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Cold War Heating Up

John on February 29, 2008 at 12:07 am

Having been effectively stopped in Iraq, Al Quaeda is apparently now setting its sights on a new target:

Since 2005, Israeli leaders and even Palestinian Arab officials have warned that Al Qaeda has been trying to establish itself in the Palestinian territories. But the threat from Al Qaeda has come into greater focus for the Jewish state in the last week in light of Hamas’s plan to hold a demonstration at the border between the walled-off territory and pre-1967 Israel. The demonstration, scheduled originally for Monday, was called off. But Israeli officials fear it will be an attempt to dismantle the wall that separates the two territories and allow terrorists to infiltrate the tiny country.

Sounds like a crazy plan but they’ve done it before in just this manner.

Fortunately, Israel is not sitting idle:

[Israeli Defence Minister Ehud] Barak, during a series of meetings at the Defense Ministry, said, “We should be prepared for an upswing in hostilities in Gaza. The big ground operation is a reality and it is tangible. We are not eager to embark upon such an operation, but we are not put off by it either.”

According to defense sources, the goals of such an operation – reportedly in the planning stages for weeks if not months – would not “merely” be to reduce the threat of rocket fire and rocket manufacturing in the Gaza Strip, but would also likely entail paralyzing the Hamas government’s ability to operate, and even include “regime change.”

The first fighting has in fact already begun. Hamas is firing an unusual number of Katusha rockets, killing a father of four and injuring a 17 year old this week. In response, Israel has already initiated air strikes killing at least 20 including, sadly, five boys who were playing soccer near one of the targeted houses.

Going back to an old theme, it’s hard to miss the indications that the proxy war which had been taking place in Iraq the last few years has only moved to the West a bit. The players are the same. On the one hand:

A senior Israeli security official said that the rockets fired into Ashkelon have been Iranian-made imports, with a range of about 22 kilometers, but some locally made rockets have fallen on the southern outskirts of the city.

The missiles, known as Grads, are taken apart, smuggled into Gaza through tunnels, and reassembled.

And on the other:

Palestinians claimed the air strikes included the use of F16s and Apache helicopters.

Both US exports. So while we continue to fight a shooting war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’re also fighting a proxy war on the Israeli border, a cold war in the desert. But it looks now as if that cold war’s about to heat up.

Eventually, Iran and its nuclear ambitions will have to be dealt with before what is being smuggled through tunnels to the Israeli border is more than short range rockets.

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Category: Islamic Jihad |

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