Thursday, May 31, 2018

Four Takeaways From Gaza Clashes

Four Takeaways From The Latest Round Of Gaza Clashes

It began with an attempt by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to plant an improvised explosive device on the security fence separating Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and ended with a near full-scale conflagration on a scale not seen since the summer of 2014. Tensions for the time being have tapered off but the recent fighting demonstrates why the Israeli Army (IDF) maintains a constant state of readiness along its volatile borders. 
On Sunday, security forces monitoring the Gaza border detected an object attached to the border fence. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be a bolt cutter of the type used by Palestinian rioters to breach the fence in weeks prior. A remote controlled robot was sent in to inspect and remove the object utilizing a long cord. During the course of removal, the bolt cutter exploded. Fortunately, no one was injured but the situation could have just as easily resulted in casualties.
PIJ terrorists who planted the IED were then spotted manning a nearby observation post. An Israeli Merkava IV tank fired at the OP instantly killing two PIJ operatives. A third was mortally wounded and died soon after. Islamic Jihad swore vengeance.
Two days later, southern Israeli border towns and communities came under intense indiscriminate rocket and mortar bombardment. 
kindergarten was hit but fortunately, the children had not yet arrived. Over the course of 22 hours, Hamas and PIJ fired over 100 rockets and mortars, 25 of which were shot down by Israel’s anti-rocket defense system, Iron Dome. According to military sources, the system also succeeded in intercepting incoming mortar rounds, a first in the annals of warfare. There were no fatalities but there was some property damage and three IDF soldiers were wounded, two lightly and one moderately. A civilian was also lightly injured.
The unprovoked attacks inevitably drew Israeli retaliatory strikes which came in two waves. Some 65 Hamas and PIJ positions were targeted including a U-shaped, two-kilometer long tunnel that extended into both Egypt and Israel. It was to be used for smuggling contraband as well as for facilitating terrorist attacks. Rocket and weapons storage facilities were also hit and destroyed. A Hamas naval armory which the army said contained “advanced, unmanned submarine vessels, capable of maritime infiltration and carrying out maritime terror attacks,” was hit and destroyed as well.
Israel informed Hamas through intermediaries that if it continued its attacks, the IDF was prepared to conduct a large-scale military operation, similar to those conducted in 2009 and 2014. Hamas, still smarting from the defeats of 2009 and 2014, understood that Israel meant business and ordered its operatives as well as the PIJ to cease fire. The question is how long will the cease fire hold? The answer to that is anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, the recent round of fighting highlighted several interesting takeaways. 
First, the discovery of a Hamas tunnel in Egypt is likely to further strain relations between Egypt and Hamas. Egypt has accused Hamas of aiding Islamist terrorists in northern Sinai and the revelation of a Hamas-dug tunnel in Egypt further erodes Hamas’s credibility in the eyes of the Egyptian government.
Second, the Iron Dome system continues to impress. In 2014, Iron Dome succeeded in shooting down rockets but had yet been incapable of downing mortar rounds. In 2014, a mortar round fired from a Gaza school killed a four-year-old Israeli boy named Daniel Tragerman, who lived in a kibbutz near the border. Modifications and software upgrades to Iron Dome have enabled the system to now have the ability to intercept incoming mortar rounds. This is an unprecedented development in warfare.
Third, during the Obama years, Israel received equivocal support at best, when it carried out anti-terror operations against Islamist terrorist groups. Europe, taking cue from Obama, was downright hostile. But in the latest round, Israel received unequivocal political support from both the United States and the European Union, while Hamas was roundly condemned. This positive development signals a seismic shift in favor of Israel and may have been a contributing factor in Hamas’s decision to call it quits. Hamas recognizes that in any confrontation with Israel, it will lose both militarily and politically, whereas in the past, it at least had a chance of scoring political points.
Fourth, the malevolent role of the Iranian regime in stoking the recent round of violence cannot be overlooked. 
Iran has its fingerprints all over this one. Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders have readily and publicly acknowledged that they receive aid in the form of cash, training and weapons from Iran. For years, the Iranians have been cultivating proxies to do their bidding and these Palestinian groups are willing participants. Iran has recently been on the receiving end of some sharp blows from Israel, and the mullahs were looking for a way to strike back but without engaging Israel in direct confrontation. Gaza appeared to be Iran’s venue of choice. Nevertheless, despite Hamas’s dependence on Iran, the group still exercises some independent thought, and they wisely cried uncle for they recognized that this was a battle they had no hope of winning.         

Rumors Of War: China Aggressively Developing Next Generation Of Nuclear Weapons

China steps up pace in new nuclear arms race with US and Russia as experts warn of rising risk of conflict

China is aggressively developing its next generation of nuclear weapons, conducting an average of five tests a month to simulate nuclear blasts, according to a major Chinese weapons research institute.

Its number of simulated tests has in recent years outpaced that of the United States, which conducts them less than once a month on average.

