‘Mock air raids’

Naharnet 26/08: ‘1:20pm Israeli warplanes carried out mock air raids over the central and eastern sectors of south Lebanon.’
Naharnet 27/08: ‘Israeli troops (are) allegedly combing the surroundings of their positions in the occupied Shebaa Farms amid helicopter overflights following reports that Hizbullah has equipped tunnel infrastructure in south Lebanon with missiles to be fired into Israel. (Haaretz) said that the bomb shelter of at least one house in each of the southern villages was equipped to store weapons and Hizbullah fighters to face up to long periods of isolation. (…T)hese shelters would be used as bases to fire rockets into Israel and to carry out ambush attacks against Israeli soldiers in case they reached these villages. The shelters, according to the report, can accommodate up to 15 fighters.’

Meanwhile, Egyptian foreign minister Abulgheit is visiting Lebanon to assure the country of Egypt’s support, even going so far (next to the much-needed electricity and gas offers) as to propose ‘to build the Lebanese army’s capabilities so it could shoulder its responsibilities’. Apparently, Egypt has warned Israel to stop threatening Lebanon. My my, it seems that after Georgia the Arab leaders are all realizing it’s time to change tack: Jordan has just reinstated official relations with Hamas too…
Nasrallah has responded to the multiple recent Israeli threats (possible meant largely for internal political use in the lead-up to the election of the next Kadima leader) by vowing that any Israeli attack on Lebanon would ‘destroy Israel‘ – as it well might. My gut feeling (or the logical strategic next step) is that Hizbullah will invade northern Israel as soon as the Israelis attack, thereby moving the main battlefield away from Lebanon and averting taking more flak for turning their own country into a battlefield again. With Hamas probably sustaining a coordinated simultaneaous offensive from the south and possibly thousands of Revolutionary Guards flown in from Iran to reinforce Hizbullah’s already considerable troops, and with thousands of rockets pounding occupied Palestine throughout, that would place the IDF in dire straits indeed.

It seems, according to this little-reported item, that the Georgia debacle has diminished the chances of an Israeli strike on Iran in more than one way. Israel was apparently planning to use the country (which in addition to dozens of Israeli military advisers and a lot of Israeli weapons turns out to have two Israeli ministers in its government, including the defence minister) as a launching pad for the strikes…

The situation in Lebanon in general seems to be deteriorating into low-level warfare again, with shoot-outs in Ras al-Nabaa (Beirut) and Taalbaye (Beqaa Valley) and even in Sour (Tyre) and ongoing troubles in Tripoli keeping everybody on their toes (although this article seems to make a lot out of some unrelated and isolated events), while the laughably named ‘national unity government’ (not) keeps bickering and postponing every important decision, from naming the new heads of the army and security services to voting the electoral redistricting law. It seems that none of the periodic ‘hurdles taken’ (election of a president, formation of a government, reopening of parliament, lifting of the opposition occupation of downtown) actually changes anything at all. The politicos just go on bickering, taking money every time they supposedly ‘agree’ to something, and then returning to acting as if they never agreed to anything in the first place…

And for the record (and for readers back home), the belligerent and megalomaniac new Belgian defense minister Pieter De Crem is currently in Lebanon inspecting the Belgian UNIFIL contingent


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