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On Thursday, May 3, Israel mobilized six reserve battalions and received the government’s permission to mobilize 16 more, a security measure due to potential problems in the Sinai desert and the volatile situation in Syria, or so we are told. But the mobilization of 22 battalions means that there is more to this situation than meets the eye.
Eight months ago the present writer discussed the probability of a nine-front war. Despite the low-key tone of “a security measure,” Israel now seems to be close to that situation.
Almost-nuclear Iran; Hezbollah; the Sinai, with its entrenched al-Qaeda bases and other terror groups; Egypt, if the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has its way; Syria; and the two internal fronts of Hamas and the PA if they can get their acts together, comprise seven of the nine fronts.
Let’s look first at Iran.
Iran is in deep trouble economically, as its oil production is the lowest in 20 years and its mullocracy is losing popularity with its rank and file. The nuclear option for which it has been in hot pursuit for 10 years has now turned into a political liability with voters as sanctions slowly impair the economy. The decline is “the result of the country’s growing isolation due to its nuclear program,” so the mullahs are scared because the time may be ripe for another round of internal unrest and open demonstrations for regime change.
The mullahs’ popularity has not been enhanced by Israel’s ten years of successful covert operations against Iran’s WMDs; and Israel’s newly purchased nuclear submarine, with nuclear-armed cruise missiles giving Israel expanded “second-strike” capabilities in case of an Iranian nuclear attack, will soon be added to its Persian Gulf fleet, and offer Iranian leaders the opportunity to reconsider their disdainful attitude toward MAD.
The mullahs desperately need a distraction for their unhappy voters.
Hezbollah is better armed now than it was before the 2nd Lebanon War, and has successfully cowed the UN “peace keepers.” But it has suffered a loss of popularity due to its support for Assad and growing isolation. That can be remedied most easily by opening a northern front with renewed missile and other terror attacks against Israel. Such an action would justify more Iranian efforts to achieve nuclear capacity.
And as is the case with Hezbollah, if Iran gave Syria the order, it would be a boon and a blessing for Syria to join in. Assad could turn attention from the slaughter of its innocents and call for Syrian unity in the great jihad against Israel.
Egypt and the Sinai are a bit more complicated.
The Sinai is a haven for drug smuggling, human trafficking, gun running, and terrorist groups including al-Qaeda; but the Egyptian armed forces have not been able to clean up the mess. Operation Eagle, almost a year old, is a total failure, for which, true to form, the Egyptian government blames Israel.
And compounding this problem is the uncertainty about Egyptian politics. MB leaders have made clear that they want to renew the state of war with Israel. Currently the Egyptian army is still in control, but with a significant Islamofascist majority in the Egyptian Parliament and an MB candidate the front runner for presidential elections, Egypt could turn into an active military enemy overnight.
The other two fronts are internal.
Hamas is the loser in the Arab Spring: losing popularity, losing Iranian and Syrian support due to its backing of the MB’s revolt in Syria, facing competition from other more aggressive terror groups, and facing the impatience of its own rank and file due to its not killing enough Jews. Polls taken earlier this year found “a significant decline in the popularity of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and a decrease in the positive evaluation of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas may also be losing some control over its terror cohorts who have continued rocket attacks on Israel despite Hamas-mandated cease-fires. When Hamas has exercised its authority, the results have backfired. When Hamas forces wiped out one al-Qaeda unit supported by Iran, for instance, a serious crisis developed with Tehran.
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