Monday, July 17, 2006

The Dark Crossroads

The Israeli response in Lebanon has been limited largely to preparatory aerial attacks. Chester examines the question of how a ground campaign, which he believes must clear the Bekaa Valley, may unfold. In the meantime, Ynet reports that the Israeli Ministry of Defense has called up three brigades of reserves which will relieve regular troops now deployed in Judea and Samaria -- the front facing Jordan -- so that these may be employed in the north.

Chester begins with an observation from Stratfor which seems incontrovertible. "No matter how effectively Israel seals the Lebanese coast, so long as the Syrian frontier is open, Hezbollah might get supplies from there, and might be able to retreat there." From this he reasonably concludes that any effective campaign has to degrade Hezbollah's strongholds in the Bekaa Valley, located between two rows of mountains which run parallel to the Syrian border, on Lebanon's eastern frontier.  A campaign in the Bekaa may provoke Syria, and Chester links to Michael Oren's (author of the Six Days of War) suggestion in the New Republic that Israel address that problem by pre-emptively attacking Syria.

 The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks--tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime--Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon. Supporting Hezbollah carries a prohibitive price, the action would say.

One idea is that ground operations against the Hezbollah will eventually produce some kind of buffer zone, which will be patrolled by Israelis or by an International Force. Bill Roggio at the Counterterrorism Blog describes Israel's past efforts to create a buffer zone in Lebanon against Hezbollah attacks. The most impressive item in Roggio's post is this map by Kathryn Cramer showing the coverage of Hezbollah's missiles from the vantage of Lebanon. It is clear from the graphic that as long as Hezbollah exists all of Israel will gradually come under the shadow of its rockets as their range increases. It spells the end of any hope of security from a buffer zone. Carl in Jerusalem quotes the mea culpas now being uttered by the newspapers and academics who dismissed the rocket threat from the Lebanon in terms eerily reminiscent of the disparagement of warnings the US public has heard about terrorist weapons of mass destruction. The rockets were simply banished from mind, until they started landing even in Israel's major cities.

The denial was not a press monopoly. Politicians and even some General Staff officers refused to regard the issue as a priority. The pullout from Lebanon, following 18 years of blood letting was accompanied with such an enormous sense of relief that any talk on what was left behind was considered troublesome.

The rocket deliveries continued on weekly flights from Iran to Damascus and Beirut, and Israel followed the movement with a near academic curiosity. In the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May, 2000, hundreds of Lebanese rushed to Fatma Gate, near Metula, and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. In response, the Israel Defense Forces enclosed the soldiers in a metal cage, and then pulled the position away from the border all together in an effort to avoid friction.

The strategic problem facing any Israeli ground commander in Lebanon is that his key objectives are not located within the theater. The enemy center of gravity is located outside of Lebanon. The callup of another three brigades worth of troops can either be interpreted as insurance against any unforseen setbacks in an extended campaign against Hezbollah up the Bekaa or an acceptance of a strategic objective outside Lebanon. Yet as Chester points out, Israel has much to fear in the long run by collapsing the Syrian regime. Without a stable successor state Syria may become a gigantic terrorist playground and rockets can be launched from the decaying husk of Syria just as well as from Lebanon. It is an unfortunate fact that ground taken doesn't stay taken unless it is occupied by your own or a friendly force. And where will you find a friendly force in Lebanon or Syria?  Taking on the Hezbollah may imply the necessity of restarting the Lebanese Civil War to create an end state where Hezbollah or groups like it are permanently driven from the scene. The same will go for Syria but on a far larger scale.

This of course is a recipe for a wider war, one which will leave not a single Arab regime, and possibly not a single country on earth unshaken. It's a dizzying prospect. What frightened me most about Oren's suggestion was not the suggestion, but that a sane and sober man like Oren should make it. The road to Bekaa Valley as measured on the map is a scant 30 kilometers from the Israeli border. The valley itself is only about 80 kilometers long. Distances are short in this part of the world. But in strategic terms the road to Bekaa stretches beyond human sight into dark regions we have never dared venture before. 

Richard Cohen, writing in the Washington Post understands that we have come to very edge of the precipice and has decided to leap the other way: not the road into Syria, but Israel into oblivion.

The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.

"Never Again" lasted all of sixty years.


Blogger 2164th said...

Syria may be a bridge too far for Israel at this time. The proxy wars being played out have been exposed with Hezbollah and the umteen thousand missiles, many of which have been fired at Israel. Nothing quite so blatant has occured from Syria. The balance of Arab states seem almost sanguine with Hezbollah getting their come-uppance and a de-toxified Lebanon will shatter the Iranian goal of an Islamic Republic of Lebanon. A thorough shellacking of Hesbollah will do more good for Israel and Lebanon than destroying five hundred old Syrian tanks.

7/17/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Wretchard wrote:

...the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.

America itself was a nation of European Christians created in an area of aboriginal animists and there was more than a century of scalping, trails of tears, little big horns and wounded knees. Lets wait another sixty years and see how things pan out after the distortion of oil money is no longer in the picture.

7/17/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I didn't write that. Cohen did. And I think Cohen's mistake is in hearkening back to some imaginary Middle East, populated by Saladin waging doughty war against the Crusaders. The Jews are no longer at the center of this problem. Events in Mumbai, Chechnya, Bosnia, Thailand, Bali, the Philippines and Denmark have nothing more to do with Israel. They have everything to do with what Paul Sheehan called the three strains: Wahabism, Iranian radical Islamism and Pakistani-Islamic nationalism. We may argue whether it is just those three. But the point is that the world crisis is no longer about Israel's existence.

7/17/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

I just remembered one of Rumsfeld's Rules: "If you cannot solve a problem, enlarge it." How apropro.

Sadly I think his rule applies to all sides in this fight. No one will win anything really worth fighting for unless the conflict is enlarged.

Thanks for linking.

7/17/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

re: Cohen

So very typical. So very predictable. So assimilatedly Jewish. Father Noam will be proud.

One is reminded of the quaking, vacillating, prevaricating leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto.

I could puke!

7/17/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

Schadenfreude for Iran:
May the Israelis wipe out Hizbullah and all the other Islamic Fascist terrorists. The quicker they wipe out the terrorists, the better. Three cheers to the courageous Israelis who are really fighting the Islamic Fascists and doing our job for us! Americans owe them one.
Looking forward to a bombing campaign of the Fascist Mullahs of Iran!

7/17/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

...[T]the [mistaken] idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.

In this sense Israel's presence in the midst of the Umma-mass is only a focus and catalyst for an inevitable explosion that had to occur when East met West. Sooner or later it wsa bound to come. Israel is not an aberration, it is a harbinger.

7/17/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

At a meeting between RAND and the Airforce in the 1950s, one analyst sketched out the logic behind counterforce. It went thus: if you strike a country's weapons with nukes without touching his cities, your deterrence does not diminish, because despite the fact that he has been stricken, you have your hostages still. When Hezbollah struck Haifa, it did a very subtle thing. It killed the hostage.

This destroyed any Israeli incentive for restraint. Now it knows that Hezbollah is only limited by capability. Hezbollah's intentions have already been revealed. It is worse if the trigger were pulled from Teheran. In that case, there is even less of case for restraint.

These events put the IDF on the road they are on. All paths now lead lead to dark places.

7/17/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...

cross posted @ chester

The WOT will never end until all the terrorist states are destroyed. Iran, Iraq, Syria, was the terrorist state supporters. Iraq split their lines and gave US a position to pressure and strike both Iran & Syria.

Israel I believe with US is going to go all the way. Syria is theirs Iran is ours.,7340,L-3277533,00.html

Israel ordered the reserves to the West Bank so the Regulars could deploy North. Ohh and they reinstated the draft. That last part says long long long conflict planning.

The biggest tell in my eyes is the Arab League.

To make Saudi Arabia, & Egypt to not only pass but actively stop a hate Jew opportunity. Then on top of that hint blame on Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, and Syria. WTF that is either a piece of the best Diplomatic work ever by US/Israel or those leaders US allies understand that the US is done playing and its just like we said after 9-11 you are with US or against US.

Those leaders know full well that if they chose the Islamist side over the US side they would lose. And worse even if they did somehow win and drive the US/Israel from the field the Islamist next target would be those very "corrupted dictators". So their only option is to throw their lot with the US or die.

But those leaders would never even hint such unless it really was game time and they just hinted it real loud were they stand not only with the US but the most hated Joooo's.

It’s on. I think Israel will go it slow degrading Hezbollah as much as possible before they expand to the Bekaa something that will surely draw in Syria either by their choice or Israel chasing Hezbollah across the border. Like you mentioned Chester the Bekaa borders Syria like we know in Afghanistan if they cross the mountains with no blocking force across the border it’s a useless operation.

This is the Big Show Guys and WW4 yeah it started in the 80’s and we just didn’t realize it until 9-11 and it sounds like the whole world including even those who refuse to see will learn as well very soon very soon indeed.

7/17/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...

Ohh I forgot to mention this. Like your cut from the LLL in the last comment saying that

“understands that we have come to very edge of the precipice and has decided to leap the other way: not the road into Syria, but Israel into oblivion.”

That I believe is true for most of the LLL’s the world over. They have settled themselves with their self hate that if they could just throw Israel to the sacrifice that the Islamist blood lust for world domination will be ended. This is exactley what happened to poor Checkslovakia in WW2.

Thrown to the wolf in the false hope that once he gets blooded he will become tame but only to find that once blooded he becomes the true monster stronger and crazed with the taste of blood.

I have been swinging by Kos and I know they are LLL nuts but the comments all lead to the same result that its either sacrifice Israel slowly in piece meal or worse but the same still. Even the LLL’s light cant imagine doing what must be done to avert the inevedable. They just shamfully fall in the very slowly category.

If god forbid the Islamist do achieve victory over Israel and reconquer “palestine” it will be just a short period of consolidation of power as they take out the current corrupted leaders of the ME before the names of Romania, Bosnia, Albania, Thialand, Andullah(Spain), Caucasas, ect…. Are added to the list. Hell I have even seen Aljazera stories of how Columbus’s navigator was a Muslim so I suppose in in a way America as well was for a brief moment Muslim lands.

It will never end until Islamic radicalism is crushed, we are converted, or we are all crushed. My fellows we have entered the Terror Dome there is only one rule “2 man enter 1 man leaves”. Substitute “man” with “ideology” and it is todays senerio.

7/17/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

well said, c-low.

7/17/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Cohen's advice to Israel? Hunker down.

Of course, we should not be surprised. That's his advice for us, too. Waging war only makes your enemies angrier and more determined, don't ya know?

(WFBuckley recently wondered why the Muslim's flame burns so brightly. Perhaps it's because he was never told that Islam was a mistake.)

Constructively, and putting anger aside, the idea of a "buffer-zone" is the greatest of folly. Not only will the missiles fly farther, they will soon be able to deliver nastier and nastier payloads. Eventually, a ten-man team living in the suburbs of Beirut will be able to kill thousands of Israelis in Tel Aviv and then disappear. The buffer zone will have been worse than useless, then.

Taking out Syria's military assets and terrorist-supporting infrastructure is the right way to go (i.e. keep the hostages alive). Sure, if Assad falls the next regime might be worse, and so on until the entire region is simply too exhausted or too dead to continue.

But that is an argument to begin, not an argument to delay. Enemies are to be appeased or destroyed. Hopefully Israel has learned that it's now time for the latter.

7/17/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...

That part about Columbus Navigator being Muslim along with the thousands of other Muslim’s being the foundation of everything from inventing this or that to cradle of civilization to even discovering America on a European ship. This is eerily familiar of another group of people who went around the world from Egypt, Tibet to Atlantis explaining how the “Nordic Race” was truly the driving force of everything good in the world. What was that insane group called ohh yeah the Nazi’s.

7/17/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger dhherion said...

Overthrowing Assad would probably make matters a lot worse. Who knows what might follow if that regime collpased. I think we need a diplomatic coup to bring/buy Syria away from Iran. Syria is a mostly Sunni country ruled by an authoritarian dictator. The only reason they joined with Radical Shiite Iran is they were the only game in town after the Soviet Union imploded and they lost their benefactor.

We should seriously try to woo Assad away from Iran - it should be even easier if Israel applies military pressure on them. We pulled Egypt away from the Russians in the 70s. It cost a couple billion a year but there has not been an all out war since 73. The total wealth of the First World (US, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia) is a 100X that Of Iran.

We could safeguard their regime, provide economic assistance and possibly in the future help them regain the Golan. The pluses would be: Iran would be completely isolated, Hezbollah would be cutoff from their client state and easily destroyed, Lebanon would stabilize, fewer jihadists would be flowing into Iraq from Syria, and oil prices would quickly stabilize and probably fall (more than enough to pay for any economic aid). I hate the Assad regime but their goals are survival and regaining the Golan. I don't think they share Iran's global ambitions. They are playing the only hand they have. We need to deal them some new cards.

7/17/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger chthus said...

Should things play out in a quickly spiralling manner, what, if any, are the US' options for securing Pakistan's nukes should Musharaff be overthrown or change his stripes?

Also, does Iran have functional Russo-Sino Sunburn missile technology at this point?

7/17/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

dhherion - . I think we need a diplomatic coup to bring/buy Syria away from Iran. Syria is a mostly Sunni country ruled by an authoritarian dictator. The only reason they joined with Radical Shiite Iran is they were the only game in town after the Soviet Union imploded and they lost their benefactor.

Initially, right after 9/11, Syria allied with us in what was then misleadingly called the Global War on Terror. Syrian secret police bagged some Al Qaeda bad guys, broke up some plots targeting - Turkey and Italy I think, and Syrian interrogators happily broke the AQ hard asses we sent them.

While Syria had been a bad actor in Lebanon and had worked with Hezbollah when Israel was an Occupier, the reapproachement with the US was real.

And short-lived, unfortunately.

As Syria, Turkey, Jordan all really fell out with us over invading Iraq, and for Syria, reckless talk by Bush Administration Neocon war triumphalists that Syria was "next" led Syria to redouble support of Hezbollah and become the logistics base of the Insurgency Rumsfeld and company were oblivious was forming.

Syria can still, as dhherion says, be turned into our camp in a diplomatic coup. They are mostly Sunnis (with large Druze, Christian, and Allewite minorities). The alliance of Syria Ba'athists with fanatic Shia clerics is not a natural fit - as dhherion notes - it is only because the Soviets weakened as sponsors, their past natural ally Egypt cut a separate peace, and the US political establishment is distrusted as bought tools of Israel. The whole Arab sunni population is exceptionally concerned about a Persian-led Shiite revival controlling lands stretching from Afghanistan shiite populations to the west of that country all the way to Lebanon..With only Sunni parts of Iraq and Syria blocking that looming "Shiite Cresent".

The US can offer a better deal if we are willing to overlook that our loud-mouthed neocon's bragging about "taking out Syria next" likely cost us several hundred additional troop KIAs....and Syria is given assurances of stability and American opposition against future Turkish and Israeli land-grabs and peaceful coexistence with Iraq in return for cutting ties with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah. And returning to the effort Syria had such a promising beginning in 2001-2002 in finding and taking out the classic Al Qaeda type terrorist.

And add sweeteners that the US and KSA will give Syria development monies and export assistance if Hezbollah is cut off from Iran and Syria signs final borders with Israel as Jordan, Egypt have done.

7/18/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

A thoughtful post, C4, a carrot/stick approach may be necessary here, th Syrians probably know thy stand no real chance with the Israeli's if push comes to shove.

All might depend on how tight the Iranian grip on them is. If they start to waver, I would not be surprised to see Iran hae Assad killed and a new set come in. Iran is playing for time they probably will want to spin things out as far as they can.

7/18/2006 01:34:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

If Israel, as expected demolishes or better yet eviscerates Hezbollah, it will not have to do anything with Syria. Baby doc will make some significant pee-pee in his pants and will help wrap up remants of Whoisbollah inside Syria. C-4 is correct in that certain pundits should listen to very French looking Chirac and “missing a wonderful opportunity to keep his mouth shut”.

Unrelated note: A banner on MSNBC says "Lebanese" rockets falling on Haifa. Interesting selection of adjective.

7/18/2006 02:57:00 AM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

A thoughtful post....

No, actually. To believe that Syria was ever, or could ever be, an ally of the US in the WOT is a woeful misreading of the Syrian regime and those bones thrown in the direction of Washington by a prudent, cagey dictatorship.

It's what happens when one's analysis is thoroughly addled by an antipathy to neocons.

7/18/2006 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger RaymondW said...

Am I the only one who tunes out the schmuckos who use the term neo-con?

7/18/2006 03:54:00 AM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

NDS (Neocon Derangement Syndrome)is a mutated variant of BDS.

7/18/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

I don't think a diplomatic coup with Syria is possible, and I'm curious why "overthrowing Assad would make matters much worse."

It's cynical, but with our troops or allies on all sides of Syria, if the serious Syrian miltary were destroyed (including WMD which would have to be seized by our forces) and the borders sealed, what's wrong with letting the various Syrian factions wipe each other out until they are so exhausted a rational administration can be put in place?

7/18/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I'll try to be optimistic for a moment.

I wonder what new "steady state" for geo-politics could emerge from all this (short of wide spread war).

The Regime in Iran looks less and less like a cult and more and more like a suicide pact willing to take the rest of the world with it when it goes.

This is resulting in a surprisingly diverse "coalition of forces" emerging against it. Regime survival may force it to seek protection.

Who can protect it? China and Russia. I don't think either one of them would try to do it alone -- you've acquired a millstone, not an ally.

But together they could form a block that stretches from North Korea to the Ukraine. Russia would bring in the Central Asian Republics and China would bring in Pakistan. Nato would be squeezed from Afghanistan (but the new government could remain).

As a condition Russia and China must denuke Korea and Iran -- they would have to be clients, not nuke armed allies that will get you all killed.

Syria would go Sunni, regime wise. The Sunnis would align with the West -- but quite loosely. The Islamic world would be split for a time (in historic terms), but this "Islam on the March thing" must be making even Muslims nervous (they could march off the cliff).

What about the Palestinians? Well, they've whored themselves to every trouble maker in the world but in the Iranian regime they may have gone a pimp to far. So they will accept whatever settlement they are offered -- for decade or two, anyways.

Iraq becomes a buffer state with a US presence, perhaps allied with Turkey. Nato becomes relevant as a defensive alliance once more. And so on.

The Mullahs will survive but their ambitions will be set back at least a decade (they will tell themselves) but probably much more.

The French will continue.

International terrorism will return to being "a diplomatic note delivered by other means" as it was during the cold war. No more mega attacks that will get you all killed.

This is sounding like a "realist" wet dream. Sorry.

7/18/2006 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In WWII the Japanese stronghold of Rabual was a tough nut to crcak - and teh answer was not to crack it but got to Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan itslef. Rabaul ended the war still in Japanese hands, used by the allies for what amounted to training missions for new aircrews on their way to the real front.

The Bekka Valley is the same way. When different flags fly over Damascas and Tehran, it will be no more than a tourist destination.

7/18/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Still waiting...

Someone call Israel,
tell them the Iwo Jima is not an Egyptian aircraft carrier.

Hate to see another case of "mistaken identity"

After seven days there are more and more folk that see the wisdom in "on to Damascus", while there are some that still do not.

If HB would just give Israel a buffer, all could be forgiven, or not. Depends on which Israeli is talking.

7/18/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

The only thing Syria has done for us in the WOT is to torture a few suspects and wring some information out of them, nothing more. A destabalized Syria only weakens palestinian terrorists and Iran and ultimately destablizes Lebanon into another civil war. Israel's current actions, which are necessary, are already destabalizing Lebanon, so why let other pieces of the pie go unbitten?

7/18/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I think to win the WOT, you don't need freinds as much as you need allies. Italy was actually voting against us before they voted for us in WWII. Pakistan and Musharraf were at best ambivalent until he got religion after 911. Patton was no fan of Montgomery. Stalin and Hitler were once allies so it is not inconceivable That Syria could be induced to jump on the strong horse. This is no time for doctrinaire thinking.

On a slightly related matter, being critical of Israel is not necessarily being an anti-semite. Clearly many critics are, but Israel is still a state. It is no different than France or Bolivia in classification. The Neocon term has become a soft slur. Presbyterian does not come to mind when one hears "neocon". The term distracts. However, the users of the term may not see it as it is perceived by others. For better or worse, we are united in the recognition of a common enemy. Save the unhelpful nonsense for another time.

7/18/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

my apologies for the typos.

7/18/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

rwe said:

The Bekka Valley is the same way. When different flags fly over Damascas and Tehran, it will be no more than a tourist destination.

Uh...yeah...sort of like that other great theme park, Auschwitz-Welt.

7/18/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

2164 wrote:

The Neocon term has become a soft slur. Presbyterian does not come to mind when one hears "neocon".

The use of the word "neo-con" is just a covert way for the conspiracy nuts to say "The International Jew" without all the baggage that goes along with that. It's kind of like getting those little square moustaches back in style by calling them a "Charlie Chaplin".

7/18/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Bush is pissed at Assad. I think he thought he had an understanding, or something.

This could go sweet if Syria could just be co-opted. They're hearing all the dovish rhetoric out of the West, and straddling the fence.

We need to get somebody really good over to Damascus, right now. Assad needs to be disabused of the notion that he can stall his way through this deal.

7/18/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

If HB would just give Israel a buffer, all could be forgiven, or not. Depends on which Israeli is talking.

Can you spell D-I-S-I-N-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N? What do you expect them to say? We don't care what you do with the Leb army because when it comes to HB we're going to kill them all

Israel is expected to make demands at this point so it makes demands. Whether they have any bearing on reality remains to be seen. If saying something publicly will make HB or Syria sleep a little easier and be a little less aggressive so much the better.

Aside from that Israelis have big mouths. Each one is king in his own castle, has his own opinions, and is prepared to tell them to anyone who cares to listen, or argue.

7/18/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Meanwhile, in NYC the NYTimes feels the financial squeeze, cutting jobs and redesigning the paper and retooling the finished product, to cut costs.

Will not be long and that old Chuck Heston film,
"Gray Lady Down"
will be rereleased.

7/18/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

UP, kind of like bloggers?

7/18/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Bush is going to have a Katrina type response problem if they do not start getting those Americans out of Lebanon soon. Probably already too late. I can see them lining up with Pelosi and Kennedy for photo shots when they get back.

7/18/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Desert rat wrote:

Meanwhile, in NYC the NYTimes feels the financial squeeze, cutting jobs and redesigning the paper and retooling the finished product, to cut costs.

Gosh, if they make the paper smaller doesn't that undercut the primary purpose of the NYT, which is to wrap fish (and send old Sicilian messages)?

7/18/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

If one takes the comments of Richard Cohen to their logical conclusion, it would be Judaism that is the "honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable..."

One of the things that held Jews together for so many generations was the hope, perhaps the vain hope, of "next year, Jerusalem". Zionism is not the mere invention of socialist journalists, but it is embedded within the Jewish faith itself. Although I doubt that Richard Cohen would go so far as to claim Judaism was a mistake, Mr. Cohen seems to be amazingly close to extolling his own version of "Holy Apostasy".

7/18/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

utopia parkway wrote:

Can you spell D-I-S-I-N-F-O-R-M-A-T-I-O-N? What do you expect them to say?

Master Sun Tzu said, "All warfare is based on deception."

7/18/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That storyline is already being played by the AP, with cause. The US is about late in getting evac ships to Beirut, at least in the minds of the US citizens waiting to get out.
The Israeli cancelled their plane reservations, without 72 hours notice.

Meanwhile, where the US is responsible for Security of the population, the continued anarchy is, well, continueing

Minivan Explodes Among Crowd of Laborers in Southern Iraqi City of Kufa; 53 Dead, 105 Wounded

Kufa a "stronghold" of Mr al-Sadr, they say. So it may well have been a Sunni bomber, supplied through the ratline, from Syria. Or not.

That is another, different war.

7/18/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger RaymondW said...

Stupid Question-

About these 'kaytusha?' rockets. I see references in the press to these. Are we talking the ww2 era weapons or are they referring to this type of weapon?

7/18/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Hamza said...

All the weapons The Isrealis are using on the people of Lebanon, were given to them by The united States government.

7/18/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

rwe; 6:02 AM

It has been a long time, but I seem to recall Manchester writing that Rabaul was the classic example of MacArthur’s axiom, “Hit em where they ain’t.”

When I am really feeling vindictive, I think of the Hezbollah salient in southern Lebanon in the same way. No Dien Bien Phu; rather, a years’ long agony of attrition, sickness, and starvation, just like Rabaul.

7/18/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


7/18/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Alexis said:

Zionism is not the mere invention of socialist journalists, but it is embedded within the Jewish faith itself.

A lot of xians of the Pastor John Hagee variety believe that too, because they desperately want to hang on to the existence of the State of Israel as proof of the supernatural fulfillment of prophesy. In reality the Medinat Yisra'el is just a secular state that exists in the land of Eretz Yisra'el, without authorization from the Creator (there has been no pillar of fire and accompanying consecration by YWHW), and the orthodox Jews are sort of going along for the ride. On the other hand, it is possible to root for the project as sort of an American "Mini-Me" which is how I look at it.

7/18/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus; 6:38 AM

The biggest problem I see with getting Syria onboard is the Syrian military, which probably has been massively infected by the Hezbollah virus, as have their Lebanese counterparts. Rather than take the risk of being undermined by a renegade Syrian military, particularly given what may be a narrow window of opportunity, wouldn't wisdom direct the hit on Syria, now?

utopia parkway; 6:39 AM

"Israelis have big mouths"

It takes one to know one. You don't look Jewish.

Good post.

7/18/2006 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Amnesty for Syrian Baathists!

These folk have actively fought against US troops on the border, facilitated the Iraqi Insurgency,
given safe haven to Iraqi Baathists and other terrorists,
and are the enemies of freedom and democracy, the cornerstone of the Bush Doctrine.

Yet folk here advocate bribing them for short term gain.

Don't waste the time or money.
They were offered terms,
they made their decision,
They will never be "allies"

It's like dealing with Nazis.
You guys will make Condi proud.

7/18/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Allen you might be right. I honestly, (surprise, surprise,) don't have a clue.

7/18/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Is there a rosy scenario? All the options outlined seem horrible in one way or another. Could Israel wipe out Hezbollah? Is that actually possible and not improbable? If it were, and they in fact did, could the Syrians, without a proxy group to fight for them, become like Libya (that is, flip and act decently)? And is it possible for Lebanon to find the cojones to act in their own interests?

7/18/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Allen, anywhere but the Muslim world, I would say that rational actors would, when they see which way the wind is blowing, move over to the winning side. Especially, under existential circumstances. In the ME, Who Knows?

7/18/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Taumarunui said...

Cohen forgets that hald the Jews that fled to Israel in 1948 had been expelled from Arab countries. He would forget that, wouldn't he?

7/18/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Wretchard said "These events put the IDF on the road they are on. All paths now lead lead to dark places."

Dark compared to what? A month ago Hezbollah was just as much a danger as it is now. A month from now they will be much less dangerous.

It's not a dark place, it's a dark passage which leads into the light.

7/18/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Ron, I think we see now that the leadership of Lebanon IS Hezbollah.

DR, that's what nations do. We supported, and allied with Stalin. You can't get any worse than that, but it was existential. Today, we're protecting Sunni's in Iraq. It's in our interests.

The Game is Iran. Everything else is just tactics.

7/18/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat; 7:34 AM

While I am in almost total agreement with you, for the sake of momentary expediency, I am willing to give to those who disagree benefit of doubt. There is, I guess, some wisdom in Napoleon's observation, "I will kiss anyone's ass to get what I want."

habu_3; 7:32 AM

The geography of the Bekaa region, so well described by you, could also be a coffin for an invading army, especially if Israel's good friend Syria were to renege and either use or permit Hezbollah to use unconventional weapons. It is for precisely this reason that no prudent (sane) military leader would move without first having neutralized Syria.

7/18/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The strategy of taking out Syria's military assets and destroying their terrorist-supporting infrastructure is the correct one.

While I agree that it would be a diplomatic coup to separate Syria from Iran, I really don't think it is likely. Syria didn't just choose Iran during a flight of fancy, she was driven to Iran and convinced -- convinced -- that such an alliance was a long-term necessity.

Now, I can only speculate on how she was convinced. Was it the irresoluteness of America in Iraq, which made her believe in our inevitable departure from the region? Was it our refusal to respond to her perfidy? Was it the democratic groundswell of support for Hezbollah and Hamas next door? Was it Iran's future nuclear umbrella, or Russia's patronage, perhaps?

Whichever it was, Syria was convinced that the best long-term play was to be an ally and client of Iran. And now Hezbollah and Israel are at war. Has anything changed, since Israel began bombing Hezbollah, to cause the necessary level of doubt that is a precondition of such a dramatic change of course?

Not significantly. Worse, these events were instigated by Syria and Iran, and it's possible that they are, so far, going swimmingly, completely consistent with strategy and world-view. Iran is still belligerent and recalcitrant on the nuclear question, Syria is still sitting on a ton of chemical weapons, Hezbollah seems to be drawing Israel into a protracted ground war which will end with Hezbollah decimated but not destroyed, Iraq is spiraling into chaos, etc. The uncertainty of Israel's response makes them nervous, but it's probably the kind of nervous you get after catching a glimpse of the finish line. If Israel and Hezbollah war with each other just a little while longer with nothing bad happening to Syria, Iran will get her nukes and it will be game, set, match. At least, that's how they see it.

Therefore, Israel needs to disrupt this fantasy with a military ultimatum. Otherwise, Assad will believe he can coast through this the same way his father coasted through his crises du jour: by staying quiet and still.

If Israel bombs support nodes and offensive assets without decapitating the regime, that will be the time for one final diplomatic overture by the US in the spirit of brokering an emergency ceasefire. Concessions for survival, an offer that will make much more sense when the Syrian's understand that their current long term strategy is a house built on sand.

7/18/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

it takes one to know one. You don't look Jewish.

I have a yidische punim. Believe me.

7/18/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus; 7:38 AM

Man, you have hit the nail squarely on its head!

As a modern Western man, I am hard pressed: Why can't we do deals with these people?

Take me once, shame on you
Take me twice, shame on me

Carpe Diem!

7/18/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No, ron, because Libya did not "flip". They gave up worthless reasearch for access to capital markets.

There has been little "improvement" for Libya
Libya’s secretary of foreign liaison and international cooperation (foreign minister) met U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in New York in September 2005, the highest bilateral meeting between the two countries in more than twenty years. Full diplomatic relations are stymied because Libya remains on the U.S. government’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

Sponsor a terrorist, you are a terrorist.
Except when not.

If this's what we get from "Allies", under Mr Bush & Ms Rice, well ...

7/18/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Raymondw--Katushka discussion here (ht Jamie Irons thru Roger Simon).

"Grey Lady Down" starring--Moses! It's cosmic!

7/18/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Does everyone remember how we used the back-channel to do the deal with the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis?

We really need this now. Bush really needs a way of getting word to two, or three, people in Damascus: "Deal now, or lose your Country. We're Not stopping Israel, and Hezbollah is a thing of the past. Iran will Not have Nukes. The clock has "One Tick Left. Don't Screw Up!"

7/18/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Stalin was an Enemy of our Enemy that bore the brunt of WWII.

Both in casualties and infrastructure destroyed.

Syria offers no such gain.

A modern tank battle, under Israeli skies and a MAD umbrella, would set the Doc back, further than is hoped for the Iranian cascades.

Then baby Doc may stand down and quit the fight. If the Syrians have chemical weapons, it is the weapons that are the threat, not the operator. If the weapons are destroyed, who rules makes little difference, a weaken Baathist clique or the King of Jordan.

7/18/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

BTW, Oil is "Flying." The Traders have decided that Israel is "Going."

7/18/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

DR, I guess what scares me is, "the prospect of chaos in Syria." We really don't want that, right now!

It's that old, unintended consequences, thing, again.

7/18/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The stability of Sytia is cause for the instability in Lebanon and Iraq.

Destabilize Syria, you'll begin to stabilize Iraq. For the Enemy it is a Regional War, for US a couple of distinct local affairs.

Our offical perception is skewed and out of focus, we have not identified the scale or scope of the Enemy, if we had there would be no question but to act decisively against Syria.

7/18/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

aristides; 7:50 AM


As to why Syria chose its alliance with Iran, my answer is "(e): all of the above." The decision was perfectly rational from the Syrian perspective at the time. Now, Syria must die.

7/18/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As long as there is a Baathist Government in Syria, there will be foreign sanctuary for Iraqi Baathist Insurgents.

7/18/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

DR, all that you say is True.

However, that doesn't mean we have to Destroy Syria. It would be much more efficient to Change their Behavior.

To do this we have to be able to scare the bejeesus out of them. Maybe, we can. Maybe, we can't. But, I hope we try.

7/18/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

DR, I guess what scares me is, "the prospect of chaos in Syria." We really don't want that, right now!

It's that old, unintended consequences, thing, again.

We, or Israel, has to weigh the unintended consequences against the intended consequences.

When OIF began Syria was very worried that they were our next step. The Sharon administration at that time was uninterested in toppling Assad because of the unintended consequences. If HB is dead or dying and US support vis-a-vis Iran is good I think the calculus changes.

I don't expect Israel to tip their hand about this though until HB is much more in decline and I don't expect the US administration to tip its hand either until their are further developments.

7/18/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I was reading the Rueters piece about the "open mike" affair

Breaking with diplomatic formalities, Bush hailed Blair, his closest European ally, with the words "Yo, Blair". His solution to the Middle East crisis was that Syria should press Hizbollah to "stop doing this shit".

Implicit in the statement to Mr Blair, that as the "sponsor" Syria could stop Hezbollah. Ergo, Syria, by being able to stop it, was responsible for this terror.

Where or where did the Bush Doctrine go. Where oh where could it be?

7/18/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

utopia parkway,

And not a Macker, but an Ubermensch

7/18/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Syrians are so afraid they were transporting more rockets into Hezboland on D+6.

7/18/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

DR, I detected a mixture of "Anger," and "Disappointment" in his voice.

I, also, had the impression of someone "reacting" to news. I found that somewhat unsettling. I didn't get the impression of someone "ahead of the curve. Maybe, he'll get caught up. Maybe, he was just "playin possum" for Blair.

7/18/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...


Allen made a good point. The "Leadership" wouldn't, necessarily, have to know if someone in the military was slipping some missiles into Lebanon. Iran could be throwing some big money around, here.

7/18/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I get the impression we are involved in a bunch of unrelated terrorist incidents and a War that went a bit awry.

As time goes on I see less and less of a "Grand Stratergy" and more of crisis managemnt. With each crisis treated as unrelated to the last or the next.

The promises of the '02 State of the Union, unfulfilled. Not by failire at the attempt, but by the lack of the effort to even try.

7/18/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Is it our war now?


Iran's Hizbollah says ready to attack US, Israel
TEHRAN (Reuters) -

Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.

"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.

"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise

Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.

Iranian religious organisations have made great public show of recruiting volunteers for "martyrdom-seeking operations" in recent years, usually threatening U.S. interests in case of any attack against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

7/18/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then the Lebanonese people and it's elected government are not responsible for Hezzbollah, rufus.

That is the same line of logic.

Logic which I'm sure if I reread the last 7 days of posts you have rejected "out of hand".

7/18/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


There has been talk this morning about a “back channel” message to the Syrians. They got one, directly from the horse’s mouth: President George W. Bush, during his “accidentally” recorded repartee with Mr. Blair, came in loud an clear. If the Syrians did catch that and act accordingly, then, it’s this month’s Darwin Award for Mr. Assad.

As all here might have noticed, in passing, Mr. Bush has been on my Shmuck list for some time, but give credit where credit is due. He and Mr. Blair had the best act going since Fred and Ginger. Well done, Mr. President! Now, if he will stick with the message, he will be my hero.

7/18/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

DR, we both know that you can't fight a war through "speeches."

Speeches are to rally the population. Wars require planning, logistics, forming alliances, inter-governmental politics, etc, etc, etc.

The whole thing, in it's entirety, isn't going all that badly if you take it piece by piece. The part about SA, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, et al coming out against the Hez is Huge if you think about it.

7/18/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It has always been our war, w.w.
At least since '53 when we helped to reinstall the Shah.

7/18/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


add: If the Syrians did NOT catch that and act accordingly, then, it’s this month’s Darwin Award for Mr. Assad.

Sorry, senility does that, you know.

7/18/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


No problem, what can another shlemiel hurt?

7/18/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

DR, The Marine's first foreign battle was "Tripoli." What was that? Two Hundred and Thirty Years, Ago?

7/18/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, the Muslim world is cracking along the Sunni/ Shia fault line.
Only baby doc ruling through tyranny is in a Sunni country, supporting the Shia.

That OPPORTUNITY is huge.

He is most at risk, now.
The stand of the KSA is factored into the scenario.
Syria will flip, as soon as the Baathist are destabilized. It will join the Sunni bloc. Cutting off Hezbollah in Lebanon from it's supply teat

Whether the US should stand between the rival Muslim factions to postpone their Sectarian dispute, well that's just another unrelated local event to be decided upon later.

7/18/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

seen on PJM

"06:53 PDT Saddam ‘warns Syria against alliance with Iran’: “Toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has issued a warning to the Syrian leadership ‘not to go too far in its alliance with Iran,’ blaming Tehran for the current flare-up of violence in the Middle East, the head of Saddam’s defence team claimed Tuesday.”"

I vote this be the Wiki example of irony.

7/18/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Feb 16, 1804. The Marines sailed into Tripoli Harbor, on the USS Intrepid. Recaptured the Philadelphi, and burned it.

Two Hundred and Two Years, ago.

7/18/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The never ending problems, Tripoli and the Halls of Montezuma, Mexico.

Some things are cyclical.

7/18/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Speakin of Mexico
States stepping up to tackle immigration laws

Federalism at it's best.
To bad more than half the Iraqi reject the concept out of hand.

7/18/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

BTW, the first American President to pay "the jiz" to the Mohammedans was, George Washington.

7/18/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the example of Libya, a nuthouse if there ever was one.

And, it is true, the govt of Leb is repulsive, incredibly stupid and cowardly.

My point was only this: Can Israel eliminate Hezbollah? And if it can and did, is it possible that Syria might rein in its love of terrorism (lacking anyone to sponsor)?

Or are all the options horrible?

7/18/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As the Israeli withdraw from Syria, the forces in Joran, the ones the IDF Reservists are now facing, drive north to secure & occupy their new annexed territory.

Those Jordanians would be greeted as liberators.
Double, because they'd be liberated both from Baathist tyranny and a defeat at the hands of the Jew. Just some nimble timing required and it's win-win all around.

7/18/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This could be the trigger for US entry into the war, as our military moves in for evacuation.

The United States ordered five warships to head for Lebanon on Tuesday in its first major evacuation of Americans as thousands of foreigners packed their bags to flee Israeli air strikes pounding the country.

The U.S. navy said three amphibious ship, a helicopter carrier and a dock landing ship would be involved.

7/18/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

DR - These folk have actively fought against US troops on the border, facilitated the Iraqi Insurgency,
given safe haven to Iraqi Baathists and other terrorists,
and are the enemies of freedom and democracy, the cornerstone of the Bush Doctrine.

Yet folk here advocate bribing them for short term gain.

Don't waste the time or money.
They were offered terms,
they made their decision,
They will never be "allies"

It's like dealing with Nazis.
You guys will make Condi proud.

America doesn't have friends, as the saying goes, only interests.

And it was in our Interests to work with Stalin. W Germany and Japan were partners by 1950. Cold War unsavory proxies, detent, China triangulation, peristroika..Pakistan. KSA. Libya.

Your "eternal enemies" approach dooms us to have no allies but our "bestest, specialist friends". Which other than Australia and the UK, are drains and liabilities on us.

Slur or not, the neocons could not restrain themselves after Afghanistan. Fed a steady diet of "invicible America" high tech war weapon porn, they blabbed and blabbed about a series of wars recommended by the authors of "Clean Break" and endorsed by the neocons of the PNAC, who grew to dominate the Bush Administration. And targeted Syria for "regime change" and from VP Cheney on down, gave speeches and op-eds printed globally to that effect, touting the triumphalist Neocon vision. [Back in the day when Neocons came out of the back rooms and were proud to say they were neocons and had won sumpremacy over Republican foreign policy and conservatism, blithely dismising traditional Reagan-type conservatives as "paleo-cons.]

If neocon is now a slur word, so low have the self-identified neocons fallen they have no defense other than to say it is "bigoted" to criticize the disaster they were to America, it is an accurate slur.

After Iraq fell, the threats on Syria rose..."Faster America! Faster please!" And presented Syria with an impossible choice. Come groveling, accept "democracy" and reliquish power to radical Islamist forces in Syria.

