Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday's Headlines: Countdown In Jerusalem And Iran

Iran - the country who's leaders have sworn to destroy Israel - has a significant influence in the Middle East, an influence which is growing by the day. This is one of the many reasons many of us see the "inner circle" war of Isaiah 17/Psalm 83 as a proxy war engineered by Iran working behind the scenes. If you dig a little deeper, you will find Russian influence also directing things in the Middle East. Recent events seem to confirm that idea:

If Israel jets show up in Iranian airspace, it will most likely happen while Obama is too busy accusing Mitt Romney of secretly storing all hismoney in a giant cave in the Rocky Mountains to do more than dispatch a flunky to chew out Netanyahu over the phone. The election is the perfectwindow for a strike on Iran's nuclear program, because Team Obama will be too tied down on the Romney Front to do much damage to Israel.

The diplomatic and military establishment is full of experts who view Iranian nuclear weapons purely as factors in the balance of power and utterly refuse to look at them from any other angle. To them, Israel isn't really concerned about a nuclear attack, it's only playing a regional power game along with everyone else.

For Israel, violence is not a posture or a theory. It has few trading connections and no alliances in the region. Its foreign policy has always been about dissipating physical threats to its people, whether through diplomatic or military means. It does not follow this line because it is a saintly state, but because it is a state always on the edge. It has too little territory and too many enemies around it to follow any other path.

Surrounded by countries for whom destroying it is a matter of national pride and religious fervor, its only real deterrent is military. Winning several wars won it enough breathing room to try diplomatic solutions. And now the first and last of those diplomatic solutions has failed. It can still count on the military as a deterrent, but there is no deterrent against a nuclear attack carried out by terrorists under plausible deniability. The only remaining deterrent after a nuclear attack is killing as many of those responsible as possible before succumbing to radiation poisoning.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been cobbling together a national unity government, which in Israeli terms means that he is either running for sainthood or trying to get as much of the political system behind him as possible in a critical time.

Everyone in the region understands the nature of the countdown.

But in Washington D.C., the countdown is not a real thing. The received wisdom among the press and the political and diplomatic establishments is that Netanyahu is an obstinate paranoid man who is playing games with them. They don't believe that Israel will do anything about Iran, because they wouldn't do anything about Iran and they assume that Netanyahu is just like them, only more deceptive because he pretends that he will do something about Iran.

The problem is that Israel really isn't playing a game.

It has become fashionable among Western elites to view aggression as either a posture or madness. They have forgotten that sometimes violence isn't a move on an international chessboard or a prelude to a set of political steps. Sometimes it's as simple as one side wanting to kill the other and the other side not wanting to be killed.

The liberal West has its illusions about the enemy. Israel has little room for those illusions. It will act when Washington is too busy fighting itself to focus on restraining it. It will act because it is alone as few other countries on earth are. It will act because it cannot afford to be Poland, Czechoslovakia or Tibet-- sacrificed in the great game of nations. It will act because it has no real choice but to act. It will act because for it this is not a set of talking points, a diplomatic program or a regional agenda, it is life or death. It will act, because for all its flaws, its survival is on the line.

An Iranian pledge to militarily intervene on behalf of the Assad regime is leading Arabic news on Sunday.

“The Iranian Republican Guard pledges to protect Assad,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. Hussein Ta’eb, head of intelligence in the Revolutionary Guard, told Iran’s Fars News Agency Saturday that Iran has a responsibility to “support the government of Bashar Assad.

Members of the Non-Aligned Movement should seek to “take a stand” against Western sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a speech Sunday, opening initial meetings for the NAM conference in Tehran. The main conference is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Salehi said that Non-Aligned member nations “should seriously confront unilateral sanctions of certain nations against some members of the NAM,” and that so far the NAM did not support such measures, according to an AFP report.

“We take this opportunity to thank the NAM for its support” backing Iran’s “legitimate rights” to nuclear activities, Salehi added.

There are over 120 members in the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization originally created during the height of the Cold War as a political counterbalance to both the US and the USSR. Of those countries, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe are currently under some form of Western economic sanctions.

Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired three missiles at the southern Israel town of Sderot on Sunday morning.

Two of the rockets slammed into local factories, injuries two Israelis and causing extensive damage. One of the factories had been hit in previous attacks form Gaza. The third missile landed in the same area, but caused no damage or injuries.

Sunday's attacks ended weeks of quiet in the region, and suggested that the relatively calm summer period was coming to an end. Gaza-based forces regularly increase their attacks on southern Israel at the start of the school year, when Israeli are more typically congregated in public places.

Nearly 450 people died Saturday on the bloodiest day of the savage civil war fought by Syrian Army troops and opposition forces.

Approximately 440 victims, mostly civilians, were killed in the clashes centered in the capital city and in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city.

Fierce fighting between government troops and the Free Syrian Army left more than a hundred dead in the northwestern commercial hub, located 310 kilometers (193 miles) from Damascus.

Of those, nearly 300 were killed, including an undetermined number who were apparently shot to death "execution style" near the southwestern Damascus suburb of Daraya and surrounds, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.

Syrian authorities are ready to negotiate with the opposition and “form a government of national unity,” said the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Qadri Jamil, while rejecting President Bashar Al Assad’s departure as precondition for talks during a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

Although this is the first time that a high ranking official has declared the regime’s willingness to sit down for talks with the rival forces trying to oust the regime from power, the US dismissed Jamil’s remarks as “insignificant,” with the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland insisting on Assad’s resignation as the only way out of the stalemate.

So far, the demand has been met with fierce objections by the Russians and Chinese, who call for the establishment of a transitional government involving all of the conflicting parties. Moscow also opposes US demands for a no-fly zone over Syria that might pave the way to a military intervention – something that according to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could lead to a “catastrophe”.

As the conflict in Syria enters its 18th month, Russia and the West have failed to reach an agreement that would stop the continuing bloodshed in Syria. The world powers are also struggling to find a solution to Iran’s suspected nuclear program. Even though the recent round of talks between the Islamic Republic and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) were deemed a “failure,” Moscow called such an approach as “hysterical rhetoric,” suggesting that Russia is anxious to find a diplomatic solution to the impasse.

In an attempt to understand Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East as well as Moscow’s motivation to back regimes perceived by many as oppressive, Israel Today talked to leading experts in Russia and Israel.

Syria’s security vacuum opens the door for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and al-Qaeda to try and get their hands on its large stock of chemical weapons including blister agents, such as mustard gas, and more deadly nerve agents such as Sarin, Tabun and VX. VX is the most potent and deadliest. It is also the least volatile which means it is the slowest to evaporate from a liquid into a vapor making it very persistent in the environment. Under average weather conditions, VX can last for days on objects that it has come into contact with. The 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack is a reminder of just how lethal chemical weapons can be. The attack was carried out with a tiny amount of low purity agent and very rudimentary dispersal techniques. 13 people died, and many more were injured.

As Assad comes to the end of the road, his pyramid of control is crumbling, most recently with the defection of his prime minister. This loss of command structure opens the door even further for control over his chemical arsenal to be lost.

Clearly securing Syria’s WMDs is not going to be easy. The Pentagon has reported it could take up to 75,000 troops to do so, with intelligence reports suggesting there are an estimated 50 different WMD sites around the country, predominantly in rural areas. This would mean, according to a Washington-based think tank the RAND Corporation, that disposing them would require industrial-scale destruction operations, special facilities and a lot of time.

If Assad’s fall is messy, it will further complicate the situation.

While we can hope that the worst case scenario will not happen and that the WMDs will never be used, there is still an urgent need to develop a contingency plan, just in case. Israel is particularly nervous with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that Israel would have to act if there is a hint that these weapons may be used, talking about striking Syrian weapons arsenals. It would not be the first time Israel has carried out a military strike in Syria. In 2007, the Israeli Air Force attacked a nuclear reactor. However, an air strike on chemical weapons could have catastrophic consequences unless the chemical agents have been neutralized beforehand.

Also see:

It’s an especially tight corner that hospital physicians find themselves in. Ten years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1.7 million annual hospital-borne infections in the United States caused 99,000 deaths. The CDC is now updating those figures.

In a recent survey of infectious disease specialists, Spellberg said, 60 percent reported encountering infections resistant to every antibiotic.

“That’s the real crisis,” said Henry Masur, chief of NIH’s Critical Care Medicine Department, who last year watched six patients die from the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae when even colistin, that old warhorse, stopped working. “The problem here is that we’re not developing antibiotics fast enough to keep up with this.”

Below are a couple of commentaries that are well worth reading. I'm becoming more and more reluctant to post such articles:

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” That observation from Greek mathematician, philosopher and teacher Plato is as profound today as it was when he first made it over 2,400 years ago. Since then many others, including Benjamin Franklin and Edmund Burke, have made essentially similar statements…all of which augment the basic truth that the desires of evil men to control and install tyranny over their fellows has not changed since the days of Plato and even before. This has never been as true as it is today in the United States of America

There is palpable fear and anxiety blanketing the souls of hardworking Americans who get up every day and go to work hoping with increased trepidation that things will improve. The MSM and the President are telling them that the economy is doing well when reality paints a different picture.

In light of the forced passage of Obamacare, there is fear of loss of health insurance, of the best health care in the world, of doctor shortages, of the dreaded 15 bureaucratic death panels appointed to deny as many procedures as possible, and of shortages of medications. There is anger at the loss of $700 billion from Medicare funds now earmarked to help implement the socialist Obamacare, substituting one socialist program for a disastrous one.

There is a real fear of punishing success and rewarding sloth under the guise of social justice, fitting in the grand scheme of the world elites of redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots, those who like to stay home and draw welfare checks and benefits in exchange for a vote for those who promise more welfare.

