22 December 2020 Military News
- Afghanistan's Abdullah Pushes Regional Support For Peace Talks In Tajikistan RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- The chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, has held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and other top officials in the Tajik capital as he looks to drum up regional support for peace talks with the Taliban.
- Readout of Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller's Meeting With President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani DoD 22 Dec 2020
- Acting Secretary of Defense Miller Travels to Afghanistan DoD 22 Dec 2020 -- Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller travelled to Afghanistan on Tuesday, December 22. Due to security concerns surrounding this trip, it was not announced in advance.
- Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Chris Miller Makes Secret Afghanistan Visit RFE/RL Gandhara 22 Dec 2020 -- Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Chris Miller has held consultations with Afghan officials about on the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. The Pentagon said in a statement on December 22 that Miller's trip was not announced ahead of time due to security concerns.
- Supporting Islamic Republic of Afghanistan the principled policy of Islamic Republic of Iran: Zarif ISNA 22 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a meeting with Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib in Tehran on Tuesday.
- Inclusive political solution best guarantee for lasting peace in Afghanistan: Iran's FM Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated that a comprehensive political solution is key to lasting peace in Afghanistan, underlying the need for a complete withdrawal of American forces from the war-ravaged country.
- US-Taliban deal does not serve Afghan people interests: Zarif Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says all Afghan groups reserve the right to have a say in their country's future, adding that the so-called peace agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban falls short of serving the interests of Afghan people.
- USS Makin Island ARG/15th MEU arrives off Somali Coast Joint Task Force-Quartz Public Affairs AFRICOM 22 Dec 2020 -- INDIAN OCEAN -- The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Somalia as part of the Joint Forces Maritime Component Command for Joint Task Force - Quartz, Dec. 21.
- Ships Positioned on Somalia's Coast for US Troops' Drawdown VOA 22 Dec 2020 -- The Pentagon has sent several naval vessels and a marine expeditionary unit to the coast of Somalia to support an operation repositioning hundreds of U.S. troops to bases elsewhere in East Africa.
- Makin Island Amphib Group, Marines Arrive Off Somali Coast to Relocate U.S. Forces US Navy 22 Dec 2020 -- The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived off the coast of Somalia Dec. 21 as part of the Joint Forces Maritime Component Command for Joint Task Force-Quartz (JTF-Q).
Defense Policy / Programs
- Air Force update for COVID-19 US Air Force 22 Dec 2020
- MCAS New River makes airfield updates to enhance mission readiness and increase safety for Marines USMC News 22 Dec 2020 -- To enhance mission capabilities and ensure the highest safety standards for mission readiness, Marine Corps Air Station New River is in the final stages of completing significant upgrades and renovations to its airfield.
- Japan-Based Repair, Maintenance Facility Welcomes Innovation With Laser Ablation Demo US Navy 22 Dec 2020 -- Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center's (SRF-JRMC) machine shop and continuous improvement and innovation office hosted a laser ablation demonstration to educate its workforce about innovative technologies.
- Helo Squadron Returns From Deployment in Time for Christmas Holiday US Navy 22 Dec 2020 -- The "Jaguars" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60, Detachment 2 (HSM-60 DET 2) returned the week of Christmas from a two-month deployment operating independently aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) in the U.S. Second Fleet (C2F) and U.S. Sixth Fleet (C6F) areas of responsibility.
- NATO responds to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020, helping Allies and partners NATO 22 Dec 2020 -- Throughout 2020, NATO and Allied military personnel have been helping save lives by supporting civilian efforts against COVID-19, both in Allied and partner countries. In the first half of this year, some 350 flights delivered critical supplies around the world. Across the Alliance, almost half a million troops supported the civilian response, constructing almost 100 field hospitals, securing borders and helping with testing and transport.
- U.S. Adds Russian, Chinese Companies To List Of Firms With Military Ties RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Commerce Department has added more than 100 Russian and Chinese companies to a new list of entities with alleged ties to the countries' militaries, in a move that will restrict access to U.S. goods and technologies.
