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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘chuck hagel’

Hagel: US Staying in Gulf to Deter Iran

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

The United States will maintain a robust military presence in the Persian Gulf to deter Iran, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, although military action would be a last resort to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Hagel in a speech Tuesday to the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank described renewed efforts to get Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program through diplomacy.

“The United States is clear-eyed about the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead on this path, and the need for Iran to demonstrate its seriousness through actions,” Hagel said. “We will maintain a strong and ready military presence in the Persian Gulf, and the broader Middle East, to deter Iran’s destabilizing activities, and to work with and protect our allies and our interests.”

Israel, lawmakers in Congress, and pro-Israel groups have urged the United States not to relieve any pressure on Iran during negotiations as long as Iran does not take concrete steps to reduce its nuclear capability.

Hagel also said, describing U.S. policies toward Iran and Syria, where a civil war continues to rage, that a U.S. military option would be a “last resort.”

“Military force must always remain an option – but it should be an option of last resort,” he said. “The military should always play a supporting role, not the leading role, in America’s foreign policy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was reassuring U.S. allies in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, that the United States would only settle for concrete steps by Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

“It is only specific actions on which countries will be able to measure an outcome,” Kerry said in Riyadh Monday, where he met with his Saudi counterpart, Saud al Faisal, “and the outcome must be one that allows all of us to know that every day that we wake up we know that what is happening in Iran is a peaceful program and not one where they can be secretly moving towards a weapon that could threaten the stability of this region.”

Kerry headed from Riyadh to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He said negotiations with Iran, renewed last month after Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, expressed interest in such talks, could take months.

Israeli and Saudi Arabian leaders have expressed wariness of extended talks, saying that Iran must not be given time to advance its nuclear program under the pretext of negotiations.

Yaalon, Hagel to Meet in Washington

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet in Washington to discuss “regional security challenges.”

The defense chiefs are scheduled to meet Tuesday at the Pentagon, according to a statement from Pentagon spokesman Carlin Woog to JTA.

Israel has welcomed the results of a threat by the Obama administration to strike Syria’s chemical weapons capability, spurring a decision by Syria to allow outside inspectors to destroy its chemical weapons.

Israel has made clear it wants President Obama to apply the same tactics — a credible military threat coupled with diplomacy — in negotiating an end to Iran’s suspected nuclear program.

U.S. Sen Foreign Relations Comm Queued Up to Vote for Strike on Syria

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

On Tuesday afternoon, September 3, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking for its approval to launch a limited strike against Syria.

Kerry couched his request very clearly in terms of what it was not: it was not a request for approval to go to war. Kerry stated once again that “there will be no boots on the ground.”  What he was asking for was “the power to make clear, to make certain that the United States means what we say, that the world, when we join together in a multilateral statement, mean what we say.  He’s asking for authorization to degrade and deter Bashar al-Assad’s capacity to use chemical weapons.

The secretary of state made the argument in the plainest terms.  He compared what Assad has done – gassing hundreds of his own people, including hundreds of children – to the greatest evil most people recognize.  This administration is adamant that Assad be held accountable for committing a heinous act whose victims, Kerry and his boss insist, cry out for retribution.

So this is a vote for accountability. Norms and laws that keep the civilized world civil mean nothing if they’re not enforced. As Justice Jackson said in his opening argument at the Nuremberg trials, ‘The ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible to the law.’ If the world’s worst despots see that they can flout with impunity prohibitions against the world’s worst weapons, then those prohibitions are just pieces of paper. That is what we mean by accountability, and that is what we mean by we cannot be silent.

After four hours of debate in the Hart Senate Office Building, the committee will go into a closed session tomorrow and then, as early as tomorrow afternoon, may gave this administration what it is seeking: congressional approval to take limited action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The initial text of the resolution authorizing “limited and tailored use of the United States Armed Forces against Syria” was made available late Tuesday evening, Eastern Time.  The committee will vote on some version of the draft tomorrow.

The secretary of state was asked what the administration will do if congress refuses to approve the use of force against Syria. Kerry said, “We’re not contemplating that, because it’s too dire.”

The draft resolution provides that the resolution upon which the committee members will vote shall be called ” Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the “Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons.” It will

authorize the president to use the U.S. Armed Forces as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria, only to (1) respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria, and (2) deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect our allies and partners against the use of such weapons; and (3) degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future.”

In addition to Kerry, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Jack Dempsey also testified in support of the administration’s position.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.  Boehner said that “All votes authorizing the use of military force are conscience votes for members, and passage will require direct, continuous engagement from the White House.”

The draft resolution provides for a 60 day period during which the powers granted may be used, with a single additional 30 day extension.

Egyptian Army Declares War on Protesters; 100 Dead

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The worst violence since the anti-Mubarak uprising more than two years ago has left approximately 100 dead and 1,000-4,000 wounded after Friday’s and Saturday’s deadly military offensive against demonstrators.

The Health Ministry reported that 65 were killed, but non-governmental Arab sources put the death toll at 100 or higher.

The Obama administration refuses to call the military ouster of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi a “coup,” but the army’s shoot-to-kill off offensive on Saturday made it clear that it is in charge,

Egypt is sharply divided between pro-army and pro-Morsi supporters, with demonstrations on each side attracting hundreds of thousands  of people.

Each side blamed the other for the violence.

The Obama administration, which hastened the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and now has supported the removal of Morsi, is aghast at the violence.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Egypt’s leaders to “to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told army General Abdel Fattah al Sisi  to “take steps to prevent further bloodshed and loss of life.”

Some of the demonstrators were peaceful, other threw rocks at police and some were armed with revolvers.

The violence a Friday  evening, when approximately six people were killed, was mild compared with what ensued towards midnight, when pro-Morsi supporters marched from their stronghold  towards an area where police were stationed.

Police fired tear gas, the demonstrators retaliated with rocks, and  the violence quickly escalated, with police firing live ammunition throughout the night,

By Saturday morning, a field hospital was overcrowded, bodies were covered with white sheets. Many of the dead were shot in the head

Al Jazeera reported that the number of those wounded is more than 4,000.

The Muslim Brotherhood does not have the arsenal to fight the army, but the widespread murders by the army make a political solution to the violence less probable in the near future.

Even Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, who was put into office by the military, said on Twitter, “I condemn excessive use of force and the casualties. I am working with all effort in every direction to end the confrontation through peaceful means.”

Evidence of the military’s intentions to muffle the Muslim Brotherhood were evident when helicopters dropped Egyptian flags on pro-Morsi supporters, who then chanted, “We do not want flags; we want Morsi.”

US Suspends Delivery of F-16s to Egypt Due to Political Turmoil

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The United States was prepared to deliver four F-16 Fighter jets to Egypt as recently as last week, but on Wednesday, July 24, the U.S. administration announced that there would be no delivery at this time.

The move is one that surprised few, as the U.S. administration had been far more favorably disposed to the recently ousted President Mahmoud Morsi than it has been to either President Hosnai Mubarak who was removed in the Tahrir Square Revolution in 2011, or to the current government leaders whose tactics have been viewed as heavy-handed.

“Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Wednesday.  Little explained that the decision to delay delivery of the warplanes came from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The delay was relayed to Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a telephone call by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier in the day.

Under a $2.5 billion deal signed in 2010, the United States is committed to providing 20 F-16 fighters to Egypt. Eight jets were delivered earlier this year and four more F-16s were due to be shipped over in coming weeks.

The Pentagon’s announcement that the F-16s would not be delivered at this time followed a decision made on July 19 by the British government to suspend arms exports to the Egyptian military.

Despite the decision to delay delivery, the United States plans to go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt known as “Bright Star.”

Egypt receives $1.3 billion in U.S. aid each year.

Meanwhile, the current Egyptian leadership continues on the path it began by ousting Morsi.  The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday on charges of “inciting violence.” And army chief al-Sisi called for nationwide protests, the purpose of which is to oppose “violence and terrorism.”

Yet Another Enemy of Israel Poised to Join US Foreign Policy Team

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

For people who pay close attention to what is happening in the world of U.S. government diplomacy and the players not just on the field, but those on deck, Robert Malley is a name that rings a bell.  For those who care deeply about the security of Israel, the bell that is rung has an ominous, if familiar, tone.

Rumors have been circulating for about a week that Robert Malley will soon be named by Secretary of State John Kerry for a senior advisory role with a portfolio that focuses either on Syria or on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

According to various sources Malley is “under serious consideration” or the decision to appoint him is already “a done deal,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

So what’s wrong with Malley?  He couldn’t possibly be as bad as Samantha Power, or John Kerry or Chuck Hagel, could he?

Well, that depends who you ask.

Robert Malley is so offensive, he was actually kicked off (despite the lipstick smear called “resignation”) the Obama election committee in 2008 for meeting with the terrorist organization Hamas, although he had been one of Obama’s closest advisors for Middle East issues until his affinity for Hamas became public.

Malley is a Harvard-trained lawyer who currently works at the George Soros-affiliated International Crisis Group.  There are those Israel supporters who see Malley as an international crisis all on his own – his father, Simon Malley, was a virulently anti-Israel member of the Egyptian Communist Party and a close confidante of Yassir Arafat.  (Malley’s mother, who raised him, is named Barbara Silverstein – we’re not going there.)

Robert Malley blamed Israel for the failure of the Camp David Peace Talks in an op-ed in the New York Times.  As Ed Lasky pointed out in an on-point article  in 2008, Malley’s recollections of what went wrong at Camp David was in direct contrast to every other major player present, including President Bill Clinton and Clinton’s Middle East Envoy, Dennis Ross.

In another op-ed from the same era, Malley revealed his strong support for the Syrian regime, and scoffed at the idea that Assad should be treated as a pariah.

This past fall Malley explained why he believes it is not only likely, but essential for Hamas and Fatah to unite.

 I think at this point it’s inconceivable that Fatah will eliminate Hamas, and I can’t see that Hamas is going to eliminate Fatah, so the only solution if what you want — if what people want — is to see a meaningful negotiation between an empowered Israeli government, a representative Israeli government, and an empowered and representative Palestinian national movement, the only way to do that is for Palestinian ranks to unify.

And as Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon pointed out, Malley even criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for taking off the table the concept of containing a nuclear Iran – in other words, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and then asking the Islamic regime to pretty please not use them was a reasonable position Malley resented Obama’s failure to consider.

So, will Malley be the worst person in the U.S. administration with a foreign policy portfolio that could have a significant impact on Israel?  Maybe not the worst, but as an addition to a group which already have raised serious concerns, if Malley is selected by Kerry it is certain to make things even worse.

 

 

Israeli Firm to Build Wings for F-35 Stealth Jet

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won a 10-15 year contract potentially worth $2.5 billion to build the wings for the F-35 stealth bomber, which is due to arrive in Israel in 2016.

IAI and Lockheed Martin have begun setting up the production line for the F-35′s wings at an Israeli facility, the Israeli business website Globes reported.

“The F-35 is an important milestone for IAI, and guarantees the company’s involvement in advanced combat aircraft. I welcome the strengthening of the ties with Lockheed Martin,” said IAI CEO Joseph Weiss.

The announcement’s timing with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Israel underscores the military-industrial complex behind American military aid to Israel and other countries.

Hagel finalized a new defense deal between the United States and Israel that he said will give Israel technological superiority.

Israel is forking out a huge amount of money to buy the F-35 jets, and the United States will assist Israel with Boeing air-to-air refueling jets, which Globes said, “it has only been able to dream about until now.”

The refueling ability increases Israel’s capability to strike long-distance targets, not the least of which is Iran.

The IAF will also receive the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, a unique aerial platform that until now has only been in operation with the US Air Force. The Israeli-based Elbit Systems Company manufactures hi-tech helmets for the pilots of the V-22, which can land and take off vertically like a helicopter.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-firm-to-build-wings-for-f-35-stealth-jet/2013/04/23/

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