The Gathering Storm Part 3: The End of Islamic State and Trends in Israel

3 July:   Israel may start war on Hezbollah / Syria / Iran within months.  The existence of a new Hezbollah missile factory in Lebanon was revealed last week at Wadi Jahnem in the Hama district of Syria, when Bashar Assad paid his first visit to a new kind of Iranian built facility for the production of long-range missiles. The plant is due to go into production at the end of this year. “We know about the long-range, high-precision missile factory Iran is building in Lebanon for Hezbollah – and know how to deal with it,” said Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday, July 2 in answer to reporters’ questions in Tel Aviv. The minister added: “This is a significant development and can’t be ignored.

 

Update 3/14/2017

 As TheShiningLight has been warning for years; everything is now lining up for an Israeli election after a victorious regional war, to be followed by a genuine dialogue for peace in the Middle East.

Trump’s apparent madness at implying a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem has now been revealed as very clever ploy.  

Senior Palestinian officials say Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to the US to meet with President Donald Trump next month, during which the American leader will propose that the Palestinians restart peace negotiations with Israel in exchange for a freeze on Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and a promise not to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Palestinians will discuss entering final status negotiations with Israel in a summit to be hosted in Amman between the two parties, as well as the US and Jordan.

Palestinian sources told Al-Hayat newspaper that Trump will offer Abbas a settlement construction freeze (Maariv). The report also said that in May, Jordan will host a US-Israeli-Palestinian summit, where the sides are expected to discuss the general lines needed to resume negotiations.

Netanyahu on Monday met with US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt in Jerusalem to discuss the proposals which if accepted will bring down the Israeli government.  The wiley Netanyahu cannot afford to reject the proposals and offend Trump and may be thinking that he can win a new election after complete victory in the coming war.  

There is little doubt that Israel will invade Gaza and make war on Hezbollah during the election period in an attempt to present Netanyahu as “Mr. Security” who will be the best man to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians which would be acceptable to the Israeli far right.  

This could be Bibi’s big chance or he could lose to a more moderate candidate if the war is too bloody and costly.  

If this scenario holds, the actual peace talks would be delayed until a new government is formed in Israel.

The Trump envoy is set to meet with Abbas today to put the finishing touches on his Washington visit.  

Once the Abbas visit takes place and the talks are announced – if the proposal is agreed –  there is little doubt that the far right will bring down the Israeli government and elections must then take place within 120 days.

The push against the Islamic State continues in Mosul with substantial Iraqi advances.   Over half of West Mosul has now been liberated and the remaining estimated 2,500 IS fighters are backed into the Old City and facing annihilation in the near future.

In Syria the US backed Syrian Democratic Front has surrounded the Islamic State capital at Raqqa Syria and has advanced to within 30 miles of the city center.  


 

3/8/2017

The Israeli police corruption investigation into Netanyahu is expected to conclude in the coming weeks after which a decision will be made on whether to file charges.  The issue is still undecided.  On the other hand Netanyahu is caught between holding off on extreme measures like approving illegal construction and annexing areas in the West Bank, and the demands of the far right members of his coalition.  

It is imperative that Israel not follow through in illegal construction or annexation so as not to offend the Arab nations which are key to victory in the coming war with Iran.  Naftali Bennett is making as much political hay as he can by demanding construction and annexations which he knows that Bibi cannot approve and the Coalition is in high crisis with all parties preparing for another election.  The exact dates or timeline are not yet clear but election fever is certainly gripping all parties.  

In Iraq substantial progress against the Islamic State is being made and that organization has been reduced to uncoordinated pockets of resistance.  

In Syria the IS has been reduced to two major pockets; Deir Ez-Zor, west of the Euphrates and Raqqa, east of the Euphrates, with a few other tiny scattered fragments.

This week, commanders of the American, Russian and Turkish military’s – with open lines to their respective presidents – worked out spheres of influence to avoid unintended clashes with one another in the anti IS campaign.  

Syria will take on Deir Ez-zor and areas west of the Euphrates with Russian help; the Kurdish and Syrian Democratic Front will remain to the east of the Euphrates and take Raqqa with American support; Turkey will hold those areas on its border and support a peace agreement between Syria and the rebels holding Idlib province.  

Elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment have arrived in Syria for the Trump administration’s offensive to liberate Raqqa from the Islamic State. The plan was put before the US, Russian and Turkish chiefs of staff who discussed the operation: See the March News Blog, March 7, in the Turkish town of Antalya.

The Rangers Regiment troops, which will spearhead the Raqqa attack, flew in from Fort Lewis air base, Washington, to the US air facility in Rmeilan, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Hasaka, equipped with light Striker tanks.

More tanks and heavy equipment reached the Syrian base overland from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which left San Diego on Navy ships in October has left their ships in the Middle East and deployed to Syria, establishing an outpost from which they can fire artillery guns in support of the fight to take back the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State.  Marine infantry is also deployed to protect the artillery batteries and act as needed. The plan also calls for a large increase in US and Coalition Special Forces.

After tasting American firepower in Mosul, Islamic State leaders, dependants and forces are fleeing Raqqa for Deir Ezzor in the Syrian zone west of the Euphrates.

President Donald Trump decided, after consulting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, that the US army would conduct the Raqqa offensive together with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The SDF is composed of 45,000 fighters of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and 10,000 Arab tribesmen, most belonging to the north Syrian branch of the Shamar.

A substantial American army is also being deployed to augment existing forces already at staging areas in Kuwait.  2,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team are the first to arrive and are to be followed by many others including about 3,800 soldiers from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, which will deploy to Kuwait in support of combatant command mission requirements, according to an Army press release.  

This force will be in position to move into Iraq Syria or to defend Kuwait or even enter Khuzestan – the oil producing region of Iran – if open hostilities break out with Iran.

The Islamic State should be history in the next few months, and with a Syrian Turkish Rebel agreement, a large part of the Russian forces will then leave Syria.  Meanwhile Israel is preparing for war on Gaza and Hezbollah with the American Coalition taking on Iran.

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