Archive for the ‘Damascus’ Category

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Says Wars Unlikely As World Watches Obama’s First Steps

November 18, 2008

The probability of a war between Israel and its enemies over the next year is low, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Monday.

By The Associated Press
Jerusalem Post

 

Above: Military Intelligence Chief Maj. -Gen. Amos Yadlin.

Speaking Monday at Tel Aviv University, he said the world is waiting to see how the financial crisis plays out, and how the new US administration deals with the threat from Iran. He said Iran is Israel’s main threat, calling it “the regime with radical ideology and radical weapons.”

Yadlin surmised that Syria might make peace with Israel, but only if Israel gives in to all Syria’s demands, though even then, Syria would not cut ties with terror groups.

On the Israelן-Palestinian conflict, Yadlin said that Israel could deal with two entities, working toward peace with Fatah in the West Bank while confronting Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

Last month, Yadlin told the cabinet that if Israel’s indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah’s orbits, then so far the test had failed.

Despite the talks, not only has Damascus not lessened its cooperation with Hizbullah, it has actually stepped up its relationship with the organization.

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Wednesday Iran Tests Yet Another Ballistic Missile: Israel in Range

November 12, 2008

By Zahra Hosseinian

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said it test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday and that the Islamic Republic was ready to defend itself against any attacker.

Iran’s latest missile test followed persistent speculation in recent months of possible U.S. or Israeli strikes against its nuclear facilities, which the West suspects form part of a covert atomic weapons program, a charge Tehran denies.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, like outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticized the Bush administration for not pursuing more diplomacy and engagement with Tehran.

Washington said the test highlighted the need for a missile defense system it plans to base in Poland and the Czech Republic to counter threats from what it calls “rogue states.”

Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the Iranian-made surface-to-surface Sejil missile had “extremely high capabilities” and was only intended for defensive purposes.

He said it had a range of close to 2,000 km (1,200 miles), almost as far as another Iranian missile, Shahab 3. That would enable it to reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

“This missile test is in the framework of Iran’s deterrent doctrine,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

“It will only land on the heads of those enemies … who want to make an aggression and invade the Islamic Republic,” said Najjar, who did not mention any country by name.

Iran’s English-language Press TV said the Sejil missile had two stages and was of a type that used combined solid fuel.

A missile was shown soaring from a platform in desert-like terrain, leaving a long vapor trail.

“Honor”

It came a day after media said the Revolutionary Guards had test-fired another missile called Samen near the Iraqi border.

“They do it all the time. It’s Iranian machismo,” said Tim Ripley, an analyst at Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Two stages could increase a missile’s range, he said, noting that Iran had in the past borrowed technology from North Korea although he said he could not say if that was true this time.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs, while Iran says it only aims to generate electricity.

Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests and America’s ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.

The United States is planning to install a defensive shield in central Europe against missiles it says could be fired by states such as Iran.

“We’ve consistently pointed out that Iran’s missile program is a concern and this testing is another reminder of the importance of establishing a missile defense site in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend the U.S. and Europe against a threat that is developing in Iran,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

Moscow on Wednesday rejected U.S. proposals intended to allay its concerns about the system.

Senior officials from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany were due to meet in Paris on Thursday to discuss their next steps in their nuclear showdown with Iran.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, told a provincial rally Iran would defeat its enemies.

“The Iranian nation defends its honor and whichever power that wants to stand against the movement of the Iranian nation, the Iranian nation will crush it under its foot and slap it on the mouth,” he said in a speech broadcast live on television.

Last week, Iran’s military said U.S. helicopters had been seen flying close to Iran’s border and that it would respond to any violation, a message analysts said seemed directed at Obama more than American troops in Iraq.

It followed a cross-border raid in October by U.S. forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.

(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington and Edmund Blair; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Trevelyan in Reuters)

Iran warns U.S. military after Obama win

November 5, 2008

Iran warned U.S. forces in Iraq on Wednesday that it would respond to any violation of Iranian airspace, a message analysts said seemed directed at the new U.S. president-elect more than neighboring American troops.

Reuters

The Iranian army statement, reported by state radio, came after a cross-border raid last month by U.S. forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.

But an Iranian politician said the timing suggested it was directed at Barack Obama, who won Tuesday’s U.S. vote, more than the U.S. military, and might reflect concern by hardliners in Iran who thrived on confrontation with Washington.

Obama has said he would toughen sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks to resolve rows, which include a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

A U.S. Army Apache helicopter flies during a mission in Baquba, ... 
A U.S. Army Apache helicopter flies during a mission in Baquba, in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, November 4, 2008.(Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

“Recently it has been seen that American army helicopters were flying a small distance from Iraq’s border with Iran and, because of the closeness to the border, the danger of them violating Iran’s border is possible,” state radio reported.

Iran’s armed forces will respond to any violation,” radio said, citing a statement from Iran’s army headquarters.

Washington, which has not had diplomatic ties with Tehran since 1980, has accused Iran of funding, equipping and training militants in Iraq. Iran denies this and says security problems are due to the presence of U.S. troops who should quit Iraq.

“This is a clear message to the American president-elect because radicals are not very happy that Obama has been elected,” said the Iranian politician.

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US: Syria backs foreign fighters in Iraq

March 12, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) – Despite increased counterterrorism efforts by Damascus, as much as 90 percent of the foreign fighters in Iraq cross the border from Syria, according to a Pentagon report that says Iran‘s support for Shiite militants also is hurting efforts to improve Iraq security.

As those external pressures dog coalition and Iraqi forces, the government of Iraq is also hamstrung by internal corruption and persistent problems getting basic services to the people, the report said.

The Defense Department’s quarterly report on progress in Iraq, released Tuesday, said that militants continue to find safe havens and logistical support in Syria.

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