Tag Archives: sees

Israel sees an opportunity to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia in Syria

Israel sees an opportunity to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia in SyriaIsrael is increasingly optimistic that it may be coming close to its longheld goal of driving a wedge between Russia and Iran in Syria, a senior Israeli official said today.  Chagai Tzuriel, director general of the Israeli intelligence ministry, said he believed Russia was growing frustrated with Iran's presence in Syria and was worried that fighting between Israel and Iran would threaten Moscow's interests.  "My assessment is that the Russians are interested in stabilising their achievements in Syria," Mr Tzuriel said. "I think they understand that if the Iranians continue on the present course this will lead to escalation and will blow their plans out of the water.” Israel’s has long said it would not allow Iran to gain a permanent military foothold in Syria. Israeli forces have carried out increasingly intense strikes against Iranian targets in Syria in recent weeks and in the process have inflicted serious damage on the Assad regime’s air defences.  Mr Tzuriel said he believed that the Israeli strikes – combined with America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and economic discontent within Iran – were fueling tensions between Iran and its Russian and Syrian allies.   “I think this is a moment pregnant with opportunity. My assessment is that the situation we’re in is an opportune moment to try to change fundamentally the strategic situation,” he said.  Israel hopes that Vladimir Putin (left) and Bashar al-Assad will lose patience with Iran  Credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images Mr Tzuriel spoke as unconfirmed reports emerged that the Syrian regime’s air force was trying to expel Iranian troops from its airbases because they were such a frequent target of Israeli attacks.  Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian opposition media outlet, said Syrian air force commanders were trying to shut Iranian troops and Hizbollah fighters out of their air bases to try to shield the sites from Israeli strikes.  Potential cracks in the Russian-Iranian relationship have become increasingly visible in recent weeks.  Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said in mid-May that all foreign forces would leave Syria once the Assad regime was fully in control of the country. The comments appeared to anger Iran. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said in response: “No one can make Iran do things; Iran has its own independent policies.” Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, also said Monday that only Syrian regime forces should be stationed on Syria’s southern border – implying that neither Iran nor Hizbollah should be allowed near the Israeli border. The comment appeared to be another small victory for Israel, which has long urged Russia in rein in Iran’s presence all across Syria but especially in the south near the Israeli border.  Syrian regime forces have captured significant territory from rebel forces in recent months Credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said Israel had been trying for a long time to warn Russia about the dangers of Iran’s presence in Syria but had only recently gained traction.    “The Israeli strategy was always to convince Russia that they had a lot to lose if they didn’t do anything about Iran. Until a few weeks ago, I would have told you they were doing that in vain and that Russia didn’t understand and didn’t care. But it’s changed because the escalatory strategy of Israeli strikes in Syria is really threatening to trigger conflict,” he said.  Mr Horowitz cautioned that the recent shift did not mean Israel would necessarily achieve its goal of forcing Iran out of Syria. “This doesn’t mean Israel has won. But it means the dynamics are changing for the first time.”  Even if Russia and the Syrian regime do believe that Iran’s presence is coming at too high a price, it is not clear how they could force Iranian troops and their Shia militias allies out of Syria.  Iran has invested heavily in propping up the Assad regime during years of fighting and is not likely to give up its presence easily. Assad’s battered forces are also still heavily dependent on Iranian-controlled militias as they try to conquer the remaining pockets of rebel-held territory in Syria.  Russia has provided the air power to help the Assad regime, while Iran has provided much of the ground forces Credit: Photo by Marina Lystseva\\TASS via Getty Images “Assad and the Russians still need the Shia militias to help them finish off what they have started Syria,” said Mr Tzuriel, the Israeli official. “That is part of the consideration and there is an issue of timing here. But that does not change my basic assessment that at the end of the day there is an opportunity now.” The US expressed alarm over the weekend that Syrian regime forces were massing for an assault on a rebel-held area in the southwest of the country, near the border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.  The area is part of a “de-escalation zone” where both Assad’s forces and rebel fighters are supposed to be observing a ceasefire. The agreement on the de-escalation zones were made last year between the US, Russia and Jordan.  Regime forces have launched attacks in de-escalation zones in other parts of Syria and met little protest from the US. But the southwestern zone is acutely sensitive because of its proximity to Jordan and Israel, both US allies.  The US warned that it would take “firm and appropriate measures” if Assad’s forces moved forward with the offensive. The Syrian regime has so far signaled it intends to move forward with the assault, despite American warnings. 



