Archive for August 23, 2018

Turkey Prepares For First Batch Of Russian S-400 Air Defense Missiles

August 23, 2018

Rosoboronexport’s Director General Alexander Mikheev said that the defense company would begin implementing a contract for the supply of its advanced S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey in 2019, the RIA Novosti reported.

By by Tyler Durden Thu, 08/23/2018 Zerohedge

Source Link: Turkey Prepares For First Batch Of Russian S-400 Air Defense Missiles

{I wonder if these systems will respond to another Russian infraction into Turkish air space. – LS}

“The contract [on the S-400 supplies to Turkey] will be implemented within the agreed time limits. In 2019 we will start implementing the contract,” the company’s director general and CEO Aleksandr Mikheev told reporters on Tuesday.

Washington has expressed great concern that NATO member Turkey’s upcoming deployment of the Russian S-400s could pose a serious security risk for U.S.-made weapons used by Turkey, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, a fifth-generation combat aircraft.

Rosoboronexport told Turkey it would switch to the Lira, instead of using the dollar to complete the transaction, the RIA news agency reported.

In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed to expedite the delivery of the missile systems for 2019.

The S-400 system also called the Triumph Mobile Multiple Anti-Aircraft Missile System (AAMS), is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy aircraft, drones, missiles as far as 402 kilometers (250 miles) away. Moscow had previously sold the missile systems to China and India. The Economist described the S-400 in 2017 as “one of the best air-defense systems currently made.”

Ankara’s decision to acquire the missile systems stems from last year after Moscow and Turkey signed a $2.5-billion deal for the transfer of the technology.

Washington immediately threatened to halt delivery of the F-35 stealth jets if Ankara finalized the agreement with Russia. With the recent passage of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (passed by the Senate earlier this month), it warned about the US supplying fifth-generation fighters to Turkey amid declining diplomatic relations.

President Erdogan told Washington that it did not want to depend on Western technology, which is why the country had been turning towards Russia.

“We will not just buy the S-400s and place them in a storehouse. We will use them if need be,” Erdogan said in June.

President Trump’s response was to sign a Pentagon bill into law restricting the delivery of F-35 jets. The bill also called for the US Secretary of Defense to submit a report within three months addressing the impacts of Turkey’s purchase of S-400s on US-made weapon systems in the region.

Both NATO allies have discussed various ways on how to resolve this dispute but it seems that has failed with Turkey migrating towards Russia.

Diplomatic ties between Turkey and the US have plummeted in the last month over the detention of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, which could likely be a front for a much larger issue: Washington wants to destroy the Eurasia integration via economic warfare.

The first victim? Well, of course, it was Turkey, as President Trump launched economic and political sanctions on the country, which collapsed the Turkish Lira against the US dollar.

As to why Turkey is buying the world’s most advanced missile system, well, it is preparing for military conflict.

 

EU agrees 18 million euro development aid for Iran

August 23, 2018

Source: EU agrees 18 million euro development aid for Iran – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The EU is working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with the nuclear agreement if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions.

BY REUTERS
 AUGUST 23, 2018 14:19
IRAN PRESIDENT Hassan Rouhani and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attend a news conference at the

BRUSSELS – The European Union agreed 18 million euros ($20.6 million) in aid for Iran on Thursday, including for the private sector, to help offset the impact of US sanctions and salvage a 2015 deal that saw Tehran limit its nuclear ambitions.

The announcement is part of the bloc’s high-profile efforts to support the nuclear accord that President Donald Trump abandoned in May. It is part of a wider package of 50 million euros earmarked for Iran in the EU budget.

The EU is working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with the nuclear agreement if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions.

The bloc’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement the bloc was committed to cooperation with Iran.

“This new package will widen economic and sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens,” she said.

The bloc will spend 8 million euros on the Islamic Republic’s private sector, including assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises and Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization.

