Tuesday, August 9, 2011
A world without Israel ? By Steward Weiss.The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana; firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year in recent times, as the ninth of Av approaches, we ask the question: How can we sit and mourn for Jerusalem, when the city has been so magnificently rebuilt? Why do we “afflict” ourselves for 25 hours when we have returned to the Jewish state in amazing numbers, and built a wonderful country from the ground up, with a superb army, world-class universities and a brilliant economy? Has Tisha Be’av become passé? These thoughts were reinforced last week when my wife and I took a Segway tour on the newly-refurbished Armon HaNatziv promenade. Led by our expert guide Chaim, we beheld a magnificent view of Jerusalem rebuilt, with its many sparkling new neighborhoods against the ancient villages and walls of the Old City. From that elevated view, one can truly appreciate how unique our Jewish capital is, and how it so brilliantly melds the past and the future.
Yet despite all this, I will still recite lamentations on Tisha Be’av; I will still add the somber Nachem plea for consolation to my prayers. Not only in remembrance for the spiritually-elevated world, centered around the Temple, which vanished when Jerusalem was destroyed (twice); but also for the shuddering thought of a third destruction, God forbid. For only when we force ourselves to consider what the effect would be of another Holocaust – this time on Israeli soil – can we begin to relate to the destruction that was visited here.
And so, with apologies to the History Channel’s “Life After People” series, I ask you to gather up your courage and consider A World Without Israel.
THIS SCENARIO – may it never come to pass - occurs sometime in the future.
The combined forces of Syria, Hezbo- Lebanon, a radicalized Egypt and an only semi-reluctant Jordan – spurred on by the Palestinian masses, now fully under the sway of Hamas – have flooded Israel with millions of combatants.
After bombarding the Jewish state with tens of thousands of missiles, causing hundreds of thousands of Jews to flee (no easy task after a shell-shocked Ben- Gurion airport is closed), Arab mobs have crossed our borders, overwhelming the courageous but hopelessly outnumbered soldiers of the IDF. The smell of victory finally in their noses, the Arabs reject all international calls for a cease-fire and unleash a brutal assault on the civilian population. The government considers using nuclear weapons, but the enemy is already within the gates, and the Opposition effectively blocks the proposal.
Independent Israel, as we knew it, has ceased to exist.
Three months after Israel: The last pockets of Jewish resistance have been brutally suppressed. Thousands of Jewish fighters, summarily executed for carrying arms, are slaughtered in the public squares. MKs – present and former, including Arab MK’s – having been charged as war criminals and accomplices to genocide, are also killed.
(Pointedly, the first to be shot are members of the Israeli Left, who zealously defended the Palestinian cause .) The haredi population is not spared; they, too, are slaughtered, despite their protests of being apolitical. Only a handful of Neturei Karta are left unharmed – a reward for their strident anti-Zionism through the years.
Six months after Israel: Hundreds of thousands of Israelis, seeking asylum, find they have no place to run. The Arab League has ordained an oil embargo against any country opening its borders to survivors. The EU has declared a moratorium on all immigration, wishing to “carefully study the situation before inflaming any further passions.”
Even those holding American passports are barred from entering the United States if they have resided in a war zone during the past year, in the interest of “national security.”
Meanwhile, those Jewish homes still intact are given to Palestinians, while their former residents are placed in refugee camps, now called “holding centers for foreign workers.” Starvation and sickness are rampant, as the UN finally decides it will no longer be administering the camps.
One year after Israel: Judaism is no longer acknowledged as an official religion in the new Palestine. Jewish practice among the skeleton Jewish population is permitted only in private, and even then is subject to constant harassment.
The last remaining synagogues – branded as “centers of terrorism and racism” - are consecrated as mosques, in line with Islamic law forbidding any non-Islamic places of worship on “holy ground.” While most churches are similarly converted, several of the more famous ones are designated as “museums” and “cultural attractions” so as to continue to attract Christian tourists.
The most dramatic moment comes when the Western Wall is dismantled, stone by stone, as the foundation is laid for the Grand Al-Buraq Mosque.
Western criticism is muted.
10 years after Israel: Diaspora Jewry, devastated by the loss of Israel, is in a state of rapid decline. In-fighting within the shrinking communities pits those whose love for Israel still lingers against those who blame Israel’s founders for having established the state in the first place and bringing such destruction upon the Jews. The American administration, anxious to maintain ties with the ascendant Islamic world, categorizes Zionist organizations as “harmful to American interests,” and forbids their funding and publications. Jewish schools continue to operate, but their curriculum is subject to constant inspection and are carefully monitored for signs of “subversive” activity.
50 years after Israel: As world economies experience a deep decline, democracies declare a state of emergency.
Jews are scape-goated and subjected to increased discrimination.
Pogroms break out in several countries as Jews are accused of parasitism and disloyalty. All Jews aged 18-25 are drafted, with no exemptions or special privileges.
For their own protection, Jews are moved into closed-off sections of major cities, and their contact with the indigenous population is limited. The lack of Jewish influence and the absence of a homeland leave Jews exposed to every form of abuse.
100 years after Israel: Intermarriage among Jews now exceeds 80%. The combination of high costs and low demand results in only a fraction of Jewish children receiving a Jewish education.
In the Middle East, internecine fighting between Arab nations over the past three decades has left the region in shambles. Palestine, with no natural resources and no wealthy donors, has become bankrupt and largely desolate.
The once-flourishing agriculture is but a memory, as fertile fields revert to wilderness.
In secluded places across the world, small groups of Jews gather to discuss the idea of returning to Zion and reestablishing a land of their own, a place where they may again walk proudly with their God. They decide to meet in a special assembly, which they will call “the Herzl Congress.”
Can it happen? I think not and I pray not. But I certainly will not take this great country, or Jerusalem of Gold, for granted.Source.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Solomon Islands 5.1 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- London riots Live reporting Here.
- London riots.(TheBigPicture).Two nights of rioting in London's Tottenham neighborhood erupted following protests over the shooting death by police of a local man, Mark Duggan. Police were arresting him when the shooting occurred. Over 170 people were arrested over the two nights of rioting, and fires gutted several stores, buildings, and cars. The disorder spread to other neighborhoods as well, with shops being looted in the chaos. Collected here are images from the rioting and the aftermath. -- Lane Turner (26 photos )See the full extent here.
- Report: US to tell Assad he must go.(Ynet).State Department sources say Washington's efforts to reason with Assad over; White House expected to present new hard-line policy on Syria. The Obama administration is preparing to explicitly demand the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad and hit his regime with tough new sanctions, US officials said on Tuesday, signaling that American efforts to engage the Syrian government are finally over.The White House is expected to lay out the tougher line by the end of this week, possibly on Thursday, according to officials who said the move will be a direct response to Assad's decision to step up the ruthlessness of the crackdown against pro-reform demonstrators by sending tanks into opposition hotbeds. President Barack Obama and other top US officials had previously said that Assad has "lost legitimacy" as a leader and that he either had to spearhead a transition to democracy or get out of the way. They had not specifically demanded that he step down. The new formulation will make it clear that Assad can no longer be a credible reformist and should leave power, the officials said. At the same time, the Treasury Department is expected to expand sanctions against Assad and his inner circle. Although the officials would only speak anonymously, the State Department on Tuesday telegraphed the planned shift in policy, saying the administration's two-year attempt to work with Assad, pull Syria out of Iran's orbit and transform it into a regional partner for peace and stability is over. "You can't have any kind of partnership with a regime that does this kind of thing to innocents," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters."In the case of Syria, the message from 2009 was: If you are prepared to open Syria politically, if you are prepared to be a reformer, if you are prepared to work with us on Middle East peace and other issues we share, we can have a new and different kind of partnership," she said. "And that is not the path that Assad chose."Hmmmm......Yeah.... Hillary: "Assad is a reformer".Read the full story here.
- Democratic Sens. Murray, Baucus, Kerry Named To Debt Super Committee.(ThinkProgress).Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has reportedly tapped Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), and Max Baucus (D-MT) to join the super committee created by the deal that raised the federal debt ceiling. The super committee is charged with crafting a deficit reduction package by Thanksgiving; seven of the 12 members have to approve the plan to send it to the full Congress.Hmmmm......Seem i was right a couple of days ago saying Kerry would be part of the "Super Congress",now what?Dispose of the hobbits and terrorists?Read the full story here.
- Republican Congressman: Obama Impeachment “Needs To Happen”.(PoliTex) — A brief exchange between US Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville and a local Tea Party member is drawing attention this morning as Burgess advocated pursuing impeachment proceedings against President Obama.As we first reported last night, the impeachment talk came up while Burgess was speaking to the NE Tarrant Tea Party Monday night. Burgess spent much of the evening defending his decision to vote for a debt ceiling deal earlier this month that many Tea Party conservatives hated.When one attendee suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against Obama to distract the president and keep him from getting things done, Burgess was immediately receptive. He said Obama backed away from using the 14th amendment to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval because of concerns about getting impeached. He added that there’s also some people who believe Obama violated the War Powers Act when he pursued military action in Libya.“It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,” Burgess said. “No question about that.”I asked Burgess about the exchange afterward.“We need to tie things up,” he repeated. “The gentleman was right. The longer we just allow damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us…People will talk about it.”Read the full story here.
- Markets to Obama: shut up!(WashingtonTimes).With the stock market facing a historic meltdown, Americans could at least expect the president to be on time for a speech intended to inspire confidence. But those tuning in Monday at 1 p.m. eastern expecting to hear Mr. Obama address the rolling national financial crisis instead saw a live feed of casually dressed techies joking around in front of the presidential podium. After twenty five minutes of waiting for Mr. Obama to show up, the markets resumed tanking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid four points a minute before Mr. Obama arrived. It gained a few points back at first, but ten minutes into his remarks the Dow broke through the 11,000 point floor. In the 20 minutes after he finished speaking the Dow slid 200 points. The market closed having lost 634 points. It was a vote of no confidence. Mr. Obama saying that the U.S. political system was “dysfunctional.” Who would invest in a corporation whose chief executive describes the company’s management in such terms? Never fear, Mr. Obama said Americans have always risen to the challenge with entrepreneurship, innovation and hard work. Given Mr. Obama’s insistence on increasing the number of costly government regulation, his blame-the-rich approach to economics, and burdensome, job-killing health care plan, no president has done more damage to this spirit of enterprise. Mr. Obama said that “this is the United States of America… We always have been and always will be a Triple-A country.” If only we had a Triple-A leader.Hmmmm......Hear,Hear!Read the full story here.
