21 December 2018 Military News
- US to Withdraw Troops From Military Base in Syrian City of Al-Tanf - Reports Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- The United States will withdraw its troops from its military base located in the south-eastern Syrian city of Al-Tanf, near the Jordanian border, BuzzFeed reported, citing a militant commander at Al-Tanf.
- US likely to end air war in Syria IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- The United States will likely end its air campaign against ISIS in Syria when it pulls out troops, US officials said, sealing an abrupt reversal of policy which has alarmed Western allies as well as Washington's Kurdish battle partners.
- Lavrov: US troops presence in Syria illegal IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday renewed that the presence of US troops in Syria is illegal, considering the announcement of their withdrawal is a step in the right direction, SANA reported.
- US Presence in Syria Not Helping Political, Diplomatic Settlement - Kremlin Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- The presence of the US forces in Syria does not help the political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis in the Middle Eastern country, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
- Secretary Pompeo's Call With Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi US Dept. of State 21 Dec 2018
- Secretary Pompeo's Call With Iraqi President Barham Salih US Dept. of State 21 Dec 2018
- Afghan Leaders Downplay Impact Of U.S. Pullout, But Military Officials Fret RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- A spokesman for Afghanistan's president has downplayed the impact that a potential U.S. troop withdrawal would have on security, while top Afghan military officials warned about the danger to the country's undertrained and poorly equipped forces.
- Afghan Officials Downplay Reported US Troop Drawdown Plans VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- The government in Afghanistan is playing down the significance of reported U.S. troop reduction plans, saying Afghan security forces are capable of protecting and defending the country on their own.
- NATO vows continued engagement in Afghanistan amid US troop pullout plan Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- NATO has emphasized its commitment to maintaining its armed forces in Afghanistan despite Washington's announcement of its intent to pull out thousands of US troops from the war-torn country.
- US to withdraw half of its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump has ordered the start of withdrawing some 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, about half of the total number of American boots on the ground in the war-torn country.
- Afghan President Says Possible U.S. Troop Withdrawal Won't Affect Security RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- A significant reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan won't impact upon the security of the war-torn country, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said on December 21.
- What Would A U.S. Troop Reduction In Afghanistan Mean? RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump's reported plans to withdraw around 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, roughly half the remaining U.S. military presence there, has prompted much discussion about the impact the drawdown could have on the country.
- Trump Administration Mulls US Troops Reduction in Afghanistan - Reports Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump is considering a significant reduction of US troops currently stationed in Afghanistan, according to media reports.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Republican and Democrat lawmakers censure Trump over Mattis resignation Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- American lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties have blasted US President Donald Trump following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis over policy disputes.
- Differences With Trump's Views Prompted Mattis Departure VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis Thursday announced he was quitting, personally handing his letter of resignation to U.S. President Donald Trump following a lunch meeting at the White House.
- NATO Allies Fearful About Departure of 'Trusted' Mattis VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- For two years, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has been urging nervous NATO counterparts to judge the Trump administration by its actions and not by the president's tweets or off-the-cuff remarks. But on Thursday, President Donald Trump posted a tweet the Europeans couldn't ignore: an announcement that the four-star general would soon be leaving the Pentagon.
- Pentagon Chief Mattis to Leave White House in February Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Defense Secretary James Mattis' retirement from the White House was announced by US President Donald Trump on Thursday, who said the general will depart the Cabinet February 28.
- Marshall Center Program Engages Experts to Address Cyberspace Challenges, Threats AFPS 21 Dec 2018 -- It's a hyperconnected world, where cyberspace provides critical support for the world's economy, civil infrastructure, public safety and national security. But it's also where cyberattacks loom as large as the opportunities with their ability to trigger massive breakdowns.
- Joint Cooperation 18 builds U.S., NATO civil-military cooperation Army News 21 Dec 2018 -- Elements of the U.S. Army Reserve's only forward-deployed, multifunctional civil affairs unit in Europe, joined allies, partner nations and non-government organizations in the 2018 iteration of NATO's largest civil-military exercise in Europe, Nov. 9-16.
- Army National Guard firefighters conduct validation exercises Army News 21 Dec 2018 -- Roaring down a concrete road not far from the base of the Organ Mountains, two M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Trucks hastily position themselves away from the downed helicopter set ablaze. The roof turrets from each truck discharge streams of pressurized water onto the flames, and firefighters adorned in structural bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses assemble around the fiery aircraft. These firefighters move expediently to their task, suppressing the flames of the aircraft whilst transporting the casualties away from the wreckage.
