Netanyahu: Iran can still be stopped

Netanyahu: Iran can still be stopped

Hope he’s right. “Iran can still be stopped,” by Binyamin Netanyahu in the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Doc Washburn:

It is possible to prevent the political and security landslide. Iran can still be stopped.The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is rapidly leading Israel to a political and security downfall while Iran is racing towards achieving a nuclear weapons capability.

While Iran’s leaders are busy denying the Holocaust, they also continue to announce their intentions of wiping the State of Israel off the map. Israel is like a bus speeding towards an abyss. The bus driver is tired and helpless.

Let’s examine recent developments, which all have one common denominator: weak leadership.

# Hizbullah and Hamas are rapidly arming themselves thanks to the Israeli government’s decision to refrain from taking action against them. Since the cease-fire was declared, dozens of Kassam rockets have been fired at the western Negev. The government continues not to react.

# Recently, the US secretary of defense said he was unable to rule out a possibility that Iran would launch a nuclear attack against Israel. He also noted that the US would take against Iran only as a last resort. These words raise doubts as to American intentions to bring Teheran’s nuclear race to a halt. These words are not to be taken lightly.

# The Baker-Hamilton Report recommends that the US engage in talks with Iran and Syria in an attempt to reach a solution to the Iraqi problem. Although the report does not reflect the Bush Administration’s policy towards Iran, it encourages a fundamental change of direction in American policy: from isolation to negotiation.

# The Baker-Hamilton Report also argues that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a condition to stabilizing the rest of the Middle East’s core problems. Here we find an attempt to create affinity: If Israel was to carry out concessions and territorial withdrawals, the Iranian and Iraqi problems would be solved. In reality, the situation is the complete opposite: If the problem of Iran, which Ismail Haniyeh defines as “the strategic backbone of Hamas”, were solved, it would be easier to treat the conflict with the Palestinians.

What can be learned from these bleak developments? What is the connection between them?

Weakness invites pressure.

The weakness of the Olmert government only expedites the decline of Israel’s stature, both in the Middle East and around the world.

If the Israeli government accepts the ongoing firing of Kassams at its cities, why shouldn’t the world?

Read it all.

Hundreds injured in Turkey while sacrificing animals on Muslim holiday

Hundreds injured in Turkey while sacrificing animals on Muslim holiday

Canadian Press

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – One man lost his toes. Others cut their hands and legs.

Hundreds of Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha holiday in emergency wards on Sunday, after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled and agitated sheep and other animals.

Muslims sacrifice cows, sheep, goats and bulls during the four-day religious holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God’s provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to slay his son. They share the meat with friends, family and neighbours and give part of it to the poor.

In Turkey, at least 1,413 people, called “amateur butchers” by the Turkish media, were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Four people were severely injured when they were crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, the agency reported. Another person was hurt when a crane, used to lift an animal, tumbled onto him, the agency said.

Three people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain animals, private CNN-Turk television reported.

Two bulls escaped and caused havoc in the streets of the central Turkish city of Kayseri and in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, until they were caught with the help of veterinarians who fired tranquilizer darts.

Turkish authorities have introduced fines for those who slaughter animals outside facilities set up by municipalities. But many Turks again ignored the rules and sacrificed animals in their backyards or on roadsides.

Somali PM: Kismayo, last jihadist stronghold, has fallen

Somali PM: Kismayo, last jihadist stronghold, has fallen

Witnesses report significant numbers of foreign fighters on the run as jihadists abandoned the town overnight in the face of advancing government forces. “Somali Islamists flee final bastion: residents,” from Reuters:

KISMAYU, Somalia (Reuters) – Somali Islamists fled overnight from their final stronghold around the southern port town of Kismayu in the face of an advancing force of Ethiopian and government soldiers, residents said on Monday.

“The Islamic courts left Kismayu last night. They left (their front line at) Jilib as well,” a Kismayu resident told Reuters. “Nobody knows where they went. There’s a lot of confusion.”

“Fighting stopped at around 10 p.m. (1900 GMT),” a resident of nearby Jilib said. “Then there was big silence. Then the Islamic Courts just left.”

The besieged Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) had rallied several thousand fighters at Jilib, just north of Kismayu on the shores of the Indian Ocean, after a retreat south 300 km (190 miles) from the capital Mogadishu.

Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies had rained down mortars and rockets on the Islamist fighters dug in near Kismayu on Sunday to start a battle against the Islamists.

Kenya has reinforced its northern border and U.S. forces are also said to be in the region, including the sea, to prevent foreign militants aligned with the Islamists from escaping.

Including the three wanted in connection with the 1998 embassy bombings.

Government forces have entered the city in the past few hours. “Somali PM: Islamic stronghold captured,” from Associated Press:

KISMAYO, Somalia – Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian tanks and fighter jets captured the last major stronghold of a militant Islamic movement Monday, while hundreds of Islamic fighters — many of them Arabs and South Asians — were seen fleeing the town.

Hundreds of gunmen, who apparently deserted from the Islamic movement, began looting the warehouses where the Council of Islamic Courts had stored supplies, including weapons and ammunition.

Gangs skirmished in the streets and the southern coastal city was descending into chaos, businessman Sheik Musa Salad said.

“Everything is out of control, everyone has a gun and gangs are looting everything now that the Islamists have left,” he said.

Well-armed troops drove into Kismayo after clearing roads laced with land mines that had been left by Islamic fighters fleeing a 13-day military onslaught by government troops backed by Ethiopian tanks and MiG fighter jets.

“We have entered and captured the city,” Maj. Gen. Ahmed Musa told The Associated Press while riding aboard a truck into Kismayo, where an estimated 3,000 hardline Islamic fighters had vowed to make a last stand but melted away under artillery fire.

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi offered amnesty to hundreds of Islamic fighters if they gave themselves up, but made no such offer to leaders of the group. He also ordered a countrywide disarmament that goes into effect Tuesday, an immense task in Somalia, which is awash with weapons after a 15-year civil war.

“The warlord era in Somalia is now over,” Gedi said at a news conference in the recently captured capital, Mogadishu, giving a three-day deadline for the handover of all weapons.

Let’s hope.