Source reports about military (M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, AMOS Patria AMVs, XA-202 EPA and other vehicles) trains “with secret timetables” running through Finland

The increasingly militarized conflict between Western military alliance NATO and Russia has compelled Finland to boost its own defenses and acquire new weapons, according to the commander of the country’s armed forces.

Finnish Defense Chief General Jarmo Lindberg said Wednesday that the increased military activity in the region prompted Helsinki to rethink prior defense cuts and commit to expanding its forces, including procuring new weapons and equipment. Finland has been one of the few Western European countries that hasn’t sought membership in NATO, but its troubled relationship with neighboring Russia worsened after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, which prompted an escalation in NATO’s mobilization in recent years.

“The overall military activity in the neighborhood of Finland has been growing. Russia, as we all know, has been active ever since Crimea. NATO has brought on forces to the Baltic states, and in Poland it has forward presence. There is a U.S. Marine Corps unit in Norway. Sweden has brought the forces back to the island of Gotland, and they also ran a huge national exercise—19,000 soldiers—this September,” Lindberg told Defense News.

“So overall military activity all around Finland has been growing for the last four, five years. That means that also we are in a situation where we have been analyzing our military capabilities, our military readiness—and based on our analysis, it is changing. So more reserve, it is better readiness and it is better spearheading of capabilities for all the services,” he added.

Read More At:

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-nato-cold-war-finland-build-military-buy-more-weapons-740490

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Substantial upgrade of US infrastructures + various vehicles deployment including AH-64 Apache/Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters in Syria, more updates soon

The Pentagon is likely to announce in the coming days that there are about 2,000 US troops in Syria, rather than the 500 the military has said are in the war-torn country.

Two US officials detailed the new figure on Friday, as the military acknowledges that an accounting system has underreported the size of forces on the ground.

Separately, Donald Trump discussed developments in Syria with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Sunday, a spokesman for Erdoğan said.

The US military has publicly said it has about 500 troops in Syria, mostly supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces group of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State in the north of the country.

The two officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could as early as Monday publicly announce the new figure, though there was always a possibility that last-minute changes could delay an announcement.

An accounting system, known as the Force Management Level (FML), was introduced in Iraq and Syria under the Obama administration as a way to exert control over the military.

But the numbers do not reflect the extent of the US commitment on the ground, since commanders often find ways to work around the limits, sometimes bringing in forces temporarily or hiring more contractors.

Current FML figures are officially 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, but officials have privately acknowledged that the real number for each country is more. In August, the Pentagon announced that there were 11,000 troops serving in Afghanistan, thousands more than it has previously stated.

The Pentagon said last December it would increase the number of authorized troops in Syria to 500. It is not clear how long the actual number has been at about 2,000.

Read More At:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/24/pentagon-us-2000-troops-syria-not-500

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What is the need for the US to develop another big military base when ISIS is facing near total defeat in Syria?

Future plans of the United States regarding the Syrian crisis include maintaining a military presence in the country and establishing a new local government in areas where the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by the PKK’s Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG), have been trained, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

According to the U.S. daily, the Trump administration does not want to leave the stage to the Assad regime after the Daesh terror group is completely defeated in the country.

This intention was interpreted in the piece as a “potentially open-ended commitment that could draw the U.S. into conflict with both Syria and Iran.”

The Washington Post also cited U.S. officials as saying that the current presence in Syria would be used in favor of the SDF, fearing that an “abrupt withdrawal” could lead to the Assad regime’s political survival.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also said last week that the country intended to set the right conditions for a “diplomatic solution” in the area.

“We’re not just going to walk away right now,” he added.

According to official figures, 503 U.S. soldiers are currently stationed in Syria with the aim of training the PKK’s Syrian offshoot-dominated SDF. However, experts claim that the actual number is much higher.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed on holding a Syrian People’s Congress to find a permanent solution to the Syrian crisis during a trilateral meeting in the coastal Russian city of Sochi.

Turkey, Russia and Iran are the guarantor countries that brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks, which are running parallel to the Geneva talks for peace in Syria. The three countries have carried out negotiations in the Kazakh capital since then and agreed on the formation of five de-escalation zones in Syria.

Syria has been locked in a deadly civil war since early 2011, after the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with brutality, leading to the death of thousands of people and to the displacement of more than 10 million others.

Read More At:

https://www.dailysabah.com/syrian-crisis/2017/11/23/us-intends-to-maintain-military-presence-in-syria-after-daesh-defeat

While the Trump administration celebrates a new deal meant to freeze the battlefield in southern Syria, the Assad regime and Iran are preparing for the next phase of the long-running war, in which they will attempt to re-conquer the rest of the country. Whether Iran succeeds depends largely on whether the United States acknowledges and then counters that strategy.

Tehran is pouring thousands of fighters into newly acquired territories and building military bases. Although U.S.-supported forces hold territories east of the Euphrates River in Syria’s southeast, as well as along the borders of Israel and Jordan in the southwest, Iran has stated its intention to help Bashar al-Assad retake all of Syria.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani has been recently spotted in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, showing how high a priority it is for Iran to take the oil-rich land nearby. Soleimani has also been spotted near the town of Abu Kamal, which sits just across the border from the Iraqi city of Qaim and is the last piece of the land bridge Iran seeks to establish from Tehran to Beirut.

Read More At:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-us-must-prepare-for-irans-next-move-in-syria/2017/11/19/c8ee0906-cbc0-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html?utm_term=.a686ced9f8f1

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“Some” M1 Abrams tanks spotted near Littleton, Colorado, US today

If a conflict between North Korea and the United States suddenly broke out, U.S. troops in South Korea would be “outnumbered” and undersupplied, warns Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, the former deputy commander of U.S. Forces in Korea.

“The 28,500 U.S. Armed Forces personnel in South Korea are vastly outnumbered by North Korean forces, as well as [South Korean] forces that will conduct the overwhelming majority of the fighting. Unlike every conflict since the last Korean War, we will not be able to build up our forces prior to the start of hostilities,” Jouas wrote in a November 7 letter obtained by Newsweek to several Democratic members of Congress. It’s estimated North Korea has roughly 1.2 million troops.

Read More At:

http://www.newsweek.com/if-war-north-korea-comes-us-military-would-be-outnumbered-former-top-commander-707212

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Another group of US soldiers departs for Afghanistan, adding hundreds of troops to the thousands already stationed there

The officials said Pentagon leaders, primarily U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, had initially set a tentative cap of about 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But they said Mattis has made clear he is committed to a force level based on military needs, not an arbitrary number. As a result, the officials said they believe the trainers will add to the total U.S. force number in Afghanistan, and not come in as replacements.

The officials weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the troop numbers and insisted on condition of anonymity.

Read More At:

https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2017/11/08/us-could-have-almost-16000-troops-in-afghanistan-next-year/

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US deploys fresh troops into Kuwait

Iran on Saturday held the heavily choreographed pageant of anti-Americanism that marks the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran as relations with President Donald Trump’s administration worsen and the fate of its nuclear agreement with world powers is unresolved.

Thousands gathered on the campus of the former embassy, called a “den of espionage,” where a ballistic missile was displayed. News agencies described it as a Sejil surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,200 miles. It was the first time Iran displayed a missile during the annual gathering.

Later in the day, the semi-official Tasnim news agency, which has ties to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said the missile was a Qadr-F that has the same range as a Sejil.

Iran has paraded its missile capability in recent months in a show of defiance to Trump, whose administration has said Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles violates the spirit of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015.

Last month, Trump declined to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement — under which Iran curbed uranium enrichment in exchange for relief from international sanctions. Trump’s decision did not undo the agreement, which European countries and Iran continue to support, but allows Congress to decide whether to reimpose certain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Read More At:

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/nov/05/iran-adds-missile-to-annual-anti-u-s-pa/

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US continues to deploy military equipment into Europe, including Apache, Black Hawk, Chinook helicopters

The US and its European allies have been boosting their presence in Eastern Europe in recent months, responding to a period of tense relations with Russia. Now NATO forces are looking for ways to reestablish military capabilities that have eroded since the end of the Cold War.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other NATO military leaders are set to review changes to the military bloc’s command structure next month, with an eye on enhancing their rapid-deployment abilities and reinforcing their supply lines.

“Fast-evolving security challenges mean new demands on our command,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Stars and Stripes. “So work is underway to ensure that the NATO command structure remains robust, agile and fit for purpose.”

A NATO internal report seen by German news outlet Der Spiegel concluded that the bloc’s ability to rapidly deploy throughout Europe has “atrophied since the end of the Cold War.”

Read More At:

http://www.businessinsider.com/nato-changes-to-command-structure-in-europe-amid-tension-with-russia-2017-10?IR=T

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