Crossfire War – Action in Gaza Shifts South Near Egypt -Second Day of Fighting

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Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – BEIRUT WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Heavy Fighting Moves to South Gaza Near Rafah – IDF Units Uncover Anti-Tank Rockets in Schoolyard – India President on Five Day Kashmir Visit – Summit of Mutual Suspicion – Moscow/Beijing

Night Watch: RAFAH – The action in Gaza has shifted to the southern area of the strip near the Egyptian border. Haaretz and news agencies are reporting heavy fighting began before dawn as Israel Defense Force (IDF) units entered the Sufa area in southeast Gaza and arrested 30 Palestinians suspected of being part of militant groups firing mortars and rockets at Israeli communities on the Gaza border. Further west, near Rafah, three Hamas members were killed by an Israel Air Force (IAF) strike after the gunmen had hit an IDF bulldozer with an anti-tank rocket wounding an Israeli soldier. In other action two members of Islamic Jihad were killed as they attempted to plant a bomb on the border fence in central Gaza. This was near El Bureji as the IDF operation in this area enters its second day. [HAARETZ]

Sajaiya – At the same time INN reports IDF soldiers, on a routine counter-terrorism operation, uncovered anti-tank rocket launchers in a schoolyard Thursday in Sajaiya northern Gaza. This is of course the result of the constant weapons shipments and smuggling from Iran through Syria into Gaza in the same way Tehran-Damascus have re-supplied Hezbollah since 2006. Soldiers from the elite Givati Brigade have been conducting anti-terror operations throughout Gaza since Thursday using their tank corps and engineers. This is Israel’s ongoing effort to prevent Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups from establishing more depots and bases as they prepare to resist Israel’s planned invasion. [INN]

Tangdhar – As an expression of concern on the recent violations by Pakistani troops in the past two weeks of the five year ceasefire between India/Pakistan prompted India President Pratibha Patil to make a five day visit to Kashmir beginning Friday. NewsBlaze reports after arriving in Srinagar President Patil, who is also Supreme Commander of India Army Forces, immediately left for the Tangdhar sector in north Kashmir where the soldiers briefed her on the tense border situation. From this vantage point they can view areas of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan. Patil stated any aggression from across the border will be dealt with strongly by Indian soldiers. She also mentioned the India Army was immensely contributing in making India a “super power.”

Due to the melting of the snow May usually experiences an increase in the movement of Islamic fighters from Pakistan’s area of the state attacking India’s control over most of the territory, but with Pakistani Rangers providing cover fire for a group of infiltrators and two incidents of fire coming from Pakistan’s side of the border since then has made the situation the most serious since 2002, the last time the fourth war between the two countries since 1947 nearly began.

Beijing – It is the modus operandi of governments to put on a show of grand cooperation as a cover while they prepare their armed forces for possible serious engagements over their rivalry for control of a strategic region, in this case Russia/China over Central Asia. The boundary between them has been the focus of numerous wars between them for centuries and seriously erupted again in the mid-1960s as part of a series of invasions China had been conducting since the end of World War II in 1945. That is why I always suspected the real reason for Moscow’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan was to outflank China. Russian units were withdrawn ten years later which was signified by a Russia/China summit in May 1989 between Russia Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and China’s leader Deng Xiaoping. The summit acknowledged a temporary cessation of hostilities as both governments were aware a new threat to both of them re-emerged in the 1980s in the form of radical Islam as a result of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran led by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Both Russia and China have large Islamic regions which are directly influenced by the radicalism but while Moscow prepared to confront it Beijing on the other hand decided to work with it knowing heavily armed Islamic governments had the potential to weaken three of China’s historical rivals, the West, India and Russia. And China has shown for the past two years it is preparing to commit forces against India at the same time as Pakistan, China having established strategic relations with Islamabad as far back as 1951. Beijing is the principal supporter of Iran and Pakistan’s nuclear ballistic missile programs and Beijing has also sent the assistance through North Korea including to Syria. It was also from China the House of Saud purchased the 50-60 CSS-2 missiles during the mid-1980s with a range of 2,500 miles (4,000 km). And that is why Moscow has expressed such extreme concern over the medium range ballistic missile base Beijing has established in north central China with missiles that can hit southern Russia and northern India.

But how do you masque your military preparations against your main international rival which is right across your border? You use the historical, timeworn tactic of staging glamorous, highly publicized summits, even in the enemy’s capital, where you sign superficial, cliche, meaningless agreements on international cooperation. Which is why Xinhua has such a huge photo spread of Russia President Dmitry Medvedev’s two day state visit to Beijing. This is why diplomacy is on par with the acting profession. Medvedev and China President Hu Jintao put on a show of Sino-Russia cooperation as they mouthed off on popular issues of the day. Global economic development, terrorism and drug trafficking. And that is why Moscow takes its recent military- strategic agreements with Mongolia more seriously knowing Mongolia has an expansive future which will reduce the size of China. [XINHUA]

Though World War III would have ended in other regional theatres against Iran the war will be continuing further east.

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.