August 17, 2006

Gearing Up for the Next Disaster

Beirut Daily Star opinion page editor Michael Young says Hassan Nasrallah sounds “ominously” like a president now while Bashar Assad effectively calls for a coup d’etat against the elected Lebanese government.

Syria, predictably, feels emboldened by Hezbollah’s “victory” and says it will create its own version of Hezbollah. The Damascus-based terrorist army will be trained by the original.

Saad Hariri enables Hezbollah and echoes Hassan Nasrallah by declaring a Lebanese “victory” against Israel. Enough “victories” like that one, Saad, and Lebanon will turn into Gaza.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2006 10:51 AM
Comments

Fuck. We are being led off into the abyss by a bunch of power mad drunks. On all sides.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at August 17, 2006 11:11 AM

Hey MJT,

Been wondering when you'd post again.

The situation is indeed less than ideal right now. I'm pretty disappointed in what looks like the Lebanese government appeasing Hizbullah and compromising on the disarmament issue.

I have to hope, however, that this is part of the political maneuvering that is part and parcel to the Lebanese "system". I don't think anyone really expected the Lebanese Army to try confronting Hizbullah by force in the first place.

There are a lots of very telling articles floating around these days (The Michael Young article you link to being one of them). I can't wait to read a more in-depth analysis from you.

I've posted some more articles of interest here.

Stay safe!

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 11:16 AM

I think the first post needs a little clarification. It may be a stretch to say "power mad drunks". One, Bush does not drink alcohol and either do the overwhelming majority of austere Muslims. I think it would be a better fit to say we are being led into an abyss by a small band of radical extremists who are able to manipulate/control thought and action in a volatile part of the world coupled with an apparent inablitly to engineer methods to neutralize the continuing strife and animosity due to poor decision making/reluctance for decisive action/ or "cultural understanding". Whatever the case, it sucks.

Posted by: Mantis at August 17, 2006 11:47 AM

Michael:
If the syrian "Hezbollah" attacks from Syria Israel would not have to worry about Attacking all of Syria because it is a single state, not a two state hybrid like Lebanon was. Syria would not be able to claim that Israel has no right to attack Damascus because it has already claimed ownership of this new group. Won't this new group simply be a cover for Syria to have it's own terrorist group based in Lebanon, thus it would be able to help bring back Lebanon back under Syrian control. If Syria wants to attack Israel, which they have no intention of doing at the moment, they could simply do it directly.And if this Syrian Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon it will simply drag Lebanon back into war. This new group is just a fancy cover for having Syrian troops in Lebanon. Is this notion incorrect?

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 11:53 AM

I think the Syrian "hezbollah" is for liberating the Golan heights. (I think it's also windowdressing, because I don't see Syrian attacking Israel, but 'tis the season for BS worldwide it seems.)
Is the next stage turning Lebanon into Gaza? I doubt it. Probably the next stage is turning Gaza and the West Bank into Lebanon.
let's hope it doesn't happen.
Fortunately there seem to be editorials in Haaretz these days on why Israel needs to negotiate with actual Arabs, not just the Israeli right wing with the Israeli left wing. Now that is what I would consider a welcome development.

Posted by: Diana at August 17, 2006 12:05 PM

I have never been a fan of HA, but I must admit that I watched the IDF get its ass kicked with a lot of glee. La hubban lee Ali, bal bughdan lee Moawiya as we say in arabic. I think Nasrallah is bluffing when he claims that HA only suffered light losses and that he has the money to rebuild. Jumblatt called his bluff today. Stay tuned for the rest of the poker game. And yes, we are the unfortunate chips.

Posted by: MsLevantine. at August 17, 2006 12:08 PM

"We are being led into an abyss by a small band of radical extremists who are able to manipulate/control thought and action".

Sure, Mantis, this "small band of radical extremists" only happens to be running Iran, Syria, and de facto, Lebanon.

Occupation, occupation, occupation, resistance, resistance, resistance. What a joke, do you think Israel wanted to invade Lebanon -- EVER? Before Hez'bollah there was the PLO raiding Northern Israel. Do you think Israel wanted to take over the Golan? Only after the Syrians kept attacking in 1967 and 1973. Do you think Israel wanted to step one foot back in Gaza this summer? Only after Hamas decided it's more politically expedient to launch Kassams than attend to its voters.

Other than Jordan and Egypt, the notion of "cutting your losses" does not seem to apply to the rest of the Arab world. Well, it took carpetbombing in Germany and a nuke in Japan for those countries to get the picture. And the endgame with Islamists who would rather die than cohabit with anyone different than them is....?

Posted by: jjdynomite at August 17, 2006 12:09 PM

Mantis,

People have to eat.

Syria is by far Lebanon's largest import and export partner. That's got to give them considerable influence over Lebanon.

Iran is pumping $100 million or more into the Lebanese economy. That too, must give them some influence.

Israel has closed its borders to Lebanese (and Palestinian) workers and imported cheap Asian labor to replace them. That must have cost them influence.

The sad fact is that the billions of dollars Israel spent on the latest conflict would have bought them far more influence over Lebanon if it had been sent as aid instead of bombs...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 12:10 PM

MsLevantine: I have never been a fan of HA, but I must admit that I watched the IDF get its ass kicked with a lot of glee.

