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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Israeli Upgrade to Turkish Tank Protects Soldiers from ISIS Anti-Tank Missile

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

An Israeli upgrade on a U.S.-made M60T tank used by Turkish military forces in Mosul helped save those soldiers from death in a missile attack by Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists last week (April 19).

The attack, seen in a video released April 19 by the terror group, involved a Russian-made 129K9 Kornet ATGM (anti-tank guided missile) fired at a Turkish tank that was on a hilltop.

The missile struck the tank but it did not explode, nor did it burn. The upgrades made to the tank by Israel were sold to Turkey a decade ago.

None of the crew were injured and the tank sustained only minimal damage, according to a Turkish military official quoted by the Andalou Agency.

The tank was deployed by Turkey to Bashiqah, 30 kilometers northeast of Mosul in northern Iraq. The Turkish military source said Da’esh attacked the tank at Bashiqah, incurring minor damage but no casualties.

The source added the Turkish forces immediately returned fire and killed 32 Da’esh fighters.

The Iraqi government was apparently unaware of the presence of Turkish forces in the country until December 2015, according to a report on Thursday (April 21) by Jane’s defense magazine. The government allegedly demanded at that time that Ankara withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, but Turkey ignored the directive. Ankara insisted the base in Bashiqah was established for the purpose of training a militia to expel Da’esh from Mosul.

Hana Levi Julian

US Deploys B-52 Bombers to Attack ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

For the first time in 25 years, America has sent B-52 bombers to the Middle East to fight the war on terror: this time, against Da’esh (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. Air Force based the massive, deadly aircraft at Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Saturday.

It appears the U.S. is finally serious about deploying a heavy military effort into fighting Da’esh (ISIS) forces in Iraq and Syria just as President Barack Obama reaches the last stretch in his final term, with him facing few political risks. But his Democratic party faces an uphill race to win his place in the White House for another four-year term, and the Republican party is equally challenged as it faces a possible split at its upcoming nominating convention.

The U.S.-led coalition’s Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) which is responsible for running the air campaign against the terror group also based there.

The American B-52 bombers were last seen in the Middle East when they were deployed against Iraq from Saudi Arabia, in Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 Gulf War.

B-52 bombers are long-range aircraft. They were last used operationally in a U.S.-led military drill with Jordan in May 2015.

Prior to that, they were used in May 2006 during the war in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

“The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on Da’esh (ISIS) and defend the region in any future contingency,” said Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

The bombers will enable U.S. forces to drop precision weapons, according to Brown. In addition, it will enable a range of other missions, including strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, and maritime operations.

The B-52 will also allow the U.S. forces to avoid carpet bombing, which spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Chris Karns told Reuters would not be “effective” because “Da’esh doesn’t mass as large groups. Often, they blend into population centers. We always look to minimize civilian casualties.”

Brown added the B-52 bombers could be ready to bomb “elsewhere” in the region, if needed.

The B-52s, although older, also have more stamina on the battlefield than the B-1 bombers they are replacing. The B-1 bombers are supersonic and can hang over a battlefield for up to 10 hours at a time – those aircraft dropped nearly 40 percent of all the bombs in the strike missions against Da’esh in Iraq and Syria, according to Fox News.

The B-1 Lancer “swing-wing” bombers left the Middle East in January for maintenance and a series of upgrades, according to the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes.

But the B-52 bombers can hang over a battlefield for nearly 12 hours and can carry more than a dozen satellite precision-guided bombs – or up to 50 500-pound bombs.

More to the point, if necessary, the B-52 bomber can carry nuclear weapons. It was a B-52 bomber that dropped one of the first hydrogen bombs in the South Pacific in 1956.

It’s been more than 60 years since the first B-52 bombers were built during the Eisenhower administration but they still comprise the bulk of the U.S. Air Force long-range bomber fleet.

Hana Levi Julian

Ya’alon’s Assessment of Obama’s Middle East Policies: Not Good

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

It seems a very long time ago that President Obama dismissed ISIS as a gaggle of “junior varsity” terrorists who couldn’t present a serious threat anywhere. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the middle schooler at the table when the wars of the world are being fought is none other than President Obama himself. Obama’s lack of comprehension came in for some serious, if indirect, criticism earlier this week by Israel’s Minister of Defense, Moshe Ya’alon.

Yaalon was speaking Monday afternoon at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. about the surprise announcement earlier that day by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia was withdrawing the bulk of its military commitment from Syria because it has now “largely” accomplished its objectives.

Putin was careful to say that Russia would not be leaving completely, but would leave a significant force behind. Presumably Putin has learned a lesson from the complete abandonment of Iraq by the U.S. That abandonment resulted in the loss of virtually everything the US gained by conquering that country under Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush.

Speaking as he was in the U.S. President’s back yard, Yaalon had little to say about the US abandonment of Iraq. But he had a lot to say about Syria – a country that borders Israel and with which Israel is still nominally at war. A Syria controlled by Islamists is a serious threat to the safety of the Jewish state. And he had some equally blunt warnings about Iran.

Vladimir Putin entered Syria with both feet back in September of 2015, over President Obama’s objection. No-one has been able to identify any negative consequences experienced by Russia, or its leader, from thus ignoring the red line painted in the sand by President Obama. Ditto for consequences to Syria’s Assad, who has been left completely unscathed even though he crossed another, very bold, red line drawn by President Obama.

Many will recall that, back in 2013, Obama explicitly and categorically demanded that Syria give up its chemical weapons or face the wrath of the U.S. Assad refused to comply. The silence from President Obama was deafening.

The Russians promised to take control over all chemical weapons. But Assad was accused of continuing to use such weapons only two days ago by the Syrian-American Medical Society, which recently issued a report on the subject, discussing the wide variety of chemical weapons and delivery systems used by Assad and by all of the numerous other, non-state fighters supporting and opposing him over the last five years.

As much as Israel might prefer stability in its neighbors, Yaalon said categorically that there would be no stability any time soon on the territory of what was, until 2011, the sovereign and undivided nation of Syria.

THERE IS NO WAY TO PUT HUMPTY-SYRIA TOGETHER AGAIN

Rather, as first reported yesterday by The Washington Times, Ya’alon opined that the nation of Syria no longer exists and won’t be coming back: “there is no way to unify Syria,” Yaalon explained. Putin claimed that Russia is leaving because his ally Bashar Assad again sits safely in power. But Ya’alon made clear that that was, at best, a fantasy. The country has been divided up into numerous enclaves each run by a different tribe, religion or warlord.

And at this point, after five years of intense, urban combat that has killed over a quarter of a million people and created many hundreds of thousands of refugees, “there is no way to unify” the country. The best that Assad and the Russians can hope for, Ya’alon explained, is an Alawistan, a Druzistan and other semi-autonomous areas that might, to a greater or lesser extent, leave each other alone.

Notwithstanding recent fitful efforts by Israel and Turkey to get along better, Ya’alon also predicted, or perhaps even called for, an autonomous region for Kurds — even though such a development would be anathema to the leaders of Turkey, who have fought the Kurds for decades to prevent them from attaining independence and escaping the Turkish boot.

IRAN AS A PRIMARY DESTABILIZING FORCE

Ya’alon also explained that the U.S.-driven Nuclear Iran deal has further destabilized the Middle East and created a threat not only to Israel but also to the Sunni-dominated countries in the region. Iran is over 80% Shia and has been run by Shia mullah-dictators since the Shah’s overthrow in 1979. Obama’s gift to the mullahs of $150 billion in cash is now being spent on terror, and ballistic missile construction and testing. No country in the Middle East except Iran and its proxy states can actually be happy about those developments.

Ya’alon explained that Iran and its clients are now “exploiting the [U.S. Iran] deal now to gain hegemony.” He continued: “for sure they are hegemonic in Tehran. In a way they are hegemonic in Baghdad through the Shiite government [there]. They are hegemonic in Beirut regarding Hezbollah, and now they are going to be hegemonic in Damascus.”

Ya’alon reminded his listeners that Iran has been supporting Houthi rebels in power in of Sa’ana, the capital of Yemen, and he explained the danger of Washington’s willingness to allow Iran to participate as an important negotiator in the talks over Syria.

“To leave us with an Iranian-dominated Syria — we can’t agree with it,” he said.

The hardheaded leaders of Israel and Russia, Ya’alon made clear, are facing the realities on the ground in light of the force structures, and tribal loyalties, that are actually motivating the actors there.

Ya’alon’s discussion of those realities was pessimistic. But it was based on facts and reflected the clear sight and deep knowledge of the neighborhood that Israel’s leaders absolutely must display. It was in stark contrast with President Obama’s opinions, ladled out to Jeffrey Goldberg and printed without much challenge in the Atlantic a few days before. There President Obama explained that his Middle East policies would work well “if only everyone could be like the Scandinavians.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Rejuvenation: “Like Talons in a Jewish Heart”

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

US Army Reservist Tewfik Boulenouar was looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Baghdad in 2003. What he and the MET-Alpha task force found instead was evidence of the mass destruction of Iraq’s 2700-year-old Jewish community. He shares his life-changing experience in a raw interview with Eve Harow, The sacred and profane met in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s Mukhabarat.

The Land of Israel

ISIS Grinds Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery to Rubble

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, a place of worship for 1,400 years – used even by U.S. troops – has been reduced to rubble by Da’esh (ISIS).

The destruction was confirmed by satellite photos obtained by the Associated Press from the imagery firm DigitalGlobe, and compared with earlier images from the same site, AP wrote Wednesday in an exclusive report.

Built in 590, St. Elijah’s Monastery – called “Dair Mar Elia” in Syriac – stood on a hill above the city of Mosul, Iraq: a 27,000-square-foot stone and mortar fortress with a roof that was partly missing.

It was a place where in 1743 some 150 Christian monks stood firm and gave their lives, rather than bend to the will of Persian leader Tahmaz Nadir Shah who demanded their forcible conversion to Islam.

The building was huge, with 26 rooms, a chapel and a sanctuary.

But no more.

Catholic World Report quoted a post from June 12, 2014 that Christians were being driven out completely from Mosul by the Islamist hordes. The city had just been taken over by ISIS.

For the first time in 1,600 years, no Mass was celebrated in Mosul on Sunday June 15, 2014.

“The Catholic Archbishop of the city, Amil Shamaaoun Nona, corroborated this while speaking with the worldwide Catholic relief service, Aid to the Church in Need. ‘All the faithful have left the city. Who knows whether they will ever be able to return,’ Abp. Nona said.”

In 2003, there were still 35,000 Christians living in Mosul, according to that report. By 2014, there were only 3,000.

“The city of Mosul, with its population of three million, was already mentioned in the Bible as Nineveh, and for thousands of years it has been a place of Christian civilization,” the publication lamented.

U.S. Army chaplain Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic priest, also celebrated Mass on the monastery’s altar while deployed in Iraq.

Da’esh destroys any and all edifices the group considers to be related to idolatry, in its twisted interpretation of Islam.

More than 100 such sites have been leveled so far, among them the remains of the ancient city of Palmyra, in Syria. Monuments in the cities of Nineveh and Hatra are also ruined. Countless other treasures have been crushed – or stolen and sold to finance Da’esh terrorist attacks.

Hana Levi Julian

Iraqi Forces Liberate Ramadi from ISIS

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Iraqi counter terrorism forces raised the Iraqi flag Monday over the city of Ramadi, a day after liberating its residents from Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists, a military spokesperson said.

Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, was seized by Da’esh in May.

“Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated,” said joint operations spokesperson Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool in a statement broadcast on state-run television.

“The Iraqi counter terrorism forces have raised the Iraqi flag over the government complex in Anbar.”

Rasool added that tribal fighters in the region would be expected now to hold the city that finally had been liberated.

“We have trained hundreds of tribal fighters; their role will be holding the ground,” he told Reuters. “Seeing their own tribes responsible for security will be a relief for the civilians,” he added.

Sabah al-Numani, a spokesperson for the Iraqi counter terrorism unit told Reuters, “By controlling the complex this means that they [Da’esh] have been defeated in Ramadi.”

The offensive had been supported by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, but Iran-backed Shi’ite militias were barred from participating in the operation by the Iraqi government in order to avoid sectarian violence. Anbar Province is primarily populated by Sunni Muslims.

The anti-terrorist units are still involved in mop-up operations, al-Numani stressed.

[They] are “working day and night on the disposal of improvised explosive devices and car bombs left by ISIS militants in central Ramadi who have escaped in the direction of Al-Khaldiya,” Lt.-Gen. Abdul-Ghani Asadi told the Sputnik news agency.

Hana Levi Julian

European Union: ISIS Has Chemical and Biological Weapons

Monday, December 7th, 2015

The Islamic State (ISIS) is armed with biological and chemical weapons but Europeans don’t take the existential threat seriously, according to a European Union parliament document.

Israeli experts last week also said ISIS is armed with weapons forbidden by the Geneva Convention and that it is a state in every sense of the word, with its own currency, a university and even license plates.

The London Express reported that the parliamentary report states that ISIS “may be planning to try to use internationally banned weapons of mass destruction in future attacks.” The document was prepared by the Parliament’s political analyst following the ISIS massacres in Paris last month.

ISIS has been trafficking in chemical weapons and also is able to manufacture them by putting together a team of experts with degrees in chemistry and physics.

The EU report, quoted by the Express, states:\

Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear substances (CBRN) have been carried undetected into the European Union. Interpol’s monthly CBRN intelligence reports show numerous examples of attempts to acquire, smuggle or use CBRN materials.

At present, European citizens are not seriously contemplating the possibility that extremist groups might use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials during attacks in Europe. Under these circumstances, the impact of such an attack, should it occur, would be even more destabilizing.

Experts at an Israeli conference said that ISIS is a genuine state even if it not recognized by others, Globes reported.

It controls approximately one-third of Syria’s land, nearly 10 million people and earns approximately $300 million in day from the sale of oil it has confiscated in Iraq and Syria.

Besides its well-publicized black flag and army of barbaric terrorists, ISIS runs courts, schools, welfare agencies and even issues license plates. One of the experts said, “There is no precedent for anything like this in the past 100 years.”

Dr. Ronen Yitzchak, head of the Middle East Dept. at the Western Galilee College, said that the Western coalition has succeeded in seriously damaging the infrastructure of ISIS and in limiting its expansion. However, he added:

Despite weaknesses in the organization, it will not disappear and will continue to be present for many years. The Islamic State is not a temporary episode. It will continue to present a danger to the West and the entire world.

Terror will worsen in Europe, whether it is because of terrorists who are there now or because of those who be recruited in the future.

ISIS has succeeded in recruiting cells in dozens of countries, “something that has never been seen in terror groups,” Yitzchak said.

ISIS has its own currency, has minted gold and silver coins and soon will introduce bronze coins.

Its radical Islamic school system forbids studies in music, arts and Western subjects such as psychology.

The expert panel also revealed that every family is required to “contribute” one male adult to fight in the ISIS army, which comprises estimated 35,000-50,000 men.

Carmit Valensi, a research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies, said that ISIS has to be fought on several fronts and that active involvement of Middle East Muslim countries would create an alternative for the local population so they won’t feel totally dependent on ISIS.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/european-union-isis-has-chemical-and-biological-weapons/2015/12/07/

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