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The night before Israel's exercise for defending the home front against missile attack entered its fifth and last day on Thursday, May 27, the Syrian Chief of Staff placed all Syrian military units on standby, followed in the morning by a second directive for missile units to go on a war footing and take up firing positions. Reporting this, debkafile's military sources disclose that missile battery commanders were given "target updates," meaning new Israeli targets for attack.
Western intelligence sources report that Wednesday night, long military convoys carrying mobile missiles were sighted rolling down Syrian highways - especial in the North.
In Athens, Greek military sources announced a joint Israeli-Greek naval and air force two-day exercise beginning next Tuesday, June 1, over the mainland and the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Exercise Minoas 2010 would serve Israeli Air Force F16s and F15s (five each) for drilling long-range flights covering roughly the same distance as between Israel and Iran and new in-flight refueling methods using Israeli KC-807 flying fuel tankers. Greece will deploy 15 F16s.
With all parties on the move, including the boosting of Lebanese army units on the Israeli border, the war tensions swirling around Israel's northern borders show no signs of early dissipation.
Two years ago, 100 Israeli Air Force bombers of different types covered the distance between Israel and Greece and back to demonstrate that Iran and its nuclear sites were within reach. Then, Athens permitted Israeli jets to practice strikes against the Greek Army's sophisticated S-300 interceptor missiles of the type Iran expects to procure from Russia.
The same drill may be repeated in the coming joint maneuver.
debkafile's military sources have learned that across the border the just-boosted Lebanese army units Wednesday afternoon practiced firing anti-air missiles and other weapons against Israeli warplanes near the village of Kuzah in southern Lebanon.
They also report that, back in March, Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas prepared for the current war escalation by setting up a joint staff center for coordinating their missile and rocket attacks on Israeli military and civilian locations. The center which is staffed with liaison officers of the four participants was installed at Syrian Military General Headquarters in Damascus.
As debkafile reported May 26, a colossal Iran-funded and directed armament program has permitted Syria to field 1,000 ballistic missiles and Hizballah 1,000 rockets - all pointed at specific Israeli military and civilian locations, including the densely populated conurbation around Tel Aviv.
U.S. President Barack Obama will reportedly ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will visit the White House next week, not to wage war on Lebanon "for whatever reason, motive or justification."
The daily An-Nahar on Thursday, which carried the report, quoted ministerial sources as saying that Obama will also ask Netanhayu to facilitate success of the U.S.-brokered Middle East peace process.
Netanyahu will hold talks with Obama in Washington June 1 after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel handed him a personal invitation from the U.S. president on Wednesday.
In the wake of the heavy criticism leveled at the IDF following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, the military has written, for the first time, an operational doctrine for how forces should operate when fighting within a civilian-populated area, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Navy commandos will board the nine international aid ships sailing toward Gaza City if they don’t turn back, and the commandos will be armed in case terrorists are hiding aboard, defense officials said on Thursday.
The ships are scheduled to try to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip on Saturday. They are carrying around 750 activists, including diplomats and journalists, as well as about 10,000 tons of supplies.
The European “Freedom Flotilla” will have a surprise waiting when it reaches Israel’s southern waters this weekend.
Israel advocacy non-profit StandWithUs plans to greet the European convoy with its own demonstration at sea.
The organization expects the flotilla of European left-wing activists to reach Israeli waters this weekend, although their arrival has been delayed.
A fleet of privately owned Israeli boats will leave the Ashdod and Herzliya marinas in hopes of surprising the European activists Friday at 1 p.m.
The counter flotilla ships will be covered in “Free Gaza from Hamas” banners and boat owners will wear blood stained tee shirts, representing Hamas’s terror record. The demonstration will be funded by StandWithUs and individual donors.
If the activists had done their homework instead of believing Hamas propaganda, they would also have found out that their assistance isn’t needed. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Dickson said.
UNIFIL has reportedly met an Israeli request not to provide Lebanon with data on the activity of its warplanes over Lebanese airspace.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai quoted Western diplomatic sources in New York as saying the agreement came during a meeting in April between Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and UNIFIL force commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas.
UNIFIL spokesman Niraj Singh stressed in an interview published Friday that U.N. peacekeepers have not spotted any "scud missiles" in their area of operation.
"UNIFIL has not seen any Scud missiles in its area of operation," Singh told Pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
The paper said such comments "make the Israeli story which has been adopted by the U.S. and European countries a mere excuse that is likely to be built on in the coming weeks in a bid to convince public opinion of the need to wage war on Lebanon to defend Israel's security."
Israel reportedly planned recently to bomb one of the arms convoys as it crossed the border into Lebanon, but the operation was called off at the last minute, The Times said.
