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North Korea could inflict significant damage in attack

WASHINGTON – North Korea's massive but poorly trained and equipped military could cause significant damage in the early stages of an attack on its southern neighbor.

But any attack would ultimately be repulsed by superior U.S. and South Korean forces, military analysts say.

It's unclear how serious North Korea is on following through on its threats, but North Korea has increased its bellicose rhetoric recently, renewing worries that its unpredictable leader, Kim Jong Un, could take actions that might trigger a wider conflict.

The North Korean leader said his rockets were ready "to settle accounts with the U.S."

The United States has responded to the heated rhetoric by announcing it flew two B-2 bombers on a training mission over South Korea. It was part of an annual joint-training operation that continues until the end of April.

Analysts say the recent rhetoric is particularly worrisome when coupled with recent provocative actions taken by the North.

In 2010, the North Kor…

North Korea: Nuclear weapons are a 'treasure'

North Korea has called the U.S. nuclear arsenal a threat to its existence since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically at war. Pyongyang justifies its own nuclear pursuit in large part on that perceived U.S. threat.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
North Korea's 'nuclear armed forces' represent 'nation's life,' statement says
Kim Jong Un presided over meeting that called for stronger nuclear arsenal
North Korea issued a warning Saturday that Korean Peninsula was in 'state of war'

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A top North Korean decision-making body issued a pointed warning Sunday, saying that nuclear weapons are "the nation's life" and will not be traded even for "billions of dollars."

The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party. The meeting, which set a "…

NKorea calls nukes country's 'life' at big meeting

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A top North Korean decision-making body issued a pointed warning Sunday, saying that nuclear weaponsare "the nation's life" and will not be traded even for "billions of dollars."

The comments came in a statement released after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over the plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party. The meeting, which set a "new strategic line" calling for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal, comes amid a series of near-daily threats from Pyongyang in recent weeks, including a vow to launch nuclear strikes on the United States and a warning Saturday that the Korean Peninsula was in a "state of war."

Pyongyang is angry over annual U.S.-South Korean military drills and a new round of U.N. sanctions that followed its Feb. 12 nuclear test, the country's third. Analysts see a full-scale North Koreanattack as unlikely and say the threats are more likely…

Afghan leader in Qatar to discuss peace talks

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met with the Emir of Qatar in Doha to discuss the possible opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf state.

The move could foster the peace process with the Islamic fundamentalist movement in a bid to stem violence as foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The Qatar News Agency says Karzai met with the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and other senior government officials on Sunday. It also says he held talks with Qatar's ambassador to Pakistan during a tour of an Islamic art museum in Doha.

The report didn't give details, but Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai has said the talks would include the peace process and the opening of a Taliban office.

North Korea Reportedly Entering 'State Of War' Against South Korea

By SAM KIM

March 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"Huffington Post" - SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered "a state of war" and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely, noting that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. But the North's continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash.

North Korea's threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get it more aid. North Korea's moves are also seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong Un st…

DPRK Servicepersons on Highest Alert

By Korea News Service - March 29. 2013 Juch 102

March 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - Pyongyang, March 29 (KCNA) -- All services and arms units of the Korean People's Army (KPA), including the strategic rocket units, have been placed on the highest alert to cope with new war moves of the U.S. imperialists.

In this regard, Kim Myong Sik, a KPA officer, told KCNA:

"The plan of the firepower strike, finally examined and ratified by respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un, reflects his fixed decision to put an end to the long-standing showdown with the U.S.

It will be a great mistake for the U.S. to think that the DPRK's operational area is limited to territorial waters around the Korean Peninsula.

Our warships will play a significant role in destroying the U.S. military bases in south Korea, Japan and the Pacific as well as the U.S. mainland."

Yang Hyok Gi, a KPA officer, said:

"When visiting our unit some days ago, Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un said our…

Psychological Warfare?

North Korea Plan to Attack US Mainland Revealed in Photographs

North Korea has revealed its plans to strike targets in Hawaii and the continental United States in photos taken in Kim Jong-un's military command centre.



March 29, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"The Telegraph" - The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an "emergency meeting" early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea's strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at US targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike US and South Korean targets at any time (EPA)


The images show a chart marked "US mainland strike plan" and missile trajectories that the NK News web site estimates terminate in Hawaii, Washington DC, Los Angeles and what they claim is Austin, Texas.


The text on the …

Israel's Insightful Cynicism

By Robert D. Kaplan
Chief Geopolitical Analyst

Israel is in the process of watching a peace treaty unravel. I don't mean the one with Egypt, but the one with Syria. No, I'm not crazy. Since Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in 1974, the Israelis have had a de facto peace agreement of sorts with the al Assad family. After all, there were clear red lines that both sides knew they shouldn't cross, as well as reasonable predictability on both sides. Forget about the uplifting rhetoric, the requirement to exchange ambassadors and the other public policy frills that normally define peace treaties. What counts in this case is that both sides observed limits and constraints, so that the contested border between them was secure. Even better, because there was no formal peace agreement in writing, neither side had to make inconvenient public and strategic concessions. Israel did not have to give up the Golan Heights, for example. And if Syria stepped over a red line in Lebanon, …

French fight in Mali's hostile desert

They call it "planet Mars." French soldiers have been marching in the Tegharghar mountains of northern Mali for weeks. The valley of Terz has been bombarded by French Mirage planes over the last month; the hunt is now conducted on foot.
But the sound of jets is constantly echoing over our head and through the valley.
Nearly 2,000 French soldiers are deployed all over the rocky desert, with as many troops from Chad in support.
They are searching for jihadist fighters and their hide-outs in the mountains - part of the Adrar des Ifoghas near the Algerian border.

“Start Quote We broke al-Qaeda's neck” End QuoteGen Bernard Barrera The terrain is treacherous and unforgiving. The foreign legionnaires who we were embedded with looked exhausted; their noses and lips were sunburnt, they were caked in dust and hadn't showered in days. Each soldier carries more than 50kg (8 stone) and under their boots, the rocks are as jagged and as sharp as gla…

North Korea warns South president

North Korea has hit out at South Korean President Park Geun-hye, a day after she urged Pyongyang to change course and abandon its nuclear goals.

Warning her against "slandering", it told Ms Park to behave with discretion to avoid "horrible disaster".

Ms Park's comments came as she marked three years since the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship.

Overnight, meanwhile, South Korea briefly placed a border military unit on its highest alert.

The alert happened early on Wednesday after a South Korean soldier discovered a "strange object" at the border, military officials said. The alert prepares troops for a possible incursion from North Korea.

The soldier, who was at a military post in Hwacheon, in South Korea's north-eastern Gangwon province, threw a grenade at the object at around 02:30 local time (17:30 GMT), officials said. The alert was lifted at 09:20 local time.

'Lowest ebb'

Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula following multipl…

UK soldier killed in Afghanistan

A soldier from the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) has been killed in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

The soldier was serving in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province when he was injured in an attack by insurgents on Monday.

In a statement the MoD said he had been flown to hospital for treatment "where, sadly, he succumbed to his wounds".

His next of kin have been informed of his death.

Task Force Helmand spokesman Major Matt Allen said: "His death comes as a great loss to all serving in Task Force Helmand. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his family and friends at this difficult time."

The death takes to 441 the number of UK service personnel who have lost their lives since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.

He is the third to die so far in 2013 and the first for more than two months.

The last to die was Kingsman David Shaw on 16 January.

British troop numbers were reduced from 9,500 to 9,000 before Christmas 2…

8 suicide bombers strike Afghan police station in country's east, killing 5 officers

KABUL - Eight suicide bombers struck a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least five officers, a security official said.

The attack in Jalalabad, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Kabul, came on the second day of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the Afghan capital.

First, an insurgent in an explosives-laden car detonated his vehicle in front of the Jalalabad Police Quick Reaction Force. Then, seven other attackers wearing vests rigged with explosives stormed the compound, police said.

