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Showing posts from February 12, 2013

North Korea conducts underground nuclear test

North Korea announced plans last month to carry out its third nuclear test, and it followed through on the threat today. Following initial reports of a 5.1-magnitude artificial tremor in the northeast of the country, the South Korean government confirmed that North Korea had tested a nuclear device and condemned the incident as an "unacceptable threat to regional peace and stability."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has released a statement condemning the nuclear test as a "clear and grave violation" of UN resolutions. President Obama echoed the outcry in his own statement, calling the test a "highly provocative act" that "undermines regional stability."

"A miniaturized nuclear device with greater explosive force."

Following confirmation from the South, Reuters reported comments from North Korea's state-run KCNA claiming a successful underground test of a "miniaturized nuclear device with greater explosive force.&quo…

Iran claims to have produced and deployed UAV based on captured US ScanEagle drone

The United States Navy and the Obama administration have denied Iran's claim that it captured a ScanEagle surveillance drone in December, 2012, but according to the Fars News Agency, Iran is insistent that it has put clones of the ScanEagle into production. Fars, a news agency thought by Western news groups and observers to have ties to the Iranian government, reports that copies of the ScanEagle have already been put into service by the Iranian military.

Iran claims it has taken down multiple US drones using cyberattacks, a claim the US denies. In 2011, Iran captured a CIA-operated RQ-170 Sentinel, and recently released footage it says was extracted from the drone. The US says that the drone crashed due to a technical malfunction, not electronic warfare from Iran.

"Offensive drones with the missile-launching capability have great deterrent effects."

News of a ScanEagle production line is the latest in a string of announcements from Iran that appear to be designed to give t…

Iran and Hezbollah build militia networks in Syria in event that Assad falls, officials say

Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy, are building a network of militias inside Syria to preserve and protect their interests in the event that President Bashar al-
Assad’s government falls or is forced to retreat from Damascus, according to U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.

The militias are fighting alongside Syrian government forces to keep Assad in power. But officials think Iran’s long-term goal is to have reliable operatives in Syria in case the country fractures into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

A senior Obama administration official cited Iranian claims that Tehran was backing as many as 50,000 militiamen in Syria. “It’s a big operation,” the official said. “The immediate intention seems to be to support the Syrian regime. But it’s important for Iran to have a force in Syria that is reliable and can be counted on.”

Iran’s strategy, a senior Arab official agreed, has two tracks. “One is to support Assad to the hilt, the other is to set the stage for major mischief if he collaps…

Rebels capture Syria’s largest dam

By Barbara Surk

Syrian rebels captured the country's largest dam on Monday after days of intense clashes, giving them control over water and electricity supplies for much of the country in a major blow to President Bashar Assad's regime.

The rebels had already seized two other dams on the Euphrates River. But the latest conquest, the al-Furat dam in northeastern Raqqa province, was a major coup for the opposition. It handed them control over water and electricity supplies for both government-held areas and large swathes of land the opposition has captured over the past 22 months of fighting.

Also in northern Syria, a car bomb exploded border crossing with Turkey in Idlib province. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said 10 people died and more than 40 were wounded and taken to hospitals. The official said it was "highly likely" that the blast was caused by a car bomb because of the large extent of the damage.

The official requested anonymity in line with government rule…

Syria Army kills several militants

The Syrian Army has killed several foreign-sponsored militants, and confiscated a large cache of weapons and ammunition from terrorists in Damascus suburbs. Syrian government forces launched attacks against militants in Irbin, Zamalka, Harasta, Adra, al-Ghouta and Douma farms on Sunday and killed a large number of them, Press TV reported with a link to the official SANA news agency.

The forces also rendered ineffective large supplies of arms, ammunition, and explosives, held by the militants in their hideouts.

In addition, the Syrian armed forces attacked terrorists and confiscated their weapons, including heavy machineguns, rifles and ammunition.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.


Egypt protests on anniversary of Mubarak's fall

Security forces spray protesters with water hoses, tear gas outside presidential palace. 'The people want to bring down the regime' protesters chant Associated PressPublished: 02.11.13, 23:54 / Israel News

Security forces sprayed protesters with water hoses and tear gas outside the presidential palace Monday as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak's with angry demonstrations against his elected successor.

The forces were trying to disperse a small crowd of protesters after some of them attempted to cross a barbed wire barrier meant to block them from the palace gate. Some protesters chanted: "The people want to bring down the regime." Others threw stones.

Graffiti scribbled on the palace walls read: "Erhal" or "Leave," the chant that echoed through Cairo's central Tahrir Square during the 18-day uprising that ended with Mubarak stepping down on Feb. 11, 2011.

Earlier, masked men briefly blo…

Syria: 14 intel officers killed in double suicide bombing

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights reported that at least 14 Syrian intelligence officers were killed in a double suicide bombing at a military facility in northern Syria, carried out by radical Islamist Syrian rebel group, Jabhat al-Nusra.

According to the report, there are numerous injuries and the death toll is expected to rise. (AFP)

Bus blast kills at least 13 on Turkey-Syria border

By Sinan Abu Mazer

REYHANLI, Turkey (Reuters) - A Syrian minibus exploded at a crossing on Turkey's border with Syria near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on Monday, killing at least 13 people including Turkish citizens and wounding dozens more, Turkish officials said.

Witnesses said they saw the vehicle drive up to the Cilvegozu border post, one of the main crossing points for Syrian refugees into Turkey, shortly before the explosion.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the government was investigating all possible causes for the blast, including a suicide attack, but it was wrong to jump to hasty conclusions.
"The information that we have for now is that a minibus with Syrian number plates coming form the other side exploded. It was a powerful explosion," Arinc, who is also the government spokesman, told reporters after a regular cabinet meeting.

"But whether this was a vehicle laden with explosives or another type of explosion, I think, at the latest, will become cl…

The Law of War Does Not Shield the CIA and John Brennan's Drone Kill List

The US prosecuted Omar Khadr in Guantánamo for not being a lawful combatant. Exactly the same applies to the civilian CIA
By Morris Davis

February 12, 2013 "
The Guardian" --  The disclosure Tuesday evening of the Department of Justice white paper on targeted killing (pdf) has sparked a lot of debate, much of it focused on the Obama administration's extraordinarily broad interpretation of what constitutes an "imminent" threat that justifies lethal force as an act of self-defense. As Senator Rand Paul (Republican, Kentucky) told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday, "only a team of lawyers could define 'imminent' to mean the exact opposite" of what the word means in the real world.
There are, no doubt, many Americans alive today who should be thankful their healthcare providers did not apply the administration's interpretation of "imminent" to decide if they had crossed over the line of imminent death and said pull the plu…