Russia plans new ICBM to replace Cold War ‘Satan’ missile
Steve Gutterman, Reuters – December 17, 2013
The commander of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, General Sergei Karakayev, has been quoted claiming that Russia will begin procurement of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called the “Sarmat” in 2018. The “Sarmat” will replace the aging RS-20B Voyevoda (NATO: SS-18 “Satan”) ICBM.
Russia Confirms Mobilization of Ballistic Missiles
Paul D. Shinkman, U.S. News & World Report – December 17, 2013
RIA Novosti, the Russian state news service, confirmed on Monday evening reports that Russia had deployed 10 Iskandar-M (NATO: SS-26 Stone) missiles to its border with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as its exclave Kaliningrad. Russia denies that the weapons violate any exiting international treaties. Russian officials have said that the deployment is a response to US plans to build a missile shield in Europe; a shield that Russia perceives as a threat.
Iran Nuclear Deal Talks Expected to Resume This Week
Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal – December 17, 2013
Last Thursday, negotiations between the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, the US, the UK + Germany) were put on hold after Iran voiced its anger over the news that the US had blacklisted 19 companies, individuals and vessels accused of helping Iran evade existing US sanctions. Yesterday, two European diplomats claimed that negotiations would restart sometime this week.
Iran Official Says Final Nuclear Deal Is Possible
Nasser Karimi, Associated Press – December 17, 2013
Ali Akbar Velayati, one of the top advisors to Iran’s supreme leader, told the official Iranian news agency on Tuesday that “continuation of the talks and loyalty to the Geneva deal is Iran’s policy.” The comments will be welcomed by the P5+1 negotiating parties, who have been attempting to restart negotiations with Iran since the latter pulled out of negotiations last Thursday.
Iran’s hard-liners resist nuclear deal
David Ignatius, The Washington Post – December 17, 2013
Although the vast majority of Iranian citizens support Iranian President Rouhani and his efforts to cut a nuclear deal with the P5+1, hardliners within the Iranian state continue to oppose the President’s efforts. These hardliners, such as the Revolutionary Guard, will pose a challenge for the P5+1 as they attempt to negotiate a permanent nuclear deal next year.
Secretary Kerry’s Derring-Do
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times – December 17, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry is daring to fail. He is attempting to negotiate a peaceful and permanent solution in the Holy land, while at the same time attempting to negotiate a peaceful and permanent solution with Iran over its nuclear program. He may very well never succeed in realizing these objectives, however we should respect him for trying.
A nonpartisan consensus on Iran
Admiral Stuart Platt (ret.), The Hill – December 17, 2013
The majority of Americans want diplomacy, not war. If the diplomatic path represented by the recent nuclear deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran is scuttled, then the US will likely find itself on the path to war. The Senate, which is considering passing a new round of sanctions against Tehran, will almost certainly scuttle the deal if they go ahead and pass new sanctions legislation. The Senate must decide whether it wants to side with the voters and the vast majority of national security experts in supporting the diplomatic path.
Syria chemical weapon removal delay fear
BBC News – December 18, 2013
Everything is in place for the removal of Syria’s most dangerous chemicals of its chemical weapons stockpile. The organization responsible for destroying the chemicals, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was originally set the deadline of December 31 for getting the chemicals out of Syria. Now, it looks as though that deadline may not be met.