The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), its escort of three Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers and one Ticonderoga guided missile cruiser have been tasked to the Red Sea ahead of an expected U.S. strike on Syria, several news services reported on Monday. Read More
Even after shocking details emerged about Bashar al-Assad’s likely use of chemical weapons against his opponents in Syria, public opinion in the United States is decidedly unenthusiastic about a potential intervention. In opinion polls, large majorities say they want nothing to do with the worsening situation in Syria and express no desire to help the anti-Assad opposition. There is, however, a significant popular-elite split: While the populace as a whole is firmly against an intervention, foreign-policy elites are overwhelmingly in favor. Read More
The Asia-Pacific region recently has seen a rise in construction of multipurpose, aviation-capable ships by major area powers. Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand all have built ships with full-length flight decks with a variety of purposes: some as helicopter carriers, some as amphibious assault ships. Only one, China’s Liaoning, was built to accommodate traditional fixed-wing aircraft carrier operations, but many others, such as Japan’s Izumo-class of helicopter destroyers could conceivably carry some form of vertical or short takeoff-and-landing aircraft. Read More
Though the anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd’s controversial tactics — popularized through the Animal Planet’s Whale Wars — polarize opinion between professional mariners and environmentalists, they are worthy of study as a maritime non-state actor. Read More
The news headlines indicate that a military strike against Syria is imminent. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on MSNBC on Monday that he anticipates, “a surgical, proportional strike against the Assad regime for what they have done.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) worried about diminishing American credibility, “if the United States stands by and doesn’t take very serious action.” Read More
The U.S. and China conducted two days of counter piracy drills in the Gulf of Aden in a rare show of military cooperation, following last week’s visit of the head of the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Read More
The Navy is extending a deployment of an Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer in the Eastern Mediterranean amidst a United Nation’s inspection into allegations that the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in the conflict, according to several press reports. Read More
From the Aug. 20, 2013 Congressional Research Service report, Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress. This is an update of a July 1, 2013 report.
The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries as well as U.S. allies and forces in the region. Congress may wish to assess the Administration’s plans to respond to possible scenarios involving the use, change of hands, or loss of control of Syrian chemical weapons. Read More
Libyan naval and coast guard forces have begun patrolling three eastern oil terminals to prevent illegal sales of Libyan oil the, country’s Ministry of Defense announced this week.
The move comes amidst an ongoing labor dispute with striking oil workers and government allegations that gangs of armed security guards are attempting to sell oil illegally, according to several press reports. Read More