US President Barack Obama warned Wednesday that the window to resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program diplomatically was shrinking and that Tehran would face consequences if it didn’t take fresh talks seriously."Because the international community has applied so many sanctions, because we have employed so many of the options that are available to us to persuade Iran to take a different course, the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking,” Obama said during a Rose Garden press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday found that 56 percent of Americans would support US military action against Iran if there were evidence of a nuclear weapon program, while 39% were opposed. Nearly the same number (53%) said they would back strikes even if they led to higher gas prices, with slightly more (42%) saying they would not.
In addition, 62% of Americans would support Israel taking military action against Iran for the same reasons, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Israel cannot allow terror groups to be backed by a nuclear Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the Knesset on Wednesday, adding that those who say he is exaggerating the severity of the Iranian threat were those who allowed Iran's takeover of the Gaza Strip.Referring to the recent bout of violence in his address to the Knesset, Netanyahu blamed Iran for taking over the Gaza Strip through the Hamas militant group, saying that "the dominant element driving events in Gaza is not the Palestinians but Iran, who is building the infrastructures, provides the money, and sometimes gives the orders," and that sooner or later, the Iranian base in Gaza "will be uprooted."
"Gaza is Iran's forward position," the PM added, saying that he exited Sharon's cabinet prior to 2005 disengagement since he knew then that "rockets would fly out of Gaza, fly at Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, at Ashdod. They said we were spreading panic, that the move would lead to a breakthrough to peace. What breakthrough? What peace?"Netanyahu then directly accused the disengagement for allowing the Iranian takeover of the Strip, telling the Kadima MKs: "Iran was let into Gaza, but it wasn't we that let Iran into Gaza, it was you.""As soon as we were out, Iran went in," the premier added, saying the same criticism of his stance toward the disengagement in 2005 was used currently to play down the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat."A nuclear Iran would represent an existential threat on the State of Israel and the safety of the entire world," the premier said.
Netanyahu also brought up several instances in which Israel acted in opposition to the United States' stance, including David Ben-Gurion declaring independence, Levi Eshkol's actions in the run-up to the Six-Day War and Menachem Begin's decision to bomb Iraq's nuclear reactor.
Saying publicly in the Knesset what he only said privately to Congressional leaders in Washington last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday stressed Israel would act to defend itself even if the US objected.Israel has never left its fate in the hands of others, not even in the hands of our best friends," he said in a speech that focused on the Iranian threat and drew a direct line from Tehran to the events earlier this week in Gaza. He also blamed the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip for leading to Iran's establishment of a "forward" terrorist base there.Netanyahu cited legendary US Secretary of State George Marshall as telling David Ben-Gurion in 1948 not to declare a state, and reminded the Knesset that US President Lyndon Johnson not only advised Israel against preemptive military action in 1967, but warned that "if you act alone, you will be alone." Likewise, he said Prime Minister Menachem Begin knew when he decided to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 that he was going against US wishes and would come under sharp international criticism. "But he fulfilled his obligation and acted," said Netanyahu, possibly preparing the public for the prospect of Israeli military action even over US objections.
The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which went into effect on Tuesday appeared to collapse Wednesday night when two Grad-model Katyusha rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Beersheba.The IDF was expected to retaliate to the renewed rocket fire. Assessments within the IDF were that the rockets were fired by small, splinter terror groups and not by Islamic Jihad, which has behind the bulk of the rocket fire into Israel since Friday.Before the rocket fire Wednesday, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo warned that Israel might be required to launch a large-scale operation in Gaza in the near future to stop the attacks.
Syrian President Bashar Assad was advised by Iranian officials to divert attention toward Israel and the Palestinian cause in an effort to deflect criticism of his brutal crackdown, emails said to have been intercepted by Syrian opposition and released by the U.K.'s the Guardian indicated on Wednesday.One email sent in December 31 indicated that Assad's aides advised the Syrian president on the contents on an upcoming speech...In the composed memorandum, Assad was advised to stress the issue of Muslim identity through the use of Koran quotes, as well as centering on what the email called "Syria's principles," which included: "Resistance"; "Hostility to Israel, the first enemy of the Muslims"; and "Protection of Palestinian people's rights (real prayers should be in the direction of Jerusalem)."
"Maybe here the president can reiterate his stance by condemning forcefully the recent Israeli practices and policies to Judaise Al-Quds (Jerusalem)," the email added, saying that Assad should use "powerful and violent" language in his opposition to Israel.
Strong but dangerous shallow earthquake relatively close to Mito and Tokyo
Please read our in-depth report about this earthquake – Click here
M 6.9 2012/03/14 09:08 Depth 26.6 km OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU/HOKKAIDO, JAPAN
Very strong earthquake with epicenter right on the subduction fault line