31 December 2018 Military News
- Trump Defends 'Slow' Withdrawal of US Troops From Syria Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- The White House announced the pull out of its troops from the Arab Republic on 19 December. The US president noted later that the goal of American troops to eliminate Daesh* had been "mostly" achieved and thus the soldiers can now return home.
- Trump agreed to reevaluate Syria evacuation: Graham Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump has agreed to reevaluate his decision to immediately leave Syria, says Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, noting that the 30-day evacuation plan is now in a "pause situation."
- US military admits killing more civilians in Syria, Iraq Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- The US military has issued a report, admitting killing additional civilians since it started its military campaign in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
- Trump defends withdrawing US troops from Syria Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, saying he is "just doing what I said I was going to do" during his 2016 election campaign.
- Trump Defends His Planned Troop Withdrawal from Syria VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his planned withdrawal of all 2,000 American troops from Syria, attacking critics of the action as chronic complainers.
- 2 ISIS commanders, 27 members killed in esat Afghanistan IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Two Daesh (ISIS) commanders alongside 27 members of the terrorist group were killed in the Nangarhar Province, east of Afganistan, in an attack by Afghanistan special forces.
- Iran Hosts Bilateral Talks With Taliban on Afghan Peace VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- An Afghan Taliban delegation visited Iran on Sunday and held bilateral talks on promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. The development comes as the Afghan insurgent group claims it has established control over 61 of the 407 Afghan districts during the 2018 fighting season.
- Iran Spox confirms talks with Taliban delegation in Tehran IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi confirmed on Monday that a Taliban delegation held extensive talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs Abbas Araqchi in Tehran yesterday.
- Iran confirms hosting Taliban delegation for peace talks Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Iran says it has hosted a delegation from Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan.
- Afghan Taliban delegation holds meeting with Iran deputy FM in Tehran ISNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi announced that an Afghan Taliban delegation held talks with Iranian deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araqchi in Tehran on Sunday.
- Taliban Delegation Held 'Comprehensive' Peace Talks With Iran - Tehran Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- A delegation of the Taliban radical movement has held "comprehensive" peace negotiations with the Iranian party in Tehran on the framework of future negotiations between Taliban and the Afghan government, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.
- OIC Urgently Appeals for Emergency Assistance To Internally Displaced People in Afghanistan SPA 31 Dec 2018 -- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) General Secretariat calls upon the Member States and all humanitarian organizations both within and outside the Islamic World, as well as international organizations, to urgently extend immediate humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, which has been suffering from a devastating drought for several months that has left a large number of internally displaced people in dire need for food, shelter and other emergency assistance.
- Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays UN News 31 Dec 2018 -- Amid reports that Afghanistan's 2019 presidential election may be postponed, local electoral authorities confirmed a polling date delay; a decision the UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed for its clarity on Monday.
- China Calls for 'Responsible' US Withdrawal from Afghanistan VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- China has advised the United States against staging an abrupt troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and called for collective international efforts to help initiate a peace process between the South Asian nation's warring parties.
Defense Policy / Programs
- First GPS III satellite successfully launched AFNS 31 Dec 2018 -- The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the first Global Positioning Systems III satellite Dec. 23 from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The Lockheed Martin-built satellitewas carried to orbit aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, Falcon 9 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The satellite is known as "Vespucci," in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer for whom the Americas were named.
- Outgoing Pentagon Chief Tells Troops to 'Hold Fast' VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- Outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is giving some final advice to troops and the Defense Department's civilian employees – maintain your faith in America and continue to stand by the country's allies.
- Oregon National Guard secures an all-natural defense Army News 31 Dec 2018 -- As important as all-terrain vehicles, up-to-date weaponry, and cutting-edge communication systems are essential assets for the U.S. Military to complete its ascribed mission, the Department of Defense (DOD) has factored in renewable energy to the list of resources vital to securing our nation.
- Statement by the President The White House 31 Dec 2018 -- "Today, I have signed into law S. 2736, the "Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018" (the "Act"). Several provisions of the Act, including sections 101, 102, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 208, 209, 210, 211, 213, 216, 306, 307, 406, and 410, purport to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners."
- Iraqi PM sheds light on Trump visit after criticism Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has given explanations on a sneak trip by US President Donald Trump to a military base near Baghdad last week, which angered Iraqis.
- Russia's Tupolev Tu-22M3M long-range bomber performs debut flight: Video Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- An upgraded version of Russia's Tupolev Tu-22M, a strategic long-range missile-carrying bomber, has performed its debut flight.
- Russia to take tit-for-tat measures if US deploys new missiles in Europe: Lavrov Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warns that his country will be left with no choice but to adopt "tit-for-tat" measures if Washington goes ahead with the plan to kill a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and deploys new missiles in Europe.
- Mass production of armored vehicles to be completed by 2023 CNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Taiwan will begin mass production of its indigenous CM-34 "Clouded Leopard" eight-wheeled armored vehicles next year and is scheduled to complete the production of 284 of the vehicles by 2023, a Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said Monday.
- China Builds Massive Radio Antenna Facility to Communicate With Submarines Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- China has constructed a massive radio antenna facility covering more than 1,000 square miles at a secret location inside the country's borders, according to researchers linked to the project.
- China About to Deploy Brand-New Lightweight Battle Tank Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- The innovative vehicle was previously tested last year, as China and India sought to reconcile over the contested border territory near Doklam, simultaneously claimed by three Asian countries, including Bhutan.
- IRGC to equip boats with stealth, missile systems: Cmdr IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- The fast boats of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) will be upgraded to become stealth and equipped with missiles, Rear Admiral Ali-Reza Tangsiri told the Islamic republic News Agency.
- IRGC speedboats to become radar-evading with new missiles: Top commander Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s Navy says new speedboats operated by the IRGC will be radar-evading and equipped with new missiles.
- Iran to Equip Its Speed Boats With Missiles and Stealth Technology - Report Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- Earlier in the year, the Islamic Republic also presented its newest destroyer and fifth-generation jet, both fitted with stealth technologies. Their introduction came amid ongoing tensions with the US, which withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions against Tehran.
- Military chief: Iran maintains powerful, firm military presence in region Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Iran's top military commander says despite its mainly peaceful defense doctrine, the Islamic Republic maintains powerful and categorical military presence in the region, warning certain regional countries against inviting the US to the Persian Gulf to hatch plots against Iran.
- Enhanced security coordination with Iran to improve regional security: Pak Army Chief IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said enhanced security coordination on Iran-Pakistan border shall further improve the security situation in region, a military statement said.
- Israeli Black Hawk Chopper Nearly Collides With Civilian Drone Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- As the popularity of drones grows, the issue of their safe use is becoming more and more acute. In December, operations at Gatwick Airport in London were disrupted for several days in row due to civilian drones being spotted above its grounds.
- UN diplomacy: political conflicts to watch in 2019 UN News 31 Dec 2018 -- As the world – and the United Nations – continues to grapple with political crises, we look at the political landscape with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo. We begin by asking her what it's like to be the top UN political officer.
- Yemenis kill 2 Saudi forces in Jizan IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Yemeni army and the popular committees announced Monday that two Saudi forces were killed by Yemeni snipers in the port city of Jizan located in southwestern parts of Saudi Arabia.
- All Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance: Iran ISNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Mentioning to a report of International Committee of the Red Cross on Yemen crisis, Iranian ambassador to UK, Hamid Baeidinejad stressed that more than 22 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- 'Stealing' food from hungry Yemenis 'must stop immediately', says UN agency UN News 31 Dec 2018 -- After uncovering evidence that humanitarian food supplies are being diverted in Yemen's Houthi-controlled capital, Sana'a, and other parts of the country, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has demanded an immediate end to the practice.
- Ceasefire Breaches Recorded in Syria's Idlib De-Escalation Zone Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- Over the past 24 hours, members of illegal armed groups violated ceasefire regime in 20 areas in Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
- More Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in coming days: Kuwait Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Kuwait says it expects more Arab countries to reopen diplomatic missions in Damascus in "coming days" amid promising signs that the incumbent Damascus government led by President Bashar al-Assad is being admitted back into the Arab world.
- Kurdish YPG Militia to Disarm After Peace Returns to Syria – Spokesman Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) will lay down their arms only after peace returns to Syria, the militia's spokesman Nuri Mahmud said.
- Iraq targets gathering of Daesh commanders in Syria IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- The Iraqi F-16 jetfighters bombarded a Daesh(ISIS) gathering attended by 30 commanders of the terrorist group in Syria, the Iraqi military sources said in a statement released on Monday.
- Iraqi warplanes hit strategic Daesh position in eastern Syria, kills 30 commanders Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Iraqi military aircraft have pounded a strategic position of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria's eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr after Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, allowed Iraqi fighter jets to conduct airstrikes against the extremists in Syria without waiting to be granted formal authorization for the assaults.
- Iraq to play bigger role in Syria to fight Daesh: PM Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- The Iraqi prime minister has hinted that his country would play a bigger role in Syria to fight Daesh terrorists after the withdrawal of the US forces.
- Iraqi Forces Announce 30 Daesh Commanders Eliminated in Syria's Deir Ez-Zor Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- The airstrike comes after RT Arabic reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had granted Iraqi jets general permission to conduct strikes on the Daesh* terrorist group in the country.
- Arrogant powers can never stop Iran support for Palestine: Ayat. Khamenei Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran will never back away from supporting Palestine despite the heavy pressure from the world's arrogant powers.
- A Palestinian government to be formed in Tel Aviv: Ayatollah Khamenei ISNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Secretary- General of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, Mr. Ziad al-Nakhala and his entourage met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei on Monday.
- Palestinians Will Establish Gov't in Tel Aviv 'By God's Will' – Iran's Khamenei Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- For decades, Israel has been in conflict with the Palestinians, who have been seeking recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, part of which has been under Israel's control since the 1967 six-day war, and the Gaza Strip.
- Two dead after bomb explodes outside mall in southern Philippines SPA 31 Dec 2018 -- A bomb explosion ripped through stalls selling fruits and trinkets outside a mall in the southern Philippines on Monday,
- At Least 2 Killed as Bomb Detonates Near Shopping Mall in Philippines - Reports Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- A powerful blast detonated outside a shopping mall in the Philippines' southern island of Mindanao on Monday, leaving at least two people dead and dozens injured, the Mindanao Examiner newspaper reported.
- Indian Army Claims to Have Killed 2 Pakistani Intruders in Jammu & Kashmir Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- According to Indian Army officials, the intruders wearing combat dresses of Pakistani regulars were assisted by the heavy fire of machine guns, mortars, and rockets from the Pakistani posts. The movement was detected by the army men deployed along the LoC and they fired on the intruders.
- Trump Contradicts Outgoing Chief of Staff, Says Concrete Wall Not Abandoned Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- US President Donald Trump contradicted his outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly on Monday, insisting that his administration has not yet abandoned the idea of building a concrete wall along the US-Mexico border.
- Trump: US-Mexican Border Wall Would Not Be Solid Concrete VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged Monday that not all of the barrier he wants to build along the Mexican border would be a concrete wall he has long called for.
- Fired Chief of Staff Kelly Says What Trump Wants Is Not a 'Wall' But a 'Barrier' Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- Outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, in an interview published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, detailed that US President Donald Trump is not pushing for a concrete wall but is only seeking a barrier as a means of tackling illegal immigration.
- Russia arrests suspected American spy Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Russia's domestic security apparatus has arrested an American citizen in Moscow on suspicion of espionage, starting a court action against him.
- Russia's FSB Says It Has Detained A U.S. Citizen For Suspected Spying RFE/RL 31 Dec 2018 -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has detained a U.S. citizen in Moscow over suspected spying.
- Russia Formally Notifies US of Detention of American Citizen - State Dept. Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- Earlier on Monday, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Paul Whelan, an American citizen, who was charged with espionage against the Russian Federation.
