19 March 2017

Winds of War at Gale Force

21 Adar 5777

I can't imagine that any of my regular readers are not already aware, but for those who may have been too busy to keep up, here is a rundown of what has been transpiring over Purim Week as nations position themselves for whatever they are planning for the immediate future. 

There was a lot of shuttling go on...
Reuters  March 16, 2017 - President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy [Jason Greenblatt] has spent the week shuttling between Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Jordanian capital Amman on his first official visit to the region,....
ABC  March 15, 2017 - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will arrive in Japan today... [His] three-country tour will also take in South Korea and China,....
While in South Korea [Mar 17], SoS Tillerson (now) famously said "All options are on the table" with regard to North Korea's aggressive moves and posturing.

After just returning from a trip to Russia, Prime Minister Netanyahu is off to China today.

Other ominous movements...

Exclusive: Russia appears to deploy forces in Egypt, eyes on Libya role - sources  Reuters  March 14, 2017
Russia appears to have deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days, U.S., Egyptian and diplomatic sources say, a move that would add to U.S. concerns about Moscow's deepening role in Libya.
Pakistan in talks with Saudi Arabia to send combat troops to protect the kingdom  The National  March 13, 2017
Plans are under way to dispatch a brigade-sized deployment following a request from Riyadh, which wants the troops as an emergency response force. A brigade is usually made up of between 1,500 and 3,500 troops.
Islamabad and Saudi Arabia have long had a close military and security relationship, with troops from Pakistan's large and combat-hardened army regularly deployed for training Saudi soldiers. Although the kingdom, like other Arab Gulf countries, does not make the numbers public, experts say there are as many as 70,000 Pakistanis serving across the Saudi military services at any one time.
But requests for Pakistani combat brigades have usually only been made during times of heightened tensions in the kingdom.
Israel launches large-scale call-up of military resources  DEBKAfile March 19, 2017
With tension escalating in southern Israel following rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the IDF Sunday declared the large-scale mobilization of military reserves, along with the start of a major home front exercise in the South. The IDF spokesman said the Southern Command exercise would simulate a variety of operational scenarios in the region. 
And outright threats...
Trump’s First War? ‘All Options Are On The Table’ As The U.S. And North Korea Prepare For The Second Korean War 
North Korea "One Step Closer To ICBM Launch" After Successful Test Of "New Type" Rocket Engine  
Israel will destroy Syria's antiaircraft system if it fires on IAF again: minister
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday morning that if Syria's antiaircraft weapons are fired at IAF aircraft again, as they were late last week, then the system will be destroyed "without hesitating twice". For more details on the IAF strike in Syria, the interception of a Syrian missile by Israel's Arrow air defense system, and the effect of the developments on Israel-Russia relations, see DEBKAfile's May 17 special report and May 18 exclusive report.