Crossfire War – JERUSALEM WATCH – Eastern Mediterranean Theatre: Paris – Rome -Berlin – Beirut/Jerusalem – Tehran; UNIFIL Rules of Engagement Protect Hezbollah Arms Smuggling – Second Incident Between Israel Air Force – German Naval Heliopters
Night Watch: BEIRUT – Europe’s suspicious, intriguing UNIFIL presence is being targeted by Israel with at least tacit approval of Iran who also distrusts Europe re-entry into the region. Munich based Focus magazine has reported that for the second time in five days F-16s from the Israel Air Force (IAF) have been monitoring helicopters from German naval ships off Lebanon’s coast. IAF aircraft have repeatedly locked their radar on to the helicopters. Locking on radar is the final step before an attack. Berlin has contributed eight warships to the UNIFIL naval task force and 1,000 naval soldiers, whose mission is to ostensibly prevent the re-arming of Hezbollah. But some of the UNIFIL forces have said that is not their mission. [IRNA]
What has caused this conflicting UNIFIL presence is that the rules of engagment the European forces are operating under have been protecting Hezbollah small craft boats that cruise up and down the Lebanese coasts, after being loaded with arms and supplies from Iranian freighters at Syrian ports, that are beyond the range of UNIFIL’s monitoring. Warships from UNIFIL are not allowed closer than seven miles off the Lebanese coast so it is easy for small craft to evade any detection or interception. Israel suspects the German helicopters are flying close to Lebanon’s coast, perhaps as cover for the smuggling. These suspcious rules of engagement were made by Europe as a result of the Rome Conference convened after the August ceasefire that ended the first phase of fighting in southern Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, who is an extension of Iran’s military.
Israel has stated its deliberate overflights into Lebanon’s airspace are needed because of the flagrant violation of the arms embargo that was imposed to prevent Tehran-Damascus from re-arming Hezbollah for the next phase of fighting which both Damacus, then Tehran will enter. But now both Syria-Iran view Europe’s presence as an unwelcome intervention, a military imposition. Israel Foreign Ministry spokeman Mark Regev stated “Israel conducts overflights because there are continuous violations by the Lebanese side which are forcing us to act. The international arms embargo, which is an integral element of resolution 1701 is not being applied and illicit arms are being supplied to Hezbollah and so our action is a response to their violations.” [ASHARQALAWSAT]
Jerusalem is stating, with it’s threatening actions against the German helicopters, and the firing of the two warning shots at German warships five days ago, that Israel is aware the European UNIFIL forces are protecting the arms shipments to Hezbollah, because Europe wants another war between Hezbollah and Israel, which they assume will seriously weaken the Jewish state and also eliminate Tehran’s power projection by destroying Hezbollah. The French contingent to UNIFIL has actually deployed anti-aircraft batteries in south Lebanon in order to protect French units. This is an admitted projection of power not only against Israel but is also Paris’ way of re-staking its claim on its former colony Lebanon, Paris’ attempt to become the main presence once again in Beirut banking circles as opposed to Tehran. Paris’ influence in Lebanon was seriously shaken when former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated on February 14, 2005, by Tehran because Hariri had begun to work with the West instead of with Islamic governments. His assassination, just two weeks after Lebanon’s Defense Minister visited Tehran, summoned the French President Jacques Chirac to Beirut.
French Major General Alain Pelligrini said that IAF overflights may have to be stopped by force if diplomacy is not able to. This coming week German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung will confront Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Tel Aviv over Israel’s continued threats to German forces. I suspect Jung will be told frankly that since UNIFIL is not preventing arms from reaching Hezbollah then Israel will, even if it means attacking UNIFIL forces that are covering for them. Not just an attack on German helicopter escorts but also on the French anti-aircraft batteries in south Lebanon near Hezbollah units that have redeployed in the area waiting for the word from Damascus-Tehran to start the next wave of war. It is no secret that there are definite anti-Semitic circles very active within European international decision making. Anti-Semitic is not only anti-Jewish but also anti-Arab who are also Semitic.
I would not be surprised if Jerusalem starts the next war first and with Tehran’s complete support. Tehran may even secretly assist Israel financially. Crossfirewar.com mentioned recently that Tehran had al-Qaeda declare UNIFIL, to be an enemy of Islam, right after UNIFIL began to take up their positions. Tehran knows that what Europe wants to see is another major war in the region that will heavily damage, Lebanon – Hezbollah – Syria – Israel – Iran and with European UNIFIL still very much there when the smoke clears filling the vacuum and in control of West Asia (Middle East) once again.
This is why crossfirewar.com is called Crossfire War and in this article’s heading I had no conflicting slash between Jerusalem – Tehran. Regular readers of crossfirewar.com know that a slash between capitals mean war/conflict but a dash between them means alliance-cooperation, at least economically if not also militarily. Tehran definitely wants Jerusalem to be successful against UNIFIL. Iran has never viewed Israel as the main problem in the region but rather the West’s constant attempts, throughout so much of history, to conquer and control it. Tehran wants UNIFIL to be nowhere in the region after the fighting. Both Jerusalem-Tehran will be attacking UNIFIL. Europe has enlarged the war in this theatre.
What was intially a war between Hezbollah-Syria-Iran/Israel has now become an intense confrontation between Iran/Europe as to who can exert more control over Lebanon and West Asia. Israel will indeed be there when the smoke clears. Jerusalem realizes they have to seize the military initiative and be less restrained during the next wave of war but at the same time only hit targets that they really have to.
Though I never thought I would ever see military cooperation between Israel-Iran it is defnitely a real possibility and this is not the first time. This is similar to Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear weapons facility constructed with French assistance. Israel’s attack took place during the Iran/Iraq war and the facility was a threat to both Israel and Iran.