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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Netanyahu: Hamas Mistaken to Think Israel Lacks Unity, Determination or Fortitude

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Hamas terrorists Sunday not to underestimate Israel’s ability to hold out under any ‘war of attrition’ the group might attempt.

“We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings,” he said.

The comment came in response to the rejection by Hamas of an 11-point tentative plan reached Thursday in Cairo, in connection which Palestinian Arab representatives had expressed optimism.

That was before Hamas leaders had made the requisite pilgrimage to see politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who is based comfortably in Qatar – not with his suffering brethren in Gaza – and who over the weekend with his Qatari handlers immediately nixed the deal.

Israeli officials had maintained silence about the plan throughout the weekend, other than to say that any deal must meet the security needs of the Jewish State.

On Saturday night, Hamas leaders returned to Gaza with bluster and brazen attitude, demanding the inclusion of two points that were turned down by Israel: construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza. Both would create an instant express route for the import of weaponry into the enclave, totally impractical from Israel’s security standpoint since Hamas has proved itself to be without honor and incapable of sticking to agreements or cease-fires for any length of time.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed the White House placed a ‘hold’ on an imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles that was due to arrive in Israel and issued an order to the Pentagon that future military transactions must be scrutinized directly by the State Department and the Oval Office.

The move emboldened Hamas and its backers, who might otherwise have reached the point of understanding that it was in the best interest of Gazans for Hamas to reach an agreement for quiet, if not peace, with Israel. Instead, the terrorist group decided it would prefer to continue its campaign of terror.

Late Saturday night, Hamas officials announced that Israel should prepare for a “long war of attrition” if the Jewish State is not willing to “meet all our demands.”

But that’s a mistake, Netanyahu said, despite the sporadic demonstrations that terrorists have seen on television protesting against the government’s handling of the conflict.

“In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air,” Netanyahu said.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken,” he warned. “If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken.

“As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.

“In the stormy and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough that there be more strength, determination and patience are also necessary. Hamas knows that we are very strong but maybe it thinks that we do not have enough determination and patience, and here it is making a big mistake.”

Obama Holds Up Weapons Transfer to Israel

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

An imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles set to arrive in Israel from the US has been held up by the White House.

Moreover, the transfer of any weapons and other military hardware to Israel, even routine munitions requests, is now being blocked by the State Department and the White House.

In clear language, it means that any form of American military aid – once a ‘given’ by Israel’s “closest friend and ally” – is now being scrutinized by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, at a time when Israel is facing an enemy supplied by Iran and Syria, and intent on its destruction.

The move has only served to further wind up an already tense relationship between the White House and Israel.

According to an Israeli government official quoted by the Wall Street Journal, “We’ve been there before with a lot of tension with us and Washington. What we have now, on top of that, is mistrust and a collision of different perspectives on the Middle East. It’s become very personal.”

Specifically, the Pentagon blocked delivery of the Hellfire missiles because officials at the White House and in the State Department were worried about the reaction of Palestinian Arabs in the US and abroad, according to the report.

The WSJ article cited a number of past conflicts between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. It then went on, however, to say the straw that broke the camel’s back had to do with the attack near the UNRWA school in Gaza.

“The watershed moment came in the early morning in Gaza July 30. An Israeli shell struck a United Nations school in Jabaliya that sheltered about 3,000 people. Later that day, it was reported in the U.S. that the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds had been released to the Israeli military,” WSJ reported.

A US diplomat complained about being “blindsided” and officials at the White House and State Department were disturbed by what they considered a risk to regional stability and Israel’s interests due to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” according to the report.

However, no one was blindsided. The Israelis filed a routine request for munitions as they always did. Israeli bureaucracy is famous for its automated mentality, which is set in motion months in advance. Even the draft notices for upcoming 18-year-olds begin two years earlier – at age 16 – and then are sent out six months before the actual appointment.

A US defense official also said there was nothing unusual about the request.

“There was no intent to blindside anyone. The process for this transfer was followed precisely along the lines that it should have,” the official said.

But with regard to the July 30 attack, the information was reported from Gaza inaccurately from the start, deliberately manipulating and inciting American officials.

Pallywood wins again – but it is a bit odd that top government officials could so easily be misled, unless it’s an active choice on their part.

That’s not the fault of American media but rather due to the Hamas propaganda machine and the willingness of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to collaborate.

It’s also due to the need for journalists to stay alive; there have been more than a few reporters who have managed to leave Gaza and later were courageous enough to admit they were threatened with death if they were to photograph, let alone report, the truth of what they were doing to their own civilians there.

The lone shell that was fired struck outside the school compound, as was already admitted by at least one UNRWA official in a tweet several hours after the event.

Too Little, Too Late? US Special Forces Arrive in Iraq

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

A U.S. contingent of 150 special forces has arrived in Iraq as part of its promised military aid in the fight against terror there.

Washington told the Iraqi government it would help the country fight the Sunni Muslim Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) guerrilla forces who have taken over nearly a third of the country.

The American special forces are intended to help the Iraqi military fight the terrorists, according to a Pentagon spokesperson, who said they had already “begun their work in the field.”

However, it’s questionable whether the aid sent by the U.S. will be adequate to deal with the situation at this point. ISIL forces have taken over nearly the entire northern region and much of the central area as well, in addition to a large swathe of territory along the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Pentagon Defends Jordan Valley Pullout: No Worries When ISIS Invades Jordan

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Israel maintains that American military training did not help Iraqi forces fend off the Al Qaeda-linked ISIL takeover in the northern and central part of the country.

The take-away lesson: Israel cannot and will not hand over the defense of its nation to a third party in the Jordan Valley – not now, not ever.

The Pentagon is upset by that, because the United States wants to advance a plan formulated by U.S. General John Allen to replace the Israel Defense Forces in the Jordan Valley with an international force.

Allen, an expert on counter-terrorism with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, contends that Israel faces completely different threats than those in Iraq.

The Pentagon and State Department both insist that Israel should trust American military officials to know what they are doing.

But Israeli officials said bluntly in a report published Monday night – speaking on condition of anonymity – that the Americans are misreading the signals and possibly the map, much as they did in Iraq.

And they don’t want to see a repetition of that disaster here on home ground.

More than 1,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, have died in mass murders by radical Islamists in the last three weeks, the United Nations reports, calling the figure “very much a minimum.”

Terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) – or as it is called in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams or Syria (ISIS), seized nearly the entire northern section of Iraq. The group captured the largest city in the north – Mosul – and the hometown of former dictator Sadaam Hussein, Tikrit, among others.

ISIL is now threatening Iraq’s border with Turkey, and earlier this month kidnapped a Turkish Consul and 80 Turkish contractors and workers from an eastern city. Turkey immediately evacuated its staff from the Turkish Consulate in Basra, located in southern Iraq.

The group’s forces are also threatening Iraq’s eastern border with Iran.

In addition, ISIL has captured a wide area in Iraq’s central region and is rapidly advancing to the west, having already captured one border crossing into Jordan, in addition to two border crossings with Syria. The group’s forces are beginning to move south towards Baghdad.

The group’s goal is to create an Islamic state, a Caliphate, run entirely by Shari’a (Islamic) law.

At present, ISIL has managed to blur the border between Iraq and Syria – with members of the group on both sides of the boundary – and is presenting a real and present danger to Jordan.

It is this threat to another American ally that Israel is pointedly referring to in its discussions with the United States, which blithely assured the Iraqi government it would “help push back this aggression” even as it pulled its forces out of Iraq two and a half years ago. Despite the infusion of billions of U.S. dollars, Iraqi security forces were inadequately trained and completely unable to meet the challenge of fending off the ISIL guerrilla fighters.

Pentagon Allows Kippa and Beard If They Don’t Endanger a Mission

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The Pentagon made clear in an order that troops may accommodate religious beliefs in their garb or grooming as long as it does not frustrate their mission.

“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

The requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis, Christensen said.

Under the order, Jewish servicemen could be permitted to wear a kippah or a beard.

Among the factors that would influence a decision, a Pentagon statement listed, are “safe and effective operation of weapons,” and health and safety hazards to the personnel wearing the apparel.

 

Pentagon Official: U.S. Still Considering Drone Sale to Turkey

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

U.S. sales of drones to Turkey are still under consideration.

“The United States continues to work through our approach to exporting unmanned systems to our closest allies, including Turkey,” a Pentagon official told JTA on Tuesday.

The official would not comment directly on reports originating in the Turkish press that the Obama administration had canceled the sale of 10 Predator drones to Turkey in retaliation for Turkey’s alleged exposure to Iran of 10 operatives working for Israeli intelligence.

A spokesman for the State Department, which finalizes such sales, also would not comment, citing the policy of not making such sales public until Congress had been notified.

The drones each cost at least $4.5 million.

US Suspends Delivery of F-16s to Egypt Due to Political Turmoil

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

The United States was prepared to deliver four F-16 Fighter jets to Egypt as recently as last week, but on Wednesday, July 24, the U.S. administration announced that there would be no delivery at this time.

The move is one that surprised few, as the U.S. administration had been far more favorably disposed to the recently ousted President Mahmoud Morsi than it has been to either President Hosnai Mubarak who was removed in the Tahrir Square Revolution in 2011, or to the current government leaders whose tactics have been viewed as heavy-handed.

“Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters on Wednesday.  Little explained that the decision to delay delivery of the warplanes came from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The delay was relayed to Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a telephone call by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel earlier in the day.

Under a $2.5 billion deal signed in 2010, the United States is committed to providing 20 F-16 fighters to Egypt. Eight jets were delivered earlier this year and four more F-16s were due to be shipped over in coming weeks.

The Pentagon’s announcement that the F-16s would not be delivered at this time followed a decision made on July 19 by the British government to suspend arms exports to the Egyptian military.

Despite the decision to delay delivery, the United States plans to go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt known as “Bright Star.”

Egypt receives $1.3 billion in U.S. aid each year.

Meanwhile, the current Egyptian leadership continues on the path it began by ousting Morsi.  The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday on charges of “inciting violence.” And army chief al-Sisi called for nationwide protests, the purpose of which is to oppose “violence and terrorism.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-suspends-delivery-of-f-16s-to-egypt-due-to-political-turmoil/2013/07/25/

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