Friday, October 19, 2018

Nancy Pelosi: There Will Be ‘Collateral Damage’ to Those Who Disagree with Us

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to endorse the harassment and threats made against supporters of the president and his policies during an interview in New York City.
“So be it”
Pelosi made the comments while being interviewed by economist Paul Krugman on Sunday.
“I think that we owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country,” she said.
“And if there’s some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it,” Pelosi continued, “but it should not be our original purpose.”
It was unclear what she meant by “collateral damage,” but many took that to refer to attacks and harassment that Republicans and their supporters had faced at the hands of left-wing protesters in recent weeks.
Newt Gingrich summed up much of the reaction from the right about Pelosi’s comments.
“What kind of ‘collateral damage for some others who do not share our view’ does Nancy Pelosi have in mind,” he asked in a tweet Thursday. “That was her term at the 92d street Y.”

What kind of “collateral damage for some others who do not share our view” does Nancy Pelosi have in mind.That was her term at the 92d street Y.With threats of kicking, bullying, driving conservatives out of restaurants what does “other consequences” mean?Pretty threatening.



“With threats of kicking, bullying, driving conservatives out of restaurants what does ‘other consequences’ mean?Pretty threatening,” he added.

Russians 'will go to heaven' in event of nuclear war: Putin

Sochi (Russia) (AFP) - Russians will "go to heaven" as martyrs in the event of nuclear war because Moscow will only ever use nuclear weapons in retaliation, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"We have no concept of a preemptive strike," Putin told a forum of international experts in the southern city of Sochi in response to a question from the audience.
"In such a situation, we expect to be struck by nuclear weapons, but we will not use them" first, he said.
"The aggressor will have to understand that retaliation is inevitable, that it will be destroyed and that we, as victims of aggression, as martyrs, will go to heaven.
"They will simply die because they won't even have time to repent," he said to some laughter from the audience.
Putin last year unveiled "invincible" new weapons that would render Western missile defence systems obsolete.
In 2016 he called for the country to reinforce its military nuclear potential.

Putin: Not our job to get Iran out of Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that it was not Russia's job to remove Iran from Syria.
 
Speaking at the Russian resort city of Sochi, Putin said that it was important to "ensure a policy of non-intervention in Syria's affairs".
 
Putin added that ISIS had recently kidnapped 700 people in an attack on a refugee camp in eastern Syria and claimed that the organization was gaining strength in areas that were dominated by American forces.
 
Putin's remarks seemingly pose a challenge to Israel, which fears Iran establishing itself on its border with Syria.
 
Israel has expressed concern over Iran's growing influence in Syria, while the US has been pressing for Iran to withdraw its fighters from Syria.
 
Israeli officials have made clear that Israel will not accept any Iranian military entrenchment in Syria. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held several meetings to discuss the issue.
 
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Trump administration is developing a new strategy for the war in Syria that would focus more heavily on pushing Iran's military and its proxy forces out of the country.
 
The new strategy would not involve the US military directly targeting and killing Iranian soldiers or Iran's proxies, however, since that would violate the current US authorization for using force in Syria. The US military does have the right of self-defense under the authorization and could strike the Iranian military if it felt threatened.
 
The plan would emphasize political and diplomatic efforts to force Iran out of Syria by squeezing it financially, according to NBC News. It would withhold reconstruction aid from areas where Iranian and Russian forces are present, according to three people familiar with the plan. The US would also impose sanctions on Russian and Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria.

Trump plan to unite territories will endanger Israel

The latest revelation of additional details about the forthcoming Trump Middle East Plan should have every friend of Israel deeply worried.
 
White House envoy Jason Greenblatt told Yediot Ahronot on October 16: “Gaza and the West Bank have been separated for 10 years, not only physically, but politically—between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas…our peace plan intends to bring them together.”
 
Hamas is an openly genocidal, anti-Semitic regime that carries out acts of war against Israel —from mass border fence crashing to missile attacks— almost every day. How could it possibly be good for Israel to have the Hamas regime “united” with the Palestinian Authority?
 
