These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 5, 2012.
Monday, 5 November 2012
That Saudi "Rehabilitation" Program For Al Qaeda Members Apparently Not What It Was Cracked Up To Be
Saudi Arabia: al-Qaida shoots 2 guards on Yemen border; 11 militants captured
November 05, 2012
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry says a group of 11 al-Qaida fighters has killed two border guards while trying to cross into Yemen before they themselves were captured.
The ministry said in a statement that the gunmen ambushed the border guard patrol early Monday and exchanged fire with them. Four militants were wounded and the remaining seven were arrested.
The statement listed the names of 10 Saudis among the militants, saying they had been imprisoned for crimes connected to al-Qaida activities but were released after going through the kingdom's rehabilitation program for militants. It says the other militant was Yemeni.
Saudi militants are usually released from prison after attending a rehabilitation program, but some have reportedly fled to Yemen to join the al-Qaida offshoot there.
CAIRO — A blindfolded 6-year-old reached into a glass bowl on Sunday to pick the first new Coptic pope in more than 40 years, a patriarch who promises a new era of integration for Egypt’s Christian minority as it grapples with a wave of sectarian violence, new Islamist domination of politics, and internal pressures for reform.
Speaking to the television cameras that surrounded him at his monastery in a desert town, the pope-designate, Bishop Tawadros, indicated that he planned to reverse the explicitly political role of his predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, who died in March. For four decades, Shenouda acted as the Copts’ chief representative in public life, won special favors for his flock by publicly endorsing President Hosni Mubarak, and last year urged in vain that Copts stay away from the protests that ultimately toppled the strongman.
“The most important thing is for the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual boundaries because this is its main work, spiritual work,” the bishop said, and he promised to begin a process of “rearranging the house from the inside” and “pushing new blood” after his installation later this month as Pope Tawadros II. Interviewed on Coptic television recently, he struck a new tone by including as his priorities “living with our brothers, the Muslims” and “the responsibility of preserving our shared life.”
“Integrating in the society is a fundamental scriptural Christian trait,” Bishop Tawadros said then. “This integration is a must — moderate constructive integration,” he added. “All of us, as Egyptians, have to participate.”
Coptic activists and intellectuals said the turn away from politics signaled a sweeping transformation in the Christian minority’s relationship to the Egyptian state but also addressed a firm demand by the Christian laity to claim a voice in a more democratic Egypt.
“It can’t continue the way it used to be,” said Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Coptic newspaper Watani. “It is not in the interests of the Copts, if they are trying to speak for themselves as full and equal citizens, to have an intermediary speaking for them, and especially if he is a religious authority. I think the church has gotten this message loud and clear.”
In Egypt’s first free elections for Parliament and president, Christians voted overwhelmingly along sectarian lines, seeking to pool their votes around the most secular candidates — only to see their favorites fall under the Islamist tide. After the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party won parliamentary leadership and then the presidency, many Egyptians joked that the group put a candidate up for Coptic pope, too.
In recent interviews, intellectuals and activists, and churchgoers leaving Mass after the selection of the pope, all said they had concluded that Christians would have to build alliances with Muslims who shared their goal of nonsectarian citizenship.
“We are not the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Tarek Samir, a sales manager leaving the cathedral after the selection of Bishop Tawadros. “Politics is a dirty word to us, and we do not think it should be mixed with religion. But there are moderate Muslims who live the same life we do, who go to work with us, who live together with us, and if I am in trouble they will help me.”
Copts, often estimated to make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, trace their roots here to centuries before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. They consider St. Mark their first pope; Tawadros II will be the 118th. In some ways, they are now at the spearhead of a challenge confronting Christian minorities across the region amid the tumult of the Arab Spring. In Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, Christian minorities had made peace with authoritarian rulers in the hope of protection from the Muslim majorities. But now the old bargains have broken, leaving Christians to fend for themselves.
In Egypt, the revolution last year coincided with by far the deadliest 12 months of sectarian violence in decades, including the bombing of an Alexandria church weeks before the revolt, the destruction of at least three churches in sectarian feuds, and the killing of about two dozen Coptic demonstrators by Egyptian soldiers squashing a protest — the single bloodiest episode of sectarian violence in at least half a century.
