Israel is upping these warnings in the last few months as Hezbollah’s overall position strengthens (after several years of mounting pressure) and as Russia continues to assert itself alongside Hezbollah. Reports that Russian and Israeli jets have had recent confrontations/engagements are probably also fueling the rhetoric uptick and Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow.
Remember, too, a key aspect of the IDF’s “Dahiye Doctrine” reiterated below: Supportive civilian populations, not just civilian infrastructure, will be regarded essentially as enemy combatants in the next war, with far greater civilian casualties than was seen even in the “restrained” conflict in 2006 that saw more than 1200 Lebanese civilians killed (121 Israeli soldiers were killed and 41 civilians in Israel and Occupied Territories as a result of Hezbollah actions).
A perfect illustration of the problem I raised with other analysts in my Newsweek piece this week, here: The UN’s Martin Kobler is rushing forward with government structures that will create long term instability and division in the country… all timed to Western – not Libyan – calendars:
Kobler says he doesn’t particularly care how the state structures look in the end as long as they guarantee the protection of human rights. “We don’t support a particular side, but we aren’t neutral,” he says.
El Watan April 15:
“The latest weapons seizures disclosed by the Ministry of Defence show that trafficking lets in increasingly heavy weapons and in much larger quantities. They are the sign of a new strategy by the terrorist groups to settle in the region.
“This is unprecedented, since the beginning of terrorism and the delivery of the first shipments of arms in 1992, there has never been as many heavy weapons seized in Algeria as there was between February and now. Even during the terrorist attack against the Boughezoul barracks in March 1993, when the jihadists were able to get their hands on a large quantity of weapons after killing 41 soldiers, the quantity of weapons, with a calibre exceeding 7.65x54mm has never been that significant.
“…What many people attributed to the spread of Qadhafi’s arsenals was in fact just the flow of arms from the Sudanese and Chadian conflicts. This was not the case in the weapons seized at El Oued, which, in very good condition, were part of the military equipment of the former Libyan army, or in the case of the six anti-tank rocket launchers, weapons illegally imported by the Fajr Libya militia, via Middle East countries.
“…Gulf monarchies, exasperated by Algeria’s attitude and very involved militarily in Libya, would also be interested in the weakening of Algeria and the sabotage of its oil industry, said our source. Moreover, there are the forces that have thrown Libya and Syria into chaos, who understand that it would be difficult to count on the disintegration of Algeria, the collapse of its army and dispersion of its weapons and who are reportedly trying to redress the situation by bringing in considerable firepower whilst waiting for the right time.”
Nicholas Noe in Newsweek ME: Rush to reconciliation, creeping intervention undermining Libyan prospects
My article in Newsweek ME that raises two key problems underpinning the US and European-led approach to putting Libya back together: A rush to reconciliation timed to Western calendars (elections, increased refugee flows etc.), not to a Libyan calendar and the negative effects of creeping military intervention ahead of a durable national agreement. Interviews with Mohamed Eljarh, Mary Fitzgerald, Claudia Gazzini and the EU’s Nataliya Apostolova.
Saudi columnist in pro-monarchy daily: If we did 9/11, then why did you ally with us and attack elsewhere?
An interesting Saudi response to the impending “revelation” that key elements in the Saudi regime (or worse) aided and abetted 9/11. Translated today by our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
On April 19, the pro-monarchy Okaz newspaper carried the following opinion piece by Khalaf al-Harbi: “15 years after the September 11 incidents, our beloved Americans suddenly discovered that Saudi Arabia was the one responsible for this terrorist crime, which changed the face of the world. But this odd discovery pushes one to ask completely innocent questions: [If these claims are true] Why did the US destroy the poor Afghanistan, and did not leave one stone standing in it? Why did it invade Iraq and lead it 1,000 years back? Why did it ally with Saudi Arabia in particular in its war on terrorism, and widely relied on it in chasing down Al-Qa’idah organization? And can one consider that the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, died in a moment of American anger, and that Mother America’s conscience awakened after the Islamic world drowned in the muds of terrorism and sectarianism? …(Read on with a free trial by emailing email@example.com)
Abdel Beri Atwan thinks Saudi plate is too full to execute financial blackmail against US over 9/11; Picture of sickened Algerian president rachets up leadership crisis
Abdel Beri Atwan in his Rai al-Yom:
“All that we can say is that this institution is good at blackmailing means. It might have decided to seize most if not all the Saudi financial assets… Pressure is mounting against the Saudi leadership from several sides. The war in Yemen is stepping into its second year. It [i.e. Saudi Arabia] is also indirectly involved in Syria in addition to Iraq and the Arab and Islamic mobilization to confront the growing Iranian authority in the region. The Saudi plate is loaded with problems and wars and there is no room there for a legal war with the American ally.”
On April 19, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Algerian writer and journalist Toufik Rabahi: “Algeria found it very hard to overcome the shock caused by the picture of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika with his guest, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. In reality, the picture in which the president looked tired, lost, distracted and pathetic united the Algerians, since millions of them were shaken by it, and felt shamed and humiliated. True, there is a psychological factor that only made things worse, and further deepened the pain and humiliation, which is the fact that it involved a French side, who intentionally leaked the picture. Indeed, Valls was not the first guest to post a picture with Bouteflika in such a tragic health condition, as he was preceded in that by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the beginning of February. But not many paid attention to the latter incident.
Translated today by our Mideastwire.com:
On April 9, the conservative Javan daily said: “While reports are being published about the consideration to deploy hundreds of additional US Special Forces troops to Syria, other news about the injecting of 3,000 tons of weapons, including 85 thermal anti-aircraft missiles, to Syrian terrorists, is also being released. This demonstrates, once again, that Washington, contrary to its announced policies about efforts to fight terrorism, is in the practice feeding this agent of devastation. While announcing that is considering the of 250 American commandos, an American defence official noted that the purpose of this action is to provide counsel to rebels and increase the speed of operations against Daesh. According to claims made by this source, Washington’s objective in this move is to provide local troops with sufficient training to regain control of Ar Raqqah in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, and furthermore, eliminate ISIL’s ability to use these regions as a location for launching external attacks. Increasing the level of US Special Forces is just one of the possibilities. If this plan is approved, the number of troops in Syria, which is currently 500, will increase, and it has been said that their mission is to provide advice and assistance for “moderate” Syrian militants against ISIL.
“Three thousand tons of arms. Following the dissemination of reports about Washington’s assistance to terrorists, an American website has reported that this country has provided 3,000 tons of weapons to Al-Qaedah and its allies in Syria. In an article entitled, “America Gives Three Thousand Tons of Weaponry and Ammunition to Al-Qa’idah and its Allies in Syria,” the website Moon of Alabama states: “The United States is still providing thousands of tons of weapons to Al-Qa’idah and others in Syria through the Central Intelligence Agency.” This report goes on to note the following: “The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (Federal Police) has had two requests during the past months for dispatching and delivering explosives from Eastern Europe to Aqaba port in Jordan.” According to this website, 81 containers of weapons, including explosives, were sent from Bulgaria to Jordan’s Aqaba port a request, dated 3 November 2015, for sending weapons to terrorists. Among the amm! unitions and weapons dispatched to terrorists were a variety of machine guns, automatic guns, intelligent anti-tank weapons, and rocket launchers. It is said that on 5 December alone, 1,000 tons of weapons and ammunition left Romania and were unloaded in Turkey. Another vessel carrying 2,000 tons of various weapons and ammunition was dispatched from Bulgaria in late March, and reached its destination on 4 April.
“The author of this report adds: “We knew before that, during the official ceasefire, ‘rebels’ in Syria received large quantities of arms and also know that the weapons of these ‘rebels’ are regularly sent through Turkey and Jordan. Half of the weapons that have been sent to Syria in recent years have directly reached al-Qai’da.” On the other hand, an audio file published by Sputnik News Agency, has revealed that forces belonging to one of the armed opposition groups in the outskirts of Aleppo received 85 thermal antiaircraft missiles. This audio file, which app! ears to be from wireless communication between leaders of one of the a rmed groups in southern outskirts of Aleppo, has been obtained through a field source in Syria who intercepted the communication lines between these individuals. During this call, one of the commanders of the opposition groups makes remarks that reveal this group imported 85 thermal antiaircraft missiles into Syria. The region where the conversation took place is controlled by Jaish al-Fatah. The person speaking in this file says: “Eighty five antiaircraft missiles and 85 thermal missiles have entered Syria. A few days ago, Syrian opposition forces shot down the second Syrian fighter in less than a month; the Human Rights Watchdog announced that the pilot of this fighter has been captured by Al-Nusrah in a region close to Aleppo. The Syrian Army also announced that this aircraft has been shot down by antiaircraft missiles and this is the same weapon which h! ad also been used to shoot down another fighter in western Syria in March.”
“Al-Nusra’s readiness to attack. During a press conference on Friday at the recently liberated township of Al-Qaryatayn in Homs, Syria, Igor Konashenkov, the spokesperson for the Russian Defence Ministry stated: “According to information on the ground, at the moment 1,200 members of the Al-Nusrah Front have been deployed near the city of Aleppo and are preparing for a new attack on the positions of government forces in Aleppo.” Konashenkov added: “According to the available information, armed members of Al-Nusrah Front have been deployed around Handarat, Jandol, Haratan, and Kfar Hamreh with seven tanks and 24 vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns. Last Tuesday, the Syrian Army reported on the formation of the “Aleppo Joint Operation Room” in response to the extensive terrorist attack on Al-Eis, located in the countryside southwest of Aleppo, emphasizing that a devastating attack on terrorists is on the way. Also Syria’s official news agency reported the doom of one of the most d! angerous leaders of the terrorist Al-Nusrah Front during a unique operation performed by the Syrian Army in the outskirts of Idlib, in the north of the country. According to this report, Abdullah al-Muhaysini, a ferocious Saudi-born commander of the terrorist Al-Nusra Front, has been killed in this special operation.”