31 May: Ya’alon working hard to build new political party begins fund raising for next election.
ISIS is fighting for its life (Roi Kais, Ynet) After losing vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, and with its capital in Raqqa under threat of attack, ISIS seems to be fighting for its life and its grip on power.
Defense Minister Lieberman’s first acts: Israel reduces fishing zone off Gaza coasts to 6 miles – Israeli authorities notified the Palestinian liaison office that the fishing zone off the southern coast of the Gaza Strip, which had been extended to nine nautical miles in early April, would return to its previous size of six nautical miles along the entire coast of the blockaded Palestinian enclave. (Maan)
Israeli army bulldozers level lands in southeastern Gaza – Bulldozers reportedly entered and leveled private Palestinian lands east of Khan, approximately 50 meters into Gaza while Israeli jets hovered in the sky. No gunfire was reported. (Maan)
Iraqi forces in Fallujah have repelled a four-hour attack by the Islamic State group in the city’s southern Nuaimiya area which Iraqi troops had liberated almost 85 percent of the ground the previous day. Officers reported that Islamic State fighters used tunnels to deploy snipers and sent six explosives-laden cars to hit the troops but the cars were destroyed before reaching their targets.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is talking up a “landmark summit” in early July in Warsaw, a meeting which officials say is guaranteed to include a major new deployment of NATO ground troops into Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.
This comes just a week and a half after the last NATO summit, which itself included deals to send massive numbers of addition troops into the same area, on the same pretext of fending off a Russian invasion. Warsaw will host a July 8-9 NATO summit intended to establish security guarantees against Russia for Poland and other nations on the alliance’s eastern flank. Meanwhile potential president Trump is talking up US disengagement from NATO next year.
A major Kurdish offensive in the northern Raqqa Province of Syria, was expanded Monday, with forces now moving against the town of Tabqa and the neighboring air base. Tabqa is the primary link between the Syrian Islamic State capital of Raqqa and its forces in Aleppo Province. A Kurdish win in the area would split ISIS forces off from one another.
West using private security force that controls key oil terminals in eastern Libya to attack Islamic Extremists. The Petroleum Facilities Guards [PFG] has captured the town of Ben Jawad, just outside Sirte, from ISIS militants on Monday. The PFG has declared its support for Libya’s UN-backed unity government and is being used as a mercenary force to help minimize the need for western troop deployments. Elsewhere, Libyan militiamen from the western city of Misrata — who are also loyal to the U.N. government — are pushing toward Sirte, the militant group’s main stronghold.
30 May: Under cover of heavy airstrikes and artillery fire Iraqi forces entered the city of Fallujah at 05:00 local time this morning. The advance is being characterized as the final push to liberate the city and they are claiming that the Islamic State will be pushed out of the suburbs into the central city core within 48 hours. It is rumored that the push is being spearheaded by US and international special forces. In due time these Iraqi foreign forces will advance from Fallujah towards Mosul.
US backed Kurdish forces launch offensive near Mosul Iraq.
28 IS fighters killed by Turkish shelling in northern Syria near Marea
29 May: BREAKING 18:30 EDT;
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett have reached an agreement over the structure of the Security Cabinet, via a compromise proposed by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. The new agreement paves the way for MK Avigdor Lieberman to become the new Defense Minister. The government is expected to convene Monday morning, and vote to approve Lieberman’s appointment. ,The head of the National Security Council (NSC) or his deputy wwill be responsible for reporting to security cabinet ministers until a committee that Netanyahu has announced finishes its research, and proposes ways to improve the briefing of Cabinet ministers in three weeks’ time.
Events are moving very quickly in the Fallujah battle and now Iraqi forces have the city surrounded and instead of a lengthy siege are planning to enter the city itself within hours.
This week, thousands of Israelis will simulate the evacuation of their homes in preparation for a potential two-front war with Hamas and Hezbollah. Ynet reported that Israel is also forming civil defense units in Arab and Jewish villages, in light of a possible war with Hezbollah. The national Emergency Authority declared a five-day drill to simulate massive rocket attacks on large population centers in the north and south simultaneously, evacuation of civilians under fire and the cooperation of the rescue and security forces with the municipalities.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II dissolves Jordan’s Lower House of parliament and appoints Hani Al-Mulqi as prime minister.
Police have completed a lengthy investigation of spending irregularities at official and private residences of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Sara Netanyahu is now facing possible fraud charges for her spending of government money at the residence.
After the June 3 Paris conference to establish the basics of a peace deal Hamas Political Wing and Fatah will hold a reconciliation conference in Switzerland on June 30. This conference is planned to create a united body for genuine peace talks with Israel, but before any peace talks the Hamas Military Wing will have to be taken care of. Hamas sources say Swiss Foreign Ministry officials recently visited Gaza and Doha to prepare for conference; EU, Quartet, Egypt, China, and other powers will attend conference; the US will be absent, but says it does not oppose its taking place.
Bennett and Habayit Hayehudi with 10 MKs is refusing to back down on their opposition to the Lieberman party (6MKs) addition to the coalition. The Cabinet will vote to accept Lieberman in spite of Bennett’s opposition and Netanyahu has promised to instantly fire Bennett from cabinet if he does not support Lieberman as defense minister. If that happens the Habayit Hayehudi is likely to vote against the new coalition in the Knesset bringing down the government.
An Islamic Sate force operating north of Aleppo has attacked American backed militants near Turkey in an apparent bid to relieve pressure on Raqqa. Turkish and US-led coalition airstrikes killed 104 Islamic State militants in the ongoing fight around Marea, Syria.
Last night three rockets were fired from Gaza by a small group but fell short in the strip.
27 May: Warplanes from the American-led coalition on Friday pounded the Islamic State (ISIS) group with at least 150 strikes in Raqqa alone.
Knesset to vote on new coalition Tuesday. Both Bennett and Lapid are refusing to endorse the new coalition unless Bibi agrees to their own demands as well. If Bibi does not give in the government will fall
Yesh Atid chairperson MK Yair Lapid backed Jewish Home chairperson Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday, after Bennett was thtreatened by Netanyahu over his demand to have military secretaries appointed to every member of the Security Cabinet as a condition for supporting an expansion of the coalition.
A new party led by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon would topple the Likud if elections were held today. Such a party would win the next election and achieve 25 Knesset seats. Likud would come down to 21 seats, and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would win 13. Imagine the results after a costly bloody war.
Donald Trump clinches Republican nomination and is rising in the polls. Trump is championing a withdrawal from NATO and Europe.
26 May: Iraqi security forces and supporting militias have liberated the key town of Karma from Islamic State as part of a push on the city of Fallujah. Karma, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of Falluja, means that most territory east of the city is now controlled by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
In Syria Kurdish forces are rapidly liberating the Raqqa province countryside and surrounding the IS capital Raqqa
Wildfires rage in Israel caused by Lag B’Omer celebrations on the 18th day of the Hebrew [Rabbinic Calendar] month of Iyar.
Wiki: This day marks the hillula (celebration, interpreted by some as anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day on which he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. This association has spawned several well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the tomb of Bar Yochai in the northern Israeli town of Meron, and various customs at the tomb itself.
Avigdor Lieberman is now officially minister of defense for Israel although the new coalition has not yet been approved by the Knesset.
25 May: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman signed a coalition agreement on Wednesday morning but Bennett demands PM appoint cabinet military secretary, threatening not to support Lieberman’s appointment. The proposed government must now come before the Knesset for approval early next week.
Breaking: Potential no confidence vote as the Comptroller General passes the results of his investigation of Netanyahu on to the Attorney General for possible criminal charges.
In the latest hurdle for the Netanyahu government, the US Embassy is using red tape to delay the renouncing of US citizenship by Glick. This has delayed the swearing-in of freshman Likud MK Yehuda Glick. Under Israeli law, MKs cannot hold dual citizenship; Glick, an American citizen, has been struggling to expedite the process of renouncing his US citizenship as he seeks to step in to replace former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in the Knesset. At this time the government coalition has only 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset making the approval of any deal with Lieberman by the Knesset impossible until Glick is sworn in. It also makes the survival of a non confidence motion highly problematic for the Netanyahu government.
State Comptroller issues devastating report on Netanyahu oversight of the foreign affairs ministry.
Offensive Launched Against Islamic State Capital in Syria
After the chief of US Central Command visited Syria Saturday, Kurdish forces and Syrian allies launched a Monday surprise 3-pronged offensive in northern Syria, hoping to liberate the capital of the Islamic State. Approximately 50,000 Kurdish and Arab fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – an alliance led and dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – launched a “three-pronged offensive” on Raqqa in Syria, according to the Kurdish Rudaw news agency.
Iraqis advancing in Fallujah, Anbar almost liberated. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the latest estimates put the number of IS fighters in all of Anbar province at about 1,000 and “dropping quickly,” Davis said. The number of fighters in Fallujah also has been falling, he said, but he added that he did not have a firm number. One previous coalition estimate put it at 500-700 fighters. Islamic State forces are now concentrated in Mosul and in Raqqa Syria, and facing total destruction in the coming months are calling for attacks across Europe, the US and Israel.
A hard-line Iranian cleric was chosen on Tuesday to lead the Assembly of Experts, a kind of senate that vets laws and chooses the Head of State. 89-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, an ultraconservative who called for the execution of opposition activists after Iran’s disputed 2009 election, signals that hard-liners are still in control in Iran. In Tuesday’s vote, Jannati received a clear majority of 55 members of the 88-seat Assembly. He will serve as the body’s chairman for two years.
Coalition talks deadlocked as Israeli State Comptroller Yosef Shapira accused the Attorney General’s office of covering up the “Bibitours Affair,” pertaining to the funding of the travels of Netanyahu and his family while Netanyahu was and MK and finance minister. He suspected Netanyahu of criminal conduct. Yedioth’s senior political commentator Sima Kadmon wrote that one of the reasons that Netanyahu was trying to make a coalition government at this point in time was to divert attention away from the report, which he had seen and knew when it would be published.
State comptroller and retired judge Yosef Haim Shapira is expected to release his annual report on Tuesday, including new information on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s travel funding scandal, often referred to as ‘Bibi-Tours’.
The scandal, which revolves around a series of overseas visits during Netanyahu’s tenure as Finance Minister from 2003-2005, includes suspicions of double-billing for trips, acceptance of gifts in a manner barred by law for public servants, and improper use of state flight benefits for private travel.
23 May: Netanyahu Lieberman coalition talks faltering due to objections raised by other coalition partners.
After weeks of air strikes 35,000 Iraqi troops backed by Coalition special forces and heavy air support launch operation to liberate Fallujah.
Egyptian US special forces working together in Libya. General Dunford, USMC, CJCS, told reporters on May 19, 2016 that the US is close to reaching an agreement with Libyan officials to send US forces to Libya. He said, “There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface. We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen … There will be a long-term mission in Libya.” US officials have also acknowledged that US special forces have been in Libya building target lists and battle plans since late 2015.
Bombs rockets kill over 100 in Tartus Syria near Russian bases.
Knesset resumes sitting after Passover break.
22 May: See our important editorial: Coming Soon: Israeli War on Gaza, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
Residents flees as Iraq to begin liberation advance on Fallujah within hours.
Latest macabre Islamic State execution in Mosul saw 25 people lowered into vats of nitric acid ‘until they dissolved.’
Over the past weeks the US has been reinforcing troops in Iraq Syria and is now at the ready to send forces to Libya.
Islamic State leaders are getting desperate and have ordered all assets and potential recruits who cannot make their way to Iraq Syria to attack their neighbours at home, thus to distract countries from sending forces to Iraq. This order is in addition to warnings of Ramadan [June 7 to July 6] attacks across Israel, Europe and potentially the United States.
Russia resumes heavy airstrikes near Aleppo as negotiations with the US deadlock.
Chief of Central Command visited Syria yesterday for talks on the coming anti IS offensive.
20 May: Ya’alon resigns to plan run for Israeli prime minister as Netanyahu forms a far right extremist government to fight the soon coming regional war. It is now becoming clear that the present Israel extremist coalition will fight the very soon coming regional war and after a costly bloody war a new election will throw out the war mongers and bring in a peace seeking administration.
By resigning and not leading a Likud split, Ya’alon has taken the moral high ground and will be the only leader above reproach to contest the next elections
Netanyahu appoints Temple Mount extremist Yehuda Glick to fill Ya’alon’s Knesset seat.
After consultations with advisers Yaalon, taking the moral high ground today, announced on social media this morning that he resigned from his job, from the Knesset and from political life, citing lack of faith in Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Yaalon said Thursday he has been “surprised” of late at a “loss of moral compass on basic questions” in Israeli society. At a press conference today, Yaalon said “Extremist elements have taken over Israel.” The deal between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Lieberman was expected to be finalized today with Lieberman taking Yaalon’s job.
Speaking at Hakirya government complex in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said “I have no intention of leaving public and political life in the state, and in the future I will return to contend for the leadership of the state of Israel.” Sources close to Ya’alon had emphasized that he is taking a “timeout from political life,”
At the press at a conference, Ya’alon began by stating that, though he was taking a break, he did “not intend to leave political and public life. He is taking time to plan out his political campaign and the door is being left open for him to be invited to lead a new party in future. Ya’alon is now receiving accolades from across Israeli politics and after the coming regional war he will be in a position to lead Israel towards peace.
Lieberman also lost an MK through resignation.
19 May: Paris conference to lay ground work for Mideast peace reset for Jun 3. US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Thursday he will attend.
Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs assumed command of the IDF’s Gaza Division on Thursday afternoon, replacing Brig. Gen. Itay Virov. He previously served as commander of the Nachal Brigade and most recently as the IDF’s chief infantry officer. In a ceremony at the Southern Command, Brig. Gen. Fuchs said, “Only in retrospect will we know how much time remains until the crucial day comes. We will be ready for a change and this surprise will come without any advance notice.” The head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, said “Gaza is bustling above and below the ground. We don’t know the day that the quiet will end. Our hands are on the trigger and the cannons of war are greased.”
An EgyptAir flight on its way to Cairo from Paris disappeared from radar Wednesday night.
UPDATE: The plane explosion is now seen as the work of Islamic State
The Airbus A-320 was carrying 59 passengers, including three children, and 10 crew members. It was supposed to have landed at 2:55 a.m. at Cairo international airport. The pilots did not send out any distress signal or report any problem before the plane disappeared, and the flight was not carrying any dangerous materials or anything out of the ordinary. The two pilots had considerable flight experience and that the A-320 was manufactured in 2003.
The crew of a ship not far from the plane’s last known location claimed to have seen a huge fireball in the sky. The Greek coast guard and Egypt’s navy are currently trying to locate the plane.
America revealing more as its operations in Libya grow.
Jewish Home, which hadn’t been keen on the inclusion of Zionist Union, cheered the inclusion of Yisrael Beiteinu, and reports of that party’s leader, ultra-hawk Avigdor Lieberman taking over the defense ministry, as proof Israel will soon have “the most right-wing government ever.”
At present, the government includes Likud, Kulanu, Jewish Home, and the religious parties. Lieberman was excluded back during the original coalition talks because of his poor showing [6 MKs] in the election and his hostility toward the religious parties. It’s unclear how he will co-exist with them now.
The incumbent, Moshe Ya’alon, announced Wednesday night that he will not give up the portfolio and will not submit his resignation. In other words, he will continue carrying out his duties until the PM is forced to dismiss him to make way for Lieberman if their coalition deal is finalized.
Lieberman, a warmonger with no military experience as head of the defense ministry is a potential disaster.
This could threaten the unity of the Likud and bring the government down. These are exactly the kinds of steps that Netanyahu had hoped to avoid.
If the deal is finalized as expected Netanyahu has sown the seeds for his defeat and for the defeat of his Likud party in the next elections.
Knesset member Benny Begin, one of the oldest members of the Likud movement, said Thursday morning during an Israeli radio interview that “the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to defense minister shows irresponsibility towards the defense establishment and the entire people of Israel.” On Wednesday night he called the appointment “bizarre” and in another interview Thursday morning he called the prime minister’s move “paradoxical.”
Breaking 12:00 EDT: Lieberman receives defense ministry will join government coalition; Ya’alon fired. The timing of today’s sudden breakthrough between Lieberman and Netanyahu lends credence to claims by Jewish Home officials that the Netanyahu talks with Zionist Union officials were in fact a ruse [a trick on the Zionist Union], part of a larger plan to bring Yisrael Beiteinu into the coalition.
Lieberman had demanded the defense ministry and a commitment for a war on Gaza to completely destroy the militants there. With this deal a major war with Gaza is now official government coalition policy. Lieberman brings six MKs to the coalition giving a majority of seven; unless the Ya’alon faction bolts Likud.
BREAKING 09:00 EDT: After Coalition talks were announced between Netanyahu and Lieberman; Herzog and Zionist Union have withdrawn from their own negotiations with Bibi. Zionist Union will not join the same coalition with Lieberman. One issue is that the Zionist Union also wants the defense ministry portfolio; another big issue is genuine peace talks with the Palestinians. Herzog says that Netanyahu is choosing war and funerals against a genuine effort at a peace deal.
Lieberman says he will join the coalition if Netanyahu fires defense minister Ya’alon as the Likud extremists are demanding. If a deal is made between Bibi and Lieberman the Netanyahu government situation boils down to how many will follow Ya’alon out of the coalition when the Knesset returns from its Passover break: See previous, including the May 9 headlines.
Following the US imposition of economic sanctions on Hezbollah, the central bank of Lebanon is preparing to comply with a US finance law and close accounts linked to the organization. Central bank governor Riad Salameh issued a statement in which he said “The U.S. law has to be implemented worldwide and in Lebanon”, adding that “It is not possible to guarantee international credit stability if (the central bank) does not implement the U.S. law.”
Reports are circulating that the Zionist Union will hold a meeting as early as Sunday to approve joining the Netanyahu coalition. Approval of the deal could split the Zionist Union in half with eleven MKs already pledged to leave if such an agreement is made. In addition many far right Mks already in the governing coalition could also walk out.
Lieberman sets his conditions for Yisrael Beiteinu joining the coalition government demanding that he replace Ya’alon as defense minister. Netanyahu immediately jumped at Lieberman’s offer setting a meeting date within minutes. With the expected loss of the coalition far right and much of the incoming Zionist Union, Netanyahu will need Lieberman’s Jewish Home party to maintain his government in office, however bringing Lieberman could break the pending deal with the Zionist Union which had been promised genuine peace talks and a freeze on illegal construction non starters for Lieberman.
The governing coalition far right are welcoming the possibility of bringing in the Yisrael Beiteinu party to establish a broad far right extremist governing coalition; however bringing in Lieberman, which would be dependent on the firing of defense minister Ya’alon, could also bring a split between extremists and moderates in Likud [with the moderates walking away in support of Ya’alon] and bring down the government.
Last night Israel arrested 16 persons including the Hamas commander of the Tulkarem district and a top Hamas official from Jenin.
17 May: French President Francois Hollande announced Tuesday morning that the peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue that he planned to convene in Paris at the end of this month has been postponed until late this summer. The postponement comes as the Netanyahu government is rejecting any international peace conference. Meanwhile the Netanyahu government coalition is staggering from one crisis to another as massive shipments of anti missile rockets make their way to Israel in preparation for a coming regional war.
President Obama appears to be preparing to endorse a UN Resolution laying out the parameters of a Mideast peace deal before any peace conference takes place. The coming regional war will provide the political impetus for such a resolution, and coming government changes in Israel and the region will make an international peace conference and a regional peace deal possible.
16 May: Exercise “Eager Lion” kicked off in Jordan yesterday. Billed as the largest ever such exercise since 2011 in which 18 nations usually participate; only American and Jordanian troops will participate this year. Three thousand US Central Command officers and an equal number of Jordanian special forces are to take part this year.
The exercise is slated to conclude May 24 with a combined live-fire exercise, during which two B-52 aircraft – out of Barksdale Air Force Base, La. – are scheduled to fly 14,000 miles round-trip to exercise air-intercept training with Jordanian fighter aircraft and conduct a live, conventional-weapons drop in coordination with U.S. and Jordanian mechanized armored vehicles, heavy artillery and ground forces.
Iraqi security forces and allied fighters, tanks and artillery, special forces, soldiers, police, border guards and pro-government paramilitaries launched an operation on Monday to liberate the town of Rutba from the Islamic State. Rutbah is in the southwest near the Iraqi borders with Syria and Jordan.
The US Coalition has been carrying out heavy airstrikes on Mosul for some days now.
An international conference in Vienna co-chaired by John Kerry and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentilonihey supported the lifting of an arms embargo on Libya and were ready to supply weapons to the country’s new unity government to help it fight the growing threat posed by the “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist group, AFP reports.
“The Government of National Accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya Sanctions Committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat (ISIS) throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts,” read a statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry and 24 other top diplomats after talks in Vienna.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to appoint MK David Bitan to the position of Chairman of the Coalition, instead of Tzachi Hanegbi, who is expected to be appointed to the position of Minister.without a portfolio.
15 May: US military financial industrial establishment to back Trump. American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly set to give presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump a campaign donation that could exceed $100 million.
Zionist Union chief Isaac Herzog’s demands have tanked the coalition talks with Netanyahu. Demands include a formal, comprehensive freeze on construction in illegal Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. In addition, Herzog is seeking a pledge from Netanyahu that the government will immediately renew final status peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Herzog is also demanding the Foreign Ministry, and direct Zionist Union oversight of peace negotiations. These are minimum demands forced on Herzog by his own party officials. Netanyahu has rejected the above conditions, which would alienate present coalition partners and even many within the Likud.
The breakdown of talks with the Zionist Union has brought an announcement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Sunday’s meeting of the coalition heads, that he will publicly invite MK Avidor Liberman to join the government. Netanyahu said that he will further a solution to the problem surrounding pensions for Russian immigrants, as a gesture to Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.
13 May: The deputy head of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Qassem, said Friday at the funeral of Mustafa Bader Al-din, the assassinated commander of Hezbollah forces in Syria, that there are several hypotheses regarding the nature of the blast that killed Al-Din, but Hezbollah will not release any details until the investigation is completed. The White House issued a statement on Friday in response to reports in the Middle East claiming that Mustafa Bader Al-din, the commander of Hezbollah’s forces in Syria, was killed in an airstrike by US forces. “I can confirm that there were no US or coalition aircraft in the area where he was reported to be killed,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
At least 16 senior members of the al-Nusra Front have been killed in an air strike in Syria.
The Russian strike hit a meeting the group was holding at Abu al-Duhur in the northwest of the country on Thursday.
An extended ceasefire in and around the major Syrian city of Aleppo expired today, and almost immediately saw the resumption of fighting, with Syrian – Hezbollah forces pushing into the Handarat area north of the city. Rebels inside Aleppo continue to use chemical weapons.
Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria explosion.
12 May: Zionist Union Labor rejects unity government with Netanyahu by demanding genuine peace talks.
Russia has been pausing its bombing of Al Qaeda in northern Syria while undertaking intensive negotiations with the United States.
The United States wants Russia / Syria:
- To accept a Turkey dominated de facto Al Qaeda state on the Turkish border,
- A de facto Kurdish autonomous state in north east Syria
- The removal of Assad and the senior Syrian military leaders
- and a takeover of a rump Syria by the US backed insurgents.
Russia is talking but is demanding: The end of US sanctions on Russia and a satisfactory settlement of the Ukraine problem.
11 May: Netanyahu desperate to save his government has offered the Zionist Union nine Cabinet positions to try and gain its 24 Knesset seats. Israel today, is in the midst of three days of memorials with Rabbinic date Independence Day tomorrow.
Europe is frustrated with the new Ukraine government and the United States is also losing patience. Even extreme Neocon Victoria Nuland who spent fifteen billions of State department money destabilizing the elected government to bring about the present coup government is no longer happy. Ukraine has still not fulfilled its obligations under the Minsk 2 agreement and the situation in Ukraine’s Eastern province is again approaching crisis.
The House Appropriations Committee unveiled its draft version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $575 billion bill that includes some $59 billion worth of money for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), the controversial fund which the Pentagon is allowed to shuffle around and is being used for war funding. This looks like a cut from last year’s $612 billion bill, but is actually very misleading figure, as it includes only the first four months of 2017 and not the full year.
Likud Supreme Court orders a date for the Ya’alon review and vote to be set within seven days.
Iraqi troops backed by heavy US air strikes liberate village of Kabrouk close to Mosul.
Despite claims of ceasefire fighting rages in Aleppo and Damascus.
9 May: The Islamic State bombed a Syrian government building in Aleppo by tunneling under the building and detonating a large amount of explosives, killing more than 50 Iranian regular army troops and officers. Heavy fighting is taking place in Aleppo between Syria and Al Qaeda as well.
Half of the people surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden said they wanted their own vote, and a third would opt to leave the EU if given the chance. That number may swell of the British vote to opt out. In Britain today the “In” and the “Out” sides are nearly tied in the polls, however when factors like the likelihood of voting are factored in the “Out” side is ahead by a large margin.
The Islamic State is now under heavy pressure in all of its areas and has decided to play the Israeli card [as I have often warned would come when the IS got into trouble] in an attempt to rally Muslims to its support.
On May 7 – 8 the Islamic State provinces in the Middle East, simultaneously released at least 6 videos claiming that Islamic State forces are ready to attack Israel. The videos refer to the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem. In each one, the videos claim that the IS has not forgotten the Palestinians, and will not neglect them any more and promises an attack o9n Israel; saying “We’re coming, and coming very soon” accompanied by images of fighters.
Any such attack is likely to come from any remaining Hamas Military Wing tunnels from Gaza into Israel. The timing of any attack was likely moved forward because of the recent Israeli anti tunnel action which placed them in a “use it or lose it” position, and will likely be triggered by any further Israeli anti tunnel action on the border.
Any attack attempt will bring a massive Israeli operation against the Hamas Military Wing and militant allies like the Salafist groups and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Netanyahu is currently pausing the anti tunnel offensive to deal with internal political issues.
The trial of Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier who shot a subdued prisoner in the head in a Hebron revenge killing started on Monday at a military court in Jaffa. Azaria is charged with manslaughter and improper conduct. Far right extremist leaders in Israel are interfering in the case and attacking the defense minster for approving the trial.
19 APRIL Report: Far right Israelis turn judicial process into political football. A day after a military court formally indicted Elor Azariya of manslaughter for killing a wounded prisoner, a rally in support of the accused soldier is set to take place Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square
Far right extremists are moving to hold a vote in Likud to force the removal of defense minister Ya’alon. While this report claims that Ya’alon evacuated a legally purchased home in Hevron; that is NOT true since the purchasers did not have the required permission of the authorities [which would not have been granted due to the sensitive situation in Hevron]. A discharge of Ya’alon will probably bring down the Netanyahu government.
April 10 Report: Ya’alon is being backed by several retired security chiefs, Likud people, active minority party leaders and public figures and if Ya’alon is forced out they are planning to split the Likud with a rerun of the late Ariel Sharon’s successful defection from Likud 11 years ago to lead a new party.
Gideon Saar, former education minister, who temporarily retired from active life in the Likud is backing the plan. If Ya’alon is forced out as defense minister, these folks plan to join the opposition in bringing down the Netanyahu government, after which they plan to form a new party and enter a coalition with Moshe Kahlon, head of the Kulani party and Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Future party to fight the election.
8 May: The Canadian city of Fort McMurray [pop 88,000] has been leveled by a massive wild fire. The Alberta provincial government said the massive blaze in the province will cover more than half a million acres by Sunday and continue to grow because of high temperatures,
Recent fighting on the Gaza border has widely split Hamas with the Political Wing accusing the Military Wing of provoking conflict by digging tunnels. Israel is backing off the fight for a short while to attend to its internal coalition crisis. Today Netanyahu condemned the deputy IDF commander and the defense minister for warning of growing racism in Israel.
7 May: Pentagon officials admit that US ground troops have been deployed inside Yemen for the past two weeks.
Just after midnight early Saturday morning a mortar was fired toward an uninhabited part of the Eshkol Regional Council in the South, setting off a siren. No injuries or damage were reported. Israel responded with two airstrikes in Gaza.
6May: Israel launches more airstrikes on Gaza this morning. Israel has declared areas near the Gaza border closed military zone and is preparing for another major confrontation with Islamic Jihad and the Hamas Military Wing. The assessment in Israel’s intelligence community is that in the coming days or weeks as the Hamas Military Wing loses its tunnels in the new Israeli operation, it will use all the means at its disposal and just before its last tunnels are discovered, will attempt to launch a strike to deal a powerful and painful blow to Israel.
This will give Israel the opportunity to thoroughly destroy the Gaza militants allowing the Hamas Political Wing and teh coming new Israeli government to make a long term peace deal with Israel.
5 May: 16:00 EDT: Israel is holding an emergency Security Cabinet meeting on Friday to be briefed by military commanders on the Gaza situation.
Islamic Jihad has commented on the woman who was killed by Israeli shelling in Khan Yunis today: “The harm of innocent residents is a serious escalation that Israel is responsible for. We warn Israel not to damage the residents, or this will cause us to respond in kind.
Israeli warplanes are continuing airstrikes Thursday afternoon hitting Hamas sites in the area of Rafah in southern Gaza. If they do not stop it is only a matter of time before there is a rocket response from Gaza.
It is reported that Israel has considerable intelligence on Gaza tunneling and has launched an offensive to take the tunnels out. This could very well escalate.
Last night Israel carried out four more bombings this time in Northern Gaza, Israel denies the Hamas claim of a ceasefire being reached yesterday. The violence yesterday concerned the Israeli discovery of a tunnel entrance inside Gaza. Israel is to escalate its tunnel searches and accompanying violence is expected to rise.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he is resigning from his post and that a successor will be named on May 22. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan welcomed his decision and wished him well. The two leaders had been at odds during the last year on how to deal with the Kurdish underground, with Erdogan pushing for a military solution and Davutoglu advocating talks with the PKK. They also had diferences on the issue of Israel, with the prime minister opposing the apparent softening of the president’s position on a possible reconciliation. This opens the door for a reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel that will bring Turkish peacekeepers to the borders of Israel in the coming peace deal as per Psalm 83.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has announced its intention to create three new military divisions for its western most territory in response to NATO’s announcement last week of another 4,000 ground troops to be deployed along the Russian border.
Ashton Carter announced after meeting with 11 members of the coalition against Islamic State, that the countries had decided to immediately and significantly increase the scope of their operations, both on the ground and especially in the air.
4 May: Palestinian media reported overnight Wednesday that the IDF has begun to withdraw from Gaza. The reports came shortly after Hamas announced that it had reached understandings with Israel through Egyptian mediation on calming the tensions along the border. Israel has promised not to conduct further operations inside Gaza. This is the same assurance that Israel gave to begin the present ceasefire; and has repeatedly broken.
BREAKING 13:30 EDT: After several Israeli border provocations [searching for tunnels] and reprisal motar fire [six rounds in 48 hours] from inside Gaza since yesterday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad warned Israel three hours ago that there would be consequences if the provocations continued. The Israeli Air Force has since begun carrying out multiple airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza City and in the suburbs of Rafah in southern Gaza.
Cross border firing between Israel and Gaza.
US Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will drop out of the race, sources from the Ohio governor’s campaign said early Wednesday afternoon. This leaves Trump unopposed an d since he now has enough delegates to gain the nomination on the first Convention ballot will be the Republican presidential candidate.
While the financial military industrial establishment owns both Trump and Clinton, Trump may well beat out Hillary for the presidency.
US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter confirmed that the US is once again considering options for the further escalation of the war against ISIS, which would involve sending more US ground troops into both Iraq and Syria.
With 217 troops announced to be heading to Iraq on April 18, and 250 more troops being deployed to Syria just last week., and the deployment of rocket batteries in Iraq and Turkey the momentum of escalation is increasing.
Secretary of State John Kerry gave an ultimatum today, warning Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new US approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.
After being defeated in Indiana Ted Cruz ends campaign.
Netanyahu in last ditch effort to save government in negotiations with Zionist Union opposition.
3 May: The Pentagon announced that US Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti has been appointed as head of the US European Command and that he will become the supreme commander of NATO on Wednesday. The 60-year-old Scaparrotti previously served as the top-ranking officer of the US forces in South Korea.
The Pentagon also announced Tuesday that an American soldier was killed in a battle with ISIS forces that took place between Mosul and Irbil, capital of the Kurdish autonomous area of Iraq.
Iraqi forces close to relieving IS siege of Haditha.
US officials are trying to make it clear they hold the Assad government exclusively to blame for violence in Syria [even though the US has been behind the situation from the beginning], with the White House demanding they “live up to the commitments that they’ve made.”
Secretary of State John Kerry singled out Assad as to blame for the “chaos” in Aleppo, the reality of the situation is that in Aleppo the fighting has been between the Syrian military and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda faction excluded from the ceasefire.
Al Qaeda and its allies are beginning to crack as the eleventh day of heavy bombing by Russia and Syria begins, amid fighting in various Aleppo neighborhoods.
The question is: Why is the US trying to pick a fight with Russia and Syria in support of Al Qaeda?
Meanwhile the Aleppo ceasefire talks are really about trying to arrange a departure of Al Qaeda from the eastern part of that city.
2 May: How Hillary has been working t0 overthrow Assad.
Turkey has reached an accommodation with the United States Coalition on the Islamic State. On Sunday both Turkey and the Coalition began attacking the IS in northern Syria from the NATO base at Incirlik, Turkey. Involved in the strikes were Turkish aircraft and four American MQ-1 drones operating from Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey which attacked Islamic Stare arms depots, vehicles and bases in Syria.
The deal between Turkey and the US appears to be a Turkish entry against the Islamic State in return for US backing against the PKK and an agreement on the Kurdish issue.
This move will ensure the demise of the Islamic State and will also ensure a subsequent confrontation between Israel with the backing of the US Coalition and Syria / Iran.
The chief of staff of the Iranian military, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, arrived in Damascus on April 30 to assume direct command of the Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah forces for the coming offensive to liberate Aleppo from the Al Nusrah Front. During the last month Iran’s 65th Airborne Brigade of the Special Forces-NOHED brigade has arrived in Syria to reinforce the coming Aleppo offensive.
The Russian military command sees the offensive by Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah forces around Aleppo as the climax of the Russian military intervention, the Iranians see the battle for Aleppo as pivotal for the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime
After Aleppo is liberated Maj. Gen. Firouzabadi and his country’s forces will focus their operations in other areas of Syria including the Golan.
Once the Iranian Hezbollah Syrians have destroyed the Islamic insurgents inside Syria and the US Coalition has set up a zone in Kurdish Syria, the conditions will be set for a conflict with Israel and a US move against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iran itself.
1 May: US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said Friday that NATO will place four battalions, each with about 2,000 troops, on the borders of Poland and the Baltic states with Russia. Two battalions will be sent by the US while Britain and Germany will each send one. The purpose is to secure NATO countries during the coming Mideast war in case Russia responds with steps in Ukraine.
Israel heads into yet another coalition crisis.
The Rotarian Jubilee began on Friday in Rome. The Rotarian conference was organized by the Jesuit Refugee Service – in partnership with Rotary, UNHCR and WFP – and entitled “Helping Refugees to Start Over”. The Rotarians are adjuncts of the Masonic Lodge and the Jesuits control these organizations. The next day nearly 9,000 Rotary members attended the Jubilee Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday to meet Pope Francis
On May 15 the Vatican will observe its misdated Pentecost [Biblically Pentecost is on June 12 in 2016] with a massive ecumenical rally including evangelicals and mainstream protestant groups.
Israeli soldier who shot subdued Palestinian in the head was performing a revenge killing, and the charge against him appears well justified, although it is dividing the Israeli coalition. The far right extremists are supporting the killing while justice minded Israeli’s want a court to decide the truth.