• CENTCOM intercepts Iranian weapons shipment intended for Houthis

    A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, forward deployed to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen from a vessel in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 28.

    The U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr (WPC 1147), assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, located the vessel and boarded it in the Arabian Sea. The boarding team discovered over 200 packages that contained medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater/surface vehicle (UUV/USV) components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components.

    The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of such aid violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 (as extended and renewed by resolutions 2675 and 2707). “This is yet another example of Iran’s malign activity in the region, ” said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander. “Their continued supply of advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis is in direct violation of international law and continues to undermine the safety of international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”
    CENTCOM intercepts Iranian weapons shipment intended for Houthis A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, forward deployed to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, seized advanced conventional weapons and other lethal aid originating in Iran and bound to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen from a vessel in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 28. The U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel-class fast-response cutter USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr (WPC 1147), assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, located the vessel and boarded it in the Arabian Sea. The boarding team discovered over 200 packages that contained medium-range ballistic missile components, explosives, unmanned underwater/surface vehicle (UUV/USV) components, military-grade communication and network equipment, anti-tank guided missile launcher assemblies, and other military components. The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of such aid violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 (as extended and renewed by resolutions 2675 and 2707). “This is yet another example of Iran’s malign activity in the region, ” said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, CENTCOM commander. “Their continued supply of advanced conventional weapons to the Houthis is in direct violation of international law and continues to undermine the safety of international shipping and the free flow of commerce.”
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  • Macron, Zelensky to sign security deal in Paris on February 16 — AFP

    The Presidents of France and Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Zelensky, will sign a bilateral agreement on security guarantees at the Elysee Palace on Friday, the AFP news agency reports citing the French president’s administration.

    "This agreement follows from the commitments made by the Group of Seven on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023," the agency quoted a statement from the Elysee Palace.

    The Telegram channel of the office of the President of Ukraine reports that Zelensky will visit Germany and France on February 16 to hold talks with Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and on February 17 he will take part in the Munich Security Conference in person. Zelensky is scheduled to hold talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the leaders of Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and other countries on the sidelines of the conference. Earlier, Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that Zelensky plans to travel to several Western European countries in a bid to get more aid for Ukraine.

    On the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, 2023, the Group of Seven adopted a declaration on long-term security guarantees for Ukraine. Then some other countries joined this declaration. The document, in particular, states that Kiev should receive significant military help. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called this decision a mistake and Zelensky's trip potentially very dangerous.
    Macron, Zelensky to sign security deal in Paris on February 16 — AFP The Presidents of France and Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Zelensky, will sign a bilateral agreement on security guarantees at the Elysee Palace on Friday, the AFP news agency reports citing the French president’s administration. "This agreement follows from the commitments made by the Group of Seven on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023," the agency quoted a statement from the Elysee Palace. The Telegram channel of the office of the President of Ukraine reports that Zelensky will visit Germany and France on February 16 to hold talks with Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and on February 17 he will take part in the Munich Security Conference in person. Zelensky is scheduled to hold talks with US Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the leaders of Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and other countries on the sidelines of the conference. Earlier, Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that Zelensky plans to travel to several Western European countries in a bid to get more aid for Ukraine. On the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12, 2023, the Group of Seven adopted a declaration on long-term security guarantees for Ukraine. Then some other countries joined this declaration. The document, in particular, states that Kiev should receive significant military help. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called this decision a mistake and Zelensky's trip potentially very dangerous.
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  • NATO disintegration is just a matter of time, says Politico

    The European Union (EU) can no longer rely on the United States to ensure the security of the alliance, and the outcome of the US presidential election will only cement "the timing of NATO’s collapse," Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico’s Europe correspondent, opined.

    "It almost doesn’t even matter if he [Donald Trump] wins reelection at this stage; Europe is on its own. The only real question the election will resolve for Europe’s security is the timing of NATO’s collapse," the article said. "Of course, the Biden administration would dispute that, arguing that if their man wins reelection, NATO would be as safe as ever. But for how long?" the author asked.

    "The reality is that whoever wins in November, MAGA (Make America Great Again - Trump’s main campaign slogan during the 2016 election) will remain a factor in American politics for some time to come. Who’s to say Trump’s Republican heir doesn’t renew his anti-NATO bent? It’s a risk Europe can’t afford to ignore," the journalist said.

    Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president in the November election, on February 10 recalled a meeting with NATO leaders during his presidency. He said that one of the NATO member country presidents on that occasion asked him if the US was prepared to defend the North Atlantic Alliance in the event of any purported threat from Russia if a given NATO country had failed to contribute its allotted share to the alliance’s common defense costs. Trump replied that he would not defend such a country and, moreover, he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell they want." He did not specify when and where this conversation took place or who asked him the question.
    NATO disintegration is just a matter of time, says Politico The European Union (EU) can no longer rely on the United States to ensure the security of the alliance, and the outcome of the US presidential election will only cement "the timing of NATO’s collapse," Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico’s Europe correspondent, opined. "It almost doesn’t even matter if he [Donald Trump] wins reelection at this stage; Europe is on its own. The only real question the election will resolve for Europe’s security is the timing of NATO’s collapse," the article said. "Of course, the Biden administration would dispute that, arguing that if their man wins reelection, NATO would be as safe as ever. But for how long?" the author asked. "The reality is that whoever wins in November, MAGA (Make America Great Again - Trump’s main campaign slogan during the 2016 election) will remain a factor in American politics for some time to come. Who’s to say Trump’s Republican heir doesn’t renew his anti-NATO bent? It’s a risk Europe can’t afford to ignore," the journalist said. Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president in the November election, on February 10 recalled a meeting with NATO leaders during his presidency. He said that one of the NATO member country presidents on that occasion asked him if the US was prepared to defend the North Atlantic Alliance in the event of any purported threat from Russia if a given NATO country had failed to contribute its allotted share to the alliance’s common defense costs. Trump replied that he would not defend such a country and, moreover, he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell they want." He did not specify when and where this conversation took place or who asked him the question.
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  • Since 1979, the Iranian Regime’s actions have continuously impacted the regional security of the Middle East. - #IDF
    Since 1979, the Iranian Regime’s actions have continuously impacted the regional security of the Middle East. - #IDF
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  • #Macron postpones visit to #Ukraine due to #security considerations

    French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed his visit to Ukraine, which was originally scheduled on February 13 to 14, the Challenges business weekly said, citing a source in the Elysee Palace.

    According to the weekly, the administration of the French leader explains the visit’s postponement by security consideration. Ukrainian diplomats were shocked by this decision, it noted.
    Apart from that, a delegation of the Movement of the Enterprises of France (#MEDEF) has also cancelled its visit to Kyiv.

    A new date for Macron’s visit to Ukraine has not yet been announced.
    #Macron postpones visit to #Ukraine due to #security considerations French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed his visit to Ukraine, which was originally scheduled on February 13 to 14, the Challenges business weekly said, citing a source in the Elysee Palace. According to the weekly, the administration of the French leader explains the visit’s postponement by security consideration. Ukrainian diplomats were shocked by this decision, it noted. Apart from that, a delegation of the Movement of the Enterprises of France (#MEDEF) has also cancelled its visit to Kyiv. A new date for Macron’s visit to Ukraine has not yet been announced.
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  • EU agrees on military operation in Red Sea to safeguard shipping

    European Union countries have hammered out the details of the Aspides (Shields) military operation meant to ensure the security of commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the DPA news agency reported citing diplomatic sources.

    According to the agency, the official decision to launch the operation will be adopted at a meeting of foreign ministers on February 19 in Brussels. The decision adopted on Thursday laid out how the operation will be conducted and the location of its headquarters, which will be set up in the Greek city of Larissa. The EU's operational plan envisages sending European warships to the region to protect cargo ships from attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The Hessen frigate will take part in the operation from the Bundeswehr, the ship left the port of Wilhelmshaven to the Red Sea region on February 8. It has approximately 250 military personnel on board.

    Red Sea situation deteriorates despite West's efforts

    The security situation in the Red Sea continues to deteriorate despite the West's actions against the Ansar Allah rebels, Bloomberg reported. "We’ve not seen the level of threat peak, to the contrary," AP Moller-Maersk Chief Executive Officer Vincent Clerc told Bloomberg.
    "The amount or the range of weapons that are being used for these attacks is expanding and there is no clear line of sight to when and how the international community will be able to mobilize itself and guarantee safe passage for us," he added.

