Thursday, March 12, 2009

BAE Pushes For Australian Seahawk MRO Deal / BAE Systems Committed To Nowra For Seahawk Support Contract

BAE Pushes For Australian Seahawk MRO Deal / BAE Systems Committed To Nowra For Seahawk Support Contract
(NSI News Source Info) NOWRA, Australia - March 12, 2009: BAE Systems plans to establish a world class aviation maintenance facility in Nowra, NSW, if it secures the contract to support the Royal Australian Navy’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter fleet.
Jim McDowell, Managing Director, BAE Systems Australia, said today the company remained committed to Nowra as the long term home of its naval helicopter support operations.
“BAE Systems has been providing deeper maintenance support for Navy helicopters based out of Nowra since 1993,” Mr McDowell said.
“If we are selected in response to a current tender process, we plan to establish a new helicopter support capability at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park, adjacent to HMAS Albatross. “This proposal will enable cost effective investment in a long term facility solution at Nowra and support of a sustainable Nowra based industry capability for the Seahawk Mission System and broader Navy requirements,” he said.
The deeper maintenance facility at Albatross Aviation Technology Park, to be known as the Navy Helicopter Support Centre will incorporate the previous Seasprite facility and a purpose built maintenance facility.
The company is leading a defence helicopter industry alliance, known as the Seahawk Support Team, together with partners Raytheon Australia, Rosebank Engineering, and Asia Pacific Aerospace and Air Affairs, in its bid for the contract. Raytheon Australia is the leading provider of avionics maintenance and engineering services to the ADF across multiple aircraft platforms. “The release of the RFT for an initial period of seven years, and lifting a restriction that mandated government furnished facilities at HMAS Albatross has allowed the Team to offer the Navy a much improved industry support model for the Seahawk helicopter,” Mr McDowell said.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.

BAE Touts PZH 2000 SP Gun At Australian Airshow / BAE Systems Showcases Self-Propelled Howitzer PZH 2000 At The Australian International Air Show

BAE Touts PZH 2000 SP Gun At Australian Airshow / BAE Systems Showcases Self-Propelled Howitzer PZH 2000 At The Australian International Air Show
(NSI News Source Info) MUNICH/AVALON, Victoria - March 12, 2009: Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co.KG (KMW) and through-life support partner BAE Systems Australia are featuring the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) capabilities for Land 17 at this week’s Australian International Air Show in Avalon.
The PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) is the 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) together with the main subcontractor Rheinmetall Landsysteme for the German Army. "The PzH 2000 is the 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann." KMW received a contract in 1996 for production of 185 units. The first system was delivered in July 1998 and deliveries for this batch are complete. Rheinmetall (formerly MaK) delivers the complete chassis for all series vehicles. Total German Army requirement has been reduced from around 450 units to 260. PzH 2000 has also been selected by the Italian, Dutch and Greek Armies. The Greek Army has 24 systems, delivered between July 2003 and June 2004. A German / Italian co-production programme with Consorzio Iveco-Oto Melara is providing the 70 units for the Italian Army. KMW delivered two units in 2002. First deliveries of the remaining 68 from Consorzio Iveco-Oto Melara took place in May 2007. The system entered service with the Italian Army in June 2007 and achieved initial operating capability in October 2008. Final deliveries are scheduled for 2009. The Dutch army signed a contract for the procurement of for 57 units, later reduced to 39 units and deliveries are underway. The surplus 18 units (not yet built) were offered to the Australian Army but were declined.
The Land 17 Artillery Replacement Programme will fundamentally change the Australian Army’s indirect fire support capability through a system of systems architecture. Fielding of the KMW PzH 2000 for the Land 17 SPH capability package will provide a versatile, safe, combat proven, networked, autonomous and PGM certified precision weapon system.
The PzH 2000 is the most modern tube artillery system in the world and meets all international demands. The PzH 2000 forms an essential element in combat support, both now and in future combat and crisis scenarios. Currently PzH 2000 units of the Dutch Army are providing combat support, convoy and base protection for Coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“Today there are 250 units in service across four NATO armies, including the Netherlands, already operating with advanced networked C2 and fire control systems,” says Christian Goettfert, Regional Sales Director of KMW. “One PzH2000 can deliver the indirect artillery support previously provided by four NATO M109 class Self Propelled Howitzers.”
BAE Systems Australia’s Managing Director Jim McDowell says the PzH 2000 is an attractive option for the Department of Defence because it offered considerably lower procurement risk. “This is a safe off the shelf solution. Minimal changes and verification and validation testing are required to meet the Land 17 SPH requirements. Crew safety, work load minimization, human factors and reduced crew size are all integral to the PzH 2000 system design.”
Other key features of the PzH 2000 include:
--Delivery of five rounds in less than two seconds on a single target (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact capability);
--Combat load of 60 rounds, with rapid resupply (60 rounds in less than 12 minutes), and ability to fire all types of NATO approved ammunition;
--Full 360 degree target engagement at all ranges from a stationary PzH 2000;
--Proven 30 kilometres combat range for standard 155mm HE projectiles and up to 56 kilometres with boosted munitions;
--No need for a specialised armoured resupply vehicle;
--Proven deployability and US certification for strategic lift in C17 aircraft;
--High automation levels mean reduced crew numbers (only two are required for static firing missions)
--Unmatched safety features, with charges stored in a protected compartment separate from the crew space and the gun crew contained within a safety cage in the turret to prevent injury during firing.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG leads the European market for armoured wheeled and tracked vehicles. At locations in Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and the USA, some 3200 employees manufacture and support a product portfolio ranging from air-transportable, heavily armoured wheeled vehicles (MUNGO, DINGO, GFF4 and BOXER) through reconnaissance, anti-aircraft and artillery systems (FENNEK, GEPARD, LeFLaSys, Armoured Howitzer 2000, AGM and DONAR) to heavy battle tanks (LEOPARD 1 and 2), armoured personnel carriers (PUMA) and bridge-laying-systems (LEGUAN and PSB2). The armed forces of more than 30 nations worldwide rely on the operational systems by KMW.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.

