Monday, July 31, 2006

Just Another Word For Nothing More to Lose

Tigerhawk and Walid Jumblatt raise different aspects of the central problem in Lebanon. First Tigerhawk reminds us to two things:

  1. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani feels compelled to side with the Lebanese Shi'a or lose political ground to Moqtada al-Sadr; and
  2. That Hezbollah's attack has finally destroyed the land-for-peace formula, upon which all past Roadmaps were founded.  "Israel has no concession that it can make to Hezbollah to end the fighting, and Hezbollah cannot give Israel what it must ultimately have -- acceptance of its existence and the recognition of specific borders -- without destroying its own legitimacy."

Walid Jumblatt looks for Lebanon in the equation, but can't find it, except incidentally as a place on a map.

Whatever happens, Hizbullah will emerge victorious. To whom will Hizbullah dedicate this victory? Will it dedicate the victory to the Lebanese state, to the honoring of international resolutions, to the Taif Agreement? Or will it dedicate it to the Syrian regime, the Syrian-Iranian axis, in which case we will become scorched earth, annexed to Syria and Iran? Each of these countries wants, with this abduction, to negotiate with America over the remains of the Lebanese homeland.

It's manifestly clear that the current conflict is not a war on Lebanon. It is a war in Lebanon by outside powers over the central political issue in the Middle East: Israel's right to exist. That fact, which has become so nakedly apparent that even the Israeli Left -- indeed Olmert's government is a coalition with the Israeli Left -- cannot avoid staring it in the face, makes this conflict different from the border clashes of the recent past. Yoni the blogger puts it thus:

When Secretary of State Rice and Prime Minister Olmert , met after the incident at Qana and out of that meeting Olmert announced a stoppage of the air campaign for 48 hours. Who could blame me for writing the post All Is Lost, for it seemed like it was deja vue all over again.

But time has passed and two things that don’t fit the pattern have occurred, President Bush has gone on the record for not pushing for a cease fire. This combined with the Defense Minister Peretz stating that the ground war may be expanded and this statement is being followed up with the inner Security Cabinet meeting now as I write this to discuss the expanding of the ground war. So the pattern may be broken and America and Israel may just may write the most important chapter in world history in the next few days and weeks.

While I don't think the coming weeks will write the "most important chapter" in this sad old world's history (unless of course, it brings on those things long prophesied) it will certainly be an important time. If Lebanon is history's accidental victim, Olmert is it's reluctant D'Artagnan. However hard he tries to cast away the sword, however far he tries to fling it, it returns like an accursed piece of ironmongery into his hands. That much is clear but the rest trails into the dark.


Blogger Ball-of-Whacks said...

Richard: your commentary and the comments of your community have, as usual, been insightful and provocative during the current conflict. I've been a reader since '03. I'm grateful you take the time to publish your ideas.

7/31/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

However reluctant they may be, sooner or later the left - both in Israel and here in the US - will eventually come full square with the problem if Islamofascism. They can only stay in denial for as long as their immediate safety is not threatened.

For the Israelis that time is now. We see it in the polls as you mentioned in one of your recent posts, wretchard. The Israeli population feels the urgency of their situation as they sit hour after hour in bomb shelters.

Olmert needs to act decisively if Israel is to survive this onslaught of rockets. If they back down, if they fail now, they will be decimated by subsequent attacks by Iran's minions gathering on their borders.

I hope the message from Rice was, "we've got your six". If not, Olmert may lose Israel through his lack of resolve.

7/31/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

Yes, let me jump in at this early point before the usual crowd comes on-line. I too have lurked here for at least a year now, and these last few weeks have revealed that the conversation taking place at the Belmont Club is simply spell-binding. I can't get away. I check in every hour to hear the latest comments. There are too many excellent contributors to thank individually, so just let me thank the whole club. I am sure there are many others like me who are be challenged to think way outside the box regarding this history in the making. Keep it up, you're all great.

7/31/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger spelunker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/31/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger spelunker said...

Syria has raised is military state of readiness, hopefully Israel will answer in kind. War is not the worst state of being:slavery, and groveling to despots and tyrants is. Never again!!!!! I support Israel speaking as a devout Roman Catholic Hispanic and most of all as an American.

7/31/2006 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Whew! Wretchard, of all the posts, this one is most startling, like the fog parting to reveal the iceberg. Nothing's changed, the ship and the iceberg are on course, only the passengers now see what is happening. Other than that, nothing changed, history grinds on in its own momentum.

A hundred years from now, history will look back on 9/11 as the day this world war burst from smoke to flames, and at first the fire burned slowly. Nothing more to lose, indeed.

Let’s re-visit the Third Conjecture and hope we can keep it there, though hope has dimmed lately.

7/31/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

I admit it when I appear to be wrong and Olmert's speech today surprised me. I was sure that we were seeing the end of this as of yesterday but who knows?

One thing that is clear 5 yrs after 9/11 is that wars are vastly different today than the ywere in the past.

There a few factors that have simply transformed things.

1. The media. 24/7 news, tv, arab tv, everything it makes it much more difficult ot fight. Can you imagine the Germans inviting CNN and the BBC into Dresden or Hamburg and broqadcasting video for all the world to see of what butchers FDR and Chirchill were? The world wasn't exposed to what was going on. When you add in the media element, it becomes that much more difficult to apply the force needed to win

2. The overall softening of the West. People in the West have it so well that they don't have the same level of fight as the enemy does. When we can watch American Idol or talk about flat screen tvs and various other pop culture things, who has time to fight a war where hundreds of thousands could die? Who wants to?

3. The level of openness in our societies and allowing of the opposition greatly hinders the war effort.

4. The UN and the int'l community siding with the the terrorists and always hindering things.

there's more but i can't think of them at the moment.

anyway, I know I've been rather negative lately but Olmert's speech today was a lone brightspot in what has been mostly negative.

7/31/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If someone can explain the Syrian Sanctuary, I'd love to hear it.
How is that part of the Grand Strategy, Aristides?
Walid Jumblatt:
"In addition, I tell you with all honesty, if the Syrian regime, with its unique and non-unique methods, insists on keeping the Lebanese-Syrian border open, this international force will be worthless."

"[Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad] will desperately try to bring Lebanon to a state of anarchy, if he can. I remember that two weeks ago or more, he said that Lebanon has become a base for Al-Qaeda. In other words, there is a possibility that if his efforts to reach a settlement and to get closer to America fail, he might send to Lebanon – just like he sent to Iraq – the so-called 'martyrdom-seekers,' whom I call 'suicide bombers,' because they killed without discriminating between American soldiers, Shiites, Sunnis, and Christians. They made no discrimination.
He might do this.
He sent a messenger to Saudi Arabia, four days before going there himself. This messenger, a high-ranking officer, said to one of the princes, in charge of internal security in Saudi Arabia: 'We fear that you will suffer terrorist attacks. If you want, we can help you.'
That is regarding Al-Qaeda... In other words, he threatened them indirectly."

7/31/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger texas said...

The "land for peace" concept was tenuous in 67, and has been a complete crock since Arafat turned down the best offer he was ever going to get.

Israel should have annexed the entire West Bank, and deported the folks living there now to Jordan (as I recall that area was Jordan before 67). They would have more defensible borders, a little more depth, and a real country (Jordan) on the border. Hard to imagine their public relations could be any worse.

They could still do this.

I've sometimes thought it would be useful to have permaently annexed and cleared 10 sq km of the West Bank for every Israeli killed by the terrorists since 67.

Seems they are going to have to do something painful enough to HB's backers to make them decide its not worth continuing.

I'd say Iran's weak point is financial. Israel could probably stop their oil exports. No income, change of regime. Iran also imports most of its gasoline.

7/31/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

A can hear those cell phones ringing to the bankers and gun runners all over "Da Woild" to re-arm the militias.

Hezbollah says that Lebonese politicians are "Next" -- Michael Aoun, Walid Jumblatt, hear that ?

" And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle score with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later."

7/31/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger rich said...

Jumblatt says

"As long as Syria can send weapons to Hezbollah, there will be no change in the situation. Not with this regime in Damascus. We need a force that can cover all of Lebanon, like in Kosovo. Monitor the Syrian border, then talk."

I think there will be no end to this war (and I do not count ceasefires as an end to the war) until Lebanon can control its border with Syria.

7/31/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

When will we go to the 'land for terror' option? One square mile of Lebanon/Gaza for every Hezbullah or Hamas rocket attack. The land will be sold to highest bidder after 70 generations of real peace.

7/31/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard wrote: "It is a war in Lebanon by outside powers over the central political issue in the Middle East: Israel's right to exist."

Close. It's also about the self-perceived right of tyrants to maintain power, and the same right of religious fantatics to propagate their kind.

Israel is a convenient distraction and whipping boy, a prop in Iran's imperial power play and Syria's plot to regain its dominance over Lebanon.

Oh yes, hatred of Israel is very real, and the existential stakes for the Jewish state haven't been this high in a very long time.

That said, millions of haters may be a scary thing to the intended victim, but hate also comes with one huge built-in disadvantage: It makes people stupid.

7/31/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Wretchard didn't quote the whole song lyric in his title. It should read "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose ..."

Which Israel will understand, and Hizbollah will not.

7/31/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

To those who take delight in Spengler criticizing George Bush, it should be noted that Spengler has also taken derisive swipes at Victor Davis Hanson and our own Wretchard.

Seems to me, it places Mr. Bush in rather good company.

7/31/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Walid Jumblatt ponders Lebanon's future in the shadow of Nasrallah's words: "If we succeed in achieving the victory . . . we will never forget all those who supported us. . . . As for those who sinned against us . . . those who let us down, and those who conspired against us . . . this will be left for a day to settle accounts. We might be tolerant with them and we might not."

This is the point in the Western when the lead looks up and asks, "are you saying this town ain't big enough for the two of us?"

