Saturday, 3 February 2018

Events in the Middle East

Israel threatens Lebanon with ‘full strength’ ground invasion in case of conflict


Israel threatens Lebanon with ‘full strength’ ground invasion in case of conflict

RT,
2 February, 2018

Tel Aviv is ready for an all-out ground invasion of Lebanon in the event of a military conflict with Beirut, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. His comments come as relations between the two neighbors continue to our.

We must prepare for maneuvering on the ground too, even if we do not use it,” the minister said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) held at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday.

Not mincing his words, Lieberman said that, in a worst-case scenario, Israel would conduct the operation at “full strength.” “We must not take one step forward and one step backward. We will move forward as fast as possible,” Lieberman added, speaking about the Israeli strategy in a possible conflict with its northern neighbor.

At the same time, he said that “maneuvering is not a goal in itself,”but is a means of ending the war in what Tel Aviv sees as the most efficient way.“No one is looking for adventures, but if we have no choice the goal is to end [the fighting] as quickly and as unequivocally as possible,” the minister told the conference, adding that Israel’s past experience has shown that “all the conflicts in the Middle East”do not “come to an end” without “soldiers on the ground.”

Israel will act tough on Lebanon, the minister warned. He particularly said that the situation of the Second Lebanon War, “in which the residents of Beirut were at the beach and in Tel Aviv [they were] in bomb shelters,” will not repeat itself if a new conflict breaks out. “If in Israel they sit in shelters, then in the next fighting all of Beirut will be in shelters,” Lieberman dded.

The minister’s comments come amid Israel’s concerns over the Lebanese Hezbollah armed group, which allegedly plans to arm itself with locally-produced precision-guided missiles.

The Hezbollah terror organization is violating the UN Security Council resolutions, maintaining a military presence in the region, possessing weapons systems and increasing its military capabilities,” Gabi Eisenkot, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces General Staff, said on Tuesday, as cited by Haaretz.

Lieberman also said that he sees no difference between Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanon, as he believes that the armed group has enough influence to control both political and military forces of Israel’s northern neighbor. “They are part of Hezbollah and they will all pay the full price” for any large-scale attack on Israel.

The last major conflict between Israel and Lebanon broke out in 2006. The military confrontation, known as the Second Lebanon War in Israel and the July War in Lebanon, lasted 34 days and ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire.

In contrast to Lieberman’s words, the war took a much higher toll on Lebanon than on Israel. The conflict claimed the lives of 1,191 Lebanese people and left more than 4,400 injured, according to the local officials cited by a UN report. More than 900,000 Lebanese had to flee their homes because of the hostilities.

Israel reportedly lost fewer than 200 people in the conflict, according to various sources, with most of them being IDF soldiers. Tensions between the two nations heightened following a brief November political crisis in Lebanon.

In late November, the Lebanese Army asked the military to be at “full readiness” to face “the Israeli enemy” on the southern border. At the same time, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that “Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means.”


CrossTalk: Erdogan’s war on Syria



Turkey’s decision to invade northern Syria has foreign policy implications far beyond the Middle East. What are Ankara’s objectives in Syria and the region? Does it facilitate or hinder a final peace settlement to Syria’s proxy civil war. And what is Turkey’s future in NATO?


CrossTalking with Dan Glazebrook, Sami Ramadani, and Cengiz Tomar.

MATTIS THREATENS SYRIA WTIH MILITARY ACTION IF US FINDS “EVIDENCE” OF NEW SARIN ATTACK



2 February, 2018

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis threatens Syria with a military action if the US finds hard evidence to back up the claims of another sarin attack in the country.

On February 2, Mattis told reporters that chlorine gas was known to have been weaponized in attacks in Syria. He further added that the US suspects the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad uses sarin nerve gas as a weapon on the battlefield.
We are even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use,” the defense secretary said. “I don’t have the evidence, what I am saying is, that other groups on the ground, NGOs, fighters on the ground, have said that sarin has been used, so we are looking for evidence.”
They would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical convention.”
In April 2017, the US conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian airfield following reports about the alleged sarin use in the town of Khan Shaykhun.
We’re on the record and you all have seen how we reacted to that, so they would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical convention,” Mattis said.
The new series of accusations that the Syrian government uses chlorine or even sarine against the so-called “rebels” and the “rebel-held” areas appared amid the rapid advance of the Syrian Arab Army against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the province of Idlib. So, Washington likely rushed to weaponize the al-Qaeda propaganda to oppose the defeat of the terrorist group in Syria.


US Forces Arrive in Israel as Tensions Rise Between Tel Aviv, Beirut


2 February, 2018

US troops have arrived in Israel to take part in a major joint military exercise with Israeli forces - as tensions with Hezbollah move from a simmer to a boil.

US forces have arrived in Israel to take part in Juniper Cobra, a biennial major military exercise. In the last Juniper Cobra in 2016, more than 3,000 US troops took part, according to a report by Jerusalem Online.
The exercise will imitate a massive simultaneous missile attack on Israel from southern and northern fronts, according to Channel 10 News Agency.
This year, the exercise comes amid escalating tensions with Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which threatened to fire missiles at Israel if it doesn't stop building a wall on its Lebanese border.
In the meantime, Lebanon's energy minister, Cesar Abi Khalil, claimed that Lebanon will explore oil and gas near its maritime border with Israel. This territory has been claimed by Tel Aviv, an action that sparked massive condemnation across the Arab world, according to Washington Post.
Addressing the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Lebanon's latest plans to drill in a disputed offshore oil and gas field known as Block 9 were "very, very challenging and provocative," according to Reuters.
In the same speech, the far-right minister threatened to wage a full-scale war against Lebanon if Hezbollah launched any attacks against Israel, Reuters reported.
"Unlike the 2006 Lebanon War, there cannot be images of Beirut's residents at the beach while [people] in Tel Aviv sit in shelters. If [people] in Israel sit in shelters during the next war, all of Beirut will be in shelters," Lieberman said.
On January 28, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Ronen Manelis also warned in an op-ed on Lebanese opposition website Ahewar that a war with Israel could break out Beirut allowed Iran to develop precision missiles in the country.
"Lebanon has become — both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community — one large missile factory," Manelis wrote, according to the Jerusalem Post.
"It's no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the 'Lebanon branch.' Iran is here," he added.
According to Israeli Defense Force assessments, Hezbollah is in possession of an arsenal of at least 100,000 short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach central Israel. In addition to a massive arsenal of rockets and missiles, Hezbollah is able to mobilize close to 30,000 fighters and has flouted its tunnel system, complete with ventilation, electricity and rocket launchers.

This has been corroborated in Israeli media

Israel Threatens "Full Strength Ground Invasion" of Lebanon



1 February, 2018

Tel Aviv is ready for an all-out ground invasion of Lebanon in the event of a military conflict with Beirut, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. His comments come as relations between the two neighbors continue to sour.

We must prepare for maneuvering on the ground too, even if we do not use it,” the minister said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) held at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday.
Not mincing his words, Lieberman said that, in a worst-case scenario, Israel would conduct the operation at full strength.” We must not take one step forward and one step backward. We will move forward as fast as possible,” Lieberman added, speaking about the Israeli strategy in a possible conflict with its northern neighbor.
At the same time, he said that maneuvering is not a goal in itself,”but is a means of ending the war in what Tel Aviv sees as the most efficient way.No one is looking for adventures, but if we have no choice the goal is to end [the fighting] as quickly and as unequivocally as possible,” the minister told the conference, adding that Israel’s past experience has shown that all the conflicts in the Middle East” do not come to an end” without soldiers on the ground.”
Israel will act tough on Lebanon, the minister warned. He particularly said that the situation of the Second Lebanon War, in which the residents of Beirut were at the beach and in Tel Aviv [they were] in bomb shelters,” will not repeat itself if a new conflict breaks out. If in Israel they sit in shelters, then in the next fighting all of Beirut will be in shelters,” Lieberman added.
The minister’s comments come amid Israel’s concerns over the Lebanese Hezbollah armed group, which allegedly plans to arm itself with locally-produced precision-guided missiles.
The Hezbollah terror organization is violating the UN Security Council resolutions, maintaining a military presence in the region, possessing weapons systems and increasing its military capabilities,” Gabi Eisenkot, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces General Staff, said on Tuesday, as cited by Haaretz.
Lieberman also said that he sees no difference between Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanon, as he believes that the armed group has enough influence to control both political and military forces of Israel’s northern neighbor. They are part of Hezbollah and they will all pay the full price” for any large-scale attack on Israel.
The last major conflict between Israel and Lebanon broke out in 2006. The military confrontation, known as the Second Lebanon War in Israel and the July War in Lebanon, lasted 34 days and ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire.
In contrast to Lieberman’s words, the war took a much higher toll on Lebanon than on Israel. The conflict claimed the lives of 1,191 Lebanese people and left more than 4,400 injured, according to the local officials cited by a UN report. More than 900,000 Lebanese had to flee their homes because of the hostilities.
Israel reportedly lost fewer than 200 people in the conflict, according to various sources, with most of them being IDF soldiers. Tensions between the two nations heightened following a brief November political crisis in Lebanon.
In late November, the Lebanese Army asked the military to be at full readiness” to face the Israeli enemy” on the southern border. At the same time, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means.”


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