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Tag: Syria (page 2 of 7)

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Bashar al-Assad’s cabinet has approved a bill to allow independent political parties other than the Baath Party, which has been in control since 1963.

SANA a Syrian news agency reported that the bill prohibits parties founded on the basis of “religion, tribal affiliation, regions, and professional organizations as well as those which discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or color.” This suggests the Kurdish nationalist parties may not be recognized, along with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist party currently banned in Syria, but snowballing in popularity in Egypt where disillusioned citizens lack leadership they can believe in and trust.
It is hard to imagine however, that Assad’s intentions can be in anyway, good. He is, after all, a murderer.

Under the new law the government will retain control over the formation of parties that must apply for a license in order to operate. All new parties are also obliged to respect the constitution, which protects the dominance of the Baath party as the “leading party in state and society” despite Assad’s promises to look at altering it.

According to human rights groups, more than 1,500 civilians have been killed and more than 12,000 detained since the uprising started in March of 2011. Activists have reported ongoing detentions throughout the country and a persistent clampdown in the neighborhood of Bab Sbaa in Homs.

As predicted, protests have intensified in the week leading up to Ramadan when diplomats and analysts say they expect demonstrations to grow in size and frequency.

The Arab League is Syriasly In Need Of A Morality Check

Several members of the Arab League have mentioned a temporary freeze of Syria’s membership of the organization. This was reported on Tuesday, June 14, in the Egyptian newspaper, “Al-Ahram.” What took so long? The action started months ago. The Arab League dropped Libya as soon as the rebellion broke out in that country.

Amr MoussaCertain, unknown members of the Arab League still fervently oppose this initiative. According to these parties, such a move would complicate the “peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis.” Whatever that is supposed to mean. Assad is a serial killer. Worse. A genocidal maniac.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that the members are closely watching the developments in Syria. He says the Arabs have “concern and anger” about the heinous suppression of the Syrian opposition. Moussa added that it is impossible to drop Syria from the Arab League because this would lead the status quo to undesirable consequences for Damascus. Amr Moussa said that the Arab countries were trying to work out a common position with regard to Syria.

Meanwhile, as Lebanon’s Mikati has joined forces with Hezbollah – the group made of Iranian militants who he has made private donations to – Assad, amidst the turmoil, called him on the telephone to congratulate him and give his approval of the Hezbollah.

Is It Us Against the World?

Three weeks after he staged the first mass border sortie on the Jewish State, Syria’s Assad paid each Molotov cocktail hurling demonstrator, Syrian and Palestinian, $1,000 for cutting a piece of razor wire on Israel’s border fence, as well as $10,000 for the families of volunteers shot by Israeli troops. Assad wished to detract attention from the more than 1200 Syrian rebels that have been killed in the crackdowns.

The U.S. State department issued the following statement:

“We are deeply troubled by events that took place earlier today in the Golan Heights resulting in injuries and the loss of life…We call for all sides to exercise restraint. Provocative actions like this should be avoided. Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself…”

While Syrian police prevented another protest on Monday, Assad’s purpose for staging these bloody media spectacles.

In other news, a Dahaf Institute poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, of 500 Israelis representing a sample of the population was taken last week.

According to the poll, 77% of Israelis oppose returning to pre-1967 lines.

The large majority 85% respectively recognized the importance of maintaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty within the framework of any kind of finalized peace deal and opposed transferring the Temple Mount to Palestinian control even if the Western Wall remains in Israeli hands…as for the the Jordan Valley, 84% believe Israel must maintain control of the strategic border with Jordan even in the framework of a finalpeace agreement.

Oh, Hezbollah! Oh, Syria!

What happens when panicked Sunni Syrians trying to escape the Baath regime flee to Hezbollah-ruled Lebanon? What do you think!

Lebanese security forces are rounding up Syrian refugees, namely from the border village of Tel Kalakh and sending them back to Syria where 800 citizens have been murdered by Bashir al-Assad in recent months. The refugees stuffed provisions into plastic shopping bags, their wounded on cheap synthetic blankets and crossed the shallow and muddy Kabir river, on foot, looking for medical aid and refuge from residents in the northern city of Tripoli.

One resident, near Damascus, who, out of fear of being arrested, would not give his real name told a reporter from the Guardian:

“There were roadblocks everywhere…It was impossible to hide who these people were, they were looking for Syrians escaping Tell Kalakh…They caught most of them and sent them back through the crossing…Why does Lebanon send our brothers back to be killed and tortured by these monsters?”

According to the New York Times, a reporter from Al Jazeera, Dorothy Parvaz, who disappeared in Syria two weeks ago was sent to Iran within two days of being detained. She is still in Iranian custody! Oy va voy!

Some Syrians turned away at Turkish, Jordanian and Lebanese borders, are heading for Israel. Israel has increased troops deployed on the Syrian border at the intersection of the Israel-Syria-Jordan frontiers in the Har Dov area against the spate of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. The UN force on the Golan Heights – UNDOF – is also strengthening their forces policing the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire lines.

Despite their unwillingness to help their Sunni neighbors, the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon is actually gearing up to remove its heavy, long-range weapons out of storage in Syrian military facilities and transport them back to Lebanon.

Debkafile reported:

“Hezballah may even risk Israel making good on its threat to destroy the Iran-made Fatah-110 surface missiles, its Syrian equivalent M-600 and mobile SA-8 (Gecko) anti-air battery – if they cross the border.”

Meanwhile, an Israeli Navy commander from the missile corvettes’ unit told Globes:

“For quite some time, we have been thinking about how to deal with the opening of the marine front westward to ranges that are almost double what we were used to control and operate in…”

The Missile Corvettes’ unit is responsible for protecting Israel’s offshore natural gas fields, such as Leviathan and Tamar, against the Hezbollah.

The commander continued:

“The gas fields are located west of Rosh Hanikra (the Israeli-Lebanese border point on the Mediterranean). The claims by [Hizbullah general secretary Hassan] Nasrullah that the fields extend into Lebanese waters are not true, even under international law. These are the economic waters of Israel…”

Navy chief of staff Rear Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda said:

“There is considerable activity in Israel’s economic waters, ranging from surveys by rights’ owners through the drilling of exploratory wells…There is a whole range of possible threats against each of these elements. There is no doubt that strategic infrastructures are included in rules of the threats game.”

While a 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks quotes now-Lebanese prime minister, Najib Mikati, describing Nasrallah and Hezbollah as a “tumour that must be removed.”

However, Mikati’s office released a statement this week saying the comments did not “reflect his convictions.”

“The prime minister will not get involved in debates with any party, especially over … words and positions that are in part untrue, in part inaccurate and most of which go back years…”

Today, Hezbollah is said to have an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets. If war breaks out with Israel, Hezbollah will be able to launch between 500 and 600 rockets every day at the Jewish State.

Syriasly Delicious Apples

“Returning” the Golan Heights to Syria, from whom the land was captured following the Six Day War in 1967 is probably not such a smart notion. Not today. Not tomorrow. Perhaps nor the day after tomorrow would it be a good notion to cede land to Syria.

Here is what Israel can do to honor justice:

They can donate apples to the Syrians. Actually, 12,000 tons were transferred by IDF forces across the border via the Quneitra crossing.

These apples, grown in the Golan Heights by Druze farmers, carry diplomatic significance:

“Each apple equals assistance to Druze farmers on both sides of the border..”

explained Captain Adham Rad, commander of the Quneitra crossing.

“Some Druze families are separated by the border…and Israel, showing its desire for peace, works to accommodate their needs, making sure they lead normal lives.”

Israeli authorities approved the project that began six years ago, and the Red Cross is the neutral envoy required for launching the project.

The Red Cross has representatives on either side of the border and supplies the trucks and Kenyan drivers who transfer the apples from Israeli to Syrian trucks. Then, from Syria, the apples are marketed to Persian Gulf countries.

The videos below are about as close as you would want to be to Syria, under Baath Party control, these days:

On Choosing the Right Battles (in the face of a syrias situation)

by Scott Krane

Today we are living in the Islamic Democracy Revolution, the Arab Spring; an unmistakable contrapuntal song of freedom. A tune that started in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, two countries that “did good” in their respective democracy-fueled coup d’états. Sudan heard the cry but to no apparent avail, as did Yemen, Bahrain and Iran (and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cites the last twenty-four months in Tehran as the exposition of the movement), as did poor little Lebanon, which continues to be strangled and poisoned by the Hezbollah, that venomous snake.

A critical assessment of the Middle East leads us to analyze the recent history of Syria and the recent history of Libya.

In the latter country, Muammar el-Qhadaffi thought he had the world duped. The financier of worldwide guerilla groups, he is single-handedly responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 innocents. And he funded Black September, the Palestinian group that murdered eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. However, the world – that is the West and Africa – was under the verisimilar impression he had reformed his evil ways; or at least, did not pose a threat to the West. (Does he?)

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to call a “no-fly zone,” and bomb that country is crazy; more so considering America’s budget deficit and the cost of such military operations, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and counting. Certainly there are countless other humanitarian nightmares happening around the world that America, were they the world’s humanitarian vigilantes, would cite and quell.

So, as I read in a recent editorial in Haaretz:

“The West’s intervention in Libya may undermine future civil revolts.”

And if we fear Libya acquiring nuclear weapons, then for goodness sakes what is taking so long to do something about Iran.

Recent events in Syria, as they pertain to the Jewish State, are the exact opposite. With President Bashar al-Assad at the helm, Syria has spent more than $3 billion on weapons in three years. As we well know, they have done all they can in the way of assassinations to squash democracy in Lebanon – they have done with their geographic advantage what Iran, who has in that state a terrorist proxy, cannot. According to Haaretz, Syria has received $1 billion from Iran to purchase rockets, surface-to-surface missiles, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems.

David Schenker of The New Republic wrote:

“During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Syria’s Assad regime was helping insurgents to cross the border and kill Americans. In response to the Syrian provocation, the Bush administration considered a broad range of policy options. But one family of options always remained off the table: regime change or any combination of pressures that might destabilize Damascus.”

document by Syrian government to assassinate members of the rebellionFurthermore, recent WikiLeaks documents indicate that:

“Syria placed long-range missiles equipped with chemical warheads on high alert after an attack on a Syrian nuclear plant in 2007.”

Mossad obtained information about the nuclear plant, built for Syria by North Korea, from a laptop stolen from a senior Syrian official. Israel launched the stealth attack that took out the Syrian reactor. Though, first they asked the U.S. to carry-out the strike, however, then-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, refused.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a cheap equivocator, who in the last month murdered 100s of his own people in attempt to put the lid on protests. While he told his people to expect constitutional amendments, sweeping reforms and the ditching of despised state emergency laws that give to the government carte blanche to arrest citizens, sans charges, no such reforms have actually happened.

Meanwhile, Michael Isikoff of MSNBC wrote:

“A document drafted by senior Syrian intelligence officials (pictured above) details a plan to infiltrate the ranks of anti-regime protesters, arrest and assassinate their leaders, and link anti-regime demonstrations to the work of Zionist and other outside agitators.”

The reason that Israel may want to get involved in ousting Assad makes the U.S. invasion of Libya, (where French and NATO forces were already eyeing, where al-Qaeda, America’s other enemy is on the side of the rebellion), look well, silly.

Syria has been a direct threat to the Jewish State forever and in the last weeks, more so than ever.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said:

“Syria is an Iranian acquisition, and it is clear that Iran is concerned that this investment will go down the drain…Therefore, Iran has shown more involvement [in Syria] than in other Arab countries.”

According to intercepted communications among Iranian officials:

Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people“.

If the time has come to sing democracy in the Middle East, let’s make sure military invasions are worth our while. Let’s not forget Syria is among the most noteworthy bankrollers of Hamas. Why not nip this nightmare in the bud? So America is in Libya, fighting alongside al-Qaeda, their back seemingly turned to Iran. The reality is Syria needs Israel’s help. And, let’s face it, Israel needs theirs.

A SERIES OF SYRIAS SITUATIONS: resolve of a demogogue

Syrian President Bashar Assad is expected to announce constitutional amendments and sweeping reforms, including the jettisoning of loathed state of emergency laws that give the regime carte blanche to arrest people without charges. On Tuesday, Assad fired his entire Cabinet.

Since March 18 more than 60 people have been killed in military crackdowns to put the lid on protests. Assad, though, promised his people security forces “would not attack protesters” and he did not give orders to attack them.

Concerning the bloody protests in the border city of Deraa Assad said:

“Is not in the heart of Syria it is in the hearts of Syrians. [Deraa] is in the forefront in confronting the Israeli enemy and defending the nation. No one can be defending and conspiring at the same time…this cannot happen. The people of Deraa do not have any responsibility in what has happened. We are all with Deraa…Whoever is part of the Syrian nation always stands tall…Our enemies act every day in an organized and public matter in order to harm Syria.”

He continued:

“Deraa is a county near the Israeli enemy. A man cannot defend his homeland while at the same time conspire against it, so the citizens of Deraa are not responsible for what happened.”

Assad added the protesters are “smart in their timing, but stupid by choosing a country that will not be defeated by any step.”

The Syrian president alluded to a mixture of “internal and foreign” factors influencing the protests. What he called the “domino effect” pursued by the “past administration in the United States,” saying the former US president’s intentions backfired and had the “opposite effect” for the region.

“What has happened so far only strengthens Syria…The Syrian people are peaceful but will not hesitate to defend their causes and principles if he must.”

He blames the protests on “conspirators” who want to destroy the country and “enemies with an Israeli agenda.”

“Our enemies work every day in an organized and public fashion to hurt Syria…Our enemies’ aim was to divide Syria as a country and force an Israeli agenda onto it, and they will continue to try and try again.”

Meanwhile, a recent exposé by Champress, an Internet site with close ties to the regime, revealed that a covert Saudi-American plan was underway to topple Assad’s government. According to the report, the plan, which was first broadcast on the Iranian Arabic-language television station Al-Alam, was devised in 2008 by the Saudi national security advisor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Jeffrey Feltman, a veteran U.S. diplomat in the Middle East who was the erstwhile ambassador to Lebanon and currently assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs.

Seizing the Victoria

Last Tuesday, the Israeli Navy seized a German merchant vessel chartered by a French company transporting weapons from Syria to Gaza 200 miles west off the Israeli. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the “Victoria” ship sailed under the Liberian flag and was carrying various types of weapons.

Netanyahu said:

“We had reason to assume the ship carried weapons meant to hurt Israeli citizens. The source of the weapons is Iran…The takeover was carried out mid sea in accordance with international law. The ship is being escorted to Ashdod.”

In addition to weapons, the soldiers that boarded the “Victoria” found a radar used for detecting ships prior to the launch of anti-ship missiles.

At least four anti-ship missiles with a range of roughly 22 miles was found on the vessel. Deputy Navy Commander Rear Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda said the C-704 missiles were a threat to Israeli sea-based strategic installations and navy vessels.

During the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, a Chinese-made C-802 missile struck the INS Hanit off the coast of Beirut, killing four Israeli sailors.

En route to Alexandria, Egypt from Syria, the ship docked at Turkey’s Mersin Port. It is thought that the weapons on board were meant for terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Security officials had been tracking the vessel for several days. It is thought the weapons were intended to pass Rafah’s tunnels en route to Gaza hence avoiding the naval blockade.

Netanyahu authorized the Navy operation Monday night and was briefed on the developments on Tuesday. The PM told a conference in Eilat Tuesday afternoon:

“Iran sends weapons to terrorist organizations in Gaza that would target the heads of our children. It is our right and duty to take action. We will unload the equipment and show it to the world, a world that rushes to blame Israel, which is struggling for the lives of its citizens.”

Also on Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the weapons found on the ship. The Foreign Ministry informed German authorities of the arrest as the ship belongs to a German company as well as the government of Liberia.
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Lebanon Complains to UN about Gas Find

News of the newly found Leviathan gas field has increased tensions between Israel’s two neighboring countries, Syria and Lebanon, which do not have formal maritime borders.

Last Tuesday, Lebanon’s foreign minister, Ali Shami, petitioned the United Nations to curb Israel’s offshore drilling plans. The request came days after US firm, Noble Energy Inc., announced they discovered a rather large oil field off the Jewish state’s coastline.

The letter read as follows:

“We request you do everything possible to ensure Israel does not exploit Lebanon’s hydrocarbon resources, which fall within Lebanon’s economic zone as delineated in the maps the foreign ministry submitted to the United Nations in 2010. Any exploitation by Israel of this resource is a flagrant violation of international law and an attack on Lebanese sovereignty.”

The Leviathan gas field, off of Israel’s Mediterranean shore, namely the scenic Haifa coast, holds an estimated 450 billion cubic meters – that is16 trillion cubic feet – of natural gas. The site is thought to be twice the size of the Tamar prospect, the largest oil discovery of 2009. Noble Energy Inc. said the find could turn Israel into a gas exporter in the coming few years.

On Thursday,Yitzhak Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group (Delek Drilling LP), a partner in the Leviathan natural-gas find through its subsidiaries, Avner Oil and Gas LP (who hold 22.67 percent of shares, respectively) said, “Today is a day of celebration for all of us. The State of Israel is an energy independent country.”

One Syrias Issue

The Jerusalem Chronicle reported Saturday night that the British government is refusing to release documents with information concerning the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982. They claim the sensitive material could potentially harm diplomatic ties with Syria.

The three Israeli soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, went missing after clashes with Syrian and Palestinian troops near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub during the Lebanon War in June, 1982.
Baumel, Feldman, Katz

Ivor Lucas, the UK’s ambassador to Syria, submitted a report to London on the day of the clash, and may have even witnessed the soldiers’ capture by Syrian troops.

A legal team from Manchester is reportedly taking action over the silence from the UK government, acting on behalf of Zachary Baumel’s mother, Miriam. They are demanding the release of information from the British government.

The common response received by the British Foreign Office, after petitions for the release of information, according to Baumel, has been:

“We are conscious that the release of sensitive information would cause harm to our relationship with Syria.”

To which Baumel protested, according to the Jewish Chronicle:

“I just want the public to know this is a humanitarian matter…We keep getting information that these boys and my son were seen in Damascus and that there were witnesses, and anyone who saw something or who could help must help. I feel the possibilities are great that he is still alive, but certainly the families of those who were seen in Damascus are entitled to closure…I am calling on the British government to act in a humanitarian manner and let the families know by releasing this document, for us to go further in finding our children. If you have children, if one of your children would be lost, how would you feel?”

Meanwhile, Syria is very much a point of suspicion for Israeli and Western intelligence lately.

According to the Jerusalem Post:

“A compound in western Syria with buildings and hundreds of missile-shaped items has been identified as functionally related to a nuclear reactor Israel destroyed northeast of Damascus in 2007…Satellite footage of the site in Masyaf was obtained by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and shows a compound built in a ravine and surrounded by what appears to be a line of trenches.”

The facility could also possibly be a Hezbollah stronghold. A WikiLeaks cable reported increased Syrian support for Hezbollah, including domestic facilities and the donation of longer-range rockets and guided missiles that “could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive” than the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

A U.S. Defense Department official told the New York Times Hezbollah has 50,000 missiles and rockets, including 40-50 missiles able to reach Tel Aviv, and 10 Scud missiles.

Hugo Boss: Despite Attempted Name-Clearing, Venezuela Grows Increasingly Cold to The Jews

Down in Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez has agreed to meet with delegates of the country’s Jewish community for a discussion about antisemitism in the state-run media.

