« Habakkuk on Sir John Scarlett et al | Main | Qustioning the Value of Our Culture - ? »

08 May 2008

Comments

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

Leila Abu-Saba

Worst case for the Lebanese (and Palestinians in Lebanon, and all the other foreign nationals esp. the servants) is civil war in Lebanon. Does Cheney really think civil war in Lebanon is a bad thing for anybody American? Madame Secretary with her birth pangs? How is civil war a worst case scenario? It's a heartbreaker for me personally but I don't see that America's government thinks civil war in LEbanon is any worse than gunfire in Oakland, St. Louis, Houston or any other murder zone in the USA.

Patrick Lang

All

Hizbullah's C2 network is heavy with redundant channels and most of it is buried cable, a lot of it fiber optic. The government has no real chance of doing enough to that to cripple tactical/strategic communications.

For the Cheney/M14/jacobins nothing, I say nothing is as important as the ability to control public access to information. Propaganda. Propaganda. Propaganda. What they have done to the US they seek to do everywhere. pl

Jose

Maybe we all missed the point, since it is now Israel that refuses to negotiate peace with anyone under any circumstances (Hamas, Fatah, Syria, all the factions in Lebanon), why not start a war to make the Middle East accept the Israeli-neocon ideology by force?

Worked well in Iraq...

He [the general] changes his methods and alters his plans so that people have no knowledge of what he is doing -- Sun Tzu

Col, the left-hook through Syria would not be as effective as in the past, everyone saw what Hizzbollah did, everyone will be ready for it (more anti-armor missles, some air-defense missles) and the manuver could be interesting time for Israel.

Expect no US help...

So when the front is prepared, the rear is lacking, and when the rear is prepared the front is lacking. Preparedness on the left means lacks on the right, preparedness on the right means lack on the left. Preparedness everywhere means lack everywhere. --Sun Tzu

Clifford Kiracofe

Seems to me if we are looking at a rerun of 2002-03 then among the indicators would be:

1. The Israelis launching some forceful operations against Syria-Lebanon as Col Lang notes.

2. This action triggers mass hysteria mongering in the US "press." Support is built up for Israel's crack down against "terrorism" and "terrorist states" in the print media and radio and tv.

3. This provides the backdrop for hysterical speeches of undying support for Israel by Congressmen and Senators. Condemnation of "terrorist states" and the like pours forth. Iran is further demonized.

4. The annual AIPAC conference in DC in June is volcanic. Iran is further demonized.

5. The Bush Administration moves to war -- limited "stikes" or whatever -- against the demon Iran.

Public opinion has been well prepared. Plus an added extra is that it fits "Reverend" Hagee's Dispensationalist End Times Scenario. Got to go after those Medo-Persians now that Babylon has been reduced. Oh joy.

Walrus

Re your last comment Col. Lang,

Exactly how long is this blog going to exist if the bright light it shines on various cockroaches begins to irritate them?

Curious

" 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. // Posted by: jonst | 08 May 2008 at 04:28 PM "

I am sure Bush can Fly him out of Beirut or put him in some secure bunker until things cool down. But what good is having him around then?

( weasle words, I think the current shoot out is not full blow civil war yet. Just show of force between Hezbollah and Siniora)

My sense from pictures and random chatters, what happens in Beirut right now is pure show of force. A lot of shooting, but nobody dies. (after 2 days?)

random pictures. more like city riot than urban war.
http://news.bostonherald.com/news/international/middle_east/view.bg?articleid=1092689

My first thought: who will blink first. (who controls the borders, and which group has bigger economic base.)

Also: Bush seems ok with all these. Standard statements so far instead of erratic tantrum. So he sees this coming. Where is Condi? hmmm...

Syria, Iran and Israel are all silent.

Patrick Lang

Walrus

you mistake me for someone else.

Jose

You write to say that something or other makes you think I was in MI branch. I guess you mean that in some obscurely offensive way. Be more clear. pl

Walrus

The thought has just come to mind that we are witnessing probing attacks at the instigation of Cheney against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Sadr in Iraq.

There would be a certain rationality to this if you hoped to gauge likely Iranian response as well as the likely forces necessary to land a knockout blow to either organisation.

Is this a possibility?

mo

Seems that all predictions of how long it would take Hizballah to win a civil war were somewhat exaggerated.

All of Beirut taken in just under 12 hours. Jumblatt has officialy asked Berri for protection and escort to leave Beirut.

TomB

GSB, arbogast, JohnH and abraham (and indeed everyone):

Is it misreading your comments to say that you feel it is more likely than not that either the U.S. and/or Israel will attack Iran's nuke facilities before Bush is gone?

I'm kinda trying to take a little poll of people who post here who are willing to express a definite ("yes/no", unhedged) opinion on the matter and I just want to make sure I'm understanding your posts. (And am interested in hearing from anyone else who's got a yes/no opinion on the narrow question as well.)

Cheers,

londanium

The BBC is reporting this AM that "government forces" have now surrendered to Hizbullah. Awaiting confirmation of this via other sources. If true, I doubt that was in the original script though.

Overnight, Hizbullah appear to have "taken" the Future Movement offices in West Beirut and closed down their media outlets. Comment from BBC correspondent in Beirut was that there was nothing to stop Hizbullah from "taking" parliament if they chose to do so.

IF H were so interested, I doubt that Siniora could last 24 hours.

All in all, it strikes me as a colossal miscalculation by Siniora/M14 - if you're going to do something provocative you better be sure that your guys will actually fight if it comes down to that.

Political endgame to this will be humiliating for M14....President Aoun will then enter from stage left.

blowback

I wouldn't even give the Siniora government three weeks, one week tops!

If Dick Cheney, David Welch and Jeffrey D. Feltman really thought that Hariri's poseurs could take on and defeat Hezbollah then Douglas Feith has just lost his crown as "the stupidest fucking guy on the planet".

Olmert's offer of the Golan was a negotiating ploy to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran that anyone with the slightest intelligence could see from a mile off. Not only is the IDF "a bunch of arrogant pricks" now Israeli diplomats are as well.

It looks increasingly like the "intelligence" about the North Korean/Syrian "reactor" was to discredit the US NIE that claimed that Iran had had no nuclear weapon program since 2003 and support the "intelligence" that the Israelis are pimping around with the help of John "The Whore" Scarlett.

As for NATO intervention in Lebanon, forget about it. The British will stay out because Gordon Brown is in deep trouble and the British Army is grossly over-extended. The French will stay out because Sarkozy is in deep trouble. The Germans will stay out because any involvement in combat will have to be approved by the German parliament. That leaves the Italians (hahaha), the Poles and the Spanish - not a chance.

pbrownlee

If this is even partly true, there could be some pretty fireworks and much mendacity ahead:

"So the future of Lebanon remains – as it did in 2006 – in the hands of the United States and Iran. Just as the Israelis constantly warn of war, so the Hizbollah still promises revenge for the car-bomb murder of its former intelligence officer Imad Mougnieh in Damascus in February. Regularly, the Israelis warn that they will respond to attacks but that they will 'choose the moment and the place and the means'.

"And sure enough – following the Hizbollah's pattern of using Israel's own words – Nasrallah said on 24 March that the Hizbollah would 'choose the moment and the place and the means' to retaliate for Mougnieh's death.

"And each month, the Hizballoh improves its new bunkers north of the Litani. Some now sprout aerials but they may be 'dummies' for Israel's pilots to attack. Deep underground telephone land-lines have been laid to those which are visible and to those others which are beneath the surface. The Hizbollah learned a lot from the 2006 war. Then its secret bunkers were air-conditioned with beds and kitchens attached. But when Israeli troops discovered a handful of them, they also found copies of their own Israeli air force reconnaissance photographs, complete with Hebrew markings.

"The Hizbollah had obviously bribed or blackmailed Israeli border guards for the pictures – from which they could tell at once which bunkers the Israelis had identified and which remained unknown to them.

"Which is how, in 2006, its guerrillas sat safely through days of air bombardment in the latter, while allowing the Israelis to blitz the 'known' fortresses to their hearts' content. Who knows if the Hizbollah has not since collected a new batch of photographs for the coming months?"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fisk/hizbollah-turns-to-iran-for-new-weapons-to-wage-war-on-israel-805763.html?service=Print

Also:

http://projects.vassar.edu/punch/hires1.html

I'd say "the British gentlemen" (sic) is actually John Bull.

Patrick Lang

All

Once again the Bush Administration and the beureaucrat toadies who support its fantasies have misunderstood reality in the ME.

They imagined that the force that fought the IDF to a standstill in '06 could be pushed by the March 14 government to give up anything outside the context of a compromise?

Worse than a crime - Stupid. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

1. An interesting piece from the Guardian:

"...Thus, even though the US has recently spent tens of millions of dollars arming and training elements of the Lebanese army, and especially the pro-March 14 internal security forces, the balance of power (as was the case in Gaza) rests with the opposition as a whole, and Hizbullah specifically. ...

"At the worst moments, policy was directed by a narrowing band of hardline neoconservatives in the Bush White House, most prominently Elliott Abrams, who are still reportedly trying to steer the course for Lebanon they dubbed early on as "the Cedar Revolution."

Unfortunately, as the events of the past 48 hours suggest, the policy of neglect and occasional direct confrontation by the US, in particular, has provided neither peace nor victory for the Lebanese, the region or the US for that matter. Instead, one is left with the impression that an outgoing group of Bush administration officials feel compelled to desperately force their last remaining "mission accomplished," even as it slips further away."
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/nicholas_noe/2008/05/a_dangerous_strategy.html

2. Marion,

Good quote, thanks. Particularly interesting was "The efforts to internationalize Hezbollah as a menace also entered a new phase in Lebanon too...These internal efforts against Hezbollah were executed through the coordination of the March 14 Alliance with U.S. and Saudi Arabian diplomats in Beirut....."

Per the nonentity Kouchner, I was told last year by informed French friends that Sarko was contemplating originally a well known French diplomat for the job. But the French Zionist Lobby put massive pressure on Sarko behind the scenes against the choice of this diplomat because he was too "anti-American and pro-Arab." Kouchner the non-entity was placed into the slot as filler while the heavy lifting is done by former Amb. to the US Levitte who advises Sarko directly.

3. Hizbullah and Iran: isn't it true that the Shia of Lebanon and the Persians have had close relations for say about 500 years, since the beginning of the Safavid period? Aren't some of the same families part of this mix over the centuries?

4. Why is it that the US press suppresses coverage and explanations of General Aoun, his policy, and the Lebanese CHRISTIAN population generally. How many Americans are aware that there is for the time being a political alliance between Shia and Christians-Aoun? Doesn't fit the Christian Zionist cult's objectives?

5. The White House cleverly uses the phrase "elected government" when referring to the March 14 crowd. To the American ear used to a Presidential system, "government" implies the WHOLE Federal structure. For those used to Parliamentary forms, "government" implies the Cabinet Ministry of the day. President Bush does not refer to the PRESIDENT of Lebanon often, as this would raises issues in the American ear about the nature of the "government." Nor are there many references to the Constitutional-political situation/impasse...just the "elected government" of Lebanon.

6. Raising the temperature in Lebanon by the US (and its allies like Saudi Arabia which created/"made" and runs the Harriri family, yes?) plays right into the script of:

1) increased tensions and "threats" sparking

2) a "brave" Israeli response against "terrorists" and "terrorist states", ie slaughtering innocents and smashing via air strikes billions of dollars of valuable infrastructure as we saw per Lebanon. This then warms up the scene for

3) AIPAC generated hysteria and

4) hysteria peddled by the "news" media. In turn, this leads to Congressional "outrage" and undying support for the Zionist entity. Fifty million Christian Zionist Americans "pray for Israel." [silly but useful goy...]

5) America provides world "leadership" its Leader ordering military attacks against Iran of one kind or another: small, medium or large.

6) In a frenzy of "patriotism" McCain is positioned for election because he would be a good "War President" and "Leader." (Fuehrer Pinzep.) Provided he does not have some physical or neural health breakdown amidst all this stress. But he could be patched up like Cheney perhaps and his precious bodily fluids pumped up with some chemicals (ups, downs, whatever) like the Xanax cowboy we know.

7) Cheney's stents hold in place long enough to retire back to Halliburton (now based out of the US in UAE) and make more blood money. Thus placed, he can purchase a larger farm in Maryland on the Eastern Shore, or seek wider more cosmopolitan horizons. His daughter Liz gets richer servicing Middle Eastern clients....

8) Bush returns to Crawford to pray for the End Times.

zanzibar

In previous threads here on the Lebanon I pondered aloud if there would be a scenario where HA would have to fight a two front war - the IDF coming in a frontal assault and the Hariri/Saudi militias attacking their rear.

It looks like they may be taking care of the latter scenario.

The Cheney "miscalculation" in the ME is costing us dearly. We are going to have show much more than good faith when we ultimately sit down with our so called adversaries there. Is our credibility so damaged that we will not be able to play the role of honest broker and guarantor in the Israel/Palestine conflict?

William R. Cumming

Responding to Abraham! Syria misplayed its hand by utilizing N.Korean nuclear assistance. No one, I mean no nation-state in the Middle-EAST, including Iran and Turkey wants a nuclear capable Syria with it history of grandiosity and lack of skill in the affairs of Nation States. It has never lived up to its ambitions and never will without fundamental reforms but still a trouble maker. Iranian foreign policy is very subtle and very capable. More capable than the US, Russia, or Israel even. Look how they have historically played Soviet/Russian relationships. Ask the Russians about Iranian skills! Iranians are MASTERS at getting everyone else to do their dirty work. MASTERS historically at court intrigue which even now affects the MULLAHS. Map and track Shia interests throughout the middle east and the answers to many questions are available. Shias far more patient than the Sunnis and likely the future for ISLAM. Even though ISLAM is a foreign religion for IRANIANS they have locked Shia interests into their own long-term interests and arrangements with neighbors and more. By the way what open source material or academic study from ISLAMIC world in English is most current on Shia/Sunni split? There are at least two major ISLAMS and maybe 25-50!

David W.

The news I've gotten from inside Lebanon is that Hizb took over Future TV (m14) and burned it down, taking over the broadcast tv networks This is a major step of comm control, (however, the phones are still working--at least for now). Further, they have put pictures of Assad up all over the place. Perhaps Lebanon's importance to Syria's game has been overshadowed by the news-trendy 'Iranian influence?'

I've heard that Sleiman will be appointed President, however, since Hizb has withdrawn from the govt., I'm not sure what effect this will have. So far, the Christians have stayed on the side, and that's helping to keep a lid on things for now, but could break at any time. I doubt that Aoun is coming back as President, though he may be dusting off his old General's uniform. Same for Geagea and his militia. I think the latter is more likely to get involved on the ground. (Don't forget Geagea visited the White House a few weeks ago--per Mo, he may be the WH's 'Mohammed Dahlan of Lebanon')

Nasrallah has taken control/hostage of Beirut. While i'm sure that war plans are being drawn up everywhere, any combat plan is going to be a Pyrrhic one, because I don't see any way of taking out Hizb without destroying the fabric of Lebanon. Smarter heads would negotiate, but that seems to be a denigrated option.

My Lebanese wife just says, 'screw Hizbullah,' but at this point, they are the ones doing the screwing, and I don't see that changing.

Curious

It seems Hezbollah has won the opening move.

1. they successfully frozen the city (road blog every 30 feet). No traffic. It's all foot fight. They control the street now.

2. Hezbollah seems to have mild support, or at least the public isn't terribly angry at them

3. No large casualties are reported.

4. Hezbollah methodically cutting all Siniora's equipments and facilities (airport, TV/radio/paper, locking down supporters)

5. Military seems to stay out of this at the moment. (I doubt they want to duke it out with Hezbollah, after they won against Israel)

6. Italy is confused (announcing evac plan). Bush is staying low (surprisingly. I wonder if he write of Siniora already)

----

all in all, this start to look like the beginning of successful Hezbollah coup. 5 days and they control Beirut streets + shutting down Siniora press offices.

Israel can't cross the border into Lebanon with UNIFIL maintaining firm line under UN mandate.

Will Israel rethink UNIFIL? Hezbollah practically turn the UNIFIL role to their advantage, by isolating Israel out of Lebanon politics.

jamzo

good timing for this post

this am NYT front page features article reporting

"Shiite Militias Seize Beirut Neighborhoods"

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/world/middleeast/10lebanon.html?hp

they decry the power hezbollah has over the government "majority" and they describe shiite militias joyfully driving through the streets firing guns

"The latest clashes erupted after Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said the government had declared war by threatening to shut down the group’s private telephone network, which officials considered a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty."

After Mr. Nasrallah’s speech, Mr. Hariri proposed a deal to end the fighting and called the government’s decision on the telephone network a misunderstanding."...

Mr. Hariri said the decision should be left up to the army command, effectively taking it out of the government’s hands. He also urged the immediate election of the army commander, Gen. Michel Suleiman, as president and the convening of a national dialogue among the rival factions. "...

"Mr. Nasrallah, speaking at a news conference via a video link, said the telephone network, which connects Hezbollah’s officials, military commanders and emplacements, was a vital part of the group’s military infrastructure. "

counterpunch also had a blog entry

Street Notes from the Hamra District

http://www.counterpunch.org

"As in the July 2006 war, one gets the impression that Hezbollah fighters prefer to depend on each other and fight in small groups and not hang around with Palestinians, Marxists etc. or even Amal fighters in close proximity. (There are no Palestinians to my knowledge involved in the current 'situation')."...

"It is difficult to avoid the tentative conclusion as of the moment that Hezbollah owns Lebanon and will not be dislodged by force. Again they insist that all they want is a fair share of the government and have no interest in "owning" Lebanon. They just are not willing to accept interference with their resistance activities against Israel."...

"It appears in order to calm the atmosphere in Lebanon right now and remove the berms of July 2006 rubble blocking the airport road as well as the evacuation of fighters from West Beirut and the Mountains, the Bush administration must order the reversal of Monday's Lebanese Cabinet decisions. It is widely believed that they ordered them and are responsible to reverse them and to accept a dialogue with the Opposition."...

the political pot continues to boil in the middle east

one week sadr city bubbles with agressive action against sadr's militias

another week controversy over "nuclear reactors" in syrian desert bubbles to the surface

an this week bubbles remind us that their is a continuing political conflict in lebanon

the political pot in the middle east continues to boil

blowback

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday said Hizbullah, backed by Syria and Iran, is killing and injuring innocent civilians in Lebanon. Rice added that the Shiite movement is trying to protect its "state-within-a-state." Her statement was read at a State Department briefing Friday.

Nothing like the number that Israel killed in Lebanon in 2006 or since with cluster bombs.

According to Rice, Hizbullah's violence has demonstrated "contempt for its fellow Lebanese."

Nothing like the contempt for the Lebanese that she demonstrated in 2006

She urged Iran and Syria to end their support for Hizbullah. "This support is a reflection of our unshakable commitment to the Lebanese people and their hope for democratic change," Rice said. "We will stand by the Lebanese government and peaceful citizens of Lebanon through this crisis and provide the support they need to weather this storm."

Excuse me while I go and throw up!

mo

David W. , fyi, the future building razed was a secondary building not the actual offices and as I understand it housed a number of m14 militiamen who had been in disagreement with the SSNP who have one of their main offices there. The arson is believed to be the work of those SSNP members.

Montag

PL, in line with your last comment is this quote from an article I can't find again:

"The neo-cons would rather have a war that bled an ally than a peace that rewarded their foes. It's called cutting off your friend's nose to spite his face."

I guess they're so demented that they'd likely consider this latest debacle a win-win situation.

Walrus

It just dawned on me why Hezbollah reacted to the sacking of the airport security chief - he made sure Hezbollahs aviation supply lines stayed open.

mt

Well, that was pretty. If that's the Administration's end game, the end of the Administration can't come soon enough.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

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            
Blog powered by Typepad