Friday, July 13, 2012

Syria Takes WMD Out of Storage

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

DEBKAfile Special Report July 13, 2012, 10:36 AM (GMT+02:00)

Syrian missile drill
Syrian missile drill

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.

DEBKAfile’s military sources say that two developments drove the Syrian president Bashar Assad to this extreme threat:

1. The rebels were discovered to have procured roadside bombs capable of crippling the T-72 tank units he has just tried injecting into the battle for the first time this week. Tanks sent in long convoys into Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus were blown up.

2.  The balance of war has reached the point that the government controls only those parts of the country where heavy military or security forces contingents with massive fire power are deployed; elsewhere, the rebels have the upper hand.
In the course of its war exercise, the Syrians fired a selection of ground-to-ground missiles which they described as capable of “hitting targets deep within enemy territory.” Our military sources say all the Scuds, the M-600, Fateh-110 and Zelzal can reach any point in Israel. They also tested upgraded C-802 shore-to-ship rockets.
American officials revealed Thursday in Washington that “Syria has begun moving parts of its vast arsenal of chemical weapons out of storage facilities.” They didn’t say to where they were moved.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the missile warheads and shells containing poisonous weapons such as sarin, mustard gas and cyanide are being moved to specific Syrian units ahead of field operations.

Some US officials are quoted by The Wall Street Journal as fearing “Damascus intends to use the weapons against the rebels or civilians, potentially as part of a targeted ethnic cleansing campaign.” 

Others hope it is a feint to inspire fear. Whatever the case, the alarmed US official said in Washington: This could set the precedent of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] being used under our watch" and is "incredibly dangerous to our national security."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Israel Receives 4th Dolphin Submarine, Iran On Radar

Israel Receives 4th Dolphin Submarine, Iran On Radar

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel --- May 3, 2012 .... Part of the following was communicated by the Israel Government Press Office to the Israel News Agency.

At an official state ceremony held today Thursday, May 3, 2012 at the Kiel shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, the Israel Defense Ministry received a fourth Dolphin class submarine – "INS Tanin". It was officially transferred to the Israel Defense Ministry and the Israel Navy and is due to arrive in Israel in 2013.

Israel Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani, GOC Navy Maj.-Gen. Ram Rothberg, the head of the Ministry's Procurement Administration, Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Tzucker, along with other senior Israeli officials and their German counterparts launched the fourth Dolphin Class submarine, marking its transfer to the Defense Ministry and the Israel Navy. 

This ceremony signaled the end of a lengthy process led by the Procurement Administration.
The high point of the event in the Kiel shipyard in Hamburg was the ceremonial breaking of the champagne bottle against the submarine by both Israel and German officials.
"INS Tanin" will arrive in Israel during the course of 2013, once all the relevant checks are complete. It is considered to be among the most advanced and sophisticated submarines in the world, and will be Israel's and the IDF's most expensive piece of military equipment. The Dolphin submarine is extremely versatile with a range of capabilities enabling it to adapt to a multitude of missions.

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated the Israeli Navy and the IDF on the occasion of the submarine's launching and noted: "The submarine will be another force multiplier in terms of the capabilities and strength of the IDF and the State of Israel in the face of the growing regional challenges. The Navy has been undergoing a number of strategic changes in recent years; changes that place it as the long arm of the IDF, at the very forefront of the campaign to secure the State of Israel. This deal is an expression of the depth of the relationship with Germany, reflecting the ongoing commitment of the Government of Germany to Israel's security."

Barak is very much focused on Iran's nuclear program, saying Israel will not be duped by negotiations, and warning that an attack is not out of the question.

"Today sanctions are stronger than ever," said Barak. "They forced the Iranians to take note, to sit down and to talk. The P-5+1 engagement of Iran, however, does not fill me with confidence. I may sound pessimistic, but the State of Israel cannot afford to be duped."
Barak also accused the Iranian government of seeking to buy time to make its alleged nuclear weapons program immune from military attacks. Barak has been one of the strongest supporters of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline position against Iran's nuclear weapon activities.

Israel Defense Ministry Director-General Shani noted at the event: "My greatest appreciation and thanks go to the officials at the Israel Ministry of Defense and the Defense Establishment for the negotiation process, development, construction and integration of the Dolphin class submarine and the advanced combat systems with which the submarine is equipped. The ceremony, more than anything, symbolizes the strong and unique bond between Germany and Israel. With the current developments and growing regional challenges, the cooperation between Germany and Israel has grown even stronger."

Director-General Shani thanked his German counterpart and noted: "On behalf of the State of Israel and the Defense Establishment, I thank you for taking up this unique project. Without your dedication and professionalism, this mission would never have been completed."

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, also highlighted the importance of this acquisition and the strategic importance of Israel's growing submarine fleet: "The Navy and its fleet of submarines, along with other arms of the IDF, make up an arm of deterrence – a defensive and 'fighting' arm – on a strategic level both for the IDF and the State of Israel."

GOC Navy Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg added: "At a time when threats are becoming global in their nature, the relationship between Israel and Germany is more crucial than ever."
Last month, Israel Defense Minister Barak was in Germany to sign an additional agreement for the construction and delivery of a new and improved submarine. This will be Israel's sixth submarine and it is expected to arrive in 2017, joining the fourth and fifth submarines (which will arrive in Israel in 2013 and 2014 respectively).

The cost of each submarine is approximately $0.5 billion. One-third of this sum is funded by the Government of Germany.

Addressing present international efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program and if these efforts should fail, any military action against Tehran should be led not by Israel, but by the United States, said former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"The last resort is a military action," Olmert told CNN in a recent interview. "And I prefer that it would be an American action - supported by the international community - if all the other efforts would fail."

Often described as Israel's second-strike doomsday weapon - according to foreign reports - able to launch cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, Israel's ten submarines can dive deep, stay under longer and maintain democracy in the Middle East. The Dolphin's two periscopes - integrated with night-vision and thermal imaging - were specially designed for the navy and allow anything the captain sees to be relayed to a screen in the CIC. This includes any Iranian activity in the Red Sea and beyond.
In the event of a war with Iran, Israel could use the submarines 4,500 nautical mile range to listen and take required, accurate action.

"The Red Sea is an area that has significance for us and could turn into an important front for Israel," a senior IDF naval officer recently said.

Don't Tread On Me!

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