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11 August 2006


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Duncan Kinder

Another major blog is The Oil Drum, for a detailed discussion of world oil and energy production.

Caveat: The Oil Drum advances the notion that the world today is reaching or in the very near future will reach "Peak Oil," which means that henceforth world oil production will thereafter follow a downward slope. This is a controversial thesis.

Regardless of the merits of the Peak Oil thesis, the Oil Drum provides much information. For example, the major Saudi oil field has leveled its oil production - quite possibly because it geologically has become exhausted.


stating that HA actually had a reason when they blew up the Marine barracks and was acting in retaliation for US shelling of Shiite villages suggests that maybe the US made a mistake, or did injustice HA could possibly be rightfully furious about.

That of course can't be, you terrorist hugger, you.

Seriously, if I recall rightly, the US foolishly chose to pick a side in a civil war, the side of the christian maronites, opposing the shiite militias. Initially the US military presence in Lebanon had support among Shiite and other Muslim militias who had hope that the United States would bring stability back. That support went up in smoke after the shellings. The US were no longer viewed as neutral.

A side in a civil war get's fired at, a lesson the US had apparently not learned and re-experienced in Somalia. That should also be a stark warning for a potential multinational force tasked today with separating Israel and HA. For Israel and US hardliners they will always be doing to little against HA (the very concept of neutrality is alien to them), while for HA they'll probably be doing too little against Israel, which will be as provocative as ever, just think about overflights of Lebanese territory.


Just to correct Mike: PIRA are largely disarmed; most of their known arsenal got entombed in concrete last year. Given their extensive criminal network PIRA retain the ability to re-arm; the pike is still in the thatch. They show no sign of doing so; their political wing gets the second largest vote in N.Ireland and is a small but energetic player down South.

Which reminds me hadn’t we disarmed Sadr Mehdi Army back in 2004? Strange that they now appear to be kitted up like an overloaded action men.



How are you? Hope all is well. Yes, he is back home. Family to follow.

Praktike was basically correct regarding my point and the role of the Iowa. It was, to some extent, shelling Lebanon in 1983. I think it fair to say that this act, along with others, was perceived as a signal that the US personal had begun to shift from a 'peacekeeping' force to something else. If that perception was correct, and the facts on the ground then were very hazy, and perceptions were shifting daily in the then Civil War, the Americans would be seen as one more outsider being called into the War by one of participants. And as such...fair game. In any event the Iowa fired, the barracks went up, and wisely we left. Within days (a weekend?)off to the grand Isle of Grenada in search of Cuban battalions. (and I suspect that that battalion is still hiding in those damn mountains despite what anyone says. Sorta like the WMD episode, 1980s style) And the Reagan White House was able to wash away the understandably bad taste Lebanon left in their mouths. And in all our mouths. We scored a 'great victory' on the Isle and where able to hand out more medals than the total number of soldiers in the 'invasion'! Including, if I recall correctly, an incredibly high amount of Bronze Stars. A hell of a feat!
Stay healthy Wtfod!


Wtofd, soldiers escorting a cow, I need to find a high rez version of that picture!

cynic librarian, If that theory was in any way part of their thinking then maybe the original plan of defeating HA would be relevant. Under a ceasefire agreement that threat is not going anywhere.

Nabil, what are your sources in regards tothe mood in Lebanon not being good? My sources tell me the mood is better than you'd expect and the people are optimistic that they may get an even "cleaner" democracy if there are new elections soon (which I expect there will be). I don't expect anyone to ask HA to give up their arms until the water has been tested to see if the French act with the same determination against any Israeli violations as they are expected to HA ones.

Abu Sinan, In regards to the Israeli media, I think considering the overwhelming support there was in Israel for this war, any commercial organisation would have been hard pressed to have been critical of the government, and austere military reporting restrictions would have stopped anyone taking government officials to task for lying. But I'm betting there will be plenty taking to task next week.

Your point re. HA's international cells is interesting. What are your sources for this as Nasrallah has been explicit in the past that HA's military activities are limited to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

I wholeheartedly agree with you in regards to how Palestinians have taken in shia refugees. This has also happened in Maronite communities. Lets hope, like you say, this helps the many communities to see they have more in common than they thought.

mt, this 48hr ground offensive is a politician trying to save his skin i think. I think the Kadima Experiment is over in Israel.

BadTux, Considering the level of military aid Israel gets, you'd expect budgetary issues to be one problem they wouldn't have. I know the aid comes mostly in hardware but that must free up a lot of govt. money. Where does it go?

confusedponderer, Problem with being a terrorist hugger is that the beards are so prickly.....
Seriously though, if you want evidence that the attack was down to the bias in their policy there, one would have to ask why the Italian and more importantly, British contingents of the Multi National Peace Keeping Force didn't suffer a single attack from HA in 83. Of course, the HA of those days is very different, in ideology,goals and most importantly personnel then the one of today, but I think both todays and the 83 version would have attacked the barracks.

jonst, relating what you say to today, Im afraid that for Grenada, read Gaza.

Apologies for the many replies, consequence of being on another continent to the rest of you.

Dimitar Vesselinov

There are two ways to fight against terrorists and insurgents:

- the British way (N. Ireland), patience
- the Syrian way (Hama), violence


Dimitar Vesselinov

Also, I'd like to clarify my position:

- the British way (N. Ireland)
patience, law, police force

- the Syrian way (Hama)
violence, terror, army



The idea that neutralising Hizbullah is a necessary precondition for an assault on Iran is delusional, and completely fails to distinguish between the "local" consequences to Israel from the "global" consequences that Iranian retaliation to a US attack can engineer. If they want to be really mean they could, after all, just try to knock out Ras Tanura adn Abqaiq - both of which are well within range of a number of their missile systems.

After 30 days of sustained IDF aerial assualts on a geographically concentrated area, Hizbullah have still managed a sustained shut down the economy in the Northern third of Israel, and used short-range artillery rockets to close the port of Haifa; one of the enduring images from this conflict is the sight of a merchant ship heading into the port of Haifa turning tail and running back out to sea in the wake of a rocket attack. If anyone doubted that Iran had the capacity to leverage the vagaries of war risks exemptions clauses in marine insurance policies to effectively interdict the Straits of Hormuz and the strategicaly vital port of Kuwait, then those doubts should have been, quite literally, blown out of the water. The world cannot afford to see 14 million barrels of oil per day taken off world markets - that's a "global" consequence that makes rocket attacks on TA seem rather parochial ( unless you live in TA ). I won't even bother to get into the potentially fatal consequences for the US army in Iraq via local Shia or Iranian retaliation, or the fact that the US logistics platform in Northern Kuwait is vulnerable to the same artillery tactics. Iran has bigger, longer-range and, above all, more of this type of weaponry and a geographically huge area from which it can operate in.

Hizbullah still retains the longer-range rocket capability with which it could hit Israeli cities anyway, and from positions well to the North of the Litani - so the IDF assault has been unsuccessful in counteracting this threat thus far.

Babak Makkinejad


That was also my recollection. But teh French government followed ths same policy and the French baracks were also attacked. The Italians were spared.

I also would like to point out that the United States did not respond to the attack by launching an all out aerial assault on Lebanon.


in that administration back then, voices of reason got a chance to be listened to. Reagan did correct mistakes, if I have his reaction on Iran-Contra rightly in mind. I doubt Bush is morally, intellectually and by character capable of that.

Maybe such voices of reason are there and are listened to today as well, but that's probably as good as it gets. Today's response would be gut driven, decided on by categories like 'good vs. evil', 'liberty vs. forces of darkness' and 'Israel rocks', and would quite likely be the very all-out aerial bombardment you mentioned. After all, everything else is appeasement.

Abu Sinan

Posted: "Your point re. HA's international cells is interesting. What are your sources for this as Nasrallah has been explicit in the past that HA's military activities are limited to the Lebanese-Israeli border."

It is well known that Hizb'Allah cells played a role in at least one bombing of Jewish/Israeli targets in South America.

