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Russia, China Resist New Iran Sanctions

Sept. 28….(AP) Russia and China are refusing to discuss possible new sanctions against Iran until the UN nuclear agency reports on Tehran's disclosure of its past suspicious nuclear work at the end of the year, France's foreign minister said Thursday. Bernard Kouchner said France, the United States and Britain are trying to persuade the Russians and Chinese not to wait to consider a new UN Security Council resolution that would toughen sanctions on Iran for defying council demands to suspend uranium enrichment. But he said he did not think the council would be able to take up a new sanctions resolution until after December, when the International Atomic Energy Agency's report is due. "I think that it would be very difficult to convince the Russians and the Chinese before," Kouchner told reporters at a breakfast meeting. "We'll do our best to convince them, but honestly, the position was difficult to tackle." Earlier in the day, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told Russian news agencies that new sanctions would undermine the IAEA's work. "The UN Security Council measures on Iran should be balanced and respond to the steps taken by Tehran itself that obliged to answer all questions," Lavrov was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti. Lavrov and other diplomats said he and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exchanged sharp words over new sanctions Wednesday at a German-hosted luncheon of foreign ministers from the Group of 8 industrialized nations. Rice and her aides have moved to capitalize on international frustration with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for declaring Tuesday that Tehran would defy any council move for more sanctions, but Lavrov said he was adamant for letting the IAEA deal with Iran. He said the United States wants to ignore the IAEA but "we want to rely on IAEA expertise." IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials agreed in July that Tehran would answer questions from agency experts by December on more than two decades of nuclear activity, most of it secret until revealed more than four years ago.



Iran Strengthens Ties With South America



Sept. 28….(AP) The leaders of Iran and Venezuela cemented an alliance aimed at countering the United States while the Iranian president reached out to a new ally in Bolivia and declared that together, "no one can defeat us." After being vilified during his UN visit this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled on to friendlier territory Thursday, first stopping in Bolivia, where he pledged $1 billion in investment, and then visiting Venezuela to meet President Hugo Chavez. "Together we are surely growing stronger, and in truth no one can defeat us," the Iranian leader said through an interpreter. Apparently referring to the US, he said, "Imperialism has no other option: Respect the peoples (of the world) or accept defeat." Chavez greeted the Iranian leader warmly on a red carpet in front of the presidential palace, where they both stood before microphones and let loose with rhetoric challenging Washington. "We will continue resisting to the end in the face of imperialism," Ahmadinejad said. "And the age of imperialism has ended." Chavez embraced the Iranian leader, calling him "one of the greatest anti-imperialist fighters" and "one of the great fighters for true peace." In his defiant speech to the UN General Assembly this week, Ahmadinejad rebuked "arrogant powers" seeking to curb Iran's nuclear program. Chavez also strongly defends Iran's nuclear research, insisting it is for peaceful energy uses despite US charges it is aimed at making nuclear weapons. The Venezuelan leader also says his country plans to eventually develop a nuclear energy program. Bolivian President Evo Morales, who joins Chavez as one of Iran's key allies, called Ahmadinejad's visit historic as the two nations established diplomatic relations for the first time. Morales brushed off concerns about close ties to a country that the Bush administration says is a sponsor of terrorism, declaring that the "international community can rest assured that Bolivia's foreign policy is dedicated to peace with equality and social justice." Ahmadinejad's trip underscored his growing ties to Latin American nations, including Nicaragua and Ecuador, even as the US tries to isolate him internationally. The closer relationship is viewed with alarm by the opposition in Venezuela and Bolivia. Along with Nicaragua and Bolivia, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa also wants closer ties with Tehran.



Hamas Kassam Rockets Discovered near Jerusalem

(may mark new phase in terror war)

imageSept. 28….(Israel Insider) Palestinian security officers found Kassam missile casings and launchers between the Al Aida refugee camp and Beit Jala, adjacent to the Jerusalem district of Gilo and transferred them to the IDF. The 22 mm missiles, 1.5 meters (5 feet) long, were marked "Allah is great." The Palestinian officers claimed that they were not armed. The IDF said that while the missile casings were just pipes that posed no "immediate danger," Israeli forces carried out a controlled explosion to destroy them. Some Israeli analysts say that the Palestinian Authority is trying to score "PR points" for uncovering a non-existent threat and showing their the PA forces are doing something to fulfill their preventive security obligations. Other Israeli sources speculate that the discovery of missiles aimed at Jerusalem on the eve of the Jewish Succoth festival may indicate that Hamas and other terror groups may be preparing more weapons for firing at the Israeli capital and other civilian targets in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"). There are indications that Hamas may be heading for a confrontation with the Mahmoud Abbas regime on the West Bank after driving them out of Gaza three months ago. Wednesday morning, the terror group publicly vowed to carry out a military coup against Abbas and prime minister Salim Fayyad, both now in New York.



Russia Warns US of Retaliation if Weapons Deployed in Space

imageSept. 27….(Novosti) Russia is ready to take appropriate military measures if any weapons are deployed in space by any nation, the commander of the Russian Space Forces said today. "Should any country deploy weapons in space, then the laws of armed warfare are such that retaliatory weapons are certain to appear," Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said. He said Russia and China have drafted an international declaration on the non-deployment of weapons in space and sent it to the UN. "It is necessary to establish the rules of the game in space," he said, adding that the deployment of weapons in space could have unpredictable consequences, since such weapons are "very complex systems." "A sizable war could break out," the commander said. He said space must not be the sphere of interests of any one country. "We do not want to fight in space, and we do not want to call the shots there either, but we will not permit any other country to do so," he said.

FOJ Note: This declaration is clearly aimed at the United States, and highlights the fact that the East and the West are on a collision course, a course that will ultimately lead them to a confrontation in the Middle East.



Russian and Teheran Concerned about Air Defense Failure in Syria

Russian-made Pantsyr S1
fire control and radar systems

Sept. 27….(FOJ) On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr AZ-Zawr. Most military experts have since concluded from the way Damascus has fell totally silent about the, Sept. 6 Israeli attack on Dayr as Zawr, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to even detect, let alone down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before. The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion. Western intelligence circles stress that information on Russian missile consignments to Syria or Iran is vital to any US calculation of whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program. They assume that the “absolute jamming immunity” which the Russian manufactures promised for the improved Pantsyr missiles was immobilized by superior electronic capabilities exercised by the Israeli jets that hit the Syrian site at Dayr  as Zawr. The Russian Pantsyr-S1E Air Defense Missile fire control systems with advanced radar had just been installed in Syria, supposedly to protect a North Korean and Syrian team working on unsubstantiated weapons. Western intelligence circles maintain at least three or four batteries of the detection systems were sent to Iran by Russia to boost its air defense arsenal. The purported Israeli air force flights over the Pantsyr-S1E site established that the new Russian missiles, activated for the first time in the Middle East, are effective and dangerous but can be disarmed. Pantsir-S1 or Panzir (“Shell" in English) is a short-range, mobile air defense system, combining two 30mm anti-aircraft guns and 12 surface-to-air missiles which can fire on the move. The Pantsyr S1 short-range air defense system is designed by Russia to provide point defense of key military and industrial facilities and air defense support for military units during air and ground operations. Syria and Iran believed the Russian system provided the best possible protection against American or Israeli air and missile attack, and its failure has caused concern in Iran and Moscow! Stationed in al Hamma, at the meeting point of the Syrian-Jordanian and Israeli borders, the missile’s detection range of 30 km takes in all of Israel’s northern air force bases.


(FOJ) Dayr az Zawr, situated on the Euphrates is suspected of possessing the former Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Russian truck convoys were seen transporting cargo out of Iraq prior to the US – led invasion against Saddam Hussein. Dayr az Zawr is also close to the border crossing point for terrorist insurgents crossing from Syria into Iraq. While American politicians debate and wrangle about the missing WMD, Russia has cleverly played a game of cat and mouse with them, and all the while arming the Axis of Evil.


Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil? The first half of the answer may lie in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month: Syria's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, "considered the cutting edge in air craft interception technology." Syria now "possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world," with "more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types," some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria "before being introduced into Russian operation service." While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria: Notice how far away Dayr AZ-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th. Nothing. The Russian systems didn't even light up, and gave no indication whatsoever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis blinded the Russian antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected, at enormous expense, only to discover their weapons defenseless. Thus the great concern in Teheran and Moscow, for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria, and both countries are counting on the Russian Bear to be their guard. (Ezekiel 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.)



Hamas Calls on Arab States to Skip US Peace Summit

imageSept. 27….(Israel Daily) The democratically elected Hamas movement ruling Gaza called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on Wednesday to stay away from a US-sponsored Middle East peace meeting expected in November. "The Palestinian government warns that the autumn conference will be a new occasion for negotiators to make concessions," it said in a statement. "We thus call on our Arab brothers not to venture into this obscure tunnel. In particular, we call on Saudi Arabia not to participate in this conference," it said. Israel's main ally the United States has called an international Middle East peace meeting for later this autumn as part of its efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. On Sunday, the United States said that members of an Arab League follow-up committee, which includes oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Syria, would be invited. The committee, which also includes Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is charged with convincing Israel to accept the Saudi-drafted peace initiative relaunched in March by the Arab League during a summit in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has already required Israel to make pre-summit concessions before it will even attend.  



Israel Launches Retaliatory Attack on Gaza Rocket Terrorists

imageSept. 27….(AP) Israeli forces killed two Gaza terrorist-militants in a missile strike early today, bringing the two-day death toll in Gaza fighting to 11, hospital officials said. Israel said it is targeting terrorist-militants involved in the constant firing of rockets at Israeli border towns. Eleven rockets and two dozen mortar shells have hit Israel since Wednesday, the army said, despite warnings by Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he is moving closer to ordering a large-scale military offensive in Gaza. Last week, the Israeli government declared Gaza, the area it withdrew its citizens from 2 years ago, "hostile territory." In northern Gaza, Israeli tanks and bulldozers briefly entered the town of Beit Hanoun on Wednesday, following rocket fire from the area. David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman, said Israel's strikes are part of a "continuous policy of preventing terrorist activity against our civilians, including our taking pre-emptive measures as needed to thwart these attacks." A top aide to the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said the Israeli operations only strengthens the resolve of Hamas to continue its rocket barrages, and avenge Palestinian blood shed by this Nazi army.



Ahmadinejad Unveils His World Without Israel


Ahmadinejad and Iran sponsored a conference entitled “Imagine a World without Zionism” in 2005. They also conveyed the message that the US should be destroyed first in the process of destroying Israel.

Sept. 27….(Jerusalem Post) Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to unveil a vision of a world without Israel, in which America and Europe would be freed of what he said was Zionist oppression. Culminating a concerted assault on what he described as the injustices and oppressions practiced by the "big powers" since World War II, he said that the ungodly era of lewdness and violence was coming to a close and that "the age of monotheism has commenced." The world was "nearing the sunset of the time of empires," he said, and urged the dominant world powers to eschew their "obedience to Satan" and "submit to the will of god." If they did so, "they will be saved." If not, "calamities will befall them." But whether or not these powers chose to reform themselves, he said, the day was fast approaching when "occupied lands will be freed. Palestine and Iraq will be liberated from the domination of the occupiers." And the people of America and Europe would be liberated from Zionist oppression. "This is the promise of god," he said. "Therefore it will be fulfilled." Earlier in his address, the Iranian president insisted again that his country's nuclear program was peaceful and transparent, and repeated and elaborated on the charges he had leveled at Columbia University on Monday against Israel, which he did not mention by name, but rather called "the illegal Zionist regime." He told the assembled world leaders that the people of Palestine had been punished for 60 years for what had happened in Europe. They had been held "under occupation of the illegal Zionist regime," he said. "The Palestinian people have been displaced," he went on, "incarcerated under abhorrent conditions." They were being deprived of water and medicine "for the sin of asking for freedom." Ahmadinejad accused Israel of terrorism and castigated "the brutal Zionists" for carrying out targeted assassinations. He also described immigration to Israel as the gathering "of Jews from around the world" with false promises, and their enforced settlement "in the occupied territories" where there were induced "to malevolence against the Palestinian people." He spoke of a range of global injustices being rooted in the domination by the victors of World War II over the vanquished, and being perpetuated by the skewed composition of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. The big powers, he said, had "put themselves in the position of god" and lost "their respect for the dignity of humans." As a remedy, he proposed the formation of "a coalition for peace," guided by "monotheism, justice and compassion for humans," and the reforming of the Security Council based on justice and democracy.



Palestinians Warn of Violence If US-Sponsored Meeting Fails

Sept. 27….( If the US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian conference fails to meet expectations, it could lead to a new round of violence, Palestinian political members and analysts are warning. President Bush met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas this week and reiterated his backing for a two-state solution to the conflict. Bush did not specifically mention the meeting, which he offered to host in July. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have met a number of times to prepare for the meeting. The relationship between them has been described as warm but there appears to be a wide gap in their expectations for the outcome of the meeting. After his meeting with Bush this week, Abbas said the meeting should deal with substantive issues that would lead to negotiations and a permanent agreement. Independent commentator and analyst Elias Zaniri said he is concerned that the conference could become a repeat of the Camp David peace conference in July 2000, sponsored by then-President Bill Clinton. That 15-day summit between then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat failed miserably. Clinton later blamed Arafat for its failure. Less than two months later, the Palestinians launched their bloody intifadah terror war against Israel. In 2000, there were so many expectations and no results, Zaniri told CNS. Likewise, the current level of tension is high and could lead to a new showdown, he said. Zaniri said for the Bush-sponsored meeting to succeed, there must be a clear declaration of principles, not just an enumeration of the core issues (Jerusalem, final borders, refugees and settlements). The two sides must come up with a plan for the end-game, he said. And the meeting must have the backing of the international community. Zaniri said he thinks that both Israelis and Palestinians are ready for a peace agreement, although he does not believe it will happen at this meeting. "The gap is too big too bridge," he said. Ghassan Khatib, a lecturer at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, said he would judge the upcoming meeting to be a success if the two sides narrow their current gap on the core issues and if the meeting results in changes on the ground for the Palestinians. Khatib said issues such as Israel's settlement expansion and the separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank are top concerns for Palestinians. But Israel is extremely hesitant to agree to any land concessions without first seeing Palestinians fulfill their security obligations, including the dismantling of terrorist organizations. One Israeli official recently noted that Israel handed over most of the West Bank to Palestinian control in the 1990s, then had to recapture it in 2002 after a series of terror attacks on Israel. Khatib said he believed the Israelis and Americans want the meeting to end with a statement that is general enough for everyone to align themselves with. But such a broad, vague statement would not do any good, he said. "Any attempt that does not succeed in practical terms, implies the worsening of the situation," Khatib said. The US is also pushing other nations in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, to participate in the upcoming conference. Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic ties with Israel. So far, very few Arab nations have signaled a willingness to participate. On Tuesday, Hamas called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations not to participate in the upcoming conference. Hamas repeatedly has spoken against the meeting but this is the first time that a direct appeal was made to the Arab states. Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip, warned Arab states against making concessions to Israel. Arab diplomats also have been quoted as saying that they believe that the upcoming conference is a "waste of time." The aim of the meeting is to make President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "look good in the eyes of the Arabs and Muslims" and showcase an achievement for before leaving office, an unnamed Cairo-based diplomat was quoted as saying in Wednesday's Jerusalem Post. Another diplomat was quoted as saying that his country didn't want to attend because "Israel has nothing to offer."

FOJ Note: The Palestinian and Arab League nations always use the tools of threats and blackmail against the US prior to any peace negotiation summit. It is just one of the many things that points to the insincerity of their participation in the land-for-peace formula. Israel is constantly conceding things and giving away things, while the Palestinian leadership has never granted anything at all towards a peace. To say Israel has nothing to offer is a travesty, and to threaten more terrorism is blackmail.



World Bites On UN’s IAEA’s Deceptive Islamic Bait

Sept. 26….(By Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) The International Atomic Energy Agency, the so-called nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, has been infiltrated in its leadership by Islamists and terrorist sympathizers to the point that there is no longer any balance in Middle East nuclear policy and the IAEA cannot be trusted to give clear and accurate information regarding the nuclear ambitions of Islamic countries such as Iran and its vassal state, Syria. The IAEA recently elected Syria as Deputy Chairman of its September nuclear conference, two weeks after Israel bombed what was thought to be a nuclear facility in Syria funded by Iran. Syria also made recent headlines when dozens of so-called scientists were killed in an explosion. Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that the technicians were fitting a SCUD missile with chemical weapons when there was an explosion and many of them died due to Sarin gas exposure. Leading analyst and supplier of military information,, reports that in the early 1970’s, “the Egyptian government reportedly gave Syria artillery shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. Since then Syria has developed a robust chemical weapons program, perhaps one of the most advanced in the Middle East.” IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei is an Egyptian born Islamist who has played dupe to the Iranian nuclear “rope a dope” game for several years. ElBaradei has for years dragged his feet that Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the making. In November 2004, ElBaradei said he did not believe that Iran had a nuclear weapons program. He told the news media, “I am not ready to jump to the conclusion and say this is a weapons program unless I see a diversion of nuclear material to such a program or I see clear cut proof that this is a weapons program.” ElBaradei took the same approach toward North Korea, which was suspected of supplying Syria through Iran with the nuclear materials destroyed by the recent Israeli attack. Egypt supplied Syria with its original chemical weapons capabilities. ElBaradei is an Egyptian Islamist who has dragged his feet in certifying that Islamofascist states Syria and Iran have nuclear weapons programs as aided by Russia, China and North Korea. And now Syria is Deputy Chairman of the IAEA annual nuclear conference under ElBaradei’s watch—and Syria led a resolution against Israel as a nuclear threat to the Middle East. When will the world recognize that the Islamists are working together to spread nuclear and chemical weapons? Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The world is under Islam’s deceptive spell.



Nicaragua’s Oretega Rails at US Hegemony

imageSept. 26….(Fox News) Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega accused the US of imposing a worldwide dictatorship and defended the right of Iran and North Korea to pursue nuclear technology in a speech Tuesday before the UN General Assembly meeting. Ortega also angrily denounced President Bush for criticizing Cuban leader Fidel Castro during his speech earlier in the day. Ortega, who took office in January, said little had changed since he last addressed the world body as the Marxist leader of Nicaragua's Sandinista-run government two decades ago. "The presidents of the US change. And they may come to office with the greatest of intentions and they may feel that they are doing good for humanity, but they fail to understand that they are no more than instruments of one more empire in a long list of empires that have been imposed on our planet," Ortega said, waving his arms. Ortega had started off addressing the central theme of this year's General Assembly meeting, climate change, but he quickly launched into a tirade against global capitalism, meandering from his notes and speaking well beyond his allotted 15 minutes. The world is under "the most impressive, huge dictatorship that has existed, the empire of North America," he said. An "imperialist minority is imposing global capitalism to impoverish us all and impose apartheid against Latin American immigrants and against African immigrants." He said the United States, as the only country to have used nuclear bombs in a war, was in no position to question the right of Iran and North Korea to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. "And even if they want nuclear power for purposes that are not peaceful, with what right does the US question it?" Ortega added. His speech recalled last year's UN speech by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who caused a storm by calling Bush the "devil." Chavez is not attending this year. Ortega did not directly insult Bush. But he came to the ailing Castro's defense moments after Bush declared that "in Cuba, the long rule of a cruel dictatorship is nearing its end." Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque walked out of the assembly in protest. "And we heard from the president of the United States this morning a total lack of respect when he spoke of Cuba," Ortega said. "Fidel Castro has shown great solidarity with humanity."



Ramallah-Lynch Terrorist Nabbed

imageSept. 26….( IDF soldiers have arrested the last of the Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorists responsible for the brutal lynching of two IDF reservists in Ramallah seven years ago. Soldiers apprehended 36-year-old Tanzim terrorist Hayman Zaben in Shechem early Wednesday.  Zaben was one of those responsible for bludgeoning to death IDF reservists Vadim Nurzitz and Yossi Avrahami in a PA police station in Ramallah in October, 2000. The two Israeli reserve soldiers had accidentally entered PA-controlled Ramallah, just six miles north of Jerusalem, and were arrested by PA police. It was once they were in custody that the lynch occurred. TV images of the lynching show a body of one of the two Israelis being tossed from the police station window to a mob of local Arabs who beat the soldiers’ bodies with anything they could get their hands on. The mob is seen waving body parts in the air and proudly displaying their blood-soaked hands to their comrades.



Bush blasts UNHRC for its Anti-Israel Bias

Sept. 26….(Jerusalem Post) US President George W. Bush blasted the UN Human Rights Council for singling out Israel while ignoring major human rights violators, in his speech at the opening of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Bush said that for the United States to be credible in standing up for human rights, "the UN must reform its own human rights council." The UN was "silent on repression" in places like Caracas and Teheran while it focused its criticism "excessively on Israel," he said. President Bush also mentioned Israel in his reaffirmation of a two-state solution and call for the international community to help by backing Palestinian moderates. "The international community must support these leaders," he said. "In Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration," Bush said, but otherwise avoided focusing attention on Teheran in his speech. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, however, devoted more attention to the Iranian threat and warned against the Islamic Republic gaining nuclear weapons. The international standoff over Iran's nuclear program will only be resolved with a combination of "firmness and dialogue," and appeasement can only lead to "war," he said. Sarkozy, addressing the UN General Assembly for the first time since becoming president in May, said Teheran was entitled to nuclear power for civilian purposes, "but if we allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, we would incur an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world." "Weakness and renunciation do not lead to peace. They lead to war," Sarkozy declared. "There will not be peace in the world if the international community falters in the face of the proliferation of nuclear arms." The Iranian crisis "will only be resolved if firmness and dialogue go hand-in-hand." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also referenced the Middle East in his General Assembly speech, saying peace there was vital to the stability of the region and the world. "We know what is required: an end to violence, an end to occupation, the creation of a Palestinian state at peace with itself and Israel, and a comprehensive regional peace between Israel and the Arab world," he said.



Ahmadinejad: Iran’s Nuclear Issue is ‘CLOSED’

(Iranian leader says nation will ignore UN resolutions by ‘arrogant powers’)

imageSept. 26….(Fox News) Iranian President announced Tuesday that his country’s disputed nuclear program is “closed” as a political issue, and said Tehran will disregard UN Security Council resolutions imposed by “arrogant powers” to curb its nuclear program. Instead, he told world leaders at the UN General Assembly that Iran has decided to pursue the monitoring of its nuclear program “through its appropriate legal path,” the International Agency, which is the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Earlier this month, IAEA chief Mohamed El-Baradei said Iran’s cooperation with the agency was in fact happening and represented an important step, but he urged Tehran to answer all questions, including reported experiments that link enrichment and missile technology, before the end of the year. This week, IAEA technical officials returned to Tehran to deal with the nuclear questions. When Ahmadinejad was ushered to the podium of the General Assembly to speak, the U.S. delegation walked out, leaving only a low-ranking note-taker to listen to his speech which indirectly accused the United States and Israel of major human rights violations. The Iranian leader spoke hours after French President warned the assembly that allowing Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons would be an “unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world.” Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened tougher sanctions against Iran if the country remains intractable in the dispute over its nuclear program. Iran insists that its nuclear program is purely peaceful and aimed solely at producing nuclear energy. But the United States and key European nations believe the program is a cover for Iran’s real ambition, producing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad has defied two Security Council resolutions demanding that it suspend its enrichment program and imposing escalating sanctions against key figures and organizations involved in the nuclear program. He made clear in his speech that Iran does not intend to comply with them now, or ever.



Bush to Abbas: Statehood for Palestinians is in Reach

imageSept. 25….(Ha Aretz) US President George W. Bush met Monday with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad in New York, and promised that the United States would be a strong partner in establishing an independent state for Palestinians. "I believe that the vision of two states side by side in peace is achievable," Bush told reporters during a joint press conference with Abbas after the hour-long meeting. Bush did not, however, make any mention of the upcoming US-sponsored Middle East peace conference. It is still unclear which states will be invited to the conference, as well as which issues will be dealt with. The three leaders were in News York for the annual UN General Assembly conference.   Bush held talks with Abbas and Fayad, and then a separate one-on-one session alone with Abbas, with the aim of preparing for the peace conference by bolstering the two moderate leaders. That task is especially important to the US since the Palestinian territories split this summer into two camps ruled by rival governments, one controlled by Abbas in the West Bank and the other by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "I appreciate the fact that you're fighting the extremists who don't share the same kind of view," Bush told Abbas. Abbas said it was critical that the American president maintain current high levels of support for his government, the senior White House official said.



Ahmadinejad: If the Holocaust Happened, Why Must Palestinians Pay?

imageSept. 25….(Ha Aretz) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended Holocaust revisionists and raised questions about who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks in a tense showdown Monday at Columbia University, where the school's head introduced the hard-line leader by calling him a "petty and cruel dictator." There's nothing known as an absolute," Ahmadinejad said. He said the Holocaust has been abused as a justification for Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians. "Why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?" he asked.

Even if the Holocaust really happened, the Palestinian people must not be forced to pay the price, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told students and faculty at Columbia University in New York yesterday. The Iranian leader defended his calls for more research into the Holocaust, saying Israel is simply using it as a pretext to steal the land of the Palestinians. "Why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?" he asked. The Iranian leader ducked a question about his repeated calls for Israel's destruction, declining to either reiterate or deny them. "We love all nations," he said instead. "We are friends with the Jewish people; there are many Jews in Iran living peacefully with security." He said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved by allowing "the people of Palestine," Jews, Muslims and Christians, to decide their own fate, without international intervention. Ahmadinejad also accused Israel of occupation and racism. "We do not recognize that regime [Israel] because it is based on occupation and racism. It constantly attacks its neighbors," he said in a video news conference from New York with the National Press Club in Washington. "It kills people. It drives people from their homes." He also took a swipe at the United States, saying: "We oppose the way the US government tries to manage the world."

FOJ Note: This rhetoric about the US managing the world sounds as if it could have the support of Russia and China!



North Korea: US Aids Israeli Nuke Program

An aerial view of Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Sept. 25….(Jerusalem Post) North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of actively providing nuclear weapons assistance to Israel while seeking to deprive other countries of the right to peaceful nuclear programs. North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, meanwhile, denied accusations that his country had cooperated with Syria on a secret nuclear project. The United States is "shutting its eyes" to the nuclear programs of its allies while "taking issue with the rights to nuclear activities of other countries for peaceful purposes," North Korea's communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "As an illustration, the US has long actively promoted and cooperated with the Israeli nuclear armament plan," the newspaper said. "They decided to provide assistance to Israel's nuclear development program. Then the US dispatched nuclear experts to Israel and transferred highly enriched uranium, the key ingredient for nuclear weapons, to them." Israel is widely believed to be a nuclear power, but the government has never formally confirmed or denied that it has nuclear weapons. North Korea's criticism came amid news reports that IAF warplanes attacked an installation in northern Syria earlier this month which was allegedly either a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear project or a shipment of arms for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. North Korea has flatly denied any nuclear link with Syria, calling the accusation a fabrication by "dishonest forces" who want to obstruct recent progress in North Korean-US relations. "That matter is fabricated by lunatics, so you can ask those lunatics to explain it," North Korea's top nuclear envoy, Kim Kye Gwan, told reporters Tuesday after arriving in Beijing for talks on his country's nuclear weapons program. International negotiations aimed at convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear programs have reported progress in recent months, with the North shutting down its only functioning nuclear reactor in July and pledging to declare and disable all its nuclear facilities by year's end. A new round of six-party talks, involving the US, the Koreas, China, Russia and Japan, is scheduled this week, with the participants expected to firm up a deadline for North Korea to disable its nuclear facilities.



Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University, New York, Demonstrates the Futility of Attempts at US-Iranian Dialogue

Sept. 25….(DEBKA) The Iranian president, clearly enjoying every moment of the uproar he provoked in American discourse, parried the tough questions posed him at the end of his speech to 600 students and faculty Monday, Sept. 24, by throwing questions back, longwinded evasions and barefaced lies. From his first words, Ahmadinejad showed that, far from being a potential partner for dialogue, he incarnates the arrogant, intolerant certainty that there is only one correct path, the one pursued by the Islamic Revolutionary Republic of Iran. Even so, his glib, hectoring style of speech is known to grate on more than one of his colleagues at home. As demonstrators rallied outside the campus, the Iranian president was asked if he supported terrorism. He replied that Iran was itself a victim of terrorism. He did not mention the US, but cited the camps in Iraq housing terrorists responsible for 4000 Iranian deaths, a transparent reference to the opposition Iranian Mujahedin Qalq. The Americans banned this group for many years, reactivating it last year in response to Iran’s massive aid to Iraqi insurgents fighting US troops. Asked about his government’s nuclear program, Ahmadinejad said its intentions were peaceful. Therefore, he said: “Iran does not want the bomb.” Ahmadinejad dodged the question about his declared wish to wipe Israel off the map by saying the Palestinians must have the freedom to self-determination. But at the end of his speech, he said: Iran has always sought friendly relations with all nations except for two, “the South African apartheid regime (which no long exists) and the Zionist regime.” He thus obliquely reaffirmed his wish for the latter to go the same way as the former, off the map. Interestingly, the Iranian president was not heckled or interrupted even once, even at his most outrageous. Some of his comments were greeted with applause. He clearly attained his main objective: a respectful hearing in the heart of a prestigious American center of learning in New York. Ahmadinejad showed he was skeptical not only of the “Holocaust myth” but America’s affirmation of the “real hands” behind the 9/11 atrocities when he asked: “Who really did execute the 9-11 attack?” This question will be understood in Arab and Muslim bazaars as echoing the anti-Semitic libel current there that the al Qaeda attack was a Zionist plot. Even though Columbia University President Lee Bollinger greeted the Iranian visitor as “a cruel and petty tyrant and terrorist,” there his no gainsaying that he granted a coveted platform to a world figure who abused it to disseminate a creed which preaches the superiority of the Iranian race, culture and religion and whose highest objective is the downfall of Big Satan America and Little Satan Israel.



Mid-East Summit May Include Syria

(Arab states including Syria, a bitter opponent of Israel, will be asked to a Middle East peace meeting in November, the US secretary of state has said.)

imageSept. 25….(BBC) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the Arab nations as "natural invitees" but said they would have to renounce violence. She was speaking after the four backers of the peace process, the US, EU, Russia and the UN, met in New York and gave support to the proposed summit. The quartet issued a roadmap in 2003 for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. But the roadmap has been sidelined and no apparent progress has been made towards achieving the declared aim of the process, a two-state solution. After Sunday's meeting, the quartet issued a statement expressing support for the proposed conference, which has been heavily promoted by the US. Ms Rice said it "would be natural" for Syria, Saudi Arabia and 10 other Arab League members to participate, but warned that attending the summit brought "certain responsibilities". Syria remains technically at war with Israel. The quartet's envoy, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, said he believed the peace process now had momentum. He said there was an "ambitious but achievable" plan to create a sense of how a Palestinian state would look by the end of the year, and that the inclusion of Syria in that process was absolutely vital.

FOJ Note: The crafted peace of the Antichrist will be crafted with “many nations” including the entire Arab world. (Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.)



Quartet Leaders Try to Jumpstart Mideast Peace Conference

(Secretary Rice with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [right] and EU High Representative Javier Solana left, meet with the press after a meeting of Quartet Principals at UN Headquarters)

imageSept. 24….( ) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that the Quartet met this afternoon and that they are going to have another meeting with the Arab partners over dinner, an Iftaar dinner to commemorate Ramadan. The joint statement reads as follows. The Quartet principals met today together with the Quartet Representative Tony Blair. The Quartet recognized the present opportunity for progress and the robust regional and international desire for peace in the Middle East. The Quartet expressed its strong support for the ongoing bilateral talks between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas and welcomed the formation of Israeli and Palestinian teams to discuss the core issues that are essential to progress towards their shared goal of a negotiated two-state solution and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living side by side with a secure Israel. The Quartet underscored the need for immediate additional steps to meet previous commitments, including those under the Roadmap and the Agreement on Movement and Access, so as to create a positive atmosphere conducive to progress towards a two-state solution. The Quartet expressed support for the international meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace called for by US President Bush in his July 16th statement. Principals discussed the meeting and agreed that it should be substantive and serious, providing support to the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward urgently on a successful path to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians. The goal of this meeting is to bring together key members of the international community in support of efforts between Israelis and Palestinians to end their conflict and help bring a final peace in the Middle East. The Quartet Representative Tony Blair briefed the Quartet on his meetings and discussions in the region and discussed the way forward on the development of a functioning Palestinian economy and the institutions of governance that will form the foundation of a Palestinian state. The Quartet agreed that Mr. Blair should work closely with the Palestinian Authority government in developing a multi-year agenda for institutional and economic development and looked forward to strong technical and financial support from the international community in support of these efforts. The Quartet discussed its forthcoming meeting with members of the Arab League Follow-up Committee to consult on next steps of the Arab Peace Initiative and regional support for bilateral talks between the parties. The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.



Iran’s Leader Condemned by Columbia University President

(Ahmadinejad calls Columbia president's opening remarks 'an insult')

Sept. 24….(MSNBC) As hundreds protested outside, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the stage at Columbia University on Monday after a blistering introduction from the school's president, who said the hard-line leader was a dictator with preposterous beliefs. Ahmadinejad smiled as Columbia President Lee Bollinger took him to task over Iran's human-rights record and foreign policy, as well as Ahmadinejad's statements denying the Holocaust and calling for the disappearance of Israel. "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.  He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant. "When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history." Ahmadinejad rose, also to applause, and after a religious invocation said Bollinger's opening was "an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here." "There were insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully," Ahmadinejad said, accusing Bollinger of offering "unfriendly treatment" under the influence of the US press and politicians. Bollinger, who had been criticized for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak, also described him as having a "fanatical mindset" for making statements like wanting Israel to be “wiped off the map.” "Do you plan on wiping us off the map too?" Bollinger asked? Stating his "revulsion at all you stand for" as Ahmadinejad sat nearby, Bollinger concluded by saying that "I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions, but your avoidance will be meaningful to us." Bollinger ended his remarks to wild applause from the audience.

   Earlier Monday, Ahmadinejad said Iran would not launch an attack on Israel or any other country, and he does not believe the US is preparing for war against Iran. “Iran will not attack any country,” Ahmadinejad told The Associated Press. Iran has always maintained a defensive policy, not an offensive one, he said, and has “never sought to expand its territory.” Asked whether he believed the US is preparing for war, he responded: “I believe that some of the talk in this regard arises first of all from anger. Secondly, it serves the electoral purposes domestically in this country. Third, it serves as a cover for policy failures over Iraq.” In a 30-minute interview at a hotel near the United Nations, where he will address then General Assembly on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad struck a soothing tone. He said Iranian foreign policy was based on humanitarian concerns and seeking justice. He reiterated his call for a debate at the United Nations on world issues with President Bush. Referring to fears of a military campaign against Iran, he said: “We don’t think you can compensate for one mistake by committing more mistakes.” The Iranian president, in what is believed to be his first comments on a reported attack Sept. 6 by Israeli bombers inside Syria, said the attack stemmed from Israeli expansionism and “it had nothing to with Iran.”

Hundreds of protesters also gathered for a noon rally against Ahmadinejad at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations, where Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Tuesday. “I don’t think he deserves a right to even be here in the United States,” said Sam Morris, a senior at Yeshiva University High School, one of at least 500 students from Jewish day schools. Scores of evangelical Christians of all ages also protested, holding blue-and-white signs that said, “Christians United for Israel” and, “Israel is on the map to stay.”



Ahmadinejad Speaks at Columbia University

(Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to a scolding by Columbia University's president Monday by objecting to the manner in which he was introduced)

imageSept. 24….(Fox News) After sitting through the blistering introduction by Lee Bollinger, in which he was lambasted for calling for the annihilation of Israel, denying the Holocaust and supporting the execution of children, Ahmadinejad said it was insulting to be spoken about that way. "At the outset, I want to complain a bit about the person who read this political statement made against me," Ahmadinejad said. "In Iran, we don't think it's necessary to come in before the speech has already begun with a series of complaints. It was an insult to me and the knowledge of the persons here." In his scathing introduction to the much-anticipated on-campus event, Bollinger told the leader of Iran that he exhibits "all the signs of a brutal dictator." Bollinger levied repeated criticisms against Ahmadinejad, calling on him to answer a series of challenges about his leadership, blasting his views about the "myth" of the Holocaust "absurd" and saying that he doubted he "will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions." Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause. He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant. "When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history." Ahmadinejad rose, also to applause, and after a religious invocation, said Bollinger's opening was full of "insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully." Ahmadinejad accused Bollinger of offering "unfriendly treatment" under the influence of the US press and politicians. Earlier Monday, the Iranian leader opened his speaking tour by again inferring the Holocaust was a myth, taking a swipe at Israel, saying that Israel was "a regime based on racism," and defending his request to visit Ground Zero. The Iranian leader, speaking via video from New York City to journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, tossed aside a question about Israel by saying Iran doesn't recognize the "regime," accusing it of killing people and committing various other atrocities. It was typical of many of Ahmadinejad's responses, which often started with laughing challenges to journalists in which he said, "That's not right," or asked, "Where are you getting that?" On the Holocaust, which the Iranian leader has called a "myth," he said that "if the Holocaust is a reality, why don't we let more research be done on it? Where did the Holocaust happen to begin with? It happened in Europe, and given that, why is it that the Palestinian people should be displaced? Why should they give up their land?"

   Ahmadinejad said the world needs to build a better future "based on peace and security of all humanity," and he spoke of a world full of love, kindness, beauty and allegiance to God as the ultimate goal. "No one should prevent love and kindness from flourishing in mankind and turn it into hostility," the Iranian president said. "Family is the center of love and beauty." He said people should follow God, who would lead them to a "sublime" state.

   The Press Club moderator asked the Iranian leader about Iranian weapons and involvement in Iraq, about his views on whether religions other than Islam have a place in the world and on his country's treatment of women and approach to the freedom of the press. The Iranian president repeatedly asked where the moderator got his information and challenged the truth of his statements. And when asked whether Iran was sending weapons into Iraq to fight against American troops, Ahmadinejad replied that "Iraq security means our security." Ahmadinejad said that the religions of "Christ and Moses" as well as Islam are "all brothers. They all want the same thing."The Iranian president started his speech at the National Press Club by reciting some verses from the Koran. No one on the panel or seated in the audience applauded or reacted in any way when he was introduced. Earlier Monday, President Bush said that while he's "not sure" he would have offered the head of a state sponsor of terror a platform from which to outline his agenda, he thinks it's OK that Columbia University did invite Ahmadinejad to speak. "This is a place of high learning and if the president of Columbia thinks it's a good idea to have the leader from Iran come and talk to the students as an educational experience, I guess it's OK with me," Bush told FOX News in an interview. "The problem is Ahmadinejad uses these platforms to advance his agenda, which I suspect in this case, he doesn't want America to know his true intentions." "He's the head of a state sponsor of terror, and yet, an institution in our country gives him the chance to express his point of view, which really speaks to the freedoms of our country," Bush told FOX on Monday. "I'm not so sure I'd offer the same invitation, but nevertheless, it speaks volumes about the greatness, really, of America. Over the weekend, the university said it would welcome any notable figure visiting the United States, even Adolf Hitler, to speak to students and faculty at the Ivy League college.



Bush to Focus on Reviving Mideast Talks at UN

Sept. 24….(MY WAY) With his chances to advance Middle East peace dwindling, President Bush on Monday will push again for a democratic Palestinian homeland that can coexist with Israel. In New York for the yearly UN General Assembly meeting, Bush planned to begin three days of meetings with world figures by returning to a peace struggle that has lasted for decades. President Bush will get an update on the peace process from an old friend, former British prime minister Tony Blair. Blair is now a Mideast envoy for a coalition of four partners - the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. He just returned from the region. Bush is trying to build international support for a Mideast peace conference that his administration plans to hold this fall. Many Arab states, including some US allies, have been skeptical about the precise mission of the meeting and have sought more details. "I think that there is a sense of momentum in support of the Palestinians and the Israelis in their efforts to end the conflict," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday. More broadly, Bush this week will frame the Mideast conflict as the center of a broad struggle for freedom, from terror, disease, poverty and illiteracy. Meanwhile, as the conflict over borders, refugees and holy land between Israelis and Palestinians carries on, Bush is running out of time to broker progress.



Sec. Rice Urging Arab Nations to Attend Peace Conference

imageSept. 24….(My Way) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that key Arab nations, including Syria, would be invited to President Bush's planned Mideast peace conference this fall and expressed a fainting hope they would attend. Formal invitations haven't been issued yet but Rice said it "would be natural" for Syria, Saudi Arabia and 10 other Arab League members looking at a broad peace deal with Israel to participate despite their hostility to the Jewish state. "It is very important that the regional players of the international community mobilize to support them," she said, referring to the Israelis and the Palestinians. But, she said their attendance would have to reflect acceptance of international efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and support for the ultimate goal of a two-state solution and comprehensive regional peace agreement. "We would hope that the invitations would include the members of the Arab follow-up committee," Rice told a news conference here after a meeting of the international diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East, the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. Aside from the Palestinians and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, the committee members are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Many Arab states have said they see no use for Bush's conference unless it has clear goals and a realistic chance of meeting them. A senior US official said Rice thought she could allay those fears in her talks on Sunday. In addition to the Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab League committee, those to be invited to the US-hosted conference will include the Quartet members and other major international players and donors, possibly including Japan, officials said. The Quartet's special representative, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, gave his backing to the conference, saying it would be a crucial element in taking advantage of what he said was growing momentum in the peace process. As a group the Quartet representatives - Rice, Blair, UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and EU foreign affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, echoed that sentiment. "The Quartet will work for a successful international meeting and for the implementation of its conclusions," they said in a statement. Sunday's meeting set the stage for meetings Bush will have in New York on Monday with Blair, Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.