Was it worth it? Your country is broken. Something else needs to start happening or your country will die.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 17, 2006 12:12 PM

MJT, my country died a long time ago in the late 60's. Now I get my kicks any which way I can. If the IDF wants to inflict collective punishment, allow me at least to smile when I see a burning merkava.

Posted by: MsLevantine. at August 17, 2006 01:10 PM

... And Ms.Levantine, if a 9-to-1 kill ratio of Lebanese to Israelis is equivalent to "the IDF getting its ass kicked" I wonder about the the standards you have for military prowess.

Monkyboy, I think the Israelis are starting to get fed up of opening its borders or giving aid to people who want to kill them. See: The Palestinian Authority. By analogy, maybe the US should give aid to Iran and North Korea and hope for the best.

And it's not like Israel has tonnes of cash to throw around, you know as well as everyone else on this board that if not for US military assistance the country would have been toast in 1973 and may have fulfilled Ms. Levantine's fantasies in 2006. Also toast would be the Mubarak and Hussein governments in Egypt and Jordan, respectively.

Posted by: jjdynomite at August 17, 2006 01:21 PM

About a month ago I quit reading the comments section of this blog because some monkey boy was pissing all over it.

I come back and the first thing I see is monkey boy still poisoning the place with his drivel.

I'll be gone for another month. Sayonara.

Posted by: Kim Hartveld at August 17, 2006 01:27 PM

Was there some fighting in Lebanon, too?

I thought the whole thing took place among the quaint resort hotels of n. Israel...

jj,

I understand why Israel closed its border to workers from neighboring countries...I'm just saying there was a cost to Israel's decision in terms of being able to influence those countries.

As for Iran...consider that:

25 million Iraqis live on a GDP of $50 billion a year.

The U.S. is spending twice that, or $100 billion a year, to station 130,000 impotent troops there.

How's that working out?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 01:34 PM

Arab countries have claimed that they have won every war after 1948. Why would this be different? Not getting completely obliterated from the face of the earth is their definition of "winning".

Posted by: Dave at August 17, 2006 01:37 PM

jjdynomite, did you see how fast it went from "disproportionate force" to "Hzb won"?

Until Hzb fighters start wearing uniforms there is nothing to cheer about.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 01:41 PM

It's really a simple equation.

1) You can't take any position in public that in any way aligns with Israel.
2) Mark Steyn article says Hezbollah doesn't want full control of the state, being the "outsider" yet pulling all the strings with threats, force, random terror and/or murder and sell outs like Lahoud Ayoun etc... works a lot better, than you can't be blamed for the country's bad plumbing etc..
3) Competing with Hezbollah means not that you will defeat them, but that you will race more quickly than them to demonize Israel and 'glorify Lebanon'......

If anyone thought there was any hope for Lebanon before this conflict, after seeing the 2 million marchers in the street.... THINK AGAIN

Words do matter - actions matter -

George Washington - Thomas Jeffersons -

In Lebanon there sure as hell aint....
And whatever good and brave people there are -

THEY HAVE NO CHANCE

END OF STORY....... it will get worse and worse for the Middle East and the world. BET ON THAT

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at August 17, 2006 01:46 PM

We thought the supposed "death of the Soviet Union" mean an end to the Orwellian World?

NOPE Orwell couldn't have imagined the lies, deceit, craveness, lack of regard for life in the Islamist World.... not even mentioning China or NK.

WHEN................. will the West really get it?

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at August 17, 2006 01:49 PM

Monkyboy, I agree with you a thousand percent that the Iraqi war is not looking good, nor really ever was. Given the religious component of Israel's battles over the past 60 years, let's just say their options are more limited with regards to helping its neighbours. It's not Israel giving 5 billion a year to Egypt and Jordan to keep the peace.

But hey, here comes the US to try to counteract Hez'bollah's rebuilding operations:

http://news.google.ca/news?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2005-51,GGLG:en&q=%22Paul%20Richter%22&sa=N&tab=wn

(Note: the LA Times article is under registration so that's why I'm posting the Google news link).

Posted by: jjdynomite at August 17, 2006 01:53 PM

The war should restart in the very near future. And this time Israel will complete the job. Is there any indication that Syria and Iran are unable to rearm Hezbollah? This is the key test.

Posted by: David Thomson at August 17, 2006 01:58 PM

jj,

Tinyurl is your friend!

Your link turns into this:
http://tinyurl.com/h8nb8

http://tinyurl.com/create.php

The U.S. may try to counter Hezbollah's efforts to rebuild Lebanon...but:

Hezbollah was handing out supplies and breaking out the construction equipment in south lebanon on Monday.

In the U.S., however, I imagine the political fighting over whose donor company gets to be prime contractor and whose is 3rd subcontractor will drag out for months before dollar one actually gets to Lebanon...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 02:03 PM

If Israel's wars are over religion, why is it, I wonder, that they need to hang onto the land, the water, and every aspect of border control? Never knew the water was such a huge component of the religion... odd that.

The best indication that Syria and Iran will not be able to arm Hezbollah is President Bush's statement that UNIFIL will close off and police the Syrian-Lebanese border. When I heard that I knew here in the West we could rest easy, for, as once-a-senator-always-a-senator Lieberman always says, we undermine our chief executive during wartime at our peril.

Posted by: Diana at August 17, 2006 02:08 PM

Ahem... once again..
If people would quit FEEDING the TROLL it would go away. Just like ants and rats.

Posted by: Lindsey at August 17, 2006 02:23 PM

It's such a joke at this point (French Frogs already not committing anything lol.... Muslim countries bringing in "Peacekeepers" to help Hezbollah)

If it wasn't about to be even sadder and deadlier..... Saturday Night Live would throw this skit out for being too ridiculous, and not believable.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at August 17, 2006 02:24 PM

Mike N. your right, it's turning into a total farce. All the media could see were "Lebanese civilians" everywhere. Dead, no uniform, your a civilian killed by the wicked Israelis. Passing out food - your a Hzb social worker. I wonder, if the "social worker" get's shot by an Israeli soldier does he automatically become a "Lebanese civilian" because he's wearing jeans and a t-shirt?

Now we are told the Lebanese army army will be the only ones "allowed" to show weapons in public. Boy that's a relief?! I'm not even sure what that means. Hzb won't be allowed to show weapons in public? That's good?? And who is telling them they can't? As if they want to anyway? It doesn't even make sense.

The French who were supposed to "lead" the international force of 15,000 are already waving white flags and sending 200 troops - for now.

And what happened to the "disarming Hzb" portion of the ceasefire agreement? It's already gone. The Lebanese army said no way (and I don't blame them) and the French "need the rules of engagement clarified" (in other words - they aren't going to do it) and I don't blame them either.

It's the Israelis Hzb are promising to annihilate - let the Israelis deal with it. If the Israelis are going to put their security in the hands of the "international community" they are dead. They might as well strap on lead boots and jump into the sea now.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 02:44 PM

I am simply amazed at how superficial the vision of some people can be around here.

He said, she said...

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 02:59 PM

"Syria ... it's own version of Hzb"

In other words - off with the uniforms, anyone who dies is a civilian, you can't attack us, victimhood, world sympathy, we win.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 03:16 PM

The French helped draft the chapter 6 cease fire, now they need to clarify their own work before they move. This is the U.N at its finest, which makes the bureaucratic sloth of the U.S. government look speedy in comparison. Sad, because the Lebanese government needs the U.N to be there to get anything done(short of going to war) and it looks like it will be months before anything happens. What a mess.

Amen Lindsey.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 03:19 PM

You know, kevin,

UNIFIL has had 257 of its members killing trying to keep the peace between Lebanon and Israel:

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unifil/facts.html

So as the troops from China, France, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Ukraine prepare to risk their lives once again to keep two foreign nations safe...

A tiny bit of gratitude might be in order...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 03:27 PM

I am simply amazed at how superficial the vision of some people can be around here. -bad vilbel

Lebanese government appeasing Hizbullah and compromising on the disarmament issue

Compromising? No they said they won't do it - period.

I don't think anyone really expected the Lebanese Army to try confronting Hizbullah by force in the first place.

Nobody did - which makes the "Hzb will disarm" part of the UN brokered ceasefire a joke.

Creating nuance where this in none is not "deep"

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 03:28 PM

It does appear that HB has scored one "victory" and that is in the propaganda wars. Unbelievable what is being reported as 'fact' and 'news' in the MSM. As long as it has the ring of 'truthiness' they run with it. it seems that the MSM is hell bent on giving credibility to HB by constantly recognising thier leaders and spokesmen as legitimate sources.

On the lighter side, seen this?
http://greenhelmetguy.blogspot.com/
Funny.

Thanks Kevin ;)

Posted by: Lindsey at August 17, 2006 03:45 PM

monkyboy: "The sad fact is that the billions of dollars Israel spent on the latest conflict would have bought them far more influence over Lebanon if it had been sent as aid instead of bombs..."

No, it would have been completely wasted, because it would have bought goodwill only among the non-Hezbollah Lebanese, who were unable to stand up to Hezbollah before the war, and are even weaker now that Hezbollah "defeated" Israel. This is probably the worst result of the Israeli "defeat" as Hezbollah and its Syrian masters now have a relatively free hand in Lebanon. The target of Syria's Hezbollah clone may be Beirut, not the Golan.

Posted by: Stacy at August 17, 2006 04:01 PM

Joe Marino,

Reading comprehension might be in order. I said the Lebanese government was compromising with HA, not the other way around.

As for "depth". The political game is full of maneuvering and plans within plans. So yes, people who take every "he said, she said" at face value, without any sort of perspective, or without giving politics time to actually play out are showing an extremely superficial understanding of the game.

But go on, don't mind me. There's probably nothing I can say to make you feel otherwise.

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 04:09 PM

Stacy,

The place Michael stayed at in Metula, the strangely named "Alaska Inn Hotel," lost 20+ Lebanese workers when the border was closed to them.

It seems likely that a lot of the Lebanese workers that lost their jobs came from south Lebanon....Hezbollah's stronghold. How did they support their families after they lost their jobs?

I think a lot of Hezbollah's support comes from the financial aid and serives they provide to people.

There's no reason to believe financial aid from the U.S. and Israel couldn't win a few of them back...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 04:15 PM

The Damascus-based terrorist army will be trained by the original.

And, assuming this is sincere (which is a big if) they will soon learn what American businessmen have been dealing with for years. Organizational success is actually really hard to copy.

Posted by: homais at August 17, 2006 04:33 PM

JOE MARINO -
It's the Israelis Hzb are promising to annihilate - let the Israelis deal with it. If the Israelis are going to put their security in the hands of the "international community" they are dead. They might as well strap on lead boots and jump into the sea now.

