The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for August, 2011


Thursday, August 25th, 2011

by Gavriel Queenann (IsraelNationalNews)

Egypt announced plans to develop the Sinai region bordering Israel after Israeli officials blamed Egypt’s loosening grip on the area for the killing of eight Israelis by terrorists, inflaming tensions between the two neighbors.

Five Egyptian security personnel were killed as Israel pursued the terrorists following the attack near Eilat in southern Israel on Thursday. Egypt claims Israel’s actions breached the 1979 peace treaty between the two nations.

Cairo has struggled to assert its grip on the isolated desert peninsula, especially after President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February, leaving a power vacuum that was quickly exploited by extremist elements in Sinai.

Egyptian officials are said to be looking for a pretext to modify or nullify the treaty, which they consider disadvantageous. Some security analysts suggest the new government in Cairo may have intentionally allowed the situation in Sinai to deteriorate in order to justify the gradual re-militarization of the Sinai by Egypt’s armed forces.

Israel expressed its regret for the Egyptian deaths and launched an investigation of the incident, but Egyptian leaders have proven unwilling to accept anything short of self-castigation from the Jewish state.

Several leading Egyptian politicians, including former Arab League head Amr Mousa and other candidates for Egypt’s presidency have called for Cairo’s caretaker junta to recall Egypt’s Ambassador from Israel, to deploy more troops in Sinai, and try the Israelis responsible for the killings in abstentia.

“Egypt after the January revolution is not like Egypt before. The corrupt, oppressive and compliant regime is gone for good,” they said in a statement.

They described Mubarak’s government as “a strategic asset to Israel” that “has been replaced by a strong popular will that does not know weakness or complicity and understands well how to achieve retribution for the blood of the martyrs.”

In response to last Thursday’s attacks – and perhaps because of pressures in Egypt to re-militarizing the Sinai – IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz on Wednesday announced Israel would be beefing up its military presence along Israel’s border with Egypt.

The anti-Israel hostility that emerged after the incident has highlighted the dilemma faced by Egypt’s junta, caught between pressure to preserve the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and virulent popular hostility to the Jewish state.

Egypt’s army is trying to keep a lid on domestic tensions as the world’s most populous Arab nation prepares for elections later in the year as part of a promised transition to democratic civilian rule after Mubarak’s removal.

To that end, the top army officers in Cairo have broken with Mubarak’s low-key approach and Egypt’s condemnation of Israel included a demand for a change in relations between the two US allies.

But away from the lime-light there have been signs Egypt and Israel are both trying to ease away from the first potential diplomatic crisis since Mubarak’s overthrow.


Thursday, August 25th, 2011

by David Lev (Arutz Sheva News)

It doesn’t appear that relations between Israel and Qatar will be re-established anytime soon: A report Thursday morning said that Israel has been actively taking steps to reduce the influence of Qatar on Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, after the Foreign Ministry determined that the Gulf kingdom should be considered hostile to Israel.

Israel and Qatar established trade relations in 1996 and in 2008 Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani in Switzerland, at the Davos Economic Forum. Several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres and Kadima head Tsipi Livni, have visited Qatar.

But in recent months, the Foreign Ministry report said, Qatar has stepped up its activity on behalf of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups. Qatar has been one of the chief backers of the PA’s bid to declare an Arab state in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and has been a major funder of anti-Israel groups abroad. Qatar also promised to fund all legal action Turkey might take against Israel in international courts over the deaths of Hamas-affiliated Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara last year. Qatari officials made the pledge at a recent international legal conference held in the Qatari capital of Doha on the flotilla issue.

As a result, Israel decided in 2010 not to accept Qatari offers to reopen the Israeli trade office in Doha, which was closed as a result of Operation Cast Lead. Qatar has sought to send building materials to Gaza for various projects it is funding, but Israeli authorities have refused to allow the transfers. That policy is to continue, the report said, and in addition, Israel in recent months has acted to prevent Qatari officials from entering PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. For example, Israel several months ago refused to allow a visit to Ramallah by the President of Qtel, the Qatari cellphone company. Israel also denied a request by Doha to remove its Qatar Foundation from a list of organizations that are prevented from operating in Judea and Samaria, because of its support for Hamas.