- Ohio air defenders rule the skies during Operation Combined Resolve XI Army News 21 Dec 2018 -- For over two weeks, Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment maneuvered their Avenger Weapons Systems and engaged simulated enemy aircraft alongside over 5,500 troops during the force-on-force portion of the exercise from Nov. 26 to Dec 17.
- USS The Sullivans Returns NNS 21 Dec 2018 -- The guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) returned to Mayport Naval Station Dec. 21, marking the end of a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
- USS Jason Dunham Returns NNS 21 Dec 2018 -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Dec. 21, completing a seven-month deployment to the U.S. Navy 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
- Russia to target any U.S. missiles deployed in Europe after nuclear treaty terminated: Kremlin People's Daily 21 Dec 2018 -- If the United States deploys its missile systems in Europe after terminating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russia will have to aim its own missiles at those systems, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday night.
- UN General Assembly Votes Down Russian Draft Resolution to Preserve INF Treaty Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- The UN General Assembly has voted against adopting the draft resolution proposed by Russia in support of preserving and complying with the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa of Ecuador announced after the vote.
- If US Deploys Missiles in Europe, Russia May Target Them – Kremlin on INF Exit Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference on 20 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of an increasing tendency to underestimate the threat of a nuclear war in the world.
- Turkey Will Use Russian S-400 Independently of NATO Systems - Source Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Amid high tensions between Ankara and Washington over Russian-made S-400 air defence systems, the US State Department has announced the possible sale of Patriot missile system to Turkey.
- Japan unveils record defense spending amid plans to buy more US weapons Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Japan has unveiled a record military budget to buy advanced stealth fighters from the US and convert two ships into aircraft carriers, prompting angry protests from its neighbors.
- Pyongyang: We'll Disarm After 'American Nuclear Threat' Removed from Region Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- On Tuesday, North Korea called on the US to remove "all sources of nuclear threat" in and around the Korean Peninsula as a precursor to North Korea's own denuclearization.
- IRGC vows to continue missile tests, research more actively than ever Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says it will continue its missile tests and research more actively than ever in defiance of the US pressure and sanctions.
- Iran's Revolutionary Guards Promise to Continue Missile Tests Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Any efforts by foreign countries to stop the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from testing missiles will be futile as long as Iran exists, a senior IRGC official said Friday.
- Belgium's US F-35 Fighter Purchase Put on Hold After PM's Resignation - Source Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Belgium's purchase of US-made F-35 fighter jets for the purposes of re-equipping its air force will be put on hold as a result of the prime minister's recent resignation, a diplomatic source in Brussels told Sputnik on Friday.
- In the report on the selection of a new type of fighter aircraft, a proposal was made to start negotiations with the US for an F-16 aircraft Bulgaria MOD 21 Dec 2018 -- Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov and Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov submitted today to the Council of Ministers, on 21 December, a report on the results of the work on the implementation of the updated investment project "Acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft" adopted by the National Assembly.
- 21 December 2018 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 21 Dec 2018
- China Expected to Court SE Asia, Resist Western Allies in Major Maritime Dispute VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- China held what has been widely characterized as upbeat talks this year with Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam even though all three contest Chinese claims to a vast, resource-rich ocean. The communist leadership, meanwhile, fortified some of the sea's tiny islets, also disputed, and warned outside powers such as the United States to stay out.
- KSA Welcomes UN Security Council's Resolution on Yemen SPA 21 Dec 2018 -- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomed today the UN Security Council's resolution, submitted by United Kingdom, on Yemen.
- UN Security Council Unanimously Backs Yemen Cease-Fire Deal VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- The U.N. Security Council has unanimously endorsed a deal for a cease-fire around the vital Yemeni port city of Hodeida. The agreement was reached last week during U.N.-led intra-Yemeni talks outside the Swedish capital.
- Warring parties in Yemen must 'fully respect' Hudaydah ceasefire – UN Security Council UN News 21 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations Security Council on Friday endorsed the agreement reached between the Government of Yemen and leaders of the opposition Houthi movement, at the recent UN-backed talks in Sweden, and authorized the deployment of an advance team to facilitate the monitoring and implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.
- Syrian army retaliates terrorists' attacks in countryside of Hama, Idleb IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- Syrian Arab Army units continued to retaliate to terrorist groups' violations of the demilitarized zone in Idleb, foiling their repeated attempts to infiltrate from several directions in the countryside of Hama and Idleb to attack military points and safe areas in Hama northern countryside.
- Erdogan welcomes US troop withdrawal from Syria Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed the United States' announced withdrawal from Syria, temporarily postponing a planned invasion of Syria's Kurdish-controlled northeastern regions.
- Netanyahu says Israel to increase its "efforts" in Syria after US troop pullout Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to intensify Israel's "efforts" in Syria after US President Donald Trump announced a full withdrawal of American troops from the Arab country.
- Syrian Democratic Council Asks France to Help Set up No-Fly Zone Over N Syria Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is asking France to help introduce a no-fly zone over northern Syria, co-chairs of the SDC, Ilham Ahmed and Riad Darar, said Friday in Paris.
- Turkey to Delay Offensive on US-Backed Forces in Syria VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country would hold off on a military operation against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, citing a telephone conversation this past week with U.S. President Donald Trump.
- Erdogan Vows To 'Remove' Kurdish Militia, IS From Syria After U.S. Withdrawal RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will clear Syria both of a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia and Islamic State (IS) militants after the U.S. decision to pull troops out.
- Turkey Delays Syria Military Operation to Avoid US Friendly Fire - Minister Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that a military advance against Kurdish YPG forces in northeastern Syria would be delayed until the US pullout is over.
- Erdogan Decides to Postpone Military Op in Syria After Talk With Trump Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Earlier, the Turkish Defence Minister announced that the country was "intensely" preparing to launch another operation against Syrian Kurds in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates. The announcement came the day after the US had decided to withdraw its troops from Syria.
- Meddling by outsiders in Tibet warned against People's Daily 21 Dec 2018 -- Beijing urged Washington on Thursday to stop interfering in China's internal affairs by using Tibet autonomous region-related issues, and warned against the implementation of a new act of the US Congress.
- Myanmar Army Announces Unilateral Ceasefire Against Ethnic Rebels Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- The Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) announced a unilateral ceasefire on Friday in five regional commands (North, Northeast, East, Middle East and Triangle) to facilitate negotiations with rebel groups fighting in different parts of the country.
- Bamboo-boring beetles wreak havoc in Rohingya refugee camps, UN agency races to respond UN News 21 Dec 2018 -- Beset by millions of bamboo-chomping beetles, almost every shelter in the vast Rohingya refugee camps of Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh, needs replacing. With just over four months to go until the beginning of the monsoon season, the race is on for IOM, the United Nations migration agency which is managing the camp, to provide families living in the worst-affected temporary dwellings, with new and more durable bamboo.
- Somalia's Al-Shabab Declares War on Pro-Islamic State Group VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Somalia's al-Shabab militants have announced a military offensive against Islamic State-affiliated forces in Somalia.
- Cameroon Reopens Border with Nigeria VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Cameroon has reopened its southwestern border with Nigeria after closing it about a year ago because of conflicts between Cameroon's military and armed separatists fighting to create an English-speaking state.
- Violations Increase in DRC's North Kivu Province as Security Worsens VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations reports human rights violations have surged over the past two years in the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu Province as security in that conflict-ridden region has worsened.
- Russia Probe May be Headed for Climax in 2019 VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- As 2018 draws to a close, the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be gaining momentum, built on an assortment of guilty pleas and convictions of former associates of President Donald Trump over the past year.
- Statement by the President The White House 21 Dec 2018
- Bill Announcement The White House 21 Dec 2018
- U.S. Intelligence Chief Says Russia, Iran Sought To Influence 2018 Midterm Voters RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- The top U.S. intelligence official says that Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign powers sought to influence voters in the 2018 midterm elections, but there were no signs that the results were comprised by the attempts.
- Report Puts Russia, China and Iran in Line for Sanctions for Election Meddling VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Voters who went to the polls last month in the United States' midterm elections can rest assured that their votes were registered and counted properly.
- DNI Coats Statement on the Intelligence Community's Response to Executive Order 13848 on Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election Director of National Intelligence 21 Dec 2018 -- "Today I submitted the Intelligence Community's report on foreign interference in the 2018 midterm elections to the President and appropriate executive departments and agencies, as directed by Section 1(a) of the Executive Order 13848, Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election."
- US Intelligence Report: Russia, China, Iran Sought to Influence 2018 Elections VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Russia, China and Iran sought to meddle in the recent U.S. midterm election, but their actions did not compromise the "nation's election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes," according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
- Chinese National Charged with Committing Theft of Trade Secrets US Dept. of Justice 21 Dec 2018 -- Hongjin Tan, a 35 year old Chinese national and U.S. legal permanent resident, was arrested on Dec. 20 and charged with theft of trade secrets. Tan is alleged to have stolen the trade secrets from his employer, a U.S. petroleum company.
- Australia, US Accuse China Of Global Cyber Espionage VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Australia says its companies are among the global victims of an extensive campaign of cyber espionage attacks believed to have been backed by the Chinese government.
- Attribution of Chinese cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs 21 Dec 2018 -- "Today, the Australian Government joins other international partners in expressing serious concern about a global campaign of cyber-enabled commercial intellectual property theft by a group known as APT10, acting on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security."
- China accuses US of fabricating facts with cyber-attack accusations Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- China has strongly rejected "slanderous" accusations recently made by the United States over massive hacking efforts around the world, accusing Washington of "fabricating facts."
- The Week In Russia: Putin On Repeat -- Big Press Conference, Little News RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin fielded 66 questions at his annual press conference, holding forth for nearly four hours with a record number of journalists accredited for an event he first held in 2001. He didn't make much news.
- EU extends anti-Russia sanctions for six months Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- The European Union has extended its anti-Russian sanctions for another six months after current sanctions expire on January 31, 2019.
- EU Formally Extends Sanctions Against Russia For Six Months RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- The European Union has formally extended economic sanctions against Russia, first imposed more than four years ago for Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
- Moscow Court Orders Arrest For Kremlin Critic Browder RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- A Russian court has issued an arrest warrant for Bill Browder, the latest effort in a long-running campaign by Moscow to prosecute the British-American financier.
- Moscow Court Issues Warrant for Browder's Arrest in Absentia Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- A Moscow court issued a warrant for the arrest in absentia of Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, for creating a criminal group, a Sputnik correspondent reported Friday.
- Russia's Media Regulator Checking Legality OF BBC Operations RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, says it has started checking the legality of the BBC World News channel's Russian operations and its websites, following a statement by British media watchdog Ofcom that Russia's RT television channel had violated impartiality rules.
- New Latvian Archives Show Ex-PM, Top Judge Had Ties To KGB RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- Newly released archive files in Latvia show that a former prime minister and the current Supreme Court chief justice are among those who collaborated with the Soviet KGB during the Cold War.
- US has no intention of easing North Korea sanctions, official says Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Washington will not ease its sanctions or those imposed by the UN against North Korea but it is still ready to try and build trust, says US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun.
- Trump's Summit Plan Sends Mixed Signals on Talks With North Korea VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- In announcing his interest in holding another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be going against his administration's plan to have working-level officials lead denuclearization talks, analysts say.
- Russia warns US of confronting Iran IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned US and its allies of confronting Iran for solving problems in the Middle East.
- Russia stresses implementation of Iran nuclear deal IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Friday underlined implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
- Iraq: Iran sanctions waiver extended for 3 months IRNA 21 Dec 2018 -- The United States has granted Iraq a 90-day extension to an exemption from reimposed sanctions on Iran to keep on importing energy, a government source said on Thursday.
- Iran, Russia reliable partners in JCPOA, global issues: Diplomat Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- A senior Iranian diplomat says Iran and Russia are "reliable partners" on many international developments and on a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, despite the United States' efforts to create obstacles in the way of the deal's implementation.
- Iran Under Fire for Delayed Release of Ailing Baha'i Leader VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- Iran faces new criticism from Baha'i activists for its delayed release of an ailing Baha'i leader imprisoned for a decade and for its threat to jail a Baha'i woman for 11 years.
- Pakistan stands with China in face of US-led claims Press TV 21 Dec 2018 -- Pakistan has defended China over its treatment of minority Muslim community, describing US and other Western claims of rehabilitation centers for Uighurs as media sensationalism.
- Riyadh Reforming Intelligence Service After Khashoggi Murder – Reports Sputnik 21 Dec 2018 -- Saudi Arabia is conducting the major reform of its General Intelligence Presidency after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, local media reported Thursday.
- Kazakh Court Sentences Three Men In Case Linked To Fugitive Tycoon RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- A Kazakh court has sentenced three men to lengthy prison terms in a case that prosecutors said was linked to a political movement founded by a fugitive tycoon.
- Nation's 1st private rocket factory begins operation People's Daily 21 Dec 2018 -- The first privately owned carrier rocket factory in China, and the largest of its kind in Asia, recently began operations and is set to build what is expected to be the country's biggest privately designed rocket.
- Romanian Ex-President Iliescu Indicted For 'Crimes Against Humanity' RFE/RL 21 Dec 2018 -- Romanian prosecutors have indicted former President Ion Iliescu for crimes against humanity for his role in the bloody aftermath of the December 1989 revolt that toppled dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's regime.
- Congo Officials React to One-Week Election Delay VOA 21 Dec 2018 -- The two largest parties in the hotly contested presidential race in the Democratic Republic of the Congo say they have accepted the recent announcement that long-promised general elections will be delayed by one week, to Dec. 30.
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