Or face the JDAM and the high tech wonder warrior.

Syria chose a path of keeping power, tying up the high tech wonder warrior in Iraq with their full support of their brother Sunni's insurgency. And quickly saw survival, while the neocons were in charge, also rested on getting a patron, ASAP. Since the US had ruled itself out on neocon criteria that a foe of Israel that lacks accessible oil or nukes must be an enemy of America, with Russia still reeling, China uninterested because Syria lacked any resources that would serve Rising China.....

That left Iran as Syria's only possible sponsor. And working with it's Iranian proxies, Hezbollah. Despite the poor fit. The only basis of alliance with Shiite, Islamist Iran for the secular Ba'athists is the US driving them together.

With Syria's unsavory dictatorship and plenty of other downsides - it is important not to overlook that Syria is the most tolerant Muslim nation towards religious minorities, with a large Christian, Druse, Allewite population.

Accept that we have hundreds of "extra" dead soldiers, thousands of maimed, and an extra 150 billion-200 billion in blown US wealth - Desert Rat - simply because from Cheney on down, neocons indulged themselves in "You're Next Syria" threats and got Syria to respond by backing the Iraq insurgency. And worse, in survival mode, Syria decided the stronger Iran became in the Levant, the less likely an American invasion of Syria to better secure the neocon goal of an Israel safe to consolidate it's land grabs.... was.....

7/18/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

War is horrible, ron.
It should be concluded in victory ASAP.
Time is of the essence.

No, Israel will be unable to destroy Hezzbollah. It is transnational in scope, with a growing cadre of recruits in Lebanon.
In the end the Israeli, in Lebanon, are only pruning, not removing the root.

7/18/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If the Saudis keep up the good work, we might have to add them to NATO! ;--)

Saudi Arabia: Lebanon should extend authority over country

Saudi Arabia wants the Lebanese government to extend its authority to the whole of Lebanon, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said, continuing Saudi criticism of militants fighting Israel.

"We support the Lebanese government spreading control over all of its territory ... The decision of war and peace belongs to the legitimate authorities, not any other party -- otherwise there will be chaos," He said at a news conference. (Reuters)

7/18/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No C4, I am advocating siding with our "special" friends in the KSA and Egypt. The "old line" Sunni bloc. In opposition to the Iranian.
The Wahhabists are the "Stalin" we've allied with, Mr Assad has had his chance, made his choice.

Use the grander picture, not localizing Israel, Lebanon & Syria.

Myself, after having a Sunni revolution/ liberation in Syria, the US and it's "allies" could turn all of it's attention to Iran and the cascades.

The Shia in Iraq would have a decision as to how they wanted to play. The days in control of Iraq could be limited or not, their choice.

7/18/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Muslim Brotherhood (father of Al Qaeda) is the strongest political force in Syria outside the Baathists. If the Syrian army were decapitated or destroyed chances are that the Muslim Brotherhood would end up controlling Syria's military assets, including its chemical stockpiles and whatever got removed from Iraq.

Taking down Syria is only a good idea when there is a better choice than the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the void.

The destruction of HB would be a very good outcome. I hope that the Israelis can pull it off.

7/18/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


With tens of thousands of foreigners to be evacuated by sea from Lebanon and by air from Syria, what are the odds that some high value Hezbollah leaders will take the opportunity to escape Lebanon? Surely, the French, by way of example only, would never knowingly permit one of their ships or aircraft to be used in such a scheme.

Since the Syrians have more or less opened their border to Lebanese refugees and foreigners seeking escape, how many of the Hezbollah “accidentally” have been waved through the overwhelmed Syrian checkpoints by frustrated guards?

7/18/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Should not had even said "advocating" more like "admitting"

7/18/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

And not a Macker, but an Ubermensch

Thanks, my mother thinks so too.

I think the Israelis have not forgotten Galid Shalit and his captor Meshaal in Damascus. I remember hearing pronouncements along the lines of "Syria will pay" coming from Israel before the Leb business began.

Dropping bombs on Syria was a not-unlikely option for Israel before this Leb dust-up.

IMO, Olmert hasn't made any significant mistakes since the Shalit affair begun. The Israeli press indicates that there is virtually no opposition to the Leb operation in Israel. The US Senate is supposed to pass a (bill, statement, something like that) as early as today supporting Israel and condemning HB. Did I mention Hilary Clinton supports Israel in this? Since the attacks on Haifa started the mention of proportionality by France and the EU has been muted. And on and on. The four bad guys in this story HHSI have no friends and most of the West would be happy to see them gone. Even most of the Arabs have chosen not to be on the losing side in this. I assume that China and Russia in the end mainly care about financial affairs and those may be disrupted by a war but will continue after its over.

The writing's on the wall, but it will take its own time.

7/18/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

cedarford, 9:39 AM

With respect, you have, of course, considered that the discovery of a single Iraqi WMD within the borders of Syria or in the Bekaa will destroy utterly your hypothesis?

Just something to think about and begin preliminary work on.

7/18/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Refugees as a weapon?

Every day it becomes more and more clear that much of the Lebanese government is pro-Hizbollah, and that they are using conditions in their country to try to win the war for Hizbollah by getting the UN to stop it. Certain questions have to be asked like: are Hizbollah and the Lebanese government deliberately urging people to leave their homes so their refugee status can be used as a weapon? Is the government of Lebanon doing everything it can to help its citizens? (The answer to the latter is obvious:) Is the Lebanese Government attempting to negotiate peace in any way, or simply to demonize Israel in the media so that a UN-sponsored cease fire wins the war for Hizbollah?

Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Nayla Muawad said that the aim of Israel’s offensive in Lebanon was to “starve the Lebanese people.”

The United Nations in Beirut described the situation in Lebanon as "catastrophic" and said that half a million citizens have abandoned their homes and are classified as refugees. (AFP)

7/18/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is not a question to be asked.

It is part and parcel of what HB & Israel both have been saying for 6 days.

The HB is the largest bloc in the Lebanonese Government, not isolated from it. It may have taken actions "outside" the Government, but still represents about 31% of the people, if memory serves, within that Government.

A Siamese twin of sorts

7/18/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Both HB and Israel have called for the "destroying" the other.
The HB have fired, I heard on tv, 2,000 rockets at Israel. Mostly small ones.
The IAF had flown 2,000 sorties, as of yesterday and I've watched the Israeli 155s fire salvo after salvo into Lebanon.
Seems both sides are trying to fulfill their statements.

Time for noncombatants to flee the free fire zones. Those left behind must be combatants, geography is becoming the determining factor, per Hamandan

7/18/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

It's a might dizzy'in to read all these post.
One feller got us go'in with a group of terrorists just for a time, to you know "handle" the sitcheation.
'nother got back channels...
'nother got Anamists in the mix
reminds me of them poplar Rubicon cubes years back.
seems like all the posters wanna just prolong the whole thing by bail'in wire and kick'in the can down the road...then we can all pass away and another set of outraged parents and grandparents can fuss about their grandchill'in have'in to fight fur oil.
kick dat can,kick dat can ...

7/18/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Saab has a neat little bio-power engine it's testing in Europe. It uses a turbo to get kick-ass power out of a small, fuel-efficient engine when running E-85.

They're expecting to bring it to the U.S. next year as a hybrid. Possibly a plug-in hybrid.

I'm going to buy one of those. Piss on the Middle East, and their oil.

7/18/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well. posssm tator, I won't be outraged much longer, just sadden.

Gasoline is subsidized by the government, in Mexico. No problems with either supply or cost, down there.

Civil Rights are paid for with cash, got 'nough for that.

Now them other parents and such, I feel for them.
But those that stayed on the porch their whole lives, wantin others to do for 'em, they'll get what's comin' and won't know how to act.

7/18/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

PS, there's a whole lot of ethanol production coming on-line in the next 6 - 12 - and 18 months.

I'm expecting E-85 to be selling for about $1.50/gal. by Spring.

Take that Iran.

7/18/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

now see jus when my seratonin is deplet'in, light comes to be, through sum mighty sound men DR and Rufus.
DR, i'm wait'in out Castro. the boney fingers i hear got a grip on his gonads. then i can pick up sum cheap parts for my '53 plymouth, parlay some wapum at the cockfights and git my job back wit da united fruit company ..cain't no body run a mango peeler like da p'tater.

7/18/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What happens when HB tosses a VX warhead into Tel Aviv?

I don't know what the line is on that happening but it's got to be way higher than 0.0

At a minimum Damascus and Teheran go glass.

7/18/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

..and that ain't she a sparky one? newsy too with gud a 'tude.

7/18/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Israel in Perspective.

7/18/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

mr peter b.

if that is Mobil or exxon VX if ya jus rub some dirty on it quick like it won't cover yur nametag.

Lil' puma didn't do it quick like and now he looks like luma.
much depends on da vizcuzity.
learnt that on REDGreen

7/18/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

I'm starting to miss Habu.

Jes kiddin, Tater.

7/18/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Jerusalem Post reporting that IDF has degraded HB by about 50% so far. Another week of good targeting should degrade by half again and so on. Still gotta' believe that ground combat will be required in the Bekkaa to clean up hardened redoubts. Does the IDF have decent air mobile capability?

Maybe in a couple weeks or so we'll see an announcement for general elections in Lebanon. I'd be surprised if the traditional Lebanese coalitions don't take advantage of the situation as soon as they hear the HB death rattle.

7/18/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We are at D+7 and have not seen a SAM-7 varient yet. Have not heard a report of a single one. Now any force that has anti-ship cruise missles, has access to manpads.
Yet not one has been launched.

The reports from Beirut are that the IAF keeps hitting some the same targets, destroyed C&C locations, over and over.
Either for the symbloic gesture, or they cannot kill the bunkers beneath.
Hope for the heralded Iran campaign's sake, it's the former, not the latter.

Well, habu tator 3, ole' Willie burnt a spliff there, what's the beef with Bill?

A little perjury, a little obstruction of justise and maybe a pinch of da cola, it don't mean nothin'. Already been decided

7/18/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Allen, I would guess that any of those bad guys that want out will get out. Amazing, that any would stay. They ain't Mensa candidates.

7/18/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Same's been said, rufus, of Crockett, Travis and Bowie, yet each lives on, today.

7/18/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

I guess Syria is just going to have to get themselves some of that whup-ass. The Israeli's knocked of Four More trucks carrying missiles into Lebanon.


7/18/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

peterboston wrote:

What happens when HB tosses a VX warhead into Tel Aviv? At a minimum Damascus and Teheran go glass.

That goes without saying. Jews have been very touchy about being gassed since the 1940s.

7/18/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rouge elements, to be sure.

One of the venerated episodes in Western military history
The Spartan 300
Thermopylae: The Alamo of Greece

Those fellows did not "cut and run"
A model to be emulated, if required. I'd always thought' Hoping to never have the opportunity to make such a specific choice.

Like it or not, fellas and Dames, these HB folk are made of similar stuff. Don't excuse 'em, not for a moment. But don't believe the belittlin', 'cause it really just belittles their foe.
Of twenty years.

7/18/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

allen wrote:

With tens of thousands of foreigners to be evacuated by sea from Lebanon and by air from Syria, what are the odds that some high value Hezbollah leaders will take the opportunity to escape Lebanon?

The odds are higher for the ones who raided their wives' Burqua drawers.

7/18/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Kingston53 said...

What day is this anyway? Is it time for another “remember the Lusitania” moment. Perhaps an American flagged civilian transport ship hit by Iranian made missile off coast of Lebanon? It is just a matter of time before the provocation occurs that opens this up to a full scale Iranian Bomb solution.

7/18/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Allen - With respect, you have, of course, considered that the discovery of a single Iraqi WMD within the borders of Syria or in the Bekaa will destroy utterly your hypothesis?

Sorry, Allen, that Neocon dog won't hunt. It was the favorite Neocon rationale for another simultaneous war to be launched...another "easy, two weeks surgically done" obtain and secure the Vast Quantities of Hidden Iraqi WMD "certain high-ranking Israeli intelligence sources assure us were secretly moved to Syria, even the Bekaa Valley!!!"

Don't wait America! Strike Syria now for the good of Is...ummmm...for the good of humanity!!"

US knowledge of Iraq of course was pitiful before we went in, but now we know they had no WMD stockpiles. Everyone from Saddam on down has been extensively interrogated about this. Troops packed away their NBC gear back in late 2003.

PeterBoston is quite right about who the surrounding countries believe will take over in a "Syrian noble purple-fingered freedom-loving democracy". The Muslim Botherhood. Ayman al-Zawahiri's old outfit.

Which even the US, now purged of most brainless Neocon "regime change" rhetoric, seems to "get". Which is why Sen John Warner and other Senators have finally stood up to AIPAC and its demands for another Congressional Resolution offering kneejerk support to whatever Israel wants to do.

Warner is saying - "not this time. Our interests diverge."

Just as we now "get" that reckless saber-rattling by Cheney, Feith, Perle, Kristol, etc. at American Enterprise Institute, in speeches were effectively - in ME terms - telling the leaders of Syria and other targeted nations that we intended to kill them all directly or by putting murderous radical Islamists in power. Which is why they did everything in their power to sabotage US Occupation in Iraq and tie us up, overstretch or military.

To survive.


If we decide that Syria can be flipped like Libya was, by assuring the leaders of the Syrian Ba'ath that we will not seek their deaths directly or through the Muslim Brotherhood taking power. And suck up the fact our reckless threats, a la Kruschev "We will bury you!" contributed to American casualties and expenses by the natural, expected Syrian efforts to bog us down in one war to prevent us from starting another war against them..

Then, despite what Neos claim is in Israel's best interests.....

OUR best interests are to isolate Iran, make their adventurism all but impossible through proxies like Hezbollah, then deal with Iran directly once it has no allies. OUR best interests are served by an intact, secular run Syria and not allowing Israel to blast apart the Cedar Revolution to form an independent, prosperous Lebanon.

And for that purpose we could live with a Syria that continues to be religiously tolerant as it normally has been, no longer permits any shipments through Syria to Hezbollah, a Syria that again actively joins us against terrorists, and ends it's support for killing US troops in Iraq.


7/18/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Looks like Hizbollah wants to keep their human shields.

IDF: Hizbullah preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon

The IDF has found that Hizbullah is preventing civilians from leaving villages in southern Lebanon. Roadblocks have been set up outside some of the villages to prevent residents from leaving, while in other villages Hizbullah is preventing UN representatives from entering, who are trying to help residents leave. In two villages, exchanges of fire between residents and Hizbullah have broken out.

7/18/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Olmert: Hizbullah operation designed to distract attention away from Iran

"The timing of the operation on the northern border was not coincidental and was coordinated with Iran, to distract international attention from the issue of Iranian nuclear issue," [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a meeting with Israeli ambassadors. (Ronny Sofer)

7/18/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Zionism is not the mere invention of socialist journalists, but it is embedded within the Jewish faith itself.


Don't get any stupid ideas about my worldview. I wasn't talking about eschatological superstition here. What the hell do Jews celebrate Hanukkah for? To give Jewish children a chance to play the dreidel?

Israel's governmental constitution may be the creation of Labor Zionism and specifically the statesmanship of David Ben-Gurion. That doesn't mean that the idea of the aliyah isn't inherently Jewish, along with the idea that a Jewish state should eventually be established.

Political Zionism is a latent part of Judaism. The Maccabees were also Zionists, just a royal absolutist (and eventually a puppet) version as opposed to the modern social democratic version. Don't confuse the overt expression of Zionism in Israel's politics with the deep chords it resonates in Jewish religion and society.

I was talking about the violin, not the violinist.

7/18/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/18/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Now any force that has anti-ship cruise missles, has access to manpads. Yet not one has been launched.

It was reported that the IDF believes the anti-ship missiles were smuggled into Leb the night before they were used. Even so, it's obvious Israel would use air power heavily in any conflict with HB so I would think they would want to have ground-to-air missiles.

There is an article about a Pilot's day over Leb, In the cockpit. In his description of his bombing runs it sounds like they're using precision munitions from high altitudes. He can barely see his target.

I assume that some of the attacks in South Beirut are from a low altitude so should provide a better target from the ground. There have been some reports of Apache's being used so they would also likely be at lower altitudes.

Maybe they just forgot to order them. Maybe they're in a storehouse that they can't get to. After the ship missile attack the IAF said they were assuming the worst regarding ground-to-air missile capabilities and were acting accordingly so maybe they just aren't providing suitable targets. I agree it's odd though.

7/18/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The United States fears a Hezbollah attack during its evacuation of up to 5,000 Americas from war-torn Beirut, and is working with Israel to coordinate their safety, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh said Israel was aware that the U.S. would be ferrying evacuees from the port of Beirut to Cyprus on the chartered cruise ship Orient Queen, and that several U.S. and Israeli warships would be on hand to protect Americans from Hezbollah attack.

"I’m concerned about attacks on ships. We do not assume anything. And that sort of scenario is something we are planning for," Walsh said to reporters Tuesday.

He said the U.S. was working with Israel through the European Command segment of the military.

7/18/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Chinese anti-ship missle already comes pretty close to making Syria and Iran combatants. You do not pick those things up at the bazaar in Peshwar.

A single SAM firing in Lebanon would most likely result in the immediate destruction of all of Syria's air defense capability along with it's entire air force. Their targeting radar system would be a legitimate military target in the circumstances.

Whatever prestige Assad feels he enjoys as a defier of Israel and the USA would vaporize with his air force. Then what? Iran-a-whack-job gets egg all over his face for being a loud-mouth paper tiger. What does he do?

I guess the play is not over and we can all be surprised by the next act, but this HB provocation doesn't look like a genius move so far.

7/18/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Regarding Syria's willingness to resupply Hezbollah, I found this tidbit from today's Jerusalem Post:

"Only Tuesday afternoon, IAF aircraft attacked two weapons-filled trucks parked on the coastal road in the town of Byblos, north of Beirut. They also hit two similar trucks on the narrow mountain road between Beirut and Syria, which has become the main route to Damascus since the air attacks made the highway unusable."

The key question now becomes: Is Syria now enabling Hezbollah to continue the fight indefinitely?

Israel's answer to this question will determine whether the war goes regional or not.

Anyone else come across recent evidence of Syrian support for Hezbollah?

7/18/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I wonder why they don't bomb that damned road?

7/18/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger brough said...

A few minutes ago during an interview on Fox about the Condi tour, the US Under Sec for Public Diplomacy was asked point-blank if it would be legitimate for Israel to bomb 'Damascus'... Like Peres last week, she declined to answer directly and said it is Syria's responsibilty to reign in Hez. Considering she stated earlier in the interview that 'absolutely Israel should continue to exercise restraint', her diffidence was a little conspicuous.

7/18/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger 11A5S said...

Jeez, Wretchard. Stop with the "dark places" stuff already. There's going to be a war. A lot of people are going to die. The longer it gets put off, the more people that die.

There is real opportunity here for the Israelis. The Saudis' whole Preaching and Combat (Dawa and Jihad) scam is falling apart. Hamas has defected to the Rawafidh (derogatory for Shiites) and Iran is about to get the bomb. Sure, the Saudis are the lienholder on the Paki bomb, but the Pakis don't have a reliable delivery system or redundancy and may not want to die for the Saudis glory. The question should be, "what are the wahhabis willing to trade in order to be able to keep their Dawa and Jihad scam alive for another generation?"

7/18/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If firing a shore launched anti-ship missle is not answered by an attack as you describe, why would Syria be attacked if some SAM 7's enter the Lebanonese battle space?

As for the HB trying to contain the civilian population, it must be realized that the Israelis claim to be doing the same thing, cutting off escape routes by destrouing bridges, etc.

There were reports that the Israeli had bombed the roads from Syria, seems it got repaired.

7/18/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Has anyone seen Wesley Clark lately? He is not in the ME consulting is he?

7/18/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

The comments at Chester's blog are scary stuff. I'm sure most people here can see the parallels between what's happening now in Lebanon and what happened in Europe after Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination. Of course we can take the point-of-view of Asia Times' Spangler that it's time to "give War a chance". The situation with Iran has been brewing for years and demands a response. Maybe it's time to start the war against Iran's mullahs that everyone has dreaded? Unfortunately the dilemma with war is its unpredictability. Will the sequence of events end with a relatively bloodless regime change in Iran or will 40 million people get nuked?

7/18/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

There is a lot of anquishing about 25,000 "Americans" in Lebanon. The Lebanese Ambassador Mahmoud on MSNBC is reluctant to criticize Hesbollah. Many Lebanese are angry at the US for not restraining Israel. Back to the 25,000 Americans.

It seems that the vast majority, 20,000 are Lebanese with American passports. I wonder how many Hesbollah sympathisers are amongst those demanding to be taken back to the United State?

7/18/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

About 31%?

Don't worry though, they'll get billed for the fare.

7/18/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger phil g said...

C4: I think I finally get your point...

neocon, jew, neocon, jew, jew, neocon, jew, jew, jew...all bad.

7/18/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The anti-ship missle was an acceptable risk to Syria and Iran. Particularly Iran. It was fired from the Lebanese coast, as far from Syria as you can get. The acquistion radars could only have been Lebanese, not Syrian. Any Leb radars that had not been scrubbed before that certainly were afterwards. The same thing would happen to Syrian air defense radars but sooner.

I think that missle strike has its own story that won't be told for many years. The Israeli ship that got hit is a high tech vessel with radars that should have jammed that missle. The Israelis claim those radars were off at the time, but there's no way a tight-ship navy sails into a combat zone with some of its defenses off-line.

The implication is that the missle is unstoppable. You can bet that strike got the US Navy's attention. Losing a super-carrier to an Iranian anti-ship missle wouldn't change the outcome of a US v. Iran go-to but it would be a media nightmare.

7/18/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

In WW II, the total German dead were 10.82% of the population, and the much lower Japanese rate was 3.61%. But the UK lost 0.94% and the USA 0.32%. Were the Allied defenders of freedom “dis-proportionate”?

What's dis-proportionate?

From a very short essay.

PS: The European Jewish losses were... , but you already knew that, didn't you? Whether Mr. Chirac would have considered them disproportinate, I cannot say.

7/18/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

If the ship was only ten miles from the shore, there is not a lot of jamming to be done.

7/18/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The shoulder fired SAMs are infrared guided, heat seekers, no need for Syrian radar. They are MANPADS
"Over 700000 Man Portable Air Defense Systems(MANPADS) are thought to have been produced in the past thirty years. "

The Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) missile is a highly effective weapon proliferated worldwide. Typically containing an IR seeker, the missile offers little opportunity for a warning before impact. Impacts are often lethal. Examples of lethality include 1) the Afghan mujahedeen killing of 269 Soviet aircraft with 340 such missiles, 2) Desert Storm evidence that IR missiles produced 56% of the kills and 79% of the Allied aircraft damaged, ...
Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) from

7/18/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

not if you factor the Soviet losses

7/18/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger brough said...

Peres on BBC Newsnight just now (for what it's worth): "We shall not attack either of them [Syria/Iran], Iran is a world power and not for us to deal with; we don't want to turn this into an iran-israeli conflict, we have our hands full already."

Not that such public comments can reveal anything about actual Israeli plans for Syria at a time of war. It does tend to underline that Israel sees dealing with Iran as America's responsibilty.

7/18/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The SA-14 GREMLIN (Strela-3 9K34) man-portable SAM is the successor to the SA-7/SA-7b (Strela-2 9K32 and Strela-2M 9K32M). The system consists of the 9P59 gripstock, 9P51 thermal battery/gas reservoir, and 9M36-1 missile. The external appearance of the SA-14 is very similar to the SA-7, and the gripstock, launch canister and aft missile body are almost identical. The most significant differences are the new seeker system and the substitution of a ball-shaped 9P51 thermal battery and gas reservoir for the SA-7's canister shaped battery.

7/18/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

At best, that ASM was a lucky shot, like when the Serbs got a stealth fighter. Stuff like that is going to happen.

Keep in mind the IAF is MUCH smaller than the USAF or the NATOAF. NATO and the US used upwards of 1000 planes per day in their wars in Kosovo and Iraq. They have heavy bombers like the B52, B1, B2 and others. They have A10s. They have thousand of tomohawks and cruise missiles they fired off.

Israel simply can;t match that firepower. Their much smaller. They have no real bombers. The F16s and F15s are older by now obsolete planes that are fighters designed for ground support and aerial dogfights.

Israel really needs to get some B52s and heavy bombers to do some real damage. Ac ouple of runs from a Buff or a B1 can do more damage than Isreael has done in 6 days.

I'm sure their doing their best but if they had the US or NATO arsenal they'd be a lot better off

7/18/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


In anticipation of a banquet of crow tomorrow, I am dining lightly today. I prefer my crow aged, gamey, and rare, served with a robust domestic red. Frankly, I am overjoyed and will consider the penance a feast.

7/18/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

desert rat,

In real numbers, the Soviet losses drawf those of all others. In percentage terms, however, the Jewish losses drawf all others.

7/18/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, one must admit that if south Lebanon and HB can tie up the IAF for 7 days and, at best they claim a 50% reduction in HB effectiveness.

This performance would never make the Iranian grade, unless the IAF is holding back, in Lebanon.
Not capable of carrying out enough sorties or create enough damage to take out Irans 300 plus nuclear site targets. Not if in 7 days of IAF aerial bombardment, HB is still striking Haifa as "effectively" as on day 1.

7/18/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The Orient Queen, a Lebanese cruise ship under contract with the U.S. military, pulled in Tuesday night, said Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh, the top U.S. naval officer in the Mideast. Walsh said passengers would go aboard and leave Beirut at first light on Wednesday morning...

Speaking to Pentagon reporters from Bahrain, Walsh said there were no plans yet to put U.S. marines ashore in Beirut for security unless conditions changed.

7/18/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That can happen to noncombatants that do not convert...
to combatants.

Jews & Gypsies and a whole lot of other folk. Used to living on their knees.

Emilio Zapata, southern Mexican revolutionary, that was his reputed line, through M. Brando's interpretation:
"Better to die on your feet,
than live on your knees"

7/18/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

I have a feeling the IAF has not gone "all in". They have to keep a reserve in case Iran or Syria tries anything. They haven't used any subs yet.

But just look at the size of the IAF compared to the US/NATO. It's dwarfed. In Iraq and Kosovo, we were flying upwards of 2000 sorties a day, the IAF can do 500 sorties a day at most. They only have fighters, no heavy bombers, no 2000 or 5000 pound bombs, no cruise missiles with large warheads.

The numbers just aren't there for them to do the same amount of samage as the US/NATO could do.

As for Haifa and the North, ther's been 18 fatalities over 7 days. More than you'd like, but in the big scheme of things not much. Aside from that one lucky hit on the Haifa rail depot there haven't been any big events. Meanwhile, Hezbollah continues to deplete their arsenal.

The IAF alone won't solve the problem but it is doing its part i suspect. The plain facts are that they simply don't have the firepowere we do and it will take them much longer to do things.

7/18/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Mercy, that Asia Times is not on the free world's side, is it? Scroll the essay thumbnails, reach for the Alka Seltzer. Israel is "Leviathan"?

7/18/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, especially when you're gonna die on your knees anyway.

7/18/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

NATO unleashed 40000+ sorties over Serbia. B1s, B2s, B52s, F117s, F15s, F16s, AC130s, the whole works. They went after them for 80 days. The serb military was still fairly intact at the end.

The IAF is but a shadow of the firepower that NATO had at its disposal. A mere fish in a pond compared to the NATO shark.

If they had the full power of the USAF at their disposal the past week, they'd have a lot more damage done. With only a few F15s and F16s, you can only do so much.

Meanwhile, hopefully they can take out Nasrallah and some of the top hezbollah leadership.

Also, Hezbollah doesn;t present targets like the Egyptians with their AF lined up in the runway and in their bases. Or the Syruans with tank colums charging up the Golan.

The Hezzies are dug in and have their stuff dispersed and hidden in civilian areas and probably no more than a few missiles at each site. It's pretty difficult to take all their stuff out by air.

Especially when Syria keeps them supplied.

I have a feeling this might get bigger in the next few days once the reserves are fully ready.

7/18/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Fox's Jennifer Griffen was up on the Lebanon border. The Leb side is an extremely populated area. The Lebanese villages come right up to the fence in some places.

Guys, this is a lot harder than it sounds.

7/18/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Sarahweddington, I think you underestimate the IAF. They don't have heavy bombers, because they don't have a mission for heavy bombers. They have updated F-15's and F-16's, the same equipment we use for precision bombing. They probably have absolute electronic superiority, meaning they can see and hear the enemy much better than the enemy can hear them.

They got at least 100 of the bunker-buster 5,000 pounders from us, and several hundred more of the smaller 2,000 pounders.

This combo of BestRadar + BestJets + Precision = the force multiplier that we have demonstrated in Afghan. and Iraq.

The subs, missiles, nukes - they are all separate and additional.

There could be surprises, heck, we lost a Stealth Fighter over Serbia, after all.

But, the IAF has all they need for this one, and they did extremely well in the past few wars with far less.

Maybe this will be another example of "Peace through Superior Firepower" and the damage will be limited to civilized levels.

7/18/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

Supoosedly the IDF has a few neutron bombs. I think they could clear out S.Lebanon and the Bekaa pretty quick.

The US should have used tactical nukes or ERWs at Tora Bora to nail AQ and Osama.

Why does the West spend trillions of dollars on these weapons if they're never going ot use them?

7/18/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Sarah, you're a woman after me own heart. Only we shoulda used them before the sun set over the smoke in DC and Manhattan on 9/11/01.

It would have been for the best.

7/18/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

phil g said...
C4: I think I finally get your point...
neocon, jew, neocon, jew, jew, neocon, jew, jew, jew...all bad.

Phil g, as I believe I get yours.

Neocons above criticism because many are Jews. Dual loyalty is OK. Attack Syria now because it is a great threat to...America...Not that any blood shed will be the blood of a son of a Neocon. Truuussstt us! It will be a cakewalk!

James Woolsey just joined the cries for America to do a "surgical strike" on Syria. Woolsey was previously a big fan of the "twin calewalk" concept where America liberated Iraq, then Americans and grateful Iraqis marching at their side "freed" Syria and located the Vast, Missing Stockpiles of WMD.

Woolsey, a Gentile and former CIA head, is a noted neocon who has been the well-paid Director of JINSA* for years.

* JINSA - Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs


The more Neocons or the small dwindling band of neocon supporters say neocon actions, authorship of "Clean Break", the money trail to various neocon think tanks, and who the neocons are who ran Bush foreign policy - are above criticism since it would be "bigoted" - the more people wonder exactly what the full neocon agenda was, and who pulled the strings on the Neos that pulled Bushie strings.

7/18/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I just heard the President say that he thinks Syria may be trying to get back into Lebanon.


Mr. Assad, are you listening?

7/18/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

It looks to me like Israel's greatest need is for a lot more airborne sensors. They need infrared sensors in the air that can distinguish a small rocket launch, and immediately transmit the GPS coordinates to the 155's and the AF.

I'll bet you that when it's all figured out we'll find out that the artillery took out more bad guys than the airplanes did.

7/18/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

How the IDF can estimate a 50% attrition in Hezbollah, I cannot guess; nor can they, truth be told.

Unless modern barrages are as ineffectual as those of WWI, Hezbollah has to have suffered some serious damage. That Hezbollah has not yet launched its highly propagandized "big ones", at this late date and with this level of Israeli provocation, may tell the tale.

7/18/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

Now it's too late. If by 12PM on 9/11, W had nuked the Bekaa, and a few other places in Afghanistan we'd be a lot better off.

Tora Bora was the perfect place to use nukes. No population, no high civilan casualties.

Going after them conventionally simply takes too much time and is too much of a hassle.

And I'm not saying the IAF has nothing. I'm saying compared to the US/NATO AF it doesn't.

F15s and F16s are nothing compared to the damage a few B1s, B2s and B52s can do. Not to mention thousands of cruise missiles.

7/18/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus; 4:18 PM

You know the drill: the guys in the sky get all the pie.

From what I'm reading, IDF artillery has been firing literally 24/7, probably doing exactly what you suggest.

Furthermore, the construction of a DMZ of about 0.4 mile depth on the Lebanese side of the boarder suggests to me that the artillery has been highly effective.

Finally, the inability of Hezbollah to do more than launch irritating but ineffectual flights of Katyushas, while on the fly apparently, serves to confirm my take on the effectiveness of the gunners.

This one is going to yield some captivating data, when published.

7/18/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I'm worried about the Iwo Jima. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they tried to hit it. If it gets in too close, they could get lucky.

DR, this is where the "Desert Rat Doctrine" comes into play. "It's Deadly, Stupid to underestimate your assymetrical, rag-tag enemy."

7/18/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

"Especially if he values death, as much as you value life."

7/18/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

Can anyone here explain why the United States is afraid of Syria and Iran?

They've been openly assisting, bankrolling and supplying the Iraqi terorists for the past 3 years, basically acting as the USSR/PRC did for the NVA/VC and we've done nothing about it.

We could take Assad down in a fortnight. The mullahs slightly longer. We haven't even lifted a finger against them. And they grow more emboldened and stronger by the day.

2009 will come with Bush out of power and Assad and Ahmmadinejad/Khamenei still in power. A huge victory for them.

Why are we afraid to take them on? Why are we afraid to make them pay the price?

7/18/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Besides needing a runway the length of Gaza a B-52 would have to spiral climb at near stall speed to get to altitude and stay in Israeli air space. Then again, maybe we could do a lend-lease deal on some Buffys for an Eastern sortie or two

The IAF does more than OK with what they have. You know the Israeli F-16s are state of the art because they remove our avionics and replace them with their own designs. They all do multiple simultaneous targets.

I'm not up on armaments but I imagine that Israeli artillery acquires the trajactory of the incoming stuff and plots counter battery fire on the fly. Israeli shells are probably on top of the HB firers while they're still watching the Katys fly away.

7/18/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Shepard Smith has been in and out, broadcasting, from a northern Israel town for the past couple days. He just reported on a Katyusha attack, via a single rocket, followed moments later by another.

As you know, the Katyusha was built and fielded to be used in barrage, i.e. banks of Katyushas were fired, with the intent of rapidly flooding a zone. Hezbollah is reported to have launched about 800 Katyushas over the past week, but in an ad hoc manner: one, two, three, or four, at most, at a time. Bottom line, Hezbollah appears unable to use even a primitive weapon system per design because of successful Israeli suppression.

Imagine what the NVA would have done with their Katyushas to enliven Smith’s live broadcast to a worldwide audience.

7/18/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ms weddington,
You'd have to ask Mr Bush, only he has the answer, some of us have been asking those same questions for years, now.

7/18/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Peter, I'm not an artilleryman, but I think you're mostly right. I do have a hunch that short-range rockets are a little tricky to plot. I might be wrong, though.

As Allen stated, I imagine any of the Hez that are still alive are "shootin and scootin." The ones that were partial to gazing lovingly at their departing Katyushas are probably nests for non-discriminating scorpions by now.

7/18/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

NATO faced a very different situation in Kosovo than Israel faces. There was no Serbian offensive - they were already there and had been for over 50 years. The Serbs were not shooting at much of anything but the attacking aircraft. We were flying around the country more or less desperately trying to find vehicles with Serbian insignia. The 200,000 plus murdered Kosovoans we went in to avenge were pure fantasy. And since we knew it was not worth any aircraft losses at all just to save Clinton's presidental legacy and marriage our pilots were told not to go below 15,000 ft. Point of reference: In WWII dive bombing attacks STARTED at 15,000 ft.

Israel has a strong interest in doing a good job - a matter of survival, not just looking good. The terrorists are shooting a lot, which tends to make them a bit obvious. As the saying goes, tracers work both ways - and all rockets are tracer rounds.

If they need heavy bombers for area denial missions, they have C-130's, which even we have used for that purpose on many occasions.

But to go back to Wretchard's point of a couple of essays back, after discovering the futility of trying to fly around the country and destroy every jeep loaded with Serbian soldiers, we finally resorted to precision missions desigened to attack the morale of the Serbs. Bridges, power plants, Chinese embassies, etc. That worked when the close air support tactics for a nonexistant ground battle failed. And Hezbolah does not give a rat's rump if the IAF knocks out every bridge and power plant in Lebanon.

By the way, anyone know where they are evacuating those striking Lebanese woman in the tight skirts I saw on TV a while back? We could take a few hundred or a few thousand - or a few hundred thousand - here in Florida.

7/18/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...


Thank God for Hezbollah's ineffectiveness. They're at somewhere around 50 rockets/fatality, not exactly a great ratio.

With their shooting them off plus air and artillery going after them, hopefully they're being reduced.

However, you also need to kill the men that are firing them.

And that's not taking into account any Syrian resupply across the border.

Hopefully Mossad is on the ground and some top Hezbollah guys are being taken out.

But as bad as things may seem, 20 dead civilians in the course of a week isn't that bad for Israel. They've lost that many and more in one off suicide bombings. They've suffered no real military casualties and no real loss of materiel other than the ship which will be repaired and be fine.

I think once the reserves are up and ready in the next day or so, things may change.

For now they seem to be fine with this air campaign. But as shown in Kosovo and Iraq, Air Wars atke time(80 days in Serbia, 40 days in Iraq)that Israel doesn't have. Those air wars were also on much larger sclaes than the IAF is capable of.

It would really be nice if NATO helped out here. With NATO's AF they could take out the Hezbollah in a few days at the most. I thought Israel was a major non-NATO ally. I guess that means nothing in the real world.

A week-10 days of softening up by air and a full on ground assault or at least a heavier ground assault may be needed.

7/18/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Allen, Charlie could take a stolen 1.25 mm rocket and a "stove pipe" and light your tail up from a mile away.

I think I read somewhere that the Chinese invented mortars. I think they got it wrong. It had to be the Vietnamese. They might be the best in the world. Forget bracketing, the first round was "for effect." And, more often than not, it was damned effective.

7/18/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

Of course, Milosevic basically gave up once Ivan cut the cord with him.

If the Russkies hadn't bailed on him, Slobo might still be there.

Once more, Syria and Iran are being let off the hook. What is it going to take?

The Taliban, Saddam, Hezbollah, all these guys are but distractions to the real bad guy.

It's like in 24 how there's a few fake plots before the real bad guy shows himself.

Iran and Syria are the real bad guy and they haven't had a finger lifted against them in 5 years. An utter waste.

7/18/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

It's not a question of being afraid to take on Syria and Iran. Out political leadership is afraid to take on domestic public opinion or advance an agenda that might lose them some free air time.

Heck, half the Democratic party politicos would gladly trade an American city for a chairmanship and 10 more seats in the House, and do it twice a week for as long as they could get away with it.

I suspect we are in a cyclical downturn for housing prices and the stock market. That always creates a little more ugliness in the social mood and the last six years have already been quite a head start in that direction. Ugliness is less concerned with political correctness and "sensitivity" to others.

Iran-a-whack-job's well publicized comments about stashing thousands of suicide bombers to kill Americans will eventually sink into the public conciousness and the day will come when it's a given that people like that and the countries they come from should no longer exist. It's a story that's been retold a thousand times.

7/18/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

rufus; 5:03 PM

Give him a recoiless rifle and he could light your cigarette from that distance.

7/18/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Sarah, This may give you some idea at to Israel's (and our) dilemma.

7/18/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

RWE 06:02AM

Does that mean the return of the Blond Lebanese makes you weak in the knees?

7/18/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...


Good points made there, but the bottom line is that if the US, Israel and the West in General are afraid of Hezbollah, Syria, Iran et al, then we may as well pack our bags and go home.

There's no point in losing 500-1000 guys a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, another 25K Iraqis a year, and spending hundreds of billions a year to maintain some sort of status quo with terrorist killers.

With the resources at our disposal, we should wipe them out in a matter of days if not weeks.

If we're gonna play this cat and mouse game there's really no point.

At a certain point, you either have to stand or you fall. If we don't stand now, we'll fall later. There's a small window left before it closes shut for good.

7/18/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Sarah wrote:

Can anyone here explain why the United States is afraid of Syria and Iran?

Election 2006. We don't wanna start more fires until we put the first two out (Afghanistan and Iraq).

7/18/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Rufus: All the ones I saw on TV were very very brunette.

Of course, all the blondes I see on TV no doubt are in reality brunettes. too.

7/18/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Sarah, we don't really want another Iraq. We've been trying for some time to peel Syria away from the Mullahs. We've got time to play this game.

Winning skirmishes, and battles, is good. Winning the "War" is Necessary. Syria is no threat to anyone. No use causing widespread chaos, there, if we don't have to. If we do have to, we want opinion on our side if at all possible.

Iran is "Existential." We've got to win, there. We're attempting to Not set the ME on fire while we're doing it.

7/18/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Rwe, It seems I'm being confused with M.Simon. I admit, I'm flattered, but unworthy.

7/18/2006 06:17:00 PM  

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