2008: Hizbollah is trying to turn its
popularity, for the recent corpse and prisoner swap with Israel, into a firm
control over the Lebanese government. But all politics is local, and most
Lebanese hate and resent Hizbollah, not just because it's an attempt by the
Shia Arab minority to take over the country by force, but because Hizbollah is
seen as the puppet of Iran, a nation run by a religious dictatorship. Religion
is a touchy subject in Lebanon, the Arab nation with the largest Christian
minority (about a third of the population.) Half a century ago, Christians were
a majority (just barely), but in a centuries old trend, Arab Christians keep
leaving the Middle East. Islam is hostile to other religions, and tolerant to corruption
and despotism. Arab Christians see better opportunities, personally and
economically, in the West.
Lebanese do not want to go through another civil war. The last one went on for
fifteen years, ended with a brokered (by Saudi Arabia) peace in 1990, and left
Hizbollah and most Shia Arabs as a autonomous state-within-a-state. Hizbollah
was subsidized by Iran, and resented by most Lebanese. Hizbollah is not afraid
to take chances, and feels that it is on a Mission From God and has nothing to fear.
Success is guaranteed. Most other Lebanese are more pragmatic about this, and
fear that another war between Hizbollah and Israel will bring even more damage
to Lebanon. The more thoughtful Lebanese know that, while the Israelis can be
beaten every once and a while, the victories are small, and the Israelis are
quick to change their tactics and come back again much stronger. Hizbollah can
ignore history, but the smart money won't.
continues going after Palestinian terrorist groups in the West Bank. This
includes nearly all Hamas operatives (some of whom are more concerned with
defeating Fatah, which runs the West Bank). Israel deliberately left out
anything about the West Bank, when they negotiated the Gaza ceasefire with
Hamas. That's because the security fence between Gaza and Israel has kept Palestinian
terrorists out of Israel. That's mainly because southern Israel is thinly
populated, mostly desert and heavily patrolled. Even if a terrorist got through
the fence (which is covered by multiple types of sensors), he would not get far
into Israel. But the West Bank is more heavily populated and right next to large
Israeli urban areas. A security fence here helps, but what really works is an
informant network inside the West Bank, and police and troops who can quickly
take advantage of information to arrest or kill new terrorist cells. This has
reduced successful terror attacks inside Israel over 90 percent. The Israelis
want to keep it that way.
2008: The largest Palestinian refugee
camp in Lebanon, near the city of Sidon, has become the scene of escalating
violence. A new Palestinian terror group, Jund Al Sham, is trying to intimidate
the camp administration into providing more support for radical activities. These
negotiations turned to gunfire, when shooting broke out during a negotiation
session. There were two dead and several woundd. There are believed to be about
fifty armed Jund Al Sham followers in the camp (actually a town of 45,000, with
a fence around it.) Meanwhile, on the Syrian border with Israel, two Syrian
drug smugglers were caught. One was killed, the other wounded, when they
resisted. Two Israeli associates of the smugglers were also arrested.
2008: Police arrested six Israeli Arabs
who had plotted, unsuccessfully, to kill the U.S. president during a recent
visit. The six were also trying to organize an al Qaeda cell. Earlier this month,
two other Israeli Arabs (Bedouins) were also arrested for trying to establish
an al Qaeda presence in Israel. Traitorous Israeli Arabs are a growing problem,
although most of those who back terrorism, are all talk and no action. Israeli
intelligence agencies monitor most pro-terrorist websites, and keep an eye on
thousands of pro-terrorist Israeli Arabs.
2008: Former British prime minister
Blair cancelled a trip to Gaza, because of convincing evidence of a Palestinian
terrorist faction planning an assassination attempt. Hamas insisted Blair would
be safe, but British security officials were not convinced. Blair now serves as
a British diplomat assigned to an effort to work out a long term peace deal
months of negotiations, Israel carried out a swap with Hizbollah. Most of what
was swapped were the bones of the dead, and most of the bones were Arab. But
Israel also released live prisoners, including, for the first time, one with "blood
on his hands" (a terrorist who killed a four year old child, and two adults, in
1979). In return, Hizbollah returned the remains of the two soldiers it grabbed
in a cross border raid in 2006, which caused the war that year. Hizbollah
always hinted that the soldiers were alive, and did not reveal they were dead
until the swap took place.
2008: In Jerusalem, a Palestinian
terrorist shot and wounded two policemen at night, then escaped through a cemetery.
About a third of Jerusalem's 750,000 residents are Palestinians. This is the
sixth such attack this year. Further south, in Gaza, Palestinian terrorists
broke the June 19th ceasefire again by firing another rocket into
southern Israel. Hamas admits that it cannot control all the terrorist factions
2008: In Gaza, for the first time since
the June 19th ceasefire with Israel went into effect, Hamas arrested
seven Palestinians for breaking the ceasefire by firing rockets and mortar shells.
Hamas does not want to antagonize the smaller terrorist groups in Gaza, so it
will handle a crackdown carefully. This has happened before, when Palestinians
went through the motions of trying to control Palestinian terrorists. The jail
will be comfortable, and the prisoners will eventually just walk out. Meanwhile,
a more serious, and fatal, battle goes on between Hamas and Gaza followers in
both Gaza and the West Bank. This is a war of ambushes and assassinations.