Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Egypt demolished 3,600 Sinai buildings in three months: Report

MEMO | May 22, 2018

The Egyptian army has “vastly expanded” the destruction of homes, commercial buildings and farms in Egypt’s North Sinai region since 9 February 2018, a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.

Since 2014 the Egyptian government has pursued plans to create a buffer zone along its border with Gaza on the pretext that fighters and weapons are being smuggled through the tunnels that connect the peninsula to the Strip.

Activists have said this war on terror is better described as a war on civilians. Between July 2013 and August 2015 the Egyptian Army demolished at least 3,250 buildings to this effect, according to HRW.

In late 2017 authorities resumed demolitions with the view to creating another buffer zone around Al-Arish airport following a missile attack on an air base and military helicopter. On 9 February 2018 the Egyptian military intensified this military campaign with the launch of “Operation Sinai” which they said would rid the region of terrorism once and for all.

Under this operation demolitions have escalated. By analysing a time series of satellite imagery HRW has revealed that the military destroyed at least 3,ooo homes – the largest number since the 2014 campaign began – in just two months. Homes of alleged terrorists, activists and their relatives in North Sinai’s largest city Al-Arish have also been set on fire and then demolished.

There has been no judicial oversight of the demolitions and the government has cut electricity and water of the houses they are evicting to force people to leave.

According to the report residents were given between 24-48 hours warning to evict, no assistance for moving to temporary housing, no process to appeal compensation decisions or for destruction of or damage to farmland.

Middle East Director at HRW Sarah Leah Whitson said: “Turning people’s homes into rubble is part of the same self-defeating security plan that has restricted food and movement to inflict pain on Sinai residents.”

The Egyptian army claims it is protecting people from militants, but it’s absurd to think that destroying homes and displacing lifelong residents would make them safer.

The demolitions and forced evictions have exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation in North Sinai, according to HRW, which has calculated that 420,000 residents in North Sinai have been in urgent need of humanitarian assistance since “Operation Sinai” began. With the destruction of farms entire extended families have lost their livelihoods.

Because it is illegal to enter Sinai without a permit, the lack of journalists and human rights workers there means there is an information blackout on the atrocities committed.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Russia welcomes Egypt’s refusal to send troops to Syria on US proposal

Al-Masdar News – 14/05/2018

Russia views positively Egypt’s decision against sending its troops to Syria as was proposed by Washington, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after negotiations between Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers in the 2+2 format on Monday.

“We touched upon this issue in the context of discussing the Syria situation, in the context of discussing actions of the so-called foreign players, including, of course, the United States, because it is precisely its idea to invite Arab countries to send their contingents to the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“As I understand, this is done for the dual purpose: on the one hand, to share responsibility for the direct and gross violation of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria, which did not invite the United States and other participants of the US-led coalition to its territory, and the second goal is to share the financial burden,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

“Washington is talking directly and openly about this. I believe everyone understands what stands behind this invitation and we appreciate the position assumed by Egypt,” Lavrov said.

“We discussed this issue as part of the general discussion. Egypt has numerously stressed that it will not send its troops outside its territory as the Egyptian military doctrine stipulates that Egypt’s armed forces must defend only the borders. We discuss such issues only from the theoretical point of view as possible steps,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.

Some Western media outlets earlier reported about a possible dispatch of Arab armed forces, including from Egypt, to Syrian districts controlled by the United States instead of the US military contingent present there for the purpose of assisting stabilization in the country’s northern part after the defeat of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia).
ALSO READ Syrian Army on the verge of liberating all of Hajar Al-Aswad from ISIS

Commenting on this information, Shoukry stated that Egypt did not consider sending a military contingent to Syria as part of the US initiative.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/1004214

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Leaked video appears to show extrajudicial execution in Sinai

A leaked video appears to show a child being executed at close range in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by an army officer [Twitter]
MEMO | May 8, 2018

A leaked video appears to show a child being executed at close range in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by an army officer.

In the 30 second video the young boy is lying on a hill partially covered in white material. Moments before his death he asks for his mother.

“Don’t worry,” replies the army officer. “We’ll call your father to pick you up. We’ll cover you,” he adds, before shooting him in the head.

The incident took place in 2015 though the video was leaked today after being sent to Egyptian activist Haitham Ghoneim by a soldier who was serving in Sinai.

Ghoneim drew attention to a statement posted on Twitter in March this year which shows a picture of what looks like the same young boy with bomb-making equipment placed next to his body. The army spokesman vows to destroy terrorist dens and hotbeds and declares success in eliminating a terrorist cell and arresting 345 individuals.

Although the video cannot be independently verified, if it is true this young boy is another victim of the heavy-handed war on terror Egyptian security forces are waging in Sinai which purports to be against the local Daesh affiliate, Sinai Province. Under this counterterror operation authorities have forcibly disappeared hundreds of civilians. Several have been extrajudicially executed and then presented to the public as terrorists.

Egyptian authorities released a video last year which alleges to show an anti-terror raid that killed ten Daesh fighters yet experts who analysed the footage said there were indications that it was fake, for example the positions of the bodies suggest they had been moved. At least some of the men in the footage were arrested some months before its release.

In April last year Mekameleen TV station based in Istanbul broadcast a video of an Egyptian military officer executing young men then placing their rifles next to the bodies for photographs to film them and then removing the guns. Two of the victims were identified as 16-year-old Daoud Sabri Al-Awabdah and his brother, 19-year-old Abd Al-Hadi Sabri, who were forcibly disappeared on 18 July 2016.

A violent crackdown in Sinai has been ongoing since 2013 but intensified earlier this year when the government launched Sinai 2018 ahead of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s deadline to “restore stability and security” in the region.

Roads have closed isolating cities from each other and the North Sinai governorate from Egypt’s mainland. There is not enough food, schools and universities have shut and homes are being evacuated and demolished including around Al-Arish airport to create a security buffer zone.

Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings are rife yet the details of what takes place in the region are murky. Journalists and human rights organisations are not allowed into Sinai without permission from the government, which is rarely granted.

READ:

Extrajudicial execution of 54 people over ‘terrorism’ allegations

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Egypt presidential decree allows Bahrain King to own villas in Sinai

MEMO | May 2, 2018

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has issued a presidential decree permitting the King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, to own two villas located in the South Sinai province of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt’s state’s official Gazette reported on Monday.

In accordance to the Sinai Development Law No.14/2012, any land on the peninsula can only be owned by Egyptian nationals.

However, a statement released on the State Information Service website claims that Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree approving treating Bahraini King Al Khalifa as an Egyptian citizen in 2016.

“The decree is also applicable to the possession of lands and villas in Naama Bay of Sharm El-Shiekh city for the purpose of residence,” the statement concluded.

The news comes just days after the announcement of a $15 billion project to develop the restive Sinai Peninsula that should be completed by 2022, with a presidential aide describing the scheme as “a project for national security”.

The project includes plans for a comprehensive network of roads, residential and industrial developments, four water desalination plants, hospitals and sewage networks. Funding sources for the initiative remain unclear.

Egypt is reportedly preparing to launch a significant military attack in upcoming days in the area bordering Gaza and Israel, with Egyptian forces amassing near the Rafah crossing.

However, last week, New York based watchdog Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the risk of a looming humanitarian crisis in North Sinai as a result of the Egyptian army’s military operation. Nearly 420,000 residents in four north-eastern cities are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing battle.

According to the report, security forces have also imposed strict restrictions on the movement of goods and people throughout the governorate.

The report quoted local residents as saying that “the authorities have also banned the sale or use of gasoline for vehicle use in the area and cut telecommunication services for several days at a time. The government has cut water and electricity almost entirely in the most eastern areas of North Sinai, including Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed.

Egypt has been facing a Daesh insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years.

Human rights organisations have, however, accused Egypt of using the fight against terror in Sinai as a ruse to cover up the extrajudicial killing of opponents and critics.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

The idea of replacing the US contingent in Syria with Saudi troops is doomed to failure

By Dmitry MININ | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.04.2018

The White House has had a hot new idea – to leave Syria but also stay there at the same time by deploying an Arab contingent to US military bases, primarily from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). So to Arabize one of the bloodiest wars of our time in keeping with the bitter memory of Vietnamization.

It seems that the plan was worked out during the almost month-long stay of Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in America. And the plan’s existence was announced on 17 April by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, during a joint press conference with the UN secretary general, António Guterres. Following the missile attack on Syria, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants an early withdrawal of US troops from the country. The introduction of a Saudi contingent in their place seems to Washington to be in the interests of the United States. And the US government has not just suggested to Saudi Arabia that it replace the American contingent, but to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well. They would take a back seat to the Saudis, however. There is also talk of these regimes providing money to rebuild Syria’s destroyed north. It seems they wouldn’t just be counting on military force, but on “buying” the local population as well.

It does raise a question, of course: have the Americans asked the Syrian government or its own allies – the Kurds and, at the very least, Turkey, Russia and Iran – about the desirability of such a replacement? No, of course they haven’t. Even while withdrawing, the US is unable to forget about its “exclusivity”. For many reasons, however, the idea of replacing Americans with Arabs is doomed to failure.

That Damascus will resolutely resist the proposed reoccupation of its territory by the forces of a “fraternal country” is obvious. It can only lead to more fighting and a rise in regional tensions. Almost as well-equipped as the Americans, the Saudis will never be a worthy opponent of the battle-hardened Syrian army. They have already shown what they’re capable of in the endless war in Yemen, where barefoot Houthis are inflicting one embarrassing defeat after another. Riyadh’s intention to fight a “decisive battle” against Iran on foreign soil will not be realised, either. With its ally Iraq behind it, Tehran would soon have the advantage.

All in all, not a single one of Syria’s neighbours is in favour of the arrival of Saudi troops to replace the Americans except Israel. Iraq is categorically against the idea, since it wants to avoid having to deal with an upsurge in fighting between Sunnis and Shi’ites on its borders. Turkey has no need for the Saudis either, because they would undermine its influence in the Ankara-controlled area of northern Syria. Suffice it to say that the nearly 30,000 troops now under Turkey’s wing from Eastern Ghouta, which was recently liberated by government troops, have been on Riyadh’s payroll for the entire war. Turkey has every reason to fear that Saudi Arabia will use these and other groups to assert its dominance over the area. Libya is also against the appearance of Saudi Arabia on the Syrian stage, fearing that clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites will move to within its own borders. Even Jordan, which is dependent on Washington and London, is weary of the initiative. As a pragmatic politician, King Abdullah II of Jordan has a good idea of all the possible negative repercussions of such an undertaking.

The proposals have also been criticised by Egypt, which has completely ruled out its involvement in their realisation. Mohammad Rashad, a senior official in Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, expressed himself in no uncertain terms: “The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries and cannot be leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy in a certain area.” Rashad continued: “This is not acceptable. No one should dare to direct or give orders to Egypt’s army.” The statement is an indirect response to an appeal by the US president’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, to the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Abbas Mustafa Kamil, inviting Cairo to be involved in the project.

Just as many problems await the Saudis in and around the area of their proposed location. To begin with, the Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who control the area with the help of the US will certainly not welcome their arrival. It would mean the Kurds giving up control of the local Arab population in favour of the incoming contingent and losing most of the power they have won. It is quite possible that the Americans are secretly pushing for a scenario in which, as well as Arabization, there will also be a “dekurdization” of northern Syria, but at someone else’s hands. Then it would seem as if they are not betraying the Kurds, while calming Arab national feelings and ironing out differences with the Turks at the same time. Don’t think that the Kurds will remain passive bystanders in this situation, however. Chances are they will occupy the vacated US bases and refuse to let anyone in. It is even possible they will finally realise that, in the current situation, the most sensible course of action to resolve the Kurdish national question would be an alliance with Damascus. For the time being, Damascus is prepared to extend the rights of Kurds, but should they find themselves on the losing side later on, their window of opportunity will gradually close.

And for Saudi Arabia, a direct clash with the Islamic State (IS), which, according to the official version, is the terrorist group that the Saudis must go to Syria to fight, could prove fatal. The truth is that many of the IS militants still fighting in Syria are mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and their ability to indoctrinate their fellow countrymen should not be underestimated. It could happen that any direct contact between the Saudi contingent and IS militants will eventually extend the latter’s influence to the Kingdom, something that the Islamic State has long dreamed of. In the countries of the Persian Gulf, there are already some who think it would perhaps be better to hire Sudanese nationals, Pakistanis or some other poor souls for the operation.

The new plan for America to save face in the Middle East is just as chimerical as all of America’s previous attempts at a global reorganisation of the region. The outcome of Arabization will not be any better than the outcome of Vietnamization was all those decades ago. And this will continue to be the case until Washington starts taking into account the positions of all interested parties, including Damascus.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanese Journalist Names Washington’s Goal Number One in Syria

Sputnik – April 19, 2018

Sputnik spoke to Lebanese journalist and commentator Sharmine Narwani to find out more about situation in Syria and Washington’s goals and actions there.

It has been revealed that US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, tried to urge US President Donald Trump to obtain congressional approval before launching airstrikes on targets in Syria last weekend. According to reports, President Trump was however set on the use of military force, and overruled the Pentagon chief’s advice. In other developments, Saudi Arabia is reportedly holding talks with the United States and Egypt about sending an Arab coalition force into Syria.

Sputnik: We’re hearing news that the US is in talks with Saudi Arabia to build an Arab force and send it to Syria. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that he is in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton to plan building this force – what do you make of this, what do you think its purpose is?

