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Daily News January 2016

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Daily News January 2016 

 

31 JAN:   US SecDef Carter announced that the US has begun conducting aerial attacks in Libya using drones.  US and allied special forces are in Libya selecting targets. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday at a conference of ambassadors of the foreign ministry that “if we are attacked via tunnels from the Gaza Strip, we will act very strongly against Hamas, with much greater force than was used during Operation Protective Shield.”

 

30 JAN:   The Aleppo based Failaq al-Sham Islamist group which broke away from the Al Qaeda Al Nusrah Front in early January, has formed a coalition with eight other groups and intends to join with the Kurds in an anti Islamic State offensive on the Turkish border.  Failaq al-Sham has decided to present itself as a moderate Islamic group to take advantage of the offers of massive western aid, a ceasefire with Syria and a place in negotiations with Syria. 

30,000 Iraqi soldiers are being trained for the liberation of Mosul.  The anti IS coalition will meet in Brussels on Feb 11.

The US State Department confirmed that Hillary Clinton placed 22 emails on her unsecured private server containing “top secret” material.  She is facing indictment for the same breach as other senior US officials of the past.  CIA Director Jon Deutsch was forced to resign in 1996 for taking classified material home and filing it on his personal computer, and Gen. David Petraeus who had to step down as CIA Director in 2012 for the same infraction. 

Mrs. Clinton is also facing falling poll numbers before the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.  Don Trump shot himself in the foot by demanding five million dollars to take part in a debate and then withdrew from the debate when FOX refused his demand.

 

29 JAN:   Hamas ready for fresh conflict with Israel: Gaza chief. 

In what amounts to an outrageous slander against a world leader the US administration calls Putin corrupt without offering any concrete allegations or proofs.  Putin says put up or shut up.  Some elements in the US seem intent on provoking Russia.

Syrian rebels reject invitations to peace talks in Geneva.  Just as in Libya the US calls for talks which the US backed rebels then reject.  After Syria defeats the Islamic Extremists with Russian help, Israel will crush Hezbollah and then the rebels will effect regime change in Syria. 

Iraqi forces are advancing to liberate  al-Sajariyah east of Ramadi. 

After US Turkey talks agree, US backed Syrian Kurds poised for operation against the Islamic State  to seal off ISIS access to the Turkish border

 

28 JAN:   Italy’s defense minister has announced that Western powers are prepared to fight Islamic State in Libya to prevent a rush of migrants this spring even if the North African country fails to agree on a unified government soon.

Mohammad Hassan Abu Tir, a leading official of Hamas in the West Bank who was stripped of his Israeli residency due to his election to the Palestinian parliament, was arrested at his home in East Jerusalem early Thursday morning. 

 

27 JAN:   The Iranian navy on Wednesday began a large-scale exercise between the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The “Veklayat 94” exercise is being led by the commander of Iran’s fleet, Habibollah Sayyari, from the fleet command in Konarak in southern Iran. According to the Iranian media, the exercise including warships, submarines, attack helicopters and small speedboats will practice defense of Iran’s territorial waters from an “enemy invasion.”

 

26 JAN:   The Iranian committee checking the qualifications of candidates for Iran’s Assembly of Experts, a body which selects the country’s supreme leader, announced Tuesday that it had disqualified Hassan Khomeini, the moderate grandson of the founder of the Islamic republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The committee had already disqualified 3,000 moderate  candidates for parliament.  Reformers supported by President Hassan Rouhani and US agencies, are now doomed to lose in the February 26 election for the parliament and the Assembly of Experts.    Look for American National Endowment for Democracy sponsored unrest and protests after the elections.

Syrian forces make extensive progress in eliminating Islamic Extremists from Latakia province and Western Syria as the Russian air onslaught continues.

Syrian forces have liberated the key town of Sheikh Maskin from Israeli – American backed rebels near the Israeli border, splitting the rebel force east and west of Deraa. 

Two attackers stabbed two women shopping in the grocery of Beit Horon on Monday, located on Route 443 between Modi’in and Jerusalem.  Shlomit Krugman, 24, from Shdemot Mehola, later died of her wounds in hospital. The second woman is in serious condition. The killers also carried three bombs, but were shot dead by a security guard before they could be detonated. The attackers penetrated security around the village in what must have been a very carefully planned operation bearing the hallmarks of a large entity.

Libya’s UN-recognized parliament, the one based in the eastern town of Tobruk, voted overwhelmingly today, 15-89, to reject the call to recognize the new UN-backed “unity government” unveiled last week in Tunisia.

The government was an effort by the UN to come to some sort of deal to unite the Tobruk parliament,  and the Tripoli-based one, which is backed by several powerful western sponsored militias.

Tobruk MPs complained the power-sharing deal gave too much to the Tripoli parliament’s faction, and that the 32-member cabinet was far too big, giving the UN a week to offer another proposal.

 

25 JAN:   Israel has bombed two sites in Gaza, responding to one rocket from Gaza. 

Biden reaches agreement to take down Islamic State in exchange for support against the PKK on visit to Turkey.  At a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Biden lumped the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, Al Qaeda and the PKK together as targets for the coming operations against extremists in Syria / Turkey.  The agreement opens the way for joint military operations and talks on a special status for the Kurds.

 

24 JAN:   There has been an outbreak of the Zika virus across much of Latin America.  The Zika virus causes birth defects.  It is highly recommended to avoid traveling to the area, especially if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.  If you must travel to Latin America do all you can to avoid contact with Mosquitoes.

Syrian loyalist forces have liberated the last rebel-held town in Latakia province, Rabiya.  The advance, with the backing of Russian air strikes and directed partly by Russian officers, opens the way to liberate the entire province right up to the Turkish border. 

Allied forces inside Libya are updating base infrastructure and flying in equipment, supplies and troops, which process may take weeks before full scale hostilities begin.

 

23 Jan:  Special Post:  Military Intervention Begins in Libya

Update 17:00 EST:  A force of about 500 men has secured the Jamal Abdulnasir military base south of Tobruk and are preparing for the airlifting in of equipment, troops and supplies, serious combat operations may not begin for some days yet. In addition a group of Americans have arrived west of Tripoli.

BREAKING 15:30 EST:   Early this morning a group of US, Russian, French and Italian Special Forces quietly landed at a point south of Tobruk near the Libyan-Egyptian frontier and are standing by after preparing the ground for the arrival of some 1,000 British SAS troops. 

The long expected operation spoken of for months at this site has an unexpected Russian component, as the US and Russia reveal that they are indeed cooperating against Islamic Extremists.  Full report link Military Intervention Begins in Libya

In new comments, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said the US is planning “decisive military action” against ISIS targets inside Libya, and that while the decision hasn’t been finalized, it will be in the next few weeks.

Other officials say that US special forces have been engaged in “clandestine reconnaissance missions” in Libya for months, aiming to map out the networks of ISIS in the country ahead of the attack. General Dunford said. “The president has made clear that we have the authority to use military force”  Indicating that the order has been given to prepare and the execute order will come according to political calculations.  See the JAN 1 news post.

Separately U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned that “there will be boots on the ground” in the upcoming battles to defeat the Islamic State militants.  “Advise and Assist” means special forces leading Iraqi / Kurdish troops and Sunni militias.  The action in Libya is a dress rehearsal for the anti IS offensive in Iraq / Syria. 

Carter also said that the US will attack Mosul and Raqqa as soon as possible to bring down the Islamic State and that  the coalition was using raids and bombs to take control of the routes between the two cities and cut off communication between them.  He is trying to ease the way for an announcement of a big troop surge and needs the victory in Libya to position for that Iraq / Syria troop surge, which may be many more than the present 1,300 announced from the 101st Airborne.

Egypt has sent a large force to Saudi Arabia and is holding a military exercise with the Saudi’s and Gulf States; possibly in preparation for a move in Yemen.

EU in crisis

 

22 JAN:   Israel government enters yet another coalition crisis as three members threaten to bring down government

American east gets strong blizzard.

The United States has established an air base inside Syria in the Kurdish region.  The site will host attack helicopters and elements of the 101st Airborne as well as special forces elements.  They will back up the Kurdish assault on the Islamic State in Syria. 

Allied forces are gathering in the Mediterranean area for a coming operation in Libya to destroy Islamic Extremists and the Islamic State in particular.  In addition to securing the Egypt rear area before major operations in Sinai – Gaza; the coming Libyan operation will be a dress rehearsal for the anti IS offensive in Syria / Iraq.

 

21 JAN:  President Obama has given the Defense Department legal authority to attack ISIS outside Syria and Iraq, anywhere they are found. The Stratfor Global Intelligence Group reported on January 19, 2016 that several western nations, the US included, are preparing to conduct an offensive against ISIS in Libya. Stratfor estimates there are 5,000 ISIS fighters there. Stratfor said Italy will lead the operation and has already deployed fighter aircraft to Sicily. The British are said to be ready to employ 1,000 troops supported by 6,000 US and European personnel.

At the Davos economic conference France’s Prime Minister said on Thursday that the EU faces dangers, and warned of the bloc fracturing. 

Israel redeploys artillery batteries from rear areas to forward positions on the Gaza border.  

Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials are discussing setting up a Palestinian police force in Palestinian areas of Jerusalem outside of the Old City; in the Palestinian-populated suburbs of Jerusalem – A-tur, Hizme and Jabel Muchaber – and the two big refugee camps at Shoafat and Anata. 

Palestinian_PoliceAt present the coming peace deal is expected to establish these Palestinian areas of Jerusalem as the capitol of the new Palestinian State, with Jewish Jerusalem as the capitol of the Jewish State and the Old City as a UN International Heritage Protectorate assigned to the Vatican and governed by a body of Jews, Muslims and Catholics.  It will probably take a new government in Israel to agree to any peace deal as Netanyahu and his far right government could never accept such a plan.

The US will sell Iraq over 16,000 laser-guided bombs as well as sidewinder missiles and advanced targeting systems for Iraq’s F-16 fighters in a deal worth $2 billion, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The munitions are to boost the firepower of the F-16s that Iraq bought from the US and started using in September for the US-led coalition’s war against ISIS.

Proposed Syrian peace talks set for next week in Geneva are likely to be postponed over a row about whether Kurdish groups will be represented among rebel ranks.

The Kurdish PYD, the political arm of the main Kurdish militia fighting in the north-east of the country, is demanding a seat at the talks as part of the rebel delegation. However, that is being adamantly opposed by the Turks who say their presence is a “red line”.   Turkey must negotiate and reach a deal with the Kurds before a deal on the disposition of the Assad regime can be negotiated.

 

20 JAN:   See this important post: An Overview of Middle East News and Prophecy: Jan, 2016

Merkel popularity begins to slide in Germany. 

Britain and the EU are expected to reach a deal in Feb or March enabling a referendum as early as June.  The substance of the agreement has already been rejected by a majority of Britons with polls putting the leave side ahead by 6% and growing. 

 

19 JAN :   Libya gets a new government.  The two competing governments in Libya finally reach agreement and merge, opening the way for an anti Islamic State / Islamic Extremist offensive.  See 1 JAN.

A fifteen year old boy was arrested this morning for the murder of Dafna Meir near Hevron two days ago.

Even main stream American media are admitting that Syria is making substantial progress against the rebel insurgents Syria has made incredible progress over the past two months and is now preparing to break the back of the Islamist extremist  rebels with the liberation of Aleppo offensive expected to begin shortly.  As the  al Qaeda and Islamic Extremist rebels are defeated a huge Iraqi Kurdish American offensive is planned against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States met in Kabul on Monday and reached agreement on the parameters of peace talks with the Taliban.  They formally invited the Taliban to peace talks.  With demise of Al Qaeda, the Islamic Extremists and the Islamic State in Iraq / Syria there is a good chance that genuine peace deal can be reached

Questions over last week’s incident in which a pair of US Navy boats and 10 sailors strayed into Iranian waters continue to grow, as the Pentagon’s narrative on a “navigational error” is thrown into serious doubt.

The Pentagon initially claimed mechanical problems, but after the boats were returned changed its story to claim the sailors had no idea they were in Iranian waters. Today, however, Iran revealed that the GPS devices on the two US boats were in perfect working order at the time, and they had no reason not to know they were in Iranian waters.  The boats not only strayed into Iranian waters but strayed right into the entrance to an Iranian naval base.

 

18 JAN:  After yesterday’s Hevron murder IDF clamps down hard on the West Bank.  IDF redeploys to West Bank positions and check points it shuttered years ago redeployments include permanent garrison at Shedma, pillboxes in Nablus area and checkpoints outside Arab towns. (Haaretz+) 

Three American contractors along with Iraqi interpreter captured and taken to Sadr City. 

rsz_platform-m_combat_robot_syria_16_1_16

 

Loyal Syrian  troops are massing for an operation to liberate Aleppo. The Russians are fielding two kinds of remote controlled war vehicles – the Platform-M combat robot and the Argo Mobility Platform, both heavily armored and capable of providing fire support for forces on the move.  

 

 

 

17 JAN:   Israeli woman murdered in her Hevron outpost home.

Breaking 14:00 EST:  A day after exchanging prisoners US slaps new sanctions on Iran.

Iran will not be in a position to export significant amounts of oil for two or three years.  In the meantime Shell, Total and others will make tens of billions revitalizing the Iranian petroleum infrastructure.

 

16 JAN:  

BREAKING 19:00 EST:   Iran has put in place all curbs on its atomic activities as required by its deal with major world powers, the IAEA chief reported on Saturday evening, clearing the way for sanctions relief.

Following the IAEA’s announcement that Iran had complied with the nuclear deal, Obama issued an Executive Order revoking previous US nuclear sanctions against Iran.

The EU has lifted sanctions against Iran in the wake of the IAEA’s confirmation that it has abided by the terms of the nuclear deal.

As officials meet in Vienna to hear IAEA report declaring Iran in compliance with the nuclear deal; US Iran prisoner exchange takes place. 

US Justice department and Iranian Prosecutor Abbas Jaafari announced that five Americans currently serving prison terms in Iran, have been exchanged for seven Iranian nationals languishing at the US jails.

Five U.S. citizens detained in Iran, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, were freed Saturday, the same day sanctions were expected to be lifted as part of the country’s nuclear deal.

The Americans released were Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari and Matthew Trevithick, said U.S. officials. Families and colleagues rejoiced amid the news. 

The settlement included a clause according to which the US will no longer pursue extradition of 14 Iranians from third countries.

Sanctions on Iran are to be lifted within days by the EU. while the prisoner deal sweetens the pot for the US. 

Iran Transport Minister: Deal signed to buy 114 Airbus planes from the EU as soon as sanctions are lifted.

 

15 JAN:   Syrian army gaining huge victory near Latakia. 

Russian Ka-52 helicopters equipped with the Vitebsk electronic warfare system being deployed to Syria

Russian backed Syrian rebels advancing against Islamic State  11 Jan. 

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE – US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the general who heads his special operations forces will be nominated as the next commander for the Middle East. Army Gen. Joseph Votel would take over leadership of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State Group. He would succeed Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is retiring.

Carter announced the decision at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, standing alongside Votel. He was in town to meet with his commanders about how the fight against IS will take shape this year.

Votel, 57, is a former commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He headed the secretive Joint Special Operations Command before taking over Special Operations Command in 2014.

 

14 JAN:  

BREAKING 16:00 EST:   Istanbul bombing used by Turkey to enter anti Islamic State war.  Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday afternoon that his country’s army attacked ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, and killed about 200 ISIS fighters, in retaliation for the suicide bombing in Istanbul on Tuesday. The targets were in Bashiqa in northern Iraq and Marea in Syria, about 20 kilometers from the Turkish border. “After the heinous attack in Istanbul, our armed forces hit in the last 48 hours some 500 positions of Daesh in Syria and Iraq with artillery and tank fire,” the prime minister said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. He added that the attacks on terror targets would continue. Ten people, mostly German tourists, were killed in the suicide bombing.

The IDF ordered the  closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing in southern Gaza as well as the evacuation of the facility late Thursday afternoon due to heavy exchanges of fire on the Egyptian side of the border, as well as concern that some of the fire could hit the crossing. 

Establishment begins full court press to get Hillary elected president. Arab countries could pull hundreds of billions from US if Trump wins presidency.

Likud cancels primaries acclaims Netanyahu party leader through  2023.  Bibi may now call elections any time he wants. 

Israel sharply reduces heating gas in Gaza this winter.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and other Pentagon officials laid out plans for destroying the Islamic State in 2016, including capturing Raqqa and Mosul, ISIS’ largest two remaining cities.  

Carter also talked up other plans, including widespread assassinations of ISIS leaders, and a significant escalation of the US drone wars against the IS in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, with drone strikes in those countries extending “beyond declared battlefields [a reference to Libya].” 

Carter announced that 200 special forces: “The specialized expeditionary targeting force I announced in December is now in place and is preparing to work with the Iraqis to begin going after ISIL’s fighters and commanders,”  The assassination teams will be joined by a surge of more US troops in spring.

500 troops from the 101st Airborne headquarters group will deploy at the end of February. The headquarters will be set up to prepare the way for a presently planned  deployment of about 1,300 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team [numbers could increase if deemed necessary] to Iraq in late spring.  While billed as a training mission this is a combat fighting brigade to spearhead the late spring / early summer anti Islamic State offensive. 

The busiest part of downtown Jakarta was assaulted Thursday with suicide bombers, grenades and gunfire at some 8 different spots, killing at least 7 people, including a policeman and injuring dozens. There were explosions near the presidential palace, a UN office and the Pakistani and Turkish embassies, the Starbucks café and Burger King, while two gunmen attacked a nearby police post. Witnesses report 15-20 terrorists taking part in the multiple attacks. 

The Syrian rebel coalition has indicated they probably aren’t going to attend the January 25 UN peace talks today added new demands,  The rebels insisted they also expect to have other “goodwill steps” from the government, including the mass release of rebel prisoners. before they engage in any talks.  This means that the talks are close to breaking down before starting.

 

13 JAN:  Libya progress still slow.

Obama 2016, State of the Union address

The Israeli Air Force killed a group of men that were allegedly planting an explosive device on the  northern Gaza border Wednesday morning. Following the incident, the IDF ordered Israeli farmers not to approach the border fence and to stay several kilometers away.

Ten American sailors were captured after their two boats strayed into waters off the Iranian island of Farsi.  Iranian state media reported Wednesday that  all 10 detained US Navy sailors have been freed

Just two weeks ago the US tried to provoke an incident with Iran by deliberately sailing ships into an Iranian live fire practice which the Iranians had warned the US about several days in advance.  Fortunately the Iranians discovered the American vessels in time to avoid hitting any of them.

The IAEA is expected to certify in just a matter of days that Iran is in full compliance with the P5+1 nuclear deal, months ahead of schedule. This would oblige the US, along with the rest of the world, to immediately begin sanction relief.

The Iranians are working hard to gain sanctions relief before the Feb 23 elections and the US is trying to provoke an incident to block the sanctions relief and impose even more sanctions because of Iranian support for Syria.

12 JAN:   America’s new nuclear weapons program.

 

11 JAN:   Singer David Bowie has passed away at 69 after a battle with cancer

Unidentified non Libyan aircraft attacked an Islamic State convoy on Sunday near the Libyan city of Sirte.    Clandestine American drone strikes are now escalating into heavier aerial attacks on the  Islamic State in Libya.

With the help of American air strikes and special forces the Afghan army has defeated the Taliban offensive in Konduz province.  The recent Taliban moves were muscle flexing to demonstrate strength before peace talks. 

Today U.S., Afghan, Pakistani and Chinese officials meet in Islamabad to lay the groundwork for the coming peace talks.  The new Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour is expected to reach a peace deal and has been dealing with internal Taliban peace opposers to pave the way. 

US forces in Korea go to highest alert level, US carrier preparing to leave Japan for Korea.

 

10 JAN:  

The list of candidates to head Likud closed Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the only person running, assuring that he will lead the party in the next general election.

The Likud election committee must now decide whether to hold a primary election or simply cancel the election and declare him the winner. A vote would cost around 4 million shekels ($1 million).

“There’s no doubt Netanyahu scored a victory over anyone who wanted to contend against him,” a senior Likud official said. But the move may end up boomeranging because it could bring a split in the party by those Bibi was trying to preempt with a primary three years early, well before others could prepare. 

 

09 JAN:   American special forces have been leading multiple Kurdish commando raids against the Islamic State over the past few months.  US officials say they will not talk about any raids except the one in Oct.  Recently the US added 200 special forces and then another 100 in Dec. there are also hundreds of special forces from other nations involved as well as thousands of intelligence agency “security contractors” [mercenaries] many ex special forces. 

Obama has eye on succeeding Ban Ki-moon when the South Korean diplomat ends his term as United Nations secretary-general on December 31 of this year. 

 

08 JAN:   Tel Aviv assassin shot dead in home town.

The Kurdish solution is an independent state after the  Islamic State is demolished.  Turkey is working to destroy the Kurdish extremists of the PKK before that comes.  After the PKK and the Islamic State are destroyed talks between Turkey and the Kurds will take place along with referendumsAlmost 100% of Kurds want an independent state; the key to that is international recognition, and the key to that is recognition by Turkey.  Large sections of Iraq and Syria are intended to be part of the new pro Israel state as well as certain areas of Turkey, in return Turkey is expected to have a “Special Relationship” with Kurdistan. 

This is all part of the original plan for the region; implementation of which began with the invasion of Iraq.  The Kurds could not get their state on the fall of Iraq because Syria and Turkey were still to come.  The plan of the Western establishment has been to destroy Syria, change the regime in Iran and take land from Iraq, Syria and Turkey to set up a powerful pro Israel state.  If the plan succeeds Kurdistan will have a very powerful Western built army; which has been the real focus of American and Western training programs  against the Islamic State. 

 

07 JAN:   BREAKING 06:00 EST:   A water truck loaded with explosives was crashed into a large formation of police trainees in Zliten Libya and exploded, killing at least 68 and wounding over one hundred policemen.  The timing of this attack, with an international intervention at the ready [See JAN 1 post below], is incredibly suspicious; and  it could well be a Western proxy  Gleiwitz incident to justify the planned intervention.   The perpetrators took responsibility in the name of the Islamic State.


 

US House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) begins a conference to explore details for a new War Authorization Bill today

With 21 percent of voters still undecided, the latest British poll shows 43 percent of British voters want to leave the EU;  36 percent want to stay.  David Cameron begins a big diplomatic push for a new deal this week, hoping to have a deal by the Feb EU summit.

Israeli Likud coalition loses no confidence motion 54-53, the loss is highly embarrassing and reflects the instability of the government although 61 MKs are needed to force new elections.

The military wing of the Hamas has test fired three salvos of three or four rockets each toward the Mediterranean on Thursday morning.

Stock markets in China were suspended for the rest of the day less than half an hour after opening, as a new circuit-breaking mechanism was tripped for the second time this week when shares fell 7%.

European shares fell sharply on Thursday after China accelerated the depreciation of the yuan, sending currencies across the region reeling and domestic stock markets tumbling.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX index both fell 2 percent. Germany’s DAX declined 1.4 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 weakened by 1.6 percent.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) again surprised markets by setting the official midpoint rate on the yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), at 6.5646 per dollar, the lowest since March 2011.

 

 

06 JAN:   Pyongyang announced “complete success” in detonating its first hydrogen bomb, a 5.1 seismic event was detected by world instruments along the North Korean northeast coast.  A UN Security Council emergency meetting is scheduled for 11 AM Wednesday. 

Attack on Libyan check point near shut down oil terminal blamed on Islamic state.  The Libyan oil people have asked for help to extinguish two burning oil tanks and the attacks are being used for intervention calls. 

The US is bombing massed Islamic State forces at Haditha Iraq.

 

05 JAN:   Russia pressures Hezbollah to back off Israel and concentrate on Islamic Extremists for the near future.

Saudi Arabia deliberately provoked the Shia by executing Shia cleric Nimir.  The expected demonstrations against the execution have materialized and the Sunni states are using them as an excuse to break all ties with Iran  and galvanize Sunni public opinion against Iran.  This is part of the American Israeli Sunni alliance plan to set Sunni public opinion to support the coming take down of the Iranian regime. 

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was in Riyadh Tuesday for talks with diplomats and Syrian opposition figures

Kuwait joins Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan in breaking ties with Iran as Sunni-Shi’ite rift grows. 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of Gulf Arab states announced on Tuesday: “Foreign ministers of the GCC States will hold an extraordinary meeting in Riyadh on Saturday … to discuss the repercussions of the attack on the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tehran and the Saudi consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad,” GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani said in an emailed statement.

 

04 JAN: 

BREAKING 10:00 EST:   Hezbollah announced that it had targeted an Israeli patrol with a bomb on the ceasefire line at the Shebaa Farms targeting a vehicle carrying a senior Mossad officer, the IDF reported that  two of the IDF’s Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were targeted. 

The bomb exploded next to the vehicles in the Shebaa Farms area at the base of Mt. Hermon. Hezbollah claims that a vehicle was destroyed with casualties, while the IDF claims that none of the soldiers were injured and there was no damage from the bomb, which was activated by remote control. Hezbollah took responsibility for the attack.

The IDF has fired artillery at Hezbollah in south Lebanon and substantial numbers of Israeli Air Force planes are in the air.  Hezbollah forces have now returned fire on IDF forces in the Hermon area. The IDF closed all of the roads in the region to civillian traffic late Sunday in case the exchanges escalate.

 China stock market plummets to emergency shut down.

The Egyptian air force claims to have killed more than 40 ISIS members and wounded 15 more in northern Sinai. 

Islamic groups in Idlib province are abandoning the Islamic State in Idlib to rush home to Aleppo to fight the advancing Syrian government forces.

Japan  calls for a summit with Russia to end WW 2.  Despite the defacto peace Russia and Japan have yet to sign a peace ending that war.  The signing of a peace treaty would open the way for a future relationship between Russia and Japan after the US goes into decline at the advent of the coming New Europe.

 

03 JAN:   Israel has been shelling and bombing Lebanon with Harassment and Interdiction {H&I] fire to prevent Hezbollah movements.  The excuse is to prevent a Hezbollah attack on Israel, but the shelling is assisting Israeli backed rebels on the Golan Heights to resist a Syrian Hezbollah offensive to regain control of the area. 

The Saudi foreign minister announced Sunday that Riyadh had severed relations with Tehran. Riyadh asked Iran’s diplomatic mission and “related entities” to depart the kingdom within 48 hours.

Sniper firing from a distance wounds Israeli woman soldier at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron Sunday. 

 

02 JAN:  Israel bombs Hamas sites in Gaza.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a rebel coalition which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG, has launched new offensives in the northern Aleppo Province, contesting the valuable area around the town of Azaz and seizing the village of Tanab. The move is against the Al Nusrah Front in Western Syria and coordinated with Russian backing.

Russia begins delivery of S-300 air defense system to Iran

 

01 JAN:  

BREAKING:  Four rockets fired from Gaza, two fall short inside Gaza.

Shooting near pub on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv kills 2 wounds seven.  Thirty shots fired; Israel pointing at Islamic State.   Shots were fired at the Mandarin Hotel in north Tel Aviv’s Tel Baruch neighborhood nearly 20 minutes later.  Taxi driver found murdered outside Mandarin Hotel one hour later.

Islamic State attacks were thwarted yesterday in New York, Israel, Germany and Belgium, while a massive fire in a 60 story luxury hotel in Dubai has all the earmarks of arson as the fire spread almost instantaneously through much of the twentieth floor and then progressed from there. 

Likud is crashing in the Israeli polls as over 71% of Israelis think the government is failing on security.  If an election were held today Likud would get only 25 seats instead of its present 30 seatsBefore any election Bibi will likely go to war to attempt to  rally electoral support. 

Obama delays additional sanctions on Iran after Iran ordered the redoubling of its missile program in response to the American  threats.

LIBYA:

A UN-brokered Libyan agreement signed on 17 December in Morocco  has been approved by the UNSC and the Libyan parliaments and a nine-member presidential council has been formed.  The UN deal for a Government of National Accord (GNA), bringing together both legislatures [Tripoli and Tobruk] after a year-long schism, was supported by the majority of both houses earlier this month and the UNSC has approved resolution 2259 endorsing Libya’s political agreement & GNA.

The new government is expected to seek Western aid to destroy the Islamic State and the governments rival extremist militias.

It was no accident that the negotiations took place in Morocco, a member of the alliance against ISIS.  Rabat played an important role in coaxing the Libyan parties to an agreement, and its intelligence services, deeply involved in the North African struggle against ISIS, are believed to have been paving the way for a coordinated attack on the Islamic State’s Libyan enclave. 

Last Tuesday, Ibrahim al-Dabashi, Libya’s ambassador to the UN, told the newspaper Asharq Alawsat that he expected airstrikes would be forthcoming—and named the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy as likely participants in the assault.  The recent forming of a coalition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others, is expected to provide ground forces accompanied by American and European Special Forces to eradicate the Islamic State and Extremists in Libya. 

Reports are widely circulating that Obama has already signed off on the deployments to Libya and hostilities could begin at any time.

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