Chinese Missile Forces Pose Threat to U.S. in Future Conflict

ASPEN, Colo.—China’s advanced cruise and ballistic missiles pose a significant threat in future conflict with the United States, the chief of naval operations (CNO) warned last week.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the CNO, also said during a security conference Friday that China is building a second aircraft carrier that could be deployed in the not too distant future.

Asked what Chinese weapons systems he is most concerned about if the United States went to war with China, Greenert noted Beijing’s growing arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles.

“They have an extraordinary selection of cruise missiles, and a ballistic missile force that they developed,” Greenert told the Aspen Security Forum.

If the conflict were close to China, the missile forces would pose the most serious threat, he said.

“If it’s in their backyard, I’m a little worried about their ballistic missile [force] because of its reach,” Greenert said. Continue reading

Iran: Hezbollah Can Fire Rockets ‘Nonstop’ at Israel

Senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards claims Hezbollah’s arsenal rivals Hamas’s.

Iranian officials are closely studying the progress of Operation Protective Edge, in light of concern over Israel airstrikes on its nuclear facilities and its ongoing quest to destroy Israel.

Hossein Salami G’anshin, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, said in this context that the war in Gaza is an introduction prior to the collapse of Israel, noting that Hezbollah has become a very powerful factor that can launch missiles “non-stop” on all the cities of Israel.  Continue reading

Netanyahu’s dilemma: Back Obama’s save Hamas policy, or fight for its downfall with Egypt and Saudis

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entangled himself Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27,  in the net he had cast to blur the effect of the unanimous decision by the security-political cabinet of Friday to turn down the ceasefire proposals proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The two diplomats and their partners, a brace of European ministers and Qatar and Turkey, who met in Paris to concoct a peace framework for Gaza, were privately dubbed by wags in Jerusalem the “Save Hamas Squad.”

Netanyahu tried to present the flat cabinet “no” to the ceasefire as a “no, maybe.”

His purpose was to leave an opening for the US and UN to ginger up their pro-Hamas framework for ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip by incorporating elements that Israel’s security needs half way. If that was done, Israel, he indicated, would be amenable to joining lengthy ceasefire accords with Hamas, or even making unilateral halts in violence. Continue reading

Islamic Jihad Said to Have Iranian ‘Judgement Day’ Missile

Sources said that Islamic Jihad’s big ‘surprise’ was a long-range, explosive-laden Iranian-made rocket.

Islamic Jihad has “many more surprises up its sleeve,” said Abdullah Shalah, head of the terror group said Sunday. In an interview on an Arab satellite station, Shalah said that “We have a store of strategic weapons that we have never used,” but was prepared to bring out against Israel if the war in Gaza continued. With that, he did not specify what those weapons were.

According to sources in Gaza, those weapons are Iranian-made “Zelzal” missiles, an unguided missile that can carry a payload of up to 600 kg (1,323 pounds) of explosives for a distance of up to 200 kilometers. Speaking to the Donia Alwattan news site, the sources, which claim to be close to Islamic Jihad, did not say how many such missiles the terror group had, adding that “this is their ‘judgement day’ weapon.” Continue reading

Ex-Israeli Security Chief Diskin: ‘All the Conditions Are There for an Explosion’

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Yuval Diskin, former director of Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet, speaks of the current clash between Israel and the Palestinians, what must be done to achieve peace and the lack of leadership in the Middle East.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Diskin, following 10 days of airstrikes, the Israeli army launched a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip last week. Why now? And what is the goal of the operation?

Diskin: Israel didn’t have any other choice than to increase the pressure, which explains the deployment of ground troops. All attempts at negotiation have failed thus far. The army is now trying to destroy the tunnels between Israel and the Gaza Strip with a kind of mini-invasion, also so that the government can show that it is doing something. Its voters have been increasingly vehement in demanding an invasion. The army hopes the invasion will finally force Hamas into a cease-fire. It is in equal parts action for the sake of action and aggressive posturing. They are saying: We aren’t operating in residential areas; we are just destroying the tunnel entrances. But that won’t, of course, change much in the disastrous situation. Rockets are stored in residential areas and shot from there as well. Continue reading

Kerry and Ban in truce bid to save Hamas from defeat. Israel holds reply. Cairo won’t amend truce proposal

Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.

Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”

Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable. Continue reading

UAE ‘offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive’

DOHA: The UAE knew in advance of Israel’s plans for an offensive in Gaza and even offered to fund the operation provided the militant Palestinian outfit Hamas was eliminated in the process, Israel’s Channel 2 claimed in a recent report, according to local Arabic daily Al Sharq. The daily says in a report published today that Israel’s leading national TV station (Channel 2 in Hebrew) disclosed details of secret parleys between the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Paris at the end of last month. Continue reading

IDF starts Gaza ground invasion

Netanyahu’s office says purpose of mission is to destroy terror tunnels and seriously harm the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Signalling that the initial phase of the ground attack will be limited, a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Netanyahu directed the IDF to prepare to expand the ground operation. Continue reading

As the Israeli Cabinet delays its decision, Palestinians hammer Tel Aviv with heaviest barrage yet

As the Israeli Cabinet failed to reach a decision about Gaza operation, after a relatively quiet night the Palestinians Wednesday launched their heaviest barrage of rockets in the current conflict to date at Gush Dan. Hamas claimed responsibility for sending M-75s at the region.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s ceasefire ploy Tuesday, July 15, instead of calming the violence in Gaza, unleashed a furious spate of 140 rockets from the Gaza Strip, which drew dozens of Israel air strikes after a six-hour lull in operations. By the end of the eighth day of Operation Defensive Edge, the Israeli security cabinet saw it was saddled with a new dilemma: persuading the Egyptian ruler to punish Hamas to the full extent of his power. This is reported by debkafile’s Middle East and military sources. Continue reading

Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses. Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of Palestinian rockets in hours

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli Air Force to resume strikes over Gaza Tuesday afternoon, six hours after a ceasefire proposed by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, was due to go into effect. During those hours, dozens of Hamas rockets raked town after town and village after village. debkafile: The White House called off US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Cairo visit upon finding Tehran’s hand behind the rockets. Netanyahu goes on the air at 8 p.m. to explain what went wrong.

Straight after the ceasefire was due to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli security cabinet had meanwhile endorsed Cairo’s proposal to mediate the conflict with the Palestinian extremists, but warned that if they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.”

In Cairo, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk took responsibility for eight of the post-“truce” rockets, most of which landed on Ashdod, slightly injuring one woman. Iron Dome intercepted four. Continue reading

First Hamas rocket hits Nahariya. All parts of Israel within range from Gaza on Day Six of IDF operation

Nahariya, frequently blasted by Hizballah Katyushas in the past, can now “boast” it was targeted by Hamas as well.

Sunday, Day Six of Operation Defensive Edge, saw another first: an Israeli ground incursion of the Gaza Strip. An sea commando Shayetet 13 unit landed in the western Gaza Strip to raid a cluster of rocket launchers. It was forced to retreat under heavy fire after four commandos were lightly injured. The target was then hit by the unit’s air cover.

By sundown Sunday, 65 Palestinian rockets had been fired into Israel – 12 shot down by Iron Dome – and more were on the way. The last salvo covered a long swathe from Rishon Lezion, through Tel Aviv and its satellite towns, including the big port of Ashdod and Hadera, as well as Israeli locales bordering on Gaza. Continue reading

Japanese special forces ‘better than US’ to retake Diaoyutai

This is essentially tantamount to saying there is no more confidence in America’s ability to defend Japan, let alone be a reliable partner.

Japanese special forces would be more qualified than American to carry out amphibious combat operations against China’s People’s Liberation Army over the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyutai or Diaoyu) islands in the East China Sea, Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, a former fleet commander in chief of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, has written in his article for the Tokyo-based Ships of the World magazine. Continue reading

Hamas missiles target nuclear facility as likelihood of Israel invasion of Gaza increases

Hamas militants launched a salvo of missiles at Israel’s main nuclear facility Wednesday night, raising the likelihood of an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Three rockets were aimed towards the southern Israeli town of Dimona and the nearby Negev nuclear reactor and research centre, where Israel’s atomic weapons program is thought to be based.

Two of the rockets fell in open areas and the other was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defensive shield, with none causing casualties, an Israeli army spokesman said.

However, the symbolic aggression of the act may raise expectations that Israel will press ahead with threats to launch a full-scale ground operation to dismantle Hamas’s military infrastructure.

The threat to the nuclear facility came as Gaza saw its bloodiest day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, with at least 22 people, reportedly including nine children and six women, killed in air strikes. Continue reading

Hamas has several hundred Syrian-made M-302 rockets of type that reached Hadera

The long-range Hamas rockets that reached Hadera 110km north of Gaza Tuesday, July 8, have been identified as the Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar missile, that was used by Hizballah against Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war to pound Haifa. This weapon uses Iranian technology deriving from the Chinese WS-1 which has a 175 kilo warhead. Hizballah engineers posted in the Gaza Strip have since helped Hamas improve the M-302 and extend its range and accuracy. But still, even after improvements, the M-302’s main shortcoming is its lack of precision.

This was demonstrated Tuesday night when it missed substantial targets in Hadera and also, it now appears, Jerusalem, which took three rockets. Continue reading

Japan upset as Chinese paper prints mushroom clouds on map

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday vowed to make a stern protest to China after a regional Chinese newspaper printed a map of the country with mushroom clouds hovering over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and accused the Japanese of wanting war again.

The neighbours have a long history of tense relations. Beijing bristles at Japan’s inability to properly atone for its invasion of China before and during World War Two, and its occupation of large parts of the country.

The newspaper, the weekly Chongqing Youth News from the southwestern city of Chongqing, printed the picture in its latest edition, Chinese media reported, though it appeared later to have been removed from the paper’s website version. Continue reading