Military Intervention

Turkey to Host NATO Ground Forces, Multiple Assassination Attempts in the Middle East: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Safe after Convoy Attacked, Ahmadinejad Survives Assassination Attempt During a Visit to an Oil Refinery Unit, U.S. Investigators: Yemen’s President Hit By Advanced U.S.-Made Missile, Afghan President’s Brother Killed, Turkey Tells West it Might Launch Offensive against Syria, Tehran Warns Ankara it Will Bomb U.S. Bases in Turkey, Iranian Message Conveyed to Saudi Arabia: the Syrian Regime is a Red Line, Supporting the Unrest Means that Arab Monarchies in the Persian Gulf Will Not Be Spared, U.S. Defense Secretary Visits Iraq to Extract New Troop Agreement, Rockets Hit Baghdad Green Zone as Leon Panetta Visits, Israel Conducts Nationwide Drills Simulating Missile Attacks from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Gaza, Iran’s Large Missile Drills Message of “Deterrent Power”, Saudi Arabia to Remove Most Troops from Bahrain, Plans to Buy $90Bn Arms from U.S., Will Buy Hundreds of Tanks from Germany, Lebanon Lawmakers Approve Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Backed Government, Timely Response: Lebanon International Tribunal Files Indictment against Hezbollah Members in Hariri Case

Turkey to host NATO ground forces

The alliance would transfer its ground forces from a military base in the city of Heidelberg in southwestern Germany and another outpost in Spain to the Izmir Air Station in western Turkey, Journal of Turkish Weekly reported earlier in the month.

The base, NATO’s oldest stronghold in Turkey, currently accommodates 400 operational and technical forces.

The move constitutes a part of sweeping reforms in the alliance, which according to its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen would ultimately “make NATO leaner, more flexible, and better able to deal with future challenges.”

Outlining the changes, Rasmussen has said, “We have agreed to reshape NATO’s command structure, making it more efficient, more deployable, and more compact.”

The reforms include effort to “streamline the agencies, which run individual NATO projects, such as ground surveillance and strategic airlift,” he added.

The developments come amid Turkey’s recent adoption of a toughened stance vis-à-vis its southern neighbor Syria, which has been grappling with unprecedented unrest since mid-March.

The turmoil, which the government blames on armed groups and foreign elements, has left scores of people dead, including many soldiers and other members of its security forces.

Ankara has, meanwhile, threatened Damascus with military intervention in the countrywide unrest, which has been troubling the latter since mid-March. It has also created an expansive military camp close to the common border.

Early June, armed groups, who had received their weapons from Turkey, killed 120 Syrian police and other members of the security forces in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour before burying them in mass graves.

Press TV | June 19, 2011

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan safe after convoy attacked

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday one policeman was killed and another injured when his convoy was attacked on its way to a campaign rally.

Erdogan was not in the convoy at the time of the attack and was airlifted to his next stop in a helicopter, NTV news reported.

The attack happened in northern Turkey, between the cities of Kastamonu and Cankiri, where the prime minister had a campaign event.

A bomb exploded in front of the police convoy escorting the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party bus after it made a stop in Kastamonu.

Continue Reading >> CNN | May 4, 2011

Ahmadinejad survives assassination attempt

A large explosion set fire to an oil refinery unit in Abadan, Iran’s biggest oil city, during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday, May 24. He came to inaugurate a unit for expanding production capacity by 4.2 million liters a day. Two people were killed and 12 injured. The blast was attributed by officials to a gas leak or “a technical fault” in one of the units, without specifying whether it was the same unit Ahmadinejad was scheduled to visit. However, according to DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources, the explosion was triggered by his pushing the button to activate it.

Continue Reading >> DEBKAfile | May 24, 2011

US investigators reportedly say Yemen’s Saleh hit by advanced US-made missile

An investigation team from the United States has reportedly found that an attack that wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh and several senior members of his government while performing the Friday prayers in his Sana’a presidential compound earlier in June was carried out by an advanced US-made missile designed for special assassination operations, sources close to the probe told Al Arabiya.

“The missile is very advanced and still not widely used. Only the United States and Russia currently employ this weapon,” a source said.

Continue Reading >> Al Arabiya | May 20, 2011

Afghan president’s brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, killed

The half-brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been assassinated in Kandahar.

Ahmad Wali Karzai, a leading power broker in the country’s south, was shot dead at his home in a blow to Nato’s battle against the Taliban in the area.

He was shot twice by his long-time head of security, Sardar Mohammed, who was himself killed almost immediately.

The Taliban said they carried out the attack, calling it one of their top achievements in 10 years of war.

But Khaled Pashtun, a Kandahar province politician, was sceptical about the Taliban claims, saying the Islamist group had claimed responsibility for many attacks in the past without much evidence of their involvement.

The White House condemned the assassination “in the strongest possible terms”.

Continue Reading >> BBC News | July 12, 2011

Turkey tells West it might launch offensive against Syria

Turkish officials have told Western countries that Turkey might launch a military operation in Syria’s north to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Monday.

Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | June 27, 2011

Iran threatens Turkey for support of Assad’s victims in Syria

Iranian regime-run site Entekhab reports:

According to sources close to the Iranian regime, who were interviewed by Al-Manar [Hezbollah affiliated TV run out of Lebanon], Iran’s resolve is as strong as a rock and defending Damascus is as much of a priority as defending Beirut and Tehran. … Tehran does not meddle in any of the events taking place in Syria.

Quoting the Iraqi daily newspaper Al-Akhbar, Entekhab wrote:

Tehran has threatened Turkey by announcing that Iran will bomb every single NATO and U.S. base in Turkey, should they allow any attacks on Syria to be launched from within Turkish soil. The Iranian regime believes protecting Syria to be as important as protecting both Lebanon and Iran.

Though Iranian regime officials have claimed that this threat has not affected Turkish-Iranian relations, there are reports that privately a number of Turkish officials are extremely incensed by the Iranian regime’s belligerence. So far, neither Iran nor Turkey has publicly commented on this matter.

Continue Reading >> Prairie Pundit | June 28, 2011

US defense secretary visits Iraq to extract new troop agreement

The Obama administration’s recently installed defense secretary, Leon Panetta, flew unannounced into Iraq on Monday to pressure the Iraqi government to finalise a formal treaty to sanction the continued occupation of the country by American forces.

Continue Reading >> WSWS | July 14, 2011

Iraq Green Zone Attacked As Panetta Visits

AFP reports “Rockets Hit Baghdad Green Zone as Panetta Visits.” Aswat Al Iraq reports: “U.S. Defense Secretary’s visit aims to keep U.S. forces in Iraq, MP says.”

Continue Reading >> infoZine | July 11, 2011

Israel conducts missile attack drills

Israel Sunday began a nationwide, week-long drill simulating missile attacks from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Gaza.

Continue Reading >> UPI | June 19, 2011

Iran’s missile drills message of “deterrent power”

A ballistic missile is launched during the second day of military exercises codenamed Great Prophet-6, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards fired 14 missiles in the exercise. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Iranian lawmakers said that the missile maneuvers of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) convey Iran’s message of “might” and “deterrent power”, the local English language satellite Press TV reported on Wednesday.

Continue Reading >> People’s Daily | June 30, 2011

Saudi Arabia to remove most troops from Bahrain

Saudi Arabia is to withdraw most of its security forces from Bahrain starting on Monday after deciding the situation is calmer in the Gulf Arab country after protests in February and March.

Continue Reading >> Reuters | June 28, 2011

S. Arabia plans to buy $90bn arms from US

Saudi Arabia plans to raise its arms purchases from the United States to $90 billion from the $60 billion announced last year, as the kingdom seeks to upgrade it navy, diplomats in the Gulf said this week.

Continue Reading >> Dawn | July 7, 2011

Saudi Arabia in deal to buy German tanks

Saudi Arabia is buying hundreds of tanks from Germany, Saudi security sources said, in a multibillion euro deal that German opposition lawmakers say contravenes the country’s export guidelines for military hardware.

The oil-rich Gulf state has bought 44 Leopard tanks in the first phase of the deal for a total of 200 tanks in coming months, the sources said.

Continue Reading >> The China Post | July 6, 2011

Lebanon lawmakers approve Hezbollah-backed government

Western-backed coalition walks out of parliament after Hezbollah-run cabinet wins vote of confidence.

The Hezbollah-backed Lebanese government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati won Thursday a parliamentary vote of confidence after three days of heated debate.

Lebanon’s new government won the votes of 68 lawmakers in the 128-seat parliament.

Parliamentarians loyal to former prime minister Saad Hariri of the Western-backed coalition walked out of the chamber as the voting began.

Continue Reading >> Haaretz | July 7, 2011

Lebanon tribunal files indictment against Hezbollah members in Hariri case

The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on Thursday released to Lebanese authorities an indictment with four arrest warrants in relation to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. The warrants were issued for Mustafa Badreddine, Salim al-Ayyash, Hasan Aineysseh and Asad Sabra, who are alleged members of Hezbollah. Lebanon has 30 days to arrest the suspects before the STL personally summons them and makes the indictment public. In a press conference, Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated that “the indictments, from whatever source, [are] not sentences, and the charges need to contain compelling evidence beyond any doubt, and that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty.” Many have interpreted this statement as an indication that Hezbollah members will not be arrested. Although Mikati was endorsed in the election by Hezbollah, he said he will not “take sides.”

Continue Reading >> Jurist | June 30, 2011

NATO Seeks to Disintegrate Libya and Plunder its Rich Oil Resources, Russia and China Concerned By Western Interference in Middle East and North Africa, Condemn the Idea of Ground Military Operation, Russian Special Forces Kill Top Militant in Breakaway Chechnya, Moscow Will Hold Large-Scale Naval Drills With Norway, China Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Hold Counterterrorism Drill in the Breakaway Region of Xinjiang, the Scenario Called on the Three Countries to Coordinate a Manhunt for anti-China Separatists, Beijing Sees a Role amid Pakistan-U.S. Rift, Urges World to Back Pakistan in Terror Fight, Indian Prime Minister Plans Trip to Afghanistan

NATO Seeks to Disintegrate Libya

A senior Libyan politician warned of the NATO’s suspicious moves in his country, saying that the West is seeking to prolong the war in Libya in a bid to disintegrate the North African country to plunder its rich oil resources.

“We know that the NATO coalition seeks its own interests by prolonging the war and wants to divide the country into several parts, but the Libyan nation is opposed to this option,” Secretary-General of Libya’s National Movement Meftah Lamloum told FNA on Sunday.

Lamloum expressed his deep suspicion about NATO’s goals in Libya, and cautioned that the western countries are seeking to plunder the country’s rich oil resources.

He further opposed foreign military intervention in his country, and underlined that the crisis in Libya can only be settled by the Libyan people.

Since the revolution against Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi’s regime began in mid-February, hundreds have been killed and injured in clashes between Libyan revolutionaries and pro-Gaddafi forces.

Many civilians have reportedly been killed since the Western coalition unleashed a major air campaign against the Libyan regime forces on March 19 under a UN no-fly zone mandate.

The Western military alliance has refused to apologize for the deadly bombardments.

Meantime, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also cautioned that the West is using the conflict in Libya as an excuse to sell its arms productions.

“They (the West) have frozen (Libya’s) funds under the pretext of the war and right now they are selling their stockpiled armaments and they withdraw the money for these arms sales from the account of those killed (in the war),” President Ahmadinejad said in Tehran on Thursday.

Fars News Agency | May 8, 2011

Russia, China concerned by western interference in Middle East

Russia and China are concerned about the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and will tighten cooperation in the region. The two countries’ foreign ministers made the decision during talks in Moscow.

Continue Reading >> Press TV | May 6, 2011

Russia kills top al-Qaeda militant in Chechnya

Hot on the heels of the United States special forces operation that ended in the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Russia says its own forces have killed a top al-Qaeda militant in Chechnya.

Continue Reading >> Mail & Guardian Online | May 4, 2011

Russia, Norway to hold joint naval drills next week

Russia and Norway will hold large-scale naval exercise Pomor 2011 on May 11-16, a spokesman for Russia’s Northern Fleet said on Friday.

The drills in the Barents and Norwegian seas will involve Russian Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov from the Northern Fleet, Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen class frigate Helge Ingstad, coastal guard vessels and naval aircraft.

“The drills will include artillery firing at air and surface targets, anti-submarine warfare, an anti-piracy mission, and the freeing of an oil platform or a commercial ship from armed extremists,” Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga said.

Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | May 6, 2011

China, Central Asian states hold anti-terror drill

Security forces from China and two Central Asian neighbors practiced hunting down violent separatists in a counterterrorism drill along a border area where ethnic Muslim rebels have staged attacks against Beijing’s rule, the government said Saturday.

Friday’s one-day exercise involved forces from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as well as China and took place along their borders in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, the government and media reports said.

The scenario called on the three countries to coordinate a manhunt for anti-China separatists who had set up a training camp on the Chinese side of the border, the China News Service said. Flushed out, the rebels hijacked a tourist bus that television footage showed black-suited tactical units storming, shattering the windows to get inside.

Continue Reading >> The Associated Press | May 7, 2011

China sees a role amid Pakistan-U.S. rift

Renewed strains in relations between Pakistan and the United States following last week’s killing of Osama bin Laden have been seen in China as opening the door for closer engagement with Islamabad.

According to officials and analysts here, China is keen to further tighten its already close relationship with its long-term strategic ally, driven by the view that the country is going to play a crucial, even defining, role in Afghanistan, amid declining U.S. influence there.

Continue Reading >> The Hindu | May 8, 2011

China urges world to back Pakistan in terror fight

China reaffirmed its support on Thursday for efforts by its ally Pakistan to combat terrorism after the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US forces, and urged the world to help Islamabad.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu stopped short of directly criticising the daring raid by US special forces on Pakistani soil that ended with bin Laden’s death but said national sovereignty “should be respected” at all times.

Continue Reading >> AFP | May 5, 2011

Eye on Afghan endgame, PM plans trip to Kabul

[…] Though Singh has been planning the visit to Afghanistan for sometime now, the recent developments there as well as the killing of Bin Laden have “brought a sense of immediacy to the whole thing”, sources explained.

Continue Reading >> Hindustan Times | May 7, 2011

Washington Provoking China and Russia in Mediterranean Sea, the Main Objective Behind Engineering the Libyan War and Syrian Unrest is to Remove the Two Major Powers from the Region, Pakistan and China Holding Joint Military Exercises, Osama Bin Laden Supposedly Found Hiding Near top Pakistani Army Base, U.S. and Saudi Arabia Trying to Wean China off Iranian Oil, China Focuses on Stability Says Pakistan Made “Important Contributions” to International Fight against Terrorism, Vladimir Putin “Dumbfounded” Over NATO Operation in Libya, Moscow Concerned Over U.S. anti-Missile Base in Romania, Will Deliver 3 Combat Helicopters to Peru

U.S. Provoking China and Russia in Mediterranean

The United States is at the risk of a war with China and Russia as its main objective behind engineering the Libyan war and Syrian unrest is to remove the two major powers from the Mediterranean, a senior former U.S. official has warned.

“Washington is all for invading Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to… clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean,” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, said during an interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

Continue Reading >> The Journal of Turkish Weekly | April 28, 2011

Pakistan, China to hold joint military exercises

Pakistan and China will hold two joint military exercises in 2011, a Pakistani senior military leader said Tuesday.

The two exercises, one army drill and one air force one, will be held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China, said General Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Continue Reading >> China Daily | February 23, 2011

Frenemies: U.S. ally in hot seat after bin Laden found in Pakistani army town

U.S. officials have left little doubt that they did not sufficiently trust their counterparts in Pakistan to keep quiet on the plan to send a team of U.S. special forces and CIA operatives into the country on Sunday to kill Osama bin Laden. And now that the whole world knows U.S. forces found and killed bin Laden in a large, conspicuously fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani military town less than forty miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, American officials are likewise making it clear that they don’t fully buy the Pakistani government’s see-no-evil line on bin Laden’s whereabouts. It’s hard for Pakistani military leaders in particular to make a credible case that they were shocked–shocked!–to learn bin Laden was right there under their noses; the Pakistani army, after all, has a college in Abbottabad about 800 yards away from the compound where bin Laden was found and killed.

Continue Reading >> Yahoo News | May 2, 2011

How U.S. trying to wean China off Iranian oil

The United States collaborated with Saudi Arabia to increase crude oil supplies to China at the expense of Iran, U.S. diplomatic cables show. The move was designed to hurt Iran and win Beijing’s support for sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.

China has long worried that oil supplies from Iran could be choked off if Beijing sides too closely with the West over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activity, which opponents say is intended to give it the means to assemble nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful.

But as Saudi deliveries of crude increased to China over the past years, so has Beijing’s support for U.N. sanctions against Tehran — although Chinese state oil conglomerates have been moving into the vacuum created by the withdrawal of most major players from the Iranian oil patch.

Continue Reading >> Reuters | May 2, 2011

China focuses on stability in Pakistan

China has indicated it will deepen cooperation with Pakistan on counterterrorism issues and back its long-term strategic ally’s efforts to maintain stability, in the wake of renewed international concern over the country’s efforts to clamp down on terrorist groups on its soil following Osama bin Laden’s killing.

Continue Reading >> The Hindu | May 3, 2011

China says Pakistan made “important contributions” to international fight against terrorism

China on Tuesday said Pakistan has made “important contributions” to the fight against terror worldwide following the U.S. announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death.

“We noticed that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry has pledged not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist attacks against any country and it will continue to support the world’s anti-terror efforts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told a regular media briefing.

Jiang said the south Asian country is at the anti-terror front-line, and its anti-terror resolve is unwavering and its action powerful.

Continue Reading >> Xinhuanet | May 3, 2011

Putin says ‘dumbfounded’ over NATO operation in Libya

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continued on Wednesday to criticize NATO military operations in Libya, saying that he was “dumb-founded” over how easy decisions are made to use force against countries.

When asked by a Swedish journalist, Putin, who is currently on a visit in Stockholm, said “this happens despite human rights and humanity concerns which the civilized world is believed to advocate,” apparently referring to reports about NATO planes bombing civilian objects in Libya.

“Don’t you think that there is a serious controversy between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “misbalance” should be eliminated.

Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | April 27, 2011

US antimissile base to be deployed in Romania

The US and Romania have agreed on the deployment of US missile defence elements on Romanian soil.

Continue Reading >> Voice of Russia | May 3, 2011

Russia to deliver 3 combat helicopters to Peru

The Peruvian Air Force will receive next week three Russian combat helicopters intended for military operations in remote areas of the country.

Continue Reading >> Andina | May 4, 2011

Russia Hopes Turkey Will Eventually Give the Green Light to the South Stream Gas Pipeline Project, “Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”, “Project is Not in the Best Interest of Ukraine and the Country is Working against it”, Iran Plans to Invest $90 Billion in South Pars Gas Field, U.K. Royal Dutch Shell Drilling 17 Gas Wells in China, Beijing Urges Quick End to American-Led Airstrikes in Libya, Considers the Security Situation in the Asia-Pacific as “Volatile”, Points to the U.S. Reinforcement of Military Alliances and Rising Suspicions in the Region, Seeks to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours, Will Stick to a Defensive Military Doctrine, The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India Not China, South Korea U.S. Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea, Singapore Thailand U.S. Conclude Military Drill, Naval Exercises Between the Philippines and Malaysia, Venezuela’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America, Joint Ghana U.S. Jungle Warfare Exercise Ends

Russia hopes Turkey will approve South Stream

Russia hopes Turkey will eventually give the green light to the section of the South Stream gas pipeline project that crosses its territory, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Turkey has not given its consent to the laying of part of the 15.5-billion-euro marine pipeline across its Black Sea territory. South Stream is designed to diversify Russian gas export routes, and will stretch to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and then on to Italy and Austria.

[…] The land section of the pipeline will go across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, with whom Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements.

Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 22, 2011

“Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey would still abide by the terms of a 2009 agreement with Russia over a proposed underwater pipeline that will carry natural gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.

South Stream, controlled by Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni, is planned to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to Europe via Italy and Austria. In an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman, Yıldız reaffirmed the Turkish position on the $21.5 billion pipeline project called South Stream, saying nothing had changed on the Turkish side. “We are still waiting for the environmental impact studies, as well as feasibility studies, on South Stream to see if the required criteria demanded by Turkey are met. If met, there is no question we would give our approval to the project,” he said.

Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 26, 2011

Minister: Ukraine Works Against South Stream

The South Stream natural gas pipeline project is not in the best interest of Ukraine and the country is working against it, according to Ukrainian Minister of Energy Yuriy Boyko.

Boyko said his country is undergoing “tense discussions” with Russia, the main country supporting the project, set to deliver gas to southern and central Europe, bypassing Ukraine.

“South Stream is a political project of our Russian partners, who want to create an excess of transit capacities for gas, like what they did back in the day for oil,” said the Ukrainian minister, quoted by MIGnews.

Boyko said that in collaboration with Ukraine’s “EU partners,” the country will be putting efforts so that in the end the pipeline be not built.

Sofia News Agency | April 2, 2011

Iran Plans to Invest $90B in South Pars

Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to invest about $90 billion in South Pars gas field in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said.

According to Mirkazemi, about $60 billion of the mentioned amount will be allocated to the upstream projects and about $30 billion to the downstream sector, SHANA News Network reported.

The official also noted that an extra $20 billion will be invested in the petrochemical projects of the giant field.

Mirkazemi further said that the Oil Ministry plans to complete the developing projects of all the remaining phases of the field within 35 months.

The Iranian oil minister also stressed the need for foreign investment in the site to speed up the projects, saying that once all the phases of the South Pars come on stream, the field can produce 25 million cubic meters of natural gas and about 40,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas per day, making the country’s annual revenue from the field hit $110 billion, Press TV reported.

The South Pars gas field is located in the Persian Gulf in the border zone between Iran and Qatar. The field’s reserves are estimated at 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas.

Payvand Iran News | April 1, 2011

Shell Drilling 17 China Gas Wells

U.K. oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) is drilling 17 wells in China, including for tight gas and shale gas, Reuters reported Sunday, citing Chief Executive Peter Voser.

If drilling is successful, Shell plans to spend $1 billion a year during the next five year years on shale gas in China, Voser was quoted as saying.

MarketWatch | March 20, 2011

China Urges Quick End to Airstrikes in Libya

China escalated its opposition to American-led airstrikes on Libya on Tuesday, joining Russia and India in calls for an immediate cease-fire and suggesting that coalition forces were imperiling civilians by exceeding the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

[…] China’s response to the campaign has been the most forceful, warning that the assault could bring about a “humanitarian disaster.” In a news briefing Tuesday, Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called for an end to hostilities. “We’ve seen reports that the use of armed force is causing civilian casualties, and we oppose the wanton use of armed force leading to more civilian casualties,” she said.

China was one of five countries to abstain from the United Nations resolution that authorized the allied airstrikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, which have been seeking to crush a rebellion against his four-decade rule. Russia, Brazil, India and Germany also abstained, while South Africa joined nine other Security Council members in supporting the resolution approved last week.

In its decision to abstain rather than block the resolution through its veto power, China said it was heeding the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union.

Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 22, 2011

China to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours

The Chinese government on Thursday said it viewed the security situation in the Asia-Pacific as “volatile”, pointing to the United States “reinforcing” regional military alliances and rising suspicions among China’s neighbours.

In a national defence white paper issued on Thursday, China said it would seek to expand confidence-building measures with its neighbours, as well as stick to a defence policy that was defensive in nature.

The white paper, the seventh that China has issued since 1998, portrayed a strained regional security environment, describing the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, as “volatile.”

“Relevant major powers are increasing their strategic investment,” said the paper. “The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”

Continue Reading >> The Hindu | March 31, 2011

The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India, Not China

India has spent US$80 billion to modernize its military to keep up with China and now, India has become the world’s number one arms importer according to Swedish think-tank keeping tabs on global arms transactions. India makes up 9 percent of global arms purchases while China has 6 percent of market share in comparison.

“India has ambitions to become first a continental and [then] a regional power,” Rahul Bedi, an analyst with London-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, told AP.

“Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer,” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at SIPRI told the International Business Times.

SIPRI’s report stated India’s defense budget for the coming fiscal year is in the region of $32.5 billion, 40 percent more than in 2009. In addition, India will spend over $50 billion in the next five years to modernize its military – including purchasing new fighter jets and aircraft carriers.

“The kind of purchases that India is buying, no country in the world buys,” added Bedi of Jane’s Defence Weekly. India has also been importing 82 percent of its weapons from Russia and plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets worth $30 billion in the next decade.

SIPRI also included in its report:

Average volume of global arms transfers in 2006-2010 increased 24 percent from 2001-2005.

Asia and Oceania accounts for 43 percent of arms imports, Europe for 12 percent, 17 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Americas and 7 percent in Africa.

The largest arms importers are locate in Asia with India accounting for 9 percent of all imports, 6 percent in China, 6 percent in South Korea and 5 percent in Pakistan.

USA remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment and totals 30 percent of global arms exports in 2006-2010; of which 44 percent were exported to Asia and Oceania, 28 percent in the Middle East and 19 percent to Europe.

EconomyWatch | March 30, 2011

S. Korea, US Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea

A large-scale South Korea-U.S. military exercise in the Yellow Sea seeks to prepare for North Korea`s use of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, submarines and special forces to destroy or blockade major infrastructure in the South.

Continue Reading >> | March 24, 2011

Singapore, Thailand, US Conclude Military Exercise

Singapore, Thailand and the United States concluded the trilateral “Exercise Cope Tiger 2011” at Korat Air Base in Thailand on Friday.

[…] About 100 aircraft and 34 ground-based air defence systems were deployed.

[…] More than 2,300 personnel took part.

Continue Reading >> Channelnewsasia | March 26, 2011

Military Exercises Strengthens RP-Malaysian Relations

The ten-day military exercises between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy, which concluded March 25, has been beneficial to both parties and was a success in its purpose, the Naval Forces West (NFW) claimed. The activity opened on March 16.

Continue Reading >> Zamboanga Today | April 1, 2011

Hugo Chavez’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America

With the acquisition of hundreds of tanks, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles as well as submarines and missile networks, Venezuela is arming itself at a speed unprecedented in the history of the South American country.

Continue Reading >> McClatchy | March 21, 2011

Joint Ghana, US Military Exercise Ends

The Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011 jungle exercise, conducted by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the United States Marines, has ended at Achiase Jungle Warfare in the Eastern Region.

[…] The two-week training exercise comprised 100 troops from GAF and 42 US Marines.

Continue Reading >> Vibeghana | March 22, 2011

U.S. Says Saudi Forces in Bahrain “Not an Invasion”, Gulf Arab States and Saudi-Controlled Arab League Approve Military Action in Libya, It Doesn’t Constitute “Intervention”, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates Conducting Joint Military Exercise Focusing on Air Defense Skills, Iran Raises Doubt about True Objectives of West in Attacking Libya, Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of “Foreign Forces” from Bahrain, French Far Right Leader More Popular than President Sarkozy, Gaddafi’s Son Says Libya Funded Sarkozy’s Presidential Campaign, French Plane Fires “First Shot” in Libya Intervention, British Spies Phone Libyan Generals to Warn : Defect or Die, Swedish Weapons Used By Rebels, European Union Urges Yemen’s President “to End Violence”, Yemen’s Generals Join Protesters, Oil Price Jumps on Libya Attacks and Japanese Demand, Vladimir Putin Likens “Deficient and Flawed” UN Libya Resolution to “Mediaeval Crusade” Call, Russian Computer Programmer Sentenced in U.S. for Stealing Computer Code from Goldman Sachs, China and India Regret Multinational Air Strikes, Chinese Warship Off Coast of Libya, China Signs Red Sea Refinery Deal With Saudi Arabia, Robert Gates : U.S. Won’t Have Dominant Role in Libya Action, Turkey to Serve as “Protecting Power” for U.S. in Libya, Greece Asks Turkey to Halt Its Nuclear Plant Plans

U.S. Says Saudi Forces in Bahrain “Not an Invasion”

The United States does not consider the entry into Bahrain of Saudi Arabian security forces an invasion.

[…] “We’ve seen the reports that you’re talking about. This is not an invasion of a country,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing.

Continue Reading >> Reuters | March 14, 2011

Gulf Arab States Defend Military Action in Libya

The organization that represents the conservative Arab Gulf states Monday defended military action in Libya by the U.S. and its allies, saying it doesn’t constitute “intervention.”

“What is happening now is not intervention, it is protecting the people from bloodshed,” said Abdel Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah, the secretary general of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. “These operations are to stop bloodshed in Libya,” Mr. Al Attiyah added.

Mr. Al Attiyah’s statement follows criticism of allied military strikes on Libya by the Arab League, the group whose endorsement of a no-fly zone gave political cover for U.S. and European military action in a Muslim country.

Continue Reading >> The Wall Street Journal | March 21, 2011

Arab League Gets Back Behind Libya Strikes

The Arab League got back behind international military strikes against Libya on Monday after comments by its leader had indicated divisions over the campaign against Moamer Kadhafi.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa declared his commitment to the UN-mandated action after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Ban, who later had to be rescued from pro-Kadhafi activists in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, said it was essential for the world “to speak with one voice” on the Libya crisis and Mussa gave new backing to the campaign.

“We are commmitted to UN Security Council Resolution 1973, we have no objection to this decision, particularly as it does not call for an invasion of Libyan territory,” Mussa told a press conference with the UN chief.

Continue Reading >> AFP | March 21, 2011

While Battling Riots at Home, Bahrain Military Joined Exercise With UAE

Bahrain’s military, amid bloody riots, has staged an exercise with the United Arab Emirates.

[…] The Royal Air Force of Bahrain conducted an air defense exercise with the United Arab Emirates this month. The two militaries were said to have focused on the U.S.-origin Hawk air defense battery, manufactured by Raytheon.

[…] The exercise took place in the UAE on March 8 and was deemed part of military cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Manama. Officials said the exercise facilitated interoperability as well as air defense skills.

[…] Manama has one of the smallest militaries in the GCC. Bahrain has been bolstered by a significant U.S. military presence, including that of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Continue Reading >> World Tribune | March 18, 2011

Iran Raises Doubt about True Objectives of West in Attacking Libya

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast cautioned about the objectives of the western military intervention in Libya, and called on the regional states to keep vigilant about the plots hatched by the hegemonic powers.

Continue Reading >> Fars News Agency | March 20, 2011

Iran Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of Foreign Forces from Bahrain

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called on the Bahraini regime to end the crackdown on popular demonstrations in the country, and stressed the necessity for an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces from the Persian Gulf island.

[…] Saudi Arabia has deployed more than 1,000 troops to the country, while the United Arab Emirates has dispatched around 500 police forces to assist in the repression of the peaceful protesters.

Continue Reading >> Fars News Agency | March 21, 2011

French Far-Right Leader Marine Le Pen Spooks Rivals in Vote Poll

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen had her political rivals on the run after a poll showed she could beat any of the top likely candidates in a first-round presidential election.

The survey by pollster Harris Interactive published in Le Parisien newspaper showed Le Pen would win 24 percent of the first-round vote, ahead of the leading contenders from the main left- and right-wing rival parties.

Continue Reading >> Herald Sun | March 9, 2011

Gaddafi’s Son Says Libya Funded “Clown” Sarkozy’s Presidential Campaign

The son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has claimed that his country helped fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign in 2007.

In an interview with Euronews, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi said Sarkozy would have to return the money, given his government is now the first to officially recognise the opposition council.

Gaddafi said Libya funded Sarkozy’s campaign and was prepared “to reveal everything” about it.

“The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

A spokesperson for Sarkozy’s office in Paris has denied the claims.

Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign funding is already a hot topic in France, where an investigation involving allegations L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt donated money to the campaign illegally has been underway for months.

Continue Reading >> The Journal | March 16, 2011

French Plane Fires First Shot in Libya Intervention

The French air force destroyed Libyan tanks and armored vehicles on Saturday, the first shots fired in a U.N.-mandated military intervention to protect civilians from attacks by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

A French defense ministry official said “a number of tanks and armored vehicles” were destroyed in the region of Benghazi, with initial action focusing on stopping Gaddafi’s forces from advancing on the rebels’ eastern stronghold.

Continue Reading >> International Business Times | March 19, 2011

MI6 Puts Gun to Generals’ Heads: Our Spies Phone Gaddafi’s Men Direct to Warn : Defect or Die

British intelligence is warning Colonel Gaddafi’s generals that it could be fatal to remain loyal to the Libyan leader.

MI6 spies and military officials are contacting commanders in Tripoli trying to persuade them to defect, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Their message is blunt: ‘General, we’ve got the GPS co-ordinates of your command post. They are programmed into a Storm Shadow missile. What do you want to do?’

As Gaddafi vowed to wage a long war with the ‘crusader alliance’, British officials said the intelligence services had the telephone numbers of many key military officials in his regime.

A senior source said: ‘They will be doing their best to get in touch. This is a situation where success breeds success. Once you get air superiority it becomes suicidal for Libyan army commanders to want to move tanks or to use artillery.

Continue Reading >> The Daily Mail | March 21, 2011

Swedish Weapons Used By Rebels in Libya

Libyan rebels have been seen using Swedish-designed weapons in their battle to oust Muammar Qaddafi from power. Swedish arms export officials suspect the weapons arrived via the UK.

At least two foreign television reports of the fighting in Libya have shown rebels carrying older models of the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Continue Reading >> The Local | March 14, 2011

EU Urges Saleh to End Yemen Violence

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called Friday on Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stop violence against peaceful protesters.

Continue Reading >> IOL News | March 18, 2011

Yemen Commanders Join Democracy Protesters

Rival tanks deployed in the streets of Yemen’s capital Monday after three senior army commanders defected to a movement calling for the ouster of the U.S.-backed president, leaving him with virtually no support among the country’s most powerful institutions.

[…] Two Yemeni ambassadors also resigned their posts in protest at the government’s crackdown on protesters.

Continue Reading >> MSNBC | March 21, 2011

Oil Price Jumps on Libya Attacks and Japanese Demand

The price of oil jumped by more than $2 a barrel on Monday morning, driven higher by the military action in Libya and strong demand from Japan.

As Operation Odyssey Dawn continued in the Middle East, the cost of a barrel of Brent crude gained $2.29 to $116.22. US crude rose by the same amount, to $103.35. Analysts have predicted that the strikes against Colonel Gaddafi could push oil above its recent highs, with Brent tipped to rise above $120 a barrel.

Continue Reading >> The Guardian | March 21, 2011

Putin Likens UN Libya Resolution to Crusade Call

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday likened the UN Security Council resolution on Libya to a Medieval crusade call.

Russia abstained from a UN Security Council resolution adopted on Thursday imposing a no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect civilians from leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

“The Security Council resolution is deficient and flawed; it allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade,” Putin told workers at a ballistic missile factory in the Urals region. “It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state.”

Ten of the Security Council’s 15 members voted in favor of the resolution, with Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstaining. The resolution was co-sponsored by France, Britain, Lebanon and the United States.

“This U.S. policy is becoming a stable trend,” Putin said, recalling the U.S. air strikes on Belgrade under Bill Clinton and Afghanistan and Iraq under the two Bush administrations.

“Now it’s Libya’s turn – under the pretext of protecting civilians,” the premier said. “Where is the logic and conscience? There is neither.”

“The ongoing events in Libya confirm that Russia is right to strengthen her defense capabilities,” he added.

Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 21, 2011

Russian Computer Programmer Sentenced In U.S.

A Russian programmer accused of stealing proprietary computer code from the U.S. financial firm Goldman Sachs has been sentenced in New York City to 97 months in prison.

Sergey Aleynikov was found guilty in a jury trial in December.

He was employed by Goldman Sachs between 2007-09 to develop and maintain computer platforms for high-frequency trading.

Prosecutors said that during his time with Goldman Sachs, Aleynikov stole proprietary computer code, with the intention of using it later at a competitor firm.

In addition to the prison sentence, Aleynikov, who is a dual Russian-American citizen, is required to pay a $12,500 fine.

Radio Free Europe | March 19, 2011

China Regrets Multinational Air Strikes in Libya

China expressed regret on Sunday over the multinational air strikes in Libya, saying in a foreign ministry statement that it opposed the use of force in international relations.

“China has noted the latest developments in Libya and expresses regret over the military attacks on Libya,” the statement said.

Russia also issued a similarly worded statement in which it called for a ceasefire as soon as possible.

China’s statement made no mention of a ceasefire and stressed that China respected the north African country’s “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity”.

“We hope Libya can restore stability as soon as possible and avoid further civilian casualties due to an escalation of armed conflict,” it added.

Continue Reading >> AFP | March 19, 2011

India Regrets Airstrikes in Libya

Regretting air strikes over Libya, India today called upon all parties to abjure use of violence saying the need of the hour was “cessation of armed conflict” in the North African country.

“We view with grave concern the ongoing violence, strikes and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. We regret the air strikes that are taking place,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters here.

“India calls upon all parties to abjure violence and the use of threat and force to resolve the differences. I think the need of the hour is cessation of armed conflict,” he added.

Continue Reading >> The Indian Express | March 21, 2011

No Need to Panic Over Chinese Warship Off Coast of Libya

One of the most ironic developments in the Libyan crisis is the reaction of American military pundits to China dispatching a warship to the Mediterranean Sea.

The warship Xuzhou, which media outlets described as a “4,000-ton frigate, fully armed with air defence missiles,” or simply as a “Chinese missile ship,” would appear to a layperson to be both massive and powerful. The rationale that American analysts give for the Chinese deploying the Xuzhou is “projecting China’s power off the coast of Libya.”

Continue Reading >> The Chronicle Herald | March 21, 2011

Aramco and Sinopec Sign MoU for Refining Partnership

Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to the ongoing development of the Red Sea Refining Company (RSRC), a world-class, full-conversion refinery in Yanbu’, on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. The MOU was signed by Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO, Saudi Aramco, and Su Shulin, president, Sinopec.

Continue Reading >> Arabian Oil and Gas | March 17, 2011

U.S. Won’t Have Dominant Role in Libya Action : Gates

Aboard a U.S. military aircraft — US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday the United States would not play a “preeminent role” in military action against Libya, with other countries soon taking the lead.

US President Barack Obama “felt strongly, I would say, about limiting the scale of US military involvement in this,” Gates told reporters on his plane, en route to Russia.

“We will have a military role in the coalition. But we will not have the preeminent role,” Gates said.

In deciding to back intervention in Libya, Obama stressed the “importance of a meaningful coalition” with partners “making serious military contributions,” Gates said.

Continue Reading >> AFP | March 21, 2011

Turkey to Serve as Protecting Power for U.S. in Libya

Turkey will serve as a “protecting power” for the United States in Libya, senior State Department officials told CNN on Sunday.

As a protecting power, Turkey will represent the United States in Libya, including acting as consular officers on behalf of U.S. citizens in Libya and looking after American diplomatic facilities in the country.

Turkey can also pass messages between the United States and Libya, as what little communication remains between the two countries is likely to come to a grinding halt now that the U.S. is bombing Libyan targets as part of enforcement of a no-fly zone.

Levent Sahin Kaya, Turkish ambassador to Libya, told CNN he will represent America in Libya along with the United Kingdom and Italy.

Continue Reading >> CNN | March 20, 2011

Greece Asks Turkey to Halt Its Nuclear Plant Plans

Turkey is planning to building its first nuclear power station at Akkuyu, in the south of the country, under a deal signed last year with the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom.

President Karolos Papoulias said Friday that the European Union should intervene to prevent a “catastrophe on its doorstep.”

Prime Minister George Papandreou’s office said the premier also telephoned his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express opposition to the venture.

Cumhuriyet | March 19, 2011

Uruguay Joins South American Nations in Recognizing Palestinian Statehood, French Foreign Minister : European Union Should Consider Recognizing Palestinian State, Mossad Ex-Chief : Israelis and Palestinians Won’t Agree Anytime Soon on Clear Borders for a New State, Israel Seizes Boat “Carrying Weapons from Turkey to Gaza”, “Arms Came from Iran Via Turkey, Syria, and Egypt”, Iran on Arms Seizure : “Zionist Regime is Full of Lies”, “Turkey Stops Iranian Cargo Plane en Route to Syria”, Turkish Government Denies, Egypt Uncovers Israeli Spy Network Reporting on “Developments in the Country” and Collecting Detailed Information About the Size of Armed Forces Stationed on the Streets Government Officials and Natural Gas Lines in Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian Military Delegation in Damascus to Restore Relations, Saudi Troops Deployed in Bahrain, Iran Warns Against Foreign Military Intervention Recalls Ambassador from Bahrain Cancels Jordanian Monarch’s Trip, Saudi Envoy Delivering Message from King Abdullah to Syria’s President Situation in Bahrain Discussed, Syrian Foreign Minister on a One Day Visit to Tehran “to Confer on the Latest Developments in the Region”, China Paying $6 Billion to Develop Iran Oil Fields, Warship Deal With Russia Losing Support in France “Because of Concerns Among Russia’s Neighbors”, Turkish Prime Minister in Moscow, Russia to Build Turkey’s First Nuclear Power Station, Final Step in Visa-Free Regime

Uruguay Joins South American Nations in Recognizing Palestinian Statehood

Uruguay has joined a string of South American nations in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

A Foreign Ministry statement says Uruguay has communicated its decision to the Palestinian Authority.

However the statement does not explicitly say whether the country recognizes
Palestine’s borders predating the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza.

Foreign Ministry officials declined Tuesday to clarify the matter.

More than a half-dozen countries in South America have recognized Palestine recently, though in different ways.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay recognized the pre-1967 borders.

Chile and Peru said the issue must be worked out between Israelis and Palestinians.

Haaretz | March 16, 2011

French FM : EU Should Consider Recognizing Palestinian State

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that the European Union should consider the option of recognizing a Palestinian state if no peace agreement with Israel is reached.

“Recognizing the Palestinian state alone is useless,” he said, explaining that the measure should be taken in collaboration with other countries within the EU. Juppe made the statement during a hearing at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of National Assembly in the lower house of the French Parliament. “We’re not there yet, but personally I think it is an option that one must have in mind,” he added.

YnetNews | March 15, 2011

Mossad Ex-Chief Halevy Says Mideast Talks Won’t Settle Borders

Israelis and Palestinians probably won’t agree anytime soon on clear borders for a new state, leaving them to maintain current political arrangements for another generation, former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy said.

Even if Palestinians declare a state later this year and garner significant support at the United Nations, the move will have little practical significance and will probably perpetuate Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank.

Continue Reading >> Bloomberg | March 10, 2011

IDF Seizes Boat Carrying Weapons from Turkey to Gaza

The Israeli navy seized a ship on Tuesday that was apparently smuggling weapons destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Unit said that the ship “Victoria” originated from the Lattakia port in Syria and sailed to Mersin, Turkey. It was seized while on its way from Turkey destined for the El-Arish port in Egypt.

Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 15, 2011

Netanyahu : Arms on Seized Ship Came from Iran Via Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that weapons seized by the Israel Navy from a ship bound for Egypt earlier in the day had come from Iran, via Syria, and were intended for militants in Gaza.

“We are currently collecting information and the one thing that is certain is that the weapons are from Iran with a relay station in Syria”.

Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 15, 2011

Iran on Arms Seizure : “Zionist Regime is Full of Lies”

Iranian Army Commander-General denies sending weapons to Gaza on “Victoria” ship; Hamas also claims weapons weren’t for them.

Continue Reading >> The Jerusalem Post | March 16, 2011

“Turkey Stops Iranian Cargo Plane en Route to Syria”

Turkish government denies earlier reports that plane was stopped because it carried weapons meant for Syria, says it is “standard procedure” for planes to be checked.

The Turkish government on Wednesday denied reports that Turkish military jets forced an Iranian cargo plane to land at Biyarbakir airport Tuesday night in order to check it for Iranian arms meant for Syria, reported AP.

The government confirmed that the Iranian plane landed in Turkey, but that it is standard procedure for cargo planes to request permission to fly over Turkey and that sometimes they are required to make unscheduled landings to be searched.

Continue Reading >> The Jerusalem Post | March 16, 2011

Egypt Uncovers Israeli Spy Network

Egyptian authorities have uncovered a spy network that has been working for Israel, said an official report on Wednesday. The discovery is the first of its kind since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak last month.

Official reports circulated by state newspapers said state security prosecutors were interrogating one of the suspects involved in the cell, and he will remain in custody pending investigations. Initial reports said the suspect is Egyptian and that the network includes another foreigner and two Israelis who fled the country before the uncovering of the network.

State-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday that the foreigner admitted he came to Egypt after the 25 January revolution to report on developments in the country. It is believed he is a Syrian national who entered Egypt under the guise of being a businessman.

The suspect said he was working for Mossad, Israeli intelligence, according to al-Ahram.

Bikya Masr | March 17, 2011

Israeli spy Ring Aimed at Conducting Espionage against Egyptian Army

Mossad agents were arrested in Egypt 5 days ago, and the mission was sent to collect detailed information about the size of the Egyptian armed forces stationed on the streets; its places, prominent Egyptian government officials and natural gas lines in Sinai”, Israeli online edition said.

