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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 12:50
The Italian Cavour aircraft carrier

The Italian Cavour aircraft carrier


13 November 2013 by defenceWeb


A fleet of Italian Navy (Marina Militare) vessels led by the aircraft carrier Cavour today set off on an unusual trip around the Middle East and Africa that will combine crew training and diplomacy with a privately funded sales trip for Italian industry.


The Cavour, loaded with sales teams from defence companies such as Finmeccanica, Fincantieri, Elettronica and Beretta, will turn the vessel into a “large defence show like Le Bourget,” DefenseNews quoted Italian Defence Minister Mario Mauro as saying at a conference announcing the mission earlier this month.


Setting up mobile showrooms alongside defence firms on board will be the makers of Italian furniture and civilian aircraft, as well as representatives of the Italian Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations.


The rationale behind the travelling sales mission, which will call at 19 ports before returning to Italy in April, is that companies on board will foot the bill, effectively underwriting crew training as regular funding for exercises dries up, the Gannett Company publication said.


Industry will pay more than €10 million for fuel costs and €3 million for other expenses, including port fees, while the Navy will pick up the €7 million wages bill, said Navy Chief Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi.


Addressing the news conference, Italy’s military chief of staff, Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, spoke of the benefits of being able to “train our crews for five months in a challenging climate, far from home.”


Accompanying the Cavour will be the patrol vessel Comandante Borsini, the support ship Etna and the multi-mission frigate Bergamini.


The Navy has been pushing to find creative ways to fund crew training while maintenance and operations budgets are eroding as planners divert large amounts for personnel spending, DefenseNews reported.


In the three-year budget published this year, maintenance and operations funding slips from €1.33 billion this year to €1.32 billion in 2014 and to €1.3 billion in 2015.


Apart from training, De Giorgi said the mission would help spur co-operation with allied navies the four vessel fleet calls on during the trip, including Mozambique, where the Italian and local navies are due to sign a co-operation deal.


The marketing of Italian naval vessels also would be on the agenda in the Arabian Gulf, Morocco, South Africa and Mozambique, while in Angola, talks would continue about Italian industry helping to develop a new type vessel for the local navy, he said.


The 27 600-ton Cavour has been involved in marketing activities before. In 2010, its maiden mission took it to earthquake-stricken Haiti with aid, earthmoving vehicles, hospital facilities and 900 personnel. But it also stopped off in Brazil, ostensibly to take on Brazilian medical personnel, but also to support Rome’s efforts to market naval vessels to Brazil.


Finmeccanica and Fincantieri, the two state-controlled companies that team on Italy’s naval construction, footed most of the bill for the mission.


This time, the mission has a more determinedly commercial profile, with potential buyers scheduled to board the Cavour at each port to view displays. The five month voyage was confirmed by Counsellor Luigi Diodati of the Italian Embassy in South Africa. He said further details, including exactly which South African ports the Cavour and her escorts would call on, would be made available in due course.


For companies in the Finmeccanica group, the voyage allows a focus on the gulf ports in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.


AgustaWestland will be parking an NH90 and AW101 helicopter on board the Cavour, while Oto Melara will promote its new guided munitions and Selex ES the combat management system it installed on Cavour. Torpedo unit WASS will promote its Black Shark torpedo, while visitors also will see the Storm Shadow, Meteor and Brimstone missiles built by MBDA, in which Finmeccanica holds a stake.


Small-vessel builder Intermarine is joining the trip, as is small arms maker Beretta.


“We are interested in the visits to the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait,” said Lorenzo Benigni, vice president for communications at electronics firm Elettronica, which has supplied self-protection systems on Cavour.


The defence stands will share space with displays promoting Italy’s hosting of Expo 2015, as well as stands taken by small aircraft maker Blackshape, tire-maker Pirelli and business aircraft company Piaggio Aero. Railway technology group Mermec and microsatellite builder Sitael also will be represented, as well as an Italian trade association grouping 2 800 furniture and wooden goods manufacturers.


The mission, De Giorgi said, represented “a business card for Italy,” while Mauro said, “the Cavour will be a piece of Italy.”


Following stops in the gulf, the ships will make stops in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and Algeria. During African stops, humanitarian groups on board, including 60 Red Cross volunteers, will work with locals.


Combined, the military presence, the marketing of Italian hardware and the humanitarian aid would show Italy is taking care of “360 degrees of co-operation,” De Giorgi said. The mission reflects his desire to engage the Navy in civil tasks.

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10 octobre 2013 4 10 /10 /octobre /2013 07:30
Proche-Orient sans ADM: Moscou veut accélérer l'organisation d'une conférence


MOSCOU, 9 octobre - RIA Novosti


Le représentant de la Russie à l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU, Mikhaïl Oulianov, a appelé mercredi à lancer le plus vite possible des consultations à Genève réunissant tous les pays du Proche-Orient en vue de préparer une Conférence sur la création d'une zone libre d'armes de destruction massive (ADM).

"La convocation immédiate à Genève de consultations préparatoires rassemblant tous les pays du Proche-Orient contribuerait réunir au plus vite une Conférence sur la mise en place d'une zone libre d'ADM dans cette région", a déclaré le diplomate.

Lors de la discussion politique tenue le 8 octobre à la 68e Assemblée générale de l'ONU, M. Oulianov a regretté que la Conférence sur la création d'une telle zone au Proche-Orient n'ait pas eu lieu en 2012.

Selon le représentant russe, il est indispensable "d'utiliser l'impulsion engendrée par la décision de la Syrie de renoncer aux armes chimiques et par l'entente russo-américaine concernant la destruction de ces armes".

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 19:30
Golan: des insurgés syriens déguisés en casques bleus (diplomate)

Austrian peacekeepers with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) consult a map while on patrol in the Golan Heights. UN Photo Wolfgang Grebien


NEW YORK, 23 septembre - RIA Novosti


Des insurgés syriens installés sur le plateau du Golan, zone de séparation entre Israël et la Syrie, se déguisent en casques bleus pour tromper les troupes gouvernementales, a annoncé à RIA Novosti une source diplomatique à New York. 


"Nous disposons d'informations fiables, confirmées par le commandement de la Force des Nations unies pour l'observation du désengagement entre la Syrie et Israël (FNUOD), selon lesquelles certains éléments armés de l'opposition syrienne sur le Golan portent de l'équipement et des casques identiques à ceux des soldats de l'Onu. L'équipement spécial aurait été volé lors d'une série d'incidents survenus par le passé", a indiqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence. 


Selon la source, cette tactique viserait à tromper les soldats de l'armée syrienne.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 07:30
Israel Hedges its Bets on Obama Bid for Military Force

Sep. 17, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME – Defense News


Experts: Syria is no Litmus Test for Iran


TEL AVIV — As debate continues in Washington over a prospective Syrian strike, Israeli security experts are backing away from earlier claims — first articulated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and since adopted by President Barack Obama and pro-Israel supporters on Capitol Hill — that failure to act against Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons will fuel the threat of a nuclear Iran.


In his Sept. 10 address to the American people, Obama reiterated the Syrian-Iranian connection as one of the rationales driving his decision for military force.


“Failure to stand against chemical weapons will weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or pursue a more peaceful path,” Obama said.


Nearly identical language was employed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — Washington’s premier pro-Israel lobby — in its bid for congressional authorization to hold Assad accountable through military force.


“America must send a forceful message of resolve not just to Syria, but to those like Iran and Hezbollah… Failure to approve this resolution would call into question America’s will to carry out our commitments, including the President’s and Congress’ pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” AIPAC wrote in a mass mailing to lawmakers.


For his part, Netanyahu has repeatedly warned, “Iran is closely watching whether and how the world responds to the atrocities committed by its client state in Syria.”


But with prospects far from certain of Obama securing the support he seeks for a Syrian strike, Netanyahu has ordered government ministers not to get involved in what the Israeli premier now claims is a domestic American affair.


In the contentious run-up to a congressional vote, a top Defense Ministry official and security experts here insist Syria is not a litmus test for Iran and caution against linking Assad’s use of chemical weapons to the Iranian nuclear threat.


Whichever way Congress votes and however Obama ultimately responds to atrocities attributed to Assad, experts here say American action or inaction should not be mistaken as a template for prospective future US-led intervention in Iran.


“Whether or not this is popular, I don’t recommend drawing conclusions about Iran from Syria. You can’t project one case onto another,” said retired Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the longtime director for political and security affairs at Israel’s MoD.


Speaking Sept. 8 at a conference of the Herzliya-based Institute for Counter Terrorism, Gilad said Israel’s overriding strategic concern is the looming threat of a nuclear-capable Iran. Regardless of how Washington chooses to deal with atrocities attributed to Assad, Gilad said the US president is committed to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.


“I recommend taking Obama seriously when he says he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” he said.


At the same event, former Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad warned of unintended consequences of a Syrian strike that could sap US legitimacy and restrict its maneuvering room for future military action in Iran.


The former Netanyahu security adviser criticized the pro-Israel lobby for exhorting support for a Syrian strike that may ultimately harm efforts to combat the nuclear threat. “AIPAC is using analogies about how this reflects on Iran, but the two cases are not at all analogous.”


“There’s no shadow of a doubt that Iran is a much larger threat to the entire region, including America, than Syrian use of [weapons of mass destruction],” Arad said.


“So even during this Syrian crisis, attention must not be deflected from the real strategic threat by risking complications and US credibility in a secondary, supporting element of the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis.”


Oded Eran, a former Israeli diplomat and senior associate at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies, said Netanyahu was wise in enforcing his current policy of nonintervention in the Syrian civil war or in the ongoing debate in Washington.


“At the beginning, there was a kind of knee-jerk linkage of the Syrian chemical issue to the Iranian nuclear threat, but these are only artificial similarities,” Eran told reporters here last week.


