Tuesday, February 7, 2012

International. North Korea Blasts US-S. Korean Military Exercises. U.S. To Move 4,700 Marines To Guam. U.S. Consider Arming Syrian Rebels.

N. Korea blasts ‘aggressive’ US-S. Korean military exercises

Pyongyang has warned the US-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle will “increase tensions on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” The maneuvers are scheduled for February and March. Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party’s newspaper, recalled on Tuesday the US demanded North Korea “to refrain from provocative actions.” But the scheduled large-scale exercises on the peninsula “clearly testify to an aggressive nature,” the paper said, as cited by Itar-Tass. Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also stressed that the drills “are held to achieve military superiority.” 
Source: RT.COM


U.S. to move 4,700 Marines from Japan to Guam: reports

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 5, 2012 13:10 EST

US Marines via AFP
TOKYO — Tokyo and Washington have agreed to move 4,700 Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam in a bid to revive a stalled plan for the realignment of US forces in Japan, according to reports.

The two countries in 2006 agreed to the transfer of around 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam and the relocation of an air base on Okinawa but the move has been delayed as Tokyo struggles to convince Okinawans to accept the deal.

The US Defense Department is now considering shifting the remaining 3,300 Marines to elsewhere in the Pacific, such as Hawaii, Australia and the Philippines, Kyodo News reported on Sunday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

Senior Japanese and US foreign and defence officials will meet in Washington on Monday, with the two governments expected to announce details of the transfer on February 13, Kyodo and the Asahi Shimbun daily said.

Tokyo has struggled to convince Okinawans to accept the plan to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, part of the realignment package.

Many Okinawans, angry at having for decades shouldered the burden of hosting more than half of the 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan, oppose the plan which would relocate the US base to another part of the island.

They say another part of Japan should take the base, instead of Henoko on the east coast of Okinawa, where Tokyo and Washington have agreed to build a giant runway-on-stilts in the sea.

The move to transfer Marines to Guam may compromise Tokyo’s position because Japanese government officials had used it as leverage to convince Okinawa to accept the base relocation, the Asahi said.

read more: RawStory


Lawmakers suggest US consider arming Syrian rebels, as graphic videos emerge

Published February 07, 2012

John McCain and other lawmakers called Tuesday for the U.S. to consider arming the Syrian opposition, as new videos emerged purporting to show the bloody aftermath of the weekend's massacre in the Syrian city of Homs. 
"The bloodletting has got to stop," McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona, said. 

The Obama administration, though, pushed back on the idea -- stressing instead the options of humanitarian assistance and increased international pressure. 

"We don't think more arms into Syria is the answer," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "We think the answer is to get to a national democratic dialogue, for the violence to stop, for the regime's tanks to come out of the cities and then for monitors to be able to go back in." 

The debate in Washington comes in the wake of two major clashes over the weekend -- one at the United Nations Security Council, the other in Homs. At the Security Council, Russia and China blocked an Arab League proposal calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. The Obama administration condemned the veto.

In Homs, Assad's forces were blamed for an assault that activists say killed more than 200 people. Startling and graphic YouTube videos began to surface by Tuesday claiming to show on-the-scene footage from the aftermath of the attack. 

Some videos showed the fighting from a distance, with smoke billowing from the burning buildings of the Homs skyline. 

Others showed what appeared to be makeshift medical quarters, where victims were spread out on the floors for treatment or attempted resuscitation. 

One video, which was aired on Al Jazeera, appeared to show bloodied children, one of them crying out. Another panned to show several wounded victims, though it was not always clear whether the individuals shown were alive. 

McCain, who supported U.S. intervention in Libya, told Fox News that "all options must be on the table" with regard to Syria -- even when Fox News inquired about the use of drones. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also suggested arming the Syrian opposition. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., reportedly has done the same. 

McCain, though, said U.S. troops should not be sent into Syria. 

The Obama administration has pushed back against the prospect of outright military intervention. And without a U.N. resolution, the U.S. may be further deterred from any deep coordination with the Syrian rebels. The administration on Monday announced that it was closing its embassy in Syria. 

Nuland said Tuesday that the administration would "never take anything off the table" but stressed that arming the rebels is not the "right answer" at this point. 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also said "we are not considering that step right now." 

He said the administration is "exploring the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians" and continues to try to work with other nations to "ratchet up the pressure, ratchet up the isolation on Assad and his regime." 
Carney said the Assad regime is "not going to last." 

Read more: FoxNews

No comments: