24 December 2019 Military News
- Pentagon Considering Major US Troops Pullback From Africa - Reports Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The Department of Defence contemplates scaling down or completely withdrawing US troops from West Africa as the first phase of US reallocating its forces to address the great power competition with China and Russia, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
- 7 soldiers killed in Taliban attack on Afghan army base Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The Taliban militant group has killed at least seven Afghan soldiers in an attack on a military base in Afghanistan's northern Balkh Province.
- Taliban Assault on Army Base Kills 7 Afghan Soldiers VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- Officials in Afghanistan say Taliban insurgents have attacked an army base in the northern Balkh province, killing at least seven Afghan soldiers and wounding six others.
- Afghan Presidential Candidate Abdullah's Team Files 4,000 Vote Count Complaints Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The Stability and Convergence election campaign team led by Afghan Chief Executive and presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has registered about 4,000 complaints about the preliminary vote count, and urged the country's Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to assess the process fairly.
Defense Policy / Programs
- 'All Hands on Deck': US Navy Sets Ambitious Deadlines for Embattled $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- Now years behind schedule, a new certification and deployment framework has been set up for the USS Gerald R. Ford by the US Navy's new acting secretary.
- F-16 Downs Drone in First Test of New APKWS Anti-Cruise Missile System Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The US Air Force may soon cut costs in the area of cruise missile defense (CMD) after an "unprecedented" test of a new system fixed to an F-16C Fighting Falcon yielded successful results against a subscale drone.
- Russia 'watching US for new missile deployments in Europe, Asia-Pacific' Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will closely monitor the potential deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles by the United States abroad, particularly in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, four months after Washington exited from an arms control treaty with Moscow.
- Russia's Most Advanced Fighter Jet Crashes During Training Flight RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- Russian officials say a top-of-the-line fighter jet has crashed during a training flight but that the plane's pilot safely ejected and there was no damage on the ground.
- Su-57 Fighter Jet Crashes in Russia's Far East Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The pilot of the Russian S-57 fighter jet safely ejected and was picked up by a Mi-8 helicopter, according to a law enforcement spokesperson.
- S.Korea gets first surveillance drone NHK 24 Dec 2019 -- A US-made surveillance drone Global Hawk arrived at a South Korean military base on Monday.
- Estonian Defence Ministry Says US to Allocate $175Mln in Military Aid to Baltic Nations in 2020 Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The United States will allocate $175 million in military aid to three Baltic nations in 2020, while this assistance, for the first time, will separately include funds on the development of the air defence in the region, the Estonian Defence Ministry said on Monday.
- India Creates Chief of Defence Staff to Synchronise Military Affairs Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- In a historic move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to fulfil the demand for a chief of defence staff (CDS) during an address to the nation on India's Independence Day. The creation of a CDS comes around 19 years after a high level committee set up to review the Kargil War with Pakistan recommended it.
- India Develops Air Defence Gun for Army Amid Potential 'Aerial Threat' From Pakistan Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The development provides a big relief to the army, as most of its air defence inventory is "obsolete" and the army chief had to push an emergency button to acquire more such guns after the Pulwama attack in February this year, when the Pakistan Air Force retaliated for an Indian attack in Balakot.
- U.S. Unfreezes Pakistani Military's Participation In Training Program RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- The United States is allowing Pakistan to rejoin a military training program following a two-year suspension -- representing one element of U.S. military assistance frozen by President Donald Trump after accusing Islamabad of not doing enough to stop terrorism.
- State Dept Says US and Pakistan Will Resume Joint Military Training Programme Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- In 2018, the International Military Education and Training programme (IMET) was suspended by US President Donald Trump following his accusing the Islamic Republic of Pakistan of having not made enough of an effort to fight the Taliban*.
- UK arms sales to Saudi-led coalition up by almost 50 percent: Oxfam Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- A UK-based charity has revealed that Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies in their aggression on Yemen have seen an almost 50-percent rise over the past five years.
- Strong defense, not compromise, key to defending R.O.C.: Tsai CNA 24 Dec 2019 -- Strong and unwavering national defense, not making compromises, is the key to defending the country, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday as she promoted 20 senior military personnel in Taipei.
