Syria: we have “unconventional” weapons and will strike Israel with them if Israel uses “unconventional” weapons

Source close to leadership in Damascus responds to Israeli threats, tells
Kuwait newspaper Syria continuously upgrading military capabilities.
Hezbollah: We possess arms that can hit deep in Israel

Roee Nahmias YNET Published: 04.24.10, 21:37 / Israel News,7340,L-3880101,00.html

Syria has threatened to “send Israel back to the era of prehistoric man” if
the Jewish state attacks it with unconventional weapons.

A source close to decision-makers in Damascus was quoted by Kuwaiti
newspaper al-Rai on Saturday as saying that “If Israel uses unconventional
weapons, we’ll respond in a similar fashion.”

Israeli Threat:

Earlier this week, an Israeli minister told the Sunday Times that Syria
would be “sent back to the Stone Age” if Hezbollah launches ballistic

The Syrian official said Damascus has upgraded its military capabilities and
has prepared for a number of possible scenarios in case a war against Israel
breaks out.

“Despite the fact that Syria has been outside the cycle of war since 1973,
it did not sit idly by for even one day and is still working to develop its
capabilities via missiles,” he was quoted by the Kuwait paper as saying.

The official said Syria has drawn lessons from Hezbollah’s “success” during
the Second Lebanon War and has since then developed “advanced methods of

‘War could break out tomorrow’

The Syrian source said Damascus’ wartime strategy is based in part on the
possibility of opening a broad front against Israel – from Rosh Hanikra to
the Golan Heights. In addition, said the official, Syria is capable of
launching 60 ballistic missiles deep into Israeli territory if the Jewish
state will “dare to try and undermine Damascus’ sovereignty.”

“Syria can also launch 600 short-range tactical missiles into Israel in one
day,” he said, while detailing plans to attack Israel’s coastline if a war
breaks out. In this framework, he said, Syrian forces would employ
sea-to-surface missiles against Israeli civilian and military targets,
including ports.

The official did not address claims that Syria was transferring Scud
missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hezbollah political bureau member Ghaleb Abu Zainab said during an interview
with NBN television on Friday that his group does not need Scud missiles to
defend Lebanon.

“The resistance possesses arms that can reach deep into Israel,” Abu Zainab
said, adding that Hezbollah is completely ready to confront the Jewish

According to Abu Zainab, Washington and Jerusalem are using their
accusations of the Scud transfer to attempt to divert attention away from
Israel’s “violations” in the Palestinian territories.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said Saturday, “We are
ruling out the possibility of an imminent (Israeli) attack, but the
resistance is operating under the assumption that a war could break out
tomorrow – so that we will not be caught by surprise in any way.”

Another senior Hezbollah figure, Lebanese Agriculture Minister Hussein
al-Hajj Hassan, said Saturday that allegations made by the US and the
“Zionist enemy” regarding the Scud missile transfers are aimed at “applying
pressure on Syria, Lebanon and the resistance.

President: Iran and Brazil to play important role in world order

Referring to the important role of Iran and Brazil in establishment of a new
world order, he stressed that governing order in the world is collapsing and
a new order should substitute it.

President: Iran and Brazil to play important role in world order
News Code: 1082197 GMT: 4/28/2010 5:53:15 AM

Tehran, April 28, IRNA – Iran news agency – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
said Iran and Brazil would play an important role in establishment of a
world order based on justice.
According to Presidential Office website on Tuesday, President Ahmadinejad
received visiting Brazilian Foreign Minister Brasil Celso Amorim here on

In the meeting, Ahmadinejad told Brazilian senior diplomat that mutual ties
are friendly and underlined that both countries intend to expand relations
in all fields. He added that the two countries are determined to speed up
mutual cooperation in all fields and to be effective in the world and
regional issues.

Referring to Iran-Brazil positions in two important regions of the world,
Ahmadinejad said that the two countries have plenty of capacities and
opportunities for expanding cooperation at bilateral and international
levels. he stressed that expansion of relations between Iran and Brazil
would be beneficial to both nations and the regions.

Referring to the important role of Iran and Brazil in establishment of a new
world order, he stressed that governing order in the world is collapsing and
a new order should substitute it. The president added that Tehran and
Brasilia can play an important role in establishment of a new just order in
the world.

Brazilian foreign minister pointed to the change in his country’s approach
towards developing relations and said that Brazil in its new approach
attaches great importance to deepening relations with the Islamic Republic
of Iran.

Amorim underlined that Brazil does not believe in imposing sanctions against
other countries, especially against the great nation of Iran. He supported
using peaceful nuclear energy and developing nuclear program for Iran, as
for his own country.

He underlined that world governing order is changing, adding that Iran and
Brazil should help substitute a new order through bilateral cooperation.

The Saudi Nuclear Option

How many Of These Bastards Were From Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Nuclear Option
INSS Insight No. 176, April 26, 2010
Guzansky, Yoel

On the basis of a memo written by the US Secretary of Defense, the New York
Times reported recently that “the United States does not have an effective
long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear
capability.” On the same day, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a royal
order establishing a science complex called King Abdullah City dedicated
solely to “research and development of all aspects of nuclear energy.”
Coincidence? Apparently. However, the steady progress made by Iran in its
nuclear program and the fact that so far America’s policy on the matter has
failed to prove itself have caused concern in Riyadh about relying
exclusively on possible American defense guarantees. Accordingly, what
options are open to Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis the reality of a nuclear Iran?
Intensify cooperation with the United States? Turn a blind eye and maintain
good neighborly relations with Iran? Or perhaps acquire its own nuclear
deterrence? Saudi Arabia’s concern that in certain scenarios it is liable to
find itself having to tackle a nuclear Iran by itself may lead it to examine
all the options.

Saudi Arabia may well understand that over time it is difficult, perhaps
impossible, to prevent a state such as Iran – that along with its
technological and economic capabilities made a strategic decision to develop
nuclear capability – from completing its mission: Tehran may have concluded
that its security constraints as well as the prestige and influence
associated with having such weapons outweigh the political and economic cost
it is paying and will continue to pay. Thus as early as 2006, at the annual
Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, along with the
other Gulf states, announced its interest in developing independent nuclear
programs for peaceful purposes. Though not made public, the primary
motivation was Iran’s nuclear ambition.

As the leading Arab state in the Gulf (and given Egypt’s weakness, perhaps
the leading state in the Arab world) and the ideological-religious rival and
main competitor for regional influence with Iran, Saudi Arabia will find it
difficult to do nothing should Iran obtain military nuclear capability. As
early as 2003, Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, the former head of Israeli military
intelligence, reported to the Knesset’s Foreign Relations and Defense
Committee that “the Saudis are in contact with Pakistan for purchasing
nuclear warheads for the surface-to-surface missiles in their arsenal…They
have decided to act in order to redress the balance of terror vis-à-vis Iran’s
armament, and intend to deploy Pakistani warheads on their soil.”

Despite Saudi Arabia’s relative transparency and cooperation with the
international community on nuclear issues, there are more than a few doubts
as to its credibility, given that in the past it had very close relations
with Pakistan. More than once the claim has been made that Saudi Arabia was
in fact behind the financing of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs.
After the Islamic Revolution and throughout the 1980s Pakistan stationed
military forces in Saudi Arabia and the two nations cooperated in assisting
the Afghani mujahidin. Therefore, should Saudi Arabia find itself in a
sensitive security situation, it may well be that it would seek to
capitalize on its investment in the Pakistani program.

These two Sunni nations located on either side of Iran have overlapping
interests: Pakistan has the knowledge and skilled manpower but lacks the
cash, while Saudi Arabia has vast cash reserves but lacks the relevant
infrastructures and skilled manpower. Saudi Arabia might seek to balance
Iran’s power by increasing cooperation, including in the nuclear field, with
a friend from the past, despite the political risks – primarily to its
relations with the United States – and the fact that this contradicts Saudi
international commitments and its own position favoring a nuclear-free
Middle East. If Pakistan stations nuclear weapons in the kingdom, Saudi
Arabia may not necessarily view this as an infringement of the NPT to which
it is a signatory, and certainly not if the weapons remain under Pakistani
control. Such a scenario is highly speculative and has been denied both in
Islamabad and Riyadh, but it cannot be rejected out of hand, especially if
Iran decides that the circumstances are right for it to “break out” for
nuclear weapons.

