Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tipping Points

As soon as the first large domino falls, the rest will fall rapidly. 

In just a little over 8 hours from the last update (are we now approaching an 8 hour news cycle?): 

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers were holding an emergency cabinet meeting early Thursday afternoon at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv to discuss the situation in the south after terrorists hit Israel a day earlier with the largest barrage of rockets since 2012.

Early Thursday morning, the IDF reported that two additional rockets were fired from Gaza but landed in open areas within the strip. Later in the morning, alert sirens sounded in coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon as rockets were fired from the Strip. The Iron Dome system downed one of the rockets over Ashkelon, while two others fell in unpopulated areas.

On Thursday morning, Netanyahu vowed to respond forcefully to further strikes. “There are no free shots, and terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip should start internalizing the fact that they are dealing with a very determined government and a very strong army,” Netanyahu said Thursday morning.

He also noted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the rocket fire from Gaza but rather only the Israeli response. Netanyahu added that in order to move toward peace, the PA must be unequivocal in condemning terror.

“Our policy in the south is clear, he said. “We will strike at anyone who tries to attack us and will respond very forcefully to any attack. I would like to make it clear that whoever tries to attack our Purim celebrations we will hit them strongly. We did not achieve the greatest quiet in the south in recent years for nothing; this is our policy.”
On Wednesday night, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) visited a family in the embattled city of Sderot near the Gaza border.
“The IDF is responding [to the rocket fire from Gaza] intensely now,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook. “If there is no quiet for the Abutbol family, there will be no quiet in Gaza,” he added, echoing a statement made earlier by Netanyahu.

Israeli military sources said after the late-night retaliatory strikes that Israel would now wait to see how Hamas and Islamic Jihad responded. If there were no further rocket attacks on Israel, the flare-up would be over. But if there was more rocket fire, Israel would again respond.

There is no martial solution to the situation in Gaza. The army could, albeit with a small but painful price in blood, effectively topple the Hamas government in a matter of hours and seize control of the Gaza Strip in a matter of days. But then what? As Maj. Gen. (res) Avi Mizrachi said on Army Radio on Thursday morning, “Who would we give the keys to?” Who would rule? And does anarchy serve Israel’s interests more than a weakened Hamas regime?

Professor Uzi Rabi, the director of Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, perceives Gaza as a microcosm of the Middle East – a place where central control is dwindling and small terror squads have the ability to dictate the outbreak of war.

“The Gaza Strip has been taken captive by Islamic Jihad,” he said. “A sub-state actor has stolen the keys to escalation and de-escalation [of the conflict].”

Its ties with Iran, the great supporter of terror “resistance” groups, are fraught due to the regional struggles. And Islamic Jihad, beholden to no one in Gaza, frustrated by the seizure of the Klos-C, eager to prove its loyalty to Iran, and aware of Hamas’s predicament – its unwillingness to be seen as doing the work of the Zionists – has seized the opportunity and begun preying on Hamas’s hold over sovereignty.

Islamic Jihad’s actions, as well as statements made by its spokesman afterwards, lead to the obvious conclusion that the organization is challenging Hamas and trying to market itself as the new leader of the Gaza Strip. It started a day beforehand, when Islamic Jihad sent its operatives to confront IDF forces operating near Khan Younis. During the exchange of fire, where three Palestinians were killed, Hamas stood on the sidelines and did not intervene. That same day, two more Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, and Hamas and the Palestinian Authority similarly refrained from responding — prompting Islamic Jihad’s rocket salvo on Wednesday.
Arguably the culmination of its challenge to the status quo arrived overnight, when Islamic Jihad published a statement warning the residents of Gaza that it would act against anyone suspected of collaborating with Israel. So now, Islamic Jihad, not Hamas, is punishing alleged collaborators with the Jewish state.
Islamic Jihad’s Secretary General Ramadan Shalah gave a timely interview yesterday on Iranian TV, saying that the response of the organization would expand and become much harsher if Israel continued its actions against the Palestinians.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are trying to strengthen Islamic Jihad (see: Kloc-C arms shipment) and build up its military capabilities in order to weaken Hamas, as a form of punishment to the Gaza-ruling party for participating in the fight against the Assad regime in Syria.
It now seems reasonable to assume that Iran will continue to try to undermine the relative calm in the region, either through Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip to the south, or Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Golan Heights to the north.

Ukraine accused Russia of preparing for a “full-scale invasion” on Wednesday, as the G7 nations warned Moscow that the “annexation of Crimea” would break international agreements.
“In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states,” a statement from the G7 countries says. “Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper reinforced the message during an address to a business group in Vancouver later in the day.
“All of the G7 countries remain collectively, strongly committed to the view that we will not accept Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea,” he said after returning from Seoul...

Andriy Parubiy, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told reporters in Kyiv that Russia has deployed more than 80,000 troops, up to 270 tanks and 140 combat planes close to the border, creating the “threat of a full-scale invasion from various directions.”
Parubiy said Russian troops are based in the immediate vicinity of the Ukrainian border, some of them as close as a two- or three-hour drive from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has promised that Russia will not “get away” with “annexing” Crimea as world powers agreed to impose targeted sanctions on senior figures close to the Kremlin.
Mrs Merkel told a meeting of her parliamentary party that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine violated the principles of post-war order in Europe.
Her stark message came as America and the European Union agreed a joint response to Russia’s de facto seizure of Crimea, backed by other countries including Canada and Japan.

She warned that sanctions on Russia were justified even if they damaged the German economy, according to Der Spiegel. The two countries have close economic ties, with bilateral trade exceeding £63 billion last year. Germany now ranks as Russia’s third-biggest trading partner.
But Mrs Merkel said that a “certain amount of toughness” was required and “all European Union countries from Lisbon to Riga” should “stick together” to defend “European values”. She added, however, that “threads of communication” with the Kremlin should still be preserved.
On Tuesday, German officials travelled to London to discuss sanctions with counterparts from nine other countries, including Britain, America, Switzerland and Japan. These officials are believed to be preparing a list of powerful Russians with links to the Kremlin for travel bans and asset freezes.

Henry Schwartz, a prominententrepreneur and EMPact America  founder, spoke withArutz Sheva following his organization's National Security Action Summit last week. The purpose of the conference was to save America from a "dire" situation, revealed Schwartz.
US President Barack Obama has given Iran permission to build a nuclear weapon through a "bogus deal," charged Schwartz, warning the Iranians "will come back to Israel, G-d forbid, they will come back to America."
"Giving Israel bunker busters and (fuel) tankers, and a lot more so that they can go ahead and do America's job is the very minimum that America should do," appraised the conservative leader.

Schwartz warned that the Obama administration is "effectively an enemy" of Israel, opining that if Israeli acted to take out Iran's nuclear program, "Obama would probably be a detriment to Israel," and "feed intelligence" to Iran about Israeli activities.
Israel must find new alliances and not rely on the US, warned Schwartz, saying "America is not going to be here to take care of Israel; it can't take care of itself."
Turning to the Israeli public and leaders, Schwartz warned the Jewish state must "prepare for armageddon," given the clearly expressed Iranianintentions to destroy Israel coupled with the Islamic regime's nuclearprogram.

On other fronts, Schwartz warned "the Cold War is not over, it's restarted," pointing to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
Schwartz criticized US President Barack Obama's hesitancy, warning that as a result Russia was likely to move on other Baltic states and eastern European countries.
To stop the Russian aggression, Schwartz recommended that the US make a deal to export liquefied natural gas to Ukraine and break the country's Russian dependence, in addition to military rearrangements in the region to send a clear message that invasions will not be tolerated.

Fortunately - in the midst of everything that is going on in the world - the U.S. remains sharply focused on the important issues:

And who cares if the 'serfs' have energy:

And last but not least:

Where do we find money to fund so much out-of-control spending when we are so broke, our national debt ($17.5 trillion) with unfunded liabilities ($128.3 trillion) exceeds $145.8 trillion?

Where did the Democrats find almost $4 trillion to fund this year’s budget when Gross Domestic Product is $16.1 trillion and the total national assets are $112.1 trillion for almost 318 million Americans?

How did it happen that United States, a former power house of wealth and industry, now burdened by a national debt impossible to fathom and repay, can find money to send to Ukraine in order to protect its sovereignty but does not care about U.S. sovereignty?

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