- Syria defies world reproach,tells medling Turkey to mind it's own business, orders new raids.(Ynet).Syrian President Bashar Assad told Turkey's foreign minister on Tuesday that Damascus will "not relent in pursuing terrorist groups", Syrian state news agency said. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Assad on Tuesday morning, and urged him to end the prolonged crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, which have so far claimed over 1,600 lives.A Syrian source said Tuesday that a mission comprising of Brazilian, Indian and South African delegates will be arriving in Syria on Wednesday, in yet another attempt to convince Damascus to negotiation with the protesters and end the violence.The visit by Davutoglu was meant to signal Ankara's growing discomfort vis-à-vis Damascus' brutality. The Turkish FM reportedly warned the Syrian president that he could risk "Saddam-like" isolation if he does not halt his crackdown on Syrian protesters.The Arab world has already signaled Assad that its patience is wearing thin: The Arab League issued an official censure of his actions, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have recalled their envoys to Damascus, and the Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar Sunni institution has stated that the bloodshed in Syria "has goon too far."Unfazed, the Syrian army launched raids on restive areas Tuesday, defying the growing international reproach over the regime's brutality.Activists said tanks stormed villages outside the besieged city of Hama and two towns in Idlib province, which borders Turkey. There was heavy machine-gun fire and reports of at least three deaths in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, which also has been a flashpoint in recent days. The reports were confirmed by the LCC and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Right. In an editorial published Tuesday, the Al Baath newspaper of Syria's ruling Baath party said the regime was hopeful that Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations will "quickly correct their stands."On Monday, Assad replaced his defense minister with the army chief of staff, saying Gen. Ali Habib was being removed from his post because of health problems. Hmmmm.....Gen Ali Habib who got killed the same night.As i said before how far is Turkey willing to go concerning Iran?Read the full story here.
- AIG Sues Bank Of America For $10 Billion Over 'Massive Mortgage Fraud'.(BlacklistedNews). It's getting ugly. BofA will need at least $100 billion to avoid bankruptcy. Ken Lewis' retirement SIV (BAC stock) is trading sharply lower (currently down 17%) dragging down all financials.(Reuters) - The insurer American International Group Inc (AIG:nyse) is suing Bank of America Corp (BAC:nyse) to recover more than $10 billion of losses from a "massive fraud" on mortgage debt, deepening the morass of litigation faced by the largest U.S. bank.AIG, still largely owned by taxpayers after $182.3 billion of government bailouts, is the latest of a growing number of investors filing lawsuits seeking to hold banks responsible for losses on troubled mortgages that contributed to the financial crisis.The AIG complaint, being filed in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accuses Bank of America and its Countrywide and Merrill Lynch units of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages placed in securities and sold to investors.Reuters obtained a copy of the complaint. AIG is preparing similar lawsuits against other large banks.Read the full story here.
- Herman Cain Slam Obama: ‘That’s Not Leadership!’(TheOtherMcCain).DENISON, IowaRepublican presidential candidate Herman Cain today denounced as “pathetic” the response of President Obama and other Democrats to the recent downgrade of U.S. credit.“Today, the president, Senator [John] Kerry and other Democrats now want to blame somebody for the credit downgrade – other than themselves,” Cain told a standing-room only crowd at Crunk’s Café here. “They control the Senate. They control the White House. Obama’s Treasury secretary [Tim Geithner] is in charge of the Treasury. Now they are trying to blame the Tea Party movement for the downgrade. How pathetic is that? That’s not leadership, folks – that’s not leadership.“Hmmmmm.......Aaaaah Blasphemy.Read and see the full story here.
- Obama Killed Osama, And Then Ignored His Own Advice.(BigPeace).By Dave Reaboi.John Nolte at Big Hollywood picked up something interesting from a Maureen Dowd column. The Obama administration, it seems, has granted an unusual amount of access to the team behind The Hurt Locker (writer Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow) for an upcoming campaign-season film about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.As Nolte point out, the timing of the film’s release has not been missed at the White House. Look for Hollywood to be a willing participant in this elaborate Obama re-election commercial, which is intended to remind voters of an increasingly desperate president’s only shining hour.In addition to the desperate obvious ‘October surprise’ quality of this stunt, the cynicism revealed by the White House’s active facilitation of this film is breathtaking. It tells us something important about the Obama White House, and its readiness to abandon its most dearly-held beliefs and even its worldview on the alter of political expediency.On nearly every issue, the president and others from his administration (not to mention the media) lecture us on the need to be sensitive to the feelings and self-image of the Muslim world. This time, however, the White House believes a bounce in the final weeks before the conclusion of a tough re-election campaign is more important than (as the president himself put it, “spiking the football” by antagonistically) reminding the world who was responsible for Bin Laden’s death.Regardless of the merits or failings of the Obama administration’s concern for the feelings of the Muslim world, cooperating with the filmmakers displays an inconsistency that should not go by unremarked upon. Sometimes this hypersensitivity, when translated into policy, is laughably unserious– like the re-tooling of NASA to “reach out to the Muslim world.” After killing Bin Laden, Obama himself insisted America keep its celebrations subdued and decline to “spike the football,” even going so far as to protect the dignity of the arch-terrorist’s corpse so as not to antagonize the ‘Arab street.’More insidious, however, is the compromises the Obama administration is willing to make on issues of free expression when criticism of Islam comes into play. A lone man in Florida threatening to burn a koran was enough to to imperil American national security half a world away, both Obama and his chief general said. Obama’s State Department, too, is increasingly embracing the Shariah-adherent definitions of free speech promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference– which plans to enforce blasphemy of Islam. Of course, American free speech is circumscribed by the threat actual violence from a Muslim world even its biggest apologists implicitly concede is highly combustible.If the delicate emotions of the Muslim world– manifested in the degree to which they’re ready to cause violence and mayhem worldwide– are enough to circumscribe the First Amendment of the Constitution, shouldn’t it also discourage a movie about killing a famous Muslim? But alas, not hurting the feelings of Muslims by showing ‘Crusader’ soldiers killing a Mujahid in cold blood (on Pakistan’s Islamic soil) is trumped by the importance of Obama’s reelection.Last month, a Zogby poll revealed that the antipathy of much of the Muslim world to Barack Obama can be traced to the killing of Bin Laden. As Alana Goodman summarized the report at Commentary, “In all six countries surveyed – Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – the majority of respondents said killing bin Laden made them “less favorable toward the U.S.’”What could possibly “spike the football” any more than a flashy action film, blasted into the homes and theaters of that very same Muslim world, still smarting from Obama’s triumphant dispatch of the world’s most wanted terrorist?All this fuss and trauma to the Muslim world can be averted with a little tweaking, by making Bin Laden into a villain designated as acceptable in Hollywood, a Serbian terrorist or a anti-government Tea Party type.Hmmmm......And so Obama joins the ranks of leaders gloryfying themselves , the Cult of personality leaders like Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Hirohito, Mao Zedong, Kemal Atatürk, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Mátyás Rákosi, Saparmurat Niyazov, Ho Chi Minh, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, François Duvalier and Juan Perón to name a few.Read the full story here.
- Video - Krauthammer: Obama Blames Tea Party, God ... "Everybody Except Him".(RealClearpolitics).Charles Krauthammer: "I was sort of stunned by his appearance today. I said: ‘Why did he go out there?’ He went out there with the Dow at minus 400. And after he spoke, it went down to minus 600. He looked weak, plaintive and small. "I mean weak and plaintive because he comes out there and he blames, of course the Tea Party, Europe, Japan and the Middle East, probably God because he’s the author of earthquakes. Everybody except him."Read and see the full story here.
- "Fast and Furious" Goes All the Way to the White House.(HumanEvents).By A.W.R. Hawkins.By now, “Gunwalker” and “Fast and Furious” have both entered the national lexicon. And although the amount of information known about the operations varies from person to person, the majority of Americans know they have something to do with the selling of guns to “straw purchasers” in the U.S., who were supposed to smuggle the guns into Mexico and put them in the hands of cartel members, who were then to be arrested.What most people seem not to know is who exactly was behind the Gunwalker and Fast and Furious operations. Was it the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)? Yes. Was it also Attorney General Eric Holder? Well, there’s no doubt he was instrumental in Gunwalker, and it’s now known that his chief of staff was briefed on Fast and Furious. So how about President Obama? What did he know? According to information that has surfaced during ongoing investigations by Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), it’s certain that knowledge of Fast and Furious went all the way to the White House.Of course, Obama says he knew nothing about either Gunwalker or Fast and Furious, although the President set aside $10 million for the operations in February 2009 via the stimulus package, and talked about “gun tracing” and “gun enforcement policies during a joint press conference in Mexico City with Mexico President Felipe Calderon in April 2009” (which was the same month in which Holder gave a speech in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he bragged of the implementation of Gunwalker).But although neither Obama or Holder have claimed they had knowledge of the operations until quite recently, both are now actively doing their best to “[stonewall] the oversight committee investigation” that is trying to get to the bottom of this mess. Of Obama in particular, Issa has said, “President Obama has been keen to talk about who didn’t know about the program and who didn’t authorize it. These answers will not suffice. The American people have a right to know, once and for all, who did authorize it and who knew about it.”It doesn’t take long to connect the dots on this one. We have a president who funded these programs, who talked to Mexican President Calderon two months later about tracing guns, and whose National Security Director for North America received communications from ATF Special Agent Newell regarding the operations. The Justice Department is littered with people who knew about the program, and nearly every federal law-enforcement agency besides the Secret Service was involved.The President gets away with laughing off the fact that “shovel-ready jobs” weren’t as shovel-ready as he thought they were. But there’s no way he should be allowed to laugh this one off.Hmmmm......Gunwalker"These boots will keep on walking".Read the full story here.
- Is Medicare Sustainable?(Cato).By David Boaz.A letter in the Washington Post from Dale Everett of Ashburn, Va., makes a point about the sustainability of our entitlements programs:
At 80, I am a “poster boy” for what is wrong with Medicare and Social Security. I worked full time from 1950 until 1993, when I retired. I paid the maximum amount annually required by law. My payment from Social Security in 1993 was $1,170 per month, and it now exceeds $1,500. I paid $47,377 into the fund and have so far received more than $288,000 from it.
As for Medicare I paid $14,350 into the fund from 1966 to 1993. I have been very healthy but had cancer several years ago and a craniotomy five years ago. The costs of those exceeded $1 million. Even minor surgery would far exceed what I paid to the fund.
Please tell me how such a system can be sustained. Both programs need to be overhauled now. No one should believe that he has paid for and earned the right to such payments.Read the full story here.
