Monday, November 19, 2012

War watch - Gaza and Syria fronts..... note the so called long range missiles of Hamas are nothing more than flying pipes as the explosives have been removed to increase distance..... Syria has another day of death dealing , rebels allegedly capture a base , tomorrow will be another day of death dealing....
( Hmmm , that's odd - what does US believe could happen ? )

U.S. sends warships near Israel in case evacuation needed

By Barbara Starr
Three U.S. Navy amphibious warships are returning to the eastern Mediterranean to remain on standby in the event they are needed to assist Americans leaving Israel in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials.
The officials stressed an evacuation remains an extremely remote possibility and the Obama administration is not currently planning for one. Americans who wish to leave the region now are able to do so using commercial airlines.
But the decision to send the ships even if the event is such a remote contingency underscores the growing concern about where the Israel-Gaza conflict could be headed.
"This is due diligence. It is better to be prepared should there be a need," one official said Monday. Both officials said the ships would be used only for assisting Americans and not for any combat role.
The most immediate impact will be on the ships' crews and the estimated 2,500 Marines on board. They had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Virginia, just after Thanksgiving; their homecoming will now be delayed several days depending on events, the officials said.
The ships involved are the USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall. At the end of last week the ships were west of Gibraltar, before the decision was made to turn them around and send them back to the eastern Mediterranean, where they will remain for now.
The U.S. military also maintains three to four ships off the coast of Israel that are capable of shooting down ballistic missiles. That deployment has stretch for some months in the face of a potential ballistic threat from Iran.

Islamist Factions Spurn Syrian Opposition Bloc

Groups Declare New Islamic State Centered Around Aleppo

by Jason Ditz, November 19, 2012
The more secular rebel factions are waiting for their official comments on the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (CORF) until they see if the group can actually get some weapons. Islamist factions aren’t waiting, however.
The al-Tawheed Brigade the al-Nusra Front, two major Islamist factions, have announced they are officially rejecting the CORF, and instead are declaring their own Islamic state centered around the northern city of Aleppo.
Though the groups are unlikely to curry as much favor in Western nations as the CORF, they have something the other umbrella group lacks: actual fighters on the ground. The two factions are the bulk of the rebel force in Aleppo, and command the loyalty of some of the fiercest fighters in the rebellion.
Making Aleppo their capital is mostly symbolic, however, since the groups don’t actually control Aleppo and there are still significant numbers of Assad government forces contesting the city, the nation’s industrial capital.


Syria Rebels Seize Major Military Base Near Turkish Border

Reports: 15 Tanks Seized, Several Military Officers Captured

by Jason Ditz, November 18, 2012
Syrian rebel fighters have released video footage showing that they have captured a major military base just west of Aleppo, along the border with neighboring Turkey. It is unclear which rebel factions actually took the base but several were said to be involved.
According to a statement from opposition figures, the base was primarily an artillery station, firing against rebel-held villages on the outskirts of Aleppo. They also claimed 15 tanks and a number of military officers were captured in the offensive but this could not be confirmed.
The base, termed “Base 46″ in some reports, has been contested for weeks, as has much of the region, with Aleppo remaining roughly split between rebel and regime held neighborhoods.

and a look at Gaza.......

Gaza Ceasefire Talks Fail on Israeli Demands for More ‘Buffer’ Zones

Netanyahu Claims Negotiations Haven't Even Really Begun

by Jason Ditz, November 18, 2012
Multiple reports on the status of the Gaza ceasefire differ on key points, but one thing is clear: the negotiations have failed for now, and the Israeli government continues to insist that the talks aren’t serious in the first place.
A key reason for the failure, according to Hamas, was a litany of new Israeli demands issued before they would consider ending their attacks. Hamas reportedly agreed to the bulk of the terms but balked at Israeli demands to create an even bigger “buffer zone” between Israel and the tiny strip, carved entirely out of Gazan territory.
Israel has already imposed a de facto “no-go” area for the 300 meters of Gaza that borders Israeli territory, and while this doesn’t sound significant it actually carves a significant chunk out of the narrow enclave, which is only a few kilometers wide in parts. This “no-go” area mostly consists of farmland, and Israeli troops have regularly killed farmers they accused of crossing the boundary. It is unclear how much more territory Israel sought.
Even though there were multiple sources confirming the talks in some form, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to deny that any talks were taking place at all, insisting that it was only possible for Israel to even consider negotiation after all retaliatory strikes had ended. Though the number of rockets fired out of Gaza dropped significantly today, the large number of civilian deaths in Israeli attacks has many militant factions looking to score points by continuing their retaliation.

and the flying pipes rather than missiles of Hamas explain the reticence of Hezbollah getting involved in what could be a bloodbath.......

Gaza’s ‘Long-Range Rockets’ Just Regular Rockets Without Explosives

Take Off the Warhead and the Empty Barrel Flies Further, Officials Note

by Jason Ditz, November 18, 2012
Much has been made of the “threat” posed by the seemingly longer-range rockets fired out of the Gaza Strip. Since the Israeli invasion the regular, barely explosive rockets that hit southern towns that even most Israelis aren’t that familiar with have been replaced by the menace of rockets hitting noteworthy places like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Is this the smoking gun proving some nation is helping Gaza factions with rocket technology? Not at all, it turns out, as the rockets flying so much farther are the exact same metal tubes that tend to come out of the strip whenever Israel attacks, and the reason they are going further is that they took all the explosives and the warhead casing off.
“They’re pipes, basically,” one Israeli official noted. And while the flying chunks of cylindrical metal could conceivably clonk someone on the head, the menace posed by such devices is even more theoretical than the already marginal risk posed by Gaza’s usual retaliatory strikes.
Some Palestinian factions are denying this, insisting that it is all an Israeli plot to try to make their attacks seem less dangerous. Yet with the “long-range” fire seemingly not doing anything, the reports seem credible.