Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Beirut – Baghdad Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut – Baghdad/London – Washington – Paris – Rome – Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman; POWERFUL BOMB IN IRAQ FOREIGN MINISTRY – SECTION OF BUILDING DESTROYED – UNIFIL Troops Fled in Confrontation with Hezbollah Late March – Hezbollah Strengthens Hold Over South Beirut
Night Watch: INTERNATIONAL GREEN ZONE – A powerful bomb has destroyed a section of the Iraq Foreign Ministry building inside Baghdad’s fortified International Green Zone. PressTV reports there is no word on casualties and an Iraqi source informed the Fars News Agency the bomb was inside a car in the ministry’s parking area. Iraqi security has cordoned off the roads leading to the Foreign Ministry and to the Green Zone. Tehran timed the explosion for the day after the conference in Bahrain of Iraq’s neighboring countries on assisting the effort to stabilize the country and to send diplomatic representatives. U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice was at the Bahrain meeting discussing the improved security situation in Iraq. I suspect Islamic governments see Dr. Rice as a source of entertainment. Other than the almost daily rocket-mortar attacks on the Green Zone this explosion at the Foreign Ministry is perhaps the single greatest blow to the authority of the Iraq government installed by Washington. [PRESSTV]
South Lebanon – Haaretz reports it has now been revealed on the night of March 30-31 European troops on patrol with UNIFIL in Lebanon, south of the Litani river near Israel’s border, discovered a suspicious truck carrying weapons and ammunition, chased it and forced it over. The UNIFIL patrol immediately left the area when Hezbollah gunmen got out of the truck and threatened UNIFIL at gunpoint. The incident was kept secret until now and is obviously an embarrassment to the United Nations since these are its units supposedly in south Lebanon to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming. Crossfirewar.com has consistently reported statements by Israeli officials that Hezbollah was blatantly ignoring the United Nations resolution and that Syria-Iran were openly re-supplying Hezbollah after its 2006 war. Hezbollah has popular support in south Lebanon since the area is mainly Shi’ite. I never took the presence of the 13,000 European troops seriously and I always suspected it is Europe’s, especially Paris’ underhanded way of maintaining a hold over the country as they hoped Hezbollah will ignore UNIFIL and only attack Israel. But as soon as UNIFIL began to arrive, in September 2006, Tehran declared them to be “an enemy of Islam”. [HAARETZ]
South Beirut – In the meantime INN reports Hezbollah has warned UNIFIL of altering its rules of engagement. “Any amendment would give the international forces the jurisdiction to use force and erect checkpoints outside its area of deployment. That would transcend on the Lebanese Army’s authorities and would change these forces mandate from observing the implementation of resolution 1701 to occupation forces.” Hezbollah’s representatives in Lebanon’s Parliament warned if that ever happened Hezbollah would target UNIFIL. Tehran also suspects Europe is using UNIFIL to occupy Lebanon. [INN]
Al-Mustakabel is also reporting Hezbollah recently fought with Lebanese troops in the south and kidnapped a Lebanese official who took pictures of structures illegally built by Hezbollah in south Beirut. They were obviously constructed by Hezbollah to prepare for its next war with Israel and UNIFIL.