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21 July 2006

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b

@pl - Paulus/Pauli

Yes, I did mean Paulus, but then the plural may be appropriate.

b

@zanzibar

"Who is calling the shots? Is this a Cheney plan that Israel is carrying out? With rush order deliveries of jet fuel and precision munitions from the US, it seems that the US maybe more deeply involved in the operational decision making than meets the eye.

And after the week is over Hizballah is very likely still standing and firing rockets while the Lebanese infrastructure is completely devastated. What exactly would the Israelis/Cheneyites have accomplished?"

The plan is of course bigger and the obvious target is Iran. To attack Hezbollah now will relief a bit of pressure from Israels northern front when the air runs on Teheran begin.

It will not work that way, but then ...

ali

I doubt if there will be much enthusiasm for a UN force in Europe. The British are sitting on a ticking bomb in Basra and increasingly hard pressed in Afghanistan. The Germans are a little squeamish about facing up to the Israelis. The French are deeply attached to Lebanon but are not going to play smurf in the KZ between Hezbollah and the IDF. The Italians, the Dutch, the Polish etc… the Girl Guides are more intimidating.

There is a more obvious solution: the Lebanese invite the Syrians back into the South. The Syrians are not popular but the Israelis have closed the brief window of optimism that was the Cedar revolution. Many of the million displaced Lebanese must be thinking they Syria’s departure has left them defenseless against Israel and at risk at the whim of Hezbollah. The Syrians are the only ones who can reign back Hezbollah and enforce a peace; they have much influence but also a history of lining them up and shooting them when they fail to obey. They are also the only force Hezbollah will accept and even the IDF respects their ability to control a population.

parvati_roma

"I doubt if there will be much enthusiasm for a UN force in Europe. The British are sitting on a ticking bomb in Basra and increasingly hard pressed in Afghanistan. The Germans are a little squeamish about facing up to the Israelis. The French are deeply attached to Lebanon but are not going to play smurf in the KZ between Hezbollah and the IDF. The Italians, the Dutch, the Polish etc… the Girl Guides are more intimidating."
...

European papers are reporting that Israel, which previously strongly opposed the idea, nows says it will accept the presence of an "interposition force" but wants it to be under NATO command. So there's active haggling going on. Point of Israel wanting NATO under UN mandate is obvious: it gives US some kind of indirect power over the force and rules out Russian troops. But the haggling will continue as non-EU troops will be needed (India Pakistan Brazil...)for numbers.
European line-up: Brits had said they're over-extended so unless they change their minds they're not "in" - they're heavily involved elsewhere. Germany will stay out and Poland isn't interested unless paid.
France and Italy are the countries pushing for intervention backed by the other Mediterranean countries, and have already volunteered forces. Italy is currently withdrawing its last thousand or so from Iraq so should potentially have some 3000 troops available. France isn't involved in Iraq so should have no problem.

What happens if we get attacked, take casualties in lebanon? Same as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where we've taken plenty - maybe you didn't notice? We fight to repel attacks, restore control of the area. What we don't do is raze cities.

parvati_roma

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/741704.html
(...) Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that Israel would agree to the deployment of a multi-national force in Lebanon, and suggested that NATO troops be deployed to lead such a force.

"Israel's goal is to see the Lebanese army deployed along the border with Israel, but we understand that we are talking about a weak army and that in the midterm period Israel will have to accept a multinational force," he said, according to his office.
(...)

sophia

"The Israelis seem to be even more egregious fantasists operating on the basis of imitation of the kid we all remember from the school yard who announced to you that he was going to beat you (Lebanon) up until you you became his friend."

Israelis don't want to make friends. They want to hurt Hizbollah.

Why do they want to hurt Hizbollah? This might provide an answer:

"This was all the more rational in that for a Shi'a group like Hizbollah, the most immediate enemies within its own society were not Christians, but radical Sunnis of the kind inspired by Saudi Arabia, for whom Shi'a are apostates and polytheists who (as in Iraq, Pakistan and formerly in Afghanistan) can be attacked and killed without compunction. Hence Hizbollah's hostility to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, including their adoption of the theory of the "clash of civilisations".

This tone of tolerance and flexibility did not, however, extend to the discussion of Israel or of Jews in general. The military struggle of Hizbollah against Israel was officially confined to their expulsion from Lebanon and was incomplete only because of Israel's continued occupation of a small part of southern Lebanon, the Shebaa farms, near the Syrian frontier. Sheikh Qassem, and military commanders of Hizbollah I later met, confirmed that they were helping Hamas and Islamic Jihad inside Israel and Palestine; but they appeared to want to limit their own (at that time sporadic) armed activities to the Shebaa issue.

However, there was no margin of doubt in the sheikh's view that Israel was an illegitimate state and that it should be abolished. This position was bolstered, as evident in his book, by the deployment of quotes from the Qu'ran denouncing Jews and calling for a struggle against them.

I put it to the sheikh that this use of the Islamic tradition, in a context of modern political conflict, was racist, a point he evidently did not accept. An alternative, open and respectful, attitude to Jews can also be derived from other parts of the Islamic tradition, but this, like the racist reading, depends on contemporary political choice.

...

The next day I was taken on an intense field-trip by one of the Hizbollah military commanders to the key installations and battlesites of the Lebanese south. Beyond a certain stage, there was no sign of the Lebanese army or police, only Hizbollah roadblocks with the yellow flag of the organisation fluttering above. The Hizbollah flag was also much in evidence at Chateau Beaufort, the Crusader castle long occupied by the Israelis, as it was at Khiam, the abandoned prison used by the South Lebanese Army to detain Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in terrible conditions. Khiam was abandoned in Israel's final departure in May 2000, with several thousand SLA taking refuge with their families in Israel.

Amid all these sites of killing and heroism, and the massed heaps of detonated Israeli military fortifications that dot the south, there was at first sight an air of near-normality, even optimism: in Marjayoun, the Christian district from which many SLA had come, shops and hairdressers were open and people strolled easily in the streets; some of the Hizbollah people were building homes near the frontier. We lunched in an outdoor country cafe by a river, within a short distance of the Israeli lines. "They will never dare to return here", was the refrain of my militant guide.

Towards the end of the day, my guides took me a hill overlooking the Israeli frontier, and the town of Metulla. There, I sensed that another perspective, and another future, was equally contained within these seemingly peaceful hills.

From one roadside vantage-point, they had pointed to the still unresolved Shebaa area to the southeast. As we looked over to this Israeli town, with people clearly visible walking in the streets, the chief guide turned to me with an unambiguous message: "It took us twenty-two years to drive them out of here [Lebanon]", and it may take us up to forty years to drive them out of there [occupied Palestine]".

I long ago decided, in dealing with revolutionaries and with their enemies, in the middle east and elsewhere, to question their motives and sense of reality, but to take seriously what they stated to be their true intentions. Those words, spoken on the hill overlooking Metulla in 2004, were sincerely meant, and carried within them a long history of fighting, sacrifice and killing. In light of recent events, it would be prudent to assume that much more is to come.

LINK: http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization/hizbollah_3757.jsp

Read the whole thing.

ali

"What we don't do is raze cities."

With the US, German and British govenments supporting Israel's, unpopular depredations, a NATO based force will just be seen as easier meat than the IDF. I doubt they'd last 3 months.

Peretz should consider that doing the IDF's heavy lifting is not what Europeans have armies for.

The Syrians on the other hand do raze cities.

parvati_roma

"With the US, German and British govenments supporting Israel's..."

You're behind the times: UK has semi-switched - now joined UN-EU calls for immediate ceasefire. Yesterday their foreign minister condemned Israel for "collective punishment" excesses.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1826969,00.html
"British split with Bush as Israeli tanks roll in

Minister attacks 'disproportionate' raids

Britain dramatically broke ranks with George Bush last night over the Lebanon crisis, publicly criticising Israel's military tactics and urging America to 'understand' the price being paid by ordinary Lebanese civilians.
The remarks, made in Beirut by the Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, were the first public criticism by this country of Israel's military campaign, and
placed it at odds with Washington's strong support
(...)
Britain's shift came as Israeli tanks and warplanes pounded targets across the border in southern Lebanon yesterday ahead of an imminently expected ground offensive to clear out nearby Hizbollah positions, which have been firing dozens of rockets onto towns and cities inside Israel.

Downing Street sources said last night that Blair still believed Israel had every right to respond to the missile threat, and held the Shia militia responsible for provoking the crisis by abducting two Israeli soldiers and firing rockets into Israel. But they said they had no quarrel with Howells's scathing denunciation of Israel's military tactics.

Speaking to a BBC reporter before travelling on for talks in Israel, where he will also visit the missile-hit areas of Haifa and meet his Israeli opposite number, Howells said: 'The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people: these have not been surgical strikes. If they are chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation.' The minister added: 'I very much hope that the Americans understand what's happening to Lebanon.'

.....


Germany was at "best" middle of the road- with UK switched, it will now line up with the rest of the EU but with weaker language, make noises of humanitarian deprecation on need for conflict cessation and prevention - but without saying anything VIVIDLY negative about Israels's doings.

So in this conflict, the US (plus usual Palau-Marshall Islands appendix) is the one-and-only country that unquestioningly supports Israel.

sophia

Parvati,

So what? It doesn't matter what people say. It only matters what they do.

And, I think that the facade of Lebanese unity is cracking.

"http://ibosblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/unity-what-unity.html"

"this time Israel did not start the violence, Hezbollah did and they have to make the first step to find a solution."

Bob goes on to say:

" Does this mean that I support Israel!! Not at all, as I repeatedly said earlier, I condemn all kind of violence, especially when it target civilians, no matter what are the reasons. And Israel methods of using excessive violence, targeting innocent and destroying infrastructure have been one of the reasons, among many others, that we are in this mess that keeps getting messier…"

He's critical of Israel but he BLAMES Hizbollah.

I think there are more of his kind than the media are reporting.

Dan O'Donnell

I long ago decided, in dealing with revolutionaries and with their enemies, in the middle east and elsewhere, to question their motives and sense of reality, but to take seriously what they stated to be their true intentions.

When Hezbollah declared they wanted their prisoners returned and that's why they snatched the two Israelis soldiers, perhaps that is exactly what they meant?

zanzibar

"The plan is of course bigger and the obvious target is Iran. To attack Hezbollah now will relief a bit of pressure from Israels northern front when the air runs on Teheran begin." - b

As the "air runs" on Teheran begin so will the "land runs" on the US military supply chain running from Kuwait through southern Iraq to Baghdad and points north. PL has posted on the impact of that scenario. Now unless Bush's faith-based policy disregards completely the 140K US troops in Iraq, it would be sheer nuttiness to escalate into Iran. Now if the polls show a decisive defeat for the Rovian armies in Nov then anything is possible. Note how the Lebanon conflict and the Israeli position has no dissent among the Repubs and Dems, both are in lock step.

sophia

Among other things, such as "As Sheik Nasrallah said in October 2002, "if the Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

Mary

And with this mess in Lebanon raging, the plight of the Palestinian people has been forgotten. The media that I see, hasn't been reporting that Israel is still bombing the hell out of Gaza, and has been doing so non-stop for the past month.

Col. Lang, any thoughts on the current conflict in Gaza?

b

Sophia, I recommend to you this blog entry

The Making of a Terrorist
http://archmemory.blogspot.com/2006/07/making-of-terrorist.html

ikonoklast

"Anyone got anything about what the Sunni governments ACTUALLY said about Hizballah? pl"

I had hoped someone could find a translation of the Arab League statement from the summit - or statements, as some sources say there were three issued - but in the absence of that:

Most news reports from the region play up condemnation of Israel and the futility of the meeting. The censure of Hizballah seems to be restricted to US outlets.

"The Arab League “condemns the Israeli aggression in Lebanon which contradicts all international law and regulations,” read the final statement ...
The League also stressed “unconditional support for Lebanon and its steadfastness in the face of this brutal aggression which affects civilians and leads to innocent deaths and huge financial and economic losses,” the statement continued.
On Friday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned Israeli military aggression in Lebanon but also indirectly criticised Hezbollah for harming Arab interests.
The leaders warned of the risk of “the region being dragged into ‘adventurism’ that does not serve Arab interests”, according to a joint statement published by the Petra news agency after the leaders met in Cairo.
Similar language was used earlier by Saudi Arabia, which indirectly accused Hezbollah of “adventurism” in provoking the Israeli onslaught and putting all Arab nations at risk."

http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=97608&version=1&template_id=37&parent_id=17

sophia

Read it. A gay Shiite, eh?

May his tribe increase.

W. Patrick Lang

Mary

The Israelis will persist until they destroy the Hamas government. pl

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