For outward consumption, American and Israeli officials are striking diplomatic poses, and downplaying differences of opinion regarding actions to be taken, or not taken, regarding Iran's nuclear programYet the uncharacteristic silence maintained by Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak in recent weeks about Iran, as well as the flying visits of top U.S. officials to this country, alternately stir and reflect worries in the Obama administration over the Netanyahu governments actual intentions toward Tehran.America's analysis of what is happening in that country has remained static; nor has the Americans' stand on what should be done shown much development. The Obama administration continues to sanctify the sanctions, whereas Israeli officials have become increasingly skeptical about their efficacy.MK Roni Bar-On (Kadima ), chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, claimed on Monday that Iran is capable of dealing with sanctions imposed on it for another year, at least. Israel insists it cannot wait such a long time; the concern is that the Iranians will exploit a year of waiting to complete work on nuclear reactors and pass the "threshold" - the point at which they could produce nuclear weapons without Israel being able to stop them militarily.Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that Tehran could reach this threshold in another few months.Should a decision ultimately be reached to launch an attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities, Netanyahu will have to brace for three problematic repercussions: a grave, probably unprecedented, crisis in relations with the United States; the possibility of continual rocket and missile fire against civilian targets in Israel; the possibility that international reservations about Israel's unilateral action would impede "follow-up" activity
Israel is preparing for a possible military intervention in Syria in case the Syrian government hands missiles or chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Friday.
"I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that ... (if necessary) ... we will be able to consider carrying out an operation," Barak said in an interview on Channel 10 television.
"We are following ... the possible transfer of advanced munitions systems, mainly anti-aircraft missiles or heavyground-to-ground missiles, but there could also be a possibility of the transfer of chemical means (weapons) from Syria to Lebanon," he added.
Syrian government forces pounded rebels in Damascus overnight, battling to reverse opposition gains in the aftermath of the assassination of President Bashar Assad's security chiefs.Army helicopters and tanks aimed rockets, machine guns and mortars at pockets of rebel fighters who have infiltrated the capital this week in an operation they call "Damascus Volcano."The Observatory's combined death toll over the past 48 hours stands at 550, making it the bloodiest two days of the 16-month-old uprising against Assad.
"The regime has been rudderless for last three days. But the aerial and ground bombardment on Damascus and its suburbs shows that it has not lost the striking force and that it is re-grouping," opposition activist Moaz al-Jahhar said byphone from Damascus.
A Damascus resident said he saw three tanks on the southern ring road late on Friday evening, firing at districts in west Damascus.
"The road was cut off and troops were firing mortar rounds from next to the tanks," he said.
A resident of Mezzeh, a district of high rise towers, villas and cactus fields, said helicopters were firing machine-guns into the neighborhood and rebels were firing back "uselessly" with automatic rifles.
A man in Barzeh, a neighborhood to the northeast, said a barrage of mortar rounds began hitting residential buildings
But there is a bigger picture here. Should we care if indeed the Muslim Brotherhood has gained a foothold throughout the Middle East, and if they wield significant influence within the Obama administration? Or does that make us Islamophobic? What shouldn’t get lost in all this are the policies of the Obama administration that have helped facilitate the ascendency of the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt. Investor’s Business Daily has made it abundantly clear that that is exactly what has taken place. In the editorial, titled “How Obama Engineered Mideast Radicalization,” they lay out the following timeline:While many in the media tried to convince us back then what a moderate force the Brotherhood was, it should be recalled that it is the oldest Islamist group, “founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, who became a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. Following an attempted assassination of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954, the group was outlawed in Egypt.”
The man who was elected last year to head the MB in Egypt was Mohammed Badie. Here is what he said in a sermon in 2010: “Arab and Muslim regimes are betraying their people by failing to confront the Muslim’s real enemies—not only Israel, but the United States. Waging jihad against both of these infidels is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Governments have no right to stop their people from fighting the U.S.”
The point is, the media are eager to use this story as another way to attack the GOP. That’s what they do. But let’s see if they’ll show some intellectual honesty and look also at the underlying issue: Should we care if the U.S. government maintains close ties with the MB, both internally and externally, and has supported their ascendancy in the Middle East?
Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”Chick-fil-A has been swept up in a growing national controversy over company president Dan Cathy’s remarks questioning gay marriage and lauding the traditional family....the company released a statement yesterday saying it has a history of applying “biblically-based principles” to managing its business, such as closing on Sundays, and it insisted it does not discriminate.“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” the statement read. “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”“It doesn’t send the right message to the country,” Menino said. “We’re a leader when it comes to social justice and opportunities for all.”