- Soros Rumored To Be Investor Who Made $10 Billion On Trade U.S. Credit Rating Would Be Downgraded.(DailyMail) — A mystery investor or hedge fund reportedly made a bet of almost $1billion at odds of 10/1 last month that the U.S. would lose its AAA credit rating.Now questions are being asked of whether the trader had inside information before placing the $850million bet in the futures market.There are mounting rumours that investor George Soros, 80, famously known as ‘the man who broke the Bank of England’, could be involved.He made more than $1billion on currency speculation when the British pound left the Exchange Rate Mechanism on Black Wednesday in 1992.The latest bet was made on July 21 on trades of 5,370 ten-year Treasury futures and 3,100 Treasury bond futures, reported ETF Daily News.Now the investor’s gamble seems to have paid off after Standard and Poor’s issued a credit rating downgrade from AAA to AA+ last Friday.Whoever it is stands to earn a 1,000 per cent return on their money, with the expectation that interest rates will be going up after the downgrade.Hmmm........Nope it's not the Teaparty terrorist hobbits.Read the full story here.
- Issa Subpoenas NLRB for Boeing Documents, Internal Communications.(Heritage).Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a subpoena to the National Labor Relations Board on Sunday requesting documents that he said the board had failed to provide of its own accord.The documents involve the NLRB’s controversial suit against Boeing, which seeks to block the airline giant from relocating a production facility from Washington State to South Carolina. The NLRB claims the move – to a right-to-work state – constitutes retaliation against the International Association of Machinists union. Boeing insists that it is purely a business decision.The subpoena orders the NLRB to provide all documents and internal communications relating to Boeing or the IAM from January 1, 2009 to present by noon on Friday. Issa claims that the committee requested those materials in May, but had not received them from NLRB.“NLRB’s action in the case against Boeing has the potential to create a job-killing precedent just as U.S. manufacturers are working toward economic recovery,” Issa said in a statement on Monday. “That a Washington, D.C.-based bureaucracy could dictate the work location and parameters for a world-leading company is unprecedented in a global economy and hobbles a leading American job creator at a time of economic vulnerability.”The Labor Department did not return a request for comment by press time.Read the full story here.
- The Mullahs will pick up the pieces.(Nervana).It is almost impossible to predict how Syria might emerge after Assad. Many hope for a stable, democratic state. Though, instability, civil war and an Islamic state are also real possibilities. Regardless of the outcome, the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria will have an enormous impact on the wider Middle East particularly on Iran.The heat of the Syrian volcano will be felt in Tehran far more than in Beirut, Amman and Istanbul. The Mullahs who stood by Assad for decades already faces daunting challenges today, and those challenges will multiply and grow in the near future and on several fronts.
The Domestic Front:
Perhaps the worst nightmare for the Mullahs is the implications on the domestic front. The psychological impact of the fall of Assad may inspire many in Iran to reignite a second green revolution. This is a red line for the Mullahs that must be avoided at all costs, and they would not hesitate to ruthlessly crush any rebellion. The Green movement is also watching the Arab spring, and they may learn a thing or two from their neighbors, the huge decline in the economy recently can also help their cause. However, it is essential to remember that the power base of the Mullahs and their revolutionary guards is probably still strong with no indication of any erosion, yet!
The Syrian Front:
With the potential loss of the massive Iranian investments in Syria, the economic impact of the fall of Assad could be enormous. However, the political impact would be devastating. By losing Syria, Iran would lose its strategic depth and gateway to the Arab world. How the Mullahs will respond to this serious blow? That remains to be seen.Judging by their past responses, the Mullahs would probably resort to a quick policy of damage limitation and exploitation of any instability. The details will depend on events on the ground in Syria. Chaos, civil war, even a military quo is the Iranians’ best outcomes, as it this would give them more scope to maneuver in exploiting the situation to their advantage and allow them rebuild their links with the newly emerging power groups within Syria and to continue smuggling weapons to Hezbollah. Ironically, a stable, democratic Syria would be Iran’s worst nightmare and a Sunni Islamic regime would not be good either.
The Lebanese Front:
By throwing in its lot with Assad, the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah stands to lose a lot following the departure of its ally. Whilst it is certainly true that Hezbollah’s center of gravity is within Lebanon, and it is independent of Assad’s regime, however, the destruction of their main bridge with Tehran will have massive implications for Hezbollah’s policies over years to come. In fact, it is no exaggeration to suggest that Hezbollah views the collapse of the Baath regime in Syria as an existential threat.
How Nasrallah will respond? Can he succeed in maintaining his power?No one can predict the future but at least we can discuss his options, Nasrallah will have a potentially three options.Read the full story here.
- NATO Envoy: Military Planning Against Iran and Syria is Underway.(SHTF).Last month we reported that the Pentagon has issued a warning order to ‘Prepare for War’.According to Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, it’s not just Israel and the Pentagon that are getting ready to expand the middle east theater:Rogozin said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily newspaper published on Friday that the NATO was pursuing a long-reaching goal of preparing an attack on Iran, adding that the alliance intends to change governments whose views do not coincide with those of the West.“The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogozin added.The Russian envoy further pointed out that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO’s last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.This comes as there are speculations that Israel is preparing for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities to divert attention from Palestinian efforts to join the United Nations.Source: Press TV (August 6, 2011)
If Russia is to be believed (and be assured that Mr. Rogozin would not be giving interviews without prior consent from Mr. Putin and President Medvedev) the missile defense shield being built by the EU is designed not to defend against missiles from Iran, but to prepare for an attack: Washington has said its nuclear missile defense plans were designed to prevent any possible missile strikes from Iran or North Korea.“The missile defense system is not purely a defensive system,” envoy Dmitry Rogozin said. “There are serious and authoritative experts in Russia and in other countries who fear that the creation of a European missile defense system, officially assigned the task of blocking a threat from Iran, may in fact be a pretext for preparing an attack on Iran.”Source: Ria Novosti (July 28, 2011)
Iran is in play, but first Syria and Yemen may need to be addressed. Rogozin claims that this, too, is becoming reality: NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country’s authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference.”[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,” Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.Source: Ria Novosti (August 5, 2011)We can ignore this as pure speculation and conjecture, or we can consider that this is how World Wars have started in the past. The chess pieces moved around on the board for over a decade before World War I became reality. The same was true for World War II.What we may be witnessing now is the prelude to a third war that will encompass most of the world. If Iran is attacked it is difficult to predict how the Chinese and the Russians will respond, but considering their position on Libya, they won’t be happy about it. Couple that with trillions in their reserves that will be hyperinflated away and the battle for critical resources like oil, water and food, and we have a recipe for disaster.Hmmmmm......It seems like September will be an extremely hot month.Read the full story here.
- German Interior Minister:'German Identity Is Shaped by Christianity'.(Spiegel).In a SPIEGEL interview, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich discusses the motives of Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, calls for an end to anonymity on the Internet and explains why Islam is not part of German identity.
SPIEGEL: On your first day in office as German interior minister, you famously said that the idea that Islam is part of Germany is something "that cannot be proved by history." Would you say this again, after Oslo?
Friedrich: Oh, come on, those two things have nothing to do with each other! I was talking about the issue of Germany's identity. This identity is shaped by Christianity and the Enlightenment, not by Islam. I don't have to qualify that.Read the full interview here.
- IAF Deploys Drones Over Northern Gas Fields.(ArutzSheva).Following Iran's backing of the Hizbullah terror organization's claims to gas fields Israel is developing off its northern coast.Israel has deployed drones to keep watch on gas fields off its northern coast, fearing attack by the Hizbullah terror organization from neighboring Lebanon, AFP reported on Tuesday.The fields lie in a part of the Mediterranean claimed by Israel for gas exploration and production, but Lebanon says the fields lie within its territorial waters."The decision to deploy drones was made in order to maintain a 24-hour presence over the site," the paper said, adding that the air force was equipped with the locally made Heron drone, which has special electro-optics designed for maritime work.According to reports the IAF started aerial surveillance after a warning last month from Hizbullah, which in 2006 fought a deadly war with the Jewish state in which it used anti-ship missiles."The Israeli enemy cannot drill a single meter in these waters to search for gas and oil if the zone is disputed... No company can carry out prospecting work in waters whose sovereignty is contested," the Shiite group said.The Hizbullah threat came after Israel's cabinet approved a map of the country's proposed maritime borders with Lebanon and submitted it to the United Nations, which has been asked to mediate in the dispute.The map conflicts with one submitted by Lebanon to the UN last year, which gives Israel less territory. The two countries are technically at war and will not negotiate face to face.The two biggest known offshore fields, Tamar and Leviathan, lie respectively about 80 kilometers (50 miles) and 130 kilometers (81 miles) off Israel's northern city of Haifa.Tamar is believed to hold at least 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas (238 billion cubic meters), while Leviathan is believed to have reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters).In June an Israeli company announced the discovery of two new natural gas fields, Sarah and Mira, around 70 kilometers (45 miles) off the city of Hadera further south.Hmmmm.....As i said September will be very hot.Read the full story here.
- King Abdullah's strong statement denouncing Syria's use of brutal force has won the hearts of Saudis and expatriates alike.(ArabNews).Top officials in Saudi Arabia including Shoura members, heads of Islamic organizations and academics lent their support Monday to the call made by the king to stop the bloodshed in Syria and initiate necessary reforms to ensure peace in the strife-torn country."Syrian President Bashar Assad has lost the legitimacy to rule," said Hamza Khoshain, a member of the Shoura Council, in Riyadh on Monday. "King Abdullah has sent a clear message to the Syrian regime by recalling the Saudi ambassador for consultations and by asking Damascus to rectify the situation as soon as possible."He lent his strong support to the Kingdom's call for Syria to shun violence and said the situation was being aggravated in Syria because of some outside elements, which are playing nasty roles to destabilize the country.""What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia," King Abdullah said in a written statement released Monday. "Syria should think wisely before it's too late ... and enact reforms that are not merely promises but actual reforms."Saleh Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), said "the WAMY was deeply concerned over the torture and the killings of innocent people in Syria." He said the Syrian regime had failed to ensure peace, security and good governance."In fact, King Abdullah's advice to Syria comes within the framework of the Kingdom's foreign policy, which is based on the Islamic brotherhood, services to mankind, and care for neighbors," said Abdullah Al-Mosarraf, chief of the Al-Riyadh Schools, a chain of schools supervised by Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman."King Abdullah cares not only for Saudi Arabia, but for all Muslims across the globe and all mankind on this planet."Speaking of a possible boycott of the Syrian regime and its oil and gas exports, Ehab A. Al-Harbi, an Arab businessman, warned that such measures could be taken if the international community including the GCC and the Arab League agrees."Syria produces some 380,000 barrels of oil a day, much of which is exported to Europe, including Germany," he said.Al-Ghamdi expected more Arab countries to follow suit and stand against the oppressive actions of the Syrian government.Hamdan Al-Harbi, a journalist working for Okaz Arabic daily, said the king's statement would embarrass Arab regimes that have so far kept silent about events unfolding in Syria. "The king's statement came after an escalation of violence in Syria, especially during the holy month of Ramadan," he said.Abdul Qader Kilani, a Syrian journalist working in the Kingdom, wondered how long the Arabs would stay silent. He hoped that King Abdullah's strong statement would contribute to mobilizing support for the Syrians.Yasser Adlabi, another Syrian working in the Kingdom, said his compatriots would not forget the king's strong and bold statement supporting them. "He was the first Arab leader to call for protecting the rights of Syrian people. I am happy to learn that such a statement came from Saudi Arabia, whom the Syrian people hold in high esteem," he added.Hmmmm.....A very hot September is approaching.Read the full story here.
- Report shows rise in restrictions on religion.(Ynet). Nearly third of world's population lives in countries where it is becoming more difficult to freely practice religion, private US research group says. Jews, who make up less than 1% of world's population, see restrictions or harassment in 75 countries. Nearly a third of the world's population lives in countries where it is becoming more difficult to freely practice religion, a private US research group reported on Tuesday. The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life said government restrictions and public hostility involving religion grew in some of the most populous countries from mid-2006 to mid-2009. "During the three-year period covered by the study, the extent of violence and abuse related to religion increased in more places than it decreased," according to the report "Rising Restrictions on Religion." Only about 1% of the world lives in countries that saw more religious tolerance during those years, it said. The Pew Center review of 198 countries found those deemed restrictive or hostile in the previous report were growing even more so, while the opposite was found for those with more religious tolerance. A substantial rise in public hostility toward religious groups was seen in China, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam and Britain, while government restrictions rose substantially in Egypt and France.The countries most restrictive or hostile toward certain religions included India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, China, Myanmar, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Nigeria and Bangladesh – although most of these did not show much change in the three years. People were killed, physically abused, detained, imprisoned, displaced from their homes, or had their property destroyed for religious reasons by governments in 101 countries in the year ending mid-2009, compared to 91 a year earlier, the report said. Such violence rose in more countries than it declined over the three years. Mob violence involving religion occurred in 52 countries as of mid-2009, compared to 38 a year earlier. Religious hatred or bias led to violence by private citizens groups in 142 countries, nearly three-quarters of the 198 included in the study, and about the same as of mid-2008. "Religion-related terrorist groups were active in 74 countries," and violence was seen in half of these, in the year through mid-2009, the Pew Center said. Christians and Muslims, the world's two largest religious groups, were harassed in the most countries. Other religions also saw harassment, but Jews, who make up less than 1% of the world's population, saw restrictions or harassment in 75 countries. In five European countries – Britain, Denmark, Russia, Sweden and Bulgaria – religious tension focused on the rapidly growing Muslim population, but there was some rising anti-Semitism and antagonism toward minorities such as Jehovah's Witnesses.Read the full story here.
- Underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's Defense Gets Aggressive.(InvestigativeProject).Accused underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wants his terrorism trial moved out of Michigan and wants a federal judge to keep statements he gave to FBI agents kept away from jurors.In a series of motions filed Friday, an attorney assisting the Nigerian national with his defense hinted at misconduct by FBI officials. According to one motion, they interviewed Abdulmutallab in a hospital room over the objection of medical staff, who said he was under the influence of a painkiller called fentanyl. In addition, wrote attorney Anthony Chambers, agents failed to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights.In a separate motion, Chambers acknowledged Abdulmutallab "made incriminating statements" during plea negotiations with federal officials, after they promised nothing from those talks would be used against him at trial. It's not clear whether prosecutors plan to use any such statements when the trial begins in October. The motion seeks to ensure that cannot happen."Allowing the government to use these statements at trial will violate the government's agreement with Defendant," Chambers wrote.The motion to move the trial cites the intense publicity surrounding the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab was detained by fellow passengers after a bomb sewn into his underwear started smoking but failed to detonate.He suffered burns as a result, requiring hospitalization and pain medication.In yet another motion, Chambers asked for access to grand jury records, which rarely are released, because he claims federal agents made "inconsistent statements" in different reports and witnesses may have "embellished facts and contradicted their own reports" during grand jury testimony.The motion did not offer examples.Read the full story here.