Qatar is also the home of Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, which the Foreign Ministry considers extremely anti-Israel. As a result, the Ministry has worked in recent months to prevent reporters from the network from operating in Israel, and has stopped giving them visas. Currently, the only way for an Al-Jazeera reporter to enter Israel is using a passport from a country that has full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, but the Ministry is seeking ways to keep these individuals out of Israel as well.


Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists expanded their rocket offensive to include Egypt on Wednesday when they fired a short-range Kassam into the Sinai border town of Rafah.

An Egyptian woman was wounded when the rocket hit a residential neighborhood on the Egyptian side of Rafah, which is split by the Sinai-Gaza border.

Egyptian security officials expressed “concern” over what appeared to be a new phenomenon of Palestinian terrorist aggression against Egypt.

Presumably, whoever fired the rocket is angry over Egypt’s cooperation with Israel in hunting down those responsible for last week’s three-pronged terrorist assault near the Israeli resort town of Eilat.

Palestinian terrorists from Gaza had used the Egyptian Sinai to infiltrate the southern tip of Israel before killing eight Israelis and wounding many more.

Since then, Egypt has tightened security along the border and launched a widespread effort to reassert its control over the increasingly lawless Sinai.

Another part of that effort is ending attacks by Islamists on the Sinai pipeline that transfers Egyptian natural gas to neighboring Israel and Jordan. The pipeline has been blown up by local militants six times since the February ouster of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

As regards Gaza and the Palestinians, Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk reported on Wednesday that in order to minimize the ability of terrorists to enter the Sinai, Egyptian security forces are planning to destroy the network of tunnels that run under the Gaza-Sinai border.

Those tunnels have been used for years to smuggle everything from luxury items to outlawed weapons into Gaza.


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011


Libyan rebels have completely captured Muammar al-Qaddafi’s main military compound in Tripoli after several hours of resistance, rebels and media reports say. The embattled leader, however, has not been located.

Reporters from Sky News penetrated Qaddafi’s headquarters with the rebels Tuesday and described a celebratory atmosphere as the once highly-fortified compound has become overrun with children and truckloads of rebels driving in and out. An occasional sound of gunfire could be heard, but reports from the ground indicate that the shots are celebratory.

Saif al-Islam Greets Supporters at Tripoli Hotel

Muammar Qaddafi’s son rallies followers
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Rebels breach first gate at Libyan leader’s compound

Rebels met some resistance while taking control of the compound.

That fight did not last long, and there were no reports of rebel deaths and only a few injuries. Dark plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the compound and loud explosions shook the area around it. Loyal pro-Qaddafi forces had been exchanging gunfire with the emboldened rebels.

A frenzied group of rebels waved flags and chanted “Libya! Libya!” after the seizure. The streets leading to the compound have been filled with opposition fighters and civilians determined to witness the day’s events.

Rebels have been unable to locate Qaddafi who has been rumored to be as close as Tripoli and as far as Venezuela. The head of the Russian World’s Chess Federation has reportedly spoke with Qaddafi who told him he remains in Tripoli.

“We’re looking for Qaddafi now. We have to find him now,” said Sohaib Nefati, a rebel sitting against a wall with a Kalashnikov rifle.

Abdel-Aziz Shafiya, a 19-year-old rebel dressed in camouflage with an rocket-propelled grenade slung over one shoulder and a Kalashnikov over another, said the rebels believe Qaddafi is inside the compound but hiding underground.

“Wasn’t he the one who called us rats? Now he is the rat underground,” he said.

The scene remains chaotic even though few if any Qaddafi soldiers remain in the compound, fallen pro-Qaddafi fighters can be seen strewn in the streets leading to the compound.

Journalists have been holed up in a hotel about 400 yards from Qaddafi’s headquarters.

The tent where Qaddafi used to interview with the media has been set on fire.

“Whatever didn’t melt is still standing,” a reporter from Sky News said. “But everything else has gone.”

Meanwhile, a State Department spokesman previously said that no decision had been made about whether to send U.S. experts to Libya to help prevent the Qaddafi regime’s massive arsenal of anti-aircraft missiles from slipping into the hands of terror groups.

U.S. intelligence has also been “keeping a close eye” on Qaddafi’s chemical arsenal, which “at this point appears to be well-guarded,” according to a U.S. official briefed on the Libyan operations, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.

An Obama Administration official said Monday that U.S. officials and NATO partners had not been in contact with Qaddafi during the siege of Tripoli. The U.S. has no indication that Qaddafi has left Libya.

If Qaddafi were captured in Libya, the official said it would be up to the Transitional National Council to determine whether he might be tried in Libya or transferred to the International Criminal Court.


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

(Fox News Update)

Yesterday a man flashes the victory sign as he celebrates the capture in Tripoli of Qaddafi’s son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, at the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya. It turned out that Seif al-Islam was not in custody and appeared Monday night in Tripoli.

The expected ouster of Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime in Libya could provide a needed boost to the U.S. economy, as analysts predict the resumption of oil production will eventually lead to lower prices at the pump, a stimulant for wayward growth.

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, but the fighting since February dried up its output from 1.5 million barrels a day to about 60,000 barrels a day. Gas prices initially soared as a result of the unrest but began edging down recently due to slowing economic growth globally.

How Will Libya Impact Oil Prices?

Markets in Positive Territory on Libya News

Defense Department Expenses Tied to Libyan Rebel Fight

In the near term, oil prices appear volatile. After falling Monday, prices were up Tuesday amid confusion over the progress of the rebels and other factors. Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, who was earlier said to have been captured, suddenly turned up in Tripoli Monday night to rally supporters. Today, fighting raged on in the country’s capital.

Before the uprising, Libya was the world’s 12th largest exporter, delivering more than 1.5 million barrels per day mostly to European markets.

David Kotok, chairman of Cumberland Advisors, wrote in a company post on Sunday that presuming the Qaddafis are eventually vanquished, supply from Libya ramps up and oil prices in world markets fall, the result would be a pay day for the U.S. economy.

“Roughly, a penny drop in the gas price per gallon gives Americans 1.4 billion more dollars a year to spend on other than gasoline. That is a huge stimulant to the economy,” he wrote.

“If oil prices continue to head south, that’s a real plus for the economy,” agreed Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “We can take all the plusses we can get at this point.”

On Monday, President Obama, addressing the developments from Martha’s Vineyard, was careful to emphasize that uncertainty remained and that Qaddafi’s regime could still pose a threat.

A reprieve in oil prices could be a boon to voters’ views of Obama’s handling of the economy , although it’s unknown whether the impact would redound to the president’s benefit. Obama faulted the Arab Spring with stifling continued growth at home.

While the President’s overall approval with the public is above 40 percent in most polls, that number drops to 26 percent in a Gallup poll when it comes to his handling of the economy. By contrast, 53 percent approved of his handling of terrorism.

How long it might take to bring production back up to pre-conflict levels is also a matter of debate.

Wood Mackenzie, an oil consulting firm headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, predicted it could take three years while NUS Consulting in New Jersey issued a more optimistic assessment forecasting full production by the first half of next year.

Regardless of the forecasts, energy consulting firm Cameron Hanover, based in Connecticut, issued a report that said pressure to ramp up production will be “overwhelming” since a new regime would be dependent on oil revenues.

“In order for this new democracy to attract enough support, it will need to get oil flowing right away,” it wrote.

Infighting among the various factions that would compose a new government in Tripoli as well as damaged infrastructure could slow that process, dampening any short-term effect a Qaddafi ouster would have on oil prices.

Gas prices in the U.S. have fallen slightly since May, when global economic stagnation weakened demand, but pump prices are still just under $3.60 per gallon nationally. A year ago, the price of a gallon of regular was $2.71.


Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Fox New & Associated Press

After a morning of heavy fighting near Muammar al-Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, the Libyan rebels’ top diplomat in London said that only 5 percent of the capital city was still controlled by forces loyal to the Libyan leader, though Qaddafi’s whereabouts remained unknown.

Qaddafi’s regime, meanwhile, was crumbling. Libya’s Prime Minister has fled to Tunisia, Al Jazeera reported, while two of Qaddafi’s sons were in rebel custody. Leaders around the world urged Qaddafi to give up.

Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman said it’s “only a matter of time” before the besieged ruler is history.

“The rebels are taking over the city. They are clearly taking over the institutions,” Feltman said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He also said U.S. officials have been told the rebels have seized control of state television.

NATO promised to continue airstrikes until all pro-Qaddafi forces surrender or return to barracks.

The relative ease with which the rebels captured Tripoli in an hours-long blitz backed by NATO airstrikes showcased the evolution of the opposition fighters who first rose against the regime six months ago, swiftly capturing the eastern part of the vast North African nation but failing to muster enough punch to advance westward toward Tripoli even with the help of months of NATO airstrikes.

For months, the rebels were judged to be big on zeal, but short on organization and discipline. Their stunning success in Tripoli, however, showed a high level of planning, coordination and discipline.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said frozen Libyan assets would soon be released to help the country’s rebels establish order, saying Qaddafi’s regime was “falling apart and in full retreat.”

Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, who was in Tripoli, cautioned that pockets of resistance remained and that as long as Qaddafi remains on the run the “danger is still there.”

Clashes broke out early Monday at Qaddafi’s longtime command center known as Bab al-Aziziya early Monday when government tanks emerged from the complex and opened fire at rebels trying to get in, according to Abdel-Rahman and a neighbor. An AP reporter at the nearby Rixos Hotel, where foreign journalists stay, could hear gunfire and loud explosions from the direction of the complex.

Tripoli resident Moammar al-Warfali, whose family home is next to the compound, said there appeared to be only a few tanks belonging to the remaining Qaddafi forces that have not fled or surrendered.

“When I climb the stairs and look at it from the roof, I see nothing at Bab al-Aziziya,” he said. “NATO has demolished it all and nothing remains.”

The Rixos also remained under the control of Qaddafi forces, with two trucks loaded with anti-aircraft machine guns and pro-regime fighters and snipers posted behind trees. Rebels and Tripoli residents set up checkpoints elsewhere in the city.

The rebels’ top diplomat in London, Mahmud Nacua, said clashes were continuing in Tripoli, but opposition forces controlled 95 percent of the city. He vowed Qaddafi would be found, saying “the fighters will turn over every stone to find him” and make sure he faced justice.

A rebel field commander said reinforcements were arriving at Tripoli by sea from the north as well as the south and the southeast.

“Our fighters are coming from all directions and, God willing, today we will liberate the whole city,” the commander, Suleiman Sifaw, told The Associated Press.

State TV broadcast bitter audio pleas by Qaddafi for Libyans to defend his regime as the rebels advanced on Sunday. Opposition fighters captured his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, who along with his father faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. Another son was under house arrest.

Rebel chief Mustafa Abdel-Jalil vowed Monday to give Qaddafi a “fair trial with all legal guarantees” when captured.

“It’s over, frizz-head,” chanted hundreds of jubilant men and women massed in Green Square late Sunday, using a mocking nickname of the curly-haired Qaddafi. The revelers fired shots in the air, clapped and waved the rebels’ tricolor flag. Some set fire to the green flag of Qaddafi’s regime and shot holes in a poster with the leader’s image.

But Qaddafi’s defiance in a series of angry audio messages raised the possibility of a last-ditch fight over the capital, home to 2 million people. Qaddafi, who was not shown in the messages, called on his supporters to march in the streets of the capital and “purify it” of “the rats.”

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim also claimed the regime has “thousands and thousands of fighters” and vowed: “We will fight. We have whole cities on our sides. They are coming en masse to protect Tripoli to join the fight.”

Qaddafi’s former right-hand man, who defected last week to Italy, said the longtime leader would not go easily.

“I think it’s impossible that he’ll surrender,” Abdel-Salam Jalloud said in an interview broadcast on Italian RAI state radio, adding that, “He doesn’t have the courage, like Hitler, to kill himself.”

Jalloud, who was Qaddafi’s closest aide for decades before falling out with the leader in the 1990s, fled Tripoli on Friday, according to rebels.

The startling rebel breakthrough, after a long deadlock in Libya’s 6-month-old civil war, was the culmination of a closely coordinated plan by rebels, NATO and anti-Qaddafi residents inside Tripoli, rebel leaders said. Rebel fighters from the west swept over 20 miles (30 kilometers) in a matter of hours Sunday, taking town after town and overwhelming a major military base as residents poured out to cheer them. At the same time, Tripoli residents secretly armed by rebels rose up.

When rebels reached the gates of Tripoli, the special battalion entrusted by Qaddafi with guarding the capital promptly surrendered. The reason: Its commander, whose brother had been executed by Qaddafi years ago, was secretly loyal to the rebellion, a senior rebel official, Fathi al-Baja, told The Associated Press.

On Monday, rebels erected checkpoints on the western approaches to the city, handing out candy to passengers and inquiring about their destination. Cars leaving the city were subjected to more rigorous checks.

President Obama said Libya is “slipping from the grasp of a tyrant” and urged Qaddafi to relinquish power to prevent more bloodshed.

“The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people,” Obama said in a statement from Martha’s Vineyard, where he’s vacationing. He promised to work closely with rebels.

South Africa, which led failed African Union efforts to mediate between the rebels and Qaddafi, refused to offer support to the rebels on Monday, saying it wants to see a unity government put in place as a transitional authority. But speaking to reporters, Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said she did not envision a role for Qaddafi on such a transitional body, saying he had told AU mediators four months ago he was ready to give up leadership.

Nkoana-Mashabane also said repeatedly that South Africa has sent no planes to Libya to evacuate Qaddafi, has received no request from him for asylum and is involved in no efforts to extricate him.

Nkoana-Mashabane also said, “We don’t know his (Qaddafi’s) whereabouts. We assume he is still in Libya.”

The uprising against Qaddafi broke out in mid-February, inspired by successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, Libya’s neighbors to the east and west respectively. A brutal regime crackdown quickly transformed the protests into an armed rebellion. Rebels seized Libya’s east, setting up an internationally recognized transitional government there, and two pockets in the west, the port city of Misrata and the Nafusa mountain range.

Qaddafi clung to the remaining territory, and for months neither side had been able to break the other.

In early August, however, rebels launched an offensive from the Nafusa Mountains, then fought their way down to the Mediterranean coastal plain, backed by NATO airstrikes, and captured the strategic city of Zawiya.

The rebels’ leadership council, based in Benghazi, sent out mobile text messages to Tripoli residents, proclaiming, “Long live Free Libya” and urging them to protect public property. Internet service returned to the capital for the first time in six months.

Qaddafi is the Arab world’s longest-ruling, most erratic, most grimly fascinating leader — presiding over this North African desert nation with vast oil reserves and just 6 million people.

For years, he was an international pariah blamed for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. After years of denial, Qaddafi’s Libya acknowledged responsibility, agreed to pay up to $10 million to relatives of each victim, and the Libyan rule declared he would dismantle his weapons of mass destruction program. That eased him back into the international community.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Bible prophecy students should remember the role Libya will plan in the Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39.)


Sunday, August 21st, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Amidst the chaos of trying to hunt down a terrorist cell that infiltrated southern Israel and killed 8 people, Israeli soldiers may have inadvertently shot and killed a number of Egyptian soldiers.

Pretending as though the above description is all that matters, Cairo exploded in rage against Israel, demanding a full formal apology, compensation for the families of the deceased, and threatening to recall the Egyptian Ambassador in Tel Aviv.

But, of course, the opening paragraph is not the full story.

The terrorists that Israeli forces were chasing had infiltrated from the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula, and were trying to return there following their assault on Israeli civilians. So, naturally, much of the fighting was taking place along the Israel-Egypt border.

That Egyptian soldiers may have been caught in the crossfire is regrettable, but not unsurprising.

And that brings up another point. Many Israeli officials are calling for Egypt itself to be more contrite, considering that the terrorists used Egyptian territory to launch their brutal attacks.

In fact, there are reports that at least one of the attacks included mortar shells being fired from Egyptian territory at Israeli motorists.

Consider that had an armed group launched an attack from Israeli territory on a neighboring state, Israel would surely be blamed.

But this is the Middle East, and reason plays no role in what passes for “diplomacy” in this region.

Instead of weighing the situation and the circumstances, the Egyptian cabinet decided – even in the absence of hard evidence – that Israel was at fault and must prostrate itself in shame.

Fully aware that Israeli soldiers caught up in the heat of battle could have accidentally shot at Egyptian soldiers, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he “regrets the deaths of Egyptian officers,” but stopped short of saying that Israel was responsible.

Cairo was having none of it.

The Egyptian cabinet rejected Barak’s statement and insisted that the Israeli’s effort to calm the waters “does not fit with the weight of the incident and the state of Egyptians’ outrage from the [alleged] Israeli actions.”

The Egyptian public took its cue and beseiged the Israeli embassy in Cairo. On Sunday, that mob managed to break into the compound and raise the Egyptian flag over the Israeli mission.

Ever since the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak in February of this year, there has been concern in Israel that the new powers rising in Egypt are looking for any excuse to cancel the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and return their nation to a state of open hostility with the Jewish state.

Cairo’s reaction to the weekend of violence in southern Israel would appear to justify those concerns.


Saturday, August 20th, 2011

From General Shimon Erem

The Middle East continues to be in turmoil, from the butchery in Syria, to al Qaeda’s rapidly growing presence in Yemen and Sinai, and the seemingly inevitable takeover in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood Rulers being propelled by the military leaders now in charge of the country.

One only has to open the newspaper to realize that something is happening in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. I called Israeli Intelligence the other day to find out what they think is going to happen in Syria. They said that all signs point to the collapse of Assad’s regime. In spite of Israel’s excellent reconnaissance in Syria, we are unable to predict the precise date of the collapse. However, the developments are leading in only one direction. Assad is continuing his downhill slide. When will it happen? No one knows. But in the meantime there are things that are happening in Syria’s neighborhood and particularly with Turkey.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spent six hours speaking to Assad, obviously not convincing him to stop the violence, because immediately after he left, Assad attacked. He first attacked a few towns on the border with Turkey. Another indication is that Assad fired his Minister of Defense, Ali Habib, who was the only relatively moderate person in the Assad government. He had unsuccessfully tried to convince Assad to relax the butchery all over Syria. So we see on one hand a decision of Assad not to give up, and, on the other hand, events that will most likely bring about his final downfall. In the meantime, he has secured the towns in the East of Syria near the Iraqi border that are the source of the little bit of oil that Syria has. One of the things that could help would be sanctions on Syrian oil. It constitutes about 30% of Syria’s income, and if it can be hit, that will definitely put pressure on Assad.

In the meantime, even the Russians realize that something may happen in Syria, because the Russian envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said that the noose around Iran is tightening: The United States is, on one hand, trying to bring down the Assad regime on Iran’s West side while on their East side, the U.S. is trying to do something with Yemen, where we expect the embattled President, who just left a hospital in Saudi Arabia, may come back to Yemen any day now.

The issue in Yemen is very simple: The President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was the only leader able and willing to quench the al Qaeda, which has a very meaningful presence in Yemen. In the meantime the al Qaeda is being supported by the tribal heads because they have a bone of contention with the President of Yemen. Obviously al Qaeda now senses the power vacuum. As soon as Saleh returns, the situation with al Qaeda will worsen. The people of Yemen are demanding three things: parliamentary elections, that Saleh will not assume his presidency and much tighter cooperation with the tribal chiefs.

From the al Qaeda in Yemen, let’s move to the al Qaeda in a much closer area to Israel: the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai Peninsula has deteriorated into a lawless region rapidly falling under the control of the ruthless extremists. Israel is facing a lose-lose strategic predicament which will soon force it to decide on one of three options: A) allow the Sinai to degenerate into the kind of Afghanistan haven for al Qaeda and other jihadi organizations, or B) allow the Muslim Brotherhood now controlling Egypt to remilitarize the area in order to establish some kind of law and order, or C) reassess renewing Israeli control of the Sinai, which is contrary to the peace agreement under which Israel is not expected to enter Sinai. Most likely Israel will allow Egypt to remilitarize the area in order to establish some kind of law and order in Sinai.

It is interesting that Jordan did not have the kind of protests that have overwhelmed the Middle East, but they did have their own share of protests. I think that King Abdullah II’s response was wise. The king announced that he will embark on an immediate program of democratic reform. It will be an elected government. He will move the kingdom to a constitutional elected kingdom of the same kind that we have the European countries such as in Sweden, Norway and in particular, England. And he made a commitment to move into it. This received a very positive response by the population of Jordan. So, he saved himself the kind of a tsunami that has engulfed the other countries in the Middle East.

I already mentioned the fact that there are some problems between Turkey and Syria. There are also problems between Turkey and the West. Turkey is no longer a Western country. It has now tense relations with NATO, it has probably bought Russian weapons, invited China for the recent naval exercises that they had, and they held a joint naval exercise with China.

There is not the slightest doubt that the force controlling Egypt is the military – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a council of generals. The Muslim Brotherhood understood it and tried to reach some kind of accommodation and cooperation with the military leaders. The liberal youth activists did not understand it, and this has created a bone of contention between them and the ruling generals. The youth tried to protest again at Tahrir Square and were forced by the military to vacate the place. As it stands now, the youth activists most likely will not gain anything in the coming elections, which means they will have little or no input into the new Egyptian constitution. Over the past several months, the Council has taken no action on the key popular demands of the youth movement: instituting a minimum wage and prosecuting former regime members accused of killing demonstrators during the Tahrir protests. All this has frustrated the youth group and they have unsuccessfully tried to catalyze a new round of demonstrations. In response to their demands, the military leaders appointed an interim government, which has made only very modest concessions to the protesters: they installed a new cabinet that reshuffled the Ministry of Interior personnel. Their unsatisfying gestures did not gain the support of the coalition of liberals, and the leftist Islamic groups which again tried to stage a day of unity protest in Tahrir Square about two weeks ago.

The military leadership has also benefitted from the fact that, besides the liberal youth, the Islamic Salafists have joined in trying to rekindle protests at Tahrir Square. The Salafists are engaged in an uncompromising pursuit of a fundamentalist political order which, according to the polls, most Egyptians reject. In response, the Council has seized on the Salafist overreach and called for the people to stand with it against the hard line Islamic demands. The Muslim Brotherhood successfully exploited the fact that the Salafists had overreached, and ironically portrayed itself as a comparatively moderate Islamic group.


Saturday, August 20th, 2011

by Elad Benari (IsraelNationalNews)

As the situation in southern Israel escalates, Hamas’ military wing announces the artificial “ceasefire” with Israel is over.

Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, called off a “ceasefire” with Israel late Friday, Hamas’ Al-Aqsa radio reported.

According to the report, which was quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, Hamas will allow terror factions in Gaza to respond to Israeli attacks in the Strip. Those ‘attacks’ come in response to provocations by the same terror groups in Gaza, such as Thursday’s multiple attacks near Eilat or the barrage of rockets which were fired at Israel from Gaza on Friday.

A representative of the militant group was quoted as having said, “There can be no truce with the Israeli occupation while it commits massacres against the Palestinian people without justification.”

The representative added that Al-Qassam “calls on all factions to respond to the Israeli occupation’s crimes.”

The ‘ceasefire’ was declared by Hamas following the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009, but has been broken many times when terror groups fired rockets and missiles towards Israel’s southern communities.

More than 20 rockets, missiles and mortars were fired by terrorists from Gaza into Israeli territory on Friday. Luckily, most of them exploded in open areas and did not cause physical injuries or damage. In at least one case, the Iron Dome defense system was able to shoot down a rocket before it hit the city of Ashkelon.

One attack on the city of Ashdod resulted in a rocket landing in a synagogue in the city. Several people were wounded.

The IAF retaliated several times, identifying terror targets and striking them.


Friday, August 19th, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Israel has responded to Thursday’s deadly terrorist assault near Eilat by wiping out the leadership of the terror group believed responsible.

Israeli aircraft on Thursday evening attacked installations in southern Gaza belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group affiliated with the ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

At least six PRC terrorists were killed, including group leader Kamal Nirab.

Israeli officials said intelligence had confirmed that Nirab was directly involved in planning and ordering Thursday’s triple terrorist attack just north of Eilat.

PRC terrorists carried out those attacks, which left eight Israelis dead and dozens wounded, by crossing into the Egyptian Sinai and then infiltrating Israel near its southern tip.

In a televised address Thursday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the nation that those responsible for the shocking terrorist assault were “no longer living.”

Israel continued its retaliatory action on Friday morning, with an aerial assault on Hamas targets in Gaza. Palestinian sources claimed collateral damage, including civilian casualties.

Hamas responded by firing long-range GRAD missiles at cities in southern Israel. One missile landed in the courtyard of a yeshiva (Jewish Seminary) in the port city of Ashdod. Ten Jewish religious students were injured, two seriously.

Other missiles landed in open areas in and near the cities of Askhelon and Beersheva causing no damage or injuries.

Palestinian Authority officials blamed Israel for the whole mess, even though the escalating violence started with a Palestinian terrorist assault on Israeli civilians.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of using the Eilat terrorist attacks as a “pretext” to commit what he called “war crimes” against Gaza. Erekat did not consider the Eilat attacks – which targeted innocent, unarmed civilians, many on their way to a summer vacation – to be war crimes.

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