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Russians brings Iranians, Hizballah to Quneitra

DEBKAfile  Exclusive Report  August 27, 2017, 8:40 PM (IDT)
Tags:  Quneitra,  Russians,  Iranian forces in Syria,  Hizballah,  Binyamin Netanyahu,  Vladimir Putin,  Golan,

Less than a week after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Vladimir Putin in Sochi that Israel had red lines against a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria - certainly near its borders, Moscow put the prime minister's warning to the test.

debkafile reports exclusively from its military and intelligence sources that on Saturday and Sunday, (Aug.26-27) ,Russian forces installed Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah officers at a joint "administration center" they had set up in the town of Quneitra.

Surveillance spotters saw them moving around 2 km from the Golan border, the closest hostile Iranian and Hizballah troops have ever come to Israel's border with Syria. They were brought over from their base at Khan Arnaba, 6km east of the Golan. Our sources report that he "administration center" is a military-civil body established by the Russians for managing the Quneitra de-escalation zone, one of four President Donald Trump and Putin agreed to establish in Syria, when they met in Hamburg on July 7.

Israel repeatedly and vehemently objected to this arrangement on its border, but Moscow and Washington turned a deaf ear. They assured Israel that it had nothing to fear, since Russian monitors would be in control there and no one else. During July, Russian forces began landing on the Syrian Golan, then setting up their command center and running ten observation posts along the Syrian-Israeli border. But all of a sudden on Saturday, everything changed.

Russian officers in civvies were seen driving Iranian and Hizballah officers, also in civilian garb, into the town of Quneitra and settling them in the building that houses the "administration center." To mask this incursion as a purely civil event, the Russians also brought the former Surian governors of Quneitra and of the Jordanian border town of Daraa along for the ride.

For at least four years, various local Syrian rebels have been supported by Israel with medical and logistical aid. However, immediately on arrival, the Russian, Iranian and Hizballah officers contacted those militia chiefs through Skype, and gave them three options:

  1. Play along with their Quneitra "administrative center" and do as they are told, in return for which they would be guaranteed Russian and Syrian army protection as well as regular supplies of food, water and medical care.

They would naturally be obliged to cut their ties with Israel.

  1. Voluntarily disband and turn in their weapons to the Syrian army.

  2. If they rejected 1. and 2., they would be free to move to another Syrian location of their choice with safe conduct guarantees for them and their families. Our sources stress that no matter which of the three options the Golan rebel chiefs choose, Israel has lost its security buffer on its Golan border with Syria and received Iranian and Hizballah forces in its place, under Russian auspices.

Iranian commander: Israel won't exist in 25 years

Commander of Iranian army predicts the "Zionist regime" will not exist in 25 years. Contact Editor
Elad Benari, Canada, 26/08/17 01:21

Flag of Iran
Flag of IraniStock

The Zionist regime of Israel will not exist in 25 years, the Commander of the Iranian army, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Friday.

Speaking at a cultural event in the city of Qom and quoted by the Tasnim news agency, Mousavi stated that Iran will be the side which decides how to end a war, if one were to break out against the country.

Mousavi described Iran as a "symbol of resistance" against global hegemony, saying the world has now realized that it is impossible to try military engagement with Iran.

The Iranian general is hardly the only Iranian official to have threatened Israel. In December, the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Israel could be destroyed within 25 years through a united "Palestinian struggle".

"The Zionist regime -- as we have already said -- will cease to exist in the next 25 years if there is a collective and united struggle by the Palestinians and the Muslims against the Zionists," he said.

Khamenei has in the past referred to Israel as a "cancer" and has also threatened to "annihilate" the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

A month before his comments, a senior Iranian military commander predicted that Palestinian Arabs would "get rid of Israel" in the next 10 years.

(Arutz Sheva's North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Iran, Abdolrahim Mousavi
1,500 protest near AG's house over handling of corruption investigations against Netanyahu August 27, 2017 3:28pm

JERUSALEM (JTA) — About 1,500 people protested against the handling of corruption investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The protest on Saturday night near the Petah Tikvah home of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit was also held simultaneously in 17 other Israeli cities.

It is the 40th consecutive week that such protests have been held.

On Thursday, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the main demonstration held in Goren Square in Petah Tikvah should be restricted to 500 people. The other protesters gathered nearby, Haaretz reported.

The two main corruption scandals involving Netanyahu both concern allegations of illicit dealings with rich and powerful men. In the first, called "Case 1000," Netanyahu is accused of receiving expensive gifts from billionaires and then taking action on their behalf. In the second, called "Case 2000," he is accused of striking an illicit deal with a newspaper publisher. Featured Stories

Hundreds of Israelis Gather in Anti-Netanyahu Protest


Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli attorney general's home Saturday to demand he indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.

The weekly vigils have become the vanguard of a grass-roots protest movement against Netanyahu's alleged financial misdeeds and illicit ties to executives in media, international business and Hollywood.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and called the accusations against him a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media. The scandal has yet to threaten his lengthy rule, but has harmed his public approval ratings.

Saturday night's demonstration came a week after a pair of high-profile organizers were arrested and after Israel's Supreme Court ruled the protests could continue as long as they didn't exceed 500 people or include the use of loudspeakers in the residential area.

Louder, bigger protest

Israeli police said far more than that number arrived Saturday, with 2,000 attending. They also said protesters violated the other conditions set by the court, using loudspeakers and spreading out to adjacent streets.

What began as a gathering of a handful of good-governance activists outside the home has now, in its 40th week, swelled into a powerful display of flag-waving Israelis each Saturday night that has drawn heavy media coverage, sparked counter pro-Netanyahu protests and unnerved police.

Israel law says the prime minister can be removed only by parliament, though the Supreme Court has since ruled that government ministers and mayors had to resign if indicted.

Israel's justice minister has said the prime minister is not compelled to do so. But should the attorney general issue an indictment, there will be a legal challenge and public pressure for him to step aside. The weekly protests are ostensibly aimed at encouraging an indictment.

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