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
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.