January 10, 2008:
religious denominations are rebuilding their militias and preparing for another
civil war. Pro and anti-Syria groups are deadlocked over who the next president
of the country should be, and who should control the country. The Hizbollah
dominated Shia minority (about a third of the population) is backed by Syria
and Iran, and is determined to intimidate, or even fight, the other minorities
for control of the government. The last civil war ended 18 years ago, and
another round of fighting seems imminent.
January 9, 2008: Israeli
counter-terrorism tactics call for constant raids on Palestinian terrorist
groups, to prevent attacks inside Israel. It's critical to identify new leaders
and technical experts in the terrorist groups, and take these people out of
action before they become capable enough to get a suicide bomber inside Israel.
A steady supply of money from Arab nations and Islamic charities makes
terrorism a lucrative career choice, particularly since the Palestinian economy
has been wrecked by eight years of terrorist attacks against Israel. The
Palestinian terror campaign has been stalled for three years now, but it still
gets several Palestinians killed each day, while Israel suffers a casualty rate
that is about ten times smaller, and consists mostly of soldiers and police
injured while seeking out terrorists.
January 6, 2008: An increasing number
of the rockets fired from Gaza are longer range, factory made models. These
rockets are 107mm and 122mm Russian designs (but of Egyptian or Iranian
manufacture). The B-12 is a 107mm, 42 pound, 33 inch long, unguided rocket that
is very popular with terrorists. It has a range of about six kilometers and
three pounds of explosives in its warhead. Normally fired, from a launcher, in
salvoes of dozens at a time, when used individually, it is more accurate the
closer it is to the target. This 107mm design has been copied by many nations,
and is very popular with guerillas and terrorists because of its small size and
portability. The 122mm BM-21s weigh 150 pounds and are nine feet long. These
have 45 pound warheads, but not much better accuracy than the 107mm model.
However, these larger rockets have a maximum range of 20 kilometers. Again,
because they are unguided, they are only effective if fired in salvos, or at
large targets (like cities, or large military bases or industrial complexes.)
So far this year, at least one BM21 has been fired from Gaza, and two from Lebanon.
January 5, 2008: Heavy rains revealed
five smugglers tunnels near the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
Increasingly, heavy weapons, like BM-21 rockets, are coming through these
tunnels (along with narcotics, booze, cigarettes, AK-47 ammo and any goods
likely to be taxed if imported legally.)
January 4, 2008: Despite pleas from
European and Middle Eastern nations, Hamas refuses to drop its call for the
destruction of Israel, in order to negotiate with Fatah (to reunify the
Palestinian territories) and Israel (to establish a Palestinian state).
Meanwhile, Israel refuses to talk to Hamas as long as Hamas calls for the
destruction of Israel and Palestinians keep trying to kill Israelis. Because of
this attitude, two-thirds of Palestinians believe any attempts at peace talks
will fail. Hamas also has dissent to deal with, within Hamas as well as from
rival groups in Gaza, as a result of this. Many Palestinians realize that the
official position of Hamas means more misery for most Palestinians. But Hamas
leaders believe they can, with Iranian help, become the "Hizbollah of the
South." Iran is providing cash and weapons (factory made rockets smuggled in
from Egypt) so that Hamas can arm and maintain its militia. But the Israelis
send troops into Gaza several times a month, partly to put terrorist cells out
of action, partly to see what shape the Hamas fighters are in. Hamas has a long
way to go before they become as effective as Hizbollah. Even then, Hizbollah
has never been able to hold ground when attacked by Israeli troops.