On Tuesday, a Russian fighter engaged in yet another “unprofessional” intercept of a U.S. military plane in international airspace. The Su-27 Flanker reportedly flew within 20 feet of a Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance/patrol aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
The Department of Defense has given little information on the nine-minute encounter other than stating that interactions with foreign militaries are routine and that this event was considered “safe” but “unprofessional.” Military aircraft are free to operate in international airspace and will likely be met when operating near the border of another nation. But with a string of recent provocative and dangerous antics in the air, Russia looks like a nation that has developed an inferiority complex.
On January 29, 2018 another Su-27 harassed a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion reconnaissance plane in a similar event over the Black Sea. The U.S. 6th Fleet, which covers the European and African area, issued a statement declaring that the confrontation lasted for two hours and 40 minutes, with the Russian jet closing to “within five feet” from the American plane.
The fighter flew “directly through the EP-3’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27’s jet wash,” prompting the State Department to issue a press release voicing their “highest level of concern.”
Spokesperson Heather Nauert called on Russia to “cease these unsafe actions that increase the risk of miscalculation, danger to aircrew on both sides, and midair collisions.”
Why does Russia do it? It’s a dominance thing.
Russian state news agency TASS reports that Pres. Vladimir Putin has ordered the conscription of over 140,000 Russians into military service.
Defense Secretary James Mattis stated in a London press conference that North Korea’s behavior is increasingly reckless and must be stopped. Mattis also expressed concerns over Russian relations, such as growing Russian cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan – an association that Russian officials has both publicly admitted and denied.
The UK daily Independent reported that Saudi Arabia has recently deported over 40,000 Pakistanis over security concerns – including links to Islamist groups such as ISIS – and visa violations. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, approximately 250,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia.
Victory Institute Senior Analyst Casey Martin contributed to this report
Egypt: According to Ynet, Egyptian security forces captured 100 anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons believed destined for Gaza on Wednesday according to the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabe’. Egyptian forces also discovered three tunnels linking Rafah to the Gaza Strip, and confiscated dozens of vehicles used for smuggling.
Gaza: The Kuwait News Agency reports that Palestinians fired two more rockets into Israel on Wednesday. Local radio stations said the Ali Mustafa Brigade – the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – claimed responsibility.
And just hours after Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged Hamas to stop militants from firing rockets into Israel, a Qassam rocket was fired into Ashkelon.
Israeli warplanes responded by launching at least five attacks on various targets.
Lebanon: Tribunal investigators have summoned 12 Hizballah members and close supporters for questioning for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Hizballah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah referred to the 12 as “witnesses and not as suspects,” and told al Manar – the jihadist group’s television station – that “We have nothing to fear and we will co-operate.”
Nasrallah stated that six additional members would appear for questioning.
Hizballah, Israel, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Syrian intelligence, and even al Qaeda have been speculated to be involved in the Hariri killing. But in May of last year, Der Spiegel reported the tribunal had evidence showing that Hizballah was behind the massacre.
Russia: Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the “Black Widow” suicide attacks on the Moscow Metro, which killed 39 Russians on Monday. Another double attack in Dagestan killed 12, including nine policemen on Wednesday. A second Dagestan bombing killed two more on Thursday. President Dimitri Medvedev said in a Security Council meeting that the attacks are “links in the same chain,” and called for a “brutal” response.
Monday’s blasts were the first terrorist attacks against Russia in six years.
Using the Olympics as cover, Russia invades Georgia in August, 2008; their troops burn, rape, and pillage along the way to South Ossetia and Abkhazia; the two territories are carved out of Georgia and become “breakaway republics.”
Now, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have signed 49 year defense pacts with Russia, allowing them to base thousands of troops in territories only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela Hamas also recognized their independence, but opinions of terrorists don’t count).
The U.S., Georgia, NATO, G7, and the EU along with other countries and organizations still consider the territories to be part of Georgia, and as such are occupied territories. Predictably, the UN is silent on the matter.
As a Swedish foreign minister said, Russia’s actions were “certainly just as unacceptable” as Nazi Germany “defending its rights” in Sudetenland in 1938.
Russia has already agreed to help defend both regions’ airspace and to train their militaries.
Russia has also agreed to defend what Abkhazia describes as its territorial waters, but which according to international law remains under Georgia’s jurisdiction.
It seems that the Soviet Union er, Russia is reclaiming it’s ‘near abroad.’ With the gutless wonder in the White House and the world’s lack of response to the Russian expansion into Georgia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states should prepare for the worst.
[From STRATFOR’s Geopolitical Weekly]
The Iranians have now agreed to talks with the P-5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China) plus Germany. These six countries decided in late April to enter into negotiations with Iran over the suspected Iranian nuclear weapons program by Sept. 24, the date of the next U.N. General Assembly meeting. If Iran refused to engage in negotiations by that date, the Western powers in the P-5+1 made clear that they would seriously consider imposing much tougher sanctions on Iran than those that were currently in place. The term “crippling” was mentioned several times.
Obviously, negotiations are not to begin prior to the U.N. General Assembly meeting as previously had been stipulated. The talks are now expected to begin Oct. 1, a week later. This gives the Iranians their first (symbolic) victory: They have defied the P-5+1 on the demand that talks be under way by the time the General Assembly meets. Inevitably, the Iranians would delay, and the P-5+1 would not make a big deal of it.
Talks About Talks and the Sanctions Challenge
Now, we get down to the heart of the matter: The Iranians have officially indicated that they are prepared to discuss a range of strategic and economic issues but are not prepared to discuss the nuclear program — which, of course, is the reason for the talks in the first place. On Sept. 14, they hinted that they might consider talking about the nuclear program if progress were made on other issues, but made no guarantees.