30 December 2020 Military News
- Afghan Pilot Gunned Down in Kandahar VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- An Afghan air force pilot was gunned down Wednesday in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.
Defense Policy / Programs
- President-elect Biden Announces Key Nominees for Department of Defense President-Elect Joe Biden 30 Dec 2020 -- Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Kathleen Hicks as the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Dr. Colin Kahl as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Kathleen Hicks and Colin Kahl are respected and trusted advisors to the president-elect with decades of combined experience in national security and keeping Americans safe at the highest levels of government, including within the Department of Defense.
- US Deploys Bombers in Middle East to Reportedly 'Caution' Iran Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Fears have been rising in Washington of a possible escalation of tensions with Tehran, as the anniversary of the US drone attack that killed top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani looms, with many raising concerns about possible retaliation by the Islamic Republic.
- U.S. Bombers Overfly Persian Gulf Amid Concerns Over Possible Iranian Attacks RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- The United States has reportedly flown two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf in the third such show of force in recent months, presumably meant to deter Iran from attacking U.S. or allied targets in the region.
- Marine Corps begins widespread fielding of suppressors USMC News 30 Dec 2020 -- MCSC has taken another step toward increasing lethality and protection for Marines. In December, the command began the process of fielding thousands of suppressors to infantry, reconnaissance and special operation units for employment on the M27, M4 and M4A1 rifles.
- Task Force 67 Rises to the Challenge US Navy 30 Dec 2020 -- Based in Sigonella, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 67 is responsible for command and tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) squadrons along with several rotary aircraft units throughout the European and African areas of responsibility (AOR).
- 7th Fleet Destroyers Transit Taiwan Strait US Navy 30 Dec 2020 -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Dec. 31 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.
- Trump's Blackwater Pardons 'Affront to Justice,' Violation of Int'l Law, UN Expert Says Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- President Trump's decision to pardon four former Blackwater contractors convicted of killing innocent Iraqi civilians is an affront to justice and a violation of US obligations under international law, the Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Jelena Aparac, said in a statement on Wednesday.
- US pardons Blackwater guards: An 'affront to justice' – UN experts UN News 30 Dec 2020 -- Five independent UN experts condemned United States President Donald Trump's pardoning of private security contractors, convicted in 2015 for war crimes in Iraq, on Wednesday.
- Turkey takes charge of NATO high readiness force NATO 30 Dec 2020 -- The Turkish army will take the lead of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) on Friday (1 January 2021), placing thousands of soldiers on standby, ready to deploy within days.
- From 3rd aircraft carrier to fighter jets: weapons to expect in 2021 Global Times 30 Dec 2020 -- The progress of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in modernizing and expanding its arsenal will continue over the upcoming year after an unsettling 2020 in which recently developed equipment played major roles in protecting Chinese people from COVID-19, safeguarding national sovereignty and development interests in regions like the China-India border, the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits.
- Maiden Flight Trial of SAHAYAK-NG, Air Droppable Container India PIB 30 Dec 2020 -- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of 'SAHAYAK-NG' India's first indigenously designed and developed Air Dropped Container from IL 38SD aircraft (Indian Navy) off the coast of Goa.
- Induction of Indigenous Bridging System into the Indian Army India PIB 30 Dec 2020 -- In continuation of efforts towards Atmanirbharta andin close coordination with the private industry and DRDO, the Indian Army has inducted three sets of 10-metre short span bridges, which were formally handed over on 29 December 2020 at the Talegaon facility of Larsen & Toubro Limited.
- Cabinet Approves Export of Akash Missile System and Creates a Committee for faster Approval of Exports India PIB 30 Dec 2020 -- Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat, India is growing in its capabilities of manufacturing wide variety of Defence platforms and missiles. Akash is country's important missile with over 96 percent indigenisation.
- India's Highest Weather Forecasting Centre to Help Army Boost Its Strategic Power in Himalayas Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Leh-Ladakh has a complex mountain terrain with an annual rainfall of less than 10 centimetres, making it the world's highest cold desert. The place has a very harsh and extreme climate and experiences various kinds of calamities, often leading to loss of life and property.
- Turkey-US Group on S-400 Issue Not Yet Created, Talks Underway, Ankara Source Says Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Turkey and the United States have not yet established a joint working group to discuss Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems, but are currently holding negotiations on the subject, a Turkish Foreign Ministry source told reporters on Wednesday.
- Turkey, US Set up Working Group on S-400, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu Says Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Last week, Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told the broadcaster NTV that Anakara expects the US to urgently revise its "mistaken" decision to slap sanctions over the purchase of S-400s.
- Trump administration approves billions in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- In its final days in office, the administration of US President Donald Trump has approved arms sales to three Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, amid widespread criticism of their bleak human rights record.
