A New Thread fot the Current Israel/Palestine/Lebanon mess

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(b/c the Israel/Palestine conflict thread is too broad).

So anyway, Israel has bombed the Lebanese airport:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/world/middleeast/13cnd-mideast.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5094&en=da7eef947e52b75e&hp&ex=1152849600&partner=homepage

I have a lot to say and I'm speechless.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Israeli Jets Strike Airport in Beirut
By GREG MYRE and STEVEN ERLANGER

JERUSALEM, Thursday, July 13 — Israel struck targets in Beirut and south Lebanon today in retaliation for a cross-border assault by the guerilla group Hezbollah, prompting President Bush to express concern that the Israeli actions might “topple’’ the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah had surprised Israel with a bold daylight assault on Wednesday, leading Israel to respond by sending armored forces into southern Lebanon for the first time in six years.

Early on Thursday morning, Israeli warplanes fired missiles at the runways at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, shutting the airport and potentially stranding thousands of visitors at the peak of the tourism season. The Israeli military confirmed the strike, saying that the airport was a target because Hezbollah receives weapons shipments there. Israel also announced that its navy would blockade Lebanon’s ports to cut off such shipments.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Daniel Taub, said in a televised interview that actions against Lebanon would continue until its government meets “its responsibility’’ by ending the attacks by Hezbollah.

Israeli warplanes also struck numerous locations in southern Lebanon, adding to the death toll. Hezbollah in return fired several Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, injuring three people.

Israel, which is already waging a military operation in the Gaza Strip to free a soldier captured by Palestinian militants, said that two of its soldiers were captured and at least eight killed in the fighting with Hezbollah.

The toll was the highest for Israeli soldiers in several years. Combined with the deaths on Wednesday of at least 22 Palestinians, including many civilians, in fighting in Gaza, it was the deadliest day in the Arab-Israeli conflict since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip last year. The violence continued into the early morning hours today, when an Israeli air strike heavily damaged the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building in Gaza.

News services reported that Israeli planes dropped leaflets today over the southern suburbs of Beiruit, where Hezbollah is strong, warning residents to evacuate the area. Hezbollah said it would retaliate for any bombing there by firing rockets at the largest city in northern Israel, Haifa.

Even though Israel has overwhelming military superiority in both southern Lebanon and Gaza, the new fighting was a sign that the conflict has blown past the limits of local confrontation and become a regional crisis.

Speaking in Germany today at a news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Bush said that the United States was “working actively to help calm the situation.’’

Mr. Bush condemned Hezbollah and its capture of the Israeli soldiers, while calling on Israel to show restraint. He said he was worried about the effect on Lebanon’s government, which the United States has strongly supported since Syria was forced to end its occupation of the country last year.

“Our concern is that any activities by Israel to protect herself could weaken that government, could topple the government,’’ he said.

But Mr. Bush also said that “Syria needs to be held to account’’ for its support of Hezbollah and the militant wing of Hamas.

As with the Gaza conflict, Israel ruled out negotiations with the Lebanese captors of the Israeli soldiers. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he held the Lebanese government responsible for the assault by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group that participates in Lebanese politics but also continues to battle Israel.

“I want to make clear that the event this morning is not a terror act, but an act of a sovereign state that attacked Israel without reason,” Mr. Olmert said. “The government of Lebanon, of which Hezbollah is a part, is trying to shake the stability of the region.”

Israel is demanding that all three of its soldiers be returned, and that militants stop firing rockets at Israelis from Gaza in the south or Lebanon in the north. But both Hamas and Hezbollah are demanding the release of a large number of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners held by Israel in exchange.

“The prisoners will not be returned except through one way — indirect negotiations and a trade,” said the leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, speaking to reporters in Beirut on Wednesday.

He suggested the possibility of an overall deal. “The capture of the two soldiers could provide a solution to the Gaza crisis,” he said. The operation had been planned for months, he said, though he added, “The timing, no doubt, provides support for our brothers in Palestine.”

Hezbollah released a statement saying that the two soldiers had been transferred to “a safe place,” but did not give any other details.

Two years ago, Hezbollah managed to push Israel to free more than 400 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange for an Israeli businessman held in Lebanon and for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers killed in a Hezbollah attack in 2000. Israel is currently holding close to 9,000 Palestinian prisoners; the number of Lebanese prisoners is believed to be much smaller.

The White House released a statement condemning the Hezbollah raid, calling it an “unprovoked act of terrorism” and holding Syria and Iran responsible because of their longstanding support for the group. The United Nations representative to southern Lebanon, Gier Pedersen, also criticized the Hezbollah raid, calling it “an act of very dangerous proportions.”

The fighting on the Lebanese border erupted around 9 a.m., when Hezbollah attacked several Israeli towns with rocket fire, wounding several civilians, the Israeli military said. But that attack was a diversion for the main operation, several miles to the east, where Hezbollah militants fired antitank missiles at two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, the military said. Of the seven soldiers in the two jeeps, three were killed, two wounded and two abducted, the military said.