Between September 2014 and last December, China carried out around 200 laboratory experiments to simulate the extreme physics of a nuclear blast, the China Academy of Engineering Physics reported in a document released by the government earlier this year and reviewed by the South China Morning Post this month.

In comparison, the US carried out only 50 such tests between 2012 and 2017 – or about 10 a year – according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

As China joins the US and Russia in pursuing more targeted nuclear weapons as a deterrent against potential threats, the looming arms race would in fact serve the opposite purpose by increasing the risk of a nuclear conflict, experts warn.
Pentagon officials have said the US wants its enemies to believe it might actually use its new-generation weapons, such as smaller, smarter tactical warheads designed to limit damage by destroying only specific targets.

But with these relatively safer and less destructive weapons in hand, governments may end up losing the inhibition to use them.
“The use of small warheads will lead to the use of bigger ones,” Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told the Post.
Still, despite China being highly unlikely to actually deploy its nuclear weapons, it remained necessary to develop them, he said.

“If other countries use nuclear weapons on us, we have to retaliate. This is probably why there is research to develop new weapons.”
Although an international ban prevents nuclear weapons from being tested – with high-profile exceptions like North Korea – the major nuclear powers have been able to continue conducting simulated tests.

In tunnels deep under mountains in Mianyang, southwestern Sichuan province, where China’s main nuclear design facilities are based, loud blasts from these experiments can be heard more than once a week.
In comparison, between 2003 and 2017, the US fired a total of 150 simulated shots at its Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research (Jasper) facility at the Nevada National Security Site.

China has likely surpassed the US in some important areas in nuclear weapons research, according to Luo Guoqiang, another researcher at the lab.
“Part of the drive comes from technical breakthroughs, and part from increased financial support from the government,” Luo said.

These new weapons are considered more “usable” for tactical tasks such as destroying an underground bunker while generating little radioactive fallout.
And while they are not as destructive and cannot obliterate entire cities like their predecessors could, they are still far more powerful than conventional weapons.

In February, soon after the US announced its new nuclear weapons policy, Chinese state-run tabloid Global Timespublished an editorial saying that China would seriously consider going public with its low-yield nuclear weapons programme as a response to the new nuclear arms race.
“China is a nation capable of massively increasing the size and improving the technology of its nuclear stockpiles,” stated the newspaper, known for its stridently nationalistic tone.

Red Cross: Gaza Health Crisis Of 'Unprecedented Magnitude'

Red Cross says Gaza health crisis of 'unprecedented magnitude'

The Red Cross warned Thursday that Gaza was facing an "epic" crisis, after weeks of violence
 has left more than 13,000 Palestinians wounded, overwhelming an already disastrously weak
 health system.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was stepping up its assistance in the beleaguered Palestinian enclave, and was sending in two surgical teams, additional medical specialists and supplies to help face the crisis.
"The recent demonstrations and violent activities along the Gaza border... have triggered a
 health crisis of unprecedented magnitude," Robert Mardini, who heads the ICRC's Near
and Middle East operations, told reporters.
At least 122 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the unrest that flared up at the end
 of March. No Israelis have been killed.
More than 13,000 Palestinians have been wounded, including more than 3,600 by live
 ammunition, some multiple times, and there had been nearly 5,400 limb injuries, ICRC said.
Mardini's comments came as calm appeared to return to the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli communities following the worst military flare-up in the area since a 2014 war, raising fears
 of yet another full-blown conflict in the narrow strip.
Mardini said that in the seven weeks since the demonstrations and violence began "we have exceeded the wounded caseload of the August 2014 war".
"This did not happen in a vacuum," he said. "This epic health crisis took place against the
 backdrop of multiple, protracted, chronic crises affecting all sectors of life in Gaza."
Warning that the Gaza health system was on "the brink of collapse", he said ICRC would
 boost its assistance over a six-month period to reinforce medical facilities "which are clearly struggling to cope".
Of the thousands wounded, some 1,350 people have complex injuries and will require
 between three and five surgeries each, Mardini said.
That is "a total of more than 4,000 surgeries, half of which will be carried out by ICRC teams,"
 he said. "I think such a caseload would overwhelm any health system in the world."
The ICRC has appealed to donors for a $5.3-million budget extension to fund a new 50-bed
surgical unit in the Al-Shifa Hospital, medical supplies and other additional assistance.
That comes on top of its annual budget for its work across Israel and the Palestinian territories of around $49 million -- far less than half of which is funded.
But while Mardini voiced hope the boost in aid would help, he cautioned that it was far from a permanent fix for Gaza which has sky-high unemployment, limited supplies of electricity and
 clean water, and a sanitation system unable to cope.
"The whole Gaza is a sinking ship," he said.
And while health workers are focused squarely on "saving lives and limbs", other health
 services, for instance during child birth or to respond to a heart attack, are suffering, he said.

Russia Expresses Concern Over U.S. Military Presence In Poland

Poland Wants the US Military Presence to Be Permanent and Is Ready to Pay

Moscow has expressed its concern over NATO’s military infrastructure that has been built adjacent to the Russian border. On May 28, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declared that Russia is prepared to take appropriate measures in response. 

That statement was a reaction to Warsaw’s plans to host a permanent US military presence on its territory. Russian lawmakers point out that this would move Poland to the top of Russia’s list of military targets.

That deployment would breach the Russia-NATO Founding Act (1997), in which NATO pledged not to seek “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” inside Russia’s neighbors “in the current and foreseeable security environment.” It’s hardly a coincidence that the news went public before the NATO-Russia Council meeting scheduled for May 31.

According to Politico, Poland wants a US armored division permanently deployed on its soil. It is willing to pay $2 billion to help construct the installation. Five possible sites in northern Poland have been offered for consideration. The draft proposal comes just a little more than a month before a NATO summit that will be held July 11-12 in Brussels.
The issue of a permanent base had probably been previously discussed behind closed doors. According to the defense draft budget for fiscal 2019, the US Senate Armed Services Committee has already asked the defense secretary to assess the cost of a permanent presence in Poland.

America’s military, as well as the personnel of other NATO countries, are stationed in the country on a rotating basis but Warsaw doesn’t think that’s enough. Poland is one of just five bloc members that spend at least two percent of its national GDP on defense. The move dovetails with President Trump’s policy of making other nations pay for US protection. This could be just the beginning, with other countries eager for the American umbrella following suit and starting to negotiate by offering financial proposals that turn military-political agreements into commercial deals.

Meanwhile, work is in full swing to construct a new storage site and warehouse facility in Powidz , which will become a NATO hub for the Baltics and all of Northern Europe. A year ago, the US Army Europe established a new tactical headquarters in Poznan to control the rotating American forces in Eastern and Northern Europe. Poland and the Baltic States have reached an agreement to link Poland, Finland, and the Baltic States with the unified Trans-European Transport Network, which is crucial for the free movement of those forces. This “Rail Baltica,” stretching from Tallinn to Warsaw via Kaunas and Riga, is a key element of NATO’s infrastructure modernization.
According to Lieutenant General (ret.) Ben Hodges, former Commander of US Army Europe, “Any contingency we have to deal with, we’ll almost certainly have to come through Poland,” as that country has become the “center of the center of gravity” for the American military.

Poland will be increasing the size of its army by at least 50% in the coming years (from about 95,000 to 150,000). There are plans for three new brigades to be deployed on the eastern flank. No to be alarmist, but the fact that Poland has shifted its best military forces eastward, including its most modern tanks, has not gone unnoticed in Russia. 

The long-term modernization program provides for new air-defense systems, aircraft, ballistic missiles, submarines, self-propelled howitzers and around 1,200 drones, at least 1,000 of which are expected to be armed. The US Patriot PAC-3 will become the backbone of the Polish national air-defense system.

Meanwhile, the EU-Poland rift is growingPolexit is a possibility. Europe is in revolt against US domination. Because of the country’s ambitions and dreams of power, Warsaw is seeking its own piece of the global pie, dreaming of becoming a vertex of power in the erroneous belief that dancing to the US tune is the way to achieve this goal. It could end up breaking with Europe, only to find itself faced with a cold shoulder from the US when Poland is no longer needed. Then Warsaw would have to deal with Russia — a relationship it sacrificed for the sake of cozying up to America. In order to enjoy a high international standing one must have an independent foreign policy, not kowtow to other states, no matter how powerful they might be.

Another Global Financial Crisis Coming?

Here comes another global financial crisis ...

Is another global financial crisis on the horizon?

Investors are increasingly worried that an escalating political crisis in Italy could lead to a populist, euroskeptic government taking power. As a result, there's rising uncertainty about whether the country might eventually abandon the euro currency zone or default on its giant debt pile. 

To make things worse, the Trump administration continues to toy with the idea of a trade war with Europe and China. That would be the last thing the global economy would need if the Italian situation deteriorates further. Debt crises and trade wars are a toxic combination.

To fully understand the risk, it's helpful to recall that before there was a Brexit, there was the threat of Grexit. There was widespread concern a few years ago that Greece's government debt crisis would force it to exit the eurozone, and that such a shock departure would be a crushing blow to both the broader European economy, in the middle of recession, and the American economy, which was still recovering from its own downturn.

