Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran-Gaza-Damascus Watch- West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Hamas Expects Israel Invasion After End of Cairo Negotiations – Hamas/Egypt Warn Each Other Over Rafah Terminal – Iran – Syria Defense Ministers Sign Memorandum of Understanding – “For Us Iran is a Friendly Country” – Saad Hariri
Night Watch: GAZA – “The talks are going nowhere. We are evolving in a vicious cycle because Israel does not appear to be interested in a truce at this stage.” That was the grim assessment by a senior Hamas official close to the negotiations which have been arranged by the Egyptian government between Israel/Hamas in a wasted effort to find a peaceful solution to the constant war between the two. But peace never had any chance because Hamas’ main supporter, Tehran, did not create Hamas for the sake of stability but as another front against both Israel and Egypt. Iran has forged Hamas to be part of the extremist chain which runs from Pakistan west through Iran to connect with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They are the main opposition to Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, the last Islamic head of state willing to work with the West militarily due to his personal hatred of Iran’s government which named a street after the assassin of Mubarak’s predecessor Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. The extremist chain runs all across North Africa to Morocco. [JPOST]
The Jerusalem Post/AP is now reporting Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip are saying the Mubarak government is planning to conduct another round of talks in the coming days as a final attempt to achieve a ceasefire. There is no word yet on whom if any Israeli official will be present but quite often during these negotiations Cairo has been used to present Israel’s position. Hamas officials are also saying their movement is preparing for a massive Israeli invasion as soon as Egyptian officials declare the failure of the negotiations. And that they also suspect Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will approve the invasion as a way of directing attention away from the investigation into his financial affairs. It is indeed an old tactic of heads of state to deflect the public’s attention away from domestic crisis by creating an international one.
As a parallel development an official with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, on the West Bank, has stated the Mubarak government has conveyed serious warnings to Hamas to not attack the Rafah Terminal on the Gaza/Egypt border as they did in January. In fact Hamas and Egypt are warning each other especially with the statements of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on his current visit to Tehran. Hamas makes more demands over the Rafah Terminal than over the Israeli ones because when Rafah was forced open Hamas was able to ship enormous amounts of weaponry and trained members from Syria-Iran into Gaza. The terminal has only been open sporadically since then and Hamas-Tehran want it open constantly but that can only happen if the Egyptian-Israeli units in the area are defeated. According to the Palestinian official Hamas was informed late Sunday Cairo will not tolerate any new attempt to force open the crossing and has increased the border guards and security patrols at the terminal.
Tehran – True to form, on the eve of the next wave of widespread fighting throughout the region, Iran-Syria announced the upgrading of their security agreements. IRNA reports on the last day of Syria Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Hassan Ali Turkmani’s visit to Tehran he signed a defense and security Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran Defense Minister and Armed Forces Logistics Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar. The two then held a joint press conference before General Turkmani returned to Damascus. General Mohammad-Najjar stated defense cooperation between the two countries is on the highest level and it guarantees the independence and territorial integrity of both nations in regional-international issues. I suspect this is a reference to the very real possibility Syria could be attacked not only by Israel but also by the naval and air forces Washington has positioned off the Lebanese-Syrian coasts. And when that happens it will be Tehran’s reason for entering the war, a wider war I expect to begin next month. [IRNA]
For his part not only did Turkmen praise the agreement but when asked about the Syria/Israel negotiations he stated they were really intended for media consumption. The MoU is an extension of the already existing defense agreements between the two governments which was signed in June 2006 just before the war expanded that year, first in Gaza then in Lebanon.
Beirut – It was a war which united the Lebanese people against Israel as Israel conducted extensive air raids not only on Beirut International Airport but on neighborhoods in Beirut’s south suburbs, a major area of Hezbollah’s support and on the country’s road and bridges network in an attempt to cut off Hezbollah’s supplies. Serious, historical divisions re-emerged in Lebanon the day after the 2006 war ended to such an extent another civil war nearly broke out again but with war with Israel on the horizon the unity is back and led by Hezbollah. Not only does the unity involve Christian Nationalists, led by former General Michel Aoun, but also Saad Hariri who Press TV quoted as saying, “For us Iran is a friendly country, not the enemy.” I never imagined I would hear him say anything like this. In so many ways this has more impact than any statement by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Up to now Hariri had been not only one of the most bitter opponents of Iran and Hezbollah but also a major supporter of the West, but Iran knows hatred of Israel is a unifying factor and that hatred can also extend to the U. S. which has been planning joint operations with Israel. Tehran is not only operating with spirit, they may have convinced Hariri the enormous debt Paris keeps insisting Lebanon owes France from the 1975-90 civil war will be written off when the European units in the south are either withdrawn or forced out of the country. [PRESSTV]