These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 13, 2012.
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Assad Regime Reported Firing SCUDS Against Syrian Opposition
SCUD C Mobile Missiles
Last weekend, we reported on Russian shipments of hypervelocity Iskander (SS-26) short range ballistic missiles to the Assad regime in Syria The New York Times and Reutersreported Wednesday that the Assad regime may have fired several North Korean designed SCUDS, the Hwasong-6, equipped with an 860 kg. warhead (approximately 1,800 lbs.) at opposition targets in Northern Syria. The Hwasong-6, Shahab-2 in Iran’s missile inventory, has a range of 430 miles capable of threatening Israel.
In our NER article on “The Iranian Missile Threat”, Israeli missile defense expert, Uzi Rubin was quoted about the vast quantity of SCUDS in the Syrian weapons inventory:
Syria has a very vast missile capability and stockpile. Actually, they started stockpiling missiles even before Iran. In 1982 they made it a Syrian national defense priority and made a decision to forego air power and build up the missile power against Israel. By now they have hundreds of SCUDS with ranges up to 700 kilometers – some of them equipped with chemical warheads – all operational, ready for use, well-established in survivable bases in mountains tunnels.
The Hwasong-6, Shajab-2 in Iran’s inventory, has a range of 430 miles capable of threatening Israel. Experts cited in the Reuters report noted:
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Scuds had been used.
In Brussels, a NATO official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said a number of "SCUD-type" short-range ballistic missiles had been launched inside Syria in recent days.
"Allied intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets have detected the launch of a number of unguided, short-range ballistic missiles inside Syria this week," the official said.
"Trajectory and distance travelled indicate they were SCUD -type missiles," the NATO official said.
Thomas Houlahan, a military analyst at the Center for Security and Science, said the weapons were probably North Korean-made Hwasong-6 missiles, an improved variant of the original Soviet SCUDS.
"In terms of the short-range battlefield missiles, they produce a pretty good missile and because of North Korea's constant need for hard currency, they sell them pretty cheap. So they have moved a lot of missiles around and Syria has ended up with a lot of them," Houlahan said.
These fast paced developments have drawn criticism of the Assad regime by the Obama White House and the deployment of NATO Patriot batteries in Turkey. White House spokesman Jay Carney in response to these revelations of Syrian Scud attacks said:
"If true, this would be the latest desperate act from a regime that has shown utter disregard for innocent life," he said. "The idea that the Syrian regime would launch missiles in its borders at its own people is stunning, desperate, a completely disproportionate military escalation."
South Korea was reported in mid-November to have confiscated North Korean missile parts destined for Syria. In our report on the Russian Iskander missiles deployed to Syria we noted that the warheads have multiple capabilities including CBW.
The use of CBW equipped warheads is concerning to both Washington and Jerusalem. The Sunday London Times reported that Israel has dispatched Sayeret Commando units to track stocks of chemical and biological weapons inside Syria. An Algemeiner article on these Israeli covert operations noted the comments of Dr. Jill Bellamy - Van Aalst, whose interview on the Syrian bio-warfare threat we published in the NER in 2007:
“For years we’ve known the exact location of Syria’s chemical and biological munitions,” an Israeli source said, according to The Sunday London Times. “But in the past week we’ve got signs that munitions have been moved to new locations.”
Several world leaders have warned Syria in recent days that the use of biological and chemical weapons would be a red line and would prompt a military response from the international community.
Syria has designated biological weapons as part of its conventional arsenal, suggesting it wouldn’t hesitate to use them against its citizens or any other entity it deems a threat.
According to the Sunday London Times article, Jill Bellamy-van Aalst, a former bio-defense consultant to NATO, said: “It’s just another type of weapon for the regime and they may not make the moral distinctions we do.”
On Saturday Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told the UN that no chemical weapons would be used by the government but that “terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory” east of Aleppo.
