WEEK OF APRIL 27 THROUGH MAY 3
Persian Gulf States May End Dollar Peg
May 2….(Bloomberg) Gulf states are considering dropping their pegs to the dollar after the US currency's decline stoked inflation across the region, Kuwaiti Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shimali said. Yes, there are some'' Gulf Cooperation Council states considering dropping their pegs to the dollar, which has fallen 13 percent against the euro in the last 12 months, al-Shimali said in an interview in Kuwait late yesterday without naming the countries. Some countries will do what we are doing.'' Al-Shimali's comments may restoke speculation of a change in Middle East currency systems that eased after the United Arab Emirates and Qatar last month ruled out any revaluation or dropping the dollar peg in the short term. The issue will likely remain a key issue as long as inflation remains high. Inflation is rising in the Gulf to a great extent because of loose monetary policy. Tightening monetary policy can only happen if they drop their currency pegs or strengthen the currency, preferably both.'' The UAE, Bahrain and Qatar lowered their benchmark interest rates today by a quarter point, matching a cut by the US Federal Reserve a day earlier. The move is needed to maintain the dollar pegs. Inflation is running close to 10 percent in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while Qatar's consumer prices rose 14 percent in the fourth quarter. The Kuwaiti dinar has appreciated 7.9 percent against the dollar since the nation in May became the only Gulf Arab state to drop its peg to the US currency. Contracts to buy UAE dirhams in 12 months time are trading at a 2 percent premium and Saudi riyal forwards are trading at a 1.3 percent premium to the spot price, suggesting that some traders are betting that those countries will follow Kuwait in revaluing. The link to the dollar meant that imports in euros and other currencies that have strengthened against the dollar became more expensive. The idea of dropping the dollar peg has been started by other Gulf countries and they are partially going this way because the dollar has been going down for some time,'' al-Shimali said yesterday. Revaluation speculation peaked in November after UAE central bank Governor Sultan Bin Nasser al-Suwaidi said he was considering dropping the dirham's peg to the dollar, and a Saudi Arabia central bank official said that Gulf states may revalue their currencies together. All the GCC states, apart from Oman, are planning to form a single Gulf currency by 2010. The group's central bank governors will meet in June in an attempt to get the project back on schedule. The case for currency reform is strong,'' Simon Williams, chief Middle East economist at HSBC Holdings Plc, said in a telephone interview from Dubai. The inflationary pressures the Gulf faces not only demand a stronger currency, they also require an independent monetary policy.
China Building Secret Nuclear Submarine Base
May 2….(In The News) China has secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region, it can be disclosed. Satellite imagery, passed to The Daily Telegraph, shows that a substantial harbor has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.
(“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Revelation 16:12)
In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbors. Other images show numerous warships moored to long jetties and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island. Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites. The US Department of Defense has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles. The images were obtained by Janes Intelligence Review after the periodical was given access to imagery from the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe. Analysts for the respected military magazine suggest that the base could be used for “expeditionary as well as defensive operations” and would allow the submarines to “break out to launch locations closer to the US. It would now be “difficult to ignore” that China was building a major naval base where it could house its nuclear forces and increase it “strategic capability considerably further afield. The development so close to the sea lanes vital to Asian economies “can only cause concern far beyond these straits”. Military analysts believe that China’s substantial build up of its forces is gaining pace put has remained hidden from the world in the build-up to the Olympics. China has diverted much of its resources from the huge Peoples Liberation Army to the navy, air force and missile development. Within the next five to 10 years the Peoples Liberation Navy is expected to build up to six carriers which will also coincide with the Royal Navy’s construction of two major carriers. The location of the base off Hainan will also give the submarines access to very deep water exceeding 5,000 meters within a few miles, making them even harder to detect. While it has been known that China might be developing an underground base at Sanya, the pictures provide the first proof of the base’s existence and the rapid progress made. Christian Le Miere, editor for Jane’s Intelligence Review, said the complex underlined Beijing’s plan “to assert tighter control over this region”. “China intends to become a challenge to any hegemonic power, particularly the US which still remains dominant in the region.”
The Burdens Upon Lebanon and Syria
(The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1) (Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.” Zechariah 11:1)
May 1….(In the
News/John Higgins) Given the official US statements, backed by extraordinary
visual evidence, there is little doubt that the Israeli Air Force raid on the
night of September 6, 2007 destroyed a building housing a nuclear reactor. There
are many political and military ramifications both of the facts themselves and
the way they were brought to light. However, one of the longer term effects is
the impact of the revelations on the nuclear non-proliferation regime in general
and on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in particular. What did the
new information reveal? that the installation that was destroyed was a nuclear
reactor, probably still under construction; that the reactor was similar to the
North Korean reactor at Yongbyon that produced plutonium (subsequently used in
an underground nuclear test explosion); and that Syria, despite its NPT
obligations, concealed the very existence as well as the purpose of the
installation and repeatedly denied the facts to the world and to the IAEA. Syria
has been trying to buy a nuclear reactor from several sources for a long time.
It had sought to buy a research reactor from Argentina in the mid-1990’s, but
this failed when Argentina’s foreign minister told Syria that it would not sell
it a reactor unless Syria signed a peace treaty with Israel. Syria then tried,
unsuccessfully, to buy a reactor from Russia. Apparently, Syria then concluded a
secret deal with North Korea for the construction of a Yongbyon-type reactor in
Syria. The extent of the North Korean involvement is not yet publicly known and
is not that relevant, except for the fact that North Korea acted in breach of
its NPT obligations. There can be little doubt as to the purpose of the
ill-fated reactor. Had it been intended for truly peaceful uses, it would have
been declared to the IAEA. In addition, Syria’s repeated denials give credence
to the claims that the reactor was part of a clandestine weapons development
program. Furthermore, Syria acted with astounding speed, razed the stricken
installation, and is putting up a supposedly military installation on the old
foundations, making it almost impossible for any investigators to reveal the
original purpose of the site. There are five members of the NPT that have
seriously reneged on their treaty obligations – Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Syria,
and Libya. Iraq’s project came to an end as a result of the 1991 Gulf War. Libya
agreed to a rollback, probably as a result of the American invasion and toppling
of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The remaining three may still be conducting illegal
activities aimed at producing nuclear weapons. North Korea has long been
suspected of having a clandestine uranium enrichment project. Iran has an
ongoing nuclear weapons development program. And there is no guarantee that
Syria is not going the same route, given the rumors about the connection with
the Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan, the biggest proliferator of all. The nuclear
non-proliferation regime suffered an additional blow with the uncovering of
Syria’s misdeeds. The extent of the damage will be only known over time, and the
prospects for the future need a much more elaborate discussion. In any case, if
there will be no substantive change in the manner of the oversight and the
application of regime, and if the NPT PrepCom and review conferences continue to
become bogged down in secondary issues, the situation can only deteriorate
Obliteration and Obligation: The Nuclear Defense of Israel
May 1….(In The News/John Higgins) Iran’s defiant pursuit of nuclear technology has raised the specter of a nuclear war in the Middle East. It has also led to a debate over what role, if any, the U.S. should play in securing Israel against what appears to be an inevitable nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic.
(And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Genesis 16:12) (This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. II Timothy 3:1-2 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” II Timothy 3:13)
Advocates of extending America’s defense commitment to Israel argue that America’s current posture is too ambiguous to sufficiently ward off an Iranian nuclear attack. Only an institutionalized commitment, such as the inclusion of Israel in NATO, or an unequivocal extension of America’s so-called “nuclear umbrella” is deemed sufficient. Israeli membership in NATO has been proposed by raft of analysts, including the Heritage Foundation’s John Hulsman and Ronald Asmus, a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Some member nations, such as the Czech Republic, have publicly welcomed the idea, while NATO’s “Mediterranean Dialogue” has sought to bolster cooperation between the two parties (and several other nations in the region) as well. However such a step would be unwise, at least for the immediate future. First, NATO is not exactly firing on all cylinders. Bereft of its original rationale and struggling to meet its urgent commitment to Afghanistan, it hardly makes sense to toss the far more fraught and combustible issue of the Arab/Israeli conflict onto its plate. NATO was formed for a specific purpose, to defend Western Europe from a Soviet attack. The borders in this instance were clear, as were the combatants. NATO offered protection to nations that were, individually, weak before a much stronger conventional enemy. In the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the borders are unsettled, the combatants are not fixed armies but armed guerilla groups that blend into the populace of Israel’s neighbors, and Israel is the stronger party. Admitting Israel to NATO would open up a host of questions. How, for instance, would NATO interpret Article V of its charter which stipulates that an armed attack on one will be deemed an attack on all? The language was invoked only once in the organization’s history: on 9/11. Yet Israel suffers serious terrorist attacks on a more routine basis, including near daily rocket fire from the Gaza strip. Would NATO be bound to attack Hamas in Gaza? Israel is also attacked by forces such as Hezbollah with ties to Syria and Iran. Would NATO, then, be thrust into conflict with Iran and Syria? Would NATO have been summoned to strike at Lebanon in the summer of 2006? Given some NATO members reluctance to commit forces to Afghanistan, it’s difficult to see them rushing into the Levant. That leaves reserving NATO to act only in the event of a conventional land invasion of Israel. Such an invasion, while not impossible, is certainly implausible given the history of such attempts, and the peace (however cold) that prevails between Israel and its immediate neighbors. Israeli membership in NATO is not per-se a bad idea but it is premature. If Israel and the Palestinians reached a binding accommodation, membership for Israel would make more sense. NATO’s role would be both clearly defined and more achievable: keeping the peace instead of making it (although there would still be the thorny issue of Hezbollah). Then there is the suggestion that Israel be placed under America’s nuclear umbrella, whereby the US would respond to a nuclear attack on Israel with its own nuclear forces. According to the Brookings Institute’s Bruce Riedel, such a proposal was put to President Clinton by Ehud Barak during the Camp David talks in 2000. It has been aired most recently by Hillary Clinton, who suggested that the US would “obliterate” Iran were it to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. Yet this presumptive obliteration obligation is, at best, superfluous. The principle reason behind the so-called nuclear umbrella was to both dissuade an adversary with a much greater nuclear arsenal (i.e. the Soviet Union) from attacking non-nuclear nations and, in so doing, to dampen the urge of non-nuclear states to seek nuclear weapons in self defense. The umbrella kept the Soviets at bay and the nuclear club elite. Neither rationale applies to Israel. They are already a nuclear weapons state and their arsenal is, and will remain, orders of magnitude more destructive than any presumptive Iranian capability. Some argue that because Israel is small, any nuclear attack would incapacitate its ability to launch a counter-attack, thereby diminishing the credibility of Israel’s nuclear deterrent. Such statements overlook the considerable investment Israel has made in insuring against precisely just such a scenario. Though the details of its nuclear force are understandably secret, Israel is reported to possess an arsenal of some 200 nuclear weapons, capable of being launched from land, air and sea (via three submarines). Were Iran to precipitate a nuclear exchange with Israel, the results would be calamitous for both sides. In a study for the Center For Strategic and International Studies in 2007, Anthony Cordesman concluded that Israel could lose between 200,000 to 800,000 people while Iran could suffer as many as 16 to 28 million fatalities. The large disparity in death toll derives in part from Israel’s quantitative and qualitative nuclear superiority: they would deliver significantly more weapons at much higher yields (i.e. destructive force) than Iran, and far more accurately to boot. Though Iran is a large country, its vulnerabilities are numerous: Tehran, a city of some 15 million, sits in a “topographic basin with a mountain reflector” Cordesman wrote. “Nearly ideal nuclear killing ground.” Iran also lacks the kind of medical, civil and missile defenses that the Israelis possess. These weaknesses led Cordesman to conclude that though Israel would suffer grievously, it could emerge from such an exchange. On the other hand, he wrote, “Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term.” If Iran is undeterrable, as some suggest, then they are undeterrable whether threatened by Israeli or American nukes. If the Mullahs don’t wish to embrace national suicide, then Israel’s nuclear weapons are a sufficient deterrent. Israel has, admirably and with no small measure of US assistance, procured the requisite tools for her defense. They are rightfully an American ally by virtue of political and cultural affinity and have, for years, been the largest recipient of US aid. Their security is not in doubt. Given that, and given that America has a multitude of foreign policy priorities of far greater importance (Pakistan, China, and Russia, to name a few, the US should not seek to bind itself with Cold War-era security guarantees.
Israel Cannot Accept a Nuclear-armed Iran. All Means of Prevention Legitimate
May 1….(DEBKA) The Israeli transport minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking at Yale University Tuesday night, April 30, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, warned Iran may attain command of enrichment technology before the end of this year. He said: “Israel will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. This time, the Jewish people won’t let it happen. I would like to believe the world will not let it happen. To prevent this, all means are legitimate.” Israel’s annual Holocaust remembrance ceremonies focused this year on the theme of courage displayed by Warsaw Ghetto Uprising leaders 65 years ago, knowing they were doomed. Israeli’s president and prime minister laid wreaths in their honor at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Institute in Jerusalem. Israelis stood in silence as sirens wailed for two minutes in remembrance of the victims of Nazi World War II genocide, two-thirds of Europe’s nine million Jews. Cafes and places of entertainment were closed and TV and radio broadcast special programs. In Sderot, memorial ceremonies took place in a new, fortified social center under relentless Palestinian missile fire from Gaza - nine by midday Thursday. And in Poland, Israel’s chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi led the March of Life from the gates of the former Auschwitz concentration camp to Birkenau. He was joined by 12,000 people from 52 countries. In a short speech, the general noted that the world had stood aside when the Nazis murdered the Jews of Europe.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
May 1….(Stan Goodenough) Although never far from their collective and - in decreasing numbers individual - memories, the genocide of Europe's more than six million Jews was set to be revisited by Israel's 5.5 million sons and daughters of Abraham Wednesday, as the nation whose state was reborn out of the very ashes of Auschwitz prepared to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. For 24 hours, until sunset Thursday, Israelis will saturate themselves with images, films, interviews, news reports, special gatherings and school assemblies, and a two-minute-long nationwide siren designed to pause them in memory how one out of every three of the world's Jews was murdered at Nazi hands. About 250,000 Holocaust survivors are still alive in Israel today, according to The Jerusalem Post. A torch-lighting ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem will start the special day for this people which, more then any other in history, has been hated and targeted for destruction just because of who they are as a nation. While the numbers crushed in Hitler's death machine were unprecedented, they were "only" the largest batch of victims who have fallen prey to Jew-hatred down the centuries. Today's Israeli Jews know that the same hatred endures, seething in the hearts of tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims around and among them. As Hitler sought to exterminate the Jews of Europe, and ultimately of the whole world, so Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders and citizens in the Arab world dream and plan to exterminate the Jews in Israel. Some 12,000 young Jews, Poles and World War II survivors tookd part in the March of the Living Thursday, an annual event at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau that honors the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi led the march along with 160 IDF soldiers participating in the "Witnesses in Uniform" educational program. Israeli ambassadors from Hungary and Poland, along with ministers from both countries were also present. Participants hailed from 54 different countries. This year's march, the 17th, started with the blowing of the shofar, or ram's horn, at the iron gate - crowned with the words "Arbeit Macht Frei," or "Work Sets You Free" - that leads into the former camp of Auschwitz. Participants carrying white-and-blue Israeli flags were led by some camp survivors on their two-mile trek between Auschwitz and Birkenau, another area of the camp that is the site of wooden barracks and ruins of the gas chambers. The Kaddish - the Jewish prayer for the dead - will be said at a huge stone monument to the camp's victims at Birkenau. At least 1.1 million people, including Jews, Poles and Roma, perished in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labor. The camp was liberated in January 1945 by Soviet troops. In a speech Wednesday evening marking remembrance day, Israel's president took a veiled swipe at Iran and its disputed nuclear program. Shimon Peres charged that the world woke up too late to eliminate the threat of Adolf Hitler before he started a war that killed 60 million people. He warned that the world must not let that happen again. "In history, it is forbidden to be late," he said at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial.
Syria won't cut Iran, Hizballah ties in peace deal
April 30….(Israel Today) A top Syrian official on Tuesday told Arab media that Damascus will never agree to sever its strategic alliances with Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hizballah, even in the framework of a peace agreement with Israel. Speaking on Hizballah's Al Manar television news network, Dr. Samir Al-Taki, said to be heading Syria's indirect contacts with Israel, said it was naive of anyone to think Syria would seriously consider cutting ties to its strongest regional allies, both of which advocate the destruction of the Jewish state. Nevertheless, Syria continues to insist it will not even hold public talks with Israel unless Jerusalem first agrees to the total surrender of the Golan Heights. It would be naive to think Syria will neglect or abandon its strategic alliances that do not stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict," the analyst, Dr. Samir Taqi, said in an interview with Al-Manar television. When asked why Syria elected to trumpet messages from Israel and relayed by Turkey of Jerusalem's willingness to cede the Golan Heights in exchange for peace, Taqi replied that the intent behind the media campaign was "to solidify the right" of Syria to the strategic plateau it lost as a result of the Six-Day War. As such, Taqi sought to emphasize that he is personally not involved in the recent developments, but is rather providing commentary on the matter.
Bush: Israeli Strike on Syria Sent a Strong Message
April 30….(Israel Today) US President George W. Bush on Tuesday defended his government's decision to disclose details of a September 2007 Israeli air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear facility. The president told reporters in Washington that getting the evidence that led to the strike out in public, and confirming that Israel had in fact executed the highly successful raid, sent a strong message to both Syria and Iran. Bush also said that the disclosure, which was made at a closed-door congressional hearing last week, served to warn North Korea that the US and its allies "may know more about you than you think." CIA officials said intelligence gathered at the Syrian nuclear facility indicated direct North Korean involvement, and that the reactor was just weeks away from becoming operational when Israel destroyed it.
President Bush: No Illusions on Mideast Breakthrough
April 30….(Reuters) US President George W. Bush will try to bolster the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process on a May 13-18 trip to the Middle East, but the White House said on Monday he is “under no illusions” of a quick breakthrough. It will be Bush’s second visit to Israel and neighboring Arab states since hosting a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in November where Israeli and Palestinian leaders pledged to try to reach a peace deal before he leaves office in January 2009. Negotiations between the two sides have since bogged down, deepening skepticism about the chances that Bush will succeed in the quest for Middle East peace after so many of his predecessors failed. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino insisted that Israeli and Palestinian leaders remain committed to the peace effort but acknowledged that “more needs to be done.” “Moments like when the president is going to go and travel to the region can create opportunity to push this system a little bit further,” she told reporters as she released details of Bush’s itinerary. “But we’re under no illusions that things are going to happen immediately,” she added. “There’s a lot of deep-seated history that has to be addressed if they’re going to define a state by the end of the year.” She sought to play down discouraging words from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who said on Saturday after last week’s White House talks that he was uncertain that a peace deal was possible this year. Bush is scheduled to meet Israeli leaders and address parliament during a visit to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, the White House said. He then travels to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah before going to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he will see Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah. Once wary of taking a hands-on role in peacemaking, Bush told Abbas, weakened by Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip last year, that Palestinian statehood remained a “high priority.” Critics had accused Bush, who disdained predecessor Bill Clinton’s failed peace effort at the end of his presidency, of neglecting the Middle East conflict and they say he still has not deployed Washington’s full diplomatic weight.
Obama Turns Against His Pastor
April 30….(WND) Recognizing the severe political damage from Rev. Jeremiah Wright's remarks at the National Press Club yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama struck a solemn tone, telling reporters he was angered and saddened his pastor put himself at center stage at the expense of the campaign for the White House with "a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth." The Democratic candidate declared his 20-year relationship with the pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been affected. "There's been great damage," Obama said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, NC. "It may have been unintentional on his part, but I do not see that relationship being the same after this." When Wright stepped down from the Obama campaign's spiritual advisory committee in March, Obama spoke warmly of the pastor, calling him a man "I've known for 17 years, who helped bring me to Jesus, helped bring me to church." Obama at the time said, "I strongly condemn" Wright's statements, but "I would not repudiate the man." Later, in a major speech on race, he denounced the sermon rhetoric but refused to "disown" Wright. Today, he took a stronger stance, saying he was angered by the suggestion yesterday that his previous denunciation of the pastor's remarks was merely political posturing. Asked why he had not come across so strongly until now, Obama said he had not seen the press conference until later. What he saw surprised him, he said. "The person I saw yesterday was not the person I had come to know over 20 years," Obama insisted. "He was pained and angered about what had happened previously during the first stage of this controversy. I think he felt vilified and attacked, and I understand he wanted to defend himself. I understand that he's gone through difficult times of late and that he's leaving his ministry after many years. That may account for the change. "But the insensitivity and the outrageousness of his statements and his performance in the question and answer period yesterday I think shocked me; it surprised me," the senator said. Obama sought to further downplay the relationship with Wright, when he gave an interview to "Fox News Sunday" yesterday in which he admitted his relationship with Wright is a political issue, but he vehemently denied that he secretly agrees with him. But perhaps making matters worse for Obama is the fact that Wright suggested that the church congregant secretly concurs with his views. Wright said, "If Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected." "Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls." Obama stated flatly that he doesn't share the views of the man who officiated at his wedding, baptized his two daughters and been his pastor for 20 years. Yet the title of Obama's second book, "The Audacity of Hope," came from a Wright sermon. "What has become clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for," Obama said. "And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Obama has been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992, and has known Reverend Wright for 20 years." Obama said he heard that Wright had given "a performance" and when he watched news accounts, he realized that it more than just a case of the former pastor defending himself. "His comments were not only divisive and destructive, I believe they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate," Obama said. Obama said his earlier mild reaction came because he gave him the benefit of the doubt, but that evaporated when he saw Wright's speech. Wright's comments may well have severed the relationship. "He has done great damage, I do not see that relationship being the same," said Obama.
Gas in Israel Rises to $7.19 a Gallon at the Pump - Where Does Israel Get Its Oil?
(Fuel prices in Israel will rise to an all-time high of $7.19 a gallon) (The rising prices are due to a general rise in oil prices worldwide, with the cost of a barrel nearing the $120 mark)
April 30….(Arutz) Israel’s gas prices have always been relatively high, as it must buy its fuel from middle-men and smaller oil-producing nations across the globe. Israel has purchased oil from Mexico, the UK and Norway, and more recently, from Russia and Kazakhstan. A steadily increasing amount of natural gas is bought from Egypt, and Israel also imports coal for some of its power plants from Australia, Angola, South Africa and Columbia. For the decade following the 1967 Six Day War, Israel benefited from direct reasonably-priced fuel piped in from Iran, when it was ruled by the Shah. In 1979, when Iran underwent an Islamic revolution, the pipeline was closed. Israel also lost a major source of oil when it relinquished the oil fields of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a treaty with Egypt in 1982. In 2004, Minister of Infrastructures Yosef Paritzky (Shinui) revealed that most of Israel’s oil imports originate in countries with which the Jewish state does not maintain diplomatic relations. He did not elaborate. In response to Israel’s recent condemnation of a Swiss oil deal with Iran, Swiss newspapers alleged that Israel continues to purchase a large amount of high-quality oil from the Islamic Republic through a European intermediary. About 3 percent of Israel’s energy consumption is supplied by solar power, mostly in the form of rooftop solar panels to heat water for residential buildings. Several projects to expand solar power through large facilities in the Negev desert are currently underway.
Cigarette Smugglers Funnel Money to Mideast Terror Groups
April 29….(Fox News) Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah. A 15-page report congressional report, obtained by FOX News, includes intelligence from law enforcement as well as New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance. The report reads in part: Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah. “This is a very serious homeland security issue, one that has gone unnoticed for far too long,” said Rep. Peter King, (R-NY), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, who called for the investigation. “Cigarette smugglers are able to generate millions of dollars in illegal profits with a great deal of this wealth being sent to terrorist groups overseas, groups that would like nothing more than to inflict devastating harm on our country and its citizens.”
Mofaz to Rice: Hizbullah Controls South Lebanon
Mofaz paints grim picture in meeting with secretary of state, warns against
'Golan a strategic asset'
Mofaz also spoke
out harshly against the possibility of withdrawing from the Golan Heights, in
contradiction to messages on the subject reportedly conveyed by Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert. "Handing over the Golan Heights to Syria means having the Iranians
on the Golan Heights," he said. Mofaz warned that just like Iran has a foothold
in southern Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip, it will also do the same on the
Golan. "In this reality, the Golan Heights is a strategic asset that must not be
handed over to the Syrians," he said. However, in a talk with Israeli
correspondents in Washington Mofaz said that "this doesn't mean that emissaries
can't be sent and that messages can't be conveyed." The minister also said that
he spoke with Rice about the fact that the radical axis led by Iran and
comprising Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas is gaining strength every year. Abbas
Rejects Meeting With Diplomats Who Honor Israel's Independence Day
Abbas Dismayed Following Meeting With Bush
April 29….(Israel Today) Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reportedly left his Oval Office meeting with US President George W. Bush on Monday feeling "upset, alarmed and disappointed." According to an Abbas aide who spoke to Reuters, Bush told the Palestinian leader that if either of them wants the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state by the end of the year, they will have to accept some of Israel's conditions and abandon the Arab world's all-or-nothing demands. "We heard from the Americans that Israel would not accept the return of Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem would not be divided, and that Israel wants to annex settlement blocs. So in short, what we are being offered is much less than the 1967 borders," said the aide. Bush remains determined to oversee a final status peace agreement before the end of his presidency, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed his readiness to make that happen. However, Olmert has had a tough time selling the division of Jerusalem and the surrender of Judea and Samaria to the Israeli public. Most Israelis look to the disaster that followed the full surrender of the Gaza Strip to Abbas, and feel that quitting Judea and Samaria could only lead to additional security hardships. Despite its willingness to meet most of the Arab demands, the Olmert government has remained firm on Israel's refusal to accept a "right of return" to sovereign Israel for millions of foreign born Arabs who are the descendants of Palestinians that fled the area during the 1948 Middle East war. Abbas has made the "right of return" a red line demand, but Israelis recognize that acquiescing would mean the demographic destruction of the Jewish state.
Extremists Laud Wright for 'Black Liberation Theology'
(Wright Defense of Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan upheld)
April 29….(WND) Rev. Jeremiah Wright demonstrated that he is a "man of principle" by sticking to his teachings of "black liberation theology" during today's highly publicized session with the news media, Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told WND in an interview. Shabazz, who was in the audience at Wright's National Press Club event in Washington, said he was particularly proud of Wright's defense of Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan. He also labeled as "strong" Wright's accusation US policy was to blame for the 9-11 attacks. "I respect Wright for defending Farrakhan," said Shabazz. "When I look for leadership I look for people of integrity who will stand up for what they believe in and not denounce somebody just because the heat is on. Wright stood up and continues to stand up on why he supports Farrakhan and he stands by him." Shabazz's NBPP is a controversial black extremist party whose leaders are notorious for their racist statements and for leading anti-white activism. The deceased chairman of the NBPP, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, is a former Nation of Islam leader who was once considered Farrakhan's most trusted adviser. Muhammad gave speeches referring to the "white man" as the "devil" and claiming that "there is a little bit of Hitler in all white people." During a question and answer session at today's event, Wright praised Farrakhan as "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century, that's what I think about him." "Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and he didn't make me this color," said Wright. Wright quoted Farrakhan stating "Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing that United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago." Wright accused the US of carrying out terrorism and used Scripture to defend his claim 9-11 signified that "America's chickens are coming home to roost." "Jesus said: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Shabazz told WND he thought Wright's remarks about 9-11 were "strong. He backed it up with Scripture." Shabazz chalked up Sen. Barack Obama’s recent statement distancing himself from some of Wright's positions as "pure politics." Wright himself today indicated Obama was not sincere in distancing himself from his spiritual adviser of nearly 20 years. "He didn't distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American," Wright said. Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright vigorously praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, and repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.
During the press conference, Wright scolded media for repeated airing of inflammatory remarks from his sermons, saying it is "not an attack on Jeremiah Wright, it is an attack on the black church." A reporter asked whether Obama regularly attended church and paid attention during sermons. "He goes to church about as much as you do," Wright replied. "What did your pastor preach in the last week? You don't know?" Last month, after what he called a "firestorm" sparked by the sermon videos, Obama gave a race speech in Philadelphia in which he denounced Wright's remarks but refused to "disown" him. Wright encouraged blacks to stop supporting Israel.
Potential War on Iran from Top US Soldier
April 26….(DEBKA) Addressing a news conference in Washington, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday, April 25, the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action” against Iran. He spoke of the Tehran government’s “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. A conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” he said, but not impossible and “it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.” The admiral stressed the reserve capabilities of the Navy and Air Force. Adm. Mullen’s statement came four days after US defense secretary Robert Gates said he favored keeping the military option against Iran on the table “given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat, either directly or through proliferation.” DEBKAfile’s military sources report those remarks were underscored by news of large US naval, air and marine forces on their way to beef up the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources reported Friday that the USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group has just taken up position in Persian Gulf waters. It consists of 12 warships led by the giant LSD-41 class USS Whidby Island landing craft, submarines and eight assault squadrons. The legend on their banner is: Give ‘em Hell. Another nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, will soon set out for the region from the South China Sea, along with two more US naval strike forces: the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Nimitz attended by strike groups. Adm. Mullen went on to say: "I have no expectations that we're going to get into a conflict with Iran in the immediate future." Our sources ask what time scale is indicated by the indefinite “immediate future,” the 8 months remaining to the Bush presidency or thereafter. Mullen tied his remarks to Iran’s "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq. Of late, the US Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus pointed out that Iran is interfering increasingly in Iran and continues to arm insurgent militias. The Tehran government is clearly not deterred by Washington’s warnings or its military movements.
Iran is a Very Serious Threat That Only We Can Deal With
April 28….(DEBKA) Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy tells CBC News 60 Minutes Bob Simon that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel must be taken extremely seriously. In an interview to be aired Sunday, April 27, the general said: “I think it is a very serious threat to the state of Israel, but more than this, to the whole world. They are talking about what destroying and wiping us from the earth.” He said it reminds him of the Holocaust. “We should remember. We cannot forget, We should trust only ourselves.” Gen. Shkedy likened ignoring Ahmadinejad today to the atmosphere that enabled the Holocaust yesterday. “In those days, people didn’t believe Hitler was serious about what he said. I suggest we do not repeat this way of thinking and… prepare ourselves for everything.” Veterans of the 1981 Israeli mission which destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor told the CBS interviewer: “Israelis hope they won’t have to undertake such a mission today, but a bombing mission to Iran, is a different thing. Zeev Raz, commander of that mission, compared the situations to Simon: “We had one point to destroy. They have many points, many of them deep under the mountains, underground and it’s a much more complicated problem than in 1981. I hope it will be solved another way.” Raz commented: “The only thing worse than the Israeli air force having to do it, is Iran having a nuclear bomb.” Col. Ziv Levy, an air force base commander said: “We spend a lot of time and a lot of effort in training and being prepared for the worst. We cannot lose a single war. The first war we lose, Israel will cease to exist,” said Col. Levy.
US Warns Iran of Retaliation Over Iraq
April 28….(Times on Line) America's top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action”. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. He said conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” for America’s overstretched forces, but added: “It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.” Mullen said he was increasingly concerned about Iran’s growing involvement in supplying munitions and training to rebel Shi’ite militias and “killing American and coalition soldiers in Iraq”. Speaking at a Pentagon news conference late on Friday, he said recent operations in the southern port city of Basra had revealed “just how much and how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.” A Pentagon source said the admiral’s frankness was “extremely significant” and could pave the way for some form of attack on Iran. However, Mullen said: “The solution right now still lies in using other levers of national power, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure.” Mullen’s tough rhetoric came shortly after General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq responsible for the troop surge, briefed Congress about the “nefarious activities” of the Quds force in stirring violence in Iraq. There were a total of 923 civilian deaths in Iraq last month, the highest number since August 2007. “We should all watch Iranian actions closely in the weeks and months ahead, as they will show the kind of relationship that Iran wishes to have with its neighbor,” Petraeus said. Petraeus was nominated last week to take over as commander of all US forces in the Middle East from Admiral William Fallon, who resigned in March after becoming an outspoken critic of American policy towards Iran. Petraeus has been asked to prepare a briefing on the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq. It will include the recovery of weapons with date stamps showing that they were recently manufactured in Iran. American officers claim that Iran is responsible for new, highly dangerous roadside bombs in Iraq and accuse Iranian-trained militants of responsibility for the deadliest rocket and mortar attacks on Baghdad’s green zone. “The question is not if Iran is unhelpful in Iraq,” said Philip Crowley, a retired air force colonel and defense expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The question is what to do about it.” Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, said last Monday that Iran is “hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons”. He added that war would be “disastrous” but the military option must remain on the table. However, a senior defense source said the administration regarded Iran’s nuclear program and its interference in Iraq as separate problems, requiring different tactics and solutions. Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iranian-backed radical Shi’ite cleric, called on his followers at Friday prayers to stop fighting Iraqi troops and unite against “the occupiers” – US troops.
Golan Heights Suddenly Under New Threat
April 28….(JNEWSWIRE) The future of Israel's Golan Heights appears to be suddenly under renewed threat as reports during the Passover week that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had offered to give them to Syria in exchange for peace were quickly followed Sunday by Syrian demands for an Israeli guarantee of a complete pullout from the plateau. According to the Qatari newspaper al-Watan, Syrian President Bashar el-Assad told Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Damascus demands a written commitment by Israel of the Jewish state's willingness to fully relinquish the Golan. Assad said Israel's refusal thus far to make such a pledge meant that the time has still not come for peace. Olmert, who spent some of his Passover vacation on the Heights, refused to deny Syrian claims reported on April 24 that he had messaged Assad via Erdogan that the Golan was up for grabs. In September 2006, Israeli newspapers quoted Olmert as saying: "As long as I serve as prime minister the Golan Heights will remain in our hands because it is an integral part of the State of Israel." Biblically part of the Land of Israel, and included in the inheritance of the Israelite half-tribe of Manasseh, the Golan Heights were part of the Ottoman province of Palestine until World War 1, and were thus included in the area designated for the creation of a Jewish homeland in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Unilaterally lopped off from that promised land by the British government, the Heights were subsequently given to Syria, which after its independence in 1946 enjoyed control of the territory for just 21 years - during which time they used it as a platform for murderous aggression against Israeli farmers and communities in the Upper Galilee. Israel took over, and subsequently annexed the Golan following two wars of self-defense against the Syrians, in 1967 and 1973. Modern Israel has now controlled, settled, farmed and developed the Heights for more than 40 years - nearly twice as long as Syria.
Israel’s Southern Communities Shell-Shocked Again
April 28….(Arutz) Palestinian Authority terrorists launched a barrage of Kassam rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon on Monday morning as IDF soldiers continued operations to put an end to attacks against Jewish communities in southern Israel. Several barrages of Kassam rockets exploded in Sderot early Monday morning, and again at approximately 11:00 a.m. By 12:00 noon, eight rockets had landed in the western Negev. Two rockets slammed into areas within the Sderot city limits in late morning, leaving several victims severely traumatized. One of the rockets exploded close to a school in a residential neighborhood. The second scored a direct hit on a house. The damage has not yet been assessed. Magen David Adom paramedics treated the victims for emotional shock. There were no physical injuries reported in the attacks. Two rockets slammed into the Ashkelon Coastal Regional Council area in mid-morning. Terrorists also shelled kibbutzim in the Eshkol Regional Council area. A number of buildings were damaged but no one was injured. Seven mortar shells exploded in fields around the Kerem Shalom Crossing area as well. The day began with residents in Sderot and other Gaza Belt communities forced to race for the safe rooms and bomb shelters as children were arriving at school and parents were on the way to work. Three rocket attacks were fired at approximately 7:45 a.m. One of the missiles exploded in an open field near Sderot. Two other rockets landed in open areas in the Sha'ar HaNegev region. No one was injured in these attacks, and no property was damaged.
IDF Denies Hamas Claims Army Killed Mother, Children
Several of the Kassams were fired at Sderot after the IDF attacked rocket-launching terrorist cells in northern Gaza. Hamas claims that Israeli soldiers killed a mother and four of her children during an attack on terrorists in Beit Hanoun. The IDF issued a statement officially denying the charge, saying the family was most likely killed when explosives inside the home were detonated by accident. An IDF soldier from the Givati Brigade was lightly wounded in the heavy clashes that began in northern Gaza early Monday morning. He was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva. Israeli counterterrorism operations in northern Gaza continued Monday afternoon as Hamas vowed to escalate its attacks on Jewish civilians in the western Negev.
Hizbollah Building up Covert Army for a new War Against Israel
April 28….(Israel Daily) The dead militants of Hezbollah watch the living from the sides of buildings and from lampposts, their faces staring out defiantly from posters. These are Hizbollah's martyrs: men killed fighting against Israel before it abandoned the occupation of the south in 2000 or in the numerous clashes since, including the bloody summer war of 2006. The images are often the only public acknowledgement of the individuals who make up this most secretive of institutions: Hizbollah's military wing. But an Observer investigation has discovered that this covert organization is quietly but steadily replacing its dead and redoubling its recruitment efforts in anticipation of a new, and even more brutal, conflict. Hizbollah has embarked on a major expansion of its fighting capability and is now sending hundreds, if not thousands, of young men into intensive training camps in Lebanon, Syria and Iran to ready itself for war with Israel. 'It's not a matter of if,' says one fighter. 'It's a matter of when Sayed Hasan Nasrallah [Hizbollah chief] commands us.' But what is becoming more obvious, even as Hizbollah tries to hide it, is that the group has embarked on an unprecedented build-up of men, equipment and bunker-building in preparation for the war that almost everyone, Lebanese and Israeli, considers inevitable. 'The villages in the south are empty of men,' said one international official. 'They are all gone, training in Bekaa, Syria and Iran.' A trip by The Observer through villages in the Hizbollah heartland confirmed a conspicuous lack of fighting-age men. Visible were several new martyr posters. The initial training and selection of recruits is done in Lebanon, with Iran preferred for training on specialties, use of certain weapons, RPGs and anti-tank missiles, that require firing live rounds. 'But mostly the training in Iran is in theoretical things: philosophy, religion. Another crisis driving the build-up is Lebanon's political conflict, which pits Hizbollah and its allies against a coalition of Sunni, Druze and Christians supporting the Western-backed government. Street fights between Sunnis and Shias are becoming commonplace but Hizbollah cannot afford to take its men away from the bunkers in the south to fight on the streets of Beirut, say members of Amal and the Lebanese army. 'They know they can't send their best fighters, or the Israelis could attack. Israel will always be their main focus.
WEEK OF APRIL 20 THROUGH APRIL 26
Hamas Missile Attack Targets Strategic Facility in Ashkelon
April 25….(Arutz) Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza launched an attack on the port city of Ashkelon Friday morning, firing four medium-range rockets at the coastal city. One of the missiles exploded close to a strategic site in the southern section of the city, damaging many gravestones in the local cemetery. All four rockets hit the city’s industrial area; no one was injured. Ashkelon is home to a large electric power station, which also provides energy to Gaza, as well as much of Israel. Also located in the city are oil and gas pipelines and storage tanks.
White House Slams Syria, Links it With North Korea Nukes
April 25….(Arutz) The White House said Thursday that North Korea’s secret work on a nuclear reactor with Syria was “a dangerous and potentially destabilizing development for the world,” raising doubts about Pyongyang’s intention to carry through with a promised disclosure of its nuclear activities. (The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1) Seven months after Israel bombed the reactor, the White House broke its silence and said North Korea assisted Syria’s secret nuclear program and that the destroyed facility was not intended for “peaceful purposes.” White House statement reports that the North Korean-built and Israeli-destroyed reactor in Syria was "not intended for peaceful purposes." In a statement issued on Thursday by White House press secretary Dana Perino, the US Administration sharply criticizes Syria. The statement refers to Syria's "covert nuclear reactor" which was "damaged beyond repair on Sept. 6 of last year" - but does not mention that it was Israel that destroyed it. The statement censures Syria for supporting terrorism, destabilizing Lebanon, allowing foreign fighters into Iraq, and repressing its own people. The White House issued the statement after CIA officials briefed select Congressional committees on what the White House called "an issue of great international concern." The statement continues, "Until Sept. 6, 2007, the Syrian regime was building a covert nuclear reactor in its eastern desert capable of producing plutonium. We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities." The Bush Administration believes that the reactor was not intended for peaceful activities, because of the following: "Carefully hidden from view, the reactor was not configured for such purposes. In defiance of its international obligations, Syria did not inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the construction of the reactor, and, after it was destroyed, the regime moved quickly to bury evidence of its existence."
Syria Must Stop Support for Terrorism, Etc.
"The Syrian regime must come clean before the world regarding its illicit nuclear activities," the White House states. "The Syrian regime supports terrorism, takes action that destabilizes Lebanon, allows the transit of some foreign fighters into Iraq, and represses its own people. If Syria wants better relations with the international community, it should put an end to these activities." The statement was issued a day after a Syrian government minister confirmed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to hand over the entire Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement. "The construction of this reactor," the White House concludes, "was a dangerous and potentially destabilizing development for the region and the world. This is particularly true because it was done covertly and in violation of the very procedures designed to reassure the world of the peaceful intent of nuclear activities. This development also serves as a reminder that often the same regimes that sponsor proliferation also sponsor terrorism and foster instability, and cooperate with one another in doing so."
Israel: Syria Should Rethink Retaliation in Light of Nuclear Revelations
April 25….(Ha Aretz) The closed-door hearings of the House Intelligence Committee regarding a site in Syria that the Israel Air Forces bombed last September were closely followed Thursday by senior officials in Israel. US officials said that the Israeli strike destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor built with North Korean design help. Senior Israeli defense sources said Thursday night that it was still early to gauge how Damascus would react to the news, but warned that the Syrians may now reconsider and decide to retaliate against Israel in some way. In recent internal discussions, senior Israeli defense establishment officials expressed concern that the official American release of details about the strike would embarrass Syrian leader Bashar Assad, and lead him to take a more aggressive stance toward Israel. Intelligence officials said that the reports on the nature of the site make Assad vulnerable, internationally and domestically. Most senior members of his regime in Damascus apparently were not aware that the country had a nuclear program, they explained. Defense sources said Thursday night that there was still risk of an escalation in the area and warned that Israel must be cautious and avoid embarrassing Assad unnecessarily. Meanwhile, the Israeli government decided to maintain its silence over the September 6, 2007 strike. However, the hearings may have raised a new problem in Israel: Members of Congress were shown a video recorded by an agent inside the Syrian nuclear plant prior to the attack. This revelation may lead the Syrians to the source of the leak that allowed Israel and the US to gather intelligence on the nuclear site. In Washington, a senior US official said the facility in Syria was destroyed soon before it would have become functional, at which point testing would have begun. At the time of the attack, no uranium was evident at the site. The reactor site was veiled in secrecy until this week. US intelligence and government officials had refused to confirm suspicions that the site was to be a nuclear reactor. The administration has thus far refused to reveal why it chose to release the information now, but the briefings come at a critical time in the diplomatic effort to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. As part of that process, North Korea is required to submit a "declaration" detailing its programs and proliferation activity, but the talks have stalled over Pyongyang's refusal to publicly admit the Syria connection. However, officials say the North Koreans are willing to accept international "concern" about unspecified proliferation. Syria had not declared the alleged reactor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nor was it under international safeguards, possibly putting Syria in breach of an international nuclear nonproliferation treaty. House Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gary Ackerman (Democrat-N.Y.) sharply criticized the administration for embargoing the information and the press leaks surrounding it. "This is the selective control of information that led us to war in Iraq," he said. US officials were also briefing members of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, at its Vienna headquarters.
Syria Accuses US of Aiding Israel in Strike on Nuke Facility
April 25….(Jerusalem Post) Syria on Friday accused the United States of involvement in an Israel Air Force attack on Syria last year that Washington said struck a suspected nuclear reactor built with North Korea's help. A US official said Thursday that the United States did not green light the IAF attack. The official spoke shortly after American intelligence officials heard details of the alleged incident. The White House on Thursday urged Syria to "come clean" about the nuclear facility, which a senior US official said had been near completion when it was destroyed by the Israel Air Force in September 2007. "The Syrian regime must come clean before the world regarding its illicut nuclear activities," White House press secretary Dana Perino said, shortly after US intelligence officials presented lawmakers with evidence that Pyongyang had assisted Syria's secret nuclear program. "We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities," she said, adding "We have good reason to believe that reactor, which was damaged beyond repair on September 6 of last year, was not intended for peaceful purposes." Syria's statement of response on Friday repeated Damascus's denial of involvement in nuclear activity and dismissed Washington's accusations as part of a campaign to discredit the Damascus government. "The Syrian government regrets the campaign of lies and falsification by the US administration against Syria, including allegations of nuclear activity," said the statement, which was issued on the state news agency. "Syria asks the United States to act responsibly and stop creating more crises in the Middle East," the statement added. Syria's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday denied any nuclear link to North Korea.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency on Friday criticized the
US for not giving his organization intelligence information sooner on the
alleged nuclear reactor. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei also chastised
Israel for bombing the site seven months ago, in a statement whose strong
language reflected his anger at being kept out of the picture for so long. "The
director general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the
agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency's responsibilities
under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its
veracity and establish the facts," the statement said. "Additionally, the
director general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the
due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation
regime," it said. CIA Director Michael Hayden and other intelligence officials
Israel gave US video of Koreans at Syria site
The Washington Post said Thursday that the White House was expected to show video images "it claims support allegations that North Korea was helping Syria to build a nuclear reactor." A US official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss classified matters, said that among the intelligence the United States has was an image of what appeared to be people of Korean descent at the facility.
However, the official stressed that this image was only part of a wider array of information gathered from multiple sources on the suspected cooperation between Syria and North Korea. The report quotes a US intelligence official saying the Syrian facility bears "remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon." It also quotes a nuclear specialist calling the video "very, very damning." Israel apparently showed the video to the US prior to the September strike, according to the Post report, after the Bush administration said it doubted the site was built with North Korean assistance.
Syria denies North Korea cooperation
Syria on Thursday dismissed US accusations that North Korea was helping it build a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium. Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja'afari told reporters on Wednesday that "there was no Syria-North Korea cooperation whatsoever in Syria. We deny these rumors." Syria's ambassador to Britain, Sami al-Khiyami, told Reuters that the accusation was intended to put pressure on North Korea in talks about Pyongyang's nuclear program. "This has nothing to do with North Korea and Syria. They just want to exert more pressure on North Korea. This is why they are coming up with this story," Khiyami said. "This is political manipulation ahead of the talks with North Korea to exert more pressure on them." The White House has said little about the possibility of such cooperation between the two since Israel allegedly conducted the mysterious September 6 air strike. "Unfortunately the scenario of taking and retaking pictures looks like what happened before the Iraq war, when the US administration was trying to convince the world that Iraq had nuclear weapons," Khiyami said. "Instead of coming up with these ridiculous photos I think the US administration should put all their effort into clearing the Middle East region of all weapons of mass destruction, starting with its closest ally Israel."
UN’s ElBaradei Slams US on Syrian Reactor
April 25….(Jerusalem Post) The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency on Friday criticized the US for not giving his organization intelligence information sooner on what Washington says was a nuclear reactor in Syria being built secretly by North Korea. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei also chastised Israel for bombing the site seven months ago, in a statement whose strong language reflected his anger at being kept out of the picture for so long. The White House broke its silence about the issue on Thursday, just hours after top US legislators, members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, were briefed on the alleged reactor. US intelligence officials said evidence included dozens of photographs taken from ground level as well as footage of the interior of the building taken by spy satellites after the Israeli strike. The IAEA's mission includes trying to keep nuclear proliferation in check, and it depends on member states for information in trying to carry out that task. The agency is currently investigating allegations Iran tried to make nuclear weapons, and it is using not only its own research but intelligence provided by the US and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board. "The director general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency's responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts," the statement said. Additionally, "the director general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation regime," it said. ElBaradei was briefed by telephone Thursday by John Rood, the US undersecretary of state for arms control. Additionally, a senior US official, who demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said a US intelligence team was in Vienna to brief IAEA representatives.
Assad Caught Red-Handed May Now go for Revenge
April 25….(DEBKA) US and Israel intelligence experts upgrade the chances of president Bashar Assad retaliating for the Israeli attack, which irreparably damaged the secret nuclear North Korea built for him in eastern Syria, now that the episode is out in the open. DEBKAfile quotes those experts as recalling Saddam Hussein’s burning ambition to hit Israel’s nuclear site at Dimona after Israeli jets smashed Iraq’s French built nuclear reactor in 1981. Assad will find it hard to avoid avenging his humiliation Thursday, April 24, when America’s top intelligence officials briefing congressional committees laid bare detail after detail of Syria’s nuclear program. They all agreed that it was incumbent on the United States to take further steps against Iran as well as Syria to avert any more developments which endanger the world. The briefing brought out key data hidden from the public in the eight months since the Israeli raid.
1. It confirmed DEBKAfile’s October 2007 report that North Korean personnel had built a reactor for the production of plutonium in a remote part of Syria.
2. Israel managed to plant a mole or moles inside the reactor compound capable of producing professional photos from inside the reactor. US lawmakers where shown, for instances, images of a concrete floor with rows of holes ready for the nuclear fuel rods to power the plant. Assad must have been irked beyond endurance when his most coveted secrets and security were shown to the world as having been blown wide open, when the regime he heads depends for its survival on a battery of secret police and undercover agencies with eyes and ears everywhere.
3. The Israeli raid demonstrated too that Syria’s military establishment has been penetrated as fatally as his clandestine agencies.
4. The congressional briefing will have done more to mar the relations of trust between Tehran and Damascus than any diplomatic or military action. Cracks are inevitable in their strategic pact. It will be hard for Iran to continue to pose as the No. 1 Middle East power after Syria, its foremost ally and military mainstay, exposed its extreme vulnerability.
5. Tehran’s precise role in the Syrian nuclear program is not known, but it was obvious to the American lawmakers listening to the intelligence briefing that Syria would not have built a nuclear reactor with Iran’s knowledge and consent, and that the Syrian plant was designed to be an integral part of Iran’s own nuclear program. Iran will no doubt have inferred from the disclosures about the Israeli attack on the Syrian reactor and its painful fallout for the Assad regime that its own projects may be subjected to the same fate. It is a matter of record now that Israel is the only country in the world to have ever destroyed two nuclear reactors in successful go-it-alone, intelligence-backed military operations.
Many Israeli’s Look Forward to New Temple
April 25….(FOJ) A reproduction of the golden menorah that sat in Israel's biblical temple overlooks the Temple Mount, which today is occupied by Islamic mosques. The site represents the battleground between the god of Islam, and the God of Israel. Many Israeli’s look forward to the day when the Temple can be rebuilt on the ancient site, but any such activity would unleash a holocaust upon Israel. The complex sensitivity of the issue requires a miracle. The Bible reveals that Israel will enter into a “covenant with Hell” to accomplish this dream. (Isaiah 28:14-15 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:)
CIA Confirms: Israel Bombed Nuclear Reactor in Syria
April 24….(Ha Aretz) A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea's nuclear arsenal, according to senior US officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today. The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel's decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6, a move that was publicly denounced by Damascus but not by Washington. Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core's design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows "remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon," a US intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video "very, very damning."
CIA Reveals Israel Bombed Syrian Nuclear Reactor
April 24….(Arutz) The CIA, the US Central Intelligence Agency is set to confirm that the Syrian installation destroyed by Israel on September 6, 2007 was a nuclear reactor. CIA representatives will brief members of a Congressional intelligence subcommittee. The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that the installation was meant to produce plutonium, and was partially funded by North Korea. Israel bombed the reactor before it attained its planned capacity to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons, the CIA says. The Congressional subcommittee session is to deal with Syrian-North Korean relations, amidst reports that a possible deal is in the works to remove North Korea from the American list of state sponsors of terrorism. At the presentation at Congress, which will be repeated afterwards to reporters, the intelligence officials will show video images showing Korean faces among the workers at the Syrian plant. Other pictures show what appears to be the construction of a reactor vessel inside the building. Shortly after the Israel attack, Syria bulldozed the area and constructed a new building there, which it has not allowed foreign visitors to enter. Israel, the US and Syria have never divulged details about the attack, and today's presentation is a major departure from this policy. Israel is reportedly not happy with the change, fearing that it will revive the tensions between Syria and Israel.
Hamas Sweeps Hevron University Elections
April 24….(Arutz) The Islamist Hamas terrorist group swept student elections at a Hevron university and says it will do so in the next Palestinian Authority (PA) elections in Judea and Samaria as well. Hamas won by a landslide at the Al-Khalil Polytechnic University on Wednesday. “The United Islamic Bloc, a union of the academic wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad at the University, won the student elections despite attempts of Fatah's Shabiba to spoil the victory,” a Hamas statement declared in one of its media sites. "This is clear evidence to all that Hamas was strong enough, and that all the attempts made to marginalize it in the Palestinian arena, particularly in the West Bank, totally failed," the statement continued. Hamas runs on a platform openly calling for terrorist attacks on Jewish civilians and the complete destruction of all of Israel. It also encourages Israeli-Arabs to rise up and join the struggle. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the results of the election proved that efforts by Fatah, Israel and the US to convince PA Arabs to align themselves with Fatah have failed. “Those people [PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his security forces] will certainly fail in doing what the Israeli occupation forces had failed to do against the Movement," Barhoum said. “The victory of Hamas in the election was a big blow to Abbas's futile negotiations with the Israelis.” In 2006, Hamas won PA legislative elections, taking 74 seats while the US and Israeli-backed Fatah netted only 45. Hamas defeated Fatah in the popular vote by a much smaller margin, 44 to 42 percent. The Islamist group is now gearing up for an election of a new PA chairman, which could completely dissolve Fatah and unseat terror-chief Yasser Arafat’s successor Mahmoud Abbas.
Allow US Religious Persecution to Stand, Cement the Nation’s Demise
April 24….(Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) Across the nation anti-American organizations rooted in godless socialism are partnering with ruthless, corrupt judges to make a run at removing God from the public square and cementing America's decline from the nation's founding laws and principles that were rooted in the Bible. Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union have found favor with morally bankrupt judges to quell religious freedom of speech and expression. These cases, if left unchallenged and standing, could determine a new prophetic position for the United States with respect to its already accelerated economic and moral decline. A Federal Appeals court has ruled that East Brunswick New Jersey Football Coach Marcus Borden breaks the law when he takes a knee and bows his head during student led prayer before football games. The court ruled that the 25-year-old practice constitutes "an unconstitutional endorsement of religion." In Louisiana, a Federal Judge ruled that a portrait of Jesus in a courthouse with the caption "To know peace, obey these laws" was unconstitutional unless it was accompanied by other historic figures such as Moses, Charlemagne, and Napoleon to show historical context. A school district in Ohio, yet to take court action, has demanded a teacher remove his personal Bible from his desk. The teacher refused. There are also allegations brought by Americans United For Separation of Church and State against Pastors Wiley Drake in California and Steve Riggle in Texas. Constant persecutor of Christians, Americans United led by the so-called "Reverend" Barry Lynn has written letters about Drake and Riggle to the Internal Revenue Service demanding an investigation of the pastors with an eye toward revoking their non-profit status. Lynn argues that the pastors use the pulpit to endorse political candidates. The pastors rightly say they can personally endorse whom they wish. Riggle has countered with a letter to the IRS asking that Americans United be investigated for obstructing the political process. The First Amendment guarantees complete freedom of religion to every American citizen, whether he is employed by the government or not, whether he has tax exempt status or not--a guarantee that trumps any law or regulation because the Constitution expressly prohibits Congress from making any law respecting religion or the free exercise of it. Deuteronomy 7 gives warning about breaking covenant with God: "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keeps his commandments to a thousand generations; and repays them that hate him to their face, to destroy them." Let us not allow our nation to fall from covenant with God.
Ahmadinejad Warns Syria Not to Side With the United States
April 24….(FOJ) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a warning to Syria on Thursday not to side with the Americans. "We must always be prepared to thwart the plans of the US in the region," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in Teheran. According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Ahmadinejad said that "the Americans are on the verge of destruction" and that "anyone who sides with them will also go the same way." The Iranian president's office stated that in his meeting with Moallem, Ahmadinejad called on Middle Eastern countries to "raise their alert in the face of the enemies' plots and make plans to foil them." The Iranian president asserted that the US government was embarking on numerous operations in the region due to its internal issues, the "dead end" its policy toward Iran and Syria had reached and the upcoming US presidential elections. Moallem mentioned the "sensitive situation" the Palestinians were in, saying that "despite the blockade on Gaza and the continuing Israeli aggression, Gazans have succeeded in continuing the resistance under the leadership of Hamas and conducting their affairs." The Syrian foreign minister also accused the US of making baseless accusations in order to create internal conflicts and divide the nations in the Middle East.
Olmert Willing to Concede Golan Heights to Syria
April 23….(Ha Aretz) Head of the Knesset House Committee MK David Tal on Wednesday said he intends to accelerate the passage of a bill requiring any withdrawal from the Golan to be dependant upon a national referendum, speaking after a Syrian news agency reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered Damascus a full Israeli withdrawal from the region in return for peace. Tal, a member of Olmert's own Kadima party, said he would push for the bill to be legislated immediately after the Knesset plenum returns from its current recess. "Evacuating the Golan Heights will pump Hezbollah forces into region, who will embitter residents of the North's lives," Tal said. Syrian news agency "Cham-Press" reported Wednesday morning that Olmert has relayed a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad affirming that he agrees to a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with his nation. According to the report, the message was passed on by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose mediation met with great success. The Prime Minister's Office did not deny the report, choosing only to state that they "refuse to comment on the matter. In his interviews last week, Prime Minister Olmert stated that Assad is familiar with Israel's position regarding peace talks and visa versa." The report comes after a series of recent signals from Damascus relating to ongoing contacts with Israel. On Sunday, Assad said that, "friends are making efforts to renew negotiations between Israel and Syria," speaking before the Baath party's central committee. He repeated that Syria's position is that it will not hold secret talks with Israel. Former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) slammed Olmert's alleged consent to cede the Golan Heights. "Olmert's readiness to withdraw from the Golan represents an unprecedented political and national abandon," he said. Steinitz added: "Without the Golan, Israel will be faced with great difficulties in defending itself and keeping the Kinneret and water resources. I haven't the slightest doubt that the People of Israel adhere to the Golan much more than they do to Olmert." Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 Six Day War, and later annexed the northern territory in 1982. MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) joined the assault on the prime minister's reported message to Assad, demanding that opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu immediately announce he will not commit himself to honor any "suicidal" concession made by Olmert. Eldad added that the prime minister is acting without legitimacy. MK Effie Eitam, also a member of the National Union-National Religious Party, said Olmert "is abandoning Israel's security in a desperate attempt to present a political achievement." On Monday, former US president Jimmy Carter said Assad is "eager" to restart negotiations with Israel over the Golan Heights and believes that 85 percent of the differences between the two countries have already been resolved. Speaking to reporters following talks with officials in Syria and Egypt, Carter said: "In all my conversations with President Assad, whom I've known since he was a college student, I was impressed with their eagerness, complete the agreement on the Golan Heights." According to Carter, Assad said that "the only major difference in starting good faith talks was that Israel insisted that there will be no public acknowledgement that the talks were going on when Syria insisted that the talks would not be a secret."
Knessett: Peace with is Syria Suicidal
(Syrian report suggesting Olmert will agree to pull out of Golan Heights for sake of peace with Damascus inflames political area: Likud blames him for thinking of nothing but political survival; Kadima MK says will push forward referendum on area's future)
April 23….(YNET) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert undoubtedly heard about the Syrian report saying he had agreed to cede Israeli control of the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria, while on vacation. The report by the Damascus-based website Shams Press was joined by a report in the Syrian newspaper al-Watan, which claimed that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday and informed him of Olmert's willingness to fully withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace agreement. According to the report, which quotes "knowledgeable sources" in Damascus, Erdogan is expected to visit the Syrian capital over the weekend and take part in a first-of-its-kind economic summit between Syria and Turkey. Head of the Knesset's House Committee, Knesset Member David Tal of the prime minister's Kadima party, announced Wednesday that he would push forward the forming of the Golan Heights Act once the Knesset returns from its Passover hiatus. The bill will make a referendum on the region's future mandatory. Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz said the report indicated "unprecedented irresponsibility on Olmert's part both political and defense-wise." The Likud party later issued a formal statement on the matter: "There is no limit to the dangerous concessions Olmert is willing to make for the sake of his political survival. Now he is willing to give way to Syria, an ally of Iran, which supports Hamas terror and supplies Hizbullah with weapons," said the statement. MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima) party, also criticized Olmert: "I am utterly against any withdrawal from the Golan, mainly because Syria is in cahoots with Iran and Hizbullah. Peace with Syria at this point in time is suicidal for Israel." MK Ze'ev Elkin (Kadima) reiterated the sentiment, saying that in the last six months "Olmert has been fooling the Israeli public and the international community, making promises he can't keep, he has no support for this move, neither in the Knesset nor in Kadima. Knesset Member Effie Eitam of the National Union-NRP, said Olmert is sacrificing Israel's safety in a "desperate attempt to show his constituents some sort of a political achievement. He is willing to give up the one strategic asset which has kept the northern border quiet for the past 40 years."
Oil Hits $119.13/Barrel Day After Saudis Cut Oil Production
April 23….(DEBKA) In a series of statements, including one by Saudi King Abdullah, the world’s biggest oil producer has suspended plans for a further increase in long-term production capacity. DEBKAfile reports: The Saudi warning to consumers that it sees no need for further expansion reversing their recent pledges to the US president George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. It is also challenged by the world’s major consumers. In Rome, where 90 energy ministers and 40 oil company executives are attending an energy forum, Kuwait’s acting oil minister Mohammed al-Aleem argued that supply and demand factors are not to blame for the soaring price of crude oil. “The oil price rises as the dollar gets weaker,” he said. OPEC can increase supply if there is a real Global need,” he said.
Muslim Anti-Semitism is Strategic Danger for Israel
April 22….(Ha Aretz) A new Israeli study of anti-Semitism with Muslim roots has concluded that the phenomenon is growing, even in Jordan and Egypt, which have peace treaties with Israel, and that "Anti-Semitism and the accompanying hate industry are a strategic danger for Israel and the Jewish people." The study was conducted by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a research institute under the aegis of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), an NGO which commemorates the fallen of Israel's intelligence services. According to the findings of the study, "generations of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are brought up hating the Jews; the peace process is damaged and obstacles to the normalization of Israel's relations with the Arab countries of the Middle East are erected; indiscriminate Palestinian terrorism against Israel is made palatable, as is Hezbollah's Shi'ite terrorism and that of Al-Qaida, when directed against Israel and Jews around the world." The study also found that Arab countries such as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan "enable (and some even encourage) anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement for a variety of internal reasons: they can use the struggle against Israel and the image of support for the Palestinians as a way of letting opposition groups let off steam (especially when Israel-Palestinian confrontations escalate), for increasing their identification with Islamist groups and for increasing support for their own regimes." Paradoxically, both Israel-Arab military escalation and progress toward Israeli-Arab peace act to increase anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, the research showed. Among the central themes in contemporary Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism are Holocaust denial coupled with claims that Israel is carrying out a holocaust against the Palestinians, as well as the drawing of parallels between Israel and Nazi Germany, the study found. "The motifs used in anti-Semitic propaganda are often taken from Western neo-Nazi literature, media and rhetoric and there are clearly reciprocal relations between Holocaust denial in the West and denying it or trying to minimize it in the Arab-Muslim world," it said. The study also found that Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism has a broad field is widespread among both lower classes and intellectuals, opposition groups and radical Islamic movements. "Arab-Muslim regimes in the Middle East all use it, although the way they use it changes from country to country. It is not limited to the Middle East, since anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic propaganda are distributed to Muslim communities all over the world, especially in Europe. Anti-Semitism is marketed in a variety of ways (books, the Internet, television) and helps fan the flames of hatred for Jews and Israel among Muslim communities far beyond the Middle East." The report singled out the Iranian regime for having turned anti-Semitism and the desire to destroy the state of Israel into a strategic weapon. It concluded that "anti-Semitism supported by a state which publicly adheres to a policy of genocide and is making efforts to arm itself with non-conventional weapons which will enable it to carry out that policy is unprecedented since Nazi Germany."
Hillary: I'm Prepared to 'Totally Obliterate' Iran
(Says she would respond if Tehran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons)
April 22….(WND) As Pennsylvania voters go to the polls in a primary widely regarded as do-or-die for Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, the New York Democrat apparently is positioning herself to the right of some Republicans, vowing that if Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, she would respond in kind against Tehran, with the ability to "totally obliterate them." Clinton's remarks came during an interview airing tomorrow morning on the ABC News show, "Good Morning America." ABC's Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, according to the network. "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." On the floor of the Senate on Feb. 14, 2007, Clinton stated, "If the administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority." Clinton offered a new defense doctrine during the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia last week that would have the US defend Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates with nuclear weapons. Here's what Clinton said: "We should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States. But I would do the same with other countries in the region. You can't go to the Saudis or the Kuwaitis or UAE and others who have a legitimate concern about Iran and say, well, don't acquire these weapons to defend yourself unless you're also willing to say we will provide a deterrent backup." Morris suggest the sweeping new defense doctrine offered by Clinton is "perhaps influenced by her husband's $15 million paycheck from Dubai or the $10 million the Saudi monarchy gave to his library." In a column yesterday in the New York Post, Morris said "no American president has ever made so sweeping a commitment in the region. Hillary certainly appears willing to break new ground" Morris concluded: "If there is one real warmonger in this race, it is Hillary Clinton, who is now willing to risk our cities to save some of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East."
Carter Insists Hamas Really Wants Peace, Problem is Israel
April 22….(Israel Today) Former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday said that following a meeting with the Hamas leadership in Damascus late last week, he can confidently announce that Hamas truly desires peace with Israel. The premature claim was almost immediately rebuffed by Hamas. Speaking at an event hosted by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, Carter asserted that Hamas is prepared to accept a Palestinian Arab state in Gaza and the West Bank and Israel's right to exist in the rest of the land west of the Jordan River. The self-styled peace envoy said that Hamas' top leadership had assured him that it would accept such a solution to the conflict if approved by a majority of Palestinians in a referendum. Having established Hamas' willingness to make peace, Carter went on to imply that the only obstacle remaining was Israel's unwillingness to hold talks with the terror group. However, almost immediately after Carter spoke, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters that the American had apparently gotten ahead of himself, or misinterpreted statements by the Hamas leadership to fit his own agenda. Hamas, said Abu Zuhri, was indeed prepared to allow a referendum on a two-state solution, but made no guarantees that it would accept the results. And that, of course, is the primary reason Israel will not consider including Hamas in peace talks.
Jimmy Carter's Mideast Adventure: So Many Terrorists, So Little Time
April 22….(Israel Insider) Jimmy Carter’s visit to the Middle East was everything a Palestinian terrorist could hope for: a wreath laid on Arafat's tomb, wet kisses from a former US President, and a high profile meeting with leaders of Hamas that flew in the face of US and European policy. But that didn't faze Jimmy Carter, who relished the controversy, enjoyed the rough-cheeked nuzzles, and gave the top terrorist organizations the dubious legitimacy of a president who has joined the actively anti-Israel club. The Israeli and US governments condemned former President Carter's meetings this week with top officials of Hamas, which they consider to be a terrorist organization. His controversial tour of terror bigwigs included a meeting Thursday in Cairo with two senior Hamas politicians, and with the top Hamas politician, exiled leader Khalid Meshaal, on Friday in Damascus, Syria. Carter laid a wreath of red roses at the grave of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat during a visit to the West Bank City of Ramallah on Tuesday. "He and Mrs. Carter and his son Jeff wanted to pay their respects to President Arafat," Carter's trip director Rick Jasculca told Cybercast News Service. But the former president didn't make any comments there, he said. Most Israeli officials refused to meet Carter during his prior visit to the Jewish state, furious over his defiance of State Department policy in meeting with a terror organization responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths, by his insistence that Israel should talk to Hamas and his explicit comparisons of Israeli policy with South African apartheid. US and Israeli officials doubt Carter's talks with Hamas will achieve anything except muddy efforts to isolate the Hamas terror organization, which has made no secret of its ultimate goal of eliminating Israel, and its continued support for suicide bombing, cross-border infiltrations and rocket attacks, especially from its Gaza base. "We think it is not useful for people to be running to Hamas at this point and having meetings with Hamas," US national security adviser Stephen Hadley said. Even left-wing Israelis insist that talks with Hamas won't bring peace in the Middle East conflict. Carter had to endure a dressing-down by Shimon Peres, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, dubiously shared with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. Peres told Carter in no uncertain terms that meeting the leaders of the terror group "damages" the chance of peace and was "a big mistake." "Hamas is conducting war against the citizens of Israel," said Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to Britain, and a left-of-center politician who worked with Peres. "What do you say to people who say, 'Why don't you talk, try and talk, and not to shoot'? It sounds very good but the question is, at what stage do you do that?" Right-wing Israelis were less charitable. An aide to Netanyahu explained that his boss's unwillingness to meet with Carter "stems from his anti-Israel views over the past few years." Others suggested that the 85 year old President was a doddering publicity-hound who didn't know any better and would do anything that would blacken Israel's name. Israel did not extent security protection to Carter during his visit to the country. While Carter called "despicable" Palestinian rockets attacks on Israeli civilians, he had even harsher words for Israeli attempts to deter and retaliate for those attacks. "It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It's a crime, I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on," he said, and the day after shedding crocodile tears in Jerusalem over rocket attacks on Israel.
Hamas Offers Truce in Return for 1967 Borders
Leader of Islamic group makes statement after meetings with Carter
April 21….(MSN) The leader of Hamas said Monday that his Palestinian militant group would offer Israel a 10-year "hudna," or truce, as implicit proof of recognition of Israel if it withdrew from all lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East War. Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press that he made the offer to former US President Jimmy Carter in talks on Saturday. "We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition," Mashaal said. In his comments Monday, Mashaal used the Arabic word "hudna," meaning truce, which is more concrete than "tahdiya," a period of calm, which Hamas often uses to describe a simple cease-fire. Hudna" implies a recognition of the other party's existence. Mashaal said Hamas would accept a Palestinian state limited to the lands Israel seized in 1967, that is, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. But he said the group would never outright formally recognize Israel. Earlier, Carter said that Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to “live as a neighbor next door in peace.”
FOJ Note: The emphasis of this news item should be that if Hamas is willing to recognize a 10-year truce in exchange for recognition of Israel, then Hamas is convinced that its dream of wiping Israel off the face of the earth can be realized sooner, rather than later.
Jimmy Carter: Hamas Would Accept Israel as Neighbor
(Islamic group casts doubt on his statement that it would back a peace deal)
April 21….(MSNBC) Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to “live as a neighbor next door in peace.” Carter said the group promised it wouldn’t undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, as long as the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum. In such a scenario, he said Hamas would not oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas, a militant Islamic group that both the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization, calls in its charter for Israel’s destruction. It has also traditionally opposed peace negotiations with the Jewish state. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, later said Carter’s comments “do not mean that Hamas is going to accept the result of the referendum.” “The problem is not that I met with Hamas in Syria,” he said. “The problem is that Israel and the United States refuse to meet with someone who must be involved.” “There’s no doubt that both the Arab world and Hamas will accept Israel’s right to exist in peace within 1967 borders,” he said, referring to Israel’s frontiers before it captured large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Middle East war.
Gazan (Hamas) Arabs Support More Terrorism Against Israel
April 21….(IsraelNN.com) Over sixty-five percent of Arabs in Gaza support continued suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, according to a report released Monday by the Arab Jerusalem Media and Communication Center. Sixty-nine percent are "pessimistic" or "very pessimistic" about reaching any peaceful settlement with Israel. The poll also found that half of the Arabs who live in Gaza have positive feelings about PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, whose Hamas party won significantly in the most recent elections. This, even though 81 percent of them believe economic conditions have deteriorated under his leadership. Nearly 50 percent of Gaza's civilians feel that launching rockets at Israeli civilians is a "useful" means of terrorism. Only 31.4 percent believe that firing rockets on Israel is "futile." The above results are based on interviews with a representative sampling of 439 Arabs from Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is allowing the transfer of hundreds of truckloads of food and supplies per week into Gaza via the crossings that have been attacked five times in the last tens days alone.
WEEK OF APRIL 13 THROUGH APRIL 19
Pope Benedict XVI Speaks to the United Nations General Assembly
April 18….(FOJ) Pope Benedict XVI, the recognized leader of worldwide Catholicism told diplomats at the United Nations today that respect for human rights was the key to solving many of the world's problems, while cautioning that international cooperation was threatened by "the decisions of a small number." The pontiff, addressing the UN General Assembly on his first papal trip to the US, said the world organization's work is vital. But he raised concerns that power is concentrated in just a handful of nations. The world's big problems call for collective interventions by the international Global community, he said.
The pope said every state had the "primary duty" to protect its citizens from human rights violations and humanitarian crises but outside intervention was sometimes justified. "If states are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments," he said. The pope called human rights, particularly religious freedom, "the common language and ethical substratum of international relations. Religion is the key to establishing Global harmony and enduring peace!”
As the Pope’s speech to the UN General Assembly ended, I could not help but once again be reminded that the apostate whore of Revelation will assist in the orchestration of the Last Days Global structure that will elevate the Antichrist to power. The Pope is spreading the theme that Global governance must be the path to world geo-political peace, but as it puts the pieces of that structure together, he emphasized that the world’s religions must come together in an international harmonic convergence that resonates together with global governance to ensure peace.
Putin isGetting Libya on Board the Magog Train
April 18….(FOJ) Russian President Vladimir Putin has for the last several years been actively pursuing a course that is perfectly suited for the role prophesied for Magog in the Last Days. He has personally taken the geo-political mantle lead to enable Persia to become an international terrorist and nuclear threat, not only to Israel, but to the US. He is actively engaging the West in a new show of a Cold War threat, as he lobbies for a Russian client in the Turkey-Black Sea region that is compatible with Gomer. He has also reestablished old Soviet client states relations with Syria and Libya and the Muslim marauding nations around the perimeter of Egypt, including Sudan and Ethiopia. He is “guarding and preparing” all these clients for a new geo-regional strategy. That strategy will culminate someday soon in an assault on Israel, as Russia leads a coalition of nations against the mountains of Israel. It will undoubtedly be a “collective world authorized” action such as was proposed in the Pope’s message today to the Global governing body at the United Nations.
(Ezekiel 38:2-7 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.)
Abbas Lobbies For Greater Role for Russia in Mideast Peace Process
April 18….(Novosti) A Moscow Mideast peace conference slated for June will strengthen Russia's role in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with a Russian daily. He arrived in Moscow on a three-day visit on Wednesday, and is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today. Abbas told Nezavisimaya Gazeta he hoped the meeting would remove obstacles in the way to a peace settlement and "will salvage the peace process." He said that Russia is geographically close to the region and "therefore, stability is among its priority interests," adding that the upcoming peace conference would "strengthen its role in the peace process." Putin first voiced the idea of holding a Moscow Mideast peace conference in 2005, and received the backing of several Arab countries prior to talks at a US-sponsored conference held last year in the US. Abbas said that several barriers continue to block the implementation of commitments made in Annapolis. The Annapolis summit saw a resumption of talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel after a seven-year hiatus. The sides pledged to do everything possible to draft a peace settlement by the end of 2008, as well as to come to an agreement on the form of a future independent Palestinian state. But the plan was stalled when Hamas engaged Israel in a terror campaign of rocket attacks. Abbas' Fatah party controls the West Bank after being ousted by the hard-line Islamic group Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the US and some EU states, from the Gaza Strip in a bloody conflict last June. Asked whether Hamas could be invited to the Moscow conference, Abbas said that would not be possible since Hamas members "are not part of an official government." "Hamas did not even attend the Arab League summit in Damascus. It simply has no such rights," he said.
Israel's Exposed Flank
April 18….(Chuck Colson) Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and America’s only true ally there. Only Israel allows freedom for all faiths: freedom of the press, freedom for women, and a respect for human life unknown in the Muslim world. Israel is the only country that mourns when America mourns, and that stands up for the same values we do. So last week, while American General David Petraeus appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the war in Iraq, I wondered what many Americans thought about what withdrawing from Iraq might mean for the Jewish state. Whether we should have invaded Iraq or not in the first place is something historians will debate for years to come. But withdrawing without establishing order and some measure of stability is another matter, one with devastating consequences. A bloody civil war in Iraq would only be the beginning. US leaders have to consider what will also happen if the United States abandons Iraq, and that is, Israel would be placed in great danger. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already promised to “wipe Israel off the map” as soon as he gets the chance. Anybody who thinks that an American withdrawal from Iraq would not embolden Iran and its apocalyptically minded leader is fooling himself. And I am not alone in thinking this. Four years ago, I was invited to a luncheon for Christian leaders to meet Ehud Olmert, now Israel’s prime minister. I asked Mr. Olmert, at the lunch, what effect the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces had had on Israel. He looked startled. “You would have to ask me?” he said. He then told me the invasion had secured Israel’s east flank, and that military might was the only thing the Islamic world would understand. The Iraq invasion, he added, was one of the great steps that had been taken to protect Israel and bring about eventual peace in the Middle East. I am assuming he feels the same way now, four years later. Many of us have forgotten, perhaps because the press declines to air it, that videotape of Palestinians dancing with joy on September 11. Just as they celebrate the mass murder of Americans. Palestinians also celebrate the mass murder of Israelis. Iranian-backed Hamas leaders officially bless the massacres, as does the military wing of the PLO, which declares them heroic acts. Christians in America can do no less than raise our voices in outrage for our elder brothers in the faith. Sound the alarm over the consequences if we pull out of Iraq. How many friends do you suppose we would have left in the Middle East if Israel is destroyed?
Jimmy Carter in Egypt: Gaza Arabs "Starved to Death" by Israel
(Former US President Jimmy Carter says Palestinian Authority Arabs living in Gaza are being “starved to death” by Israel.)
April 18….(IsraelNN.com) Carter made the claim speaking with students at the American University in Cairo on Thursday, saying that Gaza Arabs are receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest regions of Africa. “It’s an atrocity, what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza,” said Carter. “It is a crime. I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on.”The former president has not actually visited Gaza and Israel declined to authorize his use of the Israel-Gaza crossings and there were no indications he requested an entry from Egypt. Carter neglected to mention that the region’s crossings with the rest of Israel have been closed since the Islamist Hamas terrorist organization seized total control of the area and began launching constant attacks on Israeli civilians. Carter also didn’t mention that the crossings are opened daily for the delivery of humanitarian aid, including truckloads of food, medical and other supplies into Gaza. On Thursday, while Carter was denigrating Israeli treatment of Gaza residents, Hamas terrorists infiltrated through the Kerem Shalom crossing and attacked an IDF post while trucks were passing through the crossing with essentials for Gaza. Despite the opposition of the American government, Carter was to meet Friday in Damascus with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.
Cut “Traitorous” Carter Center Funding
('Legislation would assure taxes don't support negotiations with terrorists')
April 18….(WND) Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., told FOX News that "at best, President Carter is being naive" in trying to negotiate with avowed terrorists. "There is a long list of people who thought they could reason with dictators and killers, going back to Neville Chamberlain and Hitler in the 1930s, but it has been shown to be absolutely wrong." Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., told FOX News that she advocates revoking Carter's passport and supports a measure to withdraw all federal funding from his Georgia-based institution, the Carter Center. "We have a policy in this country about Hamas and he is deliberately undermining that policy," Myrick said. "Why should we support his center when he will not support his government?" A Michigan congressman has proposed cutting all federal funding for ex-President Jimmy Carter's Carter Center because of his current trip to meet with leaders of terrorist organizations. The Carter Act, by US Rep. Joe Knollenberg, of Farmington Hills, Mich., would prevent federal dollars from being used to finance discussions and negotiations with terrorist groups, he said. The Coordinated American Response To Extreme Radicals Act estimates taxpayers already have given the Carter's think-tank foundation some $19 million. But Knollenberg is suggesting no more. "America must speak with one voice against our terrorist enemies," he said in a statement at the time the proposal was readied for Congress. "It sends a fundamentally troubling message when an American dignitary is engaged in dialogue with terrorists. My legislation will make sure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to support discussions or negotiations with terrorist groups." Knollenberg was the first member of Congress to speak out against Carter's plans to meet with Hamas, sending a letter to Carter suggesting his travel itinerary was troubling. "As a former president of the United States, you undoubtedly understand that the United States must speak with one voice to our enemies. I hope and pray that we all as Americans stand in strong opposition to acts of terror and the terrorist groups that coordinate and fund them," the letter said. "Palestinian Islamic Jihad has announced that its leadership has refused former US President Jimmy Carter's request for a meeting," he reported. "According to PIJ's QudsNews website, Egyptian authorities contacted PIJ Secretary-General Dr. Ramadan Shallah on Carter's behalf earlier this week, inviting Shallah to meet with Carter in Cairo." He reported Shallah is on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists and the reward for information leading to his capture is $5 million. But Shallah declared Carter was "carrying an American-Israeli agenda" and refused.
The Carter Center did not respond to Trager's requests for confirmation. "PIJ is generally considered even more extreme than Hamas," he wrote. "While PIJ shares many of Hamas' militant features, including its coordination of terrorist activities, calls for Israel's destruction, and theocratic aims. PIJ lacks Hamas' social and political significance. Carter is therefore unable to argue that PIJ is somehow central to any Israeli-Palestinian peace process." "This isn't the first time the Carter Center has come under fire because of the anti-Israeli stance of its founder. In December, 2006, Emory University Middle East scholar Kenneth Stein resigned both as Middle East scholar at the Center and from its advisory board in response to the publication of Carter's book, 'Palestine: Peace not Apartheid." In mid-January of last year, 14 advisory board members resigned from the Center to protest Carter's extraordinarily biased and error-ridden book."
Pope Benedict Laments US 'Injustices' to Blacks, Indians, Immigrants
April 17….(FOJ) Rome’s Pope Benedict XVI held a massive mass today in the nations capitol and praised America as a land of opportunity and hope. But he went beyond that compliment and lamented that America’s promise fell short for American Indians and blacks, and immigrants. Hope for the future, he said, "is very much a part of the American character." The pope, wearing the traditional bright scarlet vestments, led the service from an altar erected in centerfield of the recently inaugurated Washington Nationals baseball stadium. Many red-robed church leaders joined the Pope in an idolatrous worship of the Host. "Americans have always been a people of hope," he said during his homily. "Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity. "But to be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land and one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves, and today to immigrants."
Pope Benedict XVI urged the nation's Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals to support new immigrants to the United States. "I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrows and trials and to help them flourish in their new home," the pope said during a prayer service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Last night at the White House, Pope Benedict mentioned his upcoming speech before the United Nations to President Bush and profusely voiced his support of the UN organization's endeavors to become a Global governing institution! "I hope to encourage the efforts under way to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitimate aspirations of all the world's peoples," he told Mr. Bush.
criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy is tantamount to cutting
off ones own hand, and can be offensive to many sincere Christians in the
Catholic Church, I can’t help but reflect today on the fact that the very idea
of a pope is never mentioned in the Bible. If it were that critical of a
position, one would think that it would have been mentioned somewhere in the New
Testament. In fact, Christ said the following concerning any supposed religious
all-knowing father-figure authority over the Church;
Yet as the
Pope lambasted America for past shortcomings in its relationship with Blacks,
Indians and modern immigrants since 9-11, I also am reflecting on the fact
America is facing a threat from immigrant-terrorism like no other nation except
Israel, and has done more for human and civil rights than any other nation on
earth. It is also striking that these Papal charges come on the heels of Barak
Obama’s speech on racism in America, and his pastor’s condemnation of America.
It leads me to conclude the Pope is using post 9-11 immigration issues to Roman
Catholicize America and prepare it for the emerging Global Governing apparatus
of the Last Days. And it further reminds me of the fact in Bible Prophecy that
an apostate scarlet-decked Church will ride upon the back of the Beast in the
This isn’t popular news, or an idea that fits into the modern ecumenical style, but I think it bears serious scrutiny, because I sense the building spirit of Global government through diversity, tolerance, and religious unification.
Risk of Nuclear Attack on US Rises
April 17….(Newsmax) Witnesses told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the risk of a nuclear attack on US cities has grown in the past five years due to the spread of nuclear technology and the growth of a global terrorist movement. The Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs looked at the horrific consequences of a nuclear strike by terrorists, and experts said more could be done to save lives, the Washington Post reported. "I definitely conclude the threat is greater and is increasing every year with the march of technology," said Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the panel’s chairman, said: "The scenarios we discuss today are so hard for us to contemplate and so emotionally traumatic that it is tempting to push them aside. However, now is the time to have this difficult conversation, to ask the tough questions, then to get answers." Dallas gave the panel a report on the effects of a small nuclear device exploding near the White House. A 1-kiloton device that could fit into a suitcase could kill about 25,000 people, Dallas said. A 10-kiloton explosive, which could be hidden in a van, could kill about 100,000. The 10-kiloton blast would destroy almost all buildings within a half-mile radius, and the intense heat would burn people for many blocks and spark fires, according to Dallas. In addition, a radioactive plume would begin drifting from the blast point, subjecting those in its path to lethal levels of radiation, Dallas said. "With proper communication, people can flee from the plume area," Dallas said. But, he added, authorities need to "put more effort" into testing their ability to swiftly alert those in danger, according to the Post. Ashton B. Carter, co-director of the Preventive Defense Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, agreed, telling the committee that "much could be done to save lives" if the government made the right preparations in advance. Dallas suggested training medical professionals such as pharmacists and veterinarians to provide burn care, and organizing community volunteers to clean wounds and help in other ways. "Burn care is a nightmare, and we’re completely unprepared," he said. "Ninety-five percent of burn victims will not receive care. And most of them will die." FBI Director Robert S. Mueller told Newsmax in an exclusive interview last May that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group desperately want to obtain nuclear devices and explode them in American cities, especially New York and Washington, DC
Assad: US Wants Israel to Declare War on Syria
(Syrian president says that while he believes chances for armed conflict with Israel are low, his country is preparing for worst. 'We know that there are those in the US administration that want this war)
April 17….(YNET) Syria is preparing for a possible war with Israel, but believes that the prospects for such a conflict are slim, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday, according to Syrian news agency SANA. Syria has recently boosted its forces on the border with Israel, fearing that a Hezbollah attack against Israeli targets for Imad Mugniyah's death may lead to a military escalation in the region. Speaking at a conference in Damascus, Assad said that the recent war with Lebanon has made Israel less assured of its existence in the Middle East. "None of us can rule out the option of war, but it is arguable whether Israel will launch war against Lebanon or Syria, or whether the United States will launch a war against Iran. "We should analyze the situation from the perspective of American interests, because the last war in Lebanon has shown that at some point Israel wanted to stop the fighting, but was forced by the US administration to pursue it further," he stated. According to the Syrian leader, "We know that there are those in the American administration who want this war, and we are preparing for the worst. We're acting as if war is imminent and are preparing for it, but our intelligence does not indicate that such war is on the horizon." Assad sounded very optimistic regarding the Arabs' future in the Middle East in view of Israel's "ageing" following the Second Lebanon War. "After the Lebanon war it was proved that we, the Arabs, are renewing our young generation, while Israel is entering stage of old age. "Following the next war, the question of the country's fate and continued existence has arisen in Israel
Ahmadinejad Questions 9/11 Attacks on US
April 17….(Israel Today) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has moved on from his conspiracy theories surrounding the Nazi Holocaust, at least temporarily, in order to call into question the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Speaking at a mosque in the city of Qom Wednesday, Ahmadinejad challenged the official death toll from the attacks, claiming that "four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names." The Iranian asserted that the US had fabricated the high death toll, and may have even carried out the attacks itself, in order to justify going to war against the Muslim regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of some "Christian Crusade" against Islam.
Hizbullah Will Dispatch Israeli Arabs to Attack From Rear in War
April 17….(IsraelNN.com) A Syrian newspaper reported that Hizbullah plans to activate masses of Israeli Arab terrorists in the next war. “A high-ranking Hizbullah official has said the party would launch an offensive on Israel in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 in case the Jewish state wages a new war,” the Iranian Fars News Agency reported in its coverage of the Syrian magazine Al-Hakika’s interview with the unnamed Hizbullah man. Further elaborating, the Hizbullah planner, a member of the group’s religious “Shura Council,” said, "We would not initiate war but in case they wage any war in the future, there will be a counter attack behind the front lines. And for the first time since 1948 in Palestine itself.” Israeli-Arabs have increasingly involved in terrorist activities. Former MK Azmi Bishara, one of the most senior and prominent Israeli-Arab representatives, fled Israel after an advanced investigation into treason and assistance to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. Most recently, an Israeli-Arab from Jerusalem carried out the shooting murder of eight yeshiva students at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva. His parents subsequently set up a mourning tent adorned with the flags of the Hizbullah. Hizbullah is training new terrorists, including Sunni Muslims, "at a furious pace," sending them to Iran for 45-day advanced training, the Christian Science Monitor reported. A local commander told the newspaper that the next war against Israel will be offensive, unlike the Second Lebanon War which he called a defensive battle. The next war will be "fought more inside Israel than in Lebanon," Jawad asserted.
Hamas Says Carter Visit a Boost to Terrorists Legitimacy
April 17….(FOJ) The leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas hope to get a boost in its legitimacy despite criticism by Israel and the US government of the former president's personal peace mission. Carter arrived in Egypt from Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he raised Israeli anger Tuesday by embracing a Hamas official in the West Bank. After sitting down with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and speaking at the American University on Thursday, Carter is scheduled to meet in Damascus, Syria, on Friday with Hamas' top leader, Khaled Mashaal. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who brokered Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt three decades ago, is on what he calls a private peace mission. He contends the US, Israel and other Western states should stop isolating Hamas if they want peace efforts to succeed. Heading the Hamas delegation in Cairo were Gaza leaders Mahmoud Zahar and Said Siyam. "This meeting is a message to those who don't recognize Hamas' legitimacy as a movement," Zahar said as he left for Egypt, according to Hamas' Web site. In Cairo, Hamas spokesman Taher Nuhu told The Associated Press that the purported Thursday meeting would be "a recognition of the legitimacy" of Hamas' victory in the Palestinians' parliamentary election in 2006. Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since its bloody takeover last June, opposes peace negotiations with Israel and is committed to the Jewish state's destruction. The Islamic militant group has killed some 250 Israelis in suicide bombings and is branded a terror organization by the US and Israel.
Carter Initiated Hamas Meeting
(Ex-president requested time with 2 most senior terrorists)
April 17….(WND) It was Jimmy Carter, not Hamas, who first requested a meeting scheduled for today with the terrorist group's two most senior leaders in the Gaza Strip, Hamas' spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told WND. "Carter was the one who asked Hamas for the meeting. It was arranged yesterday in his meeting with Hamas officiasl in the West Bank city of Ramallah Nasser] Shaer," said Barhoum, speaking from Gaza. Carter also is scheduled to meet in Cairo with senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam, who are identified by both Israeli and Palestinian security officials as the two most senior leaders of Hamas' so-called military wing, which carries out terrorist activities from the Gaza Strip, including rocket strikes, suicide bombings, border raids, kidnappings and shooting attacks. Al-Zahar, the chief of Hamas in Gaza, is leader of Hamas' most radical wing and is widely regarded as chief of the terror group's "military wing." He served as the foreign minister in the Hamas-led Palestinian government, which was disbanded last year. Israeli officials say al-Zahar is more radical than Khaled Meshaal, Hamas' overall chief, who resides in Syria and is scheduled to meet with Carter later this week. At a rally in March last year, al-Zahar told a crowd of thousands that Hamas' short-term goal is "to liberate Palestine. Our final goal, which will be achieved, is that Islam will enter every house and will spread all over the world."
Hamas Believes Obama Will End Isolation of Terror Group
April 17….(Israel Insider) On the eve of a planned meeting of its leader Khaled Meshaal with former President Jimmy Carter, the Hamas terrorist organization has expressed the "hope" that Senator Barack Hussein Obama will win the presidential elections and change America's foreign policy. Even though Obama has said that he would not meet with Hamas unless it renounces violence and recognizes Israel, or becomes the recognized leadership of the Palestinians, he has no qualms about holding talks with the leadership of Iran, Syria, and North Korea, that doesn't seem to bother the Hamas leadership. "We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections," Ahmed Yousuf, Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, said in an exclusive interview with WND and with the John Batchelor Show on WABC Radio in New York. He saw Obama's comments about Hamas as political posturing that was understandable to lull supporters of Israel before the election. "I understand American politics and this is the season for elections and everybody tries to sound like he's a friend of the Israelis," he said. All that would change if Obama would get elected. "I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse. I do believe Obama is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principle. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance," Yousuf said, speaking from Gaza. Obama was criticized last month after it was reported his church reprinted an opinion piece by Hamas defending terrorism as legitimate resistance, denying Israel's right to exist and comparing the terror group's official charter, which calls for the murder of Jews and the eradication of Israel, to the American Declaration of Independence. The Hamas piece was published on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.'s "Pastor's Page" in the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter. After US Jewish groups issued statements of concern, Obama denounced the Hamas piece and distanced himself from his church's newsletter. But he would not disavow his anti-Israel, anti-American pastor.
Putin in Libya to Close $2.5b Arms Deal
April 16….(JPOST) Only few weeks before he leaves office, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Libya today for a two-day visit likely to be dominated by discussions on energy cooperation, arms deals and debt negotiations. Putin's visit may bring closure to several large arms deals totaling $2.5 billion, which are aimed at bolstering Libya's aging weapons arsenal, Russian media outlets reported. The deals will include anti-aircraft systems, MiG and Sukhoi aircraft, helicopters, submarines and warships, the Russian news agency Interfax said. The main issue for Russia will be Libya as a trading partner, which is something that almost every country in the world is interested in, because Libya, with a high oil price, has a lot of money to spend," Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, and currently deputy chairman of the Libyan British Business Council, told The Media Line. Last week, the state-run Russian gas company, Gazprom, revealed it was negotiating with its Italian partner, Eni, about a potential asset swap involving projects in Libya. The heads of the two companies have met with Putin recently. Regarding the military aircraft deal, Miles explained there was direct competition between France and Russia, which are "probably the most likely suppliers of military aircraft to Libya."
Poll Indicates Arabs' Hatred for US
(Eight out of 10 people in the Arab world have a negative view of the US, according to a new poll)
April 16….(BBC) A recent BBC World Service survey found views of the US had started to improve by 4% globally, although they remained negative in the Arab world. Only 6% of Arabs believe the US troop surge in Iraq has worked, according to the latest poll. It was carried out by the University of Maryland and Zogby International. A majority of Arabs believe that if US troops withdraw from Iraq, Iraqis would be able to bridge their differences, the survey found. In contrast, an ABC/BBC poll conducted in Iraq and released in March, appeared to show a 20% increase in the number of Iraqis who felt the surge was succeeding and described the security situation as good. While the Western-backed Lebanese government has reasonable appeal in its own country, the latest survey indicates it has barely any support in the Arab world. Some 30% of Arabs sympathize with the Lebanese opposition, led by Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran. Across the Arab world, Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is also the most popular leader, followed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The three leaders are seen as the only ones standing up against US influence in the region. And while Sunni rulers in the region worry about Shia Iran's growing influence, ordinary Arabs don't seem to view Iran as a threat. Almost half of Arabs believe that if Tehran acquires nuclear weapons the outcome for the region would be more positive than negative.
Former President Carter Should Be Prosecuted Under the Logan Act
April 16….(Bill Wilson/KIN) Former President Jimmy Carter should be prosecuted under the Logan Act for attempting to negotiate with a terrorist entity against the wishes of the Federal government. Carter has stated his plans to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who hasn't had any official contact with an American in two years. Hamas, under Mashaal's leadership has been responsible for war against Israel and the training of terrorists to fight and kill American soldiers in Iraq. That the former President Carter would even consider meeting with such an enemy against the express objections of the US State Department is a crime against every American citizen. The Logan Act was passed in 1799 and makes it a felony for any United States citizen "wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." The State Department has publicly objected to Carter's meeting. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley told ABC that "The position of the government is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and we don't negotiate with terrorists. We think that's a very important principle to maintain. The State Department made clear we think it's not useful for people to be running to Hamas at this point and having meetings." Carter says, however, the State Department had not contacted him directly, but the State Department says otherwise. Carter says that he has been meeting with Hamas for years. In other words, he has been violating American law and policy for years. Carter was undoubtedly the worst president in modern history. His bad judgment started the terrorist problem when he supported the radical Ayatollah Khamenei by helping depose the Shah of Iran. Carter is a friend of terrorists such as Yassir Arafat. According to Carter's former National Security Advisor Zbignew Brzezinski admitted in 1997 that the Carter Administration supported radical Islamists in an attempt to quell communism. Trading one bad idea for another seems to still be the Carter modus operendi. Additionally, Carter’s Presidential library was funded by Arab interests. Proverbs 12:15 says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise." And the Carter legacy continues because the authorities refuse to stop it.
White House Welcomes Pope to America
April 16….(AP) President Bush has quite a birthday present for Pope Benedict XVI: at least 9,000 excited guests gathered on the White House's South Lawn for a 21-gun salute, a famed soprano's rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" and an emotional presidential welcome. The pontiff turns 81 on Wednesday, the first full day of his first trip to the United States as leader of the world's Roman Catholics. He'll spend most of the day at the White House, only the second pope to do so and the first in 29 years. In remarks during pomp-filled festivities that have had Washington aflutter for days, Bush was to tell the pontiff and the crowd how glad America is to have him visit, and to tell Americans they should listen to his words. "He will hear from the president that America and the world need to hear his message that God is love, that human life is sacred, that we all must be guided by common moral law, and that we have responsibilities to care for our brothers and sisters in need, at home and across the world.
On the way from Rome on Tuesday, Benedict said he was looking forward to meeting a "great people and a great church" during his first papal journey to the United States. The six-day trip to Washington and New York City coincides not just with his birthday, but the three-year anniversary of his ascendance to the Catholic church's top position. Nurturing the US flock is a sensitive and important mission for Pope Benedict at a time not just of ongoing scandal but also of his campaign to tamp down secularism and re-ignite faith. This get-together by Bush and Benedict is the 25th meeting between a Roman Catholic pope and a US president, sessions that span 89 years, five pontiffs and 11 American leaders. These two leaders share much common ground, particularly in opposing abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research, but they disagree over the war in Iraq. Answering questions submitted to and selected by Vatican officials in advance, Benedict said he was "deeply ashamed" by the scandal and "will do everything possible to heal this wound." No pope has been to the United States since the case of a Boston serial molester triggered a crisis that spread throughout the US and beyond in 2002. The president kicked off the unprecedented series of Papal events by motoring to Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington on Tuesday to meet Benedict's plane, something he's never done for any leader. The pontiff received a screaming, cheering reception befitting a rock star from the hundreds of Catholic students and others who filled bleachers on the tarmac while Bush, accompanied by his wife, Laura, and daughter Jenna, assumed the unusual role of second fiddle.
Abbas Grants Awards to Two Female Terrorists
April 16….(IsraelNN.com) The Palestinian Authority leadership, headed by Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), has granted a special award, the "Sign of Heroism," to two female terrorists imprisoned in Israel. One of them was involved in one of the most infamous terrorist attacks in Israeli history: the Sbarro's pizzeria suicide bombing. On August 9, 2001, an Arab terrorist walked into the busy pizzeria at the busiest intersection in Jerusalem, and detonated his charge, murdering 15 Jews. Among them were eight victims between the ages of 18 months and 19 years, as well as five members of one family, the Schijveschuurders of Neriah in the Binyamin region. Abbas granted the "Sign of Heroism" award to the woman terrorist who helped direct the murderer to the target. Abbas also granted an award to a woman who actively enticed an Israeli teenager over the internet. When she and the boy made up to meet, the boy was kidnapped at the rendezvous site near Ramallah and murdered by Arab terrorists. The two female terrorists were given the awards for their heroic acts "on behalf of the Palestinian people," according to reports in the PA media. MK Gideon Saar, the Likud Knesset faction chairman, said in response, "This is an additional proof of the true stance of Abu Mazen. Israel must call off all diplomatic talks with the Palestinian Authority under his leadership." "We should not be expected to encourage and praise those who praise our murderers," Saar said. "Abbas makes sure to create for himself in the West an image of one who is moderate, while his true character is revealed among his own people. The government of Israel must wake up and respond appropriately, instead of granting him armored cars and removing checkpoints." That the government of Israel does not agree with Saar was evidenced not only by its ongoing talks with Abbas and his representatives. "Once again, FM Livni tells the world that the PA leadership is simply fantastic, setting the stage for the world to blame Israel for any problems" that are likely to arise in the future. Fatah, the military wing of what is popularly perceived as the "moderates" of the Palestinian Authority, has been responsible for a long list of deadly terrorist attacks against Israel, including bombings and shootings.
PLO Admits Getting Jerusalem is Step to Destroying Israel
April 16….(Jerusalem Post) Once the Palestinian Arabs have Jerusalem as their capital, and international efforts to bring this about are underway around the clock, they will be in a position to erase the rest of what will be left of Israel from the Middle East. This candid confession was made last week by the PLO's so-called Ambassador to Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, as disclosed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and published in The Jerusalem Post Monday. "The PLO is the sole legitimate representative [of the Palestinian people], and it has not changed its platform even one iota," Zaki said. That platform, adopted by the Palestine National Council in 1973 and known as the PLO's "Phased Plan," is as follows: Through the "armed struggle" (ie, terrorism), to establish an "independent combatant national authority" over any territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule. (Article 2). To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations. (Article 4) To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab neighbors destroy it entirely ("liberate all Palestinian territory"). (Article 8) Speaking in 1993, just after it became public that the Oslo Accords had been drawn up and were being readied for signing, then PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat announced that the agreement "will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestine National Council resolution issued in 1974. The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated." (Radio Monte Carlo, 1 September 1993) Said Zaki Monday: "In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine." Observers have noted, and Zaki understands, that by relinquishing their biblical heartland and the cradle of their nationhood - Samaria and Judea, including sole, sovereign control over its 3000-year-old capital, Jerusalem, the Jews will be self-severing themselves from their roots, something no nation can survive. The birth of Palestine, Muslims know, will guarantee the death of Israel.
McCain: War With Iran Would be Hard SellApril 16….(JPOST) War with Iran would be a hard sell to the American people, the Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Tuesday. "I believe we can act with nations with values and principles that we hold dear and exercise enormous pressure, diplomatic, trade, financial," Senator McCain told MSNBC." However, the senator did not entirely rule out the possibility of a military confrontation, but added that any decision would have to overcome the current "credibility gap" which was created after President George W. Bush justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. To do so, McCain said that he would have to make an "even more convincing argument that war is necessary because of the failure" to find Iraqi WMDs. In an interview with JTA earlier this week, the presidential hopeful was pessimistic about the value of negotiations with Iran, but did not rule out speaking with Iranian leaders, excluding Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Our ambassador in Iraq, I believe, has been there three times," McCain said. "There's been Iranians there in Baghdad. They've had conversations. There's plenty of ways to communicate." "I think that our failures for nearly four years in Iraq obviously have strengthened Iran," the senator added. "But I believe that this is being reversed as the surge succeeds, and I think that the Iranians are very possibly going to step up their assistance to the Jihadists, because they don't want us to succeed in Iraq
Carter to Meet Meshaal Ramallah, Lay Wreath on Arafat's Grave
April 15….(Ha Aretz) Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, defending a contentious plan to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, said yesterday that he hoped to become a conduit between the militant group, Washington and even Israel. Isolating Hamas is counterproductive," Carter had said earlier. "I think it is absolutely crucial that in the final and dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and Syria be involved." Former US President Jimmy Carter (below) looks at the remains of a rocket during a visit to a police station in the southern Israeli town of Sderot April 14, 2008. Israel's secret service has declined to assist US agents guarding Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him. Carter included Sderot on his itinerary, a town that is often hit by rockets from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Mr. Carter also called on the Bush administration to embark on direct talks with the Iranian regime in order to resolve the issue of Tehran's nuclear program. During his time in Ramallah today, the former US president will visit the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and lay a wreath. Carter added that he sought permission to enter the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip as well but was turned down. Carter did not single out Israel by name for having turned down his request to visit Gaza however all of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza are controlled by Israel. Both the US and Israeli governments have already expressed displeasure at Carter's overtures to Hamas, an Islamic group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and labeled a terrorist organization by both countries. Carter is to meet Khaled Meshal, the group's political leader, in Damascus, Syria, on Friday. During his visit to Israel earlier in the week, Carter has said isolating Hamas is counterproductive and volunteered to serve as a conduit between the group and the US and Israeli governments. "I'm not a negotiator. I'm someone who might provide some communication. I'm going to try to make Meshal agree to a peaceful resolution, both with Israel and with Hamas's Palestinian rivals," Carter said Thursday. Israel's top leaders, in a stinging rebuff, have avoided meeting Carter. Only Shimon Peres, the country's ceremonial president, met with the former US leader, and took that occasion to tell Carter that his planned meeting with Meshal was a grave mistake. In Washington, US State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters Monday that the U.S. has made clear our views that we did not think now is the moment for him [Carter] or anyone to be talking with Hamas.
Iranian General: Israel Will be Eliminated if it Attacks
('We are highly motivated to protect our country's borders and have the ability to deal heavy blows to the aggressors', deputy commander-in-chief Ashtiani tells reporters in Tehran)
April 15….(YNET) Iran vowed that it will eliminate Israel from "the scene of the universe" if it launches a military attack on the Islamic state, a senior army commander was quoted as saying during a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday. Deputy commander-in-chief Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was echoing Iran's late founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who said Israel should be wiped off the map. "As the president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) said, we are highly motivated to protect our country's borders," Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Ashtiani as saying. Asked by reporters about the recent five-day home front security drill conducted by Israel, the Iranian commander said "it has nothing to do with us. We are not worried by Israeli maneuvers, but if Israel takes such action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will eliminate it from the global arena," General Ashtiani told the news conference. Last week Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, filed an official letter of complaint against National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer Friday, citing his threats to obliterate Iran should it attack Israel. During the press conference deputy commander-in-chief Ashtiani also addressed the American presence in the Middle East, saying "We have the ability to deal heavy blows to the aggressors. In light of the Iranian army's high level of preparedness, no army is even contemplating a confrontation with us."
(Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal in a Friday Sermon: We Will Conquer Rome, and from There Continue to Conquer the Two Americas and Eastern Europe)
“…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…”—Luke 21:25
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.—2 Timothy 3:1-2a
”But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13
April 15….(MEMRI) Following are excerpts from an address by Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008. Yunis Al-Astal: Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion, so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security, and consolidation of power, and even to conquests thorough da’wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world. Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam, this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe. I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad and our sacrifices, and Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them. Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls, and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets, his companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire on the brink of which they stand.
Amid New Iranian threat, Israel Connects to America’s Ballistic Missile Early Warning System
(The 12th Space Warning Squadron, Greenland)
April 15….(DEBKA) Israel requested the hook-up to the BMEWS for early warning to defend itself against Iranian missile attack. Tuesday, April 15, Iran’s deputy C-in-C Mohammad Reza Ashtiani threatened to eliminate Israel from “the scene of the universe” if it launches a military attack on the Islamic state. Military sources report the system operates from three global centers, the US Thule Air Base in Greenland, where the 12th Space Warning Squadron is located; the Clear Air Force Station in Alaska and the British RAF long-range radar station at Fylingdales, Yorkshire, in England. This is the third time Israel has been connected to the BMEWS. The first was in 1991 before the first Gulf War and the second in 2003 before the US invasion of Iraq. Then, Israel feared Iraqi missile attack, which indeed materialized in 1991. Now, US military sources interpret the request as signifying Israel’s sense of the need to prepare for an Iranian missile attack in the not-too-distant future. Such an attack could develop from a US or Israeli strike against Iran, or any war situation involving Israel, Syria or Hizballah. Tehran might also stage a pre-emptive strike if early intelligence was received of an impending US or Israeli attack on Iran, Syria or Hizballah. These sources stressed that Iran could even decide to lash out against Israel after the event in reprisal for an American assault, not necessarily on its nuclear sites but on Revolutionary Guards bases involved in directing, arming and training militias for attacks on US troops in Iraq. In such a contingency, Tehran could decide to hit back at US bases and strategic sites in the Persian Gulf and Middle East at large, including Israel. The hook-up to the US early warning system will give Israel a better chance to prepare its Arrow and Patriot missile defense systems – and the US to prepare its own Israel-based Patriot batteries - in good time to ward off an Iranian missile attack. The BMEWS would start beaming data on an incoming Iranian missile at the launching stage and before it is airborne. American military sources have no doubt that if an Iranian missile barrage targets Tel Aviv, Israel will counter with a missile attack on Tehran or Damascus.
US Sale of Top-line Jets to Saudis Alarms Israel
Jewish Refugees' Losses Outweigh Arabs'
April 14….(Arutz) Research by international economist Sidney Zabludoff shows that the Jewish refugees of 1948 suffered more and have been helped less than their Arab counterparts. In a paper published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Zabludoff shows that many more Jews were forcibly displaced or expelled from their homes around the world than Arabs, that they lost significantly more property, and were helped over the years to a much smaller extent. The number of Arabs displaced by the War of Independence in 1948 is estimated at 550,000, and another estimated 100,000 were displaced by the Six Day War in 1967. The number of Jews who were forced to move as a result of the Israeli-Arab conflict was between 850,000 and one million. It is further estimated that the Jews, most of whom lived in cities, lost $700 million in lost and stolen property - worth some $6 billion in today's dollars. The Arabs of 1948 and 1967, on the other hand, lost an estimated total of $450 million, or $3.9 billion in today's money. Zabludoff notes that the case of the Arab refugees is different than any other refugee crisis in world history, in that aid for their cause has never stopped, and has been ongoing for nearly 60 years. UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, has poured $13.7 billion dollars into the Arab refugee concentrations. In addition, Arab and Western countries have given their own aid over the decades. The Arabs have also done much better than the Jews in terms of repatriated assets. Israel returned more than 90% of blocked Arab bank accounts and most of the contents of safe deposit boxes, Zabludoff notes, while there have been only "a few cases where Jewish property was restored." While many of the Arabs living in the Land of Israel left their homes voluntarily, goaded on by Arab promises that they would come back as victors and be able to displace the Jews, the Jews in Arab countries were generally expelled amidst violence, threats and confiscation of their property. "Since 1920," Zabludoff writes, " all other major refugee crises involving the exchange of religious or ethnic populations, while creating hardships, were dealt with in a single generation. Meanwhile, issues such as the 'right of return' and compensation never were adequately resolved and were largely forgotten. The same pattern evolved for Jews who fled Middle Eastern and North African countries, even though their number was some 50 percent larger than Palestinian refugees and the difference in individual assets lost was even greater."
Washington Secretly Opens Diplomatic Door to Tehran
April 14….(DEBKA) Certain prominent Americans have undertaken secret colloquy with Tehran and may be preparing to go public and make it official, with the administration’s blessing. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources name them as Thomas R. Pickering, former ambassador to Moscow, the UN and Israel, William Luers, former envoy to Venezuela and the Czech Republic, and Jim Walsh, a New York Republican Congressman. They have been quietly encouraged by Secretary Rice, defense secretary Robert Gates and influential quarters in the US military and intelligence elite, who are anxious to avert a US-Iranian military clash in the eight months remaining to the Bush presidency and cut the ground from under a possible US or Israel attack on Iran. They hope direct dialogue with Tehran will act as the groundwork for an understanding between the next US president and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is seen also as stealing some of the thunder from the Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s offer to talk to the Iranians, and arm Republican candidate John McCain with a non-binding option on Iran for his campaign. The American undercover conversations with Iranian officials have been going on for some time in Geneva, Switzerland, to explore common ground on Iran’s nuclear program. Last month, the three emissaries produced a working paper called “A Solution for the US-Iran Nuclear Standoff.” It proposed bringing Iran’s uranium enrichment program under a multinational consortium including Iran and other governments, such as France and Germany, who would participate in managing and operating the program within Tehran. This would solve the US-Iranian nuclear standoff, ensure that Iran stops short of producing weapons-grade fuel and lift the threat of international sanctions. President Ahmadinejad was quoted as endorsing the multilateral solution. Although his perception is likely to be different from an American or European version, the paper’s authors believe those differences could be resolved in negotiations. A serious setback to relations came from Tehran’s intervention in the Iraqi government’s crackdown this month on militias in the southern Basra province and rocket attacks in Baghdad. Iran’s position as the greatest threat to Iraq was highlighted by Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker in their testimony to Congress last week - to the point that al Qaeda scarcely rated a mention. President George W. Bush commented on April 11 that if Iran continues to help militias in Iraq “then we’ll deal with them.” But he also reaffirmed his disinclination for war and preference for diplomatic solutions. “You can’t solve these problems unilaterally. You’re going to need a multilateral forum,” he said. This testimony and the president’s remarks did not set to rest the Washington cliffhanger over whether the president will opt for military action against Iran after all, before he leaves the White House, or stick to quiet diplomacy and relegate the Iran nuclear headache to his successor. Bush’s immediate reaction confirmed the latter view: Without prior notice, he sent Petraeus and Crocker to Riyadh. Last week, there was talk of a limited US military action against the Iranian command centers directing, training and army Iraq’s militias. Now, the commander-in-chief was instructing the top Americans in Iraq to persuade the Saudis to blaze the way for Arab rulers to throw their support behind the Maliki government in Baghdad. The object of this exercise was to offset rather than challenge Iranian influence in Baghdad. A diplomatic, multilateral course appeared to have been set in motion for dealing with Iranian troublemaking in Iraq - if not its nuclear defiance. But the opposite signal came a day later in an interview the US president gave Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard. The conclusion Kristol drew was that the hearing (given by Petraeus and Crocker) was “less an argument for getting out of Iraq than going into Iran.” Asked whether he thought there was a chance of Bush ordering a military strike against Iran before the end of his tenure, Kristol replied: “We didn’t really talk about that, in all honesty, directly. I don’t think it’s out of the question.” Clearly, President Bush is leaving everyone guessing up to the last second about which way he will jump. Diplomacy is meanwhile in motion, whether relevant or not to the president’s ultimate plans. Former US president Jimmy Carter’s meeting in Damascus with Hamas politburo leader Khalad Meshaal drew automatic reproof from the US State Department and Secretary Condoleezza Rice, and may be confounding the Presidents own plans. Carter, however believes he is creating a path to Iran’s allies and proxies, Syria, Hamas, and even Hizballah, to generate an amicable environment for administration diplomats to forge an understanding between Washington and Tehran?
Syrian Armored Division Masses on Israeli-Lebanese Borders
April 14….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Damascus has deployed the 10th armed corps at the Massaneh crossing of Mount Hermon. It links up with the northwestern positions the 14th division took up last month on the Syrian-Israeli border which cuts through the Hermon range. Syrian troops are now strung along a continuous crescent-shaped line from the central Lebanese mountains through Mt Dov on the western slopes of Mt. Hermon and up to southeastern Lebanon. This deployment, commanding Syria’s Israeli and Lebanese borders, is under the command of the president’s brother, Maher Assad. The 10th armored corps was moved forward straight after Syria’s snap civil defense exercise which crashed after three hours last Thursday, April 10. The exercise was ordered without notice by president Bashar Assad on the last day of Israel’s five-day homeland defense drill. DEBKAfile’s military sources are criticizing Israel officials for attributing Syria’s latest military movements to domestic troubles inside the Syrian leadership. They say this is throwing sand in the public’s eyes and at one with the government’s practice of playing down all the heightened military threats to Israel, whether from Syria, the Lebanese Hizballah or the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza. The IDF’s Northern Command officers report that the Syrian army’s buildup opposite Israel has accelerated in April and warn that its units are arrayed for a quick transition to attack mode. The link-up between Syria’s 10th and 14th divisions on the border running through Mt Hermon should have been a wake-up call for the government in Jerusalem, they say, and elicited counter-moves to show Damascus that Israel is ready to meet every contingency. Sunday, April 13, prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met briefly to rough out the position Abbas will put before President George W. Bush whom he meets at the White House in ten days. Olmert made the gesture of licensing the entry to Israel of 5,000 Palestinian construction workers. This gesture was challenged by security services as a carrying the risk of terrorist infiltration and by economic leaders who say the Palestinians will take Israeli jobs. Foreign minister Tzipi Livni is in Qatar, where she is to address the 8th annual Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade. Qatari rulers plan to persuade her that Israel should back their initiatives to patch up quarrels in the Arab world between Egypt and Syria and the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas. Neither is in Israel’s interest, because conciliation would confer legitimacy on Arab and Islamist radicalism and spur its expansion. Livni, who knew she would come under pressure during her Doha visit, insisted on going through with it and treating it as a breakthrough in Israeli relations with the Gulf emirates.
Reverend Wright was a Muslim Turned Christian. Too
(Obama and Wright: Brothers in Faiths. Are they complicit in concealing their Muslim pasts?)
April 14….(Israel Insider) Chameleon presidential candidate Barack Obama appears to have something else in common with his mentor and spiritual inspiration, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. A recently uncovered article from a credible source indicates that Wright, like Obama, was a Muslim before he Christianized. A previously unnoticed 2007 report from a senior editor in the New Republic indicates that Wright was a "former Muslim." The report indicates that Wright's background was a factor in persuading Obama to join his church and thus improve his "street cred." But that credibility may be wearing thin for a broader swatch of the American public as the evidence accumulates that Obama, like his mentor Wright, have been working overtime to suppress and deny their Muslim roots: in Obama's case hereditary, in Wright's an ideological adoption that reflected his rejection of mainstream, middle class values reflected by normative Christian belief in the United States. Before he came across Wright, Obama had failed to succeed in his political organizing efforts, wrote Ryan Lizza, The New Republic senior editor. It turned out that part of the problem was that the son of the communist was not really much of a churchgoer: "From Wright and others, Obama learned that part of his problem as an organizer was that he was trying to build a confederation of churches but wasn’t showing up in the pews on Sunday. When pastors asked him the inevitable questions about his own spiritual life, Obama would duck them uncomfortably. A Reverend Philips put the problem to him squarely when he learned that Obama didn’t attend services. "It might help your mission if you had a church home," he told Obama. "It doesn't matter where, really. What you're asking from pastors requires us to set aside some of our more priestly concerns in favor of prophesy. That requires a good deal of faith on our part. It makes us want to know just where you're getting yours from." "After many lectures like this, Obama decided to take a second look at Wright's church. Older pastors warned him that Trinity was for 'Buppies black urban professionals, and didn't have enough street cred. But Wright was a former Muslim and black nationalist who had studied at Howard and Chicago, and Trinity's guiding principles, what the church calls the 'Black Value System' included a 'Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness.' The crosscurrents appealed to Obama. He came to believe that the church could not only compensate for the limitations of Alinsky-style organizing but could help answer the nagging identity problem he had come to Chicago to solve. 'It was a powerful program, this cultural community,' he wrote, 'one more pliant than simple nationalism, more sustaining than my own brand of organizing.'" It is not clear what the source of Lizza's knowledge about Wright's religious affiliation is. But if true, the revelation provides a valuable missing piece in our still sketchy knowledge of the motivations and calculations of Obama in choosing, of all people, a man like Wright to be his pastor and mentor. And why he refuses to disavow him, despite his vicious anti-American and anti-Israel comments. For if both men were Muslims trying to realize their political ambitions, then Wright's Church provided a valuable shelter from prying questions about both men's religious and political loyalties. It would serve to whitewash their shared Muslim past, a secret both men have every reason to conceal, now more than ever.
PA Ambassador: "First Jerusalem, Then We'll Take All Palestine"
April 14….(Arutz) "When Israel's ideology will collapse, and after we take Jerusalem, Israel's ideology will collapse altogether, and then we will proceed with our own ideology, inshallah [if Allah wills], and we will throw them out of all of Palestine." So said Abbas Zaki, the Palestinian Authority's ambassador to Lebanon on Lebanese television last week, according to a translation by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute). Expressing strong support for terror attacks against Israel, Zaki said, "We believe wholeheartedly that the Right of Return of millions of Arabs and their descendants who left Israel in 1948 and 1967 is guaranteed by our will, by our weapons, and by our faith." Asked if this means he believes "in weapons, not just in negotiations," Zaki said that neither of them is effective by itself: "The use of weapons alone will not bring results, and the use of politics without weapons will not bring results. We act on the basis of our extensive experience. We analyze our situation carefully. We know what climate leads to victory and what climate leads to suicide." "We talk politics," Zaki said, "but our principles are clear. It was our pioneering leader, Yasser Arafat, who persevered with this revolution, when empires collapsed. Our armed struggle has been going on for 43 years, and the political struggle, on all levels, has been going on for 50 years. We harvest U.N. resolutions."
'Israel Must Pay a Heavy Price'
Speaking with young Arabs who see themselves as Palestinians, Zaki said, "The important thing is that in any military operation, Israel will pay a price. We don't want cases in which Arabs don't kill even a chicken, but Israel kills 20 of you. I salute any operation that makes Israel pay a heavy price." Zaki said that the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and that it remains true to its values and ideology: "In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine." A mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes, Zaki has long been a leading inciter against Israel and an outspoken proponent of anti-Israel terrorism.
WEEK OF APRIL 6 THROUGH APRIL 12
Knock, Knock. Knocking On Heaven’s Door
April 11….(FOJ) A sick and dying man turned to his doctor, and as he was preparing to leave the examination room he said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Please, tell me what lies on the other side of death.” Very quietly, the doctor said, I don't know. You don't know! You’re a Christian man, and you do not even know what is on the other side?
The doctor was holding the handle of the door; and on the other side there was a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, his dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of fondness and gladness. Turning then to his patient, the doctor said, did you notice my dog? He had never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside, but he knew I was in here. He knew nothing about anything in this room except that his master was in here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without any fear. No, I know very little about what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing for sure. I know my Master is there and that is enough for me.
Jesus stands at the doorway of every individual’s heart, and beckons to be allowed in. As every individual approaches the inevitable day of passing from this life, he must ponder of what lies on the other side of death’s door for him. If you have by faith, received Jesus as your Lord and Master, then he will open the door of Heaven to you.
(II Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.) (Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.) (Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:)
Israel Outraged At Carter, Mashaal Meeting
(Carter has for years been a leading voice for forcing Israel to directly include Hamas in the peace process, despite the fact that the group continues to murder Israeli men, women and children and openly rejects the Jewish state's right to exist. Carter also recently released a book that blames what he calls "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land" for the lack of peace in the region.)
April 11….(Jerusalem Post) The Israeli government has expressed outrage regarding plans by former US president Jimmy Carter to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus next week. Senior Israeli diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said they were "outraged" at Carter's decision. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have even declined to meet with him when he visits Israel, citing "scheduling conflicts," while sources close to Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said he was refusing to see Carter because of the Mashaal meeting. But President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Shas chairman Eli Yishai and Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman have all agreed to meet with Carter. The former president, who brokered the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt, has been persona non grata for many Israelis since he published his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, in late 2006. Carter will arrive Sunday afternoon and meet with Peres that evening. On Monday, he will visit Sderot, meet with Barak and speak at an event sponsored by Ha'aretz's business Web site. On Tuesday he will convene with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On Wednesday, he will meet with Yishai and Lieberman before traveling to Damascus to meet with Mashaal on Friday. Meanwhile in Washington, the US State Department said it had advised Carter against meeting any representative of Hamas. "US government policy is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and we don't believe it is in the interest of our policy or in the interest of peace to have such a meeting," spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters. He said the message had been conveyed directly to Carter in a phone call during the past week by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch. A source connected to Netanyahu said that if there had been a question about whether he would meet with Carter before his decision to meet with Mashaal, that decision killed any chances of a Carter-Netanyahu meeting. A Carter-Mashaal meeting would be the first public contact in two years between a prominent American figure and officials of Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. In 2006, US veteran civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson met with Mashaal in Syria.
Carter 83, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 served one term as president from 1977 to 1981. Carter has been harshly critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy, from the invasion of Iraq to its approach to Iran as well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Russian Army Vows Steps if Georgia, Ukraine Join NATO
April 11….(Reuters) Russia will take military and other steps along its borders if ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia join NATO, Russian news agencies quoted the armed forces' chief of staff as saying on Friday. "Russia will take steps aimed at ensuring its interests along its borders," the agencies quoted General Yuri Baluyevsky as saying. "These will not only be military steps, but also steps of a different nature," he said, without giving details. Russia is opposed to NATO plans to grant membership to ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia, saying such a move would pose a direct threat to its security and endanger the fragile balance of forces in Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this week that Moscow will do everything it can to prevent the two countries, run by pro-Western governments, from becoming NATO members. President Vladimir Putin has said that if NATO military installations ever appear in Ukraine, Moscow would have to target its missiles at the country. At a summit in Bucharest this month, NATO members turned down requests from Georgia and Ukraine to be granted a Membership Action Plan, which would have set them on the road to membership. But under pressure from Washington, one of the strongest advocates of enlargement in the alliance, NATO gave a commitment that the two countries would be allowed to join eventually. Asked to respond to the Russian general's comments, a NATO spokeswoman in Brussels said any European democracy could apply for membership of the alliance. "This is nothing new and no third country or party has a right to veto," she said. "In Bucharest, NATO heads of state and government decided Georgia and Ukraine would not be granted Membership Action Plans at this stage, but membership of those two countries is not a matter of if but when."
Western Wall Too 'Controversial' For Bush Visit
April 11….(IsraelNN.com) The Western Wall has been deemed too controversial a place for US President George W. Bush to visit. He is opting instead for Masada, where Jewish rebels committed mass suicide. Bush will be visiting Israel as part of Israel’s 60th Independence Day celebrations. His visit will be 60 hours long. In addition to addressing the Knesset, Bush is reportedly searching for a symbolic location to visit, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as his tour guide.
Haaretz reported that Bush’s aids were leaning toward the Masada fortress. The site was where Jews held out against the Roman army, but were eventually beaten and committed suicide rather than face the humiliation and torture of captivity. Haaretz mentioned the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, the Golan Heights and the Western Wall, explicitly, as places deemed too controversial for Bush to visit. The Western Wall, also called the Kotel ("wall" in Hebrew) or Wailing Wall, is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. The mount itself is occupied by two Muslim structures and Jewish worship there is severely restricted. The Western Wall is highly symbolic as it has been the focal point of Jewish worship in the most recent return to Zion. It was approachable via a small alleyway prior to the War of Independence, was off-limits to Jews under Jordanian rule following the 1949 armistice and was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War. Among the most famous photos in Israel's history is that of IDF paratroopers looking up at the wall with awe following their participation in the battle for the Old City. Shortly after the victory, Israel bulldozed the area around the wall, creating a huge prayer plaza. Muslims have recently been staking a claim not only to the Temple Mount, but to the Western Wall as well. They call it Al-Burak and say the religion's founder, Mohammad, tied his horse there during a midnight journey that took him to "the farthest mosque" - which they say is a reference to the Jerusalem mosque later given that name. The Bushes also want to witness the Biblical prophecy of the ingathering of the exiles first-hand. White House staffers report that the Bushes are looking to meet with recent olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) during the visit. President Bush will not be visiting Palestinian Authority-controlled areas or meeting with PA officials during his visit to Israel, but will hold a meeting with Fatah chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Egypt afterward. Media analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA says that the phenomenon of Bush steering clear of the Western Wall does not bode well and belies statements by Israeli officials’ claiming an improved relationship with the US due to Israel’s willingness to make repeated concessions to Fatah. “Things are so screwed up that while the Pope can visit the Western Wall in what was clearly the "Israeli" portion of his visit, President Bush can't make the same photo op as part of his historic trip marking Israel's 60th anniversary,” Lerner opined. “And now an example of the incredible lack of thinking on the part of whoever is working on this trip: instead of visiting places associated with Israel's rebirth or ancient life, the idea is a photo op at a place remembered in history for the group of Jews who committed suicide rather than fall captive to the Romans.” Dr. Lerner concluded, with tongue-in-cheek: “Then again. How appropriate. PM Olmert, who critics warn is following a suicidal path with the Palestinians, will visit Masada with Bush.”
'Site Found Where Iran is Building 6,000 km Ballistic Missile'
April 11….(Janes Defense) On February 4, Iran launched a "research rocket" as part of its space program, the Islamic Republic announced. Experts have estimated since then, however, that the rocket launch was in fact a field test of Shihab-type ballistic missile. But four days after the launch another intriguing feature of the test became apparent: analysis of photographs taken by the Digital Globe QuickBird satellite indicated that the launch site of Kavoshgar 1, as the Shihab missile was dubbed by the Iranians, is also the site where Iran is busy developing ballistic missiles with a range of about 6,000 km. The site, about 230 km southeast of Teheran, was previously unknown and its link with the Iranian weapons program was revealed by Jane's Intelligence Review after the images were studied by a former Iraq weapons inspector. Using a space program as a façade for a weapons program was the path chosen by Korea until it declared it had passed the nuclear weapon threshold. Geoffrey Forden, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that there was a recently constructed building on the site, about 40 metres in length, which was similar in form and size to the Taepodong long-range missile assembly facility in North Korea. Jane's Proliferation editor Avital Johanan said analysis of the Iranian site indicated that Teheran may be about five years away from developing a 6,000 km ballistic missile. This would tie in with American intelligence estimates and underlines why President Bush wants the Polish and Czech components of the US missile defence system to be up and running by 2013. Missiles with a range of 6,000 km, launched from Teheran's environs, can hit not only any Middle Eastern countries, but also any target in Europe, including targets in Britain; almost any target in China and Russia,and most of India. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced his country has installed 6,000 centrifuges for the purpose of enriching uranium, a process which can be geared towards either a civilian or military program. He did however continually reject incentives offered by the West in exchange for Iran halting its own enrichment, including a promise that Russia and other countries supply Iran with all the nuclear fuel it needed for peaceful purposes; Iran continues to deny it is trying to develop atomic bombs. President Shimon Peres had posited several times in the last few months that there was "no logic" in working diligently towards producing long-range ballistic missiles unless it planned to couple such missiles with nuclear warheads.
O Jerusalem! America Drafting Plan to Cut City in Half
(Plan allows Palestinian security control, asks Israel to forfeit the Temple Mount)
April 10….(WND) The United States, which has been mediating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority here, has proposed a plan to divide Jerusalem. The plan, divided into separate phases, among other things calls for Israel eventually to forfeit parts of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. According to the first stage of the US plan, Israel would give the PA some municipal and security sovereignty over key Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. The PA would be allowed to open some official institutions in Jerusalem, could elect a mayor for the Palestinian side of the city and would deploy police forces to maintain law and order. The initial stage also calls for the PA to operate Jerusalem municipal institutions, such as offices to oversee trash collection and maintenance of roads. After five years, if both sides keep their certain commitments called for in a larger principal agreement, according to the US plan the PA would be given full sovereignty over the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and also over sections of the Temple Mount. The plan doesn't specify which parts of the Temple Mount would be forfeited to the Palestinians. After the five year period, the PA could deploy official security forces in Jerusalem separate from a police force and could also open major governmental institutions, such as a president's office, and offices for the finance and foreign ministries. The US plan leaves Israel and the PA to negotiate which Jerusalem neighborhoods would become Palestinian. According to diplomatic sources familiar with the plan, while specific neighborhoods were not officially listed, American officials recommended sections of Jerusalem's Old City as well as certain largely Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Jabal mukabar, Beit Hanina, Shoafat, Abu Dis and Abu Tur become part of the Palestinian side. Many of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including all of Shoafat, a large Arab section, were constructed illegally on property owned by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit that purchases property using Jewish donors funds for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement. According to diplomatic sources, the plan is being discussed by Israel and the PA but has not yet been accepted. The sources said the plan was delivered earlier this month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip to the region to push Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's US-backed Annapolis summit, which aimed to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. Since Annapolis, negotiating teams including Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia have been meeting weekly while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have been meeting biweekly. The US is "very deeply involved" in all aspects of the negotiations, according to a top diplomatic source. To demonstrate the level of US involvement, the source pointed to recent US supervision of Israeli commitments to dismantle about 50 West Bank anti-terror roadblocks and to bulldoze what are called illegal outposts, or West Bank Jewish communities constructed without government permits. "The US oversaw the removal of each and every roadblock, making sure the roadblocks were actually removed," said the source. "Also, even though Israel prepared a report of all illegal outposts and handed it to the Americans, US officials have been doing their own very specific independent investigating to find each and every illegal outpost and then oversee their dismantlement," the source said. Olmert's government has hinted a number of times it will divide Jerusalem. In December, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the country "must" give up sections of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state, even conceding the Palestinians can rename Jerusalem "to whatever they want." "We must come today and say, friends, the Jewish neighborhoods, including Har Homa, will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and the Arab neighborhoods will be the Palestinian capital, which they will call Jerusalem or whatever they want," said Ramon during an interview. Positions held by Ramon, a ranking member of Olmert's Kadima party, are largely considered to be reflective of Israeli government policy. Olmert himself recently questioned whether it was "really necessary" to retain Arab-majority eastern sections of Jerusalem. Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital; the area has large Arab neighborhoods, a significant Jewish population and sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. About 231,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods, and many reside in illegally constructed complexes. Jerusalem has an estimated total population of 724,000.
FOJ Note: America is treading on this ice, and is inviting the judgment of God to be unleashed upon it. Bible prophecy explicitly warns Christian nations not to involve themselves in the partitioning of the Promised Land. (Zech 12:2-3 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.)
Petraeus Charges Iran For Ramp Up of Iraq Violence
April 10….(Newsmax) In his Capitol Hill testimony, Tuesday, General David Petraeus, the commander of all US forces in Iraq, concluded that Iran has played a major role in the Shi'ite revolt and the surge of violence in Iraq. Citing DoD officials, Petraeus said Teheran has been funding, training, arming and directing Shi'ite militias in central and southern Iraq. Petraeus further noted that Iran's influence on militia groups is the longest-term threat to the liability of a democratic Iraq. "The flare-up in Basra also highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming and directing the so-called special groups," the army general claimed. General Petraeus added that the recent increase of violence in southern Iraq has "generated renewed concerns about Iran in the minds of many Iraqi leaders." US ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, also at the hearing, said that Iran was undermining the efforts of the Iraqi government to establish a secure and stable state. "The Special Groups activities have, in fact, come out in greater relief during the violence of recent weeks," Petraeus said. "It is they who have the expertise to shoot rockets more accurately, shoot mortars more accurately, and to employ some of the more advanced material, the explosively formed projectiles and the like, that have not just killed our soldiers and Iraqi soldiers, but also have been used to assassinate two southern governors in past months and two southern police chiefs." "We should all watch Iranian actions closely in the weeks and months ahead, as they will show the kind of relationship Iran wishes to have with its neighbor and the character of future Iranian involvement in Iraq," Petraeus said. Crocker also stressed the Iranian influence over the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki as well as the Shi'ite community. The ambassador said the United States was ready to support what he termed constructive relations between Iran and Iraq. "The extent of Iran's malign influence was dramatically demonstrated when militia elements armed and trained by Iran clashed with Iraqi government forces in Basra and Baghdad,'' Crocker said. In his testimony, Petraeus said the US military, with more than 150,000 soldiers, required at least 140,000 troops in Iraq over the next six months. He warned that the security situation was fragile and could undergo a sudden decline. "This approach does not allow establishment of a set withdrawal timetable,'' Petraeus said. "However, it does provide the flexibility those of us on the ground need to preserve the still-fragile security gains our troopers have fought so far and sacrifice so much to achieve.''
Hezbollah Rearming Could Have Consequences for America
April 10….(Homeland Security Insight) At the inception of the second Lebanon war in July 2006, Hizbullah rained down nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel using Iranian Katyusha rockets (RAAD 40) with a payload of 45 lb each, and a range of approximately 45 miles. Although the Israel air force succeeded in taking out most of the group's long range rockets, made and supplied by Iran, the ground forces were unsuccessful in halting the short range rocket fire that paralyzed most of the northern part of Israel. Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has publicly admitted that his organization is rearming and secretly transporting arms to south Lebanon, in blatant violation of Security Council Resolution 1701. Since last August huge quantities of arms, including Russian-made antitank missiles, short- and long-range rockets, small arms, mines and ammunition have been smuggled into Lebanon from Syria and Iran. According to senior Israeli defense officials, the Lebanon-based militant group has acquired new Iranian rockets with a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles) which now threaten most of Israel. This enables the guerrillas to strike anywhere in Israel's heavily populated centers, and reach as far south as Dimona, where Israel's nuclear reactor is located. According to globalsecurity.org Iran has a supplied a number of UAV's capable of carrying surveillance equipment as well as explosives, to Hezbollah in recent years. The defense officials did not specify how many of the new rockets Hizbullah has obtained, but said that overall, Hizbullah now has substantially more rockets in its arsenal than the 14,000 it had before the conflict, likely more than double that number. According to a reliable source of information in Beirut, who must remain anonymous, the Iranian budget for Hizbullah is not public knowledge, but it is estimated to run from hundreds of millions to $1 billion, not counting the money that Iran gave Hizbullah to rebuild after the 2006 war. While Iranian missile supplies to Hizbullah, either by sea or overland via Syria, are well known, according to the officials, there were also indications that some of the rockets in Hizbullah's arsenal, including a 220-millimeter rocket used in a deadly attack on a railway site in Haifa were built in Syria. At a recent briefing of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a senior military intelligence officer told members that Hizbullah is rearming and preparing for a new escalation as a result of an anticipated operation against Israel along the northern border. He said that a great deal of activity had been identified and that the group is growing stronger on all levels, improving its systems, its units, and is receiving a substantial quantity of weapons and increasing its medium and long range missile capability. Fears have mounted in the defense establishment that Hizbullah may fly an explosives-packed drone into Israel in retaliation for Israel's alleged assassination of Imad Mughiyeh in Damascus early this year. During the Lebanon war in 2006 Hizbullah launched four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) at Israel. All were Iranian-made, have a known range of 93 miles, can reach approx 180 mph, and carry 99 lbs of high grade explosive. The rearming of Hizbullah could have far reaching implications for the US who have a presence in the Middle East. According to Dr. Ely Karmon, senior researcher at the Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) at the Inter Disciplinary Center at Herzliya, the moment Hizbullah feels it is strong enough it could take control in Lebanon ousting Siniora's pro-Western government. The Lebanese army would be no match for the terror group who now number some 30, 000 fighters. The US supports the present Lebanese government, and at present is showing its support with the presence of the USS Cole. Hizbullah could misread the US military presence as an imminent threat. The assassination of Hizbullah leader Imad Mugniyeh on February 12, has put the Islamist party on high alert. Hassan Nasrallah used Mugniyeh's death to escalate his rhetoric, proclaiming an "open war" against Israel. If Hizbullah is convinced that a military confrontation with Israel and the United States is inevitable, the group may opt for a pre-emptive strike against Israel, or a final push to topple Siniora's government which would seriously test the US show of support.
Syrian Mugniyah Murder Probe Points to Saudi Involvement
(Iranian news agency reports Saudi security official was directly involved in assassination of top Hizbullah commander)
April 10….(YNET) A senior Saudi official was directly involved in the assasination of top Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah, the Iranian news agency Fars reported Tuesday. According to the report, the man, who works at the Saudi embassy in Damascus, contacted a Syrian woman who purchased two cars under her name, which exploded during the assassination. The report went on to say that the Syrian security forces had reached this conclusion two days after Mugniyah's assassination, but that Damascus decided to wait before making the announcement in order not to overcloud the Arab League summit. The Syrian investigation findings are still being delayed. However, according to the Iranian news agency, the Syrians believe that senior officials in Riyadh, including the national security advisor and former ambassador to the US, Bandar bin Sultan, were involved in the murder. "The Saudi security officials fled to Saudi Arabia following the assassination, but the Syrian security organizations arrested the woman, who was in touch with the senior Saudi official," the report said. Israel, Fars added, was the main initiator of the assassination, which was reportedly carried out by local elements holding different citizenships, including Jordanians, Syrians and Palestinians. According to the report, these people purchased a number of apartments near Mugniyah's house in Damascus and lived there for some time. As for Kuwait's efforts to mediate between Syria and Saudi Arabia, the news agency reported that a Kuwaiti prince had recently visited Riyadh in an effort to iron out the difficulties between the two countries.
Jimmy Carter to Meet With Hamas Leader in Damascus
April 9….(Fox News) Former President Jimmy Carter is reportedly preparing an unprecedented meeting with the leader of Hamas, an organization that the US government considers one of the leading terrorist threats in the world. The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Carter was planning a trip to Syria for mid-April, during which he would meet with Khaled Meshal, the exiled head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on April 18. Meshal, who lives in Syria to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government, leads Hamas from his seat in Damascus, where he is a guest of Bashar al-Assad's regime. The State Department has designated Hamas a "foreign terrorist organization. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack once said of the prospect of meeting with Meshal, was something that we could possibly conceive of. Some Carter critics called the latest reports typical of the ex-president. “It’s about par for the course from President Carter, demonstrating a lack of judgment typical of what he does," said John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations. "To go to Syria to visit Hamas at this point is just an ill-timed, ill-advised decision on his part." “I’m not surprised that Carter would do this, as he has been supporting Palestinian extremism for many years,” said Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a watchdog group. Carter would be the first Western leader of his stature to meet with the Hamas chief. Though Meshal met with Clinton officials in the 1990s, the Bush administration has sought to isolate Hamas, enforcing rigid sanctions on its government in Gaza and refusing to meet with its leaders unless it recognizes Israel and abandons terror. “I think this visit undermines the US policy of isolating Hamas,” said Emerson. “I think this encourages the Europeans to further dilute their sanctions against the Hamas government.” "When you put the prestige of a former president of the United States in a meeting with one of its terrorist leaders, you’re giving it a legitimacy and currency it never had,” said Bolton. But Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a non-profit advocacy group, said Carter's efforts demonstrate he's a true partner in peace. The Al-Hayat report stated that Carter would be traveling in his capacity as head of the Carter Center, and not in his capacity as a former president. “That’s a distinction that’s absurd,” said Emerson
The Church of Oprah Exposed
(Says Jesus is not the Only way to Heaven)
April 9….(Steve Cornell) Have you seen the YouTube clip about Oprah’s Church? (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA). No real surprises in her opinions. It’s the old idea that religions are the same and there are many paths that lead to God. She also romanticizes the notion that God can be whatever you want him/her/it to be. She celebrates the full sweep of isms. She blends everything into one big mush of warm fuzzies and group hugs for all! Why do people embrace this stuff?
Are all religions the same?
Do all roads from Chicago lead to Atlanta? Do all religions lead to God? The answer to both questions should be obvious. Yet I am surprised by the number of people who think all religions are basically the same. Many actually think that the religions of the world are simply different paths to the same God. I’ve even heard people say that the names for deities are just different titles for the same God. Are Krishna, Mohammed, and Jesus really identical? Can we equate the Buddha, Allah, and Jehovah? Nothing could be further from the truth! To think that all religions and their deities are the same is like believing that all roads from Chicago lead to Atlanta. Different religions often have overlapping ideas, but to suggest, for example, that Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians share the same major beliefs is completely misguided. It is equally foolish to think that all religions are reliable guides to truth. Some religions deny Jesus’ claim to be God. Others affirm his claim. How can both be right? One claim is false and the other true. The nonsense that suggests religious truth is only a matter of personal feeling and can therefore be contradictory is almost too foolish to comment on. But many have been deceived into believing this foolishness. A remarkable trend has developed in our nation over the past several decades. We have moved from respect for the diverse and multicultural makeup of society (which is important), to an insistence that all religions representing this diversity be treated as equally true. What drives this idea? Is it fear of the religious imperialism our Founding Fathers rejected? Certainly the alternative should not be a type of tolerance which does not allow true rational debate. This is not what the Fathers had in mind. Why isn’t it possible to maintain each other’s freedom to follow, express, and defend beliefs without considering each belief system equally true? Isn’t it possible to tolerate (as we should) two opposing religious opinions without viewing both as correct? “In the popular mind open-mindedness is no longer connected with a willingness to consider alternative views but with a dogmatic relativizing of all views. It no longer focuses on the virtues of rational discourse among persons of disparate beliefs, as a means to pursuing the truth, but on the conclusions of the discourse. It reflects massive built-in assumptions about the inadmissibility of any religion claiming a truth status above another religion. It forecloses on open-mindedness in the same breath by which it extols the virtues of open-mindedness. Both the irony and the tragedy of this fierce intolerance stem from the fact that it is done in the name of tolerance. It is fundamentalistic dogmatism in the worst sense.” We may like to believe we are showing respect for others by telling them that their religion is as true as anyone else’s, but this is quite cruel if it is wrong. It could be compared to telling a blind man standing on the edge of a cliff that any way he walks will be equally safe. Why did Jesus speak of a narrow gate that leads to life and a broad road leading to destruction? Why did he say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Are all religions the same? Does toleration of all religions demand that each be considered equally true? Is it arrogant for one religion to proclaim itself true and others false? The words of Bishop Leslie Newbigin summarize well the Christian concern. “If, in fact, it is true that Almighty God, creator and sustainer of all that exists in heaven and on earth, has, at a known time and place in human history, so humbled himself as to become part of our sinful humanity, and to suffer and die a shameful death to take away our sin, and to rise from the dead as the first-fruit of a new creation, if this is a fact, then to affirm it is not arrogance. To remain quiet about it is treason to our fellow human beings. If it is really true, as it is, that ‘the Son of God loved me and gave himself up for me’, how can I agree that this amazing act of matchless grace should merely become part of a syllabus for the ‘comparative study of religions’?”
FOJ Note: Jesus Christ himself said the following: (John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.) If Jesus plainly stated that he is the only way, then to suggest otherwise is to call Jesus a liar. Oprah has not been to Heaven to corroborate what she is teaching. However, Jesus came down from Heaven and informed us of the TRUTH.
Is God Judging America?
April 9….(ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com) America is nine trillion dollars in debt. For those who normally don’t count that high and are not familiar with how much that is, a “trillion” is a thousand billion. That’s no small change. Ironically, 1.7 trillion of that debt is to Arab nations, 200 billion to China and 125 billion to Russia. Think about those nations for a minute. Over two million houses are in foreclosure. Two million. A gallon of milk costs as much as a gallon of gas, and a gallon of gas is costing an arm and a leg. Add to that the incredibly bad news that we are not winning the war over cancer--over 2,300,000 Americans will get cancer in the next year, many of whom will be children, and you can see that we are in serious trouble. ABC News recently published an article titled “More Than 60 Percent of US in Drought.” We have become used to seeing onslaughts of floods, hurricanes lining up on our coasts, and killer tornadoes by the dozens ripping up the nation like there’s no tomorrow. And, of course, we are in a war that it seems we can’t win. The above are all signs of God’s dealings with a sinful nation. If you find that hard to believe, read Deuteronomy 28 and see what God warned would happen to Israel if they forsook His Commandments and turned their backs on Him. Hold onto a pen and underline places where Scripture warns that they will get into financial debt and become the tail, not the head. Look again at the nations to whom we are in debt. Underline how God says that aliens will flood the country, or that their enemies will overcome them, or that disease will plague them. When you hold your pen also hold on to your theology, because that chapter will destroy any image of God as being a celestial Santa Claus. He is a God of Justice and truth as much as He is of love and mercy. To have a mere one or two virtues of His character in your image of God, and to leave out the others, is to have an idol in your mind. We are no different than ancient Israel. We are a nation that has forgotten God and created other gods before Him. He lavished His goodness upon us and we have blasphemed His holy name. Instead of honoring the God who gave us life, we have bowed before the golden calf of Wall Street (which is melting before our eyes). We have also embraced the foolish, unsubstantiated, unscientific theory paraded as the gospel truth called “evolution,” and when the blossoms bloom, mother nature is praised for what she has made. Our churches are filled with preachers who preach another gospel, portraying God as a divine butler. As a nation, we have forgotten God. Almost. When there’s a tragic disaster and people are killed and property destroyed, insurance companies call it “An act of God.” Perhaps they have been reading the truths of Holy Scripture.
US Wants to Hold Summit at Sharm During Bush Visit
April 9….(Ha Aretz) The United States is keen on holding a summit at the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to coincide with President George Bush's visit to Israel next month for the country's 60th anniversary celebrations. President Bush would like to use the event as a way station in the diplomatic process, following November's Annapolis conference, so as to provide another boost to efforts to reach an agreement by the end of the year over the core issues for a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. MK Yossi Beilin said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Bush would host the summit, and will invite Jordan's King Abdullah, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. According to the Israeli sources, the American initiative is still in the early planning stages, but was raised in talks with officials in Israel. "There is still no clear date," the sources said. "But it will be an event that will be held at the same time as the visit of President Bush to Israel during the first part of the second week in May, or during the third week of May." Sources in the prime minister's bureau on Tuesday said that "we have not received any requests for a summit, but if such a request is made we will consider it." Bush is scheduled to visit Israel between May 14-16. Contrary to his previous visit in January, this visit will focus on Independence Day celebrations, but it seems that Bush would like to give his visit to the region a political tone. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a telephone conversation with Abbas Tuesday and was briefed on the details of his meeting with Olmert on Monday. Abbas will visit Washington in 10 days time, and will meet with Bush. The summit proposal will most likely be a central topic on his agenda.
Israeli Minister: We'll 'Destroy' Iran if They Attack
(Harsh warning as region under general war alert)
April 8….(WND) Israel will "destroy" Iran if Tehran decided to launch a war against the Jewish state, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said today. The unusually harsh warning from Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, was delivered as the official visited his ministry's war room, which took part today in a massive, nationwide, weeklong drill that is set to include simulated chemical missile attacks on central Israel. "The Iranians won't rush to attack Israel, because they understand the significance such action would have and are well aware of our strength," Ben-Eliezer told reporters. "However, Iran continues to aggravate the situation by supplying arms to Syria and Hezbollah, and we must deal with this." The minister said this week's war drill "is not a meaningless spectacle or a fictional scenario. The future reality is likely to be a number of times harsher than that which we recognize now. We are confronted with a situation where the home front becomes the front line." "In a future war, it will be much safer to live in the northern towns of Nahariya and Shlomi instead of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, since I expect that in the opening attack hundreds of missiles will strike Israel," Eliezer said. "There will be no place in the country which is not within range of Syria and Hezbollah's rockets." Israel's current war drill is the country's largest-ever. It aims to prepare the public and government and army institutions for the possibility of a future war. The drills reportedly include testing of missile alert sirens, Israel Defense Force war simulations, Homefront Command, police and emergency services responses and drills in hospitals and emergency centers. As part of the drill, Israel will simulate a massive missile bombardment, including a chemical missile attack. The drill and Ben-Eliezer's warning come as Syria, Lebanon and Israel increased their alertness along a joint border zone amid a possible breakout of hostilities. The country is preparing for the possibility of Hezbollah attacking Israel in retaliation for the assassination of arch-Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bomb in Syria in February. According to Israeli security officials, Israel has warned Syria, which sends Iranian weapons to Hezbollah, that Damascus would be held accountable for any Hezbollah attack on Israeli soil. Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Dan Harel warned last week Israel will "respond with a heavy hand" against anyone trying to target Israel. Touring Israel's northern border with Lebanon and Syria, Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated last week Israel is the most powerful country in the Middle East and warned against challenging it.
Syria: US Can Buy our Loyalty
If the US helps facilitate billions of dollars in business for Syria and
builds up Damascus as the primary American ally in the Arab world in place of
Saudi Arabia, the Syrians would be willing to discuss scaling back alliances
with Iran and making peace with Israel, according to a senior Syrian official
speaking to WND. The official said Syria recently conveyed this message to
numerous visiting foreign dignitaries, including US congressmen and Turkish
mediators. He said Syria also demanded as a key condition for considering
altering its alliances that the US cease opposing Syrian influence in Lebanon.
"Syria is the key to the Arab world. We have influence with Hezbollah and
Lebanon and hold many cards in the Palestinian and Iraqi arenas. The US needs to
rethink the value of the investment it places in Saudi Arabia," said the
official, who spoke by phone from Damascus on condition his name be withheld.
Security officials in Jerusalem confirmed to WND their knowledge of the Syrian offers to the US, which they said prompted a major crisis between Syria and Saudi Arabia. According to the security officials, Saudi Arabia earlier this year began shipping weapons to the anti-Syrian leadership in Lebanon to bolster them against Damascus' influence and the Syrian-backed Hezbollah. The Syrian-Saudi crisis was highlighted at last week's Arab Summit, a major annual meeting of Arab leaders which was held this year in Damascus. Saudi Arabia sent only a low-level representative, which was seen as a major snub to Syria, and used the platform to blast Syria. According to knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources, Saudi Arabia wanted to boycott the event altogether, but sent the low-level delegation to uphold its record of attending every Arab Summit.
President Bush Supports Expansion of NATO Across Europe
(“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7:7)
April 7….(In The News) Addressing new NATO allies in a medieval town square here, President Bush on Saturday championed the alliance’s expansion across all of Europe and compared the liberation of Eastern European nations from Communism to the American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The people of this region know what the gift of liberty means,” Mr. Bush said, relishing NATO’s decision last Thursday to invite Croatia and Albania to join the 26 members of the military alliance. “You know the death and destruction that can be caused by the followers of radical ideologies,” he continued, speaking before several thousand people who had received tickets to attend. “You know that, in a long run, the only way to defeat a hateful ideology is to promote the hopeful alternative of human freedom. And that is what our nations are doing today in the Middle East.” Mr. Bush’s remarks underscored the extent to which he has sought to recast NATO’s mission from a bulwark against an invasion of Europe to an expeditionary force able to extend its reach far beyond its borders. At the NATO summit meeting in Bucharest, Romania, last Wednesday, he called the war on Islamic extremism, which has been the central focus of his administration since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, “the top priority of this alliance,” a view that is not universal among the European allies. Since 2003, NATO has led the international force in Afghanistan, which totals 47,000, and NATO members have contributed soldiers and civilian employees to the American operation in Iraq. Mr. Bush, however, suggested a broader, more ambitious objective for the alliance. “NATO is no longer a static alliance focused on defending Europe from a Soviet tank invasion,” he said in Bucharest. “It is now an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world to help secure a future of freedom and peace for millions.” Mr. Bush visited Croatia on Saturday on the eve of a trip to Russia, where NATO’s expansion has been greeted with suspicion and hostility, despite his repeated assurances that Russia need not fear an alliance of democratic nations on its western border. President Vladimir V. Putin, after meeting with NATO members in Bucharest on Friday, bluntly declared that an expansion that included Ukraine and Georgia, former Soviet republics with deep historical links to Russia, would constitute a threat. NATO rebuffed pleas by Mr. Bush and some other NATO allies to extend a preliminary “membership action plan” to Ukraine and Georgia, a major step toward full membership. Many have seen the move as a result of Russia’s warnings. The differences over NATO threatened to sour Mr. Bush’s meetings with Mr. Putin this weekend, but administration officials said they hoped that the men would be able to agree on a document outlining areas where the countries could cooperate, mostly on security issues. The administration’s plans to place parts of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, another Bush priority that NATO endorsed last Thursday, remained the main obstacle to an agreement, two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Mr. Bush’s stop in Croatia, which lasted less than a day, echoed one he made to Romania in 2002 after that country was invited to join NATO, though the public response was more subdued. He met with Croatia’s president and prime minister, as well as those of Albania and Macedonia. NATO did not invite Macedonia because of a Greek veto over the use of Macedonia’s name, which Greece says implies territorial ambitions on its region of the same name. Mr. Bush praised all three countries as deserving democracies that emerged from the Soviet bloc and survived strife and civil war, but even on a celebratory day, the lingering tensions of the Balkans were palpable
Al-Qaida Nuclear Attack in Planning Stages
April 7….(NDTV) Al-Qaida's nuclear attack against the US is in planning stages, top American intelligence officials have said. Deposing before a Congressional Committee on Homeland Security early this week, these US intelligence officials told US lawmakers that the threat of nuclear attack by the Taliban was growing and there is need to enhance its security measures. Charles Allen, Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis and Chief Intelligence Officer at the Department of Homeland Security; and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, the director of Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence for the Department of Energy testified before this key Congressional committee on nuclear terrorism on April 2. ''There's been a long-term effort by Al-Qaida, to develop an improvised nuclear device,'' Allen said. ''I have no doubt that Al-Qaida would like to obtain nuclear capability. I think the evidence in their statements that they've made over many years publicly indicate this,'' he argued in his testimony. Giving details of the Al-Qaida preparation, based on years on intelligence inputs, Mowatt-Larssen said: ''An Al-Qaida nuclear attack would be in the planning stages at the same time as several other plots, and only Al-Qaida's most senior leadership will know which plot will be approved.'' In keeping with Al-Qaida's normal management structures such as the role of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in the 9/11 attacks, Mowatt-Larssen said there is probably a single individual in charge, overseeing the effort to obtain materials and expertise. The intelligence officials commented that some nuclear experts / scientists may have joined Al-Qaida years ago, long before the world began paying adequate attention to the proliferation of the kinds of technologies that could yield a terrorist nuclear weapon. Referring to the planning of the 9/11 attack, Mowatt-Larssen said it was operationally very straightforward. ''It had a very small footprint, was highly compartmented. Al-Qaida's nuclear effort would be just as compartmented and probably would not require the involvement of more than a small number of operatives who carried out 9/11,'' he said. Mowatt-Larssen said the US successes against Taliban in Afghanistan have yielded volumes of information that completely changed its view of Al-Qaida's nuclear program. ''We learned that Al-Qaida wants a weapon to use, not a weapon to sustain and build a stockpile, as most states would,'' he said. ''The nuclear threats that surfaced in June 2002 and continued through the fall of 2003 demonstrated that Al-Qaida's desire for a nuclear capability may have survived their removal from their Afghanistan safe haven,'' he said. Observing that the Al-Qaida's nuclear intent remains clear, he said it obtained a fatwa in May 2003 that approved the use of weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida spokesman Suleyman Abu Ghayth declared that it is Al-Qaida's right to kill four million Americans in retaliation for Muslim deaths that Al-Qaida blames on the United States. ''Osama bin Laden said in 1998 that it was an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, bin Laden reiterated his statement that Al-Qaida will return to the United States. He said Al-Qaida has a track record of returning to finish a job they started. They failed at the World Trade Center in 1993. They came back in 2001. They canceled plans for chemical attacks in the US in 2003. ''We do not yet know when and where they intend to strike us next, but our past experience strongly suggests they are seeking an attack more spectacular than 9/11,'' he said.
The Fight for Jerusalem Begins
April 7….(Arutz) Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has quietly been working on discussions about Jerusalem with the PA. In her recent talks with Palestinian Authority negotiators, Livni has reportedly drawn the line only at three major points. The status of Jerusalem itself has not been discussed definitely. The discussions are apparently focusing on the issue of retaining control over holy sites, maintaining security and refusing to allow immigration to Jerusalem by Arabs who fled during the 1948 War and millions of other foreign Arabs who claim to be their descendants under what the Arab League refers to as the so-called “Right of Return.” Livni shared with visiting evangelical Pastor John Hagee these “red lines” in her latest negotiating sessions with the Palestinian Authority during a rally held by Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization celebrating Israel’s 60th birthday. The Christian pastor, who is vehemently opposed to dividing Jerusalem, said that “turning part or all of Jerusalem over to the Palestinians would be tantamount to turning it over to the Taliban.”
April 7….(Arutz) Syria has raised the state of alert of its armed forces because it knows Hizbullah's revenge attack against Israel for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh is near, according to Israel's Channel 2 TV. Soon after Mughniyeh's death, Israel warned Syria that it would hold it responsible for any revenge attack launched by Hizbullah for the killing of Mughniyeh, its operations officer. Syria is due to release its official findings in the probe into Mughniyeh's death. He was killed in an explosion in Damascus in February. The paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which is published in London, reported that since Mughniyeh's death, Syria has arrested dozens of suspects, including "Palestinians and senior Syrian army officers." Sources in Damascus told the paper that the investigation established that foreigners were behind the murder of Mughniyeh. Syria has accused Israel of being behind the assassination. Meanwhile, former Syrian vice president Abdel Khalim Khaddam is accusing Syria of killing Muyghniyeh. Sources in Damascus said the investigation established that foreigners were behind the murder of Mughniyeh. Interviewed by a Lebanese newspaper, Khaddam said that the head of Syrian intelligence was replaced because the investigation he conducted showed that those who planned the assassination came from within Syria. Khaddam was forced into exile and took up residence in Europe after he criticized the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Al-Arabiyah television network reported Sunday that the Lebanese military ordered residents of southern villages to move away from the border with Israel.
WEEK OF MARCH 30 THROUGH APRIL 5
Former PLO Terrorist Now a Supporter of Israel
(Walid Shoebat, former member of PLO's military wing who attempted to lynch Israeli soldier in 1970s, is today one of Jewish state's best PR people in war against Palestinian terror. In exclusive interview, he tells Ynet he was educated to hate Jews from his infancy, became an Israel supporter after reading Bible.)
April 4….(YNET) As a child I was a brainwash victim. I was taught songs about killing Jews. Now I see millions of other children who are also the victims of a fascist ideology," Walid Shoebat tells Ynet. Shoebat, a former Palestinian terrorist from the town of Beit Sahour, who almost lynched an Israeli soldier and planted explosive devices, is now one of the State of Israel's best PR people in the United States. Shoebat is a one-man PR machine. He gives interviews to TV channels and radio stations, delivers speeches across the US, and has even written four books in which he recounted his past as a terrorist in the mid 1970s, and the personal change he went through when he converted to Christianity and became one of the most enthusiastic preachers against radical Islam and in favor of the State of Israel. His claim that there is no different between the Hamas and the al-Qaeda organizations has enraged Muslims and Arabs, both in the US and in the West Bank.
When a BBC interviewer attempted to distinguish between Hamas, "which fights for legitimate rights," and al-Qaeda, "which simply likes to kill people," Shoebat gave him a live history lesson, mentioning the name of Mustafa Azzam, a Palestinian from Jenin, who was Osama bin Laden's spiritual father and a source of inspiration for radical Islamists in the West Bank. Shoebat views Hamas and al-Qaeda as different expressions of radical Islam which murders Christian and Jewish atheists. Shoebat speaks from personal knowledge. As a youth in Bethlehem in the 1970s, young Walid was active in the PLO's military wing. After leaving for studies in the US in the 1980s, he served as chairman of the Palestinian students in a Chicago college, raised funds to finance Palestinian terror in Israel and Lebanon, and even joined the Muslim Brotherhood. "My recruiter in Chicago was preacher Jamal Said, who is still roaming freely in Illinois. This is what is happening in mosques across America," he said in a TV interview. Walid's grandfather, Abdullah Ali Awad, who was the Beit Sahour mukhtar (village head) and the colleague of Haj al-Amin Husseini and Abed al-Kader, the leaders of the Palestinian struggle before the establishment of the State of Israel, would probably turn in his grave could he hear his grandson's remarks. Shoebat's family raised a number of terrorists, some of whom were involved in terror attacks in Israel in recent years, including an attack in central Jerusalem. His relatives cannot understand how such a traitor could have emerged from their family. Shoebat was born in Bethlehem in September 1960 and grew up in Beit Sahour, where he was brought up on the notion that "Jesus was a Palestinian revolutionist." Shoebat recounts that "the learning material was brought from Jordan and the education was anti-Semitic. My teachers were al-Azhar graduates and Muslim Brotherhood members. The school was located nearby Rachel's Tomb, but no one taught me who Rachel was. Years later I asked my uncle, who served as an educational supervisor in Bethlehem, how it was possible that I wasn't taught who Rachel was, and he replied: 'Rachel was a Jewish whore'." In an interview to CNN, Shoebat said that he had been brought up to hate Jews from an early age. "Since you are five you learn to hate the Jews. Over the years you also learn to deny the Holocaust and adopt a racist ideology. "It's like becoming addicted to a drug. Naturally, Shoebat, who grew up in an atmosphere of resistance to the occupation, took part in distributing Palestinian flags, spraying graffiti against Israel, and throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. In May 1977, he was held for three weeks in detention in Jerusalem on suspicion of inciting to violence. According to Shoebat, unlike his friends who remained in detention for a prolonged period, he was released following the intervention of the US consul general in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the time he spent in jail served as a life-changing experience for him that provided him with a chance to meet other terror operatives. After his release, an explosives expert named Mahmoud al-Mugrabi recruited him to the ranks of the resistance groups. Shoebat, who was then only 16, was sent by al-Mugrabi to blow up a Bank Leumi branch in Bethlehem. He took a bus to the bank, but when he arrived there he noticed several Palestinian children passing by, and instead of placing the explosive device inside the branch he panicked, threw the bomb on the roof and fled. The device eventually exploded without causing real damage. I was depressed and scared about what I had done, Shoebat said, but added that he acted in accordance with what his father and his Muslim environment expected of him: To kill Jews and become a shahid. He continued his involvement in other activities and on one occasion beat up and stabbed an Israeli soldier with his friends. The soldier eventually managed to call for help and was rescued by other troops.
The Bible led to a transformation
Shoebat's mother, who was concerned his acts would lead to his death, decided to send her son to the United States to study in 1978. The move to the US did not bring about an immediate transformation though. He continued to act for the Palestinian cause and later raise money to fund the first intifada. The change came about in 1993, after he started reading the Bible, in an attempt to persuade his Christian wife to convert to Islam. For six months he read and studied the Bible, and this led him to the conclusion that everything he had been taught to believe about Judaism was a lie. He converted to Christianity and turned from an enemy of Jews to an ardent supporter of Judaism and Israel. Shoebat has since been giving lectures in synagogues and churches across the US and the world, appeared on TV shows and held lectures in universities. Palestinian organizations in the US have been constantly trying to discredit him, and his own family members claim that his stories are false and that he is an Israeli agent. However, none of them can explain why Shoebat is considered persona non-grata in Israel. "They won't let me into Israel, because as far as the state is concerned I'm a terrorist," he explained. Over the past year, Shoebat has been trying to obtain an entry permit to Israel, which he wishes to visit with his family, but has been denied repeatedly. In the US, on the contrary, he is a very popular lecturer, who has already been asked to speak before Congress, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Putin Denies A New Cold War
April 4….(Breitbart) Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly criticized NATO's eastward expansion plans Friday but ruled out chances of a new Cold War, insisting that Moscow wants to be friends with the Western military alliance. Putin, attending a meeting with NATO leaders on the sidelines of a summit in the Romanian capital, urged them to listen to Russia's concerns, especially over NATO's plans to admit ex-Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia. Putin, who had been harshly critical of NATO in the past, sought to emphasize positive elements in Russia's NATO ties, such as Russia's agreement to facilitate transit of supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan across Russian territory. He shrugged off concerns that the world is sliding toward a new East-West divide. "None of the global players, Europe, the United States or Russia is interested in returning to the past," Putin said. But he also warned the alliance cannot enhance security on the continent without Russia. "The emergence of a powerful military bloc at our borders will be seen as a direct threat to Russia's security," Putin said. "I heard them saying today that the expansion is not directed against Russia. But it's the potential, not intentions that matters." "The efficiency of our cooperation will depend on whether NATO members take Russia's interests into account," he added. NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer conceded: "It is true that NATO enlargement is a contentious issue" German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Russia as a "partner," and said that meetings like Friday's "can help avoid misunderstandings and reservations." "NATO is not directed against anybody, certainly not against Russia," she said. Putin's meeting with NATO leaders came a day after the alliance failed to grant membership plans to ex-Soviet Georgia and Ukraine. Despite strong US backing to bring them in, Germany, France and some other alliance members opposed the move, fearing it would provoke Moscow. But Putin reaffirmed his strong opposition to NATO's eastward expansion. Bush and Putin will meet at the Russian leader's Black Sea retreat in Sochi for talks expected to focus on missile defense. "It's positive that they have heard our concerns," Putin said, adding that the latest US proposals on missile defense has shown that "our US partners are thinking about ensuring transparency and mutual trust." Putin has described the US missile shield as a threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent and has shrugged off US pledges that it is intended to counter a missile threat from Iran.
Minerals: Crumbling Bedrock of US Security
(America’s reliance on the kindness of foreign nations to supply our basic needs has starved our mineral industry. Next will be our military, then perhaps our nation)
April 4….(Trumpet: By Robert Morley) During the War of Independence, America learned the painful lesson of reliance on foreign nations. The newborn United States had to rely on France and the Netherlands to supply everything from iron and gunpowder to blankets and clothing, and Britain routinely cut America’s supply lines. Seeing this weakness, America’s founders implemented a national strategy promoting industrial and military self-sufficiency in order to establish the nation’s security. It seems America has forgotten that lesson. One specific example is in mineral production. America’s leaders have allowed the nation’s once formidable mining industry to erode. Many minerals, including some that are strategically important for the military, are no longer produced in the United States at all. Due to lack of investment, radical environmental activism, and low-cost foreign competition, many of America’s former mining giants have turned off the drills, closed the refineries and sent the workers home, or have chosen to develop new production outside the US. It’s not that America wasn’t warned. Back in 1985, the secretary of the United States Army testified before Congress that America was more than 50 percent dependent on foreign sources for 23 of 40 critical materials essential to US national security. The year before, in a US Marine Corps study, Maj. R.A. Hagerman wrote, “Since World War ii, the United States has become increasingly dependent on foreign sources for almost all non-fuel minerals. The availability of these minerals have an extremely important impact on American industry and, in turn, on US defense capabilities. Without just a few critical minerals, such as cobalt, manganese, chromium and platinum, it would be virtually impossible to produce many defense products such as jet engines, missile components, electronic components, iron, steel, etc. “This places the US in a vulnerable position with a direct threat to our defense production capability if the supply of strategic minerals is disrupted by foreign powers” (“US Reliance on Africa for Strategic Minerals,” April 6, 1984; emphasis mine). A look at America’s mining production since the mid-to-late 1980s is not just shocking, it is chilling. Cobalt, for example, is one of the most critical minerals used in America and is considered a strategic metal by the US government, meaning that its availability during a national emergency would seriously affect the economic, industrial and defensive capability of the country. It has many diverse commercial, industrial and military applications including superalloys (used to make parts for jet aircraft engines), magnets, high-speed steels, catalysts for petroleum and chemical industries as well as for paints, varnishes and inks. Just before America entered World War ii, it made a scramble to begin cobalt mining. Production began in 1940 and continued until 1971, when the mines were closed and cobalt mining ceased to exist in America. The most recent data available from the US Geological Survey (usgs) shows that, as of 2004, the over 8,700 tons the nation consumes is 100 percent imported. Cobalt sells for more than $45,000 a ton. Manganese is another essential mineral America no longer produces. It is essential to iron and steel production by virtue of its sulfur-fixing, deoxidizing and alloying properties. Manganese is also a key component of certain widely used aluminum alloys and of dry cell batteries and plant fertilizers. In 1918 America produced over 400,000 tons of manganese, which was over 44 percent of global production. By the end of World War ii, mining had fallen to only 12 percent of global production, covering just 28 percent of America’s daily needs. Since then, manganese production has steadily eroded; the last domestic ingot of manganese was mined in 1990. Today America imports 100 percent of its manganese consumption. America no longer produces any chromium either, a mineral the usgs calls “one of the nation’s most important strategic and critical materials.” Chromium is used to harden iron, steel and other nonferrous alloys. The list of minerals that America no longer produces is astounding and growing. America no longer produces indium (as of 1970), arsenic (1985), gallium (1987), bauxite or alumina (1989), tin (1990), thorium (1992), mercury (1993), tungsten (1995), fluorspar (1997), nickel (1999), vanadium (2000), antimony (2001) or rare earth minerals (2002), to name a few. Then there is a whole host of other minerals, like iron, zinc and titanium, that America produces at greatly reduced volumes. Allowing such a wide swath of the nation’s mineral production base to dry up and disappear is a critical miscalculation. You can’t just turn mines on and off at the flick of a switch. “The average person doesn’t stop to think that a process of several years is involved from the point of minerals exploration to on-site development to extraction, smelting and manufacture of the primary products,” former American Mining Congress President J. Allen Overton once noted. “Once lost, it will take years, if ever to recover it.”
Look Who’s Taking Over the Business
As America has been divesting itself of mineral-producing capacity, other nations have been quick to embrace it. Unfortunately for the US, the ability to control global production of strategic minerals is an incredibly powerful political weapon. China, for example, now completely dominates rare earth minerals, minerals that the US supplied over 20 percent of not long ago. “The whole family of ‘ums’ like gallium, rhenium, neodymium and indium, is fascinating. And frightening!” reports the Miner Diaries investment bulletin. “They are an essential ingredient in many technology-related sectors and demand is growing at 10-to-15 percent a year. “Yet it is now completely dominated by just one country, around 95 percent of supply comes from China” (Jan. 30, 2008). Over the past two years, China has begun restricting exports of these materials. The end result is, US manufacturers who wish to stay in business are being forced to move their research and development and manufacturing facilities to China to gain access to rare earth minerals. An example of this was the sale and relocation of Magnequench, a company formerly based in Indiana that produced 85 percent of the rare earth magnets used in the guidance systems of US military smart bombs. Without rare earths, you don’t have protective coatings, blast protection, guided missiles, lasers, modern transportation, laptop computers, tvs, or even iPods. In 1992, China basically admitted to the world what it was planning to do. Chinese ruler Deng Xiaoping coined the statement, “There is oil in the Middle East, there is rare earth in China.” Then in 1999, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said, “Improve the development and applications of rare earth, and change China’s resource advantage into economic superiority.” Meanwhile, America has closed its only rare earth mine (one owned by Unocal, which the Chinese state-owned company cnooc tried to purchase in 2005), has boarded up the Rare Earth Information Center, and has not only ceased stockpiling rare earth minerals but has also largely sold off national stockpiles. If any doubt exists as to China’s intentions, on February 4 Chinese state-owned companies announced four deals in the resources sector. The deals came only two days after Chinalco, China’s aluminum company, grabbed a 12 percent stake in Rio Tinto to prevent the Australian mining giant bhp Billiton from gaining control over the $132 billion diversified mining giant. The Times called China’s action “the first shots in a new economic war.”
And much of the rest of the world, including the European Union, is scrambling to tie up control of strategic minerals in Africa and South America. America is being shut out, and at a time when much of its domestic resources production is hitting rock bottom. If Americans truly understood the implications of being resource-dependent on unfriendly foreign nations, especially at a time of intensifying anti-Americanism, global instability and resource competition, they would be acting quickly. Sadly, this is not the case. The Bible speaks of a time when America will be besieged by its enemies. America’s over-reliance on foreigners for essential needs is a sign that time is drawing near. But it didn’t have to be this way. There is a reason America as a nation is blessed with a range of unexploited minerals and other natural resources envied around the world.
Abraham Lincoln may have stated it best when he said: “We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the Earth, as regards fertility of soil, extent of territory, and salubrity of climate. We, when mounting the stage of existence, find ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or the establishment of them.” Later Lincoln said: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. We have been the recipients of the choicest blessings of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation ever has grown; but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” America is rapidly losing those blessings. The mineral bedrock of our industry, economy and military is crumbling before our eyes. For many years, the Trumpet has alerted its readers that, based on Bible prophecy, the US and other English-speaking nations are headed for a time of national calamity. America must turn to the one true and most important bedrock of any society, the Rock that determines our morals and should govern our lives. Only then will America truly stand on a firm, rock-solid foundation.
FOJ Note: On so many fronts, culturally, economically, spiritually, and in affairs of state, the US is increasingly standing on a slippery slope. The Bible plainly says that a nation that forgets God shall be turned into hell, and the fact is that America has simply turned its back on the God that so richly blessed our country. Now, we are even turning our backs on God’s “chosen nation” and the providential plan of God for Israel by coercing Israel to the blackmail of terrorism. God is not mocked forever, and judgment may come to our door because our blessings and hedges of protection are being removed.
Al-Qaida Vows to strike Americans & Jews Worldwide, March to Jerusalem After US Leaves Iraq
April 3….(Ha Aretz) Al-Qaida's second-in-command on Wednesday vowed to attack Jews both within and outside Israel, and predicted that a United States withdrawal from Iraq would cause Islamic militant power to grow and threaten Jerusalem. "I expect the Jihadi influence to spread after the Americans' exit from Iraq, and to move towards Jerusalem," Ayman Al-Zawahri said in response to questions compiled by Islamist Web sites. "We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do our utmost to strike Jews in Israel and abroad with help and guidance from God," he said to those asking when attacks on Israel would take place. Last week, the Al-Qaida leader called on Muslims to strike Israeli, Jewish, and American targets in revenge for Israel's ground incursion in the Gaza Strip in early March. Al-Zawahri on Wednesday also said that Osama bin Laden was well and reports he was sick were false. "Sheikh Osama bin Laden is in good health," the militant leader said. The audio message, which was accompanied by a 46-page English transcript, was the first installment of answers to a raft of online questions and focused mainly on future al-Qaida efforts elsewhere in the region, particularly Egypt. Al-Zawahri, who, like Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, also denounced the United Nations. "The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims," he said. He also predicted the end of the Saudi state, which is swimming against the tide of history and the government of his native Egypt, which he called "a corrupt, rotten regime that cannot possibly continue."
Iraq's Sadr Calls Million-Man March Against US
April 3….(Reuters) Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Thursday for a million-strong demonstration against US "occupation", a potentially destabilizing show of force after his followers battled US and government troops. The demonstration would take place next Wednesday April 9, the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, when the US commander in Iraq is also scheduled to brief Congress in Washington about progress in the war. US forces called in helicopter strikes during a clash with gunmen on Thursday in the city of Hilla and bombed a house in Basra overnight, stepping up raids after days of relative calm that followed a truce announced by Sadr on Sunday. "The time has come to express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people," said a statement released by Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf. The statement called on Iraqis of all sects to descend on Najaf, site of annual Shi'ite pilgrimages that frequently attract hundreds of thousands of worshippers. The government said it would not attempt to block the demonstration, provided it was not violent. "The right to hold a peaceful demonstration and express opinions is guaranteed by the constitution, and we don't mind as long as the demonstration is peaceful," Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told Reuters. Sadr has millions of followers and was able to summon tens of thousands of people onto the streets in Baghdad for demonstrations during last week's fighting, but a march to Najaf would potentially mobilize entire swathes of Shi'ite Iraq. The top US officials in Iraq, commander David Petraeus and ambassador Ryan Crocker, are due to report to Congress next week. They are expected to recommend a pause in withdrawals after July to safeguard the past year's improvements.
US Forecast Nuclear Arms Race in Middle East if Iran Gets the Bomb
April 3….(AP) Saudi Arabia most likely would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, according to a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. High-level American diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers said an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis "to their core" and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons, the report said. The American diplomats were not identified. Turkey also would come under pressure to follow suit if Iran builds nuclear weapons in the next decade, said the report prepared by a committee staff member after interviewing hundreds of individuals in Washington and the Middle East last July through December. While Turkey and Iran do not see themselves as adversaries, Turkey believes a power balance between them is the primary reason for a peaceful relationship, the report said. Egypt most likely would choose not to respond by pursuing its own nuclear weapons program, said the report prepared in late February and obtained Wednesday. The impact on relations with Israel and the United States were cited as the primary reasons. A US intelligence estimate late last year said Iran worked on nuclear weapons programs until 2003 before abandoning them. However, the intelligence analysts also reported Iran was continuing to enrich uranium, a key weapons component, and possessed the capacity to produce nuclear weapons if it decided to do so. Among its conclusions, the report said demands for nuclear energy and for matching Iran's nuclear progress virtually guarantees that three or four Middle Eastern countries will generate nuclear power by 2025. And this, in turn, will reduce the obstacles to acquiring nuclear weapons, the report said. The spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East could reduce regional security and endanger US interests, the report said. In the next two or three years, the United States must take steps to restore Arab and Turkish confidence in US security guarantees, the report concluded. Otherwise, it said, "the future Middle East landscape may include a number of nuclear-armed or nuclear weapons-capable states vying for influence in a notoriously unstable region."
Jewish Leader Calls Evangelists 'Extremists'
(Leader of Reform Judaism in US Eric Yoffie says movement mustn't work with Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee because latter rejects Israeli land concessions to achieve peace with Palestinians, disparages other religions)
April 3….(YNET) The leader of the largest branch of American Judaism said Wednesday that synagogues in the movement shouldn't work with the Rev. John Hagee, a Christian Zionist, calling him an "extremist" on Israeli policy who disparages other faiths. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the liberal Union for Reform Judaism, said Hagee and his group, Christians United For Israel, reject any Israeli land concessions to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Reform Judaism supports creating a Palestinian state; Hagee sees a biblical mandate for the territory so End Times prophecy can be fulfilled. Yoffie also condemned Hagee's views on Roman Catholicism and Islam. The San Antonio pastor has suggested that Catholic anti-Semitism shaped Adolf Hitler, among other comments. Hagee has vehemently denied he is anti-Catholic and said his remarks have been mischaracterized. But Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, distanced himself from Hagee last month, after the pastor endorsed him, following uproar over Hagee's views of Catholicism. "On Israeli-Palestinian politics, John Hagee and the CUFI are extremists," Yoffie said, in a speech to Reform rabbis meeting in Cincinnati. "In expressing contempt for other religions and rejecting territorial compromise under any and all circumstances, their views run against the American grain." The Union for Reform Judaism represents more than 900 North American synagogues.
(Christians United for Israel say to focus on diplomatic and economic means to dissuade Iran from developing nukes; group also calls to move US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as sign of support)
April 3….(YNET) Thousands of members of Christians United for Israel headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to lobby Congress on behalf of the Jewish state. The group's founder, the Reverend John Hagee, declared, "We support Israel because we are Bible-believing Christians," and said the world needs to see that "the sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened." Hagee said that the entire Christian world kept quiet during World War II and allowed the genocide of the Jewish people. "This time we will not be silent," Hagee said. At "A Night to Honor Israel" banquet, Hagee called on President Bush to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He also called for American divestment from Iran, which he compared to Nazi Germany as a threat to the Jewish people. Hagee said Mideast tensions shouldn't be blamed on Israel, but on Islamic radicals and moderate Muslims who won't condemn them. Hagee continued to warn against Iranian President Ahmadinejad, calling him the new Hitler, saying the Iranian president will use a nuclear bomb to destroy Israel the first chance he gets. Ahmandinejad must be stopped, Hagee said, calling on the United States to attack Iran immediately. Former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who is considering running for the Republican Party's presidential candidate, said at the event that if US President George W. Bush really wanted to get a message across to Hamas, he should move the US Embassy to Jerusalem "tomorrow morning". Gingrich charged that instead of fighting to win, President Bush is now pursuing appeasement through a proposed Mideast peace conference. Comparing that to the attempted appeasement of Nazi Germany at Munich before World War II, Gingrich said, "We don't have a peace process. We have a surrender process." Gingrich said the United States and western civilization are in a global conflict with radical Islam, and must choose between victory and surrender. Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in 2000, also spoke at the rally, saying, "You are Ahmadinejad, Hamas, and Hizbullah's worst nightmare, because you support Israel. They are telling you to give back land. We are telling you, don't give back one inch." Israeli Ambassador to the US Salai Meridor, told the protesters, "We must end this nightmare. We must end the madness. We must make it clear to the Iranians that all options are on the table and that there is no way they will be allowed to hold nuclear weapons."
Israel Readies Largest Exercise Ever to Prepare for Iran-Syria Missile War
April 3….(World Tribune) Israel plans to conduct its largest exercise ever to set contingencies for massive missile attacks by Iran and Syria. The government has been preparing for a five-day exercise in April that would simulate conventional and nonconventional missile strikes from Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Officials said the exercise would test emergency response as well as evacuation of cities struck by enemy missiles. The exercise, scheduled to begin on April 6, has been organized by National Emergency Authority, Middle East Newsline reported. The authority was established in 2007 as part of recommendations in the aftermath of the Hizbullah war a year earlier, in which 4,500 rockets landed in Israel. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i has been responsible for the exercise, meant to integrate efforts by the military, police and emergency services. The exercise also envisioned missile and rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. The exercise would include a simulation conducted by the government. Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would convene the Cabinet to order a response to the enemy strike. Officials said the exercise could take place annually amid an assessment that Iran would assemble a nuclear bomb as early as 2009. In 2007, the military halted an effort to replace gas masks distributed in the late 1990s.
Russia ‘Alarmed’ As US Readies April Nuclear Attack On Iran
April 3….(Belisco) Russian Foreign Ministry Officials are reported to be ‘alarmed’ today over a ‘presentation’ made by the United States War Leaders to President Putin at this weeks NATO summit in Romania and which details the Americans plan to begin a nuclear attack against Iran's atomic facilities in the next two weeks. Most disturbing of these reports, according to Foreign Ministry Analysts, are the United States ‘offers and threats’ towards Russia to ‘remain neutral’ in this conflict or face the combined weight of the American and EU central banks deliberate collapsing of the Western banking system, and US dollar, and which is estimated will cause the loss of nearly $800 billion of Russian foreign reserves. To the ‘offers’ presented to President Putin for keeping Russia out of this war, these reports continue, will be NATO’s rejection of Ukraine and Georgia membership into the Western Military Alliance and the ending of the planned US Missile Shield being planned for Poland and the Czech Republic. In what, sadly, passes for diplomacy these days with the United States, this ‘presentation’ to President Putin is eerily reminiscent of the offer made to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan prior to the US invasion of their country after their rejection of the American offer, and which French news sources reported was stated, “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." To the likelihood of the US carrying out their brutal expansion of their war against the Muslim peoples of the World with a nuclear attack upon Iran there remains today little doubt as Saudi Arabia has ordered their people to prepare for nuclear war, and as we can read as reported by Iran’s Press TV News Service, and which says: "Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to counter any ’radioactive hazards’ which may result from a US strike on Iran’s nuclear plants. Popular government-guided Saudi newspaper Okaz recently reported that the Saudi Shura Council approved of nuclear fallout preparation plans only a day after US Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Kingdom’s high ranking officials, including King Abdullah. As a result of the Shura ruling, the Saudi government will start the implementation of ’national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the Kingdom following expert warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors’." Israel is, likewise, said to be preparing for this new war, and as we can read as reported by Israeli News Sources, and which state: "Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized on Sunday evening the plans for a national emergency drill, which is scheduled to take place in two weeks time." Russian Military Analysts, in these reports, further state that with a US nuclear strike against Iran, Israel will, also, launch a simultaneous against Syria, and as we can read, as reported by Israel’s Ynet News Service, the Syrian Nation is preparing for: "Syria is preparing for a comprehensive Israeli strike which will be combined with an attack on Hizbullah, sources in Damascus have told the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. The sources, which refused to reveal their identity, reported that Syria was closely monitoring the movement of Israeli forces along the northern border. The newspaper reported Wednesday that Damascus viewed the Israeli media reports and statements made by senior Israel Defense Forces officials as incitement and attempts to prepare the Israeli and global public opinion for a war against Syria. In addition to the military preparations, the sources said, Damascus has raised its security alert level for fear that Israeli forces would infiltrate its territories through one of its bordering countries, mainly referring to Lebanon. Over the past few weeks, the Syrians have stationed three armored divisions, special forces and nine mechanized infantry divisions opposite Lebanon’s western valley, as the Syrians estimate that a ground Israeli invasion may take place in that area." As the American people remain under the greatest threat in their history to their freedom, and as Britain’s top economic experts are stating that the US is now falling into a Great Depression, with the most of their citizens receiving food aid in their entire history, while at the same time their Military reports the spending of over $1.6 trillion on new weapons for their wars, one cannot but shudder to think of the grave consequences should their grab for total World domination fails. But, with all of the failed attempts by many Global powers in the past to establish their rule over the entire World, and should the United States fail in their nuclear attack against Iran, and with the added backdrop of the growing crisis of our Earth being able to feed its own people, even the most simplest of minds can see the folly of the Americans desires. This cannot, however, be said of the American people, and who continue leading their ‘American Dream’ lives while being led to their own destruction along a road paved with celebrity trivialities and banal stories of nothingness that passes for news in their country. Never has it been more true the age old saying, “For those who do not learn history they are doomed to repeat it.”
Thousands rally for biblical marriage
April 3….(WND) An estimated 2,000 people gathered today in Oklahoma City to rally support for state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, who has been the target of a campaign organized by pro-homosexual interests to inundate her e-mail with tens of thousands of messages, many profane, vulgar and threatening. When the case first developed Oklahoma police were investigating threats e-mailed to Kern because of her remarks to a Republican meeting that warned of the homosexual community's growing influence. Her statements were taped secretly and posted in a an ardently pro-homosexual lobby that by its own admission "provides strategic, technical and financial support" to homosexual politicians. The video pieced together audio of Kern's comments with slides of statements condemning her speech as well as photographs of various individuals holding "I heard that" signs. She told WND earlier she had received in excess of 30,000 e-mails, many vulgar, abusive and hateful. Her life was threatened, her son falsely accused of being homosexual and her financial supporters harassed, officials reported. But according to a report from officials with Concerned Women for America, today's crowd spilled over onto all levels of the Rotunda at Oklahoma's Capitol in an event sponsored by more than 50 area pastors who have lauded Kern's biblical stand. "This astronomical show of support for Rep. Sally Kern today sends a strong message," said Matt Barber, the policy director for cultural issues at CWA. "People with traditional values who value God's design for human sexuality will not be intimidated and bullied into silence. "Political correctness can never trump truth," he said. "Sally Kern stood for the truth, and she was hated for it. She was persecuted for Christ, but the Body of Christ was there to lift her up. Sally was faithful to God, and He was faithful to her in return. This is a great day for all who love righteousness." Linda Caswell, the state director for CWA, said Kern and her husband both talked of the institution of marriage, and expressed forgiveness for those who have been attacking the family with telephone calls around the clock. "The homosexuals are saying she called them terrorists. She did not do that. She said she has no hate for anyone," Caswell said. Radical homosexual groups have done all they could to intimidate her, yet she has not backed down. Kern came under fire after she expressed her concern "that the homosexual agenda was destroying our nation, and that young school children were being indoctrinated into believing that the homosexual lifestyle is normal," the law firm said. Kern was quoted as saying the homosexual agenda is dangerous "because it destroys the basic moral fiber of this nation, which is traditional marriage and the traditional family." Kern says the homosexual lobby is trying to send a message of intimidation to people who are taking a stand for traditional marriage and against the homosexual lifestyle. They want to silence us. Christians believe that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity, contrary to the natural law and under no circumstances can they be approved. "I stand by my statements. Everything I said I can verify. It is a deadly lifestyle," Kern said. The response to her statements, actually, would surprise few people familiar with the strategies of the homosexual activists, however. In chapter one of his best-selling book "The Marketing of Evil," WND Managing Editor David Kupelian exposes the powerful marketing strategies used by the "gay rights" movement to "sell" Americans on homosexuality as a healthy alternative lifestyle. One key tactic for accomplishing this is called "jamming."
Hamas TV: Palestinian Kid Kills "President Bush," Make White House A Mosque
April 2…(Israel Insider) A child stabs President George W. Bush to death and the White House becomes a grand mosque in a children's puppet show broadcast on the official television channel of Hamas, the ruling Palestinian Authority party. In the Al-Aqsa TV skit, aired yesterday, the child confronts the US leader: "I have come to take revenge with this sword, revenge for my mother and my sisters. You are a criminal, Bush! You are despicable. You made me an orphan! You took everything from me, Bush! I must take revenge on you, with this sword of Islam, the prophet's Al-Battar sword." The Bush character tries to appease the child with food, toys and a visit to the White House but is rebuffed, as seen in a video clip translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI. "You are impure, Bush, so you are not allowed inside the White House," the child figure says, because "it has been turned into a great mosque for the nation of Islam." The child declares: "I will kill you just like Mu'az killed Abu Lahab (an enemy of Islam's prophet Muhammad). I will kill you, Bush, because that is your fate." The child then stabs Bush repeatedly, and eventually smiles at his successful execution: "Ahhh, I killed him." On previous al-Aksa kid's shows, various animals, a bee, a mouse, a rabbit, have advocated or performed killing, but this marks the first time a child is portrayed as murdering. Pre-school kids have been interviewed approving of the killing of Jews as a commandment of Allah.
Hezbollah Criticizes Saudi Arabia
April 2….(AP) The Hezbollah militant group criticized Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, accusing it of siding with Lebanon's Western-backed government in its power struggle with the Syrian-allied opposition. The comments came only days after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal slammed Syria and its Lebanese allies for obstructing an Arab League initiative to help Lebanon elect a new president. Hezbollah rejected Prince Saud's criticism and instead accused Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority of obstructing parliamentary elections for a new president. Lebanon has been without a president since pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud ended his term last November without a successor. "This (Saudi) accusation against the opposition harms the kingdom's role and raises big question marks about its position and role in the Lebanese political crisis," Hezbollah said in a statement. In rare criticism of Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, the Shiite Hezbollah said Prince Saud's comments had put the kingdom in "a biased position incapable of playing a positive role in a solution" to Lebanon's deepening political crisis. Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun also rejected Prince Saud's comments and said he was surprised by "the Saudi position holding the opposition responsible for failure to implement the Arab initiative." He urged "friendly countries not to be a party to the Lebanese conflict." Prince Saud delivered his criticism Saturday in a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh timed to coincide with the opening session of the Arab League summit in Syria. Several Sunni Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, boycotted the summit and instead sent low-level officials to protest Syrian policies in many parts of the Mideast and its close alliance with Shiite Iran. Lebanon boycotted the summit completely, accusing Damascus of preventing the election of a new Lebanese president in order to destabilize the country and reassert its control over the neighboring country. Arab foreign ministers unanimously adopted a plan in January that called for the election of Lebanese Army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as a consensus president, formation of a national unity government and the adoption of a new electoral law. The country's sharply divided parliament has failed to embrace the plan because the parliamentary majority and the opposition remain deadlocked over the shape of the future government. The majority has strongly rejected the opposition's demand for veto power over future government decisions. The presidential impasse has compounded the yearlong power struggle between the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and the opposition, which has sporadically degenerated into street clashes in Beirut between supporters of the rival camps. The United States and Lebanon's anti-Syrian coalition have accused Syria of blocking the presidential election. Damascus has denied the charge, while its Lebanese allies have blamed Washington for scuttling attempts at reaching a solution.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt Accuse Syria of Blocking Mid-East Peace
April 1….(In The
News) Saudi Arabia slammed Syria as a deeply divided Arab summit opened here
Saturday, accusing Damascus of blocking Lebanese peace efforts and calling on
the Arab League to punish members that don’t honor its consensus decisions.
The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are boycotting the two-day summit to protest Syria’s stances on Lebanon, a move that has deepened the rift between US Arab allies and Damascus, a close ally of Iran and Palestinian militant groups. Further highlighting the rift, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was headed to the region over the weekend for talks on the peace process and was expected to meet with some of the boycotting leaders. The countries accuse Damascus of preventing the election of a new president in Lebanon, where they believe Syria is trying to re-establish its domination. Syrian President Bashar Assad denied interfering in Lebanon in his opening speech to the summit. To add to their snub to Syria, the three countries sent only minor officials to represent them at the summit. Lebanon did not send any delegation at all, the first country to completely boycott since annual summits began in 2000. In Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom’s top leaders were boycotting the summit because of Syria, which he blamed for blocking an Arab League compromise aimed at resolving the Lebanon presidential crisis. “The problem is that what had been agreed by consensus in the Arab League, including by Syria, wasn’t implemented in reality,” Saud said. He called for the Arab League to punish member states that breach a common resolution. “Call it punishment or countermeasures,” he said. “There must be a deterrent action.” Saud also blamed Damascus for worsening Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts and the situation in Iraq. “Attempts to hinder the (Arab) initiative in Lebanon are clearly the same attempts (as those) that deepened the Palestinian rift and hindered the political solution in Iraq and Arab issues in general,” he said. Lebanon has been the scene of a long power struggle between the anti-Syrian government, backed by the West, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and the pro-Syrian opposition. The opposition has boycotted parliament to prevent it from electing a new president since November. The Arab League compromise called for Lebanese army chief Michel Suleiman to be elected president, then for a national unity government to be formed. But the opposition has demanded that the makeup of the government first be determined. In his speech, Assad denied that Syria was interfering in Lebanon. “The key to a solution is in the hands of the Lebanese. They have their country, constitution and institutions,” he said. Egypt also accused Syria’s stances of wrecking the summit. “Our hope was that a long-awaited solution to the political crisis threatening Lebanon’s stability would precede this summit,” a message from President Hosni Mubarak to the gathering said. “Unfortunately, this did not occur.” The US’ Arab allies are also deeply bitter over Syria’s support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which they blame for damaging the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They are also worried about Syria’s close alliance with Iran. Ten heads of state from the Arab League’s 22 members did not attend the two-day Damascus summit, though most were for separate reasons rather than anger at Syria. In the absence of US-allied countries, the summit took on a sharp tone against Israel. In his opening speech to the summit, Assad accused Israel of committing “massacres” against the Palestinians and rejecting peace offers. He warned that Arab countries may have to seek alternatives to a 2002 Arab peace plan if Israel continues to refuse to accept it.
Barak to IDF Northern Command: Hizbullah Wants War
(Defense minister tours IDF’s Northern Command, says Hizbullah is ‘wary of firing at Israel at the moment, but beneath this blissful quiet there is a storm brewing)’
April 1….(YNET) Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a tour of the IDF’s Northern Command Tuesday that “Hizbullah is wary of firing at Israel at the moment because of the blows it sustained during the Second Lebanon War, but we also have many lessons to learn from that war, which we will hopefully implement in IDF training.” Barak, along with Northern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Brigadier General Imad Fars, commander of Division 91, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the IDF, Major General Dan Harel, toured the IDF’s Northern Command post along the northern border, speaking to IDF soldiers stationed there, and receiving a security briefing from senior officers of the Northern Command. “Hizbullah, lurking on the other side of the border, is wary of firing at Israel at the moment, but continues to plot various schemes throughout the entire northern front,” said Barak. “Hizbullah is getting stronger, but so is Israel, and we are the strongest nation in the region. I would suggest that no one of the other side of the border mess with Israel, for their own good.” As for heightened tensions on the northern front in wake of the assassination of Hizbollah commander Imad Mugniyah, Barak stated that “the IDF is ready, willing and able to deal with all possible contingencies. Israel sees right through this blissful quiet and is well aware that a storm is brewing underneath the surface.”
Hizbullah might get others to do their dirty work
In similar vane, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met Tuesday with Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and a representative of the IDF’s Intelligence Branch. The Intelligence Branch representative informed the Mks present that “Hizbullah is continuing its military escalation in Lebanon, and is supplied with ample arms from Syria and Iran. It is improving and streamlining all of its military units, and thus we still cannot rule out an attack in retaliation for Mugniyah ‘s assassination. Hizbullah is also likely to send other groups to do their dirty work for them, and not claim credit for such attacks.”
IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi stated during the meeting that “Hizbullah operates in the sly and in resident clothing mainly in residential areas in Lebanon, because the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) cannot operate in these areas without permission from the Lebanese army.”
Bush Says Ukraine, Georgia NATO Admission is Vital
April 1….(DEBKA) Referring to the NATO summit opening in Bucharest Wednesday, April 2, the US president George W. Bush, remarked in Kiev Tuesday that Russia has no veto over former Soviet states joining the 26-member alliance summit, which President Vladimir Putin is attending as a guest. Bush was speaking at a joint news conference with Ukraine president Yushchenko. After the two-day summit, where a European consensus on NATO’s eastward enlargement is doubtful in view of German and French reluctance to raise tensions with Russia, President Bush meets Putin at his Black Sea residence in Sochi April 6 for their last face-to-face as presidents. Putin hands over to president-elect Dmitry Medvedev in May. Bush is in the final months of his presidency. The US president admitted that there was still much work to do to persuade Moscow that America wants the US missile shield deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, not to attack Russian but to defend Europe against ballistic missile attack. He denied any trade-off with Russia on the two issues in answer to a question. Another uphill task ahead of the NATO summit is persuading members to put up more troops for Afghanistan where the war against Taliban and al Qaeda is hobbled by a shortage of fighting manpower. France is expected to pledge 1,000 soldiers, the Czech Republic another hundred, nowhere near the necessary supplement needed for the 43,000-strong force, one-third American. NATO leaders may invite Croatia, Albania and possibly Macedonia to join the alliance.
Saudi Kingdom 'Braces for Regional Nuclear War'
(Arabia is reportedly preparing to counter any 'radioactive hazards' which may result from a US strike on Iran's nuclear plants.)
April 1….(Press) Popular government-guided Saudi newspaper Okaz recently reported that the Saudi Shura Council approved of nuclear fallout preparation plans only a day after US Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Kingdom's high ranking officials, including King Abdullah. As a result of the Shura ruling, the Saudi government will start the implementation of 'national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the Kingdom following expert warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors'. As the details of Cheney's recent discussions with his Arab allies remain unclear, pundits have begun to question the timing of the drastic measure by the Shura. Analysts claim the Bush administration had long rattled sabers with Iran over its nuclear program and is now informing its Arab allies of a potential war, in turn, allowing them to take precautionary measures. With the sudden resignation of Admiral William Fallon, a high-ranking US military official who was a fierce critic of White House war rhetoric against Iran, and reports of the recent deployment of a US nuclear submarine in the Persian Gulf; there is speculation that Washington is moving forward with yet another war plan in the oil-rich Middle East.
Secretary Rice: Israel I'm Watching You
April 1….(Stan Goodenough) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrapped up a two day visit to Israel and the Middle East Monday, but warned the Israelis that she will be monitoring them even more closely to ensure that they carry out their obligations under the Annapolis agreement. Her visit, the third this year was aimed at tightening the screws on Israel in order to be able to nail down a framework agreement by May 14 for the establishment of a Palestinian state on historical Jewish land. US President George W. Bush is scheduled to be in Israel on that date, which marks, on the Gregorian calendar, the 60th anniversary of Israel's Declaration of Independence. For the American administration, the dates appear to be part of the strategy. The Annapolis Conference was held on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations vote partitioning Palestine between Jews and Arabs. At that event, under intense pressure from host Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to set November 4 this year as a deadline for reaching a final agreement with PLO Chief Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority. And Bush said Sunday, according to the German newspaper Die Welt: "I hope that President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert can sign an agreement before the end of my presidency [in January] that defines a clearly-outlined Palestinian state." While Rice claimed, upon her arrival here Saturday night, she had not come to insert American demands, this is really an all-American show and one with which Israel is expected to cooperate, especially as Bush has tied his political prestige to achieving substantial results in the effort to give the Palestinian Arabs a state on land belonging to Israel. Diplomatic reporters noted that Rice has not held back from "scolding" Israel's political leaders for "not doing enough" to ease life for the Arabs. A focal point of her visit this time was purportedly to try ease the movement of Arabs in Judea and Samaria. Restrictions on their movement have come about as a result of the "Palestinian" civilians harboring terrorists and terrorists using the civilian population as a human shield. Reported The Jerusalem Post Monday, Barak "learned his lesson from the last Rice visit, when she scolded him for not doing enough to ease the conditions of the Palestinians." This time he had come to their meeting with a lengthy document, in English, outlining the steps Israel would take. Rice said, first to Barak and later to foreign journalists, that she planned on more vigilantly monitoring Israel's implementation of its commitments "than she had been in the past." Despite Israeli promises to remove roadblocks in Samaria and Judea, the number of roadblocks had actually increased since Annapolis, she complained. Now, however, the US was going to make sure that Israel complied. "We've been told this is going to start and even be completed in a relatively short period of time. I'm not going to give you a date but I'm expecting it to happen very, very soon," the secretary said.
FOJ Note: God is also watching Secretary Rice and President Bush to see what they enforce upon his people, and their land.