These fears prompted what is perhaps the most amazing — albeit apocalyptic — research note ever published by a major Wall Street bank or investment firm. In December 2011, Citigroup clients were treated to dark speculation by the firm's chief economist, Willem Buiter, on what might happen if Greece's departure led to a daisy chain of eurozone exits and the eventual collapse of the European Union:

A breakup of the euro area [currency zone] would be rather like the movie War of the Roses version of a divorce: disruptive, destructive, and without any winners. ... If Spain and Italy were to exit, there would be a collapse of systemically important financial institutions throughout the European Union and North America and years of global depression. ... Even if the breakup does not destroy the EU completely and does not represent a prelude to a return to the intra-European national and regional hostilities, including civil wars and wars, that were the bread and butter of European history between the fall of the Roman empire and the gradual emergence of the European Union from the ashes of two made-in-Europe world wars, the case for keeping the euro area show on the road would seem to be a strong one: financially, economically, and politically, including geopolitically. [Willem Buiter, Citigroup]

So, yeah, pretty much everything other than pestilence, famine, and zombies roaming through Manhattan. Now generally, Wall Street research doesn't read like the Book of Revelations or a dystopian alt-history novel. But Citigroup was hardly the only financial player pondering the worst.
Thankfully, the worst didn't happen. Europe muddled through thanks to a combination of Greek debt bailouts and massive money printing by the European Central Bank. 

But Italy poses a far bigger threat than Greece ever did.

Italy is the eurozone's third-largest economy, 10 times the size of Greece's. It also has the world's third-largest sovereign debt market, some $2.7 trillion. Only Greece has a higher public debt-to-GDP ratio in the eurozone. My AEI colleague Desmond Lachman, a former International Monetary Fund official and Wall Street emerging market strategist, argues that Italy's troubles have the potential to roil the global economy much like the 2008 Lehman bankruptcy. (The 10th anniversary of "Free Market Day" is coming!) America wouldn't be spared.

Italy is a mess. It's too big to fail, but also too big to bail out. To a large extent, it will need to save itself though economic reforms that boost its lagging productivity and reduce its debt load as a share of the economy. And America cannot simply sit idly by and pretend that this is not our problem.

Italy must get its financial house in order. But America also has a role to play, such as avoiding trade disputes with Europe or China that will exacerbate market tension and potentially weaken global growth. There is little evidence that any of the trade actions currently being contemplated by Team Trump would have much impact on economic or job growth. But a second global financial crisis surely would.

Top IDF Officer: Iran May Use Gaza Terrorists Again To Distract From Syria

Top IDF officer: Iran may use Gaza terrorists again to distract from Syria

A top commander in the Israeli army said Thursday that if Iran finds itself in trouble in Syria, it could again mobilize its ally in Gaza, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), to attack Israel as a distraction.
The senior officer in the IDF’s Southern Command, in a briefing to Israeli journalists, also said Hamas and PIJ had improved their combat tactics in this week’s round of cross-border violence by launching many rockets and mortars from underground positions, and using timers to delay the launches until their fighters were no longer around to be targeted.
He said Israel had “expected” Islamic Jihad to launch an offensive, explaining that the terror group has had an account to settle ever since Israel exposed and destroyed a tunnel belonging to it earlier this year. “Its command center is abroad, and from there it receives its orders with Iranian consent,” he said.

“The group has an approval by its commanders abroad to carry out terror attacks against us,” the officer said. “After it tried to carry out an attack at the beginning of this week and we killed three of the group’s combatants, we understood it was going to react.

“We didn’t know when it would come, but we prepared. We told community heads that gunfire could be directed at posts and communities. Everyone in this area knows what to do in such situations.”

On Tuesday, the Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups launched more than 100 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, prompting dozens of retaliatory airstrikes. Four Israelis were hurt, including a soldier who suffered moderate injuries, and projectiles caused damage to a kindergarten yard an hour before the children arrived, and to a home as a family slept in a fortified room inside.
Following criticism in Israel that the military failed to prevent any launchings by identifying the launchers ahead of time, the officer said the groups had improved their tactics.

He denied that there were orders not to hit and kill the terrorists. “There were orders to locate and attack the cells, but the enemy has improved and learnt lessons. A large portion of the launches was done with timers and from underground.”
The senior officer said that Hamas only joined the offensive after the IDF struck targets in response to the two initial barrages fired by Islamic Jihad.
He said Israel was the “closest” it had been to war in four years, since the 2014 Gaza War, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.
“Israel needs to insert other stabilizing factors to the conflict with Gaza. Small steps can be made to give 12-18 months of calm, and we can reach a long-term arrangement,” the officer said.
“We are at a crossroads. We brought Hamas to its toughest state, and it’s good we did so. [But] if we don’t stabilize the situation, we risk entering a slippery slope and being the reactors instead of the initiators.
“Hamas shouldn’t be helped, but the extent of its willingness for concessions in development, [weapons] tests, power-building, smuggling and terror shows it is willing to talk about everything to save itself from collapsing. They understand the only solution other than an arrangement is war, and are doing everything to prevent a war.”

Israel At Closest Point To War Since 2014

Despite relative calm returning to southern Israel after over 100 mortars and rockets were fired towards Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip, Israel is at its closest point to war since Operation Protective Edge four years ago, a senior IDF officer in the Southern Command said Thursday.

According to the senior officer, the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad did not show all of its strength and, under the guidance of Tehran, might still be able to act against Israel from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. 

"This week, Islamic Jihad operated with Iranian consent and Iran has an interest in escalating the situation in Gaza in light of what is happening in Syria and other areas,” he told reporters.

The Southern Command, he said, operated with a “very clear” directive on Tuesday to make sure the latest round of violence didn’t escalate into a full-blown war so that Israel “could focus” on confronting larger threats like Iran and Syria.

The senior officer said that the Israeli army had anticipated an attack by Islamic Jihad and while the military was not certain when the attack by the Gaza terror group would happen, the IDF spoke to regional council heads and deployed Iron Dome batteries. The warning system was also improved for residents within seven kilometers of the Gaza Strip, giving them 23 seconds to run for shelter up from 15, he said.

According to the senior officer, Israel struck dozens of high-value Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Hamas-run coastal enclave but admitted that the IDF did not succeed in targeting the cells who had fired the projectiles.

"We were instructed to locate and attack the cells who carried out the launches, but the enemy has improved and learnt lessons since the last round of fighting, and much of the shooting was carried out with timers and from underground,” he said.

The officer nevertheless stressed that “the terrorist organizations limited themselves in the range of rocket fire this week,” but “if it continued, we were ready for something a lot broader and meaningful and Hamas knew it. It could have ended very differently.”

The senior officer stated that the 65 targets struck by the IDF “were targets that have been on our ‘waiting list,’” adding that Hamas planned to use the sites in the next war with Israel.

Among the high value targets was a offensive tunnel built in the last year that infiltrated both into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as well as into Israeli territory. The officer stated that the intelligence on the tunnel was shared with Egypt, who neutralized it in their territory as well.

On Wednesday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council that the escalation was a “warning to all of us of how close we are to the brink of war every day.”

According to the senior officer, Israel should allow for additional measures in order to stabilize the humanitarian situation, "otherwise, we will be in a slippery slope,” pointing out that even the Palestinian Authority has disengaged itself from the Strip.

Hamas, the senior officer said, is trying to save itself from collapse and has no solution.

“No one wants the problem of Gaza, not even us,” he said. “Small steps can be taken that will give a year and a half of quiet, and allow for a long arrangement to be reached. We do not need to help Hamas, nor lift it up, but as large as Hamas' concessions will be, so will be the size of the arrangement,” he said.

Beyond the ongoing operations of the Erez and Kerem Shalom Crossings, as well as the limited opening of the Rafiah Crossing with Egypt, additional “arrangements” are being examined the senior officer said.

Soros Proposes The EU Should Borrow Money To Pay For Unrestricted Migration Into Europe

George Soros Wants the EU to Borrow Money to Pay for Unrestricted Migration into Europe

George Soros has published a new article. It is paywalled, but the Hungarian versionis not.
In the article he recommends a Marshall plan for Africa, and he seems to recommend acquiring the money for it by putting the EU into debt.
He also says, among other interesting things (and whining against Orbán):
“My opinion has always been that refugees must be distributed strictly on a voluntary basis. Member states must not be forced to take them in, nor must refugees be directed to countries where they don’t want to go.” (my translation)
This is the diametrical opposite of what he proposed just thee years ago, when he said, among other things:
“First, the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly — a principle that a qualified majority finally established at last Wednesday’s summit.”
Our Hungarian translator CrossWare declined to translate the source document linked above — she said she didn’t want to help Mr. Soros spread his [expletive redacted]. Instead she volunteered to translate this report from the news portal
The “philanthropist” Soros would have Europe take out a loan for the reception of migrants
George Soros has had another perverted collection of ideas. According to him, he has now come up with the latest idea for money-laundering, because he is afraid of the European Parliament’s defeat of the immigration forces he supports, by the patriotic forces in agreement with Viktor Orbán. That is why, before it is done, the US billionaire wants to pull tens of billions of dollars from EU pockets to move migrants in bulk to Europe.
The American billionaire, who only communicates with the world through open letters, speaking declaratively of the EU’s migration plans which now being threatened with failure, reappeared with one of its favorite cannons: the EU should take out loans for the supply and reception of migrants. Soros would resolve the migration crisis by allowing more migrants, moreover, at the expense of EU taxpayers.
“How to Save Europe?” — this is the ringing title of the billionaire’s opinion piece, where he slipped his demand for money into a glaze of honeyed drool.
Surprisingly, Soros also explains why he came up with his latest plan. The great financial conspirator is very afraid of the victory of the anti-immigration forces of European nation-states, as represented by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, at the next European Parliament election. Therefore, if he could, he would do a little business on the migrants with the EU until then.
“In Hungary, Viktor Orbán based his campaign on falsely accusing me of flooding Europe and Hungary with Muslim refugees. Orbán is now defending his own Christian vision of Europe. This vision is in contrast with the EU principles,” writes the probably desperate Soros, who is the self-proclaimed defender of the EU’s non-established principles.
The financial construction advertised by Soros, “giving Marshall aid to Africa”, is essentially about making financial resources available to Soros in the amount of 30 billion euros annually from the European Union, to support the import of African migrants (he calls them “refugees”) into Europe.
George Soros describes his own model fairly euphemistically as an infinitely positive process about reducing illegal migration and organizing legal migration. Indeed, the American billionaire’s plan is about making mass migration legitimate and publicly subsidized.
Obviously, for his own financial gain, George Soros has devised an astonishingly naughty and wicked political-economic plan. The wealthy immigrant investment magnate would force EU citizens to pay for massive imports of migrants into the EU to make an even larger profit. A sumptuous idea!
“In order for an African Marshall Plan to succeed, at least €30 billion would be needed annually. Member states could cover only a small part of this. Where do we get money from? Keep in mind that the refugee crisis is a European problem, and requires a pan-European solution. The EU’s creditworthiness is high, but unused. When do we have the opportunity, if not in such a historic crisis? We know from history that public debt rises in times of war. Of course, the borrowing is against the prevailing orthodoxy, which calls for austerity…” writes the stock-market shark, camouflaged as a philanthropist.
But again, the main problem with the whole of Soros’s plan, and with all of his other ideas — why does Soros think that he has the right to speak for the lives of 500 million people in the EU, without any electoral mandate?
With the usual bold, thick skin on his face, Soros, in his open letter, in addition to his important financial plan, deliberately misrepresents and lies about many other political issues.
For example, while Soros is pushing immigration around the world, he ratiocinates why Brexit is an important for the EU, that is, to prevent the British from leaving, and to reverse the decision. All while Britain’s population has decided to exit the EU due to the overwhelming effects of uncontrolled migration. And what else does George Soros have to do with British citizens’ decision? Why does the American billionaire think he has the right to override the British decision?
The Hungarian-born stock market speculator, however, in his most recent open letter, also expresses his intention of eliminating nation states using the global network of civilian organizations that he maintains and uses to represent his interests.
“A joint effort is needed; the management of EU bodies combined with the civilian movements,” states Soros, who obviously does not spare money from his private network of Open Society Foundations, which works to achieve unlimited and unrestricted migration.

Hawaii Volcano Lava Forces New Evacuations

Fast-moving lava flows on Hawaii’s Big Island from the Kilauea volcano have blocked one major evacuation route and are headed toward the crossroads of another, prompting a new round of evacuations for rural neighborhoods in the area.
Authorities going door to door in the early-morning hours Wednesday called for emergency evacuations in the Kapoho, Beach Lots and Vacationland areas, about 35 miles from Hilo, the island’s biggest city.
The lava crossed Highway 132 on Tuesday afternoon and was moving diagonally toward an intersection known as Four Corners, where Highways 132 and 137 cross near the coast. As of 4 p.m. local time, the lava was within 1/2 a mile of 137, the USGS said.
Both highways are the primary evacuation routes for the area, raising concerns that authorities might have to bulldoze an emergency route through the jungle connecting several existing small roads. They’ve also made plans for helicopter evacuations using military aircraft.

"The Hawaii Police Department has ordered a mandatory evacuation for Noni Farms Road and Hale Kamahina Rd off of Hwy 132, around the 5 mile marker due to lava inundation," police said early Wednesday morning. "This notice affects all residents and businesses in Hwy 132 at the 5 mile marker and immediate surrounding area.  Evacuees may seek shelter at the Pahoa Community Center or the Keaau Community Shelter."

It wasn't immediately clear how many people were ordered to leave in the newest round of evacuations, but about 2,000 had already been barred from their homes. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983 with only occasional pauses of quiet activity.  The latest eruption began May 3 in a part of Leilani Estates, a subdivision near the town of Pahoa.
Area residents reported power outages and spotty cellphone coverage as the flows destroy power lines. Authorities said the flow was moving about 200 yards an hour, slower than walking pace. 
Those same kinds of implacable flows are blamed for the destruction of at least 12 homes Sunday and Monday and left neighborhoods covered with up to 20 feet of new rock. Authorities said the lava flows themselves are a danger but also warn ash, poison gases and hair-like threads of cooled lava pose respiratory risks.
Fountains of lava are reaching about 200 feet high, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
"Pele’s Hair is falling in Pahoa. Can cause skin, nose, eye and lung irritation. Stay inside or use ash masks for protection," the county warned.
The flows raise the stakes for a community that already has struggled with nearly a month of mandatory evacuations prompted by  lava from the Kilauea volcano further inland. Tempers are flaring, residents are frustrated, and businesses are struggling.  
The flow near the Leilani Estates neighborhood about 35 miles from Hilo had already destroyed at least 82 structures, including 41 homes.

So far the lava has not caused any problems at a geothermal electricity plant that residents feared could release toxic gases. Authorities say the lava has flowed over portions of the plant and blocked its access road.
Leilani Estates residents Brady Metcalf and his fiancée, Ana Luquin Jiminez, have been evacuated since May 3 and expect the lava to take their house any day. It was still standing Tuesday, but they had little hope it would stay that way.
“When the lava comes, it comes at a huge volume and obliterates everything," Metcalf said. "That used to be one of the nicer neighborhoods with paved streets, nice homes and friendly neighbors. Now the bottom half of it is gone, and it looks like an ocean of lava for as far as you can see.”

Golan Heights Recognition Thwarted By The Swamp

Golan Heights Recognition Thwarted By The Swamp

Last week, House Foreign Affairs Committee Member, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R.,-Fla.), proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act recognizing the Golan Heights as an integral part of Israel thereby validating Israel’s 1981 annexation of the territory. Though non-binding, the declarative resolution, which would have likely passed if brought to the House floor for a full vote, would have sent a strong message to the world, but chiefly Israel's enemies, that after eight years of relentless hostility from the previous American administration, the US-Israel alliance is back on track and stronger than ever. 
But for inexplicable reasons, the amendment didn’t pass muster with the House Rules Committee and consequently, never made it do the House floor for a full up or down vote. Sources close to the matter stated that the White House put pressure on Speaker Paul Ryan to kill the resolution and render it dead on arrival. The White House for its part denied playing any role in the shelving of the resolution claiming to have only recently become aware of its existence. When contacted by the Washington Free Beacon for comment on the matter, Speaker Ryan’s office remained uncharacteristically mute.  
On the heels of President Donald Trump’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and transfer the United States embassy there in compliance with U.S. law, a congressional resolution recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would have represented a powerful one-two combination. It would have signaled an end to past anachronistic foreign policies dictated by the swamp.
Up until June 1967, the Golan Heights, a rocky volcanic plateau overlooking Galilee, served as a platform for Syrian artillery strikes against Israeli Galilean villages and collectives. It is roughly 45 miles long and 17 miles wide at its widest point. From 1948 until 1967, Syrian artillery harried and harassed Israeli farmers tilling their fields and fishermen tending to their business in the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Kinneret. In addition to artillery strikes, the Syrians also tried to divert the Golan’s waters from flowing into the Jordan River in an effort to deprive Israel of water resources. In sum, rather than using the Golan for productive purposes, the Syrians used the plateau to rain death and destruction and make life for Israelis miserable.
On June 5th 1967, Israel, rather than waiting for its enemies to hit first, acted resolutely and launched a preemptive strike against its belligerent Arab neighbors. While Israel was engaged in battling Egyptians to the south and Jordanians to the east, Syria decided to take advantage of the situation to indiscriminately shell Israeli towns, villages and farming collectives in Galilee. 
The Syrians were caught up in fabricated Arab propaganda and hysterics of phantom Arab victories. It’s likely that had they known the extent of defeat inflicted on their Arab brethren, they would have refrained from shelling Israel. Once Israel dispatched Egypt and Jordan, it turned its attention to Syria. On June 9, Israeli armor, mechanized and heli-borne infantry, backed by artillery and air power stormed the Golan and quickly overwhelmed and broke through strong Syrian defenses that had taken the Syrians years to construct. The Syrians, who proved to be adept at indiscriminately shelling civilians, proved to be no match for the Israel Defense Forces. 
On June 10, the guns fell silent leaving Israel in full control of the Sinai Peninsula, Judea & Samaria, east Jerusalem and crucially, the strategic Golan Heights. No longer could the Syrians menace Israel as they had done before the Six-Day War.
In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, which extended Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Syrian Druse residents of the Golan were given the option of accepting Israeli citizenship and many have since taken up Israel on the offer. Before 1967, the Golan was largely barren but today the land is productive featuring a booming tourist industry, the largest ski resort in the Middle East, cattle farms, a commercial green energy wind power station, and an abundance of wineries. In fact, some of the world’s premier wines herald from the Golan. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 Jews and 20,000 Druse living in the Golan in peace and tranquility. The area is in fact, among the most tranquil in Israel with many Israelis vacationing there to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. 
The Syrians, who never demonstrated any meaningful, good-faith effort to reach peaceful accommodation with Israel, despite Israeli flexibility on territorial concessions, attempted to retake the Golan Heights in October 1973 but were repulsed with severe losses. In 2011, Syria devolved into full-scale civil war that witnessed the use of poison gas by Assad as well as massacres and indiscriminate shelling. Syria no longer exists as an independent country. Instead, Assad can be viewed as a petty warlord who takes his dictates from Tehran. 
No one seriously believes that Israel should be compelled to give back the Golan. Had it ceded the territory, a move encouraged by former Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran or ISIS would today be dipping their feet in the Kinneret. Though Representative DeSantis and supporters of a strong Israel haven’t received a plausible explanation as to why the Golan Heights resolution was shelved, DeSantis hasn’t given up the fight. Following the nixing of the resolution he tweeted, “With respect to US recognition of Israel control over the Golan Heights, we’ve only begun to fight...” We wish him Godspeed. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Iran And Syria Move On To Their Next Target Flashpoint - Quneitra

As Gaza front cools, Iran and Syria move on their next flashpoint – Quneitra

Hours after the Palestinians paused on Wednesday, May 30, in their broadest rocket/mortar assault on Israel in four years, their Iranian backers were already moving on the Golan. 

