There are several regional security related stories that you may want to follow in the coming days. In the Americas, there are news reports that the Russians may have reopened an old intelligence compound in Nicaragua to spy on the US embassy there as Russian President, Vladimir Putin, continues in his attempts to rebuild the Soviet empire.

On the Asia front, Senator John McCain, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said following the White House North Korea brief that US must be prepared to strike North Korea once it is certain that the Hermit Kingdom can threaten the US with a nuclear weapon, but that the use of force was not imminent. Some US senators have said that the briefing provided not much new in terms of information that was not in the newspapers. In the start of what some observers are saying is a climbdown, the Trump administration said on Wednesday it aimed to push North Korea into nuclear and missile disarmament through tougher international sanctions and diplomatic pressure. China on Thursday welcomed the softer tone set by the US but stressed its opposition to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system being deployed in South Korea. Meanwhile, the Commander US Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris said on Wednesday that he wants to put missile interceptors and new radar in Hawaii to protect against North Korea.

In a move bound to rankle both China and Pakistan, India successfully test-fired an Agni-III Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) from an island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha. The Agni-III, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tons. The missile was introduced in the Indian armed forces in June 2011, and is powered by a two-stage, solid propellant engine and is the mainstay of India’s nuclear deterrent providing the country with strategic second-strike capabilities.

In Europe, a German army officer has reportedly been arrested for pretending to be a Syrian refugee and a planning to carry-out a gun attack with racist motives to pin the blame for the attack on foreigners. On the same day second German man was arrested for possession of objects that breach weapons and explosives laws. There has been a reported explosion in a McDonald's in Grenoble, France on Thursday after a ‘large device’ was spotted in a bathroom. Police closed-down the area to investigate the cause of the blast, that one police official suggested could have been the result of a big firecracker. A man armed with knives was arrested today in London near the Westminster Parliamentary precinct and is believed to have been planning a terror attack. Two French police officers have reportedly been shot in the French overseas region of Réunion by a man planning an Islamist terror attack. A Russian spy ship, the Liman, was sunk off the Turkish coast after a collision with a Togo-flagged freighter. The crew has been rescued and cause of the collision is unclear but was likely due to fog was reported in the area.

Lastly, In the Middle East, expect Iran to try and take advantage of the world’s fixation including the US on events around North Korea. Today, Israel struck an arms supply depot operated by Hezbollah near the Damascus airport on Thursday, targeting weapons sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes. Syrian state media said Israeli airstrikes hit a military position southwest of the airport but did not mention that it was an arms or fuel depot for Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group. The Israelis for their part are very worried about preventing Iran from setting up a permanent presence in Syria. This follows Monday’s incident where the USS Mahan an Aegis-class destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel in the Persian Gulf as the vessel attempted to draw closer to the USS Mahan despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it. It was also recently reported that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN), had taken possession of a new anti-ship missile called Nasir. The Nasir missile can be mounted on small, fast-moving vessels, is capable of being rapidly deployed, flying at low altitudes and was equipped with advanced, radar-jamming technology.

#Putin #US #JohnMcCain #IRBM #MiddleEast #China #India #Pakistan #Turkey

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