LastDayWatchers watch how trouble from the north
Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish peacekeeper were killed on Wednesday in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, one of the most violent clashes between the two sides since a 2006 war.
The soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired five missiles at a convoy of Israeli military vehicles on the frontier with Lebanon.
The two soldiers killed in Wednesday's are Major Yochai Kalangel and Sgt. Dor Nini, Kalangel, 25, an Elazar native who lived in Har Gilo with his wife Tali and one year-old daughter, was a commander of the Tzabar unit of the Givati Brigade. Kalangel was promoted to Major after his death; Nini, 20, from Shtulim, was a fighter in the same unit. He was promoted to Sgt. from Corporal after his death. He leaves behind two older brothers, his parents, and his girlfriend Rotem;
The onslaught wounded seven other soldiers, and killed a Spanish UN peacekeeper in Lebanon.
Also on Wednesday, Israel launched airstrikes on Syrian army artillery positions, in response to at least two rockets fired from Syria that hit the Golan on Tuesday.
For the first time in a long time, the Likud Party and its leader Netanyahu are trailing behind in the public opinion polls. This leaves a very perilous period until March during which the Likud Party’s leaders in government will be tempted to prove their hawkish credentials.
This may result in careless adventurous foreign policy, political and social divisions in Iran are also never too far from the surface, and the IRG might provoke crisis, especially if the nuclear negotiations seem to approach.
What went wrong in Iraq, can in almost all cases be traced back to the way the Bush Administration made decisions. "Most people with detailed knowledge of Iraq, from the CIA to the State Department to the Brits, thought it was a crazy quilt held together in an artificial state,"
"Companies deciding which kind of toothpaste to market have much more rigorous, established decision-making processes to refer to than the most senior officials of the U.S. government deciding whether or not to go to war"
Because no such people were involved in the decision to go to war, the Administration expected a much easier reception than it met—with ruinous consequences. There was no strong institutional system for reconciling differences between the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, and other institutions, and the person who theoretically might have done this, Condoleezza Rice, was weak.
A specially appointed congressional watchdog agency has found U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in Afghanistan are failing and costing millions of dollars.
For example, inspectors found poor U.S. government oversight led to the "melting" of an Afghan Special Police training center's dry fire range. The facility, which cost nearly $500,000 to build, began to collapse only four months after it was completed
That echoes other SIGAR reports saying many reconstruction projects have not been completed even after five years.
Several American-made military vehicles, including an M1 Abrams tank, M113 armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP), as well as Iranian-made Safir 4x4s and technicals (armed pickup trucks) are in the convoy.