Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Syria-Israel Trading Shots And Rhetoric, EU Defense Union 'Alternative To NATO', Iran Threatens U.S. Navy Planes, Cat 5 Super Typhoon In Pacific NW

IDF dismisses Syria claim it shot down 2 Israeli aircraft

Syrian state television said the Syrian army shot down an Israeli fighter jet and drone Tuesday morning, a claim swiftly denied by the IDF.
The statement from the Syrian army said one aircraft was downed over the skies of the Syrian town of Quneitra, near the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, and the other, a drone, was shot down closer to Damascus.
“Our air defenses blocked the attack and shot down the military aircraft in (the southern province of) Quneitra and a drone west of Sa’sa” in the province of Damascus, said the statement carried by state news agency SANA.
The IDF in a statement confirmed it had been shot at, but said aircraft used to target Syrian positions overnight were safe.

“Two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission overnight to target Syrian artillery positions,” an IDF statement said. “At no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised.”

Earlier Tuesday morning Israel’s army said it struck artillery positions belonging to the Syrian regime from the air in response to mortar fire that struck the Golan Heights Monday.
The apparently errant mortar fire — the fifth such incident in just over a week — was recorded hours after a ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States took effect in Syria at sundown Monday.
Syria’s army claims the Israeli strikes are being used to help rebel groups, including Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate, fight the regime.
“This blatant attack comes in the framework of the Zionist enemy’s support of the armed terrorist groups in a desperate attempt to raise their morale after their heavy losses in the Quneitra outskirts,” the Syrian army’s Tuesday statement said, apparently referring to fighting in the regime-held town of Hader on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

The recently-proposed EU defense union, borne of a Franco-German initiative, will seek to avoid duplicating NATO's functions; instead, it will aim to act as an alternative to the alliance, and prevent the mass purchase of US-made arms and equipment by EU member states, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestiya.

On Sunday, French and German media reported that French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen had filed a proposal to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to set up the bloc's collective defense, including a new military HQ and swifter deployment of overseas missions.

The six-page Franco-German paper says that "in the context of a deteriorating security environment … it is high time to reinforce our solidarity and European defense capabilities in order to more effectively protect the citizens and borders of Europe," as cited by French daily Le Figaro.

"The proposal of the French and German defense ministers is aimed at strengthening the cooperation within the block and at setting up the union not only as a strong political and economic body but also as a military one," he further added.

One of the key points of the proposal is aimed at preventing the mass purchase of US-made arms and equipment by EU member states, the newspaper says.

On Saturday, Iran threatened to shoot down two U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft flying near Iranian territory, three U.S. defense officials told Fox News on Monday.

Officials say a P-8 Poseidon with a crew of nine and an EP-3 Eries with about two dozen crew members were flying a reconnaissance mission in the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, 13 miles off the coast of Iran. Per international maritime law, Iran's territorial waters extend 12 miles into the sea, and at one point, the Iranian military warned the planes that if they didn't change course, they were at risk of being shot down. One official told Fox News the aircraft ignored the warning, remaining in international airspace but near Iranian territory, because "we wanted to test the Iranian reaction. It's one thing to tell someone to get off your lawn, but we weren't on their lawn. Anytime you threaten to shoot someone down, it's not considered professional." Intelligence reports show there were no Iranian missile launchers in the area during the confrontation.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called for the withdrawal of U.S. special forces troops from a group of islands in the southern Philippines, saying their presence could complicate offensives against Islamist militants notorious for beheading Westerners.
Duterte, who was in the spotlight last week over a televised tirade against the United States and President Barack Obama, said the Americans still in Mindanao were high-value targets for the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants as counter-insurgency operations intensify.
"They have to go," Duterte said in a speech during an oath-taking ceremony for new officials. "I do not want a rift with America. But they have to go."
He added: "Americans, they will really kill them, they will try to kidnap them to get ransom."
The comments by Duterte, a former southern mayor known for his terse words and volatile temperament, add to uncertainty about what impact his rise to the presidency this year will have on one of Washington's most important alliances in Asia.

Churning the waters of the Northwest Pacific is the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2016 Northern Hemisphere season: Super Typhoon Meranti. It is the fourth Category 5 storm on Earth this year, which is close to the annual average of between four and five such storms.

Super Typhoon Meranti, which according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center had maximum sustained winds of 155 knots, or nearly 180 miles per hour, as of Monday evening eastern time, has southern Taiwan and coastal China in its sights for the middle of the week. 
Fluctuations in the storm's intensity are likely before Meranti makes its closest pass to southern Taiwan on Wednesday, but it is likely to still be a powerful Typhoon at that time. Taiwan's second-most populous city, Kaohsiung City, is located in the southwest part of the island.

The horrific moment Hillary Clinton doesn’t want you to see – may never be seen again. Paul Joseph Watson and other uploads are vanishing from the web almost as fast as they appeared after a mysterious company bought up the rights to the footage. Even the associated press has stopped distribution of the video because they no longer have the rights. Clearly the Hillary campaign is working overtime to kill this story before Hillary’s health kills her. Please share this report.

No comments: