Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fw: TheList 3856

The List 3856
To All,
I hope your week has started well. This is a Bubba Breakfast Friday in San Diego.
Regards,
Skip
 
 
This Day In Naval History - March 31
1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry negotiates Treaty of Kanagawa to open trade
between U.S. and Japan
1971 - Poseidon (C-3) missile becomes operational when USS James Madison
began her 3rd patrol carrying 16 tactical Poseidon missiles.
1992 - USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active American battleship is
decommissioned.
 
 
 
 
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Great Bentley story from TR
 
 
 
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Thanks to Hal -
 
ISIL: Sunni on Shi'a and Egypt's new role
 
  Egypt has been a country friendly to Westerners, and even though they forced the British to leave long ago and let them rule themselves, Americans have up to now been able to come and go, visit their museums, and see their pyramids and just be happy tourists.  But no more.  When our President Obama decreed that President Mubarak should go, it has become dangerous and out of control. Mubarak honored the Camp David Accords, and the Coptic Christians lived peacefully among the Muslims. I was able to call Cairo my favorite R&R destination. 
   If you look back in their fairly recent history, King Farouk was deposed by Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser and went into exile. In Monaco. He died at age 45 of a massive heart attack brought on by gluttony at a restaurant.  
   One of the first problems Nasser wanted to solve was the annual flooding of the Nile river. He figured he needed a dam.  That should do it.   So he looked to the United States, but the government declined to become involved.  So he turned to the Russians and they were happy to do it, but on one condition.  The dam would be built at Aswan, but the Russian military would come in and train the Egyptian Army.  And of course, buy all their warfighting stuff from Russia. Russia became, in time, one of their problems, but the other was of lesser notice.
   You have heard that there are no solutions that don't cause new problems.  Well, there is a little freshwater snail that lives on the banks of the Nile, and it is part of a three way cycle of a disease called schistosomiasis.  This snail releases a microscopic cercaria that swims in the water and can penetrate your skin, and get into your bloodstream.  It then develops into a tiny worm and the female can lay a thousand eggs a day.  These are caught in your kidneys, bladder and liver and the excess is passed out into the Nile as people urinate and defecate into the river.  And the cycle goes back to the snail and it is perpetual motion.  Now when the Nile flooded, all of these snails washed out into saltwater where they died. But now with the dam, that no longer happens. So swimming in the Nile is pretty much guaranteed Schistosomiasis.  But most of the people don't believe us.  They just develop big bellies and die.  And because they are Muslims, everything is Allah's Will. They don't do autopsies.  It desecrates the body. 
   President Nasser died of a heart attack in 1970 and was replaced by Anwar al-Sadat, who had been a top general, as I recall. Sadat decreed that the Islamic Brotherhood would disband, or else.  "Or else" in that part of the world can be a life-ending experience.  All was fine under his rule until he was invited to Camp David to meet with President Carter and Menachem Begin, the president of Israel. The photo of the three of them stacking hands got Carter the Nobel Prize but that is what got Sadat killed. Sadat flew home and on October 6, 1981 a great Pass in Review was planned for him.  The reviewing stands were palatial and it was full of VIPs from everywhere.  Some army trucks were passing by when suddenly several soldiers jumped off the trucks and ran toward the stand. They threw grenades and started shooting in Sadat's direction. He, Coptic Christian Bishop Samuel,  and about a dozen others were killed and scores more wounded.  The assassins were from the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
   Quite by chance, I arrived in Cairo on the following day, the 7th.  I had written my navy orders for two weeks of intensive study and laboratory work at the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Cairo. The driver who picked me up at the airport took me to see the reviewing stand, as it was on the route to the apartments where a few Americans lived.   There had been no attempt to clean up the mess.  Dried blood everywhere, marble chips, shrapnel and shot up seats.  But the city was under tight Martial Law.  Troops were everywhere, at most intersections, locked and loaded.  There was still a roundup going on. 
   Vice President Hosni Mubarak, a top air force general, became the president.  And for thirty years there were no problems between Egypt, America, or Israel.  Until Barack Hussein Obama came along.
 
Hal
 
Baybars I, Mamluk sultan (1260–77) of Egypt and Syria
Muhammad Ali, pasha of Egypt after 1805
Ismail Pasha, ruler of Egypt (1863–79)
Tewfik Pasha (Muhammad Tewfik), khedive of Egypt (1879–92)
Abbas II, last khedive of Egypt (1892–1914)
Fuad I (Ahmed Fuad Pasha), first king of modern Egypt (1922–36)
Farouk, king of Egypt (1936–52)
Gamal Abdal Nasser, Egyptian army officer and political leader, first president of the republic of Egypt (1956–70)
Anwar al-Sadat, Egyptian political leader and president (1970–81)
Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt (1981–2011)
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, (acting) president of Egypt (2011–2012)
Mohamed Morsi, president of Egypt (2012–2013)
Adly Mansour, (acting) president of Egypt (2013–2014)
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, president of Egypt (2014–)
 
 Modern Egypt: Rulers
Farouk, king of Egypt (1936–52)
Gamal Abdal Nasser, Egyptian army officer and political leader, first president of the republic of Egypt (1956–70)
Anwar al-Sadat, Egyptian political leader and president (1970–81)
Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt (1981–2011)
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, (acting) president of Egypt (2011–2012)
Mohamed Morsi, president of Egypt (2012–2013)
Adly Mansour, (acting) president of Egypt (2013–2014)
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, president of Egypt (2014–)
 
 
Thanks to Doctor Rich and Dutch
 
A lot to absorb …  what a mess … from CENTCOM.
 
And i just heard that Hezbollah and Iran were removed from the terrorist organizations watch list ...
 
Subject: ISIL: Sunni on Shi'a
 
BLUF:
- Battle lines are being drawn along the Arab sectarian divide as growing Iranian influence remakes the Middle East
 
ANALYSIS
Which Arab country is anxious to regain its stature as a regional leader, is starved for economic assistance and has proficient armed forces to confront military threats? 
 

Which Arab country has an overwhelmingly Sunni population and has kept Iranian proxies like Lebanese Hizballah from setting up shop on its territory?
The answer is Egypt.
Now that Saudi Arabia and its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members have come to the conclusion that the United States cannot be trusted to stop the Iranian tidal wave in the region, Riyadh and the oil monarchies have decided to throw their weight behind Cairo with the hopes of building a cohesive Sunni bloc to face the growing threat from Tehran.
Egypt had been pushed to the brink by the briefly dictatorial rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. The experiment proved to be a wake-up call for the majority of Egyptians who gave the army a popular mandate to topple the Islamist president, and propelled Abd-el-Fattah al-Sisi to the presidency with little opposition. The new leader had inherited a house on fire and knew that his honeymoon with the voters would be short-lived; thus, he wasted little time in making bold moves on the economic front, as he attempted to jumpstart the economy and improve the lot of the average Egyptian to avert another revolution. 
The Saudis and the Gulf states were aware that they needed to consolidate Sisi's position domestically and give him breathing space to focus on restoring security and stability. They also knew that Washington was blackmailing al-Sisi by withholding the release of funds and military equipment. The Kingdom and the GCC acted quickly, granting Cairo a twelve-billion package in assistance; moreover, and since their neighborhood has become increasingly pro-Iranian, they have kept supporting al-Sisi by stating that Egypt's stability is a "red line" for the Gulf.
The latest push to stabilize Egypt was evidenced by the billions of dollars that were pledged during the three-day economic conference (dubbed the "Egypt Economic Development Conference" - EEDC) held in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. The summit - who was the brainchild of late Saudi King Abdallah - attracted more than 175 billion dollars in investments and was an unmitigated success for al-Sisi who announced an agreement with the UAE to build a new administrative capital in the next 7-8 years, generating more than 1.5 million jobs for unemployed Egyptians. 

Some analysts criticized the mega-projects announced by the Sisi government, wondering whether the exorbitant costs associated with said projects would actually translate into economic growth and benefit the millions of unemployed youths. Other questioned the wisdom of spending 45 Billion on a new administrative capital, when this money could be better spent on improving existing infrastructure in Cairo. Regardless of the rationale, the president needs to forge ahead and show progress to his people even if it only buys him a few years of peace. Moreover, the brothers of the GCC are paying and they won't be scrutinizing Sisi's spending anytime soon, as long as he is willing to provide the muscle for the new Arab Sunni front.  
 
So while the US-led air campaign is helping Iran restore its control of Iraq and Washington is looking the other way as Tehran deploys "military advisers" and missiles on the outskirts of Tikrit, Saudi Arabia is "moving on" and consolidating the Sunni world behind Egypt.   
A resurgent Egypt flush with Gulf $$$ is less likely to toe Washington's line in the future and will increasingly look for alternatives to the wishy-washy Americans (Russia, France, Germany, China...), thereby putting more strain on the ties with the current administration and further undermining US power in the region... 

SOURCES
Washington Post: Report says Iraq forces turned on nearby villages after military victory March 17, 2015 Shiite militias and Iraqi government forces burned and looted dozens of villages, abducting at least 11 local residents, in the wake of a U.S.-supported operation against the Islamic State last year, a human rights group has charged in a new report.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that pro-government fighters, after U.S. airstrikes helped them break the extremist group's siege of the town of Amerli late last summer, left a wake of destruction across at least 30 nearby villages in a manner that was "methodical and driven by revenge."

Iranian-backed militias and government security forces appeared to have targeted Sunnis, Human Rights Watch found, either because they were suspected of supporting the Islamic State or simply because they came from the same sect as the militant group that controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Sarah Margon, Washington director for HRW, said the abuses documented in the report should be a warning to the governments of Iraq, Iran, and the United States that new steps are required to ensure that they do not occur after other battles against the Islamic State, such as the one unfolding in the city of Tikrit.

"It's not just using airstrikes to loosen the grip of ISIS, but it's what happens in the aftermath," she said, using another name for the Islamic State. "While the United States may not be on the ground participating in those battles, they have an obligation to think about what's next..."
 
IRAQI NEWS: Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad receives protest note over al-Azhar remarks March 17, 2015 A source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday, that it summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad and handed him a protest note over al-Azhar's remarks against the Volunteer Fighters (al-Hashd al-Sha'bi forces) aka Popular Movement Forces.
 

The source said in an interview with
IraqiNews.com, "The Foreign Ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad, Ahmed Darwish."

The source, who requested anonymity, added, "The ministry handed a note to the ambassador in protest against the recent Azhar abusive remarks towards the Volunteer Fighters."

Al-Azhar expressed its deep concern about the slaughter and the unlawfully assaults perpetrated by al-Hashd al-Sha'bi forces allied with the Iraqi Army against the peaceful Iraqi citizens who do not belong to ISIS or any other terrorist organization.

This statement received local replies before the senate and government officials who deemed al-Azhar's information improper...
 
BBC NEWS: Kurds concerned over Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq March 17, 2015 Iraqi Kurdistan intelligence chief, Masrour Barzani told the BBC the use of such militias could create a bigger problem than IS (aka ISIS, ISIL and DAESH) by exacerbating tensions with Sunni Muslims. Some 20,000 militia fighters and 3,000 Iraqi soldiers are trying to oust IS from the city of Tikrit. It is Iraq's biggest offensive so far. However, operations were put on hold on Monday to minimize civilian and military casualties in and around the northern city, Iraqi officials said. They said that IS fighters were now confined to the city center.

Iraq considers Tikrit's recapture as a vital stepping stone to other IS-held territory, including Mosul - the country's second largest city. In a separate development, the tomb of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was almost completely leveled in fighting near Tikrit...
 
 
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Item Number:1 Date: 03/31/2015 AUSTRALIA - ANOTHER BUMP IN THE ROAD FOR DEFENSE E-HEALTH SYSTEM (MAR 31/AUS)  THE AUSTRALIAN -- Continuing a run of problems, the Australian Dept. of Defense has been hit with a rash of resignations by doctors concerned about a new electronic health system, reports the Australian.   The Joint eHealth Data and Information (JeHDI) project was launched in 2011 and has suffered cost overruns and program delays.   The program was supposed to make it easier for health-care providers to access and share information about patients, but few doctors wanted to participate, reported ZdNet in 2013.   Now, about 30 doctors, contracted to the Defense Dept. through Aspen Health, have ceased working for the department because of the program platform.   Doctors have been concerned that another party, such as a nurse, could alter the electronic health record of defense personnel, changing details originally entered by the doctor.   This, the doctors maintain, could compromise the safety of patients.   The department is "aware of a small number" of departures, said a spokeswoman. That is a matter for the individuals and Aspen Health, she said.   Another concern expressed by doctors is that prescription details could be altered by pharmacists.   "Pharmacists can amend the items given to a patient in the same way community pharmacists can, but can't amend the legally generated prescription as this requires a physical signature to render the prescription legal," the spokeswoman said
 
  Item Number:2 Date: 03/31/2015 BURMA - WITH PRESIDENT LOOKING ON, DRAFT PEACE DEAL SIGNED WITH REBELS (MAR 31/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The government of Burma and representatives from 16 rebel groups have signed a draft cease-fire agreement, reports the Voice of America News.   Burmese President Thein Sein witnessed the signing on Tuesday, praising the deal as the first step for political dialogue and more peace talks.   Fourteen of the groups already had bilateral cease-fires with the government, reported the BBC.   This agreement calls for a halt on recruitment, confirms the territories of the groups and covers the composition of future political dialogue.   The rebels plan to hold a conference to work on terms before signing a final deal. No date has yet been announced.   The rebels who have been fighting in the Kokang region did not attend the talks
 
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/31/2015 INDIA - DEFENSE COUNCIL SETS ASIDE FUNDS FOR INDIGENOUS AWACS PROGRAM (MAR 31/HINDU)  THE HINDU -- The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has authorized a program to develop an Indian domestic airborne warning and control system aircraft, reports the Hindu.   On Saturday, the DAC allocated US$818 million to develop the system, which will be based on the Airbus A330 transport aircraft.   Eventual plans call for six AWACs. The DAC's approval covered two systems.   The Indian air force currently operates three Il-76 AWACS aircraft fitted with the Israeli Phalcon radar. Two smaller airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft based on the Brazilian Embraer 145 aircraft are also scheduled for delivery this year.   Also approved by the DAC were separate deals for the acquisition of 30 weapon-locating radars from Bharat Electronics (BEL) for US$257 million; 1,512 mine-ploughs for T-90 tanks; and 22 Harpoon anti-ship missiles for submarines
 
Item Number:4 Date: 03/31/2015 INDIA - TRANSPORT PLANES, SHIPS BEING SENT FOR EVACUATION EFFORTS IN YEMEN (MAR 31/NDTV)  NDTV -- The Indian government says the air force and navy have been sent to evacuate about 4,000 Indian nationals from Yemen, reports NDTV.   Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman Al Saud Monday night and worked out a three-hour window for aircraft to conduct the evacuation, said officials.   Two of the air force's C-17 Globemaster transport planes and two Air India passenger airplanes are to be used in the evacuation.   The C-17 planes are slated to evacuate the nationals to Djibouti and then to Mumbai (Bombay) and Kochi (Cochin) in India.   The INR Sumitra patrol vessel will be joined by the INS Mumbai destroyer and the INS Tarkash stealth frigate will assist the effort, reported UPI.   About 400 nationals were previously evacuated by ship from Aden to Djibouti and then flown to India
 
Item Number:5 Date: 03/31/2015 INDONESIA - QUICK-REACTION FORCE LAUNCHES ANTI-MILITANT EXERCISE ON SULAWESI (MAR 31/REU)  REUTERS -- The Indonesia military has started military exercises on a restive eastern island, reports Reuters.   The drills are taking place on the island of Sulawesi, which is known as a haven for militants.   The drills are aimed at preparing the military to respond to militants with links to the Islamic State terrorist group, said a military spokesman. They are routine and will also be held elsewhere, he said.   "The target is to make sure our forces are ready for any threat... and for a deterrent effect to radicals in that area," said the spokesman.   The exercise is being conducted by the quick-reaction strike force (PPRC), according to government media.   The exercises have included a simulated raid to capture terrorists. Attacks on mock terrorist bases involved thousands of troops, warships and F-16 jet fighters, according to the armed forces, as cited by Antara, the national news agency.  
 
Item Number:6 Date: 03/31/2015 IRAN - TEHRAN DENIES SENDING ARMS TO HOUTHIS IN YEMEN (MAR 31/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- The Iranian government insists it has not sent weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen as some Gulf nations have charged, reports the Voice of America News.   Such accusations are "complete fabrications," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday.   Iranian non-military flights have brought aid and medicine, said the spokesman.   The fifth shipment of Iranian humanitarian aid was sent Tuesday to Sanaa, Yemen's capital, reported Press TV (Iran).   About 19 metric tons of medicine and medical equipment, as well as two metric tons of food were provided, according to the Iranian Red Crescent.   Tuesday's delivery was the first since Saudi Arabia and its allies began a air campaign against the Houthis.  
 
Item Number:7 Date: 03/31/2015 IRAQ - PROVINCIAL HQ IN TIKRIT NO LONGER HELD BY ISIS (MAR 31/NEWEEK)  NEWSWEEK -- Iraqi forces have reportedly taken control of the provincial government headquarters in Tikrit from the Islamic State, reports Newsweek, citing government officials.   Local and militia officials on Tuesday said that the Salah ad-Din provincial headquarters had been retaken by government forces.   Iraqi flags flew over several recaptured buildings in the city, noted the governor of the province.   Members for the popular mobilization units took part in the fighting said a spokesman for the Badr militia, as cited by AFP. Many of the militias are supported by Iran.   Some Iranian-backed Shi'ite groups chose not to fight after U.S. airstrikes on Tikrit began last week.   Iran's Fars News Agency reported that various Iraqi forces now control 90 percent of Tikrit.  
 
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/31/2015 ISRAEL - GAZA OPERATION SHOWED VALUE OF INFANTRY, ARMOR COOPERATION, SAYS MILITARY (MAR 31/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- Military commanders in Israel say recent training has focused on enhancing cooperation between infantry and armored units, reports the Jerusalem Post.   The impetus comes from lessons learned during fighting during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.   For example, infantry commanders from the Nahal Brigade rode in tanks and fired their cannons during the training with crews from the 196 Battalion, 460 Armored Brigade, at the Shizafon advanced armor training base in southern Israel.   For two days, infantry officers trained with the battalion's tanks, including driving, firing the gun and learning about command procedures, said Lt. Col. Rafi Wolfson, the 196 Battalion commander.   The exercise was part of an officer combat training course. Paratroopers were the first to complete the training, due to the close cooperation they exhibited with the 460 Armored Brigade during operations in the Gaza Strip last year.  
 
Item Number:9 Date: 03/31/2015 ISRAEL - NAVY BUSY WITH COUNTERING SMUGGLING OF ADVANCED WEAPONRY INTO LEBANON, SYRIA (MAR 31/JP)  JERUSALEM POST -- An unnamed Israeli navy official has warned that advanced weaponry, primarily supplied by Iran, is finding its way into Lebanon and Syria, reports the Jerusalem Post.   The navy is spending much of its operational time dealing with the smuggling of these weapons, said the source, said to be a senior official.   "Such weapons pose a challenge to all Western navies in the area," he said.   The source went on: "What happens in Syria, happens in Lebanon [in terms of weapons availability], and vice versa. I'll go a step further and say that everything that happens in Iran can end up in Syria, which can then end up in Lebanon."   "In the event of war with Hezbollah in Lebanon," he said, "I'm not sure Syria will remain on the sidelines. Hezbollah assists the Assad regime, and the help is mutual."   Hezbollah has reportedly received an "unprecedented" quantity and quality of surface-to-sea missiles. The Lebanese militant group is likely to possess the Yakhont guided missile, the source said.   Jihadist groups are seen as being more likely to attempt sea-based attacks
 
Item Number:10 Date: 03/31/2015 LIBYA - SECURITY COUNCIL TWEAKS WEAPONS EMBARGO, EXTENDS U.N. MISSION (MAR 31/UNNS)  UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE -- The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a pair of resolutions on Libya, reports the U.N. News Service.   One of the resolutions passed Friday called for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire. The second extended the U.N. Support Mission (UNSMIL) until Sept. 15.   The mission will now focus on supporting the Libyan political process and security arrangements, including human-rights monitoring and support for securing uncontrolled weapons.   The council also called on the sanctions committee it set up in 2011 to consider requests for the transfer or supply of weapons and related equipment to the Libyan government for use by the official armed forces against Islamic State (ISIS) militants.   The Security Council also expressed "grave concern" about ISIS and Al-Qaida and the "negative impact" of their violent extremist ideology and actions on Libyan stability
 
Item Number:11 Date: 03/31/2015 MALI - MILITANTS KILL RED CROSS DRIVER, SET TRUCK ABLAZE (MAR 31/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Islamist militants have attacked a Red Cross vehicle in Mali, killing one and injuring another, reports the BBC.   The aid truck was attacked on Monday as it traveled from Gao to Niamey, the capital of Niger, to pick up medical supplies.   The assault took place about 40 km (25 mi) outside of Gao, said a Malian Red Cross official cited by Reuters.   The nationality of the driver who was killed was not immediately released. A member of the Malian Red Cross was wounded but in stable condition, reported AFP.   The truck was set on fire by the attackers, reported the New York Times.   The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility.   The attack was "carefully planned" and carried out by at least six militants, said a military source with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali
 
Item Number:12 Date: 03/31/2015 PERU - AIR FORCE RECEIVES INITIAL SPARTAN TRANSPORT, WITH 3 MORE DUE BY 2017 (MAR 31/ALEAERM)  ALENIA AERMACCHI -- Alenia Aermacchi has delivered the first of four C-27J cargo aircraft to the Peruvian air force.   The aircraft was handed over on Friday at the Las Palmas air force base in Lima, according to a release from the Italian aerospace company.   The Peruvian air force ordered two C-27Js in December 2013. A year later, a follow-on deal for two more C-27Js was inked.   The second aircraft is due to be handed over in May, according to an air force release. The last two are scheduled to be delivered in 2016 and 2017, respectively.   The Peruvian transports will be used for passenger and cargo transport as well as humanitarian, fire-fighting, search-and-rescue and internal security missions
 
Item Number:13 Date: 03/31/2015 POLAND - UKRAINIAN MILITARY INSTRUCTORS TO BE TRAINED IN POLAND (MAR 31/RADPOL)  RADIO POLONIA -- Ukrainian military instructors will begin training in Poland in June, reports Radio Poland.   The Polish army will hold training sessions in June, September and October, said a Polish Defense Ministry spokesman on Tuesday.   Some earlier reports suggested the training of non-commissioned officers would take place in Ukraine.   About 50 Ukrainian military personnel are currently scheduled to attend the course, reported Reuters.   The sessions are part of NATO's Defense Education Enhancement Program, which is aimed at bringing the Ukrainian military up to NATO standards.   NATO and Poland's Defense Ministry will split the bill for the training courses. Other NATO countries are planning similar courses, said the ministry
 
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/31/2015 SOUTH KOREA - KAI, LOCKHEED GET NOD FOR KF-X FIGHTER PROGRAM (MAR 31/YON)  YONHAP -- The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in South Korea has selected a team led by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for a domestic fighter jet development program, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   The US$7.84 billion KF-X project aims to develop fighters in the F-16 class to replace aging F-4 and F-5 aircraft.   Plans call for around 120 jets to begin entering service around 2025. Production is estimated to cost US$8.4 billion.   Korea Aerospace Industries will get technological help from its U.S. partner Lockheed Martin, noted the New York Times.   The other party seeking the deal was Korean Air, which would have been aided by Airbus Defence and Space.   "After reviewing their development plan, ability and bid price by the evaluation team comprised of government officials and experts, we've selected KAI as the preferred bidder," the DAPA said in a Monday statement.   A final determination is expected once negotiations on the details of the project are completed in the first half of 2015, said the statement
 
Item Number:15 Date: 03/31/2015 SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL GOES WITH RAYTHEON FOR UPGRADE OF PATRIOT AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS (MAR 31/RAYTHEON)  RAYTHEON -- Raytheon has won a contract to upgrade South Korea's Patriot air and missile defense systems.   The $769.4 million commercial contract covers the modernization of an unspecified number of Patriot batteries to the latest Patriot missile defense system configuration, according to a company release on Monday.   Raytheon officials say the upgrade features an open architecture that permits the Patriot to operate on various networks; a new operator station with touch screen technology and color displays; and an improved radar digital processor for better target detection and identification, surveillance, and support of the PAC-3 MSE missile.   The South Korean Defense Ministry over the weekend approved a $1.28 billion plan to upgrade existing PAC-2 air defense systems and purchase PAC-3 missiles by 2020, reported the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Raytheon will modernize the PAC-2 fire-control system to enable it to launch both PAC-2 and PAC-3 interceptors by 2021, the ministry said
 
Item Number:16 Date: 03/31/2015 SOUTH KOREA - TROOPS READY FOR NEW EFFORT TO REMOVE LAND MINES (MAR 31/YON)  YONHAP -- The South Korean military is about to start another land-mine removal campaign, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).   Troops will clear mines from seven areas in the provinces of Gyeonggi, Gyeongsang and Jeolla, said the Joint Chief of Staff on Tuesday. The campaign is set for April 1 to Nov. 27.   The search-and-clear effort will cover 60,000 square meters (645,800 square feet) near southern radar sites, said the JCS.   Millions of land mines were buried during the Korean War. Some wash up during the summer rainy season.   Efforts to remove the mines began in 2005. Last year, 312 anti-tanks mines and 121 anti-personnel mines were removed, according to the military
 
Item Number:17 Date: 03/31/2015 SYRIA - U.S. VETTING PROCESS STARTS FOR SYRIANS TO BE TRAINED TO TAKE ON ISIS (MAR 31/MCCLAT)  MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS -- The U.S. Dept. of Defense says domestic military and intelligence agencies are now conducting background checks on the initial group of Syrians who will be trained to fight the Islamic State terrorist group, reports McClatchy Newspapers.   About 400 Syrians could be ready for combat in Syria as soon as September, the Pentagon said on Friday.   Another 1,800 Syrians have been identified as candidates for the training program, with their background checks to be performed in the near future, according to the DoD.   More than 350 U.S. troops are in Turkey and elsewhere in the region in preparation for the training, according to the Defense Dept.   The goal is to train 3,000 Syrians by the end of this year and 5,000 by April 2016, said a Pentagon spokesman.  
 
  Item Number:18 Date: 03/31/2015 THAILAND - ARMY SEEN KEEPING CONTROL WHEN MARTIAL LAW ENDS (MAR 31/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The head of Thailand's military junta says he has requested permission from the king to lift martial law, reports Agence France-Presse.   The decision is now up to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said on Tuesday.   Martial law was decreed just before a coup 10 months ago, reported Reuters.   A new executive order is expected to replace martial law, with significant powers still in the hand of the military, according to the junta chief.   Article 44 of the interim constitution is to be used to create the order. This would allow the junta chief to make executive orders on national security issues without having to go through Parliament.   The article also authorizes the military to detain people for up to seven days without charge and for soldiers to detain groups and people without arrest warrants.   Military tribunals will still be used for national security cases, though convictions can now be appealed to higher tribunals, said Prayut.   Some critics have already expressed concern that the new order will not limit the military's powers.  
 
  Item Number:19 Date: 03/31/2015 UGANDA - GUNMEN KILL AL-SHABAAB PROSECUTOR IN KAMPALA (MAR 31/BBC)  BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- A prosecutor in Uganda has been assassinated in Kampala, reports the BBC.   She was the lead prosecutor in the trial of 13 men accused of a deadly Al-Shabaab bomb attack.   Prosecutor Joan Kagezi was shot Monday by men on a motorbike as she drove home with three of her children, reported AFP.   The 13 men are accused of participating in a bombing in July 2010 in Kampala that killed 76 people. Somalia-based Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing.   The accused are seven Kenyans, five Ugandans and one Tanzanian. They have been charged with terrorism, murder and being a member of a terrorist organization.   The trial has been suspended.  
 
Item Number:20 Date: 03/31/2015 UNITED KINGDOM - HAMMOND PLEDGES BACKING FOR REGIONAL ANTI-BOKO HARAM TASK FORCE (MAR 31/LEADERSHIP)  LEADERSHIP -- Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has announced that the U.K. will provide financial support for a regional task force that will fight the Boko Haram militant group in Nigeria, reports the Leadership (Abuja).   The British government will contribute 5 million pounds (US$7.4 million) to the multinational force, Hammond said on Friday.   The U.N. and African Union have agreed on the need for the task force to combat Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and in the Lake Chad basin area.   "The U.K. fully supports the efforts of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin to tackle the scourge of Boko Haram," said Hammond when he made the announcment.   The African Union said international support is needed for sustained operations
 
Item Number:21 Date: 03/31/2015 USA - AIR FORCE, ARMY COMPLETE LOGISTICS EXERCISE (MAR 31/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- Scores of U.S. Air Force and Army personnel have just finished a week-long logistics exercise, reports the Air Force News Service.   More than 170 personnel from the two services developed, tested and rehearsed the rapid opening of a mock airport and the establishment of a cargo-distribution capability during the Eagle Flag drills at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.   The fictitious nation that was the object of the exercise was dubbed Nivan.   The exercise, hosted by the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, evaluates mobility operations and expeditionary combat support, noted the release last week.   The ability of a joint task force to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief to refugee camps was tested.   The goal was to turn a dirt airstrip into a logistics hub within 12 hours, officials said.  
 
  Item Number:22 Date: 03/31/2015 USA - FLA. AIR GUARD F-15S SET TO TAKE PART IN EUROPEAN SECURITY MISSION (MAR 31/AFT)  AIR FORCE TIMES -- Guardsmen and F-15 fighters from the Florida Air National Guard will soon deploy to Europe as part of efforts to reassure regional NATO allies following Russia's aggressive activities in Ukraine, reports the Air Force Times.   Twelve F-15C Eagles and around 200 personnel from the 125th Fighter Wing will deploy to Europe in mid-April, according to an Air Force release last week.   The unit will replace A-10 strike aircraft from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., which has been supporting NATO since February.   The fighter wing, which is deploying as part of a theater security package under Operation Atlantic Resolve, will train with partner nations in the Netherlands and Bulgaria among other locations, said the Air Force.   This is the first time that an Air National Guard unit has deployed for the mission
 
  Item Number:23 Date: 03/31/2015 YEMEN - ATTACK ON CAMP IN NORTH LEADS TO DEATHS, DIFFERING ACCOUNTS (MAR 31/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- An attack on a camp in northern Yemen has produce conflicting accounts on who was responsible and who lived in the camp.   Al Jazeera reported that least 40 people were killed Monday in the Al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced people in the northwestern province of Hajjaj.   The International Organization for Migration said another 200 were wounded.   Yemeni state media said Saudi aircraft attacking Houthi rebels were responsible. Yet, the Yemeni foreign minister blamed the deaths on Houthi artillery strikes.   A worker with the Doctors Without Borders program in the Middle East said it was an airstrike and that dozens of people were injured.   Some witnesses claimed the camp was now occupied by Houthi forces and most of those killed were combatants.   There has as yet been no clarification on the differing reports.  
 
  Item Number:24 Date: 03/31/2015 YEMEN - CHINESE SHIPS IN REGION EVACUATE NATIONALS FROM YEMENI PORTS (MAR 31/CMO)  CHINA MILITARY ONLINE -- A Chinese naval task force has finished the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Yemen where competing forces are fighting for control, reports China Military Online.   The task force, had been participating in escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and near Somalia, said a Defense Ministry spokesman on Tuesday.   China's Linyi guided-missile frigate arrived at the southern port city of Aden on Sunday, evacuating 122 Chinese nationals and two foreign employees to Djibouti, said the spokesman.   The Weifang guided-missile frigate and the Weishanhu supply ship evactuated 449 nationals and six foreign employees on Monday from Yemen's Hodeidah port. They arrived in Djibouti on Tuesday.   The Chinese ships will return to their escort mission after completing their evacuation duties, said the ministry.   The Chinese nationals are expected to return to China through a series of civilian flights.
 

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