31 March 2020 Military News
- Iraqi resistance forces say fully prepared ahead of reported US operation Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- Iraqi resistance forces say they stand fully ready to confront any possible act of aggression by the US military, which is widely reported to be gearing up for operations against the positions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) -- an elite pro-government anti-terror force.
- US-led coalition to hand over more bases to Iraqi forces in coming days: Official Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- A high-ranking Iraqi military official says the US-led military coalition purportedly formed to fight the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group is going to pull out of more bases and give back the sites to the country's government forces within the next few days, and that there is a timetable for the handover.
- 'Defining moment' in Afghanistan requires leaders to work together, top UN official tells Security Council UN News 31 Mar 2020 -- With the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, political parties in Afghanistan are being urged to prioritize national interests and come together for peace talks with the Taliban, the UN Deputy Special Representative for the country told a videoconference meeting with Security Council members on Tuesday.
- Taliban Team Arrives In Kabul To Monitor Release Of Prisoners RFE/RL 31 Mar 2020 -- Three members of Afghanistan's Taliban have arrived in Kabul to "monitor" the government's release of imprisoned Taliban militants as part of a peace deal signed by the Taliban and the United States in late February, the militant group says.
- Taliban Team in Kabul for Afghan Prisoner Swap VOA 31 Mar 2020 -- A Taliban delegation arrived in Kabul Tuesday to monitor the long-delayed release of their 5,000 detainees under a prisoner swap with the Afghan government brokered by the United States.
- AFRICOM Civilian Casualty Status Report Initiative AFRICOM 31 Mar 2020 -- By the end of April, U.S. Africa Command intends to issue a new quarterly report on the status of ongoing civilian casualty allegations and assessments. Each quarter, AFRICOM will issue an update providing any new allegations and updating the status of assessments that have been closed or remain open. This initiative is designed to increase transparency regarding civilian casualty allegations that are reported to the command and will demonstrate the U.S. military's constant commitment to minimizing collateral damage in the pursuit of military operations.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Space Force identifies USAF missions for transfer to newest service US Air Force 31 Mar 2020 -- In a significant step that enhances the U.S. Space Force's capabilities and development, the Department of the Air Force has identified 23 U.S. Air Force organizations whose space-related missions will soon transfer to the Space Force.
- Readout of Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper's Phone Call With France Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly DoD 31 Mar 2020
- Readout of Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper's Phone Call With Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto DoD 31 Mar 2020
- US, Japanese forces join for Pacific Weasel exercise US Air Force 31 Mar 2020 -- Members of the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons, Misawa Air Base, Japan, executed exercise Pacific Weasel over Draughon Range, March 27.
- Transcom Looks for Ways to Safely Move COVID-19 Patients DoD News 31 Mar 2020 -- Last week, U.S. Transportation Command was responsible for moving a patient with COVID-19 from Djibouti, Africa, to Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment. Moving a contagious patient isn't easy, Transcom's commander said, but efforts are underway to make it safer.
- DOD Mounts Multifaceted Response to COVID-19 Pandemic DoD News 31 Mar 2020 -- The Defense Department is rapidly ramping up its efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist federal, state and local governments in their efforts.
- Logisticians Make COVID-19 Fight Possible DoD News 31 Mar 2020 -- Joint Staff logisticians are working around the clock to help civilian authorities deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
- 'Sailors Do Not Need to Die': US Navy Captain Pleads for Help as COVID-19 Consumes Carrier Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- As the COVID-19 outbreak onboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt gets worse, its captain has penned a pleading letter to the Navy for enough resources to isolate his entire crew.
- US Withdraws Troops Stationed Abroad as 97 Bases, 1,000 Servicemen Infected With COVID-19 - Report Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- According to the latest official data, some 1,087 US troops have contracted the novel coronavirus, but the Pentagon recently said that it would allow commanders to withhold information about new infection cases. The move was justified as necessary in order to prevent American adversaries from potentially exploiting this knowledge.
- Air Force update for COVID-19 US Air Force 31 Mar 2020 -- In an effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 and to prioritize the health and safety of Department of the Air Force personnel, the following modifications have been made:
- COVID-19 Data Reporting Guidance DoD 31 Mar 2020
- USTRANSCOM Commander Gen. Lyons Holds a Press Briefing on Support for the Nation's COVID-19 Response Efforts DoD 31 Mar 2020 -- General Stephen R. Lyons, commander, U.S. Transportation Command
- Joint Staff Ops Official Breaks Down DOD Aid to Fight Coronavirus DoD News 31 Mar 2020 -- The Defense Department is going all out to support civilian agencies confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, the vice director of operations for the Joint Staff said.
