Crossfire War – Syria Has Been Helping Hezbollah-Threatens Arab League

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Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Beirut – Damascus WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Syria Helping Hezbollah in Central Mountains – Damascus Threatens Arab League Mission to Beirut – Pres. Bush Pledges Support to Lebanon Army – Aircraft Carrier Truman Off Israel Coast – Fighting Resumes in Sadr City Despite Ceasefire

Night Watch: CHOUF MOUNTAINS – As Hezbollah concentrates on controlling the northern city of Tripoli, just 20 miles from the Syrian border, Debka is reporting Syria helped Hezbollah move heavy artillery into position in order to bombard the Druze militia of Walid Jumblatt in the central Chouf Mountains near Syria. This is the first report of Syria’s direct involvement in the fighting. It appears that Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah are not concentrating on the physical removal of the administration of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora but on controlling strategic cities and regions of the country. Tripoli is important because it is the largest pro-Syrian Sunni community in the country and the main transit point of weapons shipped from Iran that first pass through the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartus then trucked to Tripoli. The central mountains command strategic positions and routes to the east and south. The only two remaining militias which oppose Hezbollah are controlled by Saad al-Hariri and Christian Phalangist leader Samir Geagea. [DEBKA]

Beirut – Haaretz reports Hariri stated at a news conference he will not be surrendering, “They simply are demanding that we surrender, they want Beirut to raise the white flag…This is impossible.” Most of Hariri’s support seems to be in and around the southern city of Sidon so I expect fighting to increase there. In the meantime U. S. President George W. Bush stated in a televised interview with Al-Arabiya Washington will continue to supply and train the Lebanon Army. He is obviously under the illusion the army is not cooperating with Hezbollah. In the meantime the U. S. Embassy in Beirut announced due to the normal operations of the International Airport being disrupted the embassy compound will receive supplies and materials by U. S. military helicopters. [HAARETZ]

Eastern Mediterranean – Haaretz is also reporting the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman is on station in the Eastern Mediterranean cruising between Cyprus and the coast of Israel. I suspect the carrier will not be ordered into action until Hezbollah defeats the remaining pro-government militias in the south. That will weaken any of Israel’s and the West’s potential allies in the country. [HAARETZ]

Damascus – AKI is reporting, according to Asharq al-Awsat, Damascus is using Syrian diplomats to convince Arab governments not to support the Arab League mission to Beirut Wednesday. Sources are saying one Syrian minister has even warned the plane carrying the mission may not be allowed to land at Beirut’s airport. This is why I have been writing since Hezbollah’s successful performance in the 2006 war that Tehran had convinced Damascus to forget the Golan Heights lost to Israel in 1967, because with Hezbollah’s strengthened position in Lebanon this was Syria’s chance to get Lebanon back from France. The French created Lebanon in 1920 which was never officially recognized by Damascus. Tehran probably told Damascus with the Golan Heights you get a nice view and prestige but with Lebanon you get an economy and the West has less influence in the region. [AKI]

Shula – Despite the Madhi Army leadership reading the ceasefire agreement from Mosques on Monday, Swissinfo/Reuters report the ink was barely dry on the 16 point agreement when heavy fighting began in Sadr City overnight as Shia militias began a series of attacks against U. S. units. Fighting is continuing Tuesday as so far there are reports of eleven killed and twenty wounded, even fighting in the Shula district in Baghdad’s northwest. A new ominous development may have taken place Saturday when an anti-aircraft missile was fired from eastern Baghdad. The missile landed harmlessly and the New York Times said the target was an Apache helicopter. If Tehran sends effective anti-air missiles it would be an enormous blow to Washington’s effort against the rockets fired at the International Green Zone and effective air cover for ground units would no longer be possible. [SWISSINFO]

Jaipur – This is just in from AKI, the major Indian city of Jaipur has been hit by seven explosions, which went off within twelve minutes of each other. They took place in the old city as it was packed with people heading home from work. [AKI]

Jaipur – CNN-IBN is reporting now at least 50 people have been killed and 150 wounded with an eighth bomb defused. City official H. G. Raphavendra has described the bombs as “medium intensity” as they went off at 7:30 pm. India Home Secretary Shriprakash Jaiswal and other government officials are already describing the explosions as a terrorist attack. Previous investigations into other bomb attacks inside India for the past few years have accused Islamic militant networks with direct connections to Pakistan and Bangladesh. If more bomb attacks take place while at the same time infiltration attempts increase as they have been this month it could force Delhi to use its “hot pursuit” policy and attack the militant training bases in both Pakistan and Bangladesh which would set off the fourth war between India/Pakistan since their independence in 1947. [CNNIBN]

Ferozepur – India Defense Minister A. K. Antony recently issued a strong statement concerning the recent infiltration attempts into India through Jammu-Kashmir and indirectly said they were being encouraged from across India’s border-Pakistan. WebIndia123 reports there have been three infiltration attempts in the last four days. The Defense Minister made his remarks while touring the border posts at Ferozepor in the Punjab, another province which borders Pakistan, “Til April, by and large, infiltration was under control and very less this year. But now again serious attempts are being made especially through the LoC (Line of Control).” The LoC divides Kashmir between India/Pakistan and attempts usually increase in May with the melting of the snow. The province is populated mostly by Muslims which never completely accepted India’s rule. The first two wars between India/Pakistan 1947-48 and 1965 were fought over this issue. [WEBINDIA123]

The Defense Minister’s remarks were made before the news hit of the bomb attacks in Jaipur.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.