The Office of the Inspector General calls the federal operation "poorly conceived and executed" and "particularly irresponsible" because of information agents had about a dangerous suspect.
The case reminded some observers of how the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed thousands of assault rifles to be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels in the ill-fated Operation Fast and Furious.
In fact, Jean Baptiste Kingery, the California man accused of being a grenade trafficker, came to the attention of the inspector general's office during the probe of Fast and Furious, which also occurred on Attorney General Eric Holder's watch as head of the Justice Department.
The missteps of the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona and the ATF allowed Kingery, a 43-year-old U.S. citizen, to move massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels, Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded. The sad thing? Nobody will be punished for this egregious violation of the law and the trouble it caused and still causes in Mexico. Holder should be in jail
The only country where the Arab Spring appears to have actually worked. Any thoughts why that should be so, dear Reader?
'worked'? I see you're grading on a curve...
[AnNahar] Tunisia's first presidential election since the 2011 revolution is a ray of hope for Arab Spring countries, Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa said Saturday, on the eve of the historic poll.
Sunday's first multi-candidate presidential election is seen as the final stage of a post-revolt transition in the birthplace of the Arab Spring, with more than 20 candidates vying for the post.
The election represents "hope, a big hope for the region," Mehdi told AFP during a last-minute inspection of polling stations in the region of Beja, west of the capital Tunis.
"We were the first to enter into this cycle of change which they have called the Arab Spring. We will be the first (to make the transition) but others will follow," he said.
Tunisia has won international plaudits for largely steering clear of the violence, repression and lawlessness of other Arab Spring countries such as Libya.
The presidential election, which follows October 26 parliamentary polls, is seen as the culmination of an arduous transition during which the outgoing legislature adopted a new constitution.
Despite serious challenges, including the 2013 liquidation of two opposition politicians by suspected jihadists and economic setbacks, Tunisia's interim rulers managed to keep the country together.
More than five million Tunisians are eligible to vote in Sunday's election.
The top contenders are Beji caid Essebsi, the 87-year-old former leader of the anti-Islamist party Nidaa Tounes which won the October parliamentary polls, and outgoing president Moncef Marzouki.
A second round is to be contested at the end of December if the winner fails to secure an absolute majority.
Until the revolution, the North African country had known only two heads of state: Habib Bourguiba, the "father of independence" from La Belle France in 1956, and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Ben Ali deposed Bourguiba in a December 7, 1987 coup, and was himself forced to quit and flee to Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... in January 2011.
[Ynet] Three months after Gazoo op, rehabilitation gathers pace; while al-Sissi closes all ways of access to Strip, Israeli allows large quantity of construction materials to enter under monitoring system.
Work to rehabilitate the Gazoo Strip is set to expand next week, coinciding with the complete isolation of the Strip after Egypt shut the Rafah Crossing in light of a further deterioration in relations between the Egyptian government and Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason,.
UN Special envoy Robert Serry announced on Saturday that under the trilateral agreement between Israel, the Paleostinian Authority and the UN, signed in September, widespread rebuilding efforts will begin within the next several days.
In September, Israel agreed to a proposal to establish a mechanism for reconstructing the Strip after Operation Protective Edge, under the supervision and control of the United Nations ...an organization originally established to war on dictatorships which was promptly infiltrated by dictatorships and is now held in thrall to dictatorships... According to the IDF, the mechanism would allow for progress on rebuilding the strip on one hand, while maintaining Israel's security interests on the other.
The mechanism was approved by the political establishment in Israel after coordination between the UN envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry, Paleostinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and COGAT Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
Next week, the monitoring systems overseeing the building materials entering the Strip will be activated, keeping watch with the use of GPS tracking over the sources receiving the materials. Access to the computerized system will be open to Israel, monitoring sources within the Paleostinians government and to the UN.
In addition, significant amounts of construction materials will enter Gazoo, including cement and heavy machinery used for rebuilding efforts. International inspectors who will ensure that the materials are used solely for their intended civilian purpose are already in the Gazoo Strip. Additional inspectors will arrive within the next several days.
Serry announced that as part of the first stage, around 25,000 people whose homes were destroyed during the military operation will be able to access construction materials to rebuild their damaged homes, before the beginning of winter. Paleostinian and Israeli sources confirmed the details.
