Tag Archive | "russia"

Israeli Defense minister leans toward operation in Iran, as Obama portrays ‘weakness’

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Moshe Ya’alon says U.S. is acting feebly – from China through the Mideast to Ukraine. ‘I hope the U.S. comes to its senses.’

By Barak Ravid

Based on his evaluation that the United States isn’t going to do anything to frustrate the Iranian nuclear program, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday he’s changed his mind and now leans toward supporting unilateral Israeli action against Iran.

“We had thought the ones who should lead the campaign against Iran is the United States,” said Ya’alon, speaking during an event at Tel Aviv University. “But at some stage the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better.”

If Israel had hoped others would do the job for it, this is not about to happen, Ya’alon said: “Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”

His words attest to a sea-change in his attitude regarding how Israel should contend with the Iranian nuclear program. Under the previous government, Ya’alon had led the opposition in the security cabinet to a solo Israeli attack on Iran, even exchanging sharp words on the issue with the defense minister at the time, Ehud Barak. Ya’alon had taken the position that “the work of righteous men shall be done by others” – meaning the United States should be the one to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Evidently, he no longer believes this is going to happen, and is nearing the position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who signals the belief that Israel should be behaving as though it’s on its own, right now.

Ya’alon was sharply critical on Monday of Washington’s behavior regarding Iran, even hinting that U.S. President Barack Obama would prefer to pass the hot potato to his successor at the White House. “People know that Iran cheats,” Ya’alon said. “But comfortable Westerners prefer to put off confrontation. If possible, to next year, or the next president. But in the end, it will blow up.”

From Iran being “on its knees” thanks to economic pressure and onerous diplomatic isolation, from fearing an internal eruption and military threat, Iran cleverly led a “smile offensive,” Ya’alon said, extracting itself from crisis.

“There have been delays in the nuclear program, but the [interim] agreement [signed between Iran and the superpowers in Geneva] is very convenient for the Iranians,” Ya’alon said. “They’re settling down at the threshold and can decide when to make the breakthrough to a nuclear bomb.”

Ya’alon’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy didn’t stop with Iran. The minister repeated a number of times during his address that Washington has been showing weakness everywhere in the world. “The moderate Sunni camp in the area expected the United States to support it, and to be firm, like Russia’s support for the Shi’ite axis,” Ya’alon said. “I heard voices of disappointment in the region. I was in Singapore and heard disappointment about China getting stronger and the U.S. getting weaker. Look what’s happening in Ukraine, where the United States is demonstrating weakness, unfortunately.”

If the American government persists in demonstrating weakness on the international front, the United States’ own national security will be badly damaged, Ya’alon said. “If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” he said. “Even if you hunker down, it will come. This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”

Discussing the relations between Israel and the United States on the security and diplomatic fronts, Ya’alon said that U.S. military aid to Israel needs to be “seen in proportion”.

“It isn’t a favor America is doing, it’s in their interest,” he said. Israel not only takes from Washington, the minister added — it also gives. “They get quality intelligence and technology,” he said. “We invented Iron Dome. The wings of the F-35 stealth fighter – we invented. We invented the Arrow,” an anti-ballistic missile.

Ya’alon also took aim at the Israeli left, implying that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was encouraging international elements to apply pressure to Israel. “We have a serious problem of self-accusation,” he said. “There are circles where Israelis and Arabs meet. The Arabs accuse the Jews and the Jews accuse themselves.”

Hinting plainly at Livni, Ya’alon said, “There are elements within the government that have lost their equilibrium, and blame us” for the failure of negotiations with the Palestinians. “They say, why are we building? [Settlements.] Why don’t we give more? Then it becomes very convenient for everybody outside to pounce on us. We have too much self-accusation, which attracts fire, and causes people to press us and demand concessions.”

Israel has short time to hit Iran’s Nuclear Sites if Moscow sells Tehran S-300 Systems

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Thanks to our friends at DEBKAfile, Russian military experts now calculate that the window for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will shrink to 3-6 months if Moscow sells Iran (and Syria) the sophisticated S-300 system for guarding those sites against air, missile or cruise missile attack.  Moscow sources report that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert failed in the key missions of his Moscow trip to persuade Russian leaders to discuss Tehran’s nuclear weapons program and to refrain from selling this advanced weapon to Iran and Syria.

President Dmitiry Medvedev’s bureau issued a noncommittal statement Tuesday, Oct. 7, saying that his talks with Olmert were “an exchange of opinion on threats, including terrorism and nonproliferation.” The word “nuclear” was avoided.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who the prime minister met Monday, trotted out the standard Russia claim that Moscow had no definite information that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and is against tougher sanctions.

Prime minister Vladimir Putin was unable to see him.

Moscow’s mainstream media came out Tuesday with a rerun of the statement made on Sept. 17 by Anatoly Isaikin, director of the Russian arms exports agency Rosoboronexport, that his firm is in advanced negotiations with Tehran for the sale of the S-300 missiles. However, on Monday, the same firm disowned knowledge of these missiles having been shipped to Iran, although negotiations for their sale were not mentioned.

Konstantin Makiyenko, from the center for strategic and technological analysis think tank in the Russian capital, said these utterances put Israel on notice to stop selling arms to Georgia and training its army.

Moscow does not conceal its intention of selling S-300 missiles to Syria. A Russian military expert commented: “Our warships if based in Syrian ports will need to be encircled by missile batteries capable of guarding them against air and missile attack.”

According to Russian experts, the system is capable of pinpointing 100 targets and simultaneously intercepting 12 at a distance of 120 km.

Russian sources made a point of stressing that Moscow is not subject to embargoes on its foreign arms sales or any international restrictions on supplying defensive weapons to other nations.

 

[tags]russia, s-300, missile defense, iran, syria, israel, weapons program, military[/tags]

Ten Russian warships have docked at Syrian port

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Israeli military and naval commanders were taken by surprise by Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov’s disclosure that 10 Russian warships are already anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus.

Moscow and Damascus have worked fast to put in place the agreement reached in Moscow on Sept. 12 by Russian navy commander, Adm. Vladimir Wysotsky and Syrian naval commander Gen. Taleb al-Barri to provide the Russian fleet with a long-term base at Syrian ports. Israel was not aware that this many vessels were involved in the deal.

What most worries Israeli military leaders is an earlier announcement by Adm. Wysotsky that Russia’s Mediterranean assets would subjected to its Black Sea fleet command, thereby placing Russia’s warships near Israel’s shores at the service of Moscow’s contest against the US and NATO in the Caucasian. It is feared that Israel will be dragged into another cold war.

Rear Adm. Baranov disclosed that the warships in Tartus had brought engineering crews to widen and dredge the harbor to accommodate additional, fleet vessels. The crews were also working on expanding Latakia, another Syrian port, possibly for aircraft carriers or guided missile cruisers.

The Russians are making no secret of their intention of using their naval presence in Syrian ports as a deterrent to a possible Israeli air strike against Syria.

Russia Grabs a Piece of Ice

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The use of Arctic resources is central to Russia’s energy security said President Dmitry Medvedev speaking at the country’s Security Council meeting. Russia also wants its border in the Arctic continental shelf be legally established. The region contains an estimated 25% of the world’s oil and gas.

Medvedev said the country needs “a firm normative-legal base regulating Russia’s activity in the Arctic”.

”First of all, the federal law on the southern border of Russia’s Arctic zone should be completed and adopted,” he said.

Medvedev also said that Russia would next look to establish “the external frontier of the continental shelf.”

The Russian leader said about 20% of Russia’s GDP and 22% of national exports were produced in the Arctic.

The main task, he said, “is to turn the Arctic into Russia’s resource base of the 21st century,” adding that a number of problems, including the protection of Russia’s national interests in the region, needed to be solved.

Most of the Arctic doesn’t belong to any one country – and Russia is among five keen to claim their share.

Speaking after the meeting, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said: “We must define the borders in the north of our country, where the Arctic lies. Our estimate is that it makes up 18% of our territory. And we are saying that 20,000 kilometres of the state border runs in this region.”

“But we are aware that the Arctic states – Canada, Norway, Denmark and the U.S. – will defend theirs,” he said.

The Russian government will work out a plan of the implementation of state policy in the Arctic by December 1, 2008.

According to the United Nations’ Law of the Sea, any state with an Arctic coastline that wishes to stake a claim to the region must lodge its submission with the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which is what Russia intends to do.

The country’s specialists want to prove that the Lomonosov ridge, a vast underwater mountain range that runs underneath the Arctic, is an extension of the Siberian continental shelf.

Should they succeed it would be the icing on the Arctic cake. But whether Russia’s claim cuts any ice with the UN is anybody’s guess – as the other contenders will certainly not give up without a fight.

“The challenge for Russia is that its Arctic neighbours have long started to formulate their own Arctic strategy, while Russia needs a great deal of inter-ministry and inter-departmental coordination in order to come up with a solid strategy in terms of diplomacy, geology and economy. It’s for this reason that the Security Council wants to set up some very specific goals and then an action plan,” said political analyst Mikhail Troitsky.

Russia, US pull further apart on Iranian nuclear activities

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Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Friday a military solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is unacceptable and there is no need for new sanctions. At the same time, Washington has imposed new sanctions on Iran, blacklisting a main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries. The US government accuses the maritime carrier of ferrying contraband nuclear material, which Tehran denies.

Washington sources predict this may be the prelude to more series actions, such as a naval blockade to choke off Iran’s imports of fuel products.

Moscow continues to support the European Union’s diplomatic drive to trade incentives for Iran’s consent to curb “some of its nuclear activities.”

Monday, Sept. 15, the nuclear watchdog’s director Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to present a new report on Iran’s controversial neutral program to the IAEA’s board of governors meeting in Vienna.

Tehran has been asked to account for 50-60 tons of missing uranium from its main enrichment site at Isfahan. It is enough to produce five or six nuclear bombs and is suspected of having been diverted to secret sites to boost the covert production of weapons-grade uranium.

Russian anti-submarine aircraft, nuclear battle cruiser heads for Venezuela

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Russian foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko’s announcement in Moscow provided sketchy details of the coming Russian deployment at a Venezuela airport and the joint naval war games with Hugo Chavez’s navy in the Caribbean. Caracas announced that four Russian ships with almost 1,000 sailors aboard would join its navy for maneuvers on November 10-14.

Uncle Jay Explains the News – September 8th, 2008

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