The Watchman On The Wall

The Watchman On The Wall
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Verse 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Middle East Report 2 Dec. 2015

Friends, a side bar, the first part of the "South Front" video is about the Ukraine. The Ukrainians have deployed 277 tanks, friends, that is a large number of tanks. To put that in perspective we used about 1,100 tanks in Iraq.

On the outside, Israel is all smiles and full of praise for way the coordination with Moscow is working for averting clashes between its air force and Russian warplanes over Syria. This goodwill was conspicuous in the compliments Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Putin traded when they met on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit Monday, Nov. 30.
But the first disquieting sign appeared Tuesday, Dec. 1. Senior Russian and Israeli officers were due to meet in Tel Aviv to discuss strengthening the cooperation between the two army commands. But no word from Moscow or Jerusalem indicated whether the meeting had taken place.
The show of optimism is giving way to an uneasy sensation in the offices of the prime minister, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott. They suspect an ulterior motive behind Russia’s military movements in southern Syria, especially its air strikes against Syrian rebels, just across from Israel’s Golan border.
In particular, Moscow may be giving Hizbollah and Iran an umbrella for achieving their longstanding design to displace the Syrian rebels with Revolutionary Guards and Hizbollah forces and deploy them along Israel’s Golan border.

This suspicion gained ground when Tuesday, Dec. 1, the day after the Putin-Netanyahu encounter, the combined Iranian-Syrian-Hizbollah units expanded their thrust from the southern Syrian town of Deraa to the Golan town of Quneitra, within sight of Israel’s defense positions.
All that day, heavy battles raged over the rebel-held line of hills running from a point just south of Quneitra to the Israeli-Syrian-Jordanian border junction. The combined force was supported by Russian air strikes and heavy tanks and artillery, seen for the first time in this war arena.
When the fighting resumed Wednesday, the IDF placed its Golan units on high alert and an extra-vigilant eye was trained on this battle.
The Iranian-Syrian-Hizbollah side is gaining a distinct advantage from the deep feud dividing rebel ranks. The Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Syrian Nusra Front forces are tearing into each other with suicide bombers and explosive cars. Tuesday, an ISIS-rigged car bomb blew up at Nusra headquarters near Quneitra.

But this also means that an Islamic State force has come dangerously close to the Israeli border.
However, even more perils are in store if Bashar Assad’s army backed by Iran, Hizbollah and Russia manages to capture the hills opposite the Golan:
1. Two years of unrelenting Israeli military and intelligence efforts to keep Hizbollah and Iranian forces away from its Golan border will have gone to naught.
2.  Hizbollah will open the door for Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers to set up a command center right up to the Israeli border.
3.  Israel’s steadfast policy and military action to prevent advanced Iranian weapons reaching Hizbollah in Lebanon via Syria will be superseded. On the Golan, Hizbollah will have gained direct access to any weapons it wants directly from Syria and be able to deploy them at far shorter distances from Israeli targets than from their firing positions in Lebanon.
4.  Putin attaches extreme importance to recovering southern Syria from the rebel forces backed by the US and Israel, because he regards the threat to the Assad regime as great from the south as it is from the north or the center.
5.  Israel faces a grave dilemma between keeping up its “honeymoon” with Moscow by giving way on its essential security interests, or taking the bull by the horns and keeping the enemy at bay, whatever the cost to the understanding reached with Putin.

Officials in Jerusalem point out that the threat advancing on the Golan peaked just hours after the Russian leader met the prime minister in Paris. Putin is conducting a hands-on policy in Syria and keeps close track of the slightest occurrence on the battlefield. He must have been  aware of the state of play with regard to the Golan when he met Netanyahu, but nonetheless kept it out of their conversation.
Image result for French mosques closed

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, above, announced Wednesday that three mosques, two in suburbs of Paris and one in Lyon, have been closed by an order from his ministry under the emergency regulations France enacted after the terrorist attacks on the capital. Weapons were found in one of the mosques and an illegal religious school was run there clandestinely. Cazeneuve called the three mosques "pseudo-religious organizations."  

Al Qaeda captured the cities of Jaar and Zinjibar in southern Yemen on Wednesday morning. The terrorist organization previously seized the two cities, located about 50 kilometers from the port of Aden, in 2011 but was driven out by Yemen's military a year later. 

Lebanese defense sources said Tuesday that two people were wounded from the explosion of two bombs as a bulldozer carried out road repair work in the southern part of the country. According to the sources, the bombs, which were connected to an "Israeli listening device," exploded when the bulldozer ran into them. The incident took place between the towns of Khiyam and Bourj al-Mulouk. The two towns are strongholds of Hizbollah forces in southern Lebanon. 
Image result for map of eilat israel

A day-long, wide-scale exercise by the IDF's Southern Command in the western Negev and the Eilat area ended on Wednesday evening. During the exercise by the various brigades and divisions, the IDF general staff conducted a surprise inspection that was mainly intended to gouge the command's operational readiness. The exercise included simulations of infiltrations by terrorists into Israel by sea and by land, the seizing of an Israeli settlement by terrorists, and mortar barrages. In addition, the forces simulated entering Gaza and responding to the possibility of soldiers being taken prisoner. In another part of the drill, senior officers handled scenarios involving attacks and defense against ISIS forces. The surprise exercise involved a combination of infantry, engineering, artillery, and armored corps troops, backed by the air force, intelligence divisions and the navy. Civillian police and rescue forces, firefighters and security networks from settlements and cities in the region also participated in the exercise.
Image result for Brig. Gen. Sima Vaknin-Gil

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who also serves as minister for strategic affairs, has appointed Ret. Brig. Gen. Sima Vaknin-Gil as director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry. Vaknin-Gil, 50, has a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern studies and a masters degree in national security studies, both with distinction. She served 30 years in the Israeli Air Force's intelligence division and was the IDF's chief military censor for the last 10 years. Her appointment was approved by the government's committee for appointments of senior officials.

A 6th BCE centur seal (bulla), half an inch long, just found in excavations near Temple Mount in Jerusalem, bears the name of Hezekiah – none other than the biblical era king who reigned from 727 to 698 BC. "This is the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation," stated the leader of the dig, Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The oval impression on the clay seal, which was most likely set in a ring, states in ancient Hebrew script: "Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah." It also shows Assyrian symbols, indicating that it was created late in the king’s life when he fell under Assyrian influence. Hezekiah’s celebrated engineering feat, a water channel linking the Silwan springs to the city of Jerusalem in case of siege, is still in place today.

In a prisoner exchange arranged by Qatar, the Nusra Front terror organization handed over 16 captive Lebanese soldiers to representatives of the Red Cross on Tuesday in exchange for $25 million, provided by Qatar, and the release of 13 members of the organization in Lebanese jails. The 13 members included Saja al-Dulaimi, ex-wife of the former Al Qaeda leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is now head of ISIS. The soldiers were taken prisoner about 18 months ago in the Lebanese border town of Arsal. The prisoner release demonstrated Qatar's deep involvement in the Syrian conflict and its connections to the Nusra Front and other organizations linked to Al Qaeda.  

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