27 February 2020 Military News
- Afghan government to send delegation to Qatari capital ahead of US-Taliban deal Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- An Afghan government delegation is going to Qatar to make "initial contacts" with the Taliban days before the signing of an agreement, which could see thousands of US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan.
- Stumbling Block Or Bargaining Chip? The Fate Of 5,000 Taliban Prisoners In Afghanistan RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- The fate of some 5,000 Taliban prisoners jailed in Afghanistan is threatening to turn into a major stumbling block in efforts to end the 19-year war in the country.
- Afghans Weary After Election Dispute Amid Peace Process With Taliban VOA 27 Feb 2020 -- Intense pressure from the international community, coupled with fatigue among ordinary Afghans toward a repeat of past election fiascos, seems to have taken the wind out of a political crisis in Kabul following the bitterly disputed results of a presidential election.
Defense Policy / Programs
- U.S. Will Not Let China, Russia Deny Its Space Superiority, DOD Officials Say DoD News 27 Feb 2020 -- Space systems underpin virtually every weapon system in the Defense Department's arsenal, a senior DOD official told Congress.
- U.S. Marine Forces, Central Command begin Exercise Native Fury 2020 CENTCOM 27 Feb 2020 -- U.S. Marine Forces, Central Command and I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), in coordination with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, will begin Exercise Native Fury 2020 on March 8. Native Fury is a bi-annual exercise that has been occurring in the region since 2008, and this is the 7th iteration of the exercise.
- USS Ross Arrives in Bulgaria to Support Regional Partners NNS 27 Feb 2020 -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, Feb. 27 for a scheduled port visit, as part of continued Black Sea presence and support to regional partners by U.S. Navy vessels.
- Ford's Advanced Weapons Elevators Closer to Certification NNS 27 Feb 2020 -- USS Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWEs) reached another milestone this week with the commencement of combined testing of its first Lower Stage Weapons Elevator on Feb. 24.
- HH-60W 'Jolly Green II' follows footprints of rescue giants US Air Force 27 Feb 2020 -- The Air Force named its newest combat rescue helicopter, the HH-60W, the "Jolly Green II," following the legendary tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and HH-53 Super Jolly Green crews who pioneered the combat search and rescue mission.
- Barrett highlights space, modernization, alliances, people as pressing priorities US Air Force 27 Feb 2020 -- Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett said Feb. 27 that successfully launching the Space Force while also modernizing the Air Force, strengthening ties with allies and partners and ensuring a culture of trust for Airmen and their families are the priorities that will drive the service into a successful future.
- Gen. Thompson makes case for US Space Force, encourages campaign to educate public US Air Force 27 Feb 2020 -- Invoking history and a vivid recent example, Lt. Gen. David D. Thompson, the vice commander of the newly created U.S. Space Force, presented the case Feb. 27 for the new service and how its development as a separate, new force differs from circumstances surrounding the Air Force's birth in 1947.
- Air Force announces Vanguard PEOs US Air Force 26 Feb 2020 -- The Air Force recently announced the Vanguard Program as part of its transformational science and technology portfolio identified in the 2030 strategy for the next decade. Vanguard programs will rapidly advance emerging weapon systems and warfighting concepts through prototyping and experimentation. With these programs, the Air Force aims to deliver game-changing new operational capabilities that provide warfighters with superior advantages on the battlefield in the next decade.
- U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison On U.S. Engagement in NATO US Dept. of State 27 Feb 2020
- J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet gets new anti-corrosion paint: reports Global Times 27 Feb 2020 -- The latest batch of China's J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet is getting new, green priming paint instead of the previous yellow one. Reports speculate it is a new anti-corrosion material that can enhance the aircraft's capabilities.
- Duterte says Philippines can survive without US help Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has defended his recent decision to terminate a security pact between Filipino forces and the US military, saying his country can fight insurgents and survive as a nation without American military help.
- Philippine Military: Can 'Survive' Without US Support Via Pact Radio Free Asia 27 Feb 2020 -- The Philippine military said Thursday that its armed forces would survive and safeguard the nation from internal and external threats even without help from the United States, after President Rodrigo Duterte decided to end a decades-old defense pact with Washington.
- 27 February 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 27 Feb 2020
- 34 Turkish troops killed in Syria's Idlib as govt. forces continue gains Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Dozens of Turkish soldiers have reportedly been killed in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib as Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, continue to score territorial gains in battles against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in their last major bastion in the country.
- Turkish military firing at Russian, Syrian military planes in Idlib: Military source Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Turkish military forces are using shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down Russian and Syrian military aircraft in Syria's embattled northwestern province of Idlib as heavy fighting continues in the area, a military source says.
- Syrian army troops continue advancing in southern Idlib, liberate six more villages Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have retaken control of a number of villages in the southern countryside of the northwestern province of Idlib following clashes with foreign-backed Takfiri militants.
- Turkey says 2 soldiers killed in Syrian airstrike in Idlib Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Turkey says two of its army soldiers have been killed in an airstrike launched by the Syrian army in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, the last militant bastion in a nine-year war.
- Cross-border aid delivery in northwest Syria 'absolutely essential', Security Council hears UN News 27 Feb 2020 -- Cross-border humanitarian deliveries from Turkey last month reached more people in northwest Syria than at any time since operations began more than five years ago, the UN's Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Thursday.
