Iraqi government has recently sent (and keeps sending) hundreds of its troops, backed by Humvees, BMPs and Abrams tanks “to restore security and law” in Basra Province near Kuwait/Iran borders, where Saudi Arabia will re-open its consulate after 28 years

The Iraqi government announced that the Saudi Arabian consulate will open in the city of Basra within two weeks.

Under the direction of Saudi leadership, the consulate will be in a temporary location with its staff set to arrive to begin working soon.

The head of the Saudi delegation, Abdulrahman al-Shehri, who visited the Iraqi city on Sunday said that the consulate will open soon in order to provide needed services and facilitate pilgrimage and travel of investors between both countries.

An official from Basra’s Administrative Affairs office said in a press release that the city will facilitate all procedures in order to re-open the consulate as soon as possible.

The Saudi consulate in Basra had closed in 1990 during the second Gulf war. Basra is considered the second largest city in Iraq and hosts five other consulates which include the US consulate, Russia and Iran.

Read More At:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/02/12/Saudi-consulate-to-re-open-in-Basra-Iraq.html

The Iraqi government yesterday sent hundreds of its troops, backed by armoured vehicles and tank, to the country’s southern province of Basra to restore security and law following an increase in tribal conflicts in the region.

The Basra Operations Command, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Khalaf, said that the troops included personnel from the federal police units.

Basra, near Iraq’s southern border with Kuwait, has long been the scene of inter-tribal battles over business disputes, questions of honour or even football matches.

With security forces deployed to the country’s north to battle Daesh, Basra residents caught in the crossfire say they feel abandoned. Residents of the province say security forces are powerless to halt the clashes.

Read More At:

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180209-iraq-sends-military-troops-to-basra-to-restore-security/

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Israeli military equipment, including Iron Dome missile defense systems, heading North towards Golan Heights

Israel’s cross-border clash with Iranian and Syrian forces on Saturday was a sharp escalation of long-brewing hostilities along its northern frontier — and a bracing alert to those who have focused on other areas of the Syrian civil war, on other aspects of Iran’s strategic assertiveness, or who believed that Israel’s air superiority left it invincible in its own skies.

In the space of several hours, Israel downed what it said was an Iranian drone that had penetrated its airspace, then struck back at what it called the command-and-control center in Syria from which Iran launched the drone. An Israeli F-16, returning from the attack, crashed in northern Israel after coming under heavy Syrian antiaircraft fire — the first Israeli jet downed under enemy fire in decades.

Israel responded with strikes against eight Syrian and four Iranian targets in Syrian territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the day’s events as proof of Israel’s resolve. “Yesterday we dealt severe blows to the Iranian and Syrian forces,” he said Sunday. “We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules of action have not changed one bit. We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us.”

But strategists and military analysts in Israel did not see things quite so simply. As both sides sift through the debris, here are some important points:

This isn’t over. It’s just beginning.

As the Syrian civil war winds down, a new conflict is emerging among Iran, which appears to want a lasting Syrian base to threaten Israel; Israel, which is determined to prevent this; and the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which showed renewed confidence in firing on Israel’s warplanes.

“We are seeing a renegotiation of the rules of the game with regard to the kind of military activity that each side tolerates in the other,” said Ofer Zalzberg, an analyst at International Crisis Group. “We will see more and more friction between the parties, given that we are seeing more and more this sense that Assad has the upper hand” against Syrian rebels.

Neither side can be expected to back down.

Israel believes it is vital to stop Iran, Hezbollah or other Shiite militias from threatening it with precision rockets from faraway corners of Syria, or with artillery and troops just beyond the disputed Golan Heights.

And Iran does not want its investment in rescuing Mr. Assad to have been for naught, and to have to bring its forces home, said Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “If Iran would move back to its bases, then Assad will have gotten what he wanted, the Russians will have gotten what they wanted — but what about them?”

Israel alone can’t stop Iran in Syria.

Israel has stopped neighboring countries from building nuclear facilities, but it has never tried to stop one from building up a conventional force, Mr. Eiland said. And it is unlikely, on its own, to succeed, even if it manages to slow down Iran’s efforts.

What Israel can do, Mr. Eiland said, is punish the Assad government for Iran’s buildup.

“We destroyed some Syrian targets, and that might create some tension between Bashar Assad and the Iranians,” Mr. Eiland said. “Assad is not interested in the Iranian presence; he just cannot say no to it. But if he and his regime are paying more of a price, maybe he can ask Iran to stop, or lean on the Russians to help.”

With the Trump administration looking to reopen the nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. Eiland said, Israel could try to bring its own security concerns into the mix of a new negotiation.

“The Americans and Europeans want to prevent Iranian long-range missiles from reaching Europe,” he said. “But from the Israeli point of view, Iran already has missiles that can cover Israel, so that’s much less important than Iran’s presence in Syria.”

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Ukrainian sources report an increase in military activity (T-64, T-72, BMP, MT-LB, 2S3 Akatsiya) around Kyiv both day and night

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have taken control over the village of Novo-oleksandrivka in Luhansk region, the settlement located in the so-called “grey zone”.

The advance saw no violations of the Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian military say. “[The retaking of Novo-oleksandrivka] took place a few days ago.

Unfortunately, I cannot reveal details of the operation,” press secretary of the ATO Headquarters, Vasyl Labai, told UNIAN. “We are strengthening or re-building our defensive positions, while separate units can improve tactical positions in certain areas, but it is not about violating the Minsk agreements,” Labai said.

Read More At:

https://www.unian.info/war/2376188-no-breaches-of-minsk-deal-as-ukraine-regains-more-ground-in-donbas-grey-zone-report.html

US EP-3 Intercepted by a Russian Su-27 over the Black Sea

On Jan. 29, 2018, a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27. This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27’s jet wash. The duration of the intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

Read More At:

http://www.c6f.navy.mil/news/us-ep-3-intercepted-black-sea

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Aden, Yemen

The Yemeni prime minister accused southern separatists of staging a coup on Sunday, as security sources said separatist fighters had seized the government headquarters in Aden, Agence France-Presse reported.

Several people were killed and injured, Reuters said, citing medical staff, as fierce clashes erupted in the southern port city between government troops and separatists fighting with local security forces.

The separatist Southern Transitional Council had planned a rally for Sunday to demand that the country’s internationally recognised president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, sack his cabinet.

The council accuses prime minister Ahmed Bin Dagher and his ministers of corruption, and had given Mr Hadi a Sunday deadline to fire them.

Mr Hadi’s government announced a ban on public gatherings on Saturday, as thousands of the Southern Transitional Council’s supporters arrived in Aden ahead of the rally.

Members of the presidential guard had been deployed across the city early on Sunday to prevent the protests from taking place.

Read More At:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/aden-clashes-yemen-pm-accuses-separatists-of-staging-coup-1.699443

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BMPs (infantry fighting vehicles) moving through the streets of Hrodna, Belarus, close to Poland and Lithuania borders

Russia’s state-owned news agencies Pravda and RIA Novosti reported 22 January that the US’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) intends to study the infrastructure of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Finland and Poland for wartime preparedness. All of these countries, apart from Moldova, have borders with Russia.

The final DLA reports will (reportedly) include “data on sources of water and products, fuel, medicines, industrial equipment and clothing as well as information on construction materials and equipment, production capacities and mobilization opportunities. In addition, the US military is reported to be interested in the transport infrastructure of these countries – ports, roads, airports, bridges and ferries”.

Read More At:

https://www.ooskanews.com/story/2018/01/russian-state-media-claims-us-military-looking-water-and-wartime-preparedness-belarus

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Russian submarine caught fire in Vladivostok today

Russian submarine caught fire in Vladivostok today, soon after @tass_agency reports about a planned exercise to extinguish fire.

Read More At:

http://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/4890288

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