The UN envoy reportedly criticized the fact that countries that pledged to donate money for the construction of the Gazoo Strip at the international donors conference in Cairo did not do so yet, and urged them to transfer the funds as quickly as possible.
The widespread construction in Gazoo will be underway while the Strip will be left completely isolated after Egypt's closure of the Rafah Crossing, following the continuing decline of relations between Hamas and Egypt.
On Saturday, the Paleostinian Ma'an News Agency reported that the Egyptian army completed its clearing of the border area as part of preparations to implement a 500-meter (550-yard) buffer zone along Egypt's 13-kilometer (8-mile) border with Gazoo.
According to the report, troops demolished about 800 houses in the area, erasing in the process entire neighborhoods such as Rafah's Saladin and others. In recent days, reports emerged that the Egyptian army intends to double the depth of a security buffer zone.
"A decision was taken to increase the buffer zone along the border in Rafah to one kilometer. The decision... came after the discovery of underground tunnels with a total length of 800 to 1,000 meters," the state MENA news agency said.
WASHINGTON -- North Korea has conducted a test of an ejection launcher that helps fire missiles from submarines in a sign that the communist nation is making progress in its efforts to develop a submarine-based ballistic missile, a news report said Friday.
Which they'll mount on an old early-Kilo class Soviet designed and Soviet era diesel-electric boat? That'll be a brilliant piece of retro-fit engineering...
The land-based test simulated the initial stage of boosting a missile out of a submarine launch tube and is a sign that the rogue state is moving ahead with plans for underwater missile strike capabilities for a future nuclear-tipped missile, the Washington Free Beacon reported, citing unidentified defense officials.
U.S. intelligence agencies observed the test in late October at a facility known to be a key development center for the North's submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program, the report said, citing two officials with access to intelligence reports.
Last month, a U.N. think tank said, citing commercial satellite imagery, that the North has built a new test stand on its eastern coast to research and develop submarine-based ballistic missiles that can be launched from submarines.
The assessment from the website 38 North, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was in line with South Korea's intelligence that the North is believed to be developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
In September, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a report to a lawmaker that there is an indication that the North is developing an SLBM. A military source also said intelligence agencies spotted signs that the North has developed a ballistic missile launch tube for submarine use.
[Ynet] High-ranking officials in Sweden and Germany reported that hundreds of their citizens joined the ranks of the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... group in Iraq and Syria. German Interior Minister Thomas de MaiziÃ¨re said, "We estimate that 550 of our citizens have already joined the Islamic State group, just a few days ago there were only 450."
Meanwhile, ...back at the pond, Gloria slowly backed away from the eight-foot bull frog. If the creature croaked she would surely be deafened... Director General of the Swedish Security Service Anders Thornberg said that 300 Swedish citizens left Sweden and joined the Islamic State group. "We know for certain of about one hundred cases, and suspect hundreds of more and presume that there are cases that have not been reported," said Thornberg.
Thornberg said the flow of youths leaving to become jihadists in Syria was rapidly rising.
On their return to Sweden, some are seen as ready to commit terrorist acts at home and have been placed under strict surveillance, the intelligence official added.
Sweden announced late October that it would pass a law banning citizens from taking part in foreign armed conflicts. The previous month, the EU coordinator for anti-terrorism, Gilles de Kerchove, estimated that 3,000 Europeans have joined the ultra-hardline Islamic State group, which has caused global revulsion with its regular videotaped beheadings of hostages.
Hundreds of Germans have left their home country to fight alongside militants in Syria and Iraq, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
Let me guess the first names of the departed: Hans, Gunter and Dieter?
"We estimate 550. Just a few days ago we had 450," the minister told German television channel Phoenix on Friday.
"These young people... were radicalised in Germany, within this society. That's why prevention must be accompanied by repression," he added.
Most of those who have joined the ISIS organisation's militant cause are men, although some women have also travelled to the two war-torn countries.
De Maiziere said authorities are keeping a close watch on some 230 more people who are considered potential threats on German soil.
"We cannot exclude, and in certain cases it's actually quite possible, that they are preparing an attack," the minister said.
In mid-October, Germany announced new measures to prevent its citizens from travelling to join the militant cause in Iraq and Syria, including confiscating their identity papers. Concerns are mounting in Europe over the growing national security threat posed by militants returning from war-ravaged Syria and Iraq.
