What Riots? Syria in denial
As protests across Syria continue to grow, prompting increasingly violent clashes and a mounting death toll, local officials insist on dismissing the reports while providing their own creative accounts of the situation.
On Friday, violent clashes were reported in several Syrian cities, with more than 30 protestors shot to death by security forces in Deraa, Damascus, Latakia and Sanamein.
That does indeed sound much larger than what we had been led to believe in earlier reports.
Meanwhile, an official source claimed that an "armed gang" attacked headquarters of the people's army in the town of Sanamein, south of the capital Damascus, in an attempt to storm it, Syrian news agency Sana reported.
In sharp contradiction to the official Syrian statements, human rights group Amnesty International said on Friday at least 55 people are believed to have been killed since protests erupted in and around the southern Syrian city of Deraa a week ago.
The figure may not include the most recent deaths in the country.
This is the bad news for Israel as these uprisings increase:
Syrian protestors: Liberate Golan
Protesters in the Syrian city of Deraa shouted slogans on Friday denouncing Maher Assad, brother of the Syrian president and head of the Republican Guard, a Reuters witness said.
"Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan," thousands chanted as they headed to the main square in the city after the funeral of at least five protesters killed by security forces this week.
Israel captured the Golan Heights in a 1967 war.
We can't forget that the Golan Heights give a tremendous military advantage to whoever maintains that land. It is also possibly highly prophetic because we know that the "Gog-MaGog" battle of Ezekiel 38-39 will take place on the "mountains of Israel".
Bloody day in Syria, Jordan
Dozens of people were killed in Syria on Friday as troops opened fire on protesters in several cities and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed on the tense streets of the capital in the most widespread unrest in years, witnesses said.
The violence erupted after tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country. The demonstrations and ensuing crackdown were a major escalation of the showdown between President Bashar Assad's regime and the protestors.
An activist in Damascus in touch with eyewitnesses in the southern village of Sanamein said troops there opened fire on demonstrators trying to march to Deraa, a short distance away. He said there had been witness reports of fatalities, some claiming as many as 20 slain, but those could not be independently confirmed.
And now Jordan's situation is also worsening?
Dozens hurt in Jordan
In Jordan, one bystander was killed when Jordanian security forces used batons and sprayed water to disperse a clash between pro-monarchy demonstrators who hurled stones at protesters calling for political reform, a witness said.
"The (pro-monarchy) thugs were throwing stones from one side and police were attacking protesters with sticks to push them back," protester Mahmoud Hamawi told Reuters.
A member of the medical team with the pro-reform protesters, some of whom camped out on the roundabout on Thursday night, said more than 50 people had been injured, some seriously.
At the same time we are witnessing the unrest in Jordan and Syria, we are continuing to see significant escalations in and around Gaza:
2 Kassam rockets fall in Negev damaging property
Rocket lands on home in Eshkol Regional Council causing damage but no injuries; Barak says Iron Drome anti-rocket system to be deployed within days, cautions system is not a 100% solution.
A Kassam rocket exploded in Eshkol Regional Council area late Friday night, causing damage to one house but no injuries.
A second Kassam had fell in an open area.
The rocket fire comes a day after nearly a dozen rockets were fired deep into Israel, including in Beersheva, Asdod, Ashkelon, and in the Rishon Lezion area.
Israel has decided its time to try the Iron Dome system we have heard so much about:
Speaking during a tour of the Gaza region, Barak said: "I authorized the IDF in the coming days to authorize the first operational deployment of Iron Dome batteries, here in the southern region."
He noted that "some 100 rockets and mortars that reached communities further [from the Strip] than usual" were hit, including Beersheba, Ashdod, Sderot, Ashkelon, and the Gaza border-region communities. "We have no intention to allow terrorist organizations to renew the situation and breaking the status quo," he said. The defense minister added, "We will act as it is needed to return the operations back to the [border] line itself."
The defense minister praised Iron Dome's technology, calling it an "extraordinary development" by the defense industry.
The Iron Dome system will be part of the IDF's solution to the barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza in the last week, a statement from the IDF spokesperson said.
it seems that in every corner of the Middle East things are shifting even more in a direction that is opposed to Israel. And it isn't that these previous regimes had any particular love of Israel - quite the opposite. Egypt, Syria and Lebanon all had good reasons to at least try and keep the peace (mainly monetary) and the leaders could maintain their authority and current position.
But resulting from the protests and riots - with Egypt serving as the perfect example - we see a highly organized and ready Islamic group, such as the Muslim Brotherhood (or Hezbollah in Lebanon) come in and gain power.
When that tipping point occurs, these nations shift from a stable regime (albeit with a strong dislike of Israel but motivated to keep relative peace) - to - a regime who will maintain an active policy which plans for the destruction of the Nation of Israel based on a religious mandate.
We are watching this evolution in both Egypt and Lebanon, but Syria may not be far behind and Syria hasn't exactly been in Israel's camp before this. It is hard to imagine what a more radical regime would be like in Syria - but the calls for taking the Golan Heights have already begun. The current Syrian government may feel pressure to begin conflict around Golan just in order to relieve some of this internal pressure.
There are more questions than answers now - but one thing is for sure. The significant events that we have observed thus far in the region are increasing in frequency and intensity, and our prophetic answers may be coming soon.