Saturday, January 02, 2010

DTN News: Kazakhstan, Iran Deny Uranium Deal

DTN News: Kazakhstan, Iran Deny Uranium Deal *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ASTANA, Kazakhstan - January 03, 2010: Kazakhstan angrily denied on Wednesday that it planned to sell purified uranium ore to Iran, calling media reports to this effect "groundless insinuations." The story was also denied by Tehran, which called it "utterly fabricated and baseless." Kazakhstan "categorically repudiates certain news media reports alleging Kazakhstan's connection to a possible deal to supply uranium to the Islamic Republic of Iran," the country's foreign ministry said. The government "considers them groundless insinuations damaging the reputation of our country." In Tehran, the foreign ministry said "the news circulating in some media that Iran is on the threshold of inking a covert deal to import 1,350 tonnes of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan is utterly fabricated and baseless." "This propaganda is one of the links in the chain that serves the political intentions of the oppressive powers," a statement added. The denials by both countries came a day after the United States, reacting to media reports that a deal was close to being sealed, warned that such a transfer was prohibited under UN sanctions on Iran. "The transfer of uranium to Iran is prohibited, unless the uranium in question is low enriched and the uranium is incorporated in assembled nuclear fuel elements for use in light water reactors (LWRs)," US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in Washington. Concern over Iran's nuclear plans is again rising. On Tuesday, Washington warned Tehran that December was "a very real deadline" to accept a UN-drafted deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel or face further sanctions. The United States and some other Western countries suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear power programme. Tehran adamantly denies this, saying its nuclear programme is strictly for the production of energy. Kazakhstan, which on January 1 becomes the first ex-Soviet republic to take the helm of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), stressed that it is committed to international nuclear non-proliferation rules. "Kazakhstan is firmly committed to the principles of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and tough control over the turnover of dual-use materials," the foreign ministry statement said. It noted that Kazakhstan had renounced the world's fourth-largest nuclear and missile arsenal -- a stockpile it inherited from the days it was part of the Soviet Union -- and had shut down its Soviet-era nuclear test site. The Central Asian state also called on the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to weigh in publicly on the reports saying Kazakhstan was to ship uranium to Iran. "Kazakhstan expects the IAEA to give an appropriate assessment of the information being disseminated by the news media," the statement said. It said all operations involving nuclear materials, "including our cooperation regarding peaceful use of atomic energy with foreign countries, are subject to IAEA comprehensive safeguards." Separately, Kazakhstan said it had become the world's largest producer of uranium, overtaking Canada, after it increased production by 63 percent in 2009. Kazatomprom said it had mined 13,500 tonnes of the radioactive metal as of December 21 and will have mined at least another 400 tonnes by year's end. Citing the Ux Consulting Company, a US nuclear consulting firm, the statement said Canada was expected to produce 9,934 tonnes of uranium and Australia 8,022 tonnes this year. Kazakhstan plans to increase production to 18,000 tonnes in 2010, Nurlan Ryspanov, Kazatomprom vice-president said in a statement. "The republic will gain the leading position in uranium mining at the time of maximum demand for it," Ryspanov said.

DTN News: U. S. Marines, Sailors Undertake Deployment In Afghanistan

DTN News: U. S. Marines, Sailors Undertake Deployment In Afghanistan *Source: DTN News / American Forces Press Service (NSI News Source Info) HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - January 03, 2010: Walking off the loading ramp of a C-17 cargo plane and into vibrant sunlight, members of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment arrived at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Dec. 15.Marines and sailors with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment disembark a C-17 cargo plane at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For many of the junior Marines and sailors of 1/6, this is their first deployment, and in many cases their first time outside of the United States. The Marines and sailors grabbed their gear and loaded into white busses turned brown from dust and set out to Camp Leatherneck where they filed into ballroom-size tents and picked out places to bed down in their new home. For some of the servicemembers the deployment marks a return to Afghanistan after serving there in 2008. For others, it is their first Afghanistan deployment, and in many cases, their first trip outside of the United States. Later, the Marines get on phones in the early morning to hear the voices of friends, wives and children. Card and board games are played between training and work, as the Marines and sailors seek out a routine that can be maintained throughout the course of their deployment. There’s a level of uncertainty tugging at everyone, but it’s expected, and solidarity and encouragement are easily found among the group, said Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Bright, an administration clerk who is on his first deployment outside the United States. Taliban and al-Qaida fighters, Bright acknowledged, are an intelligent and resourceful enemy. “I'm not as worried about gunfire,” Bright said, noting he’s more concerned about the enemy’s use of improvised explosive devices. “We can handle a straight-up fight,” Bright emphasized. However, Bright said, the Marines and sailors also feel a sense of purpose and direction, as well as a thrill that comes with participating in something big and historic. “I'm excited to be a part of the effort to help train and mold the Afghan military in order to lay the foundation for them to provide security and stability for their own people,” Bright said. “The biggest thing that I think will help is to just keep some degree of normalcy – to keep your mind off of what might happen.” Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Esemann, a training specialist, is participating in his second deployment to Afghanistan with the 6th Marine Regiment. He looked back on the change between his first deployment and now. “When I first got here last year, there was that feeling of loneliness and uncertainty and that thought of: ‘What have I gotten myself into?’” said Esemann, as he eyed several Christmas stockings sent by stateside well-wishers. “This time when we arrived, the first thought was: “’I know this place,’ and I felt surprised by how much it had changed for the better.” Marine Gunnery Sgt. Richard D. Ayala also is on his second deployment to Afghanistan, which marks his sixth overseas deployment, overall. Ayala reflected on the difficulties facing Marines and sailors deploying to Afghanistan for the first time. “Having to deal with a deployment this close to the holidays is probably the hardest part for most, especially those with wives and children,” said Ayala, a 15-year Marine Corps veteran. “You need to stay vigilant and press forward, always taking that 30-inch step.” As he turned to leave, Ayala paused, and reiterated that the Marines and sailors need to be on their toes in Afghanistan. "You need to remain focused and control what you can; don't let your mind wander towards what you can't."

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Delivers New Mexico Submarine Ahead Of Schedule In Record Time

DTN News: Northrop Grumman Delivers New Mexico Submarine Ahead Of Schedule In Record Time *Source: DTN News / Northrop Grumman (NSI News Source Info) NEWPORT NEWS, Va.,- January 03, 2010: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) delivered the sixth submarine of the Virginia class, New Mexico (SSN 779), to the U.S. Navy Dec. 29, 2009., four months ahead of schedule. New Mexico's 70-month construction period represents the shortest overall construction time of any Virginia-class submarine. (Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding delivered the sixth submarine of the Virginia class, New Mexico (SSN 779), to the U.S. Navy on Dec. 29, 2009, four months ahead of schedule. Photo by Chris Oxley) A photo accompanying this release is available at: "New Mexico's delivery is a reflection of the commitment, dedication and hard work of the shipbuilders at Newport News, our Electric Boat partners and the Navy," said Becky Stewart, vice president for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding's submarine program. "We delivered her in record time, using one million fewer man-hours than her predecessor USS North Carolina (SSN 777). Our shipbuilders are focused on meeting safety, quality, cost and schedule commitments. The progress we've made in the Virginia-class submarine program demonstrates their personal ownership in building the finest submarines in the world." The keel for New Mexico was authenticated April 12, 2008, and the ship was christened on Dec. 13, 2008. New Mexico, named for "The Land of Enchantment," is the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, providing undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build the first 18 ships of the Virginia class. Current plans call for 30 Virginia-class submarines in the fleet. Using millions of parts from over 4,000 suppliers in 47 states and the District of Columbia, Virginia-class submarines incorporate dozens of new technologies and innovations and are the first major combatants designed with the post-Cold War security environment in mind. For more information about the New Mexico, please visit Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

DTN News: Somali Rebels Pledge To Send Fighters To Aid Yemen Jihad

DTN News: Somali Rebels Pledge To Send Fighters To Aid Yemen Jihad *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MOGADISHU, Somalia - January 03, 2010: Senior leaders of the Shabab rebels promised Friday to send their fighters beyond Somalia to Yemen and wherever jihad beckoned.Al Shabab fighters conducted military exercises on Friday in the north of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital. The rebels and allied Islamist insurgent groups are now in control of most of the country. In a military ceremony here, where the rebels publicly showed off hundreds of new recruits, Sheik Muktar Robow, a senior rebel official, said the group would “send fighters to Yemen to assist our brothers.” He said that the fighters had been trained to fight the African Union peacekeeping force and the transitional federal government in Somalia but that Yemen was just across the Gulf of Aden and that “our brothers must be ready for our welcome.” While it was not clear when or whether the rebels could carry out their threat, the avowed goals signaled a shift in strategy from an Islamist insurgency that has drawn foreign fighters here to one that aims to provide them to insurgencies abroad. The Shabab have increased their ties with Al Qaeda, which has recently been fighting the American-backed military in Yemen. A Shabab spokesman, Sheik Ali Mohamoud Rageh, said the fighters, who had just completed military training, would fight in every corner of the world that is ready for jihad, or holy war. The Shabab and allied Islamist insurgent groups control most of Somalia, while the weak transitional government controls a small enclave in Mogadishu, the capital, under the protection of African Union peacekeeping troops.Al Shabab fighters display battle wagons as they conduct a military exercise in northern Mogadishu's Suqaholaha neighborhood, Somalia, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010. Hundreds of young men who recently completed training, to join what they said to be a global war against the enemy of Allah, participated in the exercise. At the ceremony on Friday at a rebel camp near the former animal market in northern Mogadishu, hundreds of jubilant fighters paraded before reporters and senior rebel leaders chanting, “God is great.” It was the first time the rebels had presented their recruits to the news media. The officials rebuffed reports of a split among Shabab fighters and vowed that they would unite with a rival rebel group, Hizbul Islam. Somalia has not had effective central government since the former government was overthrown by armed clan militias in 1991, leading to the current chaos.

DTN News: Situation Getting Ripe For A Civil War ~ Editorials (Instability In Pakistan)

DTN News: Situation Getting Ripe For A Civil War ~ Editorials (Instability In Pakistan) *Source: Pakistan Daily By Asif Haroon Raja (NSI News Source Info) - January 02, 2010: When Pakistan came into being, Hindu leaders regarded creation of Pakistan as a tragic mistake that could still be corrected. They indicated on many occasions that partition is merely a temporary division. Break up of Pakistan and its absorption into Indian Union had become the national goal of Indian Congress. Pakistani paramilitary soldiers carry a casket of their comrade killed in Friday's suicide car bombing during a funeral prayer at their base camp in Bannu, Pakistan, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010. The suicide car bombing that killed scores of people on a volleyball field sent a bloody New Year's warning to residents trying to curb spreading Taliban militancy in Pakistan's northwestern region near the Afghan border. The Hindu and British economic wizards’ predicted that Pakistan would collapse under the weight of complex problems within six months. Part of their dream got fulfilled in 1971 when former Soviet Union helped India in treacherously amputating its eastern wing. They are now banking upon USA to dismantle Pakistan. The Americans have now joined hands with India and are speaking the same language as spoken by Hindu leaders in 1947. Apart from tens of government sponsored think tanks and newspapers in USA coming out with variety of stories of balkanization or fragmentation of Pakistan, David Kilcullen took the lead by forecasting that Pakistan would break up within six months. By saying so he once again energized doomsayers in India that had become somewhat depressed. Dr. Michel Chossudovsky of USA said, “Washington’s foreign policy course is to actively promote fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation. To achieve this objective, it would foment social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including territorial breakup of Pakistan”. US think tanks and western analysts including noted US intellectual Noam Chomsky see Pakistan as a failed state and on the verge of collapse. These doomsayers predict that Pakistan is in imminent danger of disintegrating into fiefdom controlled by Islamist warlords having disastrous implications for world security. In the assessment of US intelligence, defence and diplomatic officials, Pakistan is a failing state and there is little hope of preventing nuclear armed Pakistan from disintegrating. Nicholas Schmidle has rubbished these stories asserting that “Pakistan is more viable than most Americans like to think”. He says that it is fallacious notion that Pakistan will cease to exist; the Pakistani people’s resilience is greatly underestimated”. I fully subscribe to his views. Pakistan has come to stay and will stay in spite of web of intrigues and never ending machinations of India and its partners. Notwithstanding Nicholas and many other saner elements in USA like Gordon Duff and Bob Krause who criticize US dual faced polices and see Pakistan with greater understanding, Obama Administration is continuing to follow Bush’s hostile policies against Pakistan. It has deliberately turned a blind eye to nefarious activities of 17 intelligence units and 14 consulates in Afghanistan against Pakistan. Each consulate and Embassy in Kabul is infested with RAW officials along with Mossad operatives. Dozens of cultural and education centers in major cities of Afghanistan run by Indians are busy brain washing the Afghanis. Years of sustained efforts have borne fruit and today they have nearly washed away all traces of friendliness with Pakistanis which the Afghan Pakhtuns in particular nurtured. While many among Afghan Pashtun who are suffering at the hands of US military and Karzai regime may still be having soft corner for Pakistan where 14 million Pashtuns and 2.7 Afghan refugees reside, whole lot of non-Pashtun Afghans hate Pakistan. Shamsi airbase in Balochistan is in occupation of US troops since Oct 2001 and is in use for drone operations and where Blackwater mercenaries have been hired by US military for loading of missiles and bombs. Hardly a day passes without the deadly drones hovering over FATA menacingly and releasing hellfire missiles on suspected targets. US drone attacks are continuing taking lives of innocent people in FATA and fuelling militancy. In 2009 alone, 44 drone hits killed 700 civilians and only five al-Qaeda men. It implies for each al-Qaeda and Taliban militant killed, 140 innocent civilians also had to die. Jeremy Scahill has confirmed that most people killed were innocent. Considering the number of on-target hits, it can be concluded that the drones have proved to be an extremely inaccurate weapon system and a total failure. Its only usage appears to be to strike terror among the peace loving citizens and to alienate them and compel them to join hands with the extremists. But for drone attacks, the fence sitters or those who had joined the ranks of militants under coercion or certain compulsions would have by now got themselves detached from the hardcore militants. Instead of giving up this monstrous weapon which is imprecise and unproductive, the US is now actively considering using drones in Quetta and other major cities of Pakistan to proliferate the scale of bloodshed. This highly expensive, fruitless and cowardly practice is not being given up only to minimize the involvement of US military undertaking risky missions. In the wake of highly successful operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan (SW), the main base of Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), the US seems to have lost interest in that region. This is in spite of the fact that sizeable numbers of militants including the leadership of TTP are still active in areas west of Ladha-Srarogha towards Afghanistan and are carrying out sporadic raids on security forces. Rather than targeting them, the CIA has stepped up drone attacks on North Waziristan (NW) with a sinister purpose to instigate Gul Bahadur and others to confront the Army and thus force the Army to start another operation in that region without fully stabilizing SW. The people of NW look towards government for protection but get shocked to learn that the drones are operating with its connivance. The tribesmen have no means to destroy the high flying spy planes since their ack ack weapons do not hit them. Their repeated appeals for protection has made no impact on the ruling regime which is either tied to a secret understanding with Washington, or has no spine to tell USA to put an end to this one-sided killing game. Whatever complaints made are devoid of strength and commitment. It is high time that Pakistan should take a firm stand on this issue and tell USA in categorical terms to stop drone attacks or they will shoot them down and the army would detach itself from war on terror and road supply to NATO troops in Afghanistan stopped. If it doesn’t, it would authenticate the claim of opponents that the government has all along been hand-in- glove with USA over use of drones but has been putting up a false front to fool the people. While the Taliban are no threat to US homeland security they do pose credible threat to US regional interests as long as Afghanistan remains in occupation of foreign troops. Al-Qaeda is a reactionary force which has assumed international dimensions because of American excessive oppression of the Muslims under the garb of terrorism. Al-Qaeda, which has worldwide tentacles, is the chief threat to USA. Al-Qaeda challenges the pro-rich capitalist system, skewed US dictated democracy which is a means to neo-colonise the developing and under developed world, unjust judicial system that is expensive, time consuming and protects the rich only. It challenges the doctrine of war on terror framed by the Bush led neo-cons which is Muslim specific and meant to eliminate all anti-US elements residing in Muslim world with the help of handpicked secular leaders. Most NATO countries military commanders in Afghanistan as well as other NATO countries having fought the resistance forces in Afghanistan for the last eight years to subdue militancy are now having second thoughts. They say that force is not the answer and a political settlement through process of dialogue should be found to end insurgency. Members of NATO had to be intensely exhorted to provide extra 7000 troops and they have given in with a heavy heart since they know that early exit and not troop surge is the solution to the problem. These feelings are also shared by majority of Americans including sizeable segment of Democrats. While Obama led Administration has apparently decided to befriend Afghan Taliban to achieve peace in Afghanistan and create conditions for exit of foreign troops, Pakistan is refrained from doing so. Our rulers are prodded to sell the American coined theme that it is not American but Pakistan’s own war and must be collectively fought to the finish. Our tunnel-vision rulers instead of protesting steadfastly maintain that this war is our war and that full force will be used to eliminate the scourge of terrorism threatening the very existence of the state. They are against dialogue and advocate that force is the only solution to the problem. Slogans of extremism and terrorism as main threat to security of Pakistan are raised to please their mentors in Washington. They forget that foreign agencies are behind all acts of terror. Foolproof evidence of RAW has been found in Balochistan, FATA and Swat. RAW in collaboration with Blackwater is now active in Karachi. Blast on Shias procession on 28 December followed by mayhem was a premeditated act to enfeeble main economic hub centre, trigger sectarian and ethnic unrest and to indicate that Talibanistan has entered Karachi. The US is making use of shady Blackwater elements within cities to foment anarchy. While the public is pointing the places where Blackwater elements are residing in Pakistan, Interior Minister denies it for reasons best known to him. Americans caught red handed indulging in terrorism are being let off. It was under intense public pressure that the main base of Blackwater established at Sihala near Kahuta in 2003 under the garb of imparting training to the police has been ordered to wind up and to shift to Diplomatic Enclave Islamabad. Instead of blaming USA that it is solely responsible for converting our peaceful regions into war zones, our leaders are thanking USA for the generous economic assistance it has been doling out without which Pakistan would not have survived and assure them that the fires of extremism and militancy they had lit will get extinguished sooner than later. Instead of protesting as to why they rekindle the fire doused by our security forces after rendering sacrifices, they assure them with folded hands that they will continue to serve their interests with zeal and efficiency irrespective of the price the people of Pakistan had to pay. Having come to know that our so-called friends are playing a double game and stabbing us in the back, our rulers continue to rely on them and are faithfully following US dictated policies. They are dying to recommence futile dialogue with perfidious India. Socio-economic security gaps, poor governance, illiteracy, poverty, lack of justice, yawning gap between rich and poor and insensitivity of affluent class towards deprived classes have created space for crimes and militancy to grow. Prolonged deprivations have converted their frustrations and resentment into disillusionment and despair. Pent up anger and hatred has impelled them to pick up arms against the state. Protests and strikes have now been replaced with terrorism, insurgencies and ideological movements. In the wake of weaponisation and militarization of the society, frequent deadly clashes between the security forces and the militants as well as between local armed lashkars and militants, presence of Blackwater/Xe World elements together with leadership crisis, rampant corruption and lack of governance, the situation is getting ripe for a civil war. If such a thing happens, its spill over effect will have fatal consequences for US-NATO troops in Afghanistan and for India in particular.
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DTN News: India's Special Forces To Have More Power To Counter Terror Strikes

DTN News: India's Special Forces To Have More Power To Counter Terror Strikes *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - January 02, 2010: The Mumbai attack changed the way India looked at one of its most valuable assets—the elite special forces. Now they are set to get more ammo to counter 26/11 type attacks in future. The plan is to equip them for a new, long-term strategy to deal with the changing face of threats. Be it on the LoC or during clandestine and “irregular” warfare behind enemy lines, the special forces will get cutting-edge weaponry. The defence ministry has identified a list of items. It includes, besides traditional machine guns, the Tavor TAR-21s with a ‘modified’ single-piece butt and new sights; Galil sniper rifles with telescopic and night vision; 5.56mm assault rifles of bull-pup design with integrated laser range finder and grenade launcher; and 8,000 UBGLs (under-barrel grenade launchers). There will be lightweight bullet-proof vests on the pattern the US Dragon skin body armour that offers greater range of motion for the soldier wearing it. Infantry platoons and sections will get integrated GPS-based navigation system, lightweight walkie-talkie radio sets and better protective gear like lightweight anti-fragment helmet to replace the heavy metal combat helmet. Most of the weapons will be used by the Ghatak commandos, an elite infantry platoon attached to each infantry battalion of the Army. The Army will include three more battalions and dedicated Army Aviation Special Operations Squadrons, with helicopters and aircraft. Defence ministry sources said most of these equipment were from the US and Israel. The Defence Research and Development Organisation said the Army had shown interest in its Laser Dazzlers and modern submachine carbine assault rifles for the special forces. Developed by the DRDO Laser Science and Technology Centre, the Laser Dazzler is a non-lethal gun that can stun and blind terrorists for 40 seconds, giving time to capture them. “There are further request orders from the Army for INSAS rifles,” said a senior DRDO official. “Our focus is now to develop lightweight weapons and equipment.” General Deepak Kapoor, the Army chief, said that while the defence ministry had decided to get the equipment to counter 26/11 type attacks, “We are looking at it from the perspective of improving the capability of our special forces.” Security experts said the purchase list had items that NSG commandos lacked during 26/11—the bullet-proof armoured golf cart that can protect commandos as they move around a hotel, school or airport under siege. A moving platform that can reach windows 200m above the ground, the golf cart could have helped quick evacuation of people from the Taj and Trident during 26/11. Top of the list of the special forces’ requirements are intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems—unmanned aerial vehicles, remote detonating devices, laser range-finders and high-frequency communication systems. But as mobility is important, all-terrain vehicles and specially equipped transport aircraft and helicopters are needed. So, the government has fast-tracked purchase of two Aerostat air-defence radars and 80 fast-interception vessels for the Navy from Israel to plug gaps in coastal security. Aerostat radars can be moved to any location. And with a detection range of over 500km, they can track low-flying aircraft. The Navy has also proposed to buy offshore patrol vessels worth Rs 5,000 crore. Former Army vice-chief Lt Gen. Vijay Oberoi said enhancing the capability of the special forces was imperative as terrorists had access to latest weapons. “The courage and top physical fitness of our special forces is just not enough. They need latest and state-of-the-art equipment,” he said. The Air Force is also in shopping mode. It is planning to buy six C-130J aircraft from the US for its Garud Commandos who protect Air Force bases and conduct search and rescue operations. The C-130J can land on makeshift landing grounds without lights. The Navy is also looking to acquire integrated surveillance systems. It is buying eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, worth $2.1 billion, from the US. The P-8A Poseidon—a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft— will replace the ageing and fuel-guzzling Russian Tupolev-142Ms. The deal has been long in the making, but 26/11 has brought it closer to closure. “The equipment requirements have altered considerably in recent years, in keeping with the dramatic changes in the special forces’ employment trends around the world,” said an Army officer. “The modernisation of the special forces should focus on precision and mobility. In a hilly terrain like Kupwara, the light but effective weapons and other gadgets allow troops to act faster.” Upgrade of the security forces is part of the government’s strategy to prevent spillover of trouble from Pakistan. “The surge of elite special forces units would represent a multi-layered effort aimed at strengthening the Army that the defence ministry sees as key to fighting terrorists,” said Lt Gen. (retd) Rajinder Singh, who had commanded troops in J&K. Special forces commandos would be the tip of the spear in any Indian attack on terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “The special forces are not designed to cover the full range of challenges we face today on the low end of the conflict scale,” Singh said. “We should prepare them for a large intervention that goes well beyond the use of small packets of troops on lonely hillsides.” Special forces of the world US US Army Special Forces, the ‘Green Berets’, are equipped with sophisticated weapons like long-range sniper systems and M203—a 40mm grenade-launcher fitted to SAS rifles UK Its recently formed new special forces units—SRR & SFSG— have a wide range of weaponry like C8 carbine, M16 and its variants, HK G36 and Claymore, a portable anti-personnel mine for defence and ambush Germany Fernspher, members of Germany’s elite special force, use weapons with special additions not available to regular troops; the main weapon system is the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, and variants of the HK MP5 SMG Israel Exact weapons of its special force, Sayeret, are not known, but it is one of the best equipped in the world; uses remote-controlled robot to scan tunnels that are used for smuggling China Special Operations Forces is a sub-branch of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force; PLA’s main infantry rifle is the recently issued QBZ-95; also uses locally-made versions of the Russian AK-47 rifles and SKS series carbines with the Chinese Type 56 assault rifle Pakistan Its Special Service Group is similar to the Green Berets and the British Army’s SAS; the SSG weaponry includes Steyr AUG, HK G3, and Type 56 (Chinese AK-47 variant) and HK-MP5 Submachine guns; in sniper, SSG has Steyr MP 69, Finnish Tikka bolt-action and HK PSG1; most of the weapons are of US origin

DTN News: USAF Seeks To Replace UH-1N Helicopter

DTN News: USAF Seeks To Replace UH-1N Helicopter *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - January 02, 2010: The U.S. Air Force has started its effort to replace 62 Vietnam War-vintage UH-1N Huey helicopters with a commercially available helicopter by 2015, according to a Dec. 17 service document. The Air Force expects to award a contract for the UH-N1 helicopters as soon as fiscal year 2012 and wants to have at least six aircraft by 2015, the target date for initial operational capability. (AIR FORCE) The sources-sought notice seeks contractors who can provide the Air Force with up to 93 helicopters - dubbed the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform (CVLSP) - that can carry at least nine passengers and that have proved themselves in commercial or government service. The service wants to put the new helicopters into service quickly: "We will consider some performance trade offs to meet schedule at an affordable cost." The Air Force expects to award a contract for the helicopters as soon as fiscal year 2012 and wants to have at least six aircraft by 2015, the target date for initial operational capability. Another 10 choppers are due no later than Sept. 30, 2017. One way the service hopes to do this is by purchasing an aircraft that is currently in production, according to the document. The service's UH-1N fleet dates to the 1970s and is used primarily at nuclear missile bases in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, where they patrol missile fields, fly search-and-rescue missions, and more. The Air Force has another squadron of Hueys at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., that provide VIP airlift around Washington. The Sixth Special Operations Squadron also flies a handful of the aircraft for special operations missions at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Those aircraft fly a cruising speed of roughly 100 knots and can carry up to 13 passengers depending on the situation. While the missions flown by the current Huey fleet are relatively benign, the service is looking for a helicopter with a fairly high degree of survivability in combat situations, according to the notice. The new choppers must be armored against 7.62mm small arms fire, feature electro-optical and infrared sensors, infrared countermeasures, be night-vision-goggle ready, and carry enough firepower to dispatch several enemy infantry squads during one mission, according to the notice. The Air Force also wants the aircraft to be equipped with secure satellite communications as well as nonsecure line-of-sight communications links. In addition to carrying nine passengers or 3,195 pounds of cargo, the CVLSP birds must be able to maintain a minimum of 135 knots airspeed while flying at 6,500 feet and be able to fly for at least three hours unrefueled at 6,500 feet. The Army is replacing its antiquated Hueys with 345 EADS-built UH-72 Lakotas in a multiyear contract estimated to cost $3 billion. The Army uses the unarmed Lakota for stateside missions such as medical evacuations, drug hunting and personnel transport.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY January 02, 2010 ~ Death Toll At 95 In Pakistan Volleyball Bombing

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY January 02, 2010 ~ Death Toll At 95 In Pakistan Volleyball Bombing *Police say suicide bomber drove onto crowded field in North-West Frontier Province town of Lakki Marwat, detonated explosive-laden vehicle *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) KARACHI, Pakistan - January 02, 2010: More bodies are being pulled from the rubble of a sports complex in northwestern Pakistan, raising the death toll in Friday's attack on a volleyball game to at least 95. Survivors prepared for funerals Saturday, while officials warn the number of victims is likely to increase as recovery efforts moved through their second day. Police say the suicide bomber drove onto a crowded field in the North-West Frontier Province town of Lakki Marwat Friday and detonated his explosive-laden vehicle while hundreds of spectators watched the match, including women and children. The blast caused nearby homes to collapse and damaged a nearby mosque where tribal elders were meeting. Police say that meeting may have been the attacker's intended target. Some officials have raised concerns about meager medical facilities in Lakki Marwat. Doctors from surrounding areas have come to the town to help treat the more than 100 wounded. There have been no claims of responsibility, but provincial police chief Malik Naveed tells VOA the bombing may be a militant revenge attack against local residents who set up a militia force to combat Taliban insurgents. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement Friday, saying the United States strongly condemns the attack and will continue to stand with Pakistan in its efforts to combat violent extremism and bolster democracy. Clinton said terrorists have targeted schools, markets, mosques, "and now a volleyball game." She said the U.S. supports Pakistan in its efforts to chart a "future free from fear and intimidation." Friday's attack was the deadliest in Pakistan in more than two months. Suicide Bomber Kills 75 At Village Volleyball Match In Pakistan's Northwest . A suicide bomber blew up his sport-utility vehicle in the middle of a village volleyball game in northwestern Pakistan on Friday afternoon, killing 75 people and injuring more than 100 in a community that has repeatedly defied Taliban extremists. Police speculated that the horrific bombing in the village of Shah Hassan Khel, in the Lakki Marwat district, was an act of reprisal against area leaders who last year formed private militias to oppose the Taliban and recently turned in a group of extremist fighters to the authorities. The attack was the latest in a string of bombings across Pakistan that have increasingly targeted civilians and killed more than 500 people since September. The Taliban has asserted responsibility for many of them but denied carrying out others. On Monday, an explosion targeting a Shiite religious procession killed 44 people in the southern port city of Karachi. On Friday, the city of 18 million people was virtually shut down in protest. An October bombing in a women's bazaar in Peshawar, in the northwest, left more then 80 people dead. The northwestern region -- near the Afghan border as well as the tribal area of South Waziristan, where the Pakistani army has been carrying out operations against Taliban forces since October -- has borne the brunt of the violence. Assailants have struck markets, mosques and other crowded civilian targets there, but Friday's bombing was the first to single out a sporting event. Several previous attacks were clearly carried out in retaliation against communities and leaders who resisted the Taliban. In November, a bombing in a rural market killed a mayor who had openly defied the extremists. As more communities begin fighting back, there is concern that reprisal attacks will increase. Among those killed and wounded by Friday's powerful explosion were women and children watching the volleyball match, on a playing field in the heart of the village. The bombing also damaged houses and other buildings. The area's remoteness caused delays in transporting the wounded to hospitals, and the death toll rose all evening. People sit beside a victim of a suicide bombing at a local hospital in Lakki Marwat, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010. A suicide bomber set off an explosives-laden vehicle on a field during a volleyball tournament Friday in northwest Pakistan, killing scores of people and wounding dozens, police said. Anwar Kamal Marwat, a politician and tribal leader who organized anti-Taliban militias in the Lakki Marwat district, said by telephone from Peshawar that the bombing was definitely intended to retaliate against the armed and organized villagers, who had recently arrested and turned in 24 Taliban members. "They have been punished for their active role against the militants," Marwat said, noting that the Taliban influence had been growing in the village area before the private militias struck back. The local police chief, Ayub Khan, echoed that assessment, telling the Associated Press that the bombing appeared to be a reaction to the "expulsion" of local Taliban fighters. He said that the bomber's vehicle contained 500 pounds of high-intensity explosives and that a second suicide vehicle may have escaped from the area. The bombing took place as the latest airstrike by suspected U.S. drones struck a car carrying three suspected Taliban militants in North Waziristan. A missile strike Thursday struck a house in the same region, killing three people, according to Pakistani officials.

DTN News: Russia's Strategic MZKT-79221 Poplar-M Missile Defense Systems Being Deployed

DTN News: Russia's Strategic MZKT-79221 Poplar-M Missile Defense Systems Being Deployed *Source: DTN News / Moscow Top News (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russa - January 02, 2010: The first mobile missile complex RS -12[M]2 "Poplar-M" entered into th Teykovskaya division [RVSN], stationed in the Ivanovo province, reports ROSPROM. Prior to the end of the mobile "Topolya" (2006) the new generation will be wholly rearmed one of the regiments of the division. Within the next few years "Poplar-M" will appear also in other parts and connections [RVSN] in the mobile version. This new rocket will replace the rocket RS -12[m] "Topol", RS -18 in the arsenal of the strategic rocket forces, known under the NATO designation as Stiletto, RS -20 "Voevoda".At present "Topolya" are equipped with monoblock head parts with power 550 kilotons. Subsequently their re-equipping by the divided head parts of individual guidance is possible. Each rocket will be able to bear up to three warheads.
With the "Poplar-M", because of the exceptionally rapid acceleration, the maneuvering head part and the presence on board the rocket of the means of breakthrough, it possesses high combat potential under development conditions in the territory of the USA and some of their allies of theantimissile system.
The new rocket preserves its potential even under the conditions of the first impact from the side of enemy - its electronic equipment is unreceptive to the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion.