Breaking News: Cyprus jails Hezbollah man for plotting to kill Israelis

March 28, 2013

El Al airplanes sit on the runway Photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters
A criminal court in Limassol, Cyprus, on Thursday sentenced Hezbollah operative Hossam Taleb Yaacoub to ??? four years ??? in prison for plotting to kill Israeli tourists on the small island. The prison sentence wraps up a criminal process that began last July when Yaacoub was arrested.

El Al airplanes sit on the runway

The Jerusalem Post has learned that he has ten days to appeal his conviction. Yaacoub admitted that he observed Israeli flights land in Cyprus and documented the movements of Israelis and locations where they stayed.

The conviction of Yaacoub may add greater urgency to the EU talks to include Hezbollah in its terror list. EU countries such as Austria and Germany have blocked a listing of Hezbollah because of insufficient legal evidence showing Hezbollah engages in terrorism. The Cyprus conviction represents the first conviction of a Hezbollah member in a European court.

Twenty four-year-old Yaacoub is a Swedish-Lebanese citizen who used France and the Netherlands as locations to carry out work for Hezbollah, according to his testimony at the trial. He was convicted on five of eight criminal charges. Yaacoub was arrested just days before an alleged Iran-Hezbollah operation blew up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria.
Two alleged Hezbollah operatives participated in the bombing of a tour bus in the Black Sea resort of Burgas in July 2012, which killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The suspects are believed to be in Lebanon. Both Hezbollah operatives used European locations to carry out their terror attack, including travelling through Poland and Romania.
The then-Bulgarian interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, announced in February that Hezbollah operatives had been responsible for the Burgas attack. Tsvetanov said the two suspected Burgas perpetrators “were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah” and added that investigators had found information “showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.”
France has resisted including Hezbollah in the EU terror list because it fears that it will lose diplomatic leverage in Lebanon. The Netherlands lists Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terror entity. The United Kingdom labels Hezbollah’s military wing as terrorist group.

Maybe we should label Europe a terrorist organization and get it over with.


Turkey and Israel about to change the Cyprus gas game?

March 26, 2013
Turkey and Israel about to change the Cyprus gas game?(CM).By Stefanos Evripidou (other) Apart from removing Turkish objections to Israeli participation in NATO exercises, the prospect of reconciliation has also “removed a big obstacle to collaboration over the development of strategic energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean”, reported the Financial Times (FT) yesterday.

The London-based paper noted that improved ties between Turkey and Israel could also affect Cyprus should greater energy cooperation result in Nicosia getting sidelined. A Turkish official told FT that reconciliation also made a possible gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey a “much more viable” idea.

The latest opinion of an advisory committee of the Israeli government is that if gas should be exported, it will have to go through Israel first. A Cypriot diplomatic source told the Cyprus Mail that reports suggest Turkey is seriously considering a pipeline between Israel and Ceyhan. “This could very well be a game-changer. There is much more (to the apology) than meets the eye,” he said.

Matthew Bryza, a former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, was quoted by FT saying that without Israel to provide economies of scale, “in the short term the Cypriots lose their ability to do a pipeline or an LNG (liquefied natural gas) option”, adding that in the longer run a Cypriot pipeline to Turkey would make most commercial sense.

According to FT, Noble Energy and Delek Energy, who are the main investors in Israel’s large offshore natural gas fields- as well as partners in Cyprus’ Block 12- have in recent weeks “sounded out possible customers in energy-hungry Turkey”. The paper noted that until now, the private sector was eager to proceed with a possible pipeline between Israel and Turkey but that the political rift between the two governments did not allow progress to be made. (MORE)

Germany warns Cyprus its banks may NEVER reopen as Russia ‘offers to write off debt if Gazprom get access to untapped oil fields’.

March 20, 2013

(OTHER)Germany warns Cyprus its banks may NEVER reopen as Russia ‘offers to write off debt if Gazprom get access to untapped oil fields’.(DM).Germany’s warning came after Cyprus’s parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout of 10 billion euros (£8.6bn) last night. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was up to the Cypriot government to come up with an alternative proposal but it was fair to expect savers with deposits over 100,000 euros (£86,000) to contribute to the bailout. Moscow is now a massive ally for Cyprus – Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said he had not reached a deal at a first meeting today with his Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov, but talks there would continue.  …Russia’s finance ministry said Nicosia had sought a further 5 billion euros, on top of a five-year extension and lower interest on an existing 2.5 billion euro loan. Moscow was angered that the European Union did not consult it over the proposed levy. President Vladimir Putin called the decision to seize money from savers’ bank accounts as ‘unfair, unprofessional and dangerous’.  Representatives of the Russian energy giant submitted the proposal to the office of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday evening. ‘The entire wealth of the Church is at the disposal of the country … so that we can stand on our own two feet and not on those of foreigners,Archbishop Chrysostomos said after meeting Anastasiades early today. The Church of Cyprus is a major shareholder in Cyprus’s third-largest domestic lender, Hellenic Bank. It is also rumoured that the Kremlin is privately offering to help bail out Cyprus in exchange for the right to use a naval base in the Greek part of the island.Hmmmm…….Would be very welcome now that Tartus is ‘sinking’.Read the full story here. Update: Cyprus Fails to Obtain Kremlin Aid.(MTSarris did not manage to negotiate a Russian bailout despite a 1 1/2 hour meeting with his counterpart, Anton Siluanov. “We had a very good first meeting, very constructive, very honest discussion,” he told journalists afterward, Bloomberg reported. Sarris subsequently attended a second meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Siluanov and Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak. An undisclosed source told Russian newswires that negotiations had not yielded any results and would continue Thursday. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is due to visit Moscow on Thursday for scheduled talks. We understand how difficult the situation is, and we’ll continue negotiations to find the solutions that will help us obtain Russia’s support,” Sarris said, adding that the Cypriot delegation would remain in Moscow “until we reach any agreement.” Read the full story here.(Man In Glass House Dress In Basement) This is payback for the Leviathon gas and petrol finds Cyprus is involved with Israel against the will of Moscow and Syria.

