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Israel preparing for possible ‘military conflagration’ with Iran, official says… Royal Navy bomb disposal divers sent to the Middle East to prove Iran launched mine attacks on Gulf of Oman oil tankers

Conflagration?… I speak English and I don’t even know what the fuck ‘conflagration’ means.

an extensive fire which destroys a great deal of land or property.’

Anyway… are the British gay boys going to play along? 😀

Israel says it is bracing militarily for possible U.S.-Iran escalation

Israeli minister Israel Katz attends the cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem February 17, 2019. Sebastian Scheiner/Pool via REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is preparing for its possible military involvement in any escalation in the Gulf confrontation between Iran and the United States, the Israeli foreign minister said on Tuesday.

The unraveling of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal under U.S. diplomatic pressure, Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone and its alleged role in the holing of oil tankers in the Gulf have driven up tensions and stirred war worries.

Israel has encouraged the Trump administration to press ahead with sanctions against its arch-foe, predicting that Tehran will eventually renegotiate a more limiting nuclear deal.

But Foreign Minister Israel Katz told an international security forum that Iran might accidentally stumble out of what he termed the “gray zone” of contained confrontation.

“It should be taken into account that mistaken calculations by the (Iranian) regime…are liable to bring about a shift from the ‘gray zone’ to the ‘red zone’ – that is, a military conflagration,” he said in a speech to the Herzliya Conference.

“We must be prepared for this, and thus the State of Israel continues to devote itself to building up its military might for the event that it will have to respond to escalation scenarios.”

Israel has long threatened to take preemptive military action to deny Iran the means of making nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has no such designs. One of its senior lawmakers warned on Monday that Israel would be destroyed within “only half an hour” should the United States attack Iran.

Earlier on Tuesday, Katz predicted that what he described as the U.S.-led “economic war” on Iran would succeed despite the misgivings of other world powers.

“Iran has no chance in this war,” he told Israel’s Army Radio. “Therefore there is an opportunity there, through the tough economic pressure and the comprehensive sanctions, to prevent war, to achieve the objectives without war.”

Elite Royal Navy bomb disposal divers sent to the Middle East to prove Iran launched mine attacks on Gulf of Oman oil tankers

A TEAM of elite Royal Navy bomb disposal divers have raced to the Middle East to probe the suspected Iranian mine strikes which scuppered two oil tankers.

The shocking attacks in the Gulf of Oman more than two weeks ago almost triggered a war between the US and the Islamic Republic.

 Bomb disposal divers from the Fleet Diving Squadron have been sent to the troubled region
Bomb disposal divers from the Fleet Diving Squadron have been sent to the troubled regionCredit: Royal Navy
 Suspected mine damage caused to the Japanese owned motor tanker vessel Kokuka Courageous
Suspected mine damage caused to the Japanese owned motor tanker vessel Kokuka CourageousCredit: Reuters

Now The Sun can reveal expert bomb disposal divers from the Fleet Diving Squadron have been sent to the UAE to investigate blast damage on the tankers and mine debris.

They were dispatched last month shortly after the strikes and returned just days ago, it is believed.

The crack team are considered world leaders in sea mine warfare – particularly by the US who rely heavily on UK mine clearance expertise in the region.

Sources did not go into detail about their initial findings but confirmed, “the UK shares the US assessment that Iran was responsible for these attacks.”

Iran has fiercely denied involvement in the twin attacks on the pair of tankers.

The two ships — Japan’s Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian-owned vessel the Front Altair — are now docked at the Emirati port of Fujairah.

America has already blamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for planting limpet mines on the hulls of both ships.

 The shocking attacks in the Gulf of Oman more than two weeks ago almost triggered a war
The shocking attacks in the Gulf of Oman more than two weeks ago almost triggered a war
 The deployment comes after Iran was accused of blowing up two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz
The deployment comes after Iran was accused of blowing up two oil tankers near the Strait of HormuzCredit: AP:Associated Press

But now a second opinion has been sort from the UK team.

Their findings are still being pored over, sources said.

Divers from the Fleet Diving Squadron, who are on 24 hour notice to move anywhere in the world, were dispatched after the tankers were towed into the Emerati port.

Sources said allies were keen to hear the intelligence assessment from the Royal Navy team after their own probes while UK commanders wanted to conduct their own analysis.

The process – called “exploitation” – allows the divers to understand the types of mines adversaries are using and how to counter them.

Incredible amounts of information can be gleaned from damage and debris, even down to fingerprints from partially exploded mines.

Insiders confirmed the intelligence would be likely shared, but stressed the UK was seeking to “calm tensions and deescalate” the spat.

Recent US and Iran tensions

  • May 5: USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force is deployed in Middle East in response to ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ by Iran.
  • May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The US responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metals industry.
  • May 10: The US says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.
  • May 24: President Trump says the US will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops.
  • May 12: The UAE says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.
  • June 13: Two oil tankers are attacked in the Gulf of Oman – Washington blames Iran while Tehran denies involvement.
  • June 18: US sends more than 1,000 additional troops to Middle East citing Iran’s ‘hostile behaviour’.
  • June 20: Iran shoots down American ‘spy’ drone insisting the aircraft had flown over its airspace – a claim the US denied.
  • June 24: Donald Trump announces new US sanctions on Iran that target Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Reports in the US claimed the mines bore a striking resemblance to those previously displayed by the Iranian military.

Iranian officials have called allegations it attacked the tankers “a lie” and an attempt to “tarnish Iran’s face.”

After the strikes the US and Iran almost went to war.

Iran shot down a US drone while the US conducting a cyber-attack to knock out Iran’s weapons systems.

US President Donald Trump was moments from launching a missile strike on Iranian targets before changing his mind at the last minute over concerns about the loss of innocent life.

A MoD Spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a small team of UK military personnel deployed to conduct an inspection into the vessels attacked recently in the Gulf of Oman.

“Analysis is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at present.”

Last month it was claimed special forces from the elite SBS unit have already been deployed to the Persian Gulf to protect ships from Iranian attacks.

Commandos from the Special Boat Service – nicknamed the Frogmen – will be tasked with removing mines from ships’ hulls.

And they will also kill or capture any Iranian forces coming near British vessels in the flashpoint region.

 An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack in the Gulf of Oman
An aerial picture showing the huge blaze raging on the oil tanker after the attack in the Gulf of OmanCredit: AP:Associated Press

Lockheed Martin chief: F-35 critical against Hezbollah rockets

Marillyn Hewson at the Herzliya Conference  photo: Sivan Faraj / Photo: Sivan Farag

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Lockheed Martin chairman, president, and CEO Marillyn Hewson said the F-35 stealth aircraft gave Israel’s leaders “a decisive  strategic tool.”

Lockheed Martin chairman, president, and CEO Marillyn Hewson heaped praise yesterday on the F-35 stealth combat aircraft that the Israel Air Force (IAF) is in the process of commissioning. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Hewson said, “The F-35 is particularly critical to countering Hezbollah’s vast rocket threat through rapid identification and prioritization of targets for the IAF.” Hewson cited the aircraft’s ability to penetrate enemy airspace without detection and destroy ground-to-air threats, allowing other F-35s to follow up carrying large weapons payloads.

So far, the US defense giant has delivered fourteen of the 50 F-35 aircraft ordered by the Israel Air Force, with six more due for delivery this year. The IAF will eventually maintain two squadrons of F-35s, known as the Adir (“Mighty’) in its Israeli version.

At a time when the IAF is deliberating over a decision that needs to be made shortly between an order for upgraded Boeing F-15s, capable of carrying a large payload, and a third squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35s, Hewson appeared at the Herzliya Conference organized by The Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and spoke of the strategic threats posed by modern warfare, particularly in Israel, and of the need for new battlefield technologies to counter these threats. “The ‘Mighty One’ gives senior government and military leaders a decisive strategic tool,” she said, adding that the IAF was the first air force to deploy the F-35 operationally, and that it was at the forefront of development of maintenance processes, tactical applications, and operational techniques.

Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on July 2, 2019

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