- U.S. military aircraft fly near Taiwan for 4th time this month CNA 31 Mar 2020 -- A United States military aircraft was reported flying near Taiwan's southern airspace Tuesday, marking the fourth time this month a U.S. warplane had been spotted operating near the country.
- What's in a Number? How Russia's Fighter Su-57 Got Its Name Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- The fighter jet is a single-seat twin engine aircraft that has superb manoeuvrability, supersonic fighting capabilities, as well as an advanced radar and electronics. Reports say that China, Turkey, and India are interested in purchasing the jet, which reportedly costs $50 million.
- China-Cambodia "Dragon Golden 2020" military training wraps up PLA Daily 31 Mar 2020 -- The counter-terrorism drill in mountainous area and the closing ceremony of China-Cambodia joint military training exercise " Dragon Golden 2020" were held on March 30, 2020, local time, in Kampot Province of Cambodia.
- Helicopter of Chinese Army's Hong Kong Garrison Crashed During Training Flight Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- A helicopter belonging to the Hong Kong garrison of the Chinese armed forces crashed on Monday during a training flight in the special administrative region of China, the government of Hong Kong said on Tuesday.
- India's Aviation Behemoth HAL Expects More Orders as It Completes Production of Su-30MKI Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has recorded a turnover of more than INR 21,100 crore ($3 billion) for the financial year ending on 31 March 2020. The company said that the production facility of Su-30MKIs is expected to continue to be in operation as the Indian Air Force may opt for more fighter jets.
- Seoul regrets US move to furlough Koreans after military deal failure Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- South Korea has expressed regret over a decision by the United States to place thousands of Korean workers on unpaid leave in an apparent attempt by Washington to use the laborers as leverage after the two allies failed to reach an agreement on a military cost-sharing deal.
- The U.S. Role in International Organizations' Response to COVID-19 US Dept. of State 31 Mar 2020 -- The United States is by far the most generous and reliable contributor to crisis response and humanitarian action through the United Nations and dozens of international organizations. U.S. assistance, monetary and in-kind contributions, expertise and technology, are indispensable to the effort to combat COVID-19.
- HRW: Ankara Denying Water to Syrian Kurds as Coronavirus Escalates VOA 31 Mar 2020 -- Turkey is being accused of "weaponizing" water against Syrian Kurds amid the coronavirus epidemic. Ankara is dismissing the accusation, however, as a "smear campaign."
- Syria UN envoy calls for lifting of sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari has called upon the international community to work on lifting illegal economic sanctions and coercive measures imposed on his war-ravaged country and other states as the world is battling to rein in a deadly coronavirus pandemic.
- China to UN: Unilateral Syria sanctions must be lifted amid pandemic Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- China has called for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral sanctions against Syria, saying the "coercive measures" will hamper the war-ravaged country's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
- EU launches Operation IRINI to enforce Libya arms embargo EC/CEU 31 Mar 2020 -- The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, thereby contributing to the peace process in the country, through the launch of a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation in the Mediterranean.
- Myanmar Journalist Arrested For Interview With Blacklisted Arakan Army Radio Free Asia 31 Mar 2020 -- Myanmar authorities have arrested a Mandalay-based journalist on "terrorism" charges after his media organization published an interview with the spokesman of the Arakan Army following the government's blacklisting of the Rakhine ethnic force as an unlawful association and terrorist group, a judge and the wife of the accused man said Tuesday.
- Elections Under Way In Karabakh Despite International Criticism And Virus Concerns RFE/RL 31 Mar 2020 -- De-facto authorities in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh are holding presidential and parliamentary elections amid international criticism and despite a coronavirus pandemic.
- Colombian Rebels to Observe Ceasefire Amid Coronavirus Outbreak VOA 31 Mar 2020 -- Colombia's left-wing National Liberation Army rebel group says it will observe a month-long unilateral cease-fire beginning Wednesday.
- Briefing With Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams On the Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela US Dept. of State 31 Mar 2020
- US Unveils Venezuelan Transitional Government Plan VOA 31 Mar 2020 -- The United States says it is willing to lift sanctions against Venezuela in exchange for the formation of a transitional government comprised of allies of President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.
- The United States Proposes a Framework for a Peaceful Democratic Transition in Venezuela US Dept. of State 31 Mar 2020 -- On March 31, the United States proposed a pathway to resolving Venezuela's crisis by means of a peaceful, democratic transition. This framework calls for the establishment of broadly acceptable transitional government to administer free and fair presidential elections and a pathway to lifting Venezuela-related U.S. sanctions.
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press US Dept. of State 31 Mar 2020
- Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela US Dept. of State 31 Mar 2020 -- Fact Sheet
- Details spill to media of US 'framework' for Venezuela Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- A plan that the United States is to unveil for Venezuela envisages the removal of sanctions on the Latin American country if democratically-elected President Nicola Maduro hands over power, according to reports.
