Mortar or rocket fire once again struck the northern Golan Heights on Sunday afternoon (June 25), for the second time in less than two days.
“A short while ago, several projectiles fired from Syria hit an open area in the northern Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a statement following the attack. “No injuries have been reported,” the IDF said. “The errant projectiles are a result of the internal fighting in Syria.”
"Our policy is clear,” he said. “We do not accept trickles of any kind – no mortar shells, no rockets, no spillover fire – on any front. We respond with force to any hit on our territory or to our citizens.”
A big oil deposit has been found in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, with enough reserves to last Israel for decades, according to the country’s media.
The Israeli presence in the Golan Heights is in dispute. The region is internationally recognized Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab states. UN Resolution 242 (1967) demands the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in the conflict. Israel disagrees with the wording of the resolution, saying the territories are disputable.
Reportedly, the potential production may reach billions of barrels, while Israel consumes 270,000 barrels per day. Israel currently imports up to three quarters of its oil from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, the Financial Times reported in August.
“We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity. On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know,” Israel business website Globes quotes Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas as saying. Afek is a subsidiary of the America’s Genie Energy.
The international mainstream media painted last week's meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as "productive."
Apparently, that description wasn't entirely accurate.
The London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayatinstead called the meeting "tense," and said it ended with a serious rift between the Americans and the Palestinians.
According to Palestinian officials who spoke to the newspaper, Trump is now considering pulling out of the Mideast peace process altogether.
Abbas is said to have been outraged when Kushner entered the room and conveyed Israel's demand that he stop using international financial aid to pay salaries to terrorists sitting in Israeli jails.
Kushner also reportedly insisted that Palestinian officials halt all incitement against Israel, and expressed disappointment that Abbas had failed to condemn last week's deadly terrorist stabbing in Jerusalem, which took the life of a young female Border Police officer.
Al-Hayat wrote that Abbas fired back by accusing Kushner of "taking Israel's side," and was adamant that paying salaries to convicted terrorists was part of his "social responsibility."
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Saturday that US national security is threatened by Iran, which he described as “the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”
“Today, we find it with enormous influence, influence that far outstrips where it was six or seven years ago,” Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview that aired Saturday. “Whether it’s the influence they have over the government in Baghdad, whether it’s the increasing strength of Hezbollah and Lebanon, their work alongside the Houthis in Iran, the Iraqi Shias that are fighting along now the border in Syria — certainly the Shia forces that are engaged in Syria. Iran is everywhere throughout the Middle East.”
He also said North Korea poses a “very real danger” to US national security.
“I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the president asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat. It’s very much at the top of his mind,” Pompeo said, adding that the North Koreans are “ever-closer to having the capacity to hold America at risk with a nuclear weapon.”
Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.
Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.
That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues.
CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi. CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.
A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo. That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from October 2011 through August 2012. More likely it was a multiple of that figure.
The CIA’s covert arms shipments from Libya came to an abrupt halt in September 2012 when Libyan militants attacked and burned the embassy annex in Benghazi that had been used to support the operation. By then, however, a much larger channel for arming anti-government forces was opening up. The CIA put the Saudis in touch with a senior Croatian official who had offered to sell large quantities of arms left over from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. And the CIA helped them shop for weapons from arms dealers and governments in several other former Soviet bloc countries.