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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Russia Offers to Help Israel Develop Natural Gas Fields

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Consider it a form of ‘protection.’ Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has offered to invest in Israel’s natural gas development.

Diplomatic sources told the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Wednesday, “Putin very much wants to make Russia into the major developer of energy fields in the Mediterranean, and the first target has been Israel.”

A decision last month by Israel’s High Court of Justice nullified a “stability clause” that would have blocked regulatory changes to an offshore gas outline for the next 10 years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had included the clause at the request of the consortium that developed the reserves, Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group, in return for their massive investments.

The decision, however, may have killed the deal signed with the consortium and potential customers as a result. Although the court gave the government a year to fix the clause, it did little to soothe the fears of bureaucracy-exhausted investors, nor to prevent new customers from bolting.

Moreover, there have been attempts by Lebanon to claim Israel’s northernmost natural gas fields. One of the reserves is located off the coast of Nahariya, south of Lebanon’s territorial waters, and is a field Lebanon had never laid claim to until Israel discovered the gas and oil therein.

Hezbollah representatives spent months referring in various speeches to the reserve. Lebanon even attempted to recruit help from the United States in 2014 in seizing the reserve from Israel.

Putin, however, has pledged Russian influence to block attacks by Iranian proxies against any Russian-operated field. Efforts by Hezbollah to stop Israel from developing its natural resources beneath the Mediterranean would likely be among the targets of Russian ire.

More than one of Israel’s natural gas fields are located near Lebanese maritime borders.

According to the diplomatic source, Putin envisions an investment between $7 billion to $10 billion to develop Israeli offshore gas fields.

Several weeks ago, Putin said he plans to meet with Netanyahu in the nearest future, noting that Russia and Israel have “many issues” to discuss.

Israeli media reported this week that Netanyahu plans to travel to Moscow later in the month, allegedly on April 21, to meet with Putin.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told media on Wednesday that such a visit is indeed under consideration. “We will make a relevant statement in a timely manner” Peskov said, according to TASS.

Hana Levi Julian

Russian S-400s Already in Syria, On List for Iran Threaten Israeli Defenses

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Russia has deployed its new S-400 missile defense system in Syria — showing off its newest military hardware for potential buyers, but also creating a mammoth threat to Israel’s air superiority.

The system, installed in the Syrian port city of Latakia, can track and shoot down anything in the sky over a 250-mile (400 kilometer) range.

That means it threatens Israel as far as Ben Gurion International Airport, all of northern Israel and most of its central region, including Petah Tikva Ramat HaSharon, Herzliya, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Hadera, Zichron Ya’akov… you get the picture.

It also means that Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists may get their hands on the system if for some reason Russia completely pulls out of Syria, and the Iranians don’t maintain iron-clad control over the system — or if they or one of their proxy terror groups choose to share it with Da’esh in the interests of targeting the nation’s southern neighbor.

To further complicate matters, Russia has plans to sell the system to Iran for its own use on its own soil. Iran, the nation that wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” has recently developed an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range that can reach the Jewish State and which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

In addition, Russia has added to its list of buyers China, India, Venzuela and Algeria, according to Russia’s Sputnik News, quoted by the Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA).

It appears that Russia’s Syrian campaign may have been more of testing ground and showcase for Moscow’s military weaponry and ordnance than anything else. After all, Da’esh is not wiped out, and peace is not yet in place. Assad is still in position but the country is falling apart.

Of all of the players in the Syrian drama, Russia came out with the most profit. “We are working seven days a week because of the S-400 missile systems,” a member of the Globus design bureau told Gazeta.ru. The S-300 and S-400 systems are built by Almaz-Antei, which was force to open a new production plant due to the skyrocketing demand.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the new production facility in Nizhny Novgorod. Another plant was opened in Kirov in February by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center of Strategic Analyses and Technology, told Gazeta.ru, “China tops the list of S-400 buyers, followed by India and now also by Venezuela, Algeria and Iran.

Russian officials explained the foreign interest in the S-400 system, saying that, unlike its S-300 predecessor, it can also engage ballistic targets.

“It is one thing when you deal with an advanced U.S. ballistic missile, and quite another when it is a less sophisticated one launched by Iran, China or North Korea,” Pukhov said.

Hana Levi Julian

US, Russia Agree: Syria’s President Assad Must Go

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Citing unnamed sources, the UK-based Al-Hayat publication reported Thursday that the United States and Russia have come to an agreement over the thorny issue of what to do about Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the report, the two world leaders have agreed on a way to end the years-long civil war with a political solution that allows Assad to find refuge in another country.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has allegedly already informed his Arab counterparts about the deal, which was welcomed by members of the UN Security Council.

However, the source stressed, “the timing of the move and its political context are still not clear.”

The news follows by one day a statement by the embattled Syrian president in which he opined that it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian government with opposition figures. That was a statement roundly denounced by the said opposition figures, who responded bluntly that no administration would be legitimate while Assad remained in office.

“What Bashar al-Assad is talking about has no relation to the political process,” said George Sabra of the UN High Negotiations Committee.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest also rejected the idea. “I don’t know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us,” Earnest told media.

At a conference in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries Wednesday to increase global solidarity and resettle nearly half a million refugees in the next three years. Only three countries responded to the appeal: Italy, Sweden and the United States.

Physical damage to infrastructure in Syria has been estimated by the UN at $90 billion, with an additional $169 billion in accumulated losses due to a collapse in the GDP, reaching less than half of its level in 2011.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Charges Citizen Over Denying Existence of God

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Grab a cup of strong tea laced with a sugar cube and sit down.

The Russian government arrested and indicted citizen Viktor Krasnov for writing “There is no God” and the “Bible is a collection of Jewish fairy tales” in a 2014 spat on social media.

The posts came to the attention of the government after a user on social media flagged his comments as “offending the sentiments of Orthodox believers.”

The Stavropol native was also subjected to a month-long mandatory psychiatric examination by the government during its investigation. The anti-government Grani.ru website reported on Tuesday that he was “declared sane.”

The posts – which were deleted – could earn him up to a year in prison, according to his lawyer and human rights activist Pavel Chikov.

Krasnov was charged with “offending believers’ feelings” by Russia’s Investigative Committee (the country’s equivalent of the FBI) in the fall of 2015.

The charge might seem minor but it was criminalized in Russia after a performance by the punk band Pussy Riot in a famous cathedral in Moscow in February 2012. Two band members were jailed after the show for performing a song that slammed President Vladimir Putin.

Krasnov’s began Monday in the southern Russian city of Stavropol, according to NBC News, which quoted the local Magistrate’s website.

Hana Levi Julian

Ukrainian Jews Flee To Israel Amid Anti-Semitic Attacks in War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS

Over 100 Ukrainian Jews fled war-torn Ukraine and arrived in Israel on Tuesday, February 23. Many Ukrainian Jews have been leaving their country of birth due to violence and frequent anti-Semitic attacks. They were assisted by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), which has been spearheading a project of bringing Jews to Israel from countries engulfed by war.

Sisters Marina and Alexandra Prokopovych, aged 17 and 15 respectively, were among the new immigrants who arrived in Israel. They had lived in the small suburb of Rakytne. Both were severely beaten at their high school in what began as a nationalistically-motivated attack, but which spilled over into overt anti-Semitism.

IFCJ Director of Communications Tali Aronsky told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the girls were called “separatists” and “Zhids” [Jews] prior to the assault because they spoke Russian instead of Ukrainian.

“The girls sustained serious injuries as a result. One suffered concussions and had to get stitches. Even the teachers joined in the beating. The father remembers similar things that happened when he was younger, but he decided that it was time to leave when it happened to his daughters,” she said.

Dmytro Prokopovych, the girls’ father, also remembers that he had switched schools three times due to his ethnicity. He himself suffered fourteen concussions from similar attacks during his childhood and he maintains that anti-Semitism is still very prevalent in post-Soviet Ukraine.

“I recently discovered that my family’s real surname is Evenbach and not Prokopovych. It was my grandfather’s surname. My father would not be admitted to university with this surname in Soviet times so he changed it to his mother’s maiden name,” Dmytro recalls.

IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein decided that efforts to rescue Jews in countries with prevailing anti-Semitism were insufficient. The IFCJ then began actively searching for Jews suffering in countries affected by war. Many of the immigrants receive additional funds since they were forced to leave behind homes that have become essentially worthless due to the conflicts.

“We don’t wait for the Ukrainians to call us up. We go to them and we also give them more support. We offer them $1,000 per family and $500 for every child in addition to what they get from the government,” Aronsky told TPS.

The new immigrants will be given guidance and career advice. Aronsky said that the organization has also reached out to other countries such as Venezuela, Uruguay, Turkey, and even several Arab countries and has managed to bring some 2,355 Jews to Israel. Aronsky was unable to divulge the identities of the Arab countries due to security concerns for the Jews involved.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Russia Resumes Bombing in Syria, Ceasefire is Shaky

Monday, February 29th, 2016

The cease-fire in Syria that is just two days old may already be gradually grinding to a halt.

Russia has resumed its bombing operations and the regime has launched a new offensive against Homs. Other breaches have been reported as well.

Contrary to the general international perception, the arrangements worked out with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and “moderate” opposition leaders by the United States and Russia do not apply to the entire geographic area of the country.

Thus Russian warplanes were in the skies across Syria on Monday, particularly in northern Aleppo, an area not included in the cease-fire.

“Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly continue to advance south of Shaddadi and toward the ISIS-held town of Markadah,” reported the Levantine Group think tank. The opposition forces were reported to be “clearing ISIS villages along both of the banks of the Khabour river,” the military analysis think tank reported.

Several breaches to the current cease-fire were reported and levels of violence correspondingly have increased.

Local sources reported on Twitter that Russian planes bombed six Syrian towns around Aleppo, and areas north of Homs. Thousands of Syrian refugees were reported to be stranded at the Turkish border after fleeing the northern commercial hub.

However, other news services such as Al Arabiya continued to report the truce “seems to be largely holding, though rebels report what they describe as occasional government violations.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Drones Allegedly Seen in Syrian Skies

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Residents of Latakia have reported seeing Israeli drones flying in the skies overhead, according to local sources quoted in social media.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed Monday that his own forces were using the drones to carry out reconnaissance on opposition forces.

Photos of rebel positions were posted to Syrian social media sites. Some of the commentators on the sites have been theorizing that Israel sold the drones to Russia, who then gifted them to Assad.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-drones-allegedly-seen-in-syrian-skies/2016/02/29/

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