Crossfire War – Thousands of Anti-Mubarak Demonstrators in El Arish – Sinai


Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – TRIPOLI – KHARTOUM WATCH – West Asia – North-Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Damascus – Tripoli – Khartoum – Beirut – El Arish/Cairo – Jerusalem – Paris – Rome; Thousands of Demonstrators in Sinai – El Arish Attack Offices of Mubarak’s Political Party – Opposition Base Increases – Several Palestinian Units Continue Mortar – Rocket Fire – Katyusha – Turkey FM in Syria States Turkish Airspace Will No Longer be Used by Israel – Israel Increased Security at Temple Mount for Last Friday of Ramadan – War to Intensify Afterwards – Russia – Madagascar FMs Discuss Conflicts Across African Continent – Joint Operations Planned – Albanian National Army Representative States War in Kosovo Unavoidable

Night Watch: EL ARISH – AP reports the regional headquarters of Egypt’s ruling party, the party of President Hosni Mubarak, was destroyed by thousands of demonstrators in the northern Sinai city of El Arish after residents were fired on by masked Bedouin tribesman in a dispute regarding the local economy. The city on the Mediterranean has a population of 120,000 and has regular confrontations with the nomadic Bedouin who survive by smuggling and do not benefit as much from the tourist trade. Police using tear gas, chains and batons attacked demonstrators protesting the lack of protection by Egypt’s government. Amin al-Qassass, leader of the El Arish branch of the opposition party Al Wafd explained the reason for the attacks on symbols of Mubarak’s authority, “It is a state of severe anger and frustration as a result of the security absence in the town… We are not asking to be protected from the Bedouins, or anybody else, but we are aiming to attract attention to the lawless situation in the town.” [ASHARQALAWSAT]

Sunday the protest continued as they pulled down murals of President Mubarak and damaged the offices of his National Democratic Party, by setting fire to furniture and documents. I suspect the documents contained information, dossiers, on leading opposition figures. It is an opposition positioning itself to fill the political – security vacuum the government of President Mubarak is leaving as he is increasingly insulated as head of a police state losing control. Observing all this of course is Tehran and as always Iran is eager to introduce itself to any opposition opposed to the same enemy in this case Hosni Mubarak, the last Islamic head of state still cooperating with the West militarily. Though it is quite possible, Iran was already familiar with the opposition. Tehran is an expert at financing-arming local, indigenous people and then causing regional crisis -wars, which reveal the weakness in the enormously corrupt national administration of the targeted capital-Cairo and head of state-Hosni Mubarak.

The demonstrators next time, in El Arish or elsewhere, may not be unarmed and there could be several demonstrations taking place at once. They will also be demonstrating in an atmosphere of full-scale regional war revolving around Jerusalem and the popular Palestinian cause inflamed to the extreme with Damascus-Tehran’s entry into the war completely aware it will generate more Islamic radicalism that will be used against Mubarak. Egyptian police – military units also opposed to Mubarak, will assist the demonstrators and the civil war in Egypt will be more intense than the war against Israel, especially when Mubarak declares war on Iran. Governments that support the Jihad, Tripoli-Khartoum surround him. However, the West will also be under fire not only in West Asia in Lebanon-Iraq, but also in Southeast Europe as war resumes over Kosovo and will therefore be in no position to assist Mubarak.

Tehran may have actually had its agents in the Bedouin community because this latest crisis to increase the threat and begin the process of regime changes. The Bedouins control the weapons trafficking across the Sinai from Egypt to Gaza-West Bank and of course, it’s Tehran who employs their service and knowledge of the region. The clue as to who really caused the shooting may have been given by Amin al-Qassass, who admitted they didn’t really need protection from the Bedouins they just wanted to show the state of lawlessness in the area, in other words the failure of Mubarak’s government. The other clue is the timing; right at the end of Ramadan the holy war month, in this is the year when the regional war becomes full scale with Tehran’s highly publicized ceremonial entry as a magnanimous gesture-the gift offensive.

Temple Mount – INN reports Israel had 3,000 security forces stationed at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the last Friday of Ramadan which is used to generate more hatred against non-Islamic people, from North Africa to the Philippines. Tens of thousands of worshippers descend on the site and for security purposes; Israel restricts access in an attempt to reduce the chances of violence in the name of Jihad breaking out. But the Al Aqsa mosque at Temple Mount is just one of several objectives of Tehran in the region. Reaching the mosque by Islamic fighters will be attempted, but the main reason for the war this year is to create that spectacular publicity around Iran’s entry into the conflict. Demonstrations at the mosque will be part of the publicity, especially if some militants do reach it. When Ramadan ends this week fighting, attacks all over the region will increase. It is intended to force Jerusalem to invade Gaza with the intention of occupying it as other fronts in this theatre erupt. [INN]

Gaza – DPA reports Israeli bulldozers, supported by four tanks and Apache helicopters, have entered Gaza east of Gaza City, to destroy installations erected near the Karni crossing. This is not only in response to preparations Palestinian militants have been making in anticipation of Israel’s offensive, but Israel is also responding to continued rocket fire from Gaza now being conducted by several Palestinian militant units. Reports today even mention the firing of a Katyusha rocket, which fell short of its target the town of Netivot in the Negev. Hezbollah used the Katyusha’s effectively last year but Palestinian groups have used only a few. The rocket, first manufactured in Russia, is more accurate than the Qassam, has a larger warhead and longer range, 12 miles (20 km). [GULFTIMES]

Damascus – In an expression of support and possibly military cooperation Turkey’s new Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has just met in Damascus President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Babacan stated afterward, “Turkey will not let Turkish territory or airspace be used in any activity that could harm the security or safety of Syria.” This is of course in reference to Israel’s successful air attack on the Syrian-Iranian missile base last month in which Turkish airspace was used by Israel’s aircraft. The special relationship between Ankara-Jerusalem is now over. For years, Turkey stood out among Islamic governments in cooperating with Israel militarily but that is now a thing of the past. This statement will also insure Damascus’ support of Ankara’s invasion into the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. [ALJAZEERA]

Babacan has arrived in Israel where I assume he will inform them of Ankara’s priorities in the region and requiring no cooperation with Jerusalem. He is scheduled to arrive in Amman next.

Tirana – MakFax reports Gafur Adili, the political leader of the Albanian National Army (ANA), was interviewed by Albania’s Top Channel TV, aired Thursday, in which he stated war in Kosovo was unavoidable. Adili stated when Albanians in Kosovo declare their independence it will prompt the Serbian community in the north of the province to declare their independence and fighting resumes as it has been doing since 1991 with the initial division of Yugoslavia. These were wars Brussels, as head of both the European Union (EU) and NATO, thought they could use in the name of European unity and wound up instead of creating more divisions with each conflict. The NATO alliance is itself divided as is the EU, neither regional institution will survive the rest of World War III. [MAKFAX]

Moscow – In another indication of Russia emerging as the main international presence after the war, Madagascar Foreign Minister Marcel Ranjeva has just arrived in Moscow Sunday for a two day visit where he will discuss extensively the conflicts currently taking place throughout the African continent with Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. [RIA]

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.