On Friday a group of Russian warships passed from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. The group included destroyers, landing ships, frigates and supply ships from the Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific fleets. It was scheduled to replace the current deployment of landing and surveillance ships already in the area, with Russian naval officials carefully noting that it was a “planned rotation” and not a “new” group. Read More
If the ongoing standoff between Syria and U.S. navy ships extends into October, the Navy may have to reshuffle funds to support the massed ships in the Eastern Mediterranean, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said Thursday at an event at the American Enterprise Institute. Read More
From the Sept. 3, 2013 Congressional Research Service Report, Possible U.S. Intervention in Syria: Issues for Congress:
Members of Congress have expressed a broad range of views on the question of an immediate U.S. military response, with some expressing support for military action and others expressing opposition or questioning how a military response would advance U.S. policy goals in Syria and beyond. For more than two years, many Members of Congress have debated the potential rewards and unintended consequences of deeper U.S. involvement in Syria. Some Members have expressed concern that the Administration’s policy of providing support to the fractured Syrian opposition could empower anti-American extremist groups, while others have warned that failure to back moderate forces in Syria could prolong the conflict and create opportunity for extremists. Read More
An Islamist terror group has taken responsibility for a Saturday rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack on a merchant ship transiting the Suez Canal, USNI News has learned.
A video posted on YouTube Wednesday — alleged to have been issued by the group Al-Furqan along with a letter of responsibility — show two men with rocket propelled grenades fire at least one RPG round into the side of a cargo ship bearing the markings of the Chinese merchant shipper Cosco. Read More
When looking for insights and answers to the complex problem the United States confronts in Syria, there is no shortage of examples of punitive military operations against bad actors from which to draw lessons. In the past 30 years the United States and its allies have launched punitive airstrikes against, to name a few: Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan. Clearly the “measured military response” is a favored approach for American leaders when dealing with rogue actors. What is interesting this time around is the unprecedented public debate about whether or not such tactical measures actually work. Read More
From the Aug. 19, 2013 Congressional Research Service Report:
This report provides a brief overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt. U.S. policy makers are now grappling with complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, particularly in light of the growing unrest and violence currently unfolding. These debates are shaping consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation and congressional oversight options in the 113th Congress. Read More
The guided missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72) has left the Eastern Mediterranean en route to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., according to several press reports.
Mahan’s departure leaves four destroyers left to undertake an anticipated limited strike on Syria.
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