Never Again and Again
and Again and Again

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Europe Headed For The Brink. . .

If you really think this won't hit us hard, here, may I refer you to the Weimar Republic and where that lead the world?

NYT:

Banks Build Contingency for Breakup of the Euro

Robert Schlesinger/European Press photo Agency
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the nation's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
By
Published: November 25, 2011

PARIS — For the growing chorus of observers who fear that a breakup of the euro zone might be at hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has a pointed rebuke: It’s never going to happen.

But some banks are no longer so sure, especially as the sovereign debt crisis threatened to ensnare Germany itself this week, when investors began to question the nation’s stature as Europe’s main pillar of stability.

On Friday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Belgium’s credit standing to AA from AA+, saying it might not be able to cut its towering debt load any time soon. Ratings agencies this week cautioned that France could lose its AAA rating if the crisis grew. On Thursday, agencies lowered the ratings of Portugal and Hungary to junk.

While European leaders still say there is no need to draw up a Plan B, some of the world’s biggest banks, and their supervisors, are doing just that.

“We cannot be, and are not, complacent on this front,” Andrew Bailey, a regulator at Britain’s Financial Services Authority, said this week. “We must not ignore the prospect of a disorderly departure of some countries from the euro zone,” he said.

Banks including Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and Nomura issued a cascade of reports this week examining the likelihood of a breakup of the euro zone. “The euro zone financial crisis has entered a far more dangerous phase,” analysts at Nomura wrote on Friday. Unless the European Central Bank steps in to help where politicians have failed, “a euro breakup now appears probable rather than possible,” the bank said.

Major British financial institutions, like the Royal Bank of Scotland, are drawing up contingency plans in case the unthinkable veers toward reality, bank supervisors said Thursday. United States regulators have been pushing American banks like Citigroup and others to reduce their exposure to the euro zone. In Asia, authorities in Hong Kong have stepped up their monitoring of the international exposure of foreign and local banks in light of the European crisis.

But banks in big euro zone countries that have only recently been infected by the crisis do not seem to be nearly as flustered.

Banks in France and Italy in particular are not creating backup plans, bankers say, for the simple reason that they have concluded it is impossible for the euro to break up. Although banks like BNP Paribas, Société Générale, UniCredit and others recently dumped tens of billions of euros worth of European sovereign debt, the thinking is that there is little reason to do more.

“While in the United States there is clearly a view that Europe can break up, here, we believe Europe must remain as it is,” said one French banker, summing up the thinking at French banks. “So no one is saying, ‘We need a fallback,’ ” said the banker, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

When Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s second-largest bank, evaluated different situations in preparation for its 2011-13 strategic plan last March, none were based on the possible breakup of the euro, and “even though the situation has evolved, we haven’t revised our scenario to take that into consideration,” said Andrea Beltratti, chairman of the bank’s management board.

Mr. Beltratti said that banks would be the first bellwether of trouble in the case of growing jitters about the euro, and that Intesa Sanpaolo had been “very careful” from the point of view of liquidity and capital. In late spring, the bank raised its capital by five billion euros, one of the largest increases in Europe.

Mr. Beltratti said that Italy, like the European Union, could adopt a series of policy measures that could keep the breakup of the euro at bay. “I certainly felt more confident a few months ago, but still feel optimistic,” he said.

European leaders this week said they were more determined than ever to keep the single currency alive — especially with major elections looming in France next year and in Germany in 2013. If anything, Mrs. Merkel said she would redouble her efforts to push the union toward greater fiscal and political unity.

That task is seen as slightly easier now that the crisis has evicted weak leaders from troubled euro zone countries like Italy and Spain. But it remained an uphill battle as Mrs. Merkel continued this week to oppose the creation of bonds that would be backed by the euro zone.

Politically, even the idea of a breakaway Greece is increasingly considered anathema. Despite expectations that Greece — and the banks that lent to it — may receive European taxpayer bailouts for up to nine years, officials fear its exit could open a Pandora’s box of horrors, such as a second Lehman-like event, or even the exit of other countries from the euro union.

Europe’s common currency union was formed more than a decade ago and now includes 17 European Union members, creating a powerful economic bloc aimed at cementing stability on the Continent. It ushered in years of prosperity for its members, especially Germany, as interest rates declined and money flooded into the union — until the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy sent global credit markets into chaos three years ago and the financial crisis took on new life with the near-default of Greece last year. The creation of the euro zone meant countless interlocking contracts and assets among the countries, but no mechanism for a country to leave the union.

But as the crisis leaps to Europe’s wealthier north, banks have been increasing their preparedness for any outcome. For instance, while it would certainly be legally, financially and politically complicated for Greece to quit the euro zone, some banks are nonetheless tallying how euros would be converted to drachmas, how contracts would be executed and whether the event would cause credit markets to seize up worldwide.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is one of many banks testing its capacity to deal with a euro breakup. “We do lots of stress-test analyses of what happens if the euro breaks apart or if certain things happen, countries expelled from the euro,” said Bruce van Saun, RBS’s group finance director. But, he added: “I don’t want to make it more dramatic than it is.”

Certain businesses are taking similar precautions. The giant German tourism operator TUI recently caused a stir in Greece when it sent letters to Greek hoteliers demanding that contracts be renegotiated in drachmas to protect against losses if Greece were to exit the euro.

TUI took the action just days after Mrs. Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France acknowledged at a meeting earlier this month of G-20 leaders in Cannes, France, that Greece could well leave the monetary union. On Thursday, Greece’s central bank warned that if the country failed to improve its finances quickly, the question would become “whether the country is to remain within the euro area.”

In a survey published Wednesday of nearly 1,000 of its clients, Barclays Capital said nearly half expected at least one country to leave the euro zone; 35 percent expect the breakup to be limited to Greece, and one in 20 expect all countries on Europe’s periphery to exit next year.

Some banks are now looking well beyond just one country. On Friday, Merrill Lynch became the latest to issue a report exploring what would happen if countries were to exit the euro and revert to their old currencies. If Spain, Italy, Portugal and France were to start printing their old money again today, their currencies would most likely weaken against the dollar, reflecting the relative weakness of their economies, Merrill Lynch calculated.

Currencies in the stronger economies of Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland would probably rise against the dollar, according to the analysis.

In Asia, banks and regulators view the situation with growing alarm. Norman Chan, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said on Wednesday that regulators had stepped up their surveillance of banks’ exposure to Europe.

Regulators have been working with bank managers on stress tests to determine how the banks’ financial stability might be affected by an increasingly severe financial dislocation in Europe, said a Hong Kong banker who insisted on anonymity.

The main danger of a euro breakup, said Stephen Jen, managing partner at SLJ Macro Partners in London, is “redenomination risk,” the unpredictable effect that a euro breakup would have on financial assets as newly created currencies sought their own levels in the market and the value of contracts drawn up in euros came into question.

Most people hope that will not happen. “Remember when Lehman went bankrupt — nobody could anticipate what happened next,” said the French banker who was not authorized to speak publicly. “That was a company, not a country. If a country leaves the euro — multiply the Lehman effect by 10,” he said.

Telegraph:

Prepare for riots in euro collapse, Foreign Office warns
British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.

As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.

Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.

The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.

Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.

Greece has seen several outbreaks of civil disorder as its government struggles with its huge debts. British officials think similar scenes cannot be ruled out in other nations if the euro collapses.

Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.

Fuelling the fears of financial markets for the euro, reports in Madrid yesterday suggested that the new Popular Party government could seek a bail-out from either the European Union rescue fund or the International Monetary Fund.

There are also growing fears for Italy, whose new government was forced to pay record interest rates on new bonds issued yesterday.

The yield on new six-month loans was 6.5 per cent, nearly double last month’s rate. And the yield on outstanding two-year loans was 7.8 per cent, well above the level considered unsustainable.

Italy’s new government will have to sell more than EURO 30 billion of new bonds by the end of January to refinance its debts. Analysts say there is no guarantee that investors will buy all of those bonds, which could force Italy to default.

The Italian government yesterday said that in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Mario Monti had agreed that an Italian collapse “would inevitably be the end of the euro.”

The EU treaties that created the euro and set its membership rules contain no provision for members to leave, meaning any break-up would be disorderly and potentially chaotic.

If eurozone governments defaulted on their debts, the European banks that hold many of their bonds would risk collapse.

Some analysts say the shock waves of such an event would risk the collapse of the entire financial system, leaving banks unable to return money to retail depositors and destroying companies dependent on bank credit.

The Financial Services Authority this week issued a public warning to British banks to bolster their contingency plans for the break-up of the single currency.

Some economists believe that at worst, the outright collapse of the euro could reduce GDP in its member-states by up to half and trigger mass unemployment.

Analysts at UBS, an investment bank earlier this year warned that the most extreme consequences of a break-up include risks to basic property rights and the threat of civil disorder.

“When the unemployment consequences are factored in, it is virtually impossible to consider a break-up scenario without some serious social consequences,” UBS said.








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Whipping Post



In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

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Romney Versus Gingrich On Jihad And Sharia

From Big Peace, Andrew Bostom comes down on the side of Gingrich as the candidate who recognizes the threat of Islam. both the overt and the covert threat:
...Gingrich’s unflinching portrayal of the existential threat Sharia represents—whether or not this totalitarian system is imposed by violent, or non-violent means—was accompanied by a clarion call for concrete measures to oppose any Sharia encroachment on the U.S. legal code....
Go read the whole thing HERE. Worth your time.

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As a birthday gift the daughters sent me and a buddy to Upper Darby/Philly last night for an Allman Brothers Concert at The Tower Theater.

The show was fantastic. the second set was the entire Filmore East album start to finish.

The noise hangover this morning is delicious.

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Ynet:

Cairo rally: One day we'll kill all Jews
Muslim Brotherhood holds venomous anti-Israel rally in Cairo mosque Friday; Islamic activists chant: Tel Aviv, judgment day has come

Arab hate: A Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo's most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to "one day kill all Jews."

Some 5,000 people joined the rally, called to promote the "battle against Jerusalem's Judaization." The event coincided with the anniversary of the United Nations' partition plan in 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state.

However, most worshippers who prayed at the mosque Friday quickly left it before the Muslim Brotherhood's rally got underway. A group spokesman urged attendants to remain for the protest, asking them not to create a bad impression for the media by leaving.

'Treacherous Jews'

Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the "Zionist occupiers" and the "treacherous Jews." Upon leaving the rally, worshippers were given small flags, with Egypt's flag on one side and the Palestinian flag on the other, as well as maps of Jerusalem's Old City detailing where "Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem's Muslim character."

Propaganda material ahead of Egypt's parliamentary elections was also handed out at the site.

Hate in Cairo (Photo: AFP)
Hate in Cairo (Photo: AFP)

Spiritual leader Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb charged in his speech that to this day Jews everywhere in the world are seeking to prevent Islamic and Egyptian unity.

"In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything," he said. "The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews…we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem.) We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there."

'We have different mentality'

Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran quote vowing that "one day we shall kill all the Jews" was uttered at the site. Meanwhile, businessmen in the crowd were urged to invest funds in Jerusalem in order to prevent the acquisition of land and homes by Jews.

Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: "Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come."

Speaking to Ynet outside the mosque following the prayer, elementary school teacher Ala al-Din said that "all Egyptian Muslims are willing to embark on Jihad for the sake of Palestine."

"Why is the US losing in Afghanistan? Because the other side is willing and wants to die. We have a different mentality than that of the Americans and Jews," he said.

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Telegraph:

OECD figures suggest Britain's economy will slip back into recession at the start of next year
Britain will slip back into recession at the start of next year, ministers have been told.
By , Political Editor
10:00PM GMT 25 Nov 2011

The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) is predicting that the economy will shrink, the Government was warned on Thursday.

Whitehall sources said the forecasts suggest that growth would be negative during the first six months of next year due to the euro crisis.

The prediction, to be published on Monday, is the first from a respected forecaster to indicate that Britain faces a double-dip recession.

The preliminary findings of the OECD, to be released on the eve of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, are said to have “sent a lightning bolt” through the Treasury and Downing Street. On Tuesday, the Chancellor will announce his growth strategy, which will lead to billions of pounds in infrastructure spending and a scheme to increase loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

However, officials at the OECD, which is backing the Coalition’s austerity drive, are believed to have advised the Treasury that it may have to draw up a so-called “Plan B” to slow public spending cuts if the single currency crisis is not resolved imminently.

