Crossfire War – Hamas Leader – Syria DM in Teheran for War Planning

Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHERAN – GAZA – DAMASCUS WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Neither Hamas or Damascus Take Israel PM Olmert Overtures Seriously – Both Hamas Leader – Syria DM in Teheran – Mahdi Army in Iraq Threatens New Attacks – States Iraq Army Violating Truce

Night Watch: rfn=TEHERAN – “There is great skepticism about Israel’s seriousness to return the Golan. It’s maneuvering and playing with all the (negotiating) tracks, it’s well known and besides, Olmert’s weakness will not allow him to take this step.” That was Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal speaking from Teheran in response to reports of Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s overtures of peace negotiations with the Syrian government over possible return of the Golan Heights conquered by Israel during the Six Day war in June 1967, which greatly increased Israel’s security. Asharq al-Awsat/AP report Mashaal made his remarks at a joint press conference with Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki who also expressed his reasons for not taking Olmert’s overture seriously and re-affirmed Teheran’s position of supporting Palestinian attacks against Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Both Mashaal and Mottaki may not be aware they are expressing the same skepticism as many Israeli government ministers and that the real reason for Olmert’s offer was to divert attention away from investigations into his corrupt history. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

rfn=Damascus – At the same time the Syrian government newspaper Tishrin printed an editorial on the Syrian government’s recent rejection of demands by Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for any ceasefire to take place. Asharq al-Awsat/AP report Livni had demanded in order for serious negotiations to occur Damascus had to first sever all ties to Hamas-Hezbollah-Teheran. Unlike Olmert she was not speaking for herself as this has long been the official position of Jerusalem. But it is Syria’s military relations with all three which has increased Syria’s influence in the region as Damascus-Teheran have become the main presence in Lebanon through Hezbollah and Syria believes they can now easily retake the Golan Heights. Damascus responded through Tishrin by saying, “Damascus does not want pre-conditions, that would put the cart before the horse – it does not bargain over its relations with other countries and people nor would it want to bargain with others over their relations.” Syria said Israel’s demand was “putting stakes in the wheels” of the peace process. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

rfn=Teheran – But it was a process that was never genuine and has been used as a diplomatic smokescreen from Washington to Teheran for constant preparations to not only maintain the current level of fighting but for the next wave of war. As an example of the increasing strategic relations between Teheran-Damascus IRNA reports Lieutenant-General Hassan Ali Turkmani, Syria Defense Minister, is scheduled to arrive in Teheran on Saturday leading a high level delegation as part of the defense agreements between the two governments. Though the two governments have maintained serious military relations ever since the eight year Iran/Iraq War 1980-88, an official security agreement was signed between the two in June 2006 just before Israel’s war with Hamas-Hezbollah. General Turkmani will be meeting with Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Iran Defense Minister and Armed Forces Logistics, as well as other high ranking defense officials. I suspect they will be planning specific joint operations against Israel in support of Hamas-Hezbollah which is why it is no coincidence Hamas leader Mashaal is also in Teheran. Turkamani-Najjar may even have to outline responses to any attack from the ships and aircraft Washington has just positioned off the Syrian-Lebanese coast. [IRNA]

rfn=Washington – Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may ended his leadership career with his Syria overture as Debka is reporting Washington is “reassessing” its position with Israel but I suspect mostly with Olmert since Washington has been looking for reasons to attack Syria for the past five years. Damascus has enabled a lot of Islamic fighters to enter Iraq through Syria’s border while Damascus increases its military relations with Iran and received nuclear materials from North Korea. [DEBKA]

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.