Military & Political Trends Of 2017 That Will Shape 2018

Via Southfront.org,
2017 presented the world with a number of crises, among which were the continued wars in the Middle Ease and the spread of terrorism, the humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, the rising military tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the militarization of both the South China Sea and eastern Europe. Throughout the past year regional and global powers have repeatedly been on the verge of open military conflict, any of which may yet still lead to large regional wars.
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In the Middle East the war on ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis in Lebanon, and Israeli-Arab tensions took center stage.
By the end of the year, the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS had fully collapsed in both Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the efforts of the alliance between Syria, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition, this group was driven out from almost all of the areas it had held in the two countries. ISIS has lost control of such strategic locations as Mosul, al-Qaim, Raqqah, al-Tabqah, Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin, al-Bukamal, as-Sukhna, Deir Hafer, Maskanah, and al-Resafa.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/30/2017.

China Tests Hypersonic Weapon, Rendering US THAAD Powerless

The art of (future) war is rapidly evolving with Beijing spearheading the push into the first modern operational hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). According to The Diplomat, the weapon, known as the Dong Feng (‘East Wind’), DF-17 for short, is designed to challenge existing missile defense systems, such as America’s anti-ballistic missile defense system called: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
An unnamed U. S. government source, who has studied recent intelligence reports on the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), said China conducted two separate tests of the hypersonic missile back in November. The first test was conducted on November 01 and the second test took place on November 15. The Diplomat signals, that the November 01 test was the first Chinese ballistic missile launch to take place after the Communist Party of China’s 19th Party Congress in October.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Russia Tests Powerful ICBM Capable Of Overcoming Missile-Defense Systems

As North Korea vociferously condemns the US and the United Nations after the Security Council passed yet another round of sanctionsagainst the restive regime, Russia is continuing to test ICBMs in preparation for a violent conflict on the neighboring Korean Peninsula while simultaneous calling for both sides to seek mediation.
Last night, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force tested the RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Kapustin Yar practice range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the TASS News Agency reported Tuesday.
“On December 26, 2017, a combat team of the Strategic Missile Force test-fired an RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar state central combined arms training range in the Astrakhan Region,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
“The launch was aimed at testing perspective armament for intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the ministry said.
“During the tests, specialists obtained experimental data that will be used in the interests of developing effective means of overcoming anti-ballistic missile defense and equipping the perspective grouping of Russian ballistic missiles with them,” the Defense Ministry said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

North Korea Declares New Sanctions An “Act Of War,” Refuses To Ever Abandon Its Nukes

North Korea strongly rejected the latest United Nations sanctions resolution, calling it an ‘act of war’ against the rogue regime.
The U. N. Security Council unanimously decided Friday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to the North’s test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts suggest can range the entire continental U. S.
Resolution 2397 bans nearly 90 percent of North Korea’s refined petroleum imports and sets new restrictions on other essential imports, such as heavy machinery.
The punitive resolution also demands the repatriation of North Korean workers generating funds for the regime abroad and puts greater pressure on North Korean shipping.
Pyongyang called on the U. S. and its international partners to ‘wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons’ and learn to ‘co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 24, 2017.

Trump To Announce Anti-Tank Missile Exports To Ukraine

Earlier this week the Washington Post reported that President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve lethal arms sales to the US-backed government in Kiev, Ukraine, and has now moved forward with Obama-era legislation to export weapons to the war-torn country.
Though as was noted at the time this commercial license approval was limited to small arms and ammunition as part of an initial $41.5 million deal, and not the heavier anti-tank systems sought by Kiev, it now appears the White House is going to announce inclusion of Javelin antitank missiles and possibly other advanced systems that could change the battlefield calculus of the war between Ukrainian and Russian-aligned forces in the Donbass region along the Russian border.
According to a new report by ABC News, Trump is expected to include the anti-tank missile systems as authorized exports to Ukraine, this based on four unnamed state department sources:
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government, a move that would mark a significant escalation in lethal U. S. military support for Ukrainian forces battling Russian-aligned forces in the border region, four state department sources tell ABC News. If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30 day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Department can implement it.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 23, 2017.

