Archive

Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Israel will use F35s to overcome Iran’s new Russian air defense

September 16, 2017 Leave a comment

By the end of 2017, Israel is expected to become the second country after the United States to declare Initial Operational Capability for its F-35s. Israel already has taken possession of five of F35 fighters, and following an agreement late last month to buy an additional seventeen planes, will ultimately purchase fifty planes. All fifty F-35s are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2024.

Israel is known to have a nuclear arsenal with as many as 100 warheads. The Jewish State is also believed to possess a nuclear triad, consisting of ground-based Jericho missiles, Dolphin-class submarines equipped with sea-launched cruise missiles and some combination of nuclear-capable aircraft (currently modified F15 and F16s).

It will require software and electronics modifications to enable Israel’s F35A’s to deploy the Israeli nuclear weapons.

The F35A will use stealth capabilities to evade Iran’s increasingly capable, Russian-built air defense systems.

Comedy Of Errors: Israel Ready For Rematch War With Hezbollah

September 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Israel has amassed thousands of personnel and missile defence systems along its northern border in a massive military drill, simulating a major rematch war with Iranian affiliated Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has deployed thousands of air, sea and land personnel to the Lebanese border for its biggest military drill in almost two decades, a show of strength designed to intimate Hezbollah and Iran even as their power grows in neighbouring Syria,”  the Independent reports.rematch war

The ten day exercises are supposed to end on September 14.

Israeli forces were defeated in the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War after they invaded Lebanon, by a small group of Hezbollah fighters using new fighting techniques.

2006 Defense Minister Amir Peretz (on the right) watching the action through capped binoculars

Israel was forced to withdraw after a 34-day military conflict in Lebanon, Northern Israel and the Golan Heights, as its battle tanks were getting blown up one after the other by zealous Hezbollah fighters. And not to mention the overzealous antics of 2006-2007 Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz, trying unsuccessfully to emulate Ariel Sharon in the 1982 “Operation Peace for Galilee.”

By Darius Shahtahmasebi:

Beginning last Monday, soldiers and reservists alike practiced simulating a 10-day-long war with Hezbollah, an Iranian-sponsored Shi’a militant group located mainly in Lebanon. Israel even prepared two field hospitals, as well as trucks and helicopters for evacuating simulated casualties.

According to the Independent, the drill began with small border skirmishes and escalated into a full-on war with the aim of completely obliterating the Lebanese opponents. Even the soldiers playing the role of Hezbollah were to be dressed in the group’s traditional attire and will don their yellow and green flag.

The purpose of the drill is to test the fitness of the Northern Command and the relevant battalions during an emergency,” one IDF officer told Haaretz. In the exercise, Israel was to give the armed forces an order to vanquish” Hezbollah, “the state in which Hezbollah either has no ability or desire to attack anymore,” the IDF officer explained.

The drill, known as the “Light of the Grain” drill, took 18 months to plan. It utilizes fighter planes, ships, submarines, drones, cyber and canine units, and Israel’s missile defense system.

Speaking of Israel’s missile defense system, Defense News recently reported that Israel is readying its Iron Dome defense system for its first intercept test in the U.S., part and parcel of the U.S. Army’s demonstration aimed at selecting an interim solution for a medium and short-range air defense system.

The Iron Dome has proven very effective, scoring over 1,500 intercepts against Gaza-launched rockets since it was first deployed in 2011. However, it is now being tested to see if it can defend Israel against other potential threats, as its proven capabilities “don’t even come close” to the full extent of the system’s capabilities, according to Ari Sacher, Rafael Ltd.’s Iron Dome Systems Project Manager.

Clearly, Israel is preparing its defense systems for something far greater than the standard home-made rockets found flying out of the Gaza strip. Considering the fact that an Israeli military general is drafting a defense policy document with the specific goal of launching a war with Iran, this might give us some clues about what Israel is preparing for specifically.

Over a decade ago, Israel fought a major short-lived war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has been preparing for its rematch with Hezbollah for some time now, as well as striking Hezbollah targets from within Syria. Hezbollah has been a natural ally of Syria, even dating back to the reign of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s father.

Israel also continues to strike Syrian territory to this day in a flagrant disregard for international law, specifically targeting Syrian government facilities with ties to Hezbollah. Syria and Hezbollah have not responded yet, but no one seems to be able to answer the question: what happens if Iran, Syria and/or Hezbollah decide to respond in kind with an equally aggressive act?

A senior Israeli official warned the Russian government that if Iran continues to expand its presence in Syria, Israel plans to respond by bombing the Syrian president’s palaces. This is all while Israel knows full well that it cannot realistically take on Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah by itself and without American intervention.

Hezbollah is a quasi-ally of not only Iran, but Russia, too. Russia recently threatened to veto any UN Security Council resolution that describes Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Russia also warned Israel indirectly not to attack Iran in Syria, explaining that parties that violate international law and undermine Syria’s sovereignty will not be tolerated.

Not to mention that in response to Donald Trump’s April strike on the Syrian government, Russia and Iran issued a joint statement with Hezbollah warning that the next time such an attack occurs, they will all respond in kind.

It is also worth noting that Hezbollah has spent six years in the brutal Syrian battle arena, during which time they have attained new recruits, battle-hardened their members, and developed the belief that they can successfully take on a number of military forces in the region. As the Hill explains:

The new cadre of fighters Hezbollah is bringing in is also professionalizing what was previously an explicitly guerrilla-oriented organization. The fight for Syria against the nominally Sunni ‘Takfiri’ (apostate) ISIS, has been a gift to the Shia Hezbollah, spurring recruitment efforts. Put simply, Hezbollah is not just getting better at fighting, its army is also getting bigger.

Prior to the 2006 conflict, Hezbollah had approximately 13,000 rockets. It now boasts some 150,000 rockets and missiles, as well as Russian-supplied missiles that “can hit anywhere in Israel,” according to one Lebanese commander.

Unsurprisingly, none of this is headline news. Only those paying attention are aware of these looming developments and the dangers of a direct confrontation involving Israel — a stalwart American ally — approaching the Middle East’s numerous battle theaters. Whether or not the world will sleep-walk into this war remains to be seen; perhaps, and, ideally, Israel’s invasion simulation will act as a deterrent only and ensure that cooler heads will prevail in order to diffuse the situation between these regional adversaries.

Tillerson Wants Israel To Return $75mn In US Aid

September 15, 2017 Leave a comment

The US Secretary of State believes that Israel should return millions of dollars in military aid to America.

Sources claim that Rex Tillerson has already discussed the issue with President Donald Trump.

Israel is the biggest single recipient of US military aid from the State Department’s foreign military financing budget, and also receives some direct support from Pentagon funds for specific projects.

Press TV reports:

The State Department has been lobbying with the White House to convince Israel to hand back some $75 million in aid it was given last year, on top of the military aid that it receives annually, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The then-President Barack Obama’s administration came under fire last year for trying to limit Israel’s ability to lobby with Congress for more money in case new conflicts break out in the Middle East.

Critics argued back then that extra payments were necessary in order to fund Israel’s several key military projects.

The report noted that Tillerson’s chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, had personally advised White House National Security Council official Dina Powell about the secretary’s stance.

While Tillerson’s spokesman has denied such conversations, sources within the administration told the Beacon that the White House had balked at the request and made it clear that Trump had the final say on the issue.

The state secretary hopes that the request would be brought up in a White House meeting with Israeli officials, the report noted. Trump is slated to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in a few days.

Last September, the US and Israel agreed on a record new package of at least $38 billion in US military aid over a period of 10 years.

Russia Responds to Netanyahu’s Ultimatum in Syria With a Warning to Israel

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

(ANTIMEDIA)  Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in person that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria that threatens Israeli interests. Netanyahu also stated that Israel is prepared to take action in Syria to curb the alleged threat.

We’re revolutionizing the news industry, but we need your help! Click here to get started.

At the time, Putin did not respond specifically to Israel’s issue with Iran. This provided some uncertainty regarding Russia’s position on the current conflict given Russia views Iran as a strategic ally. At the same time, however, Russia would likely not want to be dragged into a regional spat between Israel and the Islamic Republic.

However, according to the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Russia has responded by warning Israel not to authorize any attack on Iranian military positions in Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov allegedly told reporters:

“If anyone in the Middle East or [an]other part of the world plans to violate international law by undermining any other country’s sovereignty or territorial integrity, including any country in the Middle East or North Africa, this would be condemned.”

He also added:

“[R]egarding whatever area of cooperation between Iran and Syria, my position is that if their cooperation in whichever field does not violate the basic provisions of international law, it should not be cause for question.”

This line of thinking on Russia’s part was confirmed by the Times of Israel in a report claiming that even U.S. officials have agreed to allow Iranian-backed militias to take up positions in Syria less than ten kilometers from the Golan Heights region, which is technically under Israeli control. Under this arrangement, Russian observers are to police the truce zones, and this has rattled Israeli officials. A Russian military presence in the area may limit its ability to strike pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian forces inside Syrian territory.

There are also further reports of Russia stationing its S-400 anti-missile defense system near an Iranian arms factory inside Syria, which allegedly provides Hezbollah with weapons that could be used against Israel.

In response to fears of an increased and protected Iranian presence, a senior Israeli official came forward days ago to state that if Iran expands in Syria, Israel will respond by striking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s palaces.

This may be the ultimate aim of the U.S. war establishment. If the U.S. can provoke a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, the rationale to intervene more heavily to counter both Iran and Syria will be that much more concrete, particularly if there are concerns about protecting an American ally. A recent survey found the majority of Americans would support a nuclear strike on Iran, killing 2 million civilians, if Iran attacked the U.S. military first through conventional warfare. In the same vein, the majority of Americans may also feel that such a military option would be justified if the U.S. were acting to defend an American ally.

This hypothetical scenario would at least explain America’s decision to allow Iranian-backed troops so close to Israel’s border given the current Trump administration is incredibly anti-Iranian.

However, Russia’s military presence and the deployment of its defense systems may ultimately complicate this scenario for both the U.S. and Israel, which may sooner or later have to admit that they have realistically lost the war in Syria.

Israel Warns Russia It’s Prepared to Defend Itself From Iran in Syria

August 28, 2017 Leave a comment

(ANTIMEDIA)  The post-ISIS Syrian phase of the Syrian war will be unpredictable, to say the least. According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Israel is prepared to take action in Syria to prevent Iran from dominating the region after ISIS falls.

We’re revolutionizing the news industry, but we need your help! Click here to get started.

Iran is public enemy number one for Israel, and its strong presence in Syria, which was mobilized to help bolster the Assad government throughout the Syrian conflict, has Israel fearing a permanent Iranian military presence, which would be very close to its border.

“Iran is already well on its way to controlling Iraq, Yemen and to a large extent is already in practice in control of Lebanon,” Netanyahu reportedly told Putin.

“We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel. Israel opposes Iran’s continued entrenchment in Syria. We will be sure to defend ourselves with all means against this and any threat.”

According to Reuters, Putin did not make any comments in response to Netanyahu’s remarks about Iran’s role in Syria or his threat to take unilateral action in Syria.

“Bringing Shi’ites into the Sunni sphere will surely have many serious implications both in regard to refugees and to new terrorist acts,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters after the three-hour meeting with Putin, Reuters reported.

Russia has partnered with Iran and Turkey in recent times to take control of the Syrian conflict, and it seems unlikely that Vladimir Putin will abandon both Syria and Iran anytime soon. That being said, if Israel takes a minor action to defend its direct interests, particularly in the Golan Heights area, Putin may allow Israel’s acts to go ahead without any dramatic consequences to a certain extent.

Reuters notes that Israel’s main concern would be keeping Iranian forces away from the Golan Heights, which is under Israel’s control. If Israel pursues this strategy without expanding its presence in Syria further, Russia may ultimately sit on the sidelines without intervening.

For example, Israel has struck Syrian territory multiple times throughout the Syrian conflict (in 201220132014, 2015, etc), and Russia has not threatened to retaliate against Israel for these actions. In fact, Russia and Israel have a hotline to prevent their warplanes from colliding, which suggests Russia has accepted Israel’s desire to involve itself in some capacity in the Syrian conflict.

According to Reuters, Russia’s ambassador to Israel, Alexander Petrovich Shein, said Russia would take Israel’s interests into account, and if it were up to Russia, “the foreign forces would not stay.”

However, Reuters quoted Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia as saying “We [Russia] know the position of Israel towards Iran but we think that Iran in Syria is playing a very constructive role.”

In that context, Russia will not view any unilateral action favorably if it disrupts the current de-escalation process that Russia has been working to establish for some time now with the help of regional players Iran and Turkey.

Essentially, it will depend on how far Israel or Iran want to provoke one another after ISIS is defeated. Russia has no desire to see Israel and Iran go to war in the Syrian battle theater; in fact, it is a scenario Russia would probably happily avoid. Russia has its own interests outside of Iran and Israel’s regional ambitions, namely to prop up the Syrian government against foreign-backed jihadists and to protect its naval base – not to provide air cover for Iranian forces to confront Israel near its border.

Missing from any credible assessment of this emerging conflict is the fact that the Syrian conflict was instigated by world powers in the first place out of concerns that Israel needed to protect and retain its nuclear monopoly by toppling the Syrian government, which would, in turn, curb Iranian influence. This strategy directly drew Iran into the conflict, and now Israel has to face the possibility of a permanent Iranian military presence on its border.

Spanish Judge Issues Arrest Warrant For Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

August 22, 2017 Leave a comment

A Spanish judge has issued an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to local reports. 

Netanyahu and seven other government officials face immediate arrest if they set foot in Spain due to their illegal attempts to stop aid from reaching the Palestinians.

According to the Latin America Herald Tribune, Judge Jose de la Mata made an official order to the police to notify him if Mr. Netanyahu enters Spain.

Independent.co.uk reports: The other men named in the issue are former defence minister Ehud Barak, former foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman, former minister of strategic affairs Moshe Yaalon, former interior minister Eli Yishai, minister without portfolio Benny Begin and vice admiral maron Eliezer, who was in charge of the operation.

The case – which was put on hold by Judge de la Mata last year – was brought against the men following an attack by Israeli security forces against the Freedom Flotilla aid ships in 2010, which was trying to reach Gaza.

It concerns the Mavi Marmara ship, the main civilian vessel in a fleet of six that were attempting to break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The six ships were carrying around 500 passengers, humanitarian aid and construction materials. The Israeli Defence Force stormed the ship in a raid that left nine human rights activists dead. A tenth activist died later that month due to wounds sustained in the raid.

The Israeli Prime Minister and other officials now face charges in the case, should it be reopened.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshontold the Jerusalem Post: “We consider it to be a provocation. We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled. We hope it will be over soon.”

Palestinians And Israelis Killed, Hundreds Wounded As Violence Engulfs West Bank

July 26, 2017 Leave a comment

(Anti Media) Three Palestinians were shot dead and four others wounded as thousands of Palestinian worshippers clashed with security forces on a “day of rage” over Israeli control of Islam’s third-holiest site. Israel’s army said a family of three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death and a fourth was wounded in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Neve Tsuf on Friday.

Mohammad Sharaf, 17, was reportedly shot by an Israeli settler in the Ras Alamood area in East Jerusalem. Mohammed Hassan Abu Ghannam, 19, died of wounds in al-Makassed hospital after he was shot by an Israeli settler in East Jerusalem. Footage on social media shows Ghannam’s body being carried over the hospital gate by Palestinian paramedics and protesters.

A third Palestinian was killed in Abu Dis, AFP reported, quoting Palestinian health officials saying: “A Palestinian was killed after he was shot in the heart by live bullets.”

The Israeli family that was stabbed were reportedly having Shabbat dinner. A 20-year-old Palestinian from Khobar barged into the house, killed three family members and severely wounded a fourth. The three slain were the father, who was in his 60s, his son and daughter who were both in their 40s, according to a Haaretz report. The mother is being treated at Shaare Zedek hosptial in Jerusalem.

The reported assailant was identified in news reports as Omar el-Abed from the West Bank village of Khobar near Ramallah.

Abed sustained some injuries and was sent to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva for treatment, according to a Haaretz report.

The army said in a statement that the four victims were Israeli civilians and that the assailant was also shot. It was not known whether he was alive.

 The deaths came as thousands of Palestinians clashed with police after peaceful prayers around the Old City. Many had refused to enter the Noble Sanctuary and the al-Aqsa mosque in protest of new Israeli security checkpoints at two key entrances.

The sanctuary has for a week been subjected to increased security measures, including metal detectors, that many in Palestine see as an attempt to gain control of the site.

Worshippers outside the Old City were scattered soon after Friday prayers as Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds in Salah al-Din Street. Four Palestinians were reported injured.

Israel arrested 29 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and more than 390 people were injured on Friday, according to a Haaretz report. The Red Crescent said most of the injured Palestinians inhaled tear gas while 38 were hit with live and rubber bullets.

Ahmad Abdul Salaam, who came to pray outside the Noble Sanctuary, said: “Putting these metal detectors at the entrance to our place of worship is like putting them at the entrance to our house. Are you really going to put me through a metal detector as I go into my house?”

Israeli police enter hospital

Israeli police also entered al-Makassed hospital in Jerusalem and asked employees to leave. Witnesses said they believed Israeli officers were looking for those wounded in the clashes.

Earlier, the hospital released a statement asking for blood donations because of the number of injured.

The Israeli action after prayers came on a day Palestinian leaders had promised a “day of rage” over Israel’s moves to control access to the sanctuary, following an attack by gunmen last week that killed two Israeli police.

Talks to remove metal detectors from the gated entrances collapsed overnight as Palestinian Authority negotiators refused to accept Israel’s offer of subjecting only “suspicious people” to metal detection checks.

Israel poured thousands of extra police into the city in response. Police were seen taking up positions above crowds of worshippers, armed with baton rounds and assault rifles.

Officials including the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, Hatem Abdel-Kader, were arrested shortly after the talks failed.Speaking to MEE before his arrest, Abdel-Kader, said: “The Israeli offer to keep the metal detectors in place, but only require suspicious individuals to pass through them, was unreservedly rejected by the Palestinians.

“There will be an escalation tomorrow. Clashes will inevitably continue until freedom of religion is restored.”

Clashes between Palestinians hurling stones and Israeli police using stun grenades have been a daily occurrence in East Jerusalem since the metal detectors were installed on Saturday at entrances to the Noble Sanctuary, which includes the al-Aqsa mosque.

 

Abdala Athem Salhab, the head of the Waqf counsel that administers the Noble Sanctury site, said: “We are all united and it’s our responsibility to protect the Aqsa mosque – we won’t step back. We are asking Jordan to intervene to remove the doors, otherwise Israel is leading the area to religious war.”

Ahmed Tibi, a member of the Israeli parliament for the Arab List coalition, said it was the duty of Palestinians in Israel and Jerusalem and the West Bank “to act now in order to protect the Aqsa from the Israeli forces. The Aqsa is not only a religion issue but also a political one.

“Our response to Netanyahu is that we say no to the detectors and we will continue the protest. We hope the Islamic world and the international community take action to stop the violations.”

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas spoke with the US president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior adviser who has been tasked with resolving the Middle East peace impasse, reported Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.

Abbas called on Washington to immediately intervene, saying that the situation was “extremely dangerous and might spiral out of control,” the agency said.

Violations

Muslim religious authorities claim the metal detectors violate a delicate agreement on worship and security arrangements at the Jerusalem site and have urged Palestinians not to pass through. Prayers have been held near an entrance to the complex.

On Thursday night, Israeli forces wounded 22 Palestinians at Lion’s Gate, near Haram al-Sharif, in Jerusalem. According to the Red Crescent, two of those hurt are in serious condition after they were hit by a stun grenade.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has considered removing the devices at the site but so far the detectors remain in place.

Abdel-Kader told Middle East Eye: “The metal detectors serve no security purpose whatsoever. Rather, their erection is a political play to pressure Palestinians into relinquishing control of al-Aqsa.”

“With the religious and political sensitivities surrounding al-Aqsa – as a universal sanctuary for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims – Israel is taking a massive gamble and ultimately, crossing a red line. Undoubtedly, this may have dangerous consequences,” Abdel-Kader said.

Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government have publicly urged him to keep the devices in place at the flashpoint.

Still, Israeli media reports said security chiefs were divided over the issue amid concerns about wider Palestinian unrest in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy places,” the security cabinet said in a statement.

“The cabinet has authorised the police to take any decision in order to ensure free access to the holy places while maintaining security and public order.”

%d bloggers like this: