Since the death last year of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has made headlines as its new president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, seeks to reform much of the country by liberalizing the economy, improving the country’s human rights image, and smoothing relations with neighbors in Central Asia. While many observers of the country have been cautious about raising expectations of real reform, given structural constraints, Uzbekistan has released numerous prisoners, removed individuals from a “black list,” and signaled a willingness to end the practice of using forced labor in cotton production. President Mirziyoyev has made a point of engaging with neighboring countries, especially Kyrgyzstan, over disputed topics, such as border delineation and water usage. Continue reading
CR929 model. Source: COMACCOMAC, and its former parent, AVIC, have worked hand in glove on two of China’s premier aircraft programs, the C919 narrowbody airliner and the ARJ21 regional jet. More recently, COMAC partnered with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) on a new airliner, the CR929. Continue reading
Russia and Kyrgyzstan are discussing the possible establishment of another Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan, amid a renewed Russian emphasis on the security environment in Central Asia. The Russian military currently operates a military air base at Kant, near the capital, Bishkek, and the two sides are considering a second that would be located in southern Kyrgyzstan. Continue reading
Sweden’s minority government and political opposition Alliance bloc have agreed to a new defense deal that will provide SEK8.1 billion ($1 billion) in additional funding for the country’s broad security needs over the upcoming three-year period through 2020. The agreement bolsters spending on the Swedish military (which will receive SEK6.8 billion – or $841 million – worth of the additional funding) and civil defense (SEK1.3 billion, or $160 million). Continue reading
Pamela Hurt, Forecast International.
A day after meeting with President Trump at the White House, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg discussed the unique challenges of a time when the line between peace and war is increasingly unclear.
“Before, it was easy to distinguish whether it was war or peace,” the Secretary General stated, during a talk on Thursday, at George Washington University. Now “there is a much more blurred line between peace and war,” he said, observing that in past conflicts, war occurred in identifiable geographical areas, and within defined periods of time.
That clarity is now often absent.
Early on April 7, 2017, the United States Navy conducted Tomahawk missile strikes on al-Shayrat airbase in Homs, Syria, in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack earlier in the week on Khan Sheikhoun, in opposition-controlled Idlib. The strikes mark the first time the United States has deliberately targeted the Syrian military since an uprising began in 2011. Continue reading
Russia is moving forward with export plans for two of its Admiral Grigorovich class frigates (Project 11356M). Under an agreement inked last year, Moscow will export the Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin to India, and assist India in producing two more locally. While both sides seem to be working on implementing the contract, Western sanctions have created complications. Continue reading
In an interesting twist to the long-expected Serbian acquisition of a batch of MiG-29 combat aircraft and Russian-designed missile systems, Serbia’s defense minister, Zoran Djordjevic, has announced that both military platforms will be donated from Belarus. Continue reading
Ties between Russia and Thailand appear to be heating up on the defense front following a meeting in Bangkok on January 16 between Russian defense officials and military leadership of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. According to reports, the meeting involved discussions of a potential government-to-government accord aimed at military-technical cooperation. The agreement outline in question would extend Thailand partnership status on a jointly run production and maintenance facility for the Mil Mi-17V-5 transport helicopter export variant. Continue reading
Starting with the decision in the mid-1990s to relinquish its inherited nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan has maneuvered itself on the international stage as a responsible global player. That decision, which saw Kazakhstan return Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, may have been made for a number of reasons, but Astana regularly points to it as an indicator of Kazakhstan being a positive international force. Continue reading