Thursday, December 10, 2009

DTN News: Third Phase Su-30MKI Delivery To India Started

DTN News: Third Phase Su-30MKI Delivery To India Started *Source: DTN News / IRKUT Corporation (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - December 11, 2009: IRKUT Corporation has started delivery of the third phase multifunctional two-seat fighter Su-30MKI to the Indian Air Force. Thus, IRKUT together with SUKHOI Design Bureau, RPKB, NIIP, Saturn and other companies participating in cooperation on the project, are completing fulfillment of contract signed with Indian Ministry of Defence in November 1996. Certification of the third phase Su-30MKI was successfully accomplished on exact date required.The Indian Air Force ordered 40 aircraft in 1996 and an additional ten aircraft in 1998. 18 Su-30K have been delivered which will be upgraded to MKI standard, starting in 2006. First deliveries of ten Su-30MKI full specification aircraft with thrust vectoring and phased array radar took place in September 2002 and deliveries were completed in December 2004. Hindustani Aeronautics (HAL) is also contracted to build 140 aircraft in India between 2003 and 2017, under a licensed production agreement. The first indigenously assembled aircraft was delivered in November 2004. The Su-30MKI equipped with a phased array radar and an engine with thrust vector control (TVC) is currently the only aircraft of this level in the world being under series production. The contract with the Indian Air Force provided for delivery of the Su-30MKI fighters developed by SUKHOI Design Bureau in the period from 2002 to 2004. The contract was split into three phases. Ahead of contract terms and in contrast to the Su-30K aircraft delivered before, the first phase Su-30MKI was equipped with canards and TVC. The first phase aircraft were mostly intended for fighting aerial targets. At the second phase, the fighter was upgraded to apply the Kh-31A missile and simultaneous attack of four aerial targets by guided air-to-air missiles. Besides, additional radar modes were introduced including the digital map mode and application of a long range TV-guided missile Kh-59M. The third phase Su-30MKI fully implements all navigation and combat modes according to contract commitments. The fighter is capable of employment of the whole nomenclature of aerial weapons, including simultaneous attack of up to 4 targets by guided missiles into front and rear hemispheres, corrected aerial bombs 500 and 1500 kg with designation from laser designation pos. all aerial weapons can be applied with designation from the radar. The third phase aircraft ensures simultaneous operation on a surface target with retention of air space search and attack of an aerial target as well as group action mode. Su-30MKI radar, the N-011 designed by NIIP named after Tikhomirov, is equipped with an antenna with phased array and ensures simultaneous tracking of up to 15 targets and attack of up to 4 targets, in the free space and against earth background, as well as surface mapping with high, medium and low resolution. Further more, according to contract requirements, the third phase Su-30MKI implements all navigation and combat employment modes including launch of weapons in the supermaneuverability mode. Su-30MKI supermaneuverability is ensured due to outstanding aerodynamics and application of the AL-31FP engine with TVC developed by Saturn Corporation. Unique aerodynamics and TVC considerably improve safety of flight in all modes, prevent spin stalling and provide a critical advantage in the close combat. The first TVC engine in the world under series production, the AL-31FP complies with international standards for fighter engines and has no equivalent in Russia in terms of its life time performance (MTBO – 1000h, assigned life – 2000h, nozzle MTBO – 500h). Su-30MKI avionics is integrated in a suite that provides implementation of navigation and combat employment tasks. The main avionics systems (including the mission computer) were developed by the Ramenskoye Design Bureau (RPKB). Besides, RPKB was responsible for integration of avionics and development of corresponding software. Maintenance and mission planning are provided through a ground suite Sapfir of RPKB.. The whole work on integration of avionics and weapons was conducted with participation of an India Air Force Project Team working in Moscow on a permanent basis. Within the frames of developing cooperation with the Indian Air Force, IRKUT is actively participating in the implementation of a contract signed in December 200, for licensed prduction of the Su-30MKI fighters in India at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities. Presently, two first Su-30MKI of HAL are undergoing flight trials in the city of Nasik. According to the contract that reaches through 2017, the Indian Side is manufacturing the Su-30MKI including engines, aircraft systems and avionics.

DTN News: American Jihad ~ New Details Emerge About al-Shabaab Recruitment In North America

DTN News: American Jihad ~ New Details Emerge About al-Shabaab Recruitment In North America *Source: By Raffaello Pantucci The Jamestown Foundation (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - December 11, 2009: On November 23, federal prosecutors in the United States unsealed indictments against members of a group of Minneapolis natives accused of being at the heart of a cell sending men and boys to fight with al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist movement in Somalia with close ties to al-Qaeda. [1] The unsealing of the documents came in the wake of the arrest of one of the members of the group, Mahamud Said Omar in the Netherlands, and the possible discovery of a similar cell operating out of Toronto (AP, November 10; National Post [Toronto], November 21).Mahmoud Said Omar, an arrested member of a group of Minneapolis natives that allegedly sent recruits to fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The release of the information, which for the most part does not pertain to new cases, does shed further light on the recruitment structures in place and the radicalization method by which a foreign terrorist organization like al-Shabaab is able to entice young Westernized men to join their ranks. In many ways, the revelations show the degree to which the sort of radicalization that was previously thought to be more prevalent in Europe is in fact a problem shared by the United States. On the basis of the growing numbers of American jihadis, it would appear as though foreign terrorist rhetoric has found an increasing resonance in America.
The released documents which show in detail the path taken by 26-year-old Shirwa Ahmed, a young Somali-American who laid claim to the dubious honor of being America’s first suicide bomber, having been identified by a finger that was found at the site of one of a pair of suicide car-bombings that targeted offices of the Puntland Intelligence Service in Bossaso on October 29, 2008. [2] Ahmed was part of a group of men who left Minneapolis in early December 2007, but while the others headed for Northern Somalia, Ahmed instead went on Hajj to Saudi Arabia, landing in Jeddah on December 4, 2007 (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, November 25, 2008).
Having completed his pilgrimage, Ahmed joined the others who had first passed through a series of al-Shabaab safe houses before starting a training course alongside dozens of “young ethnic Somalis from Somalia, elsewhere in Africa, Europe and the United States.” At these camps, the men were taught to use a variety of weapons while being indoctrinated in “anti-Ethiopian, anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western beliefs.” [3] The training regimen was apparently tough, with only Ahmed and one other recruit completing the course. These two went on to take part in an assault on Ethiopian troops before the second man left the conflict and lost track of Ahmed.
The documents also show the importance of a local support network of older individuals who help in the radicalization process and aid in supplying the young men with equipment and money to go to Somalia. Three individuals in particular are identified in the new documents: Abdulahi Ahmed Farah, 32; Abdiweli Yassin Isse, 24 (who both remain at large and were last spotted crossing the San Ysidro border into Mexico on October 8 with tickets to Mexico City); and Mahamud Said Omar, 43, who was captured in the Netherlands on November 8. [5]
The three men were allegedly involved in hosting a series of meetings at a variety of locations in Minneapolis, where Farah would tell the others of his experiences fighting in Somalia, claiming “that he experienced true brotherhood while fighting in Somalia and that travel for jihad was the best thing that they could do.” He exhorted them “not to be afraid” and that “to fight jihad will be fun.” Farah emphasized that “they would get to shoot guns in Somalia.” [5]
Farah claimed that he had sustained injuries (corroborated by others who knew him in Minneapolis) while fighting on the Somali/Kenyan border and had left soon afterwards for Nairobi where he married two women – undoubtedly intending to persuade the young men in Minneapolis of the possible benefits of jihad in this world as well as the next. He also allegedly helped coordinate a conference call between a group of potential recruits at a Minneapolis mosque and Isse in Somalia (Pioneer Press [St. Paul], November 24).
While both Isse and Omar are reported to have contributed to this radicalization (Isse allegedly referred to fighting in Somalia “a good jihad,” while Omar “provided encouragement”), the released documents point to a greater role as fundraisers. Isse was apparently involved in approaching other members of the Somali community to ask them to contribute money to help individuals study the Koran in Saudi Arabia. [6] It is unclear from the documents where Omar got the money he is alleged to have given the men, but he had enough to help nine of them to travel to Somalia. [7] He is also alleged to have traveled to join the men at a Shabaab safehouse in Somalia, where he supplied them with money to purchase AK-47s and calling cards. He also gave money to their Somali hosts (Pioneer Press [St. Paul], November 27). Finally, he is alleged to have hosted a meeting in Minnesota in November 2008, a few days before another group left for Somalia (Minnesota Public Radio, November 24, 2009).
In early November, six young ethnic-Somali men disappeared from Toronto’s Somali community. Their families are reported to have received a phone call from Kenya, where the men were believed to be preparing to cross into Somalia to join al-Shabaab (Toronto Star, November 19; National Post [Toronto], November 18). The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are searching for information on the missing men. Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan warned that those who traveled overseas to participate in terrorist activities could face prosecution in Canada (National Post, November 20). Toronto is home to about 150,000 ethnic-Somalis, a number of whom have returned to Somalia to join militant Islamist groups since 2006.
None of the new revelations point to a direct threat from these networks to the United States, but the role of a former fighter in the recruitment of others highlights the risk of such individuals returning home. Details are yet to emerge concerning the Minneapolis group (and the apparent Canadian parallel group in Toronto), but their existence shows an appetite for jihad amongst young Muslim men in North America. Whether this presages an impending threat on a scale similar to that seen previously in Europe is unclear, but it certainly shows that the United States is not immune to militant Islamist radicalization.
Notes:1. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Terror Charges unsealed in Minneapolis against eight men, justice department announces,” November 23, 2009,
2. United States District Court, State and District of Minnesota – Criminal Complaint, United States of America v. 1) Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax; 2) Abdiweli Yassin Isse, October 8, 2009. The document uses the official Somali written form in rendering the names.
3.Ibid, p.8
4.Ibid, p.14
5.Ibid, pp.9-10, 14
6.Ibid, p.12
7. United States District Court, District of Minnesota – Indictment, Case 0:09-cr-00242-JMR-SRN, United States of America v. Mahamud Said Omar, August 20, 2009
Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Royal Navy Sea King Crew Battle With Taliban

DTN News: Royal Navy Sea King Crew Battle With Taliban *Source: DTN News / British Ministry of Defence (MoD) (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, UK - December 11, 2009: In the two years that the Royal Navy Sea Kings have been flying over Afghanistan the crews have taken their helicopters into treacherous environments and have often encountered stiff resistance from insurgents. A Royal Navy Sea King assists troops on the ground in Afghanistan with a resupply mission [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009] In January 2009, Lieutenant Commander Gavin Simmonite and his crew were tasked to fly their Sea King with an underslung load of equipment for ground forces. As Lt Cdr Simmonite was approaching the drop zone his Sea King was hit by sustained and accurate Taliban fire. Bullets pierced the fuselage and ricocheted in the cabin. In the ensuing mêlée, Door Gunner Naval Airman Thomas Saunders returned fire and pinned down the Taliban attackers. His quick reactions provided the vital seconds of respite needed for him and his fellow crew members to escape. Naval Airman Thomas Saunders sits near his gun position in the Sea King Mk4 [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2008] Likewise, Lt Cdr Simmonite's airmanship and handling skills enabled him to get the aircraft out of the danger zone without loss of life. His aircraft was so severely damaged by enemy fire that under normal circumstances it should have been landed immediately. Whilst this would normally have been the end of the incident, when the damaged aircraft was inspected it was noted that the control cable for the tail rotor had been hit by a bullet, slicing all but one of the strands. Once again, the aircrew were extremely fortunate as the cable was close to breaking, which would have had a catastrophic effect. Lt Cdr Simmonite was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional airmanship and handling skills that enabled him to nurse the aircraft back to a safe location and in doing so saved the aircraft and his crew. Naval Airman Saunders also received an award from the Commander Joint Helicopter Command. On return to base the damage to the Sea King from the encounter with the Taliban was clear to see [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009] When informed of his award Lt Cdr Simmonite said: "Flying in Afghanistan is an extremely challenging experience. As a naval force we would normally be flying at sea level from the decks of large ships. "In Afghanistan it is a totally different environment; we have had to adapt to the high altitude, excessive heat and a desert sand that is as fine as talcum powder that permeates throughout the aircraft. "The incident with the Taliban was very challenging, but I must mention the other members of my crew whose professionalism and skill contributed greatly to the safe and successful outcome of this event." Lieutenant Commander Gavin Simmonite[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009] On returning to the UK, Naval Airman Saunders, who volunteered to become an Air Door Gunner, also praised the skills and courage of the aircrew, adding: "The recent fitment of an additional gun to the port side of the aircraft was extremely fortuitous as we were extremely vulnerable to attack. "The incident seemed to be over in minutes and my reactions to the attack were down to the excellent training provided by the squadron." After two years of successful service in Afghanistan the Sea Kings and their crews are proving to be a valuable asset to British forces in the country and look set to be deployed on many more vital sorties before they return home.

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Awarded Additional $175 Million Order To Supply 400 M-ATVs

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Awarded Additional $175 Million Order To Supply 400 M-ATVs *Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - December 11, 2009: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) announced today it has received an additional $175 million order from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to deliver 400 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV). To date, Oshkosh has received six awards valued at $3.3 billion to deliver a total of 6,619 M-ATVs. The Oshkosh M-ATV incorporates rugged, durable, patented components and systems for maximum Warfighter mobility and survivability. Derived from the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) platform, the M-ATV incorporates the proprietary TAK-4® independent suspension system with battle-tested technology. It has the wheel travel, payload capacity, side slope stability, vehicle durability, extreme mobility and necessary Warfighter protection for today’s fight. In today’s most challenging battle zones, the M-ATV is the combat-tested, mobile, survivable, durable solution – the solution to getting Warfighters to the fight and back again. Oshkosh continues to exceed the accelerated delivery schedule with unprecedented production efforts at its manufacturing facilities. The company has ramped up production to achieve 1,000 vehicles per month in December and this new award will extend production into May 2010. “We are honored to build these M-ATVs that will help save Warfighters’ lives in Afghanistan. Our employees understand the importance of this program. There is an unfaltering commitment and tremendous persistence at Oshkosh to answer our customer’s needs,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. “With world-class manufacturing capabilities, available capacity and a highly skilled workforce, we continue to be prepared to meet the needs of the U.S. Armed Forces for the M-ATV and other programs, however large the order or complex the vehicle.” The Oshkosh® M-ATV achieves superior off-road mobility through the incorporation of the Oshkosh-patented TAK-4® independent suspension system, which has undergone more than 500,000 miles of government testing and is used on more than 10,000 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR). The TAK-4 system provides 16 inches of independent wheel travel and a 70 percent off-road profile capability. Oshkosh also has received orders to supply more than 2,400 TAK-4 systems for legacy MRAP upgrades for improved off-road mobility in Afghanistan. The Oshkosh M-ATV launch team, which has exceeded M-ATV delivery requirements for five consecutive months, was a recipient of 2009 Defense Manufacturing Excellence Awards from the National Center for Advanced Technologies. Oshkosh Defense teamed with Plasan North America to provide an advanced armor solution for the M-ATV. Plasan also developed the armor system used on more than 5,000 legacy MRAPs and thousands of Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement MTVR Armored Cabs already in theater. Existing Oshkosh Defense manufacturing facilities have production capacity for all current and pending military vehicle programs, including the M-ATV and the U.S. Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), as well as any surges in production. About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit About Oshkosh Corporation
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY December 11, 2009 ~ Arrests Show Growing Internationalism Of Pakistani Militant Groups

DTN News: Afghanistan TODAY December 11, 2009 ~ Arrests Show Growing Internationalism Of Pakistani Militant Groups *Source: DTN News / By Griff Witte Washington Post Foreign Service (NSI News Source Info) KABUL, Afghanistan - December 11, 2009: The arrest in Pakistan of five Americans who authorities say might have been on their way to terrorist training camps highlights the growing internationalism of Pakistani militant groups -- both in their aims and their appeal. A man walks past a house which residents say was raided by Pakistani security forces during the arrest of five Americans suspected of having links with militants, in the Pakistani city of Sargodha December 10, 2009. The five young Americans detained in Pakistan, which is fighting a violent Taliban insurgency, wanted to join a holy war and were in contact with militants through the Internet, officials said on Thursday. The men, who had not been charged as of Thursday night but were being questioned by the FBI, have been connected by Pakistani police officials to at least two armed Pakistani groups, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Jangvi. Both groups have traditionally had local aims but in recent years have increasingly been linked to al-Qaeda, an organization with global reach and aspirations. Police officials suggested that the five Americans arrested Tuesday might have been headed to North Waziristan, the rugged tribal land that has become al-Qaeda's home base. The region is used as a training ground for fighters and as a staging area for attacks against U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani police officials said the men made clear that they intended to wage jihad, or holy war. For decades, Pakistan has had a long roster of militant groups, each with its own goals, tactics and memberships. Groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, for instance, once focused almost exclusively on attacking Indian targets in and around the disputed region of Kashmir, often with covert Pakistani government support. Lashkar-e-Jangvi, meanwhile, has targeted Shiites as part of a campaign of sectarian violence. But Pakistani analysts say the organizations have recently begun to show an unprecedented level of cooperation and appear to be working toward a common agenda that involves attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Pakistani government targets. In this, the groups have aligned themselves with two radical Islamist organizations, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They have also broadened the battlefield to encompass not just Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal belt, but the heartland of Pakistan. Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, has been hit repeatedly this year by suicide bombings that have been blamed on a nexus of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and local militant groups. Pakistani security analyst Hasan-Askari Rizvi said it was significant that the five Americans were arrested in Sargodha, a town on the eastern Punjabi plain, far from the tribal belt of the northwest. "The tribal areas have become a very difficult place for people from outside to access because of the military operation," said Rizvi, referring to an offensive in South Waziristan launched by the Pakistani military this fall. "Militant activity in the tribal areas has been curtailed somewhat. But in the small cities in Punjab, life is quiet and you can easily move around." The tribal areas, however, remain the hub of militancy in Pakistan, and they draw recruits from the world over. Although the majority of fighters in those areas are Pakistani or Afghan, the region has also become a haven for Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks and other young men from around the globe who have been influenced by radical Islamist ideology and are seeking a battlefield on which to fight. Until now, there have been few cases of Americans attempting to join in. But Pakistani analysts said the case of the five Americans arrested in Sargodha, coupled with that of a Chicago man charged this week with helping to plot last year's rampage in Mumbai, suggests that radical groups in Pakistan are finding an audience in the United States. "It shows that this is truly a global phenomenon," said Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based security analyst and former Pakistani general. For Pakistani-based groups, attracting Americans to their cause probably holds special appeal, Masood said. "It allows them to say, 'Look, our sense of duty and motivation is so high that people come all the way from the U.S. to fight with us,' " he said. Analysts said the discovery of the five Americans could further escalate pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant groups. The Obama administration has said greater cooperation from Pakistan will be critical as the United States sends 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan next year to try to roll back the insurgency there. Pakistan's commitment to fighting militant groups has been questioned repeatedly by U.S. officials, who say that elements of the nation's military and intelligence services continue to back radical organizations with which they have a history of cooperation. But Rizvi said the arrests in Sargodha suggest that Pakistani law enforcement has stepped up its anti-militancy efforts, even against groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed that once enjoyed state support. Even the groups once tied to Pakistan's intelligence service are being monitored "very closely," he said.

DTN News: UN Close To New Sanctions On Iran, France Says

DTN News: UN Close To New Sanctions On Iran, France Says *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) - December 11, 2009: The UN no longer has any reason to wait to consider new sanctions on Iran if it does not respond to concerns over its nuclear programme, France says. If Iran continued to ignore demands, "we must draw all of the necessary conclusions" and move to sanctions, French Ambassador Gerard Araud said. Iran is already subject to UN sanctions over its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is for military purposes. Mr Araud spoke after a report said Iran was trying to defy some of the curbs. The head of the UN panel which monitors a 2007 ban on Iranian arms exports told the Security Council there was "an apparent pattern of sanctions violations" by Iran over the past three months. "If Iran continues to do everything it can to violate five Security Council resolutions, if it continues to refuse the slightest confidence measures, to refuse dialogue, transparency after the major revelations that have just been made, we must draw all of the necessary conclusions and that means we must move on to a new resolution involving sanctions," said Mr Araud. Should Iran continue to fail to meet its obligations, the international community will have to consider further actions Susan RiceUS ambassador to UN US ambassador Susan Rice said that while her country still sought a diplomatic solution to the crisis through engagement with Iran, "time is short". "Should Iran continue to fail to meet its obligations, the international community will have to consider further actions," she said. British ambassador Mark Grant said discussions about fresh sanctions would start "at the beginning of the new year" unless Iran responded positively before then. Tough talks Russia however reiterated its position that it was not seeking further punitive measures against Iran. "This language of sanctions, it is not our language. It has already been said many times," foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. Any move towards a new round of sanctions is expected to involve long and arduous negotiations with reluctant Security Council members, such as China, says the BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN. There is also the question about whether or not agreement could be won on significantly tougher restrictions, she adds. Iran has insisted its nuclear programme is for purely peace purposes and has warned that further sanctions will be ineffective. It has not signed up to a six-nation compromise plan over its controversial uranium enrichment programme. Russia, China, the US, UK, France and Germany have suggested uranium enrichment for civilian nuclear energy could be regulated if Iran handed over its uranium to Russia to manage the process.

DTN News: Israeli Army Paratroopers Training Exercise On Golan Heights

DTN News: Israeli Army Paratroopers Training Exercise On Golan Heights *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) GOLAN HEIGHTS - December 10, 2009: Israeli army paratroopers cross the tracks left by dozens of tanks as their brigade completes a week-long live-fire training exercise December 10, 2009 on the Golan Heights.Israeli army paratroopers advance as their brigade completes a week-long live-fire training exercise December 10, 2009 on the Golan Heights. The Israeli Knesset approved yesterday the first readings of a bill that would require a referendum on any withdrawal from sovereign Israeli territory, such as the Golan Heights, which the Jewish State annexed after capturing the strategic plateau from the Syrians in the 1967 Six Day War.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY December 10, 2009 ~ Nearly 580 Terrorists Killed In South Waziristan, Says ISPR

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY December 10, 2009 ~ Nearly 580 Terrorists Killed In South Waziristan, Says ISPR *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - December 10, 2009: Security forces have so far killed 589 terrorists and arrested 45 militants during the ongoing operation in South Waziristan. Military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas also said that 79 security personnel have lost their lives and 240 are injured. Security militants arrest militants in Khyber Agency. He said that security forces had seized large quantities of arms and ammunition from hideouts of fleeing insurgents. These included 49 anti-aircraft machine-guns of 12.7mm calibre, 15 machine-guns of 14.5mm calibre, 38 RPG 7, 16 heavy machine-guns, 592 rifles of various types, 45 small machine-guns, three artillery guns, one Russian-made missile launcher, 32 pistols, five recoilless rifles, besides trucksload of ammunition, 203886 bullets of 12.7mm anti aircraft machine-gun, 9,000 rounds of 14.5mm machine-gun, 830 rockets of RPG 7, 11 Russian-made missiles, 106 rockets of recoilless rifles and 140 rockets of SPG 9. Military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told Dawn that 79 security personnel lost their lives and 240 were injured. According to ISPR, a number of IEDs were destroyed during the operation in Aka Khel Pungai near Ahmedwam and Abdullah Noor Kaskai near Kotkai in Jandola sector on Tuesday and Wednesday. Security forces arrested five suspects at Miachan Baba and Shaka in Shakai sector. In Razmak sector, 25 compounds were cleared in Tara Tiza Alghad and Mairobi Raghzai areas, a huge cache of arms and ammunition was seized. A rocket attack on the Razmak camp was repulsed. Security forces have also cleared Ghujre, two kilometres north of Pash Ziarat, where tunnels and underground living bunkers were found.

DTN News: Russia's MIG Company Confirms Delivery Of Naval Fighters To India

DTN News: Russia's MIG Company Confirms Delivery Of Naval Fighters To India *Source: DTN News / RIA Novosti (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - December 10, 2009: Russia's MiG aircraft maker said on Tuesday it has delivered the first four MiG-29 Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets to India. Russia and India signed a contract on January 20, 2004, stipulating the supply of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs to India as part of a $1.5 billion deal to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian navy. Indian media earlier reported that two MiG-29K and two MiG-29KUB fighters arrived from Russia in a knocked down condition on December 4. Deliveries of the remaining aircraft will be carried out in line with a schedule agreed by MiG and the Indian Navy. (The first two MiG-29Ks and two MiG-29KUBs already tested on the carrier were officially transferred to India earlier.) The contract for the jets also stipulates the procurement of hardware for pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems. India and Russia are also reportedly close to reaching an agreement to break the deadlock on additional financing for the retrofit of the Admiral Gorshkov, which caused "a distinct chill in expansive Indo-Russian defense ties." "India is likely to shell out around $2.5 billion and get the carrier by early 2013,'' Times of India quoted a source in the Indian military as saying. The Indian Navy has named its MiG-29K squadron the "Black Panthers." The fighters will be based at an airfield in the state of Goa on India's west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the Navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya.

DTN News: Pakistan Gets First AWACS Aircraft From Sweden

DTN News: Pakistan Gets First AWACS Aircraft From Sweden *Source: DTN News / Defense Media (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - December 10, 2009: The Pakistani air force says it has acquired the first of four Awacs surveillance aircraft from Sweden to boost its air defences. The Saab 2000 AEW&C aircraft is a variant of the Saab 2000 regional transport turboprop equipped with the Saab Systems Erieye reconnaissance radar. An air force statement said the Saab-2000 Awacs aircraft landed at one of the main operating bases on Tuesday. The statement did not say anything about the cost of the deal and when the remaining three would be delivered. The acquisition of the Awacs comes after arch-rival India bought its own Awacs systems from Israel in June. The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says the Saab-2000 aircraft will boost the Pakistani military's early warning capabilities in the event of hostilities with India. The aircraft can be used to provide information on all three spheres of military conflict - aerial, naval and land based. Our correspondent says the Awacs planes and advanced F-16 fighter-bombers soon to arrive from the US will provide a qualitative edge to the Pakistan air force against its numerically superior adversary. Pakistani military officials say the planes also have a greater range than similar aircraft in the Indian military and can be used as airborne command centres in case of a possible nuclear conflict.

DTN News: Prof. Noam Chomsky Says Israel, 'US Military Base'

DTN News: Prof. Noam Chomsky Says Israel, 'US Military Base'
*Source: DTN News / Press TV
(NSI News Source Info) BOSTON, Ma. - December 10, 2009: Renowned American sociopolitical analyst Noam Chomsky says Israel functions as Washington's main weapons storage base in the Middle East.
"Israel is essentially a US military base, the US positions weapons there, that's a very close military and intelligence tie," the Jewish academic told Press TV on Wednesday while explaining the complexity of relations between Washington and Tel Aviv.
Commenting on the weapons that Israel received from the US before launching its 2007-2008 offensive in the Gaza Strip, Chomsky said that the exchange of weapons between the two sides was not surprising.
"[Israel] is receiving weapons constantly. In fact, weapons were sent during the invasion of Gaza. They tried to send them, they were supposed to send them from Greece, and Greece refused to ship them," he said. "When pentagon was asked about this, they responded (I think correctly) that the weapons were not being sent for the Gaza invasion which was underway with the US weapons of course; rather, the US was positioning weapons in Israel," he added.
The professor, who was taking part in an interview with Press TV after delivering a speech at Boston University, said that although Israel had influence over the US foreign policy, it still had to act within the boundaries of what Washington allowed.
"Take for example Israeli threats against Iran or US threats for that matter, in which if anybody cares it is a violation of the UN charter,” said Chomsky. "Last summer in 2008, right in the middle of the presidential election… Israeli lobbyists tried very hard to push through a resolution in congress calling for a blockade on Iran which essentially would have been an act of war.
"They were rounding up quite lot of senators… and all of a sudden the effort terminated, presumably what happened is the White House… wanted to have a word with them, so they pulled back, that happens over and over, Israel can not go beyond what the US permits," he added.
During his address at Boston University, the recognized professor also warned of the threat that the US and Israel posed to the world and said people may have more to fear from the two than those that Washington tries to associate with terrorism.
"[The US and Israel] consistently and regularly… resort to force and the threat of force… carry out aggression regularly and repeatedly… invade other countries, occupy other countries, [and] invoke terror and violence," he said.
Chomsky also pointed out that the US government and its media had spread exaggerated reports about Iran's nuclear program. "There has been a massive propaganda campaign that demonizes Iran, that portrays it as a major threat to world peace that has been going on for the past three years," he said.

DTN News: Amir Hossein Ardebili Flips On Iran

DTN News: Amir Hossein Ardebili Flips On Iran
*Source: Strategy Page
(NSI News Source Info) DUBAI, UAE - December 10, 2009: The increasing success in shutting down Iran arms smuggling efforts is mainly due to good intelligence work. For example, a known (to U.S. investigators) arms smuggler, Iranian citizen Amir Hossein Ardebili, was traced to the Caucasus (Georgia) two years ago, arrested by local police and transported to the United States. This was kept quiet, because Ardebili's laptop was also captured, and proved to be full of useful information. This persuaded Ardebili to flip and plead guilty a year after his arrest. Ardebili had been tracked since 2004, so the U.S. already had a thick file on him. With his arms smuggling career in tatters, it appears that Ardebili provided information that was not on his computer. Like his initial arrest (and the prior three years of pursuit), the after effects of Ardebili's capture will not be known for some time. It was only recently that the U.S. government released information on Ardebili's arrest and prosecution. There are apparently many more such cases underway. Ever since the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1979 (after Iran broke diplomatic protocol by seizing the American embassy), Iran has sought, with some success, to offer big money to smugglers who can beat the embargo and get needed industrial and military equipment. This is a risky business, and American and European prisons are full of Iranians, and other nationals, who tried, and often failed, to procure forbidden goods. The smuggling operations are currently under more scrutiny, and attack, because of Iran's growing nuclear weapons program. But the Iranians simply offer more money, and more smugglers step up to keep the goodies coming.
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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: Mexico ~ The War With The Cartels In 2009

DTN News: Mexico ~ The War With The Cartels In 2009 *Editor’s Note: This week’s Global Security & Intelligence Report is an abridged version of STRATFOR’s annual report on Mexico’s drug cartels. The full report, which includes extensive diagrams depicting the leadership of each cartel, will be available to our members next week.
*Source: By Scott Stewart and Alex Posey STRATFOR (NSI News Source Info) LOS ANGELES, Ca. - December 10, 2009: There are two cartel wars currently raging in Mexico that have combined to produce record levels of violence in 2009. The first war is the struggle between the government of Mexico and the drug cartels. The second, a parallel war, is the fight among the various cartels as they compete for control of lucrative supply routes. Shortly after his inauguration in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon launched an all-out effort to target the cartels, which he viewed as a major threat to Mexico’s security and stability. Over the past three years, the government’s effort has weakened and fragmented some of the major cartels (namely the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels), but this government progress has upset the balance of power among the cartels, which has resulted in increased violence. Former cartel allies have been pitted against each other in bloody battles of attrition as rival cartels have tried to take advantage of their weakened competitors and seize control of smuggling routes. In this year’s report on Mexico’s drug cartels, we assess the most significant developments of the past year and provide an updated description of the country’s powerful drug-trafficking organizations as well as a forecast for 2010. This annual report is a product of the coverage we maintain on a weekly basis through our Mexico Security Memo as well as other analyses we produce throughout the year. Mexico’s Drug Trafficking Organizations La Familia: This cartel has garnered a great deal of media attention during the past year, especially after being labeled in May “the most violent criminal organization in Mexico” by former Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. La Familia has grabbed headlines mainly because of its brazen attacks against government forces and its pseudo-ideological roots. In spite of its public image, the La Familia organization still remains relatively small and geographically isolated compared to the larger and more established cartels. The La Familia organization’s headquarters and main area of operation is in the southwestern state of Michoacan, hence the name of the principal group: La Familia Michoacana. The organization also has regional franchises that operate in the neighboring states of Guerrero, Guanajuato and Mexico, as well as a limited presence in Jalisco and Queretaro states. The degree to which these groups coordinate with each other and how much autonomy they possess is unclear, though they all reportedly follow the same cult-like ideology. Without direct access to the U.S.-Mexico border, La Familia is geographically constrained and must pay “taxes” to the organizations that control the border corridors through which La Familia’s product is moved. Gulf cartel: At the beginning of Calderon’s campaign against the cartels, the Gulf cartel was considered the most powerful drug-trafficking organization in Mexico. After nearly three years of bearing the brunt of Mexican law enforcement and military efforts, however, the Gulf cartel is today only a shell of its former self. At its height, a great deal of the Gulf cartel’s power came from its former enforcement arm, Los Zetas. Today the two are separate entities, with Los Zetas being the dominant organization and controlling much of the Gulf cartel’s former territory. The relationship between the two organizations reportedly was somewhat strained over the past year when the Gulf cartel leadership refused to take orders from Los Zetas chief Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano Lazcano. Despite this rift, the two organizations continue to work together when their interests align. Los Zetas: Over the past year, the group has held firm its position as one of the most powerful cartels operating in Mexico while trying to extend its presence southward into Central America from its core area of operations along Mexico’s eastern coast and the Yucatan Peninsula. The organization remains fully under the control of “El Lazca.” There have been rumors that Lazcano Lazcano has tried to consolidate control over what is left of the Gulf cartel over the past year and integrate the remaining personnel into Los Zetas’ operations, but these reports have not been confirmed. Los Zetas have a well-documented relationship with Los Kaibiles (Guatemalan special forces deserters turned criminal muscle) since at least 2006, which has helped facilitate Los Zetas’ expansion into Guatemala. A Guatemalan joint military and law enforcement operation in March raided a Los Zetas camp and air strip in the border department of Ixcan that were being utilized for the tactical training of Los Zeta recruits as well as a destination for aerial deliveries of cocaine — further indication that Los Zetas have an established presence in Guatemala. This push southward has given the organization greater control of its overland cocaine supply line into Mexico and enabled it to control much of the human smuggling from Central America into Mexico and the United States. Los Zetas have also worked with the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO) throughout 2009. The two organizations are currently trying to wrest control away from La Familia in the Michoacan and Guerrero regions to gain access to the lucrative Pacific ports of Lazaro Cardenas and Acapulco. There has also been a concerted effort by the Los Zetas leadership to become stakeholders in the BLO over the past year, but currently their role remains that of hired muscle to supplement the BLO’s ongoing operations as the organization pursues its own agenda. Los Zetas have also contracted themselves out to the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization, also known as the Juarez cartel, to serve as advisers and trainers for the organization as they both battle their common rival, the Sinaloa cartel, for control over the Juarez border region. Beltran-Leyva Organization: After a very active 2008, the BLO has kept a relatively low profile throughout much of 2009. After the BLO secured control of its territory in mid-2008 following its split with the Sinaloa cartel (the BLO/Sinaloa battle for territory accounted for a significant portion of the violence in Mexico in early 2008), the cartel was able to concentrate on consolidating and streamlining its narcotics smuggling operations. After the consolidation, the group went on the offensive again in October and November when it teamed up with Los Zetas to target La Familia in Guerrero and Michoacan states. The BLO remains under the command of Arturo Beltran Leyva, who is supported by a well-established network along Mexico’s Pacific coast and into northeastern Mexico. The BLO has been in the narcotics business a long time and has perhaps the most sophisticated intelligence capability of any of the cartels. Sinaloa cartel: In spite of losing some of its former allies like the Carrillo Fuentes Organization and the BLO in 2008, the Sinaloa cartel remains the most formidable and dominant cartel in Mexico today. Headed by the world’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, the Sinaloa cartel demonstrated its resiliency in 2009 and remained quite active throughout the year. Guzman’s partners, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, Ignacio “El Nacho” Coronel Villareal and Juan “El Azul” Esparragoza Moreno, each have their own respective networks and continue to work together when necessary to traffic narcotics northward from South America. The conflict in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua state between the Sinaloa cartel and the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization (VCF), also known as the Juarez cartel, has undoubtedly been the primary focus of the Sinaloa cartel over the past year. The conflict has essentially resulted in a stalemate between the two organizations as they battle for control over the lucrative Juarez plaza. The Sinaloa cartel still maintains a significant presence in the territory along the Pacific coast of Mexico and the Sierra Madre Occidental. While violence has lessened significantly between the Sinaloa cartel and the BLO, their overlapping geography continues to generate some conflict between the two organizations, particularly in the state of Sinaloa. The Sinaloa cartel has also remained active in Central and South America throughout 2009 as it attempts to exert greater control over the flow of weapons and narcotics from South America to Mexico. The Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization/Juarez cartel: The VCF is based out of the northern city of Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua state. The cartel is led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who took over after the 1997 death of his brother and cartel founder Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Throughout 2009, the Juarez cartel has maintained its long-standing alliance with the BLO, which is helping the VCF in its vicious battle with the Sinaloa cartel for control of Juarez. The VCF is yet another Mexican drug trafficking organization (DTO) that has fallen significantly in the past few years. The VCF and its enforcement arm, La Linea, have been locked in a battle for nearly two years with their former partners from the Sinaloa cartel for control over the lucrative Juarez plaza. The prolonged conflict has taken its toll on the VCF and has forced the cartel to resort to other criminal activities to finance its battle for Juarez, primarily kidnapping, human trafficking, prostitution, extortion and the retail sale of drugs to the domestic Mexican market. In its weakened state, the VCF has been forced to focus almost all of its efforts on fighting the Sinaloa cartel and has not been able to effectively project its influence much farther than the greater Juarez area. Arellano Felix Organization/Tijuana cartel: The Arellano Felix Organization (AFO) — also known as the Tijuana cartel — is based in the far northwestern state of Baja California, across the border from San Diego. With the arrests of all the Arellano Felix brothers and several other high-ranking members, infighting has caused the once-powerful AFO to be split into two competing factions — one led by Arellano Felix nephew Fernando “El Ingeniero” Sanchez Arellano and the other led by Eduardo Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental. Garcia initially sought the support of the rival Sinaloa cartel and it is now thought that the Garcia faction is essentially a Sinaloa proxy in the greater Tijuana area. The Sanchez faction has remained relatively dormant in 2009. The organization has been forced to diversify its operations into other criminal activities, such as kidnapping, human trafficking, prostitution and extortion. This was due in part to increased scrutiny by Mexican law enforcement after an extraordinary spike in violence in 2008 that saw, at its height, more than 100 executions during one week in the greater Tijuana area. Much of the violence that has occurred in Tijuana in 2009 has been a result of clashes between these two rival factions. The overall level of violence in Tijuana has been far lower in 2009 than it was during the height of the conflict in 2008. Debate Over the Military’s Mission One of the most important facets of the Calderon government’s campaign against the drug cartels has been the widespread deployment of Mexican military personnel. While previous presidents have used the military for isolated counternarcotics operations, the level to which Calderon has used Mexico’s armed forces in that role is unprecedented. During Calderon’s term in office, he has deployed more than 35,000 military personnel to a number of regions throughout Mexico to carry out counternarcotics operations. Because of this, 2009 witnessed a growing debate over the role of the Mexican military in the country’s war against the cartels. Domestic and international human rights organizations have expressed concerns over an increase in alleged civil rights abuses by Mexican military personnel, and U.S.-based Human Rights Watch has even gone so far as to call on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to certify Mexico’s human rights record, which would effectively freeze a portion of the Merida Initiative funds allocated by the United States to aid Mexico in its counternarcotics campaign. Even members of Calderon’s own National Action Party have stated that there needs to be a better balance between the needs of the cartel war and the civil rights of Mexican citizens. The Calderon administration’s unprecedented use of the military is due in large part to the seemingly systemic corruption in the ranks of local, state and even federal law enforcement agencies in Mexico. Less corrupted as an institution, the military has been increasingly called upon to handle tasks that would normally fall under the responsibilities of law enforcement such as conducting security patrols, making traffic stops and manning checkpoints. As the military has taken over these traditional law enforcement tasks, it has come into closer contact with the Mexican civilian population, which has resulted in human rights-abuse accusations and the current controversy. Calderon has defended this strategy saying that the military’s large role in the war against the cartels is only a temporary solution and has tried to minimize the criticism by involving the federal police as much as possible. But it has been the armed forces that have provided the bulk of the manpower and coordination that federal police agencies — hampered by rampant corruption and a tumultuous reform process — have not been able to muster. Calderon is aware that it is not ideal to use the military in this capacity, but the fact is that the military remains the most reliable and versatile security tool presently available to the Mexican government. While Calderon’s ultimate goal is to professionalize and completely hand over all the traditional law enforcement tasks to the federal police, the military will be needed to help in Mexico’s war against the cartels for the foreseeable future. The Mexican government has no other option. It will be years before the federal police will have the capability and manpower required to take over the missions currently being performed by the military. Trends in Violence As noted in last year’s cartel report, the last three months of 2008 saw an explosion in violence and a dramatic increase in the number of cartel-related deaths across Mexico. The levels of violence seen at the end of 2008 have persisted into 2009 and have gradually worsened over the course of the year. Estimates of the current death toll for organized crime-related deaths in Mexico at the time this report was written ranged from 6,900 to more than 7,300. The previous yearly record was 5,700 deaths in 2008. The geography of the violence in Mexico has remained relatively static from the end of the 2008 through 2009. Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Michoacan and Baja California were the five most violent states in 2009 — and all happen to be the top five in terms of violence throughout Calderon’s term. Chihuahua state once again sits atop the list as the most violent state, with more than 3,200 deaths so far in 2009, and more than 2,100 in Juarez alone. The extraordinary levels of violence seen in Juarez and Chihuahua state can be directly attributed to the ongoing conflict between the Sinaloa cartel, the Juarez cartel and their street-gang proxies. High levels of violence returned to Michoacan and Guerrero states in 2009 due in large part to the increased activities and expansion of the La Familia organization. La Familia has launched numerous high-profile attacks against the military and law enforcement personnel operating in Michoacan as well as its rivals in the region. Federal police and military patrols in the region frequently come under fire and are sometimes ambushed by La Familia gunmen. The attacks on security personnel are often associated with the capture of a high-ranking La Familia member. While Mexican security forces have been able to weaken and divide some of the more powerful cartels, this diminution of cartel power has actually spawned even more violence as the organizations scramble to retain control of their territory or to steal turf from other cartels. Over the past few decades, the only time intercartel violence has diminished has been during periods of stability and equilibrium among the competing cartels, and the Mexican government’s anti-drug operations will not allow for such stability and equilibrium. This means we can expect to see the high level of violence continue between the government and the cartels, and among the competing cartels, throughout 2010.
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