7/31/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Israeli security cabinet convened "for in-depth discussion on [a] wider ground offensive in south Lebanon" until the late hours. (Ynet News)

7/31/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Israel has heard the world in many ways, the least of which is that no one is going to be more helpful to Israel than themselves. It has been a clumsy start, but no one will remember that if Israel is victorious. It will be bloody and costly, but Hezbollah must be liquidated. If Israel limits herself to a thorough thrashing of Hezbollah, that is all she needs to do. Following events will all be in her favor. The alternative for Israel is she forfeits her legacy to others. Some decisions are easy even if the burden is great. I wish her well if she takes the needed steps and pity her if she does not.

7/31/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Wretchard you said:

"This is the point in the Western when the lead looks up and asks, "are you saying this town ain't big enough for the two of us?"

I don't recall Gary Cooper going up against Semtex, Soviet Sagger missiles,

Nor John Wayne being shot at with TOW missiles or U.S. made Sniper rifles matched to IR night scopes.

Seeing the Bad Guy's in this movie, have $100 million a year in oil tick money being contributed,

And the White Hat guys, with better job prospects now for their Youth if they join relatives in L.A. Chicago and New York,

How do you think this one will come out ?

One of those "Reality" movie scripts with an unhappy ending maybe ?

7/31/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

W: "are you saying this town ain't big enough for the two of us?"

The Erudite Cowboy of the Vulcan Administration responds (played by the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction
December 2002):

"A few states are dedicated proliferators, whose leaders are determined to develop, maintain, and improve their WMD and delivery capabilities, which directly threaten the United States, U.S. forces overseas, and/or our friends and allies. Because each of these regimes is different, we will pursue country-specific strategies that best enable us and our friends and allies to prevent, deter, and defend against WMD and missile threats from each of them. These strategies must also take into account the growing cooperation among proliferant states -- so-called secondary proliferation -- which challenges us to think in new ways about specific country strategies.

One of the most difficult challenges we face is to prevent, deter, and defend against the acquisition and use of WMD by terrorist groups. The current and potential future linkages between terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism are particularly dangerous and require priority attention. The full range of counterproliferation, nonproliferation, and consequence management measures must be brought to bear against the WMD terrorist threat, just as they are against states of greatest proliferation concern."

7/31/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Over and over again, throughout the blogosphere and the conservative media, reasonable people keep coming to the same conclusion: Syria must be put down if both Israel and Lebanon are to know peace, and that with the fall of Syria will also come the fall of Hezbollah, and with the fall of both Syria and Hezbollah will come the mortal wounding of Iran.

It must be all or none.

7/31/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Nasrallah poses as a cleric. If we could judge him, given his copious pride and his enmity, he is as the anti-Christ, the anti-G_d.

So it is with the culture of Islam.

He is separating.

7/31/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The AP has more details on the increased readiness level of Syria's army called Monday to increase readiness to cope with "regional challenges." Travelers from Syria reported some reservists have been called up but there have been no official announcements of callups. (AP/Jpost)

7/31/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

So if Israel is really going after Hezbollah in Hezbollahland, the Beka'a Valley, we will see how convinced Syria and Iran are that their future depends on their _not_ causing Israel any problem it can't handle.

They may not be able to do that anyhow. What Iran may well be able to do, though, is make the US as unhappy in Iraq as Israel looks like it's about to make Iran unhappy in Lebanon.

But how will it play that card?

Or is it in fact looking for a chance to pull the Middle East house down around itself, throw a king-size monkey wrench into the world economy and pray for the 12th Imam?

7/31/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Allen said:

..."Syria must be put down if both Israel and Lebanon are to know peace, and that with the fall of Syria will also come the fall of Hezbollah,"

If Israel traps and destroys Hezbollah, Syria can be turned. Saudi Arabia and Egypt can be silently supportive of a Syria that shifts way from Iran. If Syria falls, the baton passes to Iran. That has its own consequences that are beyond Israel's pay grade. Israel has the capacity to take Hezbollah out of the equation.

7/31/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Jumblatt in an Opinion Journal article talks about his own precarious existence.

"I'm afraid that because of the chaos in Lebanon today, Syria might try to assassinate people here." Does that include him? "Yes, me, but also Fuad Siniora," the prime minister. But even if Mr. Siniora does survive, can his government do so, given that it is collaborating with the U.S. to tackle Hezbollah's arms? "Either he survives or we must accept the coup d'état fomented by Syria and Iran. That will determine whether Lebanon remains democratic."

I believe things have got the point where it is two men in and one man out. Logically it looks like that. We are rapidly reaching the point of no return.

7/31/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

I think Olmert's generals went to S. Lebanon with their eye held firmly on their army's right flank.

The country has many enemies and Gaza is teeming. But this is as much Syria's fight as it is Hezbollah's.

Israel has to figure that if the fight goes well for them and badly for the Hez, then Syria will interdict. If so, given the tight geography, reaction time for Israel (& US) would be short.

If Syria loses her cool & steps in I think things would go badly for them (Syria) and this could cause Iran to follow.

Things could happen very quickly. I hope Bush and Rummy are light sleepers.

7/31/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Kill a couple of hundred of Doc's tanks, they're T-72s aren't they?
Then he'd be much more amiable to a flip.
Destroy HB, in the Bekaa, and the US will need more than another 3,700 troops in Baghdad, I'd venture to guess.

7/31/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Enscout, rumor has it that Rumsfeld doesn't sleep, that he sits up all night drinking whiskey, and playing Russian Roulette with Cheney and Bolton.

Word is that the bullets just bounce off of their heads; then they laugh (evilly, some say) and have another drink. Of course, a drink, to them, is a whole bottle of Wild Turkey.

7/31/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Ill throw in with you for the tanks DR. baby doc may need a little more prodding. Who the hell knows what will happen in Iraq.

7/31/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

they just knock the neck off the bottle and chug it down.

7/31/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Israeli cabinet, meeting behind closed doors, has decided to widen the ground offensive against Hezbollah "according to a senior political source". Thousands of reservists will be called up according to Israeli radio. (BBC)

7/31/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well with rufus's intel that the Hes man studied under al-Sadr Senior, and the already unstable conditions there, and Mr Sistani's comments I think that as the IDF moves north, if they do, that will light the fuze.

The secondary, or perhaps primary concern is what do the HB people in the US do, if HB appears to be on the ropes?

7/31/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

they won't do anything bad, not with Tehran itself, the masonry I mean, out of the fight.

7/31/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Then they eat the bottle.

It's an old game in Washington. It was taught to them by Jean Kirkpatrick. They made her quit playing though; they got tired of losing to an 85 year old woman.

7/31/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Unless that 12th Imam squirrelly crap is real, and not just the Iranian analog to those NoKos screaming "Running Dog" in the faces of our 38th Parallel peace-talk negotiators back when.

7/31/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

Given the opportunism of war, would not the TURKS weigh in bigtime if Syria enters the fray? Could we possibly see a three way dismembering of Syria by Israel, Turkey, and USA(IRAQ)? Will we have to sell out the Kurds to buy Turkey's general involvement in all this? And would Turkey's involvment be hindered or helped by its NATO membership? Thoughts anyone?

7/31/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The NorK's have the strangest building I'd seen, 8 feet wide, couple of hundred feet long.
Heck of a movie set.

The Stratfor Phd is on FOX stating that the Mohammedans will stand and fight, and the weight of the IDF will break them down, eventually. He thinks if HB is broken the situation in Iraq will calm.
Here's to hope

7/31/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Start arming the Kurds with TOW missiles.

7/31/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

i see the following:

sunni uprising agaisnt the shia in iraq & lebanon

the usa hitting the western syrian border to close it down

the idf taking out those big hot tanks sitting at night

the bekka in flames

southern lebanon a kill zone

hamas in gaza slammed

end of round one

7/31/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Can't happen, Achilles. We need KSA, Jordan, Egyptian, Cooperation too much, Syria has to stay intact. Rule would have to be passed to the Sunni's (80% of population, remember?)

It could possibly work, but I don't think anyone really wants that mess, right now.

7/31/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Israeli General says they are going "7 or 8" miles into Lebanon, now.

7/31/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Is that the peace-talks venue, rat--with the famous table and short chairs for us and tall chairs for them?

7/31/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

2164th; 4:36 PM

Syria is not only the entrepot of Hezbollah it is its refuge. Through Syria pour men and material in massive quantities on the way to Hezbollah. Leaving Syria intact is the equivalent of leaving the Shenandoah intact and unmolested.

We have had this conversation previously?

7/31/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

We were talking about Khaim a couple of days, ago. Somebody was over there last night, and said the stench of dead bodies was "overwhelming."

7/31/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

Do you think Turkey will just sit this one out? The map of the whole region is going to be redrawn, that is a given. A major war on their doorstep. Don't you see a Turkish interest in securing it's south east at this time? Will it let Israel/USA determine the fate of its neighbourhood. Or should we all wait for round two before these things become more clear?

7/31/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, I heard the question to the IDF officer as "How many villages are you in?" His answer was "7 or 8". Small taters, but indicative of the ease of garbled messages.

7/31/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

yep, that's as far North as I ever got. Those were some very strange folk, on the other side of the line.

7/31/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Eyes failing, hearing goin', better get me an Remington 870.

7/31/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

News Item: President Bush acknowledged growing international pressure for an immediate Middle East cease-fire Monday but dismissed any idea of simply "stopping for the sake of stopping"

Keeping with the theme of songs of yersteryear, I just don't see why Pres Bush, VP Cheny, the SECSTATE, the SECDEF, and Amb Bolton don't just all stand in front of the White House, link arms, sway back and forth and chant:

"All we are sayyiinng is give War a chance...."

Would like totally freak out all of the lefties and Baby Doc would probably surrender the next day.

But I was thinking: Logistics.

