Cyprus, Israel and Greece have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of energy and water. Speaking after the signing of the MoU, Cyprus Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said “this is a monumental moment for the cooperation among the three countries”. “The MoU is a framework which will determine the number of activities that the countries have agreed to jointly pursue, such as energy security supply, environmental concerns and a number of other issues which are common for us three”, he added.
A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas to Europe via a pipeline to Turkey. They are also studying options to export gas to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, Avner Oil & Gas said on Tuesday. “The partners are negotiating with various officials,” Avner, one of the partners in the project, said. Recoverable gas in the Levant Basin, which lies largely in Israeli and Cypriot waters in the eastern Mediterranean, hold some 3.5 trillion cubic metres of gas, the U.S. Geological Survey has estimated.
Israel’s Navy has begun installing a new defense system on its missile boats that would protect them from the feared Yakhont Russian anti-ship missile, Israel Hayom reported. The Barak 8 medium-range missile is designed to intercept airborne threats, including enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles. “History has never seen ships capable of controlling territory as well as Israel’s Navy using the Barak 8 missile,” according to a source familiar with the weapon.
Amid signs Israel’s effort to patch up relations with one-time ally Turkey is in difficulties, the prospect of exporting gas from offshore fields to Europe via a pipeline under the eastern Mediterranean to Turkey would seem to be dimming. That suggests more interest in a liquefied gas system aimed at lucrative exports to Asia via the Red Sea. Either way, Israel’s navy is trying to figure out how best to protect the Jewish state’s expanding gas industry– and if current plans work out, oil production as well — from a wide spectrum of security threats that seem to be growing by the day.
Azerbaijan’s rapid arms build-up is cause for concern in the region, with some defence analysts warning that it heightens the risk of renewed conflict. President Ilham Aliyev frequently boasts of the amount of money his oil-rich state can afford to spend on weaponry. Appearing at a military parade in Baku on June 26. he took the opportunity to remind everyone that at 3.7 billion US dollars, annual defence expenditure is nearly twice the size of neighbouring Armenia’s entire government budget. A decade ago, Azerbaijan’s defence budget stood at 160 million dollars.
How many bargains you get when shopping depends on Egypt’s Suez Canal being open for business. Between 8% and 12% of all international trade goes through Egypt’s Suez Canal, which cuts thousands of miles off ship journeys from Asia to Europe and to the North American East Coast. We can call it 10% of world trade on a rolling average (trade is still down after the 2008 crash). But note that if the Suez Canal were to be closed by the country’s turbulence, it wouldn’t just affect that ten percent– the impact on prices of many commodities would be across the board.
As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Britain has issued export licenses worth £$12 billion for the sale of military equipment to states deemed possible rights violators including Syria, Iran and China, lawmakers said. A report by a group of parliamentary panels said 3,000 licenses for arms and other equipment had been issued to those on the Foreign Office’s list of 27 countries of human rights concerns. The countries include Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Belarus and Zimbawe, the Committees on Arms Export Controls of parliament’s lower House of Commons said.
Britain has sold industrial materials to Syria that could have been used to make chemical weapons, according to a new report by MPs on arms sales. The Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) said it was just one example of numerous questionable deals between UK contractors and countries the Foreign Office (FCO) deems to have poor human rights records. The CAEC said supplies of sodium fluoride which could be used to make chemical weapons were sent to Syria in the last couple of years.
With massive firepower at its command, the Egyptian security forces are armed with a wide range of mostly U.S-supplied weapons, ranging from fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships and missiles to riot-controlled equipment such as armoured personnel carriers, recoilless rifles, sub-machine guns, rubber bullets, handguns and tear gas grenades.Additionally, Egypt receives grants under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, amounting to about 1.3 million to about 1.9 million dollars annually, plus about 250 million dollars annually in economic aid.
Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been placed on alert after a suspected Israeli airstrike destroyed advanced, Russian missiles recently delivered to Syria. In a July 13 report from ITAR-TASS, The Russian Defense Ministry has announced what is being described as “the most ambitious [check alert] in the history of post-Soviet test readiness.” The alert, according to the ITAR-TASS report, involves more than 80,000 troops, around a thousand tanks and armored personnel carriers, some 130 aircraft and 70 naval vessels.
Israel’s armed forces – the most powerful and best equipped in the Middle East – are changing. Older tanks and aircraft will be retired. Some 4,000 – maybe even more – professional career officers will be dismissed. A range of other changes over the next five years are intended to make the Israeli military leaner but more effective. Elements of the plans were set out by the Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, earlier this week. Once implemented, they promise what some analysts have described as “a revolution” in Israel’s military affairs.
The biggest exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are fast becoming essential to governments worldwide for both military and civilian uses, isn’t the United States, China or other major power. The big winner in this booming global market is Israel. And that creates a lot of geopolitical complications, for the obvious reasons. Thanks to massive budget cuts and tanking economies, many Western governments, especially in Europe and the United States, are slashing defense spending and eliminating big-ticket weapons systems.
Egypt is planning a large scale offensive against Sinai terrorists, where it has already killed scores of Islamist fighters – including 32 Hamas men – in recent days, according to reports. Egyptian forces also arrested several others over the past few days in the Sinai Peninsula, an Egyptian military source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper Thursday morning. According to the newspaper, the Egyptian army’s military operations in Sinai killed 32 Hamas militants and arrested 45 of the group’s members, as well as about 200 other gunmen.
Images analysed by experts at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review has revealed a hitherto undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with capabilities for hitting both countries. Analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload. The base, believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.
The French government decided to provide the Lebanese army with heavy weapons to boost its military performance, a local newspaper reported on Monday. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, a recent meeting held between French and Lebanese Defense Ministry officials discussed the matter. France decided in light of the meetings to supply the Lebanese army with anti-tank missiles and sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Informed sources told the newspaper that Paris is “confident that the Lebanese army command is controlling the institution despite what rumors said.”
Scores of militants linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, now locked in an explosive confrontation with the Egyptian army over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, are reported to have moved into the Sinai Peninsula to fight the military.
They’re expected to join forces with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida who have established bases in Sinai’s vast desert wastes since 2011 and are already clashing with Egyptian security forces.
On a dusty field in Israel’ s southern desert, the military is gearing up for the next battle against a familiar foe: Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. As the Syrian civil war intensifies, military planners are growing increasingly jittery that the fighting could spill over into Israel, potentially dragging the Islamic militant group that is allied with President Bashar Assad into the fray. After battling Hezbollah to a stalemate in 2006, the Israeli military says it has learned key lessons and is prepared to inflict heavy damage on the group if fighting begins again.
Just days after Morsi’s removal from office by the Egyptian armed forces, there is a remarkable replacement: Mohammad ElBaradei, the lone leadership figure with deep Western appeal — and the resume and ideology to match.
There’s no doubt that ElBaradei represents the smallest and least powerful of the main factions supporting big reform in post-Mubarak Egypt — the others being Team Muslim Brotherhood and Team Army.
Cyprus inked a deal with a US-Israeli partnership on Wednesday to build a liquefied natural gas plant on the island to exploit untapped energy riches. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Cyprus and a partnership comprising US-based Noble Energy International and Israeli companies Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration to build a LNG facility at Vassiliko near the southern resort town of Limassol. The almost bankrupt Mediterranean island is hoping its untapped offshore energy resources can pull it back from the financial brink.
Russia has stationed one of its advanced intelligence vessels in the Middle East in order to follow Western readiness for a potential strike in Syria. Last week, Israel conducted an extensive military exercise that saw the participation of the IDF ground forces, the Israeli Navy and the IAF. The precise goals of the exercise were not made public and remained a secret. However, assessments are that it was aimed towards Israel’s northern arena – towards the tension with Syria and Hezbollah.
Moscow is showing that it is increasing the utilization of its military presence in Armenia for greater strategic purpose and depth, while at the same time further consolidating its overarching sway over the Caucasus region. This is part of Moscow’s geostrategic plan to increase its influence in the Middle East, a region bordering the Caucasus and one that has in recent years become more important to Russia’s global geopolitical calculations.
A spy network formed by two Tunisians, three Moroccans and an Algerian collecting strategic information on behalf of Mossad comes to be dismantled in Algeria. «Plans vital strategic sites of the wilayas of the East of the country, Tebessa, Skikda and Annaba, as well as in Algiers, were seized by the security services». The members of the network recruited girls in the wilayas of Eastern Algeria, for the purposes of its spying mission, promising them send them to Europe, against the information they provide.
In an attempt to “secretly sicken opponents of Israel” and presumably star as the bad guys in a barely believable action movie, two guys from New York have been accused by the FBI of assembling a portable X-Ray weapon that would shoot lethal doses of radiation. Seriously. They were going to sell it to Jewish organizations or the KKK. The two guys—49 year old Glendon Scott Crawford, a GE industrial mechanic, and 54 year old Eric J. Feight, a GE contractor—had actually managed to assemble the damn thing.
Psst. Hey mister. Wanna buy a UAV? China’s got drones for shooting, drones for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and drones for target practice. Cheap prices and no arms export restrictions.“Surging domestic and international market demand for UAVs, from both military and civilian customers, will continue to buoy growth of the Chinese industry. Chinese defense firms do not face the same export restrictions as top UAV-exporting countries, such as the United States and Israel. As a result, China could become a key UAV proliferator, particularly to developing countries.”
Israeli foreign policy, dominated by conflict with its Muslim neighbors, may be entering a new era as the country turns into a natural-gas producer. Exploiting energy discoveries off its Mediterranean shore will require Israel to soon decide on how much it wants to export, by what means and to which markets.
That’s influencing relations with regional neighbors Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon, spurring concern from rival producer Russia, and attracting interest from potential customers China and Korea.
Forty-six years after the 1967 war, we are facing a dangerous increase in the number of “failed states” across the Arab region. There are projects, some of which are already underway, to partition and divide countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. Other countries are not immune to internal tensions resulting from a discourse of partition and fragmentation similar to the one which has disrupted the very concept of the “state” as we knew it, thus giving rise to the so-called “failed states.”
A highly-placed Israeli source informed me that the location of the secret base was Sdot Micha (also known as Tal Shahar), which already houses Israel’s Jericho 3 nuclear missiles. It is located near Beit Shemesh, 15 miles from Jerusalem. The source also informed me that the new facility was to be hardened and underground to withstand a nuclear attack. This means that Israel expects the site to be attacked by Iranian missiles once that country has nuclear capability.
Israel tracks every heavy missile fired in the Syrian civil war, keen to study Damascus’s combat doctrines and deployments and ready to fend off a feared first attack on its turf, a senior Israeli military officer said on Thursday.
Colonel Zvika Haimovich of the air defense corps said southward launches against Syrian insurgents by President Bashar Assad’s forces gave Israel mere seconds in which to determine it was not the true target – a distinction that could prove crucial for warding off an unprecedented regional conflagration.
The President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was to secret talks in Syria. reported the ARD studio in the Jordanian capital, Amman , that Gerhard Schindler said to have been the beginning of May with the head of the BND-terrorism department in Damascus. It should have gone to the resumption of intelligence cooperation between the two countries in the area.
The BND had but last week his picture to Syria revised and noted an increasing strengthening of the Syrian army. Assad’s troops have thus again functional supply lines for weapons and fuel. You could but not defeat the insurgents, but keep them in check, and may recover the whole South in the current year.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, the recent Greek-Israeli and Cypriot-Israeli partnerships have shown that the three countries have the opportunity to cooperate and act as a regional subsystem of stability in a volatile region.
Israel’s most important security dilemma, arising from the scarcity of strategic depth, can be addressed through an alliance of this kind. So far Greece and Israel have shared military training facilities and with Nicosia, cooperation has flourished through political and economic support, especially in the field of offshore drilling.
Recent incidents in the Golan Heights continue to cast a shadow on the attitudes of Israeli leaders amid reports that Israel plans to carry out new strikes in Syria. These future attacks would be in fulfillment of Israel’s declared policy of preventing strategic weapons from being transferred through Syria to Hizbullah.
The Israeli leadership is trying to predict Syria’s reaction to any upcoming strikes, though Israeli circles purport that if the state were to carry out any attack, it would certainly be met with a Syrian response. Press reports pointed out that this comes in the context of the current tensions in the occupied Golan Heights, after the Syrian army opened fire at an Israeli patrol in the area.
Russia primarily seeks to secure their portion of Syria, their people and their interests. Only secondarily does it support the Syrian government by more overt and covert measures. After they establish a more secure beachhead in the chaos, once safe from Western threats to bases and interests, they will then be in a better position to funnel supplies through those ports uninhibited. The warships carry with them supplies and marines and they are a lot more than a show of the flag. They are a tangible, genuine, military build-up on Syrian waters.
Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the US.
About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border. That would be the highest daily loss for the Iranian-backed movement in Syria, highlighting how it is increasing its efforts to bolster al-Assad.
Israel may act to stop any attempt to transfer Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles from Syria to Lebanon. Such a scenario is possible if the Assad regime in Syria feels it is losing control of the country in a future phase of its civil war.
According to reliable sources, at least one shipment of Russian-made S-300 missiles has been transferred to Syria. Israeli sources say this act is a “game-changer” – especially as Syria is the middle of a bloody civil war. Israeli sources said the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) may have to act on “developing” circumstances in Syria.
The demise of the Roman Empire resulted from a combination of strategic overreach and excessive delegation of security responsibilities to newcomers. Without making undue comparisons, the question for the United States today is whether it can remain the world’s leading power while delegating to others or to technological tools the task of protecting its global influence. Drones and allies – non-human weapons and non-American soldiers – have become central to America’s military doctrine.
According to The Sunday Times, Syria has deployed advanced missiles carrying 500-kilogram (1100-pound) warheads with attack coordinates set for Tel Aviv. The report further suggests that spy satellites have been monitoring Syrian army movements and preparations to deploy the domestically produced Tishreen missiles. The missiles are reportedly being aimed at Tel Aviv and there are standing orders to fire them if Israel strikes Syria. Foreign media outlets claimed that Israel carried out two airstrikes in Syria earlier in the month, reportedly targeting advanced weapon shipments bound for Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
Israel’s activity and presence in Azerbaijan on the northern border of Iran is aimed at exerting pressure on Iran and conducting security and intelligence activity against it and at getting prepared for the delusion of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities….Because of its strategic location, Azerbaijan offers Israel a springboard for espionage, military activity, and assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists. The paper also refers to the military contracts signed between the two states, amounting to “$1.6 billion in defensive missiles and UAVs.”
President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Syria are gaining ground. British Middle East reporter Robert Fisk met some of them when he visited the front lines earlier this month, and told DW about he saw. What role is Iran playing in this conflict? The war is not about Syria, it’s about Iran. And the intention of the West is to effectively destroy Iran’s only Arab ally. And for the Iranians it’s about keeping their only Arab ally. We know that the Iranian government has given advice, but these are very, very small token forces, compared to the propaganda.
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
The Syrian government has warned Israel that it would enter the occupied Golan Heights “whenever it wants because it’s a Syrian land,” a warning that came a week after the latest Israeli airstrike against military positions in the capital Damascus.
Israeli officials have confirmed May 4, 2013, that the country’s air force carried out a strike against Syria and say it targeted a shipment of advanced missiles. The comments were made by Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi on Sunday, May 12, 2013, during which he said that the recent Israeli airstrike against Syria had violated the pertaining international accords.
Israel’s rapprochement with onetime strategic ally Turkey is a vital element in Ankara’s drive to become the intercontinental east-west energy hub in the Mediterranean and many expect it to produce an energy alliance that will transform the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has transformed his country’s economic prospects through a wide-ranging diplomatic drive aimed at restoring Turkish leadership in the region. He has long sought to transform Turkey, which has no energy resources of its own, into the unassailable central hub for transporting oil and gas from the eastern Mediterranean, the new hot zone, to Europe and maybe to Asia as well.
The Cyprus issue, energy security and the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone were examined during a meeting in Athens between the Defence Ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Fotis Fotiou and Panos Panagiotopoulos, respectively.
Fotiou also discussed with Panagiotopoulos the situation in the wider south-eastern Mediterranean region and Turkish threats against Cyprus with regard to oil exploration.
The United States, which is trying to bring Syrian rebels and the Syrian government to the negotiating table, is now increasingly worried that Russia plans to sell a sophisticated air defense system to Syria, American officials said Wednesday.
Russia has a long history of selling arms to the Syrians and has a naval base in the country. But the delivery of the Russian S-300 missile batteries would represent a major qualitative advancement in Syria’s air defenses. The system is regarded as highly effective and would limit the ability of the United States and other nations to operate over Syrian airspace or impose a no-fly zone.
In spite of all obstacles, a major breakthrough is required to end the current nuclear deadlock in the region, where Israel is the only atomic power, though the Iranian nuclear programme continues to draw attention – and sanctions – in Western countries. Should such a breakthrough not happen, Egypt and Arab countries may withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they were pushed to join in 1995 in exchange of U.S. promises to free the Middle East from atomic warheads, Israeli nuclear arsenal included.
In 2011, Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, offered a mea culpa for his support of the war in Iraq. “When the troops went in, they went with my blessing,” confessed Keller. “I could not foresee that we would mishandle the war so badly, but I could see that there was no clear plan for — and at the highest levels, a shameful smugness about — what came after the invasion.” He called his realization “the costly wisdom of Iraq,” which, according to his op-ed in the Times on Monday, doesn’t seem to apply to Syria.
The “Jewish Department” of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, is known to recruit members of communities where covert illegal activity is suspected, to spy against their friends and neighbors. On Monday, an expose aired by the television show Uvda showed what the Shin Bet does when it cannot find people willing to cooperate with it.
Syria has deployed missile defence batteries towards Israel in response to an alleged Israeli attack that targeted a Syrian army facility in the capital Damascus. The pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited security sources as saying that Syria will also provide the Lebanese Hezbollah with “new qualitative weaponry”.
A statement issued after an emergency cabinet meeting Sunday said that Israel’s attack “opens the door widely before all eventualities”, Xinhua reported. “Syria will not accept its sovereignty to be infringed upon either at home or abroad,” the statement said.
Iran is ready to help “train” the Syrian army if Damascus seeks such assistance, the commander of the Islamic republic’s army ground forces, General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, was quoted as saying on Sunday.
“As a Muslim nation, we back Syria, and if there is need for training we will provide them with the training, but won’t have any active involvement in the operations,” he said in remarks reported by the official IRNA news agency.
A bid by Qatar to relocate the United Nations’ civil aviation agency from Montreal to the tiny emirate has angered Canada, where politicians from all sides vowed Friday to band together to fight the proposed move.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets international civil aviation standards, has been in Montreal since its founding in 1946. Qatar presented ICAO with an unsolicited offer last month to serve as the new permanent seat of the organization beginning in 2016.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) may soon be planning to launch retaliatory attacks on “elite Hezbollah forces” reportedly fighting in Syria, retired Jordanian major-general Fayez al-Doueiri told Al Arabiya on Monday night. Doueiri, who is now a military analyst, said the reported continuing battles between the FSA and Hezbollah fighters could be a “positive development for the FSA as it is managing to inhibit Hezbollah’s elite forces.” This may mean the “FSA is preparing to launch reverse operations to gain back what it lost in the past few weeks,” he added.
A rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected Israel, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel.
Analyzing Beijing’s foreign policy is a relatively simple exercise. That’s because, unlike the United States and other Western nations, China doesn’t even pretend to operate on any other principle except naked self-interest. On one hand, China has courted Israel as a partner in developing Mediterranean gas fields — but it also has been happy to do business with Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran, and has sold weapons that ended up in Hezbollah’s arsenal. In South Asia, meanwhile, China has cynically helped Pakistan check India’s regional role, even as China’s state-controlled press has warned Pakistan that Beijing may “intervene militarily” in South Asia if Pakistani-origin jihadis continue to infiltrate Muslim areas of Western China.
This may be a template for a possible plot for “The Expendables 3” but it is a truly bad real-world military operation. Creating limited protection zones for what are now millions of potential refugees would commit the United States to unstable half-measures – and the open-ended use of force to defend them – with the risks of either a continuing civil war or an unplanned process of escalation without allied commitments or support and the reality that the people in such zones would need massive amounts of emergency relief. As Libya showed, “no fly” zones are not enough to end a civil war or halt ground movements and escalation in the use of artillery, missiles, and carefully managed atrocities by competing ground forces.
The chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Benny Gantz, recently pushed back against the idea that it was too late for Israel to act alone against Iran’s He felt comfortable making it because he knew that in a few days he would be welcoming a friend bearing gifts. And the gifts? Well, they are gifts the Iranian regime would prefer Israel didn’t possess: advanced radar packages that extend Israel’s ability to see east (and west, north and south, but east is what matters most at the moment), KC-135 refuelling tankers and V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft. The tankers will extend the range of Israel’s bombers, and the Ospreys are particularly useful for inserting commandos into enemy territory.
Jordan has opened two corridors of its airspace to Israeli Air Force drones seeking to monitor the ongoing conflict in Syria, French daily Le Figaro reported on Sunday, citing a Western military source in the Middle East.
According to the report, Jordanian King Abdullah made the decision in March during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Jordan, which came immediately after his first trip as president to Israel. Le Figaro quoted the military source as saying that the Israeli drones fly at night to avoid detection. The source added that “the Syrians have Russian air defense assets, but Israeli aircraft are difficult to detect and therefore virtually immune to anti-aircraft measures.”
When National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror arrives in Turkey on Sunday to discuss compensation for flotilla victims, he will also be seeking to lay the groundwork for the stationing of Israeli fighter jets in an airbase near Ankara, ahead of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Sunday Times reported.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London-based publication. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
An unnamed Jordan source said the U.S. military agreed on Friday to the country’s request to put Patriot missile batteries along the border with Syria.
A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times ofIsrael reported. The source also said the Patriot missile batteries would be transferred from sites in Qatar and Kuwait, and placed in strategic border spots that could best serve – and protect – the kingdom.
A company staffed with former operatives of Israel’s top intelligence agencies and founded with the help of the former head of the Mossad is being used by hedge funds looking for an edge in the financial markets. Kela Israeli Intelligence has increasingly become a popular service on Wall Street. The firm employs about 40 former intelligence operatives and analysts, most of them ex-members of the Israeli army’s secretive 8200 unit, which is often described as Israel’s equivalent to the National Security Agency and believed to be behind the Stuxnet computer worm that attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Tension is rising on the Israel-Syria cease-fire line on the Golan Heights and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says he’s ready to launch military operation to prevent the weakening Damascus regime’s chemical and other advanced weapons falling into Islamist hands. “We see a deterioration of the general chain of command” in the Syrian-held sector of the Golan, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman. But the Israelis see the main threat to them as the jihadists acquiring the regime’s well-stocked arsenals of chemical weapons and advanced systems such as Russian-made Scud-B ballistic missiles, which can carry chemical warheads, and surface-to-air missiles that would challenge Israel’s long-held air supremacy in the region.
The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.
The Turkish energy minister, Taner Yildiz, says his country would be open to the construction of a pipeline to distribute Israel’s newly discovered gas.
“The issue may become an important topic that the two can cooperate on,” said Ozel. “The Israelis have already made a suggestion to send some of their gas by pipelines to Turkey. And this fits well with Turkey’s grand desire to be the grill full of pipelines from north to south, from east to west, and therefore become on energy matters, if not a hub, certainly an indispensable transition place.”
A union of this nature, reminiscent of the so-called “phantom” and comparatively short-lived Periphery Doctrine adopted by prime minister David Ben-Gurion in 1958 but collectively revived, strengthened, and upgraded in the present context, would pool the military resources of these countries under a joint leadership to be agreed upon, and would have the potential of impeding the Turkish hegemon from acting belligerently in the region. (One can see how this rejuvenated policy would work by studying Israel’s covert military agreement with a resurgent Ethiopia and in its leveraging of its knowledge-based industries with many other countries, such as Brazil, Nigeria, China, and India.)
Several new developments in Syria have deepened the conviction that Washington and its Western allies have prepared scenarios to justify their positions if they decide to intervene in Syria, even though official rhetoric refers otherwise.
Since last year, the Untied States and several European countries have floated fears of Syria’s chemical weapons “falling into the wrong hands” if the Syrian administration falls. Israel also said it had plans to intervene to secure those arsenals in case of a “regime collapse.”
‘Castle of the Lake’ intelligence command and control system being developed to deliver military decision-makers information from every possible source.In a hypothetical yet plausible situation, a very senior IDF commander is sitting at home, when he is alerted of a developing threat over the border.
As he makes his way to IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to meet with army brass, the commander pulls out a handheld military communications device, which sends and receives highly encrypted broadcasts.
A group of Iranian lawmakers has begun drafting a bill on reattaching Azerbaijan to Iran by updating the terms and conditions of a 19th century treaty that ceded part of modern-day Azerbaijan and most of Armenia to Russian control.
The 1828 Turkmenchay Treaty ended the last war between Russia and Persia and paved the way for St. Petersburg to establish suzerainty over the South Caucasus. (Tehran already had given up its claims on Georgia in the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan.) But the Iranians now argue that there was a critical detail in the fine print.
Israel is set to send warships to the eastern Mediterranean for a joint military exercise with Cyprus, according to a report which appeared in the Cypriot Fileleftheros daily on Tuesday and which was cited by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou confirmed that the joint exercise, which will include the participation of four or five Israeli warships, is due to start on April 25, the report said. Fotiou also noted that the exercise will focus on the security of the eastern Mediterranean region and that of gas companies.
“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.
An Israeli tank fired into Syrian territory on Tuesday night after Syrian mortar and small-arms fire hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan heights the military said. An Israeli army statement said troops “returned precise fire at the source and reported a direct hit.” In response to a query from AFP a spokeswoman said it was an Israeli tank that returned fire. She did not give further details. There were no Israeli casualties from the Syrian fire, the army said.
Israel’s huge new offshore gas resource offers its enemies an obvious target and gives its navy, long overshadowed by other branches of the Israeli armed forces, a big job that will require extra spending.On patrol boat 836, circling two gas platforms in choppy Mediterranean waters, Captain Ilan Lavi flipped through pictures of the possible threats: boat bombs, drones, submarine vessels, rockets and missiles. “We have to build an entire new defensive envelope,” said Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department who talks as knowledgeably about the financial aspects of the gas industry as he does about security.
Israeli spying equipment has been found hidden in artificial rocks on an uninhabited island opposite the Syrian port of Tartus, where it was being used to monitor Russian naval movements. Three large espionage devices were discovered by fishermen on the tiny Ant Island near a naval base regarded by Moscow as an important strategic asset in the Mediterranean. According to Al-Manar, a pro-Syrian television station in neighbouring Lebanon, the “rocks” could track and film Russian warship movements and instantly transmit pictures back to Israel by satellite.
In order to further strengthen the defence of Gwadar Port and to enhance the security of vital PN assets and installations along the western coasts, Pakistan Navy has achieved a significant milestone by commissioning the 3rd Pak Marines Battalion. The commissioning ceremony was held today at Gwadar. Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafiq was the chief guest on the occasion. Addressing the ceremony, the chief guest said that at present the country is faced with internal and external threats, which makes security today’s main concern.
Israel is getting increasingly jumpy as Syrian rebels, particularly the increasingly effective Islamists, steadily throttle the beleaguered Damascus regime. Unusually heavy air force activity over Lebanon in recent days is raising suspicions Israel’s preparing for airstrikes to ensure the Jewish state’s security as Islamists advance into southern Syria close to the occupied zone in the Golan Heights.The marked increase in the number of aircraft involved, including unmanned spy drones, and their flight patterns over Hezbollah strongholds and suspected missile sites in recent days suggest Israel may be preparing for sizable offensive air operations against Hezbollah or Syria, or both.
Shama Ha-Cohen reveals in his Knesset website what he worked in Aman, the IDF military intelligence department. He served there in a group that was called the “special unit for counter-espionage and special investigations” (היחידה המיוחדת לסיכול ריגול וחקירות מיוחדות). As is usual for Israeli spookery, this is spy lingo that euphemizes the real nature of what the group did. “Special investigations” means it engaged in, among other things, foreign assassinations.
Only too aware of the threat of east Mediterranean supply if Europe is able to diversify away from Russian gas dependency, Moscow has been steadily feting Israel to buy into a piece of the action.Moscow has already advanced a $3.5 billion loan and attempted to gain more leverage over Cyprus’ economic and energy assets during the recent bitter negotiations in the banking crisis.
The Kremlin is playing a much bigger game. Gazprom is already eyeing a role in the development of Israel’s gigantic Leviathan gas field. With its estimated 25 tcf of gas Leviathan is due to come on-stream by 2016. And the eastern Mediterranean bonanza is potentially huge. The US Geological Survey estimates the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin contains around 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
Israel Today newspaper has prepared a special report on the Arab armies in the Middle East; its title is telling; “Long Arm in the Region” is a reference to the Israel Defence Forces. It is claimed that the IDF is planning for a confrontation with Egypt. There is a new unit within the IDF which studies the armies of the Arab states through Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman.
This agency supplies information on the power centres in the region’s armies and their plans, as well as how to exhaust their capabilities even before a direct confrontation. In the event of war with any Arab state, the new unit is ready to present a detailed plan of attack, cutting off enemy supply routes and rendering it unable to retaliate against Israeli attacks.
An Israeli general has raised the possibility of creating a buffer zone in Syria, in cooperation with local forces wary of jihadist fighters, should President Bashar al-Assad be toppled.
Major-General Yair Golan said “many hundreds” of radical Islamists were fighting in Syria’s two-year-old civil war and could “take root” in Israel’s northern neighbour should Assad fall. He said the Israeli military was working on the assumption that these fighters would ultimately launch attacks against Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israel said it fired into Syria Sunday and destroyed a machine-gun position in the Golan Heights from where shots had been fired at Israeli soldiers in a further spillover of the Syrian civil war along a tense front.
It was not immediately clear whether Israel held Syrian troops or rebels responsible for what a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said had been a deliberate attack on Israeli patrols in the occupied territory. Israeli forces “destroyed a Syrian machine gun nest that fired twice in the last 24 hours on Israeli patrols operating to safeguard the border
The events of the Arab Spring and the variables that have happened in Iraq after invading it in 2003, which led to the fall of the dictatorial rulers, caused authoritarian and political vacuum, over which the States whose governments still hold the reins of power in it have competed and thus have turned into powerful States. Qatar is one of these States that is small but yet have great ambitions and is supported and backed by the United States and Israel. It is clear that Qatar’s policy aims at strengthening its authority and role in the region at the expense of the Saudi role.
President Shimon Peres met on Thursday with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The two discussed the importance of strengthening the strategic cooperation between Israel and NATO in the security and technology fields. According to a statement from Peres’s office, the President briefed the NATO Secretary General on the strategic threats is facing in the Middle East with a focus on the threat of a nuclear Iran and Hizbullah.
Inside Iraq, the forces of Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict had been unleashed by the U.S. invasion. That, in turn, was creating the conditions for a proxy war between the U.S. and Iran, similar to the growing proxy war between Israel and Iran inside Lebanon (where another destabilizing event, the U.S.-sanctioned Israeli invasion of 2006, followed in hand). None of this has ever ended. Today, in fact, that proxy war has simply found a fresh host, Syria, with multiple powers using “humanitarian aid” to push and shove their Sunni and Shia avatars around.
Chinese and Indian consumers are living well and eating well. And that could spark a global crisis. The consumer boom in China and India will touch off global inflation and could lead to food and water riots if investment, policy, and technology don’t keep pace.
Without smart, quick action by the private sector and government alike, surging Chinese and Indian demand for premium foods will lead to commodity volatility, runaway food prices, and worldwide water shortages as the “boomerang effect” brings the unexpected impact of Asian growth to U.S. shores. That’s the conclusion of research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The main findings are presented in “The Boomerang Effect,” a Perspective that is being released today
Israel has long been keen to establish a foothold in parts of Africa, for strategic as well as economic reasons. The vast continent offers relatively accessible (and increasingly fought-over) sources of energy and water, as well as emerging markets. While Israel has been able to establish diplomatic relationships with most non-Muslim African countries, nations such as Mali and Niger have so far refused to formally recognise it. Clearly, Israel would like to convert these nations of the Sahel into friends and a potential rear guard against hostile Arab nations in the north.
Lebanon seems to be moving closer to becoming a major new front in Syria’s 2-year-old civil war after a series of deadly clashes in Syrian between rebel forces and Hezbollah, which backs the embattled Damascus regime.
The Free Syrian Army, one of the leading groups within the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslimopposition, threatened Tuesday to strike at the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon after the Iranian-backed movement sought to extend its control of Syrian territory along the border. The Hezbollah offensive, which began last week, appears intended to protect vital supply routes to Syrian forces loyal to the regime from Hezbollah’s heartland in the Bekaa Valley in northeastern Lebanon.
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.
One of the most complex situations in the Middle East right now is the ongoing conflict in Syria between the government and opposition forces, in which at least an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.
Brahimi calls it a “quasi-Cold War” situation, with the United States supporting the opposition and Russia supporting the regime. Complicating the issue is the influence of regional powers such as Iran, Turkey, the Gulf States and the Arab League, as well as Israel’s military power in Israel.
Calling the continuing crisis an “absolute tragedy,” Brahimi holds many parties responsible for using tools of absolute war in order to gain power.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the first visit to Cairo by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and said he had offered the cash-strapped Arab state a loan.
In a step by Iran to advance ties that were broken in 1979, the Iranian foreign minister said Egyptian tourists and merchants would no longer require visas to visit, Egypt’s state news agency reported. The effort drew a cool response, however. Shi’ite Islamist Iran is still looked on with suspicion by many in Egypt, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation.
Israel’s first large gas field, Tamar, is due to begin producing natural gas next April. It is an economic bonanza for the state, and a security nightmare for the navy, tasked with protecting the huge area, much of which is outside Israel’s territorial waters.
