Saturday, February 8, 2020

TheList 5211

The List 5211TCB

To All,

I hope that you all have a great weekend,



This day in Naval History

Feb. 7

1800—The frigate Essex, commanded by Capt. Edward Preble, becomes the first U.S. Navy vessel to cross the Equator.

1814—During the War of 1812, the schooner Enterprise and the brig Rattlesnake capture and burn the British merchant brig Rambler in the Caribbean Sea.

1832—The frigate Potomac, commanded by Capt. John Downes, shells a pirate stronghold at Qualla Battoo, Sumatra, destroying a fort. The day before a Potomac landing party destroys four forts, killing 150 pirates and the pirate leader, Rajah Po Mohamet. The Malays agree not to make further attacks on American ships.

1943—USS Growler (SS 215) fights a desperate night battle with the Japanese supply ship Hayasaki, during which the boat's commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Howard W. Gilmore, rams the enemy ship, badly bending Growler's bow. Wounded by machine gun fire and unable to go below, Gilmore gives the order "Take her down!" sacrificing himself so his submarine could dive to safety. For his "distinguished gallantry and valor" on this occasion and earlier in the patrol, he is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted one rank.

1945—USS Thomason (DE 203) sinks the Japanese submarine RO 55 off Iba, Luzon. USS Bergall (SS 320) attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks Coast Defense Vessel No. 53 off Cam Ranh Bay. USS Guavina (SS 362) attacks a Japanese convoy and sinks merchant tanker Taigyo Maru, off Saigon, French Indochina while USS Parche (SS 384) sinks Japanese army cargo ship Okinoyama Maru in Tokara Retto.

1955—Seventh Fleet ships begin the evacuation of Chinese nationalists from Tachen Islands.

1965—During Operation Flaming Dart, USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) and USS Hancock (CVA 19) aircraft attack the North Vietnamese area near Donghoi in response to a Viet Cong attack on the barracks area at Pleiku, South Vietnam.

Feb. 8

1862—During the Civil War, a joint amphibious expedition under the command of Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough and U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Ambrose Burnside captures Roanoke Island, NC, securing Norfolk Navy Yard and eventually the destruction of CSS Virginia.

1890—A detachment of USS Omaha Sailors and Marines comes ashore at the town of Hodogaya, Japan, to assist in fighting an extensive fire.

1942—A Japanese destroyer sinks after being torpedoed by U.S. Navy submarine S37 (SS 142) the day before off Makassar.

1943—USS Snook (SS 279) attacks a Japanese convoy off the west coast of Kyushu and sinks the transport Lima Maru and survives depth charges about 30 miles southeast of Goto Retto.

1953—USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD 729) conducts counter-battery fire on a gun shelling Korean sampans in the Kojo area, silencing the enemy guns.

1984—Naval Aviator/Astronaut Bruce McCandless II makes the first untethered spacewalk as he flies some 300 feet from the Space Shuttle Challenger in the first test of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).

1991—As part of Operation Desert Storm, USS Wisconsin (BB 64) attacks a dozen Iraqi artillery emplacements with 36 rounds of its 16-inch guns in support of a Marine reconnaissance probe into occupied Kuwait.

Feb. 9

1799—During the Quasi-War with France, USS Constellation, commanded by Capt. Thomas Truxtun, captures French frigate l'Insurgente off Saint Kitts and Nevis Island.

1942—While undergoing conversion at New York City pier 88, USS Lafayette (AP 53) catches fire resulting in the total loss of the ship.

1943—Organized Japanese resistance on Guadalcanal ends, bringing to a close the battle that started in August 1942.

1945—PV-1 Ventura patrol plane sinks small Japanese cargo vessel No.177 Nanshin Maru in Flores Sea west of Maumere.

1960—USS Sargo (SSN 583) becomes the third submarine to surface through the ice at the North Pole.

Thanks to CHINFO


Executive Summary:

• Navy Times reports that Navy Secretary Thomas Modly released guidance prohibiting foreign military students training in the U.S. from owning firearms.

• USS Little Rick departed Mayport on deployment yesterday, while the future USS St. Louis was also delivered to the U.S. Navy, multiple outlets report.

• Multiple outlets report that the U.S. has killed Qasim Al-Raymi, the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen.

This Day in History

February 7


A Thracian officer by the name of Leo is proclaimed as emperor of the East by the army general, Aspar, on the death of the Emperor Marcian.


The Netherlands, England and Sweden conclude an alliance directed against Louis XIV of France.


The Siege of Gibraltar, which was pursued by the Spanish and the French since July 24, 1779, is finally lifted.


The first successful U.S. educational magazine, Academician, begins publication in New York City.


American pugilist John L. Sullivan becomes the last of the bare-knuckle world heavyweight champions with his defeat of Patty Ryan in Mississippi City.


The Turks lose 5,000 men in a battle with the Bulgarian army in Gallipoli.


Fieldmarshal Paul von Hindenburg moves on Russians at Masurian Lakes.


The British steamer California is sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German U-boat.


Negro History Week, originated by Carter G. Woodson, is observed for the first time.


The United States signs an arbitration treaty with France.


Amelia Earhart weds George Putnam in Connecticut.


The Germans launch a second attack against the Allied beachead at Anzio, Italy. They hoped to push the Allies back into the sea.


The United States recognizes Vietnam under the leadership of Emperor Bao Dai, not Ho Chi Minh who is recognized by the Soviets.


The Mona Lisa is put on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


The British band The Beatles are greeted by 25,000 fans upon their arrival in the United States at JFK Airport.


U.S. jets hit Dong Hoi guerrilla base in reprisal for the Viet Cong raids.


North Vietnamese use 11 Soviet-built light tanks to overrun the U.S. Special Forces camp at Lang Vei at the end of an 18-hour long siege.


Ethiopia mounts a counter attack against Somalia.


Iran opens an invasion in the southeast of Iraq.


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. at his direction has conducted a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen that killed Qassim al-Rimi, an al-Qaida leader who claimed responsibility for last year's deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, where a Saudi aviation trainee killed three American sailors.

Al-Rimi is a founder of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The affiliate has long been considered the global network's most dangerous branch for its attempts to carry out attacks on the U.S. mainland. Trump said the U.S. and its allies are safer as a result of his death.

"We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm," Trump said.

While Trump confirmed reports that al-Rimi had been killed, he did not say when the U.S. operation was conducted or offer any details about how it was carried out.


Latest status on the Frosts

Thanks to Willy D

FYI. Please post on The List. Thank you

Warmest regards to all

Willy D.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Sandi Joyce <>
Date: February 6, 2020 at 10:04:01 AM PST
To: Mike & Debbie McCabe <>, Lyle Bien <>, Bill Driscoll <>
Subject: RE: Latest Information Regarding The Frosts

Dear Friends,

Please be so kind and forward to your contacts. Thank you.

Always in friendship and love,


From: Mfrost1100
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2020 6:24 AM

Up state NY girl finally gets to Texas. We leave on Tuesday and will be at MD Anderson for several days. I'll forward news as it develops.

David is stunned and very appreciative of the many well wishes he has received. Thank you all--this is a real positive in our lives right now.

David feels and looks great and is busy completing commitments and writing his Grim Reaper Book ( Every thing Margie needs to know that I forgot to tell her) well maybe not everything. Feels anybody that is approaching 80 should do this no matter what their status is. Ya think...............…..


Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: My Canh, Vietnam, 7 February 1966. Entered service at: Memphis, Tenn. Born: 7 February 1943, Dyersburg, Tenn. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was advancing to relieve a company of the 1st Battalion that had been pinned down for several hours by a numerically superior enemy force in the village of My Canh, Vietnam. The enemy occupied a series of strongly fortified bunker positions which were mutually supporting and expertly concealed. Approaches to the position were well covered by an integrated pattern of fire including automatic weapons, machine guns and mortars. Air strikes and artillery placed on the fortifications had little effect. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was to relieve the friendly company by encircling and destroying the enemy force. Even as it moved to begin the attack, the platoon was under heavy enemy fire. During the attack, the enemy fire intensified. Leading the assault and disregarding his own safety, 1st Lt. Gardner charged through a withering hail of fire across an open rice paddy. On reaching the first bunker he destroyed it with a grenade and without hesitation dashed to the second bunker and eliminated it by tossing a grenade inside. Then, crawling swiftly along the dike of a rice paddy, he reached the third bunker. Before he could arm a grenade, the enemy gunner leaped forth, firing at him. 1st Lt. Gardner instantly returned the fire and killed the enemy gunner at a distance of 6 feet. Following the seizure of the main enemy position, he reorganized the platoon to continue the attack. Advancing to the new assault position, the platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun emplaced in a fortified bunker. 1st Lt. Gardner immediately collected several grenades and charged the enemy position, firing his rifle as he advanced to neutralize the defenders. He dropped a grenade into the bunker and vaulted beyond. As the bunker blew up, he came under fire again. Rolling into a ditch to gain cover, he moved toward the new source of fire. Nearing the position, he leaped from the ditch and advanced with a grenade in one hand and firing his rifle with the other. He was gravely wounded just before he reached the bunker, but with a last valiant effort he staggered forward and destroyed the bunker, and its defenders with a grenade. Although he fell dead on the rim of the bunker, his extraordinary actions so inspired the men of his platoon that they resumed the attack and completely routed the enemy. 1st Lt. Gardner's conspicuous gallantry were in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam. 7 February 1967. Entered service at: Dexter, Mo. Born: 19 September 1937, Dexter, Mo. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Sisler was the platoon leader/adviser to a Special United States/Vietnam exploitation force. While on patrol deep within enemy dominated territory, 1st Lt. Sisler's platoon was attacked from 3 sides by a company sized enemy force. 1st Lt. Sisler quickly rallied his men, deployed them to a better defensive position, called for air strikes, and moved among his men to encourage and direct their efforts. Learning that 2 men had been wounded and were unable to pull back to the perimeter, 1st Lt. Sisler charged from the position through intense enemy fire to assist them. He reached the men and began carrying 1 of them back to the perimeter, when he was taken under more intensive weapons fire by the enemy. Laying down his wounded comrade, he killed 3 onrushing enemy soldiers by firing his rifle and silenced the enemy machinegun with a grenade. As he returned the wounded man to the perimeter, the left flank of the position came under extremely heavy attack by the superior enemy force and several additional men of his platoon were quickly wounded. Realizing the need for instant action to prevent his position from being overrun, 1st Lt. Sisler picked up some grenades and charged single-handedly into the enemy onslaught, firing his weapon and throwing grenades. This singularly heroic action broke up the vicious assault and forced the enemy to begin withdrawing. Despite the continuing enemy fire, 1st Lt. Sisler was moving about the battlefield directing force and several additional men of his platoon were quickly wounded. His extraordinary leadership, infinite courage, and selfless concern for his men saved the lives of a number of his comrades. His actions reflect great credit upon himself and uphold the highest traditions of the military service.


Thanks to Wigs….I think

Irs auditor visit for grandpa

The IRS decided to audit Grandpa, and summoned him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, "Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable."

"I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it," says Grandpa. "How about a demonstration?"

The auditor thinks for a moment and says, "OK. Go ahead."
Grandpa says, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye."

The auditor thinks a moment and says, "It's a bet."
Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, "Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye."

The auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.
Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye. The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

"Want to go double or nothing?" Grandpa asks. "I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between."

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Grandpa's attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

"Are you OK?" the auditor asks.
"Not really," says the attorney. "This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it."

Don't mess with old people!


More on the Coronavirus...

thanks to Hal and Dutch

Bill, thanks for the good words. Good to see that Senator Cotton agrees.


And now it is looking more than ever like a bioweapon that got out the door. See the concentration of cases, much the same as we saw with SARS.

The Chinese want world domination, and to some degree they have achieved it economically, as they are now working on all continents. But they also know that a first strike on the USA would end them. Just nuke the Three Gorges Dam and China would be washed away. That dam stores water five hundred feet deep at the dam's face, and backs it up for five hundred miles up the Yangtze.

The Chinese know that a biological agent can be released quietly in say, Kansas City, and no one would think of China. Pick a conference with lots of people, or a Bernie rally, and just walk around through the crowd spraying it on furniture, on tables in the cafeteria, I wrote some years ago about a possible scenario using genetically-engineered smallpox sprayed into the vents of a commercial jet going to Israel. That was 'Flight 336 to Tel Aviv."

During the Cold War, the Russians had several biological weapons factories all managed by BioPreparat, a military company that was also civilian. Dr Kanitjan Ali Beckov was the Number 2 man. He told us he was required to have 20 Tons of Anthrax on hand at all times. He also had to maintain stores of Plague, Tuleramia, Botulinum, Cholera, and more. After the accident near Sverdlovsk where many people died of inhaled anthrax spores the KGB said was from eating black market beef the autopsies showed the stomachs clear but the lungs were black, jellied meat. He was not a 'white Russian', he was a Khazakh and decided it might be time to get out of the Soviet Union, so he and his family made their way here (with a little help). Then he changed his name to Ken Alibeck and wrote the expose' titled "Biohazard". Google him. He lives now in Ohio.

President Xi is in a serious bind. I would assume that nothing happens in China without him knowing of it, but they will NEVER admit to making biological weapons. China signed the Biological Weapons Treaty in 1984 that bans such experimentation.



Daily news thanks to Military Periscope

USA—Raytheon Shows Off Ability Of Excalibur Artillery Round To Hit Moving Targets Raytheon | 02/07/2020 Raytheon has demonstrated the ability of a new variant of the Excalibur guided artillery shell to hit moving targets, reports the manufacturer. The Excalibur S precision-guided munition was test-fired by the U.S. Navy at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., Raytheon said on Wednesday. The trial verified the ability of the upgraded munition to survive the shock and stresses of being fired from a howitzer, make the transition from GPS to laser guidance and hit a moving target. The Excalibur S adds a semi-active laser seeker to the GPS-guided Excalibur Ib to defeat mobile land and naval targets in GPS-contested environments, noted Defense News. The U.S. Navy and Army both use the Excalibur Ib.

United Kingdom—Service Entry For Planned Type 31 Frigates Pushed Back U.K. House of Commons Library | 02/07/2020 The British Royal Navy's Type 31 frigates are not expected to enter service until 2027, years after the original planned service entry date, says a new report from the British House of Commons Library. The frigates are now expected to start entering service in May 2027, four years later than the date established in the government's National Shipbuilding Strategy, says the study published on Feb. 5. The report confirms speculation that the milestone had slipped. In September, when Babcock's Arrowhead design was chosen for the program, the company said the first ship would be "in the water" in 2023, a milestone that usually occurs well before a ship enters service, noted the Save the Royal Navy website at the time. The delay has raised concerns that the government may not be able to maintain its longstanding commitment to a fleet of 19 frigates and destroyers, noted Jane's Navy International.

France—Macron Calls For E.U. To Bolset International Arms Control Efforts Agence France-Presse | 02/07/2020 French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a joint European effort to avert a global arms race, reports Agence France-Presse. In the absence of a collective framework, European nations could face a new race for conventional and nuclear weapons, Macron said in a speech to French military officers, reported Euractiv (Brussels). He invited European partners to join a strategic dialogue on the deterrent role of France's nuclear arsenal. Paris will continue to push for a strong alliance between Europe and the United States, said the president. However, the French government will also seek to develop European capacity for autonomous actions. Macron added that France has reduced its nuclear arsenal to fewer than 300 warheads, giving it "legitimacy" to demand similar steps from other powers. Macron's comments come amid the deterioration of longstanding arms control commitments between the U.S. and Russia. Both countries have abandoned the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Washington has also hinted that it may not extend the New START arms reduction agreement when it expires in 2021. The U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union makes France the sole nuclear power in the bloc.

Belgium—Wallonia Region Ends Arms Sales To Saudi Air Force Brussels Times | 02/07/2020 The government of Belgium's Wallonia region has decided that it will no longer approve arms exports licenses for weapons intended for the Saudi air force, reports the Brussels Times. Arms exports to the Saudi royal guard and the national guard are unaffected by the decision, Minister-President Elio Di Rupo said on Thursday. Di Rupo said the decision was based on reports of civilian casualties caused by Saudi airstrikes in Yemen. The royal guard and national guard are not involved in those events, he argued. A spokesman for Amnesty International disputed this stance, saying that the Saudi national guard has been deployed in Yemen. The Wallonia region is home to factories operated by FN Herstal, which makes rifles and machine guns, and CMI, which makes gun turrets for armored vehicles, reported Agence France-Presse. Meanwhile, Belgium's Flanders region has halted all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Spain—Participation In Franco-German Fighter Project Delayed Defense News | 02/07/2020 Spanish entry into the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program has been delayed due to the need to renegotiate the implementation agreement, reports Defense News. Spain is not likely to join the latest study stage until the third quarter of this year, according to a German Defense Ministry report that was presented to German lawmakers, as reported by the Handelsblatt (Dusseldorf) newspaper. Spanish participation has been pushed back by renegotiations for the implementation accord, unnamed sources told Defense News. Indra, Spain's national prime contractor for the program, has been working with Airbus and Dassault, the German and French lead firms, on a workshare agreement, which remains to be finalized. The FCAS is envisioned as an air power system centered on the piloted Next-Generation Fighter supported by specialized uncrewed platforms. The German government plans to allocate US$85 million for five studies on key aspects of the FCAS program, with France to provide a similar figure. Spain is expected to contribute a similar amount once its participation is formalized. The studies are expected to cover the overall system design; the crewed aircraft's main features, propulsion and sensor systems; a simulation system; and maturing system components for future production.

Russia—New Artillery Systems Undergo Testing Ahead Of Serial Production Tass | 02/07/2020 Russian defense firm Uralvagonzavod is evaluating its latest artillery systems ahead of the anticipated start of production next year, reports Russia's Tass news agency. The 82-mm Drok self-propelled mortar and 120-mm Flok and 152-mm Magnolia self-propelled howitzers are expected to complete trials in the next 18 months before entering serial production, Uralvagonzavod officials said. The Flok features a 120-mm cannon mounted on Ural wheeled chassis, while the Magnolia SPG is integrated with the DT-30PM Vityaz tracked two-section transporter. The Drok mortar is mounted on the Taifun-K wheeled vehicle. The new self-propelled systems is part of a new family of self-propelled mortars and guns, including some that can be used in the Arctic, said Gen. Oleg Salyukov, the Russian army chief.

South Korea—Israeli Firm To Supply Terrain-Avoidance Systems For KF-X Jets Elbit Systems | 02/07/2020 Hanwha Systems has chosen Israeli company Elbit Systems to deliver embedded terrain following/terrain avoidance (TF/TA) systems for South Korea's KF-X fighter program, reports Elbit. The six-year, US$43 million contract was revealed on Thursday. Elbit's TF/TA system will enable the KF-X to fly at low altitudes in zero visibility and severe weather conditions. The system interfaces with the aircraft's autopilot, bringing together data from a variety of onboard sensors and a digital terrain elevation database along with flight performance characteristics so that the jet can maintain an optimal altitude throughout its mission, said an Elbit release.

South Korea—Defense Ministry Says Inter-Korea Hotline Operates Normally Despite Tensions Yonhap | 02/07/2020 The South Korean Defense Ministry says that a military hotline with the North is working normally despite tense relations, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). North and South Korean authorities talk on the line twice a day, a ministry spokeswoman said on Friday. The exchanges include information on illegal fishing by third parties, she said. More than 130 messages were exchanged last year, the United Nations Command said on Thursday. The communication lines were restored in 2018 after an inter-Korean summit. Relations between North and South Korea have cooled in the absence of a denuclearization agreement between Pyongyang and Washington.

India—New Russian-Built Frigates To Be Delivered In 2024 Tass | 02/07/2020 Russia is on track to deliver the first two of four frigates ordered by India in 2018, reports Russia's Tass news agency. The two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates under construction at the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad are slated to be delivered in the first half of 2024, officials from Russia's Federal Service for Technical and Military Cooperation said at the DefExpo arms show in India on Thursday. India ordered four of the frigates in November 2018, with two to be built at the Yantar shipyard and the remaining vessels to be constructed domestically at the Goa Shipyard. Work is underway at the Goa Shipyard ahead of the start of construction on the warships. This includes further equipping the shipyard; developing and delivering the necessary documentation; and training Indian specialists, Russian officials said. The Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates are designed for anti-air, anti-ship, anti-submarine and surface strike missions. Armament includes naval artillery, torpedoes, a helicopter, anti-air, anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles.

Afghanistan—American Contractor Kidnapped In Khost Province Newsweek | 02/07/2020 A U.S. citizen working in Afghanistan as a contractor has been kidnapped by suspected militants, reports Newsweek. Mark Frerichs, a former Navy diver and director of International Logistical Support, a government contracting firm, was seized on Jan. 31 in Khost province in southeastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. No group has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping. The circumstances surrounding his capture remain unclear. The Haqqani Network is believed to be responsible, according to U.S. officials. Efforts to recover Frerichs are being led by the U.S. State Dept., Dept. of Defense and FBI. Search operations are underway but have been hampered by difficult terrain and severe weather that prevents surveillance by uncrewed aircraft. Syria—

Syrian Kurds Plan Trials For ISIS Fighters Defense Post | 02/07/2020 The autonomous government in northern Syria will begin hold trials for suspected ISIS fighters in March, reports the Defense Post. The trials will proceed even if the fighters' countries of origin decline to participate, said Abdulkarim Omar, the co-chair of the Dept. of Foreign Relations for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The Kurdish-led administration says it is holding about 1,000 male fighters and 4,000 women, many of whom are accused of involvement in ISIS crimes, reported Guardian (U.K.). The autonomous region is administered by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella of militant groups dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and supported by the U.S. The move was the result of international inaction on the matter, said the Rojava Information Center. The SDF has called for an international tribunal for the suspected terrorists after efforts to repatriate fighters failed. European nations have largely resisted attempts to repatriate and try foreign fighters, saying that standards of evidence would complicate efforts to convict them. Turkey has begun transferring fighters captured in areas under its control to their countries of origin.

Syria—Regime Troops Enter Saraqeb After 2-Day Siege BBC News | 02/07/2020 Syrian government troops and allied fighters have entered the strategic town of Saraqeb in the northwestern Idlib province after two days of heavy fighting, reports the BBC News. On Thursday, regime forces entered portions of the city held by rebels after besieging it for two days, reported Reuters. Rebel fighters pushed back government troops from most of Saraqeb in cooperation with Turkish shelling, reported the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The city sits on the intersection of the M4 and M5 highways, which connect Aleppo with Latakia and Hama. Since December, the regime has been pushing further into Idlib province, the last pocket of rebel control. On Friday, Turkey moved reinforcements into Al-Iskan Al-Askari, east of Idlib city, the observatory said. Ankara has vowed to respond to any attacks on its troops after a Syrian government attack killed seven Turkish troops earlier this week.

Egypt—Navy Eyes Italian Frigates Forecast International | 02/07/2020 Egypt is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to buy frigates from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, reports Forecast International (Conn.). The sale reportedly covers two Carlo Bergamini-class frigates, possibly the Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi, which were launched for the Italian navy in January 2019 and January 2020, respectively, reported La Tribune (Paris). The total value of the deal is estimated at 1.2 billion euros (US$1.3 billion). The sale would be supported by an export finance loan of 500 million euros (US$548.9 million) from an Italian state-owned bank. Egypt has been steering its arms purchases away from France and toward other European suppliers since French President Emmanuel Macron pressed Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi on his human-rights record last year. Any sale involving ships under construction for the Italian navy is unlikely to take place until adequate compensation is provided to the service, which has a requirement for 10 of the frigates, noted

South Sudan—Planned Unified Military Force Running Behind Schedule Voice Of America News | 02/07/2020 A South Sudanese opposition leader says South Sudan is likely to miss an upcoming deadline to form a unified military force, reports the Voice of America News. The combined force will not be ready by Feb. 22, Angelina Teny, the head of the South Sudan Strategic Defense and Security Review Board, said on Thursday. The parties need six additional weeks to realize the goal of producing a military force consisting of both government and former rebel troops, she said. These challenges include starting training, which has not begun although the forces are at the training centers, said Teny. The training is expected to take eight weeks, with an additional one to two weeks for screening. The creation of a joint military force was a key provision of the June 2018 peace agreement between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. Its implementation has already been delayed twice.

Nigeria—Air Force Inducts 3 New Helos Defence Web | 02/07/2020 The Nigerian air force has inducted into service three new military helicopters, reports Defence Web (South Africa). On Thursday, a Russian Mi-171 Hip transport and two Italian-made AW109 multipurpose helicopters entered service in a ceremony attended by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Italian helicopters were partially assembled in Nigeria after arriving in January. Nigeria has ordered six AW109s for the air force, with the first deliveries occurring in April 2019. The service is also awaiting delivery of three JF-17 fighter jets from China and 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprops from the U.S., the website said.

Mexico—Government Mulling Russian Offers For Military Helicopters Reuters | 02/07/2020 Mexico is in talks with Russia for the procurement of military helicopters, reports Reuters. Mexican officials have received proposals from Rosoboronexport for several platforms, including military helicopters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday during a visit to Mexico. The acquisition would follow a previous Mexican purchase of 50 helicopters from Russian suppliers. In 2018, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador canceled the planned purchase of eight MH-60R Seahawk multimission helicopters from the U.S. as a cost-saving measure.

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