Before, Hezbolah had Syria - and behind that the other Batthist regime in Iraq - and behind that Iran. None of that behind Syria is available now. We are not taking Chosin Reservoir for an Israeli invasion force, we are talking Patton actually closing the Gap with Monty in Operation Cobra. No where to run. No where to hide. No resupply. And lots of nasty airplanes overhead, just like then.

Give war a chance, indeed.

7/31/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I don't know, Achilles; I guess I really don't think there's going to be any "redrawing" going on. I guess Syria could do something really stupid, but it just seems doubtful to me.

Besides, Turkey's too busy trying to figure some way to get hold of Kirkuk's oil fields. I just can't see it.

7/31/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

achilles jones; 5:28 PM

How about the administrative partition of Syria re post-war Germany by the Allies? I am thinking Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon.

7/31/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

I guess that is also in the back of my mind. Will Turkey use the cover of war to smash into Iraq and settle the Kurd question on their own terms? IF it really looks like Iraq will eventually be partitioned, Turkey would be very interested in limiting the size of any future Kurdistan, no?

7/31/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Achilles, The oil fields of Kirkuk will be protected by Iraq, thus by the U.S., even if Iraq is "partitioned."

Turkey's just SOL.

7/31/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

"the stench of dead bodies was "overwhelming".
Leads one to beleive that there was more killing in al-Khaim than the Israelis were willing to claim.

I heard a couple of days ago that Hez leaders admitted to 200 fughters lost. When they uncover the rubble and account for the dead "civilians" who were aiding & abbetting that number becomes meaningless.

7/31/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Serves 'em right.
We should defend the Kurds, regardless of the outcome in Baghdad. If there is anyone that appreciates US, in Iraq, it's the Kurds.

7/31/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think, enscout, you heard the IDF say they estimated 200, the HB count is still stuck at 30 KIA.

Take the IDF count and add 50% or double it, that's most likely the real range of the HB dead.

7/31/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Achilles, it would just be so much easier (if we had to smash Syria) to let a "Strong" Sunni take control with the "Understanding" that he would hold elections in "the near future."

I still think we have a chance to "flipp'em." That would be 1,000% the best outcome, for everyone.

7/31/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

FFE said...
Wretchard wrote: "It is a war in Lebanon by outside powers over the central political issue in the Middle East: Israel's right to exist."

Close. It's also about the self-perceived right of tyrants to maintain power, and the same right of religious fantatics to propagate their kind."


geee, and all that 'black gold', 'bubllin' crude' has got nothing to do with it....riiiight!!

7/31/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

allen said...
Over and over again, throughout the blogosphere and the conservative media, reasonable people keep coming to the same conclusion: Syria must be put down if both Israel and Lebanon are to know peace, and that with the fall of Syria will also come the fall of Hezbollah, and with the fall of both Syria and Hezbollah will come the mortal wounding of Iran.

It must be all or none.

4:23 PM"


Bush and crew are trying oh so hard to make you dream come true Allen, but they are incompetent and screwing the pooch. Your pals leading Israel for the past few decades are failing as well.

7/31/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Strange note, for what it's worth;

The Kurds are closer to the Jews, genetically, than they are to anyone else in the Middle East (or, I guess, the world for that matter.)

7/31/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is something to the oil angle, ash, or we'd be dealing with the tyrants and fanatics in the Sudan and Somalia, which have just about fallen off the radar.

There is more to US going to War than just humanitarian concern for the "little people", and that's a fact.

So what ...

7/31/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Enscout, DR, I'm sure those were all innocent civilians in Khaim, aren't you?

7/31/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

geee, as if it ain't about saving the asses of coddled western ingrates

7/31/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Matt Lauer will tell us tomorrow.

7/31/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Innocent civilians went out of style, with me, on 9-11, rufus.

But I've always prided myself on being ahead of the curve, most of the time.

7/31/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I don't know, Rat; I'll agree, Iraq was all about oil, but I have a hard time seeing Israel in that context. I think that ones a lot more complicated.

7/31/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

so what..??

welp, the Israel/Leb thing is just a small part of the whole ME puzzle and Bush and crew have been cascading one incompetent attempt at a solution in the ME after another to the point where we may very well end up in a much wider WWII type of war where all outcomes are not good. Much like US took out Saddam and now own a sh*thole nonproducing Iraq, Israel is radicalizing Leb and we (US) are happily stitching our face to the hate so to will the game go if Iran and Syria suffer the wrath of our war machine. Be scared of what so many of y'all wish for - the big conflict with Iran and Syria, for that may go as Iraq (and Lebanon appears to be as well) even with Buddy dream like contention that they'll understand that we are just freeing them from their tyrannical rulers.

7/31/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

rat, re Somalia--I have never heard such a deafening silence.

Ethiopia is contending the Islamist takeover, but--very quietly.

I guess not enough westerners have looked at the map, and seen where Somalia is. Russia knows, and is sending planeloads of weapons through Eritrea.

Sometimes I wonder if Putin's mullah deal includes their cooling off the Islamist insurgency in the Caucasus & Caspian. It has been very quiet, and Putin is supporting Somalian Islamists, and someone gave up that Chechen bossman and Beslan mastermind recently.

7/31/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

The greatness of George W. Bush:

Imagine what the world would look like with Gore or Kerry at the helm.

It really is dirt simple -- Iran's mad mullahs are bent on world domination, from the fertile crescent through Istanbul to Europe and beyond. They've whipped up their hardboyz to take on the Jews, certain that they (the Persians) are smarter and more ruthless than the decadent West.

And it's only George W. Bush who stands in their way.

No matter what, Bush is in this to the end, because it's the right thing to do. It's the only thing to do.

Hurrah for our President!

7/31/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

It would be far better to end up with a balanced Lebanon with a dismantled Hezbollah militia than another civil war. The same applies to Syria. The last thing we need is two more failed states in the Middle East. Before we get too enthusiastic about taking down Syria let me remind you about what happened in March of this year:

500,000 Rally in Beirut Square to Support Syria's Role in Lebanon

Mohamad Bazzi, Newsday
Wednesday, March 9, 2005

"(03-09) 04:00 PDT Beirut -- They came in rickety buses, in overloaded cars and on foot, along roads surging with faith and fervor.

Wave after wave arrived Tuesday in Riad Solh Square, once a front line in Lebanon's 15-year civil war but now an emblem of Beirut's glistening downtown. By midday, the crowd had swelled so large that people began gathering on highway overpasses and tunnels surrounding the square.

By the time the boisterous rally got under way, about 500,000 people -- an eighth of the country's entire population -- had assembled in one of the largest political gatherings in Lebanese history. Most came out because of an appeal from one man: Hassan Nasrallah, a Shiite Muslim cleric and leader of Hezbollah, Lebanon's main Shiite party."

Now, that is not going to go away and my bet is the croud today would be bigger. Israel has nowhere near the military capacity nor the stomach to control that plus Syria. Let's achieve the achievable. We can end up if we are real lucky with three stable states (including Iraq) or we end up with hell on earth.

7/31/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ash; 4:17 PM

Hit a nerve, did I?

No, ash, they are not trying to make my dream come true. Otherwise, we would now be examining the partition of Syria and the isolation of Iran.

In war, there is that one golden minute, when you make your move or passively watch victory evaporate. While I wish to be wrong, more than you can possibly know, that golden minute has come and gone.

7/31/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I was amongst the first to decry the mismanagement of Iraq.
The fault for that though lies with the Military, as an institution, more than it does with Mr Bush. The responsibility is his though, no doubt about that.

The Israeli did not start this current go-round, but they did decide to escalate it. The time frame is advantagous to US, more so than it is to the Mohammedans.

If Iran finally gets the War it's been asking for, for over 20 years, well it's been a long time comin'. Seems that "Death to America" is going to be coming to their doorstep.

The mistakes of Iraq will not be duplicated. I think that as August arrives Shah Jr's purported scheduled revolution is about to begin.

Raul is taking control of Cuba, as Fidel goes to the hospital. Dick Morris gives the Commies of Cuba a few months or a year before they are popped.
Yep, there's a big storm comin'

7/31/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

From Debka:

DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that Iran stepped squarely and openly into the Lebanon conflict Sunday, July 30, by taking over from Syria the arms supply route for Hizballah running through the Syrian-Lebanese border - which is why Israeli air bombardments have been concentrated on those crossing points since then. Tehran has decided it owns a key national interest in preserving Hizballah and its rocket capabilities as an effective military instrument against Israel.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources disclose that Iran’s leaders are NOT quite happy with Hizballah’s performance, having expected a far higher Israeli casualty toll and more extensive war damage. They are now considering upgrading Hizballah’s rocket arsenal with missiles that are heavier and of longer range than the Katyusha rockets thousands of which blitzed Israeli towns in the first 20 days of the war. These rockets may be fired from Syrian-Lebanese border locations.


DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources add: For three weeks, Assad has been working up to provoking a limited war engagement with Israel.

1. A close crony, Syrian lawmaker Marwan Habash is advocating the creation of a resistance (terrorist) movement on the Golan Heights - likewise the prominent cleric, Sheikh Asad Kopertou.

2. For the first time in three decades the presidential palace allowed Syrian Druze leaders to openly speak out in favor of an armed campaign to recapture the Golan Heights.

Israeli intelligence leaders are not of one mind about what these steps signify. Some diagnose posturing by Damascus to get in on the Lebanon act while not taking the chance of a missile war with Israel; others argue that the Syrian president must be angling for a limited military confrontation, otherwise he would not so blatantly parade his backing for the Hizballah.

Interesting developments afoot.

Would Iran risk getting directly involved?

Would a huge blow on Syria put the Doctor on ice?

Would a 3 way pincer from US, Israel and Turkey cool Bashar's jets?

7/31/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Chavez will find Cuba without Castro irresisitible. That will be interesting. There is alot of oil between Cuba and Florida.

7/31/2006 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

By the way, just as an aside, the IDF arty has fired around 40,000 shells in close to 3 weeks.

In 1973, Egypt opened up on the canal with 12000 shells in the first minute and 200000 shells in the first hour.

Israel was outnumbered by 150000 guys to 500.

On the Golan it was 1400 Syrian tanks vs something like 100 Israeli tanks.

I have a tough time believing that in 33 yrs the IDF has fallen so far that it can't handle a few thousand at most hb with no tanks, planes, artillery, navy, etc...

In any event, the next few days should be interesting

7/31/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

or, Has Debkafiles ever been right about anything, Ever?

7/31/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Oh, by the way, glad to see you feeling better, Sarah. See, a good night's sleep can do wonders.

7/31/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I don't think Israel plans to invade Syria. But we are seeing the strategic plan begin to uncoil. If you go back to my Pulp Fiction post, the two centers of gravity are the Hezbollah's military base and their political power in Beirut. Both are dependent on each other.

Right now the Hez support base in Southern Lebanon is in full flight. Evacuation mode. This is not pretty, but I state it as a fact. Many of these, as you may have read, are now camped out in Druze or Christian areas. Fine for now while they have lots of weapons and ammo. But eventually the Hez military base will collapse and so too will their political power. At least, that's the calculation.

Now comes the danger that the IDF will sever their land supply from Syria and rip up their infrastructure in pursuit. The Hez will soon be at the mercy of all their rivals in the civil war. They will have terms: the proposals say they will be allowed a political role. But no more guns.

Syria will now have the choice of staking everything by coming to the aid of the Hez or watching their client in Lebanon shredded. I predict Syria will stand aside, but. But as past days have shown in war anything can happen. Israel may suffer a check. There may be widespread sectarian revenge-taking in Lebanon. Iran may fire missiles. There might be a meeting engagement between the IDF and the Syrian army.

But as matters stand this is the opening act of the Hezbollah and Israel's fight for life. Israel cannot leave Hezbollah in existence. And Hezbollah lives to destroy Israel. Two in and only one out.

7/31/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Castro will still be there, just not Fidel. Raul has run the Security Services there, for almost 50 years. The Leftists have moved into Mexico City and are setting up camp.

The Chavez factor is not to be discounted, the timing of the Havana Summit, in October, was to soldifiy the Axis, IMO.

The window is still open, allen, it's just not the window we all are looking at.

7/31/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Chavez isn't as strong as his recent travel schedule makes him seem. He lost in Mexico (and is pissing off a lot of Mexicans with backing this AMLO Al Gore act), lost in neighboring Colombia and several staes south, has a revolt brewing in Bolivia's middle class, and Lula the lefty in Brazil has come out strong against him. Castro's health is a bad omen for him. Plus he has an election coming up, and will cheat like all hell, and Jimmy Carter will not likely shield him this time. Even Carter draws the line at actually carrying around a hammer & sickle banner.

7/31/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

I think we and Israel need to come to terms with acceptance of casualties as a prerequisite for victory. The notion that we can win without dead is a lie.

Even the most legendary military victories resulted in high casualties for the winners.

Here's but a few:
Israel in the 6 Day War-800 Dead in 6 days(by ratio = to more than the total US dead in Vietnam)

Germany in 1939 invasion of Poland-13000 dead, but it's hailed as one of the more overwhelming conquests in history

US in Battle of the Bulge-80000 dead

Iwo Jima-6000 dead in a matter of days/weeks

Tarawa-Thousands dead in days

Okinawa-25000 dead

USSR in Berlin-250000 dead

The point is that if we accept casualties but maintain the resolve we can inflict decisive defeats. I fear tha tin trying to avoide casualties we also miss out on achieving victory.

I know it's tough, but if Olmert and the IDF would swallow hard and say to themselves, "you know what, by this time next week, there may be 1000 dead Israelis but Hezbollah will be finished, Doc Assad will be finished, and Tehran's regional ambition would lie in shambles", this would all be worth it.

7/31/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Wretchard, only one difference,

this isn't a town, This is a Telephone Booth.

7/31/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

2164th; 6:39 PM

With all due respect, I have seen the real thing, Nurnberg. How did that work out?

If every inbred, ululating, miscreant shows up in Beirut, well, that is just a bigger target. Frankly, 2164th, more and more Westerners are daily coming to the same conclusion: so what!

At some point in life, 2164th, the kaa kaa will hit the fan. The role of leadership is to choose the opportune time for that to happen or play the hand drawn best. Lately, we have been negligent in this regard; hence, all the hyperbole, naval gazing, and augury. You strike while the iron is hot and sort out the mess after the smoke clears.

7/31/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

It all depends on Olmert, now.

7/31/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

The silliest use of statistics is when one does what Sarah did when she said:

... "Here's but a few:
Israel in the 6 Day War-800 Dead in 6 days(by ratio = to more than the total US dead in Vietnam)"..

I have heard several politicians do the same. To use the same logic, If I were to go to Israel and and spend a romantic evening with a nice Jewish lady, it would be the same as spending it with a crowd of 90 nice Jewish Ladies. I can hardly wait for Habu or Dougs reply.

7/31/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Not when Dr. Rice dictates a 48 hour ceasefire, to Israel's total dismay.

7/31/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Final Historian said...

Fidel is dead. CNN is reporting:

"Cuban President Fidel Castro is transferring power provisionally to brother Raul while he undergoes an operation, Cuban TV announces."

That screams he is dead, or dying, and that Raul wants to secure himself before openly announcing as such. Time to exploit Prediction Markets people.

7/31/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...


Statistics can be misleading, but they can also not be.

My point was simply that in the past, Israel was willing ot accept the casualties because it knew the laternative was worse and that victory was the only option.

Those 800 in 1967 and those 3000 in 1973 and those 6000 in 1948 did not die so that Olmert could throw it all away in 2006 because he was afraid.

If the choice is between 35 dead and the status quo or worse and 1000 dead and the end of Hezbollah and the Doctor, I'll take door number number two thank you.

7/31/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Tigerhawk reminds: That Hezbollah's attack has finally destroyed the land-for-peace formula, upon which all past Roadmaps were founded. "Israel has no concession that it can make to Hezbollah to end the fighting, and Hezbollah cannot give Israel what it must ultimately have -- acceptance of its existence and the recognition of specific borders -- without destroying its own legitimacy."

Israel has agreed on Borders with Egypt and Jordan. It is cloooose to agreement with Syria under the Prince Abdullah proposal. The Pals are basically presented with what Borders they will get as final boundaries of Israel Proper are determined. There is no real border issue with Lebanon.

There are issues with total Arab extremist rejectionists. But the world makes a big difference between an Israeli colonist on the West Bank shooting at people on their own land, and with a State defending itself if attacked across internationally recognized Borders.

Using the Arab rejectionist position is an excuse by the Right Wing Greater Israel extremists to be instransigent. But maintaining the status quo for their Settlement Colonies continues to Israel's "balls and chains" - draining Israeli military resources defending scattered economically unviable and national tax draining outposts surrounded in Injun Country.
Tony - A hundred years from now, history will look back on 9/11 as the day this world war burst from smoke to flames, and at first the fire burned slowly.

When the world looks back, it will not see this as a function of a stray terror attack that inflicted a modest number of casualties, but as an ideological war.

An ideological war with a specific starting year - 1979.

All 9/11 was was the escalation of previous terror attacks. Nothing new with to the causation or methodology of Islamic assymetric war. The scale of damage and casualties of 9/11 was not huge with respect to other historical attacks and battles. It happened in a global media center, and to a people that assumed their homeland was unique in no one would ever dare attack it.

The misplaced importance on 9/11 is more about Americal psychology than it being "the center of it all".

While there are valuable precursers - the rise of the Islamic Brotherhood, the seminal teachings of Sayyid Qutb, use of mass media to stir up infidel and particularly Zionist hatred by repressive Arab rulers...even the string of using the tactic of terror as effectively as others like the zionists and communists before did....2 critical events happened in 1979.

A. The Islamic Iranian Revolution and it's ability to stand up to Western powers that placed short-term obsession over hostage lives over long-term harm.
B. Saudi Arabia caving to a small band of Islamic Extremists who too over the Grande Mosque and agreeing to devote a substantial percentage of petrodollars to spreading Wahabbism globally in return for peace with the ruling family.

Before 1979, radical Islam was localized. After proved it could take a nation and spread with the endorsement of Islam's Ruling and Clerical center. Thereupon it found it could also add major elements of the Left to it's positions and beliefs - justification of terror, anticolonial rhetoric - Islam as the native - the ifidel as the colonist, use of identity politics, victimhood, using legal systems against majority populations. And use of technology to begin winning the PR war, proselytizing, networking..

While we slept, it spread like wildfire, and as polls show, fundamentally changed the attitudes of the Ummah towards the West, as well as among Islamic natives and immigrants outside the Ummah compared to polls on attitudes towards modernity, America, culture, Christianity, what makes a good Muslim - taken in the 60s and 70s.

9/11? Just a small chapter in the war if we win. A minor footnote in the Islamic chronciles if we lose.

Lesley - To those who take delight in Spengler criticizing George Bush, it should be noted that Spengler has also taken derisive swipes at Victor Davis Hanson and our own Wretchard.

Seems to me, it places Mr. Bush in rather good company.

Spengler is correct in slamming both Bush and zionist bootlicker Hanson. I like Hanson, but you can be sure he starts a ME essay with the premise that Israel can do no wrong, the neocons are mostly right, and his classic insights on the Peleponnesians and how a naval action outside Rhodes relates to car bombers are purely gratis stuff tossed in to prop up his neocon/Israel argument.

That said, Splengler dissing Fernandez was hopefully a one-time drunken rant that he really, really regretted doing later...sorta like a Mel Gibson moment.

