18 February 2020 Military News
- Afghan President Ghani Wins Second Term, Abdullah Denounces Results VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- Five months after Afghanistan's presidential election, the country's top electoral body Tuesday declared incumbent President Ashraf Ghani a winner for a second term while his top rival Abdullah Abdullah's team called the decision "illegal."
- Afghanistan's incumbent Ghani declared winner of presidential poll Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Afghanistan's electoral body has declared incumbent President Ashraf Ghani the winner of the September 2019 presidential vote after months of a bitter dispute and delayed results.
- It's Finally Official: Ghani Reelected To Second Term As Afghan President RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) says final official results from the country's September 28 presidential election show incumbent President Ashraf Ghani has been reelected to a second five-year term with 50.64 percent of the vote.
Defense Policy / Programs
- NCWDG Celebrates Opening of Cyber Foundry NNS 18 Feb 2020 -- The U.S. Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group (NCWDG) celebrated the opening of the Cyber Foundry with a ribbon cutting ceremony Feb. 18.
- CNO Strengthens Naval Partnership with Norway NNS 18 Feb 2020 -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday met with his Norwegian counterpart, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy Rear Adm. Nils Andreas Stensønes, at the Pentagon, Feb.18.
- USS Paul Hamilton Visits Singapore NNS 18 Feb 2020 -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) arrived in Singapore for a scheduled port visit Feb. 18.
- NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Generates Warfighting Readiness for Joint Forces NNS 18 Feb 2020 -- Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Pearl Harbor provided critical logistics support to joint forces during exercises, ocean terminal operations, port visits, and routine operations to generate warfighting readiness Jan. 8 – Feb. 11.
- NATO Secretary General discusses North Macedonia Accession with Prime Minister Spasovski NATO 18 Feb 2020 -- The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski of North Macedonia on Tuesday (18 February 2020) at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and discussed with him the accession process of North Macedonia to NATO.
- Analysis: Phantom Foe? Russia To Upgrade Kyrgyzstan's Air-Defense System RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov announced on February 11 that a modern air-defense system would be sent to the Russian military base in northern Kyrgyzstan.
- Chinese arms companies race to keep up with production schedule delayed by virus outbreak Global Times 18 Feb 2020 -- Chinese arms enterprises have been racing to keep up with their production schedule after resuming work following an extended Spring Festival holiday due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with a key amphibious assault ship maker scrambling to outfit an "important" ship and aviation companies running test flights for newly built warplanes.
- 90% of defense equipment built domestically IRNA 18 Feb 2020 -- The Minister of Defense said that 90 percent of the needs of the Armed Forces are produced and provided by experts and scientists in the form of 770 domestically-built products.
- Spokesman: World seem to be less calm after assassination of General Soleimani IRNA 18 Feb 2020 -- Foreign Ministry spokesman said after the assassination of Lieutenant General Soleimani, the world would be less calm because his presence was an obstruction of the activities of the terrorist groups, which was also important for the international security.
- Iran's attack on Ain Assad base the starting point: IRGC commander ISNA 18 Feb 2020 -- Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's attack on US Ain Assad air base in Iraq following the assassination of martyr Qassem Soleimani took place at a specific geographic point, but the impact was global and strategic.
- IRGC strike on US base was one but necessary step: Iran Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) took a "necessary step" to strike a US base in Iraq last month in response to the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, says the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry.
- Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Air-Launched Ra'ad-II Cruise Missile- Video Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- The Pakistan Air Force used its single-engine Mirage III fighter jet to test the missile which hit the target at low altitude. India and Pakistan have been conducting missile tests for the past few months, claiming that they are part of operational preparedness.
- Saudi Arabia urges Germany to lift arms export ban despite continuing war on Yemen Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Saudi Arabia, which is in the midst of a bloody war on Yemen, has urged Germany to lift its ban on arms exports to the kingdom.
- Remarks by President Trump Before Air Force One Departure | Joint Base Andrews, MD The White House 18 Feb 2020
- 18 February 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 18 Feb 2020
- Yemen: Recent uptick in fighting contradicts desire for peace UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- A recent escalation in fighting between warring parties in Yemen contradicts their stated desire to peacefully end nearly five years of conflict, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said in a briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday.
- Yemen's Warring Parties Reach Deal on Large Scale Prisoner Swap VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- International parties are welcoming news that the Yemen government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and Iranian-allied Houthi rebels have reached a deal on the first large-scale prisoner exchange since the start of the five-year conflict in Yemen. The agreement was reached after a week of negotiations in the Jordanian capital, Amman. Citing its neutrality, the International Committee of the Red Cross says it has facilitated the agreement, but it cannot disclose the number of prisoners to be released or the timing involved.
- Solution to question of Palestine is in two elements: Resistance and Referendum, FM Zarif says IRNA 18 Feb 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has always stressed the Palestinians are the ones who have the right to choose and the Islamic Republic will accept whichever path the people of Palestine opt for.
- Iran's proposal: A national referendum in territory of Palestine Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Iran has proposed a referendum among all Palestinian people, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews, as well as their descendants, as the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- UN chief calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria's war-battered north-west UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- Alarmed by the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in north-west Syria and the tragic suffering of civilians, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday called for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing fight that has displaced more than 900.000 civilians since early December.
- Turkey Deploys 300 Military Vehicles to Idlib Amid Conflict With Syria - Reports Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- The situation in northern Syria remains tense since Damascus clashed with Ankara-backed militants, and later with the Turkish Army, as both sides accuse each other of breaking a ceasefire agreement.
- Turkey beefs up military presence in Syria amid Russia spat Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Turkey significantly beefs up its military presence in northwestern Syria amid continued disagreement with Russia over Damascus' counterterrorism operations in the area.
- UN Rights Chief Horrified by Violence Against Civilians in Syria VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, has expressed horror at the scale of the humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria, which has resulted in mass deaths and injuries of civilians and hundreds of thousands of displaced.
- As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- Talks to end fighting in Libya have resumed in Geneva, where UN negotiator Ghassan Salamé said that ongoing clashes must end for there to be a chance for progress.
- Libya rebels claim to have 'destroyed' Turkish cargo ship in Tripoli Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Armed rebels under the command of renegade general Khalifa Haftar in Libya claim they have destroyed a Turkish cargo ship carrying ammunition and weapons at the port of Tripoli.
- Turkey Denies Destruction of Its Vessel in Port of Tripoli Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- Ankara previously deployed military advisors and instructors to Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar.
- No Accusations, Only Facts: GNA Buys Turkish Mercenaries With Oil Money – Libya's Interim Gov't FM Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- A tentative truce between Libya's two warring parties came into force on 12 January, and both sides appeared to show a willingness to agree on a ceasefire during the Russia and Turkey mediated talks in Moscow. Still, the matter remains unresolved.
- Europe's New Libya Mission Draws Criticism VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- European Union foreign ministers agreed Monday to launch a revamped mission to try to monitor and enforce an international weapons embargo on warn-torn Libya. After meeting European counterparts, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced naval assets would be deployed to the Mediterranean to help enforce the ban.
- UN Says Libyan Rival Forces Resume Talks to Save Cease-Fire VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- A second round of U.N.-brokered talks aimed at achieving a cease-fire between the rival governments in Libya has resumed in Geneva, with the chief U.N. mediator expressing hope of making progress.
- Guterres 'deeply concerned' over deadly assault in north-west Cameroon UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- The United Nations Secretary-General has extended his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in an attack on a village in north-west Cameroon.
- Cameroon Military Accused of Indiscriminate Killings of Villagers VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- Hundreds of Christians inside a Roman Catholic church in Yaounde sang in prayer, asking for peace and God's intervention in Cameroon, especially after what clergyman Timothy Siwe said was a massacre in the English-speaking village of Ngarr-buh.
- Fighting, Food Shortages Stalk Civilians Displaced in Myanmar's Rakhine, Kayin States Radio Free Asia 18 Feb 2020 -- About 300 ethnic Karens have been displaced by armed conflict in Hpapun district of southeastern Myanmar's Kayin state following hostilities in early February between government forces and rebel soldiers, an official from an ethnic armed group said Monday.
- UN rights experts 'gravely' concerned at spike in civilian casualties in north-west Myanmar following internet shutdown UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- Independent UN human rights experts on Tuesday voiced grave concern over the killing and displacement of civilians in north-west Myanmar during the intensifying conflict between the military and an armed group, the Arakan Army, amid an information blackout in some parts of Rakhine and Chin states.
- Hope for 'long-elusive progress' in negotiating peace in eastern Ukraine UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- Marking the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Minsk II agreement, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Tuesday, that along with the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk memorandum, it remains "the only agreed framework" for a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
- Pakistan-India crossing is a 'Corridor of Hope', UN chief says, wraps up visit with call for interfaith dialogue UN News 18 Feb 2020 -- UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday said he had been moved by the show of religious unity he had witnessed in Pakistan after paying visits to a mosque, a Sikh temple and Kartarpur Corridor, the visa-free crossing which allows Sikhs to travel between nearby holy sites on each side of the India-Pakistan border.
- UN Chief Hails New Pakistan-India Crossing as 'Corridor of Hope' VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed as the "symbol of interfaith harmony" an overland passage Pakistan recently opened for Sikh devotees from India to pay a visa-free homage to one of their holiest sites.
- Pompeo Faces Uphill Battle to Win Over African Leaders VOA 18 Feb 2020 -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the African Union chairman Tuesday in Addis Ababa at the end of a whirlwind Africa tour that included Senegal and Angola.
- Putin Fires Longtime Aide, Ex-Ukraine Peace Negotiator Surkov RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired influential longtime aide Vladislav Surkov following weeks of speculation that the 55-year-old was leaving the Kremlin amid a change in its Ukraine policy.
- U.S. Sanctions Unit Of Russia's Rosneft For Aiding Venezuela's 'Dictatorial' Leader RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- The United States has imposed financial penalties on Rosneft Trading, a Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's energy sector in violation of U.S. sanctions on the South American country.
- US Imposes New Venezuela-Related Sanctions on Rosneft Trading, Its Head - Treasury Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia's Rosneft Trading S.A. and its head Didier Casimiro over their collaboration with Venezuela, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in a notice on its website on Tuesday.
- The United States Sanctions Rosneft Trading S.A. to Secure Venezuela's Natural Resources US Dept. of State 18 Feb 2020 -- On February 18, the United States took action to halt the former Maduro regime's theft of Venezuela's assets and continued usurpation of democracy by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector.
- Treasury Targets Russian Oil Brokerage Firm for Supporting Illegitimate Maduro Regime US Treasury 18 Feb 2020 -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Rosneft Trading S.A., the Swiss-incorporated, Russian-controlled oil brokerage firm pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850, as amended, for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. OFAC also designated the chairman of the board of directors and president of Rosneft Trading S.A., Didier Casimiro, for purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Rosneft Trading S.A.
- Maduro says US plotting to invade Venezuela, country 'not afraid of combat' Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the United States and some of its allies are plotting to invade Venezuela and that the South American country is "not afraid of military combat."
- Iran Sentences Eight Environmental Activists On Charges Of Spying For U.S. RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- Iran's judiciary says it has issued prison sentences for eight environmental activists, including an Iranian who also has British and U.S. citizenship, on charges of spying for the United States and acting against Iran's national security.
- Individual Arrested for Acting Within the U.S. on Behalf of the Russian Government Without Notifying the Attorney General US Dept. of Justice 18 Feb 2020 -- Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican citizen residing in Singapore, was arrested based on a Complaint charging him with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government (Russia), without notifying the Attorney General, and conspiracy to do the same.
- Qaraqash List 'Debunks' China's Claims of Combating Extremism in Xinjiang: Uyghur Whistleblower Radio Free Asia 18 Feb 2020 -- The latest leaked official document detailing the incarceration of hundreds of ethnic Uyghurs in one county in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has "debunked" claims that the policy is part of a bid to fight extremism in the region, the person who made it public said Tuesday.
- U.S. largest state actor of spying in cyberspace: FM spokesperson People's Daily 18 Feb 2020 -- Facts have proven once again that the United States is the largest state actor of spying in cyberspace, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Monday, urging the United States to clarify to the international community on relevant affairs.
- Commentary: Proposals for postponing "two sessions" provide time to fight COVID-19 outbreak People's Daily 18 Feb 2020 -- The proposals to postpone China's "two sessions," a key event in the country's political calendar, came out Monday in a timely and responsible manner, as the latest evidence that China is trying its best to buy time for the world to contain the outbreak of novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
- 'Leaked' Xinjiang files likely cooked up by foreign intel agencies Global Times 18 Feb 2020 -- As China spares no effort in its fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, some Western media coincidently and simultaneously released the so-called Karakax list, which they called the third "leaked documents" from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and they attacked China's anti-terrorism measures in the region.
- Bolton: Trump's 'diplomatic outreach' to North Korea a failure Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- John Bolton, former national security adviser to the US president, has denounced Donald Trump's "diplomatic outreach" to North Korea, calling it a failure.
- Leader calls for massive election turnout to frustrate US Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran are taking place at a critical time of US pressure and attempts to drive a wedge between the Iranian nation and government, calling for a large turnout in the polls to foil Washington's "evil intentions."
- Iran's Khamenei Calls For Large Turnout in Upcoming Elections to Hinder US's 'Evil Intentions' Sputnik 18 Feb 2020 -- Iran's upcoming legislative elections, which are set for 21 February, have previously been slammed by some members of the opposition and US officials as fictitious, something Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was eager to denounce.
- Cambodia PM Hun Sen Shrugs Off EU Preferential Trade Status Decision Radio Free Asia 18 Feb 2020 -- Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday appeared to shrug off the European Union's decision last week to suspend tariff-free access for around one-fifth of Cambodia's exports to its market over rollbacks on democracy and human rights, saying his country will "continue to export" despite facing higher tariffs.
- UAE issues license for Arab world's first nuclear power plant Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- The United Arab Emirates has issued an operating license for a reactor, developed by foreign experts, at its Barakah nuclear power plant, the first in the Arab world.
- Turkey issues arrest warrants for some 700 people over 'Gulen ties' Press TV 18 Feb 2020 -- Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for nearly 700 people, including military and Justice Ministry personnel, over suspected links to the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for an attempted coup in 2016.
- Russian Defense Minister Shoigu Visits Serbia Amid Heightened Tensions In the Balkans RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- Serbian-Russian military cooperation is on an "upward trend" and both countries are committed to "further enhancing" it, Serbia's Defense Ministry said on its website after hosting a delegation led by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on February 17.
- 'We Made Mistakes': In Uzbekistan, A Rare Admission Over Andijon Killings RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- On the morning of May 13, 2005, a group of armed men -- some of them recently escaped from prison -- stormed into Uzbekistan's eastern city of Andijon.
- EU's Enlargement Chief 'Very Encouraged' By Reforms In North Macedonia, Albania RFE/RL 18 Feb 2020 -- The European Union's top enlargement official has voiced optimism that North Macedonia and Albania can deliver on the reforms required to join the bloc.
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