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Iran announces progress on long-range SAMs

Iran’s air defence commander, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, claimed in a series of announcements made on 28 August and 1 September that the Islamic Republic is making progress on two indigenous long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) programmes. He said on 28 August that the Bavar-373 SAM had been successfully test-fired for the first time. This announcement came almost three years after ... Read More »

US: Terrorist could get Syria chemical weapons

The United States is concerned that the Islamic State group and other terrorists could get a hold of chemical weapons if Syria is hiding any stockpiles, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday. Samantha Power spoke to reporters after the Security Council received a briefing from Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid Syria of its ... Read More »

New Light on Hamas Role in Killings of Teenagers That Fueled Gaza War

The abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank in June, which helped fuel the biggest escalation in Palestinian-Israeli tensions in years, was set in motion by Hamas operatives from a local Palestinian clan and was financed with about $60,000, mostly obtained through a relative who worked for a Hamas association in Gaza, according to official ... Read More »

Israeli-U.S. energy partnership agrees to export natural gas to Jordan

A U.S.-Israeli partnership of energy companies agreed to supply Jordan with natural gas from Israeli offshore gas fields, in a deal that is likely to benefit the neighbors economically and could strengthen the Jewish state’s relations with other countries that share an interest in fending off Islamist extremists. A nonbinding letter of intent, signed Wednesday by Texas-based Noble Energy and ... Read More »

Between Gaza and Israel, a Border Crossing in Need of Travelers

EREZ CROSSING, at the Israel-Gaza border — At 375,000 square feet, the terminal through which travelers pass between Israel and the Gaza Strip is a vast, high-tech hangar with a capacity of 45,000 people per day. Current traffic: 400 or fewer. It was built, for about $60 million, starting in 2005, the year Israel withdrew all its settlers and soldiers ... Read More »

US, South Korea to form combined division next year

The U.S. and South Korea will form a combined division early next year to improve the allies’ warfighting capabilities and create more opportunities for efficient joint training, defense officials said Thursday. “It is also going to serve as momentum to overcome problems, including sentiment and language, between the U.S. and South Korean troops,” said a spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry ... Read More »

Philippine military chief seeks arms upgrade as China ex

Philippine military chief Gregorio Pio Catapang likens his task to a boxing match. Dwarfed by neighbors like China, with whom ties are strained, he’d like his forces to last at least a few rounds in the ring. “Even if we are a bantam-weight fighting against a heavy weight, we are going to defend our sovereignty and national interest,” General Catapang, ... Read More »

Hong Kong’s Democrats Clamor for Spot on Crowded U.S. Agenda

Pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong are girding for what some predict will be a tense final showdown with the Chinese government over whether Beijing will permit genuine democracy to take root in the former British colony. But in Washington, where the political quarrels in a wealthy Asian financial center understandably capture less attention than marauding militants in Iraq or Russian ... Read More »

US plans major border security program in Nigeria

The United States is preparing to launch a “major” border security program to help Nigeria and its neighbors combat the increasing number and scope of attacks by Islamic extremists, a senior U.S. official for Africa said Thursday. Nigerian insurgents have begun attacking villages in neighboring Cameroon and have been seizing land in northeast Nigeria where they proclaimed an Islamic caliphate. ... Read More »

As Islamist Militants Advance, Residents Flee a Nigerian City

  Amid fears that Islamist militants were closing in on the major city in Nigeria’s northeast, hundreds of residents were said to be fleeing Maiduguri on Thursday in the face of doubts that the army could repel an attack on the metropolis of more than one million people. The militant group Boko Haram has captured towns to the north, south ... Read More »

UN: 250,000 have fled militia fighting in Libya

A United Nations report on Thursday said four months of fighting by militias in Libya’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, has forced some 250,000 people to flee, including 100,000 who have been internally displaced. The report released by the U.N. Support Mission in Libya and the U.N. Human Rights Office estimated that some 150,000 people, including migrant workers, have ... Read More »

Ebola’s Economic Toll on Africa Starts to Emerge

Ebola’s economic toll on Africa is starting to emerge. The flow of goods across many African frontiers, from Congolese copper crossing the Botswana border to used cars driven into Nigeria, is seizing up on fears that traders could be carrying or catch the killer virus. The trade slowdown comes on top of a drop in tourism and the suspension of ... Read More »

Short September Session Could Delay Vote on Sen. Nelson’s Syria Strikes Bill

 Should Senate leaders approve coming legislation to authorize US military strikes in Syria, a vote might have to wait until after November’s midterm elections. Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced Tuesday evening that he intends to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to cover any Syria strikes President Barack Obama might order. “This ... Read More »

Durbin asks Pentagon for review of complications at military hospitals

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday requested Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to investigate mismanagement at military hospitals.In a letter to Hagel, Durbin asked the Pentagon chief to evaluate the military health care system in light of a recent article in The New York Times finding that smaller hospitals have higher rates of complications or deaths than civilian hospitals. ... Read More »