Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lebanon, Again

The White House press release on the kidnapping of two Israeli, and possibly ethnic Druze soldiers in Lebanon holds Syria and Iran responsible for the incident. As this roundup of recent history by the Washington Post shows, the tensions in Lebanon are nothing new. What is remarkable about this incident is that tensions in Lebanon were presumably on the wane -- until now. The Lebanese government, which has been trying to remove foreign influences, including Syria and Israel, from its national life, has limited control over Hezbollah. This new incident threatens to drag Lebanon back into the line of fire. But perhaps the point was precisely to do that. Turn Lebanon into a cauldron once again.

The White House Press release hits all those notes, which I've emphasized in bold.

July 12, 2006 STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY Condemnation of Hizballah Kidnapping of Two Israeli Soldiers

Today Hizballah terrorists operating from Lebanon kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and launched rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel. The United States condemns in the strongest terms this unprovoked act of terrorism, which was timed to exacerbate already high tensions in the region and sow further violence. We also hold Syria and Iran, which have provided long-standing support for Hizballah, responsible for today's violence. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers.

Hizballah's terrorist operations threaten Lebanon's security and are an affront to the sovereignty of the Lebanese Government. Hizballah's actions are not in the interest of the Lebanese people, whose welfare should not be held hostage to the interests of the Syrian and Iranian regimes. We reiterate the international community's insistence that all parties in the region fulfill their obligations under UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1680, and cease all support for Hizballah.

Strange rumors are doing the rounds in Israel right now. That's all they are for now, just rumors; they are interesting in that they indicate that tensions are high enough for them to be credible. Now the press reports Israeli air strikes and possible ground movement through Lebanon.


Israel has described the abduction of two IDF soldiers as "an act of war by the state of Lebanon against the state of Israel in its sovereign territory," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said of Hezbollah's action, threatening a "very painful and far-reaching" response. If Israel strikes at the Lebanese government it will be very damaging, I think, to all the efforts made to kick Syria out.


Blogger desert rat said...

Israel Matzav's rumor control does not limit the rumored War's objective.

On to Damascus
A lightning strike armored strike
by the IDF, ala Baghdad?

It would rock the world

7/12/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Clear the Baaka Valley, once and for all, well at least for once.

7/12/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Could this mean for once that the State of Israel has the full weight of UN Resolutions and international law on its side when it conducts warfare against a Lebanese militia?

Life really is getting strange...

7/12/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

LGF highlights a report saying that Egypt's efforts at defusing the Gaza crisis were sabotaged by "other parties." The context strongly implicates Iran and Syria as the saboteurs.

Will Israel do a Michael Corleone in Godfather I and settle all outstanding family business? Are we about to get a montage on the cable news?

I doubt it -- but part of me is hoping for it.

7/12/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

"Any country which harbors terrorists is terrorists". Therefore a terrorist act is an act of war by that country.

This is the principle Bush annunciated, but the best example was India after terrorists bombed its parliament. The president of India lined most of their troops up on Pakistans border, as well as pointing all his nukes at them. After arming the nukes, the message to Pakistan was "Do you really want war?"

After a tense confrontation, Pakistan backed down and stopped the terrorism.

Israel seems to be taking the same approach here, clearly calling this an act of war, not terrorism, and holding the government of Lebanon responsible. They will try to work with anti-Hezballah elements in Lebanon, to see if the government can be turned against them. If not, they will be targets in the war too.

This same principle seems to have been forgotten in Iraq, that if the Sunni tribes harbor terrorists, then they are terrorists. They are allowed to make excuses like they are afraid of the terrorists, etc., the same ones Arafat made.

If the Sunnis refuse to stop terrorist activity, defined as civilian attacks, then they need to be treated appropriately. This could mean unleashing Shiite terrorist activity until Sunnis stop the same, by treating both sides equally instead of having a double standard where Shiite terrorism is seen as being worse. The double standard is killing civilians, not saving them.

7/12/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Israel's usual war dilemma has been that it doesn't have the stamina to fight a prolonged war nor the depth to accept a first strike and retaliate. In 1973 they lost the population equivalent of 380,000 men in the Yom Kippur conflict. Just seven years before, the Six Day War cost them the equivalent of 85,000 men. That's like fighting WW2 and both Korea and Vietnam in the same decade.

But Israel has always need to keep America onboard and therefore that militates against first strike. Back in 1967 America was not the close ally it is now. Israel today is more constrained by its US alliance.

However, there's a limit to everything. And the problem is that Israel has tried most anything you can think of. To attack Damascus now, not to put too fine a point on it, would be an act of desperate frustration.

Historically, the Arabs have gotten themselves into trouble with Israel then gotten their neighbors to bail them out by opening second or third fronts. True in 1967 and 1973. Usually, these Arab rescues create more problems than they solve. That's how Jordan lost the West Bank; that's how the Egyptian Army got trapped across the Suez. In this case, if Israel hits Syria I fully expect Jordan to waffle, but participate in token and Iran to attack all out. Any attack into Syria will set the whole region ablaze.

This is probably what Israel is counting on. Bluff. But Arab armies have a history of miscalculating. They think they are winning when they are only surviving by sufferance. If Israel bluffs, Damascus and Teheran are just fool enough to call.

7/12/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The US should join in if and when Israel makes the announcement. Take out Hezbollah and Hamas and send Iran the message, "you're next."

The situation in Gaza has been an untenable stalemate. Granted the IDF were taking out bad guys but the anti-Zionist Euros and the pro-Pali UN are just mobilising their latest shrill condemnation campaign.

Bit by bit we learn what a morass the whole region is. Now the news comes out that Khalid Meshaal, sitting safely in Syria, is the "true" Hamas leader. Of course, you can't trust a thing they say. Abbas blames Haniya, Haniya blames Meshaal. Meanwhile they're all murderous, lying thugs financed by our friends and foes alike.

I say "strike!"

7/12/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

The interesting question to me is, "why now?" I would have thought that this kind of thing would have gotten uderway shortly after it was clear that Sharon was out of the picture and there was not yet a hand on the helm of state. Connection between the two American soldiers kidnapped and murdered in Iraq? Probably. Clearly a connection to the IDF soldier taken in Gaza. But to what end?

I don't know if they have a concerted strategy, but it is a typical effort to create chaos that can then be exploitd.

7/12/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Wu Wei,

I think the US position for now is to keep the government of Lebanon out of this. They don't really have that much power over Hezbollah as a practical matter. And Israel is unpopular in Lebanon. The Syrians, however, are another matter. Here the principle of the enemy of my enemy is my friend may apply.

7/12/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The interesting question to me is, "why now?"

I think Iran is behind it, tying up Israel at Iran's critical moment for nuclear weapons. Egypt said that a deal was agreed to in principle to swap prisoners with the Palestinians, but an "outsider" broke it up. The article I read indicates this was Iran, which is the main financial sponsor of Hezbollah and Hamas.

There is some evidence that Iran helped fake WMD evidence in Iraq, perhaps to tie up the US armed forces for the same reason, as well as take out Iran's evil neighbor.

7/12/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Which is why, dear host, it's on to Damascus or stay at home.

Kill a few Hezbollah ground pounders, to no real end.

Beirut is not the center of the cancer, nor the target of the innoculation.

The closest of aristides nodes to "clip" is Damascus.
Break the vase, leave, see what happens. Things won't be much worse than what we've got now and could get better.

Take the Iranians off their stride.
Gain the inititive, again.

7/12/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...


If Israel declares war on Hezbollah, that would be de facto war on Lebanon?

Which would supply Syria with an excuse to get back in there -- so Syria would declare war in return?

Iran would get involved? Missiles lobbed over Iraq? With Americans in the region?

Now I'm interesting in hearing your thoughts on why a war in the region that America doesn't start is such a bad thing when America, once involved, can end it in 48 hours. I know that every war has unintended consequences, and that North Korea or China could do something untoward while they think we are distracted, but...

A war we didn't start, but a war we must participate in, would allow us to accomplish quite a few of our own objectives (as D'rat noted). The burden of international opprobrium would be shouldered by the instigating parties. Meanwhile, Iran's special forces ops into Iraq, and, of course, their nuclear program, could be snuffed out.

Am I reading this wrongly?

7/12/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

An opportunity for a disproportionate response is offered, to let the opportunity slide on by will be telling on the final outcome.

If the Iranians retaliate against Israel, so be it.
Against US in Iraq, everyone says we are prepared.
The Allied oil infrastructure, known targets of Iranian opportunity. It'd be a War, but then it'd be over.
Mr White's "Princes of Darkness" could then be deployed, or something similar.

Game, Set, Match.
No long war required.

7/12/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Here's the game as I see it:

Israel dismantles southern Lebanon. If Syria and Iran stay out of it, Israel gains a de-militarized north and Hezbollah sees that its mighty benefactors aren't worth a thing when the chips are down. If, however, Syria and Iran get involved militarily, then Israel gets a de-militarized Syria and Iran as well, not to mention the long sought delay in Iran's nuclear program (and, as a bonus, maybe even regime changes). We get to pulverize Iran's command and control and their military and naval assets, and we solve, for a time, the largest diplomatic obstacle we face in the War on Terror. All under the guise of defending an ally, instead of under the banner of self-righteous aggression.

Of course, it will not all be roses. But we've been handed a gift, a strategic opening. If we Israel declares war, that is.

7/12/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Olmert choses the wrong target, IMO. Unless the Syrians counter attack to defend Lebanon from foreign aggression. He cedes the inititive, though, to the Doctor.

He should follow the US's lead, blame Syria, and take action.

If the Israelis cannot castrate Syria, talk of them taking out Iran's nuclear capacity is so much hot air.

7/12/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

What would we do in Damascus? Tie up another 150,000 troops (which we don't have) for three years trying to build a nation? I'm not an expert on Syria but it's hard to believe that we'd be welcomed as heroes and friends.

I think our nation building days should pretty much be over, unless someone actually attacks us (like Afghanistan did). Now that the world has seen how successful the insurgents were in Iraq, we should expect those same tactics in any country we invade.

7/12/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I don't think we've ever fought directly on Israel's side in a war, that is, both of us shooting. In fact in Gulf War I Israel did not respond to scud attacks on themselves, because their response would have dragged Arab countries into attacking them.

So if we end up fighting side by side, Israel and the US, we could end up targeted by the same terrorist groups as Israel.

7/12/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Olmert's problem is that he is out of moves. And Syria and Iran know it. It also knows that marching to Damascus is not a recipe for an Israeli victory, but continued chaos in the Middle East. But then Syrian and Iranian regimes have no interest in peace; Ipods, cards, laughing children or music are nothing to them. What turns them on is blood and power.

Unforunately -- and this is true for the West as well -- barbarians don't know when to stop. Sooner or later they trigger a response which is less rational than reflexive. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day soon Israel will simply snap. All systems, both physical and social, have their limit. And when it snaps we'll be for it.

To a certain extent, being in Iraq makes it possible to influence events in ways impossible before. This thing has been festering for decades. Since Jimmy Carter. Since the counter-revolution by the Wahabists against Khomeini. It is shambling to crisis, ready or not. Better that we face it with an experienced and ready force than have to do it with that containment thing of the 1990s and the Cold War force that went with it. How to face it, I can't guess. But there is no getting out of the way.