- US Agency Approves $4Bln Sale of 8 Apache Helicopters to Kuwait Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- The US State Department signed off on a $4 billion arms sale to Kuwait, including eight Apache AH-64E helicopters and equipment to upgrade an additional 16 older Apaches, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a press release.
- Millions of children in crisis hotspots 'on the brink of famine', warns UNICEF UN News 30 Dec 2020 -- More than 10 million children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeast Nigeria, the Central Sahel, South Sudan and Yemen will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday, warning that without urgent action, the numbers could rise further.
- Mystery Torpedo-like Object Caught by Indonesian Fisherman Suspected to be Chinese Drone Sub Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Media suspect the discovery may be an indication that the PRC is carrying out covert surveying activities in Indonesian waters. China has not made any formal statements on the matter. The two countries have a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, with part of Beijing's maritime claims overlapping with Jakarta's exclusive economic zone.
- Saudi-backed Yemeni Government Accuses Houthis of Deadly Attack on Aden Airport VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- A rocket attack on Aden airport, controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has left at least 22 people dead and 50 wounded, according to the government health ministry.
- UN chief and Yemen Envoy condemn deadly Aden airport attack UN News 30 Dec 2020 -- The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, have strongly condemned Wednesday's deadly attack on Aden airport, which is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least 26 people, and injured more than 50.
- Blasts hit Yemen's Aden airport after Saudi-backed 'government' arrives Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- Explosions have hit an airport in Yemen's southern city of Aden after a plane carrying a self-proclaimed government backed by Saudi Arabia landed from Riyadh.
- Attacks on Yemeni Officials in Aden US Dept. of State 30 Dec 2020 -- The United States strongly condemns the December 30 attacks in Aden that killed civilians and wounded many others.
- 25 Syrians killed in attack in Dayr al-Zawr Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- At least 25 people have been killed in a terrorist attack in Syria's eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.
- Syrian air defenses thwart Israeli aggression on Damascus: SANA Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- Syria says the country's air defenses have thwarted an Israeli aggression on the capital Damascus amid an upsurge in Israeli attacks on the Arab country.
- Libya's Government of National Accord to Continue Defending Tripoli, Foreign Minister Says Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- The UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) says it will continue to defend the country's capital of Tripoli and warns all sides against attempts to resume hostilities, Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala said Wednesday.
- Russian Foreign Minister and His Libyan GNA Counterpart Hold Joint Press Conference Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- The day before, the Russian foreign minister held talks with his Turkish counterpart, during which the two sides agreed to continue facilitating normalisation of the situation in Libya in every possible way.
- Myanmar Military, Arakan Army Say They Aim to Prevent Fresh Fighting in Rakhine Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- The Myanmar military on Wednesday denied that it is reinforcing troops in war-torn Rakhine state amid reports by civilians of a buildup of manpower, and said that its talks with the rebel Arakan Army are still underway to prevent further clashes in the region.
- Families of 18 Missing Rakhines Get First Interview With Myanmar Police Since March Disappearance Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- After nine months of pressing for answers about 18 Rakhine civilians who disappeared in the war-torn western Myanmar state, family members and witnesses were interviewed by police over allegations the missing men were abducted by government soldiers, relatives of the missing men told RFA on Wednesday.
- Turkish soldiers arrive in Azerbaijan for cease-fire monitoring mission: minister People's Daily 30 Dec 2020 -- Turkey sent soldiers to Azerbaijan to join Russian forces at an observation post in Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a cease-fire deal to end clashes, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.
- India, China reach no 'meaningful result' from talks over border conflict Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- India says no "meaningful" solution has been reached with China to a standoff over a section of their Himalayan border, despite several rounds of diplomatic and military talks that were held to de-escalate the border tensions between the nuclear armed neighbors.
- UN confirms closure of Darfur peacekeeping mission UN News 30 Dec 2020 -- The joint United Nations-African Union mission in the Darfur region of Sudan (UNAMID) will officially end operations on Thursday, when the Government of Sudan will take over responsibility for the protection of civilians in the area.
- Enactment of Legal Peace Legislation to Restore Sudan's Sovereign Immunities US Dept. of State 30 Dec 2020 -- With the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act on December 28, the way is clear for victims of the 1998 East African Embassy bombings, the 2000 attack on USS Cole, and the 2008 murder of USAID employee John Granville, to receive long-awaited compensation for their immeasurable losses.
- The United States Sanctions Venezuelan Officials Involved in Unjust Sentencing of the Citgo 6 US Dept. of State 30 Dec 2020 -- The United States is designating the Venezuelan judge and prosecutor who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons known as the "Citgo 6." These Americans have been unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses.
