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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

NATO Course Teaches Israel Air Force Air Traffic Controllers

Monday, October 19th, 2015

The IAF “Gulfstream” Squadron hosted the NATO Course for air traffic controllers last week in Nevatim Airbase to learn to operate in the English language according to NATO’s military tactics.

“We began adopting some of the American controlling regulations in 2001”, said Lt. Col. (Res.) Erez Reyvit, the course commander. “NATO’s military tactics are unique, organized, reflects a more clear image of the enemy and cannot be deviated from and therefore the learning process is difficult and requires a lot of practice”.

Corporal Meytal Linzer, a simulator instructor from the “Gulfstream” Squadron and the leader of the course, explained:

The instructor set the aerial image the controller sees on his screen and we change it and take it and increase the level of difficulty to make it harder to decipher. After each sortie we debrief them in order to create progress and independent learning process

IAF Lt. Col. Sigal Benglas said, “The biggest difficulty if obviously the language. You have to adopt a completely different way of thinking and get used to the orders given in English, which are also sometimes different from their Hebrew translation.”

IDF Spokesperson's Office

Russian Jets Intimidating US Aircraft Over Syria

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Two U.S. officials briefed on intelligence from Syria revealed that Russian jets have shadowed U.S. predator drones above Syria on at least three separate occasions since Russia began its air campaign, and forced U.S. aircraft to change their flight path.

Russian shadowing of U.S. drones happened repeatedly, making it clear to observers that it was not just a mistake, but was an intentional act by the Russians.

In addition to the tailing of U.S. drones, Russian jets forced two U.S. aircraft to change their flight paths in order to avoid a collision, U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

The two planes were F-16s that had departed from Turkey’s Incirlik air base. The planes were flying towards the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, a senior defense official told CNN. The U.S. aircraft that diverted were not able to complete their mission, the official said.

In addition to Russian aircraft, there are now Russian ground forces and rocket launchers posed in strike mode in Syria.

The bulk of the Russian fighting forces and material are forming a belt around the Syrian city of Latakia, Bashar al Asaad’s stronghold, giving credence to the claim that Putin’s military forces in the Middle East are there to protect the long-embattled Syrian president, as much as they are there to provide additional forces to the anti-ISIS coalition.

U.S. forces are not the only ones complaining of Russian bullying.

Last weekend Turkey charged Russia with violating its airspace on two separate occasions. Turkish officials called Russia’s daring “unprofessional” and a “provocation.” NATO officials warned Russia to stay away from Turkey, which is a member of the western alliance.

“It’s unacceptable, it’s dangerous, and it’s reckless behavior and it adds to the tensions,” NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN about the incursions into Turkish airspace.

“We see the violation of the Turkish airspace becomes more important, more dangerous, because it happens in a context where we see more fighting, more Russian military presence in Syria.”

Whether NATO will come to its member’s aid if Russia becomes entangled in a military dispute with Turkey is yet another question in the long list of unknowns surrounding the escalating turmoil in the Middle East.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

US, Germany Pull Patriot Batteries from Turkey

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The United States and Germany have both announced they plan to pull their Patriot missile batteries from Turkey following a reassessment of the threat from Syria.

Both nations deployed the anti-missile defensive batteries on the southern Turkish border in 2013 in response to a request submitted to NATO by Ankara over “spillage” from the Syrian civil war.

Additional Patriot missile batteries were provided by the Netherlands as well, but were withdrawn earlier this year, and replaced instead by units from Spain.

The Patriot units from the United States will be returned stateside, ostensibly for “upgrades,” according to a joint Turkish-U.S. statement issued on Sunday.

“The United States and NATO are committed to supporting Turkey’s security and regional stability,” the statement said. “If needed, the United States is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week.”

Germany, meanwhile, has said it will shut down its Patriot program altogether.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced last week that Berlin will allow its three-year Patriot mission simply to lapse in January rather than seek parliamentary approval for renewal, Reuters reported.

“The threat in this war-torn region has shifted in focus,” von der Leyen said in a statement on the German defense ministry’s website. “It now stems from the terror organization Islamic State. Therefore, we will remain engaged in the region in a continued effort to stabilize it.”

Hana Levi Julian

Influential Chicago Jewish Federation Says ‘No’ to IranDeal

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The Jewish Federation of Chicago has added its voice to the growing opposition to the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration with Iran. In doing so, joining at least 17 other Jewish groups who have already expressed their opposition to the agreement.

In a statement released Friday after a three-hour meeting, the board of directors said a “majority opinion emerged and was adopted: to call on Congress to oppose the JCPOA as originally submitted, and to ask legislators to work with the Administration to produce better solutions addressing Iran’s nuclear program.”

The board noted that it had met with officials from the Obama administration, Israel, independent experts and members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, in addition to discussing the matter with “many hundreds” of its own community members.

The influential Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which claims to represent “the diversity of our beloved Chicago Jewish community,” sees an annual revenue of some $100 million. The organization also coordinates the collective policies and programs of 46 constituent Jewish organizations through its support of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Although President Barack Obama continues to claim that “war” is the only alternative to approving the deal with Iran, those who oppose the agreement don’t see it that way; neither does the Chicago Jewish Federation.

In its statement, the board said Friday: “Iran’s threats to annihilate the US and Israel, its role as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, its destabilizing of neighboring countries including US allies, its theocratic, anti-democratic regime, its abysmal human rights record, and its Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism must no longer be rationalized or minimized. It is long past time to place Tehran where it belongs on the world’s political map: isolated and ostracized. Hence, no nuclear accord should provide Iran with an unearned ‘express pass’ to international legitimacy.”

The board pledged to continue its past work against a nuclear Iran, which has included the creation of “United Against a Nuclear Iran,” and passage of Iran divestment legislation in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

In addition, the board said it would pressure the U.S. government to intensify international efforts against Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and to upgrade military cooperation with Israel, including the possibility of adding Israel as a member of NATO, among other pledges.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Took More Precautions in Conflict than NATO Member Armies

Monday, June 15th, 2015

By Zack Pyzer

A group international military experts submitted a report to the UN Friday, concluding their analysis of Israeli and Palestinian actions during the 2014 Gaza conflict. The group of eleven independent experts are experienced authorities on military conflict, as well as the laws of armed conflict. Among the investigators were ex-chiefs of staff and generals of NATO member states, as well as politicians from the US, Italy and Spain.

Col. Richard Kemp, the UK’s former commander of forces in Afghanistan, spoke to the Tazpit News Agency on Sunday.

He reflected on the main argument of the report, which stated that the IDF went to great lengths to keep to the rules of conflict, and in some instances went beyond the call of duty.

“The members of the group know of no other army that takes such great steps to avoid civilian casualties, including their own,” Kemp told Tazpit, saying that only a small number of the panel were familiar with Israel before the investigation.
Kemp, who has himself been to Israel numerous times in recent years, explained his colleagues were in general surprised at what they found. “Israel actually goes further than most to stick to international law and protect non-involved civilians,” he contended.
Expanding on previous criticism of the organization, Kemp said that many of the misconceptions among the experts were due to misinformation coming from the UN itself.
Kemp’s also hoped that the UN’s forthcoming publication of a report on last summer’s 50-day conflict would take the group’s report into account.
The UN’s controversial Human Right’s Council (HRC) is set to release its report on the conflict at the end of the month. The HRC have often been described, including by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, as disproportionately focused on putting Israel under the spotlight.
More vocal critics have denounced the HRC, who have had Saudi Arabia, Russia and China on its council in recent years, as completely biased against Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also published its detailed report into the conflict on Sunday, presenting their findings to the Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The report claims that Gazan victims of the 50-day conflict were roughly 50 percent armed combatants, at current estimations.
The ratio puts Israel at the forefront of minimizing civilian casualties in urban warfare, ahead of coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other western armies.
Regarding the MFA report, Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, “Israel and the IDF are committed to the rules of international law even when fighting terrorist organizations that intentionally violated those rules.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IAF in Greece Training Against S-300

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The Israeli Air Force recently completed a joint training exercise in Greece, together with the Greek Air Force.

Over 150 different planes took part in the exercise.

According to Greek sources, the purpose of the training was to gather information on the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, and test out different tactics against the S-300.

Greece is the only NATO member that has an S-300 system in service.

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NATO Chief Added to Obama’s ‘Diss List’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama — America’s Commander-in-Chief — seems to have added the head of the North America Treaty Organization, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, to his “diss list.” No one has any idea why, however.

Stoltenberg, whose office notified the White House staff of the dates well in advance, but his office didn’t even receive the courtesy of a reply from the White House, according to Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin.

The NATO chief is in Washington DC for a three day visit that includes attendance at the annual NATO Transformation Seminar. NATO leaders, various experts and top officials from the host company gather to brainstorm on strategies in the sessions, organized by the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia and the Atlantic Council.

Bernadette Meehan, spokesperson for the National Security Council, could not say why Obama did not respond to Stoltenberg’s request for an informal meeting. At last minute, the NATO leader was able to obtain a meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

But there’s just no getting around the fact that Obama’s behavior is an outright insult. Where was he and what was so incredibly important that he could not make time for the head of NATO –an alliance in which the U.S. is a pivotal member?

The only event on Obama’s schedule for Wednesday, media moguls said, was a short speech to launch the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday he is also pretty free: he heads to Alabama to deliver a speech. Wow. Stressful…

And Stoltenberg isn’t exactly small potatoes: the NATO chief served two terms as Norway’s prime minister prior to starting in October as head of the largest military alliance in the world.

Moreover, he’s on a pretty tight schedule: on Monday he met in Toronto with Canada’s Stephen Harper, where the two discussed the crisis in Ukraine and the threat of the Daesh terror organization, known also as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Both issues are of equal concern to the United States, so one would think that President Obama might at least be somewhat invested in hosting Stoltenberg at the White House.

Tuesday he was involved in other affairs. Wednesday was the seminar.

But nary a phone call, text or email was made. Not even an acknowledgment of the request for a meeting. Weird, particularly when one considers the fact that America’s membership in NATO is its main treaty obligation.

In particular, the president has ticked off former U.S. permanent representative to NATO Kurt Volker, who actually served under Obama, as well as under Pres. George W. Bush before him.

“It is hard for me to believe that the president of the United States has not found the time to meet with the current secretary general of NATO, given the magnitude of what this implies, and the responsibilities of his office,” Volker told Josh Rogin at Bloomberg.

Perhaps he was not present to cover the day Obama had his first tiff with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, stalking out of the Oval Office and leaving Israel’s top leader to hang around while the president had dinner in his private quarters with the family.

Or the time he sneaked Netanyahu out through a side door of the White House, and the time he refused to end a meeting with the routine joint news conference to address questions from international media, because he didn’t want Netanyahu to have the benefit of a photo op.

The list is endless, petty and getting stranger by the day.

It is not at all clear what minor infraction the NATO chief has committed against Barack Obama, but clearly it was something he considers to be of magnified importance – important enough to risk offending the chief of the largest allied military force in the world.

I sure hope it’s worth it.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nato-chief-added-to-obamas-diss-list/2015/03/26/

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