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| | |-+  Israel, the mid-east, and Russia - Part 2
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Author Topic: Israel, the mid-east, and Russia - Part 2  (Read 20035 times)
Shammu
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« Reply #240 on: July 20, 2006, 02:45:28 AM »

ISRAEL EMPLOYS ENHANCED MLRS IN LEBANON

TEL AVIV [MENL] -- Israel has introduced its enhanced multiple launch rocket system in the war in Lebanon.

Industry and military sources said the Israel Army has deployed and operated at least one battery of its enhanced Multiple Launch Rocket System along the Lebanese border. They said the Trajectory Correction System has converted Lockheed Martin's unguided 227 mm MLRS into a precision-guided artillery platform.

"This is the first time the system has been used on the battlefield," a military source said. "We now see how powerful this is in destroying important targets without endangering ground troops or aircraft."

The TCS, also termed the Destroyer, underwent more than five years of development in a $50 million project led by the state-owned Israel Military Industries. The sources said the system -- designed to improve the accuracy of free-flight artillery rockets to that of conventional tube artillery -- would significantly reduce the number of rockets needed for target elimination.

ISRAEL EMPLOYS ENHANCED MLRS IN LEBANON
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« Reply #241 on: July 20, 2006, 02:50:45 AM »

Olmert: Iranian trick succeeded

In meeting with Israeli diplomats, prime minister says all eyes are drawn to Lebanon, abandoning Iran's nuclear threat; adds that even if diplomatic negotiations begin, military operation will continue until kidnapped soldiers return home
Ahiya Raved

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arrived Tuesday evening at the rocket-battered city of Haifa and met with the heads of about 60 regional councils in northern Israel, which have been subjected to ongoing and deadly barrages for almost a week now.

"This is a state of emergency, we will do everything to help you," he promised.

Olmert also met with Israeli ambassadors and heads of delegations leaving for diplomatic missions, and pointed a finger mainly at Iran.

"The timing of Hizbullah's operation in the north was not coincidental," he said. "It was coordinated with Iran and was aimed at drawing the international attention from Iran. Unfortunately, Iran's trick succeeded. Everyone now remembers the G8 decision on the Lebanese issue and fails to deal with the Iranian issue."

The prime minister noted that Israel does not reject diplomatic negotiations to solve the crisis, under the condition that it will be based on the principles of the G8 decision, meaning: An immediate release of the kidnapped soldiers under no conditions and an implementation of the Security Council's Resolution 1559 regarding the deployment if the Lebanese army along the border and disarming Hizbullah.

"No one in the international community is asking us to halt the operation before an implementation of the G8 decision," Olmert said. "In order to implement this, we may have to hold diplomatic negotiations not with Hizbullah. In any case, starting negotiations will not stop the operation only the return of the kidnapped soldiers will."

He made it clear that until there is no certainty that Israel is not under threat, the Israel Defense Forces will not stop its operation.

As for proposals made by Europe, the United Nations and other to deploy an international force in Lebanon, the prime minister said: "This is a good headline, but our experience shows that there is nothing behind it. There is an international force in Lebanon also today, and we see what they are doing. I want to be cautious about the issue, and I think it is too early to discuss this."

Bereaved parents support Olmert

A particularly exciting moment took place when Olmert was approached by Home Front Command Chief Major-General Yitzhak Gershon, who told him that he had just returned from a visit to the family home of Lieutenant Colonel Eitan Belachsan, who was killed during an operation in Lebanon when he was the commander of a paratroopers commando unit.

"They asked me to tell you that they support you and the IDF's operation, and that you should do everything in order to remove the Katyushas from the Galilee," he said. Olmert was extremely moved.

The meeting's attendees decided to establish a directors' forum, headed by Raanan Dinur, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, which will work to provide governmental assistance and ease the life of the bombarded residents. The team is set to submit its first recommendations to the prime minister within a number of days.

Olmert at the Haifa Congress Center (Photo: GPO)

Olmert praised "the strength of the residents, who are facing a situation which is no less difficult than previous terror attacks in all the cities of Israel."

He made it clear that "we won't let go of the terrorists and will attack them from the air, the sea and the land. I will make sure that Israel's citizens will not be subjected to missile attacks anymore and will be safe."

"I am proud of the residents' strength," the prime minister told the regional council heads at the Haifa Congress Center. "We will do everything to stop the harm caused to them. Therefore the IDF is fighting and we are here at your service. The Israeli government stands behind you and lovingly accepts the expressions of tolerance and patience in the face of the Katyusha and rocket attack from Lebanon.

