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The drama of the exodus from Venezuela forces Colombia to reinforce the border

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The massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia has become in recent months a humanitarian emergency that affects both countries, which share some 2,200 kilometers of border. It is under the regime of Nicolás Maduro, because of the structural shortage that hits the population. And it is on the other side of the Táchira or Arauca rivers, where the impact of migratory flows, which increased by 110% last year, is increasingly difficult to sustain, according to local authorities. Around 550,000 people, with visa and without papers, arrived with the intention of staying in Colombia. That figure, according to official estimates, can reach one million in July. The colombian president Santos explained that military control will be reinforced at border crossingsand on the trails, the most remote roads become the usual routes of contraband, crime and human trafficking. At the same time, the authorities seek to regulate the entry of Venezuelans in a “controlled, orderly and within the law” manner.

EMI successfully launches first Bolivian missile for defense

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The rector of the Military School of Engineering (EMI), Rommel Morón, reported that in November of last year the first missile was successfully launched, in the testing stage, manufactured by Bolivian scientists. There is the first prototype that is in the process of study and design. “We have launched a first rocket, a first Bolivian missile, elaborated, thought, made with scientists from the Military School of Engineering, teachers of the Military School of Engineering, in our Aerospace Development Center located in the city of Cochabamba”, said Morón, after signing a training agreement with the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN). Morón Romero said that military engineers contribute to the security and defense of the State, and that is why the EMI was made available to the Army. “A prototype that is still in the process of study and design; but we have already demonstrated the effectiveness of this device that has been developed, manufactured at the prototype level”, he said.

Saudi activist detained after questioning Saudi-Israel ties

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

A UK-based rights group reports that a Saudi activist, who questioned the normalisation of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, has been detained in her home country, and could face up to five years in prison. The woman, Noha al-Balawi has reportedly been under detention in the northwestern region of Tabuk for more than two weeks, ALQST, a group advocating for human rights in Saudi Arabia, said on Thursday. According to ALQST, al-Balawi was asked to report to a police station in Tabuk on January 23, only to be arrested, and has been detained ever since. Authorities reportedly questioned al-Balawi about her social media activities, including posts questioning the normalisation of ties between her country and Israel, the rights group said.  In one video clip widely circulated on social media, Balawi declared, “Normalisation means accepting the occupation”, in reference to Israel’s continued control of Palestinian land. And again “Let me make it clear; we will never recognise Israel no matter what it will cost us. There is not a single benefit for Arabs when we normalise relations with Israel. It only serves the best interests of the Zionist state,”.  However, in recent months, relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have warmed up, with a flurry of diplomatic activities between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.  According to the report, the investigating officer had referred al-Balawi’s case for trial under the country’s cybercrime law. Article 6 of the law states that a person “who creates or transmits anything prejudicial to public order” could face up to five years in jail, and/or a fine of up to $800,000. The Human right group said Saudi authorities are trying to mislead the public by denying al-Balawi’s detention in what seems clearly an “obvious attempt” to silence public opinion. The group call for an immediate and unconditional release and for let her “restoring” her social media presence allowing her to express her opinions. It remains still unclear when and in which court al-Balawi will be judged.

Nigeria to send troops to restive central states

in AFRICA/DEFENCE by

Major General David Ahmadu of Nigeria’s army, on Wednesday 7th of February, said it would send troops from February 15 into the country’s volatile central states to quell violence between farmers and herders that has killed hundreds in recent weeks, particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa state.

Military deliveries to Lebanese Army

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

In the last week, the United States delivered ammunition, grenade launchers and combat vehicles worth over $ 11.7 million to the Lebanese Armed Forces, the US embassy in Beirut said. On February 1, LAF received two hundred MK-19 automatic missile launchers; on February 3, eight new Bradley combat vehicles were delivered, part of a package worth over $ 100 million; today 827 Copperhead ammunitions. The goal is to replenish the LAF stocks used to defeat ISIS in the Fajr al Jouroud operation. “With weapons, equipment and training provided by the United States, the LAF will continue to maintain good fighting capabilities, ensuring that it remains a unifying force at the national level, a bulwark against extremism and terrorism, as well as the sole legitimate defender of the Lebanon”. A phrase with which, indirectly, the Embassy refers to the growing presence of the armed group of Hezbollah.

Surrender of a terrorist in Tamanrasset

in AFRICA/DEFENCE by

As part of the fight against terrorism and thanks to the efforts of the National People’s Army units, a terrorist a terrorist surrendered to the Tamanrasset military authorities. His name is “Kh. K. Benmoussa “alias” Abu Mohamed”, who joined the terrorist groups in 2013.

Yemenis furious reaction after US drone attack ended up in civil casualties

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On Sunday in the Yemenite city of Ateq a protest has been held to denounce the target of innocent civilians by US drone. On January 28 in Shabwa’s Said district residents confirmed that a drone attack has blown up a car carrying at least six male members of the same family and another person.  Saleh al-Aishi al-Ateequi, a relative of the victims who organized the protest, told local media that “the victims were all innocent civilians who had nothing to do with political or religious organisation”. In addition, he harshly blamed the Arab coalition at war with Yemen to be responsible for the deaths, saying it is in charge for the country’s airspace and for protecting civilians lives. The United States is the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen and normally it does not comment on its operation. However, the January raid, the first operation of this kind authorised by Trump administration resulted in a bloodshed.  The Yemenis “casualties” and the number of US soldiers injured and the death of a Navy seal shows how risky the operation was. Thus, because of the involvement of the American soldier, the raid attracted widespread media attention. Trump refers to the Yemen’s operation only to praise the service of the US soldier, without mentioning that the raid on Yakla, an impoverished and desolate town, resulted in the deaths of at least 16 civilians, including women and children. The White House has admitted the likely involvement of civilians while the proposed objectives of the operation were al-Qaeda fighters. After Obama, the first president who widely used the drones attacks in order to do not deploy “troops on the ground”, President Trump is likely to follow, or even empower, the previous administration strategy. Only last year Donal Trump authorised 125 drone attacks.

US starts Iraq drawdown after declaration of victory over IS

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American troops have started to draw down from Iraq following Baghdad’s declaration of victory over the Islamic State group last year, according to Western contractors at a U.S.-led coalition base in Iraq. In Baghdad, an Iraqi government spokesman on Monday confirmed to The Associated Press that the drawdown has begun, though he stressed it was still in its early stages and doesn’t mark the beginning of a complete pullout of U.S. forces. Dozens of American soldiers have been transported from Iraq to Afghanistan on daily flights over the past week, along with weapons and equipment, the contractors said.

Macedonia and Albania cooperation against terrorism

in DEFENCE/EUROPE by

Skopje and Pristina concluded a memorandum of police cooperation in the field of terrorism. The memorandum has been signed Saturday by Macedonian and Albanian Interior Ministers, respectively, Oliver Spasovski and Fatmir Xhafaj, in Ohrid. The document foresees exchange of information of individuals and groups considered potential perpetrators of terrorist actions both in the two countries and in the whole region. Macedonia’s Interior Ministry expressed to consider the terrorism as a global threat as well as a risk for the countries in the Balkans. Thus, the memorandum envisages the terrorism from a preventive and repressive way. Spasovski stated Interior Ministries ‘are actively cooperating in protection and control of the border but also providing easy flow of people and goods’. From his part, Xhafaj noted that the agreement is on cooperation as for present than for future. Moreover, the two countries ‘should follow the excellent relations between as appropriate to two neighbors and our cooperation as ministries to follow those principles and thus contribute to greater security that can be a positive example for the region. The meeting concerned also the cooperation between Macedonia and Albania in the fields of drug trafficking, arms smuggling, exchange of information, experiences and positives practices, promotion of cooperation bilaterally and in the regional framework. In addition, Spasovski stated to support the initiative of the Albanian Police to establish a regional center for police cooperation of the Western Balkan countries.

Saudi-led forces denied that Houthi militias have targeted Riyadh with ballistic missile

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Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition, denied rumors circulated by some media release that Houthi militias managed to successfully target Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. Al-Malki confirmed that it was rather a failed attempt by the Iran-backed militias to fire a ballistic missile toward an uninhabited desert. He pointed out that the terrorist Houthi militias have admitted through their media outlets that they deliberately target civilians, in clear violation of international humanitarian law.

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