World View: Israeli Air Strike on Damascus Escalates Syria Crisis

World View: Israeli Air Strike on Damascus Escalates Syria Crisis

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 besuspended for a few days. I hope for World View to resume on Thursdayor Friday (May 9/10). In the meantime, I request of world leadersthat they not make any major news until then, and in particular thatthey wait until the end of the week before starting any major newwars.

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 eachyear on Orthodox Easter Sunday in Orthodox Christian churches aroundthe world. Worshippers enter the church with an unlit candle. Atmidnight, the priest repeats the “miracle” of holy fire by producing afire from the altar, lighting a candle with it. Thousands of OrthodoxChristians fill Jerusalem’s ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre, ,believed to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as well assurrounding streets, for the Easter “Holy Fire” ceremony, whichsymbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Athens, worshippersfill all the streets, and the holy fire ceremony lights up the entirecity with candlelight. The ceremony dates back to the fourth century,and possibly as early as the first century. and Russia Today

Major defense contractor QinetiQ hacked for years by China

From four years, Chinese hackers stole gigabytes of trade secrets andclassified military secrets from top-level defense contractor QinetiQ Group plc,including detailed information and software source code for highlysensitive weapons-systems technology and advanced robotic systems. Aninvestigation shows that QinetiQ (pronounced like “kinetic”) ignoredone warning sign after another, and treated each one as an isolatedincident. In fact, thousands of computers in every part of theorganization were compromised in a systematic manner from 2007 to2010.

A February report by American computer security company Mandiantprovides forensic proof that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)has been systematically conducting cyberwar against Americangovernment and corporate organizations. In particular, the PLA’sa company’s network, retains control in stealth mode, and downloadsall the data in the network over a period of months, sometimesterabytes 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 ifwe did we could face a major embarrassment, where we try out allthese sophisticated weapons systems and they don;twork.”

In case of a war with China, the phrase “major embarrassment” would bea massive understatement.

Readers may be interested in knowing that my web site, has been under acontinuous low-level DDOS attack by Chinese hackers for many months,and suffered a major hacking attack several weeks ago that required meto restructure the entire web site. Since there’s absolutely nothingof value on my web site except what’s available on publicly availableweb pages, I have to assume that someone in China is just screwingwith me for the hell of it. But it does prove one thing — if aninsignificant 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, andthat’s the explanation. My web site has almost 4,000 pages, of whichI’ve brought back over 3,500 in the restructuring, but I haven’t yethad the time to restore the RSS feed. I strongly recommend that allreaders subscribe to the daily World View e-mail subscription:

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

Israeli air strike on Damascus escalates Syria crisis

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said on Sunday thatIsrael’s repeated airstrikes on facilities near Damascus constituted anIsraeli “declaration of war,” and he claimed that the air strikesconclusively demonstrated the alliance between “the terrorists,infidels and Zionists” fighting the regime of Syria’s president Basharal-Assad. Israel is officially not commenting on the air strikes,but unnamed Israeli officials say that the air strikes weretargeting a shipment of Iranian made Fatah-110 missiles on theirway from Syria to Hezbollah terrorists. However, Israel isopenly preparing for retaliation by re-deploying the Iron Domeanti-missile system, and closing air space in the north of Israel.

There is a sense in which the Syria conflict has politically turnedagainst the opposition in the last few days. The main factor was theannouncement by the Jabhat al-Nusra (“Victory Battlefront”) anti-Assadgroup of rebels that it’s linked to al-Qaeda and is supported byal-Qaeda in Iraq. This has given credibility to the claim that hisregime been fighting terrorists, even though his regime has in facttargeted tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including childrenin their bedrooms and dormitories. It’s also made the Westincreasingly nervous about supporting the opposition rebels, becauseany supplied weapons might fall into the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists.In fact, it’s believed that Israeli officials want al-Assad to remainin power, since they fear that any replacement would be worse.

There’s also a political message from Israel to Washington and theWest. There’s a growing sense of contempt in many quarters thatWestern leaders, particularly president Barack Obama, are quick tomake one “red line” ultimatum after another, but then do nothing afterthe red line is crossed, except to announce a new red line. Israel’smessage is that it is not in the same category as other Westerncountries, and that it’s willing to take action, even if doing sorisks a regional escalation in the war.

In the meantime, there have been unconfirmed reports that Iran issupplying thousands of troops to the al-Assad regime, and they’reworking with the Hezbollah militia to defeat the opposition. Times of Israel and Debka

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