World View: Israeli Air Strike on Damascus Escalates Syria Crisis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • World View will be suspended until Thursday or Friday
  • Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Fire 'miracle' on Easter
  • Major defense contractor QinetiQ hacked for years by China
  • Israeli air strike on Damascus escalates Syria crisis

World View will be suspended until Thursday or Friday

Life is interfering with the "World View" schedule, and so it will be suspended for a few days. I hope for World View to resume on Thursday or Friday (May 9/10). In the meantime, I request of world leaders that they not make any major news until then, and in particular that they wait until the end of the week before starting any major new wars.

Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Fire 'miracle' on Easter

Worshippers hold candles lit by passing the 'holy fire' from candle to candle after midnight in Jerusalem on Sunday (Reuters)
Worshippers hold candles lit by passing the 'holy fire' from candle to candle after midnight in Jerusalem on Sunday (Reuters)

One of the most impressive celebrations in the world is performed each year on Orthodox Easter Sunday in Orthodox Christian churches around the world. Worshippers enter the church with an unlit candle. At midnight, the priest repeats the "miracle" of holy fire by producing a fire from the altar, lighting a candle with it. Thousands of Orthodox Christians fill Jerusalem's ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre, , believed to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as well as surrounding streets, for the Easter "Holy Fire" ceremony, which symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Athens, worshippers fill all the streets, and the holy fire ceremony lights up the entire city with candlelight. The ceremony dates back to the fourth century, and possibly as early as the first century. HolyFire.org and Russia Today

Major defense contractor QinetiQ hacked for years by China

From four years, Chinese hackers stole gigabytes of trade secrets and classified military secrets from top-level defense contractor QinetiQ Group plc, including detailed information and software source code for highly sensitive weapons-systems technology and advanced robotic systems. An investigation shows that QinetiQ (pronounced like "kinetic") ignored one warning sign after another, and treated each one as an isolated incident. In fact, thousands of computers in every part of the organization were compromised in a systematic manner from 2007 to 2010.

A February report by American computer security company Mandiant provides forensic proof that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been systematically conducting cyberwar against American government and corporate organizations. In particular, the PLA's "Unit 61398," working out of a building in Shanghai, gains control of a company's network, retains control in stealth mode, and downloads all the data in the network over a period of months, sometimes terabytes of data. (See "20-Feb-13 World View -- New report reveals massive cyber war attack by China's army")

According to cybersecurity analyst Richard Clarke:

"God forbid we get into a conflict with China but if we did we could face a major embarrassment, where we try out all these sophisticated weapons systems and they don;t work."

In case of a war with China, the phrase "major embarrassment" would be a massive understatement.

Readers may be interested in knowing that my web site, GenerationalDynamics.com has been under a continuous low-level DDOS attack by Chinese hackers for many months, and suffered a major hacking attack several weeks ago that required me to restructure the entire web site. Since there's absolutely nothing of value on my web site except what's available on publicly available web pages, I have to assume that someone in China is just screwing with me for the hell of it. But it does prove one thing -- if an insignificant nobody like me is worthy of attack by Chinese hackers, then any web site is worthy of attack by Chinese hackers.

Several people have asked me what's happened to the RSS feed, and that's the explanation. My web site has almost 4,000 pages, of which I've brought back over 3,500 in the restructuring, but I haven't yet had the time to restore the RSS feed. I strongly recommend that all readers subscribe to the daily World View e-mail subscription:

http://GenerationalDynamics.com/Subscribe

Then you'll receive each day's column in e-mail, and you won't need the RSS feed. Bloomberg

Israeli air strike on Damascus escalates Syria crisis

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said on Sunday that Israel's repeated airstrikes on facilities near Damascus constituted an Israeli "declaration of war," and he claimed that the air strikes conclusively demonstrated the alliance between "the terrorists, infidels and Zionists" fighting the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Israel is officially not commenting on the air strikes, but unnamed Israeli officials say that the air strikes were targeting a shipment of Iranian made Fatah-110 missiles on their way from Syria to Hezbollah terrorists. However, Israel is openly preparing for retaliation by re-deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and closing air space in the north of Israel.

There is a sense in which the Syria conflict has politically turned against the opposition in the last few days. The main factor was the announcement by the Jabhat al-Nusra ("Victory Battlefront") anti-Assad group of rebels that it's linked to al-Qaeda and is supported by al-Qaeda in Iraq. This has given credibility to the claim that his regime been fighting terrorists, even though his regime has in fact targeted tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including children in their bedrooms and dormitories. It's also made the West increasingly nervous about supporting the opposition rebels, because any supplied weapons might fall into the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists. In fact, it's believed that Israeli officials want al-Assad to remain in power, since they fear that any replacement would be worse.

There's also a political message from Israel to Washington and the West. There's a growing sense of contempt in many quarters that Western leaders, particularly president Barack Obama, are quick to make one "red line" ultimatum after another, but then do nothing after the red line is crossed, except to announce a new red line. Israel's message is that it is not in the same category as other Western countries, and that it's willing to take action, even if doing so risks a regional escalation in the war.

In the meantime, there have been unconfirmed reports that Iran is supplying thousands of troops to the al-Assad regime, and they're working with the Hezbollah militia to defeat the opposition. Times of Israel and Debka


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