Archive for June 19, 2018

THE WAR THAT CHANGED THE MIDDLE EAST

June 19, 2018

And gave Israel a bargaining chip for peace.

By Joseph Puder June 19, 2018 Via Front Page Mag

Source Link: THE WAR THAT CHANGED THE MIDDLE EAST

{A lasting victory for a lasting peace. – LS}

Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the June, 1967 Six Day War.  It was a war I took part in as a young airman in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  For many Israelis, the Six Day War was a God given miracle, and a deliverance against immense odds.  The national anxiety that preceded the War was marked by the Israeli government stockpiling coffins and rabbis consecrating parks as emergency cemeteries. The triumph of Israeli arms over the combined Arab forces was a sweet and exhilarating moment in history.  Moreover, the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Western Wall was a most moving event.

The War was not of Israel’s choosing.  Egypt’s dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser sought to avenge the humiliation of the 1948 Egyptian defeat. Having received massive amount of arms from the Soviet Union, and financial aid to boot, he was confident of victory.  In 1948, Nasser was deputy commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary forces that secured the Falluja pocket.  In August, 1948, his brigade was surrounded by the Israeli forces.  Appeals for help from Jordan’s Arab Legion went unheeded. The brigade refused to surrender, however, negotiations between Israel and Egypt resulted in the ceding of the Falluja Pocket to Israel.

Some historians believe that Nasser did not want to engage in a war with Israel, principally because his army was bogged down in Yemen. Nasser however, managed to escalate his rhetoric and actions. On May 13, 1967, the Soviet Union delivered a warning to Cairo that Israel was amassing troops on the border with Syria and would attack within a week.  Twenty-four hours following the Soviet alert, Egypt’s Supreme commander Abdul Hakim Amer ordered the Egyptian army to be on full alert for war.

Forty-eight hours later, Nasser ordered the UN peacekeepers stationed in the Sinai to get out.  The UN peacekeepers had patrolled the border area between Egypt and Israel since 1957, following the Sinai Campaign in which Israel captured the Sinai only to return it to Egypt under American pressure, but with guarantees that Israel would have freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran.  The departing UN peacekeepers were replaced by Egyptian soldiers Nasser dispatched to the Sinai border with Israel.

Nasser’s belligerency stepped up a notch higher when he announced Egypt’s blockade of the port of Eilat by shutting the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.  That in itself was an act of war.  Western powers, including the U.S., did nothing to reverse Nasser’s actions despite guarantees given to Israel.  On May 16, 1967, Nasser sent a message to the UN Emergency Force commander stationed in Gaza, stating, “I gave my instructions to all United Arab Republic (the name remained even after the Egyptian-Syrian merger dissolved) forces to be ready for action against Israel the moment it might carry out any aggressive action against any Arab country. Due to these instructions our troops are already concentrated in Sinai on our Eastern border.  For the sake of complete security of all UN troops, I request that you issue your orders to withdraw all troops immediately.”

Using the “Voice of the Arabs” (Sawt al-Arab) radio broadcast to whip up the Egyptian masses and the fawning Arab masses throughout the Middle East, Nasser, through this mouthpiece announced on May 18, 1967, “The Zionist barrack in Palestine is about to collapse and be destroyed. Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living for the past nineteen years on one hope – to live to see the day Israel is liquidated. There is no life, no peace, nor hope for the gangs of Zionism to remain in the occupied land.  As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel.  The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of the Zionist existence.”

On May 20th, 1967, Syria’s Defense minister and later President Hafez Assad declared: “Our forces are now entirely ready, not only to repulse aggression, but to initiate the act ourselves and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland of Palestine. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united. I believe that time has come to begin a battle of annihilation.”  Not to be undone, Iraq’s President, Abdul Rahman Arif chimed in, declaring on May 31st, 1967, “Our goal is to wipe Israel off the map.”

In the meantime, Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol made a disastrous broadcast to the anxious nation on May 28, 1967. He stammered and fluffed, which compounded insecurity in the nation.  As a result, he was compelled to vacate the Defense Ministry portfolio he held.  Moshe Dayan became the Defense Minister, which raised the national morale.  The young “sabra” (native born Israelis) generals now got the green light to mobilize the reserves.  On June 1, 1967, Israel formed a National Unity Government that included Menachem Begin, and on June 4, 1967, the cabinet made the decision to go to war.

