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Israeli Minister Hints At Coming War In Syria And Iran: “The Time Has Come To Assassinate Assad”

israel-iran

Jeremiah Johnson

The Iranians have just deployed their S-300 missile system to military bases located on their borders.  The S-300 system has the capability of taking down short and medium-range ballistic missiles and engaging upon 6 different targets with 12 missiles.  The effective range of the S-300 is approximately 130 miles (200 km).  They are also planning on upgrading their defenses with the S-400 missile system.  Is this noteworthy?  Perhaps it is when examined on the heels of this quote from the Israeli Minister of Housing today, as such, reported in Sputnik News on May 16:

“The reality whereby Syria executes people, intentionally uses chemical weapons to hurt them and, now, in the most recent move of extremism, is burning their bodies – this has not been seen in the world in 70 years,” said Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant, as cited by Haaretz.  “We are crossing a red line and, in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad,” he continued.  “And when we finish with the tail of the serpent, we will reach the head of the serpent, which can be found in Tehran, and we will deal with it, too,” he said.

Syria is the keystone to an invasion of Iran: Syria is crucial from both a geographical and a military standpoint.  Although Israel is an ally of the United States, it is more of a “client” state: far from being independent, its very existence is predicated on American support.  The problem is with the pro-Israel lobby that exists in the U.S. that literally (and illegally) has created influence through monetary and political pressure…influence that is not in the interests of the United States.

Please take note of the fact that Galant is not merely a “quoted minister,” but a retired general of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force).  In essence, the Israelis see their opportunity here: President Trump is a leader who can (and may) go head to head with the Russians.  Obama was too soft and would not follow through on what he started in Syria before the Russians knocked him off at the knees.  The subtlety: the Israelis need the U.S. to be a “part” of toppling Assad and/or an invasion of Syria and then Iran.

The Syrian situation is one that has been both fostered and created in part by the United States.  ISIS is a creation of the American State Department under ObamaThe U.S. wanted to take northwestern Syria to enable a natural gas pipeline to be run from Qatar into Europe.  This would have accomplished several things.  The move would have taken the monopoly away from Russian energy giant Gazprom by supplying gas to Europe via Qatar.

It also would have struck into Russia’s pocketbook, and enabled Ukraine to come under the IMF “umbrella” by being dependent upon a Western source of supply for their natural gas needs.  As of this writing, Ukraine is still into Russia for about $9 billion.  The IMF would have paid it already…if Ukraine could have guaranteed repayment.  The separatists from Donetsk and the Eastern Ukrainian provinces threw a monkey wrench into the equation with the fighting against the U.S.-installed Poroshenko government of Kiev.  The additional specter of Russian military support produced a stalemate in the form of the Minsk accords and successfully dissuaded any thought of American military intervention under Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama entered into the Syrian fray.  The Russian air force bombed the daylights out of ISIS, and then Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter aircraft on 11/24/2015.  Why?  Here is why:

Because ISIS was trucking oil across the Syrian border to Turkey and selling it to Erdogan and his brother; the Russian air force bombings had put a halt to it.

As usual, follow the money.  Subsequently, the Russians declared a “victory” and pulled the majority of their forces out of Syria.  Obama was out-generaled and made to appear to be the fool, and the Qatar plan was snafued for the time being.  It is not over yet.  The Saudis want Assad gone (those “friendly” Saudis, the backers of the Petrodollar), and the Israelis have wanted to bomb Iran for years…preferably through U.S. efforts.

The problem with all of it is that none of it serves U.S. interests, and as Syria is backed by Russia, and Iran is supported by both Russia and China, we could become enmired in a war that extends beyond the region in question.  When President Trump bombed Syria with the Tomahawks, it sent a signal that the new administration was not a pushover and that he had the “stones” to take action.

Now that the dust has settled somewhat, the administration does not need to let its guard down and be driven by lobbying interests that would have favorable results for Israel, but possibly dire consequences for the United States.  We just finished with 8 years of Obama in which the U.S. meddled in the affairs of more nations than any past administration, and created the quagmire we face in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe.  That needs to come to a halt.  The United States is not the private security “enforcer” for Israel or any other nation for that matter.  The lobbyists need to be thrown in jail or deported (preferably the latter), and the administration needs to make foreign policy decisions in the interests of all Americans and the country as a whole.

Netanyahu Seeks ‘Dirty Harry’ Moment With Iran as Trump Arrives

Jonathan Ferziger and David Wainer

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to persuade President Donald Trump to impose tough new sanctions on Iran for threatening Israel with ballistic missiles and bankrolling terrorism, a close adviser said.

The restrictions would aim to inflict damage in the same way that blocking money transfers did before Iran signed the 2015 agreement to curtail its nuclear program, said Michael Oren, a deputy cabinet minister to Netanyahu and his former ambassador to the U.S. The Israeli leader was among the most outspoken opponents of the deal and relishes the prospect of renewed confrontation if Iran violates its terms, he said.

“That’s a ‘Dirty Harry’ moment,” Oren said in an interview on Thursday in Tel Aviv, referring to the brinkmanship adopted by Clint Eastwood’s detective in the 1971 movie. “You have to exact a price for Iranian behavior.”

Trump is flying to Israel on May 22 from Saudi Arabia, which is also pushing the president to get tough on Iran. Trump has described the nuclear deal as a “disaster” and this week imposed new sanctions on Iran over its missile program — ahead of the country’s presidential election on Friday.

Fresh Start

For Netanyahu, Trump’s visit is a chance to reset ties with the U.S. after relations deteriorated under former President Barack Obama. Netanyahu made a passionate speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in March 2015 to try to derail the Iran nuclear deal that Obama supported.

Since the nuclear deal, formally the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed in July 2015, Iran has repeatedly tested ballistic missiles — some, Netanyahu has said, inscribed with “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew — arguing that conventional weapons aren’t covered by the pact. Iran also supports groups that have attacked Israel, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Besides Iran, Netanyahu also wants Trump’s assistance in reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts — but without causing the collapse of his fractious coalition government, Oren said. Persuading Saudi Arabia to deal openly with Israel is also on Netanyahu’s wish list for Trump, he said, as is U.S. military support to buffer Israel from the fighting in neighboring Syria.

Trump has said he wants to strike “the ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If he can “bring home negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions, if he can bring in some type of regional component — maybe an announcement date for a regional summit — that would be what he would call ‘huge,”’ Oren said.

Trump’s Israel Visit: Major Security in Jerusalem, Bethlehem

May 20, 2017 1 comment

JERUSALEM — You’ve heard of armored vehicles for world leaders and A-list celebrities. Now President Donald Trump is about to get an armored hotel suite.

A huge security operation has been launched that aims to envelop the president and his 1,000-person entourage during his visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem next week.

Trump’s accommodation during the second stop on his trip will be a bomb-proof, poison gas-proof and bulletproof hotel room built to withstand the collapse of the entire building, according to Sheldon Ritz, operations manager for Jerusalem’s King David Hotel.

“The presidential suites have independent air conditioning in case of a gas attack and are built to withstand a RPG [rocket-propelled grenade],” he said of the super-luxurious suites that cost around $5,700 per night. “But still the U.S. is bringing rocket-proof glass to put in front of the window.”

“If the whole hotel blows up the suite will come down in one piece, so maybe a few broken bones, but they will be alive,” said Ritz, adding that the King David would become a “mini White House.”

In order to prevent explosives-laden cars from ramming the hotel, two buses full of heavy equipment will be placed at the entrance to the main road. Balloons carrying infrared cameras will float above the building while bomb-spotting robots will lurk in sewers beneath it.

As Trump sets off on international trip, domestic controversies dog him2:58

Every piece of food for the president will be certified as safe, with a tester overseen by Israeli and U.S. security officials perusing every meal destined for Trump and his family.

The hotel — which has been targeted before, most famously in 1946 when militant Zionists fighting for an independent state bombed the building and killed 91 — is only part of the plan to safeguard the president.

Israel’s Operation “Blue Shield” will involve undercover police, special patrols, motorcycle officers, sniffer dogs and helicopters.

More than 10,000 police officers will be tasked with securing his trip throughout Jerusalem, the restive holy city that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.

“The level of security will be at its highest,” said Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police. “It is a top priority that there is close coordination with the U.S., making sure the visit goes exactly according to plan.”

Palestinian officials also said they were working with the U.S. on logistics, such as Trump’s crossing from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“All the roads he will be passing through will be secured and emptied of vehicles,” said Maj. Gen. Adnan Damiri, the spokesperson for the Palestinian security forces. “Armored cars and police dogs trained to detect explosive materials will be used in cooperation with American security.”

On Thursday, local media began reporting that a full-blown U.S. airlift had begun. Laden with equipment and dozens of vehicles, around 30 C-17 military planes arrived in Israel.

The sprawling security operation in Israel and the West Bank underscored the longstanding tensions in the region. At the heart of the conflict is the Palestinians’ desire for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — land captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

According to Israeli emergency services, some 48 Israelis have been killed and 608 wounded in attacks by individual Palestinians since August 2015 — the latest bout of violence. During the same period, around 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and more than 18,000 wounded, according to Palestinian officials.

Coordination between different countries’ security agencies will be a major priority given the size and importance of the operation, said Christopher Hagon, managing director of Florida-based security consultancy Incident Management Group.

“The more resources you have, the more someone has to organize them — that would be a really big task,” said Hagon, who was a personal protection officer to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in the 1980s. “People tend to look at this stuff as basic protection that they can see, but what they don’t see is that 90 percent is underwater. And it is made more complicated by other agencies wanting this, asking for that.”

He added: “I always had concerns that if it was overkill it might jeopardize the operation.”

And there certainly will be a lot going on during Trump’s visit.

The president’s entourage will include his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Trump, who professes to have an exceptionally warm relationship with Israel, will also be traveling to the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, where Christians believe Christ was born.

His trip will include a visit the one of Christianity’s holiest sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and he will be the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall in East Jerusalem.

Trump has said he is hoping to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis, a feat that has eluded world leaders for decades.

Back at the King David, workers are preparing for Sunday when the U.S. delegation will transform the hotel into a fortress ahead of the president’s arrival the following day.

The hotel’s 233 rooms will be occupied not only by Trump and his family but also the U.S. Secret Service, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, as well as Israeli security officials, according to Ritz.

He added: “Nothing is taken for chance so Trump and his family will be very safe.”

Pentagon Chief Arrives In Israel To Discuss Iran & Syria

April 22, 2017 Leave a comment

The United States Defense chief James Mattis arrived in Israel on Thursday where he will hold talks on the Syrian civil war, US policy on Iran, and the two countries’ close strategic relations.

He met with the Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and President Reuven Rivlin.

Netanyahu said “Israel has no better friend than America. America has no better friend than Israel. And this is a partnership based on common values in the deepest sense of the word”

Mattis has already been to Saudi Arabia, which was his first stop on a sweeping tour across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa to discuss America’s role in regional security.

He said the United States has seen “Iranian supplied missiles being fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia” and  vowed to work with U.S. allies to help the conflict. No word of the US supplied weapons which has helped kill thousands of Yemeni civilians.

Press TV reports:

Mattis hopes to hear directly from Israeli leaders their concerns about regional issues, with Iran’s influence topping the list.

‘No doubt Syria has chemical weapons’

The conflict in Syria, where the US and Israel seek to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, is also on the agenda, according to the prime minister’s office.

Israel was one of the first US allies to salute President Donald Trump for a recent missile strike on a Syrian airbase, where they alleged a suspected chemical attack originated.

Speaking during a press conference with Lieberman on Friday, Mattis said there can be “no doubt” that Syria has retained some chemical weapons and warned President Assad not to use them.

“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” he said.

The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been pushing to overthrow the Syrian government through the use of proxy militant forces in the country.

Iran has been lending advisory support to Syria in its battle against the foreign-backed militants, but has avoided direct military involvement in the conflict.

Known as the “Mad Dog,” Mattis has famously said the three gravest threats to US national security were “Iran, Iran, Iran.”

While in Riyadh on Wednesday, the Pentagon chief reiterated the Trump administration’s position that Iran seeks to “destabilize” the region.

He told reporters after meeting with senior Saudi officials that “everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran.”

Categories: Israel, WORLD NEWS

Israeli company starting 5 year project to make a flying car

April 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Metro Skyways, a subsidiary of Israel’s Urban Aeronautics company is set to embark on a five-year development of the CityHawk – an optionally-autonomous flying car.

They plan to fund the current flight demonstrator phase, or the entire five-year program, that will result in the completion design, development, and testing of a VTOL aircraft built exclusively for civilian use in the personal aerial vehicle, Air-Taxi and Air-Rescue sectors.

The CityHawk design will fully comply with civil aviation safety certification standards for land and air mobility. MSL plans to complete the development in five years. The vehicle will initially be piloted and powered by jet fuel, but for the long run, it is designed from the start for robotic operation and propulsion by liquid hydrogen.

The Trump Team Is Still Searching for a Two-State Solution

April 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Washington, DC is dealing with a lot of problems these days. Drama over the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives is pretty much all that people seem to care about these days. Talks over keeping the government open after April 28 are proceeding apace. And the aftermath of the Obamacare repeal is still hovering above the capital city like a dark storm cloud. Outside of the first U.S. missile strikes on the Assad regime since the Syrian civil war began, it’s almost as if everything else in the world is unimportant.

And yet there are things going on in the world today that are even more consequential to America’s national security than how much money Paul Manafort may have made in Ukraine or whether the federal government runs out of money by the end of next month. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to name one major issue.

Trump’s envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, has been flying in and out of the Middle East like so many peace negotiators before him. Greenblatt perhaps has the most thankless job in the foreign-policy community: trying to find just the right combination of honey and vinegar to convince Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to come back to the table. The fact that he needs to do this at the same time as he must reassure Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington has Israel’s core interests in mind is the proverbial circling of the square. As former State Department negotiator Aaron David Miller has written for CNN, “The chances of the Trump administration waking the patient up, let alone facilitating a real road to recovery, are well . . . pretty close to zero.” This is coming from a man who spent most of his career trying to strike the ultimate bargain in the Holy Land, so he knows something about getting two intransigent parties in the same room.

It’s not going to be easy for Jason Greenblatt.

But for those who continue believe that the two-state solution is ultimately the only formula that will provide Israelis and Palestinians with the right mix of self-determination, security and peace, Greenblatt’s meetings with Israeli and Palestinian diplomats over the last two weeks are an encouraging sign that the Trump administration seems serious about putting out feelers.

The only thing predictable about Mideast peace negotiations is that Netanyahu and Abbas don’t particularly like or trust one another. Rightly or wrongly, Abbas sees Netanyahu as a right-wing extremist who views placating his domestic political base as more important to his personal legacy than risking his political future by providing the Palestinians with the concessions they seek. Netanyahu, in turn, sees in Abbas a weak politician who is past his prime, doesn’t have the power to get the Palestinian people behind him, and a figure who can’t guarantee that a Palestinian state wouldn’t deteriorate into another Gaza Strip. Rushing into talks, even if the Palestinians agreed to talks, is bound to fail and set back the peace process even further.

Greenblatt has chosen to take a more deliberative approach. He’s made the rounds in Israel, Ramallah, Washington and on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit this week, poking and prodding about what the stakeholders would like to see in any deal and whether there’s enough common ground that a more formal process can be launched. That’s the way to do it.

Again, we haven’t a clue as to whether the Trump administration will be anymore successful than the Clinton, Bush or Obama administrations before it. Mideast peace talks tend to have the effect of causing migraines, heart palpitations, ulcers and a general sense of psychologic daze (just as President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry). Greenblatt and his superiors in the White House may get to that point as well.

But at least they are starting this painful but necessary endeavor with eyes wide open.

Daniel DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities.

Image: Old City of Jerusalem through barbed wire. Pixabay/Public domain

Israel hit Syrian targets using conventional fighters, missiles and electronic jamming

March 20, 2017 Leave a comment

The Israeli strike on Syria was probably with conventional fighters and missiles. There had been reports and speculation that Israel used new F35 stealth fighters for the attack.

Israeli jets have been able to operate almost freely in or close to Syria, hitting targets across the country with guided weapons without the Syrian Arab Air Force posing any real threat to the Israeli attackers. It’s likely Israel employed powerful electronic warfare during the strikes.

The last time Syrian air defenses shot down a foreign aircraft was back in 2012, when a Turkish air force RF-4E violated Syrian airspace over the Mediterranean Sea and was hit by anti-aircraft artillery fire.

Israel likely used the Popeye missile. The Popeye has 750 pounds of explosives and a range of about 48 miles.

 

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