EU Concerned Over Deployment Of Georgian Armored Vehicles
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 27, 2008: The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) said on Friday it was concerned over the deployment by Georgia of Cobra armored vehicles in areas close to the South Ossetian and Abkhazian borders.
The EU said the deployment of the vehicles that started on December 24 was against the EUMM's advice.
"EUMM has consistently advised against the deployment of these military-type vehicles because it firmly believes that they will not contribute to enhancing the security situation on the ground," said Hansjorg Haber, the head of the EUMM mission.
Haber said, however, that the deployment of Cobra vehicles "is not in violation of the relevant provisions" the September 8 Implementation Agreement.
He said that although there was a sense of insecurity in the area, "on the whole, EUMM would still assess the security situation as better than expected so far."
"The restraint shown by Georgian law enforcement officers has played an important role in maintaining this level of security," the head of mission said.
Georgia said it had informed international observers, including OSCE monitors on the ground, about their intention to deploy Cobra vehicles in November.
The Georgian Interior Ministry also informed international monitors that the vehicles would not be equipped with heavy weaponry.
Cobra vehicles were involved in the Russia-Georgia conflict in August. At least one Cobra vehicle was seized by Russian troops or members of the South Ossetian militia during the hostilities.
Two Israeli Firms Close $141Million Deal With Turkish Air Force
(NSI News Source Info) (MENAFN) - December 27, 2008: Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), two major Israeli defense contractors, announced that they have closed a $141 million deal with the Turkish Air Force to supply it with combined airborne imagery intelligence systems, Reuters reported.
The companies said that $87 million of the contract is for Elbit, while the remaining $54 million will be to the government-owned IAI. The prime contractor of the project is Aselsan, the Turkish military electronics manufacturer.
It is worth mentioning that Electo-Optics, of Elbit Systems, and Elta Systems, IAI unit, will delever the project in a four-year period, according to the contract.
Israel Reopened Its Border With Gaza
(NSI News Source Info) December 27, 2008: An Israeli soldier jumps down from a tank near the border between Israel and Gaza, Friday Dec. 26, 2008. Israel reopened its border with Gaza on Friday to allow deliveries of humanitarian aid, despite continued rocket and mortar fire from the coastal strip and growing expectations of a large-scale Israeli military campaign against Gaza militants.
Pakistan Cancels Army Leave As India Tensions Rise
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD - December 27, 2008: Pakistan canceled army leave and redeployed some troops Friday in a sign of rising tension with India.
The United States urged both sides to refrain from further raising tensions, already high after India blamed Islamist militants based in Pakistan for attacks on Mumbai last month that killed 179 people.
The latest strains followed media reports in Pakistan and India that "several" Indian nationals had been held in the last two days after bombings in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Multan.
The foreign ministry in New Delhi warned Indian citizens on Friday that "it would be unsafe for them to travel (to) or be in Pakistan." Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol the border at the India-Pakistan International Border Post, about 180 km (112 miles) from the western Indian city of Bikaner December 25, 2008
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier discussed tension with Pakistan during a scheduled meeting about military pay with the chiefs of the army, navy and air force, his office said.
"The prime minister met the tri-services chiefs to discuss the pay commission issues but obviously the situation in the region was also discussed," said an official from Singh's office, who requested anonymity.
The South Asian neighbors both tested nuclear weapons in 1998. They have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, and came to the brink of a fourth after gunmen attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001.
Although many analysts say war is very unlikely, international unease is growing.
"We hope that both sides will avoid taking steps that will unnecessarily raise tensions during these already tense times," U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
"We continue to be in close contact with both countries to urge closer cooperation in investigating the Mumbai attacks and in fighting terrorism generally."
Brooke Anderson, chief national security spokesperson for President-elect Barack Obama, who will be inaugurated on January 20, declined to comment on the current tensions.
"There is one president at a time, and we intend to respect that," Anderson said.
While there had been no significant troop movements in either India or Pakistan, military officials in Islamabad said army personnel had been ordered to report to barracks and some troops had been moved off the Afghan border.
"A limited number of troops from snow-bound areas and areas where operations are not being conducted have been pulled out," said a senior security official who declined to be identified.
That is likely to worry Washington, which does not want Pakistan distracted from the battle against al Qaeda and Taliban militants on its western border.
The official declined to say where the troops had been moved to, citing the sensitivity of the issue. Pakistani media have reported some troops had been redeployed to the Indian border.
India, the United States and Britain have blamed the Mumbai attack on Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, set up to fight Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region.
Pakistan has condemned the attacks and has denied any state role, blaming "non-state actors." It has offered to cooperate with India but denies Indian claims that it has been handed firm evidence of links to militants in Pakistan.
Islamabad has said that it will defend itself if attacked.
A senior police official in Pakistan's Punjab province denied that any Indians had been arrested over the Lahore and Multan blasts but an intelligence agency official, who declined to be identified, said an Indian had been detained Wednesday.
Several more Indians had been detained based on information obtained from that suspect, the intelligence official said.
Increasingly frenzied media reporting on both sides of the border has fueled war speculation, affecting India's government bond market Friday, although leaders from both countries have said war would serve no one's interests.
Washington has joined Britain in urging restraint from India, but at the same time has demanded Pakistan act decisively to wipe out banned groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also called his counterparts in New Delhi and Islamabad in the past two days.
China has long been a close ally of Pakistan, while India and Washington have been building close ties. A Chinese foreign ministry statement said Yang urged both sides to continue dialogue. China was willing to work with the international community to protect peace and security in South Asia.
A senior government official in New Delhi said Yang had suggested a meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials.
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Yang Pakistan must crack down on militants before a meeting would be possible, the official said. A crackdown on Pakistan-based militants after the 2001 parliament attack was seen by India as a sham.
3 Chinese Navy Ships Leave For Somalia
(NSI News Source Info) December 27, 2008: Chinese warships -- armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters -- set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.
The three vessels -- two destroyers and a supply ship -- may increase worries about growing Chinese military power. The mission will also challenge China's ability to cooperate with other naval forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest sea lanes. China Navy's destroyers, the Haikou, top left, and the Wuhan, bottom left, and supply ship the Weishanhu, right, are moored at port before leaving for the Navy's first oversea operation from Sanya, southern China's Hainan province Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. On Friday, warships armed with special forces, missiles and helicopters will sail for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters
Warships from India, Russia, NATO and the U.S. are also cruising the Somali waters that have been plagued by pirate attacks in recent months.
The Chinese ships left early Friday afternoon from a base on the southern island province of Hainan, the official Xinhua News Agency and CCTV reported. China announced it was joining the anti-piracy mission Tuesday after the U.N. Security Council authorized nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases.
Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels off Somalia's 1,880-mile (3,000-kilometer) coastline.
Deploying ships to the Gulf of Aden marks a significant step in the evolution of China's navy, according to a report by Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based intelligence company. The mission will be complicated, offering vital on-the-job training in refueling, resupply and repairs far from home as well as patrolling for pirates, Stratfor said.
"In the event of an accident or a run-in with pirates," Stratfor said, "would a Chinese vessel carry out repairs at sea, head to a nearby port, perhaps in Pakistan, or return to China?"
Stratfor also noted the waters will be awash with naval ships from around the world, making it essential for China to maintain effective communication with the vessels.
The Chinese "will very likely monitor the way NATO and especially U.S. warships communicate with each other and with their shipborne helicopters," the report said.
China's willingness to send ships so far from home is also the latest example of the growing power and confidence of the country's navy. In recent years, the military has been loading up on warships, planes, missiles and other weapons -- a beef-up that has worried its neighbors and the U.S.
Those most concerned include the Japanese and South Koreans, who have long-standing disputes about territorial waters that occasionally flare up. China has also been locked in an uneasy stand off with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations over the ownership of the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii, said countries in the region will view China's mission off Somalia differently.
"For Japan and some in South Korea, this is another step in the unwelcome growth of the Chinese navy as a capable blue-water force, which has only downsides for Tokyo and Seoul," said Roy, an expert on China's military.
But he said most Southeast Asian countries may see China's involvement in the anti-piracy campaign as a positive thing. It would mean that China was using its greater military might for constructive purposes, rather than challenging the current international order.
However, the analyst added, "The Chinese deployment gets at a question the U.S. and other governments have been asking: 'Why the big Chinese military buildup when no country threatens China?' Or more bluntly, 'Why do the Chinese need a blue-water navy when the U.S. Navy already polices the world's oceans?"'
Roy said the answer is that China is unwilling to rely on the U.S. to protect China's increasingly global interests. Beijing still believes it needs to enter the field, Roy said, and that leaves open the possibility of a China-U.S. naval rivalry in the future.
China has said the mission's purpose was to protect Chinese ships and crews that have come under attack from pirates. The vessels would also be willing to share intelligence and conduct humanitarian rescue operations with other countries involved in the anti-piracy efforts, Senior Col. Huang Xueping, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense, said Tuesday.
The two Chinese destroyers -- the Haikou and Wuhan -- will carry special forces, two helicopters and traditional weapons such as missiles and cannons. Huang didn't say how long the mission will last, but a Communist Party newspaper has said the ships would be away about three months.
On Thursday, a German military helicopter rescued an Egyptian ship from pirates who shot and injured a crew member while trying to board the vessel off the Somali coast, said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center. The bulk carrier with 31 crew was passing through the Gulf of Aden on its way to Asia when it was chased by gun-toting pirates in a speedboat, Choong said.
The pirates are spurred by poverty in Somalia, a nation of about 8 million people that has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.
Countries as diverse as Britain, India, Iran, the United States, France and Germany have naval forces in the waters or on their way there. On Wednesday, Japan said it was considering joining the coalition.
India Keeps Military Options On Pakistan After Mumbai Attacks
(NSI News Source Info) December 27, 2008: India's refusal to rule out a military response to the Mumbai attacks is a diplomatic strategy that hides the limited options open to the government, analysts say.
Under intense domestic pressure to take decisive and forceful action over the attacks -- which it blames on Pakistan-based militants -- India faces numerous problems in formulating a proportionate plan of action. An Indian Army soldier shows a rocket launcher during an exhibition at Akhnoor, about 28 km (17 miles) northwest of Jammu December 27, 2008
Topping the list is the knowledge that a cross-border strike of any nature runs the risk of a swift and highly dangerous military escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Another key question is who would be the target of any such operation.
There is a growing international consensus that the Islamist gunmen who killed 163 people in Mumbai came from Pakistan, but there are fewer takers for the charge that the government in Islamabad played a direct role.
For the moment at least, India seems to favour a policy of "coercive diplomacy" -- aggressively mobilising world opinion against Pakistan for providing a safe haven for militant groups.
But on Monday, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee made it clear that New Delhi's patience had limits.
Noting that India had so far acted with the "utmost restraint," Mukherjee said it could not afford to just stand back and rely on others.
"While we continue to persuade the international community and Pakistan, we are also clear that ultimately it is we who have to deal with this problem," he said.
Asked whether a military response was being considered, he stuck to the line that India was exploring "all options."
Despite the threat implicit in that statement, analysts including retired Indian army general Afsir Karim doubt that "unilateral military action" is either a realistic or productive option.
It could, on the contrary, "provide a fillip to insurgency" Karim said, pointing to the example of US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Any military action has to be deliberate, its political goals and objectives clear," Karim said, arguing that India's "best bet" was to forge a global coalition that could pressure Pakistan "to dismantle the infrastructure of terror."
Analyst C. Uday Bhaskar agreed that India's options were restricted.
"Concerted global diplomatic action is the only way to defeat terrorism. No one country has the answer to it," he said.
The pressure on the government to do something is compounded by looming general elections in which the national security issue is sure to figure prominently.
Former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh said the government had "lost a lot of credibility" for its failure to prevent a series of attacks on Indian soil this year that have claimed more than 400 lives.
A government source, meanwhile, told AFP that India's response to Mumbai "will be a carefully calibrated one" with investigations into the November 26-29 siege yet to be completed.
New Delhi has been sharing communication intercepts and information gleaned from the lone surviving gunmen with the United States and Britain.
India has demanded stern action against Islamist groups based in Pakistan, as well as the arrest and extradition of individuals it accuses of planning attacks on Indian soil.
So far, however, the only concrete consequence of the attacks has been to freeze the peace dialogue that India and Pakistan launched in 2004 -- a process that was making only limited progress before the carnage in Mumbai.
UN Forces Trying To Bring Stability In Chad
(NSI News Source Info) December 27, 2008: Chad has agreed to allow the UN to deploy a force of 4,900 peacekeepers in the Spring of 2009. The UN has come up with a new plan for this force, based on the failed efforts of the 3,700 EU peacekeepers that are already there. The problem with the EU force was that it was unable to cover much ground. As a result, some of the refugee camps are controlled by rebel groups or bandits. The UN plan calls for stationing 400 troops at six locations, nearest to the refugee camps. A thousand troops would be available as a mobile reserve, and 18 helicopters would be on hand to move troops and supplies around. It's a plan, but there's no knowing if it will work until the UN gets the troops and aircraft there. The rebels and bandits are resourceful, and have come to depend on the food and other supplies they steal from the refugee camps and aid groups. Chadian rebel groups announced that they had united and agreed to hold elections 18 months after they overthrow the current government. The recent development of oil exports has brought several billion dollars a year into the national treasury. This provides more of an incentive for various tribal coalitions (which is what the rebel groups are) to take control of the government, and the money. Even if the rebels held elections, that would not stop them from looting the treasury and spending all that oil money on themselves.
The UN knows that weapons are being shipped into Chad, and often ending up in the hands of bandits and rebel groups. But the government denies allowing arms smuggling (the rebels ignore inquiries), and UN inspectors have been unable to gather any proof of exactly who is doing what. Chad is a big place, full of armed groups who are hostile for foreign investigators.
December 8, 2008: Four Mi-8 transport helicopters, and 200 Russian troops to operate, maintain and protect them, have arrived.
(NSI News Source Info) December 27, 2008: Israel Aircraft Industries has recently delivered Turkey the first two Heron UAVs, part of a package worth $183 million signed between Turkey and Israel in 2005. The aircraft are deployed at the Batman military base in Southeast Turkey. Israel is expected to deliver the remaining 8 Herons in the upcoming months. The package includes 10 IAI Heron UAVs, operated by ground control systems developed by Elbit Systems.
Turkey steps up reconnaissance operations of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles monitoring suspected Kurdish resistance in Southeastern Turkey and Northeast Iraq
Another Heron delivered to Turkey earlier this year was crashed in July 2008 while on a mission over Southeastern Turkey. Israel provided turkey with a surplus Searcher type UAV to augment its operations, but this UAV has also been lost. Turkey has also leased UAV services of three Aerostar tactical UAVs built by Aeronautics defense Systems, to augment its reconnaissance activities monitoring PKK activities in Southeastern Turkey and Kurdistan.
However, the new Herons have also encountered some difficulties. Part of the mission payload, comprising the Turkish manufactured Aselflir 300T Electro-Optical payload built by Aselsan was found to be significantly overweight, thus reducing operational ceiling, and endurance. While Heron is capable of carrying payloads up to 240 kg weight, the aircraft typically carries multiple sensors, including EO, SAR and COMINT systems. Therefore, Turkey might have to remove some of the mission modules, to compensating for the EO overweight. limit the usability of the Heron which has a total payload capacity of 240 kg. Turkish officials confirmed the overweight issue but considered the aircraft is being strengthened and engine uprated to compensate for the weight increase.
According to the Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman, Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner acknowledged at a press conference on Oct. 27 that Turkey plans to buy a US-made UAV, noting that one Predator UAV is currently at the disposal of the Turkish military and has been gathering intelligence on the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), mostly in northern Iraq. General Atomics withdrew from a previous program in Turkey due to the Turkish demand to integrate a locally developed payload considered by the American manufacturer to be incompatible with their platform.
Turkey is also interested in acquiring a Lethal Unmanned Aerial System capability. The Turkish Army was interested in acquiring the US made General Atomics Predator, (of which it already has one aircraft, operating over Northern Iraq covering suspected PKK strongholds in Iraq). However, in recent months the Ministry of Defense is favoring an expansion of an existing capability, based on the Harpy radar killer drone supplied by Israel several years ago. Turkey has been interested in acquiring the general purpose, loitering killer drone version of the system (previously known as Harrop).
(NSI News Source Info) December 26, 2008: NATO has extended, for two years, its leasing arrangement for two Russian/Ukrainian An-124 transports (full time) and another four on call as needed. These aircraft are leased from a Ukrainian firm. When the An-124 was developed, in the 1980s, much of the work was done in Ukraine (which was then part of the Soviet Union, which dissolved in 1991). Production is now split between Russia and Ukraine, and both countries operate the aircraft. The Antonov An-124 Ruslan was the largest airplane in production until the Antonov An-225 was built. During development it was known as the An-400 and An-40 in the West, and it flew for the first time in 1982. Civil certification was issued by the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee on 30 December 1992. Over forty are currently in service (26 civilian models with airlines and 10 firm orders as of August 2006) and 20 were in commercial use in 1998 in Russia, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and Libya.
NATO plans to fly it's two An-124s 1,500 hours each in 2009, as well as booking over a thousand hours on the four other An-124s it has access to. NATO uses the aircraft to support peacekeeping operations in Africa and Afghanistan.
Russia has a major success on its hands with the An-124 cargo aircraft. Designed at the end of the Cold War, only sixty were built. But the market for aircraft that can carry oversize cargo has grown twice as fast as the air cargo market in general.
The An-124, and the U.S. Air Force C-5, are the only two transports that can handle oversize material. And the An-124 is the only "jumbo" available for charter. So production of the An-124 will be resumed. Another fifty, or more, aircraft are to be built, starting in 2009. The last one was completed in 2004. The new An-124s will cost about $150 million each. Currently, about 40 An-124s are in service, 26 with civilian airlines.
The An-124 is the world's largest production aircraft and can carry a payload of 120 tons. The An-124 cruises at a speed of around 800 to 850 kilometers per hour, it can carry a maximum payload around 4,500 kilometers, or carry less cargo, and more fuel, for up to 16,500 kilometers. There are around 40 An-124s doing commercial work, with another twenty in military service
In the late 1980s, a modification of the An-124, the slightly larger An-225, was built. With two extra engines and a larger wing, the An-225 can carry over 250 tons. A second An-225 was being built when the Cold War ended. Construction was halted, but demand for An-124s has been so strong, that the second An-225 taken out of storage and is being completed.
New An-225s would cost close to $200 million each. These are a bargain compared to the $225 million cost of a new American C-17 cargo aircraft. The C-17 also only carries around 79 tons of cargo. If sales of the new An-124 take off, more An-225s may be available as well.
(NSI News Source Info) December 26, 2008: Pakistan has moved two brigades to the Line of Control (which divides Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir). No reason given, although the Pakistanis may want to help keep the Islamic terrorists from crossing into India. That would be nice.
The Pakistanis continue military operations against the Taliban along the Afghan border, but things have slowed down because of the Winter weather. Pro-Taliban tribal gangs continue to threaten U.S./NATO truck routes into Afghanistan. This is seen more as an extortion scam, than an attempt to cut NATO supplies lines. The groups attacking the truck traffic are asking for more money to stop the attacks.
Doesn't sound like, as some pundits have speculated, that the attacks are retaliation for the many successful missile attacks on terrorist leaders recently.
The Pakistani government continues its crackdown on illegal banking. These operations are used to finance terrorist groups, but in this case, the Pakistanis are more interested in the illegal movement of billions of dollars out of the country.
This occurred as the Pakistani economy got hit with the effects (smaller export orders) of the current world-wide recession. The illegal movement of such large amounts of foreign currency makes it more difficult for the government to finance imports, and get foreign aid. On the other hand, the wealthy families that own the exported billions are getting a higher rate of return overseas, and avoid the risk of any of their money being seized (for unpaid taxes or criminal activity.) The endemic corruption in Pakistan makes it difficult to run a business, or an economy, efficiently.
Pakistan has sent counter-terror officials to Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, to see if successful counter-terror methods used there could be useful against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan. There may be some useful techniques that can be borrowed, but Pakistans situation is quite different from that in Saudi Arabia or Sri Lanka.
Pakistan, for example, has a weaker and more divided government, and is faced with a much larger and aggressive terrorist threat. Despite the Mumbai attacks and the Islamic terrorism along the Afghan border (and occasional attacks in non-tribal areas) the government refuses to shut down all the "charities" and other organizations that belong to the terrorist groups. The Pakistanis get away with this because most of them believe that their nuclear arsenal stops India from attacking, or doing anything, to coerce a real crackdown on the Pakistani terrorists groups.
December 25, 2008: In the Pakistani city of Islamabad (the capital), police raided a terrorist bomb factory and seized over half a ton of explosives, 520 detonators and other bomb making materials. The three men who operated the bomb factory escaped the police, but their identities are known.
The bomb factory location was discovered by high-level intelligence units, and passed on to the police. There are suspicions that this was an ISI operation, and that the pro-terrorist operatives at ISI warned the three terrorists, as the police would not explain how the three men operating the bomb factory escaped capture.
India continues to have problems with Maoist violence in the eastern part of the country, and with tribal separatists in the northeast. But both these situations are far smaller, and less bloody, than what Pakistan faces.
December 22, 2008: More Sharia (Islamic law) courts are being established in the tribal areas. Not because the tribesmen back the Taliban or al Qaeda, but because the civil courts are so corrupt and inefficient. Some cases drag on for decades. With a Sharia court (conducted by religious scholars), you can often get same day justice. This is different from imposing Sharia law on a population, which the Taliban continues to try to do in parts of the tribal territories. This is not popular, especially the Taliban attitude towards educating women and girls (don't) or having fun (no booze, music or vids).
December 18, 2008: A recent opinion survey in Pakistan found that 73 percent believed their economic improved last year, but were not so optimistic about 2009. There has been a big drop in confidence in the government (only 31 percent in October, versus over 80 percent in June.) Pakistanis do not believe their government is doing a good job with the economy, or the terrorism problem.
The U.S. has also been openly criticizing Pakistan for not cracking down on Islamic terrorism enough. As always, the problem is that so many (perhaps a third) of Pakistanis back the goals of Islamic terrorists (the establishment of an Islamic religious dictatorship to rule the world.) More Pakistanis now believe that Islamic terrorists were not responsible for the recent attacks in Mumbai, India. A growing popular belief in Pakistan is that this was the work of the Israeli Mossad (secret service.)
Easier Point Finger At Others, Not Realising The Other Three Fingers Are Pointing Back At Real Culprit
(NSI News Source Info) December 26, 2008: Many Pakistanis now believe that the recent Islamic terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, was the work of the Israeli Mossad, or the American CIA. Such fantasies are a common explanation, in Moslem nations, for Islamic terrorist atrocities.
Especially when women and children, and Moslems, are among the victims, other Moslems tend to accept fantastic explanations shifting the blame to infidels (non-Moslems).
Conspiracies are not unique to the Moslem world, but they are much more common there. After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, many Moslems again blamed Israel.
A favorite variation of this is that, before the attacks on the World Trade Center, a secret message went out to all Jews in the area to stay away. Another variation has it that the 19 attackers (all of them Arab, 15 from Saudi Arabia) were really not Arabs, but falsely identified as part of the Israeli deception.
In the United States, some Americans insist that the attack was the work of the U.S. government, complete with the World Trade Center towers being brought down by prepositioned explosive charges. While few Americans accept this, the Moslem fantasies are widely accepted in the Moslem world. Even Western educated Arabs, speaking good English, will casually express, and accept, these tales of the Israeli Mossad staging the attacks, to trick the U.S. into attacking Afghanistan and Iraq. Americans are shocked at this, but the Moslems expressing these beliefs just shrug.
American troops arriving in Iraq go through a real culture shock as they encounter these cultural difference. They also discover that the cause of this, and many other Arab problems, is the concept of "inshallah" ("If God wills it.") This is a basic tenet of Islam, although some scholars believe the attitude preceded that religion. In any event, "inshallah" is deadly when combined with modern technology.
For this reason, Arab countries either have poorly maintained infrastructure and equipment (including military stuff), or import a lot of foreigners, possessing the right attitudes, to maintain everything. That minority of Arabs who do have the right attitude towards maintenance and personal responsibility are considered odd, but useful.
The "inshallah" thing is made worse by a stronger belief in the supernatural, and magic in general. This often extends to technology. Thus many Iraqis believe that American troops wear sunglasses that see through clothing, and armor vests that are actually air conditioned. When they first encounter these beliefs, U.S. troops thought the Arabs are putting them on. Then it sinks in that Arabs really believe this stuff. It's a scary moment.
However, many troops learn to live with, and even exploit, these odd beliefs. When troops at one base discovered that they weren't being attacked much, because many of the locals believed that the base was surrounded by a force field, the troops would casually make reference to their force field, when they were outside the wire and among the locals. This reinforced the force field myth, and made the base safer. Other troops would invent new fantasies, like a pretending that a handheld bit of military electronics was actually a mind reading device. That often made interrogations go a lot quicker. Not all Arabs believe in this stuff, and those that didn't and worked for the Americans, often as an interpreter, could only shrug their shoulders when asked about it.
This easy acceptance of fantasies is exploited by leaders throughout the Middle East, and the Moslem world in general. Leaders who know better, build on these fantasies as a way to maintain their control over the population. The problem is a dirty little secret in the Moslem world, that leaders and academics don't even like to discuss it openly, much less with infidels. But it is real, and you can read all about it in the local media, or overhear it in the coffee shops.
Oshkosh Wins $176M for Cargo Vehicles / Pentagon Contract Announcement
(NSI News Source Info) December 26, 2008: Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded a $176,328,868 fixed price delivery order #0025 under a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (M67854-06-D-5028). This delivery order is exercise priced options for the purchase of 400 each Logistic Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) production cargo vehicle, 17 each LVSR Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) 5TH Wheel Vehicles, 11 each LVSR LRIP Wrecker Vehicles, 275 production weapons mount kits, 110 engine arctic kits, and 171 add-on armor kits.
Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., and work for this delivery order is expected to be completed by May 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.
China 'Seriously' Considering Building An Aircraft Carrier: Report
(NSI News Source Info) Beijing - December 26, 2008: China will seriously consider building an aircraft carrier to ensure the nation's maritime security and safeguard the sovereignty of its coastal waters, a defence official said Tuesday.
"An aircraft carrier is a symbol of overall national strength and a symbol of the competitiveness of the nation's naval force," defence ministry spokesman Huang Xueping told journalists.
"The Chinese government will take into overall account the relevant factors and seriously consider the relevant issue," he said, when asked when the Chinese navy would acquire an aircraft carrier.
Huang was speaking at a rare press conference in which he briefed journalists on the dispatch of three Chinese naval ships to the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy there.
China has reportedly been considering either building or buying an aircraft carrier for over a decade but so far the plans have not materialised.
However, Huang insisted that such a warship would help the navy fulfil its task of protecting the nation's huge coastline.
"China has vast oceans," Huang said. "It is the solemn responsibility of China's armed forces to ensure the country's maritime security and uphold the sovereignty of its coastal waters and maritime rights and interests."
Russia Delivers Two Su-30 Fighters To Indonesia Under Contract
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 26, 2008: Russia's Sukhoi holding, the manufacturer of the famed family of Su fighter planes, said on Friday it had delivered two Su-30MK2 Flanker multi-role fighters to Indonesia.
Under a $300 million contract, signed in 2007, Russia will supply three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM fighters to Jakarta in addition to two Su-27SK and two Su-30MK that are already in service with the Indonesian air force.
"Indonesia has prepared all the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the Russian-made fighters, including a separate hangar. Pilots and technicians are also available for the servicing of the aircraft," the company said in a statement.
According to an official from Russia's state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, the official transfer ceremony will be held in mid-January.
"The aircraft have been delivered to an airbase in Makassar and received by the Indonesian side. After assembly by Russian specialists and a series of test flights, the aircraft will be officially transferred to Indonesia," Vadim Varaksin said.
Russia is scheduled to deliver the third Su-30MK2 fighter in the beginning of 2009 and three Su-27SKM planes in 2009-2010.
The aircraft will become part of the 11th Squadron and will be based at the Sultan Hasanuddin airbase on the island of Sulawesi.
Brazil to Assemble 50 EC-725 Helicopters in 1.9Bn Euro Deal / Commander of the Air Force Signs Unprecedented Contract with France
(NSI News Source Info) December 26, 2008: The Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant-General Juniti Saito, representing the three Armed Forces, will sign, Dec. 23 in the Hotel Copacabana Palace, in Rio De Janeiro, a contract for the production in Brazil and the supply of 50 EC-725 military helicopters.
This project calls for 16 helicopters for the Brazilian Navy, 16 for the Brazilian Army and 18 for the Air Force. It will be signed with the chief executives of Helibras Brazil Helicopter Company and Eurocopter, respectively Jean-Noël Hardy and Mr. Lutz Bertling.
The contract, fruit of the long-standing aeronautical cooperation between Brazil and France, aims at consolidating and extending exchanges in the military field, and at stimulating industrial and commercial activities between the two countries. Significantly, the agreement calls for the manufacture of the aircraft in Brazil, by Helibras and other joint venture companies, thanks to technology transfer and direct offsets.
The contract is the result of the operational requirements of the three services, and calls for the implementation of engineering projects, manufacture, modification and modernization of helicopters, as well as qualification of staff, in Brazil. The signature of this contract with EADS is unprecedented, as it represents the first instance of a joint project by the three armed forces for the procurement of military equipment. Delivery of the first production aircraft is scheduled for the end of 2010.