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Iran’s satellite launch doesn’t quite make orbit
By Nasser Karimi, Associated Press
Iran on Tuesday conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the United States, but the satellite failed to reach orbit, an official said.
The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said.
Jahromi said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He did not elaborate on what caused the rocket failure, but promised that Iranian scientists would continue their work.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly slammed Iran over the launch, accusing Tehran of lying and alleging that the “innocent satellite” was actually “the first stage of an intercontinental missile” Iran is developing in violation of international agreements.
Iran has said it plans to send two satellites, Payam and Doosti, into the orbit. Payam means “message” in Farsi, while Doosti means “friendship.”
It’s unclear how the failure of the Payam will affect the launch timing for the Doosti. Jahromi wrote on Twitter that “Doosti is waiting for orbit,” without elaborating.
Iranian state television aired footage of its reporter narrating the launch of the Simorgh rocket, shouting over its roar that it sent “a message of the pride, self-confidence and willpower of Iranian youth to the world!”
The TV footage shows the rocket becoming just a pinpoint of light in the darkened sky and not the moment of its failure. Jahromi’s comments that the problem developed in the launch’s third stage suggest something went wrong after the rocket pushed the satellite out of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Simorgh, meaning “phoenix” in Farsi, has been used in previous satellite launches. It is larger than an earlier model known as the Safir, or “ambassador,” that Iran previously used to launch satellites.
Iran usually displays space achievements in February during the anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the revolution amid Iran facing increasing pressure from the U.S. under the administration of President Donald Trump.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Iran’s plans for sending satellites into orbit demonstrate the country’s defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran insists the launches do not violate the resolution.
Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. The U.S. and its allies worry the same satellite-launching technology could be used to develop long-range missiles capable that could carry nuclear weapons.
Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons. A 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers limited its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
However, Trump pulled America out of the deal in May. While United Nations inspectors say Iran has honored the deal up to this point, it has threatened to resume higher enrichment.
IDF’s new chief of staff takes helm, supports ‘force, discretion and determination’.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has become the 22nd chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He took charge of the Israeli military Tuesday at a ceremony at defense headquarters in Tel Aviv. He replaces Gadi Eisenkot, who had served at the helm since February 2015.
In an address which he delivered at the ceremony, Kochavi, who received the rank of lieutenant general from Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, spoke of the awesome merit and responsibility in leading the military of the Jewish state.
“To defend our national home, we need a sobered outlook, a fit military force, the willingness to use that force, discretion and determination,” Kochavi said.
Eisenkot also addressed the handover ceremony, summing up his own military career. “At the end of 40 years of service and four years as the IDF chief, I conclude a path that became my life’s mission,” he said.
The prime minister spoke of the “main factor facing us: Iran and its terror proxies. We acted responsibly and with discretion to stop those who seek to harm us from growing stronger.”
In referring to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Netanyahu said: “I’m telling you, get out of there fast. We won’t stop attacking.”
In an interview with the New York Times published Sunday, Eisenkot said that Israel had “struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit” in a campaign to thwart the growing Iranian presence in Syria.
On the other hand, Netanyahu said that Eisenkot contributed towards improving ties between Israel and Muslim states by meeting with military leaders from such countries.
“Leading Muslim nations are getting closer to us,” said Netanyahu at Tuesday’s ceremony. “They realize we’re not their enemy, but a vital ally to lean on. By growing our military, our economy and our diplomacy, we have turned Israel into a rising world power.”
New IDF Chief is a vegetarian!
Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, 54, assumed his new post during a handover ceremony at Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. He succeeds Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, 58, who served four years and in the IDF for 40 years.
Kochavi, the deputy IDF chief, also headed the Military Intelligence Directorate and the Northern Command. He was decorated for his service during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.
At the ceremony, he recalled being sworn in at the Western Wall and vowing at the time to dedicate all of my efforts to defending the homeland.
Now, as the head of the General Staff, while I have national security and the good of the state before me, I make a new vow. There is much work to be done, good luck to us all, he said.
Following his swearing-in, he and Eisenkot visited the Mount Herzl national military cemetery and memorial, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum, as is traditional. They later met with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem.
Kochavi holds a master s in public administration from Harvard and another in international relations from Johns Hopkins.
Haaretz reported that he is the first vegetarian chief of staff.
Jan. 14, 2019
Release No. NR-008-19
U.S. and Qatar Sign MOU Reaffirming Qatar’s Commitment to Supporting U.S. Military Activities at Al Udeid Air Base.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Ministry of Defense of the State of Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning Qatar’s support of DOD activities at Al Udeid Air Base (AUAB) during the second U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Doha, Qatar Jan. 13.
The MOU will help promote interoperability, support regional stability, and reaffirm the U.S.-Qatar defense relationship. It also represents a positive step towards the eventual formalization of Qatar’s commitment to support sustainment costs and future infrastructure costs at AUAB, which the State of Qatar proposed at the first U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in January 2018.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Michael Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, jointly witnessed the signing ceremony. The Principal Director for Middle East Policy in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ms. Jennifer Zakriski and Brigadier General Fahad al-Sulaiti, Director of the International Military Cooperation Authority, General Headquarters, Qatar Armed Forces signed the MOU on behalf of their respective governments.
Separately, both the U.S. and Qatari delegations to the Strategic Dialogue hailed the many achievements in the bilateral military relationship in the past year, including joint exercises, U.S. ship visits to Doha, and the implementation of standard operating procedures designed to facilitate customs, immigration, and operational processes that will deepen the security and military partnership.
Since 2003, Qatar has hosted U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and Special Operations Command (SOCCENT) Forward Headquarters and U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) at AUAB, the largest U.S. military installation in the Middle East with over 11,000 U.S. and Coalition service members. AUAB has served as the primary staging ground for most air operations in the campaign to defeat ISIS.
The U.S. and the State of Qatar have had a longstanding and multi-faceted bilateral military relationship which is guided by shared goals to combat terrorism, deter criminality in the Arabian Gulf and promote regional security and stability.
IDF CHANGING OF THE GUARD COMES AS U.S. MILITARY LEADERSHIP UNRAVELS
Maj.-Gen.Aviv Kochavi to begin role as Chief of Staff on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi will enter the 14th floor of the Kirya in Tel Aviv to take over as the IDF top officer from Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who will be exiting the building for the last time.
Kochavi will assume the post of Israel’s 22nd Chief of Staff during times that are turbulent, both militarily and politically. Militarily, the IDF is contending with Iran on its northern borders while Hamas continues to push Gazans towards the security fence in the south, and the atmosphere in the West Bank remains tense.
Those men include: Secretary of Defense James Mattis; the former envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS Brett McGurk; and Anthony Zinni, who had been tasked with resolving the Qatar dispute.
Mattis has been replaced by Patrick Shanahan, a Boeing executive with no military experience and at the end of 2019, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford will be replaced by Gen. Mark Milley, who has an extensive military background, especially in the Middle East.
During his term, Eisenkot took credit for “thousands” of airstrikes in war-torn Syria over the past two years, dropping many millions of shekels of munitions on Iranian and Hezbollah targets. He had clear partners in Washington, men who spoke his language and understood the urgency for Israel to defend itself.
But, with the US pull-out from Syria and a change of the guard in Washington, Israel’s pillar of stability is gone. Countries like Russia, Iran and Turkey are filling the void. They do not care for Israel’s interests.
Politically, Israel is gearing up for elections on April 9 and, critical for Kochavi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also acting as Defense Minister.
Despite being appointed as chief of staff, Kochavi was not the Prime Minister’s first pick. Rumor has it that Netanyahu preferred Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir for the top position, and scolded then-defense minister Avigdor Liberman when he was told that Kochavi would be recommended for the role.
But, that’s not what is important for the chief of staff.
A Defense Minister preoccupied with getting reelected as well as fighting three corruption investigations is more of concern. However, it is Kochavi who will have the final say on defense matters.
During election periods, the security cabinet is almost completely paralyzed. Members are preoccupied with getting votes rather than focusing on national security. Politicians might also use the army as a tool, but it will be up to Kochavi to stand up to any political pressure.
Nevertheless, the Middle East is a turbulent place. And with the smallest miscalculation, the tensions on the northern border as well as with the Gaza Strip may explode into war.
No one wants a war during elections. Dead soldiers don’t get votes in Israel.
But Kochavi didn’t make his way to the top of the military ladder by chance.
Enlisting in 1982, he will be the first chief of staff to have not taken part in any conventional war with Israel’s enemies, instead fighting Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists in guerrilla warfare where he earned his reputation of changing the rules of the game to the IDF’s advantage.
Kochavi distinguished himself during the years of the Second Intifada, when he served as the commander of the Paratroopers Brigade and developed the technique of breaking through walls with a 5kg. hammer to cross between homes, instead of through alleyways in crowded refugee camps, saving soldiers from being targeted by snipers.
This tactic, as well as other urban warfare methods he developed, were later copied by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also served as the head of the Gaza Division, commanding soldiers against Palestinian terrorist cells in the coastal enclave, as well as overseeing Israel’s 2005 unilateral disengagement before being promoted to the rank of major general and head of the Military Intelligence Directorate in 2007. In that role, he served in the first two conflicts in Gaza – Operation Cast Lead in 2008, and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
In 2015, he served as the head of the Northern Command before becoming deputy chief of staff in 2017.
On Tuesday, Kochavi will take up his latest and last position in the IDF, a role which will cap the general’s career in the country’s history books.
The end of the “Great Illusion”: Norman Angell and the founding of NATO
In the first half of the 20th century, excessive nationalism, radical ideologies and misguided isolationism plunged Europe into two major wars that set half the world on fire. Today, as these trends are again on the rise, it is instructive to recall how an idealistic pacifist came to the conclusion that a collective defence pact between like-minded countries was the only way to keep the peace.
US President Harry S. Truman addresses those gathered for the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty by NATO’s twelve founding members in Washington D.C. on 4 April 1949. © NATO
Others, however, understood the ceremony’s historic importance. Count Sforza – the Italian foreign minister who had refused to work for Mussolini – compared the pact to the English Magna Carta: “on one side intangible, on the other side a continuous creation.” In a similar vein, the famous US political commentator, Walter Lippman, argued that “the treaty recognises and proclaims a community of interest which is much older than the conflict with the Soviet Union, and come what may, will survive it.”
Beyond the headlines, the new defence pact had yet another prominent supporter: Sir Norman Angell (1872-1967), economist, journalist, peace activist, bestselling author, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1933. His support of a defence community of Western democracies to contain the Soviet Union marked the end of a lifelong journey dedicated to the prevention of war by non-military means.
Angell’s political life – during which he transformed from a idealistic pacifist to a believer in collective security schemes and, finally, to a supporter of a transatlantic collective defence alliance – is, in many ways, a mirror of the turbulent first half of the 20th century. Having witnessed two world wars and seen the mayhem inflicted by excessive nationalism and totalitarian ideologies, the world’s best known peace activist realised that an alliance between the Western democracies was the best model on offer.
From idealistic pacifist…
Ralph Norman Angell (Lane), a polyglot Brit who had also lived in France and the United States, achieved fame with his book “The Great Illusion”, published in 1911. In this work, which later earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, he argued that the costs of wars had become so high as to outweigh any prospective gains. Nations, he argued, had become too economically interdependent to make war between them a profitable exercise. Angell’s arguments received enormous attention. As Europe’s major powers appeared to be inching ever closer to war, Angell seemed to demonstrate by way of rational economic argument why that major war would be folly.
“The Great Illusion” was translated into more than 15 languages and sold almost two million copies. W. M. Hughes, the Acting Premier of Australia, called it “a glorious book to read … pregnant with the brightest promise to the future of civilized man.” At major universities, enthusiastic ‘Angellists’ spread the message of the end of war. Lord Esher, President of the Imperial Defence Committee, held the opinion that war “becomes every day more difficult and improbable.” He also was convinced that Germany “is as receptive as Great Britain to the doctrine of Norman Angell.” This was clearly at odds with the political realities in Germany – as Angell’s turbulent speaking tour through that country in 1913 should have revealed – but many British liberals felt that warnings of German militarism were exaggerated.
In the eyes of many observers, the outbreak of the First World War thoroughly discredited the economic arguments of peace activist and bestselling author, Norman Angell, and his followers. © Wikipedia
Angell’s thesis was far from uncontested. Alfred Thayer Mahan, the United States’ leading thinker on maritime strategy, criticised Angell for having ignored non-quantifiable factors. He agreed with Angell about the questionable cost-benefit ratio of major wars but warned that wars did not originate just for economic reasons: “Nations are under no illusion as to the unprofitableness of war in itself; but they recognise that different views of right and wrong in international transactions may provoke collision, against which the only safeguard is armament.” Mahan agreed with Angell that the disruption of the international economic system caused by a major war would also strike back at the aggressor. Yet even this would not mean the end of war, for “… ambition, self-respect, resentment of injustice, sympathy with the oppressed, hatred of oppression” were more than enough reasons why war would not disappear.
“The Great Illusion” had been Angell’s attempt to use rational arguments in his struggle against the widespread fatalism about an ‘inevitable’ war with Germany. Yet his powerful prose could not hide the fact that his arguments hardly amounted to more than an interesting compilation of facts and reflections. With respect to Anglo-German relations, Angell made too much of the cultural similarities between the two nations, underestimating their differing strategic interests.
Worse, although Angell never claimed that war had become impossible, only non-profitable, he became a victim of his own journalistic penchant for hyperbole. In October 1913, the American journal “Life” quoted him as saying: “The cessation of military conflict between powers like France and Germany, or Germany and England, or Russia and Germany <…> has come already. <…> Armed Europe is at present engaged in spending most of its time and energy rehearsing a performance which all concerned know is never likely to come off.”
…to realistic pacifist
In the eyes of many observers, the outbreak of the First World War thoroughly discredited Angell and his followers. Economic arguments had not prevented this massive conflagration from occurring. However, the unprecedented devastation caused by that war also affirmed Angell’s thesis that war no longer made economic sense. Consequently, Angell’s attempts to deromanticise war and his plea for enlightened statecraft did not go out of fashion. He continued his struggle for international peace and détente between the major powers, and remained an international celebrity – by the 1930s, “The Great Illusion” had been published in six editions, and Angell had maintained a tremendous literary output. He was knighted and, in 1933, received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the 1930s provided some hard lessons for Angell and his faith in human rationality. The growth of fascism and communism worried him. He also realised that by appeasing those who were prepared to use military force to achieve their aims, the European democracies were effectively lowering the cost of aggression.
Against this background, Angell’s political thought went through an important evolution. He no longer dwelled on the war-preventing power of economic interdependence. Instead, he devoted more attention to the principle of collective security – a system that included the potential use of force against a violator. In this way, Angell changed from being an idealistic pacifist to a realistic pacifist. He warned against Hitler’s belligerence and he supported Britain’s rearmament. In 1914, he had hastily founded a “Neutrality League” to keep Britain out of the war. At the beginning of the Second World War, by contrast, he supported his country’s cause.
Sir Norman Angell changed from being an idealistic pacifist to a realistic pacifist. He warned against Hitler’s belligerence and supported Britain’s rearmament. © Warfare History Network
Angell was keenly aware that Britain’s victory in the Second World War was largely the result of the United States’ engagement. Consequently, in the immediate post-war era, he lashed out against the anti-Americanism that was growing within Britain’s political left, but also against the rising isolationism in the United States. With the Soviet Union emerging as another totalitarian challenge to the Western democracies, Angell considered the unity of the English-speaking countries a prerequisite for peace in Europe.
For this reason, when the negotiations on a collective defence treaty between North America and Europe commenced, he supported the project. A North Atlantic Security Pact, he argued a few weeks before the signing of the Washington Treaty, could act as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism. Had Germany known the strength of the alliance that would be mobilised against it, he argued, the two world wars probably would not have occurred. Similarly, if the Soviet Union knew about the effective resistance it would face, a third world war would probably be avoided. This unabashed argument for peace through military deterrence was a far cry from his former pacifist beliefs.
Angell’s preference for an inclusive system of collective security, which he had championed after the First World War, remained unchanged. Yet, just as Germany could not be included in such a system in the 1930s, he saw little hope in incorporating the Soviet Union into such an arrangement in the late 1940s. Such a system, he believed, could only work between like-minded powers. By bringing together the major democracies, the emerging transatlantic defence community came closer to his ideal of a system of war prevention. He still held on to his view about the devastating consequences of modern wars but his once optimistic belief in the intellectual progress of mankind had been replaced by a profound scepticism.
Norman Angell may forever be remembered for something he never actually said: that war had become impossible. Yet, just as scholars are now considering him an early pioneer of international relations theory, Angell should also be remembered as a man who managed to acknowledge that preserving peace in a changing world means leaving outdated dogmas behind.
Michael Rühle heads the Energy Security Section of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division. Previously, he served as a speechwriter for six NATO Secretaries General. The views expressed are his own.
What is published in NATO Review does not necessarily represent the official position or policy of member governments, or of NATO.
SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF IRANIAN WEAPONS CACHE
“The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
New satellite images of an Iranian weapons storehouse at the Damascus International Airport showed the complete destruction of the site following Israeli airstrikes on Friday.
Released by the Israeli satellite company ImageSat International, one image taken before the strikes showed a structure that measured 20 by 50 meters and was later missing, leaving three craters where the compound once stood.
According to ImageSat, the structure was likely used as a missile storehouse, including the Fajr-5, which can be launched from a mobile platform and has a reported range of 75 kilometers.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed reports that the airstrike was carried out by the Israeli Air Force on Friday, saying that Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks against Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
“The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi denied that Tehran had any military bases or military presence in Syria, denying claims made by Netanyahu and former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot that Israel has struck hundreds of Iranian targets in Syria over the past two years.
“The Zionist War Ministry’s comments are baseless, false, misleading and is an attempt to justify their ongoing failures in the region,” Qasemi was quoted as saying by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA. He added that “the Zionists always spread lies and embark on psychological warfare to achieve their evil goals in the region. Iranian officials are in Syria strictly for consultation purposes. The Syrian government invited us in order to advise them on methods with which to fight terrorism.”
On Tuesday morning, at the ceremony marking the appointment of incoming IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Netanyahu warned Tehran to leave Syria.
“I’m telling you, get out of there fast. We won’t stop attacking,” he said.
Syria’s SANA state news agency said that Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles towards the Damascus area on Friday, triggering Syrian air defenses that shot most of them down.
“At 11:15 before midnight, Israeli warplanes coming from the Galilee area launched several missiles towards the surroundings of Damascus and our air defenses immediately intercepted them and downed most of them,” a military source was quoted by SANA as saying, adding that there were no casualties in the strikes, rather only “material damage to one of the ammunition warehouses.”
In late December, an Israeli strike against another Iranian weapons storehouse outside Damascus was completely destroyed. The storehouse also supposedly held Fajr-5 missiles in the Syrian regime’s 4th Division camp in the Al-Muna area.
ISRAEL OKAYS SIGNING DEALS WITH COMPANIES WORKING IN IRAN, GOV’T REVEALS
In the letter, a top Finance Ministry official writes that companies working in Iran can still bid for the Jerusalem light rail project.
Jerusalem light rail. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)