DTN News: U.S., Israel Closing Gaps On Iran And Peacemaking
*Source: DTN News / JTA (NEWS ANALYSIS) By Leslie Susser
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - December 1, 2009: Israel and the United States seem closer than they have been for months on two key issues: peacemaking with the Palestinians and Iranian nuclear ambitions. EILAT, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 29: In this handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at Press Convention on November 29, 2009 in Eilat, Israel. Netanyahu said that Israel was committed to renewing the Middle East peace process, but he questioned whether the Palestinians were ready to enter into political talks. Signs show that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking Nov. 29, 2009 during a news conference in his Jerusalem office, and President Obama are very much on the same page concerning Iran sanctions.
The point was hammered home with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement of a 10-month freeze on building in West Bank settlements and strong White House censure of Iran's plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants.
But important differences of nuance remain on both fronts. Israel would like to see more robust action on Iran without delay, and the United States wants Israel to make further substantial peace overtures to the Palestinians.
The latest escalation in tension between Iran and the international community came after the International Atomic Energy Agency demanded that the Islamic Republic immediately halt enrichment at a previously secret site near the holy city of Qom, and outgoing IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei declared that he could not confirm that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program.
The strongly worded IAEA motion of censure was endorsed by Russia and China, two powers that in the past have tended to steer clear of tough measures against Iran.
Iran responded with contempt. Rather than close down the facility at Qom, it would start building five new ones over the next few months, and accelerate plans for another five in their wake. The Iranian parliament urged reduced cooperation with IAEA inspectors, and there was even talk of Iran withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- moves that would give it a free hand to pursue a nuclear weapons program without international scrutiny.
Israeli pundits say the Iranian threats are intended to test international resolve in the hope of getting an improved offer from the United States and other major powers: permission to enrich uranium to industrial grade on Iranian soil rather than in France and Russia.
But this time, the pundits say, the Iranians may have miscalculated, and the clear White House warning that "time is running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear program" could presage the end of President Obama's attempt to engage Iran and the beginning of the harsh sanctions regime Netanyahu has long advocated -- with Russia and China aboard.
Indeed, when he first met Obama in 2007, before either man was in high office, Netanyahu pressed the case for strong economic sanctions against Iran. Obama, then a junior senator, picked up on this and soon afterward sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act.
During their latest meeting in Washington just over three weeks ago, Iran again was high on the agenda. Netanyahu told journalists that time would show the meeting to have been very significant -- he strongly emphasized the word very -- language some pundits took to imply that major understandings on the Iranian nuclear issue had been reached.
For now, the signs are that Obama and Netanyahu are very much on the same sanctions page, with slightly different views on the timing. The big question is what happens if sanctions fail.
Israeli pundits argue that Obama, embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan, will not want to open a third front against Iran, whereas Netanyahu is not ready to take any option, including the military one, off the table.
What is clear to both leaders is that if either decides to attack Iran, Israel will become a target for Iranian retaliation. Hence the huge joint military exercise in the Negev in late October, testing Israeli and American anti-missile defense systems.
On the Palestinian front, the Americans welcomed Netanyahu's building freeze as going beyond anything previous Israeli governments had done. But at the same time the Americans made it clear that they would have liked to have seen more -- for example, a freeze that did not exclude East Jerusalem, public buildings and housing units already started -- because the object of the exercise was to get the Palestinians on board for peace talks, and only a full freeze might have achieved that aim.
The Americans also are pressing Netanyahu to free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners outside the framework of the impending deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal held by Hamas for more than three years, because of the bitter rivalry between the secular Fatah organization and the more militant Hamas. The thinking is that the standing of the U.S.-backed Fatah leader, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, could be weakened by the planned release of about 1,000 prisoners to Hamas in return for Shalit. Releasing large numbers of Fatah prisoners to Abbas would help prevent him from losing face.
The main U.S. goal, though, is to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and here they believe Netanyahu could have done more -- for example, by agreeing to resume talks where his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, left off, or giving the Palestinians a clearer idea of the contours of a final peace deal.
The way forward now could be new U.S. bridging proposals which do exactly that. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Netanyahu's settlement freeze has made this possible, and the United States will soon present the parties with something along these lines.
The Americans, however, are well aware that with Hamas in control of Gaza, and with conflicting Israeli and Palestinian bottom lines on all the core issues, the chances of success are not high. On the other hand, the prize to be won is huge. Success would mean a pacified Middle East with enhanced American influence and prestige.
The question is, will Obama be prepared to take the risk of likely failure, with the attendant consequences for his and America's international standing?
DTN News: Financial News TODAY December 1, 2009 ~ Dubai Crisis Is The Arab Economy's Opportunity*Source: DTN News / MarketWatch By Amotz Asa-El
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - December 1, 2009: What began as a pharaonic construction site is suddenly sinking in economic quicksand, its future as an archeological attraction possibly more promising than its pretensions as a global financial center.
Dubai, which until last week loomed tall - literally - as an enterprising, cosmopolitan, glitzy and happy antithesis to the Middle East's economic stagnation, has now emerged as a sad monument to all that is ill about the pan-Arab economy, which includes more than a quarter-billion people but is smaller than Spain's.
Once the dust settles over Dubai World's debt-default announcement last week, its many Western victims would do well to probe not only the way the emirate's authorities treated their money but also the relationship between the entire petrodollar elite and the pan-Arab economy.
The Dubai crisis originated in a brave dream: that the Gulf's oil riches would buy rather than produce a great financial center.
Had this transpired, it would have defied historical precedent, whereby the great modern financial centers -- from London, Frankfurt and New York to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore -- both followed and fed monumental industrial revolutions.
Those financial centers rose after millions had moved from the countryside to factories, where the process of their economic empowerment began, eventually giving rise to the broad, educated, affluent and socially mobile middle classes that are the backbone of healthy economies. Metropolis in the Dunes
In the Gulf, despite the complete absence of middle classes and an industrial base, a financial metropolis was emerging from the Arabian dunes.
Dominated by Burj Dubai, the $1 billion turret that at 2,500 feet is the world's tallest structure and by its trademark palm-shaped system of artificial islands, Dubai invested $200 billion in tourism infrastructure. On top of that, it put $20 billion into a property venture that included 30,000 houses, luxurious hotels and an artificial lake, and an additional $4 billion for 300 artificial islands.
Dubai's emir, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum, openly spoke of the need to prepare for the morning after oil, which some suspect will arrive within several generations, whether because the resource will be exhausted or alternative energies will take precedence.
But the construction frenzy transcended Dubai. To the north, the Bahrain Financial Port was planned to employ 8,000 bankers and insurance agents, while at the other end of the Arabian Peninsula the Saudis laid the cornerstone for the $27 billion King Abdullah Economic City.
And real estate was but the most visible aspect of a spendthrift Zeitgeist that swept the entire Gulf area during this decade's seven fat years of record oil prices.
It was the time when Emirates Airlines bought a $37 billion fleet including 45 state-of-the-art double-decker Airbus A380s; when Abu-Dhabi-based Mubadala Development bought a stake in Ferrari, and Dubai International shopped for U.S. seaports while other Gulf sheikhs bought skyscrapers in Manhattan and a chunk of London's Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
No one abroad, let alone locally, seemed to ask who makes all those decisions and how, why and at what social cost, just as western governments never questioned their steady supply of Saudi Arabia's estimated $20 billion annual military spending -- about the size of Russia's defense budget -- and its social costs.
Westerners preferred to look at the happy side of all this financial momentum, which besides welcoming rich foreigners included a genuinely progressive quest, like Qatar allowing U.S. universities to open local campuses for Arab students, a large number of them women, and like Saudi Arabia earlier this decade launching a $50 billion plan to build new roads, hospitals and schools.
Alas, it was all part of one big exercise in economic alchemy.
Financially, the Dubai crisis is rooted in the region's disbelief in transparency. Until this moment the extent of Dubai's debt and resources remains unclear. And the suddenness of its default announcement was in keeping with the local idea of corporate governance, which recently saw the emir of Dubai sack the Ivy-League-educated chairmen of Dubai World, Dubai Holding, and Dubai International Financial Center, and replace them with his relatives and cronies.
With more transparency, the markets might have made the usage of the region's minerals a bit more prudent and balanced. Yet that drawback is dwarfed by the Gulf vision's social aspect.
