Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hell in the Bekaa Valley

Pajamas Media has a breaking story on an ongoing commando raid in Baalbek against a Hezbollah big. The raiders are in action. Unprecedent IAF activity overhead. Hezbollah says the raid failed. Air raids to the western Bekaa and the Syrian border ongoing. IDF raiding team reported by Hezbollah at the hospital. Lebanese sources say the aerial fire around the hospital is absolutely unprecedented.

20:12 PDT The IDF raid on Baalbek ends. Israel reports it has captured Hezbollah targets and killed others, all men out with no casualties among the raiders. (Fox)


Blogger xwraith said...

Interesting, from a
Haaretz article
Baalbek, an ancient city with spectacular Roman ruins, was a former Syrian army headquarters and included the barracks of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards when they trained Hezbollah guerrillas there in the 1980s.

Wonder what they are after?

8/01/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

They were after a Hez leader who was in a hospital in the area, or so it is said.

8/01/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

On a related note, what happens if the IDF gets lucky and whacks Nasrallah?

8/01/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Scipio said...

Can we think
a thousand times before we kill
the other in the name of power
or land or ideology?

And after we have thought a thousand times,
written down the reasons,
met with friends to test our cause,
renewed the guns and missiles,
cleaned off the button;
when we have stored up food and water
for a siege, sent the children
to a safer place,
shored up bunkers in backyards,
built new ones near the mint,
thought of hero as someone
convulsed and martyred in the mud,
committed maps to memory,
studied up on ciphers, invented
a new history of disease
and buried the family jewels
to foil the looters;
once we have tolled the bells
and prayed our guttural prayers
for the spirit to be named for us;
sent factories into overtime to make the braids
and uniforms, the medals
to decorate the ones who can return,
confused shelling peas with houses,
small kingdoms crushed;
after we check procedures
for the treatment of fallout
from that most unnatural cloud,
and persuaded our young
that it is just to fight this way,
an adventure, safe, no hand to hand;

when we have done these things
and more, could we think
a thousand times again?

by Jorie Manefield Ryan

8/01/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

As this war grinds on, the privileged status of the Hez within Lebanon comes into question. Either 1559 is enforced or it is not. If the Hez doesn't disarm, other parties may not necessarily obey UNSCR 1559 either.

This would lead to a game of "52 card pick up" where a flood of weapons would deluge Lebanon as every political faction that is not Hezbollah will try to arm itself -- fast.

8/01/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Final Historian said...

Interesting that it was an aerial insertion. No tail to be attacked by guerrillas, but at the same time vulnerable to entrapment. I find this very fascinating, as it suggests that Hizb'allah may be low on SAMs, otherwise such a move, especially into the Bekka, would be very dangerous.

8/01/2006 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

Who was that who advocated deep strike followed up by ground forces to cordon the Syrian border?

See Wretchard's "Path of the IDF" from the 22d of July.

Sucks to be a Hez about now. It's a good thing. A beautiful thing.

8/01/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

yonitheblogger says

"Insider Info

I have just hung up the phone with a good friend of mine who has relayed the following info to me. The Syrian Army has passed the word down from Assad that today sometime between now current time in Israel is 11:30pm (23:30) and the morning Israel will attack Syria."

Where is rumor control?

8/01/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Final Historian said...

hdgreene, that almost sounds like Israeli psyops in action. Spook Assad some, and he just might reconsider allowing arms shipments to Hizb'allah.

8/01/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger jj said...

Latest from Pajamas Media:

16:51 PDT The situation in the Baalbek raid remains confused. “It remains unclear whether the operation was successful, but witnesses said ‘the Jews took some people with them.” (AP/Ynet)

8/01/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doctor Disgruntled said...

Noticed the short comment list; have been lurking x 2-3 yrs. Just wanted to second the commenters who have left their compliments. This is a great site; Wretchard, keep up the good work. How can I pay you?


8/01/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Captain America said...

Alexis -

You're right. The Hezbos are endemic in Lebanon. It infests the entire country. Key anti-Hezbo figures have been assassinated since the Cedar Revolution in the lead-up to elections.

Once a cessation of the war commences, Hezbo will settle scores with anyone who failed to suupport them.

It's no longer Lebanon; it's Hezbonan.

8/01/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Final Historian said...

Captain America, from some of the Lebanese sites I have visited recently, some of the non-Shi'ite groups are pretty pissed as well. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Lebanese civil war flare up again following Israel's pullout. The important thing is that Israel hurt Hizb'allah enough so that it can't overpower the other groups initially.

8/01/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Novangli said...

Long time lurker and huge fan of the Belmont Club. A few years ago, I read the Tanakh one winter. What struck me was the sheer brutality of the Hebrew people in dealing with enemies. They really set the bar on utter destruction. Woe unto the Hez who chose to poke them in the eye. I think (hope?) Israel was playing some rope-a-dope before getting Biblical on them in the south and Biqaa. How foolish will Assad be?

8/01/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Well if one power attacks another power and there is one group that resists the invading power, they will be the recipient of great sympathy from the defending populace. It is normal and reasonable to expect Hezbollah has great sympathy from the greater Lebanese population. From a Lebanese view point what is there to like about the invading Israelis?

However if Israel can dispatch Hezbollah quickly and the international community provides security and put some serious money into rebuilding Lebanon, this can be overcome. Israel must defeat Hezbollah or it will be the beginning of the end for Israel. It has no other choice, yet to this time, it has made a very poor showing. The public relations have been a case study in ineptitude. Syria is key to how this evolves. State should be in overdrive with the Saudis and Egyptians. This still can end well.

8/01/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

STRATFOR excerpt on ongoing ground offensive for whatever it is worth:

"These are fragmentary reports available by wire services. They are far from defining what is happening on the ground. But what seems to be happening is the IDF is engaging forces in the south carefully while action is taking place in the east and west. The remaining strategic question is whether Israel will focus on southern Lebanon and leave the missile threat and a large part of Hezbollah forces out of its plans, or whether it will drive into the Bekaa and up the coast to deal with Hezbollah in detail. It would seem to us that this would give Israel the maximum advantage, dealing with Hezbollah more completely, taking advantage of its greater mobility and air power and using artillery and airstrikes to grind down Hezbollah and attempt to break its morale in the south. What is unknown, of course, is the disposition and capabilities of Hezbollah north of the Litani and in the Bekaa. We suspect the Israelis might find the same resistance in the Bekaa as in the border region."

8/01/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Not clear what's happening around the Baalbek hospital. Reports of dozens of IDF helos in area. Helo gunships in runs gainst Hez forces around hospital. Air strikes to east and north hills.

You can read this as an attempt to extract the raiding team or the raiding team the lure for envelopment. Firing runs against Hez positions by gunships and no helos reported down, even by the Hez suggest -- suggest only -- that IDF has dominance over AAA.

All speculation for now. More details awaited.

8/01/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Y'all suppose it could be Castro in that hospital?

Pass that rumor around in Miami and the IAF will have all the help it could ever want!

Anyone know if the IAF has any AC-130 style gunships? Would be perfect for that situation.

8/01/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Final Historian said: "The important thing is that Israel hurt Hizb'allah enough so that it can't overpower the other [Lebanese] groups initially."

That's an objective to be sure, but none of us can really be certain just how badly Hezbollah has been hurt at this point.

My guess is not very badly, at least in the explicit military sense, though their economic infrastructure seems to have been pulverized.

There's no substitute for determined ground action to uproot Hezbollah. Evens so, that might only succeed in busting Hezbollah back down to a hit-and-run guerilla force.

8/01/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger anonymouscoameq said...

A commenter said, "when we have done these things and more, could we think a thousand times again?"

Maybe, it depends if enemy will kill you while you are thinking instead of defending yourself. Do you remember what happened on 9/11? Will thinking alone prevent another attack?

You can also go to Gaza, or Bagdhad, or Southern Lebanon and meet the people there and you will find out the answer in a practical manner. However if you are not beheaded, held hostage or just outright killed then you can try to find the answer by asking the people there.

8/01/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

This from Steve Schippert ofer at Threatswatch:

Israel is providing a lesson on fighting the war on terror.

"The mighty Hizballah, rightfully feared as the most lethally armed terrorist organization on the planet, is now on the ropes. Only their lifeline from Syria sustains them in the midst of devastating strikes from the Israeli Air Force. From the hundreds of rocket launchers in southern Lebanon to weapons depots and infrastructure all the way up the Bekaa Valley in Baalbek, Hizballah’s operational headquarters city, the IAF has exacted a heavy toll from Hizballah since the attack in Israel in which Hizballah terrorists killed eight IDF soldiers and abducted the two surviving.

In fact, in a radio interview with John Batchelor, retired Air Force General Tom McInerney detailed a debriefing with a senior IDF official in which he detailed that Israel believes their airstrikes have eliminated 70% of the long-range Iranian ZelZal missile systems in Hizballah hands. McInerney noted that over 1000 Hizballah infrastructure targets have been struck by Israeli air power up and down the Bekaa Valley (once called the most heavily defended air corridor on the planet) and throughout Southern Lebanon, including weapons storage facilities, command and control centers, vehicle repair facilities and 18 Hizballah financial centers which serve in the place of banks.

While sustaining these enormous losses, Hizballah is having difficulty re-supplying across the Syrian border. Convoys from Syria are struck by F-16’s and drones once they are within Lebanese borders, often with the massive secondary explosions that indicate arms shipments."

Sounds like Israeli intel wasn't so bad afterall.

8/01/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...


I don't think the IDF's efforts seen to date, and a few "snatch & grabs" in south Leb & the Bekaa are going to make much of a dent in the Hez strategic position no matter how many of the savages they kill. Israel seems crippled by the same "half measures too many" sensibility that ennervates the rest of the West. It will soon be all or nothing for the IDF in that theater, and I fear they don't have the stomach for "the all".

We here in the South still revile him, but "Uncle Billy" Sherman was right when he said (I paraphrase a bit) "It is our enemy that has chosen the path of war. Now we will give him all he can stand" and "War is all cruelty, and when the people of the South are good and sick of war it will end".

No one in the west has the stomach (yet) to do what must be done to establish the proper "cultural dominance" and teach the radical islamists a little respect. We may be decadent, but we can be pushed too far.

In Doctor Disgruntled's excellent phrase after 9/11: "!#$& murderous savages. Death is too good for them. There won't ever be enough vengeance for me."

Me either.

8/01/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

... or the raiding team the lure for envelopment.

Ahh, that would be nice. Draw the bastards out into open battle!

8/01/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

What is this about?

France to boycott talks on int’l force in Lebanon

Just yesterday the French were in helter-skelter meetings with the representatives of Lebanon and Syria, allegedly to lay the groundwork for the introduction of French peacekeepers.

Is Hezbollah about to have a Knights Templar moment?

8/01/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Juan Golblado said...

I don't know why but it still pisses me off every time I see the BBC or some equally biased news outlet giving background information on the Beka'a valley and they _never_ mention once the years that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard spent there getting Hezbollah started and training them. They never mention Iran at all.

Then they put their diplomatic editor on to explain Israel's military goals and he talks absolute crap about bombing Lebanese infrastructure to intimidate the Lebanese government to turning on Hezbullah. The diplomatic editor goes on to speak in a perfectly clueless way about the military situation.

The mainstream media - at least in the UK - are really doing a terrible disservice to ordinary people by making up dumb stories about what is going on in Lebanon.

I'm sure they'll report this as somebody's passionate desire to capture that sheik and the Israelis' passionate desire to get their own back. And they'll compare that with Hezbullah's passionate desire to protect their homeland.

It makes you want to grab one of these jokers by the throat of his shirt and shake him until he starts talking sense.

8/01/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Is Hezbolah hurt?
From the 24 Jul post at American Future, quoting an interview with Nasrallah:

"If the resistance survives, this will be a victory. If its determination is not broken, this will be a victory. ... If we are not militarily defeated, this will be a victory. As long as a single missile is launched from Lebanon to target the Zionists, as long as a single fighter fires his gun, as long as someone plants an explosive device for the Israelis, this means that the resistance still exists."

"We love martyrdom. We take precautions in order to prevent Israel from making any gains. But on the personal level, and as a personal aspiration, each and every one of us hopes to be destined to martyrdom at the hands of those people, the killers of the prophets and the messengers, and most hostile to the believers, as it says in the Koran."

Okay, so he essentially gives a long winded version of the last line from the film "633 Squadron."

Mind you, at that point the war was still in its "fun" stage for Hezbolah.

So as long as one Hezbolah terrorist fires his gun in defiance, it's a victory to them.

So not one must be left to fire that gun. A daunting objective, but I say "Give it a try."

8/01/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger hyperborealis said...

The risk the IDF is taking in inserting a commando team into the Bekaa is extraordinary.

It does not make sense unless they are mounting a rescue attempt. It is just a guess, but I think they are trying to get back their men.

8/01/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger greer rants said...

WMD - Saddam's WMD, if it is in Bekaa valley will the Hezzies use it?

I wondered about the "rush shipments of bombs" to Israel and asked if some of these could be those hight temp ones that can destroy the chem/bio weapons vs just releasing.

Coincidence about the French...if they had inkling of Israel going into Bekaa, shouldn't they be worried about all the "made in France" and "product of the EU" on the buried stuff.

Is that why Iran suddendly became "stabilizing force"?

Per H&C
Iran's Larajhanni went from Brussels to Damascus on July 11th - meeting with Hez.
July 27th he is back in Damascus with Nazi-rella.
No coincidence per FOX's generals.

8/01/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Craigicus said...


Beautiful poem.

There are two sides in this game.

One side tolerates and sometimes entertains peace loving poets like this.

The other side tortures them and rapes their children.

Which side do you hope wins?

Poem again, since it is so beautiful:

Scipio said...
Can we think
a thousand times before we kill
the other in the name of power
or land or ideology?

And after we have thought a thousand times,
written down the reasons,
met with friends to test our cause,
renewed the guns and missiles,
cleaned off the button;
when we have stored up food and water
for a siege, sent the children
to a safer place,
shored up bunkers in backyards,
built new ones near the mint,
thought of hero as someone
convulsed and martyred in the mud,
committed maps to memory,
studied up on ciphers, invented
a new history of disease
and buried the family jewels
to foil the looters;
once we have tolled the bells
and prayed our guttural prayers
for the spirit to be named for us;
sent factories into overtime to make the braids
and uniforms, the medals
to decorate the ones who can return,
confused shelling peas with houses,
small kingdoms crushed;
after we check procedures
for the treatment of fallout
from that most unnatural cloud,
and persuaded our young
that it is just to fight this way,
an adventure, safe, no hand to hand;

when we have done these things
and more, could we think
a thousand times again?

by Jorie Manefield Ryan

8/01/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cruiser said...


That is my fear. You don't insert a small force to take on the Hez. in their stronghold. The length of the operation and "unprecedented" air cover indicate, to me, that the Israeli's have been unable to extract their soldiers. Air power alone will not hold back Hez. from capturing or killing those soldiers. I fear that the soldiers will all be killed or Hez. will end up with more Israeli prisoners.

Pray for the Israeli soldiers.

8/01/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The other alternative which someone has suggested to me by email (field grade officer) is the swarm decapitation. Who knows?

8/01/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger HK Vol said...

Was the Israeli strategy to throw a few left jabs along the southwestern side of Lebanon to set up for a knockout right hook up the Bekka Valley?

If Syria amasses troops along the border with Israel, does the US amass a signifcant amount of troops along the Iraqi-Syrian border? Just as a threat to keep Syria in line?

Politicians talk of an "international force" in a demilitarized zone in southern Lebanon. Exactly who so far has volunteered troops? How many and from which countries? It kinda sounds like Hitler in early 1945 telling his commanders to move units from point A to point B with the commanders afraid to tell Hitler that those troops didn't even exist.....

8/01/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Wretchard, if the guys in the hospital are fighting the Lebanese Army, they might be in trouble.

If they are fighting a swarm of small cells of irregular fighters who have no air power, no tanks, no artillery, no large formations, they'll probably be ok.

You made an interesting point when you stated that Hezbollah has not claimed any helicopters down. That's interesting.

It makes me think that, for one reason, or the other, the Israeli's haven't sent any reinforcements in. (It would almost be impossible not to lose Any helicoptors in a "Hot LZ.") Interesting.

8/01/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/01/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"...can we think a thousand times...?"

In brief, Yes, its all been thought out previously on the morality of excising poisonous bits and portions from the body-humane.

And "...a thousand times..." right NOW? Briefly, NO! For that would enable and empower and respite the diseased, attacking and verminous thugs amongst the body-humankind, which is immoral and dehumanizing.

The "..think... a thousand times..." has been THOUGHT, and now is the time for ACTION against the purveyors of oppression and hatred: Iran, Syria and their meat-puppets the Hizb'ullah!

8/01/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lebanese: IDF tried to kidnap senior Hizbullah member
Lebanese: IDF tried to kidnap senior Hizbullah member

Lebanese army and security officials said early Wednesday that special IDF forces attempted to kidnap a senior Hizbullah member from a hospital near Baalbek in the west Lebanon Valley.

Lebanese media say the mark may have been Sheikh Muhammad Yazbek, a member of Hizbullah’s High Council and one of 12 senior organization members.

It remains unclear whether the operation was successful, but witnesses said “the Jews took some people with them.”

A Hizbullah spokesman said gunmen belonging to the organization have besieged an IDF unit that was transported by air to the area. According to reports, the Israeli forces have entrenched themselves inside the hospital and are engaging in face-to-face combat with local gunmen.

Eyewitnesses inside the hospital told Al-Arabiya that exchanges of fire are taking place inside the hospital and that there are numerous casualties at the scene.

Several senior Hizbullah members reside in Baalbek, and the organization maintains a number of civilian and military institutions in the city.

According to reports, the operation began with at least six rapid air strikes, after which IAF choppers attempted to land ground forces in the city’s western sector.

A Lebanese army outpost in the town of Shlifa, west of Baalbek, was also attacked.
Lebanese media estimated that the IDF forces planned to kidnap the sheikh from the Dar el-Hichma hospital, located north of Baalbek; Yazbek was reportedly surrounded by other senior Hizbullah members.
Flares held aloft by parachutes lighted the night sky to a daytime brilliance, a Lebanese official said.
I have tried to verify this story with my contacts but as of this time I can't verify the reason for the commando action in the Beeka Valley.

8/01/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

Hard to say, but this article seems to indicate it was a snatch and scoot, and hopefully the commandoes have gotten out.

Rahal said IAF jets were attacking the surrounding guerillas with rockets.

"The units have been surrounded by Hezbollah fighters and heavy fire is covering the area," said a Hezbollah source.

"They [the Israelis] are firing everywhere and trying to get out of the area," the source said.

Rahal said Hezbollah guerrillas were using automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. He dismissed as "untrue" reports that the commandos managed to snatch some patients from the hospital and spirit them away in helicopters.

IAF helicopters also opened machine-gun fire on Hezbollah fighters entrenched outside the hospital, witnesses said.

Repeated telephone calls to the Dar al-Hikma hospital went unanswered.

"The battles are fierce... there are casualties among the civilians who live in the area," a Lebanese security source said.

Al-Jazeera reported that the commando force landed at the hospital, in the village of Tel Al-Abayed, in an apparent effort to strike a senior Hezbollah official Israel suspected was hospitalized there. According to the report, the hospital was evacuated prior to the start of the IDF operation.

IAF fighter jets returned at 3:35 A.M. Wednesday and fired eight missiles on residential neighborhoods in eastern and northern Baalbek where Hezbollah's Shiite supporters live, witnesses said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

However, fierce fighting around the hospital stopped shortly before 4 A.M. as precarious calm prevailed in Baalbek, residents said.

8/01/2006 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni's Thoughts On Baalbek Raid
What is clear at this time is that an operation is going on in Baalbek.
This is a special ops action, the type of action that was part of the triad that has made the IDF famous world wide.
Lighting strikes by Israeli commandos have made the name Entebbe world famous.

The second part of the triad was bold military moves involving our conventional forces.

The third part of the triad was never, never let a Jew be murdered without paying back the enemy 1000 fold.

Israel needs to implement all three branches of the triad to win in Lebanon against Hizballah.

1. Commando raid must take place all over Lebanon.
2. The IDF must attack with conventional forces in mass with over whelming strength and go all the way to the Litani River and never leave.
3. Nasrallah must be dead for Israel to win this war.

8/01/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

The Hez (in Baalbeck) would stain their britches if they looked up and saw a Paratroop Brigade bearing down on them from the North.

I wonder what their C-130 capabilities are?

8/01/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

23 years after the Barracks attack -
The Sweet smell of Revenge:
This is going to be Iwo Jima for Hezbollah, and hopefully worse.

Hezbollah's Iwo Jima Delusion

It is so gratifying to know our Israeli allies are making productive use of our bunker-busters. Thank you, Israel.


8/01/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

For Freedom, they missed something.

Desert ain't mountains

Sand ain't Rock

JDAM "Bunker Busters" ain't WWII dumb bombs

8/01/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Oh, and did I mention the part about: All the Japanese in the Bunkers "Died," and the Americans "Won the War?"

8/01/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ot, but know no BC Members would want to miss this:
Former President Jimmy Carter ,
writing in the Washington Post says
“there will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians.”
cycle of violence
strong majorities that want peace
international community
peace process
etc ad nauseum, again

8/01/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

And yet, 75% of the "Jewish" vote will go to the democrats in 08'.

Go Figure.

8/01/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

75% Democrat--Yeh, so much for Allen's "brain trust" LOL!

8/01/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Thanks, Buddy I needed that.


8/01/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I should talk, the scandahoovians across the upper midwest are the *worst* liberals of all.

HEY--Fox guy reporting, action over in Ballbeck hospital according to AP and Israeli forces. All IDF out of area--not known if target person grabbed or not--

8/01/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Israel says it captured guerrillas at Baalbeck Hospital.


8/01/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

AP reporting "guerrillas captured"!
Right in Hez HQ--the Hez troops are gonna feel *that* !

8/01/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Yep, it's gonna leave a mark.

That's good. I was a little worried for them.

8/01/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

well, me too. Still am, "first reports" and all.

8/01/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

I read that this morning and thought to myself....Yeah Jimmy just look at the good that resulted from giving up Gaza. ...

8/01/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

CNN is reporting there were no Israeli casualties in the operation. At least three Hez'boobs were snatched -- although they are rumored to be low ranking.

8/01/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Or South Leb--or the Panama Canal, or the US Embassy in Tehran.

8/01/2006 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

It don't matter if they're low-ranking, or not.

It will be a big boost for the troops, and the folks; not to mention a lot of other people that need to see something like this.

8/01/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, the Hez will be angry. They'll have to sneak up on an unsuspecting jetliner again, somewhere, sometime, and kill 'em up a mess o' civvies. Honor, y'know.

8/01/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

I took an M-16 in hand
removed the safety with my thumb;
Put the selector switch on rock n' roll
and dispatched another Hezbo scum
He cried like a sissy
the cowardly fool
His subtraction a plus
for the human gene pool
some mullah wet his pantaloons
in Tehren town
He's knows hunting season's on
for jihadi clowns
Go Israel,drop the hammer on these
barbarous goons
a full metal jacket the remedy
for Islamo-loons
They hunger for martyrdom
Grant them their desire
Imagine their shock
At the sting of hell's fire

8/01/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

hah--good un, trangbang--I was just thinking about the theatrically pious Mr. Carter showing up for his Eternal Reward, and looking around his new quarters, and saying "Well, I'll be damned!"

8/01/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy; 8:09 PM

Hezbollah is tough on corpses as well:
“Hizballah's Treasure”

8/01/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...

The Five Year Milestone will be here soon.

