Tuesday, September 23, 2014

U.S. And Arab Partner Nations Begin Airstrikes In Syria

U.S. And Arab Partner Nations Begin Airstrikes In Syria - Live Feed

The U.S. military plans to strike up to 20 targets — logistics, fuel and weapons depots; training sites; troop encampments; command and control sites; and headquarters for the Sunni fighters.

The U.S. military will deploy manned and unmanned air assets, including F-22s, B-1 bombers, F-16s, F-15s and F/A-18s.

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush is at the ready in the Persian Gulf, and the USS Arleigh Burke, a guided missile destroyer that fires Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs), is in the Red Sea.

The Department of Defense released the following statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby today:

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.”

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time.

The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief.

We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.

As we have noted previously, Russia is entirely against a U.S. intervention in Syria which targets essentially the Assad regime for the simple reason that all such an action would do is fast track Qatar's pipeline to Europe and leave Gazprom, pardon the pun, in the cold... (via Maria Dubovikova of Al-Arabiya)

U.S. President Barak Obama addressed the nation on Wednesday, saying that the U.S. is going to expand the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He said he would not hesitate to authorize direct strikes against the militant group and its fighters in Syrian territory.

This decision, despite the demonstrated enthusiasm and assertiveness of the U.S. president, is very unlikely to be effective and could even worsen the crisis, pushing the situation to the point of no-return.

First of all, the Syrian government sustainably strikes the positions of the rebels, including ISIS, with relative success. Thus it is quite evident that airstrikes are not effective in fighting ISIS. According to the fighters’revelations, they know where to hide in the case of airstrikes as they have gained experience in the years they have been fighting against Assad’s forces. This is common for both moderate Syrian opposition fighters and ISIS. Despite the will not to put boots on the ground, the U.S. has no other option if they intend to lead the international coalition. Moreover, it’s impossible to create an effective coalition and battlefront if Iran and Syria are not to be included.

The criticism came both from Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

The criticism is based on one key point:without the Syrian government’s agreement and a UNSC mandate, the U.S. strikes in Syria would be a gross violation of international law and should be considered an act of aggression. Moreover, Moscow didn’t pass over in silence the double standard approach of Washington, as while helping Iraq to fight the terrorists on its territory, the U.S. president called for approval for more funding of the so-called armed opposition in Syria. Also, recent revelations by fighters in the pages of the Western press purport that the moderates in Syria are absolutely demoralized, weak and their ranks thinned out as the fighters join ISIS. In light of such reports, it is not clear which party Obama is going assist in this case and how his calls correspond to the real situation on the ground.

...there are deep concerns that the U.S. will bomb not only ISIS positions in Syria, but also the Syrian government forces. These concerns can be explained by the fact that evidently the strikes against ISIS could play into hands of Damascus and this doesn’t correspond with the U.S. interests. Taking into account that during all these years of the Syrian war the U.S. could have been trying to realize its plans to bomb Syria, they could take advantage of this situation.

If the U.S. bombs the positions of government forces, by mistake or with malicious intent, this would have doubly unpredictable consequences, both at the international and regional levels.

For sure, this will trigger a new crisis with Russia. The crisis of credibility in bilateral relations will reach the highest point. Russia will ultimately respond to the possible aggression. But how? It’s a big question with a difficult to predict answer. Moreover, possible strikes against Damascus’ forces will blow up the remains of credibility of international law, international systems and institutions. After the meeting over Iraq in Paris on Monday, Russia’s foreign minister stressed that the international community should build common action “on a solid foundation of the United Nations Charter and U.N. counter-terrorist instrument and mechanisms.”  The call to respect the U.N. Charter is clear and logical, however its solidness, as well as that of the U.N. system in general, is already in doubt. Any further violations of international law and U.N. principles will definitely be the last straw, leading to international chaos.

...In other words, expect a Russian response shortly...