    According to Norden Chief Executive Officer Jan Rinbo, the situation in the Red Sea has not been stabilized. "That really is unprecedented," he said. "I’ve not in my 29 years in shipping seen anything like this," Rinbo added. According to the agency, one Japanese shipping company, Mitsui O. S. K. Lines, has already said it would change the routes of its ships for at least the next 2-3 months.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKrZ7z7AjQ
    EU agrees on military operation in Red Sea to safeguard shipping European Union countries have hammered out the details of the Aspides (Shields) military operation meant to ensure the security of commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the DPA news agency reported citing diplomatic sources. According to the agency, the official decision to launch the operation will be adopted at a meeting of foreign ministers on February 19 in Brussels. The decision adopted on Thursday laid out how the operation will be conducted and the location of its headquarters, which will be set up in the Greek city of Larissa. The EU's operational plan envisages sending European warships to the region to protect cargo ships from attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The Hessen frigate will take part in the operation from the Bundeswehr, the ship left the port of Wilhelmshaven to the Red Sea region on February 8. It has approximately 250 military personnel on board. Red Sea situation deteriorates despite West's efforts The security situation in the Red Sea continues to deteriorate despite the West's actions against the Ansar Allah rebels, Bloomberg reported. "We’ve not seen the level of threat peak, to the contrary," AP Moller-Maersk Chief Executive Officer Vincent Clerc told Bloomberg. "The amount or the range of weapons that are being used for these attacks is expanding and there is no clear line of sight to when and how the international community will be able to mobilize itself and guarantee safe passage for us," he added. According to Norden Chief Executive Officer Jan Rinbo, the situation in the Red Sea has not been stabilized. "That really is unprecedented," he said. "I’ve not in my 29 years in shipping seen anything like this," Rinbo added. According to the agency, one Japanese shipping company, Mitsui O. S. K. Lines, has already said it would change the routes of its ships for at least the next 2-3 months. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKrZ7z7AjQ
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  • Killing of #Christians - #Sahel and Somalia: The Epicenter of Violence

    In the Sahel region, a staggering 11,643 fatalities were linked to Islamic violence in 2023, marking a record high for any of the five African theaters. This represents a nearly threefold increase from the levels seen in 2020, highlighting the deteriorating security situation in the region.

    Violence against civilians in the Sahel accounts for 35 percent of all Islamic-related events, the highest percentage across the continent. However, it’s important to note that the actual numbers may be higher due to underreporting, attributed to shrinking media coverage in the wake of political instability in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

    The report underscores that a significant portion of the surge in fatalities can be attributed to the Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) coalition, particularly the Macina Liberation Front (FLM) and Ansaroul Islam. This Muslim coalition was associated with a 67-percent spike in reported deaths, making it a major driver of violence in the Sahel. - RAIR Foundation
    Killing of #Christians - #Sahel and Somalia: The Epicenter of Violence In the Sahel region, a staggering 11,643 fatalities were linked to Islamic violence in 2023, marking a record high for any of the five African theaters. This represents a nearly threefold increase from the levels seen in 2020, highlighting the deteriorating security situation in the region. Violence against civilians in the Sahel accounts for 35 percent of all Islamic-related events, the highest percentage across the continent. However, it’s important to note that the actual numbers may be higher due to underreporting, attributed to shrinking media coverage in the wake of political instability in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The report underscores that a significant portion of the surge in fatalities can be attributed to the Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) coalition, particularly the Macina Liberation Front (FLM) and Ansaroul Islam. This Muslim coalition was associated with a 67-percent spike in reported deaths, making it a major driver of violence in the Sahel. - RAIR Foundation
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  • U.S. to respond to attack on its forces in Middle East, says White House

    The U.S. government is now focused on responding to a recent strike targeting a US military base on the Jordanian-Syrian border, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters.

    When asked whether the US was planning to act independently or in coordination with its partners to retaliate for the attack, Kirby replied: "We're focusing on US response, they killed American troops."

    He also said the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group was responsible for the attack, which left three US service members dead and over 40 wounded. "We believe the attack in Jordan was planned, resourced and facilitated by an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which contains multiple groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah," he said.

    When asked whether Kata'ib Hezbollah played a key role in the attack, the US official replied: "This certainly has the earmarks of the kinds of things Kata’ib Hezbollah does." However, he emphasized that "attribution that our intelligence community is comfortable with is that this was done by the umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq."
    U.S. to respond to attack on its forces in Middle East, says White House The U.S. government is now focused on responding to a recent strike targeting a US military base on the Jordanian-Syrian border, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters. When asked whether the US was planning to act independently or in coordination with its partners to retaliate for the attack, Kirby replied: "We're focusing on US response, they killed American troops." He also said the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group was responsible for the attack, which left three US service members dead and over 40 wounded. "We believe the attack in Jordan was planned, resourced and facilitated by an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which contains multiple groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah," he said. When asked whether Kata'ib Hezbollah played a key role in the attack, the US official replied: "This certainly has the earmarks of the kinds of things Kata’ib Hezbollah does." However, he emphasized that "attribution that our intelligence community is comfortable with is that this was done by the umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq."
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  • IRGC commander-in-chief vows to counter U.S. threats

    Iran’s adversaries have unleashed a war against the country but Tehran stands firm and will not allow US threats to go unanswered, General Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said.

    "Our enemies have unleashed an economic and psychological war against the people of Iran, threatening the country's security. Today, we hear threats in statements by US officials. You know that we will not leave a single threat unanswered," the Tasnim news agency quoted the general as saying.

    Tehran is not looking for war but reserves the right to respond to damage done to its interests, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Dehghan said, commenting on threats from U.S. officials.

    "Our message to the US, Israel and all their allies is that we aren’t looking for war. However, if our enemies are stupid and seek to damage Iran’s interests, our hands won’t be tied to protect ourselves," Dehghan stated in an interview with Iran’s Jamaran news agency. According to him, "the US position is not clear to the US itself, which means that the threats aren’t clear as well." He added that "Iran is a strong power" that "does not seek escalation."
    IRGC commander-in-chief vows to counter U.S. threats Iran’s adversaries have unleashed a war against the country but Tehran stands firm and will not allow US threats to go unanswered, General Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said. "Our enemies have unleashed an economic and psychological war against the people of Iran, threatening the country's security. Today, we hear threats in statements by US officials. You know that we will not leave a single threat unanswered," the Tasnim news agency quoted the general as saying. Tehran is not looking for war but reserves the right to respond to damage done to its interests, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Dehghan said, commenting on threats from U.S. officials. "Our message to the US, Israel and all their allies is that we aren’t looking for war. However, if our enemies are stupid and seek to damage Iran’s interests, our hands won’t be tied to protect ourselves," Dehghan stated in an interview with Iran’s Jamaran news agency. According to him, "the US position is not clear to the US itself, which means that the threats aren’t clear as well." He added that "Iran is a strong power" that "does not seek escalation."
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  • The EU will allocate 10 billion euros for a transportation corridor bypassing Russia through Azerbaijan

    The European Commission and the European Investment Bank plan to invest 1.5 billion euros in strategic transportation infrastructure projects in Central Asia to establish a transportation corridor from the region bypassing Russia.

    The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) intend to invest 1.5 bln euro in strategic transport infrastructure facilities in Central Asia for creating a transport corridor stretching 11,000 kilometers from Asia to Europe bypassing Russia, EC Executive Vice-President, Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said when opening a two-day transport investment forum EU-Central Asia in Brussels.

    "Our long-term objective is to make the [transport] corridor a competitive, sustainable, smart and fast route to link our two regions in 15 days or less. To achieve this, we need to coordinate our resources with other corridor countries, international financial institutions, EU member states, as well as investors and companies both in Europe and Central Asia," he said, adding that "the joint contribution from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to advance the transport agenda in Central Asia will amount to 1.5 bln euro."

    Meanwhile EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell admitted that the EU’s plans to invest in the transport infrastructure of Central Asian nations have political purposes aimed at protecting the same values.

    "We need closer partnership to address global challenges. <…> Yes, we have to build infrastructure, we have to increase the connectivity of our space, but all that serves a political purpose to increase our partnership and to share a better future by increasing economic ties and defending the same values," he said.
    The EU will allocate 10 billion euros for a transportation corridor bypassing Russia through Azerbaijan The European Commission and the European Investment Bank plan to invest 1.5 billion euros in strategic transportation infrastructure projects in Central Asia to establish a transportation corridor from the region bypassing Russia. The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) intend to invest 1.5 bln euro in strategic transport infrastructure facilities in Central Asia for creating a transport corridor stretching 11,000 kilometers from Asia to Europe bypassing Russia, EC Executive Vice-President, Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said when opening a two-day transport investment forum EU-Central Asia in Brussels. "Our long-term objective is to make the [transport] corridor a competitive, sustainable, smart and fast route to link our two regions in 15 days or less. To achieve this, we need to coordinate our resources with other corridor countries, international financial institutions, EU member states, as well as investors and companies both in Europe and Central Asia," he said, adding that "the joint contribution from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to advance the transport agenda in Central Asia will amount to 1.5 bln euro." Meanwhile EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell admitted that the EU’s plans to invest in the transport infrastructure of Central Asian nations have political purposes aimed at protecting the same values. "We need closer partnership to address global challenges. <…> Yes, we have to build infrastructure, we have to increase the connectivity of our space, but all that serves a political purpose to increase our partnership and to share a better future by increasing economic ties and defending the same values," he said.
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