White House works to fill its own vacuum in Syria with allied Arab forces/Netanyahu Urges Foreign Diplomats to Speak Out Against Iran/نتنياهو يحث الدبلوماسيين التحدث ضد إيران وترامب يسعي لتشكيل قوة عربية تحل مكانه قواته في سوريا
White House works to fill its own vacuum in Syria with allied Arab forces
Jerusalem Post/April 19/18
ترامب يسعي لتشكيل قوة عربية تحل مكانه قواته في سوريا
WASHINGTON – Keen to withdraw US troops from the Syrian battlefield, President Donald Trump has asked Arab nations led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia to replace them with their own – a move that could work against the regrowth of terrorist organizations there, but also risk direct conflict between Arab and Persian armies.
The policy is being spearheaded by John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, his CIA director and choice for secretary of state, according to CNN. Bolton has been in contact with Egypt’s intelligence chief on the matter.
Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would also be expected to take part.
“We are in discussions with the US and have been since the beginning of the Syrian crisis about sending forces into Syria,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said on Tuesday, at a press conference in Riyadh with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Mideast analysts pounced on the idea as ill-conceived, on social media: Egypt can barely contain terrorists in its backyard, Sinai, and Saudi Arabia has already diverted military resources from Syria to its fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. And the prospect of direct military conflict between Arab and Iranian forces – much more likely than between US and Iranian forces – increases the chances of a dangerous regional escalation.
The Trump administration is asking for the troop contributions in addition to financial contributions in the billions of dollars to rebuild northern Syria, devastated by Islamic State forces that occupied the land for three years until a US-led coalition took it back.
US, British and French forces pound Syria with air strikes early on Saturday in response to a poison gas attack, April 14, 2018(Reuters)
But internally, Trump’s team is in disagreement over the future US role there. Leadership on the anti-ISIS coalition says that the mission is not yet complete. And the majority of his National Security Council, including his secretary of defense, James Mattis, warned against a hasty withdrawal of US troops from the area that would provide a vacuum for extremists – and for Iran’s forces – to move in. But Trump has said for weeks that the cost to US taxpayers of continuous military operations in the “troubled place” that is the Middle East has run too high. “It’s very costly for our country, and it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us,” Trump said earlier this month. “We’re going to be making a decision on what we do in the very near future.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern with Trump’s withdrawal plan, over its implications for the Iranian threat to the Jewish state.
“I want to get out – I want to bring our troops back home,” Trump said. “I want to rebuild our nation.”
Is a thick gaseous cloud hiding Russia’s first S-300 delivery to Syria?
300هل الضباب الغازي الروسي يخفي تزويدها سوريا بنظام اس
As Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary, a Russian ship unloaded a suspect military cargo from a freighter at the Syrian port of Tartous. Was Moscow answering Israel’s celebration by delivering advanced S-300 air defense missiles as a show of support for Bashar Assad? This not confirmed. However, DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russians undoubtedly took advantage of Israel’s preoccupation with its Independence Day revelries to deliver advanced weapons systems for the Syrian army. The Russian ship docked in Tartous on Wednesday afternoon, April 18. Before unloading it, they positioned in the Russian section of the port giant compressors which spewed thick gaseous clouds over the operation to hide it from oversight by Israel’s surveillance planes, drones and satellites. This tactic intensified Israel’s suspicion that the cargo included S-300 weapons systems.On Tuesday, April 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had refused Syria’s demand for the advanced S-300 missiles, but since the “appalling act of aggression” committed by the US, France and Britain, “Moscow was ready to consider any means to help the Syrian army curb further aggression.”According to our military sources, the Russian vessel was sighted crossing through the Bosporus near Istanbul on Monday, i.e., just two days after the Western strike on Syria’s chemical sites. No attempt was made to conceal the presence on its decks of military equipment, which looked like the command vehicles of missile batteries and radar apparatus. The ship was loaded at the Russian military port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Urges Foreign Diplomats to Speak Out Against Iran
نتنياهو يحث الدبلوماسيين في بلاده التحدث ضد إيران
Jerusalem Post/April 19/18/
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged foreign diplomats to speak out against the Islamic Republic.
“Iran is the enemy of us all – of the Arab world, of civilization,” the prime minister declared, in a wide ranging address on Thursday to heads of diplomatic missions in Israel, ambassadors to the United Nations who were brought to Jerusalem by Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, spiritual leaders of Christian communities, honorary consuls, military attachés and an international delegation of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Saying that a murderous tyrant must be opposed from the beginning, Netanyahu warned that Iran wants to conquer the whole of the Middle East. He was speaking in his capacity as foreign minister at the annual Independence Day reception that the president hosts for the diplomatic community. Netanyahu said that this was not only the 70th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel, but also the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of the Jewish people, which he said had nearly died. Taking a quick leap through Jewish history from the time of the Exodus from Egypt, including heroic and creative periods for some 2,000 years prior to centuries of exile, Netanyahu said: “When we lost our land we lost our capacity to defend ourselves.”
Jews were subjects of pity or derision and victims of many pogroms, the worst of all being the Holocaust. More than half a century before the Holocaust, a new Moses had appeared in the person of Theodor Herzl. In the beginning people ridiculed his ideas, Netanyahu acknowledged, but the prime minister’s own grandfather had been captivated by Herzl though he did oppose him on the Uganda plan, which had been suggested as an alternative to a return to the Holy Land. “If we had not built this state in this crucial point of history, the whole future of the Jewish people would have been in doubt,” said Netanyahu.
The creation of the State of Israel rekindled the spirit of the Maccabees, he said, and even though Israel was surrounded by seven hostile Arab armies in 1948, “we prevailed.”
Since then, Israel has built a powerful army and an amazing economy, he said. Listing some of Israel’s many innovations, Netanyahu boasted that Israeli intelligence, technology and innovation have helped to thwart terrorism, conquer disease and produce water in many countries, and have contributed to Israel’s diplomatic relations. When he entered the foreign service in 1982, he said, Israel had diplomatic relations with around 80 countries. Now it’s close to double that. “Israel’s technology and security prowess has given us diplomatic prowess,” said Netanyahu, adding that “power has given us peace.”
AS LONG as Israel’s neighbors regarded the nation of Israel as ephemeral, and thought that they could drive it into the Mediterranean, there was no peace, said Netanyahu. But now he’s optimistic about peace, not only because Israel and the Arab states have a common enemy, but because people in Arab countries want a better life.
“Technology and innovation will bring peace,” he predicted. “I have hope and I intend to pursue peace,” he pledged. Netanyahu also made the point that countries working with Israel toward peace could hasten the process by moving their embassies to Jerusalem. “Recognizing reality is a way to build peace,” he insisted as he pointed out that all of Israel’s major state institutions are in Jerusalem. He praised Guatemala for being quick to follow the example of the United States and said that some half dozen countries were considering moving their embassies to the capital.
President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke before Netanyahu, addressed similar subject matter, saying that Israel would always be willing to share its know-how and experience. With regard to Iran, Rivlin said that it was a challenge for the whole world which “we must face together.”He was heart-broken about what is happening in Syria, he said. If the world does not work together, “future generations will ask what we did to stop crimes against humanity,” he cautioned.
Relating to Israel’s building of walls to keep out terrorists, Rivlin said that even with the construction of such walls, “we will never close the door to peace.” World leaders including the queen of England and the presidents of the United States and Russia sent congratulatory messages to both Rivlin and Netanyahu, with President Donald Trump adding that he was looking forward to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem next month.