Period: January 2012


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Eli Lake - The Daily Beast - December 28, 2011 - When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opined earlier this month that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret,” the Israelis went ballistic behind the scenes. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, lodged a formal diplomatic protest known as a demarche. And the White House was thrust into action, reassuring the Israelis that the administration had its own “red lines” that would trigger military action against Iran, and that there is no need for Jerusalem to act unilaterally.
Panetta’s seemingly innocent remarks on Dec. 2 triggered the latest drama in the tinder-box relationship that the Obama administration is trying to navigate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. With Republicans lining up to court Jewish donors and voters in America in 2012, Obama faces a tricky election-year task of ensuring Iran doesn’t acquire a nuclear bomb on his watch while keeping the Israelis from launching a preemptive strike that could inflame an already teetering Middle East. Continued:

NY Daily News January 1, 2012 - Images of ultra-Orthodox Jews dressing up as Nazi concentration camp inmates during a protest drew widespread condemnation Sunday and added a new twist to a simmering battle over growing extremism inside Israel’s insular ultra-Orthodox community. Religious extremists are facing increasing criticism for their efforts to separate men and women in public spaces, and Saturday’s protest, in which a child mimicked an iconic photo of a terrified Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, added to the outrage. Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli policemen Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” — German for Jew — dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.
Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial denounced the use of Nazi imagery as “disgraceful,” and several other survivors’ groups and politicians condemned the acts. “We must leave the Holocaust and its symbols outside the arguments in Israeli society,” said Moshe Zanbar, chairman of the main umbrella group for Holocaust survivors in Israel. “This harms the memory of the Holocaust.” Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II. About 200,000 aging survivors of the Holocaust live in Israel. Continued:

January 2, 2012. Jerusalem. In one of the most blacked-out stories in America right now, the US military is preparing to send thousands of US troops, along with US Naval anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel, to Israel. It took forever to find a second source for confirmation of this story and both relatively mainstream media outlets are in Israel. With one source saying the military deployment and corresponding exercises are to occur in January, the source providing most of the details suggests it will occur later this spring.
Calling it not just an “exercise”, but a “deployment”, the Jerusalem Post quotes US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc, Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany. The US Commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.” In an effort to respond to recent Iranian threats and counter-threats, Israel announced the largest ever missile defense exercise in its history. Now, it’s reported that the US military, including the US Navy, will be stationed throughout Israel, also taking part.
Also confirming the upcoming US-Israeli military missile exercises is - 'global news service of the Jewish people'. In their account, they report, 'Last week, plans for Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit Israel in January were leaked to Israeli media; his visit likely will coincide with the largest-ever joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile exercise'. While American troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to EUCOM in Germany. EUCOM stands for United States European Command. Continued:

Knesset member says U.S., European countries not speaking language of strength
Published: 18 hours ago - 1.29.2012 The time has come for the international community to stop 'playing games' and get tough with Iran, declared a Knesset member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party. Warning that 'all options are on the table,' Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon urged the West to 'stop playing games with Iran and to show them some strength.'
'This is a language that you speak in the Middle East, and unfortunately we see the Europeans and the Americans trying to speak in a different language,' said Danon, who serves as deputy speaker of the Knesset. Danon was speaking in an interview today on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio on New York’s WABC Radio.'
Click here to listen to the audio.
Danon said that Israel supports the imposition of tough sanctions on Iran backed up by the threat of action.
"You have to tell them that if you do not stop with the nuclear reactors we will put sanctions that you will feel them on a daily basis," he said.
Regarding the current round of sanctions, Danon told Klein, "We see something happening in that direction, but it’s too little too late."
Asked about the prospects of military action, Danon replied that "All the options are on the table."
"Israel has the military capability to deal with the threats from Iran. But we think it should not be the burden of the Israel itself. It should be a joint effort of the U.S., European countries and Western societies together fighting the threats coming from Iran."
Danon’s warning follows tough words from Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos that his country is 'determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear.' Continued:

See why president earned 'Pants-on-Fire' rating in attack on GOP contenders
by Aaron Klein Jerusalem bureau 1.14.2012 - WND - JERUSALEM "President Obama’s reelection campaign misleadingly claimed GOP presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich would all cut foreign aid to Israel. "Stand against ‘zeroing out’ aid to Israel," reads the title of a page of Obama’s official campaign website. Continues the page: 'Republican candidates for president Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich all say they would cut foreign aid to Israel " and every other country " to zero. "Stand up to this extreme isolationism and join the call to reject the Romney-Perry-Gingrich plan," the campaign concludes the claim was so faulty that, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-check project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, labeled it a "ridiculous distortion" deserving of the site’s "Pants-On-Fire" rating. Obama’s campaign told the website’s claim on foreign aid stems from a series of statements made at a foreign-policy themed debate last November in which Romney, Perry and Gingrich stated they would review U.S. foreign aid.Continued:

By Joseph Farah WND Sunday, January 15, 2012 - A U.S. intelligence source tells G2Bulletin that the Israelis, who know the overflight schedule of U.S. surveillance satellites monitoring their war preparations, wait until the “bird” passes and then resume what appears to be increased mobilization activities.
Sources say the Israelis are making war preparations, but subtly, in an effort to lessen the world’s notice and they may be further along than U.S. imagery analysts are able to assess.
Of course, there also have been the recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, apparently in an effort to halt Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
In addition to the assassinations of three Iranian scientists over the years, the nation’s top missile developer also was targeted. What may amount to a proxy war with these assassinations is an effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel and some Western countries believe is a cover for developing nuclear weapons. Continued;

Iran said Thursday that it would respond to Israel's 'cold war' against it - with attacks against Israelis, and possibly Jews worldwide. By David Lev First Publish: 1/12/2012, 3:08 PM - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Israel news photo: Iran govran government websiteIran is preparing its own answers to the string of assassinations of Iranian scientists, a web site identified with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Thursday "and those responsible had better start staying awake nights, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying. Naming Israel specifically, the Rajah News website said that Israel wasn't the only country that could undertake long-distance proxy wars. "We too can send our agents to kill people in their sleep," the site quoted the unnamed official as saying.
"None of those responsible will escape, none of them should feel safe," the official told the website. "We will take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region." Israeli commentators said that the statement was an implied threat that Iran could target American Jews in response to what it perceives is a covert war by Israel to halt Iran's nuclear program. Several months ago, the FBI announced the arrest of a terror gang connected to Iran that had planned to attack synagogues in the U.S., and to blow up the Saudi embassy in Washington. Continued:

Russia has given Iran its bear hug and warns Israel and the West that an attack on Tehran would be considered an attack on Moscow. By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu First Publish: 1/15/2012, 12:28 PM - Moscow's Kremlin
ITAR-TASS/Russian FederationRussia has given Iran its bear hug and warns Israel and the West that an attack on Tehran would be considered an attack on Moscow. The threat heightens the prospect of World War III in the event of a military strike on Iran. "Iran is our neighbor," Russia's outgoing ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told reporters in Brussels. "And if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security."
Kremlin Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev accused Israel of provoking the United States towards war against Iran, the Russian Interfax news agency reported Friday. "But at the same time, we believe that any country has the right to have what it needs to feel comfortable, including Iran," he added.
Rogozin warned on Friday that more attacks on Iran could cause "a scorching Arab Summer." Russia also has come to the defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning Western nations not to intervene in Syria with military forces. Russia is a major arms supplier to Syria and has a heavy investment in Iran’s nuclear facilities. Continued:

Teves 23, 5772 - January 18, 2012 - Posted by Neil Rubin on 08/31/10 at 11:06 AM - For more than a millennium Jewish philosophers and theologians have pondered the mysteries of a Third Temple, the one said to be part of the long-awaited messianic era. Will it come at the start of that era, or after it begins? Will it be something concrete, or something figurative? Are Jews allowed to build it prior to a messianic era to usher in that period? Or must we patiently wait, as we have done for so long? For some modern Zionists, the state of Israel ' known as the Third Jewish Commonwealth ' is known as the Third Temple.
But now it seems that construction of a large replica of King Solomon’s temple is under way ' in Sao Paulo, Brazil ' and not by Jews. (For the record, the one where the cafeteria was kosher was destroyed in the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 C.E.—not to be confused with the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.).
Not surprisingly, the $200 million, four-year project is being financed and supervised by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Brazilian Pentecostal church. That’s not surprising because this group belongs to the category of Christian Zionists (which contrary to popular belief is far from every evangelical who walks planet earth). Continued:

Analysis by Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe - WASHINGTON, Jan 16, 2012 (IPS) - The postponement of a massive joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise appears to be the culmination of a series of events that has impelled the Barack Obama administration to put more distance between the United States and aggressive Israeli policies toward Iran.
The exercise, called "Austere Challenge '12" and originally scheduled for April, was to have been a simulation of a joint U.S.-Israeli effort to identify, track and intercept incoming missiles by integrating sophisticated U.S. radar systems with the Israeli Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome anti-missile defence systems.
U.S. participation in such an exercise, obviously geared to a scenario involving an Iranian retaliation against an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, would have made the United States out to be a partner of Israel in any war that would follow an Israeli attack on Iran.
Obama and U.S. military leaders apparently decided that the United States could not participate in such an exercise so long as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to give the administration any assurance that he will not attack Iran without prior approval from Washington Continued:


By JPOST.COM STAFF - 11/27/2011 23:39 - "How many missiles have they prepared themselves for?" Iranian defense minister asks. Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said that Iran has up to 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel, according to the semi-official Iranian FARS news agency.
According to the report, Vahidi questioned threats against the Islamic Republic from the Jewish State, asking "How many missiles have they prepared themselves for? 10,000? 20,000? 50,000? 100,000, 150,000 or more?"

By Staff and Yaakov Lappin - 11/26/2011 15:19 - Iranian Army Navy Commander Sayyari says Ghadir-class submarines designed, manufactured by Islamic Republic's experts. Continued

Meeting held in part to boost the profile of the Council of Religious Leaders of Israel • Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger praises the "historic" meeting • Pope Benedict considered a longtime promoter of interfaith dialogue.
The Associated Press Newsletter Friday November 11, 2011 - "We, the religious leaders of the Holy Land, have come to prove once and for all that we can live in peace," Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger and Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday. |Photo credit: Reuters Pope Benedict XVI, right, reads as he travels for an interfaith forum (file photo). |Photo credit: AP The Pope, center, leaves a train as he arrives for a peace meeting in Assisi, central Italy in October (file photo). |Photo credit: AP "We, the religious leaders of the Holy Land, have come to prove once and for all that we can live in peace," Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger and Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday.
VATICAN CITY -- A delegation of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Druze religious leaders in Israel met Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI in a high-profile display of their efforts to promote interfaith peace initiatives in the region.
The Council of Religious Leaders was created in 2007 in Jerusalem to bring together Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders to raise awareness about the need for interfaith dialogue and cooperation in Israel. Continued:

The Vatican is now reiterating demands for c ontrol of religious sites in Jerusalem. Jordan's occupation 1948-1967 didn't bother them. By Giulio Meotti, Italy - First Publish: 12/15/2011, 4:14 PM -
Vatican - Jerusalem - Israel Radio Photo“Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites of Jerusalem”, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared several days ago in Rome. The Vatican’s former foreign minister asked to place some Israeli holy places under Vatican authority, alluding to the Cenacle on Mount Zion and the garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Continued:

In what’s almost certain to irritate separation of church and state advocates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to start hosting a regular Bible study group at his official residence, where he plans to invite researchers and government officials.
In so doing, Netanyahu follows the lead of former prime ministers David Ben-Gurion, the country’s first prime minister, and Menachem Begin who served in the 1970s and 1980’s who both hosted Bible study groups regularly.
The Jerusalem Post quotes Netanyahu as saying his goal is 'to perpetuate love of the Bible:'
'Ben-Gurion understood that the Book of Books is our mandate for our country […]' Netanyahu said. "He viewed the Bible as the wondrous story of the Jewish people, the unique spiritual, cultural and historic heritage of our people, and also as one of the cornerstones of all of human culture." Continued:

