Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – DAMASCUS WATCH
West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Cairo – Amman – Baghdad – Damascus – Beirut – Nablus – Gaza/Jerusalem – Washington – Paris – Rome – London; Pres. Bush Initiates Military Road Map to Victory 2008 – Air Force Lieut-Gen. Liaison Officer – Hezbollah Agents Penetrate Lebanese Armed Forces – U. S. Conducts Massive Air Raid on Baghdad Outskirts – Terror Threats Against Paris Mayor and Landmark Sites
Night Watch: RAMALLAH – U. S. President George W. Bush gave his clearest signal today he is under no illusion that the disputes between Israel and the Palestinians can be resolved through a diplomatic road map to peace. The Jerusalem Post/AP have just reported, while in Ramallah the capital of the Palestinian West Bank, Bush introduced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the “three star Air Force General who will be running this process.” One does not appoint generals to run peace processes, so this is the closest Washington will ever come to admitting publicly the road map is now a military one and instead of ending in peace it will end in victory this year. The general running the process is Lieutenant-General William Fraser III and I suspect he will run the process in the capacity of a high level liaison officer mostly between the Israel Defense Force (IDF)/Israel Air Force (IAF) and the military support from the Pentagon which has probably begun planning joint operations not only with Israel but perhaps also with the 12,000 European units of UNIFIL in south Lebanon. [JPOST]
General Fraser has already been to the region a number of times with Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and he knows the main obstacles to peace are the governments of Tehran-Damascus with their massive support of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He is scheduled to return to the region before the end of this month to probably monitor Israel’s offensive against the Palestinian militant groups in Gaza. Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah will of course not sit idly by while that happens.
Beirut – The Jerusalem Post reports the day after Katyusha rockets hit the Israeli town of Shlomi, near Lebanon’s border, the IDF is reconsidering the “depth” of the information it shares with UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Israel defense officials now suspect agents of Hezbollah are intercepting the information the IDF sends of its assessments concerning Hezbollah’s military preparations on Israel’s border. Knowing how close Hezbollah is to a lot of Lebanon’s army, I am not surprised they are so well informed. [JPOST]
Arab Jabour – In a desperate attempt to end attacks in Iraq by Iran, through al-Qaeda, the U. S. has just conducted one of its biggest air raids in five years on the village of Arab Jabour located in Baghdad’s southern outskirts. Al Jazeera/AP report the U. S. military released this statement, “Thirty eight bombs were dropped within about 10 minutes, with a total tonnage of 40,000 pounds. More than 40 targets were hit after precision strikes destroyed reported al-Qaeda safe havens in Arab Jabour.” B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters were used and a ground attack followed right after. This took place on the third day of Operation Phantom Phoenix, a nationwide effort against Islamic groups still attacking the foreign occupation of Iraq. On the first two days, nine U. S. soldiers have been killed in Diyala and Salahuddin province. [ALJAZEERA]
Tehran loves to see these operations of Washington chasing the Jihad around Iraq and Afghanistan because it defeats any serious direct threat to Iran.
Paris – France24/AFP report Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has been given extra security because of threats made against him and Paris on an Islamist website used by al-Qaeda (Tehran). The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe were also mentioned as targets. [FRANCE24]