- ACORN’s Campaign Against Money Mart May Lead to Violence and Blackmail.(CanadaFreePress).By Matthew Vadum .Pressure. Protests. Picketing. This is how it begins.The Canadian branch of the U.S.-based organized crime syndicate ACORN is gearing up to extort Money Mart, a check cashing and payday loan company.In greater Vancouver, British Columbia, ACORN has been leading a shakedown campaign against the supposedly exorbitant fees Money Mart charges to transfer money to dangerous, corrupt, politically unstable, kleptocratic Third World hellholes like Somalia and Kenya where people get murdered for a single dollar.It’s standard operating procedure at the radical activist group ACORN.If Money Mart doesn’t cough up protection money, ACORN will intensify its actions against the company. (In the U.S., ACORN used to employ President Obama as a community organizer.)ACORN’s corruption and brutal, in-your-face tactics prompted investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the U.S. Congress to accuse ACORN of carrying out “a nationwide strategy of tax fraud, racketeering, money-laundering and manipulating the American electorate.” Their report accuses ACORN of evading taxes, sloppy accounting, defrauding donors, defrauding the U.S. government, filing false statements, obstructing justice, and plundering employee pension funds.John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax Service, felt ACORN’s wrath when it staged a violent protest against his company in 2005. More than 100 angry ACORN members showed up at Liberty’s Virginia Beach headquarters.ACORN accused the company of charging excessive interest rates on the refund anticipation loans it offers to income tax filers. “All of sudden, four bus loads of homeless people pull up in front of our headquarters here in Virginia Beach,” Hewitt said.“They came pouring into the building like a Mongolian horde. There was screaming and fighting. One employee was bitten and another was scratched. They both had to go to the emergency room.” The demonstrators were arrested and the company filed a legal complaint but withdrew it later because it would have been too expensive to pursue, Hewitt explained.The company agreed to pay an ACORN affiliate $50,000 a year. “To me, it’s just to stop them from harassing us,” said Hewitt. “Even though I felt dirty by paying them money, I said, you know, it’s a business decision.”Liberty Tax Service is just one of ACORN’s many victims in the United States.ACORN now has offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Vancouver.Canada: you’ve been warned. Read the full story here.
- Turkish athlete claims she was hit for wearing shorts on public bus.(HuriyetDaily).Volleyball player Nurcan İbrahimoğlu, 19, claimed she was hit on an Istanbul public bus in July for wearing shorts, daily Vatan reported Tuesday.İbrahimoğlu took a bus from the Bahçeköy neighborhood to the Levent district on July 28, just a few days before the holy month of Ramadan was set to start on Aug. 1.She said she sat on a seat wearing basketball shorts and stretched her legs out toward the aisle.A male passenger reportedly hit İbrahimoğlu's feet while walking past her and sat next to her despite other available seating. İbrahimoğlu asked the man to apologize for hitting her feet. The man in turn yelled at İbrahimoğlu, saying, "You cannot sit on this bus, stretching out your naked legs, you are corrupting the morals of the people," and called her "insolent."İbrahimoğlu responded by saying he was the one being insolent, which prompted the man to punch her in the face, splitting her lip. Passengers on the bus calmed the situation but stopped İbrahimoğlu from calling the police to prevent any "trouble," Doğan news agency, or DHA, reported.The assailant then asked the passengers if anyone saw him hitting her, to which nobody replied.İbrahimoğlu claimed she went to Ayazağa Police station the next day to file a complaint, but no one paid attention to her. She later went to the forensics department at the Şişli courthouse to get a battering report, but she was not given one on grounds that "she had no broken bones or stab wound."Hmmmm.....When if ever will Turkey act against the violence towards women in their country?Read the full story here.
- New Tibetan leader sworn in as prime minister.(TodaysZaman).A Harvard-trained legal scholar was sworn in on Monday as new head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, taking over from the Dalai Lama as leader of his people’s fight for freedom.The Dalai Lama, 76, announced in March he would be giving up his political role as leader of the Tibetan exile movement, though he would remain the spiritual leader for Tibetan Buddhists. Lobsang Sangay, who was elected in April by tens of thousands of Tibetans in exile, was surrounded by hundreds of Buddhist monks and nuns as well as the Dalai Lama as he took the oath of office in the northern Indian city of Dharmsala, where the exile administration is based. Sangay has vowed to follow the Dalai Lama’s approach of seeking increased autonomy for Tibet within China. China refuses to recognize Sangay’s authority. “We will continue the Middle Way policy. We are also willing to negotiate with the Chinese government anytime, anywhere,” Sangay told a huge crowd that gathered for the ceremony at the Tsuglakhang temple. Sangay said he would work to fulfill the vision of the Dalai Lama to create a truly secular democratic society. “Tibetan leadership is far from fizzling out. ... We are here to stay,” Sangay said.Scores of Tibetans playing traditional musical instruments and hundreds of children, men and women cheered as the Dalai Lama accompanied the new leader to the temple for the brief ceremony. Later, the crowds applauded as the Dalai Lama hugged and blessed the new leader after the ceremony. Sangay’s election as the Kalon Tripa, or prime minister, marks many firsts. He was born in the eastern Indian town of Darjeeling and has never visited Tibet. He is also the first secular leader to take over the political leadership of the Tibetan community. The Dalai Lama, the 14th in a line of men said to be the living incarnation of Chenrezig, a Buddhist god of compassion, says he needed to resign as political leader because he feared chaos would erupt after his eventual death, when the Chinese government and Buddhist monks are certain to argue over the identity of his successor. “Now, that danger is no longer there,” he said in an earlier interview with The Associated Press.Read the full story here.
- Iraqi Hizbullah Threatens Missile Attack On Kuwait.(Memri).Iraqi Hizbullah [an Iran-supported terrorist group] has, according to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam, threatened to fire three surface-to-surface missiles at Kuwait – at Abdallah Port, at "the heart of Kuwait," and at the Kuwaiti parliament.It said that the missiles will be fired if Kuwait continue with the construction of the controversial Mubarak Port close to the Iraqi border.Read the full story here.