[AnNahar] A Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... n inmate at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was repatriated Saturday, leaving 142 prisoners still at the jail President Barack Obama We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us... has pledged to close, the Pentagon said.
Mohammed al-Zahrani is the latest of seven prisoners freed from the controversial jail in the past three weeks, and his release comes just days after authorities transferred five inmates to Georgia and Slovakia.
Al-Zahrani was approved for transfer last month by the special review board, created by Obama in his efforts to shut the prison, the Pentagon statement said, adding that Congress was duly informed informed of the transfer.
Held at Guantanamo for 12 years, the 43 or 44-year-old Saudi national was considered until the latest review to present a "high risk" to American interests.
But the review board, composed of representatives from six government agencies, including the State and Defense departments, decided on October 3 that Al-Zahrani, a suspected al-Qaeda operative, no longer represented a threat to the United States.
Of the 142 inmates remaining, a total of 73 have been cleared for release -- some of them during the administration of Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush -- but remain incarcerated without charges or trial.
Obama has accelerated releases in recent weeks, including sending home the first Yemenis since 2010.
"A total of 13 detainees have been transferred this year," noted Paul Lewis, Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure, in Saturday's statement.
"This strikes a responsible balance and reflects the careful deliberation the Secretary of Defense brings to the transfer process, and follows a rigorous process in the interagency to review several items including security review prior to any transfer," he added.
In early November, a military official told AFP that about 15 detainees would be transferred over the winter. Six inmates are expected to go to Uruguay, and another four could be sent back to Afghanistan.
The closure of the prison, set up to hold detainees from President George W. Bush's post-9/11 "War on Terror," was a prominent part of Obama's election campaign in 2008.
Yet attempts to realize his ambition have been thwarted by domestic and international obstacles, leaving the fate of the jail and its prisoners in limbo.
So Bambi cannot close Gitmo due to funding restrictions, so if he sends the perps home (or elsewhere) then the reason to keep it open fails. Pubs need to restrict any funding for this travel as well.
Most any of the gangs you encounter in the lockup have a political component. MexMafia, El Norte, the Muslims, the Aryans all sit around and hear a political line. Mostly because they don't have much else to do, and at least your bros got your back. Most of the time.
Posted by: ed in texas ||
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid Khan on Friday tendered his resignation following the inclusion of his name in the high treason case against Pervez Musharraf. The minister has confirmed his resignation and that it had been forwarded to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for approval.
Poor Hamid. Wait. Who?
Talking to Daily Times, the newly appointed spokesman of Prime Minister, Dr Musadaq Malik said the premier is yet to accept Hamid's resignation. He dismissed as mere speculations the reports that Hamid's resignation was accepted.
"His resignation has been received and the PM and his team members are considering all the legal aspects regarding this issue," he said.
A special court trying former dictator Pervez Musharraf for high treason on Thursday directed the government to add Zahid Hamid's name to the charge sheet against Musharraf because Hamid was the law minister when the ex-general imposed emergency on November 3, 2007, to abrogate the constitution, on the alleged advice of the then Law Ministry headed by Hamid. Zahid Hamid is a lawyer by profession and had been a civil servant.
RAWALPINDI -- Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali said on Saturday that there was no existence of Islamic State militant group in Pakistan.
He could say all that and keep his lips on -- he's a diplomat and they have special training...
Speaking to journalists here, he said that wall chalking being witnessed in some cities regarding Islamic State was not a big thing in Pakistan. He urged the political parties to refrain from making statements on Islamic State, saying that such moves were not in Pakistan's interests.
Nisar was of the view that statements were being issued about the Islamic State only to undermine the government. "Pakistan is not a weak state," he contended. About Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's plan to state a massive rally in Islamabad on November 30, he said the government had no objection if the PTI complied with the law.
"As the interior minister, it is my responsibility to ensure that no road is blocked in Islamabad," Nisar said. "We have imposed no restrictions regarding the November 30 rally. Law is very clear about any political activity," he said. "If the PTI holds a rally in Islamabad, it will be according to the law and the constitution," he added.
[IsraelTimes] Western diplomats indicated Saturday that with the clock running out on a nuclear deal with Iran before Sunday's deadline, the sides would likely settle on an extension of the negotiations.
Representatives of Iran and world powers have been engaged in intensive talks in Vienna in an effort to break the deadlock in their high-stakes nuclear negotiations and secure a historic deal on the eve of a deadline. But diplomats on both sides were pessimistic on Saturday.
"We've been very candid that real differences remain and we're not going to discuss an extension prematurely with the Iranians because that takes pressure off them to wrestle with tough issues now," one senior American official was quoted by London's Sunday Times newspaper as saying.
The paper reported that the talks would probably be extended by an additional six months.
"The gap remains big... There now needs to be a political decision," an Iranian source told AFP on condition of anonymity, putting the onus on the world powers to make concessions.
A European source in the talks said there had been "no significant progress" and "the chances of getting a deal are pretty reduced.
"In order to get a deal, the Iranians will have to budge in a rather substantial manner," he said. Discussions about a deadline extension could begin as early as Sunday, he added.
US Secretary of State John F. I was in Vietnam, you know Kerry Former Senator-for-Life from Massachussetts, self-defined war hero, speaker of French, owner of a lucky hat, conqueror of Cambodia, and current Secretary of State... , who on Friday postponed a trip to Gay Paree to remain in Vienna for the talks, met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday afternoon, their fourth meeting in three days.
"We're working hard," Kerry said Saturday in Vienna, "and we hope we're making careful progress, but we have big gaps, we still have some serious gaps, which we're working to close."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also in the Austrian capital, called this final weekend of talks, after months of negotiations, a "moment of truth."
At stake is a historic deal in which Iran would curb its disputed nuclear activities in exchange for broad relief from years of heavy international economic sanctions.
It could end a 12-year standoff that has even raised the prospect of Israeli military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Kerry spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday by phone.
Many experts believe that the deadline may be extended, as happened with an earlier cut-off point on July 20.
A senior US official said late Saturday that the aim remained getting a deal by Monday night "but we are discussing both internally and with our partners a range of options."
The United States, Russia, China, Britannia, La Belle France and Germany have been locked in talks with Iran since February to turn an interim accord reached a year ago into a lasting agreement by November 24.
Such a deal is aimed at easing fears that Tehran will develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities.
The Islamic Theocratic Republic hotly denies such an aim and insists its program is entirely peaceful.
What could there be left to say at these talks? If I were a negotiator I would open up my briefcase and pull out a gross of scratchers, complete them one by one with appropriate comment, and, in the end, pack up the whole kit and caboodle at the end and head off to 7-Eleven for a well earned Chilli's dog and coke.
Posted by: Super Hose ||
[Ynet] Human Rights Watch ... During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, HRW received a pledge from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, of which George Soros is Chairman, for general support totaling $100,000,000. The grant is being paid in installments of $10,000,000 over ten years.Through June 30, 2013, HRW had received $30,000,000 towards the fulfillment of the pledge.... accuses Israel of 'deliberately and unlawfully punishing people not accused of any wrongdoing', says policy 'amounts to collective punishment'.
Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of 'deliberately and unlawfully punishing people not accused of any wrongdoing', says policy 'amounts to collective punishment'.
Rather than destroy their homes, Israel should adopt the US anti-narcotics policy of asset seizure.
All assets directly or indirectly tied to terrorists, including their homes and any other structure where they planned their crimes, and all remittances to them, should be seized and transferred to their victims, to do with what they will.
If Israel hands over the homes of the synagogue butchers to the 24 orphans of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky and Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, not only will justice be served. The children's inheritance of the homes of their fathers' killers will send a clear and demoralizing message to other would-be killers.
Not only will their atrocities fail to remove the Jews from Israel. Every terrorist will contribute to the Zionist project by donating his home to the Jewish settlement enterprise.
Just as Israel has repeatedly buckled under US pressure to release snuffies from jail, so it has bowed to US pressure to continue to fund the PA by transferring the tax revenues it collects on goods imported to the PA.
Assuming that the government is too weak to stand up to the Americans, at a minimum it can see that the money is properly used.
To that end, the Knesset should pass a law permitting Israeli terror victims to sue the PA for actual and punitive damages in Israel courts. The sums awarded to the victims should be taken from the tax revenues Israel collects for the PA. The law should apply retroactively to all victims of Paleostinian terror carried out since the establishment of the PA in May 1994.
