WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23 THROUGH NOVEMBER 29
Islamists Warring with India to Breakup Israeli Alliance
US evidence shows Pakistani intel backs terrorists
Nov. 29….(WND) As the world focuses on the world economic crisis and a resurgent Russia, India is being subjected to increased radical Islamist attacks, spawned by neighboring Pakistan's intelligence service/" Radical Islam is at war with India," said AK Verma of the South Asia Analysis Group. "As radical Islam races ahead aided by incentives from across the border (Pakistan) and fueled by like-minded activities elsewhere, the Indian state seems to be at a loss to decide how to deal with it," he said. Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence, or ISI, has elements known to support the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan and into India. According to reliable sources, the US has collected evidence showing that plans for a July 7 car bomb attack outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was planned by officers of the ISI and executed by a suicide bomber selected by Serajuddin Haqqani, son of Jalalludin Haqqani, the senior Taliban commander.
FOJ Note: The timing, on Thanksgiving and right before Christmas, and the characteristics of the offensive, hostage-taking at major tourism sites, mostly focusing on Westerners, attest to the fact that the attackers’ objective was to carry out an ongoing mega-attack and hostage-taking operation, in order to secure several regional and global aims:
∙ Bring about the release of all radical Islamic prisoners jailed in India
∙ Critically damage India’s tourism industry and economy
∙ Gain global resonance and urgency to the Muslim demand to take control of Kashmir
∙ The attack on the Chabad-Lubavitch center could indicate that one of the objectives was to deter Israel from providing military aid to India
∙ No less importantly, the offensive was meant to constitute an impressive show of force in the framework of militant fundamentalist Islam’s war against what it views as corrupt Western culture.
US on Collision Course With Pakistan
Nov. 29….(WND) A desire on the part of British and Pakistani officials to negotiate a Taliban-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan may prompt greater Indian, Iranian and Russian opposition and undermine years of U.S. and Indian initiatives there. And such a development could create a rift between Great Britain and the US in efforts to limit Taliban control in Afghanistan. But the bigger concern is that the underlying impetus for some of the maneuvers is a direct challenge to the US by Pakistan, according to sources. For years, India and Iran have provided major projects for infrastructure development in Afghanistan and, like Russia, view the country as a strategic asset to its national security interests. Indeed, following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US, Iran and Russia gave tacit approval of US military intervention in Afghanistan against the Taliban. At the same time, US and Indian officials see Pakistan as the root cause of the Taliban problem in Afghanistan, prompting hard questions in both countries on how to save it from a Taliban takeover. Security experts now confirm the potential root of defeat of NATO forces in Afghanistan by the Taliban may rest with Pakistan. Such talk has given rise to the role of containing Pakistan, even proposing its breakup. The discussions have emerged in US and Indian circles, given Pakistan's efforts for years to instigate Islamic violence in India. Pakistan regards India as an interloper in Afghanistan, which Pakistan regards as being in its sphere of influence. One of the biggest fears of the Pakistani military planners is the collaboration between India and Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan, according to a senor Pakistani government official. "Some people feel the United States is colluding in this. Talk of a potential breakup of Pakistan is at variance to long-held US efforts to encourage the country to assist in the "war against terror." However, Pakistan apparently has been aiding and abetting terrorism from Afghanistan to India for years through its Inter-Service Intelligence agency. "Pakistan has never invested in Afghanistan's political future or its stability and security," said Subhash Kapila, a strategic affairs analyst with the South Asia Analysis Group. "Pakistan continues to view Afghanistan as the legatee overlord after British withdrawal and serve Pakistan as its strategic backyard," he said. "The history of Pak-Afghan relations is replete with its continuous efforts by Pakistan to destabilize Afghanistan." Among security specialists, there is continued concern that Pakistan has regrouped the Taliban within Pakistan with the hope that there will be strategic fatigue affecting NATO forces in Afghanistan. Indeed, Pakistan is looked upon by some of the specialists as using the Taliban as an instrument of Pakistan's strategic objective to "enslave" Afghanistan. Consequently, Pakistan has developed an "inspired campaign" to "over-hype" Taliban gains in Afghanistan and minimize tactical successes of NATO forces. "This inspired campaign has spawned in its wake some dangerous alternatives detrimental to US strategic interests, namely to explore an exit strategy from Afghanistan and secondly to co-opt the Taliban in a dialogue with the Karzai government with the ultimate aim of Taliban sharing political power in Kabul," Kapila said. Increasingly, critics of a dialogue with the Taliban regard this Islamic group as a strategic asset of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it was only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that recognized the Taliban when it took over Afghanistan in 1996. For these countries, which are Sunni, the Sunni Taliban's presence in Afghanistan is seen as offsetting the increasing Shiite influence on the country from Iran. Because of Saudi Arabia's support of Pakistan, especially over the contentious issue of Kashmir, India's strategic relations with that kingdom also have been affected. "Pakistan ensconced the Afghan Taliban hierarchy and the Taliban Shura under direct protection of the Pakistan Army in Quetta where it continues untouched till today," Kapila said. "Surprisingly, the United States which has now become active in attacking Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida hideouts within Pakistan … has not touched Quetta where Mullah Omar and the Afghan Taliban are housed and from where all Taliban major operations in southern Afghanistan are launched," he added. Kapila makes a distinction between the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistan Taliban, he said, is a threat to Pakistan's security but the Afghan Taliban is a strategic asset to be used to force the exit of the US from Afghanistan. "Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have plans to use the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida in their future strategic blueprints," Kapila said. "Convergence exists again between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to place a Taliban government in Kabul." Security experts such as Kapila believe that Pakistan actually is working against the US, as some of its recent actions suggest. "What we are witnessing today in Afghanistan is not an Afghan civil war but a puny state like Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons notwithstanding, challenging the military might of the only global superpower, namely the United Sates, through asymmetric war through its proxy insurgent outfit, the Taliban," Kapila said.
Whats the Difference Between Fatah and Hamas?
Nov. 29….(FOJ) the power struggle between the Palestinian Fatah faction and its Islamist rival, Hamas. The struggle between these two violent organizations dates back to 1988, in the early days of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, when Hamas began to compete openly with Fatah and the PLO, which were both controlled by Yasir Arafat. What began as a political struggle has since evolved into a violent conflict for control of what are commonly regarded as the Palestinian territories, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. What isFatah was formed in 1958 as a socialist, revolutionary guerrilla group with the intent to destroy Israel. Fatah was actually founded by a number of practicing Muslims, some with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, including Yasir Arafat. The group’s original name was Harakat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniya (Palestinian Liberation Movement), with an acronym that should have read “HATAF.” However, the group elected to reverse the order of the letters to give it a Quranic meaning; FATAH means “conquest” or “victory.” Thus began the Fatah tradition of adopting Islamist words and symbols when convenient. By 1960, Fatah began to publish a magazine called Filastinuna: Nida’ al-Hayat (Our Palestine: The Call to Life), which left the impression that there was an active Palestinian underground. Then, in 1965, Fatah launched a series of attacks against Israel from Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian territory. Nearly all of them failed. By 1966 and 1967, however, Arafat’s terrorist group was responsible for dozens of attacks, some successful. After the June 1967 Six-Day War when Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, Arab regimes were disgraced. Perhaps the only Arab personality to emerge with more power was Arafat, who captured the imagination of the Arab world as a Palestinian “freedom fighter.” In 1968, Arafat took control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was originally created by the Arab League. When Arafat and Fatah infiltrated the PLO, it soon became synonymous with shocking acts of terrorism around the world. hard for readers to understand is that there really may not be a “good guy” and a “bad guy” in this struggle. The mere presence of Arafat’s Fatah and PLO produced death and destruction in nearly every territory they inhabited. In the early 1970s, for example, the Fatah-backed PLO attempted to hijack the kingdom of Jordan. The result was Black September, a bloody war that resulted in thousands of Palestinian and Jordanian casualties, and the eventual ouster of the PLO. Fatah and the PLO then attempted to create a mini-state inside Lebanon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which contributed to a brutal civil war. Unable to control the violence launched against it from the north, Israel invaded Lebanon and the Palestinians were forced to flee once again, leaving a decimated Lebanon in their wake. Finally, following a decade of exile in Tunisia, the PLO descended on the West Bank and Gaza after the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993. Since then, the two territories have plummeted into utter disarray, culminating in the 2007 civil war and the violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.
So why is Fatah commonly referred to as the “good guy” by the mainstream Western media?
It is primarily because Yasser Arafat worked with the United States in the name of Middle East peace from 1988 to 2000. However, during the whole process, he was also responsible for terrorist attacks against Israel. Then, in the year 2000 at the Clinton Camp David Summit, when he rejected 97% of the west bank, Arafat launched a war against Israel known as the al-Aqsa Intifada. He called upon Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to join forces with Fatah to “march on Jerusalem.” The intifada resulted in more than 1,000 Israeli civilian and military deaths and perhaps 5,000 Palestinian deaths. The main difference is that Fatah has a faction within that appears to be interested in negotiating peace with Israel, while Hamas is unanimous in its refusal to engage. Still, there are fewer differences than the mainstream media would have us believe. The charters of both Hamas and Fatah both openly call for the destruction of Israel. Both groups have been consistently responsible for terrorist attacks against Israel. And both appear to be willing to let the Palestinian people suffer as the struggle continues for control of the Palestinian territories. Perhaps the biggest difference between Fatah and Hamas is the fact that Hamas has conjoined itself with the Iranian terrorist encirclement of Israel.
Israel Asks Bush to Explain its 'Special Relationship' With US to Obama
Nov. 28….(Ha Aretz) Israel is asking US President George W. Bush to describe to his successor, Barack Obama, the American commitment to ensure that its strategic deterrence is not compromised. The subject was the focus of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's farewell meeting in the White House on Monday with Bush and top administration officials. "I discussed with the president and his most senior staff issues connected to the core of the special relationship between Israel and the US, strategic matters of the utmost importance, and the ability to preserve those ties in the coming years," Olmert told reporters Tuesday. Top administration officials told Olmert there was no point in a presidential letter from Bush, since it would not bind Obama. The sides decided instead on a list, compiled by the White House and delivered to Obama's transition team, that reviews all understandings and agreements. In addition to the nuclear issue, Israel is also hoping to receive promised military aid and advanced weapons systems, and to restrict the US supply of advanced weapons to Arab states. Leading Israeli officials are concerned that if the United States begins talks with Iran in an effort to halt its nuclear program and development of additional nuclear programs in the Middle East, Washington will call for restrictions on Israel's nuclear capability as well. Such concerns are heightened by the support expressed by Obama and Hillary Clinton, who is expected to be appointed secretary of state, for global nuclear disarmament, a plan raised by four top American foreign policy officials: former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former defense secretary William Perry and former senator Sam Nunn. The Obama administration is expected to accelerate arms control efforts. One of the ideas being discussed it not new and caused tension between Israel and the Clinton administration. Israel and the United States have a longtime understanding on the nuclear issue, which was reached between former prime minister Golda Meir and former president Richard Nixon in 1969. Israel promised at that time that it would hew to a policy of ambiguity. In 1977 Israel asked Kissinger, who helped formulate the nuclear understanding, to explain it to incoming president Jimmy Carter, who wanted to push arms control and nonproliferation. The nuclear understanding has been continued through successive Israeli and American leaders. When Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, he requested, and received, a letter of guarantees from then-president Bill Clinton in which he promised the United States would work toward preserving Israel's strategic deterrence and make sure arms control initiatives in the Middle East would not harm Israel. Clinton sent a letter enumerating the same assurances to Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak. Later, Olmert said the US has not advised Israel to restrain itself from taking action it deemed necessary against Iran's nuclear program. But the outgoing Israeli leader stopped short of making any threat to strike Iran. "I can't recall that anyone in the US administration, including in the last couple of days, advised me or any of my official representatives not to take any action that we will deem necessary for the fundamental security of the state of Israel, and that includes Iran," Olmert said.
Nov. 28….(Reuters) There may be only one US president at a time, but you wouldn't know it by watching Barack Obama this week. The Democratic president-elect, who kept a low profile for three weeks after his White House win, has swung into action with a series of economic pronouncements and cabinet selections that have overshadowed President George W. Bush. If financial markets are clamoring for more leadership, Obama got the message. "There is a leadership vacuum. If Obama doesn't fill it, more panic will result in (the) short run, and the problem will become greater by the time he officially takes office," said Stephen Wayne, professor of government at Georgetown University. "It is still Bush's power to act now, but Obama's obligation to tell jittery Americans what he plans to do." Meanwhile, back in Washington, Bush had coffee with his Treasury secretary, told reporters he was keeping his successor apprised of steps to secure the financial system, and took a trip to visit troops in Kentucky. On the pressing issue of the day, the economy, the man who will be the next president of the United States very much upstaged the current White House occupant, prompting a question on Tuesday about his oft-stated pronouncement that the country only had one head of state at a time. "Well, there is only one president at a time. That president is George W. Bush, and he will be president until I'm sworn in on January 20th," Obama said, when asked how he squared his involvement in the economy with that fact. No stumbling so far. Obama has drawn accolades for his appointments, though his refusal to give his stimulus package a price tag caused US stocks to pare gains briefly on Monday. Paul Beck, a professor of political science at Ohio State University, said the current transition recalled the situation in 1932 when Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt took over from Republican Herbert Hoover in the midst of an economic disaster. "It is not normal that a president-elect would get involved in this way, but these are not normal times," he said, adding that Bush's credibility had eroded to the point that he was not taken seriously within the financial markets. "The economy will not wait for the transition to be completed. That was a problem in 1932, and subsequently we moved the presidential inauguration from March to January. Now, we are finding out that January is not early enough." Obama takes over from Bush on Jan. 20.
Jordan to Join Middle East Nuclear Mix
Nov. 27….(Israel Today) Jordanian media reported this week that the Hashemite Kingdom has signed a civilian nuclear cooperation deal with China as part of an accelerated effort to develop nuclear energy capabilities. Jordan currently imports nearly all of its energy, being one of the few Middle East nations with little or no oil reserves. The new deal will see China help Jordan mine and process uranium and build an initial nuclear power station. The news did raise some concerns from those who noted that Jordan and other "moderate" Middle East states could translate their civilian nuclear capabilities into nuclear weapons programs if they feel threatened by Iran's nuclear program. In Jordan's case that could prove exceptionally dangerous to Israel in the long-term, as King Abdullah has repeatedly warned that his rule could be threatened by Jordan's far more radical Palestinian majority.
Israel Waits, The World Watches, Christians Pray
Nov. 27….(JNEWSWIRE) Repeatedly described by both Democrats and Republicans as the most critical US elections ever, the Obama-McCain race swept hundreds of millions of people around the world into the vortex that resolved on November 4 into the beginnings of what will soon be a new administration. Since that date, the media has portrayed the president-elect as an FDR (Time Magazine) and as a leader who should take a leaf out of Abraham Lincoln’s book (Newsweek); impressing this truth upon America’s citizenry and much of non-American mankind: That having won an extraordinary contest, the world’s new most powerful man is now expected to impact this planet in an extraordinary way. We are all watching him. We are all counting the days until his inauguration. And we are all wondering about how Obama will approach and engage the issues closest to our hearts. For a majority, it is the economy. For a great many, it is the war on terror. For a relative handful, the remnant of the Jewish people and a few concerned Christians - it is the security and survival of Israel. As far as the question of Israel is concerned, Obama is being advised and encouraged to move early and quickly to try and implement a policy that will see the Israeli-Arab conflict grappled with and finally settled. Who Obama’s Secretary of State will be is of course particularly significant in this regard. Clinton’s appointment to the powerful post has not yet been confirmed, but looks increasingly likely. Diplomats who may surround the secretary appear set to include members of the Clinton administration’s Middle East Team like Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross, Dan Kurtzer and Aaron Miller. Whoever they are, they will surely be committed to the “two state solution,” the euphemism coined by the Bush administration for stealing land from the Jews to give to the Arabs. The question is, what level hardball will they play - just how hard will they be prepared to press Israel? And when Obama’s team comes to push, who will they be pushing against? The answer, according to the latest polls, will be Bibi’s team. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu is on course to return to power on February 10, just three weeks after Obama moves into the White House. Around him, depending on how they do in the Likud primaries, will be men like Benny Begin, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Moshe Ya’alon, Dan Meridor, Assaf Hefetz, and Uzi Dayan. Some of these men are more hawkishly Zionist than others. Begin, the son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, is known as a man of unbending principles. His father was one of the only Israeli leaders courageous enough to stand up to an American president, and Benny Begin himself resigned from the Likud in opposition to the “Disengagement” from Gaza. He should help to strengthen the backbone of a Netanyahu government against Obama and Clinton. Other good men are in the wings. People of the stature of Natan Sharansky and Effie Eitam. The former has reportedly indicated that he will not enter the Likud. The latter would like to but faces opposition to his membership. Things will change in the coming weeks, everything is in flux really until January 20 on the American side and February 10 on the Israeli. As we count down the days to the inauguration of the man it seems almost every nation on earth rejoiced to see win, and to the prospective election in Israel of a man virtually no-one on earth wants to see win, we should certainly pray that God’s will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven.
Israel Must Resist the Coming Obama-Clinton Onslaught
Nov. 27….(Political Maven) Upon taking office, President Obama will push hard for the ridiculous (for Israel) “Saudi Peace Initiative”, which asks for Israel to give up land it won in the 1967 war, in return for peace with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbors yet to make peace with Israel. Hilary Clinton was chosen to be Secretary of State not for how she will deal with France or (fill in the country) but for how to push the Saudi “plan” in order to make a Palestinian State. But, the Palestinians do not want a state: they want Israel. The election of Bibi Netanyahu would be important because he would say “no” to the Saudi “plan”, which is just another euphemism for diminishing the size of the already minute Israel. Israel gave back southern Lebanon, and in return, it got back a war (in 2006). Israel “gave back” Gaza and in return, it takes rockets on its cities daily. Obama’s #1 priority upon taking office will be putting the Saudi plan into play, using the more-trusted Hillary Clinton to sell it. Bibi (again, if elected) must not be a buyer. The world, for the most part, doesn’t like Jews and that’s what Israel represents. Israel cannot, for the sake of good PR from the world, give away land that soldiers fought and died for in order to make Israel safer. It’s why Bibi will likely win: Israelis sense that Obama, with his worldwide popularity, is going to come knocking soon, asking, maybe demanding, more Israeli “concessions” for peace that Israel must resist. The Palestinians should be the ones making concessions (taking out of their charter, their desire to end Israel’s existence, would be a great place to start!). President George W. Bush, had it correct when taking a hands off approach to the Arab-Israeli problem, as he realized that Israel doesn’t have a problem with Palestinians, but the other way around. He realized there is no ‘cycle of violence’, just Palestinians bent on killing innocent Israelis. Watch out Israel: Obama’s coming with Hillary (and Bill) as his cover. Israel has seen that no peace with the Palestinians comes about when they give back swaths of land won in war. Beware Obama-Clinton and their coming push to accept the Saudi “plan”: it will be a disaster for Israel.
Iran’s Khamenei Calls For Lebanese Unity vs. Israel
Nov. 26…..(JPOST) Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday called on the disparate Lebanese ethnic groups to unite against their common enemy, Israel, the Iranian IRNA news agency reported.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the power of all Lebanese groups should be at the service of the country's national unity to counter the danger of the Zionist regime," Khamenei told visiting Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. Khamenei, lauding Suleiman's support of Islamic militancy and his efforts to establish unity in Lebanon, promised that Iran would always side with Beirut, stressing that Lebanon enjoys high significance despite its small geographical limits. One such instance of "exemplary" coexistence of different religious groups in Lebanon, he said, was the "historical victory" over the Israel. "Over the past 60 years, none of the Muslim and Arab states have been able to face the Zionist regime, but people in Lebanon managed to break this myth and drive the Israeli army out of their soil," he said. Khamenei added that Lebanon has turned into a role model for other Muslim nations due to its "resistance" to Israeli "aggressions," saying, "During the 33-day war period, many Muslims in the Islamic and Arab states chanted slogans in support of Lebanese Hizbullah, especially Nasrallah." The top cleric went on to voice his support for the repatriation of Palestinian "refugees" residing in Arab states. He said that although certain people suppose that repatriation of the Palestinian refugees is impossible, they would definitely "return" to their "homeland." For his part, Suleiman, thanking the Iranian government and nation for supporting Lebanon, especially during and after the Second Lebanon War and the ensuing period, called Iran's role in solving Lebanon's domestic problems "valuable."
When Science Points To God
Nov. 26….(Townhall) Contemporary atheism marches behind the banner of science. It is perhaps no surprise that several leading atheists, from biologist Richard Dawkins to cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker to physicist Victor Stenger, are also leading scientists. The central argument of these scientific atheists is that modern science has refuted traditional religious conceptions of a divine creator. But of late atheism seems to be losing its scientific confidence. One sign of this is the public advertisements that are appearing in billboards from London to Washington DC. Dawkins helped pay for a London campaign to put signs on city buses saying, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Humanist groups in America have launched a similar campaign in the nation’s capital. “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake.” And in Colorado atheists are sporting billboards apparently inspired by John Lennon: “Imagine…no religion.” What is striking about these slogans is the philosophy behind them. There is no claim here that God fails to satisfy some criterion of scientific validation. We hear nothing about how evolution has undermined the traditional “argument from design.” There’s not even a whisper about how science is based on reason while Christianity is based on faith. Instead, we are given the simple assertion that there is probably no God, followed by the counsel to go ahead and enjoy life. In other words, let’s not let God and his commandments spoil all the fun. “Be good for goodness sake” is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far. The question remains: what is the source of these standards of goodness that seem to be shared by religious and non-religious people alike? Finally John Lennon knew how to compose a tune but he could hardly be considered a reliable authority on fundamental questions. His “imagine there’s no heaven” sounds visionary but is, from an intellectual point of view, a complete nullity. If you want to know why atheists seem to have given up the scientific card, the current issue of Discover magazine provides part of the answer. The magazine has an interesting story by Tim Folger which is titled “Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator.” The article begins by noting “an extraordinary fact about the universe: its basic properties are uncannily suited for life.” As physicist Andrei Linde puts it, “We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible.” Too many “coincidences,” however, imply a plot. Folger’s article shows that if the numerical values of the universe, from the speed of light to the strength of gravity, were even slightly different, there would be no universe and no life. Recently scientists have discovered that most of the matter and energy in the universe is made up of so-called “dark” matter and “dark” energy. It turns out that the quantity of dark energy seems precisely calibrated to make possible not only our universe but observers like us who can comprehend that universe. Even Steven Weinberg, the Nobel laureate in physics and an outspoken atheist, remarks that “this is fine-tuning that seems to be extreme, far beyond what you could imagine just having to accept as a mere accident.” And physicist Freeman Dyson draws the appropriate conclusion from the scientific evidence to date: “The universe in some sense knew we were coming.” Folger then admits that this line of reasoning makes a number of scientists very uncomfortable. “Physicists don’t like coincidences.” “They like even less the notion that life is somehow central to the universe, and yet recent discoveries are forcing them to confront that very idea.” There are two hurdles here, one historical and the other methodological. The historical hurdle is that science has for three centuries been showing that man does not occupy a privileged position in the cosmos, and now it seems like he does. The methodological hurdle is what physicist Stephen Hawking once called “the problem of Genesis.” Science is the search for natural explanations for natural phenomena, and what could be more embarrassing than the finding that a supernatural intelligence transcending all natural laws is behind it all? Consequently many physicists are exploring an alternative possibility: multiple universes. This is summed up as follows: “Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse.” Folger says that “short of invoking a benevolent creator” this is the best that modern science can do. For contemporary physicists, he writes, this “may well be the only viable nonreligious explanation” for our fine-tuned universe. The appeal of multiple universes, perhaps even an infinity of universes, is that when there are billions and billions of possibilities, then even very unlikely outcomes are going to be realized somewhere. Consequently if there was an infinite number of universes, something like our universe is certain to appear at some point. What at first glance seems like incredible coincidence can be explained as the result of a mathematical inevitability. The only difficulty, as Folger makes clear, is that there is no empirical evidence for the existence of any universes other than our own. Moreover, there may never be such evidence. That’s because if there are other universes, they will operate according to different laws of physics than the ones in our universe, and consequently they are permanently and inescapably inaccessible to us. The article in Discover concludes on a somber note. While some physicists are hoping the multiverse will produce empirical predictions that can be tested, “for many physicists, however, the multiverse remains a desperate measure ruled out by the impossibility of confirmation.” No wonder atheists are sporting billboards asking us to “imagine…no religion.” When science, far from disproving God, seems to be pointing with ever-greater precision toward transcendence, imagination and wishful thinking seem all that is left for the atheists to count on.
The Importance of the Bible?
Nov. 25…. (Charles Stanley) The importance of Scripture cannot be overstated. It is the source of all truth about God and about ourselves. A primary purpose of the Bible is to lead us to salvation. Without the Scriptures, we would never discover that we have a spiritual problem which separates us from the Lord: we are sinners from birth (Romans 3:23) and have no way to rescue ourselves. The Father wants us to know that Jesus died to save us, and if we accept His sacrifice as payment for our sin-debt, we’ll be forgiven. The Word also makes clear that God desires to adopt us into His family so we can live with Him forever. Faith in Christ, not good works is the one and only means of salvation and eternal life (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:7-8). Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved (Acts 16:31). Another purpose of the Bible is to provide instructions on how we are to live. A godly life is characterized by surrender to the Lord’s control, submission to His plan, and a daily yielding to the Holy Spirit’s guidance (Galations 2:20). The Scriptures also reveal the Creator’s standard for living, namely, what acceptable behavior is and what is not. If you earnestly seek to know the Father better and please Him, time spent in His Word will never be wasted.
FOJ Note: What if there was no Bible? What if the secularists and atheists could have their way and extinguish it? How fortunate we are that God has pledged that his word will never pass away!
Bush Warns Israel Against Attacking Iran or Gaza
Nov. 25….(Israel Today) US President George W. Bush has bluntly warned Israel against striking Iran's nuclear facilities or launching a broad military response to Hamas rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during his final weeks in office, according to Time magazine. The warning was first issued last week by senior American officials to their counterparts in Israel, who told Time, "We have been warned off." The instruction was expected to be repeated by Bush himself when he met with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday in Washington. According to US officials cited in the article, the Bush Administration fears that an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities will force Washington to completely revamp its policies across the Middle East in a way that is not conducive to American interests. Earlier, some speculated that Olmert's meeting with Bush was actually a planning session for a strike on Iran prior to Barack Obama's swearing in on January 20. As for Gaza, despite the devastating effect ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks are having on Israeli civilians, Bush is unwilling to have his "Roadmap" peace plan jeopardized by a strong Israeli response. As the two men met the press for their last joint press conference as world leaders, Bush declared that his vision for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is alive and well. Bush solicited the help of Jordan's King Abdullah last week in calming the Gaza situation. Abdullah dispatched a senior military official to urge Hamas to freeze all rocket fire on Israel, but he also summoned Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Amman to caution them that an Israeli invasion of Gaza could compromise Israel's relations with Jordan and Egypt.
Bush Warns Israel Off Any Attacks on Iran, Hamas, Hizballah
Nov. 25….(DEBKA) Washington sources add that prime minister Ehud Olmert accused the Bush administration of establishing relations with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas when he met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of in Washington Monday, Nov. 23. Over this issue, Olmert’s meeting with president George W. Bush at the White House, intended to be a farewell between friends, turned into a stormy encounter. he president again warned the prime minister against resorting to any Israeli military action in the Middle East in the period between the two US presidencies. Olmert for his part accused the administration of using the Jordanian king Abdullah and the Gaza missile crisis to open the door for an approach to the Palestinian Hamas, which Washington lists as a terrorist organization. The king was asked to relay the Bush administration’s request to Syria and the Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalad Meshaal to make Hamas-Gaza stop firing the scores of missiles then flying over southwestern Israel. The king complied by sending two high-ranking emissaries to Damascus with the US request. They returned with Meshaal’s affirmative response. Washington’s next step for averting an Israeli counter-assault in Gaza was to have the king to invite Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak to Amman. They were astonished to be presented with an accomplished fact: The US, Syria and Jordan had cooked up between them a new “Gaza ceasefire”. According to our sources, Olmert told Bush that the American initiative had placed his government in an untenable position. It was seen to be failing to fight Hamas’ missile offensive while on the quiet, Washington was using Israeli quiescence to lay the foundations of a negotiating track with Palestinian extremists in Damascus and Gaza. All the opinion polls agree that Olmert’s Kadima party and its coalition partner, Barak’s Labor, are fighting for their lives in the run-up to Israel’s Feb. 10, 2009 general election, while the right-of-center opposition bloc led by Likud is rising fast, making hay from the government’s weak-kneed military posture in obedience to US pressure. DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources add that without being explicit, the US request intimated to Hamas leaders that by playing ball they would enhance the prospect of future contacts with Washington, whether with the Bush or Obama administrations was not spelled out. Meshaal took the hint.
On Proofing Obama’s Eligibility to be President
(Constitutional lawyer says electors have duty to investigate citizenship)
Nov. 25….(WND) A one-time vice presidential candidate who is considered an expert on the US Constitution says it is up to the electors from the 50 states to make certain President-elect Barack Obama is a natural-born US citizen before they cast votes for him in the Electoral College Dec. 15. "If they do their duty, they would make sure that if they cast a vote for Mr. Obama, that Mr. Obama is a natural-born citizen," Herb Titus, the Constitution Party's running mate to Howard Phillips in 1996, told WND today. "I think it should be resolved. The duty is in the Electoral College. Every Obama elector that is committed to casting a vote on the 15th of December, they have a constitutional duty to make certain whether Mr. Obama is a natural-born citizen," he said. If the electors fail their duty and Obama proves ultimately to fail the eligibility requirement of the US Constitution, there would be only the laborious, contentious and cumbersome process of impeachment available to those who would wish to follow the Constitution, he suggested. The issue of Obama's citizenship has been in the news for weeks as multiple legal claims have asserted the Democrat is not a natural-born US citizen. There have been claims he was born in Kenya, that he's a British subject because of his father and that he lost his citizenship in Indonesia. If the electors fail, Titus said, "I think it moots the point." "I don't think there is anything in the Constitution [that would allow a challenge based on a candidate's constitutional qualifications.] "It would politically undermine Obama's re-election, and there may be an impeachment if someone concluded he deliberately misled the people, and knew he was not a natural-born citizen," he said. Titus said the evidence clearly shows there are questions about Obama's birth that should be resolved. But he said he doesn't believe the courts will do anything, nor should they. "If it's revealed it's only going to be [revealed because of] investigative journalism or by Obama himself," he said. "It's only the Electoral College that has the duty and authority to determine is a person is qualified to be president," Titus said. "It's up to the people. Essentially the Constitution is a covenant of the people with their government. If the people don't insist on their government officials abiding by the covenant, I don't know what you can do," he said. Titus said the basis of a natural-born requirement traces back to the Old Testament, where Moses prophesied about the people of Israel getting a king. "The whole notion of a natural-born citizen is designed for the purpose of making sure that the chief executive would not have politically divided loyalties," he said.
Supreme Court would decide?
Meanwhile, a veteran law enforcement officer and director of criminal justice courses says he believes the 2008 election results ultimately could come down to a decision by the US Supreme Court, which issued a ruling eight years ago that helped put George W. Bush in the White House. The assessment comes from James H. Hafeman, a veteran of decades in law enforcement who supervised an armed security force, taught criminal justice and directed criminal justice programs in Michigan. He submitted a commentary to WND, outlining his evidence. Hafeman said his argument is based mostly on the US Constitution, which outlines the requirements for eligibility for president, including that the candidate be a "natural-born" citizen. While replacing a president is outlined in the Constitution, he warned the replacement of a president-elect who is found to be ineligible isn't simple.
UN: We Support Palestinians' Rights to the Land, Statehood
(General Assembly president says the fact that Palestinians still have no state represents UN's 'single greatest failure')
Nov. 25….(YNET) The Palestinian people's rights to self- determination and statehood should be supported after 60 years of deprivation, United Nations officials said Monday. While the UN advocates for Palestinians' rights, it also defends Israeli's rights to live in security within their borders. The UN on Monday marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an occasion to reiterate calls for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Palestinian authorities have achieved progress in security and institution-building in the West Bank, Ban said the situation in the Gaza Strip remains a major concern. "I call for immediate measures to ease the near-blanket closure of Gaza, which leads to worrying deprivations of basic supplies and human dignity," Ban said. "I unreservedly condemn rocket fire." He said Palestinians have gone into an "ever-deepening divide," urging both Hamas and all Palestinian factions to urgently work to reunify Gaza and the West Bank. UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto said the fact that Palestinians still had no statehood represents the "single greatest failure" of the UN. It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people," d'Escoto said. He also called for an end to the "blockade" of Gaza. "The international community should spare no effort in assisting both Israel and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," he said.
UN’s ElBaradei Clashes With US Over Syria's Nuclear Program
Nov. 25….(Jerusalem Post) The chief UN nuclear inspector said Monday that Syria had a right to his agency's help in planning a power-producing atomic reactor, in what diplomats described as a rejection of US-led efforts to block the aid. The clash reflected tensions between Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN nuclear agency, and key Western nations over whether Syria should be given potentially sensitive nuclear guidance at a time when it is being investigated. Russia, China and developing nations also back the aid project, said diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the International Atomic Energy Agency talks. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said it was "totally inappropriate, we believe, given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor outside the bounds of its international legal commitments. "And then for the IAEA to be involved in providing technical information concerning nuclear activities would seem to be contradictory, if not ironic," McCormack said. A report circulated last week by ElBaradei confirmed that soil samples taken at the site of a building in Syria bombed last year by Israel revealed "a significant number" of uranium particles. The report also said that satellite imagery and other information appeared to bear out US intelligence that the building was a nuclear reactor - one Washington said was nearly completed and almost ready to produce plutonium, a fissile warhead component. Syria denies hiding nuclear activities. But the report strengthened both concerns that it might have something to conceal and arguments from the US and its allies that Damascus should not be offered agency help in planning its civilian reactor. Beyond helping the Syrians develop expertise, the $350,000 aid project would send the wrong signal about a country under investigation by the IAEA, critics like the Americans argued. Those concerns were voiced again Monday, according to diplomats inside the closed meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board. US delegate Jeff Pyatt was the most outspoken in opposition to the planned project and receiving backing from the European Union, France, Britain, Australia and Canada, the diplomats said. But ElBaradei disagreed, saying there was no legal basis to withhold the program. Two years ago, Iran was stripped of IAEA technical aid meant to help it build a heavy water reactor that also will produce plutonium when completed. However, the country was already under UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze both construction of that reactor and its program of uranium enrichment - both pathways that could yield to nuclear arms. ElBaradei cited Teheran's case to emphasize the difference between the two situations and to argue in favor of the Damascus project, diplomats said. Iran and other nonaligned nations also warned against withdrawing the project. "Syria or any member state of the IAEA should benefit (from) technical cooperation without any discrimination," Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, told The Associated Press. Separately, he accused those nations opposed to the Syrian project of "poisoning" the meeting's atmosphere. And speaking for the nonaligned countries, Norma M. Goichochea, the chief Cuban delegate said technical aid to members "should not be blocked, delayed or otherwise hindered for mere suspicion or unproven allegations."
Israel Military Urges Plan for Iran Strike
Nov. 25….(Jerusalem Post) A security assessment drawn up Israeli defense chiefs calls for contingency plans to be drawn up for military action against Iran, the Haaretz daily reported on Sunday. The assessment, to be presented to ministers next month as part of the National Security Council's annual review, also calls for Israel to prevent new Palestinian elections at all costs, even at the expense of a row with its US ally, the paper said. Defense chiefs put "Iran's threat to Israel's survival" at the top of the list of challenges they face, followed by the "strategic threat" of long-range missiles and rockets from various countries in the region. "Israel faces these threats almost alone," Haaretz quoted the report as saying. "It is imperative to mobilize the international community and obtain regional cooperation. The new American administration is an opportunity to do this." Defense chiefs warn that Israel has a limited window in which to act before Iran obtains nuclear arms and regional hegemony. They call for Israel to establish a military option against Iran, in case other countries abandon the struggle, and advise the cabinet to "work discreetly on contingency plans to deal with a nuclear Iran." Their assessment also recommends close cooperation with the United States to prevent a deal between Washington and Tehran that would undermine Israeli interests. The leaking of the report came as outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was due in Washington for talks with US President George W. Bush which were expected to be dominated by the perceived threat from Iran.
US Requests 300 Billion Dollar Loan From Arabs
Nov. 24….(AP) The United States has asked four oil-rich Gulf states for close to 300 billion dollars to help it curb the global financial meltdown, Kuwait's daily Al-Seyassah reported Thursday. Quoting "highly informed" sources, the daily said Washington has asked Saudi Arabia for 120 billion dollars, the United Arab Emirates for 70 billion dollars, Qatar for 60 billion dollars and was seeking 40 billion dollars from Kuwait. Al-Seyassah said Washington sought the amount as "financial aid" to face the fallout of the financial crisis and help prevent its economy from sliding into a painful recession. The daily said the United States plans to use the funds to help the ailing automobile industry, banks and other companies suffering from the global financial turmoil. The four nations, all members of OPEC, produce together 14 million barrels of oil per day, around half of the cartel's production and about 17 percent of world supplies. The four states are estimated to have amassed close to 1.5 trillion dollars in surplus in the past six years due to high oil prices that rocketed above 147 dollars in July before sliding to just above 50 dollars. The daily also said that the United States has asked Kuwait to forgive its Iraqi debt estimated at around 16 billion dollars.
Iran Will Produce 3 A-bombs by End of 2009
Nov. 24….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis) The most up-to-date intelligence predictions of US nuclear experts is that by the end of 2009, Iran will have stocked enough weapons-grade fuel to build three nuclear bombs. The first will be ready for assembly by the time Barack Obama is sworn in as US president on January 20, 2009; the second shortly after Israel’s February 10, 2009 general election produces a new prime minister, and the third by the end of the year. Iran may deny the latest IAEA conclusion that it has stockpiled 630 kg of low-enriched uranium, enough to upgrade a nuclear weapon. But Tehran’s limited on-and-off cooperation with the nuclear watchdog leaves it wide open to the suspicion of a secret location churning out enriched uranium far from the declared Natanz facility. So what happened to the pledges made by the world powers over the years to keep nuclear weapons out of the Islamic Republic’s hands, including declarations by US and Israeli leaders that their military options remained “on the table?” Those pledges came from Israeli leaders on both sides of the aisle, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, foreign minister Tzipi Livni, defense minister Ehud Barak and opposition Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu. DEBKAfile’s political analysts comment: Their pledges have turned out to be as credible as the subsequence assurances of Olmert and his finance minister Ronnie Bar-On that the global economic crisis had skipped Israel and the public’s savings and investments were safe. This week, Israelis woke up to find one-third of their pension funds wiped out, and a nuclear-armed Iran on their horizon. Next year, Tehran may stage an underground atomic test to show Muslims everywhere what the Shiites can do and confront the new US and Israeli governments with its unstoppable nuclear capability. That is unless Olmert, Livni, and Barak are moved to fight the strong trend toward a Likud election victory by going belatedly after Iran’s nuclear facilities in the short weeks remaining for the ballot. However, although the Olmert government had the Syrian reactor bombed in September 2007 while it was still under construction, DEBKAfile’s political sources doubt whether they are politically and personally capable today of repeating that success against Iran. Barak is consistent in ducking military action: He lost power in 2000 after refusing to pre-empt Yasser Arafat’s planned Palestinian terror war against Israel. As defense minister, he has declined to halt Hizballah’s rocket build-up in Lebanon or put the lid on the Palestinian missile offensive from Gaza. He preferred a shaky truce, which left Hamas and fellow-fundamentalist Palestinian terrorists backed by Iran and Syria to violate at will. This policy is backed by Olmert and Livni. Saturday, Nov. 22, Hizballah launched a large-scale military exercise in South Lebanon, including in areas policed by UN peacemakers which are barred to Hizballah militiamen under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which Livni helped draft in 2006. According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the years from 2002 to 2006, when Ariel Sharon and his faithful disciples Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, were then in power were the best time for halting Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb by military action. Now it will be harder. Their favorite mantra was that George W. Bush was “the friendliest US president Israel had ever had.” He could be counted on to halt Iran’s nuclearization if Israel made the territorial concessions that opened the door to a Washington-sponsored peace with the Palestinians. This claim validated Israel’s unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005 at a time when it would have been easier, and smarter to focus on destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities than today. Likud leader, Netanyahu was minister of finance in the Sharon government, until he quit later over the controversial Gaza disengagement. Livni played her part in this strategy with her favorite formula: A nuclear Iran is a world problem which should be left to the international community to solve. Today, the Israeli public, on the evidence of the UN nuclear watchdog, can justly claim it was conned by its leaders. The Jewish state’s most active enemy, the terrorist sponsor in Tehran, has been allowed to go all the way acquiring the ultimate weapon of destruction. Instead of admitting they missed the train, those leaders and “the international community,” continue to try and lull troubled spirits with more deception, pretending that the peril of a nuclear-armed Iran can still be averted by more of their failed diplomacy. And certain “experts” were enlisted to play down Iran’s delivery capability by dismissing its new Sejil ballistic missile, test-fired on Nov. 12, as no better than the Shehab-3 as a vehicle for delivering a nuclear warhead. Israeli and Western missile experts familiar with Iran’s arsenal define the Sejil test a breakthrough in its missile technology. Israeli government publicists are now leaking a new thesis to tame reporters: A nuclear-armed Iran should not cause alarm. A quote from a closed symposium by an unidentified official set the tone: “We mustn’t be scared by a little Persian with a big bomb.” Having failed to aver this existential danger to Israel, they were now trying to convince people that the holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his nuclear bomb can be safely ignored. It will be left to the Israeli voter to decide how far he and she are ready to be gulled again when they go to the polls in February.
Iranian General Leads Hizballah War Games on Israel
Nov. 24….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Hizballah’s military maneuver this weekend in an area south of the Litani River barred by the UN gave Iran’s Al Qods chief, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, a chance to personally check on its Lebanese proxy’s ability to draw up battle lines at speed against a potential Israeli tank incursion of the Beqaa Valley. DEBKAfile’s military sources also disclose exclusively that the exercise provided Tehran’s first opportunity to test the functioning of the senior staff quarters in Khoramshahr near the Iranian-Iraqi border, which have taken over direct command of the Lebanese terrorist group. The Hezbollah maneuver was fully integrated with the military exercises staged across Iran over the weekend and coordinated with Syrian army headquarters in Damascus. For the first time, all the pro-Iranian military elements on Israel’s borders have now been pulled together for a joint maneuver by a high-ranking Iranian general. As of Nov. 22, therefore, Iran, Syria and Lebanon are tightly meshed into a Tehran-led combined front against any war contingency. This development seriously upgrades the peril Iran poses to Israel’s security and brings it right up to its back door. On the ground, Hizballah’s field commanders practiced interchanges, and tested their communications links, with Syria’s 10th and 14th divisions deployed opposite South Lebanon and the Israeli border positions on Mount Hermon, Mount Dov and the Chebaa Farms. Formally, the al Qods Brigades is a unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, but Gen. Suleimani, whose mandate covers Iran’s extraterritorial surrogates and sponsored terrorist movement, enjoys broad autonomy and answers directly only to supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Engrossed in a tough election campaign, Israel’s leaders responded feebly to this development, merely commenting on Hizballah’s “brazen” violation of UN Security Council ceasefire resolution 1701 of 2006, which closed Lebanon south of the Litani to Hizballah gunmen. One defense ministry official affirmed that Hizballah had been armed with “tens of thousands of Iranian rockets,” without indicating what Israel intended to do about this menacing arsenal. Hizballah manipulated from Tehran and Damascus is going full steam ahead with its war preparations on Israel without apparent fear of Israeli interference.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16 THROUGH NOVEMBER 22
Iran Has Enough Nuclear Material for First Allah-Bomb
Nov. 21….(By Stan Goodenough/Jnewswire) While the world has been vacillating over how best to respond to untempered Iranian belligerency and Tehran's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons, the champion of Islamic states has already acquired enough material to manufacture its first atomic bomb. This news, breaking in the New York Times Thursday, moved Israel closer than ever towards military confrontation with the fanatics ruling Tehran. According to the reports, citing a number of nuclear experts, their conclusion was based on accumulated data indicating Iran has already produced enough nuclear material to build a bomb. Israel's Air Force pilots have been training for months to carry out a successful seek and destroy operation against Iran's nuclear facilities. On Tuesday, IAF commander Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan told the German magazine Der Spiegel Israel is "ready to do whatever is demanded of us" in order to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Pundits in Israel and the United States have pondered the possibility of Israel launching an attack before US President-Elect Barack Obama enters the White House on January 20. A number of assessments have ruled out the effectivity of any air attack, citing the reinforced underground locations of Iran's facilities and the fact that the sites are scattered over a large part the country. For its part, however, Israel has emphatically-declared it will "not allow" Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
US Removes 550 Tons of Nuclear Precursor (WMD) from Iraq
(The controversial missing-now found, WMD issue in Iraq is being glossed over again)
Nov. 21….(In The News) In a significant development on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) inexplicably not publicized by the Bush administration nor well-covered by the media, a few months ago the US military removed from Iraq 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium, a necessary precursor to the development of nuclear weapons. With this radioactive material, all that was needed to create up to 140 nuclear bombs was the centrifuge equipment Pakistan stole from Europe and then re-exported to Libya and Iran. Consequently, Iran is on the verge of finishing the enrichment process but Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi gave up the technology out of fear of having the same thing happen to him that happened to Iraq’s dictator. Were we just to leave this devastatingly dangerous WMD precursor to the tender mercies of Saddam Hussein? In an interesting footnote to the removal of the yellowcake from Iraq, the US Army used contractors to provide the transportation. This fact points to a revolutionary aspect of how the United States has successfully prosecuted this war, through extensive use of Department of Defense (DoD) contractors in high-risk areas to execute any and almost all work that does not require the special and very expensive training required for our limited number of all-volunteer-army soldiers. Now, however, in what would be an extremely shortsighted concession to get a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government, it looks as if the United States may be throwing these mission-critical personnel under the bus by removing DoD contractor immunities from arrest and prosecution by a chaotic Iraqi legal system that claims the right to hold individuals on “terrorism” charges for up to six months without habeas corpus.
Israel 'Occupies' No Arab Territories
Nov. 20….(Jerusalem Post/Louis Rene Beres) In urgent matters of national survival and geopolitics, words matter. The still generally unchallenged language referring provocatively to an Israeli "Occupation" always overlooks the pertinent and incontestable history of the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza. Perhaps the most evident omission concerns the unwitting manner in which these "Territories" fell into Israel's hands in the first place. It is simply and widely disregarded that "occupation" followed the multi-state Arab aggression of 1967, one never disguised by Egypt, Syria or Jordan. A sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967 or 1948. Nor was a state of Palestine ever promised by UN Security Council Resolution 242. Contrary to popular understanding, a state of Palestine has never existed. Never. Even as a nonstate legal entity, "Palestine" ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence (a war of survival fought because the entire Arab world had rejected the authoritative United Nations resolution creating a Jewish state), the West Bank and Gaza came under the illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the effective prevention, sui generis, of a state of Palestine. The original hopes for Palestine were dashed, therefore, not by the new Jewish state or by its supporters, but by the Arab states, especially Jordan and Egypt. Let us return to an earlier history. From the Biblical Period (1350 BC to 586 BC) to the British Mandate (1918-1948), the land named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. Significantly, however, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I, at the San Remo Peace Conference of April 1920. There, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over "Palestine" (the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks since 1516) to prepare it to become the "national home for the Jewish People." Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza. Present-day Israel comprises only 22 percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference. In 1922, Great Britain unilaterally and without any lawful authority split off 78 percent of the lands promised to the Jews, all of Palestine east of the Jordan River, and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name Transjordan, which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan. From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law. On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah for the latter's hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan's "moderate" King Hussein, 19 years later, during September 1970, brutally murdered thousands of defenseless Palestinians under his jurisdiction. In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah's killing, the newly-formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Curiously, considering that this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders accepted the painful judgment. The Arab states did not. On May 15, 1948, exactly 24 hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre." This unambiguous declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab orientations toward Israel, including those of the so-called "moderate" Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish State in their midst has remained patently genocidal. For some reason, this persistence has repeatedly been made to appear benign. In 1967, almost 20 years after Israel's entry into the community of nations, the Jewish state, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over the West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is codified in the UN Charter, there existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could be "returned." Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly cruel control since the Arab-initiated war of "extermination" in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian "self-determination" had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War, and, significantly, had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967. For their part, the Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it." The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any so-called "Israeli Occupied Territories." Exactly what was it, therefore, that the PLO sought to "liberate" between 1964 and 1967? This question should now be raised in connection with the US-sponsored "Road Map To Peace in the Middle East," a twisted cartography leading to "Palestine." This is a very brief account of essential historic reasons why the so-called "Palestinian Territories" are not occupied by Israel. Several other equally valid reasons stem from Israel's inherent legal right to security and self-defense. International law is not a suicide pact. Because a Palestinian state would severely threaten the very existence of Israel, a fact that remains altogether unhidden in Arab media and governments, the Jewish State is under no binding obligation to end a falsely alleged "Occupation." No state can ever be required to accept complicity in its own dismemberment and annihilation. Both Israel and the United States will soon have new leadership. Neither Jerusalem nor Washington should be deceived by the so-called "Road Map To Peace in the Middle East," a twisted bit of highway that makes entirely inaccurate claims about so-called "Palestinian Territories" and "Israeli Occupation." For substantially documented reasons of history and national security, it is imperative that a twenty-third Arab state never be carved out of the still-living body of Israel. If anyone should still have doubts about Palestinian intentions, they need look only to former Prime Minister Sharon's "disengagement" from Gaza, an area that is now used by Hamas to stage rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants, and by al-Qaeda to mount future terrorist operations against American cities.
China Passes Japan as Biggest US Treasuries Holder
Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) China surpassed Japan in September to become the biggest foreign holder of US Treasuries, as foreign investors sought the relative safety of government debt as stocks plunged 9.1 percent that month. Total net purchases of long-term equities, notes and bonds increased a net $66.2 billion in September from $21 billion the previous month, the Treasury said today in Washington. Including short-term securities such as stock swaps, foreigners bought a net $143.4 billion, compared with net buying of $21.4 billion the month before. China led all foreign official investors in September by posting a net increase in US Treasuries for the sixth month in the past seven, bringing its total ownership close to $600 billion. Japan was a net seller of Treasuries for the fourth month in the past six. “The details of the report paint a much more positive picture of cross-border investments than expected,” said Michael Woolfolk, a senior currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. “China, along with others, is showing more demand than anticipated for US assets.” Economists predicted international investors would buy a net $27.2 billion of long-term securities in September, based on the median of seven estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. China leapfrogged Japan, increasing its Treasury holdings by $43.6 billion to $585 billion, the report said. Japan, now the second-largest foreign owner of US government debt, reduced its holdings by $12.8 billion to $573.2 billion.
Obama Pledges State Soon to Palestinian Leader Abbas
(Official says PA President Abbas received phone call today, follows report Democrat confided he's for splitting Jerusalem)
Nov. 19….(WND) President-elect Barack Obama today phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and pledged to work, no matter what, to establish a Palestinian state as soon as possible, a senior PA negotiator told WND. "Obama expressed his full support for a Palestinian state. He told the president (Abbas) he will continue to promote the peace process, which will end with a two-state solution," said the PA's second most senior negotiator, Saeb Erekat. "Obama said he will keep working in collaboration with the Israeli government and PA to reach a final solution. He said he'll do everything in his power to help create a Palestinian state as soon as we can," Erekat told WND. It was the first phone call between Abbas and Obama, Erekat added. Obama's transition spokesman Nick Shapiro did not immediately return a WND e-mail and phone request seeking comment. The call comes two weeks after a senior Palestinian official told WND the Obama campaign urged Palestinian officials to deny an Arab media report that the then-Democratic nominee confided to Palestinian leadership that he supports their right to a capital in eastern Jerusalem. The episode began after a Lebanese newspaper story Nov. 3 quoted sources in Ramallah who claimed that in a meeting in July with Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the two heard from Obama "the best things they ever heard from an American presidential candidate." The report in the Al-Akhbar daily, known to have close contacts to Palestinian leaders in Lebanon, claimed Obama told Abbas and Fayyad he "supports the rights of the Palestinians to east Jerusalem, as well as their right to a stable, sovereign state," but he petitioned them to keep the remarks confidential. Asked for comment by WND, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at the time would neither confirm nor deny knowledge of Obama's purported remarks. Abbas political adviser Namer Hamad subsequently issued a denial to reporters. But a senior official confirmed to WND that Obama said in a July trip to the region he favored a "negotiated settlement" that may grant the PA control over many sections of Jerusalem. The official, a longtime reliable source, claimed to WND that Obama advisers on Election Day engaged in a series of intense conversations asking that Abbas' office issue a denial. The Lebanese report echoed a similar sentiment immediately following Obama's meeting with Abbas and Fayyad in which a senior Palestinian source said Obama informed the Palestinians he supports a "negotiated settlement" that may grant the PA control over sections of Jerusalem. "He assured us there was a misunderstanding when he said in June he supports the Israelis' rights to hold on to Jerusalem," the PA official, who took part in the meeting with Obama, told WND at the time. "He told us he corrected this right away and that he supports a negotiated settlement that will give the Palestinians territory." The official was referring to a speech Obama delivered in June to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which he stated if he is elected president, "Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided." Immediately following the speech, Obama reversed himself during a CNN appearance, explaining he meant Jerusalem shouldn't be physically divided with a partition. "Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations," he said in response to a question about whether Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the city. Obama said that, "as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute" a division of the city. "And I think that it is smart for us to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
Poll: Only 6% of Americans Think US Should Back Palestinians
Nov. 18….(Ha Aretz) Only 6 percent of Americans think the United States should stand behind the Palestinians in Middle East peace talks, according to a recent poll of voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and commissioned by The Israel Project. Comparatively, 66 percent of those polled said the US should support Israel in the peace process. Some 80 percent of GOP voters and 59 percent of Democratic were among those backing US support for Israel. Despite "all the problems America now faces at home," 58 percent of those polled agreed more with the statement that "America needs to stand with Israel" than with "Israel needs to take care of itself." Of those polled, only 19 percent think "making peace between Israel and the Palestinians" should be among President-elect Barack Obama's top foreign policy priorities. Almost two-thirds of Americans said they were more concerned about the nuclear standoff with Iran; some 72 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that "even with all the problems that America faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons." When asked what the next president should make as his top priority in foreign policy, 56 percent mentioned "ending the war in Iraq" and 41 percent said "restoring global economic growth." Another 35 percent said Obama must focus on "defeating Al-Qaida and the Taliban," while 33 percent listed "preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons" as one of the most important tasks facing the US Meanwhile, 15 percent believe the US must work on "dealing with the instability in Pakistan," while 8 percent are worried about "meeting the threat of Putin's Russia." It seems, however, that American support of Israel tends to be as that of a preliminary shield for the United States, especially when it comes to Iran.
Hollywood Out of Step With American Morals
Nov. 18….(Newsmax) A majority of Americans say Hollywood doesn't share their moral values, according to a poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said that religious values in America are under attack, and 59 percent agreed that "the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans." The poll, titled "American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood," was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, which surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide. It was released Friday at the ADL's annual meeting in Los Angeles. "These findings point to the challenges that we face in dealing with issues of religion in society," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. "The belief that religion is under attack underlies the drive to incorporate more religion into American public life. Disturbingly, 43% of Americans believe there is an organized campaign by Hollywood and the national media to weaken the influence of religious values in this country." Among the survey's findings:
61 percent of respondents agree that "religious values are under attack in this country," while 36 percent disagree with that statement.
43 percent said Hollywood and the national media are waging an organized campaign to "weaken the influence of religious values in this country."
63 percent disagree with the statement that "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," while only 22 percent agree. When ADL conducted its first survey on anti-Semitic attitudes, in 1964, nearly half of the respondents believed that Jews ran the television and film industries. Nearly 40 percent support the notion that "dangerous ideas should be banned from public school libraries," and nearly the same number disagree with the statement that "censoring books is an old-fashioned idea." Nearly half, 49 percent believe that the United States is becoming "too tolerant in its acceptance of different ideas and lifestyles
Hillary Clinton to Accept Obama's offer of Secretary of State
Nov. 18….(Guardian) Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned. Obama's advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats do not believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem. Clinton would be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for New York, she has specialized in foreign affairs and defence. Although she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a withdrawal of American troops.
Israel Sends Aid; Arabs Send Rockets
Nov. 18….(By Stan Goodenough) Foreign governments and international aid organizations at the weekend demanded the Israeli government allow shipments of food and humanitarian aid into Gaza, despite the fact that rockets fired from the Strip - with the enthusiastic support of its Arab residents, continue to pulverize southern Israel. No balancing voices were heard demanding that Arab leaders work robustly to end the terrorism. In a show of weakness portrayed as good will, Jerusalem Monday caved to the pressure and agreed to allow 30 trucks carrying supplies to enter Gaza while Arabs continued to bombard Israeli towns with Kassam rockets and mortars. Even as the convoy was being readied, eight rockets were fired into the western Negev in a show of defiance that underscored the futility of the Israeli gesture. No injuries were reported but a number of homes were damaged. More rockets were fired in the afternoon. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, accompanying visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on a tour of bombarded Sderot, made the preposterous statement that Israel "will act when the conditions ripen and there will be need for such action, and we will act with force." Asked when precisely those conditions would be considered ripe, given that volleys of rockets were falling even today, Barak answered without actually answering. "We will act promptly when the time comes. The IDF is strong and prepared. Such an operation has several aspects; we are considering the issue and we will act precisely according to what is required, when it is required," he said, according to The Jerusalem Post. For his part Miliband termed the rocket attacks "intolerable," but instead of supporting Israel's right to hit back, he urged the government to continue pursuing talks with the PLO/Palestinian Authority. Years of such :responses" to terrorism have led to only more of the same with the resulting increased casualty rate among Israelis. Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also told Miliband that Israel reserved the right to defend its citizens. But while the IDF has reportedly submitted its recommendations and plans for terminating the rocket threat to the government, there is little sign Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing to implement any effective strategy at this time. According to Ynetnews, Livni also called upon the international community to make it clear to the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza that it is responsible for the plight of its people. Observers note that by wanting to relieve that plight, Israel was actually undermining this position and demonstrating that the Jewish State has "a guilty conscience."
Iraqi Cabinet Approves Timetable/Security Pact with US
Nov. 18….(AP) Iraq's Cabinet on Sunday approved a security pact with the United States that will allow American forces to stay in Iraq for three years after their UN mandate expires at the end of the year. The decision followed months of difficult negotiations and, pending parliamentary approval, will remove a major point of contention between the two allies. Parliament's deputy speaker, Khalid al-Attiyah, said he expected the 275-member legislature to begin debating the document this week and vote on it by Nov. 24. The US government agreed last week to an Iraqi request to amend the draft. The amendment removed what al-Attiyah said was ambiguous language that could allow US forces not to adhere to a timeline for their withdrawal from Iraqi cities by the end of June and from the entire country by Jan. 1, 2012. The Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni parties making up Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government dominate parliament, so there is a good chance that the legislature will approve the security pact. The final draft of the agreement is designed to meet Iraqi concerns over its sovereignty and its security needs as it continues to grapple with a diminished but persistent insurgency. It provides for the departure of US forces from Iraq by the end of 2011
*Key provisions of the US-Iraqi security pact that was approved by the Iraqi Cabinet and is being considered by the parliament ahead of a Nov. 24 vote:
• US forces must withdraw from Iraq by Jan. 1, 2012.
• US forces must withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009.
• Iraqi authorities are granted extensive power over the operations and movements of US forces.
• The US cannot use Iraqi territory to attack Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran.
• Iraq can try US soldiers and defense contractors in the case of serious crimes committed off-duty and off-base.
Black Preachers Worshiping the Wrong Messiah
…There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…2 Peter 2:1
Nov. 17….(Christian Newswire) With the November 4 election of Barack Obama, black preachers have been celebrating across the country. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Founder and President of BOND Action, Inc. is rebuking these black preachers for their part in electing the most left-wing presidential candidate in American history: “Ninety-six percent of black voters supported Barack Obama and the majority of these voters were influenced by black preachers to put race ahead of their country and their faith,” said Rev. Peterson. “How can ministers who are supposed to lead their flock to Jesus Christ instead lead them to a socialist like Obama? The truth is that most black ministers don’t have a real relationship with God and they are leading their congregations to hell. These blind leaders helped elect their black ‘Messiah’. This ‘Messiah’ happens to be the most left-wing member of the US Senate,” said Rev. Peterson. Here’s where president-elect Obama stands on key issues:
* Believes in abortion on demand (virtually under any circumstance), and has told Planned Parenthood that sex-ed for kindergartners is ‘the right thing to do’ (as long as it’s ‘age appropriate’);
* Has promised to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and would allow homosexual ‘marriages’ to be made legal in all 50 states;
* Would appoint far left activist judges who’d pervert and misinterpret the US Constitution;
* Has pledged to dismantle ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the military. Supports open homosexuality, bisexuality, and transexuality in all military branches, barracks and shower facilities.
This is what influential black ministers said after the Obama election victory:
* Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House church said that Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign “encouraged, validated and gave inspiration to not only the people of the United States of America, but to the people of our world.”
* At Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, Rev. Calvin Butts invited his congregation to stand up “and give God praise for the election.” Several hundred churchgoers rose as one and cheered, “Yes we can! Yes we can!”
* Grammy-winning gospel singer, Rev. Shirley Caesar-Williams said, “Too long we’ve been at the bottom of the totem pole, but Obama has vindicated us, hallelujah.”
* Rev. John L. Lambert, Bethel AME Church in Indianapolis, “If ever there was an answer to ‘who cometh to our help?’ that was the answer…Look at what God has done.”
* At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Rev. Otis Moss, III, said history would note that Trinity was the holy place where “God stirred a young man’s soul and put him on the path to the presidency.”
Rev. Peterson added: “For the past eighteen years I’ve said that most black preachers are not called by God, but instead are called by their mammas. If there was ever a time that this was the case, that time is now. In order for black Americans to turn around, they must drop their anger, and find the truth within themselves, not from corrupt, racist preachers or from a false black Messiah.”
Iraq: Can Ancient Babylon be Restored?
Nov. 17….(AP) It was one of the world's first, greatest cities, a place where astronomers mapped the stars millennia ago and kings created an early code of law and planted what became known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Yet very little remains of the ancient capital, as seen by The Associated Press during a trip to Babylon last month on one of the few permits issued by Iraq's government since the 2003 US-led invasion. The site has the aura of a theme park touched by the ambition of dictator Saddam Hussein and the opportunism of looters: Modern walkways run beside crumbling old walls, a reconstructed Greek theater and a palace built for Saddam atop an artificial hill. Now, for the first time, global institutions led by the UN are thoroughly documenting the damage and how to fix it. A UNESCO report due out early next year will cite Saddam's construction but focus, at the Iraqi government's request, on damage done by US forces from April to September 2003, and the Polish troops deployed there for more than a year afterward. The US, which turned Babylon into a military base, says the looting would have been worse but for the troops' presence. The US also says it will help rehabilitate Babylon, funding an effort by the World Monuments Fund and Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, but has yet to release precise funding figures. Archaeologists hope the effort will lead someday to new digging to follow up on the excavations done by a German team in the early 1900s. "The site is tremendously important," said Gaetano Palumbo of the New York City-based World Monuments Fund. Yet in its present state, Babylon is "hardly understandable, as a place where so much happened in history." Past excavations focused on the monuments such as temples. But domestic quarters remain largely unexplored, Palumbo said, and new methods could reveal new facts or reinterpret findings from excavations done 100 years ago. For decades, Babylon has been virtually off-limits to the world whose culture it helped create. First came Saddam's attempt to create a major tourist attraction aimed at glorifying his own image, which led to shoddy reconstruction of ancient sites and construction of restaurants and other facilities in the 1980s. Most international experts stayed away because of the regime's reputation, the eight-year war with Iran and UN sanctions. Next, Babylon suffered in the chaotic days after Saddam's downfall in 2003, at roughly the same time that Baghdad's national museum was looted. Archaeologists say looters took museum items at Babylon, mostly plaster replicas, and burned excavation reports and other studies. Then came the occupation by US and Polish troops in 2003 and 2004. Heavy vehicles and machinery pounded on ancient brick and on sand rich with pottery and other fragments. Military forces built a helipad, carved out parking areas and trenches, destroyed part of an ancient brick road called the Processional Way and filled bags with sand containing bones and pottery pieces, according to Iraqi officials and a British Museum report done several years ago. Even as Babylon was damaged, there has been no extensive, large-scale archaeological work here in nearly a century. There is no trace of the Hanging Gardens, said to have been built for the homesick wife of King Nebuchadnezzar II, or the tower believed to have inspired the Bible's tale of Babel. King Hammurabi's code of law, inscribed on a giant stone slab almost 4,000 years ago, has long sat in Paris' Louvre. The city's symbol, the original Gate of Ishtar named for a Babylonian goddess and built by Nebuchadnezzar, is Berlin's Pergamon museum. At the site, near the Euphrates River about 60 miles south of Baghdad, the AP journalists saw a gaudy reconstruction of the Ishtar gate built during Saddam's time, plus part of the original gate's foundations. The foundations hold unglazed depictions of a dragon, some appearing damaged. A spell of relative peace in Iraq is giving Babylon a second chance. However, tremendous challenges remain. There is still little security or infrastructure at Babylon or at most of Iraq's 12,000 other archaeological sites. Looting across Iraq appears to have eased, at least temporarily, because of stricter international controls and reports of a saturation in the illegal market in Iraqi artifacts, according to archaeologists. But the country has only 1,500 police who guard the sites to prevent looting. Many areas remain too dangerous for visitors or scholars to travel, and some fear heavier violence could resume, making any work a target. Although Iraq's government is involved in the project, a top aide to Iraq's prime minister told the AP that the government has more pressing priorities. And it could take years for Babylon to get on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, a prestigious designation Iraq can only seek after implementing conservation codes.
Olmert: We Have no Choice but to Lose our Land
Nov. 17….(Arutz) Whoever forms Israel's government after the February 10 general election will have to accept the tearing away of many parts of Eretz Yisrael, the Jews' ancient homeland. So said caretaker Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaking in the Knesset Monday, "Any government will have to tell the truth, and that truth, unfortunately, will require us to tear away many parts of the homeland, in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. "We must relinquish Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and return to that territory which comprised the State of Israel until 1967," he said. Olmert's replacement as chair of the Kadima Party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, was quick to reject his statement as "irrelevant," according to The Jerusalem Post. "As the head of the Kadima party, I am obligated not to the outgoing words of Olmert, but to Kadima's platform, which I wrote and which I believe in," Livni told Army Radio. Notwithstanding her election-motivated riposte, Livni has been working very closely with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the Bush administration has bulldozed ahead with its efforts to see Jewish lands used for the creation of a State of Palestine. The mantra of the Israeli leftists is that there is no choice, no other way to reach peace than to give away land. This land-for-peace process has been discredited repeatedly since the Oslo Accords was signed in 1993. Since then, every Israeli withdrawal, from Arab parts of Gaza, from Jericho and other towns throughout Samaria and Judea, from southern Lebanon and from the entire Gaza Strip, has always and only been followed by massive spikes in violence and terrorism. Still, when Israelis say they have no choice, what they really mean is "the United States gives us no choice." After every fresh outburst of terrorism since 1993, the US has pressured Israel to continue with the "peace process," because not to do so means to "give in to the enemies of peace."
Obama to Endorse Arab Peace Plan
Nov. 17….(Jerusalem Post) US President-elect Barack Obama is planning to base his peacemaking efforts in the Middle East on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday, quoting sources close to Obama. The Arab Peace Initiative, based on the Saudi peace plan of February 2002, calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories taken in the Six Day War, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for normalizing ties with the Arab world. Quoting an adviser to Obama, the report states that during his visit to the Middle East in July, the President-elect said Israel would be "crazy" to refuse a deal that could "give them peace with the Muslim world." According to the paper, Obama's advisers feel that the time is right for such a deal as Arab countries fear rising radical Islamic movements and a potentially nuclear Iran. They have reportedly told Obama he shouldn't lose time and must begin pushing his policies within his first year in office while he still enjoys maximum goodwill. Senior Jerusalem officials last month dismissed a sudden surge of interest both in Israel and abroad in the initiative, saying it was a function of both a diplomatic process that has stalled and the transition periods in Israel, the US and the Palestinian Authority. "Whenever the process stalls, there will be those who will pull out the Saudi plan," one senior official said. "And the Saudis have an interest in pushing this out there now, to put on a 'constructive face' with which to greet the new US president."
Obama to Adopt Saudi Peace Plan, Ram Home Israel-Arab Peace Deal
Nov. 17….(Israel Today) US President-elect Barack Obama intends to start his presidency with a bang by rapidly concluding an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 2002 Saudi peace plan. Advisors to the president-elect said they had convinced him to give the Israeli-Palestinian peace process top billing during his first year in office, as the enormous goodwill he currently enjoys will make it easier to oversee a final status agreement. They also say that getting the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a peace deal would dramatically and instantaneously transform the mood across the region, bolstering friendly regimes and isolating extremists and the current Iranian regime. The Times article indicated that Obama was more open to the idea of hitting the ground running on the Saudi initiative after both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reiterated their support for the proposal. During his visit to Israel last summer, Obama's advisors said that he privately has told the Palestinians that Israel would be "crazy" not to accept the Saudi plan, which offers the Jewish state broad acceptance in the region in exchange for surrendering 100 percent of the eastern half of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
Under the plan:
Israel would be able to veto the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948.
Israel would restore the Golan Heights to Syria.
Palestinians would be allowed to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
If Livni wins Israel's upcoming general election Obama is likely to find in her the partner he needs to get a deal based on the Saudi proposal signed by both sides. But if Likud Party and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel's next prime minister, as polls currently suggest, Obama may have to put the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the back burner, as Netanyahu has vowed to freeze land-for-peace negotiations. The Palestinians themselves could be another wrench in the gears. While Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has made a show of supporting the Saudi proposal, he continues to insist on the right to flood Israel with millions of so-called "Palestinian refugees," an issue that the Saudi plan avoids and that all Israeli leaders say is a red line. The Palestinian Authority is also scheduled to have elections of its own in January. Abbas has declared that he will not allow elections at this time, but not all Palestinians are happy about that, and certain groups could take action that leads to the current regime's downfall.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9 THROUGH NOVEMBER 15
Peres Gushes Over Saudi King at UN Interfaith Summit
Nov. 14….(YNET) Israeli President Shimon Peres used his turn at the podium at the UN interfaith summit in New York on Wednesday to heap unrestricted praise on the gathering's organizer, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Peres broke with precedent to address Abdullah directly from the podium, and later insisted that the fact the Saudi king had even remained in the room to listen to an Israeli speak meant peace must be just around the corner. However, those would be the only words Peres got to share with Abdullah, as the Saudi king and most other Arab leaders very conspicuously avoided contact with the Israeli delegation. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, meanwhile toldg reporters that if the Arab and Muslims leaders were serious about peace with Israel they would have to go beyond flowery rhetoric in the halls of the UN. Livni also took the opportunity to note that peace negotiations between herself and the Palestinians were progressing rapidly, primarily due to the fact that she is not allowing average Israelis access to the details of the talks. Ahead of Israel's February general election, Livni is attempting to portray herself as the leader who can finally conclude a final status peace agreement with the Palestinians, while painting her opponent, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, as someone who would rather stubbornly hold on to Israel's biblical heartland than live at peace with his neighbors.
Why Believe in A god?
Nov. 14….(In The Days) Ads proclaiming, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” will appear on Washington, DC, buses starting next week and running through December. The American Humanist Association unveiled the provocative $40,000 holiday ad campaign Tuesday. In lifting lyrics from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the Washington-based group is wading into what has become a perennial debate over commercialism, religion in the public square and the meaning of Christmas. “We are trying to reach our audience, and sometimes in order to reach an audience, everybody has to hear you,” said Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group. “Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion.” To that end, the ads and posters will include a link to a Web site that will seek to connect and organize like-minded thinkers in the DC area, Edwords said. Edwords said the purpose isn’t to argue that God doesn’t exist or change minds about a deity, although “we are trying to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.” The group defines humanism as “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.” Last month, the British Humanist Association caused a ruckus announcing a similar campaign on London buses with the message: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” In Washington, the humanists’ campaign comes as conservative Christian groups gear up their efforts to keep Christ in Christmas. In the past five years, groups such as the American Family Association and the Catholic League have criticized or threatened boycotts of retailers who use generic “holiday” greetings. In mid-October, the American Family Association started selling buttons that say “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas.” The humanists’ entry into the marketplace of ideas did not impress AFA president Tim Wildmon. “It’s a stupid ad,” he said. “How do we define ‘good’ if we don’t believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what’s good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what’s good, it’s going to be a crazy world.” Also on Tuesday, the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group, launched its sixth annual “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign.” Liberty Counsel has intervened in disputes over nativity scenes and government bans on Christmas decorations, among other things. “It’s the ultimate grinch to say there is no God at a time when millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Christ,” said Mathew Staver, the group’s chairman and dean of the Liberty University School of Law. “Certainly, they have the right to believe what they want but this is insulting.” Best-selling books by authors such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have fueled interest in “the new atheism,” a more in-your-face argument against God’s existence. Yet few Americans describe themselves as atheist or agnostic; a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll from earlier this year found 92 percent of Americans believe in God.
Resumed Gaza Terrorism Result of Israel’s Passivity and Reliance on Cairo
Nov. 14….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the foundering of the Gaza truce amid renewed Hamas missile attacks and terrorist plots are the direct outcome of the Israeli government’s passive military stance and over-reliance on Egypt to pull its Palestinian chestnuts out of the fire. That is the predominant view of senior Israeli military officials, including commanders of the Southern Command. Thursday night, Nov. 13, the Palestinians fired five missiles, including two Grads, against Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and Or Haner. Suspense is building up around the Gaza Strip amid fears of a major Palestinian attack on Israeli forces and civilian locations over the weekend. The last six months, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Tzipi Livni counted on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to heal the quarrel between the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions, pacify the Gaza Strip and extricate the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit from Hamas captivity. Although Mubarak’s bid flopped and the Palestinians had been clearly preparing to revive their large-scale terror plots and missile blitz for some weeks, the government failed to revise its tactics, pre-empt the rising threat, or explain to the Israeli public what went wrong. It was not until Nov. 11, when intelligence was received of a secret tunnel designed to facilitate a large-scale Hamas kidnap operation that a decision was taken to blow up the tunnel. The soldiers were ordered not to touch the Hamas special force assigned with the abductions or their operational headquarters at el Bureij. Nonetheless, Hamas leaders decided to risk reviving their missile blitz and efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians. Senior officers in the Southern Command believe that a serious Hamas cross-border terrorist attack is on the way. Since Cairo’s mediation failure, no one there, in Damascus or even Riyadh exercises any control over the Hamas leadership in Gaza. According to intelligence from Gaza, Hamas leaders have turned their backs on Egypt’s pacification efforts and moved on with their objective, which is to fight their Fatah rival, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the finish, by dint of factional warfare and major clashes with Israel. Israel’s government heads persist in ignoring this information. Indeed Olmert and Barak are at loggerheads on how to handle the escalating Gaza peril. This was apparent during their joint visit to the IDF’s Gaza division headquarters Wednesday, Nov. 12. The prime minister said that a large-scale military confrontation with Hamas is waiting at the end of the road, whereas Barak said that while action must be taken against terror threats, it is important to preserve the truce. It was clear to the soldiers listening to them that the truce belonged to the past. Suspense ahead of Hamas aggression was so high Thursday, Nov. 13, that Israel revoked the permission given a few hours earlier for a 30-truck convoy to pass through into the Gaza Strip with food and goods for the population. And a handing-over ceremony for the Gaza Division commanders was called off.
US Dollar Can No Longer Dominate World Economy
Nov. 14….(The Straits) The US dollar can no longer claim to be the sole world currency, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday before a weekend summit on the global financial crisis that has its roots in the United States. 'I leave for Washington tomorrow to explain that the dollar, which at the end of World War II was the only world currency, can no longer claim to be the solo world currency,' Mr Sarkozy said. 'The world changes. We are in the 21st century and the European-French view is that we cannot continue into the 21st century with a system established in the 20th century,' he said. 'What was true of the US in 1945 cannot still be true today. It is not a question of courage, it is a matter of good sense to look at things as they really are.' Leaders from the Group of 20 developed and developing countries meet in Washington on Saturday to discuss the financial crisis that has now begun to cut growth sharply worldwide. Created in 1999, the G20 countries account for 85 per cent of the world economy and about two-thirds of its population, with its leaders hoping to hammer on Saturday out a common approach and understanding of the crisis. Sarkozy, who also holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has said several times that the Washington meeting should tackle currency issues, alongside efforts to improve the transparency and regulation of the financial markets. Since the end of World War II, the US dollar has effectively been the world's reserve currency, used across the board and thereby giving the United States immense influence in the global economic system.
Livni: Saudi Interfaith Message Inadequate
Nov. 13….(Ha Aretz) Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday that while Saudi King Abdullah's peace initiative is important, the words of Arab leaders at the United Nation's interfaith dialogue conference are inadequate. Speaking at a press conference in UN Headquarter in New York, Livni said that "peace is more than just a piece of paper," adding that all parties to peace negotiations must also fight extremism. The foreign minister added that for the first time there is an understanding that Mideastern leaders cannot turn a blind eye to what goes on in mosques and schools. During the press conference, also attended by President Shimon Peres and UN Ambassador Gabriella Shalev, Livni expressed her support for the Saudi peace initiative, stressing that it does not include the issue of Palestinian refugees. Livni said Israel accepts the initiative, adding that Arab leaders realize that regional problems must be resolved through negotiations, rather than dictates.
Ex-Hitler Youth Issues Dire Warning to America
('Every day brings this nation closer to Nazi-style totalitarian abyss')
Nov. 13….(WND) Because it has abandoned moral absolutes and its historic Christian faith, the US is moving closer to a Nazi-style totalitarianism, warns a former German member of the Hitler Youth in a new book. "Every day brings this nation closer to a Nazi-style totalitarian abyss," writes Hilmar von Campe, now a US citizen. Von Campe has founded the national Institute for Truth and Freedom to fight for a return to constitutional government in the US, a key, he believes, to keeping America free. "I lived the Nazi nightmare, and, as the old saying goes, 'A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument,'" writes von Campe. "Everything I write is based on my personal experience in Nazi Germany. There is nothing theoretical about my description of what happens when a nation throws God out of government and society, and Christians become religious bystanders. I don't want to see a repetition. The role of God in human society is the decisive issue for this generation. My writing is part of my life of restitution for the crimes of a godless government, of the evil of which I was a part." Von Campe grew up under the Nazis, served in the Hitler Youth and fought against the Red Army in the Yugoslavian theater as a tank gunner in the German army. He was captured at the end of the war and escaped five months later from a prisoner of war camp in Communist Yugoslavia. "It took me a long time to understand and define the nature of National Socialism," says von Campe. "And, unfortunately, their philosophy continues to flourish under different labels remaining a menace to America and free human society." He writes: "The most painful part of defining National Socialism was to recognize my own moral responsibility for the Nazi disaster and their crimes against humanity. It boiled down to accepting the truth that 'as I am, so is my nation,' and realizing that if every German was like me, it was no wonder that the nation became a cesspool of gangsters. This realization is as valid today for any person in any nation as it was then, and it is true for America and every American now." Von Campe's message is that political freedom and democratic rules alone are not sufficient to govern humanity justly. "Democratic procedures can be subverted and dishonest politicians are like sand in the gearbox, abundant, everywhere and destructive," he writes. "What I see in America today is people painting their cabins while the ship goes down. Today in America we are witnessing a repeat performance of the tragedy of 1933 when an entire nation let itself be led like a lamb to the Socialist slaughterhouse. This time, the end of freedom is inevitable unless America rises to her mission and destiny." Von Campe says he sees spiritual parallels among Americans and his childhood Germany. "The silence from our pulpits regarding the moral collapse of American society from within is not very different from the silence that echoed from the pulpits in Germany toward Nazi policies," he explains. "Our family lived through the Nazi years in Germany, an experience typical of millions of Europeans regardless of what side they were on. We paid a high price for the moral perversions of a German government, which excluded God and His Commandments from their policies. America must not continue following the same path to destruction, but instead heed the lessons of history and the warning I am giving." Specifically, von Campe warns Americans their political leaders are on the wrong footing, "denying our cultural and traditional roots based on our unique Constitution and Christian orientation as a nation. Christians don't understand their mission."
Abbas Praises Suicide Bombers
Nov. 12….(IsraelNN.com) Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, speaking in Ramallah in memory of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, praised "the path of the shahids, [martyrs] "the path we cherish." He added, "It is aimed at upholding the Palestinians' nationalist and sovereign resolutions." Israeli and Western governments almost always describe Abbas a as a "moderate," particularly when comparing him with leaders of Hamas, which the same governments have defined as a terrorist organization. Abbas told thousands at the rally, "The Palestinian leadership will continue to follow Yasser Arafat's path until a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established." Arafat carried out or ordered dozens of terrorist attacks before he died four years ago. Israeli Arab Knesset Member (United Arab List, Ta'al) Ahmed Tibi also addressed the rally at Ramallah, saying that "we miss Arafat's keffiyeh, a symbol for all revolutionaries, freedom-seekers worldwide." He expressed the hope that Arafat will "rise from the grave and lead" Arabs. Foreign media generally omitted Abbas's remarks on martyrs, which refers to suicide bombers, and highlighted his comments on the need for PA unity.
Communist Party USA Ecstatic over Obama Election
Nov. 11….(WND) Hailing Barack Obama's win as a victory for the "working class," the Communist Party USA is calling on the president-elect to carry out his promises, including his noted commitment to "spread the wealth." An editorial by the People's Weekly World said the victory was for "workers of all job titles, professions, shapes, colors, sizes, hairstyles and languages." The newspaper, which boasts of its "partisan coverage," identifies itself as "a national, grassroots weekly newspaper and the direct descendant of the 'Daily Worker.'" "We are partisan to the working class, racially and nationally oppressed peoples, women, youth, seniors, international solidarity, Marxism and socialism. We enjoy a special relationship with the Communist Party USA, founded in 1919, and publish its news and views," the publication states. The paper said Obama's victory is "important, not only for people here in the US, but also for our sisters and brothers around the world." Obama's commitment to "spread the wealth" was caught on tape as he talked with an Ohio voter, "Joe the Plumber," who became a personality in the 2008 election campaign for the exchange in which he suggested Obama's plan sounded like socialism. Obama's media team did not respond to a WND telephone message and e-mail requesting a comment. Michelle Obama has made similar commitments, warning that some Americans may have to give up a piece of the pie in order that others may have a larger share. Samuel L. Blumenfeld, a WND columnist, earlier reported Obama’s links to players in the Communist Party of the USA. "In his famous autobiography, 'Dreams From My Father,' Obama reveals that his earliest mentor in Hawaii was a man by the name of Frank Marshall Davis. It so happens that Davis had been sent to Hawaii in the late 1940s by the Communist Party to organize the party in Hawaii," Blumenfeld wrote. "Davis had begun his communist career in Chicago. He was a friend and associate of Paul Robeson, the great singer, and Harry Bridges, head of the communist dominated International Longshoremen and Warehousemen's Union. Both men were secret Communist Party USA members." Blumenfeld sees sees the impact of those influences in Obama's vision for the country. "Obama has already proposed the creation of a homeland police force that will no doubt terrorize those in the 'ultra-right' who will become the most vociferous and active opponents of his socialist regime. Hitler had a similar police force called the Gestapo, Geheime Staats Polizie or Homeland State Police – that terrorized the opponents of the Nazi regime," he wrote. "In 1933 a majority of Germans voted for a demagogue who promised 'change' and seemed to be the answer to their economic and national problems. None of those voters could have foreseen that 12 years later Germany would lie in ruins and be occupied by foreign armies," he wrote.
What is the Origin of Veterans Day?
Nov. 11….(Yahoo News) Veterans day can be traced back to the end of World War I. The Allied powers a signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on Nov. 11, 1918, bringing the great war to a close. The Armistice (which means a suspension of hostilities by agreement) was celebrated in the streets. As documented by the Library of Congress, Massachusetts shoe laster James Hughes described the scene in Boston: "There was a lot of excitement when we heard about the Armistice, some of them old fellas was walkin' on the streets with open Bibles in their hands. All the shops were shut down. I never seen the people so crazy...confetti was a-flying in all directions...I'll never forget it." WWI veteran Andrew Johnson recalled arriving home the following spring: "We were given a bonus of $60, an honorable discharge, and the 368th Infantry regiment became a part of history." Between the wars, Nov. 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After WWII, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all US wars.
Hamas: We Have Met Obama Advisers
(Terrorist group says campaign asked it to keep contact secret until after election)
Nov. 11….(WND) Hamas held a meeting in the Gaza Strip several months ago with aides to President-elect Barack Obama, but the terror group was asked to keep the contacts secret until after last week's elections, according to a senior Hamas official. Ahmed Yousef, Hamas' chief political adviser in Gaza, told the leading Al-Hayat Arabic-language newspaper Hamas has maintained regular communication with Obama aides that even continued during the past week. "We were in contact with a number of Obama's aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign and be used by Republican candidate John McCain to attack Obama," Yousuf told Al-Hayat. Yousuf said Hamas's contact with Obama's advisers was ongoing, adding that relations were maintained after Obama's electoral victory last Tuesday. Yousef could not be reached by WND for immediate comment. It wasn't clear which Obama aides Hamas is claiming to have met in Gaza. Obama's transition team did not immediately respond to a WND e-mail and phone message requesting comment. Six months ago, Robert Malley, a Mideast expert described as an ancillary adviser to Obama, resigned amid a report in a London newspaper that he had contact with Hamas. According to media reports, Malley is again working for Obama. This time he is being dispatched to Egypt and Syria to explain Obama's positions. Hamas is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, rocket attacks, shootings and cross-border raids. Its official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel. Last week, Yousef told WND of Obama's win: "This is a historic day, a turning point. I think this is the very first time in history that one country's election concerned everyone everywhere all over [the] world. Everybody is looking forward to Obama's change, for a change in the U.S. policy, particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian equation, which is the mother of all conflicts."
Zionism, Israel, Islamophobia on the Agenda for UN Racism Meeting
Nov. 11….(CNSNews.com) Seven years after the United States and Israel withdrew in protest from a United Nations racism gathering, the drafters of the primary document for a follow-up conference next spring have included sentiments that prompted the earlier walkout. Most glaringly, the draft text declares that Israeli policies and practices in territories claimed by the Palestinians constitute “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity and a form of genocide.” Critics of the UN process are urging European governments in particular to announce that they will boycott the conference that some are calling “Durban II.” It is planned for five days next April in Geneva. Earlier this year Canada and Israel said they would not take part. The United States voiced disquiet and has not taken part in preparatory meetings, but has made no announcement about attending or not. A senior State Department official told lawmakers early this year it would be the next administration’s decision. The 2009 conference aims to review the progress made since the UN World Conference on Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa in 2001, which was so focused on Israel that other issues of serious racial discrimination around the globe were all but ignored. Despite the controversy that dogged that event, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is once again looming, while another topic promising to make waves at the event is “defamation” of religion, primarily Islam. Both are being promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the bloc of Islamic states that accounts for one-third of the members of the UN’s Human Rights Council, the body overseeing preparations for the racism conference. A 20-country preparatory committee is chaired by Libya, and members include Iran and Pakistan. The Bush administration has sat out of the Human Rights Council since its establishment in 2006, accusing it of disproportionately targeting Israel and of protecting rights-violating regimes. But the Obama administration is expected to seek a prominent role in the conference.
US Sends 'X-Band' Missile-Detecting Radar to Israel to Confront Iranian Threat
Nov. 11….(Fox News) The US is providing Israel with high-powered X-band radar capable of detecting missile launches up to 1,500 miles away, and sensitive enough to detect small- and medium-range missiles being fired from Iran and Syria. The radar will grant Israel about 60-70 seconds more warning time when missiles are launched. The system's massive range means targets as far away as southern Russia can be monitored. Every second of warning counts, as Syrian missiles can hit Israel in just four minutes, and Iranian missiles can reach Israel's borders in just 11 minutes. Israel will not have direct access to the intelligence the radar collects. American satellites will be used with the radar, and only Americans will have access to the technology and the information. About 120 American technicians and security guards will be stationed in Israel's southern Negev Desert to oversee the operation, the first time in the country's 60-year history that they've allowed a foreign military presence to be based here. In September the US Senate passed an amendment allocating $89 million for activating and deploying the X-band radar. Iran was quick to attack the funding in an editorial in the Tehran Times. "If it were proposed that this fraction of the tax revenues should be allocated to reduce the pains in the hearts of one thousand owners of foreclosed properties in the working class neighborhoods of Chicago, no doubt the same senators who enthusiastically and unanimously voted for the bill would have rejected it outright with no hesitation or mercy," the paper wrote. According to military experts, the radar was intended to send a message to Iran, and to Israel as well. It shows Iran the US is beefing up its capabilities in the region, and it also is intended to calm Israel and prevent it from rushing into a military strike. Israeli military analyst Alon Ben-David said this was Bush's last gift to Israel. "Having a US force deployed permanently in Israel is a gift, but it also binds Israel. Israel will have to take into account the presence of an American force before considering any military action that might generate a response from the other side," he told FOX News. "But on the other hand, this is a very clear signal of the US commitment to the security of Israel."
Russia to Sell Heavy Arms to Lebanon
Nov. 11….(IsraelNN.com) Following a meeting last week between leading Lebanese legislator Sa'ad Hariri and Russian leaders, Hariri was quoted by Russian media this weekend as saying Russia will sell heavy weaponry to Lebanon. Previously, Hariri said that he hoped Russia would help Lebanon claim Mt. Dov from Israel. Russia is expecting Lebanon to recognize the independence of the breakaway Georgian districts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Hariri, the son of the assassinated popular former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, represents the Western-backed majority in the Lebanese parliament. Russia will "help the Lebanese army," the Vremia Novosti newspaper quoted Hariri as saying, "which needs heavy weapons" such as tanks and artillery. American military aid, Hariri told Russian media, only consists of light arms. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr is to visit Moscow in coming weeks, when the details of the arms deal will be finalized. The Russian state arms export firm, Rosoboronexport, has been boycotted by the United States government for arms deals with Iran, North Korea and Syria. In early October, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and urged him not to approve the sale of weapons to Iran and Syria. It was imperative, he told the Russian leader, to "prevent weapons from Syria from reaching extremist elements in Lebanon, such as Hizbullah."
IAEA Finds Man-made Uranium at Syrian Site Bombed by Israel
Nov. 11….(DEBKA) A senior Vienna-based diplomat reported Monday, Nov. 10, that the latest findings are significant enough for the nuclear watchdog to place Syria right after North Korea and Iran on its agenda for further investigation. Last June, UN inspectors collected the soil samples which yielded the uranium traces from al Kibar in northern Syria, where a nuclear reactor under construction was razed by Israel in Sept. 2007. DEBKAfile’s sources report that even if the uranium traces found at bombed site were slight, they are damning because they were clearly man-made, not natural ore, and must have been brought in by an outside source, possibly North Korean visitors. These outsiders would have had only one reason to be there: to assist in the construction of a nuclear facility for Syria and inspect the work in progress. The IAEA’s conclusion refutes claims by Damascus, including president Bashar Assad, that the installation at Al Kibar was an agricultural research station. Syria has denied allegations that it was building a reactor with North Korean expertise to produce plutonium for an atom bomb. Soon after the Israeli bombing, DEBKAfile disclosed that the reactor was destined to manufacture nuclear fuel to help Iran accelerate its enrichment program and plutonium for radioactive bombs. On Oct. 4, we revealed that, a year after the Syrian reactor was destroyed, Syria had gone back to its military nuclear projects in conjunction with North Korea and Iran. This time they were scattered across the country at three or four sites. Syria has ignored recent requests from the IAEA to inspect three military sites suspected of housing nuclear facilities. Although Damascus is alleged to be manufacturing weapons of mass destruction for use against Israel, transitional prime minister Ehud Olmert persists in pushing for peace talks with the Syrian regime and far-reaching territorial concessions by Israel in spite of the nuke findings in Syria.
Uranium Found at Syrian Site
Nov. 11….(WND) Alleged secret nuclear reactor targeted by Israelis was built with help of N. Korea. United Nations investigators have found traces of uranium at a site in Syria bombed last year by Israel, it was revealed today. The site was identified by the White House in April as a secret nuclear reactor being built with aid from North Korea. The new information is significant, because it was leaked to the media hours after another report today by International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei. The head of the UN agency said at an IAEA board meeting two months ago that preliminary findings from test samples taken by inspectors who visited the Syrian site in June found no evidence of atomic activity. But two diplomats tied to the UN investigation told the Reuters news agency that the test samples showed evidence of a form of processed uranium that was engineered by humans and was not natural. The diplomats said the finding is not smoking-gun proof that Syria was building a nascent nuclear reactor, but that taken together with other information released by the White House, the uranium find warrants further investigation. It isn't enough to conclude or prove what the Syrians were doing, but the IAEA has concluded this requires further investigation," a diplomat told Reuters. A second diplomat said the findings would figure into a report on Syria that will be presented to the IAEA's 35-nation board next week ahead of a scheduled two-day board meeting starting Nov. 24. The Bush administration, the CIA and other intelligence officials in April briefed select congressional committees on some details of Israel's Sept. 6, 2007, air strike. White House press secretary Dana Perino issued a statement explaining the "Syrian regime was building a covert nuclear reactor in its eastern desert capable of producing plutonium. "We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities. We have good reason to believe that reactor, which was damaged beyond repair on Sept. 6 of last year, was not intended for peaceful purposes." The US statement accused Syria of hiding the reactor from the International Atomic Energy Agency and said after the Israeli air strike, Damascus moved quickly to bury evidence of the reactor's existence. "This cover-up only served to reinforce our confidence that this reactor was not intended for peaceful activities," the White House statement read. A top US official told the foreign media the Syrian reactor was similar in design to a North Korean reactor in Yongbyon that previously produced small amounts of plutonium, which could be used to construct a nuke. The White House also released photographs of the bombed Syrian site, which looked strikingly similar to the known designs of North Korean nuclear reactors. Syrian officials denied any involvement in nuclear activity and dismissed Washington's accusations as part of a campaign to discredit the Damascus government. Syria allowed UN investigators to visit the site in June, but according to media reports, Syrian Ambassador Mohammed Badi Khattab suggested his country would not allow further visits by UN inspectors under any circumstances, claiming that since his country was still technically at war with Israel, additional IAEA visits could expose some of Syria's non-nuclear military secrets. The information could throw a wrench into the reported plans of President-elect Barack Obama to dialogue with Damascus. Obama's team said the president-elect favors talks between Israel and Syria leading to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, strategic, mountainous territory looking down on Israeli population centers that was twice used in the past by Syria to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
Abortion Groups Confident Obama Will Push His Pro-Abortion Agenda
Nov. 11….(CNSNews.com) The leading abortion rights organizations in America say they are confident that Barack Obama will push for their full agenda, including passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, comprehensive sex ed and “reproductive rights” that include “affordable" birth control. Planned Parenthood, NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America, and the Center for Reproductive Rights have each publicly congratulated the new president-elect on his victory. “NARAL Pro-Choice America worked hard for our slate of pro-choice candidates across the country, including pro-choice Sen. Barack Obama, and that hard work resulted in the reaffirmation of our commitment to the values of freedom and privacy,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a statement. She added: “I’m proud that NARAL Pro-Choice America was the first major pro-choice PAC to endorse Obama for president. Obama was the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history. In a speech to Planned Parenthood on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Obama said: “Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100 percent pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.” Obama also pledged to push for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as president. FOCA was introduced in 2004, “to prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman’s right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.” The proposal would overturn all existing state regulations on abortion and partial-birth abortion, if enacted. Now it is up to the president-elect to make good on his promises, the abortion groups say. In a three-page letter, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) asked the president-elect to pursue other specific items on the abortion-rights agenda:
1. To stop funding abstinence education programs as part of the in the Title V Maternal-Child Health Block Grant and the Community-Based Abstinence-Education programs. CRR also wants the new administration to appoint agency heads “who will not allow politics to trump science.”
2. To appoint federal judges "committed to supporting established abortion constitutional rights.” Specifically, the letter emphasizes the importance of judges who will preserve “reproductive rights.”
3. To send
representatives to the UN who will promote abortion and “reproductive rights."
Iran Challenges Obama by Hiking Tensions on Israel’s Borders
Nov. 10….(WND) The strategy the Islamic regime has charted for the new US president hinges on fanning tensions on Israel’s northern and southern borders while putting a damper on the various Middle East peace initiatives. Syria was therefore discouraged from returning to its indirect peace track with Israel and Hamas ordered to boycott Egypt’s bid to patch up the quarrel between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. Tehran’s object is to show Barack Obama who holds the whip hand in the Middle East and force him to seek urgent talks to defuse rising tensions. At his first news conference as president elect, Obama said Friday, Nov. 7, that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was “unacceptable” and its support for terrorist organizations “must cease.” He ducked a reporter’s question about whether he had read the letter of congratulation sent him by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and when he would answer. But Iran had already laid out its strategy for the incoming president, jumping in the day before the US presidential election. Foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki arrived in Damascus on Nov. 3 with a briefing for Syrian president Bashar Assad. According to our Middle East sources, Mottaki said Tehran would enter into dialogue with the new US president only from a position of political and military strength and did not propose to await Obama’s convenience until he took office in the White House on Jan. 20. Iran’s rulers want to force the new US president to seek them out for a back-door channel of communications, in the same way as Ronald Reagan did while Jimmy Carter was still president to solve the 1980 hostage crisis in Tehran. They plan to make him come to them by raising tensions to crisis level. While avoiding an explicit order to halt the Syrian-Israel talks, Mottaki gave Assad to understand that he must keep Tehran in the picture on their progress and goals. Better they should lead nowhere. This would fit in with Iran’s intention of putting on the table an impressive crisis package including Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians and so force the new US administration to accept the Islamic republic as the prime power in the region. To drive this home, they are stirring the pot wherever they can. DEBKAfile’s Exclusive military sources disclose that Iranian agents, aided by Hizballah, are enlisting Palestinian militias in the big Lebanese Ain Hilwa refugee camp near Sidon and other camps for terrorist missions on Israel’s northern border. The Israeli government has watched what was going on but done nothing. But US military and intelligence were concerned enough to warn Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he had better act fast before his Fatah faction lost Ain Hilwa. This happened shortly before US Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice departed for the Middle East Quartet’s Sharm el-Sheikh meeting Sunday, Nov. 9. Abbas reacted by sacking Sultan Abu Al Aynayn, the veteran Fatah chief for all the refugee camps in Lebanon, and appointing the Palestinian general Kemal Midhath in his stead. But our counter-terror sources strongly doubt that the new man can stem the defections of Palestinian militias from Fatah and halt Iran’s and Hizballah’s takeover of the Ain Hilwa camp, especially since, according to the latest US intelligence information, Col. Al Aynayn had already been bought. In Gaza, Israeli forces last week pre-empted in the nick of time a Hamas cross-border kidnap operation by means of a tunnel leading under the border fence. Hizballah’s abduction of two Israeli soldiers, the late Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in July 2006 triggered a full-scale war with Israel. The tunnel was destroyed but Hamas and Jihad Islami have maintained a four-day missile barrage against Israel. In the diplomatic arena, Saturday, Nov. 8, Hamas suddenly announced a boycott of the oft-postponed Egyptian bid. It had been finally scheduled to take place in Cairo Monday, Nov. 9, to bring Hamas and Fatah together in Cairo for a power-sharing deal to bury the hatchet after three years. This event was also intended to demonstrate to the Middle East Quartet that Egypt was back at center stage in the Middle East and had succeeded in drawing Hamas out of the radical Iranian orbit to embrace Palestinian unity and give the Quartet’s peace effort a major boost. But Tehran was ahead of Cairo. Last Tuesday, Hamas leaders, including Khaled Meshaal, were given their orders from the Iranian foreign minister to boycott the Cairo talks. Following his script, a smiling Meshaal told a Sky interviewer: “If the new US president wants a role in the Middle East, he has no choice but to talk to us because we are the real force on the ground.” By Saturday, Nov. 8, therefore, with missiles already flying from Gaza, Tehran had managed to spoil the last Middle East journey to be undertaken by Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, and tip over Egypt’s Palestinian mediation bid and the prospects of Syrian-Israel talks. Still to come is a Lebanese-Israeli border flare-up for which Tehran has already enlisted Hizballah and Lebanese Palestinian militias.
Quartet Calls Palestinian Statehood “Irreversible”
Nov. 10….(Jerusalem Post) The move by the Quartet for Palestinian Statehood, the US, Russia, EU and the UN, came in response to a request from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. After the meeting, the Quartet said in a statement it "underlined its commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations." It also promised to respect the bilateral and confidential nature of the talks and called on all states to adhere to those same principles. After listening to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni describe their work, including the creation of 10 joint committees, the Quartet said the negotiations were "substantial and promising." It called on governments and international organizations to continue to help develop the Palestinian economy and to contribute to institution building programs that would prepare the Palestinians for statehood. The Quartet also said it wanted to hold a follow-up meeting in Russia in the spring. Israeli leader Tzipi Livni and Mahmoud Abbas said that all the core issues were on the table and that they were holding fast to their all-or-nothing approach. "Nothing would be considered agreed until everything is agreed," both leaders told the Quartet, which also means that details would not be revealed until a deal was done. The Quartet had promised that no new state would be created unless it was free of that threat, she said. "We support political and economic aid to a Palestinian leadership that recognizes Israel, respects its agreements with it and fights terrorism," Livni said. "We expect the international community to support us in preventing extremism and terrorism." Quartet representatives echoed their support for the process in a press conference following their meeting, during which Abbas and Livni stood together at the podium. "I believe that the Annapolis process is now the international community's answer and the parties' answer to how we finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who spent three days in the region meeting with both sides. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "Our common desire is to make sure the Annapolis process succeeds." Quartet envoy Tony Blair urged US President-elect Barack Obama to carry on with the process, despite signs that some members of the new president's team may want to try a different approach to Mideast peacemaking. "The single most important thing is that the new administration in the United States grips this issue from day one, and it can do so knowing that there is a foundation upon which we can build," Blair said. For the Quartet, the fear is not about the continued talks between Abbas and Livni, but the prospect that due to February's elections in Israel and continuing political turmoil among the Palestinians, both leaders could be replaced in 2009. Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who, according to the polls is most likely to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, has already said he is not bound by the talks under the Annapolis process, although he is interested in negotiating a peace deal with the Palestinians.
With Obama at Helm, Iranian Threat Looms Large
Nov. 10….(Israel Today) With President-elect Barack Obama ready to assume power in the most powerful nation on earth, Israel faces the grave prospect of a nuclear Iran. Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, says he is worried about Obama’s stated intention to “conciliate with our enemies, not support our friends. That worries me a great deal.” Rubin said that while the Israeli-Palestinian situation is not likely to be vastly affected by any American president, the more serious threat is a nuclear Iran and the “extremely serious strategic challenge which affects 20 countries or more.” “We have every reason to believe that Obama will take a relatively soft approach, whether or not he holds direct negotiations or indirect negotiations” with Iran, Rubin told a news briefing in Jerusalem last week. “We cannot expect that he will take a tougher line on sanctions and pressures, and he will not persuade Tehran that he’s going to do so. This will have the predictable effect that the Iranians are going to push ahead on nuclear weapons as fast as they have with much less concern over the consequences.” While Israeli leaders welcomed Obama’s election and said they expect the “special strategic relationship” between the two countries to continue, signs of strain quickly emerged. A day after the election, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni publicly condemned Obama’s plans to talk to Iran. “We live in a neighborhood in which dialogue, in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue, is liable to be interpreted as weakness,” Livni said. Asked if she supported the US dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: “The answer is no.” Some Israelis are jealous of a charismatic figure that galvanized a nation, a dynamic missing in Israeli politics. As Israel heads toward its own elections, no such visionary leader has risen up. But others expressed misgivings about Obama’s policies toward Israel. An editorial in the right-wing Israel National News said Obama’s readiness to sit down with an adversary comes from his “limited experience in international affairs.” “One who surrenders and retreats in hopes of gaining a little peace places his own survival in jeopardy,” the editorial said. “Such has been Israel’s experience at least since the year 2000, and such will be the experience of the United States if it sacrifices the interests of its allies in the pursuit of facile and elusive ‘solutions.’” More cause for concern came from the Arab press. The Lebanese newspaper al-Ahbar reported that Obama told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in secret that he supports a Palestinian state and Arab “rights to East Jerusalem.” The sources said Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad “heard the best things they ever heard from an American president.” The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi ran an editorial by Abdelbari Atwan who said that Obama won a racial intifada (uprising) to become president. He said the Arabs should learn from this to “impose our point of view and serve our cause.” “The conditions are now right for the Arabs to use their wealth to obtain a favorable commitment from the US and correct historical mistakes made in Palestine,” Atwan writes. “It is our right today to show our support for Obama, not because his father is called Hussein, or because he is black, even less because he is Moslem. But just because he revolted against contempt.” Palestinians in Gaza celebrated Obama’s victory with spontaneous celebrations in the streets and waving Hamas flags, probably more an expression of contempt for President Bush than support for Obama. By contrast, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised Bush and said he would go down in Israeli history. “His name will be engraved in golden letters on the heart of the State of Israel,” Olmert said. “The $30 billion we received over 10 years are only the very tip of the iceberg of the things Bush has given us.” By the same token, a poll showed that 76 percent of American voters in Israel cast their ballots for Bush’s fellow Republican John McCain. It was the direct opposite in America where Jews voted on domestic issues and put Israel on the back burner. Polls show that some 78 percent of American Jews voted for Obama.
Source: Obama Secretly Pledged Cooperation with Syria
(Obama said to favor Israel's retreat from strategic Golan Heights)
Nov. 10….( ) Representatives of President-elect Barack Obama recently told Syrian officials that Obama supports ending their county's isolation and that as president he would work to bring Damascus into the international community, a Syrian diplomatic source revealed to WND. The source said the pledges were made this past summer in a meeting in Washington, DC, between Obama's policy aids and Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha. The source said Moustapha was asked at the time by Obama's camp not to comment on the meeting. The source said Moustapha was told that Obama favors engagement and economic cooperation with Syria as opposed to the Bush administration's policy of isolating the country and imposing economic sanctions. The source also disclosed Obama's team said the president-elect favors talks between Israel and Syria leading to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, strategic, mountainous territory looking down on Israeli population centers that was twice used in the past by Syria to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state. The information comes at a time when US-Syrian relations seem to be reaching a low point following a US military raid on Syrian soil last month that reportedly targeted elements of a robust foreign fighter logistics network operating from Syria and planning attacks against US troops in Iraq. A US military official said the raid was carried out due to Syrian inaction against insurgents working in its country. The US has long accused Syria of failing to halt insurgents from using Syrian territory to smuggle weapons into Iraq or to stage attacks against US troops in Iraq. Syria is accused of fomenting instability in Lebanon and has been widely blamed for a series of political assassinations there against anti-Syrian leaders, including the 2005 car bomb murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Syria also openly hosts the chiefs of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups. Yesterday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the US to pull its troops out of Iraq, claiming the troops pose a threat to neighboring states. "The presence in Iraq of American forces of occupation is a permanent threat to neighboring countries and an element of instability in the region," Assad said in a speech to Arab parliamentarians in Damascus. Obama has been a harsh critic of the war in Iraq and has pledged to make ending the war a top priority. After the Illinois senator won last week's election, the official Syrian state-run SANA news agency quoted Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal as expressing hope that Obama would "change US foreign policy from a policy of war and siege to one of diplomacy and dialogue." Bilal made the comments during a trip to Cuba last Wednesday, the report said. While the Syrian diplomatic source speaking to WND said his country was told Obama supports diplomacy over sanctions, it wasn't immediately clear what was asked of Syria in return for US engagement. Last April, a top Syrian official told WND his country floated a business proposal to the Bush Administration stating that if the US helps facilitate billions of dollars in business for Syria and builds up Damascus as the primary American ally in the Arab world in place of Saudi Arabia, the Syrians would be willing to discuss scaling back alliances with Iran and making peace with Israel. He said Syria also demanded as a key condition for considering altering its alliances that the US cease opposing Syrian influence in Lebanon. "Syria is the key to the Arab world. We have influence with Hezbollah and Lebanon and hold many cards in the Palestinian and Iraqi arenas," said the official, who spoke by phone from Damascus on condition his name be withheld. "The US needs to rethink the value of the investment it places in Saudi Arabia." The official said Syria is asking the US to end its opposition to a trade and association agreement between Damascus and the European Union drafted in 2004 that is said to be worth about $7 billion per year for the Syrian economy. The agreement was not signed or implemented, largely due to American pressure, said the Syrian official. Syria is also asking the US not to object to Syrian "influence" in Lebanon, which was occupied for nearly 30 years by Syrian forces until protests prompted by Hariri's assassination. Pro-democracy Lebanese leaders accuse Syria of meddling in Lebanon's affairs by directing the Hezbollah terrorist group, which holds key parliamentary seats, to interfere in the election of a new Lebanese president. The main Syrian request is that America uphold Damascus as its main "partner" in the Arab world instead of Saudi Arabia, said the Syrian official. He said in exchange Damascus would discuss severing "many ties" with Iran, but he would not specify which ties and whether Syria is willing to cut off all coordination with the Iranians. "We are ready to significantly and deeply reduce relations with our Iranian brothers if conditions are met," the official said. He said Syria is willing to sign a treaty with Israel and come to some sort of accommodation regarding the strategic Golan Heights, mountainous territory looking down on Israeli population centers which Syria used twice to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state. The official claimed the Golan was not "the biggest obstacle" in preventing a Syrian-American-Israeli agreement. He claimed Syria would "not categorically reject the idea of leasing some sections of the Golan to Israel for up to 99 years." Just yesterday, Israeli leaders, including sitting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, expressed public willingness to engage in direct negotiations with Syria regarding the Golan Heights. Security officials in Jerusalem confirmed in April to WND their knowledge of the Syrian offers to the US, which they said prompted a major crisis between Syria and Saudi Arabia. According to the security officials, Saudi Arabia earlier this year began shipping weapons to the anti-Syrian leadership in Lebanon to bolster them against Damascus' influence and the Syrian-backed Hezbollah. The Syrian-Saudi crisis was highlighted at last March's Arab Summit, a major annual meeting of Arab leaders, which was held this year in Damascus. Saudi Arabia sent only a low-level representative, which was seen as a major snub to Syria, and used the platform to blast Syria. According to knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources, Saudi Arabia wanted to boycott the event altogether, but sent the low-level delegation to uphold its record of attending every Arab Summit.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 2 THROUGH NOVEMBER 8
Assad and Hamas Praise Obama
Nov. 7….(YNET) Hamas strongman Mahmoud Zahar on Friday said he hoped that Barack Obama's presidential election victory would open a new page in relations between the US and the Muslim world. However, Zahar said he does not expect immediate change in US policy toward Hamas. The Bush administration is boycotting the Palestinian Islamist group, along with most of the international community. Hamas refuses to renounce violence or recognize Israel. Last year, Hamas seized Gaza by force, and Zahar was instrumental in the takeover. Zahar said Friday that, "We hope, we hope, that Obama opens a new page with the world, including the Muslim world." But citing what he believes is undue Israeli influence on US policy, he said he doesn't expect Obama to talk to Hamas, at least at the start of his presidency. Meanwhile, a Syrian analyst on Friday said Syria would be prepared to restrain the militant activities of Hezbollah and Hamas if a US administration led by President-elect Barack Obama shifts its policy toward Damascus. In an article published on Friday on the Asia Times Web site, Syrian analyst Sami Mubayed called on Obama to endorse the renewed peace talks with Israel to ensure their success. Mubayed, whose analyses are considered the official standpoint of the Syrian government, urged Obama to "normalize" relations between Washington and Damascus. Such "normalization" of ties would include dispatching a new US ambassador to Damascus, the first since the deterioration of the states' ties in 2005. Syria would also demand that the economic sanctions against it be dropped, a change in Western rhetoric toward Damascus and compensation for the recent deadly US air strike in which eight Syrians were killed. Damascus also seeks a further role in matters regarding Iraq. "Obama must recognize that no problem can be solved in the Middle East without Syria," Mubayed wrote. In exchange for US implementation of these demands, Syria would be ready to use its weight in the region against the militant activities of Hezbollah and Hamas, and would work in tandem with Western powers to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Mubayed said that Syria has nicknamed Obama "Abu Hussein," in reference to the president-elect's middle name. "When all this is done, Syria will be ready to open its arms to Abu Hussein and to accept him maybe as an honored guest in Damascus
Russia’s Medvedev Challenges Obama Early
Nov.7….(In The Days) President Dmitri Medvedev took advantage of the euphoria in America today to order the deployment of missiles inside Europe as a response to US plans for a missile defense shield. Speaking within hours of Barack Obama’s election as the new US President, Medvedev announced that Russia would base Iskander missiles in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad next to the border with Poland. He did not say whether the short-range missiles would carry nuclear warheads. Medvedev also cancelled earlier plans to withdraw three intercontinental ballistic missile regiments from western Russia. “An Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region to neutralise if necessary the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe,” Medvedev said in his first state-of-the-nation address. He added that Russia was also ready to deploy its navy and to install electronic jamming devices to interfere with the US shield, which involves the deployment of a radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. His announcement prompted a burst of applause from government ministers and parliamentary deputies assembled in the Kremlin. The President failed to congratulate Obama or even to mention him by name during his 85-minute state of the nation address televised live across Russia. Instead, in a criticism directed at the US, Medvedev declared: “Mechanisms must be created to block mistaken, egoistical and sometimes simply dangerous decisions of certain members of the international community.” He accused the West of seeking to encircle Russia and blamed the US for encouraging Georgia’s “barbaric aggression” in the war over South Ossetia in August. He issued a warning that Russia would “not back down in the Caucasus”. “The August crisis only accelerated the arrival of the crucial moment of truth. We proved, including to those who had been sponsoring the current regime in Georgia, that we are strong enough to defend our citizens and that we can indeed defend our national interests,” Medvedev said. “What we’ve had to deal with in the last few years - the construction of a global missile defense system, the encirclement of Russia by military blocs, unrestrained NATO enlargement and other ‘gifts’… The impression is we are being tested to the limit.” Outgoing President George W. Bush insists that the missile shield is aimed at rogue states such as Iran. But the plan has infuriated Moscow, which argues that it threatens Russia’s security and that the US is ignoring its concerns. Medvedev said that Russia had been forced to cancel its plans to withdraw the ballistic missiles, which have a range of 6,200 miles. He said: “We have told our partners more than once that we want positive cooperation, we want to act together to combat common threats, that we want to act together. But they, unfortunately, don’t want to listen to us.” In his only reference to the US election, he said that he hoped the new administration would work to repair its relationship with Moscow. He said: “I stress that we have no problem with the American people, no inborn anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the US administration, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia.” Medvedev blamed the US for the global financial crisis, saying that the rest of the world had been “dragged down with it into recession”. He claimed that the era of American domination after the collapse of the Soviet Union was now over. “The world cannot be ruled from one capital.
Obama Faces a Cold War Threat and a Warning From Israel
Nov. 7….(Mail On Line) Barack Obama was confronting a looming international crisis just hours after his White House election triumph. The US President-elect faced a triple threat with Russia, Israel and Afghanistan all threatening to test his mettle. Locked away in his Chicago home, Mr. Obama received his first national security intelligence briefing yesterday as he wrestled with appointments for his Cabinet. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was first to lay down a challenge to America's new leader, by increasing tension in a stand off reminiscent of the Cold War. In a provocative speech from the Kremlin. Then Israel warned last night that the new US Commander-in-Chief's campaign claim that he was ready to open talks with Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness. After eight years of staunch support from President Bush, the Israelis are now watching Mr Obama closely, even though he does not take power until January, looking for indicators as to how he will handle the nuclear threat from Tehran. 'We live in a neighborhood in which dialogue, in a situation where you have brought sanctions and you then shift to dialogue, is liable to be interpreted as weakness,' said Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni. Asked if she supported any US talks with Iran, she quickly said: 'The answer is no.' In a step that will further increase Israel's anxiety about Obama, Tehran announced last night that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had broken a 29-year tradition and sent his congratulations to the President-elect, the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Wanted in Iran: Suicide Bombers to Attack US
(Iranian group recruits young 'martyrs' to fight 'global arrogance')
Nov. 7….(WND) A terrorist group is distributing flyers in Iran calling for young volunteers to join the Lebanese Hezbollah to carry out suicide operations against the "Global Arrogance," also known as the United States. The leaflets promise young recruits that they will join "fighters in the worldwide front against the Global Arrogance," the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, reported. The term is used by some Iranian officials in reference to the US On Nov. 1, Tabnak, an Iranian news website identified with Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai, announced a group has been actively recruiting members in Tehran and large Iranian provinces for Lebanon's Hezbollah. The flyers are labeled "Registration for Membership in the Lebanese Hezbollah " and "Registration for Martyrdom Operations." Each form requires addresses and additional information so recruits may be contacted for the cause. Tabnak reports a Tehran phone number and address is located on the registration forms. However, the website reported "validity [of the address] could not be confirmed." Martyrdom registration forms reportedly include the name of an organization known to be active in the region, though Tabnak does not reveal its name. "It should be mentioned that this group, some of whose previous activities and projects were not without merit, has in the past recruited martyrdom squads for operations in Palestine, which generated a wave of anti-Iranian propaganda worldwide and branded Iran a terrorist state. The same group also produced a recent documentary on [the assassination of former Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat which aroused considerable protest in Egypt and prompted the creation of an anti-Islamic and anti-Iran film that insults the great leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini." Tabnak also reported, "An Iranian movement called the World Islamic Organization headquarters for Shahids has carried out several recruitment campaigns for volunteers for martyrdom operations in Iraq and Israel, and has produced a film titled 'Assassination of a Pharaoh,' on the assassination of Sadat." "The Iranian regime has tried to present the martyrdom movement as a voluntary enterprise independent of the state," MEMRI reported in May. "However, the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) representatives at the movement's registration ceremonies suggests that it is endorsed by the regime." In July 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly endorsed suicide missions, asking, "Is there an art more beautiful, more divine, and more eternal than the art of martyrdom?" The latest suicide recruitment campaign comes just before Iran's annual celebration of its "National Day Against Global Arrogance" on Nov. 4. Among other events, it marks the 29th anniversary of the day militant Islamist stormed the US embassy in Teherqan and took more than 90 Americans hostage for 444 days, most of whom were American. Every year, many Iranians celebrate near the site they have decorated with anti-American slogans and dubbed the "Den of Spies."
congratulate Obama on victory but worries remain on Iran
Nov. 6 ... (ICEJ) Senior Israeli leaders were profuse in their congratulation messages on Wednesday to US Sen. Barack Obama on his impressive victory in the 2008 race for the White House last night, but officials in Jerusalem are privately still concerned about where the new president will steer US foreign policy on Iran.Obama has indicated that he will take a much softer approach towards Tehran, even stating that he intends to lead the US into direct dialogue with Iranian leaders. Israel is also concerned that the out-going Bush Administration, in a last ditch effort, will push to open an "interests section" - an administrative office similar to an embassy but without formal diplomatic ties - in Tehran as they have in Havana, Cuba. “Most of what we know comes solely from fragments of information… But the way things look at the moment, it seems as if they [the US] are going to open the interests section soon,” one senior Israeli official told Ha'aretz.Israel has already communicated to Obama’s staff their views on Iran; however, it is believed that Israel and Iran will initially take a backseat on Obama’s foreign policy agenda to Iraq and Afghanistan. Regardless, Israeli officials say they are encouraged by the strong allies they have within the next US Congress, which Jerusalem views as a “safety net” against any missteps by an Obama administration in the Middle East.
Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama
Nov. 6 ... (Washington Post) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a personal letter of congratulations to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama -- the first time an Iranian leader has done so in three decades. The letter, carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency and emailed to The Washington Times Thursday, was typical of Ahmadinejad's style, combining praise with a lecture to the new American leader. "I would like to offer my congratulations on your election by the majority of the American electorate," the Iranian wrote. "I hope you will be able to take fullest advantage of the opportunity to serve and leave behind a positive legacy by putting the real interest of people as well as equity and justice ahead and above the insatiable demands of a selfish and unworthy minority." Ahmadinejad did urge Obama to do something about the economic crisis which has spread from the U.S. mortage market to impact the globe. Iran, which has benefited from high oil prices, is now suffering the effects of the global recession and a precipitous drop in oil revenues. "The American people ... expect that the full potential and capabilities of the administration should be employed in order to serve the people, overcome the current economic crisis, recover their spirt and restorie their dignity and hope," he wrote. Ahmadinejad also urged Obama to reverse "the unjust practices of the past six decades" in the Middle East. Obama has said he would be willing to meet with Ahmadinejad after careful preparations and talks involving lower-level officials.
Obama becomes first black president in landslide
Nov. 5 ... (AP) – Barack Obama swept to victory as the nation's first black president Tuesday night in an electoral college landslide that overcame racial barriers as old as America itself. The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, the Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his historic triumph by defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Iowa. A huge crowd in Grant Park in Obama's home town of Chicago erupted in jubilation at the news of his victory. McCain called his former rival to concede defeat — and the end of his own 10-year quest for the White House. "The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly," McCain told disappointed supporters in Arizona. Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009. As the 44th president, Obama will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the the other in Afghanistan.
Israel launches first airstrike on Gaza
Report: Obama backs Palestinian capital in Jerusalem
Leaders claim presidential candidate asked them to keep his remarks secret
Nov. 4 ... (WND) – Sen. Barack Obama told the Palestinian leadership during a trip to the region in July he supports their rights to a capital in eastern Jerusalem, but he asked them to keep his remarks secret, according to a Lebanese newspaper.The Al-Akhbar daily, known to have close contacts to Palestinian leaders in Lebanon, quoted sources in Ramallah claiming that in a meeting in July with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the two heard from Obama "the best things they ever heard from an American presidential candidate."The report claimed Obama told Abbas and Fayyad he "supports the rights of the Palestinians to east Jerusalem, as well as their right to a stable, sovereign state," but he petitioned them to keep the remarks confidential. Asked for comment by WND, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat would neither confirm nor deny knowledge of Obama's purported remarks.The Lebanese report echoes a similar exclusive WND article immediately following Obama's meeting with Abbas and Fayyad in which a senior Palestinian source said Obama informed the Palestinians he supports a "negotiated settlement" that may grant the PA control over sections of Jerusalem. "He assured us there was a misunderstanding when he said in [June] he supports the Israelis' rights to hold on to Jerusalem," the PA official, who took part in the meeting with Obama told WND at the time. "He told us he corrected this right away and that he supports a negotiated settlement that will give the Palestinians territory."The official was referring to a speech Obama delivered in June to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which he stated if he is elected president, "Jerusalem would remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided."Immediately following the speech, Obama reversed himself during a CNN appearance, explaining he meant Jerusalem shouldn't be physically divided with a partition."Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations," he said in response to a question about whether Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the city.Obama said that "as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute" a division of the city."And I think that it is smart for us to, to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
Hamas ready for talks with new US president: Meshaal
Nov. 04... (AFP) – Hamas' exiled political supremo Khaled Meshaal said his Palestinian Islamist movement is ready to hold talks with any elected US president, in an interview published on Tuesday. "Hamas is ready for dialogue with any incoming US president ... Democrat (Barack) Obama or Republican (John) McCain," Meshaal told Jordan's Al-Arab Al-Yawm daily. "I am confident that we are ready to deal with any presidential candidate, but we will always stick to our rights. We acknowledge that the United States is powerful, but we are more powerful on our territory. "Americans vote on Tuesday, with front-runner Obama seeking to become the first black president of the United States and McCain hoping for a poll-defying comeback. Meshaal, who lives in exile in Syria, said Hamas "welcomes any change in US foreign policies ... We welcome any change to end favouritism towards Israel as well as aggression on the region. "Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is boycotted by the United States as a terrorist group.
Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says
Nov. 3….(Newsmax) A former top deputy to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan tells Newsmax that Barack Obama’s ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that for many years the two men have had “an open line between them” to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries. “Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn’t, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago,” said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam. White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. White said Obama was “part of the Chicago scene” where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other’s events and support each other’s causes. “Even though Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, within the black community, the political and militant nationalist community is very small. So it wouldn’t be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other,” White told Newsmax. The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam as a “hate group.” Farrakhan has called Jews “bloodsuckers,” “satanic” and accused them of running the slave trade. He has labeled gays as “degenerates.” In a 2006 speech, the ADL again condemned Farrakhan when he said: “These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. It's the wicked Jews the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!" Obama was careful to “denounce” Farrakhan’s comments, but not the man, during the Democratic primary season earlier this year, but only after Hillary Clinton called him out for benefiting from Farrakhan’s support. Farrakhan endorsed Obama in a videotaped speech to his followers at Mosque Miryam in Chicago in February. “You are the instruments that God is gonna use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth,” Farrakhan said. He told the crowd that Obama was the new “messiah.” Once the news media and the Clinton campaign got hold of those comments from Farrakhan, demands mounted from all sides that Obama “renounce” Farrakhan. But as he has done repeatedly throughout this campaign, Obama was careful to parse his words. “You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments,” he said during one appearance on “Meet the Press.” “I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible.” Obama hastened to point out that Farrakhan had been praising him as “an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.” But Obama, once again, was less than candid. In 1995, according to a profile of Obama that appeared in the Chicago Reader newspaper, Obama “took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October’s Million Man March in Washington, DC.” At the time, Obama was running for the Illinois Senate from Chicago’s South Side, a seat he won after getting surrogates to challenge the signatures on nominating petitions for his chief rival, the incumbent Alice Palmer. The march, which fell far short of attracting the million men it advertised, was organized by Farrakhan and by Obama’s then-pastor, the anti-white black nationalist Wright. Obama spoke at length with the Chicago Reader upon his return from the Million Man March. “What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society," he said. “These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ’em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress,” Obama said. “Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing." “Black nationalism” is a current of thought and political action in the African-American community that has been championed by the likes of Farrakhan, Wright, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Khalid al-Mansour. Obama discussed his attraction to black nationalism at length in his 1995 memoir “Dreams of My Father.” Obama further parsed his words in a Feb. 25, 2008, presentation to a Jewish community meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, where he insisted that Wright “does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan.” And yet, just months earlier, Wright’s Trumpet magazine gave Farrakhan its Lifetime Achievement Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award, saying that Farrakhan “truly epitomized greatness.” That award was the fruit of a long and deep relationship between the two men, White told Newsmax. In 1984, Wright accompanied Farrakhan on his much-criticized trip to meet Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, at a time when Gadhafi was considered an enemy of the United States. Wright also accompanied Farrakhan and Jackson to Syria in 1986, where they successfully negotiated with Syrian strongman for the release of downed American pilot Robert O. Goodman. In addition to the ideological affinity Obama expressed for the black nationalist movement, White believes that Obama owes much of his success as a public orator to speaking techniques that Farrakhan developed over the years, and exploited for years to great success. “If you listen to the rhetoric and you take away Obama’s political jargon, you hear a religious tenor to it that is very much Nation of Islam-like. I don’t know if anyone has ever touched on it, but Obama’s speaking style is very Malcolm-like, very Farrakhan-like,” White said. Any American who has listened to early radio or television interviews of Obama can hear how dramatically Obama’s speaking style has changed since he became a United States senator. In clips dating from 2001 and even early 2004, Obama speaks haltingly and in long, rambling sentences packed with legalese and dense pseudo-academic rhetoric. But not today. “As a former minister of the Nation of Islam, I know how they speak,” White told Newsmax. “I don’t know who was training Obama. But that style is not a ministerial style like in the Christian church. It’s a Nation of Islam style.” White began in the late 1970s as a foot soldier in the Fruit of Islam, the military branch of Farrakhan’s Black Muslim group, then rose to become a minister of the Nation of Islam and a top deputy to Farrakhan himself. Known initially as Brother Vibert L.X., and later as Minister V.L. Muhammad, he parted ways with Farrakhan not long after the Million Man March, after nearly 25 years within the organization. White’s 2002 book “Inside the Nation of Islam” prompted death threats by Farrakhan loyalists, so he left Illinois and moved to Florida to teach at the University of Central Florida. He told Newsmax that Obama’s remarkable speaking style, even his manner of standing at a podium to appear larger than life, is directly copied from Farrakhan. “If the Nation of Islam can’t do anything else, it can train people how to speak. And nobody can outspeak a Muslim minister,” he said. Earlier this year, a pro-Clinton blog run by former CIA officer Larry Johnson unearthed a 2004 photograph showing Michelle Obama and Farrakahn’s wife, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, at an event hosted by Jackson’s Citizenship Education Foundation. Newsmax queried Obama’s US Senate office, his Chicago office and his campaign press office about his ties to Farrakhan, but did not receive a reply. Ever since he appeared before the annual policy conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in June, Obama has attempted to convince the Jewish community that he is pro-Israel. But his longstanding ties to Farrakhan, Wright and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi, among others, have disturbed many Jewish community leaders.
Historian: Conditions Are Ripe for a King of Israel
Nov. 3….(IsraelNN.com) The current situation in Israel could have all the necessary ingredients for the appointment of a king, according to biblical scholar and historian David Solomon. Speaking today on Israel National Radio, Solomon said that problems and divisions within Israel today and the threats it faces from outside to its security could be interpreted as the conditions that precede the appointment of a king. "We need a unified leadership, we've got anti-Semitic regimes on our doorstep that want to wipe us out, we have fractures within the population," said Solomon. Drawing a parallel between the current "disastrous absence of genuine political and spiritual and religious leadership" in Israel today and the period leading up to the anointing of Israel's first king, Saul, he said that many people might view a theocratic monarchy as an answer to Israel's troubles today as it was then. Discussing the period of the early chapters of the book of Samuel, dated historically at around 1100 BC, Solomon said that the situation at that time saw a crisis of political and religious leadership based upon corruption, exploitation and the abuse of power. It was as a result of this that the people of Israel turned to the prophet Samuel seeking a different model of leadership, asking instead for a king. But Solomon cautioned against people being too hasty about appointing a king in Israel today. "Every generation that is thinking of adopting a new model of leadership needs to be extremely careful," he said. "Kings can be good but kings can also be very bad." According to Solomon, Jewish History shows that the decision to appoint a king is fraught with problems. While Israel can boast figures like King David and King Hezekiah, it has many more examples of bad kings. "If we had the power to set up a king now, we would have to be extremely careful," he said. Solomon said that it is not simply that one good king could easily be followed by a bad king, but that there is also the problem of how Israel would find the right person to provide the necessary qualities of leadership. "Let's say that we have all the ingredients for a king: how would we go about selecting that king?" he asked. He said the cautionary lesson from the book of Samuel is that people tend to get the king they deserve.
Hizballah Shops for Anti-tank Missiles in Moscow
Nov. 3….(DEBKA) A Hizballah mission, which arrived in Moscow Tuesday, Oct. 28, was taken around Russian state of the art anti-tank missile factories, including KBP in the town of Tula southwest of Moscow, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources report. The Lebanese visitors were treated to a live fire demonstration of various types of missile. They then ordered 3,000 missiles of different types and returned home Saturday, Nov. 1. Tehran is footing the bill. Our sources disclose that the hardware inspected by the Hizballah officers included 9M133 (Nato-coded Spriggan AT-14) which can be launched by helicopter and Kliver, which is an upgraded Kornet-E mounted on vehicles. The Lebanese Shiite terrorist shoppers also placed a large order for RPG-2 rocket-propelled grenades made by Bazalt. In the 2006 Lebanon war, the older RPG-29 used by Hizballah was responsible for most of the hits suffered by Israeli tanks. Last month, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert traveled to Moscow to ask Russian leaders to refrain from selling arms to Syria and Iran, countries at war with Israel. Moscow only promised to reconsider weapons sales capable of upsetting the balance of strength in “sensitive regions” and then went right ahead to sign big arms deals with Damascus and Tehran, and now Hizballah. Sunday, Nov. 2, defense minister Ehud Barak warned Syria that arming Hizballah with new anti-air weapons would force Israel to “consider its position.” Several weeks ago, DEBKAfile reported that Syria had supplied the Shiite group with anti-air missiles supported by radar stations. They are already deployed on two Lebanese peaks, Mt. Sannine and Jebel Barukh, which Hizballah controls.
Obama at Khalidi Bash: Israelis Commit "Genocide," Have "no God-given Right to Occupy Palestine"
Nov. 3….(Israel Insider) Award-winning blogger Doug Ross reports that a reliable source has provided an eyewitness account of what he saw on the videotape of the Rashid Khalidi farewell bash that the LA Times is suppressing. The paper used the tape as the basis for its watered down story about the Obama event and has been suppressing ever since, despite massive appeals, including an official request by the McCain campaign to release indisputably newsworthy evidence that could inform voters about where Barack Hussein Obama really stands. The eyewitness source, who Ross calls "a person who has provided useful, accurate and unique data from LA before" writes: Saw a clip from the tape. Reason we can't release it is because statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. Obama congratulated Khalidi for his work saying, "Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine" plus there's been "genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis." It would be really controversial if it got out. That's why they will not even let a transcript get out. The eyewitness' use of the word "we" suggests that he is a Times staffer. In a separate development, a European financier, cited by the Atlas Shrugs blog, has offered a $150,000 reward for provision of the tape. After four days of hemming and hawing, and trying out other excuses for the suppression, the LA Times' editor Russ Stanton came up with the following "reason": "The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it." Ross retorts: "How frickin' stupid do they think we are?" Someone gave the Times a videotape so it wouldn't be released? And they can't publish a transcript?" Now we may know why not. At the very least, the leak of the quotes may compel the paper to release a transcript, or the Obama campaign to confirm or deny their veracity.
Bush to Attend UN Conference on World Religions, Cultures
Nov. 3….(Fox News) President Bush will join several other world leaders at a General Assembly meeting to promote a global dialogue about religions, cultures and common values, UN and US officials said Friday. The meeting is a follow-up to an interfaith conference in Madrid organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Juan Carlos of Spain in July which brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and representatives of other religions and sparked hopes of a new relationship among religions. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann has sent invitations to all 192 UN member states to the high-level meeting on Nov. 12-13 and expects at least 20 or 30 world leaders to attend, his spokesman Enrique Yeves said. Bush will attend on Nov. 13, UN and US officials said. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush "remains committed to fostering interfaith harmony among all religions, both at home and abroad." She said Bush also plans to meet separately with Abdullah. D'Escoto believes the initiative "should be broadened to talking not only about religions but about cultures, about all the common values we have," Yeves said. He would like that we talk not only about dialogue, but about joining forces in order to work together with all these common values to address the major issues that we are facing right now in the world," Yeves said. Abdullah, whose country bans non-Muslims from openly practicing their religion, has called for religious tolerance and said such dialogue is the duty of every human being.