7/12/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

This article says Syria, not Iran, derailed the original hostage deal.

In Cairo, a top U.S. diplomat accused Syria of interfering to prevent a solution to Shalit's abduction.

"We are dismayed that so far there are some who are intending to interfere, to prevent a solution," David C. Welch, the assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said.

He called the Hezbollah capture of the two Israeli soldiers a "very dangerous escalation" that complicated efforts for Shalit's release.

Egyptian President

Hosni Mubarak also indirectly criticized Syria, suggesting it disrupted his country's attempts to mediate a deal for Shalit's release.

Hamas was subjected to "counter-pressures by other parties, which I don't want to name but which cut the road in front of the Egyptian mediation and led to the failure of the deal after it was about to be concluded," Mubarak said in an interview with Egypt's Al-Massai newspaper.

7/12/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We would do nothing in Damascus, w.w.
The Israeli would destroy the Syrian war machine, as much infrastructure as possible and then go home.
Leaving Syria to the Syrians and whomever wanted to help them rebuild Syrian capacity for modern living.

7/12/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We have never fought with the Israeli before, w.w.
No need to start now.

They have the military capacity, it is whether they want to continue this "Long War" or try to end it.

7/12/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The West has plenty of options against terrorist groups, like targeted killing. We just need to be patient and willing to tolerate casualties, including POWs. Asymmetric operations work both ways. Hezbollah can plan a picture perfect abduction, then six months later Israel can liberate them in the same lightning strike. We freed prisoners in Iraq after that long. The West can't be jerked like a puppet on a string every time a terrorist group succeeds in hurting someone. It's like the old saying "revenge is a dish best eaten cold".

Israel is already starting to even the score with their own asymmetric operations:

In an attempt to assassinate top Hamas fugitives Wednesday, Israel dropped a quarter-ton bomb on a home in Gaza City, killing a couple and seven of their children, ages 4-18. Hamas said its leaders escaped harm, but militants took over the intensive care unit of a hospital, barring reporters.

Palestinian security officials said Mohammed Deif, leader of Hamas' military wing and No. 1 on Israel's wanted list for more than a decade, was among the wounded — suffering severe back injuries that could paralyze him. At least 14 other Palestinians were killed in separate Israeli attacks Wednesday.

7/12/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

We are back in a bi, if not tri polar world.
Clinton allowed NKorea to go ahead with nuclear arms. China supports this, as does Putin as he clamps down.
Iran via Pakistan, AQ Khan, and the Chinese develop nuclear warheads with fissile material from Soviet stock.

After draining the US in a Iraqi war brought about by false intel developed by the Security Services of Russia (KGB & GRU) Russia solidifies it's Iranian oil needs, China checks Japan and Taiwan with Korean missle tests and threats all done with plausible deniability.
The mask is the kidnapping/Lebanon feint roiling Isreal and solidifying Arab hatred.
This is no longer happenstance, it's orchestration.

7/12/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I am concerned now about taking out any government, for the reason that Al Qaeda might pick up the pieces and take over (like Somalia).

7/12/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Palestinian Foreign Ministry building has just been destroyed by Israeli planes (via Fox News).

7/12/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

The CNN excerpt below is about what Israel really intends to do, put pressure on the government of Lebanon to get the hostages back:

Israel's Cabinet has authorized a "severe and harsh" response to the capture Wednesday of two soldiers by Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas and said Lebanon is responsible for their safe release, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said...

A government official told CNN that Israel would take gradual steps to prevent an escalation in fighting and to bring about the release of the soldiers. Israel will pressure the Lebanese government to push back Hezbollah from Lebanon's border with Israel, the official said.

7/12/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Israeli Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, head of the northern command, said Israel had "no advance" warning of the Hezbollah attack. He also said Israel has "no intention at the moment of involving Syria," which has great influence over Hezbollah.

"We think at the moment the debate is between us and the government of Lebanon," Adam said.

7/12/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Omar at Iraq the Model has a few thoughts on where the Middle East is going.

7/12/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Blaming Beirut, thinking of Damascus and Gaza
J - Post
"Throughout the recent period, Syria has proven that it is a terrorist government," Olmert said with Koizumi standing at his side. "It supports terrorism. It is a government that backs terrorism. It is a government that encourages the murderous actions both of terrorists located on its soil and those beyond it. Of course, there will have to be an appropriate preparation in order to deal with the conduct of the Syrian government."

This language was quite similar to language he used Sunday to describe the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government. "This is the first time in modern history that there is a whole government which is a terrorist government," he said. "This is not a government which is influenced by terror, this is not a government which sympathizes terror, this government is terror."

If Israel took strong military action against that type of government in Gaza, it would seem only natural for it to take similar action against a similar type of government in Damascus.

But to do so, to go on a strong military offensive against Syria, Israel would need international legitimacy, and getting legitimacy to declare war on Syria for an act perpetrated from Lebanese soil by a party within the Lebanese government, would be difficult to obtain.
Hewitt has some Lincoln quotes:
Watching the inevitable unfold on Israel's borders reminds me of this section of that address:

"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came."

The Islamists to Israel's south and now north "would make war" rather than let Israel survive.
Israel will accept war rather than let itself perish.

7/12/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Israel is in a good position legally. Not only is Lebanon responsible for the act of war launched from their soil and for the safety of the hostage, but they are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, such as one ordering Lebanon to disband Hezbollah.

