Archive for September, 2014


September 17, 2014

Fox News on September 16, 2014, reported that National Police Gen. Rodolfo Palomino has told The Associated Press that members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia bombed a truck that was carrying 14 police officers on a road in Tierradentro in Cordoba province, 415 kilometers (258 miles) northwest of the capital, Bogota. Excerpts below:

Palomino said that seven officers were killed, five were seriously injured and two were uninjured in Tuesday’s attack.

That attack comes amid ongoing peace talks between the leftist rebel group…


September 13, 2014

Fox News on September 11, 2014, reported that President Obama earned positive marks from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for announcing an unequivocal campaign to destroy the Islamic State, but Republicans are worried the president is relying on the wrong military model to go after the terror group. Excerpts below:

In his prime-time address on the night of September 10, Obama described a four-point “counterterrorism” strategy and compared the operation to efforts against al-Shabaab in Somalia and an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.

But Republican lawmakers suggested the Islamic State represents a far bigger challenge than the Islamic militants who operate in Somalia and Yemen – and said the U.S. approach to those countries still hasn’t rooted out the terror threat.

“These countries are still extremely unstable,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News on September 11.

Rubio said he’s glad Obama has “come around” on recognizing the threat posed by the Islamic State – and on pushing to arm moderate Syrian rebels – but voiced concern about the strategy.

In interviews with Fox News, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and John McCain, R-Ariz., each pointed to Obama’s remarks about Yemen and Somalia in questioning the president’s plan.

“Both are hotbeds of terrorism. Our approach has not worked in Yemen and Somalia,” Cruz said.

“He compares ISIS to Yemen and Somalia. There’s no comparison,” McCain said.

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are calling for the president to build on his current approach by approving additional special forces and advisers for the mission against ISIS. They also called on Middle East countries like Jordan and Egypt to contribute forces for ground operations in Syria.

House Speaker John Boehner, in a written statement, said he’s concerned the president views the anti-ISIS efforts as “an isolated counterterrorism campaign, rather than as what it must be: an all-out effort to destroy an enemy that has declared a holy war against America and the principles for which we stand.”

The speaker said Thursday that “airstrikes alone will not accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.” He said “somebody’s boots have to be on the ground,” while suggesting Syrian rebels could fill that role.

Congressional leaders nevertheless are voicing support for an expanded military mission of some kind in the Middle East.

“Over the next week, following a series of briefings, Congress will work with the administration to ensure that our forces have the resources they need to carry out these missions,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

Meanwhile, rank-and-file Republicans met privately in the House to plan their response.

“We do not want to go home without voting on some measure that goes toward destroying and defeating ISIS wherever it exists,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, referring to the militants.

Congress is in a brief two-week pre-election session, and the president’s request is an unexpected addition to what had, until recently, seemed a period devoted to domestic issues such as extending government funding beyond the end of the current budget year.

In his speech, McConnell envisioned a “multi-year campaign” that would extend beyond Obama’s time in office.

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., told reporters a 15-year conflict may be in the offing and that the country needs to adopt a “wartime footing” when it comes to defense spending.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a speech that he supports several elements of Obama’s strategy, including an expansion of airstrikes and training and equipping the rebels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


September 10, 2014

Washington Times on September 5, 2014, reported on a new laser weapon Boeing is developing for the U.S. Army. It has cleared a major test by cutting through fog to destroy enemy targets. Excerpts below:

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) successfully took out drones and 60mm mortars under sub-optimal conditions during tests in Florida earlier this year, the company announced Sept. 4.

Fog and wind did not detract from its performance, which paves the way for the weapon to be used at sea.

“With capabilities like HEL MD, Boeing is demonstrating that directed energy technologies can augment existing kinetic strike weapons and offer a significant reduction in cost per engagement,” Boeing Directed Energy Systems director Dave DeYoung said in a press release

Tests in Florida were conducted by a scaled-down version of the weapon to destroy 150 targets at Eglin Air Force Base, Wired magazine reported Aug. 5. Boeing’s 10-kilowatt laser will eventually reach 50 or 60 kilowatts.