A further 8 million euros will go to environmental projects and 2 million euros to fighting harm caused by drugs. ($1 = 0.8744 euros)

Bolton defends Israeli strikes in Syria against Iranian targets 

August 23, 2018

Source: Bolton defends Israeli strikes in Syria against Iranian targets – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Bolton added that what is central to US policy in Syria is not only to defeat of the Islamic State and the elimination of its territorial caliphate, but also to deal with Iran’s presence.

BY HERB KEINON
 AUGUST 23, 2018 01:06

Israel has struck in Syria in recent months “every time Iran has brought missiles or other threatening weapons” into the country, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday. He added that he viewed those strikes as “a legitimate act of self-defense.”

Bolton’s comments came at a press conference on the final day of a three-day visit here dominated by talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials about Iran and Syria.

Bolton revealed that in discussions he had with Russian President Vladimir Putin three weeks before Putin and US President Donald Trump met in Helsinki, the Russian leader told him that Russian and Iranian interests were not the same in Syria, and that he would be “content to see the Iranian forces all sent back to Iran.”

“It was not a question of where they would be inside Syria,” Bolton said, referring to the current 85-km. buffer zone from the Israeli border, from where Moscow said it has pushed back Iranian forces and Shia militias.

“We were talking about the complete return both of regular and irregular Iranian forces,” Bolton said, adding that Putin said he could not do it himself.

“So the point was that perhaps joint US-Russian efforts might be sufficient. Now I don’t know if that is right either, but it is certainly one of the subjects I will be talking about with my Russian counterpart in Geneva tomorrow.” Bolton is scheduled to meet with Nikolai Patrushev for follow-up talks to the Trump-Putin summit last month.

Saying that Syria is “extraordinarily complicated” because there are so many different actors involved there, Bolton said that what is central to US policy there is not only the defeat of Islamic State and the elimination of its territorial caliphate, but also to deal with Iran’s presence there.

Bolton said that when the Obama administration set out on its anti-Islamic State campaign, it did not foresee “that Iran obviously had a strategic plan to create an arc of control from Iran through the Shia areas in Iraq and Syria, linking them up with Hezbollah in Lebanon. That is not something we want to see.”

Bolton noted that since Trump came to power, the US has acted twice militarily in Syria when Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, and that as Assad gets ready for another offensive campaign in Idlib province, there should be no ambiguity: the US will respond if he uses chemical weapons again.

Regarding Iran, Bolton said that “regime change” there is not America’s policy, but “what we want is massive change in the regime’s behavior.” He said that the premises of the Obama administration’s policy regarding Iran – that if the nuclear issue were solved, Iran would behave like a “normal country” – have proven completely wrong.

Iran’s economy has been mismanaged for years, Bolton said, adding that the 2015 nuclear deal “mitigated the effects of this management of the economy, and gave the regime new life. It gave this regime – which has been the central banker of international terrorism since 1979 – new assets that could be used for its nuclear weapons program, for its ballistic missiles program, for its terrorist support activities, for its conventional military activities.”

Bolton said the lifting of the sanctions under the deal gave the Iranians a feeling that they had a “free hand” in the region. “By bringing the hammer down again and reimposing American sanctions, we have seen a profound negative effect on Iran – I think more significant than we would have predicted.”

Bolton said that what is significant about the demonstrations taking place now in Iran is that they are not organized but, rather, “just regular people saying they are fed up with the government.”

Bolton said that he briefed Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials during his talks here on “the whole range of issues connected to Iran.”

This included US talks with Europeans to encourage them to increase pressure on Iran; efforts to make sure that various countries around the world that have been dependent on Iranian oil have other sources, “so we can drive exports down to zero”; and efforts to enforce the sanctions more stringently – with less waivers – than was done under the Obama administration.

BOLTON, IN an interview with Reuters, said that the Trump administration is not discussing possible US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“I’ve heard the idea being suggested, but there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government,” he said.  “Obviously, we understand the Israeli claim that it has annexed the Golan Heights – we understand their position – but there’s no change in the US position for now.”

Netanyahu asked the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area in February 2017, but has not publicly been actively lobbying over the issue.

In July the House Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing on the matter under the title: “A new horizon in US-Israel relations: From an American embassy in Jerusalem to potential recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
The purpose of the hearing, according to an announcement put out by the subcommittee, was “to discuss the potential for American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in furtherance of US national security interests.”

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly knife attack in France 

August 23, 2018

Source: ISIS claims responsibility for deadly knife attack in France – Israel Hayom

White House sources: US to present limited Mideast plan 

August 23, 2018

Source: White House sources: US to present limited Mideast plan – Israel Hayom

IDF unveils new Merkava IV Barak tank

August 23, 2018

Source: IDF unveils new Merkava IV Barak tank

The new and improved version of the Merkava IV, which will make its debut on the battlefield in 3 years, will be kitted with advanced systems offering extra crew protection, increased strike efficiency.
The Merkava Mark IV tank, currently used by the IDF’s Armored Corps, is undergoing a series of improvements that will be seen on the battlefield in three years in the form of its successor tank—the Merkava Mark IV Barak.
The new tank will include advanced technology systems that are expected to make it more lethal, faster and more secure than the current Merkava Mark-4.
It will also be kitted with an artificial intelligence system that includes a smart task computer to integrate the various tasks being carried out by the tank’s systems.

The mission computer will be responsible for receiving all data from the operational network and tank systems, analyzing the information, and bringing it to the attention of the commander in accordance with the urgency and relevance of the information.

“In this way, the computer will reduce the burden on the crew members, improve the reliability of the system, pinpoint targets and improve the chances of hitting them,” the IDF explained. “The Barak tank will also come with an improved cannon and commander’s gun sight.”

The new tank will also be equipped with a series of sensors and new gear, such as the Iron Vision helmet, which will enable the fighters to maneuver in dense urban areas without removing their heads from the tank and exposing themselves to enemy fire, while enjoying a 360 degree view of their surroundings.

Merkava Mark-4 tanks (Photo: AFP)

Merkava Mark-4 tanks (Photo: AFP)

The internal operational qualities of the tank will also undergo an unprecedented technological facelift. With modern touch screens replacing the chunky switch pads, the work environment inside the tank will be more convenient and simple to operate for a generation unfamiliar with outdated buttons.

With advanced defense capabilities (an improved anti-missile Trophy system) and process automation, the tank will ease the burden on the crew by directing them according to mission urgency.

 (Photo: IDF Spokesmans unit)

(Photo: IDF Spokesmans unit)

In addition to the new tank, the tradtional composition of an armored company will soon be changed with the addage of a tenth tank and an additional commanding officer to each company. Most of the tanks in the corps will be commanded by a commissioned officer.

The IDF noted that “this change allows for a greater impact on the battlefield as well as flexibility in broad operations. This change comes from the understanding that the future battlefield will require having more people with decision making abilities and a broad understanding of the operational environment.”

Meanwhile, senior officers in the Armored Corps said that after last year’s ‘crisis of motivation’ to join the Armored Corps ranks, there has been an improvement among recent recruits who want to serve in tank brigades, owing to public relations efforts.

Tank touch screen (Photo: IDF Spokesmans unit)

Tank touch screen (Photo: IDF Spokesmans unit)

According to army figures, for every available spot in the Armored Corps, there is slightly more than one recruit competing for it. In the March 2018 draft, 83% of new recruits indicated that they wanted to serve in the Armored Corps, while in November 2016 the number was only 54%.

As part of the efforts to increase motivation, potential recruits were told about the many operational activities carried out by the tank units—even during relatively peaceful periods.

Since the beginning of the year, the Armored Corps has hit more than 20 terrorists in the Gaza Strip and destroyed about 30 terrorist infrastructure targets. These actions included the firing of 81 shells, the killing of 12 terrorists and the wounding of ten.