This first article represents a huge development. Remember, God will thwart the invasion of Gog-Magog on the "mountains of Israel", which includes the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
The below described Syrian debacle is quickly accelerating the Iranian occupation of Southern Syria, with the Damascus regime (or whatever is left of it) reduced to secondary role. It remains to be seen how the Israelis will retaliate to this brazen Iranian encroachment on their Golan front, should the Sunni rebel forces be defeated by Iran.
It can be claimed that the deployment of Iranian forces in that area by itself constitutes a casus belli from the Israeli perspective, especially before they dig in and establish the border front. (The far-reaching goals of Iran’s imperialist strategy have been detailed in a recent MEMRI report)
...Iranian Al Qods Brigades commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, shortly after he arrived this week at the Iranian command center west of Damascus, to take command of the South Syrian war front with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s assent.
This was the first time in the four years of the Syrian conflict that Assad has agreed to relinquish control of any of his army’s war sectors and pass it in full to an Iranian commander.
This action has four ominous military and intelligence connotations for Israel:
1. The earlier surmise that Tehran’s motive in the combined push for control of the Golan was to entrench Hezbollah forces on the Golan opposite Israeli lines, has now been updated: The Iranian goal is broader and more dangerous; it is to deploy radical Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) units right up against Israel’s northeastern border with Syria and face to face with the IDF.
2. And that is not all, The Iranians aim to drive the Syrian rebels off the Golan and occupy Quneitra as a major military outpost and the seat of their forward command. This would be the first time that an Iranian command post has reached to within sight and firing range of Israeli military forces. The large number of IRGC and Al Qods Brigades officers attached to this offensive form the future nucleus of the new Iranian command center in Quneitra. It must be presumed that, just as Tehran has transferred forces from Iraq and other parts of the Shiite world to Syria for its Quneitra operation, it will also bring over from Iraq short-range cannon, various types of missiles and T-72 tanks that are suitable for a potential contest with the Israeli military at very close quarters. The equipment will not be consigned via Damascus or subject to Syrian military control, but transferred straight to the new Iranian base on the Golan – that is if their combined force is able to pull itself together after the friendly fire episode and capture Quneitra.
3. Gen. Soleimani has set the Iranian commanders their first objective. It is to wrest from Syrian rebels the lofty Tel al-Hara mountain, which was formerly a Syrian fortress with tens of square kilometers of bunkers, funnels and defensive positions. Also perched there were advanced Russian radar stations, which kept track of Israel military and air force movements across the border. These stations were connected to the Middle East intelligence networks of the IRGC and kept Tehran abreast of Israeli military movements and deployments.Should the Iranian-led Syria-Hezbollah force succeed in overwhelming the Syrian rebel defenders and capturing this strategic mountaintop, they will be able to restore these facilities and go back to spying on northern Israel.Soleimani’s plan is to connect this station to the forward command center he is aiming to establish in Quenitra.
4. Tel al-Hara (roughly 3,500 ft alt) is the tallest peak in the Golan region, overlooking Israel’s outposts including Tel Hazaka. Its fall would award Iranian forces a commanding position over IDF positions.
Up to 3,000 trained jihadists are seeking to cross into Turkey from Syria and Iraq, with intentions of striking diplomatic targets belonging to anti-ISIS coalition partners, the Turkish intelligence service told the police in an internal memo.
"The jihadist militants could be working on armed or bombing attacks in Ankara and Istanbul against the diplomatic missions of the countries involved in the US-led anti-ISIL [ISIS] coalition,” said the Hurriyet newspaper, citing the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
t was unclear how many of the jihadists have already penetrated the Turkish border, but MIT said that some have already been sheltered in safe houses in the south of the country. MIT reports that some of the terrorists – a group of men from 17 to 25 from Palestine and Syria - intend to cross into Bulgaria, and from there into the rest of the EU.
The Islamic State, which has set itself the goal of creating a Sunni caliphate stretching across the Middle East and beyond, has recently indicated a greater focus on targets outside the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria.
A recent pamphlet distributed by ISIS sources, and translated into English earlier this week, states the organization should create “pandemonium” in Europe, through infiltrating the outflow of refugees crossing from Libya into southern Europe.
In surprisingly critical and unvarnished comments on Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest accused Israel of distorting details of the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program in order to scupper the talks.
It was the latest in a series of increasingly terse exchanges between Netanyahu's right-wing government and President Barack Obama's administration that has brought U.S.-Israeli ties to their worst pass in decades.
"There's no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate," Earnest told reporters, after Netanyahu dismissed the emerging deal with Iran as "bad and dangerous" and said he would do what he could to prevent it.
"We see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States."
If Earnest's words weren't already stern, it is only the beginning of what is likely to be a tense two weeks in the run up to March 3, when Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on the threat from Iran.
Relations between the two have always been uncomfortable, but the sense of mutual irritation has deepened in recent months, with Netanyahu increasingly critical of U.S. policy on Iran and the United States pushing back on everything from Israeli settlements to the lack of talks with the Palestinians.
Gideon Rahat, a professor of politics at Hebrew University, regards the current state of affairs as the worst between Israel and the United States in more than 20 years, since George Bush senior and Yitzhak Shamir were in office.
The UN nuclear agency reported deadlock Thursday in its probe of allegations that Iran worked on atomic arms — an assessment that further dims hopes that Tehran and six world powers could negotiate a full nuclear deal by their June deadline.
“Iran has not provided any explanations” on the suspicions, according to a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press.
With Tehran showing no signs that it is ready to cooperate, the international community might have to settle longer term for an IAEA assessment based only on American, Israeli and other intelligence and its own information gathering.
[What could possibly go wrong with this plan?]
After months of negotiations, the United States and Turkey have agreed on a plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels in the battle against Islamic State militants.
As part of the plan, the US will send more than 400 troops to Turkey – a number that includes special operations forces – where Ankara will host the rebels while training is underway. American officials told Reuters that the program is expected to last three years and train up to 5,000 rebels annually.
"The agreement was signed by the foreign ministry undersecretary and the US ambassador," a US official told Reuters.
This plan further raises numerous issues, such as what happens if rebels call-in strikes against Assad’s forces instead of ISIS. Officials told WSJ that they were still wrestling with such a scenario, particularly if the rebels supported by the US become engaged in a fight against Syrian troops, but so far that idea has not been approved.
Military officials have also acknowledged that controlling the behavior of rebels once they are on the battlefield will be difficult.
Russia is staging a series of major aerial exercises near Europe as tensions with the West continue to escalate over the crisis in Ukraine, state media has announced.
More than 50 combat aircraft of various types are taking part in the live-fire exercises in the western military district of Russia, the Sputnik news agency reported.
The exercises, which began on 17 February, will involve Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’, MiG-29SMT ‘Fulcrum’, MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’, and various Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’-series combat aircraft.
According to the reports, the exercises will culminate with the Ladoga-2015 exercise over Lake Ladoga, east of the city of St Petersburg.
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