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Thread: World War Three Thread....

  1. #721
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russia’s Lavrov says NATO’s planned Balkan expansion a ‘provocation’

    SARAJEVO (Reuters) – NATO’s potential expansion to the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro could be seen as a “provocation”, Russia’s foreign minister was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview published on Monday.

    Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Photograph: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

    Moscow has opposed any NATO extension to former communist areas of eastern and southeastern Europe, part of a competition for geo-strategic influence since the end of the Cold War that sits at the heart of the current conflict in ex-Soviet Ukraine.
    Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia share an ambition to join the Western military alliance, following in the footsteps of Albania and ex-Yugoslav Croatia, which became members in 2009.
    Asked about the integration of the three into NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz: “With regards to the expansion of NATO, I see it as a mistake, even a provocation in a way.
    “This is, in a way, an irresponsible policy that undermines the determination to build a system of equal and shared security in Europe, equal for everyone regardless of whether a country is a member of this or that bloc.”
    Russia has energy interests in the Balkans and historical ties with the Slavs of the region, many of them Orthodox Christian like the Russians. But Moscow’s influence has waned as the countries of the former Yugoslavia seek to join the European mainstream with membership of the EU and NATO.
    The tiny Adriatic republic of Montenegro appears closest to NATO accession. Bosnia’s bid is hostage to ethnic bickering that has slowed reforms, while Macedonia remains blocked by a long-running dispute with neighboring Greece over the name of the landlocked country.
    Only Serbia, perhaps Russia’s closest ally in the region, is not actively pursuing membership of NATO given political sensitivities lingering since the alliance’s 1999 air war against then-strongman Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to halt a wave of atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
    Lavrov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Serbia in mid-October to mark the 70th anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from Nazi occupation by Yugoslav Partisan fighters and the Soviet army.
    (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Matt Robinson/Mark Heinrich)
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    North Korea’s New Military Heavyweight?

    September 29, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner · in CIA, DIA, Intelligence Community, military history, national security, North Korea, South Korea, US Military · Leave a comment
    North Korea’s New Military Heavyweight?
    http://english.chosun.com/ site/data/html_dir/2014/09/29/ 2014092901917.html
    Ri Pyong-cholRi Pyong-chol
    Ri Pyong-chol, a commanding officer in the North Korean air force, is emerging as the most powerful figure in the North Korean military.
    Ri was appointed to the top decision-making National Defense Commission at a regular session of the Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang last Thursday.
    “It’s the first time a field commander has been appointed a member of the Defense Commission,” a government official here said Friday. “We need to watch what role he’ll play in the future.”
    Ri’s promotion probably has something to do with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s special interest in the aviation sector. Out of 40 military-related on-site inspections he undertook this year, 10 involved the air force.
    “It seems Kim Jong-un wants to drastically increase the North’s anti-air capabilities for fear of U.S. airstrikes on the leadership,” Chung Sung-jang of the Sejong Institute speculated, especially at a time when U.S. airstrikes against Middle Eastern regimes it dislikes are becoming an annual event.
    Read this article in Korean
    englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 29, 2014 12:07 KST
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    MinutemanColorado said something the other day... talking about how it can all go to hell in a handbasket in 5 minutes. That's a paraphrase of course, but he's dead on with that.

    Look at this.

    Russia threatens to retaliate against U.S. military

    / Daniel Crane

    Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-34


    TEL AVIV – Russia has delivered a behind-the-scenes threat to retaliate if airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or its allies target the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle Eastern security officials told WND.


    The security officials said Russia complained Sunday in quiet talks with United Nations representatives that the Obama administration’s current aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria is a violation of international agreements regarding control of Syrian airspace.


    The officials said Russia warned it could potentially retaliate if U.S. or Arab airstrikes go beyond targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and instead bomb any Syrian regime targets.


    The officials told WND they do not have any information about the seriousness of the Russian threat or whether Moscow meant it would retaliate directly or aid Assad’s air force in a military response.


    The officials said Russian diplomats asserted terms regarding Syrian airspace were agreed upon last September as part of a sweeping deal to disarm Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons by the middle of 2014.


    At the time, the international community feared Assad could target chemical weapons inspectors acting in Syria. That fear in part lead to a deal in which Moscow says it was provided with significant responsibility over the skies of Syria, purportedly to insure against Assad’s air force acting against the international disarmament effort.


    Read more at WND
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    South China Sea: Indonesia adds an F16 fighter jet squadron in Riau Islands

    .
    Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Batam | Headlines | Mon, September 29 2014, 9:45 AM

    To increase its military defenses in the South China Sea, the government is preparing to establish an F16 fighter jet squadron in Pekanbaru, Riau Islands, and an Apache helicopter squadron near the South China Sea.

    Riau Islands
    Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the government had decided upon the measure to safeguard Asia’s largest gas field exploration at Riau Islands’ East Natuna field, formerly known as the Natuna-D Alpha block, which is set for development in the near future.
    “Oil and gas production in the South China Sea is immense and we are about to develop the biggest gas field in Asia. We need to secure it as a national strategic object,” Purnomo said Saturday on the sidelines of the launch of five attack missile boats and one fast patrol boat at the Batu Ampar container port in Batam, Riau Islands.

    During the event, Purnomo said investment in the country’s defense system had been extensive over the past five years, adding that the amount was three times larger than the investment during the 2005-2009 government administration and five times larger than the 2000-2004 administration.
    The former energy and mineral resources minister said the F16 squadron would enhance the existing fighter squadron in Pekanbaru, which is home to a number of Hawk 100 and 200 weapons system jets.

    “There will be a LIFT [lead-in fighter trainer] fighter jet, Hawk 100 and 200 jets as well as the latest series of F16 C/D jets. [We need them] because there are many strategic projects in the area,” Purnomo said, while declining to comment on the disputes in the South China Sea.
    Indonesia has been warned that the territorial disputes over certain islands in the South China Sea is a real threat that could sooner or later impact this country.
    Head of the Maritime Security Coordinating Board (Bakorkamla), Vice Adm. Desi Albert Mamahit, said Indonesia’s waters off Riau Islands were not part of the disputed territory. However, they were very close to the area and China had not yet clarified what claims it would make regarding Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone around them.
    “This is clearly a real threat for Indonesia,” said Desi, who is also rector of the Indonesia Defense
    University.
    He said Indonesia needed to be prepared to deal with any move made by any party involved in the disputes.
    He said China had claimed ownership over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands by saying the waters around them were traditional Chinese fishing areas, even though they are located thousands of kilometers from the Chinese mainland.
    At the same time, a number of ASEAN member states, namely Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, also claim ownership over territory in the South China Sea.
    “This is complicated as there are conflicts between fellow ASEAN member countries and China. It makes it difficult to speak with one voice, although so far ASEAN solidarity has been maintained,” Desi said.

    East Natuna Indonesia Gas Field Map
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    South China Sea: Philippines, U.S. Start Military Exercise

    The Philippine marine spokesman says the location isn’t linked to the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China
    DISPUTED WATERS. US Navy personnel raise their flag on June 28, 2014, during the bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine Navy and US Navy dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2014) aboard the USS John S. McCain in the South China Sea near waters claimed by Beijing. File photo by Noel Celis/Pool/EPA

    PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – Thousands of Philippine and US marines on Monday, September 29, began military exercises close to flashpoints in the South China Sea, where China is engaged in a bitter territorial dispute with its neighbors.
    The 12-day amphibious landing exercises – involving about 3,500 US marines and sailors and 1,200 Filipino counterparts – were officially launched from the western island of Palawan, directly facing the South China Sea.
    China claims the sea almost in its entirety, and its increasingly assertive efforts to stake its claims have heightened tensions with neighbors including the Philippines.
    The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.
    But Philippine marine spokesman Lieutenant Jerber Anthony Belonio stressed that the location of the opening ceremonies was not linked to the territorial dispute.
    “This has no relation whatsoever. This is just to show the capabilities of our new marine landing brigade which coincidentally is based in Palawan,” he told Agence France-Presse.
    The Philippines has recently been beefing up its military assets in Palawan, the country’s main outpost to the South China Sea which is a vital sealane, a valuable fishing ground and which is believed to hold vast mineral resources. (READ: Filipino seamen at risk in South China Sea row)
    ‘Bilateral response’ to crises
    The poorly-equipped military has also recently been boosting its ties with defense allies – particularly the United States, its former colonial power – in the face of Chinese saber-rattling.
    The US Marine Corps said the exercises would “enhance the interoperability between US Navy and Marine Corps forces and their Philippine counterparts with a focus on improving our bilateral response to regional issues and maritime security crises.”
    This year’s exercises will include small arms and artillery live-fire training, a mechanized assault and paratroop operations.
    The USS Peleliu, a US amphibious assault ship, along with two support ships, arrived at the former US Subic naval base on the weekend to take part in the exercises.

    USS Peleliu
    In April, the two allies signed a new defense accord giving US forces greater access to Filipino bases as part of a US rebalancing of military power towards rising Asia, which is seen by many analysts as a check to the emerging power of China.
    Although the United States has taken no side in the territorial disputes, it has warned China against taking “destabilizing actions” in the South China Sea.
    The sea is claimed in parts by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia as well as China and the Philippines.
    China has been involved in a string of tense maritime incidents with rival claimants in the South China Sea. Earlier this year it placed an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam, sparking deadly riots in the Southeast Asian nation. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
    ***************************
    The 12-day amphibious landing exercises – involving about 3,500 US marines and sailors and 1,200 Filipino counterparts – were officially launched from the western island of Palawan, directly facing the South China Sea.

    A file photo shows Philippine Navy frigate (in background) at the mouth of the South China Sea off Palawan island. (AFP/Ted Aljibe)
    PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines: Thousands of Philippine and US marines on Monday (Sep 29) began military exercises close to flashpoints in the South China Sea, where Beijing is engaged in a bitter territorial with its neighbours.
    The 12-day amphibious landing exercises – involving about 3,500 US marines and sailors and 1,200 Filipino counterparts – were officially launched from the western island of Palawan, directly facing the South China Sea. China claims the sea almost in its entirety, and its increasingly assertive efforts to stake its claims have heightened tensions with neighbours including the Philippines, which has conflicting claims to parts of these waters.
    But Philippine marine spokesman Lieutenant Jerber Anthony Belonio stressed that the location of the opening ceremonies was not linked to the territorial dispute. “This has no relation whatsoever. This is just to show the capabilities of our new marine landing brigade which coincidentally is based in Palawan,” he said.
    The Philippines has recently been beefing up its military assets in Palawan, the country’s main outpost to the South China Sea which is a vital sea lane, a valuable fishing ground and which is believed to hold vast mineral resources. The poorly-equipped military has also recently been boosting its ties with defence allies – particularly the United States, its former colonial power – in the face of Chinese sabre-rattling.
    The US Marine Corps said the exercises would “enhance the interoperability between US Navy and Marine Corps forces and their Philippine counterparts with a focus on improving our bilateral response to regional issues and maritime security crises”.
    This year’s exercises will include small arms and artillery live-fire training, a mechanised assault and paratroop operations. The USS Peleliu, a US amphibious assault ship, along with two support ships, arrived at the former US Subic naval base on the weekend to take part in the exercises.
    In April, the two allies signed a new defence accord giving US forces greater access to Filipino bases as part of a US rebalancing of military power towards rising Asia, which is seen by many analysts as a check to the emerging power of China. Although the United States has taken no side in the territorial disputes, it has warned China against taking “destabilising actions” in the South China Sea.
    The sea is claimed in parts by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia as well as China and the Philippines. China has been involved in a string of tense maritime incidents with rival claimants in the South China Sea. Earlier this year it placed an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam, sparking deadly riots in the Southeast Asian nation.


    - AFP/rw
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Analysts: Air-Sea Battle concept carries risks in possible conflict with China

    .

    By Erik Slavin
    Stars and Stripes
    Published: September 28, 2014
    .
    ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — While the United States may welcome China’s peaceful rise, last week’s Valiant Shield exercise over the western Pacific Ocean plainly showed that Washington is hedging its bets on the “peaceful” part.
    .

    Chinese navy destroyer 171 Haikou

    The U.S. military training brought 18,000 U.S. servicemembers together to fight a sophisticated enemy trying to block U.S. access to international waters and airspace.
    Exercise officials scrupulously avoided any indication that this imagined enemy was any particular nation. Such is the diplomatic dance involved with China, America’s second- largest trading partner behind Canada. However, China is the only nation in the Asia-Pacific region building the large-scale type of “anti-access, area-denial” capability that exercise participants fought against.
    The exercise tested the Air-Sea Battle concept, a set of tactics that first blinds an enemy’s communications in space and cyberspace, then destroys land- and sea-based weapons platforms.
    Combatants also attempt to shoot down or otherwise defeat the enemy’s deployed weapons.
    The Defense Department’s 2013 unclassified summary of Air-Sea Battle never mentions China explicitly. However, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military makes it clear that Beijing is developing the weapons its war planners believe will prevent the U.S. from safely sending its ships into the international waters of the East and South China seas. That would potentially complicate U.S. efforts to defend Taiwan, which China claims.

    The U.S. also has alliances and agreements with some of China’s neighbors, a few of whom are entangled in territorial disputes with Beijing.
    The Air-Sea Battle concept, which became official doctrine in 2010 and now has a dedicated Pentagon office, is focused on defeating China if it grows increasingly belligerent, according to security analysts.
    “Air-Sea Battle is about China — no doubt,” said Aaron Friedberg, a Princeton University professor who published a book this year on Air-Sea Battle and its alternatives. “We have exaggerated concerns about offending the Chinese. I think at some point we have to be more candid.”
    However, analysts differ over whether Air-Sea Battle’s existence deters China from potential aggression, or whether it increases the chances of a globally devastating war.

    China’s Harbin missile destroyer fires at a target during the China-Russia joint naval drill May 24, 2014
    Among Air-Sea Battle advocates and detractors alike, few believe there is much good about a conflict between China and the United States. Choosing a deterrent is about choosing “the least bad strategy,” according to T.X. Hammes, a National Defense University senior fellow and retired Marine colonel.
    Disrupt, destroy, defeat
    China hasn’t fired a shot at any of its neighbors recently, but its attempts at what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has deemed “force and coercion” have increased.
    Chinese ships engaged in low-level standoffs with Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea; in Vietnam’s case, a fishing boat sank after a ramming incident with a larger Chinese vessel in May.
    Japan and China have repeatedly scrambled jets over the Senkaku Islands, which Japan administers but China claims as its own.

    China’s military is presently considered to be no match for the United States in a full-scale conflict, but that is expected to change in the coming decades as Beijing’s spending and technology continue their upward trend. What remains unclear — and is nerve-wracking for U.S. allies in the region — is whether China will grow to resolve its disputes diplomatically or wield its newfound military clout.
    “I don’t see how we make decisions about the weapons we buy and how we reassure our allies unless we have a plausible story about how to fight and not lose a war against China,” Friedberg said. “I don’t think we have that right now.”
    Air-Sea Battle is a set of tactics, but it is not a strategy by the military’s own definition. It provides a method for re-entering oceans and airspace after China tries to deny entry and maneuverability.
    China is building missiles like the Dong Feng-21D, a ballistic missile with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle that is designed to strike a moving aircraft carrier. If it works, that could keep some of America’s most potent weapons out of striking range.

    Chinese warships. (Photo/CNS)
    Although the U.S. military maintains ship and land-based interceptor missiles, shooting down a volley of advanced ballistic missiles is far from a guaranteed success. That is why the “tip of the spear” in an Air-Sea Battle isn’t made up of ground troops or pilots — it’s computer hackers or, in military terms, cyberwarriors.
    At the beginning of the fight, the U.S. aims squarely at the web of networks and satellites controlling the enemy’s missiles and other weaponry in a “blinding campaign.” It is a critical component of Air-Sea Battle, but it is also the biggest unknown, Friedberg said.
    The military keeps so much of its cyberdefense planning classified that it’s impossible for anyone on the outside to analyze it.

    Dong Feng21D
    “We want others to believe that we have an ace up our sleeve — that we can make things go away with flip of a switch,” Friedberg said.
    The blinding campaign also includes air and sea strikes on some of China’s softer targets, like over-the-horizon radar, Friedberg said.
    The next phase involves striking ships, platforms and other armaments on land and sea. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft would potentially fly several missions, including bombing runs over China. Navy surface and undersea ships would also be heavily involved in that phase.
    Navy ships, Army missile defense batteries and other methods would attempt to intercept any missiles that made it to launch.
    Blockade and bargain
    Supporters of Air-Sea Battle view its potential to cripple the People’s Liberation Army as so disruptive that it threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s survival. That deters the party leadership from taking any overly aggressive action in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby guaranteeing regional stability and the free flow of world commerce.
    Hammes, the National Defense University scholar, views it as a dangerous, escalatory concept that could even lead to a nuclear war. “The Navy has stated categorically that Air-Sea Battle isn’t a strategy, and they’re right,” Hammes said. “It’s a concept without strategy, and that may be the most dangerous aspect.”
    American strategy should instead seek to minimize a conflict with China, according to Hammes. Assuming China strikes first in space or cyberspace, it immediately gains an advantage in those domains and jeopardizes Air-Sea Battle’s chances of success, he said.
    As for destroying China’s land-based weapons platforms, that’s a tough act to pull off. China is converting to solid-fuel missiles, which launch within minutes, he said. Meanwhile, China’s mobile missile launchers would be hard to find, Hammes said.

    “The evidence we have is that it’s not doable,” Hammes said. “We hunted Scuds in the desert (in the Gulf War), and we still never killed one. Imagine shuttling around on the complex terrain of China.”
    Conventional ballistic missile attacks on China could also be difficult to distinguish from nuclear ballistic missile attacks, which raises the possibility of a Chinese nuclear response, he said.
    Hammes instead favors a less costly approach that analysts refer to by names like “offshore control” and “distant blockading.” They vary in their aggressiveness, but generally rule out bombing runs over Chinese land.
    Hammes’ contends that the Chinese Communist Party fears economic threats more than anything else. In a 2003 speech, President Hu Jintao began a debate on the “Malacca Dilemma,” the position that China’s economic and energy security is compromised because so much if it passes through the narrow Malacca Strait.
    If China attacked U.S. positions and launched an anti-access, area-denial campaign, Hammes advocates blockading everything surrounding those waters.
    “They can have their near-shore waters,” Hammes said. “They need the rest of the ocean.”
    By Hammes’ count, teams of 13 to 15 Marines could interdict the roughly 800 ships that carry bulk import and export goods to and from China’s main ports.
    The blockade would economically strangle China but would not leave it in a position where the Communist Party couldn’t eventually sue for peace without losing face, Hammes said.
    China is aware of this weakness and is building land links to its west to compensate. However, Hammes doesn’t believe that China wants to put its economy in the hands of the Russian and Kazakh rail networks. Even if it did, the railroads couldn’t handle anywhere near the same cargo capacity, he said.
    Hammes’ strategy leaves out fighting in space and cyberspace and minimizes what he deems as the chance of a nuclear exchange.
    Friedberg thinks the chance of China using its comparatively smaller nuclear arsenal against the U.S. in response to Air-Sea Battle is highly unlikely, since it would be akin to “contemplating national suicide.”
    Defending against Air-Sea Battle also forces the Chinese to put more resources into defending their installations, which presumably takes some funding from things like hypersonic missiles, Friedberg added.
    Proponents of Air-Sea Battle contend that while a blockade might be a good concurrent idea, it doesn’t do anything to gain access to the seas and air China has blocked. If blockading becomes America’s strategy, it may not reassure U.S. allies in the region who are within or bordering a Chinese-enforced no-go zone.
    Analysts agree that a war between two nuclear nations, especially one involving the world’s two biggest economies, is inherently unpredictable. Great power wars historically have lasted for many years, which runs counter to apparent U.S. and Chinese planning for a short conflict, Hammes and Friedberg said.
    Nevertheless, Friedberg argues that the U.S. must be prepared for conflict.
    “I don’t think we can diminish that danger by not doing these things,” he said. “[China] is already making preparations to do that … so it’s not like we’re starting this competition.”
    slavin.erik@stripes.com Twitter:@eslavin_stripes
    http://www.stripes.com/news/analysts...china-1.305505
    .



    China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang)
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Swedish Report Describes ‘Unusual’ Russian Bomber Exercise Over Baltic South Of Scania
    September 29, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner · in CIA, DIA, espionage, spying, Europe, foreign policy, Intelligence Community, military history, national security, NATO, Russia, Ukraine, US Military · Leave a comment

    09/25/2014

    Swedish Report Describes ‘Unusual’ Russian Bomber Exercise Over Baltic South of Scania

    Stockholm SvD Online in Swedish 25 Sep 14

    [Report by Mikael Holmstrom: "Russian Bombers South of Scania -- a New Element"]

    On Sunday [21 September] heavy Russian bombers exercised south of Scania. The Armed Forces believe the Russian appearance with bombers so far west is a new element. Sweden and other countries responded by launching fighter aircraft.

    In was on Sunday morning that a Russian force of four planes flew out over the Bay of Finland. It flew south in international airspace along the Baltic coast, went north of Poland and Germany, and exercised south of Scania. After that the Russian planes turned and went back the same way they came.

    The force consisted of two Tupolev-22 strategic bombers, in NATO called Backfire. It is a bomber that can carry bombs and missiles, including with nuclear charges. The bombers were escorted by two Russian Sukhoi 27 fighters (NATO description Flanker).

    Fighters from at least four neighboring countries — Finland, Sweden, Denmark, as well as Portuguese planes under NATO command in Lithuania — were sent up in order to see what was going on.

    Because the appearance of Tu-22s over the Baltic is unusual. Flights with that type of aircraft ceased entirely after the breakup of the Soviet Union. In October 2011 the Tu-22 reappeared and in July 2012 the Russian bombers demonstratively flew with loaded weapons west of Bornholm. Since then they have not been seen there until this summer. And on Sunday there they were again. This will be for the third time.

    “This is the third time we are seeing the Tu-22s appear in this area. And it’s the second time this year that we see them going that far west of Bornholm. I believe it’s a new element,” says Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad at the Armed Forces Headquarters.

    [Holmstrom] Why are they west of Bornholm?

    [Grenstad] Because they want to fly there and want to practice there.

    The Russian force is of the same type as the one that surprised Sweden in the night of Good Friday 2013, which was reported by Svenska Dagbladet. At that time four bombers and two fighters circled over the Sea of Gotland. The Russians were practicing simulated missile attacks against military targets in the Stockholm area and southern Sweden, while Swedish fighter aircraft never took off. It led to an intense defense debate, both in Sweden and abroad.

    On 28 October 2013 a similar force appeared east of Bornholm. At that time the Swedish Armed Forces drew the conclusion that they were practicing simulated attacks on targets in Lithuania, Poland, and Blekinge (Swedish province).

    There is information that the planes last Sunday maintained intense radio traffic with the Russian strategic bomber command’s headquarters, which sent various codes to the planes. But the Armed Forces do not want to comment on which targets the Russians might have practiced against on Sunday.

    “With the weapon systems they have they could practice without us seeing what they are practicing,” replies Grenstad.

    He is the Armed Forces’ deputy chief of operations. On Sunday Sweden launched a pair of fighters, meaning two aircraft, from its incident response group against the Russian force.

    “An incident pair took off from Ronneby and demonstrated the Swedish interest in knowing what was going on in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. We always have the possibility of launching aircraft 24 hours a day,” says Grenstad.

    As recently as Wednesday of last week [17 September] three Swedish Gripen planes intervened against two Russian SU-24 attack aircraft which violated Swedish airspace south of Oland. In the last two years Russia has trespassed over Sweden twice, last Wednesday and on 14 June 2013. At that time the naval exercise Baltops was under way off Blekinge when two Russian Su-24s, which were met by two Swedish Gripens, came in over Swedish territory.