They have a world wide funraising arm, many of them people who were involved in combat in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s. These people could be activated if needs be.

I think it was Michael Scheuer who said that Hizb was #1 in the game, second was al-Queda. Clearly Hizb had operational ability abroad, it just is yet to be seen if they will use it.

Posted: "PIRA are largely disarmed; most of their known arsenal got entombed in concrete last year. Given their extensive criminal network PIRA retain the ability to re-arm; the pike is still in the thatch. They show no sign of doing so; their political wing gets the second largest vote in N.Ireland and is a small but energetic player down South."

Indeed, the "armalite and the ballot box" paid off. The Goof Friday Agreement(GFA) allows for periodic votes on the status of the north of Ireland. Given demographic changes, in a few decades there will be enough Catholics to vote the six counties into the Republic.

This was compliments of the PIRA campaign which got Republicans consessions they never would have gotten otherwise.

Dimitar Vesselinov

Hama was a small repetition of the Russian Civil War.



Abu Sinan

"It is well known that Hizb'Allah cells played a role in at least one bombing of Jewish/Israeli targets in South America."

I think you are confusing well known for often repeated. In actual fact the investigation was considered inept in the extreme, it possibly linked one person to it who in turn was possibly liked to HA. Most of the evidence actually pointed to the Argentinian military.

As for HA's worldwide fundraising, Ive yet to see any evidence for this although often heard it said. I wonder though, If HA are so well supported by Iran, an oil producing nation, what would HA need with a fund raising arm?

cynic librarian

dan -- I hope you are right. I understand that HB could continue its rocket attacks on Israel, should it wish to break any cease-fire should Israel/US attack Iran. I guess you'd have a further crisis within Lebanon which could or would fracture that society.

That is, how would the Lebanese army respond to the breaking of the ceasefire? If they refused to act, then Israel would have to deal with it. If, on the other hand, the Lebanese actually do take on HB, you're back at civil war which effectively neutralizes HB.

I don't know how Iran would do against the US Navy. If memory serves me, Navy brass have expressed confidence in the past that they can handle anything Exocet missiles. The notion of an Iranian navy is of course laughable.

The question is whether Iran could jam up the starits themselves by sinking a ship or two there. That assumes that they can a ship close enough to do that or have the technology to take out one. Supposedly, the US has wargamed this and they have come up with contingency plans.

I've been arguing--somewhat fancifully perhaps--that Cheney/Rumsfeld are selling the idea that Iraq is "sufficiently contained" and that US troops do not have much to worry about there. If they need to, they can simply retreat behind the fences of their super-bases and let the Sunnis-Shiites kill each other. These bases are supposed to be huge and with sufficient air cover are probably impregnable to everything except maybe an army of a million.

Of course, I exaggerate, but I really think that this is what the Pentagon is saying these days. This model rests on the notion that order within Iraq is not the be all and end all of the strategy. A contained, implosive instability within Iraq is all that the US troops need.

Most people seem to think that the strategy in the Mideast is to promote peace by way of policeman-like stability. I disagree. I think that one way of thinking--by those who might wish to do this--is to bring about peace by igniting the region in unrest. The Pentagon is smart enough--haha--to know that the rift between Sunnis and Shiites is lethal. Why not exploit that hatred to bring about a situation in which they direct their hatred at each other rather than us? Once attrition does its job, the US can then move in to pick up the pieces and impose a more lasting peace.

I know. This is all too simplistic.


As a comparison Cassino? How about Thermopylae? ;)


Evolution! Kornet is anti-Tank sniper missle. It has 3 times longer range than sniper rifle. It cost around 100,000 dollars. Kornet can destory the latest state of the art tank cost 20million and over. It required 2-3 person team to operate, weight 10 to 13kg, easy to transport. Therefore easy to buy and sell in market. It can target soldiers, tanks, personal carriers and helicopters(low flying). Fast to deploy(avg 3 mins) and easy to use. It has a training system onboard. This weapon combine with tunnels and electronic and information technology, it will tip the balance back to gurilla warfare.

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