Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Gaza – Baghdad Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – El Arish – Beirut – Damascus – Baghdad – Ramallah – Gaza/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – London – Washington – Paris – Rome; Israel Rejects Peace Proposals Arranged Through Cairo – Tehran Acknowledges Arrival of Iraqi Delegation – Israel PM Olmert May Be in Trouble as Corruption Investigation Resumed
Night Watch: JERUSALEM – “No deal whatsoever should be reached with Hamas because the terrorist movement would exploit any truce to gain strength, perfect its weapons and prepare for the next confrontation.” That was the decisive response from Israel Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, to the peace and ceasefire proposals presented by Cairo on behalf of Hamas. Sheetrit continued, “We must break Hamas, not hold negotiations with them, because their demands are unacceptable. The armed forces must attack those terrorists night and day to break their arms and legs.” It is reported several other cabinet ministers agree with him as the Gulf-Times/AFP report his statement came as the Israel Air Force (IAF) had just killed a Hamas commander who helped plan the capture of the Israeli soldier in late June 2006. Nafiz Mansur’s leading role in that operation helped increase the war that year as Hezbollah staged its ambush the following month and Israel responded by invading Lebanon. Mansur was also responsible for the recent suicide attack on an Israeli border post April 19. He was killed near his home in Rafah and Palestinian militants responded to his death with rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel. [GULFTIMES]
Tehran – “Iranian officials will talk with the delegation in pursuit of the policy for settlement of the ongoing differences and clashes in Iraq.” That was the statement by Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, as Tehran acknowledged the arrival of the Iraqi delegation sent by Washington to demand Iran no longer arm and finance militias attacking UK/US forces in Iraq. IRNA reported the delegation arrived late Thursday. The Iranian officials realize of course that though the delegation was sent by Washington it does not represent Washington but Iraqi officials and people who realize Tehran has more to offer in the way of serious economic development but the foreign occupation is in the way. Therefore I suspect these meetings will be used to plan the statements of Iraq’s government when the attacks not only increase but when Washington issues its ultimatum, after presenting evidence through Baghdad, of Tehran’s direct involvement in supporting Shia-Sunni militias. [IRNA]
Knesset – Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may be in serious trouble as corruption investigations, regarding arrangements he made before he became Prime Minister, have been reopened. The timing of this is strategic since Israel realizes a more serious war than even in 2006 is about to erupt with Damascus-Tehran poised to enter and for reasons only known to Olmert and his closest confidants he has been reluctant to let the Israel Defense Force (IDF) begin its planned invasion of the Gaza Strip to end the rocket-mortar barrages. Most of the cabinet and public probably believe Olmert would therefore be too hesitant when it came to responding to Hezbollah or any other threat. The IAF’s destruction of the Syrian nuclear weapons facility last September was just a small example of the threat that is obviously no longer long term. This investigation into these several charges are nothing new but they were resumed almost the day after Olmert made a private visit to Amman to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah which may have been a personal peace initiative which has no basis in the region’s military reality. [HAARETZ]
Haaretz reports the investigations revolve around suspicious real estate deals, political appointments and even a bribery case which were all investigated late last year, but late last year the Israeli government may have still tried to believe the worst regional threats could still be avoided. But that was before Tehran had Hamas explode open the Rafah Terminal in January, the faked assassination of Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh in February, blamed on Israel and before heavy fighting resumed in Iraq in March. Allied governments know Israel’s military is going to be needed and on a full scale basis so the sense of restraint, represented by Olmert, will have to be removed. Shelly Yachimovich, a member of Olmert’s ruling coalition explained, “It has been proven beyond any doubt that the Prime Minister can’t be under serial investigations and also suspected of crimes and also lead the country,” she said over Israel Radio. Likud Party Chairman Gideon Sa’ar helped lead calls for the Labor Party to abandon its coalition with Olmert which would cause his government to collapse. Sa’ar actually stated the “government was under constant suspicion.”
Several members of the Knesset have already begun to call for Olmert to suspend himself pending investigations. If he refuses the investigations may be expanded to make his position even more untenable than it is now.