23 December 2018 Military News
- Trump defends decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, slams Mattis, McGurk Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- President Donald Trump has defended his decision to pull US troops out of Syria, criticizing personnel from his national security team who resigned this week.
- Trump, Erdogan Agree to Coordinate US Pullout From Syria VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- President Donald Trump says he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked about the planned U.S. military pull out from Syria during a "long and productive call" Sunday.
- Trump Defends Syria Pullout After Reports Of U.S. Envoy's Protest Resignation RFE/RL 23 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump again defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, saying on Twitter that they were initially only going to be there for three months but have remained for years.
- US General: 'No Orders' on Troop Reduction in Afghanistan VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- The U.S. commander of international forces in Afghanistan said Sunday he has not received orders for a troop withdrawal from the country.
- President Ghani replaces top security chiefs amid rising Taliban insurgency Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has replaced two of the country's top security chiefs with staunch anti-Taliban officials in the wake of intensified assaults by the militant group across the war-ravaged country.
- Afghan President Announces Government Shakeup RFE/RL 23 Dec 2018 -- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced that Assadullah Khalid, the former head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS), as the country's defense minister and Amrullah Saleh, also a former intelligence chief, as interior minister.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Shanahan to Become Acting US Defence Secretary After Mattis Resignation - Trump Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump said Sunday that US Deputy Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan will become acting Secretary of Defence starting from 1 January 2019.
- Trump fires Mattis early, names aide as acting Pentagon chief Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump has named Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as the acting Pentagon chief, saying he will replace outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier than previously scheduled.
- Trump to Replace Pentagon Chief Mattis 2 Months Early With Deputy VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- President Donald Trump said Sunday that Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will become the acting Pentagon chief on January 1, replacing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who announced his resignation last week.
- SpaceX Launches US Military GPS Satellite After Several Delays Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The launch of the rocket with a $500 million cargo was initially scheduled for December 18 but was later postponed several times due to technical and weather issues.
- Bulgarian President Slams Buying US F-16 Fighters as "Triumph of Lobbyism" Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The country's government announced recently that they recommended replacing its existing air fleet of MiG-29s with jets by Lockheed Martin. They picked them over a bid by Sweden with its newly-made Gripens and Italy's used Eurofighters, despite exceeding the planned budget.
- Venezuelan Navy Actions in Guyana US Dept. of State 23 Dec 2018 -- On December 22, the Venezuelan Navy aggressively stopped ExxonMob?il contracted vessels operating under an oil exploration agreement with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
- China Expects Number of New Generation Weaponry to Arrive in 2019 - Report Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- Beijing has set its sighte on obtaining new generation weaponry in almost all military spheres, pouring billions into research and the production of new models of battleships, missiles, jets, and submarines. Many of them are arriving for tests or will even be commissioned in the coming year.
- India Successfully Tests Agni-IV Nuclear-Capable Missile - Reports Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- India carried out on Sunday yet another successful launch of its Agni-IV ballistic nuclear-capable missile at the Integrated Test Range located on Abdul Kalam Island, The Economic Times newspaper reported, citing the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- First UN Cease-Fire Monitors Arrive in Yemen VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- An advance U.N. truce monitoring team is on the ground in the Yemeni port of Hodeida to keep watch on the cease-fire and deal for both sides to withdraw from the city.
- Yemeni forces shoot down Saudi-led combat drone in Sa'ada Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have intercepted and targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the Saudi-led military coalition, as it was flying in the skies over a mountainous region in the country's northwestern province of Sa'ada.
- Saudis step up attacks, violate Hudaydah truce 223 times: Yemen army Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Yemen's army, which alongside the Houthi movement has been defending the country, says Saudi Arabia has increased its attacks in breach of a UN-brokered truce in the port city of Hudaydah.
- UAE trying to sabotage agreements struck between Yemeni sides in Sweden peace talks: Ansarullah official Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- A high-ranking member of the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement has accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of attempts to scupper agreements recently reached between warring sides during the latest round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Sweden.
- Yemeni army shoots down Saudi drone IRNA 23 Dec 2018 -- The Yemeni Army and popular committee have shot down the Saudi drone in Saada Province, northern Yemen.
- Yemen's Ansarullah hails UN ceasefire efforts IRNA 23 Dec 2018 -- Spokesman of Yemen's Ansarullah welcomed the United Nation delegation's visit to Yemen to establish ceasefire in al-Hudaydah port city, according to a Yemeni television channel.
- Saudis escalating attacks on Yemen's Al Hudaydah IRNA 23 Dec 2018 -- Despite the fact that UN delegation entered Yemen to observe truce in western Yemen, Saudi forces increased attacks on Al Hudaydah port city, spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces said.
- UK Minister Warns Al-Qaeda Will Target Planes, Airports as It Gains Power Again Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The notorious terrorist group, responsible for the 9/11 attacks, has been overshadowed by Daesh* in recent years, but a British minister believes that al-Qaeda* was merely restructuring and finding new ways to commit attacks in the modern world.
- UN adopts resolution in favor of Syria sovereignty over occupied Golan Heights Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution on the permanent sovereignty of Syria over natural resources of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
- SDF: Daesh Ramps Up Attacks on Kurds After US Report of Troop Pullout From Syria Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The Daesh* terrorist group has stepped up attacks on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after the United States announced its plans to withdraw troops from Syria, SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told Sputnik.
- US Allies Reeling from 'Trump Withdrawal' Scramble in Syria VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- British and French officials are scrambling to determine how they can maintain military pressure on the Islamic State terror group once the United States has pulled out its ground forces from northeast Syria.
- Macron Voices Deep Regret Over US Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- French Economic Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau claimed that Paris would maintain its military presence in Syria, while French Defence Minister Florence Parly refused to confirm that statement.
- Turkey deploys military reinforcements to Kurdish-held northern Syria Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Turkey has dispatched military reinforcements to northern Syria, which is held by US-backed Kurdish militants, as American troops prepare to leave the Arab country.
- Turkey Boosts Military Presence In Syria As Erdogan, Trump Discuss U.S. Pullout RFE/RL 23 Dec 2018 -- Turkey has begun bolstering its military presence on both sides of its border with Syria, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops currently based in Syria.
- Turkey Reportedly Redeploys Troops to Border With Syria Amid US Pullout Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- Following initial statements about an upcoming military operation in the Eastern Euphrates and Manbij against Kurdish militants, the Turkish president announced on 21 December that it would be delayed in light of a US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria.
- Erdogan Reportedly Vowed to Finish Off Daesh After US Troops Withdrawal Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The Associated Press earlier reported, citing unnamed US and Turkish officials, that Donald Trump had decided to withdraw American troops from Syria after a phone conversation with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- Turkey Begins Joint Investigation With Libya Over Mystery Weapons Shipment Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- Weapons that came to Libya from Turkey have been disavowed by Ankara.
- UN General Assembly Adopts Ukraine's Resolution on Russia's Crimea Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The UN General Assembly adopted the Ukrainian resolution on human rights violations in Crimea. A total of 65 countries voted for the adoption of the document, 27 countries voted against, while 70 others abstained.
- UN: Rights Violations Continue in E. Ukraine Conflict VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- As Ukraine enters its fifth winter of conflict, the United Nations says civilians continue to be victimized by widespread human rights violations and abuse perpetrated by both the government and Russian-backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The report issued by the U.N. Human Rights Office covers the three-month period between mid-August and mid-November.
- Hamas: shutting Palestinain parliament illegal IRNA 23 Dec 2018 -- Palestine's Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in a statement has denounced the decision by Head of Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas to shut down the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
- Great March of Return protests to continue until end of Gaza siege: Hamas Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- A senior official of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says Palestinians will continue the Great March of Return rallies until the end of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
- Desperate Abbas making weird claims as Hamas popularity rises Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas is resorting to the oddest tactics, accusing Hamas of being directly funded by the Israeli premier after dissolving the Palestinian parliament.
- Hamas slams Abbas plan to dissolve Palestinian parliament Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has slammed a plan by President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the parliament, saying the move will only add to the internal divisions between the Palestinian factions.
