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Commander Stresses IRGC’s Ability to Target All US Vessels, Bases in Region

Fars News Agency
July 9, 2011

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the US fleets of warships are no longer a threat to Iran since the IRGC now enjoys the capability to hit all US vessels and bases in the region.

“These vessels (US navy ships) are no longer a threat to us given the (desirable) level of our military capabilities,” Hajizadeh told reporters in a press conference on the achievements of the IRGC’s recent missile drills, codenamed “Payambar-e Azam (The Great Messenger) 6”.

“A large (aircraft) carrier with a length of 330 meters, 70 meters width, 6,000 forces and 70-80 aircraft aboard is an easy target for us, and if they want to threaten us, we will attack them” the commander added, but at the same time underlined that “Iran will never initiate a war”.

He also underlined Iran’s missile capabilities, and stated that about 70% of the US bases in the region are maximum 300 to 400 kilometers away from Iran, meaning that all of them are within the scope of the IRGC’s short and mid-range missiles.

Hajizadeh further stressed that the enemy cannot track or intercept the Iranian anti-ship and anti-vessel missiles since they are supersonic. …

Raed on: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9004183578

Iraqi parties to decide on US presence

Press TV
July 10, 2011

Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani says the country’s political parties will have two weeks to make a final decision on the extension of US troop presence in Iraq beyond December 2011.

“All parties have discussed the matter, and we have all agreed that each one will… give its final response within two weeks,” AFP quoted Talabani as saying on Saturday.

He made the remarks in a press conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as top Shia, Sunni and Kurd political officials.

“The issue of the US troop presence has been thoroughly discussed and our brothers (politicians) decided to tackle the issue with their friends, allies and parties to come after two weeks with a decisive result,” Talabani said.

Iraq’s Sadr Movement has rejected the likely presence of US troops beyond 2011, saying it will take up arms against American forces if US military does not withdraw from the war-weary country. …

Read on: www.presstv.com/detail/188411.html

House easily passes $649 billion defense bill, boosting Pentagon budget by $17 billion

Washington Post
July 8, 2011

Money for the Pentagon and the nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is proving largely immune from the budget-cutting that’s slamming other government agencies in the rush to bring down the deficit.

On a 336-87 vote Friday, the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly backed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Defense Department budget by $17 billion. The strong bipartisan embrace of the measure came as White House and congressional negotiators face an Aug. 2 deadline on agreeing to trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts and raising the borrowing limit so the U.S. does not default on debt payments.

While House Republican leaders agreed to slash billions from the proposed budgets for other agencies, hitting food aid for low-income women, health research, energy efficiency and much more, the military budget is the only one that would see a double-digit increase in its account beginning Oct. 1

Concerns about undermining national security, cutting military dollars at a time of war and losing defense jobs back home trumped fiscal discipline in the House. Only 12 Republicans and 75 Democrats opposed the overall bill. …

Read on: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-pushes-to-finish-649b-defense-bill-sends-mixed-message-on-libya/2011/07/08/gIQAE0KJ3H_story.html

‘Mini-surge’ of U.S. Special Forces to hit Afghanistan

Stars and Stripes
July 4, 2011

U.S. military leaders are working to replace some of the exiting American conventional forces from Afghanistan with a “mini-surge” of U.S. Special Forces, a measure to soothe commanders’ fears that the withdrawal of troops might put at risk military gains, according to the Times out of Australia.

Military sources told The Times that 16 special operations personnel are considered to be worth the equivalent of 100 conventional troops.

In June, President Obama announced plans to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The remainder of the surge troops, about 23,000, would be withdrawn in 2012, leaving about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2014. …


Sat nav sends US servicemen round the wrong bend in Suffolk

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
By Rebecca Gough
July 2, 2011

They may have the same name – but that’s where the similarities well and truly stop.

One is a sleepy village in Wiltshire – and the other is 170 miles away and the largest US air base in the UK.

But thanks to a mix-up caused by in-car satellite navigation systems, American service personnel are being directed to Mildenhall, near Marlborough, in the west country rather than the massive RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

John Desmond, the landlord of the Horseshoe Inn, a popular pub in the Wiltshire village, said personnel arrived roughly 11 or 12 times a year.

“It’s mainly American airforce personnel who end up in the village asking, ‘Where’s the airbase?’,” he said. “Then I have to break the bad news to them. 
“I always let them sit down because you’ve got a feel a bit sorry for them, especially when they’ve been travelling a long way.

“I’ve had a fighter pilot and a major and I had a family of eight in a people carrier. The family stayed for some Sunday lunch. It’s sad really because they’ve come so far.
“With the US major he picked the car up from Heathrow, which is quite close to us, and just typed in Mildenhall and of course it brought him here.

“It’s mostly Americans but we also get German and French lorry drivers. They’re gobsmacked when they find out that the base is in Suffolk.”

RAF Mildenhall is one of the largest US air bases in the UK. It is home to several airborne units and supports 16,000 personnel

Mildenhall, Wiltshire, is a village of thatched cottages with a population of 457 in the 2001 census. The name is pronounced “Minal”.

Despite reports that a USAF navigator, major and fighter pilot are among those who have ended up in the village, the RAF base says it has no records of “lost personnel”. …

Read on: www.edp24.co.uk/news/sat_nav_sends_us_servicemen_round_the_wrong_bend_in_suffolk_1_950847

Guam buildup could cost $23.9 billion over next decade, GAO says

Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
June 28, 2011

Plans to transform Guam into a major military hub will cost the U.S., Japan and Guam at least $23.9 billion over the next decade, according to estimates released this week by the Government Accountability Office.

The money would pay for the relocation of thousands of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, training ranges on nearby Tinian, transient berthing for aircraft carriers, and an Air Force reconnaissance and strike center. But the price tag could climb even higher because the Department of Defense has not yet calculated all the costs of the massive project, including the possibility of putting an anti-ballistic missile defense system on the island, according to the report released Monday.

The Guam buildup and plans to shift U.S. forces in Japan by relocating the Futenma air station on Okinawa have come under fire from the U.S. Senate, which has called the realignment plans expensive and unneeded. Earlier this month, a Senate panel voted to bar any funding from the upcoming defense budget for the realignment until the military better justifies the need. …

Read on: www.stripes.com/news/pacific/guam/guam-buildup-could-cost-23-9-billion-over-next-decade-gao-says-1.147675