Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Ad Hoc Update (14)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia’s duplicitous behavior with respect to Iran and Israel is mind-numbing. Russia now appears to be supporting Israel and, perhaps, ostracizing Iran. This despite rampant anti-semitism in Russia. Tehran is just as deceitful as Moscow, so these two deserve each other.

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Interesting developments following the Israeli raids on Iranian targets in Syria. The chairman of Iranian National Security and Foreign-policy Committee attacks Russia for  “not activating” the S-300PM2 GARGOYLE systems to defend the destroyed Iranian sites, even though past public data suggests the three donated batteries are deployed near Damascus, Homs, and Deir Ezzor, and could be challenged to see a low flying target in central Syria from those locations, not to mention that they might have been jammed by the IDF. The Israelis also promised to whack any S-300PM2 batteries targeting their aircraft – a good disincentive to defending Iranian assets.

Lavrov’s deputy Ryabkov responds by observing that Russia is under no obligation to defend Iranian assets in Syria, and embellishes this by commenting that Russia is committed to “very strong security of Israel” – a complete reversal of the tirade of anti-Israel rhetoric less than 12 months ago. Why the reversal? Numerous reports have suggested that Iran has actively sought to marginalize Russia in Damascus, and Russia might also be uncomfortable about Israel supplying advanced military tech to Ukraine, following last week’s MOU signing with Kyiv.

So Muscovy now has strong motives to cultivate Jerusalem, and sideline Tehran.

Much argument over Israel’s decision to change the semi-covert air war against Iran into an overt war. In Israel, cabinet member Gallant openly states Israel plans to expel Iran from Syria.

Also some interesting reports on anti-Semitism in Russia and the UK.

Russia is committed to the security of Israel, Russian official says – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow does not have an alliance with Iran in Syria.

Russia denies allying with Iran in Syria, says Israeli security a ‘top priority’ | The Times of Israel

Deputy FM tells CNN that efforts to distance Iranian forces from the Israeli-Syrian border were undercut by reimposition of US sanctions

Russia’s deputy foreign minister denies Iran alliance in Syria: ‘Israel is a priority’ – Israel News –

Asked whether Moscow and Tehran are allies in Syria, Sergei Ryabkov says: ‘I wouldn’t use this type of words to describe where we are with Iran’

i24NEWS – Russia committed to ‘very strong security of Israel’: deputy foreign minister

Declaration come as Iran leadership reportedly frustrated by lack of support from Moscow in Syria.

Iran Slams Russia for Deactivating S-300 during Israeli Airstrikes on Syria

A senior Iranian lawmaker has strongly criticized Russia for deactivating its S-300 missile defence system deployed in Syria during the recent Israeli airstrikes on what Tel Aviv claims were Iranian positions in the Arab country.

Syrian S-300 Systems Were ‘Inactive’ During Israeli Missile Attack – Iranian MP – Sputnik International

Israel recently carried out a spate of missile strikes on alleged Iranian targets in Syria. The Syrian air defences reportedly destroyed over 30 Israeli cruise missiles and guided bombs during the attack, which lasted two days.

Iran ‘Angry’ Over Russia Not Activating S-300 Defense Systems in Syria | The Jewish Press – | JNS News Service | 21 Shevat 5779 – January 26, 2019 |

The head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign-policy committee, Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh, expressed “anger” towards Russia for not activating the S-300 air-defense system deployed in Syria during an Israeli retaliation this week near Damascus. “The Israelis claim their actions are against Iran, while they are attacking Syrian infrastructure, security and defense installations,” he said on Thursday.

Israel Strikes in Syria Could Prompt Strike on Tel Aviv: Hezbollah Leader – The New York Times

The “axis of resistance” of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah could respond to Israeli strikes on Iran and Hezbollah in Syria with their own attack on Tel Aviv, Hezbollah’s leader said on Saturday.

Iran’s Soleimani seeks new balance of terror with Israel. For now, he failed – Israel News –

Netanyahu and new army chief reap benefits from Syria strikes – but who will sound the alarm bells when Israel approaches the precipice of war?

Galant: Israel has a plan to kick Iran out of Syria – Israel National News

Absorption Minister and former General says Israel has plan ready to get Iran out of Syria, adds that Russia and Israel on the same page.

Likud minister Gallant: Israel has plan to boot Iran from Syria | The Times of Israel

Meanwhile, Netanyahu reportedly urges US to keep troops at a base in southern Syria seen as key to countering Iranian forces

Gallant: Israel plans to expel Iran from Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

“The real reason that Iran is not in the Golan Heights lies in the fact that the State of Israel is working to prevent this with help from its allies.”

The end of the ambiguity policy: Israel’s new strategy in Syria – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

The Israeli decision to end its ambiguity policy sends a clear message: Israel will not compromise on its security, despite the compromises with Hamas, which were deemed required.