It will be heartwarming to see deep damage done to Islamofascists.
Looking forward to many Hezbollah scalps.
Iran Mullahs and pet cockroach Ahmadinejad: you're next.


8/01/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Well, isn't that just Non-PC as Hell?

That was Fun, Do It Again, TrangBang.

8/01/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger xwraith said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/01/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Thanks for keeping up the threads guys. For anyone who hasn't heard, the IDF raid has ended; all raiders reported out; no casualties. Some Hez killed, others snatched. Ranks of Hez captured unknown.

8/01/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

At least some media, outside our mainstream folks, are trying to pay attention. This is from Asia Times:


href="http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HH02Ak03.html"> Tehran teeters on the path to war

While most likely Israel will not get its ultimate wish granted, and will ultimately have to settle with a much-diminished Hezbollah at the end of the military campaign, nonetheless its current efforts are dealing a huge blow to an important edifice of Iran's deterrent strategy.

Only by resorting to an inverse logic can we possibly consider as a gain what is clearly a net loss for Iran, seeing how Iran will be prevented in the future from counting on Hezbollah to strike back at Israel in the aftermath of a showdown with either Israel or the United States.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that there are strong voices of concern within Iran's ruling establishment, some claiming the war in Lebanon as a victory for Israel, with serious negative ramifications for Iran's "national security and even her territorial sovereignty", to quote Ali Montaseri, an Iranian penning in Baztab.com, a website closely linked to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.


Meanwhile, defeatists on the left and right abound in our country and in Europe.

I'm just so sick of all the damn defeatists. Bitch and moan, bitch and moan, bitch and moan.

8/01/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

This raid into Baalbek may be the most filmed operation in military history.

Tomorrow, Israel will be blamed for destroying the hospital and murdering innocent civilians.

Let’s hope the administration resists the temptation to immediately commiserate.

I’ll bet all those confiscated hard drives will prove useful.

8/01/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger greer rants said...

Bravo TrangBang! Bravo!

8/01/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

I'm watching Anderson Cooper on CNN. He's actually been doing a pretty good job, from what I've seen.

8/01/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Rob - On a related note, what happens if the IDF gets lucky and whacks Nasrallah?

Nothing much. Nasrallah is the leader only because 2 past leaders were assassinated by the Israelis. Generally, targeted killings only seem to winnow out the unwary - leaving smarter savvier aspiring leaders to step up into top leadership spots.

Lefties, the media, and some conservatives have a tendency to personalize ideological conflicts, making it "All about Osama" Ditto on The Mad President of Iran. Sharon. Nasrallah. Arafat.

Leading to silly thinking that symbols of an ideology will somehow end the ideology or organization if they die.

Hardly ever happens.

Getting Nasrallah would be a nice short-term coup for Israel. But like his two whacked antecedents, will have no effect on Hezbollah's goals, development, structures which are based on external assistance and widespread popular support.

On the Baalbek operation...they got 3 hostages. So far, Hezbollah has not showcased the two Israelis captured. I hate to say it, but if one side takes no prisoners - the other side should be free to dispatch theirs. If some execution tapes later emerge, I'd love to see a countertape of caught Hezbollah fighters dispatched given to the media.

America itself has let the liberal Jewish ACLU and the Leftys go too far with "precious, scared enemy rights". In WWII, unlawful enemy combatants were stood up against a wall and shot. When word spread that the N Koreans were executing all battlefield prisoners at a certain phase of the war, we bagan doing the same and told the Chinese that UN forces were to give no quarter until things changed.

The NORKs and Chinese switched tactics and began sparing surrendering US, S Korean, and UN forces.

8/01/2006 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

I do hope they are/were high value targets...if not I wouldnt strap em down for the helo ride back south...just in case they wanted to do the martyr jump. Might risky op. for some low level tangos. I was really hoping it was Nasty Nas or the two MIAs. Any guesses on the pending negative MSM spin?

8/01/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger greer rants said...

Tomorrow, Israel will be blamed for destroying the hospital and murdering innocent civilians...Allen

CNN not waiting for tomorrow. Besides a noticeable gloom setting in on AC, Roberts and Weird(the Aussie)they had a caption up:

They are defrosting the bodies in Hsp morgue right now and loading "journo photogs" in buses.

"green helmet" is p.o.'d he has to sit this one out.

8/01/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

I can't wait to read Sarah's version of today's events.

8/01/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

So, what, C4, does IDF quit fighting back on the basis that it just makes Hez stronger? Follow your logic.

8/01/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

As for whacking Nasrallah? Well, it Couldn't hurt. You never know what little evil maggot will grow up to be the next "Hitler."

Wouldn't it have been great if someone had become inspired and killed that little paperhanging vermin, along about 33'?

8/01/2006 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger greer rants said...

BAALBEK, Lebanon, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Israeli airborne commandos snatched at least three Hizbollah members in an attack on the eastern Lebanese city of Baalbek overnight, security sources said on Wednesday.

They identified the men as Hussein Nasrallah, Hussein al-Burji and Ahmed al-Ghotah and described them as low ranking members of the group. The captured Hussein Nasrallah has the same name as a key Hizbollah official

posted by Clarice at JOM

8/01/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Well, the big chiefs will be studying the sky a little more closely now. Hugo, too, will be thinking. Hmmm, wonder if IDF would snatch his fat ass for us--maybe drop him over Tehran, wearing his new Hero of Iran medal.

8/01/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

It just occured to me I have a couple of Cuban cigars stting around. I may fire one up to celebrate the double-plus good news today. ;)

8/01/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Let me see if I understand this. Israel placed at risk troops, aircraft, and prestige for the purpose of capturing a few lowlifes hiding in a hospital. Give me a break.

What was in that facility worth the risk?

How did the IDF use the hours in the artificially illuminated city of Baalbek?

Where was Hezbollah’s devastating air defense system?

When will Syria come to the aid of Hezbollah?

8/01/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Them Cuban's is illegal, beware:
Blogger Jailed After Defying Court Orders

8/01/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Just in from CNN, The Guardian, and al-Jazeera!!!

"About four hours from now the hospital will collapse on top of a baby milk factory employing women and children in one of the few free market enterprises still existing in Southern Lebanon."


"Jooish Nazi Stormtroopers kidnapped civilians across an internationally sanctioned border and are torturing them in office space rented out at Gitmo."

and... and...
"Hezbollah spokesmen state that they cannot lose and will never give up. Under the Iranian Embassy, in a baby milk factory, surrounded by pregnant women, during a wedding party, this Hezbollah statesman is telling the world that he and his are the bravest, most capable Islamic Army in the world!!!" Then the Satanic Jooish Jets scream overhead. "Grab your weapons and run..."

8/01/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Captain's figgered it out, agin. If you're a "Dictator" with a terrorist problem, the last thing in the world you want to do is Solve the Problem!

That Capn's a little slicker'n the average bear.

8/01/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Where was Hezbollah’s devastating air defense system?"
'Rat's holding in reserve for when the (80's era) Soviet Troop Carriers start coming in.
Otherwise he loses his bet w/me.

8/01/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

The Imam Khomeini Charitable Society is pissed. Seems the terrorist wing of one of their Charitable Hospitals got trashed. Telethon to follow.

8/01/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

It will be very difficult for Hezbollah to act as a holding force in the Great Mahdi war, eh...

8/01/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"When will Syria come to the aid of Hezbollah? "
When did they stop?
More active participation await's descension of baby's family jewels.

8/01/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger John (Useful Fools) said...

So while this was going on, I was searching Google Earth trying to find the hospital.

It has been interesting in the parts of the war where battle locations can be identified, but there is a definite shortage of maps on the internet.

Anyone got any ideas?

8/01/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Meanwhile, defeatists on the left and right abound in our country and in Europe.

Of course. There are some people who feel a vested interest in our defeat, no matter what the actual price. That fact is, Western defeatists have not had the benefit of suffering the effects of their own actions; so far, it is for other people to suffer those effects, which are blamed on the defeatists' "devil of the month".

One of the sad legacies of the Vietnam era is the cultural ascendancy of a class of people who feel an emotional identification with the defeat of the United States. And it is this defeatism that actually causes much of the Islamism we see. To those who idolize victory (such as Nazis and Islamists), defeatism reinforces their resolve to defeat us and leads them to believe they can prevail despite overwhelming odds against them.

Just as abusers can home in on "jerk magnets" and prostitutes attract pimps, decadent defeatists attract terrorists -- and if there aren't enough Islamists to take part in the masochistic fantasy, someone else will take their place.

8/01/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Lahoud just gave an interview to that ace Brit Fox reporter Johnathan something (? dammit no memory) wherein he roasted Israel exactly as if Israel had just up and outta nowhere invaded. Not a word about the Hez attack--not a word. These people are fantastical-minded.

8/01/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bubble above picture reads: "Why's she have to be Jooish?"

8/01/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Captain America said...

Major kudos to the IDF on this snatch (assuming reports are final). I'm eager to find out who the biggies are who now reside in Israel. Let's hope they have plenty of juicy intel for the IDF.

For this to turn out well, err, "sustainable", the disinfection needs to begin at the top of the Lebanese government. As long as willing supplicants such as the Lebanese PM and president (both Iranian-Syrian tools)remain in power, the infestation will resume and quickly.

The Hezbos plan on retribution (read: assassination)for those who didn't side with them during this conflict. I dare say, that unless the victors (Israel-USA) remove those in government who did side with them, any notion of a sustainable peace is absurd.

Think end of Nazi hostilities after WWII.

8/01/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

Very funny comment about Sarah

While Sarah's comments are mostly negative, yours are always negative but you make up for it by being also nasty ;)

8/01/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

While I think the War Nerd may have touched a bit of truth about today's IDF vs the Originals, the special forces remain special.
Yoni says they start tracking kids in Kindergarten for proper attributes!

8/01/2006 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

My version of today's events is that it's about time.

I've been saying for 5 years that the Bekka Valley is the Jihad capital of the world and that as long it's in operation, the Jihad will be as well.

My only complaint is that it seems rather small scale, but who knows what the news will say.

But this is more like it.

Hopefully they got some good intel, killed a bunch of bad guys, blew up a bunch of stuff and got out.

Fewer rockets fell today.

Syria and Iran are standing by.

The next few days could be telling

8/01/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Imagine if all this was happening with a nuclear armed Iran, one determined to present itself as the flagship for Muslims, and unwilling to backdown.

We could have a Cuban Missile Crisis situation quite easily, especially considering the rhetoric that the (non-contiguous to Israel) Iranians are used to throwing around. Would the Israelis allow them the opportunity to follow up on it once, or act first?

Iranian nuclear weapons are going to turn every regional conflict between Israel and the Arabs into nuclear chicken.

8/01/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Returning to premature commiseration

The Red Cross is reporting the deaths in Qana at about ½ that reported by the Hezbollah, the MSM, the EU, and the State Department. It would now seem that only 29 bodies can be accounted for by the Red Cross.

Henceforth, Israel should be admonished to show “semi-restraint.”

Of course, there is the growing possibility that Israel was guilty of nothing.

Well, better to be ahead of the ball even if that means badmouthing your foxhole buddy.

8/01/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Peculiar American said...

Interesting article in the Jerusalem post on why reservers were not called up earlier:


"Had Israel called up its reserves at the outset of the battle, Damascus could have potentially "freaked out" and open a second front against the IDF. The Syrians could have perceived the move as an immediate threat and acted accordingly.

This way, with reservists mobilized three weeks into the war, the Syrians were "massaged", and could see the IDF's gradual build up forces in southern Lebanon. Damascus could clearly see how Israel is building its forces in "stages and steps" and not giant leaps. This is why the Syrians, despite their latest saber rattling, are not "that freaked out" right now. They are on alert, worried, and tense, and are watching events, but they have not been jolted into hysterics."

No need to open a third front. Divide and conquer.

8/01/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


“always”? That does take in a lot of territory doesn’t it?

Are you “always” hyperbolic?

“nasty”…Hmmm…Can you be more specific?

It could be that two chambered heart of mine. C. carcharias you know. Is it nature or nurture, do you think?

8/01/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Wonder why IDF got no Spectre/Spooky/Puffthemagicdragon gunships?

8/01/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

rufus 8:43:44

Actually, I think that if Adolf Hitler had been killed (or even arrested on charges of pedophilia or murder) in 1932, the Nazi Party would still have been a problem. But not the same kind of problem. WWII may still have happened, but the Holocaust would have been prevented. The world would be a very different place.

The question of who leads a radical movement does matter. True, assassination leads to the most cautious and level-headed leaders to take power. Just look at the example of the Sandinistas, where Somoza had carefully assassinated every hot-headed leader the leftists had. I think the Sandinistas will have a more enduring legacy than Castro will.

For that matter, the British Empire's capture of General Lee did more for the Revolutionary cause than it did for the Tories because that British victory took away a major source of intrigue in the Revolutionary ranks and gave General Washington an opportunity to solidify his authority over the Continental Army at the Battle of Trenton.

From my point of view, Mr. Nasrallah's death would mean the end of an excellent orator, a capable administrator, and a reckless adventurer who seeks the limelight. His death would not solve Israel's problems, but may change the way Hezbollah makes strategic decisions. It would be best if there were no Israeli fingerprints on the gun that kills him.

8/01/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger luc said...

from the Herald Sun, August 02, 2006 06:18am

"ISRAEL today hacked into the television station of Hezbollah, emblazoning images on the screen showing pictures of corpses and claiming the Shiite militant group's leader Hassan Nasrallah was a liar.

One of the images shown on Al-Manar television portrayed the body of a fighter lying face-down, wearing khaki trousers with a text beneath in Arabic reading: "This is the photograph of a body of a member of Hezbollah's special forces".

8/01/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

"The captured Hussein Nasrallah has the same name as a key Hizbollah official."

At least the IDF got the brother-in-law! (Figure that one out)


A lot of us folks are up late, chasing these events. Night, night, all,

"He that watcheth Israel neither slumbers or sleeps."

8/01/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Smacko said...

OT but the imagery was good.

From a commentor at Tigerhawk describing todays Army...

"Our troops now know what it's like to fight, kill, and survive, and most of them are good at it. This ain't our daddy's spit and polish look-good-for-the-general garrison Army. The P3's (paper-pushing pussies) started to jump ship right around Autumn '03. The Army is made up of fighters now. The Marines don't even give us crap anymore."

8/01/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Alexis, I haven't pulled a trigger in anger for a long time, but I believe I'd volunteer my fingerprints for that one.

It's true, you don't know what you're going to get next once you take out an oxygen-stealer; so, I think the answer is,

"Kill'em All."

8/01/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

James Earl Carter wants to do for the United States what many Communists think Gorbachev did for USSR.

Even pathetic loser Sex-Addict William Jefferson "Service-Me-NOW" Clinton at least could tell the difference between a culture that would sneeringly tolerate his antics versus one which would sneeringly saw his neck while hollering "God is Great!"

Carter should be cast to play the character Arnold Judas Rimmer in the BBC Sci-Fi comedy "Red Dwarf." He's clearly type-cast to play an ineffectual, inflated, pseudo-moralizing coward.

In Carter, we really learn to understand and heed that "little prick of conscience."

8/01/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...



Politicians and diplomats should never be given a break. Graveyards are filled with their mistakes.

I have not observed any shortage of fawning political groupies. They can survive without my approbation.

8/01/2006 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Smacko, that giving crap to members of "other" forces, always has been a "Boot," thing. Those Soldiers I'm seeing on TV can take this ex-Marine's "Six," any time.

8/01/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Let me see if I understand this. Israel placed at risk troops, aircraft, and prestige for the purpose of capturing a few lowlifes hiding in a hospital. Give me a break.

What was in that facility worth the risk?"

It does sometimes happen that the snatch and grab doesn't work out. Poor intel; poor timing. Whatever. The person/persons targeted simply are not there.

In Iraq this happens a lot.

In South Asia not so much.

If any or all are indeed low value/no value guys, logic dictates returning them toot sweet. Like yesterday.

8/01/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Little Prick of Conscience" LOL--pore guy was never the same after that killer rabbit attacked him. And Amy begged him to do something about noogooler war. and he made the fireside chat and his sweater caught on fire. and he accused Americans of suffering from mayonnaise of the spirit.

8/01/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Long Live the Israeli Army!" and "Long be dead the Cuban Tyrant!"
sez i, off to sandland--

8/01/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

G'nite all. Let me know if we win.

8/01/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Item the First: Just because some Arab *calls* something a "hospital" does not necessarily mean that's not a code-word for "headquarters".

Same like calling a 16 or 17-year old terrorist a "child victim".

Item the Second: Wretchard thinks Nasrallah should run up a white flag and dicker for a ceasefire. Can he do that without handing over two live Israeli kidnap victims in return?

If I was Israel I wouldn't stop shooting until I got what I went in for. If they're dead, that's one thing. If they're currently stashed in Iran ... then what?

8/01/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger MrPhillipBeaufoy said...

Here's a excerpt from a nice little poem for Scipio to "think about a thousand times".

They shall not return to us; the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?

Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide--
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?

Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour:
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?

....from "Mesopotamia", by Mr Rudyard Kipling

8/01/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

C-Span is carrying some forum in which a pack of knuckleheads are whining and mewling about Qana.

One of the speakers is particularly acute case — identified by subtitle as a founder of the “electronic intifada.” When I first tuned in, she was talking about a dear friend — who is a PhD candidate in something or other, which she evidently mentioned mainly to remind us that Lebanese are humans, too, you know — had sent her an email that “it was happening all over again in Qana!”

Let’s see... I remember from when I was seven years old in the late 1950’s hearing news reports about troubles in Lebanon that required the U.S. to send in the Marines. That area has been in intermittent chaos and war for fifty years. What kind of mental patient thinks it’s okay to VACATION IN A WAR ZONE?

At least today I’ve heard that some of the mainstream alleged news organizations are questioning whether Hizb’ollah may have somehow manufactured or enhanced the tragedy of the Qana casualties. That is an encouraging sign of some awakening among the media — especially since the early reports acknowledged the 8-plus hour delay between the shelling and the building collapse.

The concept of a “tipping point” can be applied to even the most industrially-hardened apologist-for-terror.

I’m telling you, these days any conversation with a liberal I am entering pre-annoyed.

8/01/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Know Your Enemy

How Israel's bombing turned Hizbollah leader into a symbol of Muslim pride
By Patrick Cockburn
Published: 02 August 2006

..."Nasrallah was born on 31 August 1960 in east Beirut's Bourj Hamoud district. His father was a vegetable seller originally from south Lebanon. He was the eldest of nine children and aspired to be a cleric from an early age but it was war which shaped his upbringing. The outbreak of the civil war sent his family back to their ancestral village of Bassouriyeh, not far from Tyre. It was from here that the local clergy sent him to the great Shia theological centre in Najaf in Iraq where he studied for two years and met Moussawi, of whom he was an early follower.

Saddam Hussein was suspicious of Shia religious enthusiasts and in 1978 he expelled foreign religious students from Najaf. The next important event in Nasrallah's career was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which he vigorously opposed, becoming a guerrilla commander. He was also known to oppose an increase in Syrian influence in Lebanon and to have advocated fighting the Israelis in the south of the country. He was only 31 years old when the killing of Moussawi by the Israelis made him leader of Hizbollah."...


8/01/2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Dot Connectors Take Note:
Blair Having Second Thoughts

Tony Blair sees the lack of a comprensive Israeli and Palestinian settlement as a root cause of the WOT. Nothing can be more obvious. Hezbollah on Israel's border and Hamas in Palestine are clearly toxic to that needed settlement.

"As Opposition Mounts at Home, Blair urges Rethink of Middle East policy
By George Jones in Los Angeles and Brendan Carlin

(Filed: 02/08/2006)

Tony Blair called yesterday for a rethink of foreign policy towards the Middle East, warning that the United States-led war on terrorism risked alienating mainstream Arab opinion.

He said "a complete renaissance of our strategy" was needed to fight "an arc of extremism stretching across the Middle East".

Tony Blair called for an 'alliance of moderation'
Mr Blair said the West was engaged in an "elemental struggle that will shape our future" - but it could not be resolved by force alone. Unless the West reappraised its strategy, revitalised the global agenda on poverty and climate change and resolved to "bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win"..."The speech will be seen as an implicit criticism of President George W Bush's insistence on using military force to crush militant Muslims and the way the "road map" for the Middle East has been put on the back burner"...


8/01/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger greer rants said...

This commenter at JOM makes a great point:
Fortunately, the 'progressives' of the West have spent so much time and effort divesting from and boycotting Israel that they have very little left to pressure the Israelis with.

Posted by: richard mcenroe

So far, that
"not high level" applied to the captives is comming from Lebanese sources. They also released the names, so take it all with grain.....

They also had reported that the Israelis were pinned down inside "hospital".

8/01/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Michael Totten has a good insight into Lebanon. Worth reading.

8/01/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger sugar said...

"Israel placed at risk troops, aircraft, and prestige for the purpose of capturing a few lowlifes hiding in a hospital."

I think it was more a psychological move than anything. To say "look at how we can go anywhere and do anything" sort of thing. Meanwhile, they attacked Aita Al-Shaab today as well and suffered 3 IDF killed and 25 wounded. CNN was showing a disabled IDF tank being towed and smoldering apparently hit by a missle.

Its gonna be a long war...

8/01/2006 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...


As a general proposition I would agree with your assessment. However, in this instance I respectfully disagree.

Although Hezbollah reports a battle on the level of Thermopylae, given the length of time the city was open to the IDF and the paucity of casualties, I am inclined to believe that the IDF had unencumbered access to Baalbek. To what end remains to be seen, but I am confident there is much more here than meets the eye. As Belmonteers readily appreciate, a plethora of information can be had from hard drives, cell phones, etc. Perhaps, the raid was justified to acquire not who, but what.

Moreover, given the failure of Syrian intervention at this late date, it appears that Hezbollah has been had. While historical projection is always dangerous, it does appear that Hezbollah is the modern equivalent of the Knights Templar: a power placing the status quo at peril; therefore, Syria, Lebanon, and France have gone for the kill. Ironic, given France, but history is filled with such irony.

My question would inquire into the cost of getting Syria to “flip”, as rufus might characterize the situation, to his credit. Additionally, what does Syria understand about future Coalition operations against Iran that would have such an impact on a heretofore recalcitrant country?

If that “snot” Spengler is correct, August may be the biggest month since 1914, no disrespect to our brilliant host intended.

While I will not live to see a thorough, rigorous history of the present events, I would not be surprised if Messrs Netanyahu and Sharansky might have been instrumental in getting Messrs. Olmert and Peres to flip.

8/01/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

redaktør said...

Any reason why you felt compelled to copy and paste that piece of shit commie propaganda?

8/01/2006 11:28:42 PM"

I really did not have you in mind when i did it. A few more thoughtful previous posts discussed the wisdom and expected result of eliminating Nasrallah. There is the additional irony that Saddam Hussein once licked him out of Iraq. This may be of interest to those thinking about connections between related events and players in the WOT. You may not have noticed that there is a substantial opinion that the war in Iraq is not providing the predicted scenario of Jeffersonian Democracy.

This really should not overly concern you and your remarkable sequence of posts that probably accurately reflect your thinking on these matters. Have a nice night.

8/01/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...


Iraq is an artificial construct. It will not hold together other than through a dictatorship. The same applies to all the islamic thiefocracies.

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

Buddy Larsen said...
So, what, C4, does IDF quit fighting back on the basis that it just makes Hez stronger? Follow your logic.

8/01/2006 08:42:59 PM

Hard to follow logic, when it isn't logic, but your conjectures based on your misreading.

What I was saying was that it is stupid to make the death or capture of the designated Head Arch Evildoer the imagined solution to a conflict.

Even if you "get" Mr. Big, experience shows that it seldom has much of an influence on an ideological organization. Strategy and resources are better focused on wrecking enemy capacity and turning the people against the people who messed up their country by bringing the USA/Israel/Russia etc. in.

The stupid, billions wasting "Hunt for bin Laden" has not born any fruit. Just piles of "high tech special ops supersoldiers" blindly coaming the hills for sign of Binnie. With no Great White Whale sightings in 5 years. Not surprising because we can't even find una, abortion, eco bombers laying low in OUR country.

I never said fighting Hez would make them stronger. Just that avoiding attacking the strength of the enemy and attriting it in the presumption that a "decapitation" of Saddam, Binnie obviates the need for a broader attack is stupid...plus there is a chance that Nasrallah is replaced by someone even more violent and competent.

rufus said...
As for whacking Nasrallah? Well, it Couldn't hurt.

Now that, I agree with.

Planning your whole war around "Bringing bin Laden to justice"? "Finding Nasrallah"?


Focus on Binnie was convenient for both Bush and the Democrats in calling what we are in "The Global War on Terror" and the Single Madman cause for almost 4 years and so avoid naming the foe and ducking the causes.

And I can just see Omeart huddling with other lawyers evaluating how likely the "Nasrallah decapitation strikes" were over a week's span as an excuse to dither on the Border. Thinking if they "got" Nasrallah, all their problems would be over so it was best to "wait" and not invade.

Finally, on Binnie....If it is so urgent, as the liberals and Democratic Bush-haters say it is to "bring him to justice and nothing else matters...." then why isn't there a peep out of them about trying the 9/11 mastermind, inventor, planner, and operational commander - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? You would think the Jews of the ACLU would be killing one another for the right to defend him in court. KSM is very bright, fluent in English from his years studying engineering here...he sounds like the ideal defendent...

We've had him for over 3 years.
Why don't the Democrats want to show the world how well our crown jewel adversarial justice system and the legendary minds of an American jury work?

8/02/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

2164th: There is the additional irony that Saddam Hussein once licked him out of Iraq.

Saddam didn't like shiia connected with Iran. What's the irony there?

8/02/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Cedarford: The stupid, billions wasting "Hunt for bin Laden" has not born any fruit.

Not yet. But when we find out who was/is sheltering him, it will.

8/02/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Thank you redaktør, good night. I need some rest.

8/02/2006 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Mr. Bin Laden has been dead since at least Tora Bora.

He remains a niffty poster boy for the GWOT. But he is dead, dead, dead.

Nevertheless, he does have real utiity value, eh?

Oh, if you can prove that Osama is in the land of the living, have at it.

8/02/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...

The Israelis putting all that at risk for a few "low lifes":
On rerun of LK, Sadler reported that the "hospital" is staffed by Iranians and Syrians.
So I would say great on psy ops level as Israel just "invaded" an Iranian funded/Iranian staffed icon in the iconic stonghold of the Bekaa Valley.
Remember reports were they went thru checking all ID's. Did they want or NOT Want to take Iranians/Syrians?

8/02/2006 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...


8/02/2006 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"From my point of view, Mr. Nasrallah's death would mean the end of an excellent orator, a capable administrator, and a reckless adventurer who seeks the limelight."
I read something today that included a quote from an Israeli who said Nas was such a great speaker that he recorded him and listened just for pleasure!
Goofy Juice.

8/02/2006 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

I'm tryin' to recall the 38th President's call for HB to meet the requirements of U.N. Resolution 1559. In the full panoply of American Presidents, he is the perfect ----stain. Were Teddy Kennedy elected Prez, he could not be that bad. John Kerry and Al Gore would have a shot, tho'.

As to the HB spokesman saying "...and will never give up." He's so stupid, he thinks we want him to quit. Somebody send him TrangBang68's excellent poem with copies for all his friends.

8/02/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger R C Dean said...

Mr. Nasrallah's death would mean the end of an excellent orator, a capable administrator, and a reckless adventurer who seeks the limelight

Don't forget murderous thug.

8/02/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

All at risk to put the bag on some low lifes?

Hell, they went into the freakin' Bekka Valey for Christ's Sake, blew away a bunch of gomers and got away clean. It's Entbee, Son Tay, and the Doolittle Raid all in one - and then some.

It doesn't matter if they only grabbed the hospital cleaning lady and Hitler's pool man. The whole IDF is in geosynch orbit right now. They just reversed their "decline" in one fell swoop.

And betcha from now on Baby Doc Assad sleeps with a night light.

And the chiefs of Hezbolah are all this morning fruitlessly looking for a clean pair of pants.

8/02/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"And the chiefs of Hezbolah are all this morning fruitlessly looking for a clean pair of pants."

Are you saying they soiled their drawers in their drawers or that they each have only a single pair? ;-)

8/02/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

allen said:

Oh, if you can prove that Osama is in the land of the living, have at it.

It doesn't matter. They got Saddam, everyone felt good, then the Jihad resumed as if nothing happened. They got Zarqawi, everyone felt good for a a while, then the Jihad resumed as if nothing happened. It won't end until we all convert to Wahhabist Sunni Islam.

8/02/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

A lot of people in the media are assuming that a hospital is just a hospital in Hezbo-land.

Given the tendency of Hez to put ammo bunkers under schools, hospitals, etc, it's quite possible that this hospital had "interesting" stuff and/or people residing in the basement level

8/02/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...


I keep saying, the key is the financial sources that keep these guys supplied and equipped

If you succeed in convincing the money men that feeding Hezbollah is distinctly unhealthy, then Hez will starve and die. The radical imams and mudrassas do not survive on the pennies of the "street". They have big-time finance behind them, and these guys just love to vacation in places where hit teams could get to them if we really decided to

8/02/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Papa bear: My thoughts exactly! And at a minimum if there were only terrorist chiefs and their (foreign?) supporters in that "hospital" you can bet they were not there just because they liked the green Jello from the cafeteria. It was a huge "safe house" at least.

3case: I think it likely that whatever the size of their wardrobe, there were multiple soiling events before they got their bowels emptied.

"Death From Above!"

By the way, what does this - and other news from the fighting in Lebanon - indicate about the state of Hezbolah and Syrian air defenses - and for that matter, Irianian. There were only so many opportunities to ship - or for that matter, to build - those long skinny pointed things. Lots of surface to surface and surface to sea rokets may very well equal not much ground to air capability. They might just be wide open.

8/02/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...


re your 12:26

You're wrong.


8/02/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Agree with RWE: We can be WINNING a war, know it in our heads and hearts, but if those around us are SCREAMING "LOSING! QUAGMIRE! MISTAKE!" it is VERY VALUABLE to get an unmitigated WIN, and especially one like this which demonstrates ABSOLUTE Israeli superiority over the whole of Lebanon and HUMILIATES Hezb'ollah!


8/02/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Amazingly so, the HB's inability to field even SAM-7s is a very encouraging development. An air assualt force of slow movers would have been the perfect targets, both in and out bound from the hospital. After a four hour firefight, if the SAMs were in the area, I'd have thought they'd have been utilized, at least on the outbound leg.

Unless, of course, the detainees were not "low level" operatives at all.

Regardless, the raid on the hospital and the 6,000 to 10,000 IDF folk now reported in Lebanon is the best short term news of the entire escapade.

8/02/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

OBL cannot be dead as that would eliminate "We should have gone after Osama" and the only idea the Democrats ever had for confronting Islamism.

8/02/2006 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This is an interesting take on internal Israeli politics.
"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert' s declaration Wednesday that the war in Lebanon will create new momentum for further West Bank pullouts was met by a harsh response on the part of right-wing parliamentarians as well as members of the PM's own Kadima party.

"The backing Olmert received (for the war) went to his head," Knesset Member Zvi Hendel (National Union) said in response to Olmert's comments, which seemed to stun rightist Knesset members. "How many missiles and rockets need to fall on the North and South in order for Olmert to understand that state security cannot be achieved through bragging…and splitting the nation?"

8/02/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Goesh said...

Insert, draw the bas***** into the surrounding buildings then hit with air and arty - collapsing buildings are taking them out by the dozens. Weaken them to the point where the Druze and Christians feel it is safe to take their revenge. When islamofacists are allowed to infest a nation, this is what happens when you keep attacking Israel.

8/02/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

On an unreleated note, there are two interesting pieces out today, in regards Haditha

"... Marine Names Murtha in Defamation Suit

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page A05

A Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, will file a lawsuit today in federal court in Washington claiming that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) defamed him when the congressman made public comments about the incident earlier this year.

Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up. ..."

Which will be fun to watch play out as it winds through the Courts.

The second piece from the AP announces "... WASHINGTON (AP) - Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity. ..."

8/02/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Even if we assume the best possible outcome in the Islamist Wars, one where the Palestinians turn into a civilized society, Israel will still have an intractable problem.

A Palestinian state split into two pieces with a few miles of Israel in the middle almost certainly would be a continuing causus belli among even reasonable Palestinians. The desire to join those two pieces would be irresistible. If that happened then Israel would have to be split into two pieces. An equally undesireable outcome.

It would seem that Judea and Samaria have to become something other that part of a "Palestinian State." Personally I think that Israel should have annexed the West Bank in 1967, paid some fair amount in compensation to Arabs with legitimate land titles, and moved on. How would 1968 and beyond have been worse?

Withdrawing completely from the West Bank now without having resolved the split-Palestine issue is a very dumb move.

8/02/2006 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Harrison said...

Well, if I may quote wretchard from a previous post:

...As soon as a mosque is converted into a bunker, it ceases to be a mosque. As soon as an ambulance is converted into a troop carrier it ceases to be an ambulance.

Who knows what the hospital was hoarding within its walls, or even underneath the structure?

And the Lebanese army seems less and less likely to be part of any international force or being integrated back into the fold. Of course, that's what they said about the Baathists in Iraq too.

Is this deja woe?

Fallujah all over again?

Maj. Ido - the unit's commander - told the Post on Monday that Hizbullah had planted explosive devices along the border, made of high-quality explosives and put together with great expertise. "They build advanced and professional explosive devices," Ido said as his troops were preparing for the night's raid at a community along the northern border. "They are much more professional than the Palestinian bombs which we encounter in the Gaza Strip."

More IEDs to come?

8/02/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The long term aspects of the IDF offensive are still quite murky. It is stated, publicly, that the IDF will await relief from an International Force.

The Franks, the proposed leaders of the expedition, after meetings in Damascus, have removed themselves from the discussions.

Mr Bush has said US troops will not be utilized as part of the Force. Mr Blair does not seem a likely candidate for a volunteer.

The Israeli will have been drawn back to occuppying Lebanon for an extended period, likely as not.

The Mohammedan "death by a thousand cuts" strategy then comes the fore in Lebanon, it's effectiveness witnessed in Iraq's continued violence and political instability as well as Israel's past experiences in occuppying Lebanon.

8/02/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

From the NYT:


The United Nations announced that a meeting of countries that could contribute troops to a force in southern Lebanon that had been postponed Monday had been rescheduled for Thursday.

But France said it would boycott the meeting. Asked why, a spokesman referred to a statement Monday by the French ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, criticizing the timing of the effort.

“France is in favor of setting up an international force to implement a political settlement,” Mr. de la Sablière said then. “It is important to have this political settlement before having the force deployed. So it is premature to have such a meeting.”

The comment pointed up crucial differences over Lebanon that have emerged between France and the United States.

France has circulated a Security Council resolution that calls for an immediate halt to the fighting, followed by a negotiated cease-fire and a political agreement, before any international force is deployed. Israel says an international military force should be put in place first. And the United States says there can be a cease-fire and political arrangements only after the formation of an international force to back them up.


Olmert has stated that Israel will continue operations until an international force is in place.

The good news is that this may take many, many months to achieve.

The bad news is that this may take many, many months to achieve.

It is generally acknowledged that Israel needs more time.

Israel may have loads of time and wish it didn't.

8/02/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

i think there's far too much reporting on this latest ME dustup and not enough attention to the recent nuptuals of Pamela Sue and Kid Rock.
Will it work out?
Can Kid Rock keep up?
Was she wearing white at the ceremony?
Enough war and diplomatic talk. Let's bring in the lurkers who might have an opinion on the REAL issue, Pam and the Kid Rock.

8/02/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Exactly, trish, the same folks that have come to relieve the Coalition in Iraq, I sure they will all send troops to Lebanon, as well.
Wait, no one came.
Those that came to help, early, Japan, Spain, Italy, why they have left or are leaving Iraq. Doubt they volunteer for Lebanon.

NATO without US, is an empty shell.

Peter Brookes has an appropriate piece on the subject.

8/02/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Great post, Trish. There's nothing left to say.

but, I'm sure we'll come up with something ;)

8/02/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

France's plan to end all war:
Surrender before fighting.

8/02/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can Kids Rocks keep it up???

8/02/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

EuroCorps is an actual fighting force. It could be deployed but I haven't heard anyone mention it. They're not jumping out there anyway with an offer.

We could conceivably send a couple of brigades. That we won't is not encouraging to those looking at the prospect of a long stay in Lebanon.

Unless the Israelis take the bounce out of Tigger, so to speak - and unless both the Lebanese govt and Syria are amenable - that intl force is a real problem.

Probably should NOT have been emphasized as a ceasefire centerpiece to begin with. But to begin with this was supposed to be very different.

8/02/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Well, at least today, things seem to be going in Israel's favor.

All the more reason we should all try to be as pessimistic as possible.

Israel can't win; we can't win.

The Islamofascists are invincible.

Justice is on their side. Or if not Justice, at least the EU, the UN, and the MSM, and demographics, and the oil markets, and the mighty Chinese, and those supermen, the Iranian mullahs, and those geniuses and paragons of virtue, the Democrats (save Lieberman) of the US Senate -- all of which put together amounts to the same thing.

I give up.

Jamie Irons

8/02/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That's what they want you to do, doc.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair want south Lebanon to be repopulated, ASAP.
Or so they said.
If the IDF is still there, they become targets for HB, as the guerillas return with the people. If the IDF is not there, HB still returns with the people.

I'm sure that aristide and M Simon can explain how this reoccuppation of Lebanon is all part of the "Grand Strategy", and perhaps it is.

At westhawk they belive that "Israel expands its attack, but it’s still only symbolic".

Time waits for no man.

8/02/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Gentlemen and Ladies, don't pay any attention to anything the politicians/diplomats say right now. They can't keep up with "events on the ground."

The "hesitation" on the multi-national force came at a time when it looked like Hezbollah was doing pretty good (yesterday.)

Tomorrow, you'll hear the diplo's say something else.

Keep your eye on the ball. As the IDF does better, diplomatic prospects will look better.

We all know where it's got to go. Don't get excited/depressed/bemused/suicidal, ecstatic, or hysterical.

Oh, and don't believe anything from anybody.

8/02/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

This is some what OT, I apologize.

C4 your recent posts have confined themselves to rational discussion, Buddy's remarks are indeed probably a mis-reading based one your (formerly) demonstrated biases. It almost sounds as though you may have re-thought some of your anti Bush positions.

I cannot but wonder at this, since for many of us right wingnuts Bush is failing in his duty to his oath of office, he seems not to recognize some serious dangers to the republic.

8/02/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


As my instructor in DiffEq used to say after completing a particularly elegant proof,

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.


Jamie Irons

8/02/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Forget Wounded Knee:
Bury me w/rigor mortis and a new pacifier.

8/02/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

It's almost funny, really. It's like watching "suicide by Cop." Olmert wants to quit, and Hezbollah won't let him.

I, really, think that Allen is right, in that Olmert might be the worst wartime commander in modern history; but it looks like Hezbollah is going to force him into success.

The world is a really interesting place, sometimes.

8/02/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

You know what they say, Rat: Go big or go home.

8/02/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"but it looks like Hezbollah is going to force him into success."

I do hope so, rufus.

It certainly is easy to pick on someone else's war.

{With apologies to John Podhoretz, I find just that phrase - someone else's war - quite refreshing.)

8/02/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

How about them French, huh?

I'll bet they just can't wait to vote for "sanctions that hurt" against Iran.

8/02/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Trish, I was a little amused by your comment that a peacekeeping force should not have been emphasiized as one of the conditions of a "cease-fire".

That, and a return of the Israeli soldier hostages ain't going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. I thought that it was not currently in the interests of the United States to have a cease fire occur and that these perfectly reasonable sounding criteria were one of the few intelligent things the current adminstration has done in the last year or so.

8/02/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

France and US are playing this together. It was the obvious move from the get go for them to coordinate "disagreements" to stretch out the diplomatic front while Israel takes care of business. France has been manhandled by Iran these last three years. The only reason on earth that she would want Hezbollah to survive this is if Iran were to finally agree to give up its nukes. Since Iran has failed to take the hint, France has decided to let events run their course.

Also, France will be the country with troops on the ground eventually. So it makes sense for her to play the role she's playing. Think: the people who most desperately want a ceasefire right now (Lebanese) will be soon be the sea through which the Fighting Fish of France are swimming. France is buying legitimacy with her stand against Israel, because it's not in Israel where she'll be deployed.

My take on France's "Iran is a great nation" talk here.

8/02/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If one looks at the proposed sanctions against Iran, rufus, as part of the "deadline" they are inconsequential

"The resolution says the council intends to adopt "appropriate measures" if Iran does not comply. Specifically, it says, the Security Council would take measures under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which lists potential economic and diplomatic punishments but excludes the use of force.

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador, played down the possibility of sanctions.

"If even a slight offer is made to be constructive," Churkin said, "there should be no problem at all."

No worries about the French, they will get to pose.

8/02/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dave h, C4 may've mis-read my mis-reading.

I had merely meant to point out that, as useless as it may to celebrate knocking off an enemy charismatic, it's equally useless to point out how uselss that is. Why downgrade a moral victory, just because it's not the same as a material victory? The same event is often both.

As far as reminding us that this war is bigger than it's individual players--jeez--C4, thanks for the heads up.

I remember a couple years ago a few people--GWB for one--tried to make the point that OBL himself was only symbolic, and getting him wouldn't change much materially. Of course, on cue, the oppo went for the ridicule, "Bush is an idiot, OBL is the guy who attacked us."

Of course that has changed, now Bush is the guy who attacked us. Hey, i'm gettin all cornfused.

Bush or OBL, who's your friend? Nasrollah proves you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

8/02/2006 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

The French have constructed a large PSIWHEEL that is currently being employed by their top diplomats in a search for the ultimate answer to the ME problem. Due to the nature of the PSIWHEEL and how it's powered is causing some difficulty for the French diplomatic corps. please consult link..sorry I don't know how to do those neat-o blue insert jobs.


8/02/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

You all make a big mistake if you think France is doing anything but pursuing her national interests. She is not posing for the hell of it. There is always a thoughtful reason behind anything she does, just like there is a thoughtful reason behind anything we do.

Of course, just because it's thoughtful doesn't mean it's correct. But to paint her diplomatic actions with the brute brushstrokes of fecklessness and pettiness is to leave much covered-up and unexplained.

8/02/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

the PSIWHEEL explains all French actions.

8/02/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Heh, I wrote that last post before seeing yours, Habu. I hadn't realized others had access to it.

8/02/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Desert rat:

I recommend we name our next long range heavy bomber the "Sanction"

The replacement for the Minuteman ICBM the USAF is planning to buy should be named the "U.N. Sanction"

The US Navy could build a "International Sanction Class" of aircraft carriers.

The follow-on to the M1A1 Abrams for the Army and Marines could be called the M3A1 "Diplomatic Message"

Then maybe someone would give a Rat's Rump (begging your pardon) about such stern actions.

Or at least they would wonder very hard about which one we were talking about.

8/02/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

France's economic losses to a US boycott of Hrench goods have been substantial. They do not want to openly oppose the US again. It's bad for business.
They do not want to openly oppose Iran, for the same reasons. They will not insert troops into Lebanon to fight HB or Syria, again, bad for business.

If the Russians or Chinese are sure to stop Sanctions of Consequence against Iran, France will pose in whatever position suits their economic best interests, vis a vie the US public.

The French long term interest is to multi polarize the World, ending US's supreme and unchallenged polarity. In that regard it sells technology to China and anyone else that can pay.

They pose for US, not the mirror.

8/02/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...

Questions for you who have served:

Do you think/know that the Marines would love to get a real shot at the Hezzies?

If answer is "hell yes!", how about some of those "never former Marines" demonstrating in front of WH/DOD/DOS?

I've filed under "Not as I remember it", how do you remember the Yon Kipper War?

In WaPo from Ignatius:
...Yet in the long lens of history, the importance of the 1973 war is that it opened the door to peace. The Arabs, humiliated by earlier wars with Israel, could now claim a measure of dignity because of Anwar Sadat's bold attack across the canal. The Israelis learned that their Arab adversaries wouldn't run from battle as they had in the 1967 war. That gave them a stake in making peace, too.

After the war ended, Egypt and Syria joined in active diplomacy, masterfully orchestrated by Kissinger, who managed to create enough distance between the United States and Israel to allow some negotiating room. Sadat felt confident enough as the "hero of the crossing" to make his famous trip to Jerusalem. Even the terrorist group of the day, the Palestine Liberation Organization, was drawn into a web of secret liaison with the CIA.

That all worked out so well!

Title of the drivel is"Mideast Lessons From 1973"
By David Ignatius

Aren't they just desperate for GW/Condi to repeat their actions so that they also fail. Shame Einestein not around to remind them of definition of insanity.

And finally,
this one is sensible and not nuanced, reason the intellectuals and dips won't understand it.
"In its war on terror, the U.S. would never accept the limits being pushed on Israel...Gaffney,WSJ

8/02/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

An intact Iranian Foreign Legion makes sense for France if France/EU sees an Iranian hegemony in their long term interest. That would eventually put the EU at loggers head with the US over Iraq, unless of course Iraq falls under de facto Iranian control in the next year or so.

The combined Iran-Iraq oil fields probably contain most of the world's easily pumpable oil. It's not too hard to see a Grand Strategy with the objective of putting the EU ahead of the USA and Asia in the line for that oil.

This whacky idea is the most compelling reason I can see for Syria getting in front of Iran at risk of war with the USA. Syria would have no future risk, and would benefit greatly from participating in some EU-Iran economic alliance. Maybe Eurabia should be Eurania.

8/02/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

might add that, this race war, which may be a religious war, which may be a resource war, which may be a race war, may be soluble--short of a global bloodbath--only by the Islamic cult of personality. The west needs to keep fighting and hold the line and in time a new charismatic will emerge who will say, "Brothers, this war is nuts--we have 50 years worth of oil, this is our last chance to build a modern society!"

could happen soon--who knows?

Maybe smashing Hez will do the trick.

This is certainly enough of a possibilty to keep up the spirit, to keep smiling from the saddle, like ole Don Juan in Chesterton's epic poem "Lepanto"--
Lepanto, which shut down the jihad for a century and more.

"Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade."

That's a snip--read it all--westernism has been under far greater Islamist pressure several times before. Poems are silly? Nah, we need our dream, too.

8/02/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

greer rant,
Mr Gaffney's tale is BS. The US has acceptted similar limits in the WoT, against aQ.

Those limits are described in one word.

An aQ Sanctuary that exists today and where Doctor Z is left to his own devices.

8/02/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger jonesy said...

I think the French have a great idea. Indeed, let's all wait for a ceasefire before we even begin meeting on this matter. Once we get to a ceasefire, then we will begin to "talk turkey". I mean, Israel is in the middle of negotiating a ceasefire as far as I can tell. They have, admittedly, given up on talking to the Hezbollah or Lebanese leaders. But they are taking their message of ceasefire directly to the people of Lebanon and the Hezbollah rank and fire and one by one are negotiating a ceasefire. It's called negotiating a ceasefire in the grassroots, barnstorming, kind of way all these politicians should appreciate. What am I missing, here?

8/02/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Oh, I don't think France is being petty.

Re the "diplomatic stall" that will become a diplomatic morass - France doesn't have the politcal solution it feels it needs as a precondition for that international force - which was only going to be discussed tomorrow, and which discussions could conceivably be dragged out for as long as anyone likes.

But to refuse to come to the table - France has indicated that its own requirements are not being met.

By Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

8/02/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I agree, Trish, but you left one major country out.

8/02/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

I did, aristides.

They're not gonna be brought on board.

8/02/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...

Desert Rat,
We the U.S. has chosen not to do "hot pursuit".
And we know if we did that we would be condemned. But it is our decision and sadly it is based on the cycles of our elections and fact that the DEMS have not followed "stopping at the water's edge" with their howls.
But it is our decision and not something demanded from us.

No Marines out there regarding finally getting a shot at the Hez?

8/02/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Ok, ignore the PSIWHEEL. The French are too wily,smart,diplomatcally adroit,sophisticated to use it.
I tell ya this is one serious crowd for not even be'in able to influence the outcome of the situation one iota.
Where's the humor? Where's the love?
Thou shalt not have humor during heavy intercourse. Hard to believe.

8/02/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

the french are petty and effete about everything, who are you kidding?

8/02/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This is the order of events:

1. 7-30-06: Rice meets with Olmert, and afterwards it's divulged that France has agreed to send troops to Lebanon's southern border, meeting one of the preconditions for a ceasefire as defined by US-Israel.

2. 7-31-06: French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy says that Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East.

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.

3. 8-1-06: UNSC passes Resolution 1696 under Chapter VII, making Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment legally mandatory.

4. 8-1-06: Ahmadinejad issues a defiant response to the passage of the resolution.

5. 8-2-06: France withdraws from troop talks, stating that she will boycott until a ceasefire settlement has already been reached by the other parties.

To me, that looks like a Hezbollah-for-your-nukes offer by France, and a rejection by Iran.

8/02/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

They're not gonna be brought on board.

How true, how true.

8/02/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Based on the available snippets of information I'd venture that Hizbu'allah is comparable in size and organization to an IRG division. My guess is that Iran would replace HB losses caused by Israel with regular IRG troops. Any international force less than 20,000+ that enters Lebanon without being fully capable of engaging Hizbu'allah is doomed to failure.

Can anybody imagine that HB would disarm voluntarily? Maybe in the long run having a French-heavy force bloodied by HB would be a good thing although the most likely outcome would be an even less virile future response from our EU allies. We have 1982-1983 to use as precedent. That's downright discouraging.

The sign are pointing more and more to a longer Israeli campaign and not a shorter one. The generals are in control now and there is little doubt that the IDF would savage Hizbu'allah in time. Olmert is the wild card and who knows when he'll go wobbly again.

8/02/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Question: If Israel could buy a verifiable elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat, but the cost was a political settlement of the war that left Hezbollah alive, would it be smart to do so?

Which is the greater strategic threat?

8/02/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Fwance worries about its own demographic war in Paris. Or maybe not.

8/02/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

If Ford could eliminate Toyota at the cost of leaving Honda intact, should they?
(Hint: Toyota is the greater strategic threat.)

8/02/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

France wanting a political solution before a military solution is a dead end.

Would they have Hezbollah seated at the negotiations? I think not.

Hezbollah may have backed themselves into a corner with this last escapade. The MSM are doing their dead-level best to run interference for them but the bottom line is that unless Syria or Iran come to their aid - Nas's goose is cooked - by Israel.

Enter next phase.

8/02/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think, greer rants, that the "allies" in the Government of Pakistan and it's General President are the ones that called for US to stop, and we did.

Agreed, we decided to stop chasing aQ, because on balance it was better to let aQ regroup than piss off, or on, the General President.

Israel will decide on it's own, whatever it wants. There are costs and benefits to each decision a country makes.

But, as Mr Bush said to Neil Cavuto, no one dictates to Israel.

8/02/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

It is hard if not impossible to conceive of the USA listening to anything the French have to say.

First of all their seat at the Seurity Council is a joke, a relic of the cold war.
Secondly, they have nothing to offer except to throw sand in the gears and be petulant.

EuroCorps? I know it's been on my tongue,like never. It's EuroWeenies that have their entire socio-economic structure thanks only to the USA guarding the Fulda Gap for eons after WWII and then providing a military umbrella for them to go socialist, which they all did with great alacrity.
Islam is now their major domestic problem, one that keeps them from becoming the real Pee Wee Hermans to which they obviously aspire.

No, give me the Aussies and the Kiwi's.

8/02/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger jonesy said...

Question: If Israel could buy a verifiable elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat, but the cost was a political settlement of the war that left Hezbollah alive, would it be smart to do so?

This one is easy, because it is a false choice. There is no way to get a verifiable elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat save another revolution overthrowing the mullahs in Iran and the ascendency of a moderate regime/state. And if that was to happen, the cornerstone of existence of Hezbollah is gone so why not clean the wound of infection and start over in Lebanon?

False choice, imho.

8/02/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ford should bomb Japan.
Problem solved.

8/02/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Does Israel trust the rest of the world to eliminate Iran's nuclear capability? If yes, then they would not take your proposed deal, because they could have their unleavened bread and eat it, too. If no, then they would take it.

8/02/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...

want something funny?

This just happened:
GW appeared at the last WH press conference before renovations. It was carried by all cable news channels and before most of the former "spinners" were invited in the crazies were howling re "green lights"etc.

Well, Gregory and Sam Donaldson were standing in the back. GW spotted Gregory and then Donaldson spoke up - couldn't hear his question but GW responded,
"Is that you Donaldson. You're a
has been! Don't have to answer questions from has beens!

Israelis could wipe out orphanage of crippled children today and I'll bet that clip leads the nets' news!