Three attackers blew themselves up inside the complex while police shot the remaining four during a gunfight that lasted more than an hour.

Some of the attackers wore uniforms resembling those worn by the U.S.-led NATO coalition, said police chief Mohammad Sharif Amin in Nangarhar province, where Jalalabad is the capital.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

In other violence, a roadside bomb killed two police officers …

North Korea Orders Military to Combat Ready; Target U.S.

By Cheryl K. Chumley
March 25, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"Washington Times" - North Korea on Tuesday ordered its long-range artillery units to stand at combat ready, prepared to attack sites on mainland America, as well as Hawaii and Guam.

The order comes in response to U.S. bombers flying sorties perceived as threatening to North Korea, Reuters reports.

“From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army will be putting into combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units, including long-range artillery units and strategic rocket units, that will target all enemy objects in U.S. invasionary bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam,” the North's state-run news agency said, as reported by Reuters.

This is just the latest military threat issued by the North’s “supreme command,” Reuters says. But it’s likely just more talk. South Korea reports no signs of actual military action on the part of the North. The South said it will continue to …

Dangerous crossroads: Threat of pre-emptive nuclear war directed against Iran

By Michel Chossudovsky
March 26, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"RT" -  For more than a decade, Iran has been doggedly accused without evidence of developing nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic is relentlessly portrayed by Western media as a threat to the security of Israel and of the Western World.
In a bitter irony, the assessment of America's Intelligence Community concerning Iran's alleged nuclear weapons capabilities refutes the barrage of media disinformation as well as the bellicose statements emanating from the White House. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE): "judges with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” (2007 National Intelligence Estimate Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities; November 2007, See also Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)) "We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not kn…

US jails China engineer over military secrets

Sixing Liu sentenced to nearly six years in prison for exporting details on missiles and unmanned drones.

A Chinese national has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison following his conviction for illegally exporting details of sensitive US military technology to China.

Sixing Liu, who was sentenced on Monday, was convicted in September by a federal jury in Newark, New Jersey, on nine of 11 counts, including possession of stolen trade secrets, violating the Arms Export Control Act and lying to federal agents.

Prosecutors said the defendant, who is also known as Steve Liu, stole thousands of computer files that detailed the performance and design of guidance systems for missiles, rockets and unmanned drones. He stole the files from L-3 Communications Holdings, where he was employed as an engineer.

Liu then made several presentations at Chinese universities and government-organised conferences about the technology without L-3's permission, hoping it would eventually help him get …

North Korea threatens to strike US mainland

Puts military on 'combat-ready' status, with rocket units ordered to prepare for strikes on Hawaii, Guam and mainland.

North Korea has put its military on combat-ready status, with "strategic" rocket units ordered to prepare for possible strikes against the US mainland, Hawaii and Guam, state media reported.

The order, issued in a statement from the North's military "supreme command", marks the latest fiery rhetoric from Pyongyang since the start of joint military drills by US and South Korean forces early this month.

"The Korea People's Army top command declares that all artillery troops including strategic rocket units and long-range artillery units are to be placed under class-A combat readiness," the Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday.

Despite a successful long-range rocket launch in December, most experts believe North Korea is years from developing a genuine inter-continental ballistic missile that could strike the continental U…

South African troops killed in Central African Republic

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's president says 13 South African soldiers were killed and 27 were wounded in fighting in the Central African Republic.

President Jacob Zuma also said Monday that one soldier is missing.

South African troops came under attack on Saturday in the Central African Republic as rebels advanced on the capital, Bangui. The rebels have overthrown the country's president and seized the presidential palace.

South Africa had deployed several hundred soldiers to the Central African Republic to assist national forces there.

Confirmed: US Shipping Weapons to Syria - Al Nusra's "Mystery" Sponsors Revealed

By Tony Cartalucci
March 25, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"LD" - While US President Barack Obama and the Western media lied in concert to the world regarding America's role in supporting terrorists operating in Syria, it is now revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been shipping weapons to Syria via NATO-member Turkey and Jordan since at least early 2012. The New York Times in their article titled, "Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid," admits that:
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, ex…