Tensions Between China And Japan Rise Over Disputed Gas Field
China has moved what appears to be drilling equipment to a gas rig in waters claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo, further increasing tensions between the two countries. Images taken by Japan’s air force indicate the delivery of new equipment and workers preparing to begin drilling at the natural gas field in the East China Sea that Beijing knows as the Chunxiao field but Tokyo claims as the Shirakaba sector.

Pakistan’s largest city on edge after Imran Farooq’s Assassination
Karachi, Pakistan, was tense on Friday amid fears that the assassination of exiled political leader Imran Farooq could spark ethnic violence.

Nuke Outlaw as Pakistani President?
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons renegade, who sold nuclear secrets to America’s enemies (Iran, North Korea and Libya) and spent the best part of the last decade under house arrest, is still Pakistan’s most popular man. Last week, Abdul Qadeer Khan, now a free man, was a guest on ARY, one of Pakistan’s most popular TV channels with a strong anti-U.S. bias. A frequent guest on ARY is another notorious anti-American, Gen. Hamid Gul, long retired as a former Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief and self-appointed adviser to Pakistan’s anti-U.S. Islamist political parties. Not only did he get 90 minutes of air time, but Khan talked openly of when he might be president or prime minister, enough to give official Washington conniption fits.

New Intel Leads Senators To Oppose START Ratification
Two senior Senate Republicans expressed new concerns about a strategic arms pact with Russia that could imperil formal ratification as the pact was voted out of committee on Thursday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted by 14 to four to approve what is being called New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

12 Flaws of New START Arms Control Treaty
President Barack Obama has transmitted a deeply flawed arms control treaty to the Senate for its consent to ratification. While withholding consent is the simplest and most likely approach, the Senate may try to fix the treaty piecemeal, but this approach has inherent, serious risks. Fixing some of the serious flaws will require amendments to the text, and fixing others will require compelling the Administration to change some of its policies. Regardless of what the Senate chooses, the stakes are high. As with all major arms control treaties, if New START enters into force, it could profoundly increase the likelihood of nuclear war and increase the number of weapons in the world.

Why some economists see a looming US-China trade war
From the halls of Congress to the World Trade Organization, US officials are increasingly criticizing China trade and currency policies – blaming them for America’s huge trade deficit.

Why China’s Navy is a Threat
Civilian academics who study military affairs like to hold forth on tactical matters. But this can lead to misguided advice. Exhibit A: Prof. Bernard Loo of Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Relations recently maintained that there’s ‘less than meets the eye’ to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) combat reach in South-east Asia. Now, he insists, ‘is not the time to press the panic button.’ This upbeat appraisal rests on several flimsy assumptions and claims. If they heed Loo’s advice, South-east Asian governments that can ill afford complacency will seriously misjudge the Chinese maritime challenge.

Asia’s Maritime Security Is All at Sea
Last week, the Japanese coast guard arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing trawler after it twice collided with patrol boats in disputed waters controlled by Tokyo. Japan has chosen this moment to take a belated stand against what it sees as a pattern of Chinese bullying at sea. In April, a large Chinese naval force ventured into waters close to Japan and a Chinese helicopter buzzed Japanese ships at a range of just 90m. China, too, is standing firm, warning of repercussions if Japan prosecutes the captain under domestic law. Already, Beijing has called off scheduled talks about contested energy deposits in the East China Sea.

U.S., allies working on new North Korea strategy
The United States and its allies in Northeast Asia are trying to fashion an opening to North Korea out of concern that the current policy toward the isolated nuclear-armed nation could lead to war, U.S. and Asian officials said.

MI5 Head Warns Of Serious Risk Of UK Terrorist Attack
The UK faces a continuing serious risk of a lethal terrorist attack taking place, the head of MI5 has warned. Jonathan Evans raised concerns over the number of soon-to-be-freed inmates who are “committed extremists and likely to return to terrorist activities”. He also said Somalia and Yemen were important concerns for MI5, as a source of serious plots against the UK. And, he said, the security service had not expected dissident republicanism to grow as it had in Northern Ireland.

DoD details Russian buzzing of U.S. frigate
Russian navy aircraft made a series of very close passes over the frigate Taylor last week after its visit to the northern port city of Murmansk, defense officials confirmed Friday, in a chain of incidents so unusual they were discussed in person by the top U.S. and Russian naval officers at the Pentagon.

Russia to supply missiles to Syria, despite Israel protest
Russian defense minister says Moscow still intends to proceed with arms deal, that includes sale of P-800 missiles, amid objection from US, Israel.