Aermacchi Delivers First MB-339CMs To Malaysia / Alenia Aermacchi Delivers The First Two MB-339CMs To The Royal Malaysian Air Force

Aermacchi Delivers First MB-339CMs To Malaysia / Alenia Aermacchi Delivers The First Two MB-339CMs To The Royal Malaysian Air Force
(NSI News Source Info) VENEGONO (Varese), Italy - March 12, 2009: Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, has delivered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force its first two MB-339CM trainers. These two aircraft are part of an order for eight trainers placed by the RMAF in late 2006.
Chief Test Pilot Cdr. Quirino Bucci and Test Pilot Cdr. Matteo Maurizio took off from the Alenia Aermacchi airfield in two MB-339CMs and landed at the RMAF base at Kuantan after a 12,000-kilometre delivery flight.
The six remaining MB-339CM are expected to be delivered in the course of 2009.
One of the first two MB-339CM trainers on the apron at Aermacchi’s Venegono plant before their delivery flight to Malaysia. (Aermaccho photo)
The Royal Malaysian Air Force will use the Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CM as Lead-In Fighter Trainers to prepare Malaysian pilots to fly new generation fighter aircraft in service with the RMAF.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force selection confirms the excellent characteristics of the MB-339 that, in the new CM variant, is equipped with an advanced avionic system including Embedded Training Simulation, a digital map and new and modern safety devices. This MB-339 version offers a complete and effective training and answers the most sophisticated training needs.
The RMAF has operated the previous MB-339A for over 20 years and will now replace them with the new MB-339CM. These aircraft thus represent an ideal continuity in the training of Malaysian pilots and are further proof of the confidence placed in Alenia Aermacchi, which was been again called to provide Malaysia with high-quality aircraft offering the highest levels of efficiency.
-- The MB-339CM is a two-seat, aerobatic, single-engine aircraft for the Advanced and Lead-In-Fighter Training phases of the military pilot training syllabus. It is based upon the MB-339CD in use with the Italian Air Force. With its performance, excellent handling and sophisticated systems, the MB-339CD is one of the most successful members of the Alenia Aermacchi training aircraft family.
-- The MB-339CM is equipped with modern avionics with a human-machine interface that includes a Head-Up Display (HUD) and three Multi Functional Displays (MFD) in both the front and rear cockpits, as well as software to simulate complex operational scenarios. The aircraft features an air-refuelling probe, which makes it even more representative of current fighters.
-- This version adds further training and operational capabilities, integrating new functions in its avionics system. These include Embedded Training Simulation, digital maps, a cockpit compatible with night vision goggles (NVG), new radios and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), a new integrated Autonomous Air Combat Manoeuvering Instrumentation (AACMI) pod as well as modern safety equipment such as the Crash Data Recorder and Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).

Australia Awards A$292M Contract for C-130J Support / New Era for C-130J Through-Life Support

Australia Awards A$292M Contract for C-130J Support / New Era for C-130J Through-Life Support
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) today awarded a contract to Australian Aerospace and sub-contractor Lockheed Martin to provide Through-Life Support services for the RAAF fleet of C-130J Hercules aircraft.
DMO’s Head Aerospace Division, Air Vice-Marshal, Colin Thorne said the Through Life Support Contract, valued at $292 million, offered the best value for money for Defence and the Australian taxpayer.
“This contract will provide innovative solutions to C-130J maintenance and is designed to reduce the cost of ownership into the future.
“The DMO, Royal Australian Air Force, Australian Aerospace and Lockheed Martin will work closely in order to provide ongoing support to the C-130J aircraft fleet, thereby increasing availability to the Air Force,” Air Vice-Marshal Thorne said.
The five-year performance based contract links annual contract extensions to contractor performance and cost reduction, thereby promoting efficiency and delivering real cost savings. Subject to contractor performance, support of C-130J aircraft will continue under this contracting strategy until the fleet’s planned withdrawal date.
“This contract will create over 80 additional industry jobs in the Sydney/Richmond area over the next twelve months,” Air Vice-Marshal Thorne said.
As part of the contract, Australian Aerospace and Lockheed Martin will deliver services including aircraft maintenance, engineering and supply chain management. C-130J engine support will continue to be provided by StandardAero under an existing contract arrangement.

Mexico Orders Six EC725 in Eurocopter First / The Mexican Ministry of Defense Orders Six EC725 Helicopters from Eurocopter

Mexico Orders Six EC725 in Eurocopter First / The Mexican Ministry of Defense Orders Six EC725 Helicopters from Eurocopter
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: Eurocopter has chalked up another success in Latin America: The Mexican Ministry of Defense has placed an order for six EC725 helicopters.
The medium-lift helicopters will mainly be used for transport and civil security missions.
The Eurocopter EC 725 Cougar is a long-range tactical transport helicopter developed from the Super Puma/Cougar family for military use. It is a twin-engined aircraft and can carry up to 29 seated troops along with 2 crew, depending on customer configuration. The helicopter is marketed for troop transport, casualty evacuation, and combat search and rescue duties, and is similar to the civilian EC 225.
This new order—the first ever placed with Eurocopter by the Mexican Ministry of Defense—will help reinforce the European helicopter manufacturer’s presence in Mexico. The Mexican Naval Ministry already operates Panther helicopters manufactured by Eurocopter, and the EC225 and Super Puma currently serve the Mexican President. Some 350 Eurocopter helicopters are in service in the region, and the Group's market share has progressed steadily to more than 50% today.
Eurocopter has been present in Mexico for more than 25 years. In 1982, the subsidiary Eurocopter de Mexico SA (EMSA) was opened to cover Central America, the Caribbean, Columbia, Venezuela and Ecuador. The main activities of the subsidiary, which now has a staff of 165 employees, are maintenance, aircraft assembly, customization, and technical and logistics support for the Eurocopter fleet in the region.
In response to rapid market growth, the Group has become a major provider of training for pilots and technicians in the region through partnership agreements with educational institutions such as the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), (CONALEP) Mexico’s National Technical Professional School and the country’s Pilot Training Academy. Another response to this rapid growth has been the development of the Group’s industrial activities in Mexico, and talks are currently underway with the Mexican authorities to decide on the location of an industrial plant. The EC725 is the latest member of the Cougar family. The medium-lift, twin-engine helicopter in the 11-ton class is equipped with five main rotor blades. With its impressive fuel capacity, the EC725 offers flight endurance of 5.5 hours. It can carry up to 29 passengers in addition to the two pilots.
The EC725 was designed to perform a wide range of missions, including search and rescue, long-distance transport, emergency medical services and logistics support. Before the current contract was signed, 151 orders for the EC725 and its civil version (the EC225) had already been received from 17 different customers. Its multi-purpose capabilities made it the logical choice of the Mexican Ministry of Defense.
Eurocopter established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2008, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.5 billion Euros, orders for 715 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.