Not only should the law permit Israeli terror victims to sue the PA. It should dictate actions the Justice Ministry must take to assist them in bringing suit.
Israel should also revoke citizenship and residency rights not only from snuffies themselves, but from those who enjoy citizenship and residency rights by dint of their relationship with the terrorists.
Wives who received Israeli residency or citizenship rights though marriage to snuffies should have their rights revoked, as should the children of the terrorists.
Today Israel is powerless to influence the hearts of our Arab neighbors. But we can influence their minds. We can deter them from attacking us.
The actions set forth above: asset seizure, revenue seizure and citizenship/residency abrogation for snuffies and their dependents are steps that Israel can take today, despite the hostile international climate.
Human Rights Watch - entirely one-sided view and can't be taken seriously unless it addresses the issue with fairness. Where's the condemnation of terrorists bludgeoning to death of those in prayer, baby-killing motorists, Molotov-throwing street protesters, and to those who incite such crimes? Home demolition may be "collective punishment", but a collective response to a collective attack makes sense. Sad to say it's the mothers who actively breed martyrs and incubate this vile hatred. Israel has learned home demolition is effective as a terrorist disincentive, as does annulment of residency status. This is the 3rd intifada.
Unless they're internationally recognize historical or cultural relics, an unoccupied house is not covered by any war crime in any sense of the words except to those who cheapen the entire concept of 'war crime' reducing it to nothingness.
[Rooters] The United States plans to buy arms for Sunni rustics in Iraq including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds to help bolster the battle against Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... snuffies in Anbar province, according to a Pentagon document prepared for Congress.
The plan to spend $24.1 million represents a small fraction of the larger, $1.6 billion spending request to Congress focusing on training and arming Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
But the document underscored the importance the Pentagon places on the Sunni rustics to its overall strategy to diminish Islamic State, and cautioned Congress about the consequences of failing to assist them.
"Not arming tribal fighters will continue to leave anti-ISIL tribes reluctant to actively counter ISIL," the document said, using another acronym for the group which has seized control of large parts of Syrian and Iraq and is gaining territory in Anbar despite three months of U.S.-led air strikes.
A U.S. official said on Saturday that the document was posted this week. Click 1.usa.gov/11nsTuN to read it.
It said all U.S. support was directed "with, by and through" Iraq's government, suggesting any weapons would be supplied through Baghdad, in line with existing policy.
It noted Iraqi security forces were not "not particularly welcome in Anbar and other majority Sunni areas," citing their poor combat performance and sectarian divisions.
[Ynet] Interior Minsiter Gilad Erdan said Saturday that he had instructed his staff to examine the possibility of revoking the resident permits and accompanying rights of Arabs in East Jerusalem who encourage terror.
"I have instructed my staff at the Interior Ministry to assess and advise me on how I might expand my authority as interior minister in order to nullify the residency and accompanying social rights of east Jerusalem Arabs who encourage terror and incitement to violence," Erdan said at a cultural event.
[IsraelTimes] Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Saturday that Israel should use the threat of deportation and the revocation of residency permits and social rights as a deterrent against East Jerusalem terror operatives and their supporters
The minister said he lends his full support to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan who earlier Saturday said that he was reviewing the possibility of revoking the Israeli residencies of East Jerusalem Arabs who support terror.
Ã¢The families [of terrorists] should know that this tool includes deportation [to Gaza or the West Bank] and the revocation of residency permits,Ã¢ Aharonovitch told Channel 2Ã¢s Meet the Press Saturday.
Ã¢We know from past intifadas and past experiences that this [deterrent] works,Ã¢ Aharonovitch said.
The public security minister rejected recent criticisms by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett who said that the security establishment has been merely responding to terror attacks instead if working to thwart them. Jerusalem has witnessed five terror attacks since mid-October alone.
Aharonovitch also reiterated the warning he issued last week that Knesset members and Jewish visitors may be barred from the Temple Mount so as to avoid a deterioration of the already tense security situation in East Jerusalem and across the country.
The recent violence in the capital has been largely attributed to tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and widespread Palestinian assertions Ã¢ denied by Israel Ã¢ that Israel is planning to change the status quo at the site, the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
Ã¢Those who want to heat things up on the Temple Mount, from right or left, be it the Islamic Movement, Fatah or Israeli rightist movements, including MKs, we have the authority to prevent them from going,Ã¢ Aharonovitch said in an interview with Channel 1 last week.
Ã¢When thereÃ¢s an operational need, and we see that it may lead to riots, I will not allow them to go,Ã¢ he added.
Earlier Saturday, Erdan told attendees at a press conference in Ness Tziona that he has Ã¢instructed the staff at the Interior Ministry to assess and advise me on how my authority may be widenedÃ¢Â¦to nullify the permanent residency and accompanying social rights of East Jerusalem Arabs who promote terror and incite violence.Ã¢
It was not clear what constituted promotion of terror in ErdanÃ¢s view, but his statements appeared to follow similar ones made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Earlier this month the premier said he would Ã¢instruct the interior minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the State of Israel,Ã¢ in response to widespread protests and riots among the Israeli Arab community following the police killing of a 22-year-old man in the Galilee town of Kafr Kanna.
While theoretically possible, changing the law to allow for such action has been described by experts as ethically problematic and a threat to freedom of speech.
Yet more problematic is the prime ministerÃ¢s apparent intention to transfer the authority to revoke a personÃ¢s nationality from the courts to the cabinet. A judge is meant to be an independent arbiter of the law; the interior minister is a political figure who worries chiefly about his party and his popularity.
The initiative has been described as a radical threat to freedom of expression by Debbie Gild-Hayo, director of policy advocacy at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
Ã¢As is known, the importance of freedom of expression lies precisely in protecting extreme and controversial expressions,Ã¢ she said earlier this month.
ErdanÃ¢s and AharonovitchÃ¢s announcements came amid already high tensions in Jerusalem particularly, following five terror attacks in the capital in under a month, with all the perpetrators originating from East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
The latest terror attack saw the shooting and hacking to death of four men at prayer and a Druze policeman who tried to stop the killings at a synagogue in the capitalÃ¢s Har Nof neighborhood on Tuesday morning. The two Palestinian terrorists, cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal from Jabel Mukaber, were shot and killed by police at the scene.
One of the cousins was employed at a grocery store near the synagogue.
Following the gruesome killings, which rattled Israel, Ashkelon mayor Itamar Shimoni announced Thursday that he would terminate construction of bomb/rocket shelters at any kindergarten where Arab workers were employed and also order the posting of armed guards outside kindergartens near building sites that employ Arab construction workers. The move drew condemnation from Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.
Netanyahu criticized ShimoniÃ¢s announcement, saying Ã¢ThereÃ¢s no place for discrimination against Israeli Arabs. We mustnÃ¢t generalize about an entire population because of a small minority of violent and belligerent [individuals].Ã¢
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the move smacks of 1930s Germany.
Israel has vowed to respond forcefully to the attacks and has ordered the demolitions of the family homes of several terrorists, including the ones from TuesdayÃ¢s attack.
The government has also reportedly been considering not returning the bodies of the cousins to their families for burial, as an additional punitive measure.
Despite Israeli threats of a strike on Iran if world powers fail to halt its nuclear drive at talks entering an endgame in Vienna, experts see the sabre-rattling as largely diplomatic brinkmanship.
The 'experts' don't know Bibi too well, do they...
With Monday's deadline for a lasting agreement fast approaching, Israel has been keeping up pressure on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany which are involved in the negotiations.
Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state, sees itself as the first potential target if Iran develops an atomic bomb, and has warned against striking what it describes as a "bad deal" with Tehran.
If an agreement is signed that leaves Iran on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power, "we will preserve all options and all our rights to do what we see fit to defend Israel," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said this week.
But Israel "does not want war", said Emily Landau, director of an arms control project at Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies. "By brandishing the threat of military intervention Israel is counting on the deterrent effect," she said.
Israel, alone amongst western powers these days, seems to understand that a deterrent isn't a deterrent unless your enemy is convinced you'll do it. I think the Israelis will do it if diplomacy fails, and I think the Iranians know it.
"A good agreement (with Iran) is not possible because it will not include Iranian ballistic missiles on which nuclear warheads could be mounted," she added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously warned that a "bad" nuclear deal which leaves Iran with the capability to enrich uranium would be "catastrophic" and worse than no deal at all.
Israeli media in March carried an apparently leaked report saying that Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon had ordered the military to earmark a budget reserve of nearly $3 billion for a possible offensive against Iranian nuclear facilities.
In public, Yaalon took a swipe at Israel's US ally.
"The United States began negotiations with the Iranians, but unfortunately in what became a Persian bazaar, Iranians are the best," he said.
That's not a swipe, that's pretty darned accurate...
Ephraim Kam, of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), said there is almost no chance of Israel launching an offensive against the Islamic republic.
"For the past year the Americans haven't talked about the military option," he said. "If the negotiations are extended, of which there is a strong chance, Israel cannot allow itself to go into action alone while the Americans continue discussions with the Iranians."
"Israel has the capacity to delay the Iranian nuclear programme by several years, but not to reduce it to nothing," he said.
Don't be too sure of that. Air strikes, covert ops, and assassinations could put the Iranian effort behind long enough for "other things" to happen in Iran. Support for the Mad Mullahs™ is and has been an inch deep...
Nuclear expert Ephraim Asculai, formerly a senior official at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said Israel "has every interest in playing the diplomatic card so that international sanctions on Iran are not lifted."
"In the event that an agreement is reached Israel will not be able to attack a country that has an accord with the United States."
Analysts say Israel has the military capabilities to strike Iran if it wants to, and is also bolstering its missile defences. In 2007, Israeli planes are believed to have struck an undeclared Syrian nuclear facility although the Jewish state never confirmed its involvement.
In September this year, Israel said it had successfully conducted a joint test with the United States of an upgraded Arrow 2 ballistic missile interception system over the Mediterranean Sea. The system, designed to counter long-range missiles, has successfully intercepted missiles similar to Iran's Shihab-3 in a variety of test conditions.
"Israel has the means to attack and cause severe damage to Iran," said Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad intelligence agency which experts say has been pursuing covert operations against Iranian nuclear scientists.
"But the real military option is the United States, with its troops, its navy and air force deployed in the Gulf."
"The ideal for both Israel and the United States would be to win the game by showing their strength without actually using it," he added.
That would require a U.S. president who understands the above-cited definition of deterrence...
The U.S. is contributing another $135 million in relief to victims of Syria's civil war in response to a warning by the United Nations that it was running out of money to fund a program that provides food to people impacted by the conflict.
This financial assistance by the U.S. would go mainly to the UN World Food Program and pushes the amount contributed by American taxpayers past the $3 billion mark, according to a report published by Reuters on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. intends to offer residency to about 7,000 Syrian civil war refugees, among them Iraqis and Iranians, as well as Syrians. The refugees are currently based in Turkey.
"The new funding will help feed vulnerable people inside Syria; Syrian refugees in Turkey; and Syrian refugees in other countries," read a statement from the office of Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is currently stumbling along embarrassing everyone except himself traveling in Turkey on an official visit.
[Ynet] Senior Revolutionary Guard official says Fateh-110 missiles, with a range of up to 350 kilometers, can strike Israel's nuclear reactor.
Assuming it can get through Israel's defenses, of course.
Iran supplied Hezbollah with missiles capable of reaching the nuclear reactor in Dimona, semi-official Fars News Agency reported. The Fateh (Conqueror) model missile ‐ carrying a 500 kilogram warhead and flying at up to 4,500 kph ‐ has a range of 250 to 350 kilometers.
Ynet's defense expert Ron Ben-Yishai noted that the Iranian missiles are considered to be more accurate than previous models. The missiles made their way to Hezbollah through Tehran's ally, Syria.
According to foreign reports, Israel attacked a shipment of similar Fateh-110 missiles last year near the airport in Damascus.
"The new missiles will allow Hezbollah to hit anywhere in Israel," Revolutionary Guard Brigadier General Sayed Majid Moussavi told Fars. The report from the semi-official news agency emphasized that Tehran believed supplying weapons to Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, and Hezbollah to confront "the bloodthirsty Zionist enemy" was a central component of its strategy.
Last week, another senior Revolutionary Guard official, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, revealed that the missile manufacturing plants used by the Syrian military were planned and constructed by Iran. He added that similar factories, and training services, were supplied to Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Fars report did not include any additional details or whether the new missiles were manufactured in Leb or transferred to Hezbollah already constructed.
The inflammatory report was published some 48 hours ahead of a final deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.