14 December 2020 Military News
- US Envoy Calls for Timely Resumption of Intra-Afghan Peace Talks VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has asked the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government to swiftly resume peace talks after their mutually agreed three-week break starting Monday.
- Taliban Fighters Kill At Least 10 Afghan Troops In North RFE/RL Gandhara 14 Dec 2020 -- Taliban militants have killed at least 10 members of the Afghan security forces in the northern province of Kunduz, officials said on December 14, as the government announced that peace talks will resume next month.
- Taliban Courts Seek To Undermine Afghan Judiciary RFE/RL Gandhara 14 Dec 2020 -- Nasima, an Afghan woman and claimant, often travels more than 125 kilometers to pursue her divorce case in Ghor, a remote rural province in western Afghanistan.
- Afghan government, Taliban set to resume peace negotiations in January Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Afghan officials say peace talks between the government and the Taliban militant group are set to resume in early January as the two sides take a break after reaching a preliminary agreement to end the conflict.
- Afghan Forces Kill 18 Taliban Members, Injure 12 Others in Eastern Afghanistan, Military Says Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- The Afghan armed forces have killed 18 members of the Taliban group and injured 12 others during an operation in the country's eastern province of Ghazni, the 203rd Thunder Corps said in a statement on Monday.
- W.Va. Guard, interagency partners hold drill to prepare for COVID-19 vaccine arrival Army News 14 Dec 2020 -- Members of the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force for vaccines held a Rehearsal of Concepts (ROC) drill to finalize operational plans for and to simulate COVID-19 vaccine shipment receipt, handling, and distribution processes to Phase 1 recipients across the Mountain State at the West Virginia National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston, West Virginia, Friday, Dec. 11.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Officials Provide Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution DoD News 14 Dec 2020 -- Officials with the Defense Department, Operation Warp Speed and the Department of Health and Human Services today provided an update on COVID-19 vaccine packaging and distribution and forecast a possible time period when all Americans will have access to the vaccine.
- AFGSC commander delivers Nuclear Triad and Deterrence Symposium Remarks US Air Force 14 Dec 2020 -- Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, spoke virtually at the 20th Annual Nuclear Triad and Deterrence Symposium, Dec. 10.
- UK, U.S. Naval Forces Conduct Mine Countermeasures Exercise CENTCOM 14 Dec 2020 -- Royal Navy and U.S. Navy forces participated in mine countermeasures (MCM) interoperability training in the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 9-12.
- Statement on New Appointments to the Defense Policy Board DoD 14 Dec 2020 -- Today, the Department of Defense announced that it intends to appoint Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Ambassador Thomas Carter, Dr. Edward Luttwak, Mr. Scott O'Grady, Mr. Thomas Stewart, the Honorable Randy Forbes, Senator Robert Smith and Ambassador Charles Glazer to the Defense Policy Board.
- DOD Leaders Brief Women, Peace, Security Program to Congressional Caucus DoD News 14 Dec 2020 -- The Women, Peace and Security Program is one of the few issues where a wide ideological swath of official Washington agrees.
- Effective Use of Data in DOD Requires the Right Leaders DoD News 14 Dec 2020 -- The Defense Department released its new data strategy in September, with a focus on joint all-domain operations, senior-leader decision support and business analytics.
- gatewayONE and attritableONE test moves joint force one step closer to "IoT.mil," demonstrates F-22, F-35 first secure bi-directional data sharing US Air Force 14 Dec 2020 -- On Dec. 9, the joint force took another step toward achieving a military Internet of Things when fifth-generation aircraft overcame long standing connectivity limitations to share actionable operational data in their native secure digital "languages" with and through multiple sources for the first time.
- B-1B Lancer completes successful external release demonstration US Air Force 14 Dec 2020 -- The 419th Flight Test Squadron successfully conducted an external weapon release demonstration at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Dec. 4.
- U.S., Singapore Militaries Join for Bilateral Amphibious Training during CARAT Exercise US Navy 14 Dec 2020 -- U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Republic of Singapore Navy partnered in the 26th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) maritime exercise, in international water of the South China Sea and on Changi Naval Base, Singapore, Dec. 9-14.
