Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Conflict Beginning In Israel's North?

This is an evolving scenario that we have been watching closely:

An Israeli officer in the Golan Heights was moderately injured by stray fire from fighting in Syria Wednesday morning, as an al-Qaeda linked rebel group reportedly took control of the only crossing between Israel and Syria.

The officer sustained wounds to the chest but the army was not immediately able to say whether it was due to a bullet or shrapnel. He was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam hospital in Haifa.

At least six mortars fired from Syria landed in the Golan Heights over the course of the day as rebels and government forces fought for control of the only Syrian crossing into Israel.

Syrian rebels, including Al-Qaeda’s affiliate Al-Nusra Front, seized control of the Syrian crossing with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday, a monitoring group said.

“Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based NGO.
The IDF said it had not determined whether the mortars were fired into Israel intentionally or were a spillover from fighting between rival factions on the Syrian side of the border.
The mortars also caused damage to a car, according to Israeli news source Ynet.
In response to the spillover, Israeli forces hit two Syrian army positions, the IDF said.
Earlier in the morning, farmers in the northern territory were told to stay away from their lands near the border as heavy fighting raged for the crossing point near the city of Quneitra.
Tourist sites in the area were also closed as Israeli officials sought to keep civilians far from the fighting, Israel Radio reported.
As a result of the fighting on the Syrian side of the plateau, the level of alert was raised on the Israeli side, an army spokesperson said, without confirming that it had been increased to the highest level.

The IDF responded with artillery fire at Syria after an IDF officer who was in an IDF outpost adjacent to the Quneitra crossing was hit by a Syrian bullet. The event came as Syrian rebels led by al-Qaeda affiliated groups retook control of the coveted border crossing from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Earlier, two mortars fired from Syria hit the Israeli Golan Heights Wednesday, causing damage to two vehicles.

The IDF said it targeted two Syrian army positions and "hits were confirmed." It gave no further details. The officer is in moderate condition after sustaining a stray bullet to the chest

The incidents came amid massive fighting in the Quneitra crossing, prompting Israeli officials to warn local famers to leave the area.

Ynet has learned that the crossing has passed to rebel control and that the Al-Nusra Front, Syrian Revolutionary Front, Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Khalifa Brigade are still clashing with Syrian forces, who have reportedly lost over 20 men as part of the fighting.

Israel feared such an incident would take place as rebels and the Syrian regime battled for the crossing, which is one of the sole remaining areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.

Residents reported hearing explosion from the fire for many miles away even before the mortars hit. The news came as Israel entered its first day without fighting in the south, after parties reached a ceasefire agreement that brought an end to seven weeks of violent fighting between Israel and Hamas.

 U.S. surveillance flights over Syria have started with President Obama's go-ahead, a step that will provide potential targets if airstrikes against Islamic State militants are approved.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that an unnamed U.S. official said the flights had begun. USA TODAY reported Monday that the flights will provide information on potential targets for strikes in Syria if Obama approves.

The White House and Pentagon would not discuss details of intelligence operations in Syria but made clear the United States is not cooperating with the country's regime.

"As a matter of U.S. policy, we have not recognized" President Bashar Assad as the leader in Syria, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to Charlotte to give a speech to a veterans group. "There are no plans to change that policy, and there are no plans to coordinate with the Assad regime."

Earnest wouldn't discuss whether Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel presented military options on Syria when he met with the president at the White House late Monday.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Hagel's spokesman, would not confirm that any surveillance flights had taken place over Syria.

The initiative to plan intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Syria was contained in the execution order that allowed for the airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, according to a Defense Department official speaking on condition of anonymity because the details were not authorized to be released publicly.

A US Navy destroyer and a French frigate are expected to enter the waters of the Black Sea next week, a diplomatic and military source said.
“Two NATO warships at once will arrive in the Black Sea on September 3. They are US Navy’s destroyer USS Ross and frigate, Commandant Birot, of the naval forces of France,” the unnamed source told RIA-Novosti news agency.

There’s currently one NATO ship present in the Black Sea, with French surveillance ship, Dupuy de Lome, expected to remain in the area until September 5.

USS Vella Gulf, which was patrolling the black Sea since August 7, recently left for its port of commission.

