Tag Archives: American Officials

Israel to launch more Syria air attacks, says US

US intelligence analysts have concluded that a recent Israeli airstrike on a warehouse in Syria did not succeed in destroying all of the Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that were its target, and therefore further Israeli strikes are likely.

Israel carried out an attack July 5 near Latakia to destroy the missiles, which Russia had sold to Syria. Although the warehouse was destroyed, US intelligence analysts have now concluded that at least some of the Yakhont missiles had been removed from their launchers and moved from the warehouse before the attack.

The officials who described the new assessment declined to be identified.

Israel to launch more Syria air attacks, says US

Some Syria Missiles Eluded Israeli Strike, Officials Say

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After the Israeli attack, the Assad government sought to hide the fact that the missiles had been missed by setting fire to launchers and vehicles at the site to create the impression of a devastating blow, according to American intelligence reports.

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment. Israel has a longstanding policy of silence on pre-emptive military strikes.

Another factor that could lead to a military response by Israel is the continuing flow of weapons to the Assad government, some of which Israel fears may make its way to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Russia, American officials say, recently sent SA-26 antiaircraft missiles to Syria, and it is also believed to be sending technical experts to help set up the system.

Some Syria Missiles Eluded Israeli Strike, Officials Say

Is Obama Trying to Start Israel-Syria War? « Commentary Magazine

Is the Obama administration trying to start a war between Israel and Syria? Because intentionally or not, it’s certainly doing its darnedest to provoke one.

This weekend, three anonymous American officials told CNN that Israel was behind an explosion in the Syrian port of Latakia on July 5. The explosion, they said, resulted from an airstrike targeting Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles. If this report is true, this is the second time U.S. officials have blown Israel’s cover in Syria: They also told the media that a mysterious explosion in Syria this April was Israel’s work, even as Israel was scrupulously keeping mum–just as it did about the Latakia incident.

Is Obama Trying to Start Israel-Syria War? « Commentary Magazine

US Sees Russian Cyberthreat as China Grabs Headlines | RIA Novosti

A report linking the Chinese military to cyberattacks on US businesses and government agencies has garnered global headlines this week, arguably stealing the cybertheft limelight from another country American officials cite as a significant threat to US network security: Russia.

“The Russian operations appear to be much more sophisticated and professionally run than the Chinese, since we only ever seem to catch China,” cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

US Sees Russian Cyberthreat as China Grabs Headlines | Russia | RIA Novosti

The Decider – By Oren Kessler | Foreign Policy

Opponents of an Israeli strike on Iran have focused their ire on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But it’s his hawkish defense minister, Ehud Barak, who is really driving the talk of war.

The precise rationale behind when to strike may remain known only to Israel’s most senior decision makers, but the question of whether to do so appears all but settled — this week, Israeli television reported Barak and Netanyahu are “determined” to strike before U.S. elections. Israeli analysts, meanwhile, are convinced American officials underestimate the risks that the decades-old Israel-Iran feud will come to a head before November.

“I recently met a former very senior American diplomat who said the consensus in Washington is that Israel is bluffing, that Barak and Netanyahu are trying to wag the dog and get the U.S. to attack Iran,” said Guzansky. “If that’s the case, I told him, they’ve fooled me too.”

The Decider – By Oren Kessler | Foreign Policy

Syria takes WMD out of storage: US: Situation incredibly dangerous

As part of its ongoing war maneuver, Syria Thursday, July 12, this week drilled the firing of advanced Scud D ballistic missiles capable of carrying chemical weapons and nerve gas – a clear message from Bashar Assad that weapons of mass destruction are now in play to save his regime.

American officials, alarmed by the movement out of storage of parts of his vast arsenal of sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide, warned it could escalate the Syrian conflict and expand it to other parts of the region.  “This could set the precedent of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] being used under our watch,” one U.S. official said. “This is incredibly dangerous to our national security.” The Obama administration has begun to hold classified briefings about the new intelligence.

Syria takes WMD out of storage: US: Situation incredibly dangerous

U.S. Concerned as Syria Moves Chemical Stockpile | WSJ.Com

Qassim Saadaldin, spokesman for the rebels’ military leadership in the Syrian city of Homs, said the opposition has intelligence that the regime is readying biological or chemical weapons. “Assad is prepared to use these weapons should he consider his authority to be in jeopardy,” Mr. Saadaldin said.

U.S. Concerned as Syria Moves Chemical Stockpile

Russia and America: Vladimir Putin steps out | The Economist

But patience with Russia is running out. This week Mrs Clinton accused the Russians of sending attack helicopters to Syria and said that Russian claims that its weaponry had nothing to do with the fighting in Syria were “patently untrue”. Mr Obama is likely to warn Mr Putin that the Russian position on Syria is no longer credible and that, if Russia does not shift soon, it could be sidelined, perhaps by some foreign military intervention.

