by DEBKAfile, 4 January 2002
"Washington’s policy-makers ... are fully occupied in putting together the next stage of the Bush strategy against the 'axis of evil' – Iran, Iraq and [even] North Korea, [the primary supplier of missile technology and weapons of mass destruction to both countries] and Syria, and the subsidiary axis of the Hizballah, al Qaeda fighters sheltering in Lebanon and Syria, the Hamas, the Jihad Islami and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – all based in Damascus. Arafat’s Fatah, Tanzim, al Aqsa Brigades and presidential guard, Force 17, have not been formally listed, but they are already being treated in Washington as though they have been.
Perhaps his severe scolding by the TV interviewer kept Sharon from getting around to explaining that the Israeli navy and air force have been integrated with Turkey and Germany in the US- led operation to seal off the terrorists’ smuggling routes that were exposed when Karine-A was seized a month ago.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the United States is finishing building new bases and the deployment of the units required for throwing a naval and air blockade around the eastern Mediterranean shoreline, the east coast of Africa, the Persian Gulf and its approaches and the Red Sea.
It is designed interalia to seal off the routes for transferring
Palestinian, Hizballah and al Qaeda fighting strength from Lebanon and
the Persian Gulf to the Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as choking off
the Palestinians’ supplies of such war materials as guns, explosives, rockets
and mortars from Lebanon, the Balkans, Iran and the Persian Gulf.
Israel is taking part in the air and naval siege under preparation by the United States, Turkey, Oman and Jordan, as well as joining Jordan in sealing the overland routes across their countries and Palestinian areas against the passage of terrorists and illegal arms.
All of this leaves Arafat high and dry in Ramallah in the foreseeable future.
The next stage of the US-Israeli strategy for containing Palestinian terrorism will cut him off from the wherewithal for building up, replenishing and arming his militias and terror groups.
In the Oval Office next Wednesday, Sharon and Bush will get down
to the third stage."