In December 2007, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez suffered his first defeat at the polls. Although still wildly popular among the working class that had propelled him to power nearly a decade earlier, voters rejected a referendum that would have enabled him to run for re-election repeatedly. Stung, Chavez turned to a close confidant, according to three former advisors: Fidel Castro. The aging Cuban leader had mentored Chavez years before the Venezuelan became president, when he was still best known for leading a failed coup. Now, deepening economic ties were making Cuba ever more reliant on oil-rich Venezuela, and Castro was eager to help Chavez stay in power, these advisors say. Castro’s advice: Ensure absolute control of the military. Easier said than done. Venezuela’s military had a history of uprisings, sometimes leading to coups of the sort that Chavez, when a lieutenant colonel in the army, had staged in 1992. A decade later, rivals waged a short-lived putsch against Chavez himself. But if Chavez took the right steps, the Cuban instructed, he could hang on as long as Castro himself had, the advisors recalled. Cuba’s military, with Castro’s brother at the helm, controlled everything from security to key sectors of the economy. Within months, the countries drew up two agreements, recently reviewed by Reuters, that gave Cuba deep access to Venezuela’s military – and wide latitude to spy on it and revamp it. The agreements, specifics of which are reported here for the first time, led to the imposing of strict surveillance
The UK’s Daily Express paper has published a report, featuring a “shock chart”, illustrating that Iranian military strength may overpower that of Britain in various key aspects. “A comparison of the UK and Iran’s military strength shows Britain falling behind when it comes to manpower, land and naval strength and petroleum resources,” reported the paper on Saturday. The report cited data released by the Global Fire Power (GFP) group, demonstrating that Iran held a better standing among much of the criteria commonly used to compare a country’s potential strength for a potential military standoff. The paper highlighted that Iran benefited from a superior number of military personnel, combat tanks, naval and artillery assets, along with nearly 40 million people fit for service, nearly double the amount of people available to the UK. The article also highlighted that Iran enjoyed the advantage of a significantly higher daily oil production rate, nearly five times that of Britain, adding that GFP analysts branded oil resources as the “lifeblood” needed to sustain military campaigns. The paper noted, however, that Britain had more superior air power compared to Iran. The comparison is, however, far from being a comprehensive one, relying solely on a rudimentary and numerical analysis of military strength. The comparison also leaves out asymmetrical military capabilities, a key factor in Iran’s defense doctrine. The UK paper published the report citing fears of a probable military confrontation between the two countries. Tensions simmered between Tehran and London ever-since the British overseas territory of Gibraltar
“Ukraine remains at the front line of a smoldering conflict,” said British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, adding “but you do not stand alone. By continuing to work together, whether through training programmes or military exercises, we help Ukraine to stand up for our shared values.”
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte cited “a state of lawlessness” that he declared following a deadly 2016 bombing to justify putting the military in control of the customs bureau. The agency’s officials will be put on a “floating status” and be required to conduct their work in a gymnasium in the presidential palace complex.
Security Council’s 15-member Central African Republic CAR sanctions committee agreed last month to Russia’s request to send the 60 additional instructors, provided they coordinate with CAR’s U.N. peacekeeping mission. Russia’s foreign ministry defended its actions in a statement against what it said was “a certain ‘jealousy’” by other foreign powers over Russia’s role in CAR.
“We believe this kind of position to be counter-productive, particularly in the current context, when constructive cooperation of all international ‘players’ and not competition or ‘zero-sum games’ is urgently called for,” it said.
The European Union took a stance against “killer robots” on Wednesday when the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for an international ban on the development, production and use of weapons that kill without a human deciding to fire.
“I know that this might look like a debate about some distant future or about science fiction. It’s not,” Federica Mogherini, the EU chief of foreign and security policy, said during a debate in parliament on Tuesday.