The OECD forecast is understood to predict that the second recession will be very mild, before the economy begins to recover again in the summer.

It is also expected to predict a damaging recession on the Continent as European leaders fail to address the eurozone crisis. The price of Italian bonds hit a record on Friday of almost eight per cent and the country may soon need an international bail out.

David Cameron and Mr Osborne are growing increasingly exasperated at the failure of European leaders to tackle the single currency crisis. Mr Cameron has already warned of the “chilling impact” the turmoil is having “every day” on the economy.

Next week, the Government’s Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) will publish its forecasts for the economy and public finances.

The OBR is expected to downgrade its forecast for economic growth, but it is not known if a second recession will be predicted.

However, the OBR will warn the Government that the plan to tackle the national debt may take longer than first expected. As part of the Chancellor’s growth strategy, high street banks may be provided with Government money to offer low-cost loans to companies.

The Chancellor is working on a multi-billion-pound “credit easing” scheme to make it easier for firms to borrow money, as the centrepiece of his attempts to boost the economy.

It is understood the Treasury is considering borrowing money on the international financial markets and then loaning it directly to small and medium-sized companies through the banks. The scheme would allow firms to borrow money at below-market rates and would help stop the current problem of banks refusing to offer enough credit. Over the past few years, ministers have repeatedly tried to force banks to offer more loans, particularly to small and medium-sized businesses, with mixed results.

Another key part of the growth strategy involves plans for infrastructure projects worth a total of up to £50 billion. Pension funds will be encouraged to invest in the Government-funded schemes, such as toll lanes and power plants.

The growth strategy will also set out longer-term plans to “rebalance” the economy away from the City and financial services.

The Chancellor will announce an extra £600 million investment over the next three years to provide 100 free schools for children in England.

These will include a series of specialist maths schools for teenagers aged 16 to 18, which ministers believe will produce a generation of scientists and engineers.

The schools will be connected to “strong” university maths departments, which will be allowed to select the most able children on the basis of their mathematic and scientific ability.

A Whitehall source said: “This is a very exciting programme. We want to get the top notch academics together with top notch children to develop the best maths education in the world. Initially these new maths schools will probably be in university towns, they may even offer boarding facilities to attract the strongest pupils from across the country. It is high risk, but potentially high reward.”

On Friday, ministers announced a £1 billion scheme to pay companies to take on unemployed youngsters.

However, more experienced ministers warn that there are limits to what the Government can do amid the global economic “tsunami”.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said the Chancellor’s package would not be “dramatic”. He said ministers “cannot change the weather” on the economy.

“Supply-side reforms are not an overnight shot in the arm,” said Mr Maude, a minister under John Major in the 1990s.

“They are about improving the medium and long term competitiveness of the economy. They tend to be incremental.”

The deteriorating economic situation is also expected to spur the Bank of England into taking further action. The Bank’s quantitative easing scheme, effectively printing money, is expected to be expanded again next year.

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Pakistan stops NATO supplies after raid kills up to 28

(Reuters) - NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis.

Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in just under a third of the alliance's supplies.

The attack is the worst single incident of its kind since Pakistan uneasily allied itself with Washington in the days immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. targets.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan, its ally in the war on militancy, have been strained following the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in a raid on the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May, which Pakistan called a flagrant violation of sovereignty.

A spokesman for NATO-led troops in Afghanistan confirmed that NATO aircraft had been called in to support troops in the area and had probably killed some Pakistani soldiers.

"Close air support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation, and it is what highly likely caused the Pakistan casualties," said General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

He added that he could not confirm the number of casualties, but ISAF is investigating the "tragic development."

"We are aware that Pakistani soldiers perished. We don't know the size, the magnitude," he said.

The Pakistani government and military brimmed with fury.

"This is an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty," said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. "We will not let any harm come to Pakistan's sovereignty and solidarity."

The Foreign Office said it would take up the matter "in the strongest terms" with NATO and the United States.

The powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said in a statement issued by the Pakistani military that "all necessary steps be under taken for an effective response to this irresponsible act.

"A strong protest has been launched with NATO/ISAF in which it has been demanded that strong and urgent action be taken against those responsible for this aggression."