    That Russian bomber planes practiced on Sunday could be linked to two other exercises. In eastern Russia the major Russian exercise Vostok was going on with 100,000 men, at the same time as a defense exercise in Kaliningrad. Russia often demonstrates that it can practice in two different directions at the same time.
    Perhaps the bomber flight was also a political signal. Sunday marked the end of a three-day meeting in Lithuania with NATO’s highest military organ, the Military Committee. One topic there was reinforced defense of the Baltic Sea region.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    What Is The Pentagon’s Secret Space Drone Doing?
    September 29, 2014 · by Fortuna's Corner · in CIA, DIA, Drones, espionage, spying, Intelligence Community, national security, Robots In War, Science & Technology, Special Operations, technology & innovation, US Military · Leave a comment

    New York Post

    What Is The Pentagon’s Secret Space Drone Doing?

    By Sharon Weinberger

    September 28, 2014 | 12:00am

    For almost two years, an unmanned space plane bearing a remarkable resemblance to NASA’s space shuttle has circled the Earth, performing a top-secret mission. It’s called the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle — but that’s pretty much all we know for certain.

    Modal Trigger

    The Pentagon’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that it’s used to conduct experiments on new technologies.

    Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that the space plane is used to conduct experiments on new technologies. Theories about its mission have ranged from an orbiting space bomber to an anti-satellite weapon.

    The truth, however, is likely much more obvious: According to intelligence experts and satellite watchers who have closely monitored its orbit, the X-37B is being used to carry secret satellites and classified sensors into space — a little-known role once played by NASA’s now-retired space shuttles.

    For a decade between the 1980s and early 1990s, NASA’s space shuttles were used for classified military missions, which involved ferrying military payloads into space. But the shuttles’ military role rested on an uneasy alliance between NASA and the Pentagon. Even before the 1986 Challenger disaster, which killed all seven crewmembers, the Pentagon had grown frustrated with NASA’s delays.

    Now, with the X-37B, the Pentagon no longer has to rely on NASA — or humans.

    The X-37B resembles a shuttle, or at least a shrunken-down version of it. Like the space shuttles, the X-37B is boosted into orbit by an external rocket, but lands like an aircraft on a conventional runway. But the X-37B is just shy of 10 feet tall and slightly less than 30 feet long.

    Modal Trigger
    An artist’s rendition of the X-37B orbiting Earth. According to intelligence experts and satellite watchers who have closely monitored its orbit, the X-37B is being used to carry secret satellites and classified sensors into space. Photo: Getty Images

    Its cargo bay, often compared to the size of a pickup truck bed, is just big enough to carry a small satellite. Once in orbit, the X-37B deploys a foldable solar array, which is believed to power the sensors in its cargo bay.

    Modal Trigger

    Personnel in self-contained atmospheric protective ensemble suits conduct checks on the vehicle before its December 2012 launch. Photo: U.S. Air Force

    “It’s just an updated version of the space shuttle type of activities in space,” insisted one senior Air Force official in 2010, the year of the first launch, when rampant speculation about the secret project prompted some to question whether it was possibly a space bomber.

    For several years, the X-37B was developed in plain sight, with the military saying it was just a test vehicle. But in 2009, the Air Force suddenly said it was classified, and it went from being just another technology project to an object of obsession for amateur satellite spotters and aviation enthusiasts.

    On Dec. 11, 2012, the X-37B was launched for a third time, and that vehicle has now spent over 600 days in space.

    And despite the secrecy surrounding its mission, the space plane’s travels are closely watched. The Air Force announces its launches, and satellite watchers monitor its flight and orbit. What is not revealed is what’s inside the cargo bay and what it’s being used for.

    While the X-37B requires a rocket to boost it into orbit, its success may be helping to revive dreams of a true reusable space plane that can take off and land like an aircraft. A real space plane has long been a dream of the Pentagon, but it has also long been a sinkhole for money. Most of those efforts have fallen by the wayside, stymied by the technology needed to boost a space plane into orbit, not to mention the prohibitive costs.

    Modal Trigger

    The Air Force announces the space plane’s launches and satellite watchers monitor its flight and orbit. What’s not revealed is what’s inside the cargo bay and what it’s being used for.

    In the 1950s, for example, the Air Force pursued the X-20 Dynasoar, short for Dynamic Soarer, a hypersonic vehicle that was, in fact, designed to be a space bomber. It was eventually canceled.

    Modal Trigger
    In the 1950s, the Air Force pursued the X-20 Dynamic Soarer, a hypersonic vehicle that was designed to be a space bomber. It was eventually canceled.Photo: Getty Images

    In the 1980s, the Pentagon funded the National Aerospace Plane, which Ronald Reagan hailed as a new “Orient Express” that would make travel from Washington to Tokyo more like a brief train trip. Pentagon officials privately cringed at the hype, knowing the technology was likely years away. A decade later, and with more than $1 billion spent, the National Aerospace Plane was also canceled.

    Modal Trigger

    An artist’s rendition of the XS-1, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s space plane that is supposed to fly “10 times in 10 days” at speeds of over Mach 10.

    Now, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is taking another shot at this elusive goal with a project called the Experimental Space Plane, or XS-1 for short. DARPA is already funding several companies to work on the space plane, which is supposed to fly “10 times in 10 days” at speeds of over Mach 10. Whether this project will be any more successful than its predecessors has yet to be seen.

    As for the X-37B, it’s unclear what may be next. While the secrecy surrounding the X-37B has attracted more attention to its mission, many of the more farfetched theories have fallen by the wayside.

    A bomber, it turns out, would be an incredibly inefficient use of a space plane, which doesn’t carry much fuel, and so would be hard to position for an attack. Even more exotic weapons, like a space-based laser, are well outside the realms of modern technology. (The Pentagon has spent billions trying to develop lasers for use in space, with no luck.)

    But presuming, as most experts do, that it’s used to carry spy satellites, what has it accomplished? It’s most likely the X-37B has been used to capture imagery of the world’s political hot spots: North Korea and Iran have both topped the list of possible targets.

    Modal Trigger
    It’s most likely the X-37B has been used to capture imagery of the world’s political hot spots: North Korea and Iran have both topped the list of possible targets.

    The X-37B itself could be operating as a maneuverable satellite — one that can change its orbit with relative ease, and return to Earth for repairs or upgrades. A space drone.

    After operating in space for nearly two years, it’s hard to argue with the X-37B’s success as a space plane. By flying without people, the military’s space plane avoids the costs — not to mention the dangers — involved with putting humans in space.

    What is harder to assess, however, is the X-37’s overall value to the military. Space planes are supposed to provide economical access to space, but to date, the Pentagon has declined to release any funding information about its robotic space plane, citing its classified mission.

    The real question is whether the X-37B and its payload are providing any new imagery that is useful to the military. The National Reconnaissance Office, which is responsible for the Pentagon’s secret spy satellites — and has presumably built whatever is being carried on the X-37B — has been criticized in recent years for favoring high-priced satellites over cheaper commercial imagery.

    In other words, the robotic space plane, which is unclassified, is undoubtedly a technological success, but it’s unclear whether its secret payload is really doing anything particularly unique.

    Only the Pentagon can answer that question, and so far, it hasn’t.

    Sharon Weinberger is working on a book about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    At this point a lot of things are happening fast.

    Things are getting crowded in the South China Seas.

    Russia is stepping up their bombing runs.

    Russia has threatened the US if any bombs fall on any of Syria's troops (accidently-on-purpose) or anyone messes with Syria's "president".

    ISIS is exacerbating the situation by taking over most of Syria and also by putting themselves within a mile of Baghdad.

    The US is wavering all over the place, the American President is a wuss, loser, lamer jackass, asshat. If *I* were Russia I'd be antsy to nuke us too.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Oh, oh... Tick-Tock...

    Turkish tanks reinforce border as Islamic State shells Syrian town

    MURSITPINAR Turkey Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:02pm IST


    (Reuters) - Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles took up positions on a hill overlooking the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday as shelling by Islamic State insurgents intensified and stray fire hit Turkish soil, a Reuters correspondent said.


    At least 15 tanks were positioned, some with their guns pointed towards Syrian territory, near a Turkish military base just northwest of Kobani. Plumes of smoke rose up as shells hit both the eastern and western sides of Kobani.


    More tanks and armoured vehicles moved towards the Syrian border after at least two shells hit Turkish territory on Monday. The military said earlier it had fired back on Sunday after two mortar bombs crossed the border.


    Islamic State insurgents launched their assault on Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish town also known as Ayn al-Arab, more than a week ago, besieging it from three sides and sending more than 150,000 Kurds fleeing into Turkey.


    "Because of the bombs everyone is running away, we've heard people have been killed. The YPG (Kurdish forces) have got small weapons but Islamic State has big guns and tanks," said Xelil, a 39-year old engineer who fled Kobani on Monday.


    "Most people are leaving now, it was safe before but now with these bombs, people won't stay," he said.


    Turkey has so far declined to take a frontline role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, but President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkish troops could be used to help set up a safe haven for refugees inside Syria if there is international agreement.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  11. #731
    Senior Member Avvakum's Avatar
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by American Patriot View Post
    Oh, oh... Tick-Tock...

    Turkish tanks reinforce border as Islamic State shells Syrian town

    MURSITPINAR Turkey Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:02pm IST


    (Reuters) - Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles took up positions on a hill overlooking the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani on Monday as shelling by Islamic State insurgents intensified and stray fire hit Turkish soil, a Reuters correspondent said.


    At least 15 tanks were positioned, some with their guns pointed towards Syrian territory, near a Turkish military base just northwest of Kobani. Plumes of smoke rose up as shells hit both the eastern and western sides of Kobani.


    More tanks and armoured vehicles moved towards the Syrian border after at least two shells hit Turkish territory on Monday. The military said earlier it had fired back on Sunday after two mortar bombs crossed the border.


    Islamic State insurgents launched their assault on Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish town also known as Ayn al-Arab, more than a week ago, besieging it from three sides and sending more than 150,000 Kurds fleeing into Turkey.


    "Because of the bombs everyone is running away, we've heard people have been killed. The YPG (Kurdish forces) have got small weapons but Islamic State has big guns and tanks," said Xelil, a 39-year old engineer who fled Kobani on Monday.


    "Most people are leaving now, it was safe before but now with these bombs, people won't stay," he said.


    Turkey has so far declined to take a frontline role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, but President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkish troops could be used to help set up a safe haven for refugees inside Syria if there is international agreement.
    Turkey's hip-deep into collusion with IS, at least Erdogan's AKP neo-Ottoman party is.

    I don't think Turkey can be trusted in NATO anymore, much less a EU country.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    World Middle East
    Islamic State: Why Turkey is hesitating to prevent fall of Kobane

    With the Islamic State assault on Kobane entering its endgame, Turkey is resisting mounting pressure from its own Kurdish minority to assist the town’s defenders.


    By Alexander Christie-Miller, Correspondent

    • Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
      View Caption




    Bursa, Turkey — The future of the Syrian town of Kobane hung in the balance Tuesday as the Islamic State’s three-week assault on the Kurdish-held enclave appeared to enter its endgame.
    Its last hope likely hinges on Ankara, whose armed forces remain poised on the border only hundreds of yards from the battle, resisting mounting pressure from Turkey’s own Kurdish minority to assist Kobane's defenders.
    Despite a range of strategic and ideological factors inclining Ankara against direct intervention, increasingly angry protests both in Turkey and abroad are creating mounting pressure for it to act.
    Recommended: How much do you know about the Islamic State?
    “Kobane is about to fall,” acknowledged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with Turkish television as he toured a refugee camp in southern Turkey early Tuesday.

