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Pig's Head on Cemetery Gate in Germany:'6 Million Lies'


German police are investigating the desecration of a Jewish cemetery with a pig's head hung on a metal Star of David. Politicians and public officials are in shock over this latest escalation in rising anti-Semitism.

A paramedic who was walking his dog discovered the sacrilege in the city of Gotha, approximately 215 miles southwest of Berlin. Next to the pig's head was a cloth sign stating," Six Million Lies."

'Israeli Air Force Ready to Attack Iran'

By Press TV, Reuters &

Israeli air force Commander General Ido Nehushtan claims his forces are ready to follow any order to thwart Iran's nuclear programs. "The IAF is a very robust and flexible force … ready to do whatever is demanded," Nehushtan told German magazine Der Spiegel.

He added, however, a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "is a political decision" and has nothing to do with Israel's military capabilities.

Tel Aviv and Washington have repeatedly accused Tehran of pursuing a military nuclear program, a claim denied by the Islamic Republic. Israel has said it will not rule out any option to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear program, insisting that the use of military force is a legitimate option.

The Nehushtan interview coincides with recent remarks by former Israeli military general, Moshe Ya'alon, who said that Israeli armed forces have the 'right capabilities' to launch a successful strike against Iran.

Ya'alon also revealed the wider ambitions of the Israeli regime aimed at toppling the Iranian government. "[A strike] is not the end of the game. Then, we should follow it up with a viable, sustainable military operation to target the facilities [serving] the regime's interests, and not allow the regime to rehabilitate itself."

Iranian military officials have warned Israeli and other foreign aggressors of the bitter consequences that would follow an attack against the nation.

The Commander of the Iranian Army, Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, noted Tuesday that Iran "will inflict a humiliating defeat on aggressors with our arrow of anger. The superpowers should know that Iran is aware of the secrets of aggressive countries."

Asked whether Israel is capable of targeting Iran's nuclear facilities, which are spread across the country, Nehushtan replied, "I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question."

"Modern technology is one thing, but the biggest advantage we have is our soldiers and officers. Israel is a small country. We neither have a big population nor natural resources. Our biggest asset is our human resources. And it is the air force that makes best use of it," he said.

The threats against Iran's nuclear program conflict with the latest report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, which revealed that its inspectors have not found any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in the country.

Israel on Wednesday displayed air power it could use to attack Iran's suspected nuclear weapons project if diplomacy fails to persuade the Islamic Republic to halt uranium enrichment.

Foreign news crews invited on a rare visit to the sprawling Ramon air base could not draw the pilots of specially adapted, long-range F-16I jets into naming Iran as their potential target -- but neither they nor those managing the military's media message made any effort to quash the repeated suggestion.

"We are prepared and ready to do whatever Israel needs us to do and if this is the mission we're given then we are ready," said Colonel Amon, who commands the Negev Squadron of F-16I "Sufas" -- multi-role strike aircraft designed to both bomb and fight other air forces over long periods and distances.

"Air power has been a major player in every war we've fought since 1948," the colonel, who in line with Israeli military rules did not give his surname, told reporters during the unusual opening of the desert base to the foreign media.

While Israel has fought all its immediate Arab neighbors, its pilots have had limited capabilities to carry out missions as far away as Iran. A strike on Iraq's sole nuclear reactor in 1981 was an extraordinary exception at the time but analysts say the F-16I has made long-distance strikes more possible. "This is the most capable aircraft in the Middle East," said Captain Grisha, a fighter pilot in his early 20s.

The Jewish state, widely believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, has said it will not tolerate an Iranian nuclear bomb and has refused to rule out a military option.

Speculation of a U.S.-approved Israeli strike on Iran, fueled by an Israeli attack in Syria last year and by reports of long-range bombing exercises this summer, has faded as the Bush administration prepares to take its leave in Washington.

Israeli leaders, preparing to fight their own election in February, are nonetheless anxious to keep their U.S. and other allies alert to what Israel perceives as the nuclear threat from Iran. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will spend next week in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will be left in no doubt about Israel's concerns over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran, which has called for Israel's destruction, said on Tuesday it aimed to commission its first nuclear power plant in 2009. Tehran insists the program has only civilian aims.

The F-16I is the latest version of the U.S.-built fighter Israel has used since 1980. Its range has been extended by the addition of two fuel tanks which look like hamster pouches along the fuselage. Military analysts say Israel acquired the F-16I, and added modifications of its own, to give itself the capability to attack far-off targets in countries such as Iran.

Israeli pilots declined to comment on reports earlier this year that they had already conducted a training mission to practice for a strike at Iranian nuclear facilities: "We are always training for the whole range of missions," said Grisha.

Earlier Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Gil, commander of Ramon air base's Magic Touch (Apache helicopters) squadron, and Lieutenant Colonel Amnon, commander of the air base's Negev (F-16Ifighters) squadron, also said that the air base is busy training, as well as carrying out various military operations to protect the Jewish state.

The reason behind the hard training, said Levy, is that the Jewish country faces new challenges and the IAF, as an important component of Israel Defense Forces (IDF), must ensure that it is well-prepared for any potential conflict in the future.

Citing the threats from Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah, the 44-year-old colonel said that the IDF must always be on the alert and get prepared for any mission. "My job is to make sure that the air base is ready for any scenario, that nobody can eliminate us, because Israel can not afford a failure," said the air base commander, adding that in addition to hard training, the IAF is also seeking new technology and smart, unique weapons, which can be used to cope with its enemies.

Gabriel Castellan, an IDF spokesman who coordinated the unusual opening of the desert base to the foreign media, echoed Levy's words. "IDF must be prepared for any scenario, because if we lose, we will disappear. We can not afford it," the young man told Xinhua.

Asked about the objective of organizing the foreign press tour, he said that the tour had been planned for months, aiming to help the foreign press get a better picture of the IAF. "It has nothing to do with any possible IDF operation," he said.

IAEA: Bombed Syrian Site Shows 'Significant' Uranium Levels


A report issued by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday revealed that the site of a Syrian complex allegedly bombed by Israel in September of 2007 bore "significant" levels of uranium particles.

The report on the agency's visit to the Syrian site in June 2008 was obtained by the Reuters news agency. It also said that the area had other features that were consistent with those of an undeclared nuclear reactor, something that Damascus denied vehemently after the site was bombed.

The confidential report said that IAEA agents intended to ask Syrian officials for access to the equipment and debris they had hurriedly cleared away from the site immediately following the air strike.

United States officials in Washington maintain that the target, which Israeli officials have never openly discussed, was a nearly-completed plutonium reactor that was well on the way to developing technology to create nuclear weaponry.

The Syrians have denied the allegations, with Foreign Minister Wallid Moallem insisting in a television broadcast several days ago that the traces of uranium found at the site resulted from the IAF ordinance dropped on the site.

The IAEA added in its report that further investigation is needed and urged Damascus to cooperate with its inspectors.

Al Qaida No. 2: Obama Guilty of Betraying Muslim Roots in Backing Israel

By Reuters

Al Qaeda's second-in-command urged Muslims to continue attacks on "criminal" America and slammed U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama for vowing to back Israel during his campaign.

Ayman al-Zawahri warned Obama that he would fail if he followed the policies of President George W. Bush, according to an audio tape published on Wednesday by the SITE Institute, a U.S. organization that monitors Islamic militant groups.

"America, the criminal, trespassing crusader, continues to be the same as ever, so we must continue to harm it, in order for it to come to its senses," Zawahri said in a message to Muslims across the world. "Its (America's) criminal, expansionist Crusader project in your lands has only been neutralized by the sacrifices of your sons, the mujahideen."

Zawahri also criticized Obama for what he described as turning his back on his Islamic roots. "The Muslim nation received with extreme bitterness your hypocritical ... stance towards Israel," he said. "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand with the enemies of Muslims.

Assad: Israel Never Asked Syria to Cut Ties with Hizbullah, Iran

By Ha'aretz

Syrian President Bashar Assad said this week that Israel has not demanded Damascus drop its ties with Hizbullah, Hamas and Iran, according to a piece released Wednesday by Lebanese columnist Jihad al-Hazan.

Al-Hazan wrote that Assad told him recently in Damascus that "the negotiations are for peace on the Syrian-Israeli track only and have no connection to the relations between Lebanon and Israel. Nobody will attack Israel from within Syrian range if a peace agreement is signed."

"If they [Israel] are discussing Hizbullah or Hamas, then that is a conversation about general peace and we would be facing a different process built on entirely different principles," al-Hazan wrote of his conversation with the Syrian leader.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said last month following reports that outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert intended to resume indirect peace talks with Syria, that Damascus must sever its ties with Iran and Hizbullah before Israel accedes to its demands. "Before the Syrians get from us what they want, they must show through their actions that they intend to stop arming Hizbullah, and must cut ties with Iran and terrorism," she said.

Political sources in Jerusalem said recently that during the previous round of talks with Syria in 2000, Israel had demanded that Lebanon be invited to participate in the negotiations.

Al-Hazan did not say when he held the aforementioned conversation with Assad, but it apparently took place in recent weeks as Assad raised with him the political situation in Israel, in terms of weaknesses exhibited by Olmert and Livni.

Israel Launches Arabic YouTube Channel

By Ha'aretz

Israel's Foreign Ministry has launched a YouTube channel in Arabic which is meant to bypass Arab media and give Israel's version of current events directly to Arab viewers.

The ministry's Arab media department chief Ofir Gendelman told Ha'aretz on Wednesday that they seek to reduce Israel's dependency on Arab media channels, which tend to give Israeli spokespersons relatively limited airtime.

He also said that the amount of coverage depends on Israel's fluctuating relationship with Arab channels. Thus, for example, Israeli spokespersons have recently shunned Al Jazeera over its allegedly unbalanced coverage of Middle East affairs.

"We have a problem reaching out to the Arab audience, and we need to take additional measures to maximize our exposure," Gendelman said. "The internet scene in Arabic is buzzing, and we wish to establish another communication channel for dialogue. We see it as complementing our current activity in the Arab media."

Gendelman says that the channel will update more frequently, and that the Ministry considers adding English subtitles. He also said that in the future they hope to post video reports featuring footages provided by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit.

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