• IN PHOTOS: Israel and UAE fly together in annual joint exercise in Greece - Israel News -

    The Israeli Air Force is taking part in a joint exercise with the air forces of the United Arab Emirates and the United States, in Greece. Other nations also participating in the drill include Italy, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.

    A number of IAF F-16 jet fighters are participating in Iniohos, an annual exercise that resembles a complex, multi-threat combat environment to maximize the operational readiness of an air force.


    • #arf !

      As Popular Mechanics’ Kyle Mizokami reported in 2017, this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. During flight testing in 1956, a Grumman F-11 Tiger flying from Grumman’s test facility in Riverhead, New York fired a burst from four 20mm cannons toward the Atlantic Ocean. The pilot then entered a steeper dive, kicked in the jet’s afterburners, and went supersonic—when suddenly the windshield blew in and the engine failed. The pilot had caught up with the shells and in the process shot himself down.

      De toutes façons, ils vont bientôt les changer…
      … et les remplacer par les superbes fers à repasser volants.

      Meanwhile, the Dutch Air Force is in the process of replacing the F-16 with the Lockheed F-35A; eight are scheduled to be delivered in 2019. The F-35A carries the four-barrel General Dynamics GAU-22 Equalizer, a 25mm cannon that carries a mere 182 rounds in its magazine—so about two seconds worth of shells. That might make for fewer opportunities for a self-kill.


  • ‘Criminal negligence’ or disregard to Russia-Israel ties : MoD details chronology of Il-20 downing — RT World News

    A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel’s culpability and either its military bosses’ lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.

    We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force,” said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli’s F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.

    The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that “the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy.

    On the evening of September 17, the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 with 15 crew on board was circling over the Idlib de-escalation zone on a special reconnaissance mission, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets left their country’s airspace and flew over the neutral Mediterranean waters towards the Syrian coast. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute’s warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers, Konashenkov said, calling such actions “a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements.

    Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several ’industrial facilities’ in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation. The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the recon plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

      (article paru avant la conférence de presse du ministère de la Défense russe)

      It would seem that there were two significant contributory factors here: i) the Israeli ‘bad-faith’ abrogation of the proper protocols for communication between themselves and the Russian Military, in order to attain a deliberate advantage for carrying out their attack; and ii) the regrettable features of outmoded air-defence hardware which ultimately lead to the shoot-down.

      The solution to the second issue is rather straightforward: Russia had earlier proposed selling S-400 systems to Syria – a move which wound up effectively ‘veto’d’ by Israel stating in no uncertain terms that they would carry out airstrikes against any such systems before they had been fully installed, regardless of whether they were still Russian crewed at that point. Given Israeli airstrikes are presently causing Russian casualties anyway; as well as the fact that the Russians have already had their own advanced SAM systems for Russian defence set up in Syria for some time now, in the present situation of Israeli diplomatic weakness created by Monday’s events, now is the ideal time to engage in such technology-transfer directly to Syria with an explicit view to ensuring that Monday’s events do not recur thanks to half-century old hardware malfunctioning.

      The first issue is much more complex, as I would be rather surprised if Russia genuinely wanted to seriously contemplate abandoning its significantly close relationship with Israel – although it may potentially be convinced to ‘downgrade’ it somewhat, assuming that we do not see a repeat of what happened following Turkey’s downing of a Russian military aircraft in 2015 (ironically, a seeming catalyst for the two countries beginning to work more closely together than ever before). Whether Russia chooses to remain on ‘friendly’ ‘terms with Israel in a militaristic sense or not, the plain reality is that the Israelis have demonstrated that they cannot and should not be trusted to behave in an up-front manner when it comes to the communication and co-ordination protocols essential to allowing them to continue to operate with relative impunity above Syrian airspace.

      Russia should therefore suspend this facility they have provided to the Israelis forthwith – and openly state that future instances of Israeli military aircraft turning up unannounced above Syria will simply be treated as hostile, and dealt with accordingly. After all, from the perspective of that IL-20 crew, what else characterizes the Israeli conduct than this designation? Certainly not the actions of something approaching a ‘trusted’ ally! The net effect of this would be to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ of sorts over Syria – thus allowing operational freedom for Russian and Syrian air assets, and denying precious, vital air-cover to the extremist forces which theoretically everybody agrees need to be wiped out.