“I suggest we take a deeper view and not jump to quick conclusions that American handling of the Syrian issue is a forerunner of what to expect in Iran,” he said.


In a late August interview on Israel Army Radio, President Shimon Peres reflected the government’s ambiguous support for White House policy on Syria and Iran. “I have full faith in President Obama’s moral and operational stance. I recommend patience and am confident that the United States will respond appropriately to Syria… Thoughtfulness should not be confused with indecision.”


Peres insisted that Israel should not be in a position of deciding or influencing US and international action in Syria. “For various reasons, there is consensus against Israeli involvement. We did not create the Syrian situation.”


As for Iran, Peres said he took Obama at his word. “I do not believe he will allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Selex ES Sells Falco UAV to Middle Eastern Country

Sep. 10, 2013 - By TOM KINGTON – Defense News


ROME — -- Finmeccanica unit Selex ES has announced a deal worth over €40 million (US $52 million) to sell its Falco UAV to an unnamed Middle Eastern country.


The deal covers operational and maintenance support to the customer for 12 months, Selex said in a statement on Tuesday.


Last year, Finmeccanica said it was seeking to sell a second batch of Falcos to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has already reportedly purchased the tactical medium-altitude, medium-endurance UAV.


At the time the firm said it had sold the UAV to four customers, with Pakistan known to be on the client list alongside Saudi Arabia.


Last month, the UN said it was acquiring a Falco system to support peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first time the UN has used UAVs.


On Tuesday, after the latest Middle East contract announcement, a Selex spokeswoman said the firm now has five customers for the Falco.


Last year, Finmeccanica said it saw opportunities to sell UAVs in Algeria, the UAE and Malaysia, countries that may be reluctant to do business with the Israeli UAV industry.


Fabrizio Giulianini, CEO of Selex ES, said the firm has also launched a flight campaign for its larger, Falco Evo UAV and won a launch customer for its platform-agnostic SkyISTAR mission system

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24 juillet 2013 3 24 /07 /juillet /2013 11:30
L'Egypte et Israël déconseillés aux militaires russes habilités secret défense

MOSCOU, 23 juillet - RIA Novosti


Les militaires russes ayant accès aux documents top secret ne pourront plus se rendre en vacances en Egypte et en Israël, écrit le quotidien Izvestia du 23 juillet 2013.


Cette décision a été prise vu l'aggravation de l’instabilité politique dans ces deux pays, a-t-on expliqué à l'Etat-major des forces armées russes. "Le chef d'Etat-major général Valeri Guerassimov a approuvé la liste de pays où les militaires habilités secret défense peuvent passer les vacances. L'Egypte et Israël n'y figurent plus", déclare le porte-parole de l'Etat-major.


Il ajoute que la directive ordonne aux responsables, lors de la délivrance des autorisations au personnel, de "tenir compte de la situation militaro-politique et criminogène dans les pays d'accueil", ainsi que de ne pas laisser les officiers se rendre dans les pays inscrits sur la liste du ministère des Affaires étrangères (MAE) déconseillés aux Russes.


La liste en question comprend 39 pays où les officiers habilités secret-défense sont autorisés à se rendre : l'Abkhazie, l'Azerbaïdjan, Andorre, l'Autriche, l'Arménie, la Bulgarie, la Biélorussie, la Belgique, le Vietnam, la Hongrie, la Grèce, le Danemark, la République dominicaine, l'Inde, l'Indonésie, la Jordanie, l'Italie, Malte, le Maroc, la Moldavie, la Slovénie, la Slovaquie, la Pologne, l'Ukraine, la Norvège, Oman, les Emirats arabes unis, Cuba, Chypre, le Kazakhstan, la Thaïlande, la Turquie, la Tunisie, la Finlande, la France, la Croatie, le Monténégro, la République tchèque et la Suisse.


Un officier du renseignement ne pourra donc prendre ses congés que s’il indique l'un de ces pays dans la case "lieu". Il est à noter que les anciennes républiques soviétiques ne figurent pas toutes dans la liste : on note par exemple l'absence du Tadjikistan, du Kirghizstan, du Turkménistan, de l'Estonie, de la Lettonie, de la Lituanie et de la Géorgie, où les officiers ne seront pas autorisés à se rendre.


Konstantin Sivkov, premier vice-président de l'Académie des problèmes géopolitiques, pense que cette interdiction est justifiée.


"Les officiers habilités secret-défense pourraient être kidnappés par des combattants en arrivant dans une région instable et se voir soutirer des informations, d'autant qu'il existe aujourd'hui diverses méthodes psychotropes à cet effet. Par conséquent il est opportun et juste de prévenir le départ du personnel vers ces destinations", explique Konstantin Sivkov.


Selon lui les officiers russes ne doivent pas se rendre dans les pays où les positions des musulmans wahhabites sont fortes : l'Arabie saoudite, le Qatar, la Jordanie, la Syrie, la Libye, et même les USA. En revanche, les officiers n'ont rien à craindre dans les pays européens de l'Otan.


"Dans les pays de l'Otan les gens sont plus ou moins civilisés, contrairement aux Etats-Unis. L’alliance est très poreuse aujourd'hui, elle a été significativement affaiblie par les pays d'Europe de l'Est qui y ont adhéré", a fait remarquer l'expert.


Chypre fut le premier pays où les officiers du renseignement étaient autorisés à se rendre.


En 1996 le ministre de la Défense de l'époque Pavel Gratchev avait signé un ordre à cet effet. Les frais de voyage pour les officiers et les membres de leurs familles étaient pris en charge.


En 2006, le chef de l'Etat-major des forces armées russes Iouri Balouevski a approuvé une liste de 21 pays où les officiers habilités secret-défense pouvaient voyager : l'Arménie, l'Azerbaïdjan, Andorre, la Bulgarie, la Biélorussie, la Hongrie, l'Egypte, la Grèce, l'Espagne, l'Italie, Chypre, la Chine, la Slovaquie, l'Ukraine, la Lettonie, les Emirats arabes unis, la Croatie, la Turquie, la Tunisie, la Finlande et la République tchèque.


En 2009, l'ex-ministre de la Défense Anatoli Serdioukov avait décidé d'interdire la sortie du territoire russe des officiers habilités secret-défense et avait ordonné de préparer une directive à cet effet. Mais cette directive n'a pas été signée. En 2011 Serdioukov avait tout de même signé l'ordre 250 en conformité avec lequel seul le ministre de la Défense pouvait donner l'autorisation aux officiers de se rendre à l'étranger.


Le 24 décembre 2012, le ministre Sergueï Choïgou a délégué à ses adjoints et aux chefs de l'appareil du ministère de la Défense le droit d'autoriser les officiers du renseignement à partir à l'étranger, se réservant ainsi la possibilité d'analyser les demandes de congés du personnel ayant accès aux informations confidentielles.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 17:30
L'Armée syrienne libre désormais en guerre contre Al-Qaïda

12.07.2013 Romandie.com (ats)


Un nouveau front s'ouvre en Syrie après le meurtre par des islamistes liés à Al-Qaïda d'un chef de l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL), composante de l'opposition soutenue par l'Occident. L'ASL considère cet assassinat comme une déclaration de guerre.


Kamal Hamami, plus connu sous son nom de guerre Abou Bassir al Ladkani, a été tué jeudi dans le grand port syrien de Lattaquié par des islamistes du groupe de l'"Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant" (EIIL). Il était l'une personnalités les plus en vue du Conseil militaire suprême de l'ASL.


"Nous allons les balayer", a déclaré un commandant de l'ASL ayant requis l'anonymat. "Nous n'allons pas les laisser s'en sortir comme cela, vu qu'ils veulent nous prendre pour cible", a-t-il ajouté.


D'après ce commandant, les militants liés à Al-Qaïda ont affirmé qu'il n'y avait "pas de place" pour l'ASL dans la région où Kamal Hamami a été tué, dans le nord de la Syrie, près de la frontière avec la Turquie.


D'autres responsables de l'opposition ont précisé que Kamal Hamami, qui participait à une réunion avec des activistes de l'EIIL lorsque ceux-ci l'ont tué, avait disputé aux islamistes la maîtrise d'un poste de contrôle à Lattaquié.


Attaques plus fréquentes


L'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'homme (OSDH), une ONG proche de l'opposition, fait état de heurts de plus en plus fréquents depuis plusieurs semaines entre l'ASL à l'EIIL.


"Vendredi dernier, l'Etat islamique a tué un rebelle de l'ASL dans la province d'Idlib et l'a décapité", a dit Rami Abdelrahman, qui dirige l'OSDH. Des attaques ont eu lieu dans de nombreuses provinces.


Les groupes islamistes radicaux, parfois liés à Al-Qaïda, gagnent en influence au sein de l'insurrection syrienne et l'EIIL cherche depuis plusieurs mois à imposer son autorité sur les zones tenues par l'opposition dans le nord de la Syrie.


"Zones libérées"


Parmi les groupes islamistes, les unités combattantes de l'EIIL ont pris le dessus sur le Front al Nosra, plus local, et grâce à l'aide de riches particuliers des pays du Golfe, ont commencé à imposer dans les "zones libérées" les règles les plus strictes de la loi musulmane.


Le porte-parole du Conseil militaire suprême de l'ASL, Louay Mekdad, a déclaré que le chef de file de l'Etat islamique en Irak, Abou Ayman al Baghdadi, avait lui-même abattu Kamal Hamami et son frère à un barrage routier.


L'ASL tente d'établir un réseau logistique et de renforcer sa présence dans toute la Syrie alors que les Etats-Unis réfléchissent à livrer des armes aux rebelles.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 12:30
Egypte: deux navires de guerre US se rapprochent du littoral (agences)

MOSCOU, 12 juillet - RIA Novosti


Deux navires de guerre américains déployés au Proche-Orient se sont rapprochés du littoral de l'Egypte, en proie à une crise politique, rapportent vendredi les agences occidentales citant le chef des Marines, le général James Amos.


"L'Egypte traverse actuellement une crise. Quand cela arrive, nous devons fournir aux dirigeants de notre pays différentes options d'action", a déclaré M. Amos, indiquant qu'on ignorait pour le moment comment la situation allait évoluer.


Les deux navires dépêchés au large de l'Egypte font partie d'un groupe de trois navires qui patrouille depuis mai en Mer rouge et dans le Golfe persique.


Selon les agences, les forces navales américaines dépêchent régulièrement des navires de guerre à proximité des zones de conflit, pour avoir la possibilité d'évacuer leurs citoyens en cas de besoin.  


Le 3 juillet au soir, l'armée égyptienne a nommé Adly Mansour, président de la Haute Cour constitutionnelle, au poste de président intérimaire du pays, écartant Mohamed Morsi, président issu des Frères musulmans et contesté par des manifestations monstres. La Constitution a été suspendue, et la chambre haute dominée par les islamistes, qui assurait l'intégralité du pouvoir législatif, a été dissoute.


Selon les médias, M. Morsi serait actuellement retenu ans un site militaire.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
A S-200 missile model mounted on its launcher. Photo Nvinen

A S-200 missile model mounted on its launcher. Photo Nvinen

11 July 2013 airforce-technology.com/


Iran has upgraded its S-200 long-range air defence missile system in an effort to improve its operational capability, Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base commander brigadier general Farzad Esmayeeli has announced.


Esmayeeli was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying that a mobile launcher had been developed for the system, in addition to a sharp reduction in its detection-firing-tracing time.


''We have given mobility to the S-200 missile system, and the same plan to give mobility to all artillery and missile systems is on the agenda of the Air Defense Force," he said.


Working both online and in real-time, the upgraded system can also be employed for pinpoint targeting missions, and has successfully proved its capabilities in different tests.


"In the missile part of the system, we should say that S-200 is not only used against strategic and collective targets, but it can now be used for pinpoint targeting and can be guided to a very specific point," Esmayeeli added.


The optimised S-200 system is expected to be unveiled during the forthcoming military exercise, code-named Modafe'an-e Aseman-e Velayat 5, which is scheduled to be held in the next six months.


Designed by Almaz/Antei Concern of Air Defence in the 1960s, S-200 Angara is a long-range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile (SAM) system used to protect large areas from bomber attacks or other strategic aircraft between a 200km-350km range, depending on the variant used.


Also known as SA-5 Gammon, the single-stage missile features four jettisonable, wraparound solid propellant boosters, and utilises a radio illumination mid-course correction to move towards the target with a terminal semi-active radar homing phase.


Each battalion comprises six single-rail missile launchers and fire control radar, and can also be linked to other longer-range radar systems.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Assad Expected to Receive S-300 Systems

9/7/2013 IsraelDefense


According to various reports, Syria will receive the first of the advanced S-300 antiaircraft missile systems in the coming weeks


The first of the advanced S-300 antiaircraft missile systems are expected to arrive from Russia to Syria over the course of the next few weeks. The systems will be accompanied by Russian technicians and experts who are meant to turn them operational as soon as possible.


Israel is presently preparing for a last diplomatic effort to prevent the arrival of the missiles, which could severely limit the activity of the Israeli Air Force in the region, and may also reach the hands of Iran and Hezbollah.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Assad Expected to Receive S-300 Systems

9/7/2013 IsraelDefense


According to various reports, Syria will receive the first of the advanced S-300 antiaircraft missile systems in the coming weeks


The first of the advanced S-300 antiaircraft missile systems are expected to arrive from Russia to Syria over the course of the next few weeks. The systems will be accompanied by Russian technicians and experts who are meant to turn them operational as soon as possible.


Israel is presently preparing for a last diplomatic effort to prevent the arrival of the missiles, which could severely limit the activity of the Israeli Air Force in the region, and may also reach the hands of Iran and Hezbollah.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
New Missiles for Antitank Brigades

8/7/2013 IsraelDefense


IDF antitank brigades to soon part with the TOW ('Orev') missile, and a new advanced missile will enter use in the coming years


The TOW antitank missiles, named Orev by the IDF, will soon stop being used by regular IDF forces, and will be replaced by newer missiles in the coming years.


Work has been underway at the bureau of the IDF's Chief Infantry Officer to examine replacement weaponry since the Second Lebanon War, when TOW missiles were not used and the need arose for more relevant battlefield weaponry.


The IDF Ground Forces antitank battalion layout consists of four teams: three teams utilizing the Orev missile and named for it, and one team that uses the Rafael-produced Gil missile. The three Orev teams will now begin using Gil missiles, and will later be equipped with a new light missile that is currently being examined and tested.


In the meanwhile, the antitank battalion layout fighters will be equipped with a new launcher, which will give them better observation capabilities, and helping the fighters aim in an improved manner.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Des avions F16 américains pour l'Egypte

11 juillet, 2013 – BBC Afrique


Selon de hauts responsables américains, les Etats Unis vont maintenir leurs plans de fournir à l'Egyte des avions de combats F-16, malgré l'instabilité dans le pays.


Washington évalue toujours les tenants et les aboutissants du renversement la semaine dernière du président islamiste Mohammed Morsi.


Conformément au droit américain, les Etats Unis devraient suspendre leur importante aide militaire octroyée à l'Egypte si Washington parvenait à la conclusion que les événements du 3 juillet constituent un coup d'Etat.


Les Frères Musulmans, le mouvement auquel est affilié Morsi, demandent que le président déchu soit rétabli dans ses fonctions.


Et tandis qu'ils continuent de manifester, le Procureur de la république a lancé mercredi un mandat d'arrêt contre leur guide spirituel, Mohammed Badié.


Au moins, neuf autres hauts responsables de la Fraternité sont également sous le coup de mandats d'arrêt.


Mohammed Badié est accusé d'avoir incité aux violences de lundi qui se sont soldées par la mort de plus de 50 personnes.


De nombreux membres des Frères Musulmans ont déjà été arrêtés et des mandats auraient été émis pour l'arrestation d'une centaine d'autres militants du mouvement.


Par ailleurs, un porte-parole du Ministère des affaires étrangères a déclaré que le président déchu Mohammed Morsi est 'détenu en lieu sûr'.


Badr Abdul Atti, le Procureur de la république, a cependant déclaré lors d'une conférence de presse qu'il ignorait où est détenu Morsi, tout en indiquant que le sexagénaire est traité avec grand égard pour sa dignité.


Les responsables américains qui ont donné l'information soulignent que les avions de chasse seront livrés dans les prochaines semaines.


La livraison des F-16 entre dans le cadre d'une commande de vingt appareils, dont huit avaient déjà été livrés en janvier. Le réliquat de la commande devrait être honnoré cette avant la fin de l'année.


Le porte-parole de la Maison Blanche, Jay Carney, a réitéré mercredi qu'il n'était pas de l'intérêt des Etats Unis de procéder à des modifications immédiates de leur programme d'assistance militaire à l'Egypte.


Il a ajouté que l'Administration Obama se donne le temps de cerner toutes les implications du renversement de Morsi.


Les Etats Unis apportent chaque annéeà l'Egypte une aide militaire estimée à $1,3 milliards.


Le président Obama a évité soigneusement d'utiliser le mot "coup d'état" pour qualifier la mise à l'écart de Mohammed Morsi, puisque reconnaître qu'il s'agit d'un putsch entraînerait la supension de l'aide.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 07:30
Armes chimiques: Moscou accuse les occidentaux de monter des scénarios bizarres

11 juillet 2013 Romandie.com (AFP)


NEW YORK (Nations unies) - La Russie a accusé jeudi les occidentaux de propager des accusations peu crédibles et des scénarios bizarres à propos de l'utilisation d'armes chimiques en Syrie.


L'ambassadeur russe auprès de l'ONU Vitali Tchourkine a réaffirmé devant la presse que Moscou avait la preuve d'une utilisation de gaz sarin par l'opposition armée en mars à Khan al-Assal. Cette attaque a tué 16 soldats syriens, selon Damas qui a demandé une enquête de l'ONU.


La Maison Blanche a immédiatement rejeté cette thèse, affirmant n'avoir encore vu aucune preuve qui appuie cette affirmation.


La Russie a transmis ses preuves à l'ONU ainsi qu'aux puissances occidentales (Etats-Unis, France, Royaume-Uni).


Celles-ci ont de leur côté accusé l'armée syrienne d'avoir eu recours à plusieurs reprises à des armes chimiques contre l'opposition, notamment à Homs (centre) en décembre 2012, et demandent que les experts de l'ONU se penchent aussi sur ces incidents.


Tout en admettant que les experts devaient pouvoir enquêter sur toutes les accusations crédibles, M. Tchourkine a vivement critiqué ses collègues occidentaux. Nos collègues occidentaux, a-t-il dit, essaient de produire le maximum d'accusations (contre Damas) avec le minimum de crédibilité afin, semble-t-il, de créer le maximum de problèmes.


Il a aussi accusé des diplomates occidentaux, qu'il n'a pas nommés, de vouloir accréditer l'idée que l'incident de Khan al-Assal était dû à une erreur de tir de l'armée syrienne qui aurait touché ses propres soldats, parlant de théorie naïve et de scénario bizarre.


Il a répété que selon les experts russes qui ont relevé des échantillons à Khan al-Assal, le projectile et le gaz sarin qu'il contenait n'étaient pas de fabrication industrielle, ce qui tend à prouver selon lui que l'attaque avait été menée par l'opposition et non par l'armée syrienne.


Le gouvernement syrien insiste pour que les enquêteurs onusiens se concentrent sur l'attaque de Khan al-Assal, attribuée par Damas à l'opposition, au détriment des autres incidents attribués par Londres, Paris et Washington à l'armée syrienne et qui ont eu lieu à Khan al-Assal ainsi qu'à Homs (centre), le 23 décembre 2012.


Cette divergence a empêché jusqu'à présent la mission d'enquête mise en place en mars par l'ONU, et dirigée par le suédois Ake Sellstrom, de se rendre sur place. Pour M. Tchourkine, on a voulu imposer à Damas une formule d'enquête à l'Irakienne, une référence aux accusations sur les armes de destruction massive portées contre l'Irak de Saddam Hussein.


L'ONU a accepté mercredi une invitation adressée par le gouvernement syrien au Dr Sellstrom et à Angela Kane, haute représentante de l'ONU pour le désarmement, à venir à Damas pour des discussions sur l'utilisation présumée d'armes chimiques dans le conflit.


M. Tchourkine a souligné que Moscou avait joué un rôle dans cette initiative.


Selon le porte-parole des Nations unies, Martin Nesirky, l'ONU espère que cette visite aura lieu dès que possible. Il a réaffirmé qu'elle n'avait pas pour objectif d'enquêter mais de mener des consultations sur les modalités d'une éventuelle enquête. Il n'y a pas d'autre solution qu'une enquête sur place pour prouver l'utilisation d'armes chimiques, a-t-il répété.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 16:30
Israel : The Borders Are Burning

July 11, 2013: Strategy Page


Most of Israel’s neighbors are undergoing violent upheavals. Lebanon has increasing violence between Sunni and Shia supporters of their respective factions in neighboring Syria. There, the civil war between the Sunni majority and the Shia minority dictatorship has killed over 100,000 people in two years and grinds on. In Egypt the uprising that overthrew the decades old Mubarak two years ago repeated itself when the disappointing and very unpopular Morsi government that replaced Mubarak was shut down by the army.  The 2011 uprising was against corruption and debilitating misrule. Egyptians have noticed that while many other nations have prospered in the last half century Egypt has stagnated. This sense of loss was behind all the Arab Spring uprisings, but most have subsequently suffered from new governments dominated by Islamic conservatives. This was because the dictatorships were able to stifle rival political parties to maintain their rule, but could not shut down what went on in the mosques or religious schools. Here opposition politicians who were Islamic conservatives (or radicals) could survive and reach large numbers of dissatisfied people with the message that Islamic law (Sharia) and politicians who were devout Moslems were the solution. History, both recent and ancient, has shown this to be a false hope but for most Moslems it was the most convenient alternative once the dictatorship was overthrown. In Egypt there had been active Islamic political groups for most of the last century. The main one was the Moslem Brotherhood, which was suppressed by the succession of army dominated governments (that pretended to be democratic but rigged the elections) that began in the 1950s. The Brotherhood split over this, with most of them returning to Mosque based politics and doing what they could to improve the lives of Egyptians. A minority of Brotherhood members went radical and were crushed in the 1990s, after a major outbreak of terrorism. Some of the leaders fled Egypt, and one of them now is the head of al Qaeda. Several of these Moslem Brotherhood leaders (and many followers) helped organize al Qaeda.


The 1990s experience left many Egyptians hostile to Islamic radicalism and suspicious of the Moslem Brotherhood in general. This all played out after the Mubarak government fell in early 2011 and the army helped organize the first honest elections seen in Egypt for decades. The Moslem Brotherhood was the only political force that was organized, experienced and allowed to participate (all the pro-Mubarak parties were banned). The Egyptian middle class (small businessmen and those with an education, even if poor) could not organize in time and the generals knew it. For a year after the uprising the army, and its many corrupt officers, ran a caretaker government and because the unrest had caused higher unemployment (because tourists have stopped coming and foreign and local investment has slowed down a lot because of the uncertainty) any new government would have to take quick action to revive economic activity. Fearing that the Islamic conservatives, who won most of the seats in the new parliamentary elections, would prosecute corrupt army officers and dismantle the economic empire the army has built over the last few decades, the military actively attacked demonstrators, journalists and organizations that advised on how to make a democracy work.  The urban democrats were uneasy about the Islamic conservative political parties and the possibility of a religious dictatorship. But Islamic conservatives, especially the Moslem Brotherhood insisted that this would not happen.  The foreign pro-democracy activists were helping Egyptians more effectively demonstrate against the army, and the army struck back. But Egypt depended a lot on foreign aid, much of it going directly to the army. These aid donors did not like seeing their citizens (foreign aid workers) locked up, and pressured the Egyptian generals to let them go. The army did not have to worry because the Moslem Brotherhood dominated government was beholden to other, often more radical, Islamic groups and imposed rules that hurt tourism and hinted at an attempt to establish a religious dictatorship. The military leaders knew that a religious dictatorship had not been good for their contemporaries in Iran and refused to do anything about the growing anti-government demonstrations and collapsing economy.


Then the army demanded that the Moslem Brotherhood dominated government resign and allow a new one, not dominated by the Islamic conservatives and radicals to be formed. President Morsi refused and was arrested. This was greeted with cheers by the millions of demonstrators still in the streets. Morsi and the Moslem Brotherhood are held responsible for the economic depression since the Arab Spring began two years ago and for generally ignoring the needs of the people. In practice, Morsi attempts to improve the economy were most often stymied by the wealthy (and largely pro-Mubarak) families that do not favor a real democracy, but rather an oligarchy (government controlled by the wealthiest families). It was these families and the army leadership that have the most to fear from a truly democratic government (that would and could punish the corrupt officials, businessmen and generals who profited the most from supporting Mubarak). The unspoken message to any post-Morsi government is that if you don’t mess with the families or the generals, perhaps we can get the economy going again. But the economy will never get into high gear as long as so much of it is controlled by corrupt factions that care more for their own power and wealth than for the overall prosperity of Egypt.


The revolution in Egypt is far from over. While all this unrest next door is uncomfortable for Israelis, it is not a major threat. The Egyptian military does not want war with Israel (which the generals know they would lose, big time, along with billions in American aid), nor do most Egyptians. The Islamic radicals, including Hamas in Gaza, do wish harm to Israel. But the Islamic radicals are anathema to most Egyptians and even the Morsi government was forced to crack down. The problem (or advantage) with Islamic radicals is that tend to turn on those who actually support them and hasten their own demise. Better relations with Israel would be of great economic benefit to Egypt but that is not likely to happen until the malign effects of generations of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda are tended to. That would take years and Egypt hasn’t even considered going there yet. What any new Egyptian government will have to do is show some economic results, and fast.


The Moslem Brotherhood and other Islamic conservative groups that supported the Morsi government are now organizing protests. Some of the more radical Morsi supporters are planning terror attacks. All this will only increase the popular dislike for the Brotherhood and Islamic radicals. There will always be Islamic conservatives in Egypt, but the memories of the 1990s linger, on both sides of this political fence.


The ouster of Morsi is bad news for Hamas in Gaza. Because Morsi favored Islamic radical beliefs, Hamas saw Morsi as a friend. Morsi, however, insisted that Hamas help control the Islamic radicals in Gaza who considered Morsi “too moderate.” Hamas was happy to comply, because these radical groups considered Hamas too mainstream as well. With the departure of Morsi, the political winds have shifted and not in favor of Hamas. To be on the safe side Hamas has not criticized the Egyptian Army for overthrowing Morsi and is hoping for the best, while bracing for the worst.


Israel has increased military training exercises on the Lebanese and Syrian borders. Reserve units are being prepared for any possible spillover of violence into Israel. On the Egyptian border Israeli cooperation with their Egyptian counterparts improved during the year of Morsi rule and that has not changed with the overthrow of Morsi. Most Egyptians, especially those in the security forces, are hostile to all forms of Islamic extremism.


The pro-Islamic government in Turkey was not happy with the overthrow of Morsi, who was not seen as an ally of Turkey, but at least a kindred (Islamic) spirit. Some Turkish Islamic conservatives blame Israel for the fall of Morsi, but then these guys blame Israel for everything bad. Turkey is suffering from anti-government demonstrations. Not because the government has hurt the economy (quite the opposite) but because there is growing fear that the Islamic conservatives that dominate the government are becoming less democratic and more dictatorial.


In the last two months anti-Israel violence in the West Bank is down by about two-thirds. Most of the violence consisted of throwing rocks or fire bombs (bottles full of flammable liquid) at soldiers, police and Israeli civilians. After the November 2012 “war” with Hamas in Gaza many Palestinians in the West Bank wanted to start another major wave of violence and the amount of such violence in the West Bank started to climb. But the Israelis identified and jailed most of the leaders and organizers of the increased violence and eventually even the Palestinian government in the West Bank agreed to cooperate as the increased violence and Israeli response (more movement restrictions) angered most Palestinians, who saw nothing good coming from it.


July 10, 2013: Although the Egyptian military role in overthrowing the Morsi government was technically a coup (by American definition) and U.S. law bans military aid to any country that suffers such a coup, the U.S. is continuing to deliver military aid to Egypt. The Americans cannot ignore the fact the Morsi was unpopular and his removal was very popular in Egypt. So the American lawyers and politicians are scrambling to create some plausible reason to continue aid to Egypt.


The army is using Moslem Brotherhood organized demonstrations and violence as justification to order the arrest of more Brotherhood leaders. The army is doing what it did two decades ago to cripple Brotherhood capabilities.


July 8, 2013: The military revealed that it had activated a new military Cyber War units dedicated to monitoring networks for Internet based attacks and organizing a quick response. Photos of the operations center for this new unit were shown.


For the first time since the F-16I was introduced in 1998, one suffered an engine failure and crashed. The two man crew ejected and were picked up off the coast. The air force temporarily grounded all its F-16s and F-15s until it could be determined that there was not some common problem at fault.


In Egypt the army opened fire on a demonstration by Islamic radicals and Morsi supporters, killing over fifty of the demonstrators and wounding over a hundred. The army said some of the demonstrators opened fire on the soldiers.


July 7, 2013: The government repeated warnings to Israelis to stay out of the Sinai Peninsula unless it was absolutely necessary. The government noted that Islamic terrorists are more active in the Sinai, as are Egyptian troops and police trying to control the situation.


Hamas revealed that its police had broken up a gang that was counterfeiting Israeli currency and getting it into circulation via Gaza market places. The 100 Shekel ($27.65) notes were good enough to fool some merchants but the counterfeiting was soon noted and the hunt for those responsible was on. The three arrested counterfeiters had already created about $5.5 million worth of these fake notes.


July 5, 2013: There was a large explosion at the Syrian naval base at Latakia. Syrian rebels said this was probably an Israeli missile attack on the warehouse holding new anti-ship missiles recently received from Russia. These high-speed P-800/Yakhont missiles have a range of about 300 kilometers and a 200 kg (440 pound) warhead.


In the Sinai Islamic terrorists made four attacks on security personnel, killing one soldier and wounding three. The attackers were believed to have come from Gaza, so the main border crossing from Gaza to Egypt at Rafah was closed indefinitely.


In Cairo there was a large demonstration by Islamic radicals and Morsi supporters. One demonstrator was killed.


The Egyptian military shut down parliament until new elections.


July 4, 2013: Explosions were heard near the Israeli city of Eilat (at the northern end of the Red Sea.) It was later discovered that at least one 122mm rocket was fired from the nearby Egyptian Sinai Desert. A week later Israeli troops found 122mm rocket fragments outside Eilat. The last such attack was last April. These attacks are launched by Islamic terrorists operating in the Sinai Peninsula.


July 3, 2013: President Morsi was arrested by the army and his government was replaced by military rule until new elections could be held.

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1 juillet 2013 1 01 /07 /juillet /2013 18:30
Statement by EU HR Ashton on EU support for conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction

1/7/2013 EU source: European Union Ref: EU13-320EN


Summary: 1 July 2013, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, made today the following statement on EU support for a Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction:


"In view of the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its preparatory process, I would like to reiterate that the EU has been committed to establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction ever since the Barcelona Declaration of 1995.


It remains a strategic priority of the European Union to support peace and stability in the entire Middle East. I therefore expressed regret in my statement of 24 November 2012 that the Conference on the establishment of such a zone, agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference and scheduled to take place in 2012, was postponed.


Today, the EU continues to fully support the on-going preparations for a successful Conference and in particular the tireless efforts of its Facilitator, Ambassador Laajava of Finland, and his team, to lay the groundwork in this respect. I therefore call on all States in the region to urgently and proactively engage with the Facilitator and the Conveners with the aim of enabling the Conference to be convened as soon as possible this year, on the basis of arrangements freely entered into between the States of the region."

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26 juin 2013 3 26 /06 /juin /2013 16:30
Austrian peacekeepers with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) consult a map while on patrol in the Golan Heights. UN Photo Wolfgang Grebien

Austrian peacekeepers with the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) consult a map while on patrol in the Golan Heights. UN Photo Wolfgang Grebien

GENEVE, 26 juin - RIA Novosti


Moscou est toujours prêt, si besoin, à envoyer ses casques bleus sur le plateau du Golan, a déclaré mercredi devant les journalistes à Genève le représentant spécial du président russe pour le Proche-Orient et vice-ministre des Affaires étrangères, Mikhaïl Bogdanov.


"Nous l'avons proposé. Si cela est nécessaire, nous sommes prêts à les envoyer", a dit le diplomate.


Et de rappeler qu'à l'heure actuelle, les soldats de la paix des Fidji étaient déployés à la ligne de désengagement entre Israël et la Syrie.


L'Autriche avait annoncé début juin son intention de se retirer de la "zone tampon" entre la Syrie et Israël, en motivant sa décision par la "menace inadmissible" pesant sur la vie de ses casques bleus déployés dans cette région. Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a indiqué que la Russie était prête à remplacer les casques bleus autrichiens, mais a souligné que cela pourrait se faire uniquement sur demande de l'Onu et à condition que les pays de la région l'acceptent.


Le porte-parole de l'Onu Martin Nesirky a expliqué toutefois que l'accord de désengagement et le protocole signés entre la Syrie et Israël n'autorisaient pas la participation des membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l'Onu aux opérations onusiennes dans le Golan.


Une révision du mandat de la Force des Nations unies chargée d'observer le désengagement sur le plateau du Golan (FNUOD) implique l'accord des deux parties en conflit, notamment d'Israël et de la Syrie.


Les autorités syriennes ont salué l'initiative de Moscou, alors que le vice-ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères, Zeev Elkin, a fait remarquer que la présence de casques bleus russes dans le Golan était impossible pour des raisons juridiques.


Moscou estime pour sa part que les arguments de l'impossibilité de l'envoi de casques bleus russes sur le plateau du Golan relevaient des réalités d'il y a quarante ans, et qu'un nouveau protocole pourrait être signé si les parties y tenaient.


La semaine dernière, Daniel Meron, haut fonctionnaire du ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères chargé des relations avec l'Onu et les organisations internationales, n'a pas exclu une modification du mandat de la FNUOD, compte tenu de la nouvelle donne dans la région. Il n'a cependant pas précisé en quoi cette modification pourrait consister.

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26 juin 2013 3 26 /06 /juin /2013 10:30
Syria : Rebels Confront The Enemies Within

June 26, 2013: Strategy Page


Iran’s very public determination to see the Shia Assad government of Syria defeat its Sunni opponents is costing Iran allies and a rapidly growing pile of cash. Iran has long been the Assads main financial backer and that support has now become a matter of life or death for the Assads. In addition to supplying a few million dollars-worth of military equipment and stationing several hundred advisers and technical experts in Syria. Iran has provided several billion dollars of economic aid to keep the government controlled portions of Syria going. Iran is also offering cash bonuses to Lebanese Hezbollah men who agree to fight in Syria. More Iranian cash is being provided to give Syrian soldiers a 50 percent raise. Most of the Syrian Army has deserted or joined the rebels and those left are not terribly enthusiastic or effective. The Iranian trained Hezbollah militiamen are more capable infantry and that bothers the rebels a great deal. Iran is also offering bonuses for Iraqi Shia who volunteer to fight in Syria for the Assads. These guys as not as skilled as Hezbollah, but they are enthusiastic and armed. Iran does not want ethnic Iranians (who are Indo-European and much hated by the Arabs, a Semitic people long abused by the Iranians) fighting in Syria, so cash and other forms of persuasion are being used to get Arabs to help out. Thus rumors of Iran sending thousands of their own troops to fight in Syria are very unlikely.


Because Hezbollah gunmen have years of training, and occasional practice, using irregular warfare tactics against Israel, they are better fighters than the rebels or the Syrian Army. But Hezbollah discovered that they had to use their best trained full time troops to make a significant difference against the rebels. At first Hezbollah sent in local (from villages near the Syrian border) Hezbollah gunmen. These guys were part time warriors, there mainly to protect their villages, maintain Hezbollah control of the area and provide recruits for the “elite” (full time) Hezbollah troops. There are only a few thousand of these high-quality Hezbollah fighters and not all of them can be sent to Lebanon, not with Israel threatening to take care of their Hezbollah problem once and for all. So the impact of Hezbollah will be limited, if only because Hezbollah cannot afford the losses of sustained combat with the rebels. Hezbollah has concentrated several thousand men on the Syrian border, in addition to nearly 2,000 inside Syria. Most of these are part-timers now making a full time (and well paid) job of fighting. But Hezbollah has suffered over 500 casualties so far, with nearly a hundred dead during the three week battle for Qusair. A few more “victories” like that and Hezbollah will have to get out of Syria.


Hezbollah gunmen are now fighting in Damascus, where rebels have stubbornly held on to several neighborhoods for over a year. Having learned their lesson in Qusair the rebels are adapting to Hezbollah tactics and aggressiveness. Hezbollah has suffered nearly 200 casualties in a week of heavy fighting in Damascus, including at least 40 killed. A similar but less intense battle has been taking place in Aleppo. This reminds the Assads that Hezbollah did not send an army to help, but several detachments of better trained and more resolute fighters that are supposed to inspire the less capable Syrian Army and pro-government volunteers to do better. This does not appear to be working, at least not decisively. The rebels are being hurt more with the arrival of Hezbollah but promises of more military aid from Arab and Western states has bolstered rebel morale. There is also more substantial, and less publicized help arriving. A growing number of the foreign “volunteers” for the rebels are trained professionals from Arab countries. There are also Arab speaking Special Forces from Western nations as well as professional military trainers (who are often civilians, either CIA or contractors). Many of these pros stay on the Syrian border, to train rebel recruits and impart some minimal skills. Without that, these new guys don’t last long in combat. But some of the Arab speaking foreigners are with some of the rebels militias, providing more immediate advice and training.


Most of the fighting continues to be sniping, ambushes and just a lot of amateurs shooting at each other without much effect.


