· The current ground raids by Israeli forces inside Gaza are designed to find and destroy the tunnel network that Israel claims gives Hamas terrorists access to Israeli territory. According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday,
"Israel started a ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza on Thursday, intending to destroy Hamas's tunnel network.
"The challenge became obvious on Saturday when eight Palestinian fighters wearing Israeli military uniforms emerged from a tunnel 300 yards inside Israel and killed two Israeli soldiers in a firefight. One of the Palestinian fighters was killed before the others fled through the tunnel back to Gaza."
· None of the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and Oman) appear to be interested in stepping in to try to calm the conflict, and all eyes have turned to Egypt. In fact, the Arab League Secretary General was quoted as having said, "I don't see anyone else who can play that role ? If anyone else wants to help let him try."
· Egypt's new government did propose a cease fire but Hamas ignored it, claiming they had first heard Egypt's proposal from the media.
· Hamas had been most recently aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt led by Mohammed Morsi. Morsi's government was heavily supported by Qatar. But, Morsi was overthrown by the current anti-Muslim Brotherhood regime led by new Egyptian President, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
· According to a BBC analysis:
"These days Egypt has better relations with Israel than with the Islamists who run Gaza.
"There is little doubt that Egypt's security establishment would like to see Hamas crushed, as it has crushed the Brotherhood."
· Nevertheless, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, along with delegations from Qatar and Israel are reported to be in Cairo to attempt a diplomatic resolution to the current situation.
· Meanwhile, there's that whole Ukraine/Russia/EU situation.
· On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A map showing Gaza's location also links to the CIA's World Factbook entry for Gaza, a timeline from CNN, the Wall Street Journal piece on the tunnels, and BBC's piece on Egypt's role.
Also a Mullfoto showing exactly zero news on two pages of my Washington Post yesterdaymorning.