Reading this recap gives a very clear insight into the complete mess of this world. If you look closely, especially at the situation in Israel, we see this is way beyond a tinder box. Notice how desperate the Golan with Syria and the US SEC of Defense won’t even address it with Israel on his visit. Notice how the finger is on the trigger in North Korea, and yet Trump hits breaks and calls for more sanctions.
ANALYSIS : The Holy Spirit is restraining the Global meltdown. All is in place, the stage set, past the breaking point. The only event we now wait is the RAPTURE.
Then… ALL HELL breaks loose.
Even so come Lord Jesus, Amen! Maranatha!
See you all very soon!
——— Forwarded message ———-
Date: Apr 30, 2017 07:06
Subject: DEBKA Newsletter, April 29, 2017
Mattis leaves Israel with unanswered questions
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis
The Syrian shells exploding on the Golan were ringing in Israel’s ears on Friday, April 21, when US Secretary of Defense James Mattis flew out after talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The IDF spokesman accounted for the first mortar shell dropping on northern Golan as an accidental stray from the fighting in Syria. When the shelling continued, it was countered by an Israeli strike on a Syrian military target on the other side of the Golan border.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this incident, far from inadvertent, followed on the surreal scene Thursday of a Hizballah officer taking reporters on a “tour” of Israel’s defense lines and proudly pointing a finger across the border to “explain” how the Zionist enemy was reduced to defense..
No less divorced from reality was the short Mattis visit to Israel. After the mandatory smiles were exchanged between hosts and visitor, the situation on Israel’s northern fronts with Syria and Lebanon remained as enigmatic as before his arrival.
Secretary Mattis was clear on how the United States proposes to help Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi fight the Islamic State terrorist menace on three fronts, Syria, the Red Sea and Libya. His answers with regard to Syria were in sharp contrast vague and noncommittal.
Israel’s leaders were unable to draw the US defense secretary on those questions before he ended his visit Friday. They have mostly themselves to blame. By their policy of abstention from military initiatives on Israel’s northern frontiers, its prime minister, defense minister and chief of staff have made the government non-players in a crisis that vitally affects national security. Unlike Jordan, which took the chance of going into action, Israel was left on the sidelines and therefore kept waiting for answers.
French vote for president on edge after Champs Elysees terror attack
The 50,000 armed police and troops called up to secure France’s presidential election were much in evidence as some 47 million eligible voters headed for polling stations Sunday, two days after an Islamist terrorist murdered a police officer and injured two on Champs Elysees. Of the eleven candidates, four are rated realistic. The top two will contest a run-off on May 7. For the first time in 15 years, the far-right National Front led by Martine Le Pen, 48, has a real chance of winning. She is challenged by center-left Emmanuel Macron, 39, center-right Republican Francois Fillon, 62, who has gained ground lost over alleged misuse of public funds, and the far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon, 65.
Taliban attack kills or wounds 160 Afghan soldiers at northern army base
In one of the deadliest Taliban attacks on the Afghan army, more than 160 soldiers were killed or injured at the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps base near Mazar e-Sharif in the northern Balkh province. They breached the base defenses with suicide bombers and targeted the canteen and soldiers coming out of Friday prayers. Fighting there lasted for several hours, in which Taliban fighters disguised in army uniform were also killed. The 209th Corps is responsible for security in that part of Afghanistan including also Kunduz.
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February 28, 2014
Mattis in Djibouti amid high Red Sea stakes
DEBKAfile Special Report
US Defense Secretary James Mattis arrival in Djibouti Sunday, April 23 coincided with Egyptian President Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi’s landing in Riyadh. Both capitals are pivotal for the Arab face-off with Iran over control of the strategic Red Sea, which is of overriding concern to both visitors.
