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21 July 2006


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Pat, Just Questions: We cannot expect anything from the UN, but could and would the EU supply a border force that might do the job? Are you getting any estimates of what kind of damage is being done to Hizbullah? From news footage it seems they are alive and well in southern Beirut and on the border.
Would the IDF, with a massive land invasion, be able to root out Hizbullah on the border? Michael Singer


EU supply a border force that might do the job?

From a European: Why the f... should we?

W. Patrick Lang


Nobody except maybe us will contribute troops to keep HB out of the border area by force.

Rooting them out is one thing. Keeping them out is another. pl


Dear Col. Lang,
Thank you for your excellent assessment.


As these political and military situations in the ME get calculated and played out by our esteemed leaders, I read your common sense assesments with much anticipation.

Thanks for keeping us informed with your nuanced views based on deep experience.

W. Patrick Lang

School of hard knocks. pl


What the hell are they going to due? Dig up, literally, Saad Haddad, and the SLA?

john in Los Angeles

The IDF is doing exactly what the Hizbollah want -- as indeed the United States military has done just what the Sunni and Shia religious militants wanted in Iraq.

US and Israeli (and such extraregional forces inclined to draw fire on behalf of the Israeli invasion) will be sitting ducks.

When Israel invades in force I would not at all be surprised to see the Shia Warlords of Iraq declare open season on the US forces in Iraq.

Iraq and Lebanon are traps in which US and Israeli military are stupidly marching. The IDF and US Forces are fighting a mid twentieth century war against insurgents whose tactics have an almost 100% success rate against Imperial forces -- for several thousand years.


It's scary that a person living in an alternate reality is in charge of US foreign policy. But what happend to the Israelis? I have always seen them as being cold realists when it comes to their own intrests and not belivers in fiction. Now they bhave gone into a situation with no apparent out.

John Howley

I agree we should not discount Israeli hard-headedness too quickly. (By the way, Damascus and Teheran are pretty good chess players, too.)

Suppose your analysts told you, in Tel Aviv, that Bush planned a Fall Offensive against the Persians (there has been some speculation about this, no?)
One could expect, in that event, Hizballah would not sit on the sidelines but would respond by attacking Israel. So, it would make sense to pre-empt Hizballah.
Israel cannot control the actions of its patron (the U.S.) but it can anticipate them.


Members of the Israeli Likud and Labor parties share many common points with our neoconservatives. All rely on the realistic application of idealistic policies. Hence all use or advocate the use of military force unilaterally to solve problems-change the reality to fit the ideology or create facts on the ground. They are men of action and disdain those who might suggest reasoned alternatives to shock and awe or merely suggest the possibility of unexpected consequences (such as al-Qaeda, HAMAS, Hizbullah, etc). Who knows, perhaps they (men of action) are right. Iraq is working out well for the neocons, and the southern security zone worked out well for the Israelis from 1982 to 2000. Stay the course. When the (fill in the blank) stand up, we’ll stand down. W’s third war may be just in time for the mid-term elections.


Let's accept that the present policy, strategy, whatever is doomed to failure. The question that remains is, "what should be the strategy instead?" What can Israel do, short of mass suicide, that would stop Hezbollah from launching rockets and commando raids across the border?

We all deplore what is happening. Let's discuss what a winning strategy would be.


Col. Lang,I don't feel that there is a winning strategy with the powers that are in the White House. President Bush keeps pushing for open elections but without the necessary cultural institutes for it to take hold. After the ground invasion of Lebanon what next?

Dr Slop

Look at the geography and demographics - Israel in 2025 may well not be a Jewish state at all but an authentic pluralist democracy of some sort. The two state "solution" was always fairly farcical - unless you like bantustans, institutionalised squalor and perpetual food aid.

john in Los Angeles

Neither the IDF nor the Neo Cons are "idealists" -- this business about invading to create democracies is transparent B.S. The Israelis want a race war against
Muslims and they're going to get it. Ditto the neocons. One Persian missile strike across the straight and the spot price of oil goes to $100 a barrel. The U.S. will be able to do precisely nothing about it.

Israel had 50 years to make the occupied territories a wealthy, prosperous Republic of Palestine. But they did everything they could to subjugate, humiliate and eviscerate the Palestinian political entity.

The United States - for reasons that we may never understand -- rolled all its dice with Israel - in both Dem and Republican administrations.

And now - what do we have?

The U.S. can't supress Anbar province -- to say nothing of Iraq.

No security zone will help Israel -- the Arabs will be able to launch missiles from well within neighborhing countries.

Gaza is a killbox with artillery and amoebic dysentery the weapons of choice.

China will cut a separate peace with Iran and directly import gas and oil from Iran w/out American oil companies. Unless the Americans wise up, they'll take the Central Asian 'Stans as well.

It was this blog that revealed to me the blindingly obvious notion that if the IDF invades the Hizbullah Shia-Stan, Muqtada al-Sadr can effectively cut the US supply line from Kuwait to Baghdad.

This will end very badly for the US and Israel -- and probably very badly for the Arabs as well


Thank you Col Lang, for your insight, and mostly for sharing it with us here, as well as on CNN... As usual, you make sense when so many around you do not...

I pray that you will continue to be available to our Nation when we finally have leaders who will listen and understand, and will really work towards a peaceful solution. Thank you once again for your service. You are one of my heros...

Spooky Pete

The imminent Israeli offensive up through Lebanon must increase tensions with Syria.

Tensions would be partly caused by an increase in the stream of Lebanese refugees fleeing over into Syria.

Col Lang do you think the Israeli offensive may trigger some Syrian military or unofficial militia activity against Israeli forces?


W. Patrick Lang


I think that they will probably limit themselves to allowing re-supply to continue to the extent that it can be done by infiltration. pl

Karen M

Col. Lang:

I just found your site via Larry Johnson's post at TPMCafe. What a gift! Without cable, I only get to see you on Lehrer's NewHour.

Moving past my initial reaction to this invastion as being completely insane, and trying to think constructively...

My question is about our admin's arguments against a cease-fire. I seem to recall Rice (but maybe someone else) saying something about how difficult it would be to include Hezbollah in any agreement. Probably, but wouldn't a more creative mind think about what we have learned in Iraq about the danger of trying to completely eliminate internal parties, and instead try to think of a way to include them sooner, rather than later?

For example, it is pretty clear that there is going to be a lot of work required to rebuild Lebanon, too. Is it crazy to think that Hezbollah could be negotiated/ recruited into helping with this effort? Their organizational skills should count for something, if only they could be used "for good." And, at this point, they would likely have more credibility with the Lebanese than anyone else we could (according to recent history) try to put in there. There's also something to be said for spending the money where it would really count, rather than allowing it to be scooped up by multinational contractors. So, is it a completely nutty idea? (I can't tell what's sane any more, after taking in the news.)

King Colbert

"The United States - for reasons that we may never understand -- rolled all its dice with Israel - in both Dem and Republican administrations."

See this paper entitled "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University for one possible
reason for the foreign policy stance of the US in the ME.


I see (via Juan Cole) Sistani has issued a Fatwa condemning not just the Israeli attacks on Lebanon but the support of them by DC and London:

“The oppressions suffered by the nations of the region, among them the Lebanese, will increase the nations’ anger and rage towards the international policies supporting and/or condoning such actions - which will naturally intensify the tension and hinder peace and security throughout the region.”

No call for Jihad but think about how this plays in Sadr City and Basra. Al Sadr visited Nasarallah a couple of months ago; one wonders what was said.

A sterner Fatwa issued in Karbala set Iraq into revolt back in 1920. We are headed the same way now only with far less able colonial management.

john in Los Angeles

Stunningly ironic that the United States will now be seen as the oppressor of the Shia -- even as it midwifed the rise of the first Shia Arab State in Iraq.

It is difficult to comprehend the incompetence of the US strategy -- so inept that it has left both Sunni and Shia hating us, and only the contempt of the Israelis -- who are themselves busy with self-destruction

Babak Makkinejad

john in Los Angeles:

Not that ironic; reminds of the Lebeanese Civil War which was a war of all against all and saw all sorts of little ironies as you descibed.


Karen M,

Other than a few segments(i.e. The Col's slot or Sy Hersh) a week, and many times NO segments a week, I don't think you are missing very much.

I get my news on the web.

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