Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani told the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN) television news channel on Friday evening that Iranian, Chinese and Russian forces will jointly practice exercises during the 2024 Marine Security Belt naval war game. He added that delegates from Pakistan, Brazil, Oman, India, South Africa and a number of the Caspian Sea littoral states have also been invited to participate in the drills as observers. Iranian naval forces and their Chinese and Russian counterparts have held several military drills in recent years to improve the security of international maritime trade, counter piracy and maritime terrorism, exchange information in naval rescue and relief operations, and exchange operational and tactical experiences.
Above photo: Greenleft.org.au. With over 30,000 U.S. and Australian military forces and representatives from 11 other countries conducting in the
On June 10, hundreds of activists from various anti-imperialist and anti-war groups as well as the Communist Party of Germany (DKP) marched to the Wunstorf Air Base in Hannover to protest the NATO’s Air Defender 2023 exercise scheduled from June 12-June 23. A vigil was also held at the Spangdahlem Air Base near Trier, which will also serve as a base for the exercise. Die Linke organized protests against the NATO exercise on June 11. The protestors denounced war-mongering and projection of military might by NATO amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and demanded a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, as well as removal of US nuclear weapons from Germany.
The U.S. military had threatened to use the mountains of Sinjajevina as a training ground between May 22nd and June 2nd, together with other troops under the banner of NATO. Instead, the troops went to other locations in Montenegro but never to the mountains of Sinjajevina. Milan Sekulovic of Save Sinjajevina credited local and international pressure — including from International Land Coalition — for this latest success in the ongoing campaign to protect Sinjajavina from being turned into a military training ground. It also may have helped that Montenegro has parliamentary elections on June 11th.
This past month, more than 3,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers participated in a three-week live-fire military exercise called Balikatan, which included a drill to blow up a mock Chinese warship in the South China Sea. The exercises coincided with the U.S. Navy’s sailing a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Milius, within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands near the Philippines, over which China claims sovereignty. The Biden administration’s two-pronged show of force followed President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s decision to expand U.S. access to Filipino military bases—which are really U.S. bases that violate the Filipino constitution’s prohibition of foreign military bases in the country.
On Monday, the NATO military alliance will hold a training exercise, known as Steadfast Noon, in which US B-52 bombers and F-16 fighters will simulate dropping atomic bombs over Europe amid a deepening nuclear standoff with Russia. The training exercise comes just ten days after US President Joe Biden warned of a nuclear “apocalypse,” saying the risk of nuclear war is the greatest since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. “This is the exercise that practices NATO’s nuclear strike mission with dual-capable aircraft and the B61 tactical nuclear bombs the US deploys in Europe,” wrote Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. The aircraft will rehearse dropping B61 “tactical” thermonuclear bombs, each of which is up to 20 times more powerful than the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima in World War II, killing as many as 126,000 civilians.
The western corporate media described the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s launch of two missiles Aug. 17 as threatening, aggressive and paranoid. What most media failed to report was the prior U.S. military exercises with Japan and South Korea off Hawai’i, in preparation for extensive war exercises off Korea, that provoked the DPRK’s two warning shots. An Aug. 19 article in the Daily Beast, an online news website, headlined a longer and upcoming military land, sea and air exercise this way: “U.S. to Enrage Kim Jong Un With Assassination Dry Run.” The article then reads: “For the first time in years, joint exercises between the U.S. and South Korea this month will culminate in a trial run of decapitating the North Korean leadership.
The drills will be the largest in years, and follow the May election of President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised to take a hardline with North Korea. Union leaders worry about risks. While many South Koreans, especially supporters of President Yoon on the right, favor close ties with the U.S., large numbers also argue the US military and the country’s alliance with Washington, prevent the improvement of ties with North Korea – and generate tension. The drills will reportedly involve a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group with extensive field training to include amphibious maneuvers. South Korea has also been training alongside US forces with recently acquired American F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. “In an effort to strengthen US-South Korea - alliance military officials from Seoul and Washington will meet to discuss the deployment of US strategic assets and extended deterrence, which refers to the deployment of US nuclear weapons in the defense of South Korea.
Amid the hype around a potential Russian invasion, Moscow announced Tuesday that it is withdrawing troops from areas near Ukraine as military drills in the region conclude. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, said troops in Russia’s southern and western military districts have concluded drills and “have already begun loading onto rail and road transport and will begin moving to their military garrisons today.” Russia’s Tass news agency reported that troops are leaving Crimea after scheduled drills, and some are returning to permanent bases in Dagestan and North Ossetia. Konashenkov also said that the Russian troops currently drilling in Belarus would be returning to their bases once the exercises conclude on February 20th, something Russian military leaders have made clear since the deployment started.
The African Lion, the largest military exercise on the African Continent planned and led by the US Army, has begun. It includes land, air, and naval maneuvers in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and adjacent seas – from North Africa to West Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. 8,000 soldiers are taking part in it, half of them is American with about 200 tanks, self-propelled guns, planes, and warships. African Lion 21 is expected to cost $ 24 million and has implications that make it particularly important. This political move was fundamentally decided in Washington: the African exercise is taking place for the first time in Western Sahara i.e. this year in the territory of the Sahrawi Republic, recognized by over 80 UN States, whose existence Morocco denied and fought against by any means.
Phoenix Express 2021 (PE21), a 12-day US-Africa Command (AFRICOM)-sponsored military exercise involving 13 states in the Mediterranean Sea, concluded on Friday, May 28. It had kicked off from the naval base in Tunis, Tunisia, on May 16. The drills in this exercise covered naval maneuvers across the stretch of the Mediterranean Sea, including on the territorial waters of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. The regimes in these countries, which cover the entire northern and northwestern coastline of Africa, participated in the drill – one of the three regional maritime exercises conducted by the US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF). Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain were the European states that participated in the drill.
Choe Son Hui, First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, gave a statement to media on the 17th. The statement said: The United States has tried to make contact with us through several channels including that in New York since mid February. Recently, it requested the contact with us by e-mail and telephone message through different channels and, at the night just before the start of the joint military exercises, sent us through a third country another message for our affirmative response to the contact. However, we deem it not necessary to consent the US attempt to get time again. We declared already our stand that any DPRK-US contact and dialogue cannot be made unless the US hostile policy is withdrawn and, accordingly, will ignore such US attempt in the future.
One of the thorniest foreign policy challenges the Biden administration will need to face is a nuclear-armed North Korea. Talks between the U.S. and North Korea have been stalled since 2019, and North Korea has continued to develop its weapons arsenal, recently unveiling what appears to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile. As a retired U.S. Army Colonel and U.S. diplomat with 40 years of experience, I know all too well how actions by the U.S. military can exacerbate tensions that lead to war. That’s why the organization I am a member of, Veterans for Peace, is one of several hundred civil society organizations in the U.S. and South Korea urging the Biden administration to suspend the upcoming combined U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
International Organizations Urge Biden Administration To Suspend US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises
On Wednesday, a statement endorsed by 110 U.S., 197 South Korean, and 80 international civil society organizations was sent to the Biden administration urging the suspension of annual combined military exercises with South Korea in order to restart diplomacy with North Korea. In the statement, the groups note these “costly and highly provocative war exercises” — which are based on operation plans that reportedly include pre-emptive strikes and “decapitation measures” against the North Korean leadership — heighten military and political tensions on the Korean Peninsula. As such, they are a major obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the ongoing 70-year-old Korean War.
During the pandemic the U.S. military is running the largest maritime military maneuvers in the world, with Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) coming to the waters off Hawaii Aug. 17-31, bringing 26 nations, 25,000 military personnel, up to 50 ships and submarines and hundreds of aircraft. Hawaii hasstringent measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all persons arriving in the state; returning residents as well as visitors. This quarantine is required until at least June 30, 2020. The U.S. Army is also pursuing a 6,000-person war game in Poland, June 5-19, with a Polish airborne operation and a U.S.-Polish division-size river crossing.