Israel: The Showdown In Syria

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July 31, 2012: Iran is accusing Israel of carrying out the July 18, suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed seven (including five Israelis). There is a growing pile of evidence that Iran was behind the attack, in an effort to strike back at Israel for the many successful Israeli assaults against Iran's nuclear weapons program in the last two years. Iran has openly vowed to strike back and Israel claims that Iran has agents in 24 countries trying to organize attacks. In the last year Iranians have been arrested in eight countries and charged with planning terrorism against Israel. Documents, weapons, and explosives have often been seized as well. Iran denies everything but the pattern is embarrassing. Bulgarian and Israeli investigators have tracked the July 18th attacks to a team that had spent at least a month in Bulgaria setting things up. It is believed that Iran used Hezbollah personnel to help organize this operation. The bomber appears to be a European (he had fair skin and blue eyes) who had been hired to smuggle drugs and that the bomb was set off remotely by the terrorist team that hired him. The bomber had no police record. The bomb was apparently set off prematurely because the bomber (who had the bomb in his backpack) had gotten into an argument over wanting to carry his bag onto the bus instead of keeping it in the cargo area under the passenger compartment. The bomber was carrying fake American documents and remains unidentified. Hezbollah is heavily involved in the drug trade and has many operatives and supporters in Europe.

July 30, 2012: An Israeli Druze living on the Golan Heights was charged with spying for Syria. The man had been arrested last month. Syrian agents paid him to collect information on Israeli military bases in northern Israel. The 20,000 Druze (a heretical Islamic sect) living in the Golan Heights (captured from Syria in 1967) openly turned against the Syrian government earlier this year. There have been more and more Druze demonstrations against the Syrian government (which has long treated the Syrian Druze well, as long as they supported the minority Alawite dictatorship that ruled the country). The increasing violence against demonstrators in Syria turned normally pro-Syria Druze and Hamas against the Assad dictatorship. But many Druze still harbor positive attitudes towards the Assad dictatorship in Syria.

Israel and the United States have been discussing how to handle the collapse of the Assad dictatorship in Syria and what to do about Syrian chemical weapons. Although the Syrian government has threatened to use its chemical weapons (which it never officially admitted to having before) against any foreign troops entering Syria, some of those same chemical bombs and shells are being moved to camps less likely to fall into the hands of the rebels. But the thousands of tons of chemical weapons will eventually be seized by the rebels. There will be pressure to destroy the chemical weapons, something the United States and Russia have done with their own stocks. Israel, however, is intent on making sure that none of the chemical weapons fall into the hands of Hezbollah or any other terrorist group. To that end Israel has indicated it will send in warplanes to destroy the chemical weapons, or even commandos. There could be a battle in Syria over control of the chemical weapons. There are pro-Assad terrorist groups (mainly Hezbollah) and anti-Assad groups (al Qaeda and many others). There are also criminal gangs intent on getting some chemical weapons for sale on the black market. This could get very messy.

July 28, 2012: Four rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.

July 27, 2012:  A rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza.

July 23, 2012: Egypt has lifted all restrictions on most Palestinians entering from Gaza. But known or suspected terrorists or other criminals are still barred from entering Egypt. Hamas is asking for those restrictions to be lifted as well. The number of Palestinians allowed to enter each day has been increased from 1,000 to 1,500. For a fee Palestinians can cross the border using smuggling tunnels. Egyptians are split on what should be done with Gaza and Hamas. Some believe that Hamas should declare Gaza independent from the Palestinian Authority and establish much closer economic and political relations with Egypt. But many Egyptians agree with the rest of the world that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Worse, Hamas is seen as an ally of Iran, which seeks to use Gaza to establish another foothold in the Arab world (as it has done in Syria with the Shia Assad dictatorship and in Lebanon with Shia Hezbollah dictatorship). Hamas has backed away from its support for Iran but is apparently still accepting some aid from Iran and allowing Iranian intelligence agents to operate in Gaza.

July 22, 2012: For the 15th time since last year, Egyptian based terrorists blew up the natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel and Jordan. Gas deliveries to Israel were cancelled by Egypt last April and because of the constant attacks the pipeline no longer carries gas to Jordan. This explosion damaged the pipeline before it split into Israel and Jordan branches. Islamic terrorist groups have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

Along the Egyptian border someone fired several shots at an Israeli bus carrying soldiers. Some bullets hit the bus but no soldiers were injured. Soldiers serving on the border have asked for a bulletproof bus but the government has refused because of the expense.

 

 

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