Intensifying conflict, even war in the Middle East, becomes more and more likely as Israeli military sources report this week a four-Katyusha rocket volley from southern Lebanon struck Galilee in northern Israel during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Israeli Defense Force officers in the northern command stated that the rockets came from positions located in a sector under Hezbollah's exclusive control, off limits to outsiders without the Iran-backed Shiite group's sanction.
The rocket attack was thus likely initiated by Hezbollah commanders in south Lebanon although it was claimed by the al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades. Hezbollah probably activated a Palestinian cell it controls in the Ain Hilwa refugee camp near Sidon on behalf of its ally in Syria, arming the cell with the rockets and marking out their firing positions and targets in Israel's Galilee.
One Katyusha blew up near the border, two inside a Galilee moshav and a fourth in a wood outside Maalot, causing damage but no injuries. Israeli artillery returned fire.
IDF sources interpreted the rocket attack as the Assad regime's warning to the U.S., NATO and Gulf nations that Israel will be harshly punished for any coalition intervention in Syria. It would trigger a Lebanese-Israel border clash followed by a massive rocket assault on Israel. More Katyusha incidents against Israel are therefore to be expected to emphasize the message.
Iran's crucial anti-Israel alliance with bloody Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is at risk from the violent uprising against Assad's rule. Assad's downfall could deal a strategic blow to Shi'ite Muslim-dominated Iran, where destruction of Israel remains an overriding strategic foreign policy objective shared by Assad.
Iran has used various regional cards, including fears it could unleash militant proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas against Israeli and U.S. interests, to deter coalition foreign intervention in Syria, making it harder for protesters to overthrow the murderous Assad.
But analysts say the Iranian-Syrian axis now faces a serious dilemma: Should Iran stick with the increasingly embattled Assad – whose family has ruled Syria for 41 years – or should it jettison the Islamic Republic's most ruthless and strategic Middle East ally?
Iran will be hard-pressed to find Arab allies to match the brutal Syrian government, so its interest is to ensure Assad – whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam – can ultimately vanquish the anti-Assad revolt by majority Sunni Muslims.
The Iranians need their Syrian allies, as they defiantly resist intensifying international pressure to halt their race to nuclear weapons capability. Following Britain's imposition of new sanctions on Iran last week over its nuclear program, Iranian protestors violently seized two British embassy compounds in Tehran, capturing "classified documents," smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag – all as carried on live Iranian television in scenes reminiscent of the ignominious Jimmy Carter-era storming of the U.S. embassy and Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979.
Along with vandalizing property, Hague said all embassy staff and their dependants had been accounted for, despite earlier reports that six British embassy staff were briefly held hostage during the incident.
London had banned all British financial institutions from doing business with their Iranian counterparts, including the Central Bank of Iran, as part of a new wave of sanctions by Western countries for Iran's non-compliance with the international community, and the latest findings of theĀ nuclear regulatory watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency's IAEA Report that, "…suggest Iran is seeking to weaponise its nuclear programme, finding 'credible' information to support this allegation."
The embassy attacks followed swift approval by Iran's Guardian Council of a parliamentary bill directing the Islamic Republic to expel the British ambassador in retaliation for the U.K. sanctions. Diplomatic warnings from a lawmaker that angry Iranians could storm the British embassy as they did to the U.S. mission in 1979 were reportedly received by the British mission. Demonstrators waved flags symbolizing martyrdom and held up portraits of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Meanwhile, former Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin said publicly Tuesday that Iran had enough material to develop "four or five" nuclear bombs, adding that it was imperative for Israel to maintain good relations with members of the international community capable of dealing with that threat.
One wonders just what "international community" he has in mind. The admissions committee of the UN Security Council issued its initial report on approval of Palestinian "statehood" with a close, deadlock decision – and the Palestinians greeted the stalemate with threats of bypassing the Security Council process altogether and seeking a rogue General Assembly vote instead. The vote would seek to raise the Palestinians' UN status from permanent observer to a nonmember observer state, like the Holy See, and enjoys broad support from many socialist, anti-Semitic governments.
This ploy – an overt violation of UN Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords – has been threatened in the past, and squelched by firm, swift U.S. diplomatic resolve. Control of the Holy City, Jerusalem, continues to hang in the balance as a main prize sought by the Palestinian "state" and its Israel-hating supporter governments.
Let there be no mistake: HALTING THE PALESTINIANS AND ENSURING JUSTICE FOR ISRAEL IS THE MORALLY RIGHT THING TO DO, but it also means standing tall for security and liberty in the Middle East and around the globe – and in so doing, the United States stands with no stronger and truer ally than Israel.
Obama, as we know, does not agree. In yet another shameful and humiliating episode of strategic and U.S. diplomatic failure, Barack Obama was publicly overheard with French President Nicolas Sarkozy bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "liar" during an unseemly personal exchange recently. The rude name-calling was inadvertently carried by open microphones, prior to a news conference during the Group of 20 economic summit in France. Their gossipy conversation began with Obama chiding Sarkozy for France's recent surprise vote supporting Palestinian membership in the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO. Sarkozy has since graciously, personally apologized to Netanyahu – Obama, characteristically, has doubled-down in his arrogant, no-class refusal to do so.
Palestinian provocations at the UN only make matters worse. Mahmoud Abbas has continued his relentless pursuit of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations by seeking agency membership status in groups like UNESCO.
The Obama administration, after countless mixed signals and ineffectual diplomacy, finally stalled with a veto threat in the Security Council a Palestinian statehood bid in the General Assembly. France had likewise stated it rejects the Palestinians' unilateral statehood ploy, but last week voted in favor of the UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) ballot to admit "Palestine" as a full member, the first UN agency to do so.
In response to UN agencies' support for Palestinian repudiation of long-standing UN resolutions governing the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Congress is taking action. And Republican-drafted legislation seeking to make U.S. funds to the United Nations contingent on far-reaching reforms has received the endorsement of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – the first prominent Democrat to openly support the bill.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has authored the UN Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829) which authorizes the U.S. and other member states to fund only those UN activities and agencies they determine are efficient and in the national interest.
The bill has the support of some 141 co-sponsors, all Republican. Congressional Democrats have shunned it, but in a letter sent to Democrat lawmakers, Mayor Koch said it would "strengthen America's ability to lead at the UN in order to advance the interests of our nation and our ally Israel…" The U.S. presently accounts for more than one-fifth of the UN's operating budget.
Koch rightly observed, "The reason the UN is often on the side of the PLO instead of the U.S. and Israel, and on the side of dictatorships instead of democracies, is that there are no consequences for bad behavior."
The simple truth is that Barack Obama has carved out a special, shameful unpopularity for himself as the most anti-Israel president ever – and he is dragging the Democrat party down this road. We need to make sure Congress keeps it in mind – and that "it shows" in their support of Israel during these trying and dangerous days.
Unnegotiated Palestinian "statehood" IS a huge provocation certain to ignite untold violence. Such a "state" concocted by UN fiat would initiate terror attacks in Jerusalem or on other vital Israeli territory, and Israel's enemies would brand her necessary defensive actions "aggression" against a UN member state. Under a "Uniting for Peace" General Assembly Resolution vote, blue-helmeted "peacekeepers" could be deployed to invade Israel's sovereign lands.
In fact, United States troops, under the new-world-order command of the United Nations, could be ordered to invade Israel!
As observed by foreign affairs expert Caroline Glick, Obama is
Unilaterally defined Palestinian "statehood" is a rogue resolution, operating outside the context of a peace treaty with Israel. Such proposal is an overt violation of prior UN Resolution 242, which requires a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestinian representatives before any UN action may be considered on a Palestinian state. It explicitly repudiates the Oslo Accords. Yet Obama allows the Palestinians to gather support for this travesty, snickers at calling Netanyahu a liar while posturing as an ally of Israel – and leaves Israel twisting in the wind. Is this any way to treat an ally?
Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate MUST unite in defense of Israel! The REAL political conversion for Ed Koch is most telling, resting on one cold, hard fact. As he describes, "I have not recovered from my shock when I learned from a Gallup poll conducted in February 2010 that 48 percent of Democrats supported Israel and 70 percent of Republicans did. Those figures are permanently seared in my mind."
Ed Koch, ex-mayor, life-long Democrat, is a decent man for whom respect for truth and love of America and Israel trump the prevailing vulgar political calculations that are destroying his old party, leading our country to ruin, and imperiling the only democracy in the Middle East as Obama pursues policies that bring the region closer and closer to catastrophic, perhaps even nuclear war.
There is a 52% liberal majority of the Democrat party that no longer stands foursquare with Israel – and under the "leadership" of Obama, the betrayal of Israel is becoming party policy.
IT MUST NOT BECOME AMERICA'S POLICY.
AMERICA STANDS WITH ISRAEL.
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