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May 6, 2016 / 28 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Turkey Shells Kurds in Syrian Border Village After Recapture

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Over the weekend, Turkish forces shelled the Syrian village of Maranaz and the Menagh airbase, both of which were re-captured recently by the Kurds.

Israel is watching the situation in Syria closely; events across the northern border have serious potential to affect Israeli national security. Although Israel coordinates its activities with Russia, that doesn’t mean every move by Moscow is one that works well for Jerusalem across the northern border. Nor does Russia necessarily take into consideration how its military activities might impact Israeli security. The same holds true for Turkey.

Coverage earlier in the day by international media claimed Turkish artillery was aiming its shelling at villages that were under the control of Jaysh al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army), not YPG, (Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia). A Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey’s military force shelled YPG targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. The source did not explain the extent or reason for the shelling.

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), like the YPG, is considered by Ankara to be a branch of the Turkish PKK terror organization.

The PKK is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity. However, neither considers the YPG or the PYD to be terrorist organizations.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Menagh, that were recently taken by YPG. The Syrian Kurdish YPG group confirmed the news in a tweet early Saturday evening. Local sources said the shelling did not have any major impact and was not hampering YPG efforts or operations at either location.

“It’s just a propaganda show to pretend they are not idle while al-Qaeda is smashed,” wrote a local source in a response on the Twitter social networking site.

But the artillery aimed Kurdish positions, rather than Da’esh targets, has raised more questions about the Ankara’s goals at a time when Turkey has turned up the pressure over its candidacy for European Union membership.

Moreover, as a member of NATO, Turkey has flatly stated that it expects the world organization to come to its aid in the event that its borders are breached.

But what if those borders are breached by desperate Kurds fleeing flaming wrecks of cities shelled by Turkish artillery?

Those same Kurds are viewed by Turkey as “terrorists” and yet the United States does not view them in the same light. How would this conflict be resolved among two members of NATO, sworn to protect each other under “siege” ?

Meanwhiel, special forces from the United Arab Emirates are reportedly being sent to Syria to help Sunni fighters recapture Raqqa, the northern Syrian city seized by Da’esh (ISIS) for use as the capital of its world caliphate.

It is not clear how many forces the UAE plans to send to Syria for the mission. But Saudi Arabia has also pledged to send forces to train and help local fighters recapture Raqqa.

Numerous Kurds fell in the initial battle to hold the city.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, warned other nations they not interfere in the Syrian conflict. Medvedev said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that more foreign intervention will only exacerbate the conflict and could lead to a “permanent war.”

Meanwhile, Israel could easily be caught between all parties and find itself dancing at numerous weddings all at the same time.

Having managed to maintain a cold peace with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for decades on the Golan Heights border, Israel has lately been forced to maintain a much closer watch in the area. The various groups jockeying for position in what is colloqually now being referred to as “the Syrias” are coming closer and closer to the Israel-Syria border — close enough to be seen with binoculars.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Russia, Israel, to Sign Free Trade Agreement

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Russia and Israel are about to sign a free trade agreement in the very near future, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin told TASS on Friday after talks with his Israeli counterpart.

“We’ve discussed the prospects of forming a free trade zone, which the government plans to put on paper within the shortest period of time,” Levin said, adding that the issue had also been discussed at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel confirmed his intention to go ahead with the plan very soon.

The two sides agreed on reciprocal purchases of agricultural products, setting up joint ventures and the introduction of agricultural high-tech, Levin said. Russia would like to increase its sale of wheat, beef and eggs to Israel, while Israel, a world power in agricultural technology, is ready to share its expertise with its Russian trade partners.

Russia and Israel plan to establish a Moscow-based agricultural technological demonstration center, Ariel told TASS, adding that Israeli export to Russia has been decreasing recently due to the ruble’s devaluation, implying Israel would like to see a solution to the price gap, to encourage both exports and imports.

JNi.Media

‘Russia & Israel Partners Against Holocaust Denial’

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

by Jonathan Benedek

Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial, says Valentina Matviyenko, head of the Federation Council of Russia.

Matviyenko attended a memorial ceremony in Netanya on Wednesday together with a number of regional council members and members of Knesset at the National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany.

“The Netanya monument is a symbol of a shared memory and symbolizes the brotherhood of nations,” Matviyenko said, referring to Russian-Israeli partnership and friendship.

She also mentioned the current challenge faced by both Israel and Russia in fighting against false narratives of World War II and the Holocaust.

“Russia and Israel are partners in the struggle against the falsification and revision of the history of World War II. Together, we are partners in the struggle against Holocaust denial because any attempt to deny the Holocaust is a crime.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also spoke at the ceremony and expressed his gratitude on behalf of Israel for the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

“This is an expression of our profound gratitude to the Red Army,” said Edelstein. “This impressive monument has also been central in allowing us to salute and remember the past. It has allowed us to build the present and the future here in Israel.”

