4 Dec 2017
2017-12/02 – AIRSTRIKE ON IRANIAN BASE IN SYRIA RAISES QUESTIONS – Jerusalem Post
In the early hours of December 2, reports claimed that a base or ammunition warehouse south of Damascus had been hit by missiles from an airstrike. Foreign media has alleged that Israel was behind that strike.
On November 10 the BBC released a report that Iran was “building permanent military base in Syria.” The report had three satellite images with it – from January, May and October – showing a site near El-Kiswah, south of Damascus. It was about 50 km. from Israeli forces on the Golan Heights. The changes at the site showed new buildings and the BBC ascribed the information to a “western intelligence source.”
On November 12, two days after the revelations of the Iranian base at El-Kiswah, a US State Department official indicated to Israeli media that the cease-fire memorandum would include the removal of Iranian forces from areas near the Golan. Three days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the agreement did not indicate that Iranian- backed forces would be withdrawn.
The month leading up to the strike underscores the complex game being waged by Iran to entrench itself in Syria and Israel’s attempts to warn the Iranians off.
1 Nov 2017
2017/11/01 – Hamas hands PA control of Gaza border crossings – BBC
The reconciliation deal, brokered by Egypt last month, aims to end a decade-long split between Hamas and its secular rival, Fatah, which dominates the PA.
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been ruled separately since deadly clashes between Hamas and Fatah broke out in 2007.
In what was seen as the first key test of the reconciliation agreement, the director of the Palestinian Borders and Crossings Authority, Nazmi Muhanna, took full control of the Rafah crossing on Wednesday.
Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Sheikh said the Rafah crossing would resume full operations on 15 November, when PA border officials and members of the Presidential Guard would be in place.
Rafah has largely been closed since 2007, when Israel and Egypt tightened their blockades of Gaza in response to the Hamas takeover and in an attempt to prevent attacks by militants.
Israel and the US have expressed reservations about the reconciliation deal.
The US said any Palestinian unity government would need to recognise the State of Israel, disarm “terrorists”, and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas was to play any role, it added, it would have to accept those requirements.
In other words – it’s nice they made an agreement after 10 years, but let’s wait and see how things are run.
19 Dec 2016
The Audacity Of Silence On Possible Iran-North Korea Nuclear Ties
It’s now more than eight weeks since Senator Ted Cruz sent a letter to three senior officials of the Obama administration, detailing his concerns that North Korea and Iran might be working together on developing nuclear missiles.
If there has been any such nuclear teamwork between Tehran and rogue, nuclear-testing Pyongyang, that would be a violation by Iran that should immediately blow up the Iran deal — which the Obama White House currently touts on its web site as “The Historic Deal that Will Prevent Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon.”
North Korea and Iran have been strategic allies since just after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. They have a long history of weapons deals, in which the usual arrangement has been that North Korea works on the weapons, oil-rich Iran pays the bills, and technicians shuttle between both countries.
From all these Administration officials, Cruz requested answers no later than Nov. 1. To date, according to his staff, he has received no answers at all.
Interesting… will have to keep an eye on this…
7 May 2016
Bumper poppy crop in Afghanistan could fuel Taliban attacks: US general
A bumper poppy crop in Afghanistan will help fund the Taliban and likely lead to fresh attacks on Afghan security forces after the harvest, a United States (US) general said Thursday.
Brigadier General Charles Cleveland, a senior spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said fighting in Helmand province had actually dipped in recent weeks while members of the Taliban harvest poppy fields ─ but warned the lull was temporary.
We should have set fire to all of those fields while we were active over there.
13 Jan 2016
Something strange about this whole event. The presence of cameras and videos, and the quick release of the people without incident… sounds like some sort of propaganda effort. It just seems staged to me.
Kerry Thanks Iran: Troops Were Well Taken Care Of, Peacefully Resolved Due To Nuclear Deal
KERRY: I want to thank the Iranian authorities for their co-operation and quick response. These are always situations that everybody here knows have an ability, if not properly guided to get out of control and I’m appreciative for the quick and appropriate response of the Iranian authorities. All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of and provided with blankets and food and assisted with their return to the fleet earlier today. And I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago and in fact, it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and officially resolved and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong. And that is really at the core of what I am here to talk about today.
The Iranians are friendly. They fed them and kept them warm and let them go peacefully. They aren’t mean and nasty.
Diplomacy keeps our country safe? I would like to know what level of diplomacy was used.
12 Jan 2016
Pentagon: 2 US Navy boats held by Iran but will be returned
The crew of two small Navy craft are being held by Iran, but American officials have received assurances from Tehran that the crew and vessels will be returned safely and promptly.
U.S. officials said that the incident happened near Farsi Island, situated in the middle of the Persian Gulf. They say it stemmed from some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats, causing them to run aground. The troops were picked up by Iran.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who has forged a personal relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif through three years of nuclear negotiations, called Zarif immediately on learning of the incident, according to a senior U.S. official.
Kerry “personally engaged with Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome,” the official said.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
3 Dec 2013
U.S. military halts cargo shipments out of Afghanistan
The U.S. military, facing continuing protests over drone strikes, has halted military cargo shipments from Afghanistan, citing a potential risk to drivers and contractors along the route once it enters Pakistan.
Halted operations through the Torkham Gate border crossing impacts more than half of all military shipments out of the war zone each month as American involvement in the war winds down.
The decision also comes as the United States is trying to get Afghanistan to sign an agreement to keep some U.S. troops in the country after 2014. But the majority of the gear for the 47,000 troops still in Afghanistan will have to be brought out.