- Venezuela Rejects US' Idea to Establish Interim Government in Country - Foreign Ministry Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza rejected firmly on Tuesday Washington's crisis settlement plan, which envisions the creation of an interim government and elections within the next year.
- Russia's Rosneft Lowers Risks of US Sanctions by Selling Venezuelan Assets - Moody's Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- By selling its assets in Venezuela, Russia's Rosneft oil company considerably lowers the risk of further US sanctions, Moody's Investors Service rating company said on Tuesday.
- Putin, Trump agree global oil prices 'not in interests' of Russia, US Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, have agreed that current global oil prices are "not in the interests" of their countries, the Kremlin says, as the coronavirus pandemic sends oil prices plunging to historic lows.
- Poland State Gas Distributor Says It Wins $1.5 Billion From Russia's Gazprom In Price Dispute RFE/RL 31 Mar 2020 -- Poland's largest distributor of natural gas has announced it won a years-long energy-supply price dispute with Russia's state-run Gazprom worth $1.5 billion at an international arbitration court in Sweden.
- EU Warns Against Using Pandemic To Undermine Democracy RFE/RL 31 Mar 2020 -- In a thinly veiled warning to right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister VIktor Orban, the European Union's executive said on March 31 that emergency measures adopted by member states to fight the coronavirus crisis cannot undercut democracy.
- Fears Grow For Chinese Student Who Told President to Step Down Radio Free Asia 31 Mar 2020 -- Concerns were growing on Tuesday for a university student in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, after he posted a video to social media calling on President Xi Jinping to step down.
- China pledges stronger macro policies to offset economic impact of COVID-19 People's Daily 31 Mar 2020 -- To lower lending costs and offset the economic shock of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, China's central bank on Monday pumped liquidity into the market through seven-day reverse repos while cutting its interest rate by 20 basis points.
- Chinese FM calls for adherence to multilateralism, solidarity in fight against COVID-19 People's Daily 31 Mar 2020 -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday spoke with Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron, with the two sides vowing to uphold multilateralism in the joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Taiwan urges WHO to review restrictions on its participation CNA 31 Mar 2020 -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to review what it described as the WHO's "unfair restrictions" on Taiwan at a time when the world is struggling with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
- Iranian gas export to Turkey stops due to pipeline explosion IRNA 31 Mar 2020 -- Iranian gas export to Turkey stopped on Tuesday due to pipeline explosion on Turkish soil, according to Director of National Iranian Gas Company in charge of dispatching Mehdi Jamshidi Dana.
- Blast near joint border halts Iran's gas exports to Turkey Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- Iran's natural gas exports to Turkey have stopped following an explosion on a pipeline near their joint border, an official at the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Tuesday.
- US extends sanctions waivers on nuclear cooperation with Iran Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- The United States has once again waived its sanctions on nuclear cooperation with Iran, allowing firms of the remaining signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal to continue working on Iranian nuclear facilities.
- U.S. Extends Sanctions Waivers On Iranian Nuclear Program RFE/RL 31 Mar 2020 -- The U.S. government has extended for another 60 days sanction waivers that allow Russian, Chinese, and European countries to continue nonproliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.
- Restrictions on Iran's Nuclear Program Continued US Dept. of State 30 Mar 2020 -- The United States is renewing four restrictions on the Iranian regime's nuclear program for an additional 60 days.
- Germany confirms first INSTEX transaction IRNA 31 Mar 2020 -- The Federal Foreign Office of Germany in a tweet confirmed the first transaction with Iran through the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) on Tuesday.
- European States Send Medical Goods to Iran in First INSTEX Transaction Sputnik 31 Mar 2020 -- The INSTEX trading mechanism was previously created by European countries to bypass unilateral restrictions, imposed against the Islamic Republic by Washington, as the US threatened to hit those trading with Tehran via secondary sanctions. Iran, however, has repeatedly criticised INSTEX for not functioning properly.
- Iran Gets Medical Aid Through US Sanctions Workaround VOA 31 Mar 2020 -- Germany, Britain and France have facilitated exports of medical goods to Iran in the first use of a mechanism designed to get around U.S. sanctions, Germany said Tuesday.
- Europe sends medical supplies to Iran in first INSTEX transaction: Germany Press TV 31 Mar 2020 -- Germany says the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have registered the first transaction under a trade system set up last year to protect companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions, delivering medical supplies to the Islamic Republic amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Cabinet Reviews Several Issues via Virtual Network SPA 31 Mar 2020 -- The Cabinet reviewed via the virtual network the royal orders and directives issued to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as the decisions and precautionary measures taken by the state agencies to implement the royal orders and directives.
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