Syria’s chemical arms match Israel’s nuclear arsenal: defected general.

December 18, 2012


Syria’s chemical arms match Israel’s nuclear arsenal: defected general.(AA).The Syrian regime has a large arsenal of chemical weapons, which matches up to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the defected former head of Syria’s chemical warfare program told Al Arabiya on Monday.
Major-General Adnan Sillu, who defected from the regime earlier this year, was party to top-levels talks about the use of chemical weapons on both rebel fighters and civilians.
He told Al Arabiya where the Syrian regime has stored its chemical weapons in specific cities across the war-torn country, highlighting chemical warehouses in the city of Homs and weapons stored also in scientific research center in Aleppo.
“Syria’s chemical arsenal has reached similar levels to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said in the interview. Israel is believed to be one of the world’s largest nuclear superpowers.
Sillu, who once led the army’s chemical weapons training program, said in June that the main storage sites for mustard gas and nerve agents are supposed to be guarded by thousands of Syrian troops but that they would be easily overrun.
Probably anyone from the Free Syrian Army or any Islamic extremist group could take them over,” he said.
Recently, U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Golan Heights have said they were prepared in the event of Damascus using chemical weapons amid mounting unrest between the Syrian regime and the armed opposition.
Meanwhile, United Nations ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told U.N. leaders in letters circulated Monday that opposition fighters might use chemical weapons against against civilians, and try to blame the regime of President -Assad.
The Pentagon has drawn up plans for responding to possible scenarios involving Syria’s chemical arms, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday during a visit to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 60 miles from the Syrian border.Read the full story here.

al-Qaeda, Chemical weapons, free syrian army, Israel, Syria, Syrian muslim brotherhood


Ed Koch on Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary: “It Would be a Terrible Appointment”

December 16, 2012

In a recent interview with The Algemeiner, former New York Mayor and staunch backer of President Obama’s re-election, Ed Koch, strongly opposed the possible appointment of former senator Chuck Hagel as America’s next defense secretary, due to the latter’s perceived hostility towards Israel. “I believe it would be a terrible appointment,” he said, “and so do apparently most of the Jewish leaders who have expressed themselves.” Explaining his opposition to the appointment, which is looking increasingly likely to materialize, Koch said that it would lead Arab states to believe that President Obama was seeking to create distance between his administration and Israel. “Such an appointment would give great comfort to the Arab world that would think that President Obama is seeking to put space between Israel and his administration,” Koch said, “I hope he doesn’t go forward with that appointment.” Koch says that since his election, Obama has acted in support of Israel. “He has been stalwart since the election, nobody has stood up as well as he in support of Israel, I hope he continues with that,” he said. But the appointment of Hagel, he concluded, “would be a great mistake.” Hagel has been roundly criticized by Jewish leaders and groups from across the political spectrum for his policies relating to Israel and the Middle East. In a September interview with The Algemeiner, Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein said, “He is one of the most hostile critics of Israel that has ever been in the Senate.” “There is only a handful of senators that have been openly hostile to Israel and Chuck Hagel is one of them,” Klein added. In 2007 the National Jewish Democratic Council listed on its website a number of instances where Hagel’s positions relating to Israel have appeared to be hostile. The Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement Friday that choosing Hagel would be “a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.” Last week The Algemeiner reported that “Sen. Chuck Hagel has met with both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and is the front runner for the Secretary of Defense position soon to be vacated by Leon Panetta.” One Democratic source with knowledge of the process told CNN that Hagel’s nomination is “almost a done deal.”
algemeiner


Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan under investigation, scandal widens

November 13, 2012

(Reuters) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for allegedly inappropriate communication with a woman at the center of the scandal involving former CIA Director David
Petraeus, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The shocking revelation threatens to fell another one of the U.S. military’s biggest names and suggests that the scandal involving Petraeus – a former four-star general who had Allen’s job in Afghanistan before moving to the CIA last year – could expand much further than previously imagined.
The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications – mostly emails and spanning from 2010 to 2012 – between Allen and Jill Kelley, who has been identified as a long-time friend of the Petraeus family and a Tampa, Florida, volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base.
It was Kelley’s complaints about harassing emails from the woman with whom Petraeus had had an affair, Paula Broadwell, that prompted an FBI investigation, ultimately alerting authorities to Petraeus’ involvement with Broadwell. Petraeus resigned from his job on Friday.
Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official said: “We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement given to reporters flying with him to Australia that he asked that Allen’s nomination to be Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe be delayed “and the president has agreed.”
Allen, who is now in Washington, was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, as was his slated successor in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford.
The FBI referred the case to the Pentagon on Sunday and Panetta directed the Defense Department’s Inspector General to handle the investigation. Panetta informed the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee during the flight to Australia. The House Armed Services Committee was also notified.
The U.S. defense official said that Allen denied any wrongdoing and that Panetta had opted to keep him in his job while the matter was under review, and until Dunford can be confirmed to replace him – a process that gains urgency given the potentially lengthy review process and the cloud it could cast over the mission in Afghanistan.
“While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain commander of ISAF,” Panetta said, referring to the NATO—led force in Afghanistan.
Only hours earlier, Panetta had said he was reviewing Allen’s recommendations on the future U.S. presence in Afghanistan after most troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
Commending Allen’s leadership in Afghanistan, Panetta said in his statement: “He is entitled to due process in this matter.”
At the same time, he noted that wanted the Senate to act “promptly” on Dunford’s nomination.
The U.S. official said Panetta was informed of the matter involving Allen on Sunday, as he flew to Hawaii, after the Pentagon’s top lawyer called Panetta’s chief of staff. The White House was informed next.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)


Obama sends US forces to protect Jordan, bypasses Congress to fund Iraq

October 11, 2012

by creeping
U.S. borders, U.S. embassies and consulates – fugettaboutit. Protecting the ummah, from itself, done. via Panetta: US sends forces to Jordan – Yahoo! News.

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States has sent military troops to the Jordan-Syria border to bolster that country’s military capabilities in the event that violence escalates along its border with Syria, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta said the U.S. has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria. The troops are also building a headquarters for themselves.

But the revelation of U.S. military personnel so close to the 19-month-old Syrian conflict suggests an escalation in the U.S. military involvement in the conflict, even as Washington pushes back on any suggestion of a direct intervention in Syria.
It also follows several days of shelling between Turkey and Syria, an indication that the civil war could spill across Syria’s borders and become a regional conflict.
“We have a group of our forces there working to help build a headquarters there and to insure that we make the relationship between the United States and Jordan a strong one so that we can deal with all the possible consequences of what’s happening in Syria,” Panetta said.
The development comes with the U.S. presidential election less than a month away, and at a time when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has been criticizing President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, accusing the administration of embracing too passive a stance in the convulsive Mideast region.

Congress? What Congress. via Pentagon finds funding to continue Iraq training – KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon says it will be able to fund the training of Iraqi security forces for the next 90 days, even though Congress did not include money for the program in its temporary budget resolution that took effect Monday.
Pentagon press secretary George Little says $1.7 million will be used from a special combatant commanders initiative fund to continue the training. Officials say there are roughly 160 military personnel doing the training in Iraq.
The money will also allow the U.S. to continue a separate program that trains Iraq’s counterterrorism forces.
The funding is a temporary solution while officials seek a longer term fix in the 2013 budget bill.
Congress has left Washington until after the election. Lawmakers were only able to pass a six-month stopgap spending measure.

What’s that? You didn’t hear anything in the U.S. media about Obama sending troops to yet another country nor the bi-partisan budget resolution – an absolute gift by so-called “conservatives” including Paul Ryan to a failed president during the most critical point in the election.

creepy. I’m reminded of the threats of the Samantha Power to occupy Israel if her royal feminist doesn’t get what she wants.


Dempsey’s remark regarding IDF’s inability to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability meant to show Israel who’s boss

August 15, 2012

Calculated comments. Dempsey Photo: AP(ynet) Israel can “delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities,” he said while sitting next to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who visited Israel a few weeks ago to allay the concerns of the leadership in Jerusalem.
Dempsey’s comments should be taken seriously, as should the stern message conveyed by Panetta, the White House and the American security establishment: If we can’t reason with you, the Israelis, we will have to get tough.
The general’s remark was not a slip-of-the-tongue. It was a calculated statement from a general of Irish descent and character. His words constituted a slap in Israel’s face, a punch in the face, and a kick to the most sensitive part of the body. To be more precise, the US slammed Israel’s head against the wall and said: “Shut up. Stop babbling about Iran. Without us there is not much you can do, and don’t assume for a second that we are dancing to your tune. You shouldn’t do anything stupid, and stop driving the entire world crazy.”


Bryen – The Incredible Shrinking US-Israel Security Cooperation

June 27, 2012

Shoshana Bryen..
Gatestone Institute..
27 June ’12..
In light of increased sensitivity to intelligence leaks, it seemed innocuous – or even admirable – when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) asked the Senate to remove a few words from the US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act: the “sense of the Senate” part of the bill included the sentence, “Expand already close intelligence cooperation, including satellite intelligence, with the Government of Israel;” ODNI wanted the words “including satellite intelligence” to go.
An ODNI spokesman said it was “simply a matter of clarifying the intelligence aspects of the bill and being sensitive to the level of specificity of the language…nothing nefarious here, just more clear language.”
Yeah, right.
This is just the latest example of the Obama Administration making clear that it does not want to be seen as Israel’s partner in regional affairs – several of them predicated on Turkish desires. Despite Israel’s status as a Major Non-NATO ally, a NATO “partner” country, and a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, Turkey is increasingly insistent that Israel be isolated and cut out. This surrender to Turkey — which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years been aggressively making ever more fundamentalist — coincides nicely with the Administration’s increasingly open courtship of Turkey’s Islamist-leaning and virulently anti-Israel Prime Minister and what appears to be the desire of the Administration to enhance security relations in the Arab-Muslim world as it dials back visible cooperation with Israel.
This is no small matter. Israel’s security is threatened — above all by the refusal of the Arab States to accept that it is a legitimate, permanent part of the region in which it lives. For the U.S. or Turkey — formerly a partner in regional security – to distance themselves from Israeli security is to raise hopes among enemies that they will ultimately be able to threaten Israel without fear of a U.S. or NATO-allied response.

Turkey bluntly objects to sharing intelligence information with Israel – specifically the intelligence from NATO’s Turkey-based, U.S.-run X-Band early warning radars. At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told reporters, “We need to trust states’ words. This is a NATO facility and it shouldn’t be used beyond the scope of this purpose.” The “state” in question was clearly the U.S., and “beyond the scope” referred to sharing information with Israel. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta replied, “Clearly, the NATO members are the ones that will participate in the program and access information produced by the missile defense system.” In a meeting in February, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen parroted the Turkish formula. “We do stress that data within this missile defense system are not shared with a third country. Data are shared within our alliance, among allies, it is a defensive system to protect the populations of NATO allies,” Rasmussen said.
Agreeing publicly to keep intelligence information from Israel – a more likely target of Iran than Europe/NATO – at the behest of Turkey is a serious diminution of the U.S.-Israel security relationship as well as the Israel-NATO relationship, and elevates Turkey to the role of spoiler.
According to one source, Turkey assured Iran that the X-Band radars were not aimed at the Islamic Republic and that a Turkish military officer was in charge of receiving the intelligence information. Here the U.S. appears to have balked, telling Israel that Americans were in charge of the information, but not reassuring Israel on the subject of information sharing. Further, since the station in Turkey also acquires information from the X-Band radar based in Israel, it raises Israeli concerns that Turkey will have access to security information from Israeli skies.
Turkey also demanded the exclusion of Israel from Anatolian Eagle, a NATO exercise conducted every few years to enhance aerial cooperation. The Turkish decision caused Italy and the U.S. to pull out, and the exercise was canceled – “postponed,” according to US sources as was the planned U.S.-Israel missile defense exercise, Austere Challenge, which would have had a strong intelligence-sharing component.
NATO’s snub of Israel at the meeting in Chicago in May was simply waved away: “Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR (Afghanistan and Kosovo missions),” said Rasmussen, even as he acknowledged that 13 other “partner” nations would attend because, “In today’s world security challenges know no borders, and no country or alliance can deal with most of them on their own.”
It was said then that Turkey used its NATO veto. But Israel was similarly not invited to the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul — not a NATO meeting.
Coming on the heels of Eager Lion 2012, a Special Operations exercise involving 12,000 troops from 19 countries (excluding Israel and including several countries at war with Israel), the counterterrorism forum was designed by Secretary of State Clinton to “build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism.” The State Department was responsible for the invitations, so Turkey had no veto. If the Administration had wanted to make the point that Israel is a valued partner in counterterrorism activities, it could have insisted that Israel be there or else moved the meeting.
Perhaps as compensation, a U.S. delegation visited Israel separately. But private bilateral meetings are no substitute for leading by example so that other countries – particularly in the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia – understand that the United States sees Israel as a legitimate partner in solving regional problems, including terrorism, and that U.S.-Israel security cooperation is a priority of the American government.
Turkey is riding high with the Administration right now; and President Obama welcomed the Turkish Prime Minister in March as an “outstanding partner and an outstanding friend on a wide range of issues” — including, apparently, in reducing relations with Israel.
ODNI’s determination to remove language about satellite intelligence from the Senate bill was most likely intended to ensure that the State Department and Pentagon were not caught between the Senate’s interest in keeping U.S.-Israel security relations strong, and Turkey’s interest in wedging Israel out of its place as an American security partner.
What an odd place for a U.S. intelligence agency to find itself. What an odd place for the Administration to find its intelligence agency — or what an odd place to put it.
Link: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3133/us-israel-security-cooperation
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA and author of JINSA Reports from 1995-2011.

One would think that Obama could keep the economy running well to justify his bold changes in foreign policy.


Leon Panetta Admits the U.S. At War With Iran?

July 15, 2011

The US barely mentions Syria. Obama denies we are at war with Libya–whom we are bombing. But the US is at war with Iran–whom we are not bombing: The United States is engaged in a deadly but seldom mentioned proxy war with Iran. In a rare act of candor, two senior Obama administration defense officials have addressed the open secret of Iran’s active support for insurgent groups fighting U.S. troops overseas. New Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says this war is in response to the increasing violence of Iran’s Shiite militia groups and their military support for Iraqi extremists. More via Daled Amos