Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday, May 12, that the process is underway for creating a permanent staff to run Russian fleet operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking at Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet’s home port, Adm. Chirkov said a staff of 20 officers was already in place. And the Mediterranean deployment would comprise five to six warships and their service vessels as well possibly as nuclear submarines which, say our military sources, are armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.
The new permanent deployment is the next Russian step for safeguarding Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus and deterring military attacks on his Hizballah allies and Iranian interests in their three-way bloc.
Moscow is also announcing loud and clear that Russia is finally restoring its military presence to the Middle East in 2013 after the last Soviet squadron exited the Mediterranean in 1992.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances are virtually nil of getting anywhere in his trip to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to persuade President Vladimir Putin to hold back advanced S-300 anti-air missiles from Syria. He can expect to find the Russian president driving full speed for arms deals - not just with Syria, but also with Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.
Putin clearly regards Obama’s decision to keep the US clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict as an open gateway for a Russian military comeback to the Middle East after a 21-year absence, armed with a cornucopia of weapons for winning clients. For now, there is no stopping him, not even if Turkey or Israel were to embark themselves on military intervention.
Tenders to build 1,500 units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of east Jerusalem have been delayed by at least three weeks, despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement last week that there was no change in policy on settlement building in the area, Army Radio reported Monday.
Ramat Shlomo is one of five Jerusalem ring neighborhoods, along with Gilo, Ramot, Pisgat Zev, and East Talpiyot, which are located across the 1967 Green Line.
The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved the plan in December, although it was subject to certain amendments by the Israel Lands Administration, which were submitted to the Interior Ministry over three weeks ago.
Senior officials said that the Interior Ministry supervisor responsible for the process received instruction from the Prime Minister's Office not the approve the plan due to "political sensitivity," according to Army Radio.
The Prime Minister's Office had not responded to the accusations.
On Saturday, the IRS apologized for targeting groups based on political affiliations, following an official inquiry into whether the agency made illegal demands of conservative organizations.
On Friday, an Obama administration with an already appalling track record of scandals added an equally egregious revelation to the list. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized for what they characterized as an “inappropriate” targeting of tax-exempt conservative organizations, whose names included “Tea Party” or “Patriot,” during the 2012 election campaign. Adding to severity of the debacle, the Washington Post reported Friday that the IRS division head “had no plans to release the information publicly, despite the confirmed wrongdoing.”
The Associated Press obtained a draft of an inspector general’s (IG) report that revealed senior IRS officials knew agents were targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny as early as 2011. The report revealed that, in addition to groups with the words “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names, those with the words “9/12 Project” were also included. The 9/12 Project is a group established by conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck. Lerner was informed of what was going on in a meeting that took place on June 29, 2011. She told the agents to “immediately” change their criteria for flagging tax exempt groups.
Late Sunday it was revealed that even more groups were targeted. According to the Washington Post, the same report noted that IRS officials also gave added scrutiny to nonprofit groups that were critical of the government, as well as those that educated Americans about the U.S. Constitution. And theJewish Press revealed that pro-Israel groups “whose positions were potentially inconsistent with the administration’s” also received additional attention. An IRS agent told the staunchly pro-Israel group Z STREET that because it was “connected to Israel,” it received more scrutiny and that other Israel-related organizations were assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”