WEEK OF APRIL 25 THROUGH MAY 1
Jordan's Abdullah: Israel Playing With Fire
(King tells foreign envoys Israel must choose between 'living in a fortress' or reaching peace with all Arab states by withdrawing from 'occupied Arab lands')
April 30….(YNET) Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Thursday that Israel was "playing with fire" in Jerusalem, stressing that the Hashemite Kingdom retains all political, diplomatic and legal options to "protect" Jerusalem and its Muslim holy sites. Speaking to foreign ambassadors on the shores of the Dead Sea, Abdullah said reaffirming the Palestinian quest for statehood was a top priority for his country. "We want peace and strive for it, because all the people of the region are entitled to a just peace," Abdullah said, "Israel must respond to this Arab position, for peace alone, and not armies or walls, will guarantee real security for all people and countries." The king was quoted by the Jordan Times as saying that Jordan would do whatever it can "to achieve justice for the Palestinians, end the occupation and help them achieve their rights to freedom and a state on their national soil." According to Abdullah, Israel must choose between "living in a fortress" or reaching peace with all Arab and Muslim states on the basis of the Arab peace initiative, by withdrawing from "occupied Arab lands" and establishing an independent Palestinian state that lives alongside Israel "with a comprehensive peace that ensures real security and acceptance for Israel." King Abdullah noted that achieving peace requires a positive environment for negotiations, which, according to him, means a halt to "unilateral Israeli measures in the occupied territories, particularly settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem." About two weeks ago King Abdullah said that Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon and the stalled peace process with the Palestinians might lead to war. "In recent years, without progress, we've witnessed two wars in a short period of time. "There are sources in Lebanon that feel that war is inevitable. The threat of war exists. If we do not bring the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiations table and if we cross the July deadline, there is a high chance of confrontation. I wouldn't want to meet with you in six or seven months and say 'I told you so'," said Abdullah in a conversation with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board.
FOJ Note: Odd, is it not, that Jordan never supported or proposed statehood for a Palestinian State in the West Bank when Jordan controlled the area prior to 1967.
Obama Preparing to Force Israel's Hand
April 30….(Israel Today) Israeli officials told Ha'aretz on Thursday that US President Barack Obama recently assured European leaders that if the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not moving forward by September or October, he will convene an international peace summit. The purpose of convening an international peace summit could only be to impose a peace settlement on the two sides, and if Obama's policies of late are anything to judge by, that peace settlement would greatly favor the Arabs by incorporating nearly all their demands. Palestinian officials this week also said they had received assurances from US Middle East envoy George Mitchell that if Israel did not start complying with US-backed Arab demands soon, Obama would act to force Jerusalem's hand. The Palestinians are also threatening to unilaterally declare independence by October if Israel does not start meeting their demands. Israeli officials fear the UN would recognize such a declaration, and that the Obama Administration would do little or nothing to block it. Recent history has demonstrated that such reports, which are often leaked as a pressure tactic against Israel, actually further delay peace negotiations as the Palestinians are all too happy to remain defiant and wait on the international community to strong-arm Israel. The US and Europe remain mum on the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is ready to immediately restart direct bilateral negotiations, while the Palestinians refuse to sit with the Israelis and discuss anything.
Iran: We'll Cut Israel's Legs Off
(Ahmadinejad's deputy visits Damascus, warns Israel against striking in Syria; 'Days where Israel could run wild are long gone,' he says, adds that Israel tasted bitter taste of failure in 2006 and 2009)
April 30….(YNET) Iran threatens Israel, again: Iran's Deputy President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned Friday that Tehran would "cut off Israel's legs should it dare strike Syria and Lebanon." The senior Iranian official made the comments in Damascus. Speaking at a joint press conference with Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otarii, Rahimi stressed that his country was standing by Syria with all its power. Syria is a strong and capable state and it has the ability to withstand any threat," he said, characterizing Israel's threats as "worthless." "The days where Israel could run wild are long gone," he added. "Israel tasted the taste of failure in the summer of 2006 and in 2009." Rahimi said the talks he held in Damascus were constructive and added that the two sides held intense contacts in respect to various economic and industrial issues.
Obama Promised Abbas a Palestinian State Within 2 Years
April 30….(Ha Aretz) US President Barack Obama told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he was committed to seeing the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state within two years, an Egyptian official told the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat on Thursday. Obama promised Abbas that the United States would make great effort to help see that Palestinian goal achieved, the official told the London-based newspaper. The official also told Al-Hayat that Israel had rejected special US envoy George Mitchell's proposal to withdraw Israel Defense Forces troops from Palestinian-occupied sections of the West Bank, as it did on the eve of the Second Intifada in 2000. According to the report, Israel told Mitchell that it could not guarantee such a move before beginning direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. In place of withdrawing troops, the official told Al-Hayat, Israel offered other goodwill gestures, such as removing checkpoints and releasing certain Palestinian prisoners. Last week, Abbas urged the Obama administration to impose a solution to the Middle East conflict that would give his people an independent state, and rejected the idea of creating a state within temporary borders. "President Barack Obama and members of the American administration, since you believe in this [an independent Palestinian state], it is your duty to take steps toward a solution and to impose this solution," Abbas said in a speech to his Fatah party. Abbas' appeal to Obama came amid widespread media reports that the US president was considering floating a proposal that would set the contours of a final peace deal.
(Wants exemption for firms based in China and Russia)
April 30….(Washington Times) The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in "cooperating countries," a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran. The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act is in a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to reach President Obama's desk by Memorial Day. "It's incredible the administration is asking for exemptions, under the table and winking and nodding, before the legislation is signed into law," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a conference committee member, said in an interview. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration was pushing the conference committee to adopt the exemption of "cooperating countries" in the legislation. Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a "cooperating countries" provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one. The legislation, aimed at companies that sell Iran gasoline or equipment to refine petroleum, would impose penalties on such companies, up to the potentially crippling act of cutting off the company entirely from the American economy. It also would close a loophole in earlier Iran sanctions by barring foreign-owned subsidiaries of US companies from doing business in Iran's energy sector. Although Iran is one of the world's leading oil exporters, it lacks the capacity to refine as much oil into gasoline as its domestic economy uses. Three years ago, the Iranian government imposed gasoline rations on the population. "We're pushing for a 'cooperating-countries' exemption," the White House official said. "It is not targeted to any country in particular, but would be based on objective criteria and made in full consultation with the Congress." Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, however, said the exemption "is aimed at China and Russia specifically." "The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing UN resolution," she said. All past sanctions against Iran have included a waiver that lets the president refrain from penalizing foreign companies that are doing business with Iran.
France Joins Obama in Blaming Israel for Lack of Peace
April 29….(Israel Today) French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told Israeli President Shimon Peres when the two met in Paris two weeks ago that the current failure of the Middle East peace process is almost entirely the fault of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Senior Israeli officials were briefed on the meeting recently, and told Ha'aretz under condition of anonymity that it was a "very difficult" encounter for Peres. Sarkozy reportedly spent the first 15 minutes of the meeting railing against Netanyahu. "I'm disappointed with him," the French president reportedly said.. "With the friendship, sympathy and commitment we have toward Israel, we still can't accept this foot-dragging. I don't understand where Netanyahu is going or what he wants." Sarkozy's increasingly hostile position mirrors that of the Obama Administration, which has made clear that it sees Netanyahu and the right-wing elements in his government as the reason the peace process is not moving forward. That despite the fact that Netanyahu has already gone against his election platform by publicly accepting the idea of a Palestinian state, has frozen Jewish building in Judea and Samaria and has repeatedly stated that he is ready to immediately restart direct bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians.
Syria is Providing Hezbollah With Missiles
(Defense minister visits Pentagon, meets with his American counterpart who says Shiite organization now 'has more missiles and rockets than most governments in the world'. Barak: Syria supporting Hezbollah with weapon systems which could change delicate balance)
April 28….(YNET) Syria and Iran are providing Hezbollah with rockets and missiles of ever-increasing capability, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Tuesday following a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He added that the Shiite organization was at a point where it "has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world." The two officials did not elaborate on the types of missiles, but the comments followed claims made in recent days that Hezbollah had received scud missiles, which are capable of hitting wide areas within the state of Israel. Barak said that Syria was providing Hezbollah with weapon systems which could change the delicate balance in Lebanon. He noted that Israel was closely watching the developments. Barak and Gates avoided answering questions on the joint military exercise held by Turkey and Syria. Asked by Ynet whether Israel was concerned by the exercise, the defense minister replied that the Jewish state was strong enough to hold peace negotiations with its neighbors. The US secretary of defense responded to claims that General David Petraeus said during a Congress hearing that the failure to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was putting American soldiers in the Middle East in danger. "General Petraeus did not say that the lack of progress in the peace process is costing American lives. And no one in this department, in or out of uniform, believes that," Gates said. "What we do believe is that the lack of progress in the peace process has provided political ammunition to our adversaries in the Middle East and in the region, and that progress in this arena will enable us not only to perhaps get others to support the peace process, but also support us in our efforts to try and impose effective sanctions against Iran." The Iranian threat was one of the main issues discussed during the meeting. Barak said that dealing with Iran's nuclear program was a challenge to world order. "The time is clearly, at this stage, the time for sanctions and diplomacy," he said. He added that the United States was doing the right thing and was the only power capable of motivating the world and the Europeans to create efficient sanctions against Iran.
Is US Military Cowering Before Muslims?
April 28….(Culture) The nation's largest public policy women's organization is appalled at the way the Pentagon appears more committed to appeasing Muslims, than allowing a high-profile Christian leader to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to members of the military. Last week the Pentagon created an uproar when the Army announced that it would rescind an invitation to Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagon's National Prayer Day event on May 6. The radical Muslim group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations applauded the decision, calling the well-known evangelist "controversial." CAIR had pushed the Pentagon to disinvite Graham because he had told the truth about the violent teachings of Islam. Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, has chimed in with other pro-family leaders who have expressed their outrage. She says it is appalling that the military is afraid of offending Muslims. "The military would disinvite him apparently because they're afraid of offending violent Muslims," she observes. "This is just a Muslim belief that non-Muslims must show subservience of Muslims. "And to think that the military, which is in midst of a war against radical Islam, is actually kowtowing to some of the most violent elements of that religion makes me fearful for our country." Wright expresses concerns that apparently there are people in the leadership of the US military who are more afraid of offending America's enemies than they are about advancing the very thing that could bring peace -- the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pentagon Widens Christian Ban; Graham Says It’s Anti-Christian War
April 28….(Newsmax) The entire National Day of Prayer task force, including the Rev. Franklin Graham, has been "disinvited" to the National Day of Prayer observance to be held at the Pentagon, sources tell Newsmax. And evangelist Franklin Graham believes the military’s effort to ban him and other Christian leaders is nothing short of an effort to stamp out Christianity from the military. The Pentagon's decision to dis-invite not only Graham, but also the National Day of Prayer task force led by author Shirley Dobson, the wife of influential Focus on the Family founder Dr. James C. Dobson, suggests the Pentagon's rejection of Christian leaders is much broader than previously recognized. On Monday, evangelist Pat Robertson, the 700 Club founder, came to Franklin Graham's defense on his program, calling him "very courageous." You know," Robertson told viewers, "I met with his father some time ago and commented on the fact that I agreed with Franklin. And Billy said, 'Well look, I'm an evangelist. I don't want to get anybody upset, and attack anybody.' What Franklin said was that the Islam as practiced was evil. Boy, that started a firestorm. He stuck by his guns, and he's courageous, but he was disinvited to speak at the Pentagon service, which I don't think was a good thing." The son of the world-renowned evangelist and counselor to presidents told CBN, "They disinvited, is my understanding, the National Day of Prayer." A well-placed source at the National Day of Prayer task force confirmed Monday evening that it too has been excluded from the Pentagon event. "The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of the task force to participate in the event, and Franklin, as our honorary chairman, was a part of that," the source tells Newsmax. Also, Pentagon spokesman George B. Wright confirmed to Newsmax in an e-mail that the National Day of Prayer task force will not participate in the National Day of Prayer event that the Pentagon will observe on May 6. In an e-mail Monday to Newsmax, Wright stated: "While we appreciate Franklin Graham's worldwide outreach, and his willingness to speak at this Pentagon multi-faith event, his presence would be inappropriate." Wright did not elaborate on why a speech by Graham, whose Samaritan's Purse organization has come to the aid of millions of needy people and children around the globe, would be "inappropriate." Activists have objected bitterly to Graham's post-9/11 remarks that Islamic teachings had made Islam "a very evil and wicked religion." Graham, who has overseen several initiatives to help people in Muslim countries, told Fox News last week that he loves the people of Islam. But he added, "I do not agree with their religion at all. And if you look at what the religion does just to women, women alone, it is just horrid. And so yes, I speak out for women. I speak out for people that live under Islam, that are enslaved by Islam and I want them to know that they can be free." Wright said the Pentagon event "will continue as scheduled under the administration of the office of the Pentagon Chaplain." Asked which chaplains, representing which faith traditions, will be involved in the upcoming event, Wright replied: "The agenda has not been finalized." Last week, Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, a Christian organization, reacted sharply to the Pentagon's decision. "This decision is further evidence that the leadership of our nation's military has been impaired by the politically correct culture being advanced by this administration," Perkins said. "Under this Administration's watch we are seeing the First Amendment, designed to protect the religious exercise of Americans, retooled into a sword to sever America's ties with orthodox Christianity. "For those Christian leaders who have avoided the controversy of political issues, saying they just wanted to preach the gospel, this should be a wake-up call!" he stated. Also this year, an invitation was revoked for Perkins to speak at a prayer lunch at Andrews Air Force Base revoked, after he criticized President Obama's call to allow gays to serve openly in the US military. Perkins, a veteran himself, told CBN: "I never thought when I put on the uniform as a United States Marine, served six years serving this country, never gave thought to the fact that one day I would be denied the right to speak." On Sunday, President Obama visited Billy Graham's residence in Montreat, NC, becoming the latest in a continuous line of US presidents to visit with Billy Graham, dating back to President Dwight Eisenhower. Graham is 91. Franklin Graham said that during Sunday's visit, he spoke briefly with Obama about the Pentagon's decision to spurn the task force, which has participated in the Pentagon event for several years. Graham says he told the president that anti-Christian activists are trying to remove all traces of religion from the US military. The National Day of Prayer, which is open to all faiths, was created with a joint congressional resolution in 1952 and takes place on the first Thursday every May. President Harry Truman signed it into law. Graham also said the Pentagon decision was an ominous sign for the future of religious freedom in America. "I think no question, religious freedom is under attack," he said. "There has been an erosion now for many years, but we have seen it really accelerate in the last 10 years. "This political correctness that has crept in, that if we stand for what we believe in, all the sudden we are not tolerant. They almost make it look like we are participating in hate speech, when we say that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and there's no way to God except through Christ and Christ alone. They are interpreting that now as being hostile and hate speech." This month, US District Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin ruled that holding a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, maintaining it violates the First Amendment's prohibition against the establishment of a religion by the federal government. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by a group of atheists and agnostics.