Bluntly put, the great development along the Arabian coastline was part of an effort to freeze the Middle East's deformed social structure, whereby hundreds of millions of impoverished and uneducated Arabs live almost immediately under a well-born moneyed elite, with hardly any middle class between them.
That is why the Gulf's Arab oil producers did not use their wealth to build -- in their own lands, let alone elsewhere in the Arab world -- the kind of assembly lines that revolutionized the economies of China, India and Brazil. That is why Dubai and its neighbors import millions of Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis as their unskilled workforce, even though nearby Egypt and Syria have chronic labor surpluses.
That is why a place like Dubai at any given time has more foreign residents than locals; and that is why the burgeoning financial center's profits (while they were still being made) went abroad rather than where they were needed most: in the slums of Cairo, Casablanca, Damascus, Khartoum and Sana'a, where hope is as close to the destitute masses as the Burj Dubai's 160th floor is to the ground.
Like Pharaoh's Egypt, the Gulf economy rested on abundant resources, cheap labor, and a disregard for social solidarity. Economically or morally, this was no way to build a modern financial center.
The fact that Western institutional investors happily flocked to the Gulf should surprise no one, although one wonders just what all the bankers who are now fuming at Dubai's leader were thinking when they signed deals with him. Did they think that the laws of economic gravity would not apply where islands were being imposed on the sea and castles were being planted in the sand? The bankers' short-sighted attitude in this theater is but an extension of their failings during the era of greed that preceded the meltdown in Wall Street. Chances that they will now fix what they helped ruin are therefore low.
The ones in a position to make the repairs are Europe and America -- if not because they care for social justice then because they care for the poverty that feeds Europe with a Middle Eastern immigration it does not want and Islamist terror with the fresh recruits it very much wants.
Europe and America can therefore use this moment of perplexity to help restore confidence in the vision of a financial center in the Gulf, but the proper way: with more transparency, social concern and regional investments, with less extravagance and with a real economy attached to it.
Amotz Asa-El is a former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post.
DTN News: Barack Obama Issues New Afghanistan Military Orders
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - December 1, 2009: US President Barack Obama has issued new orders for the US military in Afghanistan after deciding how many more troops to send, officials say. There are 68,000 US soldiers based in Afghanistan. US Army soldiers belonging to the 1st Platoon, Able Troop 3-71 Cavalry Squadron and members of the South Carolina National Guard, patrol in the village of Kashmiri Bala, Baraki Barak district, Logar province, Afghanistan Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009.
Mr Obama told senior military leaders about his long-awaited decision on troop numbers on Sunday night, a White House spokesman said.
The president is now briefing the UK, French and Russian leaders on the plan.
The moves come as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would send 500 more soldiers to the country.
According to US media reports, Mr Obama is set to formally announce that a further 30,000 troops are to be sent to Afghanistan in a televised address on Tuesday.
He has been considering a request from the US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, for 40,000 soldiers.
Mr Obama met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday evening.
He also spoke to senior staff including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Adviser James Jones before holding a videophone conference with Gen McChrystal and Karl Eikenberry, ambassador to Afghanistan.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is currently visiting Washington DC, was told of the plans in person.
The US currently has about 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, where foreign forces currently total more than 100,000.
We should be failing in our duty if we didn't work with our allies to deal with the problem where it starts
In his address, the president is also expected to tell the American public again why the US involvement in Afghanistan is necessary and how long the commitment is expected to last.
Last week, Mr Obama said he intended to "finish the job" in Afghanistan.
The White House said Mr Obama was in the process of speaking to all the key US allies in the Afghan conflict, including Italy, France, Britain and Russia.
The leaders were informed of the new strategy but were not told exactly how many extra troops the US intends to despatch, the Associated Press reported.
On Monday, Mr Brown said he was sending a further 500 soldiers to Afghanistan, taking the country's total deployment in the country to 10,000.
He said all conditions had been met to send the extra personnel and that eight other countries had also offered additional troops.
Mr Brown told parliament "the safety of people on the streets of Britain" depended on the UK taking action to address the militant threat from al-Qaeda at its source - along the Afghan/Pakistan border areas.
"We should be failing in our duty if we didn't work with our allies to deal with the problem where it starts," Mr Brown told parliament.
Mr Brown said the military surge would be followed by a political surge, with an enlarged and reformed Afghan police force and more effective and accountable local administration.
Italian Foreign Minster Franco Frattini said on Monday that Rome was also prepared to increase its presence in Afghanistan from the current 3,200.
Italy's Ansa news agency quoted Mr Frattini as saying the conflict was a test of Nato's "credibility" and that it was "clear that Italy must finish the job started with NATO and make a greater contribution if it is needed".
DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY December 1, 2009 ~ 6 Afghan National Police Killed By Fellow Officer
*Source: DTN News / By RAHIM FAIEZ (AP)
(NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - December 1, 2009: A rogue Afghan police officer opened fire at a checkpoint in southwest Afghanistan, killing six police officers and injuring two before being killed, an official said Monday. Afghan National Police officers, seen training with mock guns during a session with ISAF soldiers from the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) at the German army camp in Fayzabad, northern Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
The incident — the second time in two months that a police officer has turned on colleagues — is a reminder of the steep challenge NATO troops face as they work to build a national police force that will be able to provide security and allow international forces to eventually leave.
The shooting in southern Nimroz province occurred Sunday morning in Khash Rod district, said provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Jabar Pardeli.
"One of our policemen opened fire on his colleagues at the checkpoint," Pardeli said, adding that an investigation was under way to find what prompted the shooting.
He said the suspect escaped to Dil Aram — another district in the province — where he was identified by a patrol of Afghan police and army soldiers. The patrol tried to stop him, but he started shooting again and was killed in a gun battle.
President Barack Obama is expected to announce a new Afghan strategy this week that includes tens of thousands more U.S. troops. The leading Senate Democrat on military matters said Sunday that any plan to significantly expand U.S. troop levels must show how those reinforcements will help increase the number of Afghan security forces.
Greater numbers of Afghan army and police are central to succeeding in the 8-year-old war, according to Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and more U.S. trainers and an infusion of battlefield gear will help meet that goal.
But it's unclear, Levin said, what role additional U.S. combat troops will play in that buildup, and Obama has to make a compelling case during a national address he's scheduled to give Tuesday night from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
NATO's goal is to grow the largely uneducated police force into a professional force of about 134,000 officers by October 2010 from 94,000 today. But finding skilled recruits is difficult, and some of those joining the police now were recently on the side of the militants.
The push has been marked by violence. In October, a police officer opened fire on the British troops training him, killing five. Last year, police officers turned against American soldiers in two separate incidents, killing and wounding several.
In the same area as the latest shooting, a Turkish engineer for a private construction company has been missing since Sunday, when he drove out toward Dil Aram, Gov. Ghulam Dastagir Azad said.
In the north, meanwhile, two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed the head of logistics for the provincial intelligence service late Sunday, said Jowzjan provincial police chief Khalilullah Aminzada.
And in southern Helmand province, Afghan and international forces killed two militants responsible for planting roadside bombs, the Defense Ministry said.
DTN News: Pakistan Must Step Up Action Against al Qaeda Says British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
* UK seeks more Pakistan action against al Qaeda
* UK wants more done to target al Qaeda leadership
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - November 30, 2009: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on Pakistan to take tougher action against al Qaeda and step up its efforts to track down the group's leader Osama bin Laden.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - NOVEMBER 28: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown chats with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during the third retreat session on the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Hyatt Hotel on November 28, 2009 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad And Tobago. CHOGM is held every 2 years, bringing together world leaders to discuss key issues of a global and Commonwealth nature, and key policies and initiatives.
Brown said the efforts of British and coalition forces in Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban insurgency needed to be matched by more effective action by the Pakistan government and forces on their side of the border.
"Brown called President (Asif Ali) Zardari yesterday, he expressed support for what Pakistani forces are doing against the Pakistani Taliban but said he wanted to see tougher action against the leadership of al Qaeda," a British official said.
The official said Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani would be coming to London on Thursday to meet with Brown.In television interviews on Sunday, Brown said that while progress had been made by Pakistani forces in South Waziristan, a bastion of the Pakistani Taliban, there were still big issues to deal with in the country.
"People are going to ask why, eight years after 2001, Osama bin Laden has never been near to being caught ... and what can the Pakistan authorities do that is far more effective," he told Sky news.
"Al Qaeda has a base in Pakistan, that base is still there, they are able to recruit from abroad," he said. "The Pakistan authorities must convince us that they are taking all the action that is necessary to deal with that threat."
He also questioned why there had been no evidence to lead to the capture of bin Laden and his second in command Ayman al-Zawahri, despite people in Pakistan knowing where they are.His comments came as a U.S. report criticised military leaders under former President George W. Bush for missing an opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden in 2001.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Sunday that at this week's Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago both he and Brown had spoken to the Pakistani delegation about the efforts of Pakistan's forces against the Taleban.
"As we enter the week when President Obama will be outlining a major rise in not just the military, but also the civilian and political efforts in Afghanistan, it is right we recognise that stability in Afghanistan requires stability in Pakistan too, and that requires a combined effort," he told BBC news.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Tuesday a 30,000 increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan to boost coalition efforts to defeat the obstinate Taliban insurgency.
Brown, facing dwindling public backing at home for keeping British troops in Afghanistan, said the campaign to free British streets from terrorism must start from Pakistan where, he said, three-quarters of plots against British people were masterminded.
Speaking a day after offering to host a conference early next year to set out a timetable for transferring security responsibilities to Afghan forces from 2010, Brown reiterated comments that Britain wants to have trained 5,000 extra Afghan forces in Helmand province by the end of next year.
DTN News: Russia's Shipyard Launches Indian Stealth Frigates 'Teg'*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - November 30, 2009: Russia's defence shipyard "Yantar" has launched first of the three Indian stealth frigates - INS Teg (Sabre) at a colourful ceremony in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.(F44 INS Tabar) Nov 10/09: RIA Novosti reports that the Yantar shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad is planning to float out the first of the 3 Talwar class frigates being built for the Indian Navy at the end of November. Spokesman Sergei Mikhailov adds that “Floating out does not mean that the sea trials will start right away. We still have to carry out post-construction work. The trials will start in 2010.”
The shipyard still intends to deliver all 3 vessels to India in 2011-2012.
March 6/09: India’s Business Times reports that an overzealous US State Department bureaucrat appears to have created a serious delay in the related Project 17 program, after ordering GE to stop work on the program. Unlike the Krivak III Class, Shivalik Class ships use 2 American LM2500 turbines in place of Russian designs.
If India is lucky, the delay will be only 2 months. If the State Department’s actions cause India to miss sea trials due to the monsoon season, the delay could be many months longer. In the end, all the State Department may succeed in doing is jeopardizing the chances of other American companies under consideration for Indian defense buys. “US State Dept. Throws A Wrench Into Exports, Allied Shipbuilding” for more.
Oct 16/08: RIA Novosti quotes the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad to say that the 2nd Project 11356 frigate for India under the 2006 deal is more than 50% complete, and would be finished by March 2009. The final vessel in that deal is due to be delivered to India by 2011-12.*
Under $1.6 billion contract signed in July 2006, INS Teg begins the second series of three Project 11356 Talwar Class (Krivak-III) stealth guided missile frigates to be followed by INS Tarkash (Quiver) and INS Trikand (Bow).
INS Teg was launched with the recitation Vedic hymns by Indian Naval attache in Moscow Commodore S K Grewal and breaking of coconut by the Indian Consul General in St Petersburg Radhika Lal Lokesh. Russia has previously built three Talwar class frigates for India --- INS Talwar (from the Hindi language meaning Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Axe). In accordance with the Russian tradition, a bottle of champagne was broken at its hull by its 'god mother' Raisa Romashko, who is an eminent shipbuilder of Russia.
"The trials of INS Teg will start in 2010," "Yantar" shipyard Director General Igor Orlov was quoted as saying by Military TV Channel "Zvezda".
DTN News: Are The EU And Russia Becoming The New Global Power?
*Source: DTN News / Huntington County Political Buzz Examiner ~ Mark Shoffner
(NSI News Source Info) Huntington County, Indiana - November 30, 2009: Russian President, Dmitry Medvdev, has sent a security proposal to European security agencies, including NATO and the EU. The draft calls for all nations that agree, to the final writing, will follow the principle “indivisible, equal and undiminished security”. The proposal includes these few ideas of joint security. “That parties do not undertake, support or participate in actions that can jeopardize the security of another party to the treaty". The sides also agree not to allow the use of its territory with the purpose of attacking their partners.
The draft suggests that every party to the agreement is entitled to consider any attack on another party in a treaty as attack against itself.“In exercising its right of self-defense under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, it shall be entitled to render the attacked Party, subject to its consent, the necessary assistance, including the military one, until the UN Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security,” the draft says.
It also stipulated that the treaty should be open for signature by all states and international organizations of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian space, including the European Union, NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and also the Commonwealth of Independent States.” (http://www.rt.com/Politics/2009-11-29/security-treaty-draft-medvedev.html) President Medvedev said about the draft, “The initiative remains topical. Russia is ready to discuss different editions of this draft and to listen to proposals of our partners”. This statement gave after a question about the European Union's reforms.
Former member of the European Parliament, Giulietto Chiesa said, “The Russian draft of a European security treaty is a good platform to begin discussion. Another question is to understand if Europe – I mean the European Union and the rest of the European countries – are prepared to begin this discussion. It is a very broad issue.”
To reassure the international community, Mikhail Troitsky, a political analyst at Moscow State University of International Relations said, “The European security treaty proposed by Russia is by no means an alliance, but rather a mechanism to resolve conflicts.”
But an editorial by Pravda writer, Natalia Serova, brings this assessment into question. In her article, she mentions the fact of the growing association between the U.S. And China “Europe needs to get rid of America’s influence because the latter plans to betray its old-time partners for the sake of the new partnership – with China. The Washington-Beijing axis is a real threat, and Europe will be able to handle it only if it joins forces with Russia.” As well as Russia using its influence with Italy to push forward an agenda of the EU not aiding in military actions set into motion by the politicians in Washington. (http://english.pravda.ru/world/europe/110792-1/)
DTN News: Japan And US Had Secret Nuclear Pact*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - November 29, 2009: The credibility of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party in Japan has sunk lower after revelations about secret deals between Washington and Tokyo about the presence of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.
For decades, authorities had denied that nuclear weapons were allowed in Japan. It now appears the LDP party, while it was in power, had a pact to allow the US to stockpile and transport nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.
Declassified documents have shown that secret deals between Washington and Tokyo took place with regards to the presence of the nuclear weapons.
Since 1960, the government led by the Liberal Democratic Party repeatedly denied that nuclear weapons were ever present in Japan or that any agreement existed to that effect.
The National Security Archives in Washington released declassified telegrams in October, with details of US nuclear weapons policy in Okinawa and other parts of Japan between the 1950s and 1972.
They show that when Japan and the United States renewed their mutual security treaty in 1960, the principle was established that if US ships and planes carried nuclear weapons they could only enter Japanese waters or air space with prior consultation.
In the wake of the two atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese people were strongly opposed to the presence of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, but in 1972, just before Okinawa was put back under Japanese control, the leaders of both countries agreed that for the defence of countries in the Far East including Japan, in time of great emergency, the United States Government would require the re-entry of nuclear weapons and transit rights in Okinawa.
A secret document signed by the leaders said the Government of Japan would meet the requirements without delay, if suitable prior consultation was made.
DTN News: Astute Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine Leaves For Sea Trials
*Source: DTN News / BAE Systems
(NSI News Source Info) Barrow-in-Furness, UK - November 29, 2009: The first of class Astute nuclear powered attack submarine left BAE Systems’ shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness for the first stage of sea trials designed to prove its capability as the most formidable vessel of its kind ever operated by the Royal Navy. BAE Systems is building three Astute Class nuclear-powered attack submarines for the UK Royal Navy.
Astute is now on her way to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde at Faslane where she will be based for her operational life. BAE Systems Submarine Solutions Managing Director John Hudson said: “The first of class Astute submarine successfully departed Barrow for sea trials on Sunday 15 November.“After leaving Ramsden Dock early Sunday morning, Astute began the journey to HMNB Clyde at Faslane.
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank every single person in the business who have played their part in helping deliver the boat, in particular the Dockside Test Organisation and Astute team who have been an absolute strength over the past few months.”During the transit from Barrow to Scotland, Astute is scheduled to start a period of sea trials that will continue for many months. For much of that time the Royal Navy crew will be accompanied on board by BAE Systems engineers and technicians who will work alongside them to monitor and measure every element of the submarine’s performance against the design parameters.BAE Systems will also have personnel based at Faslane to deliver the initial in-service support for the submarine.Astute is the most advanced attack submarine ever supplied to the Royal Navy, incorporating the latest stealth technology combined with a world class sonar system and equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and state of the art Tomahawk land attack missiles to make her a supremely effective naval asset.Astute is designed to fulfil a range of key strategic and tactical roles including anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering and support for land forces. Displacing 7,400 tonnes and measuring 97 metres from bow to propulsor, Astute is significantly larger than the Swiftsure and Trafalgar class submarines that she will replace but requires fewer crew to operate her due to the advanced technology and automated systems on board.That technology encompasses many innovations designed to improve operational effectiveness while also reducing costs to help achieve the affordability challenges facing the Ministry of Defence. The 2076 Sonar system is the most effective in the world, giving Astute a key tactical advantage in locating and identifying other vessels, while the stealth characteristics of the submarine design make it the quietest the Navy has ever operated, enabling it to avoid detection and fulfil its role within the ‘Silent Service’, as submarines are known.Unlimited power is provided by the pressurised water nuclear reactor that is capable of powering a city the size of Southampton, and the Astute is capable of remaining submerged and circumnavigating the globe during a 90-day patrol, creating her own air and fresh water from the ocean. Astute is equipped with a digital optical mast system to replace the traditional periscope and this offers low light and infra-red capabilities to enable her to rapidly capture and analyse visual data, and share it with other fleet assets.Luxury is not a word that normally appears in the submarine vocabulary – Astute is all about operational capability – but her crew will be the first to each have their own bunk, removing the need for ‘hot bunking’ when during shifts one crewman would occupy a bunk vacated by another. Astute also has a comparatively large and extremely well-equipped galley to ensure the meals that punctuate the round the clock watch system are of the highest standard.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defence, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.
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DTN News: Lockheed Martin Super Hercules Deliveries Strengthen USAF and USMC Fleets
*Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) MARIETTA, Ga., - November 29, 2009: Demonstrating the increase in the C-130J build and delivery rate, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] simultaneously delivered two C-130Js on Nov. 19 to two different customers – a C-130J to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and a KC-130J to the U.S. Marine Corps.The Lockheed Martin C-130 is the US Air Force principal tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft, and the C-130J Hercules is the latest model, featuring a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller.
The C-130 has been in continuous production since 1954 and over 2,300 Hercules have been built for 67 countries. The improvements built into the C-130J, which entered production in 1997, have enhanced the performance of the aircraft in terms of range, cruise ceiling time to climb, speed and airfield requirements. A stretched version, the C-130J-30 has been developed and is designated CC-130J by the USAF. The first C-130J-30 for the UK RAF (the launch customer) was delivered in November 1999. The C-130J entered active service with the USAF at Little Rock Air Force Base in April 2004 and was first deployed in December 2004.
The first combat airdrop for the USAF was in July 2005. The US Air Mobility Command declared initial operating capability for the C-130J in October 2006.
186 C-130J and C-130J-30 aircraft have been ordered and over 150 delivered. Orders are : US Air Force, Air National Guard, Marine Corps and Coastguard (89 C-130J and C-130J-30 and 20 KC-130J tankers), UK (ten C-130J, 15 C-130J-30 all delivered), Italian Air Force (12 C-130J and ten C-130J-30 all delivered), Royal Australian Air Force (12 C-130J, all delivered), Kuwaiti Air Force (four C-130J-30) and the Danish Air Force (four C-130J-30 all delivered).
In April 2004, the US Marine Corps formally accepted the first KC-130J tanker / transport into service. The aircraft was first deployed in combat in April 2005 in Iraq. By the end of 2006, 24 aircraft had been delivered. In December 2006, an additional order was placed for three C-130J-30 for the USAF and one KC-130J for the USMC, for delivery in 2010.
In May 2007, India requested the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of six C-130J aircraft. The contract was placed in February 2008.
In November 2007, Norway paced an order for the purchase of four C-130J aircraft. One aircraft was delivered in November 2008, one will be delivered in 2009 and two in 2010.
In January 2008, Canada placed an order for 17 C-130J aircraft. First deliveries are planned for the end of 2010.
In June 2008, the USAF ordered six HC/MC-130J special operations variants of the C-130J for delivery from 2011.
In July 2008, the government of Israel requested the sale of nine C-130J-30 aircraft. Also in July 2008, Qatar ordered four C-130J-30 aircraft with deliveries to begin in 2011. In August 2008, Iraq requested the sale of six C-130J-30 aircraft.
The USAFE C-130J was accepted by Brig. Gen. Mark C. “Marshal” Dillon, commander of the 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, and commander, Kaiserslautern Military Community, Germany. The KC-130J Tanker was accepted by a Marine Corps flight crew and will be based at VMGR-152, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.
"Adding another C-130J is not a linear addition; it's geometric in terms of the capability of the airplane," Dillon said. "One plus one doesn't always equal two, sometimes it equals three or four because of the great capability of the C-130J. After spending the last two weeks at Little Rock Air Force Base and seeing the tremendous capability of the C-130J, it's just going to add capability to Ramstein, Europe and that part of the world – which our country needs and our European partners need."
"Delivery of two aircraft to two customers in one day is a clear indication of the accelerating pace of the C-130J program," said Ross Reynolds, Lockheed Martin vice-president, C-130 programs. "The worldwide demand for this proven airlifter continues to grow and we are steadily increasing production to meet the demand."
The Ramstein delivery represents the eighth C-130J for the base, which will receive 10 C-130Js by the end of 2009. Four more will be delivered in 2010. The KC-130J is the 36th of 46 aircraft on order to be delivered to the USMC.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
Lockheed Martin Related News....for full stories click on the links below~ November 24, 2009 Van Meter Elected to Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Governing Board~ November 23, 2009 Lockheed Martin Successfully Launches Intelsat 14 Spacecraft~ November 20, 2009 Lockheed Martin Receives $17.8 Million Contract Award for A-10 Software Upgrade~ November 18, 2009 Lockheed Martin Delivers First Set Of U.S. Customs & Border Protection P-3 Orion New Production Wings~ November 18, 2009 Lockheed Martin Opens New Facility in South Australia~ November 18, 2009 Lockheed Martin Tests Carbon Nanotube-Based Memory Devices ~November 18, 2009 U.S. Census Bureau and Lockheed Martin Open Data Processing and Call Center Facilities in Phoenix~ November 17, 2009 Savi Announces New ‘Unwiredplanet’ Licensing Program For Wireless Sensor Networking~ November 16, 2009 Lockheed Martin F-35B Flies To Maryland Test Site, Prepares For Vertical Landings
DTN News: Boeing Delivers 2 Wedgetail AEW&C Aircraft To Royal Australian Air Force*Source: DTN News / Boeing
(NSI News Source Info) RAAF BASE WILLIAMTOWN, New South Wales - November 29, 2009: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] Nov 26., delivered the first two Project Wedgetail 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). RAAF BASE WILLIAMTOWN, New South Wales, Nov. 26, 2009 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today delivered two 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force. The aircraft, along with the Boeing-provided Operational Flight Trainer, Operational Mission Simulator and a Mission Planning System, will be used for familiarization training for flight, mission and maintenance crews.The aircraft were delivered during a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown, the main operating base for the Wedgetail fleet. Attending the ceremony were officials from the RAAF, the Defence Materiel Organisation and Boeing.
Delivery of the two aircraft and utilization of the Boeing-provided Operational Flight Trainer, Operational Mission Simulator and Mission Support System allow the RAAF to begin familiarization training for flight, mission and maintenance crews. The trainer and the simulator are located at the Williamtown base's AEW&C Support Centre.
Three additional Wedgetail aircraft will be delivered to the RAAF by the end of 2010, including one upgraded in the final AEW&C configuration with Electronic Support Measures (ESM). All aircraft in the Wedgetail fleet will be upgraded in the final configuration in early 2011.
"Project Wedgetail represents a fundamental shift in airborne surveillance technology. Australia is leading the way with the most capable electronically scanned air surveillance radar and battle management system in the world," said Maureen Dougherty, Boeing vice president of the Airborne Early Warning and Control Program. "The worldwide surveillance marketplace has taken notice of Wedgetail's progress, and we're working with several customers to define their future requirements."
Project Wedgetail includes six 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 commercial airplane, the 737 AEW&C aircraft is designed to provide airborne battle-management capability with an advanced multirole electronically scanned radar and 10 state-of-the-art mission crew consoles that are able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously. The mission crew can direct offensive and defensive forces while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area.
Boeing also has AEW&C systems in production for Turkey and the Republic of Korea.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
DTN News: Dubai Crisis Threatens Airbus and Boeing, Too
*Source: DTN News / Carol Matlack on November 27
(NSI News Source Info) DUBAI, UAE - November 28, 2009: As if Airbus and Boeing didn’t have enough to worry about already, the looming debt crisis in Dubai has cast a shadow over a backlog of aircraft orders, worth more than $60 billion, from Dubai, Inc.
The biggest – but by no means the only – example is Emirates, Dubai’s government-controlled carrier. It has more than $30 billion worth of planes on order from Airbus, including 53 of the double-decker A380, for which Emirates is by far the largest customer. Emirates also has placed 70 orders for Airbus’s forthcoming A350 widebody. And Airbus has outstanding orders from state-controlled leasing outfit DAE Capital totaling about $12.6 billion.
No surprise, then, that shares in Airbus parent European Aeronautics Defence & Space Co. fell more than 3% on Nov. 26 when the Dubai government asked to postpone debt repayments.
Boeing is considerably less-exposed than Airbus to potential turmoil in Dubai, but it still has plenty at stake. Emirates has about $4 billion worth of Boeing 777s on order, while DAE Capital and low-cost carrier Flydubai have a combined $16 billion on order from Boeing. As U.S. markets reopened on Nov. 27 after Thanksgiving, Boeing shares were down 1.2%
Emirates, which in less than a decade has grown from obscurity into one of the world’s biggest airlines, has long said that it receives no government subsidies. Even so, the debt crisis could wreak havoc with its future. Travel to Dubai had already started to slump as the economy weakened earlier this year – although Emirates is cushioned somewhat because about 60% of passengers coming through its Dubai hub are on flights connecting elsewhere.
A scarier prospect for Emirates is that Dubai’s oil-rich neighbor, Abu Dhabi, might demand control of the airline as part of a deal to bail out its debt-strapped neighbor. Abu Dhabi’s state airline, Etihad, has ambitions to become a global player and turn the Abu Dhabi airport into a major hub.
If that happens, it’s unlikely Abu Dhabi would take delivery of all Emirates’ order backlog, in addition to the 100 aircraft it has ordered. Longterm market analyses by Airbus and Boeing predict that air travel in the Middle East will grow an average 6% to 7% annually over the next two decades, too little to absorb both carriers’ order books. And those estimates were made before the Dubai debt crisis.
The outlook for DAE Capital and Flydubai is worrisome, too. Both now have small fleets and have been counting on robust revenue growth to pay for new aircraft purchases. It could add up to a very bumpy ride for both Airbus and Boeing.
DTN News: Hidden Threat From al-Qaeda Sleeper Cells
*Al-Qaeda terrorists are exploiting loose visa and immigration rules to enter Britain, the security services fear.
*Source: DTN News / Telegraph.co.uk By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
(NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - November 28, 2009: Counter-terrorism police and Whitehall officials believe dozens of extremists could have arrived here by posing as students or legitimate visitors.
They are concerned both by the relatively lax checks that are made on the visitors before they arrive and by the ease with which they can outstay their visas without anyone noticing.
As many as 13,000 visa applicants may have entered the country from Pakistan in a seven month period since October last year without any checks on their supporting documentation.
The security services fear that because most do not mix with home grown terrorists, they are able to operate under the intelligence radar, acting as sleeper cells until ready to launch attacks in Britain.
Every year around 100,000 visitors arrive in Britain from Pakistan alone, which has been described by the Prime Minister as being part of a "crucible of terror" along with Afghanistan.
They are supposed to be checked by Home Office visa staff working in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
But according to an official watchdog, the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance, many visa officers do not have "enough time to go through applications carefully".
The security services are also worried about arrivals from Somalia, Yemen and North Africa.
MI5 have got 2,000 domestic extremists under surveillance across the country but is becoming increasingly concerned about the threat from abroad.
Similar concerns are felt in the police and one senior counter-terrorism officer told the Daily Telegraph: "There is a lack of control and supervision at our borders in the broadest sense.
"The problem is not confined to Pakistan, terrorists could arrive from anywhere, and we simply have no idea how many extremists may be here."
Police have discovered that the leader of an alleged plot to blow up shopping centres in Manchester last Easter ran a visa advice service in Peshawar, Pakistan.
He is thought to have helped other alleged members of his terrorist cell to arrive from Pakistan under the cover of student visas.
At least one arrived to attend a course at a "bogus college" that had already had its accreditation withdrawn.
The discovery of the group based in Manchester and Liverpool earlier this year set off alarm bells among counter-terrorism officials who believed the threat was coming under control.
One source said: "Borders have always been an issue because they are a vulnerability but the Manchester group brought that home because they had a different profile from what we had been dealing with."
A police source added: "The arrests in Manchester were a good example of the problem and afterwards we had a lot of discussions within government. We are now relying on the UK Border Agency to sort the problem out.
"Part of the problem seems to be that foreign students generate a huge amount of money and there is not a lot of incentive to do proper checks."
Providing courses for foreign students has become a multimillion pound business but the Home Affairs Select Committee said in July that "tens of thousands" of illegal immigrants could have entered Britain using visas obtained through bogus colleges.
It said there could be up to 2,200 colleges that were not legitimate but were accredited by the Government under a system operating until March this year.
It noted there was "no adequate provision" for tracking down those that had arrived illegally and overstayed their visas.
One of the bodies responsible for checking the colleges, the Accreditation Service for International Colleges, based at a semi-detached house in a village near Middlesbrough, has itself been criticised by a body representing British universities, Universities UK.
Lord Carlile, the Government’s terrorism watchdog, called this week for "severe penalties" against those running bogus colleges with non-existent courses and "fresh strategic attention" for what he said was a major issue.
In a report earlier in the year he said it would take "at least another two years" for the aspirations of the UK Border Agency to be met on issues such as visa checks.
He said yesterday: "Being able to identify who is entering and leaving the country is a very important issue because travel patterns are absolutely key to deterring and disrupting terrorism."
The Home Office has been criticised for moving its visa operation from Islamabad in Pakistan to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, last year.
Figures released in a series of parliamentary questions show that in the seven month period from the end of October until May this year, just 29 of 66,000 applicants from Pakistan were interviewed and in 20 per cent of cases there were no checks at all on documents giving qualifications, references or travel plans.
A leaked report for the Border Agency warned that immigrants were arriving with false bank accounts, letters of introduction from non-existent British companies and pretending to be tourists when they had left their wives and children at home.
In a raid in Southall, West London earlier this year police found at least 90,000 documents including 980 visa application files, false university certificates, academic records, bank statements and pay slips, and officers believe at least 1,000 people had entered the country illegally, around 150 from Pakistan.
Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, said yesterday the visa system was in desperate need of an overhaul.
He added: "The big concern in all of this is just how do we provide proper checks on applications without the ability to judge them in country.
"We know that there’s an industry in Pakistan in particular to try and help obtain visas for people to come to the UK, we also know the visa system has been extensively abused in the past and the average process time for each application is just eleven minutes long.
"I don’t see how this gives us the safeguards we need."
The Home Office said they had introduced mandatory fingerprinting for all visitors from Pakistan and the number of visas rejected had risen from 41 per cent in 2006-2007 to 46 per cent in 2008-2009, while for student visas the figure had risen from 64 per cent to 74 per cent.
Last night, the Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: "The UK’s borders are stronger than ever before. Visa applicants are required to attend in person so fingerprints can be taken and their details checked against a range of police and immigration databases. If there is still any doubt, we can conduct face-to-face interviews.
"Our new electronic border system will count everyone in and out of the UK, by the end of next year 95 per cent of all passengers will be covered. It has already screened 130 million passenger movements leading to over 4,600 arrests."
DTN News: India Concerned At China-Pakistan Military Links
*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - November 28, 2009: Expressing concern at the growing “military nexus” between China and Pakistan, India Friday hoped that Beijing would reciprocate Indian overtures to resolve outstanding issues.
Pakistan and China have been cooperating for a number of years on the JF-17/ FC-1 Thunder, a low-medium performance, low-cost aircraft that has attracted interest and orders from a number of 3rd World air forces. In November 2009, a long-rumored deal was announced for China’s Jian-10/ FC-20 4+ generation fighter, whose overall performance compares well with the F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft that Pakistan has ordered from the United States. The J-10 has been reported as a derivative of the 1980s Israeli Lavi project, and reportedly incorporates an Israeli fly-by-wire control base that was transferred in the project’s early years. The change in relations that followed the Tienanmen Square massacre hurt the J-10 project badly, however, forcing the replacement of planned Western avionics and engines with Chinese and Russian equipment. The required redesign was very extensive, affected all areas of the airframe, and took over a decade, amounting to the development of a new aircraft. The first operational J-10 unit entered service with the PLAAF in July 2004.
China has reportedly ordered 100 J-10s to date. The initial Pakistani order is for 2 squadrons, but could expand as technical cooperation and orders increase. The $1+ billion sale represents the J-10’s first export order… but almost certainly not its last.*
Speaking at the 44th Foundation Day of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said: “The increasing nexus between China and Pakistan in military sphere remains an area of serious concern. We have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly.”
“We are hopeful that China will reciprocate the initiatives aimed at mutual trust-building and understanding,” said Antony.
China has recently contracted to supply 36 J-10 fighter jets to Pakistan. China and Pakistan have also joined hands to develop third generation fighter aircraft JF-17.
The defence minister said that India was keen to develop “friendlier” relations with its neighbouring countries, including China and Pakistan, but at the same time there are issues which are of concern to it.
“We have always striven for peaceful relations with all our neighbours. Even with a vibrant democracy and a prospering economy, we cannot ignore the security calculus. Our prime minister’s willingness to resume the dialogue with Pakistan must be seen in this context,” asserted Antony.
On Pakistan, Antony said that the terror infrastructure on its territory remains intact.
“Pakistan must put an end to terror activities emanating from its soil. However, the terror infrastructure on the ground remains intact — and is actually thriving. Pakistan is yet to demonstrate any will to take speedy action against terrorists and international criminals. We need to closely monitor the developments in Pakistan,” Antony said.
DTN News: Turkey Demands Israel Deliver Drones*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ANKARA, Turkey - November 27, 2009: Turkey has warned Israeli defense contractors to deliver on 10 promised drone aircraft in 50 days or the deal may be canceled.
Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said this week that he had sent a letter to Israel Aerospace Industries and Israel's Elbit defense contractor insisting that the unmanned aerial vehicles be delivered by the end of the year.
"If this letter does not bear fruit either, then the tender may be canceled," the minister told CNN Turk. "There is no cancellation at the moment," he added.
Turkey awarded the contract four years ago. It entails the purchase of 10 drones known as Herons from their manufacturers, Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit.
The contract deadline was initially set at between 24 and 30 months. But both contractors missed the first date, also breaching another deadline for the delivery of four Herons in August. Under the revised deal, delivery of another two drones would have followed, plus the last four by the end of October.
The deal is estimated at $185 million.
Turkey's Zaman newspaper reported recently that Israel was set to make good on its arms contract, pledging to deliver the weapons by the end of the year.
But should Turkey fail, the deal may be canceled and Ankara may demand punitive damages.
"Turkey plans to impose a heavy monetary penalty on Israel for the delay," a senior Turkish official was quoted saying in the Zaman report. "If this country refuses to comply with the penalty, then Turkey will head to the International Court of Commercial Arbitration," he added, saying that the penalty could range between $3 million and $4 million.
Turkey recently returned two drones because of what military officials called their lagging performance.
The military brass there sanctioned the Israeli purchase after the United States refused to sell it similar equipment for fear of them being used against Kurdish rebels.
Both nations have since then traded accusations as to the source of the blame for the drone delay.
Specifically, Israeli companies have complained that the Turkish go-between contractor, Aslan, was responsible because of problems in the camera it had been ordered to fit on the drones.
According to Israel's Haaretz daily, "The camera was too heavy and prevented the drone from reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet in keeping with the project prospectus."
Turkish counterclaims, however, accuse the Israeli contractors of raising technical excuses to "avoid fine for violating the agreement," Haaretz said.
Relations between Ankara and Jerusalem have been strained since the Gaza War, with Turkey accusing Israel of waging war crimes in its offensive. The rancor reached a peak during a public debate between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres.
After both leaders traded insults, Erdogan angrily stormed offstage in response.
The strained relations have also taken a toll on the two countries' military alliance.
Last month, for example, Turkey prevented Israel from joining a NATO-alliance military exercise that was ultimately canceled due to Israel's exclusion.
DTN News: Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Warns President Barack Obama Over US Afghan Troop Plan*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - November 27, 2009: Pakistan has warned the US that sending more soldiers to Afghanistan could endanger its southwest border region. President Barack Obama is expected next week to order more than 30,000 extra US soldiers into Helmand province, to battle Taliban insurgents. Soldiers of Pakistan army seen outside a cave allegedly used by militants in stronghold of Taliban in Kot Kai in Pakistan's tribal area of Waziristan along the Afghanistan border on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. In Pakistani tribal areas security forces are engage with Taliban and al-Qaida militants, Hundreds of thousands people fled their villages due to fierce fighting.
But Pakistan prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani fears this would force militants over the border into Balochistan.
"We want a stable Afghanistan. At the same time we don't want our country to be destabilised," said Mr Gilani.
"This is the concern that we already discussed with the US administration - that the influx of militants towards Baluchistan should be taken care of, otherwise that can destabilise Balochistan."
We have asked US to consult us in case of any paradigm shift in the policy.,Yusuf Raza Gilani,
Prime minister, Pakistan
Security in Pakistan has been deteriorating ever since coalition forces entered Afghanistan eight years ago.
In Balochistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan, hundreds of people have died in attacks by both separatist insurgents and Taliban fighters.
In wider Pakistan, suicide attacks and bombings have killed more than 2,550 people in the last 29 months.
President Obama is due to unveil his new Afghanistan policy next week, after weeks of deliberations.
He is expected to lay out an exit strategy for withdrawing forces.
Mr Gilani said Pakistan should be consulted on any shift in America's Afghan policy, because it would be directly affected by it.
He would not say if Pakistan had been consulted on the expected troop surge.
"We have asked US administration to consult us in case of any paradigm shift in the policy... so that we can formulate our strategy accordingly," the prime minister said.
Correspondents say it is unlikely that Mr Gilani seriously believes he can influence US strategy in Afghanistan. He is more likely trying to win domestic favour.
Many Pakistanis are angry with their government's perceived support for the US military presence in Afghanistan.
Some blame the US for the suicide bombings by insurgents who have been "driven out" of Afghanistan and over the border into Pakistan.
Mr Gilani may simply be seeking to distance himself from the US announcement next week on how many new soldiers it will deploy.
DTN News: Iran Continues To Press Russia For S-300 Air Defense Missile Systems Deliveries*Source: DTN News / Int'l Media
(NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - November 27, 2009: Iran hopes that Russia will fulfill its contract for the supply of S-300 air defense missile systems, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Russia signed a contract with Iran on the supply of S-300 air defense systems to the Islamic Republic in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports on the start of the contract's implementation.
"Russia is under an obligation [to fulfill the S-300 contract] and an official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry has recently said that Russia has always taken its obligations very seriously," the ISNA news agency quoted Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.
"We hope that Russia will fulfill its promises as soon as possible," the diplomat said.
A senior Iranian military official said earlier on Tuesday that Iran could sue Russia in an international court if Moscow refused to fulfill its commitments on the delivery of S-300 to Tehran.
"Because this is an official agreement, it can be pursued through international legal bodies," the official IRNA news agency quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian, deputy chief of Iran's air defense, as saying.
Iran suspects that Russia has refused so far to fulfill the S-300 contract due to pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv.
Both the U.S. and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program and have expressed concern over the S-300 deliveries, which would significantly strengthen Iran's air defenses.
The latest version of the S-300 series is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.
It is considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.
DTN News: Russia Has No Reason To Buy Cumbersome And Useless French Warship*Source: DTN News / Sergey Balmasov ~ Pravda.Ru
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - November 27, 2009: The French helicopter-carrier Mistral (Wind) docked in St. Petersburg on November 24. The captain of the warship said that she would take part in maneuvers with the participation of Russian helicopters in the Baltic Sea on November 27.
The French warship arrived in Russia on the invitation from the Russian Navy Command to strengthen the cooperation between the navies of the two countries. However, it looks like Russia intends to buy the Mistral.
Russian engineers and navy officials have shown a lot of interest in the French warship recently. A group of them went on board the ship to get acquainted with its structure and equipment on November 25.
The news about the opportunity for Russia to purchase the Mistral appeared in October 2008. Vladimir Vysotsky, the Commander of the Russian Navy, released a statement about it at the Euronaval-2008 show in Le Bourget.
In April of the current year, the official described the plans to develop the Russian navy and mentioned the necessity to purchase five or six aircraft carriers.
Vladimir Popovkin, deputy defense minister, was more specific on September 19:
“We intend to buy one or two warships, but we also conduct negotiations to launch the production of such vessels in Russia. It will be the first step on the way to the creation of Russian aircraft carriers.
The Mistral is a large warship with gross tonnage of 21,000 tons. The ship is 210 meters long; the cruising range is about 37,000 km. The ship carries 16 helicopters. The crew counts 390 men. In addition, the ship can take 900 commanders, 40 armored vehicles and 70 cars on board.
Does Russia need the Mistral that much? If Russia buys the French vessel, will it mean that domestic ship-building enterprises are out of competition?
Konstantin Sivkov, the vice president of the Academy for Geopolitical Sciences, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that his attitude to Russia’s intention to buy the French warship was absolutely negative.
“Any warship can not be purchased just like that. It must be incorporated into the system of the national armed forces in general and the navy in particular. It must have a specific destination. Therefore, there is no need to purchase the Mistral.
“What is it used for? First and foremost, it is used for landing operations. Where does Russia intend to conduct landing operations with the use of such a large and vulnerable warship? Its air defense system is very weak and can only work well when destroying single airborne targets.
“Everything is clear with the French. They built those ships to support their colonial activities in Africa. Why does Russia need this ship for? To bring commandoes to Latin America? We need to defend our own territories. The only area where the ship could be used is Georgia.
“However, if another armed conflict with Georgia occurs, this huge and poorly armed vessel will not be good taking into consideration the geography of such a small sea as the Black Sea. Besides, Russia already has six commando vessels in the area and they can handle their goals perfectly.
“Both Russian and American naval experts were negative in their estimations of the Mistral. Its combat capacity is rather low. The technological construction of the ship is quite flawed. The air fuel pipe on the ship runs near the cook-house, which means that the French designers made the ship for frequent fires on board.
Russian shipyards are capable of building all types of warships. For example, we built a number of destroyers for China. If we purchase the Mistral, Russia will find itself dependent on the West. Venezuela was purchasing F-16 fighter jets from the United States, but when the relations between the countries were ruined, Washington refused to ship spare parts to Caracas, and the planes became unfit for use soon afterwards.
“Iraq in 1991 is another good example. Baghdad lost Operation Desert Storm because the country had many US and French anti-aircraft systems. A command sent from a satellite put all of those systems out of operation. There are special programs which allow the manufacturing country disable its exported arms easily.
“More importantly, a Mistral warship will cost Russia from 520 to 700 million euros, whereas the construction of a similar helicopter in the country will cost not more than 150 million euros.”
DTN News: Airbus A330 Tanker Refuels Two Aircraft For The First Time*Source: DTN News / Defense Media
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - November 26, 2009: Airbus Military's A330-based multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) has for the first time conducted the simultaneous in-flight refuelling of two aircraft, by hooking up with a pair of Spanish air force Boeing EF-18A fighters. Conducted using the first of five tankers on order for the Royal Australian Air Force, the milestone follows other recent firsts with "wet" and night-time contacts involving the type. The modified airliner is equipped with a tail refuelling boom and two Cobham 905E under-wing hose-and-drogue pods.
Airbus Military says the tanker performed a 2h sortie from its Getafe site near Madrid, in the course of which the fighters - which were deployed from Torejon air base - made 13 contacts, including 11 simultaneously.
A total of 11.4t of fuel was transferred at an altitude of around 15,000ft (4,570m) and a speed of 250kt (460km/h), it says. This represents roughly half of the total volume so far delivered during flight testing of the A330 MRTT.
The RAAF will take delivery of its first KC-30 tanker by mid-2010, according to Airbus Military. The company also has orders to provide A330-based tankers to Saudi Arabia (six), the United Arab Emirates (three) and the UK (14).
DTN News: Israeli Settlement Limits May Help Peace Effort-US* Clinton says Israeli offer a step forward
* Mitchell repeats U.S. goal of resumed peace talks
* Offer could have 'positive effect' on ground - Mitchell*Source: DTN News / Reuters By David Alexander(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, USA - November 26, 2009: An Israeli decision on Wednesday to limit settlement construction in the West Bank fell short of the U.S. goal of a full freeze but was more than previous government have done and could advance peace efforts, U.S. officials said.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a press conference in his Jerusalem office, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009. Israel will halt construction in its West Bank settlements for 10 months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday, in an effort to restart peace talks, but Palestinians rejected the freeze as insufficient because it did not include east Jerusalem.
"Today's announcement by the government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell said Washington was still pushing for a quick resumption of stalled peace talks without any preconditions and hoped the Israeli offer could help create a more conducive atmosphere.
"It falls short of a full settlement freeze, but it is more than any Israeli government has done before and can help move toward agreement between the parties," Mitchell told a State Department briefing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Wednesday announced a plan to limit settlement construction for 10 months in a bid to revive stalled peace negotiations, but Palestinians said the partial moratorium did not meet their terms for resuming talks.
Netanyahu's proposal excludes areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after capturing the territory in a 1967 war and building projects already under way, government officials said.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said any resumption of negotiations "must be on the basis of a complete settlement freeze, and in Jerusalem foremost."
Mitchell said the decision could mean much less settlement construction than would have occurred without a moratorium.
"We believe that steps announced by the prime minister are significant and could have substantial impact on the ground," he said. "For the first time ever, an Israeli government will stop housing approvals and all new construction of housing units and related infrastructure in West Bank settlements. That's a positive result."
Mitchell underscored that the Israeli move was a unilateral decision, not an agreement with the United States or the Palestinians. U.S. policy, he said, "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."
"The status of Jerusalem and all other permanent status issues must be resolved by the parties through negotiations," he said.
Mitchell criticized the Israeli pattern of evicting Palestinians in Jerusalem from their homes and demolishing the structures.
"The United States has not accepted and disagrees with any unilateral action by either party which could have the effect of pre-empting negotiations," he said, urging them to resume negotiations on a two-state solution.
DTN News: Sanctions And Strategy*Source: By George Friedman STRATFOR
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - November 24, 2009: The Iranian government has rejected, at least for the moment, a proposal from the P-5+1 to ship the majority of its low-enriched uranium abroad for further enrichment. The group is now considering the next step in the roadmap that it laid out last April. The next step was a new round of sanctions, this time meant to be crippling. The only crippling sanction available is to cut off the supply of gasoline, since Iran imports 35 percent of its refined gasoline products. That would theoretically cripple the Iranian economy and compel the Iranians to comply with U.S. demands over the nuclear issue.
We have written extensively on the ability of sanctions to work in Iran. There is, however, a broader question, which is the general utility of sanctions in international affairs. The Iranian government said last week that sanctions don’t concern it because, historically, sanctions have not succeeded. This partly explains Iranian intransigence: The Iranians don’t feel they have anything to fear from sanctions. The question is whether the Iranian view is correct and why they would believe it — and if they are correct, why the P-5+1 would even consider imposing sanctions.
The Assumptions of Sanctions
We need to begin with a definition of sanctions. In general, sanctions are some sort of penalty imposed on a country designed to cause it sufficient pain to elicit a change in its behavior. Sanctions are intended as an alternative to war and therefore exclude violence. Thus, the entire point of sanctions, as opposed to war, is to compel changes of behavior in countries without resorting to force.
Normal sanctions are economic and come in three basic forms. First, there is seizing or freezing the assets of a country or its citizens located in another country. Second, sanctions can block the shipment of goods (or movement of people) out of the target country. Third, sanctions can block the movement of goods into a country. Minor sanctions are possible, such as placing tariffs on products imported from the target country, but those sorts of acts are focused primarily on rectifying economic imbalances and are not always driven by political interests. Thus, the United States placed tariffs on Chinese tires coming into the United States. The purpose was to get China to change its economic policies. On the other hand, placing sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s or on Sudan today are designed to achieve political and military outcomes.
It is important to consider the underlying assumptions of the decision to impose sanctions. First, there is the assumption that the target country is economically dependent in some way on the country or countries issuing the sanctions. Second, it assumes that the target country has no alternative sources for the economic activity while under sanctions. Third, it assumes that the pain caused will be sufficient to compel change. The first is relatively easy to determine and act on. The next two are far more complex.
Obviously, sanctions are an option of stronger powers toward weaker ones. It assumes that the imposition of sanctions will cause more pain to the target country than it will to the country or countries issuing sanctions, and that the target country cannot or will not use military action to counter economic sanctions. For example, the United States placed sanctions on the sale of grain to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It discovered that while the sanctions were hurting the Soviets, they were hurting American farmers as well. The pain was reciprocal and there was an undertone of danger if the Soviets had chosen to counter the sanctions with military force. An example of that concerned Japan in 1941. The United States halted the shipment of oil and scrap metal to Japan in an attempt to force it to reshape its policies in China and Indochina. The sanctions were crippling, as the Americans expected. However, the Japanese response was not capitulation, but Pearl Harbor.
To understand the difficulties of determining and acting on the assumptions of imposing sanctions, consider Cuba. The United States has imposed extensive economic sanctions on Cuba for years. During the first decades of the sanctions, they were relatively effective, in the sense that third countries tended to comply rather than face possible sanctions themselves from the United States. As time went on, the fear of sanctions declined. A European country might have been inclined to comply with U.S. sanctions in the 1960s or 1970s, for both political reasons and for concern over potential retaliatory sanctions from the United States. However, as the pattern of international economic activity shifted, and the perception of both Cuba and the United States changed within these countries, the political implication to comply with U.S. wishes declined, while the danger of U.S. sanctions diminished. Placing sanctions on the European Union would be mutually disastrous and the United States would not do it over Cuba, or virtually any other issue.
As a result, the sanctions the United States placed on Cuba have dramatically diminished in importance. Cuba can trade with most of the world, and other countries can invest in Cuba if they wish. The flow of American tourists is blocked, but European, Canadian and Latin American tourists who wish to go to Cuba can go. Cuba has profound economic problems, but those problems are only marginally traceable to sanctions. Indeed, the U.S. embargo has provided the Castro regime with a useful domestic explanation for its economic failures.
This points to an interesting characteristic of sanctions. One of the potential goals of placing sanctions on a country is to generate unrest and internal opposition , forcing regime change or at least policy change. This rarely happens. Instead, the imposition of sanctions creates a sense of embattlement within the country. Two things follow from this. First, there is frequently a boost in support for the regime that might otherwise not be there. The idea that economic pain takes precedence over patriotism or concern for maintaining national sovereignty is not a theory with a great deal of empirical support. Second, the sanctions allow a regime to legitimize declaring a state of emergency — which is what sanctions intend to create — and then use that state of emergency to increase repression and decrease the opportunity for an opposition to emerge.
Consider an extreme example of sanctions during World War II, when both the Axis and Allies tried to use airpower as a means of imposing massive economic hardship on the population, thereby attempting to generate unrest and opposition to the regime. Obviously, strategic bombing is not sanctions, but it is instructive to consider them in this sense. When we look at the Battle of Britain and the strategic bombing campaigns against Germany and Japan, we find that countereconomic warfare did not produce internal opposition that the regime could not handle. Indeed, it could reasonably be argued that it increased support for the regime. It is assumed that economic hardship can generate regime change, yet even in some of the most extreme cases of economic hardship, that didn’t happen.
Imposing an effective sanctions regime on a country is difficult for two reasons. First, economic pain does not translate into political pressure. Second, creating effective economic pain normally requires a coalition. The United States is not in a position to unilaterally impose effective sanctions. In order to do that, it must act in concert with other countries that are prepared not only to announce sanctions but — and this is far more important and difficult — also to enforce them. This means that it must be in the political interest of all countries that deal with the target to impose the sanctions.
It is rarely possible to create such a coalition. Nations’ interests diverge too much. Sometimes they converge, as in South Africa prior to the end of apartheid. South Africa proved that sanctions can work if there is a coalition that does not benefit extensively from economic and political ties with the target country, and where the regime is composed of a minority within a very large sea of hostility. South Africa was a special case. The same attempt at a sanctions regime in Sudan over Darfur has failed because many countries have political or economic interests there.
It is also difficult to police the sanctions. By definition, as the sanctions are imposed, the financial returns for violating them increase. Think of U.S. drug laws as a form of sanctions. They raise the price of drugs in the United States and increase the incentives for smugglers. When a broad sanctions regime was placed on Iraq, vast amounts of money were made from legitimate and illegitimate trading with Iraq. Regardless of what a national government might say (and it may well say one thing and do another) individuals and corporations will find ways around the sanctions. Indeed, Obama’s proposed sanctions on corporations are intended precisely for this reason. As always, the issue is one of intelligence and enforcement. People can be very good at deception for large amounts of money.
The difficulty of creating effective sanctions raises the question of why they are used. The primary answer is that they allow a nation to appear to be acting effectively without enduring significant risks. Invading a country, as the United States found in Iraq, poses substantial risks. The imposition of sanctions on relatively weaker countries without the ability to counter the sanctions is much less risky. The fact that it is also far less effective is compensated for by the lowered risk.
In truth, many sanction regimes are enforced as political gestures, either for domestic political reasons, or to demonstrate serious intent on the international scene. In some cases, sanctions are a way of appearing to act so that military action can be deferred. No one expects the sanctions to change the regime or its policies, but the fact that sanctions are in place can be used as an argument against actions by other nations.
This is very much the case with Iran. No one expects Russia or China (or even many of the European states) to fully comply with a sanctions regime on gasoline. Even if they did, no one expects the flow of gasoline to be decisively cut off. There will be too many people prepared to take the risk of smuggling gasoline to Iran for that to happen. Even if the U.S. blockaded Iranian ports, the Caucasus and Central Asia are far too disorderly and the monetary rewards of smuggling are too great of an incentive to make the gasoline sanctions effective. Additionally, the imposition of sanctions will both rally the population to the regime as well as provide justification for an intense crackdown. The probability of sanctions forcing policy changes or regime change in Iran is slim.
Balancing Acquiescence and War
But sanctions have one virtue: They delay or block military action. So long as sanctions are being considered or being imposed, the argument can be made to those who want military action that it is necessary to give the sanctions time to work. Therefore, in this case, sanctions allow the United States to block any potential military actions by Israel against Iran while appearing domestically to be taking action. Should the United States wish to act, the sanctions route gives the Europeans the option of arguing that military action is premature. Furthermore, if military action took place without Russian approval while Russia was cooperating in a sanctions regime, it would have increased room to maneuver against U.S. interests in the Middle East, portraying the United States as trigger-happy.
The ultimate virtue of sanctions is that they provide a platform between acquiescence and war. The effectiveness of that platform is not nearly as important as the fact that it provides a buffer against charges of inaction and demands for further action. In Sudan, for example, no one expects sanctions to work, but their presence allows business to go on as usual while deflecting demands for more significant action.
The P-5+1 is now shaping its response to Iran. They are not even committed to the idea of sanctions. But they will move to sanctions if it appears that Israel or the United States is prepared to move aggressively. Sanctions satisfy the need to appear to be acting while avoiding the risks of action.
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