Archive for July 22, 2018

US launches campaign to erode support for Iran’s leaders 

July 22, 2018

Source: US launches campaign to erode support for Iran’s leaders – Israel Hayom

With breakdown of Russian-Israeli “understandings” for S. Syria, Israel will strike Iranian targets 

July 22, 2018

Source: With breakdown of Russian-Israeli “understandings” for S. Syria, Israel will strike Iranian targets – DEBKAfile

 DEBKAfile Exclusive: The US-Russian-Israel formula for South Syria, composed in painstaking discussions for weeks, is not working. This became clear in phone conversations on Friday, July 20, between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Putin and their defense ministers.

The “understandings” they had apparently reached were proving inoperable, including Russia’s guarantees for the non-presence of Iranian militias and Hizballah near Israel’s Golan border.
The breakdown stemmed from an abrupt Russian U-turn. Russian diplomats were suddenly claiming that Moscow never agreed to have Iranian proxies and Hizballah pushed back from the Israel border or out of Syria at large. According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, Netanyahu and Lieberman responded to this discovery by declaring that Israel would now feel free to wipe out any positions or bases those pro-Iranian and Hizballah forces, fighting with Syrian army units, may set up in Daraa and Quneitra. Strikes would also continue as before against those targets in other parts of Syria.

Only two understandings survived the Russian-Israeli leaders’ phone calls on Friday,:

  1. The Russian-IDF military coordination mechanism in Syria would continue to function to avert clashes.
  2. The Russian military would not interfere with Israel military operations in Syria.

Moscow’s abrupt reversion to the status quo ante effectively erased President Donald Trump’s disclosure in Helsinki just four days earlier of a collaborative effort agreed between the US, Russia and Israel at his summit with the Russian leader: He told reporters: “President Putin is also helping Israel. We both spoke to Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”

Netanyahu discovered when he talked to Putin on Friday that the Russian leader has no interest in working together for “the safety of Israel”– certainly not in the way it is understood in Washington and Jerusalem. Their relations on the personal level will likely remain, but security ties at the strategic level will be wound back to their low point of a year ago.

Of Topic: but these are dangerous developments .

July 22, 2018

Even SPD feared “mercenary army”: Von der Leyen wants to recruit for Bundeswehr foreigners

Defense Ministers Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: Imago

After abolition of conscription, the Bundeswehr soldiers suffering from deficiency. Now should possibly foreigners fill the gap, said a spokeswoman for the Defense of the ” Augsburger Allgemeine “. Apparently, the authority of Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) discussed even offer foreign recruits in exchange for entry into force of a German passport. Now there are warnings of a “mercenary army”.

On request of the newspaper, a ministry spokeswoman said: “The armed forces will grow. For this, we need qualified personnel. Therefore, we consider all possible options carefully. ”

The CSU is taken with the idea. Florian Hahn, defense policy spokesman of the CSU group in the Bundestag, said the “Augsburger Allgemeine”: “Under the European free movement modern models could be developed here. However, for every soldier the special relationship of trust must be secured.

The SPD defense expert Karl-Heinz Brunner can imagine According to the newspaper, at least, take EU foreigners in the squad. He also warned: “If citizens of other countries be included, even the promise to get a German passport, the Bundeswehr threatens a kind of mercenary army to be.” For other foreigners, the order must be that they are German citizens first – then German soldier.

In fact stand out from the Leyen ideas contrary to the German soldiers Act, which would have to be broken or changed. The law requires a special relationship of trust between the state and soldier, as his condition does the German nationality of the soldier, the newspaper said. With the exchange of the German passport to entry into the armed forces could now be bypassed. (WS)

Turkey’s Erdogan Will Run Country Singlehandedly, “Dissenters Will Be Fired”: Top Advisor

July 22, 2018

Donald Trump and the Carl Schmitt Spectrum

July 22, 2018

Hamas evened the score and rushed to ask for a truce

July 22, 2018

Source: Hamas evened the score and rushed to ask for a truce

Analysis: Hamas considers the death of an IDF soldier an achievement, giving up on massive rocket fire, leading to the collapse of the ‘fire met with fire’ equation it was trying to instill. The IDF’s massive strikes, the Egyptians’ anger and Hamas’s fear of an IDF incursion into Gaza led the terror group to accept the terms of the truce. But it doesn’t end here.
The quick end to the round of hostilities on Friday was due to the tragic fact that Hamas’s snipers were able to shoot an IDF soldier and kill him. Hamas is doing macabre math, according to which it doesn’t matter how many of its fighters were killed by Israel, so long as it avenges them and responds to their death with fire. Based on this bloody bit of accounting, the death of an Israeli soldier or civilian evens the score.
That is why Hamas’s military wing tried two weeks ago to hurt an IDF officer with a hand grenade thrown at him. The officer was wounded, but to them it was not enough. After IDF aircraft and tanks killed some of their fighters last week, Hamas terrorists fired at an IDF soldier and killed him this week. To them, that is enough, and that is why they could do without rocket and mortar fire this time. Hamas settled for three rockets that caused no damage, and then rushed to ask for a ceasefire from the Egyptians and the UN envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov.It’s important to note, though, that the sniper fire that killed the Israeli soldier was likely carried out by a group within Hamas’s military wing that did not coordinate it with the more moderate elements in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades or with the political leadership. That is why Ismail Haniyeh was right by the border fence not long before the incident, and that is also why some of the Hamas positions along the border fence were manned at the time. This indicates not all members of the terror organization and its inner factions were aware of the intention to target Israeli soldiers with live fire.

IDF attacks in Gaza (Photo: AFP)

IDF attacks in Gaza (Photo: AFP)

But not all factions, including Hamas’s political leadership, considered the death of an IDF soldier to be an achievement that would allow them to ask for a quick ceasefire without humiliation. Still, Hamas had at least two other considerable reasons to ask for a ceasefire. One, the IDF attacks on Friday were the biggest since Operation Protective Edge, and destroyed three battalion command headquarters, which joined another one destroyed in an Israeli bombing two weeks ago. The damage to the military infrastructure—including the weapons Hamas had planned to use to surprise Israel in the next big round of fighting—alongside the loss of lives Hamas suffered, must have been too hard to bear. The terror group must have also been worried that if Israel continued with these strikes, it could stand to lose a considerable part of its military infrastructure.

The second reason that led Hamas to seek a quick ceasefire is the real fear of both Hamas’s political and military wings of an IDF incursion into Gaza as part of a large-scale military campaign. Hamas believes that Israel is serious in its intentions to overthrow its regime if the IDF enters the strip for another big operation. This is something Hamas wants to prevent at all costs, and this is the strategic reason to its rush to reach a ceasefire. Hamas prefers to leave the negotiating table with at least one card up its sleeve, rather than lose all of its cards in a single round of fighting.

Destruction to Hamas battalion headquarters in Israeli strike (Photo: IDF Spokesman's Office)

Destruction to Hamas battalion headquarters in Israeli strike (Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Office)

Furthermore, the sniper fire and the ongoing arson terrorism greatly angered both the Egyptians and Mladenov, and they were the ones to contact Hamas, accusing the terror group of deceiving them. Hamas realized it had gone too far, and agreed to the terms of the ceasefire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accepted the recommendation of the IDF to stop the strikes for two main reasons. One, because the IDF’s bombings on Friday were able to cause great damage to Hamas’s military infrastructure. Furthermore, despite the fatalities it suffered in these strikes, Hamas hardly retaliated with fire and was quick to ask for a ceasefire.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Lieberman and IDF Chief Eisenkot hold situation assessment at the Kirya IDF headquarters (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Lieberman and IDF Chief Eisenkot hold situation assessment at the Kirya IDF headquarters (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

This means that the “equation of terror” Hamas has been trying to implement on the ground no longer exists. Israel attacked relentlessly, and there was only one Code Red siren on the Gaza border. Therefore, Hamas has stopped acting based on the principle of fire being met with fire.

The restraint recently shown by Israel and the IDF was perceived on the other side as weakness and caused partial erosion of the IDF’s deterrence. Friday’s strikes appeared to have at least partially restored the lost deterrence.

Another reason that led Israel to agree to a ceasefire as soon as Hamas proposed it was the terror group’s commitment to Egypt to stop the arson terrorism and the terrorism on the border fence. According to a senior diplomatic official, Egypt will guarantee that Hamas keeps its word. And so far, it appears Hamas is indeed trying to stop the incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza.

Hamas committed to stop the arson terrorism (Photo: Zohar Shafek)

Hamas committed to stop the arson terrorism (Photo: Zohar Shafek)

No rockets were fired Saturday, and there are signs we’re heading towards a temporary truce. However, on the long term, the story is not yet over. The basic situation in the Gaza Strip, and the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, remains the same.

The Egyptians and Mladenov may be able to mediate ceasefires, but they are unable to uproot the reasons behind the escalations that erupt from time to time. This is why the residents of southern Israel will continue living under threat, and the residents of Gaza will continue drinking dirty water and getting four hours of electricity a day. And we all know what comes next.

How Russia wangled Israel into phony Gaza “ceasefire,” and acceptance of Iranian/Hizballah in the north 

July 22, 2018

Source: How Russia wangled Israel into phony Gaza “ceasefire,” and acceptance of Iranian/Hizballah in the north – DEBKAfile

On Friday afternoon, Netanyahu talked by phone to President Vladimir Putin. The subject of their conversation was not revealed. However, the prime minister’s office issued a statement affirming that he would continue to act against the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria.

Lieberman was meanwhile on the phone to his Russian counterpart, Gen. Sergei Shoigu, following which Ambassador Alexander Shein in Tel Aviv announced that he was confirming as authentic the reports of an Russian-Israel accord to ensure the withdrawal of Iranian and Hizballah forces from Israel’s border.

After that verbal round came a spate of Russian backtracks. Ambassador to Baghdad Maksim Maksimov stated that Iranian forces would not quit Syria because, like the Russian army, they were there legitimately at the invitation of the Damascus government. He stressed that so long as Russian troops remained in Syria, so too would Iranian forces. Russian ambassador to Damascus Alexander Kimshchank came forward on Thursday to assert: “There are no pro-Iranian armed units in the south of Syria,” adding, “This issue has already been settled.”

Russia diplomats caught in a web of self-contradiction are less of a problem than the arrival of Hizballah and Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers to points just 2-3km from Israel’s Golan border. Their presence catches the Netanyahu government in contradiction of its frequent vows to prevent any Iranian or pro-Iranian forces from getting established in Syria, least of all on Israel’s border.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that because Tehran has escaped scot-free in Syria, Israel found its hands tied on the Gaza front against Hamas. On Friday, Netanyahu and Lieberman decided to accept Putin’s guarantees to keep Iranian forces at a distance from Israel’s borders – despite his repeated default on former guarantees. But no more than five hours elapsed before Hamas turned the Gaza flame high with a deadly cross-border attack on Israel border forces.

For the first time in more than three months of explosive balloon and flaming kite attacks and violent border assaults, Hamas surprised Israel by deploying trained marksmen against Israeli troops and killing one soldier.  The furious IDF tank and air force reprisal on 8 Hamas outposts killed 4 Palestinians and injured more than 100.
While getting set for the next round of a wide-ranging IDF counter-terror offensive in Gaza, the diplomatic wheels began turning. Egyptian General Intelligence Director Gen. Kemal Abbas and the UN Middle East envoy, Nikolai Maldanov were enlisted to the effort.

The Israeli public were told (a) that Israel fighter jets had conducted three large-scale sorties against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip Friday evening, as the prologue for a major ground operation, and (b) that Israel had asked Egypt to broker a ceasefire.

In fact, the Israeli jets dropped no more than 6 missiles on each Hamas command center attacked. Although they were said to have been flattened, they were damaged but remained standing.
After a quiet night on the Gaza front, Hamas offered Israel a dose of reality. On Saturday morning the terrorist group’s spokesmen commented that the ceasefire was very fragile and liable to break down at any moment. Furthermore, in none of the negotiations were the balloon-cum-kite offensive or the Palestinian border riots addressed and would therefore continue. Hamas had achieved exactly what it sought: the freedom to carry on as before, call the shots on when to goad the IDF into reprisals and to calibrate the level of escalation centering on the Gaza Strip.

After witnessing Israel’s handling of security threats on those two fronts, Hamas, Iran and Hizballah will feel free to continue to erode the IDF’s deterrence and self-confidence, while landing a fresh blow or setback on Israel’s head whenever they choose. Netanyahu-Putin phone calls will not change this skewed symmetry.