Catching-Up on Current Events

Electric vehicles are exploding in Florida - country's second biggest EV market - because Hurricane Ian's water damage has caused batteries to corrode and catch fire

  • A number of EVs have caught fire in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian
  • The storm's damaging floods have corroded batteries in electric vehicles, putting them at risk of explosive fire
  • 'There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start,' David Patronis, Florida's fire marshall, said
  • Florida is the second-largest EV market in the U.S. with at least 95,000 registered cars

Firefighters in Florida are dealing with a new problem in the wake of Hurricane Ian's damaging floods - explosive fires caused by waterlogged batteries in electric vehicles.

When EV batteries take on a large amount of water, they're at risk of corrosion that can lead to unexpected fires, according to a top fire official in the state - which is America's second largest EV market after California, with 95,000 registered vehicles.

'There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start,' Florida's fire marshal and top financial officer David Patronis tweeted Thursday. 'That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale.'

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This is also a consideration with Batteries
This is a global problem.


Battery cell manufacturing – crucial in the EV and battery storage supply chain – is even more energy intensive than solar manufacturing, and Europe is a major global player. The EU currently boasts about 550 GWh of capacity, representing 27% of global operational capacity. Announced projects under development are set to boost that total significantly, increasing capacity to 2.7 terawatt-hours, positioning the EU as a global leader. However, those are now at risk and the car manufacturing and battery storage sectors could struggle to source European-made batteries as a result.

Britishvolt’s signature giga-sized battery factory in Blyth in the UK – which would add 30 GWh to the continent’s manufacturing capabilities – has already been delayed to mid-2025 due to rising energy costs and the need for additional fundraising. With Chinese manufacturers enjoying much lower power prices, European manufacturers’ plans to rapidly scale production could be challenged. Depending on how long elevated power prices continue, a slowdown in EV adoption in Europe could follow.
Europe’s renewable energy supply chain under threat from soaring power prices, 25% of solar and battery manufacturing capacity at risk

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Gas prices set to soar after midterms as Biden’s raid on oil reserve expires

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 by: News Editors

Gas prices set to soar after midterms as Biden’s raid on oil reserve expires

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 by: [News Editors]

Image: Gas prices set to soar after midterms as Biden’s raid on oil reserve expires

A befuddled President Joe Biden on Monday contradicted both reality and his own Treasury Department, boasting about his self-proclaimed success in lowering gas prices and claiming that his administration is making steady progress on tackling inflation, even as American consumers continue to struggle with high food prices.

(Article by Mark Pellin republished from

“The price of gas, when we said what I was doing wouldn’t make any difference, well guess what, it’s down $1.30 since the start of the summer,” Biden dissembled over gas prices during a speech at Boston Logan International Airport.

The national average price of gas is still more than $1 higher than it was when Biden took office and started his aggressive war on energy independence.

Biden’s pronouncement came one day after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that gas prices are likely to skyrocket this winter to near previous highs. With the European Union halting most Russian oil purchases and banning Russia from shipping oil by tanker, she said, prices are expected to increase significantly.

“It is possible that that could cause a spike in oil prices,” Yellen told CNN on Sunday.

While Yellen laid preemptive cover for the Biden administration by again blaming the Russia/Ukraine war for high gas prices, she kept mum on the dirty little secret that will almost assuredly send gas prices higher after the midterms.

What is wrong with people why do the majority keep thinking if they do the same thing again and again things will get better, expecting different results, definition of insanity. No wonder Father (Who is wonderful) is going to allow world war three to happen, people cannot keep there heads buried in the sand. How bad to things truly have to get people to realize that this government (Satan) is not really your friend.


And, Just Like That… American Taxpayer Dollars Are Now Funding Terrorists Who Blow Up Bridges and Target Russian Infrastructure

According to Russian news agency Tass, an explosion occurred in early Saturday morning on one of Putin’s prestige projects and Europe’s longest bridge, which connects Russia and Crimea.