Known as the Maspero massacre after a nearby television building, the slaughter elicited attempts by top generals to blame the Copts and scant sympathy from the main Islamist groups, crystallizing Coptic anxieties.
It also galvanized one of the most active lay Coptic groups, the Maspero Youth Union. When Pope Shenouda overlooked the massacre and thanked the Egyptian military at a Christmas service, members of the youth union jeered — a breathtaking gesture of defiance in the annals of church history.
“Before we had no reaction to sectarian violence,” said Beshoy Tamry, 24, a member of the group. “Now we have more resistance.”
Much less sectarian violence and no deaths have occurred this year, but that has not diminished the Coptic worries, and neither have the pledges of Islamist politicians to protect the Christian minority. “Copts are drowning in fear,” said Wael Eskandar, a Coptic journalist and blogger.
Many Copts say they hope the new pope will ease the strict limitations on divorce adopted about 30 years ago. Egyptian law provides that Christians be governed by the teachings of their church in personal matters like marriage and divorce, so those rules have the weight of law. Coptic women in unhappy or abusive marriages sometimes convert to Islam in order to obtain a divorce more easily, a practice that has added to sectarian friction.
“It is definitely the No. 1 issue on the agenda of any new pope,” said Hossam Bahgat, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Many reformers have also questioned the theatrical process used to select the new pope, who was born Wageh Sobhi Baqi Soliman and marked his 60th birthday on the day he was chosen.
A council of top church leaders selected a group of about 2,400 bishops and elite lay leaders to winnow the candidates down to three possible nominees, excluding any contender with a trace of controversy about him.
Then bishops picked a dozen boys and three understudies. Standing by the altar on Sunday before a cheering crowd of thousands, the first in line drew the lots to determine that 6-year-old Bishoy Girgis Mosad would make the final pick. Visibly anxious, he stood stiffly, glancing sideways and facing straight ahead, until an aging bishop blindfolded him and guided his hand into the elaborate glass bowl to fish out one of three names.
The process, an ancient practice revived in the last century, is supposed to bring the hand of God into the selection process. But some question how much divine will the child can introduce into the process after the elite electors have already eliminated candidates with unconventional views.
“If we are looking for God’s will, why are we electing three nominees?” asked Mr. Tamry of the youth group. “Why don’t we just elect the pope?”
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards inaugurated a new naval base on Sunday to reinforce Tehran's authority over three Persian Gulf islands also claimed by the neighboring United Arab Emirates, Iranian state TV reported.
The base near the Iranian mainland's southern port of Bandar-e Lengeh some 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) south of Tehran is the Guards' fifth in the Gulf. The Guards' navy chief Gen. Ali Fadavi said missile and marine units have been deployed there.
It lies north of the Iranian-controlled islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb that dominate the approach to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway through which about one-fifth of the world's oil supply passes.
The Revolutionary Guard and the U.S. Navy both patrol the narrow waterway, which Iran had threatened to choke off in retaliation for tougher Western sanctions over its suspect nuclear program.
Iran took control of the Persian Gulf islands in 1971, after British forces left the region. Since 1992, the UAE has repeatedly claimed the islands and last month at the U.N. General Assembly, it said Iran's "occupation" violates international law.
In April, a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the islands inflamed the dispute over the territories and prompted an outcry by UAE and its Arab allies. Tehran later vowed to develop the islands through tourism and other industries, though little has been reported on that since the visit. During the inauguration of the base, Guards chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari expressed the hope that new base could support economic development of the islands.
Tehran says the islands have been part of states that existed on the Iranian mainland from antiquity until the British occupied them in the early 20th century.
Tehran also maintains that an agreement signed eight years before its 1979 Islamic Revolution between Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the ruler of one of the UAE's seven emirates, Sharjah, gives it the right to administer Abu Musa and station troops there.
There was no agreement on the other two islands. The UAE insists they belonged to the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah until Iran captured them by force days before the UAE statehood in 1971.
Also Sunday, Iranian newspapers reported that the country has produced a domestically-made drone capable of hovering in midair.
The conservative Resalat said an advanced vertical take-off and landing or VTOL drone will be displayed in February. It quoted Abbas Jam, who is director of the project, as saying that the drone can also fly in silence.
Earlier in October Iran said it obtained images of sensitive Israeli bases taken by a drone that was launched by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement that month and downed by Israel.
Iran says other drones made dozens of apparently undetected flights into Israeli airspace from Lebanon in recent years. Israel has rejected that.
Iran frequently claims breakthroughs in military technology and other achievements. Most are impossible to independently confirm.
David Cameron Under Fire Over Gulf Arms Deals With UAE, Saudi Arabia
The Prime Minister has been accused of acting like "a travelling salesman for the arms industry" as he begins a visit to Gulf states aimed at selling British-made jets.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph as he arrived in Dubai as part of a three-day tour of the Gulf and the Middle East, David Cameron said: "We do believe countries have a right to defend themselves.
"And we do believe Britain has important defence industries that employ over 300,000 people and so that sort of business is completely legitimate and right." ["and so" is employed as a logical link, but without any logic to it]
Cameron has been open about his desire to sell arms to the Saudis, the UAE and Oman.
David Cameron takes the Dubai Metro to the World Trade Centre with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum
But anti-arms campaigners have taken aim at the prime minister for the deals done with states that routinely abuse human rights.
British arms have been in the centre of some of the bloodiest conflicts of the last few years, with weapons exported to Libya under Colonel Gaddafi and to Bahrain, where the government responded with extreme violence against anti-regime demonstrators.
Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs Allan Hogarth said: "Selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE should only be considered if there are absolutely watertight guarantees over them not being used to commit human rights violations.
"Saudi Arabia has been the recipient of record-breaking arms deals involving the UK, yet these have been highly secretive and there’s been little or no follow-up over how the weaponry was used.
"For example, in 2009 the Saudi air force used UK-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in attacks in Yemen which killed hundreds - possibly thousands - of civilians.
"In one attack conducted by Saudi forces on the town of al-Nadir in November 2009, so many were killed in just one extended family that witnesses say the family ‘had to create a cemetery for themselves’.
"More than two years ago we called for the UK government to urgently investigate Saudi Arabia’s involvement in this episode and meanwhile suspend any further arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.
Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at the World Trade Centre in Dubai
"In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record. It’s time for David Cameron to end this deeply disturbing trade-off."
"Unfortunately the UK has a shameful track record of exporting arms and equipment to regimes in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Libya – we can’t now claim to be on the side of peace and democracy while our Prime Minister acts as a travelling salesman for the arms industry.
"It’s time to urgently review our role in the international arms trade. Our economy may need a boost, but we certainly don’t need this dirty money.”
Cameron is keen to restore the best of relations with Gulf states, who are unhappy with the UK's support for Arab Spring uprisings elsewhere in the region with reports that it could lead to British firms being snubbed for future contracts.
But Cameron claimed he was comfortable discussing human rights abuses in countries like Saudi Arabia: "On human rights, there are no no-go areas in this relationship.
"We discuss all of these things but we also show respect and friendship to a very old ally and partner.
"We have one of the strictest regimes anywhere in the world for sales of defence equipment but we do believe that countries have a right to self-defence and we do believe that Britain has important defence industries that employ over 300,000 people so that sort of business is completely legitimate and right.
"We are also partners in defence and security, we worked together in Libya and Afghanistan and we will be talking about all the key regional and global issues."
Britain is also keen to deepen ties with Gulf states amid growing concern about Iran's alleged attempts to develop their own nuclear weapons.
Cameron will hold talks with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE's Prime Minister about how best to deepen the two countries' military ties, and attempt to persuade the United Arab Emirates to buy 60 of BAE's Typhoon jets in a deal reported to be worth upwards of £3bn.
He will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday - Britain's biggest trading partner in the region - which is also considering adding to its fleet of the aircraft.
Three Holders of British passports (aka tourists of Pakistani and Somali background) 'armed with flick-knives and knuckles dusters' in custody over Cyprus murder of UK soldier the day before his deployment to Afghanistan
Three Holders of British passports tourists (of Pakistani and Somali background) 'armed with flick-knives and knuckles dusters' in custody over Cyprus murder of UK soldier the day before his deployment to Afghanistan
A teenage gang of UK tourists armed with flick-knives and knuckle dusters stalked British soldiers around the night spots of Cyprus while high on drugs and looking for a fight, a court heard today.
Mohammed Abdulkadir Osman told police he was holding the blade that killed 19-year-old fusilier David Collins but claimed he was acting in self-defence. Osman, 19, from London, confessed to buying 11 flick-knives and two brass knuckle dusters in the popular holiday resort of Ayia Napa. He also admitted possession of a quantity of high-strength cannabis.
And he admitted that he and friends Tukki Abbas Shah, 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons had had a previous altercation with off-duty soldier Private Collins and three of his comrades before the fatal fight in a nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning.
But he maintained that Mr Collins, 19, from Manchester, had 'jumped onto the blade' which Osman had drawn in an attempt to ward off the soldier, who was enjoying a last night out before being sent to Afghanistan.
Mr Collins, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was stationed at an Army base in the Dhekelia area of the island.
A local police spokesman today said the three men appeared at Famagusta District Court where they were remanded in custody for eight days.
A fanatical attack on off-duty British soldiers is one motive being considered.
Patrick Mercer MP, the former chairman of the House of Commons counter-terrorism committee, said: ‘The possibility that off-duty British soldiers have been targeted by fanatics is extremely worrying. I hope this does not prove to be the case.’
One Cypriot TV station has speculated that the row which led to the stabbing was over race.
A source close to the battalion described the soldiers’ anger that their comrade had been murdered and frustration at the delay that led him to be at the nightclub.
The source said: ‘The whole of the base is on lock-down. Feelings are running very high. No one is allowed out because it is feared that his comrades would take matters into their own hands and track down the culprit. It’s absolutely tragic.
‘David was not drunk. He got into an argument with these three guys and when he walked away he got stabbed. You have got to ask yourself, who goes to a nightclub with a knife in their pocket? They are not supposed to go to Ayia Napa but it’s got to be wrong that he would have been safer in Afghanistan than in a nightclub in Cyprus.’
Earlier today this newspaper and others were reporting that two of these “holidaymakers” were of Pakistani backgrund and the other of Somali background but by the time I come to post those sentences have been edited out. I anticipate that this report in the Birmingham Mail will be amended shortly.
Syrian chaos deepens as rebels, Palestinians fight
November 5. 2012 -
BEIRUT (AP) — New chaos engulfed Syria's civil war Monday as Palestinian supporters and opponents of the embattled regime were swept up in intense fighting in Damascus, while rival rebel groups clashed over control of a Turkish border crossing.
The rare infighting — accompanied by car bombs, airstrikes and artillery shells that killed or maimed dozens of people — heightened fears that if Syrian President Bashar Assad falls, the disparate factions battling the regime will turn on each other.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near an army checkpoint in Hama province, killing 50 soldiers in one of the deadliest single attacks targeting pro-Assad troops in the 19-month uprising, according to activists. Eleven civilians died when a bomb exploded in a central Damascus neighborhood, state media said, and activists reported at least 20 rebels killed in air raid on the northern town of Harem.
"It's the worst-case scenario many feared in Syria," said Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics. "It's an all-out war."
The fighting in the capital of Damascus was some of the worst since July, when rebels took over several neighborhoods, only to be bombed out by regime forces days later. Shortly after those battles, rebels moved on Syria's largest city, Aleppo, and it has become a major front in the civil war since then.
The attacks on the two main cities have demonstrated new organization and capabilities of rebel forces as well as a determination to press their uprising despite the deaths of more than 36,000 people in almost 20 months of fighting.
When Syria's unrest began in March 2011, the country's half-million Palestinians struggled to stay on the sidelines. But in recent months, many Palestinians started supporting the uprising although they insisted the opposition to the regime should be peaceful.
One faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, has remained loyal to Assad.
The popular committees in the Damascus-area Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, which are led by the PFLP-GC, said the fighting started Sunday when residents were attacked by gangs who claimed to include Palestinians fighting the government.
"The mercenaries who claim to have Palestinians among them" tried to infiltrate the camp but were repulsed by the popular committees, the statement said Monday. When the rebel attack failed, they fired mortars that killed and wounded several people, it added.
Video of the Yarmouk fighting that was posted online by activists Monday showed destruction around the camp, with shell-pocked and scorched vehicles, and shattered windows in apartment buildings as residents picked through debris and shouted in disbelief. The video was consistent with Associated Press reporting on the fighting in the area.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, had no word on casualties from fighting that continued Monday. He said eight people were killed in Yarmouk on Sunday night when several mortar rounds landed in the camp.
"Those who are shelling the camp are terrorists" seeking to displace the Palestinians again, PFLP-GC spokesman Anwar Raja told the AP in Damascus.
Syrian authorities blame the uprising on a foreign plot, accusing Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with the U.S., other Western nations and Turkey, of funding and training the rebels, whom they describe as "terrorists."
The Observatory said the fighting in Damascus was concentrated in the outskirts of the camp and the southern neighborhood of Tadamon. Damascus-based activist Abu Qais al-Shami told the AP via Skype that the fighting began Sunday night and went on continuously into Monday.
The Observatory and al-Shami said Syrian forces are backed by the PFLP-GC.
"Tadamon is being struck with shells, rockets and heavy machine-gun fire," al-Shami said. "People are fleeing the area toward safer areas inside the Yarmouk camp."
A Syrian opposition figure, who asked not to be identified out of fear of reprisal, said Palestinian fighters who are opposed to Assad were fighting alongside the rebels in Damascus.
The fighting came as the main Syrian opposition bloc broadened its ranks to include more activists, political groups from inside the country and those fighting on the front lines, responding to international calls for a more representative and cohesive leadership that could work with the West.
In northern Syria, an opposition figure said rival rebel groups clashed Sunday for control of the Bab al-Salameh border crossing with Turkey. The crossing has been in the hands of rebels since July. The opposition figure spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation.
He said the fighting was between the Northern Storm Brigade and the Amr bin al-Aas brigade, which has a large number of Islamic radicals.
There are dozens of opposition groups and rebel brigades fighting in the civil war. Rivalries are common, although violent clashes are unusual.
A Turkish government official based in the border town of Kilis confirmed two Syrian rebel groups were "engaged in a power struggle," fighting each other for control of the Bab el-Salameh border crossing. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, said Turkish officials were still trying to determine who the two groups were.
A bomb exploded in the upscale Mazzeh al-Jabal district in central Damascus, killing 11 people and wounding dozens, according to the state-run news agency SANA. It was the first attack in a neighborhood in the capital that is predominantly populated by Alawites, an offshoot Shiite group that the Assad family belongs to. The blast caused widespread panic and massive damage in residential buildings. TV footage showed bloodied people in the street and gaping holes in residential buildings as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
Residents said senior security and military officers of Assad's regime live in the area targeted late Monday. Gunfire was heard all over Mazzeh following the explosion, and warplanes flew over the stricken area as ambulances took the wounded to a nearby hospital, residents said.
In Hama, SANA said a suicide attack killed two civilians. But the Observatory, which relies on accounts from activists on the ground, said about 50 soldiers died when a suicide bomber detonated his car in the village of Ziyara, targeting an army checkpoint. The Observatory said the bomber belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-inspired militant group that has been fighting alongside rebel groups in some areas.
There was no comment from the government, which rarely reports regime casualties. If confirmed, the attack would be one of the deadliest for the troops since the uprising began.
Fighting and attacks elsewhere in Syria included air raids, shelling and clashes in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib near the Turkish border to Deir el-Zour region in the east and Homs in the center.
In the northern town of Kfar Nobol, the Observatory said an air raid killed and wounded a number of people. An amateur video posted online by activists showed cars and shops on fire. A man was seen running carrying a dead body. The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting on the events depicted.
Several people were slightly injured when a homophobic attack occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, at the entrance of club Cud, in the gay Marais area of Paris, France. One of the victims, Alexandre Marcel, the vice president of IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) charity was among the injured.
A complaint was filed with the French police by Marcel, no arrests have been made so far.
Marcel described to the French press the attack: ‘At 2.30 in the morning, I left the bar to smoke a cigarette with my partner, when five guys arrived and started to hit the bouncers, saying: ‘by the Quran, we will kill you all, you faggots!
"I wanted to return to the club to take refuge. One of the bouncers who was bleeding a lot asked me to call the police. When one of the attackers saw that I started calling the police and sprayed my face with a pepper based tear-gas.
Marcel recounted: ‘the attacker told me “that'll teach you a lesson to call the police you faggot! . . . The worse thing is, that the bouncers told me that they won’t file a complaint with the police because the attackers won’t be found anyway,"
Marcel filed a complaint to the police station the 3rd district of Paris, giving a description of the five attackers as of North African origin (Maghreb).
Prominent National Rabbis endorse Timmerman for Congress in Maryland 8th C.D.
Three nationally prominent Rabbis have endorsed Republican challenger Ken Timmerman for the Maryland 8th Congressional District currently held by incumbent Democrat Chris Van Hollen. They include Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg of “Rabbis for Romney” and Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein. The redistricted Maryland CD has a majority of Republican and Independent voters. There is a significant Jewish community in Montgomery County adjacent to Washington’s District of Columbia, hence the importance of these endorsements. In the run up to Tuesday’s election, we posted on the Timmerman Campaign disclosures about Van Hollen’s duplicitous record regarding his demonstrable lack of support for Israel, close relations with the Washington lobby group for the Iranian Islamic Republic and opposition to sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.
Timmerman is a true friend of Israel, the Jewish people and opposition forces inside the Iranian Islamic Republic. He has been an early watchman on the walls warning Israel, America and the World about the annihilationist nuclear ambition, of the Mullahs in Tehran, nearly within their reach. His opponent Chris Van Hollen is a fellow traveler of the Islamic Republic who has consorted with their Washington lobbyists to oppose tough sanctions even to the extent of voting against them. Similarly Van Hollen has engaged in a duplicitous campaign of co-sponsoring Israel support legislation while in the end voting against them. Van Hollen's true position on Israel is reflected in his endorsement by J Street, the powerful Soros-backed Washington lobby group, which seeks to impose an instant Palestinian state on Israel without final status negotiations. Moreover, there is Van Hollen’s endorsement by the Council on American Islamic Relations, CAIR, and a Muslim Brotherhood front, one of several unindicted co-conspirators in the Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial of 2008 for funneling upwards of $35 Millions to Hamas, whose charter condones the destruction of Israel.
Rabbi Jonathan Hausman
Rabbi Jonathan Hausman is an expert in Sharia and Islamic affairs as they affect the U.S. He studied in Egypt at the American University in Cairo. He speaks Hebrew and Arabic. He has written on these subjects for the New English Review. He currently is spiritual leader of a conservative congregation in the Boston area where he sponsors a free speech forum among those speaking there was Ken Timmerman. Rabbi Hausman has spoken on these topics to audiences in both Canada and the US.
Rabbi Richard H. Rosenberg
Rabbi Bernhard H. Rosenberg is spiritual leader at a Conservative congregation in northern New Jersey. A child of Holocaust survivors. Rabbi Rosenberg received his ordination and Doctorate of Education from Yeshiva University in New York. He also possesses A.A., B.A., M.A., and M.S. degrees in communication and education. He possesses a Doctor of Divinity from The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. “Theological and Halachic Reflections on the Holocaust” is now in its second printing. He is the author of “A Guide for the Jewish Mourner”, “Contemplating the Holocaust”, “What the Holocaust Means to Me: Teenagers Speak Out” and “Thoughts on the Holocaust-Where Was God Where Was Man–Teenagers Reflect on Major Themes of the Holocaust and “The Holocaust as seen Through Film”. He has been a frequent guest on radio and TV about these and related topics.
Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein
Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein Richard L. Rubenstein is President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Religion at the University of Bridgeport. Prior to coming to Bridgeport, he was Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Upon retiring, the university created the Richard L. Rubenstein Professorship of Religion in his honor. Dr. Rubenstein studied at both the Hebrew Union and Jewish Theological Seminary from which he graduated and was ordained a rabbi. He received the Master of Theology (STM) from Harvard Divinity School and the PhD in the History of Religion from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He was also a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale. Dr. Rubenstein is the author of After Auschwitz, widely cited as having initiated theological reflection on the Holocaust in contemporary religious thought. He also authored The Cunning of History, The Age of Triage, and with John K. Roth, Approaches to Auschwitz. In addition, he has written two books on the Middle East crisis, the most recent being Jihad and Genocide, available in English and French. Dr. Rubenstein has been a contributor to the New English Review.
In a letter addressed to Jewish community leaders and fellow rabbis in Maryland, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman urged them to “consider making an important contribution to the future of the Jewish people in both America and Israel by supporting Ken Timmerman” against Van Hollen.
Watch this You Tube video of Hausman’s endorsement of Timmerman:
Listen to this interview with Rabbi Rosenberg about his formation of Rabbis for Romney, the reactions from the rabbinate and his reasons for endorsing Ken Timmerman for Congress. In an open Letter to America’s Rabbis, published in The Jewish Press, Rabbi Rosenberg noted this:
The Islamic world holds us in greater contempt than ever, seeing Obama's America as weak, and as incapable, or unwilling, to defend our interests and our friends.
Listen to this interview with Dr. Rubenstein about his endorsement of Ken Timmerman for Congress his evaluation of Timerman’s exertise on Iran, and its nuclear threat to Israel and the West. Dr. Rubenstein noted :
Ken Timmerman will be a knowledgeable Member of Congress capable of evaluating initiatives on Iran’s nuclear threat to America ,Israel and the West. He will be a valued friend to Israel, America’s ally in the troubled Middle East, and unlike President Obama .
Have Obamaâ€™s October Surprise and Valerie Jarrett's Iran Talks Role Been Confirmed?
In the midst of the welter of news in the run up to Tuesday's Presidential and Congressional elections in the US came possible confirmation of Reza Kahlili’s reports on Iran’s Supreme Ruler Khamanei’s alleged ‘October Surprise’. Ex-CIA Agent Reza Kahlili’s reports based on credible sources inside Iran’s Islamic republic may have been vindicated. The Supreme Ruler announced this weekend that Iran would temporarily halt uranium enrichment at the 20 % level as an act of good faith in exchange for the US and the P5+1 relenting on tough economic sanctions given tightening economic circumstances inside Iran's economy. The denial of possible secret discussions by White House NSC spokesperson Tommy Vietor look lame in the wake of these revelations.
During an interview with the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), Mohammad Hassan Asfari, member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, announced that Iran has halted the enrichment to the 20 percent level and at the same time requested the removal of sanctions by the West.
Asfari said that the halt is a sign of goodwill by Iran but it requires a positive response from the West.
“In order to build trust, the Islamic regime has set aside the 20 percent enrichment process. It is expected that the 5+1 will remove the sanctions. If such action does not take place, Iran will continue with its process of reaching peaceful nuclear energy,” said Asfari.
Shortly thereafter though, the Fars News Agency (which is run by the Revolutionary Guards), put up a short statement saying that the 20 percent enrichment continues and that any announcement on the country’s nuclear activity will only come from the office of the Supreme National Security Council. It is possible that Asfari might have given away the big announcement prematurely or it might indicate that there are still major rifts between the differing factions of the regime for such announcement to be made prior to U.S. elections, or simply that Fars News Agency’s announcement serves for internal consumption.
The ISNA, under pressure by the Islamic regime, later changed the transcript of the Asfari interview from “Iran has halted the enrichment to the 20 percent level” to “Iran will halt the enrichment to the 20 percent level” as a sign of goodwill by Iran.
The 20 percent enrichment has been a major concern to world powers as it would allow Iran to move rather quickly to weaponization grade should it decide to do so.
