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- 02/01/13--04:12: _At Least Two Dead A...
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- 02/02/13--15:20: _Iran's New Qaher 31...
- 02/02/13--21:22: _The Military's Dead...
- 02/03/13--09:42: _13 Reasons The F-35...
- 02/03/13--15:24: _Inside The Sniper's...
- 02/04/13--02:06: _New Recruit Hands H...
- 02/04/13--03:40: _Here's The Former M...
- 02/04/13--04:53: _10 Reasons Iran's N...
- 02/05/13--03:06: _Chinese Warships Pr...
- 02/05/13--06:00: _The US Has Been Inv...
- 02/05/13--08:31: _This Modified Trans...
- 02/06/13--02:50: _Here's The Bunker W...
- 02/06/13--04:54: _This Could Be The F...
- 02/06/13--05:35: _This Is What Happen...
- 02/06/13--16:32: _One Of The Only Way...
- 02/07/13--04:51: _Japan Says Two Russ...
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(showing articles 341 to 360 of 573)
The latest news from Robert Johnson on Business Insider
- 02/01/13--04:12: At Least Two Dead After Suicide Bombing At US Embassy In Turkey
- 02/01/13--06:37: These Pictures Of Chuck Hagel At The Hearing Really Say It All
- 02/02/13--02:11: Japan Lets Its New Defense Budget Do The Talking Over Island Dispute
- 02/03/13--15:24: Inside The Sniper's Nest At Last Year's Super Bowl
- 02/04/13--04:53: 10 Reasons Iran's New Jet Will Never Leave The Ground
- 02/05/13--03:06: Chinese Warships Prepared To Fire On The Japanese Navy Twice
- 02/06/13--04:54: This Could Be The First Drone-Proof City
- 02/06/13--05:35: This Is What Happens When You Sell Pink Guns That Look Like Toys
- 02/08/13--06:38: Two Chilling Developments Suggest Asia May Be One Step Away From War
At least two people are dead after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in the Turkish capital, according to a police official and reported by The Associated Press.
Sky News reports that the bomb appeared to have exploded inside the security checkpoint at a side entrance, killing the bomber and a security guard.
"There was a huge bang which really shook everywhere," journalist Ilnur Cevik, who was in a car down the street, told Sky News.
A Reuters witness saw one wounded person being lifted into an ambulance as police cordoned off the area.
The US embassy building is heavily protected while the German and French embassies are nearby.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but Kurdish rebels and Islamic militants are active in Turkey.
Turkish news video below.
Maybe it's a testament to his genuine nature that his face expressed so freely what he was feeling during the grueling, all-day process.
Which is why Max Read at Gawker posted a clever article titled 11 Photos Of Chuck Hagel Blowing His Confirmation Hearing. Now we're going to present our own interpretation of photos of Hagel during the hearing.
The hearings began with Senator Levin listing one-by-one votes and comments Hagel had made he found offensive — Hagel just listened.
Levin paved the way for the battering to come — and posed a passing question about Hagel's opposition to unilateral sanctions before passing the floor along .
John McCain proved the most brutal opponent — but he opened by saying he was "Pleased to see an old friend here before the committee.”
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Japan's prime minister announced his country will vigorously defend itself against all Chinese threats following a series of confrontations over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain.
Purchased by Japan, the islands' ownership is hotly contested by China, which for several months has sent ships, reconnaissance planes, and fighter jets to the area to face off against Japanese forces. It has become a tense and somewhat dangerous game, with no end in sight.
In response, Japan has increased its defense budget for the first time in 11 years with a focus on Coast Guard expansion and increased surveillance abilities.
The boost in spending is important and symbolic, though not terribly dramatic, rising only .08 percent over last year. It does, however, announce Tokyo's intent to China and any other country laying claim to the disputed island chain.
Increased military power is one of many changes to be ushered in by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made these most recent remarks during a speech to Japan's Self-Defence Force's in the country's south.
From The Straits Times:
"The security environment surrounding our country is increasingly becoming more severe as we face provocation to our territorial rights," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
"I will take the lead to stand up against the present danger and protect the people's lives and asset, as well as our land, the seas and the air at all costs."
About 700 troops listened at a base in Okinawa, the launching point for all military operations around the islands and home to a large contingent of U.S. Marines. The country holds Okinawa as part of the same geographical region as the islands.
The prime minister also said, "We will be steadfast in improving the capacity of the Self-Defense Forces, including reinforcements in the southwest region (Okinawa)."
The AFP reports that Japan's coastguard is already creating a special unit with 10 new and larger boats, more helicopter carriers, and 600 additional troops to patrol the area.
This speech occurred just one day after Abe announced an upcoming statement on Japan's current attitude to World War II and a new plan to alter the pacifist constitution it's carried as a result ever since.
Abe came to power promising to defend against China and vowing to replace a landmark 1995 war apology with a more "forward-looking" stance toward militarism.
Iran yesterday revealed its most recent indigenous fighter jet — the “Qaher 313″. The prototype Q-313 was presented to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a ceremonial gift during the country's Ten-Day Dawn celebration. The festivities commemorate the 1979 revolution when the U.S. embassy in Tehran taken by force.
In the previous days, the Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi had said, “The aircraft will be different from the other fighter jets Iran has already made.”
Indeed, based on the first photographs released by the FARS News Agency, the new stealthy jet has a peculiar design. It features hard edges and those distinctive edges and angle of the U.S. F-22 and the twin tail shape much similar to that of the F-35 Lightning II.
The Q-313 has large, seemingly fixed canards, and little wings whose external section is canted downward, while the canopy material is at least odd (based on its transparency, it looks like Plexiglas or something like that).
The cockpit seems basic (a bit too much for a modern plane – note the lack of wiring behind the front panel).
The air intakes are extremely small whereas the engine section lacks any kind of nozzle — above all — the aircraft is way too small. Click here for more pictures at the Aviationist >
Putting aside the Qaher's implausible aerodynamics and Hollywood sheen, last week's announcement of a coming new domestic fighter was not insignificant given the Iranian air force has no more than a few dozen strike aircraft.
Most of those it inherited from the prior regime during the 1979 revolution. That regime change, involving a huge U.S. hostage situation, made it far more difficult to maintain the country's then-new fleet of American F-14s.
Tehran has a domestically built fighter already. At least a handful have been sighted during air shows and displays, but this new model is a drastic change in design and ability.
Of course, Iran is famous for building models and systems it never intends to fly, but if this is an actual prototype it may be designed to fill a uniquely Iranian requirement.
Air dominance against the nearly 200 aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain isn't a realistic goal for Tehran. What it would look to do in any open engagement with the U.S. would be to overwhelm American surface ships with small, high-speed boats, and missiles of its own.
Those boats would immediately be set upon by a fleet of U.S. helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Most naval experts are quick to point out that a fight between a helo' and a boat generally isn't much of a fight at all. Un-distracted helicopters have immense advantages, but once they start taking fire or need to react to other airborne attacks, that changes.
Perhaps Iran isn't imagining a fleet of stealthy fighter/bombers, based on some design similar to this new display, but a few dozen single seat craft with an array of missiles, a couple guns, and the ability to fly low and slow over the Gulf.
A string of planes to compliment the one military project they've been working hardest over the last decade, but rarely ever mention. That plane would be a handy addition to cover the Bradstone based speed boat, they believe can take on the Fifth Fleet and bring down the U.S. Navy.
While Iran does have a few HESA Shahed light attack/recon helicopters, they're modestly armed and have a limited range of a couple hundred miles.
Iran's other domestically produced jet, the Saeqeh fighter is designed to engage other fighters in mid-air combat also not a practical choice against the might of the U.S. Fleet.
A Qaher variation against the Bradstone would fill a niche, but is obviously pure speculation. But speculating has some value when examining Iran's military projects because like most countries, the weapons Tehran speaks of the least seem to mean the most.
We'll be sure to follow with any additional Qaher updates.
Chris Kyle was the most wanted man in Iraq a few short years ago and carried a bounty on his head--only to die today at a Dallas shooting range.
WFAA Dallas reports Kyle was at the range with a neighbor. The news is still unfolding, but apparently Kyle was shot point blank and his neighbor suffered wounds that also proved fatal.
Jessica Stanton at The Daily Caller dug this up:
The Empire Tribune in Stephenville, Texas reports that the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh, was captured in the town of Lancaster around 9:00 p.m. Law enforcement officials believe Routh is a “highly trained individual with military experience.”
Jack Murphy at the Special Operations Forces Situation Report (SOFREP) published a post regarding the tragic murders on Saturday night, reading in part: “Chris had been volunteering his time to help Marine Corps veterans suffering from PTSD and mentoring them. Part of this process involved taking these veterans to the range where one of them snapped and killed Chris and his neighbor for reasons that remain unknown at this time. The perpetrator then stole Chris’ vehicle in an attempt to escape but we have received word that the police have arrested him.”
During his 10-year stint as a Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle was in every major battle of the Iraq war and was so effective at killing Iraqis that they called him "The Devil Of Ramadi" while placing an $80,000 bounty on his head.
At 225 confirmed kills, his fellow SEAL Team 3 members called him "The Legend" and picked the comic book character The Punisher as their platoon's mascot.
His first kill was a woman about to throw a hand-grenade at a group of Marines. His most distant kill was from 2,100 yards away outside Sadr City in 2008.
From that distance, Kyle had to factor in terrain, wind, elevation, vibration from the shot, and even the Coriolis effect where the rotation of the earth affects where the bullet arrives.
On that day each of these factors conspired together and Kyle hit the man before he attacked the convoy. “God blew that bullet and hit him,” he told The Post.
Most recently, Kyle was the president of Craft International, a veteran operated company offering special operations training. Like many servicemembers, he left the military to preserve his marriage.
Ed. Note: RIP Chris
It may look good, but the F-35 Lightning II has some serious issues, and it has a long way to go before it can be rolled out for combat missions.
It's gone through 20,000 tests of its systems, but has about 40,000 more to go.
Despite this, it's not likely that the F-35 will ever be scrapped. As we reported back in November, there are simply too many countries that have invested time and money into the program.
It is, quite literally, an aircraft that is "too big to fail" despite facing lifetime operating costs of $1 trillion.
We've gone back and looked at the biggest problems with the F-35 program, according to an official Pentagon report.
Developed by Lockheed, the fighter has three variants: the conventional F-35A for the Air Force; the F-35B for the Marine Corps, which can take off and land vertically; and the F-35C for the Navy, a carrier version.
If all goes to plan, the Pentagon is on track to spend a huge figure of $396 billion on the jets, including R&D. It doesn't help that the cost to build each F-35 has risen to an average of $137 million from $69 million in 2001.
But more horrifying is not the cost of buying F-35s but the cost of operating and supporting them: $1 trillion over the plane's lifetime. Ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, described that estimate as “jaw-dropping."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
These pictures surfaced just hours after Lucas Oil Stadium hosted last year's Super Bowl XLVI.
Unknown to fans watching the biggest sporting event of the year, there was also at least one well-equipped sniper in attendance.
The rifle is mounted on a tripod manufactured by Alamo Four Star, and they posted the pictures online never imagining they'd become as popular as they did.
Alamo received the photos from a ranking member of the SWAT team and said their tripod has a locking mechanism that grabs the rail of the rifle without scratching or damaging the surface.
No reason to think there's not another one just like it set up in New Orlean's right now.
The reason Americans enlist in the military is long and varied, but the motivation offered by this new recruit to his drill sergeant may be a first.
The handwritten note was posted to Reddit a few hours ago by Basic Combat Training (BCT) Drill Instructor Looney82. These are the career soldiers in the green campaign hats who receive raw recruits from every imaginable background in the country. Looney82 has a sterling reputation on Reddit that lends itself to believing the letter is genuine.
A drill sergeant's job a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week gig in the Army called "Walking the Trail". It's prestigious and demanding, but challenging and considered an integral part to a successful enlisted career. This drill sergeant was looking to get an idea of why his new Privates joined the military and asked for a paragraph or two outlining their motivations.
This young soldier has been in uniform no more than a few weeks, is sleeping no more than a few hours a night in a large bunk bed filled room with up to 60 or so other recruits. He or she is getting woken up to pull watch, is learning how to use an automatic rifle, a belt-fed machine gun, a rocket launcher, a claymore mine, six types of hand grenades, and a grenade launcher.
This soldier is doing all this because:
A former Marine has been arraigned on two charges of capital murder for the shooting deaths of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and another man.
Eddie Ray Routh, 25, is accused of turning his weapon on Kyle, 38, and Kyle's neighbor Chad Littlefield, 35, when they were at a shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge, Reuters reports. Kyle and Littlefield had reportedly taken Routh to the range as a part of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder outreach and mentoring program.
Routh, described in local media reports as a former Marine who suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), was arrested at his Lancaster, Texas home several hours after the shooting, having led police on a chase in his pickup truck.
He was arraigned at the Lancaster municipal jail on Saturday on two counts of capital murder, a spokesman for the department of public safety said. The Erath County Sheriff's Office planned a news conference later on Sunday.
Releasable information obtained by Business Insider from the Marine Corps shows that Routh left the Marines in 2010 having served one tour of duty in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and another with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Routh also deployed in Operation Unified Response in Haiti from January to April of 2010, a month prior to his end of active service.
Iran built up the release of their new domestically produced jet weeks in advance of its recent debut, but the unveiled fighter is drawing more mockery than the praise Tehran hoped for.
We previously outlined the jet's traits and how it could theoretically fill a gap in the country's favored military maneuvers; and here we lay out 10 reasons the plane Iran showed the world can't be what it claims.
(For a detailed analysis, check out The Aviationist.)
None of this means Tehran isn't building a fighter to do what this one's supposed to, but the one here could simply never fly.
Overall, the plane seems to lack the characteristic rivets and bolts all aircraft, including stealthy ones, require to hold together.
The engine exhaust lacks any kind of required nozzle. The use of an afterburner (or, simply, the engine temperature) could possibly melt the entire structure of the jet.
The general shape of the plane is bold to say the least, but the wings seem too small to sustain the weight of the aircraft, especially if this is intended to carry a powerful engine and internal payload.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Last week a Chinese warship pointed its missile guidance system at a Japanese destroyer in an unmistakable show of aggression, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced today.
The brief report out of Tokyo cites a January 30 event where a type 053 Chinese frigate locked its "sixth fire control radar" onto a Japanese helicopter equipped vessel out of Yokosuka. Japan has two helicopter carriers, and they are the largest vessels in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. If it was one of these it was likely the Hyûga (DDH-181) whose home port is naval base Yokosuka.
The fire-control radar used by the Chinese ship is employed specifically to help combat systems achieve a "firing solution," the complex calculation required to hit a target. It's a very narrow, focused beam of radar, and there's no mistaking its intention.
The New York Times reports this is the second instance of a Chinese vessel using fire-control radar against Japan. On January 19 another Chinese frigate hit a Japanese helicopter with fire-control radar before switching it off without incident.
The area in the East China Sea where both countries maintain competing claims over a string of disputed islands has seen dozens of incidents between the two countries in the past months, but this move by China brings the situation to a new level.
It's been a steady progression.
Beijing released photos of its East Fleet 052 destroyer during live fire exercises in the disputed area late last month. The maneuvers involved both its East and South Fleets, simulating actual combat scenarios.
Those exercises included multiple jet fighters and surface vessels and were the first time Chinese naval air forces used air-to-air missiles so far out to sea.
China's East Fleet maintains 35 ships in the region, including its newest warship (i.e. the Type 054), seven submarines, and eight additional landing craft.
Among the subs are four Kilo-class diesel-electric Russian-made submarines capable of the most advanced underwater warfare.
The incident is particularly concerning because the type of radar used on the Japanese ship would have prompted immediate defensive measures. If the Japanese captain had showed less restraint a counter launch might have ensued producing untold consequences.
The U.S. has a long history of armed conflict and the Best Liberal Art Colleges released this infographic, breaking down the battles, the cost, and the duration of each. It's a handy and concise look at a long and complex history of armed conflict.
