March 20 2011 Coalition Attacks Qaddafi, Gaza Border Heats Up- Netanyahu Treads Water

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 20 2011 Coalition Attacks Qaddafi, Gaza Border Heats Up- Netanyahu Treads Water

Who say history does not repeat itself? Well, once again an attack began (with the exception of a symbolic French sortie) with a massive barrage of cruise missiles aimed at Libyan anti-aircraft and other sites. I am not sure this is exactly what the US, or the rest of the world, had expected when the UN resolution was passed. Although it was clearly authorized. However, Gadaffi left no room for inaction, when he announced a ceasefire, which he blithely ignored. Then, he announced he would go house to house to destroy the opposition in Benghazi.

Gadaffi's attempt to capture Benghazi under the nose of the UN resolution and the American ultimatum made a vigorous allied response unavoidable.

Where we go from here is the big unknown. No leader has been overthrown by bombing. However, the one difference in this case is the fact there are people on the ground who want to overthrow Qaddafi. Initially, the momentum had been on the side of the rebels. Everyone, including me, believed Qadaffi’s days were numbered. Qadaffi clearly managed to regain the initiative. He was on the brink of complete victory before the intervention. The bombing campaign has alrealy changed that momentum again. The next few days will see how willing Qadiaffi’s loyalists will be willing to risk their lives, when at any moment an unseen missile or aircraft could strike them. Qaddafi may be able to hold out for a long time, or his support could suddenly collapse. Anyone who says they can predict which outcome is more likely is making a guess and no more.

The Gaza border has been heating up, with a large mortar attack on Southern Israel yesterday by Hamas and the firing of a Grad missile today. What is behind the new outbreak is hard to know. My sense is that Hamas does not want to be ignored. At the moment, the world is paying no attention to events in Gaza, and that is certainly not in the interest of Hamas.

Meanwhile, an Israeli court forced the Israeli government to admit it had indeed kidnapped the assistant chief engineer of the Gaza power station from Ukraine. The court forced the government to only confirm that fact and no other parts of the story. Clearly, Dirar Abu Sisi has to be more than just a power engineer, but we will have to wait for the rest of the story to come to light.

Netnayhu gave a rare interview to Piers Morgan (Larry King's replacement). Netanyahu has not given an interview with any Israeli newspapers in many, many months. (I think he may have given the traditional Rosh Hashanah interviews, but I am not sure). He holds no press conferences, and he manages to keep his views very close to vest. There is a growing frustration at a lack of clear direction from Netanyahu. In the interview, Morgan asked Netanyahu the same question in three different ways: "Don't you want to go down in history as someone who made a real difference and brought about peace, as opposed as a Prime Minster that accomplished nothing?" Netanyahu could only smile at those questions. He offered no answer.

Here is the full transcript:

An interesting article was written by Yossi Verter, in Friday’s Ha'aretz, called: MidEast pressure mounts, Netanyahu is left alone

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