- Russia's FSB Detains US Citizen in Moscow During Spy Action Sputnik 31 Dec 2018 -- A criminal case under the article "espionage" has been initiated against an American citizen, the press service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.
- Russia Launches Criminal Probe of US Citizen VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- Russia has detained an American citizen in Moscow on accusations of spying, according to Russian state media.
- North Korea leader sends message to US president on stalled nuclear talks: Report Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- North Korea's leader has sent a "letter like" message to US President Donald Trump in connection with stalled negotiations between the two sides over Pyongyang's nuclear program, a South Korean daily says.
- Iran not beginner of any war: Deputy defense minister IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Iran's Deputy Minister of Defense Brigadier General Qassem Taqizadeh said on Sunday that Iran has never been the beginner of a war and will not be in the future.
- Trump positions not compatible with facts: Spokesman IRNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry Bahram Qasemi said the US and Trump policy on various issues, including West Asia are clear to everyone, but what's happening on the ground is not necessarily compatible with Trump's positions and ideals.
- Ayatollah Amoli-Larijani appointed as new chairman of Expediency Council ISNA 31 Dec 2018 -- The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a decree wherein he appointed Ayatollah Amoli-Larijani as the new chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, as well as a faqih among the Guardian Council members.
- US presence in Persian Gulf only fuels insecurity: Iran Chief of Staff ISNA 31 Dec 2018 -- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri says the United States is only fueling insecurity in the Persian Gulf through its presence in the strategic region.
- Supreme Leader's Moves Seen As Successive Blows To Iran's Moderates RFE/RL 31 Dec 2018 -- By appointing a conservative ally to head the influential Expediency Council, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to have made a move to strengthen the hard-line camp and weaken the moderates -- and also may have cleaned up his line of succession.
- India's Modi Facing Tough 2019 Election Year VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- Several months ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was considered unbeatable and his Bharatiya Janata Party a sure frontrunner in general elections that are months away. But after the opposition Congress Party snatched some of the party's key bastions in state polls, he enters 2019 facing questions on whether the BJP can take victory for granted.
- UK's notorious female terrorist 'plotting new attack in London' Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Intelligence sources have revealed that Britain's most wanted female terrorist is plotting a major attack in the capital London.
- NASA Set to Make Space History Early in New Year VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- Just 33 minutes into the New Year, NASA's New Horizons probe will make space exploration history, flying by the most distant body ever explored.
- Presidential Campaign Kicks Off In Ukraine RFE/RL 31 Dec 2018 -- Three months before votes are due to be cast, the Ukrainian presidential campaign has officially kicked off.
- Bangladesh's Re-Elected PM Rejects Claim Vote Was Rigged VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- A day after winning re-election, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rejected opposition claims that the vote was rigged.
- UN urges 'restraint' in Bangladesh's post-presidential election violence UN News 31 Dec 2018 -- The United Nations said on Monday that it is aware of violent incidents and reports of irregularities in Sunday's general elections in Bangladesh.
- Hasina Wins Another Term in Bangladesh as Opposition Rejects Vote VOA 31 Dec 2018 -- Election officials in Bangladesh said Monday an alliance led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won a huge majority, clearing the way for her to serve a third straight term while opponents rejected the result.
- DR Congo's ruling coalition, opposition both claim to win chaotic election Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- The Democratic Republic of the Congo's ruling coalition and opposition have both claimed victory in the country's chaotic presidential vote, which is meant to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila.
- UAE upholds 10-year jail sentence, heavy fine against activist Mansoor Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- An appeals court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has upheld a 10-year prison sentence against prominent pro-democracy campaigner and rights activist Ahmed Mansoor for publicly criticizing the Emirati government on social media.
- Catalonian president calls for 'credible, sincere' talks with Madrid Press TV 31 Dec 2018 -- Catalan President Quim Torra has urged the Spanish government to start a "credible, honest and bold dialogue" with Catalonia in order to find a political solution to the long-going dispute over independence.
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