Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kazakhstan Seeks Israeli Help On Weapons / Kazakhstan Had Asked Israel To Help Modernize Its Military And Produce Weapons

Kazakhstan Seeks Israeli Help On Weapons / Kazakhstan Had Asked Israel To Help Modernize Its Military And Produce Weapons
(NSI News Source Info) ASTANA, Kazakhstan - January 22, 2009: Kazakhstan's defense ministry said Jan. 22 it had asked Israel to help it modernize its military and produce weapons that comply with NATO standards. "We are currently working on the organization of Kazakh-Israeli ventures," a ministry statement said after deputy Defense Minister Kazhimurat Mayermanov met representatives from Israel's arms developer Soltam Systems Ltd. The ex-Soviet state, which enjoys good relations with Russia, China and the U.S., wants Israeli arms producers to help it manufacture modern weapons at its Petropavlovsk factory base in the north of the country.

Russia Not Permit US, NATO Military Transit To Afghanistan

Russia Not Permit US, NATO Military Transit To Afghanistan (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - January 22, 2009: Russia did not permit the United States and NATO to transit military supplies across the country to Afghanistan, Russian Military Representative to NATO General of the Army Alexei Maslov told Itar-Tass on Thursday. “No official documents were submitted to Russia’s permanent mission in NATO certifying that Russia had authorized U.S. and NATO military supplies transit across the country,” he said in comments on some media reports about a statement which Commander of the U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus has recently made in Islamabad concerning alleged agreements with Russia and other countries bordering Russia on alternative transit routes for U.S. and NATO military supplies to Afghanistan. Russia has concluded with NATO and two NATO states the agreements on transit of non-military supplies in Afghanistan. Specifically in April 2008 Russia has concluded an agreement with the North Atlantic Alliance on simplified railway transit of non-military supplies to Afghanistan and with France and Germany the bilateral agreements on air transit. According to Russian expert Lieutenant-General Leonid Sazhin in order to provide logistic supplies for its military contingent in Afghanistan the U.S. will have to ask Russia to provide the ground transit of U.S. military supplies across the country or withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Commenting on some reports about temporarily suspended supplies of medicines, food and fuel for the NATO contingent in Afghanistan across the Khyber Pass in north-western Pakistan because of a recent attack of Taliban militants on a military checkpoint in North Waziristan Sazhin said, “The U.S. already has quite big problems with logistic supplies for its 32,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan and will have more problems after the U.S. contingent is increased to 60,000 servicemen this year.” “The Americans have spoiled relations with Islamabad after lobbying President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation despite the fact that the latter could keep the situation in Pakistan under control somehow. Currently Asif Ali Zardari who is the husband of killed Benazir Bhutto rules the country. He has a weak character and cannot be an assistant to the Americans in the struggle against Taliban militants despite all his statements about firm intentions to wage the struggle against terrorists,” the Russian general added. In his opinion currently the U.S. “is trying in some way to take advantage of a quite difficult situation in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in order to transit its military supplies for the country’s troops in Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.” “If the Talibs block the Khyber Pass in western Pakistan and the highway to the Afghan city of Kandahar from the direction of the Pakistani city of Chaman in the southwest NATO will have other alternative transit routes but only through Central Asia. Meanwhile quite few military supplies can be airlifted. Ground transport corridors are needed and the Americans cannot do without Russia in this issue. Whether or not Barack Obama’s administration wants it the U.S. cannot do without Russia. The new U.S. administration has two options: withdraw the U.S. troops from Afghanistan and recognize its next defeat after Iraq or ask Russia to provide the ground transit of non-military and military supplies across its territory,” the Russian expert said.

Russia's Next-Generation Warplane To Make Maiden Flight In 2009 / Russia's First Fifth-Generation Fighter Plane Will Make Maiden flight This Year

Russia's Next-Generation Warplane To Make Maiden Flight In 2009 / Russia's First Fifth-Generation Fighter Plane Will Make Maiden flight This Year (NSI News Source Info) ASTRAKHAN - January 22, 2009: Russia's first fifth-generation warplane will make its maiden flight before the end of this year, the deputy prime minister in charge of arms procurement said on Wednesday. "We expect the plane to take to the skies no later than the end of this year," Sergei Ivanov told a news conference after a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission. Earlier plans set 2010 for the first tests of the new fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets. Russia's advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007. Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft - a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India's air superiority doctrine, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force. The Russian version will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East. Ivanov said the plant had almost completed the construction of a first prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, but it will undergo only durability tests on the ground at a research facility in Zhukovsky near Moscow. However, a second prototype will be built and will take to the skies by the end of this year, he said. Ivanov also said on Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturing industry should review and adjust some testing programs and methods due to advanced nature of the new aircraft.

Congo Invites Rwandan Army To Enter And Observe / Will Rwandan Troops Help In Congo? / Congolese And Rwandans Move Jointly Against Rebels.......

Congo Invites Rwandan Army To Enter And Observe / Will Rwandan Troops Help In Congo? / Congolese And Rwandans Move Jointly Against Rebels / Rwandan Troops Enter Congo To Help Fight Rebel Militias (NSI News Source Info) January 22, 2009: DAKAR, Senegal - Congo's invitation to its longtime enemy Rwanda to deploy up to 2,000 troops marked an extraordinary reversal of alliances, but the Congolese government said yesterday the Rwandan forces were there only to observe, not to fight Hutu militias.
Some fear the presence of Rwandan soldiers could spark more violence or lead to further destabilization in Congo. And the unusual deal may already be facing opposition: U.N.-backed Radio Okapi quoted the head of Congo's National Assembly, Vital Kamerhe, as saying he was shocked by the news and had not been informed about it beforehand.
Ex-CNDP (National Commitee for the Defence of the People) soldiers pass through a government check point on January 20, 2009 on the edge of Goma. General Bosco Ntaganda has integrated his soldiers into the national army while Congo and neighbour Rwanda have agreed joint operations against FDLR rebels (Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda). Over the years, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused Kinshasa of doing nothing to disarm the FDLR, which counts among its ranks some of the main perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against Rwanda's Tutsi minority.
Congo allowed the Rwandan troops to cross its border Tuesday, ostensibly as observers, to help disarm deeply entrenched Rwandan Hutu militias who fled to Congo after Rwanda's 1994 genocide, Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said.
But the size of the force suggests they will do more than observe, and any new fighting could provoke the militias and lead to more massacres, more displaced and more war in the already unstable central African giant.
Mende said Rwandan soldiers were on "an observation mission" to monitor how the army would disarm militias.
"Rwandan troops will not part engage in fighting," he told reporters in Kinshasa. Mende also said Congo wanted to disarm and repatriate the militias peacefully, "not kill them."
Rwandan Hutus, however, may not lay down arms without a fight. Many have refused to go home, saying they cannot get fair trials in Rwanda, which says they will face justice for any crimes committed during the genocide.
Last month, Congo President Joseph Kabila's government struck a similar deal with Uganda, which is now leading operations in northeastern Congo with Sudanese and Congolese troops against the brutal Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army.
Forced to flee their bases, the Ugandan rebels scattered into small groups, slaughtering more than 600 civilians in apparent retaliation, the New York-based Human Rights Watch group said. There are fears the Rwandan militias could do the same further south, or that large numbers of civilians could die in military operations to oust the Rwandans.
Both Uganda and Rwanda invaded Congo in 1998 and left only after a 2002 peace agreement ended a war that drew in more than half a dozen African armies. The invitations to come back now marks a rare acknowledgment by Kabila that Congo's weak army, mostly known for looting their own people and fleeing battlefields, is unable to secure the east.
Congo's president is eager to regain control of land lost in October and November to rebel leader Gen. Laurent Nkunda's mostly ethnic Tutsi, Rwandan-allied forces. Fighting then between the Congo army and Nkunda's forces displaced at least 250,000 people.
Nkunda's rebels greatly expanded their territory during the skirmishes, advancing to the outskirts of the regional capital, Goma, and forcing Congo's army into a humiliating retreat.
The 18,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo was unable to stop the violence or protect civilians.
For Kabila's government in the faraway capital, Kinshasa, the status quo left few options.
"There was a deep frustration in Kinshasa with the lack of military pressure they can bring to bear" against the rebels, said independent Congo expert Jason Stearns. "They realized they need to have a political compromise and this may be it: doing a deal with Rwanda, inviting them back in."
Many people are skeptical though, including Stearns."Few believe the problems in the east are going be solved overnight," he said. "But there is no argument - this is a major milestone."
U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Lt. Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich said that U.N. forces south of Goma saw a battalion of Rwandan soldiers pass through the town of Sake in addition to the troops that came through Tuesday. Dietrich complained the government was refusing to let U.N. staff and other aid organizations cross checkpoints north of Goma toward Rutshsuru, where Rwandan troops were headed.
He also said Babacar Gaye, commander of the U.N. peacekeeping in Congo, met with Congolese military officials for a briefing on the situation and to discuss opening the roadblock north of Goma to U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian agencies.
Rwanda has been under international pressure for months to use its influence over Tutsi rebels to end the conflict, and the breakthrough agreement may have been borne out of a split within Nkunda's movement that both Congo and Rwanda were quick to exploit.
Stearns said both Rwanda and Nkunda's own commanders had grown irritated by Nkunda, viewing him as a flippant, authoritarian megalomanic who had allegedly embezzled money from rebel coffers. Nkunda could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this month, Nkunda's ex-chief of staff, Bosco Ntaganda, formed a splinter movement and last week announced his forces would work together with Congo's army to fight the Hutu militias and eventually integrate into the army.
Ntaganda may have turned on his former boss because he was afraid months of growing distrust might have prompted Nkunda to turn him over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, where he is wanted for the alleged forced conscription of child soldiers in the northern Ituri region five years ago.
Though details of the agreement to allow Rwandan troops on Congo soil have not been made public, analysts speculate the government may have promised not to hand Ntaganda over for extradition in exchange for his cooperation.
If the deal works, Congo would get rid of the main Tutsi rebel movement and regain control of territories it lost. Rwanda would get rid of the Hutu militias who have given Rwanda a reason to invade twice.
But eradicating the Hutu militias will be no easy task. The Rwandan Hutus have been de facto allies of the Congo's army, and generally left alone. Kabila has promised actions against them before, but no operations materialized.
Today, the hardened militias control entire villages, operate checkpoints openly and are equipped with satellite phones, new uniforms and arms, witnesses say. And they know the terrain well: they have terrorized civilians for well over a decade and a half, and neither Rwanda, nor Congo, nor the U.N. peacekeeping force has been able to disarm them.

Pakistan: Taliban Demands End To Music On Pakistan Buses / Pak's Switzerland Falls to Taliban / Quote...."The calculus of us paying the Pakistani.....

Pakistan: Taliban Demands End To Music On Pakistan Buses / Pak's Switzerland Falls to Taliban / Quote...."The calculus of us paying the Pakistani army to engage in counter-insurgency while the (Pakistani) Frontier Corps and the ISI support the Taliban who are killing our troops, this calculus is going to be unsustainable" said C Christine Fair in Pittsburgh Entertainment (NSI News Source Info) January 22, 2009: Bus drivers in northwest Pakistan have begun removing audio and video equipment from their vehicles after Taliban militants threatened suicide attacks against those who played music or movies for their passengers, an industry official said Tuesday.Residents gather at a damaged school building after it was blown up by the Taliban in Swat valley January 19, 2009. Pakistani Taliban insurgents blew up four schools in the northwestern Swat region on Monday hours after a cabinet minister vowed that the government would reopen schools in the violence-plagued valley.
Transport workers in Mardan town received letters this week from militants saying that buses offering such entertainment were guilty of spreading "vulgarity and obscenity," Walid Mir, general secretary of the town's transport union, told The Associated Press. The militants said they would check the buses and that suicide attacks would be carried out against vehicles that still had audio and video equipment - prompting union members to act quickly, Mir said. The Taliban letter complained that traveling in buses that provide audiovisual entertainment was a "source of mental agony for pious people," according to a text obtained by AP. "It is obligatory on us to stop such violations. We request you to remove the vulgar systems ... otherwise suicide bombers are ready," the letter said. Mardan lies in the Northwest Frontier Province just outside Pakistan's volatile tribal belt where extremists among the Taliban, al-Qaida and local groups are waging a violent campaign against authorities in a bid to impose their strict interpretation of Islam. Elsewhere in northwest Pakistan, extremists have targeted girls' schools, police posts and other symbols of authority. In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime that was forced from power in late 2001 banned art, secular music and television, vandalized the national museum and destroyed artwork or statues deemed idolatrous or anti-Muslim. Local police said they had no knowledge of the threat. "Certainly, we can look into it if we receive a complaint," Mardan police chief Syed Akhtar Ali Shah said. Mir said the transport companies had no plans to make a report. "We did not report it to police because it is a matter of human lives. What can the police can do? It involves the lives of hundreds of passengers, and we do not want to put them in danger," Mir said.

Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon Is the Future of European Flight / Eurofighter Typhoon Europe's Combat Aircraft For The Next Century / Eurofighter.....

Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon Is the Future of European Flight / Eurofighter Typhoon Europe's Combat Aircraft For The Next Century / Eurofighter Typhoon Multirole Fighter / Eurofighter Typhoon Twin-Engine Canard-Delta Wing Multirole Aircraft.
(NSI News Source Info) January 22, 2009: The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world’s biggest fighter program, increasing production to as many as 60 aircraft per year (versus just over 40 for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet). The Royal Air Force declared the fighter combat-ready in 2008 for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Germany and Austria also declared the aircraft operational, the latter within nine months of receiving its first jets. Another milestone was the delivery late last year of the first Tranche 2 Typhoons to the sponsor nations: the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain. Although the U.K. has added an air-to-surface capability to its Tranche 1 Typhoons through the CP193 modification program, Tranche 2 aircraft, with more modern mission computers, will be the basis for a full multirole capability. This year will see a number of important events for the Typhoon. Its combat debut, however, will probably not be among them: The U.K. Defense Ministry announced last July that the Tornado GR4 force will take over close air support missions in Afghanistan from RAF Harrier GR9s in 2009.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine canard-delta wing multirole aircraft. It is being designed and built by a consortium of three separate partner companies: Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS working through a holding company Eurofighter GmbH which was formed in 1986. The project is managed by NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) which acts as the prime customer. The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is underway, and the aircraft is being procured under three separate contracts (referred to as "tranches"), each for aircraft with successively greater capabilities. The aircraft has entered service with the UK Royal Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the Italian Air Force, the Spanish Air Force and the Austrian Air Force. Saudi Arabia has signed a £4.43 billion (approx. 6.4 billion c. 2007) contract for 72 aircraft.
The first Typhoons are due to be delivered to the major export customer, Saudi Arabia, this year. The Saudi government has ordered 72 aircraft and reportedly wants another 40. Typhoon has been certified for operations by three countries. One competition where the Typhoon is still in play, in Switzerland, is expected to be decided in the third quarter. Interest has also been reported from Oman, and the group has responded to requests for information from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Turkey. The Typhoon has been proposed in India, and the team is working in South Korea and Japan. The Typhoon was not shortlisted in Brazil, however, and the consortium withdrew from the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark late in 2007. Japan is a long-shot prospect, but an interesting one. The country’s strong interest in the F-22—which the U.S. refuses to discuss with it—indicates that it wants an air-to-air package. With large radar, supersonic agility, speed and altitude performance and missile capability, the Typhoon is among the world’s top three air-to-air fighters (along with the Su-35BM and F-22). Combined with Japan’s frustration over the F-22, this could create an opening for the Typhoon. Germany expects to take its Typhoons on international exercises in 2008. Flight tests will continue on the Phase 1 Enhancement (P1E) package, which includes new surface-to-air weapons and provisions for a laser-designation pod and is due to be operational in 2011. More important still will be the outcome of negotiations for Tranche 3 fighters, basically comprising 236 aircraft for the four partner nations. (Tranche 2 was originally 236 aircraft, but now covers 251 jets, including 15 to replace Austria’s Tranche 1s.) As with the 2004 negotiations over Tranche 2, the discussions are complex and under time pressure to prevent the production line from drying up as long-lead items for the last Tranche 2 aircraft leave the factory. Tranche 3 negotiations are also governed by the tight contractual conditions covering the basic 620 aircraft for the four partner nations: Canceling any of these aircraft results in penalty charges that are comparable to the cost of purchasing them. The U.K. and Italy are pushing to cut their offtakes of aircraft—ironically, since the cancellation clauses were written to prevent backsliding by Germany, which has restated its commitment to a full 180 aircraft. One question is whether export sales can be counted against national purchases and, if so, how this should be done. The Eurofighter consortium is trying to establish a more flexible, less costly way to manage the flow of improvements into the aircraft. Although the industrial partners were due to submit a detailed firm-price proposal for the next stage—Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E)—last September, this is now likely to be superseded by a process that can deliver new capabilities within 1-2 years of a decision to go, and accommodate individual requirements while maintaining a stable production configuration. This could be good news, speeding deployment of important capabilities such as the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, Meteor air-to-air missile and an active electronically scanned array radar that would otherwise have to wait until completion of the P2E package in 2014.