There is fear of confiscation of property under eminent domain, by EPA fiat regulations, and re-zoning rules of the UN Agenda 21’s smart growth, green growth, sustainable growth plans designed to save mother Earth, Gaia, from human activity. Farming, the family, private property, recreation, mobility, the car, suburbia, traditional education are not sustainable under the global elite’s master plan. Everything must follow an environmental design carefully laid out in the 40- chapter document titled Agenda 21 of the Rio 1992 Treaty.

There is fear of government, of police, of loss of freedom, of drones, of FEMA camps, TSA molestation at airports in the name of supposed safety, and unwarranted immigration checks. TSA agents are now at metro stations, train stations, interstates, stadiums, political events, bus terminals, and truck stops. States are being sued by our government because they are trying to enforce the law that the federal government refuses or fails to enforce.

Many government agencies are ordering hollow point bullets by the millions and Americans are anxious. Should they not protect our borders first?

There is anxiety over the ever-rising government corruption, lack of any indictment for highly publicized crimes swept under the rug, and for the billions of dollars stolen from the American taxpayers. The law now sends only little people to jail, just like under communism.

There is fear of losing free speech and anxiety over the concentrated racial hate stoked from many directions and the never-before seen utter divisiveness among Americans. There is fear of loss of freedom. Many books have been written about the perceived tyranny by the few.

There is anxiety over possible shortages and rationing of food, fuel, electricity, given this summer’s wide spread drought. We are the world’s biggest exporter of corn and many nations depend on us for their food supply. Yet we are still turning corn into ethanol.

Americans are anxious over possible bank runs, loss of pensions, of their life’s savings, their homes, the weakening of the dollar, the endless printing of currency by the Fed (monetization), borrowing from China, outsourcing the manufacturing sector, and the general never-audited secretive policy of the Federal Reserve to manipulate the money stock and interest rates.

There is fear and anxiety in the hearts of those who make this country great through hard work. They are more and more resentful of the welfare class that votes to fundamentally change this country without questioning what kind of change that would be, and what would happen when they run out of other people’s money? Would the benevolent government still support them? Americans are resentful of those in power who no longer represent “we the people” but the interests of the rarefied elites and the banking powers of the world.


ChristineInCleveland said...

...And as you finish the articles above, may we meditate on Philippians 4:6-7...
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus."

Robin said...

Anyone notice the earthquake swarm in California today? 24 so far . . .and getting stronger. 4.0 . . .and two at 4.5 just in the past few minutes.

Robin said...

Now the count is 38 . . .largest two, 4.9 and 5.4. These are all just today

Scott said...

Thanks for the heads up - I'll check the usual earthquake sites on my list :)

Robin said...

14 more quakes just added to the list. The 5.4 mentioned above has been downgraded to 5.3. But it's quite an active swarm, at around 50 in a 15 hour period. Reuters has picked up the story

Robin said...

About 20 more since my last post . . .and another registering 5.4 in Southern California.

Ally said...

Most people in the U.S. Are not concerned about any of the above sadly enough or there would be a push for change. Only when the tv is turned off by no electricity will they begin to look around. The few who are awake are screaming it from the rooftops but until people can see and are affected by it personally and collectively, nothing will change.
Because we examine situations so closely looking for signs, we of course are more aware of certain things. Yet, if certain things are mentioned or exposed even here many readers will respond in total disbelief! I frquently feel the "church" in America is the blindest of all :'(
Though I have not given up, I have become accustomed to the utter stupidity, blindness and evil that swims around me in the outside world. My faith and hope lies within the promises of Jesus! And as I deal withthe birth pains, and the very obvious manmade satan controlled manipulations of our weather, our government, earthquakes etc and as I also deal with personal issues, a job that in no way supplies my needs, a daughter 3500 mile away who is being diagnosed with Cushings Disease , I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT, MY SAVIOUR HAS IT ALL UNDER CONTROL!
Oh the storms will rage (Isaac and others) and the VAIN imaginings of man will continue and ultimately FAIL though they ecist for a season, and soon the the Lord Jesus will return with a SHOUT to gather up his beloved! Oh my friends, press on through neither the terror by night nor battle by day shall in anyway harm us. What did Paul say, paraphrased here, Don't be scared of who or what can hurt the body, be scared (respectful) of that which can hurt, destroy the soul/spirit.
Yes, things are heating up on this planet but our houses are built on solid rock! We have a hell of a few weeks ahead but the hand that holds heaven holds us tight! So let the earthshaking, warmaking, stormcreating/guiding devil attacking world build up to its buildup and we pray up the Lord's shakeup to Wakeup those sleeping (Christians, sinners, fence sitters, nonbelievers and everything inbetween) so pull out your power, which is the Word of God and pray it on up so he will bring it on down, on earth as it is in Heaven.

ChristineInCleveland said...

Right on, Ally! So sorry to hear about your sounds like you are dealing with many difficulties right now, as am I. It makes us groan all the more for the day we no longer must suffer, and the beginning of a glorious eternity, living in the presence of Jesus! Praying for you.... :)