Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"This is no Kassam"

Under international law, a naval blockade is an act of war. Israel maintains a land, sea, and air blockade of Gaza. The Gazans respond by firing Kassam rockets into Israel.

The Kassam rocket—cartoonish in its simplicity—is a primitive (but scary) exaggeration of the rockets with which Americans celebrate Independence Day. Anywhere from 4-6 feet in length, it has a range of 30-50 miles. A direct hit can put a big hole in the average roof, or disable a car. After over 1,000 launches, they have actually killed a couple of people.

There is little use for coordinates when firing the Kassam. The Gazans simply position it in an orchard, point it toward the nearest Israeli town, and light the fuse.

The Israelis call the Kassam a “weapon of terror”. I suppose it is that. The Gazans call it “fighting back.”

Now Israel is contemplating air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. They have done it before—bombed the Osiris nuclear plant in Iraq, and again a site in Syria.

To give Israel pause, Iran has tested a surface-to-surface missile—one with a range of 1200 to 1500 miles. The test went well. Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad, declared to the Iranian people, “We hit the target.” U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates, called it “a success.”

The BBC summed up it report by saying, "Iran sent a message to the world community." No, the message was straight to Israel. It simply said, "It's no Kassam."

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