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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
    Is Azerbaijan Buying Israel's Iron Dome?
    November 15, 2016,
    by Joshua Kucera

    The Iron Dome air defense system in action in Israel. (photo: Israeli Defense Forces)
    Azerbaijani officials and several media sources have reported that Baku is working on a deal with Israel to buy the "Iron Dome" air defense system. The deal would be a blockbuster, as the legendary Iron Dome is a state-of-the-art system that has dramatically reduced the number of rocket attacks on Israel but has yet to be exported anywhere else.

    In spite of the widespread reports, Azerbaijan is highly unlikely to actually purchase the Iron Dome, a very costly system that is technically incapable of meeting Azerbaijan's needs. The prevalance of the reports, however, seems to speak to a continuing concern within Azerbaijan that its foe, Armenia, may have gained a step on it in the arms race.

    Last month, Azerbaijani member of parliament Yedva Abramov reported that the Iron Dome was "ready for delivery" to Azerbaijan. Abramov said that the system would render ineffective the Iskander missiles that Armenia recently acquired from Russia. "This system will not allow the Iskander rockets to hit the ground," Abramov said.

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Baku in December, and Israeli media, citing unnamed sources, backed up Abramov's assertion that an Iron Dome deal would be on the agenda. That news was picked up then by a number of relatively respectable outlets including the Times of Israel; the Russian think tank, Center for Analysis of the World Arms Trade; and the U.S. trade publication Defense Industry Daily.

    So why is this unlikely? For one, the cost: a single battery (consisting of two launchers, a radar and control center) runs an estimated $50 million. Israel, a quarter of the area of Azerbaijan, has an estimated ten batteries. A single rocket for the system costs $100,000. This while oil prices have crashed and Azerbaijan is cutting its budget, including zeroing out the special line item it had used for weapons procurement. Azerbaijan might be able to afford this, but it would be an extravagance that would require it to make many other budget sacrifices.

    Secondly, the Iron Dome is not capable of countering Armenia's Iskanders. It has a maximum range of 70 kilometers, which makes it fine for the rockets, such as Katyushas, that Palestinian militants fire into Israel. But the Iskanders that Armenia has have a range of 300 kilometers. "This system is useless for Azerbaijan," said Zaur Shiriyev, a Baku-based associate at the British think tank Chatham House, in an email interview with The Bug Pit.

    Shiriyev attributes the spread of the Iron Dome rumors to concern about the Iskanders. "Especially after Armenia acquired the Iskander missiles, the media and public in Azerbaijan have been hungry for such news," he said.

    (It should also be noted that Abramov has a record of excitedly promoting Azerbaijan-Israel defense cooperation; earlier this month he claimed that Israel's Mossad special forces foiled an Iranian attack on the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku.)

    Azerbaijan is definitely looking at something to improve its air defense capabilities in light of the Iskander purchase, whether from France or elsewhere. But the Iron Dome is pretty unlikely.
    This is where Armenia should have a solid PR machine to bait the Azeris. We should be flooding the media with aggressive articles saying how we would be doomed if the Azeris purchased this system. We should be filing protests with foreign governments pretending we care if they buy this xxxx. We should be forcing the Azeris to buy sh*t they can not use, that will not be effective, further running their supplies out.


    • Re: Regional geopolitics


      • Re: Regional geopolitics


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          Turkish-backed rebels pause battle for al-Bab to launch huge attack on Kurdish forces
          By Chris Tomson - 21/11/2016

          Despite advancing to the very near edge of the Islamic State stronghold of Al-Bab, Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions shifted their attention on Monday and began attacking Kurdish-held villages in the northeastern part of Aleppo province.

          Preceded by a massive primarily Turkish artillery bombardment and at least 26 airstrikes by the Turkish Air Force, the FSA stormed Sheikh Nassir village in the early morning hours.

          Skirmishes continued until noon when the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) withdrew from the village. As the FSA swarmed through Sheikh Nassir, rebel forces captured three Kurdish fighters who were unable to escape the battle in time.

          Then, on Monday afternoon, Kurdish forces went on the counter-offensive, retaking Sheikh Nassir just hours after it was lost. During the battle, 21 FSA fighters were killed and 3 Turkish soldiers injured; the latter due to the destruction of a Turkish armored vehicle.

