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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

IDF Contacts Russian Counterpart to Update Military Coordination in Syria

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The Israel Defense Force has reportedly asked its Russian counterpart to update the security coordination between the two nations in Syria.

“In the context of the hotline between [Israel and Russia], the Israelis sent us a request to develop new procedures and open-fire rules to be added to the existing coordination mechanism,” Russia’s Izvestia newspaper reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source. “We are currently developing our response and will send it to the Israelis in the context of the agreed upon procedures between the [two] sides.”

The S-300 system, installed at the Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, has already made headlines after its sale to Iran in 2007. The actual installation of the system for Tehran did not take place, however, until this year.

Although the S-300 is considered one of the most advanced aerial defense systems in the world, Russia has already moved ahead and developed the S-400. Moreover, although the S-300 is installed in Tartus, it has not been handed over to the Syrians, nor are they trained in its use, according to Moscow.

Hana Levi Julian

Kremlin Prepares for ‘Nuclear War’ As White House Considers ‘Cyber Attack’ as Middle East Hangs Between

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Russian media is warning citizens to prepare for war – specifically, nuclear war – and ordering officials to prepare the nation’s bomb shelters and ensure that citizens have reviewed proper use of their gas masks.

“If it should one day, happen, everyone one of you should know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” said one newscaster on the state-run NTV television news channel. “It’s best to find out now.”

This past week Russia also announced a move to transfer nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kalininigrad, between Poland and Lithuania, its northern European enclave. The transfer places the missiles within striking distance of western European capitals.

Russia also test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles, and earlier this month announced it would hold joint “anti-terror” military drills with Egypt “in a desert environment.” Moscow is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship Cairo, in a way similar to that in which it began with Syria years ago.

Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin claimed that tensions are at their worst since 1973, but not as bad as they were during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “Despite the fact that we have a serious disagreement, we are continuing [to work together] in other areas – sometimes successfully,” he told reporters this weekend. However, he added that the crisis has followed a list of conflicts between the Kremlin and the White House.

“It’s a lack of basic respect,” Churkin said, “and a lack of in-depth discussions on political issues.” Among the issues he cited were the recruitment of Ukraine and Georgia for membership in NAT, and the ousting of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. All, he said, were incited by the United States.

The U.S., meanwhile, has said it is considering a cyber attack in retaliation for a Kremlin-backed cyber snoop into American elections, and an outright hack attack against electoral data banks and the Democratic National Headquarters. The Kremlin has warned that any such attack would be met with a “harsh response.”

A number of news analysts have said that relations between Moscow and Washington have reached their lowest point since the Cold War, in fact.

According to ABC News, Russia has conducted a nationwide civil defense drill since September that has involved some 40 million citizens, preparing them for a panoply of disasters that run the gamut of war scenarios, including nuclear fallout, and announced who would run the nation should war break out. One of the simulations involved that specific scenario, in fact.

American logic dictates that Russia would not run a civil defense drill for 40 million people for the fun of it. But Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, quoted by ABC News, says that all this is part of the grand show that may be necessary to inspire Russian lawmakers to raise a little cash for a decent military budget – which is up for renewal – when the economy is slow.

“Tensions are going to rise and rise and rise,” he said. “The good news is, no one really wants a war. But it’s going to be a good show.”

Hana Levi Julian

Moscow: Egypt ‘No Longer Able to Count on Washington’ to Fight Sinai Terror

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Russia is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship towards the goal of “helping” in the fight to contain and trim back terrorists in the northern Sinai.

Towards that end, Russia and Egypt are set to carry out their first-ever joint anti-terror military exercise “in a desert environment. The joint paratroopers’ drill in Egypt is to involve six air fields and 15 aircraft and helicopters for various purposes, in addition to 10 combat vehicles, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian airborne troops are to be sent to the north of Africa on an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft in mid-October, the ministry told the English-language edition of Gazeta.ru. “Special attention is given to the knowledge of the customs and traditions of the Egyptian people”, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the report, Russia will work together with Egypt on developing “a common approach to encircling and destroying illegal armed formations in a desert environment.”

Russia contends that Egypt has lost control over the northern Sinai, which has become a terrorist stronghold, and is “no longer able to count on Washington’s support in this matter.”

The Sinai Province terror group pledged to Da’esh (ISIS), plus numerous other Salafi Muslim extremist groups, Muslim Brotherhood-backed terrorist organizations, Hamas terrorist agents from the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing, operatives from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah terrorist organization and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades all have established bases in the Sinai Peninsula.

Professor Vladimir Isayev, based at the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University, says he believes that if the terrorists now operating in northern Sinai attempt to expand their territory, the [Egyptian] army would like to count on Moscow’s support. “It is unlikely that it is paratroopers that will participate, but as for the Russian Aerospace Forces, it is quite likely.”

Israel and Egypt have been working together to fend off attackers and prevent large-scale terror attacks from these groups for some time. So it’s not yet clear what response the Israeli government may have to this latest new development, especially given the outcomes of Russia’s “assistance” to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Egypt has recently purchased Mistral helicopter carriers from France with pre-installed Russian equipment that were originally destined for the Russian army, Isayev told Gazeta.ru .

Moscow analysts do not expect the United States to respond to the drill, nor to the Egyptian purchase of Russian-equipped French helicopters. “Egypt is a strategically very important country for the U.S.pointed out Semyon Bagdasarov, direcctor of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia. He added that America’s relationship with Israel and U.S. treatment in the Middle East is likely to depend on Egypt. “Plus, control of the Suez Canal,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Announcing Delivery of S-300 Missiles to Syria in Wake of Collapsed Talks with US

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Monday’s suspension of nuclear disarmament talks with the US over the latter’s challenge of Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had delivered one battery of the air defense system S-300 to Syria.

“It is true that one battery of the S-300 air defense systems has been delivered to Syria. It is to provide protection for the naval logistics facility in Tartus and the Russian Navy’s task force,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters in Moscow.

Last year, Russia moved to Syria its newest air defense system S-400, and last March Putin announced that the S-400 systems and the short-range systems Pantsir-S1, a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, would remain on permanent combat duty in Syria.

As the website Liberty Unyielding noted Wednesday, “nothing about the fight against the rebels in Syria requires an S-300V4-enabled, full-scale land war according to Russian doctrine. Nothing about it requires the level of air defense represented by the S-400, for that matter. The rebels don’t have anything at all that requires bringing either system to the fight.” Instead, the same website contends, “the system is being put there to mark and hold Russian territory against the US, our most advanced allies, and (potentially, someday) China.”

The White House has been watching helplessly as Putin suspended the treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium. Over the past three decades, Russia and the US have signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals. All that good work is being threatened now with Putin’s decree that suspended a 2000 agreement binding the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium intended for use in nuclear weapons.

Asked by a reporter on Monday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest admitted the Administration was “disappointed” by Putin’s move.

“The decision by the Russians to unilaterally withdraw from this commitment is disappointing, and the reason for that is that this agreement that went into force in 2011 pledged the disposal of thousands of nuclear weapons’ worth of plutonium,” Earnest stated, adding, “And this was an agreement that was reached by the United States and Russia because we’re the two countries that have the largest amount of this material and both leaders in Russia and the United States have made nonproliferation a priority. And certainly the United States is interested in limiting proliferation and trying to reduce the risk associated with potential nuclear terrorism. And again, we know that Russia’s leadership has recognized this risk. The United States has been steadfast since 2011 in implementing our side of the bargain, and we would like to see the Russians continue to do the same thing.”

Konashenkov responded to Earnest’s statement by saying the US “is to blame for the disruption of all September 9 ceasefire agreements on Syria and for letting the militants build up reserves again.” He continued: “It is the United States that has fallen through with a crash regarding the implementation of the September 9 ceasefire agreements. It failed to separate a single group of the so-called opposition from  [Al Qaeda offshoot] Jabhat al-Nusra, thus letting the terrorists regroup themselves and replenish reserves.”

“Isn’t it the right moment for our US counterparts to recognize in public that the whole opposition in Syria they have reared all along and still keep under control are part and parcel of the same ‘umbrella brands’ Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusra?” Konashenkov asked, and invited Earnest “to come down to earth from the sky.”

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War US-Russia disarmament, according to Reuters, which suggests that the practical implications from the suspension of the deal will be limited. It comes down, instead, to “powerful symbolism.”

This also comes down to a growing realization in the West that President Obama, in his zeal to foment the “Arab Spring,” has enlarged the political vacuum created by President GW Bush in the Middle East, and with the current White House’s policy of avoiding at all cost a “boots on the ground” military intervention in Syria or Iraq, Putin’s Russia is never going to leave, regardless of who gets elected President come November. Putin is grabbing this opportunity offered by a reluctant Obama to flank the West and guarantee naval access in the Eastern Mediterranean.

So far, Putin has planted Russian troops in Syria, forged long term relations with Iran, flirted with Egypt and with Israel — which receive about $6 billion annually in US aid, and patched up his relations with Turkey, a NATO member.

And, as Sen. Pence mentioned in Tuesday night’s debate (although he was off by a couple trillions), Putin’s Russia managed these sound regional gains with a mere $1.3 trillion GDP, compared with the US’ $17.9 trillion GDP (which is 13.7 times stronger).

It could be time for extensive language courses for Washington officials, except this time it’s the optimists who will study Mandarin, while the pessimists will take up Russian.


Security Guard Shot, Critically Wounded in Attack on Moscow Choral Synagogue

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

A security guard was shot by an assailant during an attack over the Sabbath at Moscow’s largest synagogue, the Moscow Choral Synagogue.

This is the same synagogue which then-Israeli Ambassador Golda Meir and the first official Israeli delegation to Russia visited and attended services during their posting to Moscow.

Interior of Moscow Choral Synagogue, Russia's largest and most prominent Jewish house of worship.

Interior of Moscow Choral Synagogue.

Svan Ivan Borisovich, age 40, arrived at the scene with a gun and a canister of flammable liquid during later afternoon prayers, according to Interfax, and attempted to enter the building with 150 worshipers inside, saying he was going to burn down the building.

The house of worship, located on Bolshoy Spasogolinschevsky Lane in central Moscow, is the largest and most prominent Jewish house of worship in Russia.

Security guards at the site blocked him from entering and attempted to take the man across the street, at which point he withdrew the gun and shot one of them. The guard sustained gunshot wounds in the head and chest.

The other guards overpowered the attacker and held him until police arrived and arrested him. The wounded guard was rushed to a hospital, where he is listed in critical condition, according to Mediazone.

The suspect told reporters as he was taken away by police that he had opened fire and carried out the attack “for Russia.”

Hana Levi Julian

Judea, Samaria, Golan Communities Bypassing BDS, Taking Products Directly to US Consumers

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

This week, Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria this week joined forces with the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to promote their products as well as products from the Golan Heights at the annual IAC National Conference in Washington. Representatives of the council and ministry handed out five thousands Medjoul dates from the Jordan Valley, two hundred bottles of wine, and hundreds of samples of Ahava cosmetics and other products to conference participants.

The imitative was part of a broader plan to educate and encourage Israel supporters worldwide to buy blue and white and support businesses most threatened by the BDS campaign. Three months ago, a similar program was held in Moscow, and many more such events are anticipated worldwide in the coming months.

Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of Yesha Council said in statement: “Israeli industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are islands of peace and coexistence where Israelis and Palestinians work together for a better future. With no political solution on the horizon, it’s time to tell the world that Israelis and Palestinians can live and work together in peace without being pushed into an agreement that neither side wants. Boycotting Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria actually harms Palestinian workers far more than the Israeli economy and is therefore and act against peace.”

While in Washington, Revivi met with more than a dozen Senators, Congressmen and staffers on Capitol Hill from both the Republican and Democrat parties, where he stressed that Yesha Council would welcome continued dialogue and cooperation with both sides of the aisle.

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

The Yesha Council delegation met privately with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and requested his assistance with new initiatives to strengthen the connection between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland. They reported that Adelson was extremely excited to hear about a new Amazon-like Boycott website that the Council is in the process of launching. He also agreed to come on a VIP tour of the thriving Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Revivi told Adelson that “businesses in Judea and Samaria are on the frontline of the battle against BDS, [which is] currently targeting Ariel and Efrat but their ultimate goal is the destruction of the entire Jewish State. The Yesha Council is now going on the offensive launching a new Boycott website to promote Israeli goods directly to consumers.”


Roll Over John Kerry, Russia Eager to Host Abbas-Netanyahu Moscow Summit

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The Russian state news agency Interfax on Thursday afternoon released two short statements, one saying, “Russian Foreign Ministry confirms willingness to host Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Moscow, preparations continue,” followed by, “Israeli, Palestinian leaders agree in principle to meet in Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry.”

Russian Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Tass on Thursday: “Responding to the appeals of the Palestinians and Israelis, we confirmed our readiness to arrange a meeting in Moscow between Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

The Russian diplomat said she was concerned over the “deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement,” stressing that this could leads to the deterioration of the situation on the ground.

Zakharova said that after US mediation efforts in 2013 and 2014 had failed, direct dialogue between the parties to the conflict had come to a grinding halt. “We are convinced that there is a need to resume the negotiations, which would be a factor in normalizing the situation,” Zakharova said.

Zakharova confirmed that the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed in principle to meet in Russia. “It is most important to choose an appropriate moment for it, the intense contacts continue, including on this issue,” she said. “We are satisfied by how Russia’s role is in demand in the Middle East peace process.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/roll-over-john-kerry-russia-eager-to-host-abbas-netanyahu-moscow-summit/2016/09/08/

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