Belmont Club

Three's Company, Four's a Crowd

Haaretz reports information already familiar to the readers of the Belmont Club. “Israeli spy satellites have spotted an Iranian ship being loaded with missiles that analysts say may be headed for Gaza.”

The cargo would travel via the Red Sea, Sudan and Egypt, following a well-established route used by Iran to smuggle arms into Gaza …

“We believe that Iranian warships anchored in Eritrea will accompany the weapons ship as soon as it enters the Red Sea,” an Israeli source told the Times.

Israeli sources added that once the arms are positively identified they will be engaged ceasefire or not. MSNBC examines the plausibility of the story and cites various other collateral stories. MSNBC believes that Israel may have actually attacked transit points in the Sudan already and supplies this photo.

This combo of two satellite pictures released by DigitalGlobe shows the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility in Khartoum on October 12 (L) and on October 26, (R), two days after blasts at the factory, which the Sudanese government blamed on an Israeli airstrike.

The backstory to Gaza, according to MSNBC’s Alastair Jamieson is a secret war being waged between Iran, Israel and possibly other nations.

That viewpoint is shared by retired General Barry McCaffrey, a security consultant and NBC News analyst, who told MSNBC’s Alex Witt: “I think the Iranians have manipulated particularly [Lebanon-based] Hezbollah but also Hamas. They’ve equipped them with significant amounts of rocketry. One of the unclassified figures was 120,000 rockets in either southern Lebanon or Gaza in the range of Israel, so the Iranians are actively promoting trouble in Syria and Lebanon and Gaza.”

Gaza is not a local affair between “little Palestine” and “giant Israel”. It’s part of a regional war.

Just now France 24 reports that “AFP – Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has congratulated Gaza’s Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya in a telephone call on a ‘great victory’ over Israel, the two sides said on Saturday.” Interestingly “Haniya in turn ‘thanked Iran for its support,’ they added, days after Tehran confirmed it had supplied military aid to Gaza.”

The Fars news agency mention Morsi not at all; not with reference to his new powers nor to his widely touted role as the “mediator” of the Gaza conflict. It is as if he doesn’t exist.

All of this suggests that Iran is a ‘silent actor’ in the Egyptian drama — and Morsi’s rival for the leading role. The Phantom of the Opera as it were. Not only are Israel and Egypt actors in this play, so is Teheran. And it may be the fear of Iran that Morsi is holding over Washington’s head as he accumulates more power to himself. Israeli leaks about missiles heading for Gaza have served notice that the “ceasefire” can breakdown at any time. It also serves to advance the narrative that Teheran is mixed up in things somehow.  With Egypt itself in turmoil the area is like a disaster waiting to happen.

Wikipedia’s article about “foreign involvement in the Gaza War” lists Iran, Libya, Syria and Turkey as having been at one time or the other actors in the conflict. This suggests that networks ran or still run from these places into the factional stews of Gaza.  Who knows but that Benghazi has threads which ultimately run through the smuggling tunnels of the Strip?

But in one respect the Wikipedia article title is misleading. The political status Gaza is incidental to the regional players. The “Gaza War” is in reality part of the War For Israel.

And now the regional powers, united in their hatred for the Jewish state but divided by ambition and mutual despicion are being drawn into the maelstrom. As the Iranian ships draw closer and the streets of Cairo smolder in protest what happens next is a matter of some conjecture. It is tempting to speculate on what part the relief of David Petraeus played in this drama, or the scandal attributed to General Allen. What’s going on?

Keep watching and maybe we’ll find out what YouTube video caused it all.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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