13 December 2019 Military News
- US Never Promised Kurds Assistance in Establishing Autonomous State in Syria - Esper Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The United States has never pledged to the Syrian Kurds that it will help them create an autonomous Kurdish state in Syria, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Friday.
- US Peace Envoy in Pakistan After Suspending Talks With Afghan Taliban VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- America's chief negotiator for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Pakistan on Friday, a day after he briefly suspended peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar in retaliation to this week's attack by the insurgent group on the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
- Afghan Presidential Candidate Abdullah To Allow Ballot Recount RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has agreed to allow a ballot recount in seven provinces where his supporters had stopped the process for nearly a month.
- U.S. Envoy Briefs Pakistani Officials On Peace Talks With Taliban RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is on a two-day visit to Pakistan to brief the country's leaders about his latest negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.
Defense Policy / Programs
- US tests ballistic missile over Pacific after INF treaty exit Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- The US Defense Department has tested a medium-range ballistic missile, the second test in four months of an offensive missile that would have been banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that Washington exited in August.
- U.S. Tests Ballistic Missile After Exit From INF Treaty RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- The United States flight-tested an intermediate-range, ground-based ballistic missile on December 12, the second test in four months that would have been banned under a U.S.-Russia arms treaty from which Washington withdrew in August.
- Pentagon's Statements Prove US Started Developing INF-Banned Missiles Before Leaving Deal - Beijing Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The day before, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper praised the successful test of the INF-banned ground-based missile, noting that it had taken less than nine months, instead of the usual two years, to go from concept to launch.
- US Test of INF-Banned Missile is Proof Washington Has Long Sought to Destroy the Treaty - Kremlin Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The Kremlin believes that Washington's recent test of a ballistic missile banned by the collapsed Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a proof that the Unites States has long aimed at destroying the deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
- Vandenberg AFB supports missile flight test US Air Force 13 Dec 2019 -- A flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile occurred at Vandenberg Air Force Base Dec. 12.
- On-the-Record Statement by Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, to the Media DoD 13 Dec 2019 -- Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency
- Climate Change Opens Door to Arctic for Competitors, DOD Official Says DoD News 13 Dec 2019 -- The Arctic is a region where strategic trends are amplified by the effects of the changing climate and physical environment, a lead Defense Department official said on Capitol Hill, Dec. 10.
- 'Pelicans' Come in for Landing at Diego Garcia NNS 13 Dec 2019 -- A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft detachment from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 "Pelicans," visited U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3.
- US Navy Left With Two Global Hawk Spy Drones After Takeoff Mishap Causes Millions in Damage Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- A hugely expensive spy drone flown by the US Navy struck an object during takeoff late last month, which the service said caused millions in damage. Between the November incident, a June shootdown by Iran and a 2012 crash, the Navy may only have two of the machines left.
- Artificial Intelligence to be Used for Charting, Intel Collection DoD News 13 Dec 2019 -- Nautical, terrain and aeronautical charting is vital to the Defense Department mission. This job, along with collecting intelligence, falls to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
- Death Toll Rises To Two After Fire On Russia's Only Aircraft Carrier RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- The death toll in a fire on Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has risen to two, after a body was found on the vessel by search-and-rescue crews.
- US Media Explains Why Russia's New Conventionally-Powered Attack Sub is So Dangerous Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The Russian Pacific Fleet took possession of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the latest Project 636.3 Varshavyanka-class attack submarine fitted with Kalibr cruise missile launch capabilities, late last month. The vessel is expected to be commissioned next year.
- S-400s Repel 'Enemy Attack' in Russia's Siberia Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The Russian military has continued its programme of beefing up air defence capabilities across the country, recently deploying a modernised variant of the S-300 in Voronezh, a strategic Russian city about 500 km south of Moscow, and announcing plans to re-equip the Northern Fleet with S-400s.
- Russia-Turkey Agreement on S-400 Joint Production to Be Signed by April 2020 - Source Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The supply of the second battalion of Russian S-400 air defence missile systems to Turkey supposes joint production and transfer of technologies, a contract on this is to be signed by April 2020, a source in the Turkish defence industry said Friday.
- Czech Republic Signs Agreement With US on Purchasing 12 Helicopters Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The United States and the Czech Republic have penned a $635 million deal on the sale of 12 American helicopters to Prague, the Defence Department announced.
- Greece Ready to Host US Military Bases Amid Turkey's Threats to Close Incirlik - Source Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- Greece could host US military bases on its territory if Turkey decides to close the Incirlik and Kurecik airbases, a Greek diplomatic source told reporters on Thursday.
- Britannia Rules the Skies? UK May Partially Replace F-35s With Homegrown Tempest Fighter - Report Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The UK has already received at least two dozen F-35 fighter jets, declaring the costly fifth-gen warplanes combat-ready in January of this year. The Ministry of Defence is hoping to get a total of 48 of the craft in their F-35B variant for use aboard Navy aircraft carriers, and plans to order at least 90 more F-35s for the Royal Air Force.
- UN Chief Calls for New Arms Control Treaty in Wake of US Missile Test Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a new arms control agreement following the United States' testing of a ballistic missile previously banned by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, said UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq.
- Denmark to Send Frigate, Helicopter to Strait of Hormuz Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway of strategic importance. It links the Gulf states with the Indian Ocean, and serves as a throughway for a third of the world's liquefied natural gas and almost a quarter of total global oil exports.
- Remarks by President Trump and President Abdo Benítez of the Republic of Paraguay Before Bilateral Meeting The White House 13 Dec 2019
- Background Briefing on U.S.-Central Asian Relations US Dept. of State 13 Dec 2019
- 13 December 2019 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 13 Dec 2019
- Beijing Showing No Reduction in South China Sea Military Presence, US Admiral Says Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- There are no indications Beijing will scale back its military arsenal on islands it has built in the South China Sea, despite objections from countries that see the disputed waterway as vital to international shipping, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander told reporters in Bangkok on Friday.
- A year on from Yemen talks breakthrough, top UN Envoy hails 'shift' towards peace, despite setbacks UN News 13 Dec 2019 -- When warring parties in Yemen met in a renovated castle outside the Swedish capital last December for UN-brokered talks, they showed that perhaps there could be a way out of brutal conflict and the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the UN Special Envoy for the country said this week.
- Saudi spy drones face rough skies near Yemen as another targeted Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- 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 the kingdom's southern border region of Jizan.
- Pompeo Warns Iran Over Attacks By 'Proxies' In Iraq RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Iran of a "decisive" response if U.S. interests are harmed in Iraq following rocket attacks on bases used by U.S. troops.
- On Attacks by Iran's Proxies in Iraq US Dept. of State 13 Dec 2019 -- "Iran's proxies have recently conducted several attacks against bases where Iraqi Security Forces are co-located with U.S. and International Coalition personnel."
- Haftar announces 'decisive battle' to take Libyan capital Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- Libya's self-styled commander Khalifa Haftar has announced a "decisive battle" for the capital Tripoli, eight months after he launched an offensive to wrest it from the unity government.
- Aung San Suu Kyi's Hague Performance Impresses Few Beyond Myanmar Loyalists Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- Leader Aung San Suu Kyi came up short in defending Myanmar before the U.N.'s top court this week on genocide charges for the army's brutal expulsion of Rohingya Muslims, Myanmar and international legal experts said Friday, while her supporters defended her performance.
- Interview: 'Myanmar Can't Walk Away From it. It's Not Going to go Away' Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- A three-day hearing on Gambia's case against Myanmar for allegedly committing genocide against Rohingya Muslims during a military-led crackdown that began in August 2017 wrapped up on Thursday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Lawyers for Gambia presented copious evidence of atrocities against the minority group and requested that the U.N. court issue "provisional measures" to prevent further violence against them. Leading the defense team, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi countered that Gambia presented "an incomplete and misleading factual picture" of what occurred during the crackdown. She blamed the violence and the resultant exodus of more than 740,000 Rohingya on an internal armed conflict started by Muslim insurgents whose deadly assaults on police outposts prompted government security forces to conduct a clearance operation to remove the attackers from the area.
- Zelensky Believes Minsk-2 Clauses Regarding Control Over Border Should Be Changed Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that some clauses of the Minsk agreements on the Donbass settlement could be changed, in particular, those related to border control.
- Hezbollah poses serious threat to US, Israeli schemes in Middle East: Nasrallah Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- Hezbollah poses a considerable threat to the scenarios developed by the United States and the Israeli regime to be implemented in the Middle East, says the secretary general of Lebanon's resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
- UN overwhelmingly renews agency helping Palestinian refugees in defiance of Trump Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- The United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted to extend the mandate for a UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees for another three years amid a cash shortfall triggered by a US decision to cut funding for the body by more than half.
- Turkey summons US ambassador over Senate resolution recognizing 'Armenia genocide' Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- Turkey's Foreign Ministry has summoned the US ambassador to Ankara over a resolution adopted by the US Senate recognizing the early 20th century mass killings of Armenians as "genocide."
- Judiciary Committee Recommends Trump Impeachment for Abuse of Power, Obstruction VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump Friday, clearing the way for a vote in the full House that could come as early as next week.
- U.S. Prosecutors Say Giuliani Ally Parnas Did Not Disclose $1 Million From Russia RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- U.S. federal prosecutors this week asked a judge to put an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, back in jail while he awaits trial, saying he understated his income and assets.
- McConnell says to be "in total coordination" with White House over looming impeachment trial People's Daily 13 Dec 2019 -- U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday night that he will be "in total coordination" with the White House in determining the Republican strategy for a looming impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.
- US House committee recommends Trump impeachment for abuse of power, obstruction Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- A US House committee has voted on charges against President Donald Trump, setting up the impeachment by the full House of Representatives next week where the Democrats hold a majority.
- US House Judiciary Committee Sends Formal Trump Charge to Full House, Recommends Impeachment Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- Trump is being accused of abusing his power as the President of the United States in order to try and force Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, one of the Democratic hopefuls who might run against Trump in 2020.
- The Week In Russia: Putin's Bloodshed Bugbear And Srebrenica In The Donbas RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- When Russian President Vladimir Putin finally acknowledged that he had sent troops into Crimea ahead of Moscow's takeover of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, he said one of the reasons for the incursion – though he did not use that word or any other that reflects reality very well, at least in the eyes of Kyiv and the West - was "to avoid bloodshed."
- Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Retaining Classified National Defense Information Regarding U.S. Military Programs US Dept. of Justice 13 Dec 2019 -- A Sharon, Massachusetts, man pleaded guilty today to willfully retaining national defense information. Ahmedelhadi Yassin Serageldin, 66, an Egyptian-born nationalized U.S. citizen, admitted to removing classified national defense information from his workplace at a defense contractor without authorization and keeping it unsecured within his home.
- Malaysian Court Authorizes North Korean's Extradition to US Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- A Malaysian court ruled Friday in favor of a U.S. request that a North Korean businessman be extradited to the United States to face money-laundering charges related to sanctions against Pyongyang, but his attorneys vowed to appeal the decision through a lengthy legal process.
- New sanctions to ban humanitarian trade with Iran: US Treasury Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- The US Treasury Department has stressed that Washington's newly announced sanctions targeting Iran's air and maritime transport industries will lead to the restriction of trade related to humanitarian goods.
- First Phase of US-China Trade Deal Announced VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- A trade deal between the United States and China, separately announced Friday by both countries, will be such a boon for American farmers they will "have to go out and buy much larger tractors," according to President Donald Trump.
