Massed Israeli troops poised for invasion of Gaza

[Immediately after Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, and on the eve of receiving more than $4 billion from the US to support Israeli aggression, Israel has now launched a new invasion of Gaza.  Whenever Israel loses ground and support (both active and secret) from its international allies, it resorts to new aggression against Palestinians and against its neighbors.  And when such aggression is launched, it is rewarded and paid for by the United States. — Frontlines ed.]

Air strike assassination of Hamas military chief signals start of major operation…Palestinians extinguish fire from the car of Ahmed al-Jabari after it was hit by one of several Israeli air strikes in Gaza City.  (Reuters)

Israeli troops massed on the Gaza border last night, poised for a possible ground invasion as Israel launched a major military operation it said was designed “to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure.”

Military sources told The Independent that a ground invasion was “a distinct possibility”. The army has deployed extra infantry units near the Gaza border, halted major exercises, cancelled soldiers’ leave and mobilised some reserve forces.

The opening salvo of Operation Pillar of Cloud was the pinpoint assassination by missile of the Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, as he drove through Gaza City, followed by aerial attacks against targets throughout the Hamas-controlled enclave. At least seven Palestinians, including civilians, were reported dead.

Gaza residents ran for cover as Israeli aircraft pounded targets across the Gaza Strip. It was the most extensive assault since Israel’s ill-starred ground invasion ended in January 2009. Continue reading

WSJ on Wikileak’s Vast Disclosure of Diplomatic Secrets

Saudi King Abdullah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2010

The publication of a quarter-million sensitive diplomatic cables Sunday exposed years of U.S. foreign-policy maneuvering that could prove embarrassing to the U.S. and its allies, especially in the Islamic world.

The publication by WikiLeaks of a quarter-million sensitive diplomatic cables exposed years of U.S. maneuvering that could prove embarrassing to the U.S. and its allies. Julian Barnes and David Weidner discuss. Also, Charles Forelle discusses Europe’s $90 billion bailout of Ireland and the blueprint Europe drafted for future rescues.

Among activities detailed in the documents was the extensive, and increasingly successful, push by the U.S. for an international consensus to confront Iran’s nuclear program. Five newspapers obtained early access to the documents, which had been gathered by the website WikiLeaks.

The cables showed how some Arab leaders were largely in sync with Israel to support greater financial penalties, if not military operations, against Iran unless it abandons its nuclear ambitions. Regarding Iran, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was portrayed in an April 2008 memo as having told the U.S. “to cut off the head of the snake.”

The cables showed the Obama administration working to get skeptical European states to back more-biting sanctions against Tehran, and also working to forestall United Nations vetoes of the effort by China and Russia Continue reading