Pakistan to respond to Saudi’s territorial integrity threat
Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif has reiterated that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will evoke a response from Islamabad.
Sharif made the remarks Jan. 10 in a statement after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman called on him in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital.
Salman earlier arrived in Islamabad, making him the second top Saudi official to visit Pakistan in a week amid growing tension with Iran over Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr’s recent execution.
The prince is also expected to meet with other Pakistani leaders. The visits came after Saudi Arabia and several of its allies announced the severing or downgrading of diplomatic relations with Shiite powerhouse Iran.
Pakistan, a predominantly Sunni state, also has a large Shiite population. AP
U.S. drone crashes in Iraq; not shot down by enemy fire
U.S. military officials say an American Predator drone crashed Jan. 7 in Iraq but say it was not shot down by enemy fire.
Islamic State militants claimed they shot down the drone and showed photos of wreckage.
U.S. Air Forces Central Command says the military lost control of the drone, but the specific cause of its crash is being investigated. The drone was flying a combat mission and came down Thursday near Al Qaim in central Iraq.
U.S. Central Command says an airstrike was later used to destroy the wreckage to prevent Islamic State fighters from gaining access to the drone technology. The Air Force says there were no reports of civilian injuries or damage to civilian property at the crash site. AP
Dummy Hellfire missile mistakenly shipped to Cuba
A dummy U.S. Hellfire missile was mistakenly shipped from Europe to Cuba in 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 7.
The inert missile did not contain any explosives, the Journal reported, but there are concerns that Cuba could share the technology with potential U.S. adversaries like North Korea or Russia.
The Journal report was attributed to anonymous “people familiar with the matter.” A U.S. official with knowledge of the situation, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity, confirmed its veracity to The Associated Press.
According to the Defense Department, the Hellfire is a laser-guided, air-to-surface missile that weighs about 100 pounds. It can be deployed from an attack helicopter like the Apache or an unmanned drone like the Predator. It is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The Hellfire training missile contains an incomplete guidance section and has no operational seeker head, warhead, fusing system or rocket motor.
The U.S. official told the AP that Lockheed was authorized to export the dummy missile for a NATO training exercise. The official attributed the shipping error to Lockheed’s freight forwarders, and said the U.S. was working with Lockheed to get the device back.
The official said the U.S. doesn’t want any defense technology to remain in a proscribed country, whether that country can use it or not. The official said there is greater concern that Cuba could give more technically advanced countries access to the dummy.
According to the Journal report, the missile was properly shipped to Spain, where it was used in the training exercise. It was then taken on a somewhat roundabout journey through Spain, Germany and France before winding up at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. From there, it was supposed to have been shipped back to Florida; instead, it was loaded onto an Air France flight to Havana.
U.S. officials have been urging the Cuban government to return the missile, the Journal’s sources said. The U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in July 2015 after more than 50 years of hostility.
The Journal reported that the U.S. is also investigating whether the missile’s disappearance was a deliberate act of espionage. AP
Washington to require transparency on aerospace tax breaks
A new ruling in Washington state requires Boeing and other aerospace firms to begin disclosing savings from some of their biggest tax breaks.
The Seattle Times reports that the state Department of Revenue reversed its previous decision on the issue after the newspaper challenged the tax agency’s interpretation of a transparency law passed in 2013.
The department previously said Boeing and other firms wouldn’t have to reveal their savings for a decade. But a department executive sent a letter to The Seattle Times this week to say the agency reconsidered and will require disclosures beginning this year.
The agency says it told Boeing and hundreds of other aerospace firms that they must publicly disclose their tax-break benefits for 2014 and 2015 by early May. AP