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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

IDF Concern Rising Over Russian Arms, Military Presence in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

No one’s admitting it publicly, but in private conversations senior Israeli air force and navy officers are expressing increasing concern over the intensity of the Russian military presence in the Middle East.

“We were surprised by the quantity and quality of the Russian weapons we have seen appearing here,” a source told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in a report that appeared Sunday.

The issue has dramatically affected the way Israeli air and sea forces plan their strategic operations.

Israeli Air Force and Navy forces were accustomed to carrying out their operations in relative freedom from any real threats up to this point, Channel 2 reported.

But foreign sources quoted the IDF as saying Russian forces have been carrying out reconnaissance missions, attacks on arms convoys, building unconventional weapons arsenals and sailing against distant shores – carrying out large-scale operations with many personnel to gather intelligence without interruption.

At this point, the situation has changed. It used to be customary to say, “If you really want to know what the president of the United States is planning, check where his aircraft are going.”

If so, the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is sailing in the North Sea on its way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with the IDF closely watching its movements. The vessel is expected to dock off the coast of Syria in the next few weeks.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

Russian PM Medvedev to Visit Jerusalem, Ramallah for Talks

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Russia’s PM Dimitry Medvedev is slated to arrive in Israel on November 9, according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10 television news, quoting the Palestinian Authority on Saturday.

Medvedev plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, in an alleged attempt to “assist with peace efforts between the PA and Israel,” according to the report.

Russia announced on Friday, however, that Medvedev is to arrive in Israel for a two-day visit, slated for November 10-11, and said “a number of bilateral intergovernmental and interagency agreements and documents are due to be signed after the talks.”

It was not clear between who the agreements were to be signed, nor after which set of talks. The issue of “peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority” was not mentioned by Moscow.

“During his visit to Israel on November 10 the Russian premier will hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and meet with Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin,” Russia’s official TASS news agency reported Friday.

“The two sides will discuss in detail some pressing issues on the bilateral agenda, including ways of further strengthening cooperation in trade, economy, investment, science, technology, innovation, and the humanitarian area,” the Russian Cabinet said. “The parties will also address some international issues of mutual interest.

“During his visit to Palestine on November 11, Medvedev will hold talks with President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and visit the cultural and educational facilities built with Russia’s assistance,” the Russian Cabinet statement continued.

“The trip to Palestine and the upcoming contacts with its leaders will make it possible to ‘synchronize watches’ on some topical issues on the bilateral agenda, including the implementation of the agreements reached in March 2016 during the first meeting of the Russian-Palestinian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation,” the Cabinet said. “It is also expected that Medvedev and Abbas will exchange views on the current situation in the Middle East.

“A number of bilateral intergovernmental and interagency agreements and documents are due to be signed after the talks.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: 3 MKs, IDF General Were KGB Agents

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Three Knesset members, senior IDF officers (including one member of the IDF General Staff), engineers who worked on classified projects such as the Lavi supersonic warplane and the Merkava tank, as well as intelligence officers in sensitive positions, have been exposed as KGB agents by documents to be revealed by the daily Yediot Aharonot this Friday.

The secret documents have been copied over a period of 20 years by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior KGB agent, who hid his work in milk jugs under his vacation home in a suburb of Moscow. In the early 1990s, Mitrokin contacted the West and he, his family and his milk jugs were transported to the UK. The revelations in these documents were a harsh blow to the Soviet spy network, exposing an estimated one thousand KGB agents around the world. Those documents included revelations about KGB activity inside Israel, and Yediot has now received some of them from a secret archive at Cambridge.

One of those KGB spies in Israel’s highest echelons was MK Elazar Granot, a socialist leader who served on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and was privy to Israel’s military secrets. The KGB also employed a senior engineer in Israel’s national water project in the 1950s and 60s, and even a senior agent in the GSS counter intelligence dept.

According to Yediot, the KGB’s highest prize was the recruitment of an IDF general who was member of the General Staff. When he was exposed, in 1993, the high ranking was already terminally ill and the powers that be decided not to prosecute. They likely did not relish the exposure either. He died shortly afterwards.

David Israel

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/moscow-egypt-no-longer-able-to-count-on-washington-to-fight-sinai-terror/2016/10/13/

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