Category Archives: Russia

#WTF: Russia says Hezbollah, Hamas not terror groups

Moscow does not view Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the Interfax news agency Sunday.

The comment came as the Kremlin sought to secure international consensus on which forces in the Syrian civil war ought to be branded terror groups as part of political negotiations aimed at ending the nearly five-year-long conflict.

“Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bogdanov was quoted as saying. “We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization.”

The Russian official noted that members of the Shiite group’s political wing were legally elected to Lebanese Parliament, and that the organization had never carried out attacks on Russian soil. He added that the group was a “legitimate sociopolitical” force.

Bogdanov also said Russia does not consider Gaza-based Hamas of the Kurdish Democratic Unity Party as terrorist groups.

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffins of comrades who were killed in battles in Syria during their funeral on September 21, 2015 in the town of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AFP/STR)

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffins of comrades who were killed in battles in Syria during their funeral on September 21, 2015 in the town of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. (AFP/STR)

Syria’s civil war has spilled over into Lebanon on multiple occasions, inflaming sectarian tensions between the country’s Sunnis and Shiites and leaving scores dead. Iran-backed Hezbollah offers military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of troops to aid in the battle against rebel forces in the country.

Both Hezbollah and Hamas have called for the destruction of the Jewish state, fought in multiple wars against Israel, and launched deadly terror attacks on civilian targets.

Earlier Sunday, US President Barack Obama and his counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for UN-sponsored peace talks and a ceasefire to resolve years of war in Syria, a White House official said.

“President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be proceeded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well as a ceasefire,” the official told reporters after the leaders met on the sidelines of a G20 summit taking place in the Turkish resort of Antalya.

The huddle comes as the US, Russia and other countries pursue a new diplomatic plan to try to end Syria’s civil war, and was the first meeting of the two world leaders since Russia recently launched its own air campaign in Syria.

On Saturday, top diplomats gathered in Vienna agreed on a fixed calendar for Syria that would see a transition government in six months and elections in 18 months, but failed to agree on the future of embattled President Assad.


Iran inks deal with Russia for air defense system

 Lets hope SOMEBODY strikes this system in transit or during installation..

Russian air defense system missile system Antey 2500, or S-300 VM, is on display at the opening of the MAKS Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. (File photo: AP)

Russia and Iran have signed a contract for Moscow to supply Tehran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive of Russian state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec, was quoted by the RIA
news agency as saying on Monday.

“S-300, the air defence system, the contract has already been signed,” Chemezov was quoted as saying at the Dubai Airshow.

A nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers earlier this deal has put Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies on edge: They fear Tehran’s rapprochement with the West will allow it to pursue an expansionist agenda in the region.

Chemezov said Gulf countries had no reason to feel threatened by the deal.

“This is defence equipment. And we are ready to offer this defence equipment to any country,” Chemezov later told Reuters in Dubai, speaking through interpreters.

“So if the Gulf countries are not going to attack Iran … why should they be threatened? Because this is defence equipment.”

He added: “Five years ago … even now, up to now … And we said that the S-300 is not capable to attack … to reach the neighboring countries.”


Russia and Iran have signed a contract on Moscow’s delivery of the advanced S-300 missile defense system to the Islamic Republic, Sergei Chemezov, chief executive of Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec, said Monday.

“The contract on delivery of S-300 to Iran has not only been signed by the sides but has already entered into force,” Chemezov said at the Dubai Airshow-2015, according to Russian media.

One of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in the world, the S-300 is capable of tracking multiple planes at once, and some versions have an interception range of up to 200 kilometers.

Israel has long sought to block the sale to Iran of the S-300 system, which analysts say could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Other officials have expressed concern that the systems could reach Syria and Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s regional air supremacy.

The agreement would allow the delivery of five systems to Iran following a nine-year delay in the $800 million deal. Russia initially agreed to sell the system to Iran in 2007 but then balked, saying at the time it was complying with a United Nations arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.

In April, shortly after the announcement of the Lausanne outline for the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, Russia announced it was lifting the ban on selling the advanced missile defense system to Iran, over American and Israeli objections.

In August, Iran and Russia announced that the system would be delivered by the end of the year, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov saying at the time that “just technical details” remained to be agreed upon.

Monday’s statements suggesting the final deal has been signed came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to meet with US President Barack Obama in Washington to discuss US military assistance to Israel for the coming decade. Some of the weapons said to be under discussion reflect the prominence of Iran in US and Israeli military thinking.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to board a plane headed to the US, November 8, 2015 (PMO)

The two leaders are expected to discuss commitments that could see Israel get more than the 33 high-tech F-35 jets already ordered, along with precision munitions and a chance to buy V-22 Ospreys and other weapons systems designed to ensure a qualitative Israeli military edge.

The F-35 is the only aircraft able to counter the S-300 surface-to-air missile system. Officials said Israel may also seek to ensure that other US allies in the region do not get the F-35.

The White House has so far rebuffed Arab Gulf states’ requests to buy the planes.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

The Islamic State Attacks Russia

Taking the jihad against the non-Muslim world to a new level.

The likelihood that the Russian Metrojet Flight 7K9268 was downed by an Islamic State (ISIS) bomb planted on board demonstrates anew that the free world’s response to the self-styled caliphate so far remains woefully inadequate to meet the challenges that this jihad terror entity presents.

The first problem that this plane crash reveals is that analysts are still underestimating ISIS. Barack Obama famously dubbed it “the JV team” back in January 2014. One would think that after the Islamic State declared itself the new caliphate on June 29, 2014, seized and continues to hold a territory larger than Great Britain in Iraq and Syria, gained the allegiance of older jihad groups in the Philippines, Nigeria, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere, and attracted 30,000 foreign jihadis to join it from all over the world, that this estimation would have been revised upward.

No such luck. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, said Monday that he thought it “unlikely” that the Islamic State brought down the plane, although he wouldn’t rule out the possibility altogether. An Egyptian airport security official, meanwhile, dismissed the possibility of ISIS involvement altogether, saying it was incapable of mounting such an attack. “Such groups take advantage of such incidents to prove they are powerful on the ground,” he said. Referring to the Islamic State’s claims to have downed the airliner, he added: “Assuming they are right, why have they not targeted Egyptian or military flights during battle fights with Egyptian military? As far as I am aware, such a group has no weapons to reach an aircraft flying over 9,000 metres.”

Maybe not. ISIS had other ways of getting the job done: “There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane,” said a U.S. official.

The persistence of the underestimation of ISIS only gives the group room to maneuver, and to carry out without hindrance operations that those who have vowed to stop it don’t think it is capable of pulling off.

Another principal problem that the downing of the Russian airliner reveals is that current air security measures are completely ineffective. Who planted the explosive device in luggage or somewhere on the plane? Since a passenger would have had to get the explosive materials through security screening, it was likely an Islamic State operative who was an employee of the airport or airline and was thus able to pass through security with lessened suspicion, avoiding undue scrutiny.

At Sharm el-Sheikh Airport in Egypt, there could be any number of such people, but American TSA officials should not consider themselves immune to this problem. There are numerous Muslims working in sensitive positions in airports in the U.S., and no one would dream of doing something so “Islamophobic” as to question them about their loyalties.

Maybe a little such “Islamophobia” is called for: Harlem Suarez, a Florida convert to Islam implicated in an Islamic State WMD plot, worked in secure areas at Key West International Airport. Another airport worker, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, according to, “converted to Islam in 1998 while living in Texas and became radical in his beliefs, according to ABC News. In 2001, while Pugh was a mechanic for American Airlines, a coworker reported to the FBI that Pugh said he sympathized with Osama bin Laden and was expressing anti-American sentiment” Abdirahmaan Muhumed, a Muslim from Minnesota who was killed while waging jihad with the Islamic State, worked for Delta Airlines at the Minneapolis Airport. For its part, the TSA failed to identify 73 workers who were “linked to terrorism.”

A plane could easily be down in a similar way here. Both the U.S. and Russia have vowed to destroy the Islamic State, and even before that, the ISIS caliph Ibrahim, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, identified those two nations as the caliphate’s main enemies: “O ummah of Islam,” he said in his inaugural message on being named caliph, “indeed the world today has been divided into two camps and two trenches, with no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy—the camp of the Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia, and being mobilized by the jews.” (Al-Baghdadi, or his typographer, made the decision not to capitalize “Jews.”)

America and Russia. Both have now tasted the jihadis’ ability to use passenger airliners as weapons of war against the countries from which they originated. Given the inadequacy of the U.S. response to ISIS, America at least, if not Russia, is likely to see much more of this.