Archive for June 20, 2019

PM Netanyahu Comments on Iran

June 20, 2019

0:19 / 0:19 PM Netanyahu Comments on Iran

 

 

Trump after drone downing: Iran made a very big mistake 

June 20, 2019

Source: Trump after drone downing: Iran made a very big mistake – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

“It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the Guards’ website added.

BY REUTERS
 JUNE 20, 2019 17:31
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a news conference following Tuesday's midterm congressional el

DUBAI/WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump condemned Iran’s shootdown on Thursday of a U.S. military surveillance drone in what Washington said was international air space.

“Iran made a very big mistake!” Trump said in a Twitter post.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Iran on Thursday shot down a U.S. military drone it said was on a spy mission over its territory but Washington said the aircraft was targeted in international air space in “an unprovoked attack.”

The incident fanned fears of wider military conflict in the Middle East as Trump pursues a campaign of to isolate Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and role in regional wars.

It was the latest in an escalating series of incidents in the Gulf region, a critical artery for global oil supplies, since mid-May including explosive strikes on six oil tankers as Tehran and Washington have slid towards confrontation.

Iran has denied involvement in any of the attacks, but global jitters about a new Middle East conflagration disrupting oil exports have triggered a jump in crude prices. They surged by more than $3 to above $63 a barrel on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, Washington’s main gulf ally, said Iran had created a grave situation with its “aggressive behavior” and the kingdom was consulting other Gulf Arab states on next steps.

“When you interfere with international shipping it has an impact on the supply of energy, it has an impact on the price of oil which has an impact on the world economy. It essentially affects almost every person on the globe,” Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, told reporters in London.

Tensions flared with Trump’s withdrawal last year from world powers’ 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and have worsened as Washington imposed fresh sanctions to throttle Tehran’s vital oil trade and Iran retaliated earlier this week with a threat to breach limits on its nuclear activities imposed by the deal.

Upping the ante, Washington said on Monday it would deploy about 1,000 more troops, along with Patriot missiles and manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, to the Middle East on top of a 1,500-troop increase announced after the May tanker attacks.

Sepah News, the website of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said the “spy” drone was brought down over the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan, which is on the Gulf.

The semi-official news agency Fars said the Guards used the locally built “3 Khordad” missile system, which Iran had unveiled five years ago, to destroy the drone.A U.S. official said the drone was a U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton and that it had been shot down in international air space over the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a third of the world’s seaborne oil exits the Gulf.

Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command, said Iran’s account that the drone had been flying over Iranian territory was false.

“This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international air space,” Urban said. The drone, he added, was downed over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 2335 GMT – in the early morning hours of local time in the Gulf.

Independent confirmation of the drone’s location when it was brought down was not immediately available.A Revolutionary Guards statement said the drone’s identification transponder had been switched off “in violation of aviation rules and was moving in full secrecy” when it was downed, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned what it called a violation of Iranian air space by the drone and warned of the consequences of such “illegal and provocative” measures.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, warned against any aggression and said the drone’s downing carried a “clear message” to Iran’s arch-enemy.

“Our air space is our red line and Iran has always responded and will continue to respond strongly to any country that violates our air space,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, told Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

The MQ-4C Triton’s manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, says on its website that the Triton can fly for over 24 hours at a time at altitudes higher than 10 miles (16 km), with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles.

It was not immediately known whether the Triton was armed – like drones that have been used by the U.S. military to eliminate al Qaeda militants in Yemen’s conflict.

The Trump administration sought on Wednesday to rally global support for its pressure on Iran by displaying limpet mine fragments it said came from an oil tanker damaged in the June 13 attacks, saying the ordnance looked Iranian in origin.

European diplomats have said more evidence is needed to pinpoint responsibility for the strikes on the tankers.

The U.S. sanctions net draped over Iran, designed to reduce its lifeblood oil exports to zero and sever it from the dollar-dominated global financial system, have wrought severe damage to Iran’s economy.

Trump has sent forces including aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers and troops to the Middle East over the past few weeks. Iran said last week it was responsible for the security of the Strait of Hormuz, calling on American forces to leave the Gulf.

Tehran has also said it will shortly suspend compliance with the nuclear deal’s curbs on its uranium enrichment, meant to block any pathway to nuclear weapons capability, and threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran’s clerical rulers have rejected as “warmongering” allegations by the United States and its regional ally Saudi Arabia that Tehran perpetrated the tanker attacks.

But Trump and Iran’s top authority, Shi’ite Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have both said they have no interest in starting a war.

Heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions have also stoked concerns about increasing bloodshed in countries where Iran and its Gulf Arab regional rivals have long been locked in proxy battles for predominance in the Middle East.

Trump says the 2015 nuclear accord signed by his predecessor Barack Obama did not do enough to curb Iranian interventions in other Middle East affairs or curb its ballistic missile program.

The Islamic Republic says its development of ballistic missiles and its regional activities are defensive in nature.

Tehran said on Monday it would breach uranium enrichment limits in 10 days, but added that European signatories still had time to save the nuclear deal.

Iran has rejected Trump’s call to enter talks covering nuclear, missile and other security disputes unless Washington returns to the 2015 deal that lifted global sanctions on Tehran.

Saudi Arabia has also accused Iran of supplying Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement with missiles and drones used in attacks on Saudi oil pumping stations in May and on a civilian Saudi airport earlier this month.

On Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthis in Yemen said a projectile landed near a desalination plant in the Saudi province of Jizan, after Houthi-run Masirah TV said the group had fired a missile at a power plant there.

 

Oil prices jump 6% after Trump tweet on Iran’s downing of drone

June 20, 2019

Source: Oil prices jump 6%

NEW YORK — Oil prices jump today amid rising US-Iran tensions, with gains accelerating on a cryptic tweet by US President Donald Trump after Iranian forces shot down a US spy drone.

“Iran made a very big mistake!” Trump tweeted in his first public reaction to the strike.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate climbs 6.3 percent to $57.13 a barrel, while Brent futures in London gain 4.7% to $64.69 a barrel.

— AFP

after Trump tweet on Iran’s downing of drone | The Times of Israel

Iran stages snap civil defense drill against air, missile, radiation attacks on Tehran – DEBKAfile

June 20, 2019

Source: Iran stages snap civil defense drill against air, missile, radiation attacks on Tehran – DEBKAfile

Iran on Thursday, June 20, launched a snap civil defense exercise that simulated air and missile strikes on Tehran, as well as a possible nuclear attack. It started without prior notice shortly after the Iranians and Americans reported that a surface-to-air missile had shot down a US Navy MQ-4C Triton.

Local Iranian sources reported that the exercise was staged to test the readiness of Iran’s civil defense systems for what was described as “possible mass bombing” and “radiation exposure events” that would call for the evacuation of civilians and steps for controlling outbreaks of mass panic. The Iranian media did not specify in which parts of Tehran the exercise was staged or its duration.

DEBKAfile’s military sources maintain that it was timed for a peak moment in the rising US-Iranian military tension to instill a sense of national emergency in the street for the purpose of rallying the people around the regime. In this climate, dissidents will dare less than ever to raise their voices, least of all to criticize the path of confrontation with America led by supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to our sources, the civil defense exercise called without warning points to the Iranian leadership’s adamant resolve not just to continue to challenge the US, but to head for further escalation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin added his voice to the war climate building up by warning the United States that military action against Iran would be a “catastrophe for the region at a minimum.” During a televised call-in show on Thursday, Putin added that it would “trigger an escalation of hostilities with unpredictable results.

 

After Four Decades of Coddling, Is It Time for War with Iran? 

June 20, 2019

 

Bill Whittle now….

 

 

 

Israel’s Flotilla 914 – Where I fought in the first Lebanon War

June 20, 2019

 

Also know as “Peace for Galilee,” 1082..

The :Daburs (wasps) PC boats.

 

 

 

Iran’s grand strategy tests U.S. and its allies Yemen, Iraq, Syria 

June 20, 2019

Source: Iran’s grand strategy tests U.S. and its allies Yemen, Iraq, Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The strategy of Iran and its allies is to show they can set the Middle East ablaze if they want. From Lebanon to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gulf of Oman, Iran faces off against the US and its allies.

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 JUNE 19, 2019 23:07
M302 rockets found aboard the Klos C ship are displayed at an Israeli navy base in the Red Sea resor

An air strike hit Tel al-Hara in Syria on June 12. The mountain contained an observation area for the Syrian regime and its allies, including groups linked to Iran.

The next day, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are accused of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Yemen. The incidents were several thousands of kilometers apart, and help us to understand the scale of the battlefield that links Iran and its allies, pitting them against America’s allies.

The alliances in this contest are well known. On the one side are Iran, pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias in Iraq, the Syrian regime, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

On the other are US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The strategy of Iran is not a top-down approach controlling all its proxies. But the Islamic republic certainly encourages its allies in various ways, and likely also encourages them to exercise restraint at other times.

For instance, after the US warned Iran against any attacks in early May, the regime in Tehran appeared to scale back some provocations. But it also attempted other probing attacks.

The US says Iran was “almost certainly” behind the sabotage of four tankers off the coast of the UAE on May 12. A rocket was fired near the US embassy in Baghdad on May 19. The Houthi rebels increased their drone attacks on Abha city and airport in Saudi Arabia.

One must draw the conclusion that there is a strategy, and that Iran has exported technology to its allies. Some of this is well known, such as advances in rocketry by Hamas in the last decade, or the Houthis firing ballistic missiles at Riyadh or Iran saying its missiles can hit US carriers. Iran even showcased its new precision in attacks against dissidents in Koya in Iraq and against ISIS last year in Syria.

Then comes the latest rocket and mortar attacks, for which Iranian-backed groups are a likely the culprit. June 14 mortar attacks at Balad Air base in Iraq. June 17 against Camp Taji in Iraq, where US forces are present. June 18 in Mosul. June 19 against oil facilities near Basra, where ExxonMobil has offices. Of course, all of this is done with plausible deniability. A rocket launcher was “found” in Mosul. No group takes responsibility. It could be ISIS, some say.

But so many attacks on so many places where the US is present?

The strategy of Iran and its allies is to show that they can set the Middle East ablaze, if they want to. From Lebanon to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Gulf of Oman, Iran faces off against the US and its allies.

Writers such as Martin Chulov have called part of this strategic map Iran’s “road to the sea,” a corridor of influence across Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah. But there is also the southern flank that links it with Yemen and the Gulf of Oman and other parts of Iraq.

Iran’s strategy is not like the pre-World War I strategy of the two alliance systems in Europe. It doesn’t need to calculate the exact times to deploy specific units – like the Schlieffen Plan the Germans came up with that saw war like a Mozart composition.

Rather, Iran’s plan is more Beethoven, with all the power and surprises of his symphonies. Tehran’s strategy now is to test the US and its allies on numerous fronts, while Washington says it does not want war – it only wants “maximum pressure” on Iran. However, for many countries, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, a low-level conflict against Iran’s proxies has already been going on for years.