"The residents' behavior strengthens the IDF and the Israeli government," Olmert praised the community leaders and the public they represent.

Sitting next to directors of various ministries, he promised: "All the ministries are here at your service. I told them that this is a state of emergency, I told them to leave everything and take care of you and of the residents' needs. All the government ministers are also touring the north from morning to night in order to provide you with assistance."

Came to strengthen and left strengthened

"The prime minister came to tell the council heads that they are the real leaders in the field in these harsh days, that the civil endurance they and their residents are manifesting equals the power of many armies," Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon told Ynet at the end of the meeting.

"The front is not on the border today, the front is in Haifa and Carmiel. The citizens' endurance is our great test, and the prime minister came to strengthen and left strengthened," he said.

The council heads, on their part, expressed their support of the government's policy and called to continue the war "until Hizbullah is eliminated and the threat over the northern communities is removed."

They presented their guest with the communities' distress and expressed their hope that the promises and compliments are not forgotten on the day after.

Olmert: Iranian trick succeeded
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« Reply #242 on: July 20, 2006, 02:51:49 AM »

Hizb'allah presses 'Palestinians' to go on the attack
Wants to divert Israeli forces from Lebanon

By Ryan Jones
Jul 19, 2006

Fearing an IDF invasion of Lebanon, Hizb'allah is pressing the Palestinian Arabs to go on the offensive against Israel and divert Israeli forces away from its northern border, reported Middle East Newsline Tuesday.

According to "Palestinian" sources, Hizb'allah, with the approval of "Palestinian" terrorist commanders in Damascus, has ordered Hamas and Islamic Jihad to intensify rocket and "suicide" bombing attacks against Israel.

    "The aim is to divert Israel's attention away from Lebanon and prevent a ground attack," said one source.

Israeli security forces thwarted a "suicide" bomb attack in Jerusalem on Monday, and more than 20 Kassam and other rockets have been fired from Gaza over the past 24 hours.

On Tuesday, a Hamas terrorist attempted to abduct a female IDF soldier in southern Israel. The soldier managed to fight off her attacker long enough for her comrades to her aid and apprehend the assailant.

Hizb'allah presses 'Palestinians' to go on the attack
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« Reply #243 on: July 20, 2006, 02:53:49 AM »

Syria resupplying Hizb'allah
Numerous missiles intercepted en route from Damascus

By Ryan Jones
Jul 19, 2006

While Israel is working to eliminate Hizb'allah's ability to make war, the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is attempting to resupply the battered terrorist organization, validating Western claims of Damascus' active sponsorship of regional terror.

IDF Operations Branch Head Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told reporters Tuesday that Syrian elements are at this moment smuggling weapons into Lebanon.

Israel's Air Force managed to intercept a number of trucks transporting missiles earmarked for Hizb'allah.

General Eisenkot said it is extremely naive to believe the shipments are being made without the knowledge of Syria's leadership.

"These are rockets that belong to the Syrian army. You can’t find them in the Damascus market."

While Eisenkot stressed Israel is not acting against Syria at this time, evidence of Damascus' active participation ratcheted up fears that this war may broaden sooner rather than later.

Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a statment Monday warning that anything or anyone facilitating Hizb'allah's ability to threaten the Jewish state is a legitimate target.

"Anything that facilitates and serves Hizbullah, in terms of the real and tangible threat it poses to Israel, is a legitimate target."

Syria resupplying Hizb'allah
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« Reply #244 on: July 20, 2006, 03:00:01 AM »

EU 'acutely concerned' by Middle East violence
17.07.2006 - 20:02 CET | By Mark Beunderman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU foreign ministers have urged Israel "not to resort to disproportionate action" when defending itself against Hezbollah attacks, while member states are evacuating their own nationals after joint EU plans to bring Europeans home proved troublesome.

Foreign ministers were on Monday (17 July) briefed by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana following a Sunday trip to assess the escalating violence in Lebanon.

They met amid reports of more civilian casualties in mutual attacks between Israel and the islamist Hezbollah movement, with the BBC reporting that at least 10 Lebanese people died in an Israeli attack in the south of the country.

Ministers agreed on a statement which was as similar as possible to a text adopted by G8 leaders in St Petersburg over the weekend in order to create an "international front to press Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah," Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot said.

The statement says that the EU is "acutely concerned" at the situation in the Middle East, "in particular at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and deplores the loss of civilian lives on all sides."

"The European Union condemns the attacks by Hezbollah on Israel and the abduction of two Israeli soldiers. It calls for their immediate and unconditional release and for the cessation of all attacks on Israeli towns and cities," the text reads.

Ministers also said that The "EU recognises Israel's legitimate right to self-defence, but it urges Israel to exercise utmost restraint and not to resort to disproportionate action."

EU troops to the region?
The passage on Israeli actions is notably weaker than earlier statements issued by the Finnish EU presidency last week, which had simply called Israeli violence "disproportionate."

An Israeli diplomat told EUobserver that Jerusalem disliked this wording, asking "what do people expect Israel to do?" in face of the "indiscriminate terror" by Hezbollah rocket attacks.

As wished by Jerusalem, EU ministers also recalled "the need for the Lebanese state to restore its sovereignty over the whole of its national territory and to do its utmost to prevent [Hezbollah] attacks."

Ministers also discussed the possibility of sending troops to the region as part of a new UN peace force.

UK prime minister Tony Blair said on Monday at the St Petersburg G8 meeting "The only way in my view we are going to get a cessation of hostilities is if we have the deployment of an international force into that area that can stop the bombardment coming over into Israel and therefore gives Israel the reason to stop its attacks on Hezbollah."

EU ministers agreed to in principle contribute to such a force if the UN would request so, according to Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja.

He said that "It is primarily the UN and the Security Council who would have to deal with this issue" but added that EU ministers "have made clear to favourably consider participating in such a mission."

But speaking for the Netherlands, Mr Bot this would be "for others" to do, with the Hague already overburdened by international peace operations around the globe.

EU evacuation trouble
Meanwhile, member states are individually proceeding to evacuate their nationals from the crisis region after weekend efforts at EU coordination proved troublesome.

Mr Tuomioja referred to "intensive consular co-operation co-ordinated by the presidency."

With the EU not having a consular service, "improvisation worked very well," the Finnish politician said.

But Mr Bot said that The Hague concluded on Saturday it had to rely on its "own force" when it became clear that common EU efforts were to strand.

He said that Finland has no embassy in Lebanon and had ask to use Germany's, while France would send a ship to pick up Europeans but that ship "had not arrived."

Slovak foreign minister Igor Kubis told EUobserver "Some states did provide their services to other nationals - like Czech aircrafts taking on board also Slovaks citizens."

But ministers agreed to set up a working group that "would suggest measures for even better co-ordination in future," he added.

Some European families were lucky and fitted into the helicopter flying Mr Solana from Lebanon to Cyprus on Sunday; the foreign policy chief said. "On my legs, I had a little baby."

EU 'acutely concerned' by Middle East violence
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« Reply #245 on: July 20, 2006, 03:01:30 AM »

EU top diplomat in Middle East amid continuing violence
19.07.2006 - 09:49 CET | By Mark Beunderman
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has arrived in the violence-stricken Middle East for fresh talks with Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian politicians.

Mr Solana arrived in Israel on Tuesday evening (18 July) for a meeting with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday, after he had held discussions with the Lebanese leadership over the weekend.

The EU foreign policy chief's latest diplomatic effort comes amid continued violence between Israel and the Islamist Hezbollah movement, with the BBC reporting that 230 Lebanese people and 25 Israelis have been killed since the conflict erupted last week.

Mr Solana will also meet the Palestinian leadership on Wednesday, as Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territories are continuing.

The top diplomat will subsequently go to Cairo for talks with the Egyptian government on Thursday.

Meanwhile, US state secretary Condoleezza Rice is also preparing to travel to the region, possibly next week, according to media reports.

Fischer as EU envoy?
But some voices are pleading for a stronger EU role in ending the hostilities, with the Greens in the European Parliament suggesting former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer – himself a Green politician – should become special EU peace envoy.

"As a proven international politician, respected both in Israel and Palestine, Joschka Fischer would be ideally placed to play a mediating role, as an EU envoy, aimed at negotiating a ceasefire," leading Green MEPs Daniel Cohn-Bendit from Germany and Italian Monica Frassoni said in a statement.

"Following this, an international initiative based on the 'roadmap' for peace in the Middle East should be re-launched and an international conference should be prepared with a view to achieving peace in the region," they added.

In an interview with Spiegel Online, Mr Cohn-Bendit also said the UN should task NATO to set up a peace force in the area, as the alliance is "currently the only military force which could do something like that."

His remarks follow calls by UN secretary general Kofi Annan for a stronger UN force to be stationed between Israel and Lebanon.

UN force
"It is urgent that the international community acts to make a difference on the ground," Mr Annan said after meeting European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Tuesday.

"I would expect a force that will have a modified and different concept of operation and with different capabilities. I would expect contributions from European countries and countries from other regions," the UN chief said.

The UN has had a 2,000 strong force in south Lebanon since 1978, known as UNIFIL, but it lacks the necessary mandate.

Mr Barroso said some EU member states had expressed their willingness to contribute to the proposed force, with the Finnish EU presidency indicating member states have made it clear they would "favourably consider participating in such a mission."

EU top diplomat in Middle East amid continuing violence
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« Reply #246 on: July 20, 2006, 03:03:30 AM »

President writes to German chancellor
Tehran, July 19, IRNA

Iran-Ahmadinejad
A letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was handed over to a German Embassy official here on Wednesday.

A report released by the Foreign Ministry Media Department said that in the absence of the German ambassador to Tehran, the letter was submitted to the German charge d'affaires in his meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

President writes to German chancellor
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« Reply #247 on: July 20, 2006, 03:05:15 AM »

British envoy meets with head of parliamentary friendship group
Tehran, July 20, IRNA

Iran-Britain-Ambassador
British Ambassador to Tehran Geoffrey Adams met with Iranian head of parliamentary Iran-Britain friendship group Hossein Nejabat here Wednesday.

According to the report of Majlis Media Department, Nejabat by referring to the recent visit by a British parliamentary delegation to Tehran said the exchange of parliamentary delegations will increase the knowledge of parliaments and will expand mutual ties.

He added the two parliaments can have an effective role in correcting wrong conceptions and facilitating bilateral relations.

Nejabat said the latest report of foreign relations committee to the British House of Commons regarding Iran included false information and unreal data.

He noted that some of British government policies toward Iran are not tolerable for Iranians and it is necessary to change these policies.

The Iranian majlis deputy by criticizing authorization of MKO (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization) activities in England in different covers said, in spite of British Anti-Terrorism law of year 2000, according to which the MKO is among terrorist organizations in the British Home Office list, as a matter of fact, London, practically is one of the main bases of the MKO terrorist activity.

As another negative existing point in bilateral ties, Nejabat referred to the British stances on nuclear issue and stressed on necessity of correcting wrong policy of England in this concern for promoting the mutual ties.

The British envoy, for his part, expressed hope that by constructive efforts of both countries' officials and parliaments the misunderstandings can be removed and the bilateral ties could reach its expected potential levels.

The ambassador added although there are principal differences in the two countries policies, there are reasonable common grounds for cooperation too.

British envoy meets with head of parliamentary friendship group
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« Reply #248 on: July 20, 2006, 03:06:44 AM »

Iran backs comprehensive solution to Lebanon crisis: FM
Damascus, July 18, IRNA

Iran-Syria-FM
Iran supports a comprehensive solution to the Lebanese crisis that meets the legal demands of the suffering nation, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Monday.


Mottaki, who arrived in Syria Monday morning for a short working visit, made the remarks while speaking to IRNA before winding up his visit.

"Several countries are mediating to help end the crisis in Lebanon," he noted.

"The Islamic world supports the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine and the legitimate rights of the peoples of this region." "Muslim countries are united in their strong condemnation of Zionists atrocities in the region," he added.

Mottaki regretted that efforts of the United Nations Security Council to put an end to Zionist aggressions on the Lebanese and Palestinian nations, even a mere resolution, were always immediately blocked by a US veto.

"Washington is even preventing the international community from expressing support for the Lebanese nation in the ongoing Zionist offensive."
He dismissed as "baseless and unfounded" allegations by certain Lebanese political groups that Iran was encouraging the Muslim resistance in the region in order to divert attention from its nuclear case.

"Such issues are raised so they can find ways of dealing with the difficult situation they are now in. Washing and Tel Aviv are skillful when it comes to launching a psychological war," Mottaki said.

"Psychological wars are a strategy used by enemies to undermine the Lebanese and Palestinian nations' resistance."
Asked about insinuations in the regional press that through his current visit Iran was sending an indirect message to the Zionist regime, Mottaki said that the situation of the Zionist regime was clear.

"Most countries in the region and fighters of resistance will not accept continuation of the Zionist regime's atrocities." He said the issue at stake was the Zionist regime's continuing cruelty and bullying of the Lebanese and Palestinian people and regional states, and its `wall of separation' from the region.

"If a message were to be sent to Zionist regime, it would come from the region, and the message is that the resistance of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples will go on," Mottaki said.

The Iranian minister, during his day-long visit to Damascus on Monday, met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Vice President Farouq al-Shara and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.

Accompanying him in this visit was Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Reza Baqeri.

Iran backs comprehensive solution to Lebanon crisis: FM
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