10:38 AM 10/24/2017 – Dunford has questions about Niger deaths; Tillerson jets to Iraq, Afghanistan

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1. US Security from mikenova (78 sites)
Washington Free Beacon: Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders Health Care Plan Will Sink the Democrats
Washington Free Beacon: Don Lemon: I Should Be Hysterical About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widow
Just Security: How We Persuaded 122 Countries to Ban Nuclear Weapons
The National Interest: How the U.S. Plans to Terrorize (And Kill) Russia and China’s Most Lethal Submarines
Washington Free Beacon: New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Terror from skies as Mexican cartel attaches bomb to drone
Stars and Stripes: The political party is over. What next?
Stars and Stripes: Trump is right: The US should leave UNESCO
Stars and Stripes: Europe should preserve its cultural heritage, EU’s Tusk says
Stars and Stripes: Those who fight US wars dont write blank checks
RSS for National Security: Trump’s refugee ban ends, new screening rules coming
Washington Free Beacon: Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Tillerson in Pakistan with a tough message on safe havens
Stars and Stripes: Vietnam veterans honored at US base in Germany
In Homeland Security: Coast Guard Seeing Surge in Use of Drug Submarines

 

1. US Security from mikenova (78 sites)
Washington Free Beacon: NATO Plans to Add Two New Commands to Counter Russia Threat

NATO is set to approve the creation of two new commands to strengthen alliance weaknesses in a potential conflict with Russia, according to allied officials.

NATO defense ministers will review a new command structuremeant to improve allied logistics and protect supply linesat their quarterly meeting next month, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The recommendations include one new command to manage NATO logistics, which would focus on moving people and materiel more quickly, and one new command for the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, which would focus on protecting sea lanes, critical for supplying Europe, from submarine threats.

The potential command changes come amid rising tensions between NATO and Russia. Alliance leaders have warned that member countries must be able to move quicker to effectively deter and counter Russian forces.

“The alliance has to move as quick or quicker than Russian Federation forces for our deterrent to be effective,” Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the top Army commander in Europe, said earlier this month. “Speed is what will give our civilian leaders options other than a liberation campaign.”

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the command structure review is meant to focus on military mobility so the alliance can “deploy forces quickly across the alliance.” She added that NATO members are “adapting national legislation to allow military equipment to transit faster across borders and are working on improving national infrastructure.”

The potential changes are partly in response to calls from some Eastern European alliance members to better prepare for crises.

“We have to revise how fast we make decisions and prepare better,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė told the Journal.

The new commands’ headquarters would be at the same level as NATO’s Joint Forces Commands, located in Brunssom, Netherlands and Naples, Italy.

Plans for a new NATO command structure review come as the United States places more military resources in Europe to deter Russian aggression. This week alone, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade arrived in Belgium with 89 helicopters that will go to Germany, Latvia, Romania, and Poland. Congress is evaluating whether to permanently station a tank brigade along with other units in Europe permanently.

NATO is reviewing a new logistics command partly because of the difficulties NATO faces with moving personnel and equipment across borders. Often a country has to give approval ahead of time for certain weapons and equipment to cross its borders, and many European roads and bridges cannot handle the weight of an American battle tank, the U.S. Army’s five-axle tank transport trailers, or heavy air-defense batteries, further complicating movements.

At sea, Russia has recently invested in newer submarines with more advanced technology, triggering calls for a new Arctic and Atlantic command.

The post NATO Plans to Add Two New Commands to Counter Russia Threat appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

National Security: Pakistan vows cooperation in fight against terror groups

Secretary of State Tillerson stopped in Islamabad to warn the relationship with U.S. is in jeopardy.

National Security

Washington Free Beacon: Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders Health Care Plan Will Sink the Democrats

Former Obama administration advisor Steve Rattner has suggested adopting Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) health care plan would be a disaster for Democrats.

“Why Medicare for All Will Sink the Democrats,” wrote Rattner, former advisor to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and current New York Times contributor, in a Tuesday op-ed.

“Mr. Sanders who, of course, isnt even a registered Democrat is banging on about what he calls ‘Medicare for All,’ a government-run plan that would provide health care coverage for every American,” Rattner argued.

“As a centrist Democrat, Im scared to see my party pulled into positions that are both bad politics and dubious policy. And Im disappointed that few of our partys moderates are willing to resist the freight train coming at us from the left.”

Rattner, who often speaks on economic issues and is also a current economic analyst with MSNBC, noted previous Democratic presidential nominees like George McGovern and Michael Dukakis had championed the same position as Sanders. Both were suddenly defeated come November.

He allowed polls have shown that support for a single-payer system has increased in recent years, but pointed out that support evaporated when respondents where informed implementing single-payer would mean tax hikes or getting rid of Obamacare.

“In Colorado last November, a whopping 80 percent of voters rejected a universal plan, again over taxes and costs. And for similar reasons, California recently shelved a single-payer proposal,” Rattner wrote.

Rattner said that in private, many Democrats facing reelection in 2018 agreed with him, but were too cowed by the Sanders wing of the party to say so publicly. “‘Its radioactive for me,’ one Democrat facing re-election in 2018 told me,” Rattner reported.

The post Fmr. Obama Advisor: Sanders’ Health Care Plan ‘Will Sink the Democrats’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

The National Interest: Could Iran’s Submarines ‘Sink’ the U.S. Navy in a War?

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Middle East

The answer is…maybe.

Why would Iran invest considerable sums in building its own submarines instead of shelling out for off-the-shelf hardware in Russia or China?

The Iranian military has long planned for a defensive naval war in the Persian Gulf, in which it would leverage its large fleet of fast attack boats toting antiship missiles to launch swarming hit-and-run attacks on adversaries in along Persian Gulf, with the ultimate goal of shutting down passage through the Straits of Hormuz.

Supporting this naval guerilla-warfare strategy are twenty-one indigenously produced Ghadir-class mini submarines, derived from the North Korean Yono class. The 120-ton vessels can poke around at eleven knots (thirteen miles per hour) and each carry two 533-millimeter torpedoes. All in all, shallow littoral waters are very favorable for mini-submarine operations, with interference from rocky shallows and loud surf reducing sonar detection ranges and giving mini submarines abundant opportunities to hide and wait in ambush. On the high end of the capability spectrum, Iran operates three much larger and more capable Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines purchased from Russia in the 1990s. These can comfortably hunt in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

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Four years ago, Iran also launched its own domestically built Fateh-class submarine. The homemade vessel may lack modern features such as antiship missiles or quiet Air Independent Propulsion system, but it does seem to be the genuine articlenot something one should take for granted with reports of new Iranian weapons.

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Why would Iran invest considerable sums in building its own submarines instead of shelling out for off-the-shelf hardware in Russia or China?

Read full article

The National Interest

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Iraqis and Kurds Compete for Oil Deals, Gulf States Still Fighting PR War in Washington, Deadly Ambush in Egypt

Iraq and Kurdistan Broker Oil Deals in Contested Regions

The pressure is continuing to mount on Iraqi Kurdistan. After Iraqi forces pressed into Kirkuk last week, Baghdad and its regional partners have cinched their cordon around Kurdish areas tighter. Over the weekend, Iraqi security forces announced that they were in full control of Kirkuk province. Iraqi authorities have ordered the arrest of Kurdistan Regional Government Vice President Kosrat Rasul for allegedly complaining that Iraqi troops in Kirkuk are occupying forces, and Kurdish defense officials warned Monday that Baghdad is massing troops and equipment, potentially for an incursion deeper into the Kurdish region. Kurdish authorities retaliated against the warrant for Rasuls arrest by issuing warrants for 11 Iraqis, including leaders of pro-government militias that participated in the Iraqi advance.

Turkish forces have also been involved in clashes with Kurds in Iraq, operating in the Zap region near the Iraq-Turkey border, where Turkish forces have been fighting militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Turkish military reports that four soldiers were killed in two roadside bomb attacks, setting off clashes and a series of Turkish airstrikes that killed more than a dozen PKK militants. The Turkish intervention targeting PKK militants near the border predates the independence referendum crisis, but the charged situation could affect the ongoing operations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the only regional leader who supported the Kurdish referendum, is reportedly lobbying other countries to support Masoud Barzanis embattled Kurdish faction. President Donald Trump has said that the United States will not take sides in the dispute, but U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did call on the Iraqi government to send home Iranian-backed popular mobilization units and called for a mediated solution to the crisis. However, in a meeting with Tillerson on Monday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the militias as part of the Iraqi institutions and the hope of country and the region.

Despite the turmoil, the Kurdistan Regional Government is looking to expand its oil development.

Baghdads rapid sweep into Kirkuk caught some Kurdish officials off guard, and plans for electing the regions new president and legislature, scheduled for November 1, have been postponed indefinitely. Despite the turmoil, the Kurdistan Regional Government is looking to expand its oil development. Russian oil giant Rosneft said last week that it is implementing existing agreements and launching a new pipeline project with the Kurdish government. But that may not be a sure thing, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is expected to pressure Moscow about the arrangement in meetings in Moscow this week. Baghdad is also interested in new oil projects that could serve to consolidate its control of Kirkuk. Last week, within days of Iraqi forces entering the city, Iraqs oil minister reached out to BP about renewing plans to develop the nearby Havana and Baba Gurgur oil fields.

 

Gulf States Still Sparring in Strange, Manufactured Crisis

The Gulf states feud with Qatar is still going strong. Amid other, more important regional headlines in recent weeksthe crisis in Kurdistan, the Trump administrations decertification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the ouster of the Islamic State from Raqqathe Gulf spat has been a bit forgettable, but both sides are making moves this week to try to remind Washington of their disagreement.

One person who would apparently disagree about the significance of the Qatar crisis is Steve Bannon, President Trumps former chief strategist. I think the single most important thing thats happening in the world is the situation in Qatar, he told a day-long conference hosted by the Hudson Institute yesterday on the theme of Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Bannon seemed to suggest that the United States was supportive of the Saudi and Emirati-led campaign isolating Qatar, saying that it wasnt an accident that the crisis started soon after Trumps visit to Saudi Arabia this spring and that Qatar finally had to be called to account for their continual funding of the Muslim Brotherhood, their continual funding of Hamas. Bannon has reportedly established business ties in the United Arab Emirates since leaving the administration; according to McClatchy, he visited the country last month and the UAE recently signed a $330,000 deal with a company linked to Cambridge Analytica, where Bannon worked as vice president and which placed targeted online ads for the Trump presidential campaign, to participate in its own ongoing messaging campaign targeting Qatar. At the conference yesterday, Bannon denied any involvement with the company.

Other speakers at the conference included former CIA directors Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, who criticized Qatar for providing funds to the Muslim Brotherhood (which the Gulf states have designated a terrorist group, but the United States has not) and hosting Al-Jazeera (a key issue in the Gulfs pressure campaign). Attendees received flash drives with a documentary, titled Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance, narrated by ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and produced by a DC-based lobbying and communications firm.

While Qatar was being raked over the coals at the Hudson Institute conference on Monday, Doha was trying to remind Washington of its military partnership with the United States. A ceremony was held yesterday to inaugurate Qatars new military attache office in Georgetown, which will house emissaries from Qatars army, navy, air force and special forces.

Saudi and Emirati officials think they can circumvent Tillerson and push their preferred policies through other administration advisors.

While both sides wage their public-relations battle in Washington, the U.S. State Department is still trying to resolve the dispute. Secretary Tillerson met with Saudi officials last week, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but said that they werent receptive to opening a dialogue to end the feud. After his meetings in Riyadh, Tillerson traveled to Doha, where he told reporters, There is not a strong indication that the parties are ready to talk yet. So we cannot force talks upon people who arent ready to talk.

As Bruce Riedel told BuzzFeed, Saudi and Emirati officials think they can circumvent Tillerson and push their preferred policies through other administration advisors. The Saudis and their allies believe that they have the inside track to the White House through Kushner and Bannon and they can ignore the State Department on issues like Qatar and Yemen, Riedel said. So far they are right.

 

Deadly Ambush in Egypt

Militants in Egypt staged a ruthless attack on security forces southwest of Cairo over the weekend. The attack occurred on Friday night, as a convoy of Egyptian police was drawn into the desert and ambushed by gunmen. At least eight vehicles were hit by small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire; Egyptian authorities have said officially that 16 police personnel were killed, but sources for the New York Times and Reuters put the number of dead at more than 50. Witnesses who escaped described militants going from car to car after the ambush, executing wounded police officers and seizing weapons.

The attack is unusual for the region. Large, coordinated armed attacks like Fridays ambush are more common in the Sinai Peninsula…

It is still unclear who is responsible for the attack. Hasm Movement, a militant group associated with assassinations targeting judges and police claimed credit, but the Times reports that experts have cast doubt on the Hasms involvement. The attack is unusual for the region. Large, coordinated armed attacks like Fridays ambush are more common in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egyptian authorities have been fighting a franchise of the Islamic State. Earlier this month, approximately 100 militants swarmed and Egyptian outpost near Sheikh Zuweid; six Egyptian troops and 24 Islamic State fighters were killed in the battle.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

The National Interest: Expert: Special Ops Mission in Niger Was Routine and Common (Stop Politicizing It)

Steven P. Bucci

Security, Africa

Having served as an Army Green Beret for 28 years, I cannot let the mischaracterizationsmany by leaders who clearly know bettercontinue without a comment.

The loss of four special operations soldiers in Niger is a tragedy. We grieve as a nation, rightly, whenever we lose any of the brave young men and women who serve in uniform.

That said, politicians and news media are turning the event into a farce.

Having served as an Army Green Beret for 28 years, I cannot let the mischaracterizationsmany by leaders who clearly know bettercontinue without a comment.

The mission in Niger, which began in 2013, was a classic special operations operation. The type of operation is called foreign internal defense.

Thats an old school term for the most fundamental task we give our Green Berets. A small team of them goes into a foreign country to work with that nations military to better prepare it to deal with its own problems.

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This is done during the period the military calls phase zero, which is prior to when a bigger conflict emerges. It is done in coordination with the host nation civilian government, and the entire country team at the U.S. Embassy, which is led by the U.S. ambassador and supported by the intelligence community station chief.

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This is not a clandestine Hollywood commando mission, or a suicide raid. It is overt and open. Its purpose is to build rapport with the host nation military, to improve its capabilities, to gather open source intelligence, and to get to know both the lay of the land and the local players.

The U.S. has conducted these kinds of missions around the world since the 1950s. At times we have had as few as a dozen of these operations, and at others several hundred in as many as 80-plus countries simultaneously.

Recommended: 5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with Israel

These missions are routine and have short-circuited conflicts on nearly every continent in the world at one time or another.

Read full article

The National Interest

Washington Free Beacon: Don Lemon: I Should Be Hysterical About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widow

CNN host Don Lemon got into a heated argument with Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy about the White House’s dispute with a Gold Star widow and her congresswoman, saying Monday he and America should be “hysterical” about what’s happening.

Ruddy, an ally of President Donald Trump, defended Trump’s conduct in disputing the details of a phone call he placed last week to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of slain Sgt. La David Johnson. Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson (Fla.) told the media Trump upset Johnson with how he spoke in the call, and Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly have slammed Wilson for her remarks.

Then, Mrs. Johnson herself told ABC on Monday morning that Wilson’s account of the call was correct and the president had not remembered her husband’s name, leading Trump to quickly tweet that he had in fact spoken his name several times.

Ruddy accused Lemon and the press of wanting to distract from his achievements, leading Lemon to respond they were there to talk about this controversy, Mediaite reported.

“Let’s stick to the topic at hand,” Lemon said.

“Don, I hate to say it, but you’re almost as hysterical as Congresswoman Wilson,” Ruddy said.

“I should be hysterical,” Lemon said. “America should be hysterical. The way this president has treated a Gold Star widow, someone who lost their lives in war fighting for this country, you’re not hysterical about it? He should be hysterical about it as well.”

“He should be hysterically fighting for fairness and to get answers for that woman, instead of pointing to shiny objects, calling a congresswoman whacky, trying to discredit her reputation, and calling the widow a liar, and you’re saying that I’m hysterical?”  he asked. “Man, come on.”

Wilson has been criticized for laughing that she became a “rock star” because of her conflict with the White House last week.

The post Don Lemon: ‘I Should Be Hysterical’ About Dispute Between Trump and Gold Star Widowappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Defense One – All Content: Dunford has questions about Niger deaths; Tillerson jets to Iraq, Afghanistan; USAF sets first F-35 deployment to Japan; ISIS foreign fighters head home; and just a bit more…

Defense One – All Content

Just Security: How We Persuaded 122 Countries to Ban Nuclear Weapons

On Oct. 6, the Geneva office of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received a call from the Norwegian Nobel Committee: We had won the 2017 Peace Prizefor our work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and our ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

Since its founding in 2007, ICAN has sought to reenergize global advocacy for disarmament. We have jolted governments out of a post-Cold War complacency, which has allowed almost 15,000 nuclear weapons to remain a clear and present danger to the world.

While the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and oft-repeated rhetoric has committed nuclear-armed states to a world free of nuclear weapons, progress towards this goal had stalled.

Over the last decade, we have built a global civil society coalition that, in partnership with states, has changed the game, refocusing global policymakers on the humanitarian, human rights and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons, rather than abstract ideas of deterrence. The result was the negotiation of the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Prohibiting nuclear weapons

The TPNWs Preamble declares nuclear weapons abhorrent to the principles of humanity, with catastrophic consequences for people and the environment. It is the first nuclear arms control agreement to frame nuclear weapons as threats to international humanitarian and human rights law. It acknowledges the disproportionate impact of nuclear-weapon activities on indigenous peoples.

The Preamble is also far-reaching in its acknowledgement of the gendered dimensions of nuclear weapons. It calls attention to the disproportionate impact on women and girls, including as a result of ionizing radiation, as well as the crucial importance of womens equal, full and effective participation in nuclear disarmament and the promotion and attainment of sustainable peace and security.

The centerpiece of the TPNW is a categorical ban on nuclear weapons (Article 1), which makes them illegal under the same type of international law covering other inhumane weapons like chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.

The Treatys negotiators were mindful of the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims and the grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and the health of current and future generations. As a result, the TPNW is not only a ban on nuclear weapons. It also addresses the ongoing harms caused by nuclear weapons use and testing. Articles 6 and 7 obligate governments to aid victims, remediate contaminated environments and provide international cooperation and assistance to affected states.

On July 7, 122 governments voted to adopt the TPNW, which opened for signature on Sept. 20. While the nuclear-armed and -alliance states boycotted the negotiations, we are finding that it is already having a political impact because of its stigmatizing power.

Changing the Discourse

ICANs strategy was primarily a discursive one. We aimed to change the way that people talk, think and feel about nuclear weapons, changing their social meaning from symbols of status to outdated, dangerous machines that have repulsive effects.

Representatives of the nuclear-states often marginalize those calling disarmament by dismissing them as deluded. In her protest outside the room where states were negotiating the TPNW, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley chided them, saying we have to be realistic. However, ICAN campaigners called attention to the discrepancies between these claims to realism and the mystification that surrounded these nuclear weapons.

For example, we showed how the claim that nuclear deterrence has prevented war requires ignoring the poor record these weapons have at preventing conflict. We demonstrated the pervasive harm they have caused to to many people living in areas affected by use and testing, undercutting claims that nuclear weapons provide security.

Instead of turning to traditional mechanisms of nuclear arms control, we found a powerful discursive tool in international humanitarian and human rights law. What we sought was less an instrument of surveillance and sanction than a treaty that casts as pariahs those who continue to deploy, stockpile and defend the persistence of nuclear weapons. Building such stigma has been crucial for the process of working towards the elimination other unacceptable weapons.

Drawing out the tensions inherent in states presentation of themselves as responsible actors concerned with the protection of civilians, and their willingness to use the most destructive weapons ever invented on towns and cities, involved opening the conversation about nuclear weapons to voices that have been too often excluded.

Opening the Conversation

To change how nuclear weapons were discussed, we brought nuclear weapons into new arenas where humanitarianism, human rights and environmentalism are regular conversations, and to inject these discourses into traditional nuclear forums.

We demanded from states the meaningful participation of survivors, affected communities, medical professionals, faith leaders, humanitarian agencies, activists and academics in the nuclear conversation. We pointed out when forums and panels excluded women, people from the Global South and those who have experienced nuclear weapons effects.

This forced states to reckon with other forms of knowledge and expertise than nuclear-armed states have used to legitimate their arsenals. ICAN ensured that people affected by nuclear weapons use and testing were able to testify to the negotiating conference. In her statement to the conference, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow reminded delegates that 72 years have passed since my beloved hometown was utterly destroyed by one atomic bomb.  Thurlow said this experience convinced her that no human being should ever have to experience the inhumanity and unspeakable suffering of nuclear weapons.

Sue Coleman, who grew up close to the site of British nuclear testing in South Australia, spoke of devastating humanitarian consequences for Aboriginal people, as well as the environmental impact on animals and plants, which cannot speak for themselves and are ignored.

In her closing comments following the adoption of the TPNW, the conference chair, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica paid tribute to all of the victims who have shared their personal stories with usand have been an ongoing inspiration for our work. She thanked them for not letting us rest.

We disseminated detailed scientific data on the ongoing harm, record of accidents and history of close calls of nuclear weapons at the three international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna from 2013 to 2014. We made it difficult to claim this information was irrelevant to the international nuclear weapons debate. The majority of the worlds states concluded that the prohibition of nuclear weapons is the only morally permissible and legally coherent response to this evidence.

Gumshoe Advocacy

At the core of what we achieved was organizing people and presenting demands to those with the capacity to change law. We cold-called politicians. We pitched stories to journalists. We circulated petitions. We looked at which countries were next on the speakers list at the UN and told them about our talking points. We protested in the streets. There were breakfasts with friendly officials. Lunchtime side event panels. Evening receptions. We argued with our opponents. We argued amongst ourselves.

Our approach to the problem of nuclear weapons was often dismissed but we succeeded in our campaign for a prohibition on nuclear weapons, with or without the initial participation of the nuclear-armed states. Closing a legal loophole (by which nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited), and placing prohibitions (such as on assistance with nuclear weapons production, which would cover financing) and positive obligations on states, the treaty can have a normative and practical impact now.

We built strong partnerships between civil society and the states championing the treaty. We drew upon professional networks that had experience banning landmines and cluster munitions and pushing for the Arms Trade Treaty. We leaned on a tight-knit community of humanitarian disarmament advocates who had long-lasting friendships, strong connections to diplomats and well-practiced advocacy tactics.

Reclaiming Agency

ICANs success in advocacy for the TPNW shows that ordinary people have agency we can address seemingly intractable problems in the midst of a deeply hostile political environment. Now that we can ban nuclear weapons, we listen with skepticism to those who use thatll never work as an excuse for passivity. The world, as we learned, is what we make of it. We humans made nuclear weapons. We assigned meaning to them. We have the power to change that meaning. We believe a world free of nuclear weapons is possible. The nuclear weapons ban is a crucial step toward that goal.

Image: A press conference by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) at the United Nations on October 9, 2017 in New York City. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to abolish weapons of mass destruction. Photo by: Getty/Kevin Hagen 

Read on Just Security »

Just Security

The National Interest: How the U.S. Plans to Terrorize (And Kill) Russia and China’s Most Lethal Submarines

Sebastien Roblin

Security,

And its all thanks to one plane.

As trans-Pacific relations assume new prominence in the twenty-first century, the P-8 will remain one of a number of means by which the United States and other operators assert their presence over international waters. In the event of conflict, they would also serve a vital role hunting down marauding submarines and tracking the movements of surface adversaries. These qualities explain why the docile-looking patrol plane is in such heavy demand around the world.

There is a decent chance you have already flown on one of the U.S. Navys key new aircraftor rather, the 737 airliner it is based on. The P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane may not be as sexy as an F-35 stealth fighter, but in some ways it is far closer to the forefront of international flashpoints in the Pacific Ocean. Maritime patrol planes are essential for tracking the movement of ships and especially submarines across vast oceanic watersand potentially sinking them in the event of hostilities.

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Hunting submarines from the air, however, is an airpower-intensive job that requires numerous airframes spending thousands of flight hours flying long-distance patrol patterns over the ocean. Since 1962, the U.S. Navy has operated the P-3 Orion patrol plane, based on the four-engine L-88 Electra airliner. The turboprop-powered aircraft could spend a dozen hours flying low over the ocean to drop sonar buoys, scan the water for metallic hulls of submarines with its Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) and potentially launch torpedoes. After fifty-five years of able service, however, the P-3s have accumulated thousands of service hours and their hulls are growing fatigued.

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In 2004 the U.S. Navy selected the jet-powered Boeing P-8 Poseidon to succeed the aging P-3. Development proceeded relatively smoothly, in part due to the use of a preexisting airframe and the decision to phase in the P-8s advanced systems in a series of increments rather than delivering them all at once. This led the P-8 unit costs to actually come in under budget, at $150 million per aircraft.

Read full article

The National Interest

Washington Free Beacon: New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited

It will soon be illegal to use electronic cigarettes, the popular vapor substitute to traditional tobacco cigarettes, in public indoor spaces in New York State.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill to ban vapor substitutes, or e-cigs, anywhere tobacco cigarettes are already prohibited, including workplaces, restaurants, and bars, the New York Times reported.

The State Assembly added the ban on vaping, which will go into effect in 30 days, to New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act this summer, and the Senate approved the measure. New York created the act in 2003, making it one of the country’s first states to ban smoking tobacco products in public indoor areas.

The now-$2.5 billion e-cig industry continues to grow in popularity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that while the negative health consequences of the product are not widely understood, there are reasons for concern, including nicotine addiction.

“These products are marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the reality is they also carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This measure closes another dangerous loophole in the law, creating a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

A 2016 study by the New York State Department of Health found that 20 percent of children had tried e-cigs, double the number from two years prior. The state in July banned e-cigs from all school grounds.

New York City banned e-cigs back in 2013, including the measure in the city’s Smoke Free Air Act. Manufacturers have fought back against the city, however, mounting several legal challenges that argue e-cigs do not qualify because they do not emit smoke.

The New York State Court of Appeals rejected the most recent challenge to New York City’s ban earlier this year, finding the inclusion of e-cigs in the law was valid.

Jeff Seyler, executive vice president of the American Lung Association’s Northeast region, said the new state law will protect the public’s health and help shield children from the “dangerous and often lifetime addiction to nicotine.”

But proponents of vaping argue that e-cigs are a safer alternative to cigarettes.

“Our customers they know that they can’t be walking through a store vaping, or sitting at a bar vaping,” said Aman Singh, owner of Long Island Vape in Huntington Station, N.Y. “They don’t feel like doing it anyway because it’s obnoxious.”

Singh, who indicated that he believes the new law is unnecessary, said the products he sells may be a health risk but are the lesser of two evils. He added that most of his customers use it as a way to quit tobacco cigarettes.

“We’re out here trying to help people,” Singh said, noting his worries about the impact the ban may have on his customers. “I think people will start smoking cigarettes again.”

The post New York State Bans Vaping Where Cigarettes Already Prohibited appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Terror from skies as Mexican cartel attaches bomb to drone

Mexican police discovered four men carting a kamikaze drone equipped with an IED and a remote detonator last week, in what analysts say is an example of cartels figuring out how to weaponizing UAVs.

The disturbing development is a manifestation of something top American security chiefs warned Congress about earlier …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Stars and Stripes: The political party is over. What next?

Voters no longer need nor, in many cases, want a political party to screen their candidates and vet their ideas. They prefer to build their own movements, often with stunning speed.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: Trump is right: The US should leave UNESCO

UNESCO has a dismal track record. It has advanced the agendas of numerous dictatorships, indulged in virulent anti-Israel bias and offered textbook lessons in bad management.

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Stars and Stripes: Europe should preserve its cultural heritage, EU’s Tusk says

The European Union must do more to defend its external borders against migrants, EU chief Donald Tusk said Tuesday, describing Europe as a “cultural community” whose heritage must be preserved.

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Stars and Stripes: Those who fight US wars dont write blank checks

No one signed up to die on that mission in Niger. They signed up for their own reasons. And they stayed for each other.

Stars and Stripes

RSS for National Security: Trump’s refugee ban ends, new screening rules coming

President Donald Trump’s six-month worldwide ban on refugees entering the United States is ending as his administration prepares to unveil new screening procedures

RSS for National Security

Washington Free Beacon: Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao

The Communist Party of China has promoted Xi Jinping to the same level as the country’s first communist leader, Mao Zedong.

Xi’s name and dogma has been added to the party constitution, which could allow the communist leader to take a more authoritarian approach to handling China’s affairs, the Associated Press reports. In his role as leader, Xi serves as Communist Party General Secretary, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The move came during a rare, twice-decade party meeting where the country’s leaders gathered. The decision effectively makes any act of opposing the the communist president, who first assumed office in 2013, tantamount to an attack on the party itself. Following the decision, Xi remarked on China’s future.

“The Chinese people and nation have a great and bright future ahead,” Xi said.

Xi went on to give his vision for the the future where his dogma, “socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era,” is realized.

“Living in such a great era, we are all the more confident and proud, and also feel the heavy weight of responsibility upon us,” Xi said.

Through his vision, China’s president has differentiated himself from his predecessors, according to the AP.

The concept Xi has touted is seen as marking a break from the stage of economic reform ushered in by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and continued under his successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao; Xi has spoken of China emerging into a “new normal” of slower, but higher quality economic growth. The placement of Xis thought among the partys leading guidelines also comes five years into his term earlier than his predecessors.

“In every sense, the Xi Jinping era has begun in earnest,” said Zhang Lifan, an independent political commentator in Beijing. “Only Maos name was enshrined in the party ideology while he was still alive. Were opening something that hasnt been broached before.”

For centuries, Chinese emperors were accorded ritual names that signaled either they were successors in a dynastic line or the founders of an entirely new dynasty. What Xi accomplished this week was a modern equivalent of the latter, Zhang said.

“He wants to join that pantheon of leaders,” he said.

Xi leads China at a time of large growth for the country, which includes its military taking ongoing action in the Pacific to exert its influence. Action has included building islands in the South China Seain an attempt to deter other nations from sailing or flying nearby, the New York Times reported in 2015.

While China has the worlds second-largest economy and legions of newly wealthy urban residents, raising living standards for millions of people continues to be a challenge, according to the AP.

Xi faces his challengers as well. During the party conference, delegates also voted on the new members of the powerful central committee. Despite Xi’s success, not all of those elected are his allies. In fact, some of his closest supporters who were on the central committee are no longer members. The president also lacks the broad popular support of the Chinese public that Mao had enjoyed, according to Zhang Ming, a political analyst and recently retired professor in Beijing.

“This [elevation] is a result of the partys political system and not of the sincere support of the peoples hearts,” Zhang Ming said. “If he can achieve that, he would become Mao.”

The post Chinese Communist Party Elevates Xi Jinping to Same Status as Mao appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Tillerson in Pakistan with a tough message on safe havens

ISLAMABAD (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Pakistan to deliver a tough message on the importance of fighting extremists and driving them from hideouts on Pakistani territory.

Tillerson arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday, a day after traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan in conditions of strict secrecy. …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Stars and Stripes: Vietnam veterans honored at US base in Germany

More than 30 veterans of the Vietnam War living in Germany were awarded pins Tuesday by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in recognition of their service.

Stars and Stripes

In Homeland Security: Coast Guard Seeing Surge in Use of Drug Submarines

A spike in the use of drug submarines in 2017 is leading the Coast Guard to believe drug traffickers are relying more on these vessels once again.

In Homeland Security


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