Syria and Hizballah join to sink Israeli warships

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Iran, Israel, Middle East
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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
September 3, 2010, 8:40 AM (GMT+02:00)

Tehran and its extremist and terrorist allies, having failed to abort Barack Obama’s initiative for direct Israel-Palestinian diplomacy, have hit back with two belligerent steps. Debkafile’s military sources disclose that Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah have set up a joint military command for sinking Israeli warships, and Hamas has brought all 13 Palestinian rejectionist organizations under one roof for a sustained bid to intensify terror operations against Israel.

At a news conference in Gaza early Friday, Sept. 3 – shortly after the Washington talks were rated positive – a Hamas military arm spokesman announced the creation of a single command encompassing all 13 Palestinian rejectionist groups operating out of the Gaza Strip and Damascus for a concerted campaign of terror against Israel.

In answer to a question, Abu Obeida said the new policy of expanded attacks may well rain missiles on Tel Aviv. “From now on, everything is open,” the Hamas spokesman said.

At that moment, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on a flight home from Washington, surrounded by an intense PR effort to present him as emerging from his first conversation with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a super-peacemaker.

The Americans, the Palestinians and his own aides were well aware that the ceremonial

inauguration of the talks had yielded very little after their goals were sharply pared down. No accord but only a document of general principles is now expected to come out of the continuation of the dialogue – once every two weeks in the coming year. This, too, would oblige Israel to withdraw from large sections of the West Bank. Further steps were relegated to the distant future.

In the meantime, Syria, Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorist community are using the very act of diplomacy as the impetus for a violent response.

Whereas the prime minister’s rhetoric in Washington laid heavy emphasis on the negotiations measuring up to Israel’s security needs, in practice, he refrained from ordering an Israeli reprisal against the Hamas command centers which ordered two attacks on West Bank roads, although four Israeli civilians paid with their lives and two more were injured.

Syria, Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorist commands operating out of Damascus, Gaza, Beirut and Sidon to took this restraint as a starting signal for reviving concerted attacks on Israel. Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah decided to expand the secret military cooperation pact they recently concluded – to which no Israeli political or military leader has so far responded – to the Mediterranean Sea, where their operational and intelligence assets will together seek out and try and sink Israeli missile ships and submarines.

To this end, they have earmarked marine units and their Iranian- and Russian-made shore-to-ship missile force – the largest of its kind in the world – as well as Syrian assault helicopters flown by crews trained to strike seaborne targets. The Hizballah marine unit was trained and equipped by Iranian Revolutionary Guards marine instructors.

The Mediterranean coastal strip from Syrian Latakia in the north, running through the Lebanese ports of Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre and down south to the Gaza Strip, have been declared a joint sea front dedicated to attacking Israeli targets.

High-ranking Israeli military sources told DEBKA file Thursday night that while it was hard to imagine Syrian or Hizballah managing to hit Israeli submarines, they are quite capable of fomenting violence on the sea and attacking Israeli naval craft and bases. Their joint command means they are sharing intelligence on Israeli naval activity and monitoring the movements of vessels while still in Israeli territorial waters and before they take up stations opposite the Lebanese or Syrian coasts.

Our military sources add that, from the strategic viewpoint, the Washington dialogue and the disproportionate hype surrounding it were counter-productive in that it led to the resumption of Hamas terrorist activities on the West Bank and strengthened the military partnership between Syria and Hizballah for aggression against Israel. Netanyahu’s single-minded focus on diplomacy at the expense of neglecting rising threats and blocking military activity allowed these perils to develop and abound.

His restraint did not help Mahmoud Abbas’ failing fortunes at home. His standing took a bad knock from the way Hamas managed to pull off two terrorist operations on the West Bank. In a desperate bid to show they were in control, Palestinian security sources reported Thursday night that two suspects were in custody for Monday’s drive-by shooting near Hebron and they had leads to the perpetrators.

Debkafile’s counter-terror sources disclose that the two “suspects” are the used car salesmen who sold the vehicle the Hamas gunmen used in their attack. They had no clues to offer about the identities or whereabouts of the purchasers who have disappeared without a trace.

Netanyahu is scheduled to continue his talks with Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sept. 14-15 – and again at fortnightly intervals during the coming year under Washington’s watchful eye. It is hard to see how they can keep going in a climate of rising military tensions and expanding terrorist outbreaks.

http://www.debka.com/article/9011/

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