7/31/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

The IDF accepts volunteers, Sarah.

7/31/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"There a few factors that have simply transformed things.

1. The media. 24/7 news, tv, arab tv, everything it makes it much more difficult ot fight. Can you imagine the Germans inviting CNN and the BBC into Dresden or Hamburg and broqadcasting video for all the world to see of what butchers FDR and Chirchill were? The world wasn't exposed to what was going on. When you add in the media element, it becomes that much more difficult to apply the force needed to win

2. The overall softening of the West. People in the West have it so well that they don't have the same level of fight as the enemy does. When we can watch American Idol or talk about flat screen tvs and various other pop culture things, who has time to fight a war where hundreds of thousands could die? Who wants to?"

"there's more but i can't think of them at the moment."

well,Sarah...rather than a laundry list,i'd like to ask you to bang those two initial ideas together
before you condemn your neighbors/the West for being "soft".

what does it mean to be "tough"
in an aged of televised war?

and in an age of televized

if the West is being beaten
it is not,IMO,through our ideas or
our "softness" it's thru our media...complicitly or maliciously,
the difference is moot.

(two of the hopeful media exceptions of course being the Internet,and this very blog...thank you Wretchard
and friends).

repectfully -

7/31/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Don't you think that Olmert, Dubya and Blair are in hourly phone contact, coordinating it all?

Maybe with Howard, Harper and Koizumi on the black phone beside the red phone. I don't see Putin involved, but maybe India is also in the loop. And I think Bush is obviously working very closely with Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, and maybe Jordan.

BTW, Turkey will NOT be allowed to do anything to the Kurds. If anything, America will be aiding and abetting the Kurds to take over Turkey since it seems to be sliding into Islamism.

7/31/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard wrote:

"The Hez will soon be at the mercy of all their rivals in the civil war."

hmmm, don't you think it also possible that like 911 united most in the US so to will the current Iraeli action unite most in Leb with HB?

7/31/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


If Syria is beating the war drum for propaganda only, has it not sold out Hezbollah already?

I ask, because Hezbollah might be expected to stand and fight, waiting for the Syrian cavalry. If Hezbollah stands, it dies.

If Syria has decided to betray Hezbollah, will it allow a shattered Hezbollah to retreat across its border?

Can Syria survive the obvious betrayal of Hezbollah?

Certainly, it would have a better chance of surviving a defeat by Israel, don’t you think?

7/31/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Who dat diss'in de Wretch?

The Belmont Boyz be gettin upside some heads if this sucka don't back off.

7/31/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Turkey put several significant army units on the southern border some weeks ago, I read somewhere. Ostensibly against the PPK incursions. Who knows. Maybe an anvil.

7/31/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Cedarford, you deserves to have your eyes gouged out by a crusader sword for your drivel. Before 1979, radical Islam was localized. lol.

7/31/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

P'Tater, Gett'im!

7/31/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat said,
"I was amongst the first to decry the mismanagement of Iraq.
The fault for that though lies with the Military, as an institution, more than it does with Mr Bush. The responsibility is his though, no doubt about that.
Ingraham had an informative interview w/Dan Senor, who of course was there.

Ingraham asked him about Horowitz Frontpage article regarding Sadr. He agreed, and gave this account:

Right after Saddam fell Sadr was responsible for killing a US Friendly Iraqi Shia Cleric leader -
An Iraqi Judge put out an arrest warrant for Sadr -
at that time he had 200 active followers in his Militia but we did nothing.

Oct 2003 - Sadr acting up again, killing our troops Militia now -
April 2004 - another confrontation -
Militia 10,000, again we did nothing.
He claims Bremmer had been pushing for his removal, but there were "some in the Pentagon, and some in the Military" that did not want to "make him bigger, make a martyr out of him"

Senor wrote last week in WSJ that Sadrist are Hez equivalent in Iraq, with all the dynamics in place to turn out like Lebanon, once again with Iran's funding.

Thinks it is never too late to deal w/Sadr, and we will rue the day if we don't.
Officials claim insurrectionists are a minority.
Senor reminds us the Russian revolution did not require a majority to get started.

7/31/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...


True, true, lots of oil between Venezuela and Cuba. Day rates of between $160,000 to $200,000 plus rig availability may factor in, however. Check out this interesting article Oil Rigs Stage Exodus from Gulf of Mexico by Mike Spector of the WSJ.

Money quote:

""One of the questions being asked is, 'Will the rigs come out on time?'" says Tom Kellock, ODS-Petrodata's head of consulting and research in Houston. He noted that several rigs missed their completion dates during the last rig-building boom in the late 1980s and early 1990s. To build a jack-up rig costs $160 million to $190 million, and deep-water rigs can cost as much as $600 million, according to ODS-Petrodata.""

Drilling in the Gulf may be easier said than done by either the Chavez or Castro regime.

7/31/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Desert Rat wrote:
"I was amongst the first to decry the mismanagement of Iraq.
The fault for that though lies with the Military, as an institution, more than it does with Mr Bush."

Naw, the invaison and occupation was a bad idea from the get go - even if better executed after Saddam's fall it would have turned out poorly.

7/31/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Well, I'm guessing that is one of Sadr's boys that is getting kicked out as Interior Minister. Sadr's going to have a little tougher time getting started than Hezbollah, did.

7/31/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


Who do you think has shown disrespect to the proprietor? How?

7/31/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger konaman said...

French testing the resolve of Bush once again! Didn't turn out well for the party of surrender (fitting role in this instance)last time and let's hope we see a repeat of Bush resolve. As Spengler writes in his latest missive, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Syria embassy tour on Fox (Greta)? Head scratcher? Charm offensive here while they convene a Shia shura council with a French grand puba. Suez payback? Fallujah I / Baghdad today - can think only of the sports metaphor playing down to your opponent.

7/31/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Jerusalem Post describes the possibile ground movement into Lebanon as consisting of three different fronts, utilizing the Golani, Nahal and the Paratroopers infantry brigades.

7/31/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger konaman said...

Absolutely pathetic. With friends like these...

7/31/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...


Cedarford posted that Victor Davis Hanson went off on some kind of an anti-Wretchard rant.

He thought maybe VDH got drunk, ala Mel Gibson, or somethng.

7/31/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Spengler of the Asia Times is the critic in question, I think.

VDH hasn't time, he has to rest his tongue, C4 has caught him licking neocon boots again.

Looky here--a change of sartorial fashion for Hez?

7/31/2006 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Rufus (6:18 PM),

The Kurds are closer to the Jews, genetically, than they are to anyone else in the Middle East (or, I guess, the world for that matter.)

Actually, IIRC, there are four groups genetically so allied: Jews, Kurds, Armenians, and Hungarians.

All very bright and industrious peoples, all very tough. Hungary produces a disproportionate number of mathematical and musical geniuses.

Jamie Irons

7/31/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

So do folks here think Israel will now take back the buffer area up to the Litani River? Now that the Israeli cabinet voted to do so (I think) and now that more troops are mobilized. Forget the element of surprise.

7/31/2006 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard writes: "Syria will now have the choice of staking everything by coming to the aid of the Hez or watching their client in Lebanon shredded. I predict Syria will stand aside, but. But as past days have shown in war anything can happen."

I agree. If there ever were a moment when Washington needs to play Syria, now is the time: "Hey Assad, take the Libya option. Come over to our side."

At the very least, this would throw Damascus into confusion, give the regime something to argue about as Israel delivers it coup de grace against Hezbollah.

If it works, this would rock Tehran's world. One day, the mullahs are on the verge of the miraculous: extending their hegemony across the northern tier of the Middle East. The next: the virtual disappearance of their arc of influence.

Even if it doesn't work, the world can't we didn't try.

This isn't exactly what the stability junkies in Washington have in mind when they plead for reaching out to Syria, but hey, diplomacy works in mysterious ways.

BTW, Spengler is a snot.

7/31/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


"Forget the element of surprise." There are few things still not known. Axis of advance. Extent. All this time Hezbollah has been conditioned to expect limited IDF objectives. Border adjustments. Buffer zone. But the question still remains in my mind. If they are going to defeat the Hez strategically, then they must go for their center of gravity.

There's still an element of doubt as to how far the IDF will go. But that's part of the element of surprise.

7/31/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Dang, too much war-watching. I can't even read. sorry, VDH, wherever you are.

7/31/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


I have heard several politicians do the same. To use the same logic, If I were to go to Israel and and spend a romantic evening with a nice Jewish lady, it would be the same as spending it with a crowd of 90 nice Jewish Ladies...

Now we're getting into an area where I have some real expertise!

I don't think you, or I, or Buddy, or even Desert Rat or Wretchard himself, could handle those 90 "nice Jewish ladies!"

(Forget your seventy-two virgin raisins, which would be like a Sunday school picnic compared to all those nice Jewish ladies!)


Jamie Irons

7/31/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hot-blooded Mediterranean beauties, but 90 ? Over how much time? That's a critical question, y'know.

7/31/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Jamie, I'm sure glad you didn't include ME in that list of sub-performing pansies. I'm sure you were just being modest about yourself, being a self-described "Redneck" and all.

7/31/2006 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

At my stage of the game, more like it would be, "One Jewish lady, 90."

7/31/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Well, Wretchard, they better get to steppin. I don't think they have more than 5 or 6 days before the world "community" is all over them.

Bush is on their side, but Condi's running this show; and, she is a "Diplomat."

7/31/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Do I have a month?
Or does it have to be done in a night?

7/31/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Jamie, would you have to talk to them the next mornin?

7/31/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Syria getting involved is probably the best thing that could happen.

7/31/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Do or Die

7/31/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I don't know about you Rat, but I think the IDF would get to Baalbeck, before I could work my way through 90 nice Jewish/French/Irish/Indian/Polinesian/Amish/Armenian/Zimbabwean or any other kind of Ladies.

