Israel: February 16, 2005

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In Lebanon, public opinion continues to rage against Syria, even though an Islamic radical group took credit for the killing of Rafik al Hariri. Syrian troops have been in Lebanon since 1976, and Syria refuses to remove them. Recently, Lebanon has been asking the UN to apply some more pressure (there is already a UN resolution demanding that Syria leave). Further complicating the situation is the presence of the Shia Islamic terrorist organization Hizbollah. This outfit was founded by, and is sustained by, Iran. Hizbollah is dedicated to the protection of the Shia minority in Lebanon, and the destruction of Israel. Syrian troops help protect Hizbollah camps in Lebanon. Currently, Hizbollah people and money are supporting Palestinian terrorist organizations. Israel would love to see Syria and Hizbollah out of Lebanon, as would the Lebanese. But it's unlikely Syria was behind the al Hariri murder. It might have been a business rival, or a political faction in Lebanon, or Syria. Israel benefits from this killing, but for a number of reasons, it's unlikely Israel did it. There are far more important (to Israel) Lebanese big shots that Israel would like to see dead. Al Hariri's death may prove to be the spark that cleared Syria out of Lebanon, and triggered a political change in Syria itself. Illegal drug and smuggling activities in Lebanon have long been a major source of income for the Syrian government. The loss of the Lebanese connection would shake things up in Syria, a police state that is losing its grip on power. 

Two mortar shells landed near the Israeli settlement of Morag in Gaza. 

 

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