Monday, June 23, 2014

Italy To Push For 'United States Of Europe' Under Italian Prime Minister When It Holds EU Presidency

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.
Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time”, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.”
He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission.
Italy takes over the rotating EU presidency from Greece on July 1. Its job will be to steer the EU at a time when the so-called “European Project” is coming under renewed attack, in the wake of an EU-wide surge in support for Eurosceptic parties in the recent European elections.
Mr Renzi, whose country will preside over the EU until December, said the only effective response to the outcome of the European elections is to offer “an idea of Europe that corresponds to an attractive adventure, rather than just a financial or economic exercise.” He said it was vital to show that the EU “is not only a common past but a common destiny.”

Israeli Air Raids Kills 10 Syrian Soldiers

At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli overnight air raids on positions near the Israeli-held Golan Heights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Monday.

“At least 10 Syrian soldiers were killed in Israeli raids against military positions next to the occupied part of the Golan. Nine missiles were fired by aircraft and at least two tanks and two artillery batteries were destroyed,” the Observatory said.

The air raids came in retaliation for an attack on a car in the Golan Heights Sunday morning that killed a 15-year-old Israeli boy, Mohammed Karkara, and wounded three others.

The Britain-based monitor said that the main target of the Israeli warplanes was the headquarters of Brigade 90, a unit deployed on the Golan, but other positions were also targeted.

On Monday morning, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that Israel held him responsible for areas under his control and would respond “aggressively and harshly against any provocation and violation of our sovereignty.”

Israel has responded in the past to cross-border fire with targeted strikes on Syrian positions, and planes have reportedly also hit Syrian missile shipments deep inside the war-torn country, though Israel has never confirmed those strikes.
Three weeks ago, IDF forces fired artillery shells at a target in Syria after a mortar shell fired from the war-torn country hit Mount Hermon.

Yesterday I witnessed the extraordinary sight of hordes of suicide bombers, dressed in black and brandishing Kalashnikovs, marching through the slums of Baghdad.
Grouped into makeshift platoons – some wearing white shrouds to denote their readiness to die – they demonstrated their deadly skills in an astonishing display by ‘detonating’ the bombs they carried.
They were part of the private army of powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr,  an enemy of Britain and the US who inflicted terrible damage  on Western troops after the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq.

He has now raised a militia of tens of thousands of fighters to combat the threat posed by ISIS extremists – and yesterday I saw their brutal power for myself.
The Mahdi Army – which has vowed to protect Baghdad and its holy shrines to the death – is now  battling alongside government troops to defend an Iraq on the verge of collapse against advancing Sunni militants.

Their march came on yet another day of fighting and bloodshed as:
  • Officials admitted that ISIS – the   Islamic State of Iraq and Syria –  has seized a strategically important  border crossing to Syria, near the town of Qaim, killing 30 troops after a day-long battle;
  • About 270 Iraqi troops remained trapped inside the Baiji oil refinery as they struggled to defend it;
  • Barack Obama denied that America’s failure to send arms and equipment to rebels in Syria had left a power vacuum in Iraq, which has aided the rise of ISIS;
  • There was constant skirmishing 40 miles from Baghdad, with militant Sunni rebels apparently preparing for a thrust from the west.
The reappearance of the Mahdi Army comes a few months after al-Sadr announced his withdrawal from politics citing disillusionment with the corruption of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government.
But it has taken less than two weeks for him to mobilise his  private army again in response to the ISIS attacks in the north.
Al-Sadr himself headed up a  military show of strength in Najaf city, his headquarters, while I and thousands watched a fighting force of men, women and young boys in combat gear and balaclavas brandished rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and truckloads of ground-to-air missiles march through the heart of Baghdad for several hours.

The man leading the Shia show of strength against ISIS is Moqtada al-Sadr, a powerful figure in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
After the toppling of the dictator in 2003, the radical cleric called for a national rebellion against Western troops, sending out his Mahdi Army militiamen to confront the British and American ‘invaders’.
His followers patrolled the streets of Baghdad’s Shia suburbs, taking on many functions of local government and renaming the Saddam City area to Sadr City, which became a no-go area for coalition forces.
Last year, he said he was laying down his arms. But now he is allying his forces with the Iraqi troops defending Baghdad from ISIS’s Sunni extremists.
Last night, a Shia cleric loyal to al-Sadr said their anti-Western views remained and that the 300 US military advisers en route to Iraq would be attacked.

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Caver said...

This Matteo Renzi certainly sounds like The Man with The Plan, don't he.

Sure worth keeping an eye on....but glad I won't be here when he or someone like him steps up and confirms the covenant with Israel.

But just reading something like this has to make one wonder just how close Jesus is to the door. It has to be close. I'm so ready.

Scott said...

I agree - Its 'academic' to me entirely. We won't be here so we'll never know.

Stephen - You might be right about that, but don't forget, the 10 kings have to come first.

Scott said...

Stephen - I have a hard time seeing that group as the 10 kings.....Its possible but I don't know. I don't think we can definitively say at this point..But also - the AC has to come from the 10 Kings and Italy isn't part of that 5+5 grouping