Freeman Center For Strategic Studies bernards at sbcglobal.net
Fri Mar 25 10:15:03 CDT 2016

FREEMAN CENTER BROADCAST - MARCH 25, 2016For Zion's sake I will not hold my peaceand for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest." Isaiah 62.FREEMAN CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
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* E-mail: bernards at sbcglobal.netOUR WEB SITE < www.freeman.org >==========To keep Freeman List broadcasts coming, it is essential to contribute!Mail check to address  below or by paypal:
http://www.freeman.org/paypal.htm)==============ZIONISM IS LOVE OF YOUR COUNTRY, ERETZ ISRAEL (ISRAEL) AND AM ISRAEL (JEWISH PEOPLE).-----------------

Israel Mulls Ties With Sudan
TEL AVIV [MENL] -- Israel has raised the prospect of establishing relations
with Sudan.
  Officials said Israel has included Sudan as part of the new African
strategy for the Jewish state. They said Khartoum has signaled its
willingness to examine any Israeli offer for aid and cooperation.
  "The state of Israel can contribute a lot to Sudan in many areas,"
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan said.
  In remarks to the Times of Israel, Ben Dehan said Israel did not
envision U.S. opposition to relations with Khartoum, on the State Department
list of terrorist sponsors. He cited Sudan's relations with the European
Union and United States.
  "We don’t have to be different than the entire Western world," Ben Dehan
said. "The Western world, the United States and Europe, have relations with
Sudan, and with Saudi Arabia and other countries. I don't think we need to
be any different."
  Israel has already been cited as a major supplier to South Sudan,
including military equipment. For its part, Khartoum has not ruled out
establishing relations with Jerusalem.
  "We don’t mind to study any such proposal," Sudanese Foreign Minister
Ibrahim Ghandour said on Jan. 14.
  Officials said Sudan was being encouraged by the United States and Saudi
Arabia to forge cooperation with Israel. They said Sudanese President Omar
Bashir, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, has
expelled most of the Iranian presence over the last 18 months.
  "We don’t get involved in what happens in other states," Ben Dahan said.
"Our foreign policy is not such that we tell other countries what kind of
government they should have and how they deal with their citizens."

Germany Cites Mideast Sales
LONDON [MENL] -- Germany has reported arms sales to the Middle East.
  The Berlin goverment has informed parliament of a series of export
permits for arms deals with several Arab states. The Economy Ministry has
reported the delivery of helicopters, automatic weapons to the Gulf
Cooperation Council.
  In a letter to parliament's Economic Committee, Economy Minister Sigmar
Gabriel disclosed government approval for the export of 23 military
helicopters to Saudi Arabia. The platforms were ordered from Airbus.
  The briefing to the parliamentary committee marked a pledge by Berlin to
show transparency in German arms exports. Parliament has been critical of
German arms sales to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, accused of massive human rights
  The Economy Ministry also cited a German export license for light
weapons to Oman. The letter said Germany's Heckler & Koch would supply 660
machine guns, 660 additional gun barrels and 550 sub-machine guns to the GCC
  Another export license would enable Heckler & Koch to deliver machine
pistols and automatic rifles to the United Arab Emirates. Berlin also
approved the export of 65,000 mortar shells by Germany's Rheinmetall.
  The European Parliament has passed a resolution for an arms embargo on
Saudi Arabia amid its war in Yemen. In January 2016, Gabriel pledged to
increase German monitoring of Riyad.

Russia, Saudi Discuss Defense Ties
MOSCOW [MENL] -- Russia and Saudi Arabia have been discussing major arms
  Officials said Saudi Arabia has been briefed on a range of options for
the procurement of Russian combat platforms. They said the discussions could
advance ahead of a planned visit by Saudi King Salman, expected to take
place in March 2016.
  "Saudi Arabia is serious," Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin
  Kozhin, who advises President Vladimir Putin on defense exports, did not
detail Saudi interest in working with Russia's defense industry. But in
remarks to Russia's state-owned Interfax News Agency on Feb. 24, Kozhin said
Moscow and Riyad were engaged in "vital talks" on defense cooperation.
  Russia has held cooperation talks with Riyad as the Kremlin sought to
revive major arms deals with Iran. Kozhin said the Kremlin has ruled out
transferring production of Russian weapons to Teheran.
  Officials said the Saudi king was in direct contact with Putin on
regional issues. On Feb. 24, Salman was said to have expressed support for
Russian efforts to reach a ceasefire with Sunni rebels in Syria.
  "The king of Saudi Arabia welcomed the agreements reached and expressed
his readiness to work jointly with Russia to make them work," the Kremlin

