Iran has established rocket factories in Lebanon that are under the full control of the Hezbollah terror group, a top Iranian general told a Kuwaiti newspaper.
Citing one of the deputy heads of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the al-Jarida newspaper reported Monday that Iran in recent months has established factories for manufacturing both rockets and firearms in Lebanon.
The newspaper did not say which of IRGC chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari’s deputies made the assertion.
The report came just days after Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, a former brigadier general in the IRGC, said Hezbollah is now capable of producing rockets that can hit any part of Israel. Dehghan offered no details of the new capabilities.
The new factories, said to be located underground, have reportedly been in operation for the past three months.
The manufacturing sites are located some 50 meters (160 feet) underground, according to the report, and are protected by multiple layers of defenses from potential Israeli aerial bombardment. No facility produces rockets in their entirety; rather, each site produces separate parts that are then collected and assembled into complete rockets.
The Iranian general was quoted by al-Jarida as saying that the decision to produce rockets indigenously in Lebanon came after Israel bombed weapons factories in Sudan and supply routes for Iranian rockets via Syria.
The new factories would mark a dramatic upgrade in Hezbollah’s ability to acquire more, and more precise, rockets than ever before.
The main thrust of the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria ordered by the Trump administration is still ahead, but ISIS forces did not wait in their Raqqa stronghold for the axe to fall. They moved southeast into the Deir ez-Zour region, where they are beating back Hizballah’s elite Radwan Battalion, which has just been deployed there.
But meanwhile a new-old menace has raised its head: Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliates which are seizing upon the mounting upheaval in the Syria for a fresh wave of terror. Saturday, March 11, two bomb explosions killed 74 pilgrims, most of them Iraqi Shiites, on a visit to an ancient cemetery in the Old City of Damascus. The second explosion was delayed so as to hit full on the Syrian police and rescuers rushing to the scene.
The same Al Qaeda branch planned and perpetrated the large-scale terrorist attack on Syrian government military facilities in the town of Homs on Feb. 25. Two generals were among the scores of dead troops.
This is what happened in the wake of the Russian-led Syrian victory in Aleppo...After the breakup of defeated Syrian rebel groups, who were forced to leave the northern town and head for neighboring Idlib, hundreds of rebels remained and refused to lay down arms. Instead, they joined Al Qaeda and have made the Islamist terrorist group the most powerful independent rebel force still fighting in northern Syria as well as in the surrounding areas of the main towns, including Damascus, Homs and Hama.
On Jan. 26, Al Qaeda announced its merger with four smaller factions under another new brand name, Ahrar al-Sham. The new outfit attracted many new recruits who had never before been attached to Al Qaeda.
Hashim al-Sheikh aka Abu Jabir, who fought the Americans in the Iraq war under Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, was named leader of the new Islamist terror alliance. Reputed to be a skilled war tactician who never gives up, his appointment attracted another wave of Syrian rebel fighters.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus exclaiming from Ankara that "Europe's politicians are under fascist, neo-nazi influence" and in response, Turkey will suspend all high-level diplomatic meetings and cancel all flight permissions for Dutch politicians.
As part of its furious response, Turkey said it would impose various travel sanctions on Dutch diplomats such as halting all high-level political discussions with the Netherlands in the wake of the Dutch government's decision to bar two cabinet ministers from campaigning in the country. Kurtulmus said during a news conference following a weekly cabinet meeting that Ankara also is closing its air space to Dutch diplomats until the Netherlands meets Turkish requests, according to the AP.
Kurtulmus also says the Dutch ambassador to Turkey, who was traveling when the diplomatic row started, won't be allowed to return, and said that Turkey's government plans to advise parliament to withdraw from a Dutch-Turkish friendship group.
It was unclear what the sudden Turkish escalation means for economic ties between the two nations: as a reminder, Dutch direct investment in Turkey amounts to $22 billion, making the Netherlands the biggest source of foreign investment with a share of 16%. Furthermore, Turkish exports to the Netherlands totalled $3.6 billion in 2016, making it the tenth largest market for Turkish goods, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey imported $3 billion worth of Dutch goods in 2016. Should the diplomatic spat lead to a collapse in trade relations, a Turkey recession is all but assured.
However the most troubling development, and one which has the potential to sway the outcome of the Dutch election which will be held in less than two days, is that in the final power play aimed towards Merkel, Kurtulmus exclaimed that since "Europe has not kept its promises on the migrant deal, for us that agreement has ended."
Which means that one year after it collected $3 billion for the migrant deal, Turkey has just voided the agreement, and the next step would be that Turkey is about to flood Europe with refugees currently held inside Turkish borders. And since by some estimates Turkey currently harbors over 2 million potential migrants, Europe's refugee situation is about to get far worse, and as a corollary, support for anti-immigrant political organizations across the continent is about to take another step function higher.
On Tuesday, March 7th, Russia’s top parliamentarian dealing with the Ukrainian refugee influx into Russia — dealing, that is, with the people who have fled Ukraine as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2014 coup overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych — presented the first-ever comprehensive number of asylum-applicants from Ukraine who have received asylum there after that February 2014 coup. The Russian government had never before publicly provided a number, but does have an established system of processing refugees, including assignment of official refugee status, which «allows the recipient various social benefits, including unemployment compensation» and so each Ukrainian refugee has a file with the government.
Russia has received more than 2,500,000 refugees since the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukriane, Yuri Vorobyov, Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Chairman of the Committee for Public Support to Residents of Southeastern Ukraine, said on Tuesday.
«Europe has received 900,000 [refugees] and shuddered, while we have received over 2,500,000 refugees on our territory and continue to provide assistance», he said opening the round table discussion «Russia-Donbass: New Cooperation Mechanisms».
That coup, which generated these millions of refugees, had been planned by the U.S. White House since 2011, and culminated on 20 February 2014. Also on that day, hundreds of Crimeans who had been standing in Kiev with signs opposing the overthrow of the President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted, were attacked by supporters of the coup (which was fronted by, and was propagandized as being, the «Maidan revolution» demanding ‘democracy’ in Ukraine, though it actually ended democracy there). These Crimeans immediately scrambled back into the eight buses that had taken them to Kiev and headed back homeward, but the U.S.-government-backed Right Sector paramilitaries went in hot pursuit of the buses, and burnt some of them and massacred many of the demonstrators, outside of Kiev, in the town of Korsun. This became called «the Korsun Massacre», and Crimeans in Crimea immediately started demonstrating in Crimea, for Crimea to become, once again, as it had been until 1954, part of Russia.
Crimeans overwhelmingly favored Russia over the United States, and were terrified by the racist anti-Russian government that now ruled in Kiev. This fear wasn’t only because of the massacre, nor only because 75% of Crimeans had voted for the man whom Obama had overthrown, but also because Crimeans generally (and most Ukrainians who had voted for Yanukovych) knew well the intense racist hatred against pro-Russian Ukrainians by the Right Sector people, who had actually carried out the coup. A plebiscite was held in Crimea on 16 March 2014, and the vote to rejoin Russia was over 90%. U.S. President Obama then imposed economic sanctions against Russia for accepting Crimea back into Russia. These sanctions, and U.S. military aid to the new junta-government in Kiev, publicly renewed The West’s Cold War against Russia (which had actually continued secretly against Russia ever since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991; the Cold War had ended only on the Russian side).
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