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Big Wins: Obama, McKeon Score as Senate OKs Syrian Rebel Train-And-Equip Plan

Approval of a package that averts a government shutdown and green-lights a program to militarily prepare Syrian rebels netted a big win for several prominent politicians, including the president and the House Armed Services Committee chairman. Leaders in both chambers view House and Senate passage of a $1 trillion continuing resolution (CR) as a bullet dodged, because Republican and Democratic ... Read More »

Congress Staves Off Government Shutdown…for Now

The Senate on Thursday easily passed a short-term spending bill, clearing the way for the government to avoid a shutdown until at least mid-December. The Senate’s passage by a vote of 73-22 follows the House approving on Wednesday the $1.01 trillion stopgap measure — which funds agencies at their current spending levels through Dec. 11. The stopgap measure will now ... Read More »

Senate vote sets up Syria cliff – Burgess Everett and Manu Raju

The Senate’s passage of President Barack Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels sets up an even bigger battle in deadline-driven Washington: The Syria cliff. While the Senate voted, 78-22, to arm Syrian rebels that oppose the Islamic State and temporarily fund the government, the administration’s authority to train those fighters will run out on Dec. 11. While the measure cleared ... Read More »

House veterans divided on Syria measure

The effort to train and arm Syrian rebels proved a tough sell with many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans now serving in the House. Wariness among veterans crossed party lines as Republicans Democrats alike said they feared weapons and training would one day be used against Americans instead of against militants seeking an Islamic state. Overall, eight Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ... Read More »

McKeon: Obama should stop ‘taking options off the table’

“The most irresponsible thing that the president can do is to give the military a mission, but not give it the tools it needs to do the job,” he added. “By taking options off the table, I fear the president is setting the mission, and our military, up for failure rather than success.” McKeon and other Republican lawmakers said the ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia begins receiving new AH-64E Apache helos

Saudi Arabia has begun receiving the first of its new AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters from Boeing, images posted online in early September appear to show. According to these pictures, at least three AH-64E helicopter have arrived in the kingdom having been transported from Boeing’s Mesa production facility in Arizona aboard an Antonov An-124 ‘Condor’ strategic transport aircraft. Saudi media ... Read More »

Spain To Relieve Dutch Patriots in Turkey

Spain will deploy two Patriot batteries and 130 troops to Turkey in January to replace the two batteries being withdrawn by the Netherlands, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes announced Sept. 17.The Netherlands informed NATO in August that it would withdraw its Patriots in January, when their mandate runs out. Deployed in January 2013, the two Dutch Patriot batteries are located ... Read More »

Leaks Claim 40 ISIS Cells Are Waiting to Strike Lebanon

The morning after Obama promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Isis, Lebanon woke up to news of more fatal clashes with jihadists on its fraying borders. In Beirut’s glittering Downtown district, workers were morose. Taxi driver Imad used to make a good living ferrying expatriates between shops, hotels and restaurants. “Now there are no clients,” he complained. “The tourists are ... Read More »

Rapid Trident exercise takes place in Ukraine, a country at war

Young Ukrainian cadets lay concealed in the bushes, prepared to test their skills against seasoned troops from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade. Fake grenades exploded and the sound of gunfire burst from the bushes as the Ukrainians took the fight to the U.S. soldiers, who were eventually forced to retreat from the onslaught. It’s just an exercise. But for ... Read More »

NATO to fast-track rapid-reaction force

NATO’s new rapid-reaction “spearhead” force, meant as a deterrent to Russian aggression, should be up and running with initial capabilities in less than a year, a top alliance official said Thursday. The creation of a 4,000 to 5,000 troop response force, which will be able to respond to a crisis in eastern Europe within two to three days, was a ... Read More »

Poland pushes for joint Visegrad defence procurement

The Polish Ministry of National Defence and Armed Forces and the Polish Chamber of National Defence Manufacturers have taken the initiative and are urging member states of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) to co-operate more closely on specific defence programmes that the four countries are currently pursuing independently. “In principal it is ... Read More »

Ukrainian President Requests Lethal Military Aid from US

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on the US to help Kiev modernize its ill-equipped army with lethal and non-lethal weapons during a visit to the US capital on Thursday. The US has only provided the Ukrainian military — which has been fighting Russian soldiers and Moscow-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine for several months — with non-lethal aid and equipment. The ... Read More »

Troops face off at India-China border as nation’s leaders meet

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping preside over two of Asia’s biggest economies, each with a population well over 1 billion. But when the two leaders met for a summit this week in India, their handshakes and pledges of cooperation were overshadowed by a mere 1,000 soldiers and a group of yak herders miles away on ... Read More »

US Official: Chinese Want NSA Cyber Schools. Really.

Chinese universities are welcome to adopt the U.S. National Security Agency’s cyber education program, the top U.S. computer security education official said, after a recent trip to Beijing. Entrepreneurs in China have voiced support for improving the notoriously spotty relations between the U.S. and China in cyberspace by patterning Chinese courses on NSA-approved curricula, said Ernest McDuffie, head of the ... Read More »

Compensation expected soon for Philippine reef damage from grounded ship

The Philippines is expected to get a U.S. government payout soon to compensate for damage caused when a Navy minesweeper ran aground on a protected reef over a year ago. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg told reporters Monday that the U.S. government was in the final stages of reviewing a Foreign Claims Act compensation request that was received ... Read More »