News From The Epicenter: Cyber Warfare With Iran And Daily Escalation Of Tensions
Spreading Iranian Cyber Attacks
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled his “pre-9/11 moment” speech which revealed that for two weeks, hackers had been hammering the websites of big American banks, the Saudi national oil company Aramco and Qatar’s Rasgas.
However in leaks to the American media, former U.S. government officials and cyber-security experts reported that the administration believes Iranian-based hackers were responsible for what Panetta warned could be the first “cyber Pearl Harbor” against America.
Tehran appears to be sending a message that if US-led sanctions continue to cut down its oil exports and restrict its banking business, Gulf oil producers and American banks would pay the price.Panetta’s words may therefore be read as Washington’s final warning to Iran to desist from cyber warfare.
In the days leading up to his speech on cyber-terror, the defense secretary was tireless in cautioning against the menace of the Syrian civil war spreading to neighboring countries and evoking Bashar Assad’s threat to bring out and use his chemical weapons.
Before he turned to the cyber threat, the Syrian war had indeed tipped over into an escalating Turkish-Syrian showdown.
Both these developments mean that the waves of Middle East violence are lapping ever farther afield. All the parties with an interest in stirring up trouble are keeping a weather eye on the Obama-Romney debate next Tuesday to see if the president recovers the momentum he lost to his Republican challenger in the first debate.
Before or after the debate, each of them - Al Qaeda, Iran, Syria or Hizballah - is capable of taking direct action to show it is a player to be reckoned with. Such action may explicitly target an American interest or stir the pot by going for Israel, Turkey, Jordan, or a Gulf oil nation.It can no longer be denied that Tehran is already on a cyber offensive against them all. In the absence of any response, Iran may decide to push further against its targets.
Netanyahu: Israel Subject To Increasing Number Of Cyber Attacks
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted this morning that Israel is recently the target of increasing cyber attacks. Speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that "there is an escalation in the attempts to carry out a cyber attack on Israel's' computer infrastructures. There are daily attempts to break into Israeli systems."
So far, apart from isolated cases, Israeli officials have refrained from commenting on cyber attacks against Israeli targets. Netanyahu added that the National Cyber Headquarters "is active in blocking these efforts, by developing what I might call a digital Iron Dome, to protect Israel from cyber terror."
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that government-backed Iranian hackers are responsible for cyber attacks against American targets in recent months, which damaged U.S. banks and energy companies in the Persian Gulf. The report claims that that the cyber attacks left "signatures" leading to Teheran. It seems that the team includes just under a hundred Iranian experts.
Slain Gaza Terrorists Were Top Al-Qaida Affiliates
The two Gaza terrorists killed by Israel on Saturdaywere the most senior al-Qaida affiliates in the Palestinian enclave, and one had links to jihadi networks in Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, sources said on Sunday.
Armed Salafis, while a fringe presence in Gaza, have been stepping up violence against Israel while at times clashing with the Palestinian Hamas government. They also operate in the neighboring Egyptian Sinai.
Saedni and Sabah were leaders, respectively, of the Tawhid wa-Jihad and Ansar Al-Sunna groups, two Salafi sources said. The movements share al-Qaida's vision of global jihad
"The Global Jihad is stepping up its efforts to target us, and we will continue to interdict it with aggression and might, in terms of both response and pre-emption," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli cabinet in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Obama Urged To Cut Ties With Muslim Brotherhood
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged President Obama to publicly condemn the anti-Semitic call for Jihad against Israel by the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie and to order the cutoff of all with the organization until the threat is withdrawn.
In a speech reported Thursday in al Ahram, Badie said, "The Jews have...spread corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers and in their actions profane holy places, including their own." Badie called on Arabs to confront Israel "through Holy Jihad, high sacrifices and all forms of resistance", , "Zionists only understand the language of force and will not relent without duress."
"Badie's rant confirms our long held view that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is the most dangerous anti-Semitic organization in the world today," said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean, of the Wiesenthal Center.
"We are not dealing with a or a lone extremist Imam, but a call to anti-Semitic violence by a man who has tens of millions of followers and leads the organization that controls Egypt's future,” they said. “It cannot be as usual in Washington when such an assault is launched against the Jewish people.”
“We urge President Obama to condemn the rhetoric and cut off all official and unofficial US contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood until they desist from their hate and war mongering," they concluded.
IAF Strikes Another Gaza Terrorist Cell Following Overnight Rocket Attacks
Russia: Just Let Iran Have Nukes
Polls Show Clear Netanyahu Win As Israel Readies For Early Election
Al Qaeda Leader Calls For More Mohammed Film Protests