- Russia Asks Parties to Open Skies Treaty to Guarantee Secrecy of Observation Flights Data Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- With the United States withdrawn from the Treaty on Open Skies, Russia demands that the remaining parties to the agreement guarantee the confidentiality of data received during observation flights, the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna said Monday.
- Aircraft carrier Shandong wraps up year's 3rd voyage, exercises with submarine speculated Global Times 14 Dec 2020 -- China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, reportedly wrapped up its third voyage of this year, and returned to the Dalian Shipyard in Northeast China's Liaoning Province on Sunday.
- Plateau-operable Z-20 helicopters enter service in PLA Tibet Military Command Global Times 14 Dec 2020 -- China's latest and fully home-manufactured utility helicopter, the Z-20, which is designed to operate in plateau regions, recently made its long-expected first public appearance under the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Tibet Military Command. Analysts said on Monday that the new chopper is likely to be commissioned in large numbers.
- Launch of 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan' is a "Watershed" moment in the economic history of India : Raksha Mantri India PIB 14 Dec 2020 -- Addressing the 93rd Annual Convention of Industry body FICCI, through video conferencing in New Delhi Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh said the Covid-19 pandemic has brought many new challenges to the country and the government has taken various steps to mitigate its adverse impacts concerning both lives and livelihoods. Utmost priority has been given first to save lives and the Medical Fraternity made every possible effort to minimise the loss of lives, he said.
- LAUNCH OF 2nd PROJECT 17A SHIP 'HIMGIRI' India PIB 14 Dec 2020 -- Himgiri', the first of the three Project 17A ships being built at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata was launched today, 14 Dec 20.
- U.S. Sanctions NATO Ally Turkey Over Purchase Of Russian Missile-Defense System RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- The United States has sanctioned NATO ally Turkey for its purchase of a missile defense system from Russia amid already tense relations between Washington and Ankara.
- The United States Sanctions Turkey Under CAATSA 231 US Dept. of State 14 Dec 2020 -- "Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on the Republic of Turkey's Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction with Rosoboronexport, Russia's main arms export entity, by procuring the S-400 surface-to-air missile system."
- Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Dr. Christopher Ford and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Matthew Palmer On the Imposition of Sanctions on Turkey under CAATSA 231 US Dept. of State 14 Dec 2020
- Turkey Vows Response to US Sanctions Over Purchase of Russian Missile System Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- Earlier Monday, the US Treasury introduced sanctions on four Turkish officials and the Presidency of Defence Industries, the Turkish government office responsible for strengthening national security and managing the supply of military technology, over Ankara's purchase of Russia's S-400 air defence system.
- 14 December 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 14 Dec 2020
- Outgoing ICC prosecutor blasts 'wholly unacceptable' US sanctions Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- The International Criminal Court's (ICC) outgoing chief prosecutor has denounced as "unacceptable" sanctions imposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump against her, calling on Washington to reverse them.
- Official spokesman at the Ministry of Energy: A terrorist attack on a fuel transport ship in Jeddah SPA 14 Dec 2020 -- An official spokesman at the Ministry of Energy said that a fuel transport ship, anchored in the fuel terminal in Jeddah, was attacked by explosive-laden boat in the early hours of this morning. The attack resulted in a small fire, which emergency units successfully extinguished. The incident did not result in any casualties, and there was no damage caused to the unloading facilities, nor any effect on supplies.
- Explosion Results in Fire Aboard Saudi Oil Tanker VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- A shipping company says one of its oil tankers off Saudi Arabia's port city of Jeddah was hit Monday by an "external source" that caused "an explosion and subsequent fire onboard."
- Explosion hits tanker off Saudi Arabia's Jeddah Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- A shipping firm says an explosion has hit a fuel tanker off Saudi Arabia's Jeddah, a key Red Sea port and distribution center for oil giant Saudi Aramco.
- UN's FAO: Five million Yemenis will likely be 'living just one step away from famine' next year Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that 5 million people in war-ravaged Yemen "will likely be living just one step away from famine" in the upcoming year.