However, Asfari did not address the fact that Iran already holds enough low enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs if it is further enriched and the current stock of the 20 percent enriched uranium kept at the Fordo facility. Also, as of the release of this news, there has been no official verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, that Iran has indeed halted the 20 percent enrichment out of its Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities.
Coming in the wake of Kahlili’s recent report about work continuing to perfect nuclear triggers and warheads at a secret laboratory near Isfahan underneath a medicine factory at the Velayat-1 site one can’t help but be cynical about this announcement from Tehran.
Earlier today, Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot reported another non-surprise that Valarie Jarrett, Iranian –born Chicago lawyer and close friend of Michelle Obama's may have been possibly conducting secret discussions with the Supreme ruler’s representatives. Ynet.com in an article, “Obama’s Woman in Iran revealed":
A Chicago lawyer is the key player behind the secret talks between the US and Iran. Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday. A close friend of Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett is assisting the US government communicate behind the scenes with the representatives of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
The US has tried to keep the secret contacts under wraps since some of the countries involved in the public negotiations, such as Russia, were excluded from them.
Israel was originally surprised to learn of the talks, but state officials now reveal that they were going on for several months. The talks, they claim, were initiated and led by Jarrett, and took place in Bahrain.
The US State Department estimated the economic pressure on Iran will peak in February or March, immediately after the president-elect takes office, rendering the talks over Iran's nuclear program – in case they materialize – with potentially positive results.
Neither Israel nor Russia should be surprised by these developments. After all Obama certainly doesn’t have Israel's back ,let alone security interests, foremost in mind given a tight Presidential re-election contest with Republican challenger, Governor Romney. Moreover, Obama and Secretary Clinton have made it abundantly clear that the "Russia reset' strategy has failed and the Kremlin has hardly helped ease the crisis in Syria at the UN Security Council. Of course the laugh could be on both Obama and Supreme Ruler Ali Khamanei if the President fails to be re-elected Tuesday. The Supreme Ruler fears that a Romney victory might result in Israel being unleashed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
However, that prospect may not occur, if you can believe reports in the mainstream media today that Israel’s military and Mossad nixed a possible attack two years ago. According to an Israeli Channel 2 investigation reported by AP:
Israel's prime minister ordered the military to go on high alert for a looming attack on Iran's nuclear program two years ago, but backed off following strong objections from senior security officials, a respected Israeli news program reported Monday.
Netanyahu ordered the military in 2010 to go on high alert for a looming attack on Iran's nuclear program, but backed off following strong objections from senior security officials, according to an Israeli news program. The show suggests Israel came close to carrying out the strike, and exposes a deep rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top security men over the wisdom of attacking Iran. The report exposed a deep rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top security officials over the wisdom of attacking Iran but also indicated that Israel was much closer to carrying out a strike at that time than was previously known.
Channel 2 TV's flagship investigative program "Uvda," or "Fact," reported that toward the end of a meeting in 2010 Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, ordered Israel's military chief and director of the Mossad espionage agency to put the country on "P Plus" status - code for pre-attack mode on Iran.
The report said the officials were shocked. Then-military Chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi warned that Israel's enemies would notice the measure, which might touch off a war. "This is not something you do if you are not sure you will ultimately want to carry it out," he was quoted by unidentified close associates as saying. "This accordion produces music when you play with it."
Meir Dagan, the Mossad chief at the time, was even blunter, telling the leaders that without seeking formal approval from Netanyahu's Security Cabinet, a decision-making body of government ministers, they were "taking an illegal decision."
"The prime minister and defense minister simply tried to steal a decision to go to war," he was quoted by Uvda as saying. Dagan did not appear on camera, and Uvda attributed his remarks to his "associates."
Former Mossad Director Dagan had previously go public in opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Fast forward to today. Israel may have more intelligence on Iran’s progress towards perfecting nuclear weapons and the means of delivery. Thus, a possible a decision to launch such an attack might be at hand before next spring awaiting the results of Tuesday President elections in the US. Remember that bomb-like cartoon that PM Netanyahu drew red lines at the UN General Assembly in September? Perhaps those red lines are even closer than both he and his Security Cabinet realizes? Stay tuned.