    • Avec, au passage, l’utile rappel de la possibilité de perte de contrôle des vieux missiles anti-aériens S-200.
      C’était il y a longtemps, le 4/10/2001 époque où il y avait encore des manœuvres communes russo-ukrainiennes.

      Vol 1812 Siberia Airlines — Wikipédia

      Un rapport préliminaire russe confirma les évaluations de responsables militaires américains faites à titre privé : le missile S-200 avait dépassé sa cible téléguidée qui avait été détruite avec succès par un S-300 tiré au même moment. Au lieu de s’autodétruire, le missile S-200 prit pour cible le long courrier qui se trouvait à près de 200 kilomètres ; le projectile explosa en projetant des billes d’acier (shrapnel) 15 mètres au-dessus de l’avion.

      Les responsables militaires ukrainiens nièrent d’abord que leur missile avait abattu l’avion ; ils déclarèrent que le S-200 avait été lancé vers la mer et qu’il avait réussi à s’autodétruire. Le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense Konstantin Khivrenko affirma que « ni la direction ni la portée (des missiles) ne correspondaient à l’endroit réel ou théorique où l’avion avait explosé. » Toutefois, les responsables ukrainiens admirent par la suite que c’était bien leur armée qui avait abattu l’avion de ligne.

  • Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean — RT World News

    © French Navy

    Russian airspace control systems registered missile launches from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
    The French Navy’s newest frigate, FS Auvergne, fired rockets at around 8pm GMT on Monday, the Russian military said. “Airspace control has recorded rocket launches from the French frigate ’Auvergne,’” the ministry’s statement read. The ’Auvergne’ is deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria.

    Paris denied “any involvement in [the] attack,” a French army spokesman said, as cited by AFP.

    It is a ’European multi-purpose frigate’ (FREMM) which entered the service of the French Navy in February this year. Prior to its official commissioning, the Aquitaine-class warship underwent deployment across the globe, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

    The launch was detected at around the same time that air traffic controllers at Khmeimim Airbase “lost contact” with a military Il-20 aircraft during an attack by Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia. Some 14 people were on board the plane at the time of the disappearance. A search and rescue mission is underway.

    The IDF has refused to comment on the report. Despite the fact that Israel rarely acknowledges striking specific targets inside Syria, earlier this month the IDF admitted hitting at least 202 “Iranian targets” in the country.

    As tensions over Idlib rise, Turkey and Russia on Monday agreed to establish a “demilitarized zone” between militants and government troops as part of an effort to clear the remaining jihadists from Syria.

  • Revealed: Israel ’struck advanced Iranian air-defense system’ in Syria - Israel News -

    The Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at the T4 base in Syria last week and not just attack drone deployment, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
    The report noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the strike after conferring with U.S. President Donald Trump, in hopes of preventing Iran from using the anti-aircraft battery against Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria.

    Haaretz previously reported that the strike apparently targeted armaments aside from the drones, which could have reduce the Israel Air Force’s freedom of operation in Syrian airspace.
    Earlier this week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began bolstering air defenses following an escalation triggered by Iran sending an armed drone into Israeli airspace that resulted in retaliatory Israeli strikes in Syria. An Israeli F-16 war plane that carried out airstrikes on the Syrian base was shot down during retaliatory strikes.

    The Israeli official told the New York Times that the incident “opened a new period,” adding that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel - not by proxy.

  • Who’s hiding Israeli air force participation in major exercise with UAE and U.S.?

    It’s unclear why Israel is not mentioned on the promotional website of the annual Iniohos exercise with the U.S., UAE, Greece, Britain, Cyprus and Italy

    Yaniv Kubovich Mar 20, 2018

    The Israel Air Force began a joint exercise in Greece with the air forces of the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Italy, the United Kingdom and Cyprus also participated in the exercise.
    A number of IAF F-16 jet fighters, along with dozens of planes from the other air forces, are participating in the annual Iniohos exercise.
    This is not the first time that the IAF has taken part in the exercise in Greece and the UAE’s participation was publicized, even though Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE.

    Fighters and pilots participating in the multi-national Iniochos 2018 exercise in Greece Hellenic Air Force
    skip - IAF
    IAF - דלג

    IAFΠολεική Αεροπορία / YouTube
    This year, however, Israel does not appear on the Hellenic Air Force website that gives details about the exercise. It does not appear on the list of participants, nor does Israel’s flag appear in the group photo and Youtube video clip in which the flags of all the participating countries are shown next to an array of the countries’ planes.
    It isn’t clear why Israel’s participation is being hidden; in past years its participation was widely publicized. There is a hint of Israel’s involvement, however, in the patch worn by the pilots on their flight suits, where Israel’s flag can be seen along with the flags of the other countries.
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    Last November the air forces of eight countries took part in the international Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Base in southern Israel. In addition to the IAF, the air forces of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece and India participated. It was the first time the air forces of Germany and France had taken part in air exercises in Israel.
    >> Blue Flag 2017: Israel’s Fighter-jet Diplomacy | Analysis >>
    At the time, the IAF said that despite the operational importance of the exercise, the real achievement was a diplomatic one. As for the exercise in Greece, the same is probably true, but the IAF plans continue the tradition of participating in this exercise.

  • The Catch 22 of Hacktivism - Issue 51: Limits

    In the run-up to NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya, a Dutch radio hacker named Huub (@fmcnl) tweeted to the United States military that one of their F-16 fighter jets was mistakenly broadcasting its identity in the clear due to a misconfigured Mode S transponder. When a second fighter plane made the same mistake later that day, Huub joked that Moammar Gadhafi’s radar installations must be down for the U.S. Air Force to be so cavalier with its security protocols: “Hmmm, second fighter showing his ID, a USAF F-15E from 494FS Lakenheath UK, I presume Gadhafis radar equipment has destroyed :o).” Huub was not working alone; he was part of a network of amateurs who were tracking and narrating the chess match in which NATO planes and Libyan units jockeyed for position before the commencement of (...)

  • In #Pakistan, tolerant Islamic voices are being silenced
    William Dalrymple

    With its deep roots in south Asian soil, its gentle message and through the music that carries it, Sufism has become an antidote to Isis-style radicalism, and fundamentalisms of all sorts. One old fakir I talked to in the Sehwan shrine said of the Wahhabi mullahs: “Without love, they distort the true meaning of the teaching of the prophet.”

    If only the Pakistani government could finance schools that taught respect for the country’s own indigenous and syncretic religious traditions, rather than buying fleets of American F-16 fighters and leaving education to the Saudis. Instead, Pakistan is increasingly coming to resemble a tragic clone of pre-9/11 Taliban Afghanistan – a place where violent radicals are welcomed with open arms, where groups like Isis are rapidly gaining influence, and where moderate Muslims and religious minorities are subject to persecution and murder.


  • 62 soldats syriens tués dans une frappe attribuée à la coalition menée par les Etats-Unis — RT en français

    Selon un communiqué de presse du commandement général syrien relayé par une chaîne de télévision officielle, la coalition emmenée par les Etats-Unis a bombardé des positions de l’armée syrienne le 17 septembre près de l’aérodrome de Deir ez-Zor.

    (...) Il a ajouté que des combattants du groupe terroriste Daesh avaient entamé une offensive contre les positions syriennes immédiatement après ces frappes.

    Quels maladroits ces Américains tout de même !

    #syrie #ei #daesh

  • Tensions escalate in Gaza as Israeli shelling kills Palestinian woman
    May 5, 2016 1:49 P.M. (Updated: May 5, 2016 8:21 P.M.)

    GAZA (Ma’an) — Tensions continued to escalate in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, with reports of one Palestinian woman killed by Israeli shelling, as Israeli forces said airstrikes were in response to Palestinian resistance groups targeting its troops with mortar rounds.

    Medical sources told Ma’an that a Palestinian woman in her fifties, identified as Jana Aytah al-Amur , was killed by Israeli shelling on Thursday evening in the al-Fakhari area east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokesperson said they could not confirm the case.

    Medical sources also said that an Israeli airstrike injured a Palestinian woman, identified as 21-year-old Khazima al-Farra, in the al-Rayyan area in eastern Rafah.

    Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli F-16 jets launched several rockets in the southern Gaza Strip at around 5 p.m., hitting agricultural land in the Abu al-Rus area in eastern Rafah.


  • NATO Ratchets Up Missile Defense Despite Russian Criticism - The New York Times

    NATO’s European missile defense system goes live on Thursday when a base in Romania becomes operational. The next day, Poland is scheduled to break ground on its NATO missile-defense base.

    The decision by the United States and its allies in Eastern Europe to proceed with ballistic missile defense in the face of increasingly loud Russian criticism is an important stage in the alliance’s new stance toward Moscow.

    Those deployments will be coupled this spring with major military exercises in Poland and the Baltics, with significant American participation and a beefed-up rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops.

    Altogether, said Derek Chollet, a former United States assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, “There will be a quite robust display of military power in Europe and allied resolve, and hopefully Moscow will see it for what it is, an alliance improving its capabilities.
    Talk of “strategic partnership” is gone; instead, there are calls to abandon the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, which spoke of shared values and a commitment to peace. There is less emphasis on finding “common ground” with Russia than on setting clear limits.

    The intention in Warsaw is to move from “reassurance” of eastern NATO allies to “deterrence” of Russia. That means more troops and equipment, longer deployments, bigger exercises and a “persistent” presence of NATO and American troops in countries like Poland and the Baltics.
    How will Russia react? President Vladimir V. Putin views NATO as encircling Russia to limit its influence. Moscow argues that the only possible target of NATO’s missile defenses is Russia, now that Iran has agreed to limit its nuclear program.

  • Bye bye #Breedlove !

    SHAPE | U.S. Army General Scaparrotti - 18th #SACEUR

    NATO’s 18th Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, assumes command of Allied Command Operations (ACO) from General Philip M. Breedlove at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) today.
    Military members and civilians from across the 28-nations attended the ceremony, highlighting the continuing unity and solidarity of the military alliance at SHAPE, which celebrated its 65th anniversary in April.

    Hello #Scaparrotti !

    SHAPE | Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)

    General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is a native of Logan, Ohio, graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1978 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
    A career infantry officer, General Scaparrotti most recently served as Commander, United States Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea. Before that he was the Director Joint Staff. Prior to his tour with the Joint Staff, General Scaparrotti served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan the Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division.

    • Highlights of the ceremony included a flyover of four F-16s from the Belgian Air Force in honour of General Breedlove, who is also an F-16 pilot. At the end of the ceremony, eight paratroopers from Allied nations, including the Vice Chief of Staff, French Lieutenant General Michel Yakovleff, landed on the parade field. Each paratrooper carried a flag representing a different aspect of NATO: the host nation of Belgium, NATO, ACO, and Allied Command Transformation (ACT), France in honour of French General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, the European Union, NATO Special Operations Headquarters, and the United States of America in honour of Generals Breedlove and Scaparrotti.
      To view photos from the change of command ceremony, please visit the SHAPE Flickr Change of Command Album.

    • L’accueil de Scaparrotti par Sputnik News

      NATO’s New Commander Gets Off on the Wrong Foot With Russia

      Scaparrotti, handpicked by President Barack Obama to lead the North Atlantic Alliance, singled out Russia as the first of four threats to US and NATO security interests in his written testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee. The other three comprise terrorism, migrant and refugee flows, as well as “the collective threats to Israel.

      The general also noted that dialogue and security cooperation with Moscow “should remain limited” until Russia supposedly adheres to international norms.
      The US and some of its allies blame Russia for the Ukrainian civil war, although Moscow is not a party to the conflict and has instead played a major role in pushing forward the fragile peace process. Unsurprisingly, Scaparrotti is in favor of sending weapons to Kiev – a move that Russia and Germany have long said would only makes things worse.

      During a ceremony at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Scaparrotti noted that, “We face a resurgent Russia and its aggressive behavior that challenges international norms.” The general also mentioned that NATO needs to be ready to “fight tonight if deterrence fails.

  • Russia may cancel important projects with Turkey : Medvedev -

    Un arrêt (que temporaire ?) de la nucléarisation de la Turquie à cause des incidents diplomatiques avec la Russie

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Nov. 25 that Russia may consider cancelling some important joint projects with Turkey after the downing of the Russian jet by Turkish F-16’s near the Syrian border on Nov. 24.

    Turkish companies could lose Russian market share due to the incident, Medvedev said in a statement published on the government website, barring Turkish companies from the Russian market.

    Russia may even scrap big energy projects with Turkey, such as the Turkey’s first nuclear power plant for which Russia has been contracted to build.

    Turkey commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom in 2013 to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors in a project worth $20 billion.

    Russia and Turkey are also working on the Turkish Stream pipeline project, an alternative to Russia’s South Stream pipeline, which was to transport gas to Europe without crossing Ukraine. The South Stream plan was dropped last year due to objections from the European Commission.

    #Turquie #Russie #Nucléaire

  • Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States -

    Une des raisons essentielles pour lesquelles les dizaines de milliers de #victimes_civiles « valent la peine »,

    To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.

    As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.

    The United States has long put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms can sell to Arab nations, meant to ensure that Israel keeps a military advantage against its traditional adversaries in the region. But because Israel and the Arab states are now in a de facto #alliance against #Iran, the Obama administration has been far more willing to allow the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf, with few public objections from #Israel.

    “When you look at it, Israel’s strategic calculation is a simple one,” said Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The gulf countries “do not represent a meaningful threat” to Israel, he said. “They do represent a meaningful counterbalance to Iran.”

    #armes #Etats-Unis #complexe_militaro_industriel

  • Russian bombers pose risk to civil aviation | Barentsobserver

    The four bombers and four tanker aircraft tracked by F-16s outside Northern Norway were not using on-board transponders or maintained any radio contact with civilian air traffic authorities.

    Thomas Nilsen
    October 30, 2014

    Two Norwegian F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Bodø airforce base early Wednesday morning as NATO radars detected eight Russian aircrafts flying from Russia’s Kola Peninsula and into international airspace on a southwest bound route from the Barents Sea over the Norwegian Sea.

    The aircrafts identified were four Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircrafts.

    NATO issued a statement Wednesday saying the “flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace.”

    #russie #Norvège #arctique

  • #turkey says Syrian air defense systems “harassing” its war jets

    Syrian air defense systems have “harassed” Turkish F-16 fighter jets patrolling their own airspace by repeatedly putting them under “radar lock,” suggesting they were about to be fired at, the Turkish military said on Thursday. The incident, which took place on Wednesday, comes only days after Turkey downed a Syrian warplane that Ankara said had violated its airspace, in an area where Syrian rebels have been battling government forces. read more

    #syria #Top_News

  • Crimée : conséquence de la crise entre l’Ukraine et la Russie, les pays baltes, très inquiets, demandent au Danemark d’envoyer ses F-16 pour patrouiller le long de la frontière avec la Russie...

    Il y a 50 % de Russes en Lettonie.

    Danske jagerfly til Baltikum - Nyheter, tv og radio fra hele verden -

    Danmark sender jagerfly til Baltikum

    Danmark sender seks F-16 jagerfly til Baltikum for å patruljere luftrommet over de tre landene Estland, Latvia og Litauen som alle føler seg truet av Russlands militære nærvær.

    #crimée #lettonie #pays_baltes #russie #danemark #ukraine

    • NATO har siden 2004 fløyet patruljer i luftrommet over de tre NATO-landene, som ikke har avanserte nok fly til oppgaven selv. Det danske bidraget er muligens en opptrapping av den eksisterende tilstedeværelsen.

      C’est un renforcement des patrouilles OTAN organisées depuis 2004 qui sont réalisées par des rotations des forces aériennes des différents pays. Les É.-U. ont doublé leur contingent de F15 le 6 mars

      Cf. l’article Baltic Air Policing de WP où l’on trouve la liste des rotations effectuées depuis 2004 avec l’ajout (le 23/03) des deux dernières lignes du tableau (F16 danois et Typhoon britannique) ainsi que du commentaire en pied de tableau

      Additional deployment of six F-15C’s was carried out 6th March, 2014, four F-16AM’s and one Eurofighter Typhoon’s will be carried out on April, 2014, due to the Crimean crises.

      D’ailleurs, et c’est un grand classique, les pays baltes se querellent entre eux à ce sujet…

      Row Over NATO Air Policing Rotation Clouds Baltic Cooperation (23/10/13)

      The Baltic States have still failed to settle the dispute on the future of NATO’s air-policing mission: Lithuania insists that it sees no reasons for shifting a part of the mission to Estonia, as requested by Tallinn.

      Meanwhile, Latvia maintains that it is the efficiency, not the rotation of the mission that is important, however, is worried that the Baltic cooperation is “experiencing not the best times.

      NATO fighter jets have been patrolling the Baltic skies since the three countries achieved fully-fledged membership in the Alliance in 2004. The mission is performed from the Lithuanian Air Force Aviation Base in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania, while Estonia wants one in three rotations hosted by its renovated Amari base after 2015. A request has been rejected by Lithuania, which maintains that rotation would only make the successful mission more expensive, whilst not giving any added value.

      For now, we see no added value in moving the mission from one airport to another. NATO emphasises #smart_defence and rational use of resources. This would not be the case, if the mission has to move from one airport to another,” Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas told BNS.

      He said Lithuania was ready to support other NATO projects in Estonia, for instance, efforts to enhance the Baltic Defence College.

      Nevertheless, Estonia wants to use the new Amari base, saying it is willing to cover the additional costs.

      Entre les deux, la Lettonie s’énerve…

      Latvia, in its turn, believes that the disagreements reflect the cooperation problems the Baltic States are faced with.

      The Baltic cooperation in some ways is at this time experiencing not the best times. I am very much hoping that we will be able to overcome [discrepancies] sooner than later. Latvia is between Estonia and Lithuania and is very much worried that our disagreements: either it is about energy, or it is about transport, or it is about military cooperation, that are hijacked by one or another issue and not letting us to see the wider perspective. The wider perspective is that we have to stick together and we have to go on as soon as possible will all projects where we can find a common language,” Latvia’s Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said.

      As far as a concrete rotation, it’s not about rotation, it’s about a more efficient way of how we can preserve the security of our air defence. That’s the core issue. It’s not the question of who is doing what, it is the question of how we can do together better,” the Latvian minister said in comment of the Lithuanian-Estonian disagreements.

  • Armement : « L’Irak est destinée à devenir l’un des premiers clients des Etats-Unis »

    In a recent contract, the U.S. Air Force signed off $838 million to Michael Baker International, a U.S. defense giant, to build an airbase in Iraq that would provide maintenance, spare parts and personnel training for the eventual stationing of a large F-16 sale to Iraq’s air force. Pending final approval in Congress, a small arms package, hellfire missiles and Apache helicopters, among other sundry ammunition and ordinance are on their way to Baghdad. The near $1 billion USAF contract, in other words, is but the tip of the iceberg in terms of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Iraq, a country clearly destined to become one of America’s most important arms clients.

  • Arming Egypt, by Nizar Manek - English edition blogs

    The #US doesn’t want to lose its access to the pyramids, nor does it want to allow its bilateral ties with #Egypt — the world’s fourth largest F-16 operator — to go limp. The two main categories under which US military equipment are sold to foreign customers — Foreign Military Sales (FMS, from the US Department of Defense stockpiles) and Direct Commercial Sales (from the manufacturers) — are a form of industrial policy, labelled an act of “rent-seeking” by a political elite and a “rent-granting” state, or a “strategic effort” by the US government to finance the growth of the defence manufacturing sector of the American economy, maintain its expertise in a global market for #weapons deals, and bolster employment levels.

  • U.S. Nears $10bn Arms Deal With Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE

    The United States is finalizing a complex $10 billion arms deal that would strengthen two key Arab allies while maintaining Israel’s military edge, defense officials said on Friday ahead of a trip to the Middle East by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

    The deal, more than a year in the making through a series of coordinated bilateral negotiations, would result in the sale of V-22 Osprey aircraft, advanced refueling tankers and anti-air defense missiles to Israel and 25 F-16 Desert Falcon jets worth nearly $5 billion to the United Arab Emirates.[...]

    Sources familiar with the arms sales plans said Israel had asked to buy five or six V-22 Ospreys, built by Boeing Co and Textron Inc’s Bell Helicopter unit, at an estimated price of about $70 million apiece.

    The UAE also is interested in purchasing the tilt-rotor aircraft, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a plane, the sources said. But that sale is likely to be included in a separate deal.

    The United States sold Saudi Arabia 84 F-15 jets for $29 billion in 2010, planes that are now beginning to roll off the assembly line and undergo testing, officials said.


  • No safe haven: Civilians under attack in the Gaza Strip
    Nov 16, 2012 05:43 am | International Eyewitnesses in Gaza
    IMG 6054 001
    Salem Waqef (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

    Gaza City, 16 November 2012

    The Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip have entered their third day. We write this report amid the sounds of incessant bombings, which have continued all day yesterday and throughout the night.

    The military escalation carried out by the Israeli Army continues all over the Gaza Strip. From Gaza City, we hear incessant noise of drones and F-16 fighter jets crashing through the sky above our heads. Bombs repeatedly fall in our surroundings, in densely populated civilians areas. At this point, Israeli air forces have conducted nearly 200 airstrikes, bringing the death toll to 19. Among the casualties are ten civilians, including six children and one woman. More than 180 people have been injured by the attacks, the vast majority civilians. The areas targeted included Beit Hanoun, Jabalia refugee camp, Sheikh Radwan and al-Nasser neighbourhoods in Gaza City, Maghazi, Deir El Balah, Khan Younis, and the tunnel area in Rafah.
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    Haneen Tafesh (Photo: Gisela Schmidt-Martin)

    Yesterday we visited Al Shifa hospital, where most of the injured are brought to. There we spoke with doctors, patients, their relatives, and witnesses about what they are going through in the current escalation in the Gaza Strip. We wish to share some of the stories of the people we met.

    Salem Waqef, a 40 year old man, was severely injured when his home was destroyed in an attack during the early morning of 15 November. His doctors say Salem suffered a brain injury when he was deprived of oxygen. He was brought into the International Care Unit of Al Shifa hospital at 5am where he was placed on a ventilator. He remains in a coma and the doctors said he was in a serious condition.

    At approximately 1.10pm, as we were leaving the ICU, a 10 month old girl, Haneen Tafesh, was brought into the ward. She was unconscious and her tiny body was grey. She had suffered a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage, which resulted from an attack that took place at around 11am yesterday in Gaza’s Sabra neighbourhood. She was in a coma and on mechanical ventilation. Later in the afternoon, we checked how Haneen was doing and doctors said her condition had deteriorated. After returning home in the evening, we learned that she had died.
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    Ahmed Durghmush (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

    Ahmed Durghmush is in his early twenties and was brought to Al Shifa ICU at around 9pm Wednesday night, 14 November, after he was injured by an airstrike carried out on the Tel al Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City. He had suffered a severe brain trauma, caused by shrapnel from an explosion. Dr Fauzi Nablusia, a doctor in the ICU, explained that, when Ahmed arrived, some of his brain matter was protruding from his head wound. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and was operated on. When we asked doctors about Ahmed’s condition later today, they said it had deteriorated. A relative was standing over Ahmed’s bed, expressing his feelings of powerlessness and fear for Ahmed’s fate.
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    Basma Mahmoud el Tourouq (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

    The emergency room was dealing with spikes in victim arrivals throughout the day. One of those brought in was 5 year old Basma Mahmoud el Tourouq from Rimal neighbourhood, Gaza City. She was injured in an airstrike near her home around 2.30pm today. The shockwave of the explosion threw her across her bedroom, causing her lower arm to be fractured as she fell on the floor.

    We later listened to the stories of some of the injured children, women and men and their relatives who had been moved up to the different wards of Al Shifa hospital.

    Mohammed Abu Amsha, a two and half year old boy, was injured while he was sitting in front of his grandfather’s house in Beit Hanoun. An F16 fired a missile nearby, and scattering rubble struck him in the head. As we were about to leave, Mohammed’s father mentioned that Mohammed’s uncle had also been injured.
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    Mohammed Abu Amsha (Photo: Gisela Schmidt-Martin)

    Zuhdiye Samour, a mother and grandmother from Beach refugee camp in western Gaza City, was still visibly shaken by what had happened when she shared her story: “We were sitting together in our house. It was around 8.30 in the evening and we were watching TV, playing films so that the children would be less afraid. Then, we heard the sound of 12 shells being fired from gunboats in the sea.” Zuhdiye and three other civilians were injured as shells dropped in her neighbourhood, a residential area in the north of Gaza City.

    Khalid Hamad, the Director of Public Information for the Ministry of Justice, was one of the other civilians injured in the indiscriminate attack of the residential area. He was at home with his family in Nabarat, Northern Gaza City, when they heard the sound of shelling, targeting a neighbour’s home. A number of people in the neighbourhood rushed outside to help and were targeted by a series of six additional shells. Hamad’s teenage nephew was lightly injured,and another man received shrapnel wounds. “They targeted civilians deliberately”, he said. “The Israeli forces don’t make mistakes.”
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    Duaa Hejazi (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

    A 13 year old girl, Duaa Hejazi, was coming back to her home in Gaza’s Sabra neighbourhood, after a walk with her mother and siblings, when an Israeli missile fired on the road in front of their home around 8 o’clock at night. “I was bleeding a lot. My brother was injured too, in his hand. The neighbours brought me to the hospital” Duaa sustained shrapnel injuries throughout her upper body, with some pieces still imbedded in her chest. She would like to pass on a message to other children, living outside of Gaza:

    “I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. They are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said, “If you’re a mountain, the wind won’t shake you”. We’re not afraid, we’ll stay strong.”

    During our time al Shifa we also met with Dr Mithad Abbas, the Director General of the hospital. When we asked him about the ways in which Shifa hospital is coping with the incoming patients, he said, “When those cases arrive at our hospital, it is not under normal circumstances. They come on top of the siege, the blockade, which has resulted in a lack of vital medicines and required medical supplies.” The hospital lacks essential basic medicines and supplies, such as antibiotics, IV fluid, anesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment.

    The hospital also relies on a store of fuel, which provides power during the daily electricity cuts. If power cuts reach the level of more than 12 hours per day, Dr Abbas estimates that the hospital only has enough fuel in storage to run for approximately one week.

    Hospital staff are encountering chaotic and emotional scenes, as hallways and rooms become overcrowded with people trying to ascertain whether their relatives or friends have been hurt. “People enter the emergency room in panic, looking for their relatives. It is very difficult to deal with,” says Abbas.

    No one knows where the next missile will hit, no one knows where they can be safe. Parents are unable to keep their children safe, let alone provide them a sense of safety.

    These are the names of the martyrs killed in the attacks:

    1- Walid Abadlah, 2 1/2 years

    2- Marwan Abu Al-Qumsan, 52 years

    3- Ramai Hamamd

    4- Khalid Abu Al-Nasser

    5- Habes Mesbeh, 30 years

    6- Wael Al-Ghalban

    7- Hisham Al-Ghalban

    8- Ahmed Al-Jaabari, 52 years

    9- Mohammed Al-Hams

    10- Ranan Arafat, 3 years

    11- Essam Abu El-Mazzah, 20 years

    12- Hani Al-Kaseeh, 18 years

    13- Ahmed Al-Masharawi, 11 months

    14- Hiba Al-Masharawi, 19 years, pregnant woman

    15- Mahmud Sawaween, 65 years old

    16- Hanin Tafish, 10 months

    17- Tareq Jamal Naser, 16 years

    18- Oday Jamal Nasser, 14 years

    19- Fares al-Bassiouni

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    For further information, please contact:

    Adie Mormech (British) +972 (0) 592280943

    Adriana (Italian, Spanish) +972 (0) 597241318

    Gisela Schmidt Martin (Irish) +972 (0) 592778020

    Joe Catron (United States) +972 (0) 595594326

    Lydia de Leeuw (Dutch) +972 (0) 597478455

    Meri (Italian) +972(0)598563299

    We are a group of internationals living in the Gaza Strip, working in the fields of journalism, human rights, education, and agriculture. We seek to defend and advocate for the rights of Palestinians in the context of the Israeli occupation and military operations. Besides being eyewitnesses ourselves, we gather our information from our personal networks across the Gaza Strip, from local media reports, medical staff, and local and international NGOs in Gaza.

    We verify the information we send out and hope our reports will contribute to accurate media coverage of the situation in Gaza.

  • Entre financer son programme d’aide alimentaire (et éviter un « printemps arabe » en Irak) ou dépenser 3 milliards de dollars dans l’achat de F-16 américains, l’Irak a finalement tranché.

    Iraq signs deal to buy 18 F-16 warplanes –

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