The strikes were carried out by manned Air Force and Navy aircraft, and the Tomahawk missiles were launched from US ships in the northern Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush is in the Gulf.
Some of the airstrikes were against the Islamic State group’s self-declared capital in Raqqa in northeastern Syria. Military officials have said the US would target militants’ command and control centers, re-supply facilities, training camps and other key logistical sites.
Syrian activists reported several airstrikes on militant targets in Raqqa. One Raqqa-based activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the airstrikes lit the night sky over the city, and reported a power cut that lasted for two hours.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said over 20 Islamic State members were killed. The monitoring group relies on a broad network of activists and doctors on the ground.
The head of the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, Hadi Bahra, welcomed the commencement of airstrikes in Syria.

Military leaders have said about two-thirds of the estimated 31,000 Islamic State militants were in Syria.
Some officials have expressed concern that going after Islamic State militants in Syria could inadvertently help Syrian President Bashar Assad, since the militants are fighting in part to overthrow Assad.
In a speech Sept. 10, Obama vowed to go after the Islamic State militants wherever they may be. And his military and defense leaders told Congress last week that airstrikes within Syria are meant to disrupt the group’s momentum and provide time for the US and allies to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.
The US military has been launching targeted airstrikes in Iraq since August, focusing specifically on attacks to protect US interests and personnel, assist Iraqi refugees and secure critical infrastructure. Last week, as part of the newly expanded campaign, the US began going after militant targets across Iraq, including enemy fighters, outposts, equipment and weapons.

The IDF shot down a Syrian fighter plane over the Israeli Golan Heights Tuesday using a Patriot missile, the army said.

The army said the plane had infiltrated Israeli airspace before it was shot down.

The plane was initially reported to have been a Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jet, but an IDF spokesperson later confirmed that it was a Russian-made Sukhoi-24 fighter jet.
The Su-24, a Cold War-era Soviet fighter, is one of the Syrian Air Force’s primary aircraft. A recent estimate by FlightGlobal.com said the SAF operated 19 Su-24 attack planes.
Syria confirmed the plane was hit and downed near Quneitra, near the Israel-Syria border, “in the framework of (Israel’s) support for the terrorist (Islamic State) and the Nusra Front,” Reuters reported.

A defense official said the Syrian jet penetrated 800 meters (2,600 feet) into Israeli air space and tried to return to Syria after the Patriot missile was fired.
The crew managed to abandon the plane in time and landed in Syrian territory, the Israeli official said.
It was the first such incident since the war with Lebanon in 1982, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
A video posted online Tuesday by the rebel-affiliated Syrian Media Organization claimed to show the jet being downed. It was impossible to immediately confirm the veracity of the video.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday in response to the incident that the Syrian plane approached Israeli territory in a “threatening manner” and crossed the border.
“We’ve clarified this in the past and we’re emphasizing it again now: We won’t allow anybody, whether it’s a state or a terrorist organization, to threaten our security and violate our sovereignty,” the defense minister and former IDF chief of staff said. “We will respond forcefully to all attempts of this kind, whether it’s an accident or intentional.”
Unconfirmed photos uploaded to Twitter by a Syrian opposition group claimed to show the downing of the aircraft near the border with Israel.

The Islamic State has urged its supporters to go out and kill Western civilians, including Australians, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned the nation would have to sacrifice freedoms for security against terrorism in what he called these "darkening times".
In a chilling message posted online, the terrorist group called for indiscriminate violence by any means in countries preparing to go to war against its fighters in northern Iraq and Syria.

The statement, attributed to chief Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani, mentions Australia three times in 11 pages of apocalyptic threats against "crusaders".

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," he said.
"Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Kill the disbeliever, whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers."
Clearly calling for followers to martyr themselves, Adnani says that if IS supporters cannot obtain a bomb or a gun to kill a Westerner, they should "smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him or poison him".

The statement threatens not just to beat back any military campaign in Iraq and Syrian but also to go on the offensive, even if it takes generations.
"We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted," it says. "If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market."
A spokewoman for Mr Abbott said counter-terrorism agencies considered the statement to be authentic.

