A day after a North Korean missile test landed in an area where Japanese fishing and cargo ships are active, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed the island nation would take action.
“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” he said Monday in a televised speech.
“Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea,” Abe said.
He did not specify what kind of action Japan intended to take.
“We absolutely cannot accept North Korea’s repeated provocations despite repeated warnings by the international community,” Abe said.
On Sunday, North Korea tested a short-range Scud ballistic missile. The missile flew for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan. North Korea has several Scud-type missiles in its arsenal, leading analysts to wonder what was new about this missile.
“There are many possibilities. It could have been a test for a different type of engine. Or to verify the credibility of the main engine for ICBM’s first stage rocket,” said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Far Eastern Studies department in Seoul.
“We cannot tolerate such repeated actions from North Korea, and we have lodged a strong protest against North Korea, criticizing them in the strongest form,” Suga said in a statement.
The US’ decision to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria is an “extremely dangerous” mistake that should be reversed, Turkey’s foreign minister has said. Earlier on Tuesday, the US announced that it was starting to deliver weapons to the Syrian Kurdish militia.
“Such steps are extremely dangerous for Syria’s unity and territorial integrity,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the media on Wednesday.
“If we are looking for stability in Syria, we should row back from those mistakes,” he told a press conference, while speaking alongside his Slovenian counterpart, Karl Erjavec.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Pentagon said deliveries of small arms, machine guns and other military equipment to Kurdish fighters in Syria began this week, saying the move is necessary to help the militias fight the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) near the city of Raqqa.
This runs counter to earlier reports which said that as many as 100 trucks loaded with US weapons and ammunition had already been delivered to SDF over the past few weeks.
The Pentagon said it considers the multiethnic Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), which is dominated by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), to be the only military contingent on the ground capable of taking the IS stronghold Raqqa.
Ankara is opposed to arming the SDF, saying the weapons may end up in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant movement based in Turkey that has been waging a guerrilla war against the Turkish government since the 1980s. Both Turkey and the US consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.
A Syrian military expert, Brig. Gen. Muhammed Isi, told Sputnik that the United States actively supports the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa but secretly endorses Daesh. Any type of negotiations and cooperation between these forces are held under US control.
“The US wants to create a semblance of a state, east of the Euphrates, in order to counteract the Syrian state. It is planned that this quasi-state will give the US privileges and opportunities like those provided by the Syrian state to Russia. As a result, there will be two governments in Syria, one under Russian and the other under the American protectorate,” Isi said.
The general further said that the United States has destroyed all the bridges across the Euphrates and on the western side of the river has placed its forces.
“They have declared their intention to liberate Raqqa and that is the next stage of the plan before establishing a Kurdish state. According to US maps with the future borders of the region, the Kurdish state will directly border the oil fields of Syria,” Isi told Sputnik Arabic.
According to the general, anyone who pays attention can see that the Syrian Democratic Forces are the main allies of the US and Daesh at the same time.
“Therefore, it can be said that Daesh are American soldiers in local clothes. The secret link between all these three sides suggests that the United States is in fact coordinating relations between Daesh and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Therefore, it should not be surprising if agreements between them are concluded under the strict guidance of the United States,” the general said.
He further said that Russia and Syria categorically do not recognize any such agreements because Daesh stands outside of international law.
According to the general, it was noted that when US forces tell militants to leave a certain place, they leave unconditionally without battles and executing the local population, thus vacating a spot for another American ally.
“You must not believe the US assurances that they want to destroy Daesh. If they wanted to, they would have done so within just 24 hours,” Isi concluded.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the United States said that its weapons transfers to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) have officially begun, much to the consternation of NATO ally Turkey.
The Pentagon's spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said that the Kurdish fighters have been the recipients of US-provided small arms and military vehicles ready for the push to take Raqqa from Daesh who have used it as their de-facto capital in the war-torn country.
As of late, the media has forgotten about tensions between Ukraine, NATO, and Russia. Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine have largely left the public’s awareness. However, that shouldn’t be the case, because this region is still a powder keg that could blow at any time. And if it does, it could easily result in another world war.
If you don’t think the situation in Ukraine could still explode into a wider conflict, take a look at what this member of Russia’s parliament recently said at an international security conference.
“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — If U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Russian military leaders have discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with military leaders in NATO, as part of broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion, Nikonov later told Defense One.
That’s a startling admission when you think about it. It seems the Russian’s believe that if there is a war between Russia and the West, their conventional forces won’t be capable of defending Russian soil from NATO. They’re basically warning us that “if you bring a knife to this fight, we know we can’t win, so we’ll be bringing a gun.”
In the two years since Russia annexed Crimea, NATO’s Baltic members have doubled their defense budgets. In 2018, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are projected to spend nearly $670 million, up from $210 million in 2014. “This growth is faster than any other region globally,” Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s, remarked last October. “In 2005, the region’s total defence budget was $930 million. By 2020, the region’s defence budget will be $2.1 billion.”
NATO has been expanding its troop presence in Eastern Europe as well. In April 2016, during the Warsaw summit, NATO agreed to increase the size of the NATO force deployed to Baltics, a posture move sometimes called enhanced forward presence. In January, the U.S. deployed some 4,000 troops to Poland. The following month, Germany, announced that it will send some 1,000 troops to Lithuania.
Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has slowly but surely encircled Russia. Just last month NATO admitted another Eastern European nation into their alliance, and the current antagonism between West and Russia is being driven by NATO’s attempts to absorb Ukraine.
The West needs a reality check. The further we encroach into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, the closer we come to World War Three. And if Russia really is such a serious threat to us, as our government has claimed many times in recent years, is expanding NATO really going to guarantee our safety?
The missiles destroyed heavy equipment and killed fighters that Islamic State had transferred from its stronghold, Raqqa, to Palmyra, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.
The Russian warships, a frigate named Admiral Essen and submarine named Krasnodar, fired Kalibr cruise missiles on combat vehicles and militants outside the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Defense Ministry said.
The four cruise missiles were fired from the eastern Mediterranean, it noted in a statement. The submarine fired its missiles while submerged.
According to the MoD, “[the ships] targeted an area east of Palmyra, where the militants’ heavy weaponry and manpower were located. The militants moved there from Raqqa. All targets have been destroyed,” it said.
The US, Turkish, and Israeli militaries received appropriate warning in advance of the missile launches through active hotlines, the Defense Ministry added.
The Russian Navy also fired Kalibr cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria last year. The Black Sea Fleet carried out three cruise missile strikes on terrorist targets in Syria back in August, destroying a command post and munitions production site. The missiles, which targeted Al-Nusra Front positions, flew over unpopulated areas, the Russian military said.