• Netanyahu tells police to bar ministers from Al-Aqsa compound: report

    08/Oct/2015 // 0 Viewers

     AFP/File | The Al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred in Judaism

     

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - 

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered police to bar ministers and lawmakers from visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, the Haaretz daily reported on Wednesday.

    Clashes have rocked the compound, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount, in recent weeks amid a spike in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

    The latest reported measure to bar Israeli politicians from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound would be aimed at lowering tensions and reducing the level of Palestinian violence.

    The Al-Aqsa compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred in Judaism. It is located in east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

    Muslims fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, which allow Jews to visit but not pray to avoid provoking tensions.

    An increase in visits by Jews in recent weeks over a series of Jewish holidays has added to tensions.

    Israel's Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who has come out in support of the right of Jews to pray in the compound, is among those to have visited the site.


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  • Iran’s Khamenei Bans Further Talks with US

    08/Oct/2015 // 270 Viewers

    Iran’s leader warned against further negotiations with the US and the negative influence they will have on Iran, possibly dashing Obama’s hopes for closer relations with the Islamic Republic. 


    US President Barack Obama was hoping for a détente with the Islamic Republic in the wake of the nuclear deal he signed with it in July, and was looking forward to possible regional cooperation on a number of issues with Iran, but Iran’s’ supreme leader made it clear that this was not an option, warning against the “enemy,” the US, and their plot to “weaken religious and political beliefs” in Iran.

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Monday of “enemies’ plots to debilitate the young Iranian people’s religious and political beliefs”.

    “Diminishing the religious and political beliefs and attempts to attract active and effective youth at different levels is among the plans of the enemy’s political and cultural division,” Khamenei said, Iran’s Fars news reported.

    He underlined that efforts to promote ”important concepts” like “Jihad, martyrdom” and “patience for God can foil enemies’ plots.”


     
    Khamenei also called on Iranian artists to cooperate with each other to produce more influential artworks.

    The Iranian leader has previously warned about “enemies’ soft-war plots” to “undermine Iran’s resolve towards progress.”

    No Further Negotiations with US

    In related news, Khamenei warned against further talks with the US and banned them.

    “Negotiations with the United States open gates to their economic, cultural, political and security influence. Even during the nuclear negotiations they tried to harm our national interests,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on his website on Wednesday.

    “The Americans are not hiding their animosity towards Iran… Americans in the Congress are plotting and passing bills against us… Negotiations are a tool for them to influence Iran and to impose their will,” he added.

    “Our negotiators were vigilant but the Americans took advantage of a few chances,” he said.

    These comments contradict statements made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday that Iran was ready to hold talks with the United States on ways to resolve Syria’s civil war.


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  • War in the Muslim world: Putin dares Obama

    08/Oct/2015 // 897 Viewers

    TO HEAR Vladimir Putin, Russia has become the leader of a new global war on terrorism. By contrast Barack Obama seems wearier by the day with the wars in the Muslim world that America has been fighting for more than a decade. On September 30th Russian jets went into action to support Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered troops. It is setting up an intelligence-sharing network with Iraq and Iran. The Russian Orthodox church talks of holy war. Mr Putin’s claim to be fighting Islamic State (IS) is questionable at best. The evidence of Russia’s first day of bombing is that it attacked other Sunni rebels, including some supported by America. Even if this is little more than political theatre, Russia is making its biggest move in the Middle East, hitherto America’s domain, since the Soviet Union was evicted in the 1970s.

    In Afghanistan, meanwhile, America’s campaign against the Taliban has suffered a blow. On September 28th Taliban rebels captured the northern town of Kunduz—the first provincial capital to fall to them since they were evicted from power in 2001. Afghan troops retook the centre three days later. But even if they establish full control, the attack was a humiliation.

    Both Kunduz and Russia’s bombing are symptoms of the same phenomenon: the vacuum created by Barack Obama’s attempt to stand back from the wars of the Muslim world. America’s president told the UN General Assembly this week that his country had learned it “cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land”; others, Iran and Russia included, should help in Syria. Mr Obama is not entirely wrong. But his proposition hides many dangers: that America throws up its hands; that regional powers, sensing American disengagement, will be sucked into a free-for-all; and that Russia’s intervention will make a bloody war bloodier still. Unless Mr Obama changes course, expect more deaths, refugees and extremism.

    Having seen the mess that George W. Bush made of his “war on terror”, especially in Iraq, Mr Obama is understandably wary. American intervention can indeed make a bad situation worse, as odious leaders are replaced by chaos and endless war saps America’s strength and standing. But America’s absence can make things even more grim. At some point, extremism will fester and force the superpower to intervene anyway.

    That is the story in the Middle East. In Iraq Mr Obama withdrew troops in 2011. In Syria he did not act to stop Mr Assad from wholesale killing, even after he used poison gas. But when IS jihadists emerged from the chaos, declared a caliphate in swathes of Iraq and Syria, and began to cut off the heads of their Western prisoners, Mr Obama felt obliged to step back in—desultorily. In Afghanistan Mr Obama is making the same mistake of premature withdrawal. As NATO’s combat operations wound down into a mission to “train, advise and assist”, Mr Obama promised that the last American troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016. The date had no bearing on conditions in Afghanistan but everything to do with when Mr Obama leaves the White House.

    What can Mr Obama do? In Afghanistan, rather than pull out the 9,800 remaining American troops, he should reinforce them and make clear that he puts no date on their withdrawal. The rules of engagement must expand so that NATO forces can back Afghan ones. Attack aircraft should support them as needed, not just in extremis. He needs to knock heads together in Kabul, where the “unity” government forged last year between President Ashraf Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, is dysfunctional enough to lack a defence minister. This was Mr Obama’s “good war”: he risks losing it.

    In Syria Mr Obama’s dithering means his options continually grow harder and riskier. Mr Putin is unabashedly defending a tyrant and deepening the region’s Sunni-Shia divide. America must hold the line that Mr Assad will not remain in power, and set out a vision for what should follow. It needs to do more to protect the mainly Sunni population: create protected havens; impose no-fly zones to stop Mr Assad’s barrel-bombs; and promote a moderate Sunni force. That may well mean staring down Russian jets.

    As a judoka, Mr Putin knows the art of exploiting an opponent’s weakness: when America steps back, he pushes forward. Yet being an opportunist does not equip him to fix Syria. And the more he tries to save Mr Assad the more damage he will cause in Syria and the region—and the greater the risk that his moment of bravado will turn to hubris. Given the enduring strength of America, there is much that it can still do to contain the spreading disorder—if only Mr Obama had a bit more of Mr Putin’s taste for daring.


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  • THE GREAT DEBATE: Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?

    09/Feb/2016 // 384 Viewers

     

    After the recent execution of Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia, the Middle East once again risks devolving into sectarian chaos. A mob torched the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, prompting Saudi Arabia and a number of its Sunni allies to break diplomatic relations with Iran.
     
    In response to the unfolding chaos, the Wall Street Journal responded by asking “Who Lost the Saudis?” — fretting that the lack of support from the United States could lead to the overthrow of the Saudi regime. This is a provocative query, reminiscent of the “Who Lost China?” attacks against President Harry Truman after the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949. But it’s the wrong question. Rather than wondering if Washington’s support for Riyadh is sufficient, American policymakers should instead ask themselves the following question: Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?
     
    The moral case for the United States to question its close relationship with Saudi Arabia is clear. Saudi Arabia is governed by the House of Saud, an authoritarian monarchy that does not tolerate dissent, and the country consistently ranks among the “worst of the worst” countries in democracy watchdog Freedom House’s annual survey of political and civil rights.
     
    Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam, and the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. Its legal system is governed by Sharia law, and a 2015 study from Middle East Eye noted that Saudi Arabia and Islamic State prescribed near-identical punishments, such as amputation and stoning for similar crimes. The government is also renowned for carrying out public executions after trials that Amnesty International condemns as “grossly unfair”; Amnesty describes the Saudi “justice system” as “riddled with holes. ”
     
    Given the two countries’ divergent values, the U.S.-Saudi alliance relies almost entirely on overlapping economic and national security interests. The United States long relied on Saudi Arabia as an oil supplier, a steadfast beacon of opposition to communism and a huge buyer of American arms. The Saudis, meanwhile, depend on the United States to protect their security.
     
    Despite these long-standing ties, Saudi Arabia now harms American national interests as much as it helps them.
     
    First, the Saudis and the United States diverge over American policy toward Iran. Saudi Arabia sees itself locked in a sectarian and geopolitical struggle with Iran for Middle East supremacy. Riyadh is concerned the deal that lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran dismantling it’s nuclear infrastructure will empower Iran to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy in the region. Riyadh also fears abandonment by Washington, and worries the nuclear deal is only the first step in a process that could lead to its replacement by Iran as the United States’ primary Persian Gulf ally.
     
    President Barack Obama, by contrast, describes the nuclear agreement with Iran as “a very good deal” that “achieves one of our most critical security objectives.” While no indication exists that the United States seeks to replace Saudi Arabia with Iran, it makes sense for Washington to explore other areas where American and Iranian interests may overlap. As the United States and Iran continue to feel each other out, we can expect tensions between Washington and Riyadh to grow.
     
    Second, Saudi Arabia executed al-Nimr despite concerns expressed by the United States that doing so could damage hopes for peace in Syria. Ending the Syrian war remains a priority for the United States, since Washington hopes a Syrian settlement will lead all parties to unite against Islamic State.
     
    Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, and the prospects for peace depend significantly on cooperation from both countries. With the two countries now at each others’ throats due to the Saudis’ execution of al-Nimr, the Obama administration believes Saudi-Iranian tensions could “blow up” Washington’s objectives in Syria.
     
    Third, thanks to the shale oil boom in the United States, American dependence on Saudi oil has dropped dramatically. According to a Citibank report, by 2020 the United States may produce so much domestic oil that it would become a net exporter, completely freeing itself from any reliance on Persian Gulf imports. Moreover, the Saudis also rely on the American market. They and many other OPEC members produce what’s called “heavy sour” crude, and the U.S. refinery system is the most attractive market for this type of petroleum. As the United States reduces imports, the Saudis must scramble to find other markets such as China. Unfortunately for Riyadh — as the Russians can attest — the Chinese give no quarter when holding the upper hand in negotiations.
     
    The Saudis understand the consequences of the United States’ reduced reliance on imported oil. To retain market share, the Saudis launched an assault on American shale oil producers, hoping to drive them out of business by flooding the market with Saudi oil. The Saudis hope this leads oil prices to recover, but in the meantime much of the American shale oil industry could face bankruptcy. While cheap oil is good for American consumers, at a certain point the downside for the United States’ economy may outweigh the upsides. Of course, if the United States regains a greater dependence on foreign oil, the Saudis will be the ones to benefit.
     
    Finally — and most importantly — the United States must accept the fact that Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to worldwide Islamic extremism. Washington policymakers clearly understand this. In a leaked Wikileaks cable, former Secretary of State — and now presidential aspirant — Hillary Clinton stated “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
     
    In a 2014 speech at Harvard, Vice President Joseph Biden called out Saudi Arabia and others for contributing to the rise of Islamic State, saying “those allies’ policies wound up helping to arm and build allies of al Qaeda and eventually the terrorist Islamic State.”
     
    In a highly unusual public rebuke in December, Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel accused the Saudis of funding extremism in the West. “Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany. We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Gabriel said.
     
    Saudi Arabia denies funding extremism, and in 2014 called claims it supported Islamic State “false allegations” and a “malicious falsehood.” Moreover, the Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom recently posted a letter charging critics of playing the “blame game” and called the accusations “an insult to our government, our people, and our faith.”
     
    Even so, Gabriel is right — and it’s high time Washington policymakers take a good look at the long-term future of the American-Saudi relationship.


    Reuters


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  • American eyewitness describes Tel Aviv attack

    09/Jun/2016 // 468 Viewers

     

    Yael Citro had just met a friend in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening when two gunmen opened fire in the shopping center, killing four people and injuring several others.

    Citro, an American who has lived in Tel Aviv since 2009, spoke to Yahoo News guest anchor Paul Beban about the attack.

    The 44-year-old lawyer said she was on her way home from work when she decided to invite a friend to meet her for a drink at the Sarona Market, a popular food and retail center. Despite her apartment being located about a half mile from the busy attraction, Citro had never been there before and she took a walk around while waiting for her friend to arrive.

    NEWS SLIDESHOW: Militants kill four in Tel Aviv attacks

    While answering work emails on her phone, Citro said she mindlessly checked into the Sarona Market on Facebook. [It was through Facebook that Beban, who went to high school with Citro, would later learn of her presence at the attack.]

    “As I checked in, we saw a tsunami of people coming at us,” Citro said. “In Israel, everybody knows what that means.”

    Citro said she grabbed her bag and ran, separating from her friend. Once outside the market, however, Citro realized she’d left her phone inside and instinctively went back for it.

    “I pushed my way back in to go get my phone and then was pushed back out the other side, that put me in front of the shooting, where it took place,” she said. “I found myself in front of three people who were killed.”

    One man, she said, was still sitting in the chair where he’d been shot. She grabbed his hand.

    “When I held his hand I realized he was dead,” she said. “At that point I became overwhelmed.”

    Though Citro, who grew up outside Chicago, does not have military training, it wasn’t long before the Israelis around her sprang into action.

    “Everybody in Israel has military training, so you begin to take the cues from people around you,” she said. “Obviously, getting away from the people who had been shot was something that had to be done.”

    Citro said she and others found shelter inside one of the restaurants, where they could hear shots being fired outside and helicopters flying overhead.

    “The hunt was on,” she said. People periodically checked to make sure the door was locked.

    Outside, police managed to detain both gunmen who, according to Israeli authorities, are Palestinians from the Hebron region in the West Bank.

    Once she’d safely escaped the scene, Citro told Beban, “other than having been there, I don’t actually know what happened.”

    For many in Israel, experiences like Citro’s are unfortunately not uncommon.

    In fact, Wednesday’s attack was not even the first for Citro. One rainy Saturday evening in the fall of 1994, Citro said, two terrorists opened fire in a Jerusalem pedestrian mall where she was having dinner.

    Citro, who was studying in Jerusalem at the time, said she “heard noises like firecrackers.”

    Suddenly, “the people around me went from being civilians to soldiers who knew what they were doing.” Citro recalled being “whisked to the rooftop of this restaurant” where she and the others lied face down listening to the gunshots below.

    “In retrospect, they were going into restaurants and shooting,” she said. “Then it was over, and I stood up and they had killed the terrorists in front of the restaurant.”

    Just six months ago, Citro said, another terrorist attack took place a mere 800 yards from her house.

    While Citro noted that such violence is hardly a daily occurrence, she said “there’s no question that these sorts of things have a very deep impact on the overall environment in which everyone [in Israel] lives.”

    Still, she said, “[That’s] not something I think we as people are meant to be able to take in.”

    While Citro noted that such violence is hardly a daily occurrence, she said “there’s no question that these sorts of things have a very deep impact on the overall environment in which everyone [in Israel] lives.”

    Still, she said, “[That’s] not something I think we as people are meant to be able to take in.”


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  • ISRAEL: The World Hates Us But the Nation of Israel Lives Forever!

    09/Nov/2015 // 315 Viewers

    Times may be tough, but the Israeli desire for life is infinitely stronger. We will not let terror defeat us. Want to do something important for Israel? Make a donation to help fight against Palestinian incitement and terror.

    The Palestinians' self-proclaimed knife intifada is the latest result of ongoing incitement against innocent Israelis. Israelis are being stabbed, shot and run over. Yet the world is silent. Help Israel to fight and win the war against terror. The time to act is now!

    Now more than ever, Israel needs your help to fight the battle of public opinion. Israel's enemies are using social media to incite brutal terror against innocent civilians. You can help to remove Facebook pages and Youtube videos calling for the murder of Israelis. The People of Israel need your help to do even more!

    Support from true friends of Israel like you make this possible, so please show your support today!

     

    Source: United with Israel


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  • BREAKING NEWS: Leading IS militant in Cairo shot dead by police

    09/Nov/2015 // 299 Viewers

    The police in Cairo have reportedly shot dead a leading IS militant implicated in a string of attacks  in Cairo and its environs DailyGlobeWatch has been reliably told. 

    A source from the ministry of interior told our reporter that Ali Ali Hassanein was killed in a crossfire with police in a bid to arrest him. Hassanein had before now been declared wanted by the police and remained one of the most sought after militants in Egypt since January last year.

    The dreaded IS kingpin was also implicated in the bombing of the Italian consulate last year in Cairo where many people lost their lives.

     

    Sources confirm to DailyGlobeWatch that Hassanein was tracked by police on Monday who in a futile bid to resist arrest opened fire on police and was eventually killed in a cross-fire. 

    Hassanein according to Cairo city police records has been a member of the highly dreaded Beit al-Maqdis group that pledged allegiance to ISIL in November 2014.

     


     


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  • Obama, Netanyahu try to mend relations at White House meeting

    09/Nov/2015 // 330 Viewers

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured US President Barack Obama on Monday that he remained committed to a two-state solution as they sought to mend ties strained by acrimony over Middle East diplomacy and Iran.

    Meeting Obama for the first time since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu said he backed a vision of "two states for two peoples" but maintained that any Palestinian state must be demilitarized and recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, a condition Palestinians have rejected.

    Patching up relations could help smooth the way for a new 10-year U.S. military aid package, which Obama told Netanyahu he wanted to get a "head start" on negotiating. Israel, Washington's chief Middle East ally, is seeking a record $5 billion a year, according to U.S. congressional sources.

    Obama and Netanyahu, who have a history of testy White House encounters, showed no outward sign of tension, looking cordial and businesslike as they held their first face-to-face talks in 13 months.

    The meeting was clouded by an ongoing wave of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks that have Israelis on edge at a time when Obama has concluded that a peace deal is beyond reach during the final 14 months of his presidency.

    Obama condemned the latest wave of Palestinian violence and backed Israel's right to defend itself but said he wanted to hear Netanyahu's ideas for lowering tensions and "how we can make sure that legitimate Palestinian aspirations are met."

    Two-state solution

    Netanyahu's recommitment to the two-state solution, the bedrock of U.S. diplomacy on the conflict for decades, could satisfy the Obama administration's desire that he clarify his position after he appeared to backtrack on his pledge during a hard-fought re-election campaign earlier this year.

    "I want to make it clear that we have not given up our hope for peace," Netanyahu told reporters allowed in at the start of talks with Obama.

    U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014. The eruption of violence between the two sides last month has made an end to that bloodshed a more immediate priority.

    The meeting, the first between the two leaders in 13 months, was widely seen as an effort to move beyond tensions over U.S.-led nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Israel's arch-foe, and differences over how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Though Obama and Netanyahu sought to play down their disagreements, no one expected that the two leaders would have much success in overcoming their poor personal chemistry. Their worst public moment was a 2011 Oval Office encounter when 
    Netanyahu lectured Obama on the suffering of the Jewish people through the ages.

    This time, neither leader wanted a diplomatic blow-up. Netanyahu leaned forward listening intently as Obama spoke, sometimes nodding. Obama, his legs crossed, sometime cradled his chin in one hand. The two exchanged smiles at times and shook 
    hands twice for the cameras.

    Some of Obama's aides believe, however, that beyond working to firm up security cooperation, Netanyahu is content to wait out the final stretch of Obama's presidency, hoping for a better reception for his hardline approach from the next occupant of 
    the White House.

    U.S. voters will elect a new president in November 2016.

    More US military aid

    The meeting was seen as an important step in negotiations for a new 10-year U.S. defense aid pact, which could help burnish the right-wing prime minister's security credentials, challenged by the violence at home.

    Israel receives $3.1 billion from the United States annually and wants $5 billion per year for the next package, for a total of $50 billion over a decade, congressional officials have told Reuters. One U.S. official predicted the sides would settle for 
    an annual sum of $4 billion to $5 billion.

    Obama's tangible support for Israel's security could help deflect accusations from Republican presidential hopefuls that he and any Democratic successor are less pro-Israel than they profess to be.

    "The security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities, and that has expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds," Obama said.

    Netanyahu thanked Obama for that commitment.

    The dispute over the deal that Iran reached in July with world powers, which calls for curbs on its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had driven an already rocky 
    relationship between the two leaders to a new low.

    Obama refused to see Netanyahu in March when the Israeli leader accepted an invitation from Republican leaders, without consulting the White House, and gave a speech to Congress in which he harshly criticized Obama's negotiations with Iran.

    "It's no secret that the prime minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don't have a disagreement on the need to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon," Obama said.

    Now that Netanyahu has lost his fight against the Iran accord, he and Obama appeared determined to try to put relations on an even keel.

    At the same time, Netanyahu was seeking to use his visit to patch up relations with some Democrats, who felt his fight against the Iran deal damaged the bipartisan consensus in Congress on Israel's security, and heal a rift with more liberal 
    segments of the American Jewish community.

    He was due to address the conservative American Enterprise Institute on Monday as well as the liberal Center for American Progress on Tuesday.

    (REUTERS)


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  • NATO defence chiefs meet as Russia ramps up Syria campaign

    09/Oct/2015 // 269 Viewers

     Alexander Kots, AFP | A picture taken on October 3, 2015, shows Russian Sukhoi fighter jets landing on a runway in the Syrian province of Latakia

    The defence ministers of NATO are scheduled to meet Thursday in Brussels at a time when Russia’s growing military involvement in Syria has sparked concerns in the alliance.

    Speaking ahead of the talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the alliance had seen a "troubling escalation" of Russian military activity in Syria.

    The meeting comes a day after Syrian troops and militia backed by Russian warplanes mounted what appeared to be their first major coordinated assault on Syrian insurgents on Wednesday and Moscow said its warships fired a barrage of missiles at them from the Caspian Sea, a sign of its new military reach.

    Islamic State militants have seized much of Syria since civil war grew out of anti-government protests in 2011, but the areas targeted in Wednesday’s combined assault are held by other rebels, some US-backed, fuelling accusations by Russia’s critics that its real aim is to help the government.

    Moscow says it shares the West’s aim of preventing the spread of the Islamic State group, and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a televised meeting that four Russian warships in the Caspian Sea had launched 26 missiles at Islamic State in Syria earlier in the day.

    The missiles would have passed over Iran and Iraq to reach their targets, covering what Shoigu described as a distance of almost 1,500 km (900 miles), the latest display of Russian military power at a time when relations with the West are at a post-Cold War low over Ukraine.

    The air campaign in Syria has caught Washington and its allies on the back foot and alarmed Syria’s northern neighbour Turkey, which says its air space has been repeatedly violated by Russian jets.

    Ankara summoned Russia’s ambassador for the third time in four days over the reported violations, which NATO has said appeared to be deliberate and were “extremely dangerous”.

    Thursday’s meeting comes just a day after the prime minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that despite Russian claims that its air strikes in Syria were targeted at jihadists from the Islamic State group, only two of their strikes actually did so.

    NATO is ready to send troops to Turkey to defend against threats on its southern flank, the head of the alliance said on Thursday.

    “NATO is ready and able to defend all allies, including Turkey, against any threats,” Stoltenberg told reporters before the meeting in Brussels.

    Turkey, which has more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees on its soil, has argued for months in favour of a no-fly "safe zone" in northern Syria, where refugees could take shelter from the country's bloody civil conflict.

    But US administration officials on Wednesday said the longstanding issue of a no-fly zone in Syria has been discussed but no had yet been decision made.


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  • Hounded: Netanyahu's dog bites two guests

    10/Dec/2015 // 346 Viewers

     

     

    Pool/AFP/File | Kaiya, adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) is in the doghouse after reportedly biting a lawmaker and a minister's husband

     

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - 

    A dog recently adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bit a lawmaker and a minister's husband during an event to mark the Hanukkah religious holiday, Israeli media reported Thursday.

    Kaiya, adopted by Netanyahu in July, bit lawmaker Sharren Haskel from the prime minister's Likud party as well as the husband of deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely during a candle-lighting ceremony on Wednesday night.

    It turns out however that Kaiya may be more bark than bite as neither was seriously hurt during the event at the prime minister's residence.

    Netanyahu tweeted a photo of himself and his new dog in August.

    "How much light Kaiya brought into our home!" he wrote of the 10-year-old mixed breed. "If you want a canine, find an adult dog to rescue. You won't regret it!"


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