Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – RAFAH – GAZA WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Cairo – Amman – Baghdad – Beirut – Damascus – Ramallah – Gaza – Rafah/Mubarak – Jerusalem – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; 350,000 Palestinians Flood Into Sinai Through Rafah Terminal Demolished By Explosions Set By Hamas – Egyptian Security – Hamas Exchange Fire – Hamas to Participate With Opposition in Anti-Mubarak Demonstration Over Weekend – Iran Conducts Thunder 6 Maneuvers – Greek Pm Visits Ankara
Night Watch: RAFAH – Hamas demolished Egypt’s control of the Rafah terminal, between Egypt and Gaza, by setting off explosions in the barrier fence allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flood into Rafah and Sinai to purchase fuel and food. Ziad Qishtta, a Rafah resident stated,” I heard several huge explosions at pre-dawn, and I thought the Israeli army is entering Rafah, but after that we realized that Hamas militants blew up the fence on the border.” Xinhua reports there were exchanges of fire between Egyptian security Hamas gunmen but there were no casualties. Bulldozers are now removing barbed wires on the border and rubbles of concrete. Egypt President Hosni Mubarak tried to state he allowed the Palestinians in, but that is just an attempt to give the impression he is in control of the situation. I assume he realizes Hamas is operating under Tehran’s direction. Iran intends to build on this foundation of protest and use it to support the Egyptian opposition against Mubarak who Tehran believes is still too close to the West. [XINHUA]
Jerusalem is calling on Cairo to control the situation but that is impossible. Egypt was supposed to have taken control of the terminal when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and to cooperate with Israel on security. But Cairo never gave more than a token effort in the false assumption the militancy was only a threat to Israel and not to the Egyptian government. Cairo began to break every agreement with Jerusalem especially when it allowed Hamas agents to cross into Gaza carrying $150 million of funding from Tehran in December, practically the day after Mubarak met Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak. As I wrote at the time it was no coincidence this increased Hamas activity, directed at President Mubarak, coincided with the ten-day visit to Cairo by Iran National Security Adviser Ali Larijani, personal representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Damascus – From Cairo Larijani went to Damascus for four days meeting not only leaders in the Syrian government but also representatives of Hezbollah and Hamas, the head of their political office Khaled Meshaal and other Palestinian groups. Today, Wednesday, a meeting has been convened in Damascus with representatives of ten Palestinian units and based on current events they are planning more action against Mubarak than against Israel. Debka is even reporting Hamas political agents are planning massive protests this weekend in Cairo with Egypt’s opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood the parent organization of Hamas. [DEBKA]
This is why war is coming between Egypt and Iran and this is no long-term projection not in this climatic year. Mubarak never hesitates to use oppressive, draconian measures to secure his authority. He will tolerate Palestinian demonstrations on the Sinai-Gaza frontier, but not in downtown Cairo and especially not with the foreign agitation element sent by Hamas-Iran. Any demonstration in Cairo this weekend will be met not only by police, but also by army personnel and ready to open fire. It will of course be a large demonstration with a lot of popular support caused by the enormous corruption within the Mubarak administration, which is why voting in Egypt has become more of a privilege. The diplomatic dance Cairo/Tehran have been performing recently, under the pretense of improved relations is about to end in accusations and counter-accusations, the war of words that will lead to war in the field.
Rafah – INN reports, according to the United Nations, 350,000 Palestinians passed through the wall demolished by fifteen explosions, nearly a third of Gaza’s population of 1.5 million. More than twenty Qassam rockets were fired yesterday from Gaza landing in the Negev desert. [INN]
Baluchistan – Tehran announced today it began two days of military war games codenamed “Thunder 6” in which units will be using their most sophisticated weapons and most advanced military hardware to enhance their combat readiness. There is no word on the number of troops involved. Iran created a brigade size Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) which I believe has been assigned to reinforce Syria – Hezbollah – Palestinians, the extent of Tehran’s military commitment against Israel. The size of the force indicates the economic importance Iran places on the enemy, there being no market for salt in the Dead Sea. And based on news earlier in this article the RDF will eventually be mostly engaged against Egyptian forces loyal to Mubarak. [IRNA]
The bulk of Iran’s offensive units will be directed at the two enemies Tehran hates the most, the West, its main international rival and India in support of Pakistan and the Muslim community in Kashmir. February 2007 Pakistan President – General Perez Musharraf visited Tehran and presented them his “Action Plan” and that is what I suspect these “Thunder 6” maneuvers are designed to support.
Ankara – For the first time since 1959 a Prime Minister of Greece is visiting its ancient and modern rival Turkey. TDN reports Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Ankara today received by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with whom he has very friendly relations, even attending the wedding of Erdogan’s daughter in 2004. Karamanlis has actually visited Turkey several times unofficially and interestingly enough the visit in 1959 was by his uncle Constantine. The two nations have been intense rivals through all of known history and came close to another war in 1996 over uninhabited islets in the Aegean, but two strategic earthquakes in 1999 was one of the reasons both countries became closer. The other was war in the former Yugoslavia and NATO’s aggressive commitment against Serbia by NATO nations outside the Balkans. [TDN]
Neither Ankara nor Athens enjoyed seeing NATO make a power projection in their direction and in the name of stability as Serbia, a favorite target of Vienna and Western Europe, was made the example of their imperial regional policy. Greece has even gone so far as to have signed a security agreement with Serbia in Nov. 2006 and I suspect, behind the scenes, Turkey agrees with Athens’ sense of commitment. Both governments know war is about to resume over Kosovo. The division of Yugoslavia divided more than Yugoslavia, neither NATO nor the European Union (EU) will survive and both are headquarted in far away insulated Brussels.