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Suspicious packages intercepted en route to U.S. synagogues

Packages addressed to Chicago synagogues may have been test for future terrorist acts, possibly linked to al-Qaeda:

U.S. counterterrorism officials said that two suspicious packages removed from cargo planes en route to the United States on Friday did not contain explosives but may have been part of an attempt by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen to test cargo screening systems for vulnerabilities.

“That’s one of the theories – that they are testing the system and probing for weaknesses,” said a U.S. counterterrorism official. “Rehearsals get you closer to the game.”

The official said that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, as the Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot is known, is suspected of being involved in the plot. “They’re on the short list,” the official said.

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Friday, October 29th, 2010 at 2:13 PM  | David Kuner

E.U. slaps new sanctions against Islamic Regime

On Wednesday, the European Union (E.U.) implemented new sanctions against Iran. An E.U. official tells the Jerusalem Post that the E.U. is taking a “twin tracked” approach, combining incentives and penalties to coax Iran into giving up its uranium enrichment program. The E.U. sanctions, which are significantly tougher than the fourth round of U.N. sanctions approved by the Security Council in June, were approved in July and target Iran’s energy, transportation, and bank sectors.

Under the new E.U. sanctions, major oil companies like BP and Swiss oil giant EGL, who have multi-billion dollar contracts with Iran, will have to break the contracts and refrain from doing business with Iran.

Whether the E.U. will actually go after companies that continue to do business with Iran and penalize them has yet to be seen. Therefore, it is imperative that the Obama administration show its determination to enforce the U.S. sanctions, since Europe will be looking at the United States for leadership.

The E.U. is not the only one watching Obama closely to see how he proceeds in the showdown with Iran. Russia, China, Iran, and Israel will all be keeping a close eye as well. Eventually, we will reach the point when the only option left to keep Iran’s nuclear acquisition at bay is the military option. Then we will see if the world has learned its lessons from history, and will not allow a group of suicidal fanatics to acquire the most deadly weapons mankind has known.

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Friday, October 29th, 2010 at 9:08 AM  | afarkas

Nigeria intercepts 13 Iran weapons containers

Israeli defense sources believe Nigeria may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. On Tuesday, Nigeria’s secret service intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran:

Nigerian media reports said the ship, which came from Iran, docked in Lagos’ port for a few hours only, unloaded 13 containers and sailed on.

The bill of lading said the shipment consisted of building materials, Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.

“On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives,” Ogar said, adding the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles.

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 11:45 AM  | David Kuner

‘Iran begins injecting uranium into Bushehr reactor core’

Iran has begun to inject uranium into the nuclear core at the Bushehr nuclear plant. At the same time, Iran has announced that it will carry on with their nuclear development despite international pressure. The fact is that international pressure has been light, and for that reason Iran continues to defy the West with its nuclear ambitions.

After a new round of sanctions against Iran went into effect recently, many countries and corporations continue to do business with Iran. This demonstrates that these sanctions are ineffective and will do little or nothing to thwart Iran’s race to nuclear capability.

Israel has let the diplomatic process take its course with Iran for years without stepping in and destroying Iran’s reactors with a military strike. Yet, after all the slogans we have heard from the West articulating their determination to prevent Iran from going nuclear, as well as the now-famous sound bite “all options are on the table,” Iran continues to act as it pleases with its nuclear development.

Our government has said repeatedly that the only chance that sanctions would have to halt Iran’s nuclear program would be if those sanctions were crippling. That would mean targeting Iran’s energy sector as well imposing a complete naval blockade on Iran. Anything short of these measures would simply not work, as we are seeing firsthand.

When will the West wake up to the grim reality that Iran cannot be appeased? My fear is: when it is too late.

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 8:19 AM  | afarkas

'Iran begins injecting uranium into Bushehr reactor core'

Iran has begun to inject uranium into the nuclear core at the Bushehr nuclear plant. At the same time, Iran has announced that it will carry on with their nuclear development despite international pressure. The fact is that international pressure has been light, and for that reason Iran continues to defy the West with its nuclear ambitions.

After a new round of sanctions against Iran went into effect recently, many countries and corporations continue to do business with Iran. This demonstrates that these sanctions are ineffective and will do little or nothing to thwart Iran’s race to nuclear capability.

Israel has let the diplomatic process take its course with Iran for years without stepping in and destroying Iran’s reactors with a military strike. Yet, after all the slogans we have heard from the West articulating their determination to prevent Iran from going nuclear, as well as the now-famous sound bite “all options are on the table,” Iran continues to act as it pleases with its nuclear development.

Our government has said repeatedly that the only chance that sanctions would have to halt Iran’s nuclear program would be if those sanctions were crippling. That would mean targeting Iran’s energy sector as well imposing a complete naval blockade on Iran. Anything short of these measures would simply not work, as we are seeing firsthand.

When will the West wake up to the grim reality that Iran cannot be appeased? My fear is: when it is too late.

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 8:19 AM  | afarkas

Inside Hezbollah’s “theme park”

 

(Hat tip: Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA)

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 3:08 PM  | David Kuner

Inside Hezbollah's "theme park"

 

(Hat tip: Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA)

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 3:08 PM  | David Kuner

IsraAID to send team to Haiti after cholera outbreak

Israeli humanitarian organization seeks to help those affected by the disease:

The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAID) announced on Wednesday that it will send a team to Haiti, despite the current cholera outbreak.

The team will assess the progress of IsraAID’s programs in Haiti, as well as present its work in an exhibit using the IDF hospital tent in the upcoming Jewish Federation General Assembly in New Orleans.

They will also aid those affected by the cholera outbreak, which killed over 200 people and has reached the outskirts of Port au Prince.

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 10:45 AM  | David Kuner

Tutu: Israel undemocratic, uncivilized

Retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, long a harsh critic of Israel, takes to task a Capetown opera troupe for scheduling a performance in Tel Aviv:

In a statement, Tutu compared the Cape Town Opera’s planned visit next month to international artists performing in apartheid South Africa, when it was “a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity.”

“Cape Town Opera should postpone its proposed tour next month until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances,” he said.

He added it would be “unconscionable” to perform “Porgy and Bess,” which he says has a “universal message of nondiscrimination.”

Tutu charged that by bringing international artists to perform, the Tel Aviv Opera House “advances Israel’s fallacious claim to being a civilized democracy.’”

Whatever good Tutu may have done in the past, specifically in helping dismantle the evil apartheid regime in his native country, his scurrilous, repeated attacks on the Middle East’s only democracy have absolutely no basis in reality and do absolutely nothing to further the cause of peace between Israel and the Arab world. Like Jimmy Carter, he has entered the ranks of “elder statesmen” whose public statements on the issue are insulting, unhelpful, and embarrassing.  

The article notes that, though Tutu is retired, “he did not … say he would stop speaking out on issues.” That’s a shame.

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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 9:52 AM  | David Kuner

The dual threat of Hamas and the P.A.

In a ceremony held in a Palestinian University in Khan Younis, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad stated that the Palestinians will one day control the Israeli cities of Haifa and Akko. He went on to address Palestinian Authority (P.A.) President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that no matter what concessions the P.A. offers the Israelis, they will never be satisfied.

It is important to note that Hamas and the P.A. have always shared the same goal of destroying Israel. They have simply differed on the means to achieve this goal. While Hamas resorts strictly to armed resistance, the P.A. believes that Israel can be weakened diplomatically until they can no longer defend themselves, at which point the Palestinians will be able to deliver the final blow through armed resistance.

In some ways the P.A. is much more dangerous to Israel than Hamas. Where Hamas is open about their goals and does not hide under the guise of peacemaking, the P.A. talks peace but delivers the opposite. The current effort by the U.S. to push Israel into negotiating peace with the P.A. will not bear fruit; the P.A. is neither willing nor able to bring peace to the table.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 6:32 AM  | afarkas

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