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Russia Anounces Large Joint Military Exercise with China, Shanghai Six

June 2….(RIA Novosti) Russia will hold a counter-terrorism military exercise with China and other members of the "Shanghai Six" in August, the Ground Forces commander said Friday. "The main [of the six international counter-terrorism exercises planned for the year] will be a joint exercise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in August," a regional grouping dominated by Russia and China, Army General Alexei Maslov said. The exercise will be held in the Russian Urals and will involve 500 vehicles from Russia and China, about 2,000 Russian and 1,600 Chinese personnel, a company (around 100 men) from Tajikistan, and smaller units from other members, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the general said. While China has yet to decide how its troops would be transited through Kazakhstan, he has already suggested an alternate route directly across the Sino-Russian border in the Far East. Officially, the SCO focuses on fighting drug and arms trafficking, terrorism and separatism. Although it has conducted a number of joint military exercises since 2003, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov earlier this month reassured critics concerned about SCO countering US and NATO influence in resource-rich Central Asia, saying the grouping would not turn into a military bloc. Russia also held its first-ever joint military exercise outside the SCO framework with China in 2005, several exercises with SCO observer nation India, and has raised the prospect of the other two SCO observers Pakistan and Iran participating in such exercises in the future.



Al-Qaida Cited in Persecution of 200 Million Christians

(Intel report says terrorist network among major perpetrators in 60 countries)

imageJune 2….(WND) A report by Britain's intelligence service MI6 reveals for the first time an estimated 200 million Christians in 60 countries are now facing persecution orchestrated, in part, by al-Qaida. The report has been sent to the pope and church leaders. It is the first time the secret intelligence service has shared its information with religious leaders. "We do so because we believe the situation is extremely serious," said an MI6 source. The report is based on details from MI6 agents stationed in the countries. North Korea is identified as the world's worst repressor of Christians. More than 50,000 Christians are incarcerated in work camps because they refuse to submit to the extreme views rigorously enforced by the country's dictator, Kim Jong-il. An estimated 40,000 Christians are imprisoned in China for their beliefs. The MI6 analysis calculates there are some 70 million "active Christians" in the People's Republic, all living in a climate of fear because of their beliefs. "Many try and escape by a route that is the equivalent of the biblical Exodus," says the report.



Arafat Lives On

June 2….(Hal Lindsay) It appears neither Fatah nor its offspring, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, are killing Israelis fast enough to suit Hamas, which, I hasten to remind the reader, is the legally elected government of the "Palestinian people." According to new reports from Israel, Hamas has successfully infiltrated the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and created enough dissent within the ranks to cause Al Aqsa to split off into yet another terrorist group, this one appropriately named the Abu Amar Brigades, which is Yasser Arafat's nom de guerre. This new terror group will operate under the command of senior Hamas commanders Hussien Hijaz and Abu Hilas from Gaza and will specialize in suicide attacks. The focus of the Yasser Arafat Brigades, according to Israeli intelligence, will be on launching a mass suicide-bombing offensive against central Israel, including multiple suicide truck bombings, Iraq style, in Israeli cities. The Yasser Arafat Brigades will actually take their marching orders from Hezbollah in Lebanon. They will get their weapons from the United States, which shipped them to Fatah last year to help the Palestinian government "maintain order." They will get their explosives via Hezbollah in Lebanon, who gets them from Tehran via Damascus. They will get their tactics from al-Qaida, who has perfected them through using them on the US forces in Iraq. Did I mention Hamas is the legally elected government of the "Palestinian people"? I did? Did I mention Hamas was the legally elected government of the Palestinian people at the time Washington shipped crates of M-16s to the "Palestinian government"? And, oh yes, this is also the same government Washington is still putting pressure on Israel to help facilitate a Palestinian state. According to the US State Department, if Israel would only grant the Palestinian people their own state, they'd stop being terrorists. In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put that theory to the test, ordering the withdrawal of all Israelis settlers from Gaza and turning Gaza completely over to the legally elected Palestinian government. The legally elected Palestinian government immediately moved in, destroyed all the farms, greenhouses and (especially) the synagogues, and used the newly cleared areas to launch wave after wave of unprovoked rocket attacks on every Israeli city and town within range. When asked, the legally elected Palestinian government explains that there is nothing they can do, since, without the greenhouses and farms, Gaza residents have no food and no jobs. Without food and jobs, they have nothing else to do but try and kill Israelis. (After all, it is Israel's fault for leaving them without food and jobs.) It's been almost 14 years since Bill Clinton forced Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin to shake hands in the White House Rose Garden, prompting global cries of "Peace in our time." Rabin is dead, murdered in 1995 at the hands of a Jewish assassin, who claimed as his reason Rabin's sellout of the Jewish people. I recall the scene at the Rose Garden as if it were yesterday. Yasser Arafat, smiling broadly, offered his bloodstained hand to Rabin, who grimacing at the thought and reluctantly accepted it after being nudged to do so by Bill Clinton. Arafat is also dead, dying of still-undetermined causes on Nov. 11, 2004, in a Paris hospital. Arafat's death was as violent as his life. Who can forget the images of his hearse lurching as it ran over Palestinian mourners who got in the way as it carried the dead terrorist to his gravesite? Rabin's legacy of peace is as dead as he is. But Yasser Arafat's legacy of violence lives on through the newly created suicidal terrorist faction that proudly bears his name. And did I mention Hamas, who created the Yasser Arafat Brigades to specialize in suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, is the legally elected Palestinian government?



Fear of War with Syria Preventing Gaza Invasion?

(Sderot has taken 310 Qassam missiles from Gaza)

June 1….(Israel Today) The sixth Qassam missile yesterday knocked out the electric current in Sderot. The third demolished an apartment ten minutes after its owners fled from all the harassment. Thousands of others have fled the daily barrage battering the town of 23,000. The effectiveness of air raids against Hamas operatives running the missile campaign is diminishing. Yet the Olmert government refuses to authorize a substantial ground action which is demanded by the IDF command to root out the menace which is destroying Sderot and traumatizing is citizens. The military officers who live in Sderot have even complained in a letter to prime minister Ehud Olmert that they find it impossible to serve their annual reserve stint in combat units while their children at home are in grave danger from unchecked enemy rocket action. More than 300 missiles have hit Sderot from the Gaza Strip in less than three weeks. Yet Prime Minister Olmert continues holding the army back from dealing with the threat of destroying their town. Some Israeli military officials are so concerned by the possibility of war with Syria and its Lebanese proxy, Hizballah, this summer that they have nixed the idea of diverting forces for an invasion of the Gaza Strip. A senior army officer told Israel’s Army Radio that a major ground operation against the Gaza-based terrorist infrastructure would severely deteriorate Israel’s ability to effectively handle a resurgence of cross-border aatacks in the north. Syria has also been observed making preparations for war with Israel, though Jerusalem does not believe its northern neighbor intends to initiate a confrontation. Nevertheless, a miscalculation by Syria or a renewal of Hizballah rocket fire could quickly pull both nations into armed conflict. Meanwhile, defense officials have stated that the only way to eliminate the threat of terrorist rocket fire on communities in southern Israel is to enter Gaza in force, yet the Hamas rockets continue to rain down on Sederot.

FOJ Note: What other nation would sustain such rocket attacks? No other nation would tolerate this kind of rocket offensive inside their territory. Yet, when Israel responds to such attacks, they are reprimanded by the UN. Where is the UN condemnation for these rocket attacks out of Gaza?



Rice: Russian Attitudes Locked In Past

June 1….(Newsmax) Russian attitudes are locked in the past, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday, adding that the United States is perplexed by the current fracas with Russia over a planned US missile system in Europe. "We want a 21st Century partnership with Russia, but at times, Russia seems to think and act in the zero-sum terms of another era," Rice said, referring to the suspicions and territorial ambitions of the Cold War. The top US diplomat spoke as US relations with its old Cold War foe have hit a modern low. The United States is at odds with Moscow over matters inside and outside Russia's borders. The missile dispute pushed the simmering problems and resentments into a hot zone this spring, with Russian President Vladimir Putin seeming to liken President Bush's foreign policy to that of Germany's Third Reich and generals and diplomats talking darkly of a new Cold War. Rice had a brittle exchange with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over the missile plan on Wednesday, but sought Thursday to put the dispute in a more academic, historical context. The West wants a strong Russia, but strong by modern democratic measures, Rice said in an address accepting an award for promoting better US-German relations. The award, and the setting in the city where Josef Stalin met Harry Truman in 1945, evoked both the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rice's remarks referred to a laundry list of US complaints about post-Soviet Russia, including democratic retrenchment under Putin. "Democratic institutions and an open society are not a source of weakness," Rice said. "Nor is freedom of speech and freedom of the press just a nuisance." She said the United States will respect Russia and air differences honorably. "In this regard we find Russia's recent missile diplomacy difficult to understand," Rice said. Putin said Thursday that tests of new Russian missiles were a response to the planned deployment of US missile defense installations and other forces in Europe. In a clear reference to the United States, he harshly criticized "imperialism" in global affairs and warned that Russia will strengthen its military potential to maintain a global strategic balance. "It wasn't us who initiated a new round of arms race," Putin said when asked about Russia's missile tests at a news conference after talks in the Kremlin with Greek President Karolos Papoulias. Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly rejected US assurances that the planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic are meant to counter a potential threat from nations such as Iran and pose no danger to Russia. Putin described Tuesday's tests of a new ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and a new cruise missile as part of the Russian response to the planned deployment of new US military bases and missile defense sites in ex-Soviet satellites in Central and Eastern Europe.



This Man Leads Al Qaeda’s Nuclear ‘9/11' Plan

image June 1….(WND) He is the most wanted man in America yet most Americans have never heard his name. He has been described as the "Fixer" of the Sept. 11 attacks. Several captured al-Qaida operatives have revealed this is the same man who bin Laden has tapped to lead the terror group's diabolical scheme to detonate nuclear devices simultaneously in several US cities. Adnan el-Shukrijumah, now believed to be operating within the US, a man the FBI warns is likely armed and dangerous. "But no one on planet earth is more of a threat to the lives and well-being of every man, woman, and child within the United States than ferret-faced Adnan." That's the dire warning from Paul L. Williams, author of his just released book "The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World." According to Williams, Adnan has not only been charged by al-Qaida with orchestrating a nuclear attack, he may have already smuggled nuclear material into America. The US government is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. Ominously, Adnan "possesses the uncanny ability to blend into a crowd, to alter his looks, and to assume a multitude of identities," writes Williams, a seasoned investigative reporter and former FBI consultant. "Few things about el-Shukrijumah indicate his radical Islamic orientation. Adnan, 31, was born in Guyana, according to Williams, although the FBI believes he was born in Saudi Arabia. He spent his early years in New York City, where his father, a radical Muslim cleric, was the imam of a Brooklyn mosque known to serve as a recruiting station for al-Qaida. In 1995, Adnan's family moved to Miramar, Fla., where Adnan's father became spiritual leader of a radical mosque. In Florida Adnan befriended Jose Padilla, who planned to detonate a dirty bomb in Manhattan, and Imran Mandhai, who was convicted of trying to blow up nuclear power plants in Florida. Between 1996 and 2000, Adnan traveled extensively, spending time in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Trinidad, Tobago and Guyana. He managed to collect passports from a number of countries, and began using at least five aliases. Adnan also attended flight school in Florida and Oklahoma, along with Mohammad Atta and other 9/11 operatives, and became adept at piloting jets. In April 2001, Williams disclosed, Adnan spent 10 days in Panama, where he reportedly met with al-Qaida officials to help plan the 9/11 attacks. After the terrorist strikes, Adnan became a key figure in al-Qaida's plans to escalate its attacks on the US. Williams compiled evidence that Osama bin Laden designated him to arrange a simultaneous nuclear attack on seven US cities, - New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Boston and Las Vegas.



Olmert 'Seriously Exploring' Handing Territory to Syria

(Prime minister asked 3rd parties to approach terror-supporting Damascus regime)

Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert

June 1….(WND) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is "very seriously" exploring the possibility of resuming talks with Syria aimed at giving up the Golan Heights, the Israeli media reported yesterday, quoting top diplomatic sources. The Golan Heights is strategic mountainous territory looking down on Israeli and Syrian population centers twice used by Damascus to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state. According to Israel's Haaretz daily, Olmert tapped third parties to approach Syria to feel out whether Damascus is seriously interested in negotiations. Syria, which signed a military alliance with Iran, openly hosts Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders. The US accuses Syria of fueling and aiding the insurgency in Iraq. Israel says Syria has been allowing large quantities of weapons to be transported from its borders to the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia, which last summer engaged in a war with the Jewish state. Syria has been widely blamed for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. An embattled Olmert, faced with devastatingly low poll numbers and calls from the public and senior officials to resign, directed staffers at Israel's Foreign Ministry to prepare for the possibility of talks with Syria. Some analysts here have speculated in the Israeli media Olmert's ratings could rise if he reached out to his leftist base and conducted negotiations with the Palestinians or Syria. According to top diplomatic sources speaking to WND, Israeli intelligence agencies have been asked by Olmert's office to submit reports on the status of Syria's military and the likelihood of a Syrian military attack against the Jewish state. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has held talks with senior ministry staffers to outline Israel's interests during any negotiations with Syria, said the sources. Foreign Ministry analysts were instructed to put together detailed reports on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad is serious about recent calls for peace with Israel, the sources said. Assad also recently made a series of statements his military is ready for war with the Jewish state. Last month, Israeli security officials told reporters Syria, aided by Iran, is preparing for a summer war with Israel, including acquisition of advanced weaponry, placement of missiles near the Jewish state's border, and training and movements of strategic troop battalions. The information followed media interviews in which top Assad deputies warned if Israel doesn't vacate the Golan Heights, Damascus will resort to "resistance." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters Tuesday the US has given the green light for Israel negotiate with Syria, but she stipulated the prime minister must not agree to any negotiations, even indirectly, regarding a change in the US position toward Syria. The US largely has attempted to isolate Damascus. The sources said Olmert told the leftist leaders he is willing to negotiate with Syria and reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, including an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv.



'UK Jihadis Taught and Trained to Threaten Israel'

(Britain has 'been deeply infiltrated by radical Islam')

May 31….(YNET) Radicalized British Muslims continue to pose a security threat to Israel, a senior member of the House of Lords told Ynetnews on Thursday. Baroness Caroline Cox, former deputy speaker of the House of Lords for 20 years, and author of " The West, Islam, and Islamism, " and Dr. John Marks, co-author of the book, are in Israel for a BESA Center conference on radical Islam being held at Bar-Ilan University. Cox told Ynetnews that Israel "does need to be concerned" about another attempt by al-Qaeda affiliated British Muslims to attack the country, a precedent set in 2003 by the suicide bombing carried out by two British Muslims on the Mike's Place pub in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis and injuring dozens. Cox added that the possibility of another terrorist attack on Britain was a constant looming shadow. "Terrorists only have to get it right once. It's difficult to have a fail proof way to stop them," she said. "Britain has become a base for training and teaching militant Islam," Cox declared, adding that moderate Muslims who opposed extremism faced threats and a harsh campaign to silence them. Dr Marks warned that "radical groups are multiplying and continuing to recruit."

Muslims schools in Britain 'like Hamas schools'

Textbooks being used in Saudi-funded Muslim schools in Britain contained the "same anti-Semitic texts based on the Koran that you find in Palestinian Hamas schools," Marks noted. Cox quoted a senior British bishop as saying that "most of our educational institutions have been infiltrated," and said university campuses were prime recruitment grounds for Islamist groups. "They are using our institutions to recruit young people, and preventing any critical analysis of Islam. I recently visited a theology college in Wales. The first thing you see when you walk in is a giant plaque thanking a wealthy sheikh for his contribution.

New battleground: Plans for a mega-mosque in London

"The feeling is that we are all the time putting out fires," Cox said. She discussed proposals to construct a gigantic mosque in east London which would house 70,000 people in prayer. "The symbolism of the mosque is clear, it dominates over its surroundings, which submit to it," Cox said. "While the implications of having a mega-mosque are worrying, what's more worrying is the group sponsoring the project, Tabighi Jannat (Arabic for 'the Proselytizing Group'). They already have a huge mosque in Dewsbury (northern England), which is a cause for concern. This group is extremely secretive, and receives Saudi funding," she added. "We need to wake up, draw a line in the sand, and say enough is enough," she said, adding that "Britain's cultural and spiritual heritage are under threat."

FOJ Note: The US needs to pay attention to what is happening in Great Britain. Great Britain was once the stalwart bulwark of Christian Zionism, but because of its abandonment of Bible Prophecy, and an overwhelming accruing of ignorance about Israel, Britain has seen its culture descend into a spiritual vacuum, that is being filled by radical Islam.



Home Front Command Getting Israeli Public Ready For “All-Out War'

May 31….(Jerusalem Post) With Iran racing toward nuclear power and IDF preparations for the possibility of a conflict with Syria and Hizbullah in high gear, the Home Front Command plans to launch a publicity campaign to prepare the public for war. Within a few weeks it intends to inform the public about what people need to do in the event of attack. The campaign was not connected to a specific event or threat but was meant to brace the public for war in general, senior IDF officers said. "Our job is to prepare for an all-out war," Col. Hilik Sofer, head of the Home Front Command Population Division, told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. "We prepare for a wide range of possibilities since it doesn't make a difference where the threat comes from." Several weeks ago, the Home Front Command distributed pamphlets in Netivot and Ashkelon explaining how to behave during a Kassam attack. Both cities are within 15 kilometers of the Gaza Strip. The IDF has deployed early warning systems outside Netivot and Ashkelon. They have not been activated, pending government approval. Next week, Sofer will meet with heads of government offices and local councils to discuss ways to improve service to the public at a time of emergency. "We know that the Palestinians have Kassams that can reach 12-kilometer distances and even farther," Sofer said. "And even though Kassams have yet to fall there, we'd best be prepared." In March, the Home Front Command, the Israel Police, Magen David Adom, the Fire and Rescue Services and other emergency services held a two-day exercise throughout the country that dealt with extreme scenarios, including mega-terrorist attacks and nonconventional missile attacks. The drill was the country's largest ever and implemented lessons from the Second Lebanon War last summer.



Al-Qaida Plans Nuclear Attacks on 7 US Cities

imageMay 31….(Newsmax) The newly released book "The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World," (Prometheus Books) paints a frightening picture of al-Qaida's nuclear ambitions, one every American must read. Seasoned investigative reporter and former FBI consultant Paul Williams reveals the alarming potential for nuclear terrorism on US soil and the sinister connections among organized crime, illegal immigrants, and al-Qaida. Recently, FBI Director Robert Mueller, in an interview with NewsMax, confirmed Williams' main claim. Mueller said al-Qaida's paramount goal is clear: to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. Mueller told NewsMax that at times, the threat feels so real he lies awake at night thinking about the prospect. Williams maintains that al-Qaida is not content on blowing up one nuclear device or even simply a "dirty" nuke, but wants to explode real nuclear devices in seven US cities simultaneously. Williams says these cities are New York, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Miami, Boston, Houston, and Los Angeles. Mueller seems to confirm this claim of multiple attacks, saying both New York and Washington would be likely targets. Already Williams says the US government has Washington webbed by "choke" points to detect nuclear material. For many Americans the threat of al-Qaida's nuclear ambitions begins in the time after the horrific 9/11 attacks. But as Williams shows so clearly, al-Qaida has been devising its nuclear plan since the early 1990s, and the US government and other intelligence services have been well aware of al-Qaida's plan. For example, Williams quotes Michael Scheuer, a senior CIA official who headed the agency's bin Laden unit. Scheuer admitted the CIA "found that bin Laden and al-Qaida were involved in an extraordinarily sophisticated and professional effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction, in this case, nuclear weapons; so, by the end of 1996, it was clear that this was an organization unlike any other one we had ever seen." Remember, Scheuer is describing the period before 9/11, proving again that bin Laden had been investing enormous time, resources, and money into getting nuclear weapons for more than 10 years. Bin Laden and his adherents believe this nuclear cataclysm will usher in "The Day of Islam," the dream of radical Muslims to see all of humankind fall in submission before the throne of Allah as the "Great Satan," America, is brought to her knees. Based on the "forgotten testimony" of the FBI's "Confidential Source One," as well as other sources, Williams first presents evidence of bin Laden's purchase of highly enriched uranium in Sudan and nuclear devices from the Chechens and the Russian Mafia. He then offers further information on the workings of Pakistani scientists and technicians from the A.Q. Khan Research Facility to maintain and upgrade al-Qaida's "bespoke nukes" (with explosive yields in excess of 10 kilotons) for the "American Hiroshima." Williams explosive revelations are even more worrisome because they are not simply backed up by speculation and anonymous sources, they are sourced with government reports and comments made "on the record" by top officials. Williams also discusses the Axis of Evil: the secret alliance between al-Qaida and Iran that brings together two religious groups with one common goal: destroying the US.



FBI's Mueller: Bin Laden Wants to Strike US Cities With Nuclear Weapons

May 31….(WND) Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group desperately want to obtain nuclear devices and explode them in American cities, especially New York and Washington, DC, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III tells NewsMax. In an exclusive interview, Mueller also acknowledged that bin Laden is still active, though isolated. The director revealed that the Bureau believes the terrorist leader continues to communicate with al-Qaida cells, some of which remain in the US. Mueller declined to say how often bin Laden communicates or to elaborate on the substance of his communications. Other intelligence sources tell NewsMax that US security efforts have forced bin Laden to return to "horse-and-buggy days," avoiding electronic communications in favor of using trusted couriers. But Mueller says though hemmed in, al-Qaida's paramount goal is clear: to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. In contrast to homegrown terrorists, al-Qaida is far more likely to be able to pull off such an attack. Mueller admits the nuclear threat is so real he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about that possibility. "I think it would be very difficult to wipe out the United States, but you'd have hundreds of thousands of casualties from a nuclear device, depending on the size of that nuclear device," Mueller tells NewsMax. "One is to obtain a nuclear device that's already been constructed from one of the former Iron Curtain countries, and the other way is to put together the fissile material and the expertise and do an improvised nuclear device," Mueller says. "And there's no doubt that al-Qaida, if it had the capability, would go down either route to get a nuclear device." Mueller also has little doubt as to al-Qaida's likely targets. "It would be someplace in the United States, in most likely Washington and or New York, depending on how many devices they have. Because the US has not been attacked in almost six years, Mueller worries that "we are in danger of becoming complacent." "Al-Qaida is tremendously patient and thinks nothing about taking years to infiltrate persons in and finding the right personnel and opportunity to undertake an attack. "And we cannot become complacent, because you look around the world, and whether it's London or Madrid or Bali or recently Casablanca or Algiers, attacks are taking place." Mueller adds the US must remain vigilant. He says our security efforts must "adapt to the new threat landscape." He then adds: "We are going to be hit at some point. It's just a question of when and to what extent."



Background: History of PA Shelling Against Israel

May 31….( On Jan 31, 2001, for the first time in the Oslo War, Arabs shot a mortar shell into Netzarim, a Jewish town in central Gaza. The rocket hit and damaged a house, but no one was hurt. Two more mortar shells were fired at Netzarim over the next two weeks. On March 18, Gaza Arabs fired three mortar shells at an IDF base near Kibbutz Nachal Oz in the Negev, he first such attack from Gaza at pre-1967 Israel. A reserve duty soldier on the base was lightly wounded by shrapnel. Minister of Defense Ben-Eliezer stated that Israel "will not accept the current situation and will deploy the necessary forces to protect its citizens." IDF commanders stated that the attack signals the crossing of yet another red line by terrorist forces. On April 3, in only the 5th or 6th mortar attack on Gush Katif, toddler Ariel Yered was critically wounded by shrapnel to his head. Israel retaliated, the terrorists increased their fire, and mortar shells quickly became a commonplace occurrence and lost their shock value, but not their lethal punch. On Nov. 24, reserve soldier Barak Madmon, 26, was killed outside Kfar Darom when a mortar shell hit his IDF outpost. In early Feb. 2002, ten months after the first shells were fired, the first Kassam-2 home-made rockets were fired at an Israeli target. They landed near Kibbutz Saad and Moshav Shuva in the Negev, both just south of Sderot. Within a few days, on Feb. 17 of that year, Arutz-7 reported, "The firing of Kassam rockets, which Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and other officials warned would be greeted with a severe Israeli response, appears to have become a matter of course. Palestinian terrorists fired a Kassam-1 last night at an IDF command post in northern Gaza's Nisanit, while the much more far-reaching and powerful Kassam-2 was fired towards Kibbutz Kfar Aza, well within pre-1967 Israel. No one was hurt." Two weeks later, on Mar. 5, 2002, Sderot was first targeted: Two Kassam rockets hit a home in the Negev city, wounding three children. Mortar shells and Kassams continued to be fired at Gush Katif, and more sporadically at the Negev. On Yom Kippur eve of 2004, Tiferet Tratner, 24, became the first civilian casualty of a mortar shell attack in Gush Katif when she was killed in her home in N'vei Dekalim. A total of close to 20 soldiers, civilians and foreign workers have been killed by mortar and rocket attacks in and around Gaza and Sderot. Ultimately, 5,905 rockets and shells were counted as having been fired at Gush Katif during its last four and a half years of existence. On Dec. 18, 2003, less than three years after the first shell was fired, PM Ariel Sharon gave up. "If in a few months," he announced, "the Palestinians still continue to disregard their part in implementing the Roadmap – Israel will initiate the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians." A month and a half later, Sharon said, "I have given an order to plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gaza Strip. It is my intention to carry out an evacuation - excuse me, a relocation, of settlements that cause us problems and of places that we will not hold onto anyway in a final settlement, such as the Gaza settlements." Though there have been isolated reports of Kassams in Judea and Samaria, the full power of Kassam rockets has clearly not been brought to bear in those areas. Between the time the first shell hit Gush Katif and the time Sharon made his initial Disengagement announcement, almost three years passed. If it took less than three years of mortar attacks against Jewish Gaza for Israel's government to come up with the idea of running away, how long will it take for the "Convergence Plan" in Judea and Samaria to be taken out of its deep freeze?



Poll: Israelis Finished With Withdrawals

May 31….( A poll carried out by the Knesset channel found a majority of Israelis want no more withdrawals from parts of the Land of Israel – not even for "real peace." The poll, conducted by the Dahaf Institute for the Knesset Channel, found that even in the case of a what was termed a “real peace deal,” 68 percent of Israelis would not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights, 53 percent from Judea and Samaria and 86 percent from the Western Wall. Just two weeks ago, former coalition chairman MK Avigdor Yitzchaki (Kadima) brought a bill requiring a referendum prior to any withdrawals from Jerusalem or the Golan Heights through its first reading, despite the opposition of the government, Meretz and Arab parties. The poll sought to examine how Israelis would vote in such a referendum. A minority of 46 percent favored surrendering most of Judea and Samaria for a "real peace." 65 percent oppose any unilateral withdrawals from Judea and Samaria. 28 percent said they would support it. Only eight percent believe that the government is able to reach a peace agreement with Syria, opposed to 86 percent against. Asked whether the lands conquered in the 1967 Six Day War improved Israel’s security situation, 51 percent said it did and 29 percent said it worsened it.



VP's Lesbian Caption Ignites 'sinful' fury

White House calls Mary Cheney, Heather Poe 'parents' of new baby


This is the official photograph released when Vice President Dick Cheney's grandson was born, with an original caption listing his daughter, Mary, and Heather Poe, as 'parents.'

May 31….(WND) It was just a few words in the fine print under a news release photograph of Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife Lynne and their newborn grandson, Samuel David Cheney, but it has Christian organizations praying for the sins of the administration. The caption included the words: "...His parents are the Cheneys' daughter Mary, and her partner, Heather Poe. White House photo by David Bohrer." "I say shame on the White House, shame on the president and shame on the vice president for allowing such a caption to be 'officially' added onto the White House website and such a beautiful photo of two happy grandparents and their new grandchild," said Stephen Bennett, an advocate for those who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle. "I guess we can tragically and officially say both the White House and the Bush Administration have officially recognized the sinful sexual unions of homosexuals, as well as recognized and embraced the tragedy of the social experiment of homosexual parenting," he said. Bennett, who lived in the homosexual lifestyle for 11 years, with more than 100 partners, until he left in 1992, said what is even worse is the double standard for the Bush administration. "President George W. Bush held several presses conferences calling for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman, while homosexuals pushed for the union of two men or two women to be equally recognized as real 'marriage,'" Bennett said. Bennett, now married for 14 years with two children, advocates for the traditional family and the protection of children from the homosexual lifestyle. Bennett maintains that the Bush Administration is setting a bad precedent by promoting lesbian parenthood!



Most Americans Believe Bible as God's Word

May 30….(Washington Times) More than three-quarters of Americans believe the Bible is literally the word of God or inspired by the word of God, according to a trio of Gallup surveys, with 19 percent saying the Good Book is a compendium of myth and legend. The three surveys found that an average 31 percent of the respondents said that "the Bible is absolutely accurate and should be taken literally word for word," according to Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. Forty-seven percent said the Bible was "the inspired word of God," and 19 percent said it was a book of ancient fables, history and "moral precepts" recorded by man. The breakdown of beliefs has not changed much recently: The average number of people who take the Bible literally, in fact, has remained steady since 1991. A literal-belief structure, Mr. Newport said, has influenced a number of public issues, including teaching evolution in public schools, same-sex relationships, the role of a husband and a wife in marriage, observance of a day of rest, the idea of men-only clergy and even "seemingly unrelated topics" such as immigration. Beliefs vary among religious groups. Among non-Catholic Christians, 45 percent take the Bible literally, while 46 percent say it's inspired by God. The figure is 40 percent and 48 percent, respectively, among Protestants, and 21 percent and 61 percent among Catholics. "It is interesting to note, however, that 10 percent of those with no religious identification still believe the Bible is literally the word of God, and another 26 percent say it is inspired," Mr. Newport said. The highest percentage of literal believers, 54 percent, was found among those who attend church weekly, followed by high school graduates (42 percent) and Southerners (41 percent). The three polls of 3,010 adults were conducted in May 2005, 2006 and 2007, and have a margin of error of two percentage points. Other researchers have plumbed the nation's biblical beliefs. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats say the Bible is "totally accurate in all of its teachings," according to a survey of 1,006 adults conducted in January by the Barna Group, a marketing firm. A Pew Research Center survey of 1,010 adults last year found that 67 percent of Americans say the United States is a "Christian nation," compared with 60 percent a decade ago. A majority, 52 percent, said President Bush publicly mentions his faith "the right amount." Fewer than half (47 percent) said the Republican Party was "friendly" to religion; a quarter said the same of Democrats. The Bible continues to be the best-selling book ever. Americans alone buy 25 million Bibles a year, according to Publisher's Weekly. Bible sales are now reaching $609 million a year, with specialty Bibles available for myriad "niche" audiences, from motorcycle riders to campers, brides and archaeologists. "Immerse," a water-resistant Bible for America’s troops overseas, is now available from publisher Bardin & Marsee.



Russia Says New ICBM Can Penetrate American Defenses

May 30….(My Way) Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that US plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg." First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, and it also successfully conducted a "preliminary" test of a tactical cruise missile that he said could fly farther than existing, similar weapons. "As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems," Ivanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "So in terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country's future." Ivanov is a former defense minister seen as a potential Kremlin favorite to succeed Putin next year. Both he and Putin have said repeatedly that Russia would continue to improve its nuclear arsenals and respond to US plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, NATO nations that were in Moscow's front yard during the Cold War as Warsaw Pact members. Russia has bristled at the plans, dismissing US assertions that the system would be aimed at blocking possible attacks by Iran and saying it would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe. Russian arms control expert Alexander Pikayev said the new ICBMs appeared to be part of Russia's promised response to the missile defense plans and, more broadly, an effort to "strengthen the strategic nuclear triad, land-based, sea-based and air-based delivery systems for nuclear weapons, which suffered significant downsizing" amid financial troubles after the 1991 Soviet collapse.



US / Israel Concerned About New Russian Iskander Cruise Missile

May 30….(DEBKA) The Iskander, which has a 280 km range and carries a 480-kilo warhead, is considered one of the most advanced surface missiles in the world. Information has reached Israel that President Vladimir Putin is willing in principle to sell Iskander missiles to Syria, although no delivery date has been set. The test is causing concern in Washington. US officials believe the Iskander-M is the new-generation missile to which Russian officials are referring as being capable of striking the interceptors and radar station which America plans to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic to shield Europe from Iranian missile attack. The worry in Israel’s high command is that the missile would allow Syria to mount a surprise attack undetected. The Iskander-M to be tested Tuesday, May 29, at Kapustin Yar Range in the southern Astrakhan region, has a high capability for escaping detection and pinpoint precision against small targets. The system can interact with space reconnaissance and unmanned aircraft. The test flight’s announcement was made at the highest level to the Russian cabinet meeting Monday by first deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov, until recently defense minister and a frontrunner to succeed Putin. DEBKAfile’s military sources add: The recent joint US-Israeli military war game Juniper Cobra carried out simulated interceptions of the Russian Iskander by US and Israeli anti-missile systems. The Russians who no doubt watched the exercise seem to be saying they now have a modernized Iskander which can beat those systems. This development signals the onset of a new arms race between the United States and Russia focusing on the contest between sophisticated missiles and the ingenious systems designed to intercept them.



Olmert Forced to Explain Position to Knesset, Netanyahu Responds

May 30….( Following the Winograd Committee's scathing criticism of his performance in the Second Lebanon War, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was compelled to explain his decision not to resign to the Knesset Tuesday. Olmert took the podium for the first time since the publication of the Winograd Committee’s interim report and explained why he believes he should remain prime minister, as well as his oft-repeated view that the results of Second Lebanon War were positive for Israel. The special session was held after a petition submitted by the Likud and Meretz parties was signed by 46 Knesset members. The prime minister’s main claim was that whereas Hizbullah used to hold positions along the border, they are no longer there. "Two weeks ago, I visited the northern border, and at each spot I was shown the positions Hizbullah terrorists used to hold,” he said. "Residents who were once faced, every hour and every minute, with a Hizbullah man pointing his rifle at them, no longer face this situation." Olmert focused on the question of whether the decision to go to war was a good one, rather than on the handling of the war once that decision was made. "I believed then as I believe now: that the decision to go to war was the necessary one under the circumstances," the PM explained. "It is true that the Lebanon war, like all wars to date, came at a high price. This is the part of the high price that the State of Israel has been paying for six decades for its desire to live in peace, security and independence." Olmert then lashed out at members of the government and opposition alike who have called for his resignation. "I brought all recommendations before the full Cabinet, which after it heard all the details voted unanimously and even approved an announcement defining the goals of Israel's response," he said. The PM referred specifically to opposition leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud), who "offered his full and unconditional support and told me that he would do the same thing."

Netanyahu Responds

Former Prime Minister and Opposition Chief Binyamin Netanyahu took the podium following PM Olmert, saying that although he agreed with the decision to go to war, the way which it was carried out eroded Israel’s deterrence. “The Opposition offered the government its full support to achieve the stated goals, but the government failed to do so," Netanyahu said, citing the failure to disarm Hizbullah and return the captives as two examples. "In my opinion, the greatest failure is that as a result of the war, Israel's deterrent capability has been severely harmed." Netanyahu outlined the security situation today, tying it to the war’s results. "During the war we faced one front, now we face three fronts,” he said. “In Lebanon, Hizbullah has increased the weaponry it had before the war. In Gaza, there has been a change since the war transforming it into a second Lebanon – including tunnels and bunkers. The Philadelphi Corridor has become an expressway of weapons smuggling." Netanyahu also said war with Syria is much more likely due to Israel’s loss of deterrence. Netanyahu rejected the government’s attempt to blame many of the failures on the IDF. "The loss of deterrence is not the army's problem, but first and foremost due to the weakness of the government’s policies,” he said, going on to blame all the prime minister’s who succeeded his term. “It started with Ehud Barak’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and the creation of an armed Iranian enclave, the Winograd report addresses this, and then continued with Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Addressing Olmert’s statements that the current government should be tasked with fixing the mistakes, Netanyahu said: "You say you can fix it? How can you fix it when you are the malfunction? Netanyahu raised his voice and said that the Winograd Committee’s entire report can be summarized in one statement: “The Government of Israel is shell shocked, and every day that passes with this government reduces Israel's deterrent capability and endangers its security. This government must go to the people. This government must go!"



Hamas Causes Split in Fatah, Spawning New West Bank Terror Group

May 30….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile reports that Hamas infiltrated the Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades and provoked the creation of a rebel group that no longer answers to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his senior military adviser Mohammed Dahlan. The new militia, which calls itself the Martyr Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat) Brigades and will specialize in suicide attacks, is commanded by senior Hamas Gaza terrorists Hussein Hijaz and Abu Hilas (Abu Maher). They also take orders, obtain explosive supplies and get funding from the Lebanese Hizbollah. DEBKAfile quotes Israeli military and intelligence sources as evluating this schism as "extremely dangerous," affording Hamas a "prime strategic asset for escalating its violent campaign against Israel." Hamas reported managed to infiltrate the Fatah's West Bank strongholds and persuade a large faction to secede and establish a Hamas-controlled militia. The focus would be on launching a mass suicide bombing offensive against central Israel, including multiple suicide truck bombings, Iraq style, in Israeli cities. Only belatedly have Israeli military and undercover units reacted, fanning out across the West Bank to hunt down and capture Fatah. The revolt against Abu Mazen and Dahlan, instigated by Hamas and backed by Hizballah, is spreading, DEBKAfile reports, and reportedly has the backing from an Israeli prison of the influential Fatah-Tanzim terrorist leader, Marwan Barghouti, serving six life sentences for murdering Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks. Another supporter is Jibril Rajoub, former preventive security chief on the West Bank, and Dahlan's long-time rival. The Fatah mutiny and the result and the resulting terror network is described by Israeli security sources, as "the gravest terrorist threat Israel has faced since its 2002 Defensive Wall operation broke Arafat?s terrorist infrastructure. Therefore, Abu Mazen’s so-called rule-for-peace has never been in greater peril."



Tehran's Secret Covert 'Department 9000'

May 29….(Newsweek) President Bush said last week he expects a "bloody" summer in Iraq. What he didn't say is that a growing covert war between the United States and Iran may be one reason the conflict is escalating. US intelligence has identified the principal unit behind Tehran's efforts to supply Shia terror-insurgent cells in Iraq. It is a super-secret group called Department 9000, which is part of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to three US officials familiar with intelligence reporting and analysis on the Iraqi insurgency. Department 9000 acts as a liaison between the insurgents and the IRGC, the Iranian regime's principal internal-security mechanism, providing guidance and support. More recently, says one of the officials, these secret Iranian paramilitaries have even begun to help Sunni insurgent groups in order to keep the Americans bogged down in Iraq. "The new developments with Sunni groups are more operational in nature and are more direct in terms of their involvement in groups attacking the Coalition," he said. President Bush meanwhile, has raised the stakes in the covert war himself. The president recently approved a secret order, or "finding," authorizing the CIA to use covert methods to harass, but not overthrow, Iran's theocratic regime, according to government sources familiar with the issue, anonymous due to the highly sensitive nature of the subject. The CIA operation that the president OK'd is meant as a response to what the administration sees as an Iranian government policy of arming Shia insurgents with ordnance designed to kill American troops. ABC News, which first reported on the secretive CIA operation last week, claims the CIA plan "reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions." However, the ayatollahs will not be easy to topple. Officials familiar with the assessments of US intelligence agencies have told Newsweek that top analysts at the CIA and other agencies do not believe that Iran is in a "pre-revolutionary condition." And in public Senate testimony last year, the then US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said it was the consensus of US intelligence agencies that "regime-threatening instability is unlikely" in Iran. Late last year President Bush authorized US forces in Iraq to crack down on the alleged IRGC-Quds Force connection and suspected Department 9000 operatives.



Iran and US /Axis of Evil Meets With The Great Satan

May 29….(Ha Aretz) The meeting of the Iranian and the American ambassadors in Baghdad merits the adjective "historic" after 27 years during which there were no open negotiations between the two countries - neither direct nor mission specific. Even though senior American and Iranian representatives had met for years, and the foreign ministers of the two countries held short and friendly talks, none of these encounters were called "negotiations." On a practical level, the two sides presented their overall interests in Iraq and only in that country, and according to reports from Baghdad, the two sides are in agreement on some issues. The most important point on which the US and Iran agree is the need to stabilize Iraq so American forces can withdraw within a reasonable time frame, and the country that will be left behind will not pose a threat to Iran. However, no one has spelled out how to do this. Will Iran cease to provide weapons, intelligence and training to subversive forces operating against the government of Iraq and American forces? Will the US agree to end its actions against Iranian representatives operating in Iraq? More importantly, will the two sides be able to develop, along with the Iraqi government, a plan on which they all agree? But these questions cannot blur the new strategic standing that Iran has achieved as a result of the war in Iraq and the difficulties the US is facing there. The talks yesterday have identified Iran as a strategic partner for the US and Iraq, and therefore, as a country that can also pose demands on other matters, with the expectation that they be met. After all, if the US is willing to negotiate with Iran on a cardinal issue like Iraq, there is no reason why the nuclear question will not move from the corridors of the United Nations to a track of direct negotiations between the two countries, which is what Tehran wants. Washington will find it difficult to explain the difference between its willingness to hold open and direct negotiations over Iraq and continue to press for sanctions on Iran on the nuclear issue. Clearly, if the two sides agree to continue their public meetings, and upgrade the level of their officials in the talks, not only will the nuclear question be on the agenda for discussion, but also civilian cooperation between the Great Satan and the Axis of Evil - a vision that has been promoted for years by the American petroleum giants and other private investors. However, the countries in the region see not only a change for the better in a regional arrangement, but also the threat to their standing. Arab states, for example, that failed to prevent the war against Iraq, and since its outbreak have not been able to stop the collapse of the state, are witnessing how Iran, a country that threatens them and also symbolizes the rise of Shi'a Islam, enjoys a bolstered position with American support. There is also a hard lesson for Israel in this meeting: The country that supports Hezbollah and Hamas, rejects the Arab peace initiatives and whose president threatens to wipe Israel off the map is benefiting from a strategic standing with Israel's strategic partner - America.



First Official US-Iran Dialogue in 27 years Opens in Baghdad

May 29….(DEBKA) DEBKfile’s Washington, Baghdad and Tehran sources report that prior to the talks Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, are holding at the home of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Monday, May 28, the two parties haggled over the agenda at secret conversations outside Iraq. They failed to agree. A previous bid for a consensual agenda failed on May 4 at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference on Iraq’s future. Washington was represented then by Ryan Crocker and the state department’s coordinator on Iraq, David Satterfield, and Iran by Deputy foreign minister Abbas Aragchi. The Iranian official then handed the Americans a 10-point proposal, the substance of which was exclusively revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 300 on May 11.

DEBKAfile discloses two concessions concession on offer:

 1. Iran is willing to join the American war on al Qaeda in Iraq.

 2. Iran will agree to a goodwill gesture on its Iranian program.

The US side rejected Iran’s document at the time. Its content is not believed to have changed much in the intervening three weeks since the Sharm el-Sheikh conference. At the same time, it must be said that the talks in Baghdad Monday are the third in a row of bilateral meetings between US and Iranian officials in search of an agreed starting point. That too is progress. The best sign that the dialogue has a serious future will be if it is raised to a higher level, bringing together, for instance, David Satterfield and the head of Iran’s national security council Ali Larijani. For the moment, both sides are keeping up the heat. The US is maintaining a mighty naval force in the Persian Gulf at a menacing distance from Iranian shores, while Tehran continues to send weapons, including the deadly EFP roadside bombs, over to Shiite and Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq, and war materiel to Hizballah in Lebanon as well as the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip



US Meets Iranian Diplomat in Baghdad

image May 29….(AP) The United States and Iran broke a 27-year diplomatic freeze Monday with a four-hour meeting about Iraqi security. The American envoy said there was broad policy agreement, but that Iran must stop arming and financing militants who are attacking US and Iraqi forces. Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi told The Associated Press that the two sides would meet again in less than a month. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said Washington would decide only after the Iraqi government issued an invitation. "We don't have a formal invitation to respond to just yet, so it doesn't make sense to respond to what we don't have," Crocker told reporters after the meeting. The talks in the Green Zone offices of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were the first formal and scheduled meeting between Iranian and American government officials since the United States broke diplomatic relations with Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the US Embassy. (which was tantamount to an act of war) The American envoy called the meeting "businesslike" and said at "the level of policy and principle, the Iranian position as articulated by the Iranian ambassador was very close to our own." However, he said: "What we would obviously like to see, and the Iraqis would clearly like to see, is an action by Iran on the ground to bring what it's actually doing in line with its stated policy." Speaking later at a news conference in the Iranian Embassy, Kazemi said: "We don't take the American accusations seriously." Crocker declined to detail what Kazemi had said in the session, but the Iranian diplomat, formerly a top official in the elite Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, said he had offered to train and equip the Iraqi army and police to create "a new military and security structure" for Iraq. Kazemi said US efforts to rebuild those forces were inadequate to handle the chaos in Iraq, for which he said Washington bore sole responsibility. He said he also offered to provide what assistance Iran could in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, which he said had been "demolished by the American invaders." The icebreaking session, according to both sides, did not veer into other difficult issues that encumber the US-Iranian relationship, primarily Iran's nuclear program and the more than a quarter-century history of diplomatic estrangement. For its part, Iran's Shiite theocracy fears the Bush administration harbors plans for regime change in Tehran and could act on those desires as it did against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Washington and its Sunni Arab allies are deeply unnerved by growing Iranian influence in the Middle East and the spread of increasingly radical Islam. Compounding all that is Iran's open hostility to Israel. The Americans insist that Iran, specifically its Quds force, has been bankrolling, arming and training Iraqi militants, particularly the Mahdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Those men, who are deeply embedded in the Iraqi armed forces and police, are believed to make up the Shiite death squads that have pushed Baghdad into the violence and chaos that prompted the anti-Iraq war rhetoric in the US, and the calls for a US withdrawal from Iraq by Iran. Beyond that, Iran is charged with sending into Iraq the deadly explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, the armor piercing roadside bombs that have killed hundreds of US soldiers. Mahdi Army commanders have told AP that they receive those weapons from the Revolutionary Guards and that many of the militia's foot soldiers have gone to Iran for training with the elite military force. In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the talks could lead to future meetings, but only if Washington admitted that its Middle East policy had failed. "We are hopeful that Washington's realistic approach to the current issues of Iraq, by confessing its failed policy in Iraq and the region and by withdrawing from Iraq, will stabilize things" Mottaki said.







'Al-Qaeda (along with Iran) Trying to go Nuclear'

May 26….(YNET) Al-Qaeda is searching for ways to create nuclear weapons for mass destruction, a former UN weapons inspection chief said during a press conference at an international convention ways to prevent a nuclear catastrophe being held in Luxembourg. Rolf Ekeus, currently High Commissioner at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and formerly Director of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, told reporters that the threat of a nuclear attack on a European city by al-Qaeda was tangible, and that steps are being taken to protect nuclear facilities from which terrorists can obtain enriched uranium. "Al-Qaeda is searching for nuclear technology," Ekeus said. "They are looking for simple weapons for mass destruction," he added. Ekeus said al-Qaeda members "cannot be deterred. They are willing to sacrifice themselves," adding that prevention was the only means to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. "Of the 130 research reactors (with highly enriched uranium), very few of them have adequate protection. If I were looking for nuclear weapons, I would know where to go," the former UN official said. He added that steps were being taken to protect the reactors, and to make the enriched uranium inaccessible. Former US defense secretary William Perry echoed the view, saying it was "not alarmist" to assume that there was over a 50 percent chance of a nuclear terrorist attack taking place in a European city - a view first expressed in the book 'Nuclear Terrorism' by terror expert Graham Allison. Addressing the brewing crisis surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, Ekeus said Iran's non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was a major cause for concern over its intentions. "Iran has obviously not fulfilled NPT organizations," he said. "That is enough of a reason for concern. Iran acquiring nuclear weapons will have a tremendous effect on the whole region. I am deeply engaged with this issue," he added.



Iraqi Radical Shiite Cleric Al-Sadr Delivers Fiery anti-US Sermon


(FOJ) Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr speaks to supporters at Friday prayers at his local mosque in Kufa. Sadr appeared at Friday prayers at his local mosque in Kufa, central Iraq, to demand a US troop withdrawal. five months after US commanders claimed that he had fled to Iran. It appears that al Sadr, while in hiding, adopted the Democrats anti-Iraq war message.

May 25….(MSN) Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding US troops leave Iraq. Al-Sadr traveled in a long motorcade from Najaf to the adjacent holy city of Kufa on Friday morning to deliver his sermon before 6,000 worshippers. “No, no for Satan. No, no for America. No, no for the occupation. No, no for Israel,” he chanted in a call and response with the audience at the start of his speech. He repeated his long-standing call for US forces to leave Iraq. “We demand the withdrawal of the occupation forces, or the creation of a timetable for such a withdrawal,” he said. “I call upon the Iraqi government not to extend the occupation even for a single day.” He also condemned fighting between his Mahdi Army militia and Iraqi security forces, saying it “served the interests of the occupiers.” Instead, he said the militia should turn to peaceful protests, such as demonstrations and sit-ins, he said. As part of his effort to recast himself as a nationalist, instead of a radical with a narrow Shiite agenda, the 33-year-old leader called on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the US troop presence here. Al-Sadr is believed to be honing plans to consolidate political gains and foster ties with Iran. His Mahdi Army fought against US troops in 2004, but to avoid renewed confrontation he ordered his militants off the streets when the US began its security crackdown in the Baghdad area. His associates say his strategy is based partly on a belief that Washington soon will start reducing troop strength, leaving behind a hole in Iraq’s security and political power structure that he can fill. Al-Sadr also believes that Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government may soon collapse under its failure to improve security, services and the economy, al-Sadr’s aides say. A political reshuffle would give the Sadrist movement, with its 30 seats in the 275-member parliament, an opportunity to become a major player. In a move that could hasten the collapse, al-Sadr pulled his supporters out of al-Maliki’s government last month over the prime minister’s refusal to call for a timetable for a US withdrawal.



Hamas: Islam Will Rule the World, Destroy Israel and the Jews

May 25….(Arutz) The Hamas terrorist organization is conducting a simultaneous battle against Israel and its coalition partner, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, but not without a “higher” purpose. According to the Palestinian Media Watch, the Hamas charter specifically mandates the murder of Jews in compliance with what it believes is Divine will. Violence and terror, which Hamas refers to as “resistance,”(terrorism) are considered legitimate tools to be used for this purpose. Hamas has worked hard to promote this ideology and to train the current and future generations toward this end, using a Mickey Mouse-like character to teach the precepts to PA Arab children and other TV and radio programs to reach the adults. The PA population has, for the most part, responded enthusiastically to this campaign. Others who are frightened by the fanaticism and culture of murder are doing their best to flee. Branch offices of foreign ministries from various Arab countries report they have been besieged with tens of thousands of applications by PA Arabs who are desperate to take their families out of the madness. Islamic clerics, meanwhile, exhort them to remain, resorting even to religious legal rulings that it is forbidden to leave the Palestinian Authority territories and abandon what they insist is their land. It is clear that Hamas has no intention of ever recognizing the State of Israel’s right to exist. Nor does it intend to end its terrorism, regardless of international mandates to do so. “We will liberate Palestine, all of Palestine. Palestine will not be liberated by negotiations, committees and decisions. It will only be liberated by the rifle and the al-Kassam [rockets]. Therefore, prepare yourselves,” declared Hamas spokesman Dr. Ismail Radwan in an April interview with the Hamas-controlled Al-Risalah newspaper. Ultimately, states former Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar in a March interview with the Arabic Al-Ayyam newspaper, “Our position is the complete liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine. This is the final and strategic solution for us. Anyone who denies this must check his faith and his Islam.” Islam will rule the world, and rule in Jerusalem, after we destroy Israel!



Iranian Leader Warns Israel it Will be ‘Uprooted’

May 24….(MSN) Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday warned Israel it would be “uprooted” if the Jewish state makes any move against and attacked Lebanon in the coming summer. “If you think that by bombing and assassinating Palestinian leaders you are preparing ground for new attacks on Lebanon in the summer, I am telling you that you are seriously wrong,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in the city of Isfahan. “If this year you repeat the same mistake of the last year, the ocean of nations of the region will get angry and will uproot the Zionist regime.” The Iranian leader has often referred to the Islamic Mahdi’s call for the annihilation of Israel, and this latest threat is seen as a sign of support for Islamic terrorists holed up in Northern Lebanon in a battle with Lebanese forces.



Bush Calls for Tougher Sanctions Against Iran

May 24….(MSN) President Bush said Thursday he will work with allies to strengthen sanctions on Iran after new report showed Tehran is accelerating its uranium enrichment program. "We need to strengthen our sanctions regime," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference. The leaders of Iran "continue to be defiant as to the demands of the free world," he said. We will work with our partners to continue the pressure,” he said. “And, of course, I will discuss this issue with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, as well as (Chinese) President Hu Jintao,” he said. “The first thing that these leaders have got to understand is that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing for the world. It's in their interests that we work collaboratively to continue to isolate that regime,” he added. Bush's comments on Iran came against a backdrop of rising tensions. The UN's nuclear watchdog agency on Wednesday accused Iran of accelerating its uranium enrichment program in defiance of international demands. The UN Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran since December. The US has moved two aircraft carriers and seven other ships into the Persian Gulf in a show of force. And Iran has been increasing its detention of American citizens. "The world has spoken and has said no nuclear weapons programs. Yet they're constantly ignoring the demands," Bush said. In relation to Iraq, and Iran’s reputed meddling in Iraq, President Bush also said this summer will be a critical time for his troop surge buildup strategy and predicted heavy fighting in the weeks and months ahead.



“North American Union” Plan Headed to Congress

May 24….(WND) A powerful think tank chaired by former Sen. Sam Nunn and guided by trustees including Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Harold Brown, William Cohen and Henry Kissinger, is in the final stages of preparing a report to the White House and US Congress on the benefits of integrating the US, Mexico and Canada into one political, economic and security bloc. The final report, published in English, Spanish and French, is scheduled for submission to all three governments by Sept. 30, according to the Center for Strategic & International Services. CSIS boasts of playing a large role in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, a treaty that set in motion a political movement many believe resembles the early stages of the European Community on its way to becoming the European Union. "The results of the study will enable policymakers to make sound, strategic, long-range policy decisions about North America, with an emphasis on regional integration," explains Armand B. Peschard-Sverdrup, director of CSIS' Mexico Project. "Specifically, the project will focus on a detailed examination of future scenarios, which are based on current trends, and involve six areas of critical importance to the trilateral relationship: labor mobility, energy, the environment, security, competitiveness and border infrastructure and logistics." The data collected for the report is based on seven secret roundtable sessions involving between 21 and 45 people and conducted by CSIS. The participants are politicians, business people, labor leaders and academics from all three countries with equal representation. The free flow of people across national borders will undoubtedly continue throughout the world as well as in North America, as will the social, political and economic challenges that accompany this trend," says the report. In order to remain competitive in the global economy, it is imperative for the twenty-first century North American labor market to possess the flexibility necessary to meet industrial labor demands on a transitional basis and in a way that responds to market forces." As WND reported last week, the controversial "Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007," which would grant millions of illegal aliens the right to stay in the US under certain conditions, contains provisions for the acceleration of the Security and Prosperity Partnership Plan, a plan for North American economic and defense integration with remarkable similarities to the CSIS plan. The bill, as worked out by Senate and White House negotiators, cites the SPP agreement signed by President Bush and his counterparts in Mexico and Canada March 23, 2005, an agreement that has been criticized as a blueprint for building a European Union-style merger of the three countries of North America. "It is the sense of Congress that the United States and Mexico should accelerate the implementation of the Partnership for Prosperity to help generate economic growth and improve the standard of living in Mexico, which will lead to reduced migration," the draft legislation states on page 211 on the version time-stamped May 18, 2007 11:58 pm. Since agreement on the major provisions of the bill was announced late last week, a firestorm of opposition has ignited across the country. Senators and representatives are reporting heavy volumes of phone calls and e-mails expressing outrage with the legislation they believe represents the largest "amnesty" program ever contemplated by the federal government. Meanwhile, many continue to express skepticism about a plot to integrate North America along the lines of the European Union. Peter F. Drucker, in one of his dozens of best-selling books, "Post Capitalist Society," published in 1993, wrote that the European Community, the progenitor of the European Union, "triggered the attempt to create a North American economic community, built around the United States but integrating both Canada and Mexico into a common market."



Bush Grants Presidency Extraordinary Powers

imageMay 24….(WND) President Bush has signed a directive granting extraordinary powers to the office of the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight. The "”National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive” was signed May 9, notes Jerome R. Corsi in a WND column. It was issued with the dual designation of NSPD-51, as a National Security Presidential Directive, and HSPD-20, as a Homeland Security Presidential Directive. The directive establishes under the office of the president a new national continuity coordinator whose job is to make plans for "National Essential Functions" of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations to continue functioning under the president's directives in the event of a national emergency. "Catastrophic emergency" is loosely defined as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." Corsi says the president can assume the power to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is declared over. Corsi says the directive makes no attempt to reconcile the powers created for the national continuity coordinator with the National Emergency Act, which requires that such proclamation "shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register." A Congressional Research Service study notes the National Emergency Act sets up Congress as a balance empowered to "modify, rescind, or render dormant" such emergency authority if Congress believes the president has acted inappropriately. But the new directive appears to supersede the National Emergency Act by creating the new position of national continuity coordinator without any specific act of Congress authorizing the position, Corsi says.


Foreign Insurgents in Iraq Come from Gulf States

May 24….(Reuters) Seventy percent of foreign insurgents arrested in Iraq came from Persian Gulf countries via Syria where they were provided with forged passports, an Iraqi intelligence officer said in a published report Wednesday. “They, according to their own confessions, gather in mosques in the said (Gulf) states to travel to Syria using their passports, taking with them phone numbers of individuals waiting for them there,” Brig. Gen. Rashid Fleih, the assistant undersecretary for intelligence of Iraq's Interior Ministry, told Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily in an interview. Fleih did not provide more specific details about the alleged insurgents or which countries they came from. But he said once in Syria, the alleged insurgents were transported to the al-Qaim border area where they were provided with new passports after their old ones were destroyed, Fleih said in an interview from Baghdad. US and Iraqi officials claim Syria little to nothing to prohibit people of different nationalities from crossing its 380-mile border with Iraq to join the ranks of al-Qaeda and other insurgent or terrorist groups there. Damascus denies the allegations and says it is doing all it can to stop them. The Iraqi intelligence officer did not say where the other 30 percent of insurgents in custody came from. A large percentage of insurgents fighting in Iraq are Iraqi. Iraq's other neighbor Iran, is also suspected of aiding Iraqi Shiite fighters and terrorists with training, money and weapons



Iran Continues to Defy UN/IAEA on Nukes

May 23….(MSN) Iran continues to defy UN Security Council demands to scrap its uranium enrichment program and has instead expanded its activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday, in a finding that sets the stage for new council sanctions. The report from Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, also faulted Tehran for blocking IAEA efforts to probe suspicious nuclear activities, saying that meant it could not "provide assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature" of its atomic program. And, in new and worrying phrasing, it expressed concern about its "deteriorating" understanding of unexplored aspects of the program, despite four years of a probe sparked by revelations that Tehran had been clandestinely developing enrichment and other nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons for nearly two decades. The report, one of a series keeping the IAEA's 35-nation board and the Security Council up to date on the agency's monitoring efforts, was posted simultaneously on the IAEA internal Web site and handed over to the president of the Security Council for distribution among its members. While the report's finding that Iran was expanding enrichment instead of curtailing it was not surprising, it was important as a trigger for possible new UN sanctions, the third since the first were imposed Dec. 23. With the council's latest deadline for Iranian compliance ending on Thursday, the report could set the stage within days for consultations on new council penalties. A senior UN diplomat, who demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly comment on the report, suggested that the shrinking hole left for inspections by Iran's rollback of previous monitoring agreements was potentially as worrying as its defiance on enrichment. The brevity of the four-page report indirectly reflected the lack of progress agency inspectors had made clearing up unresolved issues, among them: Iran's possession of diagrams showing how to form uranium into warhead form; unexplained uranium contamination at a research facility; information on high-explosives experiments that could be linked to a nuclear program; and the design of a missile re-entry vehicle.



Nine US military Ships Enter Persian Gulf

imageMay 23….(DEBKA) They sailed through the Strait of Hormuz by day, according to US Navy officials for training exercises. The vessels carry around 17,000 combat and marine personnel. They include the two aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Stennis, as well as the USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6 Group, the world’s biggest amphibious strike force. Iran was not notified of the planned arrival. DEBKAfile reports the maneuvers take place less than two weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney visited the region and informed Saudi King Abdullah and fellow Gulf rulers that President George W. Bush has determined that if Iran refuses to waive a nuclear weapon capability, the US will attack its nuclear, military and economic infrastructure before he leaves the White House in Jan. 2009. Our sources also note that the US armada sailed into the Gulf on the day the latest UN Security Council ultimatum expired for Iran to give up uranium enrichment or face a fresh set of sanctions. Its presence backs up Cheney’s pledge and tells the region and Iran that Washington may not be satisfied with sanctions and the military option is alive. Washington is also stiffening its posture ahead of its first direct talks with Tehran on Monday, May 28, when US and Iraqi ambassadors meet in Baghdad. The message to Iran and its ally Syria is that if the Baghdad talks fail, and they refuse to suspend their backing for Iraq’s insurgents and al Qaeda, the US stands ready with a military option. Tuesday, May 21, a senior US officer in Baghdad accused Iran of orchestrating a summer offensive against US troops in Iraq “linking al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents to its Shiite militia allies.” Our sources add that Iran with Syrian support has also embarked on a summer offensive in other parts of the Middle East, including Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Rear Admiral Kevin Quinn said the naval maneuvers beginning now are part of a long-planned effort to reassure nearby countries of America’s commitment to regional security. He told reporters before crossing the strait: “There is always the threat of any state or non-state actor deciding to close one of the international straits, and the biggest one is the Strait of Hormuz.” US Navy officials said Iran had intentionally not been notified of plans to sail the armada into the Gulf.



Duncan Hunter: Israel Shouldn't Give an Inch

May 23….(Newsmax) If he becomes president, Rep. Duncan Hunter says he will continue to hold the position that Israel should surrender "not one inch" of disputed territory to the Arabs in exchange for pledges of peace. Addressing a Christian Zionist meeting in Alexandria, Va., Sunday evening, the California Republican recalled a visit with his father to the Golan Heights, where they viewed a narrow valley where a small number of Israeli tanks had held off more than 1,400 Soviet-built Syrian tanks during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Hunter, a Vietnam veteran and former chairman and current ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he had vowed then that he would always support what he called that "postage stamp of a country." He and other speakers at the event spoke about the dangers they said were posed to Israel and the United States by Islamic terrorists and by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's pursuit of nuclear capability. Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel attending the meeting heard criticism both of Democratic lawmakers' push to withdraw troops from Iraq and President Bush's policy of supporting the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Sunday's program, entitled a Night to Honor Israel, was sponsored by The Jerusalem Connection International under the auspices of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), an organization founded last year by San Antonio, Texas, pastor John Hagee. CUFI will host a national summit in Washington D.C., in July, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among those scheduled to speak. Hunter is one of 10 Republicans vying for their party's 2008 presidential nomination. Seven of the 10, Hunter among them, are currently polling in the low single digits.



Poll: Younger US Muslims Support Suicide Attacks in America

May 23….(Newsmax) One in four younger US Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances, though most Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject the tactic and are critical of Islamic extremism and al-Qaida, a poll says. The survey by the Pew Research Center, one of the most exhaustive ever of the country's Muslims, revealed a community that in many ways blends comfortably into society. Its largely mainstream members express nearly as much happiness with their lives and communities as the general public does, show a broad willingness to adopt American customs, and have income and education levels similar to others in the US Even so, the survey revealed noteworthy pockets of discontent. While nearly 80 percent of US Muslims say suicide bombings of civilians to defend Islam can not be justified, 13 percent say they can be, at least rarely. That sentiment is strongest among those younger than 30. Two percent of them say it can often be justified, 13 percent say sometimes and 11 percent say rarely. "It is a hair-raising number," said Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Washington-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, which promotes the compatibility of Islam with democracy. He said most supporters of the attacks likely assumed the context was a fight against occupation, a term Muslims often use to describe the conflict with Israel. US Muslims have growing Internet and television access to extreme ideologies, he said, adding: "People, especially younger people, are susceptible to these ideas." Federal officials have warned that the US must be on guard against homegrown terrorism, as the British suffered with the London transit bombings of 2005. Even so, US Muslims are far less accepting of suicide attacks than Muslims in many other nations. In surveys Pew conducted last year, support in some Muslim countries exceeded 50 percent, while it was considered justifiable by about one in four Muslims in Britain and Spain, and one in three in France. "We have crazies just like other faiths have them," said Eide Alawan, who directs interfaith outreach at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Mich., one of the nation's largest mosques. He said killing innocent people contradicts Islam. Andrew Kohut, Pew director, called support for the attacks "one of the few trouble spots" in the survey. The question did not specify where a suicide attack might occur, who might carry it out or what was meant by using a bombing to "defend Islam." In other findings:

Only 5 percent of US Muslims expressed favorable views of the terrorist group al-Qaida, though about a fourth did not express an opinion.

Six in 10 said they are concerned about a rise in Islamic extremism in the US, while three in four expressed similar worries about extremism around the world.

Yet only one in four consider the US war on terrorism a sincere attempt to curtail international terror. Only 40 percent said they believe Arab men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

By six to one, they say the US was wrong to invade Iraq, while a third say the same about Afghanistan, far deeper than the opposition expressed by the general US public. The survey estimates there are roughly 2.35 million Muslim Americans. It found that among adults, two-thirds are from abroad while a fifth are US-born blacks.



Bush Declassifies Bin Laden Intelligence

image imageMay 23….(Jerusalem Post) Seeking to rally support for the war, US President George W. Bush on Wednesday will point to US intelligence asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist unit to hit targets outside Iraq, and that the United States should be first in his sights. The information, which Bush will cite in a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy, was declassified by the White House on Tuesday. It expands on a classified bulletin the Homeland Security Department issued back in March, 2005. The bulletin, which warned that bin Laden had enlisted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to plan potential strikes in the United States, was described at the time as credible but not specific. It did not prompt the administration to raise its national terror alert level. President Bush, who is battling Democrats in Congress over spending for the unpopular war in Iraq, will highlight US successes in foiling terrorist plots and use the intelligence to argue that terrorists remain a threat to Americans, Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House Homeland Security adviser, said in previewing the president's. Townsend, reading from notes, said the declassified intelligence showed that in January 2005, bin Laden tasked al-Zarqawi to organize the cell. Al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaida's Iraq operations, was killed there in June 2006 by a US air-strike. "We know from the intelligence community that al-Zarqawi welcomed the tasking and claimed he already had some good proposals," Townsend said. She said that in the spring of 2005, bin Laden instructed Hamza Rabia, a senior operative, to brief al-Zarqawi on al-Qaida planning to attack sites outside Iraq, including in the United States. She did not disclose where in the United States those attacks were being plotted.



Olmert: No Solution to Kassam Rocket Terrorism

May 23….(Jnewswire/Stan Goodenough) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday there was nothing his government could do to stop Gaza’s Arabs from firing the rockets that are killing, wounding and terrorizing his people. His defeatist statement came hours after a woman was threshed and killed by Kassam shrapnel as she drove her car in downtown Sderot, the Negev town that has been under rocket attack for months. Olmert believes he has his hands tied by the US and the UK which, while purportedly supporting Israel’s “right to defend its people,” have “cautioned” him against using “disproportionate force” and instructed him to consider the detrimental effect military action might have on the “peace” process. Angry residents denounced Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her guest, the European Union’s would be peace maker, Javier Solana, when they visited the town Monday. Some protestors tried to storm a car they believed Livni to be traveling in. Hundreds of townspeople have fled their homes since the daily dose of rockets suddenly surged last week. Gaza’s Arabs have read the impotence of the Israeli government to put an end to this violence, and the inability of Israelis to continue living under the bombardment, as spelling yet another victory for the Arab side. As so many people warned it would be, Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza, which was supported by the United States, was pure folly. It has resulted in nothing but more violence, more fear, more destruction, more death. The warnings fell on deliberately-deafened ears. Those blind souls who still believe that Israel’s giving up of land will result in peace need to see this. This is the rotten fruit of Oslo and the Road Map: (



The Falwell Legacy

May 232….(By Judge Roy Moore) Christians across our land paused yesterday, May 22, to remember the life of Dr. Jerry Falwell, the fiery televangelist who galvanized Christian conservatives of America in the 1970s into a powerful and effective political force known as the Moral Majority. As I listened to his eulogy at Thomas Road Baptist Church I was reminded that our nation had just lost not only a great preacher, but also a strong moral voice in our society. Personally, I had lost a good friend. Several years ago Dr. Falwell invited me to speak at this same church, and I remember how nervous I was as he sat on stage throughout my message. But this great preacher was also a gracious host. In 2003 I was honored to have Dr. Falwell travel to Montgomery, Ala., to stand by my side in defense of the public display of the Ten Commandments at the Alabama Judicial Building. I will never forget his words of encouragement at the state capitol building where he spoke in my support. Dr. Falwell had not always been active in the public arena, however. In fact, in the early years of his ministry he believed that Christians should stay out of politics and public life. But in 1973 the United States Supreme Court decided that women had a constitutional right to kill their unborn children, and a country preacher in Lynchburg, Va., by the name of Jerry Falwell was compelled to go on the offensive and to become a national spokesman for virtue and morality in America. Dr. Falwell was outspoken about the sin of abortion and fervently urged Christians to become actively involved in our culture. Of course, his actions infuriated the media and liberal groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, but his boldness encouraged others who had been silent about the growing immorality in America to speak up as well. In more recent years when issues of homosexuality and same-sex "marriage" became part of the public debate, Jerry Falwell again stepped forward to renounce such sin and boldly proclaim the truth about God and His word. Falwell followed in the shoes of another brave Virginia preacher, the Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg, who during the Revolutionary War threw off his minister's robe at the conclusion of a sermon to reveal a military officer's uniform. Muhlenberg then marched hundreds of his congregants out of the church to become an infantry brigade in our war of independence. Like Muhlenberg, Jerry Falwell was never afraid to take a stand for truth and righteousness and to put his faith into action. Since his death last week, the media has referred to Dr. Falwell as "controversial" and even "radical." But his actions and public leadership distinguished him as a true patriot and great American. While many pastors are content to keep their faith within the four walls of the church, Dr. Falwell's life and ministry remain as a timeless example of a strong Christian witness. Like the Rev. John Witherspoon, the president of Princeton who in 1776 not only served in the Continental Congress but helped craft the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Falwell knew that "separation of church and state" did not mean we must banish morality and virtue from our public square. Dr. Jerry Falwell was a man of vision. His testimony continues at Liberty University, the Christian school he loved and worked so hard to build. A Christian law school was recently added where young men and women are taught the truth about God's law and its intimate connection with our own. We should not be surprised that Dr. Falwell passed away in his office at the university doing what he loved, building future leaders of our country. His legacy and influence will continue not just through the thousands of students who attended and will attend Liberty University, but also through his loving family, his devoted congregation, and others like me, who have been inspired and touched by his character and example. At this critical juncture in history, America faces a crisis of moral leadership. Leading candidates in both major political parties appear unconcerned with the immorality and sinful conduct around them, and politics seems once again to be more about power than principle. We need more men like Jerry Falwell who was not afraid to hold public servants accountable, and to face criticism and rejection for doing the right thing. We will miss Dr. Jerry Falwell, but I am sure that he will be rewarded in Heaven for his faithful service on earth. Like Paul of the New Testament, Dr. Falwell fought a good fight, he finished the course, and we can thank God that he kept the faith.



Hamas Threatens Rocket Attacks from Judea-Samaria

imageMay 22….(Jnewswire/Stan Goodenough) The Muslim Hamas organization will expand its terrorism offensive from Gaza into Samaria and Judea, the land it seeks to form the nucleus of its “State of Palestine.” A spokesman for the group said Monday that “because of the Israeli attacks on our children” Hamas, which has never held back from murdering children and women, “has no red lines anymore.” He was referring to the IDF strikes carried out against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip in Israel’s effort to end Kassam rocket attacks on its civilians. Dozens of rockets have been fired against the Negev town of Sderot in the past week, inflicting casualties and property damage. An IDF strike against a Hamas parliamentarian’s home Sunday night killed a number of Arabs. Hamas – which commands a majority in the Palestinian Authority, has adamantly refused to try prevent the Kassam rocket fire, which is often perpetrated from within civilian areas. It has vowed to unleash Allah-bombers ("suicide" killers), and called on its members and supporters to attack anything that could be considered Israeli.



Iran's Secret Plan for Summer Offensive to Force US out of Iraq

May 22….(Guardian) Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say. "Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]." The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said. "Certainly it [the violence] is going to pick up from their side. There is significant latent capability in Iraq, especially Iranian-sponsored capability. They can turn it up whenever they want. You can see that from the pre-positioning that's been going on and the huge stockpiles of Iranian weapons that we've turned up in the last couple of months. The relationships between Iran and groups like al-Qaida are very fluid," the official said. "It often comes down to individuals, and people constantly move around. For instance, the Sunni Arab so-called resistance groups use Salafi jihadist ideology for their own purposes. But the whole Iran- al-Qaida linkup is very sinister." Iran has maintained close links to Iraq's Shia political parties and militias but has previously eschewed collaboration with al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents. US officials now say they have firm evidence that Tehran has switched tack as it senses a chance of victory in Iraq. In a parallel development, they say they also have proof that Iran has reversed its previous policy in Afghanistan and is now supporting and supplying the Taliban's campaign against US, British and other NATO forces. Tehran's strategy to discredit the US surge and foment a decisive congressional revolt against Mr Bush is national in scope and not confined to the Shia south, its traditional sphere of influence, the senior official in Baghdad said. It included stepped-up coordination with Shia militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaish al-Mahdi as well as Syrian-backed Sunni Arab groups and al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, he added. Iran was also expanding contacts across the board with paramilitary forces and political groups, including Kurdish parties such as the PUK, a US ally. "Their strategy takes into account all these various parties. Iran is playing all these different factions to maximise its future control and maximise US and British difficulties. Their co-conspirator is Syria which is allowing the takfirists [fundamentalist Salafi jihadis] to come across the border," the official said. Any US decision to retaliate against Iran on its own territory could be taken only at the highest political level in Washington, the official said. But he indicated that American patience was wearing thin.

