Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mysterious Sudan Strike

Sudanese President and sleazeball war criminal Omar

Sudan is a "dangerous terrorist state," a top Israeli defence official said after the Sudanese government accused Israel of carrying out a deadly missile strike on a military factory in Khartoum.

Sudanese officials say the attack on the Yarmouk facility south of Khartoum, which took place at around midnight on Tuesday and killed two people, was carried out by four radar-evading aircraft.
Israel, which has long accused Khartoum of serving as a base of support for militants from the Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza, has refused all comment on the claim.

"Sudan is a dangerous terrorist state. To know exactly what happened (there), it will take some time to understand," Amos Gilad told Israel's army radio.  Asked directly whether Israel was involved in the attack, Gilad, who serves as director of policy and political-military affairs at the defence ministry, refused to reply directly.

The Israeli air force, he noted, was "one of the most prestigious in the world, a fact which had been proved many times in the past. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is regarded a war criminal. Sudan has also served as the operational base for (the late Al-Qaeda chief Osama) bin Laden," Gilad pointed out.

"The regime is supported by Iran and it serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists," he told the radio.

Khartoum has said it found evidence of Israeli involvement among the remnants of the explosives at the blast site. "We think Israel did the bombing," Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said, adding: "We reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose."

It is not the first mystery blast which has prompted allegations of Israeli involvement.
[France 24]


Sudan Strike - A Blow to Iran -Yaakov Lappin

Sudan has been a central transit point for Iranian arms headed to Gaza. Israel has remained officially silent, but if Israeli planes did fly 1,900 km. to the Sudanese capital to bomb a rocket factory, the move could represent a major blow to Iranian efforts to smuggle arms into Gaza, and contain a demonstrable threat to Tehran of what may occur if it continues to develop nuclear weapons.

With Iran's nuclear sites roughly the same distance from Israel, an air strike in Khartoum would demonstrate Israel's long-range capabilities, and make the military threat on the table that much more tangible.
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Iran Will "Dash To The Nuclear Finish Line"

Countdown to the Red Line in Iran -Reuel Marc Gerecht & Mark Dubowitz

Iran's oil exports have been halved by economic sanctions, but that still leaves the regime with around $50 billion in oil income this year, according to calculations by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Nevertheless, the Iranian economy has taken a substantial hit from sanctions. Tehran's recent currency restrictions were also a warning: In all probability the regime is battening down the hatches, husbanding foreign-exchange reserves, and preparing for a long ordeal.

Given the progress that Tehran has already made with its nuclear plans - still-hidden centrifuge manufacturing plants, enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow, a likely weaponization facility at Parchin, and an extensive ballistic-missile program - the regime faces a short, relatively inexpensive dash to the nuclear finish line.
(Wall Street Journal)

Would Hizbullah and Hamas Join Iran in a War Against Israel? -Ehud Eilam

There is a prevalent view that in the event of an Israeli strike on Iran, Tehran's proxies in Lebanon and Gaza - Hizbullah and Hamas - would join in retaliation against Israel. A more likely scenario is that those groups' participation will be limited at best. Hizbullah must consider its crumbling support from the weakened Assad regime, as well as popular opposition within Lebanon to its role in a military conflict with Israel. Hamas' recent feud with Iran over the group's lack of support for the Assad regime could render it reluctant to assist in the fight against Israel.
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Hamas Rockets Rain on Southern Israel

Gaza rocket being fired into Israel. 
Note that they are being fired from civilian areas in the city center

Injured Israeli being evacuated to Beersheba. 


Hamas Launches New Rocket Offensive Against Israel -Barry Rubin

In 12 hours during the night and early morning of October 23-24, Hamas and its allies launched 68 rockets and also mortar shells [B's note: that number has increased to 80 rockets in 24 hours]

Iron Dome anti-missile missiles brought down 7 of them. Two foreign workers on Israeli farms were critically wounded; three or four others were lightly wounded; and several houses were damaged. Israeli civilians were told to stay near shelters and schools were closed. Earlier, a roadside bomb seriously injured an Israeli officer.

Israeli military forces hit two rocket-firing teams, an area from which launchers were firing, and tunnels used to smuggle in rocket motors. Similar short-term heavy barrages took place in March and June. Hamas sources reported three dead, two of them Hamas soldiers.

There are two important factors in this latest offensive. First, the attacks from Hamas and the smaller groups it allows to operate from the Gaza Strip are increasing. Second, an emboldened Hamas is now more directly involved in these operations.

This trend is a direct result of the fact that Hamas now feels secure in that its Muslim Brotherhood allies are governing Egypt and allowing more, and apparently more advanced, military equipment to enter the Gaza Strip.

The danger is that as the Brotherhood consolidates power in Cairo and Hamas becomes even more confident it will at some point open a war against Israel. Such a conflict would bring even more Brotherhood-Hamas cooperation and such things as escalated attacks across the Egypt-Israel border and the entry of Egyptian volunteers into the fighting.
[The Rubin Report]

Five houses suffered direct hits. School has been suspended in the area and [Israeli] residents within 10 km. of Gaza were instructed to remain inside fortified spaces.
(Ynet News)


Israel to UN: Silence on Gaza Rockets Gives Terror a Green Light
-Joshua Davidovich

Israel's ambassador to the UN called on the Security Council to issue a statement condemning fire from Gaza after more than 80 rockets slammed into southern Israel over a single day. Ron Prosor warned Security Council members that if they don't condemn the rocket attacks, Hamas and other terrorists will interpret the silence "as a green light for terror."
(Times of Israel)

Why Hamas Feels Confident Enough to Fire Rockets at Israel
-Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas' involvement in the current rocket and mortar attacks on Israel is a sign of its growing sense of confidence, especially in the wake of the visit to Gaza of the emir of Qatar. Hamas knows that it also enjoys the support of many Arabs and Muslims thanks to the Arab Spring, including the full backing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

Hamas feels confident that Morsi would not remain idle if Israel retaliated against the rocket fire with a massive military operation in Gaza. The least that Hamas expects from Morsi in response to such an operation would be to sever Egypt's diplomatic ties with Israel.

Hamas has to prove to its critics and political rivals that it has not abandoned the "armed resistance against the Zionist enemy."
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Beginning of the End

Islamic Awakening Is Not a Revolution -Hussein Agha & Robert Malley
  • Everywhere, Israel faces the rise of Islam, of militancy, of radicalism. Former allies are gone; erstwhile foes reign supreme. But the Islamists have different and broader objectives. They wish to promote their Islamic project, which means consolidating their rule where they can, refraining from alienating the West, and avoiding perilous and precocious clashes with Israel.
  • The quest to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state was never at the heart of the Islamist project. Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood, harbors grander, less territorially confined but also less immediately achievable designs. They can live with a range of transient arrangements: an interim agreement; a long-term truce, or hudna; a possible West Bank confederation with Jordan, with Gaza moving toward Egypt. All will advance the further Islamization of Palestinian society.
  • Israel fears the Islamic awakening. But the more immediate threat could be to the Palestinian national movement. There is no energy left in the independence project; associated with the old politics and long-worn-out leaderships, it has expended itself.
  • Islamists prospered in opposition because they could blame others; they could suffer in power because others will blame them. Dilute their domestic and foreign agenda, and they may well lose their rank-and-file; pursue it and they will alienate non-Islamists and the West. Postpone the struggle against Israel, and their rhetoric will appear disconnected from their policy; wage it, and their policy will appear dangerous to their new allies in the West.
  • If they explain that their moderation is tactical, they will expose themselves; stay silent and they will confuse the base. The power of political Islam flowed chiefly from not exercising it. Its recent successes could signal the eve of its decline.

    How much simpler was life on the other side.
(New York Review of Books)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Arab Israeli Woman Loves Israel

Boshra Khalaila

Telling Israel Like It Is - in Arabic -Philippe Assouline
  • Boshra Khalaila [pictured], a secular, independent and patriotic Israeli Arab woman, grew up in the Arab village of Deir Hana, in the Galilee. Her first contact with Jewish Israelis came at age 18 when she enrolled in Haifa University. "I am married and doing a master’s degree [in Tel Aviv]. I am a liberal, free woman, with all the rights that I could enjoy. I compare myself to other women my age in Jordan, the territories, Egypt, any Arab country. They don't have the rights that I have: freedom of expression, the right to vote. They are forced into marriage at a young age, and religious head covering, despite their own convictions. With me it's the opposite; I have everything."
  • When I asked her why she feels the need to speak up for Israel so publicly, she answered: "To sacrifice from myself for the country that I live in and that gives me rights, that's a natural price."
  • Boshra was part of a team of five people, including another Israeli Arab and a Druze, who were sent to South Africa with "Faces of Israel" during Israel Apartheid Week. "I study in the same educational institutions, ride the same buses, shop in the same supermarkets. Everything that they say is absolutely false. And I do feel that I belong to my country."
  • At an Islamic, Arabic-language radio station in Johannesburg, the interviewer, a religious Saudi man, asked her why Israel doesn't let Muslims pray or go to Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. "I told them that in my own small village in the Galilee there are not only one but two mosques and two imams who both get a monthly salary from the state. The interviewer was in shock. I added that I could go pray at Al Aqsa mosque at will, freely."
  • "I said to him: 'In Saudi Arabia, can a woman drive a car?' He said no. I said: 'I can.' And he was silent. I asked: 'Can a woman in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia meet a man and get to know him before getting married or is she just forced into marriage at a young age?' He said no, she can't. I said: 'I can.'"
  • Boshra does not identify with the Palestinians, nor would she move to a Palestinian state were it ever to arise.
(Times of Israel)
[Hat Tip: Linda F]


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Atomic Bread

Iranians Are Beginning to Panic Amid Rising Costs 

Iranians are beginning to panic about the deteriorating economic situation.
Pensioner Kamal G., 73, purchased a kilogram of minced meat for over 200,000 rials ($16), more than double what he paid two months ago. Chicken moved out of his price range a couple of weeks ago.

"Soon I will be spreading atomic energy on my bread," he says.    
(DPA-Gulf Times-Qatar)

New Film on Iran in Theatres

Based on a true story, this new film highlights Iran's [then new] Islamist revolution

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple leaves Israel off the Map App

Apple's new Map App leaves Jerusalem without a star, which designates a capital city

New iPhones Snapped Up in Gaza Despite High Prices, Poverty        

Apple's new iPhone 5 is selling well in Gaza, despite prices almost double what it costs in the U.S. The phones arrive via smuggling tunnels.

Maariv last week reported that the iPhone 5's new Apple Maps application does not list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its built-in World Clock app shows Jerusalem as a city without an associated country.       

Join campaign “Amend Apple Maps to list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” – click here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Syria: Will the Alawites Get Massacred or Will They Secure Separation?

The Alawites and the Future of Syria -Harold Rhode

For Alawites, the only solution [is] a separate Alawite state, or entity, where they could control their destiny and not be under the dreaded Sunni yoke.

The Alawites would be wise to fear that, whatever happens in Syria, the Sunnis will massacre them for having governed Syria and for having killed so many Sunnis during the current war. Assad, therefore, cannot give in. He and the Alawites - whether they support or oppose Assad - are fighting for their very existence.

The only way to end this civil war is to let them have control over their destiny - either as an autonomous region in Syria or as an independent entity. Whatever happens, they will insist that they remain well-armed. (Gatestone Institute)

Politically Incorrect Questions about Arab Politics -Aaron David Miller

If the Arabs democratize, they will do so in their own unique way consistent with their politics, culture and history. In a region still dominated by religious strictures, regional conflicts, and tribal and provincial divisions, the arc of history on democratization is bound to be a long one.
(National Interest)

Watching Jordan

The Jordanian Royal Family as pictured in their 2011 New Years Card

Will Jordan Be Next to Fall? -Lee Smith

Should Jordan's King Abdullah II become the next Arab ruler to fall, it will mark another major setback for the U.S. in the region. For Israel it's significantly worse news. Jerusalem would lose its remaining strategic partner in the region - having already lost Turkey and Egypt - and face a possible nightmare on its longest border, exposing the country's center to attacks from the east...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deadly Emails...An Iranian Weapon

U.S.: Iran Aids Syria in Tracking Opposition -Ellen Nakashima 
Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security is providing crucial equipment and technical help to Syria in its effort to track opposition forces through the Internet and other forms of electronic surveillance, according to U.S. officials. Iran has long experience in tracking dissidents internally.

Iran advises the Syrians on how to gain access to Web forums and chat rooms, where they pose as opposition members to identify and track targets, one intelligence official said. Syrian agents are then dispatched to kill the rebels.

Pro-government hackers have covertly installed spyware on activists' computers by sending them e-mail and Skype messages purporting to be from opposition sympathizers that include attachments containing surveillance tools, said Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy group.
(Washington Post)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Teen Girl Takes on Taliban

Before Her Shooting, Malala Yousafzai Spoke Out Against Taliban

Malala Yousafzai [pictured], a 14-year-old schoolgirl who had become a symbol of resistance against the Taliban, was shot by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Malala survived the attack but underwent complicated surgery to remove a bullet from her head, and is reported to be in stable condition.

The incident sparked outrage among Pakistanis who held anti-Taliban protests after the attack. A spokesman for the Taliban, Ehsanullah Ehsan, told BBC Urdu that Malala’s life would not be spared if she survived.
[Wall Street Journal]


Shot Pakistani girl’s father happy for ‘miracle’ -Cassandra Vinograd

The father of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban described his daughter’s survival and ongoing recovery as miraculous Friday, and said her shooting was a turning point for Pakistan.

Malala Yousufzai is recovering at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where she was flown for treatment and protection from Taliban threats after she was shot on Oct. 9 in northwestern Pakistan.

Her father, Ziauddin, along with her mother and two brothers were reunited with her after flying to the U.K. A picture issued by the hospital [see above] showed the wounded teen, her head covered in a light blue scarf, reclining in her hospital bed with her family gathered by her side.

Ziauddin Yousufzai said he initially feared he would need to prepare for his daughter’s funeral and that her status now is “a miracle for us.”

“She is recovering at an encouraging speed and we are very happy,” he told reporters in Birmingham.

He expressed gratitude for prayers and well-wishes that have poured in from all over the world, noting that the attack on his daughter had united left and right-wing forces in Pakistan in condemnation.
[The Washington Times]

Shooting Exposes Taliban Cowardice -Eric Patterson

Why did the Taliban attempt to assassinate a girl? Why do they see her as a threat?

She represents the kind of woman the Taliban fears: a living, God-fearing alternative to their repressive social order. Indeed, what terrifies the Taliban the most is that Miss Yousafza is a traditional Muslim citizen. This young woman covers her hair; she is modest; she respects the Prophet; she respects Allah; she roots her arguments in common sense, faith and human dignity, and she tells the truth about what she sees.

There is nothing more threatening to the Taliban, because Miss Yousafza is in accord with the values of the majority of Muslims around the world. In short, the Taliban fear her because she represents a vision of the female Muslim citizen that resonates with the Muslim everyman and everywoman — and threatens to dump the Taliban into the ashbin of history.

Malala Yousafza is a modest, pious young Muslim woman who represents tens of millions of Muslim women around the world who want a better life for the women in their families. That is why the Taliban is scared of a girl.
[Washington Times]

Mixed Messages = Foreign Policy Failure

A Red Line Iran Would Take Seriously -Michael Singh
  • While red lines have been mischaracterized as automatic triggers or even deadlines for war, their purpose is to facilitate diplomacy. Red lines set by the U.S. are crucial for determining the "rules of the game" in geopolitics. Red lines create predictability and can also foster stability by heading off avoidable conflicts and forming the context for diplomacy.
  • Red lines must possess enforceability and credibility. The U.S. red line on Iran - that Iran simply cannot have a nuclear weapon - falls short on both counts.
  • It is not enforceable because once Tehran gets sufficiently close to possessing a nuclear weapon, the final steps can probably be done relatively quickly and in secret - and thus are not detectable.
  • The U.S. red line also, regrettably, lacks credibility. Washington did not move to halt the North Korean or Syrian nuclear programs; we did so in Iraq but at so high a price that "avoiding another Iraq" has practically become a mantra of U.S. foreign policy. Other states are understandably skeptical that we would move to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons if and when the moment finally comes.
  • And when it comes to credibility, the U.S. has undermined itself on multiple fronts - by rewarding Iranian defiance with better offers at the negotiating table, by enforcing sanctions reluctantly, and by allowing senior officials to speak out publicly against the military option that the president insists remains "on the table."
(Washington Post)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Green Leadership

This video features Israel's leading role in green technology in an unusual way

Friday, October 05, 2012

Israeli Court Victory

Jerusalem Court: Jews Should Be Allowed to Pray on Temple Mount
-Oz Rosenberg

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Malka Aviv said that the police should allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. The High Court of Justice has previously ruled that policy on the Temple Mount is the sole purview of the police. Police currently enforce a Muslim ban on Jewish prayer at the site, citing security concerns.

"There is room to allow for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount," said the judge during a remand hearing for Hagai Weiss, who was arrested on suspicion of trying to pray at the site.

"The [police] explanation that Muslims don't approve of Jews praying on the Temple Mount cannot, in and of itself, prevent Jews from fulfilling their religious obligations and praying on the Temple Mount." She said Jewish prayer should be permitted on the Temple Mount "in a structured fashion, in a place designated for it," that would maintain the security of Jewish worshipers.

Israel gained control of the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War in 1967, but decided to leave the administration of the mount in the hands of the Jerusalem Wakf, or Islamic trust, which bans non-Muslim worship in the compound. Fifteen Jews have been arrested over the past few days for trying to pray on the Temple Mount

The Economy of Flag Making in Pakistan

U.S. Film Protests Bring Boom for Pakistan Flag Makers  

As Pakistan's mullahs railed against a U.S.-made anti-Islam film, Naveed Haider's print works in Rawalpindi went into overdrive, running off hundreds of U.S. flags for angry protesters to burn at demonstrations.

"Whenever we have these demonstrations, I make 10 times as much money as normal," he told AFP.

With a surge in anti-American feeling in Pakistan, the U.S. has replaced traditional rival India as enemy number one in public opinion, according to the flag-sellers.

Asim, 22, a waiter in a seafood restaurant, says he has set four U.S. flags alight in a month. "It brings me such pleasure," he adds. Protests against the film have led to more than 50 deaths across the Muslim world.    

Thursday, October 04, 2012

College Students: Who Raised These Idiots?

College Students from a cross section of the best schools in the USA gave Ahmadinejad a standing ovation and gushed with enthusiastic support. 
Who raised these idiots?

U.S. Students Give Ahmadinejad a Standing Ovation -Josh Lipowsky

During his recent visit to the UN in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a private dinner and briefing at the Warwick Hotel with more than 150 students and professors from Harvard, NYU, Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Columbia and Stony Brook.

Ahmadinejad was greeted with a standing ovation by these "future leaders" when he entered the room. Students later addressed him as "Your Excellency" during the question-and-answer session. One even prefaced her remarks by saying it was "a pleasure" to be in his presence.