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White House Mulls How To Strike Over Libya Attack

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House has put special operations strike forces on standby and moved drones into the skies above Africa, ready to strike militant targets from Libya to Mali - if investigators can find the al-Qaida-linked group responsible for the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya.

But officials say the administration, with weeks until the presidential election, is weighing whether the short-term payoff of exacting retribution on al-Qaida is worth the risk that such strikes could elevate the group's profile in the region, alienate governments the U.S. needs to fight it in the future and do little to slow the growing terror threat in North Africa.

Details on the administration's position and on its search for a possible target were provided by three current and one former administration official, as well as an analyst who was approached by the White House for help. All four spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the high-level debates publicly.

The dilemma shows the tension of the White House's need to demonstrate it is responding forcefully to al-Qaida, balanced against its long-term plans to develop relationships and trust with local governments and build a permanent U.S. counterterrorist network in the region.



Mofaz: Netanyahu Is Turning Israel Into South Africa

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is turning Israel into South Africa, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said in his speech opening the Knesset’s winter session on Monday.

“Stop trying to scare everyone and say we could turn into Greece or Spain,” Mofaz said. “I think you’re turning us into South Africa of last century.”

Mofaz did not specify whether he was calling Netanyahu’s policies apartheid-like or if he meant the prime minister is leading Israel to international isolation.


“Are we a better country? More just? More sensitive to our citizens? More united? Stronger?” Mofaz ask. “The answer is clear to all, and is not an election slogan that can hide the truth. No spin can cover the failures of the Netanyahu-led government.”



Biggest U.S.-Israeli Military Exercise Is Message to Iran

By Tony Capaccio on October 15, 2012

The U.S. and Israel will begin their largest joint air and missile defense exercise by the end of this month, sending a message of solidarity between the nations to Iran and to American voters just before the Nov. 6 presidential election.

The U.K. and Germany also will participate in the three- week “Austere Challenge” exercise involving as many as 3,500 U.S. personnel in the region along with 1,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, Navy Lieutenant Commander Wendy Snyder, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

“The exercise will include missile defense elements, as well as combat-service support units” and participants from all four U.S. military services, she said.

The allied exercise is “no doubt intended at least partly to showcase that extensive U.S.-Israeli military cooperation continues despite the differences between the two nations over the immediacy and scope of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear enrichment program,” Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East specialist for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement.



Palestinian Olive Grove Attacked By Jewish Settlers For 2nd Time In Days

AFP , Saturday 13 Oct 2012

Dozens of olive trees were set ablaze in a Palestinian village early on Saturday, in an attack that villagers and Palestinian security officials blamed on Jewish settlers.

Residents of Qaryut village, 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of the West Bank city of Nablus, said that the fires had been set at several different spots simultaneously and security officials said the evidence pointed to an arson attack by residents of the neighbouring settlement of Eli.

Seventy of the village's olive trees were cut down in the early hours of Wednesday, the first day of the olive harvest, a period when Jewish settlers have in the past raided Palestinian farmers and their crops.



Iraq Wants Russians To Replace Exxon At West Qurna: Report

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Iraq is considering replacing ExxonMobil with Russian companies at the supergiant West Qurna-1 oilfield, after the U.S. major angered Baghdad by venturing into Kurdistan, according to a media report citing industry sources.

The northern Kurdish region has riled Baghdad by signing deals with foreign oil majors, such as Exxon, Total and Chevron, contracts the central government rejects as illegal.

Nefte Compass, a weekly energy newsletter about the FSU and Eastern Europe, said on Thursday that Iraq is weighing whether to replace Exxon with Russia's LUKOIL and Gazprom Neft - both already involved in the country.

It said that the proposal was due to be raised at a meeting this week between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Russian President Vladimir Putin.



Swedish Government Body Funding Book On Israeli ‘Apartheid’

(JTA) -- The Swedish Arts Council is sponsoring and distributing a new book which presents Israel as a racist entity comparable to apartheid South Africa.

The council, a government body, has allocated $8,985 toward publishing and distributing "The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man – Zionism -- an ideology at the end of the road?”, the council told JTA this week. The decision was made last month.

The book by Ingmar Karlsson, a retired senior Swedish diplomat, states: “The fundamental difference between South African and Zionist colonialism is the former wanted land and people while the latter only wanted land.”

Published earlier this year, the book also states that in Israel -- where Arabic is an official state language -- “Hebrew has a special status, with no consideration” for Arabic as “the area’s original language.”



Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

ABC's "This Week" - Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va.; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.


CNN's "State of the Union" - Robert Gibbs, adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Al Cardenas, former Florida Republican Party chairman.


"Fox News Sunday" - David Axelrod, adviser to the Obama campaign; Ed Gillespie, adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign.

Russia: Syrian Plane Legally Carried Radar Parts

MOSCOW (AP) -- A Syrian plane that was forced to land in Turkey was legally carrying Russian radar parts for Syria, Russia's foreign minister said Friday.

Sergey Lavrov insisted the shipment of "electric equipment for radars" was a legitimate cargo that complied with international law, but he added that it was of "dual purpose," meaning it could have civilian and military applications.

"It's not forbidden by any international conventions," Lavrov said, adding that the Russian company that sent it to Syria will demand that Turkey return the cargo. He didn't name the Russian company or the cargo's recipient in Syria.

"Of course, there weren't and there couldn't be any weapons on board the plane," Lavrov said. "The plane was carrying a cargo, which a legal Russian supplier was sending in a legal way to a legal customer. Cargo documents had been issued fully in line with usual demands. Transporting that kind of cargo by civilian planes is absolutely normal practice."



Iraq To Buy Czech Military Planes For $1 Billion

PRAGUE (AP) -- Iraq has agreed to buy 28 Czech-made military airplanes in a deal worth $1 billion ((EURO)775 million), part of a broader effort by Baghdad to rebuild military capabilities destroyed during the U.S.-led invasion of the country, officials said Friday.

Iraq only has a few planes and is unable to defend its air space. The government has bought billions of dollars in tanks, fighter jets, ships and other weapons from the U.S. in recent years, but is now looking to forge military ties with other allies and nations, including Russia.

"We want to boost the ties with our old friends," Iraqi Defense Minister Saad al-Dulaimi said in a statement.

Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra and Al-Dulaimi agreed to the deal Friday after a visit to the headquarters of the aircraft producer, Aero Vodochody, just north of Prague. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also participated in the talks.



Actress Jane Lynch Joins Amway Boycott Over Donation To Anti-Gay Group

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, October 11, 2012 20:37 EDT

Emmy-award winning actress Jane Lynch has joined a boycott targeting the direct-sales giant Amway, according to mLive.

LGBT rights activist Fred Karger, who launched the boycott in August, said Lynch “grabbed the pen out of my hand and signed away” when asked to add her name to a postcard. The postcard, along with 50 others like them, have been sent to Amway president and owner Doug DeVos.

Tax records obtained by Karger show that DeVos donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Education Fund through his Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation.

NOM was formed in 2007 to pass Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. The organization has fought against proposals in numerous states to legalize same sex marriage and allow same sex couples to adopt children.


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