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08 May 2008


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João Carlos

PL wrote:
"We live in interesting times."

I believe that "may you live in interesting times" is an ancient chinese curse.

And I guess that our future chinese master lords are laughing a lot about our stupidity and how we want to give them soon the world dominace. "We" be understood as "western civilization".

It is time for I learn mandarim and read Confucious...

... because other chinese curse is "may you find what you are looking for".

João Carlos

sorry the bad english, my native langauge is portuguese... but I swear to our chinese master lords I will learn mandarim better.


I think its a little more than that. They are trying to draw Hizballlah into a war. They want them to use their arms so that they can no longer be seen as a resistance but as a militia. So they can bunch up all the propaganda they have been spewing and say "see we told you".

If they want a war the question is what do they then expect when Hizballah starts handing it to them? Is the US Cavalry come to the rescue? Will the British, French and Italians form a coalition (of the not so willing I would guess)?

Militarily, who is going to risk taking them on?

There is more to this than just a war I think. Haven't had the time yet to fully think through the possible end game they have planned and whether, at some point, Olmert will try to save his premiership by launching another attack on Lebanon.

The required result is still the same. A powerless Lebanon that is pliable to discussing the re-routing of the Litani.

Do they really think that if they get rid of Hizballah nothing will take its place? Is that what they thought about Fatah when they built up Hamas? Is that what they about the PLO when the had them removed from Lebanon?

This is either the end of the beginning or beginning of the end. For whom? lets watch and see. I know who my money is on.

Patrick Lang


The worst case is civil war in Lebanon followed by Israeli war against Syria (necessary since UN forces are in the way in Lebanon. Remember the French have brought a lot of equipment this time)Left hook from syria into Lebanon. No US participation unless a "crisis" with Iran emerges. pl


It must be wonderful to be like Cheney and see the world as a big game of Chess, with everything known and quantifiable. Actually, it's more like the Chess variant of Kriegspiel, in which both players are out of sight of each other and must guess at the moves made by the other. A Referee is required to keep them from making moves rendered impossible by the actual positions of the unseen pieces. But of course Cheney sees no need for an Referee, since he knows it all and has a track record to prove it--Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon II, Somalia. . .

This week PBS aired their "Frontline" documentary on President George H.W. Bush. (Who apparently didn't invade Panama, since it was never mentioned.) But both James Baker and Brent Scowcroft had similar moments in their interviews when they trumped the carping criticism for not "going on to Baghdad" during Gulf War I. Baker said with an indecent degree of relish, "Well guess what? Nobody ever asks me that anymore."

A Left Hook through Syria into Lebanon? Where have I heard that before? Ah yes, the old Schlieffen Plan for going through neutral Belgium to get into France--thereby guaranteeing that Great Britain would be drawn into the war. Yeah, that worked out real great, didn't it? "Ja, the Belgians will accept our benevolent occupation without firing a shot, while the British will never go to war over a mere scrap of paper--and if they do, so much the better, we'll simply brush the Tommies aside." Kriegspiel.


It certainly does seem that we are approaching the Neo-con/Cheneyite endgame.

I imagine after the dismal Israeli performance in the 2006 Summer War with Hezbollah, that the Israeli's would prefer to not have to deal with them again. A two front war is much more manageable. Syria and Hamas.

Bush has re-upped sanctions on Syria too...

Col. Lang, just how firm is the mutual defense pact between Syria and Iran?

If it is firm, the US is waiting in the wings to implement the recently declared Clinton strategy of bombing Iran to defend Israel.

1968 was the summer of love. 2008 is the summer of Armageddon.



ok wait, a good number of Lebanese army is stuck in the southern border.

Last refugee camp siege, it took them months to get rid of small group of radicals.

Now they want war with Hezbollah?

I give Siniora 3 weeks to survive once Hezbollah go to civil war mode in earnest.

It would be interesting if Hezbollah will increase the threat slowly forcing Bush to enter Lebanon, opening third front in ME war.

I for one think Hezbollah will play that game. expand Siniora political capital and force Bush to play in Lebanon. Once Bush is in, the entire middle east will just sloshed around out of control.


Mr. Lang, I'm having trouble figuring out how Olmert's government being threatened is connected to Cheney's visit and the "seekret" Israeli nuke evidence.



Cheney probably has a 'things I need to get done before I leave office' list..



How long would a civil war really last? I doubt long enough this time to give the Israelis a cover to attack Syria and remember the Israelis always need an "excuse" to attack so they can claim to be the good guys.

Do you really believe the French, Hariris allies, would stand in the way of an Israeli attack on Hizballah? I dont buy it.

The March14th decision to order the dismantling of the communication network is a win-win for them. Hizballah allows it, they are weakened. They dont allow it, they are fighting the state and are proving they want to build a state within a state. I dont think they quite expected this heavy a response from Hizballah.


My only comment would be that the coffers are empty in the US. The Ponzi scheme that the plutocrat friends of Zion have rigged ever since Sandy Weil and Chuck Prince figured out that screwing poor people was the best way to get rich illegally without anybody caring has fallen apart.

An extended military ground campaign by Israel? Pigs will fly first.

My suspicion is that every single thing that possibly can be done is being done to justify dropping the remaining bombs in our arsenal on Iran. It's the typical bully tactic.

Cheney went to the Middle East to try to engineer a casus air campaign.

William R. Cumming

Expect Iran to show its ability to control events in Lebanon. Israelis and US don't. Syria has misplayed its hand and may pay a big price for doing so.

Patrick Lang


That's easy. You just have to think like Cheney. Olmert is willing to make peace with Syria Cheney does not want that. He wants regime change in Syria. Israel is his best instrument for doing that. Cheney wants Iran and Syria to remain tightly ties together in the US public's eye so as to make war against them both plausible. The Iran NIE is an embarassment to the desired image of the "existential threat" to the US posed by the Iran-Syria combo. therefore the "seekret" evidence is a sine qua non for the accomplishment of his duty to save the world. The visit? Come on... pl


Bush/Cheney have nine months to establish new facts on the ground in the Middle East. No one is going to negotiate with these lame ducks, so if they hope to do anything, it has to be with air power.

Then the next President can fix the catastrophe in the Middle East, and the economy, and the trade deficit, and peak oil, and global warming...

Apres nous le deluge.


Curious wrote;

" I give Siniora three weeks to survive once Hezbollah go to civil war mode in earnest".

I would take that bet Curious. He has people around him that want him, and his govt, to survive.


Hi Colonel.

I don't think Syria will be inclined to drop its pact with Iran no matter how much of the Golan Israel says it's willing to give back, even if that number is 100%. The Syrians are not dumb. Peace with Israel doesn't guarantee anything, since it's the Palestinian dilemma that is driving events in the Middle East. Even if Syria makes peace with Israel, it'll be at best uneasy until the Bush regime finally goes away (if they ever do). So Syria will be very guarded with any agreement they make. And it will still take months of wrangling to get any kind of deal, and it will probably be implemented in baby steps. These people have been at war for decades. And that's IF it actually happens this time (I'm highly doubtful).

Also, look at what happened when Egypt and Jordan signed peace accords with Israel: nothing. The status quo never changed (except for Jordan and Egypt becoming aligned with the US, especially since the Iraq invasion). The reason it didn't change is because the Palestinian dilemma never got resolved.

My guess is that Israel is merely using this as a front to hide their true intentions, which is an all-out regional war being prepared by Cheney and the rest of the cabal.

I think the part about the secret evidence is plausible and was probably the main reason for Cheney's trip. I think he certainly put pressure on Olmert to rebuke Syria's peace overtures (or at least to make sure the Israelis are staying on script). But Olmert's problems are all his own. Or are you suggesting that the US has that kind of influence in Israeli politics? Doubtful. It's more the other way around.

Quite frankly, it doesn't make sense for Israel to be trying to make peace now. Something else is definitely afoot.

Mo said:

The March14th decision to order the dismantling of the communication network is a win-win for them.

Hardly. Mini Hariri is already backing down. This will like end up as a huge embarassment for March 14, unless it unintentionally escalates out of control, which is a significant possibility right around now.

William R. Cumming said:

Syria has misplayed its hand and may pay a big price for doing so.

How so?


This is interesting - Hezbollah's private C2 network is worth risking civil war over? Apparently so, Nasrallah said in his speech it's the "most important part" of its resistance. ISTM Hezbollah could have opposed this move some other way than than the violence they're fomenting which includes attempts to raid Hariri offices, if the latest reports are accurate.

But maybe that's the point. Hezbollah's raison d'erte is purportedly "resistance" to Israel - without an enemy, what exactly is Hezbollah's purpose? ISTM Hezbollah has as much incentive - if not more - as Cheney to derail any agreement between Syria and Israel.



I just read this comment on another blog (syriacomment.com):

"Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said he would be willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel in exchange for the Golan Heights, but categorically refused peace if the condition was to end relations with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

In an interview with an Italian magazine, Assad said preliminary talks for real negotiations with Israel were underway. The Syrian president added that they awaited the election of the new American president."

Not sure of the source but it pretty much confirms what I already knew to be the case.

Patrick Lang


Why should Syria cut off relations with Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah in order to make peace with Israel? Those are all entities with which the Israelis need to make peace. A Syrian/Israeli peace would be much less useful if the Syrians walk away from those groups. Try to shake loose of the demonization propaganda.


The same goes for you. Hizbullah are not devils just because you have been told endlessly that they are. They are an authentic political force in Lebanon. You think the Hariris; hands are clean in the remnaissance Italy political game in Lebanon? They are not.

I think it is the broadcast TV and radio network that Hizbullah runs that the governemnt is trying to shut down. I Lebanon every political group has its own media operations. The government licenses them.

The "government" of Lebanon is just another political faction in that country. pl


Richard Whitman

Lets remember that Nasrallah is a bold thinker. I do not believe that he will play defence if Israel invades Syria or southern Lebanon. Look for a bold strike by Hisbullah to invade and occupy northern Israel down to Haifa while the bulk of the IDF is occupied eastward.


I think the following report is useful in trying to understand what may be unfolding here:

Beating the Drums of a Broader Middle East War
Israel, Syria, and Lebanon Prepare the "Home Fronts"

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya


An excerpt:

"...On April 8, 2008 Bernard Kouchner, France’s top diplomat and head of the French Foreign Ministry, revealed that Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq the individual who was a star witness in the Hariri Assassination and a source for claims of Syrian involvement in the event had disappeared while he was under French protection. Even more significant, Bernard Kouchner also proclaimed that “Hezbollah” was no longer “a domestic issue for Lebanon.” The implications of this statement carry significant indications.

Monsieur Kouchner additionally announced that the weapons that Hezbollah carried were also a serious international concern. The ground was being paved for NATO’s active involvement in Lebanon. Hezbollah was being targeted through the internationalization of concerns over its arms. What was being implied in Paris was that international action should be taken against Hezbollah.

The statements of U.S. and Coalition representatives in Iraq, such as General Petraeus, about the involvement of Hezbollah in attacks against U.S. and Coalition troops and claims that Hezbollah is training Iraqi militias inside Iran also serve this purpose. [23]

Just a few days after the statements by Bernard Kouchner the head of the disputed Lebanese government, Fouad Siniora, asserted in close proximity to Israeli and Syrian war preparations and the renewed American pressure on Iran that the time for internal dialogue was over in Lebanon. Foud Siniora made the announcement while the Parliamentary Speaker of Lebanon, Nabih Berri, was in Damascus meeting with Syrian officials as part of a diplomatic tour of Arab capitals to get Arab League support for new intra-Lebanese political dialogue.

The Third Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighbouring Countries of Iraq, which was held in Kuwait, was also related to Lebanon. The international conference hosted by the Kuwaitis on April 22, 2008 involved much more international players than just the neighbours of Iraq and its scope included the whole Middle East.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, and several other Arab states all pushed ahead with an agenda to internationalize the political deadlock in Lebanon and to present Hezbollah as an international concern too. In league with these efforts to internationalize Hezbollah as a global problem the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also released a report claiming that Hezbollah was an international problem. All these events were part of the brinkmanship for internationalizing Hezbollah as a threat and eventually justifying U.S. and NATO intervention in Lebanon.

The efforts to internationalize Hezbollah as a menace also entered a new phase in Lebanon too. The Hariri-led March 14 Alliance, which effectively forms the Lebanese government, declared that it would take legal action in May, 2008 against Hezbollah because of a camera network monitoring Lebanon’s main airport and a vital parallel security telecommunications network setup by the group. These internal efforts against Hezbollah were executed through the coordination of the March 14 Alliance with U.S. and Saudi Arabian diplomats in Beirut....."

David W.

iirc, I think the communications network they are referring to is the closed circuit network that Hizbullah used during the last Israeli war, which Israel was unable to compromise.

While Hizb has public support, they are treading a thin line with their civil disruptions. I think some agents provocateurs will be circulating, in attempt to 'stir the pot' in the street. While that will make the news, I still think the country as a whole is sick and tired of war, probably limiting the conflagrations.

I agree that Nasrallah has a cool hand, and if he's smart, he will keep his forces on the straight and narrow, knowing that shadowy forces are trying to lure them out and into open conflict.

It's being billed in the media as the 'US backed' Lebanese govt vs. the Iranian (note the switch from Syrian)-backed Hezbollah, which makes clear who Uncle Sam is backing--the funny thing is, Saad Hariri is clearly not his father, just a playboy scion (and he's nowhere near Lebanon right now), while Nasrallah is a homegrown leader of a popular movement. Where have we seen this before?

I have no idea what is in store for Lebanon, or the region, except for more chaos. The consolation I see is that the 'superpowers' are extending and exerting themselves for a bridge too far, and are doomed to end in failure--though not before wreaking havoc and bloodshed.

Mark Gaughan

Cheney is making an awful lot of money. Lots of folks are.


Col. Lang,

Where did I say Hezbollah are devils or that they're not a legitimate political force? That legitimacy does not, in my mind, excuse their actions and make it acceptable to respond violently the way they have and block access to a national asset like the airport. As the most powerful faction in Lebanon they can just as easily give the central "government" the middle finger instead of overreacting the way they have. And so far I've seen nothing about his media outlets - everything I've read so far points to Hezbollah's private military land-line network as the point of contention.

Maybe you are right and this telecom kerfluffle was instigated by Cheney - That Nasrallah rose to such easy bait only shows his capacity for strategic blunder for which many of his constituents and non-Hezbollah Lebanese may have to pay.

As for Syria, unless I've missed something, Hezbollah still opposes any peace with Israel so they can hardly be supportive of any rapprochement between the two. So it would seem they have every interest in preventing such a deal.


Colonel, ostensibly, the network they are trying to shut down is for communication only between field and command.

However, Israel knocked out every transmitter it could find in 2006 to try and stop Al Manar and AL Nour from broadcasting but were never able to. I think you've just let the world know why.


You got to learn a lot about Lebanese politics. Mini-Hariris statement was intentionally laid out to the casual listener to be a compromise. However look at it again and you will see it includes spoilers that the opposition was never going to accept. Old tricks are still the best.

Leila Abu-Saba

I thought that the communications network Hizbullah runs is integral to their defense? That they bested the Israelis because they were hacking into communications and using multiple cel phones, text messaging, etc.? THey know all the wadis and caves and back hills goat paths, but they also have a good handle on the communications to coordinate while negotiating wadis, caves and goat paths. Maybe somebody said this above and I missed it. Seems to me that the mere TV and radio station are small potatoes compared to the communications network.

And I'm guessing that while the cel phones etc. are important, Hizbullah has a back-up plan for communication. I have no knowledge of this. I'm just speculating. I would be surprised if they didn't have multiple ways to get information around, up to and including messages sealed inside of watermelons shipped in produce trucks. Sounds like I'm kidding but I'm not.

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