Monday, July 17, 2017

New Rumors Of War Emerging: U.S. Stumbling Into War With Iran, China Holds Live Fire Drills In Tibet, Israel Security Chief Calls For Military Action In Syria

There are signs that a US military operation against Iran is imminent. The administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new «temporary» facilities in Iraq and Syria. Its policy statement says the armed forces are hamstrung by legal restrictions on the ability to expand military infrastructure in Syria and Iraq. The Trump administration wants the existing authorities that only cover the «repair and renovation» of facilities extended to also encompass «temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection».
The added flexibility is supposed to boost the capabilities against the Islamic State (IS) but it does not sound credible. After all, the group is already retreating everywhere and the process is unstoppable. But boosting military infrastructure is the right thing to do if the enemy is a strong military power such as Iran. President Trump appears to have decidedly hardline leanings on that country.
After all, the first Donald Trump’s foreign trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel were specifically targeted at Iran. In Riyadh, the president called for unity against Tehran, singling it out for its support of terrorism. He even hinted at the need for regime change. The US Treasury Department has applied additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program while the administration is mulling of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. The Congress is considering a bill to impose a set of sanctions on Tehran. The CIA has made moves toward more aggressive operations.
Visiting Saudi Arabia in April, US Defense Secretary James Mattis flatly stated: «Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran». The Washington Post reports that active or retired military officials hold at least 10 of the 25 senior policy and leadership spots on Trump's National Security Council — five times more than under the previous administration. Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon and White House official, believes that being limited in their worldview those officials could overestimate their ability to control events and end up provoking more conflict.
President Trump granted US commanders the authority to order attacks in countries with American military presence on January 29 - shortly after taking office. The United States is already involved in places such as Syria and the Persian Gulf where confrontation with Iran is looming. It greatly increases the risk of sparking a conflict.
As the IS - the common enemy – gets weaker, the evolving battlefield in Syria and Iraq is drawing the United States and Iran towards a collision. The British Guardian cites Ilan Goldenberg, a former state and defense official, who said that «the tolerance that Shia Iranian-supported groups and American-supported groups have shown for each other» may disappear as the IS disappears off the map. He believes that with the IS gone «You can see it all going haywire pretty quickly».

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army simulated battle conditions with live rounds in Tibet over the weekend, as Indian and Chinese forces remain at a standoff over the disputed area of Sikkim.

Some 4,000 to 7,000 troops armed with shoulder-launched assault weapons and light arms were filmed striking an “enemy position,” the South China Morning Post reported on Monday. Soldiers practiced mobilizing around a battlefield, coordinating digital attacks and engaging hypothetical enemies on a 5,000 meter plateau, the Post added.
The drills "covering a dozen elements was testimony to the PLA’s combined strike capability," a narrator said on CCTV in China.

Beijing and New Dehli have both accused each other of intrusion in Sikkim, which is roughly where Bhutan, India and Tibet meet. Troops have confronted each other in the area several times since June 16. Bhutan claims that China intruded on Bhutanese soil when it began construction on a new road, a claim India supports, while Beijing argues that it was building on its own territory.

In China’s view the contested area is part of its Donglang region. India calls the land Doka La; Bhutan recognizes and claims the area as Dokalam.

Beijing hoped to show "it could easily overpower its Indian counterparts," analyst Zhou Chenming told the SCMP. The point of projecting power in such a fashion, Zhou says, is to reduce the chances that a larger conflict erupts.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier in July. While they claimed to have spoken about a range of issues, the Sikkim confrontation surely arose, and tensions were said to have decreased following the two leaders’ discussion. Nevertheless, “the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops has several dimensions,” Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Srikanth Kondapalli told Sputnik at the time.

"Although it started with road construction activities by China, it has more strategic ramifications. China is more concerned with growing India-US alliance," Kondapalli noted.

On July 11, the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group joined the Indian and Japanese navies for joint exercises US Navy Cmdr. Rear Adm. William Byrne described as a “strategic message to China.”

One day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his opposition to the Russia-US brokered ceasefire in parts of Syria, the nation’s former National Security Council chief called for Israel to examine military options that would keep Iran and Hezbollah from setting up permanent bases in the country.

"We will not let the Iranians and Hezbollah be the forces that will win the very brutal war in Syria" Yaakov Amidror said Monday, lest they then shift their attention to Israel from camps within the war-torn country just over Israel’s border. 

The Israeli Defense Forces then might have to "intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria," he warned, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"At the end of the day it is our responsibility, not the responsibility of the Americans, or the Russians, to guarantee ourselves," Amidror said. "We will take all measures that are needed for that." 

Amidror stressed that diplomacy shouldn’t be ruled out, but his comments signal the hawkish stance forming in influential Israeli circles. The former security head and fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies still speaks with Netanyahu, the Jerusalem Post noted.

"Israel has always viewed Iran and Hezbollah as the main threat on the northern border – not the salafist terrorists. So, whenever Israel has intervened militarily it has been to fight against this enemy," Max Abrahms of the Council on Foreign Relations told Sputnik on Monday. "Conversely, Israel has taken into their hospitals fighters from the opposition and works with them in a variety of other ways as well, including with some intelligence-sharing."

1 comment:

Scott said...

Lisa - yea, please feel free to do so - I hope you are still reading, I forgot to respond a while back, my apologies, but yes to your question