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01 March 2008


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Babak Makkinejad



Lebanon is so last month.

incidentally, I was wondering why nobody is talking about the entire Lebanon-Israel-Gaza situation. Because it is heating up (albeit predictably as usual.)

1. Herzliya meeting (neocon last hurrah.)
2. assassination of mugniyeh
3. Gaza blockade
4. increasing Israel activities over gaza (very standard aerial assault)

Basically, Israel last chance to smack Hamas under Bush/neocon junta, since Hillary's campaign seems to be failing. Obama is too much of a wild card for the Israeli, they are not taking any chance.

The ship in Lebanon is to prevent Hezbollah opening second front while Israel whacking Hamas.

But if I read the situation correctly. Syria and Iran are waiting for Israel next blunder. And observing Israel performance in Gaza. (so far, not very good. ground operation is 1:20 or so, similar to southern Lebanon. And this is after months of blockade.)

If Hamas survives until late summer, Israel is toast. They will have to engage in 2-3 front wars and dwindling US political support.

At the very least Israel has to commit large force to reoccupy gaza again.

Fall out to domestic economy: $4 gas price. (pray somebody doesn't blow up random oil pipes on the map. otherwise make that $5/gallon and a major bank collapsing.)

At least neocon doesn't think attacking Iran is a good idea right now.


To add to your perfectly precise and cogent comments on Lebanon mess, I am also hearing that the US deployments may also be related to another piece of insanity: Israeli plans to invade Gaza and "remove" Hamas from power by military force. If things go as bad as expected with such an IDF invasion, it might require US Naval intervention to extricate the Israelis from the mess. For anyone with a memory of the Liberty ship incident, that is a hell of an irony.


Oy, the conspiracy theories are getting a bit overwrought.

First, one destroyer and two oilers cannot prevent Hezbollah from doing anything, much less prevent them from opening a second front. Cole is 60 miles off the coast - not an arbitrary distance when one considers the capabilities Iran gave Hezbollah in the 2006 war. The US is not about to risk a warship to fire a few 5" shells ineffectively into Southern Lebanon.

Secondly, what can one destroyer do to "extricate the Israelis from the mess" of a Gaza intervention? Nothing.

This is a show of force, nothing more, similar to hundreds conducted around the world for decades by Presidents who want to make a point that appears cost-free.


To answer the question, Lebanon is important to the US because the Litani is important to Israel. And in Hariris govt. they have a Lebanese administration that, for the first time since '83, is, lets say, amenable to a deal with the US and Israel.

In regards to the boats, the USS Cole is a guided missile destroyer. My first instinct was that this was a card being deployed to protect Israel in the event that Nasrallahs "surprise" be something of the kind.

The odd thing here is that it is being joined by the Nassau which is leading an ESG of five other ships. Except that the Navy Times reported in early Feb that the Nassau left without its Marines or materials.

So one guided missile destroyer and 6 empty ships to threaten Hizballah?

Even by this administration's standards this is really odd behaviour.


I'd have more respect for this if the USS Cole appeared off Beirut towing some scantily-clad waterskiing co-eds wear Stars and Stripes bikinis. That would do a lot for the USAs reputation in the Middle East. Perhaps they could include a water-skiing elephant just to remind the Lebanonese that the Decider has decided!

William R. Cumming

Another great chance for the Cole to be sunk.

Babak Makkinejad


I heard the same comment about Litani almost 30 years ago. I do not think Litani is that important to Israel.


From the WaPo piece Col. Lang linked.

"The Syrian regime is playing for time, and reasons that a new administration will be forced to jettison the current policy of isolation," said Emile el-Hokayem of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a defense think tank.


Is this a pretext for a 9/11, Pearl Harbor, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin, USS Liberty, or another -USS Cole- incident?

A pretext for attacking Iran?


Ever since the last IDF "shock & awe" in Southern Lebanon I have felt that Israel will have another go at it just to right their pride for that humiliation.

This time they seem to be spending far more time on preparation and not falling for Gen Halutz's bomb them till they cry uncle military strategy.

With the neocon support in Washington and Saudi support in Lebanon and likely elsewhere the Israelis seem to be ready to assert their dominance. Maybe they have a deal with Camp Hariri to provide an internal front to squeeze Hizballah to fight an assault from Israel and protect their resupply lines from Hariri militias.

Israel "scoped" out Syria with their bombing run on the alleged nuclear site. Then they whacked Mugnieh. Letting Syria know they better keep their heads low. Now they are "taking care" of Hamas in Gaza. Hariri probably has been well armed to do the internal fighting. Saudi money and intelligence support likely has been well spread.

Is this the attempt at the Hizballah coup de grace? How will they perform? Are the oil markets sensing this with their strong run over $100/bbl? Is the US naval presence in reality an evacuation project?

Jack K

fury that signifies nothing. The Italians took over naval watch off the Lavant coast from the Germans, at the same time that the Cole moved into place. so what. Everyone chill. The apocalypse is not at hand (see Baram for more instructions).



Funny thing is the neocons don't reflect and learn on the lessons of their madness:

1. Hizzbollah emerged stronger after the Israeli WAr.

2. Hamas will probably emerge stronger after an invasion of Gaza.

3. Neocons are currently going after Obama because he is opposed to their agenda, which only makes him stronger in the Democratic Primaries.

4. Neocons want to prevent Syrian/Iranian influences on Lebanon so US/Israeli influence will reign, just look at the popularity of the current Neocons approved governments, both in Lebanon and USA.


Secondly, what can one destroyer do to "extricate the Israelis from the mess" of a Gaza intervention? Nothing.

Posted by: Andy | 01 March 2008 at 04:48 PM

To prevent supply by sea for Hezbollah and electronic surveillance. Russia already park their behind back in Syria. And Israel went banana over several Russian ship with supply.

Israel is still paying down the cost of last Lebanon war. A new massive bombing isn't going to help their military budget. (hell, Israel can't even afford blockading Lebanon on their own dime. Why is that anyway? still having integration problem with that old ship I guess?)



what is also interesting is that the saudi embassy has urged their citizens to exit lebanon asap. and it appears that more nations are also sending exit calls to their citizens to exit lebanon asap. could the idf be up to something as in possibly another incursion into lebanon or could they be also looking at syria? hizbollah is now more powerful than they were in 06 when israel got stupid and thought that their lebanon incursion at that time was going to be a cake walk. if israel tries it again, from what i can see, hizbollah will have some suprises waiting for the idf they haven't even imagined that hizbollah could pull off. hmmmm........



Ben Gurion recognised its importance enough to demand it be part of the new Israel.

Dayan recognised its importance by designing a plot for the specific purpose of taking it.

And if you do some research into Israels current water situation you may find the notion not so easy to dismiss.

Mark Pyruz

It's an empty game of posturing, similar to the more exaggerated version that continues to be played out in the Persian Gulf.


The Bush regime seems to have an obsession with overextending the US military.


Mo: I am still hard pressed to see how an incursion into Lebanon will be possible without the extraction of the UNIFIL forces...

William R. Cumming

Lebanon! Interesting state created to allow the French a piece of Syria in the post WWI world. Okay this is out of the box but it seems that partition of Lebanon might make sense. What use is it to the world to have a playground for terrorist and sub-state actors. Give Syria its path to the mediterran sea and give Israelis the southern portion below Litani River. Of course this needs to be a package with iron-clad guarantees about religious freedom, full citizenship and NO repeat NO military positions within the former Lebanon. Essentially have ratified by UN and violations enforced by designated nations. I would put the Turks at the top of the list. It would help their economy and it is time they grow up and participate in helping police the part of the Islamic world that supports sub-state terrorists of course under UN supervision. Hey, we need the Paris of the eastern med back again. Make it an international tax free zone welcoming of all religions and political beliefs except for exclusion of those who violate the law or are sub-state terrorists. Perhaps an international police force. Syria does need a window on the med and Israel needs security. All must be internationally recognized. And the US should bite the bullet and guarantee this agreement and assist with foreign aid. Whatever is necessary to promote mid-eastern peace.

Leila Abu-Saba

William Cumming - Syria has plenty of frontage on the Mediterranean Sea. Look at your map north of Lebanon. Josh Landis of Syria Comment is the son-in-law of a Syrian admiral. (Amir al ma', I recently read, Prince of the water)

Any attempt to "give" South Lebanon to the Israelis will cause great suffering and death for all the parties affected. No Lebanese in South Lebanon wants Israel to take our land.

And if such a scheme were carried out (how?), what is Israel supposed to do with the indigenous Lebanese and the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in South Lebanon if it is "given" S. Lebanon below the Litani? Those Israelis have enough trouble with the three million Palestinians they effectively control in the West Bank and the indigenous Israeli Arabs they've got inside the '67 borders.

Unless you are one of those maniacs who likes to talk of transfer - as some do on the Israeli side. Boxcars I assume, and concentration camps, and tattoos on arms to keep track of the population being transferred. It has been done but it takes a level of organization I don't think the Israelis possess. In the end even the biggest attempted transfer/extermination project in human history could not expunge every trace of its intended victims.

It would be Israel's graveyard.

Who the hell are you to go giving land to people because they whine for it? It's more rational to give half of California, from Sonoma to the S. D. border, back to Mexico. At least Mexico actually had a claim to lower California before 1849.

Read Uri Avnery's latest, posted at Tony Karon.

Israel can kill hundreds or thousands of Palestinians in this possible Gaza incursion, but Israel will end by negotiating with Hamas. Giving parts of Lebanon to Israel? A vicious pipe dream. You might as well fantasize about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


I'm not sure you can reason with a neocon, though, at a certain point it's more about their personality disorder than a lack of sound judgement, or intellect.

So it's a bit of a quandary.

Syria is doing the right thing for itself, by not dealing publicly with Bush and Cheney, why bother, no real progress would be made, as the two are inferior. In some sense, Syria seems to have the upper hand, recognizing any battle would result in internecine warfare. Too bad Cheney's advisers aren't as bright.

I wonder if Putin is assisting Syria?

But everyone has their own agenda anyway, and very little of it seems to do with mid- east stability.


We simply disagree on the UN's mandate. You believe they are there to keep the peace I believe they will never fire a shot at an Israeli. If Israel attacks, UNIFIL will revert to being observers in my opinion. But, I would be overjoyed if you were to be proved right and I proved wrong.

William R.,
I presume your ideas are not saracasm, but if they are consider me to have bitten.
The Lebanese are socially, culturally and idealistaclly very different to the Syrians. The country may be hewn from a Syrian state topographically recently, but historically has always been different.

Give Syria a path to the Med? Syria has its own Mediterranean coast sir.
Give the Israelis the Southern half? If it wasn't for the "sub state" actors they would have it and then some. Your ideas, like so many before them take everyones needs into account but the Lebanese. And as long as the ideas ignore Lebanese wishes, we will continue to support our "sub state actors" above our so called "state actors" every day.


"Lebanon! Interesting state created to allow the French a piece of Syria in the post WWI world. Okay this is out of the box but it seems that partition of Lebanon might make sense. What use is it to the world to have a playground for terrorist and sub-state actors. Give Syria its path to the mediterran sea and give Israelis the southern portion below Litani River."

This is disgusting. Yes, who cares about the Lebanese. Obviously not you. In fact, you seem to think the Lebanese are the same as Syrians. I suppose the whole Middle East is simply one homogenous Arab population? Not to mention your ignorance of geography: Syria already has access to the Mediterranean! But you would rather sell out an entire country, thus letting the Syrian autocracy achieve its goals completely, at the cost of the freedom of an entire country.

And why even talk about giving Lebanese land to Israel? They don't want it! You are really out to lunch here, it's incredible.

The OP and all the comments have distinctly ignored the desires of Lebanese to be independent, something they have been pushing for ever since the Syrian army finally left. I really don't see what there is to gain by letting Syria get absolutely whatever it wants, at no cost, and while it constantly threatens the stability of the region. What kind of behaviour are you rewarding? Not to mention the utter lack of regard for the Lebanese themselves. Disgusting.

different clue

Doesn't Syria already have
a Mediterranean coastline, with port cities like Tartus, Latakia, etc.? (Just my memory of course..)

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