Israel then responded with artillery fire, airstrikes and a naval bombardment that focused on about 40 sites in southern Lebanon. Most were believed to be Hezbollah strongholds, but roads and bridges were also hit in an attempt to keep Hezbollah from moving the captured soldiers farther north, according to the military. At least 2 Lebanese civilians were killed and more than 10 wounded in southern Lebanon, Lebanese officials said.

Israel also sent ground forces into Lebanon, and a tank hit an explosive planted in the road, killing all four soldiers inside, the Israeli military said. Another soldier was killed while trying to rescue those in the tank.

The Israeli incursion was the first such operation in southern Lebanon since Israel pulled its troops back into Israel in 2000, ending two decades of occupation.

Political and military analysts in Egypt and Israel said the recent events seemed to stem from a growing relationship between Hamas and Hezbollah. While there is no direct evidence of coordinated attacks, several analysts said they believed that the two kidnappings were part of a plan reflecting a trend that began several years ago, with Hezbollah trying to teach Hamas its methods.

“What took place from Hezbollah today, in my opinion, is tied to their relationship with Hamas,’’ said Dr. Wahid Abdel Meguid, Deputy Director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt. “Hezbollah developed a strong relationship with Hamas. The most manifest form of this relationship is Hezbollah’s role in training the Hamas cadres.”

Hezbollah and Hamas are part of a complex four-way relationship with each other and Iran and Syria. Iran helped to create, finance and train Hezbollah. Hamas’s political leader, Khaled Meshal, lives and works in Damascus. The expectation among political and foreign affairs analysts is that Hamas and Hezbollah would never have taken such provocative actions without at least the tacit approval of their sponsors in Tehran or Damascus.

Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister, sought to distance the government from the Hezbollah raid after an emergency cabinet meeting. He noted that the Lebanese government was “not aware of and does not take responsibility for, nor endorses, what happened on the international border.”

Meanwhile, a strike by Israeli aircraft early today heavily damaged the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building in Gaza. There were reports of injuries, though it was unclear whether they included people inside the ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, or in nearby buildings.

Greg Myre reported from Jerusalem for this article, and Steven Erlanger from Gaza City. Hassan M. Fattah contributed reporting from Beirut, and Michael Slackman from Cairo.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:26 (fourteen years ago) link

Here's a cheery piece.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Olmert's equating of Hezbollah with the Lebanese government seems kind of dubious to me, but I don't know what motive Olmert would have for wanting to implicate the Lebanese government.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:29 (fourteen years ago) link

Is syria going to use this as an excuse to walk back into the Lebanaon?

Ed (dali), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:30 (fourteen years ago) link

jesus fucking christ... i am so angry and depressed right now.

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:35 (fourteen years ago) link

My fiance's first cousin was supposed to get out of the Israeli army one day before this started.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:37 (fourteen years ago) link

That TNR piece is good - I don't know if I agree with it, but I think it provides a lot of insight into the current Israeli government mindset and motivation.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Is syria going to use this as an excuse to walk back into the Lebanaon?

-- Ed (dal...), July 13th, 2006.

Could that be what Israel wants? I mean I'm not being rhetorical, I have no fucking idea.

BTW, two immensely useful wikipedia articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:45 (fourteen years ago) link

For those without registration access:

Battle Plans
By Yossi Klein Halevi
Israel's next war has begun

JERUSALEM The next Middle East war Israel against genocidal Islamism has begun. The first stage of the war started two weeks ago, with the Israeli incursion into Gaza in response to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and the ongoing shelling of Israeli towns and kibbutzim; now, with Hezbollah's latest attack, the war has spread to southern Lebanon. Ultimately, though, Israel's antagonists won't be Hamas and Hezbollah but their patrons, Iran and Syria. The war will go on for months, perhaps several years. There may be lulls in the fighting, perhaps even temporary agreements and prisoner exchanges. But those periods of calm will be mere respites.

The goals of the war should be the destruction of the Hamas regime and the dismantling of the Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Lebanon. Israel cannot coexist with Iranian proxies pressing in on its borders. In particular, allowing Hamas to remain in power and to run the Palestinian educational system will mean the end of hopes for Arab-Israeli reconciliation not only in this generation but in the next one too.

For the Israeli right, this is the moment of "We told you so." The fact that the kidnappings and missile attacks have come from southern Lebanon and Gaza precisely the areas from which Israel has unilaterally withdrawn is proof, for right-wingers, of the bankruptcy of unilateralism. Yet the right has always misunderstood the meaning of unilateral withdrawal. Those of us who have supported unilateralism didn't expect a quiet border in return for our withdrawal but simply the creation of a border from which we could more vigorously defend ourselves, with greater domestic consensus and international understanding. The anticipated outcome, then, wasn't an illusory peace but a more effective way to fight the war. The question wasn't whether Hamas or Hezbollah would forswear aggression but whether Israel would act with appropriate vigor to their continued aggression.

So it wasn't the rocket attacks that were a blow to the unilateralist camp, but rather Israel's tepid responses to those attacks. If unilateralists made a mistake, it was in believing our political leaders including Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert when they promised a policy of zero tolerance against any attacks emanating from Gaza after Israel's withdrawal. That policy was not implemented until two weeks ago. Now, belatedly, the Olmert government is trying to regain something of its lost credibility, and that is the real meaning of this initial phase of the war, both in Gaza and in Lebanon.

Still, many in Israel believe that, even now, the government is acting with excessive restraint. One centrist friend of mine, an Olmert voter, said to me, "If we had assassinated [Hamas leader] Haniyeh after the first kidnapping, [Hezbollah leader] Nasrallah would have thought twice about ordering another kidnapping." Israel, then, isn't paying for the failure of unilateral withdrawal, but for the failure to fulfill its promise to seriously respond to provocations after withdrawal.

Absurdly, despite Israel's withdrawal to the international borders with Lebanon and Gaza, much of the international community still sees the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers as a legitimate act of war: Just as Israel holds Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners, so Hamas and Hezbollah now hold Israeli prisoners. One difference, though, is that inmates in Israeli jails receive visits from family and Red Cross representatives, while Israeli prisoners in Gaza and Lebanon disappear into oblivion. Like Israeli pilot Ron Arad, who was captured by Hezbollah 20 years ago, then sold to Iran, and whose fate has never been determined. That is one reason why Israelis are so maddened by the kidnapping of their soldiers.

Another reason is the nature of the crimes committed by the prisoners whose release is being demanded by Hezbollah and Hamas. One of them is Samir Kuntar, a PLO terrorist who in 1979 broke into an apartment in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, took a father and child hostage, and smashed the child's head against a rock. In the Palestinian Authority, Kuntar is considered a hero, a role model for Palestinian children.

The ultimate threat, though, isn't Hezbollah or Hamas but Iran. And as Iran draws closer to nuclear capability which the Israeli intelligence community believes could happen this year an Israeli-Iranian showdown becomes increasingly likely. According to a very senior military source with whom I've spoken, Israel is still hoping that an international effort will stop a nuclear Iran; if that fails, then Israel is hoping for an American attack. But if the Bush administration is too weakened to take on Iran, then, as a last resort, Israel will have to act unilaterally. And, added the source, Israel has the operational capability to do so.

For Israelis, that is the worst scenario of all. Except, of course, the scenario of nuclear weapons in the hands of the patron state of Hezbollah and Hamas

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Also recommended, as always:

http://www.haaretz.com/

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 14:52 (fourteen years ago) link

I wonder what willbe the ultimate outcome of the middle east regarding Isreal... it seems like Isreal and Arab nations will never want to live peacefully together. Maybe BUsh hasn't been doing enough - it seems liek CLinton was pretty much more involved. Of course the whole Iraq situation doesnt help in my opinion - it just makes the Arab nations all the mor epissed off

Mr Jones (Mr Jones), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Fouad Siniora, Lebanon’s prime minister, sought to distance the government from the Hezbollah raid after an emergency cabinet meeting. He noted that the Lebanese government was “not aware of and does not take responsibility for, nor endorses, what happened on the international border.”

The sad thing is that he's mostly telling the truth ... it's generally acknowledged that the Lebanese govt has absolutely no administative or military control over Southern Lebanon -- Hezbollah have completely run it over ("state within a state": Lebanon Version II). The sadder thing is that even if they wanted to regain control of that region of their own country, Syria wouldn't let them because they've invested a shitload of money in Hezbollah.

Hezbollah aren't stone-throwing kids -- they're well-trained, well-financed, and well-armed fighters. They've already fired 85 rockets into Northern Israel and they have thousands more stockpiled. These weapons don't materialize out of nowhere. If their supplies are being flown in via Lebanese airports then those airports are legitimate military targets. If so, then Siniora's credibility is low -- how could nobody in the Lebanese govt not know anything about massive amounts of weapons arriving at their only International airport?

Primary blame for civilian casualties will rest on Hezbollah for using civilian airports and villages to conduct military activities. International law is very clear about the immorality and illegality of what they are doing.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:12 (fourteen years ago) link

how could nobody in the Lebanese govt not know anything about massive amounts of weapons arriving at their only International airport?

Good question, but I imagine it would only take a few pocketed officials to get the weapons through. Doesn't automatically implicate the entire Lebanese govt (a good part of which obviously doesn't like Hezbollah).

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:17 (fourteen years ago) link

I think that's a rather shaky pretext for bombing the airport, there's a whole rather porous border with Syria for shipping weapons across without having to resort to Beirut airport.

Ed (dali), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Also the syrian army only just left and its well known that they have been supplying hezbollah with arms.

More questions without answers:

1) Will the Lebanese civil war restart?
2) Will Israel invade the Lebanon or syria?
3) Will Israel start bombing nuclear plants in Iran? If they do will the US be implicated by allowing the safe passage to fly over Iraq? (a sneaky mid air refuel even?)

Ed (dali), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:26 (fourteen years ago) link

never thought i'd think it'd be a shame that sharon is in a coma.

Primary blame for civilian casualties will rest on Hezbollah for using civilian airports and villages to conduct military activities.

no, primary blame for civilian casualties will rest on israel for bombing a village nowhere near the action, killing a little girl and her family. whether it's right or not, that is what is running all over the middle east right now. nobody will give a shit about the airport.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:34 (fourteen years ago) link

I agree.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Good question, but I imagine it would only take a few pocketed officials to get the weapons through. Doesn't automatically implicate the entire Lebanese govt

Agreed, I'm sure that most of the Lebanese govt (not to mention the Lebanese people) wish that Hezbollah never existed. But you don't have to implicate the entire govt to hold them collectively responsible. The latter is very much the norm -- e.g. in Canada we had a few crooked officials involved in a sponsorship scandal involving federal money: the next thing you know, the entire Liberal party's credibility is shot, elections happen, and we elect an idiot as our PM. Political parties and govts take the fall for the misdeeds of a few members all the time and I think many people wouldn't want it any other way. Receiving huge stockpiles of weapons at civilian airports and overseeing their safe delivery to a semi-sovereign puppet regime in the south of the country is a pretty big misdeed.

The militarization of Hezbollah has been happening on Lebanese soil so ultimately it's Lebanon's (or more precisely, Syria's) responsibility. It's certainly not Israel's fault. That's why I made those comments on the other thread -- all the usual douchey excuses for the lack of peace in the region ("end the occupation!") clearly don't apply to the current situation in Lebanon.

no, primary blame for civilian casualties will rest on israel for bombing a village nowhere near the action, killing a little girl and her family. whether it's right or not, that is what is running all over the middle east right now. nobody will give a shit about the airport.

You think they bomb villages just for fun? You don't think Hezbollah embed themselves in civilian areas?

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:42 (fourteen years ago) link

You don't think Hezbollah embed themselves in civilian areas?

what does that even mean? it's a fucking country, one that was a few days ago at peace. you don't think the idf has installations in jerusalem or tel-aviv or other so-called "civilian areas?"

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:44 (fourteen years ago) link

i mean srsly that is exactly the same attitude as palestinian suicide bombers who claim every israeli civilian as a legitimate target. and it's fucking disgusting.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:45 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm pretty sure that the IDF doesn't build bomb factories and keep weapon stockpiles in civilian areas.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:46 (fourteen years ago) link

Israel seems increasingly bent on this paranoid and foolish fantasy that it can and must root out all of its enemies wherever they may lurk, and that it may use any means to do so.

It's not entirely unlike the U.S. post-9/11, except even the U.S. seems to be a bit humbled by now.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:49 (fourteen years ago) link

I mean fuck yes, stop terrorism. Kill terrorists. Fine. But don't start thinking you have carte blanche.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:51 (fourteen years ago) link

xpost - i'm pretty sure you're insane if you don't think israeli's military doesn't have any active installations near or in its major population centers.

It's not entirely unlike the U.S. post-9/11, except even the U.S. seems to be a bit humbled by now.

good point. i'm not entirely sure we (as in our current crappy gov't) hasn't encouraged this, even with israel's history of aggression (which HAS BEEN sometimes justified).

the closest thing i can think as an analogy to how terrible israel's response has been to this obviously-already-bad situation would've been had dubya nuked beijing when the chinese brought down that listening plane at the beginning of his presidency.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:53 (fourteen years ago) link

how long before it spreads to Iran?

kingfish cyclopean ice cream (kingfish 2.0), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:56 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't think killing civilians while attacking an (alleged) Hezbollah target is entirely morally equivalent to deliberately killing civilians, but squabbles over particular deaths always become tedious and distracting from the larger point. When an military attacks targets where it knows civilians may be killed, a very high standard must apply to whether the attack is justifiable. I don't think Israel is being completely indiscriminate (if it was you'd see a lot more civilian casualties), but I don't think it's applying a very high standard either.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 15:59 (fourteen years ago) link

i'm pretty sure you're insane if you don't think israeli's military doesn't have any active installations near or in its major population centers.

You're right, if the US is really worried about terrorism then they should move all of their troops and weapons to NYC. Sure, it will make NYC a legit military target for attacks, but at least there will be massive civilian casualties so they'll be able to take the high ground.

Israel is a small country and it's on constant high alert -- of course they have some active installations in cities. But what are you comparing here? Hezbollah's entire military strategy is based upon civilian military installations. Do you really think that Hezbollah gives a fuck about Lebanese civilians? I guarantee that Israel is more concerned about civilian casualties. It would be great if they could target only the armed Hezbollah fighters while leaving everybody else out of it, can anyone suggest a way for them to do that?

