World View: China Increases Military Force in South China Sea

World View: China Increases Military Force in South China Sea

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Cyprus military base will house Russian aircraft, naval ships
  • China increases military force in South China Sea
  • Conflicts arise between Arab and Chechnya jihadists in Syria
  • Belgium mayor’s underpants stolen from Brussels’ Museum of Underpants

Cyprus military base will house Russian aircraft, naval ships

The cabinet of Cyprus has approved a proposal to offer certainfacilities to the Russian air force at the Andreas Papandreou militaryairbase in Paphos. Cyprus will also open the Limassol port toRussia’s warships. However, some details have not been worked out,including the question of whether there will be a permanent Russianbase at the airport or if Russian military aircraft will only be able toland for refueling or repairs. Russia has a very weak negotiatinghand with Cyprus, especially after Russian depositors lost billions inlast March’s bailout – in addition to Moscow’s very generous 2.5billion euro loan to Cyprus. It’s expected that Russia will usethese military bases as a transit point for arms shipments to theBashar al-Assad regime. Cyprus Mail and Jamestown

China increases military force in South China Sea

China is continuing its “Lebensraum” policy of using its vast militarypower and threats of military force to take control of vast portionsof the South China Sea, including islands and regions that havehistorically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and thePhilippines. China is building a large military base onone of the Paracel Islands that are disputed by other countries andwill station a 5,000 ton patrol ship. The ship will make regularpatrols throughout the region and presumably threaten military forceagainst any vessels from other countries. Vietnam has accused Chinaof harassing and even opening fire on its fishing boats near theParacels. Reuters and AFP

Conflicts arise between Arab and Chechnya jihadists in Syria

As we recently described in detail, there are three groups of anti-Assad militants in Syria:the “moderate” Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the Islamic Front orJabhat al-Nusra, consisting of Syrian citizens who are salafists, andthe al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in the Islamic Emirate in Iraq andSyria/Sham/theLevant (ISIS or ISIL), consisting of many foreignfighters who have been drawn to the region by both the Syria conflictand the deterioration of Iraq since the Americans withdrew.

There are splits and disagreements and clashes among all three ofthese group, but now there are splits within ISIS itself between twogroups of foreign fighters: the Arabic speaking jihadists and theNorth Caucasian fighters, mostly from Chechnya, one of Russia’ssouthern provinces. Many Chechen jihadists in ISIS are defecting toJabhat al-Nusra because they’re apparently being treated assecond-class jihadists in ISIS.

This development has had an ironic effect. With Chechens on bothsides of the al-Nusra vs ISIS divide, they’re able to reach agreementsand avoid clashes that might have killed hundreds of people,including civilians.

There are several hundred, or possibly a thousand, jihadists fromChechnya who have gone to Syria to fight against the Bashar al-Assadregime. The stream of jihadists from Chechnya arriving in Syria maybe reduced because the jihadists might become discouraged by theviolent disagreements among the groups fighting against al-Assad.Jamestown

Belgium mayor’s underpants stolen from Brussels Museum of Underpants

A signed pair of underpants from the mayor of Brussels in Belgium hasbeen stolen from an anarchist bar housing the Museum of Underpants,which explores the relationship between politicians and theirunderwear. The bar is a well-known drinking spot for Belgium’sbohemian far-Left. The museum has the “philosophical purpose to showthat all people are equal in their underpants, whether they arefamous, rich, powerful or all three at the same time.” Telegraph (London)

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