Saturday, September 1, 2018

Satellite images indicate Iran is building another missile site in Syria - Daniel Siryoti, Lilach Shoval, Erez Linn and Israel Hayom Staff

by Daniel Siryoti, Lilach Shoval, Erez Linn and Israel Hayom Staff

Site bears striking ‎resemblance to Parchin complex, which houses facilities serving Iran's ‎ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The resemblance between the Syrian and Iranian facilities as seen
in a satellite image  
Photo: ImageSat International 
New satellite images appear to indicate that Iran is building a new ‎surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising ‎fresh concerns in Israel over the extent of the two ‎countries' military cooperation across from Israel's northern border, Channel 10 News reported Thursday.‎

Daniel Siryoti, Lilach Shoval, Erez Linn and Israel Hayom Staff


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Hezbollah planning attacks in Judea and Samaria, commander says - Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

by Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

Senior Hezbollah commander says fighting rebels in Syria has been a "perfect training ground" for future war with Israel

A senior Hezbollah commander told the Lebanese media Friday that the Shiite organization is planning to infiltrate Judea and Samaria and carry out terrorist attacks there in the event of conflict with Israel.

In an interview with the Lebanese paper Al Akhbar, conducted at a former Israeli military post in southern Lebanon, the commander said that Hezbollah was preparing "many surprises for the enemy."

"A small number of well-armed fighters, who are very familiar with the enemy's defenses, can infiltrate and enter the West Bank and cause great damage," the commander said.

Hezbollah, whose fighters have been deployed in Syria to support the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in a yearslong civil war there, has been given "a perfect training ground for the resistance," the commander said.

The civil war in Syria has provided training "in operational combat in a residential area and an opportunity to test the various weapons. The battle against the takfiri groups [Islamist groups that accuse other Muslims of apostasy] has prepared us for battle with the Zionist enemy," he said.

"The war is coming. Going on this assumption, we are now preparing for battle," he continued.

The commander also noted that more than 2,000 new Hezbollah recruits were being trained every year.
On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council warned that violations of the 2006 cease-fire agreement between Lebanon and Israel could lead to a new conflict and urged international support for Lebanon's armed forces and their increased deployment in southern Lebanon as well as at sea.

The council's warning against "a new conflict that none of the parties or the region can afford" came in a resolution adopted unanimously extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in southern Lebanon known as UNIFIL until Aug. 31, 2019.

Council members urged "all parties" to exercise "maximum calm and restraint and refrain from any action or rhetoric that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities or destabilize the region."

The U.N. peacekeeping force was originally created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops following the 1978 South Lebanon Conflict. The mission was expanded after the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, to ensure that peacekeepers could deploy along the Lebanon-Israel border and help Lebanese troops extend their authority into their country's south for the first time in decades.

The French-drafted resolution again urged all countries to enforce a 2006 arms embargo and prevent the sale or supply of weapons to any individual or entity in Lebanon not authorized by the government or U.N. force known as UNIFIL – an implicit criticism of the suppliers of weapons to Hezbollah.

Rodney Hunter, the U.S. Mission's political coordinator, told the council that Hezbollah, with Iran's help, "has grown its arsenal in Lebanon in direct threat to peace" along the border with Israel "and the stability of all of Lebanon."

Hunter said 12 years after the council imposed an arms embargo, "it is unacceptable that Hezbollah continues to flout this embargo, Lebanon's sovereignty, and the will of the majority of Lebanese people."
Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war. The resolution reiterates the council's call for Israel and Lebanon "to support a permanent cease-fire and a long-term solution."

The council also stressed "the necessity of an effective and durable deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon and the territorial waters of Lebanon at an accelerated pace."

It called for UNIFIL, which has more than 10,000 troops deployed in southern Lebanon, and the Lebanese military to analyze the country's ground forces and maritime assets.

The council also called for the Lebanese government "to develop a plan to increase its naval capabilities … with the goal of ultimately decreasing UNIFIL's Maritime Task Force and transitioning its responsibilities to the Lebanese Armed Forces."

France's Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Anne Gueguen stressed that "only the presence of the Lebanese state and its armed forces will ensure security ... and create the conditions of lasting stability in the south of Lebanon and along its territorial waters."

The Security Council also commented on the current political situation in Lebanon.

Nearly four months after the country held its first general elections in nine years, politicians are still squabbling over the establishment of a new government amid uncertainty over a long stagnating economy, struggling businesses and concerns over the local currency.

The Security Council welcomed the elections and the country's progress toward reactivating government institutions, and called for the establishment of a new Lebanese government "without further delay."

Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff


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The F-35 Stealth Fighter vs Russia's S-300 Anti-Aircraft System - S. Fred Singer

by S. Fred Singer

The first battle test is over, and the results have strategic implications.

As an avid reader of Aviation Week, I became interested in the F-35, the newest Department of Defense fighter plane. The DOD had sold nine initial units to our ally Israel. I thought it was a wise decision for three reasons:
1. It provided actual testing for the new aircraft under realistic battle conditions. Aviation Week noted that Israel used several of its F-35s to attack more than 50 Iranian military installations in Syria. All these were presumably protected by the Russian-built Anti-Aircraft system S-300. Their latest design with more powerful radars, is being sold worldwide.  Israel had a chance to study an earlier version, sold to Cyprus.
The F-35 attack was completed in less than 90 minutes, a notable achievement in military intelligence, as well as in operational planning and coordination.
Aviation Week didn’t tell us how many F-35s took part in the operation, and whether they returned safely; presumably they all did. Aviation Week did not reveal the tricks Israeli pilots used to evade the S-300 AA system.           
2. A [June 5, 2018] Report of the Government Accountability Office [GAO] is quite critical of the F-35 joint strike fighter-bomber. Many experts doubt the viability of the aircraft to meet the various requirements of all the DOD services. In particular, the Report criticizes the design of the helmet-mounted display that presents the necessary operational data to aid the pilot.
In other words, while the aircraft itself provides propulsion and carries the required air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles, the electronics, associated with the helmet, represents the “brain” of the F-35.
It so happens that Israeli engineers have much experience in this field, following the design of the IAF [Israel Air Force] Lavie fighter [that was never built.] Apparently, the DOD expects that some of the design experience for the display will be carried over to the F-35.
3.  Finally, allowing the F-35 to be sold now lowers the huge procurement cost for the DOD, about 400 billion dollars. The buy-decision is due in October 2019.
In the wake of the successful air strike, what will Russia do now?  Obviously, there will be some redesign and improvement of the Russian S-300 system to make it saleable to “non-captive” customers.
F-35 (photo credit USAF)
But beyond this, Russia is likely to not become involved further in the mess in Syria. This seems to be the outcome also of the recent Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin. The Pan-Arab paper Al-Hayat, published in London, even suggests that Russia may not object to Israel "clipping the wings" of the Iranian Eagle.
Writing in Ha’aretz, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, himself chief designer of the Lavie fighter, believes that Russia will not want to tangle with Israel, in view of its demonstrated technological superiority.
After all, Israel could easily destroy the Russian-built plutonium reactor at Arak, Iran, after getting permission to overfly Saudi Arabia. (Plutonium is the second way to build a nuclear weapon; Iran apparently has decided to go the route of the enriched Uranium-235. The U.S. used both methods in WW II.)                    
The Russian naval base at Latakia, Syria, is within easy range. The Russians have deployed a more advanced S-400 system to protect Latakia and other installations, which they claim can take down stealth fighters such as the F-35 at a range of over 150 miles. The S-400 failed to respond to the April 14, 2018 missile strikes by U.S., British, and French forces, leading some observers to conclude that the system was overrated.
I might add that Latakia and the main Russian naval base on the Crimean peninsula outflank Turkey and thus would discourage it from bottling up the Russian Black-Sea fleet.

S. Fred Singer


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China's Most Dangerous Geopolitical Weapon - Robert Caskey

by Robert Caskey

China's reach is extending as wide as Beijing's pockets appear deep, and Washington must act fast.

