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31 July 2015


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Superior races dont think in that way.


I agree that this is basically the same reprisal approach at collective punishment. Kill ten, twenty for every Israeli, no?

In 2006 the Israelis were rudely reminded of their limited ability to go into Lebanon. Being impatiently (and practical) inclined, they don't bother compiling lists or selecting individuals for execution (they do that, too, but on a very limited scale). For reprisal purposes beyond Gaza and the West Bank, they just bomb civilian areras indiscriminately, 'let Allah sort'em out', boast of it ('create deterence') and call the approach the Dahiya doctrine.

Surely the Lebanese People(s) or of Gaza will rise up and overthrow the hated enemy for this severe punishment! No? As it plays out, it rarely worked that way, and those bombed pretty much always tended to blame the bomber for the bombs, not their government, or, in case of Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Well, the basic problem for the Israelis is THAT they kill civilians with intent or reckless disregard, not HOW they do it. It doesn't help their case that reprisal killings of civilians were made illegal after WW-II under international humanitarian law becaue the Nazis and Japanese really overdid it. It's a war crime nowadays.

Alas, Douhet is an Israeli now and the Israelis have bet the bank on his ideas succeeding. Maybe someone should tell them that Douhet has never won a war.

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

Has the Israeli military been REFORMED or REORGANIZED in the face of the last standoff with HIZBULLAH? HAS THE US MILITARY?

Babak Makkinejad

It is too late for that now as we are in a religious war that can no longer be negotiated away.

The best deal they could have was the 99-Year long cease-fire deal with HAMAS.

I do not know if that deal is still on the table.


Do you actually think HAMAS, Hezbollah, the Assads, or the Sepah e Pasdaran would ever make friends with Israel?

Among other things, what would that do to their grips on power?


Col Lang,

How much did the Norcs have to do with training Hezbollah in Light Infantry tactics or constructing Hezbollah bunkers and other defensive positions?

As I understand it, a fair amount.

Abu Sinan

When I worked with the DoD in Europe I knew some Arabic linguists. It is interesting to note that they were required to have a second/back-up language and every Arabic linguist I knew at the time had Hebrew as their second language.


the NORKs training Hezbollah rhymes with 'Axis of Evil' to an extent that I find the proposition unlikely.

Field fortifications, camouflage, employment of rocket artillery and light infantry tactics are basic military competencies. It doesn't take the NORKs to tell Hezbollah about it. So you may understand wrongly.

Isn't Iran with its Quds force (i.e. Iranian Green Gerets, functionally) a much likelier candidate for having trained Hezbollah?

They appear to have a solid reputation as skilled and well trained military professionals. They'd be culturally attuned also just as it would be more plausbible with regard to Shia trusting only Shia.

William R. Cumming

CP! Technically under international law a REPRISAL is conducting an illegal act in response to an illegal act!

Babak Makkinejad

Their power is not dependent on their animus towards Israel; Israelis flatter themselves if they think so.


Animus towards Israel certainly doesn't hurt their grips on power. Among other things, taking shots at Israel tends to be perceived as strength.

On top of that, there is the whole Wahhabis hate Jews thing and the various regional powers' ambitions.


Iran has documented ties to North Korea with regards to training and arms procurement.


fred 82

So, North Korea and Iran are pals, eh? The politics of the surrounding states are a problem, eh? the enmity of "The Wahhabis" is a problem, eh? Are there any other hasbara talking points you wish to make just now? pl

Babak Makkinejad

Hey, Wahhabis are now friends of Israel - and they have been friends of US and EU for decades.


The sanctions have cut off Iran from most arms markets (that is even so now, after agreement over deal has beeen reached), which leaves them to buy from vendors who don't care about sanctions, like the NORKs. It doesn't associate them with the NORKs.

But then, when the US cut off Nicaragua from all European arms suppliers, they finally turned to the Soviets, which was proof they were commies all along.

Policy can fix circumstances in a way as to ptroduce a desired outcome that matches the intended narrative, like the one Fred82 just reiterated.



NORK? pl


I believe he meant North Korea.


I mean reprisal killings of civilians as collective punishment, which is more specific.

Reprisal killings were in fact legal under the law of war during WW-II. Herbert Kappler was responsible for the Ardeatine massacre. That was a reprisal killing for an IED attack by communist resistance that killed 28 German policemen. Iirc Kappler got sentenced not because he ordered shot all those people in the massacres, but because he had shot too many.


Reprisal killings only were outlawed outright after WW-II when the Geneva concentions were revised in light of the excesses of the war.

The authoritative Red Cross Commentary on Art. 33 Genefa Four is quite clear:


1. ' Prohibition of collective penalties '

The first paragraph embodies in international law one of the general principles of domestic law, i.e. that penal liability is personal in character.

This paragraph then lays a prohibition on collective penalties. This does not refer to punishments inflicted under penal law, i.e. sentences pronounced by a court after due process of law, but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.
This provision is very clear. If it is compared with Article 50 [ Link ] of the Hague Regulations, it will be noted that that Article could be interpreted as not expressly ruling out the idea that the community might bear at least a passive responsibility (2).

Thus, a great step forward has been taken. Responsibility is personal and ***it will no longer be possible to inflict penalties on persons Who have themselves not committed the acts complained of.***

1. ' Definition and historical survey '

Reprisals are measures contrary to law, but which, when taken by one State with regard to another State to ensure the cessation of certain acts or to obtain compensation for them, are considered as lawful in the particular conditions under which they are carried out. This would be the case, for example, if a belligerent employed weapons forbidden by the Hague Regulations to counter the use of the same weapons by his adversary. A distinction is generally drawn between reprisals and retortion which, while it constitutes a severe countermeasure to the acts which it is wished to end, nevertheless remains in accordance with ordinary law. Thus, a belligerent would be able to withdraw from civilian internees privileges he had granted them over and above the treatment laid down in the Convention.
In 1874, the Brussels Conference, and in 1880, the Institute of International Law, had emphasized the need for regulations to cover reprisals, "an exception to the general rule of equity, that an innocent person ought not to suffer for the guilty." (7)
The International Committee of the Red Cross has always raised its voice against reprisals, notably in respect of prisoners of War. It expressed this idea openly in its appeal to all the belligerents in 1916. The belligerents took account of this in certain special agreements made towards the end of the war and Article 2, paragraph 3 [ Link ] , of the Geneva Convention of 1929 forbids all measures of reprisal against prisoners of war.
This rule, which emphasizes a principle of far-reaching importance, was generally respected during the Second World War.
With regard to civilians, at the beginning of the Second World War the International Committee of the Red Cross had obtained agreement that enemy civilians interned in the territory of a belligerent should benefit by analogy from the provisions of the 1929 Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. All reprisals against these internees were consequently prohibited (8), but it proved impossible [p.228] to obtain the same decision in regard to civilians in occupied territory and ***it was not until the drawing up of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War that the prohibition of reprisals against civilians was given its general form***. The principle of the prohibition of reprisals against persons has now become part of international law in respect of all persons, whether they are members of the armed forces or civilians protected by the Geneva Conventions (9)."


A great step forward indeed.


Yes, NORK as in NORth Koreans.


The EU and US are clowning themselves into thinking the Wahhabis are their buddies.

On top of that, the Jews aren't the Wahhabis' only hated group and temporary dealings in pursuit of mutual interests are anything but unheard of in the Middle East.


Sure it does.

I would consider a business partnership involving the exchange of weapons, ballistic missiles, and expertise on things like light infantry tactics, counterintelligence, and engineering in exchange for money and oil to be an association.

To a much lesser extent, I would say the Norks and Iranians could also be pursuing other mutual interests.

That said, I don't think anyone said or implied they were best friends. As I understand it, the Norks viewed the Soviets as a mongrel race during the Cold War and currently view the Chinese in a similar manner.

Additionally, are you implying the West selling arms to the Khomeini regime would have made Iran evolve into a Democracy and/or give up ambitions of a new Persian empire?



I see that you live in Old Town, Alexandria or at least your mail radiates from there. So, you think foreign relations on this scale is a business deal... That is a Trump line. What are the "other mutual interests?" The NORK/Iran shared identity meme is not playing well in the media. Give us a better line. pl


Col Lang,

I am actually still in Texas. The satellite internet provider must have changed subcontractors again. I will look into it. I don't think I have ever been to Alexandria and haven't been to the DC area since I was 14.

In the case of North Korea and Iran, I would say relations are mostly a business deal. North Korea is a pariah state run by a racist mafia strapped for cash and Iran is a pariah state with ambitions in need of weaponry and expertise. Considering neither state currently poses a serious threat to the others' ambitions, the arrangement makes perfect sense. Of course, both states also know how to beat sanctions and are very unlikely to face any sort of significant other punishment for their misdeeds.

The other mutual interests that come to mind would be a reduction of American presence and/or influence and both states' ties to a larger state which seeks the same thing. I think both the Norks and Iranians overestimate their ability to take advantage of any reduced American presence though.


Assuming I had fresh Iranian dates and pistacio nuts (from a Turkish supermarket) last night, does that mean that I pursue other mutual interests with the owner of the shop, with Erdogan or the Iranians?

Before the sanctions ended that, a large percentage of German sausages were contained in sheep entrails from Iran. Does that mean the German sausage makers were in it with the Iranians and pursued other mutual interests beyond making money?

Given a sufficiently fertile imagination I could, they could!

You remind me of a tabloid reporter from Munich my brother once met. The tabloid reporter recounted his approach to a good story about a celebrity: Does she have cancer? Given his age, perhaps, perhaps not. We'll see!

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