Politic?

This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

That Perpetual Conflict

"Whoever is behind today's attack will pay the full price."
"For some time, Iran, via Hezbollah, has been trying to establish an additional terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights."
"We are taking strong and responsible action against this attempt. The Lebanese government and the Assad regime share responsibility for the consequences of the attacks emanating from their territories [against Israel].
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The site where two Israeli soldiers were killed when an IDF patrol came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region along the Israeli border with Lebanon on January 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Basal Awidat/Flash90)
The site where two Israeli soldiers were killed when an IDF patrol came under anti-tank fire from Hezbollah operatives in the northern Mount Dov region along the Israeli border with Lebanon on January 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Basal Awidat/Flash90)

"Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy, is a brutal terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel."
"This is just another example of the threats Israel faces -- from Gaza to Southern Lebanon and Syria -- from all proxies funded, trained and materially supported by Iran. It illustrates the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran and the need for the international community to ensure that never becomes a reality."
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

"[The Hezbollah attack represented a] severe escalation of the situation and we view Hezbollah as responsible."
"Is it going to go further? I don't know, but it could."
Lt.-Col Peter Lerner, Israeli military spokesman

"UNIFIL sent us a message that as far as [Hezbollah] is concerned the incident is over.  I don’t know if the events are behind us. The IDF is ready, deployed for any development. Our long arm knows how to reach wherever is necessary. Anyone who tries to attack us is signing their own death warrant."
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Israeli troops patrol the Israeli-occupi
Israeli troops patrol the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights, close to where the strike on Hezbollah convoy was carried out. Photograph: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images
The raid on the Golan Heights by Israeli attack helicopters that succeeded in killing six Hezbollah commanders and an Iranian general represented Israeli intelligence reports that Iran, through its al-Quds Republican Guard unit was scoping out and planning a devastating attack across the border into Israel at some undetermined time. Just as Israel had put the nascent Syrian nuclear plant out of commission, it targeted that future attack more latterly. A message that Israel would not be easily victimized.

A response was expected. Defences were put in place, as best they could be, to deflect any retaliation. But in war situations nothing is guaranteed, and as each side seeks an advantage, there are some wins and some losses, and the Lebanese border attack by Hezbollah firing a missile at an Israeli military convoy represents one of those losses; two lives lost, others injured. Sometimes a nation that is constantly under threat must make these decisions.

A week had elapsed since the Israeli strike, and the return strike by Hezbollah, Iran's proxy militia, was the response. Not a wholly opportune time for Hezbollah to invest in an all-out, long-term conflict with Israel, given its heavy involvement in Syria, fighting alongside President al-Assad's Shiite troops battling Sunni Syrian rebels and foreign Sunni jihadis alike, including the Islamic State. Hezbollah is said to have lost considerable fighters in that fray, as it is and perhaps feels it has few to spare.

The Party of God considers itself a "resistance movement", under the aegis of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as a martyrdom force. Representing the very ultimate aspiration of a pious Muslim; to sacrifice one's life for Islam. Gloating that for them death is nothing, that the achievement of martyrdom for the cause is an honour all aspire to. As opposed to Israel's and the West's in general high regard for life and personal survival. 
 
It is the Muslim sacred duty to visit Mecca, to proselytize, to dominate, to hound and oppress non-believers, to kill Jews, to promise a more successful Holocaust. The world outside Islam has a moral obligation to remember the genocidal intent of the Third Reich and its near success. One that the Islamic Republic of Iran gloats over, claiming it has been overblown in numbers, but that Iran has the intention and will have the means to ensure that a resurrection of the 'final solution' in the eradication of Israel will become a reality.

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Proportional Militarization Response

"Canadians, particularly our elites, should wake up and grow up. There is something big and very frightening going on in the Middle East. A bunch of zealots under the banner of Islamic State is not only trying to take over Iraq and Syria: It has acted on its promise to come for us, in Canada."
"We can sit passively and await their further deadly incursions. Or we can take on our proper responsibilities to defend Canada and Canadian interests and get out into the world and assist those who confront this evil."
Matthew Fisher, Journalist, Ottawa Citizen
The Canadian Special Operations Regiment is part of the Canadian military mission in Iraq. Opposition parties are raising questions about the nature of this mission after three exchanges of fire between Canadian personnel and militants in Iraq.
Photo Credit: Canadian Forces

Canada's opposition parties contest the Conservative-led Government of Canada in its position that the country has an obligation to pull its weight in defending the world from the sinister predations of a global terror network known as Islamism. Islamist clerics and intellectuals abound in all countries of the world where Muslims have migrated in their zeal to escape the dysfunction of the Muslim world. Though they have found haven outside the Islamic countries they have left, among them are eager conscripts to jihad.

Those aspiring and practising jihadists travel to Middle East and North African areas of sectarian conflict to ply the trade that appears so appealing to them as faithful Muslims responding to the call to arms. Defending Islam from the kuffar, the Crusaders and the Jews, and from those Muslims who are insufficiently invested in violent upheaval that the call to jihad represents. They represent a threat of spiralling violence in the region where they travel to for militant training, and an equal threat to their adopted home countries.

Yet in Canada, the two major political parties who are eager to oppose the government -- though a vote was taken in the House of Commons and an agreement ensued that Canada would join forces with the U.S.-led coalition to deter and defeat the Islamic State as it  roars through Syria and Iraq, slaughtering religious and ethnic minorities and leaving a trail of corpses and legions of women raped and taken into slavery behind their wake -- accuse the government of misleading the Canadian electorate.

This, despite the fact that the majority of Canadians are more than supportive of the government position, feeling that their country must respond to the threats with due force of action.

The issue centres around the opposition parties clamouring for Canada to be a "peace-keeping" nation in a world where peace is proving increasingly elusive. And where clearly enough a military response is required to halt the advance of a vicious medieval menace to civilization. The Canadian NDP and Liberal parties wax poetic on the role of the green-bereted peacekeeper, nostalgic for a return to a world order without chaos and violence (which never existed), as though their wishes for brotherhood has any bearing on reality.

Recent reports that Canadian advisers travel with Iraqi and Kurdish troops in their advisory capacity and have as a result been found on occasion on the field of battle, calling in air strikes against the Islamic State, and on several occasions having to respond with sniper fire to deadly jihadist ambushes strikes the fear of "mission creep" into those docile souls dedicated to humanitarian aid as a Canadian mission, with the eschewing of any military component.

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Freedom: How Fares The World

"[Venezuela represents a] textbook case of political and economic dysfunction [ where a] toxic mixture of corruption, misrule and oil-price declines brought shortages, rampant inflation, and enhanced repression."

"Religious freedom is limited in Iran, whose population is largely Shiite Muslim but includes Sunni Muslim, Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian minorities. The Special Court for the Clergy investigates religious figures for alleged crimes and has generally been used to persecute clerics who stray from the official interpretation of Islam or criticize the supreme leader. Sunnis enjoy equal rights under the law but face discrimination in practice; there is no Sunni mosque in Tehran, and few Sunnis hold senior government posts. Sufi Muslims have also faced persecution by the authorities. Since the leader of the Sufi order Nematollahi Gonabadi was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to four years in prison, security forces have repeatedly clashed with members of the order in Gonabad and Kavar."
"The constitution recognizes Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians as religious minorities, and they are generally allowed to worship without interference, so long as they do not proselytize. Conversion by Muslims to a non-Muslim religion is punishable by death. Pressure on Christian converts and churches persisted in 2013. In May, plainclothes security forces arrested three Christian converts during a worship session in Isfahan. Also that month, the authorities shut down Iran’s oldest Persian-language Protestant church in Tehran and arrested one of its pastors. In August, a court upheld the eight-year prison sentence of Iranian-American Christian convert Saeed Abedini."
Freedom House, annual study

Brazil and other Latin American democracies were recognized as morally at fault for their failure to respond to "Venezuela's deterioration" other than "with silence". India and Indonesia were criticized by the Freedom House report for their failure to encourage a return to civilian rule in Thailand. Criticism for lack of neighbourly responsibility, since they're linked by association, and are seen to have a social-civil obligation to respond when their neighbourhood has been sullied and stifled.

In all, the report establishes its global search result that global freedom has seen a decline, with one-third of the world's population representing 2.6-billion people languishing in countries that are not deemed to be completely free. The state of freedom was evaluated in the annual study for 195 countries and 15 territories. The result was that 61 countries were determined to have become less free in 2014, while a mere 31 saw internal freedoms improve.

Pointing out the obviously inescapable, terrorism had a devastating impact in the Middle East and West Africa, where 'groups' massacred both security forces and civilians, where foreigners were taken hostage, and where slaughter took place with impunity and religious minorities were enslaved or killed.

Singled out for particular distinction were Syria with its civil war where the government forces were as brutal as the rebels they fought, and competing for mass atrocity distinctions with terrorist jihadists militias running amok in the region, notably Islamic State, ranking Syria among the world's worst countries for lack of freedom, let alone the opportunity to live out one's life.

Tunisia was held out as the shining example in the region, one Muslim country among many that has managed to live within the boundaries of civil social behaviour, despite unrest and political engagement in competing ideologies that has roiled other countries for whom Islam is their guiding principle and lodestar.

It passed the stress test with flying colours: democratic elections: check; new constitution; check; the sole North African country to represent the Arab world's only nation to gain the status of "Free". The rest of the Arab world appears to have, or be in the process of imploding. Africa and the Far East and Russia in Eastern Europe exemplars of failure on the freedom scale.

Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine received a particular citation giving Russia the "Not Free" status in view of ethnic groups opposing Russia's annexation were summarily deprived of their rights. The report specifically criticizes President Vladimir Putin and his government for its attitude toward dissenting views of government, along with its repression of gays.

The United States didn't escape unscathed, with mention of the CIA's terrorism suspects torture int he wake of 9/11, and protests in 2014 over police killings of unarmed black men: "the repeated failure of prosecutors to secure indictments of the officers responsible", received particular mention. Despite which, needless to say, the U.S. remains among the highest-ranked countries for freedom, alongside Canada.

That "Leaders of democracies compete for China's favour" is deplored. And the fact that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi "is treated as a strong ruler and partner in the fight against terrorism", more or less overlooks that without such benevolent dictators in highly flammable parts of the world, more carnage would be likely to erupt.

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Psychopaths: Society's Scourge

"This is the first information we have that shows they [psychopaths] don't understand the consequences of punishment. And like most of us, they are driven by reward."
"Punishment provides information that what you are doing is really not appreciated by those around you. Clearly, they don't use the information from punishment like everyone else does. The question is: why do they persist?"
"Their inability to use information from punishment to guide their behaviour [marks the difference between psychopaths and others committing grave crimes]. That's exactly the information [discovering innate motivation] we need to develop programs that target their deficits."
"Even with these extraordinarily simple tasks, their brains react completely differently than the violent offenders and the healthy men. We suspect this means they are not gleaning information about punishment and consequences."
Sheilagh Hodgins, professor, Universite de Montreal
Canadian killer Paul Bernardo is among those diagnosed with psychopathic personalities, meaning they lack empathy and are callous, glib, manipulative, shallow and violent.
KEVIN ARGUE   Canadian killer Paul Bernardo is among those diagnosed with psychopathic personalities, meaning they lack empathy and are callous, glib, manipulative, shallow and violent.

Academics in the fields of neurology, psychiatry and psychology already have amassed significant findings relating to the problem of psychopaths within society. It's an important issue to try to understand given the quite surprising number of psychopaths who haunt society anywhere in the world. Most psychopaths don't take the horrendous path of becoming serial or mass murderers, they simply inhabit society as a sinister force for ill, not as clearly defined as the criminals among them, but as individuals whose presence is a mild pestilence.

With the use of magnetic resonance imaging, researchers led by Professor Hodgins at King's College London, interpreted the brain characteristics of 60 men, eighteen of whom represented a control group of healthy non-offenders. The control group was compared to the violent convicts equipped with anti-social personality disorder. Among them a sub-group was identified of a dozen men meeting the criteria for psychopathy.

selfie
Men who share selfies online are more likely to exhibit psychopathic tendencies. That’s what researchers are saying after conducting a lengthy study on the link between selfie-taking and certain personality traits.
Their distinct personality traits have long been recognized; callousness, glibly capable of talking themselves out of problematical situations, or into self-serving situations, manipulative in an effort to achieve their ends, and coldly pathological liars who strike those with whom they come in contact as also charming people. Now, the study has concluded that the brains of psychopaths are hard-wired differently in other ways than those of other people who are not morally and ethically challenged.

To the extent that punishment for crimes make no impression on them, to inhibit their future criminal activities.

