Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Veto, Fajers and the Road to ...

Three major developments in the war in the Middle East have taken place in the last several hours. The first is that the US has vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel's incursions into Gaza. Note: Gaza, not Lebanon, which is suggestive. Second, Ynet reports that "Israeli aircraft struck the main highway linking Beirut to the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday, a Lebanese security source said." Third, but not last, is the official speculation that the missiles which landed in Haifa were Iranian-manufactured Fajers, with a range of 70 km. According to the Times of London:

HAIFA, Israel’s third-largest city, was hit for the first time by rockets fired from Lebanon last night as the crisis over two captured Israeli soldiers erupted into open warfare. ... Daniel Ayalon, the Israeli Ambassador to the US, called the rocket attack on Haifa a “major, major escalation” and said that Israel was now at war. “The objective is to win this war,” he said. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, likewise gave warning of a new regional war. ...

Schools closed and hospitals moved patients to basements. Residents of towns such as Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, Safed and Karmiel fled out of rocket range and lines of cars headed south piled high with bags. An estimated 500,000 Israelis were within range of the missiles Israeli military officials told The Times that whereas Hezbollah’s Katyushas or Grads had a range of only 20km its Iranian-manufactured Fajer could strike a target 70km away and the later Fajer 5 model 100km, enough to reach far south even of Haifa. They estimated recently that Hezbollah had 10,000 rockets of various types, but said that it had never before used the longer-range Fajer .

There are now suggestions -- unconfirmed at this point -- that Iranian personnel may be involved in the fighting. Here's a link to an old Lebanon wire story ( now available only in Google's cache. I've highlighted certain key passages, otherwise it is verbatim.

Haaretz, March 6, 2005

Israel: Iranian Guard must withdraw from Lebanon along with Syrian troops By Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel has informed a number of countries, including the United States and France, that the demand for the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, in keeping with the UN Security Council decision, will not be complete if it doesn't also lead to the departure of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members, who have been in Lebanon for a long time and are providing assistance to Hezbollah's military wing.

Israel's official position is that the Syrian forces deployed in Lebanon are not the only foreign army in that country. Despite the fact that the Syrian force is a large one, and includes numerous units and an extensive intelligence set-up, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards play a significant and negative military role in Lebanon - a role that undermines Lebanese sovereignty.

The individuals in question make up a group of Iranian military officers and experts numbering at least dozens.

Unlike the overt Syrian military presence, the members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard keep a low profile. Iranians questioned on this presence have said the group consists only of medical personnel who are there to provide medical logistics assistance and the like. This claim is refuted.

Reports determine that the Iranian officers and experts have provided operational assistance to Hezbollah, and have even patrolled along the Israeli border with Hezbollah operatives.

Furthermore, an Iranian-made drone, which, according to Hezbollah sources, was sent on a reconnaissance mission over Israeli territory, took photographs above Israeli territory before crashing on its way back to Lebanon.

The Iranian explanation after the incident was that, if they wanted to, they could send a UAV armed with explosives into Israel.

In addition, it is well known that the Iranian experts are involved in the array in southern Lebanon of long-range Fajr rockets that threaten Israel. These are Iranian-made rockets that were given to Hezbollah together with numerous other ordnance. Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were involved in setting up Hezbollah's rocket formation.

Israeli officials have also informed Egypt of the government's position.

While the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon depends first and foremost on a decision by Damascus if and when to respond to the Security Council's demand, the demand for the withdrawal of the Revolutionary Guards must come initially from the Lebanese government and must be directed at the government in Tehran.

According to assessments, the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon will boost Hezbollah's weight as a military organization, leading in turn to a broader role for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in that country. The Lebanese army has no direct link to the Iranian activities in Lebanon, just as it has no control over arms shipments from Iran to Hezbollah.


It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots. The conflict in Lebanon is still escalating. Where the escalator ends will be known presently.

BTW, Reuters is reporting that "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered an attack on the whole Islamic world that would bring a 'fierce response'".


Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

It's amazing that the Saudis came out and said Heballah caused the problem, so they are responsible for fixing it themselves.

Saudi Arabia indicated on Thursday that Hizbullah bore the responsibility for the current crisis in Lebanon, Israel Radio reported.

In an official statement, the Saudi government said that a distinction must be drawn between "legitimate resistance" and "adventurous, irresponsible acts" committed by groups in Lebanon who don't recognize the government and don't coordinate with other Arab nations.

The statement said that these groups must take responsibility and solve the crisis themselves.

7/13/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Israel is isolating the battlefield and doing reconnaissance by fire.

7/13/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

Since Israel can't hit Iran, it makes sense to go after Iran proxies in the area. Like Hezbollah. It makes Iran look weak since Iran cannot really do much effectively to help Hezbollah.

And since HaAretz (left wing Israeli newspaper)editorally opposes the Israeli action in Lebanon, this reinforces my opinion that this is the right move.

7/13/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

wu wei,

You've got a link for that Saudi commentary?

7/13/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger MrSpkr said...

felix, why do you presume Israel canonot hit Iran? I for one am hopeful the Israelis will do something the U.S. does not appear to have the political will to do -- a simultaneous strike at the Iranian nuclear facilities and the Iranian political leadership. Let them send the message that leaders of countries who actively support terrorism will do so at the greatest of personal risks.

7/13/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This link mentions the Saudi reaction. Iran also says that an attack on Syria would be an attack on the Arab world.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered an attack on the whole Islamic world that would bring a "fierce response", state television reported.

"If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The president made the comments after Israel struck Beirut airport and military airbases and blockaded Lebanese ports in reprisals that have killed 55 civilians in Lebanon since Hezbollah gunmen captured two Israeli soldiers a day earlier.

7/13/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...


I think this was the Saudi article I quoted.

7/13/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

"If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

It's time to double down.

7/13/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Wu Wei,

Thanks for the link.

7/13/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger MrSpkr said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/13/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Who says Iraq's been a failure? If the Saudis and Egyptians have been forced to do some calculus on where they come down on the Israel question, not to mention the idea of non-state actors being dangers to their hosts, the field has moved.

I think Sec. Rice (or Pres. Bush if that's what it takes) ought to get the Lebanese FM on the phone and cut a deal. We'll pay for the repairs if you let Israel finish the job. And keep the Hezbollah tumor from growing back. Seems like a win-win to me. The Lebanese end up more independent, the Israelis a bit safer, and we're only out maybe $1Bln, tops. Beats the $80bln/yr in Iraq.

7/13/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger MrSpkr said...

I concur, Arist. What are the Iranians going to do in response -- sputter MORE threats and sponsor MORE terrorists?

At some point, you have to call the bluff.

7/13/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Given the Saudi reaction and the way things are shaking out, I wonder if this will all tie together. I wonder if everyone will be forced to take sides and it will end up Iran, Syria, Hezbollah against the world? Maybe it will be the same coalition against both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian nukes.

I know that the Arab nations will never actually attack Iran, but maybe they will stand on the sidelines and provide us cover, like in Desert Storm I. After all, I doubt if they feel comfortable with an Iranian nut case having nukes either. They're the first ones that he would make kneel.

7/13/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger MrSpkr said...

I hope you are right, wu wei. It would be a very good sign from a troubled area of the world.

7/13/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

xI wouldn't be so sure that Russia will stick up for Iran either, not after all the blood Russia has spilled in Chechnya. Russia wouldn't help out of the goodness of their heart, but simply because no one would be safe if Iran has nukes. Putin is insane if he thinks he knows for sure that Iran wouldn't give some sort of bomb to someone in Chechnya.

7/13/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole scenario is one of a chain of proxies - Hizbullah operated by Syria; Syria operated by Iran. Syria just provides the conduit for Iranian ammo to get into the south of Lebanon. Ultimately it is Iran that seeks to obtain regional control, with Syria accepting the domination of their more powerful Persian cousins as a tradeoff for the ability to hurt the U.S. any way it can. And why the desperation? Baby Assad is just too weak, financially and morally, after losing Lebanon and its massive piggy banks. Poor guy.

7/13/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Israel must sweep southern Lebanon to rid itself of the missile threat against Haifa, which is what Chicago would be to the US. In the process it may or may not bag IRG, but it will ding the Hezbollah without question.

Now, Syria is the only large scale source of help for Hezbollah. The Damascene cavalry. The setup virtually guarantees a Syria-Israel clash. Iran has warned Israel against touch Syria. But touch, touch is very probable. Then Iran will respond in the only feasible way. Missiles maybe and possibly against Israel or other Mediterranean targets. Payload limits means chem warheads possible or else they will just be tokens. This is one possible scenario.

7/13/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Stratfor speculates:

"Given the blockade and what appears to be the shape of the airstrikes, it seems to us at the moment the Israelis are planning to go fairly deep into Lebanon. The logical first step is a move to the Litani River in southern Lebanon. But given the missile attacks on Haifa, they will go farther, not only to attack launcher sites, but to get rid of weapons caches. This means a move deep into the Bekaa Valley, the seat of Hezbollah power and the location of plants and facilities. Such a penetration would leave Israeli forces' left flank open, so a move into Bekaa would likely be accompanied by attacks to the west. It would bring the Israelis close to Beirut again."

I don't know how much of this to agree with. But in a penetration of any depth, it is hard to see how Syria will stay out. My guess is that they can't stay out of it. Then we have the Middle Eastern equivalent of "some damn fool thing in the Balkans".

7/13/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Florida said...

I'm no military expert but I see no scenario in which the mullah's start shooting chemical warheads around and survive.

Maybe they think the 13th Imam is going to save them.

7/13/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Historically, the US has always given Israel a space in which to attain their war aims and then brokering a ceasefire, as in 1967 and 1973. But this time, the choice of a ceasefire line is no longer in Washington's power.

The real choice is whether to put on the brakes now or grit your teeth and hang on for the ride wherever it may go. And it can go anywhere.

7/13/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iran typically downplays its involvement in HA in order to lend it that additional Lebanese street cred, since it does serve as a party to the Lebanese government. Its involvement is umistakeable, and it is direct. Some Lebanese even joke that in certain parts of southern Lebanon, everyone speaks Levantine Arabic with a distinct Iranian accent, somewhat like the way south Philadelphians typically have a near-Italian patois.

As for what a clearing operation would entail - southern Lebanon is not large geographically; a couple brigades could probably clean the place out completely, since HA numbers about 500-600 experienced fighters (don't count the parade-walkers from the televised Ashoura demonstrations, those aren't real troops). The problem is that HA has power bases elsewhere - the southern suburbs of Beirut near the airport and the City Stadium (probably deeper than the IDF wants to go), and in the Bekaa Valley near Baalbeck. These areas are harder to reach and a bit more shifty. Baalbeck in particular gets the IDF very close to Syria, and that would certainly be a problem (been there once or twice - it's like the wild west, but with Land Rovers with blacked-out windows instead of horses).

7/13/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

That said, remember that actual events on the ground are still limited, despite the ominous sounds being generated everywhere. That might be part of the posturing game. Our best bet is to keep watching. We'll know where this goes soon enough.

7/13/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dennis Ross on Fox News just now said a few of interesting things:

1. For years it was alleged that the basis for violence against Israel was the occupation of Gaza and Lebanaon. Israel pulled out of both places and the violence against the country by the likes of Hamas and Hizbolah never stopped.
2. The violence led to Israeli reoccupation of those two countries and it almost looks as though Hamas and Hizbolah like it better that way - they don't have to drive as far to attack Israelis.
3. He advanced the same theory as that put forth by Omar at Iraq the Model; that Iran is saying "You don't like the idea of us having nukes? Well we have other options that you might like even less. For example..."
3. Hizbolah is doing Iran's bidding and not acting in the best interests of the people of Lebanon. In fact, it is not even acting in the best interests of Hizbolah.

The way I see it is that the problem for Iran is that this whole situation can be resolved by a few Jherico ballistic missiles launched at Iran. Israel is setting the stage for solving the Iranian problem.

7/13/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

If Teheran asserts that an Israeli attack on Syria, the Mullahs' supine client-state, would represent an attack on the "entire Muslim world", why not reply that these barbarous dolts' assaults on Haifa constitute acts of war on the entire Western world? Despite appearances of late, there is one... and Kim Jong-il is not its avatar.

After last year's Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Bush administration had a three-to-six month window to take out Bashir Assad and his gang of sinister clowns. As with North Korea's provocations, America blustered and threatened, deployed the Sixth and Seventh Fleets, and then sank back. We know the retro-Left response to unilateral "big stick" action would call down fire from heaven; and we also know that inaction in such contexts consigns millions of people to the ash-heaps of Islamofascist and remnant Communist regimes.

Surprising, what victory achieves in terms of political success. But like Bush II's failure to veto admittedly unconstitutional legislation, an inexplicable failure of will numbs the heart of all but his most overriding concerns.

7/13/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman stressed Friday in an interview to CNN that Israel was attacking the Hizbullah and its infrastructure, and had no intention of destabilizing the current government of Lebanon.

When asked why the Beirut International Airport was targeted by the IAF in two series of strikes on Thursday, Gillerman explained that Israel had decided to target the airport because the IDF had intelligence that it could be a route via which the Hizbullah would attempt to smuggle two kidnapped IDF soldiers out of Lebanon.

We don't want them whisked away," Gillerman said, adding that Israel would do "whatever necessary to retrieve the soldiers, secure its borders, and protect its citizens."

When asked if Israel was considering an attack on Syria and Iran, the ambassador responded that there was no doubt that the "twisted minds" of Syria and Iran were behind the kidnappings, which occurred Wednesday morning when Hizbullah guerrillas attacked IDF soldiers along the Lebanese border, killing eight.

Most of the arsenal utilized by the Hizbullah, Gillerman continued, was financed by Syria and Iran. "[Israel's] aim is to stop Hizbullah shelling," he stated, whereas the Hizbullah specifically targeted civilians.

"For them, every dead civilian, every dead child, is a cause for celebration. For us, every dead civilian is a tragedy. That's the difference between us and them," he declared.

7/13/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...


This is a very in-depth article about whether Israel will launch a ground offensive. There are a lot of reasons why they might not.

7/13/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Anything Iran fires at Israel will have to go over Iraq, unless they can loop one over the corner of Turkey. It will have to go over USAF and Army air defense controlled airspace. I'm not sure whether it will be within intercept envelope at this stage of the trajectory. However, Israel has some limited means of hitting incoming ballistic missiles. The preferred means of neutralizing missiles, is of course, air strikes on the launchers. Or ground assault over the launchers. Either way will make the entire region and the Europeans who have squat, nada, nil, between them and the missiles more nervous than a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.

7/13/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Maybe Iran wants to be attacked.

You know, it explains their "foolish" desire to play chicken with the world's sole superpower, too. It is a documented fact that Al'Qaeda wanted the West to attack Muslims in response to 9/11 so they could rally the base. Perhaps the regime in Teheran believes they would lose the battle but, having survived, win the war?

Maybe we are the ones stuck: stuck in nation-state mode. Maybe our enemies are playing a different game.

7/13/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

But then again, it seems they would rather wait around for a few nukes.

Or have they already acquired them?

7/13/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

There is a good possibility that Iran simply doesn't believe we would invade and capture the leadership in the event of war. If so, worst case scenario is being in the wrong place at the wrong time while the bombs are dropping. Best case is that, after retribution has ended, infrastructure is sent back a hundred years, and the population is teeming mad at the outside, infidel world.

7/13/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

Agreed Iran may just want to be attached.

This looks like big new to me.

Pak's ISI masterminded 11/7, says intelligence

7/13/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I think there's the possibility that GWB knew that Iran was gearing up for a showdown. In which case the best course was to get Iran to escalate things to early. To keep an incident, which Iran had planned on ramping up at its pace, on a fast escalator up. That way Iran would get in over its head very quickly.

It struck me that the President is said to be a poker player. Maybe just a coincidence.

7/13/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Wow. If that is the case, Felix, then Musharraf's recent pledge to help find those responsible better be real, and hard hitting.

What's going on? Are we on the clattering train?

7/13/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I wonder when we'll reach the point where Iran goes all in.

7/13/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

Mussahif not being able to control ISI is an old story. If a neighboring country's secret service plans an attack like what happened in Bombay, then that is a "cassus belli". But I don't know what India does.

7/13/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Harrison said...

Well, that reckless warhead of a president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad obviously believes in the coming of the madhi, which will arrive at the last hour to save the Iranians from apocalypse. This act of war by employing proxies is a deliberate provocation intended to instigate Israel and the U.S. to invade Iran.

Even his own Shia co-religionists within the country as well as the administration are wary of Ahmedinejad's extent of religious zealotry, but it is safe to say that the Iranian regime needs escalation of the current situation in order to galvanise its citizens and prop itself up - thereby distracting them from

a) pursuing civil disobedience in order to pressure the mullahs to reform and democratise

b) addressing and sympathising with the border minorities in Iran (for example, the Baluchs, Azeris) who have protested against violent state security forces and discrimination, thus threatening Iran's social fabric and stability

Without the impetus of an impending "Western" invasion, the Iranian regime would have gone under much sooner. Their exploitation of the nuclear card as a nationalist clarion call further betrays this weakness of the regime.

It seems that whether Iran survives an all-out invasion by Israel and the U.S. is of no consequence to Ahmadinejad: what matters is no matter the collateral damage, the regime must be forced to the brink of total annihilation in order to bring out the "saviour" - which is perfectly understandable because these fundamentalists don't respect the sanctity of life and thus are much inclined not to worry about sacrificing their own brethren, as long as the eventual corollary is more casualties on the other side.

7/13/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Are we seeing self-organized criticality?

7/13/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The NY Sun has an op ed piece that starts "the war on Iran has begun". It also says: "Years from now, the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit will be regarded like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand."

That was the saddest war of all. The landscape still remembers the men who would be "home before the leaves fall". They wander still.

7/13/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

When for thirty years the Arab thugs have had free rein, with impunity, it is not surprising that these thugs might have anticipated the same old weak-kneed Western response to their attacks upon Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. Indeed, without the influence of Mr. Bolton at the UN, Qatar’s anti-Israeli resolution might have passed today.

The fact that “The Party of God” has not brought down fire and brimstone upon northern Israel via massive rocketry barrages suggests that the Arabs do not take the Israeli incursion all that seriously. If Israel acts with ruthless dispatch to obliterate Hezbollah, the game may be over before the Arabs fully grasp that the game has changed.

As to Syria, if Israel destroys Hezbollah, Lebanon will, at long last, truly be free. Syria, consequently will find itself an isolated thug-rookery in a democratic sea. In short, the end of Hezbollah will signal the end of Syria.

At the moment, the only move available to Iran is against US interests in Iraq, and only then with extreme care.

Unless the US steps in to brake Israel, within weeks the Coalition’s western front could be stabilized, finally permitting the US to undistractedly concentrate its focus to the east. It was always the case that no full throttled move could be made militarily against Iran with the mess of the ME unattended.

7/13/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


If the Iranians took their launchers far enough south, they might great circle it over the northern corner of Saudi Arabia but the range will open to about 1,800 km. And as you point out, the first part of the trajectory would be over water. I am not a missile defense expert and don't know if that leg of the trajectory would be in anybody's engagement envelope.

But yeah, you're right, if they went south enough they could shoot around Iraq at least on the map.

7/13/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Actually, my only certainty is that whoever planned this is off-plan by now. If that's good or bad, I don't know. I do know that it tends to favor the Israelis as they have better C&C tech/training.

Maybe it really was just a bridge to far by Hizbollah. It almost makes more sense. Sure the Iranians are going to beat their chests. Nobody else seems to want a piece though.

Whether that's b/c Hosni has his own "Muslim problems" and Syria and Saudi Arabia have the US Army sitting on their border, or more charitably - that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have decided that the Palis are counterproductive to their own ends, it really doesn't seem like anyone wants to pick a fight.

And given Iran's geographic and military realities, they are kind of like that guy who claims "you're all lucky this dude is holding me back" as he backpedals. Could that guy turn an argument into a riot? Sure. Does it happen often? Nope.

Also, for all the talk, if Iran disintegrated as a country tomorrow, would you feel better or worse about terrorists procuring bio-,chem-, and dirty- bomb capabilities?

The Law of Unintended Consequences can no more be avoided than the Laws of Thermodynamics. There Ain't No Such Thing As Free Energy, and Nothing Ever Goes Completely According to Plan.

7/13/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard: I doubt very much if we have weaposn in place in Iraq that can intercept ballistic missiles enroute from Iarn it Israel. A characteristic of ballistics is that they go about as high as they go far. It actually takes more energy to go lower. So they will be hundreds of miles high when they cross Iraq. And the same is true of Israeli Jherico missiles.

The Patriot inteceptors were effective to the degree thay were because they were near the point of impact. And of course, you don't really shoot missiles "down" but instead disable the warheads and to some degree deflect them from their course - although that means they hit somewhere else not too far away - and you hope their warheads are not working.

But there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that should Iran shoot at Israel that our Air Forces supporting OIF would have an absolute field day about 15 minutes later. For that matter so would the US Army. Few people seem to recall that the Army deployed ballistic missile units to Iraq for OIF.

I wonder if anyone in the area has radars that can tell a US Army ballistic missile from a IAF Jherico. That is, besides us. I doubt it.

7/13/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Israel just opened it up. If Hez. follows through with their threat, they'll start unloading lots of long range missiles.

I figured that might happen when Israel ordered people into the bomb shelters at 4 AM their time.

Israeli warplanes early Friday bombed southern Beirut, home to the offices of Hezbollah and the group's leader, as the Israeli-Lebanese violence that has killed dozens of Lebanese civilians and 10 Israelis entered its third day.

7/13/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Wu Wei said...

It's amazing that the Saudis came out and said Heballah caused the problem, so they are responsible for fixing it themselves.

Saudi Arabia indicated on Thursday that Hizbullah bore the responsibility for the current crisis in Lebanon, Israel Radio reported.

In an official statement, the Saudi government said that a distinction must be drawn between "legitimate resistance" and "adventurous, irresponsible acts" committed by groups in Lebanon who don't recognize the government and don't coordinate with other Arab nations.

The statement said that these groups must take responsibility and solve the crisis themselves.
imho this means that the sunni community is giving the israelis the green light to throw out the minority baathist shia alawites in syria and replace them with sunnis--to reorder the balance upset by the overthrow of the minority bathist sunnis in iraq.

7/13/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Sorry if someone else has already posted this, but the best thing that could happen for the long-term progress of Lebanon would be for Hezbollah to be soundly defeated. Ditto for the Palestinians and Hamas.

7/13/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


You wrote:

It struck me that the President is said to be a poker player. Maybe just a coincidence...

The president and I attended Yale at roughly the same time (he graduated in 1968; I in 1969).

I didn't know him, but a friend of mine played poker with him and concluded, "Never play poker with Bush."


Jamie Irons

7/13/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't understand why everyone thinks this whole scenario is chess-like 4-dimensional planning on the part of the mad mullah's of Iran - that they have *chosen* this time and place to "expand" the war.

We *know* that Arabs don't have the same discipline in their troops as the West does. We *know* that Iran frequently indulges in "magic thinking" and an inability to understand reality on the ground. We *know* that the Palestinians have been breeding for crazed murderousness for decades.

Why doesn't it make just as much sense to think that the terrorists are doing what they do best: running amok, kidnapping people and blowing up shit simply because they can? And the "leadership", whether it's in Syria or Iran or Ramallah, has totally lost any grasp on reality or reins on the situation on the ground, and had absolutely NO intention of starting a war now or in a place like Lebanon.

7/13/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Thanks for the info on missile defense.

7/13/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

California Yankee reports the UN is sending a team to the Middle East to broker peace.

The team will be led by Vijay Nambiar, Annan's special political adviser. It also includes U.N. Mideast envoy Alvaro de Soto and Terje Roed-Larsen, Anna's special envoy who has overseen implementation of a U.N. resolution demanding Syria end its sway over Lebanon.

"Mr. Nambiar will emphasize to all parties the secretary-general's call to exercise restraint and to do whatever possible to help contain the conflict," Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement released in Rome, where Annan is visiting.

The three officials will head to Cairo for a meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday and also travel to Israel, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the U.N. said.

This team is full of lightweights and not going to Iran. It's designed to fail. If it had a snowball's chance in hell, Kofi Annan would be heading it himself to cover himself in glory. I'm guessing Annan knows the iron is far from hot, but has to put up this show. That's sad, because it is a tacit admission that things are going to have to get worse before they get better.

7/13/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Is chess the game now?

I thought it was lawn darts...

Now that was quite funny.

Dry, but quite funny...


Jamie Irons

7/13/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Condoleeza Rice is now calling for restraint. Says that Egypt has been working to find a solution. The idea seems to be Syria must pull back Hezbollah and Israel pull back from Lebanon. This would be a win-win for Lebanon, if it would rid them of Syria. It would be a victory, albeit a limited one, for Israel. Syria would be the loser. IF it can be done.

The question is does Syria have a choice? Can it evacuate Lebanon and take Hezbollah with them? My guess is it would be like pulling teeth. But the alternative is facing the IDF.

7/13/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Florida said...

What Rice expects from the thugs:"...Syria needs to act responsibly and stop the use of its territory for these kinds of activities and it needs to bring all pressure on those that it is harboring to stop this and to return these soldiers and to allow this situation to deescalate."

That's a tall order. I don't read anything being asked of Israel but to avoid killing civilians.

7/13/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni, on Hewitt, says they have no idea what's going to hit them next.
Who them is is still in question, ie Syria too? (Iran?)
Says their Commie Defense guy almost got hit by a missile, so presumably got whatever attention he has available for such realities.
He says by Monday or Tuesday, this will be quite a different World, and he may get called back depending on what results.
Ledeen, whose son serves in Iraq, says thousands come across the border from Syria to kill Americans and Iraqi Civilians.

We the enlightened ones at Belmont that called for
"On to Damascus" would have saved lives, but of course we knew that at the time, which is why we called for it.

Team Bush, however, resides in the 70's, when sanctuaries are thought to provide places of Worship, presumably to LBJ figurines.
The Dems and half the world live in 1939.

Yoni know has a Blog at townhall:

7/13/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

At this stage it is clear Israel is going to irradicate Hezbollah. They have no choice. Iran has talked of ultimately destroying Israel and Hezbollah is at Iran's Bekáa and call. Hezbollah has to go and IMO it is in the process of being liquidated.

The launching of more advanced Iranian missiles by Hezbollah qauchsuccas is the crossing of the Rubencon [sic].


7/13/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And why the desperation? Baby Assad is just too weak, financially and morally, after losing Lebanon and its massive piggy banks. Poor guy. "
Ledeen says Assad would fall if Hezbullah was run out of Dodge.
(can't remember if he said just Lebannon or Syria also!)

7/13/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're stocking up on Sidowski heat-seeking missiles, also!

7/13/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Not to mention the Aegis.

7/13/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

8:35 PM Kicking the can was down a road to Hell.

7/13/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretchard, and all DON'T MISS this message from Mars/Syria by Professor John Landis!

7/13/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Unconfirmed reports -- I'm not sure how reliable this news agency is that Iran's National Security Adviser is in Syria to pep up the Hezbollah.

Iran's mullahs declare support for Palestinian terrorists
Jul 13, 2006

Iran's top national security official Ali Larijani has met with Palestinian terrorist groups to voice the Islamic republic's "decisive support" for their battle against Israel, state media said Thursday.

A report by the official news agency IRNA said Larijani, during a flying visit to close ally Syria on Wednesday, declared "the Islamic republic's decisive support for the Palestinian and the Lebanese resistance against Israel."

