18 December 2019 Military News
- U.S. Envoy Meets Afghan President In Push To 'Finalize Deal With Taliban' RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met in Kabul with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss "efforts to finalize a deal with the Taliban" militants fighting the central government and U.S. and NATO troops, officials said.
- Iran opposes US-Taliban talks, rejects claim of sending arms to militant group Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Iran's top security official has rejected US claims that it is providing weapons to the Taliban in order to fight the US influence in Afghanistan.
- Iran, Russia warn about Daesh relocation from Mideast to Afghanistan Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Security chiefs of Iran and Russia have warned about the deliberate relocation of remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terror group from their former Middle East bastions to Afghanistan.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Top U.S., Russian Military Leaders Meet to Improve Mutual Communication DoD News 18 Dec 2019 -- The top U.S. military officer met in Switzerland with his Russian counterpart for talks aimed at increasing communication between their nations to reduce risks in conflict areas.
- World's Two Largest Democracies Share Interest in Free Indo-Pacific Region DoD News 18 Dec 2019 -- The United States and India, the world's two largest democracies, share mutual interests in many areas, including defense, the U.S. defense secretary said.
- US Seeks to Reinforce Its Presence in Southern Europe With New Ships at Spain's Rota Base – Report Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- The Spanish-American naval base Rota hosts US Navy and Marine Corps personnel, as well as four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, while remaining under the command of a Spanish rear admiral.
- Dyess AFB Airmen complete BACE exercise US Air Force 18 Dec 2019 -- Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, completed a Bomber Agile Combat Employment exercise at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Dec.10–12.
- NATO preparing for major conflict: Russian general Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- A senior Russian military general says the US-led NATO military alliance is preparing its forces for a major conflict, citing an increase in NATO's war games close to Russian borders in the region.
- Russia's PAK DA Bomber to Enter Operational Service by 2027 Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- The PAK DA, which is being developed by Russian aircraft manufacturer Tupolev, will be capable of operating in stealth mode. The bomber is expected to be capable of conducting flights lasting up to 30 hours.
- NATO Drill Scenarios Point to Preparation for Large-Scale Conflict - Russian General Staff Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- Scenarios of NATO's intensive military exercises point to the preparation by the alliance for a large-scale military conflict, Chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov said as quoted by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
- South Korea to Join US-Led Coalition in Strait of Hormuz - Reports Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- South Korea will send a navy dispatch to the Strait of Hormuz early next year where it will join a US-led coalition opposing Iranian influence in the critical oil shipping lanes, Joongang Ilbo reported Wednesday.
- US, South Korea Fail to Reach Cost-Sharing Deal as Deadline Approaches VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- The United States and South Korea failed to reach a deal on how to split the cost of the U.S. military presence, South Korean officials said Wednesday, just days before the current agreement is set to expire.
- China's third aircraft carrier in 2 years: report Global Times 18 Dec 2019 -- China's third aircraft carrier could be launched within the next two years, be combat ready by 2025 and feature an electromagnetic catapult and stealth fighter jets, a professional Chinese military magazine predicted Wednesday following the commissioning of the country's second carrier Shandong on Tuesday.
- Chinese netizens proud of homemade aircraft carrier, encourage India to follow Global Times 18 Dec 2019 -- Chinese netizens were thrilled by the commissioning of the Shandong, China's first domestically developed and second overall aircraft carrier, as they reminded themselves of difficult times in the past and felt proud of the country's achievement.
- Xi attends commissioning of first Chinese-built aircraft carrier People's Daily 18 Dec 2019 -- President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), attended the commissioning ceremony of China's first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Shandong, here Tuesday afternoon.
- Poland to Complete Talks on Buying US F-35 Jets by January - Defence Minister Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- Warsaw will complete negotiations for the acquisition of new US-made F-35 fighter jets by January, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.
- Turkey calls US ending of Cyprus arms embargo 'dangerous escalation' Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Turkey has warned that the United States' decision to end a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus would be a "dangerous escalation."
- 'US State Department to cut Iraq-based personnel by third' Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- The US State Department reportedly plans to significantly and permanently draw down the number of its personnel in Iraq.
- 18 December 2019 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 18 Dec 2019
- Turkey calls US ending of Cyprus arms embargo 'dangerous escalation' Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Turkey has warned that the United States' decision to end a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus would be a "dangerous escalation."
- UN: Ability to Get Lifesaving Aid to 4 Million Syrians at Risk VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- The U.N. humanitarian chief is urging the Security Council to authorize a one-year extension of cross-border aid operations into Syria, warning there is no backup plan for reaching millions of vulnerable civilians without it.
