Posted tagged ‘Russia – Israel’

Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders

November 3, 2017

Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders, DEBKAfile, November 3, 2017

[Russia’s] three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.

The Russian system appears to lack the capacity to differentiate between the Israeli planes when they drop bombs or missiles or identity the types of ordinance used – both of which are essential data for determining which air defense systems are best suited to activate in response.

DEBKA’s military sources add: This may not be the only flaw in Russia’s air defenses; the Israeli Air Force may also be exploiting others. At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. If that is the case, Israel had better be prepared for them to change their minds at some point and use all the resources to put a stop to Israeli aerial incursions.

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In the last fortnight, missiles fired by Syria’s Russian-made air defense systems twice missed hitting Israeli air force planes – the first time on Oct. 16, when Israeli planes flew over Lebanon, and the second time on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when Israeli jets were reported to have struck Syrian military targets near Homs.

These incidents gave Western and Russian military experts their first glimpse of some of the aerial tactics employed by Israel, and also some of the operational flaws inherent in the Russian-Syrian air defense network spread out across Syria.

That network works on the “air defense bubbles” method, which is called in professional parlance “anti-access/area-denial-A2/AD exclusion zones.”  It is composed of anti-air missiles systems designed to hit flying objects at a wide range of altitudes and distances, and is supported by two tiers of ground-to-ground and shore-to-sea missiles. The entire set-up is backed by ship-to-air missiles installed on Russian warships cruising nearby.

The “bubble” is equipped with long-range surveillance radar, which gathers data and beams it to the stationary or mobile command center, which then selects the appropriate missile battery for downing or intercepting hostile aircraft or missiles. Available too is “engagement radar,” which guides the missile on its way to target.

A variety of advanced Russian air defense systems have been installed in Syria. Among them are the Pantsir-S1 or Buk-M2E, the S-400, S-300 and S-200. Integrated in the bubble of advanced weapons are 6 Syrian battalions which include ageing Russian-made SA-2 and SA-5.

The Russians operate the network from an air defense command at their air base at Khmeimim in Latakia, together with the joint command they have set up with Syria.

Russian sources claim that the Israeli Air Force, for its Oct. 16 flight in Lebanese skies, lofted different types of fighter-bombers, including the new F-35 stealth plane and a number of F-16 and F-15 jets. After a Syrian SA-5 battery east of Damascus shot missiles at those planes and missed, Israel conducted a separate air raid to destroy the battery. Western experts say the Russians are not certain whether they used cruise missiles or GPS-guided bombs. The Russians say their command center heard of the Israeli air strike after it had started, too late to activate an anti-air missile.

What the Russian argument reveals is that its three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.

The Russian and Syrian systems were unified under a joint command after a massive US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on Syria’s air base at Shayrat on April 7. In the ensuing seven months, the unified command has discovered its inability to strike back at hostile aircraft flying just beyond Syrian airspace, which release their ordnance without warning.

The Russian system appears to lack the capacity to differentiate between the Israeli planes when they drop bombs or missiles or identity the types of ordinance used – both of which are essential data for determining which air defense systems are best suited to activate in response.

DEBKA’s military sources add: This may not be the only flaw in Russia’s air defenses; the Israeli Air Force may also be exploiting others. At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. If that is the case, Israel had better be prepared for them to change their minds at some point and use all the resources to put a stop to Israeli aerial incursions.

 

Palestinian ‘Reconciliation’: Jihad is Calling!

September 25, 2017

Palestinian ‘Reconciliation’: Jihad is Calling! Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, September 25, 2017

(To what extent does the “international community” agree with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that Israel must be destroyed? — DM)

Hamas insists on maintaining its terror and military capabilities in preparation for war against Israel.

At the risk of overwhelming the international community with troubling facts, here is a final one: Hamas aims to use the agreement with the Palestinian Authority as a smokescreen for concealing its true goal: the destruction of Israel.

Here is how it works: Hamas is telling Abbas, “You continue to pretend as if you want to talk peace with the Jews, while we prepare for war.”

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Leaders of Hamas maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

The accord with Hamas requires Mahmoud Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses.

Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

The Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

The Palestinian terror group Hamas has once again made clear that its true intention is to pursue the fight against Israel until the “liberation of Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, says that despite the latest “reconciliation” agreement reached with the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the auspices of the Egyptian government, it will continue to prepare for war with Israel.

While some Western analysts have misinterpreted the agreement as a sign that Hamas is moving towards moderation and pragmatism, leaders of the Islamist movement maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

Just last week, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels in which they were working collapsed, in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists were identified as Khalil Al-Dumyati and Yusef Abu Abed.

The news about the collapse of the tunnels coincided with the reports of the new “reconciliation” agreement reached in Cairo between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). This means that while the Egyptians and Abbas’s representatives were discussing with Hamas leaders ways of ending their 10-year-long dispute and achieving “national unity,” Hamas terrorists were busy tunneling under the Gaza Strip to prepare for attacks on Israel.

Pictured: On October 17, 2013, then U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro visited a tunnel penetrating Israel from Gaza, which had been discovered by the Israeli army. Shapiro said: “I was shocked from what I saw in the tunnel. It is clear that this tunnel has only one purpose: to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.” (Image source: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

The “reconciliation” accord does not require Hamas to stop terror attacks on Israel. Nor does it require Hamas to abandon its charter, which explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel. Instead, the agreement, which has yet to be implemented, requires Abbas’s PA government to resume funding for various government institutions and civil servants in the Gaza Strip.

In other words, this agreement benefits Hamas by absolving it of its responsibilities toward the two million Palestinians living under its control in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the agreement emboldens Hamas by allowing it to redirect its resources and energies towards amassing weapons and digging tunnels to be used for launching terror attacks against Israel. The accord requires Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza, reducing medical supplies and forcing thousands of civil servants in the Gaza Strip into early retirement. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses. All this in return for one “concession” on the part of Hamas: dismantling the shadow government it established in the Gaza Strip a few months ago — something to which Hamas happily agreed in return for Abbas lifting the sanctions.

Make no mistake: Hamas has no intention of relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Hamas “security officers” and members of its military wing, Ezaddin Al-Kassam, will remain the law-enforcement force in the Gaza Strip. This means that even if Abbas’s government will be allowed to operate in the Gaza Strip, it would have limited civilian powers only, such as paying salaries and funding various projects.

One week after the Cairo “reconciliation” agreement, Hamas is still urging Abbas to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip. Why the rush? Jihad against Israel is calling. Hamas’s message to Abbas: Hurry up and give us the funds because we need to invest our energies and money in building more tunnels and smuggling weapons (through Egypt) into the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has been seeking international recognition and legitimacy and is hoping that the agreement with Abbas’s Palestinian Authority will facilitate this mission. Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

This position was relayed last week to the Russian government by a senior Hamas delegation that visited Moscow. Hamas is hoping that in wake of the Egyptian-sponsored agreement with the PA, the Russians will exert pressure on the U.S. to remove Hamas from the terror list.

Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official who participated in the Moscow discussions, confirmed that he and his friends had asked the Russians for their help. “We asked the Russians to help stop the US from keeping Hamas on the (terror) list,” Abu Marzouk said. “We also asked that the Russians help remove the (Israeli and Egyptian) blockade on the Gaza Strip.” Abu Marzouk and the Hamas delegation appear to have found a sympathetic ear in Moscow. They now claim that the Russians told them that Moscow does not consider Hamas a terror organization “because Hamas won a free and fair (parliamentary) election in 2006.”

If true, the Russians seem to have bought the lie that Hamas is headed towards moderation and pragmatism, supposedly thanks to the latest “reconciliation” agreement. More disturbing still, concerning the reported Russian position, is that Moscow, it seems, does not view Hamas as a terror group; the reason for this omission is apparently that Hamas “won” an election. The Russians are ignoring the fact that since Hamas won in 2006, the terror movement has launched thousands of rocket and other terror attacks against Israel. The Russians are also ignoring Hamas’s continued buildup and preparation for war by digging tunnels and amassing weapons in the Gaza Strip. More significantly, the Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

How do the Russians and the rest of the world define “non-negotiable”? The same way as Abu Marzouk after the Moscow visit, with regards to the Hamas weapons: “The weapons of the resistance belong to all the Palestinians and are non-negotiable,” Abu Marzouk emphasized. “No one can tamper with this issue.”

The statement means that Hamas insists on maintaining its terror and military capabilities in preparation for war against Israel.

At the risk of overwhelming the international community with troubling facts, here is a final one: Hamas aims to use the agreement with the Palestinian Authority as a smokescreen for concealing its true goal: the destruction of Israel.

Here is how it works: Hamas is telling Abbas, “You continue to pretend as if you want to talk peace with the Jews, while we prepare for war.”

In the eyes of Hamas, the “reconciliation” agreement should serve as functional sharing between the PA and Hamas, with each side playing the role it wants. Abbas will go on pretending he wants peace, while Hamas builds more tunnels and acquires additional weapons. That is their real agenda: Hamas wants to collaborate with Abbas in fooling the world. Abbas’s job will be to “pursue peace” and rake in the money, while Hamas plans for the next round of terrorism against the Jews.

It remains to be seen whether the Western-funded Palestinian Authority will be complicit in this scheme to scam the world. Also interesting should be seeing whether the international community will once again fall into the web of lies woven by the master manipulators, Abbas and Hamas.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Russia vies with Israel over aid for Quneitra

July 19, 2017

Russia vies with Israel over aid for Quneitra, DEBKAfile, July 19, 2017

(Please see also, Operation Good Neighbor: Israel’s part in Syria.– DM)

On their arrival in Quneitra, the Russians found a population that was better fed and cared for than Syrian civilians on any other of the country’s warfronts. They are nonetheless challenging Israel for the locals’ hearts and minds.

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As Russian troops began moving into the Quneitra ceasefire sector opposite Israel’s Golan border on Wednesday, July 19, they found they were in hot competition with Israel over … humanitarian aid for the sector’s rebel-held villages.

Since Israel is adamantly opposed to the Russian presence in the Quneitra demilitarized zone – although it was endorsed by the Trump administration, as DEBKAfile reported exclusively on Tuesday, July 18 – Moscow decided to take it slowly and meanwhile try and win over the Syrian rebel groups whom Israel has succored for years. The Kremlin figured that if these anti-Assad groups could be weaned away from Israel, they might be persuaded to cooperate with the Russian troops in setting up the Quneitra ceasefire zone, and the Russians would not need Israel’s compliance.

On Tuesday, therefore, a Russian military convoy drove into Jabah, a village northeast of Qunetra town and 4km from Israel’s Golan border. Officers described as belonging to the “Russian Defense Ministry’s reconciliation center” alit from the trucks and began handing out food packages to the villagers.

The civilians received necessities and were treated by Russian doctors, a Syrian officer announced. Russian and Syrian officers promised that more humanitarian aid would be delivered to “settlements across the Quneitra province” and Russian doctors would visit all the villages in the ceasefire zone.

Israel, who has been sending aid across these Syrian villages which were cut off by the civil war from basic necessities, has mostly kept its humanitarian program under wraps, except when witnesses reported what they saw to the media. On Wednesday, the IDF officers running the program asked sardonically: “Where were the Russians all these years when Israel alone helped the beleaguered villages across its border?”

After watching the Russian troops hand out packages to the people of Quneitra, the Israeli government and military chiefs decided to challenge the Russian belated propaganda move.

Up until now, Israel has supplied regular humanitarian aid to some 200,000 Syrian villagers living in 80 non-ISIS rebel-controlled villages 15km deep inside the Syrian Golan. Last year alone, Israel sent over half a million liters of heavy fuel, 360 tonnes of foodstuffs, 77 tonnes of clothing and shoes, tens of generators and water system, as well as providing them with medical treatment, including hospital care for sick and injured Syrians and a field hospital on the border.

Wednesday, Israel formalized its assistance program under the title “The Good Neighbor” and disclosed it had been administered since 2016 by a special unit of the Bashan Division which is in charge of the Golan sector.

The IDF released footage of trucks ferrying across the border supplies of medical equipment, medicines, foodstuffs and fuel, as well as pictures documenting IDF medics lifting Injured Syrians off the battlefield for treatment in Israeli hospitals.

According to IDF statistics, at least 3,000 Syrians crossed the border in the past four years for medical treatment. And Israel sent over as needed incubators, respirators and ambulances. In the same period, the IDF conducted 150 assistance operations on Syrian soil.

On their arrival in Quneitra, the Russians found a population that was better fed and cared for than Syrian civilians on any other of the country’s warfronts. They are nonetheless challenging Israel for the locals’ hearts and minds.

Has the IDF hit the Basij forces commander General Naghdi?

July 30, 2016

Has the IDF hit the Basij forces commander General Naghdi? DEBKAfile, July 30, 2016

EinZivan2 (1)

Gen. Naghdi’s visit to Quneitra undoubtedly presaged some decisions in Tehran with regard to direct Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian action against Israel.

The Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah agencies accuse Israel of the attack because the say it was executed by two Nimrod anti-tank long-range missiles, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industry, for use by the IDF against armored vehicles, ships, bunkers and troop concentrations.

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Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah sources are intimating that the “Syrian officer” injured on July 26 in Quneitra by Israel’s double Nimrod’ missile shot was none other than Revolutionary Guards Gen. Muhammad Resa Naghdi, head of the paramilitary Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed, also known as the Basij, which falls under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The victim was earlier described officially as a Syrian officer.

If he was indeed hurt or killed by an Israeli rocket, Naghdi would become the highest-ranking IRGC general ever hit by the IDF.

On July 27, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that a top Iranian general recently visited the Israeli-Syrian border to tour Quneitra and the Golan demarcation lines between Syria and Israel – the first time the Tehran government had publicized a visit by a senior regime official to the area.

It may be presumed, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources say, that someone at the IDF lookout posts spotted and reported on Gen. Naghdi’s arrival with an entourage in Quneitra on July 26 and saw him inspecting through binoculars the IDF defense positions. He was then quickly identified.

Any decision to go after a high-ranking Iranian would not have been left to local IDF commanders or even OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, but passed straight to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot – especially in this case.

General Naghdi is not just another Iranian general. He heads the more than a million-strong Basij militia, which is a pillar of the ayatollahs regime in Tehran, and the backbone of the Iranian internal security forces which maintain the regime’s total control in every corner of the Islamic Republic.

Gen. Naghdi’s visit to Quneitra undoubtedly presaged some decisions in Tehran with regard to direct Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian action against Israel.

The IDF is holding its silence on reports of his injury, declining as usual to comment on reports by foreign publications.

The Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah agencies accuse Israel of the attack because the say it was executed by two Nimrod anti-tank long-range missiles, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industry, for use by the IDF against armored vehicles, ships, bunkers and troop concentrations..

The missile has a semi-active laser guidance system, and is able to operate day and night. Its flight path can be below the clouds, while its operators far behind use a laser to guide it to target.

The launcher platform, with four missiles, can be installed on a Jeep, weapon-bearing vehicle, Abir, or armored vehicles. In addition, it is possible to send it from CH-53 ‘Yasur’ helicopter.

Israel has acted in the past against the establishment of an Iranian and/or Hizballah military presence on its Golan doorstep. On Jan. 19, 2015, an IDF air strike killed the Iranian Brig. Gen, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and six Hizballah officers while they were on a tour of inspection near Quneitra.

Thursday, July 28, DEBKAfile ran an exclusive report on rising Israel-Russia tensions centering on southern Syria and the Golan.

For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries – moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border – in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.

It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.

The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.

DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the Syrian steps:

  • The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
    This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
  • This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
  • The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
  • Damascus is also cautioning those rebels:  For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
  • On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
  • DEBKAfile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
    In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
  • The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.

The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.

The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.

Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.

Syrian-Russian Provocations Could Spark Golan Clash

July 28, 2016

Syrian-Russian Provocations Could Spark Golan Clash, DEBKAfile, July 28, 2016

EinZivan2

For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries – moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border – in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.

It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.

The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.

DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the Syrian steps:

  • The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
    This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
  • This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
  • The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
  • Damascus is also cautioning those rebels:  For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
  • On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
  • DEBKAfile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
    In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
  • The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.

The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.

The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.

Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.

Iran’s army chief takes command in Syria

May 2, 2016

Iran’s army chief takes command in Syria, DEBKAfile, May 2, 2016

Iranian ground forces commander

Israel must be prepared for the possibility that the Iranian chief of staff will personally take charge of the deployment of Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces along Syria’s border with the Golan Heights.

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The chief of staff of the Iranian military, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, arrived in Damascus on April 30 to assume direct command of the Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces fighting in Syria, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. His arrival showed Iran has significantly stepped up its military involvement in Syria.

Sources close to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said May 1 in Tehran that the general arrived in Damascus “to personally supervise the battles and the borders that were determined.” The sources did not specify which battles he would command or who had set the borders. They also did not say whether the borders referred to those of the war raging in Syria, or the country’s sovereign borders.

According to DEBKAfile’s sources in Moscow and Tehran, just as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country’s military command see the current offensive by Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces around Aleppo as the climax of the Russian military intervention, the Iranians see the battle  for Aleppo as pivotal for the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, as well as Tehran’s standing in Damascus.

Tehran also believes that the battle around Syria’s largest city will play a major role in determining all of the country’s borders, not just its northern one.

Our sources report that there are sharp differences between Moscow and Tehran on this point. It seems that the main role of Maj. Gen. Firouzabadi will be to ensure that immediately after the capture of Aleppo, his country’s forces will focus their operations on other areas of Syria where Iran, not Russia, has strategic interests.

One example of such an area is southern Syria, which borders both Israel and Jordan.

In other words, Israel must be prepared for the possibility that the Iranian chief of staff will personally take charge of the deployment of Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces along Syria’s border with the Golan Heights.

Until now, Israel’s government and military command had believed that it was possible to secure the northern border though understandings with Putin. But now, that assessment has been proven to be mistaken with the arrival of the Iranian general in Damascus, and Tehran’s announcement that Firouzabadi will deal with the issue of borders, among others.

DEBKAfile’s military sources point out that another main reason for the dispatch of the chief of staff is the fact that Iran has sent large forces from elite units of its standing army to Syria during the last month. It is the first time in Iran’s modern history that its standing army forces have been sent to fight beyond the country’s borders.

Over the past few weeks, the arrival of Iran’s 65th Airborne Brigade of the Special Forces-NOHED brigade drew particular attention.

Our sources report that this brigade will serve as the spearhead of the Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah assault on rebel positions in Aleppo.

According to the understandings reached by the Russian and Iranian general staffs, there is a clear division of responsibility between the forces of the two sides in the campaign. The Russian air force and heavy artillery will strike the rebel bases and positions in and around the city, while the Iranians, Syrians and Hizballah advance on the ground. After those forces surround the rebels in Aleppo, they will launch an all-out attack.

Is Obama plotting yet again to harm embattled Israel?

April 19, 2016

Is Obama plotting yet again to harm embattled Israel? American ThinkerVictor Sharpe, April 19, 2016

According to a report dated April 16, 2016 in the sometimes reliable Debka Special Report,Israel’s top political leaders and military commanders were stunned and shocked last weekend when they found out that US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to support the return of the Golan to Syria.”

If this is true, Barack Hussein Obama is plotting yet again a way to torment the Jewish state with yet another vile edict, one which clearly has nothing to do with enlightened statecraft but much more to do with evil witchcraft.

The occupant in the Oval Office cannot salivate enough at the prospect of harming Israel’s security and survivability. No doubt he is fulfilling a malevolent pact he has made with a cabal of Islamists and extreme leftists; both of which ideologies have satanic hatred for Israel.

With this threat hanging over the strategic territory known as the Golan Heights, it is time once again to learn its history and Biblical significance.  Even as modern day Syria is convulsed in a murderous and bloody civil war with untold thousands dead and maimed; even as its tyrant, Bashir al-Assad, fights for his political and physical life; even with all this, he nevertheless spews forth his hatred of Israel and his call to take away the Golan Heights from the Jewish state.

But so do those “rebels” who are fighting him and thus remind us of the famous aphorism: “better the devil you know,” or better still, “a plague on all your houses.”

Those of us who have stood on the Golan’s 1,700 foot steep escarpment, are struck by its immense strategic value overlooking Israel’s fertile Hula Valley and the beautiful harp-shaped lake below, called in Hebrew, Kinneret (better known as the Sea of Galilee.)

But during Syria’s occupation of the territory, no agriculture of any significance took place and no restoration of its terrain was ever undertaken. Instead, the Golan was a giant Syrian army artillery encampment whose sole purpose was to deliberately rain down upon Israeli farmers, fishermen and villagers an endless barrage of shells.

So what is the history of the Golan Heights and what is its overwhelming biblical significance to the reconstituted Jewish state? Perhaps we should return primarily to the biblical books of Joshua and Numbers.

Before the Tribes of Israel would cross the River Jordan and enter the Promised Land, the first among them had already taken possession of territory east of the River Jordan. These were the half tribes of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben who liberated the Bashan and Gilead from the Amorites.

Biblical Bashan incorporates today’s Golan Heights. Gilead is the fertile land, which lies in what is the north eastern area of today’s Kingdom of Jordan:

“ … a little balm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds” (Gen 43:11.)

 It was Canaan, west of the Jordan, (including today’s so-called West Bank) which would pose the formidable challenge to Joshua bin Nun, the general leading the Israelite tribes.

So it was that Moses, the Lawgiver, spoke to the children of Gad and Reuben thus:
“Shall your brethren go to war, and shall you sit here?” (Numbers 32:6) The leaders of the two tribes replied that they would indeed send their warriors west into Canaan and fight alongside their brethren while their families would remain behind.

“We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle and cities for our little ones. But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return unto our houses until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.” (Numbers 32: 16-18)

The story of reconstituted Israel and its people is mirrored in the biblical story of those ancient ancestors. The young men and women of modern Israel have gone again and again from their homes; be they villages, towns or cities, to the borders and established communities there in times of danger and peril, just like those young men did from the biblical tribes of Gad and Reuben.

The Jewish pioneers of today in Judea and Samaria — the biblical and ancestral heartland known today as the “West Bank” — are no different.

But the world has chosen to demonize them as ‘‘obstacles to peace” and an impediment to the creation of a fraudulent Arab state to be called Palestine; a state that has never existed in all of recorded history; and certainly not as a sovereign independent Arab state.

The pioneers are now called “settlers” and their homes and farms derisively called “settlements.” It matters not to the infernal chorus that sings the international siren song of hate and ignorance that these pioneers are returned to their ancestral homesteads and seek to take up their ploughshares to sow, to plant and re-possess their homeland.

But the purpose of this article is also to learn about the biblical and post biblical history of the Jewish descendants of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh. Such facts, of course, will not persuade the likes of Barack Hussein Obama as he plots and schemes.
 The Bashan region, now known as the Golan Heights, is a part of the biblical territory promised to the Patriarch Abraham and the people of Israel for an everlasting covenant — the Covenant of the Parts — recounted in Genesis 15. The city of Bashan was a refuge city (Deut, 4:43).

During the biblical period of the Jewish Kings, a battle high on the Golan took place between King Ahab and the army of Aram. A Jewish victory occurred at the present site of Kibbutz Afik, which lies a few miles east of Lake Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee.

After the end of the Babylonian Exile, and during the Second Temple Period, Jews returned to their homes on the Golan. Subsequently the returnees were attacked by gentiles and Judah Maccabee brought his forces up to the Heights to defend them.

At the conclusion of the Hasmonean Period, King Alexander Yannai finally re-conquered the Golan and Jews returned yet again. They rebuilt communities in central Golan, including the major cities of Banias and Susita, which formed part of the defense of the Golan.