The West is also believed to be providing the rebel leadership (the FSA or Free Syrian Army) with intelligence and general advice. This is often wasted because FSA does not have much command authority over the various rebel contingents. There are nearly a hundred of them, although fewer than twenty contain most of effective the fighting men. This is especially true with the Islamic terrorist groups (mainly the Syrian led Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq, the Iraqi led branch of al Qaeda), who often answer only to God. Nusra tries to cooperate with FSA but the Syrian and Iraqi led Islamic terrorists are on the verge of going to war with each other and the Islamic terrorist groups, in general, don’t get along well with anyone. Rebel groups operating near each other often try to coordinate their actions, but orders from FSA are usually treated as suggestions and often ignored. The Assad forces are increasingly taking advantage of this lack of unity and picking off rebel groups one at a time. This is a serious problem for the rebels, who seem unable to fix it by agreeing to a unified command. In this respect the rebel’s biggest obstacle to victory is their own lack of unity. This is not unique in the history of rebellions, but it has also been the main cause of many rebellions failing. That has happened a lot in the past, but these failed rebellions rarely get much attention in the history books.


The Arab countries want the West to provide air support while the West does not want to take all the diplomatic and political heat that entails. Suggestions that the Arabs provide the air support are quietly ignored. The problem is lack of unity, which for over a thousand years has hobbled Arab power. For a few generations after Islam appeared the Arabs were united, and unstoppable. Then the old squabbles returned. The Shia branch of Islam is one result of those ancient disputes. Not only do Arabs not get along with each other, but they nurse past defeats for centuries as the Shia have done. Arabs would rather not discuss this openly, because that often leads to finger-pointing and recriminations. It also reminds Arabs that the ability of the Westerners to unite (or at least do it more frequently) is one of the reasons for the West becoming dominant. Despite all that, most rebel supporters are coming to accept that without the air support a lot more Syrians, most of them civilians, will die.


Efforts to recruit Iraqi Army troops (most of them are Shia) has got other Arab states threatening Iraq. The threats are credible, for while most Iraqis are Shia, all these Shia are Arabs. In this part of the world blood is thicker than theology. As long as Iran is seen as the ultimate beneficiary of an Assad victory, all Arabs are reluctant to back the Assads. It’s also no secret that Iran is paying these Arab volunteers to go kill other Arabs, which is seen as very wrong by most Arabs.


All this backing for Shia Arabs to fight in Syria has intensified the hostility between Sunni and Shia (and Iranians and Arabs) in the region. Iran started this decades ago when they proclaimed the goal of establishing a world-wide religious dictatorship by converting everyone to Shia Islam. This annoyed the Sunni majority (about 80 percent of Moslems) and put fear into most Arabs, because Islam was founded by Arabs and the idea has always been to convert everyone to Sunni Islam under Arab leadership. The Iranians have kept working on their goal and that’s why Syria has long been receiving economic aid from Iran. Not because Syria is Shia (only about 10-20 percent of the population is, most of the rest are Sunni) but because the ruling family (the Assads) are Shia (or Alawite, which is sort-of Shia and that’s close enough Iranian purposes). Iran also financed the growth of the Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Sunni Hamas in Gaza. That last one backfired, with Hamas forced to openly oppose the Assads after their Sunni donors threatened to cut off aid and political support if Hamas did not get in line with other Sunnis and denounce Iran. Hamas spoke out against the Assads but tried to make nice with Iran. Hamas, despite Iran cutting off aid (some $1-2 million a month), is still trying to maintain friendly relations with Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Most Palestinians (who tend to be Sunni or Christian) have come out in favor of the Syrian rebels. Hamas has run Gaza since 2007 and Hezbollah has been a major factor in Lebanon for over 25 years. Despite the Iranian connections, both Hamas and Hezbollah are Arabs and both exist mainly to destroy Israel. Iran is being discreet about this but could not afford to ignore open Hamas support for the Syrian rebels. Hamas also admits that a few of its members have unofficially joined to fight alongside Hezbollah inside Syria. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank tend to back the rebels. But nearly a million Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria are split, with nearly half of them backing the Assad government in Syria. This has also upset Iran, which has generously supported Palestinians for decades. Iran is finding that Hezbollah is not eager to sacrifice its reputation in the Arab world just to please its patron. So Iran is giving Hezbollah more money and anything else its leadership wants. The Sunni Arab nations in the region are warning Hezbollah that this support for Iran could have dire consequences down the road. For the moment the Hezbollah leadership is remaining loyal to its paymaster. But many rank-and-file Hezbollah are not so sure. Sunni Arab nations are exploiting that doubt, seeking Hezbollah leaders who might be amenable to new leadership for their organization, and new sources of financial support.


Food has become a major weapon for both sides as it becomes more difficult to get food and other supplies into Syria. While the UN has tried to get both sides to allow food and medical aid to move freely, both the Assads and the rebels see starvation and general deprivation as effective weapons against the other side’s civilian supporters (who are more than 50 times more numerous than the armed fighters). Neither side will admit to supporting this strategy, but both practice it. The war has killed nearly 100,000 so far, wounded more than three times as many and chased a third of the population from their homes. Most of these refugees are still in Syria, doubled up with neighbors or family or living in bombed out areas the fighting has passed by.


The fighting is spreading to Lebanon and Iraq. There has been some government or rebel fire into Turkey and Israel, but all Syrians know that fighting the Turks or the Israelis is a losing proposition. So there is little extended Syrian related violence in those two countries. Lebanon is another matter, with Sunni radicals increasingly taking on Hezbollah and anyone else (usually Shia not associated with Hezbollah) who favors an Assad victory. There have been hundreds of casualties from this in Lebanon this year.


Some Iraq border crossings remain under Syrian government control. These crossings are manned by troops who are cut off in a largely Sunni Arab controlled eastern Syria. These border posts take fire from Sunni rebels on the Syrian side and Iraqi Sunni terrorists on the Iraqi side. The Shia dominated Iraqi government supports the Assads mainly because the Assads have been paid allies of Iran since the 1980s (when Sunni lead Iraq went to war with Iran). The Iraqi government helps supply the few remaining Syrian government forces in eastern Syria and also allows convoys of Iranian military aid to pass through Iraq and into Syria. The Iraqis have over 20,000 Shia and Kurd soldiers on the border to help make this work. The rebels thus accuse the Iraqi government of supporting an “Iranian invasion of Syria,” a catchphrase that enflames Sunnis throughout the region. At the same time, attacks on Shia shrines in Syria and Iraq has led to thousands of Iraqi Shia volunteering to fight for the Assad government of Syria. These Iraqi volunteers fly to Damascus where they are allowed to join pro-government militias. Meanwhile a growing number of Syrian Sunni refugees in Iraq (where over 125,000 ended up in the last year as Sunni rebels fought to take control of most of eastern Syria) are returning home. Eastern Syria was always mostly Sunni and that helped drive out Shia controlled government forces. But now there is the threat of invasion by Shia run Iraq. This is not a serious threat, since the other Arab states in the region might react violently.


The Syrian Air Force has suffered enormous losses in the last year, with over half its combat aircraft now destroyed or unable to fly. A year ago the air force was ordered to attack the rebel fighters and the civilians believed to be supporting them. The rebels shot back and the air force’s ancient aircraft fell apart from heavy use and a lack of spare parts. Of the 370 usable fixed wing war planes the Syrian Air Force had two years ago, about half are now out of action because of combat losses or wear and tear. Nearly two-thirds of the 360 helicopters are gone, for the same reasons. Part of the problem was that few Syrian air force leaders (and pilots) were not prepared for this kind of war (low level bombing and lots of helicopter flights under fire). Desperate times demanded desperate measures and in the last few months even the MiG-29 fighters have been seen dropping bombs. These are the most modern aircraft Syria has and their pilots were trained to fight Israeli jets, not bomb civilians. But a village or city neighborhood is hard to miss, even for a rookie. Helicopters have also been used to drop bombs, as well as cargo transport aircraft.


Russia is letting everyone know that it now has a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean. The task force now includes two destroyers, a frigate, two amphibious and several support ships.  From 1967 until 1992 Russia maintained a force of 30-50 warships and auxiliary vessels in the Mediterranean. Russia has been building a base in the Syrian port of Tartus but that has been suspended because of the civil war. Nevertheless, ships will be rotated in and out in order to maintain a permanent force of about a dozen ships. The Russian task force is meant to imply Russia would intervene if NATO or anyone else sought to blockade Syrian ports. That’s not a sure thing, but the threat is.


Qatar has taken the lead in arranging for large quantities of weapons from Libya (and elsewhere) to be sent to the rebels via Turkey (mainly) and Jordan (increasingly). This is possible because late Libyan dictator Moamar Kaddafi loved to buy military equipment, and he did so constantly and in far larger quantities than Libya required or could even operate. Most of this stuff was never used. For decades there were thousands of armored vehicles and warplanes sitting around in remote bases with no one to maintain them. There were dozens of military bases with locked warehouses full of assault rifles, machine-guns, mortars and portable missiles that were never issued or touched. Some of this stuff was shipped to other African countries, to arm local rebels that Kaddafi supported (usually against local leaders Kaddafi did not get along with) but most of it never left the warehouses. After the revolution two years ago many of these weapons were stolen and ended up on the black market. These are showing up all over the region as smugglers get them out of Libya and to buyers who can pay. Most of the Kaddafi weapons hoard was seized by the new Libyan government (or pro-government militias that did not hand them over to the black market) and many of these are being sold to Qatar and shipped to the Syrian rebels. The weapons shipments are technically illegal because of sanctions against Syria, but Turkey looks the other way as the arms are flown in or come by ship mixed in with relief supplies. Libyan arms dealers approved by the Libyan government are allowed to broker sales of weapons to approved buyers (mainly Qatar and other wealthy Arab oil states who back the Syrian rebels).


June 25, 2013: The Friends of Syria group met in Canada and agreed to increase economic sanctions against the Assad government and largely eliminate arms sanctions on the rebels. The Friends of Syria consists of 42 countries plus the Arab League, the European Union. The group supports Syria’s rebel alliance and provides direct support for the rebels.


June 23, 2013: In Damascus there were two attacks by suicide bombers. One group that was going after a police headquarters, were intercepted and killed. Another car bomb went off in a Shia neighborhood of Damascus, killing three and wounding many more. In Aleppo a suicide care bomb killed twelve soldiers.


June 22, 2013: Arab states meeting in Qatar agreed to provide all necessary support needed by the Syrian rebels to overthrow the Assad government. Iran criticized this by pointing out that many of the rebels are allies of al Qaeda. But this is seen as hypocrisy by Arabs as Iran has long backed its own brand of Islamic terrorism, often against Sunni Arabs.


June 21, 2013: The rebels announced that they had begun to receive new weapons, including Russian Konkurs anti-tank missiles, but not any anti-aircraft missiles. The rebel leadership (FSA) has been told they will get anti-aircraft missiles but none have arrived yet.


In Jordan a dozen American F-16s recently arrived for training exercises with their Jordanian counterparts. The U.S. announced that the American jet fighters would remain in Jordan after the training exercise. No date for the withdrawal of the F-16s, and their combat experienced pilots, was announced. What the FSA wants more than anything else is air support. It would require more than a dozen American F-16s to make that happen, because unlike Libya, Syria has a larger and better prepared air defense system, so any air support for the rebels would have to be preceded by several days of air operations against Syrian warplanes, radars and anti-aircraft missile systems. Some of these would survive and until the end of the civil war foreign warplanes would have to be alert to the threat of missile attack. Thus for the initial SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) phase you really need access to Turkish air bases. Saudi bases would probably be available and would do, although they are several hundred kilometers more distant and would require more aerial refueling. The Turks are distracted at the moment with large scale anti-government demonstrations (that have nothing to do with Syria).


June 20, 2013: The recent American announcement that it would became a major supplier of weapons to the Syrian rebels caused a collapse of the Syrian currency (the Syrian pound). Last December, when Iran announced it was giving Syria a billion dollar line of credit, it cost 150 Syrian pounds to buy a dollar (the main currency for international trade). Two years ago it only cost 70 pounds. But since the American announcement the rate peaked at 205 pounds. So the Syrians announced they would begin using the Iranian line of credit to buy Syrian pounds and get the rate down. That worked, for the moment, with the cost of a dollar heading towards a hundred pounds. The problem is that a growing number of Syrians, especially Assad supporters, are losing faith in the ability of the government to defeat the Sunni rebels or to maintain the viability of the Syrian currency. Many merchants will not touch the Syrian pound anymore and demand dollars or some other reliable currency.


June 19, 2013:  Unidentified attackers fired on a Jordanian border post at night. One of the attackers was killed and two wounded by return fire. Jordan would not say who the attackers were or if they even knew.


In Lebanon the Syrian central bank sold dollars, at the black market rate of 175 Syrian pounds per dollar. The official exchange rate in Syria is 99 pounds per dollar, but the Syrian central bank is trying to reduce the black market rate by increasing demand for Syrian pounds. You do that by offering to buy a lot of them for dollars.


A mortar shell from Syria landed in Israel (the Golan Heights) and did no damage.


June 17, 2013: The U.S. pledged another $300 million in aid for Syrian refugees. This is in addition to half a billion dollars in aid pledged earlier. Nearly two millions Syrians have fled their homeland, most of them ending up in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.


June 16, 2013: In Damascus a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a checkpoint near the military airport.


June 14, 2013: Egypt has decided to cut diplomatic relations with the Assad government in Syria and back the rebels. Egypt also called for a no-fly zone over Syria, meaning NATO aircraft taking on the Syrian Air Force, with some token help from Arab air forces. Egypt also condemned Hezbollah for actively joining with Assad troops to attack rebels.

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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 11:30
Des Casques bleus de la FNUOD patrouillant sur le plateau du Golan, en Syrie (Photo Wolfgang Grebien ONU)

Des Casques bleus de la FNUOD patrouillant sur le plateau du Golan, en Syrie (Photo Wolfgang Grebien ONU)

TEL AVIV, 21 juin - RIA Novosti


Israël admet la possibilité d'une modification du mandat de la Force des Nations unies chargée d'observer le désengagement sur le plateau du Golan (FNUOD), a déclaré vendredi Daniel Meron, haut fonctionnaire du ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères chargé des relations avec l'ONU et les organisations internationales.


"Le mandat actuel de la FNUOD demande à être révisé. Il a été défini dans une situation foncièrement différente de celle qui prévaut aujourd'hui. Nous ne sommes pas toujours d'accord avec les casques bleus, mais leur présence dans la région est pour le moment indispensable", a indiqué M. Meron lors d'un séminaire à l'Institut de recherches sur la sécurité nationale (INSS) à Tel Aviv.


Le diplomate n'a pourtant pas précisé en quoi cette révision pourrait consister.


Il s'agit de la première déclaration de ce genre faite par un responsable officiel israélien depuis que la Russie a proposé d'envoyer ses soldats de la paix dans la "zone tampon" sur le plateau du Golan.


Les autorités israéliennes refusent de commenter en public cette initiative de Moscou. Selon le vice-ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Guennadi Gatilov, elles "ne sont pas prêtes à y voir apparaître un contingent russe".


Son homologue israélien Zeev Elkin a fait savoir le 10 juin que la présence de casques bleus russes était impossible pour des raisons juridiques, car l'accord de désengagement et le protocole signés entre la Syrie et Israël en 1974 interdisaient la participation des membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU aux opérations de paix dans la région.


Début juin, l'Autriche a annoncé son intention de retirer ses observateurs militaires déployés dans la "zone tampon" entre la Syrie et Israël. Vienne a motivé sa décision par la "menace inadmissible" qui pesait sur la vie des casques bleus autrichiens dans cette région.


Le président Vladimir Poutine a déclaré le 7 juin que la Russie était prête à remplacer les casques bleus autrichiens, mais a souligné que cela pourrait se faire uniquement sur demande de l'ONU et à condition que les pays de la région acceptent ce changement.

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 21:20
CV 22 Osprey photo USAF

CV 22 Osprey photo USAF

Jun. 13, 2013 - By BARBARA OPALL-ROME – Defense News


Hopes to Repay With Future Military Aid


TEL AVIV — Israel’s Defense Ministry is asking the US government to guarantee billions of dollars in low-interest bridge loans for a Pentagon-proposed package of V-22 Ospreys, F-15 radars and precision-strike weaponry that it ultimately intends to fund with future military aid from the US.


US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, when visiting here in April, announced that Washington “would make available to Israel a set of advanced new military capabilities” to augment Israel’s qualitative military edge.


At the time, Israeli defense and industry sources criticized the premature publicity generated by the Pentagon-proposed package, insisting negotiations on cost, quantities, payment terms and delivery schedules had not yet begun.


But in the past two months, MoD efforts to secure a US-backed loan for eventually US-funded systems on offer have intensified, with preliminary responses from relevant authorities in Washington expected later this summer, sources from both countries said.


Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon aimed to advance the issue in meetings with lawmakers and Jewish leaders on Capitol Hill on Thursday. On Friday, Ya’alon is scheduled to fly to the Pentagon aboard an Osprey, where he will be greeted by Hagel ahead of their talks.


Under the novel, Israeli-proposed funding plan, US government guarantees would allow MoD to initiate near-term contracts for advanced, Pentagon-offered weaponry with cut-rate cash from commercial banks. Israel would pay only interest and servicing fees on the government-backed loan, with principle repaid from a new, 10-year military aid package that President Barack Obama — during a visit here in March — promised to conclude before the current bilateral aid agreement expires in 2018.


Israel is slated to receive $3.1 billion in annual Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant aid through 2017, minus some $155 million in rescissions due to US government-mandated sequester. Those funds, sources from both countries say, have already been tapped to cover payments on existing contracts for Israel’s first squadron of F-35I joint strike fighters, heavy armored carriers, trainer aircraft engines, transport planes and a host of US weaponry.


“Basically, they’re talking about the US government assuming the risk of billions of dollars in loans to be repaid by the US government with FMF promised in the out years,” a US source said.


In a Wednesday interview, the US source characterized discussions as “very preliminary” and said he had not yet heard a definitive figure for the amount of government-backed loans sought by Israel.


A second US official added: “There are a lot of creative options on how to fund these advanced platforms.”


$5 Billion or More


Several current and former Israeli officials, all of whom asked not to be named, estimated MOD’s official request, once submitted, could well exceed $5 billion if the Pentagon agreed to include a second squadron of F-35Is in the prospective funding plan.


The pending request for bridge funding would likely include $1 billion for up to eight V-22 tilt-rotors; $500 million to retrofit active electronically scanned array radars into F-15I fighters and another $1 billion for a variety of air-to-ground weapons. A second squadron of F-35Is — if approved for inclusion in the package — would boost requested funding by nearly $3 billion, sources here said.


At this point, Israeli government and industry sources said MoD and the Israel Air Force are still mulling Hagel’s offer to include aerial refueling tankers as part of the security assistance package.


In a Wednesday interview, a Defense Department source said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office would have to score the Israeli-requested loan to determine the servicing fees that Israel would pay in addition to interest and FMF-funded principle.


Aside from the Pentagon, he said the State Department, Treasury, National Security Staff and congressional leaders would be involved in the review process and that the requested US-backed loan would have to be approved by Congress.


Danny Ayalon, a former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Washington who was involved in earlier bilateral negotiations on loan guarantees and security assistance agreements, noted that Israel retains more than $3 billion in unused guarantees as a result of an October 2012 agreement with the US Treasury. That agreement gave Israel four more years to use the remainder of the $9 billion in Washington-backed loans granted in 2003 and set to expire later this year, provided they are used to promote economic growth.


“The remaining $3 billion-plus in US guarantees cannot be applied to investments in military hardware. But it’s my understanding that they could be converted to the kind of US-backed loans you’re talking about, if our good friends in Washington decide that’s what they want to do,” Ayalon told Defense News.


No Strings, But Expectations


In interviews here and in Washington, US officials were loath to link the pending response to Israel’s irregular financing request to Jerusalem’s readiness to resume long-stalled Palestinian peace talks. All underscored Washington’s unconditional commitment to Israel’s security.


Nevertheless, a senior US source noted that the unprecedented uptick in security support from the Obama White House was part of larger confidence-building efforts aimed at “encouraging the Israeli government to take those risky, yet necessary steps toward peace.”


The senior source referred to Obama’s March 20 press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the US president said, “I actually believe that Israel’s security will be enhanced with a resolution to this [Israel-Palestinian peace] issue.”


When asked if US strings would be attached to the multibillion-dollar funding package under review, the source replied: “It’s not a matter of quid pro quo. There won’t be strings, but there are expectations.”


Disavowing Israel's Deputy Defense Minister


Bilateral discussion on US-backed loans and up to $37 billion in addition FMF aid through 2028 comes at a time of intensified shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry, aimed at bringing Israel and the Palestine Authority back to the negotiating table.


It also comes at a time of political posturing within Netanyahu’s right-of-center Likud Party and of early signs of the fierce ideological divides threatening the staying power of Israel’s barely three-month-old coalition government.


In the run-up to this week’s meetings in Washington, aides to Ya’alon and Netanyahu took pains to disavow untimely and embarrassing comments by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, an adamant opponent of the two-state solution championed by the White House and an overwhelming majority of the international community.


In a interview with the online Times of Israel, Ya’alon’s deputy insisted the Netanyahu government — despite the prime minister’s stated, personal support for “two states for two peoples” — would block any peace deal that would result in an independent Palestinian state.


Aggravating the faux pas, Danon suggested that Netanyahu was duping Washington and the international community with his ostensible support for resumed peace talks, since “he knows that Israel will not arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians in the near future.”


An MoD aide told Defense News that Danon’s remarks were politically motivated to advance himself within the Likud Party, and that they do not represent Ya’alon or Netanyahu — both Likud Party members — or the government of Israel. Similarly, a statement attributed to officials in the prime minister’s office rebuffed Danon’s remarks, insisting, “The Netanyahu government is interested in renewing diplomatic negotiations without preconditions.”


A spokesman for Danon said the deputy defense minister’s remarks reflected his well-known opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and would not jeopardize his ability to carry out his duties at the Israel MoD

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 17:30
Syria Rebels source globservateur.blogs.ouest-france.fr

Syria Rebels source globservateur.blogs.ouest-france.fr

14 juin 2013 Guysen News International,


La présence de centaines de combattants européens dans les rangs des insurgés provoque de grandes inquiétudes à Paris. Dans l’équation déjà passablement compliquée de la crise syrienne, un acteur essentiel et très préoccupant est venu encore complexifier la donne : les services spécialisés estiment à environ 270 le nombre de Français qui se battent aux côtés des insurgés. Au total, entre 1 500 et 2 000 Européens ont rejoint les rangs de l’opposition armée au régime de Bachar el-Assad. Problème aggravant : ce sont surtout les groupes islamistes radicaux qui recrutent et, par conséquent, bénéficient de ce renfort.

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 17:30
Syrie: une aide militaire extérieure inopérante (Ban Ki-moon)

NEW YORK (Nations unies), 14 juin - RIA Novosti

L'octroi d'une assistance militaire à n'importe quelle partie en conflit syrien n'aidera pas à normaliser la situation dans le pays, a estimé vendredi devant les journalistes le secrétaire général de l'Onu, Ban Ki-moon.
"Des livraisons d'armes à n'importe quelle partie n'aidera pas à régler le conflit. Une solution militaire n'existe pas, seul un règlement politique est acceptable pour ce problème", a déclaré M.Ban, commentant la déclaration de Washington sur son intension d'armer les forces antigouvernementales en Syrie.
Le secrétaire général a appelé toutes les parties intéressées à contribuer à la mise en œuvre de l'initiative russo-américaine de convoquer une conférence internationale avec la participation de représentants du gouvernement et de l'opposition syriens.
La Maison Blanche a revu les paramètres de son soutien à l'opposition syrienne suite à la publication jeudi de données du renseignement américain attestant que les autorités syriennes auraient utilisé des armes chimiques contre leurs concitoyens. Le président Barack Obama a inclus certains types d'armes dans la liste de l'aide militaire destinée à l'opposition syrienne. 
 Damas a qualifié les informations faisant état de l'usage d'armes chimiques par le pouvoir syrien de fabriquées de toutes pièces. Moscou a fait remarquer pour sa part que lesdites informations n'étaient pas confirmées par des faits, et que l'approvisionnement en armes de formations illégales risquait de faire monter en flèche la tension en Syrie.
Le conflit entre les autorités et l'opposition en Syrie se poursuit depuis mars 2011. Selon l'Onu, il a déjà fait près de 93.000 morts.

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 17:30
Plus de 70 officiers de l'armée syrienne ont fait défection en Turquie

15 juin 2013 Romandie.com (AFP)


ANKARA - Plus de 70 officiers, dont 6 généraux et 22 colonels, ont déserté les rangs de l'armée fidèle au président syrien Bachar al-Assad au cours des dernières trente-six heures pour rejoindre la Turquie voisine, a-t-on appris samedi de source officielle turque.


Cette vague de défection, d'une ampleur inédite depuis plusieurs mois, intervient après la décision jeudi des Etats-Unis de livrer une aide militaire, dont la forme n'a pas encore été précisée, aux rebelles syriens.


Les pays occidentaux, soutiens de l'opposition au président syrien Bachar al-Assad, se sont jusque-là refusés à franchir le pas de la livraison d'armes aux combattants rebelles par crainte de les voir tomber entre les mains de ses éléments islamistes les plus radicaux.


Mais la récente avancée militaire des forces de Damas, appuyées par le mouvement chiite libanais du Hezbollah, les a contraints à réétudier dans l'urgence cette possibilité.


Des représentants des pays qui soutiennent l'opposition syrienne ont rencontré vendredi et samedi à Istanbul son chef militaire le plus important, le général Selim Idriss, pour évoquer de possibles livraisons d'armes à la rébellion.


Des dizaines d'officiers supérieurs syriens ont fait défection en Turquie depuis le début de la rébellion en Syrie au printemps 2011. Beaucoup ont rejoint les rangs de la rébellion au sein de l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL).


La Turquie accueille quelque 400.000 réfugiés syriens ayant fui les combats dans leur pays, qui ont fait plus de 93.000 morts selon l'ONU.

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 07:30
Golan: l'Onu demande à l'Autriche d'étaler son départ jusqu'à fin juillet

NEW YORK (Nations unies), 13 juin - RIA Novosti


L'Onu demande à l'Autriche à ne pas retirer ses casques bleus du plateau du Golan, de la zone de désengagement entre la Syrie et Israël, avant fin juillet afin de pourvoir à leur remplacement, a annoncé jeudi le porte-parole de l'organisation, Martin Nesirky.


"Le Département des opérations de maintien de la paix de l'Onu a officiellement demandé à l'Autriche d'achever le retrait de son contingent fin juillet au plus tôt pour assurer son remplacement par des casques bleus d'autres pays", a déclaré M.Nesirky devant les journalistes à New York.


Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a indiqué récemment que la Russie était prête à remplacer sur le plateau du Golan les casques bleus autrichiens sur demande de l'Onu et à condition que les pays de la région l'acceptent.


M.Nesirky a expliqué toutefois que l'accord de désengagement et le protocole signés entre la Syrie et Israël n'autorisaient pas la participation des membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l'Onu aux opérations onusiennes dans le Golan.


L'Autriche a récemment annoncé sa décision de retirer son contingent de casques bleus du Golan, jugeant la situation intenable. Si pendant 40 ans, cette frontière entre la Syrie et Israël a été l'une des plus calmes de la région, la zone démilitarisée est devenue aujourd'hui un terrain d'affrontement entre l'armée et les rebelles syriens.


Le retrait des soldats autrichiens porte un coup sévère à la Force des Nations unies chargée d'observer le désengagement sur le plateau du Golan (FNUOD), les 377 Autrichiens constituant plus d'un tiers du contingent. Les casques bleus japonais et croates sont déjà partis. Sans les Autrichiens, il ne restera dans le Golan qu'environ 500 soldats indiens et philippins. Les Philippines ont évoqué un possible retrait.


Aussi l'Onu doit-elle maintenant trouver des pays volontaires pour envoyer de nouveaux casques bleus dans le Golan, sans lesquels la mission ne pourra plus fonctionner.

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13 juin 2013 4 13 /06 /juin /2013 11:30
Israeli air force to get Heron UAS mission trainer

10 Jun 2013 By:   Arie Egozi - FG


Tel Aviv - Israel Aerospace Industries is in the advanced development phase for an unmanned air system mission trainer (UMT) to be employed by the Israeli air force, an operator of its Heron system.


According to the company, the UMT will assist the service in meeting the growing demand for well-trained operational crews by providing training that complies with the increasing complexity and variety of UAS missions.


High-fidelity training and simulation features range from a basic internal pilot and operator training system to full mission crew and multi-team training, including accurate payload models for electro-optical/infrared, radar and signals intelligence sensors. The system uses an instructor operating system to support planning, briefing, debriefing and trainee progress monitoring, IAI says.


Shaul Shahar, general manager of the company's Malat division, says use of the UMT will reduce training costs and improve personnel operational skills.


IAI has already delivered various UMT versions to foreign customers, and can adapt its technology to support any type of UAV and payload.

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