Abbas Rebuffs Rice on Washington Peace Conference  

imageSept. 24….(DEBKA) The Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said to everyone in sight that he will not attend the Washington peace conference the White House is promoting for November unless he is assured of progress on core issues and on Palestinian statehood. Otherwise, he says, the event is futile. He tried explaining this to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice when she visited Ramallah last week. He told her that no consensus had ensued from his meetings with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on a single issue; he would therefore absent himself from the conference. But, he said, she “misunderstood” his meaning. Our Middle East and Washington sources disclose that, to make sure the US government understood that no Palestinian official, including prime minister Salam Fayyad, would be there, Abbas sent two secret emissaries to Washington and Paris. They reported that there is not the slightest chance of a prior Israeli-Palestinian consensus on any core issue in the next two months. Therefore, the Palestinian seats at the conference would be vacant. Abbas insisted in the message to the two governments that he was not playing games to extort last-minute concessions from Israel. He simply wanted more time for the serious negotiating track he had opened up with Olmert to continue uninterrupted. The Israeli prime minister is fully aware of Abbas’ position, but has made no comment. He too is not keen on the conference, but is leaving it to the Palestinians to upset the Bush administration’s the applecart. It also suits Olmert’ image at home to look tough on security (the Sept. 6 air attack over Syria), while pleasing the doves by appearing to work toward forging a historic breakthrough in the conflict with the Palestinians. From time to time, one issue or another is officially said to be referred to joint Israel-Palestinian experts committees after the two leaders reached agreement in principle. In fact, according to DEBKAfile’s defense sources, no progress has been attained on any issue at all. Olmert’s initiative to free 91 jailed members of Abbas’ Fatah group to mark the Muslim feast of Eid al Fitr, approved by the government Sunday Sept. 23, was not aimed at changing the Palestinian leader’s mind about attending the Washington meeting, but presenting himself to the Americans and Israeli doves as amenable to pacific concessions to the Palestinians. The US secretary of state, who understood Abbas very well, is meanwhile struggling to stand the Washington peace conference on its feet. After turning a deaf ear not only to Abbas, but also to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both of which prefer to stay away, she has come up with a fresh tactic. Instead of the smallish Israel-Arab forum originally planned, which she too realizes has nowhere to go, the secretary is trying to jazz the event up with momentum for a big international summit. Now she is talking about inviting the entire Arab League, which would include Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Maghreb nations, as well as a couple of Muslim rulers. The Palestinians, the Saudis, the Egyptians and the Israelis could then hardly stay away, especially when she has not attached any strings, replacing them with “hopes.” Invitees like Syria were not asked to recognize Israel or renounce their sponsorship of terror but rebuked. “We hope,” she said, “that those who come are really committed to helping the Israelis and Palestinians find a way through, and that means renouncing violence, it means working for a peaceful solution.” She spoke Sunday after the Middle East Quartet meeting in New York issued a statement of support for the Washington conference. The US secretary knows perfectly well that the larger the forum, the less the chance of consensus on action or substantive issues. But even resolutions that are mere generalities, she believes, can be sold to the Arab and Muslim world as a demonstration that the Bush administration is making good on its pledge to bring about progress for a solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Even so, Abbas is standing by his refusal to attend, and without him, there is no conference. US officials told DEBKAfile that the Palestinian leader believes he can get away with his rebuff without paying a price. They say Washington can hardly cut off aid to his Ramallah-based government on the West Bank, for fear of strengthening Hamas and the hard-line Palestinian groups backed by Damascus and Iran. Embarrassingly, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said Sunday night he had no notion of the conference agenda. He said the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner had also shrugged when asked if he knew anything about it. Without an agreed agenda, said Mubarak, there was no point in calling the conference because it was preprogrammed for failure.


Israeli Forces Seized Nuclear Material in Syrian Raid

(Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to a report citing informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem.)

Sept. 24….(YNET) The Syrian attack last week was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say. They confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. This raised fears that Syria might have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Israeli special forces had been gathering intelligence for several months in Syria, according to Israeli sources. They located the nuclear material at a compound near Dayr az-Zwar in the north. Evidence that North Korean personnel were at the site is said to have been shared with President Bush over the summer. A senior American source said the administration sought proof of nuclear-related activities before giving the attack its blessing. Diplomats in North Korea and China believe a number of North Koreans were killed in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials. Syrian officials flew to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last week, reinforcing the view that the two nations were coordinating their response. According to media reports, the compound was left in ruins following the IAF strike.


Ahmadinejad Arrives for New York Visit

imageSept. 24….(Fox News) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York to protests Sunday and said in a television interview that Iran was neither building a nuclear bomb nor headed to war with the United States.The president's motorcade pulled up to the midtown hotel where he will be staying while he appears at a series of events including the UN General Assembly and a forum at Columbia University, where about 40 elected officials and civic leaders decried his visit. Ahmadinejad's public-relations push appears aimed at presenting his views directly to a US audience amid rising strains and talk of war between the two nations. Tensions are high between Washington and Tehran over US accusations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, as well as helping Shiite militias in Iraq that target US troops, claims Iran denies. "Well, you have to appreciate we don't need a nuclear bomb. We don't need that. What need do we have for a bomb?" Ahmadinejad said in the "60 Minutes" interview taped in Iran on Thursday. "In political relations right now, the nuclear bomb is of no use. If it was useful it would have prevented the downfall of the Soviet Union." He also said that: "It's wrong to think that Iran and the US are walking toward war. Who says so? Why should we go to war? There is no war in the offing." Before leaving Iran, Ahmadinejad said the American people have been denied "correct information," and his visit will give them a chance to hear a different voice, the official IRNA news agency reported. Washington has said it is addressing the Iran situation diplomatically, rather than militarily, but US officials also say that all options are open. The commander of the US military forces in the Middle East said he did not believe tensions will lead to war. "This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me, which is not helpful and not useful," Adm. William Fallon, head of US Central Command, said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television, which made a partial transcript available Sunday. Ahmadinejad's scheduled address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday will be his third time attending the New York meeting in three years. Ahmadinejad, scheduled to speak at Columbia University has called the Holocaust "a myth" and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." At New York protests, New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind said Ahmadinejad "should be arrested when he comes to Columbia University, not invited to speak for God's sake." Ahmadinejadappeared on CBS Sixty Minutes program with Scott Pelley and accused American officials wherever around the world that they encounter a problem which they fail to resolve, instead of accepting that, they prefer to accuse others. I'm very sorry that because of the wrong decisions taken by American officials, Iraqi people are being killed and also American soldiers. It's very regrettable." When Pelley accused Ahmadinejad of dancing around the question: Will you pledge not to test a nuclear weapon, the Iranian leader said the interviewer was acting like a CIA investigator. "This is not Guantanamo Bay, he said. This is not a Baghdad prison. This is not a secret prison in Europe. This is not Abu Ghraib. This is Iran. I'm the president of this country!" Ahmadinejad said Sunday in Tehran, before leaving for New York, that the American people were eager to hear different opinions about the world, and he was looking forward to having the chance to voice them to the American people during his trip to the US.


US: Iran Smuggling Missiles and Other Advanced Weapons Into Iraq

Sept. 24….(YNET) The US military accused Iran on Sunday of smuggling surface-to-air missiles and other advanced weapons into Iraq for use against American troops. The charge comes as Iran's leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to begin his first full day in New York City where he plans to speak at Columbia University ahead of his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. Military spokesman Rear Adm. Mark Fox said US troops were continuing to find Iranian-supplied weaponry including the Misagh 1, a portable surface-to-air missile that uses an infrared guidance system. Other advanced Iranian weaponry found in Iraq includes the RPG-29 rocket-propelled grenade, 240 mm rockets and armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, Fox said. Iran has denied US allegations that it is smuggling weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq, a denial that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" aired Sunday. "We don't need to do that. We are very much opposed to war and insecurity," said Ahmadinejad, who arrived in New York Sunday to attend the UN General Assembly. "The insecurity in Iraq is detrimental to our interests."


Livni: UN Should be Ashamed

(Iranian president lands in New York for UN General Assembly amidst fierce protests against his visit, Israeli foreign minister calls platform being offered to Ahmadinejad 'shameful')

Sept. 24….(YNET) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York on Sunday for the 62nd annual UN General Assembly as critics protested his planned speech at Columbia University and UN visit. Behind the scenes US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues working to promote a possible third round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran as a response to its advancing nuclear program. Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also in New York, has spoken out harshly against the divisive visit. "In a just world, his visit would never have been authorized and Iran would not be a member of the United Nations," said Livni. "For Ahmadinejad to come here - the UN should be ashamed. It is shameful for a world that does not understand that Ahmadinejad is exploiting international values to harm us all. This will not come without a price. The world must put an end to this. The world cannot allow a nuclear Iran," she said." Livni met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad later Sunday evening, the first such meeting since Israel declared the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity" last week. Recently appointed Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki also participated in the meeting. Rice is also scheduled to meet with special Mideast envoy Tony Blair ahead of their participation in a meeting for nations aiding the Palestinian Authority.  

'He should be arrested here'

Meanwhile elected officials demonstrating at Columbia claimed the Iranian leader is trying to obtain nuclear weapons, is a Holocaust denier and rules his country with an iron fist. As such, they said, he should not be allowed a platform to preach his beliefs from. The university defended the decision to allow Ahmadinejad to speak as a matter of free speech. ''He should be arrested when he comes to Columbia University, not invited to speak for God's sake,'' said state Assemblyman Dov Hikind. City Councilman David Weprin said Ahmadinejad ''has American blood on his hands as he has aided the insurgency in Iraq by sending weapons and manpower for the sole purpose to kill Americans.'' ''Here we take a tyrant like this and say, 'Sure, come. We understand that you continue your nuclear proliferation. We understand that you've denied the Holocaust. We understand that you want to obliterate Israel. But come. Let us give you an invitation to free speech,''' said demonstrator Claire Meadow, a Columbia Law School graduate. Demonstrations are scheduled to take place in and around Columbia during Ahmadinejad's speech while at the same time major Jewish organizations will protest outside the UN headquarters.


Putin Turns His Face to Tehran, His Back to Bush and Sarkozy

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

(Iran’s suspect nuclear program is further polarizing the big powers)

imageSept. 24….(DEBKA) As American and European officials discussed a third round of UN Security Council sanctions, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, more pugnacious than ever, addressed a military parade Sat. Sept. 22 marking the 27th anniversary of the onset of the Iraq-Iran war of the eighties. “Those countries who assume that decaying methods such as psychological war, political propaganda and the so-called economic sanctions would work and prevent Iran’s fast drive towards progress are mistaken.” "The Iranian nation is ready to bring any oppressive power to its knees," read a slogan from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, inscribed on a massive board on a truck as a new, improved long-range, 1,800-km range surface missile trundled by. Other slogans called for "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Western military attaches, apparently warned in advance, boycotted the rally for the second year running. But there is no escape: These are the messages Ahmadinejad takes with him this week to the UN General Assembly and Columbia University in New York. The French president Nicolas Sarkozy meanwhile stands shoulder to shoulder with President George W. Bush. Friday, Sept. 21, he said: “Iran is trying to obtain an atomic bomb. That is unacceptable and I tell the French people it is unacceptable.” A week ago, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner warned that the world faced war if diplomacy and sanctions failed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities. But Vladimir Putin is pulling in the opposite direction from his two fellows in the UN Security Council when he decided to be the first Russian president to visit Tehran on Oct. 16. The visit, in the framework of the Caspian Asian Summit, is planned to encompass much more than state ceremonial and ritual photo-ops, although there will be plenty of that too. The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Reza Aghazadeh, said a document would be signed setting the timeline for Russia to complete the long-delayed Bushehr nuclear plant and deliver the fuel to activate it. Last week, at the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian and Russian teams began formulating the document to be signed by their heads of state. Reporting this, Aghazadeh also described a most useful conversation he had with the head of Russian’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Sergei Kiriyenko. In its long dispute with Moscow, Tehran claims Russia had contracted to commission the Bushehr plant in 2000. This was later amended and under the fifth agreement negotiated between Tehran and Moscow, Russia undertook to deliver 90 tons of fuel by March 2007 and commission Bushehr nuclear plant by September 2007. According to DEBKAfile’s sources in Moscow and Washington, the Russian president had four goals in sight when he decided to settle his dispute with the Islamic Republic and join the rulers of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan at the Caspian Sea Summit in Tehran:

1. He will be on hand to underscore Moscow’s concern and conviction that the last two or three months of 2007 will take the controversy over the Iranian nuclear program to crisis point and could determine whether or not America resorts to the military option. The Russians have marked this period as crunch time for the international community. The UN and its Security Council will have to decide then between two options: endorse the IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei’s deal with Tehran, under which Iran promises to open up secret compartments of its program to international inspection, or else support the tougher economic sanctions advocated by the United States. Our Washington sources report that administration heads accuse ElBaradei of practicing deceit and underhand machinations for the sake of giving Iran more time for large-scale uranium enrichment up to weapons grade, safe from the threat of a third round of sanctions until after President Bush departs the White House in Jan. 2009. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made no bones about the low esteem in which the chief nuclear inspector is held by the administration when she said Sept 19: “Diplomacy is best left to diplomats, not a technical body such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.” This view is fully endorsed by Israel.

2. The Russian and Iranian presidents will publicly sign a new nuclear accord, attended by international television and media hype. This is a ploy to reposition Russia in Arab and Muslim eyes. Putin wants to demonstrate that Moscow has no objection to supplying a Muslim nation with a nuclear reactor, technology and fuel, in contrast to Washington, which is willing to go as far as military action to thwart such acquisitions.

3. The Russians are uneasy about the new Washington-Paris alliance. They were alarmed by the outspoken rhetoric coming from Sarkozy and Kouchner slamming Iran and aligning with the US - up to and including military conflict. Putin sees the French president moving into position as Bush’s leading foreign partner in place of Britain’s Tony Blair as a portent of a potential American-European fence to block off Moscow’s influence in Europe. He links this potential with Washington’s plan to set up missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and perceives a strong line forming on the map of Europe that threatens to reverse his diplomatic gains on the continent and circumscribe his drive for the control of its supplies of energy. These issues were undoubtedly thrashed out when the French foreign minister met his Russian opposite number Sergey Lavrov in Moscow last week.

4. Sitting together at the head of the table at the Caspian Sea Summit next month, Putin and Ahmadinejad will be broadcasting a message to Washington and the nations of Central Asia that the future and security of Caspian and Central Asian natural resources and oil do not depend entirely on their relations Washington, or even the US military bases going up on their soil. Russia will be posing a stiff challenge to America in Central Asia by holding out the offer of joint-strategic sponsorship with Iran.


Report: Herod's Temple Quarry Found

imageSept. 24….(AP) Israeli archaeologists said they have discovered a quarry that provided King Herod with the stones he used to renovate the biblical Second Temple compound, offering rare insight into construction of the holiest site in Judaism.The source of the huge stones used 2,000 years ago to reconstruct the compound in Jerusalem's Old City was discovered on the site of a proposed school in a Jerusalem suburb. Today, the compound Herod renovated houses the most explosive religious site in the Holy Land, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. "This is the first time stones which were used to build the Temple Mount walls were found," said Yuval Baruch, an archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority involved in the dig. Quarries mined for the massive stones, each weighing more than 20 tons, eluded researchers until now, he said Sunday. Baruch said coins and pottery found in the quarry confirm the stone was used during the period of Herod's expansion of the Temple Mount in 19 BC. But researchers said the strongest piece of evidence was found wedged into one of the massive cuts in the white limestone, an iron stake used to split the stone. The tool was apparently improperly used, accidentally lodged in the stone and forgotten. "It stayed here for 2,000 years for us to find because a worker didn't know what to do with it," said archaeologist Ehud Nesher, also of the Antiquities Authority. Nesher said the large outlines of the stone cuts indicated the site was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves. "Nothing private could have done this," Nesher said. "This is Herod's, this is a sign of him." Herod was the Jewish proxy ruler of the Holy Land under imperial Roman occupation from 37 BC. Herod's most famous construction project was the renovation of the Temple, replacing a smaller structure that itself replaced the First Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The Second Temple was leveled by Roman conquerors in AD 70. The Western Wall, the holiest prayer site for Jews, is the best known surviving remnant. Atop the adjacent compound, where Jews believe the Temple once stood, now stand two of the holiest sites in Islam, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock. The site is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both sides claiming the area. Israel captured Jerusalem's Old City from Jordan during the 1967 Mideast war. While retaining security responsibility for the site, Israel allows Muslims to handle day-to-day responsibilities there.


'Not a Single Christian' in Birthplace of Christ

(Muslim intimidation could make 'land of Jesus' barren in 15 years)

Sept. 24….(WND) The once vibrant Christian communities of Bethlehem and Nazareth, with roots in the "land of Jesus" going back to first century Israel, are rapidly declining in the face of a systematic campaign of persecution conducted by the same Muslim terrorists intent on driving the Jews into the sea. Beatings, sham legal proceedings, property seizures, dismissal and replacement of elected Christian leaders, accusations of selling property to Jews and intimidation by gunmen with links to the government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have so reduced Christian populations in the cities of Jesus' birth and boyhood one community leader predicts all Christians will be gone within 15 years. In "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans, to a Jew!" author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein chronicles his meetings and interviews with leaders of terror groups and Islamist organizations long accused of intimidation and violence against Mideast Christians.

'No more Christians in Bethlehem'

For part of one chapter, Klein travels to Bethlehem to meet with the city's Christians and with its terrorist leaders. Bethlehem consisted of upwards of 80 percent Christians when Israel was founded in 1948, but since the Palestinian Authority took over in 1995 the Christian population has declined to about 23 percent with a large majority of Muslims. The 23 percent Christian statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem's actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating per year. Klein first talks with Bethlehem-area Christian leaders and residents, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, who said they face an atmosphere of regular hostility and intimidation by Muslims. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were recently ransacked and Christian homes attacked. The Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs. "There are many cases where Christians have their land stolen by the Muslim mafia," said Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station. "It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses and he runs away," Qumsiyeh said. One Christian Bethlehem resident told Klein her friend recently fled Bethlehem after being accused by Muslims of selling property to Jews, a crime punishable by death in some Palestinian cities. The resident said a good deal of the intimidation comes from gunmen associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' own Fatah organization. The terrorists claimed it was Israel that drove out Bethlehem's Christians by building a "wall" in 2002 that "encircles" the city. But Israel did not build a wall that encircles Bethlehem. It built a fence only where the Bethlehem area interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of the barrier facing a major Israeli roadway is a concrete wall, which Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists. The barrier was built after repeated terror attacks launched from Bethlehem. The vast majority of Bethlehem's Christian emigration occurred between 1995 and 2001, before Israel's barrier was constructed. Israel controlled Bethlehem until 1995, when it signed the territory over to the PA as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims immediately began to surface after the PA gained control. Then-PA President Yasser Arafat unilaterally fired the city's Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslims. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar, and deposed of Bethlehem's city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split. Arafat also converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity into his official Bethlehem residence. The Nativity church is believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus.

Muslims shout at Jesus' home: 'Islam will dominate the world'

Klein reports about a large militant march by Islamist groups down the main streets of Nazareth, highlighting for some there the plight of Christians in the ancient city where Muslims have become a majority and members of the dwindling Christian population say they suffer regular intimidation. Nazareth, considered one of the holiest cities for Christians, is described in the New Testament as the childhood home of Jesus. It contains multiple important shrines and churches, including the famous Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation, the site at which many Christians believe the Virgin Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel and told that she had been selected as the mother of Jesus.

Muslims march through Nazareth, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006
(WND photo)

The Islamic Movement, the main Muslim political party in Nazareth, held the January 2007 rally down Nazareth's main thoroughfare brandishing their party's green flag. Young Muslim men in battle gear marched and beat drums as a man on loudspeaker repeatedly exclaimed in Arabic, "Allah is great." Hundreds of activists strutted screaming Islamist epithets, including "Islam is the only truth" and "Islam shall rule all." Also Muslims hold weekly loud prayer services outside the Church of the Annunciation at a site local Muslims want to build a massive mosque many local Christians charge is meant to overshadow the church. Israeli security officials say the majority of anti-Christian violence in Nazareth goes unreported because local Christians are too afraid to report crimes. Nazareth's Christian population, at times the majority during the city's long history, is now at about 37 percent, according to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, which notes a regular downward trend.


A Review of the Israeli Strike into Syria

Sept. 24….(By David Dolan) Tensions between Israel and Syria escalated sharply during September after the Assad regime in Damascus accused Israel of penetrating Syrian airspace early in the month to carry out an attack upon an unnamed target.  As details subsequently leaked out in foreign media reports about the apparent Israeli Air Force strike, including the jarring information that North Korean-supplied nuclear material and/or structures were targeted, Syrian officials warned several times that they would respond to the daring action, possibly with military power.  This sparked a full Israeli armed forces alert.  Later reports spoke of a chemical weapons accident in Syria this past July that killed both Syrian and Iranian personnel, which analysts said was also an ominous development for the future. While informal negotiations continued between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the run-up to an American-sponsored peace conference scheduled for Washington DC in November, tensions soared between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, which the Israeli government officially declared “an enemy entity” late in the month. With far reaching implications for the coming months, the declaration followed a Palestinian Kassam rocket attack upon an Israeli army base which produced the largest number of Israeli casualties of any such strike until now. The government decision opens the way for further punitive actions against the Gaza Strip if the rocket attacks continue. As I write, Israeli military censorship still forbids the publication of full or firsthand details of the internationally reportedly Israeli air, and possibly also ground forces operation aimed at an unnamed target somewhere in the eastern Syrian Desert before dawn on September 6.  However multiple foreign media reports, which sometimes reveal details of sensitive IDF actions banned inside of the country, have painted a fairly comprehensive picture of just exactly what occurred in the remote Syrian Desert, reportedly near the town of Dayr-az-Zawr. That some sort of strategic military operation took place was later inadvertently confirmed by Israeli Knesset opposition leader and Likud party head Binyamin Netanyahu, who revealed that he had “supported the action” carried out under orders and direction of his longtime political rivals, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.  “I was party to this matter, I must say, from the first minute, and I gave it my full backing, but it is still too early to discuss this subject,” he told Israeli state television on Sept 19. The former premier’s comment drew fierce criticism from the Prime Minister’s office and other government leaders, who feared the apparent admission by a senior Israeli politician that some sort of major action against Syria had indeed been carried out might encourage the humiliated Assad regime to respond in a military manner. However Olmert’s cronies were not complaining over the fact that the widely reported operation had boosted the Israeli leader’s popularity ratings in all opinion polls.  Still Netanyahu remained far ahead when people were asked who they would vote for if elections were held today, with Barak just behind him. 

