Thursday, October 26, 2017

More Rumors Of War: Is War With Russia Coming? Israel-Hezbollah War Is 'Inevitable'

Is War With Russia Coming? U.S. Marines Are Getting Ready for a Conflict in Eastern Europe

The U.S. Marine Corps is seriously considering the prospect of a conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe and dedicating more resources to its Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters, Military Times reported Tuesday. 
A Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) is the largest type of Marine combat force and can include up to 25,000 Marines. In recent years, the conflicts the U.S. has been involved in have seen the U.S. Marine Corps focus its warfighting capabilities on smaller units, like the Marine Expeditionary Unit or Marine Expeditionary Brigade. As tensions have risen with Russia, however, the Marines have seen the need to focus on prepping a much larger force. 
"The MEF command element will have to be ready to support a warfighting effort in Europe," said Lt. Gen. Robert Hedelund, commanding general of North Carolina-based II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The U.S. Marines have ramped up their presence in Europe in the past few years, especially after Russia's annexation of the Crimea. In March, hundreds of U.S. Marines conducted drills with Romanian troops on the Black Sea coast.

This summer, the U.S. announced that some 330 Marines stationed in Norway will stay there until the end of 2018, twice as long as they were originally supposed to be there. The Marines, who were sent to Norway in January, represent the first foreign force to be stationed in the Scandinavian country (also a NATO member) since the end of World War II. 
"We consider that this step contradicts Norwegian policy of not deploying foreign military bases in the country in times of peace," the Russian embassy wrote in a statement at the time. 
Washington's relationship with Russia has been deteriorating over the past several years as the Kremlin has taken aggressive actions in Ukraine and allied itself with foes of the U.S. in the Syria conflict. These tensions were compounded by Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Some have contended the current state of affairs represents a new Cold War. 

A senior Russian legislator has condemned recent reports that the Western military alliance NATO was seeking to expand its military infrastructure, and he has threatened Russian reciprocation.
Yuri Shvytkin, deputy chairman of the defense committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, responded Wednesday to reports that NATO was looking to reorganize its structure to include two new commands designed to boost its mobility across Europe and to bolster its military forces in the Arctic, where Russia has also increasingly set its sights. Touting Russia's military prowess, Shyvtkin said Moscow would be willing to defend its western borders with new formations of its own.
"It is clear to everyone that Russia does not carry aggression against any state. Russia has the most powerful army in the world, but we are not initiating the creation of any additional factions in the West or any other direction," Shvytkin said, according to Russia's state-run RIA Novosti.
"If this really happens, we will certainly react by strengthening our military potential in the direction of the West," he added.
NATO officials have said the two new commands, reports about which first appeared in The Wall Street Journal, were planned in response to Russia's growing military capabilities and to provide a greater deterrence for coalition member states. Since Russia's annexation of the former Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014, NATO has sought to increase its power. Last year, it established battle groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Moscow views these moves, as well as a massive U.S. missile shield across Europe, as a Western plan to surround and undermine Russia's defenses. Russia has reinforced its militarized Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad with Iskander missile systems and is in the process of modernizing its armed forces. Both NATO and Russia have embarked on a near-constant cycle of military drills on their respective sides of the border.

A war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group is inevitable, though not necessarily imminent, and will be unavoidably bloody for both sides, according to an assessment by a number of former generals from around the world, known collectively as the High Level Military Group.
In an extensive report, published Wednesday, the organization details both the IDF’s and Hezbollah’s reorganization in the 11 years following the Second Lebanon War, the last time the sides engaged in all-out combat with one another. The High Level Military Group (HLMG) also describes the strategies each side will use in the apparently approaching war, as well as the potential pratfalls of those plans.
“The timing of such a conflict is likely to be determined by miscalculation as much as decision-making in Iran and Lebanon.”

The group said that should such a war break out, it will likely be “more violent and destructive than the previous ones,” due to the improvements that both sides have made to their respective military capabilities in the interim.

The report, “Hezbollah’s terror army: How to prevent a third Lebanon war,” offers limited recommendations for avoiding such a conflict, instead painting it as a war waiting to happen.
The retired generals and defense officials from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, and Australia who make up the HLMG also express significant criticism of the United Nations for its “evident severe failure” to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, a dereliction that they credit with exacerbating the situation.

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