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Showing posts with label Damascus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Damascus. Show all posts

In tacit threat, Israel releases satellite photos of Syrian presidential palace

To mark 30 years since its first orbital launch, Defense Ministry publishes images from its newest spy satellite, showing Syrian tanks, an airfield… and Bashar Assad’s home

A photograph of Syria's Presidential Palace in Damascus taken by Israel's Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

Israel on Monday released photographs taken by its newest spy satellite of sites located deep inside Syria, including Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s palace, in an apparent threat to the regime.
The images, taken by the Ofek 11 spy satellite, were released by the Defense Ministry to mark 30 years since Israel’s first orbital launch on September 19, 1988.

The three photographs released by the ministry showed the Syrian Presidential Palace, also known as the Palace of the People; tanks on a Syrian military base; and the Damascus international airport, which was reportedly targeted by an Israeli missile strike on Saturday night. 

The publication of the images could be seen as both a show of strength and a tacit threat to Syria, where Israel has routinely conducted air raids against Iranian targets — over 200 of them since 2017, according to the Israel Defense Forces.





The Saturday night strike reportedly targeted an Iranian plane at the Damascus international airport that was delivering weapons to pro-regime forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units fighting in Syria’s civil war, as well as several weapons storage facilities at the airport itself.


Syrian President Bashar Assad in an AP interview at the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, September 2016. (Syrian Presidency via AP)

There was no official Israel comment on the reported attack. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday seemed to acknowledge that the Israeli military was responsible for it

“Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem. “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”



A photograph of Syria’s international airport in Damascus taken by Israel’s Ofek 11 spy satellite, which was released by the Defense Ministry on September 17, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, claimed that Israel had targeted the airport with missiles, activating the country’s air defenses, which shot down a number of the projectiles. The Syrian military has often been accused of exaggerating its successes in intercepting incoming missiles.

On Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said that the alleged Israeli strike caused “substantial” damage at the airport, but had no immediate information on casualties.


 For years, Israel has been concerned that Iran was using opportunities presented by the Syrian civil war to entrench itself militarily in the country in order to further threaten the Jewish state — alongside the threat already posed by terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Ofek 11

The Ofek 11 spy satellite was launched on September 13, 2016, using a Shavit rocket, the same basic model that Israel used to launch the first Ofek satellite 30 years before.

Shortly after takeoff, the team operating the satellite discovered it was not functioning properly. Teams of engineers on the ground worked to stabilize the Ofek 11 and get its systems running.


Israel’s Ofek-11 spy satellite takes off from Palmachim air base in central Israel on September 13, 2016. (Ministry of Defense Space Administration)

Nine days later, the satellite beamed back its first images, dispelling fears that it was a total operational loss.

“The Ofek 11 satellite will provide operational outputs,” the Defense Ministry said at the time.

The Ofek 11 was an upgrade from the Ofek 10 satellite launched by Israel in April 2014.

The Ofek 11 joined approximately 10 other satellites, including the Ofek 10, Ofek 9, Ofek 7 and Ofek 5, that feed intelligence to Israel’s security forces.

“Israel’s independent capabilities in the field of satellites represents a significant advantage in its efforts to stand up to various security threats. The quality of the images and photographs that are produced by our different satellites is incredible and provide us with valuable intelligence, and prove that the sky is not the limit,” Amnon Harari, the head of the Defense Ministry’s space program, said on Monday.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-tacit-threat-israel-releases-satellite-photos-of-syrian-presidential-palace/

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[Video] Iran: U.S. presence in Syria is act of aggression featuring Prof. Vladimir Golstein

Iran's representative to the United Nations slams the United States for its illegal military presence in Syria, describing it as an act of aggression.




Gholam-Ali Khoshrou who was speaking at the Security Council’s special session on Syria said Iran is on the ground in that country on an invitation by Damascus. He added that Tehran is playing a constructive role in bringing peace and prosperity to Syria and supports all efforts toward a political solution. During the meeting held on Russia’s request, US ambassador Nikky Haley accused Russia and Iran of failing to protect civilians in Idlib province. She also threatened the use of force if the Syrian army uses chemical weapons. In reaction, the Russian ambassador accused the extremist groups of planning to launch a false flag chemical attack in Idlib.

Source: https://youtu.be/G2yv-7bqct0
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[Video] Days After 9/11 Tulsi Gabbard Slams "Betrayal Of American People" Over Syria

In a rare and unprecedented speech delivered on the House floor just two days after the nation memorialized 9/11, Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday slammed Washington's longtime support to anti-Assad jihadists in Syria, while also sounding the alarm over the current build-up of tensions between the US and Russia over the Syria crisis.

She called on Congress to condemn what she called the Trump Administration’s protection of al-Qaeda in Idlib and slammed Washington's policies in Syria as "a betrayal of the American people" especially the victims and families that perished on 9/11.

Considering that Congresswoman Gabbard herself is an Iraq war veteran and current Army reserve officer who served in the aftermath of 9/11, it's all the more power and rare that a sitting Congress member would make such forceful comments exposing the hypocrisy and contradictions of US policy.


She called out President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence by name on the House floor in her speech:
Two days ago, President Trump and Vice President Pence delivered solemn speeches about the attacks on 9/11, talking about how much they care about the victims of al-Qaeda’s attack on our country. But, they are now standing up to protect the 20,000 to 40,000 al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria, and threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran, with military force if they dare attack these terrorists."
And in perhaps a completely unprecedented moment, the Congresswoman accused America's Commander-in-Chief during her floor speech for acting as "the protective big brother of al-Qaeda and other jihadists". 

Interestingly she has elsewhere previously leveled the same blistering criticism of the Obama administration during media interviews for its "regime change policies" in Syria.



Gabbard continued:
This is a betrayal of the American people, especially the victims of al-Qaeda’s attack on 9/11 and their families, first responders, and my brothers and sisters in uniform who have been killed or wounded in action and their families. For the President, who is Commander in Chief, to act as the protective big brother of al-Qaeda and other jihadists must be condemned by every Member of Congress.”
Gabbard has for especially the last couple of years been an outspoken critic of US policies in Syria, and drew controversy in early 2017 when she traveled to Damascus to meet privately with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The move met with an icy reception among fellow Congressional Democrats and raised questions over possible violation of the Logan Act.

But interestingly though Thursday's floor speech evoked President Trump and his latest threats to intervene militarily against Assad and Russia should chemical weapons be used in Idib, Gabbard is actually echoing the very stance that Trump took on the campaign trail and prior on Syria, where he also described the Syrian rebel insurgency as being led and filled by terrorists and jihadists in multiple informal statements.

Trump 2013 vs Trump 2018 on Syria...



Trump and Gabbard had even once met to discuss Syria policy at a private meeting at Trump Tower in November of 2016 just ahead of then president-elect Trump being sworn into office. At the time the two appeared to be in complete agreement over Syria policy, after which Gabbard said of the meeting, "I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families."
The following summer President Trump allegedly shut down the CIA's clandestine efforts for overthrowing the Damascus government, a covert program called 'Timber Sycamore', after reports said he was increasingly disturbed by the brutal and jihadist nature of the armed opposition.

All the way up until April 2018, he had appeared to be pushing toward withdrawing the over 2,000 US troops from Syria, against which advisers and neocon hawkish policy wonks  vehemently pushed back. Trump had proposed“Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.”

However just days after that statement video emerged from Idlib purporting to show an Assad sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, to which Trump responded with a brief Tomahawk missile strike on a largely abandoned Syrian military airport in the center of the country.

The pro-regime change interventionists in the administration had perhaps won out, as Trump the following April launched an even bigger attack on Damascus following more unverified opposition claims of another gas attack.

And now Congresswoman Gabbard appears to be calling Trump out and back to that original policy path of military withdrawal and non-intervention in Syria.

Source: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-13/tulsi-gabbard-house-floor-slams-betrayal-american-people-after-911-over-syria
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