Sharmine Narwani: Look Trump wants to clear exit the debacle in  Syria and eliminate the need to spend billions of dollars a year in maintaining US forces there and participating in the war. The recent chemical weapons allegations came shortly after Trump vocalised this desire; but the likelihood of an Arab force to physically base themselves in Syria on the Syrian-Iraqi border is virtually nil. We must view this new tactic with some suspicion. The US has always trumpeted ISIS as its main goal in Syria or the elimination of ISIS. If ISIS is gone, then what’s the need to have foreign forces based on that border? It seemed clear all along that containing Iran’s access from Iran to the borders of Palestine has always been the goal. It’s not as though Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stellar or significant nation-building expertise anyway. And they have many differences – the Saudis and the UEA for instance are heavily involved militarily in Yemen and are overextended there. Egypt has shown reluctance to participate in that Arab conflict, let alone another one with a government that it has actually sort of ideologically supported in the Syrian conflict. So it’s not likely to become a reality.

Sputnik: Of course in the lead up to the Western bombing campaign on Syria the US was saying that President Bashar al-Assad had used sarin gas, but we’ve now found out that they did not have sufficient evidence of this at the time. Also, the New York Times has revealed that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis urged Trump to get congressional approval for the strikes, but the president overruled him on that – what does this all tell you about the lead up to the events of last weekend?

Sharmine Narwani: If we look at the recent events leading up to the alleged chemical weapons incident, it took place under cover of two important developments: one was Trump’s declaration of exiting Syria, and removing US troops from there soon. The second would be the Syrian army’s very rapid defeat of terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and the reclamation of that strategically vital territory around Damascus. I think the sort of bringing up Sarin, the nerve gas sarin, it’s always kind of utilised as an emotional trigger, as is the mention of chemical weapons by itself and the general assumption if we’re talking about sarin would be that only states would have access to that particular substance, and not terrorist groups and non-state actors, unlike say with a substance like chlorine that is readily available. So I think it was very deliberately invoked, meaning sarin, to create an emotional response globally.

But Sarin has been used in Iraq by insurgents since at least 2004, in the form of IEDs. Turkey for instance, in May 2013, way later during the Syrian conflict, captured 12 Nusra members, Nusra is the Al-Qaida arm in Syria, they captured 12 Nusra members with significant amounts of Sarin and that was believed to be heading toward Syria. And major US-UK risk analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, in 2016, told us in a report that ISIS has used chemical weapons more than 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.

Sputnik: We’ve heard today that US senators are increasingly becoming concerned at the absence of a coherent US strategy in Syria, where do you see things from here?

Sharmine Narwani: Even during Obama’s term, we talked about there being a lack of coherent strategy. I would say that there is maybe a lack of a coherent verbalised strategy, one that was disseminated to the American public and an international one. There was certainly a strategy behind the scenes, one that was not vocalised and actions speak louder than words, so when we look at the arming, training and financing of terrorists when it was clear that there wasn’t enough Syrian support to topple Assad in the way leaders had been toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. We had the arming, training & financing but there was a very clear strategy, and the goal was number one, regime change, and two, to weaken the most important Iranian Arab state ally. So that was the strategy. When people say there wasn’t a coherent one they probably mean there wasn’t a coherent vocalised one. US actions have certainly shown us that regime change and weakening Iran were in fact the strategy in Syria and this is apparent today because the escalation still continues.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan: Arab occupational force and Arabs will pay for it – report

RT | April 17, 2018

Washington reportedly wants Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to replace the US in terms of troop deployments and funding in “stabilizing northeastern Syria,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The US currently has two major points of military presence on the ground in Syria: one on the border with Jordan in the south and one in northeastern Syria in an area controlled by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw American troops from Syria, apparently dismayed by the cost of the operation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration wants to shift the burden of occupying northeastern Syria – which is touted as an effort to stabilize the area by the newspaper – to Arab countries.

The WSJ says John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser, called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if the Arab nation with the largest standing army was willing to contribute to the planned changing of guard. Washington also asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars into a buildup in northern Syria and asked to send troops as well.

“The mission of the regional force would be to work with the local Kurdish and Arab fighters the US has been supporting to ensure Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] cannot make a comeback and preclude Iranian-backed forces from moving into former Islamic State territory, US officials say,” according to the newspaper.

The plan is apparently meant as an easy way out for America, which found itself in a perilous situation in Syria, having troops there with no legal ground and balancing amid countering goals and interests. For instance, Washington’s NATO partner Turkey sees America’s Syrian Kurd allies as terrorists and a legitimate target for military action.

However, having the Americans replaced with other foreign troops would entail challenges, too. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are otherwise preoccupied with their stalled military involvement in Yemen and may find it politically awkward to deploy troops alongside Qatar, a nation they accuse of supporting terrorism and of being close to Iran.

Egypt’s troops are busy fighting against jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula in the east and securing the lengthy desert border with Libya in the west. Both regions became major security threats after the events of the Arab Spring, during which Libya was reduced with the help of NATO to a patchwork of warring militant groups. Egypt suffered several years of political turmoil and a military coup, after which the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood found themselves under government pressure again.

The willingness of the Kurds to accept foreign Arab troops is far from certain. With some Syrian Kurds already feeling betrayed by the US over Washington’s failure to protect them from Turkey, getting a foreign Arab force deployed near their lands may be too much to swallow. Especially since some of the Islamist groups that the Kurds fought against during the seven-year war were funded and armed by the same Arab countries.

The WSJ also points out that cost reduction expected by the replacement may not be as big as the Trump administration hopes. The Arab expeditionary force would still require air support, logistical supply and possibly at least some presence of US troops among their ranks.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Patriot system good enough for missile defense?

A recent failure in Saudi Arabia has led to questions over the reliability of the US-made system with some countries opting for a Russian alternative

By Stephen Bryen | Asia Times | March 28, 2018

The Patriot missile system seems to have failed to do its job in Saudi Arabia. Instead of knocking out seven Houthi-fired ballistic missiles, reports from many sources cast doubt on the assessment made by Saudi government authorities.

Video shows that at least one missile not only missed its target, but shortly after launch veered hard right and with its nose pointed down crashed into a Riyadh neighborhood, killing at least one person.

But the errant missile is not the main concern. There is no missile system that is 100% reliable. Sometimes a technical glitch or mechanical malfunction leads to failure.

In the case of the errant Saudi missile, it looks like either the rocket motor performed improperly, pushing the missile off to the right and downward, or the guidance gyro failed. We have seen other rockets, even really big ones like the Long March from China, crash immediately after launch. A spectacular crash in a town adjacent to the launch site occurred on July 2, 2017, when a Long March 5 from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site crashed shortly after launch.

Back in 1996 another Long March 3B smacked into a town near its launch site at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan killing a number of people and destroying property. Again in January, 2018, another Long March 3B crashed shortly after takeoff at Xichang.

Updated and modified Scud missiles

In the case of the Long March, with controversial US help from Space Systems Loral and Hughes Electronics Corporation, China determined that the main gyro of the rocket failed because of a bad solder joint.  The controversy stemmed from alleged violations of US export controls and the fact that the Long March is the same rocket used for China’s ICBMs.

The Patriot is an evolved missile system, constantly updated to take account of new threats. But the rockets fired by the Houthis, which came from Iran [sold to the previous regime well before the current conflict] where they were built following designs from North Korea, are an updated Scud missile but with some notable modifications and improvements. The two most important were removing the rocket fins, which are big radar reflectors, and implementing a separating warhead, making the task of an air defense system far more difficult.

The Houthi missile is called the Burkan H2 (“Volcano”) that is, in fact, an Iranian-made Qiam missile, a licensed design from North Korea based on the Hwasong-6. All of these are variants of the Russian SCUD-C. This class of SCUD has a range of about 750 kilometers, or 470 miles, and a 750 kilogram (1,650 pounds) high explosive fragmentation warhead.

Last November a Houthi Burkhan-2 missile was aimed at the King Khalid International Airport about 35km north of Riyadh. The missile warhead exploded adjacent to the end of the airport runway. Experts think the missile came close to hitting its target consistent with the Burkan CEP (circular error of probability), which is about 500 meters. While no one was injured, the blast shook up people inside the airport terminal.

While claims were made, even by President Trump, that a Patriot missile destroyed the Houthi missile, that claim is dubious because the missile warhead fell within its prescribed target area.

Only 25% hit their target in the 1991 Gulf War

The latest news of attacks on Riyadh and two other locations and videos taken in Riyadh suggests that along with one missile failing and turning hard right and into the city, another missile clearly failed in flight. No one can now say for sure that any of the Patriots actually hit their targets.

Patriot effectiveness has long been an issue. In the 1991 Gulf War, analysis showed that at best 25% of the Patriots hit their target, but hitting a target does not always mean killing a target. In that same war, with Scuds fired at Israel by Saddam Hussein, the incoming rockets were hit, but not always destroyed. Sometimes they were knocked off course or tumbled toward the earth. Evaluations of the Patriot suggested the warhead needed to create a stronger explosion to knock out a ballistic missile.

According to the Times of Israel: “The Patriot air defense system, during the winter of 1991, faced 39 al-Hussein Scud missiles, launched in 19 salvos. The commander of the Israel Air Force at the time, Maj. Gen. (ret) Avihu Ben-Nun, told former IAF pilot and military analyst Reuven Pedatzur after the war that, according to Pedatzur’s testimony before the US Congress, ‘only one al-Hussein warhead was evidently hit by Patriot missiles’.”

But Patriot has “evolved” more toward a hit to kill solution, notably in the PAC-3 version, and away from a warhead blast spewing out metal fragments aimed at tearing up an incoming missile.

The two main problems with the Patriot

It isn’t clear which version of the Patriot the Saudis fired in the most recent engagement, in three locations with a total of seven incoming missiles. The fact that one of the missiles in Riyadh exploded when it hit the ground suggests the missile was a PAC-2 version with an exploding warhead.

Whichever version – and the Patriot has some of the latest radar technology both on the ground and on board the missile – there seems to be two significant problems with it.

The first is that the Patriot is fired when the incoming missile is in the terminal phase of its trajectory, so the Patriot is aiming to hit it only a few thousand feet above the ground and near its target. It would be better to destroy incoming missiles before they can release a separate, and much smaller, warhead which may not show up on radar. In addition, even simple decoys packaged with the warhead could confuse radar detection of the real warhead. It is unlikely the Burkan-2 has any decoys.

Point defense instead of area defense?

PAC 3 is claimed to have a range of 35km, but as the videos of Saudi Patriot launches, and others like those in Israel demonstrate, the intercepts are far closer, at best only a few miles from the end-point target, and only at most a few thousand feet above the surface. Most would agree this is too close for comfort and puts at risk urban populations and high value targets.

Is it the case that despite the sophistication of the Patriot’s radars, it only picks up the missiles when they are very close to the targeted area? Or, alternatively, is the range highly overstated? Or is using the Patriot for point defense instead of area defense not a good idea?

The second problem is target discrimination. From the debris of the King Khalid Airport attack, which has been put on display at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling near Washington DC, what remains of the warhead is mostly twisted metal. But the main rocket body appears in two large chunks, both pieces mostly intact. There is no evidence that even the main body was hit by Patriot shrapnel if struck by a PAC-2 missile; but maybe it was sliced in half by a PAC-3 missile.

But just as easily the missile could have cracked in half when it hit the earth after a free fall. If the PAC-3 “worked,” then it hit the main rocket but failed to hit the separated warhead. This means that the discrimination capability of the Patriot – whichever version – needs improvement, if it can be improved.

None of the Patriot results, at least so far, can be said to be encouraging, despite the fact that the Patriot remains the backbone tactical ballistic missile and air defense system for the United States and for many allies in Europe, the Middle East and in Asia – South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Perhaps it is time for a serious review of the Patriot to see whether it makes sense even in its evolved form, or whether a new system is needed. In the past the Pentagon has backed the Patriot even while sponsoring improvements that, at least so far, don’t seem adequate. And while Raytheon, the Patriot prime contractor, has been immensely successful in marketing the system abroad, the company may see its market shrivel unless the Patriot performs better.

What are the alternatives?

Unless a truly objective review is done, and with it recommendations proposed and implemented, more and more countries will look elsewhere for solutions. Saudi Arabia has already indicated it has signed an MOU to buy the Russian S-400, as has Turkey. South Korea is developing the M-SAM Cheolmae-2 system in an unusual deal.

The air defense system’s prime contractor is the Samsung Group partnered with French electronics firm Thales. But the M-SAM technology is coming in part from the Almaz Joint Stock company in Russia, based on S-400 technology including its X-band radar and missile guidance systems. Others strongly interested in the S-400 are India, Egypt, Iraq and Qatar.

Missile defenses are part of a package of defense assets that help bind friendly countries to the United States. If American defense systems are not up to the job, will countries trust America in future or look elsewhere? Will Russia grab the market and the influence that comes with it?

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Egypt-Israel gas deal is scandalous and shameless

Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh | MEMO | February 21, 2018

After Al-Sisi opened the very large Zohr gas field about two weeks ago the newspapers celebrated and announced the news that Egypt will achieve gas self-sufficiency this year by means of the Zohr, North Alexandria, Nawras, and Atoll gas fields. The Egyptian citizens lived this dream until they awoke to a nightmare where Netanyahu is announcing that Israel is celebrating after signing a historical agreement with Egypt that stipulates Egypt will import gas from Israel for 10 years. The imported gas agreement is worth $15 billion and these billions will be added to the Israeli treasury in order to be spent on education, health services, and welfare for Israeli citizens.

Of course it was no coincidence that Netanyahu announced this great news to the Israeli people on the anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, as such an agreement poses a new victory for Israel, no less significant than its victory in 1967 and the signing of the peace treaty. In my opinion, they are crowning their victories with this latest victory, as a result of which they control energy in Egypt and the key to the energy tap is placed in their hands. They can turn it off whenever they please. Whoever controls the energy can suffocate the states that live under its mercy and can control the decisions of these states.

This is a major crime committed against Egypt as a state and against its people. This gas is actually Egyptian gas that was seized by Israel either without the ruling government’s knowledge or in collusion with it. Instead of admitting to this crime and being ashamed of it, the government’s mouthpieces and corrupt media came up with justifications and excuses more criminal and shameless than the act itself. Some examples include but are not limited to the claims that the government has nothing to do with the Israeli gas import deal, overlooking the fact that the government facilitated the deal and prepared a draft bill allowing the private sector to import gas from abroad and sell it in the local market. Of course, the corrupt parliament, which does as the government desires and was formed under its watchful eye, approved the bill. It is foolish to make such claims when everyone knows that no private company can import anything without first obtaining government approval. Moreover, where would an unnamed company that has never operated in this field before, come up with $15 billion from to pay the Israelis?

Another justification included claims that economic interests dictate relations between countries and that there is no problem importing gas, even from an enemy, as long as it serves Egypt’s interests. However, those making these claims forgot that a country’s interests cannot be served by their enemy, and that from a purely national security standpoint, it is a strategic mistake to link Egypt’s energy security to Israel, which can stop exporting gas to Egypt if any conflict between the two countries arises.

The most absurd justification is the claim that Egypt is seeking to turn into a regional centre for energy and that the gas market has become available and open to any private company. No one bothered to mention what happened to the natural gas self-sufficiency claims made two weeks ago and ask why Egypt is importing gas when it has one of the largest gas fields, the Zohr gas field, in addition to the fields discovered in Egyptian regional waters and in the western and eastern deserts.

These mouthpieces also failed to mention why Egypt is importing gas specifically from Israel, especially since there are several alternatives, such as Algerian, Iraqi or Russian gas.

However, what is most astounding is the strange silence of the Egyptian government regarding this suspicious agreement, compared to the historical celebrations in Tel Aviv. Of course these celebrations are completely understandable given the financial, strategic, and moral benefits the agreement will grant Israel. Israel never dreamt of such benefits, even during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, their strategic treasure. What we cannot understand or accept is the fact that the corrupt Egyptian media is celebrating this agreement, despite the fact that such an agreement is the most prominent manifestation of betrayal and treachery, and the secret to the link between Egypt’s energy security and Israel’s gas.

February 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Egypt begins major military operation in Sinai, Nile Delta

Press TV – February 9, 2018

Egypt has begun a sweeping military operation against the militants active in violence-torn North Sinai Province in the extreme northwest and the nearby Nile Delta.

The army announced the launch of ‘Operation Sinai 2018’ on Friday, putting the police and military forces on “maximum alert,” AFP reported.

The goal is to tighten control of border districts and “clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds,” it added.

The campaign involves the air force, navy and army as well as police, he said.

“The armed forces calls upon the Egyptian people in all parts of the country to closely cooperate with law enforcement forces to confront terrorism, uproot it and immediately report any elements threatening the security and stability of the country,” the military spokesman, Colonel Tamer al-Rifai, said in a televised address.

Last week, The New York Times reported that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had kept northern Sinai a closed military area, barring reporters from the region.

The Associated Press has reported that the Egyptian army was bulldozing homes and olive groves to build “a buffer zone” around North Sinai Province’s only airport in the city of el-Arish.

The report said the buffer zone will destroy dozens of hamlets around the airport, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes for an unknown future, sparking some protest by residents despite the government promises of compensation.

Sisi, who is preparing to seek a second term in the upcoming March elections, has vowed that the army will employ “absolute force” in a bid to eliminate terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula.

The Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.

Over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013.

The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Ex-Egypt envoy: Evacuation of Sinai serves ‘deal of the century’

MEMO | February 8, 2018

A former Egyptian ambassador said that the current displacement of residents of the Sinai Peninsula sets the stage for the implementation of “the deal of the century”, adding that the Egyptian authorities are spreading “lies” by saying that the displacement is being carried out in the context of the fight against  Daesh.

Abdallah Al-Ashaal told Al-Resalah that there is no explanation for the displacement operations except that there is a conspiracy taking place at the hands of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority.

The conspiracy, according to Al-Ashaal, aims at establishing an entity and not a state for Palestinians under the pretext of expanding the Gaza Strip.

A Saudi-backed developmental plan seeks to establish infrastructure projects in Northern Sinai, such as the King Salman University and desalination and power plants, he added. These projects are “definitely not being worked on for those who are being displaced in the Sinai.”

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is part of the deal, Al-Ashaal said. “If this was not the case, there would be a search for another person who would accept it, and [dismissed Palestinian Liberation Organisation member] Dahlan is related to … this deal.”

In Al-Ashaal’s view, the plan also includes the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi handed over to Saudi Arabia in 2016.

The developmental plan that Sisi talks about includes expanding the Gaza Strip, Ashaal said. “Why the expansion and how can it be useful for Gaza that its borders stretch to the border of Arish [the Sinai city]?” Ashaal asked.

Using “security concerns”, Egypt has been emptying Sinai of its residents beginning with the border town of Rafah near the besieged Gaza Strip.

Local media reported yesterday that the Egyptian Ministry of Defence has asked the Ministry of Health to be ready for a state of emergency and for all hospitals in Ismailiyah to be prepared for a wide-scale military operation in northern Sinai.

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The shameful intelligence leaks confirmed what we already knew

Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh | MEMO | January 15, 2018

We did not need media leaks to reveal that an officer in Egypt’s intelligence agency, Captain Ashraf El-Kholi, was telling presenters on Egyptian TV channels what they should say about Donald Trump’s announcement concerning Jerusalem Published by the New York Times and broadcast by Egypt’s Mekameleen television station, the leaks merely confirmed what we already knew about Egyptian media outlets being fully mobilised to push the US-Israeli viewpoint.

Egypt’s media has become just like all state institutions in the country; it is under the control of the army. Companies owned by the intelligence agency have bought most of the satellite TV stations, in addition to establishing a new satellite network, DMC. In doing so, it has taken complete control of the media and has not limited itself to instructing those working in the sector on specific policies of the government, as happened in the past. Now, the state has completely monopolised an important sector that shapes public opinion and forms the sentiments of an entire nation, which has been spoon-fed what the Israeli enemy wants.

Herein lies the danger and catastrophe, as the nation’s constants have changed. The enemy has become the friend and vice versa. This was exposed by the leaks. TV presenters were told to explain to the people that there is no difference between Jerusalem and Ramallah, in an attempt to quell their anger and fill them with a sense of desperation and defeat. These journalists and presenters were told to say that they cannot fight Israel directly and that they must put poison in honey in order to achieve their goals.

The presenters must do this in such a way that it seems that they are trying to preserve the blood and lives of the Palestinians, because if there is another Palestinian uprising the victims — they didn’t say martyrs — will be Palestinians and not Israelis. They must also say that they want to resolve the Palestinian issue permanently and that a new uprising would be in favour of the Islamists and Hamas, who will rise once again after a decline.

This is what the intelligence officer was dictating to various presenters and this is what they want the people to believe. The purpose of this is to play with the people’s doctrinal and national constants in order to redirect the conflict compass from Israel, the nation’s traditional enemy, towards the Islamist trend, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, of which they consider Hamas to be a part, and which the intelligence agency labels as a terrorist organisation.

Unfortunately, they were successful with this ploy, and not just with a small section of society who have been brainwashed by this false and corrupt media that is being managed by intelligence officers.

I am not concerned with who leaked the recording or who benefits from these leaks. I am not concerned with whether this is a result of a conflict amongst the various branches of the deep state. All of this will pull us into a cycle of questions until we doubt the leak itself, and this is what the government wants to happen, in order to divert us from the essence of what was said in the disgraceful recordings.

As such, I pay no attention to what is being said about the conflict between the military intelligence and general intelligence branches, as over 20 of their senior officers were retired in the past year alone. The general intelligence agency is currently controlled by Al-Sisi’s son, who also took it upon himself to form a parliament made up of individuals completely loyal to the government, as admitted by Hazem Abdel Azim, who was associated closely with the government and in charge of the youth in Al-Sisi’s election campaign in 2014.

I am more concerned about the deterioration and decline of Egyptian intelligence. The image in the minds of Egyptians about this sovereign agency is far from the truth. Many novels, shows and movies have been written about the agency’s heroic stories and exposure of espionage within Egypt, or the spies planted in Israel. The most famous of these shows are perhaps “Raafat Al-Haggan” by Mahmoud Abdel Aziz and “Dumou fi Oyoun Waqiha” (Tears in Shameless Eyes) by Adel Imam, as well as the movies “El-Soud Ela Al-Hawia” (The Climb into the Abyss) by Mahmoud Yasin and “Mohema fi Tal Abib” (Mission in Tel Aviv) by Nadia Al-Jundi. All of these have planted in our minds the heroics of the Egyptian intelligence agents and how they were able to infiltrate the Israeli Mossad spy agency.

Regardless of the credibility of all of these stories, all intelligence agencies around the world are tasked with preserving the security of the state and the safety of its territories, not dictate to TV presenters what they should and should not say. However, this is the situation in Egypt after the 2013 coup and after the conflict compass stopped pointing at Israel, with which the country is currently enjoying — if that’s the right word — a lukewarm peace. Instead, it is pointed at the Muslim Brotherhood, which the deep state in Cairo wants to eliminate from its roots and present it as a sacrifice to Donald Trump, who remains the biggest enemy of Islam and Muslims.

Video: Leaked tapes reveal Egypt’s support for Trump’s Jerusalem decision

Egypt: media blackout on Palestinian reconciliation talks

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment