Archive for the ‘missiles’ Category

US maintaining naval-air-marine might in Arabian Sea opposite India, Pakistan, Iran

December 1, 2008

Three US aircraft carriers with strike groups, task forces and nuclear submarines have piled up in the waters of the Arabian Sea opposite the shores of India, Pakistan and Iran, and in the Persian Gulf.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that the US began massing this formidable array of floating firepower at the outset of the Islamist terrorist attack on the Indian city of Mumbai last Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Tehran responded typically with a threat of retaliation should the Americans decide to use the Mumbai terrorist attack to hit Iran.

It is more likely, according to our military sources, that the Americans are on the ready in case the rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the New Delhi’s charge of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai atrocity explodes into an armed clash on their border.

This is indicated by the units now deployed:

1. the USS John C. Stennis, which carries 80 fighter-bombers and 3,200 sailors and airmen and leads a strike group..

This carrier joins two already there, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which patrols the northern Arabian Sea, part of whose strike group cruises opposite Iran’s southern coast; and the USS Iwo Jima, which carries a large marine contingent on board.

2. New to these waters, according to DEBKAfile‘s military sources, is the Destroyer Squadron 50/CTF 55, which has two task forces: Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) for strikes against warships and the rapid deployment of marines to flashpoint arenas; and Mine Countermeasures Division 31, which stands ready to prevent New Delhi or Islamabad from mining the Arabian Sea routes connecting their ports. Those routes are vital waterways for US marine traffic supporting the war in Afghanistan.

3. To manage this armada, the command and control vessel, USS Mount Whitney, has been brought over from the Mediterranean.

4. Four nuclear submarines.

The arrival of the southwest Asian marine patrol carrier Stennis and the Mount Whitney to the Arabian Sea opposite Iran’s shores set alarm bells ringing in Tehran. Our Iranian sources note that the Islamic republic’s rulers remember that after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the Americans did not only invade Afghanistan, but also Iraq and they fear a similar sideswipe.

The Iranian chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Ataoallah Salehi sounded a warning when he stated Sunday, Nov. 30: The “heavy weight” of enemy warships provides the Iranian side with an ideal opportunity for launching successful counter-attacks.

Related:
Iran Holds Military Games Near Hormuz Strait


Above: U.S. Navy operates at sea with allies…

U.S. Navy cruisers carry long range cruise missiles.  Seen here: USS Gettysburg

See the DEPKA file:
http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5747

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Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure

November 30, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

An unmanned Predator drone. A militant Taliban group warned ... 
The U.S. has been using unmanned Predator drones like this one, armed with missiles, to attack militant Taliban terror groups inside Pakistan. The government of pakistan has condemned the missile strikes in its territory.(AFP/USAF/File)

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

India even says the only terrorist to survive the Mumbai attack, Ajmal Qasab, is a Pakistani trained by the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

 By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Mumbai Terror Attack: Why Wasn’t Intelligence Better?

November 29, 2008

It is the big question: Could more have been done to prevent the Mumbai massacre?

While terrorism experts say Indian special forces performed with remarkable bravery and professionalism in their battle with the terrorists, they believe the attacks should — and could — have been thwarted by better intelligence.

Professor Paul Wilkinson lectures in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and is joint editor of the academic journal Terrorism and Political Violence.

SKY News (UK)

He told Sky News: “We have to accept there was an intelligence failure. They should have nipped this in the bud but it wasn’t on their radar. Intelligence doesn’t come out of this very well. This was a major operation with lots of people involved. It wasn’t just a cell; there were teams of gunmen — lots of well trained people. A large number of people must have been in the know about this attack.”

Former SAS trooper Robin Horsfall, who took part in the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980, also believes the international intelligence community should have known the attacks were being planned.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,459093,00.html

Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the ... 
Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Commandos Saturday killed the last remaining gunmen in Mumbai’s Taj hotel to end a devastating attack by Islamic militants on India’s financial capital that left 195 dead, including 27 foreigners.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

Pakistan Withdraws Offer To Send Security Chief to India To Assist In Mumbai Investigation

November 29, 2008

Pakistan on Saturday withdrew an offer to send its spy chief to India to help investigate the Mumbai terrorist attacks, damaging efforts to head off a crisis between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials have linked the attacks to “elements” in Pakistan, raising the prospect of a breakdown in painstaking peace talks between South Asian rivals that has alarmed the U.S.

An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal ... 
An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal hotel as Indian troops and militants battle in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India’s financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that rocked the nation.(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

However, Washington also kept up the pressure on Pakistan with a suspected missile strike on an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border that reportedly killed two people.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted on Friday that his country was not involved in the carnage that left more than 190 people dead in India’s financial capital.

With Pakistan promising to help identify and apprehend those responsible, Gilani‘s office said the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency would go to India at the request of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

However, Zahid Bashir, a spokesman for Gilani, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the decision had been changed and that a lower-ranking intelligence official would travel instead.

He declined to explain the about-face, which followed sharp criticism from some Pakistani opposition politicians and a cool response from the army, which controls the spy agency.

Bashir didn’t say who would be making the trip or when.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081129/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_india_10

Russia To Launch 13 Ballistic Missiles

November 29, 2008

Russia will further test its ballistic capabilities through launching an increased number of missiles over the next year, an official says.

“We are planning to carry out 13 launches in 2009,” Nikolai Solovtsov, commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), said Friday.

The test-fires, which compared to 2008 are almost double in number, include “five test launches of new missiles” and “three launches to confirm the extension of missiles’ service lives” according to the commander Solovtsov.

Among the missiles to be test-fired is the cutting-edge RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles fitted with multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads.

MIRV warheads enable the hardware hit a various number of targets while empowering it with the capability to shear through multiple layers of armor.

The missile is said to guarantee the strike capability of the Russian missile triad for almost 50 years.

Moscow’s missile might is receiving undivided attention amid Washington’s plans to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system the Czech Republic near the Russian borders.

HN/MMN
Turkish Press

Minuteman3launch.jpg
A U.S. ICBM is launched from California

SKorea receives first Patriot missiles

November 28, 2008

The South Korean air force said Friday it had taken delivery of a first shipment of US-made Patriot missiles, designed to protect against any attack by North Korea.

They were bought second-hand from Germany and will replace the current ageing Nike air defence missiles, the air force said in a statement.

A Patriot missile launcher in Seoul. The South Korean air force ... 
A Patriot missile launcher in Seoul. The South Korean air force said Friday it had taken delivery of a first shipment of US-made Patriot missiles, designed to protect against any attack by North Korea(AFP/File/Jung Yeon-Je)

The first shipment arrived in the country in August but has been undergoing a series of performance tests before Seoul officially took delivery.

The air force plans to spend a total of 1.05 trillion won (710 million dollars) to deploy two battalions of Patriot missiles within two years.

The air force did not say how many Patriots it had taken delivery of. South Korea previously announced plans to buy a total of 48 second-hand PAC-2 Patriots.

The announcement came amid worsening ties between the two Koreas. In protest at what it calls Seoul’s confrontational policy, North Korea has announced strict curbs on cross-border movements from December 1.

The US and its allies regard the North’s missile development as a major threat to regional security, on top of its nuclear ambitions.

–AFP

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081128/wl_asia_afp/skorean
koreausmissiles_081128080159

Czech Senate Approves U.S. Missile Defense Shield

November 27, 2008

The upper chamber of the Czech parliament on Thursday approved a deal with Washington to accept a U.S. missile defense installation.

The Associated Press

The deal still needs approval by the lower chamber, where the vote is expected to be close because the governing coalition has too few seats to guarantee passage. That vote is not expected before the end of the year.

The proposed U.S. missile defense system calls for a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of a shield designed to protect the region from possible attacks from Iran.

The Senate approved both treaties involved in the deal — the main bilateral treaty allowing the United States to build a radar base near Prague and the second, “complementary,” treaty that deals with the legal status of U.S. soldiers to be deployed at the base.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,458395,00.html

Russia test-fires intercontinental missile: military

November 26, 2008

Russia on Wednesday test-fired for the third time its new RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at overcoming air defence systems, the military said.

“The test-firing of the RS-24 was carried out on Wednesday from the Plesetsk cosmodrome” in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walks past an RS-12M ballistic ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev walks past an RS-12M ballistic missile. Russia has test-fired for the third time its new RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at overcoming air defence systems.(AFP/RIA Novosti/File/Dmitry Astakhov)

Military spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin told the agency that “the missile… was launched from a mobile launcher. This is the third test firing of the RS-24 in the last two years.”

Russia in May 2007 first test-fired the RS-24, which the military has said is designed to overcome air-defence systems such as the controversial US missile shield planned for deployment in eastern Europe.

–AFP

The Testing of Obama Rolls On

November 20, 2008

The ink had barely dried on the final vote count when the testing of President-elect Barack Obama began.

One of the first was by Vladimir Putin’s puppet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declaring that if the United States continued with its plan to deploy 10 ABM interceptor missiles into Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, then Russia would move short range missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic, targeting Europe. Russia’s excuse for this threat is that they were forced into it because the U.S. defensive system could be converted to an offensive system, targeting Russia. This is a contrived argument and Mr. Putin knows it is groundless.

