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30 December 2013

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The beaver

François Hollande is also meeting with the former Lebanese PM Saad Hariri in Ryad as well as the Syrian opposition leader of the "100 friends of Syria" Ahmad Jarba. They've all converged to Saudi Arabia

Yep France kow-towing to the Arabs, still hoping to make that first sale of the Rafales.

Don Bacon

I believe that the USA and KSA are involved in a conspiracy to destroy Syria, Hezbollah and Iraq because they are chief Iran allies. So the US continues to support anti-Syria forces of whatever stripe, through Amman principally. The aid to Lebanon, with an assist from France, is to destroy Hezbollah. (Good luck on that.) Finally there is the Saudi-supported terrorism in Iraq.

Matthew

Col: Saudi Arabia could go a long way to "defeating" Hezbollah if they made the Lebanese military capable of defending Lebanon. It's kind of hard to argue that Hezbollah are the problem when the Zionists violate Lebanon's airspace daily.

Besides, it will be amusing to watch Hezbollah take these Saudi-financed weapons away from the Lebanese army.

Finally, what are the chances the Russians will finally take action against Saudi Arabia considering the recent Chechen terrorism?

Rd.

"Expect more of this as various little countries seek to demonstrate their domination of American policy. pl "

and they don't stop trying... watch for more economic wrecking coming to a neighborhood near you!!!!!

" Stanley Fischer, the former governor of the Bank of Israel and a mentor to the Federal Reserve’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, is the leading candidate to become vice chairman of the Fed, according to former and current administration officials."

confusedponderer

I think the Israeli moping and demanding vis a vis the US is the most remarkable bit.

There we have Bibi demanding the US to hand over Pollard (with whom the Izzies have screwed the US) as a condition for them to talk to the Palestinians - with whom to talk and make peace with they apparently have so little interest that they need to be bribed to even contemplate it. The gall the man has ... and yet - he has US congressional support!

This deference to all things AIPAC and Israel is nothing short of pathetic. And Americans don't even have inherited guilt as an excuse. The contrary, indeed, no country has given more support, arms or money to Israel in recent years - and to Bibi the problem is that it still isn't enough.

And then there is Pollard himself - a compulsive liar and braggart, fond of cocaine, who violated his oaths, spied on his country, inflicted damage that probably took billions of dollars and years of effort to repair, who accepted a monthly salary for his spying and then, in jail, finds his Jewish faith and becomes a martyr to Israel? Ex post facto rationalisations cannot change what he was and what he did and why he did it.

It speaks volumes about Bibis sense of entitlement, his idea on who's the client here and the luxury that Israeli supremacy and US support afford his regime. And so far he gets away.

The Israelis are currently so strong that they are in no rush to compromise at all, since they are content with and expect more from the status quo. To Israel there simply is no threat from the Palestinians - or any neighbouring state for that matter.

Occasional acts of violence and the rocket fire are mere and distant nuisances for anybody who is not living in the settlement of Sderot, or what was called the village of Naǧd until the Hagana drove its inhabitants to Gaza and levelled the place.

The only real security problem for Israel at the horizon is the trouble they are helping stoke in Syria, and that is another one of their own making and one of their own damn follies.

turcopolier

Matthew

I am very familiar with the Lebanese Army. No amount of equipment will make them an effective fighting force. they shrink in fear from the prospect of an armed confrontation with either Hizbullah or Israel and have refused to occupy the border with Israel for decades. pl

jon

This is the best that Saudi Arabia can come up with to hive off support from Assad? They must be pounding a lot of sand on other fronts.

DC

All indications are that Israel, SA, and others with investments in long-term conflict in the ME intend to wait out the Obama administration. If it were possible any longer to trace campaign contributions, we would know which are the chosen candidates for 2016. The smart money will bet on both sides in order to guarantee a winner; which will most likely occur. Similarly, if Iran is wise, it will quickly comply with disarming nuclear weapons capability; and continue to make investments with Russia, Assad, and (if it hasn't already) U.S. local political races.

turcopolier

DC

"Will additional influence by Pakistan, China, India or Iran put the US in a better or worse circumstance in South Asia?" Why do we need a "situation" in South Asia. we don't own the place. The South Asians own it. pl

CK

Is it not possible that if the Lebanese army were capable of confronting Hezbollah, that they would be able to confront the Israeli army which got a bit of a major defeat by Hezbollah just a few years ago? I just don't see it being in Israel's best interests to have two capable militaries where there had only been one.

turcopolier

CK

IMO they will never be capable of confronting either one. The LA is something like a fancy dress inter-communal party rather than an army. There are several heavily armed government police forces most notably the almost altogether Sunni gendarmerie (grey uniforms)that they call the "quwat dakhilia" they have sizable units like the French gendarmerie on whom they are modeled. Then there is something cslled the "General Security" (knaki uniforms). They are Shia dominated. pl

Jose

Sir, what is your opinion on this article:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.565980

kao_hsien_chih

I think we should send Pollard back, in about 15 different pieces not connected to each other and separately wrapped in bacon, to show that we don't deal with blackmailers.

jonst

I would argue that the sine qua non of any effective fighting force is the willingness to die. (not the rush towards it, but the willingness, if it comes to it)

Hez has it. For the moment. The Taliban have it. The Israelis had it...once, may still have it if pushed, very hard. Many others have it, if pushed. But many do not have it. And all the arms and support in the world can replace that willingness to die. The LA, as the Col has said..repeatedly over the years when the subject comes up, do not have it in them. As was said of them in 76, in the middle of a round of the civil war, waiting for the Lebanese Army is like Waiting for Godot.

This is not automatic insult towards anyone or any organization. Perhaps they--who refuse to die for a 'cause'-- are too sophisticated, too familiar with the useless waste of life for a corrupt cause, that is the hallmark of so many battles. I don't know. Maybe just insight, historical insight, into too many double crosses and sell outs for personal gain, that passed as 'causes'.

Poul

Is there not also a risk that the army would fragment with soldiers loyal to Hizbullah and their allied parties joining various militia with whatever equipment they can "liberate" from army depots.

turcopolier

poul

Yes, there is such a risk. TTG tried to train this army. he can speak to the result but my memory of the thing is that they were fine until called on to fight their tribal enemies or relatives. pl

The Twisted Genius

poul,

I agree there is a continuing risk of fragmentation in the Lebanese armed forces. We were well aware of that risk in 1983 when we began reorganizing, reequipping and training the army. That fragmentation occurred when the Israelis pulled out and the various factional militias made their moves. The 4th brigade was pushed by the Druze and Amal militias and disintegrated. The Druze half defected to Jumblatt and the Christian half retreated behind Israeli lines and was evacuated by sea to Christian sectors in the north. The primarily Christian 8th brigade under Michel fought well at Souk al Gharb against the Druze militia, who also fought well. However they probably wouldn't have fought with much vigor against the Lebanese Forces (the Christian Phalangist militia). A primarily Shia brigade was kept out of the fighting against the Amal militia. The Lebanese know how to fight, but they have their own reasons for doing so. IMO, the primary loyalty of most Lebanese is to their coreligionists rather than to Lebanon. That will always leave questions about who will fight who. Modern equipment alone will not improve that army.

i also believe the Hizbollah forces have little reason to covet any newly equipped Lebanese army. They are already a superbly trained, motivated and disciplined force with equipment matched to their way of fighting.

turcopolier

TTG

Having been a part time member of Lebanese society for ten years in business, I would say that in the main the Lebanese are killers rather than fighters. The Shia militia of Hizbullah are not like that. As you do I consider them to be a capable force. pl

Babak Makkinejad

How could one contemplate strengthening of the Army while neglecting the institutions of the state themselves?

I mean, how can you have an Army that is supposed to defend a state which - in case of Lebanon - was withering away?

Do you know or understand how this policy was adopted by US?

It whiffs of some sort of infantile Bonapartism, or perhaps more accurately of Turko-Pakistani militaris, in which the Army is the State.

Am I missing something here?

confusedponderer

Re: "... the Lebanese are killers rather than fighters."

That's a short and elegant way to describe something so ugly.

Charles I

New car bomb in Haret Hreik, Shiite neighborhood.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/01/02/deadly_blast_hits_hezbollah_area_of_beirut.html

The Twisted Genius

Babak,

I have no idea what, if any, efforts were being made to strengthen the institutions of the state other than the army. I was but a captain and ODA commander and was not privy to the plans beyond the military task at hand. I imagine the same arrogance and ignorance that shaped our botched policies in the ME for at least the last decade were in effect back in 1982-83. Too back we aren't a little quicker in learning from our mistakes. IMO what we are trying to create in the Afghan army is far more shortsighted than what we attempted in Lebanon.

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