- Syrian lawmakers say Golan Heights inseparable part of Syria Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Syrian lawmakers have unanimously affirmed that the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are an "inseparable" part of the country and will remain so, vowing that the region will return to motherland sooner or later.
- Syrian Kurdish Farmers Accuse Turkey-Backed Militias of Seizing, Taxing Olive Crops VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- In late October, Farhan and his two sons finished packing up their olive harvest to transport it to the city center of Afrin in northwestern Syria. But before doing so, they pondered the possibilities waiting for them.
- UN concerned as militancy in Mozambique forces 400,000 people to flee Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations has issued a warning about an imminent humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Mozambique, where at least 400,000 people have already been forced to flee their homes.
- Dozens Protest Killing By Security Forces In Northwestern Pakistani Tribal District RFE/RL Gandhara 14 Dec 2020 -- Dozens of residents and activists have launched a sit-in in the northwestern North Waziristan tribal district demanding an investigation into the killing of a man during a search operation.
- Nigerian authorities step up efforts to rescue kidnapped students Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Nigerian authorities have stepped up efforts to rescue students abducted by armed men who raided a school in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
- UN chief calls for immediate release of abducted children in Nigeria UN News 14 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations Secretary-General has called for the "immediate and unconditional" release of hundreds of boys, believed abducted by suspected bandits, after an attack on their school in northwest Nigeria.
- Nigerians March Against Government Over Kidnapping of Schoolboys VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- Hundreds of Nigerians in northwestern Katsina state held street protests Sunday calling for answers from authorities after gunmen on motorcycles abducted more than 300 schoolboys.
- Azerbaijani Soldiers Arrested For Desecration, Vandalism During Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- Azerbaijani authorities say they have arrested four servicemen suspected of desecrating the bodies of dead Armenian soldiers and of vandalizing gravestones at Armenian cemeteries during recent fighting over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
- At Least 24 Killed in Clashes Over Territorial Dispute in Central Chad, Minister Says Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- At least 24 people were killed when two communities clashed over a territorial dispute in the Batha region of Chad, Minister for Territorial Administration and Autonomous Communities Mahamat Ismael Chaibo said on Monday.
- 'Democracy Prevailed,' Biden Declares After Electoral College Vote VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- "In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed," President-elect Joe Biden said Monday night, shortly after the Electoral College vote that confirmed his presidency.
- US Presidential Electors Confirm Joe Biden's Victory VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- With the casting of their Electoral College votes Monday, electors formally gave Joe Biden more than the 270 electoral votes needed to certify his election victory.
- Sudan's State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Rescinded US Dept. of State 14 Dec 2020 -- "Today, Sudan's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is officially rescinded."
- Statement from Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Sudan US Treasury 14 Dec 2020 -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement on the rescission of Sudan's State Sponsor of Terrorism designation:
- US Rescinds Sudan's Designation as State Sponsor of Terror VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- The United States announced it was formally rescinding Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism as a result of its "historic democratic transition."
- US Removes Khartoum From List of Terror Sponsors Starting 14 December, Embassy Says Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has signed a notification, removing Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the decision enters into force starting Monday, the US embassy in Khartoum said.
- US formally removes Sudan from 'terror' blacklist after normalization with Israel Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Washington has now formally withdrawn Sudan from its blacklist of state sponsors of "terrorism" after the African country's military-led government agreed to normalize ties with the Israeli regime, the US embassy in Khartoum declared.
- Chairman Schiff Statement on Solar Winds Hack HPSCI 14 Dec 2020 -- Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement
- CISA Issues Emergency Directive to Mitigate the Compromise of Solarwinds Orion Network Management Products CISA 14 Dec 2020 -- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tonight issued Emergency Directive 21-01, in response to a known compromise involving SolarWinds Orion products that are currently being exploited by malicious actors. This Emergency Directive calls on all federal civilian agencies to review their networks for indicators of compromise and disconnect or power down SolarWinds Orion products immediately.
- Statement by DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Alexei Woltornist on Federal Government Cyber Breaches DHS 14 Dec 2020 -- "The Department of Homeland Security is aware of cyber breaches across the federal government and working closely with our partners in the public and private sector on the federal response."
- Suspected Russian Hackers Breach U.S. Treasury, Other Government Agencies RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- Suspected Russian hackers broke into U.S. government networks, including the Treasury and Commerce departments, as part of a monthslong global cyberespionage campaign believed to have also targeted other governments and major corporations.
- British Cyber Spies Unaware of Any UK Impact from US Hacking, Says Downing Street Spokesman Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- US government agencies have been ordered to look for malware and disconnect potentially compromised servers after authorities learnt that the Treasury and Commerce departments had been hacked in an extensive global cyber-espionage campaign.
- Suspected Russian hackers allegedly broke into federal agencies: Sources Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Email systems at the US Treasury and Commerce Departments were breached by hackers who are allegedly part of a Russian intelligence campaign, sources familiar with the matter say.
- Dozens of Israeli Firms Reportedly Hit by Massive Iranian Cyberattack Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- Dozens of Israel's companies, including logistics ones, have been subjected to a wide-scale cyberattack supposedly carried out by an Iranian hacker group, according to Israeli media.
- Bellingcat Joint Report Alleges Russia's FSB Behind Navalny Poisoning RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- A new joint investigation between Bellingcat and several media outlets has revealed evidence they say shows that the recent poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny was carried out by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
- Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Trailed for Years Before Poisoning, Report Says VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- An elite Russian intelligence chemical weapons unit trailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny for the past three years, right up until his near-fatal poisoning in August, according to the investigative website Bellingcat.
- Chinese Communist Party Members Worked in Foreign Consulates: Leaked List Radio Free Asia 14 Dec 2020 -- A leaked database of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members has revealed that Beijing has had loyal potential agents working in consulates, major multinational companies, and sensitive research facilities around the world, according to reports published in The Australian, the Mail on Sunday, and other news organizations.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 14, 2020 PRC MofA 14 Dec 2020
- Bloomberg employee's case investigated in accordance with law with legal rights protected: FM Global Times 14 Dec 2020 -- Responding to questions about the situation of a Bloomberg employee surnamed Fan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told Monday's media briefing that Fan's case is being investigated in accordance with the law and her legal rights and interests have been fully protected.
- Hong Kong Media Mogul Charged Over Actions, Speech Predating Security Law Radio Free Asia 14 Dec 2020 -- Prosecutors in Hong Kong have charged pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai under the city's national security law, citing words and actions dating from before the law was imposed on the city by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on July 1.
- ICC Rejects Uighur Plea for Investigation of China VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- Despite calls from exiled Uighurs, International Criminal Court prosecutors say they will not investigate China for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity, according to a report issued December 14.
- China Conducts Two Trials in Crackdown on Audio Bibles VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- Chinese courtrooms this month were the scene of two trials prosecuting Christian businessmen for selling audio versions of the Bible, a new crackdown that is part of a government campaign to "eradicate pornography and illegal publications."
- 8,363 overseas fugitives repatriated to China during six-year 'Sky Net' campaign Global Times 14 Dec 2020 -- From 2014 to October this year, 8,363 overseas fugitives have been caught in over 120 countries and regions and sent back to China under China's anti-corruption "Sky Net" operation, with 20.8 billion yuan ($3.18 billion) in illicit funds recovered.
- South Korea passes law to ban flying of leaflets toward North Korea Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- South Korea's parliament has passed a bill to ban the launching of propaganda leaflets into North Korea amid rising tension over Seoul's failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets over the border.
- South Korea's Parliament Reportedly Bans Cross-Border Flying of Critical Leaflets to North Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- The South Korean parliament has approved a bill prohibiting the launch of propaganda leaflets across the border to North Korea as a measure to protect residents of borderline areas, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Monday.
- Pres. Rouhani: JCPOA not renegotiable IRNA 14 Dec 2020 -- President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not renegotiable and Iran does not accept any preconditions, adding that if all parties implement the JCPOA, Iran will implement it as well.
- Pres. Rouhani: Iran not to let anyone sabotage end of sanctions IRNA 14 Dec 2020 -- President Hassan Rouhani outlined his government's achievements despite the "harshest economic conditions" the country faced during two terms of his tenure and derscored that his government "will not allow anyone to put off the cancellation of the sanctions.