The International Community does carry weight, otherwise Israel would be able to slowly and methodically go in an dismantle Hezbollah....... bomb their strategic positions they build under hospitals and schools..... and confiscate all their weapons.... but the International Community and so-called "Press" (See Jenin 2002) will prevent that... with lies, slander and constant 24/7 bash Israel coverage... not to mention Hezbollah's powerful, 'sly', and prolific propoganda dept distributing fake - staged - manipulated - self created images and stories....

This is the a prime example of the 21rst Century's War - propoganda war - terrorist/guerilla war - UN Proxy War - Media War....

Israel is just sitting in the hottest seat right now.

Sure - Israel can't put their security in anyone else's hands... that is for sure.... but Hezbollah is a threat to more than Israel.... they will be essentially running Lebanon soon.....

Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at August 17, 2006 04:35 PM

It's not that I specifically disagree with you about this war being bad for Lebanon, Mike, but you're being blatantly unfair to Saad Hariri and borderline misrepresentative. The vast majority and main point of Sariri's statement was an attack on Syria for running a proxy war through Lebanon. Use your brain: Hizballah is politically untouchable. An invading army blew up massive chunks of Lebanon and Hizballah fought back - I defy you to come up with one historical example in the world where the only people fighting back against an invading army became massively **un**popular for doing so.

Hizballah is a given. Taking them on directly for Haariri is asking for marginalization. Syria and Iran's control of Hizballah is not a given. It's up for grabs. It hangs in the balance. If Hariri can mobilize resentment of Syria and Iran for maniuplating Lebanon into this war, especially among Shiites, he can hold Hizballah to one of its oft-stated claims - that it is a Lebanese institution. If Hizballah is a popular movement of Lebanese shia, it will be relatively constrained and deterrable. If Hizballah is an Iranian advance division, it will continue to do stupid sh*t.

Hariri is taking the most progressive angle he can, and the best combination of a realistic and a genuinely progressive goal - keeping Syria out.

You're helping mobilize Western public opinion against him.

Real Smart. Why don't we give Syria the green light to bump him off, while we're at it, so we can compete to see whether a christian dictator or Nasrallah will replace him.

Posted by: glasnost at August 17, 2006 04:40 PM

Linsey:
Syria's "Hezbollah " guerilla forces will not get Syria the Golan back anymore then Hizbollah has retrieved Sheeba Farms. Thats why I think the main point of this new force is to be trained in Lebanon and help Hezbollah eliminate the remains of the Cedar Revolution. If these forces stay in Syria and then lob a few missles into Israel ala Hezbollah it will give Israel the excuse to go after Syria's Military which is the last thing that Syria wants. Why would Syria risk war with Israel when they can have their proxies in Lebanon do it without getting their own country and population attacked and enjoy the "victory" of having a large portion of it's infrastructure destroyed. I am not saying that Israel won this battle, they didn't by a long shot. But Boy Assad isn't going to risk his own when he can hurt Israel and let Lebanon suffer the consequences.Israel lost, Hezbolah won the honor war while turning their country into a war zone, Strange Victory, Syria, unless things change, won big time compared to where they were before this war started. Syria, big gain, no loss.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 04:45 PM

Hezbollah "won" the war in the same way my little brother used to "beat me up" after he would hit me and run to hide behind my mom or dad.

The only reason any member of Hezbollah is still breathing is because of international opinion and Jewish ethics.

The only hope I have for the future is that the majority of Lebanese will prefer to live the good life instead of emulating the Palestinians and living in self-induced squalor.

Posted by: semite1973 at August 17, 2006 04:50 PM

Mike, agree, but the operative term is "essentially". No matter how strong or popular Hzb become they will probably prefer to remain a state within a state, avoiding some of the obligations of a state - like having your army wear uniforms and civilian authority over the army.

I think Hzb is looking at Hamas and saying ... we don't want that. Hamas knows if they go too far the Israelis will be on more solid ground to just go in and destroy. No more Arafatism .... "there's nothing I can do".

No vilbel, your point is well taken. I just think sometimes people outsmart themselves. If everyone is saying it they have to say something else to demonstrate how smart they are. Sometimes a pig is just a pig.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 04:54 PM

Hehe, 73,

The only reason any member of Hezbollah is still breathing is because of international opinion and Jewish ethics.

...emulating the Palestinians and living in self-induced squalor.

And people call me a troll.

I actually snorted coffee through my nose when I read those two lines.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 05:02 PM

Marino,

Fair enough :)

I just am of the "wait and see what happens next" opinion right now. I'm not about to get all excited everytime someone launches into a speech. In the end, the situation on the ground will speak volumes.

Currently, I happen to think that:
a- Hezbollah is not as clearcut a winner as everyone seems to think. But they are quickly moving to regroup, while the Lebanese government is letting them so, instead of "cutting them at the pass".
b- Israel did gain a few things from this conflict, and even though it is being painted as a defeat, it is not necessarily so. Granted, the war was terribly mismanaged by Olmert and co. but both Hezbollah (and indirectly Iran and Syria) have been "exposed" for lack of a better term. Forced to show their hand, so to speak. There used to be excuses for Lebanon/Hezbollah (Shebaa Farms, weak government, state within a state). Now all those have been officially removed by 1701. Any next provocation by Hezbollah will not be able to hide behind the pretext or "resistance", and the Lebanese Army and government will be held responsible.
Of course this does not bode well for Lebanon right now. But I am HOPING that somewhere in all this mess, there is political maneuvering that will manage to disarm Hezbollah soon.

