Israel: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

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March 10, 2014: Despite the continuing damage done to Islamic terrorist groups in Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories these groups continue to get money (mainly from wealthy supporters, including expatriate Palestinians, in the Persian Gulf and the West) and recruits from the small percentage of the Moslem population that belies Islamic terrorism is the only way to deal with the many problems in the Moslem world. To non-Moslems, and many Moslems, the Islamic terrorism is seen as yet another problem in the Moslem world and one that has been around for a long time and seems to resist all efforts to eliminate it.

Egypt now threatens to revoke the Egyptian citizenship of 14,000 Palestinians. Ousted president Morsi granted this citizenship to Palestinians living in Egypt but now that Egypt has declared Hamas a terrorist organization these new citizens are seen as suspect. Many Egyptians believe Hamas is responsible for nurturing Islamic terrorist groups in Gaza for years and continuing to provide them sanctuary. The Islamic terrorists threaten the economy, especially with their attacks on tourists and seem to serve no useful purpose.

Since the new Egyptian constitution was approved in January the military has used the autonomy the constitution granted the military to create rules and procedures the make the military largely immune from civilian interference. This is the price the army has extracted for ousting president Morsi in July 2013. As a result of all this the military has been able to maintain its corrupt grip on the economy. It's unclear how this will turn out because the Islamic and secular rebel groups are spending most of their time going after each other. Indeed, the biggest problem was that dictatorships, especially the one in Egypt, were not just the single dictator but that the segment of the population that kept the dictator in power and were well rewarded for doing that. These privileged groups were not eager to flee or give up their wealth when the dictator was overthrown. The dictator's supporters strive to retain or regain their power. The Old Order has substantial economic and political resources and is willing to use them to retain power and wealth. In Egypt this seems to be working. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

March 9, 2014: India has hired several Israeli defense firms to work with DRDO (the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization) and several state-owned defense firms to design and build an integrated anti-missile defense system. India already has a tested and proven anti-missile ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) but wants something like the anti-missile system Israel has developed and deployed over the last two decades. This may involve buying the latest models of Israeli Green Pine radar, which is a key element of the Israeli anti-missile defenses.

The Syrian government continues to accuse Israel of sending agents to aid the rebels while some rebel factions accuse Israel of helping the Assad government.

Peace negotiations with the Palestinians continue to go nowhere. Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to make public statements about how he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, despite the fact that such recognition is now a key component of any peace deal. The Arab League later backed Abbas offering to recognize the state of Israel but not the Jewish state of Israel. Hating Israel and Jews and denying Israel exists has long been a popular activity among Arabs. The Israel-Palestinian peace talks are being held at the insistence of the U.S., which threatened to cut aid if the talks did not happen. American leaders are aware of Palestinian attitudes on peace with Israel but the U.S. still assumes that a peace deal is possible. For years Palestinian leaders have agreed with that when speaking to Western leaders and reporters but they then turn around and tell their followers that, of course, Israel must be destroyed and that there is no other solution. For most Western leaders the disunity, corruption and general chaos within the Palestinian community is seen as a larger problem than a peace deal. That may be true, but without a positive attitude towards a peace deal, there won’t be any peace. Despite all this many Palestinians are now talking about a “Third Intifada” as if more civil disorder will change anything. Peace is not on the agenda. Most Israelis and according to a recent U.S. opinion poll, most Americans agree. Even without a new intifada, casual violence in the West Bank is increasing. This usually takes the form of young men throwing stones at Israeli soldiers or civilians. Israeli women and children are the preferred targets because they are the least likely to shoot back if the rocks begin to inflict injuries. Palestinian propaganda praises those who kill children just as much as those who killed soldiers or police. All are heroes of the Palestinian struggle to destroy Israel. This is becoming embarrassing for some Western nations when it was pointed out that their aid money was being used directly for some of this propaganda. The peace talks are further hampered by the fact that Palestinians lack a single leader, with Fatah in charge of the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. There is no progress (or much hope) in healing that rift.

March 8, 2014: In Sinai Egyptian security forces arrested 13 men suspected of being Islamic terrorists and found a bomb workshop. In addition to completed bombs and components police also seized eight cars and trucks and eight motorcycles used by the terrorists.

In Gaza there was an explosion in a house that left one man dead and nine wounded. Some Islamic terrorists were apparently building a bomb or giving a class on bomb making and there was an accident. The dead man turned out to be a Hamas commander and Hamas later described the explosion as a work related incident.

March 7, 2014: The Moslem Brotherhood organized demonstrations in the large cities of Egypt and some of these turned violent, leaving three dead and 48 wounded. At least 47 people were arrested. The Brotherhood continues to demand that Mohamed Morsi be reinstated as president.

March 6, 2014: Egyptian troops and aircraft are in the Persian Gulf holding joint training exercises with their counterparts from the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

March 5, 2014: In Sinai Egyptian security forces conducted a raid on an Islamic terrorist hideout. The ensuing battle left ten terrorists dead and 43 arrested. The fighting left 38 buildings, 85 huts, 22 vehicles and 30 motorcycles destroyed or damaged. So far this year over a hundred Islamic terrorists have been killed in Sinai and several major terrorist bases and much equipment have been captured.  Captured documents and interrogations revealed that groups responsible for most of the recent terrorist attacks have suffered heavy losses because of these raids. Despite that there are still a lot of Egyptians determined to install a religious dictatorship in order to deal with the corruption and inept government that has crippled Egypt for so long.  

A Palestinian rocket from Gaza landed in Israel near Sderot. No one was wounded and there was no property damage. Earlier in the day the rocket warning sirens went off but the rocket from Gaza landed inside Gaza. So far this year at least 35 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza.

On the Syrian border Israeli troops fired 125mm tank shells at three Islamic terrorists who were trying to plant a bomb on the border fence. Two of the terrorists were killed by the shells and rifle fire. Syria complained to the UN that this was a violation of their border.  

In the Red Sea, off the coast of Eritrea, Israeli commandos boarded a 110 meter (360 foot) long cargo ship and found 40 M-302 long range (160 kilometers) rockets that were made in Syria, shipped to Iran where they were loaded onto this ship and hidden under a cargo of bagged cement. Israel believes the missiles were headed for Sudan and from there were to be smuggled into Gaza or Sinai for attacks on Israel. Then again, Iran has been supplying Sudan with weapons as well, although there has long been a secretive pipeline of Iranian weapons shipped to Sudan then smuggled via truck and tunnel to Gaza. Iran denied having anything to do with this ship despite the fact that Israel has the ship (and towed it to an Israeli port in the Red Sea), the crew, the rockets and evidence that this cargo was loaded at an Iranian port. Israel revealed that Israeli and American intelligence had noted the Syrian made rockets being flown to Iran, which was unusual. Israel traced the rockets being moved to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and loaded on the ship now in Israeli custody. That ship then went to an Iraqi port to load bags of cement that were used to hide the boxes containing the rockets. The cargo ship carried a fake cargo manifest stating that no cargo had been loaded in Iran. This is not the first time Israel has caught an Iranian arms smuggling ship. Since 2002 this has happened five times. Iran insists that this is all a publicity stunt invented by Israel to embarrass Iran.

March 4, 2014: In the West Bank Israel arrested a Hamas Islamic terrorists they had been seeking since 2008.

In Egypt a court ordered Hamas assets in Egypt to be seized. Egypt now considers Hamas a terrorist organization because Hamas began as a Gaza branch of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood, which has recently been declared a terrorist organization in Egypt. Closing these links with Egypt has done a lot of damage to the Gaza economy and unemployment has risen from 30 percent last year to nearly 40 percent now.  Hamas accuses Egypt of siding with Israel by turning on Hamas.

March 3, 2014: An Israeli air raid on Gaza killed one person and wounded three. Elsewhere in Gaza thousands of government workers held a demonstration to protest the fact that Hamas has not paid them since late 2013. The workers demand payment of four months’ salary they have not received. Hamas is broke because they will not or cannot shut down the various smaller Islamic terrorist groups continuing to make attacks against Israel and Egypt. In response Egypt has shut down the one crossing point most of the time and, worse, shut down nearly all the smuggling tunnels that Hamas taxed heavily and represented a major source of income. Iran also cut aid to Hamas because so many Gaza residents backed the anti-Iran rebels in Syria.

March 2, 2014:   Several hundred thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated in Jerusalem against proposed new laws which would remove the exemption from conscription for young ultra-orthodox men. For months now ultra-orthodox religious leaders have been calling on draft age men among their followers to resist attempts to make ultra-orthodox men eligible for conscription. Ultra-orthodox (Haredi) Jews now comprise about 14 percent of Israelis and are the fastest growing portion of the population (followed by Arab Israelis). The Haredi are very poor as most men spend the bulk of their time in religious studies. The Haredi are increasingly violent when it comes to imposing their customs (no traffic on the Sabbath, no advertising of women or women and men together on the same bus or public event) on non-Haredi Israelis. Street demonstrations are increasingly common, as is physical violence (stabbings and shootings). The Haredi believe their religious laws trump secular ones, and this increasingly brings them into violent conflict with the police, and their secular neighbors. For over half a century most Haredi men did not serve in the military and some Haredi sects believe that Israel should not even exist. Growing anger from the Israelis who do serve in the military led to new laws reducing Haredi exemptions from conscription.

March 1, 2014: In Sinai Egyptian security forces conducted raids on Islamic terrorists killing ten of them and arresting another eleven. In the last week Egyptian police also found and destroyed 39 smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

Israel warned Lebanon to restrain Hezbollah or Israel would retaliate against Hezbollah assets, which includes thousands of homes and public buildings near the Israeli border that have been modified by Hezbollah to store rockets and other weapons.

Russia has begun licensed production of the Israeli Searcher 2 UAV. This comes after seven years of negotiations and user trials by Russian troops. The Searcher 2 is a half-ton aircraft with an endurance of 20 hours, max altitude of 7,500 meters (23,000 feet) and can operate up to 300 kilometers from the operator. It can carry a 120 kg (264 pound) payload. In 2012 The Russian Air Force now has at least six Russian made Searcher 2s and is expecting to receive a lot more from the Russian factory.

February 28, 2014: Hezbollah fired rockets on Israeli troops on the Golan Heights. The rockets missed and the impact areas were not found until the next day. Hezbollah later said this was payback for the February 24th Israeli air raid on a convoy carrying anti-aircraft missiles out of Syria.

February 27, 2014: Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a site in northern Gaza where rocket launchers were seen being set up to fire rockets into Israel.

February 24, 2014:  Israeli aircraft came in low over the Lebanese-Syrian border, fired some missiles that destroyed two trucks and killed four Hezbollah men and returned to Israel. Israel would not comment, which is their usual response to queries about air attacks on Syria. One of the trucks was carrying longer range rockets while the other truck contained a launcher for the rockets. On January 27th there was an Israeli air strike near the Syrian naval base at Latakia. This attack was said to be against some S-300anti-aircraft missile components recently received from Russia. Before that an October 2013 raid destroyed a shipment of Russian SA-125 missiles being shipped to Hezbollah in Lebanon. There were two similar attacks earlier in 2013.

February 23, 2014: In Egypt prosecutors accused ousted president Morsi of providing Iran with classified data on the Egyptian armed forces. Morsi was quite friendly with Iran while he was in power but it is doubtful that he did more than discuss possible military cooperation between Egypt and Iran. This, however, enraged Sunni Islamic radicals who see Iran as run by heretics and out to overthrow Sunni dominance in the Islamic world.

February 22, 2014: On the Golan Heights Syrian Army forces captured a village on their side of the border that had been fought over with rebels for more than a year.

In northern Egypt a Moslem Brotherhood death squad killed a senior intelligence officers. The Islamic terrorists have been going after military leaders, especially those in the intelligence field, in an effort to disrupt counter-terrorism operations.

February 21, 2014: A large crowd of Palestinians moved to the Gaza border fence, throwing rocks at Israeli troops and trying to damage the fence. The Israelis opened fire because they thought they saw an armed man among the crowd. At least 14 Palestinians were wounded and the crowd withdrew. Palestinian terrorists are constantly trying to cross the fence or plant bombs on it. 

February 20, 2014: Germany has agreed to provide consular assistance to Israeli citizens travelling in countries that do not have an Israeli embassy.

Two Israeli arms dealers (Avihai Weinstein and Eli Cohen) are again under arrest and accused of trying to smuggle weapons components to Iran. This time a joint Greek-American investigation discovered and intercepted containers of F-4 jet fighter parts headed for Iran. This is the third time since 2012 that Weinstein and Cohen are being investigated for this sort of thing. These two are suspected of smuggling spare parts for aircraft, armored vehicles and anti-aircraft missiles to Iran since the 1980s. Weinstein and Cohen have been formally investigated six times but no charges have ever been made that would stick and result in a conviction.

 

 

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