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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Golan Heights’

Mortar Shells Explode on the Golan Heights

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Residents of the Golan Heights were sent racing for their bomb shelters again Tuesday morning when the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren activated.

Three mortar shells exploded in the northern part of the region, according to the IDF.

The shelling was allegedly not the result of a deliberate attack, but rather were “errant fore as a result of the internal fighting in Syria,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

Forces are searching the area to determine the landing site of the shells and to assess any damage.

No injuries have been reported.

Russia and Israel Quietly Collaborating on Attacks in Syria

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Defense officials from both countries met Wednesday in Tel Aviv to prevent “incidents” but are keeping quiet about the meeting.

While the Obama administration flounders in public distrust of Moscow, the Russian Armed Forces have met with Israel officials for the first round of talks towards establishing “a joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings” around fighting in Syria.

Wednesday’s meeting involved the Russian Alarmed Forces deputy chief and IDF Major-General Yair Golan, but further talks will involve lower echelon officials in order to take the spotlight off the meetings, Defense News reported.

Unlike Russian talks with Turkey, which officials in Moscow reported this week were continuing in order “to elaborate the mechanism for prevention of incidents on the Syrian-Turkish border,” no statement was made after the task with the Israelis

An IDF officer spoke with Defense News about future sessions and said:

It could be done by lower-echelon officers. We don’t want to make too much of it. We want to prevent conflict, but we don’t yet know how to do it.

In the end, we’ll agree on a mechanism and how it will be done. But it requires defining areas where one operates and making sure the other side won’t interfere or harm you, and vice versa.

We have two problems in Syria, both of which have nothing to do with Russia: One is the terror that is directed against us at our border, and for that we’re operating all the time. The other is the smuggling of high-value arms to Hezbollah, and needless to say we’re following this very closely.

Russia and Israel may not be the best of friends publicly, but they have developed a healthy respect for each other, without all of the emotions and hype by the Obama’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin are much closer in their understanding of the Middle East than either of them is with President Barack Obama.

Russia is in Syria to save the Assad regime and is not interested in attacking Israel. Its presence might actually make Israel safer in light of the rocket fire and mortar shells that have exploded on the Israel side of the Golan Heights border.

Many of the explosions were “stray fire, but some have been intentional, and Russia is in a good position to keep the firing inside Syria.

The most problematic situation is one whereby Syrian or Iranian forces try to ship weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has pre-empted several smuggling attempts by bombing weapons convoys in Syria, a maneuver that would be extremely dangerous with Russia patrolling Syrian air space.

An Israeli official told Defense News:

It’s essential to avoid confliction, but until that happens, our Air Force will know how to take care of itself in problematic situations.

Everyone is shouting ‘Russians, Russians, Russians,’ but what about the Americans and dozens of others who have already been there for a year? At any given moment, there are hundreds of coalition planes in the air … The sky is vast.

Dima Adamsky, an associate professor at Israel’s Inter-Disciplinary Center’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, wrote in a recent Foreign Affairs article published by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations:

Israel has routinely been conducting strikes exactly where the Russians are now expanding their foothold… Israel has signaled its neutrality toward the conflict, but it is unclear how the Israel Air Force will tolerate potential jamming, cyber strikes and limits of its space for maneuvering or if Moscow decides to establish an electromagnetic cordon sanitaire and anti access-area denial sphere around the pro-Assad coalition’s operational theater.

Huge Oil Discovery in Golan Heights Can Make Israel Energy Self-Sufficient

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

There’s oil in them northern Golan Heights … A LOT of oil, according to experts involved in drilling for the black gold over the past year.

Enough, in fact, to potentially make Israel self-sufficient for many years to come, according to Afek Oil and Gas chief geologist Dr. Yuval Bartov, who spoke on Wednesday with Israel’s Channel 2 TV news. Afek is a subsidiary of Genie Energy, a U.S. firm.

“We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity,” Bartov said.

“On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.”

The potential for production is huge: barrels in the billions, certainly enough to provide for decades of local consumption in a country which uses 270,000 barrels per day.

But now the question comes down to production costs – and the cost to the environment.

How easily can the oil be extracted from the ground, and what will such a process do to the flora and fauna in the area around the production site, if anything?

The debate over the latter issue might cost the state millions in political wrangling alone, not including the very real issue of how the environment will need to be protected. The complexities involved in extracting the oil may also end up being a more costly or lengthy process, depending on how far down the black gold runs and how difficult it is to bring up.

All of that assumes, of course, that the geopolitical debates over the Golan Heights will have been put to rest by the time the region’s oil production is ready to flow.

Exploratory drilling which began in December 2014 ended with three sites being tapped. Afek recently submitted a request to the government for authorization to drill an additional 10 wells.

Huge Oil Discovery on the Golan Heights

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Syrian rebels, the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Assad regime, and today that means Russia, now have another reason to capture the Golan Heights – oil.

Drilling that began more than a year ago has exposed a huge find of billions of barrels of oil, but it is too early to know if the black gold can be extracted at a price that would make the oil commercially viable.

Afek Oil and Gas chief geologist Dr. Yuval Bartov was quoted by Globes as saying:

We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick, and what is important is the thickness and the porosity. On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.

The drilling is in the southern Golan Heights, far away from the northern border but several miles from the eastern border. Syria has claimed the entire Golan since it lost the strategic and water-rich area in the Six-Day War in 1967.

If oil can be extracted, it will be a huge bonanza for Israel and an enormous reason for whoever rules in Syria, or for Hezbollah that is fighting with Assad’s forces and is based in Lebanon, to launch a war on Israel. Israel uses approximately 270,000 barrels a day. Billions of barrels of oil would satisfy the country’s need for a long time.

If the oil can be produced at today’s prices, which are the lowest in years, it would generate a huge employment boom. It also would infuriate environmentalists, who have fought oil drilling the Golan Heights and virtually anywhere else in Israel because of damage to the pristine landscape.

Drilling in the Golan Heights was delayed by environmentalists and was resumed last February when the court dismissed their appeal to stop the work.

The read area marks the eastern border with Syria, The black area is the approximate location of the oil drills.

The read area marks the eastern border with Syria, The black area is the approximate location of the oil drills.

Steinitz: “Israel Does Not Want to See Russian Troops on the Golan Heights”

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz told Galey Tzahal on Tuesday morning, that Israel does not want to see Russian troops on the Golan Height and is concerned about the positioning of Iranian ground troops in the neighboring country, and the opening of a direct ground front with Iran.

Steinitz added, the world powers must “ensure the Iranian army stays in Iran. We should not see Iranian army divisions in Syria.”

Steinitz said Israel has no official position on the fate of Assad as it’s an internal Arab civil war, but added that “the war against Sunni terror [ISIS] can’t come together with support for Iranian Shiite terror.”

During his press interview on Monday following his UN speech, Russian President Vladmir Putin said, “We need to respect the interests of Israel, but are concerned about it’s [Israel’s] attack’s on Syria.”

Israel retaliated against Syria on Sunday night, following Syrian mortars strikes that once again hit Israel.

Obama’s UN Speech Ignores Israel but Hits Hard at Putin and Assad

Monday, September 28th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Monday was extraordinary in its total exclusion of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and its hard-hitting attack on the Assad regime in Syria and its ally Russia.

A strong indication that President Obama has finally realized what he and numerous predecessors did not understand was this statement:

There are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the Middle East and North Africa.

It is not the first time he has said that, but unlike previous speeches, it was not followed up by the usual pie-in-the-sky statements that “Peace is made with enemies.” or “Solving the Israel-Palestinian Authority struggle is the key to bringing peace to the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, who chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority and is secretary-general of the parent PLO, was extremely disappointed with Obama’s speech. He said:

Does President Obama believe that he is able to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and terror or bring stability and security to the Middle East by ignoring the continuing Israeli occupation, settlements and the ongoing Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]?