Macedonia Purchasing 200 BTR Armored Vehicles From Ukraine / Macedonia May Buy 200 BTR Armored Vehicles

Macedonia Purchasing 200 BTR Armored Vehicles From Ukraine / Macedonia May Buy 200 BTR Armored Vehicles
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: The Macedonian government is prepared to purchase 200 BTR 4 "Bukefal," armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Ukraine's Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, according to reports in Interfax.
The BTR-4 armoured personnel carrier (APC) is intended to transport personnel of mechanized infantry units and to provide fire support in combat. The APC is used for equipping military units capable of carrying out combat actions in various conditions, including NBC environment. The APC can be used as a basic vehicle for equipping quick reaction forces and marine corps. The APC can fulfil its tasks both by day and at night, in various climatic conditions, on hard surface roads and in cross-country. The operating temperature range of the APC is -40 to +55°C.
While the Macedonian Defense Ministry was not able to completely verify Interfax's account, a spokesperson did confirm that an APC purchase will be forthcoming in the near future.
The size of the reported order, however, is sure to draw criticism, since the Macedonian Army needs no more than 110 APCs to fill outs its ranks as the country tries to gain acceptance into the NATO Alliance. In order to comply with NATO requirements, Macedonia will procure 30 new APCs by the end of 2009, with a total of 80 in service by year-end 2015.
The Finnish Patria AMV, the Austrian Steyr Pandur, and the Swiss MOWAG Piranha are all preferred options at the moment. The BTR-4 is modeled after the Russian BTR-80, 12 of which the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) currently has in its service.
The Ukrainian deal seems to hinge on two things: good relations between the two countries, and the possibility of building a new plant in Macedonia where final assembly of the new vehicles would occur. Once this step has taken place and the requisite technical skills of the workers and proper infrastructure are in place, the plant would then move toward full production of the BTR 4s.
The Macedonian government will likely need the offsetting industrial work share in order to justify the project to its public at a time when the economies of Europe are in a tailspin and numerous infrastructure needs remain for the country.

UN Demands Explanation From Iran And Syria On Arms Ship

UN Demands Explanation From Iran And Syria On Arms Ship
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: Iran and Syria have until next week to explain to a United Nations sanctions committee how they were involved with a ship detained off Cyprus in January and found to be loaded with explosives believed to be bound for Gaza.The ambassadors of France and Britain described the episode at a Security Council meeting held Tuesday in New York as a “gross violation” of existing resolutions banning Iranian arms exports. “The United Kingdom looks forward to the committee receiving explanations from Iran and Syria as to why the shipment was permitted by Iran as the reported state of origin and as to the involvement of Syria as the reported state of destination,” said British envoy John Sawers. Both countries are required to respond within ten working days, according to a statement from Japanese ambassador Yukio Takasu, who chairs the Security Council committee set up in 2006 to oversee Iran sanctions. The committee determined on February 6 that Iran was in violation of existing sanctions but has not taken any punitive action. Both French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert and US envoy Susan Rice invited Iran to use the opportunity to engage in diplomatic negotiations on its nuclear and other arms programs. “The United States will not waver in its determination to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons but the United States also sees an opportunity - a chance for the Iranian government to demonstrate that it is willing to unclench its fist and begin a serious, responsible discussion about a range of issues,” Rice said in her formal remarks. She added that President Barack Obama, who had his first formal meeting Tuesday in Washington with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, was engaged in a comprehensive review of US policy on Iran. Neither Iran nor Syria sent representatives to speak at Tuesday’s meeting. Both have denied allegations from Washington that the munitions were intended for delivery to Hamas. Syria sent a delegation to Cyprus in late February to pressure officials there into handing over the cargo from the ship, according to an Associated Press report that cited unnamed government officials from an undisclosed Middle Eastern country. AP said Cypriot officials denied any formal negotiations with the Syrians over the cargo. Diplomats in New York have told The Jerusalem Post that Cyprus has been eager to cooperate with its European Union allies on the issue, but the island nation has not yet taken any steps to destroy the cargo offloaded from the Cypriot-flagged ship Monchegorsk. The ship docked on January 29 in Cyprus after being turned away from an Egyptian port. The British have offered help to dispose of the munitions “in whatever way we can.” Tuesday’s Security Council session was overseen by Libyan charge d’affaires Ibrahim Dabbashi, who currently holds the month-long presidency of the Security Council. Speaking for Libya, he noted that he and other Arab diplomats found it “frustrating” that the Security Council was not equally concerned with Israeli nuclear programs as with Iran’s suspected efforts to build an atomic bomb. Officials at the Israeli mission told the Post that they would not respond to Dabbashi’s comments.

Saudis Try To Sway Egypt And Syria

Saudis Try To Sway Egypt And Syria
Saudi Arabia hosted the leaders of Egypt and Syria on Wednesday in an effort to persuade Syria to move away from Iran and join with U.S.-allied Arab countries in working to blunt Tehran's influence.
(NSI News Source Info) RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - March 12, 2009: Saudi Arabia hosted the leaders of Egypt and Syria on Wednesday in an effort to persuade Syria to move away from Iran and join with U.S.-allied Arab countries in working to blunt Tehran's influence. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, center speaks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, left, and Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Saudi Arabia is hosting the leaders of Egypt and Syria on Wednesday in an effort to persuade Damascus to move away from Iran and instead work with U.S.-allied Arab countries to blunt Tehran's influence. Saudi Arabia hopes the one-day mini-Arab summit will help improve the frayed relations with Syria ahead of a larger Arab summit in Qatar later this month. Riyadh hoped the one-day session would improve frayed relations with Syria ahead of an Arab summit in Qatar later this month. The leader of another U.S. ally, Kuwait, also attended, Kuwait's news agency said. Syria has been feuding with Egypt and Saudi Arabia over several issues — especially its close alliance with Iran and militant Palestinian and Lebanese groups. Before the meeting, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak cast doubt on whether the leaders could come to any agreement. Egypt has repeatedly accused Iran, which along with Syria backs the extremist Palestinian group Hamas, of trying to thwart Cairo's mediation efforts between rival Palestinian factions. After the session, Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency said participants agreed it "was a start of a new phase in relations in which the four nations will endeavor to serve Arab interests through cooperation" and strive for a "unified approach to Arab policies." The statement said the meeting reflected the four leaders' efforts to "clear the air" and follow King Abdullah's call to "leave past difference behind." It did not mention Iran. Syrian-Saudi relations became strained after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who also had Saudi citizenship. Many Lebanese have blamed the assassination on Syria, which denies the charge. Relations soured even more after the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, when Syrian President Bashar Assad described leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as "half-men" for their failure to act to stop the violence. Iran and Syria back Hezbollah, a Shiite extremist group in Lebanon that is opposed by predominantly Sunni Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

China's Large Passenger Jet Ready In Eight Years: Report

China's Large Passenger Jet Ready In Eight Years: Report (NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: China's first large passenger jet will take off in about eight years and will be named C919, state media reported Saturday. China is keen to cooperate with foreigners on the project, which is meant to rival Airbus and Boeing, Xinhua news agency said, citing the plane's chief designer Wu Guanghui. "C (in C919) represents China as well as COMAC, the abbreviation for Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China," said Wu, according to Xinhua. The first 9 in C919 was chosen because in Chinese the number sounds like a word that means "long time," while 19 reflects the fact that China's first large aircraft will have 190 seats, he said. COMAC was set up in May last year, charged with developing a large aircraft that one day can compete with planes from Airbus and Boeing. Wu said that the company will choose suppliers of engines, equipment, and materials through international bidding, and will encourage foreign suppliers to enter into partnership with Chinese manufacturers. "We will choose foreign-manufactured products like engines at the beginning phase, but we will also independently do research and manufacturing work at the same time," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Robust growth in China's aviation market in recent years has given rise to predictions that the nation will need more than 3,000 new aircraft in the coming two decades.