7/31/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

say a little prayer for the good guys. fighting kamikazes is brutal.

7/31/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

TigerHawk reports that Iran controls the keys to the big missiles in Hezbollah’s armory, having forbidden their use by Hezbollah, to date.

Why has Iran not given permission to launch against deep Israeli targets?

If in its present harried strait Hezbollah does not launch, has Iran betrayed its proxy?


"Hot-blooded Mediterranean beauties"

You are thinking of Golda Meir?

7/31/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

ffe, I couldn't imagine that they're not already romancin Syria, pretty good. At least showin a little leg, and smilin coyly.

7/31/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

It strikes me that it would be smart for Israel to delay another twenty four hours after this announcement before going in heavy.

Sound the march and let your enemy hear it, then feint for 24 to 36 hours so that your enemy gets no sleep. Then, when you finally do go in, they are either exhausted and delirious, or hopped up and reckless.


7/31/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Just curious: are you an Israeli? If not, you are pretty casual with deciding how many casualties should be acceptable to them. A defeat or victory for Israel at this point is not going to be a major turning point, just another stepping stone, a vector which can be reversed either way. If Hezbollah is defeated, do you think that Iran will stop hating Israel and scheming against it? IF Israel withdraws today, which you would call a defeat, do you think that Israel will then allow Iranian tanks to mass on their border? BTW, the U.S. suffered about 10K dead in the Battle of the Bulge, not 80K.

7/31/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I am now, thankyouverymuch.

7/31/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I'd romance Golda Meir if she'd agree to come back and run things for a week, or so.

Over/under for boots in Baalbeck would be about 4 hrs. (assuming it takes 2 hrs to fuel up a Merkava 4, change the oil.)

7/31/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

I think your point about kamakazees is important. Are the Hezbos "deadenders" like we saw in Afgahnastan.? If so then we can understand the delay in taking ground by IDF.

7/31/2006 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nasrallah Profiled:
A special Military Intelligence unit, consisting of six professional profilers, has been established to profile Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. According to the unit, Nasrallah is scared of a massive ground incursion, which he understands could destroy his infrastructure in southern Lebanon.

The bottom line is that in contrast to public perception that Hizbullah was winning the war, the defense establishment believes that the group has been dealt a fatal blow and while it still had the ability to shoot Katyushas at Israel, firing a record 150 Sunday, the fact that on Monday the group only fired two rockets demonstrated Nasrallah's interest in reaching a cease-fire with Israel.

IDF hack Hizballah TV
One of the unknown facts is that Israel has a computer hacking unit. A number of years ago a young Israeli hacked into the most secure computer files of the FBI. When he tried out for the computer warfare unit he didn't make the cut. Instead he became a soldier in Golani.

Today this unit of the IDF hacked into al-Manar TV the TV of Hizballah.

Shown on the screen was the face of Nasrallah with the following three messages,
Nasrallah your time is up,
soon you will not be with us any more.
Your days are numbered.

7/31/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger ppab said...

Anyone care to illuminate what these mysterious "world community" and "world opinion" phenomena are? Are these things tallies of frowns? The global emoticon? Are blustery businessmen going to erupt in board rooms across the world, toss papers into the air and declare "Enough with this neo-imperialism! Cut off business with Israel!"

Is the arab street going to buy AMD instead of Intel?

I fancy this idea a figment of our modern day, a product of saturation with images and opinions. But these are just sounds and pixels and they do not drive many cars, let alone the trucks and APCs of some "international force."

What about this "pay the public piper" boogeyman am I missing?

7/31/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni earlier predicted they'd go to the Litani, but does not expect them to do what he wants, which is to transport troops by boat to ports North, and also approach the river from that side.

7/31/2006 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Is the arab street going to buy AMD instead of Intel?"
That and much, much more:
Rebukes would arrive from Dominque.

7/31/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Also, the Olmert-can't-take-casualties meme just popped up out of nowhere, a kibbitzer invention, which will likely soon be sadly forgotten. Taking those two fortress towns with so few casualties was pretty damn cool. When the enemy offers you a wienie, don't bite the wienie.

7/31/2006 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:05 PM Admit it Rufus:
You'd do it Gratis.

7/31/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Exhelodrvr, I figured it was about 8,000 and she'd added a zero. That USSR in Berlin didn't look right, either, but hey, who's counting? I'll let the Russians count their own.

I agree, Syria jumping in might not be a bad thing, but, Lord, I just can't imagine they could be that stupid.

7/31/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristides said,
" they are either delirious, or hopped up and reckless."
And the difference from "normal" would be?

7/31/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

If Israel gets the 10 – 14 days it claims to need to roll up Hezbollah in the south as well as inflicting damage in the Bekaa and Syria does not openly intervene to protect its ally, then Syria will 1) appear too weak to aid Hezbollah or 2) appear to have betrayed Hezbollah. In either case, the Assad government could be terminally weakened. This may explain the sudden French interest in diplomacy.

Could fear of weakening Syria also explain Dr. Rice’s rush to get a cease-fire agreement through the UN this week? Her efforts may have little to do with Lebanon or Israel and everything to do with propping up Syria. Is this the price of getting Syria to “flip”? And, if once flipped, will Syria remain flipped?

7/31/2006 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Bloody, it's Condi announcing that we have agreed on a "Groundwork" for an end to hostilities.

7/31/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

"I'd romance Golda Meir"

Better be careful; using the Israeli-to-U.S. conversion rates, that equates to romancing approximately 45 Golda Meirs. Are you up to that?

7/31/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Buddy Larsen said...
I am now, thankyouverymuch.

9:01 PM

That most excellent Viagra antidote.

7/31/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"TigerHawk reports that Iran controls the keys to the big missiles in Hezbollah’s armory, having forbidden their use by Hezbollah, to date. "
Yoni reports the same, plus they really do think they have taken out 2/3 of those, also a majority of launchers.
10 k katusha's remain.

7/31/2006 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Buddy, I Agree. If he knew he had a month, his strategy was brilliant. As I said, my displeasure was predicated on not understanding the time available.

If this plays out like it could, historians might be giving this operations two A+ s, just like Tommy Franks' run to Baghdad, or Stormin Norman's "Left Hook."

7/31/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Bloody, thanks for the harsh, barking, sardonic laugh. You're absolutely right, too.

wv: lggodsva
(large G-d save ya)

--and I was thinking about Castro, too. Providence takes him away as IDF busts up Hez, and drives Iran and Syria to distraction--well, "lggodsva". Who's to say?

7/31/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The GOP should disown this Sad Sack:
Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast
Nebraska's Sen. Hagel calls for immediate cease-fire
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, called the current crisis in the Mideast "madness."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Urging President Bush to turn all U.S. efforts toward "ending this madness," a leading Republican senator Monday broke with the Bush administration and called for an immediate cease-fire in the Mideast.
"The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now," Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel said. "President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop."

7/31/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger NortheastOxymoron said...

Dough said...

IDF hack Hizballah TV
One of the unknown facts is that Israel has a computer hacking unit.

Unknown to whom? It's fairly widely known Israel has a very robust IT sector with very knowledgeable developers. It's neither the least bit surprising nor an unknown fact Israel has highly qualified hacking units. What is surprising is it's taken so long for proactive counter measures.

7/31/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger ag1 said...

Rufus said: "Strange note, for what it's worth;

The Kurds are closer to the Jews, genetically, than they are to anyone else in the Middle East (or, I guess, the world for that matter.)"

I've read about it quite few years ago somewhere but cannot find a link. Can you help?

7/31/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

little known--the most famous Arab general of all, Saladin, was a Kurd.

7/31/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

45 Golda Meirs? Might need a little help from my buddy, PossumTater, for that.

I figure if P'Tater can handle .... oh, .....44, then me and Jack (Daniels) can do our patriotic duty with the rest.

You know, I read somewhere that Moshe Dayan got a whole lot of credit that should have gone to Meir.

7/31/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

The FBI has computers? That work?

Does Mueller know this?

7/31/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, Hagel needs oil prices to stay high--his ethanol constituency is his 'can't cross' line. and he's the kinda guy who'd play this war that way, too.

7/31/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Ag1, I'm in the same boat you are. If you find one, let us know. I would like to look at it.

7/31/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Well, there is genius and then there is GENIUS...

A lot of us admire, and with very good reason, Wretchard and his amazing analyses. Deferring to no one in this regard, I freely admit I would not have a clue as to what is going on in this conflict if not for him, and for many of you.

But every now and then, a true nova shines in our firmament, letting drop, in an almost offhand way, a comment that gets to the very heart, not just of a war, but of life itself.

Gentlemen (and Gentle Ladies), I give you Rufus:

Jamie, would you have to talk to them the next mornin?

Jamie Irons

7/31/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I apologize for that--no Nebraska corn farmer would think such a thought. Hagel just makes me crazy, is all. Course, most all senators are fatuous grandee rock star numbskulls, so, uhhhh....

7/31/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Jamie, it wasn't that profound--he was just rummaging around for his Hebrew dictionary--

7/31/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Dear 2164th,

It would be nice if you provided a link to the article on the rally in Beirut Square...

For now I will regard this report with the same skepticism as I have for the claims surrounding the alleged “Million-Man March” a few years ago, or the “hundreds of thousands” of demonstrators claimed at anti-war, anti-immigration-reform, anti-whatnot rallies. (It’s clear that the images of these events are taking advantage of the latest 3D computer graphics applications to multiply two or three real humans into several million automatons...)

Assad the younger is problematic for his own backers: raised by a ruthless ruler who did not flinch at ordering the liquidation of 20,000 of his own citizens when they rebelled, he was less interested in Politics and the Qur’an than in becoming a dentist. He has probably had a lot of catching up to do. It is worth reconsidering that bit of work by Hafez al Assad. The Muslim Brotherhood (jamiat al-Ikhwan al-muslimun) had a substantial presence in Syria dating from the days before Syria had broken from Nasser’s United Arab Republic.

They were organized in the 1920’s after the dismantling of the last Caliphate. They want it back. They now have branches throughout the middle east.

These are the folks that worked with Hitler’s people to organize an espionage network throughout the arab world, committed violent acts against the Egyptian government of King Farouk because he was insufficiently pious, assassinated Nasser’s Prime Minister Nokrashi because the regime was too cozy with the atheist communists, attempted the assassination of Nasser himself, ditto. Putin’s Russian government is satisfied that the Brotherhood plays a prominent role in its difficulties with Chechnya.(To be fair, there seem to be elements within various branches that seem willing to participate in free elections and refrain from terrorism...)

The Muslim brotherhood were particularly annoyed at the ascendancy of Hafez al Assad to the leadership of Syria. Assad was an Alawite, which many Muslim refuse to accept as true Muslims. Assad’s support of the Maronites in the Lebanese Civil War during the 1970’s finally incensed the Brotherhood enough to make him the target of their Jihad. Assad attempted reconciliation, but they committed a series of increasingly vicious atrocities. Finally, after a failed assassination attempt in the summer of 1980, Hafez al Assad had the Syrian Parliament make membership in the Brotherhood a Capital crime, and used his troops to crush the brotherhood, eventually exterminating some 20,000. The Hama Massacre lasted through early 1982, and extinguished the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

My point in all this is merely to say that the Arab world is a far more complex universe than I had appreciated until the events of the last few decades made me begin to look a little deeper.

It does seem we Westerners get discouraged sometimes at the seeming monolithic aspect of the Islamic Jihadists. In fact, these people are ready to turn on each other in a heartbeat.

7/31/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

4300 years, ago, the Jews conquered Mesopotamia. I guess it makes sense that a small group of them would move up into the mountains and, eventually, develop their own language and customs. For the next couple of millenia it was an ebb and flow in Mesopotamia of conquering armies of Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and God knows what all.

It makes sense that when their cousins are driven out they would remain in their Mountainous redoubts, intermarrying with their neighbors/conquerors from Arabia, Persia, etc. but retaining a fairly strong Genetic "Base."

7/31/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Aww, Jamie

7/31/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's the Urdu i tells ya--

7/31/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

The War Nerd
has a few things to say about this conflict.

I think he is slightly insane, but I have been reading his rants for a couple of years and he has the nasty habit of being right more than he is wrong.

Myself, I have no idea what is going on or what will happen.

War is that way.

Just remember August 22nd. The Twelvers in Iran certainly will.

Papa Ray
West Texas

7/31/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"Wretchard wrote: "It is a war in Lebanon by outside powers
over the central political issue in the Middle East: Israel's right to exist."

...a C&P from a query by Ash above...

but IMO,this formulation
turns the question inside out.

IMO,the query....

in contemprary ME Studies Depts,the general tone of EU attitudes,
and the MSMs moral equivalence crusades,
and recent articles such as Richard Cohen's recent WaPo Op-Ed of 18July06,
"Hunker Down With History"("Israel was a mistake")
>here: [] NOT about "Israel's right to exist".

the query is about "the Right of the Islamic world to vent their spleen
on Israel 'once an for all' by 'wiping it off the map'.

"is it time yet,Abdul??"

argue it's only 'rhetoric',
but the scapegoating is so blatant,
and the lust for 'the third Holiest City in islam'
so papable that one can only pity the inferiority that (some)muslims
must perpetually feel in order to gear their entire cultural project to this one cosmic task.

My G-d!! can the jooos *really*
be THAT powerful?

no,no,no!!!...they must be THAT evil!!,cunning!!,sly!! despicable!!!
yeah!...that's the ticket!!

it couldn't be anything as simple as that they love their children from birth.

and that G-D smiles on such a thing.

if anyone on the planet needs to review their history of the Holocaust,it is Monsieur Amedinejad....

and the haunting question "what Iranian Holocaust??" should ring through his empty skull.

7/31/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

When a wise doctor seeks to help a patient back to health, and faced with chicken-causes and egg-effects, it is sometimes necessary to wade in, killing chickens and smashing eggs, that a respite from aggravating circumstances can allow the INBORN HEALING POWERS to assert themselves.

""A few states are dedicated proliferators, whose leaders are determined to develop, maintain, and improve their WMD and delivery capabilities, which directly threaten the United States, U.S. forces overseas, and/or our friends and allies. Because each of these regimes is different, we will pursue country-specific strategies that best enable us and our friends and allies to prevent, deter, and defend against WMD and missile threats from each of them."

Such a decision, such an effort, can be temporary at best, because it does NOT have as its goal the unification of the hearts and minds of the HUMANS driving themselves to hateful conflict now...

(and yes, I've posted a scathing take on "Mr Green Helmet", at Brain Surgery With Spoons dot blogspot dot com)

7/31/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

22:06 PDT As far north as the Litani River. The Israeli Cabinet approved a military request to push the Hezbollah to that limit in an effort to protect Israel's northern border. (Arutz Sheva)

That's the limit of advance for now. The Hez can fall back or be driven back. But this is not a Hezbollah killing thrust.

7/31/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

The Mesoptamian culture, prior to the arrival of the Jews was the finest culture the middle east produced up to about 1920, or so.

A 4500 year winning streak. Not bad. I wish somebody would study on just how prevalent the old "Mesopotamian" blood is in the Kurds.

7/31/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The thing about Condi's shuttle diplomacy is it's eating up a LOT of time while she's air-borne, flitting from here to there and back again. Days of time, in point of fact. Soon it will have stretched into weeks of time. Industrious little Secretary of State, isn't she?

7/31/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

She's doing a great job, Nahncee; and, she won't make a bad deal. But, eventually, she will make a deal. She will have to. The other side will give her everything she's asking for. That's when the whistle blows. Another couple of days, and it get out of Dodge-time.

7/31/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

But, they're already doing insertions into the Beqaa. I don't trust them sneaky Jews. They might change their mind, Again.

7/31/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

How's the poor Hez going to get any "rest," if them sneaky Jews keep changin their minds.

7/31/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Papa Ray mentioned the War Nerd, whom I've been reading on and off for a coupla years.

The viciously funny (and, yes, slightly insane) anti-Hanson.

7/31/2006 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...


Your translation is quite off. The hacked screen actually said,

you have no chance to prepare!
make your time!!!

7/31/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Well, that simplistic answer was wrong as rain. The Kurds have been in those mountains for 8,000 years. The language, as Buddy hinted in Indo-European, and is related to Persian, and Urdu. They were big players in ancient mesopotamia, though. Seems they couldn't whip the Sumerians, though. Or, maybe they just co-existed. Still, it makes sense that some/a lot of Jews would move in and intermarry. It's not mentioned in Wikipedia, though. Those sneaky Jews.

7/31/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

rufus said...
Strange note, for what it's worth;

The Kurds are closer to the Jews, genetically, than they are to anyone else in the Middle East (or, I guess, the world for that matter.)

Wrongo. Y-haploid studies show the most genetic closeness between Lebs, Syrians, Separdic Jews, and Palestinians. Makes sense because they were all in ancient Canaan. Further in genetic "distance" are the cousins to the Jews, the Saudis and Iraqi Arabs. Even further out are the Kurds, Egyptians. But not as genetically removed from ME roots as Ashkenazi Jews or Frenchmen. Ethiopean Jews? They show the same number of ME genes as Chinese.

Y Haploid studies are causing all sorts of anthropological fun. Japs get to know that their real kissing cousins are the garlic-eating Mortimer Snerds of Asia, the N Koreans - not the Chinese. Sicilians discover their ancestry has a few "special" occupants of the family tree from Sweden and Africa...

BTW, Rufus, you need to read closer or more comprehensively...Spengler was dissing, not VDH.

Wretchard - Israel cannot leave Hezbollah in existence. And Hezbollah lives to destroy Israel.

Israel might, if it is lucky, reasonably defang the Hezbollah military, especially if the Sunnis "flip" Syria away from Iran, and block new weapons supplies. But Hezbollah is a broad political movement with wide support. Britain was never able to politically or militarily end Irish and ethnic Irish support for the IRA in it's heyday, Hezbollah is similarly set up to be quite durable.
The Mad Fiddler - Seems you have been doing a pretty credible job educating yourself. It is more than "a small band of evildoers who hijacked a great and noble relegion." My grandfather told me that in WWII, there was a huge interest in learning about Russia and Japan, Germany being "familiar" enough. Not many people in America have bothered to learn much about the Arabs and Persians....the war was sold to them as a "no inconvenience to you - so relax, shop, enjoy your tax cuts - and cheer the heroes".

I think people should learn a bit about the civilization that is confronting us, and not rely on those with ME agendas who may seek to spin us.

7/31/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

By the way, these whiney-assed suckers weren't always called Lebanese; They were once called PHOENICIANS, and they damned near conquered the known world.

7/31/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

To me, the ancient Mesopotamian hieratic city state wouldn't seem the height of civilization. I'd rather be a hunter-gatherer, or better yet, a Sioux. Lot more freedom. And I wouldn't have wanted to be a king, having to slay myself and my girls, along with my court, and be buried all together at the culmination of the revolution of the heavens. I would want to light out for the territories out west, like Huck Finn, or Abram of old.

7/31/2006 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

c4, I done mea culpa'd over the misreading. Like I said, I guess it's war fatigue.

However, I didn't say the Kurds were the Jews closest cousins. I said that the Jews were the Kurds closest cousins (at least in the neighborhood.) There is a difference. Now, I'm not a geneticist. I, surely, could be wrong; I mean, I don't know squat from Y-haploids. I thought those were cough drops.

Anyway, I would appreciate a link on this. I find it all very interesting. I've spent the last couple of hours reading about the Phoenicians, and the Sea People. Really weird.

8/01/2006 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...


what I thought was neat was that the King wasn't a God. He had to live by the same laws as the rest of them. (It sounds to me like they invented "Democracy.")They were "Capitalists," had vast irrigation systems, invented the written language.

Anyway, I liked their governing system. Seemed like they did pretty good for 6,000 years ago.

G'nite all, I'm so tired I can't see. I'm liable to be typing anything.

8/01/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

C4, I Yahoo'd y-haploid. The only hit I got was a post you made on Belmont Club several months ago.

8/01/2006 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger Achilles Jones said...

Has anyone considered this possibilty: that Israel is simply paralyzed by its own assertions that Iraqi WMD went to Syria? IF true, then all this talk about going to Damascus is really taunting the devils of mass destruction...and Olmert is blinking because he is actually facing the reality of SCUDs with nerve gas...and the requisite retaliation that that would require. I am as eager as all of you for going to the 'centre of gravity'...but Syrian chemical weapons are perhaps a bigger deterrant that we, over here in safety, are willing to admit.

8/01/2006 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Okay, I was hyperbolatin agin. Maybe, they didn't exactly almost conquer the Known World; but, they did raise a little ruckus around the Med.

8/01/2006 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

This Article deals with the "Paternal" lineages of Judean Jews and Iraqi Kurds. It says they're the closest. However, it was written in 2004, so it might not be up to date with the latest research.

8/01/2006 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

The Genetic Ties Between Kurds and Jews.

8/01/2006 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Your request Mad Fiddler, regarding the 500,000 Shiite rally in Lebanon. My 6:39 pm

8/01/2006 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

gyFunny, Rufus, when I Google haploid + Jews, I get 11,600 hits. Try it.

Meanwhile, here's an intial link that shows the genetic clustering of Syrians, Pals, and Jews...the genetic drift of Ashkenzis acquiring European genes and traits...the genetic non-similarity of Ethiopian Jews to any other Jewish population's genetic markers.

Also a link which suggests that although there was no ethnic linkage between the Semitic Jews and the Indo-European Kurds, that Jews who spoke Aramaic were captured by Hittites and Assyrians and made concubines and slaves, and eventually admixtured with the ancestors of the present day Kurds. This link showed similarity bewteen Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Kurds - meaning that the admixture at the beginning of the 1st millenium was partially Jewish, blood mixed with Assyrian and Hittite conquerers...that like with Syria and Lebanon and Palestine..many Jews converted to Christianity, many more when from being Jewish, or Christian converts after 800 years passed and the conquering Arabs demanded they become Muslims. The holdout population of Kurdish Jews was found to be extremely close to the Iraqi and Separdic Jews, with matrelinial traits also shared with Ashkenazis..

The original Kurds are related to Chechens and Baluchis from the Caucus Mountains who spoke a non-Aryan language in the Caucuses 8,000 years ago the Chechens still know. Then when the Kurds migrated West, they "switched" over century to an Iranian tongue that was spoken in the lowlands underneath their new mountain homes. Linguists found some usage of Aramaic by Kurdish Christians and Jews, but as a general rule limited to those groups, not seen in the Muslim majority. Moreover, the Aramaic was imported in the 2-300 AD period. The Kurds were never Semitic people, and only admixed with other populations in "recent" (a few millenia) times.

8/01/2006 02:37:00 AM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Wretchard, your analysis of round one seems to be playing out about right. Looking forward to round two means examining the options of the next periphery; Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and come to think of it India and NATO.
Good ol Jack Osirak of Fwance is carving out his Mullah cred card now that his bona fides with the Arabs is down to junk bond status. Will Blair, Merkel and the Poles step to the plate to calm Turkey down? The Turkey question IMHO depends upon not the politcos but the Generals. The Islamic party currently in power does not seem to be making the Generals at all comfortable. If these things get rougher in the neighborhood I do not think the Generals would care to be stymied by the Islamists. ergo another Turkish adjustment which would be good for the Kurds but not the Islamists.
Iran/Iraq should Syria flip or fold would appear to be where the back action is occuring now. Watching the isolation and soon, I hope, destruction of Mookie and Mahdis by the combined coalition forces would be an additional set back for the Mullahs. Al Sistani certainly would not object to a bright positive for the whole Iraq project. Should Iraqis decide that it is payback time for Iran, opened up the borders looking elsewhere as the Kurds push Iran northern ethnic groups into open revolt, the clandestine services have been working OT here for the past several years we might see in round two a new Iran.
That leaves us with Pakistani instability, nuclear arsenals and India who has been very, very quiet. GW just had the Indian PM over for a chat, just spekulatin.

8/01/2006 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

As reported in Haaretz it took some arm twisting to get Olmert to commit the IDF to the fight.

Olmert is the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. I guess if history can make heroes it can also make bufoons.

8/01/2006 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger felix said...

With all the talk of Israel losing the war, or performing below expectations, commentators may be looking at this the wrong way. One important thing that has occurred is a national consensus in Israel that this is a just cause, so motivation and, I think, morale, not just of the troops but the general public, is high.

The war has been run by a center-left coalition, which while tentative in approach on the ground, has still managed to slowly move the campaign forward. The opposition right wing parties are in favor of using more force and, possibly, expanding the war to Syria if necesary. So IDF will move slowly or (if Likud gets its way) move quicker. In any event this will be progress.

Israel is now, slowly, moving into the old buffer zone. As this proceeds, Israeli deterrent credibility will increase. Hezbos will now be the object of a War of Attrition in So. Leb.

8/01/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger felix said...

Further, every kilometer the IDF progresses past the dopey 1.2 kilometer goal the IDF set originally will help motivate the Israeli cabinet to keep going north.

8/01/2006 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Don't underestimate the left's ability to fool itself into doing nothing.

8/01/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The Weaponization of Children

8/01/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

The comments about possible connections between Jews and Kurds and others, based on studies of the Y chromosome, are most interesting. But remember that the Y is what makes one male (or the absence of the Y, female).

Matrilineal ancestry, such as would be revealed by studies of mitochondrial DNA (none of which I have found so far, if any have been conducted), may be more relevant. Remember, you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish. (I don't know much, but this I know for sure, first hand!)

Jamie Irons

8/01/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


That Gerard Vanderleun piece is superb. Thanks.

Jamie Irons

8/01/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: Cuba (or, per JFK1, "Queber")

W., I/we would be delighted to read how you think the transition in Cuba will play out.

My sense is that primary reason the U.S. has maintained an embargo is that (1) it is a punishment that is more damaging to pride than actual hurt to the Cuban people (since the rest-of-the-world maintains relationships) and (2), when their Stalin dies we can offer to drop sanctions and encourage large private sector investments in return for (internationally supervised, or even just Mr. Carter :-) free elections.

It'll also have the additional benefit of taking the ME off the front pages for a while (at least in the U.S.). Where what's needed in the ME more than anything else is for time to pass.

8/01/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Jamie, Vanderleun is, imo, along with Wretchard, a "pure" writer who would write enchanting can-opener instructions.

Put on war-and-peace topics, their work is politically important.

You can't enjoy pieces like 'weaponized children' but you can damn sure recognize that they are "important".

8/01/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

jamie irons,

Like the best cookies ever, mitochondrial DNA (something of a misnomer, but useful nonetheless) is one of those special things you can only get from your mother. And just as the unconditional love of a mother, it does not change, literally over eons.

While I cannot produce a handy verifying link off the top of my head, the Ashkenazim are the children of four founding mothers. And although it is tempting to point to the Patriarchal mothers as derivative, the fact is that each female donor theoretically could have been separated by vast periods of time.

Nonetheless, as to Jewishness, the requirement of a Jewish mother creates another one of those head scratching moments that makes one ask, “How did they know that?” A small matter in isolation, to be sure, but another piece in the unifying mosaic of Judaism, you might agree.

8/01/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Cuba, another place where the "Evil One" is portrayed as imprisoning a counry.
It's not really that way, Raul has run the Security Services for decades. He is the one that has enforced the edicts of Fidel. The power behind the throne, sort to speak.

Raul, himself, has said that he is much more radical than Fidel. If old Fidel does pass from the scene, do not expect any immediate move to freedom in Cuba.
Fidel and Raul have an infrastructure that will not go quietly into the night, it's not Albania by any means. From what I've seen and dealt with over the years.

If Iran is still standing in November, a Castro will be by it's side, along with Hugo.
The Leftists are setting up base camps for protesters in Mexico City. Another Revolution or at least an Insurgency is on the horizon for Mexico.
In it's 300 year history, power in Mexico has only transfered peacefully once, six years ago, and then only partially. Not much of a cultural tradition to be guided by.

If the next election is even held in Venezuela, I would not expect it to be "Free and Fair". Hugo's 100,000 new AK's guarentee his reelection.

There is a big storm a comin'.

8/01/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

On the Lebanonese/ Israeli front, a glance at the headlines at Real Clear Politics shoes the "pundits" have reached consensus.
Israel is losing.
From Ralph Peters to the WSJ. Pat Buchanon to Jimma Carter.
Whether the time is taken to read them all, or not, the message rings through, just in the titles.
But then those articles are all a few hours old.

At Drudge there is a link that says the IDF plans ...
"... a first stage, tanks and ground forces would move up to four miles into Lebanon, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to discuss government decisions with reporters.

Political commentator Emmanuel Rosen outlined the Security Cabinet's decision on Army Radio, saying troops would in some cases even go beyond the Litani. Justice Minister Haim Ramon, speaking on the same program, said Rosen apparently "knows what he is talking about," but declined to refer directly to the Cabinet decisions.

Speed is of the essence, if HB is to lose the propaganda war.
Time will tell.

8/01/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Ah, the purity of the Cuban marxist revolution. Cuba allied with Koranic Iran. Jeez.

8/01/2006 08:13:00 AM  

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