8/02/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

British PM Tony Blair

Speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, August 1, 2006

Overnight, the news came through that as well as continuing conflict in the Lebanon, Britain's Armed Forces suffered losses in Iraq and Afghanistan. It brings home yet again the extraordinary courage and commitment of our armed forces who risk their lives and in some cases tragically lose them, defending our country's security and that of the wider world. These are people of whom we should be very proud.
I know the US has suffered heavy losses too in Iraq and in Afghanistan. We should never forget how much we owe these people, how great their bravery, and their sacrifice.
I planned the basis of this speech several weeks ago. The crisis in the Lebanon has not changed its thesis. It has brought it into sharp relief.
The purpose of the provocation that began the conflict was clear. It was to create chaos, division and bloodshed, to provoke retaliation by Israel that would lead to Arab and Muslim opinion being inflamed, not against those who started the aggression but against those who responded to it.
It is still possible even now to come out of this crisis with a better long-term prospect for the cause of moderation in the Middle East succeeding. But it would be absurd not to face up to the immediate damage to that cause which has been done.
We will continue to do all we can to halt the hostilities. But once that has happened, we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us. There is an arc of extremism now stretching across the Middle East and touching, with increasing definition, countries far outside that region. To defeat it will need an alliance of moderation, that paints a different future in which Muslim, Jew and Christian; Arab and Western; wealthy and developing nations can make progress in peace and harmony with each other. My argument to you today is this: we will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world.
The point is this. This is war, but of a completely unconventional kind.
9/11 in the US, 7/7 in the UK, 11/3 in Madrid, the countless terrorist attacks in countries as disparate as Indonesia or Algeria, what is now happening in Afghanistan and in Indonesia, the continuing conflict in Lebanon and Palestine, it is all part of the same thing. What are the values that govern the future of the world? Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity or those of reaction, division and hatred? My point is that this war can't be won in a conventional way. It can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternative. Doing this, however, requires us to change dramatically the focus of our policy.
Unless we re-appraise our strategy, unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win.
What is happening today out in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and beyond is an elemental struggle about the values that will shape our future.
It is in part a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam. But its implications go far wider. We are fighting a war, but not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century, about global values.
The root causes of the current crisis are supremely indicative of this. Ever since September 11th, the US has embarked on a policy of intervention in order to protect its and our future security. Hence Afghanistan. Hence Iraq. Hence the broader Middle East initiative in support of moves towards democracy in the Arab world.
The point about these interventions, however, military and otherwise, is that they were not just about changing regimes but changing the values systems governing the nations concerned. The banner was not actually "regime change" it was "values change".
What we have done therefore in intervening in this way, is far more momentous than possibly we appreciated at the time.
Of course the fanatics, attached to a completely wrong and reactionary view of Islam, had been engaging in terrorism for years before September 11th. In Chechnya, in India and Pakistan, in Algeria, in many other Muslim countries, atrocities were occurring. But we did not feel the impact directly. So we were not bending our eye or our will to it as we should have. We had barely heard of the Taleban. We rather inclined to the view that where there was terrorism, perhaps it was partly the fault of the governments of the countries concerned.
We were in error. In fact, these acts of terrorism were not isolated incidents. They were part of a growing movement. A movement that believed Muslims had departed from their proper faith, were being taken over by Western culture, were being governed treacherously by Muslims complicit in this take-over, whereas the true way to recover not just the true faith, but Muslim confidence and self esteem, was to take on the West and all its works.
Sometimes political strategy comes deliberatively, sometimes by instinct. For this movement, it was probably by instinct. It has an ideology, a world-view, it has deep convictions and the determination of the fanatic. It resembles in many ways early revolutionary Communism. It doesn't always need structures and command centres or even explicit communication. It knows what it thinks.
Its strategy in the late 1990s became clear. If they were merely fighting with Islam, they ran the risk that fellow Muslims - being as decent and fair-minded as anyone else - would choose to reject their fanaticism. A battle about Islam was just Muslim versus Muslim. They realised they had to create a completely different battle in Muslim minds: Muslim versus Western.
This is what September 11th did. Still now, I am amazed at how many people will say, in effect, there is increased terrorism today because we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. They seem to forget entirely that September 11th predated either. The West didn't attack this movement. We were attacked. Until then we had largely ignored it.
The reason I say our response was even more momentous than it seemed at the time, is this. We could have chosen security as the battleground. But we didn't. We chose values. We said we didn't want another Taleban or a different Saddam. Rightly, in my view, we realised that you can't defeat a fanatical ideology just by imprisoning or killing its leaders; you have to defeat its ideas.
There is a host of analysis written about mistakes made in Iraq or Afghanistan, much of it with hindsight but some of it with justification. But it all misses one vital point. The moment we decided not to change regime but to change the value system, we made both Iraq and Afghanistan into existential battles for Reactionary Islam. We posed a threat not to their activities simply: but to their values, to the roots of their existence.
We committed ourselves to supporting Moderate, Mainstream Islam. In almost pristine form, the battles in Iraq or Afghanistan became battles between the majority of Muslims in either country who wanted democracy and the minority who realise that this rings the death-knell of their ideology.
What is more, in doing this, we widened the definition of Reactionary Islam. It is not just Al-Qaeda who felt threatened by the prospect of two brutal dictatorships - one secular, one religious - becoming tolerant democracies. Any other country who could see that change in those countries might result in change in theirs, immediately also felt under threat. Syria and Iran, for example. No matter that previously, in what was effectively another political age, many of those under threat hated each other. Suddenly new alliances became formed under the impulsion of the common threat.
So in Iraq, Syria allowed Al-Qaeda operatives to cross the border. Iran has supported extremist Shia there. The purpose of the terrorism in Iraq is absolutely
simple: carnage, causing sectarian hatred, leading to civil war.
However, there was one cause which, the world over, unites Islam, one issue that even the most westernised Muslims find unjust and, perhaps worse, humiliating: Palestine. Here a moderate leadership was squeezed between its own inability to control the radical elements and the political stagnation of the peace process. When Prime Minister Sharon took the brave step of disengagement from Gaza, it could have been and should have been the opportunity to re-start the process. But the squeeze was too great and as ever because these processes never stay still, instead of moving forward, it fell back. Hamas won the election. Even then, had moderate elements in Hamas been able to show progress, the situation might have been saved. But they couldn't.
So the opportunity passed to Reactionary Islam and they seized it: first in Gaza, then in Lebanon. They knew what would happen. Their terrorism would provoke massive retaliation by Israel. Within days, the world would forget the original provocation and be shocked by the retaliation. They want to trap the Moderates between support for America and an Arab street furious at what they see nightly on their television. This is what has happened.
For them, what is vital is that the struggle is defined in their terms: Islam versus the West; that instead of Muslims seeing this as about democracy versus dictatorship, they see only the bombs and the brutality of war, and sent from Israel.
In this way, they hope that the arc of extremism that now stretches across the region, will sweep away the fledgling but faltering steps Modern Islam wants to take into the future.
To turn all of this around requires us first to perceive the nature of the struggle we are fighting and secondly to have a realistic strategy to win it. At present we are challenged on both fronts.
As to the first, it is almost incredible to me that so much of Western opinion appears to buy the idea that the emergence of this global terrorism is somehow our fault. For a start, it is indeed global. No-one who ever half bothers to look at the spread and range of activity related to this terrorism can fail to see its presence in virtually every major nation in the world. It is directed at the United States and its allies, of course. But it is also directed at nations who could not conceivably be said to be allies of the West. It is also rubbish to suggest that it is the product of poverty. It is true it will use the cause of poverty. But its fanatics are hardly the champions of economic development. It is based on religious extremism. That is the fact. And not any religious extremism; but a specifically Muslim version.
What it is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is not about those countries' liberation from US occupation. It is actually the only reason for the continuing presence of our troops. And it is they not us who are doing the slaughter of the innocent and doing it deliberately.
Its purpose is explicitly to prevent those countries becoming democracies and not "Western style" democracies, any sort of democracy. It is to prevent Palestine living side by side with Israel; not to fight for the coming into being of a Palestinian State, but for the going out of being, of an Israeli State. It is not wanting Muslim countries to modernise but to retreat into governance by a semi-feudal religious oligarchy.
Yet despite all of this, which I consider virtually obvious, we look at the bloodshed in Iraq and say that's a reason for leaving; we listen to the propaganda that tells us its all because of our suppression of Muslims and have parts of our opinion seriously believing that if we only got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, it would all stop.
And most contemporaneously, and in some ways most perniciously, a very large and, I fear, growing part of our opinion looks at Israel, and thinks we pay too great a price for supporting it and sympathises with Muslim opinion that condemns it. Absent from so much of the coverage, is any understanding of the Israeli predicament.
I, and any halfway sentient human being, regards the loss of civilian life in Lebanon as unacceptable, grieves for that nation, is sickened by its plight and wants the war to stop now. But just for a moment, put yourself in Israel's place. It has a crisis in Gaza, sparked by the kidnap of a solider by Hamas. Suddenly, without warning, Hizbollah who have been continuing to operate in Southern Lebanon for two years in defiance of UN Resolution 1559, cross the UN blue line, kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two more. They then fire rockets indiscriminately at the civilian population in Northern Israel.
Hizbollah gets their weapons from Iran. Iran are now also financing militant elements in Hamas. Iran's President has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". And he's trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. Just to complete the picture, Israel's main neighbour along its eastern flank is Syria who support Hizbollah and house the hardline leaders of Hamas.
It's not exactly a situation conducive to a feeling of security is it?
But the central point is this. In the end, even the issue of Israel is just part of the same, wider struggle for the soul of the region. If we recognised this struggle for what it truly is, we would be at least along the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of the Western opinion is not remotely near this yet.
Whatever the outward manifestation at any one time - in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Iraq and add to that in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in a host of other nations including now some in Africa - it is a global fight about global values; it is about modernisation, within Islam and outside of it; it is about whether our value system can be shown to be sufficiently robust, true, principled and appealing that it beats theirs. Islamist extremism's whole strategy is based on a presumed sense of grievance that can motivate people to divide against each other. Our answer has to be a set of values strong enough to unite people with each other.
This is not just about security or military tactics. It is about hearts and minds about inspiring people, persuading them, showing them what our values at their best stand for.
Just to state it in these terms, is to underline how much we have to do. Convincing our own opinion of the nature of the battle is hard enough. But we then have to empower Moderate, Mainstream Islam to defeat Reactionary Islam. And because so much focus is now, world-wide on this issue, it is becoming itself a kind of surrogate for all the other issues the rest of the world has with the West. In other words, fail on this and across the range, everything gets harder.
Why are we not yet succeeding? Because we are not being bold enough, consistent enough, thorough enough, in fighting for the values we believe in.
We start this battle with some self-evident challenges. Iraq's political process has worked in an extraordinary way. But the continued sectarian bloodshed is appalling: and threatens its progress deeply. In Afghanistan, the Taleban are making a determined effort to return and using the drugs trade a front. Years of anti-Israeli and therefore anti-American teaching and propaganda has left the Arab street often wildly divorced from the practical politics of their governments. Iran and, to a lesser extent, Syria are a constant source of de-stabilisation and reaction. The purpose of terrorism - whether in Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Palestine is never just the terrorist act itself. It is to use the act to trigger a chain reaction, to expunge any willingness to negotiate or compromise. Unfortunately it frequently works, as we know from our own experience in Northern Ireland, though thankfully the huge progress made in the last decade there, shows that it can also be overcome.
So, short-term, we can't say we are winning. But, there are many reasons for long-term optimism. Across the Middle East, there is a process of modernisation as well as reaction. It is unnoticed but it is there: in the UAE; in Bahrain; in Kuwait; in Qatar. In Egypt, there is debate about the speed of change but not about its direction. In Libya and Algeria, there is both greater stability and a gradual but significant opening up.
Most of all, there is one incontrovertible truth that should give us hope. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, and of course in the Lebanon, any time that people are permitted a chance to embrace democracy, they do so. The lie - that democracy, the rule of law, human rights are Western concepts, alien to Islam - has been exposed. In countries as disparate as Turkey and Indonesia, there is an emerging strength in Moderate Islam that should greatly encourage us.
So the struggle is finely poised. The question is: how do we empower the moderates to defeat the extremists?
First, naturally, we should support, nurture, build strong alliances with all those in the Middle East who are on the modernising path.
Secondly, we need, as President Bush said on Friday, to re-energise the MEPP between Israel and Palestine; and we need to do it in a dramatic and profound manner.
I want to explain why I think this issue is so utterly fundamental to all we are trying to do. I know it can be very irritating for Israel to be told that this issue is of cardinal importance, as if it is on their shoulders that the weight of the troubles of the region should always fall. I know also their fear that in our anxiety for wider reasons to secure a settlement, we sacrifice the vital interests of Israel.
Let me make it clear. I would never put Israel's security at risk.
Instead I want, what we all now acknowledge we need: a two state solution. The Palestinian State must be independent, viable but also democratic and not threaten Israel's safety.
This is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want.
Its significance for the broader issue of the Middle East and for the battle within Islam, is this. The real impact of a settlement is more than correcting the plight of the Palestinians. It is that such a settlement would be the living, tangible, visible proof that the region and therefore the world can accommodate different faiths and cultures, even those who have been in vehement opposition to each other. It is, in other words, the total and complete rejection of the case of Reactionary Islam. It destroys not just their most effective rallying call, it fatally undermines their basic ideology.
And, for sure, it empowers Moderate, Mainstream Islam enormously. They are able to point to progress as demonstration that their allies, ie us, are even-handed not selective, do care about justice for Muslims as much as Christians or Jews.
But, and it is a big 'but', this progress will not happen unless we change radically our degree of focus, effort and engagement, especially with the Palestinian side. In this the active leadership of the US is essential but so also is the participation of Europe, of Russia and of the UN. We need relentlessly, vigorously, to put a viable Palestinian Government on its feet, to offer a vision of how the Roadmap to final status negotiation can happen and then pursue it, week in, week out, 'til its done. Nothing else will do. Nothing else is more important to the success of our foreign policy.
Third, we need to see Iraq through its crisis and out to the place its people want: a non-sectarian, democratic state. The Iraqi and Afghan fight for democracy is our fight. Same values. Same enemy. Victory for them is victory for us all.
Fourth, we need to make clear to Syria and Iran that there is a choice: come in to the international community and play by the same rules as the rest of us; or be confronted. Their support of terrorism, their deliberate export of instability, their desire to see wrecked the democratic prospect in Iraq, is utterly unjustifiable, dangerous and wrong. If they keep raising the stakes, they will find they have miscalculated.
From the above it is clear that from now on, we need a whole strategy for the Middle East. If we are faced with an arc of extremism, we need a corresponding arc of moderation and reconciliation. Each part is linked. Progress between Israel and Palestine affects Iraq. Progress in Iraq affects democracy in the region. Progress for Moderate, Mainstream Islam anywhere puts Reactionary Islam on the defensive everywhere. But none of it happens unless in each individual part the necessary energy and commitment is displayed not fitfully, but continuously.
I said at the outset that the result of this struggle had effects wider than the region itself. Plainly that applies to our own security. This Global Islamist terrorism began in the Middle East. Sort the Middle East and it will inexorably decline. The read-across, for example, from the region to the Muslim communities in Europe is almost instant.
But there is a less obvious sense in which the outcome determines the success of our wider world-view. For me, a victory for the moderates means an Islam that is open: open to globalisation, open to working with others of different faiths, open to alliances with other nations.
In this way, this struggle is in fact part of a far wider debate.
Though Left and Right still matter in politics, the increasing divide today is between open and closed. Is the answer to globalisation, protectionism or free trade?
Is the answer to the pressure of mass migration, managed immigration or closed borders?
Is the answer to global security threats, isolationism or engagement?
Those are very big questions for US and for Europe.
Without hesitation, I am on the open side of the argument. The way for us to handle the challenge of globalisation, is to compete better, more intelligently, more flexibly. We have to give our people confidence we can compete. See competition as a threat and we are already on the way to losing.
Immigration is the toughest issue in Europe right now and you know something of it here in California. People get scared of it for understandable reasons. It needs to be controlled. There have to be rules. Many of the Conventions dealing with it post WWII are out of date. All that is true. But, properly managed, immigrants give a country dynamism, drive, new ideas as well as new blood.
And as for isolationism, that is a perennial risk in the US and EU policy. My point here is very simple: global terrorism means we can't opt-out even if we wanted to. The world is inter-dependent. To be engaged is only modern realpolitik.
But we only win people to these positions if our policy is not just about interests but about values, not just about what is necessary but about what is right.
Which brings me to my final reflection about US policy. My advice is: always be in the lead, always at the forefront, always engaged in building alliances, in reaching out, in showing that whereas unilateral action can never be ruled out, it is not the preference.
How we get a sensible, balanced but effective framework to tackle climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 should be an American priority.
America wants a low-carbon economy; it is investing heavily in clean technology; it needs China and India to grow substantially. The world is ready for a new start here. Lead it.
The same is true for the WTO talks, now precariously in the balance; or for Africa, whose poverty is shameful.
If we are championing the cause of development in Africa, it is right in itself but it is also sending the message of moral purpose, that reinforces our value system as credible in all other aspects of policy.
It serves one other objective. There is a risk that the world, after the Cold War, goes back to a global policy based on spheres of influence. Think ahead. Think China, within 20 or 30 years, surely the world's other super-power. Think Russia and its precious energy reserves. Think India. I believe all of these great emerging powers want a benign relationship with the West. But I also believe that the stronger and more appealing our world-view is, the more it is seen as based not just on power but on justice, the easier it will be for us to shape the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendant. Long before then, we want Moderate, Mainstream Islam to triumph over Reactionary Islam.
That is why I say this struggle is one about values. Our values are worth struggling for. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages and at each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again.



8/02/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger greer rants said...

...and Donaldson will be guest on all the "news shows". Matthews if licking lips right now.

8/02/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger rufus said...

Greer, the only reason I would ever want to see my beloved Marine Corps go into battle would be if it made my children and grandchildren safer. I can't see how our Marines in Lebanon, at this time, would do that.

8/02/2006 11:37:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger