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October 30, 2016 12:32 pm

Report: Israel ‘Panicked’ by Quality, Quantity of Russian Presence, Weaponry in Region, Which Dramatically Hamper IDF Operations

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The Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's flagship aircraft carrier. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s flagship aircraft carrier. Photo: Wikipedia.

The IDF is in a panic about the Russian military’s presence and deployment of sophisticated weaponry in the region, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

According to the report, though the IDF is not admitting this openly, high-ranking officers have said behind closed doors that the “surprising” quality and quantity of Russian systems in the area is dramatically hampering the way the Israeli Air Force and Navy are able to operate.

Both these branches of the IDF, according to Channel 2, were used to flying and sailing wherever and whenever they saw fit, with no real threat to their movement. But since Russia began to intervene in the Syrian civil war last year in an attempt to protect the regime of President Bashar Assad, things have changed.

One particular worry, the report said, was the impending arrival of the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s flagship aircraft carrier, which is on its way from the North Sea to the Middle East, and is expected to anchor off the Mediterranean coast of Syria in the coming weeks.

The Kuznetsov force is made up of some 1,900 sailors, more than 50 advanced fighter jets, the latest aeronautical defense systems, radars and among the world’s best electronic warfare capabilities. The force has anti-submarine capabilities and boats with a wide range of missiles for aerial photography and intelligence-gathering.

The report said Israeli defense officials admit that the Russians know about every movement Israel makes in its air and sea space, as there is no way to elude Russian radars, and thus Russia has been able to collect massive amounts of information.

As was reported by The Algemeiner in April, the Russians announced several months ago that they were leaving Syria. Since then, however, according to Channel 2, they have been dispatching more ground troops to the area; they have increased their air power; and they have brought in ground-to-air missiles — with a range of more than 200 kilometers – and are capable of employing cruise and ballistic missiles, planes and drones. At present, they are also reinforcing their naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, in parallel with a decrease in the presence of the US  Navy there.

In addition, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry recently issued a veiled threat, presumably to Israel, by stating, “If anyone thinks he can hide behind stealth technology, let him think again.” This, said Channel 2, was in reference to the F-35 stealth planes that Israel is acquiring from the US.

Meanwhile, the Russian parliament approved an unlimited time frame for the deployment of the country’s air force, which means that Israel could face having the bulk of its areas of interest covered by S-300 and S-400 advanced missile defense systems for decades to come. And it is this understanding that spurred Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fly to Moscow in the spring with the commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, to discuss military coordination with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As was reported in The Algemeiner, Netanyahu made this trip to create a mechanism for avoiding unwanted collisions between Israeli and Russian planes.

Despite the arrangement agreed upon between Netanyahu and Putin, however, two Russian drones were shot down, which nearly caused a confrontation between Israeli and Russian planes, Channel 2 said. In addition, two ground-to-air missiles were fired at Israeli jets, though Russia claimed they belonged to a Syrian battery.

In an interview with The Algemeiner in June, Mideast and Russia expert Zvi Magen said that the ties between Netanyahu and Putin involve realpolitik, with Israel protecting its interests, chief among them ensuring that sophisticated weapons do not fall into the hands of the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and allied with Russia in the fight to keep Assad in power.

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  • Gastwirt

    I don’t by that! Surprised, panicked? The Russians have been there for some time, their weapon systems are a known factor and what difference does it make if they have a carrier on top of airbases on land? Especially since that carrier is known for its highly unreliable machinery?

  • Ayatollah Ghilmeini DD

    The Russian Bear fairly sh*ts weapons to its allies. Iran and Syria are Russia’s allies, not Israel. Whether they leave or not, advanced Russian gear will get to Iran and once it gets to Iran, it gets to Hezbollah.

    There probably has never been a better time for Israel to attack and destroy Hezbollah, the enemy is stretched thin and not ready for a war against Israel. Hezbollah has no right to exist and with the new Lebanese President a Hezbollah ally, Israel will face a Lebanon, controlled by Hezbollah and stockpiling weapons for war against Israel. Israel should also use Obama’s lame duck period as a perfect time to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

    The world never stands still for long, new powers rise, old powers fall. For a tiny country with a small population, Israel needs to be dynamic and agile in her own defense. Her enemies are busy doing other things and quite complacent about Israel’s threat to them. I would hit Iran and Hezbollah so hard they never recover. Right now.

    • Not a fan of Israel

      Israel is a barking poodle. Russia has a dog catcher.

    • D Johnson

      Seriously demented.

  • johngilbert

    This is very alarming given that Iran has spared no expense in paying for Russian direct involvement in Syria after getting billions from the nuclear agreement that only delays (not destroys) Iran’s ability from eventually making nuclear weapons. It is symbolically interesting that Fordo nuclear plant in Iran is in between Tehran and Qom but it is closer to Qom. Qom is Iran’s religious seat of power while Tehran is its political one. Fordo is symbolically saying that the Qom Mullahs in power control the nukes just in case anyone in Iran tries through Tehran to depose them somehow. Thus, it will prove more strategically to hit Qom first even before hitting Tehran.

    • Nick_of_OZ

      I believe the only payment to Russia has been the attack on its airliner from Egypt to St Petersburg……this is when you pay the piper. Continued prodding of the Russian bear has always been ill advised but it continues unabated as US desperately seeks to start WW3 because its bankrupt! Be careful what you wish for!

  • montlasky

    Don’t hold your breath! Russia has already supplied Syria with S-300 missiles1

  • Ted Crawford

    Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39.

  • Gbrandstetter

    You guys have it all wrong. Israel is elated at all this activity. It exposes Russian surveillance capbilities to Israeli analysis, allowing Israel to figure out how to beat it. Last time this happened was 1982, when following eight years of counter-surveillance Israel was able to neuter the Russian air-defense system entirely and strike at Syria at will despite the best the Russians could do. Now that a sizeable chunk of Russian talent has transferred to israel, triggering the Start Up Nation, there is even less to fear and more to gain, intelligence-wise by the Russian exposure. See how careful Putin was with Bibi inviting him twice to coordinate activity so that Russians should not fall prey to Israeli jets.

  • Reggie Green

    Oh pulease, don’t believe everything you see on Channel 2. The Kuznetsov is a piece of smoke-belching junk which has broken down so consistently that it travels with a tug everywhere it goes.

  • Israel needs to consider how the U.S. dealt with Soviet missiles in Cuba. They were a clear and present danger, and out they went. We didn’t subject ourselves to years of communist incitement against the West, or wait until they were launched. “Clear and present danger” is not the same as “clear and present dead civilians.” Hamas’s missiles were not placed there for self defense and after they are taken out, Gaza must remain a demilitarized zone. Anything less is suicide. Ignore the Press; it’s a hot air balloon that goes with the wind.

  • Peter Joffe

    When the time comes, and it will come, will Russia side with barbarian Islam or will they stand for the 21st century. Remember Mr Putin that you and your people are all ‘infidels’ and therefore marked for elimination. There are really only 2 forces in the world, Islam for evil and infidels for freedom. Choose wisely My Putin!

    • D Johnson


  • bigrobtheactor

    The IDF doesn’t “panic”. American Jews do.

  • The biggest concern for Israel is that sophisticated Russian weapons could be used against Israel. The Israelis and Russians need to maintain communications to ensure that each country does not inadvertently shoot down the other’s aircraft. After the Russians help Assad win the Syrian civil war, the Russian military presence will probably decrease, due to budgetary constraints. However, Russia will maintain a permanent presence in the Middle East. Israel is resilient, and will adjust accordingly.

    • Sonia

      Sane analysis, but budgetary constraints probably dictate the Iran and Russia try to control oil and gas supply and shipping in the ME? Has not oil and shipping been behind many of Russia’s ‘moves’?

      Israel’s gas may be a ‘hook’ in Russia’s jaw (Eze 38.)

  • Sonia

    Ominous. Eze 38/39 There is much cause for concern The EU just gave a standing ovation to Abbas for anti-semitic libel speech. It is baffling! G*d shall protect his people; this I know. Yet at this moment in time, “my heart misgives.”

  • E benAbuya

    Thanks, Barry

  • LouAdams

    Israel will use this opportunity to improve their technology to beat the russian radar and guidance systems. Great that they get this close up look at the system, I think it’s the russians who are afraid.