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Author Topic: Matthew 24:6 War, and rumor of war.  (Read 17576 times)
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« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2006, 07:46:28 PM »

 Expert says Iran determined to become major regional power
Tehran, Aug 1, IRNA

Iran-Aqamohammadi
An Iranian economist said on Tuesday that Iran intends to upgrade its standing to the level of top regional state.

"Fundamental measures have been adopted in that connection and eventual steps are going to be taken," said Ali Aqamohammadi in an interview with IRNA.

Aqamohammadi pointed out that the West has in its classification has acknowledged Iran as a regional power.

He said Iran is among the seven or eight important states in the world having an influential role in major regional decisions.

To reach a favorable status, Iran should be stable enough in the scientific and economic terms, he added.

"To be the number one state in the region, Iran should attain an economic growth rate of at least eight percent, which requires an investment growth rate of at least 12.1 percent. That also depends on more than 15 or 16 percent growth in saving, which is a very high figure."

Expert says Iran determined to become major regional power
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« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2006, 08:43:17 PM »

Philippine jets bomb Muslim rebels in hill hideout

HUNDREDS of Philippine troops clashed with Muslim rebels yesterday after bombing their mountain hideout in the south of the country.

General Gabriel Habacon said helicopter gunships and ground assault planes fired rockets and dropped bombs on the base.

Philippine jets bomb Muslim rebels in hill hideout
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« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2006, 09:28:51 PM »

 Despite War, IDF Distributing Demolition Orders to Outpost
23:12 Aug 01, '06 / 7 Av 5766
by Ezra HaLevi

Though many assumed that the destruction of communities in Judea and Samaria had been postponed, if not canceled, due to the war, the IDF is distributing demolition orders to hilltop communities.



The administrative orders pave the way for the destruction of 15 permanent homes in the hilltop community of Givat Ronen (also known as Skali's Farm), near the town of Har Bracha, in Samaria.

“We are outraged that even during wartime, the IDF is forgetting its true duties and continues to view the settlers as the nation's enemies,” Har Bracha's secretariat said.

Since the start of the war, the issue of the outposts has been mentioned repeatedly – as the homes or passion of three of the soldiers wounded and fallen in Bint Jbeil Lebanon last week.

Major Ro'i Klein, the Golani Brigade commander who saved the lives of his men by jumping on a live grenade in Bint Jbeil last week, lived in the hilltop community of Givat HaYovel, near Eli – in the Binyamin region. IDF officers, slated to destroy his home in the coming months, instead arrived in Givat HaYovel to inform his widow Sara and their two children, of his heroic actions and death on behalf of his country.

The list of communities slated for destruction by the government is based on an understanding reached with the U.S. Government whereby communities founded after the arbitrary date of Ariel Sharon's election as prime minister are considered “unauthorized outposts” rather than nascent towns.

Another Golani Brigade commander, Yisrael Friedler, was shot in the arm during the same battle at Bint Jbeil, while overseeing the rescue of his fellow soldiers under heavy Hizbullah fire. Friedler, who oversaw door-to-door operations in Gaza's Beit Hanoun just weeks earlier, lives in the Gush Etzion hilltop community of Sde Boaz - an ecological community of both religious and secular Jews.

A home built by Sde Boaz residents was destroyed by the IDF in January. Friedler's wife was pushed, his horse's stable demolished and his brother-in-law arrested during the clashes as security forces used tear gas and pepper spray against residents and local supporters who flocked to the site.

Another soldier who fell in Bint Jbeil, Golani platoon commander Lt. Amichai Merhavia, appears in pictures from October, 2002, being beaten unconscious by Yassam riot police attempting to destroy the privately-owned hilltop community of Havat Gilad (Gilad's Farm). The sequence of photos can viewed by clicking here (photos by Miriam Tzachi).

Prior to the Disengagement, Merhavia wrote a letter to the Chief of Staff, objecting to the manner in which the Gaza withdrawal was being orchestrated. Halutz sought to dismiss him from his position permanently as a result, but he eventually returned to his unit, where he was even promoted, just weeks prior to his final battle.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week told former residents of Gush Katif that he is determined to carry out his planned withdrawal from areas behind the Partition Wall in Judea and Samaria, regardless of the current war and the IDF's forced re-entry to Gaza.

Despite War, IDF Distributing Demolition Orders to Outpost
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« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2006, 10:04:33 PM »

Peres Says Mistakes Made In War; Iran Must Be Checked
Author:    Esther Pan

July 31, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations

Shimon PeresNOTE: This is a news brief of a July 31, 2006 meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations. Full transcript will be available shortly on www.CFR.org.

NEW YORK—Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Monday the conflict pitting Israel against Hamas and Hezbollah is an “unprecedented war” with no clear end.

Peres told the Council on Foreign Relations that Israel is not fighting a defined conflict against the established military of a state, but a struggle against an amorphous group of terrorists that could drag on for years. “Clearly, it won’t be the sort of victory we’re used to having with armies,” Peres said. “You can’t beat terrorism with military strength or maneuvers.”

Peres dismissed international criticism of Israeli actions like the July 30 bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana, which killed nearly sixty civilians, more than half of them children. He said Hezbollah was using civilians as human shields by hiding its missile caches under their homes or schools. “The Lebanese people know they are not suffering because of Israel, but because of Hezbollah,” he said. He also denied that Israel’s actions are driving previously moderate Muslims into the Hezbollah camp. “How do you radicalize radical people?” he asked.

“In wars, there are mistakes, unfortunately,” Peres said. “The biggest mistake is the war itself.”

Defining victory

A tactical victory fromIsrael’s perspective, Peres said, would mean that Hezbollah cannot endanger Israeli lives from southern Lebanon; the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped July 12 are returned; control is established over Hezbollah’s arsenal of some 12,000 rockets; and a serious attempt is made to disarm the group.

Peres said it would be catastrophic for the region if Iran succeeded in using Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah to extend its influence and establish Shiite hegemony. “It would be going back to the Dark Ages. The [countries in the region] would lose modernity, freedom, and change.”

The regional perspective

Peres said the international community’s longer-term goals in the region must include stabilizing Lebanon and drawing it away from Iran’s influence. “Hezbollah wants a Lebanon with an Iranian orientation,” Peres said. “The Lebanese must decide if they will control their own destiny, or will be swallowed up by a larger threat.” If that happened, he said, “Lebanon would be a tragedy of Iranian ambition.”

Peres spoke at length about the threat posed by a rising Iran, saying the country’s influence derives not from economic or military strength, but its plans for a nuclear weapon, which it pursues because the global community allows it. “As long as the world remains divided, Iran will run wild,” he said. He said Iran is using Hezbollah and the fight in Lebanon to “divert attention from their nuclear bomb, which is still their first priority.” Despite Iran’s growing threat, Israel will not preemptively attack Tehran, he said; it will only respond if attacked. 

Peres said Iran, taking advantage of a weakened Syria, is working with Hamas—which he called a “state-in-the-making”—and Hezbollah—a “state-within-a-state”—to assert Iranian influence in the region. Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf states—which have reason to fear the advent of a “Shiite crescent”—initially criticized the July 12 Hezbollah raid and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers that started the latest conflict. However, Israel’s attacks onLebanonhave caused Arab states to line up against Israel.

Syria is running a “double-standard policy,” Peres said, by harboring Hamas leader Khalid Meshal in Damascus and shuttling Iranian arms and funds to Hezbollah in Lebanon. “Assad Sr. [former Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad, who died in 2000] never allowed Hezbollah to run the affairs of Lebanon,” Peres said, “but Assad Jr. [current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] is a friend of [Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah.” Peres called Bashar al-Assad “the son of a wise man” who had not learned enough from his father. 

Peres said Israel, and what he called the “responsible countries of the world,” would eventually prevail in the current crisis, because groups like Hamas and Hezbollah are “shooting without reason or purpose, but [only] to destroyIsraeland bring down our spirit.” He said the militant Islamic groups have no message for their people and cannot meet their needs for employment, education, or a stable, responsible, transparent government. The current violence could even create an opportunity for change in the region. “I think this is a chance to reinvent the Middle East,” he said.

Israelis united

Peres said that, even as much of the Arab world throws its support behind Hamas and Hezbollah, Israelis are uniting behind their government. “I went through all the wars and all the peace,” Peres said, “and Israelis have never been as united as they are now.” He said Israelis feel that they were clearly attacked and that they did not choose the war, but are fighting to protect themselves from persistent, deadly rocket fire from Hamas and Hezbollah fighters. Peres denied that Israel has territorial ambitions in Lebanon. “What we want to be is a nation that lives in peace with our neighbors,” he said.

Peres Says Mistakes Made In War; Iran Must Be Checked
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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2006, 10:10:11 PM »

Blair says Syria, Iran risk confrontation

By Adrian Croft
Reuters
Tuesday, August 1, 2006; 6:43 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Syria and Iran on Tuesday that they risked a confrontation if they continued to support terrorism and export instability to Iraq and elsewhere.

In a speech urging a rethink of the West's strategy to defeat extremism in the Middle East, Blair accused Iran and Syria of helping extreme factions in Iraq and backing militant groups in Lebanon and Palestine.

Blair said the international community should tell Syria and Iran that they should either play by the same rules as the rest of the world "or be confronted."

"Their support of terrorism, their deliberate export of instability, their desire to see wrecked the democratic prospect in Iraq, is utterly unjustifiable, dangerous and wrong.

"If they keep raising the stakes, they will find they have miscalculated," Blair said in a speech to the World Affairs Council, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles.

Blair, who has been heavily criticized at home for siding with the United States over the war between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, was asked after his speech whether NATO should take the lead in providing a multinational force in Lebanon.

Blair said it was too early to be clear what was most helpful for the situation, adding that whatever force was deployed should be capable of ensuring that the Lebanese people "vote in a democracy without outside interference from Syria or anyone else and without inside interference from armed militias."

BATTLE OF VALUES

Blair said the West must win the battle of democratic values if it is to defeat global extremism. It also needed to work relentlessly "week in, week out" to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Unless we reappraise our strategy, unless we revitalize the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and ... bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win," he said.

"And this is a battle we must win."

Blair said the war in the Middle East was in part a fight between "reactionary Islam and moderate mainstream Islam" and that Western intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan had turned into "existential battles for reactionary Islam."

"We posed a threat not to their activities simply: but to their values, to the roots of their existence."

His speech came as three British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and one was killed in Basra in southern Iraq.

Blair said Al Qaeda, Syria and Iran felt threatened by the prospect of Afghanistan and Iraq becoming "tolerant democracies."

"So in Iraq, Syria allowed al Qaeda operatives to cross the border. Iran has supported extremist Shia there. The purpose of the terrorism in Iraq is absolutely simple: carnage, causing sectarian hatred, leading to civil war," he said.

Hizbollah was armed by Iran, which was also financing militant elements in Palestinian group Hamas, he said.

Syria supported Hizbollah and housed hard-line leaders of Hamas, he said.

Blair was wrapping up a five-day visit to the United States during which he held talks with President George W. Bush in Washington over the Middle East crisis.

Blair says Syria, Iran risk confrontation
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« Reply #35 on: August 01, 2006, 10:54:29 PM »

Japan to Bolster Military for Peacekeeping, Defense Against North Korea and China

Tuesday , August 01, 2006

TOKYO — Japan's military is undergoing a major transformation to give it more government clout and a bigger role in international peacekeeping while aligning it more closely with U.S. forces, a government report said Tuesday.

The annual report by Japan's Defense Agency also stressed that Tokyo is under increasing pressure to defend itself from possible attack by North Korean ballistic missiles, and — while careful not to call China a threat — urged Beijing to provide more information of its military expenditures to ease tensions in the region.

This year's report devotes a full chapter to the realignment of the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan and efforts to meld the Japanese and U.S. forces into a more effective, more closely coordinated force.

The realignment, the result of years of negotiations, involves a streamlining of the U.S. military in Japan — including the transfer of some 8,000 U.S. Marines off the southern island of Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam. It also entails closer coordination on intelligence-gathering and in ballistic missile defense, a major concern for Japan.

The report repeatedly cites North Korea's development of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons as a destabilizing factor in the region, and strongly condemned its test-firing of seven missiles into the Sea of Japan on July 4. It also criticized Pyongyang for pouring money into military expenditures "while it is suffering severe economic difficulties and must rely on international aid for food."

"These activities of North Korea escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula and are a serious source of concern not only for our nation but for all of east Asia," the report said.

The 429-page report also expressed concern over the strengthening of China's military, stating that its navy has become especially active. Relations between Japan and China have been tense in recent months in part because of a dispute over potential energy reserves in waters claimed by both nations.

"We are in a region which, unlike Europe after the Cold War, still has territorial disputes and unification issues," the report said. "Using their economic growth, many countries are boosting their military spending and modernizing their armed forces."

While Japan is not significantly increasing expenditures, it is overhauling its military in other ways.

Japan's Cabinet last month endorsed a bill to upgrade the Defense Agency to a full-fledged ministry, reflecting the growing role of the country's military at home and abroad. The upgrade would bolster the agency's status within the government and put it in a better position to negotiate for more funds when the national budget is being divvied up.

Japan currently spends about 4.8 trillion yen (US$43 billion; euro33.68 billion) on defense each year, putting it behind the United States, Russia, China and Britain. It has a standing army of about 150,000, and its air force and navy are among the most powerful in Asia.

Since Japan's crushing defeat in 1945, the military has been tightly constrained by the postwar pacifist constitution, which renounces the country's right to use force to settle international disputes and limits its troops to a strictly defensive role.

With the backing of Washington, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has spearheaded efforts to "normalize" Japan's so-called "Self-Defense Forces" by bringing them out from under the shadow of the country's militarist past and expand their role in international humanitarian operations.

Last week, he presided over a ceremony marking the return of Japan's troops from a 2 1/2-year non-combat mission rebuilding the infrastructure in southern Iraq, the most dangerous deployment of Japanese troops since World War II. Tokyo also announced this week that it would continue to provide logistical support for anti-terror operations in Afghanistan.

Japan to Bolster Military for Peacekeeping, Defense Against North Korea and China
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« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2006, 02:30:43 AM »

Tehran teeters on the path to war
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

The United Nations Security Council's new resolution on Iran gives Tehran until the end of August to suspend all uranium-enrichment-related activities or face the prospect of international sanctions, an ultimatum instantly denounced by Iran as illegal and unjustified. This means that Iran now faces a double crisis, given Israel's military onslaught against its strategic ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Thus, contrary to what has become an article of faith in the Western media, about Iran somehow gaining influence due to the war in Lebanon, the exact opposite may be in the works, particularly if Israel's latest claim of destroying most of Hezbollah's rockets turns out to be true.

For the moment, the fog of war disallows anything more than a  provisional conclusion with respect to how this war impacts Iran, its external relations and nets of alliances in the region and beyond.

The uncertainties of war, ie, whether or not it will culminate in a quagmire or decisive Israeli victory subsequently bolstered by an international buffer force that would prevent Hezbollah's future role as a deterrent shield for Iran in the event of a foreign attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, give rise to different scenarios, each of which contains a certain plus and minus for Iran.

One scenario, hoped for by Iran, is that a ceasefire will be put in place whereby Hezbollah can claim victory, after having withstood the ferocious bombardments and the ground attacks (which it has defended against rather admirably so far).

But given Israel's unwillingness to halt the war even for 48 hours, after the massacre of civilians in Qana giving rise to the United States' premature statement that Israel had consented to the temporary halt, clearly shows Israel's determination to prevent even a tiny yet tangible step toward this scenario. It is pushing instead for a clear and unambiguous victory aimed at Hezbollah's military disintegration.

While most likely Israel will not get its ultimate wish granted, and will ultimately have to settle with a much-diminished Hezbollah at the end of the military campaign, nonetheless its current efforts are dealing a huge blow to an important edifice of Iran's deterrent strategy.

Only by resorting to an inverse logic can we possibly consider as a gain what is clearly a net loss for Iran, seeing how Iran will be prevented in the future from counting on Hezbollah to strike back at Israel in the aftermath of a showdown with either Israel or the United States.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that there are strong voices of concern within Iran's ruling establishment, some claiming the war in Lebanon as a victory for Israel, with serious negative ramifications for Iran's "national security and even her territorial sovereignty", to quote Ali Montaseri, an Iranian penning in Baztab.com, a website closely linked to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Another commentator, Seyed Salaman Safavi, has similarly written, "If Israel triumphs in this battle, not only the nuclear dossier, but also the territorial integrity of Iran will be jeopardized."
Increasingly, the military leaders of Iran, particularly in the Revolutionary Guard, can be heard warning of Iran's direct entanglement in the conflict. Led by the country's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, they have denounced the United States' call for Hezbollah's disarmament and any North Atlantic Treaty Organization role in Lebanon, calling instead for an immediate ceasefire, return of refugees and exchange of prisoners.

At the same time, Iran is not blind to the strategic setback caused by the asymmetrical war in Lebanon, vesting its hopes on Hezbollah's ability to deter the invading Israeli army or, at a minimum, to drag the enemy into a protracted guerrilla warfare reminiscent of the 1982-2000 campaign that culminated in Israel's departure - the "day of infamy" in Israel's history, per an editorial in the Jerusalem Post back then.

Meanwhile, the question of Syria, and the current US efforts to wrest Damascus away from Tehran, is also disquieting Tehran, dampened at the same time both by the United States' and Israel's inability to offer anything seriously tangible on the table to Syria; as well as by Syria's own security concerns reinforcing its alliance with Tehran.

Thus so many of Iran's moves and counter-moves are linked to developments in the Lebanese theater of conflict, and here fears and opportunities go hand-in-hand.

Whereas a stalemate or even quagmire may benefit Iran's position with respect to the nuclear crisis, the obverse possibility of Hezbollah's substantial weakening, not to mention the squeeze on Damascus, will translate into a more vulnerable Iran confronted with the distinct possibility that Phase 1 of a multi-stage conflict with the US and Israel has already started in Lebanon and Gaza.

On a related note, historian Immanuel Wallerstein has predicted that Israel's military gambit in Lebanon will prove to be a "catastrophic blunder" paralleling the United States' predicament in Iraq. This is a distinct possibility, if the net of Israel's ground invasion expands, as it has almost on a daily basis, one that Iran is banking on to happen. But the chances are reasonably high that Israel, learning from the past, will ultimately frustrate Tehran's hopes by making it a limited war followed by an international buffer that would tie the hands of whatever fighting was left in Hezbollah.

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« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2006, 02:32:46 AM »


What is to be done?
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki made a last-ditch attempt to forestall the Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear program by threatening that the international package of incentives currently under consideration would no longer be considered if the said resolution were adopted.

Faced with the grim prospect of UN sanctions in the months ahead, Iran is now grappling with one of the most important decisions of its post-revolutionary government.

The package contains several "positive aspects", per the admission of Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Larijani, and Iran may blame itself in the future if things turn for the worse and the opportunity to seize on the package of incentives, such as the offer of nuclear assistance, entry to the World Trade Organization, and the like, is lost. Certainly, Iran's economy would benefit enormously if the incentives were fully implemented.

But where will the road lead if Iran rejects the proposal and the UN's ultimatum? Most likely to a new round of Iran's global isolation, something dreaded by nearly all of its top politicians. Can it be avoided? Can Iran somehow come up with a middle answer that would reflect a new flexible response? In terms of this it would agree to a "voluntary and non-legally binding" suspension of its sensitive nuclear activities short of appeasing the other side entirely.

And if so, what would this middle path look like and, more important, would it be enough?

As the debate rages on inside Iran, which had until now leaned more and more in favor of rejecting the US-led demand to give up its budding nuclear fuel cycle, the discussions have now focused on national-security interests and concerns, in light of the conflict in Lebanon.

In fact, privately some Iranian politicians consider a near-future attack on Iran all but a foregone conclusion, and are trying to determine what the appropriate (preemptive) response should be.

Their growing security anxiety is partly fed by the realization that the Western governments and media have succeeded to some extent in pinning the conflict in Lebanon on Iran, by accusing it of masterminding Hezbollah's "reckless adventure" of July 11, when its fighters crossed the blue line and attacked an Israeli patrol.

Yet given the lethal weight of Israel's massive and disproportionate response, Iran cannot afford to risk its national interests by following a hardline policy that would pave the way to the nightmare military-confrontation scenario.

The voices of moderation are currently heard in tandem with the hawkish voices, calling for Iran's exit from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and direct military involvement against Israel in the region, and it is too soon to tell which voices will prevail.

What is certain, however, is that there is no magic solution to the double crisis, and every scenario has pros and cons, which are hard to pre-calculate in the midst of a regional conflict clearly not yet even half over.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I won't post the link, because it is pop-up hell.  Thats with even a pop-up blocker on. Undecided
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« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2006, 03:42:57 AM »

Sri Lanka rebel says war back on
Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:18 AM BST177
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By Simon Gardner

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's two-decade civil war is back on, a top Tamil Tiger said, as seven soldiers and three rebels were killed on Monday in the first army advance on rebel-held territory since a 2002 cease-fire.

S. Elilan, head of the Tigers' political wing in the restive eastern district of Trincomalee, said army troops had resumed a bid to advance towards land they control in the east and had fired artillery and mortars at their territory in the north.

"The cease-fire agreement has become null and void at the moment," Elilan told Reuters by telephone from Trincomalee, adding government troops were continuing an advance towards their forward defence line in the east in a water supply dispute.

"The war is on and we are ready," added Elilan. "The war has begun. It is the government which has started the war ... Militarily, we have decided to fight back if the Sri Lankan army enters our area."

Elilan is not the Tigers' main spokesman, but he is one of their top officials and their political head in Trincomalee. He has repeatedly warned of a return to war.

The Tigers dismissed army reports that dozens of their fighters were killed, saying three had died in a multi-barrel rocket attack. The military said seven soldiers were killed and several injured during a ground battle in the east.

"Fighting is going on," said army spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinge. "Troops are consolidating the area. We have air strikes, artillery and mortar fire."

The Colombo stock market closed 1.37 percent lower in afternoon trade in the wake of the Tiger statement and fresh violence, analysts said.

The rebels, angry at President Mahinda Rajapakse's outright rejection of their demand for a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils in the north and east, have pulled out of peace talks indefinitely and have been cranking up the rhetoric for months.

"CONFRONTATION HAS BEGUN"

The army advance through minefields and booby traps is aimed at reaching a sluice they accuse the Tigers of blocking to choke water supplies to Sinhalese farmers in government territory.

The government says troops are trying to clear mines in their first open advance on rebel-held areas since the 2002 cease-fire, and face intermittent firefights. They say they have purely humanitarian goals but the Tigers have simply gone too far.

"Under international law, denial of water is a crime and people have gone to the gallows for less," said head of the government peace secretariat Palitha Kohona. "The government says categorically that it is totally committed to the cease-fire. But the most important thing is to provide water for 50,000 people."

The head of the island's Nordic truce monitoring mission, Ulf Henricsson, a retired Swedish Major General, said on Saturday the truce was dead in all but name after 800 people were killed in violence this year.

But he said he expected low intensity fighting rather than a full-blown return to a conflict that has killed more than 65,000 people.

Jane's Defence Weekly analyst Iqbal Athas fears the clashes could soon spread elsewhere across the island.

"I think right now they're at war," Athas said. "If you look at the (army) operation that has started now, it is becoming clear that the confrontation has begun."

Sri Lanka rebel says war back on
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I call right now for Kofi Annan and his body of UN puppets to call for an IMMEDIATE cease-fire from the innocent party of this war. NOW!
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« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2006, 09:04:56 AM »

Iranian President: Solution to Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel
By The Associated Press

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel, Iranian state media reported.

In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate cease-fire to end the fighting between Israel and the Iranian-back group Hezbollah. "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," Ahmadinejad said, according to state-run television in a report posted on its Web site.

The Islamic world's biggest bloc on Thursday demanded that the United Nations implement an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon and investigate what it called flagrant human rights violations by Israel.

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Leaders of key countries in the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, including Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey, voiced strong support for the Lebanese people "in their legitimate and courageous resistance against the Israeli aggression."

"We demand that the United Nations Security Council fulfill its responsibility ... by deciding on and enforcing an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire," the OIC said at an emergency summit. The declaration also called for a UN investigation into Israel's acts.

"We hold Israel responsible for the loss of lives and suffering ... and demand that Israel compensate (Lebanon) and its people for the losses sustained resulting from Israeli aggression," the leaders said.

Malaysia, which chairs the OIC, rallied presidents, prime ministers and policy-makers of 17 Muslim-majority nations for one-day talks to articulate their opposition to Israel's attacks in Lebanese and Palestinian territories.

"This war must stop, or it will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today," said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who leads the world's most populous Muslim country.

"From there, it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations," he added.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called for a UN-backed force to stabilize the Israeli-Lebanon border.

Muslims "must show preparedness to contribute forces for peacekeeping operations under the United Nations banner," Abdullah told the conference.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said hostilities must be halted "before the spiraling violence engulfs the entire region and kills the hope for a durable and just peace in the Middle East."

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said his country's "sole request is a comprehensive cease-fire."

Other top figures assembled included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, as well as leaders of Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei and Turkey. Foreign ministers and senior officials represented Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

About 100 Malaysian Muslim activists chanted anti-Israeli slogans outside the summit venue.

Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas controlling southern Lebanon have been locked in fierce fighting for three weeks, resulting in hundreds of Lebanese civilian casualties.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, addressing the conference in a video statement, said Israel's offensive "is taking an enormous toll on human life and infrastructure, and has totally ravaged our country and shattered our economy."

"Over 900 (have been) killed and 3,000 injured so far, one third of the casualties are children under 12," he said.

Iranian President: Solution to Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel
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« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2006, 11:38:08 PM »

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Death to Israel"

Following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 2, 2006.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: I hereby declare that this sinister regime [Israel] is the banner of Satan. It is the banner of the Great Satan. All it does is to implement the orders of the criminal America and England. They think that the peoples are the same as they were 100 years ago. They are not aware that things have changed in the world. Today, all the peoples have awoken. The Iranian people is the standard-bearer of this awakening for all the peoples. As we can see, from the southernmost point in South America to the easternmost point in Asia, all the people are shouting a single cry. With placards in their hands and clenched fists, they shout: Death to Israel.

Crowd: Death to Israel.

Death to Israel.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Death to Israel"
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« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2006, 11:41:09 PM »

It looks like the media is repeating themselves. There must not be any new news to report.

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« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2006, 08:55:19 AM »

China has deployed missiles giving it second-strike capability against U.S.

The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Beijing has developed and deployed a series of missiles that would give China second-strike nuclear capability in any confrontation with the United States. The determination of a sea-based deterrent is said to have significantly increased Beijing's threat to the United States.
 
"It is clear to me that China is now embarking on a significant investment in a second-strike capability to ensure the survival and, thus, viability of  its nuclear forces," said Richard Fisher, a researcher at the International Assessment and Strategy Center and a leading U.S. expert on China.
 
In a presentation to the American Enterprise Institute on July 11, Mr. Fisher said China has launched or tested a series of nuclear missiles and platforms.
 
He said the first Type 94 submarine ballistic nuclear missile has been equipped and launched.
 
The Type 94, which began construction in 1999, is designed to contain the JL-2 submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Each submarine is meant to contain 16 JL-2s, or DF-31s, with a range of 8,000 kilometers, which would allow Chinese submarines to target portions of the United States from areas near the Chinese coast.
 
The disclosure of the completion of the Type 94 submarine appeared to mark a significant acceleration in China's nuclear submarine program. As late as May 2004, the Pentagon asserted that the new Chinese missile submarine would not be operational until around 2010.
 
"The JL-2 SLBM has undergone a series of tests," Mr. Fisher said. "The potential for this to be armed with multiple warheads is there."
 
U.S. intelligence sources agree with Mr. Fisher's assessment. They said Beijing has made the production of nuclear warheads and launchers a priority, with emphasis on mobility and decoys.
 
The Pentagon has determined that China plans to deploy the DF-31A, an extended-range variant of the mobile long-range DF-31, in 2007. The sources said the new three-stage, solid-fuel, mobile missile, with a range of 12,000 kilometers, could carry up to three payloads that would separate and overcome existing U.S. missile defenses.
 
"For China, nuclear weapons largely have four purposes: one, strategic deterrence; two, retaliation; three, counter-coercion; and four, great-power status," Rand Corp. senior analyst Evan Medeiros said.
 
Another Chinese missile, the DF-5 Mod 2, with a range of 13,000 kilometers, is said to have completed deployment in 2005. The sources said China has developed the two-stage, liquid-fuel missile to carry between five and 10 warheads.
 
Beijing has also sought to overcome the vulnerability of its fleet by building a huge naval base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The sources said the base would contain an underground facility to shelter platforms, such as nuclear submarines, against any potential U.S. attack.
 
Intelligence sources said Beijing has been developing an anti-ship ballistic missile. They said the weapon could be a sea-based version of the DF-11 Mod 1 land-based missile.
 
"One could easily imagine that there is a plan to drop, in a surprise manner, 10 to 12 warheads on either side of the continental United States in conjunction with a build-up to rescue Taiwan from whatever kind of attack China seems to be contemplating," Mr. Fisher said. "I can easily imagine, I do not know, President Hillary Clinton sitting in the White House wondering, 'Gee, we could not do anything to stop those 12 warheads that did not explode but landed off of all our major cities on both coasts.' And do we really want to be sending our single carrier that might be deployed with the Seventh Fleet into this maelstrom? That is the kind of coercion potential 
that is out there."
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« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2006, 02:04:22 PM »

Indonesian jihadis set deadline
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent
August 07, 2006
INDONESIAN protests against the Israeli offensive in Lebanon grew at the weekend, with one of the main organisers, Muslim political agitator Suaib Didu, declaring a deadline of Tuesday for hostilities to cease "or I will no longer bear responsibilities for the jihad activities that follow".

Mr Didu travelled to the northern city of Pontianak at the weekend to witness a passing-out parade for about 200 young men who say they are prepared to travel to Lebanon to fight against Israeli aggression.

The 40-year-old author of provocative books including one titled Radical Islam: Between Jihad and Terrorism, is a player in the Bulan Bintang (Moon and Star) political party, which is positioning itself to challenge President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in national elections in 2009.

The agenda of the party -- along with a clutch of other political groups of fundamentalist Muslim leanings -- is for a more stridently Islamic-leaning state than the secular administration that Mr Yudhoyono has been at pains to maintain since he won office in 2004.

Mr Didu has previously claimed 217 jihad bombers had left Indonesia to travel to countries that support Israel -- including possibly Australia -- where they would attack Israeli infrastructure.

He repeated that claim after Saturday's ceremony, adding that if John Howard did not quickly condemn Israel's military actions against Hezbollah, "we have operatives in place who can assassinate him".

However, Mr Didu offered no convincing evidence his boast was any more than bravado designed to play to an increasingly restive domestic audience.

He insisted his followers "have no quarrel with Australia" and claimed unspecified third parties "just want to make us enemies".

He says the jihad bombers who have already been dispatched came to him seeking advice several weeks ago "and I told them not to launch attacks in Indonesia, because it has already suffered enough".

But he admitted he had urged the young men to choose foreign Israeli-aligned targets to bomb "because although there are many ways to practise jihad, including prayer, just praying is no longer enough".

He said several of the group had previous experience fighting in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban in 2001. The numbers involved in that expedition, organised by the Muslim Youth Organisation of which Mr Didu was a leader at the time, remain unclear.

However, it was unlikely to have been more than a few dozen, and the group has never claimed any significant military achievement.

Mr Didu admitted that some of the men on jihad might have had contacts with members of the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist network who fought in the Middle East in the late 1990s, but insisted his movement "does not practise terrorism".

Mr Didu's local deputy in Pontianak, one of Indonesia's northernmost major cities on the island of Borneo, said he had gathered the black-clad jihad fighters together on Saturday "because they are just angry kids, and my job is to channel that anger".

Tens of thousands of Indonesians have gathered in central Jakarta and other Indonesian cities in recent days to declare their opposition to what they see as US support for Israel's military action in Lebanon and Gaza.

They gathered again yesterday in their largest show of strength to date, demanding an end to the Israeli offensive and threatening widespread boycotts of US products.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda has admitted the Jakarta Government is "unable to stop people from going to Lebanon" to join the war, and there is a rising chorus of Indonesian Muslim groups signing up local volunteers for the struggle.

However, Vice-President Jusuf Kalla says most of the activity is "just talk -- and how can the Government stop people from talking?"

Indonesian jihadis set deadline
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« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2006, 06:33:42 PM »

Hizballah’s rocket offensive against Israel is orchestrated from a rear command located in the Syrian town of Anjar

August 7, 2006, 12:41 PM (GMT+02:00)

While Israeli officials keep on insisting that Syria must be kept out of the conflict, the fact is that the Assad regime is already in it up to their ears – with a leading role in the Hizballah rocket attacks on northern Israel.

The command which coordinates the pace of those attacks is located at the Anjar base of the Syrian Army’s 10th Division opposite the Lebanese town of Az Zabdani. It is manned by Iranian and Hizballah officers, who take their orders from a Syrian military intelligence center in Damascus to which Iranian Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers are attached. It is headed by a general from one of Syria’s surface missile brigades. This joint command is provided with the most up-to-date intelligence and electronic data available to Syria on targets in Israel and IDF movements. The timing and tempo of Hizballah rocket strikes are set according to that information.

To keep the rockets coming without interruption, the joint Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian command is also responsible with keeping Hizballah supplied with an inflow of rockets and launchers. They use smuggling rings to slip the supplies into Lebanon by mule and donkey which ply the 5,000-7,000 feet mountain paths that straddle the Syrian-Lebanese frontier.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2006, 06:35:34 PM by DreamWeaver » Logged

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