The maintenance of the operational rotational presence of NATO ships does not promote stability in the Black Sea region in any way, the source noted.

According to the Montreux Convention of 1936, warships of non-Black Sea states can stay in the Black Sea for no more than 21 days.

But, earlier this year, the convention was violated by American frigate USS Taylor, which exceeded the authorized time limit by 11 days, the source said.

The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to begin air strikes on Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian government. The pretext is the rapidly expanding US war on ISIS, but in fact this is the long-desired US attack on Syria that was temporarily thwarted, reportedly by popular opposition last year (but more likely by US knowledge that its claims the Assad government was behind the chemical attacks at Ghouta had no basis in reality and would not stand up to even superficial scrutiny).

Though it makes for a compelling story, the idea that popular opposition to Obama's plans to attack Syria last year stopped the bombs seems more wishful thinking than reality. Consider how easy it has been these past two weeks to obliterate any opposition among the American people to the same US attack plan regurgitated almost exactly one year later. 

Because the US-trained ISIS/IS also operates in Syria (where they are fighting for the US "regime change" objective), they now must be targeted by the US. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem reminded the US today that his government must be consulted before the US begins military action on Syrian soil. He was ignored by Washington. Washington began sending drones into Syrian territory.

We are now told that the only thing holding back US bombs on sovereign Syrian soil is concern that any attack would be perceived as a shift in US policy away from demands for "regime change" in Syria. In other words, the Obama administration does not want to be seen helping a Syrian government that has been battling what is now called IS for three years by also bombing IS in Syria.

Concerns that a US attack on Syria without permission would be a violation of international law, the UN charter, and would be a blatant act of aggression are not factored in to the US decision-making process. Nor is the fact that Congress is unlikely to be bothered to declare war or even pass an authorization for the use of force against Syria. 

There is currently no active legislation that would permit the US president to make war on Syria.

The US is already violating Syrian territory by conducting aerial surveillance to determine targeting for planned air strikes. This violation of sovereignty is ignored by the same US government that condemned Russian delivery of food and water to those suffering in east Ukraine as a "flagrant violation" of Ukraine's sovereignty.

Food and water to desperate civilians is a flagrant violation of sovereignty, air strikes are not. This is US government logic, but there is virtually no opposition among opinion makers, the media, or politicians. 

This month the US government admitted that there were more than 12,000 foreign fighters -- jihadists -- inside Syria seeking to overthrow the Syrian government. Perhaps unwittingly, this admission undermines the entire three year rationale for the US "regime change" policy in Syria. Recall that the "Assad must go" position of the US government was justified by claims that the Syrian people were engaging in a popular revolt to establish self-rule and democracy. This cannot be true if in fact this war had been waged by foreign jihadists.

War against Syria is perhaps days away. It will be an illegal war, without a UN resolution or permission from the Syrian government. Without Congress. 

A volcanic system close to Iceland's Bardarbunga's volcano was hit by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake in the early hours of Wednesday.
It adds to concerns that magma from Bardarbunga could feed into the nearby Askja volcano.
British and Icelandic scientists say that 50 million cubic metres of molten rock has moved in a 24 hour period.
If it continues to head north, it could link up with the Askja system and trigger a large eruption.
Scientists working in the area have said that they will be withdrawing from the exclusion zone on Wednesday after they have deployed some more instruments.
Prof Bob White, from the University of Cambridge, said "It's headed straight for it."
"It's moving at about 4km a day towards Askja, and if it keeps going it could get there in a few days," he told BBC News.
"We know there is a lot of molten rock sitting under the ground beneath Askja, which is a major volcanic system. If this molten rock hits that, we know it is likely to trigger it to erupt.

Also see:


Sandra said...

Scott, brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am sure many feel the same way that I do as the days of darkness surround us. The sadness that grips my heart as I see so much evil in display, shame and sin worn like a badge of honor by so many.
During the night I woke up drenched in sweat and fear...I cried out to God...Father let this end, Let us "taste and see that the Lord is Good". Let us see the promise of the righteous reign of your Son, our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. In the stillness of my heart arose this song....

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

I am ready!
Your sister in Christ,

Waterer said...

I love that dear old song and so identify Sandra. Thank you so much for sharing!!