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Diplomacy & Crisis News

Trump Set to Sanction Turkey

Foreign Policy - Mon, 15/07/2019 - 13:57
The administration has settled on a package of sanctions to punish Ankara for buying a Russian missile system.

Guatemala Cancels on Trump

Foreign Policy - Mon, 15/07/2019 - 12:04
Plus: Iran says it will talk—if U.S. sanctions end, Italy presents a migration plan, and what to watch in the world this week.

With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme

UN News Centre - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 22:20
Access to education in Somaliland is extremely limited, with more than 50 per cent of children in Somaliland out of school. In an effort to address the problem, the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has partnered with the government, and the global fund Education Cannot Wait, to launch a programme designed to help children affected by ongoing crises in the country.

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

UN News Centre - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 18:57
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the terrorist attack that took place on July 12 in southern Somalia. 

The World This Weekend

Foreign Policy - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 12:00
The British ambassador to the United States exits the stage, and Europe tries to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

UN Human Rights Council stands firm on LGBTI violence, Syria detainees and Philippines ‘war on drugs’

UN News Centre - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 01:06
The 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council ended on Friday with measures taken to address worrying developments in Eritrea, Syria and the Philippines, along with other issues of global concern, such as violence and discrimination against the LGBTI community.

Friday’s Daily Brief: UN chief meets cyclone survivors in Mozambique, Human Rights Council investigates Philippines state violence, UN weather agency tracks Arctic fires

UN News Centre - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 23:02
In today’s Daily Brief: UN chief António Guterres condemns airstrikes on Syrian hospitals and meets survivors of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique; the UN Human Rights Council votes to investigate the “war on drugs” in the Philippines; and UN weather agency tracks fires…in the Arctic.

Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans

UN News Centre - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 22:25
Determined children learning in classes without roofs, resilient women farming without tools or much land, and grateful people who survived a cyclone that destroyed their livelihoods; on his final day in Mozambique, UN chief António Guterres witnessed first-hand the inner strength and resilience of the storm-ravaged country's people.

Developing countries should not be liable for emissions ‘accumulated throughout history’, key UN development forum hears

UN News Centre - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 21:25
Citing climate change as being caused by “emissions accumulated throughout history”, the head of China’s Xiamen Airlines told the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York on Friday that heavy carbon dioxide emitters should “take on greater responsibility” to ameliorate the problem.

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

UN News Centre - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 17:14
Since 4 July, heavy monsoon rains and wind have pounded the refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, with deaths, displacement and major damage following in their wake, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.

Israel Loves the F-35 and the F-15 (And Would Love to Buy Lots of Them)

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 20:00

Dario Leone


But it made have to choose. 

Israel’s Globes says the country will decide by this summer what type of fighters it will acquire using U.S. defense aid money.

The report says the air force is keen to buy both the F-15 and F-35 if there are no budget constraints.

In the coming months, in fact, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Aviv Kochavi will face one of the most important decisions the Israeli defense establishment has ever made: how to spend $11 billion on buying dozens of new top-of-the-line aircraft that the Israel Air Force (IAF) will use for many decades into the future from the US arms industry.

(This first appeared several months ago.)

The arms procurement plan, one of Israel’s largest ever, will tie up almost one quarter of US defense aid money in the coming decade. It includes a new squadron of attack planes, 5-7 new tanker aricraft, and transportation helicopters to replace the Yasur (Sea Stallion) helicopters used by the IAF for four decades. All of these will be accompanied by additional investment in new systems to be installed on the aircraft, development of special equipment, operating and maintenance infrastructure, etc.

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Stealth Armada: 24 F-22 Raptor Fighters Launching Together Can Only Mean 1 Thing

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 18:00

Dario Leone


An elephant walk. We explain. 

On Mar. 26, 2019 a squadron of USAF aircraft “elephant walked” down Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Alaska, as part of a routine to demonstrate their combat airpower and response abilities.

The “elephant walk,” which refers to the close formation of military aircraft before takeoff, comprised of 24 F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, a C-17 Globemaster III transport, and an E-3 Sentry.

The routine was part of Polar Force, a two-week exercise that allows squadrons to showcase “their abilities to forward deploy and deliver overwhelming combat airpower,” officials said.

The F-22 Raptors are from the 3rd Wing and 477th Fighter Group, which are both associated with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Should a crisis arise in the Pacific region, the aircraft and airmen of the 3rd Wing would be among the first responders.

Video from the exercise shows the aircraft taking off one by one before returning to the airstrip.

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Two Army Officers Are Still up for Promotion Even After 4 Deaths During Niger Ambush

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 17:00

Task and Purpose

Security, Africa

The right call?

Efforts to reach both men for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Two commanders involved with the deadly 2017 Niger ambush are reportedly still eligible for promotion, and the Pentagon has no problem with that.

Four soldiers were killed on Oct. 4, 2017 when their convoy was attacked by more than 100 ISIS fighters near the village of Tongo Tongo: Army Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, and Sgt. La David T. Johnson.

U.S. Africa Command's investigation into the incident found serious problems with how their team was trained before and after arriving in theater and how the mission was planned. Their commanders also did not adequately work with French and Nigerien forces for casualty evacuation planning prior to the mission, according to a redacted copy of the investigation, which was provided to Task & Purpose.

The mission itself kept changing, and when the team asked to return to base, they were told to continue to their objective even though commanders had not reassessed the risks they faced given that the team had no plan to evacuate wounded under fire; no quick reaction forces were assigned to them; the team had little rest in the past 24 hours; and they would be operating near the border with Mali, the investigation found.

Still, Politico has reported that Col. Brad Moses, who was commander of 3rd Special Forces Group in Africa during the deadly incident, is still eligible for selection to brigadier general, though he has not yet been nominated. Lt. Col. David Painter, who reportedly denied the team's request to return to base, has also been selected to advance to colonel (The Army confirmed to Task & Purpose that Painter is a colonel-select).

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F-35 Is Old: Russia Could Turn Its Su-57 Into a 6th Generation Stealth Monster

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 16:18

Dario Leone


Here's how. 

Russia could turn its first fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57, into a sixth-generation fighter the former head of the Russian Aerospace Force, chief Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev recently told TASS.

“This is actually a splendid plane and it can embrace both fifth-and sixth-generation features. It has huge modernization potential,” Bondarev, now chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, said. “Importantly, it is the best among the existing versions by its stealth characteristics. It incorporates all the best that is available in modern aviation science both in Russia and in the world,” he added.

(This first appeared in late 2017.)

As reported by Franz-Stefan Gady in an extensive piece for The Diplomat, Russian defense officials have repeatedly claimed that hardware elements designed for a future sixth generation fighter have been tested on the Su-57 prototype, including flight and navigation systems as well as advanced electronic warfare and radar systems.

Noteworthy Russia revealed the design of a new sixth-generation fighter aircraft for the first time in March 2016. According to Russian defense officials, the new aircraft is slated to be available in manned and unmanned configuration and could take to the air for the first time in the late 2020s.

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Record: How 2 A-10`Warthog’ Pilots Destroyed 23 Tanks in One Day

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 16:12

Dario Leone


That's amazing. 

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II was designed for close air support (CAS) of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, and providing quick-action support against enemy ground forces. It entered service in 1976 and is the only production-built aircraft that has served in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) that was designed solely for CAS. Its secondary mission is to provide forward air controller – airborne (FAC-A) support, by directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. Aircraft used primarily in this role are designated OA-10.

The A-10 was used in combat for the first time during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 other military vehicles and 1,200 artillery pieces.

As the ground war slipped into its second day, with allied tanks and troops rolling across the desert sands, the venerable A-10A ‘Warthog’ continued to prove its low-tech mettle against Iraqi armor. There were dozens of anti-tank sorties on the morning of Feb. 25, but one which stood out was flown by a pair of A-10A pilots who set a record of sorts, as explained in the book Gulf Air War Debrief. A large column of Iraqi tanks was rolling south from areas occupied by the Republican Guard. Captain Eric Solomonson and Lieutenant John Marks of the 76th TFS/23rd TFW scrambled to engage them.

Solomonson arrived over Iraq at sunrise. Solomonson and Marks, after considerable action already, were surprised to see no anti-aircraft fire coming at them. The way was paved by a FAC in an OA-10, who confirmed that no friendlies were in the area. “You guys can just go in there and start shooting.”

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Pilot: I Flew a B-52 Bomber. Here's What It Was Like.

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 14:35

Dario Leone



I trained as a crewmember on a specific student crew as the copilot. My pilot was a pipe-smoking major who could fly well enough but had a hell of a time refueling. Had I known then what I knew much later, I could have explained it to him, but instead I had to watch him thrash and curse trying to accomplish this required task. He finally got minimally satisfactory on our check ride, but I hope he got much better, because the time might have come where his wing’s ORI score, or his own butt, would depend upon getting the gas.

We flew our first training sortie with a senior renowned B-52 pilot, Lucky Luciano, a Lt. Col. with long B-52 experience. He had Italian movie star good looks and a mild, confident manner that made him a valued senior member of the B-52 community. Regrettably, I tested that mild confident manner on my first landing attempt. Lucky had explained extensively how, because of the structure of the B-52, the pilot must trim the horizontal stabilizer throughout the landing flare. This was necessary because the length of the fuselage compared to the relatively small and ineffective elevators on the tail required that the entire horizontal tail section be moved to provide enough aerodynamic authority to rotate the aircraft into the nose-up landing configuration. As I later explained to students when I was a Castle instructor, you must fly “into the tunnel”; that is, get right down to the runway at the approach end and then hold the plane just above the runway as the aircraft slows and you trim to rotate it to a nose-up lauding attitude.

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Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 14:02

Sidharth Kaushal

Security, Middle East

It is only within the context of substantial policy differences on either side of the Atlantic that Iran’s catalytic strategy makes sense.

The recent mining of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, attributed to Iran by the United States, offers an important window into the strategic thinking of Iran and similarly situated regional powers. The incident is notable because the act of mining a limited number of vessels makes relatively little sense when viewed through the lens of traditional patterns of coercive behavior. Limited coercive acts typically have little value with regards to gaining concessions from a determined opponent. Generally, these acts may serve as a visible demonstration of a state’s willingness to enact some other, more substantial threat, such as shutting down the Strait of Hormuz outright. However, this requires the state making the threat to have the capacity to make good on its more substantial threats and for its opponents to believe that it is willing to incur the risks entailed. Iran, however, could not shut down the Strait of Hormuz for very long even if it wished to—something noted by President Donald Trump—and is unlikely to incur the substantial risks that an attempt would entail. Iran’s opponents, then, clearly don’t see its limited provocations as harbingers of something worse.

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Aerial Killer: This Might Be the Most Advanced F-14 Tomcat Ever Built

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 10:00

Dario Leone


Too bad it didn't fly that long. 

The photo in this post shows an F-14D Tomcat of VF-213 deployed with the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)flying with the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) system (whose blue transmit antenna is circled in red in the image).

ROVER allows ground forces, such as Forward air controllers (FACs), to see what an aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is seeing in real time by receiving images acquired by the aircraft’s sensors on a laptop on the ground. There’s a little time delay and usage of ROVER greatly improves the FAC on the ground reconnaissance and target identification which are essential to close air support (CAS).

ROVER capability was added to the F-14D Tomcat On Dec. 10, 2005. It was first used by VF-31 and VF-213 on their last cruise with the Tomcat in 2005 and 2006.

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See This Stealth Fighter? It Almost Turned the F-22 Into Just Another Failed Prototype

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 09:00

Dario Leone


So what happened? 

The Northrop YF-23A and the Lockheed YF-22A, which of course are the two cool aircraft you see in the photos of this post, competed against each other in the late 1980s/early 1990s in the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program.

As we have already explained the origins of the ATF program trace back to late 1970s, when a new generation of Soviet fighters and Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)prompted the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to find a replacement for the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter.

The Advanced Tactical Fighter entered the Demonstration and Validation phase in 1986. The prototype aircraft (YF-22 and YF-23) both completed their first flights in late 1990.

The extensive flight tests conducted demonstrated that the YF-23 was stealthier and fasterwhile the YF-22 was more agile.

The YF-23A, unofficially dubbed the Black Widow II, emphasized stealth characteristics: in fact to lessen weight and increase stealth, Northrop decided against using thrust vectoring for aerodynamic control as was used on the Lockheed YF-22A. Northrop built two YF-23A prototypes.

Eventually, the YF-22 was selected as best of the two and the engineering and manufacturing development effort began in 1991 with the development contract assigned to Lockheed/Boeing.

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Russian Su-27 Pilot Films His Fighter Jet Intercepting U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon

The National Interest - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 08:00

Dario Leone



Russia says it scrambled a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter jet to intercept a US Navy P-8A Poseidon that was flying close to the annexed territory of Crimea.

As the videos in this post show the Flanker pilot used his mobile phone to record footage of the latest close encounter between US and Russia aircraft.

The Su-27 pilot is seen holding his phone in a reflection as he films the P-8 flying above his Flanker and then pans down to show land and water below.

Russia’s defense ministry said that the Poseidon changed course when it was intercepted by the Flanker.

The US military has not yet commented on the claims.

The Russian defense ministry said: “An Su-27 fighter jet as part of the Southern Military District’s air defenses was scrambled to intercept the target.

“The crew flew the aircraft at a safe distance to the aerial target and identified it as a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance jet.”

The statement added that the US plane “immediately changed the direction of its flight to fly away from the Russian state border”.

Currently, US forces are participating in NATO’s Sea Breeze naval drills in the Black Sea.

The Russian Navy has its own “combat training” exercises in the Black Sea, reported Moscow media.

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