Their residents fought heroically against the Roman legions during the Great Revolt of 135 AD, known also as the Second Uprising. It was led by the charismatic Shimon Bar Kokhba, known as the “Son of a Star” and a Jewish folk hero. Some 10,000 residents of Gamla alone perished fighting against Rome.

Second century Jewish coins were found on the Golan after its liberation during the last days of the June, 1967 Six Day War. These ancient coins were inscribed with the words, “For the Redemption of Holy Jerusalem.”

In the succeeding period of the Talmudic Period, Jewish communities flourished and expanded. Archaeologists have found the remains of 34 synagogues on the Golan. Jewish life on the Golan largely ended after the defeat of the Byzantine army by Arabs from Arabia carrying the new banner of Islam and the region descended into a long period of neglect.

But Jewish life returned yet again in the latter years of the 19th century when members of the Bnei Yehuda society from Safed purchased land on the Golan. In 1891, Baron Rothschild purchased around 18,000 acres in what is present day Ramat Magshimim.

The Jewish pioneers of the First Aliyah (immigration) began to farm land they had purchased in the Horan region until the Turkish Ottoman occupiers evicted them in 1898. Their land was then seized, and in 1923 the entire Golan was given away by Britain to the French Mandate over Syria and Lebanon.

Zionist leaders had earlier demanded the Golan be included within the new Jewish National Home because of its immense historical roots in biblical and post-biblical Jewish history. But Jewish liberation of the ancestral land was not possible until Israel was forced to fight for its very survival during the Six Day War.

The Golan is only 60 miles from Haifa; and the slopes of Mount Hermon, the highest point in the region, are the present eyes and ears of Israel. The Golan Heights were officially annexed to Israel in 1980. But it was the left wing Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who first offered to give the Heights away in 1994.

Since then, Israelis have winced at the wrenching offers made by subsequent left leaning Israeli governments and politicians who declared publicly their desire to give the entire Heights to the Syrians in return for a delusional peace. The overwhelming majority of Israelis are adamantly opposed to any such suggestion.

The Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group suggested that a way out for the United States from its Iraqi imbroglio would be for Israel to give the Golan Heights away to Syria. This, it was believed by the ISG, would bring Syria into responsible nationhood and wean her away from support of the “insurgents” attacking Iraqi and U.S assets. Of course this was before the successes of the “Surge” instituted by General Petraus made such a suggestion moot.

President Obama mistakenly renewed diplomatic relations with Syria as a way, he believed, of distancing the Arab dictatorship from its alliance with Iran. This was yet another delusional act by the current U.S. President whose foreign policy is in tatters.

But Obama’s carrot to the Syrian dictator, should it ever be resurrected, inevitably will be the Golan Heights. Again and again, he chooses to appease Arab and Muslim tyrants and it is becoming more and more apparent that indeed he is preparing to apply brutal pressure against Israel to force it to give away yet more of its biblical patrimony.

 But what would such pressure on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights mean? Bringing down the Israeli radar stations on the Hermon Massif to the valley floor below would seriously degrade any warning of future hostile Syrian attacks.

It would further hamper Israel’s ability to prevent attacks upon it by Syrian forces and by Hezb’allah, now armed to the teeth by the Iranian mullahs and with an estimated 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel and hidden among Lebanese civilians.

To put any trust in an Arab nation, especially the Iranian-backed Syrian regime, is truly mind boggling. Besides which, the so-called rebels fighting the Syrian regime have already stated that their ambition is also to take the Golan from Israel at the same time that they plan on making Syria yet another Islamic Republic and a future part of an Islamic Caliphate.

And consider this. The British colonial power gave away the Golan to France’s Syrian colony in 1923. Syria attacked Israel in 1967 and lost the Golan. Syria had occupied it for 44 years. Israel’s liberation of the Golan has lasted nearly 50 years. Ask yourself then, who has possessed the Golan the longest?

Any thought of being brutally forced by Obama and Putin to abandon biblical Bashan (the Golan) with its immense strategic value to such Islamist foes as exist in Syria would be a betrayal of a loyal ally of the United States and of those first Jewish ancestors on the Golan who long ago “built sheepfolds for their cattle and cities for their little ones.”