« Audio of UDC Colloquy now posted on TA | Main | Evolving Tactics in Iraq »

02 June 2007

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

johnf

>They never seem to understand that an analogy for Lebaon would be Renaissance Italy, not the American Revolution.

Great and illuminating parallel. (Or classical, city state Greece).

J

Colonel,

how can one expect vampires like iran-contra felon abrams to understand life, let alone living beings such as reside in lebanon. unlike abrams, those that live in lebanon are 'living beings' versus the nether-state in which the vampire abrams resides.

Montag

Isn't there an Arab proverb--or perhaps it's just a convenient canard--"I and my brother against my cousin; I and my cousin against the world."

When a cabal within the Israeli government was planning to invade Lebanon in 1982 they had grandiose ideas about installing a friendly government that would do their bidding. Israeli military intelligence futilely tried to warn them that they'd be leaping into a pitful of vipers--without being able to climb out again. As one Israeli soldier put it, "They all hate each other and they all hate me."

RB

Frankly, I suspect that the reports of past Hariri and Saudi support for Fateh al-Islam are vastly overstated (and probably wrong). I also think current Lebanese government allegations of Syrian instigation of the initial clashes are equally wrong. The initial confrontation seems to have been purely accidental, and I'm doubtful if Fateh al-Islam would have been robbing banks if it was flush with Saudi cash.

Once the fighting started, I do think it is very credible--as al-Hayat has been reporting--that Fateh al-Islam took over, or was given (by Damascus), weapon and ammunition from Fateh al-Intifada (Abu Musa's Syrian-backed breakway Fateh group) and the (pro-Syrian) PFLP-GC. Both of these likely have significant stockpiles in al-Nahr al-Barid and Baddawi camps. (The camps were captured by PLO dissidents from Fateh loyalists in 1983.)

Sadly, I entirely agree about the operational planning and tactical skills of the LAF...

zanzibar

"At the same time HA in the south is holding in check the possible action of friends of the "Nahr al-Bared" crew" - PL

Why wouldn't the HA keep this going and create even more fissures for the Cheney-Saudi-Hariri group?

W. Patrick Lang

Canadian RB

Too intellectual and not nasty enough to truly represent Lebanese "thinking."

Zanji

My guess would be that they would rather have the LAF fight them than do it themselves at a later date. pl

jamzo

Money has been spent to support Iraqi nationalist insurgent groups, traditional Sunni tribes (Shia tribes, also maybe?)

could this saudi money be fueling the "storied" turn around among the tribes in al-anbar province hwo are now said to be "allies" of the marines operating there?

Richard Whitman

Is Lebanon a real nation in the modern sense or is it an area of the map where dissident groups in the Middle East are dumped so they can "fight it out"?

Reading Lebanese history of the last 100 years indicates that conflict is the normal state of affairs.

Serving Patriot

Jamzo,

Now there is the right question to ask...

Fallujah, Ramadi, Anbar... cross-roads of the n-s sunni and w-e shi'i axis...

Hard to imagin that KSA is not heavily involved in the Anbar... and fighting the rear-guard against risign Shi'i via proxy
SP

markfromireland

"The initial confrontation seems to have been purely accidental, and I'm doubtful if Fateh al-Islam would have been robbing banks if it was flush with Saudi cash."

There were various reports that the initial confrontation started when they arrived at their bank, were told the funds had been frozen, and decided to take the funds by force.

chimneyswift

For my part, I had a feeling a while back that things were maybe too positive in terms of the "place" of the Lebanese government in relation to the events that had been happening.It was as if they were looking too good.

Of course I know very little of what the equivalent of "public opinion," would be in Lebanon, but I might be talking about something slightly different. It just seemed like with all the turmoil from the past few years, they were almost always turning out well for the government. And given that in many of these cases the Hariri government has seemed to remain fairly reserved, and allowed events to play out around them (eg the Israeli offensive) it seemed that their luck was bound to turn. Now they seem more human again.

Perhaps what I'm getting at is that some of the credit and respect the LAF accrued due to the defeat of the IDF is being rubbed away. Perhaps nobody gave them much to begin with. But it does seem that if what you speculate is true, Col, then Hizbullah is only getting more important. Time will tell if they can keep their run going.

At any rate, everything I have observed in the world would support your musings about the relationship between catalytic variables and chaotic events. And in this case, the kind of agents that are being fueled seem likely to clash with most everybody.

W. Patrick Lang

chimneyswift

I don't reacall that the LAF had anything to do with defeating the IDF in Lebanon.

Markfromireland.

Where in Ireland? pl

Montag

The LAF are infamous for serving the Israeli invaders tea and cakes--it was filmed and the tea-servers were arrested later. All the LAF did was to impotently fire a few old anti-aircraft guns at the bombers. This makes their godzilla-like assault on a Palestinian refugee camp all the more hypocritical. Killing Palestinian civilians seems to be the only thing that brings the Lebanese together "as one man." They also like to murder Syrian guest workers, not to mention mistreating the Asian maidservants of the middle class. But the Palestinians are at the top of their hit parade.

Curious

"They never seem to understand that an analogy for Lebaon would be Renaissance Italy, not the American Revolution."

I don't know why nobody call up "the wild west" during the turn of the 19th century. It would be just like that.

Anyway, Lebanon. The most obvious outcome of course would be, everybody now knows Lebanese army's strength. (how long their tank will shot, how hard the troop will fight, how they move, their logistic, etc.) Second, The lebanese army broke long time agreement of refugee camp quasi independence. Now everything will spill over into the city.

I wouldn't be surprised if next round things will be filled with road bombing, car bomb and anti tank. Knowing how weak the army is, Hezbollah would start building alliance to simply take over the whole country. After somebody bombs the current PM.

I doubt UN security force will play in the ensuing civil war.

The more we play in Lebanon, the less stable it becomes, since we are pushing and pulling using the weakest pawn.

markfromireland

PS: With your linguistic skills may I recommend the independent news agency Aswat Al Iraq as a good source of information.

http://www.aswataliraq.info/

Your readers might like to know that they also have a pretty good English language section.

mfi

peterp

Col. Lang: "Money has been spent to support Iraqi nationalist insurgent groups."

So the Saudis, at the behest of Cheney and Abrams, have been financing the same "nationalist" (read: Baathist) insurgent groups that are currently killing U.S. GIs?

Assuming the Colonel's hypothesis is correct, would this not meet the literal, constitutional definition of treason?

Just asking.

Will

nahr el bard probably owes its name as well as its cold water to its mountain fed streams, my SWAG- scientifif wild assed guess.

Gen Michel Aoun and HA's alliance is being tested by the Fatah al Islam - LAF fight. The Lebanese Army had some of its brightest moments under former Army Commander and Acting President Aoun standing up longterm to the Syrians and their militia allies at Suk-el-Gharb and holding off the Syrians consistently until betrayed by the Lebanese Forces of Geagea. Also Bush 41 who was eager to curry favor with the Syriens for his Mesopotamian adventure.

Aoun having been so closely aligned with the Lebanese Army, now called LAF, not to be confused with the LF which was a militia (JaJa's Phalange successor), ows much of his support to Army people and veterans. Nasrallah while not wanting to alienate Aoun, has taken the position of not wanting to get into "America's War against Al-Qaeda." This continues an ambiguous position he has taken. here are some quotes from his wiki article on the Taliban and 9.11

" * "The worst, the most dangerous thing that this Islamic revival has encountered ... was the Taliban .... The Taliban state presented a very hideous example of an 'Islamic state'."


""What do the people who worked in those two World Trade Center towers, along with thousands of employees, women and men, have to do with war that is taking place in the Middle East? Or the war that Mr. George Bush may wage on people in the Islamic world? ... Therefore we condemned this act -- and any similar act we condemn. ... I said nothing about the Pentagon, meaning we remain silent. We neither favored nor opposed that act .... Well, of course, the method of Osama bin Laden, and the fashion of bin Laden, we do not endorse them. And many of the operations that they have carried out, we condemned them very clearly."

Clifford Kiracofe

Meanwhile,
"...Islamist fighters evacuated families and dependents from the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, witnesses said.
The move coincided with the army's advance towards Fatah al-Islam's remaining outposts in Nahr al-Bared."

Those now being conveniently "evacuated" are from, as far as I can tell, the "Asbat al-Ansar" and "Jund as-Sham (aka Jund al Sham)" death squads.


jr786

In order that he might rob a neighbor he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America

Or so Macauley said of Frederick the Great; the intricacies of Grand Strategy and the machinations of despots are mysteries to most of us.

Even so, I have to conclude that Arabs killing Arabs and Muslims killing Muslims are key parts of the Bushco strategy, along with the perpetual disintegration of poor Lebanon and Iraq.

IMO, chronic destabilization of the region is the desired goal here, rather than an unfortunate way station on the way to Freedom. Furthermore, such disintegration cries out for 'stabilizing' forces like Israel to impose order on Arabs, witnessed by their umpteenth invasion of Gaza.

When the next Macauley emerges to write the history of our times he'll see that the Muslims were just the latest wogs in an old machine.

DH

"In any event we now have the spectacle of the LAF demonstrating its fumbling timidity while killing off a lot of civilians. At the same time HA in the south is holding in check the possible action of friends of the "Nahr al-Bared" crew while the LAF tries to deal with them."

According to the Lamb article that kicked this discussion off:

"The Welch Club's major error was when it attempted to influence the Lebanese Army into disarming the Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah. When the Army wisely refused, the Club coordinated with the Bush Administration to pressure Israel to dramatically intensify its retaliation to the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah and 'break the rules' regarding the historically more limited response and try to destroy Hezbollah during the July 2006 war."

"Another reason the Club wants to weaken the Lebanese Army is that the Army is nationalistic and is a safety valve for Lebanon to ensure the Palestinian right of return to Palestine, Lebanese nationhood and the resistance culture led by [b]Hezbollah, with which is has excellent relations.[/b]

Isn't the natural alliance between the LAF, Hezbollah, and Gen. Aoun?

Lamb article: http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb05242007.html

Cold War Zoomie

"Even so, I have to conclude that Arabs killing Arabs and Muslims killing Muslims are key parts of the Bushco strategy, along with the perpetual disintegration of poor Lebanon and Iraq."

Bush has said before that our ME policies of the last 60 years have been inadequate, producing "false choices," and that is one of the reasons he decided to invade.

Sometimes I wonder, and I emphasize *wonder*, if this administration views the current chaos as an acceptable phase to reach its ultimate goals. Yes, they would have preferred a short victory without these problems. But they may also believe that another way to reach a "true" equalibrium in the region is to allow all these pent-up hatreds and rivalries to work themselves out while trying to keep it from spinning completely out of control. They may have accepted this phase as a possibility, viewing it as a setback but not as a sign of failure.

These thoughts may be in the realm of tin foil hats and black helicopters. But in the absence of a clear, well defined strategy, ordinary folks like me have no choice but to develop *some* explanation for what my country is doing. People like me don't have the time, education and experience to put this puzzle together.

We are seeing through a glass, darkly.

D.Witt

Since the LAF is largely Shia, I think this is an attempt to weaken HA by proxy and misdirection. It is also a good cover story for the 'need' for a US/NATO airbase at Klieaat, which appears to be the 'club's' next option, given that they are being run out of other, less secular mideast states.

I gather that watching a Disney movie to learn strategy would seem absurd to a military commander or intelligence agent, however, lesson of 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' shows up time and again in this arena, so perhaps some agencies should get a clue, and add it to their training?

From a US perspective, this is the pathology of generations of lawless and often clueless 'tinkering' in countries around the world, combined with a political system that has allowed the 'bad actors' to continue on with impunity, despite their previous felonious activities.

In other words, Elliot Abrams and the rest of his black hats should be ex-cons right now, instead of US government officials, thanks to the lame prosecution of Iran-Contra. However, given the lack of personal consequences, it's no wonder that they should continue with such ruinous meddling unabated. After all, in their minds, 'we' are locked in a life-and-death struggle with communism radical Islam.

jr786

CWZ writes:

Bush has said before that our ME policies of the last 60 years have been inadequate, producing "false choices," and that is one of the reasons he decided to invade

Bushco's justifications for invading Iraq remind me of half-baked freshmen essays where the student tacks on every single thing he ever heard about the subject matter. Hence when Bush says 'one of the reasons' it has as much weight as his intellect.

I know Col. Lang frowns on such prosaic explanations as 'divide and rule', so my guess is that all the mayhem taking place is less omelet making and more dropping the eggs all over the kitchen floor and landing face first in the ensuing muck. My money is on a preponderance of the 'stupid and industrious', i.e. Feith et al.

Leila A.

So I visited some Lebanese relatives in CA the other day, including a fellow retired from a senior position in the Security Generale (what that office does besides passports, I don't understand; it's not Internal Security). These relatives insist on Syria being behind everything. (This was Wednesday, before today's bustout in Ain-el-Helweh, which is on our doorstep)

Anyway - when the subject of Jund al-Islam (Islamists, supposedly 'Al-Qaeda', in Ain-el-Helweh) came up, and I said 'aren't they called Jund al-Sitt?', Mr. Security Generale smiled and said, oh yes. He explained to his son-in-law what I knew from the Lamb article - Jund-al-Sitt (al-Sitt means The Lady) refers to Bahiya Hariri, Member of Parliament, sister of Rafiq Hariri who died in a car-bomb 2/14/2005. Hariri's bloc is supposedly pro-USA, with the Welch Club, etc. As we spoke, Ms. Hariri herself appeared on the TV, wrapped up in a completely covering headscarf. She has been wearing this since her brother's assassination.

So even those who believe the "Syria's behind it" line know that the Jund-al-Islam fighters are funded by... Hariri, Inc.

But most people can't keep all these contradictory bits of info straight so it just passes out of mind and memory. We will continue to read AP news accounts, and right wing blog reports (See Tony Badran at Across the Bay, and Michael Totten) that this is AL-QAEDA at work in Lebanon. Etc.

I fear we are seeing a rush to war with Syria. If Lebanon gets trashed in the process, well, that's just part of the birth pangs of a New Middle East, isn't it? (said brightly, while wearing Ferragamo shoes)

Leila A.

Pardon me - I wrote Jund-al-Islam I think; it's Jund-al-Sham (pronounced Jund ash-Sham) in Ain el-Helweh. That's the correct name of the Islamist group popularly known as Jund as-Sitt.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Blog powered by Typepad