The report said Larijani had met with "Palestinian movement leaders who are against the peace process", including arab-muslim terrorist groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC).

The visit came as Israel launched offensives against both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip over the killing and capture of Israeli soldiers by arab-muslim terrorists.

7/13/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

This IS The View From The Scum at DailyKos:

Imagine a world without Israel
by qrswave

Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 06:41:50 PM PDT

Or is that not allowed?

qrswave's diary :: ::
Muslims, Jews, and Christians could live in peace without fear of mutual destruction.

There would be no more need for US AID or justification for Dimona.

We could bring down the Wall, send prisoners home, and families could be reunited.

We could dismantle checkpoints, open crossings, and pull down barbed wire fences.

There would be no more settlements or armed settlers because the people would be united.

We could replant trees and olive groves and rebuild battered cities.

No more suicide bombers or sniper fire, and no more dead civilians.

No more targeted killings and hell-fire missiles, or systematic demolitions.

Palestinians and Jews could live together and the world could address other issues.

What a simpler place this world would be

if there was no need for a Jewish majority - where there would otherwise be none.

Is it so hard to imagine?

7/13/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Think of the humiliation for Iran, when Israel does liquidate Hezbollah.

7/13/2006 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Landis is right in this: if Israel doesn't follow through, if it finds itself stranded in mid-stream it will indeed have been a victory for Syria. But on the other hand, this creates an almost existential argument for Israel to punch as far as it can, before the forces of PC can drag it down.

The irony is that Syria has left Israel with no effective half-measures. Landis analysis only works if the IDF does not parade through Damascus.

7/13/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:05 PM Wretchard:
- He seems more convinced of the weakness of our position than the Democrat Party!
...luckily, Yoni does not think Israel will take Missiles from Iran to it's major cities lying down.
Even Communists don't like to die for their unreal dreams.

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

Ledeen does not expect troops in Damascus, perhaps special forces, but thinks Assad can be toppled w/o major invasion.

7/13/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Reports were that last night this was being lightly covered by the MSM.
Larry King/Dan Rather much more compelling in it's importance!

7/13/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Obvious move by the Syrians. Even if they don't attack they believe they can compel Israel to match forces on the Golan, thereby weakening the Lebanon attack. Unfortunately, Israel may decline the gamit and push into Lebanon, inviting a flank attack.

Syria would be stupid to take the chance. It's like the spaghetti western scene where you leave a gun and invite El Feo to go for it, with alternating closeups. But who knows?

7/13/2006 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Something to remember is that other than the Iraq Maneuverist attacks in 1988 that ended the Iran-Iraq war, Iran has not LOST anything. The leaders have no gut feeling of what it means to lose and lose bad.

Syria has had Lebanon to itself for a long time - and did not Syria and Hizbollah kick the USA and Israel out of Lebanon?

They live in a false picture of the world based upon limited successes in decades past.

I agree there is lots going on and would love to comment, but I want Israel to win. Just keep our mouths shut and enjoy the ride!

7/13/2006 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Iran shot over 100 missies at Iraq during the War of the Cities in the 1980s war.

Whether the missiles could be intercepted depends on their trajectories and speed.

The Navy's SM-2 does 4 km/sec and has a range of 100 miles. It can target air and land targets. The SM-2 needs a special war head to target missiles. The SM-2 is launched from Aegis systems and is used to shoot down missiles in the boost and terminal phase.

Iran may think all the special SM-2 are in Korea. In any case, they just need to stay far enough away from the coast to avoid Gulf-based Ageis.

An Aegis system would be best placed off Haifa about where the Liberty got hammered - rather than in the Gulf.

The PAC-2 and 3 and Arrow are used for point defense on terminal phase. The Israeli Arrow has much better capabilities than the PAC.

Israel would need a feed from the US missile warning system and handoffs from US Aegis and Theater systems so they could accurately prioritize and engage Iranian and Syrian systems.

Israel may have other ABM systems as well.

7/13/2006 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Isreal has to go after Hizbollah now.

They have to remove Hizbollah in order to gain a free hand to deal with Syria and then Iran.

If Hizbollah can be taken down, then this destroys Iran's base of power in the West. It would also discredit the Mullahs in Iran.

It would then greatly weaken Assad and give dissidents in Syria the cause to unseat Assad.

A possibility too is that Jordan invades Syria under the guise of "protection" to re-unite the Hashemite Kingdom.

What is so unexpected is that Israel has siezed the strategic initiative.

7/13/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"you said Obvious move by the Syrians. Even if they don't attack they believe they can compel Israel to match forces on the Golan"

Israel so mind-screwed the Syrians in the Bekaa Valley 20 years ago... I attended a brief on this in the late 80s and when the Officer finished, we sat in stunned silence. The only other times I have felt this way is the when studying Austerlitz.

With today's counterbattery and linked sensor-shooter systems, the Golan is a death trap for an attacker. The Merkava tank carries 80 rounds for a reason.

This time, unlike 73, there will be no Iraqis or Soviet airlift to save the Syrians should they do something stupid.

The real enemy is Hizbollah (Iran ) - the Syrians are just an annoyance. Should Syria attack, then it would make it easier for Israel as they would gain room for manuever.

Ironically, to defeat Hisbollah, Israel needs to collapse Syria first.

7/13/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"It would then greatly weaken Assad and give dissidents in Syria the cause to unseat Assad. "
That is what Ledeen thinks.
I think if we had followed his advice instead of the Arabists and traitors in the State Dept we would be far ahead of where we are now.
Most of his ideas don't even call for Military action, just removing our heads from our behinds.

7/13/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

In order to execute a ground invasion of Lebanon Israel will most likely need to call up reserves. Although they have called up some reserves there haven't been reports of widespread call ups.

Disarming Hezbolla will require a ground invasion. I think that much of their rockets are stored in underground bunkers that are resistant to aerial attack. Debka reported that "most" of Hezballa's rockets were moved to an underground storage area south of Beirut. If true, they may not be able to fire very many more. Destruction of bridges and roads will hinder their ability to move these rockets and hit Israel.

A ground invasion to disarm HB will not be a cakewalk. I believe them when they say they've had five years to prepare for this battle. jpost reported that HB was firing Katyushas from houses with removable roofs, and that the IAF had destroyed dozens of them. HB is supported by the shia community in L. I don't see Israel "destroying" them. At best disarming them and cutting off their ratline to Iran, which will require action against Syria.

All of these Shia terrorist groups and countries have a poison-pill defence. Iran, Syria, HB have weak militaries that stand no chance against a modern army. The Syrians and Iranians wouldn't be able to defend their countries against US or Israeli attack for very long. Instead they are prepared to wreak destruction against the civilian infrastructure of any attacker. They have missiles, chemical weapons, terrorist attacks, destruction of oil infrastructure, closing the straits of hormuz,etc., that they will use against the attacker's civilians. This is the danger to Israel and to the US if it attacks Iran; not that they can beat us in war, but that they will make it very costly for us.

7/13/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What is so unexpected is that Israel has siezed the strategic initiative. "
Given cross border adventures, missiles raining down, even on Haifa, anything else would have been foolish in the extreme, even for a liberal and a commie.

7/13/2006 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni says the reserve call ups are large enough for them to go to war, which is what he expects.

7/13/2006 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pyrthroes is talking about Bush's failute to veto McCain Feingold.
...we could keep this up for hours.

Exceeded only by his failure nay REFUSAL to enforce the immigration laws already in place.
...and appointing another crony loser affirmative action boy, Alberto Gonzales as AG.

7/13/2006 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Washington Post reported (on December 18, 2002) that then-Solicitor General Ted Olson was overruled by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales on how the Bush administration would handle the question of “diversity” as a constitutional issue. Olsen wanted to argue that the Constitution forbids racial preferences to achieve diversity on campus. Gonzales, however, insisted that the administration duck the constitutional question and say that the University of Michigan should have used race-neutral means to achieve diversity instead of preferences.

Remember what happened in those two Michigan cases?
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote a muddled, politically correct, split-the-baby opinion in which she endorsed the use of racial preferences in university admissions in order to ensure diversity, so long as the thumb on the admissions scales wasn’t too heavy. Conservatives were mightily upset — with the opinion and President Bush.

7/13/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Edward Blum at Natioal Review =

7/13/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

The Syrian economy has been poorly managed under the leadership of Baby Doc Assad. Here's a link to a short post of mine from January about that's a brief commentary on a lengthy analysis of a report entitled "The Syrian Economy Under Bashar al-Assad" which is available from MEMRI.

7/14/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

VDH makes it simple for Israel:
"More Rubble, Less Trouble!"

7/14/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I don't think Syria is bluffing. I think Syria will seek all-out victory in the Golan.

Syria came very close to winning the Yom Kippur War. Syria only lost because a certain general was too cautious at a key point in the battle for Golan. So, Bashar Assad probably thinks he can win now if his troops throw caution to the wind.

Mr. Assad probably thinks he has a win-win situation. If Israel doesn't take his troop buildup seriously, he can send his troops en masse into Israel and quite possibly win. If Syria doesn't win, Mr. Assad still wins legitimacy for his kingdom -- especially if he can trick the Security Council into telling Israel to get out of Golan with no concessions given up by him.

Mr. Assad is waging this war because he thinks he can win.

7/14/2006 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Alexis found the Crack!

7/14/2006 01:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

If Mr Assad choses as you think he may, he has a variety of choices:
He can live without roads.
Without lights.
Lights Out, Period.
Game Over.

7/14/2006 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bad Week for the Presidency & Constitution
07/13 11:34 PM
I must reluctantly congratulate the New York Times.
Its illegal disclosure of the NSA intercept program has apparently had the intended result.
Within a day of the administration's announcement that it would abruptly reverse course and apply the Geneva Conventions to unlawful enemy combatants (that is, al-Qaeda terrorists), wrongly pointing to the Hamdan decision for justification,
now it has reversed course on the extent of presidential authority re intercepting enemy communications.
Here .
Some will try to spin this as no retreat, or not a complete retreat, or an inevitable outcome, or whatever. I choose not to do so.

It's pretty bad.
Who would have thought that 9/11 would arguably result in a greater weakening of executive power than Watergate?
Oh, and a special thanks to Arlen Specter, too.
He has been working overtime to gut the commander-in-chief's authority to defend the country.
(And GWB worked to get Arlen elected over a Conservative: Whata Guy!)
...what a loser.

7/14/2006 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

CBS's take of Israel's strategy:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, telling reporters that it is important for Israel to exercise restraint, demanded that Syria pressure Hezbollah to stop the attacks on Israel.

Israel believes it is already exercising restraint. "Despite the dramatic pictures we are seeing on our television screens, the Israeli command insists it is not going full throttle in Lebanon and does not intend to," reports CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon. "The objective, Israeli officers say, is to weaken Hezbollah on the ground in south Lebanon, and to pave the way for the government in Beirut to send the Lebanese army down to take its place."

"Some of the pictures we do see," Simon continues, "illustrate the Israeli strategy - the bombing of the Beirut airport, the destruction of bridges. The Israelis want to cut off the supply routes to Syria. There is no Ho Chi Minh trail [the key supply route for enemy fighters in the Vietnam War] in this part of the world and if the air routes and the roads are closed, the Israelis say they will be able to isolate Hezbollah and destroy as many rocket launchers, garrisons and fighting units as possible."

The Israeli command is speaking of an operation that will last somewhere between one and two weeks. "The government of Lebanon, the United Nations and other powers may call for a ceasefire but the Israelis will not accept a ceasefire, officers say, until it has achieved its military objectives," Simon adds. "The Israelis say they hope that they will be able to do this without calling up the reserves and without a major incursion into Lebanon by ground forces."

Israel has hit hundreds of targets in Lebanon, including airports, and army bases to put pressure on the government and force Hezbollah to free two Israeli soldiers the guerrillas captured Wednesday.

7/14/2006 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> The objective, Israeli officers say, is to weaken Hezbollah on the ground in south Lebanon, and to pave the way for the government in Beirut to send the Lebanese army down to take its place."

Degrading Hezbollah's forces is a good idea. The problem comes next. Israel doesn't want to go back into Lebanon and occupy it, yet they expect the Lebanese government to do the same thing. The problem will not be raw military force, but the terrorism that we are seeing in Iraq, and that Israel and the Lebanese government have been hit by in the past from Hezbollah / Syria. (Like their assassination by massive car bomb of the Lebanese anti-Syrian leader.)

Besides the military support, truly getting rid of Hezbollah would require a local counter terrorist group, men in South Lebanon who would match Hezbollah killing for killing, car bombing for car bombing. I don't know if they exist.

7/14/2006 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

No mas

The Syrian ambassador to London, in an interview with the BBC, called on Hizbullah to stop firing missiles at Israel.

"Syria is not interested in joining the battle," the ambassador said.

He also asked Hizbullah to come to an arrangement that would include exchanging prisoners.

7/14/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

The 24th annual Bulwyr-Lytton bad writing contest awarded this paragraph the runner-up prize:

“I know what you’re thinking, punk,” hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, “you’re thinking, ‘Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?’ - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel loquacious?’ - well do you, punk?”

7/14/2006 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A bombing at a Sunni mosaque and a motar attack against a Shia nerighborhood have ended the "24 hour lull" in the fighting in Iraq.

Not the same quality video image as the fuel burning at the Bierut airport, though.

no mas? why give 'em a choice?
No advantage to that.

7/14/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> no mas? why give 'em a choice?

Syria said no mas

> Syria is not interested in joining the battle

7/14/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Like I said, why give 'em the choice?
Take the battle to 'em.
It is not going to happen, though, unless the Syrians cross back into Lebanon.
I've seen no reports of any large ground incursions into Lebanon by Israel. Just airstrikes and the blockade.
So the Syrians and their sponsor will be able to declare victory, when the airstrikes end.
Held the Israelis at bay, they will have done.

As you note, w.w., no amount of "Hezbollah combantant" deaths will defang it. The sea must be drained, and then restocked.

Not going to be happening with this salvo.

7/14/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> to get a sense of what Southern Lebanon is like. It is Hezbollahland

That's the point. it means that a little bit of bombing isn't going to get rid of Hezbollah because the people support it. It will just drive them underground, along with their weapons. If the Lebanese Army comes south, civil war will break out again like Lebanon in the past or Iraq now.
Given the country's sectarian divisions, politics often have to work by consensus. Because Hezbollah is the most powerful representative of Shiites, Lebanon's government could not think of alienating such a crucial constituency. Since the fighting began, officials have gone to great lengths to guarantee at least a public show of unity. And even critics such as Jumblatt say the prospect of the group's disarmament -- a requirement under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 -- is almost impossible.

"We don't have the means to disarm Hezbollah, and we don't want to have a civil war here," he said.

Since the fighting erupted, opinions have broken along largely sectarian lines. Hezbollah's supporters in south Beirut and southern Lebanon greeted the attack with jubilation: Residents near a destroyed bridge handed out free orange juice to passersby, women threw rice on cars, and motorists careered through the streets flying the group's yellow banner.

Hezbollah's ideology merges Arab nationalism, Islamic revivalism and a powerful historical narrative of Shiite disenfranchisement, which is especially pronounced in Lebanon, where Shiites were once casually referred to as the deprived. Along the rocky wadis, or dry riverbeds, of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's celebration of Shiite empowerment is often hailed by the group's most loyal supporters, sometimes more so than its schools, clinics, hospitals, orphanages and foundations for families of its slain fighters.

"They consider Hezbollah terrorist. We consider it sacred. We consider it and its weapons sacred," said Mohammed Awadeh, a 27-year-old shopping in a stationery store in the southern town of Nabatiyeh.

On the road there, as in the southern suburbs, banners pronounced the theme: "The weapons which liberated our land are sacred weapons." Another banner: "With the resistance, we liberate our land. With the resistance, we protect ourselves."

7/14/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

For those that are not yet disabused of the diplomatic course we stay, there is this from Mr Putin.

"...On North Korea, Putin said that, since Pyongyang was not "party to international agreements which limit activities in those spheres" - that is, building nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them - there are no grounds for sanctions. "They are right whether we like it or not," Putin emphasized. All he wants is for North Korea to inform the world community of the time and place of future tests as part of a "normal" pattern of behavior.

The Russian president was even more forthright on the Iranian nuclear crisis. He said Iran had full legal right to "all aspects of nuclear technology." He also dismissed U.S. and European calls for Iran to respond before the G-8 summit to the latest offer by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany. Instead, he said he'd wait for Tehran's answer until late August, as Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demanded. ..."

The Cossacks ride again!

7/14/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

When are civilians not civilians, w.w.?
When the guerilla fish are so embedded in the civilian school, that they cannot be differentiated, do they all become civilians or do they all become terrorists or Hamadan qualified combatants?
If the enemy wears no uniform, and free fire zones are publicly declared, is not anyone in the Zone to be considered a combantant?

7/14/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Bush Doctrine
Those that support terrorists are considered terrorists.

Except in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eygpt, Gaza and Lebanon.

Those places where the Terrorist concentrate, where they are the State.

Fancy that.

7/14/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I think we can stipulate we want Hezbollah dead. but how do you do it? Occupation is not easy. To be successful, it must be very brutal. From a practical standpoint, it should be done by another faction in Lebanon, and that is a civil war. No person with any nationalist feelings, which by definition would always be a majority, will accept Israel destroying their infrastructure and airport. An international airport is a national icon. Our Trade Towers were as well and their destruction did not win the Arabs many US friends. Hezbollah is an integral part of southern Lebanon. Extracting them will not be easy and the MSM and world opinion will get vicious fast.

The Iranians have been very deft in their use of surrogates in its war against Israel. They have payed no price for it, in fact they profit from it. The sanctimonious Jimmy Carter cautioned the Iranian military not to apply a Coup d'État against the outgoing shah. That cost them their lives. Israel is now receiving the Iranian dividend. Iran will have to be repaid. Destroying Hezbollah is a practical impossibility without dealing with Iran. China and Russia will be no help. The practical solution is a NATO response. There would have to be a NATO operation, with a heavy Turkish component, to create a neutral zone and disarm Hezbollah and the creation of a credible Lebanese military. The alternative is hell.

7/14/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/14/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

A NATO operation would also give the Iranians notice that their ideas on expansion will not be tolerated. It would be incremental enough to be attractive to the EU.

7/14/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I hesitated to bring this up as it is OT but I have felt for a long time that NATO membership is the only real long term solution for Israeli security. Sometime it would be interesting to have our host consider this as a topic.

7/14/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Or Paris, London, Madrid, Bombay, New York or Washington DC, joe.

All places where the Mohameddan have already struck since the War began.

So the cells & infrastructure exist in all those locales, and more.

If US assets are struck in Lebanon, it's a local affair, but if US assts are struck elsewhere, that would be considered localized as well. Not a War of International scope, per Hamadan.

Leads me to think this Lebanonese episode is but a prelude, to the big show.

7/14/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As this Washington Times article, 20 May 05, there were at least ten US cities with active Hezbolah cells, that were known.
No telling how many were operating under the radar.

This article Should Hezbollah Be Next?, "Foreign Affair" Nov '03.
illustrates the challenge, as well.

If they are all idle, worldwide, the war has yet to really begun.

7/14/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

How about NATO without France?

7/14/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, there were those two strikes in Nigeria. Those are not oft discussed by the TV talking heads.
It seems "they" do not want people to even see those dots. Damned MSM.

Or is it that the Federals are downplaying those attacks, as well. Mutual assured ignorance, if we do not discuss it, it's not really there.
The height of hubris.

7/14/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

It’s clear that Iran is orchestrating the battle. What isn’t clear is if it is the first steps of an all-out war in which they intend to be fully mobilized or if they are just testing the waters. I suspect it is the latter.

Of course, if they miscalculate they’ll have the war before they’ve finished work on their nuclear bombs. I suspect Iran will back down and go back to work on the bombs.

7/14/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Some of the Lebanonese would welcome the French, to others it would indicate a return to Colonial times, and be cause to fight. Same with the Turks.

I'd bet you'd duplicate jp's Iraq poll results within a month, with or without the French.
w.w. is right about the insurgency that would spring up. Unless the Syrian sanctuary was closed to Hezbollah. Then they could be hunted down, as others have been in Syria & Iraq.
Whether using the Hama, Fallujah II, or Tal Afar model of pacification.

7/14/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I am not sure the French would resist being a part of an operation that is limited to creating a neutral buffer zone and the disarming of Hezbollah. A strong national Lebanese military force would be in everyone's interest. There has been a vacuum of strong central leadership in Lebanon and it was filled by Syria. This is an opportunity to sieze the initiative and correct that problem. This is a monumental diplomatic challenge.

7/14/2006 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Terrorism Exported

reviewed by LCDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, USN

LIGHTNING OUT OF LEBANON: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil. By Barbara Newman and Tom Diaz.

Reviewed in the Marine Corps Gazette

7/14/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Friday strongly deplored Israel's strikes on Lebanon, saying they were "an attack" on a sovereign and free nation.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said Pope Benedict and his aides were very worried that the developments in the Middle East risked degenerating into "a conflict with international repercussions."

"In particular, the Holy See deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence," he told Vatican Radio.

7/14/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Request denied: Hezbollah and friends have been hoping that Bush would tell Israel to stop. No way.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called on President Bush and other world leaders to press Israel to halt the attacks.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that Bush declined Siniora's request, adding: "The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel," Reuters reported.

Bush "believes the Israelis have the right to protect themselves and that in doing that they should limit as much as possible so-called collateral damage not only to facilities but also to human lives", Snow said, according to Reuters.

7/14/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

That Vatican remark is incredibly bad. Most of those who hate Israel usually hide behind "disproportionate" or some other excuse. What the Vatican said doesn't even make sense, as if a state cannot respond to an act of war by another state.

7/14/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

South Lebanon would be Iraq, writ small.
Either all cross border traffic to Syria & Iran (10,000 tourists a month, this year) would have to be blockaded, or you'd just have another continueous insurrection, as in Iraq.

There is no local fix.

It is, and always has been a Regional War, that the Mohammedans have taken Global. We are now actively engaged in a Regional Conflict where we will not cross borders to engage the Enemy.

In that regard it is reflective of Indochina.

7/14/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I think you are on the right track with your idea about Israel and NATO, but I don't think NATO would be the right organization. I think that there should be something new along the general lines of NATO, including Japan, Australia, probably India, etc. It would not have the baggage that NATO carries with it.

7/14/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I'll just never be able to trust France

France condemned Israel's offensive in Lebanon on Friday...

French President Jacques Chirac said in a television interview: "One can ask oneself whether there isn't a sort of desire to destroy Lebanon.

"I find, honestly, like most Europeans, that the reactions are completely disproportionate."

7/14/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

and what Chirac was thinking:

"I don't understand why Israel didn't just surrender, like we in France would have done."

7/14/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Agree that a NATO that includes France has just as much respect and gravitas as a UN that includes its current Council on Human Rights.

We need a neo-NATO that excludes France and includes India, Japan and Israel

7/14/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That Organization would be the "Coalition of the Willing", which but for reasons to numerous to mention dies not contain the countries deemed important.

Seems you all leave Pakistan off the list, Qatur, UAE all of the US's other earnstwhile allies.

There does not seem to be an Islamic country on any of the proposed lists. Except for an early mention of Turkey, to police Lebanon, the Ottoman's return.

Our allies in Iraq can send some troops as well, there would be positive repercussions from that, no?

Pakistani, Turksih and Iraqi forces to garrison south Lebanon for an inital five year commitment.

That could have "some" chance of success.

7/14/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...
Israel's ambassador to Washington said yesterday that Iran and Syria are "playing with fire" and "will bear the consequences" if Hezbollah transfers two kidnapped Israeli soldiers to either of its patron nations.
Ambassador Daniel Ayalon did not rule out retaliatory strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, though other Israeli officials said that was not being planned.
Fears mounted that Israel's military offensive against southern Lebanon could spread to other countries after Israeli officials said yesterday they had received indications that Hezbollah was trying to move two captive Israeli soldiers to Iran.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also expressed concern that the soldiers could be moved out of Lebanon.

7/14/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They ride to the sounds of the guns

It is the "stategic corporal" concept of the Marines

There, with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester--twenty miles away!"

"Sheridan's Ride"

The brave and rightous do not flee the fight. They do not see themselves as rats, but as Sheridans, one and all.

Riding to the sound of the guns

7/14/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Start at 6:45 habu,
Then the October summit in Havana.

The timeline to war reads November, to me, still.

These drums are just settin' the tempo.

7/14/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

MOSCOW, Aug 21, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse
) Russia is "the guardian of Christianity,"
President Vladimir Putin said Monday, following a visit to a monastery in the Solovki islands, in the White sea, Russian agencies reported.

Recalling that his country was traditionally known as "Saint Russia," Putin said the "country is bestowed with a special role as the guardian of Christianity."

Without the Orthodox religion, "Russia would have difficulty in becoming a viable state. It is thus very important to return to this source," said the former head of the KGB -- which massively persecuted the clergy and faithful during the Soviet era.

But Russian leaders have once again given prominence to the Orthodox church, after decades in which atheism was imposed by the Communist rulers.

7/14/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Putin's Russia

From 2001 'til now, the Academies are opened, the revival of the guardian of Christianity, begun.

Cossacks ride for Mother Russia!

7/14/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Friedman from Stratfor on Rush:
Israel will be condemned no matter what, might as well get job at least half-done, instead of half-a.....
Concerns about hostages:
25,000 Americans in Lebanon!

7/14/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's about IRAQ:
Hizbollah is the new Sheriff in town now that Al Queda is down.

(USA now has several things to keep busy with: That's why Friedman thinks we are glad to have ISRAEL take down Hizbollah)

Yesterdays news:
We lead the Worldwide Islamic terror brigades.

7/14/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Al Queda is now Yesterdays news:

We lead the Worldwide Islamic terror brigades. "

7/14/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Friday that Hezbollah has rockets that can reach as much as 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) or more, an admission that brings more major cities within their range.

Now that Israel destroyed their headquarters, Hezbollah says it is "all-out war". They've launched over 300 missiles so far. The thing they've mostly been holding back is the long range ones, perhaps because the UN Security Council is meeting now.

The main question is whether anyone is Lebanon will turn on them, especially in the South, providing targeting information to Israel if nothing else.

7/14/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"It is, and always has been a Regional War, that the Mohammedans have taken Global. We are now actively engaged in a Regional Conflict where we will not cross borders to engage the Enemy."
Does 'Rat work for Stratfor?
Friedmann figures now is the time to show Iran's weakness by taking down Hizbollah, but it could get TOUGH:
do we have the will if there are hostages, as the MSM shows dying babies and etc?
(all the dead Israeli Civilians from terrorism in past don't count, of course)
Vatican (AND EUROS) condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon...
Hezbollah fires 300+ rockets at Israeli towns...
Pray for Sanity:

Israel will stop when Hizbullah disarms...

Israel destroys Hizbullah headquarters in Beirut...

7/14/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Israel has done what any sovereign would do: it has declared the violation of its territorial integrity an act of war by its neighbor and acted accordingly. Indeed, given the provocation, Israel has behaved with almost foolish restraint. So, why the Vatican’s condemnation? See:
“Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said 200 to 300 shots were fired from automatic weapons Wednesday night, but no one was injured on the U.S. side and police didn't fire back.”
"There is no doubt about one thing, that we were shot at from the Mexican side,"
"This type of incident is a very good example of why I will not allow my deputies to patrol the river banks or the levees anywhere close to the river,"
Oh, the Vatican also supports unlimited, illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico. Well, at least the Vatican is consistently foolish.

7/14/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Alan 1:07 AM
" might be good time for the Lebanese government, such as it is,to show it was against this kind of behaviour"

Sorry, the WORLD COMMUNITY does not hold THE AXIS Accountable for THEIR Actions.

7/14/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The 6:45 came from
Amir Taheri writing in the NY Post.


7/14/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A World W/O Borders:
"We are the World.
we are the (starving) Children."

7/14/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

The law of war thing has just gotten ridiculous. Originally it was for extreme abuses like the Nazis doing "medical research" on pregnant prisoners. But now it is just a political tool countries use to try to defeat their enemies.

Whenever there's a conflict, politicians cite the law of war to try to get their enemy to fight with one hand tied behind their back. Or like Hezbollah, they pick a fight with a much bigger kid and then when they start getting their ass kicked they run and try to hide behind the UN.

7/14/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Privately a lot of the people in the Lebanese government say they're happy with what Israel is doing. They don't have the strength to do what Israel is.

7/14/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This sounds too bizarre to be true. I wonder if Hezbollah was so embarrassed that they made this up.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in a dramatic phone call to Hizbollah's TV station said an Israeli navy vessel was burning off Beirut and would sink.

7/14/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Israel says the ship was "lightly hit", with no injuries.

7/14/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

wu's CBS info:
"The objective, Israeli officers say, is to weaken Hezbollah on the ground in south Lebanon, and to pave the way for the government in Beirut to send the Lebanese army down to take its place."
That agrees with stratfor and Yoni mostly.
What a TERRIBLE, inhuman goal:
Free people from Terror!
(funded by Iran via Syria-Hizbollah in this instance.)

7/14/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The Israeli command is speaking of an operation that will last somewhere between one and two weeks.
"The government of Lebanon, the United Nations and other powers may call for a ceasefire but the Israelis will not accept a ceasefire, officers say, until it has achieved its military objectives,"
Stay the Course!
...when you've got a good one to follow.

7/14/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As long as it does not take more than "a week or two".

More than that and Condi will get upset.

7/14/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

The total ineffectuality of Hezbollah against the Israeli incursion into Lebanon has just got to hurt that completely unjustified but enduring myth of the invincibility of the Arab warrior.

Where, oh, where are the martyrs brigades? Yes, where have all the martyrs gone; long time passing? Gone to Iraq everyone. Gone there to burn. Gone there to burn.

As things now stand, Hezbollah must make a redemptive move to save face. Israeli invalids and small children had best beware.

7/14/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This Hezbollah chief sounds even crazier than I thought. He thinks the people of Israel trust him more than anyone else! He reminds me of Saddam Hussein, with the same ego and probably the same scared aides who say "Yes, sir" to whatever insane story he believes about himself.

He's proud of sinking a ship which was lightly damaged. It's like he thought his little rockets would take out a battle ship.

Speaking defiantly in an audiotape aired on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television, Nasrallah addressed himself to Israelis, saying: "You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war."

"Soon you will find how stupid your new government is and how it is incapable of reading the situation. It has no experience. You said in your opinion polls that you believe me more than anyone else. Believe me now – you attacked every house in Lebanon and you will pay for that," he said.

"Look at the warship that has attacked Beirut, while it burns and sinks before your very eyes," Nasrallah said. It was not clear whether he meant that the warship had already been attacked.

7/14/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

One thing you can't take away from the Lebanese. They are big-time practitioners of the US Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Any "proportionate issue" no doubt

7/14/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

that took eleven minutes?

7/14/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

The US military is going to Lebanon! To bring our people home.

Military officials are discussing contingency plans for what appears now to be the inevitable evacuation of U.S. citizens.

One official says that the most likely plan would be to use the assets from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Camp Lejeune. The 24th MEU is currently in the Red Sea near Jordan, conducting bilateral and unilateral training exercises.

The most likely candidate from the MEU would be the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima. It resembles a small aircraft carrier, complete with helicopters and light attack aircraft.

One official says that the military is working on the assumption that they would have to evacuate nearly 25,000 people.

7/14/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The US military is going to Lebanon? And the USS New Jersey is mothballed in Camden, NJ. Dang.

7/14/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

How long has this war been going on?

USS New Jersey off Lebanon, January 9, 1984

7/14/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Ike isn't, tony, nor the Ronnie Reagan.

Do not need those big guns anymore.

Now it's 500 pounders through the window or down the chimney.

I'd imagine the Harriers on the Iwo Jima can deliver those to shore, as well, if required.

Think the Marines will sleep on the beach or in the boats?

7/14/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


You know, I'd be very surprised if we put troops on the ground overnight anywhere else right now (except SF). Right?

We're still using B-1's to attack small positions in Afghanistan. Still fighting with our hands tied behind our back, and it looks like the Israelis are aping our style. So far.

7/14/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Wu Wei said..."This Hezbollah chief sounds even crazier than I thought."

WW, indeed he is. The first blog post I ever wrote was in Feb 2005 on a blog called "Rhetorical Flourishes". The post was about aspects of Nasrallah's peculiar rhetorical strategy. I ended up writing a series of three posts about him. If you are interested, here are the links

Nasrallah Talks People to Death

Bad Rhetoric, Bad Man

Nasrallah's Mind Numbing Repetition

Here's an exceprt from "Bad Rhetoric, Bad Man:"

"It seems that I am not the only one who has been parsing Nasrallah's words (lately). The good folks at MEMRI posted a translation of excerpts from an editorial from the Kuwaiti Daily, written by the Editor in Chief, no less. It is entitled "Nasrallah Has Lost His Mind."

Also, the Bad Man post has an interesting picture of Nasrallah shaking hands with none other than Kofi Annan. Not surprised by that are you? ;-)

7/14/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In it's current version.

The Shah's counter coup,
19 August 53, which some on the Iranian side consider the start

April 24, 1980 is the other "start" date, the Hostages and our territory were siezed that day.

7/14/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Talk about pretexts...

If American troops go into Lebanon for any reason whatsoever, Hezbollah will attack our troops there.

It's interesting that it's the Marines who are coming back. If the Marines get attacked by Hezbollah again, they will see the coming battle as "payback time" for Hezbollah's suicide bombing of their barracks 23 years ago. Marine morale will be high.

Sure our troops are going in to evacuate civilians. And I'm sure there is a sincere desire to help on that score from both out political leaders and our troops. But let's not deceive ourselves about this evacuation plan. It will almost certainly lead to a shooting war between American and Iranian soldiers on Lebanese soil.

7/14/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Roger that, lots of possible start dates. I was imprecise, I meant the war against this particular enemy - Hezbollah/Iran, the ones who perpetrated "the most deadly state-sponsored terrorist attack made against United States citizens before September 11, 2001."

7/14/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

It turns out the crazy guy might have been partially right.

An explosives-laden drone seriously hit an Israel Navy warship off the coast of Beirut causing serious damage to its steering capabilites, Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Friday night.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened earlier that his group had sunk an Israel Navy ship off the Lebanese coast.

"Now in the middle of the sea, facing Beirut, the Israeli warship that has attacked the infrastructure, people's homes and civilians - look at it burning," Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said.

7/14/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It certainly would not befit the USA to leave it's citizens at the mercy of the Mullah's. (again)
If we get to shoot their guys in the process, so much the better.

7/14/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said... worth it for me just to watch prof Landis wipe the egg off his face.
Syrian Egg, of course.

7/14/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I don't believe Hezbollah is good enough to hurt us during a planned evacuation like that. Their strength is sneak attacks like planting bombs and kidnapping civilians. Someone will be there to scan the beach in advance of the landing.

7/14/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

1:31 PM Starling,
I've read several comments at other blogs by Lebanese that don't like the bad man one bit!

7/14/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Unconfirmed media reports: IDF searching for 4 soldiers
A Hizbullah strike on an IDF warship off the Lebanese coast may have damaged the ship severely. Reports disagreed late Friday regarding the extent of the damage, with the IDF initially reporting that the ship was largely unharmed.

The IDF would not comment on the reports.

Media reports also suggested that the ship was struck by an unmanned aerial vehicle packed with explosives.

7/14/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Why is Syria massing troops on the Lebanese border?

If Syria truly wanted to make a statement, it would mass troops, tanks, and huge amounts of anti-aircraft guns in and around Damascus. Bashar Assad would go out of his way to turn his capital city into an entrenched stronghold.

Yet, instead of massing his troops around Damascus, he masses his troops at the border. Although I suppose Mr. Assad could be sending his army away from the capital to guard himself against a coup d'etat, I don't think he is bluffing. Either he takes pressure off Hezbollah or he gains a golden opportunity to send his tanks rolling through the hills of northern Israel.

If Mr. Assad's army conquers Golan, he will become politically strong enough to renegiate the terms of his alliance with Iran. And even if (or more likely when) his military loses, he still wins if he succeeds in putting Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights onto the international agenda. Mr. Assad will probably point to all those Security Council resolutions telling Israel to withdraw from Golan and try to make that a condition of Israel getting its soldiers back.

Remember, if Syria loses militarily, it can fight another day. If Israel loses, it’s finished.

I think that talk of American Marine evacuation of Lebanon is aimed at Mr. Assad, as this additional troop presence would take pressure off Israel's left so it can focus more of its military on defending Golan.

7/14/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

2164th 7:00 AM,
The Israelis figure they gotta cut off the supply routes, at least.
...there is no ho chi minh Trail here.
Forgot where I read that. Here?
Whatever else happens, well, stuff happens, right.
Yoni figures they'll be fully mobilized by Mon or Tues.
Course they may be attacked by our State Dept before then.
...even if without Presidential approval, that would not be a problem, since enemies have yet to be prosecuted.

7/14/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Alexis has yet to run out of Crack.
Want to take any bets, Alexis?
I figure the baby's main concern is staying alive, however that can be accomplished.
Going offensive does not increase those odds.

7/14/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How effective are tanks against laser-guided missiles/bombs?
Sure would be entertaining and productive, tho.

7/14/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Wu Wei,

Hmm, I wonder if this was really an unmanned drone, but if it was, didn't Iran just do a big dog'n'pony show of all their new high-tech weapons recently?

Maybe this was the “super-modern flying boat” they were showing off back in April. They said the thing was undetectable by radar.

Of course, it could have been a kayak or a frogman. But if it was something more than that, it's likely Iran's. I never heard about Hezbollah having an advanced manufacturing or R&D capability beyond bombs. I don't expect the Russians or the Chinese are selling to Hezbollah. Most likely, if it really was advanced technology, it was Iran's.

7/14/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


I don't believe Hezbollah is good enough to hurt us during a planned evacuation like that. Their strength is sneak attacks like planting bombs and kidnapping civilians. Someone will be there to scan the beach in advance of the landing.

I'm sure the Marines will be prepared. They had better be.

Hezbollah overestimates itself. If it suffers 1000 casualties for every Marine it kills, Mr. Nasrallah will claim it as a victory. I'm pretty sure he believes his own rhetoric, and even if he doesn't his followers do. I think he will do everything within his capacity to kill American Marines, and he will be especially pleased if he can capture a few. And he will use every dirty trick in the book.

Mr. Nasrallah will be very pleased if he can turn the streets of Beirut into a "new Fallujah" for our Marines. Don't underestimate Hezbollah's triumphalism. Our enemies think they can win, and our political system isn't giving them any reason to think they can't.

7/14/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Those are the two most popular dates, tony.
The CIA coup that reinstalled the Shah, back in '53.
Or when the first generation of mad mullahs had the "students" sieze the Embassy, 1980

7/14/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

If you are right about Syria’s intent to regain the Golan as cause for the alleged massing of Syrian armor in the area, expect air traffic from Syria to places such as Paris and Frankfurt to grow exponentially. The reason for such growth would be the knowledge that as long as Iran, Syria, or Hezbollah are fighting asymmetrically they inflict pain on the US/Israel; however, once they mass for conventional war the US/Israel will annihilate them (Think of a bee sting vs. the Orkin man). In short, if Mr. Assad has the delusions you suggest, every Syrian with any wit is going to get out of Dodge, while the getting is good.

For years, the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah mafia has run a protection racket against the West, using the threat of the wanton use of WMD against civilian enclaves to cow the opposition. Well, it appears that Israel has called the bluff. This places the mafia in the position of 1) begging the assistance of Dr. Rice, 2) failing to respond as promised and loosing face entirely and/or 3) carrying out the old threat and dying as the result. Were I the bad guys, I would put my money on Dr. Rice; she has an easy history.

7/14/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Let's turn it around. What would Mr. Assad hope to gain by massing his forces on Israel's border if he has no intention to invade? Is he trying to bait the Israeli Defense Forces into attacking him? Is he trying to divert Israeli resources away from fighting Hezbollah? If that is his goal, what if Israel refuses to take his military buildup seriously?

This is the paradox. If Israel doesn't act in some manner to counter Mr. Assad's massed troops on its border, he gains a golden opportunity to invade. And given the glory he can gain politically by invading Israel (even if he doesn't win militarily), he would be scared of looking timid to his fellow Arabs.

Although I agree with you that a Syrian invasion of Golan would shorten Mr. Assad's life, I am not convinced Mr. Assad knows that. He is probably more scared of Syrian Islamists than he is of Israel. Besides, he has funneled material support for terrorists in Iraq and has gotten away with it. Those who repeatedly get away with murder tend to take risks other people would not.

The great thing about taking a bet on whether Mr. Assad will invade Golan is that I will either win the bet or be pleased with the outcome. Although I can assure you I've never touched crack, I cannot make the same assurance about Mr. Assad.

7/14/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"When for thirty years the Arab thugs have had free rein, with impunity, it is not surprising that these thugs might have anticipated the same old weak-kneed Western response to their attacks upon Israel from Gaza and Lebanon. Indeed, without the influence of Mr. Bolton at the UN, Qatar’s anti-Israeli resolution might have passed today.

The fact that “The Party of God” has not brought down fire and brimstone upon northern Israel via massive rocketry barrages suggests that the Arabs do not take the Israeli incursion all that seriously. If Israel acts with ruthless dispatch to obliterate Hezbollah, the game may be over before the Arabs fully grasp that the game has changed."

Agreed. This wasn't planned by Iran, or Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt.

Hezbollah already holds Israeli prisoners, at least four. Long since believed dead after being kidnapped near the Green line.

This wasn't planned because noone would have expected the Israelis to respond this harshly after the previous 10 years of tit for tat. Witness the UN bullshit about proportion, noone lectured the Israelis about proportion decades ago, it was only in the past 10 years that they even paid attention to such a concept. Now they're rejecting it and returning to their pre Oslo mindset where proportion meant defeat, and intentionally responding disporportionately was their objective.

In short, they're no longer shooting for any sort of peace treaty, which is beyond their means due to the nature of their opposition, but military victory.

7/14/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I would think by the time the Marines near the beach our air cover will be so tight a mosquito couldn't get through. They will be able to pick the very best location too, the safest one.

My biggest concern is kidnapping of Americans before the evacuation. 25,000 gives Hezbollah a lot of targets.

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

pt has a boil he can't lance.

any volunteers?

7/14/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

cutler; 3:14 PM

You may be right, but I have an uneasy feeling about the Olmert government, which is growing by the minute in direct proportion to the paucity (absence) of dead high value Hezbollah human targets. As I just responded to "aristides" on another thread: "The fact that Israel has done little damage to high value human targets since beginning its offensive concerns me. Only two reasons come immediately to mind: 1) Israel broadcast its intent to escalate, giving these targets opportunity to go to ground or 2) Hezbollah anticipated the Israeli response and went to ground a priori. If the choice is “2”, then, Israel will just have to work harder to make the hits. However, and this is a worry, if the answer is “1”, the Israeli response is merely Sturm und Drang, signifying nothing."

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

Maybe the Baby Sucks Gas.
That funny Nitrous Kind.
I'm with Allen in that I think any attempt at them Gonad Highs would be a Turkey Shoot similar to the
"Highway of Death"
Is Nitrous THAT funny?

7/14/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tommorrow is that day when "you people" don't get out much, case you forgot.
Yoni says Monday or Tuesday will tell the tale.
Helprin said Olmert was seen meeting with Generals, 80% of them Air Force which is what he expects, rather than boots on the ground.
Time will tell.
He says he's proud of the people for the first time in a long time in that they are highly united and prepared for as long as it takes.

7/14/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yoni is the one saying he was proud.

7/14/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

doug; 5:36 PM

It is permissible to violate the Shabbat to save life and defend Israel, according to the vast majority of rabbinic authorities. As with all things Jewish, however, opinions vary.

If Hezbollah plans on a Shabbat respite, they will be mistaken. One hopes fatally so.

7/14/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"You may be right, but I have an uneasy feeling about the Olmert government, which is growing by the minute in direct proportion to the paucity (absence) of dead high value Hezbollah human targets. As I just responded to "aristides" on another thread: "The fact that Israel has done little damage to high value human targets since beginning its offensive concerns me. Only two reasons come immediately to mind: 1) Israel broadcast its intent to escalate, giving these targets opportunity to go to ground or 2) Hezbollah anticipated the Israeli response and went to ground a priori. If the choice is “2”, then, Israel will just have to work harder to make the hits. However, and this is a worry, if the answer is “1”, the Israeli response is merely Sturm und Drang, signifying nothing."

I agree with you. It is especially disconcerting that they are giving prior warning with regards to strikes on Beiruit.

I think, however, that this is reservations on the strategy, rather than objectives. It will take some time for Israel to back away from military methods that have coallesced in the past decades, but I think that so long that as a nation the country realizes that there is no miracle political solution (and I think Hamas/Hezbollah have burnt their bridges on this one), the harsher military methods will follow in the long term.

The pressures on the government are going to come from the hawks, imo, not the defunct doves. The most important thing is to wean the Israeli public off any concern towards opinion in Europe, the UN, and the rest of the world, which is irrational and not in their best interests.

7/15/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

"The most important thing is to wean the Israeli public off any concern towards opinion in Europe, the UN, and the rest of the world, which is irrational and not in their best interests."

Stands true for us as well, imo.

"Irrational" is probably a questionable term, in retrospect, with regard to Europe, since much of it is in line with national oil interests (and we have an "oil driven" foreign policy, hah, right). Moral cowardice, but not irrational.

7/15/2006 10:52:00 AM  

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