Hamas says now in ‘open war’ with Israel, promises ‘gates of hell’
RT – November 15, 2012
As Israel launched a full-scale attack on Gaza with frequent sounds of rockets still being heard in Gaza – killing 13 and injuring over 100 – Hamas vowed to avenge the Israeli strike and the assassination of its military leader Ahmed Jabari. Hamas stated it will carry out a revenge plan on Israel by sending in suicide bombers and declaring a state of open war.
Operation Cast Lead 2.0
Hussein Ibish, Foreign Policy – November 14, 2012
Israel’s assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jaabari in a missile attack has shattered the short-lived and fragile calm in the Gaza Strip, and could be another step in the transformation of the basic balance of power within Hamas — and even the broader Palestinian national movement. The attack is the most significant escalation since Operation Cast Lead, the offensive Israel launched in Gaza in December 2008, and which cost an estimated 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.
Xi Jinping takes reins of Communist party and Chinese military
Tania Branigan, The Guardian – November 15, 2012
Xi Jinping took the reins of both the Communist party and the military in China on Thursday morning, before introducing the broadly conservative team who will lead the country with him. The presentation of the seven men in dark suits, at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, offered little encouragement to the growing numbers pressing for economic, social and particularly political reforms in China.
Afghanistan, U.S. start tough talks on post-2014 troops
Reuters – November 15, 2012
Afghanistan and the United States have started talks that will eventually define how many American troops stay in the country after most NATO combat forces leave at the end of 2014, and the scope of their mission.
Over 37,000 have died in Syria’s civil war, opposition group says
Saad Abedine and Ben Brumfield, CNN – November 15, 2012
As the total death toll in Syria marches towards 40,000, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday lambasted the recent U.S. backing of Syria’s opposition in its quest to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Homs and Damascus are the deadliest places in Syria, according to an opposition group that keeps a running total of those whose lives came to a bloody end in 20-month armed conflict.
Redrawing the Middle East map: Iran, Syria and the new Cold War
Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Aljazeera – November 15, 2012
Under President Obama, the US has begun to pivot toward the South Pacific. Yet, the United States will inevitably stay in the Middle East. This is not just because of oil. Nor is it because of what Samuel Huntington called the “Clash of Civilisations” or what others might call terrorism, although events in Benghazi which led to the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens serve to remind that social and cultural differences can still easily lead to tragedy. Though oil and terrorism are both important, the real reason is the Middle East’s potential to draw the US, Russia, the EU and China into a global conflict – a risk that is rising.
Iran test-fires missiles, unveils military achievements in ongoing drill
Xinhua – November 15, 2012
Iran’s Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have test-fired a range of missiles and unveiled their military achievements in the ongoing joint air defense drill starting on Monday. Code-named “Modafe’ an-e Aseman-e Velayat 4”, or “The Defenders of the Sky of Guardianship 4”, the seven-day drill is held in an area of more than 850,000 square km, accounting for half of the country, in which a large number of soldiers are participating.
Seoul Defense Dialogue discusses WMD, N. Korea
Kim Eun-jung, Yonhap News – November 15, 2012
Senior defense officials and security advisers from home and abroad gathered in Seoul Thursday for a regional security forum aimed at discussing ways to curb weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and handle North Korea’s nuclear threat, the defense ministry said.
Obama: ‘No Evidence’ National Security Imperiled
Devin Dwyer and Mary Bruce, ABC News – November 14, 2012
President Obama today said he has seen “no evidence” that U.S. national security was jeopardized in the unfolding scandal between disgraced former CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.