Saturday, April 8, 2017

U.S. Deploys Naval Strike Group Towards N Korea, Netanyahu To Convene Security Cabinet, Syria Threatens To Fire Scud Missiles At Israel

US deploys naval strike group toward North Korea

 A US Navy carrier strike group was moving toward the Korean Peninsula on Saturday as the United States boosts its defenses against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“US Pacific Command ordered the Carl Vinson Strike Group north as a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” said Commander Dave Benham, spokesman at US Pacific Command.

“The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” he told AFP.
The strike group includes the Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier USS Carl Vinson, a carrier air wing, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.
Originally scheduled to make port calls in Australia, it headed instead from Singapore to the Western Pacific Ocean.
Trump has threatened unilateral action against the hermit state, a threat that appears more palpable after he ordered a strike on a Syrian airfield following an apparent chemical attack.

The US informed Israel of its attack on Syria shortly before it took place and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first leaders to applaud the US move early Friday morning.

Netanyahu was one of the first leaders to applaud the US move early Friday morning. He is expected to convene the 10-member security cabinet on Sunday to discuss the situation in Syria.

At 6 a.m. Friday, just hours after Trump announced the attack on the Syrian airbase which the Pentagon said played a part in last week’s chemical attack in Idlib, Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying that “in both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”

Israel fully supports Trump’s decision, the statement continued, “and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”

The statement was issued even though just over 12 hours earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin had reprimanded Israel in a phone call with Netanyahu, saying it was too early to say who was responsible for the sarin gas attack.

During that phone call, Putin – according to the Kremlin – “stressed the unacceptability of making groundless accusations against anyone before a thorough and impartial international investigation.”

Netanyahu’s quick praise for the attack led to a conversation Friday morning with US Vice President Mike Pence, who – according to the Prime Minister’s Office – called Netanyahu and thanked him, on behalf of Trump, for Israel’s “strong support” for the American action in Syria.

During a conference call organized by the Israel Project, Amidror said that Iran bears responsibility for Assad’s actions, since they and Hezbollah have given him unqualified support over the years regardless of his brutality.

Amidror said that Iran supported Assad after his previous use of chemical weapons, and that there is no question that even if they did not have prior knowledge of the attack in Idlib, they are “morally responsible.”

Regarding whether Israel itself will take military action in Syria, as former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin suggested last week, Amidror said that Israel would remain “on the sidelines” but provide both humanitarian aid to the Syrians, and intelligence assistance to its allies acting inside Syria.

“We will stay on the sidelines, because our strategic decision was not to take part in this war,” he said. “If there is something specific that we can do militarily or from an intelligence point of view, I’m sure Israel will be willing to contribute to such efforts,” adding that “I’m sure we are active in helping our allies with intelligence.”

Amidror said that the two redlines that Israel set out remain: that Jerusalem will act in the future, as it has in the past, against the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, and to keep Hezbollah from using Syria as a launching pad for attacks against Israel.

North Korea is dipping its toe into situation in Syria.
The country on Saturday decried the U.S. military strike against an air base in western Syria, saying the “unforgivable” attack justified North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program.
"The U.S. missile attack against Syria is a clear and unforgivable act of aggression against a sovereign state and we strongly condemn this,” a foreign ministry official said on the KCNA news agency. “The reality of today proves our decision to strengthen our military power to stand against force with force was the right choice a million times over.”

The regime of embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has reportedly threatened to fire SCUD missiles at Israel if it carries out any more strikes on Syrian soil.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war, Israel is believed to have struck select targets in Syria on several occasions. Most often, the targets were dangerous weapons shipments to the Hezbollah terrorist militia, which is allied with Assad.
Israeli forces have also returned fire into Syria numerous times following artillery attacks on the Golan Heights by rebel groups.
In a message to Israel reported in the Lebanese outlet Al-Diyar, the Assad regime warned: “Syria could retaliate against Israel by firing Scud missiles should the latter strike Syria one more time.”

Syria is estimated to have upwards of 800 SCUD missiles, each capable of delivering a payload of half a ton of explosives in the best scenario, and chemical warheads in the worst.
Most believe Syria’s other ally, Russia, would prevent Assad from attacking Israel. But as a last ditch effort to hang on to power, such an attack cannot be easily dismissed.

Israel this week officially unveiled a not-so-secret secret weapon it has been working on with the US defense industry for some years.
The entry into service of the David’s Sling anti-missile system completes Israel’s multi-tier missile shield.
Already for years the Iron Dome has been protecting southern Israel from short-range rockets and mortar shells.
The Arrow system recently went into service to defend Israel against long-range ballistic missiles. It was utilized a week ago to defend Israeli warplanes on a mission over Syria from enemy anti-aircraft.
David’s Sling is intended to fill the gap between the Iron Dome and the Arrow by knocking down the type of medium-range missiles of which Lebanon’s Hezbollah is believed to have tens of thousands.
With this multi-tier missile shield in place, Israel’s enemies are unlikely to do much damage to her, but would not survive a serious Israeli counterattack.
And that’s why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned during the ceremony for the David’s Sling:
“Whoever tries to strike us will be hit, those that threaten our existence put themselves in existential danger.”

Government agents in Sudan are telling the Christians who belong to an estimated 25 churches that their buildings are on government land and they are going to be demolished.

Apparently, even if they’re not on the wrong land.
Reports of the escalation of the persecution of Christians in the Muslim-majority country come from the American Center for Law and Justice.

More than a year ago, ACLJ reported when the Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan complex, destroying the compound.
Authorities also bulldozed a Lutheran Church of Sudan building without any warning when local authorities said the church was built on land allocated for business.
And government agents destroyed a 600-worshipper Sudanese Church of Christ to take land for “low-cost housing.”

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