Pakistan: A Bogus Threat And The Bigger Picture

Pakistan: A Bogus Threat And The Bigger Picture By Scott Stewart and Kamran Bokhari STRATFOR
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: On March 5, the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad reportedly received threatening e-mails warning of attacks on Saudi interests in Pakistan. According to English-language Pakistani newspaper The Nation, the e-mails purportedly were sent by al Qaeda and threatened attacks on targets such as the Saudi Embassy and Saudi airline facilities in Pakistan. When we heard the reports of this threat, our initial reaction was to dismiss it. While al Qaeda has sometimes made vague threats before executing an attack, it does not provide a list of precise targets in advance. Prior to the June 2008 bombing of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, al Qaeda leaders repeatedly threatened to attack European (and Danish) targets in retaliation for a series of cartoons published in Denmark in 2005 that satirized the Prophet Mohammed. When the issue was reignited in early 2008 with the release of a film critical of Islam called “Fitna,” by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, Osama bin Laden himself issued a statement in March 2008 in which he threatened strikes against European targets in retaliation. However, in all of these threats, al Qaeda never specified that it was going to strike the Danish Embassy in Islamabad. In addition to being out of character for al Qaeda, it is foolish to issue such a specific threat if one really wants to strike a target. While we were able to discount the most recent e-mail threat reportedly sent to the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad, it generated a robust discussion among our analytical staff about Saudi counterterrorism and anti-jihadist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the large number of threatening statements senior al Qaeda members have made against the Saudis and the very real possibility of an attack against Saudi interests in Pakistan. Threats Against the Saudis Beginning with some of bin Laden’s early public writings, such as his August 1996 “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,” al Qaeda leaders have spoken harshly against the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden and others have accused the Saudis of collaboration with the “Zionist-Crusaders alliance” that bin Laden claimed was using military force to impose “iniquity and injustice” on the people of Islam. However, the verbal threats directed against the Saudi royal family have escalated in recent years in the wake of a string of attacks launched inside Saudi Arabia by the Saudi al Qaeda franchise in 2003 and 2004, and as the Saudi government has conducted an aggressive campaign to crush the Saudi franchise and combat the wider phenomenon of jihadism. In fact, it is rare to see any statement from a senior al Qaeda leader that does not condemn the Saudi government specifically or in more general terms. In a July 28, 2008, video message, al Qaeda ideologue Abu Yahya al-Libi called on Muslims to act quickly and decisively to kill the Saudi king, reminding them that “killing this reckless tyrant, who has declared himself the chief imam of atheism, will be one of the greatest qurubat” (an act of devotion bringing man closer to God). In a May 2008 message, al-Libi also had urged Saudi clerics to lead uprisings against the Saudi monarchy similar to the July 2007 uprisings at the Red Mosque in Islamabad. Al-Libi never mentioned Saudi King Abdullah by nam e in that message, preferring to call him the “lunatic apostate” because of the king’s call for a dialogue among Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Commenting on this interfaith dialogue in the July 2008 message, al-Libi also said, “By God, if you don’t resist heroically against this wanton tyrant … the day will come when church bells will ring in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.” In March 2008, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri said the Saudi monarchy was part of a “satanic alliance” formed by the United States and Israel to blockade the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. In a January 2009 message, al-Zawahiri said: “Oh lions of Islam everywhere, the leaders of Muslim countries are the guards of the American-Zionist interests. They are the ones who have given up Palestine and recognized Israel … Abdallah Bin Abd-al-Aziz has invented the interfaith dialogue and met Peres in New York, paving the way for the complete recognition of Israel.” Al-Zawahiri continued, “Thwart the efforts of those traitors by striking the interests of the enemies of Islam.” In a February 2009 audio statement, al-Zawahiri declared, “The Muslim nation must, with all its energy and skills, move to remove these corrupt, corrupting and traitorous rulers.” After a January 2009 video by jihadists in Yemen announcing the formation of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Zawahiri proclaimed in a February statement that the new organization “is the awakening, which aims to liberate the Arabian Peninsula from the Crusader invaders and their treacherous agents. It is escalating and flourishing, with God’s help and guidance, despite all the campaigns of repression, misleading, and deception, and despite all the obstacles, difficulties and hindrances.” Focus on the Saudis All these threats raise an obvious question: Why is al Qaeda so fixated on the Saudis? One obvious reason is that, since the launching of a disastrous offensive by the Saudi al Qaeda node, the Saudi government — which previously had turned a blind eye to many of al Qaeda’s activities — has launched a full-court press against the organization. Al-Zawahiri acknowledged this in a December 2005 message entitled “Impediments to Jihad,” in which he said the Saudi franchise in the kingdom had been defeated by collaborators. The Saudi offensive against al Qaeda also played a significant part in the Anbar Awakening in Iraq. Saudi cajoling (and money) helped persuade Iraqi tribal leaders to cooperate with the coalition forces. One way the Saudis have really hurt al Qaeda is by damaging its ability to raise funds. For example, in March 2008, the top Saudi cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, cautioned Saudis against giving money to charities or organizations that finance “evil groups” who are known for harming Islam and its followers — a clear reference to al Qaeda and other jihadist organizations. We have repeatedly seen appeals for more funds for the jihad, and in a Jan. 14, 2009, message by bin Laden, he noted that the jihadists were under financial “distress” and that it was the duty of the Muslim ummah to support the jihadists “with all their soul and money.” Perhaps one of the greatest threats the Saudis pose to al Qaeda is the threat to its ideological base. As STRATFOR has long argued, there are two different battlespaces in the war against jihadism — the physical and the ideological. For an ideological organization such as al Qaeda that preaches persecution and martyrdom, losses on the physical battlefield are expected and glorified. The biggest threat to the jihadists, therefore, is not a Hellfire missile being dropped on their heads, but an ideological broadside that undercuts their legitimacy and ideological appeal. Many Saudi clerics have condemned jihadism as a “deviance from Islam.” Even prominent Saudi clerics who have criticized the Saudi government, such as Salman al-Awdah, have sent open letters to bin Laden condemning violence against innocents and claiming that al Qaeda was hurting Muslim charities through its purported ties to them. The sting of the ideological attacks is being felt. In a May 2008 speech, al-Libi addressed the ideological assault when he said, “and because they knew that the key to their success in this plan of theirs is to turn the people away from jihad and mujahidin and to eliminate them militarily and intellectually.” Al-Libi recognized that without new recruits and funding, the jihad will wither on the vine. In addition to financial and ideological threats against the organization, the Saudi assault has also gone after al Qaeda where it lives — in Pakistan. Deep Connections Saudi Arabia has long had a strong relationship with Pakistan, based on shared perspectives toward regional and international matters. A key common sphere of influence for the two sides over the past four decades has been Afghanistan. This close Saudi-Pakistani relationship was well-illustrated by the pairing up of Saudi petrodollar wealth with Pakistani logistics (along with U.S. weapons and intelligence) to support the Islamist uprising that followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Saudis and the Pakistanis continued to cooperate. Even though the world at large refused to accept the Taliban regime after it took power in 1996, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. (These three were the only countries to do so.) However, while enjoying support from Riyadh and Islamabad, the Taliban also established relations with the transnational jihadist forces led by al Qaeda. The Saudi and Pakistani relationship with the Taliban was shattered by the events of 9/11. In spite of aggressive negotiations with the Taliban, neither the Saudis nor the Pakistanis could convince Mullah Omar to surrender bin Laden and the al Qaeda leadership to the Americans. Because of this, the two countries were forced to end their overt relationship with the Taliban as the Americans invaded Afghanistan, though they obviously have maintained some contact with members of the Taliban leadership. The U.S. response to 9/11 placed the Saudis and the Pakistanis into a very difficult position, where they were forced to fight jihadists on one hand and try to maintain control and influence over them on the other. As previously discussed, the Saudis possessed the resources to effectively clamp down on the al Qaeda franchise in the kingdom, but Pakistan, which is weaker both financially and politically — and which has become the center of the jihadist universe on the physical battlefield — has been hit much harder by the U.S.-jihadist war. This situation, along with the ground reality in Afghanistan, has forced the United States to begin working on a political strategy to bring closure to the U.S.-jihadist war that involves negotiating with the Taliban if they part ways with al Qaeda and the transnational jihadists. Hence the recent visit by Taliban officials to Saudi Arabia and the trips made by Riyadh’s intelligence chief, Prince Muqrin bin Abdel-Aziz, to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, is also rumored to be personally involved behind the scenes in efforts to pressure Taliban leaders to break free from al Qaeda. But as in the past, the Saudis need help from their allies in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, and here is where they are running into problems. A weak and threatened Pakistani state means that before working with the Pakistanis on the Afghan Taliban, Riyadh has to help Pakistan combat its own Taliban problem, which the Saudis currently are attempting. The Saudis obviously have much to offer the Pakistanis, in terms of both cash and experience. They also have the religious cachet that other Pakistan allies, such as the Americans and the British, lack, giving them the ability to broach ideological subjects. However, as is the case with the Afghan Ta liban, the Saudis will have to get the Pakistani Taliban to part ways with al Qaeda and are working hard to drive a wedge between Pakistani militants and their foreign guests. These efforts to divide the Taliban from the global jihadists are happening not only during the plush, Saudi-sponsored trips for Taliban members to conduct Hajj and Umrah in the kingdom. Following a strategy similar to what they did in Iraq, the Saudis and their agents are meeting with Taliban commanders on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan to twist arms and offer cash. They also are coordinating very closely with the Pakistani and Afghan authorities who are leading the campaign against the jihadists. For example, Rehman Malik, the Pakistani adviser to the prime minister on the interior (Pakistan’s de facto terrorism czar), traveled to Saudi Arabia in January at the invitation of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdul-Aziz to discuss improving counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries. Many of the 85 most-wanted militants on the list recently released by the Saudi government are believed to be in Pakistan, and the Saudis are working with Malik an d the Pakistanis to arrest those militants and return them to Saudi Arabia. A Clear and Present Danger Bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, et al., are well aware of these Saudi moves, which they see as a threat to their very existence. When asked in a November 2008 interview what he thought of the Saudi efforts to mediate between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban, al-Zawahiri responded that the Saudi efforts pointed out “the historical role of saboteur played by the House of Saud in ruining the causes of the Muslim ummah, and how they represent the agents whom the Crusader West uses to disperse the ummah’s energy.” The al Qaeda leadership has nowhere to go if circumstances become untenable for them in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Caught between U.S., Pakistani and Saudi forces, the last thing al Qaeda wants is to lose local support from the Taliban. In other words, Pakistan is their final battleground, and any threat to their continued haven in Pakistan poses a clear and present danger to the organization — especially if the Saudis can play a pivotal role in persuading the Taliban in Afghanistan also to turn against them. Leveraging its successes against the al Qaeda franchises in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Riyadh also is working closely with governments to combat the jihadists in places like Yemen as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is, in effect, a global Saudi campaign against jihadism, and we believe al Qaeda has no choice but to attempt to derail the Saudi effort in Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is not much al Qaeda can do to counter Saudi financial tools, but the militant group is in a position to hit back hard on the ideological front in order to counter any Saudi attempt to moderate and rehabilitate jihadists. As noted above, we have seen al Qaeda launch a sustained stream of ideological attacks in an attempt to undercut the Islamic credentials of the Saudi monarch and the Saudi clerical establishment. Another avenue that al Qaeda can take to interfere with the Saudi charm offensive is to strike Saudi targets — not only to punish the Saudis, but also to try to drive a wedge between the Saudis and the Pakistanis. Al Qaeda’s military capabilities have been greatly degraded since 2001, and with the remnant of its Saudi franchise fleeing to Yemen, it likely has very little ability to make a meaningful strike inside the kingdom. However, the one place where the al Qaeda core has shown the ability to strike in recent years is Pakistan. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the group’s operational commander in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Danish Embassy in Islamabad and for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and we have no reason to doubt his claims. Also, an attack against a diplomatic mission in Pakistan that represents a regime considered an enemy of the jihadists is not unprecedented. In addition to the Danish Embassy bombing and several attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel in Pakistan, al Qaeda also bombed the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad in November 1995. According to al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian Embassy was targeted because it “was not only running a campaign for chasing Arabs in Pakistan but also spying on the Arab Mujahedeen.” Based on the totality of these circumstances — Saudi activities against al Qaeda in South Asia and elsewhere, the al Qaeda perception of the Saudis as a threat and al Qaeda’s operational ability in Pakistan — we believe there is a very real threat that Saudi interests in Pakistan might be attacked in the near future.

Canadian Helos in Afghanistan Reach IOC / Canada’s CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinook Helicopters Reach Initial Operational Capability

Canadian Helos in Afghanistan Reach IOC / Canada’s CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinook Helicopters Reach Initial Operational Capability
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: On March 3, 2009, Lieutenant-General Angus Watt, Chief of the Air Staff, accompanied by Colonel Christopher Coates, the Commander of the Canadian Air Wing in Kandahar, announced that the CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinook helicopters had reached initial operational capability (IOC).
Canadian Chinook transport helicopters, and their Bell 412 Griffon (seen here at Kandahar) armed escorts, have now reached initial operational capability in Afghanistan. (Canadian Forces photo)
IOC is a declaration to Regional Command (South) that the CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinook helicopters belonging to the Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) Air Wing are ready to start providing a level of operational aviation support to Regional Command (South).
"I am very proud of every single member of the Joint Task Force-Afghanistan Air Wing," said Lieutenant-General Angus Watt. "In a very short period of time they have completed very demanding training, brought new aircraft into theatre, and have attained a high standard of operational capability."
The six Chinook D-model helicopters will enhance the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) ability to conduct air and aviation operations within the Regional Command (South) area of operations.
The medium-to-heavy lift helicopters will provide an important transportation capability and increased options for the transportation of Canadian soldiers, as well as their Afghan and coalition partners.
The Chinook is a very reliable helicopter that has proven itself in both domestic and international operations. The U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands have all successfully operated the Chinook aircraft in the challenging environment of Afghanistan. With their ability to carry large payloads and more than 30 soldiers, the Chinooks are a valuable asset and welcome addition to the ISAF aircraft pool.
"Achieving IOC is another significant step towards building the air capability that will improve the task force's transportation, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and will contribute to mission success in Afghanistan," said Col Coates. "These additional assets will allow ISAF to reduce ground-based resupply convoys and more easily reach remote locations in challenging environments where they could be at risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices."
The eight Griffon helicopters will be used to provide escort protection for the newly-acquired Chinooks, which will enhance CF capabilities, giving commanders the ability to move troops rapidly and with more flexibility. Griffons have been used effectively in many national and international humanitarian relief operations-including Manitoba's Red River flood in 1997, Eastern Canada's ice storm in 1998, and the United Nations effort to stabilize Haiti in 2004-and are a welcome addition to the JTF-Afg Air Wing inventory.
This achievement is an important step in fulfilling one of the key recommendations of the Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan. These helicopters will enable the Canadian Forces to better support their civilian counterparts and will assist in more efficiently and effectively progressing Canada's priorities and signature projects in Kandahar Province.
The Air Wing will continue to develop its capabilities with these platforms in order to reach full operational capability (FOC). Canada's Heron unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reached initial operating capability on January 31, 2009. Upon reaching FOC, Canadian Forces aircraft will be declared to have met the full scope of CF air support commitment to Regional Command (South).

Russia Set To Build Fast Attack Boats For Libya

Russia Set To Build Fast Attack Boats For Libya
(NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - March 12, 2009: Russia will build Molniya class missile boats for Libya under a new contract, a source in the defense industry said on Wednesday. Russian media reported on Tuesday that Libya had signed with Russia a contract worth up to an estimated $200 million to buy three missile boats. Russia has tested and put into production a new missile vessel, "Molniya ", armed with four Moskit missiles. The Molniya is a follow-on to the successful Soviet Tarantul-class missile boats. The vessel can destroy surface ships, transport and landing facilities in a coastal zone and out at sea. With its comparatively inconsiderable displacement of 550 tons, "Molniya " is equipped with four "Moskit" supersonic anti-vessel missiles. The first launch of Russia's newest supersonic anti-ship missile, the Moskit SS-N-22 Sunburn, was conducted from an export Molniya fast missile boat at the Feodosia test range late in October 1999. The boat has a radar missile target designation complex. It's the latest achievement in radio-electronic systems of this purpose. With its high noise-proof features, it can observe 15 targets simultaneously and define target destinations of six. The complex can reach targets 500 kilometers off. Besides strike missile guns, the boat has anti-aircraft missile weapons and automatic artillery installations. It has 12 portable anti-aircraft missile complexes "Igla" meant to hit air targets in conditions of natural visibility. The on-board rapid-fire artillery guns are meant to destroy air, surface and coastal targets. They can also be used to liquidate floating mines. "Molniya" also has two launchers and combined-interference shells to protect targets from anti-boat weapons with different guidance systems. "The order was placed with the Vympel shipbuilding yard in Rybinsk [in central Russia]. It involves at least three units worth up to $200 million," the source said. Russian-Libyan military cooperation was unfrozen when then-President Vladimir Putin visited Tripoli last April, with relations further strengthened by Muammar Gaddafi's subsequent visit to Moscow. During Putin's visit, the two countries signed a deal to write off $4.6 billion of Libya's debt in exchange for a host of new deals, including $2 billion in arms agreements. Libya also showed interest in buying Russian-made Su-30MKI fighters, T-90 tanks, and Tor-M2E air defense systems. The Molniya class fast attack boats have a maximum speed of over 40 knots and are equipped with anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and a 76-mm gun. The boats' relatively small size and displacement enable them to blend in with coastal merchant and fishing traffic, making them difficult to locate and target. Russia earlier delivered two Molniya class boats to Vietnam and signed a licensed production agreement with Hanoi on 10 additional vessels.

Russia To Stage Large-Scale Military Drills In Siberia

Russia To Stage Large-Scale Military Drills In Siberia
(NSI News Source Info) NOVOSIBIRSK - March 12, 2009: A major one-week military exercise will be held in southwest Siberia later this month, regional military officials said on Wednesday. The exercise will take place March 16-23 in the Kemerovo region and involve more than 5,000 personnel and up to 400 armored vehicles. The drills, under the command of Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev, chief of Russia's Ground Forces, will also involve ground attack, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, and combat and transport helicopters. The units involved in the exercise will, among other things, practice interoperability and transfer from a peacetime to wartime footing.

South Korea Sends Letter To North Calling For Calm / N. Korea Accuses Obama's Government Of Interference / N. Korea Vows To Protect Itself Amid....

South Korea Sends Letter To North Calling For Calm / N. Korea Accuses Obama's Government Of Interference / N. Korea Vows To Protect Itself Amid U.S. War Games
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL - March 12, 2009: South Korea called upon the North on Wednesday to defuse tensions, in a letter sent to the country's titular head of state, Kim Yong-nam, and to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, South Korean media reported on Wednesday. A soldier of U.S. aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis stands besides E-2C Hawkeye on a flight deck after the aircraft arrived at a South Korean naval base in Busan, about 420 km (262 miles) southeast of Seoul, March 11, 2009. The U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in South Korea on Wednesday to take part in a naval drill which is part of the Foal Eagle portion of the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea. The joint drills began on Monday and will run until March 20 across the South. South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun stated in his letter that parliament on March 2 passed a resolution on calming tensions with Pyongyang, and seeking political dialogue. According to Kim Ho-nyoun's letter, Seoul believes that Pyongyang needs to take measures to lower tensions, and the UN should actively support the efforts. "The Republic of Korea's National Assembly is concerned that the rise in tensions between the North and South is reflecting negatively in keeping peace on the Korean Peninsula and the development of inter-Korean relations," Kim Ho-nyoun's letter reads. Tensions are currently high in the region, over reports that the North is planning what it calls a launch of a telecommunications satellite, but which the U.S. and South Korea suspect to be long-range Taepodong-2 missile from the newly constructed Musudan-ri launch pad on the country's northeast coast. Relations between Seoul and the communist North have deteriorated since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in February 2008. After coming to power last February, Lee said he would review agreements reached at the 2000 and 2007 inter-Korean summits, and demand more in return from the North for the economic support provided by Seoul. Last week, North Korea said it could not guarantee the safety of South Korean civilian aircraft during joint March 9-20 U.S.-South Korean military exercises in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, also said the Korean Peninsula was on the brink of war because of joint military training operations by Seoul and Washington. The South Korean military said earlier that about 26,000 U.S. troops and an aircraft carrier would participate in the drill, code-named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle. There were no reports of how many South Korean troops are participating. The U.S. and South Korea have said the 12-day drills are for defensive purposes. North Korea said recently it would scrap all political and military agreements with South Korea, including a non-aggression pact, over its neighbor's "hostile intent." The two countries are still technically at war as their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Russia To Install 4 Floating Nuclear Plants In Northeast Siberia

Russia To Install 4 Floating Nuclear Plants In Northeast Siberia
(NSI News Source Info) YAKUTSK - March 12, 2009: Four floating nuclear power plants will be installed in the northeastern Siberian republic of Yakutia under an agreement between the Federal Nuclear Power Agency and the local administration, local authorities said on Wednesday.
"The implementation of this project will make it possible to considerably reduce outlays on the delivery of fuel for the existing energy supply system, and raise the quality and reliability of energy provision, taking into account industrial development in northern Yakutia," the republic's presidential administration said. The floating nuclear plants to be installed in four districts of Yakutia are intended to be put into service in 2013-2015, the administration said. Investment in the project at the current stage is estimated at over 30 billion rubles ($838 million). Options are also being considered to involve private investors, the administration said.

The Iskander: Unmistakable Message From Medvedev To US

The Iskander: Unmistakable Message From Medvedev To US
(NSI News Source Info) March 12, 2009: Russia will not look on indifferently while the United States deploys the third positioning component of its missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. This was the unmistakable message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his no-nonsense state-of-the-nation address recently. If countermeasures are necessary, Russia will deploy the Iskander theater missile system in Kaliningrad. Furthermore, according to Med­vedev, Russia reserves the right to use electronic jamming devices against the missile shield.
The president's position is very simple: deployment of an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic is a direct threat to Russia's nuclear potential. The 10 ground-based interceptor (GBI) missiles planned for Poland cannot, of course, hope to parry a full-scale strike by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces and missile-carrying submarines.
But the strategic importance of these interceptor missiles would increase greatly were the U.S. to deliver a nuclear first strike against Russia. In such a scenario, the interceptor missiles would be forced to contend with the reduced number of missiles that survived the first strike. This would allow the U.S. some hope for success and, for the first time since the 1950s, ‘victory' in a nuclear war. The Iskander theater missile system is Russia's answer to the possible appearance of elements of a U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe. The range of the Iskander in its basic form is 300 kilometers. In the opinion of missile specialists, it can easily be extended to 500 kilometers - and more should Russia decide to walk away from the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Additionally, the Iskander can be equipped with more than just ballistic missiles. The system can also launch long-range cruise missiles; R-500s have already been successfully test-fired from the Iskander. The range of a cruise-missile system can potentially exceed 2,000 kilometers, thus making it possible to hit targets across Western Europe. Iskander mobile launchers deployed in Kaliningrad (and possibly in Belarus), even in their standard configuaration, would be capable of delivering a sudden strike, including with nuclear warheads, at most of Poland. Rapid deployment, which takes a few minutes, combined with the characteristics of the missile itself, increase the probability of successfully engaging targets, especially in view of the fact that the main targets - the interceptor missile launchers - are fixed. The deployment of Iskanders and electronic countermeasures in Kaliningrad is certain to produce a response from the United States.
Its first step will be to give Patriot ground-to-air missile systems to Poland (an agreement to pass a Patriot battery of 12 launchers with an ammunition load of 96 missiles to the Wojsko Polskie has already been achieved).
However, Patriots do not guarantee the safety of GBI missile launchers. In order to make them more secure, the U.S. might reinforce Poland's Air Force with modern strike aircraft that are able to destroy the Iskanders before they can launch their missiles. Finally, there is the possibility that U.S. Air Force units and formations could be deployed in Poland. Russia understands the possibility of such a development of events. So, in addition to deploying Iskander missile systems and electronic jamming devices in the Kaliningrad Region, it can strengthen its grouping of ground, air force and air defense troops in the area, both by beefing up existing units to scale, and by sending in additional reserves. Naturally, such an escalation will increase tensions in Eastern Europe. We are currently observing a reopening of the Cold War's European front, which is now moved several hundred kilometers eastwards. Russia started warning about the undesirability and danger of deploying of a U.S. anti-missile system in Europe many years ago.
Its statements have gradually intensified in expression, from regrets over the lack of a normal dialogue to a direct threat to suppress the system by force. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to chant the mantra of the anti-Iranian purpose of the European missile shield. But the question: "why can't a missile defense system be deployed in Turkey" has never been adequately answered. To sum up, we have the following picture: an "anti-Iranian" missile defense system will be deployed in the next two to three years in an area clearly beyond the reach of Iran's existing and projected missiles, but very convenient for intercepting missiles launched from European Russia in a northern and a north-western direction.
The immediate targets of this system are the 28th, 54th, 60th and other Strategic Missile divisions deployed west of the Urals. A simple look at the numbers shows that although there are several Topols and UR-100s for each American interceptor, this ratio would only stand until the first nuclear strike. The concern is that it could be tempting to initiate a first strike when you have a system that protects against retaliation. It is only to be hoped that a new U.S. administration will hear Russia's case and agree to develop a mechanism of collective security in Europe. If not, future developments in this region could be hard to predict.