Afghanistan: In Kabul on the 22d, a Taliban suicide bomber killed at least four foreign security guards. The victims, three from Nepal and one from Peru, were guarding the entrance to buildings used by DynCorp within a fortified compound run by the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, according to Sayed Mahdi Kazemi, a police spokesman.
Comment: This had to be an inside job because the DynCorp facility is inside multiple checkpoints in a layered arrangement. The outer layer is manned by Afghan police guards, none of whom were casualties. The Nepalese, who man the inner guard posts, were most likely retired Ghurkas.
The bombing makes the statement that no one anywhere is safe in Kabul. It also seems to encourage the departing western military forces to take their contractors with them. Finally, it fits an emerging pattern of sensational attacks that exploit the political leadership vacuum resulting from the delay in announcing a new president because of the voter fraud audit.
Israel: On day 16 of Operation Protective Edge, two more Israel Defense Force soldiers died and 20 were wounded. Twenty-nine soldiers and two civilians have died thus far. Israeli forces attacked 200 targets. At least 630 Palestinians have died.
The army confirmed that the Israeli soldier whom Hamas claimed to have kidnapped died in combat. Hamas agents stole his IDs to try to fake a kidnapping.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told the media today that an immediate ceasefire was not likely. "First of all, it won't happen before we really finish the tunnels project which was laid out as a strategic objective. Second, it won't happen in a way in which Hamas' completely unacceptable conditions are met, because it just won't."
Comment: Hamas' terms for a truce include ending the Israeli operations; ending the naval blockade; releasing Hamas prisoners and opening the Rafah crossing into the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Those terms are not meant to be acceptable to Israel, which suggests that Hamas thinks the fighting has not yet achieved its political or propaganda goals.
An issue not discussed in mainstream media is the amount of funding Hamas is receiving from Arab states. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu paraphrased an analysis that argued Hamas needed a limited fight with Israel because it was broke and could not pay salaries or govern. According to this scenario, only a violent confrontation would prompt the Arab monarchs to loosen their purses. Hamas needs enough horror to stimulate donations, but not more than that.