Israel: Shia to the Rescue

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December 14, 2006: In the West Bank, police caught four Fatah members trying to drive an 18 pound bomb into Israel. The numerous checkpoints in the West Bank are set up to stop terror attacks on Israeli, and have been increasingly successful.

In Lebanon, Hizbollah attempts to overthrow the government with massive demonstrations in the capital, have failed, at least so far. Meanwhile, diplomats from Sunni Arab nations have been reminding Hizbollah that Iran is far away, and Sunni Arab armies are very close. Syria also finds itself under pressure. Syria is run by a dictatorship, composed largely of people from the Shia Arab minority. The Sunni Arab majority in the region would like to see Sunni Arabs running Syria, and anyone but Shia Arabs running Lebanon. Concern over Israel and the Palestinians is being pushed aside by the growing conflict between Shia and Sunni. Even Israel is being courted, quietly, by Sunni Arab countries, to join in the battle against Iran and Shia aggression.

December 13, 2006: In Gaza, a senior Hamas official, a military leader and Islamic court judge, was shot dead. Fatah was blamed, and Hamas accused Fatah of unleashing death squads against Hamas leaders. Fatah denied everything. Later in the day, someone threw a bomb into a crowd of Hamas demonstrators. Several people were injured.

December 11, 2006: In Gaza, gun men shot dead three sons (age 6, 7 and 9) of a Fatah security official (who had led crackdowns against Hamas in the past). Hamas denied responsibility for the shooting, but Fatah gunmen were soon out on the street seeking revenge. The killing of young children like that shocked most Palestinians, and increased the possibility of open warfare between Hamas and Fatah. Peace talks between the two Palestinian factions have not made any progress, with Hamas believing time is on its side. .

December 10, 2006: Israeli intelligence reports that Syria is placing more anti-tank guided missiles along the Israeli border, and increasing production of ballistic missiles. Syria already has several hundred ballistic missiles aimed at Israel, some of them believed to have chemical warheads. But most of the Syrian army is in no shape for a war with anyone. Years of low budgets has left most aircraft and armored vehicles unable to operate. The movement of the missiles to the border is a return to the situation before last July's war with Hizbollah (when Syria pulled troops back from the Israeli border. )

December 9, 2006: Hamas has paid most of the salaries of Palestinian government workers who are loyal to Hamas, but hardly any to those seen as pro-Fatah. This has caused regular demonstrations by the unpaid government workers. There has been some gunfire, but nothing serious yet.

 

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