Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – BEIRUT WATCH – Persian Gulf – Mediterranean Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Doha – Cairo – Damascus – Beirut – Gaza/Jerusalem – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; US Warns Iran Over Naval Provocation – Tehran States Incident Was “normal” – Hamas Fires on Israeli Naval Vessels Off Gaza – Unifil Soldiers in South Lebanon Injured By Roadside Bomb – Katyusha Rockets Fired From Lebanon Into Israel – Hezbollah Suspected
Night Watch: STRAIT OF HORMUZ – With the action increasing on other fronts in West Asia, after Sunday’s naval confrontation between the U. S. and Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, Tehran is obviously establishing a wider full scale war in the region. Since Sunday, Katyusha rockets have been fired from Lebanon into northern Israel, Hezbollah suspected, and two soldiers with UNIFIL were injured by a roadside bomb in south Lebanon and Hamas has opened fire on Israeli naval vessels patrolling in the Mediterranean off Gaza. I really don’t think these are just messages from Tehran directed at U. S. President George W. Bush on the eve of his tour of the region tomorrow, instead I suspect Iran is now ready to start (f)allout war against Israel and the West, something they have been preparing for twenty years since the end of the eight year Iran/Iraq war in 1988. [XINHUA]
Xinhua reports Washington is warning Tehran to avoid provocations in the future. U. S. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack warned, “The United States will confront Iranian behavior where it seeks to do harm either against us or our friends and allies in the region. There is wide support for that within the region.” Regular readers know I believe Washington is over estimating its support from Islamic governments and is taking them for granted. None of them believes a continued military presence by the West is needed and if it is removed by force, by the Jihad led by Tehran, then so be it.
Tehran is of course responding deceptively by pretending the confrontation was just routine. Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad-Ali Hossein responded, “It’s something normal and takes place every now and then for each party, it has been resolved when the two parties identified each other.” More “normal” confrontations are about to take place. Tehran would not mind if the war increased during Bush’s weeklong tour. It would make a mockery of Washington and the West’s claim of being in control of events.
Gaza Coast – Debka reports Israeli naval vessels patrolling off Gaza in the Mediterranean were fired on by Hamas machine gun positions at the Rafah terminal and by Palestinian fishing boats. Hamas sent reinforcements as Israel sent air force helicopters, which sunk one of the fishing boats. [DEBKA]
Shlomi – Tehran now seems to be activating Hezbollah up north. Asharq al-Awsat/AP report the Israeli town of Shlomi, near Lebanon’s border, was hit by three Katyusha rockets. There were no injuries and no claims of responsibility but of course, Hezbollah is suspected. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
Sidon – There was also action directed at the European forces in south Lebanon serving with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon). Al Jazeera reports two of its soldiers were wounded when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb that may have been detonated by remote control, which makes the attack deliberate. Europe increased its troop presence in south Lebanon to 12,000 after the Rome Conference at the end of the 2006 war between Hezbollah/Israel. As soon as the units began to arrive, Tehran had al-Qaeda declare them an “enemy of Islam” (Iran). UNIFIL has done nothing to prevent Hezbollah’s massive re-arming by Iran-Syria. [ALJAZEERA]
Delhi – The South Asia Daily News Scan has reported information from Indian intelligence has caused police stations in Delhi to be placed on high alert. A senior police officer at police headquarters stated, “Though there has been no specific input about the attack, we have sounded a general alert and the heads of the police stations have been asked to maintain strict vigil. The police colonies have also been on alert as the terrorists may try to attack them.” For the past few years, Islamic groups fighting to end India’s occupation of Kashmir have expanded their operations to include attacks inside India whether against religious sites, train stations and now police stations. These groups are controlled by Tehran-Islamabad. Investigations by Indian security have constantly traced the agents involved to not only Pakistan based groups but to Islamic militant bases in Bangladesh. [SECURITYRISKS]
The South Asia Daily News Scan is available through subscription only from retired Indian Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle who can be reached through is website, www.security-risks.com. It is an extensive review of events from Afghanistan to Bangladesh and arrives every day at 0400 GMT. It costs only $150 a month and is essential reading for any individual, investment group or government concerned about security in the region. China is also covered due to their strategic support of Pakistan and Beijing’s contentious relations with India.