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Syrian Media Releases List of Potential Targets in Israel
Sep 1st, 2013
Daily News
INN - Dalit Halevi and Ari Soffer
Categories: Today's Headlines;The Nation Of Israel

As US President Obama continues to mull his options over a potential military intervention in Syria, Syrian state media is upping the ante, publicizing a list of "targets" that the Syrian military could target with "long-range missiles" in the event of a US-led attack.

Aerial photos of the purported targets were released by state media, including strategic military positions in Israel, Turkey and Cyprus, such as airports and chemical weapons factories.

Syrian officials have repeatedly threatened to target Israel in the event of a western strike.

Specific targets labeled as "legitimate" for Syrian missile strikes included Israel's Dimona nuclear plant, petrochemical production plants in Haifa, Hazor military airbase, the Palmachim, Zala'im and Tzrifin  military bases, Kalandia airport, and military and intelligence facilities in Turkey and Cyprus.

Turkey, once an emerging ally of the Assad regime and its Iranian backers, realigned itself to support the rebel movement following the outbreak of civil war in Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist AKP party is closely aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, which wields considerable influence among many Free Syrian Army battalions. His government has been providing support and refuge to an array of Islamist rebel groups.

Cyprus is also considered central to any western attempts to intervene in Syria, due to the presence of numerous military bases there.

Obama’s Climb - Down on Syria Attack Spells “Military Nightmare” For Allies Israel, Turkey, Jordan
Sep 1st, 2013
Daily News
Categories: Today's Headlines;Contemporary Issues

US President Barack Obama’s about-turn Saturday night, Aug. 31 on the planned US military operation against Syria’s chemical weapons has shaken up the volatile Middle East balance of strength, spelling for Israel, Jordan and Turkey what Western and Israeli military sources called the day after “a military nightmare.”
Syria, Iran and Hizballah are let off the hook by the lifting of the imminent US military threat against Bashar Assad over his use of chemical weapons on Aug. 21. Not only that, but the threesome have won an unforeseen tactical advantage: President Obama’s turn to Congress to authorize that attack gives them at least a fortnight for launching a pre-emptive strike against US forces and its allies.
Syria and Hizballah’s defenses are already upgraded against the projected US strike and their forces on peak readiness. Rather than hanging around and waiting for the US Congress to go through with a debate, which only starts in the week of Sept. 9, they are fully capable of forcing the pace on their own terms, with the object of getting the US operation cancelled altogether.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, will not waste the opportunity for pursuing further advanced weapons transactions with Iran and Syria.

A high-ranking Israeli office commented Sunday that the three hostile allies, having achieving an indefinite postponement of the American military threat with Moscow’s help, can be expected to press their advantage with further diplomatic and military mischief. Trouble looms for Israel, Jordan and Turkey if  Russian and Iranian intelligence experts estimate that an aggressive move will strengthen the hands of the US lawmakers opposed to US military intervention in Syria.

Syria's allies may deduce that high war flames in the Middle East will stoke the anti-military congressional faction’s pressure on the administration to keep American out of the region. They will argue that even the very limited action proposed by Obama would be enough to drag America deep into the Syrian mire.

Two Republican senators have already come forward as nay-sayers. Directly after the president’s speech, John McCain and Graham Lindsey said they would vote against any limited military action in Syria short of an offensive for toppling Bashar Assad.

September is a sensitive month in Israel because most of it is taken up with festivals, starting in Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur and then the Feast of Tabernacles.

debkafile’s military sources say that the government and military command decided in hectic overnight discussions to take no chances. Against possible negative repercussions from the US president’s bombshell, they decided to maintain the high state of security and military preparedness along Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.
The three-tiered anti-missile system therefore remains in place and the gas mask distributions stations were reopened to the public Sunday morning.

Obama Delays Syria Strike Indefinitely By Turning Decision Over to Congress
Sep 1st, 2013
Daily News
Categories: Today's Headlines;Contemporary Issues

Confounding tense expectations worldwide, US President Barack Obama again dodged a decision for a US strike on Syria by referring it to Congress. In a speech to the American people, Saturday, Aug. 31, he said the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad must be “confronted not just investigated.” But then went on to say, “We are ready to strike whenever we choose. This operation is not time-sensitive. It could take place tomorrow, next week, or next month.
The US House Speaker meanwhile set Sept. 9 as the date for the debate to start.

