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Turkey announced a 4-hour naval exercise in the Aegean for Monday, to take place in international waters south of Rhodes and east of Karpathos.
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
On Sunday, leaders, foreign ministers and defense officials from around the world gathered in Bahrain to attend the Manama Dialogue organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies. At the meeting, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said France intends to fill the void created by a “deliberate, gradual U.S. disengagement” from the Middle East.
Jerusalem Post Middle East analyst Seth Frantzman called Parly’s speech a “shot across the bow of U.S. policy” and a “signal” that France is seeking “a deeper role” in Middle East security.
President Trump involved himself in the case almost from the start. Before the trial began, in March, I received two calls from the president asking me to lift Gallagher’s confinement in a Navy brig; I pushed back twice, because the presiding judge, acting on information about the accused’s conduct, had decided that confinement was important. Eventually, the president ordered me to have him transferred to the equivalent of an enlisted barracks. I came to believe that Trump’s interest in the case stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers and others had worked to keep it front and center in the media.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that President Trump gave him a direct order to allow a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes to retire without losing his SEAL status.
Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that Trump’s verbal order was the reason Esper announced Sunday that Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher would be allowed to retire with his trident pin, retaining his status as a SEAL.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday asked for the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over his handling of a controversial war crimes case.
Esper told The Washington Post in a statement Sunday that he was „deeply troubled“ by reports that Spencer had reached out to White House officials promising that an accused Navy SEAL would be allowed to retire as a SEAL despite his conviction for posing with the corpse of a slain enemy combatant.
Background: The Bahrain maritime security meeting is a follow-up to the U.S.-led anti-Iran conference held in Warsaw in February. Around 60 countries attended that conference and have participated in ongoing meetings since.
The state of play: According to the State Department, the Bahrain meeting on Oct. 21-22 will focus on maintaining maritime and aviation security in the Middle East and promote steps to interdict and prevent shipments of illicit weapons of mass destruction.
„China has been closely following the complex and sensitive situation in the Gulf region,“ Geng added. „Safeguarding peace and stability in the region is in the shared interests of the international community. China welcomes all proposals and diplomatic efforts conducive to deescalating the situation in the Gulf region. We would also like to stay in communication with all relevant parties.“
Russia offers to establish an organization with the participation of Russia, the US, EU states and other countries in order to resolve the issues in the Persian Gulf, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Thursday during the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said its commander, Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, visited Riyadh to discuss Iran with his Saudi counterpart, Vice Admiral Fahad al Ghofaily, over the weekend.
While Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war and escalation, Iran would be held accountable for the drone and missile strikes, Adel al-Jubeir told the BBC.
A US assessment claiming Iran was behind the attacks was backed up by the UK, France and Germany this week.
NEW YORK — The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday blamed Iran for an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and we reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,” the three countries added
“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the leaders of the three European powers said. “There is no other explanation.”
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – The United States wants to build a coalition of European and Arab partners to deter Iran after an attack on Saudi Arabia that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described on Wednesday as „an act of war“ against the world’s top oil exporter.
Diplomats say this led the US, which currently has no troops there, to propose that maximum number for the mission be reduced from 15,000 to 9,000.
The US mission to the UN would not confirm that number after the council voted 15-0 to extend the peacekeeping role, with no reduction to the maximum.
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Yokohama, Japan, sought the support of the Asian government in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as well as illegal fishing in that region.
A pilot project will take place targeting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea area in Africa, EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini said after the talks in Helsinki Thursday.
The meeting will start on Thursday 29 August with a discussion held jointly with the EU defence ministers. Countering hybrid and cyber threats is one of the priorities of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.
German military experts have presented their first concrete plans for an EU naval operation in the Persian Gulf. According to the draft of two well connected government advisors and a Bundeswehr professor, warships should be cruising at the two entrances to the Strait of Hormuz. Supplementary warships should escort oil tankers through the strait with armed troops on board to ward off possible attacks – depending on the disposition to escalate.
The confirmation came after Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, chief of CENTCOM, and other top U.S. commanders met with Bahrain’s king in the capital, Manama. Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country would deploy a maritime surveillance aircraft to the region by the end of the year, an frigate in January for six months and military personnel to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.
Dubbed “Nobel Rose,” the drill simulated various scenarios where troops had to take over a hijacked ship vessel and extracting troops from enemy territory.
The exercise included ten navies, mainly from Nato. In addition to Israeli missile-boats, there were ships from the United States, Greece and France. Britain’s Royal Navy — along with representatives of Canada, Germany, Italy, Cyprus and Chile — was involved at a headquarters level, with observers and experts taking part in the planning of missions.
The German government would launch the idea at one of the informal European meetings in Helsinki at the end of August.
After intense negotiations with Iranian authorities, CBS News was given rare access to Iranian-controlled waters in the Strait — one of the most volatile transit routes for the world’s oil supply.
About 14 tankers carry crude through the Strait every single day; a combined cargo value of $1.3 billion. It’s a lot of money, and there’s a lot of vested interest in ensuring the flow of tankers continues unimpeded.
It is not yet clear whether Israel will send naval vessels to take part in the US-led mission – dubbed “Operation Sentinel” – or whether it will assist by providing intelligence, as suggested by a report from Israel’s public broadcaster Kan last month.
Katz told a ministers‘ meeting that the two reached „substantial agreements,“ adding that he was working toward „transparent normalization and signed agreements“ with Gulf states. He added: „We do not have a conflict with them.“
“Any and every country that has an interest in freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce needs to really consider (being) involved in this type of monitoring of the strait,” he told reporters Tuesday, while en route to Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya.
“If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels,” Ni told Reuters, while the Chinese Embassy in the United Arab Emirates said later in a text message to Reuters that China was studying the U.S. proposal on escorting commercial ships in the Gulf.
The move was suggested after a summit on Thursday between military chiefs from the US, UK, Europe and the UAE in Florida, where US admirals failed to persuade Britain to join its Sentinel operation.
On July 23, the Russian Foreign Ministry introduced the concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf. It stipulates creating an initiative group to organize an international conference on security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, which will later lead to creating a security and cooperation organization in the region.
Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Ni Jian informed Reuters of his country’s positions on regional maritime security in Abu Dhabi on Aug. 6, 2019. China’s embassy in the country subsequently provided additional details to the wire service via text message.
“The motto of this carrier is peace through strength,” Rear Adm. Karl Thomas told journalists.
Asked what message the carrier’s presence was sending amid new tensions with China, Thomas replied that U.S. military presence helps provide security and stability that foster diplomatic talks between quarreling China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.
TASS reported that Khanzadi visited Russia in late July. While the location of the exercises has not been confirmed, Iran said activity could be conducted in the Strait of Hormuz as well as the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
Dominic Raab, the new foreign secretary, said the UK had to respond to the “increased threat” now. He added: “Our aim is to build the broadest international support to uphold freedom of navigation in the region, as protected under international law.”
„So we continue to follow the situation very closely. We exchange intelligence, information about the situation,“ he said and noted that NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels discussed the American imitative in June where touched on the possibility of NATO members contributing assets but not as part of a NATO mission.
On her part, Kramp-Karrenbauer said the situation in Iran and in Hormuz is very sensitive.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said Wednesday that Germany „will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States,“ which has sought to develop a „maritime security initiative“ to counter Iran in the world’s top oil chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz. The top diplomat affirmed that „there is no military solution“ to the ongoing crisis that has seen unrest involving competing commercial and military interests in the strategic region.
The UK’s legal right to seize either ships or goods in transit through the Strait of Gibraltar is highly debatable. It is Iran’s oil; and even if it is going to Syria as the UK claims, Syria is not under UN sanctions, the only legal international sanctions that count.
The European External Action Service, the EU body responsible for its foreign policy, was deafening in its silence on the UK action, supposedly taken to enforce EU sanctions. Even Carl Bildt, the co-chairman of the European Council on Foreign Relations, was constrained to tweet, “One refers to EU sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU. And EU as a principle doesn’t impose its sanctions on others. That’s what the US does.”
„Practical work on launching the process of creating a security system in the Persian Gulf may be started by holding bilateral and multilateral consultations between interested parties, including countries both within the region and outside of it, UN Security Council, LAS [League of Arab States], OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation], GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council],“ the document added.
The UK has invited military representatives of the US, France and other European countries to a meeting in Bahrain on Wednesday in an attempt to create an international mission to safeguard shipping through the strait of Hormuz.
Britain hopes it can act as bridge between the US – which has the largest military presence of a western nation in the region – and countries such as Germany, which is reluctant to getting involved in any mission led by Washington.
„We have officially asked Germany to assist, together with France and the U.K., to maintain security of the Strait of Hormuz and counter Iranian aggression,“ a U.S. official was quoted as saying by the German press agency DPA.
„Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it.
„The Department for Transport has therefore updated its advice to confirm that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”
Experts confirm that the attack was a well-planned operation. Pipes are at a depth of dozens meters underwater. Such a difficult mining mission can be completed only by trained and well-equipped specs. This fact excludes the operating of the irregular militants.