“The cell received its first assignment after the January 25 revolution on the purpose of gathering key strategic and political information about the situation in Egypt,” The Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi said.

The Higher State Security Prosecution ordered the imprisonment of the first suspect in custody for 15 days while investigations take place. The suspect is a 34-year-old Jordanian who arrived in Cairo during the demonstrations and allegedly sent information concerning recordings of phone calls made by Egyptian officials and important locations in Cairo to Israel. He was charged with spying for Israel and harming Egypt’s national interests by the Public Prosecutor.

IkhwanWeb | March 18, 2011

Egypt’s New Rulers Friendly with Assad

Egypt’s temporary military rulers sent a delegation to Syria on Thursday to meet with President Bashar al-Assad. Egyptian General Murad Mohammed Muafi and Assad agreed to boost cooperation between the two countries, according to Syria’s SANA news agency.

The meeting follows long-term tension between Egypt and Syria. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refrained from developing warm ties with Assad due to disagreement over Syria’s role in Lebanon.

Continue Reading >> Israel National News | March 18, 2011

Saudi Troops Have Entered Bahrain : Saudi Official

More than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said Monday.

The troops entered the strategic Gulf kingdom on Sunday, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The intervention came “after repeated calls by the (Bahraini) government for dialogue, which went unanswered” by the opposition, the official said.

According to the regulations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, “any Gulf force entering a member state becomes under the command of the government,” the official added.

The Bahraini government has not confirmed the presence of Saudi troops in the archipelago, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

Continue Reading >> AFP | March 14, 2011

Iran Warns Against Military Intervention in Bahrain, Recalls Ambassador

Iran warned against the consequences of military interventions of foreigners in Bahrain and recalled its ambassador from Manama due to the relevant disputes, local media reported on Thursday.

In telephone conversations with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sabah on Wednesday over the recent developments in Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi talked about the military meddling in Bahrain.

Iranian foreign minister called for the continued consultations between regional countries to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gulf kingdom.

Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani also warned against foreign military intervention in Bahrain, saying the ” tragic occurrence, would exacerbate the situation in the country.”

“The entering of foreign forces into Bahrain will complicate the situation in the region and make it difficult to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in the country,” Larijani was quoted as saying by satellite Press TV.

Larijani described the move as “detrimental” to the region and added “Foreign troops are committing a bigger crime as they are involved in the crackdown against Bahraini people.”

Continue Reading >> Xinhua News Agency | March 17, 2011

Jordanian Monarch’s Trip to Iran Cancelled

Iranian MP, Hamid Resai has announced that the King of Jordan’s visit to Iran has been cancelled. “In view of the current critical situation,” he said, “the Jordanian Abdullah’s trip to Tehran did not meet the approval of senior Islamic Republic officials.”

Continue Reading >> Payvand Iran News | March 15, 2011

Message from Saudi King to President al-Assad on Bilateral Relations, Developments in Arab Arena

President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received a message from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia highlighting the special relations between their brotherly countries.

The message was delivered during President al-Assad’s meeting with Advisor to the Saudi King, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah.

The latest developments in the Arab arena, including the situation in the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain, were discussed in the message.

Continue Reading >> SANA | March 17, 2011

Syrian FM Due in Tehran Today

Syrian Foreign Minister Valid Muallem is due to visit Tehran on Thursday to confer with the Iranian officials on the bilateral relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the region.

Muallem is also scheduled to meet a number of high ranking Iranian officials in addition to his counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi during his one day visit.

Muallem and Salehi’s latest meeting was on January 29 in Damascus.

Iran and Syria have forged an alliance ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the two countries’ officials exchange visits on a regular basis.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was last in Tehran at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation in October 2010.

The two countries enjoy strategic relations in a wide variety of fields.

Fars News Agency | March 17, 2011

China Paying $6 Billion to Develop Iran Oil Fields

An Iranian official said Beijing has contracted Iran’s Azadegan oil fields for projects estimated at more than $6 billion. The contractor was identified as the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. assigned to cooperate with the National Iranian Oil Co, Middle East Newsline reported.

Continue Reading >> World Tribune | March 14, 2011

Warship Deal With Russia Losing Support in France – Paper

The agreement to sell advanced warships to Russia is losing support in France because of Moscow’s wish to get hold of sensitive military technology and concerns among Russia’s neighbors, Le Figaro daily said on Wednesday.

[…] A number of Russia’s neighbors have expressed concern over the upcoming deal, in particular Georgia, Lithuania, and Japan, especially after a Russian Defense Ministry source said in early February the ships would be inducted with the Pacific Fleet to protect the South Kuril Islands claimed by Japan.

Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 16, 2011

Russia, Turkey to Take final Step in Visa-Free Regime

The final official step in the process of introducing a visa-free regime between Black Sea neighbors Russia and Turkey will be taken during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s three-day visit to Russia.

Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 15, 2011

U.S. Training Quietly Nurtured Young Arab Activists, Pentagon Places Its Bet on Army Chief of Staff Sami Enan in Egypt, U.S.-Saudi Tensions Intensify With Middle East Turmoil, Saudi-Led Military Force Crosses into Bahrain, Iran’s Arming of Afghan Insurgents Hits Lethal Level, Israeli Military Believes Experts from Iran Hezbollah Training Gaza Militants, Pro-Western Opposition Protests Against Syria-Iran-Backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel Moving to Define National Policy on Iran, Soft War Carried Out Financial Institutions Targeted, “Lebanon War Will Include 230 Villages”, Iran : Power Equations in the Region are Changing Middle East Uprisings Boost Anti-Israel Front, Turkey Iran Syria and Iraq to Issue Joint Visas, China to Help Iran Build World’s Tallest Dam, Supreme Leader’s Advisor Warns of Iran’s Crushing Response to Aggressors “Iran Will Chase and Punish Invaders Beyond the Country’s Borders”

U.S. Training Quietly Nurtured Young Arab Democrats

[…] And when 2011’s winter of discontent exploded into a pro-democracy storm in Tunisia and then Egypt, opposition activist Bilal Diab broke away from his six-month “young leaders school” and its imported instructors, and put his new skills to use among the protest tents of Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“It helped us organize the revolution,” Diab, 23, said of his made-in-America training. “People were scattered, but we had learned how to bring them together and we did, and when we opened our tent we announced formation of the Revolution Youth Union.”

[…] That success, meanwhile, points up a core paradox: A U.S. government that long stood by Mubarak and other Arab leaders as steadfast allies was, at the same time, financing programs that ultimately contributed to his and potentially others’ downfall.

[…] “One of the beauties of the U.S. system is that there are many, many entry points in many centers of power, and they can have conflicting policies.”

[…] National Endowment money, $100-million-plus a year, is at work in more than 90 countries worldwide. But it’s the USAID grants, from an $800 million budget for developing “political competition” and “civil society” in 67 nations, that have proved vital to activists in a half-dozen Arab lands, from Morocco to Yemen. Some $104 million was requested for them in the proposed 2011 budget.

Continue Reading >> The Washington Post | March 13, 2011

Pentagon Places Its Bet on a General in Egypt

[…] Today General Enan, a favorite of the American military, is the second in command among the group of generals moving toward some form of democracy in Egypt. In meetings of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, he sits to the right of its leader, the 75-year-old defense minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and is considered his potential successor. In the meantime, American officials say, General Enan, 63, has become a crucial link for the United States as it navigates the rocky course ahead with Cairo.

If he is not yet the Pentagon’s man in Egypt, many hope he will be.

[…] Some experts on the Egyptian military have suggested that General Enan could be a candidate, a proposal swiftly dismissed by Pentagon officials and the Egyptian military. “The Supreme Council will not field a candidate from one of their own,” an Egyptian military official said in a rare interview on Friday in Washington. The official requested anonymity under ground rules imposed by the Egyptian government.

No one disputes, though, that General Enan will play a central role in Egypt’s future government, more likely from behind the scenes, where the country’s powerful and traditionally secretive armed forces are still most comfortable. There, out of sight of most Egyptians, they run national security policy and operate lucrative businesses as part of a parallel “Military Inc.” economy that produces electronics, household appliances, clothing and food.

Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 10, 2011

U.S.-Saudi Tensions Intensify With Mideast Turmoil

[…] Saudi officials have made no secret of their deep displeasure with how President Obama handled the ouster of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, charging Washington with abandoning a longtime ally. They show little patience with American messages about embracing what Mr. Obama calls “universal values,” including peaceful protests.

When Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were forced to cancel visits to the kingdom in recent days, American officials were left wondering whether the cause was King Abdullah’s frail health — or his pique at the United States.

“They’re not in a mode for listening,” said one senior administration official, referring to the American exchanges with Saudi officials over the past two months about the need to get ahead of the protests that have engulfed other Arab states, including two of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors, Bahrain and Yemen.

Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 14, 2011

Saudi-Led Military Force Crosses into Bahrain

A Saudi-led military force crossed into Bahrain on Monday to prop up the monarchy against widening demonstrations, launching the first cross-border military operation to quell unrest since the Arab world’s rebellions began in December.

[…] Gulf leaders are also concerned that political gains by Bahrain’s Shiites might give Shiite Iran a stepping stone to its arch-rival Saudi Arabia, connected to Bahrain by a wide causeway.

Instead, the Saudis and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council sent forces the other way, deploying about 1,000 troops by land and air and cementing the entire six-nation alliance to the fate of Bahrain’s rulers, who are key U.S. allies as hosts of the American Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Continue Reading >> Associated Press | March 14, 2011

Iran’s Arming of Afghan Insurgents Hits Lethal Level

British Foreign Minister William Hague has lashed out at Iran after extensive tests verified without a doubt that 122 mm rockets intercepted by the British Special Air Services in Southern Afghanistan were being shipped by Iran to the Taliban there. “This is a really significant indication of Iranian support for the insurgency,” said one British military source

Continue Reading >> Israel National News | March 10, 2011

Israeli Military Believes Experts from Iran, Hezbollah Training Gaza Militants

[…] Hamas, an anti-Israel group backed by Iran and Syria, took control of Gaza by force in June 2007.

[…] Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, frequently send in experts to train Hamas forces, crossing through illicit tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border that are also used to smuggle in weapons. Some foreign experts are even stationed in Gaza.

Continue Reading >> The Canadian Press | March 11, 2011

Lebanon Pro-Western Opposition Protests Against Hezbollah Arms

Tens of thousands of supporters of outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri gathered in Beirut on Sunday to protest the weapons arsenal held by the rival Shiite movement Hezbollah.

In a rally which marked the 2005 uprising that ended Syria’s 30-year domination of Lebanon.

[…] The militant group Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, was the only Lebanese political faction allowed to keep its weapons after the 1975-90 civil war. The group argues it needs them to defend Lebanon from possible Israeli attacks.

Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 13, 2011

Israel Finally Moving to Define National Policy on Iran

[…] Recently, activists in the United States and Germany, especially Stop the Bomb, have increased pressure on Angela Merkel’s government to close the Hamburg-based European-Iranian trade bank EIH. The bank, founded in 1971 during the shah’s rule, has for years functioned as Iran’s main financial arm in Europe to fund its undercover activities. It is considered a German bank and is supervised by Germany’s central bank, but it is owned by four large banks, all of them owned by the Iranian government.

Continue Reading >> Haaretz | March 10, 2011

Lebanon Lifts Banking Secrecy on 23 Cases Involved in Money Laundering

Report comes as U.S. scrutinizing Lebanese banks for possible links to terrorist financing.

Lebanon lifted the banking secrecy on 23 accounts involved in money laundering, financial embezzlement and terrorist funding in 2010, according to a report by the Special Investigation Commission (SIC).

[…] The U.S. Treasury Feb. 10 accused the Lebanese-Canadian Bank of money laundering in connection with Hezbollah, which is labeled by Washington as a terrorist group.

Central Bank governor Riad Salameh immediately left to Washington and held urgent talks with officials from the U.S. Treasury.

Salameh, who is keen to protect the reputation of the Lebanese banks, persuaded the management of the Lebanese-Canadian Bank to sell its entire stake to a major Lebanese bank to protect customers’ deposits.

Continue Reading >> The Daily Star | March 12, 2011

Israeli Television : Third War with Hizbullah Will Include 230 Villages South of Awali River

Israeli Channel Ten television broadcast preliminary images of what it claimed was a base in Syria where Hizbullah stored its rockets.
The report said: “Hizbullah is arming itself at an unprecedented rate under the misleading cover of calm in the North.”

The base, located in Adra in Syria, lies 50 kilometers east of Damascus and serves as an “emergency storage unit for Hizbullah in Syria or Hizbullah’s special region in the heart of Syria.”

These rockets are transported on a daily basis from Adra to northern Lebanon, the Bekaa, and the South, through smuggling routes.

“The international community is aware of these images,” the report stressed.

It also addressed the Iranian deputy foreign minister’s recent meeting to Lebanon, which it said was aimed at inspecting the “Iranian unit that it deployed at Lebanon’s border with Israel.”

“In fact, the official arrived to make sure that Hizbullah is not wasting the gifts and funds Iran has invested in Lebanon. They want all matters to be ready should Iran’s nuclear facilities be attacked,” it continued.

Given the extent of smuggling and the number of rockets being delivered, some of which have a range of 300 kilometers, then an attack by the Israeli army would include 230 villages south of the Awali River North of Sidon, and not just 180 villages as had previously been discussed, said the report.

Naharnet | March 9, 2011

“ME Uprisings Boost Anti-Israel Front”

Iran’s Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani says power equations in the region are changing in favor of resistance against Israel.

In a meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri on Thursday, Larijani described the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa as a good opportunity for “those countries [which are] in the resistance front against Israel and its arrogant supporters.”

[…] The Iranian lawmaker stressed the strategic importance of cooperation among Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq for the whole region.

Larijani accused foreign powers of “taking advantage of the region’s current situation” and said, “The vigilance of regional nations will prevent the plots devised by international powers to regain their hegemony in the region.”

Continue Reading >> Press TV | March 10, 2011

Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq to Issue Joint Visas

Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq have agreed to issue joint visas in an effort to boost their tourism sectors, local media reported on Monday (March 7th). The measure, proposed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would cut tourist costs, allowing them to visit all four countries with one visa. The new document will be called “Shamgen”, from “Sham”, the Arab name for Syria.

SETimes | March 8, 2011

China to Help Iran Build World’s Tallest Dam – Tehran

China signed a $2 billion contract with Iran to build the world’s tallest dam in the Islamic state, the Iranian energy minister was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

[…] Iran has been hit by foreign sanctions and Western firms are wary of investing in the Islamic Republic for fear of sanctions. State-owned Asian firms are less susceptible to Western pressure to stay away from the Iranian market.

Continue Reading >> Reuters | March 14, 2011

Leader’s Advisor Warns of Iran’s Crushing Response to Aggressors

A senior advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution warned enemies of Iran’s crushing response to any possible action against the country, adding that Iran will chase and punish invaders beyond the country’s borders.

[…] Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran mounted since a big Israeli air drill last year. In the first week of June, 2008, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and the US as well as their worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by either country.

Iran has also warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Continue Reading >> Fars News Agency | March 12, 2011


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