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.
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
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.
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.
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