By these words, the US president chipped away once again at US military plans for Syria - only this time, they looked like vanishing into the blue yonder, leaving Assad and his partners all the time in the world to line up their counter moves, and putting Israel in a tight spot on three counts:

1.  The hostile Iran-Syrian-Hizballah bloc comes out strengthened;
2.  Tehran can feel free to develop a nuclear bomb without fear of resolute US interference;
3.  Hizballah can celebrate its backing for the winning horse in Damascus.

4.  Binyamin Netanyahu’s six-year old policy, which was oriented on engendering understanding with Barack Obama, is in ruins, although it was endorsed by Israel’s defense ministers on the assumption that it was in the interests of national security.

As we reported earlier, President Obama confirmed Friday night that the forthcoming US military attack on Syria would be “limited” and “narrow” and not open-ended, in a  bid to avoid the risk of America being mired in the Syrian civil war.

DEBKA Weekly’s analysts calculated Thursday that by forgoing an air assault and relegating his projected military operation against Syria solely to seaborne Tomahawk cruise missiles - limited to 15 launches - the US president relinquished America’s “penetration and destruction” capabilities – depending of course on his sticking to this plan and not expanding its scope at the last minute.

The Tomahawk cruise missile has a range of 2,500 kms, weighs 450 kilos and can be fired from the five US destroyers and the four US nuclear submarines waiting in the eastern Mediterranean for orders to go.
However powerful, the exclusive use of this type of missile means that Washington has a priori sacrificed the following military objectives:
1. Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles will remain intact. The Tomahawks can damage surface structures at the bases hosting them, but not penetrate their underground storage sites.

Assad will be left in full possession of his CW arsenal.

2. Neither can Tomahawks alone cripple the Syrian Air Force or shut down its bases. They could damage runways, but only for the hours or days it would take to repair them.
DEBKA Weekly's military sources say that the Syria air force is left with six air bases still operational, out of a total of thirty. A heavier and larger missile onslaught than the limited assault planned could have destroyed them all, given the Syrian rebels a huge advantage and opened the way for a plan to impose no-fly zones over Syrian air space.

But Obama clearly chose to discard those options.

By delaying his go-ahead on military action against Syria, he gave the Assad regime time to tuck most of its air force bombers and attack helicopters away in fortified hangars early this week, safe from attack. As the hours slipped by with US action, the Syrian ruler’s self-confidence mounted.
3. Syrian missiles have likewise been hidden in underground bunkers. They include the Scud C and D missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.

4. The big Syrian field command centers will also escape unscathed, although DEBKA Weekly’s military sources report that many of them figure as large as strategic assets on the list of targets which the Pentagon and US military chiefs originally put before the president.

Among them were the command and control centers of the Syrian army’s 4th Division and Republican Guard Division, which protect Bashar Assad and bolster his regime's hold on power.

It is not clear if the military command centers of Homs, Hama, Tartus, Latakia, the Aleppo area and Idlib remain on the final list.

Striking those targets would have shut down the Syrian military command system and seriously disrupted its operational capabilities.

A second list of 35 strategic targets was handed to President Obama by Syrian rebel commander Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, according to our sources. Their destruction was described as vital. However, not a single item on the list was approved by the president, the Pentagon on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, reflecting the distrust and disconnect prevailing between the US administration and military, and the Syrian rebel leadership.

5. Our sources say that the US military to-do list for Syria covers army artillery units, some of which participated in the chemical weapons launch of August 21 against eastern Damascus; local command and communications centers; and research institutes involved in the development and upgrade of Syrian chemical weapons.

This heavily pruned US operation, if it goes through, will leave Syrian President Bashar Assad sitting pretty with most of his military resources intact, and his hands free to continue his barbaric war on the Syrian opposition, including the use of chemical weapons, unhindered and undeterred.
It is still possible for President Obama to have second thoughts about his low-key operational plan and decide after all to land a strategic blow on Syria.

Let the Headlines Speak
Sep 1st, 2013
Daily News
From the Internet
Categories: Today's Headlines;Contemporary Issues

Samaria Prepares – Again – for Tel Aviv Refugees
In an emergency meeting held late last week in light of threats from Syria, the Samaria Regional Committee was instructed to prepare in case the region is asked to absorb Israelis from the Tel Aviv region. Samaria (Shomron) could be used as a refuge in case of a chemical weapons attack from Syria.  

Saudi Arabia passes law against domestic violence
Saudi Arabia has passed legislation aimed at protecting women, children and domestic staff against domestic abuse, a human rights official said on Thursday. The protection from abuse law is the first of its kind in a country that has often been criticised for lacking legislation that protects women and domestic workers against abuse.  

Netanyahu: Israel peaceful, self-assured
In his first comments after President Barack Obama announced he will seek congressional approval for a strike in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that "Israel is peaceful and has faith in itself." He further noted that "the citizens of Israel know we are prepared for any scenario. They should also know that our enemies have very good reasons not to test us. They know why."  

Syria Facing U.S. Cyber Attacks in Upcoming Strikes
U.S. military forces are expected to roll out new cyber warfare capabilities during the anticipated military strike on Syria for its use of a deadly nerve agent, according to military sources. Targets of cyber attacks likely will include electronic command and control systems used by the Syrian military forces, air defense computers, and other military communications networks.  

The Three Reasons Russia Backs Assad So Staunchly
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shake hands as they meet in Moscow's Kremlin December 19, 2006. Over the course of the 29-month Syrian conflict, Russia has provided the regime of Bashar al-Assad with supplies including guns, grenades, tank parts, fighter jets, advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, long-range air defense missiles, military officers as advisors, diplomatic cover, and lots of cash.  

Obama puts Syria strike on hold, opposition 'disappointed'
Syria's opposition expressed disappointment Sunday that President Barack Obama had put on hold military action against the Damascus regime, but said it was confident US lawmakers would green-light a strike. To general surprise, the US leader on Saturday broke with decades of precedent to announce that he would seek approval from Congress for action against Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.  

Terror attack on Suez Canal foiled, officials say
The head of the Suez Canal Authority said a terrorist had tried to damage a Panama-flagged ship, but “failed completely.” “One of the terrorist elements has carried out a failed attempt to affect the movement of ships in the Suez Canal by targeting one of the passing ships, Cosco Asia,” Mohab Memish said in a statement Saturday. He did not elaborate as to what the attack entailed.  

California wildfire threatening Yosemite is now size of Dallas
A massive wildfire that has charred the northwestern edge of California's Yosemite National Park is heading towards two groves of the park's famed sequoia trees, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said as firefighters battled the blaze on Saturday.  

National Park Service Denies It's Anti-Christian; Says Limits on Baptism Unintentional
Following a controversy over baptism permits last week, the National Park Service has denied charges of discrimination against Christianity in general and Missouri Baptists or Pentecostals in particular.  

Fukushima radiation levels '18 times higher' than thought
Radiation levels around Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant are 18 times higher than previously thought, Japanese authorities have warned. Last week the plant's operator reported radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank into the ground.  

Marijuana Ruling Could Signal End of Prohibition on Pot
It's legal to light up in Colorado and Washington, and soon smoking pot could be legalized across the country following a decision Thursday by the federal government. After Washington state and Colorado passed laws in November 2012 legalizing the consumption and sale of marijuana for adults over 18, lawmakers in both states waited to see whether the federal government would continue to prosecute pot crimes under federal statutes in their states.  

Blasts reported at Iran exile camp in Iraq
Explosions were reported in a camp housing Iranian exiles northeast of Baghdad on Sunday, but Iraqi officials strongly denied allegations they had carried out a military offensive. The People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, about 100 of whose members are living on the camp near the Iranian border, blamed security forces for the deaths of 23 residents, however.

Expanding U.S. Drought, Excessive Heat Hurt Iowa Corn, Soy Crops
High heat and little rain during the past week led to an unusual, quick expansion of drought conditions in Iowa and Illinois, damaging crops in the biggest U.S. corn- and soybean-growing states. About 25 percent of Iowa had a moderate drought on Aug. 27, up from 7.9 percent a week earlier, while Illinois jumped to 20 percent from none, the U.S. Drought Monitor said yesterday in a report. Parts of Iowa received less than 25 percent of normal rain during the past 60 days, and much of Illinois got less than half of normal since June 30, data from the High Plains Regional Climate Center show.  

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg to officiate at same-sex marriage
Saturday will mark the first time that a Supreme Court member conducts a same-sex marriage ceremony. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will officiate the marriage of a longtime friend, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President Michael M. Kaiser, to economist John Roberts in the atrium of the center in Washington.  

Russia sharply steps up criticism of U.S. over Syria
Russia dramatically escalated its denunciations of American threats to attack Syrian military targets on Saturday, as President Vladimir Putin called the arguments about chemical weapons that underlie the U.S. case “utter nonsense.” The Foreign Ministry said a U.S. attack would be a “gross violation” of international law. Speaking out for the first time since an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, Putin called on President Obama to find a nonviolent way out of the crisis.  

7.0 Quake Rocks Alaska's Aleutian Islands
Several aftershocks rattled a remote Aleutian Island region off Alaska in the hours after a major 7.0 temblor struck with a jet-like rumble that shook homes and sent residents scrambling for cover. At least three dozen aftershocks, including one reaching magnitude 6.1 in strength, struck after the major quake Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  

Satellite imagery shows North Korea expanding rocket launch site
New satellite imagery shows North Korea is conducting major new construction to expand facilities at a launch site from where it fired a rocket into orbit last December, a US research institute has said. The work at the west coast site of Sohae, near the northern border with China, includes what could be a new launch pad for testing mobile ballistic missiles.  

Collapse Reported on Temple Mount
Sep 1st, 2013
Daily News
Israel Today Staff
Categories: Today's Headlines;Contemporary Issues

Eyewitnesses told Turkish media this week that a portion of the Temple Mount platform near the Al Aqsa Mosque has collapsed, creating a serious safety hazard and a possible threat to the stability of the Islamic structure.

If the report is accurate, it would be the second serious collapse on the Temple Mount in the past five years.

Palestinian officials claim that the collapses are caused by deliberate Israeli action to bring down the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock so that the Jewish Temple can be rebuilt.

But archaeologists and engineers have been warning for years that the heavy construction projects being carried out by the Muslims atop the Temple Mount are destabilizing the huge number of ancient structures and water cisterns that riddle the sacred plateau.

Many believe it is only a matter of time before most of the platform collapses. And there are fears such a collapse could occur during Ramadan, when upwards of 100,000 Muslims gather atop the Temple Mount for weekly prayers.

Christ Established True Values for the Human Race
Sep 1st, 2013
Thought For The Week
Categories: Commentary;Exhortation

The Christian faith engages the profoundest problems the human mind can entertain and solves them completely and simply by pointing to the Lamb of God.

The problems of origin and destiny have escaped the philosopher and the scientist, but the humblest follower of Christ knows the answer to both.

"In the beginning" found Christ there at the creation of all things, and "the world to come" will find Him there at their regeneration.

There is about the Christian faith a quiet dogmatism, a cheerful intolerance. It feels no need to appease its enemies or compromise with its detractors. Christ came from God, out of eternity, to report on the things He had seen and heard and to establish true values for the confused human race.

Then, He drew a line between this world and the world to come and said, in effect: "Choose ye this day."

The choice is between an earthly house which we can at least inhabit but a little while and the house of the Lord where we may dwell forevermore.

The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home, but toward the world to come we are all headed.

How utterably wonderful that we Christians have one of our own kind to go ahead and prepare a place for us!

That place will be in a world divinely ordered, beyond death and parting, where there is nothing that can hurt or make afraid.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28 A.W.Tozer

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