Sunday, May 23, 2010

In the news...

The situation in North Korea seems to be increasing rather than decreasing. By this, I am referring to the sinking of a South Korean by torpedo. Initially, although it seemed apparent that North Korea was responsible, it looked like another potential crisis that would be swept under the rug in order to avoid an international crisis.

However, it is now widely publicized that North Korea is responsible and Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea authorized this action, in which 46 South Korean sailors perished.

"U.S. Implicates North Korean Leader in Attack"

A new American intelligence analysis of a deadly torpedo attack on a South Korean warship concludes that Kim Jong-il, the ailing leader of North Korea, must have authorized the torpedo assault...

The officials said they were increasingly convinced that Mr. Kim ordered the sinking of the ship, the Cheonan, to help secure the succession of his youngest son.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the attack, despite the presentation of forensic evidence on Thursday — including parts of the torpedo found in the wreckage — that experts from three countries said established that the torpedo was launched from a North Korean submarine.

Although the American officials who spoke about the intelligence assessment would not reveal much about what led them to conclude that Mr. Kim was directly involved, one factor appeared to be intelligence that he appeared on April 25, the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, with a military unit that intelligence agencies believe to have been responsible for the attack.

“Nobody is going to take overt credit for the sinking,” said Jonathan Pollack, a professor at the Naval War College and an expert on North Korea’s military. “But Kim’s visit to this unit has all the hallmarks of congratulating them for a job well done.”

The North Korean defense commission, which rarely issues public statements, turned out a fiery-sounding warning last week, saying it would respond to any military retaliation with “all-out war.”

Who knows where this will lead. It may have absolutely no role in prophetic developments, but something this significant could play into international politics. It is hard to imagine that South Korea and the "international community" will sit by silently and allow this shocking aggressive action by North Korea to have taken place with no retaliation. We shall see.

Caroline Glick: South Korea, North Korea, Israel and Iran"

Caroline Glick weighs in:

On Thursday the South Korean government did something important. It told the truth about North Korean aggression. On March 26, a North Korean submarine attacked a South Korean naval corvette with a torpedo. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the unprovoked attack. And on May 20, the South Koreans ended all ambiguity about the nature of the attack and placed the blame where it belongs.

Sadly for South Korea, while China can be depended upon to block the passage of effective sanctions against North Korea in the UN Security Council and to take any other necessary action to protect the North Korean regime, South Korea cannot expect the US to take action to rein in North Korean aggression. For while the South Korean government acknowledged reality on Thursday morning, the US under President Barack Obama remains in reality denial mode.

In its frenetic bid to court China whose dollars it needs to finance its massive increase in federal spending, the Obama administration has downplayed not only China's nuclear proliferation but North Korea's nuclear proliferation as well. Last week North Korea announced that it conducted a successful fusion experiment. That is, it announced that it is developing a hydrogen bomb. Rather than condemn the move, the administration dismissed the danger claiming that North Korea was lying.

And just as it makes light of the threat emanating from North Korea, so the US has continued to downplay the threat Iran's nuclear program poses to US and global security.

AS FOREIGN Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted in his trip to Japan earlier in the month, North Korea does not only threaten its immediate neighbors. Through its proliferation activities, and particularly through its close ties to Iran and its Syrian, Hizbullah and Hamas clients, North Korea constitutes a threat to the Middle East and indeed to global security as a whole.

What Brennan's statements show is that Obama, who picked Brennan to serve as his chief counterterrorism advisor, is ideologically committed to the notion that Iran and its fellow jihadists are not an inherent threat to the US and its allies. That is, Obama is ideologically committed to the notion that there is no reason to take any action against Iran that could actually prevent the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah from developing and deploying nuclear weapons.

And now, a year and a half later, Obama's sanctions gambit is revealed as a dangerous joke. Iran is months away from the bomb. Hizbullah has an arsenal of guided missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv and beyond. Iran's diplomatic stature has soared to unprecedented heights as it runs diplomatic circles around Obama and his advisors. And Brennan wants to make a deal with Hizbullah.

South Korea's acknowledgment of North Korea's aggression places it on a collision course with the Obama administration which prefers to court Beijing for dollars than deal effectively with Pyongyang's aggression. Israel has been on a collision course with Washington for a year and a half now as it insists in the face of US opposition that Iran's nuclear program is the greatest threat to global security today.

Sadly, the US's ridiculous sanctions resolution and its general diplomatic incompetence make clear is that it is time for Israel to risk escalating its crisis with Obama still further. It is time for Israel to take the lead in the international campaign to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In other news...

"Night falls on Gaza"

World must realize: Hamas not ready for peace

During the past month alone, five Gazans have been executed with formal sanction from the Strip’s Hamas rulers, three of them shot to death in front of the families of their victims just last Tuesday. Their bloodied bodies were then unceremoniously dumped at the local Shifa Hospital.

In some societies, the US most notably, homicide can mandate capital punishment. However, forensic evidence rules are exacting and legal processes are prolonged and arduous. Appeal rights are abundant. All three of those executed last week had appealed to higher courts several times in vain.

In Gaza, legal proceedings are invariably summary shams, kangaroo-court style. Once an individual is accused, his fate is essentially sealed.

Strikingly, this elicits no significant censure among the world’s democracies, the very ones that have often been so quick to rebuke Israel for supposed over-reaction to Gazan aggression. A rare, wan murmur of protest came from an unidentified “top UN human rights official,” who told AP that “fair trials…are almost impossible in Gaza.”

The central purpose of this article now comes to light - and that is - the draconian nature of Shari'a law - something that radical Islamists would like to impose upon the world. The ominous aspect of this, is that efforts to impose Shari'a law in various countries in which Islam is represented is gaining in popularity - to an ignorant population. The ignorance is primarily revealed by the lack of protest and the lack of concern over the growing push to have this judicial system imposed if not throughout entire countries, in regions where the Muslim population predominates.

Generally, however, Gaza’s notions of justice appear to have caused next-to-no offense in the enlightened West. This is consistent with the remarkable silence that has greeted the gradual imposition on Gaza of restrictions that echo aspects of Shari’a law.

An iron curtain of a strict theocracy is slowly descending on Gaza, but many human rights proponents still prefer to depict it as the embattled bastion of freedom fighters.

“Immoderately” dressed women are frowned upon in today’s Gaza. Strolling with a man or even riding a motorcycle with one’s husband can invite questioning. “Modesty patrols”inspect cars to catch unmarried women with men who aren’t relatives.

Male hairstylists are banned from beauty parlors. Women lawyers have, on occasion, been required to don headscarves. The hijab and loose robes are mandatory in secondary schools. Men aren’t allowed to swim in the sea shirtless.

The degree of devotion and prayer habits by mosque worshipers are strictly monitored by appointed commissars. Internet cafes and Christian institutions are particularly popular targets.

It is, therefore, mind-boggling that while more and more voices worldwide – including in Russia – advocate admitting Hamas into the regional peace process, such as it is, no attention is paid to the benighted transformation that Gaza is experiencing under Hamas hegemony.

This is an inexplicable and unconscionable lapse on the part of ostensibly progressive governments, and no less a failure on the part of professed human rights campaigners who claim to be spurred only by angst for the humanitarian conditions and welfare of Gazans.

The international community cannot seriously expect such a regime to be a reliable interlocutor with which Israel can indeed negotiate coexistence deals in good faith.
Look what it’s doing to its own people.

More news on Iran:

Massive U.S. Air-Sea-Marine build-up opposite Iran"

This article comes from DEBKAfile. As usual, I don't "endorse" any linked sites, but in these last days I like to take in all available information. DEBKA has been proven to have made mistakes in the past and thus "banned" from many popular sites. However, they have also been correct many times in the past - thus take the article with a grain of salt. Additionally, the following information has been observed by other news sources, lending more credibility:

DEBKAfile's military sources report a decision by the Obama administration to boost US military strength in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf regions in the short term with an extra air and naval strike forces and 6,000 Marine and sea combatants. Carrier Strike Group 10, headed by the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, sails out of the US Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia Friday, May 21.

On arrival, it will raise the number of US carriers off Iranian shores to two. Up until now, President Barack Obama kept just one aircraft carrier stationed off the coast of Iran, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Sea, in pursuit of his policy of diplomatic engagement with Tehran.

Our military sources have learned that the USS Truman is just the first element of the new buildup of US resources around Iran. It will take place over the next three months, reaching peak level in late July and early August. By then, the Pentagon plans to have at least 4 or 5 US aircraft carriers visible from Iranian shores.

Another four US warships will be making their way to the region to join the USS Truman and its Strike Group. They are the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and guided missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill, USS Oscar Austin and USS Ross.
DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that the 6,000 Marines and sailors aboard the Truman Strike Group come from four months of extensive and thorough training to prepare them for anticipated missions in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

If true, this information makes one wonder what possibilities exist. Could these ships be there as a deterrent to any action by Israel? Could these ships be there to send a message to Iran? Or, could war be on the horizen?

Only time will tell.

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