Then-US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel speaks to Israeli and US soldiers during a joint exercise called Juniper Cobra 14, May 2014. (Matty Stern/US Embassy/Flash90)
Thousands of Israeli, American soldiers to take part in biennial ‘Juniper Cobra’ drill, amid escalating Israel-Iran tensions
The Israeli military on Thursday began its final preparations for a major air defense exercise with the United States, which is set to kick off at the beginning of next month, the army said.
While the Juniper Cobra exercise, which was first held in 2001, is scheduled every two years, it comes at a time of growing tension between Israel and Iran and the Iranian proxy Hezbollah. This year’s exercise simulates a massive ballistic missile attack against Israel and is also meant to improve ties between the two armies. Continue reading →
In this photo released by Lennart Preiss/MSC 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, holds a part of a downed drone during his speech at the Munich Security Conference, MSC, in Munich , Germany, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Lennart Preiss/MSC 2018/dpa via AP)
Iran and Israel are on a collision course over Tehran’s expanding footprint in Syria, raising the odds of a direct clash between the region’s two military heavyweights that could quickly draw in other combatants.
With Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Iran’s most potent military ally, emboldened by their success in upholding Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israel is growing more and more wary of being attacked by missiles not just from southern Lebanon but also from inside Syria.
Israel has been sporadically bombing Hezbollah positions in Syria for the past three years. But the situation reached new heights this month when what Israel said was an Iranian armed stealth drone was intercepted and downed over Israel and an Israeli F-16 fighter jet was in turn shot down by anti-aircraft fire from inside Syria during a retaliatory airstrike.Continue reading →
Turkey is a beautiful country with a rich history including Greek, Roman and Muslim influences that make it one of the most fascinating places on Earth. It is literally a bridge between East and West: The mile-long Bosporus Bridge just north of Istanbul connects Europe and Asia across the Bosporus Strait.
Turkey has been a magnet for direct foreign investment from abroad and dollar-denominated loans by international banks to local enterprises. This investment enthusiasm is understandable given Turkey’s well-educated population of 83 million and its rank as the 17th-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of just under $1 trillion. Continue reading →
Iran has threatened military action against Israel [Getty]
IRAN has vowed to destroy Tel Aviv if Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu carries out his recent threats to launch military action against the Islamic republic as simmering tensions in the Middle East reach boiling point.
Angry exchanges between the two countries have intensified recently with the bitter Syrian war spilling over into a wider proxy fight and Iran’s role in the ongoing Yemen conflict enraging Israel and the West.
And Mr Netanyahu ramped up the rhetoric at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference when he accused Iran of seeking to dominate the region with aggression and terror. Continue reading →
Pictured: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and Jens Spahn (left), a top contender for succeeding Merkel as leader of the CDU party. (Photo by Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)
“I am a burkaphobe.”
“What is clear at any rate: the financing [of imams] by foreign actors must stop.” — Jens Spahn, Deutsche Welle.
“The message that ‘If you reach a Greek island, you will be in Germany in six days,’ not only encourages refugees from Syria, but also many people in Bangladesh and India. No country in the world, and no European Union, can withstand that if we give up control of our external borders.” — Jens Spahn, Die Zeit.
“To anyone who makes their way to Germany, it must made be clear that their life here will be very different from that at home. They should think carefully about whether they really want to live in this western culture.” — Die Welt.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has sparked a mutiny from within her own party over a controversial coalition deal that allows her to remain in office for a fourth term. The deal, in which Merkel agreed to relinquish control over the most influential government ministries, has led a growing number of voices from within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to say — publicly — that it is time to begin looking for her successor. Continue reading →
While most would agree “it is high time for the West wake up and take Ankara to task”, then what? The megalomaniac running Turkey will only turn to China and Russia, further emboldening them. He has already purchased S-400’s from Russia in Turkey’s biggest hint to the West/NATO that its loyalty lies elsewhere and can be officially transfered quickly. They also don’t care if the equipment isn’t compatible with NATO equipment. It will be compatible overnight (with the axis powers) if they so choose.
This is one of those situations where a problem has gone on too long without a correction. The West is going to have to grow a spine or this will result in Turkey’s Hitler reestablishing the Ottoman Empire through bloodshed. It also is likely that it’s too late and Turkey won’t be stopped without going to war against it — which it also will likely foresee and officially align itself with the Sino-Soviet alliance beforehand.
(Photo by Elif Sogut/Getty Images)
Turkey’s ruling party, and even much of the opposition, seem intent on, if not obsessed with, invading and conquering these Greek islands, on the grounds that they are actually Turkish territory.
“The things we have done so far [pale in comparison to the] even greater attempts and attacks [we are planning for] the coming days, inshallah [Allah willing].” – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, February 12, 2018.
The head of the state-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, has openly described Turkey’s recent military invasion of Afrin as “jihad.” This designation makes sense when one considers that Muslim Turks owe their demographic majority in Asia Minor to centuries of Turkish persecution and discrimination against the Christian, Yazidi and Jewish inhabitants of the area.
In an incident that took place less than two weeks after the Greek Defense Ministry announced that Turkey had violated Greek airspace 138 times in a single day, a Turkish coast guard patrol boat on February 13 rammed a Greek coast guard vessel off the shore of Imia, one of many Greek islands over which Turkey claims sovereignty. Continue reading →
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich security conference on Sunday: “We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself, if needed.” Holding aloft a piece of the Iranian drone which Israel captured over its air space, he stressed that Tehran was the world’s greatest threat and “Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around its neck.” Taunting Iran’s’ foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the audience, he asked,” Do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours,” he said. “You can take a message back to Iran. Do not test Israel’s resolve.” This drone violated Israel’s sovereignty and posed a threat to our security, he said “We destroyed it and its control center in Syria.” Continue reading →
A February 9, 2018 article on the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese website Dahiya claims that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad recently rejected an Israeli demand, relayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to remove some 70,000 Iranian long-range missiles that Hizbullah has deployed throughout Syria and are aimed at Israel. The article claimed further that Syria and Hizbullah will wage a “joint missile campaign” against Israel, and that Iranian experts are ready to launch missiles at Israel from every part of Lebanon and Syria. According to the article, Assad has instructed his army to help Hizbullah construct and camouflage missile silos across the country; moreover, intense activity is underway to bring more Iranian missiles to Syria via Iraq, so that within a year Hizbullah will have 500,000 missiles in Syria, in addition to the ones it has already deployed in Lebanon.
The article was published following reports on Israeli airstrikes in Syria on February 7, and just before the incident in which Israel fired on Iranian military facilities in Syria following the penetration of an Iranian drone into Israeli territory.
The following are translated excerpts from the article.
Following up to last night’s bombshell report that at least two Russian mercenary fighters in Syria had been killed by US-led coalition forces, this morning Bloomberg is out with an exclusive, according to which the body count is far greater than had been disclosed: U.S. forces reportedly killed “scores” of Russian contract soldiers in Syria last week “in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War“, Bloomberg reported.
According to the unnamed US and Russian sources, “more than 200 mercenaries, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region” In terms of total body count, the U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured.Continue reading →
‘Iranian ports in the eastern Mediterranean are a real risk for Israel.’
Israeli Adm. Shaul Chorev (Ret.) has warned that Israel’s next proxy war with Iran “could see a focus on the [Mediterranean] Sea.”
The Jerusalem Post quoted the retired naval officer on January 28 as cautioning that the strategy of Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, clearly shows that “they will target Israeli strategic assets.” To do that, he said, they could use suicide vessels or land-to-sea missiles.
Iran “is on the verge of reaching the Mediterranean, including the use of Syrian ports by the Iranian Navy,” Chorev said. “Iranian ports in the eastern Mediterranean are a real risk for Israel.”
Next week a significant war drill will be conducted across Israel by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) together with the American military, as part of the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise, which this year will imitate a simultaneous missile attack on Israel from both its northern and southern fronts.
Meanwhile, as Israel prepares for armed conflict, Al Hayat, an Arabic-language London-based newspaper, writes that Hamas’ chief Yahya Sinwar has ordered the Gaza-based Islamist militant group on high alert, indicating that war is a “95 percent probability” and it could erupt in hours or within days.Continue reading →
Map from Anadolu Agency, published in Orient Net 
The television network RT asked me for a comment around the recent visit to Raqqa done by the USAID program chief together with the CENTCOM Commander. 
Before addressing the humanitarian situation in Raqqa associated with the reconstruction issue (80 percent of Raqqa dwellings remain “inhabitable”, according to the UN), I will focus on the current U.S. geopolitics in the area, against the backdrop of the U.S. emerging ‘Plan B’ on Syria. So far, the implementation of this new design has signified the virtual occupation of nearly a third of Syria’s territory. A hallmark of the situation consisting in the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by U.S. troops.
The first project of the US on Syria aimed to obtain a regime change. It was pretty much a “default” policy applied by the US in the Middle East at the times of the Obama / Hillary Clinton administration. Partly of its mechanism has been described by Senator Dick Clark (an excerpt of Senator Clark’s declarations is found in the video here below. Click on the image for the excerpt-footage).
The strategy of “regime change”, which can we call “U.S. Plan A on Syria”, failed.