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OCTOBER 20-21,  2023

IS THERE A LULL?  Not much war news today, but it may just be an illusion.  There are always lulls.  A "peace summit" in Cairo with many Arab and European nations participating produced nothing, and didn't even denounce Hamas.

There is still considerable talk about a possible American intervention.  The secretary of defense is taking a number of steps to insure that American forces are ready if needed.  From Fox: 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the U.S. Department of Defense's plan on Saturday evening to further "bolster regional deterrence efforts" in the Middle East amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, reiterating the department's defense of Israel.

In a press release, the secretary said that the plan comes following "detailed discussions" with President Joe Biden.

The secretary said that USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which was recently moved to the Eastern Mediterranean following the unprecedented assault on Israel from Hamas terrorists.

Secretary Austin said that the warships will "further increase our force posture and strengthen our capabilities and ability to respond."

Austin said that the DOD has deployed their anti-ballistic missile defense system, called the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, as well as additional Patriot battalions "throughout the region."

Without sharing an exact number, Austin said that he has an "additional number of forces prepared to deploy," to "increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required."

"I will continue to assess our force posture requirements in the region and consider deploying additional capabilities as necessary," the Defense Secretary concluded.

President Biden has aggressively affirmed Israel's right to defend itself in the wake of Hamas's surprise attack.

At least 5,600 people have been killed in the war on both sides, including at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers and 32 Americans. 

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims at least 4,137 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,162 wounded. 

At least 11 Americans are feared to be held captive by Hamas.

COMMENT:  First, I wouldn't take seriously any figures supplied by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.   Believing Hamas is like believing the old Pravda.

American forces are being sent to deter Iran from enlarging the Israel/Hamas war.  It's a wise move on our part.  Our forces will also be in place to strike the Iran nuclear program, should the situation require it, and I wouldn't be shocked if it did.

October 21, 2023       Permalink

TWO AMERICAN HOSTAGES RELEASED BY DEAR, BROTHERLY HAMAS:  You all know that two American hostages, a mother and daughter from Illinois, have been released by Hamas.  They were captured during the Hamas slaughter of Israelis on October 7th. 

Now the hostage game begins.  Bad actors don't take hostages because they're lonely or need babysitters.  They take them to be used as bargaining chips.  Sadly, the game often works.  Hamas says that more "foreign" hostages, meaning non-Israeli, will be released if the Israelis stop bombing Hamas targets in the the Gaza Strip.  They also add some "humanitarian" demands that at least one journalistic nitwit that I saw described as "reasonable."  No doubt.  Hamas will now strive to sound moderate, even benevolent, as compared to that nasty Israel and the Great Satan, the United States. 

Most hostage situations involve the country taking the hostages and the country whose citizens are taken.  This one is more complicated.  There are hostages from a number of countries.   No national leader can appear to sacrifice his own citizens, so the heat will now be on Israel to 1) be sensitive; 2) recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people; 3) understand that Hamas members are human beings; 4) realize that Israel's refusal to accept Hamas demands will result in the deaths of citizens from countries that are at least friendly to Israel; 5) avoid the childish impulse for vengeance over the unfortunate slaughter of October 7th.

There is a much longer list available.  You've all heard it.

The United States and Europe are already putting pressure on Israel to delay its offensive into Gaza to allow time for more attempts to release other hostages.  I have no idea what Israel will say, but I'm guessing that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be forced to provide more time.  Once that cycle starts, it's hard to say where it ends. 

I doubt if Israel will achieve its goal of wiping out Hamas.  There are, after all, Hamas operatives and assets in a number of countries.  But if this war does not end with Hamas badly hurt and bleeding, you can be sure that it will launch another attack soon, possibly right in the middle of our presidential campaign. 

October 21,  2023     Permalink

 

 

OCTOBER 18-19,  2023

THE SITUATION:   It's late Thursday, and the key things to look for now, in the Israel/Hamas war, are these:  First, the start of the Israeli ground campaign into Gaza.  The campaign was signaled today when the Israeli defense minister told his troops that they would soon see Gaza from the inside.

Two, the possibility of a second front, which would complicate all plans.  Rocket fire from Lebanon into northern Israel has increased each day for the last two weeks.  The rockets are fired by Hezbollah, a notorious terror organization run by Iran.  Should open war break out between the Hezzies and the Israelis, it could destroy the Lebanese economy and turn the country into a basket case.

Three, and critical to Americans, is the possible involvement of the United States in the fighting.  Just today an American destroyer, the USS Carney, operating in the northern Red Sea, shot down several missiles and drones that were possibly headed for Israel.  From ABC:

The USS Carney, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in the northern Red Sea, on Thursday shot down multiple missiles and drones launched by Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen that the Pentagon said were potentially headed toward targets in Israel.

It is the first time in recent memory that a U.S. Navy ship in the Middle East has engaged missiles and drones that were not directly aimed at the vessel.

It's also the first U.S. military action taken to defend Israel in the current crisis and with the U.S. and other countries trying to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the possibility that an Iranian-backed proxy group fired missiles and drones at Israel is sure to increase growing regional tensions.

The ship was in the northern Red Sea on Thursday evening local time when it intercepted three land attack cruise missiles and several drones, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a press briefing. U.S. officials told ABC News that the Carney had brought down eight drones launched by the Houthis. 

COMMENT:  We will have an active weekend.  If there is another incident regarding the American armed forces, a true crisis involving this country could erupt.  Please note the piece just below, reflecting a similar incident earlier this week.  Not a coincidence, I assume.

October 19, 2023       Permalink

 

DON'T IGNORE THIS:  We regularly point out that, although headline news grabs our attention, other news might be just as important, or more so.  There is combat involving Americans in Iraq.  Please don't ignore this.  From Fox: 

U.S. military forces in Iraq destroyed a drone and damaged another at bases hosting American troops, officials said Wednesday. 

American and coalition forces defended themselves against three drones in the past 24 hours, said U.S. Central Command. 

Coalition forces sustained minor injuries while engaging the two drones in western Iraq, CENTCOM said. In a northern part of the country, U.S. forces destroyed a drone and no injuries were reported. 

Two U.S. defense officials confirmed to Fox News that the U.S. intercepted two one-way attack drones targeting Iraq's al-Asad air base where American troops are located. 
Officials were still assessing the impacts to operations. 

“In this moment of heightened alert, we are vigilantly monitoring the situation in Iraq and the region,” a CENTCOM statement said. “We want to emphasize U.S. forces will defend U.S. and Coalition forces against any threat.” 

Defense officials tell Fox News the U.S. currently has about 2,500 troops in Iraq. Officials didn’t say who is believed to be responsible for the drones.

COMMENT:  Get that last one.  Officials won't say who is responsible.  Does the name "Iran" come to mind?  They're right next door, and maybe we should at least think about the role of Iran from time to time.

We liberated Iraq, but the country his hardly an American ally.

October 19, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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