18 December 2018 Military News
- Afghan Negotiators In U.A.E. For U.S.-Brokered Talks With Taliban RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- Afghan government negotiators have arrived in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to join U.S.-brokered talks with the Taliban, as efforts intensify to negotiate an end to Afghanistan's 17-year war.
- UN Envoy: Prospect For Peace In Afghanistan 'Has Never Been More Real' RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations envoy for Afghanistan says the prospect of negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan is closer than it has ever been.
- Afghanistan sends team to join US-Taliban talks in Abu Dhabi Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- A peace negotiations team of the Kabul government has arrived in Abu Dhabi, a day after representatives of the Taliban and Washington held talks in order to end a 17-year war in Afghanistan.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Trump Directs Pentagon To Create U.S. Space Command RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the establishment of a space command that will oversee the country's military operations in space.
- Trump Orders Pentagon to Create a Special Command for Military Space Ops Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the US has created a new kind of armed forces - space troops intended to ensure American military leadership in space.
- Text of a Memorandum from the President to the Secretary of Defense Regarding the Establishment of the United States Space Command The White House 18 Dec 2018
- Remarks by Vice President Pence at Kennedy Space Center The White House 18 Dec 2018
- Kearsarge Departs for Deployment NNS 18 Dec 2018 -- Sailors and Marines attached to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and components of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployed Dec. 17.
- USS Mobile Bay Participates In Photo Exercise NNS 18 Dec 2018 -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay participated in a photographic exercise, while transiting the Arabian Sea, Dec. 14.
- US Confirms Its Commitment to Withdrawing From INF Treaty - Russian FM Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- The United States has not shown any specific evidence of Russia's violation of provisions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper.
- Russia will easily make, deploy new defensive missiles if US ditches INF: Putin Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country can easily develop and deploy land-based intermediate-range missiles if the United States carries out a threat to withdraw from the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
- Putin Open To Other States Joining Russia-U.S. Nuclear Pact RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he is open to the idea of other countries joining a Cold War nuclear-arms treaty between Russia and the United States or to starting talks on a new pact.
- Moscow Will Take Steps to Boost Security When US Leaves INF Treaty - Putin Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has pointed out that the country's new weapons significantly increase the potential of Russia's army and navy, also adding to the balance of forces and global stability.
- Russia's Northern Fleet Resumed Air Patrols of Arctic - Commander Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Russia's Northern Fleet this year resumed regular air patrols of the Arctic, the fleet's commander, Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, told reporters Tuesday.
- Modernising Defence Programme - Update UK MOD 18 Dec 2018 -- Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has provided a final update on the Modernising Defence Programme to the House of Commons.
- Turkey - Patriot Missile System and Related Support and Equipment DSCA 18 Dec 2018 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Turkey of eighty (80) Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T) missiles, sixty (60) PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.5 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- General Dynamics Warns Canada Scrapping Saudi Arms Deal Would Cost Billions Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Defense contractor General Dynamics warned the Canadian government Monday that if it goes forward with its proposed withdrawal from an arms deal with Saudi Arabia it would incur "billions of dollars of liability."
- Creation of Kosovo Army Violates UN Security Council Resolution - Russian Envoy Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Russia regrets that the European Union has failed to adequately respond to Kosovo's decision to transform the Kosovo Security Force into a national army, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday.
- Netanyahu openly boasts about his "OFFENSIVE" missiles: Iran's FM ISNA 18 Dec 2018 -- Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu's tweet about what he called Israel's "offensive" missiles, saying," He openly boasts about his "OFFENSIVE" missiles".
- Zarif blasts Netanyahu for 'boasting of offensive missiles' Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has blasted the hawkish Israeli premier for openly boasting of the regime's "offensive missiles," saying such a warmonger is in no position to voice "concerns" about Tehran's defensive missile program.
- Japan 'to buy more American military equipment to counter China, Russia' Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Japan has approved defense plans to buy more American stealth fighters and other equipment in order to boost its capabilities against regional powers Russia and China.
- Beijing: Tokyo's New Defence Guidelines Jeopardize Regional Stability Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- China opposes Japan's criticism of its military development as well as incitement of a so-called Chinese security threat in Tokyo's recently approved defense guidelines, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
- Japan to Create Space, Cyberdefense Units, Boost AI Use - Defense Plan Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Japan's defense guidelines for a decade to come, which the country's government approved on Tuesday, envisage creating space and cyberdefense units, while the application of artificial intelligence will be expanded.
- China's military actions around Taiwan 'irresponsible' CNA 18 Dec 2018 -- The Presidential Office said Tuesday that any military actions that escalate tension in the region and damage relations between Taiwan and China are irresponsible and are not welcomed by the international community.
- Military aware of PLA aircraft, vessel operations near Taiwan CNA 18 Dec 2018 -- Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday it was aware that a number of Chinese aircraft and military vessels were operating near Taiwan during the day and that it was closely monitoring their movements.
- U.S. think tank lists U.S.-China risks over Taiwan for 1st time CNA 18 Dec 2018 -- The Council on Foreign Relations included a possible crisis between the United States and China over Taiwan for the first time in its annual Preventive Priorities Survey, the latest version of which was issued Monday.
- Taiwan thanks U.S. Congress for passing Asia policy bill CNA 18 Dec 2018 -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday thanked the U.S. Congress for passing the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which is aimed at enhancing U.S. leadership in Asia and strengthening cooperation with regional partners, Taiwan included.
- Maduro vows 'to arm civil militia to the teeth' Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to arm a civil militia group in the country "to the teeth," as their number, according to the Venezuelan president, grows to 1.6 million, more than triple in size since the beginning of the year.
- Department Press Briefing - December 18, 2018 US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018
- Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders The White House 18 Dec 2018
- DoD News: Contracts for December 18, 2018
- Lockheed Martin's Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Reaches Early Operational Capability (EOC) Status on U.S. Air Force B-1B Lockheed Martin 18 Dec 2018 -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has delivered the first Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM) to U.S. Air Force operational units, achieving Early Operational Capability (EOC) status ahead of schedule.
- Missile Defense Agency Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Design, Manufacture and Construct Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii Lockheed Martin 18 Dec 2018 -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) was awarded a $585 million contract by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to design, develop and deliver its Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii (HDR-H) in Oahu, Hawaii.
- Chinese Shipbuilding Exec Accused of Leaking Secrets Might Face Death Penalty Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- A senior manager at China's state-owned shipbuilding organization who has been convicted of bribery may be sentenced to death, the South China Morning Post reports.
- US arms maker warns Canada against stopping sales to Saudi Arabia Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- General Dynamics Corp, a sprawling American military manufacturer, has warned Canada against acting on its avowed intention of stopping sales of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
- 18 December 2018 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 18 Dec 2018
- To Walk the Earth in Safety: New Report Showcases U.S. Global Leadership in Landmine Clearance and Conventional Weapons Destruction US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018 -- The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has released the 17th Edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety, a report underscoring the accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program.
- To Walk the Earth in Safety 17th Edition: U.S. Global Leadership in Landmine Clearance and Conventional Weapons Destruction US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018 -- Fact Sheet
- Yemen's Hudaydah calm as rival parties begin to observe truce Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Fighting has subsided in Yemen's Hudaydah, hours after a United Nations (UN)-brokered ceasefire between warring sides took effect in the flashpoint port city.
- Clashes Erupt in Al Hudaydah Minutes After Ceasefire Took Effect - Reports Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- A ceasefire between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi movement in the port city of Al Hudaydah officially came into force at midnight on Tuesday, Arab media reported, citing UN sources.
- UN envoy discusses new Syria constitution body with Iran, Turkey, Russia FMs Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- The foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey have held talks with the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on the composition of a Syrian constitutional committee.
- US envoy: We're no longer seeking regime change in Syria Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- The United States says it is no longer seeking to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backtracking on the once strict regime change policy that Washington insisted on, but which has evidently failed to put into effect.
- Syria constitutional committee worth going 'extra mile' for, says UN envoy UN News 18 Dec 2018 -- Efforts to establish a constitutional committee for Syria are worth going the "extra mile" for, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday, after meeting with the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey – guarantors of a fragile ceasefire in the wartorn country – who agreed that it should convene for the first time early next year in Geneva.
- Turkish US Tensions Deepen Over Syrian Kurds VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- Diplomatic efforts are continuing to avert a crisis between Ankara and Washington over a threatened Turkish offensive against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces. But analysts warn mixed messages between the two NATO allies is complicating de-escalation efforts.
- Arab League censures Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- The Arab League has strongly condemned Turkey's repeated airstrikes against the purported positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, stressing that "such actions are in violation of the Iraqi state's sovereignty."
- Sharara Oil Field in Libya US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018 -- "The United States continues to monitor the situation at the Sharara oil field and echoes the UN Support Mission for Libya's call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of armed elements in the area, which is crucial to allow oil production for the benefit of all Libyans to resume."
- As Peace Treaty Talk Heats Up, Russian Lawmakers Want Clarification On Kurile Islands RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- Russian lawmakers have asked for an explanation following media reports quoting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that Moscow could potentially hand over two islands in the disputed Southern Kuriles chain to Japan.
- 'We are nowhere closer' to Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, than a year ago, Security Council hears UN News 18 Dec 2018 -- Recent violence and rising tensions in the West Bank are fuelling a climate of hatred and fear, "driving both Israelis and Palestinians further away" from a resolution to the conflict, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East Peace Process has said.
- Haley Urges Palestinians to Accept a Peace Deal with Israel VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- Outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is urging the Palestinians to accept a peace deal, saying they have more to gain than Israel.
- US Envoy Haley Says Trump's Peace Plan Will Be Beneficial for Palestine Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would experience advantages from the forthcoming Trump administration's peace plan, but Israel would risk more, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday.
- UN, Palestinian Authority Launch $350Mln Aid Appeal for 1.4Mln Refugees Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations has launched a 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for needy Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, according to a joint press release by UN Coordinator for the Palestinian Territories Jamie McGoldrick and Palestinian Social Development Minister Ibrahim Al-Shaer on Monday.
- UNGA Approves Ukraine Resolution on Navigation in Azov, Black Seas Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations General Assembly passed by a 2/3 majority vote Ukraine's draft resolution calling on Russia to stop restricting international navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
- 'Chance for peace' in South Sudan finally within reach, declares UN Peacekeeping chief UN News 18 Dec 2018 -- The security situation in South Sudan has significantly improved since the recently signed peace deal between the opposing parties in the country's civil war, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of UN Peacekeeping (DPKO), told the Security Council on Tuesday.
- $2.7 Billion Appeal Launched for South Sudanese Refugees VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- The U.N. refugee agency is appealing for $2.7 billion to assist more than two million refugees from South Sudan. The refugees are living in bare-bones conditions in six neighboring countries, and funds to provide for their basic needs are running short.
- UN: Sexual Violence in South Sudan 'Escalated Dramatically' VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- The U.N. official who combats sexual violence in conflict said Tuesday that such atrocities have "escalated dramatically" in South Sudan this year and that accountability is needed to prevent more rapes.
- South Sudanese refugees need $2.7 billion, as safe return remains elusive UN News 18 Dec 2018 -- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched a $2.7 billion appeal on behalf of South Sudanese refugees on Tuesday, to address Africa's largest displacement crisis, where millions have been uprooted by years of brutal civil war.
- Russia Refutes Reports on 'Army of Mercenaries' in CAR as Speculations - Moscow Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- Recent rumors on Russia's alleged large mercenary presence in the Central African Republic (CAR) are speculations, Andrei Kemarsky, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department of Africa, told Sputnik.
- Russia rejects new US reports on 'election meddling' Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- The Kremlin has rejected two new US reports on purported Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, saying they lacked details and evidence to prove the allegation.
- Russia Rejects Reports Alleging Extensive US Election Meddling VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- The size and scope of Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was far more extensive and thorough than previously understood, according to two newly released reports.
- Russian Duma Passes Bill To Punish Organizers Of Protests That Include Children RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- The lower chamber of the Russian parliament has passed a bill setting out punishment for people who involve minors in unauthorized protests, rallies, and demonstrations.
- Iran finds new oil, gas reserves, searches for more Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Iran is currently scouring 60 percent of its total area for new oil and gas reserves, including in places which were deemed until recently the least likely to have hydrocarbon-bearing formations.
- Rohani Son-In-Law Resigns New Post After Iranian Outcry RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- The newlywed son-in-law of Iranian President Hassan Rohani has resigned from a senior institutional appointment two days after starting the job amid accusations of nepotism against Rohani's already embattled government.
- China marks 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up People's Daily 18 Dec 2018 -- China held a grand gathering Tuesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up, a great revolution that has changed the destiny of the Chinese nation and also influenced the world.
- Xi Jinping: The man who leads China's reform into a new era People's Daily 18 Dec 2018 -- Wang Jun is a deputy editor and main author of the book "A Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Reform and Opening-Up."
- China to continue on path of reform: President Xi Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping says his country will "stay the course" on its current path of reform and opening up.
- US Senators Brush Off Saudi Anger Over Resolutions on Yemen, Khashoggi Death VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- Members of the U.S. Senate are brushing off Saudi Arabia's anger over resolutions the chamber approved pertaining to the war in Yemen and the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Turkish courts give life sentences to some 2,000 over 2016 botched putsch Press TV 18 Dec 2018 -- Courts in Turkey have sentenced nearly 2,000 people to life in prison since the failed July 2016 coup attempt, which the Ankara government asserts to have been masterminded by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.
- Russia to Decommission Carrier Vehicle With Ukraine-Made Components - Source Sputnik 18 Dec 2018 -- The last launches of the Rokot carrier rocket fitted with a Ukrainian-made control system will be carried out in 2019, then the vehicle will be decommissioned, a source in the space industry told Sputnik on Tuesday.
- U.S. Congratulates New Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Amid Russian Anger RFE/RL 18 Dec 2018 -- The United States has congratulated Ukraine's new national Orthodox Church on its autonomy from Russia, a move that has incensed Moscow and further heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
- The U.S. Strategy for Central America and Southern Mexico US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018 -- The United States, in partnership with the government of Mexico, is committed to promoting a safer and more prosperous Central America by enhancing security, governance, and economic prosperity that can create greater opportunities and benefits for the people of the region and help us jointly address the shared challenges of migration, narcotics trafficking, and the activities of trans-national criminal organizations.
- Arizona Man Sentenced for Providing Material Support to ISIS US Dept. of Justice 18 Dec 2018 -- Ahmed Mohammed El Gammal, 46, a resident of Arizona, was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for providing and conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, aiding and abetting the receipt of military-type training from ISIS, and conspiring to receive such training. A jury convicted El Gammal of these charges on Jan. 30, 2017, following a three-week trial.
- Sudan Leader Visit Seen as Effort to Reintegrate Syria into Arab Fold VOA 18 Dec 2018 -- Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir traveled to Damascus on Sunday, catching many observers by surprise. According to Arab media, the visit is part of a Russian strategy to rehabilitate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and reintegrate his government into mainstream Arab politics.
- Public Designation of Goran Radosavljevic Under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act US Dept. of State 18 Dec 2018 -- "The Department is publicly designating Goran Radosavljevic of Serbia under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act, due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights."
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