Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Middle East Theatre – Israel: Jerusalem/Gaza City – Beirut – Tehran – Damascus; Israel at War on Two Fronts – Destroys Palestinian FM Office – Attacks Beirut Airport – Blockades Lebanon
Night Watch: JERUSALEM – Israel is now officially at war on two fronts with the main action north in Lebanon because the main threat, Hezbollah is there with their 10,000 Katushya rockets. Reuters reports that at least 60 were fired as a result of Israel’s massive assault on southern Lebanon which went as far as destroying the three runways of Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport and blockading the country’s ports. Israel had done so to prevent supplies to Hezbollah from supporters Iran-Syria. Israel’s Defence Ministry has stated this operation and blockade is not just for a few days but could go on much longer until the war is over. [ASHARQALAWSAT]
In some ways this is reminiscent of Israel’s pre-emptive assault in June 1967 when they attacked Egypt – Syria because they knew both countries were about to attack them. Israel was able to seize the strategic Golan Heights from Syria who is now working with Tehran the way Damascus used to work with Cairo. This is a war both Tehran-Damascus have caused with their support of Palestinian terrorist groups and Hezbollah. Tehran-Damascus are now obliged to follow up and enter the conflict. The only question is how much damage do they want the Gaza Strip and Lebanon to endure before they do so. Israel’s offensive is similar to the one in Gaza. Beirut has now been severed from the south of the country as Gaza City was cut off from the rest of the Gaza Strip.
However the economic impact of cutting off Beirut, one of the Middle East’s most important banking centers, which had been in the midst of a construction boom, will have a far reaching impact internationally. Michael Kana, editor of a Lebanese business magazine said, “Now we’ve got no airport, so no tourism and no prosperity.” In addition to the airport and blockade Israel’s attacks have destroyed two dozen bridges and the building that housed Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station in the Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik. Israel has also warned Lebanon to evacuate the residents of a southern Beirut suburb where they believe Hezbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah is based.
So far the response from Arab governments has been to announce a Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo on Saturday. Tehran has strongly condemned the Israeli offensive through its Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi. He stated Iran will be meeting with regional governments to discuss the issue. Tehran does not want a brief crisis. With a year long war, not just against Israel but also targeting Western governments Tehran protrays as supporting Israel, Tehran will use the war to not only weaken the West but to control the Islamic world by leading their military response. Islamic governments know the war is going to expand disrupting the region’s economy, accelerating the cost of oil and therefore the profits of oil exporting states. [IRNA]
As foreign, non-Islamic, investments flee the region investment from Tehran and other Islamic financial capitals enter increasing their hold over the region’s economy and its resources. It is quite possible that during the Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo on Saturday they could announce the economic consequences of supporting Israel. This is similar to the oil crisis caused by the October War of 1973 that made OPEC the economic influence it now is. Even in the Suez -Sinai Crisis of 1956 that October, when Britain-France attacked Egypt, Arab governments reduced their oil exports to Western Europe by 30%.
Islamic heads of state like Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, who do not respond adequately, either militarily or financially will be removed, a major ally of the West gone. War against Israel will have more impact on Egypt than on Israel. Mubarak is surrounded by countries whose governments support the Jihad, Libya-Sudan-Saudi Arabia.
In Gaza City, Israel nearly destroyed the building that contained the Palestinian-Hamas Foreign Ministry.