Another mortar shell from Syria struck Turkish territory on Saturday, prompting a fourth straight day of retaliatory artillery fire, and reviving fears that the crisis in Syria could spiral into a regional conflict.
The latest shelling comes a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Syria not to test Turkey's "limits and determination" and insisted that his country "was not bluffing" with its warnings.
The mortar landed in a rural area near the village of Guvecci, early on Saturday morning just minutes after intense fighting broke out between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and the rebels in the village of Harabjoz, in Syria's Idlib province across the border, the private Dogan news agency reported.
The latest tensions with Syria began Wednesday when a Syrian shell hit a home at a Turkish border town, killing two women and three children and sparked unprecedented artillery strikes by Turkey.
Turkey's parliament on Thursday also voted to allow cross-border military operations in Syria, further raising tensions between the neighbors that were once close allies.
Turkey returned fire after a mortar bomb shot from Syria landed in a field in southern Turkey on Saturday, the day after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned Damascus Turkey would not shy away from war if provoked.
It was the fourth day of Turkish strikes in retaliation for mortar bombs and shelling by Syrian forces that killed five Turkish civilians further east on Wednesday.
The strikes and counter-strikes are the most serious cross-border violence in Syria's conflict, which began as a democracy uprising but has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones. They highlight how the crisis could destabilize the region.
Turkey, once an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad but now a leading voice in calls for him to quit, has nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its territory and has allowed rebel leaders sanctuary. Its armed forces are far larger than Syria's.
Erdogan said on Friday his country did not want war but warned Syria not to make a "fatal mistake" by testing its resolve. Damascus has said its fire hit Turkey accidentally.
There were two similar incidents in Hatay on Friday.
"Those who attempt to test Turkey's deterrence, its decisiveness, its capacity, I say here they are making a fatal mistake," Erdogan said in a bellicose speech to a crowd in Istanbul on Friday afternoon."We are not interested in war, but we're not far from war either. This nation has come to where it is today having gone through intercontinental wars," he said.
The "Arab Spring" is almost complete. If Jordan falls to radical Islam, as we have already seen in Egypt and Libya (and of course Lebanon, long ago), along with Syria's imminent collapse into Islamic rule, then the so-called "inner circle" of Israel's enemies will be complete.
More than 10,000 Jordanians demanded widespread constitutional reforms on Friday in an opposition rally being described as Jordan's largest protest since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in late 2010.
The protest was led by the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan's largest political force. More than 80 political parties, reform coalition and trade unions participated, calling for the transfer of King Abdullah's authority to appoint governments of "the people."
With more than 2,000 security personnel lining the streets, Islamist and independent activists called for "regime reform," chanting "from the north to the south, we all demand reform."
In what marked some of the harshest public criticism of the monarch to date, participants accused the palace of "avoiding" democratic changes. They chanted, "Abdullah, son of Hussein, where are our freedoms?"
"We don't want elections for elections sake, we want the basic right to choose our own governments," Haythem Yasin, organizer of the independent Political Thought protest group, said, adding, "It is inevitable, and the more the regime delays, we are going to enter a deeper and deeper political crisis."
The Muslim Brotherhood, one of several political parties that plans to boycott the polls, said Friday's turnout served as "proof" of Jordanians' growing frustration with the "status quo."
Friday's rally was held amid rising concerns of potential clashes between activists and so-called loyalist counter-protestors. Authorities blocked off traffic across the capital and barricaded several side streets to prevent any confrontations.
...if Iran gains nuclear weapons capability, Iranian leaders have new ways to close the Persian Gulf that would be almost impossible to change in a short period of time.
"It could wreak havoc with not only world , but also the geopolitical landscape. Those things are certainly concerns."
Franks agrees with other international leaders that an Iran with nuclear capability is an existential threat to the Jewish State. He mentioned that an Iranian Shihab missile would take only fifteen minutes to hit Israel. If that missile carried a nuclear warhead, Israel's multi-layered anti-missile defense system would still have only a 50% chance of knocking down the first one.
"It is very serious for Israel. But I also believe it is very serious for America," Franks stated. "One nuclear warhead would damage the Arab world, but would be devastating to Israel. My sense is that they [Iran] would accept significant damage to themselves in order to destroy Israel."
"This administration has projected such vacillation and such uncertainty and such weakness that it has been provocative, and Iran has been emboldened. I am afraid that unless the change of command occurs in America, Iran will proceed again. If they are not intervened [against], Iran will gain nuclear weapons. And we will all need a new calendar. It will change humanity that much."
The very fact that the Eurozone actually seeks to break off into its own financial system should raise eyebrows among prophecy watchers as we await the emergence of the 10 kings stage in EU development.
MEPs have dismissed suggestions that a new parliamentary body should be set up solely for eurozone members stating that “no new accountability structures specific to the euro-area must be established.”
In an unofficial reflection paper prepared by the three MEPs representing parliament in advance of negotiations with Herman Van Rompuy, the deputies said: "the Euro is the currency of the European Union and European Parliament is the parliament of the European Union. The European Parliament, therefore, is the parliament of the Euro."
Van Rompuy recently mooted the possibility of a separate body for the eurozone-17 in an ideas paper circulated to member states.
Waving blue and white Israeli flags, thousands of evangelical Christians from around the world filled streets of downtown Jerusalem on Thursday in a show of support for the Jewish state.The annual march during the week-long Jewish Sukkot holiday brings together Christians from dozens of countries.Evangelical Christians are known as strong supporters of Israel, providing financial help and political backing, especially in the U.S. Even so, their hard-line views toward Palestinians and suspect religious motivations make some moderate Israelis and Jews abroad uncomfortable.
"This is the real United Nations," said Sheila Hakes, 41, from Alabama. "Israelis are our brothers and sisters, so we must protect them from Iran and evil," a reference to Iran's suspicious nuclear program, adding, "Jesus will come here again."
Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in Christian Zionism, which calls for the return of Jewish exiles to the Holy Land to fulfill Biblical prophecies. Over the past several decades, key figures in the evangelical movement have lobbied the U.S. government to give greater support for Israel.
Thursday's event was organized by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, a group that promotes ties between Israel and the world's Christian communities. The group also sponsored a conference this week that drew more than 5,000 people from nearly 90 countries, including 25 parliamentarians from various nations
One of this week's participants, U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, used the conference to criticize Obama's Mideast policy. The American president has had a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, disagreeing over key issues like Jewish settlements in the West Bank and how to confront Iran's nuclear program."It breaks my heart to see the president of the United States reserve more criticism for Israel for building homes in their capital city than he does for [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad for building nuclear weapons with which to threaten the peace and security of the entire free world," Franks said.