Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHERAN – GAZA – BAGHDAD WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Hamas States Preparations to Confront More Attacks from Israel Completed – Israel Defense Establishment Allows DM Barak 14 Days to Achieve Ceasefire with Hamas – Iraq-Iran Defense Ministers Call for Joint Military Cooperation – No Response from Washington on Iraq PM Three Day Visit to Iran
Night Watch: rfn=GAZA – “All the necessary measures to face this possibility were taken. The military operation against Gaza has been imminent and so the Palestinian resistance has completed its preparation.” That was the statement from Abu Obaida, spokesman for the Hamas military wing as he discussed the readiness of Palestinian militant units to confront what most analysts believe will be a major Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip possibly this month. Xinhua reports however Hamas’ military wing does not believe Israel will conduct an all out invasion of the Gaza Strip but instead only increase air attacks and ground incursions and here I think Hamas is seriously mistaken. In March the Israel Defense Force (IDF) conducted a large air-ground operation into northern Gaza, one of the main centers of Palestinian rocket-mortar fire, for nearly a week but it had a limited impact on reducing the rocket-mortar attacks. So I will be very surprised if Israel limits itself to just a larger version of its March operation. Though Jerusalem has stated it has no intention of re-occupying Gaza the invasion will definitely last long enough to give Hezbollah-Damascus-Teheran time to enter the war. Iran has specifically prepared Hamas for years for this purpose, to be the spark for a wider regional war designed to inspire more Islamic extremism which will be targeted at Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, the last Islamic head of state with strategic relations with the West. [XINHUA]
rfn=Knesset – Sources have informed Haaretz Israel’s Defense Establishment have allowed Defense Minister Ehud Barak fourteen days to achieve a ceasefire with Hamas, through the negotiations in Cairo, and if no ceasefire or release of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit then serious preparations for a major offensive into the Gaza Strip should begin. The signs of the preparation will be: reinforcement of IDF troops in their positions and bases near Gaza, mobilization of tanks-artillery units into bombardment positions, reserve units called up, and increase in air strikes by the Israel Air Force (IAF) concentrating on the two mile (2-3 km) buffer zone just west of the Israel/Gaza border. There will also be warning leaflets dropped on Gaza towns and neighborhoods where the rocket-mortar attacks are coming from to allow residents to evacuate. During those preparatory moves could be when Hamas and Palestinian militants start launching their more powerful and longer range Katyusha rockets en masse. [HAARETZ]
rfn=Eshkol – The only thing that can cause Israel to make preparations before the two weeks expire are more casualties from the rocket-mortar fire and according to some of the latest news in Haaretz Palestinian militants are trying to achieve just that with a Qassam rocket barrage on Sunday. The missiles exploded harmlessly in the Eshkol region of the western Negev. [HAARETZ]
rfn=Teheran – So far Washington has said absolutely nothing on Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s three day visit to Teheran where he and his high level delegation are openly discussing and planning military cooperation against the foreign occupying forces led by Washington. Sunday PressTV reported Iran Defense Minister Major-General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar’s statement during his Sunday meeting with Iraq Defense Minister Mohamed Abdel-Qadir al-Jassem, “The Islamic Republic (Iran) is fully committed to the government of Nuri al-Maliki and feels obligated to help stabilize Iraq by strengthening its armed forces. We believe that sustainable Iran-Iraq defense cooperation will play a positive role in promoting long term peace, security and stability in the Middle East.” In other words the opposite of what the foreign occupation has represented a failed military conquest. Maliki and his delegation are conducting security-defense meetings with Teheran they used to conduct with Washington. [PRESSTV]
For the moment Baghdad/Washington are politely ignoring each other but that will become more difficult as attacks against the occupation increases this summer and fewer Iraq Army units operate with U. S. forces. I suspect just before Baghdad’s cool relations with Washington become open warfare Prime Minister al-Maliki or his Foreign Minister will request the Bush administration submit a specific timetable for withdrawal and when Washington refuses then attacks increase with Teheran sending more direct military support to Baghdad. Iran’s military shipments to the Iraq Army, instead of to the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, will be intended to force the Pentagon to attack the bases and factories of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps which controls the supplies to armed groups in Iraq.
rfn=International Green Zone – While Maliki’s visit and planning sessions with Iran are taking place France24/Reuters are reporting there were at least two attacks in Baghdad including mortar fire hitting the International Green Zone that killed three people and wounded seven. The Green Zone is where the UK/US embassies are based. In other action four people were killed and twenty-three wounded outside a police recruitment center in Al-Yarmuk, western Baghdad. [FRANCE24}