Iranian airline now ferrying weapons directly to Beirut
According to reports, a 747 registered as EP-FAB, took off this morning at 8:02 am from Tehran to Beirut on flight QFZ9964 and landed in Lebanon at 10:19 am.
The plane was operated by “Fars Air Qeshm”, an aviation company owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to ferry weapons to Hezbollah. According to the website “Intelli Times“, the plane carried equipment to convert Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal to precision missiles capable of hitting sensitive sites within Israel.
Iran s “Fars Air Qeshm” airline has long been accused of flying arms for the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” (IRGC) and the elite Quds force led by Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleiman. Last year, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the IRGC and Quds force.
The airline had ceased operations in 2013, citing poor management, but restarted under new management in March 2017. It is said to have two Boeing 747s in its fleet. Among the members of the company s board are three IRGC representatives, named in the report as Ali Naghi Gol Parsta, Hamid Reza Pahlvani and Gholamreza Qhasemi.
While Iran has invested considerable efforts to transfer advanced missiles to Hezbollah, it commonly flies from the Islamic Republic to Syrian air force bases, making the flight path highly irregular.
Western intelligence has already tracked two similar flights within the past few months. In September, “Fox News” reported that a Boeing 747 that departed from an air force base in Tehran, stopped for a short layover at the international airport in Damascus, Syria, and then continued with a rather uncharacteristic flight path to the Beirut international airport, where it landed shortly after 4:00 p.m. local time.
According to flight data obtained by “Fox News”, the route passed over northern Lebanon, not following any commonly used flight path.
A regional intelligence source who asked to remain anonymous told the news network, “The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West s abilities to track them down.
Western intelligence sources said the airplane carried components for manufacturing precise weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon. The U.S. and Israel, as well as other western intelligence agencies, have supplied evidence that Iran has operated weapons factories in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah has been building factories in the heart of Beirut to convert missiles into highly-accurate precision weapons capable of striking sensitive Israeli sites. Upon deciding to convert its massive 150,000-strong rocket arsenal to missiles with pinpoint accuracy, Hezbollah chose to transfer its sites to the heart of Beirut in order to deter Israeli airstrikes.
Israel has repeatedly reiterated that it will not allow Hezbollah to obtain highly accurate missiles that would threaten sensitive Israelis sites and has been escalating its threats vis a vis Lebanon.
Hezbollah currently possesses over 150,000 thousand missiles, more than most NATO countries. Senior defense officials have said repeatedly that Hezbollah is now Israel’s major threat and predict that hundreds of Israelis will die in the next war between the two sides.
Report: Trump Plans to Push Forward With Space Force
Citing a draft presidential directive, Politico reported the first details about the new military service indicate Trump, who has championed the standalone “Space Force”, is still interested in pursuing an entirely new branch, despite criticism on Capitol Hill and even initially, the Pentagon.
“Under this proposal, the “Space Force” will organize, train, and equip national security space forces of the United States to ensure unfettered access to and freedom to operate in space, and to provide vital capabilities . . . in peacetime and across the spectrum of conflict,” the draft directive says, Politico reported.
The new branch would draw troops from across the military, including the National Guard and Reserves, and be responsible for overseeing the acquisition of all space technologies and weapons, including a new Space Development Agency, Politico reported.
An unnamed senior defense official told Politico the proposal is designed to be scaled up or down in size, depending on what option the administration feels could clear Congress.
No matter which option is chosen, the new organization is likely to be called “Space Force, according to an Oct. 26 White House memo to the Pentagon, Defense One reported.
3. ”New Russian missile undermines European security”
– Op-ed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
29 Nov. 2018
I belong to a generation shaped by the debate on intermediate range nuclear forces in Europe during the 1970s and 80s. The destructive power of SS20, Pershing and cruise missiles were of profound concern for publics and politicians alike. These weapons were specifically designed for the near-instant destruction of the European continent, and threatened the lives of millions of people.
The whole continent – indeed the whole world – breathed a sigh of relief when the “INF Treaty” was signed in 1987 by Ronald Regan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Not only did the treaty reduce the number of nuclear missiles, it banned an entire category of weapons, making us all much safer.
But in the last years, Russia has developed, produced, tested and deployed a new intermediate range missile, known as the SSC-8. The SSC-8 is mobile and easy to hide. It is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It reduces warning times to minutes, lowering the threshold for nuclear conflict. And it can reach European capitals.
Russia’s actions undermine the INF Treaty, placing it in serious jeopardy. The United States is in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty. There are no new US missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles.
A treaty that is respected by only one side cannot be effective and will not keep us safe. If a treaty no longer affects the reality on the ground, then it is nothing more than a piece of paper.
NATO Allies first raised their concerns five years ago, under the Obama administration. Now, after many years of categorical denials, Russia admits the existence of this new missile system.
NATO Allies have repeatedly urged Russia to address our concerns in a substantial and transparent way, and to actively engage in a constructive dialogue with the United States. We repeated that call at our Summit in July, and when we met in the NATO-Russia Council at NATO headquarters in October.
Regrettably, Russia has not heeded our calls. Moscow’s lack of engagement only reinforces our assessment that the new missile system poses a serious risk to the strategic stability of Europe. So I again urge Russia to ensure full compliance with the INF Treaty with full transparency – and without delay.
NATO has no intention to deploy new nuclear missiles in Europe N. But as an Alliance, we are committed to the safety and the security of all our nations. We must not allow arms control treaties to be violated with impunity, because that undermines the trust in arms control in general.
The onus is on Russia. NATO does not want a new Cold War or a new arms race, and we will do all we can to avoid them. But Russia too must play its part. We remain ready to talk with Russia and to work together towards a better and more secure future.
However, NATO must be firm and predictable. If we want to avoid nuclear weapons, we need to make sure that our conventional deterrence and defence is strong. That is why, in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the country’s ongoing pattern of aggressive behaviour, NATO Allies strengthened our collective defence, agreeing to increase our investment in defence and to further modernise our armed forces.
At the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in early December, we will assess the implications of Russia’s actions for the INF Treaty and for our Alliance. North America and Europe will continue to stand together in NATO to ensure peace and security.
4. Cyber Coalition helps prepare NATO for today’s threats
- 27 Nov. 2018
- NATO’s flagship cyber defence exercise “Cyber Coalition”, one of the largest in the world, started on Tuesday (27 November 2018) in Tartu, Estonia. The exercise tests and trains cyber defenders from across the Alliance in their ability to defend NATO and national networks. Now in its eleventh year, Cyber Coalition involves around 700 participants from Allies, partners, industry and academia.
The exercise aims to enhance coordination and collaboration between NATO and Allies, strengthen the ability to protect Alliance cyberspace, and conduct military operations in the cyber domain. It will also test NATO and national procedures on information sharing, situational awareness in cyberspace, and decision-making.
Cyber threats to the Alliance are becoming more frequent, complex and destructive. A cyber-attack on one Ally can affect all of us. That is why strengthening cyber defence is a top priority for the Alliance, and exercises like Cyber Coalition are essential for building up this defence.
At the NATO Summit in July 2018, Allies took the next steps in strengthening defences in the cyber domain, with a new “Cyberspace Operations Centre“ and the ability to draw on Allies’ cyber capabilities in NATO missions and operations. These steps will all help make NATO as strong in cyberspace as on land, at sea and in the air.
5. WHY IS THE U.S. IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
Jerusalem wants to see the US engaged, influential and active in the region. It doesn’t want to see it disengaged and concerned only about its own domestic problems.
In the run-up to the 2016 US presidential campaign, one concern heard in Jerusalem about then-candidate Donald Trump was that his “America First” policy contained the seeds of isolationism. And American isolationism is not good for Israel.
Since his election, however, those concerns were largely put to rest, as Trump took a number of steps that have been extremely good for Israel.
The concerns about isolationism were largely put to rest, but not completely buried, and interviews such as the one Trump gave Tuesday to “The Washington Post”, where he discussed why the US is in the Mideast, have a tendency to bring them back to the surface.
Asked about whether sanctions should be imposed on Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, Trump said, “I just feel that it’s very, very important to maintain that relationship [with Riyadh].
“It’s very important to have Saudi Arabia as an ally, if we’re going to stay in that part of the world. Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel.
Oil is becoming less and less of a reason, because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don’t have to stay there.”
There were two elements in that short answer that were problematic from a traditional Israeli point of view.
The first is his argument that Israel is the reason the US is in the Middle East.
The last thing Israel wants the average American to think is that US troops in the Middle East are risking their lives – and at times losing them – to protect Israel.
6. RUSSIA’S S-400 DIPLOMACY: MOSCOW DEPLOYS AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM TO CRIMEA
The S-400 deployment should be seen as part of Russia’s military-diplomacy. Russia is selling the S-400 abroad and it has already signed contracts in Turkey, China and India.
In the wake of the “Kerch Straits crises“, where Russia detained three Ukrainian navy boats after claiming they entered Russian territorial waters, Moscow now may deploy the S-400 air defense system to Crimea. The S-400 could be operational in the tense area by the end of the year. The deployment is part of a larger Moscow strategy that sees the S-400, and its less advanced cousin the S-300, as a form of military-diplomacy to carve out a sphere of influence from Damascus to the Don.
RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency, reported on Wednesday that the latest version of the S-400 would be sent to Crimea by the end of the year. This was according to Vadim Astafyev, the head of the press service of the Southern Military District. The deployment of the defensive system comes in the wake of rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia. On Monday Ukrainian naval vessels tried to enter the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait and came into contact with Russian coast guard. Ukraine borders the Sea of Azov but ships must navigate the Kerch Straits via the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Increasing Russian military presence in Crimea with the S-400 would be a message to Ukraine and the West. Russia already has its large Black Sea Fleet based at Savastopol in Crimea. Moscow’s Sputnik news claimed on Wednesday morning that a US “spy plane” was spotted off the coast of Crimea.
The S-400 deployment should be seen as part of Russia’s military-diplomacy. Russia is selling the S-400 abroad and it has already signed contracts in Turkey, China and India, according to Russian media. It is also seeking to sell the system to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Vietnam, Iraq and Morocco. Some of these countries are US allies, so Moscow’s deeper message is that the S-400 is a symbol of Russian military power. The more places it can be sent to show off Russia’s power, the more countries will look to Moscow as a guarantor of their security. That is why Russia’s Sputnik runs glowing reports about this “unique” defense system.
7. TREAT ENEMIES LIKE ENEMIES AND FRIENDS LIKE FRIENDS
How Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and Mattis need to emulate Reagan’s example.
Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
I remember when Jimmy Carter invoked “human rights” to criticize the Soviet Union, and Leonid Brezhnev, the dictator of the totalitarian USSR, was furious. He knew it was very dangerous to his rule, and he let Carter know that the Russians wanted it called off.
Time showed how right Brezhnev was. Carter toned down his campaign, but over the years, a new generation of Soviet dissidents and refuseniks carried the criticism much further. From Bukovsky and Sharansky to Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, the evils of the Soviet Empire were exposed and attacked, until Reagan made the themes his own, and until Gorbachev in desperation launched his calls for glasnost and perestroika, hoping to preserve his Communist dictatorship despite its manifest failure.
It was clearly a triumph of American values over an anti-American enemy, and it succeeded because the Soviet peoples had been inspired by the leaders of the United States, and because the Soviet leaders had a failure of will. They could not bring themselves to crush the incipient revolution. They certainly had the power to do it, but they couldn’t bring themselves to give the orders. So the peoples of the empire changed the regimes, from Moscow to the captive nations. That was what Reagan wanted, and accomplished.
The most important part of Reagan’s success was the tireless critique he and his people unleashed on the Kremlin. It wasn’t just the well-known broadcasts from Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; a lot came directly from the president, the secretary of state, and a plethora of senior officials. A lot of this campaign has been forgotten and denied. Reagan critics like to pretend, as is their wont, that the Soviet Empire fell because of its economic failure. As if the Communists hadn’t failed from the very beginning, and as if our practice of calling for the release of political prisoners were not crucial. But those of us who worked with the dissidents knew that Soviet Communism was doomed once the president had gone after its failed system. It would not have occurred to him to say we wanted a change in behavior, not a change in regime. I wish Messrs Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and Mattis would emulate Reagan’s example.
These thoughts come to mind as I watch the media and countless intellectuals and politicians call for harsh punishment of Saudi Arabia for the Khashoggi murder. I say to myself, all this furor for the assassination of one man, reminding me of Stalin’s ugly remark that one dead man is a tragedy, while a million dead is a statistic. His meaning is as clear as it is cruel: if you’re going to be a murderer, do it big-time. Thus the anti-Saudi campaign endures, while there is no comparable anti-Iranian outpouring (Khashoggi is lionized because he was a journalist, but one-third of the imprisoned and tortured journalists in the world are in the clutches of the Iranian totalitarians) or even an anti-Assad campaign (a half million dead at his hands; a mere statistic evidently).
What worries me most about the current state of affairs is that the intellectuals are devoting significantly more time and energy to bashing Saudi Arabia—a longtime friend—than to Iran and Syria (and China), self-proclaimed enemies. That’s crazy. I’m all for calling out murderers, wherever they are, but it makes no sense to treat friends worse than enemies. That is not just an “America first” foreign policy matter; it’s common sense.
As things stand, our deep thinkers seem more committed to regime change in Riyadh than in Tehran, which is nuts. We should be hell-bent on Iranian and Syrian regime change, and openly disappointed and disapproving of Saudi murderers. Is that so hard? Apparently so.
And what about the Russian attack on Ukraine, a friend. As I wrote with the clear-headed General Flynn, Putin is an enemy. There is no way, in my opinion, to get him to change his behavior. So our most effective strategy is the same as we used against the Soviet enemy and should be using against the Persian enemy: threaten his control of the regime. The most effective way to do that is to encourage his many domestic challengers, and that should be done by all our top leaders, and should employ our best diplomats as well. Threaten Putin with revolution, of the only sort that has succeeded: a true revolution, based on the proven principles of the American Revolution.
It’s not hard, but it requires the will to prevail and bring down our enemies.
8. Fleeing female IDF soldiers spark criticism of ‘mixed units’
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Five female IDF soldiers forgotten by their commanders during a training exercise were harrassed by a group of Palestinian pursuers and proved unable to defend themselves even though they were armed with machine guns.
The event, which happened last week according to Israel’s state-owned “TV Channel 11” as well as Israel’s “Channel 12″, raised concerns about the Israel Defense Forces experimentation with “mixed units,” a term Israel’s military uses to refer to combat units combining both men and women.
“There are a variety of roles in which female soldiers do an excellent job, but not in combat. The IDF is not a social organization. It’s the security for all of us. The battalions involved should be urgently closed,” he said.
They made their way to the road where Palestinians in two vehicles chased them for about 20 minutes.
Finally, one of the female soldiers managed to remove the flag and pointed her weapon at the Arabs, who then fled with the helmets.
The army said it rebuked the commanding officers and the female soldiers involved in the incident for not behaving in a manner expected of IDF soldiers. The army says the incident would be investigated.
An army source also said, “It wasn’t indicated to the female soldiers how to remove the flags and to insert a magazine” into their weapons. This, despite the fact that the Army stated in its reprimand that the girls were near the end of their training course.
9. Analysis: Must Israel reoccupy Gaza?
For the past decade, Israeli leaders have focused on managing, rather than solving the Gaza terror crisis.
By Daniel Krygier, World Israel News
Most security experts agree that as long as Hamas remains in power, Gaza will remain an unrelenting security problem. Yet, Israel’s political leadership has so far been unwilling to openly discuss a post-Hamas future in Gaza.
Is Israel doomed to be stuck with a Hamas-ruled terrorist state on its doorstep?
It’s difficult to imagine something worse than Hamas. The Jewish state has shown remarkable restraint in the face of eight months of border riots, rockets, fire kites and balloon bombs. We have seen 10 years of Hamas rule in Gaza, and the status quo is rapidly becoming unacceptable and untenable for Israel.
A week later, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel is “closer than ever” to retaking Gaza. “And it means being willing to capture and hold the Gaza Strip, until we dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,” he said at a Jerusalem Post conference.
While a consensus may be building that Hamas must go, no one as yet has spelled out a long-term strategy for the Gaza Strip.
Handing it over to the Abbas regime in Ramallah is not a viable path. The Abbas regime is weak and would collapse the moment Israel withdraws again from Gaza. Not to mention that it, too, is an anti-Israel, terrorist regime, though pursuing a slightly more pragmatic path to the same genocidal goal.
It should be noted that the Arabs of the Gaza Strip are fed up with the oppressive and corrupt Hamas regime. It isn’t hard to find in the media testimony from those who riot at the border that they would never have considered it if they had employment. A large, out-of-work and desperate population serves Hamas’s purposes. They have nothing to lose.
Glick is right that Gazans, and for that matter Arabs from Judea and Samaria, would jump at the chance for a better life elsewhere than as pawns maneuvered into games of endless conflict by terrorist regimes.
Perhaps Israel’s leadership should look to post-1945 Germany and Japan as models for a long-term resolution. It took years of U.S.-led transition periods before Germany and Japan became peaceful democracies.
The latter may or may not be a realistic solution, but the point is that long-term strategies need to be put on the table. Today, there is no discussion.
Only one thing is certain. The current situation can’t continue.
10. NATO Warns West ‘Losing Information War’ Against Russia, IS
By Henry Ridgwell September 27, 2016
The West must step up its efforts to combat and counter the information war being waged by its opponents, according to NATO officials. They warn that countries like Russia are exploiting the freedom of the press in Western media to spread disinformation.
The term “hybrid warfare“ is frequently used to describe the tactics used by the Kremlin in its forceful takeover of Crimea in 2014, when unmarked, heavily armed gunmen now widely known as the ‘little green men‘ began storming Ukrainian military bases in the region.
Moscow initially denied they were Russian military, yet weeks later similar unidentified armed units appeared in eastern Ukraine. That conflict between Russia-backed rebels and the Ukrainian military is still continuing.
The West is under attack
Speaking at this month’s United Nations General Assembly, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said hybrid warfare is being waged against the whole Western world.
“Political pressure, blatant propaganda, interference with the electoral process, economic coercion, secret subversive and military operations, cyberattacks, misuse of diplomatic measures, these are modern and congenial methods of the undeclared war,” Poroshenko said.
At a recent conference on Information Warfare at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, the Director of the NATO StratCom Center of Excellence Janis Sarts said the West is playing catch-up.
West not focused on this type of warfare
“The technology is ours. The marketing powerhouses are in our countries. Yet we’re having this discussion against the feeling of being pushed. Against the feeling of being pushed by different actors: Russia, Daesh… also China in more subtle ways,” said Sarts, using and Arabic term for the Islamic State.
The conference focused on the growing reach of Russian state media such as the 24-hour news channel Russia Today or RT, often accused of being a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin.
Senior editor at The Economist Edward Lucas argued channels like RT should not be considered as journalism.
“Russia has really grasped the post-truth environment. And they will lie about things absolutely brazenly. They understand the weaknesses of our media in the post-Cold War environment: that we prioritize fairness over truth.”
Russia investing big money
Lucas added the West should do more about what he termed “social media hygiene.”
“There’s a real problem with comment fields, and with fake social media accounts, particularly on Twitter. The Russians are putting lots and lots of money into creating tens of thousands of trolls.”
Mark Laity, the chief of Strategic Communications at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe or SHAPE, noted that Russia includes information strategy as a key pillar of its conflict planning, but in the West the communications are often handed off to separate public relations teams.
“We are still fighting on the margins,” he said, “when actually a properly funded, strategic communication effort is incredibly cheap compared to other costs.”
Laity warned Russia was deploying disinformation and hybrid warfare in its intervention in Syria – most recently in the disputed bombing of an aid convoy outside Aleppo earlier this month. He added the West must learn how to fight back!..
TSK‘dan ‘hacker’ atağı
Türkiye‘ye yönelik sık sık siber saldırılar yapılırken, HAVELSAN da hacker yetiştirmek için düğmeye basıyor.
Hava Elektronik Sanayi (HAVELSAN), Türkiye’nin yaklaşık 20 bin siber güvenlik uzmanı açığını kapatmaya yönelik çabalara kısa dönemde katkıda bulunmak için kolları sıvadı. Şirket, siber güvenlik alanında Türkiye’nin güvenliğine yaptığı katkının yanı sıra bu alandaki insan kaynağı yetiştirilmesinde de sorumluluk üstlenecek.
YAZA OKULU AÇILIYOR / TI ΕΓΙΝΕ ΡΕ ΤΟΥΡΚΟΙ ΤΟ ΦΤΙΑΞΑΤΕ;
Bu ihtiyaçtan yola çıkarak savunma, bilişim, siber güvenlik gibi birçok yeni teknoloji alanındaki uzmanlığını gençlere aktarmaya hazırlanan HAVELSAN, güvenlik ve yazılım konusunda ilk kez yaz okulları açmayı planlıyor. Yaz okullarından ilerleyen dönemlerde birçok alanda öğrenciler yararlanabilir.
Plana göre; Genç mühendis adaylarının bilişim sektöründe doğru bir kariyer başlangıcı yapmaları için HAVELSAN Akademi Yazılım Mühendisliği ve Siber Güvenlik Yaz Okulları faaliyete geçirilecek. Bu okullarla öğrencilere gördükleri teorik bilginin sektördeki yansımalarıyla tanışma fırsatı sunulacak.