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The Great Game in Asia: How China Sees Taiwan

The Great Game in Asia: How China Sees TaiwanFor the Chinese Communist Party, Taiwan represents the final obstacle to truly concluding the Chinese Civil War. In the wake of China’s live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait, along with the largest naval drills in history of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Republic of China’s (Taiwan) status and meaning to the U.S.-China relationship is more prominent than ever.



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N. Korea's Kim sees off train returning dead Chinese tourists

N. Korea's Kim sees off train returning dead Chinese touristsNorth Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un personally saw off a train repatriating the bodies of dozens of Chinese tourists who were killed in a bus accident as he issued a fresh apology to Beijing over the tragedy, state media reported Thursday. Thirty-two Chinese tourists and four North Koreans perished when a bus they were travelling in plunged off a bridge south of Pyongyang Sunday night, according to Chinese officials. Beijing is the isolated regime’s sole major ally, providing an important economic and political buffer against international opprobrium.



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Trump Says He No Longer Sees Deal On DACA

Trump Says He No Longer Sees Deal On DACAPresident Donald Trump appeared to rescind his support for a deal with



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Trump sees 'BOMBSHELLS' in FBI texts about Clinton email probe

Trump sees 'BOMBSHELLS' in FBI texts about Clinton email probePresident Trump turned his Twitter attention on Wednesday to newly released 2016 text messages between a pair FBI agents who claim President Obama wanted “to know everything we’re doing.”



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Single Indiana block sees 27 overdoses in 24 hours

Single Indiana block sees 27 overdoses in 24 hoursEmergency responders have been working tirelessly after one Indiana block observed dozens of overdoses in just a 24-hour timeframe, according to the Indy Channel.



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Eric Trump: 'My father sees one color — green'

Eric Trump: 'My father sees one color — green'Eric Trump on Wednesday dismissed the backlash over President Trump’s caustic comments on immigration that have led some members of the media to label his father a racist.



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Japan sees little chance of oil slick from sunk tanker reaching its coast

Japan sees little chance of oil slick from sunk tanker reaching its coastBy Yuka Obayashi TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan sees little chance of the oil spill from a stricken Iranian tanker that sank on Sunday in the East China Sea reaching its shores, an official at the nation’s environment ministry said on Tuesday. “Oil spills in general can have a big environmental impact if they reach the coast, but we think that there is little chance of that happening on Japanese seashores for now,” the official who helps oversee the marine environment for the ministry told Reuters by telephone. The tanker had been adrift and ablaze after crashing into the freighter CF Crystal (IMO:9497050) on Jan. 6.



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No Longer A Hero On Breitbart, Steve Bannon Sees Supporters Turn On Him

No Longer A Hero On Breitbart, Steve Bannon Sees Supporters Turn On HimFormer White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seeing his most loyal internet followers turn on him after Michael Wolff’s explosive new book about the Trump administration quoted Bannon criticizing a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer.



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Hard-won UN debate sees US at odds with partners over Iran

Hard-won UN debate sees US at odds with partners over IranBritish representative Matthew Rycroft speaks during the UN security council session over the ongoing protests in Iran. The US successfully fought off a Russian-led attempt on Friday to block a UN security council discussion over the past week’s Iranian protests. Russia had tried to stop the UN discussion on the grounds that it would represent an inappropriate interference in Iran’s internal affairs.



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