Hezbollah Attacks Via Venezuela
August 30, 2008: The ceasefire with Hamas is holding, at least according to Palestinian standards. Since the ceasefire began June 19th, about 50 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from Gaza. About half of attacks were Kassam rockets, which can reach Israeli civilians. The shorter range (about five kilometers) mortars are aimed at the Israeli troops guarding the border fence. The Israelis no longer shut the border every time the Palestinian terrorists fire on them, but the attacks are increasing, and the ceasefire may not survive for much longer. Hamas insists that it cannot control all the Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Israel has told Lebanon that, if Hezbollah achieves its goal of taking over the Lebanese government, all of Lebanon will be a target in any future war between Hezbollah and Israel. During the 2006 war, Israeli air attacks were largely restricted to Hezbollah owned targets. Iran-backed Hezbollah has made no secret of its desire to take control of the Lebanese government, and launch another attack on Israel. Only 30-40 percent of Lebanese favor a Hezbollah dominated government, but most Lebanese favor attacks on Israel. However, most Lebanese don’t want a war on Israel (that is, attacks on Israel, where the Israelis shoot back.) Stopping Hezbollah from gradually bullying its way into control of the government is only a matter of time, unless the Lebanese majority allows another civil war to develop. Hezbollah bullying has, this year, gotten Hezbollah a veto over any government decisions. Hezbollah is now pushing for outright control of the government.
The 250 kilometer border with Egypt is becoming more of a problem. That’s largely because Egyptian smugglers are more active with moving illegal African migrants trying to get into Israel to find work. There’s plenty of work, as Israel cannot trust Palestinian workers to cross from the West Bank without some suicide bombers coming with them. So foreign workers have been replacing over 100,000 Palestinians who used to work in Israel. Egyptian smugglers charge migrants (mostly Africans) about $300 each to get them across the border. The smugglers also bring in illegal drugs. There are about 250,000 foreign workers in Israel (40 percent of them illegal), and at least 5,000 additional illegals get in each year. Most of those jobs would have been held by Palestinians, were it not for the Palestinian terror bombing campaign against Israel, that began eight years ago.
Israel is investigating Moslem charities in Israel and the West Bank, and shutting down those found to have connections to terrorist groups. Israel has also been encountering, and arresting, more Israeli Arabs who are trying to organize terrorist attacks inside Israel. This is hard for Israeli Arabs to do, even with access to all the “how to be a terrorist” stuff on the Internet. That’s because Israeli intelligence often plugs into terrorist communications throughout the region, and has lots of Israeli Arabs who will report any terrorist activity in their family or neighborhood.
Israel believes Iranian and Hezbollah commercial operations in Venezuela (run by a leftist government that is anti-Israel and tolerant of Islamic radicalism) are a cover for teams of terrorists intent on kidnapping Jewish residents of, or visitors to, Venezuela. The captives would then be smuggled back to Lebanon and used to extract prisoners and other concessions from Israel. In neighboring Colombia, the army has captured documents, earlier this year, showing that leftist rebels had close, but secret, ties with Venezuela. It is feared that similar arrangements have been made with Hezbollah.
Israel is having increasing morale and discipline problems in its armed forces. The Golani Brigade, or of the most effective units in the army, has been a particular problem. Last week, fifteen Golani Brigade troops left their base and went home, complaining of poor treatment. Officers went to the homes of these soldiers and took their weapons, and the army plans to punish the troops. Last year, a hundred Golani Brigade left their base, also complaining of excessive discipline and poor treatment. Three years ago, several Golani Brigade troops refused to participate in operations to half the construction and use of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Most Israeli troops are reservists, called to active duty periodically to supply troops needed for security and counter-terror operations. More and more, politics is influencing the troops attitudes towards their military duties.
August 28, 2008: In Lebanon, a Hezbollah gunman opened fire on a Lebanese army helicopter, killing one of the Lebanese soldiers on board. The Hezbollah man thought it was an Israeli helicopter landing commandos for a raid. The next day, the gunman was handed over to the Lebanese government, as Lebanese politicians openly asked whether the country had really become two separate states, one of them controlled by Hezbollah. This is something Hezbollah strenuously denies, despite the fact that Hezbollah does have check points on roads leading into territory that Hezbollah troops control, and limits access by Lebanese soldiers and police.
August 22, 2008: Two more Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, landing in wasteland.
Filed under: Middle East