Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: Female Car Bomber Kills 12 In Kabul

Defense News: DTN News - AFGHAN WAR NEWS: Female Car Bomber Kills 12 In Kabul
*Revenge for an anti-Islam film made in America
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources by Sardar Ahmad  Agence-France Presse
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 18, 2012: A female suicide car bomber attacked a van in Kabul Tuesday, killing 12 people, including eight South Africans, in an assault insurgents said was in revenge for an anti-Islam film made in America.

The bombing on a highway leading to Kabul international airport was the second suicide attack in the heavily fortified city in 10 days, reviving questions about stability as NATO accelerates a troop withdrawal and hands over to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
It came as officers revealed that Western troops are scaling back joint operations with Afghans after 51 NATO soldiers were shot dead this year by their local colleagues, a setback for the war strategy that focuses on training Afghans to take over.
An AFP photographer saw at least six bodies lying among the wreckage of a gutted minivan, and another vehicle destroyed by flames still burning in the middle of the highway, with debris flung all around.
"At around 6:45 am (0215 GMT) a suicide bomber using a sedan blew himself up along the airport road in District 15. As a result, nine workers of a foreign company and three Afghan civilians are dead, and two police are wounded," police said in a statement.
An Afghan and a Western security official said nine foreigners were killed. The South African foreign ministry said eight of its citizens were among the dead.
"The foreigners were from a private company working at the airport," the Afghan official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it had no reports that its personnel were among the casualties.
Afghanistan's second largest insurgent group, Hezb-i-Islami, claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by a woman to avenge the "Innocence of Muslims" film, which has sparked a weekof furious anti-US riots across Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
"The bombing was carried out by a woman named Fatima. The bombing was in retaliation for the insult to our Prophet," spokesman Zubair Sidiqi in a telephone call to AFP from an undisclosed location.
It is extremely rare for the faction to claim a suicide attack in Afghanistan. It is also rare for women, few of whom drive in Afghanistan, to carry out suicide attacks.
A police investigator said he believed the bomber was female, after finding parts of a woman's leg.
On Monday, protests turned violent for the first time in Afghanistan over the low-budget trailer for the film, which is believed to have been produced by extremist Christians, as hundreds hurled stones at a US military base and clashed with police.
In the northern city of Kunduz, several hundred university students threw stones at police and set fire to photographs of US President Barack Obama in a fresh protest on Tuesday.
Under new orders, most joint patrols and advisory work with Afghan troops -- the cornerstone of NATO departure plans -- will have to be approved by a regional commander.
Cooperation with smaller units will have to be "evaluated on a case-by-case basis and approved by RC (regional) commanders", ISAF said in a statement.
NATO, which is helping the Afghan government fight a Taliban-led insurgency now in its 11th year, is gradually withdrawing its 112,600 remaining troops.
But as so-called insider attacks have grown, US commanders have gradually acknowledged the assaults pose a serious threat to the war effort and have struggled to stem the problem.
The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General John Allen, "has directed all operational commanders to review force protection and tactical activities in the light of the current circumstances", a US military officer in Washington said in an email.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at a news conference in Beijing, said the attacks were worrisome but that he believed Allen had taken the right approach to counter the problem.
But he insisted the insider assaults would not delay or derail plans to complete a drawdown of troops by the end of 2014 as planned.
The decision came after six ISAF soldiers were shot dead by suspected Afghan police and after the Taliban destroyed six US fighter jets in an unprecedented assault on a major base in the south this weekend.
It was unclear how the new rules for joint patrols might affect the plan to pull out the bulk of NATO combat forces, as some Afghan units are considered ill-prepared to begin operating independently.
Afghanistan police and officials investigate the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 12 people, including nine foreigners.
Map locating Kabul where at least 12 people were killed in a suicide attack on Tuesday
Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah group hold signs during a rally in Beirut to denounce a film mocking Islam on September 17, 2012. An eruption of Muslim anger over a trailer of the American-made film that appeared on the Internet has spread across the world, taking hold in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the West Bank, the Philippines and Yemen.
A Pakistani activist from Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, a student wing of the hard line Sunni party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), throws a tear gas shell towards the police near the US consulate during a protest against an anti-Islam movie in Karachi.
Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah addresses thousands of supporters who took to the streets of southern Beirut to denounce a film mocking Islam on September 17, 2012. Nasrallah, who made a rare public appearance, has called for a week of protests across the country over the low-budget, US-made film, describing it as the "worst attack ever on Islam."

