Nuclear Triad to Survive Spending Cuts
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire – February 24, 2014
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Monday that the nation would keep its air-land-sea nuclear triad approach to the nuclear arsenal, despite new Pentagon cuts. “We’ll make important investments to preserve a safe, secure, reliable and effective nuclear force.” Hagel did not rule out the possibility of having to cut down on the nuclear triad in the future fiscal years, but for now that was not the case, as the Pentagon continues to plan for the design and production of the new Long Range Strike bomber (LRS-b) which will ultimately replace today’s bomber aircrafts. The Pentagon is expected to submit its fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress next week.
UN inspectors assure Iran is slowing nuclear work
Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor – February 24, 2014
The latest report released late last week from the UN nuclear watchdog (the IAEA) backed up the Iranians in saying that the Islamic Republic has indeed been complying with the agreements from the interim deal signed last November. IAEA inspectors have spent more inspection hours in Iran than in any other country this past decade. The report is based on an array of inspections and daily visits to enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow, as agreed in the Geneva deal. The IAEA concluded the report with, “The measures implemented by Iran and the further commitments it has undertaken represents a positive step forward, but much remains to be done to resolve all outstanding issues.”
Netanyahu: Iran greatest threat to world security
Andreas Rinke and Ari Rabinovitch, Reuters – February 24, 2014
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that Iran’s nuclear program was the “biggest threat to global security.” Netanyahu urged Merkel (who was visiting Israel in honor of the 50th anniversary of Israeli-German ties) and other world powers of the P5 +1 to take a harder line on Tehran in negotiations. U.S. top negotiator Wendy Sherman who has represented the U.S. during Iranian talks has said that she expects Netanyahu and President Obama to have a “vigorous and robust discussion” on the nuclear standoff at a meeting scheduled for March 3.
Rumors of Iran weapons deal with Iraq
Mark Hosenball, Phil Stewart, David Brunnstorm, Lou Charbonneau, Michelle Moghtader, Reuters – February 24, 2014
According to documents “seen by Reuters,” Iran has apparently signed a deal to sell Iraq arms and ammunition worth $195 million. The Iranian government has denied any knowledge of any deal to sell arms to Iraq. “If this is true, this would raise serious concerns,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. If the rumors are true, it would also mean Iran broke a U.N. embargo on weapons sales by Tehran. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Washington back in November in an attempt to lobby the Obama Administration for extra weapons to fight al-Qaeda related militants, but failed to get an agreement. The spokesman for al-Maliki did not confirm or deny the sale, but did emphasize that a weapons deal would be helpful to fight off terrorists.
North Korea Crosses into Southern Waters
Jeyup Kwaak, The Wall Street Journal – February 24, 2014
South Korea reported that a North Korean warship strayed in South Korean waters late Monday night, the first reported maritime incursion of 2014. The incursions took place at approximately 2am and made three cross-border trips without responding to warnings by the South’s navy. Thankfully, there was no exchange of fire. The maritime border has been the site of deadly naval clashes in the past, as North Korea contests the border. Seoul has been worried about North Korea’s reaction to the recent annual military drills it has participated in with U.S. forces over the Peninsula.