The great Cypriot bank robbery

March 18, 2013

Nervous depositors in Cyprus have rushed to ATM machines to drain their accounts following a bailout agreement with international creditors that includes a levy on all the country’s bank accounts.
Lines formed at many ATMs as people scrambled to pull their money out after word that the 10 billion euro (£8.6bn) rescue package Cyprus agreed with its euro area partners and the International Monetary Fund included one-off levy on deposit, an unprecedented step in the eurozone crisis.
The levy is expected to raise 5.8 billion euro.
European officials said people with less than 100,000 euro in their accounts will have to pay a one-time tax of 6.75%, those owning more money will lose 9.9%. Cypriot bank officials said that depositors can access all their money except the amount set by the levy.
But that hardly assuaged people who continued to withdraw cash from ATMs until the machines ran out, unsure what or how much would be taxed. Officials said that withdrawing funds on Saturday would not reduce anyone’s levy.
The country’s co-operative banks also shut their doors after depositors scurried in hopes of protecting their savings. Unlike commercial banks which remain closed on weekends, co-operative banks customarily open for business on Saturday.
“Politicians and senior bank bosses have covered each other’s backs for years, now it’s ordinary people who are paying the price and are being punished,” said Christos Demetriades, 58, milling outside a shut Nicosia co-operative bank branch.
Cyprus’ Finance Minister Michalis Sarris defended the decision to accept the levy, saying it was either that or a complete economic meltdown. “This was the least worst option,” he told state broadcaster CyBC. “We battled to prevent the country from completely going bankrupt.”


“What’s just happened is the IMF has backed up, lauded, supported, and publicized, as if it were a victory, the taking of 10% of what really turns out to be 80% of Russian ‘black money.’  Russian ‘black money’ is KGB money, now in business.  The leader of Russia (Putin) was a former KGB official.  Whose money do you think they have taken?  This is the biggest mistake the IMF could possibly have ever made.”
Eric King:  “Jim, it’s unimaginable to me, but, incredibly, just ten days ago in a KWN interview you warned that you don’t want to anger Russian leader Putin because he and Russia will punish the West in the gold market.  Can you talk about how this is going to impact the gold market beginning on Monday?”
Sinclair:  “What would you rather have, an insured bank account by the BIS, FDIC, ECB, when any government can come in and take 10% of your account and treat that as if you are paying a tax for monies that were lost because of devious actions by the banks themselves, or gold?
Eric King:  “Will the Russians take their revenge in the gold market?  Is that one of the places they will seek revenge?”
Sinclair:  “The answer is that this is one of the most important events in modern times for the popularity of holding gold rather than holding fiat money.  This is the catalyst that will propel gold through the $1,600 level.  To prevent a break above $1,600 in gold would take extraordinary efforts on the part of any manipulator in the marketplace.
It’s very dangerous in doing business with the Russians, to lose their money.  Revenge will be very much a part of the motivation for what happens from this point forward.  This type of event will take us out of the $1,500s and we may never see those prices again in our lifetimes.”


What’s up in Cyprus?
Sept 2011


Egypt making a power play to screw Israel in the Mediterranean?

March 7, 2013

(h/t JE)(EOZ)There was a somewhat cryptic article in Egypt Independent today:

The Shura Council’s legislative committee approved a draft law submitted Wednesday cancelling current maritime borders of an economic zone between Egypt and Cyprus.
The proposed bill was submitted by MP Khaled Abdel Qader Ouda, who said the agreement was signed by Cyprus and Israel in February 2003.
He said this invalidates the deal since Egypt had the right to be present at the signing, according to international agreements.
Ouda argues that the renegotiation could mean billions of dollars for Egypt.
The draft law calls for the creation of new borders surrounding the economic zone in the presence of Turkey as a third party.

Apparently, Ouda is referring to the Egypt/Cyprus EEZ agreement of 2003, which states:

If either of the two Parties is engaged in negotiations aimed at the delimitation of its exclusive economic zone with another State, that Party, before reaching a final agreement with the other State, shall notify and consult the other Party, if such delimitation is in connection with coordinates 1 or 8.

Egypt apparently is claiming that the 2010 Israel/Cyprus EEZ agreement is subject to Egypt’s approval, and Egypt is (retroactively?) disapproving it.
Coordinate 8 in the Egypt/Cyprus agreement happens to be coordinate 12 in the Israel/Cyprus agreement,32º 53′ 20″ latitude and 32º 58′ 20″ longitude, seen here:

Lebanon has also challenged the Israel/Cyprus agreement. 
But if Egypt is trying to bring Turkey into this, to carve up the areas now assigned to Israel and Cyprus, it might really turn into a mess. 
This is worth watching.

How can Egypt retroactively disapprove something three years ago? Throwing financial aid at Egypt when they behave hostile is a very bad idea.

Israeli ambassador to Cyprus expelled from energy forum by local organizers

June 28, 2012
(Carl) Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Michael Harari (right, with Cypriot Defense Minister Demetris Eliades) was expelled from an energy forum in Cyprus after the Lebanese Energy Minister refused to speak with an Israeli present (Hat Tip: Sunlight).

Israeli Ambassador Michael Harari, attend the Energy forum by special invitation, he came to the place – the University of Cyprus – around 10 am.
At 11.15, on schedule, President Christofias arrived with Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Resources.
According to the agenda – which had been established in advance – Christofias was to give a keynote speech, followed immediately by Bassil, whose address about the future of Lebanon as an energy producer.
Just before the President took a step inside the room, attendees – delegates from the industry and the media – had been asked to stand. It proved a false alarm, because people were asked to retake their seats and wait for the next cue up – which happened a couple of minutes later.
Meanwhile, it seems, Harari was approached by the organizers and asked to leave. He said the Lebanese minister informed them that he would not speak unless and until Harari left.
Once the ambassador of Israel left the room, Christofias and Bassil walked in.
Harari confirmed that he was asked to leave the local field at the insistence of the Lebanese Minister of Energy.
“It’s a pity that it happened,” he later told the news media.
“I decided to leave in order not to embarrass the president,” he said, adding: “. The organizers should have handled it differently.”
Ironically, one of the themes of the forum was the need for energy cooperation among the nations of the region.

As you might recall, there is a dispute between Israel and Lebanon over their maritime boundaries. Cyprus, however, is supposed to be on our side. Their kowtowing to Lebanon is inexplicable and ought to be met with a formal diplomatic protest.

hey… if you don’t want the business… the Jews really don’t need to come

Israel looking at connecting its power grid to Europe

February 27, 2012

While (Egypt, Hamas agree to link electricity grids)(EOZ)(h/t Rachelle) and as Israel-haters pretend that they can hurt the Jewish state by threatening (tiny stores in the Pacific Northwest) and (insecure second-tier performing artists), Israel is making billion-dollar deals with Europe aimed at maintaining energy independence.

(Engineering News-Record) Israeli Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau has instructed the Israel Electric Corp. to advance a project that would connect the country to the European power grid by way of Cyprus and Greece. Officials of the state-owned power company are set to sign an agreement soon with DEI-Quantum Energy—an entity owned by Greece’s largest utility, a Cypriot bank and private investors—for a feasibiilty study of the first 270-kilometer segment to connect with the Cyprus power network.
If the proposed EuroAsia Interconnector project is fully realized, it would be, at 998 km, one of the world’s longest underwater power cables. According to the Israeli utility, it would have a capacity of up to 2000 MW.
The proposed line would extend from the Israeli city of Haifa on the Mediterranean coast to the southeastern coast of Cyprus, then to the northwestern coast of Crete and on to the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece.
Landau said the project would give Israel a much-needed power-source backup and connect the country’s stand-alone network with Europe, significantly boosting its future energy security. “The project could have a tremendous positive impact on the Israeli economy,” he said.
The overall cost of the project is estimated at 1.5 billion euros, with the Israel-Cyprus segment put at 500 million euros. Israel Electric officials said the investment would pay for itself within four years.
Other project components to be managed by DEI-Quantum Energy include construction of powerplants in Cyprus, Crete and the Peloponnese peninsula, with the cost to be covered by the firm, its partners and various Israeli investors.
“Considering Israel’s and Cyprus’ natural-gas discoveries, Greece’s energy shortage and the massive demand for energy within Europe, for Cyprus, the sky is the limit,” said Nasos Ktorides, DEI-Quantum Energy chairman. He said Israel is expected to exploit its natural-gas discoveries much sooner than Cyprus and that it would be prudent for Cyprus to find “decisive and productive ways to export the excess energy to an already established electricity grid.”
The feasibility study is expected to be completed in 2012. DEI-Quantum said the project could be started in 2013 and completed within 36 months.
The proposed power cable and related projects were among “energy cooperation” issues dicussed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month during a one-day visit to Cyprus—the first such trip by any prime minister of the country.

the best way to fix the Euro is through energy. Energy is what decides industrial production. Europe could fix itself if it moved from tourism to industry. An expensive Euro and an unstable populace of Muslims makes for deterring potential tourists looking to get away.