Archive for October 21, 2018

Global financial watchdog warns Iran over sponsoring terrorism 

October 21, 2018

Source: Global financial watchdog warns Iran over sponsoring terrorism – Israel Hayom

 

Anticipating Hezbollah clash, Israel builds barriers, deploys tanks on Lebanon border 

October 21, 2018

Source: Anticipating Hezbollah clash, Israel builds barriers, deploys tanks on Lebanon border – Israel Hayom

 

Off Topic: Russia blasts US withdrawal from nuclear arms deal as ‘dangerous step’ 

October 21, 2018

Source: Russia blasts US withdrawal from nuclear arms deal as ‘dangerous step’ | The Times of Israel

Accusing Moscow of violating the agreement, Trump announced plans to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks over toward US President Donald Trump, as Trump speaks during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks over toward US President Donald Trump, as Trump speaks during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

MOSCOW, Russia — Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, as US President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do, is a dangerous step, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday.

“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.

The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he stressed.

Russia condemned what he called attempts by the US to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail,” he added.

If the US continues to act “clumsily and crudely” and unilaterally back out of international agreements “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures including involving military technology,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency.

“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov at the State Department in Washington, July 17, 2017 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Saturday, Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987 by then-US president Ronald Reagan.

“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” said Trump.

But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump’s accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.

“We don’t just not violate (the treaty), we observe it in the strictest way,” he insisted.

“And we have shown patience while pointing out over the course of many years the flagrant violations of this treaty by the US itself.”

US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.

“We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake,” said Ryabkov.

Earlier a foreign ministry source told Russian news agencies that the US move was connected to its “dream of a unipolar world,” an argument that Ryabkov also advanced.

“Apparently the existence of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty creates problems for establishing a line of total US domination and supremacy in the military sphere,” he said.

 

Off Topic: Trump: US to exit nuclear treaty, citing Russian violations

October 21, 2018

Source: Trump: US to exit nuclear treaty, citing Russian violations

( Gee, the NPC’s of the left  told us Trump was “SOFT” on Russia… – JW )

American president says country will pull out of Cold-War era INF treaty, designed to eliminate short- and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles, due to Moscow’s deployment of ground-launched system in breach of 1988 agreement
President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States will exit the Cold-War era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that eliminated a class of nuclear weapons, in a move that is likely to upset Russia.
The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the US Senate in 1988, required elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.”Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trum told reporters after a rally in Nevada.

President Trump (Photo: AP)

President Trump (Photo: AP)

Washington believes Moscow is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the INF treaty that could allow Moscow to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice. Russia has consistently denied any such violation.

Trump said the United States will develop the weapons unless Russia and China agree to a halt on development.

China is not a party to the treaty and has invested heavily in conventional missiles as part of an anti-access/area denial strategy, while the INF has banned US possession of ground-launched ballistic missiles or cruise missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (311 and 3,418 miles).

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, will visit Moscow next week.

 

The unusual route of the Iranian cargo jets

October 21, 2018

Source: The unusual route of the Iranian cargo jets

Western intelligence sources believe that a Fars Air Qeshm Boeing 747, very active on the Tehran-Damascus route, made an unusual flight to Beirut to deliver advanced weapons systems to Hezbollah, including GPS for precision missiles.
Flight QFZ9975 set off alarm bells for Western intelligence agencies. The Boeing 747 aircraft of the Iranian cargo airline Fars Air Qeshm has been operating for months in the service of arms shipments from Tehran to Syria, but this time it made an unusual stop in Beirut. Fox news reported on Friday that the aircraft delivered GPS components to Hezbollah that would make their unguided rockets into precision-guided missiles.
The 27-year-old plane, under the registration EP-FAB, took off Tuesday morning from Tehran to Damascus as flight QFZ9950 and landed in Syria just before 11am. About two hours later, in a rather unusual change, the plane took off as flight QFZ9975 directly to Beirut airport, where it landed shortly after 2pm.The following day, the plane took off at night from Lebanon to Doha, the capital of Qatar, as flight QFZ9976, where it landed after midnight. On Thursday it made its final journey last week when it flew back as flight QFZ9977 to Tehran.

The plane has worked extensively in the past to transport equipment and weapons from the Revolutionary Guards under civilian guise, mainly to Assad’s army. It entered the Iranian fleet in September 2017 after an extensive service life with companies from Japan, Georgia, Afghanistan, Armenia and Russia.Last month, suspicions surfaced that Iran used the Boeing 747 to deliver advanced weapons to Syria. The reports came in the aftermath of the assault on the Damascus airport, attributed to Israel. This plane was documented at the time when it landed at Damascus International Airport.

Last month, it was also reported that two aircraft belonging to the Iranian airline “carried out unconventional flight routes.” The first flight was by a Boeing 747, which took off on July 9 from a military base in Tehran, made a brief interlude at the Damascus International Airport, and then continued to Beirut International Airport.The second flight took off on August 2 from Tehran and landed in Beirut about two hours before the scheduled landing, in what appeared to be “an unusual route through northern Syria.”

“The Iranians are trying to find new ways to smuggle weapons to their allies in the Middle East,” said an unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence source, adding that “they are exploring the West’s ability to locate and define smuggling.”

According to Fox News, the Iranian airline stopped operations in 2013 due to administrative failures, but became active once more last March. The company’s board of directors includes three representatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Last month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed in his speech at the UN General Assembly that “in Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles. Missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of ten meters.”

 (Photo: IDF Spokesman's Office)

(Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
Netanyahu addressed the Shiite terror organization and said: “Hezbollah is deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields. They’ve placed three of these missile conversion sites along Beirut’s international airport.”

 (Photo: IDF Spokesman's Office)

(Photo: IDF Spokesman’s Office)

Netanyahu presented world leaders with a picture of the airport and said: “Here’s Beirut’s international airport. Here’s the first missile site. It’s in the Uzai neighborhood, on the water’s edge, a few blocks away from the runway. Here’s the second site. It’s underneath a soccer stadium, two blocks away. And here’s the third site. It’s adjacent to the airport itself, right next to it. So I have a message for Hezbollah today: Israel knows, Israel also knows what you’re doing. Israel knows where you’re doing it. And Israel will not let you get away with it.”

The IDF published a record of the Hezbollah sites in the Lebanese capital.

 

Netanyahu calls on Mnuchin to stop Iranian aggression

October 21, 2018

Source: Netanyahu calls on Mnuchin to stop Iranian aggression – International news – Jerusalem Post

“Instead of blocking their path to a nuclear bomb, it actually paved their way to a nuclear arsenal,” Netanyahu said of JCPOA.

BY YVETTE J. DEANE
 OCTOBER 21, 2018 11:14
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, October 21, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed ways to continue to challenge Iranian power in the region with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday.

Netnyahu said the two discussed, “How to stop Iran’s two-pronged aggression: its pursuit of a nuclear arsenal and its pursuit of a conventional arsenal and its plans to takeover the Middle East.”

He also congratulated President Trump’s “courageous step out of the JCPOA,” and hope for increased “pressure on the world’s main terrorist regime, the aggressive regime in Tehran.”

“Instead of blocking their path to a nuclear bomb, it actually paved their way to a nuclear arsenal,” Netanyahu said of JCPOA. “In addition, it gave them hundreds of billions of dollars in cash, credit and investment, enabling them to finance their growing aggression in the region.”

Netanyahu also touted the US and Israeli relationship, saying “The alliance between the United States and Israel under President Trump has never been stronger.”

The two also discussed the local economy in Israel  and American economy, the cooperation between the two.

In response to the a journalist’s question about Khan al-Ahmar, Netanyahu said, “Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, this is a decision of the court, this is our policy, and it will also be implemented … I have no intention of postponing this.”

 

Saudi admission of Khashoggi death leaves turmoil in Riyadh, fallout on Saudi-US relations – DEBKAfile

October 21, 2018

Source: Saudi admission of Khashoggi death leaves turmoil in Riyadh, fallout on Saudi-US relations – DEBKAfile

The Saudis cannot hope to lay to rest the upsets in the royal house and commotion in Washington by their disclosure on Saturday, Oct. 20 that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a fistfight with intelligence agents sent to abduct him. 
Neither will the vibes subside after royal decrees  were issued to sack the crown prince’s associate, Deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Al-Asiri, court adviser Saud Al-Qahtani and three other intelligence officers, or 18 arrests in the ongoing investigation.

President Donald Trump saw this when he said: “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable. It’s a big first step, only a first step.” He also announced he would work with Congress on the response.

There are too many fingers in the pie and open questions for the scandal to die down any time soon. For one, what happened to the body of the dead journalist? The Saudis now report that it was handed to an unnamed “local collaborator.” This mysterious person either got away, was smuggled out of Turkey by Saudi agents or is no longer alive. This may explain the sweep Turkish police have been conducting in the woods near the consulate and other parts of Istanbul.

King Salman’s appointment of a ministerial committee, headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to restructure the country’s General Intelligence agency and issue the results of its work within a month, was intended as a vote of confidence in Prince Mohammed (MbS) who has taken most of the international flak over the Khashoggi mystery. The monarch was clearly trying to put the running of the kingdom back to normal.

Abductions and assassinations by clandestine agencies of traitors, enemies, double agents or regime opponents  are not uncommon in the shady underworld of many nations. But even when they are botched and lead to unplanned deaths of the objects or even their assailants, such cases are rarely admitted by officialdom or reach the public domain. Yet the Khashoggi case hit world headlines, fed day after day by vividly morbid details, from the moment he failed to come out of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, because three parties had an immediate interest in fanning the flames of outrage.

  1. The crown prince’s rivals at home, who saw their chance to topple him. The official announcement on Saturday will not end the infighting in Riyadh, but rather intensify the struggle waged against him for some months by high-ranking princes, army commanders, intelligence agents and rich Saudis.
  2. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan seized the affair with both hands as a vehicle for climbing up to the top of the international and Muslim power ladder in the guise of a seeker after justice and truth.
  3. Donald Trump’s political foes at home, who saw an opening for getting at him through the friendship between his son-in-law Jared Kushner and the Saudi crown prince. In this respect, the president’s decision to send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh and Ankara to get to the bottom of the affair and take the heat off the White House did more harm than good. Trump would have been better served by standing aloof from the scandal. Now he hopes to get rid of the hot potato by his decision to work with Congress on Washington’s response to the embarrassing Saudi crisis.