Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Beirut – Damascus WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Israel/Hamas Openly Discuss “Other (War) Options” to Resolve Disputes – Hamas Leader Tours Iran Revolutionary Guards Weapon Factories in Tehran – Hamas-Hezbollah Recruiting in Turkey – Newly Elected Lebanon President Suleiman Uses Acceptance Speech to Call for Close Ties with Syria and to Direct Weapons Against Enemy (Israel)
Night Watch: JERUSALEM – Latest comments by Hamas/Israeli leaders give no indication either side expects any real ceasefire to emerge from the last stand of Cairo negotiations to begin Monday and are openly discussing “other options” to settle the issues between them, in other words war options. Haaretz reports Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem with these remarks, “Israel wants quiet and full security for southern communities, and if that won’t come to fruition through Egyptian mediation, it will be brought to fruition through other means.” In other words an Israeli invasion of Gaza and Jerusalem is aware Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have been frantically preparing for the inevitable with training in Syria-Iran and the constant smuggling of heavier weapons from Iran. [HAARETZ]
Tehran -An unnamed Hamas official Sunday in his remarks also gave no prospect for any genuine ceasefire fire and spoke of “other options” in removing Israel’s blockade of Gaza as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal remained in Tehran and targeted specifically the Rafah Terminal still controlled by Egypt which Iran had Hamas explode open in January. It is through Rafah some of the most advanced weapons arrive in Gaza which is why I have always believed in so many ways Tehran is directing Hamas at Egypt as much as they are directed at Israel, not to mention Egypt having an extremely strategic position and more of an economy. As another indication Iran is upgrading Hamas’ weaponry Debka reports Saturday Meshaal was taken on a tour of Iran Revolutionary Guards weapons factories in Tehran which make the roadside bomb known as explosively formed penetrators (EFP) which are radio controlled and are armor piercing making them effective against tanks. They have been used very effectively in Iraq. Hamas is due to receive some soon as Meshaal also met the head of the Revolutionary Guards General Qassem Soleimani. [DEBKA]
In the meantime Israel Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin also told the weekly cabinet meeting Hamas will soon be able to expand the range of their rocket-missile fire to include another one of Israel’s major ports Ashdod and the town of Qiryat Gat. Ashdod, with is population of 200,000 is beyond the port Ashkelon (already under rocket attack) and only 20 miles north of Gaza while Qiryat Gat, population 50,000, is only twelve miles from Gaza.
Ankara – INN reports according to the Turkish website, Velfecr.com Hamas-Hezbollah are expanding their membership base by actively recruiting in Turkey, including in Kurdish areas of the southeast, finding new members possessed with the diseased vision of destroying Israel and liberating Quds (Jerusalem). Nightly hate sessions are held in halls decorated with photos of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas’ first leader Ahmed Yassin with the podium draped in the flags of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Speakers glorify Hamas-Hezbollah as Israel and the West are demonized. Also condemned are the governments of Egypt-Saudi Arabia-Jordan. More fodder for the Jihad cannon. [INN]
Beirut – As expected the head of Lebanon’s army General Michel Suleiman was elected by almost unanimous vote as President by Lebanon’s Parliament. Then, Haaretz/AP report in his acceptance speech he not only called for improved relations with Syria but virtually declared war on Israel, “We look strongly to brotherly ties between Lebanon and Syria in the context of mutual respect of the sovereignty and borders of each country and diplomatic ties which will bring good for both of them. Our weapons should only be directed at the enemy.” Suleiman may have well called for Syria and Lebanon to be brothers in arms. This should not be surprising since he has long been known to have close relations with Syria and through them Iran as the Syrian-Iranian Foreign Ministers sat next to each other during the vote and speech in the seating section above Parliament. Also present was a very worried looking Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit. [HAARETZ]
Tehran now has Lebanon completely within its sphere of influence and Egypt is next.