- Top EU diplomat vows to continue nuclear talks with Iran regardless of propagandist's execution Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- The European Union will continue nuclear talks with Iran regardless of the recent execution of a counterrevolutionary figure in Iran, EU foreign police chief Josep Borrell says.
- Sanctioning Iranian Intelligence Officers Involved in the Abduction of Bob Levinson US Dept. of State 14 Dec 2020 -- For 13 years, the Iranian regime has denied knowledge of Robert A. "Bob" Levinson's whereabouts or condition. However, senior Iranian officials authorized Levinson's abduction and detention and launched a disinformation campaign to deflect blame from the regime.
- Treasury Sanctions Senior Iranian Intelligence Officers Involved in the Abduction and Detention of Robert Levinson US Treasury 14 Dec 2020 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated two senior officials of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), who were involved in the abduction of Robert A. "Bob" Levinson on Iran's Kish Island on or about March 9, 2007.
- US Formally Blames Iran for Abduction of American in 2007 VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- The United States has sanctioned two Iranian nationals for their suspected involvement in the abduction and "probable death" of former FBI agent Robert Levinson on Iran's Kish Island in March 2007.
- Statement from the Press Secretary The White House 14 Dec 2020
- U.S. Sanctions Iranian Officials Over Abduction, 'Probable Death' Of Ex FBI Agent RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- The United States has accused Iran of direct involvement in the presumed death of former FBI agent Robert Levinson and imposed sanctions on two Iranian intelligence agents believed to be responsible for his abduction.
- Was Ruhollah Zam's Execution Payback For Embarrassing Iran's Intel Agencies? Radio Farda 14 Dec 2020 -- Ruhollah Zam, the Iranian media figure who established the AMAD Telegram channel, was hanged in Iran on Saturday, per the IRIB state media channel.
- UN human rights chief 'appalled' at Iran execution, questions trial process and verdict UN News 14 Dec 2020 -- Iran's decision to hang media activist Ruhollah Zam on Saturday was an appalling violation of human rights that followed a deeply flawed trial process, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Monday.
- Turkey Detains 11 Suspected Of Abducting Iranian Dissident RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- Turkish authorities say they have detained 11 people suspected of spying and abducting an exiled Iranian political dissident on behalf of Tehran.
- Iran to Put Into Service Pipeline Bypassing Strait of Hormuz to Export Oil in 2021, President Says Sputnik 14 Dec 2020 -- Tehran intends to complete in 2021 a strategic project to transport oil bypassing its key energy route — the Strait of Hormuz — due to the instability in the area, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday.
- More Than 100 Detained In Minsk At Anti-Lukashenka Retirees' Rally RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- A Belarusian human rights group says more than 100 people were detained in Minsk during the weekly rally of retirees calling on strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka to step down.
- Tsikhanouskaya Says 'Matter Of Time' Until Lukashenka Forced Out RFE/RL 14 Dec 2020 -- Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya says it is only "a matter of time" until authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country since 1994, steps aside.
- Myanmar Lawyers' Group Says Ruling NLD Has 'Failed' on Rule of Law Radio Free Asia 14 Dec 2020 -- An association of lawyers' groups in Myanmar has called on the ruling National League for Democracy to strengthen rule of law in the country, saying the NLD has largely failed in the first five years of its rule to protect legal rights.
- Thousands Gather in Pakistan, Seeking End to Imran Khan's Government VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- The president of an alliance of opposition parties in Pakistan warned of a confrontation between the public and the military if the military decided to stop them from reaching the capital, Islamabad, to bring down the current government.
- One sheriff in town: Saudi Arabia launches 'mini Ritz' crackdown, sparks terror Press TV 14 Dec 2020 -- Saudi Arabia has launched a new purported anti-corruption crackdown resembling the 2017 campaign, sparking further terror in the kingdom.
- Thailand's Democratic Reform Drive Goes Local with Provincial Elections VOA 14 Dec 2020 -- In Thailand, a group of ex-lawmakers shut out of national politics by a controversial court order is taking its reform agenda to the provinces by backing like-minded candidates in local elections long dominated by entrenched family networks.
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