Warning that the US was "absolutely determined" to hit back hard wherever it was challenged by Iranian proxies or agents inside Iraq, he cited the case of five alleged members of the Revolutionary Guard's al-Quds force detained in Irbil in January. Despite strenuous protests from Tehran, which claims the men are diplomats, they have still not been released. "Tehran is behaving like a racecourse gambler. They're betting on all the horses in the race, even on people they fundamentally don't trust," a senior administration official in Washington said. "They don't know what the outcome will be in Iraq. So they're hedging their bets." The administration official also claimed that notwithstanding recent US and British overtures, Syria was still collaborating closely with Iran's strategy in Iraq. "80% to 90%" of the foreign jihadis entering Iraq were doing so from Syrian territory, he said. Despite recent diplomatic contacts, and an agreement to hold bilateral talks at ambassadorial level in Baghdad next week, US officials say there has been no let-up in hostile Iranian activities, including continuing support for violence, weapons smuggling and training. "Iran is perpetuating the cycle of sectarian violence through support for extra-judicial killing and murder cells. They bring Iraqi militia members and insurgent groups into Iran for training and then help infiltrate them back into the country. We have plenty of evidence from a variety of sources. There's no argument about that. That's just a fact," the senior official in Baghdad said. In trying to force an American retreat, Iran's hardline leadership also hoped to bring about a humiliating political and diplomatic defeat for the US that would reduce Washington's regional influence while increasing Tehran's own. But if Iran succeeded in "prematurely" driving US and British forces out of Iraq, the likely result would be a "colossal humanitarian disaster" and possible regional war drawing in the Sunni Arab Gulf states, Syria and Turkey, he said. Despite such concerns, or because of them, the US welcomed the chance to talk to Iran, the senior administration official said. "Our agenda starts with force protection in Iraq," he said. But there were many other Iraq-related issues to be discussed. Recent pressure had shown that Iran's behaviour could be modified, the official claimed: "Last winter they were literally getting away with murder." But tougher action by security forces in Iraq against Iranian agents and networks, the dispatch of an additional aircraft carrier group to the Gulf and UN security council resolutions imposing sanctions had given Tehran pause, he said. Washington analysts and commentators predict that Gen Petraeus's report to the White House and Congress in early September will be a pivotal moment in the history of the four-and-a-half-year war - and a decision to begin a troop drawdown or continue with the surge policy will hinge on the outcome. Most Democrats and many Republicans in Congress believe Iraq is in the grip of a civil war and that there is little that a continuing military presence can achieve. "Political will has already failed. It's over," a former Bush administration official said. A senior adviser to Gen Petraeus reported this month that the surge had reduced violence, especially sectarian killings, in the Baghdad area and Sunni-dominated Anbar province. But the adviser admitted that much of the trouble had merely moved elsewhere, "resulting in spikes of activity in Diyala [to the north] and some areas to the south of the capital". "Overall violence is at about the same level [as when the surge began in February]." Iranian officials flatly deny US and British allegations of involvement in internal violence in Iraq or in attacks on coalition forces. Interviewed in Tehran recently, Mohammad Reza Bagheri, deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs with primary responsibility for Iran's policy in Iraq, said: "We believe it would be to the benefit of both the occupiers and the Iraqi people that they [the coalition forces] withdraw immediately."



Radical Palestinian Groups Backed by Tehran and Damascus aid Islamists battling Lebanese

May 22….(DEBKA) These reinforcements have prevented the Lebanese army from breaking down the resistance of the armed Fatah al-Islam fighters in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp outside Tripoli in northern Lebanon. At least 32 soldiers, 20 Islamist fighters and dozens of civilians have been killed. The Lebanese troops continued pounding the camp Tuesday. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that among the groups streaming to the camp since Monday, May 21, are gunmen of Ahmed Jibril’s radical Poplar Front for the Liberation of Palestinian-General Command and Abu Mussa’s breakaway Fatah. Both maintain headquarters in Damascus, notwithstanding US demands to remove them. Jibril is known to draw funds from Tehran. Their armed men could not have crossed from Syria without Damascus’ approval, thus belying Syria’s denial of direct interference in the violence which is posing an acute challenge to the Lebanese army. Traditionally, Lebanese troops have stayed clear of the Palestinian refugee enclaves under a contract signed in 1969. However the army’s failure against the Palestinian extremists in Nahr al-Bared would detract from its authority in the whole of Lebanon. It would have grave repercussions for the stability of government of anti-Syrian Fouad Siniora and its ability to stand up to Hizballah and pro-Syrian forces. The Siniora government has urgently asked friends for money and resources to help bring the confrontation to a speedy conclusion.




Palestinian Terrorists Warn Israel to Prepare for Missile Attacks in North

Hamas Activates West Bank Cells for Suicide Operations

May 22….(DEBKA) The warning to Ashkelon and points north of Gaza came from Jihad Islami and Popular Resistance Groups as well as Hamas. DEBKAfile also reports: Hamas military chief Mohammed Jabari has instructed all West Bank cells to launch suicide attacks in Israeli towns forthwith. Sniper teams are directed to target roads on West Bank as well as Jerusalem and the Sharon district. The order advises the cells to do the best they can. Israeli army, police and security services have raised their level of preparedness to maximum along the West Bank border as Israelis get ready for the Shavuot festival Tuesday night and Wednesday. This directive was the outcome of a war conference held by Jabari and his top commanders, including his spiritual guide, Halil al Haya, who escaped an Israeli air attack Sunday night, former Palestinian interior minister Said Siyam, and Nizhar Riyan. They also decided to escalate and extend the radius of their missile offensive against southern Israel. Their upgraded Qassam (al Quds) missiles can reach as far as 19km and target towns like the strategic Ashkelon and the outskirts of Netivot and Ofakim. One such missile reached its furthest point yet Monday, landing at Moshav Shokeda outside Netivot, 17 km from the Gaza Strip. Hamas spokesmen went on the air Monday night calling out their adherents to cross all red lines and hit Israeli targets. After an Israeli air raid destroyed a Jihad Islami four-man missile team in Jebalya, northern Gaza, Monday afternoon, a five-missile salvo was spread out to hit Sderot and also the outlying villages of Gevim, Shuva, Alumim, Sde Elihahu and Beeri. The Sderot missile struck a car and killed a woman, the first fatality of the seven-day Hamas offensive.



Iran Cleric Calls Anti-US Policy "Bigger than Hiroshima"


(FOJ) Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking in Mashhad, said that Iran's policies of standing up to the United States have set off a 'powerful bomb in the world of politics' bigger than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Muslim cleric obviously used the reference to Hiroshima as means to sarcastically convey what the Islamic regime intends to do with its nuclear capabilities.

May 21….(FOJ) Iran's policies of standing up to the United States have set off a "powerful bomb in the world of politics" bigger than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday. The comments, carried by state television and radio, come amid prolonged tension between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program. "The political field of today's world is a complicated field with a great war of wills and policies ... It can be said that Iran has exploded a powerful bomb in the world of politics that is hundred times more powerful than the bomb the Americans exploded in Hiroshima," Khamenei was quoted as saying. "Even Europeans are speechless before the oppressive America, but the Iranian nation by its actions and stances has placed a question mark over all the rules and principles of this oppressive power." Khamenei is the highest authority in Iran under its system of clerical rule. The United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and another on Nagasaki shortly before Japan surrendered at the end of World War Two. The US cut ties with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, while the Islamic Republic has waged a war of terror against the US for 28 years.



Hamas Continues Rocket Attacks on Sderot


May 21….(Arutz) An Israeli woman was killed in a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on Monday as Israel threatened to hit Hamas leaders and four Palestinian militants were killed in a new air raid on the lawless territory. The 35-year-old woman died of her injuries shortly after the rocket hit her car Monday evening in the southern border town of Sderot, an Israeli medical source said. Another person who sustained moderate wounds when the rocket directly hit the car the two were traveling in was treated at the scene. Palestinian militants fired another salvo of six rockets towards Israel on Monday evening and a total of 13 rockets during the day, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP. The woman was the ninth Israeli to have died in Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel in over six years, which has been the target of thousands of Hamas rocket strikes. On Sunday, Israel's powerful security cabinet gave the go-ahead to the army to ramp up operations against Palestinian militants behind the rocket fire. Israel has responded by pounding Hamas targets across Gaza since last Wednesday in response to a sharp increase in rocket fire from Gaza. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, a member of the security cabinet, said Israel should kill exiled Hamas political supremo Khaled Meshaal "at the first opportunity" and could also target Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Meshaal, who is based in Syria, survived a Mossad assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997. Haniya escaped an Israeli strike in Gaza in 2004 that killed Hamas's wheelchair-bound founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In Damascus, a senior Hamas official shrugged off the warning against Meshaal. "We are used to these threats," Mussa Abu Marzuk told AFP. "It's an Israeli policy ... since 1948," when the Jewish state was created. In Gaza, a militant group loosely linked to President Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction urged Palestinians abroad to "target Zionist interests to curb the Zionist aggression against our people." Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said it was ready to form a battalion drawn from different Palestinian factions "to carry out attacks against Zionist political leaders and defend the leaders of our people


(FOJ) Female Palestinian suicide bombers attend a news conference in Gaza May 21, 2007. The bombers, members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, declared that they are ready to blow themselves up in attacks against the Israeli army if it attacks Gaza.

The Israeli air raids have come amid deadly clashes between Hamas and Abbas's secular Fatah faction that have driven the densely populated territory to the brink of civil war and threatened to derail any Middle East peace moves. The White House called on the Israeli military to show restraint but warned Hamas against firing rockets. Hamas has re4sponded with threats to launch full-scale rocket attacks against Israel throughout the West Bank. These threats could bring coastal Israeli cities under siege. “We remain concerned about the violence and urge all sides to demonstrate appropriate restraint," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. "However, Hamas needs to stop firing rockets into Israel." Russia condemned what it called "excessive and disproportionate" use of force by Israel and the Palestinian rocket attacks. In spite of Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal's declaration that the city would not be evacuated, more than 6,000 residents have left their houses in the past few days. The Salah al-Din Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees' military wing, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. More than 10 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip since Monday morning.


Meanwhile, Israeli peace activists join a multi-religious march as they walk next to the old wall that surrounds the Jerusalem's old city, Monday May 21, 2007. Hundreds of people from Israel, Palestine and from around the world linked hands Monday in a human chain aimed at circling the Old City of Jerusalem in a display for world peace.




Carter: Bush’s Foreign Policy is ‘Worst in US History’

(Former President says Bush-43rd has done severe damage to US reputation abroad)

imageMay 20….(MSN) Former President Carter says President Bush’s administration is “the worst in history” in international relations, taking aim at the White House’s policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy. The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush’s environmental policies and the administration’s “quite disturbing” faith-based initiative funding. “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper’s Saturday editions. “The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.” Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo confirmed his comments to The Associated Press on Saturday and declined to elaborate. He spoke while promoting his new audiobook series, “Sunday Mornings in Plains,” a collection of weekly Bible lessons from his hometown of Plains, Ga. “Apparently, Sunday mornings in Plains for former President Carter includes hurling reckless accusations at your fellow man,” said Amber Wilkerson, Republican National Committee spokeswoman. She said it was hard to take Carter seriously because he also “challenged Ronald Reagan’s strategy for the Cold War.” Carter came down hard on the Iraq war. “We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered,” he said. “But that’s been a radical departure from all previous administration policies.” Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, criticized Bush for having “zero peace talks” in Israel. Carter also said the administration “abandoned or directly refuted” every negotiated nuclear arms agreement, as well as environmental efforts by other presidents. Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive $2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone. “The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion,” Carter said. “As a traditional Baptist, I’ve always believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one.” Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter’s comments as unprecedented. “This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president,” Brinkley said. “When you call somebody the worst president, that’s volatile. Those are fighting words.” Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Blair’s support of Bush, the former president said: “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.” “And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Carter told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

FOJ Note: When will this former President shut up? It has always been customary for former Presidents to avoid the public limelight, and to steer clear of criticizing succeeding presidents. But Carter, who was truly the worst president in modern American history, and whose policies produced the current volatility in the Middle East (Iran) is constantly offering his two cents worth. Carter has been a vocal critic of Israel, while placating all of America and Israel’s enemies. Its time he just shut up and farm his peanuts.



US Policy Reversal on Syria May Enable Israel Talks with Syria

May 21….(Ha Aretz) Washington has given Israel the green light to accept Syrian President Bashar Assad's call for peace talks, in a change of position accompanied by several preconditions. The Bush administration has given Israel permission to discuss the future of the Golan Heights, security arrangements and Israeli-Syrian peace accords if it agrees to talks with Syria. However, Washington has stipulated that Israel must not agree to any negotiations, even indirectly, on the United States' position, or on the future of Lebanon. Furthermore, Israel must not make promises to Syria regarding US policy. According to the new position, Washington will deal directly with Syria on these matters.  US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, however, told Haaretz on Monday that he had first heard of the policy change when he read in the newspaper that morning. Jones, who previously maintained that the US had no say regarding Israeli talks with Syria, said that he had been surprised by the report Monday. Syria's role in terrorism, the presence of terrorist organizations in Damascus and its involvement in smuggling weapons to Hezbollah and the Palestinian territories are currently issues which the US is not discussing with Damascus. Iran and its military connection with Syria is also not a topic that is open to discussion at present. During a recent visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responded forcefully when the issue of Assad's call for a resumption of negotiations with Israel was raised. "It is best that you avoid even exploring this possibility," she said. Israel's government interpreted this as a firm American stance preventing Syria from taking advantage of talks with Israel to extricate itself from diplomatic isolation before fulfilling its obligation to control insurgents from crossing into Iraq, and before meeting the demands of the international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The American position changed due Syria's participation in the Arab League summit in Riyadh.



Hamas: Israel Will be Wiped Off the Map

(Hamas leader echoes Iranian President Ahmadinejad)

Local residents attend a demonstration, calling for Israel's government under Olmert to take action to stop Kassam rocket attacks, in the southern city of Sderot May 20, 2007. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened stronger Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip unless Hamas halted its rocket attacks on southern Israel. However, Olmert has thus far been rather docile.

May 21….(Jerusalem Post) A senior Hamas leader in Gaza declared Monday morning that it was signed and sealed within his party that Israel would be wiped off the map and replaced by a Palestinian State, Israel Radio reported. He added that rockets and missiles currently hitting Sederot were only the first means of removing Israel from the picture. Meanwhile, a Hamas-affiliated group in the PA parliament called for suicide attacks and other violence against IDF troops in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the retaliatory strikes against Hamas terror cells. The organization's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, threatened more rocket attacks and warned Sderot residents that even fleeing to Ashkelon would not protect them from rocket attacks. According to Army Radio, IDF troops operating in Gaza were ordered to keep alert for possible kidnapping attempts or attacks on soldiers.

Fight the Jews 'til last of them leaves Palestine

A senior Hamas figure in Gaza was quoted Monday as urging Palestinian factions to "continue to fight the Jews until the last of them is gone from Palestine." In an interview with Hamas Television quoted on Israel Radio, Nizar Riyan, a leading member of the Islamic group's political wing, said: "It is a definite decision within the organization that Israel will be removed from the map, to be replaced by a Palestinian state." Riyan was also quoted as urging armed Palestinian factions to "Shell Ashkelon until its residents clear out, as did the residents of Sderot."



Too Late for Talks with Hamas Bent on Helping Iran Build Gaza into an Anti-US Anti-Israel Forward Base

imageMay 21….(DEBKA) As the Hamas-led multiple missile offensive against Israel marked its first week, voices were heard in Israel and overseas, well-meaning or despairing, calling for Israel to start talks with the Palestinian Islamist group’s leaders. Hamas soon knocked that notion on the head. After hurling some 150 missiles against Israel, one of its officials, Nizhar Riyah, issued a clear statement of intent Monday, May 21: “Hamas is determined to wipe Israel off the map and replace it with the state of Palestine,” he said. Hamas will fight “until the last Jew is expelled,”not only from Sderot but also from Ashkelon and “all of Palestine.” In February 2006, Hamas beat Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah in the Palestinian general elections, which the incoming Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, against every Israeli security interest, allowed to take place. Ret. Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, then head of Israel’s national security council, strongly advised them to make the best of a bad job and engage the new Palestinian leaders in talks. This recommendation was emphatically reported by DEBKAfile’s analysts just days after the election. But it was turned down by leaders who preferred to follow advice from Washington. Just as US State Department urged Israel to permit an election which gave Hamas its victory, officials at State also had a plan to deal with its unfortunate aftermath: a campaign spearheaded by the US and Israel, and adopted by the Middle East Quartet, to boost the Palestinian loser, Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas, and boycott the winning Hamas. It was soon clear they had backed the losing horse - and still are. In the intervening 15 months, Hamas was not idle. Instead of breaking down under international pressure, Hamas went from strength to strength, taking advantage of Israel’s indecision and inaction and the ineffectiveness of Abu Mazen and his sidekick Mohammed Dahlan. The Palestinian terror-fundamentalists quickly jumped aboard the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah bandwagon. That bandwagon is now racing ahead in the Middle East arena, leaving Israel behind with the United States and its crises. In these circumstances, and after the Lebanon War less than a year ago, Israel must on no account turn to Hamas for talks, because the only agenda on offer now would be terms for Jewish state’s capitulation and demise. The outcome would reflect the consequences of Washington’s two years of talks with Iraqi Sunni insurgent leaders, brokered by dozens of Arab and Muslim mediators, including Jordan’s King Hussein. The result has been the exacerbation of terror in Iraq. For Hamas, diplomacy would serve only as a respite to gear up for more aggression. Saudi King Abdullah tried his hand in Mecca earlier this year. Once again, Washington and Jerusalem were deluded into believing the Saudi royal hand could tame Hamas and persuade its leaders to share power with Fatah in a unity government. Instead, the group was strengthened in its radicalism; three months later it has embarked on its current 20-missile-a-day offensive against Israel. Day by day, Hamas spokesmen say the blitz of the western Negev is only the first step in its open-ended war for the final goal of destroying Israel. Olmert told his second cabinet meeting on Gaza Sunday, May 20: “We will not let Hamas dictate our time table.” But that is exactly what he has done in all his sixteen months in the prime minister’s office. Israel exercises less control than ever before over the time table now that a disastrous factor has entered the equation. Hamas’s blitz against Israel is part and parcel of a savage offensive to destroy the Palestinian Authority and oust Mahmoud Abbas, which is aligned with Tehran’s overall strategy for anticipating two prospective events in 2007 and 2008: One is the beginning of the withdrawal of the bulk of the US army from Iraq. The other is the possibility, though not certainty, of an American military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and strategic infrastructure. To prepare for the two eventualities, Tehran is building a military and logistical base in the Gaza Strip. Combined with Hizballah’s support structures in Lebanon, the Gaza base will comprise not only a threat to Israel, but also to US bases in Israel and Jordan and the American and European fleets present in the eastern Mediterranean. Israel’s failure in the Lebanon War last year gave Iran an easy victory and a free hand for upgrading its military strength in Lebanon. Tehran is after the same effect in Gaza. In the face of this looming juggernaut, the Olmert government would be courting disaster by entering into bargaining mode with Hamas, especially in the absence of any realistic strategy for repelling it. The Olmert-Livni policy, joined by defense minister Amir Peretz, has consisted until now of lurching from crisis to crisis and applying patches for makeshift repairs. This path left Israel groping among hard options: On the one hand, they have held back from ordering an effective military operation against Hamas, and not only because of the brakes applied by Washington. After the Lebanon fiasco, the trio is afraid the IDF is not up to delivering the goods, naturally preferring to make the army accountable for that conflict’s shortcomings rather than their own faulty leadership. On the other hand, Olmert has obstinately held back from diplomacy with Hamas. Therefore, if anyone has maneuvered Israel into its present tight corner, it is not Iran or Hamas, but Olmert’s misguided policies. In these circumstances, Israel has three available courses of action:

1. To embark on full-scale war in the Gaza Strip, turning the tide of the Lebanon setback and seriously impairing Iran’s plans for exploiting the territory.

2. Carry on as before, that is dithering while the missiles rain down from Gaza, and not only against Sderot and its neighbors, but also strategic Israel towns which the improved Qassam missiles can reach. The air force will continue to execute pinpoint reprisals including targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders. Not all will hit their mark, like the attack on the Gaza home of key Hamas spiritual and strategic leader, Khalil al-Yahya, Sunday night.

3. Do nothing and wait for the American attack on Iran while the situation deteriorates, in the hope of some outside force stepping in and taking the job out of Israel’s hands.

All three options are obviously unhealthy for Israel. But not much is left for a government which is too muddled to see its way to clear and logical action in the real Middle East arena.



Al-Qaida Recruiting Black American Suicide Bombers

(Pitch to African-Americans invokes 'martyr' Malcolm X)

imageMay 21….(WND) Al-Qaida is aggressively recruiting black Americans for suicide operations against the homeland, say FBI analysts who have reviewed recent videotaped messages from the terror group's leaders. A speech released May 5 by Osama bin Laden's deputy confirms earlier fears that African-Americans are the No. 1 recruiting target for the next generation of terrorist attacks. Al-Qaida has been trying to lower its Arab profile to reduce the odds that its terror cells will be subjected to security scrutiny. "Federal and local law enforcement authorities should be aware that al-Qaida terrorists may not appear Arab," warns a recent Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by WND. "Non-Arab al-Qaida operatives could find it easier to avoid unwanted scrutiny since they may not fit typical profiles." In the latest message, al-Qaida No. 2 Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri clearly seeks to sow political and racial discontent among African-Americans. He makes frequent references to what he calls the "martyr" Malcolm X, and says "I want blacks in America to know that we are waging jihad to lift oppression from all mankind." Zawahiri encourages African-Americans to follow the example of Malcolm X, a.k.a. al-Hajj Malik al-Shabaaz, who he says was not afraid to sacrifice his life to fight American "oppression." According to a transcript of the hour-long screed, Zawahiri said this is "the culture which the struggler and martyr Malcom X (may Allah have mercy upon him) fought against when he told his repressed black brothers in America, 'If you're not ready to die for it, take the word "freedom" out of your vocabulary.'" "Freedom is something that you have to do for yourself," he quotes Malcolm X as saying. "The price of freedom is death." Zawahiri, again citing the teachings of Malcolm X, suggests that black Muslims who do not rise up against America are no better than "house slaves." It's the first time al-Qaida has identified Malcolm X as a fellow Islamic "struggler and martyr," analysts say. "Zawahiri's focus on race relations may be benefiting from the input of a US citizen named Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a.k.a Azaam al-Amriki, who is a senior member of al-Qaida's media committee," said former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, now an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, DC.based think tank specializing in national security. "Indeed," he added, "the deftness and political timeliness of Zawahiri's statements suggest that al-Qaida may have more than a single American advising it." Last year, in another nearly hour-long videotaped speech, al-Qaida propaganda chief Gadahn invited blacks to convert to Islam and take revenge against a nation that enslaved their ancestors. In courting African-Americans, Al Qaeda is also encouraging American blacks to forsake Christianity, which he claims whites have used as an excuse to abuse blacks. American Blacks account for the largest share of Muslims in America. A great many of them are converts to Islam. And remarkably, the religion is flourishing among African-Americans since 9/11. Analysts fear the trend plays right into bin Laden's hands. Black converts say Islam has more in common with their African heritage than Christianity. In fact, black Muslim leaders often refer to such conversions as "reversions," claiming black "reverts" are merely returning to the Islamic faith prominent among their African forebears who were forced into slavery. Prisons have already proven to be a fertile recruiting ground for al-Qaida, spawning the likes of shoebomber Richard Reid and alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla. Christian prison chaplains say Islam is so popular with inmates they are having a hard time competing with Muslim chaplains for their souls. Blacks are being converted by the cell block. The FBI worries blacks could be the next face of terror in America. Zawahiri in his latest speech also made fresh threats about coming attacks on America. He warns that a new "squadron of martyrdom-seekers" is lined up behind "hundreds" of new leaders who are following in the footsteps of captured 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "They shall achieve more than he achieved," Zawahiri vowed. "The Americans shall pay dearly." He says American voters had a chance to fire Bush in the last presidential election for invading Iraq, but they chose instead to reelect him. He suggests they forfeited their chance for protection from terrorism, and deserve the punishment of Allah.






Most Israelis Want US to Strike Iran if Nuke Talks Fail


(FOJ) A new poll finds that 71 percent of Israelis believe that the United States should launch a military attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Tehran's nuclear program. Iran’s leaders have pledged to destroy Israel after acquiring nuclear weapons.

May 18….(Ha Aretz) Fully 71 percent of Israelis believe that the United States should launch a military attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Tehran's nuclear program, according to a new poll. The survey, commissioned by Bar-Ilan University's BESA Center and the Anti-Defamation League, found that 59 percent of Israelis still believe the war in Iraq was justified, while 36 percent take the opposite view. Some 65 percent believe that the United States is a loyal ally of Israel, with only 11 percent saying the opposite. A slightly higher proportion, 73 percent, described US President George W. Bush as friendly. Forty-eight percent attributed US support for Israel to strategic considerations, while 30 percent credited American Jewry and 17 percent cited shared values and a shared democratic tradition. Regarding America's importance to Israel, there was near consensus: 91 percent said that close relations with the US are vital to Israel's security. Some 51 percent of respondents predicted that the US will ultimately impose an agreement on Israel and the Palestinians, while 43 percent disagreed. In addition, 52 percent of respondents described American Jewish support of Israel as "sufficient," while 33 percent did not. About half of all Israelis believe that American Jewry is in danger of disappearing due to assimilation, the poll found.



Hamas Increasing Terror Capabilities; Al Qaeda Joining Fray

May 18….( The Hamas terror organization has been increasing the number and efficiency of attacks on Israel, while engaged in its militia war with rival PA terror faction Fatah. New reports suggest that Hamas' capabilities are improving, particularly with the influence and assistance of Al Qaeda. IDF Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland said in an interview with Israel Radio on Friday that the Gaza terrorist group’s military capability and the range of its rockets are improving. He also expressed doubt that Fatah could prevail in the militia war against Hamas for control of the government. “Gaza is a clear and hostile Hamas state in every sense of the term,” Eiland said. “The Palestinian Authority and [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas are pathetic and irrelevant,” he added.
Al Qaeda’s Fingerprints Increasing in Gaza

A new report indicates that Al Qaeda has begun active efforts to strengthen the Hamas terror organization in the battle for control of the Palestinian Authority.
As the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to weaken, the Al Qaeda terrorist network has strengthened ties with Hamas, according to a report written by Army reserve Lt. Col. Jonathan HaLevi for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Following the expulsion of Jewish residents from the Gaza area and the destruction of their communities, Al Qaeda already had begun to fill the vacuum in security, HaLevi wrote. Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas last year said, "We have signs of the presence of Al Qaeda in Gaza and the West Bank." Further evidence of the al Qaeda presence was produced earlier this month when the terrorist group Army of Islam, identified with Al Qaeda, took responsibility for the March kidnapping of British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) reporter Alan Johnston, whose whereabouts and condition are unknown. The same group teamed up with two Hamas-sponsored terror groups to carry out last year's abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border attack which killed two other soldiers and wounded a third. "Even external appearances show Al Qaeda's growing influence as members of its affiliate movements in the Gaza Strip will often wear the same black head covering that was a trademark of the late Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," noted HaLevi."All the evidence indicates that rather than challenge Al Qaeda's bid to expand its presence in the Gaza Strip, Hamas prefers to collaborate with these new militant groups," he added.

Fatah May Pay the Price for Al Qaeda Presence

The Fatah faction led by the PA chairman has been warring with Hamas for control of the government for more than a year. Despite numerous efforts by local and international leaders to end the internecine clashes between the two factions, the fight has continued. Fresh shootouts and kidnappings resumed in Gaza a week ago; two broken ceasefires attempts, 44 dead civilians and terrorists and more than a hundred other wounded have not yet stemmed the flow of blood in the streets. For its part, Fatah has spent the past year cultivating cozy relations with Jordan and the United States, which pledged millions of dollars and munitions to help shore up the PA Chairman’s personal security force. Fatah, which is seen by most western nations as a moderate force in the terrorist-led PA government, was promised – and received – thousands of weapons from Jordan in a deal approved by the Olmert government. Hamas has similarly boosted its weapons cache, by smuggling through elaborate tunnels across the Egyptian border. At the moment, Fatah and Hamas guns are being aimed at each other.  But longer-range weapons have been reserved for use against Israel.

Hamas Receiving Upgraded Weapons and Training

Hamas has worked hard with other groups to develop and refine the Kassam rockets they use in their attacks on the western Negev, focusing especially on improving their aiming capability and range. The short-range Kassam rockets can be pointed in a general direction, but are incapable of pinpoint targeting. Improvements in the past year have created what is considered by weapons experts to have been the final product in the Kassam line, a rocket which they say cannot be refined further. Intelligence reports indicate that Hamas terrorists this year acquired Russian-made 22 kilometer-range Grad missiles, more versatile and lethal than the primitive, short-range Kassams. In addition, Hamas operatives have been bolstered by advance terror training programs, financial support and gifts of Katyusha rockets from the Iranian-backed Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon. Hizbullah used several different Iranian and Syrian-made missiles against Israel in last summer’s Second Lebanon War; most were short and medium-range Katyushas. According to one military source that requested anonymity, PA terrorists used Katyushas in three attacks within the past year, reaching the outskirts of Ashkelon each time. A number of strategic installations exist in the Mediterranean coastal city, making it an inviting target. Police said Friday they are preparing for the possibility that long-range rockets may be fired at Ashkelon. Regardless of who received guns and from where, at the end, a Hamas official commented to a WorldNet Daily reporter, the weapons will eventually all be distributed among the other terrorist groups anyway, and all will ultimately be pointed at Israel. 

Al Qaeda Urged Hamas to Escalate Against Israel

While the two factions continue their renewed militia war, the Hamas organization simultaneously launched an intensive attack against the Jewish State on Tuesday, aiming at communities in the western Negev. Sderot, closest to the border, has taken the brunt of the rocket fire, although other communities have been attacked, including the large coastal city of Ashkelon. The attacks have come less than a month after a senior member of Al Qaeda called on Hamas to show a little more energy in its war against Israel. In a video that appeared on Al Qaeda’s website, Abu Yaha al Libi asked Hamas, “Where is the revenge? Where are the bombs? Where is the fire?” The senior Al Qaeda terrorist urged Hamas to step up its attacks. “Your loyalty will be measured only through your commitment to the path of Jihad,” chided al Libi.



Israeli aircraft fires on Gaza

May 16….(AP) An Israeli helicopter fired at least three missiles into the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Wednesday, killing at least four people, Palestinian officials said. Hamas said the missiles struck one of its military buildings in the town. The Israeli army confirmed its aircraft fired on southern Gaza, but did not give details. Palestinian officials said the strike killed at least four people and injured 14 others, including one critically. Palestinian rescue officials said several people were buried under rubble after the strike. Hamas has fired some two dozen rockets into southern Israel in the past two days, apparently trying to draw Israel into increasingly violent Palestinian infighting. Israel has stated it would not allow Hamas to do so.



Hamas-Fatah infighting explodes on Israeli border
(Death toll hits 20 since weekend as Hamas attacks Karni crossing)

May 16….(ICEJ) Hamas gunmen ambushed rival Fatah forces today near a key crossing along the Israeli border, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens more in the deadliest battle yet in three days of factional fighting. The incident briefly drew IDF fire when Hamas operatives came too close to the border, and succeeding in firing several mortars at troops on the Israeli side of the fence. The Israeli fire killed at least one of the Palestinian gunmen, while the rest retreated at the approach of several IDF tanks.  The Associated Press reports that at least 20 people have been killed in this week's Palestinian infighting, which has brought life in Gaza to a standstill and pushed the Palestinian Authority 'unity government' closer to collapse. Hamas and Fatah - having garnered a promise of $1 billion from Saudi Arabia to sign a deal - formed the 'union' in early March.   Tuesday's fighting erupted when Hamas gunmen approached a training base used by Fatah forces that guard the Karni cargo crossing and attacked the base with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. The Fatah forces, armed and trained by the US, guard the crossing under an agreement with Israel. The Karni crossing is known as Gaza's lifeline because it is the passage for goods going in between the Strip and Israel.  Although Israel has remained silent throughout the latest bloody round of Palestinian infighting, today's border incident illustrated how fragile the situation is. Israel has also been debating whether to take large-scale military action in Gaza in response to repeated rocket fire on southern Israel, but has so far remained indecisive.



Ahmadinejad: Iran will retaliate against US attack

May 15….(ICEJ) Firebrand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that Iran would retaliate with force if the US were to make a preemptive military strike against nuclear facilities it believes Tehran is using to develop nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad's comments followed those by US Vice President Dick Cheney who said on Friday from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf that the US and its allies would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and dominating the region. Despite the apparent tension between the nations, the US and Iran announced later on Sunday that they have agreed to meet in Baghdad to discuss security and stability in Iraq.



Fatah, Hamas reach deal to halt fighting in Gaza

May 15….(Ynet) Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement to halt violence between the factions in the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire talks were mediated by an Egyptian delegation, after four Palestinians were killed Saturday and 20 more were wounded in inter-factional gun battles. At the height of Sunday's clashes, organizations on both sides claimed to have abducted dozens of group members from the rivaling organizations. Prior to the signing of the agreement, Hamas and Fatah gunmen continued to trade accusations regarding which side was responsible for the renewed outbreak of violence. In the framework of efforts to calm the situation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met and discussed the need to put a stop to the escalation and preserve the unity deal signed by the factions three months ago. Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have increased in recent days following the deployment of Fatah-linked Palestinian security forces across the Strip, without Hamas' consent.



US, Europe to Shun Jerusalem Day Celebrations
May 14....(YNET) European Union countries will not take part in the celebrations marking the 40-year anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, EU president Germany said Thursday in a diplomatic letter sent to the Foreign Ministry and the Knesset. US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones will also not participate in the events. Diplomatic sources told Ynet that the event was not on the ambassador’s timetable. Ambassadors of all EU countries will not show up for the special Knesset session which will be on Jerusalem Day on Wednesday. European countries do not recognize Jerusalem's reunification. As far as they are concerned, east Jerusalem, which was occupied during the Six Day War, is an occupied territory. Among the EU countries there is a difference of opinion regarding the participation in the Jerusalem Day celebrations. Germany decided to send the letter to the official bodies in Israel, but a number of EU countries are considering violating the boycott and taking part in the celebrations. The Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors were also invited to take part in the events, and Foreign Ministry officials expressed their concern over the possibility that they would also fail to show up. Sources in the Foreign Ministry noted that diplomatic moves were taken in a bid to prevent the European boycott. The ministry's spokesperson said that "Jerusalem is Israel's united capital. This week we will mark 40 years of reunification. Many guests were invited to take part in the events, including diplomats. We expect them to attend." Sources in the German Embassy in Israel told Ynet on Sunday morning that the international community viewed Jerusalem from a different point of view.
"We believe that Jerusalem's future should be part of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Our point of view is not new and Germany must take this stance in accordance with the rest of the countries. "We cannot force other European Union countries to accept our opinion, but we can definitely decide for ourselves. Germany cannot take part in an official event of the Israeli government, if this implies that we recognize these borders of Jerusalem."







FBI, Police Renew Focus on Muslim Cabbies

(Authorities worry about 'taxi jihadists' in cities)

May 11….(WND) With the arrest of a Philadelphia taxi cab driver in the Fort Dix terror plot, authorities are paying closer attention to Muslim cabbies, many of whom are militant believers, WND has learned. Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, a US citizen born in Jordan, was charged earlier this week with conspiring to kill at least 100 soldiers on US soil. The FBI says the 22-year-old drove a cab in Philadelphia. "My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers," said Shnewer, the alleged mastermind of the terror plot. Muslims account for the majority of cab drivers in many major US cities, including the nation's capital. And a number of them have ties to terrorism, federal and local authorities say. After 9/11, the US Park Police, which enforces laws on federal roads leading into such places as CIA headquarters, ran a search of Islamic terror suspects against a database of traffic stops in the Washington, DC, area going back decades. "It came back with a nearly 25 percent hit rate," a US Park Police official said. "Many of them were cab drivers." The official, a veteran police detective who wished to go unidentified, says roughly 80 percent of cab drivers in the Washington area practice the Islamic faith. Their numbers concern police, who believe they make up part of the terror support network in America. "If they're not suspects themselves, they pick up suspects at airports and take them to safe-houses here," he told WND. "It's a jihadi network." The FBI is now closely monitoring the activities of taxi drivers in the area, bureau sources confirm. A great many of them worship at the large Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., another DC suburb. On Fridays, FBI case agents say they typically observe 50 or more cabs and limos parked among other cars in the parking lots used by the radical mosque, which has included several Hamas and al-Qaida terrorists among its members. Some of the 9/11 hijackers also attended services at Dar al-Hijrah, while receiving assistance obtaining housing and IDs from mosque members and officials, some of whom are admitted members of the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood. In between fares, many taxi drivers congregate at the Starbucks located down the road in a shopping center in Baileys Crossroads, which has the highest concentration of Muslims of any area outside Dearborn, Mich. The shopping center is within a few miles of the Pentagon, and right across the street from two luxury apartment high-rises that erupted into cheers when the World Trade Center fell on 9/11. Law enforcement has dubbed the Skyline Towers the "Taliban Towers" after conducting several counterterrorism investigations involving tenants. Washington is not alone. Other major cities are dealing with radical Muslim taxi drivers, and suspicious activities of cabbies at mosques.



Peacemakers and Warmongers


(FOJ) Palestinian militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia linked to the Fatah Movement, stand with their weapons during a rally in the West Bank city of Nablus, while Hamas terrorists march in Gaza. Each is using their terrorist threats and political blackmail muscle to gain continual  concessions from the West in an all out effort aimed at wiping the Jewish State out of existence. Their hatred of Israel knows no bounds, and peace is not on their minds.



May 11….(FOJ) Jesus declared that the children of God are peaceable people. (Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.) Most people love peace, but in this world peace comes at a price. That price too often requires defending oneself against enemies that are inflamed with a demonic zeal for power or passions. This present world will never know true peace until the “Prince of Peace” comes to destroy the evil one. Until that day, it is foolish to believe in the goodness of man, because the Devil is methodically working in the affairs of the nations to preempt the appearing of the Prince of Peace. War is truly the next thing to hell on earth, but freedom from tyranny and evil requires constant vigilance and watchmen on the walls.


(FOJ) An Israeli left-wing peace activist from Peace Now wears a shirt with a message during a rally calling for a “two-state solution to the Mideast conflict” outside Jerusalem's Old City. The event was a contra-rally for official ceremonies planned to mark Jerusalem Day next week and Israel's capture of Arab East Jerusalem in June, 1967 following the Six Day War. Embattled Prime Minister Olmert is catering to the peace movement and attempting to advance the land-for-peace giveaway in hopes of remaining in power. The Peres Peace Center elite are working to retain Kadima in power with a combination of peace now activism and Western Roadmap support.

(FOJ) Israeli left-wing “Peace Now” activists attend a rally, calling for the "two states solution" to the Mideast conflict, outside Jerusalem's Old City May 11, 2007. The peacenik movement wants peace at any price, even if it means surrendering Israeli sovereignty.





Islamic Movement Initiates Effort to Control Temple Mount Forever

May 11….(Arutz) Sheikh Raad Salah, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, has been working hard to ensure that thousands of Muslims will arrive in Jerusalem's Old City every day to pray in the Al-Aksa mosque, located on the Temple Mount. Salah has been talking with Arab clan leaders from Jerusalem and its environs in an effort to convince them to take turns bringing their entire extended families to the mosque. Salah also said that he plans to see to it that Jerusalem mosques are closed on Friday, the Muslim day of rest, in order to force all those who wish to take part in group prayers to travel to the Al-Aksa mosque. He has talked to Muslim leaders in other parts of Israel, asking them to tell their followers to visit the Jerusalem mosque in order to demonstrate a strong Muslim presence there. Salah expressed his conviction that Jerusalem will fall into Muslim hands by "Heavenly promise." He also said that in such a conquest means no sign of a Jewish presence will remain. Several months ago, Jerusalem police initiated an investigation of Salah for incitement-filled, anti-Israel speeches he made in Nazareth and Wadi Joz. Earlier, he was banned from Jerusalem for several days after inciting violent mobs against Israeli policemen. Salah claimed that Israel was trying to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount. The Islamic Movement is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, as is Hamas. Group members call Salah the leader of the "1948 branch."



Iranian Cleric Threatens Tel Aviv

(In TV sermon, cleric says 'if Olmert is planning an attack on Iran, we'll fire tens of thousands of missiles')

May 11….(YNET) An Iranian cleric said his country would fire "tens of thousands" of missiles at Israel in response to an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program. During his televised sermon, broadcast last Friday, Sayyid Yahyah Ja'fari directly responded to comments attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert by Germany's Focus magazine. In April, the German publication had initially reported that Olmert said Iran's nuclear program could be set back 10 years by firing a thousand cruise missiles a day for 10 days. The Prime Minister's Office denied the report, and Focus subsequently reedited its story, removing the quotes. In a speech broadcast on Iran's Kerman TV, and translated by MEMRI, Ja'fari declared during his sermon, "Several days ago, the stupid Israeli prime minister said: 'We can attack the Iranian nuclear industry with 10,000 cruise missiles, and delay it for another 10 years.' Our response is that if he is planning to fire 10,000 missiles, we will fire tens of thousands of missiles on Tel Aviv and Israel." The crowd responded with chants of "Allah Akbar" (God is greatest).  The cleric added that Israel would be also targeted by Iran if the US attacked. "If it the US acts stupidly and invades an Islamic country, especially a country like Iran, it should bear in mind that Israel will come under a very severe attack," Ja'fari said.



US to Give Palestinians Assurances on Funds

(Washington plans to issue assurances within days that could ease flow of funds to account controlled by PA’s finance minister)

May 11….(YNET) The Bush administration plans to issue assurances within days that could ease the flow of funds to an account controlled by Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, a US official said on Thursday. But it was unclear whether the assurances, expected to come in form of letters to banks and donors, will include restrictions that would prevent Fayyad from using the funds to cover the expenses of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, Western diplomats and Israeli officials said. Fayyad’s plan hinges on Arab donors making good on pledges of financial assistance. Arabs did not fulfill previous promises. “Our banking regulations generally do not apply to the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization),” said Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, public affairs officer at the US Consulate in Jerusalem. “We are working with Salam Fayyad to clarify how entities might contribute to this account.” She said the clarifications would be issued “in the next couple of days”, but did not provide any details what they would entail. Fayyad is counting on using the PLO account to receive $55 million that Arab League members promised to pay each month to cover about half the salaries of governmental employees. In a recent visit to Washington, Fayyad had asked the Bush administration to give a green light to donor nations and banks to use the PLO account to get around a ban on bank transfers to the government itself. The PLO, which has signed interim peace deals with Israel and is led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has not been subject to US financial restrictions imposed when Hamas won last year’s election, a US official said.



Cheney Warns Iran, “Sea Lanes Must Remain Open


Vice President Dick Cheney, left, accompanied by USS John C. Stennis Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn speaks to sailors and Marines during a rally aboard the aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, Friday, May 11, 2007.

May 11….(AP) Vice President Dick Cheney issued a warning to Iran while aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf on Friday, saying the United States would join allies to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons "and dominating the region." With two US carrier groups now in the region, the vice president declared, "We're sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike. We will keep the sea lanes open." Iran exerts considerable control over the narrow passageway that separates the Persian Gulf from the open waters of the Arabian Sea. Roughly a quarter of the world's oil supplies pass through the Straits of Hormuz. Iran loomed about 150 miles to the east as Cheney spoke aboard the USS John C. Stennis. It was the latest shot in an escalating war of words, with both Tehran and Washington seeking to increase influence over states bordering Iraq. "We'll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region," said Cheney. Both Shiite-dominated Iran and Saudi Arabia, with a predominantly Sunni Muslim population, are vying for influence among their respective ethnic factions in Iraq. Cheney visits Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of his tour of moderate Arab states, seeking help in stabilizing Iraq. He also will visit Egypt and Jordan. It was a repeat visit for Cheney, who came to the carrier in March 2002 as he was trying to build support in the area for invading Iraq. Standing in front of five F18 Super Hornet fighters and a huge American flag in the cavernous hangar deck, one flight below the carrier's flight deck, Cheney sounded a hard line both on holding firm in Iraq and confronting Iran if necessary. Little more than four years after President Bush stood on another aircraft carrier beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner and declared an end to major combat, Cheney gave a far more measured description of progress in Iraq. "We want to complete the mission, get it done right, and return with honor," he told Stennis crew members. "It's not easy to serve in this part of the world. It's a place of tension and many conflicts, but we'll stands with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats.



Putin Appears to Link US to a Nazi Style Foreign Policy

May 10….(MSN) Who was President Vladimir Putin talking about when he said the world faces threats to peace like those that led to World War II? Putin’s statement at a Victory Day parade on Red Square on Wednesday was artfully phrased to be both blunt and vague, but political observers have little doubt he was criticizing the United States for “disrespect for human life, claims to global exclusiveness and dictate, just as it was in the time of the Third Reich.” While Putin didn’t name any particular country in the speech marking the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, the remarks echoed his increasingly strong criticism of the Russian perceived US domination in global affairs. Political analysts close to the Kremlin say that Putin referred to the United States in his remarks, expressing Russia’s dismay at what it views as US unilateralism in world affairs and disrespect for other countries’ interests. (FOJ: like Iran?) “Hitler was striving for global domination, and the United States is striving for global domination now,” Sergei Markov, the Kremlin-connected head of the Moscow-based Institute for Political Research told The Associated Press. “Hitler thought he was above the League of Nations, and the United States thinks it is above the United Nations. Their action is similar.” Relations between Russia and the United States have become increasingly tense amid US criticism of the Kremlin for rolling back on democracy and Moscow’s complaints against US plans to deploy missile defense sites in Europe close to its western borders. Moscow also frequently accuses Washington of meddling in what it considers its home turf by trying to take other ex-Soviet nations away from its orbit. Markov said that while Putin sought to soften his remarks by avoiding a direct reference to the United States, he was undoubtedly was aiming at Washington. “Only the United States now is claiming global exclusiveness,” Markov said. Putin told veterans at a Kremlin reception that World War II showed “where militarist ambitions, ethnic intolerance and any attempts to recarve the globe are leading to,” another veiled reference to the United States. “After the Cold War ended, the United States has initiated a new arms race,” fueling nuclear ambitions of many nations worldwide, Putin said.

“If a nation doesn’t have nuclear weapons, it risks being bombed like Yugoslavia or Iraq,” he said. “And if it does have nuclear weapons like North Korea, it faces no such threat.” Gleb Pavlovsky, another political analyst with close Kremlin connections, said that Putin’s remarks reflected his “concern about the spreading of unilateralist approaches to global affairs.” (FOJ: sounds like a call for Global government, doesn’t it?) “The United States is trying to dominate the world, and Russia takes a stance against such hegemony,” Putin said.

Putin’s remarks reflect an increasingly assertive posture by Russia, which has regained its economic muscle thanks to a rising tide of oil revenue and sought to rebuild its military might eroded in the post-Soviet industrial demise. Putin shocked Western leaders in February when he spoke at a security conference in Germany, bluntly accusing the US of trying to force other nations to conform to its standards and warned that Russia would strongly retaliate to the deployment of the US missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin also threatened to pull out of the treaty altogether unless talks with NATO members yielded satisfactory results, and some Russian generals warned that Moscow could also opt out of a Cold War-era treaty with the United States banning intermediate-range missiles. While Putin’s speech Wednesday sounded like another salvo in a new Cold War, Markov insisted that it was merely another attempt by the Russian leader to persuade the United States to reckon with Russia’s interests. “It’s an attempt to launch a serious dialogue about globalism,” Markov said.



Assad: Golan Heights Not Open For Negotiation

(Syrian president tells newly formed parliament, ‘Land is a basic principle to us, and we will never relinquish it’; Israel too weak to advance peace process, he adds)

(FOJ) Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks, bottom left, before the Syria's Assembly House, also known as the parliament, in Damascus. Assad said the current Israeli government was weak and is not prepared for a just peace with the Arabs, but cautioned that it could still wage war. Addressing the opening of the newly elected parliament, the Syrian leader also denied direct or secret contacts with Israel and stressed the longstanding Syrian demand for withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Golan Heights in return for peace with the Jewish state.

May 10….(YNET) The Golan Heights region is not open to negotiation,” Syrian President Bashar Assad said Thursday during a speech before the newly established parliament in Damascus. “We are working toward a just and comprehensive peace,” Assad said, “but Israel is incapable of conducting comprehensive and just negotiations because its government is too weak to take the necessary steps.” The Syrian leader denied recent reports of secret talks between the sides, saying “we have no interest in conducting negotiations.” “Syria has not presented any preconditions for the peace process, but we do have demands,” he said. “The land is a basic principle to us, and we will never relinquish it.” During his speech Assad addressed a number of regional issues, including the war in Iraq and the situation in the Palestinian Authority. As for the international tribunal on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the president said Syria would not cooperate with it in any way as it “impinges on our sovereignty.”



Syria: Without Arab Peace, Resistance Will Liberate Golan Heights

(Syrian information minister says Damascus wants peace, but will resort to violence if Israel rejects peace proposal; 'any nation living under occupation has the prerogative to resist,' he says)

May 10….(YNET) "If Israel rejects the Arab League peace proposal, resistance will be the only way to liberate the Golan Heights," warns Syrian Information Minister Muhsen Bilal, at a press conference in Damascus Monday. The minister explained that Syria had an interest in renewing talks with Israel with support from America and Russia. "Syria wants to reach a fair, comprehensive peace," he added. However, he also stated that "any nation living under occupation has the prerogative to resist. In Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, we must liberate all occupied Arab land." Bilal blamed Israel for causing all the instability in the Middle East.  He also referred to Ibrahim Soliman's visit to Israel. Soliman, a Syrian-American, is recognized as someone who reached an understanding with former Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel regarding peace between Israel and Syria. "We have nothing to do with his visit," Bilal made clear. "Nobody elected Soliman to represent Syria. He does not speak for any Syrian institute. It is not our approach, to conduct underground negotiations." Damascus announced Monday that it planned to host an international conference to discuss "media coverage of the Palestinian problem and Iran's right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."



Israel’s Ambassador To US Says Iran Must Be Stopped

May 9….(Bill Wilson /KIN Senior Analyst) “They must be stopped” were the words of newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, in describing the situation with Iran, its sponsoring of terrorism and its developing nuclear program. He said, “Iran is a threat to the region, to Israel, to humanity. They must be stopped.” He compared the Iranian regime to that of the rising Adolf Hitler as he gradually came to power and murdered over six million Jews during World War II. Ambassador Meridor said that Iran “must not have nuclear weapons.” Meridor said Israel was committed to peace first so that Israeli leadership “can say they have done all they can do to the children of Israel who will be called upon to fight.” There were no delusions about Iran’s intent during a recent gathering at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. Christians and Jews gathered at the Sixth Annual Israel Solidarity Event on May 4 to show support for the nation who has the most to lose if Iran acquires or builds a nuclear weapon. Meridor told the group in no uncertain terms his disposition on Iran. He said the nations should not trade with Iran, a veiled criticism of Russia and China, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who have been blocking trade sanctions against Iran at the protection of their own self-interests. While after nearly three years of wrestling with Iran over its nuclear program, the nations are continuing to try to reach an agreement with Iran over abiding by the nuclear nonproliferation treaty to no avail. Meantime, the US and Russia are discussing whether to place some sort of trade embargo on the rogue terrorist sponsoring nation. But all the while, there seems to be a lack of diplomatic backbone to call the situation what it is: A terrorist sponsoring nation trying to use its relationships with Russia, China and North Korea to develop a nuclear bomb and a missile delivery system to deliver it. Israeli sources say that Israel expects another attack this summer from Hezbollah in the North and, perhaps at the same time, from Hamas in the South. Preparations are also being made in case Syria attacks Israel from its border on the Golan Heights. Russia has been Iran’s best partner in developing weapons and missile technology. According to the prophecy of the Bible, Russia and Iran will lead other nations in an attack against Israel in the latter days. Russia and Iran will be destroyed in a miraculous battle where after the battle those who dwell in Israel will set fires to the weapons, according to Ezekiel 39:9, “and they will make fires with them for seven years.”



A View From America: Israel's Next Regime Must Have Clout

May 9….(Jerusalem Post) As a matter of principle, it is not the business of American friends of Israel to tell Israelis who should, or should not, be their prime minister. That is, unfortunately, a proposition that has been observed largely in the breach over the course of the past 30 years. American Jews, and American politicians, for that matter, have done their best, or worst, over the past three decades to try and tilt the outcome of Israeli politics and elections to suit their preferences. A left-leaning Diaspora Jewry often undermined right-wing Israeli prime ministers such as Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Binyamin Netanyahu. The right-wing minority tried, albeit with far less success, to give Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, and then Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert the same treatment. American presidents have also done their best to help elect Israeli leaders that they thought were more sympathetic to their vision of the alliance and the peace process, and to block those of whom they disapproved. This pattern appeared to have come to an end in recent years during with two unlikely partners: George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon. Together, this unlikely pair forged the closest alliance between any Israeli and American governments. Bush gave Sharon the figurative "green light" to do whatever he thought needed to be done to squelch Palestinian terrorists. Sharon backed Bush's endorsement of a theoretically democratic Palestinian state and unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip. While the Gaza withdrawal did not prompt Palestinians to give up their obsession with Israel's destruction, it was wildly popular in Washington. After Sharon fell victim to a stroke in January 2006, the Bush administration's love was transferred to his successor, Ehud Olmert. As he sought power in his own right under the banner of the new centrist Kadima Party that Sharon had created, Olmert received the same sort of pre-election demonstrations of unofficial endorsement that had been given to Sharon. When Olmert decided to go to war against Hizbullah in Lebanon after cross-border terror attacks, Bush gave him the sort of wartime backing that previous Israeli governments could only have dreamed of. Far from seeking to limit Israel's victory, Bush gave Olmert the same green light he gave Sharon. American diplomats stalled any talk of a cease-fire as the administration sat back and waited for the Israelis to roll up Hizbullah. The only problem was that the Israelis didn't win. Due to indecisive and foolish decision-making by an inexperienced Olmert, his hopelessly overmatched Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and the airpower-besotted IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Dan Halutz, the result was a bloody stalemate that left Hizbullah in place to continue to threaten Israel. This result was not only disheartening to Israelis; it appears to have shaken Bush's confidence in Olmert's competence as well. What's followed since then is an American foreign policy that has started to drift back to the old pattern of searching for ways to artificially revive a moribund peace process via even more Israeli concessions. Now that the Winograd Committee Olmert had hoped would allow his wartime failures to slide has come in with a damning verdict, the question of whether or not he stays in power becomes one in which American onlookers have a stake. The Bush administration and Diaspora left-wingers will probably be rooting for Livni as the most accommodating of the possible successors since Labor is in no position to head this coalition or win a new election. Right-wingers will be hoping that Likud's Netanyahu, currently the most popular politician in Israel can somehow force early elections. No matter where you stand on the issues, the thing America has to fear is a weak Israeli government - no matter who it might be leading it. The danger of allowing a mortally wounded Olmert to linger in office for as long as another two years until the next elections is obvious. Hamas is already plotting a rerun of the Hizbullah war in Gaza, and Syria is gathering near the Golan.  Even worse, the next two years may prove to be the moment when Israel will be forced to confront a nuclear Iran. An ineffectual Israeli leader will be in no position to deal with this life-and-death situation.



Hezbollah Has Built a Western Base of Operations

May 9….(excerpt from MSN) The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia (terrorist organization) has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals boiling with hatred for the United States and ready to die to prove it, according to militia members, US officials and police agencies across the continent. From its Western base in a remote region divided by the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina known as the Tri-border, or the Triple Frontier, Hezbollah has mined the frustrations of many Muslims among about 25,000 Arab residents whose families immigrated mainly from Lebanon in two waves, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and after the 1985 Lebanese civil war. An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group founded in Lebanon in 1982 that the United States labels as an international terrorist organization. The operation funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America. US officials fear that poorly patrolled borders and rampant corruption in the Tri-border region could make it easy for Hezbollah terrorists to infiltrate the southern US border. From the largely lawless region, it is easy for potential terrorists, without detection, to book passage to the United States through Brazil and then Mexico simply by posing as tourists. Says one Hezbollah member, “If he attacks Iran, in two minutes Bush is dead.” “We are Muslims. I am Hezbollah. We are Muslims, and we will defend our countries at any time they are attacked.”

These Muslims Have a Straight shot to the US

imageUS and South American officials warn that these threats are more than a rhetorical threat. It is surprisingly easy to move across borders in the Triple Frontier, where motorbikes are permitted to cross without documents. A smuggler can bike from Paraguay into Brazil and return without ever being asked for a passport, and it is not much harder for cars and trucks.

The implications of such lawlessness could be dire, US and Paraguayan officials said. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Hezbollah militiamen would raise no suspicions because they have Latin American passports, speak Spanish and look like Hispanic tourists. The CIA singles out the Mexican border as an especially inviting target for Hezbollah operatives. “Many alien smuggling networks that facilitate the movement of non-Mexicans have established links to Muslim communities in Mexico.” “Non-Mexicans often are more difficult to intercept because they typically pay high-end smugglers a large sum of money to efficiently assist them across the border, rather than haphazardly traverse it on their own.”

Deadly legacy of a lawless frontier

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Tri-border has become a top-level, if little-publicized, concern for Washington, particularly as tension mounts with Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor. Paraguayan government officials told Telemundo that CIA operatives and agents of Israel’s Mossad security force were known to be in the region seeking to neutralize what they believe could be an imminent threat. But long before that, US law enforcement and intelligence agencies regarded the region as a “free zone for significant criminal activity, including people who are organized to commit acts of terrorism,” Louis Freeh, then the director of the FBI, said in 1998. Edward Luttwak, a counterterrorism expert with the Pentagon’s National Security Study Group, described the Tri-border as the most important base for Hezbollah outside Lebanon itself, home to “a community of dangerous fanatics that send their money for financial support to Hezbollah.” Operating out of the Tri-border, Hezbollah is accused of killing more than 100 people in attacks in nearby Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the early 1990s in operations personally masterminded by Hezbollah’s military commander, Imad Mugniyah. Mugniyah is on the most-wanted terrorist lists of both the FBI and the European Union, and he is believed to work frequently out of Ciudad del Este. For President Bush and the US-led “war on terror,” the flourishing of Hezbollah in the Western Hemisphere demonstrates the worrying worldwide reach of Islamist radicalism.

Direct link to Iran

José Adasco knows better than most why Hezbollah has the region in a grip of fear. In 1992 and 1994, terrorists believed to be linked to Hezbollah carried out two attacks against Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. In the first, a car bomb exploded at the Israeli Embassy, killing 29 people. Two years later, a suicide bomber attacked the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, a Jewish community center, killing 85 more. Adasco, who represents the Jewish association, has never been able to forget that day and the friends he lost. “Really, to see the knocked-down building, [to hear] the screams, the cries, people running, it was total chaos. Chaos, chaos. It is inexpressible,” he said. An investigation by Interpol and the FBI found not only Hezbollah’s involvement, but Iran’s, as well. Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ordered the attack to retaliate against Argentina for suspending nuclear cooperation with Iran. A warrant for his arrest remains outstanding 13 years later.

On their Web page, local Hezbollah militants in Venezuela call their fight against the United States a “holy war” and post photographs of would-be suicide terrorists with masks and bombs. There are also Web sites for Hezbollah in Chile, El Salvador, Argentina and most other Latin American countries. “The Paraguayan justice ministry and the national police have found propaganda materials for Hezbollah” across the hemisphere, said Augusto Anibal Lima of Paraguay’s Tri-border Police. And it is not only propaganda. In October, homemade bombs were left in front of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, which is next to a school. Police arrested a student carrying Hezbollah propaganda in Spanish. One of the pamphlets showed a picture of children and said, “Combat is our highest expression of love and the only way to offer a healthy and uncorrupted world.” “In the United States, there are many Arabs, in Canada, too,” said the Hezbollah member who spoke with Telemundo. “If one bomb strikes Iran, one bomb, Bush will see the world burning. “If an order arrives, all the Arabs that are here, and in other parts in the world, all will go to take bombs if Bush bombs Iran.”



Olmert Holding Secret Talks on West Bank

(Struggling to stay in office, PM still negotiating a state for Palestinians)

imageMay 9….(WND) Officials from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office held secret talks the past few days with aides of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledging Olmert is willing to carry out Israeli withdrawals and hold immediate final status negotiations to create a Palestinian state, according to top political sources here. The information comes after a government-appointed committee last week released a report slamming Olmert's decision-making process during last summer's war against the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. The report prompted mass demonstrations and widespread calls for Olmert to resign, including from the prime minister's own deputy, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Olmert, anticipating a major backlash, held meetings with leading leftist peace figures here pledging to carry out Israeli withdrawals in exchange for their continued support. The sources said Olmert told the leftist leaders he is willing to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, including an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv. Today, Israeli political sources told WND secret talks were held with Abbas' aides in advance of a meeting between Olmert and Abbas. According to the sources, Olmert told Abbas' officials he is willing to evacuate large swaths of the West Bank and sign a final deal to create a Palestinian state. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed to WND a meeting will be held between Olmert and Abbas in the coming days. "There will be a meeting. We don't have an exact date but we've been in contact with our Israeli colleagues and hope to hold talks very soon leading to the implementation of the US-backed roadmap, which calls for a Palestinian state," Erekat told WND. Olmert's office said a meeting with Abbas will be set up but denied there were secret talks in which pledges were made to the Palestinians. "I don't know anything about back-channel talks," said Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin. Since the war, there have been widespread calls for Olmert to resign, culminating in a massive rally last week in Tel Aviv. The prime minister has faced devastatingly low poll numbers the past few days, but some analysts speculated his ratings could rise if he reached out to his leftist base and conducted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority or Syria.



Goodbye US Dollar, Hello Global Currency

(CFR chief: Monetary nationalism, national sovereignty should be abandoned)

imageMay 9….(WND) The director of international economics at the Council of Foreign Relations has launched a scathing attack on sovereignty and national currencies. Benn Steil, writing in the current issue of CFR's influential Foreign Affairs magazine, says "the world needs to abandon unwanted currencies, replacing them with dollars, euros, and multinational currencies as yet unborn." In the article, "The End of National Currencies”, Steil clearly asserts the dollar and the euro are temporary currencies, perhaps necessary today. He argues "economic development outside the process of globalization is no longer possible." His inevitable conclusion is "countries should abandon monetary nationalism."

Steil tempers his embrace of a one world currency, writing, "Governments should replace national currencies with the dollar or the euro or, in the case of Asia, collaborate to produce a new multinational currency over a comparably large and economically diversified area." He concludes: "It is the market that made the dollar into global money, and what the market giveth, the market can taketh away. If the tailors balk and the dollar falls, the market may privatize money on its own." The "tailors" Steil has in mind are the world's central bankers. He advises that the US needs "to perpetuate the sound money policies of former Federal Reserve chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan and return to long-term fiscal discipline." In our current era of large and growing trade imbalances and over $35 trillion in GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) accounted federal deficits, these targets appear unlikely. Steil concludes "the foreign tailors, with their massive and growing holdings of dollar debt" no longer feel "wealthy and secure" in the economic environment of a resultant falling dollar. The inevitable conclusion is that the dollar, too, may be on the way out. Steil's essay is antagonistic to the ideas of sovereignty and national currencies. He writes, "The right course is not to return to a mythical past of monetary sovereignty, with governments controlling local interest and exchange rates in blissful ignorance of the rest of the world. Governments must let go of the fatal notion that nationhood requires them to make and control the money used in their territory." Steil has ultimate confidence that economic globalism is irreversible, with national currencies doomed to the dustbin of history. "In order to globalize safely," he advises, "countries should abandon monetary nationalism and abolish unwanted currencies, the source of much of today's instability." Steil fundamentally argues, "Monetary nationalism is simply incompatible with globalism." Since Steil believes that only globalism offers the unrestrained flow of capital needed for worldwide economic development, he contends even re-establishing a gold standard would be counter-productive when the only real solution is to abandon the idea that nations have any reason to create currencies at all. Throughout his analysis, Steil cautions that dependence upon the dollar or the euro as global currencies is not fundamental to his argument. He stresses that "the dollar's privileged status as today's global money is not heaven-bestowed. The dollar is ultimately just another money supported only by faith that others will willingly accept it in the future in return for the same sort of valuable things it bought in the past." In other words, if the institutions of the US government fail to validate that faith, the dollar, too, merits being abandoned.

"Reckless US fiscal policy is undermining the dollar's position even as the currency's role as a global money is expanding," he notes. Steil imagines the ultimate solution is to privatize a global currency through a gold-based international monetary system. "A new gold-based international monetary system surely sounds far-fetched," he concludes. "But so, in 1900 did a monetary system without gold. Modern technology makes a revival of gold money, through private gold banks, possible even without government support." Steve Previs, a vice president at Jeffries International Ltd., in London, told CNBC Nov. 27, 2006, the amero "is the proposed new currency for the North American Community which is being developed right now between Canada, the US, and Mexico." WND also reported a continued slide in the value of the dollar on world currency markets could set up conditions in which the adoption of the amero as a North American currency gains momentum. The amero was first proposed as a North American unitary currency by Canadian economist Herbert G. Grubel of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia. In a publication entitled "The Case for the Amero," Grubel argued that a North American monetary union would eliminate the costs of currency trading and risk, furthering the development of a North American common market along the model of the European Common Market., which ultimately could be combined.



Six Muslim Men Charged in Plot to Attack US Army Base

May 8….(Newsmax) Six men from the former Yugoslavia were arrested on charges they plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and “kill as many soldiers as possible,” federal authorities said Tuesday. The suspects were described as “Islamic radicals,” said US Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Reinert. They were scheduled to appear in US District Court in Camden later Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill US servicemen, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. “They were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible,” Drewniak said. A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because documents in the case remain sealed, said the attack was stopped in the planning stages. Authorities believe the men trained in the Pocono Mountains for the attack and also conducted surveillance at other area military institutions, including Fort Monmouth, the official said. The official said that the men had lived in the United States for some time. The six were arrested trying to buy automatic weapons in a sale set up by law enforcement authorities, the official said. Fort Dix, which is run in part by the US Army, is a reserve training center but active units also take part in training at the base, some of which is focused on counter-terrorism. It also housed refugees from Kosovo in 1999. Intelligence officials told NBC's Robert Windrem that they do not believe the plot was directed by al-Qaida because it did not match the key al-Qaida tenet: spectacular multiple simultaneous attacks. However, the idea that the men were using al-Qaida training films and following al-Qaida goals shows that there is a large number of people who can create such plots inspired by the terrorist organization, the officials said.

FOJ Note: Fort Dix is named for Major General John Adams Dix, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Fort Dix is the largest military installation in the Northeast, and covers 55 square miles in central New Jersey. The primary mission of the base is for infantry training, and preparation for soldiers in combating the Global War on Terrorism. Fort Dix is one of America’s center stages in preparing Soldiers for the GWOT mission.



Israeli Archaeologist Claims Finding Tomb of King Herod



An aerial view of the Herodium archaeological site, a mesa rising more than 2,475 feet above sea level some 7.5 miles south of Jerusalem. An Israeli archaeologist says it is the site of the tomb of King Herod, famed for expanding the Jewish second temple during his reign.

May 8….(Jerusalem Post) An Israeli archaeologist has found the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Hebrew University said late Monday. The tomb is at a site called Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert, clearly visible from southern Jerusalem. Herod built a palace on the hill, and researchers discovered his burial site there, the university said. The university had hoped to keep the find a secret until Tuesday, when it planned a news conference to disclose the find in detail, but the Haaretz newspaper found out about the discovery and published an article on its Web site. Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the Romans around 74 BC The wall he built around the Old City of Jerusalem still stands, and he also ordered big construction projects in Caesaria, Jericho, the hilltop fortress of Massada and other sites. It has long been assumed Herod was buried at Herodium, but decades of excavations had failed to turn up the site. The 1st century historian Josephus Flavius described the tomb and Herod's funeral procession. Haaretz said the tomb was found by archaeologist Ehud Netzer, a Hebrew University professor who has been working at Herodium since 1972. The paper said the tomb was in a previously unexplored area between the two palaces Herod built on the site. Herod died in 4 BC in Jericho. Herodium was one of the last strong points held by Jewish rebels fighting against the Romans, and it was conquered and destroyed by Roman troops in AD 71, a year after they destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.



Olmert Holding Army Back in Face of Imminent Hizballah, Hamas Threats and Buildup

shore-to-sea missiles

May 8….(WND) Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni staged a revealing scrap of asides behind open microphones and TV cameras Monday, May 8. She said the army chiefs was complaining the politicians were holding them back from dealing with the Palestinian Qassam missiles flying daily from Gaza. He replied: Tell them to take it easy. Less than a week after Livni told Olmert to resign over the Winograd panel’s deadly criticism of his handling of last year’s Lebanon War, the duo were ready to act out a piece of theater and a course of military passivity. Neither seriously wants to hear what the army has to say, and not just the chief of staff, as in last year’s conflict, but the different views of commanders, as the panel advised. They are too preoccupied with personal survival maneuvers to attend to urgent security issues. Military experts, some of them recently retired from combat duty, tirelessly warn in daily media interviews that the war build-up on three Israeli borders, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, has reached dangerous proportions. Not only is the army again unprepared for another conflict in the months to come, but it is held back by the Olmert government from destroying the plentifully rearmed enemy installations before they go on the offensive. Confirming the generals’ worst fears, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah laid out a plan Sunday, May 6, for attacking IDF positions on Mts. Hermon and Dov from the Shebaa Farms, and Israel Navy vessels with the new long-range missiles just delivered (smuggled) by Syria, while also turning the militia’s guns on the UN peacekeepers posted in south Lebanon. The plan was aired in a well-publicized interview broadcast Sunday by Iranian television in Arabic, a clear signal that it was first cleared with his Tehran masters. Yet the Israeli government had no response, even verbal. This time, unlike Hizballah’s provocation in 2006, Tehran is solidly behind the Lebanese Shiite militia’s war plan. The Islamic Republic is furthermore willing to be party to a conflict against Israel launched from Lebanese territory. This willingness is compatible with Nasrallah’s public denial of the legitimacy of the Fouad Siniora government in Beirut. The plan to wage war on Israel has been carefully calculated to knock over several targets, including the Siniora government, while toppling the entire edifice put in place by UN Security Council’s Resolution 1701 of August 2006. Under its terms, Hizballah and Israel accepted a ceasefire and the Shiite group pulled out of southern Lebanon. To put a legal varnish on these tactics, the Hizballah leader coined the phrase “defensive existence.” He said: “We have a defensive existence, meaning that if Lebanon or the south came under attack, we will defend Lebanon.” “We” means Hizballah. This is tantamount to denying the legitimacy of the Lebanese sovereign army and its displacement of Hizballah in South Lebanon under the terms of Resolution 1701. Before the Nasrallah’s threats to Israel were aired in Tehran, everything was in place. DEBKAfile’s military sources report: Hizballah troops which had pulled back from the Shebaa Farms sector during the war have been redeployed. Syria had replenished the militia’s stocks of sophisticated C-802 shore-to-sea missiles of the type which struck the Israeli missile ship Hanit in the first week of the 2006 war, together with the latest mobile radar shore batteries. They are lined up along the Lebanese coast, including the Tyre sector close to UNIFIL headquarters at Rosh Hanikra. Vessels in Israeli waters south of the Lebanese border up to Nahariya and Acre are now within range of those missiles. In last year’s war, Hizballah seized shore radar centers from the Lebanese armed forces to fire at seaborne targets. Now they have their own. According to our military sources, the new Hizballah coastal deployments force Israeli naval vessels on patrol against weapons and terrorist smuggling from Lebanon to detour much farther out to sea than before. The demands by Israel’s armed forces for action to break up Hizballah and Hamas’ military buildup, or even put a stop to Palestinian daily Qassam attacks on Israeli towns and villages in the south, fall equally on deaf ears in Jerusalem. Seeing the Olmert government tied so tightly in its own knots that elementary measures for national security are blocked, it was not surprising to hear the US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack announce Monday night, May 7, that Condoleezza Rice has decided to put off her visit to Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority because of “the domestic political woes of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.” Vice president Dick Cheney will likewise give Israel a miss during the Middle East tour he starts Wednesday, May 8, to Riyadh, Amman and Cairo.  Israel’s current leaders are holding onto their seats for dear life, but the ground on which those seats stand is being sacrificed in the process.



Israel Proposes Gaza Buffer

May 8….(AP) Israel's army has developed a plan to create a "buffer zone" inside the edge of the Gaza Strip to halt the latest wave of Palestinian rocket attacks, military officials said Tuesday. Such Israeli action would likely torpedo a six-month truce in the Gaza Strip and could threaten US efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israel periodically carries out "pinpoint" operations on the edges of Gaza to halt rocket launchings. The military's plan calls for a greater presence that would be constant in some places, the officials said. The plan also calls for an increase in attacks on rocket launchers, including airstrikes on high-ranking militants who oversee the firings, the officials said. Olmert has already agreed to slightly expand the area in the Gaza Strip in which the army can operate, Haaretz said. Israel has grown increasingly concerned by arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip and the rocket fire. Senior military officials have been pushing for approval of a large land offensive in the Gaza Strip to stop the rocket fire, but other security chiefs are opposed to such a complicated operation in the densely-populated coastal area that could exact many Israeli troop casualties. Similar operations since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 have failed to halt the rocket fire. According to the army, 16 rockets have been fired at Israel since Friday. The attacks have strained the November cease-fire, which was meant to bring an end to rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes. Militants from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that is part of the Palestinian government, have become involved in the attacks in recent weeks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party sits in the government with Hamas, has repeatedly condemned the rocket attacks, but has been unable to halt them. Ending the rocket fire is a key component of a new US proposal for easing Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement while also improving Israeli security. It's unclear whether Olmert could make any progress on the Palestinian track, since a scathing report last week by an official government commission criticized him for "very severe failures" during last year's war in Lebanon. The rebuke has badly weakened the prime minister and caused divisions within the government.



Bush OKs 'integration' with European Union

(Congress never asked about new obligation)

imageMay 8….(WND) President Bush signed an agreement creating a "permanent body" that commits the US to "deeper transatlantic economic integration," without ratification by the Senate as a treaty or passage by Congress as a law. The "Transatlantic Economic Integration" between the US and the European Union was signed April 30 at the White House by Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the current president of the European Council, and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The document acknowledges “the transatlantic economy remains at the forefront of Globalization,” arguing that the US and the European Union "seek to strengthen transatlantic economic integration." The agreement established a new Transatlantic Economic Council to be chaired on the US side by a cabinet-level officer in the White House and on the EU side by a member of the European Commission. The current US head of the new Transatlantic Economic Council is Allan Hubbard, assistant to the president for Economic Policy and director of the National Economic Council. The current EU head of the council is Gunther Verheugen, vice-President of the European Commission in charge of enterprise and industry. The Transatlantic Economic Council was tasked with creating regulatory convergence between the US and the EU on some 40 different public policy areas, including intellectual property rights, developing security standards for international trade, getting US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) recognized in Europe, developing innovation and technology in health industries, implementing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, developing a science-based plan on bio-based products and establishing a "regular dialogue" to address obstacles to investment. At a joint press conference, Bush thanked the other two leaders for signing the "trans-Atlantic economic integration plan," commenting that, "It is a recognition that the closer that the United States and the EU become, the better off our people will be." Barroso said the Transatlantic Economic Council is meant to be "a permanent body, with senior people on both sides of the Atlantic." As WND has reported, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez repeatedly has pushed for North American integration, much as the April 30 agreement proposes closer US-EU integration. Mexico's ambassador to the UN, Enrique Berruga, has called for a North American Union to be created in the next eight years. But the Bush administration's push for North American integration is facing increasing opposition within Congress. WND reported Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., has introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40, which opposes the administration's Security and Prosperity Partnership, blocks a NAFTA Superhighway System and expresses opposition to the US entry into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada.

FOJ Note: The more we hear about the Transatlantic merger of the US and the EU, and the buildup of a North American Union, the closer we can estimate that we are to the “time of the Antichrist.”



Non-Political Officials Filling Israeli Leadership Vacuum

(Israeli leadership Crisis has Critical Timing just as US Considers Iraq Retreat)

May 7….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s US sources reveal this week that Israeli military and intelligence circles informed their opposite numbers in Washington that there is no vacuum in the management of vital issues and it is ongoing despite the crisis tying the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Amir Peretz and foreign minister Tzipi Livni, in the aftermath of a critical war report. This was the first confirmation by senior Bush administration sources that they are working with non-political Israeli circles on urgent and critical affairs and leaving the Olmert government outside policy-making in Washington. Those Israeli circles have voiced their deep concern over the Bush administration’s inclination to meet Iran halfway on the nuclear question. DEBKAfile’s sources reveal that Washington is considering a compromise that will let Iran continue uranium enrichment against guarantees never to produce weapons-grade fuel or develop a nuclear weapon. Israeli military and intelligence experts have warned the administration that Iran is up to its old tricks of handing out promises it has no intention of keeping. Since this warning appears to be falling on deaf ears, they have asked for a quick and clear decision on the Iranian question. They fear that if it is delayed, the US withdrawal from Iraq in late summer of this year will catch Israel, and the rest of the Middle East, in the grip of two major crises: the dispute with Iran will either be settled or flare, American troops will be in the process of quitting Iraq, and both events may be exploited by Syria, Hizballah, Hamas and Jihad Islamic for offensive operations against Israel. Israel could then face a multiple threat without due preparation. The US is therefore being asked to reach a decision on Iran in the next couple of months before the onset of its pullout from Iraq. Washington’s Israeli contacts did not spell out the reaction they planned to a US-Iranian deal entailing concessions to Tehran on the nuclear question, perhaps because no one in Jerusalem is in a fit state for a balanced decision. But they inferred that the Israeli military option against Iran was not off the table. Jerusalem is too engrossed in internal political antics for keeping Olmert and Peretz afloat in the face of popular disaffection to heed the course of events among Israel’s neighbors. Ignorant of those events, Olmert and Peretz still cling to the illusory windows of opportunity for peace which they believed had opened up in Damascus and Riyadh at the last Arab League summit in late March. For this reason, military and intelligence officials have taken matters in their own hands to make sure that Israel’s most pressing issues with Washington are attended to without delay.



Hezbollah: Rockets Fired into Israel Directed by Iran

(Hezbollah deputy chief says 'all policies and activities' coordinated with Tehran)

May 7….(WND) All of Hezbollah's policies and activities are coordinated with the leadership of Iran, including the firing of rockets into Israeli population centers for which direct Iranian approval is required, said a senior Hezbollah official in a rare admission. "Even when it comes to firing rockets on Israeli civilians, when they Israel bombed the civilians on our side, even that decision requires an in-principle permission from the ruling jurisprudent," said Sheikh Naim Qassem, the deputy chief of Hezbollah, in an Arabic language interview translated yesterday by the Information and Terrorism Center at Israel's Center for Special Studies. According to the Center, "the ruling jurisprudent," or "al-wali al-faqih" in Arabic, is the title of Supreme Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In the interview, given last month to the Al-Kawthar, Iranian Arabic-language TV channel, Qassem says Khamenei's authority is crucial for all Hezbollah operations: "Hezbollah relied and relies still in its Islamic religious position, which has to do with its activity in general and its jihadist activity in particular, on the decision of Khamenei. The ruling jurisprudent is the one who allows and the one who prohibits." He said Khamenei approves acts suicide terror. "We ask, receive answers, and then apply them. This is even true for acts of suicide for the sake of Allah, no one may kill himself without a jurisprudent permission from Khamenei." During Israel's war in Lebanon last summer, Hezbollah fired over 3,000 rockets into Israeli civilian population centers, killing 43 civilians and injuring thousands. There were multiple reports, denied by Hezbollah, of Iranian officers operating in Lebanon to aid the militia. Qassem's statements come as Israeli defense officials told WND this weekend Hezbollah has replenished its rocket arsenal and is stronger now than before last summer's war. According to the officials, Hezbollah, aided by Iran, is preparing for another conflict with the Jewish state. In an interview Saturday with Al Jazeera, Hezbollah's Qassem admitted his group rebuilt its militia and is ready for war. He claimed Israel will attack first. "We have new military plans. We have completed our ground work in preparing our men, as well as our land, so that we would be ready if the Israeli government thought one day (of launching an attack)," said Qassem.







US Forces Stopping al Qaeda Flow into Iraq

May 4….(By Bill Gertz/Washington Times) US forces in Iraq are stemming the flow of foreign al Qaeda terrorists into the country, the commander of the US Central Command told a Senate panel yesterday. Adm. William Fallon told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that US military forces are "working very hard" to block al Qaeda fighters entering the country through Syria. "There's little doubt that there was a pipeline coming through Syria that was enabling these people to get into the fight," Adm. Fallon said. "But in the last couple of months, the significant turn to the government and coalition side by people in Anbar is having a detrimental effect on this, because that's the conduit where these people were coming from." Adm. Fallon was referring to a number of senior Sunni leaders in Anbar province who have switched sides from supporting the insurgency to backing US and Iraqi government troops. Several prominent religious leaders have turned against al Qaeda, mainly because the group's indiscriminate bombings are killing innocent Iraqis, according to US military officials. The increased pressure on the underground transit route "is not particularly hospitable to al Qaeda or foreign fighters; we'd expect to see some positive results from that," Adm. Fallon said. The dramatic shift in the atmospherics and the reality in Anbar from six months ago to today is indicative of what could happen in this country if we are patient," he said. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a speech yesterday that the United States needs to be steadfast in fighting the war against terrorism, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. "Our country is troubled and divided by a long and difficult war in Iraq," he said. "We want our troops to come home and be out of harm's way, and yet most know that leaving chaos behind us in Iraq will bring dramatically more suffering for Iraqis, and also disaster for the Middle East and ultimately for us."  He noted Winston Churchill's comment on the United States in 1943 that "the price of greatness is responsibility." Still, the four-star admiral said sectarian differences among Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds in Iraq is significant. And the ability of these three major factions to work together is going to be the tale of the tape here," he said. The main problem is continuing attacks by Sunni insurgents who allied with al Qaeda to conduct massive vehicle bombings as part of a strategy to "send a signal of insecurity," he said.



US ‘Israeli Benchmark Plan’ May be a Timeline for Terror

May 4….( Israeli officials are worried about a set of so-called “benchmarks” presented last week by US diplomats that would be used as steps toward final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. As before, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will fly to the region, this time on May 15th to drag the powerless PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and unpopular Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert back to the bargaining table to enforce the implementation of those benchmarks. The eight-month timeline calls for a series of steps that resemble the “confidence-building measures” laid out in the tattered Road Map plan, another US initiative which Israel began to carry out and the PA basically ignored. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert already tentatively agreed last week to comply with America’s latest laundry list, according to the Reuters news agency. US officials said the PA had also agreed to carry out the plan, which is set to begin this month and carry on through December. Neither Israel nor the PA, however, has officially responded to the document, which becomes a binding contract if both sides formally accept it. Israeli officials are deeply concerned about the viability of the plan. The benchmarks include a deadline by which Israel will allow PA bus and truck convoys to shuttle between Gaza and PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. Israel is also expected to remove the security roadblocks in Judea and Samaria and extend operating hours at the major border crossings with Gaza. More ominous, Israel will be forced to provide arms, ammunition and equipment to PA security forces in an “immediate and ongoing” manner, whenever US Maj.-Gen. Dayton “requests” it. Israel’s security establishment emphasizes that these moves would dramatically endanger an already vulnerable Israeli civilian population constantly facing missile launchings from Gaza, suicide bombings, and other terrorist attacks. On the PA side of the deal, a deadline is set for Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to increase deployment of security forces and “begin curbing rocket fire by militants,” according to media reports. The PA corridor demand is not new. Convoys between the PA territories and Gaza were approved in a deal brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in November 2005, before the Hamas terrorist organization became the ruling faction of the PA government.

US Ignoring the Dangerous 'Facts on the Ground'

The Bush administration nonetheless insists that the eight-month plan will bring a win-win situation for all parties. Secretary Rice expresses confidence that the specific deadlines will create a firm structure in a process that has not moved forward despite years of efforts by various US governments. A senior US official commented the plan provides incentives on both sides, “One side gets security. The other side gets greater freedom of movement.” Israeli officials aren’t so sure; Jerusalem noted that Israel is being told to erase security measures without first making sure that Abbas can keep his promises to ensure security for Israelis at the same time. As an unnamed Israeli official pointed out, “There is not (sic) conditionality. Even if they don’t complete their obligations, we’ll have to complete ours.”



President Says 'Hate Crimes' Bill Unneeded

(Advisers would recommend veto of discriminatory federal plan)

imageMay 4….(WND) A day after Christian activists were seeking a pledge from the president to veto a "hate crimes" bill now approved by the US House, the White House issued a statement saying the proposal is unnecessary and constitutionally questionable. The plan, HR 1592 by US Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is feared by opponents as a means to target Christians and to demolish both freedom of speech and religion in the United States. The House voted 237-180 to pass it into law today. The President has pledged to veto it however. The White House in a released statement said that state and local criminal laws already provide penalties for the violence addressed by the new federal crime defined in the bill, and many carry stricter penalties than the proposed language. "State and local law enforcement agencies and courts have the capability to enforce those penalties and are doing so effectively. There has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement," the statement said. It said the administration believes all violent crimes are unacceptable, regardless of the victims, and should be punished "firmly." Former White House insider Chuck Colson, called the bill a "Thought Crimes" plan. "It's called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. But this bill is not about hate. It's not even about crime. It's about outlawing peaceful speech, speech that asserts that homosexual behavior is morally wrong," he said. "This bill would grant individuals who engaged in homosexual behavior ("sexual orientation") or those who cross-dress ("gender identity") preferential treatment over other citizens by elevating them to a specially protected class of victim." "Some say we need this law to prevent attacks on homosexuals. But we already have laws against assaults on people and property," Colson continued. In other places, such as England, Sweden, Canada, and even Philadelphia, where similar laws have been approved, the "Thought Police" already have prosecuted Christians for teaching that homosexuality is wrong. This is really about getting the heavy hand of the federal government involved in promoting homosexuality as a 'civil right.



Palestinian Leader: 'Kill Every American and Jew'

Speaker of PA parliament says U.S. on its way to 'disappearing'

imageMay 4….(WND) Every American and Jew in the world must be killed, demanded Ahmad Bahar, the speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament in a televised speech, explaining the US is on its way to collapse. "Allah, take hold of the Jews and their allies, Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies. Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and don't leave even one," said Bahar last week in a speech broadcast on official PA television, which is controlled by PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. Bahar, a Hamas member, is a senior figure in the Hamas-Fatah unity government headed by Abbas. Bahar declared the US has been defeated. "Be certain that America is on its way to disappear. America is wallowing in blood today in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is defeated and Israel is defeated, and was defeated in Lebanon and Palestine. Make us victorious over the infidel people of America.



Iran, Syria Hold Conferences on a 'Culture of Resistance'

May 3….(YNET) As Iran was hosting an international conference this week under the banner "The Muslim World: Victim of Terrorism," Syria was holding its own international conference on "Arab and Islamic Media Support of the Palestinian People." In both countries, the theme was how the Islamic or Arab peoples are under assault and occupation by Israel and the United States. On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the audience at the first-ever Culture of Resistance Conference, held in Tehran, that the Islamic world has been victimized by terrorism perpetrated by "the arrogant powers." It is those powers, Ahmadinejad said, that have created and promoted international terrorist organizations. "Unfortunately," the Iranian leader said, "Islam's enemies are trying to cover up their failures by wrongly portraying Islam as a religion of violence." Ahmadinejad called the United States a terrorist regime and claimed that Israel, with Western backing, is continually threatening other nations. "Islam is nowadays the victim of organized terrorism," he declared. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told conference attendees, "We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism because we have suffered most from it." The two-day Tehran conference, which had as its explicit goal the promotion of a "culture of resistance," ended on Wednesday and was attended by guests from 46 states. At the same time as the Iranian event, a three-day conference in Syria drew 350 people from around the globe, as well. Like its sister gathering in Tehran, the Syrian conference expressed a commitment to "deepen the culture of resistance." Specifically, the conference offered support for the Hizbullah terrorist organization, referred to in Syrian media as "the Lebanese national resistance." The final statement of the conference further praised the war Hizbullah launched against Israel in July 2006, "which defeated the US-Israeli schemes," according to the Syrian government's news agency, SANA. Presented as the centerpiece of the conference's final statements, however, was a declaration in favor of "Syria's legitimate right to restore the occupied Syrian Golan." 



Special Knesset Session: Likud, Labor, UTJ Say Olmert Must Go


May 3….(Ha Aretz) In a special mid-recess Knesset session on Thursday afternoon, leaders of parties in and out of the opposition have called on Olmert and his government to quit. Five minutes were granted to each speaker, a representative of each party, except for opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who received ten. 


Ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu opened the session by calling for new elections: Netanyahu blasted the prime minister over his handling of the Second Lebanon War, saying that he had failed and must resign. "This week, the Winograd Commission removed the screen from the eyes of the citizens, and reminded us of a truth that we all knew very clearly for the first decades of our State, but that has become blurred of late, namely, that our existence and peace with our enemies are dependent mainly on our strength. Only if we are strong, will we prevent or win wars, and will we have a genuine hope for peace. I have said before: If our enemies lay down their swords, there will be peace, but if we lay down our swords, we simply won't be at all. This is the clearest message of the Winograd report, that our sword is held by a weak hand. I quote from the report: 'This is the first time in Israeli war history that a war in which we were involved ended without our clear victory... as our enemies saw as well.' This is something we cannot afford. "Therefore, the rebuilding of our strength is not only the charge of the hour, but the charge of our existence. We must rebuild ourselves in every way.
"On July 12 when the Second Lebanon War started, when danger arose, Israel once again proved its strength by volunteering and answering the call. Reservists left their affairs, showed up at their bases, and waited for orders, while in the north and in Sderot, people remained in shelters without complaining, and elsewhere in the country, people opened their homes for the northern residents who went south. This was the spirit of '48 and '67 and '73 that was once again revealed. We stood as one nation, putting up a united front, showing national responsibility.
"We gave total backing to the government to achieve its aims and remove the threat. We thought, then, that there was someone we could count on. But in actuality, there was no leadership. The government failed twice, in its performance, and in its reading of the situation. The government was deeply entrenched in its conception of unilateral withdrawals, a policy that failed. In the north it failed, and in the south it is failing. This policy did not advance the peace that we all want; peace cannot be achieved via one-sided moves, but with dialogue with those of our enemy who want to end war. The time has now come to make the necessary changes and corrections. We must restore our deterrence and self-respect." "We must fix the errors, and first and foremost, the lack of leadership, decision-making, etc. Leadership is the most important part of any organization, large or small. A leader must have a vision and lead the way, and if not, the organization loses its way very quickly. The country is longing for leadership like this; we all feel it. There is a general feeling that there is helplessness and paralysis in every aspect. The people want leaders who will make the necessary decisions, with national responsibility and good judgment. The State of Israel needs a different leadership, experience and not amateurism; judgment and not adventurism; etc. We must return to the nation and ask it what it wants."

   MK Danny Yatom of the Labor Party, which is a leading partner in the government coalition, also called for Olmert's resignation: "You have failed in all that is concerned with the Second Lebanon War. The time of responsibility has arrived. You must now show leadership, that which was so sorely missing during the war - and quit. This crisis is among the worst in the history of the State. You have lost the confidence of the voters, and you can no longer represent them.

   Though Olmert sat through the entire session, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres responded in the name of government. image

Peres said that the government must correct its deficiencies, and, in a jab at Netanyahu, said, "A leader needs not only a vision; he also needs a parliamentary majority."

   Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a private meeting Wednesday that he should step down from office. Livni clarified that she would not resign from her position as Foreign Minister and would not act to bring down the government, regardless of what the Prime Minister did. Livni said bluntly at the faction meeting, “There is a crisis of confidence in the public and we cannot ignore this.” The Foreign Minister warned that party members could not ignore the report and “give each other mutual compliments.” Only three Kadima members called publicly for Olmert's resignation, including Livni, Yitzchaki and MK Marina Solodkin.



Putin Unable to Track All Russian Nukes

May 3….(WASHINGTON TIMES) Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Bush he could not account for all of Moscow's nuclear weapons at the same time al Qaeda was seeking to purchase three Russian nuclear devices on the black market, former CIA Director George J. Tenet said. In his new book, Mr. Tenet states that shortly after the September 11 attacks, Mr. Bush briefed Mr. Putin about a Pakistani nongovernmental group, Umma Tameer-e-Nau. The group, whose members included extremist nuclear scientists, was helping the Taliban and al Qaeda develop nuclear arms. The president "asked Putin point blank if Russia could account for all of its nuclear material," he states in his book, "At the Center of the Storm." "Choosing his words carefully, the Russian president said he was confident he could account for everything, under his watch," Mr. Tenet stated, noting that the deliberately ambiguous response tended to confirm reports of nuclear smuggling shortly after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Tenet said the CIA informed Russian intelligence about former Soviet nuclear scientists who were working with al Qaeda. Russian officials "refused to delve into any matters related to the security of their nuclear facilities and nuclear weapons, including reports sourced to Russian officials concerning possible theft of Russian 'suitcase nukes,' " Mr. Tenet stated. The comments contradict Russian government claims for the past 16 years that no nuclear arms were missing. Alexander Lebed, a former Russian national security adviser, stated in 1997 that Russia could not account for about 80 portable nuclear weapons, a claim later denied by Moscow.



The Sanhedrin’s Peace Initiative

(Jewish group devoted to rebuilding Temple in Jerusalem to send letters to all world leaders, including Arab ones, inviting them to take part in project, attend conference on Temple Mount in Israel)

May 3….(YNET) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been gearing up for an Israeli offensive in recent months, is bound to be surprised by the peace feelers he is set to receive from Jerusalem soon. Without Saudi mediation or diplomatic procedures, the president will get a “Letter of Love and Peace”, accompanied by a historic invitation to visit Jerusalem, from The Supreme Judicial Court of the Jewish People, better known as the Sanhedrin. After having tried their luck with the High Court of Justice and the government, the members of the Jewish group have set out on a new track in their struggle for the Temple Mount, aimed at rebuilding the Temple in the Jewish capital. In recent days, the group members have drafted a letter that will be translated into 70 languages and sent to all government institutions in the world, including “the sons of Esau and Ishmael” who do not hold diplomatic ties with Israel. In the letter, the rabbis of the self-proclaimed Sanhedrin warn that the world is nearing a catastrophe, and write that the only way to bring peace among nations, states, and religions is by building a house for God, where Jews will worship, pray and offer up sacrifice, according to the vision of the prophets. The rabbis also call on the non-Jews to help the people of Israel fulfill their destiny and build the Temple, in order to prevent bloodshed across the globe. The letter will initially be translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Farsi, and later also into Russian, Chinese and Japanese, and will include an invitation to world leaders to attend a conference dedicated to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem five months from now, during Succot. Prof Hillel Weiss of the Sanhedrin explained that the Torah and the prophets have tasked the Jewish people with the responsibility for world peace. He stressed that the group’s project was to rebuild the Temple, not a “church for all nations,” but added, “We have all descended from the same father, this is not another primitive and racist approach.”



All Polls Point to Netanyahu as Desired PM

May 3….(Israel Insider) Israel's leading newspapers have shifted into polling mode, in an expected reaction to the public outcry against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over an investigative committee's damning review of his leadership during last summer's Second Lebanon War. According to polls conducted by Yediot Ahronot, Ma'ariv and Ha'aretz, at least half the nation wants early elections, and over 75 percent of respondents want Olmet removed from office. If the change comes via elections, the public intends to firmly place control of the government in the hands of Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party. The Ma'ariv survey showed that a Netanyahu-led Likud would win 37 Knesset seats, compared to just 12 for Olmert's Kadima and 11 for the Labor Party. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they view Netanyahu as the most suitable candidate for prime minister. Only two percent gave their support to Olmert. The Yediot Ahronot results were similar, awarding Netanyahu the backing of 29 percent of the public, with his next closest competitor, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, garnering 20 percent of the vote.



Shimon Peres to Replace Olmert?

(Party members in backdoor meetings call for PM's immediate resignation)

imageMay 2….(WND) Members of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party held a confidential meeting today discussing whether they will ask Ehud Olmert to resign, with some urging that the Israeli leader be immediately replaced with either Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres or Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni. The meeting follows the release of an interim report yesterday slamming Olmert's handling of last summer's war in Lebanon against the Hezbollah militia. The report has prompted a flurry of demands from around the country for Olmert to resign. A rally planned for Thursday, some are calling historic, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands calling for Olmert to step down. Avigdor Yitzhaki, a member of the opposition Labor party and chairman of Olmert's government coalition, today held a meeting with top Kadima lawmakers in which the replacement of Olmert was discussed. Olmert's Kadima party last year forged a unity government with Labor. According to sources familiar with the contents of the meeting, Kadima ministers in attendance were in agreement that Olmert must immediately resign. The lawmakers discussed the formation of a group of Kadima ministers who would approach Olmert together and ask him to resign. Most Kadima officials at the meeting agreed Livni should replace Olmert as head of Kadima until new elections are held. Many recent polls here showed former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party would trounce Labor and Kadima in any new elections. Some top Labor ministers, also in attendance at today's meeting, called for Olmert to be replaced by Peres, who bolted the Labor party to join Kadima in 2006. Although he has never been elected to Israel's highest office, Peres served twice as prime minister, once following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and another time in an unusual deal in which he led a rotating unity government for two years. As WND reported last week, in anticipation of the report, Olmert held meetings with leading leftist figures pledging to carry out Israeli withdrawals in exchange for their continued support. The sources said Olmert told the leftist (Peace Now/Peres Peace Center) leaders he is willing to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, including an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv. Since the war, there have been widespread calls for Olmert to resign. The prime minister has faced devastatingly low poll numbers, but some analysts speculated his ratings could rise if he reached out to his leftist base and conducted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority or Syria.

FOJ Note: The leftist peace activist movement in Israel is led by the “Peace Now” and Peres Peace Center organizations. Shimon Peres has long been a leading advocate of the land-for-peace formula, and a proponent of incorporating the Middle East into the Greater Euro-Med Union. It was Shimon Peres who utilized the moderate Ehud Olmert in the recruitment of Ariel Sharon away from the land hawkish Likud Party, and into the new Kadima Party. Politics in Israel is a rough business, and many outside Global Governance operatives apply immense pressure to the Israeli body politic to coerce Israel to comply with the world’s push towards a comprehensive Middle East deal.



Israel is in a Leadership Crisis


(FOJ) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, center Transport minister Shaul Mofaz, top left, and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, bottom left, are seen at a special meeting of the cabinet at Ehud Olmert's office in Jerusalem, Wednesday, May 2, 2007.

May 2….(FOJ) The battle between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni following the release of the Winograd Committee's interim report is reaching a boiling point: Olmert is expected to warn Livni at a meeting between the two today that she cannot continue to undermine him and still hold her position as deputy premier. The prime minister and his aides were highly critical last night of what they said was Livni's open and active role in efforts within Kadima to remove Olmert. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said on Tuesday, "I am strong and will get through this," faces a major blow this afternoon when he meets with his party colleague Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is expected to tell him to resign. Reports say that Livni will threaten that if Olmert insists on remaining in power, she herself will resign and will work to depose him.  She will hold a press conference following the 4 PM meeting with Olmert. Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu is calling not for Olmert's resignation, but rather for the entire government to resign, a move which necessitates new Knesset elections. He knows that as leader of a party with only 12 MKs, he would not be able to lead the government for long. On the other hand, polls forecast that in new elections, the Likud would approximately triple its strength.


(FOJ) News releases out of Jerusalem in recent weeks have shown very unflattering pictures of Olmert, some show him half asleep, some show him dazed, and flabbergasted. It is obvious that Olmert was propped up to be the PM by a Labor-Kadima Peace Movement, but now he is being taken down by the movement that he steered Ariel Sharon to engage.

A poll conducted by Haaretz-Dialog a day after the release of the Winograd report revealed that about 40 percent of the respondents are hoping Israel will hold new elections. Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University's statistics department ran the poll. According to a Yedioth Ahronoth poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute, 51 percent think new elections should be held, while 23 percent would like the leadership to change without elections. The Haaretz poll found that between 10 and 17 percent of Israelis believe the current government should remain in office, but that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should be replaced by Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Vice Premier Shimon Peres, or Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Benjamin Netanyahu is seen as the most suitable replacement for Prime Minister Olmert. On a scale of 1 to 10, Netanyahu leads with 5.27. Tzipi Livni follows in second place at 5.03, and Peres was rated 4.91 out of 10. Netanyahu was also chosen as the person respondents would most like to have as prime minister with over a quarter (26 percent) choosing him, followed by Peres with 11 percent, Livni at 10 percent, and Barak and Olmert with only 6 percent each. The Ynetnews poll also found Netanyahu is the favorite candidate to replace Olmert, with 29 percent. However, twice the percentage of those polled chose Livni (20 percent), 10 percent chose Ehud Barak. Olmert, as in the Haaretz poll, only received 6 percent.



US: Iran Remains Biggest Government Supporter of Terrorism

May 1….(Ha Aretz) Iran continues to be the biggest supporter of terrorism around the world, with elements of its government supporting extremist groups throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, the United States State Department says. In its annual global survey of terrorism to be released Monday, the department once again singles out Iran as the most active state sponsor of terror, accusing it of helping to plan and foment attacks to destabilize Iraq and derail Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. The designation in the 2006 edition of the Country Reports on Terrorism is not new, as the State Department regularly identifies Iran as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. But the report is being released as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares to attend a conference of Iraq's neighbors at which she has not ruled out a meeting with Iran's foreign minister in what could be the first-cabinet level contact with Iran since 2004. The report says Iran's Revolutionary Guard and intelligence ministry were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, to use terrorism in pursuit their goals. In Iraq, it says Iran has played a destabilizing role, giving material support and guidance to Shi'ite insurgent groups that have attacked Sunnis, US and Iraqi forces. It also says the Revolutionary Guard has been linked to armor-piercing explosives that resulted in the deaths of coalition forces and has helped, along with Lebanon's radical Hezbollah movement, train Iraqi extremists to build bombs. At the same time, Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli activity, rhetorically, operationally and financially, the report says. In addition, the report says that Iran is still refusing to identify, try or turn over several senior members of Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida network whom it detained in 2003. Iran is one of five countries identified by Washington as state sponsors of terrorism. The others are Cuba, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.



Is US-Saudi Love Affair Over?

imageMay 1….(commentary by Martin Indyk) What has happened to the love affair between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and President Bush? Two years ago, down on the Texas ranch, they were photographed walking hand in hand. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship: Bush dropped his demand for democratization in the puritanical kingdom, and Abdullah did his best to moderate oil prices. The dowry was a new US arms deal for the Saudis. A second honeymoon was scheduled for this month, when President Bush planned to host King Abdullah for his first state visit. So the White House was mightily perplexed when it was informed that the King’s schedule didn’t allow for a spring visit to Washington. Then, at an Arab League summit in Riyadh last month, Abdullah denounced the US war in Iraq as an “illegitimate occupation.” He also used the occasion to make up with Bush’s bete noire, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president who had previously denounced the Saudi leader as “a dwarf”. Why? Simply put, the Bush administration had been listening to the wrong Saudi. Keen for any signs of hope in the region as Iraq spiraled downward, Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior US officials had grasped at a grandiose regional game plan being pushed by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, formerly the Saudi ambassador in Washington and now Abdullah’s national security adviser. But Bandar wasn’t calling the shots; Abdullah was, and he has a very different way of doing business. Last summer, Bandar came knocking on the White House door, selling a new strategy for countering the threat from Iran, which had been made vivid when the radical Hezbollah militia, Iran’s ally, triggered a full-scale war in Lebanon and fought Israel to a standstill. Working in tacit cooperation, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel would roll back Iran’s regional influence by taking down the Hamas Palestinian government in Gaza, containing Hezbollah’s bid to control Lebanon and destabilizing Iran’s main regional ally, Syria. To kick off his grand anti-Iranian design, Bandar encouraged the weak but moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to confront Hamas. But Abdullah had another idea: instead of sending Abbas the fat aid cheque that Bandar had promised, he invited Hamas’s leaders to Mecca to forge a new Palestinian unity government, including the moderate Abbas and his challengers in Hamas. Bandar’s plan was in shambles. The Bush administration, which had led a year-long boycott of the Hamas government, felt as though it had been sucker punched. And that was just the first blow. Abdullah also nixed Bandar’s idea for direct engagement with Israel. For years, Israel had coveted such a relationship with the Saudis, which would have been an enormous psychological breakthrough and a rare Middle East achievement for the Bush team. Bandar promised to open Saudi-Israeli talks under the umbrella of an Arab League plan, in which all Arab states would offer Israel full peace if it pulled back to its pre-1967 borders and solved the problem of the Palestinian refugees. Secretary Rice hoped to convene a peace conference at which the Saudi foreign minister would announce this plan, with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in attendance. But Abdullah wasn’t buying. He believed that he had done his bit for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking by producing a Palestinian unity government; now it was Bush’s job to press Israel to negotiate a deal with it. Until then, Abdullah wouldn’t be doing Washington any more favors. The Bush administration was furious about this seeming reversal. In Riyadh the king is the decider. King Abdullah agrees with Bandar that their main challenge is the Iranian/Shia threat to Sunni dominance of the Arab world. But where Bandar wants to confront Iran’s Arab proxies, Abdullah seeks to wean them off their dependence on Tehran. That dictates engagement, however distasteful, with Hamas in Gaza and Assad in Damascus. It also requires distancing Saudi Arabia from President Bush’s ill-fated Iraq adventure, which in Abdullah’s view is only strengthening a pro-Iranian Shia government at Sunni Arab expense. King Abdullah will be ready to go to Washington, and, eventually, perhaps even to Jerusalem, when Bush, Rice and Olmert signal that they will accept his terms for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement. His opening price is President Bush’s accommodation of Hamas and Syria as players in the peace process, and he’ll settle in the end for Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the West Bank. If Bush wants that second honeymoon with Abdullah, he is going to have to renegotiate the terms of endearment with the King of the South.



Tenet: Al-Qaida's Nuclear Threat Real

May 1….(CBS) The intelligence community has real concerns that al-Qaida will acquire nuclear weapons to use in a terrorist attack on the US, former CIA Director George Tenet confirms. Tenet, author of the controversial new book "At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA,” also believes it’s likely that al-Qaida already has operatives in the US, he disclosed in an interview with CBS’ "60 Minutes” Sunday night and in other TV interviews Monday. Tenet told CBS interviewer Scott Pelley that in 2003, terrorists in the US were prepared to launch an attack in the New York City subways when the operation was called off by Osama bin Laden’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in favor of "something larger.”

(FOJ) A typical general facsimile of  what a suitcase nuclear device might look like. It is believed that terrorists have purchased a number of these from rogue elements of the former Soviet Union, and smuggled them into the United States.

A clue to what that "something” could have been is that bin Laden has been trying to acquire nuclear material since 1993, according to Tenet. "Are these people gonna have a nuclear capability? This confers superpower status on a networked organization that is not a state,” Tenet told Pelley. "Is it gonna happen? Look, I don’t know. But I worry about it. Because I’ve seen enough to tell me that there’s intent. And when there’s intent, the question is, when does the capability show up? If al-Qaida were to acquire nuclear capability, the thousands of weapons we have would be irrelevant.” Asked if al-Qaida is in the US right now, Tenet said: "My operational presumption is that they infiltrated a second wave or a third wave into the United States at the time of 9/11. Now can I prove it to you? No. It’s my operational intuition.” Tenet’s worries about al-Qaida’s nuclear desires seem to corroborate a new book by former FBI consultant Paul Williams due out later this month. The book, The Day of Islam,” claims al-Qaida has been preparing a spectacular nuclear attack in the American homeland.



Lebanon War Commission Issues Death Warrant Against Olmert Government

Eliahu Winograd
condemns Olmert

May 1….(DEBKA) Prime minister Ehud Olmert is accused of grave failures of judgment, responsibility and caution in his decisions to go to war in Lebanon last summer and its management. His decision was hasty and undertaken without in-depth study of the circumstances in the arena, a proper plan of action and clearly defined objectives. Full partners in these failures are defense minister Amir Peretz and former chief of staff Dan Halutz. These are the key findings of the tensely-awaited 250-page interim report evaluating the government’s conduct of the Second Lebanon War 2006 presented by an inquiry panel led by Judge Eliahu Winograd, Monday afternoon, April 30, 2007. They are far more damning than predicted. The resulting political turbulence is likely, at the very least, to lead ministers to resign and force cracks in Olmert’s government coalition. Winograd explained that personal findings will be drawn without recommendations at this stage. This may be reconsidered in the final report. The interim report covers the run-up to the war which erupted on July 12 and its first five days. Winograd explained that personal findings will be drawn without recommendations at this stage. This may be reconsidered in the final report. Here are the high points: The prime minister’s response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers on July 12, 2006, was decided without taking into account that the Hizballah would launch a rocket blitz on the north. Diplomatic options that might have been integrated in the military action were not considered. His grasp of the strategic implications was feeble. The government was asked to make decisions on only the vaguest information. The ministers voted for war uncomprehending of its meaning. Olmert’s decisions rested on ignorance of the military and diplomatic realities. He was inexperienced yet did not seek advice in qualified quarters. He failed to make adjustments even after realizing that none of Israel’s objectives were attainable. The prime minister was not the army's rubber stamp. He made the decisions. The army was unprepared. Even as hostilities progressed, orders were held up for the mobilization of reserves, while the home front received no attention or preparation for a rocket offensive. The defense minister, lacking in military and political experience, was unable to appreciate a strategic situation, yet failed to take advice, heed alternatives proposed to him or develop an independent approach. Therefore, Amir Peretz fell down on the job and was a weak link in the government’s ability to contend with the challenges. Former chief of staff Halutz acted on impulse, failed to inform the government of the scale of the strategic threat and the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces was unready to stand up to it. Halutz was irresponsible and lacking in judgment. In the event, the 33-day war cost 160 Israeli casualites, failed to recover the kidnapped soldiers or crush the Hizballah. The panel stressed that the IDF was caught unprepared because of the conception that had come to dominate political and military leaders and Israeli society at large that conventional wars belonged to a past era and Israel would no longer be called on to fight for its survival. For this misconception, which must be urgently corrected, the panel also blamed the previous administrations headed by Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon and the Israeli media. He also dated the deterioration in Israel’s military preparedness to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000. Judge Winograd stated that Israel’s diplomatic effort and the way the foreign ministry functioned under Tzipi Livni as part of the overall government fiasco would be treated in the final report. The Winograd commission will release transcripts of the testimony tendered by Olmert, Peretz and Halutz within two weeks. Its final report is due in August, 2007.



Bush: Olmert Essential for Two-State ‘Solution’

May 1….(Stan Goodenough/Jnewswire) (President Bush works closely with Olmert and considers him essential in working toward a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) So said White House press secretary Tony Snow after the Winograd Commission Monday scored Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s failure to lead his country during the Second Lebanon War. According to the commission Olmert, Israel’s commander in chief, allowed his military officials to lead him by the nose instead of himself overseeing the prosecution of the war. The Lebanese Hizb’allah gave the mighty IDF a bloody nose last summer, and boosted the belief in Arab capitals across the Middle East that Israel is defeatable. Israel has been described as “leaderless” under the Olmert government, a number of whose ministers, including Olmert, have come under criminal investigation for corruption and sexual abuse. For its part, however, the administration in Washington has found the disgraced Israeli leader useful in helping to facilitate the realization of President George W. Bush’s vision of two states, Israel and Palestine (sic) living side-by-side in peace. US officials admitted Monday evening that Winograd’s findings on Olmert could disrupt what little progress they believe is being made in the “peace” process. However, as Snow stressed, the White House will continue to support Olmert, who has refused to accept responsibility for his failings, and insists he will not step down



Israeli Inquiry Into Lebanon War Criticizes Olmert


(FOJ) Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Eliyahu Winograd (L) hands Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the Lebanon war inquiry report in the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office.

April 30….(AP) Israel's Lebanon war commission leveled scathing criticism against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an interim report today that cast doubt on his political future, but did not call on him to resign. Olmert "made up his mind hastily" to launch the air, sea and land campaign last July against Hezbollah guerrillas, the government-appointed panel said, accusing him of "a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence." His declared aims in going to war, to free two Israeli soldiers seized by Hezbollah and crush the militant group, were "overly ambitious and impossible to achieve," the five-member Winograd commission said. The 171-page report also sharply criticized Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who like Olmert does not have a military pedigree, and the armed forces' chief of staff during the 34-day conflict, Dan Halutz, who has since resigned. The findings, assigning Olmert "supreme and comprehensive responsibility" for the government decisions and army operations, seemed likely to stir public sentiment against the prime minister. "We will definitely study your material and ensure that in any future threat scenario against Israel, the difficulties and faults you cited will be corrected," Olmert said in broadcast remarks as he received a copy of the findings. Olmert's approval ratings plunged to single digits after the inconclusive war and a US-initiated dialogue between the veteran politician and moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has shown few results. White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment on the findings but said President George W. Bush works closely with Olmert and considers him "essential in working toward a two-state solution" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Noting Olmert's lack of high-level military experience, the commission said he went to war without consulting experts outside the Israeli armed forces. Aides said before the interim findings were released that Olmert had no intention of stepping down and would fight for his political survival. A rally calling for Olmert and his government to quit was planned for Thursday in Tel Aviv. The demonstration was being organized by a former general, military reservists who fought in the war and parents of soldiers killed in the conflict. Israeli political analysts, however, were divided over whether such protests would gather steam in a country where years of corruption scandals at the top seem to have led many to believe no worthy leaders wait in the wings to take charge.



White House: Israel Suffered “Strategic Defeat” in 2006 Hezbollah War

April 30….(DEBKA) This new White House view was leaked hours before the Israeli Winograd panel published its harsh criticisms of the Olmert government’s conduct of the war Monday, April 30, in Jerusalem. It represents another of the grave setbacks Israel has suffered in the wake of its failed management of the Lebanon war. President George W. Bush’s original judgment directly after the hostilities ended was quite different: “Hizballah attacked Israel; Hizballah started the crisis and Hizballah suffered a defeat in this crisis,” he said. The revised view was not conveyed to the Israeli government; it was part of a warning Washington delivered to the Turkish prime minister Tayyep Erdogan, Sunday, April 24, to call off his planned offensive against PKK rebel bases in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan. The US message to Ankara reportedly cautioned the Turkish army to beware of landing itself in a situation similar to Israel’s predicament in the Hizballah war, i.e. Israel was confident of a swift victory and instead suffered “a strategic defeat.” DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report: The White House’s redefinition of the Lebanon War’s outcome is not just a factor in the foreign policy fallout dogging the Olmert government ever since, but a diplomatic olive branch for Iran, recognition that in the showdown between its surrogate and a key US ally, Tehran came off best. It is meant to pave the way for a US-Iranian understanding on Iraq and even perhaps on Tehran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration’s willingness to accept that the strategic advantage Hizballah gained in the 2006 conflict procured Iran a role in Lebanon implies its recognition of Iran’s important strategic role in Iraq. Positive ground rules are thus laid ahead of the interview projected between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the second Iraqi security conference taking place in Sharm el-Sheik this week (May 3-4). Should an opening for a breakthrough with Iran present itself at those talks, Washington will obviously not think twice about putting Israel’s strategic interests to one side, as the party which suffered its first “strategic defeat” in war. Any US-Iran deal on Iraq will in any case probably be a package that includes Lebanon and Hizballah’s standing there. Still, DEBKAfile’s Washington sources point out, these steps have not gone beyond diplomatic openers whose outcome is far from clear, especially as Tehran has still to respond. At the first Iraq security conference in Baghdad last month, Iranian representatives showed no inclination to jump into dialogue with America. Higher expectations this time were fueled by the sudden visit to Baghdad which the powerful Ali Larijani, who is head of Iran’s national security council and its chief nuclear negotiator, paid Sunday. It is rumored in Baghdad’s Green Zone that Larijani talked not only to Iraqi leaders but also met the new US ambassador Ryan Crocker to talk about a deal for the agenda and content of the Sharm el-Sheik conference



Israeli PM Ehud Olmert Suffers from Damaging Lebanon War Report

(Olmert calls a meeting of his Kadima ministers for Monday night.)

April 30….(DEBKA) The interim report covering the run-up to the war which erupted on July 12 and its first five days will be released by an inquiry panel headed by Justice Eliahu Winograd Monday afternoon, April 30. According to the leaks, the panel’s find grave faults in the way the war was conducted by the prime minister, defense minister Amir Peretz and former chief of staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who has meanwhile resigned. Pressing demands for Olmert and Peretz to step down rise from public groups, albeit less vigorously from the prime minister’s Kadima and his coalition partners. Together they command a majority of 73 in the 120-member Knesset. Olmert himself says he has no plans to quit, although his popular rating has sunk to 3% according to the latest opinion polls and he is beset by corruption inquiries. Protest groups led by military reservists who served in the warand bereaved families are preparing a big protest rally for Thursday night, May 3, calling for the prime minister and defense minister to step down. Municipal leaders of northern Israel, which sustained 33 days of Hizballah’s Katyusha rocket attacks last summer, are preparing a general strike Thursday to protest the government’s failure to stand by its pledges of adequate shelters and emergency provisions in case of a repeat attack. They complain the population has not been adequately compensated for substantial war damage and losses. Dep. defense minister Moshe Sneh informed the cabinet Sunday that not a cent had so far been allocated for correcting gaping deficiencies in securing Israel’s home front during the Lebanon War. The Winograd commission will release transcripts of the testimony tendered by Olmert, Peretz and Halutz within two weeks. Its final report is due in August, 2007.



Hamas Damascus Chief Warns of Mideast 'Explosion'

imageApril 30….(AP) Khaled Meshaal, the political chief of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on Monday warned of a "big explosion" in the Middle East if Palestinian problems are not solved. "I am issuing a firm warning," Meshaal said in an interview with the Al-Ayyam daily in Ramallah. "If the Palestinian people have no way out, and if the siege, the collective sanctions, Israeli aggression and the absence of a political perspective continue... this will lead to a big explosion that will not only affect the Palestinians but the entire region, notably the Zionist entity," he said, referring to Israel. "In my opinion, today's conditions resemble those in the late 1990’s, that prepared the ground for the intifada" or Palestinian uprising launched in September 2000, he said. Meshaal, Hamas's political supremo who lives in exile in Damascus, gave the interview in Cairo where he held talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday. Meshaal again deplored the embargo on direct aid to the Palestinian government that was imposed by the European Union and the United States last year after Hamas formed a cabinet alone following its clear victory in parliamentary polls. Hoping to break the aid freeze, the Islamists on March 17 formed a cabinet of national unity with Abbas's secular Fatah party and Western-backed independents. So far the West has declined to lift it, however, channeling funds via mechanisms that bypass the government instead. The EU and the US, which along with Israel consider Hamas to be a terror group, are demanding that the movement explicitly renounce violence, recognize Israel and agree to abide by past peace deals if direct aid is to resume. Meshaal repeated that he was ready to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, but again declined to recognize Israel. "Let us first establish a Palestinian state in the 1967 territories. Afterwards we will know how to deal with the political reality," he said. "One cannot demand that the Palestinian people respond to hypothetical situations when they are still suffering under the occupation and do not see any change in the Israeli position



Teachers Insist: Being 'Gay' Is Good

(Educators' promoting homosexuality no matter what children taught at home)

April 30….(WND) A nationally distributed training video produced by a "gay" advocacy group, which claims it's been shown on more than 100 public television stations, advises teachers to promote homosexuality as normal and healthy to children as young as kindergarten age, regardless of what values the child has been taught at home. "We are asking kids to believe that homosexuality is right. Not as a matter of moral principle, but as a matter of, we're educating them and this is part of what we consider to be a healthy education," one unidentified teacher said during the videotaped meeting of educators preparing to teach, or as their critics charge, "brainwash" – their students. That particular response was to a question from another teacher who wondered how to approach homosexual advocacy when a student comes from a background of biblical teaching, that is, that homosexuality is a sin. "I don't know what to do about this but, as a school are we saying that kids have to support this? I guess that's what it sounds like to me that we're saying. If a child comes from a background that says homosexuality is not correct, are we telling that child that this is what you are supposed to do?" asked the teacher. The answer was a resounding yes. The comments are just some of what is horrifying parents who now are seeing video clips of the "It's Elementary" video prepared for use in schools. Brian Camenker, who heads the Mass Resistance organization which also has publicized the videos, said people are flooding his office with calls, asking what they can do. "They're physically sickened by watching that. People with kids are wondering, is this what's going to happen to them in schools in America," Camenker told WND. The first video excerpt, which follows here, shows actual footage of teachers indoctrinating children that homosexuality is "healthy education."  California lawmakers currently are considering a bill that would not only promote homosexuality, it would ban anything from public schools that could be perceived as "reflecting adversely" on the homosexual lifestyle choice. Could that target a statement of Christian belief, or a Bible verse? Sure, say those battling the issue. Camenker said the 78-minute video was produced and distributed by homosexual activists and is "meant to be a training video for homosexual activist teachers across the country." The video shows administrators telling teachers to talk "about gay and lesbian issues" and teachers showing students pictures of celebrity homosexuals. Students are grilled by teachers about how they would feel if someone told them they couldn't have two moms. "What do you mean by open-minded?" a teacher asks what appears to be about a 1st-grader. "If you're not very open-minded, say there's a new vegetable, then you won't try it. If you are open-minded, then you would try it," the student responds. Another teacher asks students to think about words that would "make a gay person feel bad." Still another segment shows young children applauding wildly as a teacher publicly announces his homosexuality. More of the "educating" goes on in the second excerpt: Although 'It's Elementary' was made over a decade ago, it's still a major training film for homosexual activists, is still being shown in schools across the country, and has become a standard feature at homosexual teachers' conferences," the Mass Resistance site says. "How much further has that agenda reached since then? How many more young children are being desensitized to homosexuality in their young years by these sophisticated techniques. And more importantly, when are you going to get involved to do something about it?" A LifeSiteNews report quoted Stephen Bennett, who runs Stephen Bennett Ministries as warning about the "brainwashing" shown in the video. Bennett told LifeSiteNews he was horrified, and "had tears in my eyes" after watching. "It's so heartbreaking to see little kids being brainwashed," he said. The online company that still sells the video notes that it has been shown on more than 100 public television stations and "model's excellent teaching about family diversity, name-calling, stereotypes, community building and more." "We make films that make change," said Women's Educational Media, the maker. "We ensure that our films are used to inspire meaningful social change." It also has produced films promoting homosexuals as parents and the 2004 San Francisco debacle where thousands of same-sex couples were given marriage licenses that later were declared invalid by the state Supreme Court. The homosexual activist strategy is stated plainly in the film's promotion. "Waiting to teach children to accept differences of all kinds until middle school or high school is too late; statistics show that by sixth, seventh and eight grades, harmful stereotypes already have begun to take hold."



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