- Egyptian forces kill 14 militants in Sinai Peninsula Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Egyptian security forces have killed 14 suspected Takfiri terrorists in an exchange of fire in the country's restive Sinai Peninsula amid an ongoing military campaign against the Daesh terrorist group.
- Mogadishu bombings a 'cowardly assault' on Somalis' right to peace – UN envoy UN News 23 Dec 2018 -- The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has condemned "in the strongest possible terms" Saturday's twin bombings in the nation's capital, Mogadishu, which claimed a number of lives.
- Death Toll From Somalia Blasts Rises to 30 VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- Authorities in Somalia say the death toll from Saturday's double explosions near the presidential palace in Mogadishu has climbed to 30.
- 222 Dead, Hundreds Injured in Indonesia Tsunami VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- A tsunami that struck late Saturday has killed over two hundred people along Indonesia's Sunda Straits.
- WikiLeaks exposes US embassies efforts to procure spying gadgets Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- US embassies and other diplomatic posts across the world have been purchasing considerable number of spying gadgets such as spy cams masked as ties, caps, pens, buttons and watches, Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has revealed by releasing copies of purchase order documents.
- WikiLeaks: US Acquires Forensic Phone Data Kits Through Consulate in Germany Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- Earlier WikiLeaks published the "US Embassy Shopping List" database, where it revealed more than 16,000 procurement requests by US embassies around the globe.
- US spy chief accuses Russia, Iran, China of attempted midterm poll meddling Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- The top US intelligence official has accused Russia, China and Iran of running election meddling campaign during American mid-term polls last November in an official report to the White House but insisted that no election systems were compromised.
- Spy Mania: MI5 Reportedly Makes Secret List of MPs With 'Links' to Russia, China Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- Russia and China have on multiple occasions faced accusations of interference in domestics affairs from a number of Western countries. Both Moscow and Beijing denied the allegations, citing lack of evidence as well as the West's own attempts to meddle in third countries' affairs around the world.
- FM Zarif attends parliament's nat'l security commission IRNA 23 Dec 2018 -- The chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iranian Parliament announced the meeting of the commission members with the Minister and deputies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was held and said the latest status of foreign relations was centered in the meeting.
- Funeral Held for Reformist Saudi Prince Talal VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- Saudi Arabia's King Salman has led funeral prayers for his half-brother Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz who died Saturday at age 87.
- Cuban parliament approves new constitution, formally recognizing private property Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Lawmakers in Cuba's National Assembly have approved a revised draft of a new constitution that retains the country's one-party socialist system but also recognizes private property for the first time.
- Cuban Parliament Approves Draft Constitution Recognizing Private Property Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The Cuban National Assembly of People's Power approved on Saturday the draft new country's constitution that will be submitted to a national referendum in February, media reported.
- Outspoken Saudi prince, weakened by hunger strike, dies Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- A Saudi prince, known internationally for his open criticism of the ruling family including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has died after being critically weakened by a hunger strike.
- Roscosmos Selects Super-Heavy Rocket Concept Designed for Moon Flights - Source Sputnik 23 Dec 2018 -- The scientific and technical council of Russia's Space Corporation Roscosmos has chosen the variant proposed by the Progress Rocket and Space Center (SRC Progress) and the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin as the main concept of the new super-heavy rocket for flights to the Moon, a Russian space industry source told Sputnik.
- Russian-U.S. Space Cooperation Falls Back To Earth RFE/RL 23 Dec 2018 -- When a SpaceX rocket blasted off on December 5, sending a load of cargo to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), it was a soaring example of how private companies are helping fuel the next generation of U.S. space exploration.
- Lebanon govt. impasse continues as Sunni MPs retract pick for cabinet Press TV 23 Dec 2018 -- Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri says new complications have prevented the formation of a government following a meeting that was hoped to resolve a seven-month dilemma.
- Hundreds in Lebanon Protest Politics, Economy VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- Hundreds of Lebanese took to the streets of Beirut Sunday to protest a deteriorating economy and a political stalemate that has their country's lawmakers struggling to form a government.
- Sudanese Unions to Launch Strike to 'Paralyze' Government VOA 23 Dec 2018 -- A coalition of unions in Sudan says it plans to "paralyze" the government with the first of what it says will be indefinite strikes by professionals.
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