Mattis was the first US defense chief to visit Djibouti since 2005. America’s only African base at Camp Lemonnier is important for the former French colony’s geographic location on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait between Djibouti and Yemen and as a springboard for offensive US operations on Al Qaeda jihadists (AQAP) in Yemen and Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab in Somalia. The Trump administration’s drive to crush terrorism in its main arenas has shifted from defense operations to “additional precision fire”
For El-Sisi, the Red Sea is an essential component of Egypt’s national security. However, since 2015, he has taken good care not to let the Egyptian army become mired in the Yemen conflict. All he was prepared to contribute was a naval presence alongside the Saudi and Emirate fleets for maintaining Arab control of the narrow Bab El-Mandeb Strait, which commands access to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and is one of the world’s busiest oil, merchant and naval shipping routes from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean.
Neither Riyadh nor Abu Dhabi, which donate many billions to the Egyptian economy, will be satisfied with a partial Egyptian commitment to the contest for control of the Red Sea or the Yemen conflict. They regard both contests as fateful struggles for containing expanding Iranian influence over the Yemeni insurgent movement and strategic shipping routes. Tehran’s success would not only place their shores at risk but also their navies.
US drone strike kills 5 Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, three civilians
A presumed US drone strike Sunday killed five suspected members of Al-Qaeda and three civilians in the Al-Said area of the southern Shabwa province. They were not identified. Three civilians who went to their aid were killed when a second missile struck, the official said. Washington has sharply intensified its air war against jihadists in Yemen and Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, said to be shifting “from self-defense to additional precision fire.”
Palestinian stabs four people in Tel Aviv hotel
A Palestinian, aged 18, from Nablus stabbed four people in the lobby of the Herods Hotel on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv Sunday. One was a member of the staff. They were taken to hospital with light injuries. The terrorist was apprehended. Police are investigating whether he acted alone.
Egyptian president on two-day trip to Saudi Arabia
President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi arrived in Riyadh Sunday for two days of talks with Saudi leaders. He came with a large party of ministers and high military officers. The object of his visit is to bridge the differences between Riyadh and Cairo over the wars in Syria and Libya and the fight against the Islamic State, and repair the rift that emerged at the last Arab summit. The Saudis recently spurned Cairo’s offer of 40,000 Egyptian soldiers to take part in the Yemen civil war alongside Saudi troops.
Mattis lands in Djibouti from Qatar
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Djibouti on Sunday to visit an important military base at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, which is used as a launch pad for operations in Yemen and Somalia. This base,which has 4,000 US military personnel, was recently given broader authority to strike Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab in Somalia. Mattis came from talks in Qatar Saturday with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the fight against the Islamic State group, the conflict in Syria and Iran’s “destabilizing” regional role. Qatar is home to the Al-Udeid air base which houses around 10,000 US troops.
Israel marks annual Holocaust Remembrance Day
National events marking the annual Holocaust Martyrs ‘and Heroes’ Remembrance Day begins Sunday evening with a state ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Square in the Yad Vashem compound, addressed by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Along with other dignitaries, the event is to be attended by 2,500 Holocaust survivors, six of whom will light torches.
Monday at 10 a.m., Israel will pause for two minutes silence, while, in Poland, the traditional March of Life takes place at the Auschwitz camp led by the IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott. The commemoration events end later that evening with a ceremony at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, which was founded in western Galilee in 1949 by heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and fellow-survivors of the Holocaust.
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February 28, 2014
WHouse calls all US Senators for NKorea briefing
DEBKAfile Special Report
In view of escalating threats from North Korea, all 100 US senators were invited to the White House Wednesday for a rare classified briefing on the crisis from the administration’s top security chiefs: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Intelligence director Dan Coats and Chairman of the US chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. Vice President Mike Pence has interrupted his Asian trip to attend. The briefing is set for 1900 hours GMT.
President Donald Trump, who spoke Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable. It’s a big problem, has been for decades and we must finally solve it.”
As North Korea prepares to mark the 85th anniversary on Tuesday of the founding of its Korean People’s Army – a possible date for the regime to test military hardware – its official website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula.