- State Dept Official Says US Will Increase Efforts to Counter Russia, China in Middle East in 2020 Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The United States will boost its efforts to counter both, Russia and China in the Middle East next year, US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told reporters on Monday.
- 24 December 2019 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 24 Dec 2019
- Yemen issue has no military solution: Iran's Defense Minister ISNA 24 Dec 2019 -- Iran's Defense Minister stressed that the Yemeni people's resistance and endurance overturned the ideas and conceptions of the Riyadh rulers who relied on advanced weapons.
- Amid escalating conflict in southern Yemen, intl. humanitarian agencies stop work Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- A dozen international humanitarian organizations have stopped their activities in Yemen's southwestern province of Dhale after unknown individuals, armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), launched attacks against the premises of three aid agencies there.
- Syrian air defense forces shoot down terrorists' explosives-laden drone in Hama Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- Syrian government forces have captured and dismantled an unmanned aerial vehicle rigged with explosives in the country's west-central province of Hama.
- Syrian army makes fresh gains against terrorists in Idlib Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The Syrian government forces have made fresh gains against foreign-backed terrorists in Idlib province, the last major stronghold of militants in Syria, as the army tightens the noose around the extremists operating in the region.
- At Least 10 Dead In Russian Air Strikes In Syria, War Monitor Says RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- At least 10 people, including six children, have been killed in Russian air strikes on a school sheltering displaced civilians in northwest Syria, a monitoring group said.
- Israel Using 'Weak' Arguments to Justify Airstrikes on Syria - Foreign Minister Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- Damascus considers the argument that the presence of Hezbollah and the Iranian military in the country justifies Israeli airstrikes on Syria unacceptable and "weak," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told RT broadcaster in an interview.
- Iran Ready to Help with Withdrawal of US Forces if Damascus Asks - Adviser to Supreme Leader Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- Iran is ready to help Syria with the withdrawal of the US forces that are in the country illegally if Damascus asks for help, Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, told RT Arabic.
- Amidst uptick in violence and displacement, UN chief calls for 'immediate cessation of hostilities' in Syria UN News 24 Dec 2019 -- "Deeply concerned" over a recent military escalation in northwest Syria, Secretary-General António Guterres called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities".
- Turkish parliament drafting bill to authorize troop deployment to Libya Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The Turkish parliament is considering authorizing troop deployment to war-torn Libya, where anti-government militias have seized a Turkish ship, Ankara has announced.
- Turkish Parliament May Consider Use of Armed Forces in Libya - Erdogan's Representative Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- Turkish Parliament can consider and possibly agree to use the country's armed forces in Libya, following an agreement on military cooperation, Ibrahim Kalin, the press secretary of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said.
- Ukraine govt., pro-Russians agree on prisoner swap by year end Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The representatives of the government and the pro-Russia forces in Ukraine have agreed to carry out a prisoner exchange by the end of the year, following extensive peace talks in Paris.
- UN panel to probe 'Israeli apartheid' in West Bank Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The United Nations' anti-racism panel is set to probe grievances by Palestinians holding Israel responsible for practicing "apartheid" in the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank.
- Israel Rejects International Court Probe into Gaza War Crimes VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- Israel has rejected a decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to launch an investigation into whether Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip. A court prosecutor said she also might investigate Hamas, which rules Gaza. Israel says the ICC has no jurisdiction because Palestine is not a state.
- India Orders Withdrawal of Thousands of Troops From Kashmir Amid Citizenship Law Protests Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The ongoing nationwide protests in India are a result of parliament passing a bill on 11 December that allowed granting citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, and Parsis facing persecution in neighbouring countries. Muslims were not included in the bill.
- Militants in Burkina Faso Kill 35 Civilians in Attack on Town VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- Officials in Burkina Faso say soldiers killed 80 Islamic militants who launched simultaneous attacks on a military post and the northern town of Arbinda Tuesday.
- UN chief urges action following execution, abduction of civilians in Nigeria UN News 24 Dec 2019 -- Those responsible for the recent execution and abduction of civilians in northeastern Nigeria must be held accountable, the UN Secretary-General has said, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesperson.
- Trump Rails Against Democratic Lawmakers Amid Standoff Over Senate Impeachment Trial VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump berated Democratic lawmakers over his impeachment Tuesday as a legislative standoff continues over a Senate impeachment trial.
- British PM Johnson: 'I Was Wrong' – It's Not Possible to Reset Russia Relations RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he "was wrong" about Russia and that he no longer believes it is possible to "reset' relations with Moscow amid many differences separating the two countries.
- Taiwan Charges Military Colonel With Spying, Developing Intelligence Network for Beijing Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- A retired Taiwanese air force colonel was charged by the New Taipei City District Prosecutor's office Tuesday for spying and assisting in the development of an intelligence network for Beijing in Taiwan.
- Trump downplays DPRK's possible "Christmas surprise" People's Daily 25 Dec 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday downplayed the significance of a possible "Christmas surprise" from Pyongyang, saying he would deal with it successfully.
- Trump: US Ready to Deal with N. Korean 'Christmas Gift' VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- President Donald Trump says the U.S. is ready deal will any "Christmas Gift" that North Korea has threatened to deliver amid stalled nuclear negotiations between the two nations.
- China, Japan, South Korea stress dialog with North Korea Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- South Korea, Japan, and China have agreed to work together to bring North Korea and the United States back to the negotiating table, as countries scramble to prevent a potential rise in tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.
- Official: Iran to announce discovery of new oil field soon Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) expects to announce the discovery of a new oil field in Khuzestan province before the end of the current Persian year in March 2020, a NIOC official says.
- IRGC's intelligence unit arrests several armed instigators of Mahshahr riots Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says its intelligence arm has arrested several armed instigators of the violent riots that hit Mahshahr County in the southwestern Province of Khuzestan last month.
- US should work with China to get bilateral ties back on track: Wang Yi Global Times 24 Dec 2019 -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called on the US to work together with China to get China-US ties back on a healthy track.
- Consensus urged for new era relations People's Daily 24 Dec 2019 -- President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the need for China and Japan to implement their political consensus that they "treat each other as cooperative partners instead of threats" in developing bilateral ties.
- Analysts: Xi's Praise of Loyal Macau Won't Appeal to Hong Kong, Taiwan VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- In his address to the 20th Handover Ceremony in Macau last Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping seemingly committed a gaffe that appeared to reveal his intention of setting the implementation of "one country, two systems" in Macau as a good example for neighboring Hong Kong and even Taiwan.
- Hong Kong protesters clash with police at shopping malls Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- Rioters in Hong Kong have clashed with riot police in upscale malls in Hong Kong during a series of flashmob rallies.
- Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas, Pepper Spray at Christmas Shoppers Radio Free Asia 24 Dec 2019 -- Police in Hong Kong fired tear gas and pepper spray in a busy shopping and tourism district of Kowloon on Christmas Eve, declaring the bustling crowds of shoppers and visitors illegal, live video footage showed.
- Hong Kong Protesters Clash with Police During Christmas Eve Confrontations VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- Hopes for a peaceful Christmas were dashed in Hong Kong Tuesday after riot police fired tear gas and protesters set fire at various locations across the city that has been roiled by civil unrest for more than six months.
- China Bans Christmas Gatherings Among Its Christians Radio Free Asia 24 Dec 2019 -- Authorities across China are warning members of Christian churches not to try holding public gatherings to celebrate Christmas, church members told RFA.
- Indonesia Won't Intervene in China's Affairs over Uyghurs, Presidential Chief of Staff Says Radio Free Asia 24 Dec 2019 -- Indonesia will not interfere in Chinese domestic affairs, President Joko Widodo's chief of staff said, amid pressure on Jakarta to speak up against the mass internment of minority ethnic Uyghurs in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
- China Hosts S. Korea and Japan Amid N. Korea's Growing Belligerence VOA 24 Dec 2019 -- China held a three-way summit with South Korea and Japan Tuesday aimed at presenting a united front to counter North Korea's resurgent belligerence.
- Taiwan Envoy Act risks jeopardizing China-US relations: analysts Global Times 24 Dec 2019 -- The US bill that seeks to grant the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) the rank and status of an ambassador risks stepping on the red line of China-US relations, making it unlikely to pass neither in the House nor the Senate, Chinese mainland analysts said on Tuesday, after the bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives.
- Condemnations pour in as court exonerates Saudi officials in Khashoggi murder case Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- A Saudi court ruling over the state-sponsored killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has drawn outrage across the political spectrum, including from a number of states, the United Nations, several rights groups and even some American lawmakers. They have unanimouslydenounced the ruling that dismissed charges against top Saudi officials, saying it failed to deliver justice.
- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Chairs Cabinet's Session SPA 24 Dec 2019 -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the Cabinet's session held at Al-Yamamah Palace here today.
- Guterres stresses need for independent, 'impartial investigation' into Saudi journalist Khashoggi's death UN News 24 Dec 2019 -- As Saudi Arabia handed death sentences to five people and sent three others to jail for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United Nations Secretary-General continued to stress the need for "an independent and impartial investigation".
- UAE: Saudi judiciary's rulings regarding Khashoggi murder confirm Kingdom's commitment to implementing law in all transparency and fairness SPA 24 Dec 2019 -- The United Arab Emirates affirmed that the preliminary rulings issued by the Criminal Court in Riyadh regarding the case of the murder of late citizen Jamal Khashoggi embody the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's commitment to implement the law in a transparent and fair manner, and holding all those involved in this case accountable, in procedures that are clear, credible, and in a manner that guarantees all parties their legal rights.
- Council of Senior Scholars: Kingdom is continuing to achieve justice in case of citizen Jamal Khashoggi, and judiciary is independent authority, and criminal punishment is not imposed until after conviction has been proven SPA 24 Dec 2019 -- The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars has clarified that the preliminary rulings issued against eleven people in the case of late citizen Jamal Khashoggi confirm that the judiciary in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is pursuing justice and holding accountable anyone involved in this crime.
- Uzbekistan announces preliminary results in parliamentary elections People's Daily 24 Dec 2019 -- In Sunday's vote, 128 deputies of the 150-seat lower house of the Uzbek parliament were elected and the second round of the elections will be held in two weeks, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said Monday.
- Heavy clashes erupt between protesters, police outside Lebanon's central back Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- Bitter clashes have broken out between a group of demonstrators and police forces outside the central bank of Lebanon, officially known as Banque du Liban, as the country is currently in its worst economic and financial crisis in decades that has sparked nationwide protests.
- Iraq parliament approves new electoral law Press TV 24 Dec 2019 -- In a move to stem public anger and drawn-out street protests, Iraq's parliament has approved a new electoral law, which enables the electorate to choose individual candidates instead of picking from party lists.
- Iraqi Parliament Approves New Election Law RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- Iraq's parliament has approved a new electoral law aimed at giving political independents a better chance of winning seats, a key demand of protesters to make elections fairer.
- #BJPFreeIndia: After Jharkhand Defeat, BJP Loses Half of Its Hold in Indian Politics in Two Years Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- In April 2020, over 70 seats in the Rajya Sabha, the upper or 'house of elders' of Indian Parliament, will be up for election. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost in elections to five states in recent times, dashing its hopes to increase its stock in the house of elders.
- Citizenship Act Row: Indian Cabinet Approves $1,195 Mln for Updating National Population Register Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- The Union Cabinet's decision comes at a time when the country is witnessing nationwide outcry against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). During the numerous clashes between police and protesters, about 22 people have died and thousands have sustained injuries.
- Prominent Critic Of Pakistani PM Arrested On Corruption Allegations RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- Ahsan Iqbal, a prominent member of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, was arrested on December 23 in Rawalpindi hours after publicly criticizing Prime Minister Imran Khan.
- Ex-Bolivian President Says His Party Cannot be Banned From Running in Upcoming Elections Sputnik 24 Dec 2019 -- Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said in an interview that his party Movement for Socialism (MAS) could not be banned from the 2020 elections in the spring, slamming such attempts as anti-democratic as the party represents half of the country's population.
- A Tajik Business Empire Tied To The President Keeps On Running, Despite Being Shut Down RFE/RL 24 Dec 2019 -- Three months ago, the Faroz company was one of the most successful business conglomerates in Tajikistan, controlled by none other than President Emomali Rahmon's wealthy son-in-law, Shamsullo Sohibov.
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