    Turkish involvement in its fate, however, would only come as part of an allied strategy to address the broader problem of Syria’s festering civil war, Mr. Erdogan insisted.
    “We need a no-fly zone, safe havens, and to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria,” he added.
    Another of Ankara’s demands in return for playing a more active role against IS is a more direct strategy against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whom Turkish leaders regard as the ultimate author of the country’s unrest.
    For Western powers focused solely on the threat posed by IS, and deeply wary of becoming embroiled in the conflict in Syria, such concessions remain a faint prospect.
    Meanwhile, any unilateral action against IS involving Turkish troops in Syria could leave the country badly exposed if it was not done without explicit NATO backing, says Hugh Pope, International Crisis Group’s deputy program director for Europe and the Central Asia.
    “Turkey has to be extremely careful. If it engages in something that could be seen as an unprovoked attack then Nato’s response could be very ambivalent.”
    In recent weeks, Turkish and international media have reported on the presence of a substantial Islamic State recruiting network in Turkey, also raising the fear of possible blowback.
    Turkey attracts 35 million visitors a year, including many Westerners, with tourism accounting for 10 per cent of the economy, raising concerns that Islamic State terrorist attacks could cripple the sector.
    Equally, Turkey remains as wary of the Kurdish-nationalist militias defending the besieged town as it is of IS itself.
    The Democratic Union Party (PYD), an armed organization that has run northeastern Syria’s Kurdish populated region as an autonomous enclave since the Assad regime withdrew in 2012, has close links to the PKK, the Kurdish rebel group that has fought a 30-year-long insurgency for greater Kurdish autonomy in Turkey and is regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group.
    “Turkey is more than happy that the semi-autonomy declared by Syria’s Kurds is being demolished by the so-called Islamic State,” says Cengiz Aktar, a political scientist at Istanbul’s Suleyman Sah University.
    Earlier this week, intelligence officials in Ankara were visited by the PYD’s leader, Salih Muslim. But they told him that Turkish assistance would only come in return for the PYD abandoning all demands of autonomy, and ending its alleged ties with the Assad regime.
    However as anger boiled among Turkey’s 15 million Kurds, the cost of inaction also appeared to be rising.
    On Monday night and into Tuesday, Kurdish demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails and set up barricades during protests in Istanbul, Ankara, and cities across the Kurdish populated southeast Monday night and into Tuesday.
    In the Kurdish majority town of Varto, police shot and killed a 25-year-old man after reportedly using live ammunition against demonstrators.
    For the past 18 months Turkey has been engaged in delicate peace talks with the PKK, whose years of insurrection against the Turkish state have cost 40,000 lives and left the country’s southeast economically devastated.
    Last week, the PKK’s imprisoned leader and point man in the talks, Abdullah Ocalan, warned that peace talks would be over if Kobane fell and a massacre of its population were allowed to take place.
    A growing number of observers fear that regardless of Turkey’s current ambivalence, it may sooner or later have to face the Islamic State head on.
    “If Kobane falls then the next target for ISIS will be Turkey,” says Nazmi Gur, a parliamentarian for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    not good. A town about to fall to ISIS.

    Turkey not helping.

    Syria in disarray.

    Kurds defending to their last breath.

    Kurds unleash anger as Turkey fails to intervene against ISIL

    07/10 20:17 CET





    There have been violent clashes throughout Turkey as Kurdish demonstrators denounce the government’s refusal to intervene militarily to stop the Syrian border town of Kobani falling into the hands of ISIL jihadists.


    From Diyabakir in the east to the capital Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere, Kurds are unleashing anger fuelled by their suspicions that Turkey is actually supporting the Sunni Muslim militants.


    Turkey strongly denies this but so far has made no move to get involved in fighting to save the Kurdish town on its frontier. Injuries and at least one death marked Tuesday’s protests.


    Visiting a camp for Syrian refugees, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered little hope for Kobani, saying that it was “about to fall” and warning that air strikes alone would not stop the self-proclaimed Islamic State group.


    He also said that Turkey had warned the West of the need for a No-fly zone, a secure zone parallel to that, and the training of moderate Syrian rebels.


    Ankara says the scope of the campaign in Syria should be broadened to seek to remove President Assad from power.


    As pressure piles on Turkey, endangering the fragile peace process with its own Kurds, the tens of thousands who have crossed the border from Syria seeking refuge face a difficult and uncertain future.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Looks like the Kurds are another ally Obama is going to abandon.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Because, you know, that's the way he rolls.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Yeah, rolls over in sumission, just like his religion dictates. Islam means submission.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    Yeah, rolls over in sumission, just like his religion dictates. Islam means submission.
    And this is what WE say:

    lan astaslem

    لن استسلم
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  18. #738
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Considering that Tusk was summoned to Moscow and offered this proposal shortly after the mysterious plane crash near Smolensk that decapitated Poland's political leadership, the timing of this proposal is most interesting;

    Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland

    WARSAW Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:11pm EDT




    Former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski speaks at the lower house of the Polish parliament in Warsaw, September 24, 2014.
    Credit: Reuters/Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta


    (Reuters) - Poland's parliamentary speaker, Radoslaw Sikorski, has been quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Poland's then leader in 2008 that they divide Ukraine between themselves.
    Sikorski, who until September served as Poland's foreign minister, was quoted telling U.S. website Politico that Putin made the proposal during Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's visit to Moscow in 2008 - although he later said some of the interview had been "overinterpreted".
    "He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine ... This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow," he was quoted as saying in the interview dated Oct. 19.
    "He (Putin) went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don't we just sort it out together," Sikorski was quoted as saying.
    Before World War Two, Poland's territory included parts of today's western Ukraine, including some major cities such as Lwow, known as Lviv in Ukraine.
    Sikorski, who accompanied Tusk on his trip to Moscow, was quoted as saying Tusk did not reply to Putin's suggestion, because he knew he was being recorded, but Poland never expressed any interest in joining the Russian operation.
    "We made it very, very clear to them - we wanted nothing to do with this," Sikorski was quoted as saying.
    After publication of the interview, Sikorski said it was not entirely accurate.
    "Some of the words have been overinterpreted," Sikorski wrote on his Twitter account late on Monday, adding that Poland does not take part in annexations.
    The interview could further aggravate tension between Poland and Russia, already at odds over the Ukrainian crisis and Poland's arrest of two men suspected of spying for Moscow.
    Neither Poland's Foreign Ministry nor Russian officials were immediately available to comment.
    "If such a proposal was made by Putin then that's scandalous," Ewa Kopacz, who replaced Tusk as prime minister after his departure for a top job in Brussels, said late on Monday in an interview with public broadcaster TVP.
    "No Polish prime minister will participate in such a disgraceful activity like partitioning another country", she said, adding she had not heard about such a proposal before.
    Sikorski's account is not the first suggestion that Russia was seeking Poland's support in partitioning Ukraine.
    Following the annexation of Crimea, Russian parliamentary speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky sent a letter to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, proposing a joint division of the country.
    (Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Editing by Alison Willia
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    World War 3? North Korea To Buy Su-35 To Invade South

    January 13, 2015 Qronos 16 Leave a comment Go to comments



    Russian president Vladimir Putin has been laying the groundwork for World War 3. But there is another country secretly planning to invade its neighbor, and it has sought to purchase a fleet of the most advanced Russian fighter jets. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has secretly requested Vladimir Putin to supply the highly-advanced Sukhoi Su-35 jets to North Korea.



    U.S. has to protect the South

    A senior South Korean military official told JoongAng Ilbo that Pyongyang had sent Choe Ryong-hae for a secret meeting with Putin to buy an unknown number of Su-35 jets. Choe Ryong-hae is the right-hand man to Kin Jong-un. Officials said that the advanced jets will allow North Korea to act on its plan to “invade South Korea in a lightning assault,” reports The Inquisitr. Kim’s plan to conquer South Korea was recently revealed by a top North Korea defector.


    Sukhoi Su-35 is known to NATO as the “Super Flanker.” it has undergone multiple upgrades since the 1980s, and is considered one of the most powerful fighter jets in the world. If Kim Jong-un attacks South Korea, it could trigger World War 3. The United States will have to jump in to defend the South because it has a security pact with Seoul. Kim Jong-un’s father and former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il had attempted to acquire the Russian jets in 2011.


    Intelligence officials have learned that North Korea approved a new military directive in August 2012. The new war plan will allow Kim to invade the South and conquer it in less than a week. For this, North Korea is planning to use advanced weaponry, including nuclear weapons. Over the past few years, North Korea has been boosting the ability to attack the South and United States.
    World War 3 already underway?

    According to Bloomberg, Kim Jong-un has set-up posts along the South Korean border to more quickly invade its neighbor. According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, the North was also aggressively expanding its mechanized forces and artillery. The North Korean regime has set up “infiltration facilities” along the border with South Korea. If not Putin, Kim Jong-un could be responsible for World War 3 if it breaks out.


    North Korea has also probably developed ballistic missiles with a striking range of 7,458 miles. It significantly increases the threat to South Korea and the U.S. A few months ago, Pope Francis said that World War 3 was already underway.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Putin Strikes Back: Russia Cuts Off European Gas Supplies, Starts Selling Dollars: “The Decision Has Been Made”

    Mac Slavo
    January 15th, 2015
    SHTFplan.com
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    Vladimir Putin has been silent lately. But if anyone thought he had been shamed into defeat or marginalized, then think again.
    In the last few hours Russia has announced two key strategic decisions that show they are not going to stand idly by while their economy and way of life are destroyed by Western forces.
    First, presumably in response to stiff sanctions leveled by the United States and the European Union after the annexation of Crimea last year, Russia has cut off 60% of Europe’s gas supplies right in the middle of winter. This has caused an almost immediate crisis in six European nations that have seen a complete cut-off to their supplies – Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey – with more to follow. According to reports via Zero Hedge, the effect has been almost instantaneous.
    Without Russia residents across Europe have no way of staying warm.
    Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian state energy giant Gazprom to cut supplies to and through Ukraine amid accusations, according to The Daily Mail, that its neighbor has been siphoning off and stealing Russian gas. Due to these “transit risks for European consumers in the territory of Ukraine,” Gazprom cut gas exports to Europe by 60%, plunging the continent into an energy crisis “within hours.” Perhaps explaining the explosion higher in NatGas prices (and oil) today, gas companies in Ukraine confirmed that Russia had cut off supply; and six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas. The EU raged that the sudden cut-off to some of its member countries was “completely unacceptable,” but Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller later added that Russia plans to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey; and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated unequivocally, “the decision has been made.”
    Russia has taken similar steps in the past because of non-payment but turned the gas supplies back on once deals were reached.
    This time, however, there won’t be a deal.
    Russia says it will deliver the gas through Turkey, and then it’s up to the European Union to build the infrastructure that will transport it to the rest of the continent, as noted by Bloomberg.
    “Transit risks for European consumers on the territory of Ukraine remain,” Miller said in an e-mailed statement. “There are no other options” except for the planned Turkish Stream link, he said.
    “We have informed our European partners, and now it is up to them to put in place the necessary infrastructure starting from the Turkish-Greek border,” Miller said.

    “The decision has been made,” Novak said. “We are diversifying and eliminating the risks of unreliable countries that caused problems in past years, including for European consumers.”
    Europe, of course, does not have the necessary infrastructure in place for this, and Vladimir Putin most certainly knew this before he shut off the spigots.
    Second, and perhaps even more significant than the overt move to show Europe who’s boss, Putin took a direct shot at the United States.
    Also from Zero Hedge:
    As Bloomberg reports Russia may unseal its $88 billion Reserve Fund and convert some of its foreign-currency holdings into rubles, the latest government effort to prop up an economy veering into its worst slump since 2009.”
    These are dollars which Russia would have otherwise recycled into US denominated assets. Instead, Russia will purchase even more Rubles and use the proceeds for FX and economic stabilization purposes.
    “Together with the central bank, we are selling a part of our foreign-currency reserves,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in Moscow today. “We’ll get rubles and place them in deposits for banks, giving liquidity to the economy.
    Call it less than amicable divorce, call it what you will: what it is, is Russia violently leaving the ranks of countries that exchange crude for US paper.
    What we are seeing are the strategic moves that will eventually catalyze the next great war. And make no mistake, this is exactly what’s in store for the world should these escalations continue.
    Libertatem Prius!


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