One in five jailed violent criminals is held to be genuinely psychopathic in comparison with their one percent presence in the general population. They are clearly more given to distinguishing themselves through their criminal actions disproportionately to their numbers in society, an unsurprising fact. The abnormalities in their brain structure result in lack of empathy for others, the ability to emotionally process their actions and their impact on others, in representing a deterrent to their actions.

The study appears to have linked those same brain regions deficient in empathy and personal responsibility to an inability [a disinterested unwillingness?] to learn from reward and punishment. One might think that the reward-and-punishment lessons congruent with behaviour would be addressed in the formative stages of a personality, while a child is learning to navigate the social world around him, and not necessarily with an adult's reaction to the recognition of crime's results.
What goes on inside the brain of a psychopath? One new study, the latest in a line of controversial recent research tackling that question, offers yet another clue about how the grey matter of individuals diagnosed with psychopathy — a complex personality disorder often characterized by impulsive behavior, lack of remorse, and antisocial tendencies — might be “hardwired” differently than those who don’t fit the profile.
Katie Drummond, The Verge
In the study the men were rewarded for their success in achieving good results in problem solving tasks that were quite simple; matching pictures while in the MRI scanners, as an example. Hard to believe that such simple tasks might elude the cleverly manipulative minds of men accustomed to deceiving others of their true intentions while balefully planning actions of malicious destruction.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Death By Extreme(ly Vicious) Misadventure

"Many thousands of members of the public, both British residents and visitors from overseas, might have been at risk from the radioactivity."
Robin Tam, Russian assassination plot inquiry lawyer

"It was an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city which put the lives of numerous other members of the public at risk."
"[The assassins had no knowledge of the deadly substance, or they] would have realized that they were leaving a trail of nuclear trace footprints that prove directly that it was them who committed the murder, almost as sure as the path of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel."
Ben Emmerson, Litvinenko family lawyer
660-Litvinenko-AP.jpg
FILE -- May 10, 2002 file photo of Alexander Litvinenko, Kremlin critic and author of the book "Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within", photographed at his home in London .  (AP Photo/Alistair Fuller, File)
"Andrey [Lugovoy, former KGB bodyguard] asked, 'Would you like anything?' I said, 'I don't want anything', and he said, 'OK, well, we're going to leave now anyway, so there is still some tea left here, if you want to, you can have some.'"
"And then the waiter went away, or I think Andrey asked for a clean cup and he brought it. He left, and when there was a cup, I poured some tea out of the teapot, although there was only a little left on the bottom and it made just half a cup."
"It was green tea with no sugar, and it was already cold, by the way. I didn't like it for some reason -- maybe in total I swallowed three or four times. I haven't even finished that cup."
Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB agent, living in London, November 2006

Alexander Litvinenko's job in Russia was to combat organized crime, working as a FSB officer. He accused his own agency of corruption and state-sponsored terrorism, and wrote two books chronicling what he stated had been his experience leading to his accusations; they were titled Blowing up Russia: Terror from Within, and Lubyanka Criminal Group. He fled Russia to take up domicile in Britain.

Some have suggested that the man was assassinated resulting from his research on the campaign against Yukos by the government. Following his death, the British police investigated Litvinenko's trip to Israel where he is held to have given information regarding the Russian oil company Yukos to the former deputy head of Yukos who had himself fled Russia to live in Tel Aviv. Material was said to have transferred hands including documentation on the deaths of former Yukos workers and information on the imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorevsky.

Alexander Litvinenko didn't have to finish that cup of tea he hadn't enjoyed sipping from, for it to kill him. And it wasn't the first time he had been slipped the deadly potion, but it took the second dose to turn him into a living corpse. A Russian "death squad" consisting of a former soldier and one former KGB agent known to Mr. Litvinenko and obviously trusted by him, were directed to murder him. It took 23 agonizing days of bodily disintegration for him to finally die.

Andrey Lugovoy and former soldier Dmitry Kovtun were named as the suspects in the death of Mr. Litvinenko, but they never never, unsurprisingly, expressed a desire to return to London to stand trial, and nor will Moscow render them for trial in London. Russia has long accused Britain of charging it unjustly and with no evidence whatever, in a grisly assassination. But then, where else but by state involvement would deadly radioactive material be obtained by a former KGB agent and a former soldier tasked to administer it to silence a Kremlin critic?

Robert Owen, a senior British judge heading the inquiry, described the murder as "a miniature nuclear attack on the streets of London." For the deadly substance appeared in trace form at every point on the London compass where the two suspects had visited, including the aircraft they had flown in on, both in October and November of 2006. Traces were found in the hotel where they stayed. Samples of Mr. Litvinenko's hair revealed that he had ingested polonium 210 twice, weeks apart.

Evidence has emerged that one of the suspects had asked a contact in Hamburg, Germany whether he knew a chef in London who might slip a "very expensive poison" into Mr. Litvinenko's food or a beverage. This was a very specialized 'poison'. Easily concealed for its alpha radiation can be contained, nor does it emit gamma radiation that might have been picked up by airport scanners.

The first time the two men whom Mr. Litvinenko had agreed to meet slipped a dose of the poison in a drink, he had vomited at home afterward, but felt he had somehow been exposed to transitory food poisoning. That was in October. A month later, the two men were more successful; they met again in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel where the men were staying. When Mr. Litvinenko fell seriously ill and was hospitalized, doctors were unable for weeks to diagnose his illness.

With no traces of gamma radiation they had already discounted radiation poisoning On a hunch, though, a sample of his urine was tested at the Atomic Weapons Establishment and the much rarer alpha radiation of the type emitted by gamma radiation was detected positively. And it was too late to administer any kind of remediating therapy; the dreadfully ill man simply continued on his inexorably and excruciating journey to death.

Acute Radiation Syndrome: The onset and type of symptoms depends on the radiation exposure. Relatively smaller doses result in gastrointestinal effects, such as nausea and vomiting, and symptoms related to falling blood counts, such as infection and bleeding. Relatively larger doses can result in neurological effects and rapid death. Treatment of acute radiation syndrome is generally supportive with blood transfusions and antibiotics, with some more aggressive treatments, such as bone marrow transfusions, being required in extreme cases.

Year Type Incident ARS fatalities ARS survivors Location
1945 criticality Harry K. Daghlian 1 0 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1946 criticality Pajarito accident (Louis Slotin) 1 2 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1957 alleged crime Nikolay Khokhlov assassination attempt[29] 0 1 Frankfurt, West Germany
1958 criticality Cecil Kelley criticality accident 1 0 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1961 reactor Soviet submarine K-19[30] 8 many North Atlantic, near Southern Greenland
1961 criticality SL-1 experimental reactor explosion 2 0 NRTS, near Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States
1962 orphan source radiation accident in Mexico City 4  ? Mexico City, Mexico
1968 reactor Soviet submarine K-27[31] 9 40 near Gremikha Bay, Russia
1985 reactor Soviet submarine K-431[32] 10 49 Chazhma Bay naval facility near Vladivostok, USSR
1985 radiotherapy Therac-25 radiation overdose accidents 3 3
1984 orphan source radiation accident in Morocco[33] 8 3 Mohammedia, Morocco
1986 reactor Chernobyl disaster 28 206 - 209 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukrainian SSR
1987 orphan source Goiânia accident[34] 4  ? Goiânia, Brazil
1990 radiotherapy radiotherapy accident in Zaragoza[35] 11  ? Zaragoza, Spain
1996 radiotherapy radiotherapy accident in Costa Rica[36] 7 to 20 46 San José, Costa Rica
1999 criticality Tokaimura nuclear accident 2  ? Tōkai, Ibaraki, Japan
2000 orphan source Samut Prakan radiation accident[37] 3 7 Samut Prakan Province, Thailand
2000 radiotherapy Instituto Oncologico Nacional accident[38][39] 3 to 7  ? Panama City, Panama
2006 crime Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko[29][40][41][42][43] 1 0 London, United Kingdom
2010 orphan source Mayapuri radiological accident[37] 1 7 Mayapuri, India

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 Aiding Gazan Palestinians

Gaza protest (file)
Video still capture:
Hundreds of protesters on Wednesday tried to storm the Gaza headquarters of the United Nations, an AFP correspondent said, after the UN announced it lacked funds to rebuild the enclave from the damage caused by Hamas's most recent terror war against Israel.

"Over 96,000 Palestine refugee family homes were damaged or destroyed during last summer’s conflict and US $720 million is required to address this need. To date, UNRWA has received only US $135 million in pledges, leaving a shortfall of US $585 million. While some funds remain available to begin the reconstruction of totally destroyed homes, UNRWA has exhausted all funding to support repairs and rental subsidies."
"It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming. …UNRWA has been a stabilizing factor in a very challenging political and security context and if we cannot continue the program, it will have grave consequences for affected communities in  Gaza."
Robert Turner, director, Gaza UNRWA

Just possibly, former donors, from Middle East nations to European and North American countries are experiencing donor fatigue for Gaza. For a territory ruled by terrorists who continually attack and goad a neighbour until repeated rocket attacks on nearby Israeli communities across the border from Gaza have utterly exhausted Israeli patience, and the nation sends in its military to put a stop to the attacks and the tunnelling enterprises enabling terrorists to gain the opportunity to attack vulnerable Israeli communities.

Not that Israel hasn't been permitting construction materials through the blockade, for it has. But it is also known that Hamas has continued its practise of commandeering building materials meant to be used to restore or rebuild destroyed dwellings and public institutions for a purpose it deems of far greater importance; the reconstruction of the destroyed tunnels. Egypt has experienced one too many attacks against its police and military in the Sinai and has responded by destroying Hamas tunnels there, as well.

And then there's the little-mentioned fact that was amply demonstrated that the United Nations body had as much as aided and abetted Hamas during the 50-day conflict between the IDF and the terrorist group when rockets and weapons were known to be stored in UN schools. And rockets fired off from areas around UN properties. Moreover UNRWA, when faced with criticism denied any involvement at any level in being of assistance to Hamas, though it was known to have handed over to Hamas weapons it had been forced by those revelations to clear out of its buildings.

The immediate result of UNRWA's admission that it had been unable to collect on the pledges by supporting nations to help rebuild Gaza, was a violent demonstration with Palestinians in the territory besieging the UN office in Gaza. As well, a senior Hamas official, Khalil al Hayya, gave warning that the delay in reconstruction funds would inspire future attacks: "Our message to a world that is afraid of terrorism and radicalism, is that preventing reconstruction, and the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip, will enable the rise of terrorists and extremists."


The Israeli Civil Administration, in its interaction on a day-to-day basis with the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank publishes lists and photographs of foods, medicines and daily goods inclusive of construction materials which are permitted entry into the Gaza Strip. The strict maritime blockade's purpose is quite distinct: to prevent the smuggling of weapons or construction materials meant to benefit the aims of Hamas in its pursuit of destroying the State of Israel.

The Gazan protesters responding to the UN announcement that it lacked funds to enable the rebuilding of the area, burned tires at the UN Gaza headquarters, threw rocks and shouted "We are still homeless!", a tragedy that would better have been directed at their Hamas overseers who miss few opportunities to lob their version of love letters over to Israel, in hopes of scoring some dead Israelis. Hamas eventually broke up the demonstration, when the protest appeared on the cusp of storming the building.

The $5.4-billion that had been pledged at the Cairo aid conference last October has quite simply failed to materialize. It's the kind of funding that would be almost irrelevant to an oil-rich country like Saudi Arabia, in aid of fellow Sunni Arabs. But that reconstruction and the easy amendment of the deliberate harm that Hamas brought to Gaza would only serve to validate the terrorist organization's fixed idea that the entire Arab and Muslim world supports their destructive mission, at any cost to the Gaza population.

While the plight of the Palestinians is quite dreadful, held in the unrelenting grip of an Islamist terrorist group that uses them as human shields whenever the spirit moves them to drive Israel to a reaction to constant bombardment, there is also the fact that the Palestinians in both Gaza and West Bank give huge support to Hamas and its end-stage ambitions, considering them heroic whenever a blow has succeeded in taking Israeli lives.

Until such time, should it ever arrive, that Palestinians recognize that their own compliance with and support of terrorism is self-defeating, perhaps compassion is a wasted emotion.

Confirmation that Hamas has been confiscating construction materials donated by the international community came through exiled Jordanian politician Mudar Zahran: "Aid earmarked for reconstruction is turning up on the Hamas controlled black market, where it is being sold at premium prices." Financial aid funnelled through Hamas to benefit the Gaza population has been used toward weapons acquisition and military salaries, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

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Gatestone Institute


Europe's policies of encouraging groups such as Hamas, which constantly espouse violence, demolishes the Palestinian effort to achieve a responsible Palestinian state that finally could end the conflict with Israel.
The West has been duped. The French have naïvely taken the bait: they now associate Palestinian "Resistance" with the courageous French underground Résistance that fought the Germans in World War II. They incorrectly assume that the Palestinian "Resistance' must be a good thing, too.
But the Palestinian Resistance bears no resemblance to the French Résistance of Word War II. There is no way to compare them. The Palestinian "Resistance" is nothing more than terrorist organizations repressing their own people. They do not resist an evil force; they are an evil force.
The truth is that the Europeans do not really care about the Palestinians, only about destroying Israel.
Now the International Criminal Court is planning to investigate Israel because it had the gall to defend itself against terrorism, while what did Europe do? Europe, in the face of terrorism, invited every terrorist-sponsoring dictator to join it in a march to protest the very murders that these dictators had paid for.
There is no difference between Hamas's aspirations to be "liberated from the Zionist occupation," and radical Islam's aspirations to be liberated from the "Christian occupation" of Europe.
All "Resistance" should be against radical Islam as embodied by groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic State, among others. They are the ones we should resist. They should not be allowed to rule us in some Islamist "Palestinian State."
Europeans, both civilians and law enforcement personnel, may well be on tenterhooks, wondering what thousands of young Muslim men and women, who left their countries of origin to join the Islamist terrorist organizations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Africa, will do when they return. Europeans have reason to be concerned: many of the returning jihadists were trained to murder civilians.

When they come back to the countries to which their parents fled to escape the political and economic distress of the Arab and Muslim world, many of these mujahideen plan to kill their hosts in the name of extremist Islam. They will call their hosts "infidels," and kill them for the "crime" of not being Muslims.

Although Western countries mistakenly turn the spotlight on the Middle East, the real danger is in their own backyards. Thousands of young men are still being brainwashed by imams in mosques throughout Europe. Those who return from Syria and Iraq operate openly -- organizing, and waiting for orders – all in the name of freedom of expression.

When these orders come, bombs and rifles will not require trips to the Middle East; they have already been put in place.

The imams in the mosques and the Muslim field operatives hide behind democracy's ideology, its freedom of speech and worship, its individual liberty and pluralism – just as Muhammad did during the days of jahiliyya (the period of ignorance before Islam), when he began spreading Islam in a polytheistic Mecca -- which also allowed freedom of speech at that time.

Conditions for Islamic activity in Europe are perfect. The West has only good intentions: it desires to integrate its Muslims socially and economically. Yes, most Muslims are not terrorists, but that most terrorists are Muslims is slowly being internalized by a public suffering from naiveté and a serious lack of understanding of radical, violent Islam.

The refusal of people in the West to believe that extremist Muslims are serious when they state that their plan is to take over the world and impose sharia on it, may possibly be the result of fear -- either of physical, financial or political harm -- or possibly of political correctness. At best it blurs, and at worst conceals, radical Islam's intentions. Anyone who does reveal these intentions is condemned an "Islamophobe" a "racist" or accused of "hate speech."

These accusations are specifically designed to neutralize all opposition before it begins. The Westerners do not understand the Islamists' plan of action. Accusations make them helpless; their helplessness is broadcast to the Islamists. The Islamists then smell blood in the water and ratchet up their demands and murderous activities even more.

The most serious problem of the Western intelligence agencies is that most of their agents do not understand Arabic. This shortcoming makes it impossible to follow the nuances of both the imams and the field operatives. Worse yet, the Westerners seem not understand the Arabic mentality. The imams and operatives work ceaselessly and with great sophistication in their communities to accelerate the process of isolation and alienation. They nurture the poverty-stricken Muslims' sense of deprivation and rejection. They whip up a fabric of Islamist success. They talk about the partial victories of the Islamist terror organizations in the Middle East. They glorify the reputation of terrorism, and they instill a fear of radical Islam as a threatening rising power.

A Salafist demonstration in Solingen, Germany on May 1, 2012, moments before it degenerated into a violent riot. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

While radical Islam has been gaining strength and influence, Europe has been increasingly helpless regarding its Christian and Jewish populations, and has been seriously demonizing its Jews.

As Islamists increase in both numbers and power, they become more feared, more violent, and more attractive to young, neglected and marginalized Muslim youths, attracted to their power and happily recruited to a new "home."

The only active reaction in the West is the rise of various groups that say they will return Islam to what they say is its proper place. The patience of these groups seems to be wearing thin; a violent clash seems possible.

It is unfortunate that neither the radical Islamist ideologues nor the leaders of the moderate Muslim world understand either Europe's pluralist spirit or the damage they are doing by increasing this tension. A clash will harm most those Muslims living in Europe who seek nothing more than a normal life.

Sadly, the Muslim states that sponsor and incite global terrorism -- Sunni Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as Shi'ite Iran and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah -- are now paving the way for the destruction of their own Islamic communities in Europe, in the name of a regressive and extremist Islam.

To pour oil on the flames of the European protestors, Turkey's President Erdogan is now hinting that Europe and Israel are to blame for the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket massacres in Paris, while the Egyptian Mufti has threatened Europe with hellfire and a bloodbath if cartoons "insulting the prophet" continue to be published.

The moderates in the Islamic communities in Europe understand the tragedy waiting in the wings for Muslim-Christian peaceful coexistence, and have made efforts to condemn the extremists responsible for them. But their voices are often too weak to be heard. These brave, non-extremist imams and neighborhood leaders know that terrorist operatives often attack as "infidels" anyone who dares to condemn their actions. They are understandably afraid of what will happen to them if they openly oppose violence and incitement.

Meanwhile, as Europe's economy disintegrates, immigrants, most of them Muslims from Turkey and Africa, continue to flood into Europe. As the indoctrination of hatred toward the West continues to escalate, no European country – or even the United States -- has found a way to keep radical, violent Islamist indoctrinations out of its mosques, community centers and hiding places.

Europeans so badly want to believe that the legacy of Islam is free from incitement to violence against the West. They hold close the notion that a non-violent Islam exists, which will not turn the Islamic legacy into a model for violence and terrorism. A non-violent, non-extremist Islam does exist, but it is not the one being marketed by charlatan imams and other extremist operatives pretending to be "moderate."

The West has been duped. Billions of dollars, including the laundered proceeds of crime, have been sent from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, to fund incitement and terrorist activities in schools, universities, and radical Islamic charities and institutions in the West. The governments of the West have been victimized and tricked by oil money, Islamic sophistry, voter blocs and political correctness.

By sticking its head in the sand and not taking legitimate steps, which indeed may occasionally impinge on some individual rights, to preserve the right to life, the West keeps itself and its population from understanding the real threat posed by extremist Islam. If Europe wants to take the necessary steps to protect itself, it is losing the race.

It does not take a prophet to see what is coming, or even a simple observer such as Libya's late leader, Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, who said that Europe would fall to the Muslims without a shot being fired.

The truth is, to understand how Europe is deteriorating and careening towards self-destruction, one should look at the limp-wristed policy of appeasement used by the EU in general, and France in particular, when dealing with the conflicts in the Middle East -- the years of dedicated cynicism, corruption, cowardice and the distortion of the truth in the service of narrow, short-term self-interests.

Europe's policies harm first the Palestinians because they encourage radical organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and now the Islamic State [IS], which halt progress towards a Palestinian state. When Europe claims that Hamas is a "legitimate resistance organization" -- rather than a vicious, terrorist organization with no recognizable standard of ethical behavior or morality -- it torpedoes all chances of creating a decently governed State of Palestine -- one that will not be ruled, now or in the future, by rampaging Islamist terrorists.

Like it or not -- and frankly this author does not -- the last bulwark keeping radical Islamism from engulfing Europe is Israel. Nevertheless, for decades France has supported the Arab-Muslim world against Israel, the result of latent and not-so-latent anti-Semitism, oil, and most of all, the political pressure of its indoctrinated Islamic community.

France's hypocrisy and treachery are famous throughout history. In its weakness, France tries to curry favor with the Arabs and radical Islam, thereby inviting blackmail and setting the table for its own submission.

In view of the conduct of Europe in general, and France in particular, it should come as no surprise that by yoking us Palestinians like farm animals to our leaders, who are the real beasts, they are betraying the Palestinians.

Europe's policies of encouraging groups such as Hamas, which constantly espouse violence, demolishes the Palestinian effort to achieve a responsible Palestinian state that finally could end the conflict with Israel.

The French have naïvely taken the bait: they now associate the Palestinian "Resistance" with the courageous French underground Résistance, which fought the Germans during World War II. As they admire the French Résistance, they incorrectly assume that the Palestinian "Resistance" must be a good thing, too.

But, as they well know, there is no way to compare them. The Palestinian "Resistance" is nothing more than terrorist organizations repressing their own people. They do not resist an evil force; they are an evil force.

The problem is that in setting up the Arabs to get rid of the Jews -- so the Europeans can pretend to themselves that they had nothing to do with it -- the people they are hurting are not only the Jews and Palestinians. By encouraging Hamas, Islamic Jihad and now even the Islamic State in the region, they are obtusely hurting themselves.

That is why overtly and covertly, the French hypocritically support Palestinian terrorism instead of supporting genuine efforts for a peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are betting on the wrong pony.

That is also why the French support the UN and UNRWA, which perpetuate the Palestinian problem, instead of demanding that the Arab states, where many of the Palestinians reside, absorb them, grant them citizenship and set them free. The truth is that they do not really care about the Palestinians, only about destroying Israel. That is why the European Union so easily removed Hamas from its terrorist list. Similar to this was the French decision unilaterally to recognize the "State of Palestine" -- despite the fact that the Palestinian national consensus government is made up of Hamas and the PLO. Both are unrepentant terrorist organizations. Both not only openly incite terrorism and violence and call for Israel's extinction, but also train their own children for nothing but violence when they are not using them as cannon fodder. All that would seem to show what France really cares about, and it has nothing to do with free speech, democracy, good governance and least of all the well-being of the Palestinians. The only thing it is clear they care about is getting rid of the Jews.

France's hypocrisy in calling the Israelis "occupiers" ignores the fact that Israel did not invade, conquer and occupy a Palestinian state: there never has been a Palestinian state. France also ignores the fact that in fairness, the Israelis have never said they wish to destroy the Palestinian people, while, to be frank, every day we Palestinians speak and make plans about how we will destroy Israel.

France further ignores the fact that that so-called Palestinian "resistance" -- in the form of the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Resistance Committees -- has, since its inception and throughout its history, done nothing but murder and maim Jewish civilians.

Now, in new summits of hypocrisy, the International Criminal Court [ICC] is planning to investigate Israel for war crimes because it had the gall to defend itself against terrorism, while what did Europe do? Europe -- in the face of slaughter, bloodshed and atrocities committed by extremist Muslims -- invited every terrorist-sponsoring dictator to join it in a march to protest the very murders that these dictators had paid for.

Europe dozes as the Palestinian terrorist organizations continue their ceaseless efforts to destroy the Palestinians, as well as Israel and the Jews. Then Europe awakens periodically to support the Palestinian "Resistance," which bears no resemblance whatever to the French Résistance of World War II.

An Arab proverb says, "a dog will have a crooked tail even if you put it in splints for forty years." There is no difference between Hamas's aspirations to be "liberated from the Zionist occupation," and radical Islam's aspirations to be liberated from the "Christian occupation" in Europe -- from France to Andalusia to Vienna -- to enable Islam to take over the world.
The willingness of the French to view terrorism, whether Palestinian or Hezbollah, as "legitimate Resistance" is an all-time low.

No terrorism is legitimate: Not terrorism against Jews, not terrorism against Palestinians, not terrorism against Christians in the Middle East and not terrorism against cartoonists in France. For the sake of the future State of Palestine, all "Resistance" should be against radical Islam, as embodied by groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State, among others. They are the ones we should resist. They should not be allowed to rule us in some Islamist "Palestinian State."
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.
Related Topics:  Bassam Tawil

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Originally published under the title "Shame and scandal in Saudi Arabia."

There is a disgraceful spectacle unfolding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which some of the leading lights of the West are playing the role of medieval court jesters, singing platitudes to tyrants in a demonstration of subservience that shames the rest of us.

Ostensibly, the American, British, French and other European leaders travelled to the medieval monstrosity we call Saudi Arabia to offer condolences to the family of the late King Abdullah.

But the reality is different. They are there because the Saudis have money and oil.
On one hand the West claims it is fighting to destroy Islamic State (ISIS), yet it strengthens its ties with the very people who have spent an estimated $100 billion to spread Wahhabism, the foundational Islamist creed of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the Taliban.
The West is strengthening ties with the very people who have spent an estimated $100 billion spreading the foundational Islamist creed of ISIS.

How such statesmen and personalities of the free world as President Barack Obama, Prince Charles, French President Francois Hollande, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury could be taken in by the Saudis is mind-boggling.

But the hypocrisy and chicanery of Western leaders has not gone unnoticed.
Alastair Crooke the former MI-6 agent and author of the book, Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution, has been trying to educate Western Liberals.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Crooke says, "You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia."

Saying there is little difference between the Saudis the West supposedly admires and the Islamic State (ISIS) it is fighting, the former MI6 agent explains his argument by citing a historic slaughter the Saudis and their ISIS-like allies of the time committed:
Their (Saudi) strategy — like that of ISIS today — was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear ...
In 1801, the Allies (Saudis and Wahhabis) attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children ... A British official, Lieutenant Francis Warden, observing the situation at the time, wrote: 'They pillaged the whole of it (Karbala) ... slaying in the course of the day, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, above 5,000 of the inhabitants...'
While Crooke relied on history and his knowledge of the area to nudge Western leaders out of their intoxicated slumber, English author and former Conservative MP Louise Mensch launched a tirade on Twitter to express the feelings of millions of us in the West who felt betrayed by their leaders.
Liberal blogger Raif Badawi, perhaps the number one enemy of ISIS in the Kingdom, will be subjected to ritual torture by the Saudi state.
Mensch was furious when Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" by the Saudi king's death while Obama's boasted of his "friendship" with him.

She tweeted: "F--- you Saudi Arabia and shame on the supine male leaders of the West @David_Cameron @BarackObama #Freethe4 #JeSuisFemme".
The hashtag #Freethe4 was in reference to the four daughters of King Abdullah whom the Saudi tyrant had imprisoned under house arrest for many years.

As Western leaders lined up to pay homage to a new dictator in Riyadh, they pretended they didn't know that just two weeks before his death, Abdullah's government had lashed liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi 50 times for the "crime" of defending atheists. Up to 950 more lashes could await the brave Badawi.

While Prime Minister Stephen Harper also praised Abdullah upon his death, at least he knows cola in a can is the same thing as cola in a bottle.
Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.
Related Topics:  Radical Islam, Saudi Arabia, US policy  |  Tarek Fatah

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The Imaginary Islamic Radical

The Imaginary Islamic Radical


iraqstill

The debate over Islamic terrorism has shifted so far from reality that it has now become an argument between the administration, which insists that there is nothing Islamic about ISIS, and critics who contend that a minority of Islamic extremists are the ones causing all the problems.
But what makes an Islamic radical, extremist? Where is the line between ordinary Muslim practice and its extremist dark side?
It can’t be beheading people in public.
 
Saudi Arabia just did that and was praised for its progressiveness by the UN Secretary General, had flags flown at half-staff in the honor of its deceased tyrant in the UK and that same tyrant was honored by Obama, in preference to such minor events as the Paris Unity March and the Auschwitz commemoration.

It can’t be terrorism either. Not when the US funds the PLO and three successive administrations invested massive amounts of political capital into turning the terrorist group into a state. While the US and the EU fund the Palestinian Authority’s homicidal kleptocracy; its media urges stabbing Jews.

Clearly that’s not Islamic extremism either. At least it’s not too extreme for Obama.
If blowing up civilians in Allah’s name isn’t extreme, what do our radicals have to do to get really radical?

Sex slavery? The Saudis only abolished it in 1962; officially. Unofficially it continues. Every few years a Saudi bigwig gets busted for it abroad. The third in line for the Saudi throne was the son of a “slave girl”.

Ethnic cleansing? Genocide? The “moderate” Islamists we backed in Syria, Libya and Egypt have been busy doing it with the weapons and support that we gave them. So that can’t be extreme either.
If terrorism, ethnic cleansing, sex slavery and beheading are just the behavior of moderate Muslims, what does a Jihadist have to do to be officially extreme? What is it that makes ISIS extreme?

Our government’s definition of moderate often hinges on a willingness to negotiate regardless of the results. The moderate Taliban were the ones willing to talk us. They just weren’t willing to make a deal. Iran’s new government is moderate because it engages in aimless negotiations while pushing its nuclear program forward and issuing violent threats, instead of just pushing and threatening without the negotiations. Nothing has come of the negotiations, but the very willingness to negotiate is moderate.

The Saudis would talk to us all day long while they continued sponsoring terrorists and setting up terror mosques in the West. That made them moderates. Qatar keeps talking to us while arming terrorists and propping up the Muslim Brotherhood. So they too are moderate. The Muslim Brotherhood talked to us even while its thugs burned churches, tortured protesters and worked with terrorist groups in the Sinai.

A radical terrorist will kill you. A moderate terrorist will talk to you and then kill someone else. And you’ll ignore it because the conversation is a sign that they’re willing to pretend to be reasonable.
From a Muslim perspective, ISIS is radical because it declared a Caliphate and is casual about declaring other Muslims infidels. That’s a serious issue for Muslims and when we distinguish between radicals and moderates based not on their treatment of people, but their treatment of Muslims, we define radicalism from the perspective of Islamic supremacism, rather than our own American values.

The position that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and Al Qaeda is extreme because the Brotherhood kills Christians and Jews while Al Qaeda kills Muslims is Islamic Supremacism. The idea of the moderate Muslim places the lives of Muslims over those of every other human being on earth.

Our Countering Violent Extremism program emphasizes the centrality of Islamic legal authority as the best means of fighting Islamic terrorists. Our ideological warfare slams terrorists for not accepting the proper Islamic chain of command. Our solution to Islamic terrorism is a call for Sharia submission.

That’s not an American position. It’s an Islamic position and it puts us in the strange position of arguing Islamic legalism with Islamic terrorists. Our politicians, generals and cops insist that the Islamic terrorists we’re dealing with know nothing about Islam because that is what their Saudi liaisons told them to say.

It’s as if we were fighting Marxist terrorist groups by reproving them for not accepting the authority of the USSR or the Fourth International. It’s not only stupid of us to nitpick another ideology’s fine points, especially when our leaders don’t know what they’re talking about, but our path to victory involves uniting our enemies behind one central theocracy. That’s even worse than arming and training them, which we’re also doing (but only for the moderate genocidal terrorists, not the extremists).

Secretary of State Kerry insists that ISIS are nihilists and anarchists. Nihilism is the exact opposite of the highly structured Islamic system of the Caliphate. It might be a more accurate description of Kerry. But the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood successfully sold the Western security establishment on the idea that the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism was by denying any Islamic links to its actions.

This was like an arsonist convincing the fire department that the best way to fight fires was to pretend that they happened randomly on their own through spontaneous combustion.

Victory through denial demands that we pretend that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. It’s a wholly irrational position, but the alternative of a tiny minority of extremists is nearly as irrational.

If ISIS is extreme and Islam is moderate, what did ISIS do that Mohammed did not?
The answers usually have a whole lot to do with the internal structures of Islam and very little to do with such pragmatic things as not raping women or not killing non-Muslims.

Early on we decided to take sides between Islamic tyrants and Islamic terrorists, deeming the former moderate and the latter extremists. But the tyrants were backing their own terrorists. And when it came to human rights and their view of us, there wasn’t all that much of a difference between the two.

It made sense for us to put down Islamic terrorists because they often represented a more direct threat, but allowing the Islamic tyrants to convince us that they and the terrorists followed two different brands of Islam and that the only solution to Islamic terrorism lay in their theocracy was foolish of us.

We can’t win the War on Terror through their theocracy. That way lies a real Caliphate.
Our problem is not the Islamic radical, but the inherent radicalism of Islam. Islam is a radical religion. It radicalizes those who follow it. Every atrocity we associate with Islamic radicals is already in Islam. The Koran is not the solution to Islamic radicalism, it is the cause.

Our enemy is not radicalism, but a hostile civilization bearing grudges and ambitions.
We aren’t fighting nihilists or radicals. We are at war with the inheritors of an old empire seeking to reestablish its supremacy not only in the hinterlands of the east, but in the megalopolises of the west.

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Israel hits back for broad Hizballah offensive from Mt. Dov (Shaaba Farms). Several IDF casualties

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis January 28, 2015, 12:53 PM (IDT)
Israel forces on the ready on the Golan
Israel forces on the ready on the Golan
A broad military clash between Iran-backed Hizballah and Israel erupted on Israel’s northern borders Wednesday, Jan. 28, after heavy coordinated Katyusha rocket-mortar attacks from a Hizballah outpost at Mt. Dov (disputed Shaaba Farms) inflicted multiple casualties on IDF troops. As Israel fought back with heavy fire on Hizballah and associated targets the length of South Lebanon, residents of Metula and other border locations were ordered to stay indoors and keep their doors and windows shut; tourists warned to stay out of the region and road traffic halted. Israeli massed military strength in border areas after moving figures on the Lebanese side were feared preparing to cross the border for terrorist attacks on abductions under cover of fire.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on his way to an urgent, top-level security conference warned: “My advice is not to test us!”

debkafile: Israel is determined to ward off Iranian and Hizballah plans for a war of attrition..
Mt. Dov (Shabaa Farms) is a small mountainous strip of land disputed between Israel and Hizballah at the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli borders adjacent to the Golan in the north. It is about 11km long and 2.5 km wide.

debkafile reported Wednesday morning:
Expanding its responses to missile fire from the Syrian Golan, Israeli fighter jets went into action Tuesday night, Jan. 27, as warning sirens blared for a second rocket attack in the northern Golan villages of Odem, Al-Rom. Buq’ata, Majd el-Shams, Masaada. Neve Ativ, Nimrod and Ain Kanya. The search for rocket fragments began at first light Wednesday and continues.

Israeli jets targeted the Syrian artillery position in the Quneitra region, shelled by Israel Tuesday afternoon after a four-rocket volley was directed at northern Golan and the adjoining Hermon ski resort without causing casualties. This Quneitra position is manned by the Syrian army’s 90th Brigade with the Syrian Popular Army militiamen deployed nearby. That militia is under construction by Iran as a Syrian facsimile of its Revolutionary Guards.

debkafile’s military sources report that Israel was standing by for a repeat of the first rocket attack by pro-Iranian elements on the Golan, including Hizballah - especially after the dire warnings of retaliation issued earlier Tuesday by Tehran – and so the Israeli air force was ready to react fast. The way is now open for both sides to escalate – or draw back.

debkafile reported earlier that Tehran had Tuesday adopted two synchronous courses for getting back at Israel for the Jan. 18 air strike near Quneitra which killed an Iranian general and six Hizballah officers: Iraqi Shiite militiamen posted on the Syrian Golan along with Hizballah fighters sent four rockets winging towards Mt. Hermon while some 1,600 people were skiing on its slopes: Two landed and exploded on the Israel side of the demarcation line - one near the skiers and the other outside Kibbutz Merom Hagolan. None caused casualties or damage.

Israeli forces stationed along the Syrian and Lebanese borders went on top readiness, a level still in force. Overhead, Israeli planes and other aerial vehicles were on 24-hour patrol.

In Tehran, two high Iranian officials Tuesday warned Israel to await retaliation.
Dep. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said: "We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act," adding, "Israel crossed our red lines."
He spoke at a commemoration ceremony for the Iranian general Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi who was slain on the Syrian Golan a week ago.

In this warning, the Iranian official introduced two new features: Tehran has never before set red lines for Israeli military action; neither have the Iranians ever admitted to relaying a warning to Israel through Washington – at least not in public.

The Islamic Republic was saying in effect that it is not only acting in concert with the Obama administration over a nuclear accord, but the two powers will also be aligned against any potential Israel military action against Iran that is intended to upset the nuclear accord unfolding between Washington and Tehran.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to comment on “private diplomatic contacts with Iran” beyond saying that no threat was delivered to Israel in the latest round of nuclear talks.
"We absolutely condemn any such threats that come in any form," Psaki told reporters.

Then, Tuesday night, The Revolutionary Guards’ acting commander, Gen. Hossein Salami, vowed that Iran would “retaliate soon.”

debkafile’s military sources do not rule out Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militias posted to Syria, together with Hizballah, possibly escalating attacks on Israel from the Syrian Golan in the days to come. Such attacks are unlikely at this stage to form a continuous campaign but would rather be sporadic, their purpose being to maintain a high level of military tension and keep Israel on constant alert and on edge.

On the diplomatic front, Tehran will continue the effort disclosed Tuesday to drag the US and the Obama administration into involvement in the ongoing crisis, to make sure Israel’s hands are tied against major responses to its harassments.

So Jen Psaki had every reason to express great concern about the future of the ceasefire along Israel’s borders with Syria.

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