End Times

May 19, 2010

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.”

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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 8, 2009

‘Iran planning centrifuges for 2nd site’

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 5:20 am

Iran plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge at its newly revealed uranium enrichment site, an Iranian newspaper reported Tuesday, a development certain to add to international concerns about the country’s nuclear work.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi delivers a speech at the beginning of a general conference of the IAEA in Vienna.

Iranian scientists have carried out research and development in recent months for the new generation of more efficient centrifuges, and most of the machines’ components are made domestically, said the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, according to the Kayhan daily newspaper.

Iran’s enrichment of uranium is the central concern of the United States and other nations negotiating with the country over its nuclear program. The technology can be used to make fuel for power plants and nuclear weapons.

Iran insists its enrichment work is only meant for use in generating power, but Washington and its allies are suspicions of Teheran’s intentions and fear its mastery of the technology will give them a pathway to weapons development.

“Over the past months, we have focused on research and development to drive the new machines,” the newspaper quoted Salehi as saying.

The new enrichment site near the holy city of Qom – Iran’s second such facility – was made public last month by US President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain several days after Iran notified the UN’s nuclear monitoring agency about the site. It is still under construction, and Iran says it will be operational in 18 months.

Obama said Iran’s failure to notify the International Atomic Energy Agency at the start of construction “raised grave doubts” about its promise to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.

The new centrifuges would be more advanced than the decades old P-1 type centrifuges once acquired on the black market and in use at Iran’s other enrichment facility in Natanz.

“We are hopeful of being able to use our new version of the centrifuges” at the new site, Salehi was quoted as saying. He gave no timeframe for the installation.

Most of the parts for the new centrifuges were made domestically and others were imported, he said, without specifying from which country.

If true, that would be a sign that Iran is able to get around the three sets of UN sanctions imposed on the country for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

Since April, Iranian officials have said the country is building more advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium with high efficiency and precision.

A Western intelligence assessment that has been cited by diplomats says the new site is meant to house no more than 3,000 enriching centrifuges – much less than the more than 8,000 machines at Natanz.

That assessment also notes that the site could be set up for more advanced domestically developed centrifuges that would process uranium at much higher speed and efficiency, adding to concern that such a site could be used to enrich uranium to the higher levels needed to make weapons.

Over the weekend, Iran agreed to set October 25 as the date for UN inspectors to visit the site.

The facility has heightened concerns because its location next to a military base and partly inside a mountain adds to suspicions that Iran’s nuclear program could have a military dimension.

The inspection of the site and the outcome of more nuclear talks later this month with the United States and its allies will be crucial in determining the direction of the six-year standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities.

Israel names Russians helping Iran build nuclear bomb

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 4:37 am

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Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow.

Netanyahu flew to the Russian capital with Uzi Arad, his national security adviser, last month in a private jet.

His office claimed he was in Israel, visiting a secret military establishment at the time. It later emerged that he was holding talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and President Dmitry Medvedev.

“We have heard that Netanyahu came with a list and concrete evidence showing that Russians are helping the Iranians to develop a bomb,” said a source close to the Russian defence minister last week.

“That is why it was kept secret. The point is not to embarrass Moscow, rather to spur it into action.”

Israeli sources said it was a short, tense meeting at which Netanyahu named the Russian experts said to be assisting Iran in its nuclear programme.

In western capitals the latest claims were treated with caution. American and British officials argued that the involvement of freelance Russian scientists belonged to the past.

American officials said concern about Russian experts acting without official approval, had been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a report more than a year ago.

“There has been Russian help. It is not the government, it is individuals, at least one helping Iran on weaponisation activities and it is worrisome,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

However, Israeli officials insist that any Russian scientists working in Iran could do so only with official approval.

Robert Einhorn, the special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, is understood to believe that Russian companies have also supplied material that has been used by Iran in the production of ballistic missiles.

The disclosures came as Iran agreed at talks in Geneva to submit to IAEA inspections of its newly disclosed enrichment plant, which is being built under a mountain on a military base at Qom. Iran revealed the plant to the IAEA to pre-empt being caught out by an imminent announcement from western governments, which had discovered its existence.

The West says the plant is tailor-made for a secret weapons programme and proves Iran’s claim that its nuclear programme is intended only for peaceful purposes is a lie. The plant is designed to hold 3,000 centrifuges — enough to produce the material needed for one bomb a year.

Iran’s conduct over the next few weeks will determine whether the West continues its new dialogue or is compelled to increase pressure with tougher United Nations and other sanctions.

Ephraim Sneh, a former Israeli deputy defence minister, warned that time was running out for action to stop the programme. “If no crippling sanctions are introduced by Christmas, Israel will strike,” he said. “If we are left alone, we will act alone.”

A key test for the West will be whether Iran allows IAEA inspectors unfettered access to the Qom plant. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, was in Tehran this weekend to discuss this and Iran’s agreement, in principle, to ship most of its current stocks of low-enriched uranium to Russia so it can be used in medical research. President Barack Obama has told Iran he wants to see concrete results within two weeks.

While there is consensus in the West that Iran is trying to acquire the capability to build a weapon, the progress of its weaponisation programme is a matter of fierce debate among intelligence agencies.

The Americans believe secret work to develop a nuclear warhead stopped in 2003. British, French and German intelligence believe it was either continuing or has restarted. The Israelis believe the Iranians have “cold-tested” a nuclear warhead, without fissile material, for its Shahab-3B and Sejjil-2 rockets at Parchin, a top-secret military complex southeast of Tehran.

The vast site is officially dedicated to the research, development and production of ammunition, rockets and explosives. Satellite imagery as early as 2003 has shown Parchin to be suitable for research into the development of a nuclear weapon, say western experts.

The Shahab-3B, which the Iranians test-fired last Monday, is capable of carrying a 2,200lb warhead. Its 1,250-mile range puts parts of Europe, Israel and US bases in the Middle East within its reach.

According to the Israelis, Russian scientists may have been responsible for the nuclear warhead design. But western experts have also pointed the finger at North Korea.

September 8, 2009

Missing channel pirate ship carried Russian arms for Iran

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 2:22 am
       
 
 CARGO ship that vanished in the Channel was carrying arms to Iran and was being tracked by Mossad, the Israeli security service, according to sources in both Russia and Israel.

The Arctic Sea, officially carrying a cargo of timber worth £1.3m, disappeared en route from Finland to Algeria on July 24. It was recovered off west Africa on August 17 when eight alleged hijackers were arrested. The Kremlin has consistently denied that the vessel was carrying a secret cargo. It claims the ship was hijacked by criminals who demanded a £1m ransom.

The official version was challenged by sources in Tel Aviv and Moscow who claimed the ship had been loaded with S-300 missiles, Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft weapon, while undergoing repairs in the Russian port of Kaliningrad.

Mossad, which closely monitors arms supplies to Iran, is said to have tipped off the Russian government that the shipment had been sold by former military officers linked to the underworld.

The Kremlin then ordered a naval rescue mission which involved destroyers and submarines. Any evidence that the Kremlin had let advanced weaponry fall into the hands of criminals or be sold to Iran would be highly embarrassing, so military officials believe a “cover story” was concocted.

“The official version is ridiculous and was given to allow the Kremlin to save face,” said a Russian military source. “I’ve spoken to people close to the investigation and they’ve pretty much confirmed Mossad’s involvement. It’s laughable to believe all this fuss was over a load of timber. I’m not alone in believing that it was carrying weapons to Iran.”

The alleged hijackers, four Estonians, two Russians and two Latvians, will go on trial in Moscow. According to the Kremlin’s account, they boarded the Arctic Sea in the Baltic by claiming their inflatable craft was in trouble and then took over the ship at gunpoint.

Sources in Moscow suggested Mossad may have played a part in the alleged hijacking by setting up a criminal gang, who were unlikely to have known anything about a secret cargo. “The best way for the Israelis to block the cargo from reaching Iran would have been to create a lot of noise around the ship,” said a former army officer.

“Once the news of the hijack broke, the game was up for the arms dealers. The Russians had to act. That’s why I don’t rule out Mossad being behind the hijacking. It stopped the shipment and gave the Kremlin a way out so that it can now claim it mounted a brilliant rescue mission.”

According to Israeli military sources, Israel received intelligence that weapons bound for Iran were being loaded in Kaliningrad, a port notorious for gun runners. “A decision was then taken to inform the Kremlin,” said the source.

Had the S-300 missiles been delivered, Iran would have significantly strengthened its air defences. An Israeli air force source said that in the event of an attack on Iranian nuclear installations, such missiles could increase Israeli casualties by 50%.

Since the Arctic Sea was retaken, Russia has imposed a security blackout. The hijackers, the crew and two investigative teams were flown back to Moscow in three Il-76 air freight planes. For more than a week after being freed the crew were not allowed to talk to their families. The captain and three crew are still on board the ship, which has resumed its voyage to Algeria, but they have not been able to call home.

Last week Mikhail Voitenko, an outspoken piracy expert who disputed the Kremlin’s original version of events, fled Russia, claiming he had received threats from an official angered by his statements.

Admiral Tarmo Kouts, former commander of Estonia’s armed forces and the European Union’s rapporteur on piracy, has infuriated Moscow by saying the only plausible explanation of the mystery is that the ship was transporting weapons. A spokesman for the Finnish owners denied that missiles could have been secretly loaded onto the ship.

Sources who suspect Mossad’s involvement point to a visit to Moscow by Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, the day after the Arctic Sea was rescued. Peres held four hours of private talks with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president. Although the Israeli foreign ministry would not be drawn on the Arctic Sea, it confirmed that the two leaders had discussed the sale of Russian weapons to countries hostile to Israel. According to Israeli officials, Peres received verbal guarantees from the Russians that they would not sell advanced weapons systems to Iran or Syria.

“Clearly the Israelis played a role in the whole Arctic Sea saga,” said a Russian military source. “Peres used the incident as a bargaining chip over the issue of arms sales to Arab states, while Israel allowed the Kremlin a way out with its claims to have successfully foiled a piracy incident.”

