By Barak Ravid – “The stalled peace process and instability in the Middle East are liable to push the Palestinians in the West Bank to turn increasingly violent toward Israel, the Foreign Ministry said in its annual intelligence assessment.
The assessment also states that a potential Israeli military operation in Gaza would generate a severe response from Egypt.
The ministry’s intelligence report, which was presented a few weeks ago to the ministers in the security cabinet, runs more than 50 pages. Parts of the report were obtained by Haaretz, including the sections relating to the Palestinians, ties with Jordan and Egypt and the Iranian nuclear issue.
The assessment puts forth a scenario of a third intifada breaking out during 2012, either as a result of a Palestinian Authority leadership decision or as a popular uprising influenced by the wave of revolutions in the Arab world.” Read more.
New Intifada Gains Upper Hand on IDF Restraint – “Violence by Arabs from Haifa to Be’er Sheva has grown into new full-blown Intifada, but so far the IDF is holding fire despite deaths in the recent past in the same circumstances . The increasing violence is forcing the IDF to heighten its presence on the highways, and terrorists, already used to de facto control, may escalate their attacks. Dozens of daily rock-throwing attacks on highways in Judea and Samaria were recorded the past week, causing massive damage to cars, light injuries and near death.” Read more.
Qassam Rockets Fall on Southern Israel – “A new day, a new week, and Gaza terrorists began their near-daily routine of firing short-range Qassam rockets at southern Israel on schedule as usual Sunday morning… The Color Red incoming rocket alert siren, which activates the moment a missile is sensed, gives people in the region about 15 seconds in which to drop whatever they’re doing and race for cover. It is impossible to know when the next one will be launched, nor where it will land and whether or not will explode. Because Qassams are relatively ‘primitive’ and cannot be narrowly aimed, they are especially deadly as the trajectory cannot be predicted – thus an entire region is placed on alert each time one is launched.” Read more.
I’m really starting to like this guy …
By Rick Santorum – “President Obama has an amazing ability to make Jimmy Carter’s foreign policies look good.
Opposition to imperfect allies and support of radical Islamists has resulted in the almost-extinction of religious freedom for religious minorities – from the Copts in Egypt to the defenseless women and children who were slaughtered in Homs, Syria – in the Middle East.
Another example is the devolving situation in Iraq. President Obama was so committed to fulfilling an arbitrary campaign promise to get our troops out of Iraq that he ignored the advice of his senior military officials about the consequences of establishing a firm withdrawal date and about how long it might take before Iraq was ready to manage the situation on their own. As a result, Al-Qa’ida is resurgent, Iran’s influence is greater than ever, religious tensions between Sunni and Shi’a are increasing, the existential threat facing Iraq’s indigenous minority communities has never been greater, and our ability to affect the situation there is weaker now. Recent coordinated car bomb attacks are just the latest in a string of such events since the start of the new year, and they portend many more violent assaults to come.
The departure of our military forces has once again left a security vacuum that is bound to be filled by someone, and all those with the means to vie for that space will do so, whether Sunni insurgents, terrorists like Al Qa’ida, security forces controlled by the ruling Shi’a political establishment, and in parts of the country even Kurdish Peshmerga. These machinations undermine institutionalizing the rule of law, protecting minority rights, or developing the economy and infrastructure, let alone advancing American interests in that country and the region.
The most vulnerable people in this situation also happen to be the ones most aligned with our values and interests. These are Iraq’s besieged Christians – the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenian Orthodox communities. The role their faith has played in developing their worldview is far more in keeping with America’s values than any other constituency in the country or the region. Moreover, because these communities have an ethic that places a premium on education, entrepreneurship, and peaceful co-existence and respect for others, they have constituted a disproportionately large part of the upper-middle class, they have historically contributed far more to the country’s economy than their numbers would suggest, and they have been the most trusted elements of Iraqi society. They also have a much greater respect for the value of the rule of law, they were the ones who came along side our military, diplomats, and contractors to provide translation services and cultural advice.
With the departure of our forces and the recent announcement of the Obama Administration that we will also be reducing our embassy staff by 50 percent because it is now too dangerous for our diplomats there we are effectively abandoning both Read more…
AP – “TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Lebanon’s visiting defense minister on Sunday, telling him that Beirut and Tehran should work toward unity to confront the west and Israel, the country’s official news agency reported.
The visit comes amid an apparent move by Tehran to strengthen its regional ties, as it faces both pressure from the West over its nuclear program and the possible loss of a key ally, Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
Ahmadinejad told visiting Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn to ‘resist the plots’ of ‘domination-seeking powers,’ IRNA said.
Ghosn is a member of the Christian political party Marada, which is allied with Tehran’s main partner in Lebanon, the Shiite Hezbollah movement. Marada and Hezbollah are also closely linked to Syria’s embattled President Bashar Assad, who is traditionally a major power-broker in Lebanon but faces an uprising against his rule.
‘Friendships and brotherhood should be improved,’ Ahmedinejad said. He claimed Israel would carry ‘a massacre against all nations of the region’ if it could. ‘Therefore, we should support and stand by each other more than before.’” Read more.
Iranian Defense Minister – ‘Iran’s warriors are ready and willing to wipe Israel off the map’ – “As speculations over a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities grow, the Islamic Republic is exacerbating its rhetoric. Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Friday warned Israel against mounting such an attack: ‘Any act by the Zionist regime against Iran will bring about its destruction.’ Hezbollah, he added, ‘Is at the forefront of the fight against Israel and it is growing stronger by the day.’ Speaking at a ceremony honoring past Hezbollah commanders, Vahidi said that “Israel is weaker than it has ever been and its army is tired and humiliated …” Read more.
Tokyo Radiation Level 25x the Fukushima Mandatory Evacuation Zone, Some as High as Chernobyl, Ocean 1000x Higher 400 Miles Away
By Bob Nichols – “(San Francisco) Widely known Physicist Dr Paolo Scampa, the publisher of the EU AIPRI Blog and an eminent chemical physicist, announced today his latest calculations of deadly radioactivity in Tokyo itself. Both the nuclear regulatory and media responses have been missing in action.
The Tokyo suburbs are about 100 miles or 160 km South of the six destroyed, deteriorating and badly leaking nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Station for Nuclear Reactors.
Dr Scampa stated:
“An absorbed dose of 2,94 microSievert/hour at 1 meter of soil means an average deposit of 9,065E5 Bq/m2 of Cs137 -0,661 MeV-. This amount for 1 meter is in fact situated between a maximum deposit of 5,439E6 Bq/m2 for low energy gamma rays from radioactive elements such as U238 (0,0495 MeV) and a minimum deposit of 2,176E5 Bq/m2 of very energetic gamma rays from radioactive elements such as Co60 (2,55 MeV). This dose corresponds to 25 times the maximum permissible “artificial” hour dose (0,114 microSievert/h-1) and 5 times the maximum permissible total – natural and artificial – hour dose (0,571 microSievert/h-1). ” Dr. Scampa. [End Quote]
This is a tragedy of huge proportions. There are 30 Plus Million People in Greater Tokyo. It is brought home personally to each person who sees the work of Fukushima Diary by Mochizuki.” Read more.
Some parts of Tokyo now contaminated as the worst area of Chernobyl – “The contamination level of Mizumoto Park turned out to be the same level of ‘off-limits zone’ in Chernobyl. The contamination level of the park was 23,300 Bq/Kg. According to Nuclear Safety Commission, it is converted to be 1.4 ~1.5 million Bq/m2. In Chernobyl, if the area is more contaminated than 1.48 million Bq/m2, it was labelled as off-limits zone, which was the worst level of the pollution. Because cesium doesn’t choose Mizumoto park intentionally, at least some parts are contaminated as the worst area of Chernobyl.” Read more.
Fukushima radiation detected 400 miles away in Pacific Ocean at levels 1,000 times higher than previous readings – “The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is far from over, as new reports explains that water samples taken nearly 400 miles off the coast of Japan in the Pacific Ocean are showing radiation levels of up to 1,000 times higher than previous readings. Presenting their findings at the recent Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Ut., scientists continued to claim these severely elevated radiation levels are not a significant health or environmental threat.” Read more.
By ALEX MARGOLIN – “We’ve all seen outrageous reports about Israel from Arab sources. Reading the Arab press, you might be forgiven for assuming that when Israel isn’t sending Mossad sharks into Arab waters, it’s busy plotting ways to sow disease in Arab society.
But what happens when an Arab writer defends Israel, or suggests that the Arab world may have something to learn from the Jewish state? Well, Lee Habeeb, a writer of Lebanese origin, found out the hard way.
First came the letters to the editor, then the personal insults. It was as if I’d broken a secret code I didn’t know existed. Some secret blood oath, which goes something like this: Arabs don’t speak unkindly of Arabs in public, or kindly about Israel.
After pondering the backlash he experienced and looking at the effect this Arab groupthink has on the wider culture, Habeeb came to some very important conclusions.
It is all about Arab self-doubt. It is all tied to a profound lack of cultural self-confidence, and a deep-seated fear that maybe, just maybe, Arabs won’t be very good at the self-governance thing. That Arab nations won’t be capable of building democratic cultures that engender the flourishing of human freedom, and that these nations won’t have the ability to tap the God-given talents of their people the way Americans and Israelis do.
That maybe, just maybe, the Arab world will never measure up to America or Israel.
No wonder the Arab world is happy enough to vilify Israel at every turn. It’s much easier to scapegoat a regional minority than to deal, head on, with one’s own inadequacy.” Source – Honest Reporting.
If a marriage of convenience means that Iran can still use Al Qaeda against arch-enemy Israel, they may overlook a bit of trouble in paradise …
By LARA JAKES – BAGHDAD (AP) — A spokesman for al-Qaida in Iraq said Friday that a Sunni Muslim war against Shiites in Iraq is inevitable and threatened relentless waves of attacks like the one a day earlier that killed at least 55 people.
The statement by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, spokesman for the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq, tap into fears in Iraq and abroad about the country’s future stability and the government’s ability to protect its citizens following the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops in December.
Despite deadly assaults against the Shiite-led government’s security forces and Shiite pilgrims, there has been no indication that Iraq is returning to the sectarian bloodshed of 2006 and 2007 that pushed the nation to the brink of civil war. But Iraqis are increasingly frustrated with the government’s failure to prevent attacks that continue to kill scores of Iraqis every month.
In the latest attack, a series of bombings and shootings across the country on Thursday killed 55 and wounded more than 225. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In a 33-minute audio statement posted on an extremist website, al-Adnani warned of an impending ‘stage of real confrontation and war against the despicable (Shiites).’
‘The war of the Sunnis with the (Shiites) is a religious war, a holy war of faith,’ he said, according to a translation of the remarks provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks Islamist extremist messages. ‘There is no way out of it and there is no swerving from it.’” Read more.
A Match Made In Allah’s Valhalla: Sunni Al Qaeda’s Big Fat Shiite Iranian Wedding – “Last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda as a ‘longstanding … marriage.’ But you had to listen carefully to hear him say that. ‘Iran has harbored al Qaeda leaders, facilitators,’ Clapper told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. They have been ‘under house arrest conditions. [Iran’s rulers] have had this sort of standoff arrangement with al Qaeda, allowing [al-Qaeda] to exist [inside Iran], but not to foment any operations directly from Iran, because they’re very sensitive about, ‘Hey, we might come after them there as well.’… So there has been this longstanding, as I say, kind of, shotgun marriage, or marriage of convenience. I think, probably, the Iranians may think that they might use, perhaps, al Qaeda in the future as a surrogate or proxy.’” Read more.
By AHMED SAKA – “JOS, Nigeria (AP) — A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives outside a major church Sunday, killing three people and wounding 38 others in a restive central Nigerian city that has seen hundreds die in religious and ethnic violence.
The explosion struck the main headquarters of the Church of Christ in Nigeria during its early morning service, Plateau state spokesman Pam Ayuba said. The attack killed a woman, and a father and his child near the explosion, Ayuba said.
The bomber apparently ran down the woman while racing his car toward the church compound, said Mark Lipdo, a coordinator for a Christian group called the Stefanos Foundation. The blast left shattered glass all over the church compound, as an angry crowd of youths began smashing the windows of cars passing by the scene, witnesses said.
Emergency officials took 38 people to hospitals for treatment, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman with Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.
In a statement, President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack.
‘Those who seek to divide us by fear and terror will not succeed,’ the statement read. ‘The indiscriminate bombing of Christians and Muslims is a threat to all peace-loving Nigerians.’
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has launched increasingly bloody attacks across Nigeria, including attacks on churches. A Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic church that left at least 44 dead was claimed by the sect in Madalla, a town just outside the country’s capital of Abuja.
The group also claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on Christmas Eve that struck Jos, killing as many as 80 people.” Read more.