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Chinese Warns US To Halt Military Operations In South China Sea

Chinese Warns US To Halt Military Operations In South China Sea 

The Chinese military is closely monitoring a US Navy guided-missile destroyer transiting the South China Sea on Tuesday (April 28). 


Global Times✔@globaltimesnews

When US destroyer Barry trespassed into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands on Tue, the PLA Southern Theater Command coordinated with naval and air forces to follow its course; they identified the ship, warned and expelled it:PLA Southern Theater Command spokesperson

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The People’s Daily, quoting senior colonel Li Huamin, spokesperson for the Chinese Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command, said a US warship entered the “territorial waters off Xisha Islands in the South China Sea without China’s permission. The Southern Theater Command of PLA deployed air and navy forces to monitor and verify the ship, and warned it to leave.”


 People’s Daily, China✔@PDChina

A US warship on Tue entered the territorial waters off Xisha Islands in the South China Sea without China’s permission. The Southern Theater Command of PLA deployed air and navy forces to monitor and verify the ship, and warned it to leave, according to Senior Colonel Li Huamin.

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Bloomberg reports that the “Chinese navy followed and expelled it [US Navy warship],” citing a PLA Daily report. 

Huamin went on to say, the US Navy violated “relevant international law and was a serious infringement of China’s sovereignty.” 

CGTN News said China urged the US to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding across the country rather than conduct freedom of navigation missions in the South China Sea. 

The PLA has spent the last 3 to 4 weeks ramping up military operations in the highly contested waters as the pandemic sweeps across the world. 

The US blasted China last week for its “bullying behavior” in the region. The US State Department recently said China is taking advantage of the region’s focus on the COVID-19 pandemic to “coerce its neighbors.” 

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US East Coast No Longer “Safe Haven” Due To Russian Submarines, Admiral Warns

US East Coast No Longer “Safe Haven” Due To Russian Submarines, Admiral Warns

US Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, the head of the Navy’s 2nd Fleet, raised eyebrows this week with alarming comments made at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

He told the think tank audience that a recent uptick of Russian submarine presence of the US East Coast means that the coastal area should no longer be considered “uncontested” nor should any longer be deemed a “safe haven” for US ships or submarines.

File photo the Russian nuclear submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky, via the AP/Military.com

He noted recent increased Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic Ocean, especially Russia’s utilization of more advanced and quieter types which go largely undetected. 

“Our new reality is that when our sailors toss the lines over and set sail, they can expect to be operating in a contested space once they leave Norfolk,” Vice Adm. Lewis said, according to The Drive“Our ships can no longer expect to operate in a safe haven on the East Coast or merely cross the Atlantic unhindered to operate in another location.”

“We have seen an ever-increasing number of Russian submarines deployed in the Atlantic, and these submarines are more capable than ever, deploying for longer periods of time, with more lethal weapons systems,” he continued at the Tuesday event. “Our sailors have the mindset that they are no longer uncontested and to expect to operate alongside our competitors each and every underway.”

Lewis did not offer specific details on how many submarines the US believes Russia has in the Atlantic or near the US East coast at any given time, information which has been debated for years. His 2nd Fleet command was established in order to patrol and monitor the Atlantic, specifically against the Russians, leaving open the likelihood that Vice Adm. Lewis would be inclined to inflate the threat.

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Navy, Marine Corps Begin Arctic War Exercise To Counter Russia and China

Navy, Marine Corps Begin Arctic War Exercise To Counter Russia and China

The US Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a month-long war exercise in Alaska against the rising threats of Russia and China in the Arctic region

A massive threat to the US is that Russia and China are trying to establish the Belt and Road Initiative in the Arctic, by developing new shipping lanes that are now more accessible thanks to global warming.

The US must continue to show force in the Arctic and not allow Russia and China from establishing the “Polar Silk Road.” 

More than 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel will participate in the exercise, along with dozens of vessels, helicopters, planes, and land-based vehicles. 

AECE will allow both services to jointly participate in the “logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage, and an offshore petroleum discharge system,” said a press release from the US 3rd Fleet Public Affairs.


#USNavy, @USMC to conduct Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise in Alaska this month: go.usa.gov/xVkfC

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Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) to stimulate an emerging threat near the Aleutian Islands and Southern California. The exercise places emphasis on fighting for and gaining sea control around a heavily contested area in the Arctic. 

The exercise will include surveillance, mine-clearing, and support for landing operations.

According to the press release, participating units include “U.S. Pacific Fleet, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG-3), and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Afloat units include USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Comstock (LSD 45). Ashore units include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One.” 

Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) to stimulate an emerging threat near the Aleutian Islands and Southern California. The exercise places emphasis on fighting for and gaining sea control around a heavily contested area in the Arctic. 

The exercise will include surveillance, mine-clearing, and support for landing operations.

According to the press release, participating units include “U.S. Pacific Fleet, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG-3), and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Afloat units include USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Comstock (LSD 45). Ashore units include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One.” 

At the moment, the Arctic will not become a platform for cooperation between the US and Russia and China, but rather a region of hostility and militarization.

China Enraged After US Sails Two Destroyers Through Taiwan Strait

China Enraged After US Sails Two Destroyers Through Taiwan Strait

Just in case the “world tech and trade war I” was not enough to send US-China relations back decades, on Wednesday the US military sent two Navy destroyers through the Taiwan Strait in its latest transit through the sensitive waterway, “angering China” at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

While trade war between the two superpowers is raging, so far at least there have been no shooting incidents, and yet the US seems eager to provide just the right “excuse” for a trade war to become a “kinetic” one, as Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, where in addition to the increasingly bitter trade war, China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea has prompted the United States to conducts frequent freedom-of-navigation patrols.

Meanwhile, the voyage will be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing, which views the island as a breakaway province and has vowed it will never let it become fully independent.

The transit was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters.

The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,”Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.

And while Doss said all interactions were safe and professional, China was less enthusiastic, and its Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing had lodged “stern representations” with the United States.

“The Taiwan issue is the most sensitive in China-U.S. relations,” he told a daily news briefing in Beijing. 

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Two US Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait In Dare To Beijing

Two US Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait In Dare To Beijing

With US-China trade talks set to resume this week amid what flashing red headlines, Larry Kudlow and Donald Trump’s twitter account remind us every day, if not hour, is a sense of “optimism” about an imminent deal, on Sunday the US navy reminded Beijing to stick to the script (one in which Trump supposedly comes off as a negotiating giant), when it two warships through the hotly contested Taiwan Strait as the Pentagon increases the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite vocal and often time angry opposition from China.

While the voyage risks further raising tensions with China – at an especially sensitive time for trade negotiations – it will also be viewed by Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. The 112-mile-wide Taiwan Strait separates Taiwan from China. Winking at China, Doss also said there were no unsafe or unprofessional interactions with other countries’ vessels during the transit. Beijing may beg to differ.

Despite an alleged convergence of view on trade between Beijing and DC., Taiwan remains one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions, the future of Huawei and 5G and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols to remind China that the US will never cede implicit control of the world’s most important naval area.

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B-52 Bombers Conduct ‘Training ‘Mission’ With Japan Over East China Sea

B-52 Bombers Conduct ‘Training ‘Mission’ With Japan Over East China Sea 

Two Boeing B-52 long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bombers recently conducted an “integration training” mission with the U.S. Navy and the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) over the East China Sea. 

statement issued by the U.S. Pacific Air Force (PACAF) last month indicated that two B-52s departed from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, linked up with McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagles assigned to the Kadena Air Base in Japan. The mission was conducted on March 20. 

“Training missions and patrols of the contested waters are not unheard of, having become a regular exercise by American forces. The US’ use of bombers in the region has been going on for more than 10 years as part of its Continuous Bomber Presence, a mission Washington says is “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

In response to the U.S. led military exercise, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF) conducted an exercise of their own, on March 30, with six Xian H-6 bombers, additional reconnaissance aircraft, and fighter jets, across the Miyako Strait, a waterway which lies between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island. 

The U.S. and Japan have routinely carried out air defense training missions in the East China Sea, home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. 

Last September, we reported that internal documents from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) specified a military crisis was inevitable over sovereignty disputes of the Senkaku Islands. 

The U.S. has repeatedly used freedom of navigation (FON) to sail its Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the South China Sea, near China’s militarized islands. B-52s have made regular flights near some of these highly contested areas. Beijing has blasted these missions as “provocations.” 

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China To US Navy Chief: Army Will Defend Taiwan Claims “At Any Cost”

China To US Navy Chief: Army Will Defend Taiwan Claims “At Any Cost”

A rare and under-reported tense exchange occurred between US and Chinese military commanders in Beijing on Tuesday. A high level Chinese military official, General Li Zuocheng, told the head of the United States Navy, Admiral John Richardson, in a face to face meeting that Beijing would defend its claim to Taiwan “at any cost”. “The Taiwan issue is an internal matter of China, concerns China’s fundamental interests and the national feelings of the Chinese people, and no outside interference will be tolerated,” Li Zuocheng said in a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, cited by the AFP.

Admiral John Richardson traveled to China for talks aimed at reducing “risk and miscalculation”. 

After a series of recent instances involving US Navy warships making provocative passages through the Taiwan Strait — which the US says is its right according to freedom to navigate international waters, it appears China is going “gloves off” in direct statements challenging US military commanders.

Gen. Zuocheng, who is a powerful member of the Central Military Commission further told the US Navy chief:

If anyone wants to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will defend the unity of the motherland at any cost.

Alarmingly this comes after President Xi Jinping provoked an angry rebuke from Taiwan’s pro-independence president when he demanded during a landmark speech on Jan. 2  that Taiwan submit to “reunification” with Beijing.

And in a follow-up speech days after this before military officials, Xi took his belligerent rhetoric one step further by issuing his first military command of 2019: that “all military units must correctly understand major national security and development trends, and strengthen their sense of unexpected hardship, crisis and battle.” Xi had essentially ordered the Chinese military to prepare for war as his first act of 2019.

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As Trade Talks Begin, US Infuriates Beijing With Latest Navy Operation In South China Sea

As a US delegation led by senior trade officials arrived in Beijing on Monday to begin the first round of in-person talks to resolve the burgeoning US-China trade war, the US has reportedly carried out its latest ‘Freedom of Navigation’ operation in the South China Sea – though at least this time there wasn’t a near-collision with a Chinese ship.

Since President Trump’s inauguration, the US has stepped up its ‘Freeops’ as the US Navy seeks to contain China’s growing military ambitions in the Pacific. But since the trade war began, the US has demonstrated a keen sense of timing, contributing to China’s decisions to cancel security conferences and reconsider coming to the table to talk on trade.

Nine Dash

But this time, the controversial maneuver seemingly doesn’t bode well for the fate of a lasting US-China trade compromise. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US-guided-missile destroyer the USS McCampbell patrolled within 12 miles of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Monday. In particular, it came within a few miles of three islands: Tree, Lincoln and Woody.

China sent its own ship to try and deter the McCampbell, but ultimately decided to file an official complaint. According to Bloomberg, China urged the US to halt “provocative actions” in the South China Sea. “The actions by the U.S. fleet have violated Chinese law and related international laws, and undermined the peace, security and good order in the relevant waters,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a briefing Monday in Beijing. “China strongly opposes the actions.”

USS

The Paracels are claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan but have been controlled by China since the Communist Nation seized them from Vietnamese forces in 1974. Further alarming the US, Beijing has upgraded several military outposts in the Paracels and deployed jet fighters to at least one, according to satellite images and US officials.

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US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports Which Moscow Warns Would Be “An Act Of War”

In a interview about fracking and the implications of making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Washington Examiner that the US Navy has the ability to blockade Russia from controlling energy supplies in the Middle East.

“The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade… to make sure that their energy does not go to market,” Zinke said on Friday at a Consumer Energy Alliance event in Pittsburg.

The comments came as Russia, Germany and other European partners move forward on the Nord Stream II pipeline — something President Trump has vehemently opposed because of the leverage it gives Russia over Europe, and something which US officials have discussed sanctions over if Russia decides to play dirty with the pipeline.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaking at an industry event on Friday. Image source: State Impact Pennsylvania

Zinke continued, “Russia is a one trick pony,” and explained Russia’s ability to sell energy is paramount to its economic survival: “I believe the reason they are in the Middle East is they want to broker energy just like they do in eastern Europe, the southern belly of Europe,” he said.

While Russia has been engaged in military action in Syria since 2015 at the request of the Syrian government, the West has long accused Moscow of seeking a permanent presence in the Middle East to ensure oil and gas access.

In the process, Moscow and Tehran have grown closer as the two come under aggressive US sanctions and gained international pariah status. Secretary of the Interior Zinke explained of the Iran situation: “National security-wise, how are you going to deal with Iran?” Zinke asked. “Well, there are two ways.”

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This Vital Oil And Gas Choke Point Could Be At Risk

This Vital Oil And Gas Choke Point Could Be At Risk

SCS

Beijing is taking to task a Pentagon report, ”Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018” released last Thursday on China’s military activities.

The annual report issued by the Pentagon and presented to Congress, highlights growing Chinese naval capability, all the while underscoring the narrowing gap between China’s maritime forces and he U.S. Navy as well as China’s increased naval activity in the Western Pacific Ocean. The report states that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has global ambitions far beyond the traditional perimeters of its land-based defense systems, a claim that Beijing has always cleverly downplayed.

“The PLAN continues to develop into a global force, gradually extending its operational reach beyond East Asia and the Indo-Pacific into a sustained ability to operate at increasingly longer ranges,” the Pentagon report said, “The PLAN’s latest naval platforms enable combat operations beyond the reach of China’s land-based defenses.”

“China’s aircraft carrier and planned follow-on carriers, once operational, will extend air defense coverage beyond the range of coastal and shipboard missile systems, and enable task group operations at increasingly longer ranges,” the report states. It adds that Chinese bombers are also likely training for “strikes” on U.S. targets. Experts agree, claiming that decades of increased investment in new technology by China’s military means it will soon have the capabilities to strike U.S. military installations in the Pacific by air.

“Furthermore, the PLAN now has a sizable force of high-capability logistical replenishment ships to support long-distance, long-duration deployments, including two new carrier operations. The expansion of naval operations beyond China’s immediate region will also facilitate non-war uses of military force.” China continues to learn lessons from operating its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, the Pentagon said.

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Russia Furious As U.S. Navy Destroyer Approaches Syria Without Notification

Late on Monday we reported that US Navy Destroyer, USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, as well as the Aegis missile defence system, was approaching the port of Tartus in Syria, which doubles as the location for the Syrian logistics base of the Russian Navy. According to CNN Turk, the US destroyer was at at a distance of 100 km from the port, as of Monday.

The destroyer, which left the Cypriot port of Larnaka and was headed for the Syrian shore, was reportedly buzzed by Russian warplanes which circled above the US warship four times.


🇺🇸 departed , 🇨🇾 April 9, 2018, after completing a scheduled port visit April, 7, 2018. @USEmbassyCyprus http://www.c6f.navy.mil/news/uss-donald-cook-departs-larnaca 

USS Donald Cook Departs Larnaca

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed Larnaca, Cyprus, April 9, 2018, after completing a scheduled port visit. The visit served to enhance U.S.-Cyprus…


To be sure, Russia is concerned, and seemingly angry, that another showdown may be imminent. According to Pravda, the Chairman of the State Duma Defence Committee Vladimir Shamanov said that the United States did not notify Russia of the approach of the group of US warships to the Russian naval base in Tartus.

A group of ships of the US Navy has appeared at a distance of 150 miles from the Tartus region. It is common in international practice potential participants of events in the area should be notified accordingly in advance. We have not been notified, although we had legally ratified the agreement on two bases in Tartus and Khmeymim,” the official said.

“Moreover, US President Donald Trump said that he would think about the missile attack on Syria despite any resolutions at the UN Security Council. All this smells of something are outside the framework of universally recognised international norms,” Shamanov added, suggesting that Russia is preparing for a Syria attack.

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US Deploys Three Carrier Battle Groups To Face-Off Against Chinese Aircraft Carrier In South China Sea

Last week, we reported that satellite images had captured China’s only aircraft carrier in deployment, the Liaoning, flanked by 40 other warships and submarines, conducting unprecedented live-fire drills in the South China Sea. This massive Chinese naval exercise was observed for the first time, with China watchers pointing out that such a forceful display of deterrence was highly unusual for the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Perhaps in light of recent events, it was merely a warning.

Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval specialist, said, “it was the first time the Liaoning had taken part in live-fire drills. This will test the Liaoning’s real combat strength as well as joint-operations skills between the aircraft carrier and warships from other fleets.”

“China wants to show the outside world its determination to defend the fruits of its economic reforms over the past 40 years,” Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said.“Like the US, China’s military might is one of the government’s political tools to protect the country’s national interests.”

Now, according to the South China Morning Post, as Beijing flexes its naval war muscle, the US is preparing for its own “show of force” naval drill in the Asia-Pacific region, and in close proximity to the Liaoning. The Pentagon is reportedly sending an unprecedented three aircraft carrier battle groups to the region, with the USS Theodore Roosevelt flotilla arriving in Singapore sometime early next week.

Separately, the USS Carl Vinson and its fleet have just paid a first visit to the Vietnamese coastal city of Da Nang since the end of the Vietnam war, a move Chinese military experts said was aimed at countering Beijing’s influence in the region.

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China Says US Warship Sailing Near Spratly Islands Is “Severe Provocation”

After carrying out no fewer than four “Freedom of Navigation” operations last year and one in January, The US sent a Navy Destroyer to sail within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands – a move that China condemned as a “severe provocation” just as the two countries are on the verge of an all-out trade war.

The operation was the US’s latest attempt to push back against an expanding Chinese military presence in the Pacific that at least one US military leader has characterized as an ominous national security threat that could lead to all-out war. Admiral Harry Harris said last month that the US should be “prepared for war” with China due to its increasingly aggressive posture, which he said was a veiled attempt by Beijing to undermine the national world order.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US destroyer Mustin traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands and “carried out maneuvering operations.” The Spratly Islands, located in the South China Sea, are the epicenter of a territorial dispute between China and several of its neighbors, per Reuters. Twelve nautical miles is the internationally recognized territorial limit.

When asked about the operation, the U.S. military said its activities are carried out under international law and American forces operate in the region on a daily bases.

“We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” said Lieutenant Commander Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for US Pacific Fleet.

China’s Defense Ministry said two Chinese naval ships had been sent to identify the US ship and warn it to leave the area immediately.

China opposes “illegal and provocative” operations, and denies US allegations that it’s cracking down on freedom of movement in the region.

A spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry said “the provocative behavior by the US side will only cause the Chinese military to further strengthen building up defense abilities in all areas.”

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The Russian Military Warns: a Major War in Syria Is Imminent

The Russian Military Warns: a Major War in Syria Is Imminent

The Russian Military Warns: a Major War in Syria Is Imminent

On March 17, the Russian General Staff warned about an imminent attack on Syria. The statement did not elaborate. Of course, some information is classified but an independent and impartial analysis of publicly available information leads one to the same conclusion. Let’s look at the facts.

There are warships deployed by US Navy in the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf. They are ready to launch roughly 400 long-range Tomahawks against a target in the Middle East on any given day. Sea-launched cruise missiles were used to strike Syria in April. Anything that is at all related to the military operations on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean is hush-hush information, but it’s an open secret that the strategic bombers based there can launch at least a hundred cruise missiles and then use other high-precision munitions in a follow-up attack. On average, one bomber carries 20 AGM-86 ALCMs. Five bombers are believed to be normally stationed on this island that is off-limits to inquisitive outsiders. This means that at least 500 cruise missiles can be fired on short notice.

On March 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Great Britain, France, and some additional countries besides the US had special forces operating in Syria that were engaging the Syrian Army directly. But it’s not just commandos.

It was reported on March 16 that the UK would be stationing a significant number of troops at the US-controlled Al-Tanf military base, adjacent to the Iraqi border. This facility is prominently eatured in NATO’s war planning in Syria. It blocks the corridor linking Iran to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq. The size of the deployment — about 2,300 troops accompanied by tanks and helicopters — is too significant just to be intended to fight Islamic State militants who are already on the run.

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U.S. Navy Boosts Mediterranean Presence As Exxon Set To Explore Offshore Cyprus

U.S. Navy Boosts Mediterranean Presence As Exxon Set To Explore Offshore Cyprus

US 6th fleet

The U.S. Navy has increased its Mediterranean fleet, just a couple of weeks before Exxon is due to send two surveying vessels to explore offshore Cyprus near the area where Turkey blocked an Eni drilling ship from prospecting in February, Turkish news outlet Ahval reports.

Last year, ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an exploration and production (E&P) sharing contract with the Cyprus government, under which the companies will start drilling in a block offshore Cyprus this year.

Two weeks ago, Turkish Navy vessels threatened to sink a drilling ship that oil major Eni has hired to explore for oil and gas offshore Cyprus—a divided island whose northern part is run by Turkish Cypriots and is recognized only by Turkey.

According to local media reports, four or five ships of the Turkish Navy tried to prevent Saipem’s 12000 drilling vessel from performing exploration in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus.

Turkey, which recognizes the northern Turkish Cypriot government and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, claims that part of the Cyprus offshore area is under the jurisdiction of Turkish Cypriots or Turkey.

Earlier this month, Eni said that together with France’s Total, it had made a promising gas discovery offshore Cyprus, confirming that the Zohr-like play—where Eni found the biggest gas deposit in the Mediterranean offshore Egypt—extends into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.

According to Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, Exxon is intent on surveying its block offshore Cyprus despite the Turkish Navy activities and the blockade on Eni’s prospecting in the area.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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