China Working to Boost Role in Middle East

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China’s President Xi Jinping gives a speech during the 8th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July, 10, 2018. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Growing influence in the region helps China accelerate its Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered remarks in Beijing on July 10 at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Xi’s basic message to the representatives from 21 Arab nations and to the secretary general of the Arab League was that China seeks to become more involved in the Middle East.

He stressed the importance of Sino-Arab relations, saying, “Arab states and China are natural partners.” Continue reading

New US-Israeli “Project Iran” is headed by IDF’s Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon

 

Project Iran” was set up during Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott’s talks with top US brass in Washington on June 29 for coordinated US-Israeli military operations against Iran.

IDF Operations Chief Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon was named to head it. He was with the chief of staff when he sat down with Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Joseph Votel, head of CENTCOM in Washington. At 53, Alon accepted the post although he was ready to retire from the service after an impressive career spanning 34 years. It included valuable experience as commander of special operations forces and oversight of the integration of special undercover units in the intelligence corps for action behind enemy lines. He led several combat divisions before being promoted to OC Central Command. In 2015, he took over the General Staff’s Operations Branch. Eisenkott persuaded him to stay on as the first holder of a job just created of Director of the “Iran Project” – the IDF codename for a newly-established US-Israeli task force for executing potential decisions to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, ballistic missiles and/or military bases in the Middle East. Continue reading

DEBKA: Netanyahu Must Decide if He Wants War with Iran

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(Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Abir Sultan/Israel Defense Forces)

 

A new report states that today’s meeting with Putin will determine whether or not Israel launches that war.

Following a relatively unfruitful day of discussions with top Russian diplomats and military leaders ahead of today’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin, DEBKA has published a piece stating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alone now bears the decision of whether or not to launch a war against Iran inside Syria. Continue reading

After Netanyahu-Putin summit, Israel must decide on a war with Iran in Syria

 

Up until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s talks with President Vladimir Putin Moscow [sic] on Wednesday Nov. 11, Israel made clear in every way possible – diplomatic and military – its resolve to prevent Iran and its proxies from establishing a presence in Syria.

The resolve to remove Iran, Hizballah and the other Shiite militias under Revolutionary Guards command was emphasized for the umpteenth time on Tuesday, before Putin’s special emissaries.  His special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin arrived in Jerusalem for another try to shift Netanyahu from his all-or-nothing stance on Iran. With them was a large Russian delegation of security and military officials from the Operations Division of the Russian General Staff and intelligence units specializing in Syrian affairs. Continue reading

IRGC commander claims ‘Islamic Army’ near Golan Heights, ready to fight Israel

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In a recent speech, IRGC deputy commander Hossein Salami boasted of the creation of an “Islamic army” near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which he warned threatened to “end” Israel.

“Today, an international Islamic army has been formed in Syria, and the voices of the Muslims are heard near the Golan,” Salami said, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

Continue reading

North Korea asked Israel for $1 billion to stop giving missile technology to Iran

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North Korea offered to stop selling missile technology to Iran and other enemies of Israel in exchange for $1 billion in cash from the Jewish state, according to former senior North Korean diplomat who has now defected. The account of the offer can be read in Password from the Third Floor, a book published earlier this year by Thae Yong Ho. Thae, a member of a prominent North Korean family, defected with his wife and children in 2016, while he was serving as a senior member of the diplomatic staff of the North Korean embassy in London. News of Thae’s defection emerged on August 16, 2016, when a South Korean newspaper reported that he had disappeared from London after having escaped with his family “to a third country”. Thae later emerged in Seoul, from where he publicly denounced the North Korean regime. Continue reading

Trump lets Putin have Syria for a summit, Iranian/Hizballah gain access to Israel’s border on refugee backs

 

Israel’s armed forces are distributing tents, food, water and medicines to the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees reaching its Golan border in flight from the incredibly brutal Russian and Syrian air strikes on southern Syria. The figures are staggering – 342 air strikes on Thursday night, June 28, against rebel-held towns near the Israeli and Jordanian borders – of which 299 were conducted by the Russian air force and 43 by Syrian pilots. Nawa, a town opposite the Israeli Golan border took the heaviest bombardment. Continue reading

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

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There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading

Iran poised to resume enrichment at deep Fordow facility

 

After Iran warned it will leave the nuclear accord unless benefits are forthcoming, an atomic energy official in Tehran said that uranium enrichment would resume at Fordow – if that happens. Continue reading

USS Truman airborne strike group in place opposite Syria

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DEBKAfile

 

In position off the Syrian coast is the nuclear-powered USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier – from which the US, UK and France launched their April 14 attack on the Syrian army for launching a chemical attack. The US Navy strike group entered the eastern Mediterranean over last weekend. US task force commander Rear Adm. Eugene Black announced that its arrival “sends a powerful signal to our partners that we are committed to maintaining peace and security in the region and everywhere that there is a threat of terrorism.” Continue reading

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

Continue reading

Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars

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FILE – In this April 16, 2018, file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati. The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran brief access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so. That’s according to an investigation by Senate Republicans released June 6. “The Obama Administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,” said Portman, the subcommittee’s chairman. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, file)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran access — albeit briefly — to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so.

An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal’s opponents. Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system. Continue reading

Iran tells UN it will hike uranium enrichment capacity, possibly from Wednesday

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Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, speaks with journalists upon his arrival to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, July 15, 2015 (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

 

Tehran’s atomic agency chief says new center for producing centrifuges is about to open at Natanz, insists it doesn’t violate nuke deal

Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it has launched a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday. Continue reading

NATO Won’t Help Israel in War with Iran

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(Photo Credit: Office of President of Estonia)

 

During an interview published Saturday by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg revealed it’s not his organization’s responsibility to protect Israel should it come under fire from Iran.

While the Jewish state is considered an “active partner” of the U.S.-led alliance, it is not a full member and therefore is not able to invoke Article V of the NATO Charter. This provides a “security guarantee” to all full members by declaring any attack on a member nation is an attack on them all. Continue reading

As Gaza front cools, Iran and Syria move on their next flashpoint – Quneitra

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Hours after the Palestinians paused on Wednesday, May 30, in their broadest rocket/mortar assault on Israel in four years, their Iranian backers were already moving on the Golan. Under cover of the deafening Gaza clash, Iran, Syria and Hizballah began marching military units on the road to Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border. Continue reading

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