Thursday, December 18, 2014

American troops battle ISIS for first time as they see off attempted attack by militants on Iraqi base

Daily Mail
December 18, 2014

A number of militants have been killed in Islamic State's very first battle with U.S. ground troops after the extremists attempted to overrun an Iraqi military base.
The militants attacked Ein al-Asad military base on Sunday where more than 100 U.S. military support troops are based.
Despite launching the surprise attack just after midnight, ISIS's offensive was swiftly repelled when U.S. troops and F18 jets joined in the skirmish in support of the Iraqi Army.
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A US Navy Seal team secures the airfield at Ein al-Asad base during a visit by former president George W Bush
A US Navy Seal team secures the airfield at Ein al-Asad base during a visit by former president George W Bush
US military experts arrived at Ein al-Asad airbase (pictured) last month to help train and support Iraqi forces
US military experts arrived at Ein al-Asad airbase (pictured) last month to help train and support Iraqi forces
Facing both Iraqi and US troops supported by F18 jets, an unknown number of ISIS attackers were killed during the two hour firefight before being forced to retreat.
Ein al-Asad came under repeated attack by ISIS troops in October, however, now bolstered by the U.S. assistance, it poses a much more formidable target.


ISRAEL SLAMS EU OVER PLAN TO TAKE HAMAS OFF TERROR LIST

The Independent
December 18, 2014

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the foreign media during a toast in Jerusalem ahead of the new year. Netanyahu called on the European Union on Wednesday to keep Islamist militant group Hamas on its list of terrorist organisations, after an EU court ruled it should be removed
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the foreign media during a toast in Jerusalem ahead of the new year. Netanyahu called on the European Union on Wednesday to keep Islamist militant group Hamas on its list of terrorist organisations, after an EU court ruled it should be removed
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the European Union yesterday for removing Hamas from its terrorist list, calling it a staggering example of European hypocrisy and an indication that many on the continent have learned nothing from the Holocaust.
The EU court order to remove Hamas from the EU terrorist list came the same day as a United Nations body in Europe delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and called for Israel to be investigated for war crimes.
"Today we witnessed a series of examples of European naivete and, may I add, hypocrisy," Netanyahu said before an audience of international journalists in Jerusalem. "They point to the spirit of appeasement in Europe of the very forces that threaten Europe itself. Too many in Europe are calling on Israel to make concessions that would endanger not only the security of Israel but also paradoxically the security of Europe itself, because Israel is the forward position of European civilization. Israel is the bulwark of European values."
Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians. The EU court in Luxembourg said it ordered Hamas removed from the list for procedural reasons, while in Geneva, Israel was called out for potential war crimes. The developments follows a recent surge in European parliaments making moves to unilaterally recognize a state of Palestine.
"What hypocrisy, what a travesty. I ask: where is elementary European integrity?" Netanyahu said in his annual address to the foreign media.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Russia is buying weapons - a lot of them

CNN Money
December 15, 2014

Moscow is going on a huge shopping spree for weapons and military equipment.

Russian defense companies boosted sales by more than 20% last year, driven by demand from the country's military, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
That compares with a 2% decline in sales globally, largely due to a weaker performance by American companies, which account for more than half of the world's arms trade.
Russia has begun investing heavily in upgrades to its military capabilities. President Vladimir Putin plans to spend more than 20 trillion rubles ($700 billion) bringing equipment up to date by 2025.
arms trade who sells
The modernization program is continuing despite an economic crisis that has already forced Russia to adopt an austerity budget for next year.
Defense and national security were the only departments to escape cuts of at least 5%. Spending on the military is set to rise by 85% between 2012 and 2017.
Russia's defense budget is now the third largest in the world, behind the U.S. and China.
Airfields, hundreds of fighter jets and a new fleet of battle tanks are in the works. Russia is also developing new long-range missiles, has acquired an advanced nuclear submarine and is working on eight new vessels for the navy, due for delivery by 2020.

Washington undecided on U.N. resolution for Palestinian state

Yahoo News
December 15, 2014
John Kerry

JERUSALEM/ROME (Reuters) - Israel said it hoped the United States would veto any moves at the United Nations to set a time frame for its withdrawal from territory Palestinians seek for a state, but a senior U.S. official said it was too early to say.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday to discuss various proposals for a Palestinian state that are circulating at the United Nations.
Later on Monday, Kerry will travel to Paris for talks with European counterparts and then on to London to meet Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and a delegation from the Arab League, who will urge the United States not to use its U.N. Security Council veto to block the proposals.
The hastily-arranged meetings suggested urgency in America's drive to manage efforts among Security Council members to draft a new proposal before Israeli elections in March. Kerry said on Friday he wanted to defuse tensions during the talks.

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