Tag Archives: Iran

Desperate times : Kerry says US ready to turn to Iran, drone strikes, to fight ISIS

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

US Secretary of State John Kerry says that Washington is ready to use radical measures to halt the ISIS offensive in Iraq – including enlisting Iran’s help and launching air strikes.

“We’re open to discussions if there is something constructive that can be contributed by Iran, if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq,” the diplomat told Yahoo News on Monday when questioned about joining forces with Iran, which enjoys religious ties with the embattled government in Baghdad.

But Kerry warned that the US should “see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements.”

Later, the State Department and the Pentagon clarified that any joint action would be political and not military.

“There is absolutely no intention and no plan to coordinate military activity between the United States and Iran…there are no plans to have consultations with Iran about military activities in Iraq,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The Al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS (or ISIL) – the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant – has pushed from its strongholds on the Syrian border and taken the major urban centers of Mosul and Tikrit over the past week. Its militias are currently stationed on the outskirts of Baghdad, where the government is staging a counter-offensive. Over the weekend, it claimed to have executed 1,700 loyalist officers.

“This is a challenge to the stability of the region. It is obviously an existential challenge to Iraq itself. This is a terrorist group,” Kerry said of ISIS, a Sunni organization which has exploited the sectarian tensions partially incited by the hardline Shia policies of the current government.

The diplomat heavily criticized Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, but said the US will not be “issuing instructions or orders” for him to resign or share power. He did, however, call on the “Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq — not one sectarian group over another.”

Nonetheless, Kerry reiterated previous statements saying that the US would consider using air strikes – whether manned or unmanned – to prevent Baghdad from being taken by extremists.

“They’re not the whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important,” said Kerry. “I wouldn’t rule out anything that would be constructive.”

The diplomat said that President Barack Obama is conducting “a very thorough vetting of every option that is available.”

Obama previously said the US would avoid a direct military intervention in the country it invaded in 2003 and left only three years ago.

Kerry echoed concerns by other US politicians that the growing might of ISIS – which plundered US$425 million from a government vault in Mosul last week and enjoys generous funding from Wahhabis in the Arabian peninsula – is endangering American national security.

ISIS “clearly are focused not just there, but they’re focused on trying to do harm to Europe, to America and other people, and that’s why we believe it is so important for us to be engaged.”

Kerry said the organization counted fighters from the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands in its ranks – and that those could later return to their home countries to stage terrorist acts.

Iran + US = a far-fetched plan?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

While the idea that Washington and Tehran may work alongside each other is a testament to the thawing of relations between recent adversaries, it currently seems unlikely that the initiative will bear fruit.

The two countries share a genuine strategic interest in keeping the Maliki government afloat (though their motives for doing so are fundamentally different) and Western media outlets have reported that the Islamic Republic has already dispatched elite Revolutionary Guards troops to buffer the Iraqi government, citing Iraqi and American officials.

But Iran has denied any military involvement in its neighbor’s conflict, as the head of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, publicly rebuffed the US offer, calling it “unrealistic.”

The two countries are also locked in tense late-stage negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and potential sanctions relief. On Monday, the State Department released a statement saying that while it will discuss Iraq with Iranian officials at upcoming talks in Vienna, it is reluctant to link the two issues together.

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US preparing for direct dialogue with Iran over ISIS threat in Iraq – report

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, carry weapons during a parade in the streets in Baghdad’s Sadr city

The US is getting ready for an open dialogue with Iran to discuss Iraq’s security concerns and ways of responding to radical Sunni militia that have been gaining ground in western Iraq, The Wall Street Journal quoted senior US officials as saying.

The talks are likely to begin as early as this week. This unlikely cooperation is to take place as world leaders try to negotiate an agreement with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

Iraq’s security concerns are the central aspects common to both parties. Radical Sunni militants of Al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) have been advancing and capturing cities in the northwest of Iraq. The jihadists have declared the capture of the capital Baghdad as their top objective.

It is not yet clear which diplomatic channel the Obama administration will be using, the report said.

Reuters also cited a senior US official as saying that Washington is considering the discussion with Tehran.

One option for the US is to go through Vienna, where US and Iranian officials are scheduled to meet with other world powers to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier, the US State Department announced that the No. 2 US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, will be going to Vienna to participate in those talks.

US Senator Lindsey Graham stated on Sunday that Washington needs Iran to avoid a government collapse in Iraq. “We are probably going to need their help to hold Baghdad,” Graham told CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’

Iran has also spoken out in support of cooperation. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Tehran may consider cooperating with Washington to battle the extremist threat.

“We have said that all countries must unite in combating terrorism. But right now regarding Iraq we have not seen the Americans taking a decision yet,” Rouhani said at a press conference.

When asked if Tehran would work with its old adversary the United States in tackling advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq, Rouhani replied, “We can think about it if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere.”

مسرب وثائق “ويكيليكس” يخرج عن صمته ويتهم أمريكا بالكذب بشأن العراق

Last US Military Convoy Departs Iraqأتلانتا، الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية :

كسر الجندي الأمريكي برادلي مانينغ، الذي يقضي  عقوبة بالسجن لتسريب وثائق إلى موقع “ويكيليكس”، صمته بهجوم ناري على الولايات المتحدة، متهما إياها بالكذب بشأن العراق

تواري مانينغ، عن الأنظار بعد الحكم عليه بالسجن 35 عاما، لتسريبه 750 ألف صفحة من الوثائق السرية إلى “ويكيليكس”، وأعرب لاحقا عن رغبته في قضاء بقية حياته كامرأة وأطلق على نفسه اسم “تشيلسي

WikiLeaks Contributer Chelsea Manning

WikiLeaks Contributer Chelsea Manning

واتهمت “تشيلسي” في مقالة بصحيفة “نيويورك تايمز“، نشرت السبت، تحت عنوان “ماكينة ضباب الحرب“، متهما وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية بإشاحة وجهها بعيدا عندما سادت الفوضى والفساد في العراق وأفغانستان، مضيفا: “فيما انفجرت الحرب الأهلية في العراق، ومجددا، تفكر أمريكا في التدخل، هذه الأعمال غير المنجزة يجب أن تفرض سؤالا ملحا إزاء  كيفية سيطرة الجيش الأمريكي على التغطية الإعلامية خلال تورط الطويل هناك وفي أفغانستان”

وتابعت المقالة: “أعتقد أن القيود الحالية على حرية الإعلام وتكتم الحكومة الشديد، يجعلان من المستحيل على الأمريكيين استيعاب كامل ما يحدث في الحرب التي نمولها”

وأضافت “تشيلسي” في مقالتها: “قد تذكرون الإعلام الأمريكي الذي غص بقصص تعلن نجاح الانتخابات العراقية، وصور نساء وهن يستعرضن بفخر أصابعهن الملطخة بحبر الانتخابات.. كان معناها الضمني نجاح عمليات الجيش الأمريكي في خلق عراق مستقر وديمقراطي.. أما نحن المتمركزون هناك كنا ندرك تماما أن الحقيقة أكثر تعقيدا”

وأشارت إلى تلقيها تقارير بانتظام بتفاصيل عمليات قمع أمنية ضد معارضين نفذت نيابة عن رئيس الوزراء، نوري المالكي، مضيفة: “صعقت من تواطؤ جيشنا في الفساد بتلك الانتخابات.. ورغم ذلك فأن تلك التفاصيل المقلقة للغاية مرت تحت رادار الإعلام الأمريكي”

والجمعة، استبعد الرئيس الأمريكي، باراك أوباما، إرسال قوات إلى العراق، في معرض تأكيده بأنه يدرس خيارات أخرى مطروحة ستدعم بها إدارته الحكومة العراقية للتصدي لـ”داعش”، رهن تقديمها بحل قاد العراق خلافتهم السياسية، وهو مطلب أعاد وزير خارجيته، جون كيري، تكريره

ويرى معارضو أوباما أن عدم رغبة الرئيس تقديم مساعدات عسكرية مهمة لقوات المعارضة السورية خلال تصديها للقوات الموالية للنظام، سهل لـ”الدولة الإسلامية في العراق وبلاد الشام” مهاجمة العراق

وكانت محكمة قد قضت بعقوبة السجن 35  عاما على “تشيلسي” بعد إدانته بتهريب وثائق سرية، وبرأته من أخطر التهم ضده وهي مساعدة العدو

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US airstrikes to support Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s offensive in Iraq?

F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft

Iran deployed its Revolutionary Guard to help Iraq battle insurgents from a group inspired by Al-Qaeda, according to a recent report. In the meantime, the US is mulling airstrikes to support the Iraqi government.

On Wednesday, Al-Qaeda affiliate insurgents from the armed group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) conquered former dictator Saddam Hussein‘s hometown of Tikrit, marking the second major loss for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Earlier this week, insurgents captured Mosul, the second-largest city in the country. With jihadists threatening Baghdad and security forces unable resist the Sunni Islamists’ assault, Maliki turned to foreign powers for help, getting responses from two unlikely allies, Iran and the US.

Two battalions of the Quds Forces, which is the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, moved to Iraq on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. There they worked jointly with Iraqi troops to retake control of 85 percent of Tikrit, security forces from both countries told the Journal. Iranian forces are also helping guard the Iraqi capital of Bagdhad, as well as two Shiite holy cities that the Sunni jihadists are threatening.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Meanwhile, on Thursday morning, US President Barack Obama declared that he doesn’t rule out any options with regards to the ISIS takeover of cities in the northern region of Iraq. The administration and its national security team are discussing military options.

“We do have a stake in ensuring these jihadists don’t get foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said.

Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified that US will not send ground troops to Iraq, but is seriously considering airstrikes that would help to drive jihadist militants out of their strongholds.

Iraq has privately indicated to the Obama administration that it would welcome airstrikes with either drones or manned aircraft that target ISIS militants in Iraqi territory, US officials said Wednesday.

If so, US may find itself assisting its archnemesis in the Middle East to fight against Sunni militias that enjoy support from one of America’s closest allies in the region, Saudi Arabia. The ruling family of the kingdom has long been accused of supplying jihadists all over the region with arms and financial support, the New York Times reported.

The US and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 1979, after Islamic militants following Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized the government and deposed the American-backed shah. Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, leading to the 444-day Iran hostage crisis. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was in a state of heavy international isolation. The US has led the world in debilitating sanctions against the Islamic Republic that have increased as the Middle Eastern country has developed its nuclear program.

Under Hussein’s dictarorship, Sunnis dominated the Iraqi political landscape, even though over 60 percent of Iraqis are Shia. In Iran, over 95 percent of the population is Shia. The two countries are the only majority-Shiite nations in the Middle East. (Over 1.1 billion Muslims around the world are Sunni, while less than 200 million Muslims are Shia.)

From 1980 to 1988, the two nations battled in a deadly war in which both sides deployed chemical weapons. The US sided with Hussein during that war, but turned against the dictator when he invaded American ally Kuwait in 1990, leading to the first Gulf War. Hussein stayed in power until the second Gulf War began in March 2003.

Once Hussein was captured by American forces in December 2003, the Shia majority regained political power. Al-Maliki is a Shiite Muslim and has become unpopular with Iraq Sunni minority, which has accused the government of discrimination. Since 2005, Iran and Iraq have had a flourishing relationship, and are now considered to be each other’s strongest allies.

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the trademark Islamists flag after they allegedly seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin on June 11, 2014.

Quds Forces have been active in Iraq for years, creating, training and funding Shiite militias that battled the US military after the 2003 invasion. Iran sees the battle for Iraq as “an existential sectarian battle between the two rival sects of Islam-Sunni and Shiite—and by default a proxy battle between their patrons Saudi Arabia and Iran,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US still sees Iraq as vital to its national interests, despite having pulled its troops out of the country at the end of 2011.

“What we’ve seen over last couple of days indicates degree to which Iraq is going to need more help,” Obama said, calling recent events a “wake-up call for the Iraqi government.”

“The next 9/11 is in the making,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said of the danger of the Iraqi insurgency.

Iran Deploys Forces to Fight Militants in Iraq

The commander of Iran's Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qasem Solaimani, went to Baghdad this week. Shahaboddin Vajedi

The commander of Iran‘s Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qasem Solaimani, went to Baghdad this week. Shahaboddin Vajedi

BEIRUT—The threat of Sunni extremists eclipsing the power of its Shiite-dominated Arab ally presents Iran with the biggest security and strategic challenge it has faced since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

With the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an offshoot of al Qaeda, rapidly gaining territory, Iran deployed Revolutionary Guards units to Iraq, according to Iranian security officials.

Iran has invested considerable financial, political and military resources over the past decade to ensure Iraq emerged from U.S. war as a strategic partner for the Islamic Republic and a strong Shiite-led state. The so-called Shiite crescent—stretching from Iran to Iraq, Lebanon and Syria—was forged largely as a result of this effort.

Two Guards’ units, dispatched from Iran’s western border provinces on Wednesday, were tasked with protecting Baghdad and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf, these security sources said.

The involvement of Iran would pose yet another security challenge for the White House, and raises the prospect of the U.S. and Iran fighting on the same side. The U.S. opposes Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but with Tehran is jointly supporting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

State Department officials on Thursday refused to outline what steps the Obama administration would take if Iranian forces entered Iraq.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said American diplomats who met with Iranian officials in Geneva this week to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program didn’t raise the issue of the Iraqi crisis.

“We’ve encouraged them to play a constructive role in Iraq,” Ms. Psaki said about the Iranians.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, reached by phone in London, said of the report that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were entering the fight: “Frankly I have no idea about that. I am in London now.”

Syria’s conflict has turned Iraq into an important operational base for Iran to aid another ally, the Assad regime, which is dominated by an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Shiite militia trained by Iran, weapons and cash have flowed from Iran to Syria via Iraq.

“Iraq is viewed as a vital priority in Iran’s foreign policy in the region and they go to any length to protect this interest,” said Roozbeh Miribrahimi, an independent Iran expert based in New York.

House Speaker John Boehner ripped the President for not doing more in recent days to prevent Sunni jihadist militants from taking control of key Iraqi cities, including Mosul and Tikrit. Insurgents have been advancing through Iraq’s heartland with their eyes set on Baghdad, the country’s capital.

“They are 100 miles from Baghdad,” said Boehner Thursday. “And what’s the president do? Taking a nap.”

“It’s not like we haven’t seen this problem coming for over a year,” he added.

Boehner believes the U.S. should provide “the equipment and technical assistance that the Iraqis have been asking for.” The U.S. has rebuffed requests by the Iraqi government to order airstrikes in extremist areas, according to The New York Times. The Obama Administration has been reluctant to engage the recent extremist uprising as the American public largely endorsed withdrawing the last of its troops from Iraq in 2011.

Boehner said he did not know “enough of the details” to comment on whether or not the U.S. should engage in airstrikes.

Some of Boehner’s Republican colleagues in the Senate were also critical of the Obama Administration on Thursday, none more so than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain told reporters that Obama’s entire national security team, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be replaced.

Kurdish military units known as peshmerga deployed armor at the provincial capital of Kirkuk on Thursday as Iraq edged closer to full-scale sectarian conflict following lightning strikes on major cities

Kurdish military units known as peshmerga deployed armor at the provincial capital of Kirkuk on Thursday as Iraq edged closer to full-scale sectarian conflict following lightning strikes on major cities

That coarsely worded threat further vindicated Iran’s view that the fight unfolding in Iraq is an existential sectarian battle between the two rival sects of Islam-Sunni and Shiite—and by default a proxy battle between their patrons Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Until now we haven’t received any requests for help from Iraq. Iraq’s army is certainly capable in handling this,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afgham said Wednesday.

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani cut short a religious celebration on Thursday and said he had to attend an emergency meeting of the country’s National Security Council about events in Iraq.

“We, as the Islamic Republic of Iran, won’t tolerate this violence and terrorism…. We will fight and battle violence and extremism and terrorism in the region and the world,” he said in a speech.

ISIS’s rapid territorial gains in the past few days appeared to have caught Iranian officials by surprise and opened a debate within the regime over whether Iran should publicly enter the battle.

Iran’s chief of police, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam said the National Security Council would consider intervening in Iraq to “protect Shiite shrines and cities,” according to Iranian media.

In the short-term, analysts said the outcome of the crisis in Iraq will only strengthen and increase the influence of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards.

U.S., Israel Team Up for Biannual “Juniper Cobra” Military Exercise

Israel and the United States are joining forces this week for the five-day, ballistic-missile-defense exercise Juniper Cobra. The Juniper Cobra exercises have been held every two years since 2001, and this year it will be the seventh exercise. In 2009, the main scenario of the exercise was an Iranian missile attack against Israel.

In 2012, the Juniper Cobra was postponed, likely to reduce tensions with Iran. Toward the end of that year there was a similar Israeli-American exercise, called Austere Challenge, in which the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. Army trained together in intercepting targets.

During this year’s exercise, American troops belonging to EUCOM (U.S. European Command) are being deployed in Israel to strengthen the Israeli anti-missile systems. More than 4,000 American and Israeli troops are involved in the exercise (including over 700 U.S. troops) in Israel.

It will provide training in a variety of areas, including ballistic missile defense, and other areas, along with two U.S. Aegis-class ships in the Mediterranean. The exercise will employ Israel’s entire rocket and ballistic missile architecture, including Iron Dome, Arrow, and David’s Sling: assets that the United States is proud to have helped Israel finance and develop.

The Israeli defense systems are partly financed and supported by the United States.

The Middle East is known to be home of huge quantities of projectiles and Israel is under the threat of thousands of rockets and missiles. One main concern is that many players in the region are arming themselves with precision-guided heavy rockets, and some are likely to acquire GPS-guided ballistic missiles. In the face of this threat Israel continues developing sophisticated systems jointly with the United States, such as the Arrow 3, perhaps the most advanced missile interceptor in the world according to Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization.

Iran poses the greatest threat to Israel today with its long-range Shahab-3 missiles, which can be fired from deep inside Iran and fly some 1,200 miles. This is without mentioning Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s arsenals on Israel’s borders. The Tower has learned that Hezbollah has amassed some 60,000 rockets in southern Lebanon, posing a threat to its civilian populations.

As in prior years, this exercise is important for training and laying down the necessary infrastructure and interoperability between Israeli and American missile-defense systems for common U.S.-Israeli challenges and threats in the region.

Going back to 2009, U.S. Admiral John M. Richardson, then deputy commander of U.S. Sixth Fleet, stated that “Israel is a strong ally of the United States” and looked forward working with his Israeli friends.

via  The Tower.

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Israel launches cutting-edge satellite to spy on MidEast adversaries

Ofek 10’s launch. April 9, 2014. Photo by Defense Ministry and Israel Aerospace Industries

Israel’s Defense Ministry has successfully launched Ofek 10, a next-generation satellite that will provide highly-targeted surveillance of specific locations – such as Iran’s nuclear sites.

“We continue to increase the vast qualitative and technological advantage over our neighbors,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at the launch at a test site in central Israel, Israeli media reported.

“Our ability to continuously reach new levels of accomplishment, as with this launch, is what allows us to live a productive and prosperous life. Blessed is the state, and its people.”

Ofek 10 is the seventh Israeli satellite currently in space, and the first launched by the Defense Ministry since its predecessor, Ofek 9, four years ago.

But it functions in a fundamentally new way – instead of automatically sweeping through vast swathes of territory with its cameras, it can momentarily switch between different locations.

This is due to the fact that its operators can alter the orbit of the 330 kilogram satellite between 400 kilometers and 600 kilometers from the Earth’s surface in its 90-minute circumnavigation of the planet, while zooming in to take high-resolution images of objects as small as 18 inches across.

“The satellite has exceptional photographic ability,” said Ofer Doron, CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Space Division, which was responsible for developing the satellite. “It’s designed to deliver very precise, high quality images under all conditions.”

Apart from Israel, other countries that operate surveillance satellites include the US, Russia, China, France, Italy, Britain, South Korea, India, Japan, Ukraine and Iran.

Of these nations, Iran poses the greatest threat to security in the eyes of Israeli officials, who have repeatedly insisted that Tehran is on the verge of developing a prototype nuclear weapon. Israel also says it plans to use the new satellite to monitor hostile militant groups, presumably such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

In fact, for security reasons, Israel launches its satellites to the west, and not to the east, sacrificing payload, but making sure that no technologically sensitive debris fall on the territory of its rivals, particularly if any satellite fails to reach orbit and plunges to Earth.

But Ofek 10 avoided this fate, and has already begun relaying visuals and information from orbit. It is expected to become fully operational within three months.

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Tensions Rise on Gaza Border as IDF Thwarts Terror Attack

Coming after terrorists launched rockets into Israel late last week and Israel retaliated, Monday, IDF soldiers prevented an attack at Israel’s border with Gaza. The Times of Israel reported:

The soldiers spotted two suspects carrying a suspicious object near the fence, and chased them away by firing warning shots, according to a statement from the army. As they fled, the suspects dropped the object, which exploded moments later.

Soldiers guarding Israel’s border with Hamas ruled Gaza are regularly under threat from snipers as well as improvised, explosive devices (IED’s).

Monday’s incident at the Gaza border came on the heels of cross border attacks during the past week. Thursday and Friday last week, terrorists fired 5 rockets into Israel. The IDF retaliated hitting five sites inside Gaza.

IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said:

“The retaliation this evening at Gaza terrorist aggression was precision, and intelligence based. It is our obligation to seek out those that wish to attack us, eliminate their capabilities and pursue them wherever they hide. Hamas rocket terrorism is an intolerable reality Israelis should not have to accept.”

Four Hamas members were reported injured.

Last month Israel intercepted an Iranian sponsored arms shipment heading to Gaza. The rockets intercepted suggested that Hamas was trying replenish its arsenal that had been degraded during 2012′s Operation Pillar of Defense.

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Missing Malaysia Plane Forces Countries to Weigh Security Secrets

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The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 launched an international hunt for any sign of the plane, causing dozens of countries to wrestle with putting aside national security and military secrets to try and find the plane.

After Malaysia admitted that its civilian air radar lost contact with the plane early Saturday morning, attention quickly turned to more advanced methods of detection, including military radar and satellites.

Now, all of the countries involved in the search – numbering at least 25 – are wrestling with how to share helpful information without giving away data that could threaten their safety later.

  • Malaysia was accused of being coy with satellite and radar data in the early days of the investigation, not releasing key radar data showing the plane’s turn-around until four days after the disappearance. The Minister of Foreign Defense said that the country was willing to put its own national security aside to try and find the plane.
  • Thailand waited 10 days after the plane disappeared to mention publicly that its military radar detected a plane that may have been Flight 370. Thai authorities said they didn’t share the information earlier because they weren’t specifically asked for it.  
  • China’s proposal to send four warships to help search for the plane was in jeopardy by India, which said it didn’t want to allow Chinese military access to its strategic Andaman and Nicobar islands, where India has a military base, according to the Times of India.
  • As the search moved from the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean off Australia, Australian authorities would not describe what satellite imagery they used to determine where to search for plane wreckage. Australian and U.S. military have satellites controlled from Australia, but the investigators would not answer questions about the satellites due to proprietary state secrets.
  • The search has also forced countries with tense relationships to work together, including the United States, Pakistan and Iran. As U.S. investigators focused on hijacking as a possible cause for the disappearance, they quickly vetted two Iranian nationals who used fake passports to get on the plane, casting suspicion that Iranian terrorists had hijacked 370.
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Hamas Official Brags Group Will Blanket Israel With Advanced Missiles in Next War

A Hamas official reportedly told Agence France-Presse (AFP) over the weekend that any future war between Israel and the Iran-backed terror group will see Hamas launching missiles at Israeli civilians far in the country’s north, a boast bound to deepen increasingly open concerns within Israel’s military and political establishments that Hamas is stockpiling an arsenal capable of the sustained saturation bombing of Israeli civilian centers.

The comments were made during a Hamas ceremony in Gaza City for the unveiling of a rocket-statue which features a life size M-75 rocket, whose real life counterpart can reach 75 kilometers into Israel. The M-75 was used to target Tel Aviv and its surroundings as well as the greater Jerusalem area during 2012′s Operation Pillar of Defense.

AFP conveyed other boasts from the ceremony, including one by a masked figure who bragged that “Hamas managed to take the battle to the heart of the Zionist entity (Israel) after developing its rocket system.”

Israel last week intercepted a Gaza-bound arms ship dispatched by Iran and carrying missiles capable of putting roughly five million Israelis under fire. The nature and substance of Hamas’s threats, especially coupled with the Palestinian faction’s ongoing efforts to stockpile advanced missiles, are likely to solidify Israeli skepticism toward calls from some corners of the international community that Jerusalem lift its blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

via Hamas Official Brags Group Will Blanket Israel With Advanced Missiles in Next War – The Tower – The Tower.

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