Archive for the ‘arms’ Category

US Navy Seeks Arms Bound for Hamas in Gaza

January 25, 2009

AN American naval taskforce in the Gulf of Aden has been ordered to hunt for suspicious Iranian arms ships heading for the Red Sea as Tehran seeks to re-equip Hamas, its Islamist ally in Gaza.

According to US diplomatic sources, Combined Task Force 151, which is countering pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments.

Last week the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dockship that serves as the command and control centre for the taskforce, boarded the former Russian cargo vessel Monchegorsk, which is registered in Limassol and flying a Cypriot flag.

The ship docked at an Egyptian Red Sea port for a detailed search during which, according to unconfirmed reports, weapons were found.

LPD-17 Class.jpg
Above: USS San Antonio

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Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

January 23, 2009

Hamas has claimed victory over Israel in the fighting that ended this week but the paucity of flag waving fighters and supporters raises serious issues about any Hamas glory.

Even the rival Fatah party in Gaza can’t find it appropriate to gloat over the proclaimed “victory” over Israel.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything.

Hamas is accusing rival Palestinian faction Fatah of spying for Israel and not strongly enough supporting Hamas in the fight against the “Zionists.”

Fatah says Hamas relied too much on Iran for strategy and arms, irresponsibly goaded Isreal into a war with their rocket attacks on Israel, and botched the defense of the Gazan people.

CNN reported that  some in Fatah are accusing Hamas of carrying out “punishment shootings” against suspects.

“In this war, we arrested many spies and collaborators, and we will stay continuing to catch these spies and put them in jail and in court,” Ehad al-Ghossain, Hamas’ Interior Ministry spokesman, told CNN.

Peace and Freedom

Obama urges Israel, Hamas to keep peace in Gaza
 Hamas Inflated Civilian Casualty Numbers in Gaza To Gain Sympathy, Support from Media, Iran, Arab World
Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

 Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas
Israel Failed: Tunnels in Gaza Again Filled With Supplies, Diggers

China Warns U.S. On Arms To Taiwan

January 14, 2009

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan may strain ties with China even as the two countries cooperate more closely, current and former Chinese officials told their American counterparts in Beijing at a conference that ended yesterday.

Taiwan is the most important issue in relations between the U.S. and China, as they confront a global economic crisis that has highlighted their interdependence, the officials told former American diplomats Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski during the two-day celebration of 30 years of formal relations.

By Dune Lawrence

“Recently, some hard-won advances have been made in cross- strait relations,” said Li Zhaoxing, who was China’s foreign minister from 2003 to 2007. “We certainly don’t want something like arms sales to disrupt” the progress.

China, with the world’s largest regular army, has more than 900 missiles along its southeastern coast aimed at Taiwan. The Taiwanese military is planning to buy $6.5 billion of U.S. weapons including Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Patriot anti-missile systems. China has frozen military exchanges with the U.S. since October over the arms sales.

“The Taiwan issue is the most important and sensitive one in relations between the two countries,” Dai Bingguo, China’s highest ranking official responsible for foreign relations, told the conference participants.

Relations between China and Taiwan warmed after President Ma Ying-jeou took office last year and reversed course on his predecessor’s pro independence stance.

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What Iran stands to gain from conflict over Gaza

January 1, 2009

Students storm the British Embassy residence compound in Tehran, Iran, ripping down the Union Jack and hoisting the Palestinian flag, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes to try Israeli leaders in absentia.

An Iranian religious organization signs up volunteers for suicide operations in the Gaza Strip, and an Iranian general suggests an Islamic military response to the five-day Israeli offensive against Hamas.

With bellicose rhetoric, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken the lead in opposing the ongoing Israeli military operation in Gaza. The vociferous public displays, analysts say, are aimed primarily at hard-core government supporters in Iran whom officials hope to energize before presidential elections in June.

But the high-profile maneuvers are a double-edged sword, because they also reinforce perceptions in Israel, the United States and large parts of the Arab world of links between Iran and Hamas, which took control of Gaza in mid-2007.

Israeli leaders and their U.S. allies have framed the fight against Hamas as one against an Iranian proxy firing Iranian-supplied rockets deeper inside the Jewish state. In a CBS interview Tuesday, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas Iran’s “terrorist base” next to Israel.

But Iran’s main ally in the region — the Shiite militia Hezbollah — has all but ruled out military intervention on behalf of Hamas, while Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has carefully condoned “defending” Gazans without calling for killing Israelis.

Even the hair-raising idea of a military response was delivered not by a ranking officer in charge of Iran’s land, sea or air forces, but by the general technically in charge of annual ceremonies commemorating those who fought and died in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

“They are mobilizing their power base to set the tone for the main issues of the presidential campaign,” said researcher Shahram Kholdi, at the University of Manchester, England.

“One of the main issues is relations with the United States” and by extension Israel, he said. “They are trying to warn the reformers and whoever might challenge Ahmadinejad, ‘We are still able to sabotage whatever you might be doing, which includes foreign policy.’ ”

In taking this tack, Iran also can appeal to hard-line Islamists in rival Arab nations.

“Iran is trying to be the leader of the Islamic world,” said Meir Javedanfar, a Jerusalem-based Iran expert. “Khamenei believes that the majority of the Islamic world is angry, and he is right in his opinion.”

Meanwhile, Iran has intensified repression against its own moderate and reformist opponents. Authorities Wednesday shut down the daily newspaper Kargozaran, which is often critical of Ahmadinejad and close to rival Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani…..

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China’s tanks, aircraft challenge Russian sales in Africa

January 1, 2009

Ghana traditionally has been a client country of Western weapons manufacturers. It does have some Russian equipment in service, however, including SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles, Zu-23-2 air defense machine guns and D-30 122-mm howitzers.


The People’s Republic of China is now promoting its latest gun-launched laser-guided projectiles on the African continent. At least one African country is already equipped with the Chinese-made GP1 155mm laser-guided projectiles, which are a Chinese version of Russia’s Krasnopol GLLGP, the technology for which was transferred to China by Russia’s KBP Design Bureau in 1997.

Chinese arms are also actively penetrating North Africa’s Arab countries. Algeria has been a typical purchaser of Russian equipment. The Algerian army has 320 T54/55 Main Battle Tanks and 350 T72 Main Battle Tanks, as well as AT-3, AT-4 and AT-5 anti-tank missiles, 289 BMP-1/2 IFVs and SAM-7, SAM-8, SAM-9 and SAM-14 ground missiles.

The Algerian air force is armed with 43 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MFs, 30 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/Es, 28 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23Fs….

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Russia Angry, Critical of U.S. On Arms Control

December 20, 2008

A senior Russian diplomat harshly criticised the US stance in arms control talks yesterday, saying it could further erode mutual trust and undermine global stability.

The US and Russia have begun talks on a successor deal to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty which expires in December 2009, but a cold spell in Russia-US relations has stymied talks.

By David Nowak
Associated Press

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russian and US negotiators have failed to agree on which weapons should be counted under the new deal.

Russia wants to count missiles, bombers and submarines along with nuclear warheads fitted to them, as was done in the START I treaty, while the United States agrees only to count nuclear warheads, Ryabkov said.

“The implementation of the approach proposed by the American side can strip our bilateral relations of a key element – predictability in arms control – and badly destabilise the strategic situation,” Ryabkov said in a statement.

US officials argued that missiles, bombers and submarines mustn’t be subject to a nuclear arms control deal because they can also carry conventional weapons.

Russia Testing Obama: Says No To U.S.
Missile Defense & Offers To Stop “Some” Rus

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament
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Israel Urges Russia Not to Arm Iran (Further)

December 19, 2008

Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, on Friday urged Russia not to sell weapons to Iran that could be used to attack Israel.

By Yaakov Katz
The Jerusalem Post

The Interfax news agency quoted Gilad as saying Israel expects Russia to respect his country’s interests.

Gilad was visiting Moscow and was quoted in response to a question about possible deliveries of the Russian S-300 air defense missiles to Iran.

Some Russian media have claimed that a deal has already been struck to sell the missiles.

A Russian defense official, who was quoted this week as saying that arms sales to Iran created regional stability, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that he had not been referring to the sale of the S-300 system.

The S-300 is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 90,000 feet.

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Somali Pirates To Receive Millions in Ransom for Release of Arms Ship

December 19, 2008

Pirates holding a ship full of tanks and ammunition off the coast of Somalia are likely to be paid millions of dollars in ransom within days, senior U.S. military officials said.
The pirates have been holding the Ukrainian-operated, Belize-flagged MV Faina and its 20-person crew in the Gulf of Aden since September 25.

Somali pirates holding the MV Faina stand guard on the merchant vessel's deck on October 19.

Somali pirates holding the MV Faina stand guard on the merchant vessel’s deck on October 19.

Military officials said the cash payment will be brought on the ship, directly to the pirates. Such a procedure is common because of the lack of electronic banking in Somalia.

The officials would not say how much ransom is being paid or who is paying it because it would be up to the individuals or company to make that announcement.

What’s known is that the pirates originally asked for a $35 million ransom, but lowered their demand to $20 million, Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya Seafarers Association told CNN in November.

The ship is laden with Soviet-era tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms.

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Russia Says Strategic Arms Agreements With U.S. All Need to Be Scrapped, Replaced

December 16, 2008

Russia and the United States failed to narrow their differences on Monday over American plans for a missile shield in Europe, but said they were committed to replacing a cold war nuclear weapons agreement. After bilateral talks in Moscow, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, and John Rood, the American under secretary of state for arms control, said they wanted to negotiate a replacement for the agreement, the START-1, before it expired next year. “The task is quite realistic; we have enough time,” Mr. Ryabkov said. “I can’t help being optimistic about that.”


Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during ... 
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing in the main building of Foreign Ministry in Moscow, December 15, 2008. Ryabkov and U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Rood met behind closed doors to discuss a replacement to the START-1 pact which expires in December 2009.REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov (RUSSIA)