In Victory For Trump, UN Imposes New North Korean Sanctions

One day after the UN humiliated Donald Trump, when 128 nations voted for a UN resolution demanding the US president revoke his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Friday Trump scored a significant victory at the same venue – his third of the day after signing off on the tax and stopgap bills – when the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy after the latest launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U. S.
The new restrictions are meant to slash North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products, further restrict shipping and impose a 12-month deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home, according to Bloomberg. “Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country,” the NY Times added. “Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

Kim Orders Military To Test Anthrax: North Korea Will ‘Take Revenge’ On US

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un has said he will take revenge on the United States for Washington’s accusal that the rogue regime was responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year. In timely fashion, Kim has also ordered his military to begin the testing of the chemical agent anthrax.
North Korea has been loading anthrax into int’s controversial ballistic missiles. But the regime and military scientists have been trying to ensure that anthrax would survive the high temperatures generated when the missiles re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. The regime today rejected the claim as ‘groundless’ and insisted it was fulfilling its obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) which prohibits the production or stockpile of biowarfare weapons.
North Korean state television reported last month the launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, Hwasong 15, which is a nuclear-capable weapon which could fly as far as America.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 21st, 2017.

In Unexpected Move, Trump Enacts Obama-era Law Opening US Arms Sales To Ukraine

After years of covert American involvement in the Ukrainian proxy and civil war which has raged since 2014 – and which a leaked recording confirmed was precipitated by the US State Department – President Trump has decided to come off the fence regarding his prior reluctance to formally approve arms sales to the Kiev government. Late Wednesday the Washington Post first reported the bombshell news that after months of indecision over whether or not to move forward with Obama-era legislation which initially paved the way for legalizing US arms sales to Ukraine, Trump has approved the first ever US commercial sale of weapons to the war-torn country.
According to The Washington Post, “administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces. There has been no approval to export the heavier weapons the Ukrainian government is asking for, such as Javelin antitank missiles.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.

Putin Stockpiles Nukes And Tanks Ahead Of WW3: ‘The Main Target….Is The US’

Russian president Vladimir Putin is bracing himself and his country for a third world war by stockpiling tanks and nuclear weapons. Russia has also carried out joint military drills with China, Russia admitted the main target of the joint exercise is the United States.
As tensions around the globe rise to almost intolerable levels, some nations are preparing to take the United State’s place on the top as a military superpower. The country’s Defence Ministry will prioritize the stockpiling of nukes, tanks, and army hardware until 2027. But this isn’t the first time Putin has decided to stockpile weapons of mass destruction. In 2016, the Daily Beast reported that as Barack Obama disarmed the United States’ nuclear weapons, Putin added more.
Russia will also expand, modernize, and upgrade their underground bunkers in preparation for a devastating third world war. Russia is fortifying the underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict. One official said the alarming expansion indicates Russia is preparing to break out of current nuclear forces constraints under arms treaties, including the 2010 New START and 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties. Russia has since violated the INF accord by testing an illegal ground-launched cruise missile.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 19th, 2017.

Who To Believe On Washington’s Korea Policy, Tillerson Or Trump?

President Trump has often said that his foreign policy objective was to keep his enemies guessing. If that’s the goal, you could say that he’s doing a good job. The problem is who does he think his enemies are, because the American people are often left guessing as well.
US policy toward North Korea last week is a good example of how the Trump Administration is wittingly or unwittingly sowing confusion among friend and foe alike.
In what looked like a breakthrough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced last Tuesday that the US would be willing to sit down and talk with North Korea ‘without preconditions.’ Previously the US had demanded that North Korea agree to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs before Washington was willing to sit down to formal talks.
The State Department shift toward actual diplomacy with North Korea was quickly quashed, however, when the White House announced that its position on North Korea had not changed.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.

Meet The Team Building North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles

In recent years, North Korea has frustrated the US intelligence community, which has struggled to determine exactly how Kim Jong Un and his regime have managed to make so much progress, so quickly in their quest to develop a nuclear weapon capable of striking the Continental US.
The international community has authorized one round of sanctions after another, and yet they appear to have little impact on the country’s economy. If anything, these efforts have only served to strengthen the Kim’s grip on power by feeding the narrative – taught to every North Korean child – that the US is an evil, imperialist antagonist bent on subjugating the North.
While the exact means by which the North has managed to survive such immense international pressure remain a mystery, the New York Times has a theory: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has cultivated an aura of reverence and celebrity around the country’s nuclear scientists.
These celebrity scientists are known by nicknames like the ‘nuclear duo’ and the ‘missile quartet’.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.

WW3: China Mobilizes Military, Warns Of War With North Korea By March

A top Chinese general has warned that a war with North Korea could break out anytime. Because of the possibility of another world war by March, the general is suggesting the Chinese military mobilized their troops on the border with North Korea.
To prepare for a conflict that could break out anytime between now and March, Lieutenant General Wang Gongguang claims that China should mobilize their military might sooner rather than later. The Global Times, the English-language outlet of the Beijing government’s state-run mouthpiece People’s Daily China, reports the official is warning of the need to be ‘mentally prepared for [war] anytime’.
‘China should be psychologically prepared for a potential Korean War, and the Northeast China regions should be mobilized for that,’ said General Wang. He is also urging the deployment of antimissile systems and troops in the border area with North Korea in anticipation of conflict between North and South Korea, and others such as Japan and the United States.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 18th, 2017.

SYRIA: US War Crime in Jabal Al Tharda, Deir Ezzor and the Implausible Denials

On 17 September 2016 a carefully planned US-led air raid on Jabal al Tharda (Mount Tharda), overlooking Deir Ezzor airport, slaughtered over 100 Syrian soldiers and delivered control of the mountain to DAESH / ISIS. After that surprise attack, the terrorist group held the mountain for almost a year, but did not manage to take the airport or the entire city. US-led forces admitted the attack but claimed it was all a ‘mistake’. However uncontested facts, eye witness accounts and critical circumstances show that was a lie. This article sets out the evidence of this crime, in context of Washington’s historical use of mercenaries for covert actions, linked to the doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’.
Syrian eyewitness accounts from Deir Ezzor deepen and confirm this simple fact: the US-led air raid on Syrian forces at Jabal al Tharda on 17 September 2016 was no ‘mistake’ but a well-planned and effective intervention on behalf of the terrorist group ISIS (DAESH in Arabic). After days of careful surveillance a devastating missile attack followed by machine gunning of the remaining Syrian soldiers helped ISIS take control of the strategic mountain, that same day.
Mercenary forces – like ISIS and the other jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria – were a staple of US intervention during the early decades of the cold war, deployed in more than 25 conflicts, such as those of the Congo, Angola and Nicaragua. Whatever their claimed aims and ideologies, they allowed for the ‘multiplication’ of US power and were associated with the doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’, where the ‘formal’ denial of the mastermind role in covert operations minimised damage to domestic public opinion and international relations (Voss 2016: 37-40).

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 17, 2017.

Debunking The Myths About An Attack On North Korea

First, the bragging dummies
Trump and Haley are still at it. They want to force China to take action against the DPRK by threatening to take North Korea ‘into their hands’ if China refuses to comply. Haley said, ‘But to be clear, China can do more, (…) and we’re putting as much pressure on them as we can. The last time they completely cut off the oil, North Korea came to the table. And so we’ve told China they’ve got to do more. If they don’t do more, we’re going to take it into our own hands and then we’ll start to deal with secondary sanctions.’
First, let’s reset this scene in a kindergarten and replay it.
Kid A has a fight with Kid B. Kid A threatens to beat up Kid B. Kid B then tells Kid A to go screw himself. Kid A does nothing, but issues more threats. Kid B keeps laughing. And then Kid A comes up with a brilliant plan: he threatens Kid C (who is much much bigger than Kid B and much much stronger too!) by telling him “if you don’t make Kid B comply with my demands, I will take the issue in my own hands!”. The entire schoolyard erupts in hysterical laughter.
Question: how would you the gauge the intelligence of Kid A? Anyway…
This would all be really funny if this was a comedy show. But what this all is in reality is a slow but steady progression towards war. What makes this even worse is the media’s obsession with the range of North Korean missiles and whether they can reach Guam or even the USA. With all due respect for the imperial ‘only we matter’ (and nevermind the “gooks”), there are ways ‘we’, i.e. the American people can suffer terrible consequences from a war in the Korean Peninsula which have nothing to do with missile strikes on Guam or the USA.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 16, 2017.

Weapons Went From The CIA To ISIS In Less Than Two Months, New Study Reveals

Mainstream media in 2013: “Conspiracy Theorists!” Mainstream media in 2017: “ISIS Got a Powerful Missile the CIA Bought!” Years late to the party, mainstream media outlets like USA Today, Reuters, and Buzzfeed are just out with “breaking” and “exclusive” stories detailing how a vast arsenal of weapons sent to Syria by the CIA in cooperation with US allies fuelled the rapid growth of ISIS. Buzzfeed’s story entitled, Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria, begins by referencing “a new report on how ISIS built its arsenal highlights how the US purchased munitions, intended for Syrian rebels, that ended up in the hands of the terrorist group.”
The original study that Buzzfeed and other media are referencing comes from a UK-based independent weapons research organization called Conflict Armament Research (CAR) which has had a team of weapons and munitions experts on the ground in the Middle East for years examining arms and equipment recovered from ISIS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. Using serial numbers, crate shipping markings, and all available forensics data, the CAR experts began finding that as early as 2013 to 2014 much of the Islamic State’s advanced weapons systems as well as small arms were clearly sourced to the United States and the West.
‘Supplies of materiel into the Syrian conflict from foreign parties – notably the United States and Saudi Arabia – have indirectly allowed IS to obtain substantial quantities of anti-armor ammunition,’ states the CAR report. ‘These weapons include anti-tank guided weapons and several varieties of rocket with tandem warheads, which are designed to defeat modern reactive armor.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.

US Official: ‘Time is Running OUT’ To Avoid Nuclear War With North Korea

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser warned that now is the time to avoid a war with North Korea. H. R. McMaster, speaking at an event for the British think tank Policy Exchange, said ‘time is running out’ to prevent a nuclear war.
According to Newsweek, McMaster was previewing the new National Security Strategy, a document put out by each administration that shapes how it approaches foreign policy and national security issues during its tenure. Trump will unveil the full document on Monday.
McMaster’s remarks come just after North Korea demonstrated a missile last month that, experts say, puts the continental United States in range. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have also traded verbal barbs, with Trump calling Kim ‘Rocket Man’ and Korean government outlets referring to Trump as a ‘dotard.’ Those threats and the advances in North Korea’s nuclear program have heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and pushed the two sides toward what experts say would be a horrific nuclear war.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 13th, 2017.

Time For Dtente With North Korea

Authored by Robert McCoy via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
While the military and political environments on the Korean Peninsula have evolved, American policy towards the North has not changed since 1991
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The reality is North Korea has nuclear weapons – perhaps thermonuclear bombs – and they are probably miniaturized enough to fit atop its missiles, one of which will soon be, if not already, able to reach all parts of the continental United States.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 7, 2017.

“The Threat Is Real” – Millions In Tokyo Join Nuclear Strike Evacuation Drills

Earlier this week, Hawaii reportedly tested its system of nuclear sirens for the first time since the 1960s as the state’s governor warned that he was taking North Korea’s threats of nuclear annihilation extremely seriously. Today, the Telegraph is reporting that the paranoia has spread to Japan, where millions of Tokyo residents will participate in evacuation drills meant to simulate their response to North Korean nuclear strike.
And Tokyo isn’t the first city to conduct these types of large scale drills: Towns facing the Korean Peninsula have conducted similar drills in recent months.
The national and city governments are to carry out a series of exercises between January and March to prepare for a potential attack on Tokyo, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported, the first time that a major Japanese city will have carried out responses to a simulated attack. Towns facing the Korean Peninsula have in recent months conducted similar drills, with residents instructed to seek shelter in response to sirens warning of an imminent missile strike.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 7, 2017.