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Ukraine, Iran-US Relations, ISR Breakthrough

Dated: 14 Aug 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Uncategorized
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Ukraine: A convoy of more than two hundred Russian aid trucks headed in the direction of Rostov early Thursday, raising speculation that the group would attempt to enter Ukraine through separatist territory instead of an official Ukrainian border. Meanwhile, Donetsk, the rebel stronghold, faced heavy shelling Thursday.

Iran-US Relations: The U.S. and Iran—longtime competitors for influence in Iraq—have found themselves on the same side as both rush to reinforce the Kurdish Peshmerga in the north of the country in its fight against the militant group Islamic State. A reporter witnessed Kurdish commanders meeting with Iranian advisers close to where U.S. advisers had huddled with Peshmerga and Iraqi air force chiefs earlier this week while John Kerry in June said he wouldn’t rule out cooperating militarily with Iran.

ISR Breakthrough : University of California Santa Barbara researchers have demonstrated a system for two unmanned vehicles to see through thick concrete walls using only Wi-Fi signals. Potential applications include search-and-rescue operations and surveillance.  One robot measures the wireless transmissions of the other robot that is in the broadcast mode. Each wireless transmission passes through the unknown area, and the objects attenuate the signal depending on their material properties and locations.

Iraq, US Energy, Defense Technology

Dated: 12 Aug 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Uncategorized
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Iraq: The political crisis in Iraq has deepened after President Fuad Masum designated deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Abadi to form the country’s next government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki angrily dismissed the appointment as he tried to maintain his grip on power. Mr. Abadi is untested as a leader but is considered outward-looking technocrat and international in perspective, and is seen as less divisive than Mr. Maliki and more averse to sectarianism. This comes as the CIA began to arm the Kursish forces in northern Iraq and attention is being given to the Mosul Dam, which is controlled by the Islamic State.  The dam, known as the world’s most dangerous, is part of the US’s calculation behind the decision to intervene in Iraq: the potential for a 65-foot wave to engulf the northern city of Mosul, and even flood the central capital Baghdad is now a likely possibility.

US Energy: Interesting article behind the political shifts due to the boom in US energy reserves.  Also notable: “since March 2008, oil production has increased 58% and natural-gas output has risen 21%, making the U.S. the world’s largest producer of both fuels, according to federal and international agency statistics”.

Defense Technology: List of the Top 5 defense technologies for 2014.  From the Iron Dome which has proven successful in protecting Israel from an onslaught of rocket fire from Hamas to the Space Plane with the goals for the SX-1 that include flying 10 times in 10 days, flying to better than Mach 10 and launching a 3,000- to 5,000-pound payload for less than $5 million per flight, these are some of the key technologies to keep your eye on for the remainder of the year.