Monday, March 2, 2015

Wars And Rumors Of War As War Preparations Continue

Once again as we turn to today's news we see more and more preparations being done for the upcoming wars:

In a rare public appearance, the head of Hamas’s military wing said Sunday that although the terror group was not actively seeking another round of violence with Israel, it has continued to stockpile rockets in anticipation of a future war.

Marwan Issa, a top commander for Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, made the comments during a conference organized by a Hamas-linked think tank, his first public appearance in over three years, Ynet reported.

He also addressed a ruling by an Egyptian court Saturday that declared the Strip’s ruling party a terrorist organization. “Any attempt to blockade the organization will fail,” Issa warned.
He said that Hamas was looking to forge regional alliances that would allow it to acquire additional weapons, but stressed that it would not align itself with any specific group or country.

After Saturday’s ruling, Gaza residents expressed concern of growing isolation and more hardships. Hamas called for protests against the Egyptian government and issued angry statements, but did not offer a way out of the crisis. Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas spokesman, alleged Sunday that Egypt had become a “direct agent” of Israeli interests.
The ruling signaled Egypt’s growing hostility toward Hamas, an offshoot of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has blamed Hamas for violence in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula, a charge Hamas denies.
Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007, and the territory’s borders have been largely sealed by Israel and Egypt since then. Egypt intensified the blockade after its military toppled a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo in 2013. Israel and Hamas have fought several bloody wars in the years since Hamas’s takeover of the Strip, the most recent of them over last summer.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned American TV viewers Sunday that Iranian nuclear ambitions were a direct threat to the West, and that the regime in Tehran was developing its missile program abilities with an eye to launching nuclear attacks on major Western cities.

Bennett, who is Israel’s economy minister, told Fox News in an interview that Iran, “the biggest exporter of terror in the world,” was developing nuclear warheads and intercontinental missiles capable of reaching New York, London and Paris.

He underscored that a nuclear-armed Iran was not only a threat to Israel and the Middle East, noting that Iran was already capable of hitting Israel with its Shahab rockets if it wanted to.

Bennett traveled to the US with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend to attend Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress Tuesday, where the prime minister is expected to warn US lawmakers against an emerging nuclear deal whose reported terms he’s vociferously opposed.

Reiterating his comments from an AIPAC address earlier that day, Bennett called the emerging deal between Iran and western powers “an unmitigated disaster” that “effectively legitimizes Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

“It creates a path for them to get a bomb in the next few years,” he said.
During the interview, Bennett referred to the six UN Security Council resolutions that banned Iran from enriching uranium, and pointed to almost two dozen other countries that use nuclear power without an enrichment program.

Al-Qaida has developed a seaborne unit to attack targets around the Mediterranean, according to a confidential report from Russian intelligence, one of a cache of secret documents from spy agencies around the world tracking jihadi terrorist groups.

According to the Russians, North African al-Qaida (Aqim – al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb) has established a 60-strong team of suicide bombers to plant mines under the hull of ships and to use small, fast craft for kamikaze attacks.

The claim, in a leaked document from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), is one of a string of reports on the rise of Islamic State (Isis) and al-Qaida.

They include a two-month briefing by Omani intelligence estimating that Isis now has up to 35,000 fighters and an income of $1.5m (£1m) a day, reports from United Arab Emirates agents about the Isis leadership structure and a dossier from Jordanian intelligence on confessions extracted from terrorist suspects.

The brutal dictator made the chilling threat after the US and South Korea staged a joint navel drill involving nearly a dozen warships.
"The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People's Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially," he told troops according to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim, who commands one of the world's largest armies, told his forces to train so they can "tear to pieces the Stars and Stripes" – a reference to the American flag.
The US and South Korean drills were a prelude to an eight-week exercise called Foal Eagle which will involve air, ground and navy field training.
It will also involve some 200,000 South Korean and 3,700 US troops.
Both Washington and Seoul insist the military exercises are defence-based in their nature.
A report released by a US research institute predicted the rogue state's nuclear arsenal could dramatically increase in the next five years.
The report's author, Joel Wit, said: "This is a pretty scary scenario."
Sung Kim, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, told a Washington seminar said concern over North Korean advances was driving international diplomatic efforts "to find a credible path to negotiation so that we can stop North Korea's development of their nuclear capabilities."

Authorities fear that ISIS will launch an “on-camera slaughter of major proportions” after kidnapping at least 300 Christians in Syria last week, a top US official told The Post.
“What is very disconcerting is that they rounded up all of these people, and we know from experience that they usually kill their captives on film and in the most brutal fashion,” the official explained.
“Remember, they’ve already gone from beheading one person on camera to, most recently, beheading 21 people on camera,” the official added, referring to the nearly two dozen Coptic Christians slaughtered on video released last month.

“This could very well turn into an on camera slaughter of major proportions.”

The terrorists have garnered the ire of Pope Francis, who has called the 21 killed Christians “martyrs’’ — and led a massive pray-in at St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday for others held captive.

“Everyone, in line with their possibilities, [should] act to alleviate the suffering,” the Pope said.

ISIS militants first began rounding up scores of civilians — most of them women and children — Feb. 23 after overrunning a string of villages in northeast Syria, according to the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Another US military official, also speaking anonymously, described the range of possible scenarios that could unfold now that ISIS is rounding up captives by the hundreds.
“One is enslavement, which consists of cooking,cleaning and digging holes for [ISIS] soldiers on the front lines,” the official said.
“And then of course, there’s the scenario involving executions. “That’s our greatest fear.”​

 Russia’s top investigative body said Saturday it is looking into several possible motives for the killing of prominent opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, including an attempt to destabilize the state, Islamic extremism, the Ukraine conflict and his personal life.

A statement from the body, the Investigative Committee, did not address the possibility seen as likely by many of Nemtsov’s supporters — that he was killed for being one of President Vladimir Putin’s most adamant and visible critics.

The Investigative Committee said it was looking into whether Nemtsov had been killed as a “sacrificial victim for those who do not shun any method for achieving their political goals,” a suggestion echoing the comments by Putin’s spokesman and other Russian politicians that the attack was a “provocation” against the state.

The statement also said it was investigating whether the killing was connected to the Ukraine conflict, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since last April, or whether there was a connection to Islamic extremism.

Putin ordered Russia’s top law enforcement chiefs to personally oversee the investigation of Nemtsov’s killing.
“Putin noted that this cruel murder has all the makings of a contract hit and is extremely provocative,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev echoed the suggestion that the killing was a provocation. 
“It’s an attempt to push the situation into complications, maybe even to destabilizing the situation in the country,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

It’s an attempt to push the situation into complications, maybe even to destabilizing the situation in the country

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov agreed. “It’s a provocation; for big fires, sacrificial figures are necessary,” Interfax quoted him as saying.
Nemtsov frequently assailed the government’s inefficiency, rampant corruption and Ukraine policy.

Cleanup crews trying to mitigate Japan’s never-ending radiation crisis at Fukushima ran into more problems recently after sensors monitoring a drainage gutter detected a huge spike in radiation levels from wastewater pouring into the Pacific Ocean.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels were up to 70 times, or 7,000 percent, higher than normal, prompting an immediate shutdown of the drainage instrument. The first readings came around 10 a.m. local time on February 22, setting off alarms not once but twice as radiation levels spiked to extremely high levels.

“The levels of beta ray-emitting substances, such as strontium-90, measured 5,050 to 7,230 becquerels per liter of water between 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.,” reported The Japan Times. “TEPCO requires radioactivity levels of groundwater at the plant discharged into the sea to remain below 5 becquerels.”

The Japan News reports that large storage tanks capable of holding up to 2,900 tons of contaminated water are constantly being built at the site, up to one new tank daily, in fact. At some point, though, other mitigatory measures will have to be implemented, as there’s only so much space available to build more tanks.

According to The Ecologist, the Reactor 3 fuel storage pond also still contains upwards of 89 metric tons of plutonium-based, mixed-oxide fuel that, should the pond leak or dry up, could result in another major reactor meltdown. Reactor 3, as you may recall, experienced a full meltdown back in 2011 that resulted in the reactor core falling through the floor to the bottom of the containment vessel.

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