- China counters US bullying, upholds communiqués: FM Global Times 13 Dec 2019 -- China has taken firm actions to counter US bullying and uphold the principles enshrined in the three China-US joint communiqués over the past year, China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday in Beijing.
- China, US reach trade deal in principle for temporary ceasefire Global Times 13 Dec 2019 -- China and the US have agreed on the text of a highly anticipated phase one trade agreement, under which Washington has committed to roll back tariffs in phases and Beijing will increase its purchase of US products based on market demand, Chinese officials announced on Friday night, marking a milestone first step in resolving the 20 month-long trade war that has dragged economic growth around the world.
- Economic stability focus for 2020 People's Daily 13 Dec 2019 -- The country will focus on economic stability in 2020, maintaining its proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy to ensure high-quality growth, a statement issued after the annual Central Economic Work Conference said on Thursday.
- US 'seriously damaged' trust between Washington, Beijing: China's FM Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- A senior Chinese diplomat says the United States' recent "bullying" over Hong Kong and the western Xinjiang Province has "seriously damaged" mutual trust between Washington and Beijing.
- Phase One of China-US Trade Deal Agreed, to Be Signed at Later Date: Trump Says New Tariffs Canceled Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- Earlier, US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington was "VERY close' to reaching a "BIG" trade deal with China, which would end a massive trade war which has impacted hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of trade between the two economic giants.
- China Jails Guangxi Publisher For Corruption After Books Banned Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- A court in the southwestern Chinese region of Guangxi has handed a 10-year jail term to the former head of a publishing company for "embezzlement, taking bribes and privately sharing state-owned assets," four years after his initial detention.
- Court Employees Confirm Case of Jailed Uyghur Detailed in China Cables Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- The case of a Uyghur jailed after urging his coworkers to abstain from activities forbidden by Islam, which was listed among a trove of recently leaked official documents that China's government has sought to discredit, has been confirmed by employees of the court that sentenced him.
- Lawmakers Urge US to 'Strongly and Decisively' Sanction Xinjiang Abuses Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- Washington must "strongly and decisively " respond to China's mass incarceration of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) with sanctions on officials responsible for abuses and blacklisting of companies using inmates as forced labor, U.S. lawmakers urged top Trump Administration officials.
- Beijing Asks Cambodia to Send Accused Chinese Home for Trial Radio Free Asia 13 Dec 2019 -- China's embassy in Cambodia has requested assistance from the Cambodian government in arresting Chinese nationals who are suspected of committing crimes in the Southeast Asian country, and deporting them back to China, officials told RFA's Khmer Service
- Danish Media Claim China Pressured Faroe Islands Over 5G Network Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- The Faroe Islands have been trying to enter a free trade agreement with China. According to Danish media, the Chinese made it contingent on a 5G deal with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Any pressure, thought, has been denied by both the Chinese and the Faroese.
- Maldives to Not Proceed With Free Trade Agreement with China Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during a visit to Beijing in December 2017, the Maldives' first bilateral FTA with a foreign country.
- Senior official expounds on peaceful reunification Global Times 13 Dec 2019 -- A senior Chinese mainland official responsible for Taiwan affairs published an article in the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Thursday to expound on plans to realize reunification, the same day the US House of Representatives passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act which includes parts related to the Taiwan question.
- New law stiffens jail terms for spying CNA 13 Dec 2019 -- The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment Friday that increases jail terms for Taiwanese caught spying and expands the scope of counterintelligence provisions to bolster Taiwan's security against espionage and infiltration activities.
- UK's Johnson wins parliamentary majority, Corbyn to stand down Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his government has got a "powerful new mandate" to deliver Brexit as his ruling Conservative Party won a huge majority in the parliamentary election, according to exit polls.
- Britain Takes Decisive Electoral Turn VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- Britons woke Friday to an utterly transformed political landscape following an electoral earthquake that has ripped up modern British politics, and whose tremors will be felt for years to come.
