UPDATES 9 am Israeli time, Sunday, August 25 2013:
*At 3:28 pm yesterday afternoon, rocket sirens blared throughout the Chof Ashkelon region of southern Israel announcing incoming rockets from Gaza. Ten minutes later, after Israelis had run to their bomb shelters, the IDF spokesman’s office–following the new script for all rockets that strike Israel–declared it was a false alarm.
This follows the embarrassing episode on Thursday in which the IDF spokesman’s office originally declared that of the four missiles fired at Israel, one had been intercepted by the Iron Dome, and the other three had exploded in Lebanon. It was only after Israeli television showed the impact points in Kibbutz Gezer HaZiv and Moshav Shavei Zion that the IDF office was forced to change its story.
The bottom line is that the IDF Spokesman’s Office does little these days except provide false and misleading information about attacks on Israelis.
*Palestinian terrorists were hard “at work” last night with Molotov cocktails thrown in the French Hill section of Tel Aviv, an IED placed at the entrance to Beitar Illit, and a thwarted stabbing attempt near Shechem (Nablus). In the latter incident, an IDF unit intercepted two Palestinians who seemed to be acting strangely. A search revealed they were both armed with knives which they said they were going to use “to kill the first Jew they could find.”
*Lebanon continues to seethe with more than 45 killed in yesterday’s car bomb attacks outside two Tripoli mosques. An Egyptian Army clamp down quashed a planned Saturday march of the Muslim Brotherhood, and today Muslim Brotherhood leaders are already being put on trial. At the same time, the Egyptians briefly opened the Rafah Crossing yesterday to allow “ill Gazans” to exit Gaza.
The Syrian situation this morning seems to be inching perilously closer to an all-out regional war–one that will almost undoubtedly engulf Israel. The U.S., Britain, and France are prepared to launch a cruise missile assault on Bashir Assad’s command and control structure–and seem to be only waiting for some verifiable proof that Assad’s forces carried out the chemical weapons massacre in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus.
How that verifiable proof can be obtained and what it would consist of is anyone’s guess. Today has all sides agreeing that gas was used but finds the Syrians mounting an intense information or disinformation campaign purporting to show that it was Syrian Islamist rebels who actually used the nerve gas. Syrian TV is awash in images of Syrian army personnel in gas masks being rushed to hospitals to be treated for gas exposure. The same Syrian TV is taking viewers down captured rebel tunnels which also–according to the Syrians–contain traces of nerve gas.
Israel is being dragged into the “who used chemical weapons” argument this morning by suggestions from some of the world’s most infamous Israel-bashers that Israel has been providing chemical weapons to Al-Qaeda rebels in Syria. As preposterous as this claim is, it serves Bashir Assad’s purpose–as he proclaimed again this morning that if the U.S. and allies attack him, he will attack Israel.
As U.S. missile carriers sail closer to the Syrian coast today, all eyes are on Obama. Will he be forced to take action in the wake of his “use of chemical weapons red line” comments earlier this year or will he defer action until a United Nations Security Council approval can be obtained–an approval that is next to impossible because of Russia and China?
Your humble servant’s best guess is that the U.S. will take action and Israel will bear the brunt of that action.
Our morning activity here in Ashdod is checking our gas masks and making our bomb shelter as resistant to chemicals as possible.