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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Iran Deploys S-300 Long Range Missiles at Fordow Nuclear Site

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Iran has deployed Russian-made S-300 long-range missiles in its Fordow nuclear facility, Tehran Times and other Iranian state-run media reported Sunday. State TV showed the missiles and other counter-strike weapons being transported to Fordow.

The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) is a uranium enrichment facility located 20 miles northeast of the city of Qom. The site is the second Iranian uranium enrichment facility, the other one is in Natanz. In January 2012 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had started producing uranium enriched up to 20%.

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech at the Khatam Al-Anbia Air Defense Base, said that “malicious, treacherous, and systematically opposing our independence” are trying to weaken Iran’s defensive capabilities, and so, in response to this threat, “air defense should be in the frontline against this enemy.”

Khamenei stated: “Human will along with indigenous capability should provide a means to thwart the enemies’ plots and they should not let enemies even entertain any encroachments of our borders and sovereignty.” He condemned the “media hype” that followed Russia’s delivery of the S300 missile systems, which he insisted are merely a defensive weapon. He rebuked the US, whose “propaganda about Fordow underground facilities … revealed the very nature of an enemy who would not recognize the right to defend our people. They would only be satisfied when we are rendered defenseless and an easy prey to their invasion,” the Ayatollah stressed.

“The Air Defense base should be armed with diverse technological innovations and techniques; the enemy should understand that if it strikes, it will definitely be stricken by a yet stronger blow, with active defense turning to active assault as well,” Khamenei concluded.

A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced, also on Sunday, plans to build two more nuclear power plants in Bushehr, a city in southern Iran which already has an operational nuclear power plant, built by the Russians and completed in April 2016. The spokesman said: “We try to start construction of the next nuclear power plant in Bushehr within the next one and a half months.”


Report: Putin to Host Netanyahu Abbas Summit in Moscow

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Advanced talks have been conducted recently in preparation for a summit conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas in Moscow this fall, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. The paper reported on Monday that both PA and Israeli officials have confirmed that the summit is scheduled to take place in October or shortly thereafter, under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abbas has personally expressed his willingness, in principle, to partake in a Moscow summit. However, according to Yediot, the PA Chairman still insists that Israel first commit to freezing settlement construction and carry out the fourth phase of terrorist prisoners release which was halted when Secretary of State Kerry’s peace initiative collapsed in 2015. Abbas also insists on setting a specific date for the end of negotiations and for reaching a final agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem have told Yediot that when Netanyahu and Putin spoke on the phone last week, the summit plan was part of their discussion. But they stress that the summit idea at this point is “mere speculation, it’s too soon.” Still, the same sources say Netanyahu is willing to meet with Abbas directly any time.

On Wednesday, August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with Abbas in Amman, and delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas. Since then, Bogdanov has met twice with the head of the PA mission in Moscow Faed Mustafa and with Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefetz. One of Bogdanov’s meetings with Hefetz was on August 24, the day of the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation.


Palestinian Authority (Again) Rejects New Attempt at Final Status Talks

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Palestinian Authority leaders have rejected another attempt by world leaders to arrange final status talks with Israel, this time brokered by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently expressed willingness to host Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders for direct talks, an idea first raised last week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

But as has happened with prior such efforts, including an attempt in July by Cairo, and similar efforts by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the bid was rejected.

The Arabic-language Jordanian al-Ghad daily newspaper quoted senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Wasel Abu Yousef on Sunday as saying the United States was notified of the entity’s “firm stance” on pre-conditions for such talks: 1. total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and anywhere in Jerusalem restored to the capital from 1967 onward; 2. release of the fourth contingent of prisoners listed for freedom during the failed 2014 “peace talks” in spring 2014.

Abu Yousef said “any meeting requires the conditions to be implemented in order to ensure the talks are not just for public relations,” journalist Nadia Sa’ad Eddin reported. “The Occupation Authorities persist in their refusal to meet their obligations while pressing ahead with escalating their aggression against the Palestinian people,” he added.

In any case, he said, the Palestinian Authority is “busy nowadays with the arrangements for local elections, scheduled for October 8…. with a national consensus on the need to make it a success…. and achieve national unity.”

Israel has consistently insisted on “direct bilateral negotiations with no preconditions,” pointing out the obvious fact that agreement to any preconditions would preclude the need for negotiations since acquiescence would have already determined the conclusion.

Israel has rejected the so-called “French initiative” which champions the Palestinian Authority cause and which pressures Israel to accept regionally-determined conditions regardless of the effect on her citizens within a limited timetable.

Hana Levi Julian

Putin, Netanyahu, Talk Peace Process on Phone

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service reported, adding that the conversation was initiated by Israel.

“The leaders exchanged opinions on Middle East settlement issues and topical aspects of the general situation in the region. They agreed to continue active Russian-Israeli contacts at different levels,” the report said.

On Wednesday August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. Bogdanov also delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying “the talks were meaningful and trustful. The sides considered prospects for advancing the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in strict compliance with the principles of international law. They also discussed the restoration of Palestinian national unity along the PLO’s political platform designed to create an independent Palestinian state, which would live in peace and security with its neighbors, including Israel.”

To be clear, in its current situation, the PA only has two neighbors: Israel and Jordan, so it’s a relief to read that it plans to live in peace with both. This considering the fact that Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, also has only two neighbors, Israel and Egypt, and it is maintaining a perpetual state of war with both.


Israelis Placing at the Top at Science Olympics Around the World

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

While Israel’s top athletes are competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, some young Israeli scientists have been winning a remarkable number of medals at the “science olympics” around the globe. An Israeli delegation of high-school students won two medals on Friday at the International Olympiad in Informatics held in Kazan, Russia.

Tomer Adar, a student at the Ruppin School in Emek Hefer, won a silver medal at the Olympiad, and Liran Markin, a student at the WIZO high school in Nahalal, took bronze. The delegation was also comprised of Noam Ta-Shma from Tel Aviv and Ron Solan from Herzliya and was coached by Dr. David Ginat of Tel Aviv University.

“Israeli students repeatedly achieve international success in scientific competitions and bring honor and pride to the State of Israel,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

The competition included delegations from 81 countries while Israel ranked at 28th place overall. China was ranked first, followed by Russia and the United States.

The victory at the competition marks the fourteenth by Israelis this summer at science olympiads. An Israeli delegation also won the silver and bronze medals and ranked 20th in the world at the Chemistry Olympiad held in Tbilisi, Georgia earlier in August.

Other achievements include six medals at the Mathematics Olympiad held in Hong Kong and four medals at the Physics Olympiad held in Zurich, Switzerland.

President Reuven Rivlin held a reception in honor of some of the young scientists at his residence in Jerusalem on Sunday where he thanked them for their achievements.

“Good morning to you my champions. I thank you in the name of the entire nation for your achievements,” the president greeted the medalists of the Chemistry Olympiad, Ron Solan and Sevostianov.

Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Turkish PM Denies Russia Demanding to Use NATO Nuke Base

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Russia is not demanding to land its planes in the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey, as several Russian news services have claimed. “Russia had no demands to use İncirlik air base, those reports are not true,” Yildirim told foreign correspondents in Istanbul on Saturday, according to Hurriyet Daily News. However, the prime minister did agree that should Russia wish to use the base for its operations against ISIS, it would be welcome to do so. Still, Yildirim added, “Russia doesn’t need to use the base. They have bases in Syria.”

Yildirim’s statement concluded an anxiety-filled few days in which Russian news sources were announcing that Russia has been demanding that Turkey give its air force access to the NATO air base in İncirlik, which is where US and coalition air forces take off on their strikes in Syria. Located some 65 miles from the Syrian border, Incirlik is also where an estimated 50 US B-61 nuclear warheads (think 100 Hiroshimas times 50) are kept.

According to Izvestia, a Russian lawmaker named Igor Morozov said it was only a matter of time before Turkish president Erdogan hands over the NATO base at Incirlik to the Russians, to intensify the war against ISIS. “You’ll see, the next base will be İncirlik,” Morozov told Izvestia, shortly after the Kremlin had revealed that Russian bombers have been using an Iranian airbase for their attack on Syria. He predicted İncirlik would be “one more victory for Putin.”

Those statements came against the background of a report by EurActiv, a Belgian foundation focusing on European Union policies, that the US has begun to transfer its nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, for fear of the worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.

EurActiv cites a Stimson issue paper from August 2016, suggesting that during the July failed coup in Turkey, the Incirlik base power was cut, and US planes were not allowed to fly in or out of the base. As the coup was being suppressed, the base commander was arrested. Another source told EurActiv that US-Turkey relations have so deteriorated after the coup that Washington no longer trusted Ankara with the nuclear weapons, and so the warheads are being moved to the Deveselu air base in Romania.

Foreign Policy on Friday debunked the story, quoting a tweet from nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis, the director of non-proliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, that said Romania does not have the special WS3 vaults needed to store the weapons safely. Also, the Romanian Defense Ministry released a statement saying “so far there have not been any plans or discussions on this topic.”

Of course, this entire brouhaha is borne by Erdogan’s obsession with his former ally and current enemy Fetullah Gulen, whose extradition from the US the Turks have been demanding since the failing of the coup (which Gulen’s supporters may or may not been responsible for). As long as the US insists on following the rule of law on the Gulen extradition, the Turks will persist in these shenanigans, until someone gets seriously hurt.

So far, as that Moscow parliamentarian has put it so aptly, one more victory for Putin.


Russia Successfully Tests Ballistic Missile in Jewish Autonomous Area

Friday, August 19th, 2016

An Iskander ballistic missile was successfully launched during an exercise in the Jewish Autonomous Area in the Far East and hit a target 185 miles away, a spokesman for the Eastern Military District, one of the four operational strategic commands of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, announced Friday.

The Iskander ballistic missile is equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage guided missiles, each one controlled throughout the entire flight path and fitted with an inseparable warhead. Each missile in the launch carrier vehicle can be independently targeted in a matter of seconds. The mobility of the Iskander launch platform makes a launch difficult to prevent. Also, the Iskander targets can be acquired not only by satellite and aircraft but also by a conventional intelligence center, by an artillery observer or from aerial photos scanned into a computer. The missiles can be re-targeted during flight in case of engaging mobile targets.

Another unique feature of the Iskander system is the optically guided warhead, which can also be controlled by encrypted radio transmission, including from AWACS or UAV. The missile’s on-board computer receives images of the target, then locks onto the target with its sight and descends towards it at supersonic speed.

“The launch was carried out from a training site in the Jewish Autonomous area. The missile hit a target at a proving ground in the Amur region 300 kilometers (185 miles) away,” the spokesman said.

The missile destroyed several military infrastructure facilities of a hypothetical enemy, including a command center. Mechanized infantry units then went on the offensive. More than 400 officers and men and 100 pieces of military equipment from a missile unit of the Eastern Military District are involved in the exercise.

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast (administration) is a federal autonomous region in the Russian Far East, bordering the Heilongjiang province in China. The Soviets established the autonomous oblast in 1934, as part of Stalin’s Soviet nationality policy, which provided the Jewish population of the Soviet Union with a territory in which to pursue Yiddish cultural heritage. According to the 1939 population census, 17,695 Jews lived in the region at the time, about 16% of the total population. The Jewish population peaked in 1948 at around 30,000, about one-quarter of the region’s population.

In 2010, according to the Russian Census Bureau, there were only 1,628 people of Jewish descent in the Jewish Autonomy, fewer than 1% of the population, while ethnic Russians made up 92.7% of the population.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-successfully-tests-ballistic-missile-in-jewish-autonomous-area/2016/08/19/

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