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Showing posts from January 16, 2014

The truth about Israel's secret nuclear arsenal

Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won't come clean?

Julian Borger



Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona. Photograph: Getty Images


Deep beneath desert sands, an embattled Middle Eastern state has built a covert nuclear bomb, using technology and materials provided by friendly powers or stolen by a clandestine network of agents. It is the stuff of pulp thrillers and the sort of narrative often used to characterise the worst fears about the Iranian nuclear programme. In reality, though, neither US nor British intelligence believe Tehran has decided to build a bomb, and Iran's atomic projects are under constant international monitoring.

The exotic tale of the bomb hidden in the desert is a true story, though. It's just one that applies to another country. In an extraordinary feat of s…

ICC Receives “Devastating” Dossier on British War Crimes

By Felicity Arbuthnot

January 15, 2014 - A “devastating” two hundred and fifty page document: “The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008″, has been “presented to the International Criminal Court, and could result in some of Britain’s leading defence figures facing prosecution for “systematic” war crimes” the (London) Independent on Sunday has revealed.(i)

The dossier charges that: ‘ “those who bear the greatest responsibility” for alleged war crimes “include individuals at the highest levels” of the British Army and political system.’

Among those named, states the Independent, are two former Defence Ministry supremos, Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram, Defence Secretary and Minister of State for the Armed Forces, respectively, under Tony Blair’s premiership, during the planning and invasion of Iraq and for most of the UK’s occupation. General Sir Peter Wall, head of the British Army is also named.

Shocking allegations have been c…

U.S. Naval Update Map: Jan. 16, 2014

The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.
Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Harry S. Truman CSG with CVW 3 embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units
The USS Boxer ARG with the 13th MEU embarked is u…

In Thailand, Political Instability Threatens New Opportunities in Southeast Asia

A Thai anti-government protester attends a rally in Bangkok on Jan. 15. ( Ed Wray/Getty Images)

Summary


The popular unrest that has brought Thai politics to a standstill is not particularly remarkable; political instability in the country has occurred cyclically over the past decade, and it shows no sign of abating anytime soon. What is remarkable about the current bout of turmoil is that it could prevent Thailand from benefiting from emerging economic developments in Southeast Asia.

Over the past century, Thailand's geopolitical advantages, namely its strategic location and ethnic and cultural influence, have conferred on the country a regional leadership role. But Southeast Asia is changing: Manufacturers are leaving China as it moves up the value chain, the region is slowly integrating economically, the United States is turning its attention away from the Middle East toward the Asia-Pacific region, and Beijing is trying to expand its influence in Southeast Asia. If instability p…

Japan's Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships off Sagami Bay in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/GettyImages)

Summary


Japan is trying to improve its strategic position by expanding military ties with India and boosting its naval presence in the Indian Ocean. According to Indian media reports on Jan. 13, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has requested that Japan be allowed to participate in this year's annual Malabar naval exercise between the United States and India. Though Japan has previously participated in a few Malabar exercises, the Indians have often declined to invite the Japanese, despite U.S. pressure, in order to avoid provoking China. Japan's engagement with India is not so much tailored toward the creation of a joint Indo-Japanese front against China -- a politically untenable goal at the moment -- as much as it is about bolstering Japan's own position in the Indian Ocean.

Analysis


Tokyo's request to participate in the naval exercises …