Efforts to take the HEL MD from the drawing board to a deployment-worthy weapon have taken close to a decade, the magazine reported.

has a $36 million contract with the Army to make it happen.


September 8, 2014

Voice of America News on August 29, 2012, reported about the Republican party adopting a platform that is strongly critical of China… Excerpts below:

The Republican platform was adopted at the party’s national convention in Tampa and promised to get tough on China for the alleged undervaluing of its currency and theft of intellectual property. It also condemns what it calls China’s “destabilizing claims in the South China Sea” and vowed to continue U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, two issues that have riled China in the past.

The tougher rhetoric then mirrored that of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has promised to designate China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office, if elected.

Comment: When in 2014 the Cold War seems to be returning with Russia invading Ukraine and NATO increasing defense spending and preparing a mobile force for threatened countries in Eastern Europe it is interesting to note that China in 2012 accused Mitt Romney for “Cold War rhetoric”. Romney also declared Russia being the number one enemy of the United States. With events in Ukraine during 2014 the Romney statement seems fairly accurate.


September 7, 2014

Radio Free Europe on September 6, 2014, reported that Russia has dispatched a group of vessels to the Arctic with the aim of restoring a permanent naval base for the Northern Fleet. Excerpts below:

Russian media say the detachment, including two amphibious assault ships and an anti-submarine vessel, set off from Severomorsk, near the Norwegian border, on September 6.
It is carrying personnel and equipment to a Soviet-era military base on the eastern New Siberian Islands.

A year ago, 10 ships went to the New Siberian Islands to deliver the first equipment and supplies to rebuild the base, which was abandoned in 1993.

Russia is boosting its naval presence in the Arctic as other countries such as Canada and Norway seek to claim its rich natural resources.


September 6, 2014

Fox News on September 5, 2014, reported that as President Obama and U.S. allies weigh the next steps in the fight against the Islamic State, lawmakers and military analysts say the strategy for uprooting the terror network must involve striking at its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria – using airstrikes as well as allies on the ground. Excerpts below:

“You must hit the enemy at the source and that is Raqqa,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told Fox News.

In a joint statement September 5 from the NATO summit, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel only briefly addressed the issue, saying: “We will form a multinational task force to share more information about the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and from Syria into Iraq.”

Col. Derek Harvey, a former senior adviser to Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, said the key to defeating the Islamic State, or ISIS, requires “severing the link among Raqqa, Mosul and Tikrit,” areas the group has taken over in recent months that have become ISIS power centers. “You must cut off their communication and supply lines. This will put great stress on ISIS,” he said.

Harvey agreed with Kinzinger that strikes inside eastern Syria at the Islamic State’s base in Raqqa would hurt ISIS and said airstrikes would meet minimal resistance. “The SA-6s and SA-4s [surface-to-air missile launchers] are located in the west in Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, and we would not be flying in those areas. You don’t need permission to fly into Syria,” Harvey said. He also said that U.S. special operations forces could embed with Sunni tribes in the Euphrates River basin, tribes that are currently fighting both the Assad regime and ISIS.

Harvey said by working with moderate Sunni tribes, Christians and Kurdish Syrians in the northeast, a powerful alliance to defeat the Islamic State in Syria has the potential to develop. Obama addressed the potential of working with these groups at his NATO press conference in Wales on September 5, saying: “We are going to have to find effective partners on the ground [in Syria].”

Some see northeast Syria as a critical component of any comprehensive strategy to rout the Islamic State.

Walid Phares, a Fox News Middle East and terrorism analyst, said northeast Syria, home to Christians and Kurdish Syrians, would be an ideal place to form a “safe zone,” a place to base any clandestine operations inside Syria.

A Kurdish representative to the United States says a staging area within northeast Syria could be the city of Qamishli, located along the Syrian-Turkish border, home to ethnic Syrian Kurds, Christians and moderate Sunni Arabs. The city also contains an international airport, useful to bring in supplies. “If the U.S. needs a staging area inside Syria, this could potentially be an ideal location because the people there are sympathetic to the West and not ISIS,” said Kurdish director of U.S. congressional affairs Karwan Zebari.

In Iraq, a source close to the Kurdish peshmerga fighters thinks a two-pronged approach of attacking ISIS in Iraq and Syria could be successful, but said more military aid is necessary — and Irbil in northern Iraq would be an ideal staging ground.

“The peshmerga would like to see U.S. special forces embedded on the front lines to attack ISIS more effectively,” the source close to the peshmerga told Fox News. “They don’t have to fire a shot, but they do need to be outside the base to help us.”

“How do you provide intelligence inside the base? How do you provide real training? Special Forces need to be on the front lines to make that happen.” he added. “We need trained snipers to take out ISIS from a mile away. We don’t have sniper rifles or the capability to use them efficiently.”

In a New York Times op-ed last week, Kerry hinted that not all support in the fight against ISIS would be overt. “In this battle there is a role for almost every country. Some will provide military assistance, direct and indirect,” he wrote.

The urgency to cripple ISIS has been echoed by congressional Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “We need to be working now, full-speed ahead, with other countries, to destroy ISIS. That should be our No. 1 priority,” Warren said September 3 in an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric.


September 4, 2014

BBC News on September 4, 2014, reported that world leaders are due to meet Ukraine’s president before the Nato summit gets under way in Wales. Excerpts below:

Petro Poroshenko will update US and EU leaders on discussions with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

France has ramped up the pressure on Mr Putin by suspending delivery of two navy assault ships to Russia.

Some 2,600 people have been killed in five months of fighting between Ukraine’s army and rebels in the east of the country.

The West says it has evidence that President Putin is supporting the rebels with training and arms,….

The conflict has forced more than a million people from their homes in eastern Ukraine, according to latest United Nations estimates.

The two-day Nato summit in Newport is expected to be dominated by the crisis in Ukraine, but leaders will also discuss the rise of Islamic State (IS), and Afghanistan.


September 3, 2014

Washington Times on August 30, 2014, reported that Ukrainian troops evacuated from the rebel-held town of Starobesheve, eastern Ukraine…Ukrainian government forces have succumbed to a sequence of military failures. Excerpts below:

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite claimed Russia is practically at war with Europe ahead of a meeting with European Union leaders which will likely result in more sanctions on Russia.

“It is the fact that Russia is in a war state against Ukraine. That means it is in a state of war against a country which would like to be closely integrated with the EU. Practically Russia is in a state of war against Europe,” Ms. Grybauskaite said according to The Daily Mail.

“That means we need to help Ukraine to … defend its territory and its people and to help militarily, especially with the military materials to help Ukraine to defend itself because today Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe,” she added.


September 2, 2014

BBC News on September 2, 2014, reported that Ukraine’s defence minister has accused Russia of launching a “great war” that could claim tens of thousands of lives. Excerpts below:

The comments came after Ukrainian troops were forced to flee Luhansk airport in the east of the country amid an offensive by pro-Russian rebels.

Meanwhile, crisis talks between Ukraine officials, rebels and Russian envoys have broken up without agreement.

“A great war has arrived at our doorstep – the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War Two,” Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey wrote on Facebook on September 1.

“Unfortunately, the losses in such a war will be measured not in the hundreds but thousands and tens of thousands,” he added.


September 1, 2014

NATO on August 29, 2014, reported on statement of the Secretary General after a meeting on Russia’s serious escalation of its military aggression against Ukraine. The meeting was held at Ukraine’s request. Excerpts below:

Despite Moscow’s hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine. This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilise Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine. Russia continues to supply the separatists with tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers. Russia has fired on Ukraine from both Russian territory and within Ukraine itself. Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine’s borders. This is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Today, we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine.
We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s continued disregard of its international obligations.