In face of the United States’ closed door, Saudi Arabia in the 1980s
secretly acquired several dozen Chinese CSS-2 surface-to-surface missiles.
Given their low precision, they are appropriate only for carrying nuclear
warheads. Yet even if they are somewhat outdated, they supply a base for
possible upgrade and for training professional teams. Future Saudi moves in
the field might also be secret, to avoid criticism and to prevent
embarrassing the United States. Recently, the Saudi press reported on
“upgrading the strategic missile reserves” and the inauguration of a new
command and control facility associated with the kingdom’s missile force.
Riyadh’s view that the Iranian threat is serious and immediate was recently
expressed by Foreign Minister al-Faisal: “Sanctions are a long-term
solution…But we are looking at an Iranian nuclear program within a shorter
term because we are closer to the locus of the threat. We are interested in
immediate rather than in gradual solutions.” Various developments therefore
may lead Saudi Arabia to accelerate its timetable, and along with or instead
of developing independent nuclear infrastructures, it is not inconceivable
that it would prefer buying turnkey components, enter into a military treaty
with Pakistan, and in certain scenarios, even deploy Pakistani nuclear
forces on Saudi soil because of the urgency and its lack of appropriate

The Saudi strategy perhaps depends most of all on if and how Iran crosses
the nuclear threshold. Iran is apparently entrenching its position as a
threshold state, which lends it some of the advantages attributed to nuclear
states and would allow it, when it deems convenient, to “break out.” Should
Iran not cross the nuclear threshold, Saudi Arabia may be able to turn a
blind eye and take symbolic action such as intensified coordination and
cooperation among the Gulf sates. However, should it become certain that
Iran is a nuclear state, e.g., through the proof of nuclear testing, Saudi
Arabia would feel obligated to acquire similar capability. Signaling that it
is prepared to go down this road may be an effective way of pressuring the
United States to demonstrate more strongly its commitment to defend the
Although in light of America’s superior capabilities it seems that Saudi
Arabia, at least for now, has no alternative but to rely on the United
States, it would be contrary to Saudi practice to put all its eggs in one
basket. It is reasonable to think that for its survival, the royal family
would seek to keep all options open. If in Riyadh’s view its essential
security interests are threatened and a clear and present danger to the
kingdom’s stability emerges, it may prefer to engage in a series of steps,
even if contradictory, to ensure its security.

Given its wealth and military weakness, Saudi Arabia would likely seek
security arrangements that would grant it more independence in decision
making and better chances of maintaining a stable balance of deterrence in
the Gulf over time. At present there is no solid evidence that Saudi Arabia
intends to go this route even though from its perspective the presence of
nuclear weapons in Iran would constitute a serious threat. There are not
many states that are as important to the United States as Saudi Arabia, and
the implications of “the Saudi option” may force the Americans to prove
actively that they are committed to defending the kingdom. Any other policy
might prompt a crisis between the two nations, and could have severe
ramifications for Israel’s strategic environment.

MEMRI: Egyptian FM in Al-Ahram Names Israel as ‘the Enemy,’ Praises Ties with Syria; Al-Ahram Editorial: ‘What We Need Now is to Increase Israel’s Isolation’

MEMRI Special Dispatch  April 27, 2010
Egypt/Inter-Arab Relations

Egyptian Foreign Minister in Al-Ahram Names Israel as ‘the Enemy,’ Praises
Ties with Syria; Al-Ahram Editorial: ‘What We Need Now is to Increase
Israel’s Isolation’

In the recent days, Egypt has hardened its tone towards Israel while
expressing solidarity with Lebanon and Syria. During a surprise visit to
Beirut, on April 24, 2010, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit said
that Israel’s claim that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hizbullah is
“a big lie,” adding that Egypt would stand by Syria and Lebanon if Israel
attacked them. Asked whether he came to relay Israeli warnings regarding a
possible attack on Lebanon, Abu Al-Gheit replied that Egypt did not convey
messages from the “enemy” to a “sister state.”[1] He also emphasized that,
though no date had been set for a meeting between Assad and Mubarak, the
Syrian president is always welcome in Egypt.[2]

An editorial published in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram two days
later called on the Arab countries not to extend friendship to Israel but
rather to isolate it, and predicted that the next few days will see a
significant development in the historical relations between Egypt and Syria.

Israel – the Enemy; Lebanon – A Sister State

“Egypt showed great responsibility, and rushed to express solidarity with
Lebanon and to clarify that the talk about Scud missiles being smuggled from
Syria into Lebanon was [nothing but] a ridiculous lie. Cairo quickly
dispatched its Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit, [to Beirut], not
because it [wanted to] convey messages to Lebanon from non-Arab elements,
but because the Egyptian leadership wanted to convey Lebanon’s messages to
other elements, especially to Israel. [When asked about this,] Abu Al-Gheit
replied very directly and sincerely: ‘I do not carry any message from the
enemy to an Arab sister [state]’…

“[Abu Al-Gheit’s visit] emphasized that Cairo [wished to] declare its
solidarity with Lebanon and Syria on Lebanese soil, and that it was
dispatching a clear and unambiguous message regarding which [country] is the
enemy and which is a sister state. Let us reiterate that Cairo, with its
long history, does not need to proclaim its positions [or clarify] which
side it supports and where its national security lies. Presumably, it is the
others who fail to understand that the [Arab] goals are unified and clear,
even if there is a range of opinions regarding the [precise] interpretation
of these goals and the way to achieve them.”

Egypt Stands by Lebanon, Including Hizbullah

The second important message here is that Cairo emphasized, by means of its
Foreign Minister, that Egypt’s concern is for Lebanon as a whole, even if
the [enemy’s] threat is directed mainly at Hizbullah. That is a permanent
feature of Egypt’s position on all Arab issues: it takes the same tone with
everyone. Egypt’s foremost concern is the stability of the Arab countries,
their territorial integrity, the strength of their governments, and their
[right] to take independent decisions on issues of war and peace. Egypt is
also anxious that no Arab element be tempted to enter a trap, forcing
[other] Arab elements to pay the price.”

“The Upcoming Days Will See a Significant Development in Egypt-Syria

The third message is that Egypt is always looking out for Syria, which has
been its partner in struggle throughout history. Cairo is cognizant of this
eternal bond it shares with Damascus, since there have always been blood
ties [between the two countries]… Therefore, it comes as no surprise that
Abu Al-Gheit said that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is always welcome in
Cairo, and it is not strange that Assad is careful to ask after President
Hosni Mubarak’s health. It is only natural that the upcoming days will see a
significant development in Egypt-Syria relations that will reflect the
historic bond between the two countries…

“Beyond the issue of the messages [that Egypt conveyed through this visit],
we ask our brothers in Lebanon to refrain from giving Israel free gifts.
Netanyahu’s government [wants] to drive the Arabs to utter boastful
statements that make Israel seem like the victim and make it sound as though
Lebanon or the Arabs suddenly have some [means] to threaten Israel in a
frightening way – and we do not want [Israel to succeed in this ploy]. This
is a stereotypical and unrealistic image [of the Arabs]. Israel has been
using this lie [against them], trying to tempt them into making statements
of bravado that paint a picture totally at odds with reality. Gentlemen,
statements and positions should reflect the facts on the ground, and the
most important of these [facts are the following:] Israel is an occupying
country that refuses to give back the Arab territories, and we are the ones
who want peace, while the Netanyahu government is the one who invents false
and ridiculous pretexts to launch uneven wars against Arab civilians,
whether in Lebanon or in Gaza. Israel is the one who refuses to pay the
price of peace, and who defies even the U.S. and the international
[community] when they demand that it uphold the agreements it has signed –
first and foremost the agreement to stop the settlement [activity].”

Israel Must Be Isolated

All the Arab sides – both those who support negotiations and the ones who
pin their hopes on resistance – must refrain from extending a [friendly]
hand to the extremist Israeli government. What we need now is to increase
Israel’s isolation, to besiege it as an occupying country, and to expose its
racist face and gain the world’s support for our just causes. If this
peaceful siege does not achieve the hoped-for results, we will discuss [what
to do] when the time comes.”

Louisiana woman pleads guilty to selling children

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana woman has pleaded guilty to selling two children for a cockatoo and $175 in what her attorney called an attempt to do a good thing that went wrong.

 “It was a really clumsy attempt at an adoption proceeding,” said Steve Sikich, attorney for Donna Louise Greenwell of Pitkin. “She was trying to help the children and get them situated.”

 Greenwell, 53, was sentenced Monday to 15 months of hard labor on each of two criminal counts: sale of a minor. The sentences are to run concurrently.

 The case centered on a 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl in Greenwell’s custody.

 Investigators said she called Paul J. Romero, 46, and Brandy Lynn Romero, 27, of Evangeline Parish early last year after seeing a flyer they posted offering a cockatoo for sale, and offered to deliver the children for about $2,000. When the Romeros said they could not afford that, a deal was stuck for the bird, valued at $1,500, plus cash.

 Greenwell had custody of the children for more than a year before meeting the Romeros, Sikich said. Her lawyers have maintained she was just trying to find a better home for them.  They were undernourished and not well taken care of,” Sikich said. “It’s my understanding that the mother had requested that she take care of the kids.”  Another lawyer for Greenwell had said previously that the children were “abandoned to her care.”

 Neither the children’s mother or father could be located, Sikich said.  The $175 was to cover the cost of an attorney to transfer custody of the children to the Romeros, Sikich said. The cockatoo was a gift to Greenwell’s granddaughter, he said. Greenwell’s sentences were part of a plea deal worked out with the Evangeline Parish District Attorney’s office.

 Sikich said Greenwell could have faced up to 10 years on each count and another 20 years as a habitual offender. The district attorney agreed not to file charges against Greenwell as a habitual offender as part of the plea bargain, Sikich said.

 “She did not have a good attorney for two previous counts, which left her with a record she didn’t really deserve,” he said. He said the charges were for issuing worthless checks and second-degree battery.

 The Romeros, of Eunice, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sale of a minor child, the district attorney said in an earlier statement. Their five-year prison sentences were suspended in exchange for their testimony against Greenwell, the statement said.

 The district attorney’s office did not return repeated calls Tuesday for comment.

 Greenwell will begin serving her sentence on March 25.

Syria, Iran affirm ties: possivbly to attack Israel

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syrian President Bashar Assad defied U.S. calls to loosen ties with Iran on Thursday, saying his long-standing alliance with Tehran remains strong despite overtures from Washington intended to shift his loyalties.

The U.S. has reached out to Syria in recent months by nominating the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus since 2005 and sending top diplomats to meet with President Bashar Assad. Washington is hoping to draw Syria away from Iran and the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

But with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by his side in Damascus, Assad said Thursday that America should not dictate relationships in the Middle East.

“I find it strange how they talk about Middle East stability and at the same time talk about dividing two countries,” Assad told reporters when asked about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s call Wednesday for Syria to move away from Iran.

Assad took a swipe at Clinton for making such a suggestion, saying he and Ahmadinejad “misunderstood, maybe because of translation error or limited understanding.” In a show of unity, the two signed an agreement canceling travel visas between the their countries.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, said Assad “need only look around the region and recognize that Syria is increasingly an outlier.”

“We want to see Syria play a more constructive role in the region and one step would be to make clear what Iran needs to do differently. And unfortunately, there was no evidence of that today,” he said.

President Barack Obama is determined to engage with Syria, a country seen as key to peace in the region but which the State Department considers a sponsor of terrorism.

Former President George W. Bush withdrew the last U.S. ambassador to Syria in 2005 after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which his supporters blamed on Syria. Syria denies any links.

Assad’s strong words Thursday indicate that America does not have the kind of leverage it thought over Syria, said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert who runs a popular blog called Syria Comment.

“America overplayed its hand,” Landis said. “The rest of the world is engaged with Syria — France is doing business, Turkey is doing business. Syria can survive. But it can’t survive cutting ties with Iran.”

Still, there are signs Assad could be open to a breakthrough with America.

Assad has begun to dismantle his father’s socialist legacy since he rose to office in 2000. He has loosened the reins on banking, sought to attract foreign investment, and encouraged tourism and private education.

He also is hoping for U.S. help in boosting the Syrian economy and American mediation in direct peace talks with Israel — a recognition that he needs U.S. help to reach his goal of winning the return of the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

But Clinton said Wednesday that the recent decision to send an ambassador to Syria did not mean American concerns about the country have been addressed.

Speaking to lawmakers in Washington, Clinton said the nomination of career diplomat Robert Ford signaled a “slight opening” with Syria. But she said Washington remained troubled by suspected Syrian support for militant groups in Iraq and elsewhere, interference in Lebanon and Syria’s close relationship with Iran.

Ahmadinejad’s trip comes amid rising U.S. tension with Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. and others believe Iran is hiding nuclear weapons development under the guise of a civilian energy program. Iran insist its intentions are peaceful.

Assad called America’s stance toward Iran “a new situation of colonialism in the region.”

Despite its efforts to woo Syria, Washington has not lifted sanctions on Damascus. First imposed by Bush and renewed by Obama in May, the sanctions cite Syria’s support for terrorism, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities including efforts to undermine U.S. operations in Iraq.

Iran’s economic and political support has enabled Syria to survive those sanctions and international isolation.

Ahmadinejad stressed that Syria and Iran are partners with a long history.

“There is nothing that could harm these brotherly relations,” he said. “With each passing day, these relations will improve and deepen.”

Sarkis Naoum, political editor of the Beirut daily An-Nahar, who follows Iran-Syria relations, says he does not see the countries severing ties anytime soon.

“Syria was supported by Iran, Iran helped Syria maintain its regime,” he said. “Mr. Obama’s engagement policy has not worked yet.”