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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

PEW Survey: Americans Say 9/11 Was their Most Significant Event, Followed by Obama Election

Friday, December 16th, 2016

A full 76% of the American public include the Sept. 11 terror attacks as one of the 10 events with the greatest impact during their lifetime, according to a PEW national online survey of 2,025 adults conducted June 16-July 4, 2016.

The question they were asked was: “Please name the 10 historic events that occurred in YOUR lifetime that you think have had the greatest impact on the country. This could be one specific event, a series of related events or any other historic development or change that had an important impact on the nation.”

The top 11 answers were:

1. Sept. 11 – 76%

2. Obama elections – 40

3. The tech revolution – 22

4. JFK assassination – 21

5. Vietnam war – 20

6. Iraq/Afghanistan wars – 17

7. Moon landing – 17

8. Fall of Berlin Wall/end of Cold War – 13

9. Gay marriage – 11

10. Orlando shooting – 10

11. Gulf War – 10

The perceived historic importance of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon span virtually every traditional demographic divide, the Pew survey reports. Majorities of men and women, Millennials and Baby Boomers, Americans with college degrees and those without a high school diploma, and more than seven-in-ten Republicans and Democrats rate 9/11 as one of the 10 most historically significant events to occur during their lifetime.

For the oldest Americans, the unifying event is World War II. For Baby Boomers, the assassination of JFK and the Vietnam War. For Millennials and Gen Xers, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Obama election.

The Columbine school shooting makes the top 10 list of Millennials and Gen Xers but not Boomers or the Silent Generation. Millennials also included the Sandy Hook and Orlando/Pulse nightclub shootings, the death of Osama bin Laden, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Bush/Obama Recession, which appear in no other generation’s top 10 list.

David Israel

Defense Sec. Carter in Israel Welcoming F-35 Amidst Trump’s Cost Complaints, Experts’ Hype Accusations

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Defense Secretary Ash Carter is in Israel Monday, waiting to usher in the first much touted stealth F-35 fighters expected to – as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman put it – “present another component in maintaining air superiority in our region.”

With its estimated cost at close to $400 billion, the new next-gen plane is by far the US’ most expensive weapons system, and Israel is included in a very small group of countries to receive it. and expressed gratitude to Carter, who was welcomed with a military honor guard at a Tel Aviv army base.

One man who is decidedly unhappy with these costs is President-Elect Donald Trump, who told Fox News on Sunday, “Look at the F-35 program with the money, the hundreds of billions of dollars.” Trump continued, “It’s out of control. And the people that are making these deals for the government, they should never be allowed to go to work for these companies. You know, they make a deal like that and two or three years later, you see them working for these companies that made the deal.”

File that one with Trump’s complaints about the excessive costs of Air Force One, complaints that have already hit its maker, Boeing, in the stock markets.

Perhaps more disturbing that its costs – which, presumably, the next president will renegotiate – are the rumors that the F-35 is not meeting its high praise and great expectations. Michael Gilmore, DoD’s chief tester, has been arguing that Pentagon officials have been misleading the public with their assessment of the progress of the F-35, Bloomberg reported.

“If not changed, the existing responses would at best be considered misleading and at worst, prevarications,” Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation, wrote Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Az).

Gilmore has been challenging several key statements from DoD regarding the F-35. For instance, he does not believe the F-35’s development phase will be completed in early 2018, which Defense is claiming. He says Defense is spreading false information when it says all weapons systems’ testing will start in mid-2018 and be completed in 2019. Gilmore thinks the testing won’t be finished before well into 2020.

Gilmore says it is “highly unlikely” the F-35s delivered in fiscal 2018 will have full combat capability, due to delays in testing the plane’s software and correcting “276 pending deficiencies.”

There’s an Israeli angle to these predictions of delayed delivery: during last month’s test flights, symbols on the Elbit helmet display used by pilots in aim air-to-ground attacks were “unusable and unsafe to complete the planned testing.”

These issues of cost and delays didn’t seem to bother Col. Asaf, the deputy commander of Israel’s Nevatim Air Force base in the Negev, who told ABC News, “We are going to be very strong for a long time, having these airplanes. And Israel has to be strong in this region for its existence. It’s a message for everybody that Israel will keep on holding the high-end technology in this area.”

“This specific airplane is going to be a very good one for the next decades,” Col. Asaf said added.

JNi.Media

USMC General (ret.) James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Reported to Be Next Secy of Defense

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump has retired chosen Marine General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, 66, to become the country’s next Secretary of Defense, The Hill reports.

Although the official announcement is expected next week, a source in the Trump Transition Team was quoted with the news by CNN on Thursday.

