Wednesday 6 December 2023

Israel underestimating Hezbollah threat

Eleven IDF combat soldiers were wounded recently by an anti-tank missile in Beit Hillel, highlighting the growing threat of Hezbollah just kilometers from the Israel-Lebanon border.

Col. Kobi Marom, an expert on national security, expressed his concerns on Anat Davidov and Udi Segal's program on 103FM. He also discussed the ongoing campaign against Hamas in Gaza in the South.

Marom criticized Israel's strategic approach, stating, "We are acting as if the October 07 massacre never happened. 

There is a terrorist organization waging war against us on the northern front, yet we have been reactive and cautious in our response. This is an impossible situation."

Marom emphasized the need for a stronger stance against Hezbollah, urging the IDF to make them pay a price for their aggression.

He suggested increasing attacks along the border and preparing for a limited offensive after the main effort in Gaza.

He believes that a more determined approach will create real security and deter further Hezbollah aggression.

Regarding the South, Marom highlighted the critical stage of the ground campaign. He criticized Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar for underestimating Israeli society's resilience and determination for security.

While he does not believe Hamas will be destroyed in the three-week effort, he predicts a serious blow to the group. He also emphasized the importance of creating conditions for a large hostage release deal, which may come with heavy prices but is necessary for those affected by the conflict.

Marom also criticized the disorganized leadership, pointing out the strained relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

He stated, "A government that fails to prioritize national resilience and public trust damages our ability to win this war. We must prioritize the well-being of our citizens and help them rebuild their lives."


Putin arrives Saudi Arabia to meet Mohammad

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a rare trip abroad to discuss oil production, OPEC Plus and the wars in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine.

Putin's meeting with the prince, known as MbS, comes after oil prices fell despite a pledge by OPEC Plus, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, to further cut output.

Putin arrived in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for talks President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. He is due to then travel to Saudi Arabia for his first face-to-face meeting with MbS since October 2019.

The Kremlin said they would discuss energy cooperation, including as part of OPEC Plus, whose members pump more than 40% of the world's oil.

"Close Russian-Saudi coordination in this format is a reliable guarantee of maintaining a stable and predictable situation in the global oil market," the Kremlin said.

The Kremlin's chief's last visit to the region was in July 2022, when he met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran.

It was not immediately clear what Putin, who has rarely left Russia since the start of the Ukraine war, intends to discuss with the crown prince of the world's largest oil exporter, just days after disagreements delayed a key OPEC Plus meeting.

They will also discuss the war between Israel and Hamas militants, the situation in Syria and Yemen, and broader issues like ensuring stability in the Gulf, the Kremlin said. A Kremlin aide said Ukraine would also be discussed.

Putin will host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin and MbS, who together control one-fifth of the oil pumped each day, have long enjoyed close relations, though both have at times been ostracised by the West.

At a G20 summit in 2018, just two month after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate, Putin and MbS high-fived and shook hands with smiles.

MbS, 38, has sought to reassert Saudi Arabia as a regional power with less deference to the United States, which supplies Riyadh most of its weapons and which is the world's top producer of oil.

Putin, who sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, says Russia is engaged in an existential battle with the West - and has courted allies across the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia amid Western attempts to isolate Moscow.

Both MbS and Putin, 71, want and need high prices for oil - the lifeblood of their economies. The question for both, is how much of the burden each should take on to keep prices aloft - and how to verify the burden.

OPEC Plus last month delayed its meeting by several days due to disagreements over production levels by some members. Saudi's energy minister said OPEC Plus also wanted more assurances from Moscow it would do good on its pledge to reduce fuel exports.

Relations between Saudi and Russia in OPEC Plus have at times been uneasy and a deal on cuts almost broke down in March 2020, when the markets were already shaken by the onset of the COVID pandemic.

But the two nations managed to patch up their relations within weeks and OPEC Plus agreed to record cuts of almost 10% of global oil demand, to prop up the oil markets.

