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February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

2015 IDF Military Intelligence ‘Crystal Ball’ Report

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

The upcoming calendar year will be filled with changes in the Arab world and new challenges for Israel to face, according to the IDF annual ‘crystal ball’ report from military intelligence. None of that is news to anyone living in this region.

But the more problematic part in the IDF MI annual assessment document is in the acknowledgement that beyond the first few months of 2015, it is really not possible to predict with any accuracy what the next year will bring.

Israel’s entire leadership is in flux; a new IDF general chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, is taking the helm at the same time early elections are being held.

Any emerging victorious party chairman will be asked by President Reuven Rivlin to form a new coalition, at a time that Israel is facing potentially serious threats on at least three (Lebanon, Syria, Gaza) of its five borders. A fourth border, that with Sinai, is questionable due to terror bases nestling in the region.

That’s not including the internal threat Israelis face from the rising third intifada and the rabid anti-Israel media and government incitement encouraged by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, so beloved and lauded by international leaders. The United Nations Security Council is to vote Monday (Dec. 29, 2014) on a proposed deadline to force the expulsion of Israeli military forces from post-1967 territory. Either way the vote goes, the outcome and its fallout is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, there are other issues to consider when gazing into the Crystal Ball. The jostling for post-election ministerial portfolios, coalition bargaining and acclimation of new ministers and their seconds to their roles will be taking place at the same time new Knesset members will be learning their new jobs and jockeying for committee spots too. Many more experienced and savvy leaders are leaving the government, having had their fill of the bickering, vindictiveness and stupidity. Who will mind the store while all this is going on?

Folks, there’s a war going on. We’re not in the bomb shelters on a daily basis yet, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods either. The sunny skies have a few clouds.

According to the MI report, it is clear that chemical weapons still exist in Syria, what is left of it, that is, and are being used by someone. What is not clear is the extent of control exercised over that supply by President Bashar al-Assad.

“Greater Syria” is no longer; Assad today refers to “Little Syria,” the 20 to 30 percent of the country he still controls, hence his belated attempt to “negotiate” with rebel leaders. Too little, too late, naturally. Syria has fallen apart, as has Libya – split into three states – and Sudan, now cut into two.

There are no real “Syrian rebel leaders” today either. Instead there are “emirates” and “emirs” in the developing caliphate being created by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the rapidly spreading ISIS terror organization.

ISIS has already taken over much of Iraq, and has done the same in Syria. The spoils of the land are divided up with its rebel partners in the civil war against Assad – Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front and other terror groups. But they tend to fight against each other when they’re not banding together to fight against Assad’s forces – a bit like some of the Middle Eastern countries they have grown up in.

Meanwhile, it’s not clear where the Free Syrian Army stands in all this: the more moderate, Muslim rebel force is as ruthless as any other, but not enslaved to anyone but its own leadership at least. For that reason, perhaps, it is this force the West has chosen to support, albeit grudgingly, fearfully, and surreptitiously.

Syria Boasts Exports – with ZIM Containers

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The official SANA Syrian news agency has announced its exports have reached $143 million this year, but the accompanying photo shows Israeli ZIM containers.

Does this mean Syria is renewing relations with Israel?

Or perhaps it means that the Boycott Israel movement missed the boat, so to speak, and should be picketing Syrian and not California ports.

In any case, according to SANA, “Textile exports have witnessed a considerable growth…and they were mainly exported to Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Italy.”

Lebanon? Beirut also is renewing ties with Israel?

H/T IMRA

Syria Downs Israeli Drone Near Border [video]

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Syrian soldiers allegedly downed an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone on Sunday over the town of Quneitra near the border separating the two countries.

According to reports in Lebanese and Syrian media, the UAV was a Skylark 1, shown with photos showing a drone bearing a sticker with Hebrew writing.

However, the Israeli army said it was unaware of any of its drones falling or being downed in the north.

Arab media reported the drone had been downed near the Druze village of Hadar, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad. There has been no confirmation of the report.

Quneitra has been a flashpoint for battles between Syrian government troops and rebel forces north of Israel’s border.

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist group has been in control of the area for some time, but recently Syrian troops have been gaining ground in their battle to take it back. Al Nusra has also been linked with fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization as well.

This is a video of the drone that was reportedly captured:

Yesh Atid MK Accuses Netanyahu of Bombing Syria for Political Gain

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Yesh Atid Knesset Member Yifat Kariv Monday morning accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of ordering a bombing attack on Syrian weapons headed for Hezbollah in order to scare Israelis that they need him as prime minister to protect the country.

“Netanyahu can’t put together an alternative coalition, so decided to choose the path of terror and fear-mongering to set fire to the Middle East,

What is really scary is that this woman, who was asocial worker before demoting to herself to the rank of Knesset Member, sits on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, whose chairman is privy to the most secretive information in the country.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday, without mentioning her name, said that it was “ludicrous” for anyone even to suggest that the government authorized the bombing of Syria to gain votes.

He was being very kind to Kariv, who could be described with a few other adjectives not fit for publication. She gave Syrian President Bassar al-Assad an excellent excuse to accuse Israel of carrying out the bombing raid. Officially, the government has maintained the usual” no comment” stance on counter-terrorist actions against Syria and other countries.

Zahava Gal-On, who heads the left-wing Meretz party,  has more sense than to accuse Netanyahu of jeopardizing the entire country by bombing Syria for political points, but added that Kariv’s reaction shows “how little faith there is in Netanyahu’s government.

MK Kariv’s idiotic accusation should cost Yesh Atid a few votes.

 

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Syria Asks UN for Sanctions Against Israel

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Syria has appealed to the United Nations in outrage over alleged attacks by the Israel Defense Forces against targets near Damascus on Sunday afternoon.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it “requires sanctions to deter Israel,” according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 television news.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied reports of the attacks.

Syria alleged the Israeli Air Force bombed targets in and around the Dimas air base and the Damascus international airport, including a warehouse in which advanced Russian-made S-300 missiles were being prepared for transport to bases in Lebanon belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met early Sunday in Beirut with Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah at the end of a two-day visit to Lebanon before heading to Turkey. The two men “discussed political developments in the region,” according to the Lebanon Daily Star newspaper, “with particular focus on Lebanon and Syria.”

Hezbollah has provided strong military support for government troops defending Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the three-year Syrian civil war.

Report: Israeli Warplanes Attack Damascus

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Israeli fighter pilots bombed multiple Syrian targets on Sunday, in particular targeting a warehouse where S-300 missiles were being prepared for transport to the Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon.

Included were areas in Damascus province, near Damascus International Airport and the Dimas air base, according to Syrian state television.  Footage of some of the bombing can be seen in a clip made available courtesy of the Israel Video Network.

At least ten separate explosions were heard by Damascus residents, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. No casualties were reported.

The IDF did not comment on the attack, in accordance with its policy of not confirming or denying its role in such operations.

National Security Council head Yossi Cohen briefed the Cabinet on the diplomatic and security situation in the region at its regular weekly Sunday morning meeting.

“We are closely monitoring the Middle East and what is happening with open eyes and ears, and a lot is happening,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting. “We will stay informed and we will deal with these threats and challenges, which are not taking a time-out. We will deal with them with the same responsibility that we have up until now,” but he offered no further details while reporters were in the room.

The Syrian Army confirmed to international media that facilities had in fact been damaged and said the strikes indicated Israeli involvement in regional terror. “The Israeli enemy executed strikes on two security installations this afternoon on the outskirts of Damascus near the international airport. This direct aggression was undertaken to aid terrorists in Syria after our forces claimed major victories in A-Zur and Aleppo,” the statement said.

Dimas Airbase was reported to have been used as a weapons storage facility for the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Four Israeli aircraft were allegedly spotted in the area, eyewitnesses told Syrian state-run television. A similar strike on the same target was carried out just over a year ago, apparently for the same reason — to keep Syria from handing over the advanced missiles and other weaponry to Hezbollah.

Israeli artillery struck at Syria in March of this year in response to an attack on an IDF jeep on the Golan Heights that followed several other apparent “overflow” attacks aimed at Israel from Syrian territory. At the time, Netanyahu explained to media that the targets struck by the IDF were those belonging to Syrian elements who assisted in the attack.

“Our policy is very clear. We strike those who strike us,” he said.

Nazi Hunter Declares Eichmann Aide Alois Brunner Dead

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

One of the world’s top Nazi hunters has declared that Alois Brunner, a fugitive long sought for his leading role in the Holocaust, is likely dead.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, told the Sunday Express magazine in an article published Sunday that the Wiesenthal Center had received a tip in 2010 from a former German intelligence officer that Brunner, a key lieutenant to Adolf Eichmann, had died and was buried in Damascus, Syria.

Zuroff said that the Syrian civil war has made it impossible to verify the death but, given that Brunner would have turned 102 this year and the reliability of the intelligence source, the Wiesenthal Center had concluded that Brunner was most likely dead and thus removed him from this year’s list of wanted fugitives.

Zuroff confirmed the information in an email to JTA.

The Wiesenthal Center did not announce either its receipt of the 2010 tip or its decision to remove Brunner from the list. Zuroff told The New York Times that the issue never came up until the Sunday Express inquired.

Eichmann, the architect of the “Final Solution,” described Brunner as his “best man,” according to the Express. Zuroff told the Times that Brunner supervised the deportation to death camps of 47,000 Jews from Austria, 44,000 from Greece, 23,500 from France and 14,000 from Slovakia.

After World War II, Brunner evaded capture by the Allies, who mistakenly tried and hanged a fellow officer for his crimes, and made his way to Syria. He was tried and sentenced to death by France in absentia. In Syria, he reportedly lived in Damascus and advised Syrian dictator Hafez Assad — some believe on torture methods, according to the BBC.

In a 1985 interview with the West German newsweekly Bunte, Brunner said that his only regret from the war was that he did not kill more Jews. He also reportedly said in the interview that he had rented a room from a Jewish family in Egypt and that they were “quite nice people, really.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/nazi-hunter-declares-eichmann-aide-alois-brunner-dead/2014/12/02/

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