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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

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Russia blames Israel for Syria shooting down its spy plane

A Russian Il-20 surveillance plane was shot down off the coast of Syria by anti-aircraft weapons that were attempting to target Israeli F-16s. Fifteen Russians were killed in the attack.

Russia is blaming Israel for it, claiming it was their attack near a Russian base that resulted in the downed aircraft.

Russia blames Israel after Syria kills 15 in Il-20 plane in air battle

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-blames-israel-after-syria-killed-15-downing-an-il-20-in-air-battle-2018-9“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air-defense forces,” Russian media reported the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

“As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished. This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state media, Reuters noted.

“We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response,” Konashenkov said.

My Take

This is troublesome for one reason and extremely concerning for another. It’s troublesome because it likely means Russia will want more direct involvement in Syria’s defense. When weapons it supplied are used to take down its own aircraft, the practical and predictable response is to either downgrade involvement or ramp it up. Russia will likely do the latter.

It’s extremely concerning because of the clear threat made to Israel. “Commensurate measures” can be read in many ways, but based on Russia’s recent history this incident will likely be used as a get-out-of-jail free card for them to use at the right moment against Israel. How that manifests remains to be seen.

Russia wants to establish a stronger relationship with Israel, but Trump’s presidency has made that less likely. Just as President Obama pushed Israel towards Russia, President Trump is pulling them back away. This makes for an extremely interesting situation, especially with the need for Israel to proactively defend itself from terrorism and military efforts against it.

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Foreign Affairs

Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties?

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Would the White House pressure Benjamin Netanyahu to form government with left-leaning parties

On the surface, it may be difficult to imagine President Trump, a Republican, quietly pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government in a coalition with left-leaning parties should he win the April elections. But dig a little deeper and the thought becomes plausible. Why? Because it’s very likely his much-touted Middle East peace plan includes provisions for the Palestinians that conservatives in Israel may not allow.

A pair of articles out of Israel hint at this possibility:

My Take

It isn’t just those supporting such a move who are talking about it. New Right candidate Caroline Glick told the Jerusalem Post in an interview: “It’s mystifying that [Trump administration officials] think there’s a deal to be made when there so obviously isn’t one from the Palestinian perspective.”

Just as President Obama wanted to make his mark with the Iranian nuclear deal, so too would President Trump want to do what no world leader has been able to truly accomplish in history: a negotiated and firm peace in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be a crowning achievement if that was the only thing in his legacy. It would be truly historic.

Of course, most experts on Middle East affairs agree that there’s no chance for such a deal or a lasting peace without a two-state solution on the table, which is almost certainly what the Trump administration is going to push on Israel. The left in the Jewish state seem amicable to the idea, but conservatives are generally opposed. Doing so would weaken them militarily, forcing them to cover areas they currently control and bringing the potential for attacks against Israel nearly impossible to repel.

It’s the hope of any American leader to bring peace to the Middle East because it’s never been done before. Unfortunately, the path to peace is one that would eventually be covered with Israeli blood. That’s the nature of the hatred towards the Jews.

 


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Foreign Affairs

As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

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As Benjamin Netanyahu meets with world leaders, focus centers on Iran in Syria

The threat represented by Iran in the war-torn nation of Syria manifests in multiple ways. Other Middle Eastern nations are concerned that if Iran’s military is allowed to get entrenched in Syria, they will have too much direct access to the region in ways that threaten the peace. The United States and western allies are concerned that exerting control over the Syrian regime will turn them into a puppet state that will not solve the problems faced by the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, Israel faces the greatest threat as the nation that wants to wipe them off the map would be next door neighbors if they continue to fortify themselves in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this all too well and has not been shy about expressing these views to the world. In fact, he did it today in meetings with 60 world leaders and followed up by sharing his perspectives on Twitter.

Iran is not Israel’s problem alone. They are a problem for all freedom-loving countries in the region as well as powers throughout Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Israel needs our support as well as the support of others who realize the threat Iran poses to us all.

 


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Guns and Crime

Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

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Former counterintelligence agent Monica Elfriede Witt charged for allegedly conspiring with Iran

What motivates people to defect from the United States to work with nations opposed to our way of life? We may never know what Monica Elfriede Witt was thinking when she defected to Iran in 2013, but one thing is certain. If the charges against her are true, her treachery may have put American lives in danger.

Though she defected in 2013, it’s unclear when her loyalty shifted away from the United States. She ended her official and contractor duties in 2010 after serving in a counterintelligence role since 1997, but it’s possible she was operating covertly even after that point. It’s conspicuous that a trip to Iran in 2012 was where she made contact for arrangements to move her to Iran permanently.

“The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people,” said Special Agent Terry Phillips of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”

My Take

This is thankfully quite rare in the United States today… or at least we hope. Perhaps it should concern us that we’re just now hearing about her even though she defected nearly six years ago. No, I don’t expect the intelligence community to reveal their leaks while in the middle of an investigation, but it still seems a bit too long in the modern era for charges to be filed after it seemed pretty clear she had access to sensitive data and her defection was made known when it happened.

There’s no way to prevent every single potential spy or defector from infiltrating our intelligence services or sharing information with our enemies. If someone wants in, they can go through the long process of participating, pretending to be loyal while hiding their true feelings. Then, there’s the risk of radicalization; those exposed to the enemy may grow sympathetic to them over time.

It may be very scary to think someone with access to sensitive information, including the identities of current operatives, could be working with the enemy. Thankfully, these cases seem to happen less frequently in America than in other nations.

 


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