Among American officials there is growing disappointment and irritation with Mr Putin, both for his standoffish attitude (they were flabbergasted when he failed to attend the G8 summit and a bilateral meeting with Mr Obama last month) and for his apparent unwillingness—or inability—to deliver. He may be waiting to see who wins America’s presidential election in November. But many in Washington think he is “full of bluster, and would like to be a big player at the table”, says Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations, but that “he isn’t really up to it.” He could begin to prove otherwise—or not—in Mexico.

Russia and America: Vladimir Putin steps out | The Economist

From Russia with Hate: Anti-Americanism Rampant in Putin’s Kremlin

In addition to the outrageous and unacceptable attacks on the U.S. ambassador, other examples of anti-Americanism include Putin’s reaction to the popular protests that erupted in Moscow after the Russian parliamentary elections in December and also in March following the Russian presidential elections. President-elect Putin actually blamed the demonstrations on Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department, accusing Clinton of “giving the signal” to the protestors. Putin further called opposition leaders “jackals scavenging near Western embassies” and “monkey packs.”

Now, American officials have reportedly been assured that all this anti-U.S. rhetoric streaming out of Moscow was simply a populist tactic in the election. Is this really to be believed? Of course not.

For the Russian government, using the U.S. as variously a whipping boy and a scarecrow is extremely convenient. Indeed, anti-Americanism is a long-standing and fundamental pillar of Russian foreign policy and public diplomacy. As noted by Heritage’s Ariel Cohen, “Anti-Americanism in Russia is rampant. Putin has relentlessly created an image of Russia under attack from Western enemies. It worked for the elections and is likely to continue as a pillar of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.”

From Russia with Hate: Anti-Americanism Rampant in Putin’s Kremlin

Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work – Bloomberg

Finally, and even more disquieting, was the contention I heard repeatedly that an Israeli strike in the next six months — conducted before Iran can further harden its nuclear sites, or make them redundant — will set back the ayatollahs’ atomic ambitions at least five years. American military planners tend to think that Israel could do only a year or two worth of damage.

The arguments I’ve outlined here — and those I’ll describe in my next column — all lead to a single conclusion: The Israeli political leadership increasingly believes that an attack on Iran will not be the disaster many American officials, and some ex-Israeli security officials, fear it will be.

These were vertigo-inducing conversations, to say the least. Next week, I’ll discuss why, from Netanyahu’s perspective, a strike on Iran, even if only marginally successful, might be worth the risk — and may be historically inevitable.

Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work – Bloomberg

Talk of Israel strike on Iran soars but is it bluff? | Reuters

As tension rises over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, chatter indicating a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear targets has never been higher.

 But in the smoke-and-mirrors world of Middle East geopolitics, such talk can often be a diplomatic weapon in its own right and sometimes an alternative to genuine action.

Talk of Israel strike on Iran soars but is it bluff? | Reuters

Iran: Attack will lead to Israel’s collapse

Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on Saturday cautioned Israel against attacking Iran.

“A military attack by the Zionist regime will undoubtedly lead to the collapse of this regime,” Vahidi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state-run Press TV. He did not say what type of action Iran would take in such a scenario.

Some Israeli officials have said the Jewish state must act by the summer if it wants to effectively halt Iran’s program because Tehran is moving more of its nuclear installations deep underground, where Israeli bombs can’t reach them.

Iran: Attack will lead to Israel’s collapse – Beloit Daily News: World News:

U.S. Sees Iran Attacks as Likely if Israel Strikes

American officials who have assessed the likely Iranian responses to any attack by Israel on its nuclear program believe that Iran would retaliate by launching missiles on Israel and terrorist-style attacks on United States civilian and military personnel overseas.

U.S. Sees Iran Attacks as Likely if Israel Strikes – NYTimes.com

Thinking the unthinkable: The looming war between Israel and Iran. Where’s the U.S.?

Another measure of imminent war is the number visits by senior Israeli and American officials flying back and forth between Tel Aviv and Washington. By this metric war could come any day. Last week, for example, President Obama’s national security advisor, Tom Donilon flew to Israel. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, preceded him. James Clapper, the American national intelligence director, followed on the heels of Donilon’s visit.

The Israelis were also frequent flyers. Defence Minister Ehud Barak came to Washington. Next week, on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will drop in on President Barack Obama. He supposedly wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain “red lines.”
Considering the two leaders all but open dislike of each other, it’s unlikely Netanyahu will get want he wants.

Netanyahu is convinced, and rightly so, that Israel faces an existential threat if Iran goes nuclear. He and others regularly point out that Iran’s theocratic leaders have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction. Surely when someone repeatedly says he wants to kill you, you’re entitled to believe them, and act accordingly.

On Iran, Obama is once again picking the wrong in failing to side with Israel | Ottawa Citizen