Putin allows terrorists onto the Golan border – breaking his promise to Israel

A large Hezbollah force has entered the southern Syrian town of Daraa, a critically dangerous event for Israel’s security.

The way to the town, which lies near the Jordanian border and across from the Israeli Golan, was opened before Hizballah by none other than Russian forces. This was a blatant violation of President Vladimir Putin’s commitments to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah not to permit Iranian and Iran-backed forces, such as Hizballah and Iraqi and Afghani Shiite militias, reach their borders in consequence of Russia’s military intervention in the Syria war.

Daraa is just 32 km from the southern Golan and 12 km from the Jordanian border. Hizballah forces in this town are therefore within easy striking distance from northern Israeli and Jordan.

What happened Wednesday was that a sizeable Hizballah contingent made it into Daraa, the day after a Syrian unit under the command of Russian officers captured the town of Sheikh Maskin, cutting off rebel forces east of Daraa from their comrades to the west. Control of Sheikh Maskin is the key to the crossroads leading to Damascus in the north, the Druze Mountain town of es-Suwaida in the east, and Quneitra on Golan opposite Israel’s northern defenses.

The battle for Sheikh Maskin was the first in the Syrian conflict to be directly fought under Russian command. Its fall sparked accounts of Russian officers commanding Syrian troops in different parts of Syria.

So far, Israel has not reacted to the Hizballah force’s advance, notwithstanding public statements by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon that this would never be allowed to happen.

DEBKAfile’s military sources explain this reticence by a persistent misreading of the Syrian crisis in the higher ranks of the Israeli defense establishment. Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, who has a good grasp of its complexities, is a lone voice against the defense minister and IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot

In Amman, however, King Abdullah and his generals signified both alarm and fury. DEBKAfile’s sources report that Wednesday morning, the king shot off an urgent message to President Putin demanding an explanation for the Russian officers’ action in opening the door of Daraa to hostile Hizballah fighters.

Jordan has fought Hizballah and its conspiracies for three years, ever since its security forces seized an arms cache that Hizballah had smuggled into the kingdom for a terror cell to mount attacks in the northern province of Irbid. Amman is now concerned that Hizballah is close enough to make a grab for Al-Ramtha, the only border crossing between Syria and Jordan. That would be a feather in the cap of Iran’s Lebanese proxy, as the first Arab border crossing to fall to a Hizballah force outside Lebanon, and one, moreover, located athwart a main regional water source, the Yarmouk River.

As of Thursday morning, Jan. 28, Abdullah had not received a reply to his missive from Putin, but a message did come through to Amman from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Using a back-door intelligence channel, he sent a notice in the name of Gen. Bahjat Suleiman, former Syrian ambassador to Jordan until he was expelled in May 2014, that King Abdullah must now face the consequences of his long support for the rebels of southern Syria.

The monarch was also advised to prepare for the influx of thousands of fleeing rebel fighters whom the combined Syrian and Hizballah forces were pushing towards the Jordanian border.

The next hours will be critical for the development of a similar crisis on the Israel-Syrian border in the Golan region.

The risk of a confrontation on the Golan is already high – click here to find out about the context behind this crisis.

This article was originally published on DEBKA

This is what could cause Russia to invade Israel

As Russia aims its heavy weapons at Turkey causing the world to watch on in suspense, a scene is playing-out between the two belligerents, one in which the world has little control.

However, what many don’t realise, is that in another part of the world, seeds are being sown for the emergence of an even greater crisis.


It was during the remarkable events of the Six Day war in 1967, that Israel captured the Golan Heights.

After capturing the Golan, the idea was for the Israeli government to use it as bargaining chip for any post-war negotiation, or keep it as a buffer zone to reinforce territorial security against any future Syrian aggression.

golan
Israeli tanks roll into the Golan in 1967

Since then, continued Israeli occupation of the Golan is an arrangement which, in light of recent information, could be a latent catalyst for a Russian invasion.

Its possible that in the very act of seeking security through continued occupation, Israel may have unwittingly guaranteed a future confrontation with Russia.

Unprecedented oil deposits discovered on the Golan

In October, an Israeli energy company – Afek – was drilling around the Golan and discovered unprecedented amounts of oil.

Afek’s Chief Geologist – Dr. Yuval Bartov, said to Israel’s Channel 2 News;

“We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick… On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick. This is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.”

Just as Israel’s offshore Mediterranean gas discoveries created an entire energy industry, so the Golan oil find could transform Israel into a supplier.

However, while the gas is generally recognised to be within Israeli territory, the oil discovery on the Golan is not.

The disputed sovereignty over the Golan

Since 1967, the international community of nations have only recognised Syrian ownership of the Golan.

Upon publishing news of the Golan discovery, Russian state-owned media was quick to claim that “The region is internationally recognized Syrian territory”.

Until recently, the dispute over Golan sovereignty was largely just a war of words: where the United Nations would pass majority supported resolutions condemning Israel for its occupation, Israel would respond by ignoring any demands to relinquish the territory.

But everything changed in September 2015, when Russia moved into Syria.

Russia suddenly acquired a direct and vested interest in Syrian national and geographic integrity, including, the Golan Heights. From that moment on, an intriguing series of events unfolded.

Israel fails to secure US support

Almost a month after the oil discovery, Netanyahu had a meeting planned with Obama at the White-house.

As part of the meeting, Netanyahu tried to include the question of Golan occupation on the agenda, but it was rejected on the basis that the U.S. position, which objects to Israel annexing the Golan Heights, remains unchanged.

Russia condemns Israel and says the Golan belongs to Syria

A week after Netanyahu’s visit, the question of Golan occupation once again came to the fore when the United Nations voted on a resolution submitted by Syria for Israel to be removed from Golan occupation.

The motion was passed with a strong majority, but most notably, the Russian Federation supported the resolution condemning Israel for its occupation. 

The resolution claimed that Israel’s hold over the Golan Heights, was “a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive​,​ and lasting peace in the region.”

Syria has just asked Russia to develop its oil resources

A week after re-affirming the view of the international community regarding Israels occupation, the Syrian president – Bashar al-Assad – took the opportunity to ask Russia to help develop Syrian oil resources.

At this point, the focus on development is on sea based resources, however this could change if it becomes apparent that the Golan offers low cost extraction for high return.

UPDATE: Israel is “very concerned” about Russian activity near the Golan

It has since come to light that the Israeli government is significantly concerned about Russian military activity near the Golan as the motives of the military are unclear.

While the oil discovery rekindles the international debate on Golan sovereignty, Russia continues to support the convenient view that an Israeli occupation of the Golan is a threat to peace in the Middle East.

How far will Russia go to take a spoil under the guise of achieving “peace” in the Middle East?


And thou shalt think an evil thought…
Art thou come to take a spoil?
hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey?
to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods,
to take a great spoil”
– Ezek 38

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42 year have passed since the tumultuous events of Israel’s Yom Kippur War.

Six years after the success of the Six Day War, Israel was living in confidence. But on October the 6th, 1973, Israel was caught completely unprepared – a reminder of the state in which Israel is found when Gog comes down into the holy land. (Ezekiel 38)

Episode 1 – The Crossing:

 

Episode 2 – The Heat of the Battle

 

Episode 3 – The Battle and Beyond: