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29 July 2006

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Steve Kimbrough

Why should the Israelis fight if a "robust" international force will be inserted to secure the border? It strikes me that what is on the table amounts to an international subsidy of Israel's defense. Securing the border with Lebanon will reduce Israel's costs and make it easier for them to work their will on the Palistinians. My point here is not a moral or judgmental one. Rather, I am saying that the outcome of the war may in fact be very favorable to Israel. This time it would be Israel that wins by losing.

zanzibar

In a televised speech Saturday evening, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed rocket strikes on towns in central Israel.

"The bombardment of Afula and its military base is the beginning ... Many
cities in the center [of Israel] will be targeted in the 'beyond Haifa' phase if the savage aggression continues on our country, people and villages," Nasrallah said in a speech aired on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

According to Nasrallah, "Israel is ready for a cease-fire, but the United States insists on continued fighting in Lebanon. Israel has been exposed as a slave of the U.S.," he said.

Two things stand out. One, despite the intense aerial attack and complete Israeli air superiority al-Manar TV is till operating. Nasrallah is clearly now trying to gin up the propaganda against the US and laying the ground work for a cease-fire where they can claim victory to the al-Jazeera audience in every Arab country.

b

My guess is this is the civilian prime minister ruling (rightfully) over the military.

Olmert did see at a point that he had been pushed into this whole desaster by IDF chief Halutz.

When the decision was made to attack Lebanon instead to just negotiate a prisoner exchange, it was Halutz who presented only one prepacked plan of all out air war - no alternative (this according to some Israeli press reports.)

When the response came in first from Hizbulla, then from the world public, Olmert did see the error and asserted himself. The planed occupation of South Lebanon was called off.

Inbetween the "elite" Golan brigade did stumble into a prepared ambush when they wanted to catch the symbolic city of Bint Jbeil. To recover their dead the pressed on and received more dead comerades (I'll never understand the sense of this. Do you want to win or gain dead bodies?)
From there it just went down. A helo was hit, and more bodybags were needed.

The decision now is not about not being able to take the heat.

This war isn´t about Israels existance. A hundred bodybags to rule the rubble of what would be left of Bint Jbeil just makes no sense. Especially when it will have to be given back eventually.

I hope Olmert stays this strong now and stops this shit. Nasrallah just made a speech and said the US is holding back Israel from agreeing to a ceasefire. After seeing Bush's stupid talk yesterday, this rings true to me.

Rice just landed in Tel Aviv. I hope sincerally that Olmert withstands the heat she will give him.

There is nothing to win for Israel in this pointless war.

Michael D. Adams

Since the Israeli leadership seems to have gone as batpoop crazy as the US leadership I'M getting the distinct feeling that there is a newly arrived MADE IN USA thermobaric device in some town's future.

jonst

There is no going backwards now without paying a significant price. It may be a "price" worth paying. Don't get me wrong. But, of course, defeats, real or imagined, create their own internal and external dynamics.

Further, as the Col and others have pointed out....what the hell good is a buffer zone? If necessity is the mother of invention, or inventive thinking/tactics...we have just placed a premium on longer range weapons. I suspect that "premium" will induced the 'suppliers' to see that the 'demand' is met. Then we are right back where we began. . And ironically enough, the IDF attack spurred the tech race which will now see Hizballah getting weapons capable of hitting all of Israel. I'm sure they would have gotten them in any event. But as I note....now there will a premium to rush. Wars can be ironic if nothing else.

canuck

Olmert won the Israeli election by the skin of his teeth. I suppose even with his lack of military experience that even he could be coming to the conclusion that the incursion into Lebanon won't produce any results? Hibullah, if anything grows because of the bombing campaign. The longer IDF stays in Lebanon, the more Hibullah will grow.

Being a politician now he'll have to consult with Rice to see how he can save some face? I doubt the multi national force is viable now that the UN has withdrawn the observers from Lebanon's borders, unless of course, Olmert and Rice are willing to beg Kofi Annan. Eating some humble pie may be in order? Could somehow Bolton be given a large slice too?

Sean-Paul

Col. am I correct in my reading that Hezbollah inflicted a conventional warfare loss on the Israelis, and not necessarily a guerilla warfare loss?

Is that an accurate assesment of your reading of the situation?

If so, Israel really shot itself in the foot, no?

W. Patrick Lang

Sean-Paul

This represents a signifcant transition on the part of HA.

We will now see if the Israelis bring up enough force to decide the issue.

Yes. This is a self inflicted wound. pl

Mike

I have to agree with Michael. Is there any indication that the IDF pulled back far enough to: 1) nail Hizb's running out of the town and 2) avoid the effects of a couple of MOB's?

W. Patrick Lang

All

This is a sizable town. Arab villages are called that becasue of the social organization of the locale, not because of size.

Bombing the place will make the masonry buildings into rubble which makes for better fightng positions. pl

Margaret Beckett

http://canadianspectator.ca/articles/beekeepers.html

Bush's gang of mad beekeepers

March 19, 2003

The full-scale, unilateral US invasion of Iraq is imminent. President Bush's gang and their "allies" do not realize their miscalculation: that the costs of invasion will outweigh any benefits.


...........
.............

Counting the cost... eventually

The course is charted, arrogant use of the military is all the US ruling class has to maintain its dominance. After Iraq, asymmetric warfare, "terrorism," will be directed at Americans, American institutions, American targets, and American allies. When the rest of the world recognizes how thinly spread the US military is, thinly spread physically, and economically, because it is not a sustainable institution in its current incarnation, rebellions will occur. Indeed they have already started. The response of the weakening US will be to lash out, often with unforeseeable consequences, just as the consequences of this impending invasion are unforeseeable, and unknown

Sturm and Drang

Military might is a sign of strength, but the US military is not invincible worldwide. America's use of force as both first and last resort is a sign of profound systemic weakness. Its employment today will destabilize the world, and cause us to stumble into a Third World War: The War of Unintended Consequences.

ikonoklast

"We will now see if the Israelis bring up enough force to decide the issue." PL

"Our sources add that from Saturday, July 29, the tempo of the American munitions airlift to Israel, begun last Wednesday ... has speeded up. During Saturday, giant US Air Force C-114 cargo transports en route for Israel touched down in Scotland for refueling every few hours."

http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=3008

Billmon

"Or, more fancifully the IAF has laid an elaborate trap for HA."

Oh yeah, right: "First we lure them into Haifa and then POW, we'll have 'em right where we want them!"

I've never drunken the Kool Aid about the unbeatable IDF, but even I'm astounded at how this is playing out.

MarcLord

It seems that Israel prominently attended the inauguration of the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) oil pipeline on July 13th, as claimed in this article at globalresearch.ca:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060726&articleId=2824

The article quotes a number of sources and makes conclusions that put Israel's recent actions in Lebanon into a context which begins to make sense. Since it first started, my thoughts have been dwelling on how this round of the Israel-Lebanon conflict fits into the wider energy control contest. In short, I think the main features of the grand plan are to blockade Iran's oil into the soil, generate leverage over China's $100-billion-plus development contracts there, and make Iran's mullah's compliant by putting them "over a barrel." Iran could be neutralized as a regional threat, western oil companies could gain a share of Iran's profits, and China's growth plans could be thwarted.

Israel's grand plan is apparently to become a power player in oil, and it was already promised a quid pro quo of direct access to Iraqi oil back in 2003: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=332835&sw=Haifa+Mosul . Israel would be cut into the deal in exchange for providing both the heavy security and the central staging area.

The trouble with theory is practice, and yet again a blitzkrieg army has been very expensively drawn into a sitzkrieg conflict, and has failed.

ali

The IDF are used to bulldozing the homes of the badly organized and poorly armed Palestinians.

Hezbollah are simply in a different class. They are a well trained, disciplined force with a strong ideological base and solid support in the population.

They have a lot in common with the IDF of 40 years ago. This was never going to be easy.

Babak Makkinejad

MarcLord:

I cannot credit this.

There is not that much oil in the Caspian basin. Secondly there are significant barriers to getting oil rigs to the Caspian Sea; you cannot air lift a rig there; it essentially has to be built in site; that capacity simly does not exist.

A fundamental problem with your suggestions is that it assumes that there ae a lot of very many smart people in the world.

I am convinced of the opposite and most of the world governments do not seem to be staffed with many bright people (Nixon and Khruschev were exceptions rather than the rule).

Matthew

Marc Lord: The "grand plan" you describe has a simple name in the real world: theft. Thank God it's failing.

lina

The inimitable David Brooks writing from his ivory tower:

"To its enormous credit, the Bush administration has kept its focus on that core reality, and it has developed a strategy to reverse the momentum: let Israel weaken Hezbollah, then build an international force to help create a better Lebanon.

Yet, having spent a week on the phone with experts and policy makers, I’d be lying if I said that I was optimistic the strategy will work. The renovation of Lebanon will require scaffolding, and the fact is the scaffolding of the West is corroding at every joint.

The U.S. lacks authority because of Iraq. Over the past few days, Israel has grown wary of getting into Lebanon, because it might have no help getting out. The Europeans, being the Europeans, are again squandering a chance to play a big role in world affairs. The “moderate” Arabs are finding that if you spend a generation inciting hatred of Israel you will wind up prisoner to groups who hate Israel more than you do. The U.N. is simply feckless.

The U.S. is right to resist the calls for a quick-fix cease-fire. But when you step back, you see once again the power of ideas. The terrorists are more unified by their ideas than we in the civilized world are unified by ours."

nytimes 7/30/06

Billmon

Brooks: The U.S. is right to resist the calls for a quick-fix cease-fire.

But it's the ISRAELIS who are now hinting they would like a quick ceasefire:

"On Saturday, [Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark] Regev suggested that Israel might agree to a cease-fire before Hezbollah had been disarmed, calling a cease-fire 'a catalyst' toward disarming Hezbollah."

So I imagine we can expect Brooks to change his line in a day or two. Heroic Israelis make ultimate sacrifice for peace, etc.

Matthew

Ah, David Brooks, on what meat do these Neo-Cons feed that makes them so great? The Europeans don't have AIPAC, so maybe their don't feel like sacrificing their kids to support to the Zionist project. The Arabs, far from suffering from the results from incitement, have no interest in helping the last European entity in the Middle East. When Israelis say the Arabs can't stand the fact of Israel, they are right. And it's not about the land. It's the double standards, the bending of international law, and, frankly, the thinly disguised higher valuing of Israeli lives over theirs. Our policy is faling because it's not our policy; it's Israel's policy. It's to our everlasting shame that we are only reinforcing failure instead of questioning our assumptions. But, then again, any president who takes calls from John Hagee...

Joaquin

Just a question: does anyone have ideas about the most recent IDF casualties? It sounds, from the vague news reports, like the IDF might have lost a hilltop near Bint Jbeil. It seems like such a thing could say a lot about Hizbullah's fighting capabilities.

Sean-Paul

Col. Lang,

What do you make of this:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153292018606&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull>Jerusalem Post - "The IDF wrapped up its operations in the southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbail on Saturday and withdrew most of its troops from the area. At the same time, the army was gearing up for a new ground incursion into Lebanon.

"Also Saturday night, the IAF struck a road along the Lebanese border with Syria that the IDF said was being used by Damascus to smuggle weapons to Hizbullah."

They've mucked things up badly, thus far but some are insistent the Israelis are just getting warmed up.

Not a rhetorical question, and I'm not trolling. Just looking for your take on these possibly new developments.

~spk

PrahaPartizan

The Israeli operation seemed to have jumped off on the wrong foot when it attacked Lebanese targets rather than the source of its frustration - the Hisbollah strongholds along the border. Had it suddenly conducted a strong ground operation assisted by close air support to seize the Hisbollah locations launching their battlefield rockets against northern Israel, they might have been able to keep world public opinion, maybe even Arab opinion, on their side. Starting off by bombing everything in Lebanon was a terrible way to proclaim that you were defending yourself. If it looks like terror bombing, sounds like terror bombing, and smells like terror bombing, then it probably is terror bombing. The IDF needs to be massively shaken up after this debacle.

b

Ze'ev Schiff, the hawkish military correspondent fro Haaretz agrees with Nasrallah. It is a US game and its Rice who is pressing on.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/744043.html
Israel failing to give U.S. the military cards it needs
/quote/
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the figure leading the strategy of changing the situation in Lebanon, not Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Defense Minister Amir Peretz. She has so far managed to withstand international pressure in favor of a cease-fire, even though this will allow Hezbollah to retain its status as a militia armed by Iran and Syria.

As such, she needs military cards, and unfortunately Israel has not succeeded to date in providing her with any. Besides bringing Hezbollah and Lebanon under fire, all of Israel's military cards at this stage are in the form of two Lebanese villages near the border that have been captured by the IDF.

If the military cards Israel is holding do not improve with the continuation of the fighting, it will result in a diplomatic solution that will leave the Hezbollah rocket arsenal in southern Lebanon in its place. The diplomatic solution will necessarily be a reflection of the military realities on the ground./endquote/

He is calling for a last attack to capture South Lebanon, but I doubt this will happen.

confusedponderer

Wiliam S. Lind made an interesting observation on Israel's little ground war against Hezbollah:

"Israeli ground forces have been fighting for days to take Maroun al-Ras, a small village less than 500 yards into Lebanon. The battle has not gone well. Israel has lost five or six troops dead, with undoubtedly more wounded. It still does not control the whole village. According to the Plain Dealer piece by Benjamin Harvey of AP, officers at the scene confirmed there was still fighting to do.

"'They're not fighting like we thought they would,' one soldier said. 'They're fighting harder. They're good on their own ground….'

"'It will take the summer to beat them,' said [Israeli soldier] Michael Sidorenko….

"'They're guerrillas. They're very smart.'"

"Guerrillas" may not be exactly the right term here. As best I can determine from the wilds of Cleveland, Ohio, Hezbollah thus far seems to be waging a conventional light infantry fight for Maroun al-Ras. The line between guerrilla and light infantry tactics is thin, but Hezbollah seems to be putting up a determined fight for a piece of terrain, which guerrillas usually don't do, because they can't. The fact that Hezbollah can points to how far (Hezbollah)... has evolved."

Good point.

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