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.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Middle East Report Dec 17, 2015

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Saudi Arabia announces the formation of a military coalition of 34 countries to fight "terrorism" in the Islamic world, in the latest sign of a more assertive foreign policy by the kingdom. Watch the short video below. Why don't the Saudis stop their terrorism in Syria and Yemen?

The Syrian front Dec. 17, 2015
The Syrian front Dec. 16, 2015

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After two tries, US Secretary of State Kerry finally turned President Obama away from his four-year insistence that Bashar Assad must go, as a precondition for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. Tuesday, night, Dec. 15, the Secretary announced in Moscow: “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change.”
After Kerry's first try, Obama still stuck to his guns. He said in Manilla on Nov.19 that he didn’t believe the civil war in Syria “will end while the dictator remains in power.”
Almost a month went by and then, Tuesday night, after a day of dickering with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov culminating in a joint conference with Putin at the Kremlin, Kerry confirmed this change in US policy. The focus now, he said, is "not on our differences about what can or cannot be done immediately about Assad." Rather, it is on facilitating a peace process in which "Syrians will be making decisions for the future of Syria."
This statement brought Washington in line with Moscow’s demand for the Syrian president’s future to be determined by his own people.
On this demand, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is even more obdurate than Putin.
Washington’s surrender to the Russian and Iranian line on Assad’s future was offered in the short-term hope of progress at the major international conference on the Syrian question taking place in New York Friday.
Another major US concession – this one to Tehran - was scarcely noticed.
Earlier Tuesday, the UN nuclear watchdog's 35-nation board in Vienna closed its investigation into whether Iran sought atomic weapons, opting to back the international deal with Tehran rather than dwell on Iran's past activities.
This motif of going forward toward the future rather than dwelling on the past was a repeat of the argument for keeping Assad in power. It provided an alibi for letting Tehran get away with the suspicion of testing a nuclear detonation at its Parchin military complex, without forfeiting sanctions relief, by the simple device of denying access to UN nuclear agency monitors to confirm those suspicions.
These epic US policy reversals carried three major messages:
1. The Obama administration has lined up behind Putin’s Middle East objectives which hinge on keeping Bashar Assad in power.
2. Washington endorses Russia’s massive military intervention in Syria, although as recently as last month Obama condemned it as doomed to failure.
3. The US now stands behind Iran - not just on the Syrian question - but also on the existence of an Iranian-Syrian-Hizbollah alliance, based on a solid land bridge from Iran and the Gulf up to the Mediterranean coast under Russian military and political protection and influence.
Even more surprising were the sentiments heard this week in Jerusalem.
Some Israeli officials urged the government to accept the American policy turnaround. In some military circles, senior voices were heard commenting favorably on Assad’s new prospects of survival in power, or advising Israel to jump aboard the changing setup rather than obstructing it. Those same “experts” long claimed that Assad’s days were numbered. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

Israel was forced to yield on the Iranian nuclear program, but its acceptance of the permanence of Assad and the indefinite presence in Syria of his sponsors, Iran and Hizbollah, will come at a high price for Israel in the next conflict.

The American aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman and its strike group reached the Persian Gulf on Thursday after crossing the Suez Canal, and thus shifted from the US sixth fleet's area of operations to that of the fifth fleet, which includes the Indian Ocean. By sailing north, the aircraft carrier will be able to launch cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Iraq and act in concert with France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier that is also anchored in the gulf.  
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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Thursday signed a landmark agreement opening the way for the development of Israeli’s offshore gas fields by a consortium led by Noble Energy and the Delek Group. As minister of the economy, the prime minister officially invoked Antitrust law’s Clause 52 which allows him to approve a monopoly if it serves a national foreign or security interest. The consortium is already developing the Tamar offshore reserve, which is in production, but has held off proceeding with the much larger Leviathan site in the eastern Mediterranean Sea until the regulatory uncertainty regarding the project was clarified. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel will receive 60-70 percent of the gas produced by its offshore gas fields
Opponents of the deal say they will challenge the move before Israel's Supreme Court.

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The US military command in Europe announced Wednesday that 12 warplanes that were deployed to Turkey's Incirlik airbase a month ago will return to their base in Britain. The decision to withdraw the 12 F-15s was made less than a day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited the base. In a response to a question by journalists on the connection between the two events, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said it was just a coincidence and that "I wouldn't read anything into us moving these out of there as any sort of less combat be able to strike in Syria."

Turkish ambassador to Qatar Ahmet Demirok said Wednesday that his country will set up a military base on Qatari territory "to fight the shared enemies of the two countries." The Turkish military activity in Qatar will include the placement of 3,000 Turkish troops and the establishment of air and naval units as well as "special warfare units."
1. Both Turkey and Qatar have supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Syrian opposition and the rebels who deserted from the Syrian army, and have opposed the rising influence of Iran in the region and the Russian intervention in the conflict in Syria.

2. Even though Ankara approved the base in 2014, the steps for establishment of the base are only underway now because they been approved by Saudi King Salman.
3. The base plan is additional proof of the tightening of diplomatic relations between the two sides as well as the growing Saudi involvement in the effort for establishment of an "Islamic military coalition" that includes both Qatar and Turkey.  

Iran's ground forces command has submitted a proposal to the head of the country's general staff for the upgrade of the armored corps and infantry via the acquisition of advanced Russian T-90 tanks, attack helicopters, ammunition and personal equipment. The announcement was made on the sidelines of a defense conference in North Khorasan by Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, commander of the ground forces. "Currently, T-72 tanks are the backbone of our armor. These armored vehicles have proved to be fairly good in combat operations," he said. "At the same time, we see that the T-90 tank possesses better combat characteristics and meets all the requirements we set," he added. The Iranian news agency that quoted the senior military source did not specify the amount of tanks that Tehran will receive or the date when the deal will be completed.

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud announced Wednesday that his country will support the Egyptian government and help it overcome the economic crisis it is experiencing from a lack of foreign currency. He ordered the increase of Saudi investments in Egypt to up to 8 billion dollars, the supply of all of Egypt's oil needs for the next five years, and the purchase of Egyptian bonds. Riyadh is paying back Cairo for the participation of the Egyptian air force and fleet in the war in Yemen, including the recent capture of Hanish Island in the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

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