I'll close with a quote from the US administration itself:

The United States, which has given staunch backing to Israel despite concern in some international quarters that its massive onslaught against Lebanon was excessive, cautioned that Hizbullah's disarmament would take time and was a matter for the Lebanese government.

"It is going to be their job eventually to make sure that Hizbullah is disarmed and is no longer functioning as an independent militia. And we expect that to happen, but it's going to take some time," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 05:10 PM

Concur with taking a break from reading comments; MonkeyBoy has over 10% of the comments. Cannot take him anymore.

Ron

Posted by: Ron Snyder at August 17, 2006 05:15 PM

Kevin,
All I was saying was that in true 'wag the dog' fashion, HB screams VICTORY from every rooftop, it gets on TV, and MANY people believe it. I in no way wish to challenge the arguments you make in your post, I know I am ill equiped to do so, and frankly I don't have the energy. I do ,however,think I am able to spot blatant propaganda, especially after it has been documented by others.
To be clear IMHO, HB BAD!!!

I was thanking you re: the troll thing.
OK? We Cool?

Posted by: Lindsey at August 17, 2006 05:16 PM

Sorry Mike, I see you already said that re; the Steyn article.

Semite1973: Israeli ground troops are telling reporters it was impossible to make headway in Southern Lebanon without massive casualties. Hzb was dug in and "invisible" firing from any manner of building. After losing 10 or more Israeli troops and a tank they would locate the source, take it out, and find a single Hzb fighter. They simply could not locate them until it was too late. The Israelis got creamed.

Don't get me wrong, I support Israel in this struggle but make no mistake, the Israelis have their hands full. They are going to have to adopt a new doctrine for warfare that is going to result in alot of dead civilians and alot of pissed off Europeans who yet again have convinced themselves if the Jews go away, their problems will go away.

I don't think the Israelis have a choice - they can't buy their way out of this with "aid" dollars as suggested by some above. It will more likely earn them contempt then gratitude.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 05:17 PM

Bad Vibel:
The "wait and see" approach is propbably the only course any sane Lebanese person can take at the moment. Hopefully their will be no further violence and there can be a political battle rather then one of arms because, at this exact moment, there isn't a military option for the LA and the Cedar Revolution. Some of the speech's have been hopeful but if Hezbollah is smart they might be able to turn 1701 into meaningless numbers just as they did with 1559. No one knows how this is going to turn out but at the moment there seems to be little to be optimistic about. Just as the Sudan has been able to work with the U.N. as they continue their bloody ethnic cleansing I fear that Hezbollah will be able to work with the U.N. at the same time they bring back Syrian controll of Lebanon. But I have been wrong many times before so maybe my sour attitude will change.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 05:21 PM

Linsey:
My post wasn't an attack on what you wrote, it was more of an agreement and an enlargement, sorry if it looked like an attack. Cool, indeed.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 05:24 PM

Kevin Peters,

You are correct in your assessment (I think).
Which is why the solution to all this lies with the Lebanese themselves (both Hezbollah and the Lebanese populace at large).

What we need from the international community is lots of aid, so as to try and coopt Hezbollah from buying the loyalty of the Shia (as they are already doing so efficiently).

The rest is mostly up to us. And if we fail to disarm Hezbollah through internal diplomacy, within a reasonable amount of time, I'm afraid we can kiss our country goodbye. For good.
This is the time for the Lebanese people to take a good look at ourselves and understand once and for all that we want to live in peace and that we cannot allow ourselves to be coopted by Iran, Syria or whoever else.

Unfortunately, the bulk of this introspection needs to be done by the Shia community, who's too busy trying to pick up the pieces of their lives right now, and too prone to play into Hezbollah's hands.

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 05:25 PM

Well said, glasnost, about Hariri's attempt at pushing Hez to be a Leb institution rather than an Iranian stooge.

One of the most optimistic thoughts I've read.

OTOH, "I defy you to come up with one historical example in the world where the only people fighting back against an invading army became massively **un**popular for doing so."

Well, the Nazis in Germany weren't so popular after Germany surrendered; I recall that after the Czar was ousted there was another Russian leader, who WAS going to keep fighting back -- but the Bolshevik's willingness to "give up" the WW I fight was very popular.

I've called for Lebanon to surrender -- it's little noted that after the failed Leb 1948 attack against Israel, they've been co-exisiting with an Armistice, not a Peace agreement. I think the failure to have a winner keeps the sore open.

I'm not sure Israel was willing to damage S. Lebanon enough to convince the Leb Shia, and perhaps especially the non-Shia, to force surrender.

This time.

But next time, after Hez murders more Israelis, I expect even worse destruction. Maybe even enough to force surrender.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at August 17, 2006 05:29 PM

bad vilbel, one more point on your last post.

All the goodwill Hzb is generating right now, passing out money and making promises, may dissipate a little when time/space realities kick in and a people look around in 6 months and see the place is still mess.

It’s not so easy to throw up hundreds (more?) of homes no matter how much money you throw around.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 05:32 PM

Kevin,
Ok. I'm probably a tad over sensitive...I have this crazy friend who insists on running off to the Middle East to the front lines of a war, and I'm a little on edge... :)

Posted by: lindsey at August 17, 2006 05:34 PM

The Nazis in Germany weren't so popular after Germany surrendered - Tom Grey -Liberty Dad

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. And the Nazis had a recruiting push when we declared war on them. That’s why all the talk about our post-9/11 efforts creating recruiting posters for Bin Laden et al. is gibberish. Of course AQ and co. got a push, so what, it can’t be helped.

They were attacking us for a decade or more before we shifted to war footing. Now it’s time to win. You want to drop terrorist recruitment – disgrace the movement and make enlisting a near sure way to get yourself killed.

Of course it would help if about half of Europe and a quarter of the US didn't think our headhacking enemies were the good guys.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 05:50 PM

Not to mention over 80% of the people who actually live in the countries America and Israel are trying to bomb into loving us, Joe.

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 05:56 PM

MB: Did you not understand my point or are deliberatly ignoring it?

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 06:24 PM

I think I understand it, Joe.

You guys think if Israel had taken out just a few more bridges, hospitals and apartment building, the people of Lebanon would started singing Hava Nagila as they took on Hezbollah, the toughest army in the Middle East (America's and Israel's included) with their bare hands...

Out of curiosity...how many 9/11s do you guys figure it will take to turn America into an Islamic theocracy?

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 06:35 PM

Joe:
Don't take the bait. Ignore it. It's like hemroids, itching it only makes it worse.

Posted by: kevin peters at August 17, 2006 06:49 PM

monkeyboy

You are a bad person. You have an odious nature and and abrasive style.

I don't know if you lie because it makes you feel good or if you just don't know any better.

I am going to guess the former, but I am hoping for the latter.

Posted by: boymonkey at August 17, 2006 06:57 PM

MB: As I recall, not long ago a sizable portion of Europe thought it was ok to ship Jews off to be placed in ovens. And to be fair, at one point in time a large part of the US thought is was ok to enslave black people.

Were they right? I also recall it took considerable violence to put an end both of these widely held beliefs.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 07:03 PM

Kevin Peters, I'm starting to get that feeling.

He comes off like he wants an honest debate and then you realize he is just trying to aggrevate the shit out you. Monkeybrain, piss off.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 17, 2006 07:11 PM

monkeyboy:
You guys think if Israel had taken out just a few more bridges, hospitals and apartment building, the people of Lebanon would started singing Hava Nagila as they took on Hezbollah, the toughest army in the Middle East (America's and Israel's included) with their bare hands...

Nice try troll. I think even you know that Israel did a hell of a lot more than take out bridges, hospitals and apartment buildings.

Lets fisk this nonsense.

1/ Apartment buildings: Hezbollah have been photographed with rocket launchers and mortars placed alongside residential apartment buildings in Southern Lebanon. How can Israel retaliate without damaging the infrastructure ? The blame lies with Hezbollah for trying to hide behind human shields whilst attacking Israeli cities.

2/ Hospitals: The only raid on a hospital was Baalbeck, where the IDF killed 10 Hezbollah terrorists and arrested 5 others. The IDF even has video footage of weapons being stored in the hospital

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/08/02/mideast.main/index.html

3/ Bridges: Again, this all comes down to the fact that Hezbollah operate from civilian areas. After Israel dropped leaflets telling citizens to evacuate, Hezbollah soldiers stopped them from leaving the towns. Hezbollah receives its weapons and munitions from Syria via road. The only way to stop the flow of supplies was to take out bridges. It was also the best way to stop Hezbollah soldiers from moving around.

Each of these were legtimate strategic targets. But you probably want to ramp up the rhetoric a bit and start portraying a fantasy where Israel targetted random kindergartens with heavy artillery and did nothing else during the conflict.

Posted by: Jono at August 17, 2006 07:32 PM

Joe,

What exactly is it you think we should be doing more of then?

Bushie has already spent, in constant dollars, more on his "war" on terror than the U.S. spent on WWII.

Should we invade more Muslim countries?

Is that the plan?

Or should we kill more Mulims in the countries we already invaded?

Provide some details, please!

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 07:46 PM

lebanon Survives once again, But will Syria of Assad

Posted by: Fares at August 17, 2006 07:51 PM

monkeyboy:
Should we invade more Muslim countries?

Is that the plan?

Or should we kill more Mulims in the countries we already invaded?

Nope.. just keep killing terrorists till they stop waging war on the Western world.

Whats your plan ?

Posted by: Jono at August 17, 2006 08:32 PM

My plan, jono?

1. Divide up the drilling rights to Iraq's $10+ trillion worth of oil equally among all the citizens of Iraq.

2. Hold national referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan with one question:

Should U.S. troops stay in your country?

and abide by the decisions.

3. Spend a large chunk of the $120 billion a year the U.S. is spending to house 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq on economic development for those countries instead.

Pretty simple...

Posted by: monkyboy at August 17, 2006 08:44 PM

2. Hold national referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan with one question:
Should U.S. troops stay in your country?

and abide by the decisions.

3. Spend a large chunk of the $120 billion a year the U.S. is spending to house 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq on economic development for those countries instead.

Sounds like we don't need the referendum; you already know how it will turn out.

Posted by: bgates at August 17, 2006 09:26 PM

Quite frankly I'm amazed that some of the individuals posting in the comments have been allowed to continue to post. It has, by other comments left, caused some readers to leave and no doubt it has caused many more silent readers to leave as well. I know it's not my blog but given how others have been banned in the past, I'm surprised it hasn't happened with more frequency in recent days, but its not my blog and the most I can do is stop reading the comments, which is a shame because I used to enjoy reading them.

Posted by: AF at August 17, 2006 10:12 PM

"Saad Hariri enables Hezbollah and echoes Hassan Nasrallah by declaring a Lebanese “victory” against Israel."

And Future Television airs video of Lebanese villagers desecrating IDF body parts.

My God, has Saad sold his soul to Nasrallah to save his life?

Posted by: Robert Stevens at August 17, 2006 10:51 PM

Americans never fail to 'impress' me with their ignorance with anything related to ME. Seriously, this is not an insult, it is the american MSM (aka israeli propagada) that should be blamed.

One example is the constant state of denial the americans live in about their army's defeat or - worse yet - the israeli army's defeat!
While israeli media is flamed with reports upset by the IDF defeat, the average Faux-New American Joes insist on making the death numbers in this recent war their sole measure of victory or loss!
Well, dear americans, supposing that its a good measure, have you heard of "pyrrhic victories"? No? Then you have to get used to it. Because, with two more years of that chimp in the white house, the middle easterns are expecting more and more wars imposed on them and more pyrrhic victories. Don't expect rummy's "kisses and roses" welcoming your invading armys; no freedom lover would ride your tanks.

As for the war outcome, IMO it is indeed a resounding defeat for ME's Mightest army! Israelis lost morally and military. Killing lebanese civilians (soft target?) by american made smart bombs is not a great achievement anyway. (BTW, the number of civilians killed now exceeds 1300 as more deaths are found under rubble in 100% civilian areas.)

IDF couldn't achieve any single war objective. OK OK, I know you - IDF cheerleaders - don't even know what the objectives were, but you can read some defeat in here:
- URI AVNERY's "The Thirty Three Day War, From Mania to Depression".
- Reuven Pedatzur's " The Day After / How we suffered a knockout" to know what a military defeat is.

And this is a recent poll:
52 percent of Israelis: IDF failed

Heck, even the american is smelling it and overcoming their holy pride-by-foreign-alliance and reporting the defeat:
- 'The Best Guerrilla Force in the World'

This is from BBC also:
- Tough lessons for Israeli armour

... in The Guardian:
- Hizbullah has achieved what Arab states only dreamed of

Also this:
- Israel, Defeated
Round one: Lebanon, 1 – Israel, 0

-Tactics that have kept the Middle East's most powerful army at bay

Enough links for now I guess, although I'm sure getting out of this denial is not an easy thing but at least I tried.

Posted by: AR at August 17, 2006 10:54 PM

Robert Stevens,

I'm not sure where you got your information about villagers desecrating IDF soldiers.

As for the Saad Hariri comments. You're seeing it all wrong. People need to realize that there is a certain "protocol" to speeches in the arab world.
It's not something i approve of, mind you, but just explaining it here for the non-arab audience.

Arab leaders have long had to (yes HAD to) insert boilerplate anti-Israel comments in their speeches as a means to politically cover their asses. You have to say that stuff before getting around to the real message (in the case of Hariri, the real message was an attack on Syria's president) to avoid being accused of 'being a traitor' or 'serving the interests of the zionist enemies of the arab world' (again more boilerplate cliches).

It's sad and pitiful that our leaders have to do that, but at the same time, it is important for the non-arab audience to realize that it is often nothing more than window dressing.

It's kinda like the boilerplate "They hate us for our freedom" that gets thrown around in the US by every politician who's about to criticize the president, so he doesn't get later on accused of 'catering to the terrorists'.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 11:20 PM

To add to my last point. Here's an interesting story that's starting to make the rounds on the MSM now, that serves to illustrate the complexity of the sentiment within Lebanon towards Israel:

Video provokes questions of Lebanese army

Posted by: bad vilbel at August 17, 2006 11:26 PM

Some of you have seen this. Please refrain from the temptation to scold as old news.

I present it here for those who may have missed it. It is rare and a very worthy example of bravery and doing the right thing under risky circumstances. We need more Muslims to speak out like this.

This is a brave woman.
Of course, her life is now in danger.

http://tinyurl.com/rj9vd

By Rana Fil, Globe Correspondent
August 14, 2006

BEIRUT -- When Mona Fayad saw Lebanon engulfed in violence, she couldn't keep silent. The psychology professor at Lebanese University did something almost no Shi'ite intellectual dares to do in Beirut , at least in public: criticize Hezbollah.

In a scathing essay titled ``To be a Shi'ite now,* Fayad attacked fellow Shi'ites who, she says, blindly follow the leadership of Hezbollah on a path she described as ``no different from suicide.*

Her bold and unusual stance has sparked debate in the daily newspaper An-Nahar , where it was published, and it has made Fayad something of a celebrity.

``What does it mean to be a Shi'ite for the majority of Shi'ites now, at this critical period?" Fayad wrote. ``It means entrusting your fate to the wise and infallible leadership without daring to ask any question.*

To be a Shi'ite now ``is to block your mind" and let Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, ``command you, drive you, decide for you what he wants from the weapons of Hezbollah, and force on you a victory that is no different from suicide," Fayad wrote. ``To be a Shi'ite and dare such writing and such thinking means that you are a collaborator and a traitor.*

Since then, Fayad has been inundated with calls and e-mails from friends and strangers . ``People thank me, encourage me, and ask me if I am scared," Fayad said. ``But I am not scared because I live in a country where a bomb can fall on my head at any time, so I want to express my opinion.*

A Boston Globe copyright story: = TG

Posted by: TG at August 18, 2006 12:39 AM

Monkyboy,

You are not being an asshole so I hesitate to ban you. But you are getting far too many complaints and you are monopolizing the conversation. I need you to post two comments per thread maximum and that's it. If you don't comply I will ban you so I don't keep losing other people. Life isn't fair, and I have better things to do than babysit.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 18, 2006 12:48 AM

Bad, I don't see how your point makes any difference. Either Arab politicians believe the vile anti-Semitism they say, or they're cynically propagating vile anti-Semitism because you can't remain in power in the Arab world without the support of the large, influential vile anti-Semitic constituency. What's the difference?

Even in your analogy to America, you set
Lebanese politician :American politician as
Israel : al qaida

and that's supposed to reassure me about how Arabs view the world?

Robert Stevens' video clip is on lgf. It says it's from al Manar; I know when Charles puts up English language stuff it's linked to the original western news outlet, but I'd be interested if you would check the al Manar one and verify the source .

Posted by: bgates at August 18, 2006 02:05 AM

American MSM ie; Israeli propaganda - AF:

So the J - er, uh the Israelis control the press. AF, I didn't know that but it sounds vaguely familiar. Mmmmm, where have I heard that before?

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 18, 2006 03:51 AM

monkyboy: "I think a lot of Hezbollah's support comes from the financial aid and serives they provide to people.

There's no reason to believe financial aid from the U.S. and Israel couldn't win a few of them back..."

I agree in principle, but the people would have to see it coming from US and Israel. I'm sure Hezbollah would know our goal and take steps to prevent it. Lots of foreign aid goes to Gaza and the West Bank, but it mostly goes to Hamas, Fatah etc. and is then transformed into the financial aid and services you mention.

Posted by: Stacy at August 18, 2006 05:20 AM

Personally I'm excited.

Contrary to popular belief, the Lebanese civil war never ended.

Soon it will officially end when the Fuhrer finally takes the podium.

Long live Hizbanon!

Posted by: lizardking at August 18, 2006 06:33 AM

"Hold national referendums in Iraq and Afghanistan with one question:
Should U.S. troops stay in your country?

and abide by the decisions."

As it stands that is a meaningless question. You have to ask "How long should the Coalition forces stay in Iraq?" with a choice of times, or preferably conditions (such as "until the violence dies down" or "Until the police are fully in charge").

3. Spend a large chunk of the $120 billion a year the U.S. is spending to house 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq on economic development for those countries instead."

A large chunk has already been spent on development in Iraq. Much more could have been spent if the insurgents and Al Qaeda were not bent on preventing anything good from being accomplished (for instance, by blowing up a new hospital just as it was nearly completed). Too much has been wasted on things like pipeline security which should not be needed at all if the insurgents actually supported Iraq rather than being mindlessly destructive.

Posted by: Don Cox at August 18, 2006 07:16 AM

I'm ashamed of you for threatening to ban monkeyboy after admitting his arguments are, correct or not, sincere. You're a member of Pajamas Media. Whatever your personal feelings, your viewing crowd is full of right-wing extremists. And when they complain to you, you appease them by constraining legitimate debate.

Ever wonder why Michelle Malkin's blog has no comments allowed?

Monkyboy is being "dominating" because he's holding up one side of the argument by himself.

Posted by: glasnost at August 18, 2006 10:32 AM

Glasnost, Allow me to point out that you are missing the point. Questions of manners and reasonable debate are important.

An attitude of pure abrasive offense is not required. Figurative head bashing is neither enjoyable or welcome. = TG

Posted by: TG at August 18, 2006 10:35 PM

My opinion is not so wild when RJH expesses the same exact view.

On IraqTheModel.blogspot.com RJH answers a question from Lisa this way..
====
**The thing to remember is that their anger didn't rise so much on 9/11.
They were just finally able to bring it to fruition.

Ever since the late 60's this movement has been gaining momentum

'79 hostages in Iran

'86 *83 beirut bombing of marine barracks.

'93 first attack on WTC
USS Cole..

etc, etc.

I agree with you about the general population of Iran hating their own government.. But unless they do something about it.. we are left to face a nuclear Iran and all the joy that would bring.

Speaking of Provocation...

We'll have to wait and see what next Tuesday brings.**
RJH | 08.18.06 - 4:04 pm | #
====
RJH is referring to the date of August 22nd.

I hope it is limited to Madmud donning white robes and declaring himself the born-again leader Allah or Mohammad the second.

Fireworks would not be required, I hope. = TG

Posted by: TG at August 18, 2006 10:46 PM

Monkyboy is being "dominating" because he's holding up one side of the argument by himself.

Nope.

What he's doing is making laughable assertions ad nauseum, while ignoring anything that doesn't fit in his worldview.

Arguing with Monkyboy is like trying to debate Noam Chomsky's parrot- utterly pointless.

Posted by: rosignol at August 18, 2006 11:33 PM
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