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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Iraq Says Air Strike May Have Killed ISIS Chief Al-Baghdadi

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Iraq says its troops may have eliminated Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi this weekend in an air raid near the Syrian border, as Turkish leaders blame the terror group for a suicide bombing in the capital city of Ankara.

“The Iraqi air force carried out a heroic operation targeting the convoy of the criminal terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” said a joint statement issued by the “war media cell” of the Iraqi security forces.

“His health status is unknown.”

The joint operation was conducted in concert with Iraqi intelligence services and military advisers from the U.S.-led coalition.

The statement added that Iraqi aircraft struck the ISIS leader’s convoy as it was “moving towards Karabla to attend a meeting of the Da’esh terrorist leaders.”

Karabla is located along the Euphrates River, about three miles (five kilometers) from the Syrian border.

The so-called “war media cell” is comprised of Iraq’s interior and defense ministries in addition to its paramilitary Popular Mobilization forces.

If true, this will not be the first time that al-Baghdadi has been wounded in the “line of duty.”

The Da’esh head terrorist was also allegedly wounded in a March air strike by the U.S.-led coalition while in the al-Ba’ajah district of Nineveh, also near the Syrian border.

Nearly a year ago, in November 2014, al-Baghdadi was reportedly wounded by a U.S. air strike near Mosul as well. Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Abadi claimed at the time that al-Baghdadi’s deputy died in the attack.

Da’esh (ISIS) has been named by Turkey as having been responsible for Saturday’s twin suicide bombings in the city of Ankara which left 97 dead and more than 400 wounded.

The bombing has been called the deadliest attack in Turkey in recent memory.

Approximately 14,000 people were in the area at the time of the blasts, which targeted a peace rally involving the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

The midday protest called for an end to renewed clashes between the Kurdish separatist PKK terror organization and the Turkish government.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised address it was believed that two suicide bombers had carried out the attack, which comes three weeks before national elections.

No group has officially claimed responsibility for the carnage.

Terrorists Kill 86 in Biggest Attack in Turkey’s History [video]

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

A double bombing, apparently set off by suicide terrorists, killed at least 86 people and wounded nearly 200 others before a scheduled peace rally Saturday.

The death toll is expected to rise. The attack came less than three weeks before elections. No group has taken responsibility for the bombings.

A government spokesman said:

This terrorist activity is aimed at creating chaos, instigating certain street movements and the election environment.

The attack aims at creating trauma among the society. It is extremely planned and organized. It is virtually an attempt of massacre. It aims at shaping civil dynamics of Turkey. It aims at turning Turkey into an inward-oriented mood at a time when there are very important foreign policy developments taking place. This attack which took place in Ankara may take place at anywhere, there is need for a joint stance.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported that a suicide bomber may have set off the explosions.

Blasts occurred ahead of a planned protest peach march organized by labor unions and the pro-Kurdish HDP.

Similar but similar attacks occurred June 5, before general elections, and July 20, by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, but it is not known who was behind today’s bombings.

CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen reported:

When we’ve seen ISIS attacks, they have tended to be in the border region along the Turkish/Syrian border. This is of course in the capital, Ankara, in the middle of the country, so that’s something to think about.

And again, go back to the context of this rally. It was at a rally to protest the war by the Turkish state and Kurdish separatists.”

The ISIS has attracted thousands of Turks, who reportedly comprise up to one-third of the terrorist army.

Russia and Israel Quietly Collaborating on Attacks in Syria

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Defense officials from both countries met Wednesday in Tel Aviv to prevent “incidents” but are keeping quiet about the meeting.

While the Obama administration flounders in public distrust of Moscow, the Russian Armed Forces have met with Israel officials for the first round of talks towards establishing “a joint mechanism for preventing misunderstandings” around fighting in Syria.

Wednesday’s meeting involved the Russian Alarmed Forces deputy chief and IDF Major-General Yair Golan, but further talks will involve lower echelon officials in order to take the spotlight off the meetings, Defense News reported.

Unlike Russian talks with Turkey, which officials in Moscow reported this week were continuing in order “to elaborate the mechanism for prevention of incidents on the Syrian-Turkish border,” no statement was made after the task with the Israelis

An IDF officer spoke with Defense News about future sessions and said:

It could be done by lower-echelon officers. We don’t want to make too much of it. We want to prevent conflict, but we don’t yet know how to do it.

In the end, we’ll agree on a mechanism and how it will be done. But it requires defining areas where one operates and making sure the other side won’t interfere or harm you, and vice versa.

We have two problems in Syria, both of which have nothing to do with Russia: One is the terror that is directed against us at our border, and for that we’re operating all the time. The other is the smuggling of high-value arms to Hezbollah, and needless to say we’re following this very closely.

Russia and Israel may not be the best of friends publicly, but they have developed a healthy respect for each other, without all of the emotions and hype by the Obama’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin are much closer in their understanding of the Middle East than either of them is with President Barack Obama.

Russia is in Syria to save the Assad regime and is not interested in attacking Israel. Its presence might actually make Israel safer in light of the rocket fire and mortar shells that have exploded on the Israel side of the Golan Heights border.

Many of the explosions were “stray fire, but some have been intentional, and Russia is in a good position to keep the firing inside Syria.

The most problematic situation is one whereby Syrian or Iranian forces try to ship weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has pre-empted several smuggling attempts by bombing weapons convoys in Syria, a maneuver that would be extremely dangerous with Russia patrolling Syrian air space.

An Israeli official told Defense News:

It’s essential to avoid confliction, but until that happens, our Air Force will know how to take care of itself in problematic situations.

Everyone is shouting ‘Russians, Russians, Russians,’ but what about the Americans and dozens of others who have already been there for a year? At any given moment, there are hundreds of coalition planes in the air … The sky is vast.

Dima Adamsky, an associate professor at Israel’s Inter-Disciplinary Center’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, wrote in a recent Foreign Affairs article published by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations:

Israel has routinely been conducting strikes exactly where the Russians are now expanding their foothold… Israel has signaled its neutrality toward the conflict, but it is unclear how the Israel Air Force will tolerate potential jamming, cyber strikes and limits of its space for maneuvering or if Moscow decides to establish an electromagnetic cordon sanitaire and anti access-area denial sphere around the pro-Assad coalition’s operational theater.

Russian Jets Intimidating US Aircraft Over Syria

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Two U.S. officials briefed on intelligence from Syria revealed that Russian jets have shadowed U.S. predator drones above Syria on at least three separate occasions since Russia began its air campaign, and forced U.S. aircraft to change their flight path.

Russian shadowing of U.S. drones happened repeatedly, making it clear to observers that it was not just a mistake, but was an intentional act by the Russians.

In addition to the tailing of U.S. drones, Russian jets forced two U.S. aircraft to change their flight paths in order to avoid a collision, U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

The two planes were F-16s that had departed from Turkey’s Incirlik air base. The planes were flying towards the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, a senior defense official told CNN. The U.S. aircraft that diverted were not able to complete their mission, the official said.

In addition to Russian aircraft, there are now Russian ground forces and rocket launchers posed in strike mode in Syria.

The bulk of the Russian fighting forces and material are forming a belt around the Syrian city of Latakia, Bashar al Asaad’s stronghold, giving credence to the claim that Putin’s military forces in the Middle East are there to protect the long-embattled Syrian president, as much as they are there to provide additional forces to the anti-ISIS coalition.

U.S. forces are not the only ones complaining of Russian bullying.

Last weekend Turkey charged Russia with violating its airspace on two separate occasions. Turkish officials called Russia’s daring “unprofessional” and a “provocation.” NATO officials warned Russia to stay away from Turkey, which is a member of the western alliance.

“It’s unacceptable, it’s dangerous, and it’s reckless behavior and it adds to the tensions,” NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN about the incursions into Turkish airspace.

“We see the violation of the Turkish airspace becomes more important, more dangerous, because it happens in a context where we see more fighting, more Russian military presence in Syria.”

Whether NATO will come to its member’s aid if Russia becomes entangled in a military dispute with Turkey is yet another question in the long list of unknowns surrounding the escalating turmoil in the Middle East.

NATO Warns Russia to Stay Out of Turkish Air Space

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Russia was warned Tuesday to keep out of Turkish air space by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) over its violations of Turkish Air Space.

“Russian combat aircraft have violated Turkish airspace,” NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on the NATO website following the organization’s meeting Monday (Oct 5). “This is unacceptable.”

In a follow-up news conference, Stoltenberg went on to say, “It doesn’t look like an accident (as Moscow had claimed earlier), and we also have seen two of them, two violations of Turkish airspace. Intelligence that we have received provides me with reason to say it doesn’t look like an accident.”

The first incursion was reported on Saturday, and the second allegedly occurred on Sunday, officials said.

“I’m also concerned that Russia is not targeting ISIL (the group’s acronym for ISIS, or Da’esh), but instead attacking the Syrian opposition and civilians,” Stoltenberg continued.

“I discussed the situation in Syria with [Russia’s] Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov in New York last week. I urge Russia to play a constructive and cooperative role in the fight against ISIL, and to strive for a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Syria.”

Turkey has been an active member of NATO since 1952.

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz told Galei Tzahal Radio last week that Israel does not want to see Russian troops on the Golan Heights and is concerned about the positioning of Iranian ground troops in the neighboring country, and the opening of a direct ground front with Iran.

Steinitz added, the world powers must “ensure the Iranian army stays in Iran. We should not see Iranian army divisions in Syria.”

Steinitz said Israel has no official position on the fate of Assad as it’s an internal Arab civil war, but added that “the war against Sunni terror [ISIS] can’t come together with support for Iranian Shiite terror.”

“Allies expressed their deep concern with regard to the Russian military build-up in Syria,” NATO said in its statement, “and especially the attacks by the Russian Air Force on Hama, Homs, and Idlib which led to civilian casualties and did not target Da’esh.

“Russian military actions have reached a more dangerous level with the recent violations of Turkish airspace on 3 October and 4 October by Russian Air Force SU-30 and SU-24 aircraft in the Hatay region. The aircraft in question entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ clear, timely and repeated warnings,” the statement went on.

“Allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace, and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace. Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behaviour. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations.”

Russia is also moving in equipment in preparation for a rather more extended role in the region than its originally-stated claim, according to eyewitness reports in Syria.

Recently Moscow moved electronic jamming equipment into the country, including a truck-mounted system and a number of aircraft-mountable pods, according to local sources.

Several pieces of artillery were also moved into the country at Latakia port, including four highly accurate BM-30 multiple-launch rapid-fire rocket systems.

Instead of remaining at the port, however, the weapons were moved and currently are reported to be in position west of Idlib, towards Homs.

According to the report, the U.S. believes Russia is “stepping up its ground activity” to attack Syrian opposition forces rather than ISIS.

Officials are reportedly questioning whether Russian forces are planning to jam the electronics of coalition aircraft as they fly over Syria.

Russia, meanwhile, contends it is indeed targeting ISIS. But it is clear that its forces are also clearly bolstering the flagging defenses of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebels Betray US and Turn over American Weapons to Al Qaeda

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Remember how the Obama administration assured Congress that Syrian rebels would be vetted before being trained and armed by the U.S. Army?

It promised that only Moderate” rebels fighting the Assad regime would receive training and arms from the United States, but an entire rebel division that was part of the Obama administration’s “train and equip” program has turned over its weapons to the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, the London Telegraph reported.

Division 30, the first unit to be graduated in the U.S. training program to help fight the Islamic State (ISIS) but not the Assad regime, handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups,” according to a tweet by an al-Nusra member.

The report was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which stated that 75 Division 30 fighters crossed from Turkey into Syria with four-wheel vehicles equipped with machine guns and ammunition bought with U.S. taxpayers’ money.

Last month, the first group of 54 U.S.-trained fighters re-entered Syria and promptly suffered a defeat at the hands of Al Nusra, which kidnapped several rebels.

In a hearing last week at the Senate Armed Forces Committee, U.S. Central Command General Lloyd Austin admitted that only “four or five” fighters remain as fighters against the ISIS in Syria.

5 Arab MKs Travel to Jordan to Meet with King Abdullah II

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Five Arab Knesset members from the Arab Joint List are traveling to Jordan today (Sunday Sept. 20) to meet with King Abdullah II, according to a report on Israel Radio.

MK Ahmed Tibi told the interviewer on the government-run radio network that he and his fellow lawmakers will discuss “the change in the status quo at the Al Aqsa mosque” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Palestinian Arabs have continued organized disturbances at the site for more than a week, forcing Israel Police to personally escort every single Jewish visitor to the site in order to ensure their physical protection. As a result, a number of police officers were injured in the line of duty.

It is likely the meeting between the Hashemite king and the Israeli Arab lawmakers will focus on the escalating Arab violence and the tensions at the site, which is under the legal custodianship of Jordan, and has been since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated repeatedly this week, publicly and in discussions with world leaders, that his government has no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United States have all weighed in on the importance of bringing the violence under control at the site, although most of the parties appear to be blaming the Israeli government for the attacks on Jewish visitors by Palestinian Arab rioters.

The five Mks are expected to travel to the Turkish capital for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following their meeting with King Abdullah II in Amman.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/5-arab-mks-travel-to-jordan-to-meet-with-king-abdullah-ii/2015/09/20/

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