WEEK OF MAY 27 THROUGH JUNE 2
US Appeals Court Strikes Against Defense of Marriage
June 1….(Washington Post) A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. The decision by a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston was a big win for President Obama, who recently said he supported states allowing gay men and lesbians to marry. His administration last year said it would no longer defend the 1996 law, which limits federal recognition of marriage to those between a man and a woman. The law thus denies a host of federal benefits, such as filing joint tax returns or survivor benefits, to same-sex couples who were legally married in states that allow it.
The decision by a panel made up of judges nominated by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton did not address whether the Constitution provides gays and lesbians a fundamental right to marriage. It also did not address a part of DOMA that says states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Some gay rights activists have felt that the limited question in the DOMA case made it a more attractive and incremental issue for an increasingly conservative Supreme Court than asking the justices to recognize a fundamental right of gays to marry. The case presents only “the question of how the federal government treats people once they are married in their states,” said Mary L. Bonauto, who argued the case for a group called the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). “We think this is a very solid decision to go before the Supreme Court.”
The decision by the Obama administration not to defend DOMA, a law that was signed but now disavowed by Clinton, prompted an angry response from House Republican leaders. They hired Paul D. Clement, who was solicitor general in the administration of George W. Bush, to defend the law in court. “We have always been clear we expect this matter ultimately to be decided by the Supreme Court, and that has not changed,” Clement said in a statement. The federal judges said the same. The case “couples issues of equal protection and federalism” with the need to defer to Congress when it shows a rationale for passing a statute, wrote Circuit Judge Michael Boudin, the Bush appointee. There are precedents helpful to each side, he said. “We have done our best to discern the direction of these precedents, but only the Supreme Court can finally decide this unique case,” he wrote. The most likely timetable is that the case could reach the justices in the fall, and if they decide to take it, it could be decided next year. Boudin wrote that the congressional record on why DOMA was needed was sparse, and for 150 years, “the desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute.”
But the Supreme Court, he said, requires Congress to speak with “special clarity” when it affects disadvantaged groups and when the action concerns issues traditionally left to the states, such as marriage. And the Supreme Court has ruled, the panel said, that “moral disapproval” is not adequate to justify discrimination based on sexual orientation. Since DOMA was passed in 1996, same-sex marriage has become legal in eight states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland and Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Obama Weighs Action to Prevent Al Qaeda Grabbing Syrian WMD
June 1….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) US President Barack Obama, though widely expected to pursue direct action against Syrian ruler Bashar following the Houla atrocity, is preoccupied with what he regards as a greater threat to the world: a potential grab for the huge Syrian stock of chemical and biological weapons by Al Qaeda’s or other terrorist organizations. This is reported exclusively by Debkafile’s Washington and intelligence sources. The US president is trying to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept his new plan for the immediate assignment by the UN Security Council of 3,000 armed monitors to Syria to take charge of the six chemical and biological stores. Another 2,000 will join the team later.
To allay Putin’s suspicions of a trick to insert Western armed forces into Syria against Moscow’s will, Obama suggested that most of the monitors would be Russian or nationals of governments lining up with its support of the Assad regime. Our sources learn that, in one of the conversations between the two presidents, Obama commented: “If only one barrel of anthrax reaches the hands of a Caucasian terrorist group, Russia will face its greatest terrorist threat in its history. Millions of Russians may perish.” It was clear from this comment that Assad’s WMD are not stored as warheads, bombs or shells but kept in large barrels or kegs in six underground bunkers, holding Sarin (GB), Tabun (GA) and VX nerve gases, some four kinds of mustard gas and anthrax. The storage silos are spread out among Al Safir, the main Syrian missile base in the north; Cerin, a biological research center on the Mediterranean shore; military facilities at Hama and Homs; the Syrian naval base leased to the Russians at Latakia; and Palmyra, on the highway between Homs and Aleppo.
According to the information reaching US intelligence, three of these locations are situated in heavily embattled areas between the Syrian army and rebels, in addition to which, in the last two weeks, al Qaeda elements have penetrated the war-torn districts with a view to seizing some of the WMD stores.
Obama warned Putin that the jihadists have never been so close to getting hold of large quantities of such deadly unconventional weapons, especially now that the Syrian army’s 4th Division, commanded by Assad’s brother Maher, which guards those stores, is additionally assigned with suppressing the revolt and therefore inadequately manned for securing them. If the Russian President buys his plan for 5,000 international monitors to take over the security assignment, Obama hopes he will also persuade Assad and even Tehran to accept it.
Early Thursday, May 31, the US president held a video-conference call on the subject with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, to brief them on his initiative and his talks with Putin. Debkafile’s sources in Washington and Jerusalem add that Obama also sent personal messages to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak warning them that if al Qaeda or any other terrorist groups get hold of these weapons of death, they could be smuggled into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Israel would be their number one target,” he said. These messages were relayed to Israeli leaders this week through visiting senior US intelligence and government figures, with the president’s assessment that the danger of Syrian WMD falling into terrorist hands was now more acute than a nuclear Iran. It provided the context for the IDF’s OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan’s remark Wednesday: “Within weeks or months we may face al Qaeda attacks from Syria.”
The Russian president has not yet given Obama his answer, still suspecting an American ruse for placing Western troops inside Syria. Hence his spokesman’s statement Wednesday: “Russia is not considering changing its stance on Syria and any attempts to apply pressure on Moscow are hardly appropriate.” Tehran, taking this to mean that Putin has not rejected Obama’s proposal, was put out enough for a forceful threat: “Western intervention in Syria would result in a regional upheaval that would undoubtedly engulf Israel," said Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani. “It would spread to Palestine and ash rising from the flames would definitely engulf the Zionist regime. US military officials should be aware of their dangerous game.” This was taken by sources in Washington as an Iranian threat to burn Israel if Obama’s plan to post 5,000 armed monitors in Syria goes through. Iranian sources told Debkafile that the threat was aimed equally at deterring Putin from cooperating with it.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, capped these veiled messages by warning the UN Security Council Wednesday night: “This becomes a proxy conflict with arms flowing in from all sides. And members of this Council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they are prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this Council.” By these words, the White House informed the Kremlin that if President Putin rejects Obama’s plan for posting 5,000 monitors in Syria, Washington will feel free to bypass the UN and the Russian veto and launch US-Western armed action in Syria in defiance of Moscow.
World Leaders Ignore International Law Where Israel is Involved
(Jewish Settlements in Judea and Samaria are Perfectly Legal and Legitimate)
May 31….(Eli. E. Hertz / Myths and Facts) The US Administration, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia's decision to rewrite history by labeling the Territories 'Occupied Territories,' the Settlements as an 'Obstacle to Peace' and 'Not Legitimate,' thus endowing them with an aura of bogus statehood and a false history. The use of these dishonest loaded terms, empowers terrorism and incites Palestinian Arabs with the right to use all measures to expel Israel.
The Jewish People's Right to the Land of Israel & The "Mandate for Palestine" & the Law of War
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States President Barack Obama, and the European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton became victims to the 'Occupation' mantra their own organization has repeated over and over in their propaganda campaign to legitimize the Arab position. Continuous pressure by the "Quartet" (U.S., the European Union, the UN and Russia) to surrender parts of the Land of Israel are contrary to international law as stated in the "Mandate for Palestine" document, that in article 6 firmly call to "encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." It also requires, under Article 5 of the Mandate to "seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the government of any foreign power." Any attempt by the World Leaders to negate the Jewish people's right to Palestine, Eretz-Israel, and to deny them access and control in the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations, is a serious infringement of international law, and as such - illegitimate.
International Law - The "Mandate for Palestine"
The "Mandate for Palestine" an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right under international law to settle anywhere in western Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law. Fifty-one member countries, the entire League of Nations, unanimously declared on July 24, 1922: "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine": "Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected." [italics in the original]
Law of War - Arab Unlawful Acts of Aggression in 1948
Six months before the War of Independence in 1948, Palestinian Arabs launched a series of riots, pillaging, and bloodletting. Then came the invasion of seven Arab armies from neighboring states attempting to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in accordance with the UN's 1947 recommendation to Partition Palestine, a plan the Arabs rejected. The Jewish state not only survived, it came into possession of territories, land from which its adversaries launched their first attempt to destroy the newly created State of Israel. Israel's citizens understood that defeat meant the end of their Jewish state before it could even get off the ground. In the first critical weeks of battle, and against all odds, Israel prevailed on several fronts.
The metaphor of Israel having her back to the sea reflected the image crafted by Arab political and religious leaders' rhetoric and incitement. Already in 1948 several car bombs had killed Jews, and massacres of Jewish civilians underscored Arab determination to wipe out the Jews and their state. 6,000 Israelis died as a result of that war, in a population of 600,000. One percent of the Jewish population was gone. In American terms, the equivalent is 3 million American civilians and soldiers killed over an 18-month period.
Israel's War of Independence in 1948 was considered lawful and in self-defense as may be reflected in UN resolutions naming Israel a "peace loving State" when it applied for membership at the United Nations. Both the Security Council (4 March, 1949, S/RES/69) and the UN General Assembly (11 May, 1949, (A/RES/273 (III)) declared: "[Security Council] Decides in its judgment that Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter."
Arab Unlawful Acts of Aggression in 1967
In June 1967, the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel with the clear purpose expressed by Egypt's President: "Destruction of Israel." At the end of what is now known as the Six-Day War, Israel, against all odds, was victorious and in possession of the territories of Judea and Samaria [E.H., The West Bank], Sinai and the Golan Heights. International law makes a clear distinction between defensive wars and wars of aggression. More than half a century after the 1948 War, and more than four decades since the 1967 Six-Day War, it is hard to imagine the dire circumstances Israel faced and the price it paid to fend off its neighbors' attacks.
Who Starts Wars Does Matter
Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, past President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) states the following facts: "The facts of the June 1967 'Six Day War' demonstrate that Israel reacted defensively against the threat and use of force against her by her Arab neighbors. This is indicated by the fact that Israel responded to Egypt's prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, its proclamation of a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the manifest threat of the UAR's [The state formed by the union of the republics of Egypt and Syria in 1958] use of force inherent in its massing of troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of UNEF. "It is indicated by the fact that, upon Israeli responsive action against the UAR, Jordan initiated hostilities against Israel. It is suggested as well by the fact that, despite the most intense efforts by the Arab States and their supporters, led by the Premier of the Soviet Union, to gain condemnation of Israel as an aggressor by the hospitable organs of the United Nations, those efforts were decisively defeated. "The conclusion to which these facts lead is that the Israeli conquest of Arab and Arab-held territory was defensive rather than aggressive conquest." Judge Sir Elihu Lauterpacht wrote in 1968, one year after the 1967 Six-Day War: "On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem. There was no question of this Jordanian action being a reaction to any Israeli attack. It took place notwithstanding explicit Israeli assurances, conveyed to King Hussein through the UN Commander, that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan. "Although the charge of aggression is freely made against Israel in relation to the Six-Days War the fact remains that the two attempts made in the General Assembly in June-July 1967 to secure the condemnation of Israel as an aggressor failed. A clear and striking majority of the members of the UN voted against the proposition that Israel was an aggressor."
Israel Has the Better Title to the Territory of Palestine, Including the Whole of Jerusalem
International law makes it clear: All of Israel's wars with its Arab neighbors were in self-defense. Professor, Judge Schwebel, wrote in What Weight to Conquest: "(a) a state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense; "(b) as a condition of its withdrawal from such territory, that State may require the institution of security measures reasonably designed to ensure that that territory shall not again be used to mount a threat or use of force against it of such a nature as to justify exercise of self-defense; "(c) Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title. "as between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt."
"No legal Right Shall Spring from a Wrong"
Professor Schwebel explains that the principle of "acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible" must be read together with other principles: "namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State." Simply stated: Arab illegal aggression against the territorial integrity and political independence of Israel, cannot and should not be rewarded. Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, stated: "Territorial Rights Under International Law By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel's territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article." Thus, under international law Israel acted lawfully by exercising its right to self-defense when it redeemed and legally reoccupied Judea and Samaria, known also as the West Bank.
Legalities aside, before 1967 there were no Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and for the first ten years of so-called occupation there were almost no Jewish settlers in the West Bank. And still there was no peace with the Palestinians. The notion that Jewish communities pose an obstacle to peace is a red herring designed to blame Israel for lack of progress in the 'Peace Process' and enable Palestinian leadership to continue to reject any form of compromise and reconciliation with Israel as a Jewish state.
Iran Warns: Foreign Intervention in Syria Will Bury Israel
(Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says that foreign intervention in Syria will spread and "bury the Zionist regime")
May 31….(Arutz) Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned on Wednesday against the devastating consequences of a Libyan-style intervention in Syria. According to a report in the Iranian-based Fars news agency, Larijani said that a policy of intervention in Syria would spread to “the occupied Palestinian territories” and would harm Israel. Noting the recent remarks by US and Western officials on Syria, Larijani was quoted as having said, “It seems that the US and the West are seeking to prepare the ground for a new crisis in Syria, since a UN military official has said that they may take military action in Syria as they did in Libya.” He went on to warn about the negative outcomes of such a move and noted, “Possibly, the US military officials are suffering a misunderstanding over themselves and over the regional issues because Syria's specifications are no way similar to those of Libya.”
Larijani warned that foreign intervention in Syria “will spread into (the occupied) Palestine and the ashes of such flame will definitely bury the Zionist regime of Israel.” Fars reported that the came after the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, warned Syria that it might face armed intervention. “'There is always a military option,” Dempsey was quoted as having told Fox News. On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said that military action in Syria could be possible, but only if it was backed by a UN resolution. Larijani’s warnings came a day after Iran tried to displace the blame on Israel for Syrian President Bashar Assad's campaign of terror against his people, and its backlash.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast pointed the finger at “the Zionist regime's hand” in a statement to media about Syrian government attacks on residents in the Houla region. “We palpably feel the Zionist regime's hand in Syria's internal developments,” Mehman-Parast said, adding that the only side that might gain from Syria's instability would be Israel, saying that “any crime committed in Syria can be traced back to the regime's hirelings.”
Obama Nixes French-Saudi plan to Bomb Assad’s Palace
May 31….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) US President Obama recently vetoed a detailed Franco-Saudi plan for ending President Bashar Assad’s rule by means of a massive air strike against his palace that would at one fell swoop wipe him, his family and top leadership circle out, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report. Their plan was for the presidential palace situated atop Mount Qassioun northeast of Damascus to be devastated by French warplanes taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off Syria’s Mediterranean coast and Saudi and United Arab Emirates bombers flying in through Jordan. They would bomb the palace for 12 hours in several sorties while at the same time American fighter jets launched from a US aircraft carrier cruising in the Mediterranean or Red Sea would shut down Syria’s air defenses, which are considered among the most sophisticated and densely-arrayed in the region. US warplanes would also keep the Syrian Air Force grounded and prevented from repulsing the incoming bombers.
This plan was presented to President Obama separately by Nicolas Sarkozy before he was voted out of office and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman, who arrived at the White House on April 12 for a personal presentation. The prince maintained that there is no end in sight for the Syrian conflict; it would only spread and ignite the rest of the Middle East. The peril could only be rooted out at source by a single, sharp military strike that would remove Assad and his close clan for good. This would be the only acceptable kind of Western-Arab armed intervention in Syria and it had the added advantage of being effective without bringing foreign boots to Syrian soil.
In early May, Sarkozy was still trying to talk Obama around to the plan. He spent his last days in the Elysée Palace in long telephone conversations with the White House in which he drove home three points:
1. Because Assad has concentrated his family, top military command and intelligence chiefs at a single nerve center behind the fortified walls of the Qassioun Palace, the snake’s head can feasibly be cut off at one stroke. The case of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi was different because, unlike Assad, he never stayed long in one place and was constantly on the move.
2. Once that nerve center is destroyed, Syrian army and intelligence would be bereft of their sources of command. Their troops may remain in their bases and wait for news, while their officers may use the sudden political vacuum in Damascus to try and seize power. In either case, the Syrian military would be free of its orders to crush the anti-Assad revolt.
3. The French, Saudi and UAE air forces lack a central command center capable of coordinating a major combined air operation and therefore depend on the United States to provide this essential component. American military input is also vital for paralyzing Syria’s air defenses by applying its cyber warfare capabilities to disrupt the radar systems of Syria’s anti-air missile batteries. Our Washington sources report that Obama consistently resisted repeated French and Saudi efforts to jump aboard their initiative. The Saudi defense minister at one point in their conversation told the US president harshly that it was time for the Americans to stop talking and start acting. But Obama remained unmoved. These events, revealed here by debkafile, provide the background for Presidents Barak Obama and Francois Hollande’s divergent responses Tuesday, May 29, to the al-Houla atrocity and its 108 brutally murdered victims. The White House repeated its objection to military intervention in Syria “at this time,” because it would only “increase the carnage.” A military option was left on the table.
That was standard Obama-speak for the crisis in Syria, behind which he remains determined to stay out of armed action for unseating President Assad and instead seek a deal with the Russians on the Syrian ruler’s fate as part and parcel of a comprehensive accord on Syria and Iran’s nuclear program. President Hollande was at first quoted as saying he does not rule out armed intervention in Syria. Elysée sources later watered down this statement with the qualifier: ”only with UN Security Council approval.” On top of the American hurdle, Moscow and Beijing rushed Wednesday, May 30, to reiterate that they would oppose (veto) any Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria, so effectively nipping the French intention in the bud. Bashar Assad accordingly had no qualms about sending UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan off empty-handed from a final bid to salvage his peace mission: The world powers have left him sitting pretty in his palace, unconcerned about his future and free to pursue one of the most vicious anti-opposition campaigns of modern times.
No Alternative to Assad
(Op-ed: Western intervention in Syria will cause bloodshed, bring to power worse tyrants than Assad)
May 30….(Moshe Ronen) Bashar Assad is a wicked, conscienceless dictator. He has blood on his hands, and has outdone his father, Hafez Assad, in terms of murderousness and brutality. The eye doctor from Damascus is responsible not only for the murder of thousands of his own citizens, but also for the firing of thousands of missiles at Israel by his Hezbollah emissaries and allies. I only wish bad things for Assad and his regime. The heart is outraged and the blood boils when one sees the images and hears the reports from Syria. Yet I do not think that the West should militarily intervene in what goes on there. Had we known with certainty that such intervention would turn Syria into a peace-loving democracy, I would justify this move. However, experience has taught us that the West does not understand the Middle East, and that every time it tries to change Mideastern realities, it encounters negative surprises. Thousands of American troops and Iraqi citizens were killed during the war initiated by the United States and its allies in order to topple Saddam Hussein and change the regime in Iraq. The outcome is still unclear. In Afghanistan too, the US became entangled in the longest war in its history. America will apparently withdraw from Afghanistan next year with its tail between its legs, as the Taliban retakes power.
Fiascos in Egypt, Libya
In Egypt, President Barack Obama openly supported the Tahrir Square revolution and prompted the detainment of President Hosni Mubarak, an American ally for 30 years who will apparently be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya, Western jets bombed Gaddafi’s forces, and there too it’s still unclear whether we got a democratic regime or an al-Qaeda government. The intervention of the democratic-Christian-modern West in the lands of the Levant reminds me of development and modernization efforts that ignore nature. We dried up swamps, built dams, dug tunnels and diverted rivers, and only later discovered the damage we caused nature without intending or realizing it. Despite our disgust with Assad and our great desire to immediately put an end to the massacre against his countrymen, we can assume that should the West dispatch military forces and intervene in Syria, this will only increase the bloodshed. Moreover the regime that will replace the secular tyrant will be a religious, Sunni tyranny that will be even worse.
Putin Focused On Syria
May 30….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin, after taking stock of his first days of his third presidency, concluded that Moscow’s handling of the al-Houla massacre and Syria’s ongoing collapse into civil war will go down as a Russian foreign policy failure. He personally comes out of the policy as the patron of a bloodthirsty tyrant. The Kremlin first tried presenting the slaughter of 108 people Friday and Saturday, among them 49 children and 34 women, as the work of unknown non-military bands, partly corroborating the Assad regime’s claim of terrorism. This line was quickly abandoned and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was told Monday, May 28, to assign responsibility to “two sides” at his joint news conference in Moscow with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. But the information coming out of the Houla disaster area knocked that line on the head too: It turned out that the massacre was perpetrated by the town’s Alawites. Their victims were taken unprepared for their neighbors’ attacks, unlike the Sunni Muslims of Homs, Hama and Idlib and similarly mixed community towns, and mercilessly slaughtered in their homes by rampaging Alawites wielding knives, shot guns and pistols.
Syria has thousands of small and large mixed towns and villages divided by barricades manned by local militias, some for and some against Assad. The Houla massacre is therefore apt to be repeated across the country, plunging it into a full-blown civil and sectarian bloodbath. Moscow is beginning to fear that Russia may be stigmatized as an accessory to this horror, and especially the foreign policy choices made by the new president. Lavrov tried to save his government’s reputation by declaring out of the blue that Moscow no longer backs Bashar Assad and his regime and fully endorses the UN envoy Kofi Annan’s mission.
Annan was back in Damascus Tuesday holding talks with the Syrian ruler. It his hard to see how he can salvage even a vestige of his mission when the Syrian ruler has broken every commitment he made from the word go a month ago. The other step decided by the Kremlin was to quietly order the Russian arms ship Professor Katsman to stop unloading its cargo at the Syrian port of Tartus, sail west and wait for fresh orders after the furor dies down. President Putin is clearly floundering before deciding on his next steps with regard to Syria and calculating to the last figure the cost of supplying the world’s most hated despot with arms and spreading a diplomatic net under his feet.
Syria's Russian Card
May 29….(YNET) After more than a year of popular uprising the economic situation of the Assad regime is just getting worse, but for one thing Assad still has money, weapons, and in great quantities. Russia sells Syria weapons for cash only, and Syria it seems is prepared even to go bankrupt provided the funds it allocates maintains Russian support for the survival of Assad’s regime. At the end of the year the foreign currency reserve in President Bashar Assad’s tyrannical regime will reach only $4 billion, as compared to $13 or $14 billion in normal years. Nevertheless, Syria continues to purchase weapons from Russia for astronomical sums, and only recently it was revealed that another Russian weapons ship is about to reach the Syrian port of Latakia.
The Russians also sell the Syrians missiles of various kinds, including the advanced missiles. Yet the weapons Syria purchases from Russia are designated for standard warfare. They are of no use in the internal struggle ongoing now inside Syria. The weapons deals between the two countries were mainly closed before the popular uprisings broke out in Syria, and despite the difficult economic condition of Assad’s regime he is not withdrawing from them. The Russians are trying through these arms deals to maintain their power among the Syrian elite. Meanwhile, Assad is trying to buy time with the weapons: so long as Russia is opposed to his downfall, it will be hard for the West to do that. According to sources in the US, Russia also stands behind Annan’s plan to achieve a settlement in Syria. Russia will do anything to extend Assad’s regime. Moscow, they say, has an interest in remaining involved inside Syria also after the regime falls. Hence, the Russians are doing everything, including selling weapons, to establish circles of power on Syrian soil also for the day after Assad’s disappearance.
Iran Confirms It is Sending Troops to Syria
(Islamic Republic admits its forces are aiding Assad's regime in crackdown on pro-democracy protesters)
May 29….(YNET) Iran confirmed Sunday that it has, as previously speculated, sent troops to aid President Bashar Assad's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in his country. The United Nations and human rights groups estimate that over 13,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011, 9,200 of them civilians. "If the Islamic Republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of civilians would have been twice as bad," General Ismail Qa'ani, deputy-commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, told Tehran's ISNA news agency. Iran, he added, "Had physically and non-physically stopped the rebels from killing many more among the Syrian people." This was a rare admission by an Iranian official that Tehran was truly aiding the Damascus regime.
WEEK OF MAY 20 THROUGH MAY 26
What Iran's Rulers Want
(War, genocide and nuclear weapons. There can no longer be serious doubt)
May 25….(Jewish World Review) It’s no longer possible to pretend we don’t know the intentions of Iran’s rulers. They are telling us, candidly, clearly, and repeatedly. Most recently last Sunday: Addressing a gathering in Tehran, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, vowed the “full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end.” A few days earlier, José Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain, during a presentation at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a respected Israeli think tank, recalled a “private discussion” in Tehran in October of 2000 with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who told him: “Israel must be burned to the ground and made to disappear from the face of the Earth.”
Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN who now heads the JCPA, wanted to be certain there was no misunderstanding. He asked Aznar: Was Khamenei suggesting “a gradual historical process involving the collapse of the Zionist state, or rather its physical-military termination?” “He meant physical termination through military force,” Aznar replied. Khamenei called Israel “an historical cancer,” an echo of Nazi rhetoric he has employed on numerous occasions. Khamenei also told Aznar that the goal of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 has remained constant. It is to rid the world of two evils: Israel and the United States. Eventually, there must be an “open confrontation.” Khamenei said it was his duty to ensure that Iran prevails. With this as context, it is no longer possible to pretend that the acquisition of nuclear weapons is not a priority for Khamenei. The notion that he is merely making, as Reuters charmingly phrases it, “a peaceful bid to generate electricity,” or that he has not decided whether he wants nuclear weapons (notwithstanding his fatwa declaring possession of nuclear weapons a sin), or that he wants them only as a deterrent because he fears foreign aggression, or that he favors diplomatic conflict resolution but requires a series of “confidence-building measures,” all that is wishful thinking and self-delusion, if not blatant disinformation.
Anthony Cordesman, the respected security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, used to be skeptical about the nuclear ambitions of Iran’s rulers. Then he sat down and examined hundreds of pages of evidence compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency. His report, “Rethinking Our Approach to Iran’s Search for the Bomb,” concludes: Iran has pursued every major area of nuclear weapons development, has carried out programs that have already given it every component of a weapon except fissile material, and there is strong evidence that it has carried out programs to integrate a nuclear warhead onto its missiles.
Besides being committed to war, genocide, and developing nuclear weapons, Iran’s rulers are the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, and have long been so designated by the US government. They support Hezbollah and Hamas, and collaborate with al-Qaeda, evidence of that is abundant. They have been responsible for killing Americans in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They have violated the most fundamental tenets of international law, by, among other things, seizing the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, ordering the murder of a British novelist in 1989, and plotting to bomb a restaurant in Washington, DC, last year.
Khamenei’s representatives have agreed to negotiate with the P5+1, the US and the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, for one reason only: They want an end to the sanctions that have been debilitating, if not yet crippling, Iran’s economy. The value of Iran’s currency has been plummeting, inflation and unemployment have been spiking, and the regime has been denied many billions of dollars in hard currency. A European oil embargo scheduled to take effect in July could drop Iranian exports by as much as 40 percent. Testifying before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week, Mark Dubowitz, my colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warned Congress that Iran’s negotiators will offer concessions that sound meaningful but are not, in exchange for Western concessions that sound trivial but amount to capitulation.
Israel Revives Military Option after Obama Rejects its Nuclear Demands of Iran
May 25….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Israel has withdrawn its pledge to US President Barack Obama not to strike Iran’s nuclear sites before the November presidential election after he rejected its minimal demands for nuclear negotiations with Iran. This is reported exclusively by Debkafile’s Washington sources. In public, Israeli ministers still talk as though they believe in results from the Six-Power talks with Iran, which Thursday May 24 limped into their second day in Baghdad with the parties still miles apart. But the presidential veto has essentially cast Israel outside the loop of influence on the outcome of diplomacy.
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on May 17 he was told that Obama had rejected Israel’s toned-down demands for Iran to at least to halt high-grade uranium enrichment, export its stocks of material enriched higher than 3.5 percent grade and shut down production at the Fordo nuclear plant near Qom. For six months, the Obama administration tried to sweeten the bitter pill of this rejection by bumping up security aid. The latest appropriation covered another $70 million for manufacturing more Iron Dome short-range missile interceptors. After talking to Panetta, Barak turned to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon in the hope of winning their support for softening Obama’s ruling. Clinton replied she was not involved in the negotiations with Iran and Donilon, that a personal decision by the president was not open to change.
A week of consultations followed the defense minister’s return home, during which it was decided to tear up Israel’s pledge to refrain from attacking Iran during the US presidential campaign. Wednesday, May 23, the day the Baghdad talks began, Barak signaled Washington to this effect. It was conveyed in a little-noticed early morning radio interview with the defense minister. To make sure his words reached the proper address without misunderstandings, the defense minister’s office issued a verbatim English translation from the Hebrew: "There is no need to tell us what to do, and we have no reason to panic. Israel is very, very strong, but we do know that the Iranians are accomplished chess players and will try to achieve nuclear capabilities. Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table." As the Baghdad talks went around in circles, Israel’s military option was put back firmly on the table and on the US-Iranian chessboard.
Iran 'Committed to Israel's Annihilation,' says Top Iranian General
May 23….(Israel Hayom) When Ahmadinejad purportedly said Israel "should be wiped off the map" there were many who argued that the Iranian leader was mistranslated. No such argument can be made regarding the latest comments by the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad purportedly said that Israel "should be wiped off the map" there were, and still are, many who argue that the Iranian leader was misquoted or mistranslated. No such argument can be made however regarding the latest comments by the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces. According to the Iranian Fars news agency, while addressing a defense gathering in Tehran on Sunday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi stressed that the Iranian nation remains committed to the "full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end." According to Fars, Firouzabadi "reiterated the Iranian nation and supreme leader's emphasis on the necessity of support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and its causes," and noted, "The Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel."
The top military official reminded those present that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei considers "defending Palestine a full religious duty and believes that any kind of governance and rule by anyone other than the Palestinians as an instance of usurpation," Fars reported. Firouzabadi went on to say, "Iran's leader, Ali Khamenei, will never recognize any authority in Palestine other than the Palestinians."
Meanwhile, the head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, landed in Tehran on Monday morning to begin a delicate mission that, if successful, could finally lift the veil on Iran's nuclear program ahead of crucial talks with six world powers in Baghdad on Wednesday. The purpose of Amano's trip is to get Iran to agree to terms that would allow the nuclear watchdog to resume inspections in Iran and investigate whether Tehran has secretly worked to develop nuclear arms. Israel remained skeptical an agreement would be reached between Tehran and the P5+1 (United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), warning that it did not sense readiness on Iran's part to abandon its nuclear ambitions. One senior Israeli diplomat said Israel "hopes the West doesn't acquiesce to Iran in exchange for a piece of paper." "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is skeptical about the dialogue with Iran and hopes negotiators realize it wants to sacrifice a pawn in order to save the king in the chess game it is playing," the diplomat said.
According to some reports, the six superpowers will attempt to get Iran to transfer all uranium enriched to levels of 20 percent out of the country by offering to help Iran build its own nuclear program for civilian purposes, including supplying nuclear fuel for a civilian research plant near Tehran, as well as technical safety consultants. If such an agreement is signed, the West will continue to make gestures toward Iran but will not cancel significant economic sanctions until a final deal is reached. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel was awaiting the outcome of the talks in Baghdad and reiterated that Israel does not believe Iran is ready to relinquish its nuclear program. "For Iran the talks are a matter of deception and buying time," Lieberman said.
Obama Secretly Arming Syrian Rebels
May 23….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Monday, May 21, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon said he was "extremely troubled about the risk of an all-out civil war in Syria and was concerned about the outbreak of related violence in Lebanon." He spoke as dozens of Syrians died in clashes, mostly in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib and the town of Homs, while two people were killed in Beirut in a spillover of Syrian bloodshed. Sunday, at the NATO summit in Chicago, Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said firmly that the alliance has "no intention" of taking military action against President Bashar Assad's regime. But he said nothing about individual NATO members translating their concern about the escalating violence in Syria into military action. Above all, he did not explain why Syrian army heavy T-72 tanks have in recent days started bursting into flames on the open roads. Debkafile’s military sources disclose the cause: The Syrian rebels have received their first “third generation” anti-tank weapons, 9K115-2 Metis-M and Kornet E. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama advising them to up the military stake in the effort to oust Assad.
Saturday, May 19, President Obama said in a speech to the G-8 summit at Camp David that “Bashar al-Assad must leave power.” Listening to him were Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev whose government strongly opposes the bid to topple Assad and is helping him to weather the uprising against his rule. Medvedev and Chinese leader Hu Jintao both kept silent after Obama spoke. Both would have had intelligence updates relayed to Camp David on the latest turn of events in Syria. The supply of powerful anti-tank missiles to the Syrian rebels is intended to achieve two purposes:
1. To impede Syrian military tank movements between flashpoints. During the 14-month uprising, there was nothing to stop Syrian tanks criss-crossing the country as back-up for the official crackdown on dissent. But in recent weeks, trucks hauling the T-72 are being blown up before they reach their destinations.
2. The sight of blazing tanks is intended to undermine army morale and puncture the self-assurance of the security circles surrounding the president. The anti-tank missiles reaching the rebels through Saudi and Qatari channels are only one facet of the unfolding US plan for the Syrian crisis, our military sources report. Turkish intelligence has been given the green light to arm Syria rebels with IED roadside bombs tailored for the Syrian theater and intensively train the dissidents in their use at Turkish military facilities. This is tantamount to Ankara’s first direct military intervention in Syria. How will Assad and his backers in Tehran and Moscow handle the upscale of rebel munitions? According to our sources, the Syrian ruler and his cronies are not shaken in their conviction that even with heavy weapons in play they will suppress the revolt, because the majority of the population is still behind the regime and because the rebels will find it hard to wield the advanced systems, especially by day. But his Russian and Iranian military and intelligence advisers are growing less sanguine as they watch foreign military intervention expand step by step. They are warning the Syrian ruler that the advanced missiles reaching the rebels represent the most dangerous development his regime has faced to date. They reckon that, after failing to ignite a full-dress unified rebellion inside the main Syrian cities, the West and the Arab states have turned to equipping anti-Assad rebel forces for pursuing sustained guerilla warfare between the big cities, on the main roads and in rural and mountainous areas. Russian and Iranian tacticians agree that the Syrian army, like most other regular armies, is not trained or structured for combating guerilla forces.
Netanyahu: Yielding Temple Mount Would be a Fatal Mistake
May 23….(Jerusalem Post) Whoever proposes that giving up the heart of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, will bring peace, is fatally mistaken, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared on Monday evening. Addressing the Knesset plenum at a special session held to honor Jerusalem Day, Netanyahu said that taking the Temple Mount out of Israeli hands, would bring decline, and the rise of radical Islam in the region and in the world. "Only under Israeli control, will this accessibility, and freedom of religion continue," he said. "The Temple Mount is in our hands and, it shall remain in our hands," Netanyahu continued. Conversely, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said that the prime minister's comments prove "how disconnected he is from what is happening in the city." "The real Jerusalem is not Jerusalem of gold, but a city rusty from oppression, occupation, ultra-Orthodoxy, and poverty," she added.
Syrian Revolution Will not Bring Peace With Israel
May 22….(Israel Today) There was early hope and speculation as the "Arab Spring" kicked off last year that the ostensibly pro-democracy uprisings would lead to better relations between Israel and its neighbors. Israeli officials from the beginning cautioned skepticism, and the outcome of Egyptian elections have certainly justified their concerns. With a parliament and possibly a presidency controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt is more hostile toward Israel today than any time since the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the nation's second president who launched two wars against the Jewish state.
Syria is now following a similar path, with leading rebel officials making clear that should they seize control of the country, Israel will continue to be regarded as Syria's number one enemy. Israel is "the main enemy of the Syrian revolution," Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun told Saudi newspaper al-Youm at the weekend. Syria's revolution has seen thousands killed as the regime of dictator Bashar Assad brutally clings to power. But the West's blind backing of the opposition forces has come under recent criticism. A number of Christian sources reported that the Sunni Muslim-dominated Syrian opposition has massacred and exiled huge numbers of Christians in the towns it controls.
Former Israeli PM: Jerusalem Must be Partitioned
May 21….(AP) Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday urged Israeli leaders to relinquish the idea of a unified Jerusalem if they truly want peace, contending in a pair of interviews that years of government neglect have kept the Jewish and Arab sectors irreparably divided. The comments, made as Israel marked the 45th anniversary of capturing east Jerusalem, were nearly unprecedented for a mainstream Israeli leader and put Olmert at odds with his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu. Celebrating Israel's control of the city on the Jewish state's "Jerusalem Day," Netanyahu declared his government was committed to keeping it the country's undivided capital. "No Israeli government since 1967 has done even a smidgen of what was needed in order to unify the city in practical terms. That is a tragedy that is going to lead us, for want of another choice, to making inevitable political concessions," Olmert told the Maariv daily.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and immediately annexed the area, home to sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites as well as a large Arab population. The Palestinians hope to make east Jerusalem the capital of an independent state including the neighboring West Bank and Gaza Strip. Speaking Sunday evening from the site of a Jerusalem battle from that war, Netanyahu said the city will not be partitioned. "Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart. And our heart will never be divided again," he said.
The future of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues at the core of the conflict. Jerusalem's old city is home a compound sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Jews revere it as the site of their two biblical Temples and Muslims regard it as Islam's third-holiest site. "There are those who believe that if we only divide Jerusalem, and that means giving up the Temple Mount, they believe we will have peace," Netanyahu said. "I am doubtful, to say the least, that if we deposit that square of the Temple Mount with other forces, that we won't quickly deteriorate to a religious sectarian war." "I know that only under Israeli control is accessibility and religious freedom is ensured, and will continue to be ensured to all the religions. Only under Israel will the quiet be preserved, only under Israel will the peace between the religions be ensured," Netanyahu said.
Olmert said the notion of a united Holy City is unrealistic. He pointed to a number of Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, saying they have not been integrated into the rest of the city. "We can't unite them and connect them to the real fabric of life in Jerusalem, and except for grief, we haven't gotten anything from them," he said. Olmert went through a dramatic political transformation late in his career. As mayor from 1993 to 2003, he was an outspoken hard-liner opposed to concessions to the Palestinians. Then, while Prime Minister from 2006 to 2009, he pursued a peace agreement envisioning broad territorial concessions to the Palestinians before a corruption case forced him to step down. In those talks, Olmert offered to turn over parts of east Jerusalem to the Palestinians, and have Jerusalem's Old City, home to the most sensitive religious sites, be administered by an international consortium including Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, Jordanians and Saudis. Olmert claimed his talks with the Palestinians came tantalizingly close to an agreement. The Palestinians have said Olmert did not go far enough.
Since taking power three years ago, Netanyahu has repudiated Olmert's willingness to partition the city. With a newly expanded coalition, Netanyahu has cemented a formidable majority for his hardline policies. The Palestinians have refused to conduct peace talks with Netanyahu unless he halts settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. About 200,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem, approaching the Arab population of about 280,000. Netanyahu says talks should resume without any preconditions. Israel marked Sunday's anniversary with a series of marches and speeches throughout the city. The Palestinians' chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said the Israeli celebrations were "clear proof" that Israel is not interested in peace. "Clearly, this behavior reflects the mentality of a colonizer, rather than a supposed peace partner."
Jews Arrested for Praying on Temple Mount...Again
May 21….(Israel Today) Three Israeli Jews were arrested on Sunday for uttering prayers atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which they and others were visiting together with several Knesset members in commemoration of Jerusalem Day. Jerusalem Day marks the 1967 reunification of the city under Jewish rule. One of the most important and significant aspects of the reunification was that the Temple Mount returned to Jewish hands for the first time since the Romans razed the holy site in 70AD. With Israeli army commanders declaring "the Temple Mount is in our hands," Jews the world over allowed themselves to believe that they would once again worship at their people's holiest site. But political correctness and a fear of Islam would see those hopes dashed, and Israel reluctantly placed a ban on all Jewish and Christian prayers atop the Muslim-occupied Temple Mount.
Every year, small groups of Jews and Christians challenge the status quo by attempting to pray at the Temple Mount. That is what happened on Sunday, when a group of right-wing Israelis visited the site together with Knesset members Michael Ben Ari and Uri Ariel (National Union). At one point, Ben Ari joined three other Jewish visitors in reciting a Jewish prayer aloud. That was enough for Islamic officials (who closely tail Jewish and Christian visitors) to become irate, and for Israeli police to step in and demand that the Jews stop praying. When the Jewish visitors refused to stop praying, three of them were arrested. MK Ariel later released a statement insisting that the Temple Mount "is under Israeli sovereignty and therefore the Israeli government must allow every Jew to realize his autonomous rights and to go up and to pray on the Temple Mount."
FOJ Note: The reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 could have resulted in the conclusion of the Bible’s prophesied era known as “the times of the Gentiles,” but the Jews still fearing the gods of her enemies, and not recognizing her true Messiah, passed up true sovereign control of Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.)
Netanyahu: Jerusalem Will Remain United: Ceding Temple Mount will Lead to War
(Prime minister warns that partitioning Jerusalem could result in religious war.)
May 21….(YNET) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that partitioning Jerusalem could result in a religious war. Speaking at a state ceremony marking Jerusalem Day in the capital's Ammunition Hill, Netanyahu said: "If we place this quadrate of the Temple Mount in the hands of others, I doubt we will be able to avoid a religious war. "I know what history has taught us: only under Israeli sovereignty were peace and quiet among the faiths maintained." At a ceremony honoring the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six Day War, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made some of his strongest statements to date regarding the right of the Jewish nation to sovereignty over its ancient capital of Jerusalem. "A lasting peace can only be made with a strong nation," Netanyahu asserted. "Without a united Jerusalem, the state of Israel will be a body with a weak heart. Our heart will never be divided again."
Speaking at a Jerusalem Day ceremony on Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill, Netanyahu noted that wherever Jewish people pray, anywhere in the world, they do so facing Jerusalem, "the place that was always the center of our lives; the place that reminds us of our glorious past and serves as a focus for our future hopes." "We will not turn our backs on those who faced Jerusalem throughout the ages," he said. "We will safeguard Jerusalem because Israel without Jerusalem is like a body without a heart, and it was on this hill that the heart went back to beating at full strength." "On Jerusalem Day, the divided city became whole, and it will remain that way." "I have doubts, to put it mildly, that if we deposit the Temple Mount with foreign forces, we will not very quickly slip into a religious sectarian war," he said. "Only under Israeli sovereignty, the accessibility and freedom of worship for all religions is a certainty, and will remain a certainty. Only under Israel are peace and quiet maintained."
Netanyahu further added, “Jewish history has changed forever: the divided city has been united and will stay that way. "Our generation has a great privilege of witnessing the realization of the words of the prophets. It is up to our generation to secure this change for generations to come."
President Shimon Peres, who also attended the ceremony, said: "The Jewish longing for Jerusalem is unparalleled." In a message of peace, he remarked: "We will always cherish and respect Jerusalem's residents and visitors of all faiths. We shall honor their holy places and their right for freedom of religion." "The crowing glory (of the Six Day War) that gave it great spiritual meaning and that struck a chord with every Jew in Israel and the world was Jerusalem," he said. "Jerusalem was and is the Jewish people's first city," Peres added. "In its entire history, Jerusalem has never been so great, open, versatile, lively and yearning for peace as it is today."
Emerging US-Iran Interim Nuclear Deal Endangers Israel
May 21….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is entrusted with a decisive mission in Tehran Sunday, May 20: collecting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s broad endorsement of the interim eight-point deal he and US President Barack Obama have drafted through secret dialogue. debkafile has obtained exclusive access to the eight points, with the caveat that they may not be final. The details are still to be hammered out and proved practicable. But the way the deal stands now, it will be unacceptable to Israel because if affords Iran enough leeway to carry on developing a nuclear bomb program with no real hindrance. The White House is waiting tensely for Khamenei’s nod to activate the link promised by Obama between their back-track talks and the formal negotiations the Six Powers (P5+1) negotiations with Iran, which go forward in Baghdad on May 23. This link would grant the bilateral US-Iranian deal UN-world power imprimatur and vindicate the US president’s contested Iran policy. From that moment, Israel would find it doubly hard to go through with its military option against Iran’s nuclear sites without risk of international isolation and opprobrium.
Until that moment, the Obama administration had found Israel’s threatening stance useful for bending Iran to a diplomatic accommodation on its nuclear plans, while at the same time holding Jerusalem back from actually going through with its threat. It was this double game that made the US-Iranian dialogue workable. It was also used adroitly by Khamenei to achieve another of the Islamic Republic’s key strategic goals, to destroy the abiding friendship between the US and the Zionist state. The Iranian leader’s main argument to his colleagues in support of his secret dealings with the US president was that sanctions were well worth enduring if at the end of the road a deal with the US forced a breach between Washington and Jerusalem and so substantially weakened the Jewish state. Debkafile has obtained exclusive access to the eight-point draft with the caveat that it may not be final; the details remained to be hammered out and proved practicable:
1. Because the US and Iran agree that a real and comprehensive accord for halting Tehran’s nuclear program is unobtainable, they are accepting an interim agreement with each party at liberty to interpret its substance and future implementation in its own manner. Debkafile: This wording allows Obama to assure the American voter and Western public that Tehran has capitulated on its nuclear ambitions while, at the same time, Khamenei portrays America to Iranians and Muslims as having yielded on recognizing Iran’s right to develop an independent nuclear program, enrich uranium and continue its drive for a bomb.
2. Iran will suspend uranium enrichment up to the near-weapons grade of 20 percent but not dismantle or stop work at the Fordo underground nuclear plant as Israel demands.
3. Iran will export its stock of 110 kilograms of 20-percent enriched uranium which can be used for producing a weapon. This material will be reprocessed and returned as fuel plates from which it is much more difficult though not impossible to make a bomb.
4. No ceiling will be placed on the production of low-enriched uranium of 3.5-5 percent purity. debkafile: Washington tacitly grants this concession by leaving it off the record.
5. Iran will sign the Non-Proliferation Accord’s additional protocol and so permit the expansion of IAEA on-site inspections.
6. The secret Iranian nuclear sites of which Washington has no explicit knowledge will also be omitted from the record and therefore outside the sphere of international inspection. Debkafile: The guiding principle governing America’s approach to the eight-point interim accord therefore is, “Don’t know; don’t want to see.”
7. The US and European Union will dilute sanctions against Iran stage by stage. Debkafile: Here too, dual tactics will be used: The formal embargo on Iran’s central bank and its exclusion from the SWIFT international money transfer system will not be formally annulled. However a blind eye will be applied to any small banks in the West executing Iran’s international business, just as the sanction-busting measures used by China, Russia, India and Turkey to their trade with Iran, were tolerated.
8. The US and Europe will revoke the oil embargo due to go into effect on July 1, 2012.
Debkafile: While the Obama administration has given its “agreement-in-principle on the interim deal,” the Iranian leader has not yet endorsed it. Hence the Amano mission to Tehran Sunday. If he comes away with a nod from Tehran, Obama will have achieved two key objectives: the world power talks with Iran can proceed through sessions spaced several weeks apart until the November date of the US presidential election, and Israel will be constrained from striking Iran before that date. Last week, Israel reiterated its demand for Iran to stop uranium enrichment at any grade and dismantle the Fordo nuclear facility as non-negotiable. The interim agreement drafted by Obama and Khamenei will therefore be unacceptable to Israel because it provides for neither and so affords Iran enough leeway to carry on developing a nuclear bomb program with no real hindrance.
NAACP Announces Support of Obama & Same-Sex Marriage
May 21….(Fox News) The NAACP announced Saturday the 103-year-old black civil rights group is supporting same-sex marriage. The group's board of directors made the decision at a meeting this weekend, saying it was a "continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law." The decision follows President Obama's recent support of gay marriage, a move that threatened to divide key parts of the Democratic voting base, the gay and black communities. "The mission of the (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the board. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law." Black religious leaders, who traditionally have opposed same-sex marriage, originally opposed the president's recent decision but appear to have softened their position in recent days. the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hailed the NAACP's decision Saturday. "This is truly a historic moment," the group said in a statement. "The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force could not be more thrilled."
Russia Warns of Full-Blown Nuclear Wars
May 21….(Novosti) Military intervention in the sovereign affairs of other states may lead to outright war, including nuclear war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday. “The introduction of all sorts of collective sanctions bypassing international institutions does not improve the situation in the world while reckless military operations in foreign states usually end up with radicals coming to power,” he told an international legal forum in St. Petersburg. “At some point such actions, which undermine state sovereignty, may well end in a full-blown regional war and even, I’m not trying to spook anyone, the use of nuclear weapons,” he said. The right of nations to choose their own path of development is a universal value, he said referring to the situation in Syria and the Middle East as a whole ahead of a G8 summit. A Kremlin aide said earlier on Thursday the Group of Eight industrial nations meeting outside Washington on May 18-19 will begin with talks on Syria and Iran. Dmitry Medvedev, who is attending the meeting instead of President Vladimir Putin, will hold bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama.
WEEK OF MAY 13 THROUGH MAY 19
Celebrating Jerusalem Day and its 'Watchmen on the Walls'
May 18….(Israel Today) Forty-five years ago next Sunday, Israel, in a war of defense against neighboring Jordan and other Arab states, reunified the city of Jerusalem under Jewish rule for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. Even though Israel had been reborn as a nation-state some 19 years earlier, Jordan continued to illegally occupy the city's eastern half, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, making the Jews' millennia-long dream of returning to their ancient capital incomplete.
The 1967 Six Day War changed all that, and audio recordings of Israeli soldiers taking control of the Old City and Temple Mount remain one of the nation's most stirring and treasured archives. In commemoration of that miraculous victory, that fulfillment of both prophecy and ancient hopes, Israelis annually mark Jerusalem Day on the date that the IDF declared "the Temple Mount is in our hands." Jerusalem Day often brings to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah: "I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call upon the Lord give yourself no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:6-7) Today, God has set many watchmen, both physical and spiritual, on Jerusalem's walls.
Statistics: 64% of Jerusalem's Population is Jewish
(Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies releases statistics about the holy city in honor of Yom Yerushalayim.)
May 18….(Arutz) In honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Unification Day) which will be marked on Sunday, the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies released on Thursday some statistics from the past two years about the holy city. The full data will be presented on the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies’ website as of Sunday and will be published in the Statistical Abstract of Jerusalem in 2012. The data show that in 2011 Jerusalem's population was estimated at 801,000, of which 64 percent were Jews and other non-Arabs and 36 percent were Arabs.
There were 497,000 Jews in Jerusalem in 2011, 281,000 Muslims, 14,000 Christians and 9,000 with no stated religious affiliation. In total, since 1967 and until the end of 2011 the city's population grew by 200 percent: the Jewish population increased by 157 percent and the Arab population increased by 327 percent.
The data also show that in 2010, 474,000 people (Jews and Arabs) lived that in areas that were added to Jerusalem in 1967. These 474,000 inhabitants represent 60 percent of the population of Jerusalem. 192,000 Jews and other non-Arabs lived in neighborhoods of areas added to Jerusalem in 1967, accounting for 41 percent of the population in those areas. 280,900 Arabs, which constituted 59 percent of the population, lived in these neighborhoods.
The largest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, according to the statistics, are Ramot with 41,400 residents, Pisgat Ze’ev with 40,400 residents and Gilo with 29,600 residents. As for employment in 2011, the statistics show that the employment rate in Jerusalem stood at 46 percent, compared to 57 percent in all of Israel. The relatively low rate in Jerusalem is mainly due to the low participation in the work force among hareidi men and Arab women, as well as the relatively high rate of people aged 15 to 20 in Jerusalem who study in schools and yeshivas or serve in the army, and therefore are not working and are not looking for work.
The rate of participation in the labor force among the Jewish population of Jerusalem was 50 percent and was lower than the rate of participation among the Jewish population in Israel, which stood at 61 percent. The rate of participation in the labor force among the Arab population in Jerusalem was 37 percent and was lower than the rate of participation among the Arab population in Israel, which stood at 41%.
1991 Obama Book Stated He Was Born in Kenya
May 18….(WND) A literary agent’s promotional brochure from two decades ago declares Barack Obama was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii,” according to Breitbart News. The brochure was created by Acton & Dystel, which was promoting Obama as the author of the never-produced “Journeys in Black and White.” The report says the biography was dispatched to “business colleagues” in the publishing industry. The text of the biography states: “Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.”
There also was an internal bulletin from the Kenyan National Security Intelligence Service, or NSIS, that states that the Kenyan government in 2009 commissioned a cultural museum in the Obama home village of Kogelo to honor the “birthplace of President Barack Obama” and rededicate the tomb of his father, Barack Obama Sr. The 2009 NSIS bulletin report said: The ministry of national heritage this month hosted a cultural festival in Kogelo and commissioned a cultural museum on a plot donated by a member of the Kogelo community. The cultural festival was attended by the minister for national heritage, William ole Ntimama and US ambassador, Michael Ranneberger. This was to honor the birthplace of President Obama and re-dedicate the tomb of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., the president’s late father.
FOJ Note: Former Obama Pastor, Jeremiah Wright also made some intriguing claims about the Obama family and its purported lack of interest in attending church. Since assuming office, the president has consistently faced criticism over his infrequent church attendance. According to Wright, this is par for the course. “Church is not their thing. It was never their thing,” Wright says of Barack and Michelle Obama. “She was not the kind of black woman whose momma made her go to church, made her go to Sunday school, so the church was not an integral part of their lives before they got married, after they got married.” After Wright made these comments, Klein said, “But the church was an integral part of his politics…because he needed that base.
Will Iran Strike New York City on 9/11 Scale?
May 17….(By Erick Stakelbeck / CBN News Terrorism Analyst) New York City: It's the center of the US financial system and for many people, the capital of the world. That's why the Big Apple remains a top terror target. From the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to 9/11, and more recently, the Times Square bomber, terrorists have repeatedly targeted Manhattan. Now Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror, is reportedly taking aim.
A recent warning about the threat posed by Iran and its terror proxy, Hezbollah, came from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "We know Hezbollah operatives are here," Rep. Peter King, R-NY, told a House committee on homeland security in March. "The question is whether these Hezbollah operatives have the capacity to carry out attacks on the US homeland and how quickly they can become fully operational," he said. King said hundreds of operatives are here and that some Iranian diplomats stationed at the United Nations are much more than they appear. "Several of their comrades in the UN mission in New York were sent back to Iran after the NYPD caught them photographing the city's rail systems in the years since 9/11," he said.
According to one NYPD official, there have been at least five other instances of what he called "hostile reconnaissance" against New York City by Iranian agents. "They see that attacking New York or threatening the facilities in New York will destabilize the financial markets and automatically harm the US economy," former CIA double agent Reza Kahlili told CBN News. Kahlili was once a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. His book, A Time to Betray, lays out Iran's potential plots against America. "Many cells are present here. And they have their eyes set on our power plants, water supply, food distribution, bridges, tunnels, anything that could create fear and also disrupt the daily life of Americans," he warned.
One Iranian naval commander said recently that Iran's forces can move within three miles of New York City if they so choose. Kahlili said an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities could be the trigger. "They believe that an attack on Syria or Iran would be sufficient to trigger a response, which would be terrorist attacks on the world stage against US and Israeli interests, an attack on Israel and attacks on US soil," Kahlili said. Iran shocked many analysts with last year's plot to attack foreign diplomats in Washington, DC. A nuclear-armed Iranian regime would likely become even bolder. "You can tell that Iran gets more aggressive the closer they get toward a nuclear weapon," Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for RadicalIslam.org, told CBN News. "Rather than international pressure making them restrain themselves, it's actually making them act more and more aggressively," he said. Iran and Hezbollah already have an extensive network in Latin America, which they could use to strike at the United States. And according to Kahlili, Iranian agents also have a presence in some American mosques.
Iranian Calls for 'Islamic Awakening' to Destroy Israel
(Iranian official calls for an ‘Islamic Awakening’ movement to help PA Arabs “demolish the Zionist regime”)
May 17….(Arutz) An Iranian official called this week for an ‘Islamic Awakening’ movement to help Palestinian Authority Arabs “demolish the Zionist regime”, the IRNA news agency reported. The comments were made at a conference in Tehran in honor of Nakba Day, the day of catastrophe, which is what the Arabs call the English date of May 15, when the State of Israel was re-established with a declaration of independence in 1948.
In a brief address at the end of the conference, the official, Hossein Shiekholeslam said, “In success of a revolution three major factors need to play effective roles, and they are the people, the leadership, and the school of thought, or ideology.” He added, “If we wish success for the Palestinians, the existence of these three factors is necessary, as they did exist in the case of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.” Sheikholeslam said that, “in near future the Islamic Awakening movement would also swallow the Zionist regime.”
The first speaker at the conference, according to IRNA, was the PA Ambassador in Tehran, Salah Zawawi, who said that the one and only way to soothe the Arabs’ pains and agony is the annihilation of the Zionist regime. “Turning the Palestinians into homeless people is a Zionist-western plot to enable the illegal Zionist immigrants to settle down at our ancestors’ motherlands, over the ruins of our homes,” he said. “So long as the entire Palestinian groups have not united and each group is merely heeding its own factional interests the problems of this detached part of the Islamic world would never be solved,” he added. Zawawi emphasized that many political projects have been launched aimed at “liberating Palestine” but that none have borne fruit yet. He said, “The Palestinians would never abandon the Holy Qods, as their capital city and I once again reiterate, political initiatives are not capable of liberating Palestine.” He then claimed that Israel would never yield to the idea of establishing a solid Palestinian state and said, “Some 200 illegal and illegitimate townships have been constructed on the West Bank, but the US president never referred to the illegitimate nature of those townships lest he would lose his presidential election campaign.” Zawawi said that other Islamic countries should hold a conference aimed at surveying and finding a final solution for the “Palestinian issue” and added, “The Palestinian prisoners are not terrorists; they are merely brave men and women, defending their own motherland.”
On Tuesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas used a ‘Nakba Day’ speech to accuse Israel of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. “For decades, Israel has been building settlements in Jerusalem and around it,” Abbas said in a televised speech. “This is done while there is a massive destruction of houses in the city and their original inhabitants are being uprooted on a daily basis.” Abbas also claimed that Israel intentionally harms the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, saying, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is being targeted by the occupation and together with the extremists has become the main target. They are trying to make Muslims and Christians flee the city by imposing heavy taxes, a policy which can only be called ethnic cleansing.” His comments came one day after Israel signed an agreement with PA prisoners to end their hunger strike, which has been gaining international sympathy.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, at least four Israeli security personnel were hurt in Nakba Day clashes with PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Hundreds of PA residents threw stones and firebombs outside the Ofer Prison adjacent to the Beitunya crossing. The IDF and Israel Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd dispersal means.
Archeologist New Finds Support Bible's Accuracy
May 16….(Israel Today) A Hebrew University archeologist says finds at a new dig site near Jerusalem are backing up the biblical narrative of an Israelite kingdom centered on Jerusalem in 1000BC, around the time of King David and his son, King Solomon. Professor Yosef Garfinkel has been digging at Khirbet Qeiyafa near the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh since 2007. Carbon dating of unearthed olive pits has put the period of activity at Khirbet Qeiyafa at 1020BC-980BC, almost exactly the period of time the Bible says David and Solomon were active in the region. The dating, together with the uniqueness of the finds, has made Khirbet Qeiyafa one of the most important biblical archeological digs.
Less than a year after working Khirbet Qeiyafa, Garfinkel unveiled what is believed to be the oldest Hebrew inscription found to date. At the time, Garfinkel said the inscription proved that vibrant, centralized and literate Hebrew kingdom existed in the area 3,000 years ago, just as the Bible says it did. Last week, Garfinkel shared his latest find, two ancient models of shrines that very closely resemble the biblical description of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. The models would have presumably been used in religious rites. Garfinkel also says it is now clear that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a walled town, which means it must have been part of a centralized larger kingdom.
Perhaps most importantly, Garfinkel says the site is completely devoid of pagan idols and imagery, and contains no pig bones, despite being well endowed with the bones of sheep, goats and cattle. Together this means the site must be Israelite remains, as the Israelites were the only local people forbidden from eating swine or engaging in pagan rituals. All of this evidence combined is important because it counters the claims of some archeologists that the Bible is full of myths, which until now the have based on the lack of evidence for a large and centralized Israelite kingdom around 1000BC. "For the first time in history we have actual objects from the time of David, which can be related to monuments described in the Bible," Garfinkel said in a press release. "Various suggestions that completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown to be wrong." Still, not everyone is convinced, and many Israeli archeologist and professors continue to label the Bible as national folklore. Garfinkel hopes that continued work at Khirbet Qeiyafa and other sites will eventually lay bare the truth.
Palestinians Mark Nakba Day; (Israel’s Rebirth is a Day of Shame)
FOJ Note….Sadly, the prophesied regathering of Israel is viewed as a Day of Shame by the Arab world, but that is because they worship a different god than the God of the Bible. The Holy Bible has revealed much about the restoration of Israel in the Last Days!
May 16….(YNET) Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as pro-Palestinian supporters in other Arab nations, observed "Nakba Day" Tuesday, marking the "catastrophe" of the inception of the State of Israel. The Palestinian Authority has declared a general strike, as did the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which declared a strike in Israel's Arab sector. Dozens of Palestinians clashed with IDF soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank. The rioters stoned the troops, who employed crowd-control measures in return. No injuries were reported. Dozens of Palestinians rioted and torched tires at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarch, as well. IDF troops used crowd-control measures there as well. The PA held its main rally in the Yasser Arafat Square in Ramallah, where thousands of Palestinians gathered at noon. Ahead of "Nakba Day," the PLO's research center released its annual census of Palestinians worldwide. The center found that in 2011, Palestinians worldwide numbered 11.2 million, with 4.2 million living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 1.37 million living within the Green Line.
Some five million Palestinians live across the Arab world and 630,000 live in various European countries and the United States. Nevertheless, over 50% of Palestinians live outside the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood also held marches and gave speeches relative to Nakba Day, the so-called “Day of Shame. Similar proceedings were a highlight for Egyptians in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Syrian Christians Afraid of Possible Islamist Rule
May 15….(Rian) Christians living in conflict-torn Syria are afraid that their community would fall victim of religious extremism if President Bashar al-Assad regime collapses and Islamists come to power. Christians living in conflict-torn Syria are afraid that their community would fall victim of religious extremism if President Bashar al-Assad regime collapses and Islamists come to power. “I am afraid that we will suffer bad times,” a member of Damascus’s Christian community, who identified himself as Jorge, told RIA Novosti.
A full-fledged civil war will break out in Syria if Assad’s enemies and their western supporters continue efforts to topple the president, he continued. “If the regime falls, Islamists will come to power,” Jorge said, adding that Islamists “wrongly believe that we support the current regime,” and for that reason they will complicate the life of Christians. “Sunni Muslims who predominate Syria think that if President Assad’s regime representing the interests of the Alawi minority falls, they will live better. But I personally think that they are wrong. Syria is a secular state and its people, including Muslims, will not like it if the new power starts thrusting orthodox Islamic norms of moral and behavior on them,” he added.
According to Jorge's opinion, extremist forces rather than liberals would come to power in Syria. Another Syrian, an engineer from Homs, said on conditions of anonymity that he is sure that if Assad’s regime falls, Christians will be “expelled from the country in one day.” Presently, the situation in Homs is quite complicated, almost all of the local Christians have moved away. Their homes have been occupied by militants and their families, and the shops have been looted. Refugees are temporarily living in other regions of the country. Jorge said Islamists are trying to show that if the regime changes, Christians would not come under attack. “They do it to appease the Christians and attract them thus losing their support of the regime,” he said. Muslim leaders put messages on social networks saying that Christians and Muslims have for centuries lived together in Syria; they also try to distance themselves from the damage that has been inflicted on Christian homes and churches in Homs. The engineer from Homs said that government forces could have "pushed out" Islamist militants from Homs if they continued shelling the city for at least three more days. “But then they adopted UN and League of Arab States Ambassador Kofi Annan’s plan and gunfire was terminated. But this does not bring anything good to us. Our homes remain occupied by militants.” He said the majority Christians do not consider emigration a possibility. “This is our homeland. Christians have been living in Syria long before the Muslims. Why should we move away?” Christians make up about ten percent of Syria’s 23-million population. Approximately half of Syria’s Christians belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
African-American Church Leaders Condemn Obama For Gay Marriage Support
May 15….(CBS-Baltimore) Just days after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, pastors and priests around Maryland took to their own pulpits with their reaction, and in some cases, condemnation of the president. “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said. When Obama announced that his position on same-sex marriage had evolved, it outraged some African-American pastors like Pastor and Del. Emmett Burns. “He has said to his base, African-Americans, ‘I am going against your beliefs and your thoughts,’” Burns said. He’s so opposed to same-sex marriage, he told church members he will no longer support the president and now predicts Obama will lose the election because of it. He and many other leaders are pouring their energies into gathering the signatures needed to put Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the November ballot. “I think it might be a call to action for people to really express what they believe,” Father Erik Arnold of Our Lady of Perpetual Help said.
In Maryland, some of the strongest opposition to the law has come from the black community, about 30 percent of the population. Some African-American religious leaders are preaching about it “God said in every home, there needs to be a representation of his glory through manhood and femininity,” Pastor Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, said. “To me, this is an issue of the separation of church and state,” Pastor Delman Coates, Enon Baptist Church in Clinton, said. Coates is one of the few black pastors who supports the current law. “We should not allow our subjective theological understandings prevent other citizens of this country from having equal rights,” he said. So far, voters in 30 states have rejected same-sex marriage. But equality advocates in Maryland believe the president’s comments are a sign of the changing tide. “The momentum is shifting. I think things are definitely shifting in our direction here,” Ezekiel Jackson of Marylanders for Marriage Equality said.
Many African-American pastors say they will still support the president in November even though they may not agree with him on this particular issue. The president’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage came just one day after voters in North Carolina banned same-sex unions.
President Obama: Cultural Warrior for The Left
May 15….(Fox News) In a reversal from past elections, Democrats are starting to wage the culture wars on the presidential campaign trail, wielding President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage as a weapon against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The president, despite doubts about whether the endorsement will work for him politically, was setting off on another whirlwind day of fundraising and appearances Monday where that announcement was expected to factor prominently.
The Obama campaign, according to most accounts, was not originally planning to hit this issue this early in the season. But Vice President Biden, by personally voicing support for gay marriage more than a week ago, nudged the president along. Now, the two campaigns are diverging. Romney is focusing on the economy. And, for a change, the Democratic presidential campaign is hitting the social issues debate, as some on the right urge Romney to return fire. Obama's schedule on Monday will be capped by a pair of fundraisers in New York focused on gay and Latino donors, one of which will be hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council and openly gay singer Ricky Martin, as well as Latino group The Futuro Fund. Before that, Obama's taping an appearance with The View, where his announcement last Wednesday is sure to come up. Even the commencement address Obama is preparing to deliver at Barnard College in New York Monday afternoon has a same-sex marriage tinge, he'll be sharing the stage with Evan Wolfson, founder of the gay advocacy group Freedom to Marry.
The schedule reflects a robust push by the Obama campaign to trumpet, not downplay, the president's decision last week to support same-sex marriage, a historic first for a sitting US president. The campaign last week released a web video heralding the announcement, while casting Romney as "backwards on equality." The president went on to raise nearly $15 million Thursday night from donors attending a campaign event at Hoolywood icon, and liberal activist, George Clooney's house. The president's events Monday effectively pick up where he left off last week.
Romney and the Republican National Committee, though, are sticking to the issues of the economy and spending. The Republican National Committee released a new web video Monday slamming Obama for his "broken promises" on deficits and debt. Romney has restated his opposition to gay marriage since Obama announced his support for the unions last week. But the campaign seems eager to keep the focus on pocketbook issues,- GOP officials continue to hammer the state of the economy, with the jobless rate stuck above 8 percent and signs that dispirited American job-seekers are giving up the job hunt.
On the surface, national polling on gay marriage suggests Obama is with the majority of the country. A Gallup poll released Monday showed 54 percent of American adults consider gay relationships "morally acceptable." Forty-two percent said they find those relationships "morally wrong." Another recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed 51 percent of adults approved of the president's endorsement, while 45 percent disapproved.
Assad Using Lebanese Army to Crack Down on Arab Rebels
May 15….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Syrian ruler Bashar Assad is no longer relying on Iranian agents in Lebanon and Hizballah to lead the covert war against his Western and Arab foes. debkafile’s military sources disclose that he is now issuing direct instructions to the Lebanese army (56,000 men) on their roles in operations for suppressing the Syrian uprising. The immediate result was a flare-up of armed hostilities in the mixed northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. Since Saturday, May 12, the various armed groups and sects have been at each other’s throats: the local Alawites who side with the Syrian ruler and the Lebanese Army on the one side, but separate, and Sunni groups led by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, his Al-Mustaqbal and Salafite militias, on the other. The Lebanese army is keeping the numbers of fatalities quiet, admitting to only three, hoping to keep the unrest in the sectarian war-prone country under control. But Monday, one person was killed and 10 injured in early morning fighting. Our military sources report that the clashes in Tripoli are an offshoot of the six-month bloody contest between Assad’s tanks and rebel forces in the Syrian city of Homs. Lebanese Sunni elements have been pumping fighters, arms, money, medicines and food to beleaguered rebel forces in Homs.
Saad Hariri, a Sunni leader, has sworn to topple Assad whose agents assassinated his father, the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, in 2005. His Al-Mustaqbal group has established a forward command in Tripoli to provide the Syrian rebels with logistical backing.
Then, there are the Salafist militias commanded by Sheikh Shadi Al-Mawlawi which aid Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda elements in Syria. They distribute the arms, ammunition, money and inside intelligence supplied them by Saudi and Qatari security agencies. To cut the Syrian rebels’ lifeline at source, the Syrian General Staff in Damascus last week sent the Lebanese Chief of Staff Gen. Jean Kahwagi a crude ultimatum: Take care of the Syrian rebels’ helpers in Tripoli, or else the Syrian army will enter Lebanon and do the job itself. In response, the Lebanese General Security Department began rounding up key Sunni figures actively supporting Syrian rebels. Saturday, the Salafist sheikh Al-Mawlawi was placed in custody on charges of “terrorist operations.”
The Sunni militias, aware that the Lebanese security officers had acted on orders from Damascus rather than Beirut, then turned on Assad’s Alawite sympathizers in Tripoli force an end to the arrests and the release of detainees. Sunday, Hariri’s outfit demanded that Prime Minister Nabil Miqati resign for failing to stop the bloodshed in Tripoli – and indirectly implying that he must stop playing ball with Damascus. He rejected Miqati statement that a decision was taken by national government in Beirut “not to provide political cover for any security violator in the northern city of Tripoli.” To stem the flow of war materiel to the rebels, Assad’s border units are also subjecting Lebanese border villages to frequent cross-border shelling, supported on the other side by Hizballah under joint Syrian command.
FOJ Note: Is not the Arab Spring, and the ongoing crisis in Syria not reflective of the ages old prophecy about the descendants of Ishmael? (Genesis 16:11-12 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.)
Leading Egypt Candidate calls Israel a Racist State & Threat
May 14….(Yahoo) A leading Islamist candidate in Egypt's presidential election has branded Israel a "racist state" and said a shared 1979 peace treaty was "a national security threat" that should be revised. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh also denounced Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's assassination by US special forces as an act of "state terrorism," in a late Saturday Egyptian television interview.
Abul Fotouh, a front runner in the May 23-24 election according to polls, had earlier described Israel as an "enemy" in a televised debate with his main contender, former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Mussa. In Saturday's interview with the private Egyptian CBC satellite station, he said he had opposed the treaty since its implementation. "I still view the peace treaty as a national security threat to Egypt, and it must be revised." "It is a treaty that forbids Egypt from exercising full sovereignty in the Sinai and allows Israelis to enter Sinai without visas, while they need visas for Cairo," he said. The treaty, in which Israel withdrew from the Sinai after capturing it in a 1967 war, does not allow Egypt a military presence in parts of the peninsula.
Abul Fotouh said Israel was "a racist state with 200 nuclear warheads" that continued to pose a threat to Egypt. Abul Fotouh's rival Amr Mussa has also argued for the revision of the treaty with Israel and described its policies towards Palestinians as an Egyptian "national security issue." The election, which will go into a June run off if there is no outright winner in the first round, should end a military-led transitional period since an uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Mubarak is now standing trial on charges of ordering the shooting of protesters and selling gas to Israel at cheap price. The former air force chief was seen as a close regional ally of Israel, which is unpopular in Egypt. After his overthrow, an attack by protesters forced Israel to close its embassy and Cairo annulled the controversial gas treaty, alleging lack of payment from Israel.
Egyptian Candidate Threatens Israel with Iranian Axis
(Israel may face a new Iranian-Egyptian threat if presidential candidate Hisham El-Bastawisi wins his bid to succeed Mubarak.)
May 14….(Arutz) Israel may face a new Iranian-Egyptian threat if presidential candidate Hisham El-Bastawisi winds his bid to succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose ouster he encouraged. Backed by the left-wing Tagammu party, El-Bastawisi said on Saturday that building good relations with Iran would be one of his highest priorities. Israel already faces a northern “axis of evil” by the alliance between Iran, Syria and Lebanon. El-Bastawisi also promised to revise the Camp David Accords to allow the army to increase an armed presence in the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian website Ahram reported. El-Bastawisi is a prominent reformist judge who helped lead opposition for judiciary independence under the regime of Mubarak, who now is on trial for mass murder of demonstrators in last year’s popular uprising.
Regardless of the outcome of the Egyptian prudential elections later this month, the new Cairo regime is bound to be more anti-Israel than it was under Mubarak. Muslim Brotherhood candidate Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh said in a televised debate that Israel is an “enemy country.” The other top candidate, former foreign minister and Arab League Chief Amr Moussa, said earlier this month, “The Camp David agreements do not exist anymore. The purpose of the agreement with Israel was to establish an independent Palestinian government, whereas today we are talking about an independent Palestinian state.”
Israel is 64 Years Old Today
(Israel was not "simply created" in 1948, but rather it was recreated, or regathered as the Bible says, was in accordance of the will of Almighty God. This is not a "work of man", though God certainly used men to bring about His will.)
May 14….(FOJ) The rebirth of Israel as an independent nation is one of the most significant events in world history. Never before has an entire race of people been without a homeland for so long without assimilating into surrounding populations. On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. In an afternoon ceremony at the Tel Aviv Art Museum, Ben-Gurion pronounced the words "We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel," prompting applause and tears from the crowd gathered at the museum. Ben-Gurion became Israel's first premier. The new state was recognized that very night by the United States.
Eretz-Israel, (the Land of Israel) was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim (immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation) and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood. This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.
WEEK OF MAY 6 THROUGH MAY 12
Hizballah Rushes Arms to Syria, Damascus on Edge
May 12….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) The shocking impact of the twin explosions which killed 55 people and injured almost 400 in Damascus Thursday, May 10, galvanized Bashar Assad’s allies, starting with Iran, into frenetic activity. Within hours, Tehran had ordered its Lebanese proxy Hizballah to open up its arms stores and run quantities of weapons and military equipment across the border to the Syrian army, a striking reversal of the routine direction of arms supplies. Thursday night, Washington quietly asked Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to put a stop to the traffic. While the Syrian opposition and Assad regime blamed each other, or al Qaeda, for the worst attack Damascus has seen in the 14-month uprising, it was obvious to both that it must have been the work of a major and very professional undercover agency.
In Tehran, Moscow and Beirut, the scale of the bombing attacks which leveled a key Syrian security headquarters was judged a sharp escalation in the offensive for President Assad’s overthrow, more intense even than the NATO campaign which last year removed the Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi. Debkafile’s sources in Moscow say the event has consequently cast a dark shadow over relations between the Obama Administration and Vladimir Putin at the outset of his third term as Russian president. This week, Putin pointedly declined to attend the G-8 summit of world leaders meeting next week at the US presidential retreat of Camp David. He decided to send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over in his place.
The Russian president has three large bones to pick with Washington: a.) He suspects American hands of stirring up opposition demonstrations against him during his election campaign; b.) He is flat against the US missile shield going up in Europe and the Middle East to intercept Iran’s ballistic missiles; and c.) He is solidly behind the Assad regime which he accuses the US of seeking to overthrow.
In its message to Beirut, the US reminded the Lebanese president that the transfer of war materials by Hizballah to Syria was a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the 206 Lebanon war between the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group and Israel. Arms transfers between Syria and Lebanon were banned in both directions. But his prohibition was never upheld. Regular arms consignments have been crossing into Lebanon for Hizballah from and via Syria for the past six years without any interference by the United Nations force UNIFIL stationed in South Lebanon. Washington knows perfectly well that no one in Lebanon will stop the arms flow to Syria either. But the request to President Suleiman is intended to lay the ground for expanded international and US intervention in the Syrian conflict. Another step Tehran took straight after the Damascus bombings to firm up the Assad regime was to start organizing a network of closed circuit security cameras to be installed in all parts of Damascus and its exits and entries for three functions:
1. Opponents of the regime will have less freedom of movement in the capital;
2. The army and security forces can economize on manpower for securing the city. Patrols will fan out after cameras register hostile or suspicion movements.
3. Syrian and allied intelligence services can keep track of UN monitors’ movements. The UN mission is regarded by Syria, Iran and Russia as “the eyes and ears of the West.”
Abomination from the Oval Office
May 11….(By Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) The man who occupies the Oval Office told ABC News: "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:24-28: “Wherefore YHVH also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of YHVH into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen. For this cause YHVH gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that reward of their error which was due.”
YHVH said in Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” YHVH said in Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Genesis 1:27-28 says, “So YHVH created man in his own image, in the image of YHVH created he him; male and female created he them. And YHVH blessed them, and YHVH said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
I Corinthians 7:2 says, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Yeshua said in Matthew 19:4-6, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore YHVH hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” The man who occupies the Oval Office by his very position in leadership is no less attempting to put asunder, even destroy, the very foundation of family and replace it with an abomination. The scriptures are clear on this issue.
Franklin Graham: Obama Has ‘Shaken His Fist’ at God
May 11….(Newsmax) Evangelist Franklin Graham said President Barack Obama has “shaken his fist at God” by voicing support for gay marriage. In an interview Wednesday with ABC News, Obama said his opinions had evolved and he now believes same-sex couples should have the right to wed. “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.
Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said the president was defying God’s will by changing his opinion on the issue. “President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more,” Graham said in a statement. “This is a sad day for America. May God help us,” he said. Graham supported a measure to amend North Carolina’s constitution to bar gay marriage. Voters on Tuesday passed the amendment with a 61 percent approval rate. Graham has criticized Obama on spiritual matters in the past. In February, he publicly questioned whether Obama is really a Christian and said “Islam has gotten a free pass” under Obama’s administration.
Multinational Forces Enmassed on Jordanian-Syrian
(suicide bombings rock Damascus)(Is US-Arab alliance engaged in Terrorism?)
May 11….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) Beset on two fronts, Bashar Assad rushed his elite Presidential Guard Division to Damascus Thursday, May 10, as two massive car bombs in the al Qaza district of Damascus demolished the command center of the Syrian military security service’s reconnaissance division, killing 55 people and injuring more than 300. To the southeast, 12,000 special operations troops from 17 nations, including the US and other NATO members, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were poised on the Jordanian side of the Syrian border for an exercise codenamed “Eager Lion.” Debkafile’s military sources also disclose that the bomb attack on Damascus was the most serious his regime had suffered against a military target since the 14-month Syrian uprising began. For the first time, Assad moved his most loyal unit, the Republican Guard Brigade, into central Damascus. Western and Arab pressure is building up to an intolerable pitch for the Syrian president to step down and save his people from the descent into the ultimate agony of a full-blown civil war. It is coming from two directions:
1. Special forces units of the US, France, Britain, Canada and other NATO members have gathered in Jordan alongside Saudi, Jordanian and Qatari special units for a large-scale ten-day military exercise in Jordan starting May 15. The exercise was set up by the US Special Operations Command Central. It is the Obama Administration's message to the Islamic rulers of Iran, Bashar Assad and his Moscow backers, as well as its answer to the complaints from Arab and other Western governments that America is doing nothing to stop the horrors perpetrated in Syria. Since all 12,000 troops massed in Jordan are commandos, they stand ready at all times to cross the border into Syria if this is deemed necessary.
2. Syrian cities, especially the capital, are being targeted for violent bombing attacks designed to bring the Assad regime tumbling down. Behind these attacks are Persian Gulf emirates led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose they have been joined in the last few days for the first time by Turkey which is contributing intelligence input. The military pressure on the Assad regime is thus reinforced by a campaign of terror against its props. No connection is admitted between the multinational force on the Jordanian-Syrian border and the spate of bombings. However, if Saudi or Qatari intelligence did play a hand in the Damascus bombings, their special forces in Jordan will have been in the picture.
The Obama Administration’s Love Affair With Islam
May 10….(WND) Hillary Clinton’s statement to a Muslim audience in Bangladesh that President Obama has a particular respect for Islam among all religions accentuates the administration’s dangerously naive relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, says nationally syndicated talk-radio host Michael Savage. The secretary of state speaks “as if Islam built America,” Savage told his “Savage Nation” listening audience last night, which ranks third nationwide. According to Clinton, said Savage, “It wasn’t Christians who came over on the Mayflower; it wasn’t Christians who wrote the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution; but it was Muslims.” Clinton was responding to a student at a public forum Sunday in Muslim-majority Bangladesh who asked about the perception that the US was against Islam. “That hurts me so much,” Clinton said. “It’s a painful perception to hear about, and I deeply regret that anyone believes that or propagates it.” She said extremists have “perverted” the teachings of Islam, and she emphasized that Obama “has sent a very clear message of respect and appreciation of all religions, and in particular, of Islam.”
Savage asked: “Why does this administration find it necessary, a day after we find another group of Muslims trying to blow up another airplane, to bend over backwards and tell us a big lie about the wonders of Islam?” America, he said, has become a “land where our worst enemies are praised but our allies are stiffed.” He noted that one month ago, members of Obama’s National Security Council met in the White House with envoys from the Muslim Brotherhood. “He treats radical Islamists in the Middle East like friends then stiffs Israel and Western European allies,” Savage said of Obama. Savage noted that the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, which the US has affirmed, is seen by the Muslim Brotherhood as a path toward its aim of building a Middle East Islamic empire based in Jerusalem and, ultimately, the global conquest of Islam.
The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that a Muslim Brotherhood preacher told a crowd at a recently rally at a Cairo soccer stadium that the Brotherhood’s Egyptian presidential candidate is helping realize that “dream.” “The capital of the caliphate, the capital of the United States of the Arabs, will be Jerusalem, Allah willing,” Safwat Higazi said. “Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina,” he said, before leading the crowd in chants of “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.” Savage commented: “Is there a Jew in America who doesn’t understand that [the Obama administration] is a pro-Muslim regime?” Citing Martin Luther King Jr., Savage argued that anti-Zionism is really anti-Semitism.
Egypt Islamist Vows Global Caliphate in Jerusalem
(“The capital of the United States of the Arabs will be Jerusalem," Muslim preacher tells thousands at Brotherhood rally.)
May 10….(Jerusalem Post) Egypt’s Islamists aim to install a global Islamic caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem, a radical Muslim preacher told thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in a clip released Monday. “We can see how the dream of the Islamic caliphate is being realized, God willing, by Dr. Mohamed Mursi,” Safwat Higazi told thousands of Brotherhood supporters at a Cairo soccer stadium as Mursi, the movement’s presidential candidate, and other Brotherhood officials nodded in agreement. “The capital of the caliphate, the capital of the United States of the Arabs, will be Jerusalem, God willing,” Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina,” he said, before leading the crowd in chants of “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.”
Higazi is an unaffiliated Islamist who is barred from the United Kingdom for making statements endorsing terror attacks against Israelis. The clip, from Egypt’s Islamist-oriented Al-Nas television station, was aired last week and uploaded to YouTube on Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The crowd carried banners emblazoned with slogans related to next week’s “Nakba Day,” when Palestinians and other Arabs mourn Israel’s creation in 1948. “Tomorrow, Mursi will liberate Gaza,” an unidentified man cheers in the video before leading the crowd in chants of “Allah Akbar.” “Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews,” the man repeats, accompanied by drumming. “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas… Forget about the whole world, forget about conferences. Brandish your weapons, say your prayers and pray to the Lord.”
Returning to the stage, Mursi vowed to pray in Jerusalem. “Yes, Jerusalem is our goal. We shall pray in Jerusalem, or die as martyrs on its threshold.” ock, an American translator and academic who spent two decades in Egypt, said the clip should come as a surprise to no one.
*“This is what the Muslim Brotherhood really stands for: the extermination of Israel, and Jews everywhere, as well as the spread and control of radical Islam over the world,” Mursi said.
How anyone can fail to see this boggles the mind, yet its denial is virtual dogma in the global mainstream media, US government and Western academia today,” said Stock, who has translated a number of books by the Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz. The Brotherhood won about half of Egypt’s parliamentary seats, but its main candidate Khairat al-Shater was disqualified last month from running for president and Mursi has struggled to win wide support. Hard-line Salafi Islamists were parliamentary elections’ biggest surprise, taking around 25% of seats. Two front-runners are Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former Brotherhood figure who has won the backing of a broad range of voters from liberals to Salafis, and Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief. A presidential election, which starts on May 23-24, will choose a replacement for Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in February last year, with help from President Obama and the US.
Obama Declares Support for Gay Marriage
May 10….(Fox News) President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president. In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters. "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.
Roberts asked the president if First Lady Michelle Obama was involved in this decision. Obama said she was, and he talked specifically about his own faith in responding. “This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Drama in Israel as Elections Cancelled, Unity Gov't Formed
(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a unity government on Tuesday in a surprise move that could give him a freer hand to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and seek peace with the Palestinians. The next election was due in October 2013 but Netanyahu had pushed this month for an early poll after divisions emerged in his coalition over the new military conscription law. Parliament was preparing to dissolve itself and clear the decks for a September 4 ballot while the backroom talks with Kadima were under way.)
May 9….(Israel Today) In a dramatic turn of events, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced early Tuesday morning that early general elections tentatively scheduled for September 4 were cancelled, and that he had forged a unity government with the opposition Kadima Party. The move took the entire country and all but the few Knesset members privy to the unity talks by complete surprise. Netanyahu's announcement came just hours before the Knesset was to officially dissolve itself, at the request of Netanyahu.
The deal requires Kadima to support government policies until the end of its term in October 2013. In return, Netanyahu will back Kadim's proposal to replace Israel's Tal Law, which until now had allowed Orthodox Jewish men to indefinitely defer military service. A growing number of Israelis have been protesting the Tal Law, insisting that it allows a large segment of society to get out of national service, even while that same segment enjoys the benefit of so much government welfare.
Netanyahu and new Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz also agreed that by the end of this year they would table a proposal for revamping Israel's electoral system. No details were available at press time. The unity deal is a boon for Mofaz, who took the reins of Kadima just a month ago. It was predicted that Kadima would have lost more than half of its current 28 Knesset seats in early elections. The deal also tremendously benefits Netanyahu, who is now head of one of the largest governing coalitions in Israel's history, granting him unprecedented stability for the next 18 months.
In addition to the political benefits for both parties, there is also a lot of speculation that the sudden unity deal was as much about Iran as anything else. If Israel is going to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, and experts agree a strike would have to happen this year, it is desirable that Israel be led by a unity government at a time of such crisis.
Netanyahu Here to Stay, so is Israel's Military Option on Iran
May 9….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) The unity government backed by a majority of 94 (out of 120) which Binyamin Netanyahu formed Tuesday May 8, is not just the broadest coalition ever to govern Israel, but also the first with three former chiefs of staff at the helm. Two are also present (Ehud Barak) and former (Shaul Mofaz) defense ministers. It was this feature which drew the most attention in Washington as the first reports of Netanyahu’s stunning U-turn away from an early election filtered through. “He has pulled off another term in office without standing for election,” said one senior administration source, “and he’s done it seven months before Barack Obama faces the American voter.” A re-elected Obama would find the same Netanyahu sitting in the prime minister’s chair in Jerusalem as before, after reinventing himself as a long-life premier.
If he and his new senior partner, former opposition Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz, achieve the targets they have set themselves, especially electoral and government reforms by the end of 2012, those reforms will enhance Netanyahu’s chances of winning the October 2013 elections. So when Obama ends his second presidential term in late 2017, Netanyahu will be ending his third as prime minister or as head of state, depending on whether reform legislation merges the two functions. Debkafile’s Washington sources registered three assessments by authoritative US sources of the changes portended by the Israel’s unity government, especially their impact on a potential Israeli, American or combined attack on Iran’s nuclear program:
1. According to one school of thought, the introduction of Mofaz, former chief of staff and defense minister, will make the composition of the new unity government the most hawkish ever, considering that he will sit down alongside Defense Minister Barak and former chief of staff Moshe Yaalon, currently vice premier and Minister for Strategic Affairs. All three hold key cabinet posts. Another prominent Kadima member expecting an influential post in the cabinet or a Knesset panel chair is former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter. The message to the Obama Administration is clear: The vocal criticism leveled against Netanyahu’s capacity to make good on a military option against Iran by a small group of aggrieved former Israeli generals and ex-security chiefs in no way represents the view of the “entire Israeli security establishment” as it was presented. Heading the government today is a solid security elite fully capable of executing any decisions that may be necessary to pre-empt a nuclear Iran. That is not to say that an Israeli attack on Iran is momentary, say these American sources, possibly even the reverse. They suggest that the new lineup may give Obama a few months’ space before getting down to a final decision on Iran.
2. The second school of thought within the Obama Administration noted that while skipping over Iran, both Netanyahu and Mofaz made a point at the news conference launching their partnership in Jerusalem of stressing peace negotiations with the Palestinians as one of the four most compelling factors spurring their collaboration and dominating their goals. Debkafile’s political sources disclose that the prime minister has handed Mofaz the task of breaking down Palestinian resistance to peace talks after nearly two years, so long as he and Netanyahu are of one mind on how to proceed. At their press conference, the Kadima leader stated his party is committed to the concept of a democratic Jewish Israel willing to accept territorial compromise in return for peace with security. Our Washington sources see this as part of the deal forged between the two men whereby Mofaz is committed to back Netanyahu on Iran while gaining the prime minister’s support on the Palestinian issue. In this, Mofaz is additionally motivated to seek success where former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni failed three years ago when she served as foreign minister.
3. A third view in Washington homes in on the changing face of Israeli politics. One American strategist opined that Israel is undergoing a historic sea change: Reform of the governing and political systems which heads their new coalition’s agenda has the potential for eclipsing the many small and fringe political groupings which for nearly seven decades have kept the political scene unstable and foreshortened the life of most governments. ”The right reform program could leave Israel and its parliament with just three or four major political blocs, center, right, religious and Arab. “ Netanyahu appears to have taken the first step towards introducing a survivable centrist bloc, although every attempt in the past has foundered. Success would thrust the rightist groupings into a separate corner of the political map in opposition to his broad-based ruling coalition.
Why Israel is Headed Toward Elections
May 8….(Ron Jager/The Jerusalem Connection) Nuclear threats are growing as the Obama administration tacitly approves unsupervised nuclear enrichment, while missiles are being launched daily from the Gaza Strip on cities in Southern Israel. From the east, Israel faces an existential threat from Iran. From the north, Israel faces a strategic threat from Syria and from Iran’s proxy, Hizbullah, with its more than 40,000 missiles. From the west, Hamas is re-arming and openly declaring its dedication to the destruction of Israel. From the South, Egypt’s leading candidate for the Presidency, Abu Moussa, is publicly calling for abrogating the peace treaty with Israel. The Palestinian Authority is not showing any serious signs of willingness to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
Despite all these threats representing a clear and present danger for Israel, it seems as though the elected government of Israel is being dragged into calling for elections against the better judgment of Prime Minister Netanyahu for one reason alone; petty politics. The current balance between the governing right wing party bloc and the opposition left wing party bloc is threatened. The left wing parties, those that claim to represent the “social democratic” and “liberal humanistic” ideologies, smell an opportunity, and as always they don’t give a damn about what’s best for Israel. The left wing party bloc, will never accept the democratic rule of right wing parties and will do what ever is necessary to take control of the country. They did it by sinking the Altalena, they did it during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, they did it at Oslo, they did it during the years of the suicide bombers, and they are doing it today. They, who claim to speak in the name of humanism and social justice, have consistently and exclusively been responsible for the greatest calamities in the brief history of the State of Israel, and the bloody price has always been paid by the people of Israel.
For an outsider, it is somewhat perplexing to understand. In Israel, the elected government is not based on choosing between 2 parties like in the United States. The political system in Israel forces the largest political party to create a coalition of parties that gives them a majority of 61 Knesset members (out of the 120) who support the largest bloc of parties. Usually, the blocs are divided into left and right wing blocs. Over the past few weeks a number of political events have transpired that have given the left the audacity to ignore all the existential threats facing Israel and force an election on the duly elected government of Israel.
All Israel’s left wing parties have come out this past week against attacking Iran, claiming that the world has to solve the problem of Iran’s nuclear arsenal and not Israel. Interestingly enough, this logic sounds very much in line with the Obama administration’s appeasement policy towards Iran. This effort has been augmented by two former senior security officials recently retired who have spent the past weeks attacking and slandering the Netanyahu government for even contemplating an attack on Iran.
The truth is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has single handedly succeeded in alerting the Western World to the need to restrain Iran without even firing a single shot. Yet, Israel’s left wing parties, in an effort to weaken the Netanyahu government for their own political gain, are coordinating their political messages concerning Iran.
President Obama has signaled that he will appreciate their cooperation by adopting the re-election strategy of preventing Israel from attacking Iran. However, Netanyahu understands that those who are unwilling to contain Iran today when they don’t have nuclear capability, will ultimately cave in when they attain nuclear weapons.
It is amazing how Obama, in cahoots with Israel’s left wing parties, is always in a state of denial, refusing to acknowledge that a nuclear Iran is much more dangerous to Israel and the world than attacking a non-nuclear Iran would be. Since Obama spent much of his first term seeking to undermine Netanyahu and remove him from office so as to procure a more pliant Israeli negotiating partner, the timing of the September elections in Israel is no coincidence for Netanyahu either. Obama, who will be fighting hard to hold onto Jewish votes by positioning himself as Israel’s best friend, won’t dare to take a swipe at Netanyahu during the interim period prior to the elections in September in Israel, and even more so prior to the November elections in the United States. Fortunately, this cooperation between the Obama administration and Israel’s left wing parties has backfired.
Those who think that Prime Minsiter Netanyahu is calling for early elections out of a sense of political weakness have it all wrong. Netanyahu is, in fact, calling for early elections in order to consolidate and strengthen his political base of support. The polls show him way ahead of other possible contenders. In the coming months, Israel will have to make some touch decisions concerning Iran, so what better way to make the Israeli threat that much more credible by garnering an impressive showing at the polls, proving that the Israeli public is behind Netanyahu and his position concerning Iran.
In this way, even if Obama is re-elected to a second-term, God forbid, Netanyahu having been re-elected with a wide majority of the Israeli public and a large ruling coalition of center-right political parties will be able to hold-back expected pressure that Obama will put on Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu has never concealed his intention to strike Iran’s nuclear sites before they go underground and become immune to attack by Israel. This threat will be more credible than ever by Netanyahu having being re-elected.
Obama Granted Himself Martial Law Powers
May 8….(Washington Times) President Obama has given himself the powers to declare martial law, especially in the event of a war with Iran. It is a sweeping power grab that should worry every American. Back on March 16, the White House released an executive order, “National Defense Resources Preparedness.” The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution. It states that, in case of a war or national emergency, the federal government has the authority to take over almost every aspect of American society. Food, livestock, farming equipment, manufacturing, industry, energy, transportation, hospitals, health care facilities, water resources, defense and construction, all of it could fall under the full control of Obama. The order empowers the president to dispense these vast resources as he sees fit during a national crisis. “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency,” the order says. “The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.”
In short, the order gives Mr. Obama the ability to impose martial law. He now possesses the potential powers of a dictator. The order is a direct assault on individual liberties, private property rights and the rule of law. It is blatantly unconstitutional. The executive branch is arrogating responsibilities precluded by the Constitution without even asking the permission of Congress. The order gives Obama a blank check to erect a centralized authoritarian state. This is a law one would expect to find in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The backdrop to the executive order is the looming showdown with Iran. Iranian-backed Hezbollah cells could launch devastating terrorist attacks in major US cities, killing numerous citizens. The war may well come home, triggering domestic chaos. These are the very real risks of a major conflict with Iran. Which begs the question: Would that tempt Obama to claim a state of emergency and thereby implement his executive order? No one knows the answer. And we shouldn’t have to find out. The president does not, and should not have the authority to subordinate the entire private economy to the government, especially without the consent of Congress and the American people. It is national socialism masquerading as military security.
But the Constitution still matters, or at least it should. For more than 70 years, liberal Democrats and corporatist Republicans have been slowly dismantling the old Republic, imposing a creeping social democracy. The Founding Fathers’ vision of limited government and federalism has been replaced by a new ruling class. Obama’s executive order represents the culmination of the welfare-warfare state. Our once proud Republic is gone, and our Constitution is on the way out too.
Iran Upgrades Palestinian Jihad Islami’s Gaza Missile Arsenal
May 8….(DEBKAfile Exclusive) Iran is working at full speed to give the Jihad Islamic, its radical Palestinian arm in the Gaza Strip, a strong military edge over the ruling Hamas which it no longer trusts, Debkafile’s exclusive military sources report. Tehran is motivated by two objectives:
1. Because of its growing distance from the Assad regime in Syria, Hamas can no longer be relied on to support the Islamic Republic’s cause and strike Israel or US Middle East targets if the latter go to war on Iran’s nuclear program. One of Tehran’s top strategic priorities now is therefore to set Jihad Islami up as the spearhead of a potential attack on Israel instead of Hamas from the Gaza Strip and its Mediterranean coast.
2. Partly also as a rejoinder to the Qatari and Saudi arms shipments channeled to the Syrian rebels through Turkey, Iran is matching the level and quality of those arms deliveries by its own consignments through Sinai or by sea to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian extremist group. Those consignments have two parts: The first entails the establishment of a line of radar-guided, shore-to-sea missiles along the Gaza coast, to prevent Israel’s missile ships getting near enough to the enclave from the Mediterranean to shell shore targets, and as a barrier against Israeli armored or special forces landings.
Iranian missile experts are on the spot setting up the missile deployments and organizing the logistics for their transfer from storage to preset launching sites. Scores of Jihad Islami fighters are undergoing special course in their use at Revolutionary Guards centers while Iranian instructors in Gaza are showing them how to use their radar systems. For the second, Iranian and Hizballah missile engineers are working on magnifying the explosive punch, range and targeting precision of the estimated 15,000 Qassam missiles in the Jihad Islami’s armory.
To this end, Iran’s engineers are building for the terrorists a military industry with production lines which for the first time will give them the capacity for the high-speed serial production of dozens of Qassam’s instead of producing them one at a time in small foundries. Once those production lines are working, Jihad Islami can double the intensity of its missile attacks on Israeli locations from 100 to 200 per day. Their range has also been improved so as to bring Tel Aviv and its southern environs within reach of upgraded Qassams launched from the Gaza Strip.
According to Debkafile’s military sources, Iran and Jihad Islami welcome Israel’s sudden decision to hold an early election on September 4 because they believe its leaders will be too busy campaigning to interfere with the Iranian-Palestinian military buildup going forward apace in the Gaza Strip. By the time the next Israeli government is in place, most likely headed by the incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu, their new deployment and armaments will already be in place
Muslim Brotherhood & Marxists Socialists Eye Power in Syria
May 7….(Reuters) At a meeting of Syria's opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad. With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots. From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.
Careful not to undermine the council's disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), (with its Al Qaeda members) whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun. "We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside.. "We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents," said Bayanouni.
The Syrian Brotherhood is a branch of the Sunni Muslim movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. It was a minor political player before a 1963 Baath Party coup but its support grew under the authoritarian 30-year rule of Hafez al-Assad, as his minority Alawite community dominated the majority Sunni country. Mindful of international fears of Islamists taking power, and of the worries of Syria's ethnic and religious minorities, the Syrian Brotherhood portrays itself as espousing a moderate, Turkish-style Islamist agenda. It unveiled a manifesto last month that did not mention the word Islam and contained pledges to respect democracy and individual rights.
With backing from Ankara, and following the political ascendancy of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya since Arab Spring revolts broke out two years ago, the group is poised to be at the top of any new governing system in Syria. Extending the loose Brotherhood umbrella to Syria will raise pressure on the US-backed Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, where the local Brotherhood has been sidelined by laws that favor tribal politicians allied with the security apparatus. Iraq's Shi'ite rulers could also find they have a hardline Sunni government as their neighbor, and Lebanon's Shi'ite guerrilla group Hezbollah would lose its main Arab backer.
Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say. "We bicker while the Brotherhood works," said Fawaz al-Tello, a veteran opposition figure who is a pious Muslim while being on the liberal end of the Syrian political spectrum. "They have gained control of the SNC's aid division and the military bureau, its only important components," said Tello, a former political prisoner who fled Syria four months ago. "But they still have to work more to get support on the inside. Lots of clerics, activists and rebels do not want to be linked to them. "Tello, however, acknowledged that the Brotherhood has clawed back influence inside Syria, especially in the cities of Homs and Hama and the rural province of Idlib on the border with Turkey, hotbeds of the revolt against Assad. This is no small feat after three decades in the political wilderness. Unlike Arab rulers who tried to co-opt the movement by granting it limited operation, the Assads excluded it and all other opposition from the political system.
Bashar's father Hafez al-Assad's forces killed, tortured and imprisoned tens of thousands of people after leftists and Islamists began challenging his rule in the 1970s.The Brotherhood took the brunt of the repression, and a 1980 decree singled out membership as punishable by death. Mulhem Droubi, said, "We are working for the downfall of Bashar al-Assad and not to find a popular base. Droubi, however, acknowledged that the road to democracy will be even more bloody, adding that the Brotherhood began supporting armed resistance in earnest a month ago. The issue sharply divided the group in the 1980s, when it took up arms against the president. Assad's forces killed nearly 20,000 people when they overran the city of Hama in 1982, where the Brotherhood's armed division made it last stand. Droubi said there is no dispute now about the need for armed resistance, alongside street protests against Assad. "Too many of our people have been killed. Too many have been raped," Droubi said, adding that Brotherhood was committed to a setting up a multi-party democracy if Assad is toppled. Droubi pointed to a political program unveiled by the Brotherhood last month in Istanbul, which committed to multi-party democracy in a future Syria. It said a new constitution would be reached through consensus and guarantee fair representation for diverse ethnicities and religious groups. "Our proposals are more advanced than the Brotherhood in other countries," he said.
Bassam Ishaq, a Christian opposition figure who has worked with the Brotherhood within the SNC, said the manifesto bore the marks of the Brotherhood's pragmatism. "If they get a chance to seize power by themselves they will do it, but they realize that it will be difficult in country where 30 percent of the population are ethnic or religious minorities," said Ishaq. "The street has lost faith in leftist politicians. After the repression in the 1980s, the leftists dispersed. The Brotherhood kept together and rebuilt while in exile, aided by donations from wealthy Syrians in and support in the Gulf," he added. In a demonstration of their financial muscle, Brotherhood operatives were dispatched last month with suitcases of cash to a dusty camp for Free Syrian Army defectors in a Turkish region bordering Syria near Antakya.
Sources in the camp said the Brotherhood was supporting Colonel Riad al-Asaad, one of the first prominent defectors last year, now at odds with more senior officers who deserted later. Colonel Asaad now sports a Brotherhood-style beard. Street activists who have had little to do with the Brotherhood are also being lured by promises of instant support for the revolt. "I approached them and they instantly gave me 2,000 euros when I asked for help...and I am not even Ikhwan (Brotherhood)," said veteran activist Othman al-Bidewi, who regularly travels between Syria and the border region in Turkey to drum up support for street demonstrations against Assad in Idlib province.
WEEK OF APRIL 29 THROUGH MAY 5
Sinai: The New Egyptian Plague
May 5….(Israel Today) Since the Egyptian Revolution more than a year ago, there has been a complete breakdown of law and order in the Sinai Peninsula, and Islamic terrorists from Egypt and Gaza have filled the vacuum. The natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel has been blown up 14 times. On the eve of Passover, several rockets were fired across the border from Sinai into Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat, as the city prepared to host thousands of visitors for the holiday. The Israeli military says a number of terror groups are active in Sinai, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, and they are planning cross-border attacks. This poses a dilemma for Israel because it cannot freely operate in Sinai, as it would in neighboring Gaza, for fear of further harming the already fragile peace treaty with Egypt.
The Egyptian government has lost control of Sinai, and Bedouin tribes now call the shots in the desert where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years in biblical times. The Bedouin economy thrives on smuggling to Hamas-ruled Gaza. “By the end of 2011, the annual volume of this black economy was estimated to exceed US $300 million,” wrote respected Israeli analyst Ehud Yaari in a report called Sinai: A New Front, published by the Washington Institute. “The true surge in such activity came after Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza and subsequent removal of troops from the Sinai-Gaza border, as Bedouin political activist Ashraf al-Anani put it, ‘a fireball started rolling into the peninsula.’ Illegal trade and arms smuggling volumes rose to new records, and ever-larger sectors of the northern Sinai population became linked to Gaza and fell under the political and ideological influence of Hamas and its ilk.”
Armed Bedouin gangs have become the law of the land. For instance, 400 Bedouins besieged the base of the UN international peacekeeping force in Sinai, known as the MFO (Multinational Force and Observers), which is supposed to enforce the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. The revolt began after five Bedouins were arrested by soldiers. Yaari says the flow of arms includes missiles that can hit Tel Aviv as well as weapons smuggled from Libya, such as Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles which could pose a threat to Israeli aircraft and Eilat Airport. “One Bedouin source estimates the overall number of weapons in the peninsula at no less than 100,000 pieces of all sorts,” he writes. So Israel has little choice but to allow Egypt to place seven additional battalions in Sinai to secure the 250-kilometer (150-mile) long border. According to the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, no Egyptian troops are allowed to cross the Suez Canal and be stationed in Sinai, but the regulation was already softened last year. The risk for Israel is high because once Egyptian troops deploy in Sinai they will never leave.
Some Israeli security experts see this as a ploy by Egypt, not to keep the peace but rather to be better prepared for a war with Israel. The United States plays an important role in this situation because it alone has leverage, in the form of nearly $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt. While Islamists now control Egypt, the economy is in shambles, and the US must make it clear that allowing Sinai to become a new launching pad for terrorist attacks on Israel could threaten the financial package. “The danger of a flare-up on that frontier has become a constant concern, with the added risk that local developments in the Sinai could break a fragile bilateral peace,” writes Yaari. The writing is on the wall. “If I had something to say, our army would already be prepared for a confrontation in Sinai,” said Knesset member Benjamin Ben Eliezer, a former general. If anyone knows the Egyptians, then it is Ben Eliezer, who was a personal friend of toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
One In Seven Believe World Will End Soon
(A Mayan prophecy predicts the world will end in 2012)
May 5….(Personal Liberty Digest) If you are reading this in a room of six other people, one of you thinks the world is about to end. At least that’s what a Reuters poll suggests. Ipsos Global Public Affairs conducted a poll for the news outlet and found that one in seven people believe the end of the world is just around the corner. “Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming,” said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs. US and Turkey citizens rank among the most melancholy (or optimistic depending on how you look at it). In each country, 22 percent of citizens think the world will end in their lifetime. According to the poll, people with lower incomes and people under 35 are more likely to think the world’s demise will happen while they are alive. Researchers think that a Mayan prophecy which predicts the world will end in 2012 may be behind the trend.
FOJ Note: The world is not coming to an end anytime soon! The world will last another 1000+ years. However, Jesus Christ is coming back to this world, and He will change things.
Russia Threatens to Attack NATO Missile Defense Sites
May 4….(In The Days) Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov warns that talks between Moscow and Washington on the US-led NATO missile defense plan in Europe are “close to a dead end” on May 3, 2012, as officials scrambled to save the deal at a top-level conference. Russia’s most senior military officer said Thursday that Moscow would strike and destroy NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe before they came online if the US pushes ahead with deployment. “A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior US and NATO officials.
The threat comes as talks about the missile defense system, which the US and its allies insist is aimed at Iranian missiles, appear to have stalled. “We have not been able to find mutually acceptable solutions at this point, and the situation is practically at a dead end,” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said. Ellen Tauscher, the US special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense, insisted the talks about NATO plans for a missile defense system using ground-based interceptor missiles stationed in Poland, Romania and Turkey were not stalemated. But she acknowledged Wednesday that the recent elections in Russia and the upcoming elections in the US make it “pretty clear that this is a year in which we’re probably not going to achieve any sort of a breakthrough.” She reiterated that the US-built system, still in development, is being designed to shoot down Iranian intermediate-range missiles aimed at Europe, not Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Russian officials insist that the system has the capability to shoot down their ICBMs, thus robbing their nuclear deterrent of its credibility and destabilizing the Cold War-era balance of mutually assured destruction.
Iran Says Israeli Nukes is Greatest Threat in Middle East
May 4….(YNET) A senior Iranian official said that Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat to Mideast peace and accused the United States and other nuclear powers of hypocritically ignoring their disarmament commitments. Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh's comments Wednesday to a 189-nation nonproliferation meeting reflected Iran's attempts to deflect international concerns that its nuclear activities could be turned to making weapons. Usually strident Western criticism of Iran has been muted since the conference opened Monday, possibly due to reluctance to burden the atmosphere ahead of a new meeting later this month between Iran and six powers attempting to nudge it toward concessions meant to ease such worries.
But Akhondzadeh didn't hold back. While avoiding direct mention of the United States, his criticism of "certain nuclear-weapon states" encompassed the US, Britain and France, three nations that will be sitting at the table with Iran, along with Russia, China and Germany in Baghdad on May 23. He also described Israel as posing "the gravest threat to the stability and security" of the Middle East. Although Israel has never confirmed it, it is widely assumed to be the only Mideast nation to possess nuclear arms.
The United States and its allies see Iran as the greatest potential nuclear threat in the Mideast because of its refusal to stop uranium enrichment and other activities that could be used to make such weapons. But Iran and the Arab states say the Jewish state's undeclared arms program poses the most pressing danger.
The United States has thrown its weight behind efforts to convene a meeting of all Mideast states later this year to discuss creating a region free of weapons of mass destruction. But neither Israel nor Iran have committed to attending, and a recently retired senior Israeli official told The Associated Press his country was unlikely to attend. He demanded anonymity because his information was confidential. Israel's absence would strip any such Mideast meeting of significance.
Beyond Israel, Akhondzadeh criticized "certain nuclear-weapon states" that have ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, saying their stockpile of weapons "and their continued modernization is the most serious threat to the survival of mankind." He accused them of "lack of effective and systematic progress towards implementing nuclear disarmament obligations" under commitments to the Nonproliferation Treaty. While he did not name the countries, his use of the term "certain" indicated he was talking about the United States, Britain and France. Iran has been careful not to irk Russia and China, the other two nuclear-weapons states that have signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and which oppose sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic by Washington and its Western allies. "Certain nuclear-weapon states are expected to display sincerity and political will rather than hypocrisy with regard to their nuclear disarmament obligations," Akhondzadeh said.
Palestinians Renege on Security Ties With Israel, Restore Revolving Door for Terrorists
May 4….(DEBKAfile Exclusive Report) For the first time since 2006, the Palestinian Authority’s security services on the West Bank have stopped cooperating with the IDF in operations and intelligence-sharing for countering terrorism. The arrest and interrogation of suspects, the most effective measure for thwarting terrorist plots, are discontinued: Palestinian security officers invite suspects for conversation, then send them home, contrary to every explicit guarantee the Palestinian Authority and its head, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has given Israel and the US officers building up Palestinian Authority units.
A senior Israeli intelligence source engaged directly in counter-terrorism told Debkafile Thursday, May 3, that, in response to the Palestinian Authority’s failure to stand by its commitments, Israel has upped the terror alert level in Judea and Samaria, as well as along the Israel-West Bank boundary. Israeli security officials believe it is just a matter of time before Palestinian extremists go back to their old terrorist tactics against Israel. Until a few weeks ago, Palestinian security authorities were still willing to cooperate with Israel and Western officials working alongside them to prevent “hot attacks,”plots close to execution. But in recent days, Ramallah has discontinued even that modicum of collaboration.
Debkafile’s intelligence and counter-terrorism sources say that Washington and Jerusalem have no doubt that the Palestinian Authority would not have taken this crucial step without the approval of its chairman, Abbas. American officials who taxed him on this received a flat denial and a promise to check with Gen. Abu Dohan, Palestinian Security Forces chief, and come back with answers. This he failed to do. There is another troubling symptom of Palestinian backtracking on its war on terror: They have not only stopped arresting suspects of plotting terror attacks, they are opening the doors of their prisons to let detainees go free. This is being done gradually so as not to draw the attention of Israel and US security and intelligence services. The old Palestinian revolving door policy is back for terrorists at police holding cells and detention facilities for which Yasser Arafat was notorious during the uprising of 2000-2004.
Palestinian sources deny that Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal reached any understandings when they met in Cairo Wednesday, May 2. But Israel does not believe this is true. In fact Israeli intelligence sources told debkafile that misinformation about the meeting was disseminated as a smokescreen to deceive Israeli and Western officials. The truth, said one source, is that “Abu Mazen and Meshal are developing a special relationship very similar to the one that existed in the early 2000’s between Yasser Arafat and the Hamas founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.” They were consistently at odds on ideology but in complete agreement on a policy of violence and terrorism against Israel.
IDF Calls Up 6 Battalions for Egypt & Syria Borders
May 3….(Times of Israel) The IDF has issued emergency call up orders to six reserve battalions in light of new dangers on the Egyptian and Syrian borders. And the Knesset has given the IDF permission to summon a further 16 reserve battalions if necessary, Israeli media reported on Wednesday. An IDF spokesperson said intelligence assessments called for the deployment of more soldiers. According to 2008′s Reserve Duty Law, combat soldiers can be called for active reserve duty once every three years, and for short training sessions during the other two. Rising tensions between Israel and Egypt and the ongoing unrest in Syria caused the army to ask the Knesset for special permission to call up more soldiers, more often. The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the request recently, enabling the IDF to summon up to 22 battalions for active duty for the second time in three years. Already, the army has called up six of them. “This signifies that the IDF regards the Egyptian and Syrian borders as the potential source of a greater threat than in the past,” the former deputy chief of staff, Dan Harel, said on Wednesday night. “The army needs a better ‘answer’ than in the past to the threat,” he said, citing Egypt’s deteriorating control over the Sinai, marked by an upsurge in Bedouin smuggling of weapons and other goods. He also spoke of the growing threat of terrorism from Sinai, as exemplified by an infiltration last August in which eight Israelis were killed.
The Syrian situation was also highly combustible, Harel said, “and it could explode at any moment, and pose a direct challenge to us.” Maariv said the army had to decide whether to cancel training sessions for enlisted soldiers or to summon additional reserve units, and it chose the latter; canceling training would mean soldiers would not be prepared in the case of an all-out war. The IDF spokesperson said all the letters summoning soldiers for reserve duty were sent after the IDF received the approval of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the larger call-up. One of the reservists summoned told Maariv he hadn’t expected his call-up letter until next year. Leaving home for more than three weeks is something you have to prepare for, he noted. Activists from the Reserve Soldiers Forum said they were disappointed time and again by the way the IDF treated its reserve soldiers. The law was supposed to help reservists, but it has been repeatedly bypassed and ignored, they said. “At the end, all that will remain of the law will be its title.”
US Muslim Population Nearly Triples in Decade
May 3….(Arutz) A census of American religions released Tuesday showed the Muslim community in the United States has grown in the past decade. According to a study carried out by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, the number of Muslims in America rose to 2.6 million in 2010 from 1 million in 2000, fueled by immigration and conversions. Muslims now outnumber Jews in many parts of the American South and Midwest, but Christians remain the largest group in every state.
The number of Mormons with the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, grew by 45 percent to 6.1 million in 2010. Among the other major US faiths, the Southern Baptist Convention held steady at 19.9 million over the decade, the United Methodist Church lost 4 percent down to 9.9 million adherents, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost 18 percent to 4.2 million, and the Episcopal Church lost 15 percent of its adherents to 1.95 million.
Among major religions, the census found the number of Catholics, the largest single faith, declined 5 percent to 58.9 million during the decade. In the New England region, Catholic funerals outnumber baptisms. However, the overall number of evangelical Protestant congregations continued to grow, albeit slowly, to 50 million adherents. Most of the growth was in urban areas and the vast majority of expanding congregations have fewer than 100 members.
Elsewhere, Buddhists made strong gains in the Rocky Mountain States, where the number of temples and congregations increased markedly. The total number of Buddhist adherents in the United States stands at nearly 1 million. There was no estimate in 2000.
According to the study, 55 percent of Americans attend religious services with enough regularity to be counted. By comparison, most surveys estimate roughly 85 percent of Americans profess religious faith, though they may not attend services. Some 158 million Americans were classified as “unclaimed” by any religion in the survey. The survey, which asked 236 religions to count their own adherents, also included family members of adherents in the numbers in most cases. Jews did not respond to the survey in large numbers, but Jewish organizations in the US have conducted numerous up-to-date studies. The Jewish Population of the United States 2010 study by Prof. Ira Sheskin of Miami University, placed the American Jewish population at 6,543,820. That number is up from an estimated 6,155,000 in 2000.
Military Chaplains Feel Political Pressure To Favor Homosexuality
May 3….(WND) A coalition of military chaplains is urging Congress to protect the rights of chaplains and members of the military to express their biblically based views of homosexuality, because current law leaves them open to harassment and disciplinary actions. Brig. Gen. David Lee, a former Army chaplain and the chief of the executive committee of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said there haven’t been direct assaults on chaplains for their views of homosexuality, yet. But he said the pressure to conform to the military’s new policy of allowing homosexuals in the ranks is like guerrilla warfare. His organization recently wrote Congress on the issue.
Members of Congress “are being told that everything is just fine, and there is no problem with the implementation of the law, however, that is not true,” Lee said. The change was adopted when Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy under which homosexuals could serve as long as they didn’t disclose their sexual orientation. The letter sent by the CAFRL provided Congress with specific reports revealing the need for the pending Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, which would protect the rights of chaplains and service members to oppose homosexuality without fear of retaliation. The media generally characterizes the legislation passed by Congress in 2010 as simply a repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” a policy initiated by Bill Clinton in 1993.
But, in reality, the military’s centuries-old ban on homosexuality was repealed. Lee said while much of the media focus has been on chaplains and how the policy will affect their right to freely practice their religion, the bigger threat is the loss of freedoms for all service members. “Chaplains have more protections than the regular soldier, because they are a constitutionally protected position,” he said. “The issue is not one of chaplains being assaulted at the moment, but rather of the troops out there in the enlisted world who are facing assaults on the religious freedom.” Supporters of the ban have said no soldier has been disciplined for his religious beliefs on homosexuality, which proves that the new policy is working out just fine and that “gays” and lesbians are working side by side with no effect on morale or unit cohesion.
However, Lee says there are many signs that permitting homosexuals to serve openly has indeed created a variety of problems and not all of them are related to homosexuality. “There are little bubbles popping up all over the place on issues related to DADT and they aren’t all about homosexuality. They have to do with morals, values and how soldiers view life,” Lee warned. “What has happened in Colombia with the Secret Service and the military is indicative of an atmosphere that emboldens things that for decades were considered immoral.” He also cited a recent report that showed sex crimes have surged in the Army following the new homosexual policy. He said the report is not surprising because there is a deliberate attempt by some to eliminate Christian morality from the military. “There have been no frontal assaults on chaplains because there is a First Amendment, however the problem is an erosion in the culture where the moral foundations are being destroyed by a desire of many in the current administration and some in the Pentagon to make the military completely secular.”
At the time of the Army’s founding, purity and morals were considered by Gen. George Washington to be a vital foundation. “Purity of morals being the only sure foundation of public happiness in any country and highly conducive to order, subordination, and success in an Army, it will be well worthy the emulation of officers of every rank and class to encourage it both by the influence of example and the penalties of authority,” Washington said.
Today, under procedures set up by the Obama administration, chaplains only have such freedom in their worship services, and they could be punished for “resistance” to the indoctrination of homosexual behavior in the ranks. Obama’s “new policy takes sides between a minority of military chaplains who have no moral objections to homosexual conduct, and the majority of chaplains who do,” the analysis says. “Absent congressional action, constitutional rights of conscience will be protected for one group but not the other.”
Christians Being Slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria
(That good ole peaceful religion is killing Christians all over the globe)
FOJ Note: Focus on Jerusalem receives numerous requests for Bibles from Nigeria. Please help send Bibles to this country)
May 3….(WND) An international Christian ministry that assists persecuted members of the faith says hundreds of Christians have been killed in a series of attacks in Nigeria. This is the African nation where members of the Muslim jihadist group Boko Haram earlier vowed to “eradicate Christianity.” At the time of the threats just weeks ago, the Nigerian news site Bikya Masr reported the group had declared war on all Christians living in northern Nigeria. Human-rights group International Christian Concern’s Jonathan Racho called the news alarming. Now the Barnabas Fund is reporting that some 300 Christians were killed in one diocese alone, and 27 people died in attacks on three church services as recently as Sunday. Other Nigerian violence was reported on Easter Sunday, when in Kaduna 40 were killed in a suicide bombing outside two churches.
Later, in Jos, another attack left a pregnant woman and an 18-month-old child among those killed. “The simple act of going to church on a Sunday has become a perilous one for Christians in many parts of Nigeria,” said Patrick Sookhdeo, international director for Barnabas Fund. “They very much need our prayers as they courageously continue to gather for worship despite the unrelenting violence.” Racho reported weeks ago that Boko Haram announced it would “launch a number of attacks targeting Christians.” He said their stated goal is “eradicating Christians.” Violence also has developed against Christians in Kenya, where a band of Muslims recently launched a grenade attack against 150 Christians attending an open-air meeting.
Egypt Leadership: Treaty With Israel is Dead
May 2….(Israel Today) Amr Moussa, the current frontrunner in Egypt's first presidential election campaign since the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, said on Monday that Egypt's peace treaty with Israel was only ever about birthing a Palestinian state, and is now "dead." Speaking to voters in southern Egypt, Moussa declared, "The Camp David agreements do not exist anymore. They are an historic document whose place is now on the shelf. The purpose of the agreement with Israel was to establish an independent Palestinian state." Moussa stressed that did not mean that as president he would cancel the peace treaty with Israel. Rather, he insisted that Israel-Egypt relations are now governed by the 2002 Saudi-authored Arab League peace proposal, which promises Israel peace with its neighbors in exchange for meeting all Arab land demands. In other words, if Israel adequately complies with demands that it surrender Judea, Samaria and the entire eastern half of Jerusalem, Egypt will maintain the cold peace that has existed between the two nations since 1979.
As one of the few candidates not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood or another of Egypt's Islamist factions, Moussa is seen as a "moderate" leader and a desirable counter-balance to Muslim Brotherhood control of the parliament. However, during his previous stints as Egypt's foreign minister and secretary-general of the Arab League, Moussa has made it clear that harbors no love for the Jewish state, and sees the Camp David Accords as little more than an agreement of convenience. His latest remarks would seem to reinforce that assessment.
A poll published this week by the Al-Ahram Center for Political Studies predicted Moussa winning 41.1 percent of the vote when Egyptians go to the polls later this month. His closest challenger is Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who after leaving the group has gained broad support from Muslims, Christians and more secular Egyptians. Abolfotoh was shown winning just over 27 percent of the vote.
FOJ Note: If the peace treaty with Israel is dead, then Egypt should be required to return the Sinai, afterall it was awarded to them in the name of peace!
Navy SEALs Slam Obama: Cheap Shot to Claim Credit for Bin Laden
May 2….(Mail Online) Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign. The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’. In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.
Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the ‘gutsy call’ made by the President. President Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mit Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live. ‘I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,’ Obama said. ‘If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it.’ Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call. ‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice, it was a broader team effort.’
Mr. Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’ A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart. ‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it. ‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot. ‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command. Mr Kyle added: ‘Obama's trying to say that Romney wouldn't have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it's going to get him some pretty good mileage.’
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape. ‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier, as would George W. Bush.’
Is The Bible Still Relevant in 2012?
May 1….(Fox News) After all the very visible fighting about public displays of religious symbols, from 10 Commandments plaques to graveyard crosses to faith-themed war memorials to holiday manger displays, you might have developed the impression that most Americans don’t think the Bible matters today and they like it that way. You’d be wrong.
There is a lot of speculation about both the current role and the appropriate role of the Bible in America. But each year, American Bible Society puts the guessing aside and asks a sampling of Americans to tell us how they view and use the Bible and what they believe its role should be in America. Recently, American Bible Society released this year’s results from that research in the 2012 State of the Bible report. The State of the Bible in America in 2012 can be summed up in a two words: encouraging and unsettling.
The research, commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Research, found that the majority of Americans (69%) believe the Bible provides answers on how to live a meaningful life. But while 79% believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible, 54% were unable to correctly identify the first five books of the Bible. And approximately half of Americans surveyed didn’t know the fundamental differences between the teachings of the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon, with 46% percent saying they believe all three books teach the same spiritual truths.
While nearly half of Americans (47%) believe the Bible has too little influence in society, a far cry from the anti-faith picture often painted in culture, approximately half (46%) say they read the Bible no more than once or twice a year. What the State of the Bible report also confirmed is that the lack of engagement with the Bible among Americans isn’t caused by a lack of access to it. Here in the United States, 85% of households own a Bible. Actually, most families own more than one, with a household average of 4.3 Bibles.
Looking more closely at the data, something really interesting emerges. When we examine responses to the question “Do you believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life?,” we find that older respondents agreed at a much higher rate than did younger respondents. While 61% of those surveyed between ages 18-27 agreed, those 47 years and older agreed at a rate of 75%.
Before you assert that older people are just naturally more traditional, remember that the older group is made up of the Woodstock generation, free-love ‘70s kids and the MTV generation. The data seems to say that the older you are, the more likely you are to value the Bible. Maybe it’s that our own life experiences prove the value of the Bible’s wisdom?
There is no doubt that the findings in The State of the Bible lead to some obvious questions. For instance…
If Americans believe in the value of reading and applying the Bible, why don’t more of us simply read it?
If we believe that the Bible has the right amount of, or too little influence in society, why is so much negative attention given to expressions of the faith in the God of the Bible?
When survey participants were asked what frustrated them most about reading the Bible, the most oft-cited response was that they “never had enough time to read it.” The busy-ness of our lives often make it difficult for us to follow through on what we say we value. Another reason I often hear from non-Bible readers is that they find the sheer size of the Bible to be overwhelming. So is the Bible really relevant in 2012? You won’t know until you read it.
New Obama Slogan has Long Ties to Marxism, Socialism
FOJ Note…..Just last week the American Communist party endorsed Barack Obama for president. If I was a candidate for the presidency and the Communists publicly acclaimed me, I would have to take issue with that. I would vehemently deny any association with Communists, or even Socialism. But, as Obama is a political Socialist, don’t look for him to be bothered by such support. Socialism is just a stepping stone away from outright Communism, or oligarchy control.
May 1….(Washington Times) The Obama campaign apparently didn't look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, "Forward," a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism. Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name "Forward!" or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called "Forward (generic name of socialist publications)." "The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications," the online encyclopedia explains.
The slogan "Forward!" reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism. The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word "Forward" with the "O" having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign's official beginning.
There have been at least two radical-left publications named "Vorwaerts" (the German word for "Forward"). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany's SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication. East Germany named its Army soccer club ASK Vorwaerts Berlin (later FC Vorwaerts Frankfort).
Vladimir Lenin founded the publication "Vpered" (the Russian word for "forward") in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary whose title is sometimes translated as "Forward, Soviet" (though also and more literally as "Stride, Soviet"). Conservative critics of the Obama administration have noted numerous ties to radicalism and socialists throughout Obama's history, from his first political campaign being launched from the living room of two former Weather Underground members, to appointing as green jobs czar Van Jones, a self-described communist.
Chaos in Syria as Al Qaeda Seizes Control of Rebel Factions
May 1….(DEBKAfile Exclusive) Around the first anniversary of the death of al Qaeda’s iconic leader Osama bin Laden at the hands of US special forces, the jihadist movement is making an operational comback in the Arab world and Africa. The suicide bombings hitting Damascus and Idlib in the last 24 hours were the work of Al Qaeda in Iraq, AQI, whose operatives have been pouring into Syria in the last two weeks, Debkafile’s counter-terror sources report. Washington has not asked Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki to stem the outward flow, realizing he is glad to see the backs of the terrorists and waving them across the border into Syria. Our sources report from Western agencies fighting Al Qaeda that several thousand operatives have arrived in Syria to fight the Assad regime, most entering the country from the north. They come fully armed with quantities of explosives. Among them are hundreds of Saudis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Iraqis and Sudanese. They quickly join up with the hundreds of al Qaeda fighters from Libya present at Free Syrian Army-FSA training camps in southeast Turkey. There, they are instructed in the geography of Syrian government, army and security forces locations, led across the border and transported to their targeted locations by special guides.
Today after Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Hood took command of a painfully inadequate force of UN truce supervisors, al Qaeda let loose with a spate of bombings in Damascus and the northeastern flashpoint town of Idlib. In the capital, they bombed the Syrian central bank with RPG grenades, ambushed a police patrol in the town center and blew up a bomb car against a Syrian military convoy driving through the Qudsiya district. Two days earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Zain al-Abideen mosque of Damascus, killing at least 9 worshippers. These attacks were followed later Monday with three bomb blasts in Idlib at security and intelligence centers in the town, killing some 20 people, most of them security personnel. One command center was destroyed and hundreds were injured by the force of the blasts.
The Syrian ruler Bashar Assad keeps on complaining that his regime is under assault by terrorists and many of the fatalities reported are members of his army and police. But his own brutal methods against dissidents have deafened the West to these complaints and the world addresses its demands to halt the violence to him and him alone. There is nothing new about the refusal in the West to heed the fact that al Qaeda infiltrators are increasingly responsible for violence in the various parts of the Arab Revolt. In Libya too, Muammar Qaddafi warned repeatedly that his overthrow would result in al Qaeda-linked groups seizing control of the country and commandeering his vast arsenals of weapons.
In the seven months since the Qaddafi regime was destroyed, Washington, London and Paris have turned a blind eye to the impossibility of establishing a stable government in Tripoli because rebel factions and militias identified with al Qaeda, which control Libya’s main towns are too busy running the biggest arms smuggling network ever seen in North Africa. Rockets, explosives and every kind of weapon is reaching al Qaeda elements and affiliates in abundant quantities across northern Africa and the Middle East, including their offshoots in Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip. Groups identified with al Qaeda have seized control of large parts of Mali and directly threaten the stability of the Algerian government.
Debkafile’s counter-terror and Washington sources report fears that Syria might go the same way as Libya. Syrian officers and agents who have deserted from Syrian military and security agencies have made their way to Washington to implore administration officials to abandon the US policy of non-intervention in Syria. They warn that the rebel Free Syrian Army is falling into the clutches of al Qaeda. It won’t be long, they say, before these jihdist terrorists not only wreak mayhem in Syria, but turn that country into their haven and base for cross-border attacks against Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
Their pleas have not moved the Obama Administration. Our military sources note that so long as the Americans stay out of involvement in Syria, France, Turkey and Arab League nations will also stand aside, because the US alone is capable of establishing combined commands and infrastructure for coordinating an operation with multiple air support on the scale required for Syria. By opting out of action in Syria, the West and the Arab League not only give Assad free rein to continue slaughtering his people but leave the door open for Al Qaeda to move in on the various Syrian rebel movements and add the element of terror to the ongoing carnage.
American Communist Party Endorses Obama
April 30….(WND) The Communist Party USA isn’t always happy with the Democrats, but in the 2012 election, its chairman says, the best bet for advancing the Party’s goals is to back Barack Obama. In a report called “Defeating the Rightwing on the Road to Socialism” delivered to the CPUSA annual conference, Party Chairman Sam Webb moved to squash sentiments that disgruntled communists should jump off the Democrat ship and back a third-party candidate for president. “Some think the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. Others go further and say that the Democrats are worse because they create popular illusions that change is possible within the two-party system,” Webb said. “And finally there are advocates of running a third-party presidential candidate in this election. “I can understand these sentiments, but only up to a point,” he said. “Like it or not, millions go to the polls in spite of their misgivings, and the Democratic Party is the vehicle of reform for tens of millions, the majority of whom are working and oppressed people.” Therefore, Webb said, communists need to join other left-leaning allies in ensuring Republicans are defeated in November.
Saudi Arabia Recalls Ambassador to Cairo, Closes Embassy in Egypt
April 30….(Ha Aretz) Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassador from Egypt "for consultations" and closed its embassy and consulates in the country for security reasons after protests against the kingdom's arrest of an Egyptian lawyer. It was the first public rupture between the two major Arab states since last year's popular uprising in Egypt that forced Hosni Mubarak, a close ally of Riyadh, from power. The head of Egypt's ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, said in a statement reported by Egypt's state media he was working to "heal the rift" with Saudi Arabia and had contacted Riyadh over its "surprise decision".
Demonstrations outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo had grown in recent days over the arrest of Ahmed el-Gezawi upon his arrival at Jeddah airport on April 17. Saudi Arabia's official SPA news agency quoted an unidentified source as saying the protests were unjustified and that attempts had been made to storm the embassy, threatening the safety of its employees. On Friday around 1,000 protesters demonstrated outside the mission, demanding the release of Gezawi and other Egyptians held in Saudi jails, witnesses said. Egypt's foreign ministry bemoaned "irresponsible actions" by protesters at the embassy and said they were at odds with "deeply rooted Egyptian-Saudi ties".
Activists in Cairo, including Gezawi's wife, said early in the week that the lawyer was detained when he arrived for pilgrimage after being sentenced in absentia to a year in prison and 20 lashes for insulting King Abdullah. The Saudi embassy on Tuesday denied that version of events and said he had been arrested for possession of more than 21,000 pills of the anxiety drug Xanax, which is banned in Saudi Arabia.
Iran Threatens American East Coast
(Iranian Navy capable of deploying vessels near US shores, senior commander says; another official says Tehran has ability to disable American aircraft carriers)
April 30….(YNET) Iran's Navy has the ability to deploy its vessels three miles off the US east coast, a high-ranking Iranian Navy commander was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency. "Our naval forces are so powerful that we have a presence in all the waters of the world and, if needed, we can move to within three miles of New York," Revolutionary Guards Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi was quoted as saying during a speech to students at the University of Yazd earlier this week. The Iranian admiral was speaking on the anniversary the failed 1980 US attempt to rescue American hostages held captive in the US embassy in Tehran. Fadavi said dominance in the Persian Gulf is "the only tool for the Americans to rule the world," charging that this prompts the US to "confront any other power that threatens their status." Meanwhile, Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Iran was capable of crippling or disabling any US aircraft carriers.
France: UN Should Prepare Military Option in Syria
April 30….(Times In Israel) France wants the UN Security Council to consider allowing military action in Syria if an international peace plan fails to stop the violence under Bashar Assad’s regime, the French foreign minister said Wednesday. Alain Juppe’s comments signaled that Paris is increasingly lining up behind a US position laid out by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week. But the prospect of the Security Council backing military action in Syria is remote because veto-wielding members Russia and China are unlikely to go along.
The Syrian government’s crackdown on a popular uprising is estimated to have killed more than 9,000 people over the past 13 months. The French foreign minister demanded that 300 UN observers authorized to go to Syria be deployed within 15 days and said France has all but set a May 5 deadline for Damascus to comply with special envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan. Annan’s scheduled May 5 report on the state of a cease-fire called for under his six-point peace plan will be “a moment of truth: Either this mediation is working, or it isn’t,” Juppe said. “We cannot allow ourselves to be defied by the current regime,” he added, insisting that Assad’s government has not held to the Annan plan. Juppe said France has been discussing with other world powers the prospect of invoking Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which allows for action that could be militarily enforceable.
During Paris talks last week by key members of the so-called “Friends of Syria” group, Clinton also mentioned a Chapter 7 resolution despite concern that it would be vetoed by Russia and China. Russia, in particular, has largely defended its longtime ally Syria against the threat of UN sanctions.