Mideast Gets Ready for US Attack

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Media reports say there was a second chemical attack in the Damascus area. Early info suggests a smaller scale attack that injured 20 people, but expect more details to emerge.

2. While the US gears up to attack Syria, Israel and Syria are getting ready too: Israel’s cabinet gave a green light to a limited call-up of reservists. Meanwhile, the Times of Israel reports that the Syrian army is evacuating security installations. See also Israel HaYom, the Wall St. Journal, and USA Today.

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3. Loose-lipped US officials are telling the media a little too much about attacking Syria. Unidentified sources told the Washington Post, and NBC News that two or three days of missile strikes should sufficiently punish the Syrian regime, discussed the attack’s timing with CNN, and the target list with the NY Times. Oh yeah, White House spokesman Jay Carney told the press corps that there are no plans for regime change.

All of which has the Wall St. Journal wondering: Why is the White House is giving away its game plan?


4. Palestinian “Eyewitnesses”: Proven Unreliable – Again: Events in the Qalandia refugee camp offer a good case study of how Palestinian eyewitness accounts can lead to multiple versions of a story, as well as how different news services present the story.

5. I discussed Israel’s perspective on the imminent US attack on Syria and the chemical weapons situation. Listen to the Israel Audio News Stream.

The Syrian Situation

Foreign Policy reports that White House’s smoking gun is a bunch of  intercepted telephone calls between “panicked” Syrian officials:

Making the case even more conclusive were the images of the missiles that supposedly delivered the deadly attacks. If they were carrying conventional warheads, they would have likely been all but destroyed as they detonated. But several missiles in East Ghouta were found largely intact. “Why is there so much rocket left? There shouldn’t be so much rocket left,” the intelligence official told The Cable. The answer, the official and his colleagues concluded, was that the weapon was filled with nerve agent, not a conventional explosive.

The bulk of the evidence was provided by Israel.


In Jerusalem, Washington’s resolve in Syria is seen as a crucial litmus test for its readiness to confront another looming Mideast showdown over unconventional weapons.

Syrian hackers showed they’re a force to be reckoned with, hitting the NY Times, Twitter, and Huffington Post through an Australian internet company associated with those sites. The Jerusalem Post summed up the damage; Chris Mims explained how the Syrian Electronic Army pulled it off.

Syrian Electronic Army

The Israeli homefront’s gearing up. See Israel HaYom, the Wall St. Journal, and USA Today.

For more commentary/analysis, see the Times of Israel, David Harris, Jerusalem Post, Nahum Barnea, i24, Israel HaYom, Reuters, NY Times, McClatchy News, The Economist, Der Spiegel, Anthony Cordesman, and Time.

On the next page:

  • Is Norway running out of patience with the PA?
  • Hamas sentences alleged collaborator to death.
  • US Dept. of Education rules against Israel campus activists at Berkeley.

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