“These fields have strategic significance and could be easily a target for our neighbors,” a senior naval official in charge of planning, told The Media Line in an exclusive briefing in his office in Tel Aviv. “Usually to protect an area, we just make a sterile zone around it. But we can’t do that in international territory.”
The EU and a large Israeli military contractor are co-funding research to build drones that can stop moving boats and cars.
Launched in January, the three-year-long Aeroceptor project, according to its own literature, aims to help law enforcement authorities to stop “non-cooperative vehicles in both land and sea scenarios by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
Israel’s ministry of public security, global weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries and Israeli-based Rotem Technological Solutions are among the list of 12 participants, most of which are based in the EU.
The Syrians also said that one of their “research facilities” was bombed and that two were killed. I haven’t been able to confirm the accuracy of this claim.
Israel appears to have taken advantage of the breakdown in civil and military control of Syria to violate that country’s sovereignty with a major attack. It isn’t the first such assault. In 2007, Ehud Olmert’s government destroyed a reputed Syrian nuclear reactor. But this incident is far different because in the middle of the conflagration that is the Syrian civil war any intervention by anyone could create a fatal fracture and precipitate even more bloodshed.
The Israeli army is systematically using crowd control weapons and live ammunition unlawfully against Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling a widespread breach of military regulations and an alarming culture of impunity, a leading Israeli human rights group has warned.
At least ten Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army’s use of crowd control weapons in so-called “disturbance of the peace” situations in the West Bank since 2005, Israeli group Btselem stated in a new report, titled ‘Israel’s Use of Crowd Control Weapons in the West Bank’. Additionally, Israeli soldiers killed 46 Palestinians with live ammunition in the same time period.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel must prepare for the threat of a chemical attack from Syria as the army deployed its new Iron Dome anti- missile system near the border with its northern neighbor.
Netanyahu told members of the Cabinet during the weekly meeting in Jerusalem today that Israel faces dangers from throughout the Middle East. Top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss what may happen to Syrian stocks of chemical weapons amid the civil unrest there, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Army Radio.
Expanding its nuclear arsenal at a rapid pace, Pakistan is now aiming to develop smaller and lighter atomic warheads more suitable for use on missiles, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has said. Pakistan is expected to surpass Britain’s nuclear stockpiles in a decade, the journal said, referring to the rapid development of nuclear warheads by Islamabad.
“Pakistan has shown clear signs of its intention to grow its nuclear arsenal. Most recently, the country has begun to increase its plutonium production capabilities, with two new plutonium production reactors under construction, as well as a new chemical reprocessing facility,” the journal said.
Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.
The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.
President Assad’s remarks came after he attended several meetings with his senior commanders, and discussed the country’s security situation with them, the Algerian Al-Shorouq Oline newspaper quoted informed sources close to the Syrian government as saying on Monday.
In the meetings presided by President Assad, Syria’s top army commanders told him that “the foreign hostile states will strive to assassinate him instead of launching a military attack on Syria”.
In November 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jointly addressed the Turkish parliament, an event that buttressed Turkey’s role in the region as an honest broker for peace. The Peres address was the first ever by an Israeli president before a Muslim parliament.
Turkey and Israel at that time were weighing the construction of an “infrastructure corridor” between the port cities of Ceyhan and Haifa, which would have included five separate underwater pipelines for oil, natural gas, electricity, water and communications. There was also speculation that these pipelines could go through Northern Cyprus.
The worst-case scenario is a world war between the West — NATO, U.S., EU with Japan-Taiwan-South Korea — and the East—the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with Russia, China, Central Asia as members and India, Pakistan, Iran as observers. With four nuclear powers on each side, and West versus Islam as a major issue. In the centre is the explosive mix of a divided territory (Israel-Palestine) and Jerusalem, a capital divided by a wall.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have held secret talks in Amman to discuss Syria’s potential use of chemical weapons, Al Quds Al-Arabi reported on Wednesday.
In recent weeks, fears have grown over the potential use of Syria’s chemical weapons. Russia, one of the few remaining allies of the Assad regime, said on December 22 that Syria was consolidating its chemical weapons stores in “one or two” places.
Social media users who use tweets and online posts to comment on a military operation could be regarded as legitimate military targets.
Australian army Land Warfare Studies Centre analyst Chloe Diggins on Thursday said a recent social media war between Israel and Hamas raised complex ethical questions about who was a combatant and therefore a legitimate military target. A key question was whether such comments constituted an act of war.
Israel has set up military bases in Eritrea to monitor Iran and other hostile activities in the Red Sea, Stratfor Global Intelligence reported Wednesday.
The U.S.-based strategy consultancy firm quoted “diplomatic sources” as saying that the Israeli military presence is comprised of docks and small naval units in the Dahlak Archipelago and Massawa, and a listening post on Mt. Amba Sawara.
“Israel’s presence in Eritrea is very focused and precise, involving intelligence gathering in the Red Sea and monitoring Iran’s activities,” Stratfor said.