Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Israel Hails U.S. Efforts Against ISIS, But Worries Persist On Iran

Israel Hails U.S. Anti-ISIS Push, But Worries On Iran

Israel on Wednesday hailed US efforts to form an alliance to fight jihadists in Syria and Iraq but raised concerns of a rapprochement betweenWashington and Israel's arch-foe Iran.
"I praise the American initiative to take action and form a coalition against the Islamic State, and hope those efforts will succeed," Foreign Minister Avigdor  Liberman said in comments broadcast on public radio early Wednesday, shortly after he left for a visit to Lithuania and the United States.

His remarks came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit at the start of a Middle East tour aimed at building a regional coalition to combat the extremist Sunni militants who have taken over swathes of territory either side of the Syria-Iraq border.
Liberman's comments follow calls yesterday by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for greater cooperation between global intelligence agenciesto defeat IS.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi, who is close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, also praised the initiative but warned it may signal closer ties between the United States and Iran, which has also pledged to join the struggle.

"There could be some kind of flexibility vis-a-vis Iran by the Americans in the fight against IS," he said.
American airstrikes have already directly supported Iranian-backed Shia Islamist militias, including during the breaking of the Islamic State's siege of the Shia town of Amerli last week. Apart from funding, equipping and training Iraqi Shia militias, Iran has also sent some of its own special forces to back the push against IS - a push that is being aided by US bombers.
Israel bitterly opposed an interim deal that Washington and other powers reached with Tehran last November, paving the way for the talks on a comprehensive agreement on Iran's future nuclear activities.

Iran and the six powers - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany - had been working to a July target date for a comprehensive agreement to allay international concerns about its ambitions.
But they agreed to extend the talks until November 24 to allow more time to reach a historic deal. The new talks are to open in New York ahead ofthe opening of the UN General Assembly on September 16.  
Israel has refused to rule out military action against Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent any possibility of it developing the technology for an atomic bomb.

If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
There are reasons to suspect that air strikes on Syrian territory may target not only areas controlled by Islamic State militants, but the government troops may also be attacked on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army,” Lavrov said Tuesday.
Such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with the foreign minister of Mali.
Moscow is urging the West to respect international law and undertake such acts only with the approval of the legitimate government of a state, Lavrov said.
Not a single country should have its own plans on such issues. There can be only combined, collective, univocal actions. Only this way can a result be achieved,” he said.
His comments came shortly after Washington announced plans to go on the offensive against the Islamic State jihadist group. The US military has already launched over 100 airstrikes against militant targets in Iraq, including a new series that the military said killed an unusually large number of Islamic State fighters, AP reported.

Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast. In a report on the fragile cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, Moscow correspondent Bernhard Lichte used pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the "SS runes" of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. A second soldier was seen with a swastika on his gear. “Volunteer battalions from nearly every political spectrum are reinforcing the government side,” the ZDF correspondent said in his report.

The video was shot last week in Ukraine by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2. “We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the private television station, told NBC News. Minutes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesperson whether the battalion had fascist tendencies. “The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,” Bogen said.

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man during clashes in a refugee camp near Ramallah early Wednesday.
The army said the man threw an improvised explosive device at them as fighting broke out during an operation to arrest a wanted man in the al-Amari refugee camp in the West Bank, Ynet reported.
Palestinian news agency Ma’an identified the man killed as 22-year-old Issa al-Qatari and added that the IDF was attempting to arrest Hamas operative Allah Jalita.

The army said Palestinian rioters attacked security forces with Molotov cocktails and burning tires. Qatari threw an explosive at the soldiers, who returned fire with live ammunition, killing the man.
Six people in the West Bank were arrested in overnight operations by the IDF.

The killing comes on the heels of a string of riots and other violent incidents in Jerusalem following the Sunday death of East Jerusalem teen Muhammad Abd al-Majid Sunuqrut, 16, who was shot during clashes with Israeli security forces in the capital a week earlier.
Tensions also ramped up on Tuesday after a Palestinian inmate died in Israeli prison. Israeli officials said the man hanged himself, but Palestinians rejected the claim and called a hunger strike for Wednesday.
According to a new report by the Shin Bet security service, violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank has risen dramatically since the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammed Abu Khdeir by three Jewish Israelis and the start of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip in early July.

Russia and China pledged on Tuesday to settle more bilateral trade in ruble and yuan and to enhance cooperation between banks, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, as Moscow seeks to cushion the effects of Western economic sanctions.
Shuvalov told reporters in Beijing that he had agreed an economic cooperation pact with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli that included boosting use of the ruble and yuan for trade transactions.
The pact also lets Russian banks set up accounts with Chinese banks, and makes provisions for Russian companies to seek loans from Chinese firms.

Spurred on by their often fraught relations with the U.S., Russia and China have long advocated reducing the role of the dollar in international trade.
The quest to limit the dollar's dominance became more urgent for Moscow this year when U.S. and European governments slapped sanctions on Russia to penalize the country for supporting separatist rebels in Ukraine.
For China, curtailing dollar's influence fits well with its ambitions to increase the clout of the yuan and turn it into a global reserve currency one day. With 32 percent of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves invested in U.S. government debt, Beijing wants to curb investment risks in dollars.
Chinese firms' proposals to invest in more than 30 projects in Russia were also discussed, Shuvalov said. The projects, some of which were valued at several hundred million dollars, included building roads and bridges, resource development, agricultural production and transportation facilities, he added.

With the European Central Bank (ECB) recently announcing new stimulus policies, some economists have highlighted that other central banks could be ready to counteract any foreign exchange fluctuations, thus increasing the possibility of a return to "currency wars."
Last week, ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled a promise to buy purchase asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bonds which will effectively add 1 trillion euros ($1.29 trillion) into the euro zone's flagging economy, according to some analysts.
With more liquidity in the system and Draghi still pondering whether to launch a Federal Reserve-style government bond purchase program, the euro is expected to continue to depreciate against its peers. And this is where the problem lies, according to economists.
"(We expect) talk of currency wars to resume as some central banks will ponder the effect on capital flows and their currencies," Claus Vistesen, the chief euro zone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in research note after the latest meeting by the ECB's Governing Council.

This, she believes, will mean the Chinese central bank will enter the fray, adding that there would be no way it could restart its "sputtering" growth engine without major yuan devaluation. 
"This in turn, together with likely higher U.S. interest rates, would be a lethal combination for the euro area. Ultimately, serial competitive devaluation is not a solution for a global economy that still lacks genuine consumer demand," she said in her note.

Are you ready to have your veins scanned every time you use your bank account?  Are you ready to use a "digital tattoo" or a microchip implant to unlock your telephone?  Once upon a time we read about such technologies in science fiction novels, but now they are here.  The era of widespread biometric identification and microchip implants is upon us, and it is going to change the way that we live.  Proponents of these new technologies say that they will make our private information and our bank accounts much more secure.  But there are others that warn that these kinds of "Big Brother technologies" will set the stage for even more government intrusion into our lives.  In the wrong hands, such technologies could prove to be an absolute nightmare.

Barclays has just announced that it is going to become the first major bank in the western world to use vein scanning technology to control access to bank accounts.  There will even be a biometric reader that customers plug into their computers at home...

Barclays is launching a vein scanner for customers as it steps up use of biometric recognition technology to combat banking fraud.
The bank has teamed up with Japanese technology firm Hitachi to develop a biometric reader that scans a customer's finger to access accounts, instead of using a password or PIN.

But Barclays is not the only one that is making a big move into biometric identification.
Online retailing behemoth Alibaba is going to start using fingerprint scanning in an attempt to make their transactions more secure...

It is only a matter of time before more banks, online retailers and major websites start using this kind of technology.  We live at a time when theft on the Internet threatens to spiral out of control, and big corporations are going to be continually looking for answers.
Cell phone security is another area of great concern these days.  If someone can get a hold of your phone and unlock it, that person can potentially do all sorts of damage.
So Motorola has developed a "digital tattoo" that will be used to ensure that only the owner of a phone is able to unlock it.  The following is how Motorola described these new digital tattoos...

With a wave of his left hand, Ben Slater can open his front door, turn on the lights and will soon be able to start his car. Without even a touch he can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records.
The digital advertising director has joined a small number of Australians who have inserted microchips into their skin to be at the cutting edge of the next stage of the evolution of technology.
Slater was prompted to be implanted in anticipation of the iPhone 6 release on September 9.

The heaviest rainfall in 50 years has resulted in more than 400 deaths in the Kashmir region – with thousands still trapped on rooftops – as residents in both India and Pakistan are criticizing their governments for not doing enough to help them.
In India, at least 217 people were reported to have died by Tuesday, with another 47,000 evacuated from their homes. The city of Siringar was still submerged, as were more than 2,000 other villages.
The Indian Air Force has been pressed into action and has air-dropped over 550 tons of relief. Eighty medical teams have established emergency health services in state-run health centers and schools.

“The damage is shocking. People have been stranded on the rooftops of their homes for the last three days in some parts of Kashmir,” said a senior official from India’s National Disaster Response Force. He added that they would have sent in disaster response teams earlier, but “we were all caught off guard because there was not a single warning issued by the weather office. The flash floods took us by surprise.”
Although India’s meteorological department did forecast heavy rain in Kashmir for last week, the nation’s media reported the Central Water Commission, which issues flood warnings, did not warn the northern state of Kashmir, where the downpours were heaviest.


Caver said...

So, now this convoluted mish-mash is complete. Fighting alongside a host of countries and "groups" that are our enemies...or were our enemies yesterday.

The great transformation appears to almost be complete. Has it now boiled down to having to look at what cause or country we're fighting in to determine if that particular soldier is neutral, friend, or foe of the US. Our foreign policy has never been such a bunch of mambo-jumbo.

I do a pretty good job of keeping score, and I'm getting lost in the categories of friend or foe depending on country or cause.

If ever the term "nation against nation" were applicable, surely it is today.

Waterer said...

I agree Caver! Mish mash. How in the world can we hope that isis will be more ethical than what happened with Hamas in Gaza with hiding behind children? Just bombing Arming people we hope are good?
How is this different from what we did in Afghanistan when Russia had attempted to take it over. We taught them to fight and armed them and then ended up fighting those very people .
I am dumbfounded and I feel OLD. History is not just repeating itself from antiquity but with in our lifetimes.
Nation against nation,lawlessness abounds.
God is good . I will not despair but HOPE in Him whether His coming is soon or not as soon as I would like, I trust Him to hold onto us even when we are tired and dismayed.