The Defense Ministry filed a civil suit this week for about 100,000 shekels ($29,000) against a Bedouin cowherd whose cows entered a firing zone near the Tze’elim army base in the Negev, forcing the army to stop training. According to the Southern District prosecution, which represents the Defense Ministry, this is the first time the state has sued for financial compensation over such an incident.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi previously said Iran sent Iraq an official verbal message that an attack „had begun or would begin shortly,“ on unspecified US military locations.
An Arab diplomatic source also told CNN that Iraq gave advance warning to the US on „which bases would be hit“ after Iranian officials passed on the information.
Tehran may have carried out a limited strike that specifically targeted hangars, not barracks or other buildings more likely to contain U.S. or coalition troops in the predawn hours Wednesday. No casualties were reported after the attack.
“If they were going for a body count, they went the wrong way about it,” said David Joseph Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Ballistic missile strike: Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house US troops, after a US killing of its top military commander last week.
No casualties: US and Iraqi sources said there were no known casualties as a result of the strikes.
Trump says „All is well!“: US President Donald Trump has yet to address the nation Wednesday morning US time, but on Twitter he said that „all is well!“
Taiwan’s top military chief was killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday (Jan 2), the defence ministry said, just days before the island goes to polls to elect a new president.
The chief of the general staff, Shen Yi-ming, was among eight senior officers – including three major generals – who died when their Black Hawk helicopter smashed into mountains near Taipei.
he global chemical weapons watchdog is facing renewed questions after fresh details emerged about how it suppressed the findings of its own inspectors who raised serious doubts about an alleged poison gas attack in Syria.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a senior official at the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demanded the ‘removal of all traces’ of a document which undermined claims that gas cylinders had been dropped from the air – a key element of the ‘evidence’ that the Syrian regime was responsible.
27 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.
One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation:
“Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”.
The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident.
This is getting really, really, really weird.
WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we’ve been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.
This new WikiLeaks drop includes an email from the OPCW Chief of Cabinet Sebastien Braha (who is reportedly so detested by organisation inspectors that they code named him “Voldemort”) throwing a fit over the Ian Henderson Engineering Assessment which found that the Douma incident was likely a staged event. Braha is seen ordering OPCW staff to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever” from the organisation’s secure registry.
According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad’s editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. “If I don’t find another position in journalism because of this, I’m perfectly happy to accept that consequence,” Haddad says. “It’s not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn’t report something like this.”
Guest: Tareq Haddad, journalist who recently resigned from Newsweek over its refusal to cover the OPCW’s Syria scandal.
14 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.
Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.
WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison. Additionally, we are publishing a detailed comparison of the original interim report with the redacted interim report and the final report along with relevant comments from a member of the original fact finding mission. These documents should help clarify the series of changes that the report went through, which skewed the facts and introduced bias according to statements made by the members of the FFM.
„At this time, [the UN] is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,“ Mr Guterres wrote in the report, seen by Reuters and AFP news agencies.
An RAF spokesperson said: „Two Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were scrambled at 0409 this morning, as part of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert procedures, after an aircraft lost communications in UK airspace.
„The aircraft was intercepted and its communications were subsequently re-established.
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
The general’s trip comes as part of a series of visits by several high ranking military chiefs including the head of the US Air Force Gen. David Goldfien, USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa) Commander Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian and the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
The part that fell in the woman’s garden, described by Gloucestershire Live as “a huge chunk of yellow metal,” was a wing tip gear door, a spokesman for the Air Force’s U.K.-based 501st Combat Support Wing said.
WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson took part in the panel to review the testimony and documents from the OPCW whistleblower. He says: “The panel was presented with evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW. Although the whistleblower was not ready to step forward and/or present documents to the public, WikiLeaks believes it is now of utmost interest for the public to see everything that was collected by the Fact Finding Mission on Douma and all scientific reports written in relation to the investigation.
We call out to people within the OPCW to leak these documents securely to us via wikileaks.org/#submit” One of the Panel members was Dr José Bustani, the first Director-General of the OPCW, who concluded that: “The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing”
“If anyone thinks that seizing tankers and attacking oil infrastructure can in any way affect cooperation between Russia and our Arab friends, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that they can undermine or break down our cooperation with OPEC+, then they are profoundly wrong,” said Putin, addressing a question on regional security.
“On the contrary, we will forge ever closer ties because our main goal is to stabilize global energy markets,” he added, saying that Russia remained committed to the initiatives of the OPEC+ group of oil producers driven by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said the artillery fire was not aimed at the Americans but at nearby Kurdish fighters.
„Earlier today, Turkish border outposts south of Suruç came under Dochka and mortar fire from the hills located approximately 1,000 meters southwest of a U.S. observation post. In self-defense, reciprocal fire was opened on the terrorist positions of the attack. Turkey did not open fire at the U.S. observation post in any way. All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the U.S. base,“ the ministry said.
The explosions have hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the vessel’s two main tanks, which has resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea. The spill is currently stopped, according to officials.
Technical experts are currently investigating the cause of the explosion. They believe it was a „terrorist attack“, unnamed sourced told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
An oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was hit and damaged by two missiles on Friday, Iranian state news IRNA reported.
The missiles were „possibly“ fired from Saudi soil, Saheb Sadeghi, head of the public relations of the National Iranian Tanker Company, told state-run Press TV.
He elaborated that no „fancy“ systems are needed for this and that the quite simple and battle-proven Russian Pantsir S1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) systems with dual 2A38M 30 millimetre automatic cannons equipped with infrared direction finders would do the trick. Russia has been successfully using Pantsirs to repel frequent massive drone attacks on its Hmeymim base in Syria carried out by local militant groups.
Next month, President Vladimir Putin is set to visit Saudi and the Gulf, a chance to deepen cooperation on energy and oil, drum up investment and promote Russia’s Pantsir group of anti-UAV weaponry, the arms systems the state export company will put on display at the Dubai Airshow in November.
Al-Shabab launched a „daring raid on the US military base“, the group said in a statement.
„After breaching the perimeters of the heavily fortified base, the mujahideen [holy warriors] stormed the military complex, engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight.“
This entire narrative stinks. Seems to me that Trump’s continued refusal to start a unilateral military attack against Iran (despite implied Saudi urging) has stumped MBS (Saudi Defense Minister), and the whole war scenario now seems to be de-escalating.
„Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,“ in the event of greater conflict with Iran, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS 60 Minutes.
The warning comes two weeks after a drone and missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities that Riyadh and Washington blame on Iran.
Rohani added that he will offer a regional peace plan during his visit to the UN this week. Fears of a wider regional conflagration have grown, as tensions between Iran and the U.S. remain high over Tehran’s failing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Recently, Iran has broken the deal’s limits on enrichment, uranium stockpiles and the use of advanced centrifuges, as ot seeks to pressure Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the international market despite U.S. sanctions.
President Trump is sending a modest deployment of American troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with air and missile defense systems, in response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which the administration blames on Iran.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper called the decision, which came on Friday during a White House meeting with top national security officials, “defensive in nature.”
Russia is set to be a major winner after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities slashed production and ramped up tensions in the Middle East, analysts predict.
In a frantic day for the world’s markets, oil prices climbed by almost 15% Monday following the drone attacks on Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refinery, which pumps around 5% of the world’s oil supply.
“These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack,” he added.
Mr. Rouhani, seated next to Mr. Putin, laughed visibly. The broadcast on the state-owned Russian television network RT captured the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, chuckling to himself in the audience.
Paoli and his brother also found the ship’s log for the French Navy’s Suffren missile launching ship, which was in the waters near Nice at the time, but discovered that the entry for Sept 11, 1968, had been torn out.
Ceremonies marking the disaster are scheduled in both Nice and Ajaccio this week.
BEIRUT: An Israeli drone went down over Beirut’s southern suburbs, and another exploded in the air overnight Sunday near Hezbollah’s media offices, a source from the party told The Daily Star.
Throughout the morning, following the incident, Israeli reconnaissance hovered over south Lebanon and the capital’s southern suburbs – a Hezbollah stronghold.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is expected to comment on the issue in a speech scheduled for late afternoon.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the incident with Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.
After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response.
It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression.
Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a range of measures targeting the Iranian regime following the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday Afternoon.
Mr Hunt is expected to urge the European Union to support British calls for a host of diplomatic and economic sanctions to target Iran- including reimposing restrictions which were lifted after Tehran signed the 2016 nuclear deal.
– The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm yesterday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces
– British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
– Warship HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, did a U-turn and raced to help captured ship
– A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar was seized by Iran but was released after being inspected
– Following an emergency COBRA meeting, Iran was warned it faces ’serious consequences‘ for their actions
The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered the Strait of Hormuz.
A defence source told the Times the Iranians appeared to be taking a „very aggressive stance“ and were viewed as having been „ready to engage“ HMS Montrose.
Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has said the UK-registered oil tanker seized by Iran was intercepted in Omani waters, describing the incident as a “hostile act”.
The Stena Impero, a British-flagged ship carrying crude oil, was boarded and captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday.
„It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,“ Hunt said late Friday, ahead of an emergency government meeting. He subsequently told British media that „we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.“
In seizing a foreign tanker which it accuses of „violating international regulations,“ Tehran has resorted to a form of piracy in international waters.
At a time when Iran might have begun to win friends and influence people in the world’s corridors of power, it’s showing that it really could be the force of dangerous instability that its most ardent enemies have claimed.
“We’re going to be speaking with the U.K., and this only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: trouble, nothing but trouble,” Trump told reporters while departing the White House.
Trump did not say whether the incident would prompt a response, saying, “Let’s see what happens.“
– Lord West slammed UK for not anticipating retaliation from Iranian forces in Gulf
– Found it ‚bizarre‘ British vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz unguarded
– Two ships were captured by Iran last night, days after UK seized Iranian oil tanker
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
A British-flagged oil tanker has been seized in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran media say.
„We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!,“ Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Twitter.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekari as saying that „all Iranian drones that are in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one which the U.S. president mentioned, after carrying out scheduled identification and control missions, have returned to their bases.“
A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away, President Trump said Thursday, as tensions between the United States and Iran appeared to be rising once again in the Persian Gulf region.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it.
Early on Thursday, two American officials, who were speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, claimed that five boats believed to belong to the IRGC had approached the tanker British Heritage at the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz and ordered it to stop.
Three Iranian ships unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, the UK government has confirmed.
Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
It was not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.
Asked about the plans for a strike and the decision to hold back, the White House declined to comment, as did Pentagon officials. No government officials asked The New York Times to withhold the article.
U.S. President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing of American global hawk drone but pulled back after planes were in the air and ships were in position, according to a report by the New York Times citing administration officials.
The report claimed the order to halt attacks on Iranian radar and missile batteries came after intense debate at the White House among top security officials and congressional leaders.
From the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 to the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, maritime incidents, shrouded in the fog of uncertainty, have lured the United States into wars on foreign shoals. Which is why cooler heads must prevail — and Congress must be consulted — as American and Iranian forces inch closer to open conflict in and around the Strait of Hormuz.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government’s efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
The meeting focused on deterrence plans against Iran after U.S. officials blamed the country for two recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
The Trump administration’s claims Iran attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were quickly debunked, with the ship’s crew saying it “was hit by a flying object.” But the US disrupted important Iranian diplomatic efforts at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt and former State Dept. official David Tafuri on how the U.S. should handle escalating tension with Iran.
In the hours before the attack on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the Iranians spotted a US drone flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile at the unmanned aircraft, a US official told CNN.
The missile missed the drone and fell into the water, the official said.
„We received reports that something flew towards the ship,“ Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, said at a press conference Friday. „I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,“ he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline. (…)
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The UAE along with Saudi Arabia and Norway presented the preliminary findings during a private briefing to members of the UN security council, which will also receive the final results of the inquiry and consider a possible response.
The US has accused Iran of almost certainly being behind the attacks on the four oil tankers off the Emirati coast, but the brief report, while providing evidence of the sophistication of the attack, goes nowhere near identifying the culprit.
The US and Russian navies are at odds over an apparent near-collision in the Philippine Sea, with both sides blaming each other.
Admiral Vinogradov came within 50 to 100 feet (15m-30m) of the USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea, the US said.
The Russian Pacific Fleet meanwhile said the incident took place in the southeast of the East China Sea, and added they had sent a message of protest to the US ship’s commanders.
Iterating that war is not a solution, Khan said, “If it (tensions between the two countries) escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in Modi’s”. “All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. Similarly, the war on terrorism was not supposed to last 17 years. I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?” asked the prime minister.
The announcement came after the nation’s army said its air force shot down two Indian warplanes and captured two pilots after they crossed the boundary in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a video appeal for restraint, echoing a message delivered by Prime Minister Theresa May at the start of PMQs in the House of Commons.
The Pakistan Army has also released a video that shows a blindfolded man claiming that he is an officer of the Indian Air Force.
The Indian defence establishment has not commented on the video. Defence sources had earlier told PTI, “There are no reports of any Indian Air Force jet suffering damage in action by India’s adversaries.”
Pakistan Military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said Indian Air Force (IAF) crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and two of their aircraft were shot down by PAF inside Pakistani airspace.
„One of the aircraft fell inside AJK while other fell inside IoK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,“ Director Gneral of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said.