Obama’s speech was a resounding “yes” to Erekat.

The “occupation” never was a threat to the Middle East, but the United States foreign policy gurus couldn’t figure that out, even when the Arab Spring rebellions upended stability and brought anarchy, termed by the United States as democracy, to Egypt, Libya, Iraq and other boiling pots in Arab Muslim countries.

Years after the United States ignored ISIS, it has become Public Enemy No. 1 and is being used brilliantly by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify direct Russian military force in Syria.

When Putin told the United Nations he is fighting the Islamic State, he could have been more accurate, Russia may be the only country fighting ISIS.

The American-led strike force has proven to be pitiful, as the JewishPress.com reported here last week on the American-trained Syrian rebels who betrayed the United States and delivered American weapons to Al Qaeda.

The President verbally attacked ISIS but he was extremely careful to be polite to Islam, stating:

Part of that effort [against ISIS] must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.

President Obama mentioned “Israel” zero times in his speech. Ditto for the terms “Palestinian Authority” and Palestine.”

The only time he mentioned “Middle East” was in the context quoted above, that there are no simple solutions.

But he mentioned Syria eight times and Russia 15 times with harsh comments that were nothing short of cold war speech.

For example:

The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.

Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today. That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to a Cold War.

But his speech was remarkably chilly towards Moscow. He flatly stated:

Russia’s state-controlled media may describe these events as an example of a resurgent Russia… And yet, look at the results. The Ukrainian people are more interested than ever in aligning with Europe instead of Russia. Sanctions have led to capital flight, a contracting economy, a fallen ruble, and the emigration of more educated Russians

Imagine if, instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy, and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. That would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the world.

President Obama claimed he does not mind a strong Russia so long as it works with the United States “to strengthen the international system as a whole.”.

That gave him a platform to plow into the Assad regime Putin and Russia’s presence in Syria and ISIS, which he still refers to as ISIL and which he called ” an apocalyptic cult.

President Obama stated:

When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs… Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that’s not a single nation’s national security problem — that is an assault on all humanity.

Putin has taken the military offensive in Syria, giving him a military and political base across from Israel’s northern border. Putin knows that the Muslim Middle East understands only one word – “force” – but Obama dealt with the issue from weakness because without a military presence, the United States has little ammunition except Obama’s oratory.

He told the United Nations:

But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.

He could have used that as an excuse to throw in something about the “Israel-occupied Golan Heights,” but he did not.

His speech was remarkable in that it exposed how weak his administration has become in international affairs following the debacles in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, which now is under growing ISIS influence.

American influence had been on the decline for years but accelerated with the inevitable failure of the “peace process.” which was focused on the wrong country and the wrong issue at the wrong time.

IDF Attacks Syrian Military Targets

Monday, September 28th, 2015

IDF artillery soldiers hit at least two Syrian military targets Sunday night after the second straight day of fire on Israeli territory. A Syrian officer reportedly was wounded.

Lebanese media reported that Israel also launched three missiles on Syrian targets and that the Israeli Air Force circled over the area.

The retaliation comes at the same time Russia President Vladimir Putin has escalated Russian’s military presence in Syria, ostensibly because of the war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Russian force are actively involved in doing whatever is possible to keep Bashar al-Assad in power, and drawing Israel into military action would work to his political advantage by taking attention away from the civil war.

The IDF issued a statement reminding Syria and the world that Israel will not tolerate fire from the Syrian side of the border, whether intentional or not, and stated:

The IDF holds the Syrian military responsible for all events stemming from its territory and will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty and the safety of its residents.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that soldiers fighting for the Assad regime violated Israeli sovereignty by firing into Israel, even if it was stray fire.

The Syrian fire on the Golan Heights did not cause any injuries or serious property damage,

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-attacks-syrian-military-targets/2015/09/28/

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