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Author Topic: Israel and Syria - Several news items that look towards Isaiah 17  (Read 27937 times)
Shammu
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« Reply #210 on: November 20, 2008, 09:46:13 PM »

Israeli PM 'attends Jordan talks'
2008/11/20

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak paid a secret visit to Jordan on Tuesday to discuss Gaza, officials have said.

During the meeting, King Abdullah reportedly asked the Israeli leaders to refrain from any large-scale military incursions into the coastal territory.

Mr Olmert is said to have declined to give a guarantee. Jordanian officials have so far not commented on the talks.

Recent cross-border violence has risked the five-month-old ceasefire in Gaza.

Earlier, the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, said one of its members had been killed in an explosion east of Gaza City.

The group said he had been on a "jihad mission" at the time. Correspondents say this suggests the blast was an accident.

Ease tensions

Mr Olmert's office has not commented on the report about Thursday's clandestine meeting in Jordan.

However, Israeli radio cited a senior Israeli official a saying that King Abdullah had told Mr Olmert and Mr Barak that Israel "cannot enjoy peace... unless the Palestinians obtain security and their own state".

"King Abdullah II asked Olmert to deal seriously with the Palestinians in the negotiations in order to achieve a two-state solution," he added.

Jordan is home to many Palestinians and correspondents say the king is keen to avoid a confrontation in Gaza that might also cause unrest in his country.

Renewed cross-border fighting broke out two weeks ago when the Israeli military launched in incursion into Gaza to destroy what it said was a tunnel intended to help abduct its soldiers.

Palestinian militants have responded by firing rockets across the border, triggering a tightening of the Israeli government's blockade.

Israeli PM 'attends Jordan talks'
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« Reply #211 on: November 21, 2008, 11:05:44 PM »

IAEA report strengthens fears Syria engaged in covert nuke program
22/11/2008

Syria's nuclear energy chief on Friday said a UN watchdog report on the alleged secret Syrian nuclear site bombed by Israel proved nothing and the investigation should be closed.

The Syrian official said Damascus would stick by a deal with UN inspectors that permitted only one visit to the Al-Kibar site - which took place last June - and "we will not allow another visit."

An International Atomic Energy Agency report issued on Wednesday said a Syrian complex destroyed in a 2007 Israeli air strike bore a number of characteristics resembling those of a nuclear reactor and UN inspectors had found a significant number of uranium traces in desert sands there.

The findings, based on satellite pictures and soil and water samples taken by UN investigators, were not enough to conclude a reactor was there but the findings were serious and warranted more investigation and Syrian transparency, the IAEA said.

Othman, speaking after a closed IAEA briefing to members of its 35-nation board of governors, repeated Syria's position that Israel's target was only a conventional military building.

"What they are now saying about uranium particles - collecting three particles from the desert is not enough to say there was a reactor there at all," Othman told reporters, speaking English in Syria's first public reaction to the report.

"Now, I think to follow up there should be a good reason to say there is something there. In our opinion this file should be closed," said Othman, head of Syria's atomic energy commission.

Syria has one declared atomic facility, an old research reactor.

The IAEA report said Syria had not heeded requests for documentation to back up denials of secret nuclear activity or repeated IAEA requests to visit three other military sites seen as harboring possible evidence linked to Al-Kibar.

"The report reinforces the assessment of my government that Syria was secretly building a nuclear reactor in its eastern desert and thereby violating its IAEA (non-proliferation) safeguards obligations," said Gregory Schulte, U.S. ambassador to the IAEA.

Pressed on whether Syria was slamming the door to further contact with the IAEA over the probe, Othman said, "No, no. If the information required belongs to the accusation, then we will supply it," suggesting there could be more discussions.

But he poured cold water on the prospect of intrusive inspections of more sites he said were military installations Syria could not afford to expose given its official state of war with Israel, which has an undeclared nuclear arsenal.

"If our authorities find it is possible to visit, it's not myself who will decide. But I'm pointing out these are military positions, buildings, activities, and remind you all we are still in a war in the Middle East," Othman said.

He said Syria would continue cooperation with the IAEA but according to its agreement with the agency, which provides for inspections only at declared atomic sites.

The United States said earlier on Friday the first independent monitoring report on the alleged Syrian nuclear site had hardened suspicions that Syria was building a covert reactor and would raise pressure on it to come clean.

"The report sharply contradicts a number of Syria's claims and catalogues Syria's repeated refusal to answer IAEA questions," Schulte said.

Syria, an ally of Iran whose disputed uranium enrichment program has been under IAEA investigation for years, says the site destroyed was a conventional military building and the uranium traces must have come from munitions used to bomb it.

Senior UN officials familiar with the report said the traces were not from depleted uranium, a hardening agent in some ordnance, putting the onus on Syria for an explanation.

"The IAEA needs to understand what Syria was building in secret then buried under meters of earth and a new building," Schulte said. "Syria is not Iran and we do not seek to make Syria into Iran. But this requires Syria to cooperate with the IAEA."

"We hope that it will not adopt the tactics of hindrance and unhelpfulness that Tehran has so finely honed and that remain so evident in the (IAEA's) latest report," he said.

A separate agency report on Wednesday said Iran was still stonewalling an IAEA probe into alleged atomic bomb research by Tehran. UN officials said a standoff had reigned since September with no communication between the sides.

Iran says it is enriching uranium solely to generate electricity. The West suspects a clandestine effort to develop the ability to fuel atomic bombs.

Schulte said members of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors would press Iran and Syria to cooperate at the body's end-of-year meeting on Nov. 27-28.

IAEA report strengthens fears Syria engaged in covert nuke program
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« Reply #212 on: November 22, 2008, 06:02:05 PM »

Syria all but rules out more UN nuclear inspection
By George Jahn, Associated Press Writer
Nov 21, 2:30 pm ET

VIENNA, Austria – A senior Syrian official on Friday all but ruled out new visits by U.N. inspectors probing allegations that his country had a covert program that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Syrian refusal to allow inspections could doom the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts to follow up U.S. assertions that a site bombed by Israel last year was a nearly finished reactor that could have produced plutonium.

Syria allowed the IAEA to visit the site near the desert town of Al Kibar in June but has since turned down requests for more inspections.

"We will not allow another visit," said Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria's atomic agency.

He said the IAEA had agreed with Syria that there would be only be one visit. The IAEA has said it agreed to make one initial visit, but has requested others.

The IAEA has said it suspects three other sites may have been nuclear-related and linked to the bombed location.

Othman described the three sites as (non-nuclear) "military bases" that could not be visited by outsiders, although higher Syrian authorities could decide otherwise.

An IAEA report this week heightened concerns about Al Kibar, saying that satellite imagery and other evidence showed it had the characteristics of a nuclear reactor. It also said that soil samples taken from the bombed site had a "significant number" of chemically processed natural uranium particles.

A senior U.N official, who demanded anonymity because the information was restricted, said the findings were unusual for a facility that Syria alleges had no nuclear purpose. But Othman dismissed the findings.

"Collecting three (uranium) particles from the desert doesn't mean there is a reactor there," he told reporters on the sidelines of an IAEA meeting on Syria and Iran.

Gregory L. Schulte, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, said the IAEA report reinforced suspicions "that Syria was secretly building a nuclear reactor." The U.S. has said it believes Syria was working on the reactor with North Korean help.

Iran, meanwhile, heaped scorn on U.S. allegations that Tehran's advances in uranium enrichment was moving it closer to nuclear arms capability, saying U.S. President George W. Bush was "dreaming" of any excuse to give Washington an excuse to provoke confrontation. The U.S. has not ruled out military action unless Iran stops enrichment and heeds other U.N. Security Council demands.

For years, Iran has been the focus of international concerns that it might seek to develop nuclear arms. It has been under IAEA investigation since 2002 — and U.N sanctions since 2006 — due to revelations of covert atomic activities, allegations that it had past plans to develop such weapons and its refusal to stop enrichment, which can produce both reactor fuel and fissile warhead material.

Schulte said Iran's defiance of the U.N Security Council ban on enrichment is "deeply troubling because it is only a small step from the low enriched uranium that Iran is now stockpiling to the highly enriched uranium that Iran would need to build a bomb."

Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, its chief IAEA delegate, dismissed Schulte's allegations.

"Bush many times was dreaming I am sure" that Tehran would kick out IAEA inspectors and break out of the Nonproliferation Treaty as an excuse for confrontation, said Soltanieh — adding that was something his country would not do.

Syria all but rules out more UN nuclear inspection
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« Reply #213 on: November 22, 2008, 06:04:00 PM »

Hizbullah holds exercises south of Litani

Al-Arabiya reports Shiite terror group conducted military maneuvers in southern Lebanon on Saturday despite UN Resolution 1701, which has determined region will be demilitarized

Roee Nahmias
Published:    11.22.08
Israel News

Hizbullah troops conducted a series of military maneuvers in southern Lebanon on Saturday, the al-Arabiya television network reported.

The exercises were carried out in defiance of UN Resolution 1701, which determined that the region south of the Litani River would be demilitarized.

The maneuvers were held in conjunction with a celebratory parade in Beirut by the Lebanese army to mark 65 years of Lebanese independence.

Hizbullah has not commented on the reports thus far.

Several months ago Israel’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations complained that Resolution 1701 was not being implemented, that Hizbullah has not disarmed and that the new policies set by the Lebanese government awards the group a dangerous legitimacy.

MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said on Saturday that the military maneuvers conducted by Hizbullah “show UN Resolution 1701, which Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was so proud of at the time, for what it really is.”

Steinitz said “today it has become apparent that the decisions and failures of (Prime Minister) Olmert and Livni only led to the strengthening of Hizbullah, and the increase of the rocket and terror threat against Israel.”

Current estimates put Hizbullah’s projectile stockpile at around 40,000 missiles and rockets on both sides of the Litani. The long-range missiles, which is only believed to be in the hundreds, has warheads
weighing hundreds of kilograms and a range of 250km – these are situated north of the Litani on land purchased by Hizbullah.

In southern Lebanon the organization has constructed a fortified underground system, from the safety of which Hizbullah is to combat Israel’s armor and infantry corps should they advance on the missiles north of the Litani.

Hizbullah holds exercises south of Litani
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« Reply #214 on: December 04, 2008, 10:09:35 PM »

Syria: Clinton nomination proves Obama wants Mideast peace

Syrian source tells Qatari al-Watan that Hillary Clinton's appointment to office of secretary of state will 'render US a power for positive change' in world; peace talks with Israel expected to flourish
Roee Nahmias

Syria commended US president elect Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office of secretary of state, and an official Syrian source told the Qatari al-Watan daily that the appointment highlights the new administration's commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East.

In the report published Wednesday, the source stressed the importance of Clinton's nomination to the resuscitation of the Israeli-Syrian peace talks, stressing that former US President Bill Clinton had invested a great deal of effort in the process.

The Syrian official also commended Hillary Clinton for her commitment to "render the US a power for positive change" in the world by cooperating with the international community to solve global crises. He stressed that dialogue between Damascus and Washington was the only way to achieve positive change in the Middle East.

According to the source, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moalem has determined that two major issues would guide his country in its dialogue with the US: The removal of its name from the blacklist of countries that support terrorism, and the rescinding of the Syria Accountability Act, passed by the Bush Administration.

The daily also reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad stated recently that Washington has begun to send "clear signals" to Damascus, by which it plans to return a US ambassador to Syria in the beginning of 2009.

Syria: Clinton nomination proves Obama wants Mideast peace
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« Reply #215 on: December 04, 2008, 10:11:10 PM »


I'm going to use a term Pastor Roger uses at times. The fox is in charge of the hen house.............
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« Reply #216 on: December 17, 2008, 08:04:18 AM »

Syria offers Israel map of potential Golan borders
By Haaretz Service and Reuters
16/12/2008 

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday said peace with Syria would have to involve more than mere culinary tourism, speaking in response to reports of Syria's demands in indirect negotiations with Israel.

"What is important to us is not a peace of opening embassies and eating Humus in Damascus, but the halting of arms smuggling through Syria to Hezbollah, their strong ties to Iran and their endless support of terrorist organizations such as Hamas," said the foreign minister.

Livni, the chairwoman of the leading Kadima party and a prime ministerial hopeful, made the comments at a conference in the northern Galilee.


She added: "I don't know of negotiations that end before they have begun."

Earlier Tuesday it emerged that sources familiar with the peace talks said this week that Syria has drafted a document defining potential boundaries for the Golan Heights and is waiting for an Israeli reply through Turkish mediators.

President Bashar al-Assad recently told Western officials that Damascus wants Israel to take a clear position on the territorial problem between the two countries before agreeing to push stalled peace talks forward.

The Syrian document sets the boundaries with reference to six geographical points, the sources told Reuters.

"The president was clear that Syria wants to know the Israeli view about what constitutes occupied Syrian territory before progress could be made," one of the sources said.

"According to Syrian thinking, Israeli agreement on the six [geographical] points could help seal a peace deal next year. But Israel may not be able to provide a response any time soon, when it is in such political turmoil," a second source said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Majali Wahhabe responded to the announcement by saying Syria must first cut off all contact with Iran before making any demands of Israel.

Indirect talks between Syria and Israel, which were suspended about three months ago after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to resign over a corruption scandal, center on the fate of the Golan Heights.

Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it more than a decade later - a move unanimously rejected by the United Nations Security Council.

The two countries held almost 10 years of direct talks under U.S. supervision that collapsed in 2000 over the scope of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Golan.

Bashar's late father, President Hafez al-Assad, refused to sign a deal that did not include the northeastern shore of the Lake Kinneret, a main water reservoir.

The late Assad regarded the northeastern shore as an integral part of the Golan and said that Syria was in control of it before the war broke out on June 4, 1967.

Israel captured the whole eastern shore along with the surrounding plateau in the war. The shoreline has been receding for decades. Under the Israeli proposal, Syria would have been only metres short of the northeastern shore.

Bashar, meanwhile, has stuck to his father's line on the Golan.

A Syrian official said that the paper sent to Turkey includes reference to geographical points on the present northeastern shore of the lake. "The document puts us on the water," the official said.

Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara said last month that "the Syrian definition of the June 4 line means the restoration of the northeastern shore of the lake to Syria" and described Israeli arguments about the shoreline receding as invalid.

Diplomats in the Syrian capital said that even if the two sides make progress on the territorial question a deal might not follow easily because Israel now wants Syria to reduce its alliance with Iran and cut support for the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist groups.

"The situation is more complicated than in 2000 with Syria's external ties coming into play. Syria also wants agreement on the six points without direct negotiations, which might be difficult," one of the diplomats said.

Syrian officials have said Israel has no right to set conditions regarding its foreign policy but acknowledged that the political map of the region would change if Damascus and Israel sign a deal.

Assad told his visitors that Syria had received a document from Israel through Turkey with queries about Syrian relations with neighbouring states after a possible peace, according to the sources. "The president said Syria has responded, but he did not say how," one said.

Olmert, who is still caretaker prime minister, has said he wants to renew the talks. Turkey also wants the talks to move to
direct mode from the four indirect rounds that have been held since April, the diplomats said.

A foreign official who has met Assad said the Syrian leader was not enthusiastic about holding a fifth round before the Israeli parliamentary elections in February, although European leaders have urged him to agree to one before then.

Syria offers Israel map of potential Golan borders
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« Reply #217 on: December 17, 2008, 08:11:14 AM »

Syria's Assad seeks Israeli stance on Golan
Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:57pm EST

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria has drafted a document defining the boundaries of the occupied Golan Heights and was waiting for an Israeli reply through Turkish mediators, sources familiar with the talks said this week.

President Bashar al-Assad recently told Western officials that Damascus wants Israel to take a clear position on the territorial problem between the two countries before agreeing to push stalled peace talks forward.

The Syrian document sets the boundaries with reference to six geographical points, the sources told Reuters.

"The president was clear that Syria wants to know the Israeli view about what constitutes occupied Syrian territory before progress could be made," one of the sources said.

"According to Syrian thinking, Israeli agreement on the six (geographical) points could help seal a peace deal next year. But Israel may not be able to provide a response any time soon, when it is in such political turmoil," a second source said.

Indirect talks between Syria and Israel, which were suspended about three months ago after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to resign over a corruption scandal, center on the fate of the Golan Heights.

Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it more than a decade later -- a move unanimously rejected by the United Nations Security Council.

The two countries held almost 10 years of direct talks under U.S. supervision that collapsed in 2000 over the scope of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from the Golan.

Bashar's late father, President Hafez al-Assad, refused to sign a deal that did not include the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, a main water reservoir.

The late Assad regarded the northeastern shore as an integral part of the Golan and said that Syria was in control of it before the war broke out on June 4, 1967.

Israel captured the whole eastern shore along with the surrounding plateau in the war. The shoreline has been receding for decades. Under the Israeli proposal, Syria would have been only meters short of the northeastern shore.

FATHER'S LEGACY

Bashar has stuck to his father's line on the Golan.

A Syrian official said that the paper sent to Turkey includes reference to geographical points on the present northeastern shore of the lake. "The document puts us on the water," the official said.

Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara said last month that "the Syrian definition of the June 4 line means the restoration of the northeastern shore of the lake to Syria" and described Israeli arguments about the shoreline receding as invalid.

Diplomats in the Syrian capital said that even if the two sides make progress on the territorial question a deal might not follow easily because Israel now wants Syria to reduce its alliance with Iran and cut support for the Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist groups.

"The situation is more complicated than in 2000 with Syria's external ties coming into play. Syria also wants agreement on the six points without direct negotiations, which might be difficult," one of the diplomats said.

Syrian officials have said Israel has no right to set conditions regarding its foreign policy but acknowledged that the political map of the region would change if Damascus and Israel sign a deal.

Assad told his visitors that Syria had received a document from Israel through Turkey with queries about Syrian relations with neighboring states after a possible peace, according to the sources. "The president said Syria has responded, but he did not say how," one said.

Olmert, who is still caretaker prime minister, has said he wants to renew the talks. Turkey also wants the talks to move to a direct mode from the four indirect rounds that have been held since April, the diplomats said.

A foreign official who has met Assad said the Syrian leader was not enthusiastic about holding a fifth round before the Israeli parliamentary elections in February, although European leaders have urged him to agree to one before then.

Syria's Assad seeks Israeli stance on Golan
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« Reply #218 on: February 18, 2009, 09:52:24 AM »

Syria Working on Chemical Weapons

Reported: 20:46 PM - Feb/17/09

(IsraelNN.com) Syria has increased activity and building at a chemical weapons development site from 2005 to 2008 according to the British defense news source Janes. Satellite images of the Al Safir site in northwest Syria show a considerable amount of construction.

In addition, the chemical weapons site is located only a short distance from a missile base. Construction at the missile base suggests that Syria has built a new facility to load chemical warheads onto surface-to-surface missiles.

Syria Working on Chemical Weapons
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« Reply #219 on: February 19, 2009, 09:01:04 AM »

Hello DreamWeaver,

Brother Bob, it does appear that the Giant Bible Prophecy puzzle is beginning to fall into place. In fact, it's amazing how many pieces of the puzzle are ready to fall into place at any time. I thought that now would be a good time to share again the portion of Scripture this thread refers to. If we want to know about what WILL happen in the near future, we can read about it in GOD'S WORD.

Isaiah 17:1-14 ASV  The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.  2  The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.  3  And the fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith Jehovah of hosts.  4  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.  5  And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the standing grain, and his arm reapeth the ears; yea, it shall be as when one gleaneth ears in the valley of Rephaim.  6  Yet there shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches of a fruitful tree, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel.  7  In that day shall men look unto their Maker, and their eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.  8  And they shall not look to the altars, the work of their hands; neither shall they have respect to that which their fingers have made, either the Asherim, or the sun-images.  9  In that day shall their strong cities be as the forsaken places in the wood and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel; and it shall be a desolation.  10  For thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength; therefore thou plantest pleasant plants, and settest it with strange slips.  11  In the day of thy planting thou hedgest it in, and in the morning thou makest thy seed to blossom; but the harvest fleeth away in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.  12  Ah, the uproar of many peoples, that roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters!  13  The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but he shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm.  14  At eventide, behold, terror; and before the morning they are not. This is the portion of them that despoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.
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« Reply #220 on: February 27, 2009, 10:28:51 PM »

Jordan, Russia sign nuclear deal

Thursday, February 26 08:02 pm

Russia, which is helping Iran build its first nuclear plant, inked a preliminary cooperation deal with Jordan on Thursday to pave the way for producing nuclear power in the energy-poor kingdom.

Under the agreement, Russia will help Jordan, which imports around 95 percent of its energy needs, build power and desalination plants as well as research centres, Jordan Atomic Energy Commission head Khaled Tukan said.

"A final agreement will be signed in Moscow by the end March," Tukan told state news agency Petra after signing the deal with Nikolai Spassky, deputy director of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy.

"It's key to boost Jordan's peaceful nuclear programme."

Jordan's 1.2 billion tonnes of phosphate reserves are estimated to contain 130,000 tonnes of uranium, whose enriched form provides fuel for nuclear plants. The government wants the first such plant to be ready by 2015.

The kingdom is the latest Arab country, including Egypt and pro-Western Gulf states, to announce plans for nuclear power programmes in the face of Shiite Iran's controversial atomic drive.

The United States, Israel and other countries suspect Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons but Tehran insists its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes.

Russia has been involved in building a power station in the Iranian Gulf port of Bushehr for the past 14 years. Tehran began testing the 1,000-megawatt plant on Wednesday, saying it could go on line within months.

Jordan, Russia sign nuclear deal
~~~~~~~~~~~

Now you wonder why, I put this here.......................

Isaiah 17:2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

And now another chess piece has moved.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 10:30:40 PM by DreamWeaver » Logged

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« Reply #221 on: March 11, 2009, 10:56:21 PM »

Syria's demand to get munitions from seized ship 'insolent'

Officials in Jerusalem say Damascus' demand that Cyprus transfer part of cargo of ship suspected of transporting explosives from Iran to Hamas proves Syria, Tehran breaching Security Council resolution

Ron Ben-Yishai and AP
Published:    03.05.09, 11:42 / Israel News

Israeli officials in Jerusalem called Syria's demand to receive at least part of the cargo of an intercepted ship suspected of transporting explosives from Iran to Palestinian terrorists in Gaza "insolent."

European diplomats said the EU and Syria are engaged in a tug-of-war over the ship. Cyprus is caught in the middle, they said, because the vessel docked there after the US military boarded it.

According to the Israeli officials, the affair serves as unequivocal proof that both Syria and Iran were breaching UN Security Council Resolution 1747 from March 2007, which states that "Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel, and that all states shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran."

Two diplomats recently told The Associated Press that Syria, described by the US as the port of destination for the vessel, is pressuring Cyprus over what it should do with the ship's cargo.

Syrian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Ghufari visited Cyprus late last month on a little-publicized visit weeks after the US Navy boarded the Cypriot-flagged Monchegorsk off the island nation and found what Washington suspects were weapons from Iran meant for Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The US military said it could not legally detain the ship, which it said was headed for Syria.

The vessel continued on to Port Said, Egypt, and then on Jan. 29 docked in Cyprus, where its cargo — described by Cypriot officials as material that could be used to manufacture munitions — was offloaded.

Among the weapons found in the 98 containers that were offloaded were hundreds of 125-milimeter shells for Syria's T-72 tanks.

The Cypriot government says the ship breached the UN ban on Iranian arms exports.

Israel and the United States accuse Iran and Syria of supplying Hamas with weapons, something both Mideast nations deny. Israel launched a 22-day offensive on Hamas-controlled Gaza in late December to halt terrorists' rocket fire on Israelis and the smuggling of arms that turned Hamas into a threat to much of southern Israel.

Syria's demand to get munitions from seized ship 'insolent'
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« Reply #222 on: March 11, 2009, 10:58:18 PM »

UN demands answers on Iran arms ship
Mar. 10, 2009
ALLISON HOFFMAN
Jerusalem Post

Iran and Syria have until next week to explain to a United Nations sanctions committee how they were involved with a ship detained off Cyprus in January found to be loaded with explosives believed to be bound for Gaza.

The ambassadors of France and Britain described the episode at a Security Council meeting held Tuesday in New York as a "gross violation" of existing resolutions banning Iranian arms exports.

"The United Kingdom looks forward to the committee receiving explanations from Iran and Syria as to why the shipment was permitted by Iran as the reported state of origin and as to the involvement of Syria as the reported state of destination," said British envoy John Sawers.

Both countries are required to respond within ten working days, according to a statement from Japanese ambassador Yukio Takasu, who chairs the Security Council committee set up in 2006 to oversee Iran sanctions. The committee determined February 6 that Iran was in violation of existing sanctions but has not taken any punitive action.

Both French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert and US envoy Susan Rice invited Iran to use the opportunity to engage in diplomatic negotiations on its nuclear and other arms programs.

"The United States will not waver in its determination to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons but the United States also sees an opportunity - a chance for the Iranian government to demonstrate that it is willing to unclench its fist and begin a serious, responsible discussion about a range of issues," Rice said in her formal remarks.

She added that President Obama, who had his first formal meeting Tuesday in Washington with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was engaged in a comprehensive review of US policy on Iran.

Neither Iran nor Syria sent representatives to speak at Tuesday's meeting. Both have denied allegations from Washington that the munitions were intended for delivery to Hamas.

Syria sent a delegation to Cyprus in late February to pressure officials there into handing over the cargo from the ship, according to an Associated Press report that cited unnamed government officials from an undisclosed Middle Eastern country. The AP said Cypriot officials denied any formal negotiations with the Syrians over the cargo.

Diplomats in New York have told The Jerusalem Post that Cyprus has been eager to cooperate with its European Union allies on the issue, but the island nation has not yet taken any steps to destroy the cargo offloaded from the Cypriot-flagged ship Monchegorsk. The ship docked Jan 29 in Cyprus after being turned away from an Egyptian port.

The British have offered help to dispose of the munitions "in whatever way we can."

Tuesday's Security Council session was overseen by Libyan charge d'affaires Ibrahim Dabbashi, who currently holds the month-long presidency of the Security Council.

Speaking for Libya, he noted that he and other Arab diplomats found it "frustrating" that the Security Council was not equally concerned with Israeli nuclear programs as with Iran's suspected efforts to build an atomic bomb.

Officials at the Israeli mission told the Post they would not respond to Dabbashi's comments.

UN demands answers on Iran arms ship
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