- Fighting Escalates in Idlib Ahead of Ankara Ultimatum VOA 27 Feb 2020 -- Fighting in Syria's
- US slaps illegal sanctions on senior commander of Iraq's PMU Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- The United States has slapped sanctions on a senior commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a group known for its fight against Daesh terrorists in Iraq.
- Bangladesh Holds Off on Plan to Move Rohingya to Island Radio Free Asia 27 Feb 2020 -- Bangladesh is holding off on its plan to relocate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to an uninhabited island, a minister said Wednesday, claiming the government reached the decision after failing to get backing from the U.N. and international community.
- Some 70 More Rohingya Go on Trial For Trying to Leave Myanmar for Malaysia Radio Free Asia 27 Feb 2020 -- A court in Myanmar's Yangon region began hearing testimony Thursday in a case against roughly 70 Rohingya Muslims arrested a week ago for attempting to flee the country illegally for Malaysia, while the United Nations human rights body issued a report documenting longstanding persecution against the ethnic minority.
- Myanmar: 'Multidimensional and long-standing' root causes behind rights minority abuses, says Bachelet UN News 27 Feb 2020 -- The Human Rights Council on Thursday held an interactive dialogue with UN rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, on the root causes of violations and abuses suffered by the Rohingya mainly-Muslim minority and other minorities in Myanmar. She said the Government now has a historic opportunity to counteract systematic violations, "by bringing its people together, as one".
- UN: Myanmar's Rohingya Subject to Increased Prejudice, Violence VOA 27 Feb 2020 -- The United Nations says Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar are experiencing an upsurge in violations and abuse fueled by prejudice and hate speech. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights submitted a report on the root causes of abuse in Myanmar to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.
- Report: Ukrainian Snipers Find Themselves Outgunned, Outmatched By Enemy RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- Russian snipers and separatist marksmen trained in Russian military camps outmatch their Ukrainian counterparts in the Donbas conflict with better rifles, equipment, and ammunition, an analysis by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation says.
- Pompeo Says 'Crimea Is Ukraine' On Anniversary Of Russia's Seizure RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington "does not and will not ever recognize" Moscow's claim to Ukraine's Crimea region, which it seized in 2014 and annexed.
- Israel approves 1,800 settler units as elections near Press TV 27 Feb 2020 -- Israel gives the green light for construction of close to 1,800 new settler units in the illegal settlements it has built across the occupied West Bank, in a move apparently aimed at securing votes for scandal-hit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of upcoming elections.
- Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 27, 2020 Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 27 Feb 2020
- Hunt for Russian Black Ops Specialist Ranges From Spain to Bulgaria VOA 27 Feb 2020 -- An international manhunt for a Russian spy chief accused of plotting assassinations and coups in several countries is shedding light on how Russia's covert activities have been increasing throughout Europe, according to Western intelligence analysts.
- P.R.C. Sentencing of Gui Minhai US Dept. of State 27 Feb 2020 -- "We strongly condemn the People's Republic of China's (P.R.C.) sentencing of Swedish citizen Gui Minhai on February 24."
- North Korea Cancels Festivals Held on Kim Jong Il's Birthday Due to Coronavirus Radio Free Asia 28 Feb 2020 -- Two major national festivals that are held each year in Pyongyang on the late leader Kim Jong Il's birthday on Feb. 16 were canceled this year due to fears of the possible spread of the novel coronavirus, RFA has learned.
- Arrest of Pyongyang Drug Dealer Results in Investigation Implicating a Network of Senior North Korean Officials Radio Free Asia 27 Feb 2020 -- Authorities in North Korea have uncovered a string of Pyongyang officials involved in drug crimes after the arrest of a man in his 40s who allegedly had been selling large amounts of methamphetamine in the North Korean capital for years sparked a three-month investigation, RFA learned this week.
- U.S. Says Swiss Humanitarian Channel To Iran Fully Functional RFE/RL 28 Feb 2020 -- The United States says a newly created, Swiss-based humanitarian trade channel has become fully functional to allow companies to send food, medicine, and other critical goods to Iran without violating U.S. sanctions.
- Iranian Economy Faces Setback on Coronavirus Concerns VOA 27 Feb 2020 -- Arab media are reporting that the spread of the coronavirus in Iran has pushed that country's currency to lows not seen in almost a year. Iranian health officials say there are more than 200 confirmed cases in the country, and at least 26 deaths.
- Kosovo's PM Accuses President Of Violating Constitution With 'Secret' NATO Deal RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- Kosovo's new prime minister claims President Hashim Thaci violated the constitution by signing a 2013 "secret agreement" with NATO to limit the powers of the country's security forces when he was prime minister.
- Kosovo To Partially Lift Serbian Import Tariffs RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- Kosovo announced it will lift tariffs on Serbian imports of raw materials starting on March 15 in a step to normalize relations with its Balkan neighbor.
- U.S. Reiterates Commitment To Kosovo Independence, Urges Dropping Tariffs On Serbian Goods RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- Top U.S. officials have told visiting Kosovar President Hashim Thaci that the United States remains committed to the Balkan country's sovereignty and independence, but also insisted that Washington expects Kosovo to lift its 100 percent tariffs on Serbian imports.
- U.S. Lists Leader Of Iran-Backed Shi'ite Militia In Iraq As 'Global Terrorist' RFE/RL 27 Feb 2020 -- The United States has declared the leader of the Iran-backed Kataib Hizbullah (KH) militant group in Iraq a terrorist following a number of recent rocket attacks on bases hosting U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq.
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