Saturday, March 10, 2007

Israel's `peace loving' neighbors ramp up their missile arsenals and prepare for war

While Olmert is busy attending summits with Israel's `peace partner', Hezbollah, Syria and the Palestinians are preparing for the next round.

The Syrians have positioned thousands of rockets on its border with Israel, according
to Israeli government and military sources, quoted by the French News Agency AFP.

They now have medium range missiles, sold to them by the Russians capable of reaching Haifa, positioned underground chambers and camouflaged silos. The Syrians,noting Israel's war with Hezbollah in Lebanon have adopted the technique of manufacturing a network of fortified tunnels. Syria also reportedly has several Syria had deployed several FROG rocket launchers with 550-kg warheads in areas between the border and

The strategy behind this is pretty obvious - in the event of a war, when the IDF moves ground forces and tanks in to take out the launch sites closer to the border, the longer range missiles sited near Damascus can kick in.

Hezbollah, despite taking some major losses in the Lebanon war has re-established itself in its old areas in South Lebanon and re-armed while UNIFIL has essentially stood by and done nothing to enforce the arms embargo called for in Res. 1701. They have reportedly replaced most of the missile arsenal Israel destroyed last August.

The Palestinians, notably Hamas an dIslamic Jihad have received a brand new shipment of improved Iranian surface missiles.

They fired two of them which reached the southern part of the Israeli port of Ashkelon Tuesday, March 6.

The new toys the mullahs have given the Palestinians have an improved range of about 12 miles (19km) up from about 7.5 miles (12-13km), and are much more accurate with improved range finding. This may not seem like a lot, but it brings Ashkelon, Netivot, Ofakim the outskirts of Kiryat Gat and military bases in central Israel into range. The Pals can now match Syrian and Hezbollah missile attacks from the north with equal attacks from the south and southwest.

The Palestinians are keeping things relatively low key for the moment,partly because they don't want to be too blatant and provoke an Israeli invasion of Gaza before they're ready and partly because of the need to present a `moderate' front and hopefully get the aid money coming back in again, But they are taking advantage of the Olmert government's enmeshment in scandal and Israel's political disarray to build a war machine for the next round.

Another indication is Hamas' construction of a vast underground network of fortified tunnels near the Rafah-Philadelphi corridor as well as another one in Gaza nearer to the Israeli border. Like the Syrians, Hamas has taken a leaf from Hezbollah' strategy against Israel in Lebanon last year.

The supreme irony is that Hamas is using rubble from the Jewish communities in Gaza that the IDF evacuated during the Gaza `disengagement'. Concrete debris taken from the ruins of Gush Katif, Ganei Tal and other communities torn down by the Israelis at the Palestinians' insistance is now being used to shore up tunnels and line the walls of bunkers in the Palestinian fortified tunnels...and the Olmert government has allowed these fortresses to be built without trying to obstruct them in any way.

If it were not for a couple of courageous congresspeople, the Bush Administration would have given the Palestinians $86M to add to their jihad war chest by now.

Stay tuned...I think the fireworks could start as soon as this summer. And the Israeli had better have new leadership by then, for their own sake.

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