US commercial satellite images have indicated increased activity around North Korea’s nuclear test site, while Kim has said that the country’s preparation for an ICBM launch is in its “final stage.” Earlier, Pyongyang threatened to sink the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier which is leading a strike group toward the Korean peninsula along with two Japanese destroyers.
UN Security Council members lunch at White House
US President Donald Trump said on Monday the UN Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions on North Korea as concerns mount that it may test a sixth nuclear bomb as early as Tuesday. He had invited the 15 UN Security Council ambassadors to lunch at the White House. “The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable,” Trump said. “The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve,” he said. “People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”
Trump calls all 100 US senators for North Korea briefing
In view of escalating North Korean threats, President Donald Trump has invited all US senators to the White House for an urgent rare briefing on North Korea Wednesday to be given by Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Chairman of US chiefs of staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, It will be classified. Vice President Mike Pence has shortened his Asian tour to attend. Trump spoke Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Pyongyang has threatened to sink the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group which is on its way to the Korean peninsula along with two Japanese destroyers. Kim Jong-un is also apparently preparing a sixth nuclear test and an official North Korean website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula.
The US imposes 271 new sanctions on Syrians for chemical attack
The Trump administration Monday announced new sanctions on 271 individuals involved in Syria’s chemical weapons program. This is the largest issue of sanctions on record. The new measures freeze assets and prevent US entities from doing business with 271 employees of a Syrian government agency tasked with producing non-conventional weapons. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the measures show “we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons by any action and we intend to hold the Assad regime accountable for its unacceptable behavior.” Less than a month ago, the US fired 59 cruise missiles on a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical attack on Syrian civilians.
Mattis on unannounced visit to Kabul. Afghan defense and army chiefs resign
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Kabul Monday on an unannounced visit on the day that Afghan’s defense minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down after the deadliest Taliban attack on a military base on Friday. The Taliban assault on a base at the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif left at least 140 National Army Afghan troops dead. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced he had replaced the commanders of four army corps after the attack, and defense officials said eight army personnel were arrested, raising suspicions that the attackers had inside help. Mattis will hear a push for more US troops when he meets Afghan officials and US commanders. The Trump administration is currently holding a review on strategy in Afghanistan.
Trump on Yom Hashoah pledges “Never again!”
In a recorded speech to the World Jewish Congress marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Donald Trump said: “On Yom HaShoah, we look back at the darkest chapter of human history. and we pledge: Never again. I say it, never again. The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror, and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear.
“In memory of those who were lost, we renew our commitment and our determination not to disregard the warnings of our own times. We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found. We must defeat terrorism, and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel’s destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of.
“To all of you tonight, who have come from around the world, let it be known, America stands strong with the State of Israel. “
Israel commemorates the six million victims of the Nazi Holocaust
Across the country, Israelis pause for two minutes silence at 10 a.m. Monday in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust. In the Knesset, members read out victims’ names. In Poland, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott leads the March of Life at the Auschwitz death camp.
Addressing the state ceremony at Yad Vashem Sunday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the lesson of the Holocaust “is that we must be able to defend ourselves, by ourselves…Those who plan to annihilate us, place themselves in danger of annihilation.” He went on to say: “Just as anti-Semitism will not disappear in the foreseeable future, so too has the apathy of the world to barbarity against others not fundamentally changed.”
President Reuven Rivlin referred to anti-Semitism in other parts of the world and said: “We must remember our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and our obligation to [ensure] their safety and welfare.”
Macron and Le Pen go to French runoff in two weeks
In final voting figures, centrist Emmanuel Macron led in the first round of France’s presidential election Sunday, with 23.75 percent of the vote. He and far-right Martine Le Pen, who won 21.53 percent, face each other in the runoff on May 7. Fillon with 19.91 percent and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon with 19.64 percent, dropped out of the race.
Macron and Le Pen offer France diametrically opposed policies. Macron, a former banker who served as economy minister, is socially liberal, pro-globalist and supporter of the euro and the European Union. Radical nationalist Le Pen told her supporters Sunday night: “The European Union will die, globalism will be defeated because the people do not want any more … arrogant and hegemonic empires”
A girl soldier injured in stabbing attack by female terrorist
In an terrorist attack at the Kalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem early Monday, a Palestinian woman stabbed in the back – and moderately injured – a female soldier on guard there, before she was shot herself. Sunday, a Palestinian from Nablus was detained after knifing four people at a Tel Aviv hotel.
March 7, 2014
North Sinai Bedouin take multiple casualties from ISIS car bombs
Two car bombs exploded Tuesday evening in northern Sinai south of the divided town of Rafah, inflicting heavy casualties on members of the Tarabin Bedouin tribe. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State which is in feud with the tribe after a section broke away from its support for ISIS, which involved a share in the terrorist group’s smuggling operation and hiding its fugitives. Claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS accused the tribesmen of “spying and betrayal.”
Senior IDF officer: North Korean crisis may affect Israeli security
An Israeli military spokesman referred for the first time to the North Korea crisis Tuesday when a senior IDF officer, who withheld his identity, spoke at a briefing to reporters about Israel’s concerns lest a confrontation with North Korea divert the United States from its support for Israel at a time of need.
Turning to the immediate region, the officer revealed that the Israel air force had smashed more than a hundred missiles destined for Hizballah in order to withhold from the Shiite terrorists weaponry of high strategic value.
US President Trump vows to confront anti-Semitism
In an address for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual Days of Remembrance event on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said, “The State of Israel is an eternal monument to the undying strength of the Jewish people. We are here today to make sure than humanity never ever forgets. The Nazis massacred six million Jews. Two out of every three Jews in Europe were murdered in the genocide. Those who deny the Holocaust are an accomplice to this horrible evil.” Trump went on to say: “Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world. “This is my pledge to you – we will confront anti-Semitism,” he said to a round of applause. “As president of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel.”
Netanyahu refuses to receive visiting German foreign minister
Visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s scheduled Tuesday meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was called off after the minister declared he would not give up on seeing the two radical anti-government B’Tselem and Breaking Silence groups in the face of the prime minister’s ultimatum. Gabriel was received by President Reuven Rivlin and opposition leader Labor’s Yitzhak Herzog. “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that slander IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals,” said the prime minister’s office. “It wouldn’t cross those diplomats’ minds to meet in the US or Britain with representatives of organizations that call to prosecute American or British soldiers.”
French police defuse a suspicious vehicle outside Metz synagogue
A suspicious vehicle parked outside the synagogue in the northeastern French town of Metz was de-activated by a large police contingent deployed at the scene Tuesday afternoon. The police said the explosions reported by witnesses were linked to this operation. They cleared the street and closed it to traffic, with soldiers from “Operation Sentinel” securing the site. After the event, several sources said it was a false alarm.
Turkish warplanes strike Kurds in Iraq and Syria
The Turkish military early Tuesday carried out air strikes against Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) fighters near Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the northeastern Syria province of Hasakeh. The two regions have become “terror hubs”, the Turkish army said, for channeling militants, weapons, bombs and ammunition into Turkey.
The Syrian YPG is backed by the United States as part of its coalition for fighting the Islamic State. This militia said the Turkish bombardment hit a media center, a local radio station, a communications headquarters and some military posts killing an undetermined number of militiamen. Turkish spokesmen reported 200 dead in the two attacks, although other sources provided much lower figures.
Austrian Chancellor visits Jerusalem, meets Netanyahu
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern warmly congratulated Israel as a “start-up nation regarded by the world as a model for emulation” at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem after their talks. Netanyahu praised the chancellor, who attended Holocaust Day events at Yad Vashem with his wife, for his steadfast campaign against Holocaust deniers and work against anti-Semitism.
Spain rounds up 8 Moroccans in anti-terror raids
The Spanish police Tuesday arrested eight people and raided 12 properties in Barcelona, in an operation against suspected Islamist terrorists, some of which were linked to the Belgian airport-metro suicide bombings last March which left 31 dead. Spain cooperated with Belgian police in the operation. The detained were all Moroccans aged between 21 and 39. Spanish police have been investigating an Islamist cell with links to organized crime in the Barcelona area for eight months.
Japanese PM hopes to implement peace treaty in Moscow visit
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Russia Thursday for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said Tuesday. While the North Korean crisis will no doubt be discussed, as well as political, trade, humanitarian and economic cooperation, Abe hopes to implement a historic agreement for formally ending World War II which was not signed when Putin visited Tokyo eleven years ago. They were unable to agree on a chain of islands the Soviet Union seized off Japan’s northern coast in 1945. This dispute has marred relations ever since.
Netanyahu will not see visiting German FM if he meets radical groups
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s scheduling meeting Tuesday with visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was not listed on his day’s agenda after the visitor did not cancel his plans to meet representatives of the radical anti-government B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence groups Tuesday evening. Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog condemned the prime minister’s ultimatum as harmful to Israel’s foreign relations with a true friend of Israel. Government sources commented that the German government, like any other, would not find acceptable an Israeli foreign minister’s meetings with radical groups. The Social Democratic Gabriel has often slammed Israel as an “apartheid state.”
North Korea stages massive artillery drill. US nuclear sub docks in South
Tensions around Korea shot up further Tuesday when the North began a large-scale, long-range artillery fire drill in Wonsan on the east coast, and the USS Michigan nuclear submarine docked in South Korea. Kim Jon-un is said to be supervising the drill which marks another anniversary, the founding of the North Korean army. The submarine will join the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group which is heading for Korean waters. US, Japanese and South Korean are meeting in Tokyo, a day before the entire US Senate is received at the White House for briefings by top security officials on the North Korean crisis.
March 7, 2014
US THAADs to South Korea. China launches carrier
DEBKAfile Special Report
The US early Wednesday, April 26, began moving the THAAD missile defense system to central South Korea opposite the border with the North – months ahead of schedule. A South Korean military official said two road-mobile launchers had arrived at the Osan Air Base. One THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) unit includes six launchers.
Tuesday, the USS Michigan nuclear submarine docked in South Korea, after the North began a large-scale, long-range artillery fire drill in Wonsan on the east coast. More than 4,000 artillery guns are reported to be taking part in the “exercise.”
The Michigan is in place ready to join the USS Carl Vinson carrier and its strike group which are steaming towards the peninsula, along with two Japanese destroyers.
Later Wednesday, all 100 US senators are scheduled to gather at the White House for a briefing by US security and military chiefs on the North Korean crisis, as the buildup to meet North Korean belligerence continues apace.
Facing US steps to meet the Korean crisis, China made ready to launch its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, also known as the Type 001A. The new vessel, the first to be manufactured from prow to stern in China, is bigger than the Liaoning, China’s first Russian-made aircraft carrier. It is due to be operational in two or three years.
Beijing has voiced objections to the deployment of an American missile shield in South Korea, a country it regards as its back yard. The Chinese Air Force remains on high alert over the Korean crisis, although this is denied in Beijing, and Russia continues to pour troops, tanks and missiles to its short 18-km border with North Korea in the Vladivostok district. Japan too is placing its army on a war footing.
Israel will not let Iranian, Hizballah buildup on Syrian border
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrived in Moscow Tuesday for a two-day international conference on Security. After meeting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Lieberman said that Israel would not stand for Iranian or Hizballah concentrating military forces on the Syrian-Israeli border. He praised the coordination mechanism between the IDF and the Russian Syrian command as working effectively and preventing unnecessary friction. Officers of the two militaries had so far met nine times. Lieberman will also meet Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shoigu during the visit.
US test-fires ICBM traveling 4,000 miles to South Pacific
Amid high tension with North Korea, the US Air Force Wednesday test-fired an intercontinental Minuteman III ballistic missile which traveled over 4,000 miles (6,400km) before splashing down in the South Pacific. It was fired from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. The nuclear-capable missile was unarmed, according to the Air Force.
Officials laying groundwork for Trump visit to Israel in late May: sources
DEBKAfile sources said Wednesday that there are discussions underway between US and Israeli officials to lay the groundwork for a visit to Israel by President Donald Trump in the second half of May after his visit to Brussels for a NATO conference.
It is already clear that the president’s trip to the region will include a meeting with Saudi King Salman and possibly with Egyptian President Abdul Fatteh El-Sisi, although such a visit to Cairo is highly sensitive in terms of security. In other words, it will be a quick visit to the Middle East. It is still not clear how long Trump will visit Israel, and it may be for no longer than a day. The question now is whether Trump will stay overnight or depart in the evening for one of the Arab countries.
Ex-Marine general takes helm of US Secret Service
Retired US Marine Gen. Randolph “Tex” Alles was sworn in on Tuesday as the new director of the Secret Service. He previously served as the deputy head of the US Customs and Border Protection agency. In 2011, he retired from the marines as a major general after a 35-year-career as a naval aviator.
The Secret Service, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for protecting the president and other senior government officials, protecting the White House and investigating financial fraud such as counterfeiting. The service has recently been struggling to overcome a negative image, attrition of staff and a series of errors including a number of intrusions into the White House grounds.
Two security-related officials chosen for senior Pentagon posts
The Trump administration nominated two security-related officials for senior Defense Department jobs on Tuesday. Kari Bingen was tapped as principal undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, the Pentagon’s second-most-important intelligence position. Bingen, who served as an aide of the House Armed Services Committee and a senior staff member of several subcommittees, is very familiar with a number of US intelligence services. The second nominee, Robert Story Karem, was picked to serve as assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs. He has significant experience in White House posts including adviser to then Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration. If confirmed, he is expected to deal with a range of issues including NATO policy, Russian provocations, the Middle East, the military and security implications of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and the results of the presidential election in France.
Stabbing attack by Palestinian knifeman thwarted near Nablus
A Palestinian wielding a knife tried to stab two Israelis Wednesday afternoon at a square adjacent to the headquarters of the IDF’s Samaria Regional Brigade, about five kilometers south of Nablus. The terrorist was shot and subdued. No Israelis were wounded.
China calls on US to remove missile interception system from SKorean soil
The Chinese government on Wednesday told the US and South Korea that it is concerned about the overnight deployment of the American-made THAAD anti-missile system in South Korean territory. During a daily press briefing in Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called on the US to withdraw the system. China fears that the radar of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system can be used to monitor its military and civilian aviation. Washington has said that THAAD is only intended to provide defense against North Korean short-range missiles.
Iran’s defense chief, in Moscow, expected to meet Russian counterpart
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan arrived Tuesday in the Russian capital to attend the Moscow Conference on International Security, which is being held in the city for the sixth consecutive year. Dehqan is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu as well as participate in a trilateral meeting with Shoigu and the defense minister of Syria. The Iranian minister is leading a delegation of senior defense officials and military officers.
Court rejects request for extradition of Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece
An appeals court in Athens on Tuesday turned down a request for the extradition of three Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece and received political asylum following last year’s attempted military coup in Turkey. The three are part of a group of eight Turkish soldiers who received asylum. The date for the proceedings regarding the five other soldiers has yet to be set. The prosecutor in Athens claimed that the evidence presented by the Turkish government was not sufficient for extradition. According to the statistics of the Greek immigration authorities, a total of 236 Turkish citizens have requested asylum since the July 2016 attempted putsch.
As tension over NKorea rises, US deploys THAAD ahead of schedule
The US military started deploying its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea on Wednesday. The step came about two months ahead of schedule in light of soaring tensions with North Korea. The advanced THAAD system defends against short-to-medium range ballistic missiles. For details on the deployment and on China’s launching of an aircraft carrier, see DEBKAfile’s special report.
Iranian ship charges US destroyer in Persian Gulf
In an incident in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard ship sped toward a US destroyer, the USS Mahan, and reached within 1,000 yards of it before changing direction and sailing away. The Iranians were manning the weapons on the deck of their ship at the time of the incident. The crew of the Mahan ordered the Iranian ship by loudspeaker not to approach, sounded the ship’s danger signal, fired flares and sent out warnings on the emergency radio frequencies used by all the vessels in the Gulf, but to no avail. A senior US officer later described the Iranian ship’s action as “obviously provocative behavior”. Iranian vessels carried out 35 provocative maneuvers against US ships in international waters during 2016, 50 percent more than they did the previous year.
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March 7, 2014
Golan tension: Pro-Iran troops move on Quneitra
DEBKAfile Special Report
Early Thursday, April 26, a mixed Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah force embarked on a general offensive in southern Syria ready for a leap on Israel’s Golan border. They moved forward in the face of Israeli warnings that were relayed from Moscow to Tehran and Hizballah.
This latest warning was issued by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting the Russian capital this week to attend an international security conference. After meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shoigu, the Israeli minister stated clearly on Wednesday: “Israel will not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hizballah forces on its Golan border.”
By Thursday morning, it was evident that a decision had been taken in Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut to ignore Lieberman’s warning.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that early Thursday, Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, alongside Hizballah troops, organized as the Southern Shield Brigade, launched their offensive at Mt. Hermon southwest of Damascus, on their way to the Syrian-Israeli Golan border in the region of Quneitra. The Syrian contingents taking part in this push are the Syrian army’s elite 42nd Brigade and elements of the 4th Mechanized Division.
Their first objective is to capture a string of villages held by Syrian rebel groups in the region of Hadar on the Hermon slopes. They are advancing towards the Golan along the Beit Jinn route.
There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.
An Israeli Patriot intercepted a small drone from Syria
A small drone penetrated northern Israeli airspace Thursday night. It was shot down by an Israeli Air force Patriot missile before it landed. This incident highlights the rising tension on the Syrian-Israeli border.
Palestinian with concealed knife arrested in Hebron
Israeli border policemen manning a security checkpoint next to the Cave of the Patriarchs complex in Hebron on Thursday evening arrested a Palestinian found to be carrying a knife. The suspect was taken in for questioning.
Man carrying knives arrested near parliament in London
A man armed with knives was arrested Thursday afternoon in London near the Houses of Parliament. There were no casualties during the incident. Some of the policemen who carried out the arrest wore protective suits. The incident happened in the Whitehall area near 10 Downing Street. A Scotland Yard spokesman said in a brief statement that the man, who is known to the security services, is suspected of possessing an offensive weapon and of planning to carry out a terrorist attack.
Two US troops killed during anti-ISIS operation in Afghanistan
A Pentagon spokesman said Thursday that two American soldiers were killed Wednesday night during an operation against ISIS forces in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
Armed man captured in Berlin after exchanging fire with police
A man was arrested and taken into custody after exchanging fire with police at a hospital in the Kreuzberg district of central Berlin on Thursday afternoon. The police cordoned off the area. The circumstances behind the incident are being checked.
Kremlin slams latest Israeli airstrike in Syria
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday slammed the alleged Israeli airstrike at Damascus international airport earlier in the day. He said Israel and other countries should respect Syria’s sovereignty and avoid actions that heighten regional tensions. Peskov added that there is a “constant dialogue” between the general staffs of the Russian military and the IDF.
Russia’s ‘Liman’ spy ship collides with freighter, sinks near Bosphorus Strait
A Russian reconnaissance ship, the Liman, collided with a Togo-flagged freighter in the Black Sea, north of the Bosphorus Strait, and sank on Thursday afternoon. However, the entire crew of the Russian vessel was rescued by the Turkish coast guard and a number of ships that rushed to the area near the Turkish port of Kilyos. The freighter was said to have been transporting livestock.
Terrorist shoots two intervention force members on Indian Ocean island
A terrorist described as a radical Islamist by the French security services shot two police officers who came to arrest him Thursday morning on Reunion island in the Indian Ocean. The officers from a French police intervention force were moderately wounded but the terrorist was subdued and taken into custody. Prosecutors from the counterterror division of France’s Justice Ministry have launched an investigation of the incident, which took place in the city of Saint-Benoit. Reunion island, a French overseas territory, is located about 900 kilometers east of Madagascar and about 200 kilometers southwest of Mauritius.
Syrian military source: Israel carried out Thursday’s attack at int’l airport
A Syrian military source Thursday accused Israel of carrying out the attack earlier in the day that caused major damage to buildings within Damascus international airport, Syria’s SANA news agency said. According to the report, a number of air-to-ground missiles struck the buildings, causing a series of explosions and fires within the airport’s area.
Hamas opens fire on IDF force near Gaza border; no casualties
A force of IDF troops operating along the border fence across from southern Gaza was targeted by gunfire on Thursday morning. The shooting did not cause any Israeli casualties or damage. The IDF spokesman’s office said IDF tanks returned fire. According to Palestinian media reports, the IDF boosted its presence in the area, including drones, following the attack.
Houthi rebels attempt boat bomb attack on Saudi oil terminal
Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Wednesday attempted to bomb a Saudi oil distribution terminal near the Yemeni border by remote control using an unmanned boat packed with explosives. According to a statement by the Saudi Interior Ministry, the country’s coast guard sighted the boat, opened fire and blew it up about 1.5 kilometers away from the terminal of the Saudi Aramco company. The incident near the facility in Jizan province on the coast of the Red Sea was the second such attack by the Houthis on a Saudi target this year. On January 30, two sailors were killed when a boat bomb was used against a Saudi frigate in the Red Sea near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.
Latest Damascus airport incident was in line with Israeli policy: intel minister
Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister for intelligence affairs, said Thursday during a radio interview that the incident several hours earlier at Damascus international airport was completely in line with his country’s policy of preventing the transfer of advanced weapons to Hizballah. Katz, who is visiting Washington, made the comment in an interview by IDF radio station Galei Tzahal. Several hours earlier, he met with Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East.
US to press NKorea to return to talks, senators told at closed-door briefing
At a classified briefing on Wednesday for all 100 US senators, the Trump administration said that Washington seeks to pressure North Korea to return to the negotiating table in order to peacefully end Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, but at the same time the US is ready to defend itself and its allies from the North. The briefing was given by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State James Mattis, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. Meanwhile, senior Pentagon officials said that the THAAD anti-missile system that the US deployed in South Korea during the day will be operational within a week to deal with North Korean threats.
Series of large explosions at Damascus international airport
A number of strong explosions were heard early Thursday morning near the military section of the Syrian capital’s international airport. According to reports on Syrian social networks, witnesses said there was a large mushroom cloud over the area.
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February 28, 2014
Woman shot in UK anti-terror police raid
A woman in her 20s has been shot by police and four people arrested in an anti-terror operation in Willesden, north-west London and Kent, Scotland Yard said Friday. The woman was one of the persons suspected of “the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorist acts.” She is in a serious but stable condition in hospital. The arrests came after a man was arrested at outside Parliament Thursday with a bagful of knives.
Police said the two incidents were not connected.
Trump on embassy move to Jerusalem: Ask me in a month
US President Donald Trump refused to confirm the prediction by Florida Republican Rep Ron DeSantis that he would announce the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem when he visits Israel in late May. In answer to a question, the president said: “Ask me in a month on that.” He went on to say: “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians. There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever.” Trump receives Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the White House on May 3.
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