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Friday, August 23, 2013

8/23 Links Part 2: Netanyahu: We'll Hurt Whoever Hurts Us, Realism on Egypt, Saudi War on Witchcraft

From Ian:

Netanyahu: We'll Hurt Whoever Hurts Us
"We are operating on all fronts, in the north and south, in order to protect the citizens of Israel from these attacks,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday in the aftermath of a Katyusha rocket salvo fired at northwestern Israel.
"We are using a variety of measures – of both defense and prevention – and we are operating in a responsible manner. Our policy is clear: to protect and also to prevent.
"Anyone who hurts us, and anyone who tries to hurt us, must know that we will hit him.”
Analysis: Dragging Israel into conflict
It’s not unreasonable to assume that those who fired the rockets would be pleased to create the conditions that would suck the IDF into a conflict with Hezbollah. Their calculation could be that the IDF’s immense firepower will weaken the Shi’ite organization, which rules southern Lebanon and is involved neck-deep in the war against Sunni rebels in Syria.
A weakened Hezbollah would in turn cripple the murderous Assad regime, and might shift the balance in favor of the Sunni rebels in Syria.
When all else fails, target Israel
Finally, in the age of active defense, Israel’s intelligence capacities, as Thursday’s rocket fire illustrates, are less opaque. Three weeks ago, an Iron Dome battery was moved to the Eilat region; one week later, for the first time, it intercepted a rocket over the southern resort city. On Wednesday, also for the first time, an Iron Dome battery was rotated to the Sharon region, north of Tel Aviv. The rocket intercepted over the Acre-Nahariya area may have been shot down by the Iron Dome battery further to the north, in Haifa, but clearly in an age of multiple threats, with varying and shifting degrees of urgency, Israel’s intelligence community was not caught by surprise by the fire from Lebanon.
Palestinian-Lebanese group promises retaliation for IAF strikes
A Palestinian terror group in Lebanon, which was apparently the target of IAF strikes early Friday morning in response to rocket fire in northern Israel Thursday, expressed surprise at the raid, given that a Sunni, al-Qaeda-inspired group claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.
A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) promised retaliation against Israel. “The Zionist enemy will not drag us into responding. It will come at the right time, in the right place.”
Twin blasts kill 20 in Lebanese city of Tripoli
Lebanon’s health minister said at least 20 people were killed, and over 213 were wounded in twin bombing attacks in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli Friday afternoon.
According to the Lebanese Future TV, the bodies were being transported to a hospital in the city. Security sources said the death toll is expected to rise sharply.
The blasts occurred outside two mosques as Friday prayers ended. The Lebanese Daily Star newspaper reported that the attacks occurred minutes apart.
U.S. Sanctions Four Members of Hezbollah
Cohen, who oversees terrorism and financial intelligence issues, described the four as either high-ranking Hezbollah operatives or those directly tasked with carrying out operations.
“Hezbollah is determined to spread instability, plan terrorist attacks and operate well beyond Lebanon’s boundaries,” he told reporters, according to AP. “And we have seen the violence and misery that comes along with Hezbollah’s influence, particularly in places like Syria and Iraq.”
Netanyahu: Syria chemical attack a ‘grievous crime’
The alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians on Wednesday “proves yet again that we cannot permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to acquire the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
"They Don't Care About Syria, They Won't Care About Us"
On his Facebook page, Rabbi Ronsky wrote that the hundreds killed by the Syrian army in a chemical weapons attack Wednesday sent a grim message to Israelis. Hundreds die, he said, “and the world remains silent. Hundreds of people – supposedly born in the image of G-d – die before us from chemical poisoning, and the world remains silent.”
One day soon, he said, those chemical weapons could be aimed at Israel, too. “And the world will remain silent – very silent – when those weapons are aimed at us,” he wrote.
Obama: Syria chemical attack an event of ‘grave concern’
President Barack Obama on Friday called the possible chemical weapons attack Wednesday in Syria a “big event of grave concern.”
The president said the US was still seeking conclusive evidence that chemical weapons were used this week. But he said such actions were “very troublesome” and are going to “require America’s attention."
Galloway: Israel gave chemical arms to al-Qaida in Syria attack
The Respect Party MP for Bradford West, who is a longstanding supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas, stated: "If there has been use of chemical weapons, it was al-Qaida," asking, "Who gave al-Qaida chemical weapons?"
Staring determined into the camera, Galloway stated: "Here's my theory. Israel gave them the chemical weapons."
UN says Syrian child refugees top 1 million mark
740,000 are under the age of 11; 7,000 children killed so far in the country’s bloody two-year civil war
Syria-based al Qaeda group issues threat to Western aid workers
Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria - the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, or ISIS - warned Western aid workers that they are at risk of kidnapping or death if they enter Syria. The directive from the terror group now officially makes many U.S.-funded organizations targets.
Clifford May: Realism on Egypt
Final point: A great and historic upheaval is taking place not just in Egypt but throughout the Muslim world. It should by now be evident that there never was an "Arab Spring" — the blossoming of a new season of freedom. Nor is there an "Arab Awakening" — a widespread recognition that peace, prosperity, and dignity can be achieved through the establishment of liberal-democratic governance. What are we looking at instead? Anger, frustration, and ambition within societies that have become frighteningly dysfunctional, and in which poisonous ideologies based on dreams of conquest and glory — blended with nostalgia for an imagined past — have taken root.
Both America's expectations and its policies require adjustment. If Egypt's generals can be persuaded to see their immediate mission as pacifying the country, beginning the process of economic recovery, protecting minorities, and guaranteeing basic rights even while countering the militant, supremacist, and anti-democratic Islamists — a delicate balance, to be sure — it will be in our interest to assist them.
Egyptians Bewildered Over Support for Muslim Brotherhood
What many Egyptians cannot understand is: Why is the U.S. Administration siding with the forces of oppression in their country and assisting with its transformation into a failed state under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood? These conditions all run contrary to American interests.
In the Middle East, a strong economy, military, and police are the cornerstones of stability. Egypt was the first Arab nation to choose the path of peace with Israel. Egypt is the nerve system of the Arab and the Islamic world. The U.S. has a strong interest in a stable, modern, and prosperous Egypt. It simply cannot be allowed to become another Somalia or Afghanistan, controlled by its own version of the Taliban.
Christians United for Israel Condemns Attacks on Egypt’s Churches
Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S., condemned the recent attacks on Christianity in Egypt and urged the U.S. government to do more to aid Christians there.
“Events in Egypt this week highlight yet again the tragedy facing the Christians of the Middle East. Once again, Christians are being targeted for murder. Once again Christian schools, businesses and churches are being attacked. And once again, the world is largely silent,” David Brog, executive director of CUFI, said in a statement.
No More Kosher Food from Egypt
The latest violence in Egypt has finally put an end to kosher food exports from the country. Several Egyptian factories that marketed reliably kosher food to Israel will no longer be able to do so.
Over the past two and a half years, kosher certification companies in Israel have continued to send their workers (mashgihim) to Egypt despite political unrest as first Hosni Mubarak and then Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power.
New Images Show Major Alterations at Iran Nuclear Site
The most recent imagery from satellite company Digital Globe is from August 13 and was seen by The Associated Press ahead of publication by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
The images show what ISIS says is progressive asphalting of a part of the Parchin complex that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says was possibly used to test conventional explosive triggers for a nuclear blast.
Saudi Arabia's War on Witchcraft
Belief in magic is so widespread that it is often invoked as a defense in Sharia courts. "If there's an employer dispute -- say the migrant domestic worker claims she wasn't paid her wages or her conditions are unlivable -- a lot of times what happens unfortunately is the defendant makes counterclaims against the domestic worker," Coogle said. "And a lot of times they'll make counterclaims of sorcery, witchcraft, and that sort of thing."
Domestic workers, many of whom who are not fluent in Arabic, face significant challenges in defending themselves against these charges, according to Coogle.