Israel: The Secret, and Sacred, Wars

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August 7, 2007: In Lebanon, the siege of Islamic terrorists in a northern Palestinian refugee camp continues, with the number two terrorist leader killed yesterday. There are over 200 dead so far (nearly half of them soldiers, the rest terrorists and a few civilians). The terrorists insist they will fight to the death, and there are at least a few dozen still holding out. The army has confined the terrorists to a small area (a few buildings), but is proceeding slowly because there are still fifty or so civilians in the area, who refused to be evacuated.

Iran and Syria are trying to organize a popular uprising that would put a Shia dominated government in power. But this would trigger another civil war, and France is sponsoring negotiations to try and find another way. Iranian radicals, however, are obsessed with destroying Israel and want to start another attack via southern Israel. Syria wants to regain control of Lebanon, which it sees as "stolen" after World War I, when France created Lebanon as a Christian majority state. Many of the Christians have since fled (to get away from religious persecution from Moslems), and are no longer a majority. Between the Sunnis, Shia, Druze and Christians, no one is, and everyone cannot agree on how to share power.

In Gaza, a Kassam rocket, fired at Israel, failed to launch properly, and landed inside Gaza, killing two Palestinian children.

August 6, 2007: About thirty Israeli soldiers refused to take part in the removal of illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The thirty soldiers, who practice a conservative form of Judaism (as in Orthodox, or Hasidic) were arrested and are to be tried for mutiny. There aren't many Orthodox Jews in the military, at least not in proportion to their share of the population. There have long been many exemptions for very religious Jews. These exemptions have been controversial, but military commanders have accepted it because of things like today's mutiny.

August 5, 2007: Israel has warned its citizens, especially tourists, traveling to Egypt or Jordan, to think twice about going. It is believed that the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbollah has teams of kidnappers in both countries, seeking to grab Israelis, and use them as bargaining chips.

August 4, 2007: The war against Palestinian terrorist groups continues. Every few days there is an attack, or raid, against senior terrorist officials. This goes on in Gaza and the West Bank. There are often secondary explosions when missiles are used, indicating the target contained explosives. The new Hamas intelligence in Gaza is created, in part, to try and make a dent in the Israeli intelligence network in the area. The intel net is critical for identifying terrorist leaders, and the progress of new attempts to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israel.

July 31, 2007: Fatah may have been frightened by losing an election to Hamas, and being driven out of Gaza. But Fatah was not scared straight, and its leadership is as corrupt as always. Give Fatah money, and lots of it will disappear into the overseas bank accounts of the leadership. While many Palestinians dislike the Islamic conservatism, and pro-terrorist, attitudes of Hamas, they really like the relatively less corrupt leadership of Hamas.

When Hamas took control of Gaza, they captured many documents that revealed the extent of Fatah corruption. There was an elaborate kickback system, showing how you could not do business in the Palestinian Territories, without giving Fatah a cut. Thus support for Hamas is growing in the West Bank. Hamas could be in a position to start a terrorism campaign in the West Bank with months, or a year at the most.

Hamas has established a new intelligence service, employing some former Fatah operatives. An amnesty program in Gaza has led to nearly all Fatah gunmen disarming. There is still a problem with Fatah loyalists. Fatah played the usual divide and conquer game by recruiting over 10,000 men from very poor families, to serve in several security organizations. Since that paycheck meant so much to those families, Fatah bought the loyalty of many poor Palestinians, and used it against more prosperous ones. Those who had money were shaken down for legal, and illegal "taxes" to support Fatah, and to enrich the Fatah leadership.

The biggest problem Hamas is having is with clan based militias, and independent terror groups, that refuse to disarm. Hamas is using force against some, and negotiations with others. If not handled adroitly, these factions could become a major problem for Hamas.

 

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