As the Assad regime needs to counter Syrian opposition MANPAD threats to military aircraft, we can expect more reports of SCUD firings, perhaps even ones equipped with chemical and biological warheads. We should not be surprised at this development. You may recall that Israel was attacked by 39 Iraqi SCUDS, some reportedly equipped with chemical warheads, that produced damage but few casualties during the First Gulf War in 1991. Those SCUD attacks by Saddam Hussein's forces led to the deployment of the first Patriot batteries in the region.
Israel's Latest Spy in the Sky - Vulture Captured in Sudan
In the wake of an alleged Israeli attack on a Munitions plant near Khartoum in late October, that may have destroyed Iranian –supplied Fajr-5 long range rockets destined for Gaza, Sudan accuses Israel of sending vultures to spy on it. ABC News reported on this latest accusation by Sudan, an Islamist state sponsor of terrorism and long term ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “Israeli 'Spy' Captured in Sudan”.
Those canny Israelis now can add raptors to the fantasy stories about Israeli shark attacks in Egypt and Saudi capture of another Israeli spy, a Griffon Vulture.
Here’s the low down from ABC News on this latest Israeli intelligence coup or is it coop?
Sudanese authorities say they have captured an Israeli spy in the town of Kereinek, but Israeli authorities have cast doubt on the claim, noting that the alleged Mossad agent is covered in feathers and weighs less than 30 pounds.
Officials in the North African country are calling a large bird captured late last week an "Israeli spy vulture," according to Middle Eastern media reports.
The online edition of the Egyptian daily El Balad said the raptor was fitted with solar-powered equipment that can broadcasts information, including satellite images. The report states a GPS tracker was also installed.
Iran's Press TV reported that the Sudanese security services believe the vulture was dispatched on its mission from Jerusalem's Hebrew University. The vulture allegedly sports a leg-band with the school's logo and a Hebrew label that reads "Israeli Nature Service."
An ecologist from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority told the Israeli news site YNet that the bird was being tracked for the purpose of studying migration patterns. Vultures typically fly south in the winter. "This is a young vulture that was tagged, along with 100 others, in October. He has two wing bands and a German-made GPS chip," said Ohad Hazofe. He denied that the device had any photographic capabilities.
"This is equipment that can give out distance and altitude readings only," Hatzofe said. "That's the only way we knew something had happened to the bird -- all of a sudden it stopped flying and started traveling on the ground."
Tensions between Israel and Sudan are high after an airstrike on a Sudanese munitions depot near the capital of Khartoum in October. The nation's radar defenses were jammed before the weapons manufacturing compound was leveled, leaving two people dead.
Sudan accused Israel of mounting the raid, but Israel has remained tight-lipped on the subject. The depot was said to be supplying weapons to Hamas.
This is not the first time that governments in the region have insisted that animals tracked by Israeli scientists were actually non-human assets of the Israel military or intelligence services.
After a series of Sinai shark attacks in 2010, Egypt suggested the assaults were the work of Mossad. In 2011, spying allegations surfaced that a griffon vulture was found with "spying equipment" and a "Tel Aviv University" leg band in Saudi Arabia.
Theodore Dalrymple very kindly agreed to answer some questions put to him by the Coffee House Wall and his thoughtful responses provide a great deal for conservative readers to consider.
Would you very briefly summarise your understanding of how and why we have seen our Western culture and civilization put under such pressure that it seems on the point of collapse?
I think the loss of confidence in Western civilisation has been a long-drawn out process, but particularly important were the First and Second World Wars. Let me quote something from All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque:
How pointless all human thoughts, words and deeds must be, if things like this are possible! Everything must have been fraudulent and pointless if thousands of years of civilization weren’t even able to prevent this river of blood, couldn’t stop these torture chamber in their hundreds of thousands…
And that was before the Holocaust!
Why does it seem that this process of collapse is accelerating and is now out of control?
Collapse is generally an accelerating process, and cultural amnesia is a process that will also accelerate as teachers of (for example) art no longer have the skills themselves to teach others. But we must beware of being too apocalyptic: there are certain small signs of resistance and revival too.
To what extent, as an atheist, do you ascribe value to the Judeo-Christian tradition? Is this a necessary foundation of Western civilization?
It seems to me obvious that western civilisation is Christian in origin, and those who decry Christianity are in effect decrying western civilisation. I say this as someone who is not myself religious. I believe it is possible for some people to live without religion, but probably not for whole peoples to live without it. To have a sense of transcendent purpose without religion necessitates a political ideology (which is likely to be very bad), or a belief that one is contributing to a culture. Without this, one is living in an eternal present moment, without past and without future.
Have we seen a different type of person arise in the West, as Mr. Boot proposes? How else would you explain that the virtues of respect, duty, deference and self-sacrifice seem to have been universally derided if not abandoned?
Certainly I am worried about a shallowness in the human personality that, if I may so put it, appears to be deepening. Even such things as the electronic media of communication, for those unfortunate enough to have been brought up with them, seem to hollow out human relations, making them extensive rather than intensive. As to derided ideas such as humility, proper deference and so forth, I think we live in an age of inflamed egotism, and of individualism without individuality. Never has it been more necessary, and at the same time more difficult, to mark yourself out as an individual. The slightest subordination in any circumstances is therefore felt as a wound, because the ego is so fragile, and relies on such props as the brand of trainers you are wearing.
Has party politics in the UK now become divorced from democracy? If so, how and when has this happened? What is different in our present politicians compared to those of 100 years ago, or are all politicians always driven by the same motives? What are those motives and is it possible to be involved in party politics without being corrupted?
I think that the professionalization of politics has corrupted it. Young rich men who once devoted themselves to politics did so from a sense, at least in part, of noblesse oblige. Where politics is a career, pure and simple, it is bound to be corrupted both intellectually and financially. We have not so much rich men in parliament, as men who go into parliament to become rich. I do not see much prospect of change because it would require the political class to reform itself, and as the American senator said, you can’t get a hog to slaughter itself. I think pretty profound constitutional change would be needed, and resistance would be formidable.
Can the Conservative Party be considered conservative in any meaningful sense? Was it ever conservative in the sense of valuing and privileging that which makes Western civilization what it is at best?
I think the Conservative Party is now pretty useless and not conservative in the cultural or dispositional sense at all. I think it was more viscerally conservative once, but not for a long time, and not very effectively, partly because conservative arguments are very hard to put in a single sentence, and that is what has been required now for a long time.
Is it possible to imagine the present Conservative Party discovering conservatism or is some more catastrophic political situation likely to be required to revitalise that normal conservative impulse?
No, I think not. As to catastrophe, it is likely to arouse radicalism more than conservatism, for example a collectivist revolutionism such as Nazism.
Is it necessary for conservatives to become committed activists and even revolutionaries? Is it now too late to think in terms of conservation and must we consider sweeping away the false structures and culture of the left and rebuilding what has been lost?
This is a very difficult question. We must remember, as conservatives, that things can almost always get worse as well as better (that is one of our essential insights, after all). How many of us could truly say that life could not be worse than it is now? So I think we must be patient and just plug away. We can only hope that the truth will (eventually) set us freer, if not free.
Why is the conservative front so fractured and apparently impotent? What is it about conservatism that makes it so?
Conservatism is fractured because it is not an ideology with premises from which conclusions can be drawn syllogistically, as Lenin did in his pamphlets. And, as I have said, much of what we think is not reducible to the 15 seconds of air-time any of us is likely to be granted. And we have important dilemmas to resolve. We believe in limited government; we believe in a self-regulating population. But to have a self-regulating population, you have to have one that exhibits the traditional and cardinal virtues. When it does not, how do you inculcate them? We don’t like authoritarian answers, but laissez-faire does not work either. That is why the work of cultural destruction and social reform, that eradicated many virtues, was so destructive of liberty in the long-term.
What must we do? What are three things that could be done of should be done to slow and even reverse the collapse and subversion of the West? We may now be living in occupied territory but how do we subvert the occupying forces.
I cannot answer for others, but for myself I can only make my little contribution to public awareness. Let me end on a mildly optimistic note: I never said in any of my articles, which I think were not generally emollient, anything that I was not prepared to say to my patients (with a few exceptions, of course); and the vast majority of them were able to recognise the not very recondite, indeed obvious, truth of what I was saying. This means that if only we could change the intellectual and moral atmosphere a little, we might just get somewhere. At any rate, that is what I have tried to do.
Nehushtan at ‘Post’ conference: Risk of Syrian chemical weapons falling into terrorists’ hands poses threat to entire world.
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Time is on Iran’s side as it continues to make progress on its nuclear program, former Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ido Nehushtan told diplomats at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya on Wednesday.
Asking the audience to imagine the implications of a nuclear-armed Iran, Nehushtan cited the 1962 Cuban missile crisis between the US and the Soviet Union, which he said was cleverly managed and peacefully resolved by two responsible leaders.
“Can you manage a crisis like this vis-a-vis a radical Islamic regime?” he asked, noting that a nuclear Iran would create a multi-nuclear Middle East.
“This is a hot area, not built for cold wars,” he explained. “It’s not an Israeli problem, but a regional and a world problem.”
Nehushtan described Iran’s global arms and terrorism network as “an octopus,” citing Iranian Fajr rockets in Gaza, Iran’s presence in Syria, and subversive activities in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Thailand.
“Time is working only for one side... the Iranian side, by definition,” he warned, speaking of Tehran’s nuclear program.
“As time goes by it becomes less and less possible to stop this problem,” he said. “The Iranians are masters of negotiations. They invented the game of chess. They know how to do the business. Time is working on their side.”
Nehushtan said a “global toolbox” is in place to prevent a nuclear Iran, adding that “sanctions are having an impact, but so far they have not achieved their goal [of stopping the nuclear program]. This toolbox has to be filled with all the options, all the time, in a credible manner.”
Nehushtan described Syria as being in possession of the largest chemical arms arsenal in the Middle East, if not the world.
“Who is running the business there?” he asked. “The global jihad is there. Iran and Hezbollah are heavily invested. The danger of chemical weapons... is that it could fall into the wrong hands. This is a nightmare not only for Israel and other neighbors [of Syria], but for the entire world – the combination of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.”
Earlier, the former air force commander turned his attention to the turmoil rocking the Middle East, describing the period as historic and filled with threats.
“The Sykes-Picot order is gone,” he said, referring to the 1916 British-French imperial division of the Middle East that gave rise to the regional map of states. “A new order has yet to take shape. We’re in a very fundamental process of transition.” [mentioning "Sykes-Picot," thereby endowing it with a significance it does not deserve, and giving legitimacy to constant Arab invocation of imagined grievances because of that very "Sykes-Picot" agreement, is an error].
Nehushtan said that the major winner so far was political Islam.
“What started as an earthquake coming from youngsters became a big winner of political Islam,” he said.
He noted the Islamist forces were rising to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Gaza with the slogan that “Islam is the solution.”
Now the Islamists have to “deliver some solutions to the people.”
Nehushtan also highlighted the penetration of global jihadi forces into destabilized areas, especially Syria, and the increasing proliferation of weapons from Libya, Iran and other countries.
Overall, the region is “less stable, more inflammable, and more religious,” he said. “Solutions are very difficult to come by.”
Referring to last month’s IDF operation to stem rocket attacks from Gaza, Nehushtan said the conflict should be seen as “part of a larger context to define something that is unique to the world: rocket terrorism.”
He said no country other than Israel has had to deal with large-scale rocket attacks on its civilian populations in the post- World War II era, and called on the world to reject rocket attacks as illegitimate. “It’s something you cannot do among peoples, especially if you want to become a people.,” he said, referring to the Palestinians.
He praised the operation as being based on very accurate intelligence, adding that the air force engaged in precision strikes on targets despite operating in a highly populated urban area, a combat zone he described as “a nightmare.”
The Iron Dome rocket shield had disrupted the cost-benefit calculations of terror organizations on Israel’s borders, he argued.
“Everyone, even terrorists, Hamas, Hezbollah, when engaged in violence, make very precise calculations. They know the effect they want to create and they know the price they have to pay. The cost is there... but the benefit for them, harming Israeli civilians, is far less. Ninety percent less. That really disrupts the calculations,” he said.
Kamel Bousselat, le ravisseur présumé de 32 ans, qui avait été arrêté outre-Rhin par les autorités du pays en même temps que la libération de sa victime, doit, comme le révèle Le Midi Libre, être entendu par le juge d'instruction de Nîmes, chargé de cette enquête ouverte pour «enlèvement, séquestration et viol».
Rendu aux autorités françaises en début de semaine et, depuis, provisoirement détenu à la maison d'arrêt de Strasbourg, il devrait donc ce vendredi être mis en examen par le magistrat du Gard et être écroué.
Auparavant, Kamel Bousselat, qui venait de sortir de prison le 14 septembre, avant d'agresser la jeune fille, devrait être entendu sur le fond de l'affaire. Un interrogatoire capital, car c'est la première fois que la justice recueillera ses explications. L'audition sera-t-elle suffisamment longue pour lever toutes des zones d'ombre?
Le juge devrait notamment le questionner sur ses raisons de s'en être pris à Chloé, cette jeune fille qu'il ne connaissait pas et qui, ce jour-là, regagnait son domicile en scooter, après une visite à une amie. Un procédé qui rappelle toutefois étrangement la manière dont il avait déjà agressé plusieurs victimes, surprises seules dans la rue ou dans les champs. Ces faits lui avaient valu d'être condamné en 2007 pour agressions sexuelles.
Mais des précisions sont aussi attendues sur le périple qui a duré une semaine avant son arrestation en Allemagne. Seule jusqu'alors à avoir été entendue, Chloé avait indiqué n'avoir jamais dormi «entre des murs» durant la durée de son rapt. Mais, parce qu'elle avait été longtemps retenue dans le coffre de la voiture, elle n'avait pu préciser le trajet utilisé.
Enfin, Kamel Bousselat devrait être interrogé sur le non-respect de ses obligations après sa sortie de prison. Quittant sa cellule de Béziers le 14 septembre, il ne s'était pas rendu le 24 du même mois à une convocation des services pénitentiaires et de probation (Spip). Un non-respect qui n'avait pas été suivi d'effet. Kamel Bousselat, dont le nom figure sur le fichier des délinquants sexuels, avait disparu dans la nature. Sans certaines failles dans la procédure d'alerte, Chloé n'aurait peut-être jamais été enlevée.
Hagel, Whose Want Of Sympathy And Understanding For Israel Is Palpable, Is Favored To Become Secretary Of Defense
"Hagel said to be Obama's choice to be next Secretary of Defense" -- news headline
What is the most important task the next Secretary of Defense will have to deal with? It will be to prevent Iran, which has been allowed to proceed steadily, and now pell-mell, with its vast effort to attain nuclear weapons. And the stated goal of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not to protect Shi'a Iran from its Sunni Muslim enemies, but to (crazily) win the allegiance of those permanent Sunni Muslim enemies by acquiring those weapons and using them to annihilate the Infidel -- Jewish -- nation-state of israel. It will not win for Iran its desired position as Top Muslim Nation. Such an achievement would not stop Sunnis from attacking Shi'a in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon, or in attempting to suppress them elsewhere, as in Kuwait. But no doubt the Sunni Arabs would be pleased with the mass-murder of Israelis, and wouldn't mind if, in a nuclear exchange, the two kinds of local Infidels -- Jews and Shi'a -- inflicted great damage on one another.
Which brings us to the matter of whom should be selected to be the next Secretary of Defense. For that person has to be someone the Israeli government can trust, for if it mistrusts him, the likelihood of Israel going it alone, and less effectively, against Iran increases. Hagel has decades of history behind him, and those who are unaware of his attitude toward Israel had better inform themselves now, and point out that for the year 2013, and its likely main military event, he's exactly the wrong man.