'It seems freedom of religion in Israel is only for Muslims' - Published: 12/12/2011 at 8:35 PM by Aaron Klein - WND - JERUSALEM " The Israeli government is currently banning all non-Muslims from ascending the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism. "It seems freedom of religion in Israel is only for Muslims and not for Christians and Jews," Danny Danon, deputy speaker of the Knesset, told WND, referring to the new restrictions. Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby confirmed to WND that Jews and Christians are restricted from entering the Temple Mount due to safety concerns over the main access gate for non-Muslims, known as the Mughrabi Bridge. Continued:

The European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi sign a financial agreement during a meeting in Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. Ashton is on a 3-day visit to Israel and Palestinian territories, part of her ongoing efforts to encourage the two sides to resume negotiations. (AP Photo - Hatem Moussa) KARIN LAUB - From Associated Press - January 25, 2012 1:39 PM EST
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A low-level dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians about a future border has ended without any breakthrough, the Palestinian president said Wednesday, reflecting the impasse plaguing the negotiations for at least three years. President Mahmoud Abbas said he would consult with Arab allies next week to figure out how to proceed now. While frustrated with the lack of progress, Abbas is under pressure to extend the Jordanian-mediated exploratory talks, which the international community hopes will lead to a resumption of long-stalled formal negotiations on establishing a Palestinian state. Israel said Wednesday it's willing to continue the dialogue. Abbas didn't close the door to continued meetings, saying he'll decide after consultations with the Arab League on Feb. 4. A Palestinian walkout could cost Abbas international sympathy at a time when he seeks global recognition of a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Continued:

30 September - 7 October - 7 nights
Jerusalem Newswire
Sunday 30 September - Erev Succoth
14:00 - 17:45 Registration of delegates in Hotels
18:00 Shabbat Dinner for registered hotel delegates only
20:00 Visit the Western Wall together with the Jews for Prayer
Monday 1 October - Jewish Succoth begins
09:00 Visit holy sites of Jerusalem/or The Galilee - the places where Jesus ministered
20:00 Grande Opening Evening in the Valley of Hinnom
10:30 Prophetic procession of Praise and Dance from Hinnom Valley to Temple Mount - with the Israeli Army
12:30 Grand Meeting of solidarity for Israel in co-operation with the Israeli Defense Forces
20:00 Special evening to honor Holocaust Survivors as founders of Eretz Israel - with a pledge of our continual abiding with the people and land of Israel.
Wednesday 3 October
10:00 Mass Solidarity Meeting in front of the Israel Knesset in the presence of key Knesset Members - pledging to stand for Israel and all the land God promised to them.
12:30 We travel to Hebron, the city of beginnings, where Abraham bought the first piece of land, the city of the patriarchs and the first capital under King David.
15:00 Celebrating the birthday of our Lord with festive songs and Christmas carols in the Shepherd's Fields near Bethlehem.
20:00 Evening Celebration, Praise, Prayer and Proclamation in the Hinnom Valley
Thursday 4 October
10:00 Joyful meeting with prayer and praise at the Promenade with its breath taking view of all Jerusalem.
13:00 Participation in the annual festive Jerusalem March together with thousands of Israelis and Christians.
20:00 Evening Celebration, Praise, Prayer and Proclamation in the Hinnom Valley
Friday 5 October
10:00 Meeting with top Israeli politicians and leaders with an official opening by the Mayor of Jerusalem: Nir Barkat
15:00 Instructions by anointed men and woman how to be a better Ambassador for the Lord and Israel during these end times, closing with a Dedication ceremony
19:00 Shabbat Meal for registered hotel delegates only
Saturday 6 October
10:00 Blessed is HE who comes in the name of the Lord - prophetic procession from Mount of Olives to the Temple district in preparation for the coming of the Lord in glory!
20:00 Final Celebration, Praise, Prayer and Proclamation in the Hinnom Valley
Sunday 7 October - Departure - With you on the walls - Stan Goodenough
More information coming..


THE “JEWISH” SPIRIT OF THE ANTI CHRIST is already at work. St John the apostle tells us what this Jewish spirit of the Anti Christ is:
“Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is the spirit of Antichrist. He is the spirit of Antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.” — (I John 2:22; 4:3)
Thus the essence of the Jewish spirit of Antichrist is:
1. Denial that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God Who became incarnate.
2. Denial that Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah.
3. Denial of the Holy Trinity of which Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of the Father.
[All?] Jews since 33 A.D. deny:
1) The Divinity & Incarnation of Jesus Christ
2) The Messiahship of Jesus Christ
3) The Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ
These 3 denials are the Jewish spirit of Antichrist!
THE PROPHET DANIEL predicted that the Anti Christ would be a Jew:
“At the end of time a ruler shall exalt himself against God speaking great swelling words. He shall not regard the God of his fathers. He shall honor a god of opposition, a god whom his fathers knew not.” — (Daniel 11)
St John of Damascus of the 8th Century, whose authority is recognized by all Christian denominations, states that the Anti Christ 1) will be a Jew 2) will come to the Jews 3) will be accepted by the Jews.
(See: Exposition Of The Orthodox Faith, Book IV:26)
Jesus Christ affirmed this when he warned the Jews: “I am come in my Father’s Name but you will not receive Me. Another will come in his own name and him you will receive.” (St John 5:43)

Navy is set to hold a major military maneuver in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in February, a senior IRGC commander says. IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Thursday that the maneuver, 7th in a series of drills dubbed the Great Prophet, will be different compared to previous exercises held by the IRGC.
He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in full control of the strategic Strait of Hormuz and monitors all moves in the area. The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman, connects the Persian Gulf with the Sea of Oman and is a major oil route. This comes after the Iranian navy launched the 10-day Velayat 90 drills on December 24 to test its defense capabilities and maintain total readiness in the face of potential threats.

'US PURSUES SOFT WAR IN M.E., PG (Persian Gulf)'
A senior Iranian military commander says the United States is developing soft war policies and economic hegemony as its key strategies in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf regions. Based on such strategies, the US has deployed a major part of its troops in Iraq and Kuwait, said Iran's Ground Forces Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan on Thursday. He added that the US and its allies aim to support Saudi Arabia, maintain Washington's defense forces in Bahrain and gain control of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf-- an energy lifeline for the world. The Iranian commander further stated that the Saudi oil, traded in US dollar, is a support for the American currency and pointed out that Washington is worried about the impacts of Islamic Awakening on Saudi Arabia.
Brig. Gen. Pourdastan said that the US-led global arrogance is approaching its collapse due to developments in the Middle East and the 'Occupy Wall Street' (OWS) movement. Continued:

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev have held a telephone conversation to discuss cooperation in different spheres and exchange views on regional developments.
In the Thursday conversation, the two sides stressed closer cooperation between Tehran and Moscow for resolving the regional issues. They also called for the expansion of economic relations between the two countries and underlined the need for using national currencies in mutual commercial transactions, urging the removal of the US dollar in bilateral trade.
President Ahmadinejad stated that both countries have reached an agreement in this regard, adding that such consensus will lead to an increase in the volume of Iran-Russia trade transactions. Commenting on the Caspian Sea, the Iranian chief executive said useful agreements have been reached on preventing the presence of foreign forces in the body of water, expressing hope for the finalization of the Caspian Sea legal regime. Medvedev for his part said Russia, similar to the Islamic Republic, believes the crises in some regional countries should be resolved through consultation and dialogue. Continued:

A senior member of Iran's Majlis has downplayed the US threats against the Islamic Republic, emphasizing that Tehran will not allow Washington to undermine Iran's sovereign interests. Chairman of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the world should realize that Iran would not permit the US threats, such as the sanctions on the Iranian oil sector, weaken its national interests. He added that the US has become aware of certain realities after Iran's naval forces staged massive military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz.
The maneuvers were a reminder of Iran's policy to defend the security of the Persian Gulf by regional countries, added Boroujerdi. The legislator stated that showcasing Iran's national capabilities, despite three decades of the US and Western sanctions against the country, reveals Washington's failed policies. It proved that no sanctions would affect Iran's national determination and potentials, Boroujerdi emphasized.

Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) naval forces says the world cannot last 24 hours without Persian Gulf oil, stressing that Tehran is fully capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz.
“Today, out of the 1,300 billion barrels of oil in the world, 800 billion barrels are in the Persian Gulf,” said Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said on Friday, adding that it is impossible to imagine a world without the energy produced in the Persian Gulf region. The Strait of Hormuz lies between Iran and Oman and is a narrow shipping channel that leads in and out of the Persian Gulf. Statistic-wise, the strait is one of the world's most important waterways, with a daily flow of about 15 million barrels of oil, which accounts for 90 percent of Persian Gulf exports and 40 percent of global consumption.
Describing Iran as an absolute regional power, Fadavi said the Islamic Republic has had “repeated experiences” in closing the Hormuz Strait, especially during the Iraqi imposed war in the 1980s. The IRGC navy commander further pointed to US failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said the US is incapable of maintaining its own security let alone that of the Persian Gulf. Iran's First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned on December 27 that imposing sanctions against the country's energy sector will prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargoes from passing through the strategic Strait of Hormuz. “If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil, not even a drop of oil will be allowed through the Strait of Hormuz,” he warned. Continued:

May coincide with US-Israeli major naval exercises in the Persian Gulf
Global Research, January 6, 2012 - Russian Information Agency Novosti
Iran is planning to hold new “massive” naval exercises near the strategic Strait of Hormuz within the next few weeks, the country’s Fars news agency has said, as Tehran’s tensions with the West continue to escalate following threats of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted in the Fars report as saying the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps was planning to conduct “its greatest naval war games” near the Straight of Hormuz in the near future. The announcement came just days after the Iranian navy completed its 10-day naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz. The drills were held after the Islamic Republic threatened to block the waterway, where an estimated 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil passes, in response to Western plans to ban oil imports from Iran. The Islamic Republic derives some 60 percent of its budget revenues from oil exports. Continued:

By Elad Benari , January 6, 2012 Arutz Sheva - IDF and U.S. forces will team up soon for a major missile defense exercise, "the biggest one ever" according to military sources. IDF soldiers - Israel news photo: IDF websiteThe Israeli military is gearing up together with U.S. forces for a major missile defense exercise, the IDF announced Thursday. The Associated Press reported that the “Austere Challenge 12” drill is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli forces. While the drill follows a ten-day Iranian naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz, the IDF told AP the drill with the U.S. was planned long ago and is not tied to recent events. Israeli and U.S. officials told AP the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries.
A few weeks ago, the Commander of the Third Air Force of the U.S Military, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, arrived in Israel to prepare for the joint training exercise. Continued:

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2012, 12:36 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Israel US war exercise Iran nuclear Binyamin Netanyahu Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahudebkafile's sources disclose exclusively that, contrary to recent reports published in Washington, Jerusalem - and this site too - it was Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, not the Obama administration, who decided to call off the biggest ever joint US-Israeli military exercise Austere Challenge 12 scheduled for April 2012.
Washington was taken aback by the decision. It was perceived as a mark of Israel's disapproval for the administration's apparent hesitancy in going through with the only tough sanctions with any chance of working against Iran's nuclear weapon program: penalizing its central bank and blocking payments for its petroleum exports.
This was the first time Israel had ever postponed a joint military exercise; it generated a seismic moment in relations between the US and Israel at a time when Iran has never been so close to producing a nuclear weapon.
This week, Netanyahu further orchestrated a series of uncharacteristically critical statements by senior ministers: Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon called the Obama administration "hesitant" (Jan. 15), after which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman urged the Americans to "move from words to deeds" (Jan 16). Continued:

By REUTERS 01/07/2012 01:56 Western countries discuss tapping up to 14 million bdp of oil from emergency stockpiles if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz; action would be five-times larger than any other release from reserves.
LONDON - Western powers this week readied a contingency plan to tap a record volume from emergency stockpiles to replace nearly all the Gulf oil that would be lost if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, industry sources and diplomats told Reuters. They said senior executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises 28 oil consuming countries, discussed on Thursday an existing plan to release up to 14 million barrels per day (bpd) of government-owned oil stored in the United States, Europe, Japan and other importers. Continued:

By REUTERS 01/06/2012 13:37 EU ban may need several months to take effect; worries over economic impact complicate EU plans.
BRUSSELS - A European Union embargo on Iranian crude oil imports could take a few months to come into effect because of a push by some EU capitals for a delay that they say is necessary to shield their debt-stricken economies, EU diplomats said on Friday. EU capitals have agreed in principle to an embargo on Iranian oil, part of Western efforts to ratchet up pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. Details of how the ban would be imposed are under discussion in Brussels, with the goal of having a final decision by the end of the month.

By Michel Chossudovsky - Global Research, January 7, 2012 - Several articles in the British media confirm that British Special Forces are training Syrian rebels. The underlying pattern is similar to that of Libya where British SAS were on the ground prior to the launching of NATO's military intervention. A Responsibility to Protect (R2P) NATO intervention modelled on Libya is contemplated. The Free Syrian Army is a de facto paramilitary creation of NATO.
The reports confirm that British military and intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Syria:
"There has been growing chatter indicating that British Special Forces are in some way assisting forces aligned against the Syrian regime. Reports from late November last year state that British Special forces have met up with members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. The apparent goal of this initial contact was to establish the rebel forces' strength and to pave the way for any future training operations.

Global Research, January 7, 2012 - SANA - DAMASCUS, (SANA) - A terrorist explosion on Friday morning hit al-Midan neighborhood in Damascus, leading to the martyring of 26 and the injuring of 63 civilians and law-enforcement forces personnel. The explosion took place near Hassan al-Hakeem Basic Education School, an area that is crowded with residents and passersby. Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar said that a suicide bomber exploded himself around 10:55 am targeting a traffic place crowded with inhabitants, passersby and shops in order to kill the largest number of citizens. Lt. Gen. al-Shaar added in statement to journalists that the initial death toll of the terrorist bombing reached 11 martyrs, most of them civilians, in addition to the remains of 15 unidentified people put in medical cases , and 63 injured, noting that investigations are going on to indentify all the martyrs.
The Interior Ministry issued a statement confirming the information provided by Minister al-Shaar and pointing out that the bombing also caused considerable material damage to nearby cars and buildings, including al-Midan Police Department, Hassan al-Hakeem Basic Education School and stores.
The statement said that the authorities immediately headed to the scene and collected evidence including samples, body parts and explosives residue which were sent to forensic labs to identify the terrorist and the owners of the unidentified body parts and determine the type of explosive used in the attack, with preliminary estimations suggest that it consisted of ten kilograms of high explosives.

by Sherwood Ross - Global Research, January 7, 2012 - It may come as a surprise to Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum but the U.S. is obligated under international law to the peaceful resolution of its grievance against Iran. Santorum has criticized President Obama’s attempt to negotiate with Iran and, according to The Christian Science Monitor, “called for increased covert sabotage, bombings, and even arresting foreign scientists” working in Iran. Romney has called Iran “the greatest threat we face” and for pulverizing its nuclear facilities “through airstrikes and (to) make it very public we are doing just that.” If the U.S. sought to prevail by military force, however, it would be in contravention of at least three historic treaties the U.S. has signed pledging itself to the peaceful resolution of disputes. As war fever sweeps Washington and the Republican candidates, save for Rep. Ron Paul, cry for war, it behooves Iran to initiate legal action. In this age of instantaneous communications, the whole world is watching to see if either nation will seize the diplomatic initiative, to see which truly prefers conversation to conflict. As members of the United Nations, both Iran and the U.S. are obligated to go to arbitration, not to come out shooting, a fact lost on the hawkish GOP politicians who seem unaware the American people have had a bellyful of war and want to prioritize a domestic agenda. Continued: