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Showing Results 81-100 of 329 for Hezbollah
October 10, 2014

PARCHIN - IRAN'S SMOKING GUN

 The satellite photos are shocking - the mysterious explosion flattened many buildings inside Iran's Parchin military test site. Now under international pressure to reach a nuclear accord with the 5P+1, the timing of the blast was atrocious for Tehran. It again raises the specter of an Iranian nuclear weapon in the making. So far the Iranian negotiators have continued to stonewall with their diplomatic waltz of one step forward and two steps back. It appears that Ayatollah Khamenei and the fanatic Revolutionary Guards, who call the shots, are ready to make some marginal concessions in return for easing the crippling economic sanctions. However, they have dug in their heels on maintaining the potential to develop A-bombs in the future. Say, after the Iranian economy has recovered. So what went wrong in Parchin on October 7th that sent 'shock waves' not only through Tehran but also across the world? 

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October 07, 2014

KOBANI 'SLAUGHTER' WILL BE ON OBAMA'S HEAD

 IS forces. An estimated 12,000 Kurds are surrounded in the town, and Anne Barnard, the New York Times correspondent in Istanbul, has raised the of their slaughter by IS. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the only two foreign leaders who could possibly prevent it, continue to wring their hands and refuse to take effective action. Nobody expects anything decent from Erdogan, who hates the Kurds for campaigning against Turkey for their independence, but Obama?? Despite the US President's vow to 'degrade and ultimately destroy' Islamic State forces, he has launched a few feeble air strikes against what appears to be the main IS thrust on Kobani. American officials have said the air attacks had knocked out several IS armored trucks, destroyed an IS unit, and damaged a tank. Is this all the damage the most powerful air force in the world could inflict on IS forces in the Kobani area? 

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September 26, 2014

OBAMA LEADING FROM THE COCKPIT

 Alas, leading from behind will not work for US President Barack Obama in the Middle East. American jets are bombing and Tomahawk cruise missiles are blasting Islamic State ground forces and oil refineries in northern Syria and Iraq. After Gen. Martin Dempsey forewarned Obama that the air strikes on IS had better be serious or else he might have to recommend ground forces, the President got the message. Adding insult to injury, two of his former defense secretaries, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, also castigated Obama for being too eager to withdraw US troops from Iraq, a move that has exacerbated the overall situation. With Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain and even Qatar joining Obama's invitation to follow his lead, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has now told the UN General Assembly that he's on board, as is Holland. The meltdown in Iraq and the civil war in Syria have spawned the IS juggernaut in those two former states and forced Obama to jettison his soft power, and switch to a harder foreign policy. This is how the US President described it in his address to the current session of the UN General Assembly in New York:

 'The only language understood by killers like this (IS) is the language of force'. 

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September 20, 2014

ISRAEL SHOULD AID THE KURDS

 Is ISIL now perpetrating a massacre of Kurds in northern Syria? Yes, according to Kurdish leaders in both Syria and Iraq. In the past several days, ISIL tanks, artillery and motorized forces have been pounding Kurdish militia in the area near the town of Kobani, which is nearly surrounded except for an escape route north to the Turkish border. An estimated sixty Kurdish villages have been overrun - thirty-nine fell on September 19th alone. Thousands of frantic Kurdish women, girls and small children have been fleeing to the north. Many have reportedly been kidnapped along the way by ISIL. The Kurdish militia are trying to stem the ISIL onslaught, but are vastly out gunned by the Muslim fanatics. President Masoud Barzani, the senior Kurdish leader has issued an appeal to the world before it is too late:


 'I call upon the international community to take every measure as soon as possible to save Kobani and the people of Syrian Kurdistan from the terrorists - they will not hesitate to commit crimes and atrocities, therefore, they must be hit wherever they are'.

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September 19, 2014

GEN. DEMPSEY COVERS HIS BUTT

 The current chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has this policy - he calls them as he sees them. Apparently he has serious doubts about President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria by air power. And that is why Gen. Martin Dempsey has told Congress:

 'If there are threats to the US, then I, of course, would go back to the President and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces'.

 Predictably, Obama hit the roof. If Dempsey had opened the door to the military need for an eventual deployment of American 'boots on the ground', Obama slammed it shut. Appearing before American troops twenty-four hours later in Tampa, Florida hours later, the President declared unequivocally:

 'The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission'.

 In an effort to drum up support for his newfound ISIL strategy, Obama noted that Britain and France were already flying missions over Iraq, and that Canada and Australia were sending military advisors. 

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August 05, 2014

GAZA CEASEFIRE EXPECTED TO HOLD

 7:48 AM-August 5th, two minutes before the latest Egyptian brokered ceasefire was to go into force: Hamas launches a barrage of 25 more rockets at Jerusalem and communities in central Israel. Again, air raid sirens wail and hundreds of thousands of Israelis rush to their bomb shelters. Israel's Iron Dome missiles blast off, knocking seven of the incoming rockets out of the sky. They were on target for population centers. Several others do explode on the ground but there are no Israeli casualties. The rest are allowed to land harmlessly in open areas. Imagine how many Israeli children, women and men would have been killed and wounded if those seven rockets had hit apartment buildings. This has been at the core of the current conflagration and the IDF's mission to suppress this rocketing of Israeli civilians that has escalated ever since Israel totally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005. The IDF estimates that Hamas terrorists fired 3,350 rockets during its 26-day Operation that was triggered by hundreds more rockets in the preceding week. Yet critics of Israel, including some foreign governments, are castigating the Jewish state for not acting proportionately to the Hamas threat. 