Since war broke out between Israel and Hamas on October 07, Putin has cast the conflict as a failure of US policy in the Middle East and has fostered ties with Arab allies and Iran, as well as with Hamas.

When Russia intervened in the Syrian Civil War in 2015, it helped tip the balance in Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's favour, ensuring the Syrian leader's survival despite Western demands that he be toppled.

"The Kremlin seeks to build its line of behaviour taking into account the opinions of the main regional players - Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran, who are not just observers, but also, in a sense, participants in the situation," Andrey Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council think tank told the Vedomosti newspaper.


Tuesday 5 December 2023

United States supporting Israel, accuses Iran

Iran has denounced the United States for its undeniable participation in the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. Washington has given Tel Aviv additional weaponry to use in the genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking on Monday at a weekly press conference in Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that the US has essentially sided with the occupying regime, which has killed thousands of Palestinians to make up for its loss in the war on Gaza, rather than taking a stand to stop the catastrophe.

He also stressed, “The US has a direct and undeniable role in the Zionist regime’s war crimes against the Palestinian people. It is clear that Operation Al-Aqsa Storm was a legitimate and defensive action by the Palestinian nation against the occupiers and that it exposed Israel’s fake claim to enjoy security capability.”

“The new round of attacks started when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was present at the Zionist regime’s war cabinet... the US has provided new weapons and equipment to the Zionist regime and has filled its hands to continue crimes,” he added. 

Additionally, Kanaani cited remarks made on Saturday by Lloyd Austin, who reiterated that Washington’s commitment to Israel is not negotiable.

Also in his remarks, the top diplomat warned that action against Iran’s interests and security, as well as the country’s military advisors in Syria, will not go unanswered.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement on Saturday that two of its members, Mohammad Ali Ataee Shoorcheh and Panah Taqizadeh, were killed by the Israeli regime while on an advisory mission.

Speaking briefly about recent Western charges over Iran’s missile program, Kanaani also said certain groups aim to mislead the people and conceal the bitter reality in Palestine by bringing up petty matters and baseless worries.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman also commented on a bipartisan bill approved by the US House of Representatives that would prevent Iran from obtaining US$6 billion in cash that had been unfrozen and moved to Qatari banks a few months ago, saying, “The plan to block Iran’s money needs the approval of the Senate and the signature of the US president. The US government must honor its commitments in the agreement with Iran. We got necessary guarantees in this regard as the US has shown that it is not reliable.” 

Kanaani further emphasized that the Iranian government has access to the funds, saying, “We can use them according to our needs.”

Kanaani also expressed regret that the UN Security Council has succumbed to US pressure and failed to carry out its mandate in relation to the barbaric Israeli attacks against Gaza.

“The United Nations Security Council has shown itself unable to carry out its mandate to protect Palestinian lives and maintain calm in Gaza, which has been subjected to weeks of ruthless Israeli bombings.”

Kanaani also took issue with the US government misusing their hosting of the UN headquarters.

“The US government has practically stood by the occupying Zionist regime. Reports substantiate US has provided Israeli regime with arms in the war on Gaza,” he added.

Kanaani also condemned as an outright lie American claims that the US is not interested in the expansion of the Gaza war.

The US cannot arm the Israeli regime and send its Secretary of State to the Israeli war room in Tel Aviv and then claim to defend civilians, the ministry spokesman pointed out.

Kanaani emphasized Iran’s efforts to stop the Israeli slaughter in Gaza, saying it is the international community’s obligation to defend Palestinians.

“If the Israeli crimes go unpunished, they will pose a threat to humanity.”

Weapons United States Secretly Sent Israel

The Biden administration has tried hard to conceal the nature and quantity of the weapons it  has provided Israel for its war on Hamas. However, it is with a heavy heart that an internal Defense Department list of the weapons is being reproduced here.

2,000 Hellfire missiles for Apache attack helicopters. The Lockheed Martin precision-guided Hellfires are being used more and more extensively by Israel now that its ground operations in Gaza dominate the war.

30mm chain gun ammunition, also for Apache attack helicopters. General Dynamics manufactures the latest ammunition.

57,000 155mm shells for artillery guns

400 120mm mortars

PVS-14 Night Optical Devices

M141 shoulder-fired bunker-busters, officially “bunker defeat munitions,” the Western equivalent of Hamas RPGs and designed to engage targets at short range. “Bunker buster” as described in the news media is a bit misleading as the munition is used at 250 meter range to attack above-ground fortifications.

75 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, manufactured by Oshkosh Defense

300+ Tamir interceptors, used for Israel’s “Iron Dome” system, and manufactured by Raytheon (RTX) in cooperation with Israel.

It would be a crying shame if you posted to social media this list of weapons, which again, the Biden administration has gone to great lengths to hide from the public. 

The administration has repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the press to ascertain the nature of the weapons US tax dollars are paying to provide to Israel. Here’s a representative example from a Pentagon press briefing last month.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby rather bluntly summarized the administration’s position in a press briefing last month. Kirby said that US arms assistance to Israel is taking place “on a near-daily basis,” but “We’re being careful not to quantify or get into too much detail about what they’re getting — for their own operational security purposes, of course.”

Except it isn’t true. Basic transparency about the nature and quantity of arms assistance is no threat to operational security, as arms expert William Hartung of the Quincy Institute said.

By comparison, the Biden administration publicizes a 3-page long fact sheet detailing all sorts of weapons it has provided to Ukraine, as well as quantities.

The “operational security” argument sounds like malarkey.




Monday 4 December 2023

GCC Summit in Doha

Yet another meeting of Arab countries is being held today. These countries have failed miserably in stopping Israeli genocide. There are talks and talks but no action. Over 15,000 people, mostly women and children have been killed and killing is going unabated.  

The Gaza conflict and other major developments in the region will figure high at the 44th summit session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which will be held in the Qatari capital Doha on Tuesday.

Leaders from the six member states of GCC will attend the summit, set to be held at a time when the region is witnessing Israel’s military aggression on the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. The leaders will also discuss major international developments.

The 158th preparatory meeting of the GCC foreign ministers held on Sunday finalized the agenda of the summit. Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan led the Saudi delegation that attended the ministerial meeting.

The ministerial meeting was chaired by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who is also chairman of the current session of the Ministerial Council.

Foreign ministers of the GCC states and GCC Secretary General Jasem Albudaiwi attended the meeting.

The ministers discussed a number of reports regarding the follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the 43rd summit of the GCC Supreme Council held in Riyadh, as well as memorandums and reports submitted by the ministerial and technical committees and the General Secretariat. The meeting also discussed topics related to dialogues and strategic relations between the GCC countries, as well as with other countries and global blocs, in addition to the regional and international developments taking place in the region.

From the Saudi side, the meeting was attended by Ambassador to Qatar Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Rasi, deputy minister of foreign affairs for multilateral international affairs, and Abdul Rahman Al-Daoud, director general of the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Also, on Sunday, Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, co-chaired the first meeting of the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council.

Ruthless Israeli killings in Gaza

Backed by the United States, the indiscriminate Israeli attacks against the civilian population across the entire Gaza Strip continue unabated. But the level of anxiety among the Israeli soldiers, especially in the northern part of the enclave is growing and they are shooting at anything that moves. 

The US administration claims it has pressured Israel to limit the number of civilian casualties in the next phase of the war on Gaza. 

The Israeli military, as instructed by the Israeli cabinet, has brushed the wider concerns of the international community on the rising civilian death toll. 

The regime is not taking into account any caution against the loss of civilian life amid Israeli military is attacking the densely populated southern Gaza Strip and in particular Khan Younis area where Palestinians had been forcefully displaced by the Israeli army. 

In a sign of the anxiety among Israeli ground forces operating in Gaza, they are shooting with lethal force at anything that moves, including the vehicles belonging to Doctors without Borders. 

In a post on social media, one of the passengers who survived the attack

"When we arrived at al-Wahida Street, which is close to our office and guesthouse and Gaza clinic, I saw tanks on the street and snipers on top of the buildings. I was terrified when I saw that the snipers and tanks are pointing at us.” 

The chances of committing massacres have increased as seen in the current war on Gaza, which has entered its 58th day with a civilian death toll surpassing 15,200, 70% being women and children. 

It allows airstrikes on non-military targets and the use of an AI system, which has enabled the Israeli army to carry out its deadliest war on Gaza.

"In one case discussed by the sources, the Israeli military command knowingly approved the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an attempt to assassinate a single top Hamas military commander," the probe revealed

As for the northern Gaza Strip, there was never any regard for civilian life in the first place.

The Palestinian higher education ministry has announced that an Israeli airstrike on Gaza has killed the prominent Palestinian scholar Sufyan Tayeh along with his entire family. 

Tayeh was president of the Islamic University of Gaza and was a leading researcher in physics and applied mathematics. 

In northern Gaza, an airstrike flattened a residential building hosting displaced families in the urban refugee camp of Jabaliya on the outskirts of Gaza City.

Also, in the north, the Palestinian health ministry said, "A violent Zionist bombing on Beit Lahia left dozens of martyrs and injured civilians."

According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, many people have been injured in another indiscriminate Israeli missile attack that targeted the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of Gaza.

Numerous residential homes have been hit across Gaza, with multiple casualties reported in a strike that flattened a multi-story building near Gaza City.

Israel violated a seven-day truce on Friday morning by resuming its merciless attacks against Palestinian civilians. Hamas said there will be no further exchange of Israeli captives for Palestinians. 

Saleh al Arouri, the deputy Hamas chief, has said there will be no further exchanges until "the war on Gaza is over". 

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Arouri said the remaining hostages are Israeli soldiers and civilian men who served in the Israeli army.

He added that Israeli hostages will not be freed unless there is a ceasefire and all Palestinian prisoners are released.


Sunday 3 December 2023

Iran demands trial of Israelis for war crimes

More than a thousand members of the Iranian legal community have signed a petition calling for an immediate arrest and trial of the Zionist regime’s criminals in the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

The petition was signed on the sidelines of a conference on the Islamic Republic’s Constitution on Sunday. The members of the legal community lambasted the crimes of the Israeli regime in Gaza.

The edited text of the petition reads as follows: 

In the Gaza war, the international community has witnessed living documentation of countless international crimes committed by Israel's apartheid and child-killing regime against the defenseless people of Gaza. As a result of this war, more than 16,000 people have been killed, more than 36,000 people have been injured, and 7,000 people are missing. So far, 1.5 million people have been displaced, and 205 members of the medical staff, 25 members of the relief forces, and 64 journalists have been martyred. The barbaric attacks of the Zionist army on Gaza have caused 26 hospitals and 55 medical centers to go out of service. 

The Israeli defense minister, who has violated all human rights rules, has issued a complete blockade of Gaza, and subsequently, the access of the people of Gaza to electricity, food, water, gas, a safe environment for accommodation, treatment, and even the Internet has been cut off. Unfortunately, world leaders are only witnessing the cruel and collective punishment of the Palestinian nation by the occupying regime. Even after the temporary ceasefire, the Gazan people have had no shelter to return to because 43,000 of their residential units have been leveled down. Despite the recommendations of the United Nations and human rights organizations, the Zionist army disagreed with the extension of the ceasefire and resumed its war crimes.

We, the signatories of this petition, while expressing our sympathy with the survivors of the Palestinian martyrs, express our disgust for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the widespread aggression and genocide of Palestinians by Israel and their European and American supporters. We request urgent action by the international community to expel the criminal Zionist regime from the occupied territories and immediately prosecute the Israeli criminals.