Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – BEIRUT – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Baghdad – El Arish – Ramallah – Gaza – Damascus – Beirut/Jerusalem – Paris – Rome – London – Washington – Cairo – Amman; Syria – Iran – Hezbollah Complete Forty Days War Preparation – Nasrallah Addresses Massive Rally – “Zionist Entity Can be Wiped Out of Existence” – Syria Positions Three Divisions on Lebanon Border – No Shows Expected at Arab League Summit March 29-30
Night Watch: BEIRUT – Amid loudspeakers blaring verses from the Quran Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah made his long awaited speech during a rally in south Beirut near the shrine to Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah official Hezbollah-Damascus-Tehran accuse Israel of assassinating Feb. 12. The shrine has become a new place of pilgrimage to Hezbollah members and worshippers of Mughniyeh who disappearance was arranged by Tehran to set the stage for the expansion of the war around Jerusalem. Tehran is an expert at manipulating masses of Muslim people caught up in the cult of the celebrated death and directing them against a designated enemy, in this case Israel (Zionism), the target of Nasrallah’s speech, “The Zionist entity can be wiped out of existence. Our nation is stronger than ever before. Zionist-American propaganda is aiming to harm our nation’s consciousness. They, using their violent system, are trying to tell us that we are weak and powerless. They want to tell us that we don’t have any hope of winning.” [HAARETZ]
Haaretz reports Nasrallah referred to Hezbollah forcing Israel to withdraw from south Lebanon in 2000 and his militia’s performance in 2006 altered the regional view of Israel’s military. “The media has aggrandized this army and the Israeli soldier, officer and general. In the July war we were attacked by the Israeli army and the resistance withstood the great attack, breaking and shattering the army. We found and we saw the true nature of the Israel and the leader’s generals, officers, soldiers and the Israeli tank? The nation that isn’t facing bombings and banishment lived in bomb shelters for 33 days. Could Israel be wiped out of existence? Yes and a thousand times yes. Those who killed our commander must be punished. The killers must be punished and they will be punished, God willing. We will choose the time, place and manner of punishment.” Preparations for Hezbollah’s revenge attack, in coordination with Syria-Iran, probably began with the arrival of Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Damascus right after the mass rally held in Beirut during the funeral.
Beqaa Valley – Israel has been monitoring these developments for nearly two years ever since the end of its war with Hezbollah August 2006 as Damascus-Tehran re-supplied Hezbollah more heavily with an inventory now of 40,000 missiles and rockets. Debka reports Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated, “We must be vigilant in the near future. But we’ll overcome that too.” Barak has not reduced the nation’s alert status as Syria has just massed at least three armored divisions on Lebanon’s border not only in preparation to enter the war but in anticipation of Israel’s retaliation which they must know will be on a larger scale than Israel’s response to Hezbollah’s ambush in July 2006. And that was what Nasrallah did not mention, Israel’s attack was in response to Hezbollah’s ambush and with Hezbollah planning now to retaliate in the name of Mughniyeh the fighting this year will be many times the level in 2006 and obviously not just between Hezbollah/Israel. [DEBKA]
Damascus is also sending the 3,000 Palestinian fighters supported by them and Tehran heavier weaponry as they concentrate in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon’s northeast. The latest developments are so rapid Israel’s leadership now realizes war could break out even before the Arab League Summit in Damascus March 29-30.
Damascus – “I will head Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the summit.” That was the depressing announcement made by Ahmed bin Abdelaziz Qattan, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the Arab League. Haaretz reports he was speaking to reporters in Damascus the site of this year’s summit March 29-30 and ostensibly the reason for King Abdullah or Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal for not attending is Lebanon not having chosen a President. But in reality the House of Saud is probably aware the summit in Damascus could be at the center of a regional war as Israel hits targets in and around the Syrian capital. That could also be the reason Egypt President Hosni Mubarak is not expected to attend. I suspect every government and head of state in the region is monitoring the latest news constantly. [HAARETZ]