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October 12, 2012

News briefs – October 12, 2012

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,007

 

As of Oct. 9, 2012, at least 2,007 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 1,666 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 118 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 12 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is the same as the department’s tally.

The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 17,684 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

 

Pentagon team in Jordan for Syria crisis

 

A U.S. defense official says an American military team is in Jordan to help with upheaval created by the crisis in neighboring Syria.

He says some 100 military planners and other personnel stayed in Jordan after attending an annual May exercise and several dozen more have flown in since – operating from a joint U.S.-Jordanian military center north of Amman that Americans have used for years.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the mission on the record.

The official stressed that the team is not there to fight, but rather for contingency planning on a number of issues including how to handle the flood of Syrian refugees in Jordan and creating a buffer zone to protect the ally in the continuing crisis. AP

 

Turkey reinforces air base

 

A Turkish news agency says additional fighter jets have been sent to reinforce an air base in the country’s southeast amid escalating tensions with Syria.

The Dogan agency is quoting unidentified military sources as saying that at least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey’s Diyarbakir air base late Oct. 8.

The Turkish military’s chief of staff inspected troops along the border with Syria on Tuesday.

Turkey and Syria have been firing artillery and mortars across their volatile border since last week after shelling from Syria killed five civilians.

The move is also seen as bolstering Turkish forces along the Iraqi border. Turkish jets struck Kurdish rebel targets in two separate cross-border raids in northern Iraq Oct. 7 despite warnings from Baghdad. AP

 

After drone, Israel deploys missile defense unit

 

Israel’s military has deployed a missile defense system near the Lebanese border, days after warplanes shot down a mysterious unmanned aircraft that entered its skies.

An army spokesman said Oct. 9 that the Patriot missile defense battery was deployed in the northern city of Haifa. He refused to say if the battery’s deployment was connected to the Oct. 6 drone incident. The drone is widely believed to have originated in Lebanon.

He spoke anonymously in line with military regulations.

The military has not said where the drone originated or who produced it. But it appears to be the work of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah, which possesses advanced Iranian weapons and has deployed similar aircraft in the past.

Israel deployed Patriots in Haifa during its 2006 war with Hezbollah and on other occasions. AP

 

Seven Navy, military contractors sentenced for bribery

 

Federal prosecutors say four Navy officials and three defense contractors from a San Diego Naval base have been sentenced in a wide-ranging fraud in which they were bribed in exchange for millions in business.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy says the sentences handed down Oct. 9 ranged from 18 to 31 months, with two defendants getting three years of probation.

The seven defendants pleaded guilty in March.

Duffy says officials at Naval Air Station North Island were given more than $1 million in cash and gifts, including flat screen TVs and retail gift cards. In return, their Poway companies received millions of dollars in defense business.

Each defendant was ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Department of the Navy. Three defendants must also pay $3 million restitution to the IRS. AP

 

Putin seeks to boost ties with Iraq

 

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is pushing for closer energy and military cooperation with Iraq.

Putin said during Oct. 10 talks with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Russia’s oil companies are willing to expand their operations in Iraq. He urged al-Maliki to ease company registration procedures and simplify other requirements to help boost ties.

Al-Maliki said that Iraq is also willing to develop military and security cooperation with Russia.

Iraq is seeking foreign investment to develop vast natural resources after decades of war, U.N. sanctions and neglect. It also has voiced interest in buying weapons from Moscow, which supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Russia’s private oil giant Lukoil is developing the 12.9 billion-barrel West Qurna Phase 2 field in southern Iraq. AP

 




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