7/12/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Nigh unto sixty years, since 1948, this "Mideast Crisis" has persisted amidst Arab intransigence, European and Soviet/Russian aggravations, America's inexplicable readiness from Suez in 1956 to the Gulf War in 1991 to recognize and act on brutal and desperate realities.

We suggest immediate cessation of American grain shipments to Egypt and all other in-kind recipients throughout the Middle and Near East. High time that American farmers stood on their own feet, rather than enable genocidal maniacs in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia to range at will, barbarizing everything they touch.

Starving out kleptocratic thugs such as Yasser of Stockholm, Mubarak of the Umpteenth Dynasty, the Minaretis who infest Teheran, would bless posterity. This would not be Ukraine under Uncle Joe, India's LSE-contrived famines under Nehru, Mao's Great Leap or Pol Pot's mass necrophilia. Why feed our proclaimed enemies? Just say, and mean it, "no peace, no eat."

Bob Dole is gone-- Kansas should be on its own. Waging Mideast wars by ending American farm subsidies would entail "casualties by default", but let's face it: Grain is our "gold oil." OPEC's cartel takes on a different tinge when "gut feelings" (intended) are at stake. Like Castro and Kim Jong-il, rulers may insulate themselves in person, but not their regimes forever-- Ceaucescu lasted only days after first hearing, "Resign, Red rat!"

We look forward to "Acres for Action", "No Grain for Graveyards", "Faux Pas for Fellahin"-- maybe "Taxpayers for Takedowns"? Step right up! Which party will be first to alienate the Agro-corporate vote, meaning that lobbyist payoffs drop by half? On 'tother hand, which party will be first to send Sixth Fleet task forces into Syria once Bashir lobs one onto Tel Aviv?

"No win", you say? "Au contraire," as any concerned Democrat will lisp. Losing counts as winning, and besides, who are we to say? They're only Israelites and Arabs. Let 'em eat safflower oil!

7/12/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

I'm starting to wonder if for once the UN might actually accomplish something good?

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the Hezbollah raid an "act of war" by Lebanon and threatened "very, very, very painful" retaliation. The Cabinet, meeting in the wake of the military's highest daily death toll in four years, decided to continue the army operation and call on the international community to disarm Hezbollah, according to participants.

7/12/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Economically, France and Germany convince the Chinese to start pulling out their US debt holdings and invest in Euro debt. This allows those countries outside the bounds of EU economic pararmeters to pull even.
As US debt is dumped back into the US, derivatives begin to unravel due to their hedging on China.
France and Germany get payback for being exposed as Americas' Brutus and oil goes to $200 a barrel. At this juncture our economy collaspes as the world turns to China.
Solution. Hit Iran,Syria,and Cairo then point our space based weaponry at China and give them an ultimatum. No use keeping those things a secret if you can't use 'em.

7/12/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni reports several hundred bombing missions into Southern Lebanon already!

Says end game GWB must prevent w/Norks and Iran is Nuke missiles capable of hitting Israel.

Fox News showing uninjured baby crying. When will the baby-killing (meme) stop?

7/12/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cornelius said...


The only logical vacuum plug in the event of a Syrian implosion are Islamists. Then we have Afghanistan all over again.

Although I suspect we are inevitably headed in that direction anyway. Best to accelerate the process then wait, nay?

7/12/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

This was said: "If, however, Syria and Iran get involved militarily,"

There is the key word, "militarily".

They don't fight like us, they learned their lessons well. They will fight with their hundreds [thousands?] of murder bombers in every arena in the world.

Every country will have to practically shut down any arrivals. Islamic agents that are already in place will recieve orders to commence terrorist bombings.

And don't forget al Qaeda and the rest of the fringe terrorist groups. They will see this as their chance to jump in with both feet.

The days of fighting toe to toe with conventional forces are over unless Russia or the Chinese want to try their luck...which they will sooner or later.

Papa Ray
West Texas

7/12/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Habu 4:33 PM,
My son just smiled, when I refered to some limitation in our position.
All I could do was mind read, since he, at least' takes his security seriously.
Best I came up with is:

"You ain't seen nothin yet!"

7/12/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Israel sent 100 truck-loads of food into Gaza, today. per Fox News 20 minutes, ago.

7/12/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Perhaps, Cornelius, but the Baathists are already sponsoring cross border ops into Iraq, and act as local pay and task master for the Iranians, dispersing the goodies across the Levant.

Redraw some maps, balance some scales, make local issues, like food and water, important again.

No Islamic training camp in what had been Syria is out of range of a B-52.

7/12/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

This deal isn't going very far. Israel doesn't have the heart for it. They just want somebody to tell them that they will quit shooting bottle rockets at them;

and that they'll respect them in the morning.

7/12/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Even the Europeans are coming out on Israel's side on this one. Everyone wants to see Hezbollah get what the Security Council said it deserves.

So far, diplomatic officials said, the international reaction had been satisfactory. Indicative of this was a statement issued by Finland, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU. That statement called on Hizbullah to "unconditionally release the captured Israeli soldiers and cease all attacks on Israel."

The statement also said the Lebanese government "has a responsibility to prevent a deterioration of the situation. In this context, the presidency recalls the need for the Lebanese State to restore its sovereignty over the whole of its national territory and to exercise the sole rights to the use of force on that territory." The statement also called on all parties to exercise restraint.

7/12/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Syria is on the hit list, the Israeli cabinet indicated:

While placing responsibility for the attack squarely on Lebanon's shoulders, he [Olmert] made it clear that Syria would pay a price.

"Throughout the recent period, Syria has proven that it is a terrorist government," Olmert said. "It supports terrorism, it is a government that backs terrorism, it is a government that encourages the murderous actions both of terrorists located on its soil and those beyond it. Of course, there will have to be an appropriate preparation in order to deal with the conduct of the Syrian government."

7/12/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Lord, no, not another wheat embargo--we've tried that, it don't work.

7/12/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Now, before someone starts flaming me for saying, "Israeli's don't have heart," that's not what I meant.

It's just that Israel doesn't really want a war at this time. They just want a little peace. It's been a long 60 years.

7/12/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Just now on Fox News they were talking about the current Israeli administration. Prim Min has no real military experince. Min of Defense is a former Union organizer with no military real experience.

Sure sounds like they were convinced that "peace in our time" was here. No wonder they went at this so slowly.

7/12/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Neither Yoni nor Gafney think the Civilian leadership has the heart, though the Military, as always is strong.
...Defense minister is a lifelong commie, according to Gafney!

7/12/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Meanwhile, back at the UN:
Kofi drools more moral equivalence.
Nothing new there.
Gafney figures Israel is just good practice for the Islamists before us.
So far the West bows to their dreams.

7/12/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger konaman said...

Let's not forget the mutual defense agreement between Syria and Iran.

7/12/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" No wonder they went at this so slowly."
Gafney confirms, says they're just thrashing around.

7/12/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger konaman said...

7/12/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

No flames here but this has been going on, sometimes accelerated,sometimes in slow motion. BUT we've made a start, cleared the first hurdle, hit the second one, ran through the third, but we're still in the race cause some of the others have some baggage to pull.
The only reason Israel hasn't crushed Egypt,Syria,Iran et. al. is because the USA stopped them. I don't think we're in the mood to do so anymore in spite of what we say publicly. When the flair goes up and we go over the top Israel will be with us.

7/12/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

I see this as potentially a big loser for Iran. They just were referred to the Security Council, about which they will squawk loudly. If and when they are exposed to be heavily involved going forward vis Hezbollah, any pretense towards their "just minding their own business" goes out the window.
I don't see Egypt or Jordan wanting a piece of this. Consequently, Syria is basically hung out to dry.

7/12/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Ah, I don't know, Habu; the Israeli people had about enough of that occupying thing with Lebanon. And you can't "Crush" someone if you can't occupy their territory. They're sick of the whole thing; that's why they built the fence.

I'm not saying they might not bomb the Syrian Defense Ministry late some night, but I just can't see this government "going after" Syria, much less Iran (that would, truly, be a 100 - 1 shot, in my book.)

We'll never fight along-side Israel in a ME war. The oil is just too important.

7/12/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

I think that Hezbolla committed this act to relieve some pressure on Gaza. Actually I think it will backfire. Gaza will move off the front page but the Israelis won't be leaving without their soldier.

Israel is likely to respond in Lebanon by turning out the lights, all of them. They have talked about that for quite a while and when they talk about turning the clock back 20 years they mean destroying power plants and other infrastructure.

I think that Nasralla has miscalculated. He expected that Israel would negotiate for kidnapped soldiers. With this new action the solder held in Gaza becomes tied to this one. Olmert has been saying for weeks that he won't negotiate. Now it becomes twice as hard for him to negotiate if he wanted to, and I don't think he does. If Olmert were to back down and negotiate he would lose his job in days. There really hasn't been the slightest softening of tone in Olmert's statements over the past two weeks so I expect he will be on the warpath.

I think Israel will focus on Hezbolla at first but I don't believe that Syria will stay out of it. I'd like to see the IAF make another late night visit to Assad's palace and destroy it with him in it. That would end Syria's involvement quickly. Otherwise things could get nasty.

Syria and Iran have chemical weapons and perhaps Hezbolla does as well. If any of them are stupid enough to use them, well I wouldn't want to be in Damascus or Teheran after that. This may very well escalate far beyond what appears obvious now. It's not inconceivable that that's Iran's plan. They may believe that they can kill vast numbers of Israelis and that starting this kind of war will give them justification.

7/12/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A really interesting piece in the Daily Star of Lebanon.
What can we substitute for crumbling nation states?
Written about the Balkans and Iraq, the story takes on unexpected meaning in Beirut, tonight.

Kind of an I told ya so superioriy to his tale, thinking he was was out of the line of fire, when in fact, Mr Rami G. Khouri a regular contributor to the Daily Star is at ground zero of a failed state.

Thought it funny, bet he does not, in retrospect.

7/12/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Have we "crushed" the Iraqis after three years of bombing and occupation? Have the Palestinians been crushed?

Anyone who is dirt poor can be a suicide bomber as long as someone with oil money hands him the explosives.

This isn't going to be an easy or short war, and most of it will be political and stealth.

7/12/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

If you don't take out Egypt, you must then deal with an Egypt directed by the Muslim Brotherhood, not a 'hood you wanna have running the store.
Jordan will cooperate as they have been major players in intelligence gathering HUMINT style for the US of A.
Anyway, lets just kill a mess of 'em, dig big trenches fill with a light dusting of porcine offal and let Allah deal with 'em. In the future let it be known that every Islamic fanatic will have to eat a spoonful of the waste. Should slow 'em up a bit.

7/12/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> I think that Nasralla has miscalculated. He expected that Israel would negotiate for kidnapped soldiers.

I think that's a key point. The terrorists grab two prisoners and they think they're in the driver's seat, because of the way that we will react. The terrorists have no military strength but just do things that cause reactions. Controlling reactions and even paying less attention to the terrorists is a key part of fighting the war.

7/12/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

According to Raja, a Lebanese blogger, Nasrallah boasted the snatch was planned for five months.

7/12/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

Well, lets just sit back and watch. I did my part in the world, so did you.
I just wish we could get away from our oil dependency. I know we use to hear, "Well if we can go to the moon" ..well that's not so far fetched ..we've unwound the double helix, survived "New Coke"..why can't we find a new fuel or a new powerplant that runs on excrement, or politician promises?

7/12/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ignore them, they'll go away.
That the new mission statement, w.w.?

the answer is age old, men have not changed in three millenium.

Live and let live, or die.

In quantity if required.
The Mohammedans want 6 million Israelis pushed into the sea.
What is the apropriate number of Mohammedans, at an exchange rate of 1500 to 1.

Sure be a lot of Mohammedans, just to be fair exchange.

7/12/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Ignore them, they'll go away

Do you know what Wu Wei means? In the East, like in martial arts, they teach that perfect fighting is a balance between yin and yang, waiting and striking. A sniper who lies in the mud for hours and then squeezes one finger in yin fighting.

7/12/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Five months ago?

Five months ago, the IAEA referred Iran to the UNSC. Could Iran's planning be this tight?

7/12/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Mohammed Deif blown up by F-16 in Gaza, presently undergoing spinal surgery. And it's still not even dawn local time.

7/12/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Lebanon's ambassador to the US has just been recalled.

7/12/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Also Netanyahu backs Olmert.

7/12/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

excrement, or political promises? You don't have to get redundant, Habu. chuckle, chuckle

I agree, Habu; Pass the popcorn. I've decided the ME is the ultimate soap opera from hell. You tune in a decade later, and you haven't missed a thing.

The "Rational" mind rebels. Hamas is obviously Arabic for "completely Batshit Crazy," and the Israeli's bomb them by night, and bring them food by day. Hezbollah decides they want to run with the bulls, too.

No wonder we try to unravel the "conspiracy." The worst nightmare I ever had made more sense than this.

Enough. Beer time. Give me a buzz if they start shootin, or bombin, or somethin.

7/12/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Lebanese Ambassador was recalled for issuing statements supporting Hezbollah. Heck of a day.

7/12/2006 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Lebanon has been patting themselves on the back, congratulating each other for having survived Syria, and emerged on the other side all civilized and able to get along.

Be interesting to see if they're willing to throw over all that nice civilization for the sake of supporting Hizbullah. And if they're not willing, what they'll do about it.

7/12/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

imho the Israelis should invade syria and hand the country over to the sunnis. Then on their way out take out the palestinian offices.

They wouldn't have time or money to do a real democratic makeover of syria. but they would have time to boot out the shia and install a some sunnis in their place.

And then go home.

I think everyone in the region would go ahh.

the US would need to have a lot of patriot missles in the region so as to neutralize any iranian threat.

7/12/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Wu Wei said...
Have we "crushed" the Iraqis after three years of bombing and occupation? Have the Palestinians been crushed?

Have the Israeli actually tried to crush the palestinians?


try dropping cluster bombs on a Hamas funeral, try shutting of all water and power completely, try destroying the the palestinians as they have tryed to destroy israel, trust me the palios could REALLY be homeless, stateless and YOUNG MANLESS in short order... No more rubber bullets when they attack the fence, shoot to kill, trust me these palios are cowards..

7/12/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Holy Roman Umpire said...

Another aspect of Israel's timing is Iran's impending acquisition of an operational nuclear capability. Maybe the Israeli's decided that it is now or never.

Are you not impressed by how effective European soft power has been?

7/12/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Habu_1 said...

Well, lets just sit back and watch. I did my part in the world, so did you.
I just wish we could get away from our oil dependency. I know we use to hear, "Well if we can go to the moon" ..well that's not so far fetched ..we've unwound the double helix, survived "New Coke"..why can't we find a new fuel or a new powerplant that runs on excrement, or politician promises?
actually that's been done by a company named "changing world technologies" and its now in the slow process of going into mass production in the USA and europe. but not fast enough.

Published: July 05, 2006 04:54 pm print this story email this story comment on this story

U.S. should make a strong commitment for energy independence through waste
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

President Bush, in his 2006 State of the Union speech, called for the United States to break its addiction to Middle Eastern oil using technological solutions. The president said, “By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.”

But, as with the problem of global warming, the president doesn’t seem seriously interested in taking action that will truly tackle the problem.

Imagine an energy technology breakthrough, that if backed by the federal government like President Kennedy's America to the Moon program, would at once reduce and perhaps eventually eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil, reduce America's net addition to global warming carbon emissions, and purge billions of tons of U.S. sewage, garbage, and other low-grade organic waste material from the environment annually. Imagine that the U.S. can, within a decade, achieve all these goals by deploying a new breakthrough American developed renewable fossil-oil-alternative production technology.

A commercial waste-to-oil refinery plant is in operation today that takes in waste material and converts it into oil in a continuous process. Any organic waste including municipal garbage and sewage, slaughterhouse offal, old tires, wood and paper, and all manner of agricultural waste can be turned directly into a diesel quality light fuel oil. The fuel oil can be burned directly by electric utility generators or it can be taken to any petroleum refinery and refined into gasoline. The process is 85 percent efficient, and everything produced is environmentally benign and commercially useful. It produces by-products of methane gas, black carbon, fertilizer and several other oil derivatives, ultimately discharging clean potable water.

A company called Changing World Technologies, Inc. has developed a Thermal Conversion process that converts any organic waste material into a high quality clean fuel oil and other specialty chemicals. This company has built a commercial facility in Carthage, Missouri, which is today converting a variety of waste materials from the nearby turkey processing plant into a high-grade fossil-petroleum alternative. This one small facility shipped more than 250,000 gallons (6,000 barrels) of renewable diesel fuel in the month of April 2006, representing just 30 percent of the plant's capacity when operating at full capacity.

The process has also been successfully tested on numerous other waste materials including mixed plastics and rubbers from auto salvage recycling operations, and municipal garbage and sewage sludge.

Waste conversion to synthetic crude oil can be a vast new U.S. energy reserve that is an environmentally friendly solution to handle the over 6 billion tons of U.S. agricultural wastes and an equal additional tonnage of human wastes annually. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. imported 3.3 billion barrels of crude oil in 2002. Converting the annual U.S. agricultural waste alone into oil would produce over 4 billion barrels of synthetic crude oil. U.S. produced crude oil that can be directly shipped to existing U.S. refineries and gas distribution pipelines.

Imagine if the federal government co-funded the modernization of local municipal sewage and garbage processing plants across America, which must be updated and maintained using city taxes revenues in any case, to promote the use of this conversion technology to produce millions, maybe billions, of barrels of synthetic crude oil. Even if just the 10 largest U.S. cities modernized their sewage sludge and garbage disposal through the addition of thermal conversion they would produce more oil than would new wells in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The cost of 10 such plants would total $1 billion, far less than the cost to drill new fields in the Refuge.

Tens of thousands new American jobs could be generated building and operating waste thermal conversion oil production refineries, as part of a national strategic energy independence and waste management modernization program.

The U.S. could possibly become totally energy independent over the same 20 years that Bush plans to research hydrogen technology and drill for fossil fuels in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off-shore.

Imagine a President of the United States that would give a Kennedy-esque “going to the moon in this decade” challenge to America to deliver a cleaner environment and reduced oil imports as part of a single strategic national goal, and really mean it.

The best hope for an inexpensive, inexhaustible supply of oil for the United States lies not in forever deeper and more expensive drilling far out at sea or in some arctic refuge, or even in the distilling of ethanol that consumes massive amounts of vital foods like corn and clean pure water. Our best hope is in this new technology that converts the never ending supply of above ground waste into a reliable, secure energy source confined within our own borders.

Don Zeigler is an advertising graphic artist with the Daily Telegraph and a freelance writer.

7/12/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Sniper laying in the mud for hours, waiting, must have been on the practice range.
Days in the mud was my own experience.

I've studied Japanes sword fighting and Okinawian open hand, Chinese martial art techniques did not prove effective in Nanking.

7/12/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: Syria and Iran alliance.

Hmm. An opportunity to wedge Iran.

Give them 48 hours to answer the diplomatic question: "Are you going to honor your alliance with Syria?"

7/12/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger KiwiB said...

Hokay - just to add some realistic thoughts here, and maybe throw some bones to the discussion ...

Golani and Givati, 2 of the 4 premier infantry brigades, are both deployed within Gaza. The Sayerot are being re-structured for LIC and the bulk of the reservists are lacking in serious training. But ...

Israeli press reports indicate a reserve division was being readied 1 - 2 weeks ago for involvement on the northern front. I believe that's a possible mistake in reporting ... but if it isn't then they knew something was up.

Israel lost 8 men killed by Hezbollah - that's a massive loss for a short raid. Granted - 4 of them were from a belly bomb which went off under a MBT searching for kidnapped troops.

Here's another thing - the IDF went straight into Lebanon to get the 2 kidnapped troops. No if's or but's or long pauses.

And, something more - the IAF has activated reserves. It has not done that, as far as I am aware, for a long, long time. The bulk of these will be dedicated to air defence, but others may be to support LGB carrying aircraft.

So - what am I saying here? The IDF is prepping for major conflict. In Lebanon OR Gaza. The airforce recall means that mass targeting may be in order.

Will Syria be involved? Hardly. They don't have anything to defend with, and they know it. Will Iran be involved? Hardly - they won't be lobbing MRBM anytime soon without nukes on the tips. Will Jordan be involved - not again. Too much to risk financially and the are rolling in the cash/trade with Israel and Iraq. Why mess with success?

So who will be on the end of the IDF? Hezbollah. They have trained and nurtured Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They keep harping on about the Sheba farms. They provide Iran with a proxy. They threaten with rockets. They fly UAV over Israels border and they sponsor intelligence gathering.

Right now, they have crossed a line and shown that they can't throw enough rockets at Israel to cause any real damage. The new leadership in Israel has sat up and noticied that this, combined with Hizbollahs weak political standing, gives them a perfect oppoturnity to knock the bastards of for once and for all.

*shrug* then again, maybe I'm wrong. I don't care. I just want Hizbollah heads on sticks.

7/12/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Kiwib, your analysis sounds about right to me. That could, also, have some marginal benefit to us.

7/12/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

*shrug* then again, maybe I'm wrong. I don't care. I just want Hizbollah heads on sticks.

i am tired of the game..

I want to see the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and all the other alphabets bullshit combos of murderers heads on a pike.

time to actually fight back...

no more bullshit islamic ceasefires..

when you have a boot on their neck...

cut their head off....

f*ckin monkeys...

7/12/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Iran would be a lot more likely to get involved with this if we were not in Itaq.

7/12/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger KiwiB said...

Iran is in a tricky position - but the most important element of it is that they simply can't touch Israel - and they know Israel can hit back. Israel's entire defence strategy for the last decade has evolved into a)long range strike and b) LIC.

Now, a Iranian/Syrian offensive may happen in the next decade or so, but right now Syria is just trying soooo hard to look like they aren't all that bad. And that, fo sure, is due to Iraq.

7/12/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Griswel said...

Bringing down Assad's government would benefit the US, no matter who does it.

Syria has been actively supporting the people killing American troops and others in Iraq. We don't have the political support to invade, but if Israel is pushed into action in Syria, and Syria's government falls as a consequence, then people who opposed us suffer.

The thinking process of most people has barely changed from caveman days: post hoc ergo propter hoc. Gronk opposed the US :: Gronk is dead.

Let the conspiracy theorists of the mideast do the math.

7/13/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Good Captain said...

If they clear out the Bekaa Valley, maybe we'll find out if the rumors of a final resting place for Iraq's WMD are true.

7/13/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Phatcoder said...

Rumors of wars eh?
Mark 13

7/13/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Ramen said...

It's time for us to get our neo-con on.

Iran can't do anything, directly. they'd have to cross through Iraq, and i doubt that any Iraqi other than the Medhi Army would be conducive to that. Not to mention all the US troops stationed there.

I suppose Iran could mine Hormuz, but that would be an act of war against all the Gulf States. They're saving that card for when they really need it.

I think Israel is making a strategic mistake going into Lebanon. I understand that *tactically* they need to cut off the kidnappers avenues of escape. But the real enemy here is Syria.

It has long been known that the 'Neo-Cons' want to take out Iraq, Syria and Iran to fix the problems in the middle east. I agree. This is our chance. Paint Israeli flags on the 101st's Apaches. Paint them on our F-16s.

Crush the Assad regime mercilessly. Assad the Lesser had his chance to clean house, but he has either been unable or unwilling to do so.

Take out the Hizballah offices in Lebanon. If they want to be a legitimate political party, great. But they need to rein in their own militants the way Sinn Fein has reined in the IRA. Can you imagine the California Republican Party kidnapping a TJ cop with no consequences because they're a political party?

7/13/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

MEMO - Jihadi Eyes Only
June 10, 2006

From: aQ-Iraq
To: 1) Hamas
2) Hezbollah

Getting stuffing kicked out of us here in Iraq. Need diversion in order to regroup. In Allah's name, help soon.

7/14/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger billypadre said...

It's go time.

7/14/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger George M Weinert V said...

There's another reason besides the Evil ideology of Islam - Another important factor scholars must address when considering the Terrorists Phenomena (in addition to the depressive disorders and brain damage they may simply be born with and are exacerbated by drug use which we have discussed in prior lectures) is the obvious difficulties present in the Arab Libido. (The psychological sense of sexual security) Apparent feelings of sexual inadequacy are evidenced in the Middle East via the culturally sanctioned presence of polygamy as well as societies that sanction rape, sodomy and animism. (Sex with sheep, goats and cows - as evidenced in the writings of Iran's Khomeini)
Thus we are forced to consider:

The sight of "Terrorists" always accompanied by their

* machine guns
* rocket launchers and
* other deadly weapons (always with LONG HARD BARRELS of course)

is but a 21st century reincarnation of the Bedouin Warrior with his shining scimitar on his charging steed. Thus we may deduce that these specimens find it vital to be HOLDING their weapons (and if one observes them carefully it can be observed that they are often observed STROKING the barrel of the weapon - an obviously thinly veiled manifestation of compulsive masturbation). - thus it can be readily observed that the "Terrorist" and "Guerilla" types are utilizing their weapons as a SYMBOL OF SEXUAL POWER they have never experienced and as a SUBSTITUTE FOR A REAL OR PERCIEVED FEELING OF PHALLIC INFERIORITY.

To extrapolate further it is rather clear that these miscreants are utilizing their guns as a PHALLIC SYMBOL - that is as a SUBSTITUTE FOR A REAL OR IMAGINED ABNORMALLY SMALL PENIS. Correspondingly: the

* Subjugation and Abuse of Women
* Culture of Hedonism
* Practice of Polygamy
* Societal acceptance of Homosexuality
* Religiously Sanctioned Bestiality
* The Large number of SEXUAL DEVIANTS in the Arab Alley
(Visit or for some interesting examples of these aberrant arabs)

All point to an innate desire amongst the Arab Male to Use these oppressive measures to compensate for his fragile Id (the male concept of sexual well being - see the Psychoanalytical Theories of Freud for more on this). It seems that far too many Arab males are attempting to somehow compensate for their shame and feelings of inadequacy over what they perceive as a sub-normal, tiny or inadequate penis.

Shame is a MAJOR ISSUE amongst the Arab species and is most often manifested in:

* Shame over being militarily humiliated by TINY ISRAEL (they even have a 'holiday' that is celebrated as "The Great Humiliation")
* Shame over their DISMAL STATE of Education, Literacy, Business and Progress
* Shame over their INABILITY to make any progress at all for the last 800 years
* Shame over their BACKWARD and PRIMITIVE conditions in comparison to the REST OF THE WORLD
* Shame over their TOTAL HUMILIATION by the USA now in Iraq in 2003


Now I understand that obtaining data on the comparative sizes of Terrorist Bombers would present some rather formidable forensic challenges but perhaps our Arab friends may care to COME CLEAN about this issue: (and many of the Arabs males are really experts on this subject as well)

Sadly the reality is that A LARGE NUMBER OF ARAB MALES ARE SO POORLY ENDOWED OR JUST FEEL THEY ARE NOT "BLESSED" WITH ADEQUATE EQUIPMENT that their SHAME Over this obvious shortcoming (no pun intended of course) leads to awful feelings of inadequacy and ultimately severe frustration (which leads to "Suicide Bombers" - this is the ONLY WAY they can achieve an orgasm)

This is Why I have suggested that VIAGRA should be supplied to males in the Arab Alley for years - for it may NOT provide any measurable benefits but perhaps the EGO BOOST ALONE would be sufficient to help overcome this awful PHALLIC INFERIORITY PROBLEM amongst the Arab Male.

7/14/2006 11:33:00 AM  

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