Edelstein expressed his desire for the Russian-Israeli relationship to continue advancing and growing. “I hope that we succeed in tightening the cooperation between Israel and Russia, and the Chairman of the Federation’s visit expresses this important task,” added Edelstein.

The National Monument Commemorating the Victory of the Red Army Over Nazi Germany was inaugurated in June, 2012 at a ceremony attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Russia Directly Arming Hezbollah Fighters in Syria

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Russia has begun to directly arm Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Syria, according to a report this week by The Daily Beast.

Hezbollah field commanders serving in Syria told the news outlet they are receiving “heavy weapons” for their troops “with no strings attached.” Among the arms they reportedly have received were long-range tactical missiles, laser-guided rockets and anti-tank weapons.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin so far has not denied the report.

“We support both Assad’s army and the armed opposition,” Putin said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “Some of them have publicly declared this, others prefer to remain silent, but the work is ongoing.

Putin claimed Russia’s actions are directed towards the destruction of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“This is hundreds, thousands of armed people fighting Islamic State (Da’esh). We are coordinating our joint operations with them and support their offensives by air strikes in various sections of the front line,” Putin said.

The Hezbollah commanders deployed in Syria confirmed in speaking with The Daily Beast that there is a relationship of “complete coordination” between Russia, Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Direct inter-dependence between Hezbollah and Russia is increasing as well, as time goes on, according to that report.

“I can tell you precisely what we do not want to happen,” Putin told Bild. “We do not want the Libyan or Iraqi scenario to be repeated in Syria.”

But it is also true that Russia does not consider the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group to be a terror organization. Last November, Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying, “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.

“They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian soil. Hezbollah was elected by Lebanese citizens to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is a legitimate sociopolitical force.”

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Bans Turkish Employees, Turkish Hackers Breach Moscow Instagram Acct

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

Tensions in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey have not diminished at all since the incident occured on November 24; in fact the state-sponsored and non-governmental back-biting continues unabated.

Russian firms have been ordered to cease hiring Turkish citizens, and the Instagram account of at least one Russian governmental minister was breached by a Turkish cyberhacker group.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree December 1 “on measures to ensure national security of the Russian Federation from criminal and other illegal activities and the use of special economic measures against the Republic of Turkey.”

The restrictions on work visas do not, however, apply to some 53 construction and other firms with long-term contracts in Russia, according to the Sputnik news agency.

Nevertheless, the companies granted exemptions are prohibited from exceeding the total number of Turkish employees they hired up to December 31.

Meanwhile, a team of Turkish hackers has claimed responsibility for breaking into a Russian minister’s Instagram account Sunday (Jan. 3).

The Börteçine Cyber Team said it targeted the account of Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, replacing his images with those of the flag of Turkey, a still of the downed Russian Sukhoi-24, and a portrait of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Nearly 400,000 Turkish web sites have been breached by the Anonymous hacking collective since Dec. 14, however, including those of a number of Turkish banks, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

Hana Levi Julian

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Retreats from Syria

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is retreating from Syria.

Just 700 of the elite forces remain in the country, according to Bloomberg. The figure does not, however, include Iranian military advisers embedded among the Syrian armed forces since 2012.

More than 7,000 troops were fighting for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in October, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. By late October, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that just 2,000 Iranian troops were fighting in the country.

The deaths and injuries of top officers in major military campaigns this year has clearly taken its toll on the force, and convinced Iran enough is enough. “They are losing lieutenants,” former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told Bloomberg. “When you lose lieutenants it means you are losing people fighting on the front lines.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institute last Friday that the campaign to take back control of the Idlib province and other areas that have come under rebel control has been a “failure.”

Ya’alon cited the “incompetence” of the Syrian armed forces, and the “lack of determination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps” as factors in that failure.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken up the battle, however, with Moscow’s military forces escalating their air campaign in Aleppo. Russia remains firm that Assad is the best option for leadership in Syria, despite the fact that only a small bit of territory around Damascus actually remains under his control.

The rest of what once was Syria has been carved up into small emirates and bits of territory divided among the rebel groups, Al Qaeda-linked forces and the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization.

Hana Levi Julian

Egypt Claims Terror not Involved in Explosion of Russian Jet over Sinai

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Egypt has determined that a bomb did not cause the explosion on the Russian Metrojet that exploded on October 31 shortly after taking off from the airport at Sharm el-Sheikh.

The investigators’ conclusions totally contradict Russia’s and may be a handy way of escaping accusations that Egyptian security was lapse or, even worse, that security workers cooperated with terrorists to bring down the plane.

The announcement also may help the tourist industry, seriously damaged since the jet blew up.

Egypt’s announcement Monday that it “found no evidence so far of terrorism or other illegal action linked to the crash that killed all 224 people onboard on October 31” doesn’t make sense considering a statement by investigators last month.

They announced that after having recovering the black box from the plane, they were “90 per cent” sure they heard the sound of a bomb before the crash.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-claims-terror-not-involved-in-explosion-of-russian-jet-over-sinai/2015/12/14/

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