The balance of forces gave the Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq) total advantage.  According to U.S. Major John W. Dorough, the Arabs had more than four times the advantage in artillery pieces; 203 for Israel against 962 for the Arabs. The Arabs had more than three times more SAM missiles; 160 versus only 50 for Israel.  In manpower, tanks and combat aircraft, Dorough’s estimates were 210,000 Israeli troops vs. 309,000 for the Arabs (not including Iraq’s Third Armored Division with another 15,000-20,000 troops), 1,000 Israeli tanks vs. 2,337 tanks for the Arabs, and more than twice the aircraft, 286 for Israel vs. 682 for the Arabs.

At this reporter’s airbase, all leaves were canceled, and feverish work ensued to prepare every aircraft for combat.  During the night of June 4th, the Jordanians, under Egyptian command, shelled our base.  The next morning, on June 5th, war broke out.  At noon, our base commander announced with great emotion that “as of this moment the Arab Air Forces ceased to exist.” By the end of the week, Israel was in control of the Sinai, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.  A week later, our squadron toured the Old City of Jerusalem, the Wall, and Hebron.  We didn’t arrive as conquerors, but rather as liberators. We returned to our most cherished historical and religious roots.

The Six Day War changed the map of the Middle East. It gave Israel more secure borders and lent the Jewish state an aura of invincibility (at least until the 1973 Yom Kippur War in which Israel triumphed albeit at a high cost).  Most importantly however, it provided Israel with a bargaining chip for peace.  Israel was ready to return the Sinai to Egypt for peace, and 10 years later President Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem, thus stunning the world and Israelis in particular.  In 1979, at Camp David, a peace treaty was signed between Egypt, the largest and most important Arab state, and Israel.  Jordan followed Egypt in 1994.  Minor border adjustments were made to satisfy the Jordanians, and to date, a solid peace has endured.  Israel still controls defensible and natural borders along the Jordan River and the Golan Heights.

Perhaps the most profound change in the Middle East has been the realization by the moderate Sunni-Arab states that Israel will not be defeated militarily, and that it is a permanent fixture in the region.  In fact geo-politically, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states no longer see Israel as a threat but as an ally against a hegemonic Iran.  The Six Day war was the catalyst in that change.

 

US official: Israel conducted air strike near Abu Kamal. DEBKAfile: Pro-Iranian Iraqi militia targeted 

June 19, 2018

Source: US official: Israel conducted air strike near Abu Kamal. DEBKAfile: Pro-Iranian Iraqi militia targeted – DEBKAfile

A US official disclosed that the airstrike on Sunday, June 18, which killed dozens of fighters near the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Abu Kamal, was conducted by Israel.
Syrians sources reported that between 40 and 50 Syrian army and Shiite Iraqi militia fighters were killed.  DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources disclose that the Israeli air strike, if the US official’s account is confirmed, was a major operation for stemming the influx of several brigades of the pro-Iranian Iraqi Kata’ib Hizballah militia as they crossed into Syria from Iraq. This militia is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) umbrella organization, which takes its orders from Iran’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Our sources add that the Kata’ib Hizballah brigades were on their way to southwestern Syria to deploy along the Israeli and Jordanian borders. The air strike caused major havoc in their ranks and a larger number of casualties than reported. As a result, the Iraqi brigades withdrew from Syria and pulled back across the border to Iraq.

Iraq denounces mysterious Syria airstrike attributed to Israel

June 19, 2018

Source: Iraq denounces mysterious Syria airstrike attributed to Israel | The Times of Israel

Iraqi military denies positioning Iran-backed fighters in Syrian territory after paramilitary group says 22 of its members among the dead

Iraqi forces, supported by members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization units), advance in the western desert in the northern Iraqi region of al-Hadar, 105 kilometers south of Mosul, on November 23, 2017, as they attempt to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters (AFP/Stringer)

Iraqi forces, supported by members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization units), advance in the western desert in the northern Iraqi region of al-Hadar, 105 kilometers south of Mosul, on November 23, 2017, as they attempt to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters (AFP/Stringer)

Iraq on Tuesday denounced an airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel in which over 50 pro-regime fighters, including some 20 members of an Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group, were killed.

The Iraqi foreign ministry said it “expresses rejection and condemnation of any air operations targeting forces in areas where they are fighting ISIS, whether in Iraq or Syria or any other area where there is a battlefield against this enemy that threatens humanity,” according to the Reuters news agency.

The ministry also called for countries to work together against “extremist groups.”

The bombing raid hit Al-Hari, a town near the Iraqi border controlled by regional militias fighting in Syria’s seven-year war alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Both Syrian authorities and Iraqi forces pointed the finger at the US-led coalition, which denied it was involved in Sunday night’s attack.

“We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike,” a US official told AFP on condition of anonymity on Monday.

Illustrative: A masked fighter of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) paramilitaries poses for a picture carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle by defensive positions on the outskirts of Tal Afar west of Mosul, on February 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

Israel declined to comment, but a strike so far from its border would veer from most other raids in Syria that are attributed to Israel, which have largely taken place closer to Syria’s borders with Israel and Lebanon.

The target, apparently Shiite Iraqi militia fighters loyal to Assad, would also mark a shift for Israel, which has previously only carried out airstrikes against Iran’s forces and its proxies, according to reports.

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel was “taking action — against efforts to establish a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”

Sunday’s raid slammed into a regime-controlled position in the border town and left at least 52 fighters dead, according to a Britain-based monitor.

Among them were fighters from Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi military alliance, some of whom have crossed into Syria to fight against IS.

The Iran-backed Hashed claimed that “US planes fired two guided missiles at a fixed position of Hashed al-Shaabi units on the border with Syria, killing 22 fighters and wounding 12.”

The bodies of three Iraqi fighters killed in the raid were returned to their hometowns for burial, said AFP’s correspondent in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of 30 Iraqi forces were among the dead in Al-Hari, as well as 16 Syrian forces and six unidentified fighters.

Hashed said its fighters had been deployed along the porous frontier with Syria on the orders of the Iraqi authorities.

However, late Monday the Iraqi military command denied it had positioned forces in Syrian territory, implying the dead fighters had acted without its consent.

Regretting the deaths, the command said it had been assured by the coalition that it was not responsible for the strikes.

Hashed is vital to the fight against IS in Iraq, but has also battled the jihadists across the border in their eastern Syria bastions.

BUSTED: Former Israeli Energy Minister Caught Spying for Iran

June 19, 2018

By by Jacob Wohl June 18, 2018 Via Gateway Pundit

Source Link: BUSTED: Former Israeli Energy Minister Caught Spying for Iran

{I’m sure the leftists are calling this political. – LS}

Gonen Segev has long been known as a Israeli public servant who went astray of the law. Following a stent as a military pilot in the Israeli Airforce in the 1970’s, Zegev became a doctor before being elected to the Knesset in 1992 as part of the now defunct Tzomet Party. In April 2004, after leaving Israeli politics to focus on his business career, Segev was arrested for attempting to smuggle tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv, disguised and M&M’s. On Monday, Israel’s elite counter-intelligence force, Shin Bet, arrested Segev for spying on behalf of Iran.

As the Jerusalem Post first reported, the indictment for suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war was entered against Segev in the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office on June 15. After being first entered under seal, the indictment was approved by the Attorney General and State Attorney almost immediately. The indictment alleges that Segev provided sensitive and classified information related to Israel’s energy infrastructure to his Iranian handlers.

According to the Shin Bet investigation, Israeli authorities first became suspicious of Gonen Segev in 2012 when he made an unusual visit to the Iranian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. According to Israeli intelligence officials, Segev knew the people who invited him to the embassy to be Iranian intelligence operatives. On the dimly lit Udi Street Embassy, Segev’s initial meeting with his new Iranian handlers lasted late into the night. Due to the suspicious nature of his meeting, Shin Bet immediately started a case file and sought the resources of Israel’s signal intelligence specialists in Unit 8200.

In hotels, bars and sporting events in the 5 years following his initial 2012 meeting, Segev passed information to his Iranian handlers. Segev maintained his ties to unwitting members of Israel’s security and energy apparatus, and used them as sources for the information he eventually passed to Iran.

Gonen Segev’s attorneys Eli Zohar and Moshe Mazor said in a statement: “Most of the details are confidential at the request of the state. Even at this early stage, it is possible to say that the publication that was permitted makes things even more difficult, even though from the indictment, whose full details remain confidential, a different picture emerges.”

Segev requested a pardon from Israeli Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman in 2016, so that he could return to Israel to again work as a medical doctor for the first time since being convicted of smuggling MDMA pills into Israel. At this point, Segev’s concern will no longer be getting into Israel. Israeli legal and national security experts say Segev is unlikely to leave the country ever again.