          On Sunday, rebel forces had otherwise launched two consecutive assaults on nearby Qabasin, a highly embattled town under ISIS control. Both attacks were repelled although an Islamic State VBIED was destroyed during the clashes.

          Turkey has legitimized its attacks on the SDF under the guise that the Kurdish YPG - the primary contingent of the SDF - had failed to withdraw to the east of the Euphrates River despite promising to do so last week.

          The YPG - a sister party of the outlawed PKK - is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara.

          Meanwhile, a SDF spokesperson said the group would seriously consider abandoning the campaign to liberate Raqqa if the U.S. did not pressure Turkey to halt its attacks on the SDF.


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            Turkish Army builds military base in northern Syria: report
            By Leith Fadel - 22/11/2016

            DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:15 A.M.) - An unconfirmed report from a Turkish news agency on Monday claimed that the Turkish Army has begun building a military base inside the town of Akhtarin in northern Aleppo.

            While the Turkish Ministry of Defense has not made mention of this alleged military base, the Turkish Army does maintain a rather large presence inside this northern Aleppo town.

            If this report proves true, this will be the Turkish Army's first military base to be constructed inside of Syria.

            The Turkish Army has been inside of Syria for over two months now, claiming that their forces are assisting rebel fighters against the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham" (ISIS).

            Despite these claims that their forces are concentrated on ISIS, the Turkish Army appears to have their eyes set on PYD controlled Syria because of their constant attacks against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).


            • Re: Regional geopolitics



              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                Vrej that was an excellent source. Thanx.
                I have been around elite USA forces and understand the exceptional training and requirements demanded of these people (fighters). Also understand mission specific differentiation between such groups as navy seals, green berets, delta force etc.
                If you exclude the counter productive "rub" between these elite groups and the CIA, and only look at the elite groups, then I want to make a point.
                Unfortunately, if you look at ambulance paramedics who are trained for handling severe trauma situations, and you "debrief" them after every call out, then you will find the --- SICKENING --- attitude.
                The sickening attitude is this ... They are unhappy if there are no major injuries. They are trained for extreme trauma and so badly want to utilize this training, that if there are no ugly injuries, they are pissed off. How sad is that.
                I brought up the above to make a point about the elite forces. Virtually all I've met --- want --- to utilize their special training. That's what they trained for and that's what they live for.
                --- it's a sickness---
                The USA has built a ? defense ? Force that is riddled with sickness and persnal desire.
                In my life I've had to train people to do special jobs and give them "extra" authority. After the training and giving of extra authority, I would then give intense extra training that I personally chose but that wasn't part of my explicit orders.
                Here is the extra training I gave ... DONT be like the gd damed ambulance paramedics who long for blood and gore. Don't long for a reason to go fight. In my opinion, that is a detraction from the mission.
                America has lost its way. However sincere these specially trained are, they don't care about the right things and are easily led astray.
                USA has introduced a great deal of sickness into a country that was already sick and in need of great help.
                Your source was excellent.


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  "Here's Why an OPEC Cut Won't Mean Much for Oil Prices

                  Even if OPEC agrees to a production cut at next week's meeting, it won't be a seismic development for oil prices. "OPEC has been playing a big role in the price of oil over the last few months," says David Lebovitz, global markets strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. "To us, it's much more about the supply and demand dynamics and unfortunately it still looks like we're in an environment of excess supply." He says it's likely a deal will be reached and prices may rise by a few dollars, but he expects oil to stay between $45 and $50 a barrel. TheStreet's Scott Gamm reports from Wall Street. "



                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Secret Israel-Jordanian-Syrian border talks begin


                    Israel, Jordan and Syria have embarked on secret discussions for the stabilization of their borders in southern Syria by restoring the status quo ante that reigned on the Golan prior to the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
                    This is reported exclusively by DEBKAfile from intelligence, Washington and Moscow sources.
                    The incoming Trump administration in Washington and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in the picture; so is the United Arab Emirates ruler, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
                    Although still at a preliminary stage, the talks have produced their first tangible result: A vanguard of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has arrived on the Syrian side of the Golan. It has taken up position at its former Fawwar Camp base 4km east of Quneitra, which it evacuated during the Syrian fighting. The main body of the force, around 1,000 UN soldiers and 70 observers, is expected soon, to take up the task of reconstituting the former demilitarized zone that separated Israel and Syria under the 1974 armistice agreement.
                    This DMZ runs 80km along the Hermon range up to the Lebanese border in the north and down to the Israel-Syrian-Jordanian triangle in southern Syria up to the Jordanian border. In the 25km long Golan strip, between half a kilometer and 10 deep, the IDF and Syrian army were originally limited as to the number of soldiers and types of weaponry they are allowed to maintain. The strip will revert to Syrian civil administration under UNDOF control, and the Israeli-Syrian border crossing point will be reopened in the Quneitra area under the joint supervision of UN, Israeli and Syrian officers.
                    The military arrangements are still in discussion and changes may be introduced to this format.
                    The main obstacle to the return of pre-Syrian war conditions to this sensitive border region is the presence of radical Syrian rebel forces in southern Syria, mainly the Khalid bin Walid Army, whose leaders have sworn allegiance to Islamic State commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
                    These forces will face the option of accepting the authority of the Syrian army or fighting a win-or-die battle.
                    Israel has an additional, compelling interest in restoring the disengagement zone with Syria in that it leaves no room for the grab for a military presence opposite Israeli Golan and Galilee that was made in recent months by Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hizballah, for the purpose of opening a new front for terrorist attacks against Israel - as DEBKAfile was first to reveal. .
                    An indirect clue to the secret diplomatic talks ongoing came from the Syrian ruler Bashar Assad in an interview he gave on Nov. 16 to a Portuguese radio station, when he said: “If –if – he [Trump] fights the terrorists, it is clear that we will be a natural ally, together with the Russians, Iranians and many other countries who want to defeat the terrorists.”
                    The parties with varying degrees of involvement in the restoration of the UN-controlled DMZ on the Golan border are, therefore, the incoming Trump administration, Moscow, Damascus, Amman, Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem. Russia, Jordan and the Emirates have gained relevance for the first time as a result of changes in the strategic balance engendered by the Syrian war.


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Two Hizballah brigades deployed to Aleppo


                      Hizballah this week transferred two brigades of some 5,000 fighters to the Aleppo front to bolster the Assad regime’s concentrated push to finally rout the rebels who have been holding out year after year in the eastern half of the ravaged city. Indiscriminate Syrian air strikes continue.
                      The new spearhead is made up of Hizballah’s heavy motorized rifle brigade of tanks and heavy weapons and its light commando brigade, which is trained to operate behind enemy lines. Their arrival brings the total number of Hizballah fighters in Syria to 15,000.
                      Russian military sources say that, after Aleppo is won for Bashar Assad, the two Lebanese Shiite brigades will turn to Idlib province in the north, to tackle the largest concentration in the country of Al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, the Nusra Front.
                      The two Hizballah brigades carry both American and Russian weaponry. DEBKAfile’s military sources report: The motorized rifle brigade is armed with American armored personnel carriers and tanks, whereas the Light Brigade carries Russian arms. Some of the units use both American and Russian hardware, like the Russian ZPU-2 anti tank guns which are mounted on US M113 APCs.
                      Sunday, Nov. 14, on the day that Hizballah started moving the two brigades to the Aleppo front, its propaganda machine released to the Arab media images of a military parade in Qusayr, in the Qalamoun mountain range of western Syria, showing Hizballah troops marching with American hardware. The parade, according to our sources, was faked, the point being to show the world that the Iranian proxy was amply supplied with American equipment.
                      Assad rewarded Hizballah for capturing Qusayr three years ago by allowing the Iranian proxy to turn the ghost town into a military center. Several workshops for recycling captured weapons for reuse in battle were set up there. (In the same way, the IDF recycled the masses of Russian weapons taken booty from Arab armies in the 60s and 70s.)
                      Another project was the creation and arming of the Light Brigade modeled on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards special operations units. They are equipped with highly adaptable “jihad-mobiles” which are designed to move in all-terrain and all-weather conditions to take the enemy by surprise from the rear. The battle of Aleppo sees their first operation in the Syrian war.
                      Like Syrian special forces units, the Hizballah Light Brigade drives Russian UAZ Patriot-SUV pickup trucks on which are mounted Kord heavy machine guns and AGS-17 grenade launchers. These vehicles are equipped with automatic filters adapted for combat in arid desert conditions to overcome difficulties in vision and breathing.