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:04 (fourteen years ago) link

Sorry, but this is ridiculous:

And with regard to the administration's willingness to manufacture excuses for military action out of thin air, note the expert quoted later in the piece "who stressed that Syria's and Iran's role, if any, in encouraging Hezbollah to attack was 'entirely speculative.'"

Syria and Iran's role in supporting Hezbollah is hardly "speculative" and this is hardly the first time Hezbollah has staged an attack on Israel, so it's kind of splitting hairs to suggest that there's no evidence Syria and Iran had anything to do with this particular attack.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:05 (fourteen years ago) link

(sorry, that was from the end of the blog piece kingfish posted)

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:06 (fourteen years ago) link

You're right, if the US is really worried about terrorism then they should move all of their troops and weapons to NYC. Sure, it will make NYC a legit military target for attacks, but at least there will be massive civilian casualties so they'll be able to take the high ground.

there are lots of military installations in/around new york city and upstate. i don't know if you know this, but national guard troops have patrolled nyc subways since 9/11.

Israel is a small country and it's on constant high alert -- of course they have some active installations in cities. But what are you comparing here? Hezbollah's entire military strategy is based upon civilian military installations. Do you really think that Hezbollah gives a fuck about Lebanese civilians? I guarantee that Israel is more concerned about civilian casualties.

i don't think hezbollah gives a fuck about lebanese civilians, but i don't think the idf does either. considering the history of israel in lebanon (occupation, paying christian militias to kill muslim teens, etc., etc.), they certainly don't have a track record of giving a fuck.

It would be great if they could target only the armed Hezbollah fighters while leaving everybody else out of it, can anyone suggest a way for them to do that?

yeah how about negotiate? this is over two fucking dudes.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:11 (fourteen years ago) link

In a more general sense, I think the international reaction to these events show just how naive most countries (and particularly the UN) really are -- everyone starts yelling for restraint when people start dying, but only after they've completely ignored the root of the problem, namely Syria and Iran using Hezbollah and Lebanon as their proxies. If the UN condemned Syrian support for Hezbollah as often as they condemn the IDF for the stuff they do, maybe we'd be getting somewhere toward peace one of these days.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:11 (fourteen years ago) link

barry, uh, i think syria's been under plenty of international condemnation lately!

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:13 (fourteen years ago) link

I think the IDF cares about civilian casualties some, but obviously not enough to stop and consider other options before CARRYING OUT THIS FUCKING MADNESS

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:14 (fourteen years ago) link

i think the idf probably cares as much as the american military, which is they are incredibly well-trained, use super-up-to-date weapons, try the best they can, but are still A MILITARY FORCE. at the end of the day, using the military as an option WILL ALWAYS cause civilian casualties.

and call me crazy but hasn't everyone been pissed at syria for a while, even before hariri got killed? the idea that the international community is "picking on israel" is fucking ludicrous.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:18 (fourteen years ago) link

i don't know if you know this, but national guard troops have patrolled nyc subways since 9/11.

I didn't know that (I haven't been to NYC in several years)(not because of 9/11 of course) but again, it's a matter of degree. Having troops in NYC isn't the same thing as launching rockets from neighbourhood parks and digging weapons smuggling tunnels under houses.

yeah how about negotiate? this is over two fucking dudes.

I think Hezbollah are too busy launching rockets at Haifa to negotiate. These particular attacks were planned months in advance, they've been attacking Israel without provocation for years. They'd essentially be doing the same stuff right now regardless of Israel's response. Israeli attacks just give people the excuse to use the same tired "cycle of violence" rhetoric instead of telling Hezbollah and Syria to go fuck themselves.

Sorry for the language, I'm not pissed at you guys, just at the whole messy situation.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:21 (fourteen years ago) link

the idea that the international community is "picking on israel" is fucking ludicrous.

UN resolutions get passed every time an IDF soldier kicks a trashcan in Gaza. How hard was it to pass resolutions against Syria for their actions in Lebanon, for instance? They had to kill a former PM to get anyone to care, because apparently killing tens of thousands of Lebanese and occupying the country for 30 years wasn't important enough.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:23 (fourteen years ago) link

OK, I'm conflating my issues with the UN with the current situation, but the two are not entirely unrelated.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Israel has negotiated with Hezbollah before. Not that I really like the idea of prisoner exchanges, but I'm tempted to say I find it preferable to this.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Having troops in NYC isn't the same thing as launching rockets from neighbourhood parks and digging weapons smuggling tunnels under houses.

during the korean war, g. gordon liddy was stationed at an artillery outpost in bay ridge, brooklyn. just sayin'.

These particular attacks were planned months in advance, they've been attacking Israel without provocation for years.

clearly! and they're totally unjustified! but what justifies israel's apeshit response? both hezbollah in lebanon and syria have been shooting shit over the border for years, i don't understand why all of a sudden this is news. i also don't understand why the fuck any israeli lives anywhere near the border! it's almost as dumb as, say, continuing to build settlements in the west bank!

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Obviously negotiation is preferable to this, but Hezbollah is making it quite clear that they have no interest in curbing their military activities against Israel any time soon. If that's the case, what good is negotiation at this juncture?

xpost

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:29 (fourteen years ago) link

A few Lebanese civilians weigh in:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5176582.stm

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:29 (fourteen years ago) link

both hezbollah in lebanon and syria have been shooting shit over the border for years, i don't understand why all of a sudden this is news.

And nobody did jack shit about it for the most part, including the IDF and the international community. How would, say, France react to Spain launching unprovoked attacks for years while the rest of the world said, "this happens all the time and isn't news, just grin and bear it because we don't want to get involved in this".

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:33 (fourteen years ago) link

that is a very good point.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Impossible to compare like that. The rest of the world doesn't feel that they are partly to blame for the existence of France as a thorn in a whole region's side.


(see, I can be biased too! but choosing a side and blindly shooting at everything else isn't going to get us anywhere, NoTimeBeforeTime.)

StanM (StanM), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:42 (fourteen years ago) link

Sorry, I did that on purpose, but I shouldn't have. Leaving thread now, returning to my attempt to get some kind of objective neutral opinion about all of this.

StanM (StanM), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:44 (fourteen years ago) link

this is pretty horrible, it's closing in on the point of no return. i'm not sure why this situation has collapsed so swiftly, perhaps sharon's state caused some in hamas and hezbollah to feel israel had been weakened and this was a good opportunity?

i saw some IDF general on CNN at a press conference say that nothing in lebanon was safe.

gear (gear), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:44 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm weighing in with a thank you for this thread, and i haven't read everything.

aimurchie (aimurchie), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:48 (fourteen years ago) link

both hezbollah in lebanon and syria have been shooting shit over the border for years, i don't understand why all of a sudden this is news.

And nobody did jack shit about it for the most part, including the IDF and the international community. How would, say, France react to Spain launching unprovoked attacks for years while the rest of the world said, "this happens all the time and isn't news, just grin and bear it because we don't want to get involved in this".

-- NoTimeBeforeTime (mbvarkestra197...), July 13th, 2006.

But Barry, I think a much better analogy would be if the ETA launched an attack from the Basque region, which they basically have done a bunch of times.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:51 (fourteen years ago) link

i'm not sure why this situation has collapsed so swiftly, perhaps sharon's state caused some in hamas and hezbollah to feel israel had been weakened and this was a good opportunity?

I'm more beginning to think that Hamas and Hezbollah planned these attacks with the genuine expectation that they could negotiate a prisoner exchange. Otherwise, a "good opportunity" to what?

Also, I do think Olmert wanting to prove his manhood early in his term could be factor (he was seen as kind of a dull moderate and career politician before, no?)

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:58 (fourteen years ago) link

I started it but honestly it made my brain hurt, and I am going to pretend this was from reading it on the interwebs and not in print. Maybe I will print it out or something.

Jessie the Monster (scarymonsterrr), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 01:10 (fourteen years ago) link

Sy Hersh can be a tough read. Sometimes I wish he'd just make up silly, distinctive fake names for each of his sources so I could keep them straight. "Kelly Kapowski, a high-rankng intelligence official close to Rumsfeld, said..."

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 01:23 (fourteen years ago) link

link.

hstencil (hstencil), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 01:24 (fourteen years ago) link

I missed you guys.

4) Kosovo was not really an appropriate model for Israel's actions, despite the Olmert govt's claims.

The Kosovo example is still instructive, as it was another war where overwhelming air power proved surprisingly ineffective.

The Hersh thing - fascinating that something can, apparently, be planned carefully in advance, and still fuck up.

If you are interested in nerdy military stuff (and who isn't?), this article is interesting: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm . In a technological sense, the race between anti-tank weapons and armour seems to have brought us back to 1973.

DV (dirtyvicar), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 08:14 (fourteen years ago) link

NORRRRRRRMMM:

http://www.counterpunch.org/chomsky08162006.html

=[[ (eman), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 19:06 (fourteen years ago) link

have you guys heard about this thing with the dude selling the stock?

hstencil (hstencil), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 19:26 (fourteen years ago) link

How'd y'all like a mix of technothriller/paranoid/warmongering/ racist fear?

"Iran spreading viruses through Ahmadinejad’s blog?" asks that Malkin chick.

kingfish trapped under ice (kingfish 2.0), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 22:05 (fourteen years ago) link

oh yeah, and Dubya's ex-speechwriter wrote a thing for Newsweek that was pretty much nothing but scary-ass neo-con lusting for battlefield glory and some sorta Grand Narrative that they would fit into:

"Starting in those days [after 9/11], I felt not merely part of an administration, but part of a story; a noble story."

And so of course we need to invade Iran now now now goddammit, etc, and it doesn't matter that nobody wants another war b/c

"presidential decisions on national security are not primarily made by the divination of public sentiments"

kingfish trapped under ice (kingfish 2.0), Wednesday, 16 August 2006 22:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Belgravia's postmortem:

When the Israeli-Lebanese situation began to deteriorate, I wrote in this space that the conflict amounted to a “futile, little war”. I subsequently regretted this verbiage, only because it could be construed in a manner that appeared to diminish the tragic loss of life on both sides. This was never my intent. I merely sought to explain that I felt Israel’s effort was doomed from the get-go to be rather futile, not least given the manner by which she was pursuing the campaign. I believe events have, more or less, fully borne my analysis out.

About right, I figure. Worth reading through the whole thing.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 18 August 2006 05:47 (fourteen years ago) link

I was interested by an article by Charles Glass in the most recent LRB to reach me, written while the war was still on. I have often been struck by how bad actors in the Middle East are at deterrence, both at giving and receiving. However, his writing suggests that Israel and Hezbollah have learned it on the job, with Hezbollah saying that they would only fire their (admittedly possibly non-existent) missile at Tel Aviv if Israel bombed central Beirut. That Israel did not bomb central Beirut means that maybe they too have developed an understanding of deterrence.

DV (dirtyvicar), Friday, 18 August 2006 08:26 (fourteen years ago) link

How can a strategy of deterrance work when one or more parties
involved value martyrdom?

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 20:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Do keep up, we're talking about Romanian oil rigs now.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 20:53 (fourteen years ago) link

What thread is that, sonny?

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Tuesday, 22 August 2006 20:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Meantime, oopsy:

Israeli military chief of staff Lt Gen Dan Halutz has for the first time publicly admitted to failings in the conflict with Hezbollah.

In a letter to troops, he said it had exposed shortcomings in the military's logistics, operations and command.

There would be a thorough and honest investigation, he said.

Can't find a full text version of the letter offhand -- anyone else?

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 24 August 2006 14:35 (fourteen years ago) link

Nasrallah: "Sorry, shouldn't've done that, sorry everyone!"

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 27 August 2006 22:32 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Not to kill anybody's Brave New Pelosi World buzz, Palestinian residences are still blowing up eight kids at a time:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-11-08-israel-palestinians_x.htm?csp=34


All I expect to hear is Chuckie Schumer mewling about Israel's right to "defend HERself."

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 November 2006 19:53 (thirteen years ago) link

five months pass...
Israeli probe to Olmert: "Ya fucked up."

Ned Raggett, Monday, 30 April 2007 19:33 (thirteen years ago) link

This is an insufficiently serious reaction, but ha, it's like they had Matt Groening choose the photo to run with that story.

nabisco, Monday, 30 April 2007 20:33 (thirteen years ago) link

one month passes...

So it's all gone fairly awry in Lebanon these days (again). My girl's dad's going on a 3 month holiday there starting Thursday.

Drooone, Monday, 4 June 2007 22:20 (thirteen years ago) link

eight months pass...

Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens in Lebanon, especially families living there, to leave the country immediately due to the security situation, several Saudi nationals said on Saturday.

The United States had said on Thursday it deployed the USS Cole off the Lebanese coast because it was concerned about the political deadlock in Lebanon, provoking criticism from Hezbollah and Syria.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/01/AR2008030101289.html

James Mitchell, Sunday, 2 March 2008 12:30 (twelve years ago) link

i assumed the revive was going to be about the stepped-up gaza attacks

Hurting 2, Sunday, 2 March 2008 15:44 (twelve years ago) link

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

The Gaza Bombshell
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.
by David Rose April 2008

StanM, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 12:12 (twelve years ago) link

"self-defeating" is debatable -- if your intention is to make sure that only the most extreme elements of your opposition survive, thus making your unapologetic eradication of them defensible, the strategy of strengthening hamas has been brilliant

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 12:17 (twelve years ago) link

i.e. that was the american strategy in vietnam and nicaragua, to name just two examples

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 12:18 (twelve years ago) link

So you're OK with this?

StanM, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 12:48 (twelve years ago) link

xpost

hold on, how has David Rose written that in the future? :-)

Thomas, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:04 (twelve years ago) link

OTM! Maybe it hasn't happened yet!

StanM, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:10 (twelve years ago) link

i don't pretend that i'm saying anything controversial or original here!

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:10 (twelve years ago) link

I think it is fairly public knowledge that following the Hamas election victory the USA and its allies decided that Dahlan could be Abbas' hatchet man, and that the best thing to do with Hamas was to exclude them from power and then shut them down by force. The only problem with this strategy is that Dahlan is rubbish and the forces at his disposal were an undisciplined rabble who would have been hard pressed to shut down a pub on saturday night.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:22 (twelve years ago) link

"self-defeating" is debatable -- if your intention is to make sure that only the most extreme elements of your opposition survive, thus making your unapologetic eradication of them defensible, the strategy of strengthening hamas has been brilliant

-- Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 12:17 (1 hour ago) Link

I'm not sure I follow your argument - you think Israel/The US backed Fatah in order to strengthen Hamas?

Hurting 2, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:39 (twelve years ago) link

Because I would assume it would be much better politically for Israel to have a more *moderate* regime in place that felt dependent on US/Israel backing, and not having the internal political pressure of Israeli civilians feeling their government can't protect them from rocket attacks.

I don't think Israel's goal is the "eradication" of the Palestinians (if that's what you meant). I think Israel wants to keep the Palestinians relatively powerless and maintain its ability to unilaterally dictate the terms of any agreement or lack thereof.

Hurting 2, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 13:55 (twelve years ago) link

a Fateh commander is quoted in the linked vanity fair article saying, "Since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise."

this grants a certain cunning to bush and condi that they may not deserve, but as i mentioned above, it fits with past u.s. tactics in places like nicaragua and vietnam. the goal in those places was NOT to preserve "moderate" or reasonable political structures and movements, but to sabotage them, leaving only extremists, who could then be bribed or eliminated with a minimum of outcry.

i don't know what israel's actual goals re: palestine are, but the facts on the ground are that palestine is being slowly ground into dust by the israeli military with every passing day. there are few viable civic organizations left in palestine and it the very idea of "palestine" itself is losing its coherence.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 16:36 (twelve years ago) link

The Fatah guy quoted sounds a bit like he is falling into the usual kind of conspiracy theory thinking that people in the Middle East are apaprently mad for. He is also doing that thing of assuming that everything happens because the USA wants it to happen.

I reckon that the USA-Israel alliance in fact hoped that Fatah would crush the Hamas government militarily and then happily sign a spectacularly one-sided treaty with Israel. That this has proved an unrealistic goal should not be a surprise, given the surrealism of so much US policy in the Middle East.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 17:47 (twelve years ago) link

but as i mentioned above, it fits with past u.s. tactics in places like nicaragua and vietnam

I'm not saying you're wrong, but what particular U.S. tactics in Nicaragua and Vietnam are analogous to supporting the faction you actually want to lose?

Hurting 2, Tuesday, 4 March 2008 22:00 (twelve years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Unlikeliest headline ever:

Cheney hears Palestinian complaints

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080323/ap_on_go_pr_wh/cheney

Hurting 2, Sunday, 23 March 2008 22:08 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

fuk:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080509/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon

Hurting 2, Friday, 9 May 2008 17:21 (twelve years ago) link

Pretty crazy. One thing I have heard is that Hezbollah are deliberately only fighting the Sunni militias, as the Druze are too hard core and they want to leave the Christians alone.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Saturday, 10 May 2008 12:30 (twelve years ago) link

Way to help the peace process, retard monkey boy.

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7010958242

StanM, Thursday, 15 May 2008 18:38 (twelve years ago) link

I hope one day to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the forces of Evil.

Hurting 2, Thursday, 15 May 2008 19:10 (twelve years ago) link

So this is why Bush is saying all the wrong things: please attack us again, terrorists, so we can keep the white house & attack Iran!

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2008/051608_rumsfeld_tape.htm

Rumsfeld On Tape: Terror Attack Could Restore Neo-Con Agenda

StanM, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

(ok, it's on prisonplanet, but I did think about the same thing when I heard there was a Bin Laden reaction to his speech - that that is exactly why the GWB speech happened)

StanM, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:16 (twelve years ago) link

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/05/fun-and-games-w.html Same thing from Wired blogs

Shot on 8mm Video, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:21 (twelve years ago) link

Is there a reason this is on the Israel thread?

Hurting 2, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:36 (twelve years ago) link

Who knowss. But apparently in Lebanon the Hezzers did try it on with the Druze, and the Druze did turn out to be too hardcore. Or so I read on some guy's blog.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:37 (twelve years ago) link

Since when have the Druze been hardcore?

baaderonixx, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:38 (twelve years ago) link

Jumblatt has been a turncoat for a while, no?

baaderonixx, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:40 (twelve years ago) link

xxxpost: it's all connected & stuff, but yeah, sorry

StanM, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:45 (twelve years ago) link

In any case, you could read that Rumsfeld quote a few different ways. He could have meant "What we need is another attack," but he could have also meant "When the inevitable next attack comes it's going to change people's attitudes." Still makes me a bit queasy though.

Hurting 2, Friday, 16 May 2008 15:55 (twelve years ago) link

oh god, i'm dreading the inevitable emails i'm gonna get from my 9/11 conspiration theory friends...

baaderonixx, Friday, 16 May 2008 16:08 (twelve years ago) link

Since when have the Druze been hardcore?

you mess with them, you dead.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Friday, 16 May 2008 16:36 (twelve years ago) link


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