The Obama years may have allowed China to infringe on American global power, but under Trump, the tide is turning. As governments around the world watch China’s expanding reach with a sense of resignation, the president hassigned into law a bill promising to restrict foreign investment in the U.S.
Under the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, the U.S. government has added a powerful tool to block other countries -- namely China -- from buying up or funneling money into U.S. companies. This is directly protecting vital strategic assets and know-how.
The new investment law is a big step toward shielding the U.S. from dangerous Chinese intrusions on our home soil. Following the White House’s tougher stance on American global competitors, Chinese acquisitions and investments in America have already plummeted 92 percent to $1.8 billion in the first half of this year. The drop comes off the back of an already tough year for Chinese entities seeking to extend their tentacles into the U.S. following pressure from the Trump administration.
Such guardianship has been long awaited by those with an eye on national security: in 2015 and 2016, Beijing’s corporations went on an overseas acquisitions spree that concluded with multibillion dollar deals throughout the U.S. while the Obama administration stood idly by and let the buyout occur. U.S. intelligence has long classified Chinese firms as security risks, raising concerns that China is able to access technologies underpinning American military might and economic power. Now, with the investment law and the new National Defense Authorization Actprohibiting U.S. government agencies from using telecommunications and surveillance products from Chinese technology firms like ZTE and Huawei, their voices are finally codified into U.S. law.
The White House moves are a significant blow to Beijing’s foreign policy objectives. America has been a major destination for Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last decade, and the largest target of Chinese capital flows since 2005. But even if Chinese President Xi tirelessly touts the supposed benign nature of investments, don’t be fooled: such investments are a favorite, and more surreptitious, weapon in the Chinese arsenal than the military – a weapon China is employing freely given the country cannot compete with U.S. military might in terms of capabilities and global force projection.
But as it turns out, the Chinese strategy of encroaching on America’s geopolitical position and security interests in this way has already borne fruit. Massive FDI flows into allied countries and strategic regions have unambiguously exposed Beijing’s money as a pertinent threat. In a prime example of how easy it is to seize an entire country’s strategic infrastructure, China Three Gorges in May bid $11 billion to take over the entire capital of Portugal’s largest grid company, with subsidiaries in the U.S., Spain, and Brazil.
Beijing’s bid to bind Europe to itself extends also to the political realm. Following a billion-dollar deal involving the Greek port of Piraeus, China has been able to count on Greek support to divert EU criticism of Beijing’s behavior in areas from human rights to maritime security. The implications of Beijing’s encroachment are a direct threat to our security, because these maneuvers affect the sovereignty -- and the reliability -- of America’s supposed allies.
Similar scenes are also playing out across Africa, where China is the singlelargest investor by far. And the effects are already painfully felt. Chinese capital flows into strategic choke points like Djibouti are turning the country into a Chinese puppet whose intentions can no longer be trusted. The country is of vital importance to counterterrorism efforts, and is home to 4,000 American troopsgathering key intelligence on al-Qaeda and Islamic State terror cells. Yet at the beginning of the year, the government of Djibouti lost a high-profile court case over the way it kicked out the operator of the country’s port -- whose business was promptly handed out to a Chinese state-owned cargo company at around the same time as the takeover.
That’s a problem, since the Chinese have already built a military base a stone’s throw away from the Americans. With China looking for additional facilities to expand its presence, top U.S. military officials are warning of the “significant consequences” if China takes hold of the port facilities, since counterterrorism operations will suffer a massive blow.
All this shows that China is trying to undermine America’s global power status through money rather than military might. China’s reach is extending as wide as Beijing’s pockets appear deep, and Washington must act fast. Just as he has drawn red lines in the sand at home, Trump must draw red lines abroad when it comes to strategic Chinese investments. Otherwise, the consequences of the Obama era’s years of neglect will only give China more of an advantage.

Robert Caskey


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The UNRWA lobbyists - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

Researcher Adi Schwartz and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely warn that by not confronting the Palestinian refugee narrative, Israel is putting itself at risk.

The Israeli defense establishment is the strongest advocate for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in the country. In the U.S., UNRWA's strongest lobbyist is Saudi Arabia. In recent months, both the Israeli defense and security apparatus and Saudi Arabia have been working, separately and uncoordinated, on behalf of a shared interest: stopping the Trump administration's attacks on the organization.

Reports from the U.S. that the $200 million cut to American aid to UNRWA is only the beginning not only shook up the organization itself, they also came as a shock to the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Israel's main opponent to any punitive measures against the U.N. entity, as well as the Saudi royal family, which is the third-largest donor to UNRWA.

COGAT objects to cuts in aid to UNRWA on practical grounds. No one denies that for years, the organization has fostered the perpetuation of the Palestinians' refugee status and even expanded it by making refugee status something that can be passed down through the generations, but even so, the defense establishment hates sudden changes. It wants quiet, and is afraid that if UNRWA is unable to help hundreds of thousands of needy Palestinians due to budget cuts, Israel will see rioting, an escalation in violence, and terrorist attacks.

In the early 2000s, then-COGAT Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad was already working to protect UNRWA. A decade later, as head of the Diplomatic-Security Branch of the Defense Ministry, he coordinated with then-Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren to torpedo a congressional initiative against the organization. UNRWA might be bad, Gilad told Oren, but Hamas is worse. Gilad's successors have kept to that line, and like the IDF they see the UNRWA as the lesser of two evils.

They admit that there are grounds for the arguments against the organization, but warn that the West Bank and especially Gaza and its refugee camps depend on money from UNRWA and foreign aid. They also warn that any detriment to UNRWA could end security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and lead to a new wave of terrorism.

COGAT's secret partner is Saudi Arabia. On April 12, the U.S. Government Accountability Office presented head of the Senate subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Sen. James Risch with an in-depth report on UNRWA.

The report examined the textbooks used in UNRWA schools in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. It also looked at the extent of UNRWA's connections to terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip. The findings, to say the least, discomfited UNRWA and those who fund it. In a nutshell, the report confirmed the information and documentation contained in dozens of research papers, recordings, and videos that chairman of the Center for Near East Policy Research David Badin and his staff had handed over to the Americans.
The findings demonstrate that the UNRWA school curriculum is heavy on hatred toward Israel, violent struggle, the Palestinian right of return, and eternalizing the conflict. Another recent report from researchers Dr. Arnon Gross and Dr. Roni Shaked about the Palestinian school systemturned out to be right on the money. Now it appears as part of an official U.S. document - but that fascinating report has been classified by experts in the U.S. State Department, which was pressured to keep it quiet by Saudi Arabia, which is neck-deep in UNRWA and the Palestinian refugee narrative. In the past two years alone, the Saudis have given UNRWA $183 million.

No alternatives

Israeli officials kept mum this week in the face of reports about American steps to clip UNRWA's wings, but Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely broke ranks and discussed the matter with the Israel Hayom weekend magazine.

"It's time for the defense establishment to stop keeping this harmful organization on life support. The money should go the those truly in need, and only through organizations that do not perpetuate the refugee narrative. There is no justification for UNRWA's existence. This organization, through international funding, keeps coddling the belief in Palestinian 'return' among children born five generations after the 1948 War of Independence. Return means the destruction of the state of Israel. I made that clear in my meetings in the U.S. and I'm happy that the Trump administration is taking the matter seriously," Hotovely said.

Adi Schwartz' book "The War for Return," which he co-authored with former Labor MK Einat Wilf, has taken on particular relevance these past few days. Schwartz says that while we might be able to understand the position of the defense establishment to opt for short-term quiet, the silence of the senior political echelon - which needs to challenge the Palestinian refugee narrative - is a mystery, "unless it doesn't want to win this war."

"The policy that, for security reasons, is afraid of change is bizarre and makes no sense. The Palestinians really do intend to implement their 'right of return.' It's not just words. Anyone who derails that narrative promotes Israel's national security," Schwartz said.

"What Wilf and I are suggesting is not a stop to humanitarian aid, but separating it from the political aspect of the refugee status. UNRWA is so firmly entrenched as leader of the system that the fear is that if it's taken out of the equation, everything will collapse. But nothing will collapse if a substitute for [UNRWA] is found. For that, we need politicians who see long-term, not just short-term," he explained.
Badin, whose material sparked the American about-face on UNRWA, wants to underscore that in contrast to the reports from a high-end PR firm that UNRWA is suffering from a severe budgetary shortfall, not one of the 44 countries (other than the U.S.) that donate to the organization followed the U.S. lead in cutting its budget. Badin would prefer to see internal reforms to the organization - including transparency and oversight of its activities - than for it to be dismantled.

Badin is now sending out another report, which states that UNRWA still employes 22,000 Hamas members in Gaza, and even allowing Hamas' student organization to stay active in the institutions it operates.

The defense establishment says that thus far, no one has seriously looked into alternatives to UNRWA and that until a viable alternative is available, the organization's activities must not be affected.

They think that any limitation to its work would bring more Palestinians into the circle of terrorism against Israel and destabilize the populace, which already feels that the ground is shaking beneath its feet – even on issues like the status of Jerusalem, a Palestinian state, and now the refugee industry, which it sees as a line not to be crossed.

"Anyone who shuts down UNRWA right now will get Hamas in its place, and jihad and extremism. Nature abhors a vacuum," a defense official warned.

Hotovely dismisses the arguments: "The Palestinians never needed excuses for terrorism and violence. UNRWA, which perpetuates refugee-dom and constantly inflates the number of refugees and tells the Palestinians stories that one day they'll be able to settle on the ruins of Israel, is the problem – not the solution."

Nadav Shragai


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Is CNN proving President Trump's point? - Elad Hakim

by Elad Hakim

CNN printed a story allegedly based on a source who subsequently recanted his statements.

Recently, “[m]ore than 300 newspapers published editorials on the dangers ofPresident Trump and his administration’s verbal assault on the press.” Many of these media outlets took exception to the fact that the president referred to them as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people,” and accused the president of engaging in a propaganda war against legitimate news sites. “This dirty war on the free press must end,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Boston Globe's editorial page deputy managing editor said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “It calls for urgent action by those committed to free speech and the free press to stand against a White House and its allies who are bent on eroding a pillar of an informed democracy.”  
In a sense, the various media outlets that participated in the “editorial blitz” against President Trump were well within their right to do so as long as they did not violate any laws. After all, the media serves a vital purpose in our free society and the work that journalists do should be respected on most occasions. However, when a media outlet makes a mistake, publishes a story that is based on questionable sources, or discovers that a story is not true, it should redact or correct the story so as to remain credible.
Several weeks ago, CNN published an anonymously sourced report stating that President Trump allegedly knew about the “Trump Tower meeting” ahead of time. Subsequently, Michael Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, admitted that he was the source of this information and indicated that he was wrong to imply that he could prove such a thing. According to Davis: "I regret not being much clearer in saying I'm not sure about this story… It's a major mistake for which I am 100 percent sorry. Period. I never should have done it unless I was certain and could prove it."  
Despite this obvious bombshell, CNN continues to stand by its reporting, leading some to question the network’s credibility. For example, Tucker Carlson recently interviewed Glenn Greenwald, founder of The Intercept. According to Greenwald: "They can’t retract the story and they can’t admit they lied… So they are continuing to stick to what everybody knows is a lie, but not many people care because people think -- a lot of people, anyway -- that it was done for the right political agenda." 
Carlson also asked Greenwald whether CNN had an obligation to its viewers to explain what is going on relative to this story. "Journalists rightly demand transparency from powerful institutions, that’s our job," Greenwald replied. "But how can CNN have any credibility to do that when you call them and ask them what happened here, as I did, and everyone else did, and they say, ‘Talk to our PR spokesperson,’ who then refuses to answer any questions. They have zero credibility if they don’t provide transparency themselves."
Despite Mr. Davis’ retractions, CNN continues to stand by its story and to assert that “CNN does not lie.” While the network published a new report acknowledging Mr. Davis’ change of heart,” the new report did not explain why the original report asserted that Mr. Davis declined comment when he was actually used as a source. Donald Trump, Jr. took issue with this and issued a blistering statement: “CNN you just lied again by saying you don’t lie. You said Lanny Davis declined to comment when he was in fact a source.” “Are you kidding me with this BS. Do you have any journalistic credibility at all? I mean seriously??? You’re a joke!!!” 
Credibility is a very interesting, yet delicate, phenomenon. It is very difficult to earn/establish, yet very easy to lose. In this case, CNN brought this firestorm on itself and cannot blame the president, Republicans, or forces of nature. Moreover, given this recent controversy, the network cannot question why President Trump uses terms like “fake news” when describing some in the media.
What is even more unfortunate for CNN is that, once your credibility is questioned, much of what you say is also looked at with skepticism. For example, CNN recently suspended political analyst Paris Dennard after Mr. Dennard voiced his support of the president’s decision to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance. CNN attributed the suspension to allegations in a Washington Postarticle stating that Dennard was fired from a job at Arizona State University “for making sexually explicit comments and gestures towards women.” However, the timing of the suspension raised some eyebrows given that it occurred shortly after Mr. Dennard made his comments supporting the president’s decision. Said Denard, “"This is sadly another politically motivated attempt to besmirch my character, and shame me into silence for my support of President Trump and the GOP." Is it possible that Dennard was suspended because of his political stance?
The media serves a vital role. With this role comes responsibility. CNN printed a story allegedly based on a source who subsequently recanted his statements. At that time, the network should have simply recanted the story. By failing to do so, it put its credibility in serious jeopardy, and substantiated some of President Trump’s comments and concerns
Twitter: @Elad3599

Elad Hakims articles have been published in The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, World Net Daily, and other online publications.  


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Israeli Warships get Missile Defense Boost - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

A warning to the Jewish state's enemies.

The Israeli Navy will soon receive a significant boost in its operational capabilities after it was announced that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) entered into an agreement to equip Israel’s newest and most powerful warships – the Sa’ar 6 – with Barak-8 missile defense systems.  The Barak-8 is a sophisticated missile defense system that can intercept aircraft and is equally adept at countering incoming missile threats. The platform is currently in service with the Israeli Navy as well as the Indian Navy and air force. This development comes on the heels of an announcement by the Israeli Ministry of Defense that it awarded a contract to Israel’s Elbit Systems for the delivery of electronic warfare suites to the Israeli Navy.
The Sa’ar 6 class of corvettes includes a series of four new warships that will be used alongside other naval assets to patrol Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Sa’ar 6 is a formidable platform brimming with sophisticated weaponry and electronic surveillance equipment. It will be armed with 40 Barak-8 missiles as well as multi-round launchers equipped with C-Dome interceptors produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The C-Dome is a point defense missile system capable of intercepting short-range rockets and artillery and was based on the combat proven Iron Dome and Barak 1 designs. The Barak-8 and C-Dome missile defense systems will be able to provide the navy with a formidable multi-tiered defense capability against a variety of threats including aircraft, drones and sea-skimming cruise missiles like the Chinese C-802 and Russian Yakhont, both of which were supplied to Hezbollah via Iran.
The Sa’ar 6 will also be fitted with an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun mount, which offers high rate of fire against air and surface targets. To address long-range surface threats, the Sa’ar 6 will deploy the combat-proven, sea skimming IAI Gabriel IV and Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Rounding out the weapons package will be two torpedo launchers for MK54 Torpedoes, and two 30mm Rafael Typhoon remote, stabilized weapons platforms. The warship will also accommodate helicopters like the AS565 Panther of the Maritime Helicopters Squadron. The Panther, which is also known in Israel as the Atalef, is a versatile platform that can be used for combat assault, anti-submarine warfare as well as search and rescue operations. 
Up until 1973, the Israeli Naval Service (INS) was the Cinderella stepchild of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Its achievements in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1956 and 1967 were overshadowed by those of the air and ground forces. That mindset changed on October 6, 1973 when the Israeli navy was the only branch of the IDF not taken by surprise during the initial phases of the Arab onslaught. At the outset of the war, the Navy’s 12 Cherbourg and two Reshef class Fast Attack Craft (FAC) set sail for Syrian and Egyptian coasts and engaged with the Syrian and Egyptian navies, destroying the bulk of them. Having cleared the seas of enemy vessels, the INS attacked enemy coastal installations at will and harried the enemy until the last day of the war, which ended on October 24.
The INS’s role in defending Israel expanded as maritime threats against the Jewish State grew. The navy was tasked with patrolling Israel’s vast coastline, ensuring that maritime routes in the eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf of Eilat and the Red Sea remained unimpeded. The INS has also been tasked with interdiction operations ensuring that weapons destined for Iran-backed proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah never reach their intended destinations. Successful naval interceptions of ships like the Santorini, Karine A, Abu Hasan, Francop, Mavi Marmara, Victoria and KLOS C, prevented illegal contraband, including deadly weapons from reaching Islamist terrorist entities intent on causing mayhem.
Discoveries of vast gas reserves in Israel’s EEZ as well as the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran have further underscored the importance of the INS in securing Israel’s strategic interests. Israel’s formidable submarine fleethas assumed the role of second-strike nuclear deterrence. Some of Israel’s submarines utilize an advanced propulsion system called Air-Independent Propulsion, which uses fuel cell technology. This technology enables the submarines to remain extremely quiet and submerged without the need for resupply for up to 30 days, making them ideal platforms for covert as well as offensive operations. In addition, Israel’s subs are equipped with long-range Popeye Turbo cruise missiles. This highly accurate missile can be equipped with conventional and nuclear weapons. The stealthy characteristics of Israel’s sub fleet means that the vessels can approach the waters of any hostile nation virtually undetected, launch a missile salvo and quickly redeploy. 
Iran, Hezbollah and Turkey, led by their unhinged leaders have tried to heighten tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, where Israel, Greece and Cyprus have been cooperating in natural gas exploration, development and export. Large gas deposits situated in Israel’s EEZ have instantly transformed the Jewish State into a regional energy superpower. Sixty percent of Israel’s electricity needs are currently met by offshore gas deposits situated in the EEZ and lucrative export deals have already been signed with Jordan and Egypt. Israel is also looking to supply European countries currently reliant on Russian gas and seeking diversification of energy suppliers. A strong Israeli naval presence in the EEZ will serve as a deterrent for those foolhardy enough to contemplate embarking on reckless adventures.   
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Conservative Revolt at - Facebook? - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Conservative Facebook employees create an internal group to fight back.

Conservative Facebook employees fed up at the social media behemoth’s oppressive, intolerant corporate culture have created an internal group to fight back.
It’s no secret that social media platforms have been suppressing and marginalizing ideas they don’t like -- and the ideas they don’t like are overwhelmingly of the conservative and patriotic variety.
But this new revolt is significant because internal dissent is almost unheard of at Facebook. When Google engineer James Damore wrote an internal memo arguing that forced diversity at the company wasn’t a positive thing and that so-called underrepresentation of women in the technology field probably wasn’t related to sexism, Google fired him.
The internal group, called FB’ers for Political Diversity, came into being after senior Facebook engineer Brian Amerige posted an item titled, “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” on Facebook’s internal message board last week.
According to a New York Times article, more than 100 of Facebook’s approximately 30,000 employees have joined the new group since it was formed days ago. However, at press time, there were two groups with the same name listed on Facebook. One had a membership of 476; the other, 1,228.
“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Amerige wrote in the internal message board post, the New York Times reported. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
The newspaper report continued:
The aim of the initiative, according to Mr. Amerige’s memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.
The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities. One engineer, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said several people had lodged complaints with their managers about FB’ers for Political Diversity and were told that it had not broken any company rules.
President Trump recently threw his support behind a crackdown on social media corporations that discriminate against conservatives.
Earlier this week Trump spoke to reporters:
Yeah, I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people. And I think that's a very serious thing, and it's a very serious charge. I think what Google and what others are doing -- if you look at what's going on at Twitter, if you look at what's going on in Facebook, they better be careful, because you can't do that to people. You can't do it.
We have tremendous -- we have literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in. And you just can't do that. And so I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory. And they have to be careful. It's not fair to large portions of the population.
The politically-driven censorship of conservatives by the gigantic, unregulated social media corporations controlled by the Left is moving into high gear as the crucial midterm congressional elections of Nov. 6 approach.
Facebook is one of the worst offenders.
Facebook disabled videos produced by PragerU, a nonprofit group founded by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager that has 3 million Facebook followers. Two videos were suppressed as alleged examples of “hate speech.” When PragerU’s Will Witt complained on Facebook, his post was marked as spam.
The videos were titled “Make Men Masculine Again” with Allie Beth Stuckey of the CRTV show “Allie,” and “Where Are the Moderate Muslims?” with researcher Hussein Aboubakr.
Facebook blocked a campaign ad by Elizabeth Heng, a Republican congressional candidate in California, that featured graphic footage of the Communist genocide in Cambodia. Heng argued the images were an important part of her personal story because her parents just barely avoided death in Cambodia before they fled to the U.S.
"My parents did not have the luxury of blocking the horrific content from the reality of their lives during the rise of communism in Cambodia[,]” Heng tweeted. “Why does @facebook feel they have the right to censor that content in the land of #freespeech?"
In the springtime, Facebook’s crackdown on Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers was exposed at a congressional hearing at which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the star witness. Facebook arbitrarily determined the content generated by the two sisters, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who merely appear on camera and talk without advocating violence or law-breaking, was “unsafe to the community.”
Diamond and Silk protested that Facebook allows “appalling” things – “videos of people getting shot, killed, and beat up… they even show pictures of our President decapitated.” Muslim terrorist-sympathizing groups and violent Antifa and related anarchist and communist groups have long operated with impunity on Facebook.
Will this new rebellion led by Facebook engineer Brian Amerige bring true political diversity to the social media corporation?
Time will tell.
Matthew Vadum senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."

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McCain's treatment of the MIA issue - Stu Tarlowe

by Stu Tarlowe

-- over many years, McCain was instrumental in blocking or suppressing information about Americans who were very much left behind – perhaps hundreds of American servicemen who were Missing in Action in Vietnam and who are believed to have been kept alive by Hanoi

At Thursday's memorial service for John McCain, former vice president Joe Biden delivered a lengthy eulogy, one that is being praised for its heartfelt emotion and (like McCain himself) for its non-partisanship.
I'm sorry, but just about anything uttered by Joe Biden sends the needle on my Bravo Sierra meter edging toward the red zone.  I find the man a study in disingenuousness.  In this case, the needle swung widely on this particular sentence:
He loved basic values, fairness, honesty, dignity, respect, giving hate no safe harbor, leaving no one behind and understanding Americans were part of something much bigger than ourselves.
The phrase that really made my ears perk up, and pegged the needle on the BS meter, was the one about "leaving no one behind."
Really?  That struck me as a brazen non sequitur when speaking of John McCain, when a strong case can be made that, over many years, McCain was instrumental in blocking or suppressing information about Americans who were very much left behind – perhaps hundreds of American servicemen who were Missing in Action in Vietnam and who are believed to have been kept alive by Hanoi after the war's end, perhaps to be used as "leverage" for reparations.
Sydney Schanberg (on whose book The Death and Life of Dith Pran the movie The Killing Fields was based) wrote about this in The American Conservative back in 2010.  He told how:
... TAC publisher Ron Unz had discovered an astonishing account of the role the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, had played in suppressing information about what happened to American soldiers missing in action in Vietnam.
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home.  Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents.  Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Schanberg's article is far too lengthy to quote here in anything close to its entirety.  But it appears quite well documented and can be accessed here.
Those who attempted to put McCain on the spot regarding Americans left behind in Vietnam were met with a dose of McCain's famous defensive bristling posture.  Schamberg writes:
Many stories have been written about McCain's explosive temper, so volcanic that colleagues are loath to speak openly about it.  One veteran congressman who has observed him over the years asked for confidentiality and made this brief comment: "This is a man not at peace with himself."
He was certainly far from calm on the Senate POW committee.  He browbeat expert witnesses who came with information about unreturned POWs.  Family members who have personally faced McCain and pressed him to end the secrecy also have been treated to his legendary temper.  He has screamed at them, insulted them, brought women to tears.  Mostly his responses to them have been versions of: How dare you question my patriotism?  In 1996, he roughly pushed aside a group of POW family members who had waited outside a hearing room to appeal to him, including a mother in a wheelchair.
Then, as now (amid the current gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over his passing), the mainstream press was cooperative if not complicit in making sure that the truth about McCain's efforts to keep MIA families (and the rest of us) in the dark wasn't allowed to intrude on the narrative of McCain as a hero.  But perhaps now the truth will (begin to) out.
Hat Tip to Lt. Col. Damian Housman, USAF (Retired)

Stu Tarlowe


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Operation Finale - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Cinéma vérité for the “final solution.”

Back in 1986, “Firing Line” host William F. Buckley asked former New York Times Moscow correspondent Harrison Salisbury which was worse, Stalin’s forced famine in Ukraine or Hitler’s mass murder of Jews? As Salisbury knew, the Times’ Walter Duranty, who wrote that no famine took place, privately conceded that as many as 10 million may have perished in Ukraine. Even so, Salisbury said that the Nazis were worse because they had attempted to wipe an entire people off the face of the earth. That “final solution” is the back story to Operation Finale, which opened in American theaters Wednesday. 
The German National Socialist Reich that was supposed to last a thousand years fell after little more than a decade and in the chaotic final days many prominent Nazis were able to escape the Allies and slip away. In 1950, Adolf Eichmann made his way to Argentina where he lived under the name of Ricardo Klement, issued by the Italian delegation of the Red Cross in Geneva. 
He lives quietly in bustling Buenos Aires but local Jews learn that Klement, who works at a Mercedes-Benz factory, is really Eichmann. Word quickly gets back to Israel, but the Mossad is skeptical. As the film shows, the vaunted intelligence agency has been known to slip up and, as one character says, “kill the wrong Nazi.” 
Eichmann is lured outside his home, secretly photographed and positively identified. Even in Argentina it would be easy to assassinate him but Israel wants to capture the Nazi fugitive and put him on trial, so the world will know the truth. So on one level, Operation Finale is the ultimate heist movie, with a difference. As Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (Simon Russell Beale) tells the secret agents, history is in their hand and they must not fail.
Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) heads up the operation, and he has a special motive because the Nazis murdered his sister Fruma. Yet, of all the agents who lost loved ones in the Holocaust, he takes the most relaxed approach. Malkin’s former flame Hanna Elian (Mélanie Laurent) will be charged with sedating the Nazi for the trip back. The film rushes through the preparations but viewers will get a sense of spy craft circa 1960, long before personal computers and the internet, with false passports, safe houses and the like. No James Bond characters in this film.  
Eichmann is a “human metronome” on his daily routine but his capture will be tricky. If the film rushes through the kidnap plot, viewers quickly understand the reason. The plan had been to whisk him out of the country but the departure is delayed ten days. So viewers get to see a lot of the Nazi.  
With his famous 1982 performance as Gandhi, one might think Ben Kingsley would work best as one of the Nazi hunters. Here he plays Eichmann his own self, and viewers will be hard pressed to think of anyone who could turn in a more convincing performance. 
In his interactions with captors, the core of Operation Finale, Eichmann goes through stages of denial and confession. He was just a cog in a machine, only following orders, and so forth. Kingsley manages to convey what Hannah Arendt, who covered Eichmann’s trial for the New Yorker, called the “banality of evil,” cold bureaucratic machinery deployed to take millions of lives. But viewers will have no doubt that Eichmann was an evil man.
The problem here is with a human being, not with a monster, not with an animal,” the real Peter Malkin once explained. “The human being does things that even the monster does not do, because the human is more sophisticated. The problem is not how the monster did it, but how the human being did it.” 
The Israeli agents get Eichmann out of Argentina disguised as an El Al crew member. The film omits the huge diplomatic uproar this caused, but no great loss. The Israelis put Eichmann on trial and viewers see plenty of evidence about the six million back stories. Harrison Salisbury knew of what he spoke in 1986.  
As the film notes, and as this writer recalls, the trial was televised around the world. Viewers see photos of Eichmann on the stand, and the resemblance with the film character is startling. Critics are certain to nit-pick some details, and perhaps some minor performances, but overall this is cinéma vérité at the highest level and a primer for millennials. 
It is a matter of historical fact that Adolf Eichmann, in charge of the “final solution,” was hanged on June 1, 1962. As Ben Kingsley said in his role as Gandhi, “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.” 
Lloyd Billingsley is the author of the new crime book, Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and the recently updated Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.


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