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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Obama’s UN Speech Ignores Israel but Hits Hard at Putin and Assad

Monday, September 28th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly Monday was extraordinary in its total exclusion of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and its hard-hitting attack on the Assad regime in Syria and its ally Russia.

A strong indication that President Obama has finally realized what he and numerous predecessors did not understand was this statement:

There are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the Middle East and North Africa.

It is not the first time he has said that, but unlike previous speeches, it was not followed up by the usual pie-in-the-sky statements that “Peace is made with enemies.” or “Solving the Israel-Palestinian Authority struggle is the key to bringing peace to the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, who chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority and is secretary-general of the parent PLO, was extremely disappointed with Obama’s speech. He said:

Does President Obama believe that he is able to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and terror or bring stability and security to the Middle East by ignoring the continuing Israeli occupation, settlements and the ongoing Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]?

Obama’s speech was a resounding “yes” to Erekat.

The “occupation” never was a threat to the Middle East, but the United States foreign policy gurus couldn’t figure that out, even when the Arab Spring rebellions upended stability and brought anarchy, termed by the United States as democracy, to Egypt, Libya, Iraq and other boiling pots in Arab Muslim countries.

Years after the United States ignored ISIS, it has become Public Enemy No. 1 and is being used brilliantly by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify direct Russian military force in Syria.

When Putin told the United Nations he is fighting the Islamic State, he could have been more accurate, Russia may be the only country fighting ISIS.

The American-led strike force has proven to be pitiful, as the JewishPress.com reported here last week on the American-trained Syrian rebels who betrayed the United States and delivered American weapons to Al Qaeda.

The President verbally attacked ISIS but he was extremely careful to be polite to Islam, stating:

Part of that effort [against ISIS] must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.

President Obama mentioned “Israel” zero times in his speech. Ditto for the terms “Palestinian Authority” and Palestine.”

The only time he mentioned “Middle East” was in the context quoted above, that there are no simple solutions.

But he mentioned Syria eight times and Russia 15 times with harsh comments that were nothing short of cold war speech.

For example:

The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.

Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex history between Russia and Ukraine. But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today. That’s the basis of the sanctions that the United States and our partners impose on Russia. It’s not a desire to return to a Cold War.

But his speech was remarkably chilly towards Moscow. He flatly stated:

Russia’s state-controlled media may describe these events as an example of a resurgent Russia… And yet, look at the results. The Ukrainian people are more interested than ever in aligning with Europe instead of Russia. Sanctions have led to capital flight, a contracting economy, a fallen ruble, and the emigration of more educated Russians

Imagine if, instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy, and worked with Ukraine and the international community to ensure its interests were protected. That would be better for Ukraine, but also better for Russia, and better for the world.

President Obama claimed he does not mind a strong Russia so long as it works with the United States “to strengthen the international system as a whole.”.

That gave him a platform to plow into the Assad regime Putin and Russia’s presence in Syria and ISIS, which he still refers to as ISIL and which he called ” an apocalyptic cult.

President Obama stated:

When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs… Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women, that’s not a single nation’s national security problem — that is an assault on all humanity.

Putin has taken the military offensive in Syria, giving him a military and political base across from Israel’s northern border. Putin knows that the Muslim Middle East understands only one word – “force” – but Obama dealt with the issue from weakness because without a military presence, the United States has little ammunition except Obama’s oratory.

He told the United Nations:

But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.

He could have used that as an excuse to throw in something about the “Israel-occupied Golan Heights,” but he did not.

His speech was remarkable in that it exposed how weak his administration has become in international affairs following the debacles in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, which now is under growing ISIS influence.

American influence had been on the decline for years but accelerated with the inevitable failure of the “peace process.” which was focused on the wrong country and the wrong issue at the wrong time.

IDF Attacks Syrian Military Targets

Monday, September 28th, 2015

IDF artillery soldiers hit at least two Syrian military targets Sunday night after the second straight day of fire on Israeli territory. A Syrian officer reportedly was wounded.

Lebanese media reported that Israel also launched three missiles on Syrian targets and that the Israeli Air Force circled over the area.

The retaliation comes at the same time Russia President Vladimir Putin has escalated Russian’s military presence in Syria, ostensibly because of the war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Russian force are actively involved in doing whatever is possible to keep Bashar al-Assad in power, and drawing Israel into military action would work to his political advantage by taking attention away from the civil war.

The IDF issued a statement reminding Syria and the world that Israel will not tolerate fire from the Syrian side of the border, whether intentional or not, and stated:

The IDF holds the Syrian military responsible for all events stemming from its territory and will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israel’s sovereignty and the safety of its residents.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that soldiers fighting for the Assad regime violated Israeli sovereignty by firing into Israel, even if it was stray fire.

The Syrian fire on the Golan Heights did not cause any injuries or serious property damage,

Sanctions No More: Tehran to Purchase Sukhoi Superjet, Satellite Equipment in $21 Billion Deal with Russia

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) Iran has signed contracts to the tune of $21 billion with Russia, to buy satellite-related equipment and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) aircraft, Sputnik reported on Saturday.

Manouchehr Manteghi, managing director of Iran Aviation Industries Organization, said “there is a large share of contracts for the purchase of this type of aircraft.”

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is a modern fly-by-wire twin-engine regional jet with 108 passenger seats. It claims substantially lower operating costs than its comparable Antonov An-148, the Brazilian Embraer S.A., and the Canadian Bombardier. It also offers a lower purchase price of $35 million.

The exact number of Superjets Iran plans to purchase has not been revealed.

Iranian Vice President Sorena Sattari told the Russian Kommersant daily in late August that his country was in talks with Russia for the purchase of at least two types of military aircraft. According to Sattari, Tehran is also interested in using Russian rocket carriers to launch its own satellites into orbit.

On May 9, 2012, a Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 with 37 passengers and eight crew members on board crashed after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, killing everyone on board.

In related news, on Saturday, in New York, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told President of the European Council Donald Tusk that Iran is ready to boost its cooperation with the European Union “considerably.”

“The EU member-states suffered the most during the sanctions era and in the new era we should renovate and expand Iran-EU relations to compensate for the past,” the Iranian president said.

Putin, Obama to Meet Sept. 28 at UN General Assembly

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama are set to meet September 28 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a briefing on Thursday, according to Reuters.

On the agenda for the two world leaders will be issues relating to Ukraine and Syria. Iran has not been mentioned, although it is possible that Tehran may be discussed as well.

But there are already two completely different versions of how the agenda for that meeting is supposed to go.

Reporters on each side of the planet heard two separate agendas from the spokespersons for each of the two world leaders.

“When the president sits down with President Putin, the top item on his agenda will be Ukraine,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters at Thursday’s news briefing in Washington DC.

Peskov, meanwhile, told reporters in a conference call from Moscow that the crisis in Ukraine would be discussed “if time allows.”

Earnest told reporters that the exact time and date had not yet been decided.

Peskov said the meeting had been scheduled to take place following Putin’s address to the UN.

The Russian spokesperson added that the meeting between the two presidents could last between 50 minutes to a full hour, and it was Peskov who gave the date of the meeting: Sept. 28.

Those who have already purchased their tickets for this event should be sure to bring fire extinguishers as well…

Tough Guys

Monday, September 21st, 2015

They could make a movie about these guys… A former Russian KGB agent and a former Israeli Special Forces commando team up to fight bad guys in the Middle East, only one of them may be (not so) secretly helping the bad guys…

I’d go see it.

High-Ranking Security Team Joins Netanyahu Meeting With Putin in Moscow

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is traveling to Moscow today (Monday Sept. 21) to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Military Intelligence director Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevy, National Security Council head Yossi Cohen and Netanyahu’s military secretary Col. Eliezer Toledano are also accompanying the prime minister to the meeting, which is scheduled to last three hours.

The officials are expected to discuss Russia’s activities and military involvement in Syria, as well as questions about Russia’s cooperation with Iran.

The United States is holding parallel talks with Moscow on the same issues, according to numerous media reports.

There are no journalists on the plane with the prime minister for this trip, underscoring the gravity of the meeting.

Last week a source told the Reuters news agency that new, advanced weapons have been delivered to Syrian government troops, who are being trained in their use. It is believed the weapons are being sent from Russia.

Netanyahu Adds Russia to Regional Discussions on Syria

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is including Russia in the circle of nations involved in talks over how to deal with the regional issues created by the Syrian crisis.

Next week Netanyahu plans to travel to Moscow to discuss those issues facing Israel and other nations in the area with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The prime minister will present the threats to Israel emanating from the increased flow of advanced weaponry to the Syrian arena and from the transfer of lethal weaponry to Hezbollah and other terrorist groups,” an Israeli official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Russia has been expanding its military deployment in Syria, with hundreds of new prefab barracks and a new mobile air traffic control center delivered last week to Latakia.

Support by the Kremlin for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is nothing new, however; Russia has maintained a steady supply of weaponry to Israel’s northern neighbor since the start of the civil war in 2011.

Prior to the war, Russia was a strong sponsor of Syria’s military and economic enterprise, as well as an active partner in the country’s development of its oil and other natural energy resources.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-adds-russia-to-regional-discussions-on-syria/2015/09/16/

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