U.S. Navy may stop docking in Haifa after Chinese take over port

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The USS George H.W. Bush docked in northern Israel’s Haifa Port, July 3, 2017. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 

Concerns prompt ‘review’ of Shanghai agreement within Israel’s inner security cabinet, sources say.

WASHINGTON – The US Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Haifa may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel’s national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

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Russia Expands Foreign Intelligence Service

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Growth over past decade coincides with rise in global espionage operations

Russia has aggressively expanded its Foreign Intelligence Service operation over the past decade, according to recent satellite imagery that provides evidence of Moscow’s efforts to wage clandestine operations across Europe and in the United States.

The satellite imagery, which was compiled in a recent report on Russia’s global intelligence operation, shows that Moscow added several new buildings and structures to its intelligence headquarters, known as SVR, from 2007 to 2016, a period that saw a dramatic rise in Russian espionage operations, experts said. Continue reading

Report: Russian Military Presence in Syria Upgrading Military Skills of Hezbollah

JERUSALEM—The Russian military presence in Syria is significantly upgrading the military skills of Hezbollah, according to an Israeli general.

In a report for a Washington think tank, Gen.Muni Katz, a former commander of the Israeli division posted on the Lebanese border, said that the Lebanese militia, whose strategy against Israel had previously been defense oriented, is indirectly picking up lessons in sophisticated offensive warfare from their new Russian comrades-in-arms who have joined them in fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Continue reading

Breaking bad: Qatar splits with Gulf neighbors over Iran in blow to U.S. strategy

WASHINGTON — The unprecedented crisis among the Gulf Arab states threatens U.S. military support to its Arab allies, a report said.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said the confrontation between three Gulf Cooperation Council states and Qatar would “complicate” efforts by the United States to integrate Gulf Arab strategy. Continue reading

Why Is Saudi Arabia Buying 15,000 U.S. Anti-Tank Missiles for a War It Will Never Fight?

BEIRUT — No one is expecting a tank invasion of Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but the kingdom just put in a huge order for U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that has Saudi-watchers scratching their heads and wondering whether the deal is related to Riyadh’s support for the Syrian rebels.

The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance report, Saudi Arabia’s total stockpile this year amounted to slightly more than 4,000 anti-tank missiles. In the past decade, the Pentagon has notified Congress of only one other sale of anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia — a 2009 deal that shipped roughly 5,000 missiles to the kingdom. Continue reading

Turkey joins Saudis in showing displeasure over US policy on Syria

Ankara chooses Chinese firm over US, European firms to co-produce long-range air, missiles defense systems.

There is an international failure in dealing with the Syrian crisis, Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Thursday.

Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, said in September it had chosen the FD-2000 missile defense system from China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp, or CPMIEC, over rival systems from Russian, US and European firms. Continue reading

Iran builds up its ‘foreign legion’ in Syria

BEIRUT, Lebanon (UPI) — Western intelligence services have made much of Hezbollah’s military support for the embattled Damascus regime in Syria’s civil war, but there’s another, less well-known threat emerging there.

That’s the growing force of Iraqi Shiite fighters who’re also fighting to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power.

Many of them were trained by Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to fight the Americans in Iraq, and now form a major element in Iran’s new “foreign legion,” intelligence officers and military experts say. Continue reading

Attack on Syria likely to trigger terrorists acts against U.S., Israel

This is what precisely makes a war against Syria (which is also an attack on Iran because of a mutual defense pact) so dangerous, as compared to countries like Iraq or Libya. They have the capability to hit at the American homeland, and one shouldn’t dismiss the fact that it will happen as because the threat sounds like rhetoric from just another random third-world nation madman.

When you go to war with a country in the Middle East, such as Iran or Syria, you better be prepared to fight for more than a thousand years. Why? Because they already have been at war back and forth that long with other nations and kingdoms. They are hardened and used to it, whereas the American memory of history and events lasts 24 hours and the “stomach” for war lasts maybe a few years, at best, as proven by the prolonged wars the U.S. is already involved in.

With the White House closer to launching a surgical military strike on Syria, questions swirl over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the U.S. and Israel.

Some analysts say that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia fighting in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, likely would be inspired to ramp up operations in Iran’s “shadow war” with the U.S. and its allies. Continue reading

U.S. arms showing up in hands of pro-Assad militias

U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria.

Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Continue reading

Putin seen courting Israel to guarantee natural gas dominance in region

It’s highly unlikely Israel would forge stronger energy ties with the current US administration that has turned its back. The article does not take into context how badly ties are strained between the two over Iran and how it spills over into other areas of diplomacy.

At the same time, Israel is likely smart enough to see the trap Russia is laying. Luckily for Israel, it won’t end up facing Russia’s military as did the republic of Georgia — pre-planned for years beforehand, and all aimed at shutting down any chance of European energy independence. Therefore, with Europe’s energy needs in mind, Israel’s best choice at the moment for a strategic energy partnership, if any, would originate from this continent.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said President Vladimir Putin was believed to be seeking to work with Israel in gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea. In a report by senior fellow Simon Henderson, the institute said Putin, who visited Israel in the spring of 2012, could be lobbying for Israel to select Russia’s Gazprom as a contractor.

“His motive was probably narrow self-interest — to ensure that Israeli
supplies have zero effect on Russia’s dominance of the European natural gas market,” the report, titled “Israel’s Natural Gas Challenges,” said.

“Therefore, Israel may need to be reminded that, diplomatically as well as technically, its best options are to work with the U.S. government and U.S. companies.”

Full article: Putin seen courting Israel to guarantee natural gas dominance in region (World Tribune)