End Times

November 5, 2010

Hamas leader calls for unity against Israel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steven @ 1:33 am

Tens of thousands of supporters of the militant Islamic Jihad movement rallied in the streets of Gaza on Friday, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Young men and boys wearing white T-shirts with a slogan in the shape of a rifle carried portraits of militants killed in combat, under the black flags of Islamic Jihad.

A Palestinian militant of the Islamic Jihad stands guard during a rally in Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010.

Photo by: AP Photo / Hatem Moussa

Ramadan Shallah, the group’s exiled chief, currently residing in Damascus, sent a recorded message marking the anniversary of the assassination of the group’s leader Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta in 1995, by presumed Israeli secret agents.

“Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence,” said
Shallah, who is on a United States wanted list.

Senior leaders of the ruling Islamist group, Hamas, joined the open-air gathering, the largest for years in honor of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organizers.

Hamas allowed the group to use city terrain it usually reserves exclusively for its own rallies, and Hamas forces provided security for the parade by its smaller rival.

A Palestinian woman holds a gun as she attends the Islamic Jihad rally in Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010. AP1/11’Referendum against peace talks’

Islamic Jihad carried out a series of stabbing attacks in the 1980s against Israeli citizens who used to visit the Gaza Strip to purchase cheap goods and later turned to suicide bombings inside Israel.

Its militants continue to harass southern Israel with sporadic rocket and mortar fire from inside Gaza, frequently paying with their lives in swift retaliatory strikes by the Israeli air force.

Islamic Jihad officials said Friday’s turnout was a “referendum by the Palestinian people rejecting peace-making with Israel.”

Negotiations between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have faltered after Israel’s 10-month freeze of settlemement construction expired on September 26.

“The choice of negotiation has reached deadlock, and we are wondering why is there such an insistence by the Palestinian Authority on negotiation with the enemy,” said Shallah.

He urged an end to peace talks and fresh efforts to heal the rift between Abbas’s Fatah movement and the Islamist militants.

Raising hopes that the three-year-old split may be coming to an end, Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya said it was time for unity in the face of Israel.

“There is only the choice of Jihad and nothing else … There is no more room to make bets, on the Americans or anyone else,” said Hayya.

President Abbas, however, rules out any return to violence against Israelis in pursuit of Palestinian statehood. He has said he will pursue diplomatic alternatives should the peace talks with Netanyahu collapse definitively.

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May 19, 2010

IMF still prefers its two ideas for global bank tax

Filed under: One World Goverment — Steven @ 3:34 am

MILAN (Reuters) – The IMF still favours either a form of international deposit insurance levy or a tax on financial institutions’ profits and remuneration as ways of preventing a repeat of the financial crisis, a senior official said on Monday.

Business  |  G20

Amid intense public anger at banks in many developed countries, the multilateral lender has been asked to prepare proposals for a summit of G20 leaders next month in Canada on how to make banks pay for a bailout that cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

But when the IMF’s put its initial proposals for the two levies before a G20 meeting in April they proved controversial.

While countries that had experienced severe problems, such as Britain, were committed to taking action, others such as Canada, whose banks passed through the 2007-2008 financial crisis without government assistance, oppose a blanket tax.

To allay concerns that a global bank tax might punish banks that performed well during the global crisis, the G20 told the IMF to consider “individual countries’ circumstances.

The IMF has said the deposit insurance option, dubbed a “financial stability contribution,” could be a simple levy on a selected set of balance sheet variables, but could be fine-tuned to weigh more heavily on firms that pose larger systemic risk.

Carlo Cottarelli, director of the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal affairs department, told reporters the Fund did not like the idea of a financial transaction tax or “Tobin Tax,” which is widely believed to be distortive and easily avoided.

He said the IMF still broadly favoured the two methods presented in April: a levy “similar to deposit insurance to insure the liabilities that are not covered at the moment,” and a financial activity tax, “which would be a tax on profits and remuneration in the financial sector.”

Some economists have questioned whether broadening deposit insurance could lead to increased “moral hazard” in the banking system by encouraging investors to ignore default risk.

The bank levy is part of a regulatory response aimed at addressing the circumstances that led to the global crisis, including stricter regulation of derivatives, hedge funds and ratings agencies, closer attention to bank capital ratios and liquidity and renewed discussion of global financial imbalances.

Syria turned down Peres peace offer

Filed under: Division of Jerusalem,Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:29 am

 


'Syria turned down Peres peace offer'
Photo by: Associated Press

Assad says president offered Golan in return for subdued Iran ties.

 

President Shimon Peres sent a message to Syria, offering to return the Golan Heights in exchange for a promise that Damascus would sever its ties with Iran and various terrorist groups, Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Lebanese As-Safir paper in an interview published Tuesday.

Assad was quoted as saying that Peres sent the message through Russian President Dmitry Medvedev while on a visit to Russia last week. Medvedev embarked on a visit to the Middle East later that week. He visited Turkey and Syria, where he met with Hamas officials as well as Syrian ones.

The president’s office issued a clarification following the publication of the interview, confirming that Peres had indeed sent a message to Assad through Medvedev, but that he had not offered to hand over control of the Golan Heights.

According to the clarification, Peres stressed in his message to his Syrian counterpart that “Israel does not plan to attack Syria, nor does it intend to cause an escalation [of tensions] in the North.”

His message further stated that Israel was interested in peace and “prepared to immediately engage in peace talks with the Syrians.” He added, however, that Jerusalem would “not allow Syria to continue to two-time Israel by demanding a withdrawal from the Golan Heights on the one hand while setting up Iranian missiles on the mountains of the North.”

Peres further stated that Israel would not “enter into peace talks while being threatened,” urging Damascus to cease its support of Hamas and Hizbullah’s terrorist activity.

‘It is a mistake to write off the option of resistance’

“We do not trust the Israelis … we are ready for war or peace at any moment,” Assad told the newspaper. “Some make the mistake of writing off the option of resistance (a term used in the Arab world to connote militant warfare, especially against Israel), and they turn into prisoners of the peace option. They should be fully prepared for both,” he said.

Assad added that Syria had entered mediated negotiations with Israel in 2008 fully intending to reach a “clear and final” solution, but that it seemed resistance was necessary for achieving peace. “If you are not strong, you are not respected,” Assad said. He stressed that peace was not merely a symbolic olive branch, but a tangible and very real way to sort out the balance of power in the region. He then described the positive qualities of resistance, citing his achievements in recent years – among them renewed ties with the US and the West and Syria’s “rich, strong national unity” – as manifestations of Syria’s success.

When asked what Syria’s position would be in the event that Israel attacked Lebanon, Assad smiled and told his interviewer, “I think the Israelis want to hear the answer to this question, and I will not fulfill their wish.” Threats of war, he said, were about as likely to become a reality as suggestions of peace.

In April, the Kuwait-based Al-Rai newspaper reported that Syria had transferred ballistic Scud missiles to Hizbullah. According to the report, the missiles were recently transferred to Lebanon, prompting a stern Israeli warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response.

The Syrian president stressed that he would not put pressure on Hamas or other Palestinian terrorist movements to disarm or act against their will. Concerning the rift between Hamas and Egypt, Assad said his country did not “strive to play a part at [Egypt’s] expense” and that despite disagreements between the two countries, there were no severe issues between them, but rather a basis for improvement. He added that unlike former US president George W. Bush, the Arab states did not employ a policy he described as “he who is not with me is against me.”

Asked about Syria’s regional interests, Assad replied that his country’s “key interests” were “unity in Iraq, stability in Lebanon and dialogue with the US.” In describing the way the relationship between Damascus and Washington had changed in recent years, Assad referred to his ties with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which had morphed into “mutual respect.”

TEHRAN

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:24 am

TEHRAN, May 17 (Reuters) – Iran will continue its uranium enrichment activities, including production of 20 percent enriched uranium, even after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil on Monday, a senior official told Reuters.

“There is no relation between the swap deal and our enrichment activities … We will continue our 20 percent uranium enrichment work,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

May 3, 2010

Iran develops new version of anti-cruise missile system

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:36 am
   
Tehran, May 2, IRNA – Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday that his ministry has produced a new version of anti-cruise missile system.
The Iranian experts have successfully built a short-range air-defense system which can fire 4,000 rounds per minute, he said.

The ministry is now working on different short-range, mid-range and long-range air-defense systems, underlined the minister.

The system has been designed to target flying objects at low altitudes such as cruise missiles, he said.

The mass production of the new system will start in near future, Vahidi said.

Syria, Iran arm Hezbollah with improved missiles

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:32 am
 

ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday accused Iran and Syria of arming Hezbollah with increasingly sophisticated rockets and missiles, saying the militia’s arsenal undermined stability in the region.

“Syria and Iran are providing Hezbollah with rockets and missiles of ever-increasing capability,” Gates said at a joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak.

“And we’re at a point now, where Hezbollah has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world, and this is obviously destabilizing for the whole region and we’re watching it very carefully.”

Gates did not say if Syria was supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles as Israel has alleged.

Barak voiced serious concern over Syria’s support for Hezbollah but did not repeat the allegation that it was providing Scuds to the Lebanese Shiite militia.

Damascus has vehemently rejected the charge.

Barak said Syria was arming Hezbollah with “weapons systems that can turn or disrupt the very delicate balance in Lebanon.”

He added: “We do not intend to provoke any kind of a major collision in Lebanon or vis-a-vis Syria.”

Last week, the most senior Syrian diplomat in Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission Zouheir Jabbour, was summoned to the State Department to review what the United States called “Syria’s provocative behavior concerning the potential transfer of arms to Hezbollah.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said it was regrettable that the United States had accepted Israel’s accusations against Damascus as true.

The Scud allegations come as the United States steps up dialogue with Syria, and US lawmakers have seized upon the accusations to argue against any rapprochement between Washington and Damascus.

Both Gates and Barak said their countries agreed about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, with the Israeli defense minister endorsing Washington’s efforts to secure fresh sanctions against Tehran.

But he said Israel wanted to see sanctions with a time limit.

“We expect the sanctions to be effective and to be limited in time so we will be able to judge …what kind of results stem from the sanctions regime,” Barack said.

Amid recent tensions between the United States and Israel, both men stressed the strength of the bond between the two allies.

Gates said “our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations.”

The US defense secretary also sought to clarify how the American military views the effect of the stalled Middle East peace process.

Asked about recent congressional testimony from General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, Gates said the United States viewed the lack of progress in the peace process as providing “political ammunition to our adversaries in the Middle East and in the region.”

He said “progress in this arena will enable us not only to perhaps get others to support the peace process, but also support us in our efforts to try and impose effective sanctions against Iran.”

But he said that “General Petraeus did not say that the lack of progress in the peace process is costing American lives.”

Khamenei ally says Iran not to accept fuel swap abroad

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies,Uncategorized — Steven @ 3:30 am
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// // ImageTEHRAN, April 30 (Reuters) – Iran will never accept swapping its low-enriched uranium with nuclear fuel abroad, a senior adviser to the country’s top authority said on Friday, making clear Tehran’s continued defiance in a row with global powers.

Some countries, such as Turkey, have offered to mediate with the West to defuse mounting tension with Iran over the Islamic state’s disputed nuclear activities, which the United States and its European allies fear is a cover for building bombs.

“We must be very naive to trust the West … Why do they insist on swapping nuclear fuel abroad? It shows they have satanic intentions,” Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top adviser on international affairs, told Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

“Iran will never trust the West to send its Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) abroad,” he said.

Turkey has suggested itself as a third country where the uranium could be exchanged.

Asked whether such a swap could happen in Turkey — a NATO member which borders Iran and is also a temporary member of the U.N. Security Council — Velayati said: “The West can break its promises easily … and Turkey cannot force them to fulfil their promises (to deliver nuclear fuel to Iran).”

Iran agreed to a Western offer last October to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of its LEU — enough for a single bomb if purified to a high enough level — to Russia and France to make into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Iran later said it would only swap its LEU for higher grade material and only inside its soil, conditions other parties in the deal said were unacceptable.

The United States is pushing U.N. Security Council members, to back a fourth round of international sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks, to pressure it to curb its nuclear activities. Iran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at generating electricity.

Iran’s foreign minister and the U.N. atomic watchdog chief met on Sunday to discuss the stalled fuel deal. Sources in Vienna told Reuters that during the meeting Iran made another counter-offer to the deal.

The sources said Iran proposed an exchange on Iranian soil using a lower amount of LEU than in the International Atomic Energy Agency offer. Under Iran’s new plan, this amount could be swapped simultaneously for half of the equivalent reactor fuel, with the rest of the fuel coming later.

Iran started enriching uranium to a higher level itself in February to create fuel for the research reactor. The move brings Iran’s enrichment closer to levels needed for making weapons-grade material — uranium refined to 90 percent purity.

February 10, 2010

Syria slips Hizballah missiles

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 4:35 pm

Syria slips Hizballah missiles for destroying Israeli cities DEBKAfile Special Report February 7, 2010, 8:40 AM (GMT+02:00) Syrian missileThe secret transfer of the mobile surface-to-surface Syrian-made Fateh-110 (range 250km) missile to Hizballah sparked the prediction Friday, Feb. 5 from an unnamed US official that cross-border arms smuggling from Syria into Lebanon outside state control was “very dangerous” and “paved the way to war similar to Israel-Hizballah conflict of 2006. debkafile’s military sources report that Israel warned Syria through at least two diplomatic channels against Hizballah using this lethal weapon, which is capable of reaching almost every Israel city. Our sources disclose: Syria pulled the wool of Israel’s eyes for the transfer by openly training Hizballah in the use of SA-2 and SA-6 surface-to-surface missiles. Israel had warned it would deem their passage into Lebanon Syrian casus belli by Syria. The Fateh-110 is still more lethal, accurate and dangerous than the SA-2 and SA-3. it confronts Israel now with a Hizballah armed with a solid-fuel propellant, road-mobile, single-stage, short-range ballistic system weighing three tons with a half-ton warhead and a range of 250 kilometers. It is not deployed in surface batteries but fired from mobile launchers, which the solid propellant renders capable of firing at speed with little advance preparation, before returning to the fortified underground silos Hizballah has sunk in mountain areas across Lebanon. These features make the Fateh-110 a very tough target for Israeli bombers to strike. According to our intelligence sources, Israel posted warnings against Hizballah using the weapon through US Middle East envoy George Mitchell who called on president Bashar Assad in Damascus on January 20 and ,even more emphatically, through Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos who arrived in Syria on Feb. 3 after talks in Jerusalem. The message he carried was that if Hizballah ventured to fire the Fateh-110, Israel was determined to hit back at strategic and military targets inside Syria. This warning instantly prompted the war rhetoric which emanated from Assad and his foreign minister Walid Moallem. Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, known for his undiplomatic, blunt style, responded by warning Syria that it stood to lose the next war and the Assad family would lose its grip on power in Damascus. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak are presumed to have endorsed the first part of Lieberman’s comment as representing their own view. But the minister added the personal threat on Syria’s leaders on his own initiative.

October 9, 2009

Barroso fears powerful ‘European president’

Filed under: One World Goverment — Steven @ 1:43 am

The EU’s Lisbon Treaty has raised a whole series of questions about external representation (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has sided with smaller member states in trying to restrict the role of the proposed president of the European Council, a new post created by the Lisbon Treaty.

Addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday (7 October), Mr Barroso chastised MEPs for referring to the post as “president of Europe.”

“I am sorry, there will not be a president of Europe. There will be, if we have Lisbon, the president of the European Council. It is important to understand that point because sometimes I think there are some ideas about certain derives institutionelles [institutional drifts],” he said.

Loosely defined in the treaty itself, talk about the nature of the president’s role has become one of the main topics in Brussels in recent days, as national governments deliberate whether the post should go to a well-known personality from a big country or a more discreet politician.

The exact job description will be written by the first person holding the job, with ex British prime minister Tony Blair among the most-mentioned candidates for the post. It is widely agreed that a politician of Mr Blair’s standing would take the post far beyond the largely administrative role foreseen in the treaty.

According to the treaty, which is still awaiting full ratification by all 27 member states, the president is supposed to chair the regular meetings of EU leaders – known as the European Council – and to drive forward their work.

Mr Barroso, who himself enjoys attending international summits on behalf of the EU, has a personal stake in the issue.

A powerful council president would upset the power balance in the EU and would likely see Mr Barroso relegated to a more much Brussels-based role.

The commission president has no formal powers in appointing the European Council president but he warned: “The European Commission will not accept the idea that the president of European Council is the president of Europe.”

Mr Barroso’s remarks came shortly after a leaked paper on the new Lisbon Treaty posts by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg underlined the importance of maintaining the “institutional balance” of the union. The paper has been interpreted in some quarters as an anti-Blair move.

Poland has also prepared a document on the role of the president of the European Council. Earlier this week, Polish Europe minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz indicated to EUobserver the limited role that Warsaw foresees for the new president.

“We have to recognise that the Polish minister of finance or agriculture will only take instructions from his prime minister. He will not take instructions from the president of the council,” he said.

Some member states, such as France, have indicated they want to create a major player with the presidential job by appointing someone who can open doors in the US and China and who can give the EU some gravitas on the world stage.

Mr Blair’s is not the only name that has been put forward in connection to the job. Other possible contenders mooted include Dutch leader Jan-Peter Balkenende; Luxembourg leader Jean-Claude Juncker and Felipe Gonzalez, a former Spanish prime minister.

October 8, 2009

The demise of the dollar

Filed under: One World Goverment — Steven @ 5:22 am

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. “Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable,” he told the Asia and Africa Review. “We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security.”

This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region’s conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.

The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. “One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations,” he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China’s extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America’s power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.

Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.

China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.

Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China’s growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China’s reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.

Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America’s trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington’s control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.

The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. “The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies,” a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. “The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won’t be able to use the US dollar.”

Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years’ time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.

The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.

“These plans will change the face of international financial transactions,” one Chinese banker said. “America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate.”

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.

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