Wednesday, February 26, 2014

From Ian:

Ex-Gitmo detainee latest to be suspected of terrorism
Western human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, promoted Begg's account of his experiences as a U.S. detainee but their association with him was controversial even among their own staffers.
Gita Sahgal, who headed Amnesty International's gender unit, was suspended by the organization in 2010 after objecting to Amnesty's association with Begg, whom she described as a leader of a pro-jihadi group and "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban," according to the London paper The Guardian.
The arrest of a former Guantanamo prisoner in England on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism is the latest example of a failed release program that is setting free unrepentant jihadists, an analyst says.
United Kingdom authorities on Tuesday arrested Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism in Syria. Three others were arrested with him.
Guardian fails to reveal that Brit arrested for terror is ‘Comment is Free’ contributor
As we first learned from Guido Fawkes, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who became a spokesman for the “human rights” group Cageprisoners, was arrested by British police on Tuesday morning for terror offences which he is alleged to have committed in Syria.
Begg is widely believed by American intelligence officials to have been a jihadist involved with Al-Qaida and reportedly attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the UK “so he could assist in waging jihad against enemies of Islam.” Begg reportedly assisted several prominent terrorists, recruited young operatives for jihad and provided financial support for terror camps.
Amnesty International Report Reflects Lack of Expertise and Methodology
Report based on faulty data calls for sanctions, coincides with annual BDS campaign
Jerusalem – A report scheduled to be released by Amnesty International tomorrow, Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, falsely and maliciously accuses Israel of “callous disregard for human life,” according to analysis by NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research organization. The report also repeats Amnesty’s calls for political warfare against Israel, in the form of an arms embargo.
“Amnesty International accusations are reckless, blatantly biased, and reflect the lack of a credible research fact-finding methodology,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Amnesty lacks the expertise and credibility to analyze or assign blame for deaths in the context of violent confrontations in the West Bank. As in the past, the allegations in this report repeat unverifiable Palestinian ‘testimony.’”



Why the Peace Talks Are Making Jordan Panic
The king has reason to be worried lest Jordan might become the State of Palestine. History reveals why. Back in 1920, when the League of Nations Mandate to govern Palestine was bestowed upon Great Britain, it cited “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the legitimacy of grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Jews were granted the right of settlement throughout “Palestine,” comprising the land east and west of the Jordan River.
Great Britain, however, retained the right to “postpone” or “withhold” Jewish settlement east of the Jordan. Two years later, with the creation of Transjordan by the British to reward Prince Abdullah of Arabia for his wartime cooperation, Jewish settlement was restricted to the land – all of it – west of the Jordan. That right has never been rescinded. It includes Hebron no less than Tel Aviv.
So it is that Jordanian Palestinians are already at home, east of the Jordan River, which comprises two-thirds of Mandatory Palestine. Surely the resistance of Hashemite monarchs, backed by Bedouin tribes, should not be permitted by the international community to impede Palestinian statehood within the borders of their own national home according to international law.
Temple Mount cannot be under Jordan's thumb
As part of the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, Israel pledged to "afford high priority to Jordan's historic role" on the Temple Mount, should the peace process mature to the point where its permanent status in negotiated. In reality, this priority is already in effect.
In 2012, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a mysterious treaty regulating the two's respective status on the Temple Mount. Israel's fingerprints are evident there as well, as it sought to ensure Jordan's role as the leading Arab entity on the Temple Mount ahead of time, but things have gone too far yet again.
It is inconceivable that Jordan's influence on the Temple Mount would cripple Israel, even given the special -- and less known -- ties between the two countries. The Muslims' violence in the compound is a red line and unless it ceases they should be temporarily barred from the Temple Mount. It has been done before and the sky did not fall down around us. The Muslims must be made to understand that when it comes to the Temple Mount, they also have something to lose.
Knesset Temple Mount debate raises hackles in Arab world
Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, warned Tuesday in a statement that an Israeli declaration of sovereignty over the contested site could lead to an “explosion’” in the region.
The PA asked the Arab League Tuesday to hold an emergency session on Wednesday to discuss Israeli policy toward the Temple Mount, Ma’an news agency reported. “If Israel continues this policy,” said PA ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra, “it proves that it does not want peace but continues to violate international laws and resolutions.”
In Jordan, 47 out of 150 members of the country’s lower house signed a motion late Tuesday that the treaty be annulled, the government-owned al-Rai newspaper reported.
IDF Blog: Cheat Sheet: Answers to the Most Important Questions About Israel’s Security
On a daily basis, Israel faces terrorist threats and many other challenges to its security. The activities of the IDF are a key part of Israel’s efforts to combat the constant dangers facing Israeli civilians. Here we answer the most important questions about the IDF’s continuous work to keep Israel safe.
1. What is a “security fence”?
Israel built security fences as a protective measure against terrorists who attempt to attack Israeli civilians. Following a wave of terror attacks in the early 2000s, there was a need to find a way to defend Israel’s residents.
Palestinian Authority owes Israel Electric $389 million
If the Israel Electric Company were a private entity, it would shut off electricity to the Palestinian Authority because of the PA's outstanding bill of 1.37 billion shekels ($389 million), IEC Chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday.
"Their outstanding bill increases by 70 million to 80 million shekels ($20 million to $22 million) a month. If a regular citizen didn't pay his electric bill, we'd cut him off within a week. But here -- despite the company's enormous debt -- we are forced to keep supplying the Palestinian electricity grid. Our hands are tied," Ron-Tal continued.
Ron-Tal warned that a failure to collect payment from the PA would require the IEC to raise tariffs for Israelis.

Electric Company Head: I'd Cut Off the Power to Gaza
“In this case, despite the immense financial debt that we have accumulated, we are obligated to continue to provide electricity to the PA. The State of Israel owns our company and it has to make a decision on the matter. We must collect this debt,” he added, noting that the PA has ignored repeated requests to pay its debts.
The PA acquires 95% of its electricity in Judea and Samaria and 75% of its electricity in Gaza from Israel. The Israeli supply to the PA-assigned areas has continued despite the huge debt and despite the fact that Hamas continues to carry out terror attacks aimed at Israeli forces and civilians alike.
Honor Killings in Palestinian Authority Territory Double in One Year
Director of Coordination in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for the Palestinian Authority (PA) Nabila Rizq said that the number of Palestinian women being murdered by families in “honor killings” doubled in 2013. The official criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas for not doing enough to address the PA law that protects the perpetrators of these crimes.
According to Rizq, in 2013 the number of women murdered in PA-controlled territory through family honor killings rose to 27 from 13 in 2012. A clause in the PA penal code acknowledges extenuating circumstances that would allow such murders, despite ongoing demands submitted to Abbas asking to remove that clause, Palestinian Media Watch reported.
Hamas Thinks It Found Offshore Gas Field
Salem Salama, chair of Hamas's economic committee, said "preliminary tests carried out by experts from the Islamic University suggest that there is a natural gas field near the coast," reports AFP.
In recent weeks the test were conducted by Hamas after fishermen reported large bubbles in the water roughly 300 meters (just under 1,000 feet) off the coast, reported Salama.
However, Hamas Deputy Prime Minister Ziad al-Zaza painted a more skeptical picture, noting "we need to conduct further studies to confirm that there is any gas. This requires probing by specialist companies because we don't have the adequate laboratories and experts here."
Analysis: IDF Intelligence takes aim at arms smuggling
Hezbollah is believed to be armed with some 100,000 rockets and missiles, including a small but deadly collection of satellite- guided projectiles that can be used to target key Israeli installations and national infrastructure sites in a future war. It is fair to assume that the IDF is not willing to watch that collection grow.
In recent years, Military Intelligence has created a detailed list of Hezbollah targets.
Military Intelligence is also growing in size, to cope with the mushrooming of global jihadi operatives in next-door Syria. The IDF remains concerned that al-Qaida affiliated organizations will seek to turn their guns, bombs, and rockets against Israel in the future.
Senior Navy source: Hezbollah probably has advanced missiles
The Israel Navy assumes that Hezbollah has gotten hold of advanced Russian- made Yakhont antiship missiles, a senior navy source said on Tuesday.
The source added that the Lebanese terrorist organization is making constant efforts to get hold of advanced weapons.
The navy is adapting itself to a new reality, in which the Mediterranean Sea, in some area, is becoming a terror arena, the source added.
These changes include buying new weapons to intercept naval arms smuggling efforts by terrorists.
The navy is also preparing to take on the mammoth challenge of protecting Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone, where offshore gas drilling rigs are operating, the senior source said.
Four Hezbollah men said killed in reported Israeli strike
A reported Israeli airstrike on a Syrian weapons shipment crossing into Lebanon Monday killed four members of Hezbollah and prompted a consultation between the country’s president and army chief on a possible response, Lebanese media reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the strike targeted two trucks transferring missiles and a missile launcher from Syria to a Hezbollah warehouse.
Hezbollah: We will respond to Israeli strike at the 'right time and place'
Lebanese Al-Manar television, closely associated with Hezbollah, quoted the group as saying there were no casualties in the alleged Israeli attack against one of its bases. It also denied reports that the strike targeted artillery or rocket bases.
The group vowed to respond to the Israeli attack: "The new aggression is a blatant assault on Lebanon and its sovereignty and its territory...The Resistance (Hezbollah) will choose the time and place and the proper way to respond to it."
Lebanese security sources have said they believed that any attack took place on Syrian soil, but Hezbollah's reference to Lebanese sovereignty suggested it took place on the Lebanese side of the ill-defined frontier.
Egyptian General: MB Demonstrators Should Have Been Reduced to Pulp, Mercilessly Killed


Sinai militants blow up Egyptian gas pipeline
Militants planted explosives under the pipeline south of the city of Al-Arish in an area called Lehfen, they said.
The explosion sent thick flames of fire shooting into the sky, security officials said, adding that fire engines and ambulances had been rushed to the site.
Iran's Nuclear Agency Spokesman: Our Commitments Are Temporary and Non-Obligatory


Documents: Iran Red Line Against Ballistic Missile Negotiations Ignores More Than Half-Decade of IAEA Concerns
The agreement increasingly appears to have provided sweeping economic improvements to Tehran – far beyond what the administration publicly predicted – even as Iran was allowed to continue enriching unlimited amounts of uranium to 5% purity, continue bolstering its plutonium producing Arak complex, and continue developing advanced centrifuges and ballistic missiles. Limits on ballistic missiles were entirely absent from the JPA, an omission that the Iranians subsequently tried to leverage to limit the scope of final negotiations. Previous documents outlining Iran’s nuclear program, for which the Islamic republic is expected to present a full accounting and to limit, are on the side of the administration. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2008 explicitly called attention [PDF] to Farsi-language documents detailing “various aspects of an unidentified entity’s effort to develop and construct a Shahab-3 re-entry vehicle capable of housing a new payload for the Shahab-3 missile system.” In 2011 the IAEA went further [PDF], describing documents on various Iranian programs that established “a link between nuclear material and a new payload development programme.”
State Dept. Scrambles to Address Evidence Iraq Violating Iran Arms Trade Ban
State Department officials found themselves on the defensive Monday, after an expose published by Reuters revealed that Iraq has signed a $195 million arms deal with Iran for the delivery of weapons to Iraq. Baghdad sources told the outlet that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been moved to seek arms from the Islamic Republic – in violation of a broad range of international measures up to and including an explicit United Nations ban on arms sales by Iran – after he became ‘fed up with delays in U.S. arms deliveries.’
Thousands across Turkey call for Erdogan’s ouster
Protesters took to the streets across Turkey on Tuesday, after audio recordings purportedly of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordering his son to dispose of vast amounts of cash amid a graft probe surfaced and went viral on the Internet.
Thousands of people demonstrated in 11 cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, shouting anti-government and anti-Erdogan slogans, according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
Police in the capital fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd that chanted, “The government resigns” and “Thief Erdogan.”
Israeli Balloons Carrying Hebrew Message ‘Unleashed’ on Saudi Arabia
Several Israeli balloons bearing Hebrew words were discovered in Saudi Arabia by a picnicking resident, Arab news website Emirates 24/7 reported Tuesday, citing the Sabq newspaper.
The Saudi said he was out driving with his family in an area close to the northern town of Rafha when he saw the floating objects.
'No more guns at weddings' plead UAE residents
Resident of the United Arab Emirates sheikhdom of Ras al-Khaimah have pleaded with local authorities to ban guns at weddings following an accidental killing at a reception last Friday.
While a decree from 2001 banned firearms for the practice of celebratory gunfire, many residents still carry weapons to weddings, Gulf News reports.
Brigadier Mohammad Al Noubi told the newspaper that "several weddings had turned into funerals because of the custom and urged the public to refrain from such behaviour."
The groom at all weddings in the region is supposed to sign a document in the presence of police stating he will inform his guests that the firing of guns is banned, and even assume responsibility for any shootings.


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