I hope that you all had a great weekend.
This day in Naval History April 1922, 2019
Thanks to CHINFO
National media reports continue to focus on a series of bombings in Sri Lanka targeting churches and hotels in three cities that claimed the lives of at least 290 people and wounded more than 500 others. Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene described the coordinated blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday on its first visit to the city in three years reports the South China Morning Post. "We have sailed these waters for a long time. We have been to Hong Kong several times, we're excited to be back after a three-year hiatus," said Capt. Eric Anduze. Additionally, Navy surgeon general Vice Adm. Forrest Faison called on Navy medical personnel to "refocus" in order to be ready for the next battlefield in the era of great power competition.
Today in History: April 22
0296 St. Gaius ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
0536 St. Agapitus I ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
1500 Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovers Brazil.
1509 Henry VIII ascends to the throne of England upon the death of his father, Henry VII.
1529 Spain and Portugal divide the eastern hemisphere in the Treaty of Saragossa.
1745 The Peace of Fussen is signed.
1792 President George Washington proclaims American neutrality in the war in Europe.
1861 Robert E. Lee is named commander of Virginia forces.
1889 The Oklahoma land rush officially starts at noon as thousands of Americans race for new, unclaimed land.
1898 In the first action of the Spanish-American War, the USS Nashville, takes on a Spanish ship.
1918 British naval forces attempt to sink block-ships in the German U-boat bases at the Battle of Zeebrugge.
1931 Egypt signs treaty of friendship with Iraq.
1944 Allies launch major attack against the Japanese in Hollandia, New Guinea.
1954 The Senate Army-McCarthy hearings begin. They are broadcast on television.
1955 Congress orders all U.S. coins to bear the motto "In God We Trust."
1976 Barbara Walters becomes the first female nightly news anchor on network television.
1995 In Africa, Rwandan troops kill thousands of Hutu refugees in Kibeho.
Thanks to THE Bear
COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… WEEK TWELVE OF THE HUNT… 27 JANUARY-2 FEBRUARY 1969…
AMERICAN LOSSES–KILLED IN COMBAT–ZIPPED THROUGH 31,000 THIS WEEK WITH THE DEATHS OF 190 BRAVE G.I.s ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA… OUR SOUTH VIETNAMESE PARTNERS LOST 264 IN COMBAT… General William Tecumseh Sherman, 1880: "There is many a boy here today who looks upon war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell. You can bear this warning voice to generations yet to come. I look upon war with horror."…
Foe Blasts 2 Defense Posts and Assaults a 3rd In City… "Combat activity increased in the Saigon area during the last 36 hours. Within the city itself, the enemy blew up two civil defense offices and assaulted a third, setting off the first pitched street batttle in the capital in many months. The attack was repulsed."… "In other action a combined force of U.S and South Vietnamese infantrymen and armor repulsed several enemy thrusts at their positions …in Tayninh Province, about 40 miles from Saigon, forty-two enemy soldiers were reported killed. Two American troops were killed." … Denial From Washington…… Allies Kill 9 In Enemy Unit–Foe's Fire Wounds Seven… South Vietnamese General Hurt in Saigon Blast… North Vietnamese Attack A Base North of Saigon… "…The North Vietnamese struck at the base near Tayninh behind an intensive mortar barrage and twice were thrown back. Helicopter gunships, fighter-bombers and artillery helped repulse the attack. , and its four man crew was rescued."… "In scattered fighting elsewhere in South Vietnam, allied troops, bombers, gunships and artillery killed 245 enemy soldiers."… "The Vietcong have announced a seven-day Tet cease-fire from 7 A.M., Feb. 15, to 7 A.M., Feb. 22., but Saigon is cautious, recalling that the enemy ceasefire during Tet a year ago led to the biggest offensive of the war."…
Harriman Voices Hope On Paris Peace Talks… "Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge today presided over a working session of American and South Vietnamese officials at the United States Embassy here in Paris for an analysis of yesterday's first plenary meeting of the broadened talks on Vietnam."… "W. Averell Harriman, former head of the United States delegation to the Vietnam peace talks in Paris said today here in Washingtyon he believed that the Soviet Union sincerely wanted a peaceful, neutral Southeast Asia that would serve to block Communist Chinese expansion."… Insist On Political Terms–Set 7-Day Truce… "The Vietcong delegation at the peace talks here in Paris rejected today President Nixon's remarks on Vietnam yesterday, and reaffirmed that the United States demands of the guerrilla movement and North Vietnam are unacceptable. At his news conference on the 28th Mr. Nixon reiterated allied proposals for a restoration of the demilitarized zone, a guaranteed mutual withdrawal of external forces in South Vietnam and an exchange of prisoners as a basis on which progress could be made in Paris. The proposals were put before the peace talks on Saturday by Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge."… "…The Vietcong–National Liberation Front–expresssed its reaction to Mr. Nixon's views in a statement issued in Paris. The North Vietnamese also issued a statement here rebutting an overture for private contacts between the Saigon regime and 'the other side.' The overture was made yesterday by South Vietnam Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky."… –At Peace Talks They Stress A Political Settlement… "…his ideas on achieving peace were 'deceptive talk.' … nothing but 'honeyed words' designed to deceive the people of the United States and the world since he took office.' "…
22-Minute Sermon By Billy Graham To 200 Guests In East Room… "The President, a Quaker, plans to attend the private exercises rather than worship at various churches in Washington as earlier Presidents have done."… "…standing before this Court of Inquiry, Commander Bucher has placed himself in a rebellious position where he is challenging the court's five admirals, the naval establishment and even the Government."…Demand For Armed Reprisal In Execution of 9 Jews Is Feared In Washington–Sympathy is Expressed But Official Hope To Avoid Retaliatory Cycle and Any Threat to General Jarring's Role As U.N. Representative in Mideast Attempting To Promote A SettlementSuspected Cause of Explosion and Fire… December Increase of .2% Low In Recent Months Puts Price Index At 123.7%–Export Surplus Drops–It Stands At 726 Million–Interest On Treasury Notes Highest Sinjce 1865… North Vietnamese And Pathet Lao Open Small Scale Attacks in Area Where U.S. Has Deep Commitments–Strikes in Laos Described… –Visa Conditions Tightened–Total Ban On Residence Weighed By Ottowa… Order To Pentagon Envisions Shift When Vietnam Cost is Substantially Lower–Other Directive Sent–Most Seek Data and Advice–Reorganization Acts Extension Requested… –Officials Hail Stepped-up Campaign–Extend Drive Planned To Secure 90% of People From Vietcong… –NASA Proceeds With Plans For Manned Shot Feb 28… Meets More Than Three Hours With His National Security Council–2nd Session Is Planned… Staff of Senate Panel Finds Little Coordination Among Diplomats and Military… U.N. Association Group Also Propoes Talks on Arms and Division of Germany… "…Is marijuana safe or harmful, and if it is harmful, how dangerous is it? Marijuana is a chemical substance derived from the cannabis or hemp plant… almost nothing is known about it….Much of what is widely believed about the drug is based not on scientific knowledge but on an emotionally charged mythology that grows out of America's complex puritan traditions and out of confusion about the differences and similarities between marijuana and more potent drugs."…
Moscow, Jan. 28– "The Soviet Union's latest denunciation of United States military activities in Laos is believed here to have been directed at the recent intensification of bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the route used by North Vietnam to transport military aid to its forces and the Vietcong guerrillas fighting in South Vietnam. In a statement distributed early today by Tass, the Soviet Press Agency, Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko accused the United States of having stepped up air raids, ground shelling and the use of 'toxic substances' in areas held by the pro-communist Pathet Lao.
"According to reports from Washington last November, the United States intended to triple the level of bombing along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos (OPERATION COMMANDO HUNT) to compensate for the effects of the halt in the north. This was understood to be the principle reason that top American commanders were willing to endorse President Johnson's decision to cease the raids (North of the DMZ).
"Without mentioning the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Mr. Gromyko charged that the United States aircraft 'have recently been flying 200 daily missions or more on the average over Laotian territory.' The Foreign Minister said that B-52's were bombing areas controlled by the Pathet Lao, which would include most of the southern panhandle of Laos. His mention of 'toxic substances' may have referred to defoliants (Agent Orange) used by American forces to open up the jungle canopy covering enemy operations. (Humble Host note: More likely refers to U.S. use of CBU-19 chemicals used to aid in helicopter rescue of downed airman in very hostile enemy areas). Mr. Gromyko complained that the intensified United States activities in Laos 'by no means create a favorable atmosphere' for the Paris talks on Vietnam.
"The publication of the Soviet statement one day after the British Ambassador in Moscow, Sir Duncan Williams, flew to London for consultations, is believed to reflect a new failure of the Soviet Union and Britain, as the chairmen of the 1962 Geneva Conference on Laos, to agree on a joint statement. The agreement reached at the 14-nation conference in Geneva called for a neutralist Laos and required the signatories, which included the United States and the Soviet Union, to refrain from interference in Laotian affairs.
"Mr. Gromyko said that he was issuing his statement in response to complaints from Phoumi Vongvichit, general secretary of the Neo Lao Hak Sat, the political organization of the Pathet Lao. The complaints…presumably reflecting the start of intensified United States bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail toward the end of the year (1968)."
There were no personnel casualties…
Fully loaded for a close air support mission, one of the bombs exploded as the aircraft ran over rough terrain, obliterating the Phantom and the two warriors. rests in peace at Inglewood (Cal) Park Cemetery, survived by a wife, three sons and his parents. Glory gained, duty done, and remembered fifty years after his final flight for our country…
The Phantom was set aflame by the AAA and the two aviators were required to eject a few miles from the 37mm gun position. They were rescued by an Air Force HH-53 Green Jolly and returned to Ubon to fly and FAC again…
Their ordnance was seen exploding on target and shortly thereafter a large explosion was observed on the ground near the target. There were no transmissions, beeper signals or parachutes observed and both aviators were lilsted as missing in action. Their status was changed to presumed killed in 1978 and the search for the F-4 wreckage and the remains of the two aviators was begun. In 1989 In 2017 the wreckage was found and on 17 June 2017 the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that remains had been recovered. He rests in peace at Sunset Memorial Park, Gregson, Montana.
The Phantom crashed into a hill and the cause of the loss is unknown. rests in peace at the West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.
He is buried in New Jersey. His legacy is in his son, who was a company commander in Iraq in 2012, and two grandsons serving in the Army. He is remembered with respect and admiration on this 50th anniversary of his last flight…
was able to fly the aircraft clear of the target area and was fifteen miles from home base at Tuy Hoa when his luck ran out and he was forced to eject. He was rescued by the Tuy Hoa HH-43 Pedros…
It was presumed he had been shot down. An extensive visual and electronic search failed to find any clue of his location. He was listed as Missing in Action. When he was not reported as a POW his status was changed to presumed killed in action, his remains still missing. In November 1999 his remains were found, recovered and positively identified in October 2000.
Chapter V (141-5)…
"When he inherited the Vietnam War from his Democratic predecessor, President Richard M. Nixon inherited also a general course of action and limited room for maneuver. President Johnson had stopped the bombing of North Vietnam, committed the United States to the Paris negotiations, topped off the American force in South Vietnam, and set the goal of reducing American involvement and turning the fighting of the war back to the South Vietnamese. The state of American public opinion made any reversal of this course unthinkable. In addition, the new administration faced a Congress controlled by Democrats, who were free as they had not been under President Johnson to take radical anti-waar positions…. (Nixon) and his advisors were determined to extricate the United States from Vietnam on terms that would give the Saigon regime at least a chance to survive and that would demonstrate to allies and enemies alike America's will and ability to maintain its international commitments.
"Nixon and his foreign policy team–National Security Advisor Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State William P. Rogers, and Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird–lost no time in reviewing the Vietnam situation and the available policy choices. Immediately after the inauguration on 20 January 1969, the administration issued National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 1. Addressed to State, Defense and CIA Director Richard Helms, NSSM 1 posed a set of (24) detailed questions on six aspects of the war: The agency answers, presented to senior policymakers (at a subsequent meeting of the NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL on 25 January) reflected consensus on some points but also many disagreements in fact and interpretation
The questions were delivered by Kissinger to the three agencies–State, Defense and CIA–at a White house meeting on 21 January, the day after Nixon was inaugurated. A note from that meeting: "…the President emphasized that while he did not believe in changing policy for change sake alone that he felt with respect to Vietnam that we must rethink all of our policy tracks by reviewing all past instructions and determining whether or not we are proceeding down the correct tracks. He stated we do not want the enemy to assume that we are locked on the same old tracks as the previous administration, emphasizing that we will change if the situation dictates."
How do military deployment and tactics today differ from those of 6-12 months ago? What are the reasons for changes, and what has the impact been?
In what different ways including (innovations in organization) might U.S. force-levels be reduced to various levels, while minimizing impact on combat capability.
What is the evidence on the scale of effect of B-52 attacks in producing VC/NVA casualties? In disrupting VC/NVA operations? How valid are estimates of overall effects?
What effect is the Laotian interdiction bombing having: a. In reducing the capacity of the enemy logistic system?…b. In destroying material in transit?
. With regard to the bombing of North Vietnam: a. What evidence was there on the significance of the principal strains imposed on the DRV (e.g., in economic disruption, extra manpower demands, transportation blockages, population morale?)… b. What was the level of logistical through-put through the Southern provinces of North Vietnam just prior to the November bombing halt? To what extent did this level relfect the results of the U.S. bombing campaign?… c. To what extent did Chinese and Soviet aid relieve pressure on Hanoi?… d. What are current views on the proportion of war-essetial imports that could come into NVN over the rail or road lines from China, even if all imports by sea were denied and a strong effort even made to interdict ground transpooort? What is the evidence?… e. What action has the DRV taken to reduce the vulnerability and importance of Hanoi as a population and economic center (e.g., Through population evacuation and economic dispersal)?…)
During 1969 Nixon and his brain-trust developed a two-track policy of negotiation on the peace front and "Vietnamization," of the war– unilateral withdrawl of American troops while strengthening South Vietnamese fighting capability–on the war front. On the peace track Nixon and Kissinger had initiated secret talks with Hanoi even before they were in office (collusion?) and continued these efforts in addition to the open talks in Paris. Nixon hoped to disengage from the war on acceptable terms while retaining South Vietnamese confidence as they assumed the full burden on the battlefield. Kissinger saw developing an acceptable interval between America's withdrawal and departure, and whatever the fate of South Vietnam may ultimately be, as the objective of American policy. When Nixon was unable to obtain Soviet help in bringing Hanoi to terms he gave up on both a military victory and a non-Communist South Vietnam, settling for "self-determination" of the South Vietnamese people.
While Nixon and his "wise men" implemented negotiations in Paris and Russia and "Vietnamization" in south Vietnam, a third alternative was developed and put on a shelf. The third possibility was: Massive air strikes on North Vietnam and large scale attacks by air and ground on the ever-expanding Laotian and Cambodian sanctuaries. : "More political than military in purpose, these campaigns could be used to retaliate for Communist violations of the 1968 bombing halt "understandings" or to shock and batter Hanoi toward a diplomatic settlement. The sanctuary attacks also would assist Vietnamization by disrupting enemy offensive preparations. Early in 1969 (January), after the Communists launched a nationwide offensive that included renewed bombardment of Saigon and South Vietnamese cities (in violation of "the understanding') the Administration put the JCS, CINCPAC, nad COMUSMACV to work on contingency plans for bombing North Vietnam and mining its ports. In response to this offensive, and as a signal of resolve to the Communist powers, President Nixon in mid-March began a publicly unacknowledged bombing of the Cambodian base areas.
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This Week in Aviation Heritage
April 21, 1942
Lt. j.g. Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare was presented the Medal of Honor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a ceremony at the White House. The medal citation read, in part: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in aerial combat, at grave risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, as section leader and pilot of Fighting Squadron 3, when on Feb. 20, 1942, having lost the assistance of his teammates, he interposed his plane between his ship and an advancing enemy formation of nine attacking twin-engined heavy bombers." Click HERE to learn more. O'Hare was the Navy's first Ace of World War II.
April 22, 1961
Jackie Cochran set 18 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) records in one day flying a Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, named The Scarlett O'Hara. The route of her flight was New Orleans–Boston–Gander–Shannon–London–Paris–Bonn, with refueling stops at Gander and Shannon. According to the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, Jackie Cochran "…set more speed and altitude records than any other pilot." To view the records, click HERE.
April 23, 1918
Lieutenant Paul Baer shoots down his fifth aircraft, becoming the first ace of the American Expeditionary Force. He goes on to achieve nine confirmed victories with another seven unconfirmed. He is shot down on the day of his last victory and ends the war as a prisoner. Baer was Daedalian Founder Member #801.
April 24, 1943
The first class of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, Class 43-1, graduated from the four-month flight training program and earned their wings as U.S. Army pilots. The class entered with 38 trainees and 24 graduated. Each woman had a civil pilot's license and at least 200 hours of flight time. Over 25,000 women applied and approximately 1,900 were accepted. By the end of the war, 1,074 WASPs had graduated.
April 25, 1922
Known as the Stout ST-1, the first all-metal airplane designed for the United States Navy made its first flight piloted by Eddie Stinson at Selfridge Field, Michigan.
April 26, 1941
The project officer of the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia reported the successful flight test of an unmanned Vought O3U-6 Corsair under radio control beyond the safe bounds of piloted flight. The information obtained proved valuable in overcoming flutter encountered at various speeds and accelerations.
April 27, 1911
The Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps, United States Army, accepted its second airplane, a Curtiss Model D Type IV, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The airplane was built by Glenn H. Curtiss' Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company at Hammondsport, New York. It was known as a "Curtiss Pusher," as it was propelled by a propeller behind the engine. The aircraft was a canard configuration with elevators mounted in front and it had tricycle landing gear. The airframe was primarily spruce and ash, with flying surfaces covered with fabric. It was easily disassembled for transport on Army wagons
Sri Lanka—Easter Attacks Kill Almost 300 Colombo Telegraph | 04/22/2019 At least 290 people have been killed and 450 injured in a coordinated series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, reports the Colombo Telegraph. On Sunday, explosions hit one church and three luxury hotels in the capital, Colombo. Two other churches were also attacked, one north of the capital and another in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The plot targeted worshippers and tourists on Easter Sunday as breakfast and morning services began. All the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, reported the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). The explosions occurred roughly within less than an hour of each other, indicating sophisticated planning, said analysts. A fourth hotel appeared to strike in a suburb of Colombo, but authorities are still investigating, reported Reuters. An additional explosive device was identified and found near Bandaranaike International Airport and defused, said an air force spokesman cited by CNN. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. Authorities said they had arrested eight people in connection with the blast, reported the Wall Street Journal. There do not appear to be any links with the Tamil Tigers. The militant group fought a 33-year war with the state that ended 10 years ago. Intelligence agencies had indicated a potential plot from the South Asia-based Islamist militant group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath but had not received specific, credible threat that could be countered. Authorities believe that an international terror network had a hand in planning the attacks, said Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne. Police said that at least one attack on a mosque was reported after the bombing. A curfew has been imposed and social media has been temporarily blocked in the capital to prevent the spread of misinformation, said State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene.
USA—Washington Granting Exemptions To Some Who Deal With Iran's IRGC Reuters | 04/22/2019 The U.S. government is granting sanctions exemptions to foreign governments, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reports Reuters. A State Dept. spokesman confirmed the decision, which seems to already be in place. The exemptions allow officials from regional governments, like Iraq, to conduct necessary interactions with the IRGC and still be eligible for visas to travel to the U.S. Humanitarian groups and businesses would also be able to work in the region without automatically triggering U.S. sanctions. The U.S. government reserves the right to sanction individual who gives "material support" to a terrorist organization, said State. Material support can include actions that support a group's militant activities to providing spread the group's message. On April 15, State designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). The Iranian Parliament responded with a measure declaring U.S. troops in the Middle East to be "terrorists."
USA—Washington Will No Longer Issue Waivers To Purchasers Of Iranian Oil Reuters | 04/22/2019 The U.S. will no longer issue waivers to importers of Iranian oil, reports Reuters. On Monday, the White House announced that countries will no longer receive waivers to import oil from Iran after the current ones expire in May. The move was taken in concert with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the statement said. Washington provided waivers to eight unnamed countries in November, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. China, India and Turkey were thought to be among those nations, who were given additional time to find alternative suppliers of oil. A wind down period is expected to allow deliveries of already-purchased oil, said two officials familiar with the decision.
USA—Army To Take Part In Officer Exchange Program For 2nd Time U.S. Army | 04/22/2019 The U.S. Army has approved its first reciprocal general officer military exchange with France. Brig. Gen. Todd Wasmund will be assigned as the deputy commanding general of France's 3rd Armored division in Marseilles beginning in early 2020, an Army release said on Friday. Wasmund, who Deputy Commanding General for Support of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., will be temporarily replaced with French Brig. Gen. Hubert Couttereau, the release said. Couttereau will begin his assignment in the summer of 2019. MPEP exchanges typically last from two to three years. The exchange is the second of its kind under the U.S. Army's Military Personnel Exchange Program (MEPEP), which is designed to strengthen ties and interoperability between militaries. The U.S. Army established its first reciprocal General Officer MPEP exchange with the United Kingdom in September 2015.
USA—Army Suspends Program To Develop New Unmanned Aircraft System Defense News | 04/22/2019 The U.S. Army has decided to postpone its program to develop a next-generation unmanned aircraft system (UAS), reports Defense News. Another major acquisition program is unrealistic at this time, an official with the army's combat capabilities development command told the newspaper last week. The Army is focusing on developing future attack reconnaissance aircraft and a future long-range assault aircraft, part of its future vertical lift efforts, said the official. Current technology demonstrations will wrap up and any lessons learned for a future design will saved for when the time comes. Other efforts develop a future tactical UAS (FTUAS) to replace the Shadow systems are ongoing.
USA—Army Eyes Budget Increase For Network Modernization C4ISRNet | 04/22/2019 The U.S. Army is seeking to increase funding for battlefield network modernization over the next five years, reports C4ISRNET. The army's latest budget request includes more than $8.4 billion for network modernization over five years. This is $1.5 billion more than originally estimated for fiscal years 2020-2023, according to service documents. The army has identified four priorities for revamping the network. The first priority -- to provide secure network transport in a contested environment and dominate cyber electromagnetic activities -- will make up the majority of the spending. About $1.2 billion would be aside for this effort, much of it to acquire tactical radios. An additional $427 million is requested in 2020 for the Tactical Network Technology Modernization in Service program to enhance cybersecurity, improve resilience and reduce the size, weight and power of network equipment. The second priority is creating a common operating environment. For this, the service requested $303.9 million for the Joint Battle Command-Platform. The request also includes $108.5 million for Command Post Computing Environment, a common interface from command post to ground. The third and fourth priorities are interoperability and command post mobility and survivability. The army is asking for $35.5 million for research and development funds in fiscal 2020 to work on survivable command posts.
Ukraine—Outsider Wins Presidential Polls Unian News Agency | 04/22/2019 Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is projected as the winner of presidential elections in Ukraine, reports the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN). Polling in the runoff election occurred on Sunday, with exit polls suggesting the challenger to incumbent Petro Poroshenko had gained an early lead. The Central Election Commission said on Monday that Zelenskiy had won over 73 percent of overall votes, with 90 percent of ballots counted. Poroshenko secured about 24 percent of the vote. He conceded defeat on Sunday, reported Reuters. Zelenskiy and Poroshenko placed first and second, respectively, in the first round of elections, held on March 31. The professional actor and comedian ran as an outsider candidate opposed to corruption after starring in a show in which he played the country's president. Zelenskiy has no prior political experience but is trained as a lawyer, reported BBC News. He has pledged to renew peace efforts with Russian-backed separatists in the east. Official results will be announced by April 30.
Iran—President Announces Joint Border Force With Pakistan Radio Pakistan | 04/22/2019 Iran and Pakistan have pledged to create a joint force to secure their shared border, reports the government-owned Radio Pakistan. During a meeting on Monday in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed set up a "Joint Rapid Reaction Force." Rouhani said the move would allow them to address concerns over their more than 660-mile (900-km) border. The leaders declined to elaborate on the composition of the force or when it would be activated. In the south, the Iranian-Pakistan border includes Balochistan, a region which hosts secessionist-minded groups on either side of the border. Both countries have accused the other of inaction against militants. Last week, gunmen killed 14 people on Pakistani bus. Islamabad said the militants who organized the attack were based in Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia—Police Foil Attack On Interior Ministry Building Saudi Gazette | 04/22/2019 Saudi police say they foiled an attack on an interior ministry building, reports the Saudi Gazette (Jeddah). On Sunday, four militants attacked a Bureau of Investigation building in Zulfi, 167 miles (270 km) north of the capital, Riyadh, said a spokesman. The attackers tried to drive their car through a security perimeter, reported the Arab News (Riyadh). Three of the attackers were killed exchanging fire with police. The fourth was killed while trying to evade arrest. Police said they recovered guns and explosives from the vehicle, reported Al Arabiya (Dubai). Investigations to identify the perpetrators were ongoing. All four were said to Saudi nationals. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Oman—MoU Reaffirms, Expands Defense Cooperation with Tehran Fars News Agency | 04/22/2019 Iranian and Omani military officials have signed an agreement to expand military cooperation, reports the semi-official Fars news agency. Military officials met in Muscat last week for the 15th Omani-Iranian Military Friendship Joint Committee. Troops took part in a joint naval exercise in waters off the coast of Oman on April 17 and 18. Units from the Omani air force, navy and Border Guard Brigade, as well as Iran's army, navy, and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), took part in the drills, which were described as rescue and relief maneuvers. A memorandum of understanding was signed on April 19, the last day of the summit, to boost defense relations. The parties agreed to create a new direct shipping route by the end of the month. This would be the fifth such line connecting the two countries, noted the Middle East Monitor (London).
Sudan—Demonstrators Call Of Talks With Military Council Sudan Tribune | 04/22/2019 Talks between Sudanese protesters and the ruling military council have broken down, reports the Sudan Tribune (Paris). On Sunday, a spokesman for the demonstrators said that they would continue an ongoing sit-in outside the ministry of defense headquarters until their demands for an immediate handover of power to a civilian government were met. The spokesman accused the military council of intransigence and said that the council guiding the transition contained remnants of ousted-President Omar al Bashir's regime. Talks would be suspended until further notice, he said. The council's leader, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, said he would respond to demands for a civilian government within a week, reported Agence France-Presse. Bashir was detained by the army on April 11. Protests that began in December swelled in early April in a renewed push to remove the former general.
Kenya—National Defense Council Deliberates Nomination Of New Chief Of Defense Force Daily Nation (Kenya) | 04/22/2019 The Kenyan National Defense Council is expected to name a new chief of the defense force (CDF) in the coming days, reports the Daily Nation (Nairobi). Officials met on April 17 to discuss promotions of various military commanders, including the successor to Samson Mwathethe, whose four-year term ended earlier in the week. Under Kenyan law, the CDF is only eligible to serve a single four-year term or must retire upon reaching the mandatory retire age, whichever comes first. Top candidates to replace Mwathethe include, Lt. Gen. Robert Kibochi, the vice chief of defense forces; Lt. Gen. Leonard Ngondi, the force commander of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur; Lt. Gen. Walter Raria, the army chief; and Lt. Gen. Johnstone Ondieki, the former force commander of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Ondieki was fired in November 2016 after allegations that troops under his command failed to adequately protect civilians, Agence France-Presse reported at the time. The new CDF would be part of the transition from the Uhuru Kenyatta presidency in 2022 and likely oversee the withdrawal of Kenyan troops from Somalia by 2021, under current plans.
AMali—11 Killed In Base Ambush; Al-Qaida Suspected Agence France-Presse | 04/22/2019 At least 11 soldiers have been killed in an attack on a military outpost in central Mali, reports Agence France-Presse. Before dawn on Sunday, militants attacked a base in Guire, burning some vehicles and taking others with them, said an anonymous source. The attackers arrived in a convoy of 11 vehicles, said a lawmaker cited by Reuters. They reportedly used a nearby forest for cover. Residents reported heavy gunfire. The post's commander, a captain, was said to be among the dead. Malian officials confirmed an attack in the Nara sector, 230 miles (370 km) north of the capital, Bamako. They declined to provide casualty figures. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. Similar attacks in Mali have been claimed by the local Al-Qaida affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM).