Friday, April 2, 2010

Escalation in the Middle East: Wars and Rumors of War?

There is a lot happening right now - it appears that things are escalating significantly in Israel:

"Another Kassam rocket hits South"

Rocket attacks showed no sign of abating on Friday afternoon when a Kassam launched by terrorists in Gaza exploded south of Ashkelon. The IAF struck four targets in the Gaza Strip Thursday night in retaliation for the firing of a Kassam rocket earlier that evening.

The rocket had fallen near Ashkelon, causing no casualties or damage. Hours later, the military said it struck weapons factories and warehouses in the north, south and center of the Strip.

"IAF Responds to Rocket Strikes"

The Air Force took out weapons factories and warehouses in Gaza on Thursday night in response to recent rocket attacks. Strikes were carried out in northern, central, and southern Gaza.

Terrorists have greatly increased the frequency of their attacks on Israel over the past month. On Thursday, Israel Security Agency officials reported that Gaza terrorists had fired 35 rockets and six mortar shells at Israel in the month of March, compared to five rockets and five shells the month before.

"Israel launches air strikes on Gaza"

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing the IDF, said the strikes were Israeli's initial response to an operation in Khan Younis that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded two others.
Three of Friday's strikes occurred in Khan Younis, one occurred east of Rafah, one on a cheese factory in Gaza City and one northwest of Beit Lahia, which is northwest of Gaza, Palestinian officials said.
Other strikes were on the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, on a resistance training camp and on a Hamas outpost, they said.

"Israel Threatens To Escalate Attacks On Gaza"

Israel has warned a widescale military operation against Gaza could follow a string of air strikes which injured three Palestinian children.

Sky News Middle East correspondent Dominic Waghorn said the violence reflected a steady increase in tension in the region.
"Almost 20 rockets were fired out of Gaza last month, one of them killing a Thai farm worker in southern Israel," Waghorn said.

"Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a border clash a week ago, and there were airstrikes overnight.

"Now Israel's deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom is threatening an escalation in Israeli military activity if the rocket fire does not stop."

"Huge Weapons Cache Found in Sinai"

Egyptian troops found a huge weapons cache in central Sinai early on Thursday morning, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Yaum As-Sabach. The cache contained an estimated 100 anti-aircraft missiles, 45 missile launchers, 40 bombs, and more.

It is not yet clear where the weapons were from, or what their owners intended to do with them. However, troops suspect that the weapons were gathered by Sinai Bedouin who intended to smuggle them into Gaza.

"When will Israel invade Lebanon and Syria?"

When Israeli Minister without Portfolio Yossi Peled said recently that a war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah was “just a matter of time” and that such a conflict would include Syria, most observers dismissed the comment as little more than posturing by a right-wing former general. But Peled’s threat has been backed by Israeli military maneuvers near the Lebanese border, violations of Lebanese airspace, and the deployment of an anti-missile system on Israel’s northern border.

The increasing tension was behind the recent visit to Beirut by Senator Philippe Marini, French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s special envoy to Lebanon. After Marini met with Hariri, Christian Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, and Hezbollah leaders, the envoy said that he feared a Hezbollah-Israel rematch could easily become a regional war.

Rhetoric all over the region is heating up.

But ramping up the rhetoric of war in a volatile region can lead to a misstep—by accident or design—and once the dogs of war are off their leash, it will be hard to bring them to heel.


Again we are watching this evolving situation very closely. This recent outbreak of "back and forth" violence could end in a whimper or things could continue to escalate. Major skirmishes in the past have always started this way, but it isn't a given. At this point things could go either way (continued escalation or a quiet dissipation of such events) - it is too early to tell at this point.

The most pertinent question now is: Will Hamas continue to send missiles into Israel?

If this happens, you can count on further escalation.


hartdawg said...

will hamas continue to send missles? of course they will.

Scott said...

Yes - of course. Its all they know. Same for Hezbollah in the north - based on the fact that they have been receiving missile shipments via Syria now for well over a year.

The area is being armed to the teeth - everything is on edge - awaiting final fulfillment of prophecy,

What amazing times we are living in.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what impact Obama's weakening US position will have on Israel's decision making through this skirmish...

Chicago John

Scott said...

I have run across a number of articles (Israeli papers) which state that Obama's policies and statements have emboldened the local terrorists and has led to a lot of the violence in the region.

Next time I come across one of these I'll post it - I assume these have been in the Jerusalem Post, as it leans a little conservative IMO - But yes, I believe Obama has been a destabilizing presence in the region.

hartdawg said...

true, but the other effect the rift is having in addition to boldening isreals enemies is that its also causing isreal to realize its previously dangerous policies of trusting the u.s (even when bush was in office) has got to change and now isreal is ready to fight rather than concede. if not for the rift isreal may have conceded.

Scott said...

I agree with that as well hart - I would think that by now Netanyahu knows what he is dealing with, and that he can't expect any US support...This thing is coming to a climax in the near future.

Anonymous said...

hart's response is what I was thinking...

If Israel feels the US isn't there for them, how does that change its thought process regarding Syria and Iran? Does it make them more likely to strike quickly? Or does it give them pause and make them back off?

Scott said...

That is "the" question isn't it?

From everything Netanyahu has previously stated, I find it hard to believe that he will simply allow Iran to develop nukes....He seems to know that Israel's viability as a nation is at stake...

Personally, I believe (unlike a lot of reporters etc) that Israel CAN take out Iran's nuke facilities, and I also believe that Israel is confident that they can do this alone.

If you watch Netanyahu's rhetoric very closely, he seems to be emphasizing over and over that sanctions are not and will not be effective. It seems that he wants this scenario to run its course, and finally he can take action, and say that the sanctions were attempted but to no avail.

I think he is playing some politics on this end of any "invasion" - we shall see.

Its all part of the ultimate end times scenario, no matter how it plays out. Thats what makes watching this so interesting IMO.

hartdawg said...

if netanyahu lets these sanctions "run its course" it will be too late.