Wednesday, May 29, 2019

TheList 5008

The List 5008     TGB

A bit of History and some tidbits
Today in Naval History
May 29
1781 During the American Revolution, the Continental frigate Alliance, under command of Capt. John Barry, battles HMS Atalanta and HMS Trepassy off Nova Scotia. After several broadsides by Alliance, the British ships surrender.
1844 The frigate Constitution, commanded by John Percival, sails from New York to depart on her 52,370 mile around-the-world cruise. Heading eastward, she visits places such as Brazil, Borneo, China, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Mexico before returning to Boston on September 27, 1846.
1863 During the Civil War, the side-wheel "double-ender" gunboat , USS Cimarron, commanded by Cmdr. Andrew J. Drake, captures the blockade-runner, Evening Star, off Wassaw Sound, Ga.
1944 USS Block Island (CVE 21) is torpedoed and is sunk by German submarine U 549. During this attack, USS Barr (DE 576) is also damaged. Block Island is the only U.S. carrier lost in the Atlantic during World War II. U-549 is later sunk that night by USS Eugene E. Elmore (DE-686) and USS Ahrens (DE 575).
1945 USS Sterlet (SS 392) sinks Japanese army cargo ships Kuretake Maru and Tenyro Maru despite the close proximity of the escort Coast Defense Ship No. 65.
1952 During the Korean War, USS Ozbourn (DD 846), USS Radford (DDE 446), and USS Heron (AMS 18), are engaged by enemy shore batteries and machine guns for two days off Wonson, Korea. Enemy batteries are silenced by counter-battery fire.
2004 USS Pinckney (DDG 91) is commissioned at Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme, Calif. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is named for Cook 1st Class William Pinckney, who received the Navy Cross for rescuing a fellow USS Enterprise (CV 6) crew member during the Battle of Santa Cruz Oct. 26, 1942.

Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Reports on tornadoes touching down on consecutive days top national news headlines, as another tornado hit Lawrence, Kansas yesterday, injuring 11 people. Stars and Stripes reports that CNO Adm. Richardson stated the Navy will "continue to work" with the President on the catapult system being developed for USS Gerald R. Ford. "The technology for electromagnetic catapults is proven," Richardson said. "It went through some, you know – we had to invent it. It's working on [USS] Gerald R. Ford. We've launched a number of aircraft, so we'll continue to work closely on what's the best decision for the future." Ships from Carrier Strike Group Nine (CSG-9), along with U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and Marine Corps service members, concluded Exercise Northern Edge 2019 (NE19). "This is a very demanding operating area and not something we're used to," said Capt. David Fowler. "We, as a Navy, need to get acclimated to these regions and work in a joint environment to gain a better appreciation for what our sister services do and what they bring to the table." Additionally, CNN reports that Australian military helicopters were repeatedly targeted with commercial lasers during operations in the South China Sea this month.
Today in History May 29
Constantinople falls to Muhammad II, ending the Byzantine Empire.
Charles II is restored to the English throne, succeeding the short-lived Commonwealth.
South Carolina is formally incorporated as a royal colony of England.
Rhode Island becomes the last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the Constitution.
Wisconsin becomes the thirtieth state.
A patent for lifting vessels is granted to Abraham Lincoln.
Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard retreats to Tupelo, Mississippi.
The Indianapolis 500 is run for the first time.
The premier of the ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) in Paris causes rioting in the theater.
U.S. forces invade the Dominican Republic.
Ecuador becomes independent.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules organized baseball is a sport not subject to antitrust laws.
The German Army completes its encirclement of the Kharkov region of the Soviet Union.
C. F. Blair becomes the first man to fly over the North Pole in single-engine plane.
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to reach the top of Mount Everest.
President Richard Nixon agrees to turn over 1,200 pages of edited Watergate transcripts.
Boris Yeltsin is elected the president of Russia.
From Decoration Day to Midway
by  W. Thomas Smith Jr.
 This Week in American Military History:
 May 30, 1868: "Decoration Day" – the predecessor to Memorial Day – is first observed by order of U.S. Army Gen. John A. Logan, who had decreed on May5: "The 30th day of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."  Maj. Gen. (future U.S. pres.) James A. Garfield presides over ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery (the former estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee), and approximately 5,000 participants decorate the graves of both Union and Confederate dead — about 20,000 of them — buried on the grounds.
 June 1, 1864: The bloody battle of Cold Harbor opens in earnest between Union Army forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate forces under Gen. Robert E. Lee. Grant will launch a series of futile attacks over the next three days. Lee will defend and hold. Union losses will be staggering: 13,000 to the Confederacy's 2,500. In his memoirs, Grant will express regret for having attacked at Cold Harbor.
  June 3, 1942: The great Naval battle of Midway opens between U.S. Naval and air forces under the command of Adm. Chester W. Nimitz and Japanese forces under Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, who had hoped to lure the U.S. Pacific Fleet into a great air-sea battle and destroy it. Considered a turning point in the Pacific theater of operations, the Japanese fleet is intercepted near Midway atoll, engaged, and will be decisively defeated by Nimitz. The Americans will lose one carrier, USS Yorktown (the third of five U.S. Navy warships named in commemoration of the famous Battle of Yorktown), but four Japanese carriers will be sent to the bottom. According to the U.S. Naval Historical Center: [Midway] represents the strategic high water mark of Japan's Pacific Ocean war. Prior to this action, Japan possessed general naval superiority over the United States and could usually choose where and when to attack. After Midway, the two opposing fleets were essentially equals, and the United States soon took the offensive."
Thanks to Kent on the Power plant story from Yesterday
I didnt do a lot of fact checking, it is an illusive subject............. but after I found that the US apparently has 86 plants (and not 15) and that only 600 were being built world wide (instead of china's 1151 plus all the others)....... I quit.   I am all for clean coal power, but I think this was an over zealous stretch perhaps with no references.

Thanks to Mike
Clipping from Viet Nam Paper, saved by one who flew Cobra's! Didn't take long for the Cong To Learn this distinction! LOL 
Rouge Hawker Hunter
thanks to Lurch  and Dutch
He had some Balls!
Thanks to Hal and Dutch
Huawei: The Real Story
May 21, 2019
Communist China's huge telecom company makes headlines every day: Trump cracks down on Huawei, or, Commerce Department issues rule against Huawei, or, 5G network rollout delayed. Stock markets swoon with each dire report.
So what's going on?
And, is it really important to our national security?
Understanding why the battle with Huawei involves U.S. national security requires a little history. It begins during the Cold War, and the need of western allies for the ability to read Soviet Russia's electronic mail. Beginning with simple intercept radios, a complex system evolved that ultimately consisted of computers, satellites, cable networks, antenna arrays, towers and server farms that could read everyone's mail. It was code-named Echelon, and the intelligence it gathered was ultimately shared by the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — an English-speaking group known as "5 Eyes."
Today, electronic intelligence gathering has been further complicated by the Internet, by the astounding proliferation of cell phones, and by the simple fact that the United States is no longer the center of global communications. Nevertheless, organizations like the National Security Agency continue to monitor electronic communications and our tech companies have grown to be world leaders in innovation, from software to chips to cell phone systems. Recognizing the significance of that progress, China has been playing catch-up for decades. Enter Huawei.
Huawei, the tip of Beijing's telecoms espionage spear, was founded in 1987 by a former member of the Peoples Liberation Army's Information Technology Department. Ren Zhengfei's online biography is carefully groomed to avoid mention of his military rank or affiliation with China's Communist Party. He cheerfully insists Huawei is an "independent" company in a communist country, and that he would deny a request by the Chinese government for any intelligence Huawei may acquire from its international business. No one takes that statement seriously.
Huawei manufactures antenna towers, core switchgear, fiber optic cables, and everything else that computers and cell phones need to connect to the global Internet via the anticipated 5G network. That includes equipment at switching points where all information and data is routed to its destinations. That "core" equipment would have access to everything that goes through it, including traffic from the LTE/4G system we use today. Huawei's plan is simple: sell everything needed for a 5G system at very attractive prices, including that essential core equipment –- which has "backdoors" that would allow Huawei to read everyone's electronic mail.
Huawei's goal is just as simple: have the world pay them to install and maintain a Chinese 5G spy system. But as we are now seeing in news reports, China's simple strategy to dominate global communications has serious weak points.
First, when a few countries began to buy Huawei's 5G equipment, the Trump administration woke up. Washington then made it clear that any country that installed Huawei core equipment, especially the 5 Eyes partners, would be immediately cut out of intelligence sharing with the United States. 5 Eyes got the message, and only the British decided to buy some safe non-core Huawei equipment.
Second, Huawei is not technologically self-sufficient and, like most of China's hi-tech companies, it depends on importing key parts and services from Silicon Valley. Upending seven decades of putting business with China first and U.S. interests second, the Trump administration did two things to end Huawei's global espionage threat.
On May 15th, President Trump signed an Executive Order prohibiting American firms from buying any telecoms products and services from "foreign adversaries" because they constitute "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security." Though the foreign adversaries were not named, they are communist China and its telecoms giant, Huawei.
Immediately after the Executive Order was announced, the Commerce Department cleared up any doubt about who those "foreign adversaries" might be by issuing a rule prohibiting the sale of all American parts and services to Huawei and 68 of its affiliates and subsidiaries.
A similar rule came close to bankrupting ZTE, Huawei's smaller Chinese cousin. It was issued because ZTE evaded U.S. sanctions by selling products to Iran that included software and hardware from Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, and Symantec. The ban was lifted in March 2017 after ZTE admitted guilt, paid a $1.2 billion fine, and agreed to being monitored by a compliance officer.
Such a settlement by Huawei would be a serious setback to China's plan for global dominance, so there's little chance of it happening. Yet. Meantime, the Chinese politburo is reassessing a strategy that has caused major disagreement amongst its members, a conflict that has put the U.S.-China trade deal in limbo. Politburo hardliners and softliners (yes, communist China has them too) are now arguing among themselves about whether they should outwait the Trump administration, hoping for Trump's defeat in 2020, or make a deal that recognizes that China exports more than four times as many goods to America than we export to them, and that their staggering economy will not take the added strain of a prolonged trade war.
What happens next? At this early date, the outcome of the struggle is clouded by too many disparate factors to be labeled as certain.
Nevertheless, a list is a useful telescope to help us see and understand what President Trump and trade representative Lighthizer are now doing:
China outwaiting the Trump administration is a bad idea. Both parties in Congress and the media are united in their understanding of the existential threat that China poses to the United States, despite the efforts of the China Lobby. The American public is becoming aware of that threat too, and when Confucius Institute Centers begin to be disinvited by U.S. universities, Beijing will get the message that soft power has its limits.
The Chinese economy is entering a recession, and the U.S. economy is vibrant. Both will be hurt by trade and tariff fights, but China will hurt much more. If Washington carries out planned tariff increases, the Chinese economy will be pushed even deeper into recession, or worse.
The Chinese Communist Party is obsessed by only one thing: maintaining power. In an effort to avoid the fate of the communist party of Russia, the Beijing politburo made a detailed study of the fall of Soviet Russia. They concluded that to remain in power they must build a surveillance system that will record the biometric data of every one of China's 1.4 billion citizens, and that will monitor their every movement. They believe that such a control system, based on a 5G network and artificial intelligence, will give them the power to avoid another Tiananmen Square uprising. 
But Trump and Lighthizer know that the collapse of the Soviet empire was caused by the U.S. pushing a deteriorating Russian economy to the point of failure. In similar fashion, they intend to end the existential threat from a nascent Chinese communist empire by using the power of American productivity in hi-tech, space, agriculture, mining, and heavy industry.
To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, China will lose, and we will win.
In addition to being a personal friend, Chet Nagle is a Naval Academy graduate, a Georgetown Law School graduate, and a Cold War carrier pilot who flew in the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a stint as a research project officer in the Naval Oceanographic Office, he joined the Pentagon's International Security Affairs section (ISA/ILN) and, as a senior civilian, was involved in defense and intelligence affairs with NATO and other allies.
thanks to Tam  
Chinese telecom giant's strides in vital infrastructure business raise alarm 🚨‼️
Markets dropped today after President Trump declines to accept a trade deal with China... and he is WISE to keep pressure on our enemies!
Thanks to The Bear
The 3 June 1969 Melbourne-Evans Collision-at-Sea
     For those who have 30-minutes to watch a Navy training film, I suggest this outstanding re-creation of the USS Evans—Aussie Carrier Melbourne collision of 50 years ago this week that took the lives of 74 American sailors. For those who have never stood a watch, assume the deck and conn, or commanded a ship in a maneuvering formation at night, this film is a good primer... Timely, too, since collisions-at-sea are in vogue IMHO as a consequence of Navy personnel management that rotates too many surface warriors through too few opportunities to gain the OOD(Underway) qual, AND stand those duties for at least 2 years of steaming. SEAMANSHIP is a profession. Time at-sea and on the bridge is the paramount path to mastery of the trade, just as thousands of flight hours are the path to the top in the profession of AIRMANSHIP.
    This short film also affirms the first rule for Captains: "Ninety per cent of collisions-at-sea occur with the CO off the bridge."
     Finally, 74 human beings perished 50 years ago through no fault of their own. They died as a consequence of an OOD's dereliction of duty while the CO was sleeping.  A few minutes viewing this recounting of the passing of 74 USS Evans sailors in the service of our Navy, and the Nation, is a good way to remember them... 
     Then recite the Eileen Mahoney poem, "In Waters Deep" that Hal Strunk and Mighty Thunder posted for Memorial Day... (or Google it— the poem is a classic and ideal for remembering those who rest forever in the briny deep.) God bless them all... 
See the poem below……

Shared via the Google app
The hulks were towed to Cubi point harbor…I remember seeing them.
thanks to David for giving us the attribution -  
It was brought to my attention that the poem was 
©Copyright October 11, 2001 by Eileen Mahone
Thanks to THE Bear 
Guys.... my daughter-in-law, who is Mighty Thunder and the webmaster for RTR, has posted two Memorial Day remembrances for your consideration... here's one, second to follow. This one is for all the guys we left at sea... Bear
Mighty Thunder is proud to present this beautiful little poem by Mr. Alan Syler ... to remember all those fallen warriors "lost at sea" and "body not recovered." No marker. To lie alone far from the hallowed ground of Arlington in the company of brothers-in-arms passed...

Memorial Day 2019 – In Ocean's Wastes, No Poppies Blow, No Crosses Stand in Ordered Row….
May 27, 2019Mighty Thunder
Mighty Thunder is proud to present this beautiful little poem by Mr. Alan Syler … to remember all those fallen warriors "lost at sea" and "body not recovered." No marker. To lie alone far from the hallowed ground of Arlington in the company of brothers-in-arms passed on. Alone in the deep. Forever. Not to be forgotten. Ever….
In Waters Deep
In ocean wastes no poppies blow,
No crosses stand in ordered row,
Their young hearts sleep… beneath the wave…
The spirited, the good, the brave,
But stars a constant vigil keep,
For them who lie beneath the deep.
'Tis true you cannot kneel in prayer
On certain spot and think. "He's there."
But you can to the ocean go…
See whitecaps marching row on row;
Know one for him will always ride…
In and out… with every tide.
And when your span of life is passed,
He'll meet you at the "Captain's Mast."
And they who mourn on distant shore
For sailors who'll come home no more,
Can dry their tears and pray for these
Who rest beneath the heaving seas…
For stars that shine and winds that blow
And whitecaps marching row on row.
And they can never lonely be
For when they lived… they chose the sea…
Some news from around the world
USA—Marine Dies In Vehicle Accident During Exercise In Australia Stars And Stripes | 05/29/2019 A Marine has died from injuries sustained in a training accident in northern Australia, reports the Stars and Stripes.  Lance Cpl. Hans Sandoval-Pereyra died on Tuesday from injuries received in a vehicle accident on May 25 at the Mount Bundey Training Area, near Darwin, said the III Marine Expeditionary Force.  Sandoval-Pereyra was injured when the Humvee he was riding in ran off the road and turned over, according to information from the Naval Safety Center cited by He was treated at the scene before being transferred to Royal Darwin Hospital, were he succumbed to his wounds. Another Marine suffered minor injuries in the crash. Sandoval-Pereyra was an expeditionary airfield systems technician assigned to the aviation combat element of the Marine rotational force in Australia.  The service has opened an investigation into the accident.  This is the Marine's third reported fatality resulting from a vehicle-related accident in six weeks.  On May 9, a first lieutenant from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion died following a rollover during a training event at Camp Pendleton, Calif. On April 14, a staff sergeant from the 1st Raider Battalion died from injuries suffered when his MRZR all-terrain vehicle flipped.   
USA—Steel Cut For New Columbia-Class SSBNs Huntington Ingalls Industries | 05/29/2019 Huntington Ingalls Industries has cut first steel for the U.S. Navy's new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, reports the shipbuilder. On May 23, Huntington Ingalls held a ceremony at its Newport News Shipbuilding division in Virginia in which a plasma-burning machine cut the first steel plate that will be used to build the Columbia (SSBN-826), the lead sub in the class. The submarine class will also be the first to be built using fully digital blueprints, said a company release. The Columbia class will replace the current Ohio-class SSBNs. The Columbia is scheduled for delivery in 2027.   
USA—California Air Guard Jets Wrap Up Drills In Australia Air Force News Service | 05/29/2019 The 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from the California Air National Guard recently concluded a bilateral exercise with the Royal Australian Air Force, reports the Air Force News Service. Exercise Diamond Storm, which ran from May 6-26, was led by the Australian Air Warfare Center with a focus on strengthening interoperability among allies and introducing fifth-generation capabilities into the Australian military, said an Air Force release on Tuesday. The exercise also serves as a certification event for Australia's air warfare instructor course. Both air forces indicated that they planned to build on the Diamond Storm drills through the Enhanced Air Cooperation initiative and conduct more frequent joint training.    
USA—Eritrea Removed From List Of Countries Not Cooperating On Terrorism Voice Of America News | 05/29/2019 The U.S. government has decided to remove Eritrea from its list of countries declared to not be fully cooperating with American counterterrorism efforts, reports the Voice of America News. The East African country will not be listed on the latest edition of the list, which was to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The move follows Eritrea's restoration of ties last year with long-time rival Ethiopia, two decades after a bloody border conflict. The breakthrough contributed to the U.N. Security Council's decision to lift sanctions on Eritrea in late 2018. Remaining on the list are Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.                                         
France—Rights Groups Seek To Block Suspected Weapons Shipment To Saudi Arabia Radio France Internationale | 05/29/2019 A French human-rights group is trying to prevent a shipment of weapons to Saudi Arabia, reports Radio France International.  On Tuesday, the Saudi cargo ship Bahri Tabuk arrived in the southern port of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille.  Disclose, a French investigative journalism site that has previously documented the use of French arms by Saudi Arabia, reported that the ship would be loaded with munitions for Caesar self-propelled howitzers. Several rights groups, including Ethical Republican Security Action (ASER) and Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), have moved to stop the delivery.  ACAT has filed a legal challenge to prevent the Saudi ship from receiving the cargo, reported Reuters. Dockworkers have said they will not load load munitions onto the vessels. A representative from the Saudi shipping company said the vessel was there to acquire civilian electrical production units.  Earlier this month, a Saudi ship owned by the same company left without its intended cargo after dockworkers refused to load weapons destined for Saudi Arabia.  Rights groups have criticized the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen for failing to adequately protect civilians. Many have called on European governments to stop supplying arms to the coalition.    
Italy—Trieste Amphibious Ship Launched Near Naples Fincantieri | 05/29/2019 Fincantieri has launched a new amphibious warship for the Italian navy at its Castellammare di Stabia shipyard south of Naples, reports the Italian shipbuilder. The Trieste landing helicopter dock was put into the water in a ceremony on May 25, the company said. The ship was ordered in 2015 and is scheduled to be delivered in 2022, said Fincantieri. It is designed to carry aircraft, amphibious vehicles and equipment as well as a battalion of up to 600 troops. The 702-ft (214-m) long ship is equipped with a full flight deck and a well deck aft. The Trieste is powered by a combined diesel or gas propulsion system providing a top speed of 25 knots.    
Russia—Factory Ready To Begin Production Of Su-57 Fighter Tass | 05/29/2019 The Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant is prepared to begin mass production of Russia's newest fighter jet, according to senior defense officials cited by the Tass news agency (Moscow). The air force expects to receive the first Su-57 advanced jets by the end of the year, Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko said on Wednesday during a visit to the plant in Russia's Far East.  During the visit, Krivoruchko discussed the Su-57's readiness for service and the plant's ability to produce them.  Separately, Krivoruchko said that the Russian air force is slated to receive 20 Su-35S fighter jets by the end of 2020.  The latest tranche will be updated based on lessons learned from combat in Syria, including expanded interoperability with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, the minister said.    
Japan—New Transport Ships Planned To Support Southern Islands Yomiuri Shimbun | 05/29/2019 The Japanese government plans to deploy new small and medium transport ships to support military operations in the Nansei Islands, which run from Kyushu to Taiwan, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun. In fiscal 2023, the new ships are to be ready for operations under new joint maritime transport units operated by Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel. Tokyo also plans to employ artificial intelligence to rapidly determine what ammunition and other supplies need to be transported to remote islands. From fiscal 2019 to 2023, plans call for a 2,000-ton medium transport and two 300-ton small transports to be introduced. This would be the first time that the MSDF fielded medium transports of that size, officials said. The move is driven in part by the lack of facilities on remote islands that can accommodate the MSDF's large transports. The medium ships are expected to be able to carry around 15 tanks, while the small ships would carry around five. The project calls for the acquisition of two medium and six small transports.    
South Korea—Drills To Evaluate Seoul's Ability To Perform Wartime Operational Control Of Its Troops Yonhap | 05/29/2019 South Korea and the United States want a senior South Korean general to lead a joint exercise this summer to test Seoul's operational control capabilities, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). The combined command-post exercise scheduled for August would include an assessment of South Korea's initial operational control capabilities with a four-star Korean general in charge of the Combined Forces Command, said unnamed officials. The allies have agreed to transfer wartime operational control of South Korean forces from the U.S. when conditions warrant. The initial operational capability certification of a South Korean-led defense posture is seen as the first test for the planned transfer. Seoul and Washington are currently targeting 2022 for the transfer following verification of full operational and mission capabilities. South Korea turned over control of its forces to the U.S.-led U.N. Command during the Korean War. Seoul regained peacetime control in 1994.     
South Korea—Air Force Clears KF-16s To Fly After Investigation Into February Crash Yonhap | 05/29/2019 South Korea has cleared some of its KF-16 fighter jets to return to the air after grounding them following a February crash, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).  The crash was caused by an issue in the fuel supply to the engine's combustion chamber, according to a preliminary investigation released on Wednesday.  The air force cleared the KF-16s after comprehensive inspections and the replacement of an internal filter, the service said.  On Feb. 27, a two-seat KF-16D jet crashed into the Yellow Sea 13 minutes after taking off from Gunsan air base.  Both pilots ejected safely. The air force grounded its fleet of 120 KF-16s following the crash.    
Australia—Pilots Targeted By Lasers Over S. China Sea Cable News Network | 05/29/2019 Australian helicopter pilots say they were targeted with lasers during a deployment in the South China Sea, reports CNN. The amphibious ship HMAS Canberra completed a three-month mission in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean earlier this week, Euan Graham of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute wrote on the Strategist blog.  Pilots operating from the Canberra reported lasers coming from commercial vessels in the South China Sea. Pilots who experienced such an event were temporarily grounded for precautionary medical reasons, reported the Guardian (U.K.).  The Australian naval vessels were also shadowed by Chinese ships during their deployment, although they did not approach Chinese-claimed reefs and islands. The Australian Defense Dept. said the use of lasers appears to be increasing.  China's maritime militia, a loose-knit civilian reserve force that cooperates with the Chinese navy, could be responsible for the laser incidents, said Graham.  A Pentagon report released earlier this month noted that the maritime militia has increasingly functioned as a way to assert Chinese claims in the South China Sea without resorting to conflict.  The U.S. Navy has previously reported suspected Chinese laser incidents in the eastern Pacific.      
Iraq—New Military Op Launched By Turkey Against Kurds In North Hurriyet | 05/29/2019 The Turkish military has begun a new counterterrorism operation against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq, reports the Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul). Operation Claw was launched on May 27 with artillery attacks and airstrikes on targets in the Hakurk region in the northern part of Erbil province, said a Turkish Defense Ministry release. Turkish troops were also deployed in the area, gaining control of the high ground above Khalifan village, Shakiw mountain and Gulasew peak, reported the Rudaw (Iraqi Kurdistan). PKK fighters and Turkish troops have previously clashed in the region. At least 10 F-16 and F-4 fighters jets conducted airstrikes. The PKK is a designated terrorist group. It has a headquarters in northern Iraq, leading to regular attacks by the Turkish military.       
Syria—Assad Regime Steps Up Attacks On Rebel-Held Areas Syrian Observatory for Human Rights | 05/29/2019 Dozens of people have been killed in government attacks on rebel-held areas in northern Syria, reports the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  On Wednesday, seven civilians were killed in an airstrike on the village of Sarjah in the northwestern Idlib province. Three others were killed in a barrel bomb attack on the town of Al Bara, also in Idlib.  On Tuesday, 30 civilians were killed in a wave of airstrikes and mortar attacks in Idlib and Hama provinces.  A U.N. official told Agence France-Presse that 20 hospitals have been targeted during the latest escalation, with all but one put out of service.  The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said that the offensive was launched after rebels shelled villages in northern Hama.  The last month of intensified air attacks on the rebel-held region has killed 229 civilians and injured 727, according to the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organization charity, as quoted by Al Jazeera (Qatar). The targeted areas are among those covered by a September 2018 agreement between Turkey and Russia to avert full-scale conflict between the government and rebel forces.  Syria and Russia have since argued that the de-escalation agreement does not cover areas controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, an extremist group that is dominated by Al-Qaida's former affiliate in Syria.     
Yemen—Coalition Targets Houthi Weapons At Al Dulaimi Airbase Al Arabiya | 05/29/2019 The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen says it has attacked Houthi weapon depots near Sanaa, the capital, reports Al Arabiya (Dubai).  On Wednesday, coalition aircraft struck the Al Dulaimi airbase north of the city, the coalition said in a statement.  The Houthi rebels have used the base to build and sustain drones, the coalition said.  There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.  Following a series of drone attacks on infrastructure in southern Saudi Arabia, a spokesman said on Tuesday that the coalition would not tolerate further such attacks.    
Gambia—Soldiers Convicted Of Plotting Coup, Attacks On International Force Agence France-Presse | 05/29/2019 Eight Gambian soldiers have been sentenced for plotting a coup against President Adama Barrow in 2017, reports Agence France-Presse.  On Monday, a military court handed down nine-year sentences to seven of the soldiers and a three-year sentence to another.  Four soldiers were acquitted.  The cell was led by a former military aide to ousted leader Yahya Jammeh and communicated with Jammeh directly, reported Reuters. The men used messaging services to plot an attack on West African Military Force (ECOMIG), the intervention mission launched by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in January 2017 after widespread protests against Jammeh.  Gambia has established a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission to investigate abuses during Jammeh's 22-year reign.    
Somalia—Increased Al-Shabaab Attacks In Mogadishu May Be Result Of Stepped Up U.S. Airstrikes The Nation | 05/29/2019 A new U.N. report suggests that a significant uptick in terrorist attacks in Mogadishu may be an unintended consequence of increased U.S. airstrikes in Somalia, reports the Nation (Nairobi, Kenya). There have been bombings and mortar attacks by Al-Shabaab militants on a nearly daily basis in Mogadishu over the last two months, said a report issued last week by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The attacks may be the result of the airstrikes, which have degraded Al-Shabaab's ability to operate freely in rural Somalia. Accordingly, militants have increasingly moved into urban centers, especially Mogadishu, where they are less likely to be hit by air attacks, the report says.^p          The increase in mortar attacks has come along with an improved capacity to precisely hit strategic targets, Guterres said.                                                                                                                                        

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