ask Russia for military support but Moscow's position is balanced, head of the Russian Contact Group for intra-Libyan settlement Lev Dengov said.
- Myanmar to resettle stranded Rohingya Muslims Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- The government of Myanmar has agreed to process and resettle some 6,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who are currently stranded at the country's border with Bangladesh.
- Rohingya refugees face immense health needs; UN scales up support ahead of monsoon season UN News 20 Feb 2018 -- Critical health services must be scaled up for nearly 1.3 million people – Rohingyas and their surrounding host communities – in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, where vulnerable populations in crowded settlements and 'mega camps' are at risk of a host of waterborne diseases, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) warned Tuesday.
- Hundreds of Thousands of Rohingya at Risk From Looming Monsoons VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- U.N. aid agencies are stepping up preparations to protect hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, from the ravages of the impending monsoon season.
- 'Poroshenko Signs 'Occupied Territories' Law Deeming Russia An 'Aggressor' RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- KYIV -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has signed into law a bill that supporters say will help Kyiv restore control of territory held by Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.
- Ukraine's President Signs Donbass Reintegration Law Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed on Tuesday the law on Donbass reintegration. Ukraine's parliament adopted the document, which dubs Russia "an aggressor", and Donbass territories not controlled by Kiev "occupied," last month.
- Palestine president calls for Middle East 'peace' conference Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an international conference on a new and wider "peace" process in the Middle East to be convened by the middle of 2018.
- Palestine Ready to Exchange Minor Territories With Israel - Abbas Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed a meeting of the UN Security Council Tuesday, urging the international body to recognize the state of Palestine.
- 'There is no plan B,' says Guterres, reiterating UN's commitment to two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict UN News 20 Feb 2018 -- After over a century of hostilities including 50 years of continued military occupation, Israelis and Palestinians are still no closer to peace, a United Nations special envoy said on Tuesday, warning that even as many in the region have lost hope for positive change, the enemies of peace are growing more confident by the day.
- Abbas Calls for International Conference to Restart Mideast Peace VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is calling for an international peace conference to be convened by the middle of this year to try to break the impasse in the Middle East peace process.
- Top Israeli General Warns of 'Increased Chances of War' in Golan Heights Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Amid ongoing tensions in the Middle East over Iran's role in Syria, an Israeli Defense Forces senior general assumed that the chances of war breaking out on the northern border in 2018 are greater than ever.
- South-eastern DR Congo at risk of humanitarian disaster of 'extraordinary proportions,' warns UN refugee agency UN News 20 Feb 2018 -- Cautioning that the Tanganyika region in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo could be engulfed by a humanitarian disaster of "extraordinary proportions," the United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday urged the Government to ensure protection of civilians.
- DRC's Tanganyika Province Faces Humanitarian Disaster VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- The U.N. refugee agency warns fierce ethnic clashes and widespread abuse in Democratic Republic of Congo's Tanganyika Province is propelling the region toward a colossal humanitarian disaster.
- Russia's Lavrov Blames West For 'Increasing Tensions' In Balkans RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States and some European countries of stoking East-West tensions in the Balkans ahead of a visit to Serbia this week.
- Lawyer Pleads Guilty In Latest Move In Mueller Investigation RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- WASHINGTON -- A lawyer has pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. federal law enforcement agents in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's growing criminal investigation into interactions between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump.
- Manafort Associate Pleads Guilty to Lying to Special Counsel Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney who was a known associate of former campaign advisers to US President Donald Trump Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators on Tuesday.
- US Special Counsel Unveils New Charges in 'Russian Probe' Over False Statements Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged attorney Alex van der Zwaan with giving false statements to investigators in the so-called Russia probe about a Ukraine-related case.
- Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Lying in Russia Probe Case VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- A London-based lawyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to U.S. investigators about his contacts with Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, as part of the widening probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
- Attorney General Sessions Announces New Cybersecurity Task Force US Dept. of Justice 20 Feb 2018-- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered the creation of the Justice Department's Cyber-Digital Task Force, which will canvass the many ways that the Department is combatting the global cyber threat, and will also identify how federal law enforcement can more effectively accomplish its mission in this vital and evolving area.
- Maldivian Parliament Extends State of Emergency for 30 Days - Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2018 -- The Maldivian parliament endorsed a prolongation of the state of emergency in the country for additional 30 days despite a boycott by the opposition, the Avis Online news outlet reported on Tuesday.
- Israeli police name Netanyahu confidants arrested in graft probe Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Israeli police have revealed the names of two close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who were arrested at the weekend as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe.
- Ethiopian FM: No Security Concerns in Country VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Ethiopia's foreign minister has said there are no security concerns in the country, despite a state of emergency imposed by the government last week.
- African Union to Provide Assistance for Zimbabwe Elections VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- The African Union will provide financial and technical assistance to Zimbabwe to help ensure credible elections later this year, the chairperson of the African Union Commission told reporters Tuesday in Harare.
- Pre-emptive North Korea attack 'high risk, unpredictable' for US Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- A pre-emptive attack by the United States against North Korea is "high risk" and "unpredictable," says a former top US military commander and intelligence chief, amid reports that the administration of US President Donald Trump is mulling a strike to take out the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
- Six People Said Killed, 300 Arrests At Sufi Protest In Iran RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- Five security officers have been killed and 300 people arrested amid clashes between law enforcement authorities and Sufi Muslim protesters in Tehran, police say.
- Explainer: Clashes Highlight Tensions Between Dervishes And Iran's Establishment RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- Fresh clashes between Iranian security forces and Gonabadi dervishes follow years of tensions and persecution of dervishes, whose houses of worship have been destroyed and members detained.
- Iran Protests Over Sweden's Granting Of Citizenship To Prisoner RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- The Iranian Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the Swedish ambassador to protest over the country's granting of citizenship to a Stockholm-based scientist who is being held in Tehran and faces a death sentence.
- Attack Meant To Stop Sweden Fighting IS, Uzbek Defendant Tells Court RFE/RL 20 Feb 2018 -- A rejected Uzbek asylum seeker who has admitted to a truck attack that killed five people in Stockholm has told a court that his aim was to force Sweden to end its fight against the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
- State Department Designation of Ansarul Islam US Dept. of State 20 Feb 2018 -- The Department of State has designated Ansarul Islam as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. E.O. 13224 imposes strict sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.
- Ebola's Impact Reached Beyond Death Toll to Basic Health Care VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- More than 100,000 malaria cases went untreated when Liberia's health care system buckled under the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, according to a new study.
- Illicit Financial Flows Outpace Development in Africa, OECD Says VOA 20 Feb 2018 -- Through medication and narcotics smuggling, ivory and people trafficking, oil theft and piracy, Africa is, by conservative estimates, losing about $50 billion a year in illicit financial flows – more, in fact, than it receives in official development assistance.
- Turkish authorities issue detention warrant for 346 over links to failed coup Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 346 individuals over suspected links to the so-called Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is accused by Ankara of orchestrating a failed military coup in mid-2016 in the Anatolian country.
- Turkey frees top pro-Kurdish politician detained over Afrin offensive opposition Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- Turkish officials have released the former co-leader of the country's main pro-Kurdish party, whom they had arrested a week ago over her opposition to Ankara's ongoing cross-border offensive in Syria's northwestern region of Afrin against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
- Egypt blacklists Abol Fotouh, links him to Muslim Brotherhood Press TV 20 Feb 2018 -- An Egyptian court has put Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a senior anti-government activist, on "terrorism" list over what they say was his secret links to the leadership of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood party.
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