By James Lyons
The Washington Times

What’s more disturbing is that Mr. Putin’s European proxies like the former German defense minister, Peter Struck, currently the parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, called Mr. Medvedev’s threat understandable and blamed President Bush for provoking Russia. This is incredible since he knows Russia was invited to participate in this very limited defensive shield whose fundamental purpose is to destroy any ballistic missile fired at Europe or the United States from a “rogue state” such as Iran.

During Mr. Medvedev’s recent visit to Washington, he appeared to soften his opening salvo by saying he hoped a compromise on the planned defensive shield deployment could be worked out with the new administration. He suggested a potential global system of protection against rogue states or perhaps use of existing systems to defeat such an attack. Existing systems clearly will be inadequate for this task. Mr. Medvedev concluded his comments by saying Russia will not make the first move.

With NATO’s weak response to Russia’s blatant invasion of Georgia, plus Russia’s increasing control of energy resources provided Europe, Mr. Putin sees the defensive shield issue as another opportunity to embarrass and further weaken U.S. influence while furthering his own agenda. If Mr. Putin can cause President-elect Obama to eventually back down on the deployment of the defensive shield, then Mr. Putin’s influence in dealing with the Eastern European border states, as well as the rest of Europe, will be significantly strengthened. Mr. Putin and his KGB cronies can be expected to further expand their control over the energy systems fueling Europe, as well as promoting the gas cartel.

Just last week, we saw the European Union reverse its position on withdrawing from negotiating with Russia on a “strategic Partnership” – the negotiations now will proceed even though Russia has not lived up to its obligations in the EU-brokered agreement with Georgia. Led by France and Germany, the EU has essentially caved and will resume business as usual. After all, since they have mortgaged their energy requirements, they cannot afford to have Mr. Putin turn off the energy valves as he did to the Ukraine in the winter of 2006.

I believe Mr. Obama will come under intense pressure from our European “partners” to cancel the deployment of defensive missiles to Poland. With no change in Iran’s drive to achieve a nuclear weapon capability, we would be sending all the wrong signals by canceling the deployment.

Related:
 Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/20/testing-has-begun/

Iran increases stockpile of uranium

November 19, 2008

Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear programme, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported on Wednesday, deepening the dilemma facing US president-elect Barack Obama over his campaign promise to engage with Tehran.

The latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that Iran is rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium, which could be rendered into weapons-grade material should Tehran decide to develop a nuclear device.

By Daniel Dombey in Washington and James Blitz in London
FT, London

The agency says that, as of this month, Tehran had amassed 630kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, up from 480kg in late August. Analysts say Iran is enriching uranium at such a pace that, by early next year, it could reach break-out capacity – one step away from producing enough fissile material for a crude nuclear bomb.

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities ...
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities in Isfahan. The International Atomic Energy Agency, despite six years of intensive investigation, is no closer to determining whether Iran’s disputed nuclear drive is entirely peaceful as Tehran claims, the watchdog said in a new report Wednesday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

“They are moving forward, they are not making diplomatic overtures, they are accumulating low enriched uranium,” said Cliff Kupchan, an analyst at the Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy in Washington. “These guys are committed to their nuclear programme: if we didn’t know that, they just told us again.”

The IAEA report also says there has been a breakdown of communication between the agency and Iran over alleged research on an atomic weapon. “The Iranians are making good progress on enrichment but there is absolute stone-walling on past military activities,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International institute for Strategic Studies. “It’s very disappointing.”

The progress chalked up by Iran increases the difficulties for Mr Obama, who campaigned on promises of talking to America’s enemies, although during the election he scaled down his initial vow to meet Iran’s leaders to a more general commitment to consider doing so if it advanced US interests.

“Obama faces a real dilemma,” said the Eurasia Group’s Mr Kupchan. “He must decide whether to pursue diplomacy quickly in light of rapid Iranian progress or whether to wait in the hope of a more moderate Iranian leadership after Iran’s June presidential election.”

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4eeacd78-b663-1
1dd-89dd-0000779fd18c.html

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AFP

The White House accused Iran Wednesday of an “unfortunate and disappointing” failure to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and effectively rejecting a US offer for high-level talks.

“The Iranian government’s failure to comply with the IAEA and UN is unfortunate and disappointing,” spokesman Gordon Johndroe said after the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Tehran.

The agency cited scant progress in its investigation of Tehran’s suspect nuclear program and said the Islamic republic was defying UN demands to freeze uranium enrichment, which can be a key step to building atomic weapons.

Johndroe noted that Iranian compliance could unlock a package of economic and diplomatic incentives — including an offer for talks between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterpart.

“The door is open if Iran will suspend its enrichment activity, but they don’t seem to want to walk through it,” he said in a brief statement.

An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base ... 
An Israeli F-16I fighter plane takes off from Ramon Air Base in southern Israel November 19, 2008.REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen