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Netanyahu: If Iran Tries to Block Bab al-Mandeb, It will Face a Coalition with Israel in Full Military Array


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday, Aug. 1, that Israel would be there if Iran tried to block the Red Sea's Bab al-Mandeb Straits. Speaking to Navy ships' captains' course in Haifa, the prime minister said: "Early this week, we witnessed an Iranian proxy trying to interfere with shipping sailing through the Straits of Bab al-Mandeb. I am convinced that an international coalition resolved to prevent this happening awaits Iran. And this coalition will include the State of Israel with all its military arms." DEBKAfile's military sources: The coalition Netanyahu referred to was Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel, and he was talking about the Yemeni Houthi missile attack on two Saudi supertankers in the Red Sea. He was not the first Middle East leader to postulate a regional alliance for taking responsibility, without the US, for defending the region against Iranian aggression. On July 26, the UAE's Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, made this comment in London: "The United Arab Emirates is ready to deploy more troops across the Middle East, as it cannot rely on Western allies, including the UK and the US, to police the region."

Report: Iran to Begin Major Exercise in the Persian Gulf


Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) forces are expected to begin a major exercise in the Persian Gulf as soon as within the next 48 hours that could be aimed at demonstrating their ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, two U.S. officials familiar with the latest assessment of IRGC troop movements told CNN on Wednesday. The Strait of Hormuz is a strategically critical passageway linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea that is crucial to international shipping and particularly for global energy supplies. Iran has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for U.S. military action. As of now, according to CNN, the U.S. assesses the IRGC has assembled a fleet of more than 100 boats, many of them small fast moving vessels. It's expected Iranian air and ground assets including coastal defensive missile batteries could be involved. Hundreds of Iranian troops are expected to participate and some regular Iranian forces could be involved as well. The IRGC exercise comes as the U.S. has only one major warship, the USS The Sullivans, inside the Persian Gulf, several officials said. Other American warships are nearby and there are numerous combat aircraft in the region.

IDF: Hizbullah Likely to Replace ISIS on Israel's Northern Border

By Israel Hayom (Analysis)

The Syrian army is expected to complete its takeover of the country's southwest, near the border with Israel, in the next day or two. This will allegedly restore a familiar situation, in which Syria's regime is once again stable, even if under the auspices of Russia. This would seem to be an ideal situation, especially if reality on the ground reverts to the one that existed before the civil war began in 2011 when Syria and Israel both adhered to the 1974 cease-fire agreement in full. This would restore peace to the Golan Heights, which could once again become Israel's most tranquil frontier. The key word here is "if." Unfortunately, the chances of this becoming reality are slim. The Syrian army may regain control on the ground, but it will not be the only armed presence near the border. Russia will also be there, and its presence is both a blessing and a curse. The Russian presence ostensibly meant to inspire restraint on all sides, will only be effective if Russia agrees to act on Israeli intelligence and thwart anti-Israeli incidents. But if the Russians prove to be a modern version of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil, Israel will find itself in a predicament, as Russia's presence will make it difficult for Israel to act independently. Russia, however, is the easy part. The bigger problems are Iran and its proxy, Hizbullah. Iranian forces are unlikely to be able to reach the Syria-Israel border – Israel, Russia, and even Syria, which would prefer not to be dragged into a conflict with Israel, will work to prevent that from happening. Israel insists on the complete removal of Iranian forces from Syria, which is unlikely to happen. The last Russian offer on that issue was to keep Iran 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border. This can be used as a starting point for negotiations, but those will be exhausted sooner, rather than later. Hizbullah is a different story. The Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group is already in Syria. Its operatives are fighting alongside the Syrian army and it has several hundred local villagers on its payroll, who engage in intelligence gathering. This was a strategic decision by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who wants to turn the Golan border into an active war zone with Israel. Hizbullah is likely to employ its familiar methods: joining local militias, importing its tactical abilities – anti-tank missiles, explosives and snipers – from Lebanon, and importing troops. The first stage has already been completed, the second stage is in full swing and, unless Hizbullah is stopped, the third stage will become a reality in a few short years. Stopping Hizbullah in its tracks is Israel's main challenge and doing so will become exponentially more difficult once the Syrian civil war officially ends. Until now, Israel has been able to use the chaos north of the border to eliminate any risk from that direction, but once the war ends, any use of force would have to be justified to others. Legitimizing Israeli operations on this front is likely to become far more complex and the risk for a security escalation will be greater. This will require Israel to use more carrots and sticks opposite everyone involved, as well as adamantly enforce its red lines.

Israel will soon also cease the humanitarian aid campaign it has been carrying out on the border. The IDF hopes that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force stationed in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria will be able to resume its operations in full, both lending a hand to the local Syrian population and providing them with an incentive not to back the anti-Israeli elements in the area.

Israel Prefers Old F-15s to F-35s

By Popular Mechanics
The Israeli Air Force would rather buy more F-15 Eagle fighters than the latest and greatest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It may be an older plane, but the F-15 apparently offers Israel more flexibility, particularly when striking its mortal enemy: Iran. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, Israel is dividing its airpower into two categories: jets that can strike targets just over the border in Lebanon and Syria, and jets that could hit distant but important targets such as Iran's nuclear program. Israel has the F-35 for the former task, and it is building a strike force of F-15s for the latter. Although the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has stealth and sensors capable of picking up targets on the ground, it doesn't have the range to strike targets up to a thousand miles away in Iran. Israel has had a nearly 40-year love affair with the F-15. It was one of the first countries to receive the Eagle and was the first to use it in action. The F-15 provides an impressive combination of power and range, allowing Israel to strike targets beyond the reach of most air forces. And because it's a large fighter, it has room to add new systems as necessary. Israel's defense industry has a long history of supporting the aircraft and creating upgrades to give the country's Eagles a decisive edge. The F-35, on the other hand, can only do so much for Israel. The country's version, called Adir ("Mighty"), has a locally built command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence (C4I) system built into it at the factory. But the new jet's relatively small size makes further upgrades difficult. Some upgrades would need to be stored externally, and that would make the aircraft much more detectable by hostile radars. Israeli engineers are also limited in the extent to which they can interact with the plane's highly advanced and classified electronics. AvWeek says Israel would prefer pausing its F-35 purchase plans at the current 50 jets, and order the remaining 25 only after buying more F-15s. Israel would like to order 20 to 25 new F-15s built to something like the new F-15 2040C standard. The 2040C jets are equipped with the AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, long-range infrared search-and-track sensor, and the ability to carry up to 16 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles. The Israeli version would also carry a data link pod for sharing data with other aircraft. Israel isn't alone in realizing that modern stealth fighters, particularly the F-35, are not a "one size fits all" solution to aerial warfare. There are times when an older aircraft, properly updated, is actually preferable. For years to come, air forces will be a blend of stealthy and non-stealthy warplanes that complement one another.

Canadian Postal Workers Align with Pro-Terrorism Palestinian Union

By B'nai Brith, Canada

A labor union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees has aligned itself with a Palestinian counterpart that supports terrorism and the elimination of Israel, B'nai Brith Canada has learned. In a statement issued May 30, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said it "has a joint project with the (Palestinian Postal Service Workers Union) designed to strengthen the Palestinian postal union and build greater solidarity between our two unions." CUPW also hailed a recent visit to Canada by Imad Temeiza, president of PPSWU. On its official Facebook page, PPSWU has twice glorified Palestinian terrorist Ahmed Nasr Jarrar, hailing him as a "hero of my country." Jarrar was a member of Hamas, a designated terrorist entity in Canada, who murdered Israeli Rabbi Raziel Shevach on January 9, before being killed in a shootout with Israeli forces in February. Another recent post from the PPSWU page calls for the release from prison of Fuad Shubaki, who was convicted in 2009 of attempting to smuggle tens of thousands of weapons into the Gaza Strip for use by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, another designated terrorist entity in Canada. Alon Katzakevich, an Israeli-Canadian member of CUPW who lives in Winnipeg, told B'nai Brith that the union's statements left him "shocked and concerned. Be my guest to explain to my kids why they grew up without a grandmother who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists." "Rather than using the union movement to build peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the CUPW leadership has aligned itself with the path of violence and extremism," said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada. "This is both deeply immoral and not in the best interests of Canadian postal workers." Images from PPSWU's Facebook page also indicate that it supports the total annihilation of the Jewish State, rather than a two-state solution. This extremist position is consistent with that of the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) Movement, which CUPW endorsed back in 2008. CUPW did not respond to inquiries from B'nai Brith Canada.

Following Outrage, Netflix Nixes Plan to Air Laudatory Louis Farrakhan Documentary

By The Algemeiner

The online streaming giant Netflix said it would not air a documentary that celebrates the life of Nation of Islam leader and prominent anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. An initial plan to release the film was promoted by Farrakhan on Monday, who tweeted, "On August 1st, watch the premiere of my music documentary `My Life's Journey Through Music' on @netflix." Following outrage from a number of leading Jewish groups on Tuesday morning, a Netflix spokesperson later told Fox News that the initial announcement was due to "an internal miscommunication. This film will not be released on Netflix," the spokesperson said. "We apologize for any confusion this has caused."

Farrakhan has a decades-long history of anti-Semitic statements. He resurfaced earlier this year with a particularly violent rant delivered on May 27, in which he blamed Jews for everything from gay marriage to controlling former President Barack Obama, referring to the "Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan. "Whenever you read that God has told the Jews to hear and obey, and they say, `I hear and I disobey,' that's Satan. … [The Jews] are openly disobeying God," Farrakhan said. "He [a Jew] will take down the whole world with him. Do you know that many of us who go to Hollywood seeking a chance have to submit to anal sex and all kinds of debauchery, and they give you a little part? It's called the casting couch," he added. "See, that's Jewish power." The documentary is said to chronicle both Farrakhan's life and his musical endeavors. Farrakhan was a singer before he joined the Nation of Islam and is a classical violinist. The film also features contributions from prominent black artists, including Stevie Wonder and reggae legend Bob Marley's son Damian. Produced by Farrakhan's son Joshua, the film appears to be a tribute to the Nation of Islam leader. The NOI's official publication The Final Call reported on the picture's 2014 premiere and quoted Joshua Farrakhan as saying, "I got tired of the media telling me who my father is. Who better to tell the world about who he is than someone who's known him all his life! Tonight, this documentary will expand your heart to love him even more," he added. "I'm coming back after the viewing to ask did I expand your heart."

Huckabee Considers Buying a Home in Judea and Samaria

By Israel Hayom
Former presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said Wednesday that he might one day "purchase a holiday home" in Judea and Samaria. Huckabee commented while symbolically taking part in the construction of a home in a new neighborhood in Efrat, a Jewish settlement just south of Jerusalem. Huckabee, a former pastor and a leading voice among evangelicals, is staunchly pro-Israel and was among the most vocal supporters of the U.S. move to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. In December, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and in May the U.S. Embassy in the city officially opened. Huckabee, whose daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the White House press secretary, says he is sure Trump would have been pleased to join him, "because he is a builder and he loves to see construction sites." The two-time presidential candidate said Trump is now "building a new world order."

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