Is Israel’s Inevitable War With Iran Already Underway? | Jewish & Israel News – Israelis enjoying themselves on the slopes of the Mount Hermon ski resort in the Golan Heights were startled on Sunday afternoon to witness an Iranian missile heading their way. Had it not been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system, many innocent vacationers, as well as residents in the area, would have been killed. The surface-to-surface projectile, fired by the Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force in Syria, did not cause the skiers to pack up their gear and run for shelter and hot chocolate, however. After filming the scene on phones and helmet cams, they picked up where they left off. For most Israelis, the rain of enemy rockets is not nearly as novel as mounds of fresh snow. Disappointment was high, then, when the IDF announced that the popular site, adjacent to the Syrian and Lebanese borders, would be closed on Monday. The IDF was already planning the retaliatory strikes that it carried out late Sunday night against Iranian bases and soldiers stationed near Damascus — a mere 30 miles from Mount Hermon. On Tuesday morning, the IDF reopened the ski resort to the public, just as a joint US-Israel test of the advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system — designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles — was executed successfully off the Mediterranean coast.

Under pressure, Iran might let go of Syria but not of Iraq | Mohamad Kawas | AW

Something has accelerated modification of the rules of the game between Iran and Israel. Tel Aviv talked of intercepting a missile fired by an Iranian unit in Syria directed at the Golan Heights.

Israeli air raids on Iranian targets in Syria escalate tensions | Iran News | Al Jazeera

Iran says entering into a direct war with Israel is a decision for the Syrian government, but experts fear the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran.

Analyst Reveals Missile & Bomb Types Israel May Have Used in Latest Syria Attack – Sputnik International

Israeli warplanes carried out two days-worth of precision strikes against targets at the Damascus International Airport last week, with the Russian military reporting that Syria’s air defences brought down several dozen missiles before they could hit their targets.

Israel uses kamikaze-drone to counter Syria’s new air defenses: report

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:35 P.M.) – In a new article published by the National Interest on Friday, the author highlights both Syria’s improved air defenses and

WORLD WAR 3 fears: Israel deploys FEARSOME missile systems amid Syria threat | World | News |

ISRAELI defence forces have deployed Iron Dome anti-missile systems amid threats of airstrikes from Syria and escalating tensions on the Gaza Strip.

i24NEWS – Analysis: three positive strategic developments for Israel

‘As the wheel turns’ – that is what’s happening this week in the field of security

War Against Iran Becoming Ever More Likely

Donald Trump’s domestic troubles, combined with the current makeup of his foreign policy team, provide a confluence of circumstances, perhaps a perfect storm, to pull the United States into a war with Iran. | By Jim Lobe, Ben Armbruster

Why Iran is in the crosshairs | The Star

Israel is ramping up its confrontation with Iran, with America’s blessing. The next step could be catastrophic, writes Tony Burman.

Syria is Israel and Iran’s battleground | Arab News

For some time now there has been a sense of inevitability that the conflict between Israel and Iran, currently taking place in Syria amidst a fog of (im)plausible deniability, will turn into open hostilities conducted in daylight, both literally and figuratively.

There’s good reason to fear Iran’s global reach | The Times of Israel

Teheran’s capabilities and actions suggest it will continue to pose regional and global security challenges for the forseeable future

Missile Defense Is Not Enough — We Must Counter the Iranian Threat | Jewish & Israel News – Back in the late 1960s, the common perception in the United States was that America could only be attacked from large distances — for example, the distance between Moscow and Washington. The main concern at the time focused on intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. Americans prepared themselves accordingly, even going so far as to build atomic fallout shelters across the country. As a direct consequence of this defense doctrine, decision-makers weren’t given access to short-range missiles, whose only purpose, it was believed, was to counter charging enemy tanks. Former President Ronald Reagan launched his “Star Wars” initiative to intercept Soviet ICBMs with laser beams and other means of “science fiction.” Israel joined this initiative in 1985 with its plan to develop a surface-to-air missile system capable of intercepting ICBMs. The project was named “Arrow.” From a budgetary perspective, most of the funding for Arrow — around 80 percent — came from America. Still, Israel has invested heavily in the system and some argued that the price was too steep. That debate essentially ended around two decades ago.

Discovery of Hezbollah ‘attack tunnels’ rattles a northern Israeli town

Israelis got a shock announcement last month when the government said it had found a series of Hezbollah “attack tunnels” infiltrating from Lebanon.

Hezbollah could ‘for years’ enter Israel, group’s leader says after tunnels found | Reuters

Iran-backed Hezbollah has “for years” been able to enter Israel, the Lebanese group’s leader said on Saturday, responding for the first time to Israel’s discovery of tunnels dug into Israeli territory from Lebanon.

U.S. may stay at Syrian desert base near Jordan to counter Iran – report – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

In mid-December US President Donald Trump announced that forces would be withdrawn from Syria.

US Considers Keeping Troops at al-Tanf, Syria to Counter Iran Amid Exit – Report – Sputnik International

Earlier this month, an anonymous source told AFP news agency that the US has started withdrawing non-essential equipment from Syria, though American military personnel remain deployed in the Middle Eastern country. The troop pull-out was announced by President Trump in December 2018.

Iran fumes as Germany bans Iranian airline for security reasons – International news – Jerusalem Post

According to the German foreign ministry, Mahan Air was involved in the transport of Iranian military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones.

Iran’s revolution, 40 years on: Israel’s reverse periphery doctrine

The hostility between Israel and Iran was not always there. It can be traced directly to one period, 40 years ago: the Iranian revolution and the birth of the Islamic Republic.

Turkish military opens fire in northern Iraq as protesters storm military base –

Turkish army servicemen opened fire on the local protesters, as they attacked the military base in Al-Amadiya, Northern Iraq. ‘Civilians near the city of Duhuk in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region protested in front of a Turkish military base to condemn Turkish airstrikes against civilians in the north, the source said’ as CNN refers to a senior security official in Duhuk province. 300 protesters inflitrated the military object and set two tanks and several cars on fire. That resulted in a number of blasts. The Turks fired in response, which inflicted wounds on three people. ‘Turkey has been bombing areas in Iraqi Kurdistan, claiming to target Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. Its airstrikes killed 36 people in the Kurdish region in 2018, according to official statistics released by local authorities in the Kurdish region. Turkey has long fought the PKK, an outlawed Kurdish group responsible for major terror attacks in Turkey as part of its bid for national ethnic autonomy. The European Union and the United States both have named the PKK a terrorist group’, CNN concludes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Russia Now Unfortunately Features ‘Anti-Semitism with a Human Face,’ Nevzlin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 24 – Something new and very disturbing has emerged in Putin’s Russia, commentator Leonid Nevzlin says: “anti-Semitism lit” or perhaps “anti-Semitism with a human face” in which those disparaging Jews do so not with the angry language of anti-Semites of the past but rather with humor and a smile that even some Jews join in. Nevzlin begins his commentary by recounting a recent exchange on television in which the host told a Ukrainian that he had always thought that “answering a question with a question is an indicative aspect of another nationality,” a remark all his listeners understood to be about Jews and to which those in the studio smiled ( But the fact that anti-Semitism takes this form does not make it any less evil, the writer continues. Indeed, it may in some respects make it worse because it makes such hatred or contempt for Jews more insidious by implying that it is somehow acceptable when presented in this way. It is said, Nevzlin relates that Yury Kanner, the president of the Russian Jewish Congress, “is not against jokes about Jews. A few days ago, he told a Moscow newspaper that when he was visiting Auschwitz, a waiter asked him whether he wanted his water still or “with gas.” Kanner said he replied, he usually drinks water with gas, but in Auschwitz, he’d rather have it without. Other prominent figures engage in similar kinds of unfortunate even sick humor at the expense of the Jews. Commentator Vladimir Pozner, for example, in 2016 said that he knew what a Russian is and what a Frenchman, but just what a Jew was was difficult for him to understand. And television personality Petr Tolstoy descended even lower. In 2017, he said that Jews protesting against giving St. Isaac’s Cathedral back to the Russian Orthodox church were “the grandsons and great grandsons of those who ‘destroyed out churches … emerging from the pale of settlement with revolvers in 1917.” Such comments mercifully do not resemble those of the Nazi Der Sturmer or the imagery of Zionists in the Soviet journal Krokodil; but that doesn’t make them innocent. The behavior of someone like Kanner is especially noxious, Nevzlin says, but fortunately his influence in the world “is equal to zero.” But one must regret that since 2001, the Russian Jewish Congress has “degraded to the point that such a personage” has the right to be its head, someone like these others who does not understand that normalizing anti-Semitism by humor opens the way to the kind of anti-Semitism that they would be the first to decry.

Thornberry calls for arms sales ban if Israel continues Iran airstrikes in Syria | Jewish News

Shadow Foreign Secretary urges Foreign Office to tell Israel it will ban arms sales and end joint military exercises if it extends airstrikes.

Labour MP Joan Ryan slams Emily Thornberry for ‘casting Israel as villain’ and comparing it to Syria and Iran

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Emily Thornberry said Israel should be threatened with and arms sales ban and a suspension of UK-Israeli operations if it continues in ‘acts of aggression against Iran’.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry criticised for ‘absurd’ letter on Israel and Iran – The Jewish Chronicle

Labour leadership castigated for staying silent on war crimes of Russia and Iran while attacking Jewish state for defending itself

British Jews Furious Over Fresh Labour Party Call to Suspend UK Arms Sales to Israel | Jewish & Israel News

As the UK continues to wrestle with the absence of a political deal to accompany its departure from the European Union on March 29, the opposition Labour Party has again clashed with the Jewish community, this time over a call to suspend arms sales to Israel. In a letter on Thursday to British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Labour Party Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry equated Iran’s military support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria with Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah weapons convoys and military facilities in that country. This was followed by a list of demands that focused exclusively on punishing Israel, including the suspension of arms sales to Israel and the canceling of joint exercises between the Israeli Air Force and the Royal Air Force planned for later this year. “It would seem utterly inappropriate for the RAF to be helping to train pilots who would then be using those lessons in a war of aggression against Iran, or in breach of Iraq’s sovereignty,” Thornberry said. British Jewish leaders reacted furiously to Thornberry’s letter.