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Showing posts from September 10, 2014

China's Military Creates New Space Force

China has created a fifth branch of the People’s Liberation Army devoted to space operations, a Japanese newspaper is reporting.

Last month, Yomiuri Shimbun — one of Japan’s national papers — carried a report that said that China had recently ordered the PLA to establish an Aerospace Force. The branch, which is expected to focus on military operations in space, would be the military’s fifth branch after the PLA Ground, Air, Naval, and the Second Artillery (in charge of China’s nuclear arsenal and ballistic missiles) Forces. It will be complemented by an Aerospace Office under the Central Military Commission.

The Diplomat cannot confirm the validity of the report, and it’s notable that Yomiuri Shimbun appears to have taken the original article down in the last few days (a cached version can be found here). The Pentagon also refused to comment on the article, referring The Diplomat instead to the PLA.

Still, the claim seems plausible on the face of it. As The Diplomat previously noted, whi…

Zhou Yongkang, Islamic State and China’s Pivot West

The downfall of its oil and security tsar gives China a chance to salvage relations with its Muslim minority.

By Yo-Jung Chen

After years of living under the threat of the likes of Al Qaida, Taliban and other Islamic extremists, the world is discovering a new and much more fearsome brand of terror in the fast-spreading Islamic State, or IS, in the Middle East.

Few people in East Asia would feel directly concerned by the gruesome accounts of the battles and atrocities involving IS in the remote Middle East. But is the threat really all that distant?

In an August 11 article in Foreign Policy, Alexa Olesen observed how China (or at least segments of the Chinese media) is taking seriously a July 4 speech by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he called for a jihad against countries that “seized Muslim rights.” China tops the list of the dozen such countries for the way it is accused of treating the minority Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. The IS chief even seemed to have threatened to occup…

Russian Ground Forces to Get Iskander Missiles by 2018

The missile brigades of Russia’s Ground Forces will be equipped with advanced weaponry and hardware, including the 9K720 Iskander (SS-26 Stone) theater ballistic missile systems, as part of the 2020 state rearmament program, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently said.

“In order to bring Iskander missiles into use, the army needs adequate infrastructure,” the minister added.

In 2008, Russia launched the most extensive reorganization of its armed forces in its history. The army command system experienced a major transformation, with the overall size of the army reducing, and an increased proportion of professional troops compared to conscripted recruits. There has been a significant increase in the salaries of officers, who are also seeing their housing problems resolved.

Still, the main outcome of the reform is the unprecedented army re-equipment program. The percentage of advanced weapons in the army has already hit 16 percent and is expected to reach 70 percent before 2020.


Lebanese Army Receives New Shipment of US Arms

The Lebanese Army said Saturday it received a shipment of weapons and ammunition from the US as part of the American assistance program for the Army.

The Army received the shipment at Rafiq Al-Hariri Airport with the attendance of senior officials from the Lebanese Army and the US Defense Cooperation office in Lebanon, the Army said in a statement.

The US had over the past weeks handed over weapons and ammunition to the Lebanese Army and Security Forces, and pledged to send more with the objective of helping the government troops combat terrorism and maintain stability nationwide.

U.S. Ambassador David Hale Friday handed the Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil a memo detailing the United States arms and equipment shipment to the Lebanese Army.

According to the state-run National News Agency (NNA), Hale left the meeting without making any statement.

The Lebanese Army has received two shipments of rocket launchers and assault rifles from the U.S.

Hale has promised more arms, saying the shipments l…

Hagel ‘not aware’ of secret deal to supply Kiev with lethal weapons

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the Krtsanisi military training base outside Tbilisi September 7, 2014. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he was not aware of a secret deal to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. His words contradict earlier statements by an aide to President Petro Poroshenko that the US is backing Kiev’s military with arms.

“I'm not aware of any kind of a secret deal that was made in Wales about supplying lethal weapons to the Ukrainians,” Hagel told journalists on a visit to Turkey’s capital, Ankara.

Earlier, Poroshenko aide Yury Lutsenko wrote on his Facebook page that the US, along with France, Italy, Poland and Norway, will supply modern weapons to Ukraine.

The agreements were reached at the Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, Lutsenko wrote, adding that the West will also send military advisers to Ukraine.

However, Hagel later denied the report Sunday, saying that Washington has not made an offer of "lethal assist…

Spies off line: New gadget to stop unwanted drone, Google Glass snooping

Image from

A new surveillance device has been developed that has the potential to stop drones and Google Glass wearers from hacking into one’s Wi-Fi network. Cyborg Unplug works by sending de-authentication signals to unwanted monitoring or spying devices.

The device is the size of a computer adaptor, so it can be transported anywhere and can be plugged into any mains socket. Once the Cyborg Unplug detects an unwanted appliance, it alerts the owner of the Wi-Fi network with a flashing light, or a sound through speakers, while it can also send a text message to the user’s cell phone.

The product, which was developed by programmer Julian Oliver, also kicks off devices trying to access the wireless network. He hopes he will begin taking orders for the device at the end of the month.

“Basically it’s a wireless defense shield for your home or place of work,” Oliver says. “The intent is to counter a growing and tangibly troubling emergence of wirelessly capable devices that are u…