Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday: In The News

Israel sent a warning to the Lebanese government in Beirutby way of UNIFIL that it would be held responsible for any attacks by Hezbollah that are launched from Lebanese soil, reported al-Akhbar News Agency on Friday.
The warning comes in connection to Hezbollah's threats of retaliation for an air-strike on a Hezbollah missile convoy near the border with Syria, which was attributed to the IAF by foreign media sources.  The strike would have been a first on Lebanese soil as recent attacks attributed to Israel have taken place on the Syrian side of the border.

A Lebanese security source was quoted saying that the Janta region where the alleged airstrike took place is known to be a hotbed of Hezbollah recruitment and training. It is also considered a key stop on the route through which arms are smuggled between Lebanon and Syria.
At first, Hezbollah denied the airstrike on its television network al-Manar. However, on Wednesday, the network quoted Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah who vowed to respond "at the time and place of our [Hezbollah's] choosing."
"It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.

US President Barack Obama is gearing up to take a more active role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and will begin by pressuring the sides to accept US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework proposals, according to a report that cited administration officials on Wednesday.

In his scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in Washington, Obama will make an urgent appeal to the Israeli leader to accept Kerry’s generalized roadmap for final status negotiations, according to The New York Times.

The US president is expected to apply the same pressure to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the two meet next month.

With reports that the sides have reached an impasse over issues such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and maintaining an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, and with a 9-month deadline for talks looming in April, White House officials said now is the time for the president to get involved.

On Wednesday, Kerry said that the talks would extend past April, but officials said the goal is to have a framework in place by the end of that month.
Also on Wednesday, a report surfaced in the Palestinian media which described an explosive meeting between Abbas and Kerry in Paris last week, after which the Palestinian leader reportedly called the secretary’s proposals “insanity.”

Russia will never, ever give up Crimea without a fight.  Anyone that thinks otherwise is just being delusional.  TheRussian Black Sea fleet's main base at Sevastopol is far too strategically important.  In addition, ethnic Russians make up approximately 60 percent of the population of Crimea, and most of the population is rabidly pro-Russian.  In fact, many prominent Crimean politicians are already calling for reunification with Russia.  So if you have been thinking that Russia is just going to fold up shop and go home now that pro-European protesters have violently seized power in Kiev, you can quit holding your breath.  The truth is that Russia is more than willing to fight a war over Crimea.  And considering the fact that vitally important pipelines that pump natural gas from Russia to the rest of Europe go right through Ukraine, it is not likely that Russia will just willingly hand the rest of Ukraine over to the U.S. and the EU either.  If the U.S. and the EU push too hard in Ukraine, a major regional war may erupt which could ultimately lead to something much larger.

The following are 12 signs that Russia is ready to fight a war over Crimea...
#1 More Russian military vehicles continue to pour into Crimea.  Just check out this video.
#2 Russian military vehicles have been photographed in the main square of Sevastopol.
#3 Russian military jets near the border with Ukraine have been put on combat alert.
#4 Russia has ordered "surprise military exercises" along the Ukrainian border.
#5 In connection with those "exercises", it is being reported that Russia has deployed 150,000 troops along the border with Ukraine.
#6 Russia already has approximately 26,000 troops stationed at their naval base in Sevastopol.
#7 Russian ships carrying additional soldiers have been spotted off the coast of Crimea...

#8 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the following statement to reporters on Wednesday...
"Measures are taken to guarantee the security of our facilities."

#9 An unidentified Russian official has told the Financial Times that Russia is willing to use military force to protect Crimea...

#10 Officials in Sevastopol have "installed" a Russian citizen as mayor of the city.
#11 Approximately 120 pro-Russian gunmen have seized the Crimean parliament building and have raised the Russian flag.
#12 There are rumors that Russian authorities have offered protection to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych...

So what would the U.S. and the EU do if a war erupts between Russia and Ukraine?
Would they risk a direct military confrontation with Russia in order to help Ukraine?
I am very concerned about where all of this could be heading.

Like we estimated yesterday, the recent takeover of strategic facilities in Crimea by “mysterious gunmen” is in fact a Russian Spetsnaz operation thinly disguised as “spontaneous pro-Russian elements”. The same mode of operation was observed in the early phase of the Soviet invasion to Afghanistan in 1979.

The Chinese yuan can overtake the dollar as the leading international reserve currency, a new poll of institutional investors indicates.
The authors of the survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by State Street financial services, polled 200 senior executives at institutional investors with knowledge of their exposure to yuan assets. Half of the respondents were from the firms headquartered in mainland China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and the other half were based elsewhere.
The report accompanying the survey points out that by the end of 2013, the yuan has risen to become the second-most-used trade financing currency and ninth-most-used currency for payments globally.
The very few pessimists from China-headquartered institutions, meanwhile, say that people would be“concerned about future policies of the Chinese government and opposition from other economic powers, such as the US, the EU and Japan.”
But the consensus is that one day it will be a yuan world, according to the survey.
"As China's economic influence grows, the global importance of the renminbi (yuan) will become magnified. Indeed, while for decades it has been a 'greenback world', dominated by the US dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, many think a 'redback world', in which the renminbi enjoys premier status, is increasingly a possibility," the survey’s authors concluded.

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, came under pressure on Thursday as the city of Rome was on the brink of bankruptcy after parliament threw out a bill that would have injected fresh funding.
Ignazio Marino, Rome mayor, said city services like public transport would come to a halt and that he would not be a "Nero" - the Roman emperor who, legend has it, strummed his lyre as the city burnt to the ground.
Marino said that Renzi, a centre-left leader and former mayor of Florence who was only confirmed by parliament this week, had promised to adopt urgent measures to help the Italian capital at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
The newly-elected mayor faces a budget deficit of 816 million euros ($1.1 billion) and the city could be placed under administration if he does not manage to close the gap with measures such as cutting public services.
"Rome has wasted money for decades. I don't want to spend another euro that is not budgeted," Marino said, following criticism from the Northern League opposition party which helped shoot down the bill for Rome in parliament.

Yes, that is the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, standing at a podium in our Capitol and labeling every American citizen who has spoken up in public to describe his or her problem with Obamacare as a liar. 

That’s right, by Harry’s lights it’s not the president who lied when he was selling this legislative lemon to the American public; no it’s the folks complaining about all the breakdowns in this clunker they were sold who are the liars. 

With his bitter denunciation of those victimized by the disastrous legislation he played a major role in enacting, Lightweight Harry Reid has declared war on a significant sector of the American public which includes a huge number of women, as well as theirchildren, and in the process proven indisputably that he’s no Lighthorse Harry

The alleged Republican War on Women? That pales into insignificance when you consider that the leader of the senate has denounced and demonized almost the entire American citizenry because they are being victimized by the results of his ill-advised legislation and dare to have the audacity to speak up about their plight. He who gave us that which must be passed so that we can know what’s in it apparently doesn’t want the peons complaining now that they’ve found out what’s in it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just called a female leukemia patient a liar.  He evidently believes countless other women across the country who have reported unsatisfactory experiences with ObamaCare are liars, too.

Also see:


David said...

"So what should the US do if Russia and the Ukraine start a war."

Well, I think that master Obama would have john Kerry sanction both of them. In fact I can picture at this very moment the red marker with the cap off sitting in the situation room .....ready to draw a line, then another, then another , and finally another just to prove they mean buisness. I'm sure Iran has called Russia and explicitly conveyed the devistation that red pen will cause. If they should for some unthinkable reason proceed in the act of war, Obama will sanction both countries pretty severe, and the US will raise its own gas prices in protest. We may even delay three whole days before the US rebuilds both sides and pays them a sizable financial humanitarian aid package. Yes sir, cross one of those 8 , 9, or 10 red lines and its on!!!!
Please!!!!! Really!!!!! Who is it that wants to know what the US will do???? Laughter fills my thoughts of what we will do...

David P

Scott said...

Ahhh the infamous 'red line'. Indeed.