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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Bashar al-Assad’

Report: Israel Preparing Preemptive Action against Hezbollah

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

The IDF is “cautiously optimistic” in its assessment of the security challenges of 2017, expecting to get to the other side “without having to wage major combat operations,” writes DefenseNews‘ Barbara Opall-Rome, after an interview with a senior defense official in Tel Aviv. However, she quotes the same official, “Today, the most probable war is one in which both sides didn’t want it, but due to the dynamic of escalation, we might find ourselves in it.”

The senior official told Opall-Rome that Israel is cautious and mindful of “unintended consequences” resulting from its actions regarding Hezbollah up north, Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, and even faraway countries such as Iran.

In his opinion, the hierarchy of threats against Israel in 2017 will be: 1. The PA; 2. Hamas; and 3. Iran-backed Hezbollah, which, despite the fact that it is the strongest of the three “the probability [for confrontation] is low, as long as we don’t get into a dynamic of escalation.”

Israel is anxious about the possibility that Iran and Hezbollah stay put in a ruined Syria after the Russians have reduced their presence there. The senior official is not concerned about Israel’s ability to deal with Bashar al-Assad, rather “our concern is that Iran and Hezbollah will grow ever more confident in Syria when the superpowers leave or reduce their presence… and that will not be a good end to this story.”

Hezbollah worries this security official because “they haven’t stopped for one day their buildup against Israel… and we don’t want to wait for the first day of the war,” meaning, obviously, that Israel would continue to use preemptive operations, such as the “unconfirmed” attacks on Syrian armories and on truck convoys hauling advanced weapons across the Lebanese border, to be handed to Hezbollah.

“When you let so many weapons systems get into Lebanon, you push a higher probability of a war,” the official said, noting that “[Hizbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah speaks almost every week about the day they will conquer Israel. And if he speaks like that every week, why wait? Why give him a feeling of being strong enough?”

He also suggested that Hezbollah forces in Syria could turn on the Russians, using their advanced arms, including their anti-aircraft weapons. “If I had opportunity to give advice to President Putin,” he told Opall-Rome, “I’d say you should keep an eye on Hezbollah if you want a stable Middle East and if you want to protect your gains in Syria.”

David Israel

IDF Prepares for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

The IDF is preparing to deal with unconventional threats on Israel’s northern border, including those involving nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.

The “Yahalom” Special Operations Engineering Unit has established the new Seyfan company for this purpose, which last week joined the unit for its first training exercise.

Another new company is to be established next year, according to military sources. At that time, Yahalom is expected to move from its base near Petach Tikvah to Camp Julis in southern Israel.

Military forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian government have been cited numerous times for their use of chemical weapons against the civilian Syrian population during the ongoing civil war across Israel’s northern border.

In addition, there has been recent evidence that the Islamic State (Da’esh or ISIS) terrorist organization may also have begun using chemical weapons in some of their operations as well. As early as 2015, ISIS was trafficking in chemical weaponry in Europe, according to a European Union parliamentary report.

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman: Assad the Butcher Should Be Removed

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said at the opening of the Limmud FSU conference in Eilat Thursday that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is a “butcher” who “should be removed from power.”

Asked about the massacre of more than 500,000 people in the Syrian civil war and the recent siege on Aleppo, Liberman said: “Assad is a butcher, who has slaughtered and murdered hundreds of thousands of people, including by using chemical weapons. In my opinion, he should be removed from power – and we should block Iranian involvement in Syria.”

When asked if Israel should get involved in Syria, Liberman said: “Where is the international community? It’s a shame that instead of focusing on the very unfortunate fact that 500 people are killed in the Middle East every day, the international community would rather criticize Israel for every new balcony built on a settlement.”

Liberman also addressed the peace process, saying: “Any peace agreement should be based on populated-area exchange, which should also include Israeli Arabs who consider themselves to be Palestinian.”

“Territory transfers have worked successfully throughout history, and the principle conforms with international law,” he added.

Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) marked a decade of educational work with young Russian-speaking Jews at a festival of learning, which opened today in Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat. The ninth Limmud FSU Israel conference is a three-day event featuring hundreds of lectures, workshops, presentations and discussions by leading figures.

“We have made a huge impact in Russian-Jewish communities around the world,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler. “We are so excited to be celebrating our 10th anniversary – with leaders of the Russian-speaking community, such as the minister of defense – at one of the world’s most beautiful resort cities.”

Over the past decade, Limmud FSU has gathered more than 45,000 Russian-speaking Jews, most of whom were aged between 24 and 40, for educational and cultural festivals, conferences and other events in nine countries around the world.

“Year after year, Limmud FSU succeeds in igniting the spark of being Jewish, and this is the ninth time we’ll be doing so in Israel,” said Limmud FSU Co-Founder Sandra F. Cahn.

JNi.Media

Assad Army Captures Most of Aleppo Rebels’ District

Monday, December 12th, 2016

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, with massive support from Russian air strikes and Iranian Shia militias, have taken the Sheikh Saeed district in eastern Aleppo after fierce fighting that began Sunday afternoon.

“The army is now in full control of Sheikh Saeed,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that “Syrian regime forces are now in control of 90 percent” of what used to be the rebel owned areas in Aleppo’s east.

The fall of Aleppo could mark the approaching final days of the Syrian rebel armies, bringing Syria closer to an end of the civil war begun in 2011, and a return of Assad’s government control over the country’s five major cities.

According to an official Syrian news agency SANA Monday report, Syrian Army units are now pushing into the neighborhoods of al-Kallasa, Bustan al-Qaser and Souq al-Hal and chasing down the fleeing rebels to al-Sukkari, al-Mash’had, al-Ameriya and al-Ansari.

Syrian Army units directed heavy fire at rebel groups in Daraa al-Balad area and the western and northern countryside of Daraa southern province, west of Air Defense Battalion and in al-Yadouda town in the northern and western countryside of the Province, killing a large number of rebels and destroying their vehicles.

David Israel

USMC General (ret.) James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Reported to Be Next Secy of Defense

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump has retired chosen Marine General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, 66, to become the country’s next Secretary of Defense, The Hill reports.

Although the official announcement is expected next week, a source in the Trump Transition Team was quoted with the news by CNN on Thursday.

Trump Transition Team Communications Director Jason Miller said in a tweet, however, that no decision has yet been made.

Mattis is known as a popular general among the rank-and-file, someone who “tells it like it is,” and who is “no apologist” to anyone, for anything.

In 2012, Mattis was quoted by Al-Hayat Washington Bureau Chief Joyce Karam as having told Congress that removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from his post would represent the “biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.”

Mattis will need a Congressional waiver of a statute that prevents him from accepting a civilian position, since he retired in 2013, just three years ago. Section 903(a) of the National Defense Authorization act requires a seven-year wait period between active duty and serving as Secretary of Defense — a civilian role — for former service members.

President and CEO Michael Makovsky of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) wrote that JINSA, “an organization dedicated to a robust U.S. national security posture and a strong U.S.-Israel security relationship,” would not endorse any one candidate for a government position but still felt “compelled to convey that characterizations of one candidate, General James N. Mattis, USMC (ret.), as anti-Israel are ill-founded and unfair.”

Specifically, Makovsky addressed himself to criticism about “extemporaneous remarks General Mattis made at the Aspen Institute in July 2013 on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. They were made shortly following his retirement after a very distinguished four-decade-long career in the U.S. military, with his last position as Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), where his area of responsibility covered much of the Middle East and Central Asia (excluding Israel), Makovsky wrote.

“We understand and share many of the objections to his remarks, including that he seemed to blame mostly Israel for the impasse, despite the critical challenges it faces in lacking a stable, moderate Palestinian partner that genuinely seeks a durable peace with the Jewish state. Some American Jews and even Israelis make the same mistake. In any case, he has not repeated those remarks,” he noted.

“On the larger U.S. military and strategic issues related to the Middle East, which a Secretary of Defense will have to address early on, General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust U.S. military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career, and its importance to American security and the restoration of America’s position in the Middle East – views JINSA has strongly propounded. Along similar lines, he has stressed the need to stand by our longstanding regional friends.

“General Mattis’ outlook on these issues aligns perfectly with Israel’s, which considers an aggressive Iran its greatest strategic threat, and a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat. Israel also seeks a strong U.S. presence in the Middle East.

“General Mattis has noted this alignment of views with Israel, and correctly explained the synchronization of Israeli and Arab outlooks on these subjects. This should be heartening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that a strong State of Israel is necessary for its own sake and important for a strong America.”

Makovsky went on to write, “JINSA’s experiences with General Mattis have been very positive, including many private discussions in the last few years on the Middle East. We recently consulted several notable Israelis and Americans in the civic and military spheres who also have interacted with him and they share our confidence in his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Were General Mattis to become Secretary of Defense, and work more closely with Israel in that position, an opportunity he lacked at CENTCOM, we believe he will become an even closer friend of the State of Israel.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: IAF Attacked Weapons Storehouse, Convoy in Syria

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

According to London-based Arab newspaper Rai al Youm, Israel attacked overnight Wednesday a weapons storage facility outside Damascus belonging to the Syrian army and a military convoy.

IAF planes attacked an armory of the Syrian army’s fourth division, and a convoy near the highway connecting Damascus and Beirut, Lebanon. The convoy was reportedly preparing to haul a large weapons load for Hezbollah. The attack consisted of two separate sorties.

According to Lebanese website el Nashra, the attack took place at 1:20 Wednesday morning, as four loud explosions were heard from the outskirts of Damascus. The armory, located near the highway, sustained major damages.

So far there has been no report of the Syrian army firing at the two IAF attacks. In September, President Assad’s army shot at Israeli planes flying over Quneitra, in southern Syria, near the Israeli Golan Heights border.

JNi.Media

Israeli Ambassador Tells TV’s Posner Russian Weapons Could Fall into Hezbollah’s Hands

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Israel has no intention to interfere in the Syrian crisis, but it is concerned over the possibility of weapons falling into the hands of the Shi’ite terrorist militia Hezbollah, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Zvi Heifetz told the Pozner program on Russian TV’s Channel 1 on Monday.

Members of Hezbollah are fighting on the side of the Syrian government forces against the Western-backed rebels and ISIS.

Vladimir Pozner, who was born in Paris to a Russian Jewish father and a French Catholic mother, was the host for many years during the Cold War of the nightly “Radio Moscow News and Commentary” show on the North America Service, and was renowned for his signature greeting, “Thank you and good evening.” Since 2010 he’s been hosting the interview show “Pozner” on Russia’s Channel 1. He has a lively and unconstrained style of hosting, often firing poignant off-the-cuff remarks at his guests. He often comments on how the political or economic topics being discussed on his show could affect the common people in Russia.

“Israel has a principle: we do not interfere in regional crises, including in what is taking place in Syria,” the ambassador said, but added his government has two issues of concern regarding the situation in Syria:

“The first issue is the possibility of weapons leaks into the hands of Hezbollah through Syria or through Iran. We’re also concerned over the presence of Hezbollah on the Golan Heights. Just imagine, if both Russia and the Western countries leave Syria one day — we’ll stay there. Everyone else will leave and we’ll stay and it is very important for us to know how we’ll stay and who our new neighbors will be,” Heifetz said.

Regarding the legitimacy of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Ambassador Heifetz said, “Assad is the president of Syria. We have known this for many years. If you mean whom we support, I’ll answer directly: we do not support anyone in Syria. Syria must solve its issues and we must solve ours.”

Hezbollah (Party of God in Arabic) has been fighting on the side of the Syrian army since 2012.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-ambassador-tells-tvs-posner-russian-weapons-could-fall-into-hezbollahs-hands/2016/11/08/

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