- Over 100 children born to Daesh terrorists to repatriated to Turkey from Iraq Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- The Iraqi Foreign Ministry says a group of more than one hundred Turkish children, whose parents are being held in the Arab country for membership in the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, are going to be repatriated from Baghdad later this month.
- Libyan National Army Makes 'Excellent Progress' in Battle For Tripoli - LNA Spokesman Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- The Libyan National Army (LNA) is making significant advances in the capital city of Tripoli and causing heavy casualties among the military ranks of the Government of National Accord (GNA), LNA information officer Al-Mundhir Al-Khartoush stated on Wednesday.
- Myanmar Villagers Call For Compensation For Land Lost to China-Backed Development Project Radio Free Asia 18 Dec 2019 -- Villagers in Myanmar's Kachin state are calling for compensation for farmland lost to a Chinese-backed development project, for which authorities have pledged to pay only for destroyed crops, sources say.
- UK statement on the human rights situation in Ukraine UK FCO 18 Dec 2019 -- The UK's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Julian Braithwaite delivers statement to the Human Rights Council in response to the oral update of High Commissioner on Ukraine.
- Trump refuses to back Congress recognition of Armenian 'genocide' after Erdogan threat Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- The administration of US President Donald Trump says it does not consider the early 20th century mass killings of Armenians as 'genocide,' rejecting a Senate resolution saying otherwise.
- Boko Haram attack village in western Chad, 14 killed Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Boko Haram Takfiri militants have attacked a village in western Chad near the border of northeast Nigeria, leaving 14 people killed and 13 others unaccounted for.
- Renewing UNRWA and securing stability for Israelis and Palestinians UK FCO 18 Dec 2019 -- Statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on the Middle East
- Only 'concrete action' will stop fraying of Israel-Palestine peace prospects UN News 18 Dec 2019 -- Obstacles to any lasting deal between Israel and Palestine continue to mount, the UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told Security Council members on Wednesday, and only "concrete action" towards a two-State solution will change that dynamic.
- Nine People Reported Wounded In Fresh Clashes On Kyrgyz-Tajik Border RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- Six Kyrgyz nationals and three Tajik nationals were wounded after clashes broke out along a section of the border between the two countries, authorities and medics say.
- Holding onto peace in South Sudan UK FCO 18 Dec 2019 -- Statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on South Sudan
- Russia Seizes Japanese Boats on Poaching Charges VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- Five Japanese fishing vessels were seized Wednesday by Russia in the country's far east – the latest in a series of incidents over fishing rights that lay bare a larger Russo-Japanese territorial dispute dating back to the end of World War II.
- US House Impeaches President Trump VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night, accused of abusing the power of the presidency to benefit himself politically and then obstructing congressional efforts to investigate his actions.
- Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Articles of Impeachment Against the President of the United States Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House 18 Dec 2019 -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of two articles of impeachment against the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
- Statement from the Press Secretary Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the House 18 Dec 2019
- U.S. House Begins Formal Debate On Trump Impeachment RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- Lawmakers in the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives have begun a formal debate on impeaching President Donald Trump that is expected to last about six hours and is likely to end in the approval of two articles of impeachment.
- U.S. Prosecutors Say Giuliani Ally Parnas Received $1 Million Payment From Ukraine Oligarch RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- U.S. prosecutors said in court on December 17 that Lev Parnas, an associate of U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, received a $1 million payment from a lawyer for Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
- Top U.S. Envoy To Ukraine Set To Leave Post After Impeachment Testimony RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, will be leaving his post next month, following a short term marked by the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
- Trump sends letter to Pelosi, slamming impeachment ahead of full House vote People's Daily 18 Dec 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, slamming the House Democrats impeachment effort as an "illegal, partisan attempted coup" and an "unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power."
- U.S. Senate top Republican refuses Democrats' framework on impeachment trial People's Daily 18 Dec 2019 -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday refused Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer's framework on impeachment trial including testimony from four former and current White House senior officials, signaling he wants the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to mirror that of Bill Clinton.
- Pelosi calls Trump threat to US national security before impeachment vote Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi called US President Donald Trump "an ongoing threat" to American national security as the bitterly divided chamber engaged in an impeachment debate before historic votes on two charges accusing the Republican president of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
- US House Speaker Pelosi calls Trump impeachment letter 'ridiculous, really sick' Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blasted President Donald Trump's insult-laden letter urging her to halt the impeachment proceedings, describing the letter's content as "ridiculous" and "really sick."
- Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, December 18, 2019 Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 18 Dec 2019
- Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to complete despite US sanctions: Kremlin Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Russia has vowed to complete construction of an underwater gas pipeline extending to Europe, despite sanctions planned by the White House that have drawn condemnation from Germany.
- US Senate approves Russia-Germany gas pipeline sanctions Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- The US Senate has approved a bill to impose sanctions on companies that work on a Russian pipeline project set to send gas to Germany.
- U.S. Lawmakers Pass Russia Sanctions Bill 'From Hell' RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- A U.S. Senate panel has passed a bill that is designed to punish Russia for its alleged interference in democratic processes abroad as well as "malign" actions in Syria and aggression against Ukraine.
- US Senators Warn Nord Stream 2 Contractor of Imminent 'Crushing' Sanctions Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- US Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson in a letter to Allseas Group S.A., a company installing deep-sea pipes for Russia's Nord Stream 2, urged it to stop its activities on the project immediately and warned of "crushing" sanctions under the 2020 National Defence Authorization Act if it fails to comply.
- US Senate Panel Backs Bill to Sanction Russia's Sovereign Debt, Energy Sector - Spokesman Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday advanced a new sanctions bill targeting Russia's sovereign debt and energy sector, a spokesperson for the committee said.
- Bangladesh Arrests Policeman, Charges Him with Spying for India Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- Last week, two prominent Bangladeshi ministers called off a visit to India amid the agitations over an amended citizenship law. Various Indian states have been witnessing massive protests against the law claiming it discriminates against citizens over their religious identity. The Indian government denies the allegations.
- China, Russia aim to lift some DPRK sanctions People's Daily 18 Dec 2019 -- China and Russia on Tuesday submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, calling for some sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to be lifted according to its compliance with relevant UN resolutions.
- China says concessions necessary to revive North Korea talks Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- China says the United States needs to grant some concessions by agreeing to the lifting of certain United Nations (UN) sanctions on North Korea in order for diplomacy to kick-start between Washington and Pyongyang.
- North Korean Authorities Adjust Strategies to Contain Outside Information in Smartphone Era Radio Free Asia 18 Dec 2019 -- Authorities in North Korea are scrambling to figure out new ways of limiting access to information about the outside world as communications technology becomes more advanced.
- Lots of Posturing, Little Progress in US-North Korea Talks in 2019 VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- There was lots of posturing but little progress in 2019, as the United States and North Korea spent much of the year trying to convince the other side to take the first step in nuclear talks.
- Zarif condemns US threat to invoke JCPOA snapback IRNA 18 Dec 2019 -- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message denounced US Department of State for its shameless act to invoke snapback of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action two years after the US has withdrawn from JCPOA.
- Iran has to take further remedial action by reducing JCPOA commitments IRNA 18 Dec 2019 -- Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday Iran has to take more remedial actions by reducing its commitments to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
- Araghchi: Iran does not consider direct talks with US at any level IRNA 18 Dec 2019 -- Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Wednesday that Iran does not consider direct talks with the US at any level, because the US administration is not trustworthy.
- Iran rejects US threat to invoke JCPAO's snapback mechanism to reinstate UN sanctions Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Iran rejects as "shameless" the US claim that it can invoke a mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal to reinstate UN sanctions on Tehran, arguing Washington ceased participation in the accord last year.
- Russia defends Iran's legal right to benefit from nuclear deal Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Russia's top security official has defended Iran's legal right to reap benefits from a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, reminding the other signatories of their "unavoidable" responsibility to meet their end of the bargain.
- US will ultimately have to change course in face of Iran's resistance: Rouhani Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- President Hassan Rouhani says the United States will ultimately be forced to change course and stop waging a hostile pressure campaign against Iran in the face of the Iranian nation's resistance.
- US finalizing rules to limit hi-tech exports to adversaries like China Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- The administration of US President Donald Trump is drafting a set of rules to limit exports of sophisticated technology by American companies to rival powers like China and Russia, according a report.
- Top Chinese Universities Amend Charters to Remove Reference to Freedom Radio Free Asia 18 Dec 2019 -- Dozens of Chinese students staged a rare protest on a university campus in Shanghai after their school amended its charter to remove references to academic freedom and replaced them with a pledge of loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
- Chinese Police Work in Cambodia to Handle Chinese Suspects Radio Free Asia 18 Dec 2019 -- For almost a year, Chinese police officials have worked from an office in Cambodia's National Police headquarters to help identify and handle Chinese nationals suspected of committing crimes in the Southeast Asian country, RFA has learned.
- Xi hails Macao's prosperity Global Times 18 Dec 2019 -- The central government and Chinese people are proud of the achievements and progress of Macao made over the past two decades, and it's worth summarizing its experiences in implementing "one country, two systems," Chinese President Xi Jinping said upon his arrival at the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Wednesday for a three-day visit.
- US bill mandates report on Chinese interference in Taiwan election CNA 18 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday gave final passage to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a provision of which mandates a report on any Chinese interference in Taiwan's elections.
- US defense bill interferes in Taiwan, slammed as thief crying 'Stop thief!' Global Times 18 Dec 2019 -- The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) showcases blatant US interference in the upcoming election on the island of Taiwan, Chinese experts said on Wednesday, and warned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that pulling closer to the US would backfire.
- Musharraf Decision May Strengthen Civilian Supremacy VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- The sentencing of Pakistan's former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to death on charges of high treason is being acclaimed by many political analysts as a victory for civilian leaders in their long-running competition for power with the military.
- Pakistani Government Objects To Musharraf Death Sentence RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- The Pakistani government has objected to the death sentence given to former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf by a special court, claiming that the right to a "fair trial" was not provided to the defendant.
- Backlash to India's New Citizenship Law Poses Challenge to Modi VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- When India's contentious new citizenship law passed easily through parliament, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has a strong majority, few in his government anticipated a violent backlash to it.
- Macron says won't drop pension reforms, but ready to make improvements Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out dropping his plan for a single points-based pension system, but is "willing to improve" it in the face of fierce union resistance, an official in the presidency said Wednesday.
- French Government, Unions Launch Talks on Pension Reform Bill VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- French government and union representatives launched negotiations Wednesday to resolve differences over a pension reform bill that has triggered nationwide transportation strikes and widespread street protests.
- Belarus Death Squad? Chilling Claims A Shock But No Surprise, Some See Kremlin Hand RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- Shock, awe, and disbelief. Even in Belarus, where rights activists say President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has employed brutal tactics to quash opponents and maintain power for a quarter-century, a fresh claim that a death squad that eliminated perceived foes of the authoritarian leader two decades ago have led jaws to drop.
- Mexico Seizes 294 Tonnes of Drugs, 9,700 Weapons Over Year - Defence Ministry Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- The Mexican Defence Ministry has published a statistics report on drugs and arms trafficking in the country over the past year, revealing that hundreds of tonnes of drugs worth more than $1 billion, nearly 10,000 weapons and more than a million different rounds of ammunition were seized.
- Lebanon's Hariri says is not a candidate for premiership Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Lebanon's Caretaker Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Hariri has withdrawn his nomination for the premiership race, and stressed that the forthcoming parliamentary consultations to form a new cabinet "should not be postponed under any excuse."
- Fresh clashes hit Lebanese cities; officials warn against strife Press TV 18 Dec 2019 -- Security forces have engaged in fresh clashes with protesters in several Lebanese cities, prompting officials to warn against a sectarian strife in the conflict-ridden country.
- Kyrgyz Protesters Call For 'Punishment' For Those Involved In Corruption Scandal RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the Kyrgyz capital to urge the government to respect freedom of speech and investigate allegations of corruption in the customs service that have sparked public outcry in the Central Asian nation in recent weeks.
- U.S. Set To Approve $1 Billion For Eastern Europe Energy Independence RFE/RL 18 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will set aside $1 billion to support energy projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia to wean the region off Russian oil and gas.
- Bolivian Attorney General Orders Ex-President Morales' Arrest Sputnik 18 Dec 2019 -- Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who, after resigning, received asylum in Mexico, arrived on 12 December in the capital of Argentina, where he was granted refugee status.
- Misery for Venezuelans continues ahead of 2020 elections: UN rights chief Bachelet UN News 18 Dec 2019 -- Demonstrations in Venezuela must be allowed to take place ahead of elections in 2020, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday, citing continued reports of harassment, threats, and detention by intelligence services and security forces.
- Venezuelans Continue to Leave as Political and Economic Crisis Deepens VOA 18 Dec 2019 -- Thousands of people continue to flee Venezuela as the country's political, economic and human rights crises deepen, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday.
- Treasury Removes Sanctions on Latvia's Ventspils Freeport Authority US Treasury 18 Dec 2019 -- Treasury removes sanctions following Latvian government action to strip ownership or control from Global Magnitsky-designated oligarch Aivars Lembergs
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