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WAR 07-07-2018-to-07-13-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
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  1. #1
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    3 07-07-2018-to-07-13-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****

    I figured I should start this coming week's thread now while I had the chance...HC

    (328) 06-16-2018-to-06-22-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...*of****WAR****

    (329) 06-23-2018-to-06-29-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...*of****WAR****

    (330) 06-30-2018-to-07-06-2018___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...*of****WAR****

    -------------------------------

    Main Israel/Hamas thread, Significant Gaza Escalation In Progress - 5/29/2018
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...9-2018/page161

    Ongoing Military Conflict In Syria
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...n-Syria/page79

    Sen. Lindsey Graham courts Kurds in Syria, contradicting both Trump & intl law
    Started by Millwright‎, Today 07:29 AM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...p-amp-intl-law

    Iran's Guards threatens to block oil shipments in Gulf
    Started by northern watch‎, 07-04-2018 05:48 PM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...-in-Gulf/page2

    Israel/Iran 2018 opening act getting closer
    Started by Lilbitsnana‎, 06-17-2018 03:52 AM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...g-closer/page3

    Europe: Politics, Trade, NATO - July 2018
    Started by northern watch‎, 07-01-2018 03:18 PM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...NATO-July-2018

    China-based hackers burrow inside satellite, defense, and telecoms firms
    Started by alchemike‎, Yesterday 06:10 AM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...telecoms-firms

    The Four Horsemen - 07/02 to 07/09
    Started by Ragnarok‎, 07-02-2018 01:51 PM
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...07-02-to-07-09


    ------------------------------

    Hummm.....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://cdn.defenseone.com/b/defense...a1ba6-81835773

    Trump Not Planning to Threaten US Troop Withdrawal from Europe; Solo Putin Meeting Was His Idea

    BY KEVIN BARON
    EXECUTIVE EDITOR
    READ BIO
    JULY 5, 2018

    Previewing the NATO Summit and Putin meeting, officials say Trump has the facts on Russian meddling, wants Putin meeting to start "dialogue."

    UPDATE: This article was updated to reflect that the U.S. ambassadors briefing reporters were speaking on the record and could be named, not as anonymous ”senior administration officials” speaking on background, as the White House originally had instructed.

    President Donald Trump is not planning to threaten to pull U.S. troops from Germany and Europe, despite reports he asked aides about that possibility.

    The clarification from the U.S. ambassador to NATO comes as Trump prepares to head to Brussels next week for the NATO Summit of heads-of-state. In the run up, Trump has renewed his criticism of some NATO members for not meeting the 2 percent-of-GDP pledge on defense spending, sending threatening letters to several of his counterparts.

    Trump’s has steadily criticized NATO since early in his presidential candidacy, throwing U.S. support for transatlantic defense in doubt. After Trump’s administration began, senior U.S. and military officials have repeatedly said that the United States would honor it’s ”Article 5” commitment to defend NATO members and fully support the alliance, even though Trump has often suggested since before he was elected that the US may not come to Europe’s defense if those countries don’t start paying more of their share into the collective.

    “There is nothing being said at all about the troop alignment in Germany or anything that would change the 32,000 troop force that we have in Germany,” said U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison, on a White House conference call with reporters Thursday organized to preview the July 11-12 summit (and following next week’s meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, Finland.) The call also included U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman. Both officials spoke on the record to reporters using prepared talking points. The call was then continued with two senior administration officials speaking on background, per White House rules. But the White House later released the full transcript of the call as on the record, with no explanation for the change.

    NATO is poised to stand up a new Joint Support and Enabling Command in Ulm, Germany, a step that NATO partners are expected to ratify during the summit, Hutchison said. U.S. ability to help defend NATO in Europe and launch forces from European bases remained essential, one senior administration official said. “It’s very important that that be the capability, to base and train, and to be able to deploy our troops in a safe way, which Germany is willing to help us do with this new hub.” On any suggestion of pulling back forces, the official said, “I’ve heard nothing different about that.”

    Hutchison said she expected NATO members to adopt a list of actions furthering the alliance’s reforms, continuing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and branching into “hybrid” warfare of information operations.

    “This is a very substantive and meaty summit,” she said. “I think it’s going to be one of the most productive that we’ve ever had.”

    Related: NATO Will Outlive Trump (and Putin), Don’t Worry
    Related: Trump Backs Russia on Election Interference Ahead of NATO Summit

    After NATO, Trump will visit London and then head to the highly-anticipated meeting with Putin, where he will meet alone with the Russian president before the sides meet together with staff. It was Trump’s idea, said Hunstman. The American ambassador to Russia said U.S. officials, including members of a Republican congressional delegation of U.S. senators who visited Moscow, have continually pressed their concerns about Russian interference in U.S. and European elections, and look forward to starting a direct U.S.-Russian dialogue on a list of issues, including Syria and Ukraine.

    “The ball really is in Russia’s court, and the president will continue to hold Russia accountable for some of it’s malign activity,” Hunstman said. “We are entering with our eyes wide open but peace is always worth the effort.”

    On election meddling, the president to date has shown little interest in pressing Putin to do anything.

    “The president will drive the discussion on malign activity and election meddling. He’s knows the facts and the details,” said Hunstman. “We all talk about it a little differently, but the president has talked about it in his own way.”

    He said direct dialogue was important following Trump’s meetings with Putin on the sidelines of two world events.

    “The president has determined that now is the time for direct communication between himself and President Putin, and that it is in the interest of the United States, in the interest of Russia, in the interest of peace and security around the world,” said Huntsman. “And that’s the way he’s proceeding.”

    Last week, Trump said, in a tweet, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

    Kevin Baron is the founding executive editor of Defense One. Baron has lived in Washington for 20 years, covering international affairs, the military, the Pentagon, Congress, and politics for Foreign Policy, National Journal, Stars and Stripes, and the Boston Globe, where he ran investigative ... FULL BIO
    Last edited by Housecarl; 07-07-2018 at 02:03 AM. Reason: added thread link

  2. #2
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    Posted by Lilbitsnana
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...06#post6937006
    Guy Elster
    þVerified account @guyelster
    2m2 minutes ago

    #BREAKING Huge blast heard in #Somalia's capital #Mogadishu, smoke seen rising above scene of blast: Reuters witness
    ==
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news...tness-10508430

    Huge blast heard in Somalia's capital Mogadishu - Reuters witness

    07 Jul 2018 04:25PM

    MOGADISHU: A huge blast was heard in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday and smoke was seen rising above the scene of the explosion although it was unclear what caused the blast.

    Islamist group al Shabaab frequently carries out bombings in the Horn of Africa country where they are fighting to topple the central government.

    (Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Alison Williams)
    Source: Reuters

    ---

    From a couple of days ago....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201807060329.html

    5 July 2018
    Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

    Somalia: Al-Shabaab Attacks KDF Base in Southern Somalia

    Al-Shabaab has fired several mortar shells at a military belonging to Kenyan defence forces [KDF] serving under African Union Mission [MISOM] in southern Somalia, residents said.

    The mortar attack was targeted at KDF's camp in Fafahdhun area in Gedo, where the Kenyan soldiers are stationed, according to a villager, speaking to Radio Shabelle by phone.

    The raid has sparked a heavy gunfight ensued between the militants and the Kenyan troops which led to an unspecified number of casualties.
    Kenyan defence ministry has not yet commented on the attack so far.

  3. #3
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN1JX0A1

    World News July 7, 2018 / 1:50 AM / Updated 7 minutes ago

    Second blast in Somalia's capital Mogadishu: police source

    Elias Biryabarema
    1 Min Read

    KAMPALA (Reuters) - A second blast occurred in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, opposite a police building, minutes after a suicide car bombing occurred near the presidential palace, a police official told Reuters.

    “A second blast occurred outside Sayidka Hotel which is opposite the police building where the first blast took place,” Major Nur Ali, a police officer told Reuters. A Reuters witness heard the second blast and saw the huge clouds of smoke rising above the scene.

    Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Alison Williams

  4. #4
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/both-side...015521567.html

    Pompeo holds more North Korea talks, both sides seeking to 'clarify'

    By Hyonhee Shin and David Brunnstrom, Reuters • July 7, 2018

    SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a second day of talks in North Korea on Saturday in an attempt to agree details on dismantling the North's nuclear program after both sides said they had things to "clarify" from the previous day.

    Pompeo spent his first night in the North Korean capital in three visits so far this year before leaving the government guest house where he stayed to make a secure phone call to update U.S. President Donald Trump on the talks.

    He then sat down again with Kim Yong Chol, the top North Korean party official and former spy agency chief with whom he played a key role in arranging the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.

    Kim Yong Chol said at the start of the meeting the two had had "very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday". He joked that, as a result, Pompeo "might have not slept well last night" at the prestigious Paekhwawon, or 100 Flowers Garden, guest house.

    According to a pool report from U.S. reporters traveling with him, Pompeo replied: "Director Kim, I slept just fine. We did have a good set of conversations yesterday. I appreciate that and I look forward to our continued conversations today as well."

    Pompeo reiterated that Trump was "committed to a brighter future for North Korea".

    "So the work that we do, the path toward complete denuclearization, building a relationship between our two countries, is vital for a brighter North Korea and the success that our two presidents demand of us," Pompeo said.

    Kim agreed that the work was important. "There are things that I have to clarify," he said.

    Pompeo responded: "There are things that I have to clarify as well."

    U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo and his staff later held a working lunch with their North Korean counterparts.

    She said progress had been made but gave no details. Nauert also said Pompeo had been "very firm" on three basic goals: the complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of U.S. remains from the 1950-53 Korean War.

    "He's spoken about every element of the agreement from Singapore," she told reporters, according to a pool report from Pyongyang.

    She said there had been no softening in the U.S. positions, although she would not explain why the department no longer defines its aim as "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization" (CVID).

    "Our policy hasn't changed," she said several times when asked about CVID. "Our expectation is exactly what the president and Kim Jong Un jointly agreed to in Singapore, and that is the denuclearization of North Korea."

    Pompeo left Pyongyang for Tokyo at 4:26 p.m. local time (0726 GMT). It was not immediately clear if he had met Kim Jong Un, as he did on his previous trips.

    'SECURITY GUARANTEES'
    Kim Jong Un made a broad commitment to "work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in Singapore but offered no details of how or when North Korea might dismantle a weapons program that Trump has vowed will not be allowed to threaten the United States.

    Trump, meanwhile, committed to providing "security guarantees" to North Korea and Washington later called off one of its major joint military exercises with South Korea, which Pyongyang regularly denounces as rehearsals for invasion.

    Nauert said U.S. and North Korean officials had set up working groups to deal with "nitty gritty stuff", including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearization, which would be headed on the U.S. side by Sung Kim, a Korean-American who is also ambassador to the Philippines.

    She said U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly were also on Pompeo's earlier briefing call with Trump.

    'CRACKING JOKES'
    Pompeo held nearly three hours of talks with Kim Yong Chol on Friday and a working dinner that Nauert described as further "relationship building". She said the dinner lasted an hour and 45 minutes and at times the two were "cracking jokes" and "exchanging pleasantries".

    North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Pompeo's delegation was taking part in high-level talks for implementing the Singapore summit statement but gave no more details.

    Pompeo said before arriving in North Korea he was seeking to "fill in" some details on North Korea's commitments and maintain the momentum towards implementing the agreement from the summit.

    U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters that Pompeo would try to agree on at least an initial list of nuclear sites and an inventory that could be checked against available intelligence.

    The issue of the remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the Korean War is also high on the agenda. Trump said after the Singapore summit Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States.

    Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about talks. North Korean officials have yet to demonstrate that in working-level talks, the intelligence officials said.

    Some officials in the State and Defense Departments and inU.S. intelligence agencies are worried that Trump has put himself at a disadvantage by overstating the results of the Singapore summit.

    Pompeo had said before the Singapore summit Trump would reject anything short of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation".

    The State Department says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearizes but, in statements this week, it redefined the U.S. goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the country.

    Some U.S. officials and experts have said the change in language amounted to a softening in approach. The State Department said its policy remains unchanged.

    Pompeo's talks will be closely watched in the region. He is due to meet officials from allies South Korea and Japan in Tokyo on Sunday.

    (Reporting by Hyonhee Shin in SEOUL and David Brunnstrom in TOKYO; Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham and David Chance in WASHINGTON; Editing by Leslie Adler and Paul Tait)

    9 reactions

  5. #5
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    Chad O'Carroll
    ‏ @chadocl
    5h5 hours ago

    This morning a U.S. C-130 transporter plane flew from Pyongyang to Yokota airbase at 04.30 in the morning, photo by @KoryoTours guide and flight data shows

    But this is 11.5 hours *before* Pompeo is due to fly out today.

    What was this flight for? Was it collecting cargo?


    Chad O'Carroll
    ‏ @chadocl
    5h5 hours ago

    Such an early departure time seems intended to deliberately miss the possibility of other passengers at the airport seeing this flight movement.


    Passengers usually arrive at Sunan from about 06.00 or 06.30 at the earliest...

    Chad O'Carroll
    ‏ @chadocl
    4h4 hours ago

    Quick story about it:
    https://www.nknews.org/2018/07/u-s-a...rpose-unknown/


    ETA:

    Chad O'Carroll
    ‏ @chadocl
    1h1 hour ago

    Certainly looks like it spent a very short time in Pyongyang... At 11.39pm last night this plane was still in Japan, according to this Google cache link.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.c...&ct=clnk&gl=jp



    posted for fair use and discussion
    https://www.nknews.org/2018/07/u-s-a...rpose-unknown/



    U.S.A.F. cargo plane left Pyongyang on Saturday morning, flight purpose unknown
    Purpose of flight unclear, but could be linked to return of POW/MIA remains

    Chad O'Carroll
    July 7th, 2018

    A United States Air Force (USAF) C-130J-30 cargo plane left Pyongyang’s Sunan International airport at 04.13am on Saturday for Yokota airbase, a photo and flight data showed the same day, although it remains unclear what purpose the flight served.


    It was one of two rare flights captured on an Instagram user’s photo of the departure board at Pyongyang Sunan airport on Saturday morning, the other being flight SAM674 to Tokyo at 16.00, a U.S. Air Force Boeing 757 that will take Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team to Japan for trilateral consultations.


    But the purpose of flight number TREK70 to Yokota – which a flight tracking website showed to be a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 ‘Super Hercules’ airlifter belonging to the USAF – is unclear.


    While the flight was likely linked to the ongoing Pompeo visit, open source data hasn’t previously shown his prior two visits to North Korea being accompanied by a second aircraft in this way.



    Data shows the flight code to be operated by a USAF Hercules airlifter plane | Picture: Live Mode-S log

    The unusually early 04.13am departure of the flight means it would have likely left Pyongyang without other passengers seeing the aircraft or any cargo being loaded or unloaded, the first scheduled flight on Saturday not leaving until 08.50am.


    The flight time also means it’s unlikely the airlifter would have gone to Pyongyang to directly support Pompeo’s trip – for example, to transport VIP vehicles for his use – because his trip continued nearly 12 hours further on Saturday.


    In terms of capacity, the stretch-modified C-130J-30 can carry either passengers – up to 128 combat-equipped troops – or cargo – a maximum of eight 463L pallets – according to the Air Force Technology website.


    That would likely be sufficient to fly out the remains of prisoners of war (POWs) or those missing in action (MIA) from the Korean War, a step that was a key part of the recent Singapore Summit agreement between the U.S. and North Korea.


    While President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un agreed to “commit to recovering POW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified,” nearly four weeks has passed since the summit without any remains being transported back.


    In late June, the U.S. Forces Korea moved 100 caskets to the border with North Korea in order to prepare for the return of the remains of those missing since the end of the Korean War.


    Yokota Air Base was unavailable for comment when called about the flight movement on Saturday.


    Main picture: USAF
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  6. #6
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    Like maybe we got US bodies back via the plane mentioned above?

    ETA: or maybe they sent some of their Japanese captives back to Japan?

    ETA2: or completely empty?



    AFP news agency
    ‏Verified account @AFP
    4m4 minutes ago

    #BREAKING US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says nuclear talks with North Korea were 'very productive'
    Last edited by Lilbitsnana; 07-07-2018 at 01:35 PM.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  7. #7
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    AFP news agency
    ‏Verified account @AFP
    29m29 minutes ago

    #BREAKING 6.0 quake felt in Tokyo, no tsunami warning, Japan agency says



    AFP Tokyo
    ‏ @AFPTokyo
    13m13 minutes ago

    A 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan Saturday evening outside of Tokyo, swaying buildings in the capital, but no tsunami warning was issued, the country's meteorological agency said. There were no immediate reports of damage. @AFP
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  8. #8
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    I guess it's time to put the carrot aside and put the stick on the table for both Pyongyang and Beijing to see and ponder....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...Ux9?li=BBnb7Kz

    North Korea calls U.S. attitude toward talks ‘regrettable,’ rejecting Pompeo’s claim meetings were ‘productive’

    John Hudson
    1 hr ago

    TOKYO — Just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed North Korea after two days of nuclear negotiations, North Korea sharply criticized the U.S. team's attitude as “regrettable,” and accused the U.S. of making unilateral demands of denuclearization.

    The remarks from North Korea’s foreign ministry directly contradicted statements made by Pompeo that the visit made “progress on almost all of the central issues” and involved “good-faith negotiations.”

    The Foreign Ministry statement, issued by an unnamed spokesman, said the U.S. violated the spirit of the June 12 Singapore summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

    The mixed messages followed a visit in which Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader while in the country and did not secure a breakthrough in forging a shared understanding of denuclearization.

    Pompeo has come under increasing pressure to produce tangible results from the summit that President Trump quickly touted as a game-changing moment that eliminated North Korea’s nuclear threat.

    But analysts said the reality is now sinking in that any final accord between the two nations to eliminate Pyongyang’s sophisticated nuclear and missile arsenal will be a long slog with no guarantee of success.

    “While we were hopeful there would be some sort of breakthrough, it seems both sides agreed to merely keep talking,” said Harry Kazianis, an Asia expert at the Center for the National Interest.

    Pompeo told reporters that the two countries would soon hold working-level talks on the destruction of Pyongyang’s missile-engine-testing facility. He also said Pentagon officials will meet with their North Korean counterparts on or near July 12 at the demilitarized zone between the Koreas to discuss the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War.

    Last month, Trump told a crowd of supporters that the remains of 200 people had “been sent back,” but U.S. military officials later said that was not the case. U.S. officials viewed the issue as an easy confidence-building measure to demonstrate North Korea’s sincerity and have been frustrated with the speed of Pyongyang’s follow-through.

    Pompeo said both the testing facility issue and recovering U.S. remains still need to be finalized.

    “We now have a meeting set up for July 12 — it could move by one day or two — where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains,” he said.

    When asked if he got any closer to setting out a timeline to denuclearize, Pompeo said, “I’m not going to get into details of our conversations but we spent a good deal of time talking . . . and I think we made progress in every element of our discussions.”

    Pompeo’s visit to North Korea forced the United States to postpone a planned meeting of U.S. and Indian defense and foreign ministers, so expectations were high among Japanese and South Korean officials that Pompeo would meet with Kim Jong Un during the two-day visit. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, however, said the United States had no expectation of a meeting with Kim.

    “Chairman Kim is keeping his distance, perhaps considering how he will able to win sanctions relief without taking serious denuclearization steps,” said Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert at the Center for a New American Security.

    Ahead of the new round of talks, Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s septuagenarian former spy chief, teased Pompeo, suggesting that the “serious” negotiations the night before may have caused Pompeo to lose sleep.

    “We did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday. So thinking about those discussions, you might have not slept well last night,” Kim said.

    “Director Kim, I slept just fine,” Pompeo responded, according to a pool report provided by reporters accompanying the secretary of state.

    Kim, a regime hard-liner who is careful not to act outside North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s instructions, said he needed to “clarify” aspects of his nearly three-hour negotiations Friday with Pompeo, a desire the top U.S. diplomat immediately echoed.

    “There are things that I have to clarify as well,” Pompeo said.

    The display of small talk between North Korean and U.S. officials, a rarity given the infrequent contacts between the longtime adversaries, revealed both the tension at the heart of the nuclear negotiations and the increasing familiarity of the two men who have become diplomatic counterparts during Pompeo’s three visits to Pyongyang and Kim’s visit to New York City in May.

    Nauert said Pompeo was being “very firm” in seeking three basic goals from the visit: the complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances and the repatriation of fallen soldiers.

    Diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations, said the United States continues to struggle to develop a shared understanding of what denuclearization means to North Korea.

    Adding to the pressure on Pompeo to deliver tangible results is a leaked U.S. intelligence assessment casting doubt on North Korea’s willingness to relinquish its arsenal.

    Nauert said Pompeo called Trump on Saturday morning to update him on the talks, a call that included White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton.

    During the visit, Nauert said, the two sides agreed to set up working groups to deal with the “nitty-gritty stuff,” including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearization, but there was no indication that the North Korean working group would be empowered by Kim Jong Un, a necessary ingredient for any progress.

    Following the Singapore summit, senior U.S. and North Korean diplomats struggled to maintain basic communication, leading to concerns that the talks would require Pompeo, who has many other responsibilities, to devote an unmanageable amount of time on the Korea issue.

    The top U.S. diplomat said Saturday the two sides “laid out a path for further negotiation” among lower-ranking officials.

    Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the ability for those more junior officials to work productively is critical.

    “What concerns me at this stage is the secretary of state flying all the way from Washington to Pyongyang to try to engage in detailed working-level negotiations as an ongoing approach to negotiating denuclearization,” he said. “That’s unsustainable.”

  9. #9
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    Intel Doge
    ‏ @IntelDoge
    55m55 minutes ago

    Please do note it's been about 7 hours since this was initially reported.


    Intel Doge
    ‏ @IntelDoge
    56m56 minutes ago

    Radio Pyongyang has reportedly sent out coded messages, it's noted it's been a while since these coded messages have been sent out. - @Global_Mil_Info
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  10. #10
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    Guy Elster
    ‏Verified account @guyelster
    7h7 hours ago

    #BREAKING US service member killed, two others wounded during apparent insider attack in southern #Afghanistan: NATO
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  11. #11
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    Intel Doge
    ‏ @IntelDoge
    3h3 hours ago

    Intel Doge Retweeted Travel - State Dept

    State Department urging all US citizens not to travel to Haiti. Violent protests are erupting due to sharp increases in gas prices.

    Intel Doge added,
    Travel - State Dept
    Verified account @TravelGov
    #Haiti Alert: Due to ongoing demonstrations, roadblocks, and violence across Port-au-Prince, @USEmbassyHaiti personnel are sheltering in place. Do not attempt to travel. Avoid any large gathering of people.
    If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  12. #12
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    Guy Elster
    ‏Verified account @guyelster
    49m49 minutes ago

    #BREAKING #Turkey sacks over 18,500 state employees in a new decree, expands the purge By #Erdogan day before he swears to his second and powerful term
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  13. #13
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    The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...r-East/page104

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/07...aker-says.html

    North Korea 1 day ago

    North Korea still believed to be working on nuclear-capable ballistic submarine, lawmaker says

    By Ryan Gaydos | Fox News
    Video

    As President Trump's top diplomat arrived in North Korea to discuss denuclearizing the rogue regime, troubling reports Pyongyang is building a nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine lent credence to fears Kim Jong Un will never truly surrender his doomsday arsenal.

    South Korea believes the North is working on the submarine on its east coast, Kim Hack-yong, a South Korean lawmaker who was at the helm of the legislature’s defense committee until his term ended a few weeks ago, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday. Kim cited intelligence reports he's viewed to support the claim.

    Satellite images revealed workers and materials moving at the port of Sinpo, Kim said. The construction is reportedly being done at an indoor facility.

    The report of a potential nuclear-armed submarine comes as officials form the CIA and other intelligence agencies told NBC News on Saturday that North Korea has increased its production of enriched uranium -- despite Kim Jong Un’s historic summit with Trump last month.

    Officials believed North Korea was “positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival,” NBC News reported.

    One U.S. official said the regime has stopped nuclear and missile tests but "there's no evidence they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production.”

    Four other U.S. officials said the Hermit Kingdom was purposely trying to mislead the U.S.

    So Pompeo's mission in Pyongyang is twofold: to not only negotiate a clear and detailed plan to denuclearize but also to let Kim Jong Un know the U.S. is carefully watching and acutely aware of North Korea's history of cheating on nuke deals.

    The first reports that North Korea was pursuing an “aggressive schedule” to construct a nuclear-capable submarine were revealed in November.

    Images of Sinpo South Shipyard released by 38 North at the time suggested there were signs of movement and building materials in the area since the start of the year. The shipyard is notoriously known for producing large submarines for the nation's army, according to a new analysis.

    Several signs indicated the regime is expanding the site and working on a shipbuilding program to build and deploy a submarine capable of carrying a missile.

    The Nov. 5 satellite images showed “two larger circular objects” that could be used as a pressure hull on a submarine. Gantry and tower cranes have been seen moving around the facility, suggesting a “prolonged and ongoing shipbuilding program,” according to 38 North.

    An object spotted on the service tower at the time appeared to be a launch canister support or launch canister, which wasn’t pictured in previous images of the shipyard area. It also replicates how a missile would be launched from a submarine’s hull.

    Video

    It’s unclear how much progress North Korea has made on building a ballistic missile submarine. The regime vowed to obtain a submarine capable of launching a long-range ballistic missile before the Trump-Kim summit. State media released a propaganda video in late September depicting a submarine-launched missile striking the USS Carl Vinson.

    It was also unclear how much progress Pyongyang has made in its efforts to build the submarine.

    Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and Katherine Lam contributed to this report.

  14. #14
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    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    7m7 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: Nine members of #Tunisia security forces have been killed in an attack in west of the country near the border with #Algeria. The vehicle they were driving in was reportedly hit by an RPG.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  15. #15
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    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    14m14 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: The #US Ambassador to #NATO has said that the Trump Administration is looking at placing a permanent presence of troops in #Poland. This would go against the 1997 NATO-#Russia Founding Act. Via @Global_Mil_Info
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbitsnana View Post
    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    14m14 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: The #US Ambassador to #NATO has said that the Trump Administration is looking at placing a permanent presence of troops in #Poland. This would go against the 1997 NATO-#Russia Founding Act. Via @Global_Mil_Info
    With what' already been going on in the Baltics, never mind Ukraine, I'd hazard a guess that piece of paper is moot....

  17. #17
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    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    5m5 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: Security member and a foreign citizen killed in terror attack on a checkpoint north of #Riyadh. #SaudiArabia




    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    11s12 seconds ago

    #BREAKING: A #Saudi interior ministry spokesperson confirmed that a terror attack involving extremists clashing with security officers on Sunday left two of terrorists dead while one officer died during the attack in #Buraidah city of al-Qassim
    @AlArabiya_Eng
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  18. #18
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    Hummm....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-e...-idUSKBN1JY05X

    WORLD NEWS JULY 8, 2018 / 12:37 AM / UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO

    Foes Ethiopia, Eritrea pledge to open embassies as leaders embrace

    Reuters Staff

    5 MIN READ

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea announced on Sunday they would re-open their embassies, hailing a stunningly swift rapprochement between bitter regional enemies at their first summit since a war two decades ago.

    The two leaders personally symbolized the breakthrough, embracing warmly and swaying side by side to live traditional music at a lavish state dinner in the Eritrean capital. They opened phone lines between the two countries that had been cut for two decades, and land-locked Ethiopia said it would be given access to the sea at an Eritrean port.

    The talks were the product of an unexpected peace initiative by Ethiopia’s new reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, which could transform the Horn of Africa region, ending decades of animosity during which both countries remained isolated and dominated by their security forces.

    RELATED COVERAGE

    Landlocked Ethiopia to begin using port of neighboring Eritrea: PM
    Eritrea-Ethiopia summit to set tone for positive changes -minister
    Ethiopia and Eritrea to re-open embassies in each other's capitals

    Eritrea’s long-time leader Isaias Afwerki welcomed Abiy at Asmara’s airport in the morning before they departed for the State House for talks that lasted all day.

    The men exchanged hands and a hug there, before departing for the State House for talks. Along the way, they were cheered by thousands of Eritreans who flooded the streets and waved flags of both Ethiopia and Eritrea.

    The two embraced again at the state dinner, hosted by Isaias and broadcast on both countries’ state television.

    Abiy said they had agreed to re-open embassies in each other’s capitals, and that his landlocked nation of 100 million would begin using a port in Eritrea, which is on the Red Sea. He did not identify which port.

    Isaias said the people of Eritrea had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

    The meeting was the first of its kind between leaders of the two Horn of Africa neighbors since their war 1998-2000 war in which around 80,000 people died. Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia amicably in 1993 but the two countries swiftly became bitter enemies.

    “This historic official visit ... heralds a new era of peace and cooperation,” Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel wrote on Twitter. The summit would “set the tone for rapid, positive changes on the basis of respect of sovereignty & territorial integrity, equality and mutual interest of both countries,” he wrote.

    “The yearning for peace was palpable (and) we’ll decidedly move forward for the good of our people,” Abiy’s chief of staff wrote on Twitter, alongside photos of cheering Eritreans on the streets of Asmara waving their own and Ethiopia’s flags.

    A direct international telephone connection between the two countries was restored “for the first time after two decades”, he wrote.

    However, the sides did not make clear whether the most immediate issue — Abiy’s pledge to finally implement all terms of a 2000 peace deal with Eritrea — had been addressed.

    “There is no border between the two countries,” Abiy said, a comment whose meaning could be vague in light of the frontier dispute. Last month Abiy said Ethiopian troops would withdraw from the town of Badme, which they have occupied since the war, but the troops have not yet left.

    The scenes in Asmara on Sunday were unimaginable before last month, when the unexpected rapprochement began. In early June, Ethiopia announced it would honor all the terms of the 2000 peace deal, suggesting it might be ready to settle the border dispute.

    Eritrea responded positively, sending a delegation to Addis Ababa last month for a meeting at which Abiy announced that Ethiopian Airlines would resume flights to Eritrea.

    BOLD REFORM AGENDA
    Abiy, a 41-year-old former intelligence officer who took office in April, is pushing other bold reforms to open Ethiopia up to the outside world after decades of security-obsessed isolation. He has pardoned dissidents, lifted a state of emergency and pledged to partly privatize key state-owned firms.

    Across the border, Eritrea is one of the world’s most isolated and repressive nations and has long used the Ethiopian threat to justify hefty military spending and long-term military conscription, which has caused hundred of thousands of young men to flee, mostly to Europe.

    Eritrea may have seen an opportunity in Abiy’s reform agenda, which marks a stark departure from the approach of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ethnic Tigrayan party that had dominated Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF coalition since the early 1990s.

    Abiy is from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, which led protests that brought about his predecessor’s resignation in February. TPLF hardliners oppose the sweeping changes he has pledged.

    Two people were killed in a grenade blast at a massive pro-Abiy rally in Addis Ababa last month, with the finger of blame pointed at those opposed to his reforms.

    Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by John Stonestreet and Peter Graff

  19. #19
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    Sorry, he didn't link a map or say where

    Intel Doge
    ‏ @IntelDoge
    4m4 minutes ago

    x3 E-6B Mercury aircraft airborne at the moment with an F-18 somewhat near the one E-6.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbitsnana View Post
    Sorry, he didn't link a map or say where

    Intel Doge
    ‏ @IntelDoge
    4m4 minutes ago

    x3 E-6B Mercury aircraft airborne at the moment with an F-18 somewhat near the one E-6.
    Interesting timing for an "exercise"....

  21. #21
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    Strategic Sentinel
    ‏Verified account @StratSentinel
    41m41 minutes ago

    Strategic Sentinel Retweeted Julia Macfarlane

    #BREAKING: Dawn Sturgess has died after being exposed to tell chemical weapon #Novichok in what may be the first reported death in #Europe from the offensive use of chemical weapons since World War II.



    John S.
    ‏ @jr_chillin550
    9m9 minutes ago
    Replying to @StratSentinel

    A Chemical weapons attack on a NATO member is an act of war.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Housecarl View Post
    Interesting timing for an "exercise"....
    Isn't it though....which way to look? Man, it's been a busy day.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

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    Jonathan Cheng
    ‏Verified account @JChengWSJ
    24h24 hours ago

    KCNA: "In the last few months, we displayed maximum patience and watched the U.S. while initiating good-will steps as many as we can. But, it seems that the U.S. misunderstood our goodwill and patience."
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbitsnana View Post
    Jonathan Cheng
    ‏Verified account @JChengWSJ
    24h24 hours ago

    KCNA: "In the last few months, we displayed maximum patience and watched the U.S. while initiating good-will steps as many as we can. But, it seems that the U.S. misunderstood our goodwill and patience."
    I think they "misundertood" the US's as well...

  25. #25
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    News_Executive
    ‏ @News_Executive
    2m2 minutes ago

    BREAKING: David Davis has resigned as the UK #Brexit Secretary.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbitsnana View Post
    News_Executive
    ‏ @News_Executive
    2m2 minutes ago

    BREAKING: David Davis has resigned as the UK #Brexit Secretary.


    John M Knox
    ‏ @johnmknox
    8m8 minutes ago

    Will Steve Baker and Suella Braverman follow David Davis and also resign to uphold their triple resignation pact? #Brexit #BrexitFudge #BrexitBetrayal #Tories


    ELINT News
    ‏ @ELINTNews
    2m2 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: Steve Baker, Minister for Brexit, now also resigns moments ago
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.israelnationalnews.com/N...ws.aspx/248630

    Israel presents red lines on Saudi nuclear aspirations

    Israeli officials reportedly trying to reach understandings with Washington on sale of nuclear reactor to Saudi Arabia.

    Ben Ariel, 09/07/18 02:07

    Israel presented the Trump administration with its red lines regarding the deal being finalized for the sale of nuclear reactors from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia, Channel 10 News reported on Sunday.

    According to the report, officials in Jerusalem understood that they would not be able to thwart the deal due to the fact that it will bring billions of dollars in profit to the U.S., so they decided to reach understandings with the Americans on the issue.

    Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who is also in charge of the Atomic Energy Commission, met in Washington with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is conducting negotiations with the Saudis, and told him that Israel wants to prevent uranium enrichment in Saudi Arabia, know all the details of the deal in advance and hold preliminary consultations on the planned location of the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.

    In addition, according to Channel 10, Israel also sought full coordination and transparency regarding the negotiations with the Saudis, and also requested that the U.S. provide all the fuel to the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia. Israel also requested that the Americans remove all the nuclear fuel used from Saudi Arabia so that it would not be reprocessed.

    The Saudi kingdom earlier this year declared its intentions to pursue a non-military nuclear program, with plans to build 16 nuclear power plants over the next quarter century, in a bid to modernize the country’s infrastructure and reduce its own consumption of gasoline, freeing up more for export.

    The kingdom later made headlines when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that his country was prepared to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran is successful in obtaining an atomic arsenal.

    Following the reports, however, a Saudi journalist with ties to the royal family, Louai a-Sharif, released a video statement aimed at Israelis and delivered in Hebrew.

    In the video statement, a-Sharif said that any potential nuclear weapons program in his country would be pursued only as a matter of self-defense, suggesting – while refusing to specify it by name – that Iran, not Israel, would be the target of a potential Saudi atomic weapons program.

  28. #28
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.nippon.com/en/currents/d00415/

    Leaving the Iran Nuclear Deal: The Significance of Trump’s Decision for Japan

    Suzuki Kazuto [Profile]Politics
    [2018.07.09]

    What are the reasons behind Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal, and what does the deal mean for Japan?

    On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced he would pull the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran, a decision carrying significant ramifications for the fate of the hard-won multilateral agreement. In 2002 the realization that Iran was working to build a nuclear bomb prompted rounds of frantic talks and the imposition of strict sanctions by the United Nations, United States, and European Union. In 2013, Hassan Rouhani became the Iranian president with his pledge to remove the sanctions, and after two years of talks an agreement in 2015was reached that effectively put the brakes on the country’s decade-long nuclear program. Under the deal Iran was subject to strict inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, who verified whether the terms of the deal were being met. Although most observers believed the agreement was functioning well, Trump abandoned the deal and expressed his intention to impose on Iran “the highest level of economic sanctions.”

    Two Opposing Views of the Iran Nuclear Deal
    To understand Trump’s decision, it is important to recognize that there are two diametrically opposed schools of thought in the United States on the Iranian nuclear deal. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama regarded the development of nuclear weapons by Iran as the single biggest threat for his effort of nuclear nonproliferation and chose to deal with it with a two-pronged stance. While aiming to limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons and imposing IAEA inspections to ensure certain “safeguards,” he also recognized Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy and did not push to include provisions barring Iran from actions permitted to other countries like missile development and weapons exports. In other words, President Obama dealt with Iran as a normal country.

    President Trump, on the other hand, regards Iran as a hostile state and a major cause of instability in the Middle East. He sees the existing nuclear deal as highly unsatisfactory and aims not merely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but to completely dismantle its nuclear industry by enforcing a “zero enrichment” policy. He also aims to curb Iranian involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and to put a stop to its missile development program. One way of understanding the president’s policy is to see it as a strategy of using the highest level of economic sanctions to strip Iran of its strength as a regional power.

    Obama’s policy approach promised to deliver both political and economic benefits and was supported by other leading powers, including European allies as well as China and Russia. Under the agreement Iran would be allowed back into the international community and could resume oil exports, while at the same time other nations would gain access to its markets of some 80 million people. This is not to say, however, that the picture was altogether rosy. From the viewpoint of the United States and Europe, Iran’s involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen was an undesirable development. Not only did Western powers staunchly refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Syria’s Assad regime, there was a risk of further heightened tensions with Saudi Arabia, which is fighting the Houthis armed movement in Yemen. The United States also regarded Iran’s missile program with disapproval for the risk it posed not only to Israel but to the overall balance of power in the Middle East, a point that caused further deterioration in the already antagonistic relations that had existed since 1979.

    However, Trump’s treatment of Iran as an enemy state runs counter to the interests of European powers that have developed beneficial economic relations with Iran as well as China’s intentions of incorporating the country into its One Belt, One Road initiative. Russia also laments the hardline stance against a fellow strategic ally of the Assad regime in Syria. The agreement to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons—the largest common factor uniting Europe, China, and Russia—was functioning well up to Trump pulling out, and if the deal collapses now these countries will have to accept serious economic and strategic losses. There is also a risk that the deal’s failure will result in Iran developing nuclear weapons—something that no country wants to see happen.

    The North Korea Effect
    Trump has had plenty of opportunities to abandon the deal when deadlines for extending sanctions relief came up last October and again in January this year. This raises the question of why he has waited until now. One reason is that the president has finally appointed a team of trusted confidants to key positions to carry forward his own policies and strategy ideas. Until recently, many in the administration were strongly opposed to the idea of abandoning the deal and insisted that problems should be resolved by diplomatic means. This included former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former presidential advisor Herbert McMaster, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. However, looking to surround himself with like-minded advisors Trump replaced Tillerson with former CIA director Mike Pompeo and McMaster with John Bolton, both well-known hawks. The president now has a team in place that makes it easier for him to push ahead with his ideas, and this is undoubtedly played a part in the timing.

    Even more influential, though, is the dialogue with North Korea that has developed at such a dramatic pace since the beginning of this year. Until as recently as the end of 2017 North Korea was displaying open defiance and belligerence to the United States. It carried out its sixth nuclear test last September and was believed to be close to completing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States. Tensions between the two countries were at an all-time high.

    However, the Trump administration with cooperation from China was able to tighten sanctions through the UN Security Council. By imposing a ban on imports of coal, iron ore, and oil it succeeded in forcing North Korea to the negotiating table. This diplomatic success with regard to its applying maximum pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime has worked to embolden the administration.

    In truth, North Korea too has worked strategically to create the mood for dialogue and has successfully maneuvered the United States into a more conciliatory position. But from the perspective of Trump and its backers, the situation is irrefutable proof that strong sanctions produce an advantageous position from which to bargain, making it more likely for recalcitrant states to swallow American demands. It is fair to say that the success with North Korea was an important factor in the administration’s decision to leave the nuclear deal with Iran.

    The Impact of Leaving
    The decision to quit the deal is likely to have a multitude of repercussions. First, it has further deepened the political divide in American society. As I have already noted, opinion on the Iran agreement is split into two fundamentally opposed camps. While some American Jews and pro-Israeli evangelicals have applauded the decision, most Middle East experts and specialists in US-Europe relations have been strongly critical of the decision. Their concern is that America’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement despite Iran keeping its end of the deal signals a wider American disengagement from the international community.

    Of course, this is not the first time that the Trump administration has stirred up controversy that has divided society. But unlike the previous decisions to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which had yet to meet expectations, Trump’s recent decision showed the president pulling the plug on an agreement even though it was proven and functioning well to prevent Iran’s action.

    Second, the gulf in US-Europe relations has now become unbridgeable. Just before President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the deal, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson all visited Washington in short succession, with Macron going so far as to include harsh criticisms of Trump’s proposed withdrawal in his address to Congress. But the president brushed aside these attempts to change his mind.

    Also, the decision to re-impose sanctions is widely expected to mean secondary sanctions on European firms that have close economic ties with Iran, something that is likely to result in serious economic pain for these companies. The EU has reinstated its 1996 “blocking statute” stating that US and other foreign laws have no jurisdiction in the commonwealth and plans to take measures to compensate European companies that are adversely affected. But this is unlikely to be enough to counter the impact of secondary sanctions altogether.

    It is unlikely, though, that the move to leave the nuclear deal will have a significant impact on conditions in the Middle East right away. Iran will no doubt suffer an economic shock as a result of the unilateral American decision, but it is important to remember that President Trump’s announcement does not mean the end of the deal altogether—merely that the United States has decided to leave it. The nuclear agreement and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that approved it will remain in force, at least in form.

    If Iran is found to have infringed the terms of the agreement, though, it will still be forced to take responsibility for its actions. And the steps that Iran can take to protest the decision are relatively weak. Although it may restart uranium enrichment above the prescribed limits and reestablish centrifuges, it will not be able to quickly develop a nuclear weapon. Another factor is that any sudden progress toward developing nuclear weapons would increase tensions with Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries, seriously destabilizing the region. In the worst-case scenario, it might lead to a “domino” effect with other nations racing to develop nuclear arms. Iran is therefore likely to respond in a relatively restrained manner.

    There is also concern about the possible impact on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program. Trump’s decision has created a precedent for the United States to leave a previously agreed on deal for its own reasons at any time, even if the conditions of the agreement are being met by other parties. In such circumstances it would be natural for the North Koreans to suspect that even if the US-North Korean summit on June 12 were to produce a deal, there is no guarantee that the agreement would be maintained on an ongoing basis.

    On May 16, Kim Kye-gwan, First Vice Minister at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, described American unilateral demands as the “Libya model,” and hinted that he might not attend the summit as a result. Even if Iran was not mentioned by name, there can be little doubt that distrust and suspicion remain. Depending on how things develop, the results could well have a massive impact on Japan. In this sense, it is no exaggeration to say that the American decision to quit the Iran deal has caused serious instability in the international order.

    A Limited Impact on Japan?
    Finally, is it true to say that Trump’s decision is likely to have only a limited impact on Japan? Unlike European countries, South Korea, and India, Japanese companies have generally taken a cautious approach to investment and trading in Iran on the grounds that there is a real risk that the nuclear deal was not sustainable. Although there is likely to be some impact on petroleum imports and exports of automobile components, it is likely that Japan’s economic losses will be relatively mild compared to other countries.

    There are also concerns about a possible pinch in the global oil supply if exports of crude oil from Iran come to a halt, but with Saudi Arabia and other producers expected to increase production, there have not so far been any major fluctuations in crude oil prices. Japanese companies tend to be sensitive to risk, and this often leads to a somewhat reactive “wait-and-see” policy. But on this occasion, companies’ cautiousness about plunging into the Iranian market may prove to have been sound business.

    (Originally published in Japanese on May 25, 2018. Banner photo: Donald Trump in the White House on May 8, 2018, showing off the presidential order committing the United States to withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. © Reuters/Aflo)

    Suzuki Kazuto  [ By this author: 3 Latest posted: 2018.07.09 ]
    Born in 1970. Professor at Hokkaidō University. Earned his PhD from Sussex University in 2000. Specializes in international political economy. Became an associate professor at Hokkaidō University in 2008 and a full professor in April 2011. Was awarded a Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities (political sciences and economics category) in 2012 for his book Uchū kaihatsu to kokusai seiji (Space Development and International Politics). Served 2013–2015 on the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts for sanctions on Iran. Follow him on Twitter at @ks_1013.

  29. #29
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.themaven.net/warriormave...0CSwIHY8wCSPg/

    Army to Send Stinger & Hellfire Armed Strykers to Europe

    by Warrior Maven
    8 hrs-edited

    The Army plans to have its first air-defense-armed Stryker prototype by 2019
    By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

    The Army is fast-tracking newly configured Stryker vehicles armed with drone and aircraft killing Stinger and Hellfire missiles to counter Russia in Europe and provide more support to maneuvering Brigade Combat Teams in combat.

    The program, which plans to deploy its first vehicles to Europe by 2020, is part of an Army effort called short-range-air-defense - Initial Maneuver (SHORAD).
    Senior leaders say the service plans to build its first Stryker SHORAD prototype by 2019 as an step toward producing 144 initial systems.

    Given that counterinsurgency tactics have taken center stage during the last 15 years of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army now recognizes a need to better protect ground combat formations against more advanced, near-peer type enemy threats - such as drones, helicopters or low-flying aircraft.

    “We are looking for an end to end system that is able to detect and defeat the rotary wing fixed wing and UAS (drone) threat to the maneuvering BCT (Brigade Combat Team),” Col. Charles Worshim, Project Manager for Cruise Missile Defense Systems, told Warrior Maven in an interview earlier this year.

    Worshim said the Army sent a solicitation to a group of more than 500 weapons developers, looking for missiles, guns and other weapons like a 30mm cannon able to integrate onto a Stryker vehicle. For its near-term, Interim SHORAD, the Army selected a Stryker vehicle some time ago; more recently, however, the service has made the decision to arm the vehicle with a Raytheon Stinger missile and Leonoardo-DRS mission system, according to a report from Defense News.

    Although drone threats have been rapidly escalating around the globe, US enemies such as the Taliban or ISIS have not presented air-attacking threats such as helicopters, aircraft or large amounts of drones. However, as the Army evaluates it strategic calculus moving forward, there is widespread recognition that the service must be better equipped to face technically sophisticated enemies.

    "We atrophied air defense if you think about it. With more near-peer major combat operations threats on the horizon, the need for SHORAD and high-tier weapons like THAAD and PATRIOT comes back to the forefront. This is a key notion of maneuverable SHORAD - if you are going to maneuver you need an air defense capability able to stay up with a formation," the senior Army official told Warrior Maven in an interview.

    As part of its emerging fleet of SHORAD Stryker vehicles, the Army is exploring four different weapons areas to connect with on-board sensor and fire control, Worshim said; they include Hellfire missiles, Stinger missiles, gun capabilities and 30mm cannons.

    Also, it goes without saying that any kind of major enemy ground assault is likely to include long range fire, massive air support as well as closer in helicopters and drones to support an advancing mechanized attack.

    As a result, ground infantry supported by armored vehicles, will need mobile air defenses to address these closer-in air threats. This is where the Stryker SHORAD comes in; infantry does not have the same fires or ground mobility as an armored Stryker, and hand held anti-aircraft weapons such as a hand-fired Stinger would not have the same defensive impact as a Hellfire or Stinger armed Stryker. In a large mechanized engagement, advancing infantry needs fortified armored support able to cross bridges and maneuver alongside foot soldiers.

    Chinese or Russian helicopters and drones, for instance, are armed with rockets, missiles and small arms fire. A concept with SHORAD would be to engage and hit these kinds of threats prior to or alongside any enemy attack. SHORAD brings an armored, mobile air defense in real-time, in a way that most larger, less-mobile ground missiles can. PATRIOT missile, for instance, is better suited to hit incoming mid-range ballistic missiles and other attacking threats. While mobile, a PATRIOT might have less of an ability to support infantry by attacking fast-moving enemy helicopters and drones.

    The Army is also developing a truck-mounted Multi-Mission Launcher designed to destroy drones and cruise missiles on the move in combat. The MML has already successfully fired Hellfire, AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and other weapons as a mobile air-defense weapon. It is showing great promise in testing, fires multiple missiles, and brings something previous not there to Army forces. However, an Armed Stryker can fortify this mission - by moving faster in combat and providing additional armored vehicle support to infantry on the move in a high-threat combat environment.

    The SHORAD effort has been under rapid development by the Army for several years now; last year, the service held a SHORAD “live-fire shooting demo” at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., where they fired a number of emerging platforms.

    Some of the systems included in the demonstration included Israel's well-known Iron Dome air defense system, a Korean-build Hanwha Defense Systems armored vehicle air defense platform and a General Dynamics Land Systems Stryker Maneuver SHORAD Launcher.

  30. #30
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    Mark Lowen
    ‏Verified account @marklowen
    6h6 hours ago

    World leaders at #Erdogan inauguration today include from Venezuela, Sudan, Qatar, Russia (PM), Pakistan, Moldova, Chad, Guinea...but few from the west: Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia. US sends chargé d'affaires in Ankara. This is #Turkey's geopolitical realignment
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

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    DEFCONWarningSystem
    ‏Verified account @DEFCONWSALERTS
    12m12 minutes ago

    Radioactive material stolen from vehicle in Mexico City (again) - https://www.defconwarningsystem.com/...p?f=12&t=12269
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

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    making sure it stays in the family and cant get to the people/country?



    Anna Ahronheim
    ‏Verified account @AAhronheim
    5h5 hours ago

    Anna Ahronheim Retweeted Mike Dorning

    Of course he did 🤷🏻*♀️ #Turkey

    Anna Ahronheim added,
    Mike Dorning
    Verified account @MikeDorning
    BREAKING: Erdogan appoints his son-in-law as Treasury, Finance Minister.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  33. #33
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    देश की बात
    ‏ @roystwt
    2m2 minutes ago

    Retweeted Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul):

    #BREAKING: Major encounter underway in Shopian of South Kashmir since 4am. Indian Army, J&K Police SOG & CRPF on the job. 3-4 terrorists are trapped. Fierce gunbattle... https://www.facebook.com/10000240018...17414151192818
    11/ …
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  34. #34
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    Abdul Hadi Saroj ali
    ‏ @sarojAli5
    2m2 minutes ago
    Replying to @ANI

    #Breaking : One more Terrorist down , totally 3 Terrorists dispatched to hell by Indian army, according to army sources. Opr on

    Several local kashmiris injured by Terrorist which kidnapped & use as #HumanSheild during Encounter in Kundalan ares of #Shopian dist, south #Kashmir.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  35. #35
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    Instant News Alerts
    ‏ @InstaNewsAlerts
    4m4 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: #NATO invites #Macedonia to begin membership talks, says it can join once name issue is resolved.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  36. #36
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    Sky News Breaking
    ‏Verified account @SkyNewsBreak
    19m19 minutes ago

    A White House official says U.S. President Donald Trump told NATO leaders defence spending should increase to 4% of GDP rather than the original target of 2%
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  37. #37
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.longwarjournal.org/archi...re-to-come.php

    Pakistani Taliban claims Peshawar suicide attack, threatens more to come

    BY BILL ROGGIO | July 11, 2018 | admin@longwarjournal.org | @billroggio

    The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan claimed credit for the deadly suicide attack at a rally held by the secular Awami National Party in Peshawar late last night. The deadly bombing is the first major attack executed by the Taliban group since Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud assumed command of the group in late June.

    The July 10 suicide attack targeted the ANP rally and killed 20 people, including Haroon Bilour, a candidate for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial assembly, according to GEO News. At least 62 people were reportedly wounded in the attack.

    The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (aka Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) identified the suicide bomber as “mujahid Abdul Kareem.” Bilour and the ANP was targeted because “this secular party martyred and enslaved many of muslims in its rule,” according to a statement attributed to TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani.

    Khurasani said that the ANP will remain in the TTP’s crosshairs “until they repent and return to folds [sic] of Islam,” and warned Pakistanis to “stay away from its offices and office bearers because we have openly announced to fight with them.”

    The TTP has targeted the ANP’s leadership in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past. Bilour’ went the way of his father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour – the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development – who was also killed in a suicide bombing at a political rally in Peshawar in Dec. 2012.

    Yesterday’s suicide bombing in Peshawar took place just one day after the TTP promoted a video that highlighted its “Martyrdom seeker force.” The TTP video presented clips from training sessions of “martyrdom seeker mujahideen” and also included speeches from Qari Hussain Mehsud, the former head trainer of the TTP’s suicide squads and Khalid Mehsud, the former commander of the TTP’s forces in South Waziristan. Both Qari Hussain and Khalid were killed in US drone strikes inside Pakistan years ago.

    The Peshawar suicide attack marks the TTP’s first major operation since the group appointed Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud to lead in late June. Wali replaced Mullah Fazlullah, who was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan last month.

    The TTP withered under the leadership of Fazlullah, who sheltered in Afghanistan’s remote mountainous province of Kunar. Several factions broke away but later rejoined the TTP. The TTP was unable to sustain a major terror offensive inside Pakistan during Fazlullah’s reign. Wali likely is attempting to reverse that trend and revitalize the jihad in Pakistan’s northwest.

    Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-n...-idUSKBN1K02WM

    WORLD NEWS JULY 10, 2018 / 2:39 PM / A DAY AGO

    Britain to almost double troops in Afghanistan after U.S. request

    Andrew MacAskill
    3 MIN READ

    LONDON (Reuters) - The British government is planning to almost double the number of its troops in Afghanistan after a request from U.S. President Donald Trump for reinforcements to help tackle the fragile security situation there.

    Prime Minister Theresa May announced the government will send an extra 440 troops, which would bring Britain’s total to about 1,100, to help Afghan troops fighting Taliban and Islamic State insurgents.

    The extra troops will be taking part in a NATO-led training mission, called Resolute Support, to train and assist Afghan forces. They will be based in Kabul and will not be in a combat role. British troops ended combat operations in 2014.

    The announcement comes the day before a NATO summit in Belgium that could turn contentious over U.S. President Donald Trump’s insistence that allies pay more for their defense.

    Trump, who announced the United States would send thousands more troops to Afghanistan last year, has asked Britain and other NATO countries to send more reinforcements to the country.

    “In committing additional troops to the Train Advise Assist operation in Afghanistan we have underlined once again that when NATO calls the UK is among the first to answer,” May said.

    “NATO is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast. The Alliance can rely on the UK to lead by example.”

    The increase in British troops comes ahead of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan in October, which are seen as a crucial test for democracy in a country at war for four decades.

    The extra British troops will initially come from the Welsh Guards, with around half arriving in August and the rest in February next year.

    Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded in attacks in Kabul this year. At least 57 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration booth in April and about 100 people were killed in January by a bomb in an ambulance.

    Thousands more U.S. troops have been sent to Afghanistan to help train the army, and commanders have been given greater authority to carry out air strikes against the militants in a major reversal of the previous policy of phased withdrawal of American forces.

    But almost 17 years since the United States tried to topple Afghanistan’s Taliban, who had harbored al Qaeda militants behind attacks on New York and Washington, the West remains entangled in an effort to stabilize the country.

    Editing by Stephen Addison

  39. #39
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    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20.../#.W0aS39VKjIU

    NATIONAL

    Japan snubs homegrown weaponry to buy from the U.S., putting domestic industry under threat

    BY EMI NOBUHIRO AND EMI URABE
    BLOOMBERG
    JUL 11, 2018
    ARTICLE HISTORY PRINT SHARE

    While there’s little prospect that Japanese consumers will ever buy enough American cars to please U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe government’s record spending on defense is shaping up as a bright spot in bilateral trade for the U.S. president.

    Japan’s purchases through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program represent 16 percent of all nonpersonnel costs for the nation’s Self-Defense Forces so far this year, more than double the level in 2014, according to calculations based on government data.

    Plans to buy advanced American radars, stealth fighter jets and missile-defense systems in coming years will amount to billions of dollars for U.S. weapons makers. Japanese companies, already struggling to compete, don’t stand to benefit as much because economies of scale have made homegrown technology more expensive and Abe’s government wants to get more bang for its buck.

    During a visit to Tokyo last November, Trump urged Abe to buy “massive amounts of military equipment” from the U.S. Even without the incentive to ease trade friction, Japan was already an enthusiastic consumer as Abe pushed defense spending to a record ¥5.2 trillion ($47 billion) this fiscal year to counter both a nuclear-armed North Korea and a more assertive China.

    To Trump’s dismay, Japan bought just $533 million in new passenger vehicles from the U.S. in 2017 while Americans purchased $39.8 billion in Japanese cars and trucks. Outside the military sphere, Japan has looked to boost energy purchases such as liquefied natural gas to placate the U.S. The nation’s biggest imports from the U.S. in 2017 were agricultural products, chemicals and machinery.

    Local jobs
    A preference for U.S. equipment helps the two militaries work together more smoothly, but buying complete American weapons systems doesn’t generate jobs for local parts makers and will drive them out of business, according to Naohiko Abe, senior vice president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. It’s Japan’s biggest defense contractor, making fighter planes, helicopters, ships, missiles and other weapons.

    While there is little threat to domestic production of warships, costs are an issue, especially for aircraft.

    A Finance Ministry committee has recommended switching to the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made C-130 J30 cargo plane, which although slower and with a shorter range, costs less than half the domestically produced C-2. Japan will buy two C-2s from Kawasaki Heavy Industries this fiscal year, after buying three last year.

    F-35A fighters
    Japan is currently purchasing new F-35A fighters to replace decades-old planes. The next battleground for domestic manufacturers will be who makes the fighter jet to replace the F-2, the last domestically produced fighter.

    Even before new F-2 production ended in 2011, suppliers were fleeing the defense business. Sumitomo Electric Industries began ending its business with the Defense Ministry in 2007, citing a poor growth outlook, and in 2010 Yokohama Rubber Co. ceased making airplane tires for the ministry. In 2016, 52 of 72 companies supplying the industry said they’d seen parts makers disappear and supply disruptions, according to a ministry survey.

    The F-2 will start to be retired from 2030, and companies including Mitsubishi Heavy and IHI Corp. developed the X-2, an advanced technology demonstrator jet, to show that a replacement fighter could be built domestically.

    “Japan must take the lead of development in order for the domestic industry to survive,” Mitsubishi Heavy’s Abe told the media last month.

    The successful 2016 test flight of the jet showed that the domestic industry is fully capable of developing the replacement, he said. But Jiji Press reported in March that the Defense Ministry had ruled out a domestically produced jet, citing high costs.

    While Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has denied those media reports, the ministry is looking to develop the plane jointly with overseas companies. Reuters recently reported that it issued requests for information to manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.

    Some ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers want defense spending to support domestic companies. Kenji Wakamiya, director of the LDP’s national defense division, said in May that it was important to support domestic companies and help them become competitive against foreign companies.

    Military exports
    An LDP committee also recommended on June 1 that Abe increase the defense budget further, as it’s still less than 1 percent of gross domestic product, well below the 2 percent that NATO, for example, has set for its members.

    In order to bring down costs, Wakamiya wants Japan to boost exports of its military equipment so that production will increase, but so far there’s been little success.

    On top of costs, strict limits on information disclosure get in the way of making deals, according to Takashi Yoshimura, a director of the industrial technology bureau at the Keidanren, Japan’s biggest business lobby.

    Defense companies “are gritting their teeth and getting on with it out of a sense of mission,” he said, adding that “their efforts are reaching the limit.”

  40. #40
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    https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Co...w-has-concerns

    China and Russia build anti-US 'axis,' but Moscow has concerns

    The relationship between the two powers has huge implications for the world

    HIROYUKI AKITA, Nikkei commentator
    July 11, 2018 20:29 JST

    TOKYO -- Prior to World War II, Japan, Germany and Italy formed a coalition to challenge the established world order, which was largely controlled by Britain and the U.S. The Axis, as this coalition was called, was determined to change the status quo, eventually starting a world war against the Allied Powers and suffering a devastating defeat.

    Now, China and Russia are forging a similar strategic partnership to undermine American supremacy. The two countries are forming their own "axis," seeking to break up the U.S.-dominated world order and create a multipolar world.

    How will this China-Russia axis work out? The question has huge implications for the future of the world.

    On the face of it, China and Russia appear solidly united in their goal of undermining U.S. dominance. Beijing and Moscow came together to rebuke both U.S. attacks in Syria and its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The duo also seeks to undercut U.S. leadership in negotiations with North Korea.

    During a June 8 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin lauded the relationship between the two countries, saying bilateral cooperation "has reached an unprecedented level." The two leaders signed a statement aimed at putting diplomatic pressure on the U.S.

    But it is difficult to believe the relationship between China and Russia -- which share a long border over which they fought an armed conflict in 1969 -- is totally friendly and harmonious.

    Listen closely to the tune that the two countries are playing, and you will detect a subtle but unmistakable strain and discord that cannot be masked by their rhapsody of friendship.

    Signs of potential conflict are clearest in Central Asia, a region comprised of five countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

    In late June, representatives from the region, along with Western politicians and experts, gathered in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku for an international conference on regional cooperation.

    The CAMCA Regional Forum 2018 provided various signs of deep Russian anxiety about China's rapid rise as a global power.

    On the sidelines of the conference, one participant from Central Asia told Nikkei of an intriguing episode of Russia waging information war against China. Using Russian-language broadcasters and media in Central Asia, Russia disseminated stories about the threats posed by China. It has been trying to raise the alarm that China will take advantage of its infrastructure investments in the region to take land away from the local residents, the person said.

    Much of Central Asia was once part of the Soviet Union. It is rich in natural resources and vital to Russia's strategic interests. But the region is being rapidly integrated into China's economic sphere through growing investments and exchanges.

    Trade between Central Asia and China grew to $30 billion in 2016, compared with $18.6 billion between the region and Russia. Central Asia is geographically important for China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative to build trade routes spanning Asia and beyond.

    Beijing plans to spend huge sums to build highway and railway networks -- plans that could further widen the gap in influence between Beijing and Moscow in the region.

    So far at least, Putin has expressed support for the Belt and Road project, despite his growing concerns about China's geopolitical strategy. Moscow seems to think such massive Chinese infrastructure investment will be a boon to its own economic interests as well.

    But Beijing's strategic ambitions may soon appear more menacing to Russia. Part of China's regional transport infrastructure plans include an "Ice Silk Road" initiative to build a shortcut between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic via the Arctic. The project would run from the Sea of Okhotsk -- located between Russia's east coast and northern Japan -- to Europe through the Arctic Ocean.

    But Russia can never tolerate the influence of another country in the sea, which it considers crucial to its security.

    The strategic importance the Kremlin places on the area is underlined by the nuclear submarines equipped with strategic nuclear weapons it deploys in the sea. The Arctic Ocean is also becoming more important in Russia's military strategy.

    The Putin administration has shown a willingness to cooperate with China in developing the Arctic, apparently wishing to maintain cooperative ties with Beijing. But the Ice Silk Road proposal has put the Russian military on alert to the threat implied by the Belt and Road initiative, a diplomat close to the Russian government told Nikkei.

    Signs of concern about China's strategic ambitions within the Russian government appeared this past spring, when the Russian military conducted an exercise along the border with China involving drills for using tactical nuclear arms. It was a thinly veiled warning to China.

    Beijing has been making a modest effort to avoid provoking Russia by not encroaching on its turf. It has limited its activities in Central Asia to economic matters without intervening in security affairs.

    But China is already an economic giant that dwarfs Russia. China's economy is about eight times larger than Russia's, and its population is 10 times larger.

    The wider the power gap between the two countries becomes, the more strained the relationship.

    Bonji Ohara, senior fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, who once served in China as a military attache of Japan's Self Defense Forces, says cooperation between China and Russia is based solely on their common interest in checking the U.S.

    "But situations in Central Asia and the Russian Far East are fraught with risks of conflict between them," Ohara says. "Russia is wary of the prospects of China's economic inroads into Central Asia and military supremacy in the Russian Far East. Tensions between the two countries are doomed to intensify."

    Japan should work with the U.S. and Europe to take advantage of this sore point in the China-Russia relationship to prevent an expansion of the power and influence of the "axis" between them.

    Such an undertaking is crucial for protecting the current world order, which is based on promoting freedom and openness within the international community. The question is: what kind of strategy should the leading democracies adopt to achieve this?

    The simplest approach would be concerted diplomatic pressure on China and Russia to weaken their coalition. But containing the two powers is virtually impossible, and any attempt to do so could end up strengthening their sense of unity.

    A more realistic approach would be to drive a wedge between them, seeking to win over one or the other. Targeting Russia would be easier, since Moscow is worried about China's growing power, which is already huge.

    From this point of view, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's diplomatic efforts to build close personal ties with Putin through frequent meetings -- there have already been 21 -- is not a bad policy approach. Nor is the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Putin scheduled for July 16.

    According to an Abe foreign policy adviser, the prime minister's efforts to build friendly ties with Putin are not solely aimed at pursuing negotiations with Russia over a territorial dispute over the Northern Territories, a chain of islands off Hokkaido that Russia controls. Abe also seeks to improve Japan's relations with Russia to weaken unity between Moscow and Beijing, the adviser said.

    A grave risk is that Moscow could win over the West, reconciling without the resolution of disagreements over Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in elections in Western countries. That would plant the seeds of serious problems in the future.

    In particular, it could accelerate the rise of authoritarian rulers around the world, a poignant concern as Trump rushes to mend ties with Russia.

    READ NEXT

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