- Russia's aerospace forces to receive 22 fifth-generation Su-57 fighters by 2025 People's Daily 22 Dec 2020 -- Russia's aerospace forces will receive 22 fifth-generation Su-57 fighters by 2025, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday.
- Russia must ensure rapid response to Western missile deployment near its borders: Putin People's Daily 22 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the country must respond promptly to Western missile deployment near its borders.
- Russian, Chinese strategic bombers conduct joint air patrol in Asia-Pacific region Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Russian and Chinese strategic bombers have carried out a joint air patrol over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, the second such operation in Asia-Pacific region over the past year.
- Photos: China's Second Type 075 Amphibious Assault Ship Starts Sea Trials Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- The first Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) is not yet in service, and China's third warship in the class is close to finishing construction. The hybrid warships promise to dramatically expand China's amphibious assault capabilities.
- Japan sees record-high defense budget, with new Aegis ships, long-range missiles People's Daily 22 Dec 2020 -- Japan's cabinet on Monday approved a record 106.61-trillion-yen (1.03-trillion-U.S. dollar) draft budget for fiscal 2021, with the defense budget totaling 5.34 trillion yen (51.56 billion U.S. dollars) and rising for a ninth straight year.
- Israeli Submarine Reportedly Crossed Suez in 'Message' to Iran as US Warships Enter Persian Gulf Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- A US nuclear-powered submarine entered the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on 21 December as part of Washington's latest deterrence mission against Iran as tensions spiked after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian-backed militias for a rocket attack on the American Embassy compound in Baghdad on Sunday.
- Turkey Expects US to Urgently Abandon 'Erroneous' Sanctions Over S-400s, Defence Minister Says Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- The US passed a law earlier this month authorising sanctions against Turkey over its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems which the US has long slammed as incompatible with NATO requirements.
- 22 December 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 22 Dec 2020
- USS John S. McCain Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in South China Sea US Navy 22 Dec 2020 -- On Dec. 22, USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law. This freedom of navigation operation ("FONOP") upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
- China warns off US destroyer trespassing in South China Sea: Spokesperson PLA Daily 22 Dec 2020 -- "On December 22, the US guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain trespassed into the waters adjacent to China's Nansha islands and reefs without Chinese Government's permission, and the naval and aerial forces of the Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command conducted whole-process tracking and monitoring on the US destroyer and warned it off," said Air Force Senior Colonel Tian Junli, Spokesperson for the PLA Southern Theater Command, in a written statement on Tuesday afternoon.
- Trump administration imposes more sanctions on Syria Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed a new round of sanctions to ramp up pressure on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before US president-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
- Syria Sanctions Designations on the Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 US Dept. of State 22 Dec 2020 -- Five years ago last Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2254, firmly laying out the only path for an enduring resolution to the Syrian conflict. The United States and the vast majority of the international community remain committed to this dignified plan for ending the suffering of the Syrian people.
- Treasury Targets Syrian Regime Officials and the Central Bank of Syria US Treasury 22 Dec 2020 -- Today, in support of the U.S. government's efforts to promote accountability and reach a political resolution to the Syrian conflict, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a high-ranking official in the Syrian government; her husband, a member of the Syrian People's Assembly; and their business entities. Further, OFAC added the Central Bank of Syria to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), underscoring its status as a blocked person, and additionally identified the property of other previous blocked persons.
- Bulgarian Diplomat Mladenov Unable To Take Up Role As UN Libya Envoy RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov has told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he will be unable to take up the role as UN Libya envoy in 2021 due to "personal and family reasons."
- UN envoy warns of Israel's plan to cut north West Bank off from south Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations special envoy for the Middle East warns that the Israeli regime is seeking to cut the northern part of the West Bank from the occupied territory's south.
- Israel-Lebanon Maritime Negotiations US Dept. of State 22 Dec 2020 -- "Earlier this year, the Israeli and Lebanese governments sought U.S. assistance in mediating an agreement on their maritime boundary."
- UN seeks to investigate rights violations in Ethiopia's Tigray Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for thorough investigations into possible violations in Ethiopia's Tigray, a region ridden with a bloody conflict.
- Tigray: Hundreds of civilians reported killed in artillery strikes, warns UN rights chief UN News 22 Dec 2020 -- Reports of artillery strikes on civilians and mass killings of non-combatants in Ethiopia's Tigray region, must be investigated and full access granted to independent investigators, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.
- Bachelet: Violations of International Law Imperil Civilians in Ethiopia's Tigray Region VOA 22 Dec 2020 -- The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, is warning that civilians in Ethiopia's Tigray region are in extreme peril amid allegations of widespread violations, some possibly amounting to war crimes.
- UNHCR Issues Urgent Appeal for Ethiopian Refugees Fleeing Conflict in Tigray VOA 22 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations refugee agency and 30 humanitarian groups have issued an urgent appeal for $156 million to help Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray Region and people in their host countries for the next six months.
- Mozambique: 250,000 displaced children facing deadly disease threat UN News 22 Dec 2020 -- A lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services have put approximately 250,000 children, displaced by escalating crises in a northern province of Mozambique, at risk from deadly diseases, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned.
- US Congress Passes Landmark Bill in Support of Tibet VOA 22 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Congress on Monday passed a bill that is expected to upgrade U.S. support for Tibetans in key areas, including sanctioning Chinese officials if they try to appoint the next Dalai Lama.
- Tibetan Policy and Support Act Passes in the US Congress Radio Free Asia 22 Dec 2020 -- The Tibetan Policy and Support Act pf 2020, a major bill strengthening U.S. support of Tibet through humanitarian projects and sanctions of Chinese abuses, has cleared the U.S. Congress and will go next to the desk of President Donald Trump for signing into law.
- Russian Peacekeepers Cleared 25 Acres in Nagorno-Karabakh of Mines, Defence Ministry Says Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- Engineering units of the Russian peacekeeping forces have cleared another 10 hectares (about 25 acres) of territory in unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh of mines, the Russian Defenсe Ministry said in a statement.
- Ankara to Resume Geological Exploration in Disputed East Med Area Until June 15 Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- Turkey's Oruc Reis vessel will continue its seismic exploration mission in the Greek-claimed waters of the Eastern Mediterranean near the Greek island of Kastellorizo until June 15, 2021, the Turkish navy's Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography said on Tuesday.
- DHS Warns American Businesses about Data Services and Equipment from Firms Linked to Chinese Government DHS 22 Dec 2020 -- Today, the Department of Homeland Security issued a business advisory to American businesses warning of risks associated with the use of data services and equipment from firms linked to the People's Republic of China (PRC).
- Biden Says Cyberattack Constitutes Grave Risk to US Security, Was Carefully Planned Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday said the recent massive cyberattack on US companies and federal agencies represents a grave threat to national security and was carefully planned and carried out.
- Senator Says Hackers Compromised US Treasury Email Accounts VOA 22 Dec 2020 -- A U.S. senator said Monday that hackers who breached U.S. government agencies compromised dozens of Treasury Department email accounts, including those used by the department's top officials.
- U.S. Senator Says Suspected Russian Hack On Treasury Department 'Appears To Be Significant' RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Treasury Department, one of several government agencies targeted in a massive cyberattack being blamed on Russia, suffered a serious breach "the full depth of which isn't known," a top senator said on December 21.
- US gov't caught off guard in latest cyberattack, Biden says, blaming Russia Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- US President-elect Joe Biden says the government was caught "off guard " in latest cyberattack, pointing the finger at Russia.
- Russia Sends 300 Military Instructors to Central African Republic Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- Russia has sent 300 instructors to the Central African Republic to train national armed forces and help boost the country's defence capabilities, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
- Russia Concerned By Attempts to Undermine Election in Central Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Says Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- Earlier, the UN Security Council expressed its strong condemnation of the violations of the peace agreement in the Central African Republic (CAR) and called on all actors to urgently end hostilities.