“An object believed to be a fuel storage tank has caught fire on the Crimean Bridge, but the viaduct’s navigable arches sustained no damage, an aide to the head of Crimea, Oleg Kryuchkov, said on Saturday,” according to the news outlet.

“According to preliminary information, a fuel storage tank is on fire… Navigable arches were not damaged. It is too early to speak about causes and consequences. Work to extinguish the blaze is underway,” Kryuchkov wrote in his Telegram channel.

Crimean Bridge, also known as Kerch Strait Bridge or Kerch Bridge, is a pair of parallel bridges, one road, one rail, spanning the Kerch Strait between the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai in Russia and the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea in Ukraine.

After annexing Crimea at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia built the bridge. It is the longest bridge ever constructed in Russia, at 19 kilometers (12 miles), and the longest bridge in all of Europe.

Besides transportation, Russia’s motivation for building the bridge was to legitimize its territorial claims in Crimea.

The details of the bomb blast are not yet known, but it is clear that your tax dollars are now funding bombings of Russian infrastructure.

Russia claims a truck bomb was behind the blast.

Russian divers to examine Crimea bridge

Divers were to inspect the waters beneath the Crimea bridge on Sunday a day after a huge blast damaged Russia’s key road and rail link to the annexed peninsula, killing three people.

“We are ordering the examination by divers, they will start work from six in the morning,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin told state media late Saturday after the early morning explosion.

He also said the “first results” of Russia’s inspection of the bridge were due Sunday.

Authorities in Russia and Crimea have tried to reassure the population and downplayed the attack on the bridge, which has major symbolic importance for the Kremlin.

Officals said car and train traffic had resumed over the bridge, with Moscow’s transport ministry saying Sunday that long-distance passenger trains from Crimea to Russia were “moving according to the standard schedule”.

The Russian-installed leader of Crimea, Sergei Askyonov, said late Saturday that authorities were assessing whether it is safe to let busses through.

He said people who want to get back to Russia could take a car or a ferry to cities such as Krasnodar and Anapa.

Moscow said a truck bomb exploded setting off a massive blaze, but has stopped short of blaming Ukraine.

Some officials, mainly in Crimea and Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, have nonetheless called for retaliation.

Aksyonov urged Crimeans to remain “calm” and said the “situation is under control”.

But he added: “Of course, there are emotions and there is a healthy desire to seek revenge.”

Coming to a neighborhood near you?

Article dated 29 September 2022

One person was killed and at least two sustained injuries as a result of a Russian missile strike on the city of Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast). An extensive fire broke out at a transport infrastructure facility.

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Topic 1 Weather Warfare Ian
Topic 2 Glowing Blue Vials of Pfizer Vaccines begins at mark 30:15

Shots Fired! with DeAnna Lorraine! DeAnna is joined by world-renowned Weather Warfare and geo-engineering expert, Dane Wignington of, where he talks about proof that the disastrous Hurricane Iane was geo-engineered! He'll talk about the secrets of weather warfare, the secret spraying in the sky that's making us sick with respiratory issues - and much more.

Then DeAnna is joined by Project Veritas Whistleblower Melissa McAtee, who will discuss the glowing blue vials of Pfizer vaccines she witnessed, and the new admission by the Main Stream Media and other "Health Experts" that the Vaccines are in fact editing our genes - and what they're doing behind our backs.

Elon Musk blocks Ukraine from using Starlink in Crimea over concern that Putin could use nuclear weapons: report

Elon Musk personally rejected a Ukrainian request to extend his satellite internet service to Crimea, the SpaceX CEO fearing that an effort to retake the peninsula from Russian forces could lead to a nuclear war, according to a report published Tuesday.

Following Russia's February invasion of Ukraine, Musk — and the US government — provided Kyiv with thousands of Starlink systems, enabling Ukrainian forces to communicate in what were previously dead zones. The low energy requirements of the service's satellite receivers have enabled it to be connected to reconnaissance drones, Yahoo News reported, providing valuable, real-time intelligence on Russian movements and the ability to target them.

But recently there have been problems. Last week, the Financial Times reported that the service was suffering "catastrophic" outages on the frontlines, prompting speculation that it had been shut off in areas controlled by Russia — perhaps to prevent the Kremlin from itself exploiting the network.

On Twitter, Musk said he could not comment on battlefield conditions, saying "that's classified." But speaking to Eurasia Group political analyst Ian Bremmer in late September, Musk appeared to confirm that the satellite service was being intentionally disabled.

Neither SpaceX nor Ukraine's Ministry of Defense immediately responded to requests for comment.

Musk, speaking to Bremmer, said that he had been asked by Ukraine's defense ministry to activate Starlink in Crimea, which was invaded and illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. Per Bremmer, Musk "refused given the potential for escalation."

According to Bremmer, Musk claimed to have recently spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asserting that he is "prepared to negotiate" (Musk this month proposed a Ukraine peace plan seen as aligning with Russian interests). In that conversation, Putin reportedly threatened to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine tried to retake the Crimean peninsula, which serves as the base for Russia's naval forces on the Black Sea.

On Twitter, however, Musk flatly denied having any recent conversation with the Russian leader, writing that he has "spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago." The subject, he said, "was space." (Bremmer is likewise adamant, writing on social media that Musk "told me he had spoken with [P]utin and the [K]remlin directly about [U]kraine."

Russian forces are losing ground in Ukraine's south and have lost huge swathes in Ukraine's east as they press into regions Russia declared it had annexed, sparking concern among arms control experts about whether Putin and his top advisers may contemplate an attack with a nuke from their vast arsenal in an attempt to stanch their losses.

Jury reaches verdict of nearly $1 billion in compensatory damages against Alex Jones in Sandy Hook trial

A Connecticut jury on Wednesday ordered broadcaster and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay nearly $1 billion in damages to the families of eight Sandy Hook shooting victims and a law enforcement first responder to compensate them for a decade of abuse from people who believe his lies that the 2012 elementary school massacre was a hoax.

The astonishing $965 million compensatory damages verdict, after three and one-half weeks of gripping accounts of harassment from Jones and his followers, could increase in coming days with the addition of punitive damages, which are awarded for particularly outrageous and willful conduct.

Fifteen people sued Jones - parents, spouses and siblings of the 20 first graders and six educators murdered when a gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown with an assault rifle on Dec. 14, 2012. Within hours of the murders, as relatives came to grips with their losses, Jones began what would become years of bombastic broadcasts to an audience of millions claiming that the relatives were actors in a phony production staged to win support for gun control.

Parents of the murdered children testified that, as a result Jones’ broadcasts, threats began so quickly and grew so serious that, within days, authorities were taking security measures to protect mourners at their children’s’ funerals. Lawyers for the families presented the jury with evidence that the harassment continued through the trial.

The relatives sat calmly for the most part in the courtroom gallery as the court clerk read, and reread the 17-page verdict form. Robert Parker, who’s daughter Emilie was one of the victims and who was the target of particularly relentless and vitriolic attacks by Jones, bowed his head and wept. Some family members hugged afterwards. Jones was not present, but the the reading of the verdicts was streamed live during the broadcast of his Infowars program.

It was the second big verdict against Jones for spreading lies and harassing relatives of Sandy Hook victims. In August, a jury in Texas awarded nearly $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the parents of a murdered first grader who sued Jones there.

Two kinds of punitive damages apply in the case against Jones’ and his company, Free Speech Systems. Judge Barbara Bellis is responsible for deciding in both cases.

The six person jury, which deliberated for three full days, found that the relatives are entitled to punitive damages in the form of attorney fees and the costs of preparing and pressing the suits. That figure could reach well into the millions of dollars in a case that has been litigated by multiple lawyers over four years in state, federal and U.S. bankruptcy courts in Connecticut and Texas. Bellis will decide on the amount.

The jury also found that Jones and Free Speech Systems violated Connecticut’s unfair trade practices law because his broadcast, internet and retail sales businesses drove profit with broadcasts that intentionally - and falsely - vilified the families. The families presented evidence suggesting that Jones did so knowing that his bogus Sandy Hook hoax programming caused spikes in audience numbers and in sales at his retail sites where he sold nutritional supplements and survivalist gear.

State law sets no limit on damages awarded under the unfair trade practices act.

Bellis is expected to set a schedule by which Jones’ lawyer and lawyers suing for the relatives argue over punitive damages.

The verdicts follow a hard-fought trial.

In both his opening and closing statements, Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the families, told jurors they had the power to return a verdict that stops Jones.

“He’s going on 10 years of defaming these families, and it’s not stopping,” Mattei told the jury in his closing. “This is their one chance, and your one chance … to render a verdict on just how much devastation Alex Jones has caused.”

Mattei did not suggest a damage award, but presented the jury with a formula for reaching one: Determine fair compensation for a person harmed by a single lie, told once. Then multiply that sum by 550 million, a figure that an expert trial witness for the families said reflects Jones’ massive audience reach across his broadcast, internet and social media platforms.

“You may say that is astronomical,” Mattei said. “It is. It is. It is exactly what Alex Jones did. He built a lie machine to push this stuff out. He built a lie machine … But you know something, that’s not enough.”

Jones’ lawyer, Norman A. Pattis, conceded that his client’s claims - the school shooting was a hoax and the grieving parents were actors - are false and despicable, but they are what Jones or guests on his broadcast believed when they made them. Pattis accused lawyers for the families of appealing to jurors’ emotions by doing what they accuse Jones of - fomenting anger.

“Alex invented fear,” Pattis said in his closing argument. “Alex invented anger. Alex invented what is wrong with this world. Kill Alex and we’ll all live happily ever after … The angrier you get the more money they will get. You are sort of like a pinball machine: Put enough money in and pull the lever and maybe all that money will pop out.”

Jones testified once, as a witness for the relatives. His testimony ended in a shouting match when Mattei gestured toward family members sitting in a group in the courtroom gallery and accused Jones of putting “a target” on their backs. Jones fired back, “Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry, and I’m done saying I’m sorry.”

Bellis threatened to convene contempt hearings if there were further outbursts.

Jones declined to testify in his defense and Pattis chose not to put on any defense at all. Outside on the courthouse sidewalk, Jones convened a succession of press conferences at which he called the trial a “kangaroo court” and said Bellis is a “tyrant.”

Because of a rare default ruling by Bellis a year ago, Jones’ defamation trial was actually a hearing on damages. The default punished Jones for failing to comply with court orders to disclose business records and found in favor of the families on the central point of their suit — that Jones’ hoax broadcasts were outrageous lies and responsible for a decade of harassment and anguish.

The default prevented Jones from presenting a defense and limited what he could argue to minimize damages. As a result, the only question before the jury was what Jones owes.

A Texas judge issued a similar default in a suit by Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlet Lewis and in August a jury in Austin awarded $4.1 million in compensatory and $45.2 million in punitive damages. A third suit by Sandy Hook relatives is pending.

Still earlier this year, the victim families settled a suit against Remington Arms, which made the rifle Lanza used, for $73 million.

The heart of the families’ case at trial was a succession of painfully emotional accounts of their suffering at the hands of mostly anonymous tormentors who confronted them on streets, left messages on their cars or showed up at their homes.

Among them was that of Robbie and Alissa Parker, whose daughter Emilie was killed. Jones seized on a video clip of Parker mourning his daughter’s murder, making it a regular prop on his hoax broadcasts. Jones claimed Parker had to have been acting the part of bereaved parent, because he smiled nervously and consulted notes as he approached the television cameras.

Parker did not know at the time he was the fist of the parents to speak to reporters outside his church. And he though he would be facing only a single television camera from Utah, where he and his wife grew up and their families lived. Instead he was sunned as he appeared before an army of television lights.

Alissa Parker said Jones twisted a small clip of the video and it led to “a full-on assault” by his audience.

“They called Emilie a whore,” Alissa Parker said. “Just the most horrific things you could ever even imagine. Just calling Robbie a liar, and that we’re going to burn in hell for what we’ve done.’”

Explosions at FBI Headquarters Washington DC October 11, 2022 (video)

FBI blames pressure relief valve for frightening bangs at headquarters

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is calming fears of shots fired at the bureau's headquarters heard Tuesday night. [Video captured the sound]

LIVE Explosions FBI HQ's Washington DC 10.11.22 : Systimatically demolished...

of rapid bangs that sound like rifle fire coming from the building in Northwest D.C.

In the video, provided to WUSA9 from a person who wished to remain anonymous, several bangs are heard in quick succession. After each burst, steam is seen escaping from the building's roof. The person who provided the video said the banging noises started around 8:30 p.m. and continued until around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for the FBI said despite the frightening noises, no one was in danger.

"The FBI is aware of reports of loud noises coming from mechanical piping within the J. Edgar Hoover building on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. This noise was due to steam release from a properly functioning pressure relief valve. At no time were FBI employees or the general public at risk," the FBI said in a statement.

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Why Cattlemen are Being Told to Shut Up

Over the past few months there have been multiple articles in agriculture magazines telling farmers and ranchers they can and can not say about the cattle industry. One article is actually titled, "stop saying that." Jim Mundorf lays out how there is an obvious campaign to get cattlemen, who criticize they way the industry currently operates, to shut the hell up.

Civil unrest in Iran.

Iran Prison Fire Kills 4, Injures 61 as Protests Persist.

A fire at Iran’s Evin prison late on Saturday killed four detainees and injured 61, state media reported, as anti-government protests sparked by a woman’s death in police custody continued on Sunday, including at several universities.

Iranian authorities said on Saturday that a prison workshop had been set on fire “after a fight among a number of prisoners convicted of financial crimes and theft.” Evin also holds many detainees facing security charges, including Iranians with dual nationality.

Iran’s judiciary said four of those injured in Saturday’s fire were in critical condition and that those killed had died of smoke inhalation, Iranian state media reported.

Protests sparked by 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death on Sept. 16 have turned into one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 revolution, with protesters calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic, even if the unrest does not seem close to toppling the system.

Demonstrations continued at several universities on Sunday, including in the cities of Tabriz and Rasht, to a heavy deployment of riot police. Videos posted on social media showed students at a Tehran university chanting: “Iran has turned into a big prison. Evin prison has become a slaughterhouse.”

Other videos showed fires being lit at road intersections in several cities, including the capital and Piranshahr in the west of the country, where car drivers honked their horns and anti-government slogans could be heard.

Dozens of protesters were also seen in a poor neighborhood of Tehran, before being dispersed by security forces mounted on motorbikes and shooting tear gas canisters in the air.

Reuters could not independently verify the videos.

Families of some political detainees took to social media to call on the authorities to ensure their safety at Evin prison, which in 2018 was blacklisted by the U.S. government for “serious human rights abuses.”

Footage of the prison aired on state television hours after the fire apparently showed that calm had returned to the facility with inmates asleep in their wards. It also showed firefighters inspecting a workshop with fire damage to the roof.

Atena Daemi, a human rights activist, said that relatives of prisoners in the women’s section had gone to Evin for visiting hours, but authorities denied them access, resulting in a standoff. Prisoners were “fine, but the phones are broken,” they were told, according to Daemi. She later wrote on Twitter that some women prisoners had called their families.

The husband of Iranian journalist Niloofar Hamedi, who broke the news of Amini’s hospitalization and was arrested last month, also wrote on Twitter that she had telephoned him on Sunday.

A lawyer representing an American Iranian held at Evin, Siamak Namazi, imprisoned for nearly seven years on espionage-related charges rejected by Washington as baseless, said on Sunday that Namazi had contacted his relatives.

“SiamakNamazi has now spoken to his family. He is safe and has been moved to a secure area of Evin Prison. We have no further details,” lawyer Jared Genser said in a tweet.

Several other dual national Iranians and foreign citizens are held in Evin prison mostly for security-related charges. Some Twitter posts by their friends and relatives said they had contacted their families on Sunday.

Violent Crackdown

Asked about the prison fire, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Saturday he was surprised by the courage of Iranian protesters. He earlier called on Iran “to end the violence against its own citizens simply exercising their fundamental rights.”

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said Biden was inciting “chaos, terror, and destruction … [and] should be reminded of the eternal words of the founder of the Islamic Republic who called America the great satan,” referring to Iran’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

France’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it was following with the utmost attention the situation at Evin prison, “where several French nationals are being arbitrarily detained.”

Protests have been met with a brutal state crackdown. Rights groups said at least 240 protesters had been killed, including 32 minors. Over 8,000 people had been arrested in 111 cities and towns, Iranian activist news agency HRANA said on Saturday. The authorities have not published a death toll.

Among the casualties have been teenage girls whose deaths have become a rallying cry for more demonstrations across the country.

Iran, which has blamed the violence on enemies at home and abroad, denies security forces have killed protesters. State media said on Saturday at least 26 members of the security forces had been killed by “rioters.”

NORAD detects, tracks, identifies and intercepts Russian aircraft entering Air Defense Identification Zone

On 17 October, the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers entering and operating within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Two U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft intercepted the Russian aircraft which remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace.

The recent Russian activity in the North American ADIZ is not seen as a threat nor is the activity seen as provocative. NORAD tracks and positively identifies foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ. NORAD routinely monitors foreign aircraft movements and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ.

NORAD employs a layered defense network of satellites, ground-based radars, airborne radar and fighter aircraft to track and identify aircraft and inform appropriate actions. We remain ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America and Arctic sovereignty.


Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt SEEK the "I AM" thy God, thou SHALT find [Him], IF thou seek Him with ALL thy heart and with ALL thy soul.
4:30 When thou art in tribulation , and all these things are come upon thee, [even] in the LATTER days , IF thou turn to the "I AM" thy God, and shalt be OBEDIENT unto His voice;
4:31 (For the "I AM" thy God [is ] a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee , neither destroy thee , nor forget The Covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them. The New Song

US Continues To Be Hit By An Endless Series Of Disasters

Over the past several years, it has just been one thing after another. Just when we think that things are starting to settle down a little bit, another disaster suddenly strikes. In all my years, I have never seen anything like this. Month after month, bad things just keep happening from coast to coast, and this endless series of disasters has caused a tremendous amount of long-term damage.

Most People Have No Idea What's Coming! | LIVE with Tom Hughes & Alex Newman

Most People Have No Idea What's Coming! with Tom Hughes & Alex Newman

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As Israel, Lebanon seal maritime deal, Hezbollah does awkward balancing act

An agreement between Lebanon and Israel to demarcate their maritime border has put Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force in a bind: How should Hezbollah frame a historic deal with its sworn enemy?

After 11 years of snail-like negotiations, the two governments sealed a U.S.-mediated deal Thursday in Naqoura, in south Lebanon, near the Israeli border. It was a media opportunity with no media invited, underscoring the sensitivity of the agreement for all parties.

The deal, signed in separate locations to avoid a direct agreement between the warring countries, ends a decades-long dispute over maritime borders. It is arguably a boon to both Israel and Lebanon, allowing each to exploit the lucrative gas fields off their coasts, and has been hailed as a historic breakthrough.

Israel says historic agreement made with Lebanon on maritime borders

In Israel, critics argue the government has made far too many concessions to a country it has fought two wars against in the past 40 years. In Lebanon, Hezbollah — the Iranian-backed militia and political force created in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion — is seeking to deflect any blame for being involved in a deal, no matter how indirectly, with a state it purports to resist.

Acknowledging the success of the agreement exposes the group to criticism from its hard-line supporters — opposition to Israel is, after all, central to its identity, and Hezbollah is locally referred to as “the resistance.” But not claiming the victory risks minimizing the group’s role in a deal that could have big benefits for the energy-starved Lebanese.

Hezbollah insists the deal in no way reflects a change in its position as the resistance against Israel.

