Israel: Hamas Triumphant

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August 6, 2008:In Gaza, Hamas broke the power of the major pro-Fatah clans (the Helles). This group was also suspected of attacking Hamas leaders (with bombs and bullets). However, about 150 members of the Helles clan escaped to a crossing into Israel, where negotiations between Fatah and Israel allowed the fleeing Helles clansmen to enter Israel. Several days of fighting had left at least nine dead and many more wounded. The Helles were the most powerful Fatah supporters left in Gaza. Fatah later asked for some of the Helles men to be sent back to Gaza. That's because the Helles clan is basically a criminal gang, and Fatah did not want the worst of those thugs operating in the West bank.Hamas has apparently destroyed all organized resistance to its rule in Gaza, and is now concentrating on building up its capabilities for attacks on Israel.

August 2, 2008: In northern Lebanon, a sniper killed Syrian Brigadier General Mohammad Sulaiman. Israel denied any responsibility for the killing, even though Sulaiman was responsible for shipping Iranian weapons from Syria to Hizbollah forces in Lebanon. Sulaiman has long been a major player in supporting Hizbollah.

July 31, 2008:In northern Lebanon, fighting between Sunni and Shia (Hizbollah) factions continues, with over 10,000 refugees trying to find food and shelter outside the city of Tripoli.

In the West Bank, Fatah is trying to make peace with Hamas by releasing dozens of Hamas supporters from jails in the West Bank. Hamas has imprisoned several hundred Fatah supporters in Gaza. Meanwhile, across the border in Egypt, police blew up the entrance to a major smuggling tunnel. There were about two dozen people in the tunnel at the time, and five of them died from lack of oxygen. Most of the others suffered some ill effects of the explosion and oxygen deprivation, before making it to the Gaza entrance.

July 30, 2008:Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will resign in September, because of a long term corruption investigation (low grade stuff, but enough to force him out of office.) Party elections will choose a new prime minister. Olmert was elected in 2006, and shortly thereafter got into a border war with Hizbollah. He and the military mismanaged that war, and then had to deal with the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Then there is the prospect of Iran (a major supporter of Hizbollah and Hamas) getting nuclear weapons.

 

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