“Some people think… Israel [is] testing the rockets that would be fired against [Iran] from Gaza, next from Lebanon,” Ignatius said during a roundtable discussion. “So we may see something with Lebanon soon because it’s a preliminary; this is a, kind of, warm-up round for the real conflagration that’s ahead that involves Iran.” [CBS News]
CNN REPORTED on Monday that the U.S. is sending three U.S. Navy amphibious warships back to the Mediterranean, where they’ll be on standby to evacuate Americans from Israel, if tensions escalate further. It comes as Israel postpones a ground invasion another day, which has little support anywhere, in order to allow Egypt more time to work the negotiations, which are easing toward an inevitable ceasefire.
From CNN on the warships:
“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.
On Sunday, David Ignatius speculated on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” starts at around 11:00 minutes in the video below, that there’s much talk that the Israel-Gaza conflict is a “warm up” for Iran, through the test run of Iron Dome missile system that has proven very effective in the current conflagration between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
On “Hardball” on Monday, Richard Engel joined the debate by saying what’s being judged by some as a test run for an attack on Iran “makes sense,” because they’re the real threat to Israel, and the attacks into Gaza could have been launched at any time.
The election now decided, Netanyahu is free to act as he feels necessary, with Obama making a strong statement about Israel’s right to defend herself, which covers a variety of horrible scenarios for the Middle East.
As an aside, people who have been blaming Susan Rice should check out Ignatius’s comments at around 7:00 minutes below when he explains the confusion about what was known about how Benghazi unfolded. It will give you an idea of why I’ve been writing some of the things I have since the witch hunt began. It’s followed up by the first question on why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi when it was so dangerous, which I asked weeks ago.