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US, South Korea quietly end Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise

 The biggest U.S.-South Korea war games ended Thursday as they began, with little fanfare, in what may have been an attempt by the allies to avoid provoking North Korea. Approximately 50,000 South Korean troops and 30,000 U.S. troops — about 3,000 of whom were brought in from outside the peninsula — took part in this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian, a ... Read More »

Japanese Defense Ministry Requests 2.4% Budget Hike

Japan’s Ministry of Defense has requested a budget increase of 2.4 percent in 2015 for a total budget of ¥4.9 trillion ($47.25 billion), returning the budget to its 1990s peak levels and solidifying a reversal from a decade of declines during the 2000s. Citing the need to counter growing instability in East Asia, the MoD said its most pressing need ... Read More »

AFRICOM postpones training Libyan troops

U.S. Africa Command’s plan to train Libyan military forces is on hold given escalating clashes among rival militias that the country’s U.N. ambassador warned Wednesday could plunge the country into civil war. The training, initially scheduled for the summer, was pushed back and now will not happen before next year. “We are still analyzing the new conditions and our capabilities ... Read More »

Collapsing Libya Sucks In Egypt With Gulf Ally in Islamist Fight

Egypt has won the United Arab Emirates’ support for a crackdown on Islamists and there are signs the collaboration is extending beyond its borders. U.S. officials say the U.A.E. and Egypt were behind air strikes in the Libyan capital in the past week. Egypt has denied its forces were involved, while the U.A.E. said claims of its intervention were an ... Read More »

Libya’s Proxy Apocalypse

The mystery warplanes that thundered in on Islamist militias fighting for control of the Libyan capital this week are harbingers of a widening regional conflict. The Libyan chaos following the U.S.-backed ouster of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has opened the way to a proxy war among regional and global powers that Washington appears utterly unable to contain – even ... Read More »

Syrian rebels seize Golan Heights border crossing

Rebels aided by al Qaeda-linked militants seized control of the only border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday. The capture of the Quneitra crossing by Syrian rebels, including members of the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, represents a new dynamic in a war long feared not only for its deadly effects inside Syria but for threatening to ... Read More »

Heavy Use of Banned Cluster Bombs Reported in Syria

Cluster bombs, outlawed munitions that kill and maim indiscriminately, have caused more casualties in the Syrian civil war than in the 2006 Lebanon conflict, when Israel’s heavy use of the weapons hastened the treaty banning them two years later, a monitoring group said Wednesday. The group, the Cluster Munition Coalition, said in an annual report, “Cluster Munition Monitor 2014,” that ... Read More »

After more than 2,100 deaths, the Gaza war ends where it began

In war, nobody wants to be the last to die. In Gaza, it was the chief of the electric company’s maintenance division and his deputy. In Israel, it was a pair of volunteers working a security detail on their kibbutz. The four deaths on Tuesday, hours before an open-ended cease-fire began between Israel and Hamas, reflected the often indiscriminate, opaque ... Read More »

Turkey’s Ruling Party Elects Davutoglu Prime Minister

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Wednesday officially elected Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign minister, as the party’s new leader and the country’s new prime minister. The current premier and party chair, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be inaugurated as Turkey’s president on Thursday. Erdogan, who was elected president on Aug. 10, convened the party’s 20-member Central Executive Board (MYK) on ... Read More »