AQAP Expands Amid War In Yemen
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has determined that Al Qaida was
expanding its presence in Yemen.
  Officials said the U.S. military assessed that Al Qaida in the Arabian
Peninsula was exploiting the Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed forces to
control large areas of the southern Yemeni coast. They said AQAP, which lost
at least 50 fighters in a U.S. air strike on March 22, established
its headquarters in the coastal city of Mukala.
  "AQAP has leveraged the political chaos and security vacuum in Yemen to
seize military garrisons, government offices, ports, and energy facilities
in the southeastern part of the country and
establish a de-facto headquarters in the coastal city of Mukala," U.S. Gen.
Joseph Votel said.
  Votel, the nominee to head the military's Central Command, issued an
assessment on the war in Yemen. In testimony to the Senate Armed Services
Committee on March 9, Votel outlined AQAP's growth in Yemen over the last
six months.
  "AQAP has used these strongholds to generate funds on the order of
millions of dollars, enabling the group to co-opt large portions of the
local populace, improve weapons stockpiles, enhance recruitment and training
initiatives, and seize additional territory," Votel said. "These
developments are particularly disconcerting when you consider AQAP's track
record for plotting attacks against the U.S."
  The Saudi-backed coalition has reported AQAP attacks on Yemen military
installations throughout the south. Coalition representatives have asserted
that Al Qaida was establishing a mini-state in southern and eastern Yemen,
some of which had been controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi movement.
  The United States withdrew its military presence from Yemen in February
2015 amid the Houthi takeover of Sanaa and much of Yemen. For some five
years, Washington had been coordinating with the then-Western backed
government in Sanaa in U.S. air strikes on suspected AQAP.
  In his assessment, Votel said AQAP could use its new territory to plan
attacks on the United States. The general, indicating a military stalemate,
ruled out an early end to the Saudi-led war against the Houthis.
  "If we do not deal with AQAP, it is only a matter of time before the
group uses its expanded capabilities and safe haven to attempt another
attack against the U.S.," Votel said. "The Saudi-led coalition has seen
notable successes in its efforts to restore a legitimate government to
Yemen, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this conflict will not be
solved via military solution."

U.S. IDs Iran Missile Units
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has identified key elements of Iran's
ballistic missile program.
  The administration of President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on
Iran's ballistic missile units. The Treasury Department designated Shahid
Nuri Industries and Shahid Movahed Industries, both units of the Shahid
Hemmat Industrial Group, as responsible for the resumption of
intermediate-range ballistic missile launches over the last few months.
  "We will continue to use all of our tools to counteract Iran's ballistic
missile program and support for terrorism, including through sanctions,"
Treasury Undersecretary Adam Szubin said.
  In a statement on March 24, Treasury detailed the units responsible for
Iran's liquid-fueled ballistic missile program. Officials said the program
was led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, particularly its Ghadir
Missile Command.
  On March 8-9, IRGC oversaw the launch of several IRBMs inside Iran.
Teheran has rejected Western accusations that the launches violate the
nuclear agreement with Iran, implemented in January 2016 and included the
release of $200 billion in frozen assets.
  "Iran's ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism pose a
continuing threat to the region, to the United States, and to our partners
worldwide," Suzbin said.
  Treasury said IRGC's Ghadir Missile Command appeared to maintain
operational control of the ballistic missiles. The department said officers
from the command were involved in an IRBM launch in October 2015.
  Leading members of Congress have dismissed the latest U.S. sanctions.
They said the administration has often failed to enforce sanctions on the
Teheran regime amid a reconciliation drive by Obama. Most of those cited in
the latest Treasury statement have been sanctioned several times over the
last five years.
  "The IRGC Al Ghadir Missile Command officials were involved in other
MRBM launches since as early as 2008," Treasury said. "On March 8 and 9,
2016, the IRGC conducted two successive days of ballistic missile tests.  A
senior missile commander in the IRGC indicated on March 9 that Iran’s
missile program would not stop under any circumstances."

Turkey's Fighter-Jet Project Delayed
ANKARA [MENL] -- Turkey's fighter-jet project has been mired in delays.
  Industry sources said Turkey's TF-X fighter-jet program blocked by
bureaucracy wars and technical obstacles. They said the disputes have
prevented the awarding of contracts meant to develop Turkey's first
indigenous warplane.
  "There is no basic agreement within the government and military over
what this airplane should be," a source said.
  The sources said Ankara has refused to sign contracts with foreign
companies for the development of TF-X. They cited negotiations between the
Defense Industry Undersecretariat with BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.
  "There is a general dissatisfaction with the technology and coproduction
options offered by some of these companies," the source said. "There is also
a major concern that either Britain or the United States could block the
export of components."
  The government has touted that TF-X would be deployed by the Turkish Air
Force by 2023. The sources said deadline was no longer regarded as
  "There is very little enthusiasm over this program by the air force,"
the source said.

Iraq Exports 1st Gas
BAGHDAD [MENL] -- Iraq has reported its first export of natural gas.
  The Iraqi Oil Ministry cited a maiden export of 10,000 cubic feet of gas
in the form of condensates. The ministry said the gas was shipped from the
southern port of Umm Qasr on March 20 to an unnamed destination.
  Iraq has sought to expand its energy sector amid the war with Islamic
State of Iraq and Levant. Officials said the gas was producted by Basra Gas
Co., a joint venture by Iran's state-owned South Gas Co. along with Royal
Dutch Shell and Japan's Mitsubishi.
  Most of Iraq's gas reserves of 112 trillion cubic meters have been
located in the south, far from the ISIL war. Energy development, however,
has been hampered by violent feuds between rival Shi'ite tribes.
UAE Signs Energy Deal
ABU DHABI [MENL] -- The United Arab Emirates has signed a contract for
evaluation of offshore energy reserves.
  The UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. has signed a four-year contract to
evaluate crude oil and natural gas fields in the Gulf. Under the program,
Austria's OMV would conduct and analyze seismic drilling and engineering
activities in the Ghasha and Hail areas off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
  "The cooperation aims to firm up the volume potential of the undeveloped
North-West Offshore fields, to form the basis for the future development of
the North-West Offshore area," OMV said on March 20.
  The project also includes the U.S. firm Occidental, which has been
evaluating the sour gas Shuwaihat field. Neither OMV nor any of its partners
disclosed the value of the latest project.
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