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21 August 2006

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Mo

Israel returns 5 men taken in Baalbek raid

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/753123.html

The Aug. 1st "daring" commando raid resulted in the capture of "5 Hizbollah" operatives, one of wich was named Hassan Nasrallah. The poor guys were handed back by the Israelis today, gratis, as it appears the Israelis have realised they didn't get the right Hassan Nasrallah.

In reagard to the latest "daring" mission, according to local reports it wasn't so much the mispronounciation of a word as the fact that one of the soldiers referred to the locals, in conversations with them, as "Arab"....

Exactly how bad does their intel have to get before they stop with these raids that must be sapping the moral of their commandos.

MarcLord

Never leave a man behind. Makes sense.

Others, including myself, had speculated the raid was a snatch-n-grab mission, but one aimed at kidnapping or assassinating a senior HA official.

zanzibar

The IDF and political leadership have lost so much face in the eyes of Israelis its not even funny. There's IDF reservists protesting and demanding the resignation of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz. Several Knesset members want a real commission to investigate the handling of the war not just a whitewash. The opinion polls are bad. (Wish we would have a similar reaction to the Iraqi debacle!) This is like a psychological breakdown with the heat on the government and IDF leaders for their failure and the need to find scapegoats. Bibi is just waiting in the wings to show how to run a war.

No wonder the IDF will do anything to pull a rabbit out of a hat. There will be many more such actions either to recover the captured IDF soldiers or to capture senior HA officials possibly even assasinate Nasrallah if they can get to him. The IDF and the current Israeli political leadership are desperate for a significant PR win. This does not bode well for the truce. How long will HA be able to withstand their hotheads to retaliate?

still working it out

Bibi in charge of Israel with Bush at his back. What a nightmare.

John in LA

Zanzibar:

Let's recall that war is the extension of politics. It's a conversation. A theatre piece. A shadow-puppet dance that is merely an echo of the truth.

The truth is that politicians like Bibi and Nasrallah are going to bleed people for another generation until Arabs and Jews wake up and realize that their various political and religious "leaders" are feeing their children to the dogs.

This cessation of hostilities is a temporary effort to allow the israelis to retreat, vote out their government, bring in new politicians.

Then, to establish their credibility -- the new Israeli PM will whip up a reason to kill some Arabs. Hamas/HA will no doubt retaliate, using the loathesome spectacle of a Netanyahu hoodlum administration as a pretext to blow up some Jews.

And they will carry on their merry way, gouging each other's eyeballs out.

But. The surprise in both camps is the new lethality of the Arab guerilla and the relative impotence of the creaking, rust-belt, industrial tank army of the IDF.

With a better balance of lethality, both sides will have to come to their senses.

GSD

Maybe the Israeli's can capture Al Qaeda's # 2 again?

-GSD

sonic

Looks like they are trying to provoke civil war in Lebanon, if this raid had succeeded and Hezbollah had thought the Lebanese arny was involved there would have been hell to pay.

Cue out break of fighting, cue excuse to reinvade.

Grimgrin

sonic: As far as false flag operations go this is a pretty bad one. If it had succeeded and they had gotten back the soldiers, what then? Does Israel turn around and say "The Lebanese army rescued the two solders we were unable to get back in a month of fighting?". Do they hell, given how desperately Olmert seems to need some good news if this raid had succeeded the Israeli government would be talking about it as if it was the sequel to Entebbe.

zanzibar : I'm wondering if Hezbollah is going to start leaking false intel on where the captured soldiers are being held, with an eye to drawing more Israeli commandos into ambushes. Each time Israel makes an aggressive move and gets nothing in return for it, it strengthens Hezbollah. Not just because it's hard to look strong escaping from an ambush, but because Hezbollah then gets to portray the Israelis as acting in bad faith. They also get to cast themselves as moderates who attempted to abide by the ceasefire terms, but were forced into conflict by Israeli aggression.

As to your other question, I'm not sure how many 'hotheads' are there in the armed wing of HA. Certainly the men holed up in bunkers setting up ambushes couldn't be described that way. This organization chose it's battles deliberately every step of the way. I don't expect that discipline to break down this soon.

J

still working it out,

bibi and cheney are close buds, and they frequently 'coordinate' on matters, e.g. cheney's wanting to attack iran for their oil. bibi was overheard at one of his 'supporter' meetings in israel saying that in effect he is using the u.s. for what he can get, and when he's finished with the u.s., they can dry up for all bibi cares. bibi should be declared persona non grata and denied entry into the u.s. on a 'permanent' basis.

bibi met with cheney in recent months and 'coordinated' israel's 'pre-planned' attack on lebanon.

bibi is one individual that u.s. policy makers should distance themselves from.

Got A Watch

A recurring theme throughout the past months has the been utter failure of Israel/US intelligience.

Despite the use of many drones, and free US provided intelligience, the military effectiveness of Hizbullah has barely been dented. Clearly, they have totally failed to penetrate Hizbullah with agents-in-place either. It seems an hourly satellite pass just can't discover where the elusive "enemy" really are, or what they are up to. So Israel is forced to fight almost "blind" in an intelligience sense.
A great reason not to go to war, too bad nobody thought of it. This again points to the arrogance of current military planners who seem to be mostly airmen - the lesson they will draw will no doubt be "we should have used bigger bombs and more of 'em."

It seems the old joke about "military intelligience" being an oxymoron rings true today.

Wll

deja vu the shibboleth story about Gideon. The Israelis in Leb uniforms at the first checkpoint spoke bad Arabic giving themselves away. HA waved them by into an ambush. That's one story anyway.

Another version on the Angry Arab site is that it was a HA sting operation against the elite "Sayeret Matkal" commando outfit.

Who knows what the real line on it is.

Best Wishes

Michael

It sounds as though the IDF recognizes they are losing on the PR front and tried to make points by rescuing the two soldiers. Which brings up an interesting question: If the kidnapping of the two soldiers was Israel’s casus belli, would it follow that their rescue would be a catalyst to END the war against Lebanon? Hmm, somehow I doubt it.

GSD

Is the political situation in Israel likely to lead Netanyahu to take the prime minister spot again?

If so, what are the odds that Bibi ups the ante rather quickly and renegages Lebanon or worse tries to provoke Syria and/or Iran?

-GSD

Michael D. Adams

Hi Col. Lang,
It's Tuesday and Juan Cole is having a particularly good day if you haven't checked yet.
Rs,
Mike Adams

zanzibar

"This organization chose it's battles deliberately every step of the way. I don't expect that discipline to break down this soon." - Grimgrin

Excellent observation. HA have shown remarkable discipline and effective command and control. More like a real military as compared to a sectarian militia.

Got a Watch, considering the much vaunted Israeli intelligence services its amazing that bunker construction and arms shipments were so effectively concealed by HA. Couple that with the extensive intelligence support the IDF received from US agencies what does it say about our intelligence on Iran. I am actually quite surprised with Mossad performance - they have had successes in the past with targeted assasinations and other intelligence based operations in Lebanon. Something seems to have happened - hubris? Or HA have developed a tremendous counter-intel capability.

Hal Carpenter

Thanks for the excellent article on the latest Israeli debacle. They are shooting themselves in the foot with every gun we gave them. And, Mo, thanks for that background, I missed in Haaretz.
Does anyone else who follows the Israeli media see the same level of hysteria that I'm seeing? Haaretz, supposedly a Left wing paper, sounds like the Jerusalem Post. There are few voices of moderation and many war drum beaters. A coming repeat with Hezbullah is a given and the assassination of Nasrallah is being clamored for without a discussion of the devestating consequences that would have.
It seems that the Olmert government has to score with a punch or be tossed out, so they must keep punching and this cease fire has little hope.
Beyond that, Hezbullah defeated Israel's illusion of invulnerability, though not of Israel itself in a big military way.
Israel seems to be in an existential panic as she is realizing that all they military systems, that gave her omnipetence in the Lavant, no longer work.
I really fear that Israel will do something rash. There is little hope that Bush will not buy any Israeli rational and rosey projections of Victory cheers.
All my adult life, I've been concerned about America abusing the enormous power that the men of the World Wars handed us.
For the first time ever, I worry that a convergence of the an incompetent administration, a over-priced, miss-directed and backward military, and an enormous weakening of our international position has left us with too little power to get the job done for the first time since early December 1941.
I hope I'm wrong. But, does anyone else share my fears? Or, does anyone have an idea how Israel might be influenced to restrain herself? This is starting just as I was relaxing a bit, because Bush was exhausting military and could start no new adventures in chaos. So, Israel loosed her dogs of war and now she's nearly mad with the fear of them.

Sorry for my damned long windedness, but thanks to anyone who might have made it this far,
Hal Carpenter

canuck

About the only hope I have is that China gets fed up of the dollar sinking http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Asian_Economy/GD09Dk01.html> Oil for dollars, and dollars for US deficit

And the huge http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/FJ14Dj01.html> US deficit vs the dollar

If they put enough pressure on the American government, they could reign this rogue superpower's neocon administration in. China's economy can only absorb so much debt and I believe they will become a force. It's becoming financially uncomfortable for the world to keep fueling the US economy. The one thing Neocon's can't control is world economies.

mt

Panic & rash actions? Let's see: Olmert has until October at best before parliament can dissolve his government. I wouldn't be suprised to see him (and others)pull a Hell/Hail Mary pass in the hopes of saving their own skin. How many other skins burn as a result is the question.

Grimgrin

China won't pull the plug on the U.S. until there's a market for their products other than America. That means the development of their own domestic middle class and India's. Right now triggering a debt collapse (Which is what a Chineese sellof would mean) means that they loose their primary marketplace, and their ability to continue their program of rapid modernizaition on the backs of their massive labour force. 10 or 20 years from now, when there's an Asian middle class that has the purchasing power of America's for them to sell their goods too, that's when you need to worry about China pulling the plug on U.S. debt.

Jag

Chatham House in Britain (formerly the Royal Institute of International Affairs) has issued a major new report titled "Iran, Its Neighbours and the Regional Crisis". See:
http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/

According to a press release from Chatham House:
"Iran's influence in Iraq has superseded that of the US, and it is increasingly rivalling the US as the main actor at the crossroads between the Middle East and Asia. Its role within other war-torn areas such as Afghanistan and southern Lebanon has now increased hugely. This is compounded by the failure of the US and its allies to appreciate the extent of Iran’s regional relationships and standing - a dynamic which is the key to understanding Iran’s newly found confidence and belligerence towards the West. As a result, the US-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region."

zanzibar

"China won't pull the plug on the U.S. until there's a market for their products other than America." - Grimgrin

Important point. The Chinese political system places domestic stability over all else. The primary reason they have been providing us the credit card for purchases is because they need the employment growth. USD liquidity growth has been one of the prime factors in Chinese GDP growth which pulled Japan out of its slump and has increased growth in all the supplier countries - Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, etc. Now with crude prices where they are and steadily rising the major dollar surplus growth countries are Russia and the PetroSheikhs who are offsetting declines in growth rates of Chinese treasury purchases. The Greenspan "conundrum" has just shifted significantly to the oil producers, a reason why long term treasury rates have been quite stable. A portion of Chinese dollar surplus is now being recycled to oil producers. Uncle "helicopter" Ben has his own conundrum - continued growth in USD liquidity primarily through the still astounding growth in the derivatives market pressuring inflation (dollar purchasing power) while the US economy is decelerating, and while a major underpinning of the derivatives market, real-estate ABS which could very well unravel in the near future. The fact that the treasury market is holding up goes to show the extent of petrodollar recycling. Since all paper currencies have an inflationary bias and if there is a blow up in the financial system - for example Fannie Mae which has not provided financial statements for nearly 2 years and has mortgage assets over a trillion dollars that have not been "priced" - then confidence could be shaken. And the financial markets function on the basis of confidence. Clearly these are "dicey" times!

canuck

Oil is a twindling resource. Many articles have been written about peakoil. The US with its petrodollars is in an inevitable position--it makes their currency much strongly that what its economy really is. World economies and currencies are all inter-related.

Oil currently does make the world go around. Most of the world's supply is in the Middle East. It's well recorded that the United States has had a strong presence there. Governments are toppled to ensure the United States has the edge to ensure there is enough for western economies to survive.

But when demand exceeds supply, corrections do have to be made. Inevitabley there have to be changes because there just isn't enough to go around. It will impact countries all over the world. Is it futile to go to war over energy that fules economies or is the future to be found to adapting to other sources of power?

Great adjustments are on the horizon. I hope I live long enough to see how this vital question is resolved.

W. Patrick Lang

All

Someone asked why the HA did not have better air defense.

This is probably a learning issue. You know, "Crawl, Walk,Run."

Better next time. pl

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