- Russia slaps retaliatory sanctions on EU officials over Navalny case Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Russia has imposed retaliatory sanctions against a number of European officials in response to punitive measures issued by the European Union (EU) against Moscow over the case of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
- Russia Hits EU Officials, Entities With Tit-For-Tat Navalny Sanctions RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Russia says it has expanded its list of European Union officials barred from the country in response to the bloc's "unacceptable" decision to place travel bans on Russian officials over the poisoning of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
- 'Russian Watergate': Russian Social Media Reacts After Navalny Dupes FSB Agent On His Poisoning RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Within 24 hours of being posted, Russian opposition figure Aleksei Navalny's video report of a conversation in which a Federal Security Agency (FSB) chemist confesses to participating in Navalny's poisoning with a deadly nerve agent in August racked up nearly 12 million views.
- Moscow Police Briefly Detain Navalny Foundation Lawyer Who Tried To Meet Duped FSB Agent RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Moscow police briefly detained Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, after she tried to meet an agent who has implicated the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning of the 44-year-old Kremlin critic.
- Ex-Minister's Pretrial Detention Extended Again In Russian Embezzlement Case RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- A Moscow court has again extended the pretrial detention of Mikhail Abyzov -- a former Russian government minister waiting for trial on embezzlement charges since he was arrested in March 2019.
- UN independent expert asks outgoing US president: Pardon Wikileaks' Assange UN News 22 Dec 2020 -- In an open letter to Donald Trump on Tuesday, an independent UN human rights expert asked the departing United States President to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 22, 2020 PRC MofA 22 Dec 2020
- China Condemns US Visa Restrictions on Chinese Officials Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- Beijing condemns the US visa restrictions against Chinese officials and will adopt proper countermeasures, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday.
- US imposes further visa restrictions on Chinese officials; Beijing vows reciprocity Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- The United States has imposed further visa restrictions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights violations.
- Hong Kong Flying Service Added to US Blacklist After Arrests of Fleeing Protesters Radio Free Asia 22 Dec 2020 -- The United States has included Hong Kong's Government Flying Service on a blacklist of "military end-users" after evidence emerged showing its aircraft were in the vicinity when 12 protesters fleeing Hong Kong for democratic Taiwan were intercepted and detained by the China Coast Guard.
- Alibaba Cloud Services Offered Racial Profiling of Uyghurs to Commercial Clients: Report Radio Free Asia 22 Dec 2020 -- Online sales and tech giant Alibaba is offering facial recognition services to its cloud customers that enables them to detect members of the ethnic minority Uyghur group, who are already being subjected to mass incarceration in "re-education" camps by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, according to a report by a group tracking video surveillance around the world.
- China Successfully Test-Launched New CZ-8 Carrier Rocket, Aerospace Corporation Says Sputnik 22 Dec 2020 -- China successfully test-launched its next-generation CZ-8 (Long March 8) medium-lift carrier rocket on Tuesday, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said.
- China's new carrier rocket Long March-8 makes maiden flight PLA Daily 22 Dec 2020 -- China's new medium-lift carrier rocket Long March-8 made its maiden flight on Tuesday, sending five satellites into planned orbit, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
- Two Chinese military planes enter Taiwan's ADIZ CNA 22 Dec 2020 -- Two Chinese military Y-8 aircraft entered Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, marking the 14th time such maneuvers have occurred in December, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that day.
- U.S. Congress passes pro-Taiwan provisions in massive funding bill CNA 22 Dec 2020 -- The United States Congress on Monday adopted provisions to support Taiwan's defense capacity and encourage its participation in international organizations as part of a US$2.3 trillion government funding and pandemic relief package.
- Rights Groups Protest Anti-North Korean Leaflet Law at National Assembly in Seoul Radio Free Asia 22 Dec 2020 -- Human rights groups rallied Tuesday at South Korea's National Assembly to protest over a recently passed bill that would outlaw sending anti-regime leaflets by balloon into North Korea, a ban they say violates South Korea's constitution.
- Yearly Economic Plan Carried out in Coal Mines of DPRK KCNA 22 Dec 2020 -- A productive upswing is being effected in the coal industrial sector of the DPRK through the 80-day campaign.
- Iran rejects renegotiation of JCPOA IRNA 22 Dec 2020 -- Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said on Tuesday that any proposal for the JCPOA revision, renegotiation or extension will be against resolution 2231 and absolutely not acceptable to Iran.
- US return to JCPOA, resumption of obligations, right way to defuse tensions: China Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson urges the United States to rejoin the multilateral nuclear deal that Iran clinched with world powers in 2015 and resume its obligations under the agreement in order to defuse tensions surrounding Tehran's nuclear program.
- Parties To Iran Nuclear Deal Say They're Preparing For Possible U.S. Return To Accord RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal said on December 21 that they are preparing for a possible return of the United States to the accord.
- Iran nuclear deal: 'Heated rhetoric and the heightened risk of miscalculation' widen differences UN News 22 Dec 2020 -- Although the landmark Iran nuclear deal could improve regional stability if fully implemented, increased tensions have highlighted the risks posed by escalation, the UN's Political and Peacebuilding Affairs chief told the Security Council on Tuesday.
- Iran determined to take revenge on commanders of assassination of Gen. Soleimani: Shamkhani ISNA 22 Dec 2020 -- Iran's secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani received Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib in Tehran on Tuesday.
- Iran capable of confronting enemy's assassination tech: Defense chief Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Iran's defense chief says the Islamic Republic is capable of overcoming the technological methods deployed by the enemy to carry out targeted killings inside the country.
- Iran says resolved to stop US destabilizing acts, force pullout from region Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani has said Iran is resolved to stop the United States and its stooges from committing acts of terrorism and destabilizing the region and to eventually force a complete US troop withdrawal.
- U.S. Sanctions Put Spotlight On Iran's International Network Of Religious Seminaries RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran's clerical establishment has used religious organizations to expand its clout abroad.
- U.S. Senate Approves Law Expanding Scope Of Sanctions To Use Against Belarus RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Senate has approved the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act, expanding the scope of who can be subjected to U.S. sanctions and providing support to independent media.
- Knesset rejects bill to delay budget Israel heading to 4th vote in 2 years as Knesset tosses out election prevention bill Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Israel is on an almost certain course for a fourth election within less than two years after legislators narrowly rejected a bill that would have deferred the deadline for passing next year's budget, raising the likelihood that the Knesset (parliament) will dissolve.
- Kazakhstan's Opposition Says January Vote Should Be Postponed Due To Flawed Election Laws RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Kazakhstan's opposition movement, Halyq Biligi (People's Rule), has demanded that parliamentary elections scheduled for next month be postponed, citing election legislation that cuts out alternative political forces.
- RFE/RL Investigation: Nazarbaev Relatives Have Invested $785 Million In Luxury Properties In Six Countries RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- An RFE/RL investigation shows the relatives of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev have invested nearly $785 million in luxury properties in at least six countries over a 20-year time span.
- Kosovo to hold early vote as top court annuls election of new government Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- Kosovo will now have to hold early parliamentary votes after the country's highest court annulled the election of the government of Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti.
- Kosovo To Hold Snap Elections After Top Court Ruling RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Acting Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani began consultations on December 22 with the political parties on setting the date for early elections after the Constitutional Court ruled that the parliamentary vote electing a new government in June was unconstitutional.
- US reinstates Sudan's sovereign immunity after normalization with Israel Press TV 22 Dec 2020 -- The United States has reinstated Sudan's sovereign immunity following removal of Khartoum from Washington's blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.
- Thousands Protest As Armenian Opposition Presses For Pashinian To Resign As Prime Minister RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Thousands of people have poured into the Armenian capital's main square as the opposition continues its campaign to pressure Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to quit over last month's cease-fire deal with Azerbaijan.
- Romanian President Asks Finance Minister To Form Government RFE/RL 22 Dec 2020 -- Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has announced outgoing Finance Minister Florin Citu as prime minister-designate following a parliamentary poll earlier this month.
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