Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Hamas Prepares Major Offensive Against Gaza Border – Syria DFM States Syria Will “Liberate” Golan Heights – US Pres. Bush – France Pres. Sarkozy Attack Iran-Syria in Joint Press Conference – Fighting in Kashmir Escalates
Night Watch: IDF SOUTHERN COMMAND – Based on current news reports it is quite possible Hamas will begin its border offensive against Israel’s blockade before Israel launches its invasion of the Gaza Strip to end the rocket-missile-mortar fire.
Debka is reporting senior officers in the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) are now expecting Hamas and Palestinian militants to make a successful breakthrough in one of their attacks on the Gaza border fence. Two weeks ago militant units began to receive delivery of the more powerful 120 mm mortars from Iran-Syria-Hezbollah which is a substantial upgrade from their 81 mm or 60 mm mortars. The 120 is now leading the mortar bombardment of Israeli communities and settlements on the Gaza border.
At the same time this past week Hamas made several suicide attacks on border terminals mostly in northern Gaza. These suicide units are now regularly equipped with armor plated vehicles and attack under cover of heavy mortar-rocket fire. IDF officials believe Hamas is preparing to make a major attack on either an IDF position or against a civilian target and not just for the purpose of attacking it but to actually seize it. [DEBKA]
Tehran has had Palestinian militants trained in these new offensive operations by members of Hezbollah which flew from Beirut to Cairo and then arrived in Gaza with the full knowledge and cooperation of Egyptian authorities, which is why I have long suspected Egypt President Hosni Mubarak’s government is being circumvented by Iran’s contacts in the country and Tehran’s network in the country’s administration is obviously extensive.
The Palestinians have now been trained in offensive, cross border attacks similar to Hezbollah’s ambush in July 2006 that began its war with Israel that year. This fulfills one of the main branches of Tehran-Damascus’ strategy of having Israel heavily engaged in and along the Gaza Strip as heavy fighting erupts to Israel’s north from Lebanon-Syria. Palestinians now have a large number of mobile suicide units, mortar, anti-tank and anti-air units positioned several hundred yards from Gaza’ border with Israel.
The anti-air units have not yet been ordered into action and the IDF has delayed attacking them so far since they are based in densely populated civilian areas. But when the Palestinian offensive begins the Israel Air Force (IAF) will indeed hit them as they did neighborhoods in south Beirut two years ago, one of Hezbollah’s main areas of support.
Damascus – It was Hezbollah’s successes in 2006 which emboldened the Syrian government in Damascus into believing it would therefore be easy for Syria to re-take the strategic Golan Heights lost to Israel in 1967. That was one of the principle reasons Damascus has long been one of Tehran’s military axis partners in the region and they both believe their long term preparation for the expanded regional war this year is complete as is the preparation of Hamas-Hezbollah and Islamic units in Iraq.
This is the regional grand strategy of the Islamic Axis to activate every front in this theatre in such a sequence it would prevent, or at least reduce, the chances of Israel and Washington conducting joint operations. With that in mind the diplomatic charade of peace negotiations also seems to be over as the Jerusalem Post is quoting Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad as warning Israel publicy if Syria cannot retake the Golan Heights by peace they will do so through force. Mekdad called it using “other options” to “liberate” them besides negotiations which Damascus never had any faith in. [JPOST]
Mekdad added in case of hostilities Syria was ready to “protect its land within minutes” and he even said the Israeli civilian population in Golan would also be a target. This is why I have always suspected Israel will first use some of its nuclear arsenal against Syria. I assume the IAF will give priority to military bases and industrial installations of military and missile production.
Elysee Palace – France may have indicated an interest in taking part in joint operations against Syria-Iran during a joint press conference conducted by France President Nicolas Sarkozy and U. S. President George W. Bush at the Elysee Palace Saturday. The Jerusalem Post/AP report both heads of state made strong statements against the activities and uranium enrichment by Syria-Iran to the extent it justifies any military action against both countries.
Concerning Syria Pres. Bush said his message to them would be to, “Stop fooling around with the Iranians and stop harboring terrorists.” On his part Pres. Sarkozy stated Iran having nuclear weapons would be “totally unacceptable.” Obviously these statements and demands have fallen on deaf ears in Syria-Iran as both governments have prepared to meet any military threat not only from Israel but also from the West. [JPOST]
Chattro-Simthan Road/Kashmir – IRNA reports Islamic militants attacked an Indian Army General Reserve Engineering Force and members of the Territorial army as they were conducting a survey on the Chattro-Simthan road. All five members, including their commanding officer a Lieutenant-Colonel were killed on the spot in the ambush. What is especially significant is this attack took place in a remote section of south Kashmir and may signal an expansion of the fighting on this front. These Islamic groups are directly supported by Tehran-Islamabad and they seem to have increased the action this past May more than usual since Iran is now ready to enter it.
Combat always increases in May with the melting of the snow but this year last month a delegation from Iran’s most powerful decision making body, the Council of Guardians, visited Pakistan amid reports of direct involvement of Pakistani forces violating the ceasefire and providing cover fire for an Islamic infiltration unit. [IRNA]
B92 is reporting the Serbian government in Belgrade has ordered its military to end all cooperation with NATO-Kosovo Force (KFOR) units. The reasons are being given by Lieutenant-General Zdravko Panos of the Serbian Army (VS). General Panos states NATO delegated too many “further assignments” in Kosovo to KFOR which caused him to cancel his meeting with the head of NATO-KFOR units General Xavier de Marnhac.
Belgrade says the new assignments violate KFOR’s neutral status. Panos the mentioned, “The second reason is that NATO has in fact taken a step that compromises the thus far excellent cooperation between the VS and KFOR.” I suspect a third reason Belgrade broke off cooperation is in anticipation of renewed fighting when Kosovo’s new constitution is to go into effect tomorrow. The Albanian government in Pristina is determined to enforce the constitution, its authority, all over the province even though the Serbian community in the north has stated, ever since the province declared independence in February, they answer only to Belgrade. Not only has Serbia heavily re-armed with major support from Moscow, Serbia has also signed two defense agreements in 2006, one with Greece and the other with Iran. [B92]
Tamysh-Ochamchira Track/Abkhazia – RIA reports the Russia Defense Ministry is claiming they have prevented a terrorist attack against Russian railroad units by defusing a mine placed under the Tamysh-Ochamchira track in Abkhazia. Abkhazia is one of two regions that seceded from the south Caucasus state of Georgia when the Cold War ended in 1990, the other one being South Ossetia and both of them are supported by Russia. The Defense Ministry is not yet accusing the Georgian government in Tbilisi but that is what Moscow is implying. Russian officials say the mine was placed either 10-30 days ago and I would guess the reason Moscow knows this is because they are probably the ones who planted it. Since Moscow is now ready to re-establish its control over the oil and gas resources in the region they have been deliberately staging armed incidents and air violations in order to start a war with the Georgian government in Tbilisi. And that is why Tbilisi has eagerly accepted the military assistance from Turkey-Iran who hope they can use Georgia to prevent Russia and the West from having easy access to the strategic raw materials. [RIA]
Industrial services in the West, led by Berlin, fully support Moscow as they have used Russia for more than a century to export these same resources to the West. To assist Moscow former U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger was sent to Russia in April 2007 to co-chair the Strategic Working Group with former Russia Premier Yevgeny Primakov. One of the first moves they made was to re-activate Russia’s long range strategic bombers which began flying again last August.