The AC-130 gunship is just a modified C-130 cargo plane, but there is no more devastating array of firepower supporting troops on the ground, anywhere in the world.
The 130 started as a spectacular success in 1967 over Vietnam destroying around 10,000 enemy ground vehicles and devastating enemy troops.
It's packed with punishing ordnance and renowned for its ability to fly in any conditions, at all times of day, for extended periods of time.
With all its weapons pointing out the left side of the aircraft, the AC-130 enters a counter-clockwise pivot turn before concentrating its weapons on a target.
That spiral may be the surest sign a battle is about to turn in the world, and it's accurate enough to happen within just a couple hundred yards of American troops.
The AC-130 is a converted C-130 Hercules, retaining many of its same characteristics of look, flight, and capabilities.
But a look at the left side of the aircraft shows that this is no transport plane.
It's got very big guns like this 20mm Vulcan cannon which is capable of firing over 6,000 rounds per minute.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The incident came to a violent conclusion after federal and local law enforcement raided the homemade bunker, killed Dykes, and rescued the boy.
Throughout the ordeal we heard a lot about this bunker Dykes had built, and the plastic tube used to feed medication, and toys, to the boy. Both are illustrated below in a series of four photos released by the FBI to their website.
A tent covers the bunker where where 5-year-old Ethan was rescued by law enforcement after being held for nearly a week. FBI agents placed the blue tent over the bunker to protect evidence below.
FBI agents and Dale County negotiators used this pipe to communicate with Jimmy Dykes.
FBI agents and Dale County Sheriff’s Deputies secure the residence where Ethan was rescued after being held hostage for almost one week.
FBI agents and Dale County Sheriff’s deputies secure the residence.
Asher J. Kohn, a law student and conceptual artist, has come up with a novel idea.
If we built communities designed to counter surveillance and targeted drone strikes, then all the new and upcoming, super expensive drones would be worthless hunks of metal.
[Shura City's] design [is] for the warfare of our time, in which the United States favors sending robots, over people, to hunt down small groups or individuals.
Kohn imagines a few simple ideas aimed at preventing a "lock" on target. Just about any American has watched an episode of cops where infrared technology helped police find that elusive night-time runner — well Kohn's design renders drones blind.
First, the roof of the communities common areas.
Borrowed from designs in the Netherlands, it's covered in a lattice like irregular pattern, and then filled with a cloudy Plexiglas like cutouts. The 'roof' structure allows for temperatures to be "cool in the summer, warm in the winter," blocking IR robot sight.
"The effect is no different from walk-ing into a dark room on a sunny day," writes Kohn.
Residents could also attach LEDs to the roof, pointing skyward, making night strikes all but impossible.
The housing architecture itself is borrowed from the bizarre design of Canada's "Habitat 67."The famed housing structure is a hodgepodge of squares, rectangles and jutting rooms. Again, the jumbled design doesn't fit into the idea of modern cultural housing, where identification of bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas is relatively easy.
Kohn goes on to describe multicolor windows that have changing patterns like the ones seen on billboards that switch ads as the viewer's perspective changes. He even quips that resident hackers could build QR Codes into the windows, ordering drones to crash themselves.
In Kohns own words:
The goal is not defense-through-hardening, but defense-through-confusion. By turning the entire community into a closed circuit, drones targeting individuals will not be able to select and detect the individuals they desire once they enter the city ... creating an empty data set turns the smart drones into dumb-bombs ... this built environment presents drones with an inscrutable puzzle.
Finally, Medieval towers or even mosque-like minarets would then keep low-flying drones from flying too low — and several "Badgirs," a type of ventilation and observation tower of Iranian design which sucks in and circulates air throughout the whole complex.
The defense, though passive, would force aggressors into intimate contact with their supposed targets, through either overt and covert "manual" contact — in other words, its passivity forces more aggressive means.
Human Intelligence: Communities would have to be infiltrated, targets actively identified and located, and either assassinated literally by hand, or raided by teams through "boots on the ground" tactics — something America is increasingly politically unwilling to do. So-called "manual" contact is incredibly complex, costly and time consuming.
The other option is to turn the city into a parking lot with heavy munitions, something the international community is unlikely to condone.
The word Shura comes from Arabic, meaning "consultation." In certain contexts it means a gathering of leaders or elders in a political, or social planning type of context.
The original language of the Koran is in Arabic, and the overwhelming number of human targets of drone strikes are Muslims. Needless to say, they're rarely, if ever, "consulted" prior to launch of these strikes.
Maybe one set of South Carolina parents was at a movie late last Friday.
Maybe they were getting dinner at a local restaurant or drinking at a local bar.
Maybe they hurried to change clothes, quickly scanning the bedroom before rushing back out for groceries.
Wherever they were, the parents of 3-year-old boy Tmorej Smith and his 7-year old sister weren't on hand to stop the kids from finding a bright pink handgun left unsecured in a bedroom.
The pistol was loaded and without a trigger lock. And it wasn't long until the 3-year-old boy and his 7-year-old sister picked the pistol up and played with it, as kids will do.
The gun fired, and the bullet hit Tmorej in the head and killed him.
Amid all the firearm discourse and legislative debate, this story from WYFF in Greenville, S.C. struck me differently.
Maybe a pistol with attachments to hold a stuffed animal, or side chambers for dum-dum lollipop bouquets would be more appealing to kids than a pretty-pink-pistol, but not by much.
Kids like toys because they're fun to play with, so don't make pistols that look like toys.
I'm not saying the number of children killed by unsecured hand guns would instantly and dramatically drop with a "Pink Pistol" ban, but it couldn't hurt.
According to a 2012 Children's Defense Gun report nearly 6,000 American kids were killed from '08 to '09 by guns. That's nearly the number of Afghan and Iraq U.S. combat deaths from '01 to the present.
Not quite 200 of those dead kids were under 5 years old. If one of them died because someone thought a pink pistol was a toy, that at least seems an easy fix. Retailers that market weapons in colors of all spectrums might be outraged, but could take solace in their sales of pink AR-15s, as well as sherbet, lime, and sunburst-colored assault rifles.
What's more challenging is getting people who own firearms to secure them. Shooting is a process: choose a weapon, fill out the forms, buy the bullets, load the bullets, pull the trigger, methodically clean the weapon, apply some oil. Can't be that tough to include another step like replacing the trigger guard, or locking it up.
Unfortunately carelessness and disregard are even more common among Americans than firearms; so it's too bad there's no legislation that can change that.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have taken more American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan than anything else. To face this threat, a new breed of military vehicle was built that can withstand the debilitating blast and keep troops alive.
The Cougar may be the finest example of that effort and it's saved countless lives as the war drags on into its twelfth year.
Not only does it keep troops protected, it keeps them mobile. The Cougar can return to the field in a matter of hours with some simple repairs after being hit.
The Cougar was developed in response to an urgent request from the U.S. Marines for a vehicle that would fare better than a Humvee in IED strikes.
The biggest selling point was the V-shaped hull, which directs explosive blasts away from under the vehicle.
A small amount were sent overseas, but the mass order came after then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates got word in 2004 that no Marines had died in over 300 IED attacks on Cougars in Iraq.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
As if Japan didn't have enough on its national defense plate before, two Russian Su-27s allegedly slipped Thursday into its airspace. Tokyo's now scrambling jets to chase off Russia, while maintaining a territorial feud with China.
Japan's island dispute with China has been simmering for months, deep to the south off Okinawa and into the East China Sea, but now it looks like Russia could press its own dispute with Tokyo.
The AFP reports that the pair of Su-27s were picked up on radar off the coast of northernmost Hokkaido island for over a minute. The incursion came after Japan's new prime minister Abe said he wanted to work on the Russian dispute to the satisfaction of both countries.
Abe's referring to a decades old territorial dispute with Russia and a long overdue peace treaty Tokyo would like to sign with Moscow.
Reuters now reports that Russia has flatly denied the trespassing accusation while acknowledging it's been conducting military maneuvers throughout the area all week.