('Our nation's founders wouldn't have tolerated it, and neither should we')
April 28….(WND) Muslims have demanded that Christian evangelist Franklin Graham be booted from yet another National Day of Prayer service, prompting officials with the National Day of Prayer Task Force to condemn as "ridiculous" the idea that religious leaders should be excluded from public events because of their faith statements. Muslim members of the military complained about his description of Islam after the 2001 terrorist attacks as "a very evil and wicked religion." Muslim activists then announced they were trying to get him barred from a National Day of Prayer event scheduled with members of Congress, too. "Moves to exclude any member of this great family from this prayer event represent everything that is wrong with the agenda of political correctness that is rampant in our country," said Shirley Dobson, chairman of the task force and wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. "Our nation’s founders wouldn't have tolerated it, and neither should we," she said. Shirley Dobson said, "Suggesting Mr. Graham should be removed from a National Day of Prayer event because of his religious opinions is absurd. No one understands better the need for prayer at this critical juncture in our nation's history. The son of Franklin and Jane Graham is currently serving our military efforts overseas on his fourth combat tour. In addition, the Graham family has been faithfully serving the religious needs of Americans, including presidents, dating back to President Eisenhower."
Syria Sending Hizballah Scuds in Disassembled Batches
April 26….(DEBKA) Syria has smuggled three consignments of disassembled Scud A ground missile components across the border to the Lebanese Hizballah, debkafile disclose from Middle East intelligence and military sources Friday, April 23. They do not add up to a complete set of parts for an operational Scud missile. However, another five shipments, awaiting handover at Syrian border bases will provide the missing elements for complete weapons. Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak disclosed Friday night that Syria had transferred "Scud missile parts" to Lebanon, refusing to elaborate. But he accused Syria of providing Hizballah with game-changing weapons which jeopardized regional stability. According to Western intelligence sources, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put in an urgent phone call to Syrian president Bashar Assad Thursday, April 22, to urge Assad to make as many Scud transfers to Lebanon as possible and enable Hizballah to deploy them opposite Israel without delay. He implied that speed was necessary because Iran is preparing to strike out against US Middle East interests and he wants Iran's Lebanese proxy to be ready for all possible eventualities. The Iranian president dismissed Israel as a declining force with its political and military strength in a state of paralysis. The two presidents speculated about the source of the leak to the media about the Scuds for Hizballah. Ahmadinejad said Iranian intelligence had turned up a source in the Syrian military who was probably a mole and offered to help hunt him down. Friday night too, the Obama administration stamped down harder on Damascus, warning Syria that providing Hizballah "a wider array" of missiles" carried serious consequences. The diplomat, who declined to be named, said: We are concerned with the broadening nature of cooperation between Syria and Hizballah." He stopped short of accusing Syria of arming Hizballah with Scud missiles: "we have no evidence of Scuds crossing into Lebanon," he said. Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State Jerry Feldman told members of Congress that the administration condemns in the strongest terms Syria's "provocative" behavior in transferring arms to Hizballah. On April 21, a senior Syrian diplomat was summoned to the state department for the fourth strong dressing-down.
Obama Leading America on ‘Dangerous Path’ to Welfare State
April 26….(Newsmax) Rep. Paul Ryan tells Newsmax that America is at a “tipping point” and could be headed down a “very dangerous” path toward a social welfare state. But the Wisconsin Republican insists it’s not too late to change course, and offers a plan he says will balance the budget and erase the huge deficit looming in the country’s future. Rep. Ryan, first elected in 1998, is the Ranking Republican on the Budget Committee. In an exclusive interview with NewsmaxTV, he notes that congressional Democrats missed the April 15 deadline to adopt a budget and likely won’t pass any budget at all this year. “If you look at the budget they want to pass, the one the president sent us, it’s got $2 trillion in higher taxes, doubles the debt in five years, triples the debt in 10 years,” he says. “That’s a budget they know is not going to sit right with the American people. So after having just passed the largest entitlement in 35 years, after having passed a trillion dollars of borrowing and spending for stimulus, I guess they’re just not going to budget anymore. “What they’ll do is pass what we call a deeming resolution, which simply gives the Appropriations Committee the money they need to spend on all these new government agencies.” Ryan says he agrees with critics of President Barack Obama who maintain that with his huge increases in spending and borrowing, he is moving the nation on a socialist path. “I would argue that we’re reaching a tipping point in this country, after which the majority of Americans are more dependent on the government than they are upon themselves,” he says. “And this budget accelerates that tipping point. “In the last year of the president’s budget, the interest on our debt is about $914 billion, about a trillion dollars in interest. And that’s assuming interest rates remain low and we don’t have an inflation problem, which I think is not a safe assumption. “So if you ask are we changing this country from what I would call the American idea of free enterprise and limited government to more of a European style socialist economy, a cradle-to-grave welfare state, yes, we’re clearly on that trajectory.” Ryan points out that 20 percent of Americans today get 75 percent of their income from the federal government, and another 20 percent get 45 percent, while 60 percent of Americans get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. Obama’s budget moves that to 70 percent of Americans, he says. “What that means is, once that budget is fully put in place, three out of 10 families in America are either supplying or supplementing the incomes of seven other families in this country. That is economically destructive. It’s politically inequitable, and unsustainable.” We do not have to go down this path of converting America into a social welfare state. “It is not too late for this country to turn course and reclaim the American idea and the founding principles which made us the freest, most prosperous country in the world. It’s not too late. It’s achievable.
April 26….(In The Days) Some experts believe that World War III will start 100 years after the first one and will take lives of hundreds of millions of people. Some scientists think that the war is already going on, nearing the completion of its first stage. Konstantin Sivkov, first VP of the Academy for Geopolitical Issues, developed a scientific concept of the reasons, stages and timeframes of World War II. He shared his forecast with Svobodnaya Pressa. Sivkov believes that planet Earth has experienced a global, civilized crisis. The crisis was caused by several disproportions, namely: 1) conflicts between growth of production/consumption and available resources 2) conflicts between “poor” developing countries and “rich” industrially developed countries, between nations and transnational elite; 3) conflicts between spiritless free market with the power of money and spiritual roots of various civilizations, including Orthodox, Muslim, Buddhist and others.
“The analysis of possible solutions of these mis-balances and conflicts shows that they are of antagonistic nature, and the crisis cannot be solved without significant infringement of interests of some large geopolitical subjects. This means that participation of military forces is unavoidable. Considering the global nature of the crisis, we may assume that military participation will be global as well, “Sivkov believes. He predicts that World War III will be of coalitional nature. Countries will form coalitions based on their loyalty to one of the two models of world order. The first model is “the world of civilized hierarchy.” Select few brutally exploit the rest of humanity. The second model is “civilized mutual support” or “civilized harmony.” “In other words, the war will be waged to define the spiritual basis of new world order. It will either be based on individualism, selfishness and suppression, or community, domination of mutual interest to survive and develop and support each other. This is the main difference between the war to come and previous wars that were fought for economic redistribution.” Two coalitions already exist. The first one is the alliance of the so-called industrially developed countries represented by Western civilizations. Spiritual foundations of this coalition are based on individualism and material possessions generating power of money. The coalition’s military and political core is represented by the block NATO. The second coalition involves countries of orthodox, Islamic and other civilizations based on the domination of spiritual over material. This coalition is interested in a multi-polar world order. Yet, these countries have not realized that they have mutual geopolitical interests, let alone a necessity in a political or military unity. “The countries that are not a part of Western civilization are not ready for military confrontation neither in terms of organization nor technical preparedness. On the other hand, this coalition has overwhelming majority of people and control over ample natural resources and territories. This greatly increases their chances to win a long war and provides favorable circumstances for fighting the aggressor during the initial stages of war. Another potential advantage is that simultaneous attacks in all directions are practically impossible. This creates a reserve of time for consolidation of countries into an anti-imperialistic coalition. There is a possibility of supporting the countries that will become the first victims of aggressors,” Sivkov says. The scientist is convinced that the war is already going on. So far it is in a relatively peaceful stage. “The first stage that we may call an “attempt of peaceful crisis resolution” is nearing its completion. 20G summits fighting in the battle field right now are obviously not bringing the results. Imedi and Helsingin Sanomat provocations mark the beginning of stage two, that we may call a “threat period before the beginning of world war.” During this stage Western civilization has commenced preparation for local wars and armed conflicts for resources. The main actions at this stage are information operations and actions in economic area that may take various forms, from economic sanctions to terrorist attacks against industrial facilities, as well as different activities of Special Forces,” says Sivkov. “In a few years, the third stage will commence, the stage of “limited wars,” that will later turn into a full scale world war with all types of weapons. The only restricting factor at the moment is Russia’s nuclear potential. According to the forecast of the scientist, the West will try to take away Russia’s nuclear shield.
“Considering the situation in Russia, when the fifth column of the West significantly affects decisions in Russia’s defense sector, in particular, the direction Russia’s armed forces will take, we can expect the form of SNF contract that will deprive Russia of its nuclear shield. Of course, it will be presented with a beautiful wrapping of struggle for the world without nuclear weapons. Russia may expect physical elimination of its nuclear potential during first stages of the world war (organized terrorist attacks, etc.) with further transition of neo-imperialistic coalition to unlimited use of nuclear weapons, which will bring it victory in the war,” Sivkov stated. He believes that aggressors will not be stopped with a possibility of death of hundreds of millions of people. “History shows that the elite of “selfish” civilization do not get stopped by human sacrifices if there is a guarantee they themselves will survive in bunkers. The analysis shows that if the new world war is waged, it will touch the majority of the world population, all continents, oceans and seas. Over 100 million people may participate in this war. Total demographic losses may exceed several hundred millions of people. Therefore, all honest people on Earth, including those who form the “selfish” coalition must do everything they can not to allow it to happen. To do this, we have to mitigate with the force of law or other methods, the greed of transnational and national tycoons of the financial sector. We have to stop their ambitious, greedy, shameless and sometimes stupid politicians. This can only be done based on international consolidation efforts,” the expert summarized.
WEEK OF APRIL 19 THROUGH APRIL 24
Syria Threatens to Send Israel Back to 'Stone Age'
April 24….(YNET) Syria has threatened to "send Israel back to the era of prehistoric man" if the Jewish state attacks it with unconventional weapons. A source close to decision-makers in Damascus was quoted by Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai on Saturday as saying that, "If Israel uses unconventional weapons, we'll respond in a similar fashion." Earlier this week, an Israeli minister told the Sunday Times that Syria would be "sent back to the Stone Age, if Hezbollah launches ballistic missiles into Israel. The Syrian official said Damascus has upgraded its military capabilities and has prepared for a number of possible scenarios in case a war against Israel breaks out. "Despite the fact that Syria has been outside the cycle of war since 1973, it did not sit idly by for even one day and is still working to develop its capabilities via missiles," he was quoted by the Kuwait paper as saying. The official said Syria has drawn lessons from Hezbollah's "success" during the second Lebanon War and has since then developed "advanced methods of warfare."
'War could break out tomorrow'
The Syrian source said Damascus' wartime strategy is based in part on the possibility of opening a broad front against Israel, from Rosh Hanikra to the Golan Heights. In addition, said the official, Syria is capable of launching 60 ballistic missiles deep into Israeli territory if the Jewish State will "dare to try and undermine Damascus' sovereignty." "Syria can also launch 600 short-range tactical missiles into Israel in one day," he said, while detailing plans to attack Israel's coastline if a war breaks out. In this framework, he said, Syrian forces would employ sea-to-surface missiles against Israeli civilian and military targets, including ports. The official did not address claims that Syria was transferring scud missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah political bureau member Ghaleb Abu Zainab said during an interview with NBN television on Friday that his group does not need Scud missiles to defend Lebanon. “The resistance possesses arms that can reach deep into Israel,” Abu Zainab said, adding that Hezbollah is completely ready to confront the Jewish State. According to Abu Zainab, Washington and Jerusalem are using their accusations of the Scud transfer to attempt to divert attention away from Israel’s "violations" in the Palestinian territories. Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said Saturday, "We are ruling out the possibility of an imminent (Israeli) attack, but the resistance is operating under the assumption that a war could break out tomorrow, so that we will not be caught by surprise in any way." Another senior Hezbollah figure, Lebanese Agriculture Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan, said Saturday that allegations made by the US and the "Zionist enemy" regarding the Scud missile transfers are aimed at "applying pressure on Syria, Lebanon and the resistance.
Israel Threatens to Send Syria Back to Stone Age
(According to report in Sunday Times, Israeli minister said if Hezbollah dares to attack with ballistic missiles, responsibility will fall on Syria's shoulders, Israel will mercilessly attack strategic targets. 'Assad playing with fire)
April 24….(YNET) After Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman threatened that Syrian President Bashar Assad will lose his power should he provoke Israel, recent reports of advanced missiles being transferred from Syria to Hezbollah have led to more serious threats being made. "We will return Syria back to the Stone Age," an Israeli minister was quoted as saying in British paper, the Sunday Times. The paper reported that this sentiment was communicated to Damascus via a third party. According to the report, the minister, speaking off the record, warned last week that Israel will do so by "crippling its power stations, ports, fuel storage and every bit of strategic infrastructure if Hezbollah dare to launch ballistic missiles against us." The reason behind increasing tensions in the Israel-Syria arena broke last week in a report in Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Rai, that the Syrian military trained members of Hezbollah in how to fire advanced Scud ballistic missiles. In response, it has been reported that Israel directed pointed warnings to Syria via Turkey and Qatar that it will attack targets in Syria and Lebanon if the missiles reach Hezbollah. On this backdrop, the Syrian minister in Washington was summoned for a warning. Washington has voiced contradictory viewpoints on the Scud issue. The State Department reported that they are "very concerned" by reports of the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah. However, over the weekend, senior administration officials expressed doubts as to whether the Scuds really made their way across the border Syria-Lebanon border. According to the report in the Sunday Times, Israel "now regards Hezbollah as a division of the Syrian army and that reprisals against Syria will be fast and devastating." As such, Israel has decided to hold Syria directly responsible for Hezbollah's activities following intelligence assessments that Beirut has lost control over the strengthening Shi'ite organization. Until now, Israel has said that Lebanon will be responsible for any attack made by Hezbollah on Israel. “We’ll not hesitate to attack Syria if our national security is in jeopardy,” said the same Israeli minister. “Assad knows that, and he’s playing with fire.”
Netanyahu: Iran Provoking Israel-Syria Conflict
April 23….(Newsmax) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran is trying to provoke a war between Israel and Syria. Netanyahu says Iran is trying to convince Syria that an Israeli attack is imminent, which he says is a "lie." Tensions have been high recently between Israel and Syria. The sides have traded threats, and last week Israel accused Syria of smuggling powerful rockets to the Lebanese guerillas of Hezbollah. Syria denied the charge. Speaking in an interview Thursday with Israel's Channel 2 TV, Netanyahu repeated the charge that Syria and Iran are arming Hezbollah. The Israeli leader also called on the US to impose sanctions to block Iran's nuclear program.
(Recent opponent of Syria-Hezbollah camp takes sharp political turn, says Lebanon should have close ties to Tehran, Damascus in order to maintain national unity; adds no one can disarm Hezbollah)
April 23….(YNET) After meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad last month, Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said that his country was "part of the Syrian-Iranian axis." In an interview published Friday by the French publication L'Orient-Le Jour, Jumblatt said, "We belong to this axis in order to maintain national unity; we shall stay in this axis." The Druze leader, who lashed out against the Syrian president in the past, called to "solidify a defense strategy instead of discussing Hezbollah’s weapons." Jumblatt added that "No one will be able to force Hezbollah to disarm. Who will do so? The Lebanese army does not have the equipment or necessary means to face Israel, while the Israeli threat remains constant throughout the past decades." Until recently, Jumblatt was an avid Hezbollah opponents and a member of the anti-Syrian camp. However, in recent months he has taken a sharp political turn, apologized for his remarks on Assad in a televised interview and joined Hezbollah and Syria’s political camp in Lebanon. Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah was the one who informed Jumblatt that the Syrian president accepted his apology and even agreed to meet with him in Damascus. A statement issued by Hezbollah two weeks ago stated that "Nasrallah informed Jumblatt that the Syrian leadership, which is eager to improve its relations with all factions in Lebanon, is willing to open a new page." After receiving the positive response from Nasrallah, Jumblatt did not conceal his satisfaction during an interview with Hezbollah's al-Manar network. "The previous page with Syria has already been turned," he declared, "I have many things to discuss with President Assad when I meet with him."
