Israel has quietly reminded Lebanon recently that if Hezbollah attacks Israel, the retaliation will include all Lebanese infrastructure (roads, bridges, power plants, and military assets). This strategy recognizes that while Hezbollah only rules in the south, the radical Shia militia makes use of all infrastructure in Lebanon. While this is true, the Lebanese government is also in a difficult position when it comes to controlling Hezbollah. That's because Hezbollah represents the minority Shia and has long used religious fanaticism and financial and military support from Iran to dominate the majority (a fractious collection of Christian, Sunni, and Druze groups). The majority wants to cut Hezbollah down to size but they don't want to wreck the country in order to do it. Most Lebanese still have memories of the 1975-90 civil war that ruined the economy, killed over 100,000 people (over four percent of the 2.8 million population), and caused at least a million to flee the country (many never returned). Now Hezbollah is becoming weaker and unstable because of the civil war next door in Syria. Hezbollah was founded with the assistance of Syria, which has long been a client of Iran. But the Sunni majority in Syria is finally casting off decades of rule by a Shia (Alawite) sect. This has inspired the Sunni minority in Lebanon to fight the more numerous Shia in their midst. For weeks now gangs of Shia and Sunni gunmen have been fighting each other in northern Lebanon. Because of the war in Syria, Hezbollah can no longer travel freely there. Syria was to be the place Hezbollah could retreat to if the Israelis came after them in a big way. With that refuge gone, and more aggression from the majority minorities of Lebanon, Hezbollah feels threatened. It's not a healthy situation.
The new rulers of Egypt are facing some very serious economic problems. The economy has still not recovered from the disruption of the revolution 18 months ago. On top of that the government is running out of money, mainly because of fuel price subsidies. Egyptians pay 36 cents a liter for petrol (gasoline), while Israelis pay six times more (about two dollars a liter, or nearly eight dollars a gallon). Israeli petrol is not subsidized and is common heavily taxed. Egypt long used the subsidized fuel as a benefit for the people. Trying to take that away would cause widespread anger, perhaps even a mass uprising. But the government has no cash to buy and import all the fuel (at about 70 cents a liter) Egyptians are currently using. Fuel shortages will also cause unrest.
August 29, 2012: Responding to complaints from Israel, Egypt has withdrawn 11 of the 51 tanks it recently moved into Sinai. According to the 1979 peace treaty Egypt is not supposed to have any tanks in Sinai without Israeli assent and Israel believes that Egypt does not need tanks in Sinai to go after Islamic terrorists. In three weeks of Egyptian operations against Sinai based Islamic terrorists, 11 of them have been killed and 23 captured. Hundreds more have gone into hiding and are being hunted. At least three Egyptian police have been wounded so far. The local Bedouin population is hostile to Egyptian authority and not eager to help the army and police find the Islamic terrorists in the area. Meanwhile the Islamic terrorist groups in Sinai have told the Egyptian security forces to get out of Sinai or else.
In the Sinai town of El Arish police found and disabled a bomb planted next to a road outside the local university campus.
August 28, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets and two mortar shells into Israel. Earlier in the day Israeli warplanes struck two targets in Sinai, in retaliation for rocket attacks over the past few days.
August 27, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired three mortar shells into Israel.
August 26, 2012: Islamic terrorists in Gaza fired several rockets into Israel, damaging several factory buildings and wounding a civilian. One rocket exploded as it was being launched, killing the Palestinian who had set it up. The dead terrorist was later identified as one of the terrorist suspects rounded up and released by Hamas in response to the August 5th attack on an Egyptian border post.
August 24, 2012: Egyptian police arrested four men in black trying to sneak into Egypt from Gaza.
August 23, 2012: Egyptian troops have continued destroying smuggling tunnels into Gaza. At least 120 tunnels have been destroyed (filled in) and the search goes on for tunnel entrances on the Egyptian side. The Egyptians also have tunnel detection equipment supplied by the United States. All this tunnel destruction is causing prices of consumer goods to rise in Gaza but is mainly intended to interrupt the movement of Islamic terrorists and weapons in and out of Gaza. Most of the tunnels moved consumer goods and only a few were used by the terrorists. This tunnel destruction is in response to the August 5th attack on a nearby Egyptian border post by Islamic terrorists that killed 16 Egyptian troops. Hamas insists it had nothing to do with this attack and blames it on Israel. Egypt is ignoring this and trying to bottle up the Islamic terrorists already in Gaza while going after those who are operating in Egypt, especially in the Sinai Peninsula.
Lebanon complained to Israel about an Israeli reconnaissance aircraft that spent the entire night over Lebanon. Apparently Israel is keeping a closer eye on Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist organization that constantly threatens to attack and destroy Israel.
August 21, 2012: The U.S. announced it had seized $150 million belonging to Hezbollah. The money was in a U.S. account used by a Lebanese bank to help Hezbollah launder money obtained from drug smuggling and other criminal activities. It was recently revealed that a new Cyber War program was infecting computers in Lebanon, apparently seeking out information on how Hezbollah moved its money around. No one has taken responsibility for this Cyber War effort but the U.S. is suddenly shutting down a lot of Hezbollah banking operations.