August 25, 2009

Iran and Syria

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 2:55 am

One can learn a great deal by analyzing the visit of Syrian President Bashar Assad to Iran last week. Statements made by Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reveal a great deal about the allies’ strategy which seems to escape Western observers. Assad and Ahmadinejad during a previous meeting at the Ash-Shaeb presidential Palace in Damascus. Photo: AP [file] The first point is that they are indeed close allies. I would estimate that analyses by Western “experts” that Syria can be pried away from Iran outnumber explanations that this is impossible by about 10 to one. This mistaken conception is also the official policy of the United States and France, perhaps Britain as well. There are, of course a huge number of benefits Syria derives from its alliance with Iran including Islamist legitimacy, protection against being attacked or pressured, money, weapons, cooperation in anti-Israel terrorism and spreading both countries’ influence among the Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqis. Once Iran gets nuclear weapons, which is on the horizon, the alliance’s value for Syria will rise dramatically. This is why it was silly for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to suggest recently: “Given what’s been going on in Iran and the instability that appears to be present there, it may not be in Syria’s interest to put their eggs into that basket.” Well, Assad apparently doesn’t agree with her. Perhaps she should listen to what he’s saying and watch what he’s doing in order to draw the opposite conclusion. Assad said: “I think that what happened in Iran is an important thing and a big lesson to the foreigners, and therefore they are not very satisfied. I believe the Iranian people’s reelection [of Ahmadinejad] is another emphasis on the fact that Iran and Syria must continue the regional policy as in the past.” In other words, he correctly views Ahmadinejad and the regime as even stronger after the election. Dictators respect repression; they aren’t impressed by an opposition which stages demonstrations and whose leaders get thrown into prison. That’s especially true when they don’t even receive Western support. WATCHING THE gradual concessions made by the West to the Iran-Syria block, and its evident fear of confronting them, Assad stated that he was confident the international community would accept Iran and Syria more than it had done in the past. Note also that the two countries are very consciously coordinating strategy in a war against Western interests and the relatively more moderate Arab regimes, a conflict that Western governments don’t even perceive as existing: “Iran and Syria are on the same front, and any political event is an opportunity which must be used at the best way possible while helping one another,” said Assad. Iranian Supreme Leader (and the real leader of the country) Ali Khamenei agreed: “The result of this unity is evident in the Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq issues and also in the entire region.” The tide is in favor of the resistance, he added, referring to the combination of Iranian, Syrian, Hamas, Hizbullah, Iraqi insurgents and other members of the radical alliance. What does this mean? Palestine: Hamas is entrenching itself further, while European governments seem less willing to isolate it. There is no prospect of bringing down that regime and the West isn’t even trying to do so. Khamenei probably assumes – wrongly – that Hamas is steadily making gains in subverting Fatah’s rule in the West Bank. Lebanon: While Hizbullah didn’t win the last election, it is clear that the Iran-Syria client increasingly owns the country. The country’s president is fairly subservient to Iranian and Syrian influence; the tribunal investigating Syrian terrorism in Lebanon seems pretty dead itself. Hizbullah seems on the verge of reestablishing veto power in the government, and the most courageous opponent of Iran-Syria influence, Walid Jumblatt, has changed sides (or at least gone to neutrality). Iraq: The US forces are withdrawing. Iran’s money, agents and clients seem to be able to operate freely, though Teheran is nowhere near taking over the country. Khamenei also said something truly shocking. After remarking about Syria’s improved relations with Iraq (a country against which it is daily sponsoring terrorist attacks), he added that unity (the translation probably should say “alliance”) between Iran and Syria, on one hand, and their neighbors Iraq and Turkey would benefit the region. What does this mean? He is showing Iran’s longer-term plan to pull Iraq (under a more friendly faction) and Turkey (currently ruled by an Islamist-oriented regime) into a broad alliance. That statement should send shock waves throughout the West, and cause intelligence analysts to pick up the phone and inform someone who has Obama’s ear. Iran and Syria, along with their clients, are at war with America, and the US government doesn’t even know it. That’s why Khamenei remarked, “America’s blade has become blunter in the region.” He’s right. That’s why if anyone is worried about putting all the eggs in one basket, nowadays it is America’s Arab partners. The fact that the US is perceived as weaker and foolish in the region is far more important than the fact that Obama might be more popular in public opinion polls. WITH A US government so intent on apologizing to everyone, all but ruling out the use of force or power politics and apparently – in Iran’s perception – afraid to confront its enemies, they’re concluding in Teheran and Damascus, as Ahmadinejad put it: “Today the world has realized that Western theories are not working anymore and that is why it needs the help and cooperation of Syria and Iran.” An increase in economic sanctions, which is the main US plan against Iran at present, is not going to change this perception – or Teheran’s behavior. But before effective action can be taken, there must be the realization that a conflict is going on, one that is far more important than the one between the US and al-Qaida. One can learn a great deal by analyzing the visit of Syrian President Bashar Assad to Iran last week. Statements made by Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reveal a great deal about the allies’ strategy which seems to escape Western observers. Assad and Ahmadinejad during a previous meeting at the Ash-Shaeb presidential Palace in Damascus. Photo: AP [file] The first point is that they are indeed close allies. I would estimate that analyses by Western “experts” that Syria can be pried away from Iran outnumber explanations that this is impossible by about 10 to one. This mistaken conception is also the official policy of the United States and France, perhaps Britain as well. There are, of course a huge number of benefits Syria derives from its alliance with Iran including Islamist legitimacy, protection against being attacked or pressured, money, weapons, cooperation in anti-Israel terrorism and spreading both countries’ influence among the Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqis. Once Iran gets nuclear weapons, which is on the horizon, the alliance’s value for Syria will rise dramatically. This is why it was silly for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to suggest recently: “Given what’s been going on in Iran and the instability that appears to be present there, it may not be in Syria’s interest to put their eggs into that basket.” Well, Assad apparently doesn’t agree with her. Perhaps she should listen to what he’s saying and watch what he’s doing in order to draw the opposite conclusion. Assad said: “I think that what happened in Iran is an important thing and a big lesson to the foreigners, and therefore they are not very satisfied. I believe the Iranian people’s reelection [of Ahmadinejad] is another emphasis on the fact that Iran and Syria must continue the regional policy as in the past.” In other words, he correctly views Ahmadinejad and the regime as even stronger after the election. Dictators respect repression; they aren’t impressed by an opposition which stages demonstrations and whose leaders get thrown into prison. That’s especially true when they don’t even receive Western support. WATCHING THE gradual concessions made by the West to the Iran-Syria block, and its evident fear of confronting them, Assad stated that he was confident the international community would accept Iran and Syria more than it had done in the past. Note also that the two countries are very consciously coordinating strategy in a war against Western interests and the relatively more moderate Arab regimes, a conflict that Western governments don’t even perceive as existing: “Iran and Syria are on the same front, and any political event is an opportunity which must be used at the best way possible while helping one another,” said Assad. Iranian Supreme Leader (and the real leader of the country) Ali Khamenei agreed: “The result of this unity is evident in the Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq issues and also in the entire region.” The tide is in favor of the resistance, he added, referring to the combination of Iranian, Syrian, Hamas, Hizbullah, Iraqi insurgents and other members of the radical alliance. What does this mean? Palestine: Hamas is entrenching itself further, while European governments seem less willing to isolate it. There is no prospect of bringing down that regime and the West isn’t even trying to do so. Khamenei probably assumes – wrongly – that Hamas is steadily making gains in subverting Fatah’s rule in the West Bank. Lebanon: While Hizbullah didn’t win the last election, it is clear that the Iran-Syria client increasingly owns the country. The country’s president is fairly subservient to Iranian and Syrian influence; the tribunal investigating Syrian terrorism in Lebanon seems pretty dead itself. Hizbullah seems on the verge of reestablishing veto power in the government, and the most courageous opponent of Iran-Syria influence, Walid Jumblatt, has changed sides (or at least gone to neutrality). Iraq: The US forces are withdrawing. Iran’s money, agents and clients seem to be able to operate freely, though Teheran is nowhere near taking over the country. Khamenei also said something truly shocking. After remarking about Syria’s improved relations with Iraq (a country against which it is daily sponsoring terrorist attacks), he added that unity (the translation probably should say “alliance”) between Iran and Syria, on one hand, and their neighbors Iraq and Turkey would benefit the region. What does this mean? He is showing Iran’s longer-term plan to pull Iraq (under a more friendly faction) and Turkey (currently ruled by an Islamist-oriented regime) into a broad alliance. That statement should send shock waves throughout the West, and cause intelligence analysts to pick up the phone and inform someone who has Obama’s ear. Iran and Syria, along with their clients, are at war with America, and the US government doesn’t even know it. That’s why Khamenei remarked, “America’s blade has become blunter in the region.” He’s right. That’s why if anyone is worried about putting all the eggs in one basket, nowadays it is America’s Arab partners. The fact that the US is perceived as weaker and foolish in the region is far more important than the fact that Obama might be more popular in public opinion polls. WITH A US government so intent on apologizing to everyone, all but ruling out the use of force or power politics and apparently – in Iran’s perception – afraid to confront its enemies, they’re concluding in Teheran and Damascus, as Ahmadinejad put it: “Today the world has realized that Western theories are not working anymore and that is why it needs the help and cooperation of Syria and Iran.” An increase in economic sanctions, which is the main US plan against Iran at present, is not going to change this perception – or Teheran’s behavior. But before effective action can be taken, there must be the realization that a conflict is going on, one that is far more important than the one between the US and al-Qaida.

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