Last June, Mr. Chavez made a public declaration that he believed the Mossad was scheming to assassinate him and that the Israeli government was bankrolling his Venezuelan opposition.

Vice president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela (CAIV), David Bittan Obadia, made the following statement according to the Jewish Chronicle Online in anticipation of the meeting set for September:

“We do not deem [anti-Semitism] a state policy, but the government has the tools to stop it…We will be very straightforward in expressing our concerns. We can see that the government is willing to cooperate…” Stoically he then declared, “This anti-Semitism is troubling us all and it needs to cease immediately.”

According to Jewish journalist Jennifer Lipman:

Anti-Jewish sentiment has been a problem throughout the presidency of Hugo Chavez. In his 12 years in power, the populist leftist leader has made speeches accusing “Semitic banks” of sabotaging the economy and lent his support to an indigenous Islamic group known as “Hizbollah Venezuela.”

In just one isolated instance of antisemitism in the Bolivarian Republic, only days after a public rant in opposition of Israel’s actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, in January of 2009, vandals broke into Sephardic synagogue, Tiferet Israel, only a mile from Chávez’s presidential palace in Caracas. Torah scrolls were trashed and spray paint informed the walls of death threats for Jews and the Jewish country.

A member of the Carcas Jewish community predicted that:

“Chavez and his supporters will not give up power, irrespective of the election result, and many members of our community are concerned that if there are disturbances, we will be targeted. When there is anarchy, there are always people who use it to attack Jews.”

She also observed that:

When the mood intensifies, like during the current election campaign, there are politicians who immediately bring out the incitement against the Jews. Is this by order of the president? I don’t know, but the president sees and hears everything in the government-controlled area. Many Jewish families in my area have left or are leaving.

Also, earlier this summer, Chavez met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and called on Latin America and the Arab world to fight together what he deemed “America’s imperialist and capitalist interests abroad.”

Meanwhile, amid delays to negotiate with Syria, due to rumored Israeli reticence, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant, General Gabi Ashkenazi, OC Military Intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin and OC Planning Branch Major General Amir Eshel are all giving a stalwart push for peace meetings with the Syrian government – while an effort is being made to stall the sale of weapons to that country from Russian suppliers.

Russia Steps In

President MedvedevPresident of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev has urged the United States to actively work to achieve peace in the Middle East – citing the “human tragedy in Gaza”.
The comment apparently indicates Moscow’s willingness to become an active Middle East mediator. Are they wanted? Last week, during a visit to Syria, Medvedev said that the Israeli-Arab tension threatens to draw the Middle East into a “new catastrophe”.

Bibi, despite insider allegations of the contrary, claims that he does not “intend to halt construction of Jewish housing in east Jerusalem”. The Palestinians, of course, accuse the Jewish Country of undermining trust and urge Obama, who supports establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, to intervene.

Medvedev claims that no one should be excluded from the peace process, clearly referencing Khaled Mashaal, the exiled leader of Hamas – shunned as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union nations – and rightly so. Medvedev did urge Mashaal to free Gilad Shalit, according to Kremlin spokeswoman, Natalia Timakova, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

At the meeting in Damascus with Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, the two presidents agreed on the affirmation of Iran’s right to develop a nuclear energy program.

Syria and Israel Wax Nuclear in Paris

On Tuesday both Israel and Syria announced ambitions to develop nuclear energy, with Israel facing the prospect that its plan could bring new attention to its secretive nuclear noodling.
The confessions were made at an international conference in Paris on civilian nuclear energy. Nuclear energy contributes far less to global warming than the burning of fossil fuels, none the less though, evokes many concerns about long-term safety issues.Nuclear Power Station

Doubtlessly, both Israel and Syria’s nuclear programs will come under the microscope of international inspectors to ensure that they do not cross-over into weapons programs.
Iran and North Korea were not invited to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said that nuclear plants built in Israel will be subject to strict safety and security controls. And get this – he even said that his country would like to build them in cooperation with scientists and engineers from “our Arab neighbors.”

“Israel has always considered nuclear power to partially replace its dependence on coal,” spoke Landau.

The program aims to help Israel secure its energy supplies and fight global warming. Israel currently uses coal and natural gas to produce electricity.
Asked if Israel would allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to supervise any new project, Chen Ben Lulu said that Israel would follow all the relevant rules.

The Jewish Country however, has not signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, which aims to limit the number of countries capable of developing nuclear weapons.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad said that his country is looking at “alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy” to meet its growing demands for energy. “The peaceful application of nuclear energy should not be monopolized by the few that own this technology but should be available to all,” Mekdad said.

A few months ago, Landau met with the French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, and raised the idea of French-Israeli-Jordanian cooperation in developing a nuclear power plant.

France derives more of its electricity from nuclear power than any other country in the world and has a highly developed civilian nuclear industry.

It was France who, beginning in the 1950s, helped Israel build its nuclear reactor at Dimona.

Israel also has a smaller nuclear reactor for research purposes at Nahal Soreq, outside of Tel Aviv.

The Middle East According to Netanyahu

Our fearless Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing for talks with Syria, ones in which there would be a mediator, and he would prefer to hold the talks in Paris than in Ankara. He said:

“I spoke with Sarkozy, who told me that the Syrian stance is a retreat to the 1967 lines…Sarkozy also mentioned the Turkish mediation that the Syrians propose, I responded to him saying we are interested in direct negotiations, and if we are talking about a mediator – I prefer you.”

Israeli CabinetApparently Trade and Labor minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was able to strengthen ties between Israel and Turkey during his recent visit to Ankara – ties which have become loosened over the course of the year, really since Operation Caste Lead.

Ankara expressed hopes of a talk between Bibi and the Turkish Prime Minister – though on topics which regard to a Palestinian state it is clear that Bibi would prefer to speak under the auspices of Sarkozy and it is clear why.

During a foreign affairs and defense meeting on Monday, on the subject of the threat from the North, Netanyahu told the committee that

“If in the past we considered Hezbollah as a sideline militia, today Hezbollah is the real Lebanese army…it has replaced the Lebanese army as a significant force; it is arming and organizing as a real army. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah are becoming interwoven in each other – and they will suffer the consequences of any violation against Israel.”

On the topic of the recent settlement freeze on construction in the West Bank, Bibi said that it was

“an attempt to advance negotiations and clarify who is really interested in talks…there must be coordination between the cabinet’s decision and the injunction…we are the ones who renewed it.”

HEZBOLLAH COUNTDOWN 2010: SWINGING A BIG AX IN THE LEBANON FOREST

It is widely held, almost certain that Hezbollah has thousands of rockets and missiles hidden in bunkers and basements throughout Shiite areas of Lebanon.

NasrallaThe tiny country’s new government is a flimsy coalition of Western-backed countries and of course Hezbollah, which retains virtual veto power over the government. On Wednesday the new government endorsed the terrorist organization’s rights to keep their arms, which comes in spite of a United Nations resolution demanding that “The Army of God” disarm. The resolution is the same one which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The decision by the Lebanese government to let Hezbollah keep its arms was announced while the Lebanese army opened fire at four Israel Air Force warplanes, which were flying above the southern part of Lebanon. The jets were forced to leave the country’s airspace and return to Israel.

Hezbollah who is listed by the United States as an international terrorist organization receives regular aid from Iran and Syria, and Washington says that Islamic militants with affiliation to Al Qaeda have taken advantage of Lebanon’s unstable government and have infiltrated the country.

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah boasts that since 2006, the group has replenished their weapons stock and now has more than 30,000 rockets which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel.

Hezbollah members hold two seats out of thirty in the Lebanese cabinet and 11 of the 128 seats in parliament. Their strongest national support comes from Lebanon’s Shiite population. All 30 cabinet ministers voted last Wednesday to approve the statement giving Hezbollah the right to keeps its weapons.

There are mixed reactions from the almost divided country and obviously much concern here in Israel – where plans are underway to deploy a system to shoot down rockets from Lebanon.

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