- Treasury Designates Venezuelan Officials Involved in Unjust Trial of the "Citgo 6" US Treasury 30 Dec 2020 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Venezuelan judge Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz and Venezuelan prosecutor Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza, the Venezuelan government officials who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons in Venezuela.
- US Sanctions Venezuelan Judge, Prosecutor From 'Citgo 6' Trial VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- The United States has sanctioned a Venezuelan judge and prosecutor involved in the November trial and sentencing of six former oil managers known as the Citgo 6.
- Putin Signs Amendments To 'Foreign Agents' Law That Critics Say Undermine Democracy RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a raft of legislation that human rights watchdogs and opposition politicians have said will undermine democratic processes.
- 'They Want To Shut Me Up': Russian Artist Vows To Fight 'Foreign Agent' Label RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Daria Apakhonchich is a former Red Cross volunteer. She has given Russian lessons to migrant and refugee women. And she has used her position as a performance artist to organize events to protect the environment, defend feminist causes, and protest Russian military adventurism.
- Moscow extends blacklist of UK officials banned from Russia Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- Russia has imposed sanctions against a number of UK officials in response to recent restrictive measures taken by the British government against Russian citizens over the case of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
- Russia Bars More British Officials From Entry Over Navalny Sanctions RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Russia says it has expanded its list of British citizens barred from entering the country in response to London's "unconstructive and unfriendly" decision to sanction Russian officials over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny.
- Moscow Extends Blacklist of UK Citizens Denied Entry to Russia as Tit-for-Tat for Navalny Sanctions Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Britain's Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert arrived earlier in the day at Russia's Foreign Ministry to hear an announcement on Moscow's response to the UK sanctions.
- Hospital Scandal Highlights Health Woes In Russia's Remote Kamchatka Region RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Back in 2012, Valery Karpenko had good news for the more than 300,000 residents of Kamchatka, one of Russia's remotest regions, famous for its pristine nature, active volcanoes, and poor government services, including health care.
- Spying for a Friend: Why Jonathan Pollard Spent 30 Years in US Jail for Selling Secrets to Israel Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- US citizen Jonathan Pollard, who served 30 years in jail for spying for Israel, has arrived at Ben Gurion airport. He was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Former Spy Pollard Arrives in Israel, Reports Say Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- US citizen and former Jewish American spy Jonathan Pollard, who served 30 years in jail and five years on strict parole for spying for Israel, landed in the Ben Gurion airport on Wednesday and was welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Haaretz newspaper reported.
- Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard Arrives in Israel VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- Thirty-five years after he was convicted in the United States of spying for Israel, former U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard arrived Wednesday in Tel Aviv with his wife Esther. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met him at the plane with his new Israeli identity card. Pollard, who served 30 years in a U.S. prison, was on parole for five years before the U.S. allowed him to leave the country.
- Singaporean Special Services Arrest Man, Who Spied in US for China, Security Department Says Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- The internal security department (ISD) of Singapore on Wednesday arrested the Singaporean man, Dickson Yeo Jun Wei, who was spying on the United States for China and spent 14 months in a US prison, the ISD said.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 30, 2020 PRC MofA 30 Dec 2020
- Sentencing of 10 Hong Kong detainees underscores rule of law Global Times 30 Dec 2020 -- A local court in Shenzhen on Wednesday sentenced 10 Hong Kong detainees to imprisonment from seven months to three years for illegally crossing the border into the Chinese mainland and organizing the crime in August, after a two-day trial where the 10 suspects had pleaded guilty.
- Shenzhen court sentences 10 HK detainees for imprisonment from seven months to three years Global Times 30 Dec 2020 -- Shenzhen's Yantian District People's Court on Wednesday sentenced 10 Hong Kong detainees to imprisonment from seven months to three years for organizing illegal border crossing and illegally entering Chinese mainland waters in August, after a two-day trial where the 10 suspects had already pleaded guilty.
- Hong Kong activist sentenced to 4 months in prison for insulting national flag, illegal assembly People's Daily 30 Dec 2020 -- Hong Kong activist Tony Chung Hon-lam was sentenced to 4 months for insulting the national flag and participating in an illegally assembly, according to local media on Tuesday.
- Chinese court jails 10 Hong Kong fugitives, returns 2 minors Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese court has sentenced 10 of the 12 Hong Kong fugitives who sought to flee to Taiwan by boat to up to three years in prison.
- Court in China's Shenzen Jails 10 of Hong Kong 12 For 'Illegal Border Crossing' Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- A court in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Wednesday handed down jail terms of up to three years to 10 of the 12 Hong Kong protesters detained on Aug. 23 as they tried to flee a national security crackdown in the city, on charges linked to "illegally crossing a border."
