Posted February 22, 2019 by Peter Hofman
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Published on Feb 21, 2019

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Nusantara Satu satellite, the Beresheet lunar spacecraft and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 22 February 2019, at 01:45 UTC (21 February, 20:45 EST). Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage (Block 5 B1048) landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the Iridium-7 mission in July 2018 and the SAOCOM 1A mission in October 2018. Credit: SpaceX #Falcon9 #NusantaraSatu #Beresheet #Falcon9landing

Technical and Ideological Details on Israel’s Moon Mission 

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

 

 

Hezbollah hits back at US criticism of its role in Lebanon 

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
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Source: Hezbollah hits back at US criticism of its role in Lebanon – Israel Hayom

U.S. stance “violates national sovereignty and ignores a legitimate right in international law … to self-defense and to resist every threat and aggression,” and was biased toward the “terrorist entity” Israel, Hezbollah lawmakers say.

// published on 22/02/2019
   
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 


Hezbollah hit back against U.S. condemnation of its role in Lebanon on Thursday, calling it a “violation of sovereignty,” after the United States expressed concern over the organization’s expanding influence.

After meeting Lebanon’s prime minister on Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador said the United States was worried about Hezbollah’s “growing role” in the Lebanese cabinet. The Iran-backed Shiite group is listed as a terrorist organization by Washington.

“The negative American position on Hezbollah, and which American ambassadors are eager to repeat after meeting any official in Lebanon, is rejected and condemned,” Hezbollah’s lawmakers said in a statement.

They said the U.S. stance “violates national sovereignty and ignores a legitimate right in international law – the right to self-defense and to resist every threat and aggression,” and was biased toward “the terrorist entity” – a reference to Israel.

Hezbollah controls three of the 30 ministries in Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s new cabinet, the largest number it has ever held. They include the Health Ministry, which has the fourth-largest budget in the Lebanese government.

 

Iran’s Soleimani warns Saudis after deadly attack in southeast region 

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Iran’s Soleimani warns Saudis after deadly attack in southeast region – Israel Hayom

“Saudi Arabia is building its regional influence with money only. This is a false influence and a failure. … We will take revenge for our martyrs … [and] it might be anywhere around the world,” says Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 22/02/2019
   
Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani 


The commander of the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards threatened Saudi Arabia with revenge over a suicide bomb attack in southeastern Iran on Feb. 13 that killed 27 Guards members, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Thursday.

“Saudi Arabia is building its regional influence with money only. This is a false influence and a failure. … We will take revenge for our martyrs … [and] it might be anywhere around the world,” Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani said.

The Islamic republic has accused arch regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of backing militants who carry out attacks on security forces in Iran. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have denied any connection with the attacks.

The Sunni Muslim militant group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which says it seeks greater rights and better living conditions for ethnic minority Baluchis in Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack near the border with Pakistan.

Iran’s Shiite Muslim authorities say militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and have repeatedly called on the neighboring country to crack down on them.

“I am warning you: Don’t test Iran’s tolerance,” Soleimani said in the latest in a series of warnings issued by Iranian officials since the attack was carried out.

Iran’s navy, meanwhile, said on Thursday it will hold an annual drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as pressure mounts on the country months after the United States reimposed economic sanctions targeting its vital oil sector.

The strait is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies, with about a third of all oil traded at sea passing through it.

Iranian Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told state TV that the three-day maneuvers will start on Friday and extend as far as the Sea of Oman and the fringes of the Indian Ocean.

He said submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes will participate in the drill, dubbed “Velayat-97.” The exercise will include missile launches from the vessels.

Iran regularly holds maneuvers in the strait.

 

US to leave ‘peacekeeping group’ of 200 troops in Syria after withdrawal of Israel

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: US to leave ‘peacekeeping group’ of 200 troops in Syria after withdrawal | The Times of Israel

White House says soldiers will remain ‘for a period of time,’ as Washington tries to convince European allies to maintain a military presence in war-torn country after pullout

This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 frame grab from video shows US forces patrol on the outskirts of the Syrian town, Manbij, a flashpoint between Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters and US-backed Kurdish fighters, in al-Asaliyah village, Aleppo province, Syria. (Arab 24 network, via AP, File)

This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 frame grab from video shows US forces patrol on the outskirts of the Syrian town, Manbij, a flashpoint between Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters and US-backed Kurdish fighters, in al-Asaliyah village, Aleppo province, Syria. (Arab 24 network, via AP, File)

The US military will keep around 200 troops in Syria after US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the war-torn country, the White House said Thursday.

“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said.

The announcement comes amid fierce criticism of Trump’s decision to withdraw America’s 2,000 or so troops from Syria by April 30, with members of his own Republican Party blasting the move.

In December, Trump declared victory over the Islamic State group in Syria, even though thousands of jihadists remain and fighting continues around their last holdout.

Civilians fleeing the Islamic State’s group embattled holdout of Baghouz walk in a field on February 13, 2019. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

Critics have decried a number of possible outcomes from a precipitous withdrawal, including a Turkish attack on US-backed Kurdish forces and a resurgence of IS.

Israel has repeatedly warned in recent years that Iran is seeking to establish a military presence in Syria, where it is fighting alongside its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah and Russia to restore the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Israeli officials have also warned that America’s absence would open the door for Tehran to create a so-called “land bridge” from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, into Lebanon and to the Mediterranean Sea.

Over the last several years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to Iran.

In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 file photo, relatives and comrades pray as they surround the Hezbollah flag-draped coffins of Shiite fighters who were killed in Syria, during a rally to mark the 13th day of the Shiite mourning period of Muharram, in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Sanders did not provide additional details, but the troops’ “peacekeeping” designation could pave the way for European allies to commit forces for such a mission.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan visited Europe last week where he attempted to convince allies to maintain a troop presence in Syria after the US pulls out.

In this file photo taken on January 1, 2019 acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrives for his first day in his new job at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

But he struggled to persuade other countries why they should risk their forces with America gone.

Trump earlier Thursday spoke with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and the two men discussed Syria, according to a White House summary.

“The two presidents agreed to continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone” in Syria, the readout said.

At the height of its rule, IS imposed its brutal ideology on a territory roughly the size of the United Kingdom, attracting thousands of supporters from abroad.

US President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, February 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

But the jihadists have since lost almost all their territory save for a tiny sliver of around half a square kilometer (a fifth of a square mile) in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are working towards evacuating civilians remaining in the holdout, so they can polish off the dying IS “caliphate” whether through an assault or a surrender deal.

Syria’s Kurds have long demanded the repatriation of foreigners accused of belonging to IS in their custody, but their home countries have been reluctant.

 

Israel successfully launches its first Moonshot – DEBKAfile

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Israel successfully launches its first Moonshot – DEBKAfile

Israel’s Beresheet robot was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida early Friday, Feb. 22 at 3:45 local time. All the systems were working 40 minutes later and beaming signals to Israeli Aerospace headquarters.

The probe is due to land on the moon on April 11. Israel is the fourth nation to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon, the first to launch a mostly privately-funded venture with around $100m raised by the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL. After traveling for two months, the spacecraft is due to touch down on the moon and plant an Israeli flag. In addition to scientific instruments, the Genesis probe carries a copy of the Bible on a small metal disc.

Only US, Russian and Chinese government space agencies have previously managed soft touchdowns. If the 1.5m-high, 585kg Beresheet craft can get down safely, it will take photos to send back to Earth and conduct some magnetic investigations. The targeted landing site is in a northern-hemisphere lava plain called Mare Serenitatis, where magnetic anomalies are known to exist. Prof Oded Aharonson, of the Weizmann Institute, leads Beresheet’s science team.

The spacecraft will survive for only about two days before running out of power. However, a laser retroreflector, a mirroring device that requires no power and can be used for space-to-ground communications via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN). NASA contributed the device to this mission as part of an agreement with SpaceIL that would allow the startup company to utilize the DSN for its moon mission.

Space X Falcon 9 Rocket Launching SpaceIL Beresheet Moonlander And Two Satellites – YouTube

Posted February 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized