The Israel Defense Forces raised its alert level in the Northern Command area, and a military spokeswoman said Israel complained to the U.N. peacekeeping force in the area after the tanks entered.
Hebrew news site Ynet said there were reports that two Syrian armored personnel carriers also crossed into the zone.
The Syrian army vehicles were deployed just a few miles away from Israeli military positions.
Several mortar shells from the Syrian fighting have reportedly fallen in the same area in recent days, and one of them may caused a small fire.
Marco Carminjani, an official with the U.N. body supervising the zone, said he could not immediately confirm the entry of the tanks. But if the report is true, he said, it would be a violation of the 1974 disengagement agreement between Syria and Israel. He said it would be the first such move in the zone since the accord.
There have long been concerns in Israel that violence from Syria’s civil war could spill across the long-quiet frontier. Misfired Syrian shells have exploded inside Israel on several occasions in recent months, and the Mount Hermon tourism site was briefly closed after suspicious movements in the area.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, touring the Golan Heights last Tuesday, said the territory would stay in Israeli hands, calling it non-negotiable under a Likud-Yisrael Beytenu government.
“The Israeli Law, which applies to the Golan Heights, has been in place since the days of former prime minister Menachem Begin, which means the Golan Heights are like Tel Aviv or Holon,” he said.
There is concern in Israel that if the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is toppled, the country could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists or descend into sectarian warfare, destabilizing the region. Still, Israel has expressed empathy for Syrian citizens caught up in the vicious fighting.
Islamist rebels are invading Christian communities in Syria – fighting to capture Aleppo’s mostly Christian neighborhoods of al-Syriaan al-Jaddie and al-Syriaan al-Qadime.
Reports from Middle East analysts say the battle for the Christian neighborhoods started last week.
Religious Freedom Coalition President William Murray said there’s a reason the Free Syrian Army chose to fight over the Christian neighborhoods.
“The Islamist rebels invaded Christian neighbors to force government troops to destroy homes there,” Murray said. “They want the government troops to shell the neighborhoods in an effort to recapture it.”
“I have seen this tactic in the so-called West Bank during the Intifada,” he said. “Muslims would fire mortars from a Christian neighborhood to draw Israeli fire there. This is a win-win for the Islamist rebels supplied by Turkey. Syrian government troops can be fired on and Christian homes get destroyed.”Clay also said Christians are experiencing the most hardship because they have the most to lose if Assad is overthrown.
“While many Christians have publicly denounced the brutality of President Assad and by no means support the regime, many Christians still desire greater freedoms and political reform to be enacted by the current government,” Clay said.
Christians’ hopes for reform are growing dim.
“That, of course, will never happen as Assad has chosen time and again to use brutal force in response to peaceful protests, killing thousands of civilians,” Clay said. “At the same time, however, most Christians see little hope in an alternative government which, they fear, will be led by Islamists who will hinder or outright abolish the religious freedoms long experienced by Christians in Syria.
“Due to ongoing violence and fears of radical Islamic factions, church leaders in Aleppo have reported that many Christians have already fled the city. According to Agence France-Presse, Syrian rebels have openly stated their goal of transforming Syria into an Islamic state while proclaiming that Christians have no connection to the country.
They seized power in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia following the notorious Arab Spring revolutions. They are determined to do the same in Syria and Jordan. They are the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential modern Islamist organization. But what do we actually know about them? Is their reach limited to the Middle East, and what threats do they pose to Israel and Europe? Israel Today uncovers.
Despite these divisions, Brotherhood members around the world are united by a set of common goals.
One of those goals is “to be the ultimate leaders of their Muslim societies,” explained Vidino. “Muslim expatriates are usually divided and disoriented by the impact of life in non-Muslim countries. Very often they lack any knowledge about Islam, which makes them an ideally receptive audience for the Muslim Brotherhood’s message.”
Vidino continued by noting that the Muslim Brotherhood would also like to become the “official representative of the Muslim community in the eyes of the European politicians. They want to be able to interfere with decision-making circles on issues ranging from domestic policies to international affairs, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Brotherhood’s effort toward achieving those goals have born fruit.
HATRED OF ISRAEL
Apart from targeting Jews, the Brotherhood is fundamentally hostile toward Israel, rejecting its right to exist, opposing the peace process, and obstructing all efforts at normalization between Israel and the Arab states (especially Egypt and Jordan). Blaming all Middle East problems on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Brotherhood also helps to raise money for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which has the blood of hundreds of Israelis on its hands.
To promote anti-Israel sentiment, the religiously conservative Muslim Brotherhood has even joined forces with extremist liberal left-wing groups that make it their aim to delegitimize Israel through various media stunts.
In fact, London has turned into an important media hub for the Brotherhood, which operates the Arabic publication Risalat Al-Ikhwan and the satellite channel Al-Hiwar TV, boasting more than two million viewers, out of the British capital. Apart from broadcasting programs with Islamic themes and anti-Israeli propaganda and incitement, Al-Hiwar gives stage to various extremists (like Muhammad Sawalha, a Hamas operative) who use the media as a tool to spread their toxic messages.
But the Muslim Brotherhood is not only dangerous to Jews or Israel. “The movement promotes agendas that encourage their followers to think of themselves first and foremost as Muslims, thus hindering their assimilation in Europe. Even though they say the opposite, their messages are clearly incompatible with European values,” said Vidino.
Moreover, constant radical preaching (that’s forced down the throats of European Muslims from an early age) makes it easier for extremists to recruit operatives able to carry out suicide attacks either in the Middle East or on European soil.
“If [the Muslim Brotherhood continues to pursue this path] and if these teachings are absorbed by the Muslim masses in Europe, this could prove dangerous for the European society,” Vidino summed up.
The Institute for National Security Studies held a war game recently in which players representing regional actors simulated the first 48 hours after an IDF strike on the Islamic Republic.
The simulation was based on the scenario of a unilateral Israeli strike without US participation, after midnight on November 9.
The Tel Aviv University-based institute began the game with the following “announcement”: “Al Jazeera reported that Israeli planes attacked nuclear sites in Iran in three assault waves. Following the reports, Israel officially announced it attacked nuclear sites in Iran, since it had no other choice.”
As part of the exercise, Iran responded with full force, firing some 200 Shihab missiles at Israel in two waves, and calling on its proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical organizations, to attack Israel. At first, Iran refrained from striking US targets in the Persian Gulf region in the war game.
The international community remained paralyzed due to Russia’s attempts to exploit the situation to advance its strategic interests.“After two days, the Iranians, and to a lesser extent, their allies, continue to attack Israel. The crisis did not appear to be approaching a solution,” the INSS concluded at the end of the war game.
The US stayed out of the fighting, based on a policy that it would only become involved if Iran were to shut off the globally important oil route of the Strait of Hormuz, or if Iran attacked US assets in the Gulf.
Within the INSS, there are two competing schools of thought regarding the outcome of an Israeli strike on Iran. The first foresees a major regional war that could develop beyond the area. The second believes that, due to the presence of restraining mechanisms, Iran’s ability to set the Middle East alight is limited.
Having lived in the Tornado Alley for 30 years, I have learned many valuable lessons. After many raging tornadoes, straight line winds, and hurricanes I understood that churches and other Americans near and far, not the big government, were the first line of defense after a disaster.
Mennonites, Baptists, Mormons, and the National Guard came by truckloads with bulldozers, shovels, and chain saws to extricate their fellow Americans from trees and debris. Utility trucks from places as far away as Utah helped restore our power.
We were never so arrogant to claim, in shameless hubris, that humans were in control of Mother Earth. We did not cause global warming and we are not responsible for cycles of disastrous weather. Bad weather events such as Sandy have occurred periodically throughout our planet’s history. Soil samples prove that massive tsunamis and hurricanes had occurred long before humanity reached the industrial age. Time and effort would be better spent to find a way to minimize the damaging effect of natural events. Destroying our way of life and returning to pre-industrial age is not a rational answer.
Mayor Bloomberg was eager to point out, “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week’s devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
I would prefer that leaders take immediate action and reduce our national debt, the number one threat to our national security. Taxing us more is not a solution.
Bloomberg, a rich urbanite, cannot fathom the idea that climate has changed for millennia and people had to adapt or die off. Rural residents are not deluding themselves and others that the power of nature can be controlled by man. You can ask the dinosaurs that even a 100 percent tax to offset carbon footprint cannot change global events. It is just a scheme to make money and to make people like Al Gore rich.
The fact that millions are crowded into high-rise apartments in densely populated areas, leaving people exposed, more vulnerable, with more casualties in the wake of a weather related event, escapes the liberal mind. We now track and keep very accurate records of catastrophic weather events. In the past the data was scarce, records sketchy, and news did not travel so fast without the Internet.
I understand need, pain and suffering – I’ve lived through many hurricanes, a few earthquakes, and many tornadoes. I hope Democrats use this painful lesson to ponder the fact that immediate help and relief does not come from Big Government, it comes from ordinary fellow Americans who do extraordinary things.
Liberals have always lived in the capitalist lap of luxury but have yearned for the poverty of communism. As they ardently advocate and support utopia at all costs, liberals are finally getting painful lessons from a hurricane, of what everyday life is like under communism - power goes out for weeks on end, water is turned off, hot water is seldom available, heat is anemic, wood, coal, gasoline, and heating oil are hard to find and expensive, and food is very scarce, distributed in long lines, with rationing coupons, or on the black market. The only difference between communism and a natural disaster is the culprit that causes all the pain and suffering – irrational control freaks or Mother Nature.
What separates barbarism from civilization? About 96 hours without power, it turns out. The plight of a few New Yorkers left without food, fuel, or power — and increasingly without public services — has provided a cautionary tale into what happens when the infrastructure which supports 21st century megacities collapses. It shows what occurs when the design margin runs out. The signs in the disaster area abound. “Looters will be shot.” “Block proteced by Smith and Wesson.”
Perhaps more so than in any other place in the city, the loss of power for people living in public housing projects forced a return to a primal existence. Opened fire hydrants became community wells. Sleep-and-wake cycles were timed to sunsets and sunrises. People huddled for warmth around lighted gas stoves as if they were roaring fires. Darkness became menacing, a thing to be feared.But where the memory of the human birthright had not been wholly extirpated, the residents looked to themselves. Gone in an instant was the idea that “guns” are bad. Unmentioned was the once sacrosanct principle that nothing is settled by force. Few things transform a surfer — like the man above — into a caveman faster than need.
Of course the inconveniences in New York are temporary. Give it a few weeks and things will be back to normal. Then we can be our old generous and humane selves again. But before we entirely forget a few unpleasant days of deprivation, let’s spare a moment to reflect on how fragile is our civilization. How fleeting are our scruples.
The United States has presided over the longest peace in modern history. It did not achieve this on the back of “moral superiority.” It attained this because it had sufficient strength and wealth to plant the flowers. We ought not to let people persuade us that weakness is good; that poverty is virtuous; that a dull sameness is all we must aspire to. We ought not to think that to disarm ourselves before evil is virtue. It is folly. We will all learn that lesson at one time or another in our lives. Only some will learn it too late.
Remember Cindy Sheehan?
You know, the grieving mother who camped out at George Bush’s ranch demanding to see the president — for a second time — so she could express her unhappiness about the war in Iraq that killed her son? The woman who inspired the media to more madness than usual in support of a leftist cause? The woman who Pulitzer-winning doyenne of cheap Beltway gossip Maureen Dowd wrote at the time had “absolute moral authority”?
It wasn’t just MoDo who went gaga over Cindy. Reporters from every network were tripping over themselves and each other in Crawford to stick mics and cameras in their heroine’s face. As Brent Baker noted in August of 2005:
Before and after Cindy Sheehan’s announcement Thursday that she was leaving Crawford to attend to her ill mother, the networks celebrated her supposed achievements and hoped they’d re-invigorate the anti-war movement. “Did just one grieving mother spark the beginnings of an anti-war movement? We’ll give you the ‘Inside Story,’” CBS anchor John Roberts promised before Wyatt Andrews trumpeted: “Her movement seemed to catch fire Wednesday night as tens of thousands of people in more than a thousand places attended vigils in support.” He insisted that it’s “very clear Cindy Sheehan has tapped the public’s frustration.” ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas saw “a campaign born of sadness and resolution.” Thursday morning, ABC’s Charlie Gibson championed: “All across the country protests against the war in Iraq, inspired by the mother standing her ground at President Bush’s ranch.” On screen, GMA put “MOM ON A MISSION: IS ANTIWAR MOVEMENT GROWING?” George Stephanopoulos claimed “a lot of Republicans would say” that “this is the president’s swift boat moment.”
Now, compare and contrast to someone that many have never heard of: Chuck Woods, bereaved father of Tyrone Woods, one of the SEALS killed in Benghazi a couple months ago.
Whatever the reason, he is an invisible man. When one does a search for “Chuck Woods Benghazi,” the only links that come up are to Fox News, or links to other places that link to Fox News. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and the rest of the alphabet soup are conspicuous by their absence (though interestingly, the current top link is a Slate story by Dave Weigel asking if “conservatives” will be able to “Swift Boat” Obama over the issue).
Maybe if he really wants to get the nation’s attention, Mr. Woods will have to take a page from Cindy Sheehan’s book, and perhaps chain himself to the White House fence. I’d bet that, plus a mass rally by the Tea Party in Lafayette Square to support him, might force the other networks to finally take note of someone who has even more “absolute moral authority” than their erstwhile heroine and speaker of “truth” to power.