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June 20, 2014

ISRAEL - ONE KIDNAPPING TOO MANY

 Hamas will likely rue the day it kidnapped three Israeli teens on the West Bank. Israeli leaders have declared war on Hamas military and social infrastructure in the West Bank while angry Palestinian President Abbas declares: 'Hamas is trying to destroy us'. IsraCast Assessment: Israel has taken off the gloves - top Hamas leaders should offer to immediately release three youths, if Israel calls off its systematic campaign to arrest Hamas members and close down its social assets on West Bank. Otherwise, Israeli campaign will continue and Hamas leadership could wind up on a new Israeli hit list. One of the most massive manhunts in Israeli history continues around the clock. For over seven days, Israeli troops and policemen backed up by the Shabak Security Service have been scouring the West Bank searching for the Hamas terrorists who are believed to have kidnapped three Israeli hitch-hikers. 

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June 01, 2014

U.S. - No Longer Policeman of the World?

 It was highly significant that U.S. President Barack Obama selected West Point as the venue to articulate his foreign and military policy. Without saying it in so many words Obama sent a message loud and clear - America has abdicated its role of 'policeman of the world'. Obama has jettisoned the projection of American military power that characterized his predecessor George W. Bush. Addressing the graduating cadets, their commander-in-chief told them: “The U.S. will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it - when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.” But his punch line related to global issues that do not directly threaten the U.S.: "Then the threshold of military action must be much higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action." The truth is this has been a cornerstone of Obama's policy of 'leading from behind' in the Middle East, as exemplified by the crises in Libya and currently in Syria. Clearly, Obama's refusal to make good on his warning that Assad would face the consequences if he repeated his use of chemical weapons has actually tipped the scales in favor of the regime against the rebels. 

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March 30, 2014

KERRY TACKLES ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN LOGJAM

 What happens if the Kerry mission is unable to break the Israeli-Palestinian logjam by the April 29th deadline? So far the Secretary of State's diplomatic marathon has barely made a dent in the impasse. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are sticking to their guns. It hasn't come as any big surprise, what was apparent at the outset has prevailed: the maximum that either side is ready to offer is less than the minimum that the other side will accept. So rather than cobble a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians, the US Secretary of State is now trying just to keep the ball rolling on an agreed framework of principles. Even that is an uphill struggle. 

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March 20, 2014

NETANYAHU’S POLITICAL HEADACHES

 

 It makes no difference if you are a supporter of Israel's Prime Minister or not, you just had to sympathize with Bibi Netanyahu when he saw the headlines this morning. Staring him in the face were two political nightmares, but not the Iranian nuclear threat, Syria, or Palestinian terrorism. They were far closer to home.

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March 15, 2014

GAZA, CAMERON, ISRAEL & CRIMEA

 Rain of rockets...

 “We will not let them launch rockets at our children!” the warning came from Sderot's Mayor Elon Davidi to the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza who were launching over 100 rockets and mortars at his town. Israeli aircrafts went into action, and despite the thick fog and heavy rain, they targeted over thirty terrorist targets on the other side of the border. But it was the greatest deluge of rockets from Gaza since Israel conducted the Pillar of Defense operation to suppress similar rocketing in November, 2012. Since being hit hard at that time, the Hamas regime has abided by the ‘tahadiya’ cease-fire, except for the occasional rocket.

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March 06, 2014

IRAN'S TREACHERY EXPOSED BY ISRAEL

 While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles his way through the current nuclear negotiations, Tehran's campaign of terrorism also continues at full tilt. At the very same time that Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was warning of Iran's nuclear treachery and deception, an Iranian vessel flying under a Panamanian flag was sailing in the Red Sea with a cargo of deadly missiles bound for Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Within hours of Netanyahu's keynote speech to AIPAC in Washington, Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship in a daring operation before dawn.


 

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February 26, 2014

ISRAELI AIR STRIKE & IRAN'S NUCLEAR TALKS

 10:04 - Monday morning in Israel: Air raid sirens suddenly wail across the country sending hundreds of thousands of Israeli school children and kindergarten toddlers to their bomb shelters. There is no panic but some of the smaller children cry as their teachers or day care minders lead them to their underground havens. This time it was the annual drill - a dry run for the real thing that has become part of daily life in Israel. How many countries in the world have to face such a mortal threat to their children? Six decades after the Holocaust, Jewish children are again under mortal threat. And after the horrors of the current bloodbath in Syria, would anyone doubt their fate, if there is a terrible miscalculation over Israel's security needs.

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December 12, 2013

ISRAELI-SAUDI ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN?

 In this day and age of the looming Iranian threat, what do Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States have to fear from Israel? Absolutely nothing. And what does Israel have to fear from them? Again, absolutely nothing. Bu what do the Gulf States and Israel have to fear from Iran? Possibly their very survival! This joint interest, against the backdrop of America’s disengagement from the Middle East could be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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September 25, 2013

US-IRAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

 What is the essence of true negotiations? Obviously it is the readiness of both sides to compromise. For the negotiations to succeed, each side must give up something in return for something else that values more. But just think about it: is this the case between the US and Iran? Did America simply wake up one morning and decide to lead a campaign of crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic for no good reason. So maybe it will be about America's meddling in Iran's internal affairs and the Iranians taking American diplomats in Tehran hostage in 1971? Not really. It's all about Iran's nuclear weapons program and America's subsequent sanctions action at the UN. Reading between the lines, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told the UN General Assembly that 'constructive engagement' should result in the lifting of those sanctions. But flying in the face of the evidence, perish the thought that Iran has been advancing toward its first A-bomb! Rouhani told the General Assembly that, contrary to the US state Department's branding Iran as the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism, his country is anything but. Back home in Tehran, what might Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards, who really call the shots, be ready to concede? Here are some IsraCast suggestions: 

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September 22, 2013

ISRAEL'S 'LANTERN ON THE STERN'

 Forget the current rhetoric coming out of Washington and Tehran. Both sides are playing each other as they prepare to kick off yet another round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, the most critical crisis facing the world today. Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani is the new smiling face of the tyrannical Islamist regime that supports Syria's use of chemical weapons. On the other hand, US President Barack Obama is trying to regain some of the credibility he lost to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although he will not be taking part, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will be a key absent partner, and he has left no doubt about where he stands on a nuclear Iran. On the basis of past experience, there is little chance that Iran will really back down from its nuclear weapons drive. On the other hand, Obama's erratic handling of the Syrian chemical weapons atrocity has raised questions about his staying the course. If Iran does eventually make a dash for the A-bomb and Obama choses to procrastinate, what will Israel do? Analyst David Essing refers to historian Barbara Tuchman's analogy of ‘the lantern on the stern' to illuminate how past history can aid in foretelling a future course of action.

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September 12, 2013

NETANYAHU CONNECTS SYRIA WITH IRAN

 "The message that emerges on Syria will be grasped in Iran" - Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has indicated that the Iranian nuclear project is still Israel's major concern. Addressing a graduation ceremony for Israeli Navy cadets, Netanyahu hinted that Israel would not be dependent on the U.S. for its security: ‘In these days, probably more than ever, this is the rule that guides me mainly in my actions - 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me’. And he followed this Talmudic saying by adding that Israel would always be prepared to defend itself. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have steered clear of commenting on what course President Barack Obama should navigate on Syria. Netanyahu did say that an agreement must guarantee the Syrian regime will be disarmed of its chemical weapons and the world must make certain that whoever uses weapons of mass destruction will pay the price. 

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September 08, 2013

OBAMA - CHURCHILL OR CHAMBERLAIN?

Will U.S. President Barack Obama turn out to be a Winston Churchill or a Neville Chamberlain? Whatever the outcome, Obama's statecraft is being viewed as puzzling, to say the least, by the vast majority of Israelis. The sudden silence of Israeli officials, from Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on down, speaks for the gravity with which they view the situation. One noticeable exception was President Shimon Peres who praised Obama 'for examining all the options to respond to Assad who had lost all legitimacy as Syria's president'. Shimon Peres, the media, and the Israeli 'in the street' found it hard to accept that the U.S. and the rest of the Free World were so prevaricating in standing up to a barbaric dictator's gassing of his own children and women. As for Russia and China, that's par for the course, realpolitik is their name of the game. In fact, it recalls Stalin's pact with Adolph Hitler when they okayed the Molotov- Ribbentrop treaty to carve up Poland and forestall Germany from invading the Soviet Union. 

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August 31, 2013

OBAMA'S DECISION TO DELAY STARTLES ISRAEL

 Total astonishment - that's been the reaction in Israel to US President Barack Obama's surprise announcement that he is delaying any possible attack on Syria at least until after September 9th. The question being asked is whether Obama was trying to buy time by seeking Congressional approval, although he said he didn't need it. Could Obama be backing out of his pledge to confront the Assad regime in Syria for the chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1429 civilians on August 21? After Assad had again crossed Obama's red line on chemical weapons, politicians and pundits were certain that Obama had no choice but to react with a swift, punitive strike on Syria. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu immediately ordered an official blackout so as to prevent Israel bashers in the U.S. from accusing Israel of influencing the Obama administration to launch a military strike. But nearly all media commentators were of the view that Assad had gone too far and the signals from Washington were that it was not a matter of if, but when Obama would give the order. 


 

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August 25, 2013

WHY U.S. SHOULD BOMB SYRIA

 The signs are that U.S. President Barack Obama is taking the Syrian Army's latest chemical weapons attack very seriously. Obama has consulted with his top national security advisors, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered several U.S. Navy destroyers, armed with Cruise missiles, to sail closer to the Syrian coast, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is returning to the Middle East. Meanwhile, a senior Syrian official has warned that an attack on Syria will not be 'a walk in the park'.

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