Trump Transition Team Communications Director Jason Miller said in a tweet, however, that no decision has yet been made.

Mattis is known as a popular general among the rank-and-file, someone who “tells it like it is,” and who is “no apologist” to anyone, for anything.

In 2012, Mattis was quoted by Al-Hayat Washington Bureau Chief Joyce Karam as having told Congress that removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from his post would represent the “biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.”

Mattis will need a Congressional waiver of a statute that prevents him from accepting a civilian position, since he retired in 2013, just three years ago. Section 903(a) of the National Defense Authorization act requires a seven-year wait period between active duty and serving as Secretary of Defense — a civilian role — for former service members.

President and CEO Michael Makovsky of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) wrote that JINSA, “an organization dedicated to a robust U.S. national security posture and a strong U.S.-Israel security relationship,” would not endorse any one candidate for a government position but still felt “compelled to convey that characterizations of one candidate, General James N. Mattis, USMC (ret.), as anti-Israel are ill-founded and unfair.”

Specifically, Makovsky addressed himself to criticism about “extemporaneous remarks General Mattis made at the Aspen Institute in July 2013 on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. They were made shortly following his retirement after a very distinguished four-decade-long career in the U.S. military, with his last position as Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), where his area of responsibility covered much of the Middle East and Central Asia (excluding Israel), Makovsky wrote.

“We understand and share many of the objections to his remarks, including that he seemed to blame mostly Israel for the impasse, despite the critical challenges it faces in lacking a stable, moderate Palestinian partner that genuinely seeks a durable peace with the Jewish state. Some American Jews and even Israelis make the same mistake. In any case, he has not repeated those remarks,” he noted.

“On the larger U.S. military and strategic issues related to the Middle East, which a Secretary of Defense will have to address early on, General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust U.S. military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career, and its importance to American security and the restoration of America’s position in the Middle East – views JINSA has strongly propounded. Along similar lines, he has stressed the need to stand by our longstanding regional friends.

“General Mattis’ outlook on these issues aligns perfectly with Israel’s, which considers an aggressive Iran its greatest strategic threat, and a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat. Israel also seeks a strong U.S. presence in the Middle East.

“General Mattis has noted this alignment of views with Israel, and correctly explained the synchronization of Israeli and Arab outlooks on these subjects. This should be heartening to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that a strong State of Israel is necessary for its own sake and important for a strong America.”

Makovsky went on to write, “JINSA’s experiences with General Mattis have been very positive, including many private discussions in the last few years on the Middle East. We recently consulted several notable Israelis and Americans in the civic and military spheres who also have interacted with him and they share our confidence in his support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Were General Mattis to become Secretary of Defense, and work more closely with Israel in that position, an opportunity he lacked at CENTCOM, we believe he will become an even closer friend of the State of Israel.”

Hana Levi Julian

ISIS Torture Video Producer Dead, Pentagon Confirms

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

On September 7, an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition forces ended the career, and the life, of Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, the Islamic State (Da’esh / ISIS) chief propaganda leader.

According to a statement released by the Pentagon on Friday, “Dr. Wa’il” has been responsible for the broadcasts of the propaganda videos of the beheading of journalists and aid workers over the past several years.

It has been those propaganda videos produced by “Dr. Wa’il” that have been a central tool in the recruiting of new terrorists and lone wolf attackers to ISIS.

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Obama $38 Billion MOU Designed to Shackle Congress, Fight Not Over

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Late Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement regarding the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the US, saying: “In a short while, in Washington DC, a historic agreement will be signed between the United States and Israel. This agreement will ensure an unprecedented level of security assistance to Israel over the coming decade. This is the largest military assistance package that the United States has ever given to any country.”

A few lines down, Netanyahu wrote: “I would like to thank President Obama and his administration for this historic agreement,” and, “I also thank our many, many friends in the American Congress and among the American people for their great support, which crosses party lines and embraces the length and breadth of the United States.”

There, in the cross-section between the President and Congress, is where the drama over the US aid package to Israel will be taking place in the coming months. It also explains why the PM has embraced a deal that is, clearly, a step back in terms of Israel’s ambitions for US military aid.

According to Ha’aretz, citing senior defense ministry officials, as recently as last July US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and then Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon have reached an agreement in principle on a $45 billion aid package over ten years. Why is Israel now willing to settle for $7 billion less? Ha’aretz, typically, blames the cut on Netanyahu’s refusal to toe the line on the Iran nuclear deal, and his insolent battle against the President in Congress over it. But that doesn’t explain why Sec. Carter was offering the larger amount months after Netanyahu’s March 3, 2015 speech in Congress.

Like all deals, the $38 billion MOU must still be confirmed in the Senate, first by the Appropriations Committee and then by the full Senate. One key member of the committee is Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC), who earlier this week told the Washington Post: “The Israeli prime minister told me the administration is refusing to sign the MOU until I agree to change my appropriation markup back to $3.1 billion. I said, ‘Tell the administration to go [expletive] themselves.’”

The 10-year aid package reaching its conclusion in 2017 was set at “only” $31 billion, but, in addition, Congress has been awarding Israel additional funds: $729 million in 2014 to help with the acquisition gaps caused by the Gaza War, as well as to help the development of the Iron Dome system. In 2015 Congress gave Israel $620 million in addition to the aid package, and this year the estimates are around $600 million. So that the aid Israel currently receives from the US is pretty close to the MOU’s $38 Billion. Israel will only benefit from an additional $100 million annually. For a country boasting a $300 billion annual GDP, this is the definition of chump change.

Why, then, did Netanyahu agree to an MOU that compels Israel to pay back whatever amount Congress adds in military aid, which would include an attempt by, say, Senator Lindsey Graham, to tack on an extra $7 billion to the proposed package?

“I’m offended that the administration would try to take over the appropriations process. If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill,” Graham told the Post. “We can’t have the executive branch dictating what the legislative branch will do for a decade based on an agreement we are not a party to.”

The MOU awards the Israeli missile defense development effort $500 million per year, more than the $487 million Congress gave it in 2016, but less than the Senate appropriations bill for 2017, which gives Israel $600 million. By the way, Obama asked for only $145.8 million in the budget. So, should the MOU go through the Senate, Israel would lose $600 million right off the bat. And Israel signed a letter, as part of the MOU, that any amount tacked on to the aid package in later years, Israel would be obligated to give back.

A White House official said this is better for Israel, since “the fact that under our offer Israel can count on the administration’s commitment to provide a substantial level of missiledefense assistance for a 10-year period is substantively different from the missile- defense support it has received in previous years.” There’s some truth to it — rather than go lobbying every year for that money, Israel is guaranteed a moderately lower sum, it’s already in the bank.

“You know the White House pressured them into writing that letter,” Graham said. “It is a level of antagonism against Israel that I can’t understand.”

Graham is irate because the MOU was a White House attempt to neutralize the Republican Congress’s ability to forge an independent relationship with the Jewish State. They can continue to invite Bibi to talk to them against the next president, if they so wish, but they can’t give him a penny. Vindictive? Probably. But also understandable. This President spent much of his two terms in office fighting Congress over foreign policy. He’d like to leave his successor a cleaner slate, at least when it comes to dealing with Israel.

The MOU is also better for the Pentagon, which, together with the White House, can keep all the money going to Israel inside one, manageable package. Should the need arise for additional funds, Israel would have to go to the President, not Congress, and when Israel asks for something, Israel also has to give something. Also, in six years, according to the MOU, Israel will lose the right to spend any of the aid package on its own military industrial complex — all the money must stay in the US. Of course, by then Israeli manufacturers would follow Elbit and Rafael and forge partnerships with US corporations, but the jobs in Israel would be lost.

“I’m not pleased with a provision in the MOU which prohibits Israel from using American defense assistance on Israeli defense suppliers,” Senator Graham wrote on his website. “Israel’s homegrown defense technology is some of the best in the world.” He added, “Under our old agreement Israel was allowed to develop cutting-edge military technology and was required to share this technology with the United States. I’m proud to say that many of these advancements helped protect the lives of American service members in uniform. I do not believe this new provision will serve the interests of the United States or Israel. I do fear it will be Americans wearing the uniform of our nation who will pay the price for this short-sighted change in policy.”

So, it’s obvious why the MOU represents a good deal for the Administration. But why was Netanyahu “duped” into signing the MOU? There are two possible explanations, and they both have to do with the coming lame duck session of Congress. Since last summer, there have been persistent rumors in Jerusalem and Washington that, once the November 8 election is over, the Obama Administration would spend its last breath on squeezing a 2-state deal out of Israel. To do that, the rumors went, Obama would join the majority in the UN Security Council to pass resolutions that push Israel against the wall. It would be ugly, it would be painful, there would be no support for the move from either the Democrats nor the Republicans, but it won’t matter. It would be a move that can’t be stopped by Congress, and Israel would, at last, bow to the pressure.

Did Netanyahu sign the MOU in return for an Obama promise to leave him alone between Nov. 9 and January 17? Perhaps. Of course, the above nightmare scenario is not something we would expect from any US president, except for the fact that President Obama has been so capricious and unpredictable about his bizarre “Arab Spring” campaign, that if anyone would dream up something like that it would be him.

The other point has to do with the conversation Netanyahu had with Senator Graham earlier this week, in which, we understand, Graham did most of the talking, and only part of it was taken up by expletives. The Senator from South Carolina, with Bibi’s blessing, can bury the MOU. He has at his disposal several parliamentary means of delaying it until after the start of the new year. It won’t be simple, and there are members on the Democratic side of the Appropriations Committee who are decidedly not friendly to Israel (Senator Patrick Leahy, Dem – Vt comes to mind) who would attack Graham viciously. But if Graham can drag this deal long enough, he could get it tossed and rewritten by the next Administration.

JNi.Media

Samaria Activist Yossi Dagan Asked By Brooklynites To Talk About Israeli Resiliency and Terror on 9/11

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan spent Sunday evening after a day of “9/11″ ceremonies explaining Israeli survival skills and resiliency to a gathering of more than 70 residents in the upscale Basil’s restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Many of those who attended had their own history of trauma, with the violence of the recent 25th anniversary of the August 19, 1991 riots in Crown Heights more than just a passing memory.

The event, a memorial evening of solidarity, was appropriately dubbed “Resiliency In The Face Of Terror.”

The evening began with a moment of silence to honor the thousands of innocent victims who died as a result of the Al Qaeda terrorist attack on 9/11, and a short prayer in memory of the 3,000 victims by Rabbi Mendy Margolin.

Dagan arrived after having first paid his respects to the fallen at the site of the attack in Manhattan; the hijackers had also carried out simultaneous attacks at the Pentagon and — foiled by passengers in their attempt to reach the White House — crashing a fourth plane in a field in Pennsylvania.

“On this day I was humbled to visit Ground Zero to share my sympathy for the families and solidarity with the American people,” Dagan said. “Coming from Shomron (Samaria) and representing a community that suffers from terrorism I understand how difficult this is.”

Rabbi Yaacov Behrman introduced Dagan, saying, “We Americans can learn a lot from how Israelis persevere despite the threat of terror, and how they continue to live meaningful productive lives even after experiencing many horrific attacks.”

Clara Perez, general manager of Basil, told JewishPress.com that the restaurant made a special order of wine from Shomron in honor of the event. ” #BDS — ‘Buy Davka Shomron’,” she declared.

Dagan told the gathering that he came to the United States to participate in a series of events aimed at confronting the BDS movement on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

“More than 35 members of Congress attended our conference against BDS and a Shomron Wine Tasting evening in the Capitol Building,” Dagan said.

“The Shomron (Samaria in Hebrew) is at the forefront of the battle for standing up to the haters of Israel. I was moved by the very warm reception of the Jewish community in New York who showed their support for Shomron, the heartland of Israel.”

Dagan said he also visited The Ohel – the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory – in order to pray for the safety and security for the people living in Shomron.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: IAF Trained with Pakistani, UAE Air Forces

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Israel Air Force pilots last week trained for the first time with pilots from the Pakistani and United Arab Emirates air forces, as part of the “Red Flag” exercises in Nevada, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Thursday. The teams from the two countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel nevertheless trained and cooperated with the Israeli team during the exercises. The Red Flag exercises also included pilots from the US and Spain and featured dozens of attack sorties, dogfights, bombings, and long-range flight midair refueling.

The report noted that the fact that the Pakistani and UAE teams did not object to flying alongside their Israeli counterparts suggests that they were more interested in studying and exercising than in politics. The lists of participating teams is composed solely by the Pentagon, and participating countries cannot modify it — but they can refuse to participate.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses Airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. / US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

A senior IAF official told Chanel 2 News that “the Americans are excellent pilots, it’s clear they know how to fly and fight.” He said the Americans downed Israeli planes in dogfights, “but we downed them, too.” Each sortie involved many dozens of fighter planes, as well as refueling and intelligence support aircraft, and took place in day and night-time conditions, testing the teams’ ability to work together.

But the official noted that “this is not just about flying together, but about preparing for the mission ahead of time. You see right away who’s good and who’s not. There’s no place to hide. Everything stands out. We got better all the time, and the real deal was to learn from our mistakes.”

The exercise included IAF F-16I “Sufa” (Heb: Storm) aircraft, and for the first time Boeing 707 refueling aircraft. “It’s the nearest exercise to real warfare you can have,” the official said, “dealing with enemy planes, anti-aircraft missile threats—including the S300 systems Iran has—and cyber attacks on our aircraft. We still need to explore our performance, but the pilots are saying it was good.”

Next year, Israel will host the “Blue Flag” exercises, with the air forces of the US, France and Poland.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-iaf-trained-with-pakistani-uae-air-forces/2016/09/01/

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