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When Islamic State Starts Hitting Ships

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Radical Islamists may soon gain a foothold on the Mediterranean. The U.S. Navy must be ready

Mr. Cropsey, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower, served as a naval officer and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Seth Cropsey writes: The slaughter of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State militants on Feb. 15 took place on the Libyan shore of the Mediterranean. Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan recently told the Times of London that unless order is restored in his country, ISIS will secure territory on Libya’s Mediterranean coast within two months. This would increase its potential for attacks in Italy, Greece and elsewhere in Europe. An October ISIS publication pictured St. Peter’s Square under a black flag, and ISIS’s sentiments about Christians are clear.

Greater ISIS access to the Mediterranean would be deeply troubling to the region and a large strategic advance for the terrorist group. ISIS’s prospects for significant naval power are remote. But small boats, fishing vessels, smugglers, and merchant craft that carry concealed weapons could hijack, sink, or rake commercial shipping including cruise liners in the central Mediterranean. This would divide the eastern part of the inland sea from its west and expose Europe’s southern littoral to attacks and kidnappings.

[read the full text here, at WSJ]

Tehran today wields considerable power over two landlocked capitals of the region, Baghdad and Damascus. Its sea control is more expansive. Besides Iran’s border on the Persian Gulf it is now the major power in Beirut on the Mediterranean and San’a, the capital of Yemen, on the Bab El-Mandeb, the narrow strait that sits astride the southern gateway to and from the Suez Canal.

Turkish naval combatants’ current incursion in the Eastern Mediterranean—to escort a natural gas exploration vessel operating without permission in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone—has ended the stability that existed in the region since the Cold War standoff between U.S. and Soviet naval forces. And in 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to establish a permanent squadron in the Mediterranean. Read the rest of this entry »

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United Flight Over Pacific Ocean Makes Emergency Landing, Burning Smell Reported

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CNN WIRE SERVICE reports: A youngster described on social media how “something was on fire” on a harrowing United Airlines flight Friday over the Pacific Ocean that the FAA said was forced to land on Midway Island because of an electrical odor on board.

The United Airlines plane, carrying 335 passengers and 13 crew on a Boeing 777, was flying from Honolulu to Guam when it was forced to land and spend seven hours on the Pacific atoll, said United spokeswoman Mary Clark. A replacement aircraft later carried everyone back to Hawaii on Friday, she said.

When explicitly asked Saturday whether the disturbing smell was smoke or something burning, Clark described the incident as an odor in the cabin.

But one passenger, a minor, tweeted about parts of the incident, including how the “flight attendant said there’s a burning smell in the cockpit…. (expletive) what?”

At one point, the plane dipped dramatically, he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Huge Hawaii molasses pipeline leak in Honolulu harbor, could be fatal to thousands of fish


HONOLULU — Thousands of fish are expected to die in Honolulu waters after a leaky pipe caused 1,400 tons of molasses to ooze into the harbour and kill marine life, state officials said. Read the rest of this entry »