The intrusion is supposed to have unfolded on Japan's "Northern Territories Day", where rallies and demonstrations are held calling for the return of the Japanese islands.
The dispute stems from the Russian seizure and population of northern Japanese islands in the waning days of WWII.
Soviet forces seized the isles, which stretch out into rich fishing waters off the northern coast of Hokkaido, in the dying days of WWII and drove out Japanese residents.
The islands were later re-populated by Russians but remain a poor and undeveloped part of the country
So Thursday in northernmost Hokkaido—where the temperature will reach a low today of 10 degrees Fahrenheit—demonstrations fueled by sixty years of anger took place nearly within sight of major Russian military maneuvers.
The timing of each could be entirely unrelated, but coming together like this it's not altogether surprising accusations are flying.
And it's not as though this is the first time Japan has responded to Russian aircraft encroaching on its airspace. A 2011 Wall Street Journal piece points out the island nation scrambled jets against Russia 106 times that year.
China and Japan, along with North and South Korean troops at the DMZ, appear one step away from armed combat and tensions don't look likely to ease any time soon.
New developments within both regions illustrate how close to open combat the four countries are, and how quickly one incident could expand to war among very powerful nations.
Tokyo reported two January events where Chinese naval vessels targeted its East China Sea forces with fire-control radar. This specific type of radar is used almost exclusively to assist guided weapons systems in their flight toward a target. It's an unmistakable action that can be the first step to open combat, and was taken seriously enough by the Japanese captain to prompt a combat alert aboard his vessel.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the allegations by saying it hadn't heard about the engagements until news of the events appeared on international news. It has since said that the event didn't happen and is a total Japanese fabrication. Whether it's true or not China is using Japan's claim to prove Tokyo is preparing for war.
If Chinese ships did engage their fire-control radar, it may be in Beijing's interest to deny it because either it approved the maneuver, or the ship's captains acted independently. Both scenarios offer a long list of concerns that would be easiest for China to address if avoided entirely.
Japan continues pressing the issue and yesterday announced that the use of fire-control radar against its ships is an "act of force" and a direct UN charter violation."
U.S. Secretary of Defense Panetta is pleading for caution and says, "the situation could ultimately get out of hand."Not everyone believes fighting is inevitable, but it's perhaps just as likely as not.
Meanwhile along the most heavily-fortified and well-armed border in the world, South Korean troops on the border with the North have received orders to return fire immediately against DPRK forces.
Pyongyang three years ago shelled the South and Seoul's response time was harshly condemned. The new rules of engagement are intended to prevent the same thing from happening again
Reuters quotes a South Korean commander stationed on the border who says: "We will respond immediately to any enemy provocation." That Captain, along with every South Korean soldier stationed along the border, operates under this standing defense ministry order: "punish automatically ... until the enemy surrenders."
North Korea failed to surrender in the last war it fought with China against South Korean and U.S. forces, leaving little reason to believe it would do so today.
And as Pyongyang moves forward with its most recent nuclear test, there's no reason to think it wouldn't use that technology against enemy forces long before accepting the notion of defeat.
SEE ALSO: How Israel's Iron Dome really works >
China has pushed its defense spending to record highs as it builds a global force from the ground up.
The communist country has leapfrogged past advancements that took Western nations decades to perfect — and it's now looking to turn a profit on all that work.
Hurriyet today announced the race to equip Turkey with a long-range missile system is well underway and China's already sent other countries scrambling.
Europe, Russia, the U.S. and China are all competing for the $4 billion contract and Beijing's Precision Machinery HQ-9 is the lowest competing bid so far.
Word is the offer came in at $1 billion less than expected after Beijing tried to cut the original estimate by half.
American company Raytheon was forced to revise its offer to stay in the running, but officials there won't comment on just how much until the contract is selected next month.
In the end it may not matter if China loses money on the deal if the fears of some experts are proven justified, and it achieves access to new classified data.
Some believe that Russian and Chinese systems are incompatible with NATO systems and that with a successful bid, either of those countries would achieve access to classified NATO information.
Turkey has refused to exclude either China or Russia despite the fact it could, in fact, compromise NATO's entire "set of procedures."