Two military officials said that up to 28 troops had been killed and 11 wounded in the attack on the outposts, about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the Afghan border. The Pakistani military said 24 troops were killed and 13 wounded.

EARLY MORNING ATTACK

It remains unclear what exactly happened, but the attack took place around 2 a.m. (2100 GMT) in the Baizai area of Mohmand, where Pakistani troops are fighting Taliban militants.

"Pakistani troops effectively responded immediately in self-defense to NATO/ISAF's aggression with all available weapons," the Pakistani military statement said.

The commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, said he had offered his condolences to the family of any Pakistani soldiers who "may have been killed or injured."

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad also offered condolences.

About 40 Pakistani army troops were stationed at the outposts, military sources said. Two officers were reported among the dead.

"The latest attack by NATO forces on our post will have serious repercussions as they without any reasons attacked on our post and killed soldiers asleep," said a senior Pakistani military officer, requesting anonymity.

Reflecting the confusion of war in an ill-defined border area, an Afghan border police official, Edrees Momand, said joint Afghan-NATO troops near the outpost on Saturday morning had detained several militants.

"I am not aware of the casualties on the other side of the border but those we have detained aren't Afghan Taliban," he said, implying they may have been Pakistani or other foreign national Taliban operating in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan border is often poorly marked, and Afghan and Pakistani maps have differences of several kilometers in some places, military officials have said.

However Pakistani military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said that NATO had been given maps of the area, with Pakistani military posts marked out.

"When the other side is saying there is a doubt about this, there is no doubt about it. These posts have been marked and handed over to the other side for marking on their maps and are clearly inside Pakistani territory."

The incident occurred a day after Allen met Kayani to discuss border control and enhanced cooperation.

"After the recent meetings between Pakistan and ISAF/NATO forces to build confidence and trust, these kind of attacks should not have taken place," a senior military source told Reuters.

BLOCKED SUPPLIES

NATO supply trucks and fuel tankers bound for Afghanistan were stopped at Jamrud town in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar hours after the raid, officials said.

"We have halted the supplies and some 40 tankers and trucks have been returned from the check post in Jamrud," Mutahir Zeb, a senior government official, told Reuters.

Another official said the supplies had been stopped for security reasons.

"There is possibility of attacks on NATO supplies passing through the volatile Khyber tribal region, therefore we sent them back toward Peshawar to remain safe," he said.

The border crossing at Chaman in Baluchistan was also closed, Frontier Corps officials said.

Pakistan is a vital land route for nearly half of NATO supplies shipped overland to its troops in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman said. Land shipments only account for about two thirds of the alliance's cargo shipments into Afghanistan.

A similar incident on Sept 30, 2010, which killed two Pakistani troops, led to the closure of one of NATO's supply routes through Pakistan for 10 days.

NATO apologized for that incident, which it said happened when NATO gunships mistook warning shots by the Pakistani forces for a militant attack.

U.S.-Pakistan relations were already reeling from a tumultuous year that saw the bin Laden raid, the jailing of a CIA contractor, and U.S. accusations that Pakistan backed a militant attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

The United States has long suspected Pakistan of continuing to secretly support Taliban militant groups to secure influence in Afghanistan after most NATO troops leave in 2014. Saturday's incident will give Pakistan the argument that NATO is now attacking it directly.

"I think we should go to the United Nations Security Council against this," said retired Brigadier Mahmood Shah, former chief of security in the tribal areas. "So far, Pakistan is being blamed for all that is happening in Afghanistan, and Pakistan's point of view has not been shown in the international media."

Other analysts, including Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, said Pakistan would protest and close the supply lines for some time, but that ultimately "things will get back to normal."

Paul Beaver, a British security analyst, said relations were so bad that this incident might have no noticeable impact.

"I'm not sure U.S.-Pakistan relations could sink much lower than they are now," he said.

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oopsi…Explosion in Lebanon destroys Hizbullah facility said to contain missiles

Too bad so sad…another accident?

NICOSIA — A major munitions warehouse of the Iranian-sponsored

Hizbullah has been destroyed.

Lebanese security sources said a Hizbullah arsenal outside the southern port city of Tyre was blown up on Nov. 23. The sources said the facility was believed to contain hundreds of missiles and rockets for the Hizbullah military.

“Given these findings, the explosion was most likely caused by a mine or a cluster bomb,” the Lebanese Army said on Nov. 23.

or… JOOOOOOOOOOOZE

Hizbullah responded quickly to the blast and sealed off the Tyre-area village of Sidiqin. Lebanese security forces and United Nations peacekeepers stood hundreds of meters away and watched the Hizbullah cleanup. Later, Hizbullah denied that its facility was bombed.

This marked the second major blast of a Hizbullah facility in three
months. In July, an explosion rocked Hizbullah headquarters in a suburb of Beirut.

Hizbullah has usually blamed Israel for the explosions. The Israeli military has been monitoring the Hizbullah buildup in southern and eastern Lebanon, said to have resulted in an arsenal of more than 50,000 missiles.

The Shi’ite militia has been undergoing a buildup amid regional tension,
particularly the revolt in Syria. The Saudi satellite television channel Al Arabiya reported that Hizbullah was preparing to seize power in Lebanon should the Assad regime collapse.

“As soon as Hizbullah will sense that the collapse of Assad’s regime is
imminent, armed cells will quickly begin operating to seize control of
eastern and western Beirut,” Al Arabiya, quoting a source close to
Hizbullah, said on Nov. 22. “This operation, which will be coordinated with Hizbullah’s allies, including Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, will be carried out under the banner of ‘Protecting the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon.’ ”

Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has warned that Lebanon would not abandon Assad.

Now isn’t that special, if he means it?

Nasrallah said any war against Iran and Syria would engulf the entire region.

“They should understand that a war on Iran and Syria will not remain in Iran and Syrian territory, but it will engulf the whole region and there is no escaping this reality,” Nasrallah said on Nov. 21.

Well, any action taken against ANY of these should be with the view of a major change in political equilibrium based on the result on the battlefield itself.

ALL THE WAY, or there is little point in some ‘proportional and restrained’ loss of and therefore waste of life.

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Najibullah Zazi Missing?

From Creeping Sharia:
Two years later, as the nation somberly marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with yet another vague terror threat against New York City, Zazi has disappeared from public view. Although his guilty plea suggested he would face life in prison, Zazi’s first scheduled sentencing date—June 25, 2010—came and went with no word or sign of him. It was rescheduled several times over the following year, but to date Zazi hasn’t made a subsequent court appearance. The FBI and the Justice Department both declined to comment on Zazi’s whereabouts. He was moved long ago from the detention facility in Brooklyn to an undisclosed location. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has no public record of him....
Najibullah Zazi was convicted in 2009 of conspiring to set off bombs on the NYC subway after he pled guilty in a plea bargain.

Where is he?

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Iran is working with proxies in Bahrain, Gaza Strip, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait and other countries to undermine any U.S.-led effort to destroy its nukes

Gertz:

“From Iran’s standpoint, a head-on confrontation with the United States and Israel would serve its purposes in the region and build its image as an actor that stands firm against the Western powers and does not submit to pressure,” said a new report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“If there still was any chance of Teheran agreeing to concessions in its sporadic talks with the West about its nuclear program, the Middle Eastern turmoil has now made a compromise all but impossible,” said the report, “Iran Signals Its Readiness for a Final Confrontation.”

[On Nov. 19, Iran announced a four-day military exercise that would include air, naval and ground forces. The military said the exercise was meant to test command and control amid foreign threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.]

Authored by retired Israeli Lt. Col. Michael Segall, the report said Iran would continue to develop its military amid Western demands to halt uranium enrichment and to dismantle nuclear weapons. Segall asserted that Iran, following one of the harshest International Atomic Energy Agency reports, has sought to intimidate the Middle East and its Western allies.

“The current round of the conflict between Iran and the United States and Israel over Iran’s military nuclear program should be seen in a much wider context, one that centers on shaping a new landscape in the Middle East,” Segall wrote.

“Iran views itself as ‘the next big thing’ in the region and behaves accordingly — at the moment with no significant challenge or response from the United States and the West.”

Iran has been bolstering its proxies throughout the Middle East, including Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. The report said Teheran, aided by China and Russia, has concluded that threats made by Israeli and the United States are empty.

“Iran no longer fears openly acknowledging that it has built capabilities for reacting to an attack — including the Palestinian organizations in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon — and depicts them as part of its defensive strategy and response in case of a confrontation with Israel and the United States.”

PS….

Israel still preparing pre-emptive strike against Iran nuclear facility

There are continuing signs that Israel is preparing to deal a military strike against Iran, an action that Washington fears might be the first step in a new regional conflict that would embroil the United States.

Israel and the U.S. agree on intelligence assessments that Iran has the technical capability to produce material for a nuclear bomb in a relatively short period of time.That assessment is what has raised the stake for the Israelis, who believe that the time is short for them to take military action if they hope to put off the Iranian nuclear program for two or three years. The Israelis, however, do not believe that military action would permanently cripple Teheran’s program.

The key concern for U.S. officials is that Iran is prepared to conduct attacks on U.S. forces in the region, most likely through conventional missile strikes, if a conflict breaks out after a military strike.

“This will not be like Syria,” said one official, referring to the surgical Israeli air strike at al Kabir, the nuclear facility that was being built with North Korean assistance.

In the Brooking Institution’s complex simulation all the US Team EVER tried to achieve was to turn off the conflict.

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Warren Has A Puppy!

Check out this cute girl:


More pictures at the above link.

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The Lie: Palestinians Are Peaceful

With a hat tip to Spread Eagle Patriot for the first video below:


Debunking the above lie:



Recently, I got a phone call from a distraught friend. Her daughter, well grounded in the truth about Islam and the Pseudostinians, is now attending a major university and whining about how the "poor Palestinians are oppressed because their land was stolen from them."

Frankly, I was shocked that this student, someone I've taught and someone I've known for nearly a decade, has so easily been brainwashed in less than three months! I'd never have dreamed that she could so easily succumb to the lies in a course in political science. Furthermore, the university she attends is not considered a bastion of Leftism.

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What would a successful civilian takeover in Egypt look like as we define it AMONG THE PEOPLE in the USA?

It would HAVE TO MEAN the Egyptian police and army would have to be ready to shoot down in the street, and arrest those Muslims who riot, murder and burn down the churches of the Copts, and the Synagogues of the Jews, and harm oppress and repress the members themselves. Not because they are Christians and Jews and most of us aren’t Muslims, but because HERE, any SOB’s burning down mosques, and harming Muslims would face precisely that. As we would rightfully expect in England France, Italy, German or any western democracy where the freedom of religion reigns.

It would mean that the juries of the arrested would have ot be ready to convict and the judges ready to sentence.

Any takers on that?

So why then do we CARE about WHO IS RUNNING EGYPT?

RCP:

Egypt’s military under pressure from protests, US

Hamza Hendawi And Sarah El Deeb

The U.S. increased pressure Friday on Egypt’s military rulers to hand over power to civilian leaders, and the generals turned to a Mubarak-era politician to head a new government in a move that failed to satisfy the more than 100,000 protesters who jammed Tahrir Square in the biggest rally yet this week. The demonstrators rejected the appointment of Kamal el-Ganzouri as prime minister, breaking into chants of “Illegitimate! Illegitimate!” and setting up a showdown between the two sides only three days before key parliamentary elections.

The size of the rally and the resilience of protesters in the face of the violence used by security forces in this week’s deadly street battles have won back for the movement much of the strength it projected during the 18-day uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Significantly adding to their predicament, the Obama administration brought its position on the crisis in Egypt closer to the protesters’ demands, urging the military to fully empower the next interim civilian government.

“We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation,” the White House said in a statement.

“Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible,” it said.

The adjustment in the Obama administration’s approach is significant because the Egyptian military, the nation’s most powerful institution, has in the past 30 years forged close relations with successive U.S. administrations, receiving $1.3 billion annually in aid. It followed the public U.S. endorsement of the military’s original timetable for the transfer of power by late 2012 or early 2013.

Why hasten a govt surely run the way the people want …. BY THE QURAN. It will happen but the US need not be the agent of change to appear to be the nice guys.

It won’t matter. The new govt won’t care about what we hold dear. It will care about what the egyptian people want.

Egyptians want more Islam in politics, according to Pew poll

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