- Lawyer-Turned-Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan Hit Out at Judge During Trial: Lawyer Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- Jailed citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for posting reports from Wuhan during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the city, spoke up in court and challenged the judge during her trial earlier this week, RFA has learned.
- China, EU complete long talks over bilateral investment treaty Global Times 30 Dec 2020 -- China and the EU have completed negotiations over an epic bilateral investment treaty (BIT), signaling that the top agenda for bilateral economic and trade relations has run its planned course for the world's top developed economy and the largest developing economy. A comprehensive, balanced and high-level investment deal is expected to be reached soon.
- North Korea set to open massive party meeting Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to open a massive ruling party congress next month for the first time in five years, where he is expected to call for more efforts to protect the economy against harsh United States sanctions.
- UN Agencies Appeal to China Not to Repatriate Five North Korean Refugees Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- Five North Koreans in Chinese government custody would face grave danger if they are sent back to the North, said a United Nations appeal made public Wednesday that urged Beijing to uphold its U.N. member obligations against returning refugees to places they might be harmed.
- 22nd Meeting of Political Bureau of 7th Central Committee of WPK Held KCNA 30 Dec 2020 -- The 22nd meeting of the Political Bureau of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) was held at the office building of the Party Central Committee on December 29.
- Gen Soleimani's blood unites region in opposing US arrogance, presence: Iran's Foreign Ministry ISNA 30 Dec 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry in a tweet stressed that General Soleimani's blood united the region in opposing US arrogance and presence.
- Responsibility of consequences of any possible adventure in region would fall on Washington: Zarif ISNA 30 Dec 2020 -- Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to the suspicious moves of the US in the region and stressed, "Responsibility of consequences of any possible adventure in the region would fall on Washington".
- Iran decides damages sum for victim families of Ukraine plane crash Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- The Iranian government has decided the amount of compensation payable to families of victims of a Ukrainian plane crash days before the first anniversary of the incident that happened near Tehran in January this year at the height of military tensions between Iran and the United States.
- Iran allocates $150,000 each for victims of Ukraine crash incident IRNA 30 Dec 2020 -- Iranian cabinet members agreed in a session on Wednesday to allocate 150,000 dollars or its euro equal to each family of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in Jan, 2020.
- Iran Allocates $150,000 For Families Of Each Victim Of Ukrainian Plane Crash RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Iran says it has allocated $150,000 for the families of each of the 176 victims of a Ukrainian passenger plane that was downed in Iranian airspace nearly a year ago.
- Iran to Pay $150,000 to Each Family of Victims Killed in Downed Ukrainian Flight Sputnik 30 Dec 2020 -- Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was downed on January 8, 2020, by a pair of missiles deployed by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) moments after the airliner took off from the Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew were killed. Iranian officials have blamed the downing on human error.
- Pakistan's Anti-Graft Body Arrests Opposition Leader RFE/RL Gandhara 30 Dec 2020 -- Pakistani authorities say they have arrested a key opposition leader accused of having assets higher than his known sources of income.
- Turkey hands life sentence to 92 people over 2016 coup attempt Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- A court in Turkey has handed life sentences to 92 people, including former high-ranking army officials, for involvement in the 2016 failed coup.
- MPs overwhelmingly endorse Brexit trade agreement Press TV 30 Dec 2020 -- As expected British MPs have overwhelmingly endorsed the post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU) and moved it one step closer to full ratification.
- UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: UK statement on Overseas Territories UK FCDO 30 Dec 2020 -- The UK government is providing extra support and reassurance to Overseas Territories excluded from the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
- Opposition Activists Detained For 'Incitement' as Cambodia Court Sentences Acting Party Chief Radio Free Asia 30 Dec 2020 -- Authorities in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh sent three opposition activists to Prey Sar Prison Wednesday for pre-trial detention on charges of "incitement to commit a crime" after taking part in a protest, prompting human rights groups to decry the move as a restriction on freedom of expression.
- Romania, Moldova's New President Vow Fresh Start After Pro-Russia Leader's Exit RFE/RL 30 Dec 2020 -- Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and his Moldovan counterpart, Maia Sandu, have vowed to open a fresh page in relations as Moldova's new president plies a pro-EU and anti-corruption agenda.
- Gulf Arab Support of Lebanon Waning, Analysts Say VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- Lebanon should not expect help from Persian Gulf Arab states in bailing the country out from its severe financial and economic woes, according to analysts.
- Uganda Authorities Arrest Bobi Wine During Campaign Stop VOA 30 Dec 2020 -- Ugandan soldiers arrested opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine during a campaign stop Wednesday in the Kalangala district. This is the third time Wine has been arrested since launching his campaign to unseat President Yoweri Museveni.
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