U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month, an attack that would mark a significant escalation in Israel’s years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region. The confirmation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is strongly hinting that his country is behind recent airstrikes that have hit bases and munitions depot belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces operating in Iraq. The mystery attacks have not been claimed by any side and have left Iraqi officials scrambling for a response, amid strong speculation that Israel may have been behind them. Earlier this week, the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, openly accused Israeli drones of carrying out the attacks, but ultimately blamed Washington and threatened strong retaliation for any future attack. Such attacks are potentially destabilizing for Iraq and its fragile government, which has struggled to remain neutral amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran. There have been at least three explosions at Iraqi Shiite militia bases in the past month. American officials now confirm Israel was responsible for at least one of them. Two American officials said Israel carried out an attack on an Iranian weapons depot in July that killed two Iranian military commanders. The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media. The July 19 attack struck a militia base in Amirli, in Iraq’s
North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea Thursday in its first weapons launches in more than two months and an apparent effort to pressure Washington as the two sides struggle to restart nuclear negotiations. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were fired from near the eastern coastal town of Wonsan and flew about 430 kilometers (270 miles) and 690 kilometers (430 miles) respectively before landing off the country’s east coast. South Korea’s military earlier said both missiles flew 430 kilometers but the trajectory for one was revised based on a joint South Korean-U.S. analysis. South Korean officials said the missiles were both short-range. A South Korean defense official, requesting anonymity because of department rules, said that an initial analysis showed both missiles were fired from mobile launchers and flew at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles). He said South Korea’s military believes a second missile that flew 690 kilometers is a new type of missile but more analysis is necessary. The North Korea is unhappy over planned U.S.-South Korean military drills that it says are preparation for an invasion. The missile tests may be meant as a warning to Washington. They came as many in the United States were focused on testimony before Congress by Robert Mueller, the former special counsel, about his two-year probe into Russian election interference. A day earlier, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton left Seoul after agreeing with South Korean officials to work closely to achieve North Korea’s
North Korea fired several “unidentified short-range projectiles” into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, prompting South Korea to call on its communist neighbour to “stop acts that escalate military tension on the Korean Peninsula”. The South Korean military initially described it as a missile launch, but subsequently gave a more vague description. The latest firing came after the North’s test of what it called a tactical guided weapons system in April.
Analysts suspected the flurry of military activity by Pyongyang was an attempt to exert pressure on the United States to give ground in negotiations to end the North’s nuclear programme after a summit in February ended in failure. South Korea’s presidency urged North Korea to refrain from further action in one of the most stiffly-worded statements since the two Koreas embarked on reconciliation efforts early last year.
“We are very concerned about the North’s latest action,” South Korea’s presidential spokeswoman said in the statement, adding that it violates an inter-Korean military agreement.
China’s powerful military is considered to be a master at concealing its intentions. But there is no secret about how it plans to destroy American aircraft carriers if rivalry becomes war. At November’s biennial air show in the southern city of Zhuhai, the biggest state-owned missile maker, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd., screened an animation showing a hostile “blue force,” comprising an aircraft carrier, escort ships and strike aircraft, approaching “red force” territory. On a giant screen, the animation showed a barrage of the Chinese company’s missiles launched from “red force” warships, submarines, shore batteries and aircraft wreaking havoc on the escort vessels around the carrier. In a final salvo, two missiles plunge onto the flight deck of the carrier and a third slams into the side of the hull near the bow.
The fate of the ship is an unmistakable message to an America that has long dominated the globe from its mighty aircraft carriers and sprawling network of hundreds of bases. China’s military is now making giant strides toward replacing the United States as the supreme power in Asia. With the Pentagon distracted by almost two decades of costly war in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has exploited a period of sustained budget increases and rapid technical improvement to build and deploy an arsenal of advanced missiles.
“Only when we become convinced that there is an incoming attack on the territory of Russia, and that happens within seconds, only after that we would launch a retaliatory strike,” Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized on Thursday while addressing a panel discussion at an international policy forum in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.