India, Russia Cosy Up
Not too long ago, India’s foreign policy used to be Pakistan-centric. But from 2005 onwards, the United States also emerged on the radar screens of Indian policy makers in a big way when the two sides initiated negotiations on a civilian nuclear deal. China, meanwhile, used to be of relatively marginal interest when Indian foreign policy was discussed up until a couple of years ago. Today, though, China has become the sole obsession of Indian foreign policymakers and media outlets. So during all this diplomatic hurly-burly, Russia and Indo-Russian bilateral relations seem to have been sidelined. However, despite a host of irritants, India and Russia have actually been engaging far more meaningfully than ever before.

Russian Embassy in Baghdad Reveals Intensive Negotiations for Arming Iraqi Army
The Russian Embassy in Baghdad yesterday revealed that it was conducting intensive negotiations with the Iraqi government to provide weapons to the Iraqi army.

Congress to scrutinize rules of engagement
The House Armed Services Committee will soon examine the rules of engagement used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Military Times has learned.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage.

Posted by Chris van Avery in Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, Maritime Security, Strategy

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  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    The murder of Farooq puts an even more ominous twist on this war.
    It is safe to say that each theater of this war has its own flavor. But, where this war is arguably the most hot–Pakistan, the number of facets determining who is winning and losing are the greatest and I am not sure the US has a concise understanding of what our role in their internal conflict really is–a foil for local political gain.

    Pakistan’s war is nearly a civil war. The amorphous entities which sometime call themselves Al Qaeda are using the guise of war against the west to fight for local-political objectives inside of Pakistan.

    I am not sure if calling this incident a spreading, or new domain in this war, is right. But, I can’t shake the notion of this incident marks a transition in this war (at least in terms of how I understand it), as political killings have now occurred well outside of where it has greatest effect (is there such a thing as a global civil war?). Political wars within numerous Islamic nations are the foundation of most of the conflicts we view as primarily being our war on radicalism, and there is where we will find resolution to much of it. In this, I do not think we can ‘win’ this war. Winning in many instances will be nations no longer seeing brother fighting against brother.

    If I understand it correctly, it was the job of the United Nations to prevent wars from spreading, in essence to contain conflicts. The entirety of events since the attacks on our Embassies in the 90s and up to 9/11 and the present day can be traced to civil wars in Central Asia. would it be a game changer if we defined these wars as a global civil war, and then focus our efforts on containing the wars and brining them to a resolution?

  • Matt Yankee

    If Al Qaeda was just interested in taking over Pakistan why did it attack us? I don’t believe we would have stepped into a Pakistan civil war if we weren’t attacked.

    I saw an interview with Sebastian Junger who is responsible for the documentary Restrepo. His main point and the main gripe of the men up there was that Pakistan was the center of the storm and it was frustrating to see nothing done about it from what they could tell at least. It is high time the US devise a way to cut off the border area from both ways. Why can’t we cover the trouble spots at least with some bio weapons that would last a decade at least? Afghanistan needs a game changer and this would do it. The best reward I can fathom for Pakistan playing both sides of this war is to cut their arm off at the border and do it for generations to come. That is unless we have some other deal which results in them stop giving life to the enemy. Of coarse there are even larger hot potatoes such as Pakistan possibly sheltering Zawahari which is just icing on the cake. It is a time of consequence…let’s pray we have the courage and vision to make the world into a place we can live in.

  • Chuck Hill

    “If Al Qaeda was just interested in taking over Pakistan why did it attack us?”

    Al Qaeda wants to unite the whole Muslim world under their leadership. To do that, they need a common enemy, which in their world view is us.

  • Matt Yankee

    Isn’t Israel enough of a common enemy for all terrorists without specificly attacking the US and drawing direct consequences?

    Why wouldn’t the common enemy be the percieved corrupt leaderships in the various countries which would be more easily toppled without the US taking sides? Why wouldn’t they isolate their targets? Isn’t the US entry into these internal struggles counter productive to the terrorists because the US comes in and tilts the balance away from them and back to the various govts. Would we really consider getting involved if Al Qaeda hadn’t attacked us to begin with? Yemen and Somalia are more good examples of theaters we never would have gotten involved in but for 9/11.

    I believe you can’t underestimate the power of God in their minds and that they really think God has sent them on a mission to convert or kill their way to a Muslum only world. The fact that they believe there is only up side to dying for this cause is because of their extreme religous beliefs.

    Whatever motivates them they are sheltered, trained, led and equiped from Pakistan.