Israel’s chief of staff says Hezbollah killed its own commander in Syria

The claim that Badreddine was killed by Hezbollah was echoed on Tuesday by Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Speaking to the Associated Press,

Source: Israel’s chief of staff says Hezbollah killed its own commander in Syria

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Israel’s chief of staff says Hezbollah killed its own commander in Syria

An Israeli military official has repeated claims in the Arab media that the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah killed its own military commander in Syria, following a dispute with Iran. Mustafa Amine Badreddine, 55, an expert in explosives and former bomb-maker, was a senior military commander in the military wing of Hezbollah. He rose through the ranks of the organization to become a trusted adviser to Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah. In 2011, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up by the United Nations, charged Badreddine with organizing the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hariri was killed with over 20 other people in a massive bomb blast in Beirut, in February of 2005. – Intel’News

 

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Soon after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the leadership of Hezbollah dispatched Badreddine to the Syrian capital Damascus. His stated mission was to command thousands of Hezbollah troops, who fought under Iranian guidance in support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But on May 13, 2016, Badreddine was reportedly killed in Damascus, causing observers to describe his death as the biggest setback for the Shiite militant group since the 2008 assassination of its leading commander, Imad Mughniyeh. Initial reports in Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese media suggested that Badreddine might have been killed in an Israeli air attack. But a press statement issued later by Hezbollah said the commander had been killed as a result of an armed attack by Sunni rebels. However, on March 8 of this year, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab television network al-Arabiya said it had conducted its own investigation into Badreddine’s death, and had concluded that he was killed by Hezbollah itself. The network claimed that Hezbollah’s Secretary General Nasrallah had ordered Badreddine’s killing, after the Iranians demanded it. Apparently the Iranians wanted him killed because he disputed the authority of Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, who is often credited with having saved the Syrian government from demise during the Civil War.

The claim that Badreddine was killed by Hezbollah was echoed on Tuesday by Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Speaking to the Associated Press, Lt Gen Eisenkot said that reports from Arab media that Badreddine was killed by his own forces agreed “with intelligence we have”, referring to the Israeli military. It is worth noting that Israeli officials rarely comment on intelligence operations, including assassination operations, choosing instead to adhere to a “refuse to confirm or deny” policy.

Posted in Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Intelligence Community, ISLAMIC MILITARY COUNTER TERRORISM COALITION, KGB, MI5, MI6, National Counterterrorism Center | Leave a comment

Turkey and The West in Syria

Turkey’s relationship with Syria had been bitterly hostile up to the late 1990s, in significant part owing to the Syrian regime of Hafez al-Assad sheltering Abdullah Ocalan and his Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Assad was instrumental in creating in collusion with the Soviet Union.8 The PKK launched a separatist insurgency inside Turkey in 1984, acting effectively as a proxy for the U.S.S.R. against a frontline NATO state. After the Soviet Empire collapsed, the PKK was drawn closer to Damascus.

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Turkey and The West in Syria

Source: Turkey and The West in Syria

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Turkey and The West in Syria

Kyle Orton\The Henry Jackson Society December 2016

Turkey began the “Arab Spring” period pursuing a policy of “zero problems with neighbours”. Primarily because of Syria, where Ankara got drawn further and further into the battle against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, this policy fell apart.

For Turkey, the threat of a contiguous statelet along its border controlled by the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the U.S.-led Coalition has chosen as its primary ground ally against the Islamic State (IS), has motivated a number of policies that culminated in a direct intervention in Syria in August 2016. Turkey cannot afford to accept the territorial ambitions of an affiliate of a domestic terrorist group as it views its internal Kurdish situation entirely through this prism, rather than also a consequence of Ankara’s repressive policy towards Turkey’s Kurds.

Al-Qaeda in Syria has used Turkey as a rear base and its networks on Turkish territory constitute a key node in its global network, able to strike at Europe and America if and when a decision is made. While Turkey’s intervention has helped exacerbate divisions between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaeda, some of the Islamist groups’ Turkey supports in Syria, notably Ahrar al-Sham, have strengthened al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch.

After the attempted coup in Turkey there has been a wide-scale crackdown, which has targeted all opposition to the government. This has accelerated Turkey’s drift toward authoritarianism and damaged the anti-IS cause by removing key military officials with whom the West was working. It is possible that the West will lose, or be threatened with the loss of, basing rights altogether in Turkey.

Key Recommendations

  1. Work with Turkey to delineate an acceptable role for the PKK in Syria, imposing some limits on an organization that has heretofore enjoyed uncritical Western support. This will help avert opening another front in the war, and diverting resources from the anti-IS campaign.
  2. Though the removal of Bashar al-Assad by force is no longer feasible, the maintenance of the West’s official posture that wishes to see him ousted remains essential in helping bring allies, inside Syria and in the surrounding states, to support Western strategy, including fighting IS and al-Qaeda. Applying penalties against the pro-Assad forces for egregious crimes might keep open the chance of a political settlement.
  3. Have Turkey crack down on al-Qaeda’s operations on its territory, and pressure Turkey to reduce its support to Ahrar al-Sham and other Islamist groups that enable al-Qaeda in northern Syria, or condition such support on these groups distancing themselves from al-Qaeda
  4. Explore alternative basing locations, notably Cyprus and Iraqi Kurdistan, to ensure there actually is an alternative if the Coalition is evicted from Turkey and to ensure meanwhile that Ankara does not have excessive leverage from the ability to make this threat.
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DOD’s Report On Enhancing Security and Stability In Afghanistan

DefenceTalk-The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have begun their third year in the lead for security in Afghanistan and the second year in
which they have full security responsibility with limited U.S. or coalition support on the battlefield. During the December 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016, reporting period, the ANDSF addressed key capability gaps as they recovered from a tough 2015, maintained a high operational tempo during the winter months amidst challenging security conditions, and developed and began to implement an offensive campaign plan as they headed into the traditional spring and summer fighting season.

Through Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS), United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A) continue to conduct two well-defined and complementary missions: training, advising, and assisting the ANDSF through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute Support (RS) mission and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al Qaeda and its associates. In recognition of the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (also known as Daesh) outside of its Iraq-Syria base and the emerging foothold of an affiliate in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, in this reporting period President Obama authorized USFOR-A to conduct offensive counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State – Khorasan (IS-K) (also known as the Islamic State – Khorasan Province), the ISIL affiliate in Afghanistan.

Consistent with the President’s Obama October 2015 announcement that U.S. forces would maintain a force posture in Afghanistan of up to 9,800 military personnel through most of 2016, USFOR-A maintained its forces at or below this level throughout the reporting period.

These U.S. forces served alongside approximately 6,876 forces from NATO Allied and partner nations who are committed to Afghanistan’s continued development. In particular, the continued U.S. and coalition presence in Afghanistan is focused on making progress in developing the ANDSF into
a more effective, sustainable, and affordable force that can protect the Afghan people and contribute to regional and international security. This force presence will also help prevent threats to the homeland, U.S. allies, and U.S. interests abroad from terrorist actors in the region, particularly al Qaeda, and it will maintain pressure on other terrorist groups such as IS-K.

Read Full Report Enhancing_Security_and_Stability_in_Afghanistan-June_2016

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DefenceTalK: David Krieger on Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Arms Control-Interview

Ahmed Ali Shah

 

Q&A

DT: Which nuclear states are more dangerous; the nuclear romantics (those seeking nukes for prestige) or nuclear realists (those seeking nukes for defence against other nuke states)? Nuclear Realists claim they possess nuclear weapons only because nuclear romantics create fear in them.

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David Krieger: I don’t find the distinctions between nuclear romantics and nuclear realists to be helpful. All states possessing nuclear weapons have some mix of both qualities. In my mind, there is nothing romantic about nuclear weapons and it is detached from reality to believe that nuclear weapons can be held indefinitely in nuclear arsenals and their use threatened without being used again.

DT: Realists belief is that nuclear weapon free world is a Utopian idea. Even if nations completely disarm themselves their nuclear raw materials, nuclear scientists, engineers and nuclear facilities will continue to exist. Therefore; when they deem it necessary they can redevelop their nuclear weapons. And in such a case the possibility of usage of nuclear weapons is higher than it is now. How do you respond to this belief?

David Krieger: I think it is far more utopian to believe that some states can maintain nuclear arsenals without engendering nuclear proliferation and eventual use of nuclear weapons, by accident or design. If states would find it in their interest to seek to abolish nuclear weapons in a phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent manner, it is likely that they would assure in the process that it is extremely difficult for any state to develop or redevelop nuclear weapons.

DT: NPT was signed during the Cold War. The 5 Nuclear States promised to disarm themselves on a future date. Today there is no Cold War and more states possess nuclear weapons then before. What is the future of NPT in your view? And do you believe a complete disarmament is possible on NPTs terms?

David Krieger: For the foreseeable future the NPT is necessary, but of course it has serious contradictions, such as the promise of nuclear disarmament on the one hand and the seemingly inconsistent position on the other hand that peaceful nuclear technology is an “inalienable right.” As states become more serious about abolishing nuclear weapons, the NPT should give way to a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which sets forth the roadmap for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of nuclear weapons.

DT: The US congress passed a controversial Presslers Amendment which barred US government from selling F-16s and other military hardware to Pakistan because it was pursuing nuclear weapons. On the other hand US sold over 250 F-16s to Israel, who was already known to possess nuclear weapons at that time. Similar examples can be found on other accounts related to other countries. Do you think that the double standards on behalf of United States, on who should and who should not possess nuclear weapons, are pushing 3rd World Countries to acquire nuclear weapons?

David Krieger: I strongly oppose such double standards. I believe they are a provocation to nuclear proliferation. We need a unitary and universal standard leading to the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

DT: What are your views on Bush Nuclear Doctrine? Is the policy to pursue nonproliferation by force the right one? Or has it brought the world to a dangerous point? Has it in anyway made US a more secure country, even by a small percentage?

David Krieger: I think the orientation of trying to control proliferation by the use of force, including preemptive nuclear strikes, is extremely dangerous. It is an expression of imperial policy and an incentive to proliferation. I also believe that it is neither practical nor effective. It has not made the US more secure.

DT: In your paper Why Nations Go Nuclear you have pointed out 4 principle reasons to the question, while you say that North Korea seems to be pioneering the 5th one, that is: to use the weapons as a bargaining chip to gain security guarantees and financial concessions. How real is danger of such nuclear blackmail? Will more states be encouraged to follow this rout? If so, how can they be stopped?

David Krieger: I don’t see North Korea’s position as nuclear blackmail in the sense of threatening to use nuclear weapons. Rather, it is using the prospect of developing or maintaining a nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip to gain security and development assistance. I think that North Korea fears the US use of force against it and certainly has great need of development assistance. I think it is well worth the bargain for the US to provide such security guarantees and development aid in exchange for North Korea giving up its nuclear arsenal. I think this situation is unique, and is unlikely to be a model for other states.

DT: In your paper US Leadership for Global Zero you say Barack Obama recognizes the importance for US and global security of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. D.W. Eisenhower & Ronald Reagan spoke of General and Complete (C&G) Disarmament on different occasions but neither achieved it. In fact both pursued better nuclear delivery systems and counter nuclear missile technologies. G.W. Bush on the other hand pursued all this without even showing slightest interest in either disarmament or arms control. What makes you believe that Obama is or will be serious on complete nuclear disarmament or as you put Nuclear Zero?

David Krieger: President-elect Obama has made many statements that show he is deeply concerned about nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. I think he recognizes that the US and the world would be far safer without nuclear arms. I am certain that he will take steps in this direction, but I imagine that they will be cautious steps and will emerge initially from negotiations with the Russians. I believe he will set the goal of global zero, but will not be able to achieve this goal within his possible two terms in office. I have high hopes that he will follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan in seeking global abolition, hopefully more successfully than Reagan. Much will depend upon Obama’s willingness to halt missile defenses in Europe, which the Russians have consistently opposed and continue to find provocative.

DT: Do you think that miniaturized low yield tactical nuclear weapons, with lower (very limited) contamination and destructive power, can (or should) be possible alternative to nuclear weapons with the capability of mass destruction?

David Krieger: I don’t see mini-nukes as an alternative to massive-nukes. Leaders could well be more willing to use low yield tactical nuclear weapons, thus breaking the taboo that has existed on nuclear weapons use since Nagasaki was destroyed. This could open a Pandora’s Box of proliferation and nuclear use.

DT: States like Pakistan and North Korea find themselves conventionally weaker against their rivals. They claim that only thing deterring their rivals is their nuclear arsenal. Iran seems to follow the same logic. Such states would be reluctant to disarm themselves. How can these states be encouraged to join the disarmament club, or as your say: Nuclear Weapons Convention, if Nuclear Zero takes place?

David Krieger: To convince these states to engage in nuclear disarmament will require a new global security environment. For these states, nuclear weapons now seem to be a military equalizer. The stronger states are going to have make commitments in the form of security agreements to convince these states to give up their nuclear arms. Such commitments will actually make the more powerful states more secure as well. Changing the global security environment will not be easy, but it will be greatly helped by the most powerful states giving clear signs that they are prepared themselves to go to zero.

DT: In case Iran produces a deliverable nuclear weapon, there is a risk that Saudi Arabia and Egypt will also seek to acquire nuclear weapons, while Israel will also go overt. How much will this affect proliferation control? What measures should be taken to prevent Iran or Middle East as whole from going nuclear?

David Krieger: Iran developing nuclear weapons would encourage more nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Israel’s nuclear weapons already encourage such proliferation, by Iran and others. The UN has long called for a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. This remains an important objective and pressure should be put on Israel by its allies to achieve this goal. In my view, no states, including the current nuclear weapons states, should be allowed to enrich uranium. Uranium enrichment should be universally banned. The reprocessing of plutonium should only be done under strict and effective international control.

DT: In your Briefing for the New President you wrote Deterrence is not defense against a nuclear attack. If it were, missile defenses would not be needed. If true then what deterred the two super powers of the Cold War from a nuclear exchange, especially during times of high tension like the Cuban Missile Crisis?

David Krieger: Deterrence is not physical protection from nuclear attack. It is a psychological concept, which provides no assurance of effectiveness. There is no proof that deterrence prevented a nuclear war during the period of the Cold War. We know a nuclear war did not occur, but we do not know that it was fear of retaliation that was the cause of this. But even if the threat of mutual assured destruction (MAD) did protect psychologically against the use of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, it cannot be assumed that the same conditions would prevail in the case of other nuclear weapons states. Deterrence requires rational actors, and we surely know that not all leaders are rational at all times. I would not bet the future of one’s country or of the human race on reliance upon rationality. To do so would be irrational.

BackGround

David Krieger is a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and has served as President of the Foundation since 1982.

Dr. Krieger has lectured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia on issues of peace, security, international law, and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He has received many awards for his work for a more peaceful and nuclear weapons-free world. He has been interviewed on CNN Hotline, MSNBC, NPR and many other television and radio shows nationally and internationally.

 

 

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ISIS Inadvertently Proves Bible Historically Accurate

Matthew Archbold
Irony alert. The Bible once again shown to be historically accurate…this time with the help of ISIS militants.

So here’s how it happened. In 2014, ISIS destroyed a site believed by many to be the burial site of Jonah in Mosul because…that’s what ISIS does. They destroy. For some reason they went to town on the place, even using dynamite to destroy it.

But a few weeks ago, the area was liberated by Iraqi forces from ISIS. But because the site was blown to smithereens, what was under the shrine became apparent. And archaeologists soon discovered the 2,300 year old palace of the Biblical King Sennacherib. I know all of you read the Bible so much that good ol’ Sennacherib’s story is as known to you as your own history. But just in case you forgot, according to the Bible, King Sennacherib ran a pretty wealthy city around 700 BC and he was all about sacking towns and raking in the Benjamins. Typical bad guy king stuff.

So then he set his sights on the Kingdom of Judah. The Bible states that “Sennacherib king of Assyria advanced and invaded Judah, and laid siege to the fortified towns, intending to demolish them.” Not only did he do that but he talked trash while doing it. I can’t help but be reminded of the scene from the movie The Incredibles when they’re talking about the bad guy has the good guy dead to rights and what does he do? He monologues about how he is all powerful and going to take over the world yadda yadda, thus giving the good guy a chance to escape. Well, that’s pretty much exactly what happened here. The first known example of monologuing to one’s own detriment.

When he realized that the people would not surrender because of their faith in Yahweh, he mocked their faith. “Don’t you know what I and my ancestors have done to all the peoples of the other countries?” he sneered. “Have the national gods of those countries had the slightest success in saving their countries from my clutches?” But because of all of his trash talk, an angel came down and pretty much wiped out his army and then he slunk back home, defeated, only to be killed by his sons. I know, right?

Now, for many years, as you might know, much of the Bible has been dismissed as unreliable history. But now it’s believed we actually found Sennacherib’s palace. Sadly, ISIS seems to have absconded with many of the artifacts from the site to sell for their own profit. It seems they’re not big into respecting people who are alive or dead.

One archeologist was quoted as saying that ISIS’s act of “destruction has actually led us to a fantastic find.” A find that shows the Bible to be correct once again. So, come on. That’s gotta’ give you a little “heh,” doesn’t it? ISIS proving the Bible correct?

This isn’t the first time the Bible was shown to have historical merit, despite many thinking that it’s just a collection of myths. Just a few years ago, archaeologists discovered what’s called the Tel Dan inscription on a ninth-century B.C. stone which was the first historical evidence of King David outside of the Bible. Also, the ancient town, called Gath, ruled by the ancient Philistines and the home of Goliath of watch out for that slingshot fame, was also recently discovered.

But so far this story about ISIS uncovering evidence of the veracity of the Bible is my favorite ironic story of the week.

 

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Leaflets call on Logar youth to join Daesh

“They drop the leaflets on roads and throw into people’s homes. In the leaflets, the youth are urged to join the group,” he said.
Similarly, a tribal elder in Shah Mazar area of Barak-i-Barak district, Haji Gulab, said the same leaflets were found in their area.

Source: Leaflets call on Logar youth to join Daesh

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Leaflets call on Logar youth to join Daesh

Abdul Maqsud Azizi

Daesh militants have been dropping propaganda leaflets on streets and near homes in central Logar province to encourage the youth into joining the group.
Ahmad Javed, who lives in Sar Sang area of the provincial capital, Pul-i-Alam, told Pajhwok Afghan News the propaganda leaflets had been dropped many times at night during the past week. “They drop the leaflets on roads and throw into people’s homes. In the leaflets, the youth are urged to join the group,” he said.
Similarly, a tribal elder in Shah Mazar area of Barak-i-Barak district, Haji Gulab, said the same leaflets were found in their area.

“In the past, people could not spend a day in peace due to the Talibaninfo-icon, now Daesh has emerged, it will make living in this area hard for locals,” he said.
The elder urged the government to prevent Daesh or Islamic State from spreading its propaganda.

A copy of the leaflet is available with Pajhwok Afghan News. With Daesh flag printed on the leaflet, a sign reads “Islamic State Khorasan zone.”
The letter is addressed to the people of Barak-i-Barak district. The message on the leaflet reads “Daesh wants to fight against the Taliban in Logar and take the control in own hands.”
The letter asked the people of the district to support Daesh in eliminating the Taliban.

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The Barak-i-Barak district chief, Mohammad Rahim Amin, confirned the issue and asked the government to be quick in preventing the group from gaining strength in the province.
Similarly, the Azra district chief, Hamidullah Hamid, also said Daesh activities had lately increased in the district.
He said the group had started recruiting the youth and the recruitment should be prevented at the earliest.
The Logar governor’s spokesman, Salim Saleh, did not believe the leaflets were being circulated by Daesh militants. He said it was the act of those who wanted to pave the ground for Daesh arrival.
The Taliban have said nothing in this regard. The Daesh group had been previously more active in Nangarhar and Zabul provinces.

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