   Initial reports of some sort of Israeli military action came from state-controlled media outlets in Damascus some 12 hours after the reported operation took place.  They simply claimed that Syrian anti-aircraft missiles (probably Russian-supplied) had been fired overnight at Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets that had “provocatively penetrated” Syrian air space.  The reports did not detail where the action took place, or whether any Israeli aircraft had been struck by Syrian missiles. They added that ejected fuel tanks from the “invading” warplanes had landed on both Syrian and Turkish territory, indicating that the alleged action had occurred in the north of the country near the shared border with Turkey, a Muslim NATO member loosely allied with Israel. However, later that same day, the official Syrian government spokesman, interviewed on the popular Al Jazeera Arabic news satellite network hinted at something beyond a mere air penetration by calling the action an “attack” against Syria.  Information Minister Moshen Bilal said that “Syria retains the right to determine the quality, type and nature of our response to the Israeli attack.”  He added significant fuel to the growing fire by charging that Israel “cannot survive without aggression, treachery and military messages.” Just one day after new Israeli President Shimon Peres announced on September 17 that the threat of a Syrian military response had passed; a senior cabinet minister in Damascus boisterously restated the threat of pending retaliation.  Minister of Expatriates Butheina Shaban, one of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s closest advisors, said Syria would “respond to the aggressive Israeli attack at the time and place of our choosing.”  She also maintained that most of the foreign media reports about the incident were “fictitious and full of lies.”  Analysts said she was probably referring to American and British media reports that elite Israeli ground forces had participated in the seemingly elaborate and successful operation. Israeli military analysts spelled out several ways that the Syrian regime could “respond” to the reported Israeli operation.  The least damaging would be further diplomatic action designed to formally condemn Israel for the action.  The Syrians immediately turned to the United Nations for a formal condemnation of the Israeli infiltration, but found a virtual wall of silence on the issue, strongly indicating they would not succeed in securing yet another UN resolution rebuking the world’s only majority Jewish country. Among military options possibly open to Damascus is a pinpoint strike designed to kill or kidnap Israeli soldiers stationed on the disputed Golan Heights. This might include a limited land incursion meant to capture some frontline territory, or a fuller ground invasion.  Equally worrisome is the possibility that Syria might order its surrogate Hizbullah militia force in Lebanon to launch hundreds of missiles once again at Israeli civilian targets, or that Syria will do so itself.  Such military options obviously carry the danger of further escalation into a full-scale conflict, which could in turn ignite a larger regional war involving Iran, the Palestinians and possibly other actors. 


Piecing the reports together, the following picture of an apparent Israeli military operation to prevent Syria from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability emerges.  It must be stressed however that these are still unconfirmed details by either Israeli of Syrian officials, who both refuse to publicly spell out exactly what took place. Most of the information has come from unnamed senior American and Israeli officials, quoted in the US and British media. Israeli intelligence operatives were said to have discovered around half a year ago that North Korean agents had traveled to Syria to help their longtime Arab ally develop a nuclear weapons program. The agents representing a Communist country long known to be providing Syria with Scud missile components and other advanced weapons systems, were reportedly helping Syria build some sort of nuclear facility in the vast elevated eastern desert, which abuts northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey, gradually sloping downward toward the Euphrates River valley. All this came after the rogue East Asian nation spectacularly confirmed its long suspected WMD capability last September by carrying out a nuclear weapons test.  It has subsequently promised the United States and regional powers like China and Japan not to share its nuclear technology with any other nation; a pledge its dictatorial leaders have seemingly not kept. Two main sources for Israel’s hard intelligence information about the reported program were detailed in the foreign media.  A London Sunday Times report said nuclear material was actually picked up by elite Israeli commandos from the renowned Sayaret Matkal unit that was once commanded by Barak.  They were said to have worked undercover inside of Syria for several months before successfully smuggling the evidence back into Israel, where it was carefully tested and analyzed and determined to be of North Korean origin. The second source of information was Israel’s Ofek-7 spy satellite, launched by an Israeli rocket in early June.  It was reportedly quickly positioned over eastern Syria to check out reports of suspicious building activity in the area.  Despite the fact that it hovers some 370 miles (600 kilometers) above the earth’s surface, the highly sensitive cameras on the latest version of the Israeli-produced intelligence satellite are said to be among the most advanced of any positioned in the skies above the planet. The disturbing nuclear evidence and satellite photos were quickly shared with US leaders in Washington by senior Israeli officials, indeed probably by PM Olmert himself when he met with President George Bush at the White House just two weeks after the Ofek-7 was launched.  After weighing the substantial evidence that North Korean nuclear assistance was being provided to Syria, Bush reportedly gave his blessing to the planned Israeli operation to destroy the ominous work and/or nuclear material, although he was said to have asked that it be staged a bit later so as not to interfere with sensitive nuclear negotiations then reaching a climax with Pyongyang.    


 According to the foreign media reports, between six to eight IAF F-15-I jets took part in the operation. They penetrated Israeli airspace just north of the Syrian port of Latakia, where President Assad has a summer palace buzzed by IDF warplanes during the 2006 Second Lebanon War in a warning to stay out of the conflict.  Syrian anti-aircraft radar quickly picked up the infiltration, and Russian-supplied missile batteries went into operation.  However they apparently failed to hit any of their swift moving targets, which might explain why embarrassed Kremlin officials were amongst the first to denounce the reported Israeli operation, along with North Korea. The Israeli warplanes apparently carried out a heavy bombing raid on the suspected nuclear facility, or possibly on a bunker containing nuclear material that had just arrived by ship from North Korea a few days before.  Whatever the case, the action brought to mind the successful 1981 IAF destruction of Saddam’s French-supplied nuclear reactor, then under construction in northern Iraq. Media reports spoke of a “huge crater” formed by the IDF raid in the northeastern Syrian Desert.  The jets then reportedly ejected some of their empty fuel tanks while rapidly exiting the area, with some landing on nearby Turkish territory, a fact confirmed by officials in Ankara, who complained to their Israeli counterparts about the incident, even if Turkey would also be loathe to see Syria go nuclear.   


   Possibly the most intriguing detail reported by international media outlets was that elite Israeli ground forces had taken part in the obviously well planned bombing operation some 300 miles northeast of Israel’s Golan border with Syria. One report claimed they were positioned in trenches dug virtually under the noses of Syrian military guards stationed in the vicinity. How they might have fled the area after the air attack was completed has not been revealed. The IDF commandoes were said to have directed the advancing American-built IAF warplanes, flying under the cover of darkness just before the waning moon had risen in the pre-dawn sky, to the exact spot of the suspicious storage and/or construction activity, by means of highly accurate laser beams!  Whether or not these incredible accounts are true, all agree that the jets successfully destroyed their target, reportedly killing some Syrian and North Koreans in the process, and possibly even some Russian personnel, said to have been slain when IAF air to ground missiles destroyed at least one of Syria’s anti-aircraft batteries stationed in the area. As noted above, Israeli officials have kept completely silent about this entire affair, even as more and more apparent details have been published and broadcast abroad. Experts say this is a clear attempt to not give Damascus a more powerful reason or excuse to launch any type of revenge assault. Still, many Middle East analysts note that when wounded Arab pride is at stake, as it definitely is in this case, the need to retaliate may prove irresistible, even if the Assad regime realizes it would probably suffer far more damage if it responds in a military manner. Some also believe Iran is pushing its ally to give a military reply in order to divert attention from its own nuclear program.  While admitting that some sort of hostile action took place, Syrian officials are especially vehement in denying that any Israeli ground forces took part in the reported operation. Of course, they would say this, given that any such participation would prove gravely embarrassing to the beleaguered Baathist regime, which is still under international condemnation for its widely suspected role in assassinating Lebanon’s popular former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, on Valentine’s Day two years ago, and for subsequent terrorist murders of seven other anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians, the last one in Beirut on September 19. Adding further reasons for the Olmert government to launch such a daring raid in the midst of escalating tensions with Syria, Hizbullah and Iran over the past few months was a report in the respected British intelligence update, Jane’s Defense Weekly. It revealed that a team of Iranian and Syrian chemical weapons experts were killed in a fiery explosion on July 23 inside of Syria. The report said dozens of Iranian engineers and around 15 Syrians were killed in the powerful blast that occurred as the men were attempting to fit a nerve gas warhead on a Syrian Scud D missile, which is capable of striking every part of Israel down to the southern port of Eilat. The fact that Syria has a large chemical weapons capability has been well known in Israel since the late 1970s, but its apparent willingness to use such weapons is believed to have grown substantially since last year’s Lebanon war proved the effectiveness of heavy rocket and missile barrages upon Israeli population centers. Meanwhile the deputy Iranian Air Force commander threatened mid month to unleash his warplanes against Israel if the detested Jewish State bombs Tehran’s burgeoning nuclear facilities.  Just one day before, an Iranian web site connected to the extremist Shiite regime claimed that 600 Iranian ballistic missiles are ready to be fired at Israeli targets at a moments notice if any IDF action is launched against Iran, either by Israel or its staunch American ally. This came as some military analysts speculated that Israel’s reported bombing operation in Syria might have also served to test Israeli flight paths over northern Syria in the direction of Iran, as well as the country’s newly acquired Russian anti-aircraft missile defense systems. 






Israel to Syria: Use chem weapons & we'll wipe you off map

Sept. 22….(New York Daily) Israeli officials vowed to wipe Syria off the map if it is attacked with chemical weapons like one that reportedly exploded in July at a secret Syrian base staffed with Iranian engineers. Politicians in Israel said yesterday they were not picking a fight with their neighbor, but pledged to forcefully retaliate if chemical warheads come screaming across its shared border. "We will not attack them first. But if they ever use these weapons against Israel, then we must be clear, it will be the end of this evil and brutal dictatorship," Yuval Steinitz, a right-wing member of the Israeli parliament, told the Daily News yesterday. Sparking shock waves across the Middle East was a report in Jane's Defense Weekly about an accidental explosion at a top secret Syrian base in July. Citing Syrian intelligence sources, the report claimed a team of Iranian and Syrian engineers were killed July 26 while trying to arm a Scud-C missile with a mustard gas warhead. Syrian official news agency, SANA, reported that least 15 Syrian military personnel had been "martyred" and 50 others injured in the blast near the northern city of Aleppo on the Turkish border. It claimed the early morning explosion was caused by the high temperatures. The SANA report mentioned nothing of Iranian personnel killed in the mishap. Jane's said dozens of Iranian workers were among those who died when a fire in the missile's engine triggered the explosion and release of a toxic cloud of lethal chemical agents banned under international law. US intelligence sources played down the report saying they've seen no credible evidence chemical weapons were involved in the Syrian accident.



Iran Directly Confronts Israel on Nuclear Arms

Sept. 22…..(Ha Aretz) Iran demanded that United Nations inspectors visit Israel to investigate its nuclear capability while Israel accused Tehran of lying in a bitter debate at an assembly of the UN atomic watchdog in Vienna on Friday. United Nations officials at a 149-nation meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna said they had no memory of the two rival nations ever engaging each other directly at previous meetings. The debate was sought by Arab and Islamic states after they shelved a resolution to brand Israel an atomic "threat" in the face of a likely Western maneuver to block a floor vote. Israel is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, though it has never confirmed or denied this. It is also one of just three states to shun the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, along with India and Pakistan. Iran is under UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to halt a nuclear energy program feared by major powers to be a covert attempt to build atom bombs. Tehran's Islamist leaders have called for Israel's destruction. During the course of the annual IAEA assembly, Arab countries and Iran railed at "persistent international double standards and silence" over Israeli nuclear exclusivity in the Middle East. They repeatedly lambasted what they said was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's admission of a nuclear arsenal in a German media interview last December. Israeli officials later denied Olmert said any such thing, tacitly or openly. "Some speakers continue to lie about the statement of the Israeli prime minister, who did not say what they say he did," said Israel Michaeli, Israel's ambassador to the IAEA. "Those who call for the elimination of Israel have no moral standing when they criticize Israeli policies aimed at defending Israel's very existence." Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said: "This is strange; the Israeli prime minister acknowledged having nuclear weapons, now we hear that this is a lie." "The only way for the international community to know the truth is to authorize the IAEA to send inspectors to Israel and verify the truth," Soltanieh said, his voice rising. "We are seriously concerned about possession of nuclear weapons and non-accession to NPT. Non-aligned countries representing billions of people want an end put to this matter," he continued. "We want the IAEA to have access to Israeli nuclear facilities and report to the international community at large," Soltanieh concluded. There is no chance of such an IAEA move without an Israeli invitation, inconceivable given regional hostilities. Michaeli told the week-long assembly earlier that while a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East was a commendable ideal, "we can have no illusions" while some Arab neighbors continue not to recognize Israel and Iran seeks its elimination. Arab nations say a chronic imbalance of power in the Middle East caused by Israeli nuclear might breeds instability and spurs others to seek mass-destruction weaponry. Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for electricity, not bombs. Middle East tensions have been fraying the traditional consensus culture of the 50-year-old, Vienna-based IAEA. Closing proceedings later on Friday, member states approved a resolution to bolster IAEA safeguards, but only by a rare roll call vote forced by Arab states in protest at the measure's lack of reference to nuclear disarmament. They resent what they regard as the slowness of nuclear weapons states to dismantle arsenals in keeping with NPT obligations, as well as Israel's cold shoulder to the treaty. IAEA resolutions normally pass by consensus. The safeguards measure passed 80-0 with 12 abstentions, mainly by Arab nations. Iran told Western powers on Saturday they would regret launching any attack over Tehran's nuclear activities and it rolled out a display of missiles and other hardware that underscored its warning. On Saturady, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that sanctions would not succeed in stopping Iran's nuclear progress. Speaking at an annual military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Ahmadinejad also reiterated a call on US and other foreign forces to leave neighboring Iraq, the official IRNA news agency said. The United States and Iran are also at loggerheads over the situation in Iraq, blaming each other for bloodshed there. Iran has repeatedly demanded that Washington withdraw its troops from its neighbor, a call Ahmadinejad repeated.


144-Nation IAEA Conference Criticizes Israel

Sept. 22…..(CBS) A 144-nation atomic energy conference criticized Israel Thursday for refusing to put its nuclear program under international purview, with the United States alone in supporting the Jewish state. Besides Washington, only Israel voted against the resolution, while 53 nations backed it and 47 abstained. The remaining nations were absent for the highly unusual vote, only the second in the 16 years the issue has been on the agenda of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Up to last year, the resolution on "Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East" had been adopted by consensus, but in 2006, and again this year, Israeli objections forced a vote. This year, Israel opposed two paragraphs, one calling all nations in the Middle East "not to develop, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons," the other urging nuclear weapons states to "refrain from any action" hindering the establishment of a Mideast zone free of nuclear weapons. Both passages were clearly aimed at Israel, which is considered to have nuclear weapons despite its "no tell" policy on the issue. Israel counts on the United States as its chief ally for support, both in the outside world and in forums such as the conference. Israeli opposition last year was sparked by a separate Arab-sponsored resolution deeming Israel a "nuclear threat" and refusal by its sponsors to withdraw it. While that resolution was put up for adoption it was not voted on. A similar resolution was being prepared for consideration at the gathering Friday. A Western diplomat whose country normally is supportive of Israel sought to diminish the negative impact of the vote, pointing out that last year, 98 approved the resolution, with three abstaining and the United States and Israel opposed. Still, although the conference has no decision-making powers, the lack of consensus reflected deepening tensions in the Middle East. Evidence that Israel has nuclear arms is overwhelming, much of it based on details and pictures leaked in 1986 by Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. His revelations have been added to by other leaks, research, and by statements made by Israeli leaders that stopped just short of confirming it. Israel's doctrine of "nuclear ambiguity," never formally confirming or denying that it has such weapons, is meant to scare potential enemies from considering an annihilating attack while denying them the rationale for developing their own nuclear deterrent.



Ahmadinejad Will Speak at Columbia University in NY

Sept. 21….(Jerusalem Post) Barred by police from visiting Ground Zero, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may find more of a welcome at Columbia University, where he has been cleared to speak on Monday at the school's annual World Leaders Forum despite outrage expressed by New York area Jewish leaders. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has vowed to used a planned question and answer session to challenge Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, call to destroy Israel and Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The New York Police Department Wednesday denied a request by Ahmadinejad to tour the site of the 9/11 disaster during his visit to New York for the start of the UN General Assembly's 62nd Session. The Iranian president is due to arrive in the city on Sunday. A slew of US diplomats, and presidential candidates blasted a request by Ahmadinejad to "lay a wreath" at Ground Zero as an attempt to turn the site into a "photo op." New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly initially caused confusion, after announcing the Iranian president's request without saying whether the police department would allow the visit. Later Kelly rejected the request because of ongoing construction at the site, though it remains unclear whether police would be able to legally prevent Ahmadinejad from visiting the area. The US has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980, and members of the Iranian Mission are limited to travelling within a 40-kilometer radius of Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan. However, Ground Zero falls well within that radius. Getting to speak at Columbia proved far easier, however, with the university agreeing to a request by the Iranian Mission to the UN for Ahmadinejad to speak on campus Monday. "Opportunities to hear, challenge, and learn from controversial speakers of different views are central to the education and training of students for citizenship in a shrinking and dangerous world," the dean of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), John Coatsworth, said in a statement. Ahmadinejad will open a series of lectures and events about Iran. Bollinger is scheduled to introduce Ahmadinejad to an audience that will be made up exclusively of Columbia students, faculty and a few invited guests. In a statement released Wednesday, Bollinger said it is a "critical" premise of freedom of speech "that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices." "It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas, or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas," said Bollinger. Bollinger agreed to host Ahmadinejad under the condition that he divide his time equally between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. Bollinger said he will pose a series of "challenges" that include the Iranian president's denial of the Holocaust; his public call for the destruction of the state of Israel; his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops; Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction; his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia's own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh. One year ago, after initially okaying a request by Ahmadinejad to speak on campus, Columbia University later withdrew the offer. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, hopes Columbia will withdraw again. Hoenlein wrote Bollinger Wednesday: "While I respect academic freedom and the importance of diverse views being heard, it would not violate those principles to deny a platform to someone who persecutes his people, denies freedom of speech in his own country, violates the UN Charter with threats to destroy other states, and is the leading state sponsor of terror," he wrote. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti Defamation League, called Columbia's decision a "perversion of the First Amendment." "If Bollinger wants to communicate with him let him send him a letter; there's no imperative to let him speak," said Foxman. The Conference of Presidents is sponsoring a protest to take place outside the UN on Monday, when Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak at the General Assembly. Likewise, the Columbia-Barnard Hillel is organizing a demonstration to take place on the Columbia campus. It hopes to include a wide range of campus groups, including those that promote women's rights, the rights of gays and lesbians, and diverse political and cultural bodies. In a related development, Ali Reza Moaiyeri, who heads Iran's mission to the United Nations in Geneva, was denied entry to the United States because of allegations he was among those who held American diplomats hostage for 444 days shortly after Iran's revolution. Moaiyeri had wanted to attend next week's ministerial meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. However, Iranian diplomats rejected the US assertions. "He was never and in no way part of the group of students who took the US embassy," Kourosh Ahmadi of the Iranian mission in Geneva told The Associated Press.



Iran and Syria Work Together Developing Deadly WMDs to Wipe Out USA

Sept. 21….(Pravda) Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Defence Weekly report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria. According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

Reports of the accident were circulated at the time; however, no details were released by the Syrian government, and there were no hints of an Iranian connection. The report comes on the heels of criticism leveled by the Syrians at the United States, accusing it of spreading "false" claims of Syrian nuclear activity and cooperation with North Korea to excuse an alleged Israeli air incursion over the country this month. According to, Syria is not a signatory of either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international agreement banning the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons - or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Syria began developing chemical weapons in 1973, just before the Yom Kipper War. cites the country as having one of the most advanced chemical weapons programs in the Middle East, reports. According to the British magazine, the facility where the accident took place was built as part of a cooperation agreement signed between Syria and Iran in 2005. The joint activity included technological supply and assistance from Syria to Iran. A Western diplomatic source reported in the past that in exchange, Tehran was providing Damascus with means that would enable it to independently produce chemical weapons, including help in planning and building facilities and carrying out chemical weapons experiments in a number of locations. According to the source, the cost of the project was estimated at millions of dollars. Syria is currently in the midst of a PR battle aimed at denying the allegations that it has nuclear ties with Iran and North Korea. On Tuesday, Syrian Expatriate Affairs Minister Bussaina Shaaban said that the allegations of nuclear cooperation between Syria and North Korea which led to the reported Israeli overflight were "an orchestra of lies". In an interview with the Iranian Fars news agency, the minister denied reports in Israeli and American media that suggested Pyongyang was helping Damascus build a nuclear installation in the country and said that "Syria maintains the right to respond when and where it sees fit."



IDF on Alert in North as Yom Kippur Begins

Sept. 21….(JNEWSWIRE) The Israel Defense Forces upped their alert level along the Syrian border Friday, determined to secure the nation against Arab military adventurism as the Jewish people prepared to observe their annual Day of Atonement (Yom HaKippurim). According to The Jerusalem Post, the military is concerned Syria might attempt to retaliate for an alleged September 6 Israeli Air Force attack within its borders.

Security forces also imposed a closure on the Gaza Strip and Samaria-Judea through the Yom Kippur fast, which ends Saturday evening Israel time. On this day, 34 years ago, Israel's Arab enemies took advantage of the fact that most the country's Jews were in the synagogues or quietly keeping the fast at home, and launched what became known as the "October War," "Yom Kippur War," or "War of the Day of Judgment." While the Jewish state managed to beat the aggressors, it looked into the abyss of destruction before fighting its way back. Only a last-minute plea to US President Richard Nixon by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir - a plea that resulted in the largest airlift of weapons since World War Two being brought directly to Israel, ensured that Israel would live to fight another day. Inside the country, life was already winding down early Friday morning. At Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, the early morning El Al flight from New York emptied out its passengers who quickly made their way to their weekend venues. In downtown Jerusalem, the usual pre-Shabbat crush of cars and people was noticeable by its absence. The normally bustling Hebron Road supermarket - Superdeal - saw business just ticking over; its small on-site bakery putting out just one batch of challah (Sabbath bread) before closing down. Only Jerusalem's Old City was alive, the roads choked with vehicles near the Damascus Gate; thousands of Arabs streaming their way through the wall toward the Temple Mount for a Ramadan service. By early afternoon, public transport had stopped running, and a few hours from now barely a car will be seen on the roads. Radio and television stations have been powered down. Silence, like a blanket, is settling over the capital. And hundreds of thousands of Jews, many with inquiring and repenting hearts, will make their way to the synagogues for prayer. It will be as it is on every Yom Kippur. As it was last year, and as it was in 1973, just hours before Arab armies from the north, east and south moved to smash into and obliterate the nation of Israel. While there are no real signs of any plans being put in place to hit Israel over the weekend, the IDF is on the alert, and many Christians in different nations are standing in prayer for Israel's protection and defense.



Prophesied Destruction of Damascus Imminent?

Sept. 21….(By Hal Lindsey) A stunning report published by Jane's Defense Weekly confirms rumors of a July explosion at a Syrian military base at al-Safir, near Aleppo, in which reportedly "dozens" of Iranian engineers were killed along with their Syrian counterparts. Syria had originally dismissed reports of the explosion by saying the blast was generated by the desert heat causing the accidental detonation of a stockpile of explosives. Jane's reported that the explosion was actually triggered while the engineers were fitting a chemical warhead onto a Scud-C missile. The explosion and fire released containers of the deadly nerve agents VX and sarin gas, as well as a mustard gas blistering agent. Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told reporters this week, "Iran has entered into strategic cooperation with Syria on conventional and nonconventional weapons development," adding, "The Iranians are very big in Syria." Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing Syria to cover his flank, should war break out between Israel and Iran over Tehran's nuclear arsenal. Ahmadinejad is evidently gambling on Syria taking out Israel while Iran squares off against the United States. Were Iran and Israel to face each other head-to-head, one or the other would inevitably cease to exist. Israel would have no choice but to annihilate Iran before Iran annihilated Israel. Israel's "Samson Option" is named after the biblical judge who sacrificed himself in order to take his enemies with him. In the event of its impending destruction, Israel's retaliatory plan involves taking the Middle East along with it. As the Iraq experience has proved, war with the United States is survivable. The terms of Israel's "Samson Option" mean war with Israel involving first-use weapons of mass destruction is not. To Ahmadinejad's way of thinking, if somebody has to be martyred to the Mahdi's cause, why not Syria? Twenty-five hundred odd years ago, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of Damascus. This prophecy is made more fascinating by the fact it remains unfulfilled in history. Damascus is the oldest continually inhabited city on earth. Although conquered many times, its status as an economic and cultural center of antiquity preserved it intact to this day. But Isaiah predicted Damascus would one day face utter destruction: "Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and it will become a fallen ruin," he writes in Isaiah 17:1. The prophet also predicts Damascus' destruction will come at a time when "the glory of Jacob" had begun to fade (verse 4), at a time when Israel is in great peril of being "shaken like an olive tree," leaving only a few "on the topmost bough." Isaiah prophesies that, when Damascus' destruction comes, there will be "an uproar of many peoples" and "the rumbling of nations" but that they will flee at God's rebuke. It seems clear from recent events that Syria is preparing chemical and biological weapons, and possibly some form of nuclear weapon for use in some future war against Israel. Syria and Iran have been outfitting Hezbollah with the latest in offensive weaponry since the war of June 2006. Israel is unlikely to sit back and wait for a first-use chemical or gas attack from Damascus. Neither is it likely to wait until Ahmadinejad can use Syria to flank them in the event of conflict with Iran. So the number of Israeli raids against Syrian targets is likely to escalate until either Israel has destroyed the threat or Syria responds militarily. If Syria attacks with weapons of mass destruction, it can expect a massive, in-kind Israeli response. Bible prophecy doesn't make allowances for a full-scale unconventional war of annihilation of Israel by Iran, however. Ezekiel predicts Iran's participation of the Gog-Magog invasion as part of a Russian-led alliance, not a regional alliance with Syria. Both Iran and Israel are listed as participants in that future conflict. But Syria isn't. Syria isn't numbered among any of the various protagonists prophesied to participate in the conflicts of the last days. Isaiah describes the destruction of Damascus in much the same terms that would be used today to describe the effects of all-out, no-holds-barred Israeli retaliatory strike against a Syrian gas attack. "At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning, they are no more" (Isaiah 17:13-14). Assad had better reconsider his options – while he still has some.



Saudi’s Consider Dropping Dollar

Sept. 21….(Telegraph) Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signaling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East. "This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas. "Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said. The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg. As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilizing its own economy. The Fed's dramatic half point cut to 4.75pc yesterday has already caused a plunge in the world dollar index to a fifteen year low, touching with weakest level ever against the mighty Euro at just under $1.40. There is now a growing danger that global investors will start to shun the US bond markets. The latest US government data on foreign holdings released this week show a collapse in purchases of US bonds from $97bn to just $19bn in July, with outright net sales of US Treasuries. The danger is that this could now accelerate as the yield gap between the United States and the rest of the world narrows rapidly, leaving America starved of foreign capital flows needed to cover its current account deficit - expected to reach $850bn this year, or 6.5pc of GDP. Mr. Redeker said foreign investors have been gradually pulling out of the long-term US debt markets, leaving the dollar dependent on short-term funding. Foreigners have funded 25pc to 30pc of America's credit and short-term paper markets over the last two years. "They were willing to provide the money when rates were paying nicely, but why bear the risk in these dramatically changed circumstances? We think that a fall in dollar to $1.50 against the Euro is not out of the question at all by the first quarter of 2008," he said. "This is nothing like the situation in 1998 when the crisis was in Asia, but the US was booming. This time the US itself is the problem," he said. Mr Redeker said the biggest danger for the dollar is that falling US rates will at some point trigger a reversal yen "carry trade", causing massive flows from the US back to Japan. Jim Rogers, the commodity king and former partner of George Soros, said the Federal Reserve was playing with fire by cutting rates so aggressively at a time when the dollar was already under pressure. The risk is that flight from US bonds could push up the long-term yields that form the base price of credit for most mortgages, the driving the property market into even deeper crisis. "If Ben Bernanke starts running those printing presses even faster than he's already doing, we are going to have a serious recession. The dollar's going to collapse, the bond market's going to collapse. There's going to be a lot of problems," he said. The Federal Reserve, however, clearly calculates the risk of a sudden downturn is now so great that it outweighs dangers of a dollar slide. Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan said this week that house prices may fall by "double digits" as the subprime crisis bites harder, prompting households to cut back sharply on spending. For Saudi Arabia, the dollar peg has clearly become a liability. Inflation has risen to 4pc and the M3 broad money supply is surging at 22pc. The pressures are even worse in other parts of the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates now faces inflation of 9.3pc, a 20-year high. In Qatar it has reached 13pc. Kuwait became the first of the oil sheikhdoms to break its dollar peg in May, a move that has begun to rein in rampant money supply growth.



Israel Declares Hamas-Controlled Gaza an Enemy Entity

imageSept. 20….(Arutz) The security cabinet voted Wednesday to officially label Hamas-controlled Gaza as an enemy entity, a viewpoint shared by the Bush administration, according to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The decision allows Israel to respond to Kassam rocket attacks by cutting fuel and power supplies, but ministers voted not to cut off water to the region. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters the move is designed to pressure terrorists into ending their constant rocket attacks on Jewish communities in the western Negev. The plan involves several stages. The first step will be to cut off electricity to Gaza when terrorists launch a Kassam attack from the area.  Electricity is used to power the workshops where the rockets are manufactured. If the attacks continue, the response moves to stage 2, in which fuel supplies are cut. There are exceptions to this measure: the ministers voted to continue to supply fuel to run generators at Gaza hospitals. The crossing into Gaza will also be affected. Security officials said only food and medical supplies will be allowed to pass into the region. Gaza will be sealed off; no one will be allowed in or out. Hamas officials slammed the decision, calling it a “declaration of war.” Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also accused Israel of planning a “humanitarian disaster.” Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was also the recipient of harsh criticism, with Barhoum accusing him of “silence and cooperation, with the enemy’s decisions.”  Abbas, meanwhile, called the decision “oppressive.”



Iran Promises "Final Response" to US and Israel on October 12

imageSept. 20….(Arutz) Iran has promised a devastating “final response” to supporters of the Jewish State on October 12, the Islamic Republic’s Quds (Jerusalem) Day. “Supporters of the Zionist regime will receive their response during the world Quds Day's rallies,” Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said at a weekly press conference Wednesday. According to the state controlled Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Elham was describing Iran's planned response for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit “to the occupied Palestine [sic].” "The US loses all opportunities to cooperate with regional and other world states by trying to support a regime the Zionist regime which is now at its weakest political and social position," Elham said. "Supporters of the Zionist regime will definitely receive the final response for their support on Quds day." Quds Day is held each year on the last Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan. It was instituted in 1979, following the Islamic revolution by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. “I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters,” Khomeini said when proposing the day. “I call on all the Muslims of the world to select as Quds Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan, which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate, and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask G-d Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.” On Quds Day in 2000, Khomeini’s successor Khamenei called for Israel’s destruction, saying it is “the only way to solve the problems of the Middle East.” One of Khamenei’s top advisers, Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, declared Tuesday that Iran would strike “in shortest possible time” in case of any strike on its nuclear facilities. He referred specifically to the army of suicide-bombers and child-soldiers active during the Iran-Iraq war. "The enemy will face strong armed forces especially the Basij [suicide-bombers and child soldiers] if it unleashed a military attack on Iran," he said. He claimed that the Basij army has 20 million members.



Iranian President Denied Access to WTC Site

(Officials cite security concerns, construction as primary reasons for refusal)

Sept. 20…(Fox News) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked permission to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site when he comes to New York City next week, but the request was denied, a police official said Wednesday. Ahmadinejad, who is arriving Sunday to address the United Nations General Assembly, had asked this month for permission to visit the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police spokesman Paul Browne said. The request to enter the fenced-in site was rejected because of ongoing construction there, Browne said. "Requests for the Iranian president to visit the immediate area would also be opposed by the NYPD on security grounds," Browne said.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters Wednesday that the United States would not support Iran's attempt to use the site for a "photo op." "Iran can demonstrate its seriousness about concern with regard to terrorism by taking concrete actions," such as dropping support for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and suspending its uranium enrichment program, Khalilzad said. Browne said Ahmadinejad had asked permission from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the US Secret Service and the police department. The police and the Secret Service provide security to visiting heads of state. The Port Authority, which owns the trade center site and is the only agency that could grant him permission to go inside, said it never received such a request, contradicting the police statement. "We have not been asked to accommodate the president of Iran," Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said.

It wasn't clear whether Ahmadinejad wanted to descend to the base of the trade center site, where the twin towers once stood, or lay a wreath on a public sidewalk outside the site. Telephone calls to the Iranian Mission to the United Nations were not immediately returned. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said a visit to ground zero "is a matter for the city of New York, but it seems more than odd that the president of a country that is a state sponsor of terror would visit ground zero." Iran and the US have not had diplomatic relations since Washington cut its ties with Tehran after Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The Bush administration has accused Iran of arming Shiite Muslim militants in Iraq and seeking to develop nuclear weapons.



Bin Laden Urges Pakistanis to Rebel Against Musharraf

imageSept. 20….(AP) Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is calling on Pakistanis to rebel against President Pervez Musharraf in a new audiotape. The announcement of the upcoming message came as al-Qaida released a new video in which bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, boasted that the United States was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts. Speakers in the video promised more fighting in Afghanistan, North Africa and Sudan's Darfur region. The messages are part of a stepped-up propaganda campaign by al-Qaida around the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Earlier this month, bin Laden released two messages, including his first new appearance in a video in nearly three years. "Soon, God willing: 'Come to Jihad (holy war)' "Urgent, al-Qaida declares war on the tyrant Pervez Musharraf and his apostate army, in the words of Osama bin Laden," it read. Al-Zawahri began by condemning the Pakistani military's July assault on Islamic militants who took over the Red Mosque in Islamabad, and he paid tribute to one of the militants' leaders, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the fighting. The siege "revealed the extent of the despicableness, lowliness and treason of Musharraf and his forces, who don't deserve the honor of defending Pakistan, because Pakistan is a Muslim land, whereas the forces of Musharraf are hunting dogs under President Bush's crucifix," al-Zawahri said. Bin Laden and al-Zawahri are thought to be hiding in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, where many analysts believe they have rebuilt al-Qaida's core leadership. He condemned Arab Gulf governments that have allied themselves with the United States, saying they have "sold the Islamic nation, colluded with the enemies of Islam and backed the infidels. And this is the greater form of being an infidel, But Allah permitting, they shall leave the Gulf under the blows of the mujahideen," bin Laden said.



Christian Leader Killed in Another Assassination Bombing in Beirut

imageSept. 19….(Fox News) A bomb rocked a Christian suburb east of the Lebanese capital Wednesday, killing an anti-Syrian lawmaker and six other people, security officials said. Antoine Ghanem is the eighth prominent anti-Syrian figure assassinated since 2005. Ghanem, 64, a member of the right-wing Christian Phalange Party, was targeted by the bomb, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The Voice of Lebanon radio station, which is owned by the Phalange party, confirmed Ghanem's death. The identities of the others killed were not immediately known. The attack came six days before parliament was scheduled to meet to elect a new president in a vote expected to be deeply divisive. Three of the slain lawmakers have been from the US-backed majority coalition, reducing its margin in parliament. The assassinations of anti-Syrian figures began with former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a massive car bombing in February 2005. Syria's opponents in Lebanon have accused Damascus of being behind the killings, a claim Syria denies.

The blast occurred in the Sin el-Fil district, a Christian area which houses the home of former President Amin Gemayeh, whose son, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, was shot and killed in November 2006. A local television station, LBC, said 20 people were wounded in the blast. LBC's footage showed severe damage in nearby buildings and several cars on fire. The explosion sent a cloud of gray smoke over the area, and blood covered several parts of the street. The assassination of anti-Syrian figures began with former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a massive car bombing that year. Syria's opponents in Lebanon have accused Damascus of being behind the killings, a claim Syria denies. Hariri's death sparked massive protests that helped bring an end to Syria's nearly 30-year domination of Lebanon. Damascus was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon in 2005, and a government led by anti-Syrian politicians was elected. Since then, the government of US-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has been locked in a power struggle with the opposition, led by Syria's ally Hezbollah. Government supporters have accused Syria of seeking to end Saniora's slim majority in parliament by killing off lawmakers in his coalition. After the assassination of Parliament member Walid Eido in June, many majority legislators spent the summer abroad for security reasons.



Iranian General: We Will Bomb Israel if We Are Attacked

Sept. 19….(Fox News) The deputy commander of Iran's air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state (or the US) attacks Iran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. The announcement comes amid rising tensions in the region with the United States calling for a new round of UN sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown, and perhaps even attacked, Iranian ally Syria's territory. "We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this Israel makes a silly mistake," deputy air force chief, Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview. The Fars news agency confirmed the quotes when contacted by the Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian Air Force, for its part, had no immediate comment on the interview. Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar, however, did tell the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that "we keep various options open to respond to threats and we will make use of them if required." Iran has threatened in the past that Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target if attacked by the United States. But Alavi's comments were the first word of specific contingency plans for striking back on Israel. Many in the region fear Israel could launch airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon. Alavi also warned that Israel was within Iran's medium-range missiles and its fighter bombers, while maintaining that Israel was not strong enough to launch an aerial attack against Iran. "The whole territory of this regime is within the range of our missiles. Moreover, we can attack their territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack," the general said. An upgraded version of Iran's Shahab-3 missile has a range of 1,200 miles capable of reaching Israel and carrying a nuclear warhead. Alavi said Iran's radar bases were monitoring activities at the country's borders around the clock and boasted that it had the capability to confront US cruise missiles. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday said the United States and its partners will move forward with a request for a third round of Security Council sanctions. She said she will discuss sanctions this month with other members of the six-nation international bloc that has offered Iran economic incentives if it gives up uranium enrichment and other activities that worry the West. The Security Council is not expected to take up the issue before October. Iran has ignored the previous UN demands and associated mild sanctions. It is not clear whether the United States can win a third round.



Who's Afraid of the Peace Conference?

Sept. 19….(Jerusalem Post) While Israel is keen on Saudi Arabian participation at the planned US-sponsored meeting on the Middle East in November, the event does not have to be called off if the Saudis decline to come, senior Israeli officials said Tuesday. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who arrived in Israel Wednesday afternoon, is expected to discuss with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders the current status of the international conference, and which countries are likely to participate, if any.  It's clear by now that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his top aides in Ramallah are no longer interested in attending the US-sponsored peace conference in November. A number of Abbas aides already began whining about the conference over the weekend, when some of them told The Jerusalem Post that they were planning to ask the US to postpone it under the pretext that the Palestinians still aren't prepared for a final settlement. The tone in Ramallah grew sharper later in the week, with PA officials warning that Abbas would boycott the conference in protest against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's refusal to sign a declaration of principles addressing three key issues: the status of Jerusalem, the final borders of the future Palestinian state and the problem of Palestinian refugees. The shift in the PA's position toward the conference is largely attributed to Abbas's failure to persuade the majority of the Arab countries to take part. The Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians and Qataris are said to have informed Abbas that they see no point in attending under the current circumstances, especially in light of the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah. Abbas does not want to repeat the "mistake" of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, who went to the botched Camp David meeting in 2000 without the backing of his Arab brethren. The PA chief is well aware that he does not have a mandate to strike a deal on Jerusalem or the refugees without the majority of the Arab and Islamic countries. He does not want to be held responsible for an historic agreement with Israel. Abbas is also reluctant to participate in a highly controversial conference held under the auspices of the US at a time when the Palestinians are more divided than ever. He knows that any deal he brings back will be severely criticized by Hamas and many other Palestinians, who will accuse him of succumbing to American and Israeli pressure. Moreover, Abbas and some of his aides remain skeptical about Israel's true intentions. They believe that Olmert is a weak leader who won't be able to deliver because of his political and coalition problems. Similarly, the Palestinians don't believe that US President George W. Bush, whose term in office is nearing its end, is capable of exerting enough pressure on Israel. Abbas, in short, is afraid of failure. He's afraid that the Israelis and the Americans will blame him for the failure of the summit. He's also afraid of the reactions of Hamas and the Arab world. As one of his aides put it, "Abbas does not want to find himself in the same position as Yasser Arafat after the Camp David summit. Then, the Israelis and President Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for foiling the peace process. And Abbas hasn't forgotten what happened to Arafat in his final years, when he was isolated and humiliated in his office."



Israel’s Chief Peace Negotiator Says Jerusalem Will be Divided

Sept. 19….(Arutz) In a letter to a fellow Kadima politician, the lead negotiator on behalf of the government in talks with the Fatah-run half of the Palestinian Authority confirmed his plan to relinquish sovereignty over much of Jerusalem, including in the Old City. In response to a concerned letter of inquiry from Jerusalem Municipal Council Member Nir Barkat, Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon wrote, "The Jewish neighborhoods of Ramon fully represents the government in negotiations with the PA.  Jerusalem will be recognized as Israeli and under Israeli sovereignty. Accordingly, the Arab neighborhoods will be recognized as Palestinian. Passages between the Israeli neighborhoods will be open and secure, accordingly the same will be true for the Palestinian neighborhoods." Regarding the "holy sites" in the capital, Ramon wrote only that there would be an undefined "special sovereignty." Inside the Old City, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter "will remain under Israeli rule forever," the vice-premier wrote.



General Abizaid: World Could Possibly Abide Nuclear Iran

imageSept. 18….(AP) Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of US forces in the Middle East said Monday. John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them. "Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. (the General better think again about that) "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon." The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability. "I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States. "There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with other nuclear powers as well." He stressed that he was expressing his personal opinion and that none of his remarks were based on his previous experience with US contingency plans for potential military action against Iran. Abizaid stressed the dangers of allowing more and more nations to build a nuclear arsenal. And while he said it is likely that Iran will make a technological breakthrough to obtain a nuclear bomb, "it's not inevitable." Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for energy resources, not to build weapons. Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran's nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course. "War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it, in my mind, to every extent that we can," he said. "On the other hand, we can't allow the Iranians to continue to push in ways that are injurious to our vital interests." He suggested that many in Iran, perhaps even some in the Tehran government, are open to cooperating with the West. The thrust of his remarks was a call for patience in dealing with Iran, which President Bush early in his first term labeled one of the "axis of evil" nations, along with North Korea and Iraq. He said there is a basis for hope that Iran, over time, will move away from its current anti-Western stance. Abizaid expressed confidence that the United States and the world community can manage the Iran problem. "I believe the United States, with our great military power, can contain Iran, that the United States can deliver clear messages to the Iranians that makes it clear to them that while they may develop one or two nuclear weapons they'll never be able to compete with us in our true military might and power," he said. He described Iran's government as reckless, with ambitions to dominate the Middle East. Abizaid made his remarks in response to questions from his audience after delivering remarks about the major strategic challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia, the region in which he commanded US forces from July 2003 until February 2007, when he was replaced by Adm. William Fallon. The US cut diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the 1979 storming of the US Embassy in Tehran.



Olmert 'Ready for Uncondtional Peace Talks with Syria'

Sept. 18….(YNET) Israeli Prime minister Olmert says he is interested in holding peace negotiations with Syria without pre-conditions or demands, and even states that he respects Bashar Assad. Israel is interested in holding peace talks with Syria under the right conditions, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday. "We want to make peace, we are willing to make peace with Syria unconditionally and without demands. I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and the Syrian policy," Olmert said in a meeting with Russian reporters at his Jerusalem residence. The Syrians "have internal problems," the PM said, "but we have no reason to rule out dialogue with Syria." This was the prime minister's first statement on the Syrian matter since the incident in which Syria accused Israeli aircraft of invading its airspace almost two weeks ago. Since the report about Israeli planes flying in Syrian skies and possibly attacking targets in its territory, both Damascus and Jerusalem have kept complete silence on the matter. Referring to the Iranian nuclear threat, Olmert said that Ahmadinejad was attempting to persuade the international community, through psychological warfare, that it was too late to stop Iran from obtaining weapons. "This is how he is trying to convince the international community to engage in negotiations with him

   MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) said Olmert was behaving as if he were "bankrupt" following his announcement that he would be willing to hold peace talks with Syria without any preconditions. "It is very strange that Israel's prime minister holds respect for Syria's leader, who is called the 'fool' behind his back by most Arab leaders. Olmert is behaving as if he has gone bankrupt and for the sake of his political survival is willing to sell assets that don't even belong to him. After his talks with Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) hit the rocks, he is trying to sell the Golan Heights again," Eldad said. MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) criticized Olmert's statement, saying, "Someone who says they want to negotiate does not send airplanes to harm Syria's sovereignty, to enter and bomb its land.



Israel Targeted North Korean Nuclear Equipment

Sept. 18….(YNET) Israel had apparently been mulling an air-strike against Syrian targets since late spring, after Mossad chief Meir Dagan presented Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with evidence that Damascus was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea. An Israeli official told the newspaper that the spy chief feared the device could be fitted on Scud-C missiles and used in future military conflicts with Israel. "This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said the Israeli official. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.” On September 7, Syria said Israeli aircraft entered its airspace a day earlier and dropped munitions near the border with Turkey. The Washington Post quoted Saturday a US official as saying that Israel had targeted suspicious material labeled as cement that arrived from North Korea three days before the airstrike. The Washington Post identified the target as an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river that Israel had been monitoring for some time, fearing that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates. The Sunday Times said Israel Air Force commandos positioned themselves near the facility a day before the raid, ready to direct laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The newspaper said eight F15I jets and a UAV carried out the airstrike 50 miles from the Iraqi border. An Israeli air force official told the Times that the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility, the Times wrote. The newspaper said that Sergei Kirpichenko, Russia's ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack against Syria, but hinted that the target was the Golan Heights.



Syria: US Nuclear Claims are 'False,' Biased Toward Israel

Sept. 18….(YNET) Syria criticized the United States on Tuesday, accusing it of spreading false claims of Syrian nuclear activity and cooperation with North Korea to excuse an alleged Israel Air Force incursion over the country this month. A front-page editorial in the government newspaper Tishrin also was critical of Washington for failing to condemn the alleged September 6 IAF incursion, which it called a violation of international law. North Korea strongly denied Tuesday that it provided Syria with secret nuclear cooperation, calling the allegation a fabrication by hard-liners in Washington to block progress in the North's relations with the United States. North Korea's Foreign Ministry said the country has upheld its pledge made last October, when it conducted its first-ever nuclear test, that North Korea would be a responsible nuclear power and not transfer any nuclear material out of the country. "We never speak empty words," a ministry spokesperson said. "The above-said story is nothing but a clumsy plot hatched by the dishonest forces who do not like to see any progress at the six-party talks and in the DPRK-U.S. relations." US media reported last week that the North may be helping Syria with a secret nuclear program. Bolstering the suspicions was a senior US nuclear official who said Friday that North Koreans were in Syria and that Syria may have had contacts with secret suppliers to obtain nuclear equipment. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers, but said North Koreans were in Syria and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved. The North's Foreign Ministry claimed that the suspicions are nothing but an unskillful conspiracy fabricated again by impure forces who do not want to see progress in six-party talks and in relations between Washington and Pyongyang. By impure forces, the North apparently referred to US officials who have called for a stronger approach to deal with the communist nation. Six-party talks refer to negotiations aimed at convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear programs. The forum involves China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the US.  Israel informed the Bush administration of its plans to attack targets in Syria earlier this month just before carrying out the raid, American and Israeli officials told the New York Times in a report on Tuesday. The report was not clear on whether the Bush administration had expressed support or opposition to the information.



US Official Says Syria May Have Nuclear Ties

Sept. 18….(In The News) A US State Department official said Friday that the United States had concerns about Syria’s involvement in illicit nuclear activities and suggested that North Korea might be aiding the Syrians in their efforts.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.”—Isaiah 17:1

Andrew Semmel, a top official on countering the spread of nuclear weapons, said that Syria may have a number of “secret suppliers” for a covert nuclear program, and that North Korean technicians were currently operating inside Syria. His comments, in an interview with The Associated Press in Rome, came in response to questions about an Israeli airstrike inside Syria last week. Neither Israel nor the United States has confirmed what targets the Israeli jets hit, and the government in Jerusalem has imposed a blanket restriction on the Israeli news media from reporting details about the raid. American officials have been similarly tight-lipped, and officials who ordinarily see intelligence reports on such issues say their access has been restricted. Mr. Semmel did not specify whether the technicians in Syria were specialists in nuclear technology; North Korea has long supplied Syria with missile technology. Some weapons experts said they were skeptical that Syria was in league with North Korea to build a secret program. Damascus is not thought to have made serious efforts in the past to develop nuclear weapons, and those experts said it was unlikely that the Syrians could afford such a program or had the technical expertise to sustain it. The speculation about possible North Korean activities inside Syria is heightening the Bush administration’s concern about the future of its diplomatic efforts to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program. The Bush administration’s top negotiator for North Korea, Christopher R. Hill, said the United States had sought a specific explanation from North Korean officials, and added that the issue “does not change the goal of what we’re aiming for.” A Bush administration official said earlier this week that over the past several weeks, Israel had conducted several aerial surveillance flights over Syria to take pictures of what Israeli officials were said to believe could be possible nuclear development installations. North Korea’s government took the unusual step of publicly condemning the Israeli strike. The Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua cited a North Korean Foreign Ministry official on Tuesday as calling the Israeli strike “a very dangerous provocation, little short of wantonly violating the sovereignty of Syria and seriously harassing the regional peace and security.” Some who advocate a hard-line stance toward North Korea, including former top Bush administration officials, said that possible intelligence about North Korea’s efforts to aid Syria should halt diplomatic talks with Pyongyang. “It would be a big mistake for the State Department to push ahead with the six-party process without this being resolved,” said John R. Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, referring to the diplomatic talks with North Korea. “They are rushing to finish this and declare victory, which could be a catastrophe for the president.”



PA Newspaper Glorifies Al-Qaeda's 9/11 Attacks

image Sept. 18….( According to the Palestinian Media Watch organization, a Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority newspaper has printed a cartoon appearing to glorify Osama Bin-Laden and the 9/11 attacks on the United States.To mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks on New York City and Washington, the PA official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida ran a cartoon of a smiling Bin-Laden flashing the "V for Victory" sign. His two upraised fingers formed the shape of the burning Twin Towers, felled by planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists. The cartoon, according to PMW, was prepared exclusively for the newspaper, which is owned and managed by the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian Authority has a long history of celebrating the 9/11 terror. The world was shocked by televised scenes of Palestinians celebrating the attacks in the streets the day they took place. A December 2005 poll found that '65% of Palestinians supported Al Qaeda actions in the USA. According to the PMW analysts, "The official PA media's repeated glorification of Bin Laden is a reflection of the deep hatred of the US by the Palestinian population. This hatred is the result of years of hate incitement against the US by Palestinian political leaders... by the PA media and even in official Western-funded schoolbooks." PMW pointed out Washington continues to support politically and financially PA institutions and the PA itself, while ignoring the government sanctioned promotion of hatred toward the US.



Middle East Peace Summit Reportedly Falling Apart

Sept. 17….(Jerusalem Post) Senior Palestinian officials told The Jerusalem Post at the weekend that they are considering asking the US to postpone a major peace summit currently scheduled to take place in Washington in November. The Palestinians say they are concerned by the refusal of Arab states to confirm their participation in the gathering, which the Bush Administration had originally billed as a regional peace summit aimed at kick-starting and laying the groundwork for final status Israeli-Arab peace negotiations. But leaders from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a number of other smaller Arab states say the US has failed to provide a firm agenda for the conference or a timeline for implementation of any agreements made there. Arab leaders say they are unwilling to be a backdrop for what is little more than a photo opportunity meant to prop up Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President George W. Bush. The Arab world insists that prior to the summit Israel must agree to all its demands so that the gathering can end in “success.” Olmert, however, is under mounting pressure at home to not make any serious concessions amid the Palestinians' ongoing failure to effectively govern themselves or put an end to anti-Israel terrorism emanating from territories under their control. With no confirmed regional participants and little hope of anything resembling a final status agreement resulting from the summit, the Palestinians said they are seriously considering asking US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visits later this week to postpone the event



Ahmadinejad: President Bush Should be Tried in ICC

Sept. 17….(Israel Today) President Bush will one day be tried in court just like deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for his involvement in the Iraq tragedy, Iran’s supreme leader said Friday. Speaking to thousands of worshippers during the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Bush will be called to account for the US-led invasion of Iraq. “A day will come that the current US president and officials will be tried in an international supreme court for the catastrophes they caused in Iraq,” he said. “Americans will have to answer for why they don’t end occupation of Iraq and why waves of terrorism and insurgency have overwhelmed the country,” he added. “It will not be like this forever and some day they will be stopped as happened to Hitler, Saddam and certain other European leaders.” Khamenei mocked the US, describing the recent congressional testimony of the top US officials in Iraq as a sign of weakness and the failure of American policy in the war torn country. “More than four years have passed since the occupation of Iraq and today everyone knows that America has failed and is frantically looking for a way out,” he said.

In their testimony Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker raised allegations, denied by Iran, of Iranian meddling in Iraq by financial and military support of militias and insurgent groups. They warned that the US was already embroiled in a proxy war with the Islamic republic. Despite UN sanctions and efforts to isolate Iran internationally, the country is flourishing, maintained Khamenei. “Today we are in a better political position compared to four to five years ago,” he said. “We have moved forward economically and the spiritual preparedness and happiness of our nation has improved.” “A nation like ours, without an atomic bomb and not as wealthy as these other powerful governments, has foiled a whole series of their conspiracies and forced them to give up and withdraw,” he added. The US accuses Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and has called for further international sanctions against the country. Iran denies the charge. Iran and the US have not had diplomatic relations since Washington cut its ties with Tehran after Iranian students stormed the US embassy there in 1979.



600 Iranian Missiles Reportedly Pointed at Targets in Israel

imageSept. 17….(Jerusalem Post) Six hundred Iranian Shihab-3 missiles are pointed at targets throughout Israel, and will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian website affiliated with the regime reported on Monday. "Iran will shoot 600 missiles at Israel if it is attacked," the Iranian news website, Assar Iran, reported. "600 missiles will only be the first reaction." According to the report, dozens of locations throughout Iraq, which are being used by the US Army, have also been targeted. The Shihab missile has a range of 1,300 km, and can reach anywhere in Israel. On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that the nuclear Iranian crisis forces the world "to prepare for the worst," and said that in this case it "is war." Kouchner emphasized, however, that negotiations should still be the preferred course of action. Kouchner, quoted by French daily Le Figaro, added that "Iran does whatever it pleases in Iraq ,and one cannot find in the entire world a crisis greater than this one."



Behind a poster of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reading: "Missile maneuver of the Great Prophet," Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards tests the long-range Shihab-3 missile in a central desert area of Iran.



Unfounded 'Reports' Heat Air over Middle East

Sept. 17….( Stan Goodenough) Influential left-wing news organizations helped add impetus Tuesday and early Wednesday towards a new Middle East war with wild speculation and un-sourced allegations concerning Israel's reported incursion into Syrian airspace last week. The unfounded charges appear to be motivated by, among other things, frustration at the Israeli government's ongoing refusal to comment over what Damascus has called a hostile Israeli act. According to a report in the New York Times Wednesday, Israel has sent its warplanes over Syria on a number of occasions in recent days in order to photograph what could be nuclear installations supplied by North Korea. The Times attributed its "discovery" to an unnamed Bush administration official. Earlier, "CNN-lies’" chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour “broke the story” that Israeli planes were long-range F-15 bombers, and that they attacked a weapons consignment en route via Syria to the Lebanese Hizb'allah. The network's report also suggested that IDF troops may have been inserted into Syria. Syria, Israel's most implacable Arab foe, has long facilitated Iran's supplying of Hizb'allah with missiles and other weaponry whose ultimate destination is Israel and the destruction of Jewish lives. Just how authentic Amanpour's story is remains unclear. The journalist, who is no friend of Israel, and who was most recently high-profiled with the international screening of her blatantly-biased television special "God's Warriors," cited US defense officials "speaking on condition of anonymity." She also "quoted" unnamed sources who, she says, expressed Israel's "happiness" with the results of the attack. CNN and the New York Times "scoops" successfully ratcheted up another level the already taut atmosphere between Damascus and Jerusalem. Syria, which has registered complaints about the Israeli "aggression" with the United Nations Secretary-General and the chairman of the Security Council, said Wednesday its response has "not yet come."



IAEA Chief Warns Against Striking Iran

Sept. 17….(AP) Invoking the war in Iraq, the chief UN nuclear inspector criticized talk of attacking Iran as "hype" on Monday, saying the use of force should only be considered as a last resort and only if authorized by the UN Security Council. "I would not talk about any use of force," said Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in an indirect response to French warnings that the world had to be prepared for the possibility of war in the event that Iran obtains atomic weapons. Saying only the UN Security Council could authorize the use of force, ElBaradei urged the world to remember Iraq before considering any similar action against Iran. "There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons," he told reporters. He was alluding to a key US argument for invading Iraq in 2003 without Security Council approval, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms. Four years later, no such arsenals have been found. ElBaradei, speaking outside a 144-nation meeting of his agency, urged both sides to back away from confrontation, in comments addressed both to Iran and the US-led group of nations pressing for new UN sanctions for Iran's refusal to end uranium enrichment. "We need to be cool," he said, adding: "We need not to hype the Iran issue". On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned that the world should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons and said European leaders were considering their own economic sanctions against the Islamic country. Negotiations and two sets of UN Security Council sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to stop its uranium enrichment program, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear power plants as well as material used in atomic weapons. In comments alluding to the US and its Western allies, Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh accused unnamed countries of forcing the international community onto the "unjustified, illegal, deceptive and misleading path, by imposing restrictions and sanctions." And he again ruled out scrapping Iran's uranium enrichment program, telling delegates Iran would "never give up its inalienable and legal right in benefiting from peaceful nuclear technology." ElBaradei, architect of a recent pact committing Iran to stop stonewalling his experts and lift the shroud of secrecy on past suspicious nuclear work, defended the agreement against criticism it could be used by Tehran as a smoke screen to draw attention from its defiance of the Security Council. "What we need to do is encourage Iran to work with the agency to clarify the outstanding issues," he said. "I do not believe at this stage that we are facing a clear and present danger that require we go beyond diplomacy," ElBaradei said, adding that his agency had no information that "the Iran program is being weaponized." Alluding to Western criticism that he was being too soft on Iran, ElBaradei said: If "in time of hype telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act, I will continue to be a revolutionary."






Iran leader: Bush must face trial over 'Iraq atrocities'

imageSep. 14 ... (AFP) Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that US President George W. Bush had been defeated in his plans for the Middle East and would one day stand trial for "atrocities" in Iraq. Khamenei's lacerating attack on the US president in a Tehran prayer sermon came one day after Bush once again accused Iran of undermining the Iraqi government. "Today the Americans are condemned by the public opinion of the Islamic nation and they are hated," the supreme leader told worshippers who punctuated his sermon with shouts of "Death to America". "I have a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq," he said. "They have to be held accountable. The United States cannot ignore its responsibility. The situation will not remain like this. One day it was Hitler, then it was the turn of Saddam," he said. Khamenei accused the United States of invading Iraq in 2003 to execute a plan to create a Middle East that would be "based around" Iran's arch enemy Israel and aimed at weakening its Islamic system. "The Americans were defeated in their aims in the Middle East and were defeated in their ultimate aim for the Islamic Republic of Iran. "The Middle East plan was not achieved and they did not touch the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said. The United States accuses Iran of smuggling bombs into Iraq for attacks on US troops and of seeking a nuclear weapon, charges that the Tehran authorities vehemently deny. Washington has never ruled out military action against Iran but Khamenei brushed off the notion that the United States could now threaten the Islamic republic. "Thanks to God, we are climbing the ladder of success... This shows the complete defeat of United States in weakening Iran."



Iraqi insurgents kill key US ally

imageSep. 13...(BBC News) A key Sunni ally of the US and Iraqi governments has been killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi, Iraqi police and media say. Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was the leader of an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that rejected al-Qaeda because of its methods and worked with the US. He was killed in a bomb attack near his home in Iraq's western Anbar province. Abu Risha was among a group of tribal leaders who met President George W Bush during his visit to Iraq last week. "The sheikh's car was totally destroyed by the explosion. Abu Risha was killed and two of his bodyguards were seriously wounded," Ramadi police officer Ahmed Mahmoud al-Alwani told Reuters. Abu Risha was the leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening, an alliance of clans which sided with US forces and the Iraqi government in order to try to reclaim Anbar province from al-Qaeda. The US has been trying to organise Sunni groups against al-Qaeda. Washington has celebrated Abu Risha and his tribal fellows, saying they have inflicted considerable losses and setbacks on the insurgent group.



Iran rocket used in attack on key Iraq base: U.S.


Sep. 13... (Reuters) The U.S. military said on Thursday an Iranian-made rocket was believed to have been used in an attack that killed one person on the headquarters of the American military in Iraq this week. Military spokesman Major-General Kevin Bergner said it appeared followers of the anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were responsible for the attack on Tuesday. "The attack used a 240 mm rocket, which is a weapon that these groups have received from Iranian sources in the past and recently used in other attacks against coalition forces," Bergner said at a news conference. The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, with U.S. officials stepping up accusations that Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi Shi'ite militias to kill U.S. soldiers, a charge Iran denies. U.S. commanders say that apart from rockets and mortars, sophisticated roadside bombs made from Iranian components have killed scores of U.S. troops. While Bergner would not confirm the rocket hit the large Camp Victory military base near Baghdad airport, he said the attack killed one person and wounded 11 others. In a statement late on Tuesday, the military said one third country national was killed and 11 multinational troops wounded in an "indirect fire" attack on the base, which is less prone to attack than other U.S. facilities given its size and location. Initial assessments of the rocket showed that it was Iranian-made, Bergner said.



Hamas calls for halt to rocket fire on Gaza border crossings

image Sep 13... (AFP) The Hamas movement ruling the Gaza Strip on Thursday called on armed Palestinian groups to stop firing rockets at border crossings between the territory and Israel. "The government calls on Palestinian factions to avoid bombarding the border crossings in order to protect the interests of the Palestinian people during this month of Ramadan," Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said in a statement. The statement added that halting the rocket fire was needed to "preserve the movement of goods and consolidate security and stability in the Gaza Strip," which was seized in a bloody takeover by the Islamist movement three months ago. Border crossings between Gaza and Israel are often the targets of rocket and mortar attacks by militant groups and have been largely closed since the Hamas takeover. Hamas on Wednesday said its forces have gone on high alert ahead of an anticipated large-scale Israeli offensive in the wake of a rocket attack this week that hit an Israeli army base and wounded dozens of soldiers.



Israel keeps up blackout on mystery Syria air strike

imageSep. 12...(AFP) Israel on Wednesday maintained an official blackout on an apparent strike by its warplanes on Syria, amid reports that the mysterious attack targeted weapons financed by arch-foe Iran. No official Israeli comment was issued on allegations that its military carried out an attack deep inside Syria last Thursday, despite confirmation of a strike by a defence official of Israel's main ally the United States. Citing anonymous Israeli sources, an Arab Israeli newspaper, the Assennara, said on Wednesday that the jets "bombed in northern Syria a Syrian-Iranian missile base financed by Iran.... It appears that the base was completely destroyed." The previous day CNN reported that the strike, which could also have involved the use of ground forces, was believed to have targeted weapons either coming into Syria or moving through Syria from Iran to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Lebanon's Shiite militia that Israel fought in a war last year. The New York Times also reported on Wednesday that Israel thinks Syria and Iran are buying nuclear material from North Korea and had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations. A US administration official said Israeli officials believe that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria, the newspaper said. "The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left," the unidentified official was quoted as saying. Syria on Tuesday lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations over the "flagrant violation" of its airspace in the early hours of September 6, when it said its air defences opened fire on Israeli warplanes flying over the northeast of the country. Earlier a US defence official said that Israel had carried out an air strike as a warning to Damascus. "It wasn't big. It was a quick strike. They were engaged by the Syrians, they dropped their ordnance and scooted out of there," said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he did not know the target of the strike, but said the US military believed it was aimed at sending a message to the Syrians over their support for Hezbollah. "The Israelis are trying to tell the Syrians: 'Don't support a resurgence of Hezbollah in Lebanon'." Israeli officials have refused to comment on the report, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "specifically instructed ministers not to talk about the incident related to Syria at all," a senior Israeli government official told AFP earlier this week. This silence -- uncharacteristic in a nation notorious for media leaks -- continued on Wednesday, with even visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner saying he was also being kept in the dark. "I asked my hosts and they did not inform me," Kouchner told reporters in Jerusalem when asked about the reported strike, as he wrapped up his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. "If indeed... they have bombed a weapons convoy which was headed to Lebanon, we understand why they would do it," he said. "Everybody in Lebanon knows that large quantities of weapons arrive from the Syrian border." Olmert bypassed his traditional interviews with Israeli newspapers ahead of the Jewish New Year that starts at sundown on Wednesday, leaving President Shimon Peres to mention Syria in only general terms. "The central problem with Syria is Lebanon -- the question is to know whether Lebanon will be Lebanese or Iranian," Peres told public television. "The Syrians support Hezbollah and provide them with arms. As long as they continue on this route there will be tension in the air." And Sylvan Shalom, a former foreign minister, told army radio: "Syria should draw the lessons from what happened and change its attitude to avoid being completely in the hands of Iran."



Putin dissolves Russian government

imageSep. 12... (AP) President Vladimir Putin dissolved Russia's government Wednesday in a major political shakeup ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections, the Kremlin said. The dissolution is expected to result in a new prime minister, who will be seen as Putin's choice to succeed him after he steps down next spring. The newspaper Vedomosti, citing unidentified Kremlin officials, reported that Sergei Ivanov, a first deputy prime minister and a leading contender to succeed Putin, could be appointed to replace Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Another first deputy prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who is a top executive at natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom, is considered the other leading contender. Under the constitution, Putin has two weeks to propose a new head of government, which the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, then has a week to vote on. Russian news agencies said Fradkov would serve as acting prime minister until the vote. Fradkov said he asked for the dissolution of the government because with elections approaching, Putin needed to have a free hand to make decisions, including those concerning appointments. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for Dec. 2, followed some three months later by presidential balloting. "You might be right that we must all think about how to structure the government so that it better suits the pre-election period and prepares the country for what will happen after the parliamentary and presidential elections," Putin said.



Kassam strike wounds 69 soldiers on IDF base
(Israel escapes another near disaster)
imageSep. 11... (ICEJ News) Palestinian militiamen firing Kassam rockets early Tuesday morning struck a tent encampment full of sleeping IDF recruits on the Zikim army base near Gaza, wounding at least 69 troops, with several still in serious or critical condition. Israel's top political and military leaders met later today to confer on a response, though it is doubtful the IDF will be ordered to conduct a large-scale ground incursion due to concerns it could disrupt US-led diplomatic efforts to convene a major peace summit in Washington. The attack comes on the heels of another near disastrous Kassam strike on a daycare center in Sderot late last week, which also failed to draw a stiff Israeli response, plus an incident over Syrian airspace that has raised tensions in the North.
Upset parents descended today on the Zikim base, located one kilometer north of Gaza, to check on their sons, who were just completing basic training and were about to head home for the Jewish New Year holiday. The rocket landed on an empty tent, but wounded dozens of soldiers asleep in nearby tents. Israel Radio reported a heated exchange between the parents and the commanding officers of the base, and the IDF quickly deployed a number of portable Kassam shelters in the area. Both Nasr Salah al-Din Brigades, a PA terrorist militia, and the Islamic Jihad have taken responsibility for the attacks. Although Hamas did not join in claiming credit, a spokesman for the ruling faction in Gaza praised the rocket attack as "a victory from Allah for the resistance."
Israeli leaders insisted that they hold Hamas responsible for any attacks out of Gaza now, and suggested they could opt for a military or non-military reaction - taken to mean a deliberate cut-off of power and water to Gaza as was widely debated after last week's daycare incident.



Bin Laden wants 'caravan' of martyrs
imageSep 11 ... (AP) CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden urged sympathizers to join the "caravan" of martyrs as he praised one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers in a new video that emerged Tuesday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.Al-Qaida traditionally issues a video every year on the anniversary, with the last testament of one of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This year's video showed hijacker Waleed al-Shehri addressing the camera and warning the U.S.: "We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left."  The new message came days after the world got its first current look at bin Laden in nearly three years, with the release of a video Saturday in which the terror leader addressed the American people.At the end of his speech, bin Laden also mentions the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in an U.S. air strike there. Al-Zarqawi followed in the footsteps of al-Shehri and his brothers who "fulfilled their promises to God." "And now it is our turn," bin Laden says.
On Sunday, Bush's homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend sought to play down bin Laden's importance — and added a taunt, saying he was "virtually impotent." Terrorism experts say al-Qaida's core leadership is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The latest National Intelligence Estimate says the network is growing in strength, intensifying its efforts to put operatives in the United States and plot new attacks. Bin Laden's video on Saturday was his first message in over a year — since a July 1, 2006 audiotape. The images came under close scrutiny from U.S. intelligence agencies, looking for clues to the 50-year-old's health and whereabouts.



Americans see 9/11 as most important event of their lives
Sep 11 ... (WND) Six years after the September 11 attacks on the United States, most Americans view the plane hijackings that killed around 3,000 people as the most significant historical event of their lives, according to a poll released Monday. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they see the attacks as the most significant historical even of their lifetimes, with more people on the east coast -- 90 percent -- choosing this view compared to 75 percent on the west coast. The Zogby International telephone poll surveyed 938 people between September 6 and 9 and has a three-percentage point margin of error. The poll also showed 61 percent of respondents saying they think of the events at least once a week and 16 percent saying they think of the attacks every day. A full 91 percent said they believe the United States will be attacked again on US soil. Sixteen percent said they had personally visited the site of the World Trade Center in New York City to pay tribute to those who died when two passenger jets plunged into the towers and caused them to collapse.



36 Israelis soldiers wounded by Gaza rocket attack
imageSep. 10 ... JERUSALEM (AFP) - Thirty-six Israeli soldiers were wounded Tuesday by two rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, a military spokesman and medics said. The rocket struck the Zikim base located north of the Gaza Strip, said the spokesman. There was no immediate information on the extent of the injuries to the soldiers, who were evacuated to hospitals by two helicopters and around 20 ambulances. The toll is the worst from Palestinian rocket attacks in months.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned last week that Israel would "without hesitation and without pity" launch counterstrikes against militants who fire rockets from the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of the Islamist movement Hamas since June. Militants in Gaza regularly fire rockets and mortar rounds at Israel and while most fall in open spaces, some strike populated areas and have occasionally caused casualties.
Israel has been unable to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza, despite launching pinpoint air strikes and regular incursions into the crowded and impoverished territory from where it withdrew settlers and soldiers in 2005 after a 38-year presence.



Israeli and Palestinian leaders hold new round of talks
imageSept. 10….JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli and Palestinian leaders held a new round of talks in Jerusalem on Monday, but hopes of any breakthrough were dampened after Israel refused demands to release prisoners and lift roadblocks.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas were once again tackling the thorniest issues of the decades-long Mideast conflict as they seek to hammer out some sort of an agreement before a US-sponsored peace conference expected in November. Olmert will not accede to two key Palestinian demands -- a release of prisoners to mark the the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins this week and a lifting of roadblocks in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials said.






The Imperatives of Taking Gaza

Sept. 7….(JWR) excerpt from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert couldn't have looked more pathetic when he responded this week to a rocket attack on a day care center in Sderot by writing a letter of complaint to the United Nations. But what is he to do? Olmert and his government colleagues are stumped. They unwilling to pay the political price that comes with abandoning the defense of the Western Negev to Palestinian rockets in Gaza. But they are also unwilling to pay the military and political price of launching a wide-scale ground campaign in Gaza. In vain attempts to get themselves off the hot seat, they try to change the subject to Tony Blair's visit, or Condoleezza Rice's upcoming visit or the imaginary peace accord they might sign with Fatah terror chief Mahmoud Abbas someday. Then too, they beat their chests every time the IDF destroys a rocket launcher and threaten to stop supplying electricity to Gaza and start targeting Hamas commanders. They say all of this even though they know full well that nothing they are doing or talking about doing will prevent the Palestinians from attacking Israel. This is so because nothing Israel is now doing or talking about doing will change the Palestinians' view that attacking Israel with rockets and mortars serves their interests. And nothing being done today or being considered for tomorrow will diminish their capacity to assault the Negev. The Palestinians have good reasons to continue their attacks. Those attacks keep the Palestinians mobilized as a society against "the Zionist enemy."



Advanced Russian Air Defense Missile Cannot Protect Syria and Iran

Sept. 7, 2007….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s military experts conclude from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before. The new Pantsyr missiles therefore leave Syrian and Iranian airspace vulnerable to hostile intrusion. The Israeli plane or planes were described by a Syrian military spokesman as “forced to leave by Syrian air defense fire after dropping ammunition over deserted areas without causing casualties.” He warned “the Israeli enemy against repeating its aggressive action” and said his government reserved the right to respond in an appropriate manner. Western intelligence circles stress that information on Russian missile consignments to Syria or Iran is vital to any US calculation of whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program. They assume that the “absolute jamming immunity” which the Russian manufactures promised for the improved Pantsyr missiles was immobilized by superior electronic capabilities exercised by the jets before they were “forced to leave.” Syria took delivery in mid-August of 10 batteries of sophisticated Russian Pantsyr-S1E Air Defense Missile fire control systems with advanced radar, those sources report. They have just been installed in Syria. Understanding that the Pantsyr-S1E had failed in its mission to bring down trespassing aircraft, Moscow hastened Thursday, Sept 6, to officially deny selling these systems to Syria or Iran and called on Israel to respect international law. This was diplomatic-speak for a warning against attacking the Russian-made missiles batteries stations where Russian instructors are working alongside Syrian teams. Western intelligence circles maintain that it is vital for the US and Israel to establish the location and gauge the effectiveness of Pantsyr-S1E air defenses in Syrian and Iranian hands, as well as discovering how many each received. They estimate that at least three or four batteries of the first batch of ten were shipped to Iran to boost its air defense arsenal; another 50 are thought to be on the way, of which Syria will keep 36. The purported Israeli air force flights over the Pantsyr-S1E site established that the new Russian missiles, activated for the first time in the Middle East, are effective and dangerous but can be disarmed. Western military sources attribute to those Israeli or other air force planes superior electronics for jamming the Russian missile systems, but stress nonetheless that they were extremely lucky to get away unharmed, or at worst, with damage minor enough for a safe return to base. The courage, daring and operational skills of the air crews must have been exceptional. They would have needed to spend enough time in hostile Syrian air space to execute several passes at varying altitudes under fire in order to test the Pantsyr-S1E responses. Their success demonstrated to Damascus and Tehran that their expensive new Russian anti-air system leaves them vulnerable. Washington like Jerusalem withheld comment in the immediate aftermath of the episode. After its original disclosure, Damascus too is holding silent. Western intelligence sources believe the Syrians in consultation with the Russians and Tehran are weighing action to gain further media mileage from the incident. They may decide to exhibit some of the “ammunition” dropped by the Israeli aircraft as proof of Israel’s contempt for international law. A military response may come next. Pantsir-S1 or Panzir (“Shell" in English) is a short-range, mobile air defense system, combining two 30mm anti-aircraft guns and 12 surface-to-air missiles which can fire on the move. It can simultaneously engage two separate targets at 12 targets per minute, ranging from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and unmanned air vehicles. It can also engage light-armored ground targets. The Pantsyr S1 short-range air defense system is designed to provide point defense of key military and industrial facilities and air defense support for military units during air and ground operations. The integrated missile and gun armament creates an uninterrupted engagement zone of 18 to 20 km in range and of up to 10 km in altitude. Immunity to jamming is promised via a common multimode and multi-spectral radar and optical control system. The combined missile and artillery capability makes the Russian system the most advanced air defense system in the world. Syria and Iran believe it provides the best possible protection against American or Israeli air and missile attack. Stationed in al Hamma, at the meeting point of the Syrian-Jordanian and Israeli borders, the missile’s detection range of 30 km takes in all of Israel’s northern air force bases.



Is China Quietly Dumping US Treasuries, to Inflict Economic Chaos?

Sept. 7….(Telegraph) A sharp drop in foreign holdings of US Treasury bonds over the last five weeks has raised concerns that China is quietly dumping the dollar. Data released by the New York Federal Reserve shows that foreign central banks have cut their stash of US Treasuries by $48bn since late July, with falls of $32bn in the last two weeks alone. This comes as a big surprise and it is definitely worrying," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas. "We won't know if China is behind this until the Treasury releases its TIC data in November, but what it does show is that world central banks are in a hurry to get out of the US. They don't seem to be switching into other currencies, so it is possible they are moving into gold instead. Gold is now gaining momentum across all currencies and has broken through resistance at 500 euros," he said. While the greenback has been resilient over recent weeks, even regaining something of a 'safe-haven' role as banks scrambled to buy the currency to cover dollar debts, most experts believe that America's $850bn current account deficit will eventually cause the dollar to resume its relentless slide. David Powell, an economist at IDEA global in New York, pointed the finger at Beijing as the main suspect in the sudden bond flight this summer. In a client note entitled "Has China started to dump US Treasuries?", he said the sales appear to coincide with early moves by Beijing to launch its new $300bn sovereign wealth fund. The scheme is part of the government's plan to diversify it $1,340bn reserves from bonds (mostly in the US) to a broader portfolio of investments and a better yield. If so, the switch comes at a very delicate time, just as tempers flair on both sides of the Pacific over China's policy of holding down yuan by currency intervention. A bill in Congress calls for punitive tariff sanctions of 27.5pc against Chinese imports, and there has been a growing outcry over contaminated pet food and lead-tainted toys. Two top advisers to the Chinese government gave strong hints in August that Beijing should use its estimated $900bn holdings of US Treasuries and agency bonds as a "bargaining chip", words taken as an implicit threat to trigger as US bond crash if provoked. The Chinese government has since put out an official statement clarifying that it has no intention in taking such an irresponsible step, which would in any case backfire by devaluing China's remaining holding. Mr Powell said the switch out of Treasures was a purely commercial decision. "If it turns out that the Chinese are behind this, it is merely an attempt to increase returns on investment. It has nothing to do with settling protectionist scores," he said. Any evidence that China was pulling out would risk setting off an unstoppable stampede, which is why such a policy would never be announced. It holds the world's biggest pool of reserves, followed by Japan.



Syria: 'Israel is Acting With aggression'

Sept. 6….(Jerusalem Post) "Israel in fact does not want peace. It cannot survive without aggression, treachery and military messages," Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said Thursday, a day after IAF aircraft allegedly violated Syrian airspace in an overnight operation. Bilal said the government was "seriously studying the nature of the response," but refused to indicate in an interview with Al-Jazeera whether the reaction would be on the military or diplomatic level. He would not give any more details about the incident, but said it proved Israel's policies are based on hostility. He said recent US aid of $30 billion over 10 years to Israel encouraged its government to "such arrogance that it delivered this morning message." Syrian officials reported that four or five IAF aircraft broke the sound barrier and dropped fuel tanks over deserted areas of northern Syria, along its border with Turkey. Witnesses said the incident occurred in the Abyad area. A Syrian military spokesman said that Syrian air defenses opened fire on the IAF aircraft. "The Israeli enemy aircraft infiltrated into the Arab Syrian territory through the northern border, coming from the Mediterranean heading toward the eastern region, breaking the sound barrier," the spokesman said. "Air defense units confronted them and forced them to leave after they dropped some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage," he added. "We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way." It was not clear if Syria was accusing the Israelis of using warplanes or some type of other aircraft like drones. The IDF said that it was "not accustomed to responding to such reports." Syrian Cabinet Minister Buthaina Shaaban, speaking on Al-Jazeera television's English service, would not confirm that Israel had attacked Syria, but did say the aircraft violated the country's airspace. "We are a sovereign country. They cannot do that," said Shaaban. The Syrian military spokesman did not specify whether the military used surface-to-air missiles or anti-aircraft artillery when confronting the aircraft. "We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way," the Syrian spokesman said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. Counterterrorism expert Boaz Ganor said that if Thursday's overflight occurred, it's possible Israel was "collecting intelligence on long-range missiles" deployed by Syria in the north. Imad Fawzi Shoaibi, a Syrian political analyst, speculated that Israel may have been probing Syria's new air defense systems provided by Russia, at a time when tension is running high between the two countries. Israel acknowledges flying over Lebanon routinely, but it is unclear how often its aircraft fly over Syria, if at all. Syrian officials, including President Bashar Assad, have repeatedly warned Israel in recent weeks that the occupation of the Golan Heights "cannot last forever." Concerns grew over the summer that tensions along the frontier could escalate into conflict, but both Syrian and Israeli officials publicly and repeatedly said they had no interest in war. Thursday's incident could stoke the tensions again, however. Late last month, Israeli security officials said the army had determined that war with Syria, whose military had reduced its war readiness, was unlikely and Israel began rotating forces out of the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Syria also is believed unhappy that other Arab countries are headed to a peace meeting in November at which the United States hopes for a high-profile meeting between the Palestinians and Israelis, and perhaps also with Saudi officials. Syria has long disputed any notion that a comprehensive Arab peace deal can be reached unless it also involves some resolution of the Golan Heights, which it wants back in full. At the beginning of last summer's war against Lebanon, Israeli warplanes buzzed the palace of Syrian President Bashar Assad in what analysts called a warning to Damascus.

FOJ Note: One of these countries, Syria or Israel does indeed want a war, but it isn’t Israel. Tiny little Israel has done everything to avoid a war with its neighbors, from giving away disputed land, to freeing terrorist prisoners, and providing money and utility services to its enemies. But nothing is ever enough. The Golan Heights is a major sticking point to any semblance of peace in the Mideast, and these heights are referred to as the lynchpin of the Magog assault upon Israel in the Latter Days. But in the meantime, the burden is heavy for Damascus, and that burdensome fate is looming. (Isaiah 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.)



Germany Foils 'Massive' Attack on US Citizens

Sept. 6….(AFP) Germany said Wednesday it had arrested three Islamic extremists preparing a massive bombing campaign targeting Americans and US installations in the country. "They were planning massive attacks," Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms said. "As possible targets, the suspects named discotheques and pubs and airports frequented by Americans with a view to detonating explosives loaded in cars and killing or injuring many people," Harms told a press conference. The men, two Germans and a Turk, had stockpiled more than 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of hydrogen peroxide, the same chemical used by suicide bombers in the 2005 attacks on London's transport system which killed 56 people, Harms said. This had the explosive power of 550 kilograms of TNT, according to the prosecutor. Drums containing the chemicals were moved recently to a holiday home in the Sauerland area near Frankfurt which had been rented under a false name. The men, in their 20s, had met up on Sunday to begin producing bombs, Harms said, but were arrested on Tuesday. They are suspected members of Islamic Jihad Union, a group with roots in Uzbekistan that has ties to Al-Qaeda, and attended a training camp in Pakistan in 2006. According to federal police chief Joerg Ziercke, they had been under surveillance since December, when one of the three was briefly detained on suspicion of spying on a US military base in Hanau near Frankfurt. The men were "driven by a hatred of US citizens," Ziercke said. About 64,000 US military personnel are based in Germany, according to Pentagon figures. German officials did not confirm radio reports that the men had been targeting Frankfurt international airport, one of Europe's busiest, and the giant US military base in Ramstein. "There were no concrete targets," Deputy Interior Minister August Hanning told journalists in Berlin. "But the German police are speculating that Frankfurt airport was one of these targets." Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the men were "very dangerous terrorists" who had planned their attacks on the orders of "an international network." Schaeuble said one of the suspects had links to the Islamist scene in Neu-Ulm in southern Germany. Investigators have suspected for several years that a mosque in Neu-Ulm is used as a base for extremists planning attacks. "The danger that international terrorism represents is a reality not only for the soldiers, police and personnel charged with the reconstruction in Afghanistan... but also inside our own country," he said later. Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the arrests, saying: "They show that the dangers of terrorism in Germany are not abstract, they are real." The White House said US President George W. Bush had been informed of the arrests Tuesday, while the State Department confirmed it worked in "very close cooperation with the German government" on the investigation. Some officials suggested the plot had been hatched to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, but German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung would only say that the threat had been "imminent." The anti-terrorist operation in Germany came after police in Denmark said Tuesday they had foiled a terrorist attack after arresting eight men they said had links to Al-Qaeda. Germany, which has about 3,000 soldiers serving in Afghanistan, has been on high alert for several months. Islamist groups warned Germany earlier this year that it faced attacks unless it withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. The US embassy in Germany said in April it was increasing security at US facilities in the country in response to "a heightened threat situation." US counter-terrorism officials revealed subsequently that authorities had intelligence suggesting Islamic extremists were planning to attack US targets in Germany with bombs and small arms. German federal prosecutors in June charged a Lebanese man with masterminding a failed plot to bomb two passenger trains using bombs packed in suitcases last year which failed to explode because of faulty detonators. Six Lebanese men are currently standing trial in Lebanon over the plot, which targeted trains in western Germany.



Tehran Invites Hamas & Fatah to Iran Conference

Sept. 5….(DEBKA) On Thursday, Sept 6, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will receive the heads of 10 Palestinian factions in Tehran, among them Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal, Jihad Islami’s Abdullah Shelah and, most important of all, Fatah’s radical politburo chief Farouk Kadoumi. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report this will be the first time Hamas and Fatah representatives sit down at the same table since the former grabbed the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority three months ago. It will also be a feather in Iran’s cap. Iranian leaders believe if they can pull off their bid to reconcile the quarreling Fatah and Hamas, they will be entitled to claim a seat at the international Middle East regional conference convening in Washington in November. Last week, six Arab oil emirates led by Saudi Arabia agreed that all the parties affected by the Palestinian-Israel conflict should be invited. This would open the door to Iran, Lebanon and Syria. The decision was Riyadh’s backhanded way of turning down the US invitation to attend the conference. DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report: Iranian leaders figure that even if they cannot wangle an invitation to the Washington conference, they can try and steal the show from US-initiated Middle East diplomacy, including the ongoing talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. In strategic terms, the clerical regime is anxious to have a united Palestinian movement lined up for a concerted assault on Israel in case of a military showdown with the US over their nuclear program or an Israeli offensive against Syria.



Israel Warns Egypt About Weapons flow Into Gaza

Sept. 5….(DEBKA) Israel has relayed a warning to Egypt about the continued weapons smuggling being carried out across the Egypt-Gaza border. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that the message means Israeli armed forces are standing by for an order to recapture the Philadelphi route running along the southern Gaza border with Egypt. The “new situation” does not refer to the upsurge of missile fire against Sderot, but the Egyptian security forces’ discovery Sun., Sept. 2, of 2.7 tons of explosives in the el-Gefgafa area 100 km southwest of the northern Sinai town of El Arish The cache was destined for the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip. Our sources reveal that it also contained for the first time several dozen 240 mm Katyusha rockets of the type used by Hizballah to blast northern Israel last year. From Gaza, these rockets can reach the southern approaches of Beersheba, not just the towns of Ashkelon and Netivot. According to intelligence input, the rockets were intended for immediate use by the two Palestinian terror groups. This information convinced Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Ehud Barak and chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi that radical military action can no longer be delayed. They decided that the Philadelphi route, evacuated by Israel two years ago with the rest of the Gaza Strip, needs to be retaken. The timing will be determined at the security cabinet session Wed. Sept. 5. DEBKAfile’s military sources add that Israel sent the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas an abbreviated version of the warning to Cairo. The message to Egypt contained full operational details to emphasize that Israel has no wish to infringe on Egyptian sovereignty. It left an opening for President Hosni Mubarak to avert the Israeli operation by ordering Egyptian security forces to take full control of the Egyptian-Gaza border sector. Senior Israeli officials strongly doubt this will happen and expect it to be left to the IDF. They are taking into account that all the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will be led by Hamas and Jihad Islamic in a violent response to Israel’s capture of Philadelphi by emptying their missile stocks on Israeli towns and villages in addition to Sderot.



Does Hillary Endorse World Government?

(Endorsed ex-CBS newsman after he called for US to be under 'world law')

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Sept. 5….(WND) Does Sen. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, endorse efforts to form a world government? Video footage recently surfaced that could force her to either affirm or distance herself from sentiments she expressed in 1999 during a ceremony in which former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite accepted the Norman Cousins Global Governance Award from the World Federalist Association. In his acceptance speech, Cronkite embraced the idea that the US would be subsumed into a regional or world government. His views were seconded by Clinton in a closed-circuit television link-up. Cronkite said, "Today we must develop federal structures on a global level. To deal with world problems, we need a system of enforceable world law, a democratic federal world government." Clinton, then first lady, congratulated Cronkite, saying, "For decades you told us 'the way it is,' but tonight we honor you for fighting for the way it could be." On the presidential campaign trail, Clinton has not been challenged to state whether she opposes efforts toward integration, such as the trilateral effort between the US Canada and Mexico under the SPP of North America. At the August 21 press conference concluding the third SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec, President Bush ridiculed "conspiracy theories" asserting the US is developing "NAFTA Superhighways" and moving toward integration into a North American Union. A longer video version of the Cronkite-Clinton appearance shows the former CBS anchorman expanding on his views.

Walter Cronkite

"First, we Americans are going to have to yield up some of our sovereignty," Cronkite said. "That's going to be to many a bitter pill. It would take a lot of courage, a lot of faith in the new world order." He continued, "What Alexander Hamilton wrote about the need for law among the 13 states applies today to the approximate 200 sovereignties in our global village, all of which are going to have to be convinced to give up some of that sovereignty to the better, greater union; and it's not going to be easy." Writing about Cronkite's speech, WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah wrote then, "The man once described as the 'most trusted in America' has come out firmly, boldly, explicitly, and stupidly, for the formation of a global government at the expense of US national sovereignty." The World Federalist Association, now known as Citizens for Global Solutions, says its aim is to be build a "future in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms and solve the problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone." Clinton accomplice, Strobe Talbott argued that in the next hundred years, "nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority." The video noted that in 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Talbott ambassador at large.



Gaza Terrorists Build up their Arsenal; Large-Scale IDF Operation Unlikely

Sept. 5….(Israel Insider) Senior defense officials said that terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip possess longer-range missiles, which they have yet to use while bombarding towns in the western Negev with Qassams and mortar shells, according to the local press. Militant groups reportedly have Grad missiles, whose range is 25 kilometers, compared to the 3-10 kilometer range of various grade Qassams, according to YNET. "There is a very large process of empowerment in the Strip, which is not being felt in Israel. We naturally refer to Qassams. Those who have to make the decisions are familiar with the situation and will issue the right orders," an IDF source said, underscoring that there are greater dangers in Gaza than missiles alone. "Qassams are only one aspect of the terror in the Strip, and we cannot operate only against this aspect," the source added. "We can operate against all aspects of terror. Officials said Tuesday that the IDF will unlikely launch a large-scale operation in Gaza to thwart future missile strikes on Israel, despite the recent escalation in attacks against Gaza periphery towns. With the holiday season just days away, tension high along the Syrian border and the US-sponsored November peace summit approaching, defense officials said now was not the time for a large incursion. "There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration," the Jerusalem Post quoted one official as saying. "The time has not yet come." Minister of Transportation Shaul Mofaz publicly urged the prime minister to take action against the terrorist groups sending missiles into Israel. "A sovereign nation cannot allow terrorist leaders to determine the fate of Sderot's children," he said. "In previous years, when we stood before the threats of terrorists and suicide bombers we worked against the heads of terrorist organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and we stopped the wave of suicide bombers," Mofaz continued. "Mr. Prime Minister, I call on you today to direct the IDF and Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] to strike the leaders of the murderers, and to return security to Sderot and the citizens of Israel."



Iranians Turn "Massively" To Christianity, Despite Execution Threats

Sept. 5 ...(BosNewsLife/Worthy News) Despite reported execution threats and police abuse, Iranians "massively" turn to Christianity, fueling an "unprecedented" demand for Persian Bibles and New Testaments, BosNewsLife learned from Iranian sources Saturday, September 1. The International Antioch Ministries (IAM), which supports Iranian Christian churches, said the number of Christians in Iran "is growing fast" with "current estimates" varying "from 500,000 to as high as one million." IAM said the development has led to massive "requests for Iranian-language Bibles, particularly by new believers." Iranian Christians, including new converts, "are contacting the ministry through IAM’s 24-hour satellite television network, Iranian Christian TV (ICTV), but the requests are more than the ministry can fulfill," IAM said in a statement. "During our daily two-hour, live, call-in evangelistic TV broadcasts, we receive constant requests for Bibles from both Christian and Muslim television viewers which, at this point, we are not able to fulfill," said IAM Presient Hormoz Shariat. However distributing and obtaining Bibles has been made difficult by Iran's feared religious police, IAM and other sources have said. Iranian officials have confiscated Bibles and printing Bibles is illegal in Iran. "Yet demand for the Gospel is increasing exponentially," in the Islamic nation, IAM said, despite apparent dangers. Iran's theocratic regime strictly forbids "the proselytizing" of Muslims and targets any citizens believed to have abandoned Islam, human rights watchers say. Under Iran’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, anyone who leaves Islam for another religion has committed a capital offense and could be executed. IAM has begun a campaign with other Christian groups to raise money and awareness about the lack of Bibles in Iran. Reports of the spread of Christianity comes amid growing uncertainty among Iranians about their future as its leadership continues a controversial nuclear program.



Iran: US aiding Zionist interests in name of Christianity

Sept. 4 ….(Israel Today) A leading Iranian cleric on Friday told the nation that US President George W. Bush is the standard-bearer of what he labeled a “Satanic” twist on Christianity that advocates helping the Jews to reclaim their biblical homeland. In remarks carried by Iran's IRNA news agency, Ayatollah Mohammed Kashani said helping the Jews return to the Land of Israel violates the teachings of Jesus, but that some Christians believe that by bringing all the Jews to the area he calls “Palestine” they can hasten Messiah's return. “They are after gathering the entire Jews of the world in Palestine [sic], which is definitely a move with political and Satanic roots, but the idea is put forth in the framework of an idea behind the hope for reappearance of Messiah,” Kashani preached. The cleric insisted Bush is the primary proponent of that philosophy and policy, but noted with satisfaction that the president and his views are increasingly unpopular in America and the West. In contrast to the Bush-led United States, Kashani stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a “divine world power.”

FOJ Note: Biblical or Christian Zionism does teach that Christians should foster good relations with Israel, but Bible prophecy also reveals that Israel will be wooed by the Antichrist in the Last Days. Therefore any movements to hasten the Messiah’s return are fool-hearty.



Israeli Pullout Means Ceding Land to Iran's Extensions

imageSept. 4….(YNET) During a special Knesset session Tuesday, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the establishment of a Palestinian state would increase Israel’s vulnerability to rocket attacks. The Likud chairman said he was opposed to another Israeli withdrawal from the territories, saying "on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the nation has already done its soul-searching and realizes that another pullout means relinquishing land to extensions of Iran.  "Now they tell us that we have a partner. Who is the partner, (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas? This is the partner?" Netanyahu said.

Sept. 4….( Speaking at a special mid-recess Knesset session Tuesday morning, Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the dangers of Prime Minister Olmert's intention to give away most of Judea and Samaria in a new diplomatic initiative being negotiated with Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. "We keep hearing about an international summit in November in which we will more or less promise to give away more land in another unilateral withdrawal," Netanyahu said.  "It wasn't enough that we retreated in Lebanon and Gaza, that now they're planning another one?!" Netanyahu was referring to ongoing negotiations between Olmert and Abbas, known as Abu Mazen.  The goal of the talks is to reach an agreement in principle of a withdrawal from nearly all of Judea and Samaria, in exchange for peaceful relations with a Palestinian state to be formed there. So they'll say that it's not unilateral, rather now we have a partner," Netanyahu continued.  "And who's the partner?  Abu Mazen. He's a partner!? Reciprocity is when you get something back in exchange for what you give.  But what will we receive?  Will we receive the complete nullification of the 'right of return' to Israel?  We know that we will not.  Will we receive sovereignty over Jerusalem? No, we know that our government has ceded this too.  And it keeps on going, with every Olmert-Abbas meeting, another 100 terrorists are freed, as we heard this morning, and that's when they meet here; when they meet in the US, it's hundreds of terrorists who go free, and we hear that at the summit they're going to be talking about thousands! Not to mention the guns that the PA keeps receiving..."

Concessions are Downright Dangerous

"This government just gives and gives," Netanyahu railed, "and receives nothing, and this will place us in dangers much greater than we have known before, as we see in Sderot; the risks in the Galilee continue as well. Our country will end up endangered by rockets from three directions." "One diplomatic mistake made by government leaders, 1,000 generals cannot fix," Netanyahu said.  "Two of our leading politicians [Defense Minister Ehud Barak and PM Olmert] have made terrible mistakes. Barak's hasty retreat from Lebanon brought Katyushas to the Galilee and Olmert's major role in the Disengagement from Gaza brought Kassams to the Negev.  We warned in the past about Iran's rockets, and about Hizbullah, and about Hamas, and that Olmert is blind to the dangers, and that we must not let him be in charge of our country, and then just a few months later, our predictions came true when the war in Lebanon broke out."

Where's the Promised Response?

"I remind you of the promises made by Olmert and other fellow Disengagement-proponents regarding the strong, powerful military response we would carry out if the terrorists fire at us from Gaza. Nu? Where's the response? They themselves [Barak and Olmert] realize there is a problem, and they say they can't withdraw right now [from Judea and Samaria], because then the terrorists will take over and fire at us.  This means it won't bring peace, but will rather bring the rockets closer." "What, then, must we do? We must first of all realize that at present, there is simply no Palestinian partner.  The reason why Judea and Samaria does not turn into Hamastan is because we are still there.



Iranian and Hizballah Instructors Upgrade Palestinian Missile Capabilities in Gaza

(IDF restrained from striking)

September 4….(DEBKA) For all its upgraded armor, Israel’s armed forces are prevented from launching effective offensive action to destroy the upgraded Palestinian missile infrastructure in Gaza. After a Palestinian seven-missile barrage hit Sderot and its environs Sunday, the town’s parents decided to send the town’s school children to Jerusalem with their school books to hold classes opposite the Knesset. They are protesting yet another meaningless pledge by the prime minister “to punish every missile launcher” in Gaza and his appeal to… the UN to stop the Palestinian missile blitz from Gaza. Sderot citizens say the school year which opened Sunday, Sept 2, is over. The town is breaking up because the armed forces are not allowed to break up the Hamas and Jihad Islami missile system or stop the flow of smuggled war materiel into Gaza. Once the education system shuts down, the town will expire. DEBKAfile’s military sources report: The Jihad Islami chief Mohammad al Hindi recently brought back from Tehran dozens of Iranian and Hizballah artillery experts who are training their operatives and advising on the development of upgraded, extended-range missiles. Southern command officers told DEBKAfile: The government forbids us to take out the Iranian and Hizballah missile experts recently arrived in Gaza. The officers ask why the government appealed to the United Nations, which is helpless, instead of to Egypt, which knowingly allowed the terrorists and their foreign advisers to touch down in Cairo and proceed to Gaza despite an intelligence alert of their arrival. Since they landed in early August, Palestinian capabilities have improved. Above all, the commanders ask, why is the army not given the go-ahead to knock out the upgraded Palestinian military machine and its foreign helpers.



Hamas Rockets Land in Israeli Day-Care

Sept. 4….(Fox News) Palestinian rocket landed in a courtyard next to a crowded day care center on Monday, sending panicked mothers scrambling to take their screaming toddlers to safety and bringing warnings of retribution from Israeli leaders. None of the 15 children at the center was hurt. But frantic parents in Sderot, already furious over the government's failure to protect them and their children from the near-daily rocket fire, pulled their children out of schools on the second day of the academic year. It was unclear when studies would resume. The army said seven rockets were fired Monday morning at Sderot, a frequently targeted city just a mile from the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad, a radical Palestinian militant group that has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel in recent years, claimed responsibility. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would show no restraint in its efforts to stem the attacks from Gaza. "We will not limit ourselves" he told a news conference in Jerusalem, adding that Israel would "do everything to provide better security for the residents of Sderot." The military carries out almost daily ground and air strikes aimed at rocket-launching squads in northern Gaza, but the crude rockets continue to baffle the high-tech military. The Education Ministry said studies would continue normally. But Batya Katar, head of the Sderot Parents Association, said parents were pulling all 2,500 of the town's students out of school. Sderot, a working-class town of 22,000, has been battered by thousands of the crude projectiles launched in recent years from Gaza.



Hamas Rockets Continue to Rain on Sederot

(Olmert government has done nothing to stop the rocket attacks)

Sept. 4….(JNEWSWIRE) Gaza's Palestinian Arabs, who have been relentlessly, and mostly with impunity, raining rockets down on southern Israel, scored another victory Monday when they succeeded in terrorizing parents of Sderot students into pulling their children out of school. Seven Kassams slammed into the Negev town in the morning in what the Palestine Islamic Jihad terrorist organization described as "a present for the start of the new school year" that began Sunday. The PIJ said it had fired fully nine "Kuds-3" rockets at Sderot. Some missiles scored direct hits: one pulverizing a road in the town, another blowing a hole in a house adjacent to a day care center, according to reports. Soldiers and civilian staff had just rushed to evacuate 15 babies from the center when the rocket struck next door. Emergency workers reported that no one was wounded, but a number of adults and children had to be treated for shock. According to the Jerusalem Post parents in the beleaguered town, many of whom are already furious with the Olmert government for its pathetic responses to the Kassam terrorism, vowed to remove their children from school. They will not allow them to return to classes, they said, until the government makes a real effort to safeguard their lives.



Chinese Military Hacked into Pentagon

Sept. 4….(Financial Times) The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defense department, say American ­officials. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defense secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack. Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army. One senior US official said the Pentagon had pinpointed the exact origins of the attack. Another person familiar with the event said there was a “very high level of confidence, trending towards total certainty” that the PLA was responsible. The PLA regularly probes US military networks, and the Pentagon is widely assumed to scan Chinese networks, but US officials said the penetration in June raised concerns to a new level because of fears that China had shown it could disrupt systems at critical times. “The PLA has demonstrated the ability to conduct attacks that disable our system and the ability in a conflict situation to re-enter and disrupt on a very large scale,” said a former official, who said the PLA had penetratedthenetworksof US defense companies and think-tanks. Hackers from numerous locations in China spent several months probing the Pentagon system before overcoming its defenses, according to people familiar with the matter. The Pentagon took down the network for more than a week while the attacks continued, and is to conduct a comprehensive diagnosis. “These are multiple wake-up calls stirring us to levels of more aggressive vigilance,” said Richard Lawless, the Pentagon’s top Asia official at the time of the attacks.



Hamas Just as Strong as Fatah in West Bank

imageSept. 4….(Israel Insider) Defense officials reported that Hamas is equally as strong as Fatah in the West Bank and poses a grave threat to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' position in the region, the Jerusalem Post reported. Terrorists in Judea and Samaria reportedly possess over 80,000 illegal weapons. The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported Monday that Fatah security forces had recently thwarted an attempted coup in the PA by Hamas, in an ongoing struggle for control of the West Bank.

Hamas had previously attempted to establish a military force in the West Bank similar to its Executive Force in the Gaza Strip, with reported plans to attack PA institutions and take over the government. Despite Fatah's numerical and organizational superiority, defense officials stress that Hamas is far more driven, a characteristic that could undermine Fatah's strength in numbers. Fatah had four more times the men than Hamas when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup in June. "They have weapons and explosives and, more importantly, they are highly motivated," a senior defense official said. "It is not about manpower," he added, "but about motivating the Fatah forces to want to fight and defend the PA." Another official added: "The security forces need to feel that they have a reason to fight. They need to feel like they have a better life to look forward to. Otherwise, they will not pose a challenge to Hamas." Hamas is now aiming its efforts at infiltrating its men into the ranks of PA security branches, the Palestinian Police and the National Security Force. According to the official, Hamas is currently in a "waiting period" and is working towards uniting some of its splinter groups spread throughout the various West Bank cities, with terrorist hubs in the northern Samaria cities of Nablus and Jenin.



Remnants of the Second Temple Being Destroyed by Islamic Wakf

imageSept. 4….(Arutz) A large trench being dug on the Temple Mount is destroying a never before uncovered section of the outer wall of the Second Temple. The construction is being supervised by the Wakf—the Muslim Authority acting as custodians to the Temple Mount. Archeologists have been calling for construction to halt on the trench which is approximately 1,300 feet long and five feet deep.  The Wakf claims the trench is being dug to replace 40-year-old electrical cables for nearby mosques.


Muslims dig a trench across the temple mount destroying artifacts

New photos of construction debris from the Temple Mount show carved stones casually dumped in a pile that appear to be a section of the outer wall of the Second Temple, according to archaeologist Eilat Mazer. According to Rabbi Chaim Richman, International Director of the Temple Institute, the Wakf is intentionally digging in areas where "undoubtedly the Temple once stood."  "For the first time since the Temple's destruction, a section of the Temple Wall itself has been exposed," Richman said.  "And the Wakf under the guise of laying down electrical pipes has dug a trench, destroying the most important holy artifact ever found to date."


Israel Police look on as Muslim tractor destroys Temple

Richman contends that the Temple remains are being "purposely destroyed with no supervision," calling the government's tolerance of the construction "complicit cooperation." According to a report by WorldNetDaily, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert personally gave permission for bulldozers, steam shovels and other heavy equipment to be used to dig the trench. "This is an extraordinarily serious offense," Richman states.  "A corrupt, spiritually bankrupt government is allowing Judaism's holiest site to be trashed because of political agreements to officially hand over the Temple Mount to the Palestinian Authority.  Jews in Israel and abroad are asleep, and have not awoken to the importance of the Temple in Judaism or the desecration of this holy site being performed daily by the Wakf." The Israel Antiquities Authority approved the construction despite archaeologists’ concern that precious artifacts are being destroyed. The Authority, which digs for religious artifacts across the State of Israel, has not inspected construction on Judaism's holiest site even once since the work began, despite continuous calls for the construction to be supervised and halted. The police say they will not act since the Antiquities Authority approved the dig. The Wakf has denied that any Jewish artifacts have been discovered during the dig, but new photos of work on the Mount belie the claim, clearly showing what is likely to be an ancient piece of carved wall. The wall in question is from the outer wall of the Temple itself, as opposed to the Western Wall, which is a remnant of the retaining wall around the larger Temple platform.





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