So Much For The “Besieged” Gazans

For people claiming to be “besieged”, Hamas, through their sophisticated smuggling tunnels into Egypt, never seemed to run out of rockets to fire into Israel. And why is it that Israel is the only one who ever get blamed for “oppressing” the Gazan people? You’ll notice that this is an Egyptian border crossing that’s being opened after four years. Apparently, the Egyptians consider Hamas to be a serious security threat too.

Egypt opens Rafah crossing permanently

Gaza: A mixture of excitement and anxiety gripped travelers waiting to cross the Rafah crossing on Saturday.

Egypt ruled to permanently open the crossing starting on Saturday. In the first hour after the crossing was opened, 200 Gazans entered Egypt, officials said.

“We as Palestinians are truly thankful to the Egyptian government for opening the Rafah gate,” Dr. Ghazi Hamad, the Rafah border manager and spokesman, told Gulf News.

Under the new Egyptian regime, all coordination for travel goes through the Egyptian embassy.

“I am leaving to meet my relatives in Egypt, something that was very hard to do before,” Samah Ahmad, 26, told Gulf News. Mohammad Abd Al Aal said he was taking his wife and kids on a much needed vacation. “I never took a vacation before. The only times I have ever left Gaza was for medical reasons. I had to pay a lot of money to the Egyptian police and it was very humiliating,” he said.

Women would be able to leave Gaza without restrictions, while men between the ages of 18 and 40 would have to obtain visas for Egypt at the border.

See also:
Egypt opens Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip, reuniting Palestinians
Egypt opens Rafah border crossing, ending Gaza blockade
Gazans Rejoice as Egypt Opens Border Crossing
Egypt reopens border with Gaza
Egypt Opens Border With Gaza Despite Israel’s Concerns
Haniyeh to Gazans: Don’t endanger opened Rafah border
Hamas urges Palestinians not to jeopardize Egypt’s opening of Rafah crossing
Egypt eases travel restrictions on Gazans
Hezbollah salutes Egypt’s decision to open Rafah crossing

So, now that the “blockade” of Gaza is over, there’s no more need for any “freedom flotillas” because the whole point has been rendered moot, right? Guess again.

Freedom Flotilla-2 to start voyage to help Palestinian victims

/you see, because it’s not really about helping the poor “Palestinians”, it’s all about hating on Israel and the Jews, “from the river to the sea”

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Rockets Rejected!

Gee, I wonder if Hamas can get their money back for all the now impotent rockets they’re stockpiled.

Iron Dome intercepts first missiles from Gaza

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system for the first time intercepted rockets fired from Gaza.

Ashkelon’s Iron Dome intercepted two rockets fired Thursday on the southern Israeli city. The unit had been set up three days earlier.

Last week’s first deployment of the $200 million system in Beersheba is being called an “operational trial” by the Israel Defense Forces. The deployment came earlier than expected due to a rise in attacks on southern Israel from Gaza.

One unit also is set up in Haifa; another soon will be put up in central Israel.

See also:
Iron Dome successfully intercepts rocket fired at Israel
Iron Dome works in combat, intercepts Katyusha rocket
Iron Dome intercepts first rocket
‘Iron Dome’ Intercepts Enemy Missile
Israel Intercepts Rocket With New ‘Iron Dome’ System
Iron Dome successfully intercepts Gaza rocket for first time
Israel uses new anti-missile system as Gaza flares
Israeli system intercepts Gaza rocket for first time: AFP
“Iron Dome” Intercepts Rocket From Gaza
Israel’s Iron Dome ‘halts Gaza rocket for first time’
Israel PM: new missile shield stopped two rockets
A Paradigm Shift?

So far so good, a perfect operational record for Iron Dome. However, like defending against terrorism in general, Iron Dome needs to intercept 100% of the rockets to be successful, the terrorist scumbags only need to get a lucky round through once.

/however, that said, it’s got to be pretty demoralizing for the Hamas cretins to know that every time they fire a rocket from Gaza, it’s likely to be rendered harmless and they’re likely to get pounded by the IDF, all pain for no gain

A Paradigm Shift?

It looks like we’re going to get to see how a real world missile defense system performs under hostile fire.

Iron Dome to Become Operational

Following the recent escalation on the Gaza strip border, the IDF will deploy for the first time the Iron Dome missile defense system in strategic locations in the south of Israel as soon as Sunday, in order to shot down rockets and mortar shells fired at Israeli civilians.

The Iron Dome is a one of a kind portable anti missile system, designed to protect an area stretching over 10 square kilometers from short-range rockets and mortar shells. The system can calculate whether the rockets fired are a threat to civilian population or strategic sites based on their trajectory, thus intercepting only the ones which pose a threat and not handling the ones which will land in open areas.

The Israeli Defense Forces hope the system will perform as expected and intercept all incoming rockets. If it does do so, the IDF will mark another unprecedented historical achievement, which could mean a “game changer” in the Middle East.

See also:
Israel to deploy ‘Iron Dome’ anti-rocket system
Iron Dome Defense To Start Working Sunday in Southern Israel
Iron Dome heads south
Israel deploys air defense system ‘Iron Dome’ near Gaza
Israel to deploy Iron Dome anti-missile system across southern territories
Iron Dome to be deployed in South soon, IDF says
IDF Considers Deploying Iron Dome as of Sunday
What about the Iron Dome?
Vilnai: Israel has strategic reason not to use Iron Dome
Iron Dome

if Iron Dome works, what will the frustrated Hamas terrorists do, or the Hezbollah terrorists for that matter, with their vast Iranian supplied arsenal rendered useless?

/if I were a South Korean, living in Seoul, I’d be paying close attention

Burning Down The Drone

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. Can you smell what the laser is cookin’?

Anti-aircraft laser unveiled at Farnborough Airshow

US firm Raytheon has unveiled its anti-aircraft laser at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire.

The Laser Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) can either be used on its own or alongside a gunnery system.

In May, the laser was used to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a series of tests.

Raytheon said the solid state fibre laser produces a 50 kilowatt beam and can be used against UAV, mortar, rockets and small surface ships.

See also:
U.S. Navy Laser Weapon Shoots Down Drones in Test [Video]
Anti-aircraft laser ‘more real than Star Wars’
Raytheon Unveils Anti-Aircraft Laser
Raytheon airs video at Farnborough Airshow of CIWS laser shooting down drone
New Laser Weapon Blasts Spy Drones Out of the Sky
Laser Gun! New Demo Turns Sci-Fi Into Reality
Death Ray-theon: Anti-Aircraft Laser Unveiled
Raytheon anti-aircraft laser showcased
Raytheon Company: Directed Energy

Oh look, it’s an effective new weapons system with near term practical military application.

/how long before Obama cancels it?

Oh Boy, Look What Israel Found

Um, after the last war in 2006, wasn’t the United Nations supposed to prevent Hezbollah from rearming again?

Israel publishes ‘proof’ of growing Hizbullah arsenal

ISRAEL HAS published detailed intelligence information that military chiefs say is proof of a massive build-up of Hizbullah firepower deep inside the Lebanese villages close to Israel’s northern border.

Israel says that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war and banned the transfer of rockets and weapons to Hizbullah has been largely ineffective. Israeli intelligence says the Shia group now has an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets supplied via Syria and Iran and thousands of fighters deployed along the border.

As an example, Israeli intelligence officials showed reporters maps and aerial surveillance images showing specific buildings in the village of Al-Hiyam that Israel says are being used as military facilities for weapons and missiles.

Col Ronen Marley revealed previously classified photographs to show what he said was a unit of 90 Hizbullah militants operating in Al-Hiyam, where they were storing weapons close to hospitals and schools.

“Hizbullah is establishing itself with increasing strength in the villages,” said Col Marley.

“Every day they are collecting significant intelligence on our forces along the border and every day they are engaged in digging, building and laying communications infrastructure to prepare themselves for war.

Lieut Col Avital Leibovitch, an Israeli military spokesperson said: “We are talking about more than 100 villages that have become military camps for Hizbullah and we see that civilians in these villages have become Hizbullah’s human shields if there is war in the future.”

See also:
Hezbollah Uses Lebanese Villages as Military Bases
IDF Releases Map of Hizbullah Targets
MESS Report / Israel exposes valuable intelligence to warn Hezbollah
Hezbollah readying for urban war in southern Lebanon, IDF warns
Israel Says Hezbollah Moves Missiles Near Border
Tension Rise as Israel and Hezbollah Trade Threats
IDF reveals Hezbollah’s deployment
ISRAEL: Army declassifies intelligence material showing Hezbollah’s tactics
Israel Claims Hezbollah Storing Weapons in Lebanese Villages
Israel Takes Intelligence Gamble on Hezbollah
Israel images ‘show Hezbollah hiding arms’
Israel says images show Hezbollah’s intentions
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701

Here we go, it’s deja vu all over again, Iran and Syria have rearmed Hezbollah, to the teeth, right under the noses of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL, the U.N. forces mandated with disarming Hezbollah. How’s that working out? UNIFIL is as useful as a third teat on a boar.