- New citizenship law in India 'fundamentally discriminatory': UN human rights office UN News 13 Dec 2019 -- A new law in India which expedites citizenship for certain religious minorities has been criticized by the UN human rights office for being "fundamentally discriminatory in nature."
- Violent Protests Erupt in New Delhi Over India's New Citizenship Law VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- Police in India's capital clashed Friday with hundreds of students protesting against a new citizenship law that opponents say is anti-Muslim.
- Federal Inmate Convicted of Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS US Dept. of Justice 13 Dec 2019 -- A 45-year-old international terrorist imprisoned in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has been convicted of additional offenses in the Eastern District of Texas.
- U.S. Designates Lebanese Businessmen Who Have Supported Hizballah US Dept. of State 13 Dec 2019 -- Today, as the Lebanese people demand reform and an end to corruption, the United States has designated two prominent Lebanese businessmen whose illicit financial activities, including money laundering and tax evasion, have provided financial support for Hizballah. This action applies to two Hizballah financiers, one of their business partners, and 17 affiliated entities, pursuant to E.O. 13224.
- Treasury Designates Prominent Lebanon and DRC-Based Hizballah Money Launderers US Treasury 13 Dec 2019 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two prominent Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-based money launderers and their affiliated companies, including those that have generated tens of millions of dollars for Hizballah, its financiers, and their malign activities.
- 'Air bridge' vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo UN News 13 Dec 2019 -- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of the deadly haemorrhagic virus Ebola linked to ongoing violence by armed groups targeting remote communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
- Insecurity Threatens Progress in Containing Ebola Epidemic in Eastern DR Congo VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- The World Health Organization warns that gains made in tackling the Ebola epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are being threatened by ongoing insecurity in the region.
- Visiting Ukrainian Official Says Relations With U.S. Remain 'Unshattered' RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- The first Ukrainian administration official to visit Washington in months says bilateral relations remain strong despite the central role Ukraine has played in the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump.
- On Algerian Presidential Elections US Dept. of State 13 Dec 2019
- Algeria's Electoral Commission Proclaims Former PM Tebboune Winner of Presidential Election VOA 13 Dec 2019 -- Large crowds of protesters turned out in the capital, Algiers, on Friday despite word from the country's electoral commission that former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune won a resounding victory in the presidential election.
- Figure from old regime wins Algeria's presidential election Press TV 13 Dec 2019 -- Algeria's former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune has won the presidential election in the unrest-hit country.
- Algeria's Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune Wins Presidential Election Sputnik 13 Dec 2019 -- In February 2019, thousands of people took to the streets of Algiers after then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, said he would run for another term. Facing public pressure, Bouteflika decided to resign in April.
- Court Unfreezes Accounts Of Investigative Team That Probed Alleged Kyrgyz Customs Fraud RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- A Bishkek court has accepted a motion to unfreeze the bank accounts of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, locally known as Azattyk, one if its correspondents, and the news site Kloop, which were blocked when the influential Kyrgyz family at the center of an alleged corruption ring exposed by the media outlets filed a libel suit against them.
- Former Kyrgyz President Atambaev Charged With Killing Security Officer RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has been charged with killing a security officer during a two-day standoff between security forces and supporters of the former leader in August.
- Supreme Court Power Play 'Raises Stakes' On Tense Georgian Landscape RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- A raft of new Supreme Court appointments in Georgia has seemingly cemented the ruling parties' influence within a key institution and sharpened bitter political divides in one of the ex-Soviet region's most robust democracies.
- Bosnia Urged To Reform 'Discriminatory' Constitution RFE/RL 13 Dec 2019 -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized Bosnian officials' failure to end what the watchdog called "second-class status" for minorities such as Jews and Roma.
- UN human rights report cites 'multiple root causes' of deadly Chile protests UN News 13 Dec 2019 -- During the recent mass protests which led Chile to declare a state of emergency, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a report published on Friday that international human rights norms had been violated by both police and army personnel, which should be prosecuted.
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