Looking for a new approach to blunt the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa, the Liberian government, the World Health Organization and their nonprofit partners here are launching anambitious but controversial program to move infected people out of their homes and into ad hoc centers that will provide rudimentary care, officials said Monday.
The effort, which is expected to begin in the next few weeks, is an intermediate step, officials said. The goal is to reduce the chances that Ebola patients will infect their own families and others while ensuring that they receive basic care — such as food, water and pain medicine — at a time when many hospitals and treatment centers are closed.
The initiative also is a tacit acknowledgment that it could be weeks, even months, before new treatment facilities promised by the United States and others are operational. Continued reliance on home-based care doesn’t do much good, officials said, in taming a devastating epidemic in a country where large groups of people live in crowded, urban settings.
The proposed community care centers, as they are dubbed by officials, would have between 15 to 30 beds. Ultimately, as many 70 centers could be set up across Liberia, if the strategy proves successful. Such a program has never been tried on such a large scale.
A similar effort is being discussed for Sierra Leone.
The total number of cases of Ebola in West Africa is doubling every three weeks, with each person with the virus infecting as many as two other people, health officials say. That high rate of transmission is making it impossible to contain the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

The new treatment beds promised by Washington and others “are not coming fast enough,” Peter Graaf, the WHO’s country representative in Liberia said Monday. “We have to get to the point where every Ebola patient infects less than one [other person]. You have to get out of your house.”

The community care centers are supposed to complement the recently announced U.S. military effort to build facilities for 1,700 Ebola patientsacross Liberia, as well as ongoing efforts by other groups to provide several hundred beds. There are now slightly more than 380 beds in Monrovia, which has a population of 1.5 million people.
One of the main organizations involved in fighting the outbreak, Doctors Without Borders, is dubious about the new effort and has decided not to take part. Brice de le Vigne, the group’s director of operations, warned that the proposed community care centers could worsen the situation.
“This is not going to work,” he said. “To move people in an epidemic is a big responsibility, and it requires huge logistical capabilities” that the affected countries simply don’t have.
To be effective, he said, these care centers need to have strict infection control, adequate supplies, trained staff, regular supervision, the ability to diagnose and refer patients, and proper burial methods. Otherwise, they could turn into “contamination centers,” he said.
De le Vigne said the top priority should be deploying more trained staff to run the higher-level treatment centers in hospitals and clinics.
Nearly 6,000 people in West Africa have been infected with the virus, and 2,833 have died, the WHO says. Liberia, the hardest-hit nation, has had more than 3,000 infections and 1,578 deaths, according to the latest WHO data.
But this laboratory-confirmed case count is well below the actual number of people infected, according to the WHO and global health experts. Doctors Without Borders, for example, has said that number represents only 20 percent of the current caseload, meaning the true number of cases could be in the tens of thousands.


Mrs.C said...

Thousands at The Kotel (Western Wall) right now in Jerusalem...
eve of Rosh Hashanah....wow! Keep an eye on this over the next days...amazing to see, hear all that goes on...especially that continual Trumpet blowing...soon Brothers & Sisters for us to hear from above!


hartdawg said...

Hey Scott, let me see if I have my facts straight. When Bush went into Iraq, WITH CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL and mounds of evidence that saddam had weapons, it was both immoral and illegal but when obama goes into Syria WITHOUT CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL it's okay and no out cry. Are my facts straight?

Scott said...

You got it Hart - whats new?

Mrs C - thats truly amazing sight

hartdawg said...

Nothing much....just waiting on the rapture like the rest of you.

Scott said...

Things are happening fast Hart - take a look at the most recent post

GG2013 said...

Hi Mrs.C-thank you for the reminder of this beautiful gathering at the wall. I can remember when you introduced me to that a few years ago. I really do enjoy it :). I hope your both doing well these days as we wait to go home.

Scott- thank you for that article above. Seems I have a lot to learn on the whole ten king concept too-lol. I will take the time to re-read and gain insight from that article. I am amazed to see so many things in print right now, unfolding just as Gods word said it would be. We are a lucky generation on that part. We appreciate your work and teachings while we wait.

God Bless everyone and God willing, soon we can be together in the Heavenly Kingdom.