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Category: Middle East (page 8 of 19)

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A Strange Relationship: Israel, Egypt, and introducing Ghost!

If there is anything bizarre about the Middle East, besides permitting genocide in Syria, it is Israel’s strange relationship with an Egypt that still exists in a state of formless static – still no elections, alas no formal government. After a coordinated terror attack on the road to Eilat that left eight Israeli nationals dead (The Popular Resistance Committee claimed responsibility) IDF soldiers accidently killed four Egyptian police officers, victims of friendly fire.

The IDF also was successful in their retaliation by killing the top commanders of the Popular Resistance Committee and setting off cross-border exchanges of gunfire.

Needlessly, Israel released a public apology for the incident. But on Friday as evening prayers were winding down, the people of Cairo rioted, vandalizing the Israeli embassy, burning Israeli flags and calling on Hamas to attack Israel. Dually noted, as the Associated Foreign Press reported, Egyptian Presidential hopeful, Hamdin Sabahi, praised the actions of the demonstrators.

Despite the fact that Ilan Grapel, the alleged Mossad agent arrested back in June in Egypt, (an American citizen who served in the IDF Paratrooper’s Brigade during the Second Lebanon War and interned at the Israeli Supreme Court) is still being held in custody, Israeli President Shimon Peres held a Ramadan dinner for senior Arab sector officials at his home in Jerusalem. Peres told Egyptian diplomat Mustafa al-Kuni that “he has great respect for the Egyptian people.”
Meanwhile, Israel remains under a rain of rocket fire, while Hamas claims to be in fire of an immediate ceasefire.

In other news, over the weekend, Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled its latest development in the secret unmanned aerial vehicles sector – a tiny aircraft weighing four kilograms, known as GHOST. According to Haaretz, “GHOST has a low acoustic signature, and can stay airborne for half-an-hour including a payload for both daytime and nighttime observations.” The unmanned aerial vehicle can be used by both the military company as well as fighters in the field. The system can be carried in two backpacks by fighters, and it includes two aircrafts, several batteries and a portable computer that is used to oversee and control the device, including communication.

Conflict: where does Egypt stand?

Southern Terror Attack August 2011The Egyptian government’s state of Tohu Bohu is evident during the nation’s behavior amidst recent warfare between Israel and terrorist factions in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of protesters congregated in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo last Friday after prayers, torching Israeli flags and calling on Hamas to attack the Jewish state.

Seven Israelis were killed and at least 26 wounded on Thursday in a series of terrorist attacks near Eilat. IDF soldiers who rushed to the scene were hit by several explosive roadside devices that detonated alongside the IDF vehicle. At about 12:35, another mortar was fired from Egypt.

A senior Egyptian official said that the death toll among security forces after Thursday’s attacks in Israel had reached six.

Israel says the men were killed by the same terror cell that killed eight Israelis Thursday.

So, given the terror attack’s juxtaposition to the border, Egyptian forces assisted Israeli forces. However, al-Jazeera falsely reported that the six Egyptian soldiers were killed by an Israeli airstrike.

However, protesting in Egypt persists. The protesters, demonstrating against the deaths of the six Egyptian soldiers, waved
Palestinian flags and called out, “Israel will be torched” and “Death to Israel”. They also shouted, “Jihad, jihad!” and “The army of Mohammed will return” and “We want fire, we want war!” and “The people demand an end to Camp David Accords!”
Officials hold that Thursday’s attacks were carried out by the Popular Resistance Committees, but the terror group denies involvement after the IDF killed five of its members. A separate terror group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the fire of a Grad rocket at Ashdod Friday morning, saying it was in response to “Israel’s crimes”.

Meanwhile, Saturday the rockets continued to be fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Four were fired at Ofakim, injuring two Israeli children. Another mortar shell was fired from Gaza toward Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries or damage were reported

Luckily, the new Iron Dome anti-missile system shot down a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Beersheba, southern Israel’s largest city.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office says that over 45 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza since the action started

Thursday. Police bomb squad officers have successfully retrieved the remains of 18 rockets. The Lachish sub district was hit with 28 rockets and nine in the Negev region. Three Palestinians working in Israel were also injured when a number of Grad rockets exploded in southern Ashdod.

Jordan’s Petroleum Woes

You probably thought that you would not live long enough to hear of a nation in the Middle East complain of not having enough oil to supply its population. Well, this is exactly what the Kingdom of Jordan in the Middle East is facing today.

Unlike many other Arab states and Kingdoms in the Middle East, Jordan does not have its own natural source of oil. It therefore imports natural gas and heavy oil from Egypt. However, supplies from Egypt were recently disrupted following an attack on the Arab Gas Pipeline that occurred last month. This attack marked the second Sinai explosion in a period of one month. According to officials in Cairo, the repairs will take between 7 and 10 days to complete.

This however, is unacceptable for Jordan, which relies on Egypt’s natural gas and heavy oil supplies for 80% of its energy production. The Kingdom reports having experienced a loss of up to JD637 million in the first half of this year as a result of the continuous disruptions in the supply of oil from Egypt. The Kingdom is currently purchasing oil from the international market at a cost of more than $3 million per day.


The current high cost of fuel in the international market and the continuous disruptions in oil supplies has led officials from Amman to seek alternative sources of energy. Although the Kingdom is set to receive oil from neighboring Iraq at an $88 per tonne discount, the Kingdom officials still continue to seek alternative sources of energy that are more reliable and pocket friendly.

This is good news for various energy firms around the globe. Plans are underway for the construction of an offshore terminal for liquefied gas at the Port of Aqaba. Construction is set to begin in 2013 and various international firms have expressed interest in the project including Royal Dutch Shell, Al Fijr, Lemont/General Electric and British Petroleum. If all goes according to plan, the Kingdom would greatly reduce its current 30 000 tonnes a day consumption of heavy oil.

The country’s switch to alternative power will also see a reduction in government spending. Jordan currently spends one-fifth of its gross domestic product on the importation of energy to meet the nation’s needs. The country currently imports 97% of its energy. Amman officials are also exploring energy sources such as nuclear power, wind, solar and oil shale.

Sinai Not Safe?

My first impression of the Sinai Peninsula in the north of Egypt was a pleasant surprise. I travelled there with two of my comrades in the spring of 2006. We took a bus from our kibbutz in the north overnight through Israel and crossed the border at Eilat. After crossing the Egyptian border check (the Sinai Peninsula was ceded to Egypt by Israel in 1982 with an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty) we entered a Jeep accompanied by European tourists (presumably non-Jews) who drove us through the desert in blistering dry desert heat – the temperature must have exceeded 45 degrees Celsius.

Staying for five nights in the resorts of Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik was great. The tourist complexes were filled mostly with scuba diving enthusiasts from England who opted to spend their holiday exploring the exotic marine life in the Gulf of Aquaba from Egypt rather than Eilat.

Just two days upon our return to the kibbutz in the North, however, CNN reported of a series of deadly explosion in Dahab. The incident happened right at the beginning of Sham Al-Nasseim, the Islamic spring celebration. 80 people were wounded and at least 23 were dead. The al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last week, the Egyptian army detained al-Qaeda militants in the Sinai region. According to the Maan news agency, al-Qaeda cells infiltrated the peninsula in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution.

The Sinai also connects Egypt to the Gaza Strip. A crucial natural gas pipeline that runs through the Sinai was bombed five times this year, and post-Mubarak Egyptian authorities hold the al Qaeda responsible for the attack.

An Egyptian intelligence general told CNN:
“Al Qaeda is present in Sinai mainly in the area of Sakaska close to Rafah,..They have been training there for month, but we have not identified their nationalities yet…Units from the 2nd infantry division, with support from general security and the border guards…We plan to clean out those criminal pockets around the area of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid…”

General El-Sayed Abdel-Wahab Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai confirmed that a flier entitled “Al Qaeda Sinai Branch” circulated outside a mosque in el-Arish last Wednesday. The document called for an Islamic state in Sinai and declared that the group is planning attacks on police stations and security forces.

“A security cordon has been placed around the entrances of el-Arish and reinforcements arrived outside the police stations and the el-Arish central prison in anticipation of an attack on Friday…” said Wahab.

Syrian Gunboats Murder Citizens of Coastal Town of Latakia

The situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. On Sunday, at least three gunboats pounded the indigent Mediterranean coastal city of Latakia, once a summer tourism hot spot, killing 10 people and wounding at least 30.

As the gunships blasted waterfront districts, ground troops and tanks stormed nearby neighborhoods. Latkia is made of a population Sunnis, Alawites (Assad’s sect) an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and a small minority of Christians, ethnic Turks and other groups.

On Saturday, some 20 tanks carrying armored personnel rolled into the city’s al-Ramel district amid intense rebellion gunfire sending residents fleeing. At least ten people died in the shooting in al-Ramel.

Amateur videos posted on the Internet by activist showed at least one gunship patrolling the coast opposite al-Ramel, as well as tanks moving along the waterfront. Syria has banned most foreign media and has put a strong restriction on local coverage.

So far at least 1,700 civilians have been killed in bloody crackdowns on protests calling for the ouster of the Assad regime.

The United States has called for a global trade embargo on oil and gas from Syria, warning America’s closest allies they must “get on the right side of history” and cut links with a government that uses violence to repress protesters.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that the European Union may decide in the next week or two to broaden sanctions against the Syrian regime and its state-run businesses.

Canada has also broadened economic sanctions on Syria by banning additional members of Assad’s government from traveling to Canada and freezing assets of entities linked to the regime.

The Syrian uprising was mostly inspired by revolts and calls for reform sweeping the Arab world, as activists and rights groups say most of those killed have been unarmed civilians. An aggressive new military offensive which began with the Muslim holy month of
Ramadan at the start of August has killed several hundred people in just one week.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that Washington believes President Bashar al-Assad’s government is responsible for more than 2,000 deaths asserting that Washington believes Assad has “lost his legitimacy to govern the Syrian people”.

Clinton said:

“We are working around the clock to try to gather up as much international support for strong actions against the Syrian regime as possible…I come from the school that actions speak louder than words…with actions that will send a very clear message to the Assad regime, the insiders there, that there’s a price to pay for this kind of abuse and attacks on their own people.”

Palestinian Permission

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers opened a thoroughfare in Nablus for the first time in nine years. On Monday, Palestinian liaisons of the Israeli army presided over the opening of the road that stretches from Nablus to the Palestinian village of An-Naqura. The governor of Nablus has made re-paving the road a priority in hopes that it will be fully functional as soon as possible.

The road being shut down in 2002 forced villagers to take long detours, and even prevented many villagers from accessing their fields so that they can go to work. With the road open, villagers in the north should have direct access to Nablus and to their livelihoods in the fields.

During the Second Intifada, the IDF closed many roads and built many checkpoints, a number of which, despite a lull in violence, are still in place. However, with terrorism such as what happened to the Fogel family a few months ago, it is no wonder the IDF opts to closely patrol roads throughout the area.

In other news, the Palestinian general consul in Alexandria Jamaal Al-Jamal said Tuesday upwards of 2,000 Palestinians have returned to live in the Gaza Strip from Libya, yes, Libya. More than 34,000 Palestinian families live in Libya, numbering in the ball park of 160,000 persons. Some who are trying to flee the war zone have visas which permit them to return to their jobs in Libya.

President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered PA authorities to facilitate the return of more Palestinians in Libya. Palestinian embassies in Tripoli, Alexandria and Cairo are coordinating with each other assisting their return.

In Alexandria, the Palestinian consulate has appointed a team to coordinate the arrival of passengers at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is even offering health care and meals to assist Palestinians in Libya fleeing from the war there.

Al-Jamal says that he is grateful for the assistance of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations before thanking the Egyptian authorities for helping to facilitate the return of Gazan Palestinians.

I ran to see Israeli and NATO forces?

Will Iran be stumbling back on to world stage soon? According to a popular American news network, Israel has created a military cyber command to launch a computer war against Iran as the thought of a conventional attack on Tehran’s nuclear sites could end in failure.

The new cyber command will directly report to the Israeli Prime Minister who has placed the program at the heart of Israel’s defense capability.

The center already has conducted some 8200 “soft” espionage missions, including hacking into Iran’s version of Facebook as well as other social networking sites.

While the Stuxnet malware virus, which severely affected Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 by sabotaging the delicate centrifuges needed for enriching uranium, is widely held to have been developed by Israeli technicians in concert with American technicians, the true source of the malware offense is unknown. The Stuxnet virus did not only infect Iran. Actually, in Indonesia 18.22% of the virus was spread, in India 8.31%, 2.57% in Azerbaijan. In the United States 1.56%, Pakistan 1.28% and Iran 58.85%.

Last April, Iranian government offices came under attack from another malware virus to which Tehran officials gave the name Stars.

They said the damage had been contained but admitted it was the second mysterious virus found since the Stuxnet attack.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Syria’s Assad that he faced a “sad fate” if he failed to introduce reforms.

Moscow’s envoy to Dmitry Rogozin accused the organization of planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the Assad regime “with the long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran.”

In an in Izvestia article on Friday, Aug. 5, Rogozin said:

“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 says he thinks Syria and later Yemen will be NATO’s last steps on the way to launching an attack on Iran:

“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.”

The Russian envoy made a point of citing NATO and not mentioning the United States once during the interview.

According to DebkaFile: The Libyan campaign taught NATO that without US military strength, alliance members were incapable of defeating even a small army on the scale of Muammar Qaddafi’s six brigades, much less muster the ground, air and sea forces for striking Syria and Iran. The only power with the requisite military strength is the United States, which was therefore the unspoken address of Rogozin’s warning…Russian diplomats have repeatedly cautioned Tehran that it incurs the danger of American attack on its nuclear facilities. Now Syria has been included. Rogozin remarked that having “learned the Libyan lesson, Russia will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria.”

The combined military spending of all NATO members comes to over 70% of the world’s defence spending. The United States on its own accounts for 43% of the total military spending of the world with France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy making up 15%.

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.

Gerneral Qadaffi and his Gigantic MegloPhone

Mr. Qadaffi the megalomaniacal trickster of old Libya is threatening Europe. European “homes, offices, families,” that is, unless old NATO ceases airstrikes on his regime – airstrikes that have also inadvertently claimed the lives of civilians of the rebellion.

His life sought by the International Criminal Court, Mr. Qadaffi, delivered the warning in an audio message played to thousands of supporters gathered in central Green Square of Tripoli.

Impressively, Señor Qadaffi can still pack the crowds into the square for a reassuring show of solidarity with the Machavellian tyrant.

The Libyan lord said:

“These people (the Libyans) are able to one day take this battle … to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes…We can decide to treat you in a similar way…If we decide to, we are able to move to Europe like locusts, like bees. We advise you to retreat before you are dealt a disaster.”

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Qadaffi, his son Seif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi for crimes against humanity.

On Friday during his Green Square rant Qadaffi said Libyans who fled to neighboring Tunisia are “working as maids for the Tunisians…What brought you to this stage? The traitors…”

He urged supporters to “march on the western mountains” clearing the region of weapons the French government delivered to the rebels there several days ago.

Jordan, Egypt, Grapel

On Friday, more than 500 Jordanians demonstrated outside the prime minister’s office in Amman, pleading for a government free of corruption and other particular. At the same time, some 600 Hashmoneans held pro-reform protests in the southern cities of Tafileh, Karak and Thieban as well as the Northern city of Irbid.

Demonstrators chanted:

“The people want to reform the regime. Speed up democratic reforms now. We want our stolen money back…We demand an incorruptible national salvation government…”

One banner read:

“Democracy means an independent judiciary, honest MP’s and an elected government…”

In Karak, protestors hailed former information minister Taher Adwan who was forced to resign on Tuesday after accusing the government of introducing “restrictive” legislation, he described as a “blow to the reform drive” and “martial laws.”

Heavy protesting in Jordan actually began in January, as Arab citizens throughout the Middle East have demanded political and economic reforms and an end to corruption.

In Jordan, unlike other Arab countries, the protests have usually passed without serious violence.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Transport Ministry said it was following up with Egyptian authorities on re-opening the maritime line between Aqab and Taba for tourism. These hot resort towns were closed by Egypt.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, Jerusalem and Washington held meetings with Cairo on June 13, to release 27-year-old Ilan Grapel, the dual US/Israeli citizen arrested on charges of Mossad affiliated espionage. Israel announced on Monday, Grapel had no connection to Israeli intelligence, whatsoever. Furthermore, the Israeli foreign ministry insisted Cairo had not informed Jerusalem of the arrest.

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials renewed his detention. Grapel will spend 15 more days in an Egyptian jail pending further investigation.

Enter: Muslim Brotherhood

With the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in February, Israel’s relations with Egypt have been turned on their head. It is a game of waiting. Will a treaty between Egypt and Israel hold? Will Muslim Brotherhood take more than 50 percent of Parliament seats? If yes, does it mean direct threat? Imminent danger for the Jewish State? Is everything going to be alright after all?

Ahead of legislative elections, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has reportedly joined forces with 17 Egyptian political parties – both liberal, secular and religious alike – to concretize a mutual platform. Involved in the joint platform are such political parties as Brotherood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the more liberal Wafd party, the leftist Tagammu and the brand new Salafi (Muslim Fundamentalist) Noor party.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – which took the governmental reins after Hosni Mubarak was ousted – has set the parliamentary elections for a date in September.

Despite these signs of modernity and democracy from the Brotherhood, Chairman Mohammed Badie held an interview on Egyptian television, indicating as Caroline Glick paraphrased:

“That the Brotherhood will end any thought of democracy in Egypt by taking control over the media. Badie said that the Brotherhood is about to launch a public news channel,” committed to the “ethics of the society and the rules of the Islamic faith.”

Mr. Badie recently said in an interview:

“Mubarak tries to black mail Obama by using Muslim Brotherhood name to remain in charge of on going chaos. All 1.57 billion Muslims are part of Muslim Brotherhood excluding Mubarak, he is member of Israel Brotherhood, he can go Israel and live there.”

Jerusalem Post in February reported Badie saying:

“Asked on CNN if his organization would support the maintenance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Mohamed Morsy, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, dodged a direct answer but said Israel had failed to honor the treaty. He said it would be up to the Egyptian parliament to decide on the fate of the treaty, and that the parliament would reflect the will of the people.”

Not Discounting Jewish Terrorism

No one is paying the price for price-tagging but the settlers. Period.

Four female Jews, three of them minors, were arrested on suspicion of torching Palestinian vehicles in Hebron last month. Seems to the court this was related to the Price tag policy of some of the settlers.

The brother of one of the suspects was killed during Operation Cast Lead, this may have affected her judgment, admitted the authorities.

This does not excuse price-tagging.

In an even more disturbing tale, according to Ynet, an IDF major was indicted Sunday on charges of ordering a soldier to run over a 20-year old Palestinian with an army jeep in 2008.

And again: a lieutenant and infantry commander were indicted on charges of vandalism with malicious intent for torching Palestinian vehicles with his soldiers in 2009.

There is no hope for Zionism when we fan the flames of Jihad. We become guilty.

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.

G8 in Bed with Hamas. Why?

Stephen Harper G8 2011Why is the G-8 in bed with Hamas? Why is it that when Abu Mazen, now serving year seven of a four year term joins forces with a true blue terror organization, the world, the West, who pays with their blood for the ideology of Islamic extremism thanks him?

Is it the same force that expelled Israel from this land 2000 years ago? That kept Jews oppressed throughout the world by the cross, by the crescent? The same force that nearly wiped out European Jewry during the Nazi regime?

The leaders of the G-8: Britain, France, Germany (the largest European sponsor of the Palestinians), Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States all agree on pressuring Israel to retreat to its pre-67 borders. Only Canada stood by its Jewish allies and were subsequently thanked by Foreign Minister Lieberman.

Meanwhile Abu Mazen will be returning to Cairo for the second time since signing the unity pact with Hamas. The talks to be held with the head of Egypt’s Higher Military Council, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, will be centered on declaring statehood at the United Nations in September.

Abu Mazen – you bad ass!

Meanwhile, after Egypt opened up the Rafah crossing with Gaza last week, a Qassam rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip landing in Israel near the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported.

That’s life.

Below, Jackie Mason rants about Israel giving away land:

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.

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