The latest incident in the Golan’s Quneitra border illustrates the security challenges Israel faces in the year ahead. Last week six Hezbollah operatives were killed, including an Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG), General Muhammad Ali Allah-Dadi. The presence of an Iranian IRG general and top Hezbollah operatives on the Golan points to an Iranian attempt to build a missile base on the border of Israel.
Israel’s northern border is expected to heat up in the coming months and years, both in the Golan Heights facing Syria, and on the Lebanese border where Hezbollah is in control. The real existential challenge to Israel however remains Iran. The question of whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is bound to rise again, especially around July, 2015, when P5+1 negotiations with Iran are expected to end following two extensions.
Iran can be counted on violating the interim agreement which called on the Iranians to freeze their nuclear project in exchange for western powers easing sanctions on Iran. The Obama administration is eager for further extensions despite Iranian history of cheating in its nuclear program.
“The interim agreement enabled Iran to dangerously move forward on R&D, into more advanced generations of centrifuges, which offset the significance of the dilution and oxidization of Iran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, the centerpiece of the interim deal. Both activities relate to the speed in which Iran could breakout with weapons-grade uranium – one route was stopped by the deal, but a second route was enabled and granted legitimacy.”
Landau and Stein asserted that “The terms of the deal did not touch upon Iran’s vast stockpile of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU), already enough for six or seven nuclear devices if enriched to weapons-grade, or its work on long-range-ballistic-missile delivery systems, which continue unhindered.” Iran has protected its breakout ability while the P5+1 continue to grant Iran economic relief to the tune of $700 million a month. Iran’s weaponization work, under investigation by the IAEA for cheating, has not paid a price either by the UN or the P5+1.
Regardless of who will be Prime Minister of Israel following the March 17, 2015 elections, dealing with Iran’s nuclear program will be a top priority.
Since the second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has built a huge arsenal of long, medium and short range rockets with a GPS guidance system that could hit all strategic points in Israel, including the Hedera power station, and Tel Aviv. Israel’s Iron-Dome will be able to intercept and destroy most of the Hezbollah rockets, but not all. It is more than likely that Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport and the seaports of Haifa and Ashdod would be out of action for several days. Hezbollah will also seek to infiltrate through underground tunnels, into Israeli towns and villages.
The growing presence of al-Qaeda (al-Nusra Front) and other jihadist forces, including the Islamic State in the Golan area, guarantees that a serious confrontation with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will occur. At the moment these forces are preoccupied with combatting the Assad regime and battling each other. But, as soon as they can stabilize their hold on territory, one can be sure of their terror attacks against Israel.
In the final analysis, Israel is well prepared to defend itself against the tactical threat from Hamas and the Jihadi groups, and even from the strategic threat Hezbollah presents. The one scary threat to the Israelis remains a nuclear Iran, run by fanatical Ayatollahs.
The Ukrainian forces are battling to repel waves of militants equipped with modern armour — many still with their Russian unit markings — trying to surround a strategic railway hub in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has previously appealed to US legislators for military equipment: “One cannot win a war with blankets ... and cannot keep the peace with blankets,” he said.
President Barack Obama has now expressed his willingness to take a fresh look at supplying Ukraine with lethal aid.
It’s a high-stakes move.
“There is a real risk now that we will end up in a war with Russia,” said Fiona Hill, of the Brookings Center in Washington.
“As far as Putin’s concerned we’re already in one, an economic and financial war, and if we start sending in weapons then we’ve taken that up a notch.”
Some military strategists say the recent rebel attacks across key parts of the frontline in eastern Ukraine may have been timed precisely out of fear the United States could soon get involved.
An independent report released last night by eight former senior American officials said it was time for Washington to provide $US3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine.
“The West needs to bolster deterrence in Ukraine by raising the risks and costs to Russia of any renewed major offensive,” the report said.
It’s an opinion gaining growing traction among US defence officials and lawmakers.
But it comes with great risk.
“The conflict is being portrayed by the Kremlin as standing up to the West, claiming Kiev is a pawn of NATO,” said Nick de Larrinaga, Europe editor for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly in London. “Supplying lethal assistance would be fulfilling that prophecy, and could even harden Russia’s position.”
Indeed, part of the rationale for supplying military equipment is that other measures, such as economic sanctions, have failed to deter President Putin.
It’s a view backed by Balazs Jarabik, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “Western advocates for arming Ukraine have the best intentions, but they are not considering how crazy Russians are about Ukraine,” he said.
The fear is that military assistance is only being discussed for lack of other options, and could ratchet up the confrontation to dangerous levels.
“We have to recognise, I’m afraid, that we’re likely to have an increasingly hotter war with more and more devastation,” said Fiona Hillof the Brookings Center in Washington.
“And sending in weapons will only fuel that, and bring in the likelihood that we will have to intervene as well. Just like we had to ultimately in the Balkans and all the other interventions that we’ve done over time.”
Speaking in Moscow, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of foreign affairs committee in the Russian parliament’s upper house, warned Washington that supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine would lead to “further escalation of the conflict,” the Interfax news agency reported.
In the current Israeli election campaign, the left-wing parties—mainly Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s Labor/Hatnuah or “Zionist Camp” and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid—have been sounding the theme that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has caused Israel’s “isolation” and has soured relations with the United States, creating a rift for which, in their reading, President Barack Obama is blameless.
Although Labor/Hatnuah and Yesh Atid also harp on the theme of Israel’s high housing and food prices, so far they’ve been long on populist complaints and short on coherent proposals for remedies. Public discourse on economic issues in Israel rarely goes beyond slogans—in part because, in the end, almost invariably, security issues take precedence.
This time, too, security issues are paramount, and the latest poll shows that Israelis are not buying the left’s claim that a world of brotherly love awaits Israel if only Netanyahu’s policies can be replaced by kinder and gentler ones. The poll shows Netanyahu’s right-of-center Likud leading Labor/Hatnuah 25-23 (out of a 120-member Knesset). More significantly, it shows Likud along with its “natural” right-wing, religious, and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners gaining well over half of the electoral pie.
“We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped – the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip.”
These are the words of Hannes Sjoblad who believes he is preparing us for the day when the government wants everyone to be chipped. He believes that starting a voluntary program now will allow much greater knowledge later, when we have little choice about it.
From the BBC:
Want to gain entry to your office, get on a bus, or perhaps buy a sandwich? We’re all getting used to swiping a card to do all these things. But at Epicenter, a new hi-tech office block in Sweden, they are trying a different approach – a chip under the skin.
Felicio de Costa, whose company is one of the tenants, arrives at the front door and holds his hand against it to gain entry. Inside he does the same thing to get into the office space he rents, and he can also wave his hand to operate the photocopier.
That’s all because he has a tiny RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted in his hand. Soon, others among the 700 people expected to occupy the complex will also be offered the chance to be chipped. Along with access to doors and photocopiers, they’re promised further services in the longer run, including the ability to pay in the cafe with a touch of a hand.
"Till we run 'out of fuel and bullets': Jordan's king vows to crush ISIS"
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
Very very interesting development i just put up article on main page
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