Under cover of the deafening Gaza clash, Iran, Syria and Hizballah began marching military units on the road to Quneitra opposite Israel’s Golan border. They include the Syrian army’s 42nd armored brigade of the elite 4th Division. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report Iran is employing its classical tactic of cooling one sector – on Israel’s southern border with Gaza – while creeping up silently on another – the Golan front in the north 

The movement is timed to reach Quneitra on Thursday, March 31, when Russian defense minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu and his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman are due to meet in Moscow.

Israel Blames Iran For Gaza Violence As Rocket Fire Pauses

Israel Blames Iran For Gaza Violence As Rocket Fire Pauses

A day after the largest exchange of rocket fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014, Israel is blaming Iran for supplying both Hamas and Islamic Jihad with advanced surface-to-surface missiles, capable of traveling longer distances to hit targets inside southern Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports based on official Israeli military statements :
Despite Israel’s intelligence superiority over terror groups, as well a blockade imposed both by the IDF and Egypt, Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip have restocked their supply of weapons in the four years since the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The mass-produced Iranian mortar shells used in yesterday’s salvos were also used by Islamic Jihad in an attack in January, as well as a barrage 12 mortar shells toward an army outpost in November.

Israeli officials describe Tuesday's Israeli strikes on Gaza as precipitated by dozens of projectiles fired toward Israeli settlements. In total throughout the day the Jerusalem Post estimates that 180 "Iranian-made" 120 millimeter mortar shells were fired by terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip, as well as 107-millimeter rockets, which have a reach of up to ten kilometers inside Israel. 
Israel for its part struck 65 locations across Gaza it described as Hamas terror sites, including what Israeli officials have identified as a massive weapons smuggling tunnel said to reach nearly a full kilometer into Israeli territory.

Israel has consistently blamed both "smuggling tunnels" and commercial ships asmeans through which Iran resupplies militant groups within the Gaza Strip — though Israel has had the 25 miles long by few miles wide strip of Palestinian land under near total blockade for years.
During the 2014 Gaza conflict which Israel refers to as Operation Protective Edge, Israeli authorities say they seized a "Klos-C Iranian commercial ship" operating under the Panamanian flag which was filled with Syrian long-range rockets. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) subsequently published video showing the boat seizure and the uncovering of the large cache of missiles. 
IDF officials have partly credited the total maritime blockade of Gaza, which human rights groups have denounced as tantamount to a war crime due to medicine and other essential humanitarian supply shipments being prevented from entering the deeply impoverished strip, with drastically reducing the number of projectiles fired from Gaza over the past few years.

Blame for Tuesday's somewhat brief yet very intense round of violence was predictably put on the shoulders of the Iranians by Israeli officials. The Jerusalem Post cites Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and an IDF Military Intelligence division head, as saying Tuesday's violence was "encouraged by the Iranians" — though offering no concrete evidence beyond past references.

General Kuperwasser said it was “another reflection of Iran’s frustrations and tensions which is trying to show it can cause trouble and instability,” he said, while also implying that IRGC Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani may have had a part to play in violence over the past months in tandem with Hamas political leader Yahya Sinwar.
The Israeli general said further, “Iran doesn’t want stability here. They want to make everyone realize that they are a player and that they should be taken very seriously with a lot of respect and in this way deter people from putting more pressure on them, but it isn’t working.”

Meanwhile Israeli military vehicles appear to be mustering along Israel's southern border with Gaza, even as a reported Egyptian-assisted Israeli-Hamas tenuous ceasefire has continued to hold through Wednesday. Israel has denied early reports that it reached a ceasefire with Gazan militant groups; however, fighting is widely reported to have ceased by evening Wednesday

It's unclear if any casualties resulted from Tuesday and early Wednesday's strikes as none were immediately reported - though the Israelis say a Jewish kindergarten was hit, with no one killed. An emergency UN session is set to meet Wednesday after the US and other western states called for a formal condemnation of recent Hamas rocket attacks.
Violence has soared along the Gaza frontier in recent weeks during which 116 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire at mass demonstrations for a right of return to ancestral lands now in Israel. Amid international condemnation for its use of lethal force at the mass demonstrations, Israel said many of the dead were militants and that the army was repelling attacks on the border fence.
Palestinians and their supporters, however, say most of the protesters were unarmed civilians and Israel was using excessive force against them