Thursday, November 23, 2006


And while we are having Thanksgiving dinner, the following is taking place.

  • Car bombs rip Shi'ite militia stronghold, killing 144 while gunmen mounted a raid on a Shi'ite controlled ministry office using RPGs and machineguns, wounding five.
  • CNN reports that Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian former spy died Thursday night in a London hospital three weeks after his suspected poisoning.
  • Hezbollah called off today’s scheduled “festivities” in downtown Beirut as Lebanon mourns the latest victim of assassination, Pierre Gemayel, according to Michael Totten.
  • Funeral transformed: The mourning ceremony essentially became an angry political rally exposing the hatreds and schisms that have paralyzed the state and threatened an increasing cycle of violence, with crowds chanting slogans cursing the president of Syria, Bashar al Assad, cursing the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah,and cursing the Christian leader, General Michel Aoun, who has allied his party with Hezbollah.(NY Times)

Hugh Hewitt suggests Gemayel's killing might be "an Archduke Ferdinand moment" in an interview with Victor Davis Hanson, who thinks it just might be. Let's hope they're both wrong, but then since predictions concerns the future, my own crystal ball is in principle no better. Sleep tight. Tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wretchard wrote:

Hugh Hewitt suggests Gemayel's killing might be "an Archduke Ferdinand moment" in an interview with Victor Davis Hanson, who thinks it just might be.

Nonsense, the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo triggered a set of mobilizations which which were undertaken due to a complex web of interlocking promises of military assistance. In 2006 we have a United States too exhausted in Iraq to mobilize for a regional war, we have an Israel with a leadership too heedful of media disapproval to execute anything beyond pinpoint strikes on Lebanese infrastructure (so long as that destruction does not seriously inconvenience the non-Hezbollah Lebanese) and we have a set of blue helmets going in there prepared to observe (and wink) at arms shipments from Syria to the Hez. Instead of a powder keg ready to be set off and turn into a world war, we've got a bunch of wet paper towels.

11/23/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

It is interesting that Iraq and Lebanon seem to be going to pieces while we seemingly are safe here, in these somewhat United States.

But, it's all really an illusion. We aren't as safe as we would like to believe.

Like that old Sarge in Hill St. Blues used to say: 'Be careful, it's dangerous out there' or something along those lines.

It is. 43,200 died on the nation’s highways in 2005, and over two hundred thousand were maimed and injured. There were over 16,000 murders also in this Republic last year.

I don't know the figures for other violent crimes but they number in the hundreds of thousands.

So, while we may be safer here than in Baghdad, just has a lot of unlucky or terrible moments in it,

no matter where you live.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Papa Ray

11/23/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Papa Ray,Here's an anecdote for you.One of the young ladies who died in the bus crash in Alabama last week;three or four years ago got shot in the head by her boyfriend with a 9mm.She struggled to regain speech and motor skills and was finishing school when she got on the ill-fated bus.Its hard to beat the reaper.

11/23/2006 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how they are relating Syria exerting pressure on the Lebanese government to Hitler pressuring Dollfuss' Austria.

Dollfuss believed in the anschuluss, echoing the sentiments of the German-speaking Austrian populace - that reconciliation with Hitler's Germany was possible. But the Lebanese government and its supporters have clearly shown throughout these two years of Syrian interference that they are nothing like the Austrians.

They don't want to be manipulated by the Syrians and Iranians to become a proxy state for Israeli troops to vent their frustrations on. They sure as heck don't intend to cede their sovereignty - that Israel handed back to them in 2000 - to a terrorist organisation that has every insidious intention to perpetuate its own stronghold of a state-within-a-state, wielding power without accountability or responsibility. To the Lebanese, Hezbollah always has a backup plan, a course of retreat back to its Syrian masters via the Bekaa.

The Lebanese have nowhere to run should Hezbollah provoke another fight with Israel.

And the thing is, Hitler did plan for Austria to be incorporated into the grossdeutschland, but during Dollfuss' rule Hitler specifically instructed that the SA, SS and Nazis were not to assist in the uprising by the pro-Nazi Austrians within Austria itself. He didn't want to be overtly identified as the main instigator for destabilising Germany's neighbours.

This is different. Assad has done his utmost in making sure everyone knows of his ulterior motives - the campaign of assassinations, infiltration of Syrian spies, bureaucrats and soldiers - all have contributed to his overt agenda of converting Lebanon into an arm of Hezbollah.

The only measure Assad has stopped short of is a full-scale military invasion by Syrian troops - not to say that the Syrian army is particularly impressive compared to the IDF - a March on Lebanon.

11/23/2006 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/24/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...


The Lebanese as a whole do not have a consensus over which of many directions to choose.

However, they did freely elect Hezbollah into their government.

That is one area in which the Lebanese have made their oppinions reletively clear.

I think Wretchard is finding it hard to blog in these turbulent times. The direction is hard to determine. Regretfully, the destination seems fixed, eh...

11/24/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

There's a possibility that al-Sadr might bring the government of Iraq down by withdrawing his support from al-Maliki. That might end the "should we pull out?" debate because we might be thrown out, asked to leave.

This also shows the flaw in the theory that "if only we got tough", if only we kill al-Sadr. He is the government, he is part of it. Al-Maliki is prime minister only because of al-Sadr's support.

The root cause of the problems in Iraq is not Iran, Syria, or the United States, it is the Iraqis themselves.

Moqtada al-Sadr, the young cleric whose Mehdi Army militia dominates Sadr City, told chanting supporters in a Friday sermon that the most prominent religious figure from the Sunni minority must issue a fatwa demanding an end to the killing of Shi'ites.

One of Sadr's top political aides in parliament told Reuters it would pull out of the U.S.-backed national unity government and from parliament if Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki went ahead with next week's meeting with Bush in Jordan.

"We have asked Maliki to cancel his meeting with Bush as there is no reason to meet the criminal who is behind terrorism in Iraq," Faleh Hasan Shanshal told Reuters. "We will suspend our membership in parliament and the cabinet if he goes ahead."
Maliki is under pressure from an increasingly anxious Washington to make good on promises to disband Sadr's and other Shi'ite militias, which U.S. officials say control parts of the police and army. But the prime minister is dependent on Sadr and his fellow Shi'ite Islamists to maintain his own position.

Sadr, whose Mehdi Army rose up twice in 2004 against U.S. forces, has long demanded their withdrawal and seemed to be seeking to capitalise on the carnage in his Baghdad stronghold to press his case.

11/24/2006 08:07:00 AM  

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