It is now all but certain that Israel will hold early parliamentary elections later this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announced the exact date on Sunday, but most are speculating that the election will take place at the beginning of September.A much talked about consequence of this decision is how it affects the possibility of striking Iran's nuclear facilities.Most Israeli officials agree that if there is to be a preemptive strike on Iran, it must occur this year, or the beginning of next year at the very latest.Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently warned that Israel and the West cannot allow themselves to continue being duped by Iran's diplomatic game. Barack previously cautioned that sooner rather than later, Iran would test a nuclear bomb and then be immune to any kind of military intervention.
1. Current polls show that Netanyahu and his Likud Party will emerge from the upcoming election stronger than ever. Netanyahu could be looking to use the election results as a fresh mandate and validation of his policies before launching a strike on Iran.2. Sporadic reports over the past year have indicated that suspected Israeli covert operations in Iran have already succeeded in crippling the Islamic Republic's ability to produce nuclear weapons in the short term. According to those reports, Netanyahu knows this. In that case, the early election could be an effort by Netanyahu and other leaders to dampen the debate over whether or not to strike Iran, as doing so is no longer necessary.3. Netanyahu and the Israeli leadership still believe a strike on Iran may be necessary, but fear the current debate is moving too fast, especially considering current US President Barack Obama would be unlikely to directly support Israeli military action. Netanyahu might be trying to defer the debate until after the US presidential election in November.4. While perhaps the least likely scenario, there is some speculation that Netanyahu agrees with the notion that attacking Iran is simply too risky, even if that means allowing Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons. In that case, Netanyahu could be looking to weaken the power of his more hawkish current coalition partners via early elections, "forcing" him to create a new coalition with more dovish factions.
The IDF has issued call up orders for six battalions to guard the Egyptian and Syrian borders, with authorization for more if needed. The orders were approved by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as part of a request to call up as many as 22 battalions.The call up came following intelligent assessments calling for increased deployment of more troops, an IDF spokesperson said.
Former deputy IDF chief of staff Dan Harel said Wednesday night the call-up meant the IDF views the Egyptian and Syrian borders as a “potential source of greater threat than in the past.” He cited Egypt's reducedover the Sinai Peninsula, and the upswing in smuggling of weapons and other items by Bedouin tribes in the area.
Harel also pointed to the growing threat of terrorism emanating from the Sinai – an issue that has been constantly underscored by Israel's Center for Counter-terrorism in every alert issued prior to eachin a vain attempt to prevent Israelis from traveling to the region.
In addition, the former deputy chief of staff warned the situation in Syria “could explode at any moment...and pose a direct challenge to us.”
Despite a worldwide arms embargo, Iran has been able to import over a half billion dollars' worth of weapons over the past several years, while Syria was able to get nearly $200 million in imported weapons in recent years.Altogether, the report says, countries under full or partial UN arms embargo were able to import over $2 billion in arms between 2000 and 2010, the period covered in the report. During that time, there were 26 such UN-declared embargos.
The latest eurozone data are truly shocking, much worse in its implications both for us and them than news last week of a double-dip recession in the UK. Even in Germany, unemployment is now rising, with a lot more to come judging by the sharp deterioration in manufacturing confidence. For Spanish youth, unemployment has become a way of life, with more young people now out of a job (51.1pc) than in one. In contrast to the US, where the unemployment rate is falling, joblessness in the eurozone as a whole has now reached nearly 11pc. Against these eye-popping numbers, Britain might almost reasonably take pride in its still intolerable 8.3pc unemployment rate.To think these problems can be solved either by fiscal austerity or, as advocated by Hollande and others, by its polar opposite of fiscal expansionism is to descend into fantasy. By reinforcing the cycle, and thereby exacerbating the slump, fiscal austerity is proving self-defeating. Far from easing the problem of excessive indebtedness, it is only making it worse.
What do they think a collapse is supposed to look like? It seems people just cannot just cannot get past the "Zombie Apocalypse" theory of collapse. They imagine hordes of disease-ridden folks dressed in rags stumbling around and fighting over cans of petrol and stripping cans of food from shelves. That's not what collapse looks like. It never has been. In fact, there's very little evidence that a Zombie Apocalypse style collapse ever occurred in the historical record. Instead we see subtle patterns of abandonment and decay that unfold over long periods of time. Big projects stop. Population thins. Trade routes shrink and people revert to barter. Things get simpler and more local. Culture coarsens. High art stagnates. People disperse. Expectations are adjusted downward. Investments are no longer made in the future and previous investments are cannibalized just to maintain the status quo. Extend and pretend is hardly a recent invention.And right now the entire continent of Europe is looking an awful lot like post-collapse Russia:The savage cuts to Greece's health service budget have led to a sharp rise in HIV/Aids and malaria in the beleaguered nation, said a leading aid organisation on Thursday.
The incidence of HIV/Aids among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels, which ended in the 1970s.
Reveka Papadopoulos said that following health service cuts, including heavy job losses and a 40% reduction in funding for hospitals, Greek social services were "under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope". The heavy, horizontal and "blind" budget cuts coincided last year with a 24% increase in demand for hospital services, she said, "largely because people could simply no longer afford private healthcare. The entire system is deteriorating".Is that not a die-off? What would a collapse look like? What should a collapse look like? Zombies? Mad Max? Or would it look like the following statistics from this article:In Greece, we now have record unemployment, which includes the majority of young workers. Homelessness is up 20 percent, with soup kitchens in Athens reporting record demand, and the usually low suicide rate having doubled.
Portugal has complied completely with the austerity demands it accepted for its bailout deal, but its debt is growing and its economy is shrinking, its unemployment rate continus to reach new heights, there is a crisis in medical care, and a 40 percent rise in emigration, with the Portuguese government acknowledging its own failure by actually encouraging its citizenry to leave.
In Spain, austerity has resulted in falling industrial output and deepening debt, with record unemployment and a stunning rate of 50 percent youth unemployment. And the Spanish government's incomprehensible response is to impose even more crushing austerity.
Ireland has fallen back into recession as austerity has led to falling economic output. A better future is being sacrificed, as young workers look for work abroad, "generation emigration" expected to number 75,000 this year.