It quoted Western intelligence sources as saying that the Israelis have yielded — for now — to American diplomatic efforts to persuade Damascus to stop the weapons transfers.
Public Security Minister: Home Front drill critical, calm could end at any time (Haaretz)
Assad: Syria will not cut Hamas, Hezbollah support (Haaretz)
UN report: N. Korea gave nuclear missile know-how to Iran, Syria (Ch. 10)
Diplomats say UN nuclear inspectors found that Iran removed equipment form laboratory (AP)
Report: Ships of Gaza aid flotilla delayed due to technical problem (Haaretz)
U.S. official: Iran would have fuel for one nuclear weapon even under Turkey/Brazil deal (Reuters)
Obama: Iran greatest threat to nuclear proliferation in the Mideast (Haaretz)
Deputy FM: Gaza aid convoy is blatant violation of sea laws (Ch. 10)
Report: Pakistan, Iran finalize natural gas pipeline deal (Reuters)
Gaza aid convoy still docked in international waters off Cyprus shores (Haaretz)
Hamas leader: If Israel acts like pirates against aid convoy, we will win (Haaretz)
Flotilla organizers say Israel blocking communication lines between ships (Haaretz)
Indonesian president pledges $2.2 million to build hospital in Gaza Strip (DPA)
Netanyahu: Lebanon militants Hezbollah have Scud missiles at base inside Syria (Ch. 2)
Prime Minister's office: Israel not obligated by decisions of NPT conference (Haaretz)
Report: Gaza aid flotilla delayed another day, expected to arrive on Monday (Ch. 10)
Netanyahu to ask Obama to block measures against Israel over nukes (Haaretz)
Ayalon also said that Israel would not only target Hezbollah in the event of a war, adding that the Lebanese government and its prime minister will be targeted as well.
A former advisor to the EU foreign policy chief says that when US officials talk about making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone, they basically mean Iran rather than Israel.
A former US nuclear negotiator says interaction between Iran and the United States could resolve the lack of trust and the proposal for a nuclear fuel swap is a positive step toward this end.
Israel's prime minister was given "unequivocal assurances" from US President Barack Obama that a UN accord agreeing to talks on a nuclear weapons-free Mideast would not endanger the Jewish state, a senior Israeli official said Sunday.
"Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received unequivocal assurances that included significant upgrade of Israel's strategic and deterrent capabilities in a personal message conveyed by President Obama," the official said in a statement in Toronto, where Netanyahu was on a visit.
"If the report on the entrance of Israeli nuclear submarines is true, this will be a threat to the Persian Gulf region's security," the head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.
"[Iranian] officials should seriously consider the issue and take the necessary measures to prevent this security threat in the region," he added.
"If Russia and China vote against Iran in the UN Security Council, Tehran must seriously and broadly downgrade relations with them," Mehr News Agency quoted member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Heshmat Allah Falahat Pishe as saying on Sunday.
UN aid group: Israel deliberately hampering West Bank, Gaza relief efforts (Haaretz)
NATO general in Afghanistan: Taliban fighters train in Iran (AP)
Report: Obama gave Netanyahu guarantees U.S. would bolster Israel's strategic capabilities (Haaretz)
Canada FM: My country and Israel are natural allies (Army Radio)
Netanyahu in Toronto: Our first priority is to prevent Iran from obtaining nukes (Haaretz)
Former Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz stressed Sunday that the Israeli army has the power and ability to "hit" Hizbullah and its weapons arsenal.
He told Israel Radio: "There is nothing worrisome or frightening in Hizbullah's arsenal, whether it's the Scud or the anti-aircraft missiles that it received and still receives from Syria."[/quote]
Another one saying this Hizbullah threat is utter BS...
Israel Rejects NPT Conference for Nuclear Free Middle East
Of course they do. Israel think of themselves as the chosen race. Why would they bow down to the inferior race?
Netanyahu Assures Assad Israel Does Not Intend to Attack Syria, Lebanon
Sure you don't.
Hamas leader says American envoys making contact, but not openly
In other news, the aid flotilla is arriving in a few hours... the showdown will sure be interesting.
Hamas' Meshal: we'll end armed struggle against Israel if it withdraws to 67' borders (Reuters)
SANA: Syria calls for emergency Arab League meeting to discuss convoy raid
AFP: EU calls for full inquiry into Israeli Gaza flotilla raid
Hamas' Meshal: we'll end armed struggle against Israel if it withdraws to 67' borders (Reuters)
Report: Protesters try to storm Israeli consulate in Istanbul (AP)
Report: Leader of Islamic Movement in Israel seriously wounded in IDF attack on flotilla (Haaretz)
* Al-Arabiya: Israeli troops go on alert in the vicinity of al-Aqsa mosque.
* Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat called for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League.
* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed as "a massacre" a deadly Israeli raid on Freedom fleet and announced a three-day mourning period.
* Al-Jazeera TV: Israeli navy began pulling the Freedom Fleet to Ashdod port.
* Al-Jazeera TV: Head of the Lebanese mission to the "Freedom Fleet" Dr. Hani Suleiman, was wounded in the Israeli attack.
* Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the Israeli attack.
Al-Arabiya: The Arab League called for an urgent meeting of Arab states on Tuesday.
Al-Jazeera: Greece summoned the Israeli ambassador in Athens to protest the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid fleet.
10:47am Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla is a dangerous and crazy move that would inflame the region.
10:07am Speaker Nabih Berri asked FM Ali al-Shami Lebanese action on the Israeli attack on the "Freedom Fleet" as president of the Security Council for the month of May.
Sweden expresses concern to Israel over deaths aboard Gaza flotilla (Israel Radio)
Protests in Nazareth over Gaza flotilla deaths; calls for world intervention (Haaretz)
Syria asks Arab League to meet over aid flotilla (Reuters)
Ayalon: Could not let ships open corridor for arms smuggling, terrorists (Haaretz)
Ayalon: Incident on Gaza flotilla still not over (Haaretz)
* Israeli army said 19 people were killed in the attack on the Gaza boat and blamed activists for the bloodshed.
* Al- Jazeera quoting Turkish Relief official: 15 Turks were killed in the Israeli attack on Freedom Fleet.
* Haaretz: The attack on the ships destined for the Gaza Strip caused unprecedented damage to Israel.
* Arab League chief Amr Moussa: Israel attacked the Freedom Fleet because it feels that it is "above the law."
* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Israeli raid on a Gaza aid ship was an "inhuman" act that brought Tehran's arch-foe "closer than ever to its end."
* Al-Arabiya: Turkey is likely to withdraw its ambassador from Israel.
* Jordan summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires.
Speaker Nabih Berri described on Monday the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla as a "terrorist piracy" and asked Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami for Lebanese action against the "brutal assault."
Lebanon is currently holding the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council. Berri also told al-Shami that Lebanon's ambassador Nawaf Salam should call for the Council to convene immediately.
Al-Shami later told al-Jazeera satellite TV network that Lebanon was preparing a draft resolution to condemn Israel.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday condemned the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla as "a dangerous and crazy move that would inflame the region."
Hizbullah on Monday denounced a deadly Israeli raid on a fleet of ships carrying aid to Gaza as a "crime against humanity" and called on the international community to take action.
Fadlallah said that the activists detained following the raid should be considered hostages and the U.N. Security Council and international community must act quickly to denounce Israel's actions.
"If they fail to act quickly to lift the siege on the Palestinians (in Gaza) and to denounce Israel for its crimes as well as save the hostages, the situation in the region will get worse," he warned.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri went into talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus around 11:00 am Monday in his second visit to the Syrian capital in 10 days.
Hariri will inform Assad about the results of his talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington last week and his meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York, media reports said.
The Lebanese premier will also discuss with the Syrian president threats by some Israeli cabinet ministers over his recent stance on the right of Arabs to regain occupied land with all means.
On Saturday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said the Lebanese government and its prime minister will pay a heavy price in case of a new war with Hizbullah.
Two Turkish activists were reported to be among those killed in the flotilla. Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with unpredictable consequences.
Israel has sounded an alert throughout the country fearing rocket attacks by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Arab League has called an urgent meeting on Tuesday to decide on a common response. Egypt is under pressure to end the blockade of Gaza while Greece has cancelled a military exercise with Isreal.
Damascus - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Monday that Israel's attack on a flotilla of aid bound for Gaza threatens to ignite a war in the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called an emergency meeting with his generals to counter Israel.
"Israel does not want peace, this is how the latest events connected with the humanitarian cargo ships' seizure... can be explained," Huseyin Celik, a deputy chairman of the party, told RIA Novosti.
Celik said Israel must be held accountable "to the full extent" for what happened.
Thousands of Iraqis protest Gaza aid ship deaths (Reuters)
MK Abargiyah: Israel's current government most extremist in history (Haaretz)
Crowley: U.S. to continue to engage with Israel on daily basis (Haaretz)
Amnesty, Human Rights Watch call for investigation of flotilla attack (DPA)
Chavez slams Israel for 'brutal massacre' on aid flotilla (DPA)
Brazil: Israel's attack on aid flotilla shows need to lift blockade (DPA)
Protesters outside Netanyahu's house: Democracy isn’t built on bodies of protesters (Haaretz)