Obama Pushing Israel to Carve up Jerusalem??
(Sources say US demanding unprecedented 'gesture' as precondition for talks)
April 23….(WND) The Obama administration is pushing Israel to hand the Palestinian Authority full control of a major neighborhood in Jerusalem as a so-called confidence-building gesture to jumpstart Israeli-PA negotiations, WND has learned. According to sources both in the PA and in the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama administration has demanded the following from Israel as "confidence-building gestures" toward the Palestinians ahead of any negotiations: That Israel scale back roadblocks and checkpoints in the strategic West Bank to near the levels of such measures prior to the Palestinian intifada, which started in September 2000. Israel says roadblocks and checkpoints are crucial security measures in stopping terrorist attacks. That Israel release about 2,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. That Israel ease its siege of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The siege applies only to materials that Israel believes will be used by Hamas to enhance its military apparatus. Basic foods, medicine, supplies and even monetary exchange flows into Gaza regularly. That Israel turn over to the PA full control of key West Bank cities that are currently under security control of Israel due to threats. The demand includes what are known as areas B and C. B, as defined by the 1993 Oslo Accords, encompasses cities administered by the PA but patrolled by Israel. C comprises cities under full Israeli control. The Obama administration is asking Israel to transfer to the PA the town of Abu Dis, a largely Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem that borders key Jerusalem roadways and is home to about 12,000 residents. Some Arab homes in the neighborhood are built illegally on Jewish-owned land. Netanyahu is said to strongly oppose the demand, arguing that only negotiations can determine the future borders of Jerusalem. The demand, if enacted, would be unprecedented for any previous Israeli-Palestinian talks. The Jewish State has never been asked to withdraw from any Jerusalem territory in exchange for starting negotiations. Sources in Netanyahu's office told WND that any change of the status quo in Abu Dis would signal that Israel is willing to forfeit the strategic neighborhood. The officials said that while former Prime Minister Ehud Barak discussed the neighborhood in talks with late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, later negotiations under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not come to any conclusion. "They are asking us to go beyond what Olmert started, and this would only be as a precondition for further talks," said a source in Netanyahu's office of the US demand. Already as a "confidence-building gesture," Netanyahu, acting under heavy US pressure, in November announced a 10-month halt to all Jewish construction in the West Bank in an attempt to jumpstart talks aimed at creating a PA-led state. The Obama administration is also demanding a total halt to all Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem as a precondition to jumpstart talks. Netanyahu has refused an official freeze; however, almost no new Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem has been approved since last month. Meanwhile, the PA has not been asked to make any major gestures to Israel to jumpstart talks. The US has not even demanded the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Indyk: Netanyahu Must Choose – Obama, or Land
April 22….(YNET) "Netanyahu must make a choice," former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said in an article published in the New York Times titled: "When your best friend gets angry." Indyk, who is considered close to the Obama administration, wrote that the Israeli prime minister must choose between facing off with the president of the United States or facing off with his right-wing coalition partners. "The shift in America’s Middle East interests means that Netanyahu must make a choice: Take on the president of the United States, or take on his right wing. If he continues to defer to those ministers in his cabinet who oppose peacemaking, the consequences for US-Israel relations could be dire." Indyk, who currently serves as the vice president and director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, and as an advisor to US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, added that Netanyahu did not attend the Washington nuclear summit at the start of the month because he did not have an answer to Obama's demand for a construction freeze in east Jerusalem. "The president views curbing Iran’s nuclear program and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as two sides of the same coin. In order to isolate and pressure Iran, he believes he needs to unite Israelis and Arabs with the rest of the world in a grand international anti-Iranian coalition," he wrote. He added that the Arab leaders are as concerned about the Iranian threat as Israel is, but that the lack of progress on the Palestinian issue allows Iran's leaders "to play to the Arab street, claiming they are the real supporters of the Palestinian cause through sponsorship of violence and terrorism and threats to destroy Israel, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seen as the hero." The former ambassador said Netanyahu rejects these "linkages" and claims that a solution to the Palestinian problem will not change the Iranians' intentions and that only Israeli force will deter Hamas and Hezbollah. He said Netanyahu feels "the split with the United States over building in east Jerusalem only encourages Tehran to believe that Obama will restrain Israel from striking Iran’s nuclear facilities." "Whoever is right," he wrote, "there is no denying the reality of a fundamental disagreement, one that has poisoned relations between the American and Israeli leaders." He stressed that, "At the heart of this disagreement lies a dramatic change in the way Washington perceives its own stake in the game." He cited comments made by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice some three years ago, when she declared in a speech in Jerusalem that "US strategic interests were at stake in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." He said that President Obama reiterated this approach last week when he said resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict is a “vital national security interest” for the United States. Indyk wrote, "This is no longer just about helping a special ally resolve a debilitating problem. With 200,000 American troops committed to two wars in the greater Middle East and the US president leading a major international effort to block Iran’s nuclear program, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a US strategic imperative." He added that from Obama's perspective, Israel's decision to build in the Jerusalem suburbs had dealt the US a strategic setback. "Deferring building announcements and other provocative actions in east Jerusalem thus became the litmus test of Netanyahu’s commitment to the common cause of curbing Iran’s nuclear enthusiasm," he said.
Pentagon: Hezbollah Fully Rearmed Thanks to Iran
April 22….(In The Days) Iran has helped the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah rearm itself to levels beyond those in 2006, when the group waged a 33-day war with Israel, according to a Pentagon report. The unclassified report, the first to outline Iran’s military power under legislation passed last year, cites the Persian Gulf nation’s ”long-standing relationship” with Hezbollah, along with other terrorist groups. Iran views Hezbollah ”as an essential partner for advancing its regional policy objectives”, the Pentagon said. Israel intercepted a vessel in November carrying 60 tons of weapons for Hezbollah, including rockets and anti-tank shells, according to the report submitted to Congress. Iran is also training Hezbollah fighters in camps in Lebanon and provides as much as $US200 million ($218 million) a year in funding, the Pentagon said. ”It is clear from this report that the Department of Defense has a thorough understanding of the potential threats posed by Iran’s military capabilities,” said Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, chairman of the House armed services committee. The report will help ”build the necessary strategies to address these issues and keep America and our allies safe”, he said in a statement. The Pentagon study release coincides with Washington summoning a senior Syrian diplomat over his country’s ”provocative” possible arms transfer to Hezbollah, with the State Department calling any such move an impediment to peace. ”The most senior Syrian diplomat present in Washington today, deputy chief of mission Zouheir Jabbour, was summoned to the Department of State to review Syria’s provocative behavior concerning the potential transfer of arms to Hezbollah,” department deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid said. ”The United States condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the Scud, from Syria to Hezbollah.” Washington expressed its concern at the weekend about allegations that Syria has been supplying Scud missiles to Hezbollah. Mr Duguid warned that such arms transfers ”can only have a destabilizing effect on the region, and would pose an immediate threat to both the security of Israel and the sovereignty of Lebanon”. The Pentagon study also points to a potential Iranian threat to Persian Gulf oil tankers, one of the world’s major waterways for crude exports. ”Iran can attack targeted ships with anti-ship cruise missiles from its own shores, islands and oil platforms using relatively small mobile launchers,” it said. US military officials, including the Middle East commander General David Petraeus, said last week that any attempts by Iran to close the Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz could be countered. General Petraeus said that it was ‘’somewhat unlikely” that Iran would try to block the strait because so much of its economy depends on its own oil traffic.
US Debt to Hit $20 Trillion in 10 Years
April 22….(Financial Times) While the global financial system remains transfixed the by the problems of Greece and several other European countries risking default over their massive debts, the real threat is whether the credit standing and currency stability of the world’s biggest borrower, the US, will be jeopardized by its disastrous outlook on deficits and debt. That’s the fear raised in a devastating op-ed on the Financial Times website written by Robert Altman, a former deputy US Treasury secretary under President Clinton who is now chairman of Evercore Partner, a leading global advisory and investment firm. “America’s fiscal picture is even worse than it looks,” Altman writes. “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office just projected that over 10 years, cumulative deficits will reach $9.7 trillion and federal debt 90 percent of gross domestic product, nearly equal to Italy’s. “Global capital markets are unlikely to accept that credit erosion,” Altman says. “If they revolt, as in 1979, ugly changes in fiscal and monetary policy will be imposed on Washington. More than Afghanistan or unemployment, this is President Barack Obama’s greatest vulnerability.” The financial outlook for the United States is frightening. The size of the federal debt jis projected by the CBO to increase by nearly 250 per cent over 10 years, from $7.5 trillion to a whopping $20 trillion. The only remote comparison to such a debt load in the World War II, a global conflict that killed 50 million people, Altman and other analysts have written. But there is no real comparison even in the 1940s and 50s for such a rise in indebtedness, nothing remotely like it has occurred since recordkeeping began in 1792, Altman writes. “It is so rapid that, by 2020, the Treasury may borrow about $5 trillion per year to refinance maturing debt and raise new money; annual interest payments on those borrowings will exceed all domestic discretionary spending and rival the defense budget,” Altman writes in the Financial Times. “Unfortunately, the health care bill has little positive budget impact in this period. “Why is this outlook dangerous? Because dollar interest rates would be so high as to choke private investment and global growth,” Altman points out. Altman makes clear that the current mess is not entirely Obama’s doing. But the massive spending programs being proffered by his administration has taken a potential catastrophe in the making and made it much worse. The severe fiscal decline over the last year reflects a continuation of the Bush deficits and the lower revenue and countercyclical spending triggered by the recession. Obama’s own initiatives are responsible for only 15 per cent of the deterioration. But Obama now owns this crisis. The economy is simply too weak right now to handle a severe deficit reduction plan, Altman says. And the budget commission Obama has appointed to study deficit reduction will not report until December, meaning much of 2011 could by consumed by further debate with little tough action. But Alman says the solution is clear to everyone. “The deficit/GDP ratio must be reduced by at least 2 percent, or about $300 billion in annual spending. It must include large spending cuts, such as to entitlements, and new revenue. But Altman says it must also come from higher taxes on income, capital gains and dividends or a new tax, such as a progressive value added tax, or VAT. But that will be clearly anathema to fiscal conservatives, especially in the wake of the enactment of the largest piece of social spending legislation in the last half century, the Obama healthcare law. But to do nothing is unthinkable, Altman writes. “The second possible course is the opposite: government paralysis and 10 years of fiscal erosion. Debt reaches 90 per cent of GDP. Interest rates go much higher, but the world’s capital markets finance these needs without serious instability. “History suggests a third outcome is the likely one: one imposed by global markets. Yes, there may be calm in currency and credit markets over the next year or two. But the chances that they would accept such a long-term fiscal slide are low. Here, the 1979 dollar crash is instructive. The Iranian oil embargo, stagflation and a weakening dollar were roiling markets. Amid this nervousness, President Jimmy Carter submitted his budget, incorporating a larger than expected deficit.” That triggered a plunge in the dollar that destabilized markets, forcing Carter to resubmit a tighter budget and the Fed to raise interest rates. Both actions harmed the economy and severely injured his presidency. “America’s addiction to debt poses a similar threat now,” Altman concludes. “To avoid an imposed and ugly solution, Obama will have to invest all his political capital in a budget agreement next year. He will be advised that cutting spending and raising taxes is too risky for his 2012 re-election. But the alternative could be much worse.”
US Army Weighs Rescinding Invitation to Franklin Graham's Over Islam Remark
(America becoming more and more pro-Islam and Anti-Christian)
April 22….(Fox News) The Army is considering whether to rescind a speaking invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to appear at the Pentagon amid complaints from Muslim members of the US military who have not forgiven him for his description of Islam as evil. Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, was to appear at the Pentagon on May 6, the National Day of Prayer. He said he will be a guest of the Pentagon and would speak only if he's still invited. Army spokesman Gary Tallman told Fox News that Graham's "presence at the event may be taken by some as inappropriate for a government agency." "As the executive agent of the Pentagon chaplain's office, Army leadership determined it needed further review," he said. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised the objection to the appearance, citing Graham's past remarks about Islam, in a letter sent Monday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Mikey Weinstein, president of the foundation, said the invitation offended Muslim employees at the Pentagon because Graham never retracted or apologized for his description of Islam and even defended his statements as recently as December, in an interview with CNN. Weinstein said the invitation would endanger American troops by stirring up Muslim extremists. Army Col. Tom Collins said the invitation wasn't from the Pentagon but from the Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force, which works with the Pentagon chaplain's office on the prayer event. Collins said neither Army Secretary John McHugh nor Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. was aware of the invitation. The task force organizes Christian events for the National Day of Prayer. Task force chairwoman Shirley Dobson said in a written statement that US leaders have called for a day of prayer during times of crisis since 1775, but the tradition is under attack. "Enough is enough," said Dobson, wife of conservative Christian leader James Dobson. "We at the National Day of Prayer Task Force ask the American people to defend the right to pray in the Pentagon." She called on President Obama to appeal a ruling by a federal judge in Wisconsin last week that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because it amounts to a call for religious action. Weinstein objected to the working relationship between the Pentagon chaplain's office and the task force, saying the chaplains have effectively endorsed the task force by using its materials and routinely inviting its honorary chairman to speak at the Pentagon. Weinstein said that amounts to preferential treatment in violation of Defense Department rules. Collins said the working relationship has been reviewed by Pentagon lawyers and passed legal scrutiny. "We are an all-inclusive military. We hold observances throughout the year. This one happens to be a Christian-themed event," Collins said. Graham is president and CEO of both Samaritan's Purse, a Christian international relief organization in Boone, NC, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Graham said Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion." In a later op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Graham wrote that he did not believe Muslims were evil because of their faith, but "as a minister, I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching."
Egypt Seeks UN Pressure on Israeli Nukes
(Envoys say US, UK, France considering backing Cairo's call for zone in Middle East free of nuclear arms)
April 21….(YNET) Israel may come under new pressure next month at a UN meeting on atomic weapons as the United States, Britain and France consider backing Egypt’s call for a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear arms, envoys said. The 189 signatories to the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will meet at UN headquarters in New York for a May 3-28 conference on the troubled pact whose credibility, analysts say, has been harmed by the atomic programs of Iran and North Korea and the failure of the big nuclear powers to disarm. Israel, like India and Pakistan, never signed the treaty and is not officially attending the conference. The Jewish state is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal, although it has never confirmed or denied having atomic weapons. NPT review conferences take place every five years. At the 1995 meeting, member states unanimously supported a resolution backing the idea of "a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction." In a working paper Egypt submitted to fellow treaty members ahead of next month's meeting, Cairo said the conference should formally express regret that "no progress has taken place on the implementation of the (1995) resolution" and call for an international treaty conference by 2011. The point of such a conference would be "to launch negotiations, with the participation of all states of the Middle East, on an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East," the Egyptian paper says. Egyptian initiatives at NPT meetings are nothing new. But Western diplomats familiar with the issue said the five permanent UN Security Council members, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, might be ready to support such a conference, although not with a negotiating mandate. Diplomats said backing from the five permanent Security Council members, the NPT's five official nuclear powers, would help ensure broad support for Egypt's plan next month. Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said the sticking point was Israel's reluctance to participate. "We want the Israelis to sit at a table and negotiate," he said. "We're flexible on the location and the format of the conference," Abdelaziz said, adding that one possible idea was to have UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon oversee it. Western diplomats said the US willingness to entertain the idea of supporting such a conference highlighted the sharp shift in Washington's approach to Israel under President Barack Obama compared with his predecessor George W. Bush. US support for a regional nuclear conference could further alienate the Israelis. The Israelis have an interest here," another diplomat said. "If the Arabs get something they want on Israel, they'll be more supportive on Iran's nuclear program and further sanctions. Israel would benefit from that." Israel, like the United States, European Union and others, suspects Iran is developing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Iran, whose president has said Israel should be wiped off the map, says its nuclear program is peaceful. Egypt has made clear it sees Israel as a higher priority than Iran and has threatened to prevent the NPT conference from reaching any agreements next month if it does not get what it wants on Israel.
Obama Has Accepted Iranian Nukes
April 21….(JNEWSWIRE) US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has repeatedly voiced its intention to see Israel wiped off the map, is on course to obtain nuclear weapons after all. Speaking to the New York Times, Obama said he was convinced “the current course they [the Iranian leadership] are on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities.” As a consequence of Obama's appeasement approach to Tehran, America can do nothing to prevent it. The American's admission comes after a year during which his administration barely stopped short of public threats to prevent Israel from self-defensively destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. Most recently, behind-closed-door coercive tactics were employed during successive visits by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs off Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and Vice President Joe Biden in order to keep pressure on Israel not to attack. For his part Obama inherited, and fully embraced, the attitude adopted by the Bush administration in 2004. According to Assistant Editor to The Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick: "From 2004, the Bush administration sought to appease Iran into giving up its nuclear program, first indirectly through the negotiations that France, Britain and Germany conducted with Tehran. Then in 2006, the administration began direct negotiations with the mullahs. Bush personally rejected repeated Israeli requests to purchase refueling aircraft and bunker buster bombs necessary for attacking Iran's hardened nuclear facilities. And he refused to back Israeli plans to attack Iran's nuclear installations. So too, Bush stopped calling for regime change in Iran. "After the November 2007 publication of the falsified National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear program," Glick wrote, "Bush discarded the possibility of a US military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities altogether." ("Exploiting the Crisis," by Caroline Glick, The Jerusalem Post, April 2, 2010) As far back as January 2006, then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that, "under no circumstances, and at no point, can Israel allow anyone with these kinds of malicious designs against us to have control of weapons of destruction that can threaten our existence." In November of the same year, then opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu sounded a clarion call that went largely dismissed by the rest of the world: "It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs," Netanyahu starkly warned the United Jewish Communities General Assembly. "Believe [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and stop him," he continued. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this." A frequent question posed Jerusalem Newswire by visiting groups is what the Israelis are going to do about the Iranian threat. Notwithstanding international efforts to wear down Israel's resolve on this issue, the government in Jerusalem remains resolved to not permit Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. The Israel Defense Forces are believed to be in constant training for an attack on Iran. It is understood that the result of Obama's resigned attitude towards the burgeoning threat in the east will leave Israel with no choice but to act on its own. Scant decades after the Holocaust saw two-thirds of European Jewry washed away, Israel's leaders are not about to sit back and allow the threat of another act of anti-Jewish genocide to be perpetrated against their people.
Obama vs. Israel: Showdown at the UN?
April 20….(Fox News) The Obama administration is reportedly signaling another major shift in policy towards one of its staunchest allies, Israel, and this shift could change the way it votes at the Security Council. The change would mean an end to the US' use of its veto power in the United Nations Security Council when certain anti-Israel resolutions are introduced for a vote. Reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago, that a senior US diplomat met with Qatar's foreign minister in Paris. They discussed the possibility that the US was giving serious consideration to not using its veto if a vote on Israeli settlements was to come up. It has been the policy of successive administrations to veto virtually all anti-Israel resolutions at the Security Council. While the Israeli spokesperson at the United Nations would not comment on the reports, US officials at the UN told Fox News that there is no such initiative before the Security Council and they are not "pursuing or encouraging such action", but some critics believe they are playing a game of smoke and mirrors. Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and Touro College and says the administration, like none other before them, appears prepared to blackmail Israel at the UN. She says "The administration may imagine that the threat of withholding the veto at the Security Council, or the failure to oppose vigorously any one of a constant stream of anti-Israel UN concoctions, will be good for the United States. They will be dead wrong." She believes "Israel's enemies are America's enemies, and an effort by the Obama administration to use the UN as a tool to blackmail Israel or undermine Israel's independence and security is a double-edged sword." John Bolton the former US ambassador to the UN, and now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy in Washington says that successive US administrations have played a vital role in stopping the delegitimizing and marginalization of Israel at the UN, and that foes "knowing that the United States was not prepared to countenance mischief making in the Security Council alone deterred considerable unhelpful activity, and at least mitigated much of what remained." He says "If President Obama materially changes this long-standing, bipartisan American policy, peace in the Middle East will be set back. America's friends and allies alike will conclude that the Obama Administration is indeed a feckless ally." Bayefsky, who is also editor of EYEontheUN.org, says "If the Obama administration believes that it can bring about more peace and harmony and respect for America by sitting on its hands and refusing to exercise the veto, while the likes of Russia and China and Lebanon (which is currently a member) revel in a hate-filled denunciation of Israel, (and veto anything against Iran) then the administration is delusional. The refusal to exercise the veto will be read as weakness.
Israel Celebrates 62nd Anniversary
April 20….(YNET) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu kicked off Israel’s 62nd birthday as a modern state with a clear message to the world that the united city of Jerusalem is not up for grabs. Israel’s 62nd Independence Day celebrations commenced Monday evening with the traditional torch-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The theme of this year's ceremony was Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl's adage, "If you will it, it is no dream," and it honored the State's achievements on the 150th birthday of its visionary. Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu issued a special statement for the occasion, saying, "On this Independence Day we mark two of the Jewish nation's miracles: The miracle of revival and the miracle of building. The miracle of revival, because I an not familiar with any other nation in history that was scattered all over the world and lost control of its destiny but still managed to return to its homeland and rebuild its sovereignty there. "The other miracle is building: What we have built in this land since the State of Israel's inception. Israel is quickly becoming a regional economic superpower and a global technological superpower. In this world of knowledge in the 21st century our possibilities are endless: In science, medicine, technology and art. In each and every field, the forces of genius within our nation break out and create a magnificent country," the PM's statement read. Netanyahu also mentioned the nation's capital, saying, "We are not here by chance. We are here because this is our land. We've returned to our land, to our city, Jerusalem, because this is our land, this is our city. "I know there are many more miracles ahead of us. Herzl said, 'If you will it, it is no dream,' we willed it. We wanted what so many generations of Jews wanted; Jews who dreamed and prayed and cried a sea of tears with the hope that we will make it to this place," said Netanyahu, "I know we are capable of creating many more miracles."
Iran Calls US Nukes Tool of Terror, Intimidation
April 19….(Fox News) Iran's supreme leader told a nuclear disarmament conference in Tehran on Saturday that the United States' atomic weapons are a tool of terror and intimidation. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said America deceptively calls for non-proliferation while holding on to its own weapons and failing to confront Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear bombs. The two-day conference appeared timed as a counterweight to President Obama's 47-nation summit in Washington last week to discuss nuclear security. Obama did not invite Iran, which the US fears is using a civilian nuclear program as cover to develop a weapons capability. Iran denies that and says its nuclear work is only for peaceful purposes such as power generation. "The deceptive policy by the sole nuclear offender, which falsely claims to be advocating the non-proliferation of nuclear arms while doing nothing substantive for this cause, will never succeed," Khamenei said. Iran's conference brought together representatives from 60 countries, including China, Russia, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey and France, as well as delegates from international bodies and non-governmental organizations, according to Iranian media. The supreme leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and several other senior Iranian officials took turns at the podium to warn that America's nuclear policy was endangering the world and encouraging nations to consider withdrawing from the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. If the US meant what it said about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, Israel would not have been able to "turn the occupied land of Palestine into an arsenal with huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons," he said. At last week's gathering in Washington, world leaders endorsed a call from Obama to secure all nuclear materials around the globe within four years to keep them out of the grasp of terrorists. Several countries, including Ukraine, Mexico and Canada, declared their intention to give up highly enriched uranium as a step toward making it harder for terrorist groups or criminal gangs to steal or acquire a key ingredient in the making of atomic weapons. Russia and the US also signed a deal to dispose of tons of weapons-grade plutonium, although that won't start for eight years. Three sets of UN sanctions have failed to pressure Iran to stop its own uranium enrichment work, which it says is only to produce fuel for power stations. The technology is of international concern because it could give Iran a pathway to warhead production. Iran was angered by Obama's announcement this month of a new US nuclear policy in which he pledged America would not use atomic weapons against nations that do not have them. Iran and North Korea were pointedly excluded from the non-use pledge, and Iranian leaders took that as an implicit threat. "The insistence of these governments on holding and increasing the destructive powers of these weapons, serves as a tool of collective intimidation and terror," Khamenei said of the US and other nuclear-armed nations
Israel at 62: Population of 7,587,000
April 19….(YNET) Israel celebrates 62nd birthday: Two days before Independence Day, the population of the State of Israel stands at 7,587,000 people, data from the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed Sunday. According to the CBS, the Jewish population in Israel numbers some 5,726,000 residents (75.7% of the entire population). The Arab population numbers some 1,548,000 residents (20.4% of the population). The population defined as "other", which includes anyone not included in either of the previous groups, numbers some 313,000 (4.1%). Most of the people included in the "other" category are immigrants who are not registered as Jews at the Interior Ministry. This time last year Israel had a population of 7,411,000 residents. Since last Independence Day some 159,000 babies were born in Israel, 37,000 people passed away, some 16,000 immigrants moved to Israel and another 9,000 people were added to the population as citizens. In contrast, 10,000 Israelis left the country. In total, the Israeli population grew by some 137,000 residents in the past year, a 1.8% increase. The numbers further show that over 70% of the Jewish population was born in Israel, compared to 35% in the year 1948. In the year David Ben-Gurion declared the State's establishment, only one city in Israel, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, had a population of over 100,000 residents. Today, Israel has 14 cities with over 100,000 residents. Six of these cities have populations that exceed 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod and Petah Tikva.
Christians, Muslims Almost Equal in Numbers in Africa
April 19….(Washington Times) A continent once known more for witchcraft than worship has become a stronghold, and a flash point, for the world's two largest religions, the Pew Forum said in a survey released Thursday. With more than 90 percent of the region's population saying faith is "very important" in their lives, it's also on one of the major fault lines of religious conflict. Northern Africa is heavily Muslim and southern Africa is mostly Christian but where the two religions meet in a 4,000-mile belt from Somalia to Senegal has often turned violent, especially in Nigeria, where hundreds of Muslims and Christians have died since January fighting each other. At least 45 percent of the Christians surveyed in Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda and Chad, which topped the list at 70 percent, consider Muslims to be violent. Far smaller percentages of Muslims see Christians as violent. A century ago, the bulk of world Christianity was concentrated in Europe and in the Western Hemisphere. Today, 20 percent of the world's Christians now live south of the Sahara Desert. Islam, which was concentrated in sub-tropical countries to the north and east of Africa, now has 15 percent of its worldwide adherents living there. "It is fascinating to probe the question of why the expansion has happened and the why of the forces behind it," Mr. Smith said. "There's a high percentage of Christians and Muslims in every country who say they are committed to spreading their faith and winning converts over to their side. It's that commitment at the grass-roots level by Christians and Muslims that is a driving factor." And Africa, he added, "is the only continent in the world where you have a roughly equal division of the two largest religions in the world." More than half of the Christians surveyed believe Jesus Christ will return to rule the Earth in their lifetimes. Majorities also believe in the "prosperity gospel;" that God will give health and wealth to people if they have enough faith. Similar attitudes were common among Africa's Muslims: About one-third said they expect the restoration of the caliphate, worldwide Islamic rule, in their lifetimes. Muslim expansion historically came through Islamic traders but in more recent decades, Islamic governments, particularly Saudi Arabia, have spent billions of dollars building mosques and Islamic centers in Africa.
Iran Nuclear Conference Cites Israel to Join NPT
(Participants slam 'double-standard' by nuclear powers that call for disarmament but ignore Jewish state's atomic arsenal)
April 19….(YNET) Participants in an international disarmament conference in Iran said Sunday that a nuclear weapons-free Middle East requires Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A concluding statement from the two-day conference in Tehran also criticized what it called the double-standard by some nuclear powers that call for disarmament but ignore the atomic arsenal the Israel is widely believed to possess. The conference statement was carried by Iran's official IRNA new agency. Iran's own nuclear program is of major concern to Israel, the United States and other nations that believe Tehran is intent on developing an atomic weapons capability. Iran denies that and says it only wants to generate nuclear power. Also on Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad extolled Iran's military might during an annual army parade, saying the country is so powerful today that no one would dare attack it. The parade in Tehran showcased Iran's surface-to-surface Ghadr, Sajjil and Shahab-3 missiles, which have a range of up to 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers), putting Israel and US bases in the region within Iran's reach. The Shahab-3 missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, adding to the concerns of the United Sates and other nations that fear Iran's uranium enrichment program masks ambitions to produce an atomic bomb. "Today, our armed forces have so much power that no enemy will harbor evil thoughts about laying its hands on Iranian territory," Ahmadinejad said at the parade marking National Army Day. The speech was broadcast live on state TV, which also showed segments of the parade. Ahmadinejad urged the US to stop supporting Israel and to dismantle the American military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The "New Hizballah" Built by Syria Sparks ME Summer War Fear
April 19….(DEBKA) Debkafile's military sources disclose that Syria has expanded the flow of smuggled Syrian and Iranian weaponry across the Lebanese border to Hizballah in line with a master-plan charted in Tehran and Damascus for transforming the 25,000-strong Hizballah terrorist militia into an organized, mobile army with a whole range of sophisticated missiles and other weapons. The new Hizballah is being trained to carry out such offensive operations as capturing parts of Israel's Galilee and equipped with the hardware for knocking out warplanes, warships and armored strength. One of their missions will be to defend the Syrian capital, Damascus. Tehran and Damascus calculate that the next time a war erupts on Israel's borders, its army will try and outflank Syrian forces on the Golan and drive past the units defending Damascus. That is where Hizballah is expected to come in. Even after the Kuwaiti Al Rai claim that Syria had smuggled Scud ground missiles into Lebanon proved inaccurate and was denied in Washington, regional war tensions remained high - although not for the reason ascribed by Jordan's King Abdullah during his current visit to Washington. The king forecast an outbreak of Middle East hostilities in the coming summer because of the Israel-Palestinian diplomatic stalemate. What's the connection? Our sources ask. Rather than admit he is nervously watching his aggressive Arab neighbor to the north, the Jordanian ruler is pinning the region's troubles on Israel because it is the right tune to sing in Barack Obama's Washington. In actual fact, a Middle East war this summer depends on two actions which have nothing to do with the Palestinians: a decision by the US and/or Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities together or separately, and a decision in Tehran to unleash its allies against Israel, spearheaded by Hizballah, to preempt such an attack. Ready to step into its new shoes, Hizballah is being armed with five major military capabilities, debkafile reports:
1. Surface-to-surface missiles able to reach as far as the Dimona reactor in southern Israel: They include Fajr-5, which has a range of 33 km, and the M-600, developed by Syria from the Fateh-110, whose range is 250 km. Both are precise, propelled by solid fuel and carry 500-kilo warheads of conventional explosives, as well as being able to deliver chemical, biological and radioactive materials. This dangerous new arsenal which tops up the 40,000 rockets Hizballah was allowed to pile up since the 2006 Lebanon war. Saturday, April 17, Israel's deputy defense minister Mattan Vilnai, warned that Syria and Hizballah between them had ballistic missiles that could reach every millimeter of Israeli territory. But he did not explain how the national defense leadership, of which he is a senior member, allowed this to happen. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said nothing to account for his 14-month old government's failure to make good on its pledges for change, and first of all to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. Instead, he follows his predecessors' same old passive routines on Iran, Syria and Hizballah, an open invitation to aggression and a recipe for armed conflict. Of late, he is hardly to be seen or heard except for the irrelevant comments he makes at state ceremonies.
2. Iran has built for Hizballah five expanded commando brigades whose mission in a future conflict will be to capture and hold key northern Israeli towns and villages, including the town of Nahariya or parts thereof. This tactic would force Israeli forces marching into Lebanon to turn back and recover lost land. On March 28, debkafile revealed this Iranian-Syrian master plan in detail.
3. Syrian instructors are training Hizballah militiamen at top speed in the operation of ground-to-air weapons, including self-propelled missiles, against warplanes and incoming missiles and cruise missiles. Israel has threatened to destroy these batteries if they cross the border into Lebanon. They are therefore being held back in Syrian bases up against the border until such time as fighting flares. They will then be transferred into the hands of Hizballah units standing by on the Lebanese side of the border.
4. Syria has set up a Hizballah special unit for attacking warships and fighting off Israeli coastal landings. It is equipped with advanced Chinese SS-26 Yakhont marine cruise missiles, which combine assault features with the ability to intercept attacking missiles or cruise missiles.
5. Iranian and Syrian military engineers have constructed fortified anti-tank lines in many parts
of Lebanon. They are linked by fast highways, to be closed to all traffic barring Hizballah
units in an emergency, and by a military-grade communications network.
'Hizbullah a Division of Syrian Army'
April 19….(Jerusalem Post) Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that any missile attack against Israel by Hizbullah would result in retaliation against Syria, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. According to the UK paper, Israel’s missive, sent earlier in April, defined Hizbullah as a “division of the Syrian army,” a military branch of Damascus in Lebanon. The warning was reportedly delivered to Damascus by a third party. Meanwhile on Sunday, Al-Hayat reported that Hizbullah minister Nawaf al-Moussawi had said Israel's accusations against Syria were only a ploy meant to divert attention from its failure to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians. Last week, the Kuwait-based Al-Rai reported that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hizbollah. According to the report, the missiles were recently transferred to Lebanon, prompting a stern Israeli warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response. Scud ballistic missiles have a longer range than the rockets previously used by Hizbullah against Israel, and can carry chemical warheads. On Thursday, the Kuwaiti paper reported that Hezbollah had confirmed receiving a shipment of Scud missiles from Syria. "It's only natural for Lebanon to have the means to defend itself against an Israeli attack," Hizbullah official Hussein Haj Hassan told Al-Manar TV on Friday. The Syrian leadership has consistently denied the charge. On Saturday, Reuters quoted US officials as saying that while the "intent" to transfer ballistic missiles to Hizbullah existed, it was doubtful such a transfer had actually taken place. Concern over flaring tensions between rival factions in Syria’s small Mediterranean neighbor, along with the threat of a renewed civil war, has caused Hizbullah in recent years to tone down its Iranian-aided and Syrian-backed paramilitary activity in favor of expanding its involvement in internal Lebanese politics.
WEEK OF APRIL 11 THROUGH APRIL 17
Bernanke: America Facing Financial 'Armageddon'
April 16….(Fox News) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that America is facing something approaching a debt Armageddon. "The deficit will recede somewhat over the next two years as the temporary stimulus measures wind down and as economic recovery leads to higher revenues," he said, testifying before Congress' Joint Economic Committee. "Thereafter, however, the annual deficit is expected to remain high through 2020, in the neighborhood of 4 to 5 percent of GDP," he said. The GDP is the combined value of all goods and services that the economy produces. Each deficit requires the Treasury Department to sell bonds to finance the accumulated federal debt. Under the best of scenarios, the ratio of debt to GDP, one indicator of national economic health, would be well over 70 percent. But that assumes Congress and the White House won't do what they've already promised to do, extend most Bush-era tax cuts and adjust the alternative minimum tax in a way to protect middle class earners from its heavy levies. Under this more likely scenario, Bernanke warned that annual deficits and accumulated debt would surge to historically high levels. The deficit at the end of 2020 would be 9 percent of GDP and the federal debt would balloon to more than 100 percent of GDP," he said. The last time debt equaled or exceeded the GDP was in the years just after World War II. If Bernanke's prediction comes true, in 2020, taxpayers would have to provide $1 trillion a year in interest to finance the national debt. At the White House, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner accepted the premise but rejected the prediction. "Of course that would be unsustainable," Geithner said. "But that's not going to happen if Congress adopts the policies the president has laid out. It will be very important to make sure that we have a strong recovery going forward that Congress demonstrate, that we're able to make some tough choices to bring those deficits down." Bernanke once again called on lawmakers and the White House to come up with a plan to whittle down record-high budget deficits. Bernanke said weakness in the housing and commercial real-estate sectors is putting "significant restraints" on the pace of the economic recovery. And, the poor fiscal conditions of many state and local governments have led to continuing cutbacks in workers, another force that will hold back the recovery, he said.
Jordan King Fears that War Between Israel and Hizbollah is 'Imminent'
April 16….(Telegraph) King Abdullah of Jordan has warned the US that there were fears in Lebanon that a war between Israel and Hizbollah was “imminent” amid high tensions in the region. The king, in Washington for President Barack Obama's nuclear summit, gave his warning after Israel claimed that Syria had handed over Scud missiles in its armoury to the Lebanon-based Hizbollah. His comments, which were made to private meeting of the US Congressional Friends of Jordan caucus were said to be "sobering." Syria yesterday denied the allegation that it has provided Hizbollah with long-range Scud missiles, which would allowing them to target Israel's cities. The country's foreign ministry said the claims would be used as a pretext by Israel to raise tension prior to a possible attack on Hizbollah. "For some time now, Israel has been running a campaign claiming that Syria has been supplying Hizbollah with Scud missiles in Lebanon ," a foreign ministry statement released yesterday said. " Syria strongly denies these allegations which are an attempt by Israel to raise tensions in the region." However, the statement did not appear to rule out an alternative possibility being raised by defence sources, that Damascus has allowed Hizbollah control of or access to Scud missiles still currently in Syria. Similar sources say that Syria has trained Hizbollah operatives on advanced anti-aircraft batteries, possibly a more useful tool since Hizbollah, and the Lebanese army, fears the overwhelming air superiority enjoyed by Israeli jets. The Obama administration voiced alarm, though one source said it was still not certain whether the transfer had yet physically taken place. "We are obviously increasingly concerned about the sophisticated weaponry that is allegedly being transferred," said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman. "We have expressed our concerns to those governments and believe that steps should be taken to reduce any risk and any danger." Allegations of the Scud transfer have continued to cause unease at a time when many other political issues in the Middle East are at an impasse. Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said that the alleged transfer would alter the strategic balance of power between Hizbollah and Israel, which fought a short but bloody war in 2006. An aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said that the pace of Hizbollah's re-armament and Syria's role in it was causing growing alarm in the Jewish state. "We are very conscious of the build-up of Hizbollah's military machine," the aide said. "We have unfortunately seen new types and greater quality of missiles. The Syrian role in passing those weapons to Hizbollah is ongoing and is dangerous." Al-Rai, the Kuwaiti newspaper which first raised the allegations, said a Hizbollah source had confirmed it had access to Scuds but that they were old and unusable. The source said the issue was being blown out of proportion by Israel in order to create a media frenzy. The newspaper did, however, link the claims to Hizbollah's threat that if Lebanese infrastructure, such as Beirut Airport , came under attack in the event of conflict, Israel would be hit in turn, including towns at the edge of the range of Hizbollah's known missile arsenal. What is undisputed is that all sides are raising the stakes in the absence of negotiations between Israel and either Palestinian factions or Syria. The Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, has balanced overtures to Washington with reassurances that his alliances with both Hizbollah and Iran remain strong. He held a high-profile meeting in Damascus with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in February. Officials in Syria have warned that it would join in any war involving Israel , Lebanon and Hizbollah.
Obama: Israel Should Sign NPT
(American president lauds leaders who took part in Washington nuke summit, says world safer as result of conference; responding to question, Obama says all nations should sign Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Israel)
April 14….(YNET) US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the US Administration calls upon all nations to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Israel. Speaking at a press conference end of a nuclear summit in Washington, Obama said that the world was safer today as result of the convention's achievements. “We have seized the opportunity,” Obama said at the conclusion of a two-day summit on nuclear security in Washington. “The American people will be safer and the world will be more secure.” When asked about Israel's nuclear program, Obama at first refused to address the issue, instead insisting to talk about the US and its commitment to reducing American nuclear weapon stockpiles. "Initially you were talking about US behavior, and then suddenly we're talking about Israel. Let me talk about the United States," the president said. "I do think that as part of the NPT, our obligation, as the largest nuclear power in the world, is to take steps to reducing our nuclear stockpile. And that's what the START treaty was about, sending a message that we are going to meet our obligations, as far as Israel goes, I'm not going to comment on their program. However, although initially saying he will not address Israel's nuclear program, Obama continued, pointing out that the US is calling on all nations to sign the NPT. "What I'm going to point to is the fact that consistently we have urged all countries to become members of the NPT. So there's no contradiction there," he said. "And so whether we're talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important. And that, by the way, is not a new position. That's been a consistent position of the United States government, even prior to my administration."
Obama: We Have Agreed to Secure Nukes Within 4 Years
April 14….(Fox News) Offering few specifics, world leaders endorsed President Barack Obama's goal of securing all nuclear materials from terrorists within four years at a 47-nation summit on Tuesday. In full accord on a global threat, world leaders Tuesday endorsed President Barack Obama's call for securing all nuclear materials around the globe within four years to keep them out of the grasp of terrorists. They offered few specifics for achieving that goal, but Obama declared "the American people will be safer and the world will be more secure" as a result. Obama had called the 47-nation summit to focus world attention on the threat of nuclear terrorism, a peril he termed the greatest threat facing all nations and a "cruel irony of history" after mankind had survived the Cold War and decades of fear stoked by a US-Soviet arms race. A terrorist group in possession of plutonium no bigger than an apple could detonate a device capable of inflicting hundreds of thousands of casualties, he said. "Terrorist networks such as al-Qaida have tried to acquire the material for a nuclear weapon, and if they ever succeeded, they would surely use it," he told the opening session, which convened under tight security at the Washington Convention Center. "Were they to do so, it would be a catastrophe for the world, causing extraordinary loss of life and striking a major blow to global peace and stability." The summit countries said they would cooperate more deeply with the United Nations and its watchdog arm, the International Atomic Energy Agency. They also said they would share information on nuclear detection and ways to prevent nuclear trafficking. Several countries, including Ukraine, Mexico and Canada, declared their intention to give up highly enriched uranium as a step toward making it harder for terrorist groups or criminal gangs to steal or acquire a key ingredient in the making of atomic weapons. Russia and the US signed a deal to dispose of tons of weapons-grade plutonium, although that won't start for eight years. While the summit focused on the threat from terrorists, attention was given to Iran, North Korea and other nations who are seeking or have succeeded in obtaining or developing nuclear weapons. Neither Iran nor North Korea was invited to attend the session, which the Obama administration billed as the largest gathering of world leaders on US soil since the UN founding conference in San Francisco in 1945. The leaders agreed to hold a followup nuclear security summit in South Korea in 2012. In a concluding news conference, Obama said he was confident China would join other nations in pressing for tough new sanctions on Iran for continuing to defy the international community in seeking such weapons.
Tehran: If Iran is Attacked, Nuclear Devices Will Go Off in American Cities
April 14….(DEBKA) This warning, along with an announcement that Iran would join the world's nuclear club within a month, raised the pitch of Iranian anti-US rhetoric to a new high Tuesday, April 13, as 47 world leaders gathered in Washington for President Barack Obama's Nuclear Security Summit. The statement published by Kayhan said: "If the US strikes Iran with nuclear weapons, there are elements which will respond with nuclear blasts in the centers of America's main cities." For the first time, Debkafile's military sources report, Tehran indicated the possibility of passing nuclear devices to terrorists capable of striking inside the United States. Without specifying whether those elements would be Iranian or others, Tehran aimed at the heart of the Nuclear Security Summit by threatening US cities with nuclear terror. Debkafile's Iranians sources report that Tehran is playing brinkmanship to demonstrate that the Washington summit, from which Iran and North Korea were excluded, failed before it began, because terrorist elements capable of striking inside the US had already acquired nuclear devices for that purpose. Although Iran has yet to attain operational nuclear arms, our military sources believe it does possess the makings of primitive nuclear devices or "dirty bombs." In an interview ahead of the summit, President Obama warned: "If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications would be devastating." In another shot at the summit, Behzad Soltani, deputy director of Iran's Atomic Commission, announced Tuesday: "Iran will join the world nuclear club within a month in a bid to deter possible attacks on the country." He added: "No country would even think about attacking Iran once it is in the club." The Iranian official's boast was run by the Fars news agency, published by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Behzadi further pointed to the construction of 360 MW nuclear power plant and a 40 MW research reactor in Iran's central city of Arak, claiming the projects were 70 percent complete. This plant is generally believed to have been built to enable Iran to produce weapons-grade plutonium as an alternative weapons fuel to highly-enriched uranium and material for radioactive weapons. Sunday, April 11, Debkafile reported that Iran is making much better progress than Western and Israeli intelligence estimates have held toward completing the Arak heavy water reactor. Along with the strides made in its nuclear manufacturing capacity, Tehran's anti-US rhetoric has grown more strident in the past week. Thursday, April 8, Iran's Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj.Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said if the United States made any military moves on the Islamic Republic "none of the American troops in the region would go back home alive." Debkafile's military sources report the presence of app. 220,000 US soldiers in the countries around Iran, including Gulf bases and waters, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iranian general was reacting to US defense secretary Robert Gates' warning that Washington's policy decision to limit the use of nuclear arms if attacked did not apply to Iran and North Korea.
Israeli Nuke Plant Within Rocket Range of Gaza
(Technical advances provided by Iran would mark dangerous escalation of jihadi capabilities)
April 14….(WND) Terrorists in the Gaza Strip claimed to WND they test-fired a rocket two weeks ago capable of traveling 31 miles, putting Israel's nuclear plant within reach. If their claim is correct, it would mark a major and dangerous escalation of Palestinian rocketing capabilities. Members of the Islamic Jihad group told WND they launched a rocket two weeks ago from the northern Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Israeli town of Ashdod. The jihadists said they fired the rocket into the sea intentionally to test its range. The Islamic Jihad members claimed the rocket traveled 50 kilometers, or 31 miles. Israel's Dimona nuclear plant is about 50 kilometers from Gaza. A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces would only confirm to WND that a rocket landed in the sea two weeks ago but would not comment on the distance the rocket traveled. Hamas is known to possess 122 mm Katyusha rockets, which have a range of about 18 miles, and has fired improved 122 mm Katyusha's, with ranges of up to 30 miles. The Egyptian intelligence official said Hamas may be saving larger, 220 mm rockets, with ranges in the vicinity of 44 miles, which would place both Dimona and Tel Aviv within range. Israeli officials say Hamas is thought to have also acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fajr-3 missiles with an even longer range.
Egypt: Press Israel on Nukes As Well As Iran
April 13….(Breitbart) Egypt called Monday for world powers to press both Iran and Israel on nuclear weapons, saying that the Middle East should be a zone free of the ultra-destructive arms. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, who is representing Egypt at a major summit in Washington on nuclear security, voiced hope that diplomacy rather than sanctions would dissuade Iran from nuclear weapons. But he said the so-called P5, the five permanent members on the Security Council, should press Israel on its refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). "Let's also try to convince the P5 to bring Israel onboard. You see, you have possibly today two emerging threats" in the Middle East, Gheit told the "PBS Newshour" on US public television. "We are eager that we do not have a nuclear Iran, as well as we do not want to see a nuclear Israel. We want a zone that is free of nuclear weapons, and it can be done," he said. Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity, refusing to confirm or deny its arsenal. Iran is part of the NPT but Western powers believe it is in violation of the treaty and is pursuing nuclear weapons. The clerical regime insists it is only seeking the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the last minute pulled out of the Washington summit, reportedly out of concern that Arab states and Turkey would shift the focus to Israel and away from its arch-enemy Iran.
Obama Gathers World Leaders For Nuclear Summit
April 13….(New York Times) Three months ago, American intelligence officials examining satellite photographs of Pakistani nuclear facilities saw the first wisps of steam from the cooling towers of a new nuclear reactor. It was one of three plants being constructed to make fuel for a second generation of nuclear arms. The message of those photos was clear: While Pakistan struggles to make sure its weapons and nuclear labs are not vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda, the country is getting ready to greatly expand its production of weapons-grade fuel. The Pakistanis insist that they have no choice. A nuclear deal that India signed with the United States during the Bush administration ended a long moratorium on providing India with the fuel and technology for desperately needed nuclear power plants. Now, as critics of the arrangement point out, the agreement frees up older facilities that India can devote to making its own new generation of weapons, escalating one arms race even as President Obama and President Dimitri Medvedev of Russia sign accords to shrink arsenals built during the cold war. Obama met with leaders of India and Pakistan yesterday, a day ahead of a two-day Washington gathering with 47 nations devoted to the question of how to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists. In remarks to reporters about the summit meeting, Obama called the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon “the single biggest threat to US security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term.” The summit meeting is the largest gathering of world leaders called by an American president since Franklin D. Roosevelt organized the 1945 meeting in San Francisco that created the United Nations. (He died two weeks before the session opened.) But for all its symbolism and ceremony, this meeting has quite limited goals: seeking ways to better secure existing supplies of bomb-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium. The problem that India and Pakistan represent, though, is deliberately not on the agenda. Mr. Obama said he expected “some very specific commitments” from world leaders. “Our expectation is not that there’s just some vague, gauzy statement about us not wanting to see loose nuclear materials,” he said. “We anticipate a communiqué that spells out very clearly, here’s how we’re going to achieve locking down all the nuclear materials over the next four years, with very specific steps in order to assure that.” Those efforts began at the end of the cold war, 20 years ago. Today officials are more sanguine about the former Soviet stockpiles and the focus is now wider.
Who Are the World's Nuclear Powers?
April 13….(Nuclear Threat Initiative) The main goal of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Monday and Tuesday is to find ways to prevent the spread of nuclear materials and know-how. Here are some details of official and unofficial nuclear powers and their weapon stocks:
Official Nuclear Powers
* UNITED STATES: Under a new treaty, a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the United States and Russia will limit the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550, 30 percent lower than the ceiling the 2002 Treaty of Moscow established for each side by 2012. The new treaty, which is to be signed on Thursday, will not come into force without its ratification by lawmakers in both countries. According to the START counting rules, as of January 2009 the United States had an estimated 5,200 nuclear warheads and 2,700 operationally deployed warheads (2,200 strategic and 500 nonstrategic). The 2002 Treaty of Moscow (the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT) between the United States and Russia, states that each country must reduce their deployed strategic nuclear forces to 1,700-2,200 warheads by 2012. Obama's "Prague Speech" in April 2009 committed the United States to the long-term goal of zero nuclear weapons.
* RUSSIA: Russia is estimated to have around 14,000 nuclear weapons, although the total is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical weapons. Under provisions of START I, the Russian nuclear arsenal has been reduced to around 3,909 strategic nuclear warheads as of January 2009.
* FRANCE: France has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1992. In 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the country would leave its submarine missile arsenal in place while cutting its stock of air-launched weapons by a third to around 290 warheads. As of September 2008, France had already pared its arsenal to about 300 nuclear warheads.
* BRITAIN: Its nuclear stockpile consists of fewer than 200 strategic and "sub-strategic" warheads on four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. As the first two submarines of the fleet will be retired in 2024, in early 2007 British lawmakers accepted a plan to design a new class of replacement nuclear-armed submarines. However, with a new Strategic Defense Review due to be conducted after next month's general election, the merits of renewing Britain's Strategic Trident system will again be an issue of contention.
* CHINA: China is estimated to have about 250 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and sufficient stocks of fissile material to produce a much larger arsenal. It acceded to the NPT in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state. China has pledged not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states.
Other "Declared" Nuclear Nations
* NORTH KOREA: North Korea promised to abandon its nuclear programs in 2005 but later backed away from the agreement, testing nuclear devices in October 2006 and in May 2009. It has refused to resume "six-party" talks with South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States on curbing its nuclear ambitions. Experts believe North Korea, which announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003, has produced enough plutonium for six to eight bombs.
* INDIA: India has formally declared itself a nuclear weapon state. New Delhi is likely to have manufactured weapons-grade plutonium for at least 100 warheads. A 2007 report from the International Panel on Fissile Materials estimated 50-60 warheads had been assembled.
* PAKISTAN: Pakistan is believed to have stockpiled about 580-800 kg (1,279-1,764 lb) of highly enriched uranium, sufficient to build 30 to 50 fission bombs. According to the United States, China helped Pakistan by providing nuclear-related materials, scientific expertise and technical assistance. Pakistan's poor record of preventing attacks on even secure military targets has raised concern that militants could penetrate a nuclear facility. Analysts say that while there is minimal risk insurgents could get their hands on a nuclear missile, there is a danger they could steal some fissile material which could be used to build a "dirty bomb." Neither India nor Pakistan are signatories to the NPT.
Other Undeclared Nations
* ISRAEL: Israel is widely believed to possess a sizable nuclear arsenal but maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity. Based on estimates of the plutonium production capacity of the Dimona reactor, Israel has about 100-200 advanced nuclear explosive devices. Officially, Israel has declared that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Israel has not signed the NPT treaty. * IRAN: Iran has been a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT since 1970. It has a uranium enrichment program which it says is to produce energy. Western powers suspect Iran is trying to develop the means to make atomic bombs because of its past failure to declare nuclear facilities to the UN nuclear watchdog and continued restrictions on UN inspections. Iran is under UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment and the United States is leading a push at the United Nations to impose additional punitive measures on Tehran. U.S. officials cite estimates that Iran, which denies it is seeking to build nuclear weapons, could have a nuclear weapon by the middle of this decade.
Israel Marks Holocaust Day
April 13….(Israel Today) As it does every year on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, Israel came to a standstill at 10am Monday morning as air raid sirens blared across the country commemorating the senseless massacre of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust. Memorial ceremonies were held at several locations, as the nation's leadership took time away from their duties to pay their respects to those who perished, those who survived and the thousands of Gentiles who risked and often lost their own lives to save those of Jews targeted by the Nazi regime. Meanwhile, a prominent Israeli-British historian warned that the slogan "Never Again" is fading, and that there is a very real possibility for a repeat of the Holocaust. In his new book "A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad," Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich explains that the politics and social attitudes that gave rise to and allowed the Nazi Holocaust to occur are still very much with us. In particular, Wistrich notes that Islam has much more openly conducted a religious war against the Jews in recent years, while Europe and the West have reacted with general indifference to that fact. "We are in an era once again where the Jews are facing genocidal threats as a people," Wistrich said in an interview with Ha'aretz. "We have not been in that situation for quite a while. And maybe this is the first time since the Holocaust that Jews feel that this is palpable." Wistrich also acknowledged the enormous rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years, fueled largely by more brazen Muslim populations there. An annual study done by Tel Aviv University titled "Anti-Semitism Worldwide" revealed that attacks on and harassment of Jews doubled in 2009, especially in Europe and Canada. In 2008 there were 559 reported incidents of anti-Semitism worldwide. In 2009 that number jumped to 1,129. The UK was the biggest offender, with anti-Semitic incidents there increasing from 112 in 2008 to 374 in 2009. France was close behind, with 50 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 and 195 in 2009. Canada saw an increase from just 13 anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 to 138 incidents in 2009. The report noted that the enormous jump in just one year can be attributed to the blurring of lines between hatred of Jews as a people and condemnation of Israel as a nation. In other words, and as many Israelis and friends of Israel have warned, anti-Israel sentiment is the new anti-Semitism.
Israel to Become Center of New 'Oil and Gas Rush'
April 13….(Israel Today) A top US energy industry expert believes Israel is going to soon experience an "oil and gas rush" by major Western energy development companies. Speaking to the Israeli financial newspaper Globes, Fred Zeidman said the recent discovery of a massive natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast had drawn the attention of every major Western energy company. Israeli companies Delek and Isramco have already tapped the natural gas field, together with British energy giant Noble Energy. Zeidman noted that quite often, "as soon as Noble goes to a place, many other companies follow in its wake." That could mean an enormous economic boom for Israel and its transformation overnight into a major international energy exporter. The natural gas field in the Levant Basin (the western Mediterranean) is estimated to hold 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, making it the largest natural gas resource ever found. The area is also believed to contain at least 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Is Obama Targeting Israel's Nuclear Program?
April 13….(Israel Today) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided suddenly late last week to not attend this week's US-hosted nuclear arms summit. Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Atomic Affairs Dan Meridor will represent Israel in Netanyahu's stead. According to Netanyahu's office, the decision was made after learning that Egypt and Turkey intended to turn the summit into an international effort to bring an end to Israel's nuclear program. Without the Israeli leader in attendance, it will be much more difficult to do that. But Israel's Ma'ariv daily newspaper reported just before the weekend that it may not have been only Egypt and Turkey that planned to ambush Netanyahu. Scientists at Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona told the newspaper that for the past several months, they have been unable to obtain visas to enter the US and attend American universities, where in the past they regularly advanced their knowledge in the fields of physics, chemistry and nuclear engineering. The scientists said the Obama Administration has placed an unofficial embargo on parts and supplies needed for the Dimona reactor. Is it possible that Obama himself intended to strong-arm Netanyahu into finally signing Israel up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? Considering tensions between the two leaders in recent months and Obama's near-outright hostility toward Israel, many in Jerusalem believe that to be the case.
Absence of Netanyahu, Brown at Nuke Summit
April 13….(Daily Caller) President Obama is holding one of the biggest global summits ever on US soil starting Monday, but for all the hoopla, the event will be missing America’s strongest allies. As remarkable as it is, the fact that neither British Prime Minister Gordon Brown nor Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are attending President Obama’s nuclear security summit in Washington Monday and Tuesday is not altogether surprising. Relations with both countries, Israel in particular, have grown strained under Obama. It is a curious state of affairs when relations with our major democratic allies are all wobbly at once,” said Michael Green, a former foreign policy adviser to President George W. Bush, who also listed Japan and South Korea as traditional allies whose relationships with the US have frayed under Obama. “And one has to ask why righting these key alliances has not received more attention,” he said. The president’s critics, many of them from the Bush administration, say the summit absences, heads of state from Australia and Saudia Arabia also are not attending, are the most glaring examples of a floundering foreign policy that treats rivals and enemies better than friends. “He seems to want to engage rivals, even enemies, more than spend time with friends and allies,” said David Kramer, a top State Department official in the Bush administration. Elliot Abrams, another former top Bush administration foreign policy adviser, said the current White House was guilty of “diplomatic malpractice.” “In his treatment of Netanyahu, the president has shown an odd understanding of what it means to be a US ally. Surely it should mean that inevitable disagreements are handled privately whenever possible. Surely it should mean avoiding steps that seek to weaken or humiliate a foreign leader,” Abrams said.
Israel, Former Friend, Now Enemy?
April 13….(Bible Prophecy Today) All my life I've admired the determination of Jews worldwide to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Israel and defend it (repeatedly) against the implacable hatred of surrounding Muslim states. I'm not a Jew, but the survival of Israel and, even more, its success as an economy and a democracy has earned my respect and the respect of a vast majority of Americans. All of my life until now, American administrations since the establishment of Israel in 1948, both Democrat and Republican, have reflected this American respect and admiration and stood by our ally, Israel. Americans have been willing to, in effect, guarantee the survival of Israel. President Obama appears poised to reverse this position and abandon Israel. This course will lead to war – possibly nuclear war. Every president since Nixon has sought to further a "peace process" in the Middle East. This has largely been a waste of time for all parties. To the Israelis, this interminable and fruitless exercise is the price for continuing political and military support from the West and particularly from the US Israel knows it must look "reasonable" and "open to compromise." To the Muslims, this "process" is a long-term strategy to separate Israel from its allies in the West and leave it vulnerable to defeat and extermination in a repeat of Muslim victory over the Western crusaders 700 years ago. Obama built on the "two state solution" advocated by the last few American administrations by requiring new concessions from Israel. Not only were Jewish settlements outside the 1967 boundaries of Israel to stop, but even private residential construction in disputed Jerusalem must stop pending the boundaries of a new Palestinian state. This new demand marked the first time an American administration conceded the Palestinian point that parts of Jerusalem now part of Israel should become incorporated in the new "Palestine." In fact, Obama is more upset by a Jew building an apartment building in a residential neighborhood in Jerusalem than he is by Iran building an atomic bomb, a bomb the Iranians have promised to use to exterminate Israel. Iran, says our president, has a right to nuclear power. Obama has not stopped Iran from importing gasoline. Until that sanction is placed on Iran, the constant call for "sanctions" against Iran for its ongoing crash program to produce nuclear weapons will be hollow, and all nations know it. Obama appears deliberately willing to live with the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Russians and the Chinese will never allow Iran to be "sanctioned" in any meaningful way. Iranian oil has made China an Iranian ally. Iranian money has made Russia's military factories rich and bought Russian support. Obama's disgraceful treatment of Prime Minister Netanyahu during Netanyahu's recent visit to Washington was second only to the notorious "no pictures, no joint press conference, and oh, can you exit the White House through the door where we put the household trash?" treatment of the Dalai Lama. This week's 47-nation conference in Washington, DC, on nuclear nonproliferation will continue to ignore the fact that China and Russia are the biggest "proliferators" of all. North Korea got nukes and missiles tech from China, which got it in turn from Russia, who also supplied the Indians with same. Pakistan had to have nukes to offset India, and China happily supplied them, too. Chinese nuclear warhead and missile designs show up now in Iran and for a while in a nuclear reactor in Syria, until the Israelis bombed that reactor. Obama apparently set up Egypt and Turkey to ambush Israel at this conference with the demand that Israel sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It's increasingly apparent that Obama views Israel as more of a problem than Iran. Netanyahu canceled his participation in the conference, sending a lower level delegation to the conference instead. Obama retaliated by barring US entry visas to all Israeli scientists even remotely connected to the Israel nuclear program. During this last year the infamous "lottery" visa program allowed citizens of Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Qatar, Libya and Egypt (among other nations) to enter the US legally, but not Israeli scientists. They're barred. An emboldened nuclear-armed Iran bent on fulfilling an apocalyptic prophecy combined with a cornered and abandoned (and nuclear armed) Israel is not a "peace process." It is a recipe for nuclear war.
US Weapons to Lebanon Despite Hizbullah Closeness
April 12….(Israel Nationa News) With the dividing lines between Hizbullah and the Lebanese Armed Forces not altogether clear, the United States has delivered weapons and ammunition to Israel's northern neighbor and thereby possibly to its enemy. The US embassy in Lebanon announced last week that on April 2 it had delivered the first in a series of shipments of weapons and ammunition. The shipment included 1,000 M16A4 rifles, 10 missile launchers, 1,583 grenade launchers, and 538 sets of day/night binoculars and night-vision devices. It was stressed that the equipment would be supported with training provided by the US government. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr visited Washington in February to discuss military cooperation, especially US assistance to the LAF to fight terrorism. A month ago, Minister Murr told Lebanese Al-Manar television that though he does not support integrating Hizbullah arms and forces within the LAF, “this does not mean we should offer Israel a favor and disarm Hizbullah.” Insinuating that the issue is not a matter of consensus, Murr said, “There are some Lebanese annoyed by the existence of Hizbullah’s arms, and I could be one of them,” but he acknowledged that Hizbullah’s weapons deter Israel. Murr is said to be one of the government ministers considered close to the President of Lebanon. Al-Qaeda, for its part, apparently views the LAF and Hizbullah as working together, to help Israel. Lebanon’s Daily Star reported last week that Saleh al-Qaraawi, an Al-Qaeda member who is listed among Saudi Arabia’s 85 most wanted terrorists, spoke on the CNN Arabic news channel, accusing the Lebanese army, Hizbullah and the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) of being traitors and of “working for the benefit of the Jews.”
Netanyahu Slams World Silence on Iran
(Netanyahu warns Iran’s genocidal intentions reminiscent of holocaust)
April 12….(Jerusalem Post) Marking the start of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day before a crowd of hundreds that gathered in the Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem on Sunday night, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu chided the international community for its relative silence in the face of Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish State and the Islamic regime's ongoing race towards nuclear weapons. "We are witness today to the new, old fire of hatred," Netanyahu said from the podium. "Hatred of Jews inflamed by organizations and regimes of Islamic extremists, most of all Iran and its satellites." "Iran's leaders are rushing to develop nuclear weapons as they freely announce their desire to destroy Israel," he continued. "But in the face of these calls to erase the Jewish State from the face of the earth time and time again, we see at best mild protests, and these too seem to be fading." "We don't hear the forceful protests that are required, we don't hear strong denouncement, or the angry voice," he added. "But as usual, there are those who direct their criticisms against us, against Israel." "The world accepts Iran's declarations of annihilation yet we still do not see the international determination required to prevent Iran from arming. I call on the enlightened nations to rise up and denounce this intention to destroy, and to act with real determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons." Speaking before the prime minister, President Shimon Peres also addressed the Iranian threat, stressing that the world could not display the apathy that had cost so many lives in the past. "It is our right and duty to demand of the nations of the world not to repeat their indifference, which has cost millions of human lives, including theirs. The United Nations must be attentive to the threats of annihilation coming from one of its members, against another member state," Peres said. Peres added that the fire in which Jewish books were burned during the Holocaust would continue to burn "in our hearts, as an impossible separation from the six million of our brothers, men, women, elderly. From a million and a half of our children, an incredible potential for life, for ability, that was annihilated, a loss never to return." The ceremony began Sunday evening at 8 pm and was broadcast live on Israeli television. The central theme for this year’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day is "the Voice of the Survivors," those who, according to a press release from Yad Vashem, “honor the victims and strive to safeguard their memory.”
(Grace is free to each of us, but it wasn’t free for God to extend it to us)
April 12….(Charles Stanley) Grace is God’s undeserved goodness and kindness toward us without regard to our merit or worth. It is freely bestowed on all who believe the good news that Jesus is the Son of God, and He died for their sins. Although grace is free, it isn’t cheap, the Lord paid a high price to obtain this blessing for us. He left the wealth of heaven to come to earth so that He could redeem us and give us the riches of His celestial home. Think of what that meant in terms of Jesus’ earthly life: The One who is Creator and Owner of all things lived on earth without possessions. He was born in a borrowed stable, had no place to lay His head during the years of His itinerant ministry, and borrowed not only a donkey for entering Jerusalem but also an upper room for the last supper. Even the tomb was not His own. Christ also laid aside the glory He had with the Father. Although He never ceased being God while on the earth, His radiant divinity was veiled with human flesh. Being born as a helpless baby, Jesus gave up the use of His omniscience and went through all the stages of human growth and development. The Son of God descended from reigning on the Father’s throne to washing the dirty feet of His disciples. Christ became poor but lost nothing. Jesus regained the glory of heaven and brought us along. In following Him, believers likewise lose nothing and gain everything. We die to self and gain our souls; give away riches and receive heavenly treasures; and humble ourselves to be exalted in God’s time.
WEEK OF APRIL 4 THROUGH APRIL 10
Nuclear Posturing, Obama Style
Krauthammer) Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It
involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive
beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place.
During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge
conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive
U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow. Was this credible? Would we have done
it? Who knows? No one’s ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that, a
declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice. Our policies did.
The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never
invaded. We never used nukes. That’s why nuclear doctrine is important. The
Obama administration has just issued a new one that “includes significant
changes to the US nuclear posture,” said Defense Secretary Bob Gates. First
among these involves the US response to being attacked with biological or
chemical weapons. Under the old doctrine, supported by every president of both
parties for decades, any aggressor ran the risk of a cataclysmic US nuclear
response that would leave the attacking nation a cinder and a memory. Again:
Credible? Doable? No one knows. But the threat was very effective. Under
President Obama’s new policy, however, if the state that has just attacked us
with biological or chemical weapons is “in compliance with the Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT),” explained Gates, then “the US pledges not to use or threaten to
use nuclear weapons against it.” Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are
lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve-gas attack.
The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the
attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker
is up to date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from
nuclear retaliation. Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs, and
other conventional munitions. However, if the lawyers tell the president that
the attacking state is NPT non-compliant, we are free to blow the bastards to
nuclear kingdom come. This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist
deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop,
the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community
service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections.
Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does
anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear
weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the
US without fear of nuclear retaliation? The naïveté is stunning. Similarly
stunning is the Obama pledge to forswear development of any new nuclear
warheads, indeed, to permit no replacement of aging nuclear components without
the authorization of the president himself. This under the theory that our moral
example will move other countries to eschew nukes. On the contrary. The last
quarter-century, the time of greatest superpower nuclear-arms reduction, is
precisely when Iran and North Korea went hellbent into the development of
nuclear weapons. It gets worse. The administration’s nuclear posture review
declares US determination to “continue to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in
deterring non-nuclear attacks.” The ultimate aim is to get to a blanket doctrine
of no first use. This is deeply worrying to the many small nations that for half
a century relied on the extended US nuclear umbrella to keep them from being
attacked or overrun by far more powerful neighbors. When smaller allies see the
United States determined to move inexorably away from that posture, and for them
it’s not posture, but existential protection, what are they to think? Fend for
yourself. Get yourself your own WMD’s. Go nuclear if you have to. Do you imagine
they are not thinking that in the Persian Gulf? This administration seems to
believe that by restricting retaliatory threats and by downplaying our reliance
on nuclear weapons, it is discouraging proliferation. But the opposite is true.
Since World War II, smaller countries have agreed to forgo the acquisition of
deterrent forces, nuclear, biological, and chemical, precisely because they
placed their trust in the firmness, power, and reliability of the American
deterrent. Seeing America retreat, they will rethink. And some will arm. There
is no greater spur to hyper-proliferation than the furling of the American
Obama Using Nuclear Issue to Solve Mideast Crisis by Isolating Israel?
April 9….(DEBKAfile) The White House is furious over Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s withdrawal, coming as it did shortly after the US and Russian presidents signed a 30 percent warhead reduction treaty in Prague. Intelligence-atomic energy minister Dan Meridor will represent the prime minister. Relations have gone from bad to worse since the flare-up between US president Barack Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister at their White House meeting on March 23. They have since dropped another notch over a new falling-out between the two governments, focusing this time on the absence of security borders in the new US Middle East plan, our sources reported. Washington took his withdrawal from the nuclear summit as a message that Netanyahu would no longer cooperate with the US on security matters so long as the Obama administration pursued a policy Israel regarded as detrimental to its security interests. Debkafile's Jerusalem sources say the prime minister acted out of two motives:
Israeli government circles were advised to read two reports leaked to US
newspapers (Washington Post: Obama weighs new peace plan for the Middle East
and the New York Times: Should US design Mideast peace plan?) which appeared
to herald the White House's intention to impose a peace settlement on Israel.
Our sources in Washington and Jerusalem named National Security Adviser James
Jones as the source of the leaks. One senior source said the leaked reports were
serious because "President Obama has his mind set on getting the borders of
Israel and the future Palestinian state negotiated and settled in four months.
This process leaves no room for any discussion on the security frontiers
promised Israel for decades, yet the US president expects the Netanyahu
government to accept Washington's borders-cum-Palestinian state package without
demur. His planners have shaped a Palestinian state within borders that make no
provision for Israeli security. That is something the Netanyahu government will
Golan, Not Just Jerusalem, Key to Mideast Peace
April 9….(Ha Aretz) The solution to the Jerusalem problem is widely known: The Jewish neighborhoods stay in Israel, the Arab ones are given to Palestine and the Holy Basin becomes part of a special regime. The solution to the refugee problem is also commonly known: Palestinians' right of return will apply to the territory of the Palestinian state, while such claims will not apply to the territory of the Jewish state. Just as well known is the solution to the settlement problem: Territory swaps and annexing large settlement blocs to Israel, and the eviction of isolated settlements. All of these solutions easily ensure that a demilitarized Palestinian state will live peacefully next to the Jewish nation state. And will allow us to move, within a year or two, from an era of conflict to an era of peace. But here's the rub: None of these popular, simple solutions can be implemented in the foreseeable future. As of today, the Palestinians are not agreeing to a demilitarized Palestine or a Jewish Israel, nor are they willing to renounce their claim to return to sovereign Israel. Israel, for its part, does not have a state institution powerful enough to evict 100 settlements with their 100,000 residents. And neither Israel nor Palestine possess the maturity and responsibility necessary to run a delicate coexistence regime over Jerusalem, the world's most dangerous city. In the second half of 2010, the United States intends to pull half of its forces out of Iraq; it also seeks to end the war in Afghanistan some time in 2011. In between, it will have to deal with Iran. To succeed in these three gigantic missions, the United States is trying to appeal to the Arab Muslim world. It's working to show that it is as attentive to 330 million Arabs as it is to 13 million Jews. As such, Washington is tempted to believe in the impossible: pleasing Islam by quickly closing the file on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This temptation is a lethal one. The United States can push Israel, but not the Palestinians. Trying to force the parties into a false, quick peace will end either in an explosion or in a dangerous, biased agreement. Either way, the result will be the opposite of that sought by the Americans. Breaking Israel's back and instigating a series of ongoing crises in Jerusalem will destabilize the Middle East; sooner or later, it will bring about a renewal of violence. The war that will eventually erupt will not be a local one, but a regional war with a religious dimension. The Obama administration has but one way out: Syria. Only an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement can balance out the Middle East. Only an Israeli-Syrian peace deal will help Iraq, isolate Iran and indirectly contribute to the cause in Afghanistan. Only such an agreement can create the time frame necessary to guarantee slow but certain progress on the Palestinian track. So instead of demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers Jerusalem, Washington should demand that he delivers the Golan Heights. US President Barack Obama may throw all his weight behind a peace agreement in the north.
Netanyahu Won't Attend Obama Nuke Summit
(PM cancels trip after discovering that several Muslim states will be seeking to bring up Israel's failure to sign NPT during Washington summit; 'These states intend to exploit occasion to slam Israel)
April 9….(YNET) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be heading to Washington next week for the nuclear summit organized by US President Barack Obama. The PM made the decision Thursday after finding out that several Muslim states intend to bring up Israel's failure to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Earlier, the PM's Office issued an official statement announcing the trip. "In the last 24 hours we received reports about the intention of various states that will be present at the Washington conference to go beyond the issue of preventing nuclear terror," a senior source in Jerusalem said. "These states intend to exploit the occasion in order to slam Israel. The prime minister expressed his displeasure over these intentions, and he will therefore not be traveling to the summit." Officials in Jerusalem are concerned that Arab states and their supporters would seek to exert pressure on Israel over its reported nuclear capabilities. In addition, Netanyahu had not yet responded to demanded made by President Obama in respect to efforts to renew the talks with the Palestinians. Netanyahu was not scheduled to meet with President Obama during the summit; only nine world leaders of the roughly 46 in attendance are expected to meet with the president. According to the information received by Jerusalem, eight or nine Muslim countries intend to bring up the issue at the conference. Some of the information is premised on unequivocal remarks by summit organizers. The information prompted PM Netanyahu to reconsider his attendance at the summit, as he does not wish to make Israel the focus of public criticism over its failure to sign the NPT.
Iran Directly Threatens US
April 9….(Reuters) Iran's president said on Thursday he would not plead with opponents of Tehran's nuclear program in order to avoid sanctions as Russia and the United States said new measures might be necessary. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who Wednesday called President Barack Obama a nuclear-armed "cowboy", said Iran would "try to make an opportunity out of sanctions" rather than change its stance to avoid them. "We do not welcome the idea of threat or sanctions, but we would never implore those who threaten us with sanctions to reverse their sanctions against us," he was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA. Ahmadinejad was speaking as Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty in Prague. The two were "working together at the United Nations Security Council to pass strong sanctions on Iran," Obama said. Medvedev said he was unhappy with Iran's stance over its nuclear program which the West believes is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Tehran is not reacting to a range of suggested constructive compromise agreements. We can't close our eyes to this. That is why I do not exclude that Security Council will have to examine this question again," Medvedev told reporters. Obama is hoping to persuade Russia and China, both Security Council veto holders, to drop their traditional reluctance to the new sanctions. His campaign is likely to continue next week when both Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao attend a summit on nuclear security in Washington. While dismissing the sanctions threat, Iran has also warned against any military steps against its nuclear program. After several warnings that it would hit back at Israel if attacked from there, Iran's military chief said Thursday he would target US forces stationed in the Middle East if Washington attacked. "If America presents Iran with a serious threat and undertakes any measure against Iran, none of the American soldiers who are currently in the region would go back to America alive," Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. US troops are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which border Iran. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a military ceremony, Firouzabadi said a strike on Iran would also put oil supplies at risk. "If America wants to have the region's oil and its markets then the region's markets would be taken away from America and the Muslims' control over oil would increase".
US Confronted With Threat of Terrorists Acquiring Nuke Materials
April 9….(Fox News) As President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev basked in the glow of their newly signed landmark nuclear treaty that commits their nations to slashing their nuclear arsenals, looming large over Thursday's celebration in Prague was the challenge of stopping the threat of nuclear materials from disarmament falling into the hands of terror groups like Al Qaeda or rogue states like Iran who don't respect any treaties. The country with perhaps the most nuclear ambition is Iran, which is also the country that supports asymmetrical warfare through its network of terrorist tentacles, which reach around the world. Next week, leaders from more than 40 countries will gather in Washington to discuss improvements in securing nuclear materials. At a panel discussion on nuclear reduction, former CIA agent Valerie Plame said that "draining the swamp" is the only way to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists. The pact between the US and Russia commits the nations to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads by one-third and more than halve the number of missiles, submarines and bombers carrying them. The pact will shrink the nuclear warhead limit to 1,550 per country over seven years, about a third less than the 2,200 currently permitted. That still leaves the two countries with enough nuclear firepower to ensure mutual destruction several times over, but the move sets a foundation for deeper reductions, which both sides are already pursuing. The White House plans to lead calls for disarmament in May at the United Nations during an international conference on strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The new pact is only part of the Obama administration's new nuclear strategy. It was signed only days after the White House announced a fundamental shift in policy on the use of nuclear weapons, calling the acquisition of atomic arms by terrorists or rogue states a worse menace than the Cold War threat of mutual annihilation. At the treaty signing Thursday, Obama said nations that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and their non-proliferation obligations "will not be threatened by America's nuclear arsenal." "Those nations that follow the rules will find greater security and opportunity," he said. "Those nations that refuse to meet their obligations will be isolated, and denied the opportunity that comes with international integration."
Obama Mulls New Mideast Peace Plan
April 8….(Ha Aretz) US President Barack Obama is weighing the possibility of submitting a new American Middle East peace plan by this fall, senior Washington officials told the Washington Post on Wednesday. Speaking to columnist David Ignatius, two top administration officials claimed Obama was "seriously considering" proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Palestinian conflict. "Everyone knows the basic outlines of a peace deal," one official told the Washington Post columnist, referring to the agreement that was nearly reached at Camp David in 2000. The official added that if such a plan would be launched would rely on past progress on issues such as borders, Palestinian "right of return" and Jerusalem, with one of the officials claiming that "90 percent of the map would look the same" as in former negotiations. Ignatius also wrote in his Washington Post column that the planned peace plan would be linked with the issue of confronting Iran, with one US official saying that Mideast peace talks could sway the debate from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Iran: If Israel Attacks, It Will Be Destroyed
(Tehran's defense minister warns against bombing of nuclear facilities, says Iranian intelligence 'prevents Zionist regime from engaging in any type of adventure')
April 8….(YNET) Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi today toured the northwestern provinces of the Islamic Republic with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and said that "if the Zionist regime attacks Iran, there may not be much left of it." In reply to a reporter's question, Vahidi said Israel itself had said it was too weak to take on Iran. According to the IRNA news agency, the defense minister added that Iranian intelligence was preventing Israel from "engaging in any type of adventure" and was sure it was unable to attack Iran. Vahidi also addressed the possibility that the nuclear crisis would not be solved, and would drag Iran into a war. Iran sees the US as a country that behaves rationally, he said, and it would not make such a "big mistake" or take such a "dangerous step." Regarding Russia's contract with Iran for purchasing an advanced S-300 air defense system, Vahidi said that contact with Russia is being maintained, and that Moscow is committed to delivering the system on time. Iran also warned on Tuesday that an Israeli attack on Iran nuclear facilities would backfire onto Israel. Mojtaba Zolnour, representative of Iran's spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in the Revolutionary Guard, threatened, "The enemies know if they fire a missile toward Iran, Iranian missiles will be flying towards Tel Aviv even before the dust has settled." He added that it is hard for the world to accept Iran's progress, which has made Iran a superpower in the field of ballistics.
Jordan's King Abdullah Regrets Peace With Israel
April 7….(Israel Today) Jordan's King Abdullah II, widely regarded as the most moderate of Arab leaders, indicated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday that he regrets his father's decision to make peace with Israel. "Our relationship with Israel is at an all-bottom low. It hasn't been as bad as it is today and as tense as it is today," said Abdullah. He noted that Jordanians do not see any real tangible benefit from the peace with Israel: "There is no real economic relationship between Jordan and Israel. So economically we were better off in trade and in movement before my father signed the peace treaty." What Abdullah didn't mention was that according to the peace treaty between the two nations, Israel provides Jordan with a large portion of its annual water needs, and that many Israelis do business in Jordan, even if their Jordanian counterparts choose not to reciprocate. Abdullah went on to say that recent tension over Jewish building in Jerusalem is highly relevant to Jordan, since it is still recognized as the custodian of Muslim and many Christian holy sites there. However, Abdullah again left the picture incomplete, failing to note that when his country illegally occupied Jerusalem from 1948-1967, it summarily denied Jews and often Christians access to their holy sites. Abdullah concluded by warning Israel that its future would be at stake if it did not make peace on Arab terms in the very near future. Such saber-rattling from a leader considered Israel's best friend in the Arab world is further evidence of the increasing radicalization of the region, even its more "moderate" elements.
Obama Nuclear Plan Takes 'Dangerous' Risks With US Security
Leading national security expert Frank Gaffney has a few choice words for
President Barack Obama’s policies on the production and use of nuclear weapons,
“reckless,” “dangerous,” “irresponsible,” “ill-advised,” “very risky” and
“catastrophic.” Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security
Policy, also tells Newsmax that Obama is taking “considerable risks” with
Americans’ security, and his policies could ultimately lead to the “disarmament”
of the US. And he says the policies raise questions about the president’s
judgment “and his faithful execution of his constitutional responsibilities for
the common defense.” Gaffney was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in April
1987 to become assistant secretary of defense for International Security Policy,
the senior position in the Defense Department with responsibility for policies
involving nuclear forces, arms control and U.S.-European defense relations. He
also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms
Control Policy. The Obama administration is altering the country’s decades-old
nuclear weapons policy to reduce the role and number of such weapons, with the
target of a nuclear-free world. Obama would renounce the development of any new
nuclear weapons, and commit the US not to use nuclear weapons against
non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical
weapons. He is also about to sign a "New START" [Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty] with Russia reducing long-range nuclear weapons. Gaffney says: “Both the
new nuclear posture review and the START treaty reflect the president’s
overarching ambition, something that’s been a fixation of his going back to 1983
when he was a young radical at Columbia University, and that is with the idea of
disarming the world. “But as a practical matter the only country he can disarm
is the United States, and I think both of these are steps in that direction. “He
is foreclosing any modernization of our nuclear deterrent. He is saying we’re
not going to modernize our forces. The practical effect of the president’s
decision not to modernize our nuclear deterrent is to condemn it to
obsolescence, and to lead ultimately to the disarmament of the United States.”
“The American people are being confronted with a president who believes that he
can take considerable risks with their safety and security. Asked if Secretary
of Defense Robert Gates opposed the new policies, Gaffney responds: “We know for
sure that during the last administration, when he was also the secretary of
defense, he spoke very vociferously about the necessity of modernizing our
nuclear forces. “Anybody in a position of real responsibility who appreciates
that it is and will remain vital to the security of the United States to have a
credible, safe, reliable nuclear deterrent, will tell you that we need to
modernize the ones we have, because they’re increasingly not safe, increasingly
not reliable, and certainly ever less effective.” Obama has said he is now
convinced the course Iran is on will provide them with nuclear weapons
capabilities. Gaffney was asked if he is alarmed that the administration is not
taking a more aggressive approach with Iran. “It alarms me that at the very
moment the president is acknowledging that he is, essentially, just going to get
used to a nuclear-armed Iran, that one of the most dangerous countries on the
planet, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is getting nuclear weapons, he is saying
we’re going to permit the increasing devaluation, in fact disarmament, of this
country. “I just think that the juxtaposition of these two realities further
raises questions about President Obama’s judgment and his faithful execution of
his constitutional responsibilities for the common defense.”
Saudi Cleric To Visit Jerusalem
(Sheik Mohammed al-Areefi says visit aimed at strengthening Muslim claims to Israeli capital and 'Palestine')
April 6….(YNET) A Saudi cleric has announced on his television show that he will visit Jerusalem next week to bolster Muslim claims to the city. If Sheik Mohammed al-Areefi goes ahead with his plan, it would be an unprecedented trip for a prominent Saudi. Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, but most Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, observe a boycott of Israel and ban travel there. Al-Areefi told his viewers Sunday on the religious satellite channel Iqra that the next episode of his show would be about Muslim claims to Jerusalem and "Palestine". Al-Areefi said he would visit the city next week, though he did not specify when. He said he was not afraid of any "treachery from the Jews," as he had put his trust in God. Officials in Israel, which is in the midst of the Passover holidays, could not immediately be reached for comment. Al-Areefi is viewed as a comparative moderate among Saudi Arabia's conservative clergy.
Obama Limits When US Would Use Nuclear Arms
April 6….(New York Times) President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons, even in self defense. But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation. Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those adopted by his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China. It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the Cold War. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons, or launched a crippling cyberattack. Those threats, he argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and newly designed conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” Obama said during the interview in the Oval Office. White House officials said that the new strategy will leave open the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reaches a level that makes United States vulnerable to a devastating strike. Obama’s new strategy is bound to be controversial, both among conservatives who have warned against diluting America’s most potent deterrent, and among liberals who were hoping for a blanket statement that America would never be the first to use nuclear weapons. Obama argued for a slower course, saying, “We are going to want to make sure that we can continue to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons,” and, he added, to “make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.” The release of the new strategy, known as the “Nuclear Posture Review,” opens an intensive nine days of nuclear diplomacy geared toward reducing weapons. Obama’s plans to fly to Prague to sign a new arms control agreement with Russia on Thursday and then next week will host 47 world leaders in Washington for a summit on nuclear security. The most immediate test of the new strategy is likely to be in dealing with Iran, which has defied the international community by developing a nuclear program that it insists is peaceful but that the United States and its allies say is a precursor to weapons. Asked about the escalating confrontation with Iran, Obama said he was now convinced that “the current course they’re are on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities,” though he gave no timeline. He dodged when asked whether he shared Israel’s view that a “nuclear capable” Iran was as dangerous as one that actually possessed weapons. “I’m not going to parse that right now,” he said, sitting in his office as children played on the South Lawn of the White House during a day-long Easter Egg roll. However, he cited the example of North Korea, whose nuclear capabilities were unclear until it conducted a test in 2006, which it followed with a second shortly after Mr. Obama took office. “I think it’s safe to say that there was a time when North Korea was said to be simply a nuclear-capable state until it kicked out the IAEA and become a self-professed nuclear state,” he said. “And so rather than splitting hairs on this, I think that the international community has a strong sense of what it means to pursue civilian nuclear energy for peaceful purposes versus a weaponizing capability.”
Diplomatic Religious War on Jerusalem, Saudi Cleric to Visit
April 6….(IsraelNN.com) A Saudi Arabian cleric announced on television on Sunday he will make an unprecedented visit to Jerusalem next week as part of an intensive Arab world effort to claim Muslim ties to the city, which Arabs envision as the capital of an independent Palestinian Authority country. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said no applications have been made for a visa for the cleric, Sheikh Mohammed al-Areefi, and that they know nothing about his announcement. Al-Areefi told his viewers that he would broadcast his next show from Jerusalem to discuss Muslim claims to the city. Saudi Arabia bans travel to Israel and is one of the most fundamentalist Muslim countries. The Arab world has been conducting a campaign for several years that aims to deny Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, claiming that the Holy Temples never existed. To this end, valuable archaeological material from the Temple periods has been wilfully destroyed by excavations and construction undertaken illegally by the Arab Wakf on the Temple Mount. The Palestinian Authority plans to stage a children’s march on the city this week. Two years ago, Israeli police broke up a similar attempt to mark the Arab League's designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009.
Clinton’s Two-State Plan is Back
(End of ambiguity over two-state vision at root of Israel-US crisis)
April 5….(YNET) The crisis with the United States shows us for the umpteenth time that ambiguity is indeed a positive thing, as long as both sides enjoy it. When one of the sides, and especially if it’s a superpower, decides to call a spade a spade, a new reality emerges. The modified reality or a change in the rules of the game is tolerable as long as it is coordinated in advance. Yet such change causes grave damage once it’s being undertaken without advance notice by the strong side (the US), and this is precisely what happened during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit in Washington. In December 2000, President Bill Clinton presented his plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was not a list of abstract principle, but rather, concrete geographical, technical, and numerical proposals for resolving each of the core issues, borders, security arrangements, Jerusalem, refugees, and so on. Ever since then, the notion of the two-state solution in the eyes of any US Administration, and certainly a Democratic one, has been a codename for Clinton’s plan. Its essence is as follows: Two states between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, with the border between them premised on the 1967 boundaries (with minor changes,) a divided Jerusalem, limits on the Palestinian state’s militarization, and no return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. To the Americans, as well as to the parties to the conflict, it’s clear that a final-status agreement on the basis of two states is the Clinton plan with minor adjustments, regardless of who the negotiators are. For nine years, George W. Bush’s eight years in office and Obama’s one year, the Americans and Israelis preferred to make do with agreement on the ambiguous principle of two states. Both Prime Minister Sharon and PM Netanyahu were able to live with this abstract concept. It was convenient for both the US and Israel to explain that the nature of the final-status agreement is unknown, and it will be subject to negotiations between the two sides. Yet recently, Obama decided to no longer make do with the codename and ensure that Netanyahu also understands and agrees that endorsing the “two-status solution” means endorsing Clinton’s plan. This caused great embarrassment. PM Netanyahu assumed that real answers, if at all, will be needed only during the negotiations, yet he was asked to provide them here and now. Much has been written about the errors made in respect to the prime minister’s recent trip to the US. These were indeed serious errors, but most of them were tactical. The real mistake is different: Netanyahu thinks that the Clinton plan is bad for Israel; he also knows that he cannot implement it even if he wished to do so. In his first meeting with Obama, about a year ago, Netanyahu should have said: “The Clinton plan is invalid. It was no coincidence that both sided rejected it in 2000. As I agree that it’s important that we resolve the conflict, I would like to present you with alternate proposals or significant improvements (which are available, and Netanyahu is well familiar with them.) Please allow an Israeli-American team to discretely look into these different ideas for three months before you formulate your opinion.” Instead, Netanyahu officially endorsed the Clinton plan (which, as noted, is the only American interpretation of the “two-state solution.”) Yet when Obama asked him to say explicitly what he seemingly said in his Bar-Ilan speech, Netanyahu found it difficult to speak. The American conclusions of this are grim: Firstly, Israel has no alternate ideas. Secondly, the Clinton plan is the only solution and there is nothing else. Thirdly, Israel’s prime minister is an unreliable person. The distance from these conclusions to a situation whereby the US dictates a plan, including a binding timetable, is short.