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Friday, June 29, 2007

War isn't a question of 'whether' but of 'when'

Daniel Jackson reports from northern Israel that they are expecting a war this summer, but that they believe that Israel will be better prepared this time than it was last summer:
Whatever is coming this summer will not have the same misdirected response of last summer. For Iran, Hizbullah, and Syrian to assume that the next round will be like last summer is simply not realistic. Israel is a very small place and the regular drills with the air force and the army are conducted in the open. Here in the north, there have been some very impressive air shows as well as immediate response drills by ground forces. Several weeks ago, the night sky was suddenly filled with the roar and flame of low flying jets scrambling from three directions towards the Golan pulling up over the Heights and turning back over the Upper Galilee to the Sea and back to their bases. Late last week, when three katyushas landed in the northern city of Kiryat Shemona, check points and patriots were deployed. Sunday, six UN personnel were killed in Lebanon, and the IAF were out with low flybys over my caravan in the early morning bouncing me out of bed.
Donald Sensing (Hat Tip: Pajamas Media) cites a report from World Tribune that has us going to war with as many as five enemies as soon as next month:
Israeli military intelligence has projected that a major attack could come from any of five adversaries in the Middle East. Officials said such a strike could spark a war as early as July 2007.

On Sunday, Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Cabinet that the Jewish state faces five adversaries in what could result in an imminent confrontation. Yadlin cited Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and Al Qaida.


Yadlin said Hamas could be planning a major attack to divert attention away from efforts by the Palestinian Authority to isolate the Gaza Strip. He said Syria might be promoting such an attack.

Officials said Iran has direct influence over Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. He said Al Qaida has increasingly come under Iranian influence and was being used by Iran and Syria in such countries as Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Already, military intelligence has assessed that Hamas acquired more than 50 missiles with a range of 22 kilometers. Officials said this would allow Palestinian missile strikes on any part of Ashkelon, the largest city in southeastern Israel and which contains strategic sites.

Hamas has also deployed at least 20 SA-7 anti-aircraft systems, officials said. They said the missiles threaten Israeli combat helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that conduct missions over the Gaza Strip.


Israeli military intelligence has assessed that Hamas was being quietly supported by neighboring Egypt. Officials said that despite Egypt's announced ban, Cairo has continued to allow Hamas leaders to enter the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip.

Over the weekend, officials said, a Hamas delegation led by former PA Interior Minister Said Siyyam entered Sinai. They said the 15-member delegation was escorted by Egyptian security forces to Cairo for a flight to Damascus, where they were scheduled to meet Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Masha'al.
Haaretz also reports on preparations in the north:
More than 100 people gathered on Tuesday in a hall at the Palm Beach Hotel in Acre and listened attentively to instructions on how to respond to calls into the emergency hotline center. Usually these training sessions turn into a kind of "fun day," which is used to let participants have a good time and to strengthen social ties between them. Not this time. The participants, Jews and Arabs who hold official positions in local authorities in the North, participated in discussions and listened to the lectures attentively.

A year after the Second Lebanon War, they are not analyzing the hostilities that were; they are planning for the next war. The training day, one of an ongoing series of 15, was initiated by the Hosen Center for Trauma Intervention. The meetings are aimed at improving the functioning of municipal employees who are in direct contact with the population during times of emergency and in trauma situations. In short, they're taught how to cope when hundreds of panicked phone calls are coming in all at once - what to say and how to sound confident, even if you haven't the faintest idea what to do.

"The last war caught us with our pants down," says Carmiel Deputy Mayor Rina Greenberg, whose municipality in fact did function well during the war. Madi Abu Jaban, the executive officer of a long-term plan that Hosen is operating in Maghar, says cynically that "just as the weaponry is getting more sophisticated and is killing better, we too have to get more sophisticated." These two statements sum up dozens of conversations with residents of the North. Each of them in his own style and his own words, all of them are united in the opinion that another war is inevitable, with the only question being when it will break out.
Meanwhile, the Olmert-Barak-Livni government continues to fiddle and pretend that there can be 'peace' while hoping war will come in time to mute the effects of the final Winograd report.


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