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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Middle East Report Jan. 12, 2016

It was in August, 2015, on the eve of the massive Russian military intervention in Syria, that President Vladimir Putin selected Col. Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, pictured above, 54, as chief of Russia’s military operation in Syria and Iraq, He resolved a fierce debate among Russia’s top officials and generals over the officer to lead what was to be the most high-powered venture of the Putin presidency. Many favored a senior air force officer, conceiving the campaign as focusing mainly on air strikes. They proposed Col. Gen. Victor Nikolaevich Bondarev, chief of Aerospace Defense Forces, a branch established just four months ago.
Putin overruled them, having decided that the diplomatic and ground components were to be just as important as the future aerial campaign. He picked Gen Dvornikov, whom he first met 26 years ago in Berlin during the last moments of the dying Soviet empire. In 2015, he judged the general as being the right man for the job he had in mind, by virtue of his extensive military experience in running the 2000-2003 North Caucasus wars against Islamic terror groups, as chief of staff and a motorized infantry division commander.
In his new posting, Gen. Dvornikov was given control of the twin Russian commands in Damascus and Baghdad. They function as two halves of the same war room.
At the Damascus headquarters, he has three partners: the Syrian Chief of Staff Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Gen. Key Parvar and the commander of Hizbollah forces in Syria, Mostafa Bader el-Din. Until his mysterious disappearance in November, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iranian commander in Syria and Iraq, would put in an occasional appearance at high command conferences.  
The two command centers’ operations are fully coordinated and keep the single overall commander, Col. Gen. Dvornikov, on top of events and in control of decisions 24/7 – a key position of enormous authority and extreme diplomatic sensitivity for juggling Moscow's opposition allies and interests.
The Saudi government, which operates, arms and funds a number of Syrian rebel militias, regards the Russian general as the ultimate nemesis of its interests in Syria, because he expends as much force on fighting those militias as in striking the Islamic State.
After the Hizbollah super terrorist Samir Quntar was assassinated on Dec. 20, the Saudis engineered a press leak showing how Gen. Dvornikov was turned away from the door of the Iranian command headquarters in Damascus when he came to offer condolences for the death of one of their top agents. The Iranians were furious with the Russian commander for allowing Israeli air planes free rein to fire rockets into Quntar’s secret hideout in Damascus.
That incident was an illustration of how the Russian general walks on eggs in a job that requires him to collaborate militarily with Iran and Hezbollah, on the one hand, and uphold the understandings Putin reached with Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the other, over Israeli Air Force actions against terrorists and their conflicting interests in the southern Syrian regions bordering on Israel.
Image result for russian air force in syria

Russian air raids over Syria were seen to have tapered off in the first 10 days of the New Year to their lowest level since the onset of Moscow’s major intervention in Syria in late September. The slowdown was not officially reported or explained. But there are two likely causes:
1.  The Russian Air Force conducted an exceptionally intensive series of aerial strikes over northern and southern Syria in the course of December. This may have caused too many technical problems for the overtaxed ground crews to keep up with the necessary maintenance work.
2.  The first days of January are Russia’s traditional holiday season. The Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7. Commanders may have decided to take a break from combat missions.
In case the slowdown was misinterpreted in the West, the Russian high command published a set of statistics Monday, Jan. 11 that painted a picture of intense activity.
In the first ten days of 2016, the Russian Air Force was said to have conducted 311 air strikes against 1097 targets.
The communiqué also noted that the first Syrian Air Force MidG-23 fighter plane was able to land at Hama air base. This central Syrian facility had been inactive for months because it was under rebel artillery fire and was now restored to full operation, thanks to Russian air bombardments of rebel forces.
From Hama, the Syrian army is now back in command of the Rte 5 highway linking Aleppo to Damascus, opening up for Syrian, Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militia armies their only road link and supply route between central and northern Syria.
The recovery of Hama also provides a shield for defending Latakia, President Bashar Assad’s main power base.
Western intelligence experts estimate that the air strike statistics offered by Moscow are exaggerated. They tie the operation for the relief of the Hama air base with a project about to be launched by the Russian command from its base outside Latakia, namely, the transfer of Russian air force and special operations officers and forces teams to the Palmyra area, in readiness for an offensive to seize all the Syrian air facilities to the west of the town from ISIS control.

Russian tacticians in Syria appear to be focusing now on pushing rebel and Islamic State forces out of all the airfields they have captured, in order to get the Syrian Air Force flying and bombing again, and so ease the burden on the Russian flight crews in Syria.

On Monday, at least 48 people were killed and 200 people were wounded in ISIS suicide bombings and shootings in Baghdad and the other areas – the highest number of casualties from ISIS attacks in three months.
The Islamic State ISIS) is still strongly on the offensive, although Western military sources are trying to present the Iraqi army as gaining the upper hand in the fighting, including exaggerated reports of Iraqi attacks on ISIS positions around Mosul.
In fact, since Iraqi forces captured the center of the ruined city of Ramadi, ISIS fighters have been waging guerrilla warfare from the eastern outskirts.The jihadists are also pushing forward in three additional sectors: Haditha in the western Anbar province; the Baghdad al-Jadidah Shiite district of south Baghdad; and Muqdadiyah in the eastern province of Diyala. They are forcing the Iraqi army to divert strength from other sectors to defend the capital.

Syrian sitrep Jan. 12, 2016

Syrian sitrep Jan. 11, 2016

Russia is supplying Hezbollah with weapons

Sitrep Yemen Jan. 12, 2016

The Israeli Navy's fifth and newest submarine, the INS Rahav, arrived Tuesday afternoon at a Navy base in Haifa following a 3,500-mile voyage from the German port of Kiel.
The Super Dolphin II-class submarine is one of the most advanced in the world in terms of its offensive capabilities, intelligence systems, defenses and operational range. It can carry cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, and is part of Israel's "second strike" force for situations of dire threat.
At the official welcoming ceremony, President Reuven Rivlin called the Rahav "the IDF's most intimidating, advanced, sophisticated and expensive war machine," while Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the submarine adds "a new dimension to our power."
Prime Minister Netanyahu along with the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieut. Gen. Gady Eisenkot, and the Commander of the Navy, Major General Ram Rutenberg, also participated in the ceremony. 

The preferred candidate for head of IDF intelligence's research division is Col. Ram Yavneh, who is now serving as head of strategic planning for the IDF Planning Branch. The current research chief, Brig. Gen. Eli Ben-Meir, pictured above, will leave his post in the coming months.

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