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources by Sardar Ahmad  Agence-France Presse 
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com 

DTN News - CHINA DEFENSE NEWS: China Builds Its Own Military-Industrial Complex

Defense News: DTN News - CHINA DEFENSE NEWS: China Builds Its Own Military-Industrial Complex
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Reuters
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 17, 2012:  When China turned to Russia for supplies of advanced weapons through the 1990s, it kick-started Beijing's military build-up with an immediate boost in firepower.

It also demonstrated the failure of its domestic defense sector which was still turning out obsolete 1950s vintage equipment for the People's Liberation Army from a sprawling network of state-owned arms makers.

Now, after more than two decades of soaring military spending, this once backward industry has been transformed -- China is creating its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector taking a leading role.

With Tiananmen-era bans on Western military sales to China still in place, an innovative and efficient domestic arms industry is crucial for Beijing as it assembles a modern military force capable of enforcing claims over Taiwan and disputed maritime territories.

China has locked horns recently with its Southeast Asian neighbors over conflicting claims to strings of islets in the South China Sea. Tensions have also flared with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, even as the United States executes a strategic military pivot towards the Pacific.

Well funded defense groups have rapidly absorbed the technology and expertise needed to build complex weapons, freeing China from its former heavy reliance on Russian and other foreign equipment, Chinese and Western experts say.

"A country's defense sector should reflect the strength of the country's economy," says Wu Da, a portfolio manager at Beijing-based Changsheng Fund Management Co Ltd which invests in listed Chinese defense stocks.

But, he adds, the sector is so shrouded in secrecy it's been hard to assess how viable it is.

"Some of the Chinese defense groups are already quite strong after so much military spending in recent years but you don't know exactly how well they are doing financially or technologically because China does not want others to know."

That could start to change.


Beijing is enlisting the private sector to accelerate the rise of its best defense contractors, issuing new guidelines in July aimed at encouraging private investment in a sector traditionally sheltered from competition and public scrutiny.

Listed subsidiaries of top Chinese military contractors now intend to buy at least 20 billion yuan ($3.15 billion) in assets from their state-owned parents in the second half, according to their recent filings with the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

This would double the value of military related assets injected into these listed companies since 2007 with more in the pipeline, as Beijing presses ahead with an ambitious program to privatize most of a vast arms industry employing more than a million workers at more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises.

The long term goal is to transform some of the leading contractors, such as China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation into homegrown versions of American giants Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman or Britain's BAE Systems.

AVIC, which is aiming to quadruple its sales to one trillion yuan ($157.7 billion) by 2020 from 250 billion yuan in 2011, plans to inject 80 percent of its main businesses into some of its listed companies by the end of next year.

Beijing has made repeated calls to speed up listings of all but the most sensitive military businesses. The authorities have also promised to allow public bidding for unclassified and minor defense contracts in a sector that is likely to enjoy strong growth if China continues its sustained military build-up.

China's top 10 defense groups with estimated combined assets of 2 trillion yuan ($315 billion) have listed more than 70 subsidiaries, including over 40 with defense-related businesses. About 25 per cent of the assets of the top 10 are now held in the listed companies, according to market analysts.

Some of these stocks have been strong performers. Sustained military outlays and the expectation of asset injections have insulated them from the country's current economic slowdown. They also tend to spike in price at times of increased tension between China and its neighbors over disputed territory.

The plan to buy more of their parent's military related assets would allow these listed companies to raise extra funds for research and development, the companies say.

AVIC subsidiary Hafei Aviation Industry Co Ltd plans to issue shares this year to buy 3.3 billion yuan ($520.5 million) in assets from its parent, including helicopter manufacturing companies.

"AVIC's injection of (its) helicopter business into the listed company will be a key experiment of China's strategic upgrade and transformation of its domestic defense and science industry," Hafei said in a July prospectus.


The growth of the domestic arms industry has allowed China to steadily reduce military imports. International arms transfer figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show China's defense imports fell 58 per cent between 2007 and 2011.

In this period, China slipped to fourth place in the ranks of global arms buyers after holding top position in the five years to 2006.

"The PLA has clearly turned away from acquiring foreign developed platforms," says Scott Harold, a China analyst for the Santa Monica, California-based Rand Corporation.

After double digit, annual increases in outlays over most of the last 20 years, China's military spending is now second only to the United States.

In March, Beijing announced its defense budget for this year would increase 11.2 per cent to $106 billion but some foreign analysts believe this understates the country's overall military budget.

In its annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon in May estimated Beijing's total 2012 spending would be between $120 billion and $180 billion. Washington will spend $614 billion on its military this year.

Private data analyst, IHS Jane's Defense Budgets, forecasts that Beijing's annual outlays will reach almost $240 billion by 2015, more than the combined budgets of all nations in the Asia Pacific region and four times Japan's military spending.

About 30 per cent of China's military budget goes to weapons and equipment, according to Beijing's most recent defense White Paper published last year.


Military experts say that alongside reorganization and streamlining launched in the late 1990s, this avalanche of cash has sharply improved the output from key sectors of the Chinese defense industry despite the inefficiencies of many big state-owned companies, widespread corruption and a lack of official or public oversight.

"There is just something about money, and the more of it the better," says Rand Corp's Harold.

Russian weapons, including Su-27 fighters, Kilo-class submarines and Sovremenny-class cruisers, remain some of the PLA's most potent hardware.

However, some Chinese-made equipment is now thought to be comparable to their Russian or Western counterparts, military experts say, although they acknowledge that accurate information about the performance of PLA weapons remains scarce.

Over the last decade, China has launched two classes of locally designed and built conventional submarines that are now the mainstays of the PLA's underwater fleet.

It has also built versions of the Su-27 combat aircraft and begun mass production of its J-10 fighter that some experts rank with the U.S.-made F-16 in performance. China reportedly has developed its first stealth fighter, the J-20, but details of its capabilities remain unclear.

Chinese factories also appear to have made rapid progress in developing a range of advanced missiles. These include up to 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles deployed against Taiwan and new mobile launchers for the PLA's nuclear weapons.

Even in more basic equipment, China's arms industry appears to have made significant improvements. In little over a decade, shabby uniforms and poor quality footwear have been replaced with smart, comfortable looking camouflage uniforms, lightweight helmets and solid combat boots.

Ground troops carry new assault rifles and small arms, while modern tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery have been introduced to replace equipment derived from Soviet designs of the 1950s.

Arms trade experts conclude that China's factories are now capable of satisfying most of the PLA's needs - and that of other nations as well.

In the 10 years to 2011, China's foreign military sales increased 95 per cent, making it the sixth largest arms supplier behind the UK, SIPRI figures show. Sales of jet fighters, warships and tanks to political ally Pakistan, however, account for much of this increase.


Despite clear progress, some glaring weaknesses remain in Chinese defense technology, military experts say.

The PLA still appears reliant on imports of high performance jet engines from Russia for its most advanced fighters despite decades of research and development aimed at developing local power plants.

It also depends on dual-use, imported engine technology from Europe for its warships, submarines and armored vehicles.

Domestic aerospace companies have so far been unable to build big military transport aircraft that are important for military mobility in a country as big as China. These companies also remain heavily dependent on European, U.S. and Russian designs and technology for locally built helicopters.

Beijing is pinning its hopes on competitive market forces to help close these gaps as it continues its military spending spree.

That means more business for listed arms makers such as China Shipbuilding Industry Ltd which raised 8 billion yuan ($1.26 billion) in May from a convertible bond issue to buy military assets from its parent, the giant China Shipbuilding Industry Corp.

"With the construction of our country's navy steadily pushed forward, we expect our company's income from defense business to keep increasing," the company said in a May stock exchange statement.

(Editing by Bill Tarrant)

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Reuters
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com