US-led military strikes against Iran are inevitable this year if Tehran does not give ground at multilateral talks next month over its nuclear programme, according to diplomatic sources in Moscow.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, has asked Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to warn Iran the negotiations represent a “last chance” to avoid military action, the Kommersant newspaper reported.
“Hillary Clinton asked her Russian colleague to pass that thought on to the Iranian authorities, with whom Washington does not maintain its own relations,” a high-ranking foreign ministry source told the paper.
The source said there was a high likelihood of an attack “before the end of the year”, adding: “The Israelis are, in essence, blackmailing [US president Barack] Obama. They are Read more…
An explosion hit a gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel on Sunday, the latest in a series of attacks on the installation that crosses the increasingly volatile Sinai region, witnesses and state media reported.
The pipeline, which also supplies gas to Jordan, has come under attack at least 12 times since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011, Reuters reported.
The latest blast took place in the Massaeed area west of the Mediterranean coastal town of al-Arish, in north Sinai. Gas pumping was Read more…
The newly announced Iraninan drills, codenamed The Great Prophet, may coincide with major naval exercises that Israel and the United States are planning to hold in the Persian Gulf in the near future. AP quoted on Thursday a senior Israeli military official as saying the drills would be held in the next few weeks.
The exercises, called Austere Challenge 12, which both Israeli and U.S. officials have described as the largest-ever joint drills by the two countries…
Moscow: Iran is planning to hold new “massive” naval exercises near the strategic Strait of Hormuz within the next few weeks, the country’s Fars news agency has said, as Tehran’s tensions with the West continue to escalate following threats of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program.
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted in the Fars report as saying the Read more…
Israel, US to hold largest ever missile defense exercise. Thousands of US soldiers will be deployed in Israel.
Last week [11-18 December], Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.
The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.
The US will also bring its Read more…
Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said it was crucial for Israel to shore up its relations with Egypt and other countries in the region that had proved valuable partners in the past.
“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge. But the question you have to ask is it enough to maintain a military edge, if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena?” Panetta said.
“At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what’s happening,” he said.
Panetta, who was due to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Monday before heading to Read more…
Israel was forced to evacuate its ambassador and most of its diplomatic staff from Cairo this weekend after hundreds of Egyptian protesters tore down a security wall protecting the Nile-side embassy, ransacked its files and burned an Israeli flag. It came less than a week after Turkey, Israel’s other major ally in the Muslim world, announced it was expelling the Israeli ambassador and downgrading its relationship to the lowest possible level after a deadly skirmish involving a Turkish aid vessel that was attempting to Read more…
By Amena Bakr and Mohamed Abdellah
CAIRO (Reuters) – Israel flew its ambassador home from Cairo on Saturday after protesters stormed its embassy building, plunging Egypt’s military rulers into their worst diplomatic crisis since they took over from Hosni Mubarak.
Three people were killed and 1,049 wounded in clashes between protesters and police, the Health Ministry said.
The United States, which has poured billions of dollars of military aid into Egypt since it made peace with Israel in 1979, urged Cairo to protect the embassy after protesters hurled embassy documents and the Read more…
Iranian missile (Photo: Reuters)
Recent revolutions in the Arab world and the deteriorating ties with Turkey are raising the likelihood of a regional war in the Middle East, IDF Home Front Command Chief, Major General Eyal Eisenberg warned Monday.
“It looks like the Arab Spring, but it can also be a radical Islamic winter,” he said in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
“This leads us to the conclusion that through a long-term process, the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing,” the IDF general said.
“Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program. The opposite it true; it continues full steam ahead,” he said. “In Egypt, the army is collapsing under the burden of regular security operations, and this is reflected in the loss of control in the Sinai and the turning of the border with Israel into a terror border, with the possibility that Sinai will fall under the control of an Islamic entity.”
Demonstrators in Tel Aviv’s Kikar Hamedina take part in huge rally demanding social justice; Student Union chair to PM: “Let us live in this country”; Large demonstrations in J’lem, Haifa, Afula.
An estimated 460,000 people gathered across the country on Saturday evening to protest for social change as part of the “March of the Million,” Channel 10 news reported.
Over 300,000 people were in Kikar Hamedina in Tel Aviv where a huge rally was taking place after a march through the streets of the city.
Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmueli called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to “Let us live in this country,” during a speech at the rally in Kikar Hamedina.
“Mr. Prime Minister, take a good look at us: We’re the new Israelis,” he told the hundreds of thousands of people who Read more…