Saudi generals use Yemen war to showcase their new swagger

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — There’s no fog of war here. It’s more like a high-gloss, stage-crafted showcase of Saudi Arabia’s new military swagger. Every evening since the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen began last week, the fortress-like grounds of the defense ministry in Riyadh has opened to journalists. They listen to a briefing on the latest […]


Obama Lifts Arms Freeze Against Egypt –


The Perils of an Arab NATO

The U.S. and Western powers should be cautious of an Arab NATO.


Editorial: Saudi Arabia’s Ominous Reach Into Yemen

The bombing campaign threatens to turn a civil war into a larger Shiite-Sunni war with Iran. The Saudis should instead be pushing for political solutions.


Navy to Decommission Big Deck Amphib Peleliu Tuesday, Ship Will Join Pearl Harbor Inactive Fleet

USS Peleliu (LHA 5) is underway in the Philippine Sea in its last 2014 deployment. US Navy Photo

USS Peleliu (LHA 5) is underway in the Philippine Sea in its last 2014 deployment. US Navy Photo

The last Tarawa-class big deck amphibious warship will decommission in a ceremony at Naval Station San Diego on Tuesday ahead of joining the Navy’s inactive reserve fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the service announced on Monday.

The San Diego based USS Peleliu (LHA-5) is the last of the class originally begun in the early 1970s designed to transport up to 1,900 Marines and their aviation compliment as the lead ship in a Navy/Marine Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU).

“Capable of launching a coordinated air and sea attack from one platform, Peleliu has conducted 17 deployments, 178,051 flight operations, served 57,983 personnel and steamed approximately 1,011,946 nautical miles since being commissioned on May 3, 1980, in Pascagoula, Miss.,” read a Monday statement from the service.

Nicknamed the “Iron Nickel,” Peleliu’s deployments included a significant role in the 2001 Operation Swift Freedom in which Marines from the 15th and 26th MEUs departed the ship — assigned to Naval Expeditionary Task Force 58 — to take and hold one of the first U.S. footholds in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Other deployments included assisting in the evacuation of personnel from the Philippines following the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and aided civilians in following the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

The ship returned to San Diego on Christmas Eve 2014 following its final six-month deployment in the Western Pacific with USS Germantown (LSD-42) and the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

The class is due to be replaced by the new 45,000-ton America-class big decks. First-in-class USS America (LHA-6) commissioned in October and is stationed in San Diego.

Peleliu will join lead ship Tarawa (LHA-1) and Nassau (LHA-4) in the inactive fleet in Pearl Harbor. Sister ship Saipan (LHA-2) was scrapped and Belleau Wood (LHA-3) was sunk as a target.


Frenemies: a story of Iran, Israel, and the United States

The Iran nuclear talks are one of President Obama’s top foreign policy priorities. But they’ve also wreaked havoc on America’s relationship with its closest ally in the Middle East: Israel.

International negotiators want Iran to agree to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Obama’s strategy has been to try to convince Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to side with relative nuclear moderates, like President Hassan Rouhani. That’s meant reaching out to Iran in an attempt to bolster the position of the Rouhani camp.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees Iran as an implacably hostile enemy. He believes Iran will walk away with the sanctions relief and then go nuclear anyway.

Unable to convince the Obama administration of his position, Netanyahu began working with congressional Republicans in a clear attempt to sabotage the talks.

The whole thing has left Obama in a strange position.

Israel and the United States are close allies, and Iran is a traditional enemy for both of them. But the nuclear negotiations have seen allies squabbling while enemies negotiate, with the added trickiness for Obama of the emerging coalition between Israel and the Republicans.

These are bizarre times to be watching US foreign policy in the Middle East.


Textron Eyes Scorpion CAS, T-X Missions

Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet continues to look for a first customer, but the company remains optimistic about the future of its ISR/light strike platform.


Greece Looks to Russia as Deal With Europe Stumbles

A meeting next week between Greece’s prime minister and Russia’s president raises questions as European leaders said a reform plan had fallen short.


How France Became an Iran Hawk | Foreign Policy

How France Became an Iran Hawk


A Nuclear Deal Israel Could Live With

How to Bridge the Gap Between Jerusalem and Washington

March 30, 2015

Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov


Israel and the United States share the same strategic goal: preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The intelligence services of both countries are also largely in agreement on the status of the Iranian program. But they remain deeply divided on what to do about it. Here’s how to bring them together.

As the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran reach a crucial moment, it is worth recalling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to the U.S. Congress.