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Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) is disturbed that the Canadian government is spending public funds and resorting to unprecedent…
The spillover to border countries has started. Is this the right time to say “We told you so” ? Right now, the army is patrolling one area of Lebanon …. won’t be long before the entire place is under the military.
Fernande van Tets writing at IndependentUK:
Syria spillover into Lebanon intensifies with clashes in Sidon. Army moves in after fighting between Sunni cleric’s followers and Hezbollah supporters.
The southern Lebanese city of Sidon erupted in heavy clashes as followers of a radical Sunni cleric battled gunmen believed to be sympathisers of the Shia-backed Hezbollah, in the latest outbreak of violence between factions supporting opposing sides in the Syrian conflict.
Fighting began after Amjad al-Assir, the brother of the prominent cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir, was attacked in his car by men throwing stones in the neighbourhood of Abra. The cleric is a vocal critic of Hezbollah in the mostly Sunni city.
One man was killed and at least six injured, according to the Red Cross. As evening fell, an uneasy ceasefire took hold and the Lebanese army moved in. It is the worst fighting the area has seen in years……..
In the election of 2011 the Conservatives did terribly in the 22 ridings of Montreal and Laval.
In the predominantly francophone east and north of Montreal, and in Laval, they generally finished in fourth place, behind the NDP, Liberals and Bloc.
In the central and western Montreal ridings, where there is a large population of non-francophones, Harper’s Conservatives did a bit better.
They managed mostly third place finishes, ahead of the Bloc Québecois.
Robert Fisk’s article is worth the time to read in full. There was a lot there I had never heard of before like how the French had to leave 50 tanks in Afghanistan because there was no way to transport them back to France without Iran’s assistance. Imagine that ! This journalist is rabidly pro-Palestinian, but most of what he says in this piece is pretty much accurate. No getting away from that fact … whether we like it or not.
….Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria For the first time, all of America’s ‘friends’ in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. Breaking all President Barack Obama’s rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East…..
….In years to come, historians will ask how America – after its defeat in Iraq and its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan scheduled for 2014 – could have so blithely aligned itself with one side in a titanic Islamic struggle stretching back to the seventh century death of the Prophet Mohamed. The profound effects of this great schism, between Sunnis who believe that the father of Mohamed’s wife was the new caliph of the Muslim world and Shias who regard his son in law Ali as his rightful successor – a seventh century battle swamped in blood around the present-day Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala – continue across the region to this day. A 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott, compared this Muslim conflict to that between “Papists and Protestants”.
America’s alliance now includes the wealthiest states of the Arab Gulf, the vast Sunni territories between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey and the fragile British-created monarchy in Jordan. King Abdullah of Jordan – flooded, like so many neighbouring nations, by hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – may also now find himself at the fulcrum of the Syrian battle. Up to 3,000 American ‘advisers’ are now believed to be in Jordan, and the creation of a southern Syria ‘no-fly zone’ – opposed by Syrian-controlled anti-aircraft batteries – will turn a crisis into a ‘hot’ war. So much for America’s ‘friends’…..
…..From now on, therefore, every suicide bombing in Damascus – every war crime committed by the rebels – will be regarded in the region as Washington’s responsibility. The very Sunni-Wahabi Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on 11th September, 2011 – who are America’s greatest enemies as well as Russia’s – are going to be proxy allies of the Obama administration. This terrible irony can only be exacerbated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adament refusal to tolerate any form of Sunni extremism. His experience in Chechenya, his anti-Muslim rhetoric – he has made obscene remarks about Muslim extremists in a press conference in Russian – and his belief that Russia’s old ally in Syria is facing the same threat as Moscow fought in Chechenya, plays a far greater part in his policy towards Bashar al-Assad than the continued existence of Russia’s naval port at the Syrian Mediterranean city of Tartous. ….
Christians worth their salt, whether you be a lukewarm Christian like me or a die hard believer, should never ever forget that it was the USA, a largely Christian nation, under the thumb of a Muslim president, who brought on World War III which c…
Google has changed the tagline on its homepage in the occupied territories from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” A Google spokesperson informed BBC that the company had consulted sources and authorities and was “…following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”
Given the recent UN vote in favor of Palestine non-member observer state status, probably something of a symbolic gesture on Google’s part to balance out all the Israel love it has been dishing.
You only have to watch Eric Schmidt all but (Read more…)
What a lovely world ! Cavemen headchoppers who are making mincemeat of Christians and Alawites are hated less than dictators who don’t kill Christians.
Don’t you know it?! A country besieged with Al Qaida terrorists and a government about…
Ilan Pappé is an Israeli historian – born in Haifa, son of German-Jewish parents who fled Nazi persecution. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom – director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies.
Professor Pappé is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).
In the above Press Club address Pappé (Read more…)
The Irish-Americans of Boston were once a source of support and inspiration for nationalists in the north of Ireland during the dark days of The Troubles. During the hunger strikes by republican prisoners, the people of Boston protested the vile policies of Margaret Thatcher and raised funds. Cash was collected in pubs, clubs, churches, rallies… you name it. They also stepped up in the wake of Sunday Bloody Sunday to show solidarity – opening their hearts and their wallets. We’re not just talking the people of Boston, we’re talking about civic leaders and prominent politicians too.
For example in (Read more…)
Eran Elhaik, an Israeli-American geneticist working out of John Hopkins School of Public Health, recently had his research published in the prestigious journal Genome Biology Evolution. The groundbreaking study – The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses – explodes the commonly held belief that present day Jews are primarily descendants of the so-called “chosen people” – the ancient Israelite-Canaanite people who according to biblical myth inhabited the land of Judea. Elhaik’s research indicates that present day Jewish populations are mostly descendants of a Turkic people – Jewish converts known as the Khazars – (Read more…) lived in what is now Russia.
Since there is no access to genetic data for the Khazars, Elhaik employed a method often used by researchers in his field. He made use of data from peoples closely related to the Khazars – among them Georgians, Caucasians and . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Groundbreaking genome research explodes ‘one people’ myth of Jewish history
What is the biggest threat to stability and peace in the Middle East? It is not Iran, Iraq, or Syria… it’s Israel. The government of Israel – especially prime ministers like Netanyahu – are a de-stabilizing force in the region. The hard line policies of those like Netanyahu drive open the divisions between the West and the Middle East.
Israel occupies Palestine, as well as portions of Syria and Lebanon. Rather than seeking a two-state solution, the Israeli government has continued to build settlements on the West Bank, dividing up Palestinian lands, preventing any sort of cohesive state from being (Read more…).
This is analogous to what happened in South Africa, where blacks were provided with divided and scattered territories known as “homelands” or “bantustans.” South Africa received international condemnation, what about Israel?
Israel has over two-hundred nuclear war heads, this from none other than former US president Jimmy Carter. . . . → Read More: LeDaro: Israel and Peace in the Middle East
Absolutely fascinating. When will people get to travel on deep sea tours like we do right now on land and on water? When will someone start building huge submarines akin to cruise ships and take us to see the wonders of what lies in the d…
What students are talking about today (April 5th)
The world’s biggest terrorist army operates in Syria and is on the payroll of not only the Sunni countries but many Judeo-Christian nations as well.
1239 prisoners consisting of Yemenis, Palestinians, Saudis, Sudanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Somalis, Afghanis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Kuwaitis freed by Saudi Arabia. There must be other enemy countries of Syria done/doing the same thing. Nice little plot, nice big army of killers in Syria …. hey but I thought we were told the uprising was a grassroots one because Syrians hate their secular dictator.
….A top secret memo sent by the Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia reveals the Saudi Kingdom sent death-row inmates, sentenced to execution by decapitation, to Syria to fight Jihad against the Syrian government in exchange for commuting their sentences.
According to the memo, dated April 17, 2012, the Saudi Kingdom negotiated with a total of 1239 inmates, offering them a full pardon and a monthly salary for their families, who were to remain in the Kingdom, in exchange for “…training for the sake of sending to the Jihad in Syria.”
The memo was signed by Abdullah bin Ali al-Rmezan, the “Director of follow up in Ministry of Interior.”
According to the memo, prisoners were of the following nationalities: Yemenis, Palestinians, Saudis, Sudanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Somalis, Afghanis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Kuwaitis.
There were 23 Iraqi prisoners.
A former member of the Iraqi parliament, who spoke to AINA on condition of anonymity, confirmed the authenticity of the document and said most of the Iraqi prisoners Saudi Arabia sent to Syria returned to Iraq and admitted that they had agreed to the deal offered by the Saudi Kingdom, and requested the Iraqi government to petition the Saudi government to release their families, who were being held hostage in Saudi Arabia.
Yemeni nationals who were sent to Syria also returned to Yemen and asked their government to secure the release of their families, according to the former Iraqi MP, who said there are many more documents, like the one shown below, about Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Initially Saudi Arabia denied the existence of this program. But the testimony of the released prisoners forced the Saudi government to admit, in private circles, its existence…………
This post began as a view on the developments in Cyprus and I am grateful to Gail for the suggestion. It is my fault that it morphed a little from that original simple objective.
One problem in marketing natural gas is that there is so much of it coming onto the market that this makes it difficult to set a price for future production. Even when the fields and reserves are estimated to be large, having some confidence in the price that the gas will bring in turn helps provide confidence with investors that there will be a positive return on the cost of bringing that gas to the market. However, once that initial commitment is made to invest the money, then the need for a return often drives an expeditious program to bring in revenue even if the market is already reasonably well supplied. Prices may then fall and the investment becomes a losing one.
The current cold weather in the United Kingdom and the threat of gas rationing has raised the price some 30% this month and the market appears lucrative. But the UK market, in the short term, can be rescued by 3 tankers of LNG from Qatar with more available if needed (provided it is ordered soon.) And then, though there remains a need to refill storage, the crisis will be over for now and the price will likely fall back, although likely not completely since the UK is in process of shutting down coal-fired power stations to comply with EU edicts and natural gas is the replacement fuel of the moment.
Looking further down the road, Centrica, a major energy supplier in the UK, has agreed to a 20-year agreement with a US supplier to buy LNG from the US (out of the Sabine Pass terminal). This would take a fifth LNG train at a facility where the first train is expected to come on line in 2015, and the second in 2016. Each train has a liquefaction capacity of 4.5 million tons pa or 220 bcf of NG, and customers have already been found for the first four trains – again for a 20-year period. The UK supply is therefore not anticipated to start until 2018.
In the meantime, Qatar has no plans to increase production in the face of the overall growing glut in supply, although it potentially could. And this availability of alternate supply is not good news for the Big Daddy of natural gas exporters, those in Russia. Russia has already seen Turkmenistan sell its natural gas to China directly, rather than through Russian middlemen. To date this has reached 1.7 tcf with further expansion in the works.
To make the situation more volatile, the natural gas discoveries in the eastern end of the Mediterranean over the course of the last five years have been found to be of increasing size, as exploration continues.
Three of these fields, Leviathan, Tamar and Dalit are in Israeli waters, while the fourth, Cyprus A, belongs to Cyprus.
Figure 2. The location of the different fields that are being developed by Noble Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In terms of relative size, Cyprus A is at 7 tcf, Leviathan was initially projected at 17 tcf, Tamar at 9 tcf and Dalit is at 0.6 tcf. Since the original projection, Leviathan has now been increased to 15 to 21 tcf, with a likely value of 18 tcf.
Gazprom, the Russian natural gas heavyweight has not been neglectful of these developments, occurring as they do in a region where it would not be difficult to challenge their supplies into Southern Europe. Thus Gazprom has been the high bidder in a project to float an LNG plant over the Tamar field and to liquefy that gas so that it can be sold into Asia. The goal for the start of that project is in 2017.
Turning to Leviathan, which is expected to come on line in 2016 with 750 mcfd being supplied to Israel. The interesting question is what to do with the rest. There is talk of a pipeline to run up into Turkey and thence on into Europe. This would have the advantage of further diminishing the European dependence on Gazprom and Russian gas, but there are some political problems. One is that the pipeline would run through the Greek-controlled waters off Cyprus; another is that Turkey gets most of its natural gas from Russia and Iran and they would be displeased (though it would help Turkey over the difficult problem of Iranian sanctions).
Figure 3. A pipeline to send the natural gas to Turkey (Mining.com)
When one looks at the Cyprus field with these ramifications going on in the rest of the global gas market, it becomes a little more evident why Russia has not been willing to dash into the financial scene and bail the Cyprus economy out by buying a future stake in the Cyprus natural gas.
There was an alternative proposal (H/t Gail) for the pipeline to run instead through Cypriot waters and then on up into Europe directly.
Figure 4. An alternate route for the natural gas to reach Europe. (John Galt )
With Cyprus in a financial mess, they offered their natural gas to Russia as part of the security for immediate help. In the end, Russia did not bail out the Cypriots. At the same time that Cyprus was talking to the Russians they were also talking with the European Union and it appears that perhaps the threat of Russian control of Cypriot gas helped expedite an EU rescue move.
There is, I believe, more in this for the EU than for Russia. The benefit to Russia would come more from controlling a relatively small amount of competitive natural gas at a time when they are trying to maintain the market for their own. And while they likely did not anticipate the hit that Russian bank deposits are taking, the overall cost to them does not translate into an adequate return on the investment that they would have had to make to keep Cyprus stable.
On the other hand, this has benefits for the EU if it can further expand the availability of an alternate source of supply to that from Gazprom, then they can possibly lower future projected prices for natural gas. Set against that is the history of Gazprom sitting on the sidelines waiting for an investment opportunity later in the game, and then stepping in and gaining control for a lower price. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Jewish students say they’re victims of discrimination
The wonderful Israelis have invented a brand new gadget that can identify and select good headchoppers from bad headchoppers. All the mighty Israelis have to do is keep the headchoppers in groups of a dozen or so and presto the machine tells them which group consists of ”good” headchoppers. Israel can then give that group their stamp of approval and the Israeli-approved headchoppers can be made eligible to be part of a super Syrian army that can cut Assad and his soldiers into bite sized pieces. Wow !! Just WOW !!
The NYTimes is stealthy inserting a few sentences here and there about Israel’s “coming out” new role in the destruction of Syria and the doing away with a secular dictator in order to replace him with an islamist one. What’s not to love about that, eh?! Let’s all give the Israelis and the NYTimes a nice big round of applause.
Ann Barnard writing at the NYTimes:
….Around the square are the state television offices, the army’s general staff headquarters, university buildings, the Sheraton hotel and the Damascus Opera House, which is a showpiece of the commitment to high culture that Mr. Assad liked to project and was where he made a rare public speech in January. Some state media said that as many as six people were killed and that dozens had been wounded.
The Free Syrian Army, the rebel umbrella group supported by the United States and its allies, took responsibility for the attack, saying it used rocket launchers aimed at the state broadcaster.
Shelling in such central areas has panicked residents, who fear that Damascus, which has largely been spared the urban warfare that has devastated Syria’s other major cities, could be next. But so far, the government has managed to keep rebels from pushing deep into the capital……
…..In Israel on Monday, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan was reported as saying his country should consider working with Syrians opposed to extremist Islamist battalions to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria to prevent extremists from controlling border areas.
General Golan told the Israel Hayom newspaper that Israel could work with “many hundreds” of Syrian fighters who share “a common interest” in checking the influence of extremists. He did not say whether Israeli troops would be involved, but compared the buffer zone to the border area inside southern Lebanon that Israel occupied for 15 years…….