Koenig's International News
Washington: 12:03:24 pm - August 29, 2014 - Jerusalem: 7:03:24 pm - Elul 3, 5774


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IDF on high alert in Golan Heights


(photo: Reuters)

As a result of the fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the level of alert was raised on the Israeli side, an army spokesperson said Thursday, without confirming that it had been increased to the highest level.

The announcement follows several incidents in the area, including the capture and execution of 160 Syrian soldiers by the Islamic State, gruesome pictures of which appeared online Thursday, and the abduction, also Thursday, of 43 Fijian UN peacekeepers by al-Qaeda-affiliate al-Nusra Front at the Quneitra crossing with Israel, where fighting has raged this week between Syrian rebels and government forces.

Another 81 peacekeepers, from the Philippines, were trapped in the area by heavy clashes between rebels and Syrian troops, according to the UN.

‘We will never disarm,’ vows Hamas chief


(photo: AFP)

Exiled Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal threatened to continue fighting Israel if the Palestinians demands were not met and said Gaza will never disarm its “sacred” weapons.

“The rockets and tunnels exist, if the negotiations fail and there will be a need, we will return to resistance until we reach our goals,” he said Thursday at a press conference in Qatar.

U.S. official says 1,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine

A top Ukrainian army officer said a "full-scale invasion" of his country was under way Thursday, as a U.S. official said up to 1,000 Russian troops had crossed Ukraine's southern border to fight alongside pro-Russian rebels.

U.S. officials said Russian troops were directly involved in the latest fighting, despite Moscow's denials.

Rebels backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers fought Ukrainian forces on two fronts Thursday: southeast of rebel-held Donetsk, and along the nation's southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.

"This is a full-scale invasion," Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.

Report:
Netanyahu and Abbas met secretly
in Jordan prior to Gaza cease-fire


Netanyahu and Abbas [file] (photo: Reuters)

Jordanian newspaper says leaders met in Amman; Prime Minister's Office does not comment on report; Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel could potentially want Abbas and his forces in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met secretly in Amman prior to the announcement Tuesday of the cease-fire which ended 50 days of fighting between Israel and armed factions in Gaza, Jordanian daily Al-Ghad reported on Wednesday.

The paper quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the meeting of senior Israeli and Palestinian officials that is believed to have included Netanyahu and Abbas took place a few days before the cease-fire.

No guarantee of quiet, but we’ll hit Hamas
hard if attacked, Netanyahu says


Netanyahu with Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz at a press conference in
Jerusalem on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. (photo: Yonatan Sindel, Flash90)

Hamas suffered a near-fatal military and diplomatic blow during Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, but he acknowledged that he could not guarantee sustained quiet for Israel — the key goal of the operation. He said the Islamist group had achieved none of its stated objectives after 50 days of fighting, assessed it would be wary of initiating another round of violence, and indicated that planned indirect negotiations on a long-term arrangement next month might go nowhere.

Netanyahu warned that if Hamas were to resume attacks against Israel in any form, the IDF would strike back “sevenfold.”

"What we have is a great military achievement and a great diplomatic achievement,” Netanyahu said in a press conference in Jerusalem, alongside Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. “Hamas was badly beaten and received none of the conditions it had demanded in return for a ceasefire. [Hamas] demanded a seaport and did not get one; an airport – not accepted; a release of Shalit deal prisoners — not accepted. [Hamas] demanded to have a Qatari brokered deal — not accepted; Turkish mediation – not accepted.”

Syrian jets bomb border post near Israel;
border post was captured by rebels


Soldiers sit atop a tank as they watch the border
with Syria near Quneitra. (photo: Reuters)

Syrian jets shelled rebel positions near a border crossing close to the Israeli Golan Heights that was seized by rebels in some of the heaviest clashes in the strategic area this year, rebels and residents said on Thursday.

Al-Qaida's Syria wing Nusra alongside moderate rebel groups who had launched the attack early on Wednesday on the border post were "holding ground" despite the heavy bombardment, according to a source in the Islamist Beit al Maqdis brigade, whose fighters were involved in the fighting.

During the fighting, two Israelis were wounded by stray bullets, an IDF soldier and a civilian, both in the Golan Heights. Israel responded with artillery fire at two Syrian army positions, the Israeli military said on Wednesday.

UN peacekeepers reported nabbed
at Golan border crossing

The al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front in Syria is holding members of the UN Disengagement Observation Force, Israel Radio reports, citing Al-Arabiya.

An UNDOF official contacted by the Times of Israel declined to comment on the report.

Gaza truce deal:
Crossings to open under Israeli supervision

Talks in Cairo lead to long-term ceasefire accord, though central demands of both sides postponed for later negotiations.

After 50 days of intense hostilities, Israel and the Palestinians reached a framework agreement resembling the understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Defense – the sides will reconvene in a month to start deliberations on central issues like demilitarization and the establishment of ports.

Until the next round of talks, Israel has agreed to open the border crossings into the Strip and allow the transfer of humanitarian equipment and construction materials to rehabilitate Gaza – all under heavy Israeli supervision.

New York Times:
FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking

Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

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'Koenig's Eye View from the White House'
August 22, 2014

This Wednesday’s edition:

Audio interview for the week: A Middle East discussion with Bill Koenig and Bill Salus

The coming disintegration of Iraq

How Maliki broke Iraq

Obama: The pinprick President

Libya crumbles, as the United States looks the other way

Friday’s edition:

Iran: Threat not forgotten, with a plan to deal with them militarily

ISIS: 'Apocalyptic, end-of-days vision'

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

Netanyahu: Radical Islamic terrorism threatens the entire world and it is time for us all to confront it

Americans brace for new wave of Islamic State terror

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August 29: The Lightest Cross -
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August 29: The Unsurpassed Intimacy
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