Not that the Palestinian Authority is much different from Hamas. It shelters, sponsors, and pays anti-Israel terrorists. And it, too, spews anti-Semitic hate. Have we already forgotten PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s infamous speech on April 30, 2018, which even the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League acknowledged was filled with “anti-Semitic assertions”….? How can it possibly be good for Israel to have the PA strengthened through unity with Hamas and expansion into Gaza?
 
And take a look at the map. The only way to “unite” Gaza with the PA-controlled territories is by going through Israel. A highway would have to be built which would, in effect, cut Israel in two. How can that be a good thing?
 
There are a few other things we know about the forthcoming Trump Plan:
 
—It will likely place some kind of restriction on the right of Jews to live in Judea-Samaria.
In Feb. 9, 2017 interview with Israel Hayom, President Trump said: “The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements." Presumably his plan will reflect that attitude.
 
— Israel will have to “pay” for the U.S. recognizing Jerusalem. READ MORE

Report: Russia transferred highly-advanced S-300 system to Syria

Russia has reportedly delivered an even more advanced anti-aircraft system to Syria than the S-300 systems it transferred at the beginning of the month, the Russian news site Izvestiareported Friday.
 
According to the report, in addition to the "classic" S-300 anti-aircraft systems transferred to Syria, Russia has also moved three S-300PM-2 systems into the country. These systems, the report said, differ from the classic model in that they possess more advanced radars and target identification abilities, as well as a mobile command center.
 
The systems can also reportedly intercept the most advanced fighter jets and medium-range ballistic missiles of up to 155 miles, and are capable of defeating electronic warfare systems.
 
Sources in the Russian defense ministry denied to the newspaper that Iranian forces in Syria are operating the S-300PM-2 system, which they said only Russian forces know how to operate. The Iranians, the sources said, are in possession of older systems.
 
Last month, Russia announced it would upgrade Syria’s anti-air defense network and send the S-300 system there, following the downing of a Russian military aircraft in Syrian airspace. Russia blamed the incident on Israel, claiming that Israeli fighter jets flying overhead for an airstrike on a military research facility had caused Syrian defense systems to fire on the Russian plane.
 
The IDF denied being at fault for the incident, and subsequently sent a delegation to Moscow which stressed that the Syrian anti-aircraft fire was carried out “irresponsibly” and that Israeli jets were already out of the area when the Russian plane was downed.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

GOP Sen. Kennedy: If We Can’t Talk to Saudi Arabia, There Will Be Nuclear War in the Middle East

Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Live,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said the United States had to be measured in our response to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance and possible killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Kennedy said, “I think we have to condemn that behavior in the strongest possible terms.”
He continued, “It doesn’t mean we have the blow up the Middle East in order to condemn this kind of behavior.”
Kennedy explained, “There are three power centers in the Middle East: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. All three are run by authoritarians. They are all three rivals. They don’t like each other. They are all jockeying to get the upper hand in the Middle East. As soon as one of those gets the upper hand, there will be war in the Middle East. We have no relationship with Iran. We’ve tried. They are probably the most aggressive. We do have a relationship with Saudi Arabia. We have a relationship with Turkey. It needs to get better. You can work with a country to try to establish world order without affirming their values. I think the people who say we’re shocked that the Saudis did this—well number one, Saudi Arabia has never been a budding democracy, it’s an authoritarian regime. You can say they did it, so we’re not going to have anything else to do with them. Well, fine, if you want to have a powder keg and the Middle East blow up. I just think it’s a very unrealistic view of the world.”
As examples of consequences, Kennedy said, “You can expel diplomats, you can impose sanctions, you can curtail arms sells. I don’t agree with my colleague who is saying we need to terminate all discussion with Saudi Arabia. If you do that, and you tip the balance of power in the Middle East, we’re going to have a war.”
He added, “As long as we can talk to two powers, we have a chance to keep a lid on the place. We get to the point where we don’t have any relationships with any of the three and one of them gains the upper hand, you’ll have war in the Middle East and you’ll have a nuclear war because Israel is not going to sit there and watch the country be overrun.”

Iran Claims Its Ballistic Missiles Capable of Striking ‘Any Vessel’ from 435 Miles

Iran has developed land-to-sea ballistic missiles with the capability of hitting any ship from an estimated 435 miles, a top official from the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) declared this week amid escalating tensions with the United States over Tehran’s missile program.
“We have managed to make land-to-sea ballistic, not cruise, missiles that can hit any vessel or ship from 700 km [435 miles],” Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s airspace division, as saying on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
On Monday, Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy on Iran, acknowledged that Iran’s ballistic missile program was intensifying tensions in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, noting, “We are accumulating risk of regional conflict if we do not do more to deter Iran’s missile proliferation in the Middle East.”
The high-ranking IRGC official noted that the Shiite Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Tehran a decade ago to develop the capability of “hitting ships” with ballistic projectiles.
Hajizadeh “did not give details on the previous range of the missiles. In 2008, Iran displayed a ground-to-sea missile that it said could travel about 290 km (180 miles),” Reuters pointed out.
The IRGC’s revelation that it has more than doubled the 2008 range of Iran’s land-to-sea ballistic missiles comes a few months after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the controversial Iranian nuclear program in May, arguing that the deal failed to meet expectations.
Under the deal, Iran was supposed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
President Trump also said the deal was flawed because it did not curtail Tehran’s ballistic missiles program or its support for terrorist proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iran.
The Trump administration has reimposed sanctions that are expected to cripple the economy of Iran, deemed the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. government.
Iran has long claimed its missile program is only defensive and has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if the Trump administration tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports further.
Tehran has dismissed negotiations with Washington over Iran’s military capabilities. It also denies that its activities are brewing instability in the Middle East.
In September, the U.S. special envoy on Iran urged the Islamic Republic “to end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.”
“Iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East, with more than 10 ballistic missile systems in its inventory or in development,” he told reporters on September 20.
“Its ballistic missile program remains among the most significant challenges to broader nonproliferation efforts in the region and is an enduring threat to our allies and partners, including Israel.”

Cabinet decides: Response according to need

The political-security cabinet decided during the long meeting last night to adopt the line led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to support a military response only on the basis of developments on the ground and not on a proactive basis.

During the meeting, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman presented a plan to initiate a harsh response against Hamas. At the same time, the IDF, with the encouragement of Netanyahu, presented another plan whereby response would be according to what was happening on the ground and only if the terrorist organizations tried to attack Israel.

The cabinet ministers were instructed not to be interviewed by the media about the discussion in question, which also dealt with the indirect talks sponsored by the United Nations and Egypt vis-a-vis Hamas in Gaza to restore relative calm to the area, as was seen until March 29 this year.
 
Liberman, even before the discussion, said that the process of indirect contacts for calm had failed, despite repeated attempts.
 
However, the cabinet did increase the army's scope of action in response to violent demonstrations near the fence in Gaza, and also authorized more severe action against those who launch terror balloons. The implementation of these directives is due to take place tomorrow, when thousands of thousands of violent rioters are expected to convene along the Gaza border.
 
Member of the political-security cabinet Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant (Kulanu), spoke Thursday about Israel's intended response to the security escalation in the south.

"I will not refer to the content of the cabinet discussions, but I can say one thing very explicitly - the rules of the game are about to change," Galant said.

"We will no longer accept the arson terror and the fence terror," added Galant, who is currently taking part in a conference of the Association of Contractors and Builders in Eilat.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Egyptian Army Says 450 Jihadists Killed in Sinai Offensive

(AFP) CAIRO, Egypt — The Egyptian army said Tuesday that 450 jihadists are estimated to have been killed in its eight-month offensive against the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula.
The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid Sinai of IS jihadists after an attack on a mosque in the north of the peninsula killed more than 300 people.
Since the start of the campaign, 450 jihadists were presumed to have been killed “in the north and the center of Sinai by [soldiers] and police,” army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai told AFP.
According to army figures, around 30 soldiers have been killed in the operation.
Jihadists began an insurgency in Egypt after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule and that of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The army on Tuesday rejected criticism from rights groups over the Sinai campaign’s impact on civilians.
It said that people in the peninsula support its operation and are receiving humanitarian aid.
“All air strikes are carried out by the army outside residential areas,” Rifai said on Tuesday.
Journalists are barred from going to areas targeted in the Sinai 2018 campaign, although the army organized a rare visit to the North Sinai capital El-Arish in July.
A countrywide state of emergency was imposed in April last year following two suicide bombings at churches which were claimed by IS.
On Tuesday, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi extended the measure by a further three months.

Israel surprised by Palestinian upgraded missile attack on two major cities. Iron Dome didn’t react

How did Hamas get hold of the advanced Tornado-G Grad missiles aimed at Beersheba and Greater Tel Aviv early Wednesday, Oct. 17? Serious casualties and more extensive damage were only avoided by good luck when one of the missiles wrecked a home in Beersheba and the second landed in the sea. These improved Grad types are serious deadly weapons, carrying boosted warheads containing 70-80 kilos of explosives to a distance of 40-60km. They are copies of the high-explosive fragmentation of HE-FRAG  warheads, and made their first appearance in Palestinian terrorist hand in Gaza on Wednesday.
 
Were Israel’s government heads and security chiefs over-preoccupied with the never-ending Egyptian efforts to mediate a truce? Is that why they missed Hamas’ and the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad’s preparations in Gaza to catch the IDF off guard, trusting Israeli officers to obey official directives to avoid any major escalation?
 
To divert attention from this lapse, Israel’s media, fed by official sources, focused on questioning which Palestinian terrorist group was responsible for the dual missile attack, when only two militias, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were armed with advanced Grads. As though it made any difference. Both trotted out denials of involvement in the attack.
 
The IDF and defense ministry spokesman claim this missile is the product of Palestinian workshops in Gaza. This is highly unlikely. The two missiles fired Wednesday were fitted with sophisticated automatic positioning navigation, a capability which neither Hamas nor Jihad has been able to manufacture unaided. They were most likely smuggled into the Gaza Strip through Sinai and supplied by Iran or fellow terrorist groups in eastern Libya. The synchronized launch of two advanced missiles in opposite directions – east to Beersheba and north to the Tel Aviv district – called for professional preparation, advanced training and precise coordination between two missile teams. How come all this was missed by the IDF’s intelligence watchers and the country was left to be caught by surprise?
 
After the event, a senior IDF officer admitted when asked why Iron Dome did not respond, that even that wonder system is “not hermetic.” But he did not explain how one of the Palestinian missiles missed buildings in the Tel Aviv district – not because it was intercepted , but because it was mis-aimed and fell in the sea, nor how all the city’s alert sirens were silent.

The prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu cancelled the security cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning and was closeted instead with army and security chiefs for long hours of consultation, while the air force conducted its usual, mostly useless, tit-for-tat strikes at terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. While a decision on what happens next was awaited, political correspondents speculated that Hamas would be given another “last chance” to behave on Friday, and hold back its regular violent rampage, before Israel’s biggest military stick landed on its head; or, alternatively, until Egypt has another chance to broker a long-term truce, or even until the IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot returns from his visit to the United States in the next 24 hours.

Is this the plan that will remove Iran from Syria?

The Trump administration is developing a new strategy for the war in Syria that would focus more heavily on pushing Iran's military and its proxy forces out of the country, NBC Newsreported on Tuesday, citing five people familiar with the plan.
 
The new strategy would not involve the US military directly targeting and killing Iranian soldiers or Iran's proxies, however, since that would violate the current US authorization for using force in Syria. The US military does have the right of self-defense under the authorization, and could strike the Iranian military if it felt threatened.
 
The plan would emphasize political and diplomatic efforts to force Iran out of Syria by squeezing it financially, according to NBC News. It would withhold reconstruction aid from areas where Iranian and Russian forces are present, according to three people familiar with the plan. The US would also impose sanctions on Russian and Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria.
 
"There's a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria," said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime.
 
Driving Iran out of Syria would be one prong in an approach that would also involve continuing to destroy remaining pockets of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and finding a political transition after the exit of both ISIS and Iran that does not call for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step aside.
 
US defense officials worry the increased focus on Iran and the presence of both militaries in Syria could pull the US military closer into conflict.
 
The U.S. is not allowed to specifically expand the US military mission in Syria to directly target Iranian assets, according to legal experts, because that would put the U.S. on the wrong side of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in 2001. That authorization, which permitted the use of military force against ISIS in Syria, limits US action to targeting groups responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks and their associates. READ MORE