/Israel will, once again, have to deal with the Hezbollah threat by herself and then the United Nations will spring into action and do what they do best, condemn Israel for defending herself

The Ultimate Estes Rocket Takes Off

Straight from the pages of the Estes catalog, the dreams of generations of kids have been realized and private sector orbital flight has been achieved. Their video feed capability leaves a bit to be desired though.

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 private rocket is a success

The Falcon 9, the first of a new generation of private rockets that could one day make space travel commonplace, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on Friday.

The 180-foot rocket put a model of its Dragon capsule into orbit about 160 miles up, setting the stage for possible flights to the international space station early next year. The flight came after an initial abort right at ignition.

The launch gives a major boost to the rocket’s builder, SpaceX, and its Internet-tycoon founder, Elon Musk. But the launch was almost as important to the Obama administration, which has proposed a far greater role for commercial space companies in the future of NASA.

After Friday’s successful test launch — unusual for a maiden voyage — SpaceX plans to send a fully operational rocket and capsule into orbit this summer, and one to the space station next year.

See also:
Falcon 9 rockets into space in dramatic maiden flight
SpaceX Rocket Achieves Earth Orbit on First Flight
SpaceX Falcon 9 achieves orbit on maiden flight
Falcon 9, world’s first private rocket launched
Obama Space Plan ‘Vindicated’ by Private Rocket Launch, Builder Says
SpaceX fans and foes speak out
Spirialing ‘UFO’ Over Australia Was Likely Falcon 9 Rocket
SpaceX – Falcon
Falcon 9

/well hey, it’s not the Saturn V, but if it can save us from having to rely on hitching space rides with the Russians, bring it on

Suicide Skunks At The Jirga Party

The Taliban bite Karzai’s hand as he tries to feed them peace.

Taleban send message of war to Karzai’s peace summit

The scene was set for something dramatic as President Karzai approached the lectern yesterday.

His capital city was in lockdown. More than 1,600 dignitaries — tribal elders, ministers, MPs and ambassadors — had gathered in Afghanistan’s most venerated tent for a conference about peace. An estimated 12,000 soldiers, policemen and intelligence agents were involved in keeping all of them safe. The rest of the country was enjoying a two-day holiday.

Moments into Mr Karzai’s opening address, however, he was interrupted by the whistle and thud of an incoming rocket. The Taleban — conspicuous by their absence — had, nonetheless, managed to get their point across.

Plumes of smoke rose from beyond the tent’s perimeter as two more explosions followed. Then the sound of gunfire filled the air. Mr Karzai had described the Taleban as brothers. They, in turn, were trying to kill him.

At least five rockets were fired during the morning, police said, with two suicide bombers killed and a third arrested after they were found hiding in the shell of a house under construction barely 500 metres from the Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly tent. Undeterred by either the risk to his life — he has survived at least three assassination attempts — or to the credibility of his conference, Mr Karzai urged his audience not to panic. “Sit down, nothing will happen,” he said. “I have become used to this.” In a direct appeal to his “dear Taleban brothers”, he said: “May God bring you to your homeland. Don’t destroy your homeland, don’t destroy yourself.”

The President left the conference in an armoured convoy, as planned, while the rest of the delegates formed smaller groups to try to agree on a set of ground rules for negotiating with the Taleban.

See also:
Taliban targets Afghanistan peace jirga
Afghan Peace Assembly Opens Amid Attacks
Suicide bombers in burkas attack Afghan peace conference
Afghan Insurgents Fire on Peace Conference
Taliban Attacks Dominate First Day of Peace ‘Jirga’
Taliban attack Afghan peace conference as Karzai speaks
Militants attack Afghan peace conference
Taliban by attacking Afghan peace jirga lashes at process
Taliban rockets hit as Karzai leads rare Afghan peace jirga
In pictures: Militants attack Afghanistan ‘peace jirga’
Gunfire erupts near venue of Afghan peace jirga
Three blasts hit near Kabul jirga tent
Afghan opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah vows to boycott ‘peace jirga’
Afghanistan: why US changed its mind about Karzai’s ‘jirga’

Um, I don’t think the Taliban is much interested in making peace, and why should they be? They can strike at will anywhere in Afghanistan and Obama’s already announced that we’re going to start withdrawing next year.

/it doesn’t take Sun Tzu to figure out that all the Taliban have to do is wait until we leave and then go sack Kabul for the big win, can you say Vietnam strategy regurgitated?