“Anything that leads to normalization with Israel is out of the question,” a spokesman for the group said in an interview last week. The two countries remain enemies, he stressed, and Hezbollah will strike back if hit, as it always has.

He acknowledged the tit-for-tat dynamic has created “a kind of equilibrium,” despite constant risk of disruption. He spoke on the condition of anonymity according to the organization’s guidelines.

“The equations that we built over the last 15 years remain in place, in isolation from the indirect agreement,” he said.

Hezbollah has held the deal at arm’s length, walking a fine line since it was announced this month — cautious not to criticize it, while not fully adopting the diplomatic victory as its own. But as Lebanon’s most dominant military and political force, it cannot pretend that the negotiations happened without its acquiescence.

The spokesman admitted that the dire economic situation in Lebanon made it clear to the group that “the only pathway to get out of the economic collapse is our gas fields.” Experts caution that while the gas revenue will eventually ease the country’s severe economic crisis, it will still require more comprehensive solutions.

In Lebanon’s ‘forgotten north,’ despair drives people to the sea

The spokesman described Hezbollah’s role as that of a catalyst encouraging the long-stalled deal over the finish line. In June, an Israeli gas rig arrived offshore to work on the northern Karish gas field, and Hezbollah sent three unarmed drones to the area, which were intercepted by the Israeli military.

The drones were a message to Israel to refrain from exploiting the field until an agreement had been reached, according to the group’s leader Hasan Nasrallah.

“This hastened along the negotiations,” the spokesman said, claiming “if it were not for Nasrallah’s gun that was placed on the head of the Israeli government, [the deal] wouldn’t have happened.”

The deal came at the right time for Israel because tensions have been spiking along other parts of its border recently, said David Schenker, a former U.S. mediator and now director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Schenker noted that the presence and power of various Hezbollah-allied groups have grown in the south of the country. A March report by the international body responsible for monitoring the border described increased interference with its activities and a rising level of aggressive behavior.

“I think Israel took those threats very seriously,” Schenker said, especially with the Iran nuclear talks seemingly on the verge of collapse and the shrinking of Tehran’s “breakout time” — the long-feared point at which Iran will have enough enriched uranium to assemble a nuclear weapon.

“They don’t want to have an issue with Hezbollah right now,” Schenker said, describing the situation as a “short-term de-escalation” between the two powers. “I think this government believed that this would lock Lebanon into some sort of economic, mutually beneficial agreement with Israel,” he said.

Tensions flare between Israel and Hezbollah over disputed gas fields

The Israeli government pushed to have it formally approved and signed before national elections Tuesday. While the agreement is being disparaged by right-wing politicians as a territorial giveaway and a capitulation to Lebanon, Prime Minister Yair Lapid hopes voters will reward him for a diplomatic breakthrough with one of Israel’s enemies.

The agreement, though, leads to the odd situation of Hezbollah, which through its allies controls the largest bloc in parliament, becoming de facto economic partners with Israel.

“You feel as though they are cautious about celebrating this, as it’s concerned about its own internal constituency,” said Sami Atallah, founding director of the Policy Initiative, a Beirut-based think tank.

Instead, the group has made it a point to attribute the success to its ally, President Michel Aoun, whose time in office is set to expire on Monday, allowing him to end his crisis-laden tenure with a victory.

“They were using Aoun and the state that he’s supposed to be presiding over as an excuse for having accepted this deal, and hence satisfying their own critics in the party,” Atallah added. “They diluted their role.”

In a speech the day the deal was announced last week, Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah addressed such criticisms. “There are people who made claims of betrayal, accused, attacked, insulted and swore on social media sites without having read anything [on the deal].” He invited everyone to read the final draft and judge its contents from the lens of “a patriotic spirit.”

“He’s giving excuses, so it seems to me that there’s some sort of internal [strife],” Atallah said. “He’s not speaking to you nor me: He’s speaking to his constituency”

Walking and talking with Jeff Berwick and Lucy :dog2:
Their walk and talk begins at the 1:20 mark.

Clip (24 March 2022) at the 25:50 mark shows Rishi Sunak being asked tough questions.